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.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

May 16, 2014 by Benét Wilson

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.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

May 9, 2014 by Benét Wilson

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.

 

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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!

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

May 2, 2014 by Benét Wilson

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.

 

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Jill Tallman

The beautiful B-17

April 29, 2014 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

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.

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Jill Tallman

Working hard for your first regional fly-in

April 25, 2014 by Jill W. Tallman, Associate Editor

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

April 25, 2014 by Benét Wilson

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.

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Ian Twombly

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

April 23, 2014 by Ian J. Twombly, Associate Editor

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.

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Goodyear narrows names for new airship

April 21, 2014 by Mike Collins


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.

 

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