Archive for the ‘General Aviation’ Category

FK Lightplanes

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Erin Weir No Comments

Read more at aopa.org

FK Lightplanes, one of the top small-aircraft manufacturers in Europe, has designed a FK51 70-percent replica of the famous P-51 Mustang using whimsy, a passion for flying, and a sense of humor. It weighs only 1,000 pounds (a limit for ultralights in Europe), has retractable landing gear (can’t do that in the American light sport aircraft world), and three very special details. You can see a video about it with designer Peter Funk of South Africa on bydanjohnson.com.

Detail one: the carbon-fiber airplane has 100,000 simulated rivets and screw heads in its molds, meaning the airplane appears to be made of metal. Detail two: when the pilot starts the aircraft, a sound system is automatically triggered playing a recording of the Merlin engine used by the real Mustang. The speaker is on the lower cowl disguised as a cooling vent. Detail three: puffs of smoke emerge from the fake exhaust stacks to add to the impression that this is almost the real thing.

Its aerobatic as heck, capable of plus 8 Gs and minus 4 Gs. So when can you buy this $130,000 aircraft? You can’t yet. In July final testing and approval will be done in Europe, with deliveries in late summer. Then FK Lightplanes, headquartered in Poland with a branch in Germany, will go to work making the airplane with fixed gear to comply with the American light sport rules, getting rid of the adjustable prop because it also isn’t allowed on light sport aircraft, and getting ASTM approval so it can be sold as a S-LSA light sport aircraft.

Dan Johnson, head of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association and owner of thebydanjohnson Web site, reports on this and other models displayed at Aero, the main airshow in Europe for lightweight aircraft. Check his May 8 story.

Connecticut Senate passes bill writing Wright Brothers out of history

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

We all grew up learning about the Wright Brothers and their place in aviation history.   Well, the Connecticut Senate passed a bill that would change that history!  They voted to give credit for the first powered flight, not to to Orville and Wilbur Wright as we have all learnt, but to Gustave Whitehead.

John Brown, an historian of aviation, claims he has photographic proof of Whitehead flying over Connecticut in 1901, putting him a full two years ahead of the famous Wright brothers flight.  The Wrights certainly were not the only ones to be testing the bounds of aviation at the time, but they were believed to be first to build a successful flying machine.

Since Brown’s photo surfaced a controversy has surrounded the subject.  However, most historians continue to believe that the first powered flight belongs to the Wright brothers.  It’s hard to know without being able to see all the evidence for ourselves, but I for one like to believe that the Wright brothers are deserving of their place in history.

Read more at www.foxnews.com

Finally, a successor to the Concorde takes shape

Posted on: June 24th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

It’s finally happening.  The successor for the Concorde is on its way. Fuji Heavy Industries Inc., and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and begun work on a prototype for a passenger plane which travels faster than the speed of sound.  The prototype will undergo testing later this year in Sweden.

The Concorde – the original supersonic passenger jet, which was put out of use ten years ago – got a lot of flack for how much noise it produced.   There is hope that this model could be up to 75% quieter than the Concorde.

Personally, I was a big fan of the Concorde and I’ve always been a bit sad that I never got to be a passenger on one.   Hopefully this will give me a second chance!

Read more at www.io9.com

#Avgeeks: The new warriors on terror

Posted on: June 19th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Meet a group of people who have taken plane spotting to a whole new level.  They call themselves the ORD Airport Watch, and they’re using their love of tracking aircraft to help protect you by working with the FBI, the Transportation Security Administration and others to stop terrorists at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Police spent many years in contention with plane spotters – especially after 9/11.   Police would feel they had to waste time making sure that plane spotters weren’t terrorists, while plane spotters would feel like they had to allude police.   However, this program aims to have the two work together.  The first such program was launched in Minneapolis in 2008 with only 10 volunteers.  Chicago’s program has 162 who have logged over 5,000 hours last year.  A similar program may soon be launched in Phoenix.

While these volunteers may be spending time doing something they really enjoy, they’ve also undergone strict background checks and diligently trained to notice and report suspicious behavior.   While they are plane spotting they must carry an ID badge issued by the police station and wear an official orange vest.

Ian Hardie, ORD Airport Watch President and former air traffic controller with the Royal Navy, feels that the program should be implemented across the U.S.  He helped create a similar program in Scotland.  Frank Soto, who is village president of Bensenville, claims the program has helped reduce crime by 6% in his area and other neighboring communities around the airport.  He thinks it may be responsible for reducing crime as much as 54% since 2009.

These kinds of programs are a win-win for everyone.  They allow plane spotters to do what they love while keeping an extra pair of eyes on the ground and helping everyone else feel safer.

Read more at www.cnn.com


“All You Can Fly” Concept About to Finally Take Off?

Posted on: June 14th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Surf Air is launching a revolutionary concept to passengers in California. For a monthly membership fee they will offer passengers unlimited flights between four cities in California.

