April 23, 2014 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor
The name Land Rover is synonymous in the automotive world with luxury utility. It’s the ultimate SUV for the aristocracy, whether officially recognized as such or just self appointed. It’s never been considered the most innovate, or even the most reliable brand. A recent announcement may change that. The company is developing a forward-looking camera system that creates the illusion of a see-through hood. The off-road applications are obvious when you think of the large rocks, gullies, and other obstructions these vehicles are meant to handle. But where a technology like this has real promise is aviation.
Describing the technology doesn’t do it justice. Watch the video below and the use in aviation becomes immediately obvious.
It’s a bit of a misnomer, but what’s most impressive about the see-through hood is that you can still see the hood. Having a full view of everything in front of you would be useful, but it’s invaluable to know where the machine is in space. Imagine what this would mean in an aircraft. Judging the flare would be a non-event. Those nose-high full-stall landings would be easy and routine. Forget all that talk about how far down the runway to look. All the pilot would have to do is look out the front, through the cowling and to the runway stripes below. Or maybe off to the side a bit, through the door and tire until it touches the pavement. Even a helicopter, with its characteristically great view angles, would benefit from a system like this. The ability to look below and slightly ahead would be great in an off-airport landing, or even a normal touch down on pavement.
There’s only one problem with all this–it’s unlikely to ever happen. Given aviation’s glacial pace of innovation and strict regulatory environment, the hurdles are large. Which is unfortunate because Land Rover has proven that technologically it’s all within our reach.
After receiving nearly 15,000 submissions for its national “Name the Blimp” contest, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has selected 10 finalist names for its newest airship (pictured above). Now, fans can vote for their favorite name online, through May 9.
The names up for voting are: Adventurer, Ambassador, Commitment, Excursion, Explorer, Goodwill, Inspiration, Pride of Goodyear, Resolute, and Wingfoot One.
The new airship, which took its first flight last month, is larger, faster, and more maneuverable than its predecessor. Technically a zeppelin, this is the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake, Ohio, hangar. During its long operational history, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles, including two large rigid airships–the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron.
What do you get for voting on the new airship’s name? Nothing but the satisfaction of knowing you participated–although the person who submitted the winning name will receive access to the blimp for a day. (Yeah, now I wish I had submitted a name, too.) Goodyear will christen the new blimp this summer.
No drones!! The FAA has taken exception with the Washington Nationals baseball team using a drone to take photos of its players during spring training, reports CBS Baltimore. The agency said the team should have informed them before taking the photos.
Speaking of drones… AvWeb reports that an eight-year-old Irish lad had a tooth removed via a drone being operated by his father. A string was placed around the tooth, and the drone flew about 20 feet, yanking it out.
They survived. Two men flying a Czech-built Allegro 2000 light sport aircraft survived after crashing near the edge of the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., reports PilotOnline.com. The aircraft ended up near a private back yard, and the men walked away from the scene.
Helicopter rescue. A wind surfer on New York’s Long Island Sound had to be rescued by the Westchester County Police Aviation Unit after going out too far, reports New Rochelle Patch.
Hat tip to General Aviation News for sharing the FlightChops video below of “The Scariest Take Off I’ve Ever Seen.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.