Reduce, reuse, recycle… hangars in this case

The great state of California reduced the number of general aviation airports in 2014 by at least one. Specifically, Rialto Municipal (L67) was shut down on Sept. 18 to make way for a 1,439-acre residential and business center. (I know, but don’t get me started…)

From the ashes of L67, nearby Flabob Airport (RIR) will reuse Rialto’s hangars. Flabob is just 8 nm on a heading of 169° from L67… as the homebuilt flies.

[Read more…]

Book: The Day I Learned To Fly

TheDayILearnedToFly.jpg

Do you remember being a kid? Do you remember running all over the neighborhood until you heard the faint voice of your mother calling you home? I sure do…

When I opened Jeffrey Kennon’s book, “The Day I Learned To Fly” and started to read, those long summer days of yesteryear came flooding back. [Read more…]

BoldMethod: The life of a 20-year-old banner tow pilot

Haley Howard is a CFI and banner pilot from Gulf Shores, Alabama. At only 20 years old, she’s already well on her way with 1,350 hours of flight time… not to mention her CSEL (Commercial – Single Engine Land), CSES (Commercial – Single Engine Seaplane), Tailwheel Endorsement, CFI-A (Certified Flight Instructor), and Instrument Rating,” reports BoldMethod‘s Swayne Martin. “Today, Haley spends much of her time flying banners in an American Champion Scout, owned and operated by the Shrimp Basket, a Gulf-State chain of seafood restaurants.” Read more about Haley’s life as a banner tow pilot at the BoldMethod website and an expanded first-person view via Martin’s “Share Your Story” feature on his website.

Letter or spirit of ADS-B?

ADS-B is a source of much consternation at the recreational end of general aviation. More accurately, ADS-B Out is the source. Actually, it’s the Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The very same mandate FAA Administrator Huerta has repeatedly stated will not be delayed.

Simply put, ADS-B Out — Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast — is a periodic broadcast of aircraft information (altitude, speed, position, etc.) to satellite and ground-based targets that allow other aircraft – if properly equipped – and ATC to see you. [Read more…]

25° nose down in Fat Albert

Here's what a 24-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.
Here's what a 24-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.

Here’s what a 25-degrees nose down approach to landing looks like from the cockpit.

In April of this year, I was lucky enough to be chosen to ride with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels support ship, a C-130 named Fat Albert. Not only did I get to ride in Fat Albert, I got one of the coveted cockpit jumpseats. Watching the crew perform… er, I mean fly, Fat Albert was a treat I’ll not soon forget. The above image is the view out the cockpit window on a 25° nose down approach to landing. If the photo isn’t enough, you can watch (or re-watch) the video below. [Read more…]

Can you ignore the ADS-B 2020 mandate?

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast Airspace Rule (§ 91.225) Diagram from Advisory Circular 90-114.

The Jan. 1, 2020 ADS-B mandate has a lot of aircraft owners wringing their hands and seeing red. For those of us at the recreational end of the aviating spectrum (which represents a great many aircraft), plunking down the money it’ll take to equip our aircraft to meet the mandate is not something we care to think about.

So that got me to thinking who the ADS-B Out mandate applies to? Do you fly in airspace that requires a transponder? If not, you might not need to equip for the mandate.

But that question and answer might be overly simplistic, so here’s a few more questions for you: [Read more…]

LA Times opines about Santa Monica Airport

We’ve been saying it for years. But it’s nice to hear the mainstream media pick up the argument. The Los Angeles Times editorial board said, with regard to Santa Monica Airport, “Open to private business and recreational aircraft, it relieves Los Angeles International Airport of some smaller plane traffic. Flight schools, airplane maintenance, charter jet businesses, and emergency and medical flight services all use it as a base.” The editorial goes on to address the safety concerns of neighbors with – are you ready for this – actual data. Well done LA Times.

Vanity Fair: The Human Factor

We typically steer clear of airline-related topics in General Aviation News. But for William Langewiesche’s feature – The Human Factor – on the Air France 447 in Vanity Fair, I’ll make an exception. As sophistication and automation in all aspects of aerospace has developed over the past few decades our role as pilots must be continuously evaluated. Langewiesche masterfully mixes re-telling the sequence of events that led up to the accident with airline industry analysis and inertia. As a pilot, the story wasn’t an easy read, but worth it. I hope you feel the same.

Is Facebook changing how you consume news?

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Facebook. It’s social. It’s mobile. It’s ubiquitous. It’s free. What’s not to love about Facebook? [That’s sarcasm, by the way.]

Facebook “drives up to 20% of traffic to news sites,” reports Ravi Somaiya in a recent New York Times story.

On the General Aviation News website, since the start of 2014, we’ve seen just under 20% of our traffic come from Facebook. Since Aug. 1, however, the percentage soared to more than 35%.

On Jan. 1 we had just north of 26,000 “likes” on our Facebook page. As I write this on Oct. 27, we have more than 187,000 “likes.”

a4e3cabab20a65370bdca853f9ad426aIn the popularity contest that is Facebook, we’ve passed Plane & Pilot, Flying Magazine, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and all the non-publication pages I found to track. Woo hoo…

There have been weeks that we’ve sent a ton of traffic to our own website, as well as those we link to. I have to admit, it is fun to receive a call from someone who thanks me for driving so much traffic to their website from a simple share on our Facebook page.

But Facebook is a fickle mistress. As quickly as she gives, she takes.

From the same New York Times story, “About 30% of adults in the United States get their news on Facebook, according to a study from the Pew Research Center.” And since the majority of people who read this aren’t in the news/media business, the second half of the paragraph is a throw-away, “The fortunes of a news site, in short, can rise or fall depending on how it performs in Facebook’s News Feed.” Or is it?

In isolation, the first part of the above quote isn’t particularly bothersome. However, there’s more: “Roughly once a week, Greg Marra, a Facebook engineer, and his team of about 16 adjust the complex computer code that decides what to show a user when he or she first logs on to Facebook. The code is based on ‘thousands and thousands’ of metrics, Mr. Marra said, including what device a user is on, how many comments or likes a story has received, and how long readers spend on an article.”

1e8246950a74b4eaed3388ca222a3de7For those of us with a Facebook Page, we can immediately impact a user’s news feed, if we’re willing to open our wallets. All any of us have to do is click the blue “Boost Post” button to reach more people. Disclosure I: We have not boosted any posts. Disclosure II: As a business owner, in the media business, the “Boost Post” button make absolute sense to me.

So, if you are one of the 30%-ers who get their news from Facebook, and don’t want to subject yourself to the whims of 16 Facebook engineers for said news, I suggest you sign up for a few subscriptions to the human-edited publications you enjoy and trust. [Yeah, I know that is a self-serving suggestion.] Whether it is General Aviation News, or BoldMethod, or EAA, or AOPA, or Flying, or Plane & Pilot, or The New York Times or [insert publication here] matters not.

Come to think of it, I found the New York Times story that inspired this column from a human edited newsletter called, Next Draft [tagline: The Day’s Most Fascinating News from Dave Pell.] May I suggest you subscribe.

RPA not UAV in GAN

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver - Drones

There isn’t anything unmanned about most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). There is a real, live human being attached (wirelessly) to that airborne craft.

That’s why General Aviation News will from now on refer to them as Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA). And we’re not the only ones weighing in on this discussion[Read more…]