AOPA launches first member fly-in this Saturday

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world’s largest member-aviation organization, will host the first of seven fly-ins for 2014 at San Marcos Municipal Airport (KHYI) on Saturday, April 26.

Hundreds of aircraft are expected in San Marcos, and also at nearby New Braunfels Airport (KBAZ), the fly-in’s reliever airport with shuttle bus service to San Marcos.

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Powering Imagination teams with Embry-Riddle to create electric flight program

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Powering Imagination have entered into an agreement to create an electric flight program focused on reducing aircraft emissions and noise through development of electric propulsion systems.

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German government funds research to increase GA cabin safety

The German Ministry of Economic Affairs has granted funding for a research project that aims at developing a modular “SafetyBox” cabin safety system for light aircraft.

The new system will provide a safety cage around the occupants of an aircraft, supported by crash-optimized ergonomic designs and enhanced fire protection concepts.

The concept goes significantly beyond current aircraft designs, where the certification requirements ask for consideration of certain crash accelerations to the seat and restraint system, regardless of the capability and level of energy absorption of the surrounding fuselage cell.

With the new approach in this research program, the SafetyBox project team is optimizing the interaction of all the available elements in the early design phase of an aircraft. This will lead to a system of multiple modular elements that can be tailored to multiple applications in various aircraft designs.

The SafetyBox project team has selected Flight Design’s new C4 (pictured) as the first aircraft for the application of the system. Development times of the SafetyBox system match naturally with the development times of the C4 project, which makes this a natural initial project, according to company officials.

The full development will culminate in full scale crash testing of a completed aircraft under controlled conditions, planned for Summer 2015, to validate the suitability of the new system.

The application is not limited to Flight Design products. The system is designed as a modular system and will be offered to other aircraft manufacturers on the market.

The funding has been granted by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs. The application activity was launched by NorLiN Northern Lightweight Design Network of Hamburg, and involves development partners Autoflug GmbH, Flight Design GmbH, Silence Aircraft GmbH, Titan Präcis Metallurgie GmbH, HAW Hamburg – Department Fahrzeugtechnik und Flugzeugbau together with iDS Hamburg, and Faserinstitut e.V (FIBRE). The project is coordinated by Faserinstitut Bremen e.V. (FIBRE).

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Mission Aviation Fellowship finalist for Lightspeed award

Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is one of 15 nonprofit organizations named as finalists in Lightspeed Aviation Foundation’s Pilot’s Choice Awards. The charities are competing for grants based on the number of online votes each receives.

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First-ever California Pilot Safety Tour takes off is touring Central and Northern California in the next week providing free FAA Wings Safety Classes and safety information from Camarillo to Eureka.

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Cessna celebrates 100th Grand Caravan EX delivery

Cessna is celebrating the milestone delivery of the 100th Cessna Grand Caravan EX.

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Take Flight 5K at GMU

The annual Take Flight 5K will take to the runway at the Greenville Downtown Airport (GMU) in South Carolina on May 24.

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Continental exports flight training model to Europe

After a year and half of testing its dual site flight training approach, Zulu Flight Training is exporting its model to Europe.

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The importance of the preflight


I have been following the story about the 15-year-old boy from San Jose who stowed away in the main landing gear wheel well of an Hawaiian Airlines B767 going to Honolulu. Here is one amazing aspect of this whole thing — and I am not talking about how the teenager survived the flight. It’s the breakdown in the chain of security that has me wondering where the pilots were in all this.

All of the reporting I have seen has been discussing airport fencing, TSA surveillance and the like — completely missing or overlooking the fact that the flight crew was really the last line of defense in this situation.

Let me explain. Flight crews of big jet airliners are suppose to do preflights just like any general aviation pilot does on his plane, whether it be a little piston popper or a jet.

It is obvious this Hawaiian Airlines crew did not or could not have done a thorough preflight inspection of this B767 without seeing this teenager in the wheel well. Airliner wheel wells have excellent lighting, so even in the dark a person could not be missed in one.

Preflights are done on airliners within one hour of departure and that teenager had to be up inside of that wheel well long before one hour prior to departure time in order to have not been noticed.

I started out with Western Airlines at LAX in 1976 as a flight engineer on the B727-200 and was captain on several planes before I was done. Guess what? I never could get away from doing preflights.

I did them as a flight engineer and later as a first officer and captain on two pilot airliners like the B767. On the two-pilot jets we would take turns with the captain doing one preflight and the copilot doing one. We called them walk arounds and they are done before every takeoff.

Trust me it would be impossible to miss any person hiding in a wheel well if a pilot was doing a preflight like it is supposed to be done.

As far as jet airliner wheel well preflights go, the pilot is supposed to walk up inside of the big wheel well and inspect for hydraulic leaks and to make sure fluid and quantities are normal (fluid reservoirs and gauges are located in wheel wells) and that gear doors and the landing gear and tires are all up to speed.

Please explain to me how any preflight, even one done in a hurry, could miss a person in a main landing gear wheel well? Yet I have heard not a word about this angle when it is obvious that the flight crew, as in many cases, was and is the last line of defense in airline security and safety.

Currently I ferry all kinds of planes all over the world and I am not only doing preflights I also do a post flight. Guess what? Airline crews are supposed to do post flights as well.

My post flights are like quick preflights, looking mainly for hydraulic or oil leaks or anything obviously wrong. The sooner I find a problem, the sooner I can make arrangements to deal with it.

Let’s be careful out there folks and not slack off on the everyday mundane tasks, no matter what type of planes we fly!

Michael Magnell is owner of TransOceanic Aircraft Ferry.

Environmental groups file yet another anti-avgas petition

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three environmental groups filed a petition April 22 asking the Environmental Protection Agency to take action against the continued use of leaded aviation gasoline.

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