The state of the state

While there’s no doubt the FAA has a lot of control over general aviation, what’s happening closer to home may be — ultimately — more important. Having a City Council or a state government that’s a fan of general aviation can make all the difference in the world.

Just ask Christopher Willenborg, administrator of the aeronautics division of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and chairman of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO).

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A type club for type clubs

Need some information about an SX300? Thinking of buying a Sonex or a Sportsman?

You can find a wealth of information on all these types — plus a whole lot more — through the Type Club Coalition.

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The future of fuel

“We have to stop loving the problem and just fix it.” Those words, spoken by Lycoming’s Michael Kraft at the 2010 AirVenture, may sum up best the quest to find an unleaded replacement for 100LL.

Ostensibly, the industry has been working since the early 1990s towards finding a solution, but efforts didn’t really get serious until a few years ago. [Read more...]

Airworthy AutoGas prepares for takeoff

Mark Ellery doesn’t understand why aircraft owners “want to purchase fuel at a higher cost” than what he pays for the autogas that fuels his Citabria.

“What I don’t understand is, given the imminent demise of 100LL, and given that autogas is suitable for use, and has been approved for use for over 30 years now, why on earth is all of the focus on identifying and certifying one fuel, 100UL, which, at the end of the day, really only serves 20% of the GA fleet? That sounds like the tail wagging the dog to me.”

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Beware the ‘Moose-spiral’

For pilots flying to Alaska for the first time, Mike Kincaid warns about the “Moose-spiral.”

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Veteran Alaskan pilot shares the lessons he’s learned

For John Davis, his storied career in Alaska as a Big Game Hunting Guide and bush pilot began when he was a sophomore in high school in his hometown of Quincy, Wash.

The natural-born storyteller, who just completed a book about his life called “My Memories,” recalls seeing a Piper Cub landing on a narrow gravel road on his family’s ranch. “I was impressed,” he says.

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Learning to ‘wear’ the airplane

After 10 years as a CFI in Alaska, Drew Haag of Above Alaska Aviation has this advice for pilots looking to take that trip of a lifetime: Get some training while you are visiting “The Last Frontier.”

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Alaskan Bushwheel: Helping GA pilots get to where they need to go

It’s an iconic brand: Alaskan Bushwheel tundra tires.

The tires are sold around the globe, but retain a special connection to Alaska, with Alaskan pilots making up about a third of the company’s customer base.

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Take off with X-Plane

As a college student, Austin Meyer was finding it difficult to keep up his instrument currency.

Like so many pilots at the time, he was using Microsoft Flight Sim, but “I wasn’t happy with its flexibility,” he recalled. “I was having a heck of a time passing my currency check.”

That’s when he turned his dorm room into a computer lab and created his own flight simulator, now known as X-Plane, which actually predicts how an airplane will fly.

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Working to save GA

Aviation faces some fundamental issues: While the FAA reports there were 41% fewer private pilot certificates issued over the last decade, Boeing is projecting the need for 460,000 new pilots globally by 2031. Meanwhile, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is reporting that up to 80% of student pilots drop out of training.

“It’s a mathematical equation that tells us that we have a real problem,” says Ravi the Raviator, a pilot and motivational speaker who has been named “Honorary Outreach Ambassador” by SUN ’n FUN.

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