Archive for November, 2011

A carpenter trades his T square for a delta wing

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Almost in the water, almost out in the air

Watch the sunset from a trike

Dave Myers of Garden City, Georgia, had never considered flying while working as a carpenter and supervisor for a housing development. The current recession made short work of his career two years ago, and he went to Hawaii to visit relatives. (Everyone should have a relative in Hawaii.) A flight school operating there offered instruction in weight-shift-control trikes, kind of like a hang glider, but you sit in a Rotax-powered gondola. “By the time we leveled off, I was determined to make that my livelihood, whatever it took,” he recalls. He gave away or sold his carpenter tools, sold his house, and soon he had enough money to buy a light-sport $68,000 Krucker Cygnet amphibious trike and get his instructor certificate.

Exploring the Georgia delta

He has little interest in fixed-wing aircraft and is quite happy operating his trike school, Amphibian Air, in Garden City, Georgia (Savannah). To date he has given 75 introductory lessons and taken two pilots through their transition training (10 hours, $1,500), although you can take a complete sport pilot course as well. Now in his 50s, he has discovered a new passion with his wife’s support–and we have gained another pilot to our ranks. Welcome, Dave.

Maverick “flying dunebuggy” in production

Monday, November 21st, 2011

The company called Itec/Beyond Roads has delivered four of its “Maverick” powered-parachutes with a driveable dunebuggy used as a cockpit. It is approved as a light sport aircraft, a category the includes powered parachutes. One is going to Dubai, and factory reps may travel there in a few weeks to provide training to the new customer. Deliveries are cautiously made only to experienced customers until fleet time for the vehicle increases. There are nine in various stages of construction at the factory in Florida. While dubbed the flying car by the press, it is actually intended as a jungle dunebuggy that can hop a stream when it needs to. It can drive faster than the 40 mph it achieves in the air, if there is no headwind. You can see the latest video here. Insurance has proven to be expensive, and AOPA Insurance Agency is contacting the company to help with the problem. The current premium is $8,000 a year for the factory to cover its personnel and give demonstrations. The company cleverly received government approval for the “car” aspect of the vehicle by getting it approved as a kit car. That move has stunned other companies trying to pass highway crash standards for the car portion of various “flying car” concepts. A flying car has to be strong enough to survive road rage, yet light enough to fly.

UPDATE: iOS5 update troubles

Thursday, November 17th, 2011


Apple released iOS 5.0.1 a few days ago that apparently fixes the delete issue. According to ForeFlight, some app development may also be required, and they are working on that now. For more, check out the company’s blog. If you’ve updated to iOS 5.0.1 and are using a different aviation application, let us know in the comments section how it is working.

iPad and other Apple device users should take note of a rather odd quirk that can occur after updating the operating system to iOS5. According to multiple application developers, the operating system could delete data, including charts and approach plates, if certain conditions are present.

Essentially the device senses the memory is full, or almost full, and will delete previously saved data if new data is brought in. So, the operating system will now favor new data, instead of rejecting it to preserve old data. For those running ForeFlight, WingX, or any of the other large multipurpose apps, you could lose charting data by bringing in any other additional pieces of data. What’s worse, the device will do this with only a minor indication of what’s happening. A small message that says, “Cleaning” will appear under any app that is currently losing data.

To keep this from happening, simply make sure you have extra space on the device. Most of the multipurpose charting apps run around 7 GB, while Jeppesen’s charting app is around 1 GB. The problem comes from having either multiple aviation apps, or having the device loaded with other big programs.

This issue brings to light an important consideration in using the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch for aviation. Make sure to preflight the apps. After you have downloaded the data you want to use on the flight, disable Wifi and 3G, and open your app. Then scroll through the charts and airport data to make sure you have everything you need. This way you’ll know that what you have actually resides on the device, and that you’re not just streaming it off Wifi. Also, each app should have a list of downloaded charts. Check the list for an additional source of confirmation.

For more information, ForeFlight has a good update on the problem, as does WingX and Readerplates.

Let us know in the comments section if you’ve experienced this problem, or if you have any iOS5 reviews.

Aerotrek (Featured in January “Pilot”)

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Here’s the owner of the $78,000 Aerotrek–featured in the January 2012 issue–and myself talking about owning the best-equipped, lowest-cost LSA out there. Here is his story on YouTube. The original dream way back in 2004? An LSA that would cost $20,000 to $60,000. The 2012 reality? This may be as close as you’ll come.

Last Super Cub can be yours

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Often copied, never duplicated, the venerable Piper Cub and later Super Cub have become synonymous with light airplanes in the minds of the public–and for good reason. The classic airplanes are plentiful, practical, and a sheer delight to fly.

My first flight in a tailwheel airplane was in a new Super Cub at the Piper factory with then AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Richard Collins way back in 1988. The mission was a photo shoot for the magazine. I still see those photos around occasionally and laugh because Collins and I were both wearing neckties, which was standard office attire in those days. But in a Cub… Florida! What were we thinking.

At that time, brash Stuart Millar had just taken over Piper Aircraft from its previous owners, an investment company. Millar had made great public statements about his plans to revitalize general aviation, lower prices, fight product liability and turn around the general aviation world. He quickly failed in all of the above, but he certainly got his share of media attention, especially when the company went bankrupt.

One of his most lasting contributions, however, was to restart the Super Cub production line after many years of dormancy. Super Cubs continued to dwindle out of the factory for numerous years before stopping once again in 1994.

Now you can own a piece of that history as what is claimed to be the very last Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub produced is up for sale by owner Allen Pomianek. Based in Santa Monica, California, the airplane is absolutely stock, right down to the tires installed at the factory. The pristine airplane has only 550 hours on it since 1994. Pomianek is asking $175,000 for N41594. Interested? You can reach him at: [email protected].

That’s considerably higher than what Vref says a “normal” Super Cub of the era should be worth, even accounting for this one’s low time, but it will forever be the newest Super Cub. Having just canceled the Altaire jet and seemingly focused on its higher-end piston and turboprop products, Piper doesn’t seem likely to restart the Super Cub line anytime soon, if ever.

Don’t think you can swing that on your own, check out the new AOPA Partnership Program to help you find partners to help you afford this one of a kind airplane.

It seems as if most pilots have at least a little time in the  ubiquitous Cub. What’s your favorite Cub memory?


“Rum Diary” plane was in “Pilot”

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Eric Weaver and his personal pal, actor Johnny Depp.

The Twin Bee I wrote about, and its pilot, Eric Weaver, are both in the newly released movie, “The Rum Diary,” now playing at a theater near you. (Somebody named Johnny Depp is in it, too.) You can actually ride in it, or get a rating in it, at the Jones Brothers and Company Air and Seaplane Adventures in Tavares, Florida, “The Seaplane City.”