Alphabet groups join to lobby for bonus depreciation renewal

More than 80 alphabet groups, ranging from the National Business Aviation Association to the American Institute of Architects, have written to leaders of the House of Representatives and Senate urging elected officials to “work in a bipartisan manner to renew the recently expired bonus depreciation law through at least 2010.”

The temporary 50% bonus depreciation lapsed at the end of 2009. “Bringing back bonus depreciation will encourage companies of all sizes to invest in newer, more efficient, and more environmentally-friendly equipment, which will help large and small businesses alike,” the letter states.

“Reinstating bonus depreciation will help inoculate the economy against a backward slide in business capital investment in the months ahead, enhance the impact and benefits of other job creation legislation (e.g., infrastructure investment), encourage recovery in fragile, capital-intensive sectors of the economy (e.g., construction and manufacturing), and, most significantly, put Americans back to work,” the letter continues.

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Cool electric aircraft…Beginning the future?

Electric is hot! Even in a dull economy with sluggish airplane sales, the spark of electric power is crackling with life. Numerous projects have been announced and organizations like EAA are making way for electric airplanes to showcase themselves at big shows like AirVenture.

Now, from an Italian manufacturer comes the work of world champion hang glider pilot, Manfred Ruhmer, and his Icaro 2000 electric “Nano Trike.”

OK, you may be a pilot who wants structure around yourself and perhaps a glass cockpit with autopilot or the maximum speed permissible. But watch the video and see if this inspires your inner pilot.

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TTF efforts bearing fruit; leader deserves praise

For more than 30 years, I’ve tracked residential airparks and encouraged their development and encouraged the aviation community to support them.

Most flyin communities are private – owned and private – use but a significant number have been established over the years on property adjacent to public-owned and public-use airports. These residential airparks have provided financial support, security and even helped FBOs with their business.

Unfortunately, the FAA has taken a ridiculous stand against residential airparks at public-owned airports. The result has been threats to restrict grants for airport improvements and demands for repayment of past grants. The FAA has demanded that TTF (through the fence) agreements be canceled, causing property owners to suffer financial loss as they tried to sell a home.Under fire from the flying community, the FAA issued Airport Compliance Manual Order 5190.6b, prohibiting TTF access.

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And then Tecnam came to town…

Ed Totanes has set up shop and maintains a sales office on behalf of Tecnam North America, in the new terminal building at Gilbert Field. As the distributor for a full line of light sport aircraft as well as a highly publicized new light twin, Tecnam North America is the first new aircraft manufacturer to establish a presence on the field. A decision that was based in large part on a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a sincere offer of encouragement from the airport's management.

Ed Totanes has set up shop and maintains a sales office on behalf of Tecnam North America, in the new terminal building at Gilbert Field. As the distributor for a full line of light sport aircraft as well as a highly publicized new light twin, Tecnam North America is the first new aircraft manufacturer to establish a presence on the field. A decision that was based in large part on a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a sincere offer of encouragement from the airport's management.

Ed Totanes has set up shop on behalf of Tecnam North America in the new terminal building at Gilbert Field. The distributor for a full line of LSAs, as well as a highly publicized new light twin, Tecnam North America is the first aircraft manufacturer to establish a presence on the field, a decision based on a firm handshake, a warm smile, and a sincere offer of encouragement from the airport's management.

Like so many uncontrolled airports dotting the landscape, my home field has always been a bit sparse on the business front. We had the FBO…and we had…you know, we had the…umm….well, we had the FBO,

This has, at times, been a real point of contention for the locals, because our lack of GA business tenants was never due to the field’s lack of potential or disinterest on the part of the users. Rather, our dearth of commercial operations was more deeply rooted in the fact that the management staff had little confidence and even less knowledge of what a general aviation airport’s purpose might be. As unlikely as it might seem, the idea of stopping by to actually ask the users what sort of amenities and services they might like to see housed on site never occurred to anyone in a position of authority. From the airport manager right on up through the command structure, our airport’s management specialized in the cold shoulder technique.

