Al Marsh

Boeing 737 side-by-side with A380

March 28, 2014 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Here’s an interesting perspective on an Airbus A380 and a Boeing 737 making parallel approaches into Los Angeles. Boeing, how small thou art!

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

March 21, 2014 by Benét Wilson

Drinking and flying don’t mix.  A man is facing DUI and obstructing a police officer after allegedly stealing an aircraft from Boulder City Municipal Airport in Nevada, reports Examiner.com.  The man, seen “recklessly” taking off and landing five times, said he was trying to complete part of his pilot’s license.

They should have just acted normal. Police in Cody, Wyo., confiscated nearly $260,000 in cash from two men who flew into Yellowstone Regional Airport without a pilot’s license and behaved suspiciously, reports the Powell Tribune. One man was charged with flying an unregistered aircraft, while the other was not charged.

Bootleggers in the sky. The owner and pilot of Alaska’s Ken Air charter business is in hot water after being accused of  pointedly ignoring illegal booze being carried on trips in his Cessna 206, reports the Daily News Miner. The owner has been under surveillance by the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit since 2010.

Now selling on Amazon! General Aviation News reports that SCOUT Paramotors  has become the first  powered aircraft to be sold on Amazon.com. The Slovakia-based company builds backpack aircraft from  aluminum and carbon fiber.

Emergency landings. A pilot made an  emergency landing outside McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport after losing oil pressure, reports the Jackson Sun. A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing near Otago, New Zealand, reports the Otago Daily Times. A pilot and his passenger walked away from an accident in a Cessna 182 after making an emergency landing 100 feet away from a strip at Maryland’s Chesapeake Ranch Estates Airport, reports Southern American News Net.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

March 14, 2014 by Benét Wilson

EBay auction for Soviet “Bear” bomber pulled.  Someone trying to auction a Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-95 “Bear” on Ebay pulled the long-range strategic bomber from the site, reports ARS Technica. The non-flying aircraft is located somewhere in Ukraine.

Do the crime, do the time. Sergio Patrick Rodriguez, 26, of Clovis, Calif., has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after being convicted of pointing a laser into the cockpit of a police helicopter, reports the Sacramento Bee. He claims that he was just playing with his family and meant no harm.

Lightning does strike twice! There were not one, but two accidents within two days on the Alton Bay ice runway on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, reports the Concord Monitor. No one was injured in either accident.

Now taking off: AC/DC’s drummer. Phil Rudd, drummer for the iconic rock band AC/DC can move forward with reapplying for his helicopter license after a court in New Zealand ruled he didn’t lie on his application about a marijuana conviction, reports the Guardian. But he did cop to  failing to maintain a logbook and was fined $700.

 Emergency landings. A pilot escaped injury after making an emergency landing in a field in Wood’s Cross, Utah, reports the Deseret News. A pilot flying a Piper Saratoga  made an emergency landing at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach International Airport after the aircraft’s landing gear wouldn’t come down, reports WMBF-TV. A pilot and passenger were not injured after making an emergency landing of a Cessna 152 at Australia’s Moorabbin Airport, reports the Herald-Sun.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

March 7, 2014 by Benét Wilson

Let’s go to the GoPro! Mia Munselle of Cloverdale, Calif., was minding her own business as she was wandering around her pig pen when she found a pig chewing on a GoPro camera, reports the Telegraph. The camera had footage of two skydivers about to jump as the camera falls to the earth, where it sat for eight months.

A daring helicopter rescue! A critically ill French Antarctic expeditioner aboard the expedition ship L’Astrolabe was rescued by the Tasmania Police and the Westpac Rescue helicopter, reports Mercury News. The boat was located just outside the range of the helicopter, but the pilots were able to make the rescue.

Asleep at the yoke.  An Australian businessman and politician caused flights in Sydney to be diverted after he put his Cessna 210 on autopilot and fell asleep, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Air traffic controllers made the diversion after being unable to wake the pilot.

It was an interesting flight lesson. A student pilot practicing landings at Massachusetts’ Mansfield Municipal Airport made a landing that was too low, hitting a snow bank at the end of the runway, reports WLNE-TV.  The student was not injured, but the aircraft damage totaled $45,000.

