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The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority in Brunswick, Maine, recently gave Kestrel Aircraft Co. the keys to its new hangar at the soon-to-be decommissioned Naval Air Station Brunswick. While the airfield is not yet open to the public, the Navy granted special permission for the company to land its JP-10 aircraft on the runway so it can begin developing and producing its composite-based turboprop aircraft. Kestrel Aircraft announced its intentions of setting up shop at Brunswick Landing in June, investing more than $100 million and creating up to 300 jobs. Kestrel.aero Hawker Beechcraft Corp. has reached an agreement with the state of Kansas to remain in Wichita for the next 10 years, according to officials at the manufacturing company, which threatened to move its operations to Louisiana. The state’s $40 million incentive package requires Hawker Beechcraft to maintain its current product lines in Wichita and retain at least 4,000 jobs over the next 10 years. The package includes $10 million over three
North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue recently proclaimed Dec. 3-10 “Aviation Appreciation Week.”According to the Alliance for Aviation Across America, the state has 111 public use airports, as well as 300 private airports, serving more than 22,000 pilots and more than 8,000 GA aircraft. General aviation is directly responsible for 14,963 jobs in North Carolina, contributing $4.1 billion to the state’s economy. Governor.state.NC.us, AviationAcrossAmerica.org Photo courtesy Van’s Aircraft
Terry Small, of Prescott, Ariz., has become the 1,000th customer to complete and fly a Van’s Aircraft RV-7. His first flight brought the total number of RVs complete and flown to 7,088. About 10 years of off/on construction were interrupted by a year in Afghanistan and five moves. But Small stuck with it and on Dec. 5 his RV-7, N174TD, took to the air. “What …a wonderful magic carpet ride,” he said. The RV-7 (pictured) and its sibling, the tricycle gear RV-7A, were introduced in 2000. About 3,000 more are under construction all over the world. VansAircraft.com
years for tuition reimbursement and training as part of the State of Kansas Investments in Lifelong Learning (SKILL) program. Hawker Beechcraft will also receive $10 million in the first year, followed by $5 million each year for the next four years, which can be used for other costs, such as equipment. HawkerBeechcraft.com With about six weeks before the Super Bowl is played, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport (DFW) unveiled its new corporate aviation terminal. The airport spent $3 million renovating an old American Eagle terminal closed in 2005. About 1,000 GA planes are expected to fly into the area for the Feb. 6, 2011, Super Bowl. DFWAirport.com Aerosim Flight Academy in Sanford, Florida, has obtained Title IV funding, which means it can offer many types of federal loan and grant programs, including Pell Grants, Parent Plus Loans, and Stafford Loans for its flight
training programs. The academy also provides finance loan products, and is eligible for veterans educational benefits, including the Montgomery GI-bill, Chapter 30 or Chapter 1606, which supplement up to 60% of the approved training curriculum. Aerosim.com The South Carolina Aviation Safety Council will hold its inaugural Safety Council Saturday, March 26, at Rock Hill Airport (UZA). The event will feature a briefing by National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Robert Sumwalt. SCAviationSafety.org The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Airport Support Network now has more than 2,200 volunteers helping keep tabs on what’s happening at airports across the country. More than 300 new volunteers joined the program in 2010, according to AOPA officials. AOPA.org
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Beyond the Edge, LLC recently upped its financial investment in Bye Energy, Inc., which is developing alternative energy for GA aircraft, called The Green Flight Project, with an electric-powered Cessna 172 in the works. The company hopes to fly the electricpowered Skyhawk proof-of-concept aircraft in the spring. Beyond-The-Edge.com, ByeEnergy.com The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, has launched a search for its first executive director. The RAF’s mission is to preserve, maintain and create public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide. TheRAF.org Want to live like the Lears? Bill Lear Jr.’s last residence at Spruce Creek Fly-In in Florida has been put up for sale by his widow, Brenda. There are plenty of photos of the hangar home online, which should give you a chance to see how the other half lives. 1780doolittle.com Women pilots were honored by the First BRIEFING | See Page 4
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January 7, 2011
Teledyne Technologies Inc. has agreed to sell its GA piston engine business, which includes Teledyne Continental Motors and Teledyne Mattituck Services, Inc., to Beijingbased AVIC International Holding Corp. for $186 million in cash. Headquartered in Mobile, Ala., Continental Motors is a manufacturer of FAA-certified piston engines, as well as spare parts and components, used in general aviation aircraft around the world. Continental Motors employs approximately 400 workers in Mobile. It also maintains service centers in Fairhope, Ala., and Mattituck, N.Y. AVIC International officials noted they expect to retain the senior management of Continental Motors and maintain Continental Motors’ global headquarters in Mobile. The acquisition also sets the stage for new hires of skilled workers in Mobile, as international demand for piston-powered aircraft would result in increased engine manufacturing at Continental Motors, company officials said. AVIC International also plans continued investment and upgrades in Continental Motors’ operations, as well as increased research and new product development. Continental’s new owner is a supplier for big-name companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Honeywell and Snecma, which “will enhance the ability of Continental Motors to compete globally, especially in growing overseas markets, such as China,” according to company officials, who note that Continental’s primary markets today are the U.S. and Europe. The growing GA market in China makes it one of the world’s largest potential markets for BRIEFING | From Page 3 Flight Society, which dedicated one of the pillars in the Century of Flight Monument in Kitty Hawk, N.C., to Women in Aviation during last month’s commemoration of the Wright brothers’ first flight. Additionally, Betty Skelton, known as the “First Lady of Firsts,” was inducted into the society’s Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine, a portrait gallery that surrounds the Wright Flyer reproduction displayed in the
