Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

December 20, 2013 by Benét Wilson

Talk about high flying. Two men who landed a private aircraft at Johnson City Municipal Airport are facing drug charges after a Drug Enforcement Administration agent found 75 lbs of marijuana aboard, reports the Times News.

He gets a double penalty. John Walsh, 46, faces trouble times two after he allegedly flew an unregistered LSA-type aircraft and flew with a falsified pilot certificate, reports AvWeb. He was using the vehicle and his fake license to to fly customers near Key Largo, Fla.

And here’s another double penalty. Paul Douglas Tharp, 53, has been charged with lying to the FAA about being a pilot and a mechanic, along with flying aircraft without a license, reports the Charlotte Observer. He is facing up to five years for each count of lying, plus three years for flying without a license.

Survival of the fittest. Juan Hernandez, Honduras’ ruling party presidential candidate, his wife and three members of his campaign team survived after his helicopter crashed on the way to a rally in Juticalpa, reports the Daily Times.  A pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Trussville, Ala., after losing power, reports WVTM-TV. A small aircraft made an emergency landing at the Fargo Jet Center after experiencing landing gear problems, reports WDAY-TV.

He couldn’t just use an axe? The Gizmodo blog reports (and posts video) of ace helicopter pilot Dan Clark using his rotorcraft to harvest Christmas trees.  “Oregon helicopter pilot ruthlessly owning inertia,” says Redditor coolmandan03.

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true aviation news

December 13, 2013 by Benét Wilson

Mice on a plane. The U.S. dropped 2,000 dead mice wearing parachutes onto Guam in a desperate attempt to eradicate the island’s  invasive brown tree snake, reports RT.com. The dead mice are filled with Tylenol, which is deadly to the snakes.

It’s raining parts? Residents in Seattle’s Gatewood claim that as a small aircraft flew over their houses, parts of its window fell on their roofs, reports KOMO-TV. One neighbor showed the parts to an aviation expert who confirmed they came from the aircraft.

Buying a piece of aviation history — on eBay. An AOPA member alerted us to the sale of a Rolls-Royce 593-610 Concorde SST Jet Engine on Ebay. As of Dec. 12 at 4:00 p.m. EST, the engine had 46 bids, and the current price was $20,100.

Waiting for the FAA.  A Mooney that made an emergency landing at Northeast Florida Regional Airport remained on the runway for an hour until FAA gave permission to move it, reports WTEV-TV. The pilot was uninjured after failing to lower the aircraft’s landing gear.

They just walked away. A pilot and his passenger made an emergency water landing on Ireland’s Lough Erne, where they were rescued by the country’s Maritime Rescue, reports the Independent.

We’ll end the week with this video that Flying magazine calls the “Coolest Instrument Approach Ever.” Enjoy!

 

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Airline’s interesting Christmas video

December 11, 2013 by Mike Collins

Disclaimer: This is not general aviation-related. But it’s aviation-related, and it’s worth watching.

Canadian airline WestJet apparently has a tradition of doing something big at the holidays–last year, it was a late-night flash mob in an airport terminal. This year, it’s…well, if I give away the story line, it’ll be a spoiler (and I don’t want to be accused of spoiling Christmas). Watch the YouTube video here.

Not only is the video well-produced, but it’s gone viral–with more than 6.5 million views on YouTube as of this writing. (The video’s only been online for three days.) If you want more, there’s also an outtakes and bloopers reel here.

Merry Christmas!

 

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

December 6, 2013 by Benét Wilson

He was just hanging out! A rare black rhino was tied by its ankles and transported by helicopter to its new home under the WWF’s Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, reports the Mirror. Helicopter is deemed the best way to get the beasts from KwaZulu-Natal region of eastern South Africa.

That airport car looks vaguely familiar. Pilots flying into Minnesota’s Milaca Municipal Airport now have access to a new crew car — a retired Dodge Charger police squad car, reports the Mille Lacs County Times.  The car can be used on a first come, first-served basis.

He just walked away. The pilot of a 1988 Laser managed to walk away after the aircraft cartwheeled to a stop near the Swanborough Farm Airstrip in Lewes, U.K., reports the Sussex Express. Investigators found that “the threads of the bolts holding a wheel assembly on had stripped and that the wheel probably came away when the aircraft took off,” the newspaper added.

