Phantom’s one man aircraft factory

With New Engine

By BILL WILSON

The phone rings at Phantom Aeronautics in Three Rivers, Michigan. A customer is calling the kit aircraft company with a request. There is a very good chance he or she is also asking about the new 4-cycle engine Phantom is in the midst of testing.

The milling machines, lathes, inventory control and office functions at the factory grind to a halt and the entire focus of all personnel is directed toward handling the caller’s problem. Talk about customer service! Even better is that the caller is guaranteed to be talking to the one person who can answer all questions from personal experience.

That’s because there is only one person in the factory and he is no phantom. Jim Bennett is real and he knows every nut and bolt in the kit he produces, where it goes and what it does. Jim is a one man airplane factory.

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HI-IQ USB Battery Charger introduced

USBporthiressmall

For the last three years, CommitLift has been supplying panel-mounted USB Battery Charging devices for homebuilt aircraft and other vehicles with 12-volt battery systems.

Up until now, however, they had to be tailored to the device to be charged: iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tablet, smart-phone, etc. However, the company’s latest charger can adapt to whatever device is plugged in, according to company officials.

Homebuilding okay in hangars

You probably know someone who is building an aircraft in a hangar at a publicly owned airport. It may surprise you to know that, until recently,  the FAA considered that activity outside the appropriate use of a hangar.

On July 22 the FAA released a proposed policy statement stating that the final assembly of homebuilt aircraft can be done in airport hangars at publicly owned airports.

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New FAA hangar policy causing confusion

Two weeks after the FAA unveiled its draft policy for allowed uses in hangars at airports that receive federal grant funding, much confusion has emerged regarding the overall effect of the policy and what it means for hangar tenants. That’s particularly true for homebuilders, who have heard conflicting stories about what it means for building an aircraft in an airport hangar, according to officials with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA).

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Kit manufacturers form new association

Aircraft kit manufacturers have formed a new association that aims to increase flight safety, promote experimental aircraft, and defend the freedom of individuals to build their own airplanes. According to a report at AOPA.org, Richard VanGrunsven, founder of Vans Aircraft, is the group’s president; John Monnett, designer of the Sonex line, is vice president; and Dave Gustafson, an industry advocate, is secretary of the Aircraft Kit Industry Association (AKIA).