general aviation aircraft, said company officials, who note that, compared to 230,000 GA aircraft in the U.S., China has just 900 — a number that is expected to grow over the next decade, raising demand for FAA-certified piston engines. AVIC International officials say they were attracted to Continental’s long history in the general aviation market and the company’s reputation for product quality, safety and service. “I am excited about the opportunity to work with the AVIC International team,” said Rhett Ross, president of Continental Motors. “AVIC International will greatly strengthen Continental Motors’ market access. In addition, increased investment will accelerate new products, such as Continental Motors’ TD-300 diesel engine, which is well-suited to growing regions given international fuel availability. The transaction will allow Continental Motors to continue to be a global leader in the general aviation piston engine industry.” “The sale of Continental Motors to AVIC International is the right long-term solution for Continental Motors, its workforce and the Gulf Coast community,” said Robert Mehrabian, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Teledyne. “This sale allows Teledyne to focus on its core businesses, while ensuring a bright future for Continental Motors to build on its long, successful history as a manufacturer of proven piston engines for general aviation aircraft. This will significantly enhance Continental Motors’ opportunity to enter the global market for the sale and service of general aviation piston engines.”
visitor center at the memorial. The shrine honors individuals and groups that have achieved significant “firsts” in aviation’s development. Skelton holds 17 individual land and speed records. Her Pitts Special, “Little Stinker,” is on display in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. FirstFlight.org The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF)
Photo by Ben Sclair
Chinese company buys Continental
Continental officials flew this turbocharged Cirrus SR22 to Oshkosh 2009 on 94UL unleaded fuel. “AVIC International is eager to begin its collaboration with Continental Motors, continuing its reputation as a highly respected maker of FAA-certified piston engines,” said Wu Guangquan, president and CEO, AVIC International. “We are impressed with Continental Motors’ products, employees and facilities. Furthermore, we were attracted to Mobile’s international environment focus and the continually growing concentration of aviationrelated international companies in the Mobile area. We look forward to working with current leadership at Continental Motors to expand
the Continental Motors’ facility to supply expected growth in the general aviation market worldwide, in particular, to ensure safe and reliable aircraft operations for all customers.” The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year. The acquisition must be cleared under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act and by the U.S. Government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), as well as by the Chinese government.
has named its Class of 2011, which includes the late Capt. Iven Carl Kincheloe, Jr., USAF, a Korean War double ace and record setting Jet Age test pilot hailed as “The First Man in Space;” Col. Charles McGee, USAF (Ret), Tuskegee Airman and fighter pilot with 409 combat missions flown while serving in three wars; S. Harry Robertson, pilot, engineer, entrepreneur, and aviation safety pioneer recognized as “The Father of the Crashworthy Fuel
System;” and the late Gen. Thomas D. White, USAF, former Chief of Staff and key Cold War architect of integrating space technology into modern defense systems. The enshrinement ceremony will take place in Dayton, Ohio, July 16, 2011, where the four will join the 207 legends of flight previously honored by the National Aviation Hall of Fame. NationalAviation.org
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January 7, 2011
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Honda Aircraft Co. has successfully completed the first flight of its FAA-conforming HondaJet. The first conforming HondaJet lifted off Dec. 20, at 15:31 EST from Honda Aircraft Co.’s world headquarters at the Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) in Greensboro, North Carolina. The HondaJet remained aloft for 51 minutes, during which time the aircraft’s flight characteristics and performance were analyzed and systems checks were conducted. Various test data gathered during the flight were transmitted real-time to Honda’s flight test telemetry operations base at the company’s world headquarters. “This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program,” said Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO. “This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight. Our team has worked extremely hard to reach this critical step in the HondaJet program, and these results reflect Honda’s focus and determination to develop a class-leading aircraft. We are very encouraged by our initial review of the flight data, which indicates the conforming HondaJet performed as expected,” he continued. To support the company’s certification program, Honda has completed its second FAAconforming aircraft, which already has undergone numerous structural tests required for commencement of certification flight testing.
