How you can prepare for the end of 100LL

I am constantly asked what we can do to prepare for the coming fuel debacle if no timely replacement for 100LL is found.

Work on our aviation alphabets to support two pumps on every airport selling fuel.  Some 20 years ago, this was mostly the case.  What is ironic is that in the proposals the aviation alphabet groups have published, or talked about publicly, they admit that they will probably need a two fuel solution, especially during any transition from 100 LL.

We propose that aviation quit being so proud and independent and start acting like the ethanol industry.  Ask Congress for subsidies and tax credits.  The ethanol industry has been getting them for 30 years.  They have generous tax credits for gas station infrastructure upgrades for E85.  Why can’t the touted General Aviation Caucus in Congress pass generous tax credits for adding fueling infrastructure on our public use airports?

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More on the Death of Common Sense


Re: The Death of Common Sense: Common sense has been driven out of most airports, but it does still exist here in the boondocks. If the runways are grass — or dirt — and the aircraft do not have radios, or they are not used too much, and the pilots cannot tell you what the instruments actually said when they were flying — only that the gauges were all in the green and things sounded right and the pilot had all the passengers looking for traffic and if the sun was out and the aircraft occupants saw their shadow on the ground with no others near and the pilots all made sure they did not run into anyone or anything in front of them, then common sense is present and accounted for.

But don’t tell anybody or they will come and see the busy traffic pattern and declare that a control tower is needed, so one is put in, like the one years ago in North Oklahoma City, which forced all the small airplanes to move to an uncontrolled field, which resulted in too little traffic to justify a tower but it was not removed.

When common sense is forced out by regulations —- or any other cause (I won’t say reason) — you get what you described. I really believe the situation could be reversed.

BOB PARK, via e-mail

AERO Friedrichshafen 2010

Mockup of the Elektra One from PC-Aero, a serious contender for the $1.5 million NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge 2011.

Showcased at this year's AERO was the Millenium Master, new Italian/German 180-mph cruise Rotax-powered composite tandem.

Located on the shores of emerald-green Lake Constance, whose clear waters originate in the nearby Swiss Alps, AERO Friedrichshafen is Europe’s largest trade show dedicated to general aviation.

It is also my second home, having worked as an aerodynamicist for the German aircaft maker Dornier in the 1980s. Since marrying a Lake Constance fräulein in 1982, I’ve had the pleasure to make annual visits since then to what is one of the most beautiful spots on the planet, made even better for pilots by a rich aviation heritage that includes names such as Zeppelin, Dornier, Pilatus and even Learjet, whose original design was developed by Bill Lear working with engineers at Swiss FFA, located across the lake in Altenrhein.

AERO 2010, held this year April 8-11, was once again a showcase for new aircraft and technology across the entire spectrum of general aviation, from foot-launched gliders to trikes, European-made ultralights and Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), rotorcraft, twins, turboprops and bizjets. [Read more…]

Skykits opens new facility in Tennessee

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Skykits Corp. has opened a new $2.5 million manufacturing facility at Henry County Airport (PHT) in Paris, Tennessee.

Skykits began selling kits and manufacturing ready-to-fly airplanes in Canada in 2004 from designs produced by an Italian company, ICP Srl. “After several expansions in Canada, a move to the U.S. was the next logical step because most of our airplanes went south of the border,” company officials said, adding Tennessee was chosen because of the state’s strong commitment to aviation.

The final phase of construction was completed last week with the addition of a specially designed paint booth. The new facility encompasses 22,400 square feet and includes a showroom, classrooms and manufacturing and final assembly areas.

Skykits specializes in all-metal, short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft. It has five approved S-LSA models, four of which are available as E-LSA kits.

For more information: 731-642-1995 or

Largest online collection of aviation images launches

This photo of a Piper J-3 Cub is just one of thousands recently uploaded to Flickr by the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum (SDASM) has launched what could possibly be the largest online collection of aviation images in the world.

By using, the entire SDASM Library & Archives digitized photo collection will eventually be viewable via the Internet anywhere in the world. To date, 64,000 images have been uploaded, and more than 100,000 digitized images should be online before the end of the year, museum officials said. The aviation-related subjects include foreign and domestic military and civilian aircraft, the Flying Tigers, aviation-related biographic photos, the Ryan Aeronautical Archive, and the Pacific Southwest Airlines archive. The project, with assistance from the Balboa Park Online Collaborative, has been made possible by a grant from the Legler Benbough Foundation.

This photo of a Piper J-3 Cub is just one of thousands recently uploaded to Flickr by the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

The images can be tagged or commented upon by the viewing public to add information to the data on each image. All of the images on the site are available for purchase in high resolution for publication or personal use.

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‘The Last Time’ plans record-setting DC-3 flight


The world’s largest reunion of Douglas DC-3s since World War II, dubbed “The Last Time”, has appointed eight industry experts to assist in the planning for an historic and world record-setting formation flight. Not since D-Day in 1944 and the invasion of France have this many vintage aircraft planned to operate together in flight, organizers say.

Overseeing the flight operation to ensure the highest level of safety are Mike Filucci, Project Lead, Terry Calloway, Jim Goolsby, Dave McGirt, Ken Terry, Sherman Smoot, Pat McGinn, and Jon Goldenbaum. Together, these individuals have logged more than 163,000 hours.

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Lee appointed to CAP Board of Governors


One of the Civil Air Patrol’s longest-serving and most active members, Lt. Col. Edward F. “Ned” Lee of the California Wing, has been appointed to the nonprofit, all-volunteer organization’s Board of Governors.

In his 40-plus years as both a CAP cadet and senior member, Lee – a retired Army National Guard infantry officer and presiding California Superior Court judge – has supported all three CAP missions – cadet programs, aerospace education and emergency services. “I started as a cadet airman and worked my way up the ranks of Civil Air Patrol,” said Lee. “I will use that experience to represent all of CAP’s 59,000 members in the field.”

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MIT-led team designs ‘green’ airplane

An MIT-led team has designed a green airplane that is estimated to use 70% less fuel than current planes while also reducing noise and emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx).

The design was one of two that the team, led by faculty from the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, presented to NASA last month as part of a $2.1 million research contract to develop environmental and performance concepts that will help guide the agency’s aeronautics research over the next 25 years. Known as “N+3” to denote three generations beyond today’s commercial transport fleet, the research program is aimed at identifying key technologies, such as advanced airframe configurations and propulsion systems, that will enable greener airplanes to take flight around 2035.

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Redbird Flight Simulations becomes GAMA’s newest member

The board of directors of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has approved Redbird Flight Simulations as its newest member.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Redbird Flight Simulations was created by a team of computer industry veterans in 2006. The company develops and manufactures a line of aircraft simulation tools and training devices that utilize the latest in software and video graphics technology. Its product line includes motion simulators, stationary and table mounted flight training devices, and crosswind trainers.

For more information:

eBook bundle introduced


In the spirit of International Learn to Fly Day, ASA’s new eBook bundle is an introduction to the world of flying and flight training for prospective pilots.

The bundle includes eBook editions of “You Can Fly!” by authors Greg Brown and Laurel Lippert, and the FAA’s Student Pilot Guide. The books are a complementary duo offering information for those that have dreamed of flying but didn’t know where or how to start, or what to expect along the way, ASA officials said. Frequently asked questions are explained colorful illustrations.

The eBooks are published in the .epub file format, which is compatible with many eBook readers. Stand-alone applications such as Stanza can also be used to view .epub files on mobile digital devices as well as Windows and Macintosh computers. Price: $9.95.

For more information: