Uncategorized Archive

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Sequester forces a move to the rails.  Yet another victim of the sequester is the military jet used by Vice President Joe Biden.  FOX News reports that the vice president made the decision to ground Air Force 2 and take Amtrak to his home in Delaware.

I hope he yelled “fore.”  The pilot of a twin engine Aero Commander was forced to make an emergency landing on the Omni Interlocken Golf Course in Broomfield, Colo., after reporting a loss of power, reports the Denver Post. No one was injured.

He’s a talk show host, he’s an aircraft investigator! Late night talk show host Carson Daly recently expressed concern about a photo that his friend Adam Levine, lead singer for Maroon Five, posted of the band boarding a private jet during a snow storm in Minneapolis, reports CBSLocal.com. Daly reportedly looked up the aircraft’s tail number, and discovered it had been described by a pilot as being “dangerously unsafe.”

Sure I’ll loan you my jet! The Chicago Bulls found themselves flying on the private jet of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after the team’s own aircraft experienced mechanical problems on a flight from Chicago to Indianapolis, reports Yahoo Sports. The Bulls management used Cuban’s jet for a  flight to San Antonio.

“Pilot Getaways” iPad app

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

PilotGetaways_iPad

Pilot Getaways, a travel and destination publications that features great fly-in destinations, has a new iPad that shows the current issue of the bimonthly magazine and offers back issues for sale. Pilot Getaways has been featuring recreational destinations accessible to general aviation for 15 years. “Readers have been demanding an easy way to reference our extensive travel information without carrying 73 back issues weighing more than 30 lbs. By the end of the year, we expect to have our complete library of more than 500 destinations available,” said editor-in-chief John Kounis. An annual subscription costs $19.99 and back issues are available for $4.99. For more information, visit www.pilotgetaways.com, or call 877-PILOT-GW.

Vote for Great Lakes paint scheme

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Waco Classic wants you to select the paint scheme for the first Great Lakes biplane the Michigan company is producing.
The first aircraft is nearing completion, and there are five contenders for the paint scheme.
I know which one I like. What’s your favorite?
You can see them (and vote for one) using the following link: http://www.wacoaircraft.com/great-lakes/voting/

Now hear this….

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

The following could ONLY come from a federal agency:

If you have recently had or if you will have an FAA Practical Test using a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) or a Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME), you may be contacted by the FAA for a survey. The questions will be limited in scope to the conduct of the ground and flight (if applicable) portions of your Practical Test.
This is part of an emphasis program by the FAA Designee Quality Assurance Branch, AFS-650. This program interviews recent applicants tested by a DPE/DME and also observes the DPE/DME conducting an actual Practical Test. The purpose is to observe the DPE/DME, not the Practical Test Applicant. The goal is to eventually check all DPEs/DMEs. These checks are prioritized based on, among other things, the type and amount of testing activity conducted by the DPE/DME.
What is a SEED? Special Emphasis Evaluation Designee Inspection.
For more information contact your local FSDO.

Translation: If you have recently taken a check ride or earned an A&P certificate, you may get a survey from the FAA.

Iran’s comical “stealth” fighter

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Iran’s recent unveiling of what it claims is a new stealth fighter was supposed to instill fear in adversaries — but so far it’s mostly produced laughter and derision. Military aviation experts point out some of the craft’s many flaws: uneven coatings in the supposedly radar absorbent coating; terrible canopy optics, no head-up display (HUD), no weapons systems, and no actual jet engine. General aviation pilots also will note the avionics are mostly Dynon and Garmin units designed for the civilian market. (There are two small Dynon screens, one large one, a Garmin transponder and SL30 radio, an AvMap GPS, and what looks like a Bendix/King AV8OR touch-screen GPS. Of course, U.S. military pilots use commercial, off-the-shelf avionics from many of the same manufacturers. But Iran’s choice of the touch-screen GPS seems inspired. When Iranian pilots are shot down, they can still use the portable unit to walk home.

The end of aircraft icing?

Friday, February 8th, 2013

I know next to nothing about nanotechnology — but this video about a new type of hydrophobic coating that repels water has me excited about potential aerospace applications. Could we simply coat our aircraft with this type of chemical and make them shed water, ice, and maybe even bugs?

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, February 8th, 2013

I’m not sure videotaping should have been the priority here.  The amazing thing about the emergency landing of a Cessna 175 in a field in Cache County, Utah, was not that all five aboard were not injured. The amazing thing was that passenger Jonathan Fielding videotaped the whole thing on his cell phone, reports KUTV-TV.

Build an airplane — and an air strip.  Friends Patrick Tippman and Patrick Borton are about half way to building a Zenith STOL CH 750 kit plane, reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  But their work isn’t done when the aircraft is complete. They will then build a 1,700-foot grass runway at Tippman’s back yard to fly the airplane.

What did that crop duster ever do to you? Stephen Paul Riley, owner of the Flying Lead Ranch in Texas, has pleaded guilty to shooting at a cropduster that flew over his property back in 2008, reports Flying magazine.  He apparently was unhappy that Keeter Aerial Spraying was passing over his property and had warned he would shoot any aircraft flying over his ranch.

