Archive for February, 2013

Pipistrel motor glider reaches 22,726 feet

Monday, February 25th, 2013

A Greek pilot has taken a Pipistrel Taurus motorglider to 22,726 feet above Greece. Wind came from the perfect direction to be lifted by terrain. Read the pilot’s account here.

CAP to get recognition for WW II patrols

Monday, February 25th, 2013

First it was the Tuskegee Airmen who, after waiting 51 years after World War II, got their just recognition with a Congressional Gold Medal. Then it was the Women Airforce Service Pilots who got the medal four years later. Now, there is an effort to honor the founders of the Civil Air Patrol with the medal, and thus all who flew with the CAP during the war. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has launched a bill to honor 60,000 civilians–men and women 18-81 years old–who were CAP members. “Our founding members helped save lives and preserve our nation’s freedom,” said Maj. Gen. Chuck Carr, CAP’s national commander. The CAP conducted anti-submarine coastal patrols up to 100 miles offshore in March 1942 after 52 oil tankers had been sunk. They carried 50-, 100- and 325-pound bombs or depth charges, attacking 57 enemy submarines and reporting 173 to the military.

Auto-recovery from turbulence possible

Monday, February 25th, 2013

EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space), a consortium with offices all over Europe, the UK, and an office in the United States, says LiDaR (Light Detection and Ranging) radar, using pulses of infrared light, can detect turbulence a few hundred feet ahead of an airplane and react to it automatically. The system would adjust flight controls instantly to avoid loss of altitude in downdrafts, commonly referred to as air pockets. It will take years to complete research, the aerospace and defense company said. The bottom line is that the system can react in less than one second–the pilot can’t.

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:

‘Charlie Victor Romeo’ goes from theater to 3D

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Charlie Victor Romeo

Mention the Sundance Film Festival to most pilots, and you’ll get a blink or a shrug. That’s because Sundance, which yearly showcases new work from U.S. and international independent film makers in Park City, Utah—and attracts large numbers of Hollywood types—doesn’t usually screen films with a lot of aviation content.

Until now, that is.

Charlie Victor Romeo (Cockpit Voice Recorder) was named an official selection in the New Frontiers category at this year’s Sundance. The film is based on a play in which all dialogue is taken directly from the cockpit voice recorder transcripts recovered after six airline emergencies. The show’s message was so non-sensational that it was filmed by the U.S. Air Force as a training video for pilots. According to the website, one-third of the production’s audience have been members of the aviation community.

Charlie Victor Romeo comes from 3-Legged Dog Media and Theater Group, and was directed by Bob Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson. We reached out to the production on Twitter for information about when and where you can expect to see it. Answer: “Looking forward to screening at film festivals and other events this year. Announcement soon. Thanks!” In other words, keep checking the film’s website, or follow Charlie Victor Romeo on Twitter (@CVRPerformance)…or follow me (@jtallman1959) and I’ll do my best to post updates.

Mach 1.23 pingpong balls?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Yes, that’s what they’re doing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., these days–shooting pingpong balls at speeds faster than an F-16 fighter.

Mark French, a mechanical engineering technology professor, drew on his experience as an aeronautical engineer to create a device that blasts the lightweight, 2.3-gram balls through plywood or aluminum, or deeply dent steel. Online video shows the air-powered bazooka destroying pingpong paddles, VHS tapes, and a row of soda cans.

The secret? A pressure chamber connected to the vacuum tube via a convergent-divergent nozzle. “That hourglass-shaped nozzle is similar to what is used in fighter jets,” French said. “When the pressurized air rushes through the bottleneck, it accelerates to supersonic speed as it helps propel the ball through the clear PVC barrel.”

He says the supersonic speeds are surprising because the balls weigh so little, have such poor aerodynamics, and sport a high drag coefficient. The energy delivered is equivalent to a 125 mph fastball or a brick falling several stories.

Enough about the physics, click here to see the bazooka shoot supersonic pingpong balls through stuff




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.

Ever mug a buffalo? Ever want to?

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Want to compete on who can come up with the most unusual job in aviation? How about the official title of buffalo mugger? I win. Brim Aviation, based in Ashland, Oregon, with branches in Astoria, Oregon, Texas, and Arizona, uses its own helicopter crew to first shoot a bison with a net gun (no bullets, just a net), then run from the helicopter and wrestle the buffalo to the ground, rodeo style. The actual job title for that is “mugger.” No, really. I saw the video. Yes, I know bison weigh 700 to 2,200 pounds because I saw it on the Internet, and the Internet is never wrong.  I also saw the bison get up afterward and chase the Brim guy. There are more than 90 in one of the oldest herds in the nation, and each year these Utah residents have a blood sample taken. One by one.

The buffalo/bison had every right to attack the Brim guy. Let’s say you are looking around for grass–the legal kind–and you hear this noisy big bird coming after you. You run like crazy, hear an explosion like your great grandfather told you about, and find yourself tangled in a net. This puny two-legged animal grabs your horns and humiliates you by taking you down. So you lie there through the blood sample, the DNA sample, just waiting for your chance. The net comes off and you jump up and charge…and he jumps out of the way. All the other buffalo start laughing. So next year you set up an ambush. Your buddies will attack the humans while you are on the ground. Come on back, Brim!

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, February 15th, 2013

It was a story that ended well.  Aimee Turner and her seven-month-old son Benji had the chance to thank Rick Harvey, a Sunshine Coast AGL helicopter rescue crewman, for saving them from their rooftop during floods in Bundaberg, Australia, reports the Sunshine Coast Daily.  It was only the second time Harvey had been reunited with people he had rescued.

What is WRONG with people? Two pilots found themselves facing a laser light in their cockpit as they were on final approach to Scotland’s Aberdeen Airport, reports STV News.  Local police are now investigating the incident.

Another helicopter rescue.  The Belfast Coast Guard rescued a man whose kayak capsized off Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, reports the Guide and Gazette.

This is a park I want to visit. The city of Greenville, S.C., has taken delivery of a Boeing 737 fuselage that will become part of a community aviation park, reports WYFF-TV.  The project has become a labor of love for the city, including Greenville Downtown Airport, GE Capital Aviation Services, Aircraft Demolition, Paragon Building Systems, the Greenville Jet Center and Greenville Technical College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology.

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.