Editors Archive

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, December 6th, 2013

He was just hanging out! A rare black rhino was tied by its ankles and transported by helicopter to its new home under the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, reports the Mirror. Helicopter is deemed the best way to get the beasts from KwaZulu-Natal region of eastern South Africa.

That airport car looks vaguely familiar. Pilots flying into Minnesota’s Milaca Municipal Airport now have access to a new crew car — a retired Dodge Charger police squad car, reports the Mille Lacs County Times.  The car can be used on a first come, first-served basis.

He just walked away. The pilot of a 1988 Laser managed to walk away after the aircraft cartwheeled to a stop near the Swanborough Farm Airstrip in Lewes, U.K., reports the Sussex Express. Investigators found that “the threads of the bolts holding a wheel assembly on had stripped and that the wheel probably came away when the aircraft took off,” the newspaper added.

All’s well that ends well.  A pilot and his passenger were not injured after the Beechcraft T-34C military trainer they were flying slid off the runway at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, reports the Broomfield Enterprise. No injuries were reported after a a small, twin engine Beechcraft went off the runway at Tennessee’s Tri-Cities Regional Airport, reports the Times News.

 

Christmas concerts with an aviation twist

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

You may have had friends e-mail you links to online videos showing so-called “flash mobs”–and maybe you’re already sick of them.

But if you’re not, watch this one, which shows the U.S. Air Force Band at the National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday. A friend who served in the Air Force shared it, and with great music in an interesting venue, it’s definitely worth watching.

If you live in or will be visiting the Washington, D.C., area, the band will perform a number of holiday concerts in the area through December 15. The full schedule appears on the band’s website.

10 aviation organizations you can support on #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Giving Benet

It started with Gray Thursday, for stores that (foolishly) opened at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Then we had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday. So today, we’re at the second annual #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday was created to be a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season and as a way to celebrate and encourage charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

There are some great organizations out there doing a wonderful job of promoting general aviation and protecting our freedom to fly. So below are my 10 picks of groups I’m sure would love to have your #GivingTuesday donations.

  1. Because charity begins at home, I’m supporting the AOPA Foundation with a $50 donation. The courses it funds via the Air Safety Institute have be invaluable as I continue my flying lessons.
  2. Any organization that encourages more females to fly is worth supporting, which is why Women in Aviation International makes my list. I’ve been a member since 1996.
  3. Speaking of women, pilot and CFI Lynda Meeks is helping to encourage and grow the next generation of female pilots through her Girls With Wings organization.
  4. As the daughter and granddaughter of Air Force officers, I am a big supporter of all things military.  And the work being done by Veteran’s Airlift Command, which helps transport those injured serving their country, is worthy of our charity dollars.
  5. As a minority woman, I would love to see more people of color discover the joys of general aviation. To that end, Orlando-based Vision of Flight provides GA opportunities for economically disadvantaged youths.
  6. Another group that helps people of color learn to fly is the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation. It offers aid to to assist financially disadvantaged and deserving students in the pursuit of their educational goals, preferably leading to careers in the fields of aviation, aerospace and science technology.
  7. The Air Care Alliance serves as a clearinghouse for groups offering humanitarian flying using volunteer pilots. Make a donation here, and they will make sure it gets to the right place.
  8. I guess that I’ve spent a good chunk of my life at both branches of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This museum serves as the repository for the history of aviation and space, and is worthy of our continued support.
  9. The EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 1.6 million children — for free — since 1992. Many children were hooked after that first flight, and anything that encourages the next generation of pilots needs to be funded.
  10. Last — bur certainly not least — for my pick of organizations to be supported on #GivingTuesday is the Recreational Aviation Foundation. I had the chance to spend time with them during the AOPA Summit, and I really admire their efforts to keep recreational air strips across the country open for pilots and their friends and family to enjoy. Plus they got my award for one of the best fundraisers ever, which I wrote about for AOPA Online here.

So I hope you will consider donation to one or more of these worthy organizations on this second annual #GivingTuesday!

Flying motorcycle for Christmas?

