Archive for April, 2014

The beautiful B-17

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

B17  Waiting to DepartLast week I mentioned that Irma Ward and her husband, Hugh, came to our regional fly-in. Hugh wanted a ride on the EAA B-17 Aluminum Overcast, and Irma, a painter, had set up an easel to capture the beautiful bird while it waited for clear skies and eager riders.

I was impressed at how rapidly Irma was committing the majestic lines of the B-17 to canvas with oil paint. She hadIrma painting completed a pencil sketch and had moved on to the actual painting when I talked with her on Friday morning.

Irma kindly sent me a photo of the finished painting. Isn’t it beautiful? She has a website, where you can see more of her work.

Working hard for your first regional fly-in

Friday, April 25th, 2014

kodiakIt looks it’s going to be a Texas-sized event. We’ve had about 2,000 individual RSVPs, and 707 airplanes are expected. Airplanes have already begun to arrive in advance of the fly-in, which kicks off Saturday, April 26.

Our Sweepstakes Debonair is front and center on the static display, waiting for you to check out her new engine and those decals you’ve been reading about. Editor at Large Tom Horne picked up the Debonair in Santa Fe, N.M. He got to San Marcos in about three hours, doing 199 knots, thanks to a brisk tailwind. Not too shabby.

It’s pretty warm today, and promises to be warmer on Saturday. I found Irma Ward in the shade of the air traffic control tower, with an easle set up. She was busily painting a portrait of the B-17 Aluminum Overcast, which is here at the airport selling rides. She and her husband, Hugh, came to San Marcos from Arlington, Tex. Hugh likes airplanes (they own a Piper Arrow), and Irma enjoys painting, so she’s painting the beautiful Flying Fortress for him, she explained. Hugh must really like Aluminum Overcast, because he had paid for a ride today.

One of the early arrivals was Gary Cole and a buddy, who arrived in Cole’s 1963 L-29, a trainer made in the former Czech Republic. Horne made a beeline for the unusual trainer, and quizzed the pilot as he was climbing out. Cole said it burns about four gallons a minute “if you’re just out playing around,” and 10 liters per minute in economy cruise.

We hope to see you on Saturday! If San Carlos isn’t in your neighborhood, perhaps one of our other regional events in 2014 would be more convenient.

 

 

 

 

 

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Darned birds. A pilot was forced to land his aircraft after flying into a flock of birds, reports the South Wales Evening Post. The pilot landed the aircraft, which flipped over, on his own airstrip. He was later diagnosed with a slight concussion.

When drones attack. A female competing in the running leg of Australia’s Endure Batavia Triathlon was unable to finish after allegedly being hit in the head by a drone being operated by a photographer,  reports the Guardian.  The photographer says his drone was not to blame, claiming the woman tripped after being startled by the drone.

Escape plan. An aerobatic stunt pilot was able to parachute out of his single-engine aircraft before it crashed on Vermont’s Interstate 89 near Highgate, reports the Burlington Free Press. The pilot suffered minor injuries.

Icy rescue. An 80-year-old man was rescued after his 1977 Citabria aircraft broke through the ice in Canada’s Little Trading Bay, reports Canoe.ca. He sustained minor injuries and was treated for hypothermia.

Speaking of rescues…A Good Samaritan is being credited with rescuing two passengers on a Beechcraft Bonanza that crashed in the water as it attempted to land at Florida Keys Marathon Airport, reports the Bradenton Herald. No one was injured.

Land Rover debuts technology aimed for cars that’s meant for aviation

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The name Land Rover is synonymous in the automotive world with luxury utility. It’s the ultimate SUV for the aristocracy, whether officially recognized as such or just self appointed. It’s never been considered the most innovate, or even the most reliable brand. A recent announcement may change that. The company is developing a forward-looking camera system that creates the illusion of a see-through hood. The off-road applications are obvious when you think of the large rocks, gullies, and other obstructions these vehicles are meant to handle. But where a technology like this has real promise is aviation.

Describing the technology doesn’t do it justice. Watch the video below and the use in aviation becomes immediately obvious. 

It’s a bit of a misnomer, but what’s most impressive about the see-through hood is that you can still see the hood. Having a full view of everything in front of you would be useful, but it’s invaluable to know where the machine is in space. Imagine what this would mean in an aircraft. Judging the flare would be a non-event. Those nose-high full-stall landings would be easy and routine. Forget all that talk about how far down the runway to look. All the pilot would have to do is look out the front, through the cowling and to the runway stripes below. Or maybe off to the side a bit, through the door and tire until it touches the pavement. Even a helicopter, with its characteristically great view angles, would benefit from a system like this. The ability to look below and slightly ahead would be great in an off-airport landing, or even a normal touch down on pavement.

There’s only one problem with all this–it’s unlikely to ever happen. Given aviation’s glacial pace of innovation and strict regulatory environment, the hurdles are large. Which is unfortunate because Land Rover has proven that technologically it’s all within our reach.

Goodyear narrows names for new airship

Monday, April 21st, 2014


Goodyear newest airship

After receiving nearly 15,000 submissions for its national “Name the Blimp” contest, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has selected 10 finalist names for its newest airship (pictured above). Now, fans can vote for their favorite name online, through May 9.  

The names up for voting are: Adventurer, Ambassador, Commitment, Excursion, Explorer, Goodwill, Inspiration, Pride of Goodyear, Resolute, and Wingfoot One.

The new airship, which took its first flight last month, is larger, faster, and more maneuverable than its predecessor. Technically a zeppelin, this is the first semi-rigid airship to be built in the 95-year history of Goodyear’s Wingfoot Lake, Ohio, hangar. During its long operational history, Goodyear has built more than 300 lighter-than-air vehicles, including two large rigid airships–the U.S.S. Macon and U.S.S. Akron.

What do you get for voting on the new airship’s name? Nothing but the satisfaction of knowing you participated–although the person who submitted the winning name will receive access to the blimp for a day. (Yeah, now I wish I had submitted a name, too.) Goodyear will christen the new blimp this summer.

 

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, April 18th, 2014

No drones!! The FAA has taken exception with the Washington Nationals baseball team using a drone to take photos of its players during spring training, reports CBS Baltimore.  The agency said the team should have informed them before taking the photos.

Speaking of drones… AvWeb reports that an eight-year-old Irish lad had a tooth removed via a drone being operated by his father.  A string was placed around the tooth, and the drone flew about 20 feet, yanking it out.

They survived. Two men flying a Czech-built Allegro 2000 light sport aircraft  survived after crashing near the edge of the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, N.C., reports PilotOnline.com. The aircraft ended up near a private back yard, and the men walked away from the scene.

Helicopter rescue. A wind surfer on New York’s Long Island Sound had to be rescued by the Westchester County Police Aviation Unit after going out too far, reports New Rochelle Patch.

Hat tip to General Aviation News for sharing the FlightChops video below of “The Scariest Take Off I’ve Ever Seen.”