Archive for April, 2013

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, April 26th, 2013

That was a quick trip! Commissioner Larry Kiker of Lee County, Fla., found himself in  hot water after FOX4 News discovered he used a county aircraft to make an 8-minute trip to the city of Labelle. The TV station used to track the movements of the aircraft.

Water landing number one.  Four passengers aboard a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza managed to walk away with only minor injuries after the aircraft made an emergency landing in California’s Big Bear Lake, reports the LA Times. The pilot was attempting to land at Big Bear Airport after reporting he was having engine trouble.

Water landing number two. A pilot and his passenger sustained minor injuries after the Cessna seaplane they were flying flipped after landing in Florida’s St. Johns River, reports WTEV-TV.  The landing gear had been left down.

It’s two treats in one!  AvWeb reports seeing the Discovery 201, a pickup truck/aircraft combination at the recent Sun ‘n Fun Expo. The aircraft is a derivative of Russia’s Akord 201, which was used as a  heavy-hauling utility airplane.

Not the glider landing he wanted.  Glider pilot Jeff Long was not injured after his motor glider crashed into a tree at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, Tenn., reports the Tullahoma News.


Paraski down the side of Mont Blanc

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Take a break and watch a group of paraskiers glide just above the snow and sometimes on it down Mount Blanc on the France-Italy border. Great photography. Thanks to Hunter Harris for finding this.

FAA says delays are awful

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

 I’m seeing a little gamesmanship out there. The FAA has laid off controllers thanks to budget sequestration, and isn’t shy about pointing out just how awful things are for travelers. Could the FAA be putting pressure on Congress to fix the budget? Just maybe? Here’s the FAA release:

“As a result of employee furloughs due to sequestration, the FAA is implementing traffic management initiatives at airports and facilities around the country. Travelers can expect to see a wide range of delays that will change throughout the day depending on staffing and weather related issues. For example, the FAA is experiencing staffing challenges at the New York and Los Angeles En Route Centers and at the Dallas-Ft. Worth and Las Vegas TRACONs. Controllers will space planes farther apart so they can manage traffic with current staff, which will lead to delays at airports including DFW, Las Vegas and LAX. The FAA also expects delays at Newark and LaGuardia because of weather and winds.

“The FAA will continue to work with the airlines throughout the day to try and minimize delays for travelers. We encourage all travelers to check their flight status and also to visit for the latest airport delay information.

“Yesterday more than 1,200 delays in the system were attributable to staffing reductions resulting from the furlough. There were more than 1,400 additional delays as a result of weather and other factors.”

So do your job, public. Sound off about how steamed you are over the delays. After all, you’re part of the game. Personally, I don’t like games.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Talk about getting high! Police arrested five people after the aircraft they had parked at Kansas’ Amelia Earhart Airport was discovered to have 42 lbs of marijuana onboard, reports the Dodge City Daily Globe.  The arrests came from a police tip.

The highway became a runway.  A crew of two flying a vintage Beechcraft 18 cargo aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing on an isolated part of Florida’s US 27 after losing both engines, reports CBS News.  The flight was an instructional one on handling stalls that became an actual emergency.

Nice landing, but having a nosewheel does help. The website has posted dramatic footage of a twin turbine aircraft making an emergency landing in Toowoomba, Australia, without its nosewheel.

Do the crime? Do the time!   Adam Gardenhire is facing 30 months in prison after pleading guilty to pointing a laser in the cockpits of a Netjets Cessna Citation and a police helicopter, reports AvWeb. His defense? “I didn’t know it was dangerous.”

Two more walk away. A pilot who made an emergency landing at North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad International Airport after the landing gear of his Mooney  M20F collapsed, reports  And another pilot walked away after making an emergency landing on New Zealand’s Gisborne beach, reports the Dominion Post.

OK, that WAS a joke.  France’s La Poste wrote a story about how it was going to start delivering newspapers via drone as part of its modernization program. The problem was, the story was an April Fool’s joke.

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, April 12th, 2013

It was a miracle landing.  Three adults and three children flying in a Piper Cherokee Six were lucky to be alive after their aircraft made an emergency landing in Kisbey, Saskatchewan, Canada, reports the Star Phoenix.  Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.

This training flight offered a real education.  A pilot operating a Beechcraft 18 on a training flight was forced to make an emergency landing on U.S. 27 near Weston, Fla., reports the Miami Herald.  No one was injured in the accident.

Amazing helicopter rescue, part one.  Among the more than 200 people rescued from two ice floes off the coast of Latvia, 39 were fetched by helicopter, reports The helicopter pilots faced strong winds.

Amazing helicopter rescue, part two.  Two men trapped on Ireland’s Benevenagh Mountain were rescued by a PSNI Search and Rescue team using Irish Army helicopters, reports UTv.  The men were trapped in a snow gully.