All’s well that ends well.  A pilot and his passenger were not injured after the Beechcraft T-34C military trainer they were flying slid off the runway at Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, reports the Broomfield Enterprise. No injuries were reported after a a small, twin engine Beechcraft went off the runway at Tennessee’s Tri-Cities Regional Airport, reports the Times News.

 

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Christmas concerts with an aviation twist

December 5, 2013 by Mike Collins

You may have had friends e-mail you links to online videos showing so-called “flash mobs”–and maybe you’re already sick of them.

But if you’re not, watch this one, which shows the U.S. Air Force Band at the National Air and Space Museum on Tuesday. A friend who served in the Air Force shared it, and with great music in an interesting venue, it’s definitely worth watching.

If you live in or will be visiting the Washington, D.C., area, the band will perform a number of holiday concerts in the area through December 15. The full schedule appears on the band’s website.

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Giving Benet

It started with Gray Thursday, for stores that (foolishly) opened at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. Then we had Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday. So today, we’re at the second annual #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday was created to be a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season and as a way to celebrate and encourage charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations.

There are some great organizations out there doing a wonderful job of promoting general aviation and protecting our freedom to fly. So below are my 10 picks of groups I’m sure would love to have your #GivingTuesday donations.

  1. Because charity begins at home, I’m supporting the AOPA Foundation with a $50 donation. The courses it funds via the Air Safety Institute have be invaluable as I continue my flying lessons.
  2. Any organization that encourages more females to fly is worth supporting, which is why Women in Aviation International makes my list. I’ve been a member since 1996.
  3. Speaking of women, pilot and CFI Lynda Meeks is helping to encourage and grow the next generation of female pilots through her Girls With Wings organization.
  4. As the daughter and granddaughter of Air Force officers, I am a big supporter of all things military.  And the work being done by Veteran’s Airlift Command, which helps transport those injured serving their country, is worthy of our charity dollars.
  5. 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.
  6. Another group that helps people of color learn to fly is the Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Foundation. It offers aid to to assist financially disadvantaged and deserving students in the pursuit of their educational goals, preferably leading to careers in the fields of aviation, aerospace and science technology.
  7. The Air Care Alliance serves as a clearinghouse for groups offering humanitarian flying using volunteer pilots. Make a donation here, and they will make sure it gets to the right place.
  8. I guess that I’ve spent a good chunk of my life at both branches of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. This museum serves as the repository for the history of aviation and space, and is worthy of our continued support.
  9. The EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 1.6 million children — for free — since 1992. Many children were hooked after that first flight, and anything that encourages the next generation of pilots needs to be funded.
  10. Last — bur certainly not least — for my pick of organizations to be supported on #GivingTuesday is the Recreational Aviation Foundation. I had the chance to spend time with them during the AOPA Summit, and I really admire their efforts to keep recreational air strips across the country open for pilots and their friends and family to enjoy. Plus they got my award for one of the best fundraisers ever, which I wrote about for AOPA Online here.

So I hope you will consider donation to one or more of these worthy organizations on this second annual #GivingTuesday!

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Al Marsh

Flying motorcycle for Christmas?

December 2, 2013 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

PAL-VHere’s something no one on your list will have, especially since the PAL-V company isn’t delivering it yet. (I have an inquiry out to the company, and will update here as needed.) It’s the PAL-V Helicycle that is a roadable gyrocopter. When I wrote about it in 2012 it went only 68 miles per hour, but now it appears in the current Hammacher Schlemmer catalog as capable of 112 mph. Also, it was $250,000 when I reported on it a year ago, but the new price is $295,000 (that includes $6,770 in training and the rest must be a price increase). The company says it really doesn’t know anything about the gyrocopter and interested customers should contact the Netherlands company. (Hmm, I reported it as a French company in 2012.) Polite Hammacher Schlemmer reps won’t tell you on the phone the name of the company or where it is, but their Web advertisement includes a video that clearly announces the company name. The catalog ad says it weighs 1,499 pounds when it is a motorcycle. It claims you’ll need a sport pilot certificate to fly it, which no doubt will be yanked when the FAA discovers it weighs more than the 1,320 pounds allowed by the light sport aircraft category. When you Google the helicycle name, up comes a single-seat helicopter kit made by Eagle R&D in Nampa, Idaho. A representative there said they have no ties to the Netherlands (French?) company. Here are additional media photos.

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From 35 to 36, a dark afternoon aboard Air Force One

November 25, 2013 by Mike Collins

Like many, I spent some time last Friday watching coverage of the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas. However, I didn’t come across the article that I found most interesting about that day until this morning.

