It was a story that ended well. Aimee Turner and her seven-month-old son Benji had the chance to thank Rick Harvey, a Sunshine Coast AGL helicopter rescue crewman, for saving them from their rooftop during floods in Bundaberg, Australia, reports the Sunshine Coast Daily. It was only the second time Harvey had been reunited with people he had rescued.
What is WRONG with people? Two pilots found themselves facing a laser light in their cockpit as they were on final approach to Scotland’s Aberdeen Airport, reports STV News. Local police are now investigating the incident.
Another helicopter rescue. The Belfast Coast Guard rescued a man whose kayak capsized off Scotland’s Ayrshire coast, reports the Guide and Gazette.
This is a park I want to visit. The city of Greenville, S.C., has taken delivery of a Boeing 737 fuselage that will become part of a community aviation park, reports WYFF-TV. The project has become a labor of love for the city, including Greenville Downtown Airport, GE Capital Aviation Services, Aircraft Demolition, Paragon Building Systems, the Greenville Jet Center and Greenville Technical College’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology.
February 11, 2013 by Dave Hirschman, Senior Editor
Iran’s recent unveiling of what it claims is a new stealth fighter was supposed to instill fear in adversaries — but so far it’s mostly produced laughter and derision. Military aviation experts point out some of the craft’s many flaws: uneven coatings in the supposedly radar absorbent coating; terrible canopy optics, no head-up display (HUD), no weapons systems, and no actual jet engine. General aviation pilots also will note the avionics are mostly Dynon and Garmin units designed for the civilian market. (There are two small Dynon screens, one large one, a Garmin transponder and SL30 radio, an AvMap GPS, and what looks like a Bendix/King AV8OR touch-screen GPS. Of course, U.S. military pilots use commercial, off-the-shelf avionics from many of the same manufacturers. But Iran’s choice of the touch-screen GPS seems inspired. When Iranian pilots are shot down, they can still use the portable unit to walk home.
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?
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 Flyingmagazine. 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 HamptonRoads.com. The coach credits having use of a private airplane for his successful recruiting class.
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.”
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.
February 1, 2013 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot
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.
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 U-2? The good folks at the Jalopnikblog 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.
January 30, 2013 by Alyssa Miller, AOPA Online Managing Editor
Built in the 1940s, the Russian UTI MiG-15 trainer is a stick-and-rudder turbojet designed to train pilots for combat. This week, I’m learning the peculiarities of the way this early fighter flies with Larry Salganek, Jet Warbird Training Center owner and instructor, and FAA designated examiner based at Santa Fe Municipal Airport in New Mexico.
One of the features of the fighter not associated with the aircraft’s instability and handling characteristics is what gave me pause: Hot ejection seats. If the MiG were to go out of control and the aircraft couldn’t be landed, or we couldn’t bail out on our own, we could eject. Keep in mind, this was built it the 1940s. My ejection seat would be catapulted from the aircraft by an estimated 18-inch canister filled with gunpowder at a force of about 20 Gs. Most civilians who have had to eject from a MiG have not survived, Salganek said. The ejection seats are old, civilians don’t have a lot of training in ejecting, and often they are hesitant to eject and may wait too long.
Ejection, bailing out—that part of the pre-flight briefing always gets me (well, bailing out, as this is the first time I will have experienced flying an aircraft with a live ejection seat) when going on aerobatic flights. Watching how to jettison the door, making sure my parachute is tight, and learning how to open it after exiting the aircraft always causes a lump in my throat that stays until engine start and I re-focus my attention on flying.
I called a friend who flies aircraft with ejection seats for some advice, hoping to calm my nerves. His advice: Keep my hand away from the ejection handle. While one of the pins for the ejection seat will be removed before we close the canopy, a safety pin that goes through the handle to jettison the canopy and pull the ejection seat will remain in place. I would have to complete three steps to eject, so that pretty much rules out doing so accidentally.
Salganek, who has been doing this type of training for nearly 20 years, also put me at ease talking about how well the aircraft runs and its impeccable maintenance record. Watch for an upcoming story in AOPA’s print, online, and video publications to find out how the MiG flies and what it was like to sit on top an 18-inch canister filled with gunpowder for a 40-minute flight.
January 26, 2013 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot
Phil McCoy shows twin details
Phil McCoy, who is preparing to produce the Storm aircraft at Light Sport America in Bartow, Florida, found something unusual in the hanger he acquired for his factory; a very small twin-engine aircraft. It was built by the former occupant of the hangar, but will be developed and certified as the Derringer GB trainer by McCoy. It is expected to cost $130,000, and for the record, does not meet the limitations for certification as a light sport aircraft. It is powered by two 70-horsepower Volkswagen engines, but McCoy thinks he may have to change those to certified aircraft engines. It is claimed to cruise at 120 knots indicated airspeed.
It is reported to weigh 1890 pounds and carry 25 gallons of fuel, burning 6.4 gallons total for both engines. Click twice on the photo of a proud McCoy to read additional details. He was photographed at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.
I want my airplane back! Puerto Rican singer Noelia is accusing the Venezuelan government of “arbitrarily” seizing her private jet at Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas, reports Latino Daily News. She accused National Institute of Civil Aviation agents of extortion in apprehending the jet and has asked Venezuela’s vice president for its safe return.
It’s a novel form of a user fee. Indiana’s Putnam County Airport needs runway improvements and there’s not enough federal and state funding to make the repairs. So county officials are asking local residents to help raise the $27,000 needed to make the repairs by donating $5 a foot for the 5,400 foot runway, reports Indiana Public Media.
No more private jets — for now. The Nigerian government has stopped the country’s billionaires from importing private jets and helicopters until it develops a new policy on the practice, reports the Osun Defender. The newspaper says the Aviation Ministry has a four-month backlog of applications to import private aircraft.
Charter fight!! Rizon Air, a Qatar-based aircraft charter company is accusing flag carrier Qatar Airways of unfair competition, reports FlightGlobal. Rizon believes that Qatar Air is trying to promote its own charter company, Qatar Executive.
Washington Dulles turns runway into a parking lot. One of the runways at Washington Dulles International Airport was closed from Thursday through Tuesday to park 300 private jets that flew in for the president’s inauguration, reports CBS DC.