Not a good target.  A Coast Guard HC-130H Hercules practicing approaches into Hawaii’s Kahului Airport was forced to return to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point after someone pointed a green laser into the cockpit, reports the Maui News. No one was injured in the incident, which is being investigated.

Some people just know how to fly. Old Dominion University football coach Bobby Wilder was able to do recruiting trips from Tampa, Fla., to Rochester, N.Y., because Stephen Ballard, owner of a Virginia Beach construction company, loaned his private aircraft for the effort, reports HamptonRoads.com.  The coach credits having use of a private airplane for his successful recruiting class.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, December 7th, 2012

But it looked so real!  WGN-TV news anchors Larry Potash and Robin Baumgarten were just doing their job when they went live and began reporting on what appeared to be an aircraft accident in Chicago, reports the Herald Sun.  The problem was, the accident was fake, having been staged for the NBC television series “Chicago Fire.”

Rocky Mountain Low.  Pilot Carl Steven Gruber’s excuse that he flew 55 pounds of pot into Boulder Municipal Airport to provide medical marijuana didn’t fly with Judge Thomas Mulvahill.  Gruber was sentenced to two years probation and a $10,000 fine, reports the Daily Camera.

Those were expensive airplane rides!  Among the gifts Inland Waters CEO Tony Soave gave former disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was private jet flights totaling nearly $400,000, reports WXYZ-TV.  Soave, who also gave Fitzpatrick and his family an all-expenses-paid trip to Naples, Fla., says he did it because he didn’t want to lose the city’s business.

From private to commercial.  Juan Manuel Marquez, who will fight Manny Pacquiao on Saturday in Las Vegas, arrive six hour later than expected.  Why?  The private jet he was using had to make a U-Turn after the pilot discovered a problem with the tire right before taking off, reports Yahoo Sports. The pilot determined the aircraft would not be able to fly, so Marquez ended up catching a commercial airline flight.

We’ll end the week with this blog post from Huffington Post: The Emily Post Guide to Flying Private. Enjoy!

Want to help the DC-10 tankers survive?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

The two former DC-10 airliners modified for use as aerial firefighters by 10 Tanker Air Carrier (see “The New Rainmaker,” May 2012 AOPA Pilot) have seen a good bit of use during this year’s busy wildfire season–several of you have mentioned personally seeing the distinctive orange-and-white jumbo jets at low levels, battling blazes in the western states. (If you haven’t seen the “10″ in action, you can catch the video on AOPA Live.)

However, the company has been unable to secure an exclusive-use contract from the U.S. Forest Service, which it says is required for continued operation of the aircraft. There were reports during the summer that absent such a contract, the company might ground the aircraft before the end of the year. Now, the company is calling on supporters–through its Facebook page and an email campaign–to sign a petition to the Forest Service supporting use of the aircraft.

 The Forest Service is assessing which aircraft it will use to fight forest fires in the future, the company said. “This is our chance to persuade the USFS of the DC-10s’ unique ability to contain forest fires. But we need your help to show USFS Chief Tom Tidwell that we have widespread support.” The efficiency of the flying supertankers certainly is impressive–one can cover about the same amount of ground as four C-130s.

You can learn more, and sign the petition, by visiting this website. I was impressed by what I saw, both during my visit to 10 Tanker and on news videos. They’ve got my support.

Remembering our veterans, and Herbert Carter

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

 As we pause to remember and give thanks to our veterans, this year I am reflecting particularly on those who served in World War II, a population that sadly grows smaller every day. Few members of that modest “Greatest Generation” have a more compelling tale than the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black military pilots, who had to fight for the right and privilege to serve their country in combat from the pilot’s seat of a warbird.

That small group lost one of its leaders last Thursday with the death of Col. Herbert E. Carter (Ret.). Carter, 95, was one of the original members of the 99th Fighter Squadron and flew combat missions during the North African, Sicilian, Italian, and European campaigns of World War II.

The Tuskegee Airmen trained at the Tuskegee Institute–now Tuskegee University–in Tuskegee, Alabama. After the war Carter returned to the campus, where he served as a professor of air science and commanded the Air Force ROTC detachment from 1950 to 1955; he was a professor of aerospace studies from 1965 to 1969. When he retired from the Air Force, he served at Tuskegee as assistant dean for student services and associate dean for admissions and recruiting.

Carter was married for more than 60 years to Mildred L. Hemmons Carter, also a pilot who was counted among the Tuskegee Airmen. I once had the pleasure of hearing him describe their courtship during early 1942. They would arrange to meet over a lake near Tuskegee, she in a Piper J-3 Cub and he flying a much faster North American AT-6 Texan. They married before Carter deployed for combat; CNN ran a touching story on the couple after Mildred died in October 2011.

I believe the last time I saw Carter was during the summer of 2011, when Matt Quy visited Tuskegee’s Moton Field in his Stearman–one that was originally assigned to training of the Tuskegee Airmen–on its way to the Smithsonian Institution (you can see the video from that story here).

Godspeed, Mr. Carter–and thank you to all our veterans.