Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Airport communities from space

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Interactive tour of the Boeing 777 cockpit

I've never been in one of these cockpits, so I can't say how accurate it is. But this is fun to play with and explore.

Friday, January 26, 2007

So, there, Jack & Jeb ...On EAA's 54th Birthday

Here's a birthday for the over-50 crowd we should all be happy to celebrate (from EAA's weekly e-hotline, Friday, Jan. 26, 2007:

On January 26, 1953, three dozen people who enjoyed a keen interest in building their own airplanes met at Curtiss-Wright Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to discuss forming an organization to share their knowledge of and passion for aviation. Friday, January 26, marks the 54th anniversary of that first meeting of what would become your EAA.

EAA founder and Chairman Paul Poberezny wrote to a person inquiring about the young organization in March 1953 with words that still ring true today: "It is the intent of this Association to foster closer fellowship through the exchange of ideas of mutual interest and to aid in the reduction of cost of homebuilding and experimentation."

More about EAA's early history and chronology can be found on the EAA website Meanwhile, take a moment today to say, "Happy Birthday, EAA!"

So, Happy 54th, EAA! And congrats to Paul Poberezny and his co-founders on the enduring impact of their ideas and the organization that sprang from them!

Indonesian Flight Recorder Found?


The United States military may have found the Black Boxes from a missing Indonesian jetliner that went missing on January 1, 2007.

Using ultrasonic pinger signals, the USNS Mary Sears located debris on the bottom of the ocean that match the signal that they are using to find the boxes.

"[We have] detected heavy debris scattered over a wide area," said the U.S. embassy in Indonesia in a statement. Other debris may also have been located at least 1,000 meters below the oceans surface.

Klyde Morris Hammers DoT & User Fees -- Again.

Way to go, Wes...this is one for the not-so-funny papers...

Keep at 'em, Klyde!

MPL Traioning Started -- New Pilots get LESS Experience

Aero-News Net reports that Alteon, the pilot-training company, has started teaching its first class headed toward the new ICAO Multicrew Pilots License...that's a license to fly right seat in an airliner in 240 hours total time -- 170 of those hours in sims...and no single-pilot rights or privileges...

We're not sure this is the best route to satsifying the pilot shortage some developing countries are experiencing -- but looks like it's going to take a major event to change ICAO's thinking. Anybody remember the airline captain who died in-flight last week? That F.O. had to bring home the airliner solo...would an MPL crewman be up to that job? We've got our doubts.

Check out the training company's slant at:

AOPA Launches new Web Page with FACTS on User-Fee Battle

Spurred on by the relentless chirps of "User-Fees! Squawk, User Fees! Squawk from DoT, FAA and ATA, the world's largest pilots group this week posted a new page deatailing facts of the debate. Check here to arm yourself for the ongoing argument:

The Best Defense for GA is an accurately informed, actively lobbying pilot base, so arm yourselves today; then let your members of Congress know how you feel, what the damage potential is -- and how you'll vote should your lawmaker vote the wrong way. Remember, for all members of the House and one-third of the Senate, the 2008 election campaign is [i]already [/i] underway!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

So long, Bernie Geier

The long-time manager of FAA's Flight Standards Division in HQ passed recently, and he was a hell of a guy. Many of you may remember Bernie Geier from his years as Air Boss at the EAA Convention Fly-in -- back when that was the name for today's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. My friendship with Bernie started in 1982, when he was introduced to me as one of the FAA officials who would have to sign off on a new FAR covering the then-revolutionary Ultralight aircraft that seemed to multiply like mosquitoes.

Bernie quickly realized how green I was as the staff writer for Glider Rider Magazine and contributed plenty to my education into how the fed -- in particular FAA and DOT -- worked from the Washington end. He continued to be a helpful voice when I moved to speaking for GA at AOPA and when I moved even farther away from my hang gliding roots as a reporter for an airline-trade magazine, Air Transport World.

Tailwinds, Bernie -- sharp, savvy guys like you rarely rise to the top at places like the FAA.

Here we go, some more....

Shame on SecDot Mary Peters -- ; suggesting that the success of ATC Modernization hinges on getting User Fees when she knows existing excise taxes are already coming in faster than the FAA can fritter away the bucks. And that's not even addressing the huge increase in collection and accounting costs that will accompany a user-fee system...

Thankfully, GAMA, among many, called the SecDot's claim:



WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2007 – Today, in a speech given before the Aero Club of Washington, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters stressed how vital aviation is to our economy and how all Americans benefit from a healthy air transportation system. Secretary Peters pointed out that aviation contributes over $640 billion a year to the national economy and is responsible for creating over nine million jobs.

