Oshkosh Archive

Let’s help the Dominican Republic

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

As happened at Sun `n Fun, aviation officials–heck, top government officials–came to a major air show to ask all of us to consider flying to the Dominican Republic. And, as happened at Sun `n Fun, few reporters came to hear their plea. In fact, I may have been the only reporter there. But still you sit before your TVs eating Baskin Robbins, or whatever it is you do, and fail to go. Put it on your to-do list, or your bucket list, and flog your aircraft towards paradise.

The top three cities for your visit should be Constanza, Santiago, and Punta Cana. The best part? By decree, user fees have been eliminated at those airports. And they have 70,000 hotel rooms waiting.

The Dominican Republic Secretary of State, Jose Tomas Perez, came in person to Oshkosh to ask as nicely as possible for just a single visit. Put the lid back on the ice cream carton and see the Dominican Republic before you kick the bucket.

That’s one big airplane

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Wow. The Boeing Dreamlifter is a HUGE airplane!

Front and center in Aeroshell square

When are you going to deliver my airplane?

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

The question on everyone’s mind as they come see the Big Yellow Tent at Oshkosh is when we’re going to deliver their airplane. The answer: sometime next January or February.


Manning the sweepstakes airplane at shows is a lot of fun. Members ask all sorts of great questions that we usually have answers for. Although sometimes there are questions like, “Why is the stabilator so big?” Unfortunately I don’t know.

Clearly you’re all reading the magazine because the questions have gotten better and better over the year. Instead of, “What’s that big thing in the panel?” the question becomes, “Are you happy with the Aspen?” So keep those questions coming, either at Oshkosh or through the sweepstakes homepage. See ya around.

Better listings On Google

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Did you know that’s what blog stands for? That was a definition mentioned Monday afternoon at a seminar on aviation blogging at AirVenture, initiated by Rob Mark, who maintains the Jetwhine blog. I’m not sure if I believe it, but certainly understand that’s one of the results you could achieve with an effective blog. Mark’s Aviation Blogfest, the first of its kind–at least to my knowledge–drew more than two dozen people, including many active bloggers.

What makes a blog successful? “Blogs are successful because their authors are passionate about what they’re writing about,” said Todd McClamroch, who writes MyFlightBlog. It was a pleasure to meet McClamroch after talking with him several months ago while writing a column in AOPA Flight Training.

Paul, a flight instructor, maintains a blog called Ask A CFI.com where he answers questions about flight training. Although Norman, a Boeing 777 captain, could not attend the seminar, Mark displayed a photo and said “he’s here digitally;” Roach’s blog is The Digital Aviator.

Rod Rakic is building something interesting, a social networking site (think Facebook or Myspace) for aviators. The site, myTransponder, is in “closed beta” testing now. That means you have to have an invitation to participate in the beta test. “We’re still finding bugs and squashing them,” Rakic explained. (If you e-mail him through the site and ask, I bet he’ll invite you to participate.)

I just saw an interesting link on Mark’s Blogroll, to a blog named FAA Follies. That sounds like it could be interesting…and as soon as I get a chance, I plan to give it a read.

See how blogging works, and check out some other aviation blogs. Look at the Blogroll on Jetwhine for some good starting points.

Emergency cocktail hour at Eclipse

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Although I realize the move was necessary for Eclipse Aviation’s long-term survival, I was nevertheless saddened Monday morning to learn¬†that founder Vern Raburn was stepping down as CEO. “For me, the show ends today,” he said, opening a media event on the first day of AirVenture 2008.

I was in Albuquerque for the Eclipse 500 rollout in July 2002, and I wrote much of AOPA Pilot’s early Eclipse coverage. And I fondly remember my first visit to Eclipse, while researching “Turbine Pilot: An Inside Look at Eclipse” for the February 2001 AOPA Pilot.


It’s a luxury car, it’s a jet, it’s…an LSA?

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Do you like free beer, cocktail shrimp, dance music, and Hollywood models? Then you, my friend, need to buy an Icon. The Icon A5 is a new amphibious LSA introduced with much fanfare (and no doubt money) in L.A. a few months ago. Last night the young company threw one heck of a party at Oshkosh to give it a proper aviation unveiling, complete with the aforementioned draws. Kirk Hawkins, the former fighter pilot CEO, kept saying the airplane would bring back the “fun” and “adventure” in aviation. You’d think no one has ever produced an amphibious airplane before.