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

PAL-VHere’s something no one on your list will have, especially since the PAL-V company isn’t delivering it yet. (I have an inquiry out to the company, and will update here as needed.) It’s the PAL-V Helicycle that is a roadable gyrocopter. When I wrote about it in 2012 it went only 68 miles per hour, but now it appears in the current Hammacher Schlemmer catalog as capable of 112 mph. Also, it was $250,000 when I reported on it a year ago, but the new price is $295,000 (that includes $6,770 in training and the rest must be a price increase). The company says it really doesn’t know anything about the gyrocopter and interested customers should contact the Netherlands company. (Hmm, I reported it as a French company in 2012.) Polite Hammacher Schlemmer reps won’t tell you on the phone the name of the company or where it is, but their Web advertisement includes a video that clearly announces the company name. The catalog ad says it weighs 1,499 pounds when it is a motorcycle. It claims you’ll need a sport pilot certificate to fly it, which no doubt will be yanked when the FAA discovers it weighs more than the 1,320 pounds allowed by the light sport aircraft category. When you Google the helicycle name, up comes a single-seat helicopter kit made by Eagle R&D in Nampa, Idaho. A representative there said they have no ties to the Netherlands (French?) company. Here are additional media photos.

From 35 to 36, a dark afternoon aboard Air Force One

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Like many, I spent some time last Friday watching coverage of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. However, I didn’t come across the article that I found most interesting about that day until this morning.

The October issue of Esquire magazine includes a fascinating story, “The Flight from Dallas,” which chronicles the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, aboard the modified Boeing 707 that then served as Air Force One–the apprehension, the fear, the loathing as the country abruptly transitioned from its 35th to 36th president. The text is a bit long, but goes quickly; don’t miss the part where the jet’s pilot, Col. James Swindal climbs higher than he’d ever flown before with Kennedy aboard to top tornado-spawning November weather over Arkansas and Mississippi. Read it here.

Built in 1962 as the first jet intended specifically for use by the president, the Air Force VC-137C aircraft known as SAM 26000 (Special Air Mission, tail number 26000) left presidential service in 1990 and was retired in 1998. It’s now preserved at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton.

 

 

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

40 years later, the wreckage remains. The Jalopnik blog reports about the 40th anniversary of a U.S. Navy Douglas C-47 that ran out of fuel and crash on a beach in Sólheimasandur in Southern Iceland. The aircraft is still sitting on the beach after the military abandoned plans to remove the wreckage, located two hours away from Reykjavik. It has become a popular tourist stop.

It was the crash that wasn’t.  Local firefighters participated in a mock airplane crash exercise near New York’s Jones Beach, reports Five Towns Patch. The drill served as good practice in case of a real emergency at nearby JFK Airport, according to Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Deputy Chief Anthony Rivelli.

Do the crime, do the time.  A pilot and his passenger are facing two years in prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, reports FOX34 News. The drug was discovered after the pilot made a belly landing after a refueling stop at Texas’ Yoakum County Airport.

Happy landings. A pilot and his passenger escaped injury after their Piper aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing right after taking off from Blosser Municipal Airport in Kansas, reports the Salina Journal. A pilot made an emergency landing at Georgia’s Thomaston-Upson Airport as his ultralight’s nose gear collapsed upon impact, reports the Thomaston Times. Two survivors of a crash near Staniel Cay, Bahamas, were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

 

 

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, November 15th, 2013

It’s a miracle. NBC News has exclusive video footage of what happened when two skydiving aircraft hit each other mid-air. It’s amazing that there were no fatalities among the nine skydivers and two pilots. One aircraft was destroyed, while the other only had damage to the propeller and wing.

It’s another miracle. Two men from Tasmania say they are lucky to be alive after they crashed their ultralight into the sea near Waterhouse Island, reports Yahoo News. The men clung to air matresses they packed and were eventually rescued by a police boat.

Here – take my private jets. The MLS soccer team the New England Revolution, in the middle of a playoff run, got an assist from team investor Robert and Jonathan Kraft. According to MLSSoccer.com, they loaned their personal jets to the team so it could cut travel times to a playoff game in Columbus, Ohio. Robert Kraft is also the owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

No please — take mine! Texas state Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) loaned his corporate aircraft to  fellow Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) so the latter could campaign around the state, reports the Texas Tribune. Patrick is one of three candidates vying for the seat of lieutenant governor.