GAMA agrees that protecting this national resource is crucial, however, we could not disagree more with the link that Secretary Peters attempts to make between the Administration’s desire for user fees and the ability to modernize the national airspace system. Secretary Peters seems to assert that the current funding mechanism, which is bringing in record Trust Fund revenues, is somehow broken and that transformation of the air transportation system cannot occur without a new funding mechanism.

One point that all sectors in aviation agree upon is that our air traffic control system is in need of transformation. However, GAMA will continue to press the Administration for a coherent modernization plan that improves capacity, delineates projected costs, estimates anticipated savings, and recognizes significant equipage costs to users, before any decisions can be made on financing the transformation of the national airspace system.
GAMA is an international trade association headquartered in Washington, DC representing over 50 of the world's leading manufacturers of general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics and related equipment. GAMA's members also operate fleets of aircraft, fixed based operations, and pilot training and maintenance training facilities. For additional information, visit GAMA’s website at


See for yourself at

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why there are two


Co-pilot lands flight as pilot dies

Sun Jan 21, 6:47 PM ET

The pilot of a Continental Airlines flight became ill after takeoff and was later pronounced dead after the plane made an emergency landing, a company spokeswoman said.

The 210 passengers on Saturday's flight, which departed from Houston, were never in danger and the co-pilot landed the plane safely, Continental spokeswoman Macky Osorio said.

The airline said only that the pilot suffered a "serious medical problem." Continental believes the pilot died of natural causes, Osorio said. The pilot's name was not released.

The flight, bound for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, took off from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport and was diverted to McAllen-Miller International Airport. The flight continued to Mexico with a new crew, Osorio said.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Here we go, again...

Using the most of reverse logic, West Virginia's Junior Senator wants GA to suffer the same inept, inefficient, ineffective security oversight as airline passengers endure. From ANN:

TSA Says 'More Robust' Security Plan For GA On The Way

Lawmakers Ask TSA To Step Up Inspections Of Private Planes

In what may prove an ominous precursor for general aviation (GA), Senator Jay Rockefeller told TSA chief Kip Hawley in front of a congressional committee small private planes should undergo the same security checks as commercial airliners.

"We're not taking the lessons of 9/11 seriously," Rockefeller said. "There is nothing written... that small planes can't do catastrophic damage."

Using the example of October's tragic accident in which New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger died after flying an SR20 into a Manhattan hi-rise, Rockefeller warned Hawley small airplanes can cause significant damage. The senator suggested the TSA beef up its staff and devote more resources to GA.

According to, Hawley said the TSA is "looking at steps" as regards GA, and that "a more robust plan" is on the way.

Considering the relatively light damage caused by Lidle's Cirrus in October compared to the loss of both towers of the World Trade Center, its hard to see exactly how Rockefeller can call it "catastrophic."

AOPA has worked closely with the FAA, the Department of Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies in developing its Airport Watch program, hailed by all involved as a model of government and public cooperation. The few simple guidelines suggested by the program provide airport and aircraft owners and operators specific steps that can drastically improve security at even the busiest general aviation airports.

Without dramatically altering the way most private aircraft owners operate their aircraft from the thousands of rural and privately-owned airports across the country, it would be impossible for GA flights to receive security checks similar to commercial airliners as Rockefeller suggests.

So what exactly does TSA have in mind to "improve" GA security?

ANN will post more information on this developing story as it becomes available.



Thursday, January 18, 2007

Astounding! RAC Cuts Bonanza & Baron Prices

From various sources...

Tuesday Raytheon Aircraft announced cuts to the list prices of its 2007-model Bonanza -- by 14 percent off last year's typically equipped price to $574,000, down about $93,000. The cut on Baron prices was a more-modest 12 percent less, with the price of a typically equipped G58 down to $1.046 million, $140,000 off last year's tab at $1,186,000. RAC also is chopping 20 percent off the prices of popular options like SkyWatch and Stormscope. The motive behind this unusual price reversal: according to the company, because of gains in production efficiency and strategic sourcing.

Now, if I could only find my checkbook ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Waytogo, Columbia...

This just in (I've always wamted to say that...)


January 17, 2007 – (Bend, OR) – Neither red tape nor Mother Nature could hold Columbia Aircraft back in 2006.

Despite delays early in the year certifying the Garmin G1000 glass panel and a subsequent, freak hail storm that necessitated the refinishing of more than 60 aircraft awaiting customer delivery, Columbia Aircraft still managed to deliver a record 185 aircraft for the year.

Knock me over with a feather...

USA Today actually has something positive to say about private aircraft:

Flying their own planes saves time
Updated 1/17/2007 7:06 AM ET
By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY
Landscape architect Katie O'Reilly Rogers departs on business trips from her Santa Barbara, Calif., home without a worry about airport or airline snafus.