Honda also has completed mating of main assemblies for its third FAA-conforming aircraft, which is now in the systems installation phase of completion. This third conforming aircraft, to be used mainly for mechanical systems flight testing, is scheduled to be completed in early 2011. A total of five FAA-conforming aircraft, including one additional flight test aircraft and one additional structural test aircraft, are planned to support the HondaJet certification program, company officials said. While Honda enters the flight test program with its conforming HondaJet, the company also nears completion of its aircraft production facility on its Greensboro campus. The 266,000-square-foot HondaJet production facility is scheduled for completion in early 2011, with the final phase of interior build-out underway. Upon completion of the production facility, Honda will begin the process of moving equipment and personnel into the facility and undertaking pre-production preparations and training necessary to support HondaJet production ramp-up beginning in 2012. Honda Aircraft, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., has orders for more than 100 HondaJets. Scheduled for first delivery in the third quarter of 2012, the $4.5 million HondaJet is Honda’s first-ever commercial aircraft. The HondaJet proof-of-concept aircraft has accumulated more than 500 flight test hours and attained a top speed of 420 knots (483 mph) and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet
Photo courtesy Honda Aircraft Co.
First flight of FAA-conforming HondaJet
in flight testing, according to company officials. The HondaJet is powered by two GE Honda HF120 turbofan jet engines. The production HondaJet flight deck features a Honda-customized Garmin G3000
next-generation all-glass avionics system with three 14-inch landscape-format displays and dual touch-screen controllers for overall avionics control and flight plan entries. HondaJet.com
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January 7, 2011
Earhart mystery solved? the makeup â€” a small bottle made in New Jersey in 1933 with the remnants of what appears to be hand lotion, and a broken pocket knife of the same brand that was listed in an inventory of Earhartâ€™s Lockheed Electra. The bone is being tested at the University of Oklahomaâ€™s Anthropology Laboratories to see if it contains human DNA. If human DNA is extracted, it will then be compared to Earhartâ€™s DNA. TIGHAR plans another expedition to the remote island to find answers before the 75th anniversary of Earhartâ€™s disappearance. Earhart and Noonan disappeared July 2, 1937, during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
Photo courtesy NASA
A tiny sliver of bone found on a remote Pacific atoll may finally solve the riddle of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart. According to an article from The Daily Telegraph, researchers from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) found the bone at the site of a castawayâ€™s encampment on the uninhabited island of Nikumaroro, a former British colony that is today part of the republic of Kiribati. The bone, which may be a phalanx from a human finger, was located along with several other clues about the fate of Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, during TIGHARâ€™s 10th expedition to the island this summer. The search turned up the remains of a 1930s womanâ€™s compact â€” complete with residue of
NTSB seeking comments on emergency revocations The NTSB has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments regarding amendments to its rules dealing with the review of FAA certificate actions, such as emergency revocation or suspension of a pilotâ€™s certificate. In 2000, the NTSB published an interim final rule that required the board to take as fact allegations offered by the FAA â€” a ruling that has affected hundreds of pilots who faced an emergency certificate suspension or revocation by the FAA, and who then chose to appeal the emergency nature of the action, according to officials with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), who add that the ANPRM is a step towards giving pilots a fairer opportunity to defend themselves. NTSB rules currently require the agencyâ€™s administrative law judges to â€œconsider
whether, based on the acts and omissions alleged in the administratorâ€™s order, and assuming the truth of such factual allegations, the administratorâ€™s emergency determination was appropriate under the circumstances.â€? The ANPRM invites public comments concerning this standard of review, as well as other aspects of the emergency review process, such as whether a hearing should occur to allow parties to provide evidence concerning whether the case should be treated as an emergency. The ANPRM further invites comments concerning whether there should be another level of appeal to challenge the emergency status determination. The 60-day comment period concludes Feb. 22. NTSB.gov, NBAA.org
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Companies partner on system to allow GA aircraft to use autofuel Air Plains Services is partnering with Petersen Aviation Inc. on an Anti-Detonation Injection System (ADI) that will allow GA aircraft to use autofuel. With rising concern about the possible elimination of avgas, the two companies are combining resources to discover the answer that general aviation has been waiting for, said officials with Wellington, Kansas-based Air Plains Services. In the early 1990s Petersen Aviation, based in Minden, Nebraska, certified ADI systems on Cessna 188s, 210s and Barons, which allowed these aircraft to use 91 octane autofuel. Petersenâ€™s ADI System was developed to allow high compression engines to run on
low octane fuels safely. Air Plains Services intends to develop additional Supplemental Type Certificates for ADI, which will enable the installation of the system components on aircraft and provide owners with more fuel choices. Anti-Detonation Injection, also know as Water Injection, is not a new technology or invention, company officials said, noting it was used in aircraft before World War II. During the war, water injection was used to prevent detonation while developing significant additional power. ADI can also be used to develop rated power on a lower octane fuel. AirPlains.com, AutoFuelSTC.com