Come on — we all have to eat! The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team was on the way to Boston for the World Series when their charter jet was delayed for nearly seven hours. The passengers, stuck on the aircraft, were hungry and sent the message out via Twitter. Domino’s Pizza ended up dlivering 16 pizzas to the jet, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Let’s go to the video. A 16-year-old girl shot a video of a small aircraft as it did a hard landing at Oklahoma’s Wiley Post Airport, reports NewsOn6.com. The aircraft’s landing gear collapsed after touching the runway.

The last flight. A modified Douglas DC-9 that once flew as Air Force One and Air Force Two made its final flight, from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to California’s Castle Air Museum, reports the Arizona Aviation Journal. The U.S. Air Force, which had been maintaining the aircraft, tried to sell it for $50,000 before donating it to the museum.

Emergency landings. A pilot walked away after making an emergency landing along a highway in Raymondville, Texas, reports FOX Rio 2-TV. A couple sustained minor injuries after losing power in their aircraft engine and landing in a park near Amarillo, Texas, reports WREG-TV. A pilot in his 80s managed to land his aircraft in a muddy field outside Robstown, Texas, reports KRIS-TV.

Around the world for eight by private jet

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

hong kong

Hong Kong

Every holiday season it seems one company, usually Macy’s, captures media attention for the most luxurious gift. This time, it may be Flexjet. If you really loved your family and friends this holiday season, you would buy them the new Abercrombie and Kent offering–a $1.5 million trip around the world for eight aboard a Flexjet Challenger 605. Hotel rooms, granted they are luxury accomodations, are double occupancy at that price. So what did you expect for only $1.5 million? The leather seats transform into beds if the pace wears you down.

Yes, excess, I know. I’m just the reporter here. For the record, I am a lot more likely to go around the traffic pattern at Frederick, Maryland, in a rented Diamond DA40 than I am to go on this trip.

The price includes private showings and events at every stop that the rest of us will never see. The two-week grand tour includes a visit to Japan to see the Toji Temple and the emperor’s private retreat, both of which are closed to the public. There are two nights in Beijing, two nights in Hong Kong, and two nights in Agra, India, near the Taj Mahal. There are also two nights each in Turkey and France.

Challenger 605 aircraft

Challenger 605

Trips start after the current travel season ends in February. The Challenger will repeat the trip as many times as there are millionaires who are willing to pay the price. Or, at least they were millionaires before the trip began.

The twin-engine Cub

Monday, November 4th, 2013

DoubleEnder is good at short landings and takeoffs --Photo by bushplanedesign.com

DoubleEnder is good at short landings and takeoffs. Photo by bushplanedesign.com

Maybe one day you can get your multi-engine rating in a Cub–sort of a Cub, anyway. It’s based on the Cub heritage but is a clean sheet design and is meant for the rough bush country. The DoubleEnder has a tractor prop and a pusher prop and unprecedented forward and side visibility, unless you spend your flying hours in a bubble-nosed helicopter, of course. It may end up as a kit one day, but development has been in progress many years. It has two Rotax engines modified to produce 130 horsepower. You’ll see a full report on bydanjohnson.com here.

Want to go “cliff diving” in Alaska aboard the DoubleEnder? Watch this video. Here’s a much more relaxed look at the DoubleEnder Prototype practicing SHORT landings. The next DoubleEnder will have side by side seating.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Locking the door is on the checklist.  The door of a Beechcraft King Air taking off from California’s Monterey Regional Airport fell on the El Castell Motel, reports the Californian. No was was injured, but the motel did sustain damage to its roof.

Why didn’t he just go to Home Depot? Timothy Lynch, 50, could get up to  10 years in prison after pleading guilty to theft of public property after stealing 7,200 feet of copper wire from the light tower at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, reports the Seattle Times. Lynch was caught after a Port of Seattle employee found a break in the airport’s fence.

Good landings. A pilot and his passenger made an emergency landing into Maine’s Moosehead Lake but were uninjured, reports WLBZ-TV.  A pilot was uninjured but his aircraft was damaged after making an emergency landing at Colorado’s Telluride Airport, reports KDVR-TV.