She climbs into the cockpit of her own small airplane and takes off.

The added hassles of business travel from tightened security and airline cost-cutting since the Sept. 11 terrorism has helped fuel an increase in the business use of personal aircraft. Encouraged by a growing economy and a generally favorable business climate, many business people — particularly those who live far from a big-city hub — are realizing that piloting their own planes saves time and, in some cases, money.



Good to go in Illinois...

This annual event has proven its worth over the years for those who fly ultralights...and suspect it will catch on as an LSA event, as well...and it's almost worth the trip just for the pleasure of hearing Frank Beagle's baritone announcing:

IUAC To Hold Seminar On Ultralight/Lightplane Safety

Partnership With Illinois DOT, FAA Aims To Make Pilots Safer

The Illinois Ultralight Advisory Council (IUAC), the Illinois Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics, and the Federal Aviation Administration, Springfield FSDO, are presenting the 27th Annual IUAC Ultralight/Lightplane Safety Seminar on Saturday, February 24 in Springfield, IL.

The FREE safety seminar will be held in the Illinois Building & Auditorium on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. This building will accommodate a 400-seat theatre and a 12,270 sq. ft. auditorium for aircraft and vendor displays all under the same roof.

Representatives with the IUAC say the safety seminar will cover a broad range of subjects. There will be ultralight, engine manufacturer, and accessory displays representing UL/sport/recreational type aircraft.

Featured speakers and topics include:

* Emcee - Frank Beagle
* Getting Your Aircraft N-Numbered, Edsel Ford - FAA Light Sport Aircraft Branch (afs-610)
* Corrosion Solutions for Your Airframe, Bever Borne - Air-Tech, Inc.
* Ethanol Fuel Issues for Pilots, Earl Lawrence - Experimental Aircraft Association
* The Next Sport Pilot Deadlines, Jim Sweeney – SweeneyCorp

Aircraft will be on static display along with dealer and manufacturer displays.

Discount rates for attendees are available at the nearby Howard Johnson's Inn and Suites. Registration for the event will be from 8:00 am to 9:00 am, with the seminar sessions beginning promptly at 9 am. Arrive early for viewing the exhibits, since the featured seminar sessions will consume a major portion of the day. The program will conclude around 4:00 pm.

Coffee and doughnuts will be available. As in previous years, a catered meal for the noon lunch will be provided for a nominal charge. Meal tickets for this lunch can be purchased during registration.

Monday, January 15, 2007


There is so much wrong with this story, I'm not sure where to begin:

January 15, 2007
Flying the Crowded Skies: Challenges for Aviation
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 — By 2025, government experts say, America’s skies will swarm with three times as many planes, and not just the kind of traffic flying today. There will be thousands of tiny jets, seating six or fewer, at airliner altitudes, competing for space with remotely operated drones that need help avoiding midair collisions, and with commercially operated rockets carrying satellites and tourists into space.

To keep passengers moving safely and on schedule, the Federal Aviation Administration needs to replace a half-century of outmoded technology with a new air traffic control system. But almost everything about the proposed new system is unsettled, not only its digital nuts and bolts, but also the leadership, the financing and the staffing of a modern aviation network.

NYT Article

One interesting item I had overlooked is Blakey's pending departure...

Ah, well. At least we'll have something to talk about.


Friday, January 12, 2007


According to an Air Transport Association (ATA) vice president, 2006 found the airlines collectively profitable and he looks for more of the same in 2007...but, the fly in the ointment is the airlines need several years of national-standard profitability to get well and see to their management is the watchword...

And all this reminds one of motive -- motive for the ATA/airline industry support for changing FAA funding and management of ATC...

From Speednews This Week:

2007 Outlook: "Reaching for the Skies?"
By ATA Vice President & Chief Economist John Heimlich

From an economic viewpoint, 2006 was a much-improved year for the US airline
industry. Including the all-cargo sector, the Air Transport Association
estimates that the industry will report earnings ranging from $2b to $3b. On the
heels of $35b in net losses over the previous five years, of course, any
full-year profit comes as welcome relief.

The initial economic outlook for 2007 is the most promising in several years. In
addition to a healthy revenue environment, US airlines are seeing the results of
painstaking, ongoing cost reduction efforts and balance-sheet repair. Although
the industry is optimistic and well positioned to move forward, the reality is
that events beyond airlines' control could easily push them off course.
There's lots more to Mr. Heimlich's comments...Read the whole thing in HTML at:


A Vanishing Breed?