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EPA to study lead levels at 15 airports The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has undertaken a yearlong study of lead levels at 15 airports. The study was called for in a new rule published in the Federal Register Dec. 27. That same rule lowers the threshold of lead production that will require monitoring at a variety of sources, such as manufacturing companies and smelters, to assess if they are complying with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). But EPA officials said they did not have enough information to determine if they should lower the threshold for airports, so initiated the year-long study at 15 airports around the country. The airports to be studied are estimated to produce less than 1 ton a year of lead emissions, the current threshold for monitoring, but more than 0.5 tons, the revised threshold
for other sites. EPA officials noted the airports were chosen because of factors, such as prevailing winds and the number of runways where piston aircraft takeoff, that agency officials believe make them likely to have higher lead concentrations. EPA officials said the monitoring requirements will have no impact on the airportsâ€™ operations. States â€” not airports â€” will be responsible for monitoring emissions for the next year. Airports that will be monitored for the study are: Merrill Field, Anchorage, Alaska; Pryor Field Regional Airport, Limestone, Alabama; Palo Alto Airport, Santa Clara, California; McClellan-Palomar Airport, San Diego, California; Reid-Hillview Airport, Santa Clara, California; Gillespie Field, San Diego, California; San Carlos Airport, San Mateo, California; Nantucket Memorial Airport, Nantucket, Massachusetts; Oakland County
International Airport, Oakland, Michigan; Republic Airport, Suffolk, New York; Brookhaven Airport, Suffolk, New York; Stinson Municipal Airport, San Antonio, Texas; Northwest Regional Airport, Denton, Texas, Harvey Field, Snohomish,Washington; Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, Washington. Data from the monitoring study will be used to assess the need for additional lead monitoring at other airports, according to the new rule. Finally, data from the study will be used in future lead NAAQS reviews when considering requirements for monitoring at airports, EPA officials said in the rule. EPA officials noted in the new rule that they are also responding to a petition submitted by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth (FOE), requesting that the agency determine
whether emissions from aircraft cause or contribute to air pollution that â€œmay reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.â€? In April, the EPA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on lead emissions from aircraft using 100LL. â€œIn this action we described and requested comment on the data available for evaluating lead emissions, ambient concentrations and potential exposure to lead from the use of leaded aviation gasoline (avgas) in piston-engine powered aircraft,â€? said EPA officials in the latest rule, noting the EPA and FAA are working with the GA industry to evaluate alternatives to 100LL. For more information on the latest rule (EPA-HQ-OAR-2006-0735), which becomes effective Jan. 26, go to Regulations.gov. EPA.gov
uneven wear. In cases where gear camber wears one side faster than the other, tires can be demounted and turned around to extend the tire life. Uneven tire wear is usually an indication of gear misalignment or tire underinflation, Rapsard added. He also lists other tire wear conditions revealed through inspection that may require your aircraft tires to be removed from service. â€œSidewall damage, including some weatherchecking, cracks, or cuts, means the tire should
be scrapped if the damage extends down to the fabric plies. The same goes for tread cuts and groove cracking,â€? he said. Damage that doesnâ€™t expose the cords normally does not require the tire to be removed, he added. Other excessive operating conditions will cause the tread to wear much faster, such as high energy braking, high speed taxiing and high speed cornering. Be sure to consider these if you see fast tread wear, according to Rapsard. Also, tires that have been run while more than 10% underinflated can be damaged internally and should be removed, he added.
Know your limits Knowing your limits is sage advice that applies to everything in life from financial risk to piloting an airplane. But when it comes to aircraft tire wear, itâ€™s all about routine inspection and knowing the facts. Aircraft tires experience wear during taxi, takeoff, and landing. Takeoff generates the most tire wear because the airplane has a full fuel load and the tires are pre-heated by taxiing. So with all aircraft, tires should be routinely inspected during preflight to check tire wear,
according to Larry Rapsard, product support manager for the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. When inspecting your aircraft tires, the first thing to check (after checking tire pressure) is the amount of remaining tread to avoid excessive wear and possible unsafe conditions. â€œAircraft tires should be removed when the tread is worn to the base of any groove at any spot, or to the minimum depth stated by the aircraft manufacturer,â€? Rapsard noted. Aircraft tires should also be examined for
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‘Sell the sizzle, not the steak’ Charles Spence Capital Comments Washington, D.C. — We learn from history that we learn nothing from history. But having been born just 19 years after the Wright brothers made the first controlled flight, personal experience might help in the current attempts to gain greater acceptance for aviation. (Note the word “general” is not included.) In the 1960s when William Piper, Sr., was alive and active in aviation, he commented to me that it would take many years before the public would understand and accept what was then called “general” aviation. “After all,” he said, “it took the public 50 years to learn that highways should be routed around communities and not pass through the main streets of cities.” On that same occasion he said to me that when multi-lane highways were being constructed, runways should be built at frequent locations along them as that was the most inexpensive way to make flight facilities available. His thoughts were that businesses would not be needed at these runways until activity grew to require them and maintenance of the strips could be managed by state and local highway departments. That was about 50 years ago. Are his comments beginning to come to pass? Perhaps. Until the last few years, what is now called general aviation had little recognition in city, state, and federal governments, while many in companies that built “that” kind of airplane wanted to “keep a low profile.” But that is changing. In 2010 both the Senate and House in Congress formed general aviation caucuses. Last year, according to the Alliance for Aviation Across America, about 20 governors and mayors issued proclamations citing the importance of general aviation to their cities and states.