The airline promises no hidden fees with their membership, and all members receive first-class seats and service along with their unlimited flights, along with complimentary guest passes (provided enough notice is given), no wait times at airport security, free parking at the airport and complimentary Internet.

At this time Surf Air will be servicing Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco.   They plan to expand service to several other California cities as well as Las Vegas.  Eventually they may include the Eastern corridor, Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and Florida.

This is a very interesting concept, especially with commercial airlines structured the way they currently are.  There seems to be a market for this, especially if Surf Air expanded their service or if similar services started to spring up.

Why smaller airports are shrinking

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Have you noticed? Since 2007 we’ve seen the closing of many smaller airports.  It’s easy to attribute this to the economy, but that isn’t necessarily the only reason, and it’s kind of a boring answer.

For many airlines, increasing fuel costs meant that shorter trips – like those usually made by small aircraft to small airports – were not as lucrative as they once were.  Rising fuel costs aren’t the only culprit.  Mergers with larger airlines (which focus on serving bigger airports in order to be cost-efficient) has also shifted focus away from small and medium sized airports.  Combine this with the fact that there has been almost a 9% drop in domestic flights from the U.S’s busiest airports since 2007, and the 21.3% decline we’ve seen at smaller airports in the same time makes a lot of sense.

Read more at www.economist.com

How human error can cause a plane crash

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

In April two pilots flying a Lion Air Boeing 737 into Ngurah Rai Airport undershot the runway and crashed into the ocean in Bali.  The investigation is still open, but preliminary findings did not find fault with the aircraft and suggest that it may have been a poorly trained pilot who made an error.

Pilot error is any decision or action that a pilot takes that leads to or plays a part in an accident.  It could be due to inebriation, inexperience, fatigue, operational problems, or perhaps even poor training.  In the the case of the Lion Air crash, a lack of training and inexperience both seem to have been factors.

According to Boeing, close to 80% of commercial airline accidents are cause by pilot errors.  There are no universal guidelines in place to reduce the chances of pilot error, though there are policies at every airline for how long a pilot can fly, how many co-pilots must be on-board, how many breaks they need to take, etc.  There are also varying requirements for hours of training needed before a pilot can obtain their licence.

Lion Air may need to be revising some of their guidelines set to prevent pilot error soon, or at the very least do more rigorous checking to see that their pilots have been properly trained.

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk


Find a Good Flight School

Posted on: June 5th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Finding a good flight school can be difficult.  There are so many different choices, at so many different price points, and varying qualities. If your goal is to become a professional pilot you need a way to find out which school can offer you the things that you need.

Private or Commercial? 

Your first step is to determine which type of license you’re after.  Do you want to fly commercial aircraft or fly small planes for fun? The time and money commitments are very different, as is the outcome.

Part 61 or Part 141?

Part 61 and Part 141 are the two types of flight school.  The number refers to the part of the Federal Aviation Regulation under which it operates.

A Part 61 school will give you more flexibility with your schedule.  However, it will also require more flight hours before you can obtain your license.  A Part 141 school requires 35 hours for a private license, while a Part 61 requires 40.  This doesn’t make a big difference for private licenses, but if you’re looking for your commercial license you’ll find that a Part 61 school requires 250 hours while a Part 141 school only requires 190.

Visit the School

How do you find out if you like the school you’re interested in?  Visit it! Tour the facility, talk with the instructor, talk to other students if you can.  Ask them about what they like and dislike, the teaching style, and any other questions you have.

Learn to Fly Locally

If you live near Lake Placid, NY, you might be surprised to find that flight instruction is available locally through Adirondack Flying Service at the Lake Placid airport.  You can choose the experienced instructor who best fits your personality and interests.  Give us a call if you’re interested in learning more.

Read more at blog.aopa.org


Pilotless flight trialled in UK shared airspace

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

In April of this year a Jetstream airplane became the first “unmanned” aircraft to fly through shared airspace in the UK.

The 16 seater aircraft carried no passengers, and take-off in Warton was handled but a pilot on board.  The remainder of the 500 mile flight to Inverness was handled by another pilot on the ground, overseen by the National Air Traffic Services.

During its journey it flew through airspace with passenger carriers.  The aircraft contained many on-board sensors to help it detect and avoid an hazards.

This could have very big implications for the future of aviation.  What kinds of passenger carriers will we see in the future? Will pilots even be necessary in the air?

Read more at www.bbc.co.uk

Youth Interest In Aviation Careers Holds Promise

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Erin Weir No Comments

Sadly the number of working pilots is currently on the decline, and we may be facing AMT shortages in the coming years, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t reasons to remain optimistic about young people interested in careers in aviation.

All over the country, there are tons of opportunities for kids to get interested in aviation careers, especially as summer approaches.

One such event was the “Wing Design Challenge” sponsored by NASA/Kentucky, The University of Kentucky Dept of Engineering, and the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education.  Twenty-five teams participated in the challenge where they design and build a wing, which is then judged and flight tested.

With great events like these going on, there’s no reason to feel that youth aren’t interested in aviation!

Read more at aopa.org/community