Flight into the future


A cool website to check out is Octuri.com, developed by Laurent Barrou, which details several “Aircraft of the Future,” including a flying yacht (pictured), sailing airplane, honeymoon space shuttle and flagellum oscillator.

While his day job is as an an interior designer for a plane manufacturer in Toulouse, France, he’s also been asked to exhibit his futuristic designs at the Air & Space Museum in Paris.

JFK Jr.: 10 Years After the Crash


Book Review By DREW STEKETEE © 2010 All Rights Reserved

Seeing “10 Mistakes JFK, Jr. Made” in a pilot magazine, I wanted to read this “pilot’s perspective” on the infamous July 1999 crash. The book, “JFK, Jr. — 10 Years After the Crash, A Pilot’s Perspective,” is the result of 10 years of research by Dr. Douglas Lonnstrom, a GA pilot and college professor.

Is it really for pilots or just by a pilot? There is much to recommend this small book, despite lengthy sections of mostly general interest and a glossary clearly for non-pilots. In fact, that reader might well ask if a better general account had already been penned by the social historians, Kennedy insiders and news reporters that Lonnstrom read.

[Read more…]

Cirrus and the search for 100LL’s replacement

As the industry scrambles to find a replacement for 100LL, officials at Cirrus Aircraft weighed in recently on what it’s doing to ensure its customers can continue flying. In a letter posted at CirrusAircraft.com, President and CEO Brent Wouters notes that while the company supports the transition to unleaded fuel, “Cirrus Aircraft does not believe that a 94UL solution is desirable for its owners or the health of the industry, and will strive for a better replacement fuel.”

The letter outlines the company’s take on several alternatives, including Swift fuel and GAMI’s G100UL, but also notes there are “many issues beyond simply octane rating,” such as “operation at temperature extremes, fuel stability over time, health and safety aspect of the fuel and its combustion products, material compatibility, ‘producibility’, cost and so on.”

[Read more…]

WASPs honored at museum gala

WASPgroup1 2

Six WASPs (Women’s Air Force Service Pilots) of World War II were recently recognized at the Museum of Flight’s Hangar Gala at Seattle’s Boeing Field. In addition to the WASPs, the gala was held to recognize the anniversary of the B-17, built at the Boeing plant in Seattle. The WASPs (each wearing a red ribbon holding their Congressional Gold Medal) are (left to right) Josephine Swift, Betty Dyboro, Enid Fisher (in wheelchair and who died two days after the ceremony), Dorothy Olson, Mary Sturdevant and Nancy Dunham. (Photo courtesy Museum of Flight)

For more information: MuseumOfFlight.org

A few words in the first person

One of the great advantages of a blog is the immediacy it offers both the reader and the writer. Unlike a traditional article published in the hard-copy version of a publication, the blog format allows for rapid feedback from readers, in the form of comments and e-mails.

In my case, I can tell you with absolutely no shame that I am a writer with just enough of an ego to enjoy the comments and e-mails that Politics for Pilots elicits. From my perspective, there is benefit in that feedback, on both ends of the communications stream.

I recently received an e-mail from a reader who asked a very reasonable question. To paraphrase, he asked: What do you personally do to enhance and encourage the use of your local airport? It’s a fair question. And one that I should probably address more directly at times. So let me take a whack at answering that question in public, hopefully for the benefit of all concerned.

To be perfectly honest, I take my own advice. When I write a piece suggesting an approach to making progress on behalf of the airport, it is almost always a third person generic report on something I have personally done in the past. But let me provide a specific example of how that works for me. [Read more…]

Know when to crow

"Michelle Bostick, (left) and Jo Alcorn (right) accept well wishes from student pilot Madie Beckett as they prepare to depart home in order to participate in the 2010 Air Race Classic in their C-172 dubbed, City of Winter Haven."  Photo by Joy Townsend

To at least some degree we pilot types have gotten a bad rap. More often than not I find that we’re characterized as whiners, babies, rich guys who want everybody else in town to pay for their playthings. And while I disagree entirely with that perspective, I can completely understand how we came to earn the reputation.

The non-pilot community only hears about the pilot community when we want something. They rarely hear about Young Eagle flights, Angel Flights, or any of the other altruistic, supportive things we do in our communities. Pilots only make the paper when we want something, or when we make a deep impact in the earth. In either case, the slant the public sees in the news is not in our favor.

In order to be truly successful in the long term, you have to know how to crow when the time is right. And the time is right for every airport, and every pilot at some point. So sing the praises of your home field when you can. Promote the accomplishments of your fellow pilots. Make the papers and spread the word. Aviation has an up side that everyone can enjoy, even from the safety and security of their breakfast table.

Michelle Bostick, (left) and Jo Alcorn (right) accept well wishes from student pilot Madie Beckett as they prepare to participate in the 2010 Air Race Classic in their C-172 dubbed City of Winter Haven."Photo by Joy Townsend

The latest crowing I got to do was just this morning, when the city commissioners, city manager, airport manager, and a solid selection of my municipality’s management staff made their way to good ‘ol Gilbert Field to send off two sharp dressed women in bright pink shirts to battle their way through four days of hard flying as competitors in the 2010 Air Race Classic. [Read more…]

CT LSA used to measure volcanic ash


An ash probe was added to the CT.

A specially equipped Flight Design CT Supralite from a German company, UL GmbH is being used by the Duesseldorf Technical University’s Department of Volcanology to study airborne ash from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland. To allow higher altitude measurements, the CT Supralite was equipped with an oxygen system. Supralite is a version of the popular CT series sold in Europe.

[Read more…]

NextGen lab opens

The NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability (NIEC) display area at the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center opened June 7.

The NIEC is a research platform where scientists will use simulation to explore, integrate and evaluate NextGen concepts, including area navigation (RNAV), trajectory-based operations, flying unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the national airspace system (NAS), and more, according to FAA officials.

[Read more…]

Coalition asks for avgas extension

Leaders from the general aviation and petroleum industries recently formed a coalition to work together and develop a process to reduce lead emissions from GA aircraft, balancing environmental benefit with aviation safety, technical feasibility, and impact upon the GA industry, according to a report at AOPA.org.

The story notes that the group wants to ensure that a stable aviation fuel supply exists in the near term while a long-term solution is identified, certified, and implemented. At this stage, all potential solutions, including lower octane fuels, higher octane candidates, and chemical or bio additives, remain possible options. The group’s first action was requesting a 120-day extension to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advance notice of proposed rulemaking. The story, which you can read in full here, notes:

“The extension will allow time to gather and evaluate data from the Coordinating Research Council on an ultra-low-lead fuel as a possible near-term interim solution, and to provide aircraft and engine manufacturers time to further assess the technical, economic, safety, and performance impacts associated with the possibility of moving to an unleaded fuel in the long term.”