Newest LSA: Alto Corbi Air, Inc. of Ohio and DirectFly s.r.o of the Czech Republic have received ASTM conformance verification of the DirectFly Alto Special Light-Sport Aircraft (SLSA). Alto enters the market as a purpose-built LSA, tailored at the factory for flight training, according to company officials. Standard equipment includes a Mode S transponder, internal corrosion protection, electric pitch and aileron trim, nosewheel steering, Teflon coated aviation grade wiring, Vertical Power’s electrical distribution system, and the U.S.-made Sensenich composite propeller with its stainless steel leading edge. Optional instrument panel/avionics configurations include such names as Dynon, Advanced Flight, and Garmin. Prices start at $97,500. CorbiAir.com
In the 1950s veterans received government help earning pilot licenses, but manufacturers discovered they were selling new and bigger airplanes to the same people — those who enjoyed flying —and training and sales began to decline. As a group the manufacturers started a promotion effort and sold more than 15,000 airplanes in 1966 — as many in one month as now are sold in a year. The program was successful, although many people at the airport level never even opened
the promotion materials sent to them free. After all, they loved flying and thought everyone else should. With success came complacency. Although the promotion expenditure was small, the head of one company commented that enough money had been spent, so the program was discontinued. What made the program successful was something Arthur “Red” Motley, then the publisher of Parade Sunday magazine, had said to all marketers: “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.” After all, people don’t buy clothing to cover nakedness. They pay hundreds of dollars to be attractive. Automobiles are not purchased by most people because they love to drive. They are bought to impress others, as well as to make it easier to get to work or get chores done or any of the other benefits that mobility provides. The automobile is the instrument for doing other things individuals want.
In the early 1960s a survey by aircraft manufacturers found that in the Washington/ Baltimore market alone, more that 5,000 businesses could profitably use aircraft to increase their markets. But flight training promotion has been aimed to people on the theme of liking to fly. Maybe this is starting to change and the potential for flight is just beginning. Another point Mr. Piper said to me was we should call ourselves aviation and let others explain themselves. Prior to World War II our kind of flying was called “personal” flying. It was changed by the manufacturers to “general aviation” to take away the stigma of using scarce fuel for “personal” pleasures. Maybe it’s time to listen to Mr. Piper. Charles Spence is GAN’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.
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Predictions for 2011 Ben Sclair Touch & Go 2011 will be an amazing year for general aviation. The following predictions are absurd, the quotes are manufactured (by me) and the only thing standing in the way of making these a reality is the cojones to make it so. GROWTH IS COMING In February, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, citing wholesale statistics from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, will decide to make the requirements for obtaining a pilot’s certificate dramatically easier. Babbitt, connecting the dots, sees a direct correlation between the 8,800 Class A motor-homes and the 634 singleengine piston aircraft delivered between January and September 2010. “Class A motor-homes are expensive. A new unit might start at $100,000 and, like airplanes, the sky is the limit,” said Babbitt during a madeup telephone interview just before the end of 2010. “This is proof there is discretionary money in the economy. We just have to make learning to fly easier and faster so we can tap into this market.” Expect to hear an FAA initiative to reduce the number of regulations pertaining to recreational flying by 65%-75%. “After all, an informal survey in a Dec. 1, 2010, AOPA eBrief newsletter showed 78% of all respondents fly for recreation,” Babbitt continued. “If these people are interested in flying on clear and calm days, for fun, then the FAA, and the industry, must chop down the many im-
pediments that get in the way of learning to fly. As long as a motor-home built on a Peterbuilt semi-truck chassis is marked ‘Not for Hire’ anyone with a checkbook and a drivers license can operate one.” While we won’t be able to make it that easy to own and operate an aircraft, we should strive to make learning to fly on severe clear days as easy as possible. Not long after the FAA announces its initiative, expect to see an industry-wide branding effort, similar to Go RVing. CONGRESS GROWS A PAIR In a move that will shock…everyone, Congress will put on their big kid underpants and fund the FAA for five years when the 18th consecutive short-term extension expires in March. Language in the reauthorization is strong and direct: NextGen should be for all aircraft flown for hire AND into/out of the 30 busiest airports in the Nation Airspace System. Congressional John Mica, chair of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the 112th Congress, said during a hastily called press conference (that never happened), “NextGen benefits primarily the airlines. Simplifying the system will speed implementation and lower costs. If ‘Joe or Jane Pilot’ want to equip their Cessna 172 with NextGen-compliant equipment, have at it, but it should not be a requirement.”
