Familiar frame, different name


For some planes, it’s the (air)frame, not the name, that sells it.

Such is the case with the Polish-built AT-4, an airframe that was introduced to the American market a few years back as the Gobosh 700. Gobosh, which stands for Go Big Or Stay Home, went out of business in 2009, but the AT-4 has returned to America, marketed by Aero AT-USA, based at Northampton Airport (7B2) in Massachusetts.

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Flying the Alto 100

While Sebring 2012 crowds were the best ever and plentiful aircraft made for good shopping resulting in a flurry of sales, one of the best aspects of Sebring 2012 was ideal weather. Numerous pilots experienced some of their final choices before handing over the cash. Such perfect conditions also allowed reporters to get in on the action. More detailed reports will follow but now I am pleased to offer a mini-report on the Alto 100.

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Beauty and the bird: Do esthetics matter?

Lisa Akoya

Even those who are not Apple fans agree the trend-setting California company’s focus on design beauty draws attention to its products. From its position near the back of the pack a dozen years ago, Apple has become the most valuable tech company in the world. Could this be due to its highly-refined sense of esthetics? More to the point of aviation enthusiasts, is artful design an ingredient in pleasing customers?

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Microsoft embraces LSAs


Microsoft recently announced the return of Flight Simulator, once one of the best-selling games on computers. Well, in truth, it’s no longer called Flight Simulator, rather simply “Flight.”

In 2009 Microsoft abruptly dropped Flight Sim, leaving only the techy X-Plane for digital joystick jockeys. It’s way above my pay grade to understand why the Microsoft billionaires dropped a good seller but, who cares? It’s back with one Great Big Surprise: The iconic Icon A5 LSA seaplane is the default aircraft and shows even titanic Microsoft sees where the action is in aviation. The other two aircraft coming with Flight are an RV-6 and a Boeing Stearman, a significant change from the Cessna 172 or bizjet of Flight Sim.

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Tecnam’s design juggernaut: Do these guys sleep?

Tecnam already released news about its new Sea-Sky Hydroplane option of straight or four-wheel composite amphibious floats for the Echo Classic or Eaglet models. For the Echo, also known as the P92 (referencing 1992), this represents the sixth generation of that model. The in-house-designed Sea-Sky Hydroplanes (pictured) should be present for Sun ’n Fun, according to importer Tecnam North America.

As late-night TV ads shout, “But there’s more…!” Tecnam also introduced its brand-new taildragger version of the venerable Echo, done in what Phil Solomon calls a “retro style,” with a wood panel and other touches. [Read more…]