Archive for May, 2014

Indianapolis rolls out Midwestern hospitality

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Indy_081

Aircraft started arrriving early for AOPA’s Indianapolis Fly-in.

Indianapolis Regional, one of the reliever airports for the Super Bowl in 2012, is rolling out the Midwestern charm on a grand scale once again—this time for AOPA’s Regional Fly-In May 31.

Yellow chocks are spaced evenly apart at the edge of the concrete and grass, ready for the early arrivals. Volunteers donning neon green shirts point the way to the parking area. IndyJet employees park aircraft comfortably apart, so you don’t have to worry about swapping paint with the wing of the aircraft beside you. As soon as the prop stops, volunteers are right at the door, offering to help passengers disembark, unload any baggage, and grab the tow bar to finish parking the aircraft and secure it with chocks.

A volunteer helps get chocks in position for arriving aircraft.

A volunteer helps get chocks in position for arriving aircraft.

Now that’s an impressive welcome!

The volunteers and IndyJet and AOPA staff have been working nonstop to make sure attendees feel welcome.

Volunteer Michael Pastore, a 20-year AOPA member, is among the pilots camping out overnight at Indianapolis Regional. He flew is Cessna 140, Toto, from Naperville, Ill., and said he volunteered to help because he believes pilots need to do their part to support the organization.

Indy_041

Volunteers welcome pilots with that famous Midwestern hospitality.

Brian Lynch a helicopter instructor from Clarskville, Tenn., drove 5.5 hours through the night to get to Indianapolis to do his part. He napped a little, and then shortly after 7 a.m., he started helping set up, marshal aircraft, and man the gate leading to the airfield. He was still going strong at 7 p.m. But, he said, he’s going to take Saturday morning off to schmooze with pilots before helping marshal aircraft leaving at the end of the fly-in. His purpose for coming to the flying: “See what’s going on, get the pulse of the community.”

The friendly welcome upon touchdown has set the atmosphere for pilots visiting into the evening at Indianapolis Regional. There’s no rush—just a bunch of laid back pilots taking in aircraft new and old, swapping stories, and sharing some of that warm Midwestern hospitality.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Upside down. A pilot walked away after a Cessna 180 flipped over after it was caught by a gust of wind when landing at Cameron Airpark in California’s El Dorado County, reports News10ABC. The pilot suffered only a minor injury.

Drone wanted! St. Louis police are searching for the owner of a $1,300 DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter with a camera that crashed into the Metropolitan Square building, the city’s tallest, reports Reuters. The FAA had been investigating the crash, as commercial use of drones is prohibited by the agency, but handed it over to police until they find more information on the crash.

Emergency landings. A father and son made an emergency landing in a field after their aircraft’s engine cut out before landing at Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Airport, reports KTVB-TV. A pilot ended up with stiches in his head but otherwise uninjured after crashing into a grove of trees near Caledonia, Minn., reports KELO-TV.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Birds are the problem, monkeys are the solution. Officials in China are using trained monkeys to knock down bird nests near a military airport to keep feathered friends away from the facility, reports AvWeb. The airport previously used humans for the job, but they were deemed slow and expensive. Two monkeys have managed to destroy 180 nests in only two months.

Helicopter to the rescue! A helicopter was used to remove a Taylorcraft aircraft that was pushed into trees by the wind shortly after taking off, reports KTUU-TV. The pilot of the aircraft was not injured.

All’s well that ends well. A pilot suffered minor injuries after his experimental aircraft crashed in a swamp near South Carolina’s Sumter Airport, leaving him trapped for seven hours before being rescued, reports the Sumpter Item.  And a pilot suffered nonlife threatening injuries after making an emergency landing on a Little League baseball field outside of San Antonio, Texas, reports the San Antonio News-Express.

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Fore! A Cessna CJ3 with three people aboard walked away after the aircraft overshot the runway at an aviation community near Daytona, Fla. ,and landed in a golf course water trap, reports AvWeb.

Is this your nosewheel? A pilot flying a Pulsar XO Series 1 homebuilt got a radio call from people at Bremerton National Airport informing him that the nosewheel of his aircraft had been found on the runway after takeoff, reports the Bremerton Patriot. When he returned to land, he touched down on his two main wheels. The aircraft was damaged, but the pilot wasn’t injured.

 

GA charities: Apply for the AOPA Foundation’s Giving Back grants

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The AOPA Foundation has opened applications for the second year of its Giving Back grant program. The effort was created to award grants of up to $10,000 to 10 nonprofit groups that perform charitable work through general aviation. In 2013, 10 very worthy groups received the grants.  Two of the organizations I recommened in a post last year won grants. Below are my suggestions of organizations who should consider applying for the 2014 awards.

  • Girls With Wings — Pilot and founder Lynda Meeks offers scholarships, female role models, and events across the country designed to interest women and girls in aviation.  A foundation grant would help Meeks give away more scholarshps. Read my AOPA Online story here on updates of past winners.
  • Vision of Flight – As a minority woman, I would love to see more people of color discover the joys of general aviation. To that end, Orlando-based Vision of Flight provides GA opportunities for economically disadvantaged youths. Read about their effort to honor the Tuskegee Airmen Red Tail pilots here.
  • Michigan’s Howell High School. The high school has partnered with Howell, Mich.-based Crosswinds Aviation and the local EAA Young Eagles chapter on an introduction to aviation program. I saw  Matt Dahline, owner of Crosswinds Aviation, at last month’s Sun ‘N Fun, where he was visiting Central Florida Aerospace Academy, an effort he hopes to replicate in Howell. And here’s a story I did on the current program.
  • Able Flight – This organization that provides full scholarships to teach those with physical disabilities how to fly. This is an organization that deserves every dime it gets toward its goal of transforming lives. They awared a record 14 scholarships in April, but the need far outweighs the resources.
  • A local chapter of the Ninety-Nines or Women In Aviation, International. I applaud the work that local chapters do in promoting aviation. The Ventura County, Claif., chapter of the Ninety-Nines partnered with the local EAA chapter to build a viewport and picnic area at Camarillo Airport. And the Atlantic Aviators, a a chapter of Women in Aviation, International based at New Bedford Regional Airport in Massachusetts, built a wonderful playground at the facility. Both of these efforts are good example of AOPA President Mark Baker’s objective to make general aviation airports welcoming and instruments to inspire a new generation of pilots.

The grants are available only to 501(c)(3) organizations, and not to individuals. Applications will be accepted through July 11, 2014. Winners will be recognized at a ceremony at the AOPA Homecoming Fly-In in Frederick, Md., on Oct. 4. So apply today!

Strange but true general aviation news

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Was that a beer can that just flew by? A promotional Budweiser Beer blimp that broke loose from its tether at an event in Saint John, New Brunswick, was found in a forest outside the city, reports CBC. Transport Canada issued a notice to pilots about the wayward blimp.

High-flying UAVs seek marijuana crops. If you’re illegally growing marijuana in the West Midlands region of the U.K., you may want to reconsider. The government is now using UAVs with heat-seeking cameras to find farms using hydroponic lights to grow their “crops,” reports the Halesowen News.

Speaking of UAVs A UAV operator in Springfield, Ohio, was arrested after his drone, while shooting video of a car accident, would not get out of the way of a medical helicopter trying to get to the scene, reports AvWeb. The man said he was going to give the video to a television station.

Water landing. A Swedish man survived his aircraft ditching into water off the Norrtälje municipality after he forgot to raise the landing wheens as he approached the water, reports The Local.