Emergency landings. A pilot made an emergency landing at Washington’s Newman Airport after experiencing engine failure, reports Australia’s ABC News.  A small jet with seven passengers aboard skidded of a runway at Chicago’s  DuPage Airport, but no one was injured, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

February 21, 2014 by Benét Wilson

I hope they got their Valentine’s Day flowers anyway!  Wesley Berry, CEO of FlowerDeliveryExpress.com had to end an expierment to deliver flowers via a drone after the FAA pulled the plug, reports CBS Detroit.  Berry was informed — nicely — that he needed FAA preauthorization for his delivery service.

Fire!! Firefighters in Abbeville, S.C., were called to the scene of a Beechcraft Baron that caught fire, reports the Index-Journal. The owner of the aircraft had tried to start the Baron after it had sat idle for several years when smoke came out and it caught fire.

It’s raining parts! The FAA is investigating what appears to be a piece of an aircraft that fell on a home on the  flight path of Dulles International Airport, reports Flying.  outside Washington, D.C., last week. No one was injured.

Emergency landings. There were slight injuries to a pilot and their passenger after they made an emergency landing snapping a power pole and landing in a field in Fort Hall, Idaho, reports the Idaho State Journal. A pilot and his passenger walked away after making an emergency landing of a twin-engined Piper aircraft  in a paddock south of Adelaide after the plane lost power, reports Australia’s ABC News. And a twin-engined aircraft made an emergency landing at Wisconsin’s  J. Douglas Bake Memorial Airport after experiencing icing on the wings, reports the Post-Crescent.

We’ll end the week with this footage from Flying magazine showing a dramatic Coast Guard helicopter rescue.

 

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Al Marsh

Has Lycoming got a diesel?

February 18, 2014 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Lycoming isn’t saying much, but General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has said several times that it is testing a 205-horsepower Lycoming DEL-120 diesel engine on one of its military drones, the Improved Gray Eagle. Lycoming has said in the past that while it has shown interest in development of diesel engines, the time isn’t right. That hasn’t changed. AvWeb’s Paul Bertorelli says Lycoming may just be republishing the DieselJet FIAT 170-horsepower engine intended for cars as a 205-horsepower drone engine. The need for a new engine, he says, was driven by the sale of Thielert, the previous engine provider for the Gray Eagle, to China. The U.S. Army doesn’t want to depend on China for its military engines. While Lycoming’s (Fiat’s?) drone engine gives Lycoming additional experience, it may continue to wait until diesel engines for manned aircraft look like a good business decision. This all came up a few days ago after Andre duCros published an item  in his DieselAir newsletter.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

February 14, 2014 by Benét Wilson

I have the controls. A teenager in Australia with little flight time found himself flying a Piper Cherokee 180 after the pilot passed out, reports AvWeb. The pilot came to and helped the teen land the aircraft at Forbes Field in New South Wales.

Do the crime, do the time. Two men and a woman have pleaded guilty to smuggling immigrants into the United States by private jet, reports NBC San Diego. The immmigrants paid up to $10,000 for the flight. The three face five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A long walk. A 39-year-old pilot and his 77-year-old father walked 15 miles looking for help after the landing gear, propeller and wing were damaged during an emergency landing 30 miles north of Willcox, Ariz., reports KCTV5 News. A rancher saw the damaged aircraft, called the authorites and rescuers found the son and his father the next day.

Stopped by a fence.  A small aircraft ended up crashing into a fence at Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, Calif., reports the San Jose Mercury News. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured.

Emergency landings. A pilot made an emergency landing at the Mesquite Municipal Airport in Texas after his 2000 Rans S-6 ES lost one of its three wheels, reports the Mesquite Citizen. A Piper Aztec made an emergency landing in a bay in St. Maarten after both engines dies, reports the Curacao Chronicle. A pilot and his son flying a Piper Super Cub hit a boulder after landing in a field between the Galiuro and Winchester mountain ranges, reports the Wilcox Orange News.

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Jill Tallman

Night comes quickly in the Bahamas

February 10, 2014 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

Sunset in the Bahamas

Going…going…gone. The sun drops below the horizon in what seems like seconds. Night-time VFR flying is prohibited in the Bahamas.

As our group of aircraft approaches the Out Islands on Feb. 1, the pilots go in different directions. You must land at an airport of entry and clear Customs, and if you plan to travel to other islands, you must obtain a cruising permit first. Some of our group head to Grand Bahama or Andros, but most of us plan to land at New Bight Airport on Cat Island, where we’ll be staying.

