The Black Hole Departure disaster

A dark cloud has recently settled on the general aviation community from the fatal airplane crash of Babar and Haris Suleman. They were a father and son pilot team who were attempting to fly around the world. They had become popular through social media.

Followers of their journey wonder what happened that their Beechcraft could depart in ideal conditions — a 10,000-foot sea level runway at midnight — only to crash nose first into the inky black ocean seconds later? Speculation continues to light up many online forums, while the investigation remains ongoing. The leading theory is that they succumbed to the elusive and dreaded Black Hole Departure.

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An Alaskan adventure

Cirrus

“It’s like a magic carpet!” This is how my friend Wilma described the Cirrus SR22T on a recent trip from Seattle to Anchorage and back.

A few weeks prior to my departure, I was talking about my upcoming flight to Anchorage and Wilma asked if she could ride along since I would be flying solo. She is not only an accomplished pilot and aircraft owner, but also very good company. Having made the flight several times over the past three years, I knew the journey was better shared with another.

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Third-class medical reform caught in government maze

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It started two-and-a-half years ago and there is still no clear end in sight. It’s another example of apparent government slow — or no — action.

In March 2012, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) petitioned the FAA to reduce the requirements for a third-class medical certificate and permit certain types of flying with a valid automobile drivers’ license, much like the Sport Pilot license.

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$67.80 per hour for a C-172? Huh?

How’d you like to rent a Cessna 182 for $110 per hour? Or a Cessna 172 for $67.80 per hour or a Cessna 150 for $51.76 per your? Oh, and those rates include fuel. Did that grab your attention?

Ohio reader Thomas Root recently sent me a flyer from Galion, Ohio’s Galion Air that promotes its aircraft rental.

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Questions abound on FAA’s news about alternative fuels

gas-pump

Was it only me, or did anyone else find the press release by the FAA announcing that it has selected four fuels for further testing to replace 100LL this fall to be a bit peculiar?  In case you you missed it, the official press release from the FAA is here. Articles also appeared on this site, General Aviation News, and from the EAA.

None of the articles answered any of the obvious questions that came immediately to my mind, for instance:

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I just saw my future — I hope

Ivy and Savannah

The young lady in the photo is my oldest daughter, Savannah. An hour before I snapped this picture, she thought we were driving five hours to Spokane for a little father-daughter bonding at last month’s AOPA Fly-In. Nope.

Friend, General Aviation News columnist and Cirrus Sales Director Ivy McIver happily stuffed myself and Cirrus’ Director of Flight Operations Travis Klumb in the back seat of her SR-22T and took off for Spokane’s Felts Field (KSFF) for the fly-in.

Savannah wasn’t raised in an airplane as I was. But she has been flying with me several times in our friend’s J-3 Cub… and has loved every minute of it. But this experience was different. Very different.

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Leaders, followers, and picking your mission

Audry and Paul Poberezny

Like it or not, most of us are followers. That’s not a bad thing. It’s not a good thing. It’s just a thing. A description of the way things are. A stand-alone fact. Most of us follow someone else, a political office holder, an employer, a manager, a spouse.

Among us there are leaders, but they are few. I’m talking about real leaders, not people with a title and their name in gold leaf on a door. Real leaders are rare. Paul Poberezny was a leader. He founded the Experimental Aircraft Association in the basement of his home. It would be hard to find less impressive surroundings. Yet the humble address and the cramped workspace wasn’t the point. Paul had a message to share, a belief that he didn’t just espouse, he lived. Paul got a crazy idea in his head that people could, and maybe even should, build their own aircraft and fly them.

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The next decade of LSA innovation

At AirVenture Oshkosh this year, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) mounted a very visible celebration of Light-Sport or Sport Pilot-eligible aircraft. The exhibit drew dense traffic throughout the week by offering a large cross section of the aircraft types and configurations available since the FAA loosened its control over the process of approving new aircraft for sale to the public. It was the 10th anniversary celebration of Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft (SP/LSA).

EAA’s collection of aircraft tells only part of the story of what might be expected in a second decade.

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