The myriad aviation alphabet groups were so surprised and pleased as to be rendered speechless. No one remembers that ever happening before. RETENTION RATE SOARS Research conducted by AOPA in 2010 showed that only 20% of student pilots complete their training successfully. Shortly after the results of the survey were published, Sporty’s Academy, the educational arm of Sporty’s Pilot Shop, issued a (real) press release that reports (among other things), “Sporty’s Academy enjoys a 70% retention rate — over 3.5 times as high as the industry average — due to the confidence and motivation brought about by the modular approach to flight training.” As a result, flight school owners/operators descend on the Batavia, Ohio-based company for a how-to primer. “Instead of re-inventing the wheel…or airplane, in our case…we decided to see how Sporty’s does it,” stated a large flight school owner who wished to remain nameless. By the end of 2011, the nationwide retention rate climbs to 48%. “All these flight school operators showed up to learn how we do things here in Ohio,” noted Sporty’s founder Hal Shevers. “It was great, but they flooded the airport each Saturday, during our weekly Saturday hot dog grilling. Go figure.” COMMENTING GOES VIRAL Heeding a suggestion made in General Aviation News and on our website (GeneralAviationNews.com), 99% of ALL U.S.-certificated pilots will comment (via the United States Postal Service) to all aviation-related Notices of Proposed Rule Making (NPRMs) posted to the Federal Register in 2011, and carbon copy their senators and representatives. Noting how quickly and aggressively Congress and the FAA respond to the flood of com-
January 7, 2011
ments, a pilot will be overheard at AirVenture 2011, “I wish someone had suggested we pilots write to Congress and the FAA before. I’ll bet they would’ve found my comments on LASP and through-the-fence useful.” BYE BYE 3RD CLASS MEDICAL David Wartosky, owner of Potomac Airfield in Maryland, will be shocked. He’s the author of the petition that would do away with the 3rd class medical for anyone operating an aircraft 6,000 pounds or lighter. The reason he’ll be shocked? FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt will successfully push the FAA and Congress to get rid of the 3rd class medical for anyone operating an aircraft (regardless of weight) as a private pilot, non-commercial, not-for-hire. “Class A motor-homes weigh 15,000-30,000 pounds and are 24-40 feet in length,” said Babbitt during a made-up telephone interview just before the end of 2010. “A Pilatus PC-12 has a ramp weight of 10,495 pounds and is 47 feet, 3 inches long. Now I’m well aware that a Pilatus covers the ground at a much higher speed than a Class A motor-home, but it does not come within 10 feet of a school bus loaded with 60 screaming third graders. Why the inconsistency between private operators of a Class A motor-home and a Pilatus, or Beech Baron, or Cessna 182? It’s discrimination against pilots.” Babbitt went on to cite many examples of the wonderful freedom we have to operate all kinds of machinery of all sizes, weights and performance without a need for a medical examination, including cars, motorcycles, boats, RVs, ATVs, kayaks, surfboards and pumpkin launchers. Agree? Disagree? Have your own absurd prediction? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Ben Sclair is GAN’s publisher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR THE BEST OF AVIATION
Reading this story (Short Final: A family of aviation, Dec. 21 issue) hit like a cold glass of water in the face. In the early 1960s, I ended up in Miami teaching school and trying to finish my pilot ratings. After getting my commercial and CFI, Mary Gaffaney hired me as a brand new flight instructor. I stayed there for two years until I got hired by Eastern Air Lines in 1966. After working 25 years in the airline industry and 15 years flying corporate, I never lost my love of flight instructing, and have been doing it part and full time since then. Mary was definitely a mentor and was a prime example of the best side of aviation. Because of her tutorship I have always used her teaching and mentoring to set the highest possible standards in my continuing to instruct and fly. At the age of 70 I have now retired to the rank of flight instructor only. I still love to teach and fly, mostly in central New Jersey and as a snow bird in the West Palm Beach area in the winter. JIM HAMILTON Submitted at GeneralAviationNews.com
I read the article on the H2AD (Ask Paul: Is 172 with H2AD engine a good buy? Nov. 23 issue). It is just an awesome engine. Aviation folklore has been unkind and devalued this powerplant. It has more real world power with its 10:1 pistons than the D2J (9.5:1). We have a flight school fleet and the planes are approaching 20,000 hours with absolutely stellar service from these great engines. I know someone with an RV with an H2AD. It is light, strong and fast, but his resale will suffer…go figure. PHILIP ESDAILE Submitted at GeneralAviationNews.com
PICTURE THIS Re: Capital Comments: FAA to require photos on pilot certificates, Dec. 7 issue: Just more bureaucratic hassle for Big Government to justify its existence. In 46 years I’ve been ramp checked only once…to see my medical certificate. Once photos are put on your pilot certificates, is the FAA then going to invent another unneeded government program of hiring inspectors to do ramp checks of pilot’s photos? Knowing how much the government func-
tions on illogical reasoning, that wouldn’t surprise me — invent a program and then find reasons to have to enforce it. Just think of all the cumulative wasted time that pilots have to do to accomplish this worthless task? For what? DOUG RODRIGUES Submitted at GeneralAviationNews.com
GWEDUCK Beautiful machine (Gweduck: An experimental dream machine, Nov. 23 issue). If you can get it going it will be a plus to aviation. We need new aircraft that pilots can enjoy and have fun with them. Also, it could very well be an executive aircraft in faraway places or in the Caribbean. This would be an asset to aviation. This could get us out of landing on wheels all the time. Things are getting stagnant, the same
feeling all the time. Good luck to you, may it work out for the best. LUIS HERNANDEZ Submitted at GeneralAviationNews.com
FIELD OF DREAMS: 9N1 I really enjoyed the article about Van Sant Airport (Field of Dreams: 9N1, Nov. 23 issue). I flew there in my Cessna 170B back in the early ‘70s. At that time, the Smella family ran the operation. I got my first taste of soaring there and got my glider rating in two days. It was a very nostalgic place and so glad it escaped extinction. Thanks for the nice article. GEORGE JOHNSON via e-mail
Want to make your opinion heard about the stories in these pages or an issue affecting general aviation? Send your comments to email@example.com or fax 858-712-1960. Include your full name, address and telephone number in case we need to clarify anything. All letters will be edited for length and style.