The rescue mission to pick up two stranded VFR pilots pushed our departure from St. Lucie County Airport in Fort Pierce, Fla., to the afternoon. As we head toward Cat Island, the sun is beginning to sink lower on the horizon. In the United States, this wouldn’t be a problem. In the Bahamas, it’s a cause for concern. Night-time VFR is prohibited, and with good reason. There are very few lights to be seen on the islands, and when the daylight ends, it ends rather abruptly. The dark sky blends seamlessly into the ocean, providing no artificial horizon. And there are very few airports with instrument approaches.

When we land at New Bight just before sunset, we realize that one of the airplanes hasn’t made it to Cat Island. After a few anxious moments, we learn that the pilot decided to land at Rock Sound Airport on Eleuthera so as not to push daylight. It was a smart decision. He and his passengers cleared Customs and were able to locate a one-night apartment rental. They enjoyed a meal of fresh grouper and a good night’s sleep, and joined us the next day. And this chapter caused a CFI in the group to coin a new phrase: “Bingo daylight” as opposed to “Bingo fuel.”

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

February 7, 2014 by Benét Wilson

I don’t need no stinkin’ propeller! A 79-year-old pilot managed to glide and land his Grumman AA-5 Tiger at an old horse racing track after losing his propeller, reports the Republic. The newspaper reported the propeller cracked and split in two.

Get your beer the old-fashioned way. Minnesota beer brewery Lakemaid was trying out using drones to deliver the adult beverage to ice fishers on Mille Lacs Lake, but the FAA has nixed the plan, reports CNN. The agency said that it’s against the law to fly drones for commercial purposes or above 400 feet in the United States.

Eject!! A Royal Canadian Air Force instructor pilot and a student were forced to eject from their CT-156 Harvard II trainer after a landing gear malfunction, reports AvWeb. The problem was discovered when another trainer did a visual inspection of the aircraft.

 

Emergency landings. A pilot made an emergency landing of his Cirrus SR-22 in a Worth County, Ga., cornfield, reports WorthIt2U.net. A private plane carrying seven passengers made an emergency landing at Bluegrass Airport after experiencing engine failure. reports Lex18.com. A flight instructor and his student made an emergency landing at Australia’s Orange Airport, reports Central Western Daily.

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Jill Tallman

The best-laid plans

February 6, 2014 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

 

Flying into New Bight Airport on Cat Island.

Short final, New Bight Airport, Cat Island, the Bahamas.

 

When you travel GA—and VFR pilots know this better than anybody—flexibility is the name of the game.

The launch of 12 aircraft from Northern Virginia to the Bahamas by way of Florida (see Reporting Points, “Bahamas Bound”) commenced the week of Jan. 26, with most airplanes set to depart Jan. 31 and a few making their cautious way down south earlier in the week to navigate around unseasonable snow- and ice storms in North and South Carolina and Georgia. (One airplane launched from Stearman Field in Kansas.)

On Friday, when conditions were severe clear (if exceptionally cold) in Virginia, all aircraft but one were under way. The pilot of a Cessna 182RG had postponed his departure because his wife was suffering from a fever.

Stopping for fuel and a BBQ lunch at Low Country Airport in South Carolina, we check the weather that lies between us and St. Lucie Airport in Fort Pierce. Some sizable chunks of green with some red and yellow mixed in are in our path, but moving off to the east. This weather doesn’t pose much of a problem for the nine instrument-rated pilots. It’s another story for the three who are flying VFR—and one of them is piloting a Light Sport aircraft.

Sure enough, when we land at Fort Pierce, we discover that all three VFR pilots are stranded at various points along the East Coast—and a fourth, instrument-rated pilot experienced radio failure at her fuel stop in Savannah, Georgia. What’s more, the weather-stranded pilots are in different locations: One got as far as Fernandina Beach in Florida; one is on the ground in Savannah; the third—the LSA pilot—is in St. Simons, Georgia. The clouds and precipitation keeping them on the ground threatened to remain well into Feb. 1, when all aircraft were set to depart Fort Pierce for New Bight Airport (MYCB) on Cat Island.

What to do? Could anything be done?

If this were 12 separate airplanes just coincidentally headed to the Bahamas, probably nothing. But, that’s not how things work when you’re traveling with Aviation Adventures in Manassas. Owner Bob Hepp, who is coordinating this trip and toting me along in the flight school’s 1964 Piper Twin Comanche, puts together a rescue mission: The group’s sole Bonanza will carry two of the group’s instrument-rated pilots to Fernandina Beach and Savannah, and they’ll fly as PIC back to Fort Pierce. (Sadly, no such option is available for the aircraft with radio problems, nor the Light Sport aircraft.)

And that’s what happened. More on our trip in a future post.

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