Family tradition

H.L. Wilkinson poses with his son Lee in front of his new 1932 Alexander Eaglerock.

Back before David “Shorty” Wilkinson had a reason to be nicknamed “Shorty,” (because he is, after all, bean-pole tall) he thought every family traveled by airplane, because every family he knew had one. This made sense to him since his mom and dad were from Texas but lived in Georgia. An airplane made visiting relatives possible.

Some of his earliest memories as a child involved the restoration of the family station wagon, a 1943 V-77 Stinson, in the basement of their home. [Read more...]

Dress to survive: The Aviator Tactical Vest

RescuMe

If you had an unscheduled off-airport landing in rough back country, would you be able to survive to tell the story? Maybe, maybe not. It all comes down to how well prepared you are. A big part of that is having a survival kit, but if you can’t reach it after the “landing,” it doesn’t do a bit of good.

“Most of the crash sites I have been to, the tail of the airplane is about 400 feet behind the cockpit and when the survival kit is away from the main crash site, it doesn’t do anyone any good,” said Jim Herbert, who has more than 40 years experience as a pilot and back country guide and firefighter.

He’s also the creator of the Aviator Tactical Vest, which is designed for a 72-hour stay in the roughest terrain. [Read more...]

The cost of certification

Skycatcher

Since AirVenture 2012, I’ve been part of several discussions about the way — and reasons why — aircraft become certified. Sound boring? Yes and no.

One way this might get your interest is to consider if Icon Aircraft, which is developing the A5, could join Cessna in going Primary Category instead of Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA). (Disclaimer: I have no information about any such decision from Icon — this is merely a discussion.) Perhaps even more to the point is the price of airplanes based on their certification cost.

[Read more...]

Building a bigger tent

JamieBeckettHeadshot

With the Republican convention only days behind us, and the Democratic convention going on this week, this is the obvious opportunity to take a lesson from their play books. Because whether you subscribe to this one or that one, you have to admit the elephants and donkeys have been exceptionally successful for many years at exactly one thing: They stay in the driver’s seat year after year, fending off challengers with the ease a well-waxed airplane sheds raindrops in flight. And they both accomplish that feat by using the exact same method. They work hard to build a big tent, and then build it even bigger at every opportunity.

In contrast, let’s consider ourselves — general aviation community. We are a minority. A small minority, actually. Very small. We are also undeniably shrinking. [Read more...]

My last day at Oshkosh

Kate with her cousin Nate Sova under the Brown Arch on the AirVenture
grounds. This was Nate’s first time at AirVenture, Kate’s 12th.

By KATE FERRARI

As the rush of fear set upon me, I froze. The propeller was so close, whirring around at an unbelievable pace. I could feel the rush of wind it was emitting, coasting over my neck.

“Katie, come on!” My whole body jolted into action as I snapped back into reality. I ran around to the other side of the SR20 and pushed the scalding, sun-beaten wing with all my might, slowly steering the plane towards the runway. The crew and I were last in line. [Read more...]

Flying coast to coast in a homebuilt

Sharon&AlbertByThePlane

By TOM JONES

Many people dream of making the trip of a lifetime, but few make the dream a reality. Not so for Albert and Sharon Gardner, a Yuma, Ariz., couple who flew coast to coast in their RV-10. Last summer, the couple flew nearly 12,000 miles, landing in 100 cities in 37 states.

The trip was the culmination of a longtime desire that Albert had to land his airplane in every contiguous state of the Union. Prior to this trip, he had landed his airplane in every state west of the Mississippi.

[Read more...]