Presence of mind

The first time I took the aircraft controls away from a copilot, it was from a Marine Corps aircraft commander. He’d flown in Iraq. He’d balanced his Sikorsky CH-46 Sea Knight transport helicopter — a twin-rotored behemoth — off the edge of a San Francisco high-rise while troops “on exercises” stormed out the back.

Me? I’d gotten my private helicopter license less than three weeks earlier in a Robinson R-22, a runt of an aircraft — the same helicopter we were now flying along the LA coast.

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Our contradictory spectacle

It was an epiphany. Not to the extent of Archimedes jumping from the tub and running through the streets naked. For one thing, I was having lunch, not a bath. For another, I was not naked at any point during this story. And as many will attest, my running days are far behind me.

Still, the idea popped into my head fully formed. It was complete and self-contained. It was this: We, the aviation community, are pioneers of an evolutionary step in human history that most of the populace isn’t ready for yet.

Yeah, I know. It sounds self-serving and conceited. But it’s true. And we owe this revelation to monster trucks, NASCAR, and the Colosseum in Rome.

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What’d you say?

Several years ago I had the great pleasure of being a restoration specialist at Tom Reilly’s Warbird Museum in Kissimmee, Florida. It was there I got to put my Airframe and Powerplant certificate to work rebuilding a B-17, maintaining a trio of B-25s, beginning the restoration of a P-40, and generally fiddling with some really amazing aircraft.

Even better than working on the aircraft was the chance to meet and make friends with some truly talented and dedicated folks. Our crew came from all over the map. [Read more…]

Why hasn’t FAA acted on ADS-B loan guarantee for GA?

Graves

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Why has the FAA not taken action on implementing a loan guarantee program for general aviation to prepare for the mandate for ADS-B equipment three years after Congress passed a law approving it? That is a question Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who chairs the Committee on Small Business, asked in a recent letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

During a hearing in June before the committee, Huerta said lack of appropriations was a reason for the failure.

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Flying the Searey

Searey Feature

I’m retired, so officially every day is a day off. But I do a lot of writing and lately, I’ve been looking for a little more fun in my new home state of Florida. Last week, I kicked around some boat clubs and breezed through the sailboat ads. Then, my EAA chapter emailed that Searey was bringing its seaplanes to the Spruce Creek Fly-In community.

I loved the pilots-eye video of flying this most successful LSA seaplane. I wanted to know more. So I went to the company, based in “America’s Seaplane City” of Tavares, Florida.

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Ask Paul: Tips to troubleshoot high oil temps

Q: I have a 1998 Maule with an O-360 engine. I have the original needle oil temperature gauge, as well as a JPI-730 engine analyzer, and they both read the same temperature during all phases of flight.
My annual was completed a few days ago and the first thing I noticed was that the original oil temperature needle would initially fluctuate (never happened before) and then settle down, and when airborne it was at least 45° higher than the JPI-730.

I brought the plane back to the IA and he tightened the probe connection on the engine, but the temperature split is the same. Is the original oil temperature gauge adjustable?

ROBERT BLAKE, via email

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The story behind Aeroshell’s iconic cow poster

Full Poster

As many of you read this, you may be on your way to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, slated for July 28-Aug. 3. I hope to be there this year and may see some of you.

I always enjoy Oshkosh, but one of my best memories is of the 1993 Aeroshell Speed Dash and the world-renowned cow poster. If you have not seen a cow poster, you’ve missed the absolute peak of general aviation advertisement. How it happened is another story.

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Celebrate ourselves

When Orville and Wilbur Wright wandered out onto the dunes of Kill Devil Hills to make their first powered flight, there were no crowds of well wishers cheering them on. Reporters were elsewhere covering stories that seemed more important than two odd ducks trying to do the impossible.

Their greatest moment happened in almost complete isolation. Yet they persisted and succeeded not for the fame, but for the opportunity to prove their point.

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Texas search group to continue using drones despite FAA court win

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA says a recent court decision regarding the use of drones has no bearing on the agency’s ability to regulate the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), but a Texas organization that brought the action plans to continue using UAS without approval from the government office. Texas EquuSearch had sued the FAA seeking to overturn an order the agency emailed to it in February prohibiting the use of drones.

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