Archive for February, 2011

Heard of the airplane hotel?

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

I’m sure you’ve heard of this. I hadn’t. There’s a pretty neat hotel in Costa Rica built in the shape of an airplane, or maybe it was a real airplane converted to a hotel. Sort of looks like that.

Remembering pioneers

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

You may recognize these pioneers.

Margaret Kerr Boyland was a WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilots) during World War II and never questioned why she and her fellow WASPs got no federal benefits for their service, until the 1970s. She helped lead a successful lobbying effort for veteran benefits. She died in Nov. 2010.

Charles H. Kaman founded Kaman Aerospace in his mother’s garage that is now a $1.2 billion company making parts for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.  He is credited with the first gas turbine-powered helicopter, and the first remotely controlled helicopter. He died in January.

Dr. Charles Herbert Flowers was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen and was honored when Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale, Md., was named after him. He became a satellite controller and later a personnel manager (he wrote Training the Best) for a contractor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He died in January.

Navy pilot completes 1st F-35C flight

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

This test took place Feb. 11, 2011. A naval aviator has completed the first flight of the F-35C aircraft. It was done at Patuxent Naval Air Station (proper name alert: Naval Air Station Patuxent River) on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland in preparation for testing the airplane on an aircraft carrier. You can see the video here. (

Naval aviation 100th birthday

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

The Washington Post ran a sponsored special section on the 100th anniversary of U.S. Navy aviation. You can download it here from an organization formed to honor the anniversary.

Want to weird out for a couple of minutes? Watch this C-130 land repeatedly on an aircraft carrier while former Vulcan Leonard Nemoy sings in the background.

So Leonard, how’s that singing thing working out for ya?

Emivest jet company sale delayed

Friday, February 11th, 2011

There was to have been a hearing today on a request by the Texas attorney general to delay the sale of Emivest Aerospace, the San Antonio, Texas, company that builds the Swearingen SJ30 business jet. The objection was based on an alleged failure by the company to pay $836,000 in back taxes. Instead, the hearing was delayed today to Feb. 28. A spokesman for the Texas attorney general said there were two reasons. First, there have been delays in the negotiation for the purchase of the firm. Second, the spokesman said, other objections to the sale by additional parties have emerged. It’s not known if those objections could be from additional potential buyers. If the kinks in the deal can’t be solved, the company will be forced into Chapter 7 proceedings, meaning its assets will be sold. More than $700 million has been spent to develop the jet.

The Rest of the English-speaking World Has Figured This Out

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Our February “Dogfight” about proper pattern-entry procedures at non-towered airports has generated quite a stir, and I’ve been called all sorts of interesting names (“renegade,” “anti-authority,” and “anarchist” are my favorites) for questioning the efficacy of the FAA’s standard 45-degree entry.

I’d just like to point out that the U.K., Canada, England, New Zealand and the rest of the English-speaking world has solved this problem long ago. While I hope to keep their fees and privatized ATC north of the border, I wish our FAA would cut and paste this portion of the Canadian regs into our own FAR/AIM. It’s logical, safe, and would be a welcome improvement to the way we fly.

The Canadian Way