January 7, 2011
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For the good of the order ture more aviation-minded newcomers. Seriously, why would anyone pursue aviation as a hobby or a vocation if they found early in their airport experience that they might open themselves up to verbal abuse and finger-pointing just because they chose to train for the wrong certificate, in the wrong aircraft, potentially at the wrong flight school, located on the wrong airport? In a misguided attempt to establish the dominance of our own personal preferences, at least some of us are poking holes in the pool that gives us life. We need to learn to welcome all comers, regardless of which certificate they want to train for — they’ve chosen to get into aviation! Celebrate that! Don’t welcome them into the fold with an insulting snide remark. Instead, welcome them with open arms and let them know that they can find support and friendship on the field as well as in the air. Rather than denigrate their choices, show them how happy you are to have a new member of the community, then feel free to share your enthusiasm for your own choices. For all you know, they weren’t even aware that the option you chose was available to them. There are a lot of disparate factions in the aviation community. If we band together as a united front with a positive message and a supportive attitude, we win. But if we insist on splintering off the ultralighters from the rest of
Jamie Beckett Politics for Pilots Patrick Henry, a man who knew a thing or two about standing up when the chips were down, famously spoke the words, “United we stand, divided we fall.” He made that critical point in his last public speech, in 1799. Keep that in mind for a moment. I’ll come back to it shortly. That quote came to mind earlier this week when I received an e-mail from a General Aviation News reader who took me to task for using the term “steam gauges” in reference to round, analog gauges that are still mounted in the panels of many thousands of aircraft. He took the term as a slight, which was certainly not my intent. In fact, I am an official old guy. I like round faces with clearly visible indicators mounted in their center. Steam gauges forever, I say! At 52 years of age, I’ve still got a few years left in me, I hope. And as a techno-geek, I have a real appreciation for what glass cockpits bring to the pilot who is truly proficient with them. But that’s not the point. A chasm has opened up in GA that pits the digital information gatherers against the analog information gatherers. And that’s a problem, because it
isn’t a battle that’s happening in isolation. In my work as a CFI, I routinely come in contact with other CFIs who have an attitude about Sport Pilots that’s less than warm and fuzzy. More than a few times I’ve encountered a CFI who is openly, and proudly, belligerent about the certificate and those who hold it. This is bad. No, that’s too weak a sentiment. Let me take another whack at the issue in an attempt to make this point more clearly for anyone who might miss the subtext. The battle-hardened “us against them” mindset is really, REALLY bad, counterproductive, cannibalistic, and ultimately self-defeating. The GA community has enough hurdles to clear in order to survive, let alone thrive. We need to foster an attitude of mutual respect and support, not a culture of nit-picking, back-biting, and open derision. At least in this respect, we are our own worst enemy. And we have to stop it. There are too many natural divisions for us to start picking at subsets of our brethren for being in the wrong camp. If this continues, we run the very real risk of gutting our community and killing any chance of expanding the net to cap-
us, the taildragger pilots from the tricycle gear crowd, the VFR crew from their IFR cousins, the single-engine fliers from the multi-engine drivers, the landplane fans from the seaplane devotees — we’re going to find ourselves in a very lonely place, with increasing pressure to kill our industry and no support left on the inside to fight it. Which brings me back to Patrick Henry, the man who famously said, “Give me liberty, or give me death,” when those two options were absolutely literal choices. This founding American put together a series of words that we should all hold close to our hearts, keep them near to our minds, and commit the concept to our daily actions on and off the airport. Henry said, “United we stand, divided we fall. Let us not split into factions which must destroy that union upon which our existence hangs.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. But I can live it, and in the long run, I’m pretty sure that’s the point.
“We are our own worst enemy.”
Jamie Beckett is a CFI and A&P mechanic who stepped into the political arena in an effort to promote and protect GA at his local airport. He writes the Politics for Pilots blog at GeneralAviationNews.com. You can reach him at Jamie@GeneralAviationNews.com.