The October issue of Esquire magazine includes a fascinating story, “The Flight from Dallas,” which chronicles the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, aboard the modified Boeing 707 that then served as Air Force One–the apprehension, the fear, the loathing as the country abruptly transitioned from its 35th to 36th president. The text is a bit long, but goes quickly; don’t miss the part where the jet’s pilot, Col. James Swindal climbs higher than he’d ever flown before with Kennedy aboard to top tornado-spawning November weather over Arkansas and Mississippi. Read it here.

Built in 1962 as the first jet intended specifically for use by the president, the Air Force VC-137C aircraft known as SAM 26000 (Special Air Mission, tail number 26000) left presidential service in 1990 and was retired in 1998. It’s now preserved at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton.

 

 

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

November 22, 2013 by Benét Wilson

40 years later, the wreckage remains. The Jalopnik blog reports about the 40th anniversary of a U.S. Navy Douglas C-47 that ran out of fuel and crash on a beach in Sólheimasandur in Southern Iceland. The aircraft is still sitting on the beach after the military abandoned plans to remove the wreckage, located two hours away from Reykjavik. It has become a popular tourist stop.

It was the crash that wasn’t.  Local firefighters participated in a mock airplane crash exercise near New York’s Jones Beach, reports Five Towns Patch. The drill served as good practice in case of a real emergency at nearby JFK Airport, according to Lawrence-Cedarhurst Fire Department Deputy Chief Anthony Rivelli.

Do the crime, do the time.  A pilot and his passenger are facing two years in prison after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, reports FOX34 News. The drug was discovered after the pilot made a belly landing after a refueling stop at Texas’ Yoakum County Airport.

Happy landings. A pilot and his passenger escaped injury after their Piper aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing right after taking off from Blosser Municipal Airport in Kansas, reports the Salina Journal. A pilot made an emergency landing at Georgia’s Thomaston-Upson Airport as his ultralight’s nose gear collapsed upon impact, reports the Thomaston Times. Two survivors of a crash near Staniel Cay, Bahamas, were rescued by a U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter, reports the Las Vegas Sun.

 

 

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Benet Wilson

Strange but true general aviation news

November 15, 2013 by Benét Wilson

It’s a miracle. NBC News has exclusive video footage of what happened when two skydiving aircraft hit each other mid-air. It’s amazing that there were no fatalities among the nine skydivers and two pilots. One aircraft was destroyed, while the other only had damage to the propeller and wing.

It’s another miracle. Two men from Tasmania say they are lucky to be alive after they crashed their ultralight into the sea near Waterhouse Island, reports Yahoo News. The men clung to air matresses they packed and were eventually rescued by a police boat.

Here – take my private jets. The MLS soccer team the New England Revolution, in the middle of a playoff run, got an assist from team investor Robert and Jonathan Kraft. According to MLSSoccer.com, they loaned their personal jets to the team so it could cut travel times to a playoff game in Columbus, Ohio. Robert Kraft is also the owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots.

No please — take mine! Texas state Sen. John Carona (R-Dallas) loaned his corporate aircraft to  fellow Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) so the latter could campaign around the state, reports the Texas Tribune. Patrick is one of three candidates vying for the seat of lieutenant governor.

Come on — we all have to eat! The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team was on the way to Boston for the World Series when their charter jet was delayed for nearly seven hours. The passengers, stuck on the aircraft, were hungry and sent the message out via Twitter. Domino’s Pizza ended up dlivering 16 pizzas to the jet, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Let’s go to the video. A 16-year-old girl shot a video of a small aircraft as it did a hard landing at Oklahoma’s Wiley Post Airport, reports NewsOn6.com. The aircraft’s landing gear collapsed after touching the runway.

The last flight. A modified Douglas DC-9 that once flew as Air Force One and Air Force Two made its final flight, from Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to California’s Castle Air Museum, reports the Arizona Aviation Journal. The U.S. Air Force, which had been maintaining the aircraft, tried to sell it for $50,000 before donating it to the museum.

Emergency landings. A pilot walked away after making an emergency landing along a highway in Raymondville, Texas, reports FOX Rio 2-TV. A couple sustained minor injuries after losing power in their aircraft engine and landing in a park near Amarillo, Texas, reports WREG-TV. A pilot in his 80s managed to land his aircraft in a muddy field outside Robstown, Texas, reports KRIS-TV.

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