Taking a cue from Cirrus, Icon is going after non-pilots. It’s a cool-looking airplane, no doubt. The cockpit looks more like a Ferrari than a Cessna, and the ability to fold the wings is pretty nice (see the video below, which by the way is a little bit of extra showmanship. The wings only fold electrically if you don’t opt for the wheels). Will they last? Maybe. Funding is coming from heavy hitters, including Eclipse Aviation founder Vern Raburn. One thing’s for sure – it was probably the first time anyone ever has or ever will play Metallica in EAA’s museum.

Saving $4,000 in the real world

Monday, July 28th, 2008

My August “Waypoints” column “Saving $4,000 in Fuel,” has generated a number of questions and comments from readers also curious about running their engines lean of peak. I just landed this afternoon at Appleton, WI, after flying LOP from Frederick, MD. Brutal headwinds kept our groundspeed in the 140s all day, stretching our flight time to about 4.4 hours. As usual en route to OSH, I stopped for fuel, this time at Mason Jewett Field near Lansing, MI, where avgas was a reasonable (by this week’s standards) $5.05. Nice airport, but completely deserted this beautiful Sunday morning. My fuel burn LOP was about 12.5 gph while true airspeed at altitudes of 6,000 and 8,000 feet was around 160 knots. Rich of peak, I would usually see about 17.2 gph and maybe 165 KTAS.

A big difference today was that I could have made the trip nonstop, even with the strong headwinds of about 25 knots on the nose. That wasn’t even an option when operating ROP. The Garmin GNS 530 showed that we could have landed at ATW with an hour and 16 minutes of fuel nonstop from FDK. Because of the uncertainties of traffic flows associated with AirVenture, I chose to stop. On a “normal” flight I would have charged ahead and made the trip nonstop.

To answer a few of the questions from members: You can expect exhaust gas temperatures LOP to be in the 1,400s, depending on conditions. As for fears about burning exhaust valves, George Braly of General Aviation Modifications, Inc., reminds that the exhaust valves spend 75 percent of their time seated, allowing heat to be wicked away into the engine. Also when seated, they are not exposed to the combustion process, which can run 4,000 degrees F or so–making 1,400 degrees seem downright chilly. Those operating LOP properly with good monitoring equipment shouldn’t see problems with exhaust valves.

One member reports running the Lycoming in his Cessna 182 25 degrees LOP and shaving about 3 gph off his fuel burn, but costing him 9 knots. That’s a larger speed decrease than most Continental engine drivers will see, especially when running only 25 degrees LOP.

Keep sending your questions and sharing your experiences. Everyone benefits.

Hitchin a ride to OSH

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I’m the lucky one. Pubs admin Miriam Stoner and I flew the Get Your Glass Sweepstakes Archer to Oshkosh yesterday. It was a great trip. We left Frederick at 0910 local and landed at OSH at 1530 local. I thought we were going to be able to make it VFR, but the leading edge of a cold front that was sitting in western OH forced me to pick up our IFR flight plan in western MD. Despite some strong weather in Wisconsin and other areas associated with this front, it had lost steam and was only producing light rain.

I planned the flight using Voyager, a flight planning software I was using for a product review. It told me that Fulton County, OH (USE) had fuel for $4.95 a gallon! Sure enough, it was still less than $5 when we got there, and they gave us a courtsey car to grab a bite.

For the final leg we climbed up high to cross Lake Michigan. It was a great view, but winds were on the nose at 40 to 45 knots.

The arrival into OSH was fairly uneventful. Things happen fast and you need to keep your head on a swivel. But do that and you’ll be fine. Here are some pics of the cockpit.


Monday, July 28th, 2008

One great thing about large air shows like Oshkosh is that regardless of background, everyone comes together to share in the joy of aviation. Homebuilts mix with jets and gyrocopters mix with high-performance pistons. It’s a melting pot of flight. Want proof? Check out the King Air pilot and passengers. Who says you can’t camp out under a turboprop (beside an FBO no less)?