Flight Resource, LLC, an MT-Propeller distributer, has completed the successful flight testing of a newly developed 4-bladed composite propeller for an Allison-powered P-82 Twin Mustang. The propeller, governor and accumulator system was designed and built for use on the only two remaining Twin Mustangs that are being restored to flying condition, according to company officials. The 11-foot diameter, 4-blade propellers include full feathering capability and still maintain the period look of the original steel propellers, using MT’s patented natural composite structure, company officials said. The hub is CNC milled from a single billet of aluminum. The governors were designed from scratch and the spinner is Kevlar. The prop was mounted and flown on the P-51 Mustang “Polar Bear” for five successful flights in December, company officials
said, noting initial results indicated improved climb and cruise performance over the metal 3-blade prop that normally pulls the P-51. The propeller and governor will now undergo the testing required to complete FAA and EASA certification. “The development of this propeller for such a rare aircraft has been one of the most fun projects we have undertaken,” said Flight Resource’s Senior Partner John Nielson. “With this successful design, MT-Propeller has proven they are now able to supply new generation propellers for V-12 powered vintage aircraft.” MT-Propeller is no stranger to the design and manufacture of replica propellers, company officials said, noting several rare aircraft that perform in airshows and fly in races sport MT-Propellers. Flight-Resource.com, MT-Propeller.com
Photo courtesy Flight Resource
MT composite prop flight tested on Warbird
Cirrus gets FAA nod on new safety features Cirrus Aircraft has received FAA approval and has begun delivery of new aircraft equipped with its latest safety and pilot assistance features: Perspective Electronic Stability and Protection (Perspective ESP) and Hypoxia Recognition and Automatic Descent Mode. “Just as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System brought the equivalent benefit of automotive airbags to general aviation, Perspective ESP now provides the protection in personal
aircraft that traction and stability control offers in nearly all cars today,” said Jon Dauplaise, vice president of domestic sales. “Similarly, a Cirrus can now safely fly itself unassisted to lower altitudes in the rare case that the pilot is non-responsive for a period of time at altitudes where oxygen is required. Key components of the Perspective ESP system are: • Operates when the Garmin GFC 700 autopilot has been disengaged,
when hand flying the aircraft; • Activates automatically whenever the airplane exceeds one or more flight parameters; • Uses autopilot servos and sensors, yet operates even when the autopilot is turned off; • Recognizes and helps correct excessive pitch attitude, roll attitude, or airspeed; • Augments pilot vigilance Assists, but does not take control;
• Can be overridden by the pilot at any time; and • Operates unobtrusively and simulates aircraft’s natural flight stability. Both Perspective ESP and Hypoxia Recognition are available immediately on Cirrus aircraft equipped with the Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics suite and the all-digital Garmin GFC 700 autopilot. CirrusAircraft.com
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January 7, 2011
How long can fuel be safely stored? Ben Visser Visserâ€™s Voice Asking about the storage life of 100LL and auto gas is like asking a doctor, â€œHow old will I live to be?â€? For example, a personâ€™s life expectancy is affected by his or her genes. Likewise, a fuelâ€™s storage life is dependent on how it is made and whether or not it is bottomed like 100LL. Our life expectancy is dependent on what we eat. A fuelâ€™s storage life is dependent on what is put into it, such as detergents, additives, etc. A fuelâ€™s life can also be affected by the type of container (a lined drum or the tank of an airplane stored outside), the temperature and temperature variation under which it is stored, the humidity of the air, and on and on.
And then there is alcohol. Ethanol in airplane fuel is a bit like alcohol in a pilot. It may not stop the engine immediately, but it certainly increases the risk factor. But what limits the life of a fuel? One problem is evaporation of light ends in the fuel. This is a concern with small engines, especially 2-strokes, and may make it almost impossible to start. I have a 2-cycle dirt bike, and if it sits for a month or two, I have to put fresh gasoline in and drain the carb to get it to start.
But the major concern with aging fuels is gum formation. Over time, heavy ends and additives can start to form gums, which can plug up or, dare I say, â€œgum-upâ€? a carburetor or fuel system. This can lead to bad fuel distribution or even an engine stall. The point I am trying to make is that the storage life of fuels is just a guide. For 100LL, under normal conditions, it should be safe to use for at least a year. For Mogas, a normal life is about six months. But both of these can be shortened or lengthened by many factors. For the storage life of fuel with ethanol, there is no good answer. Under ideal conditions, it should last six months. But if there is any moisture, six months may be too long. For automotive use, you can try a fuel stabilizer to help extend storage life. I use an additive marketed by Briggs & Stratton for my old tractors and it works well. But remember, these additives are not approved for aviation use.
Ethanol in airplane fuel is a bit like alcohol in a pilot.
Which brings up another question I get, which is why can you legally add alcohol as a fuel system anti-freeze, but ethanol is such a concern? It is true that the engine manufacturers do allow the addition of a certain percentage of Isopropyl Alcohol or IPA (usually from 1% to 3%). They do not allow any ethanol or methanol, so never use an automotive antifreeze. Not all alcohols are created equal and they each have different characteristics. For example, ethanol and methanol can drop out when they become saturated with water. This leaves a non-combustible mixture in your carburetor. Always check the appropriate service instructions for your engine and use only the type and level recommended by your engine manufacturer. Ben Visser is an aviation fuels and lubricants expert who spent 33 years with Shell Oil. He has been a private pilot since 1985. You can contact him at Visser@GeneralAviationNews.com.
B-24 Bomber Crew Training Camp set For the third year in a row, the Collings Foundation is offering a program where you learn what it takes to train for and fly a mission aboard the B-24 Liberator â€œWitchcraft.â€? Ever wonder what it must have been like
to go through World War II bomber flight training? Have you ever dreamed of becoming part of a bomber crew and flying your own mission? The Collings Foundation will offer its two-day training program in which you train
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