Archive for February, 2013

The end of aircraft icing?

Friday, February 8th, 2013

I know next to nothing about nanotechnology — but this video about a new type of hydrophobic coating that repels water has me excited about potential aerospace applications. Could we simply coat our aircraft with this type of chemical and make them shed water, ice, and maybe even bugs?

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, February 8th, 2013

I’m not sure videotaping should have been the priority here.  The amazing thing about the emergency landing of a Cessna 175 in a field in Cache County, Utah, was not that all five aboard were not injured. The amazing thing was that passenger Jonathan Fielding videotaped the whole thing on his cell phone, reports KUTV-TV.

Build an airplane — and an air strip.  Friends Patrick Tippman and Patrick Borton are about half way to building a Zenith STOL CH 750 kit plane, reports the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.  But their work isn’t done when the aircraft is complete. They will then build a 1,700-foot grass runway at Tippman’s back yard to fly the airplane.

What did that crop duster ever do to you? Stephen Paul Riley, owner of the Flying Lead Ranch in Texas, has pleaded guilty to shooting at a cropduster that flew over his property back in 2008, reports Flying magazine.  He apparently was unhappy that Keeter Aerial Spraying was passing over his property and had warned he would shoot any aircraft flying over his ranch.

Not a good target.  A Coast Guard HC-130H Hercules practicing approaches into Hawaii’s Kahului Airport was forced to return to Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point after someone pointed a green laser into the cockpit, reports the Maui News. No one was injured in the incident, which is being investigated.

Some people just know how to fly. Old Dominion University football coach Bobby Wilder was able to do recruiting trips from Tampa, Fla., to Rochester, N.Y., because Stephen Ballard, owner of a Virginia Beach construction company, loaned his private aircraft for the effort, reports  The coach credits having use of a private airplane for his successful recruiting class.

Brush up on safety skills, help the Air Safety Institute

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Air Safety Institute Logo

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing AOPA member Shannon Osborne, a member of the North Jersey chapter of The Ninety-Nines, who has come up with a unique idea to help keep your pilot skills sharp while bad weather limits winter flying.

Shannon has pledged to donate $5 to AOPA’s Air Safety Institute for every course the 16 members of her Ninety-Nines chapter take in the month of February.  In my story, Osborne emphasized that she is a firm believer in AOPA’s safety products.

“I survived an accident where unfortunately, the other pilot didn’t. The skills I learn in these courses can save lives,” she said. “Whenever I get into a situation, I hear the voice of my flight instructor, Tim O’Neil, saying ‘fly the plane.’ You hear these things as a student, and if you keep refreshing that, you can save your life and others.”

Although I’m not a member of her chapter, I was inspired, so I’m going to take up her challenge.  As a student pilot, there many ASI interactive courses, safety quizzes, webinars and safety seminars I can take.  The courses are free and you don’t have to be an AOPA member to take them.  My flight instructor recommended I take “Say It Right,” “Runway Safety,” “Airspace for Everyone,” and “Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots.”

Since it’s just me, I’ll double my pledge to $10 a course. But I’m encouraging my fellow student pilots to do the same, with an amount of your choosing.  Osborne said that nickels add up to dimes. “If we get a lot of people out there doing this challenge, the money will add up.”

I’ll let you know what courses I took and my total donation at the end of the month.

Next stop, bidding war for Hawker jets

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Sure, Hawker Beechcraft is emerging from bankruptcy, but the magazine Corporate Jet Investor says that isn’t the end of the drama. Next stop? A bidding war for the jet assets. Alasdair Whyte of the magazine says in a personal newsletter that bidders ought to step up, now that Beechcraft (the new name) is rising from the depths. The magazine has previously speculated on who the bidders might be. In that article, the contestants listed are: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s largest auto maker and supplier of components to Boeing and Gulfstream; Nextant/Directional Capital which already offers the Hawker 400XP aircraft; AVIC, known as China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) that has joint ventures with both Embraer and Cessna and owns Cirrus Aircraft; Xi’an Aircraft International that acquired Austrian composite parts maker FACC in 2009; Hunan Boyun that makes carbon-fiber auto and aircraft parts; and BAE Systems that just might want its own commercial aircraft business.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Another miracle on the Hudson.  A man aboard a Piper Cherokee Six that ditched in New York’s Hudson River called his wife before calling 911 for help, reports AOPA Online.  Christopher Smidt and flight instructor Deniece De Priester were rescued by a boat operated by Yonkers police officers.

Daring helicopter rescue, part one!  Australia’s RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue is being credited with saving the life of a 14-month-old child and two women from a truck that had been swept up in flood waters, reports the Observer.  It took three tries to rescue the trio.

Daring helicopter rescue, part two! Australia’s AGL Action Rescue Helicopter saved an elderly couple whose home had been flooded, reports the Observer.  The couple was seen clinging to the side of a log.

Do the crime, do the time.  Lamar Kelly will spend 41 months in a federal prison after being convicted of shooting at a Louisiana Army National Guard helicopter that was doing drug surveillance, reports SFGate.  Once he is released, he faces another three years of supervised release.

Bleeding, here – your airplane.  A romantic flight over Jacksonville, Fla., on New Year’s Eve took a bizarre turn when pilot Graham Hill realized that he had been shot, reports AvWeb. He handed over the controls to his girlfriend while he tended to his wound, and they made an emergency landing at Craig Field.

Pssst-wanna fly a U2?  The good folks at the Jalopnik blog managed to get their hands on a declassified copy of the manual to fly the iconic U-2, made famous in 1960 after pilot Gary Powers was shot down in the aircraft while flying over the Soviet Union.