Good riddance 2009!

Happy New Year! I’ve been waiting to say that for about six months now. While there is no guarantee 2010 will be any better than 2009, it always feels good to flip the calendar to a clean sheet, full of possibilities.

That said, looking forward I find loads of challenges (or opportunities if you prefer a positive outlook) ahead. The ongoing dialogue around the future of fuel, new pilot starts, the public perception of general aviation, amazingly insane proposed rules and regulations from the FAA, and aviation as a business are just some of what we’ll be discussing in 2010 and beyond.

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TSA a ‘substantial threat’ to GA


Aviation attorney Alan Armstrong warns that TSA ambitions still represent a “substantial threat” to the aviation community.

In his monthly newsletter, “FlightWatch,” Armstrong notes that while some members of the aviation community congratulate themselves and each other based on the belief that threats represented by the TSA to the general aviation community are subsiding, he does not agree with their assessment.

“If you think the TSA is getting out of the general aviation business, please consider the following:

1. There have been seven initiatives in either the House of Representatives or the Senate to ameliorate abuses inflicted by the TSA on general aviation based upon the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), Security Directives 8F and 8G, and the TSA’s classified document, “Operation Playbook.” Not one Congressional initiative has been passed, and nothing has been submitted to the President to ameliorate abuses of civil liberties previously enjoyed by members of the general aviation community.

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For sale: Cornelia Fort Airpark

The owner of the Cornelia Fort Airpark (M88) in Nashville is trying to find a buyer for the 65-year-old private airport after its bank canceled the company’s operating line of credit, according to a story at

The story quotes Ernest “Bill” Colbert, president of Colemill Enterprises Inc., which owns and operates the airport, who says that at least two potential buyers have expressed an interest in the facility. He declined to identify them but said a sale could occur within a few weeks. Colbert, 88, has operated the airport for the past 50 years.

Centennial Aircraft: A new look and a new direction


Centennial Aircraft, which has won numerous awards over the years for restoration and repair of vintage and classic antique aircraft, is focusing its efforts on what it knows best: Vintage and antique aircraft.

jpegThe company, a subsidiary of WACO Classic Aircraft, has unveiled a new logo and a new website to reflect its new direction as a restoration and brokerage company for vintage and antique planes.

For more information: or 269-565-3200.

Rotax 912 Gearbox Puller available


Don’t take chances when removing the gear box from your Rotax 912 or 914 engine. California Power Systems’ puller pulls the most stubborn gearbox without risking damage to the expensive gear housing, according to company officials.

pullerJust remove the rack of fasteners on the perimeter of the box. Install the puller with the hardware provided to the existing bosses on the housing and use the slide hammer to apply inline force to break the seal and remove the entire gearbox.

Custom yoke supplied is ¼-inch plated steel that straddles the prop hub making for a tight slightly off center pull. Yoke includes all attaching hardware. Slide hammer can be unscrewed from yoke for easier mounting

Complete Puller Kit: $84.95.

For more information:

Kelly Aerospace Turbine Rotables acquired by First Aviation Services

First Aviation Services Inc. (FavS) has acquired the assets of Kelly Aerospace Turbine Rotables, Inc. (KTR). KTR is an FAA Certified Repair Station in Wichita that provides overhaul, exchange and repair services for components such as flight controls, landing gear, lighting, oxygen and hydrostatic components, braking systems and actuators. First Aviation will continue to operate the business under the name of Aerospace Turbine Rotables with an expanded emphasis on landing gear systems and hydraulics.

For more information: or

High-speed taxi bends airplane

This December 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Location: El Cajon, Calif. Injuries: None. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot was practicing touch-and-go takeoffs and landings during her second solo flight. She completed three landings. On the fourth one, her approach speed was higher than normal. She landed the airplane and rolled out on the runway. The airplane was still rolling fast when she attempted to turn onto a taxiway. She could not keep the aircraft on the taxiway. The airplane went off the pavement and into a ditch, where the left wing hit the ground. The impact bent the outboard two feet of the wing as well as the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator.

Probable cause: The excessive speed while turning off of the runway, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control and collision with the ditch.

For more information:

Flying the Flight Design CTLS

Flight Design CTLS


Two-place airplanes are often used as trainer aircraft because they are less expensive to rent than four-place designs. Yet once that private pilot ticket is in your hand, you may look for a larger airplane for cross-country flights because a two-place is just too cramped to be comfortable over long distances. But that won’t be a problem should you opt to fly the Flight Design CTLS.

Flight Design is the most successful of the LSAs, capturing 17.5% of the market with 295 flying in the U.S. as of last August, according to figures compiled by LSA guru Dan Johnson.

I had a chance to fly the CTLS at last year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., known as the nation’s premiere LSA event.

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