Certainly, suggestions were made over the years. But making a compelling argument for managed growth to a disinterested bureaucrat is as likely to be successful as trying to teach a drunk teenager about the importance of responsible, long-term financial planning. In either case, you might as well be talking to the wall. Actually, talking to the wall is probably a slightly better deal. At least with the wall you have something comfortable to lean on while you’re being ignored. [Read more…]

Nurturing the next generation

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rusnok

When Laura Rusnok (above) took over the lead position of the Student Aviation Association on the campus of the University of North Texas, she began making plans that went beyond available resources. She contacted the US Flight Academy, part of US Aviation, to explore the possibility of some kind of sponsorship. Encountering a response that she described as “enthusiastic,” Rusnok was able to map out an aggressive program of field trips for her peers.

UNT students try out the sims at FlightSafety

UNT students try out the sims at FlightSafety

The most recent activity brought a group of UNT students to the headquarters of Flight Safety International in Dallas, where they were given a tour, engaged in discussion and took turns flying a number of simulators. “It was a great evening,” said Rusnok. “Fortunately, US Flight Academy provided us with a van and driver to make the trip. They have been wonderful assisting us with aviation-related experiences outside of Denton. These trips helped draw more students into the new aviation program at UNT.”

The Sporty’s Foundation offers maintenance training scholarships

The Sporty’s Foundation has launched a new program for aircraft mechanics enrolled in Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development.

Scholarships will be awarded to the top three students completing the airframe portion of the training curriculum. The scholarships, in the amounts of $3,000, $1,500 and $750, will be awarded and used for their second year of study, powerplants.

“General aviation aircraft owners know there is a huge demand for good mechanics,” says Sporty’s President Michael Wolf. “These scholarships are a way to provide three students with a boost to complete their study while the industry as a whole benefits from three new well-trained mechanics.”

Great Oaks is one of the largest career technical school districts in the United States and serves as the Career and Technical Education Department for 36 affiliated school districts in southwest Ohio. Four campuses serve the needs of its students.

For more information: SportysFoundation.org.

NTSB issues recommendations on PFDs

The National Transportation Safety Board has issued a recommendation that the FAA revise airman knowledge tests to include questions regarding electronic flight and navigation displays, including normal operations, limitations, and the interpretation of malfunctions and aircraft attitudes.

The NTSB also recommends that all manufacturers of certified electronic primary flight displays be required to include information in their approved aircraft flight manual and pilot’s operating handbook supplements regarding abnormal equipment operation or malfunction due to subsystem and input malfunctions, including pitot and/or static system blockages, magnetic sensor malfunctions, and attitude-heading reference system alignment failures.

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Air Force jet flies on plant oil fuel blend

On March 25, Air Force Maj. Chris Seager broke a flight barrier of sorts when he piloted an A-10 Thunderbolt jet fueled by a 50-50 blend of camelina plant oil and regular JP-8 jet fuel, according to a story at GovernmentExecutive.com.

The story notes that the Air Force’s objective is to certify a family of fuels created from biomass, but will not consider fuels made from food sources, such as corn or sugar, because it does not want to upset or unduly influence the food-production economy. Camelina is a flowering plant related to mustard, cabbage and broccoli, but not used for food. It requires little water and fertilizer and has a high oil content, making it a particularly attractive candidate for fuel.

Sun ‘n Fun goes green

When you think of environmentally friendly products and services, aviation may not be the first industry that comes to mind. But Sun ‘n Fun officials are working to change all that with the return of an exhibit area known as “GreenSpace,” which will have a prominent location at this year’s fly-in, slated for April 13-18 at Florida’s Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL).

During last year’s fly-in, a new area was unveiled on the Sun ‘n Fun grounds dedicated to aviation-oriented products and services that are “friendly” to the environment. Called the “GreenSpace,” the exhibit featured Randall Fishman’s ElectraFlyer-C airplane, an electric car, a hybrid car, the Lindbergh Foundation’s “Green Investment Program”, a children’s educational area, the City of Lakeland’s water and soil conservation displays, a Florida Refuse recycling exhibit, and numerous other exhibitors focused on “green” products, services and lifestyles.

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The next generation weighs in

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What can adults do to encourage kids to become interested in aviation? It’s a question that’s on the minds of many in GA as the pilot population continues to decline.

Who better to go to to find the answers than the kids themselves? Two young men who are helping build a four-place Bearhawk for EagleFlight Aviation Ministries in Olathe, Kansas, shared their ideas:

misc 001Colby Davis, 18 (left): “I think the best way for parents to help is to first spark that interest. It can be very easy, just go flying with your kids in a small aircraft. That way they see everything that’s going on in the cockpit and are part of the action. Most small airports will point you in the direction of a good pilot to take you up for a reasonable price.”

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