Can aviation get its mojo back?

There was a time not so long ago when aviation was cool. It was hip. It was a celebrity in its own right.

Being photographed next to an airplane was a dream come true. Being one of the lucky few who got to actually fly from here to there, faster than any train or car could transport you, was treat that would be told and retold at water-coolers and cocktail parties and pretty much anywhere else people gathered. If you actually knew how to fly you were a virtual demi-god, celebrated by friends and neighbors. You were feted by family. Aviation was king.

It ain’t that way no more.

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Ask Paul: Does my engine need an oil filter?

Q: I just purchased a 1978 Citabria 7ECA with a Lycoming O-235-C1. Just had my first oil change done — it has no oil filter! Just one, maybe two, screens.  Are these screens just as effective if I change my oil every 25 hours?  Should I add an oil filter? Is that even possible?  I run Phillips X/C and CamGuard. Your thoughts?

Jimmy Schramm, Tampa, Fla.

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A quarter century of power

912iS engine

In 1989 something remarkable happened. You might remember the fall of the despised Berlin Wall that separated Germany. Certainly that was a remarkable event in human history, but it wasn’t the only noteworthy occurrence that year. Not far away in Wels, Austria, something else happened that, for pilots, was also important.

In 1989, Rotax Aircraft Engines introduced its 912 engine. [Read more...]

GA reluctant to jump on NextGen bandwagon

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The FAA needs to take speedier action, as well as assure pilots and aircraft owners that expenditures for equipment will not significantly change for general aviation to move ahead to prepare for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), members of Congress were told in a hearing held Wednesday by the House Committee on Small Business.

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Motivation, inspiration, and big ol’ dreams

I’ve just returned from a beautiful morning chat on my friend Ben’s front porch. Ben’s 87 years old. As a solid member of that group known as the greatest generation, he fills the bill well.

A southern boy born into hard work and low expectations, he went off to war as a young man in his teens. He found himself in the Pacific where he did things and saw things most of us would rather not know about.

But he soldiered on, did his duty, came home, went to college, and made quite a success of himself. In fact, he’s something of an institution in my neck of the woods.

Among Ben’s great contributions to the world is the love of flight a handful of middle-aged men share. [Read more...]

Welcome to the minority

When the topic of aviation comes up, it is almost a given that the conversation will come around to pilots. Even if the discussion isn’t about flying itself, the chatter still turns to pilots. Whether you’re interacting with an aviation-centric audience or a rabble that wants to shut down the local airport, the person most identified with the airport is a pilot.

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Business flying ticks up

Ed Bolen

Ed Bolen

Speaking at the opening session of the European business aviation conference in Geneva, held May 19-21, Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, said he is pleased all indicators are up for business flying.

Announcements of new products from Gulfstream and Dassault, Bolen said, are welcome signs of confidence of the underlying strength of the bizav industry.

Fabio Gamba, CEO of the European Business Aviation Association, echoed Bolen’s comments, stating that he believes the worst years of the global economic downturn are over. He predicted 2014 is going to be a “positive and exciting” year.

Safety focus of international conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Each year representatives from the FAA and other nations gather for an international aviation safety conference. This year the meeting will be held in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of the nation’s capital.

The importance of the meetings is expressed by the FAA in its statement on this year’s meeting: “In a rapidly changing aviation industry, we can never be complacent.”

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