Talk about insult after injury!  Pilot George Thomas has filed suit against the Colville, Wash., police department after accusing an officer of using “excessive force” when arresting him after he made an emergency landing at Colville Municipal Airport, reports the Spokesman-Review.  He claims his shoulder was injured after a police officer shoved him against his cruiser and stuck a taser gun in his back.

That’s an interesting use of a helicopter.  The folks at New Jersey Central Power & Light has a new tool to keep tree branches away from power lines — giant saw blades hanging from the bottom of a helicopter, reports ABC News.  The system uses blades that spin at 2,400 revolutions a minute.

Does it come with an actual rescuer?  The next time you find yourself floating in the sea waiting for a rescue, it may be from a different source.  The Mashable blog reports that an Iranian company has built Pars, a rescue drone.

Airline complaints boost case for GA

Friday, April 12th, 2013

A study from Purdue University and Wichita State University indicates airline passenger complaints are up, giving a boost to business aviation. The report notes more seats per aircraft means passengers are jammed in a little tighter, making flights less comfortable. Quality rankings show Virgin American at number one, followed by JetBlue, AirTran, Delta, and Hawaiian. At number six is Alaska, followed by Frontier, Southwest, US Airways, and American. United ended up at 14, probably because, as everyone knows, United breaks guitars.

Just a quick shoutout to Southwest, where tighter seating arrangements mean arms and knees of fellow passengers are glued to yours for the duration of the trip, and fewer cabin crews are using Southwest’s trademark humor during announcements. In fact, some are downright condescending. Also, thanks, Southwest, for losing the camera tripod used by AOPA photographer Chris Rose on our flight frmo Baltimore to Birmingham April 5.

Burt Rutan developing Ski Gull seaplane

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Burt Rutan is developing an amphibious, two-engine, motor glider, seaplane on skis. The skis are embedded with skateboard wheels. He described it to The Old Bold Pilots organization in California at the end of January. He doesn’t need a medical to fly it, and if it works, you could be flying it, too.

Greg Koontz practicing for Sun `n Fun

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013


Greg Koontz helps AOPA get the shot

Airshow performer Greg Koontz got practice with his new Decathlon Xtreme for his Friday, Saturday, Sunday performances at Sun `n Fun, and we got great pictures for an upcoming article on the airplane. That’s Chris Rose on the ground, by prior briefing and agreement, getting the shot of the maneuver that Koontz uses for his ribbon cutting. This airplane had a bird strike the morning the shot was taken, but the cowling crack was quickly glued and repaired. CLICK PHOTO TO ENLARGE

Strange But True General Aviation News

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Sometimes you  need to resist the urge. Some would say that Billy Cheesman Jr. went a bit overboard with his April Fool’s joke. making it appear as if an aircraft had crashed into his business’s building in Yucaipa, Calif. reports the Press-Enterprise.  He even put crime scene tape around the “crash” to make it look more real.

That could not have been easy to watch. Richard Small was noticing how dirty his 1969 Piper Twin Comanche as it was landing at New Zealand’s Taieri Aerodrome when he saw the aircraft touch down and skid off the runway, reports the New Zealand Herald.  Despite plowing through a fence at the end of the runway, the pilot and two passengers onboard were not injured.

The punishment fits the crime. Adam Gardenhire is going to federal prison for 30 months after being convicted of pointing a laser into the cockpit of a private aircraft landing at  Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport, along with a helicopter operated by the Pasadena Police Department, reports LAist.  The judge said the tough sentence was handed down as a warning to others contemplating similar stunts.

Isn’t this the Easter Bunny’s job? Children at Velocity Church in Green Township, Ohio, had their Easter eggs delivered in a unique way — by helicopter in a field at Oak Hills High School, reports The helicopter dropped around 17,000 eggs, while the Easter Bunny distributed another 3,000.

Taking the humble golf cart to the next level.  Pro golfer Bubba Watson’s video of his new hovercraft golf cart went viral, reports Mashable.  The video and the cart are part of an advertisement for Watson sponsor Oakley sunglasses.

It’s always good when you can walk away. An 84-year-old pilot survived an emergency landing of his Cessna 170 at California’s Livermore Airport, reports Livermore Patch.  As he landed, his foot got stuck in the rudder. He made  a hard turn left off the runway and skidded in the dirt.

It’s a highway, it’s a runway!  The pilot of a Cessna 150 was forced to make an emergency landing on California’s  State Route 125 after experiencing a loss of power, reports East County magazine.  The resident of Mexico was in the area to visit relatives.

The cat used one of its nine lives.  A crew taking a wrecking ball to a house damaged by an aircraft accident in South Bend, Ind., found quite a surprise in the home’s wall, reports the Post-Tribune. A cat jumped out of a wall that was about to be destroyed.