8,200+ miles in an LSA

A view of South Central Kansas from 7,000 feet

A view of South Central Kansas from 7,000 feet

Michael Combs, who is flying around the country in a Light Sport Aircraft, recently returned to Kansas one final time after landing safely in Wichita, only 80 miles from where his journey began on April 8. The Flight for the Human Spirit has covered 30 states and has now exceeded nearly 8,300 miles flown in a Remos GX. The flight is designed to inspire people to reach for their dreams, according to Combs, who reports that he’s now at the half-way mark.

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Woopy and the ‘one-hour concept’

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One of the best parts of attending AERO Friedrichshafen is to see how our fellow aviators from other countries tackle the universal topics of performance, safety, regulations, noise, cost, and fun in devising means to get airborne. This year, my personal favorite new aircraft was “Woopy Fly,” an inflatable weight-shift, electric-powered sort-of trike from the congenial Laurent de Kalbermatten of Aigle, Switzerland.

Concerned about the safety of parasailing envelopes, he sought a means to add a load bearing structure inside the sail. In 10 years of study, R/C model tests, and even highly-detailed aerodynamic calculations with the help of scientists at M.I.T., he developed the “Woopy” system.

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Scenes of devastation: Flooding at M88

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These pictures recently arrived in our e-mail box, documenting the devastation from floods at Tennessee’s Cornelia Fort Airpark (M88)near Nashville. It may takes months before the airport, which was already up for sale,returns to normal.

High school students build turbine engine

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Two students took top honors at the Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy’s annual science fair by constructing a turbine engine — that works. Anthony Mosallam (pictured) and Jonathon Deming scrounged up a collection of auto parts and an old leaf blower and put together a loud and fairly powerful jet engine. The turbine compressor came from a Buick Regal. The leaf blower provides the starting air. When the pressure valve indicates 10 psig, a propane valve is turned on. A battery-powered CD lighter, like the type found on most gas stovetops, ignites the propane.

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Aviation maintenance industry is major employer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the national jobless rate front page news, the aviation maintenance industry continues to be a major employer around the country and an important economic contributor in many states.

For the first time, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) has provided a snapshot of the industry’s state-by-state footprint. The study, prepared by AeroStrategy, based on 2009 government and industry data, pegs the U.S. civil aviation maintenance workforce at 274,634. The industry’s direct and indirect impact on the U.S. economy is $39 billion.

Top 10 states for aviation maintenance employment: California, Texas, Florida, Washington, Georgia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas and New York.

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New report charts course to NextGen

How to leverage America’s current leadership in global aviation to assure primacy in the 21st century is the focus of a new report prepared by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Produced in collaboration with Booz Allen Hamilton, the report, “Assuring the Transition to the Next Generation Air Transportation System,” synthesizes discussions and findings from an Executive Session held at Harvard Kennedy School last November.

The Executive Session brought together more than two dozen aviation industry leaders, senior government executives, along with civilian researchers to explore the extraordinary developments in technology and operations and identify the challenges ahead for introducing them into the “NextGen” Air Transportation System.

“NextGen is among the most significant efforts at cross-boundary transformation ever undertaken by the United States Government, in collaboration with the aviation community,” the report states. “The future of the sky has arrived, yet it remains slow to realize. All share a passion and commitment to the success of NextGen, but disagree on how to get there.”

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Quadriplegic pilot revives aviation career at Indiana State University

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For 20 years of his life, Errett “E.J.” Bozarth spent nearly as much time in a cockpit as he did on the ground. As a commissioned officer, tactical fighter pilot and flight instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps, he controlled some of the military’s most powerful aircraft. Later, as a Dallas-based pilot with American Airlines, passengers trusted Bozarth to fly them to nearly every country in the world.

Now, students at Indiana State University are trusting Bozarth, 60, to share those skills with them so they might build the sort of career he once had. “We old pilots that have some experience have an obligation to mentor the younger pilots that are coming along, to kind of pass the baton to the next generation of aviators,” Bozarth said.

Bozarth’s desire to mentor up and coming student pilots is not as straightforward as it might sound. That’s because he has spent the last 20 years of his life in a wheelchair.

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Reaching beyond the airport

A flight school in Norwood, Mass., Norwood Flight Academy, is exploring a new way to promote aviation among non-pilots. The flight school, in conjunction with Brookline Adult Education, one of the oldest non-credit, public education programs in Massachusetts, is offering a three-day course titled “Introduction to Aviation.”

The course is designed to help non-pilots understand the process of getting a license. The course lasts three nights and is taught by a Master CFI. At the end of their training, students will participate in a live training exercise, flying a single engine Cessna aircraft at Norwood Flight Academy.

For more information: FlyNOFA.com

Airport management: A search and deploy mission

Unexpectedly, and without any warning, the airport manager quits. It happens. Not often perhaps, but it happens nonetheless. More commonly the airport manager moves on to another position, or retires. It makes little difference in the operational sense. Change is a constant in business. Whomever fills the slot at the moment will be replaced at some point in the future.

This entirely foreseeable changing of the guard can come as a shock to the system, or as an opportunity to tune up the airport’s management structure. How you or your community take the issue on is as subjective as any other municipal decision that has to be made.

What is less common, and very probably more reasonable, is to get creative when a major change has to happen. If airport management has to change anyway, why not consider a complete rework of the structure as well as the personnel? [Read more...]