No wonder AOPA decided to make 2007 the year of pilot mentoring...we aviators are a shrinking population...this, also from Friday's AOPA ePilot:

The FAA has released final pilot statistics for 2006 showing a dip below 600,000. There are now 597,109 pilots. It underscores the need to reverse the trend by introducing someone to the excitement and joy of flight. Sign up as a Mentor to a budding pilot through the AOPA Project Pilot program. The average pilot is 45.6 years old. Meanwhile, the average age of new sport pilots is 52.9 years, or seven years older than the total pilot population. There were 939 sport pilots at the end of 2006, with numbers growing rapidly in the final months of 2006. (There were only an average of 30 sport pilots certified per month during the first eight months of 2006, but the monthly average jumped to 134 for the last four months.) The youngest group is the student pilot category where the average age is 34.4 years old. Despite the perception that younger pilots populate the flight instructor ranks, the average age there is 45.2. There are 91,343 flight instructors. The oldest ages are concentrated in the glider rating (37,837 pilots) and balloon rating (10,511 pilots) categories, where the age is 54 years old. Here is a breakdown of other categories: ATP, 144,681; commercial, 130,234; private, 236,147; recreational, 242; student, 84,866; and rotor rating, 41,306.

There's more to learn at

I mentored a friend almost decade ago, but he got busy building a business and only now is thinking about resuming flight instruction; maybe some of you can do better, eh? Regardless, maybe it's also time for the GA community (especially the manufacturers) to renew their support for something like the 1970s "Learn to Fly" program or the more-recent but now dormant "Be-A-Pilot" effort...

If we're to continue to thrive as a community, there needs to be more of us -- across the board...tell a friend -- take one for a flight or to a flight school, show 'em how cheap getting into a good used airplane can be. Heck I saw ads for three PA28 models for sale yesterday, all of 'em admitedly Spartan, but all of 'em IFR nonetheless, all of 'em at least twice as fast as driving...and all under $30K...

And is there any better lifestyle than being a part of the aviating community?

Ohio's Shame!

OK, here's a state I'm not refueling in or, if possible, even landing in until this crap is reversed...McCarthy must be dancing in his coffin:

From AOPA's Weekly ePilot:

Ohio aircraft owners have been singled out by the state to sign a declaration with their annual aircraft registration renewal that they are not involved in terrorist activity. They are the only license holders under the state's department of transportation required to do this. AOPA and aircraft owners are extremely displeased at this discrimination. The association, on behalf of member pilots, has requested that the state remove this requirement. "Frankly, it is offensive to Ohio's pilot population to suggest that they are more suspect than people who own boats, trucks, or automobiles," wrote Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs, in a letter to the state's department of public safety. "Ohio's aircraft owners and pilots are committed to do their part to support our nation's security." Pecoraro cited pilots' voluntary participation in Airport Watch. Download AOPA's letter to the state.

New York's illegal screening law, now this...since when was being a federally licensed pilot an invitation for state-government crackpots to become the arbitors of patriotism and loyalty? No way I'd sign...even if it meant moving my aircraft out of state...


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

TRB Annual Meeting Coming...

And as usual, aviation topics will be significant items during the 86th annual meeting of the Transportation Research Board...

Aviation topics on the agenda include a discussion called "Opportunities and Challenges of Small Jets" -- and they ain't talkin' about the old "small" jets like Lears and Citations -- they're talking VLJs...

The entire Aviation topics list for the Jan. 21-25 meeting in D.C. can be found here:

Monday, January 08, 2007

Flying Father of Bealeton Flying Circus Goes West...

Here's a guy who put his love of flying to work for the benefit of thousands...

An Episcopal priest known as the "Flying Father" because of his passion for general aviation has died at 86 in Alexandria, Virginia. John R. Frizzell Jr. acted on his love of flying that began after a biplane ride at age 11 and became a pilot in 1970. He helped establish the Flying Circus Aerodrome & Airshow in Bealeton, Virginia, the subject of a 1995 AOPA Pilot feature.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bring in da noise, bring in da VLJs

Like many communities around the country, residents around Bedford Massachusetts' Hanscom Field are unhappy with the noise from small jets.

Is this conflict only going to get worse with the advent of VLJs?

From a piece on

Noisy smaller jets taking off and landing at Hanscom Field in Bedford are always the subject of criticism by officials and residents in the four towns adjoining the airfield.

Now, though, the Massachusetts Port Authority, owner-operator of Hanscom, is active on two fronts to combat excessive noise and to measure more accurately noise levels of all aircraft using the Bedford airport.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Richard Dreyfus...

...please pick up the white courtesy phone nearest you for a message...,1,3957154.column?page=1&vote27156872=1&?track=sto-topstory&coll=chi-news-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

In the sky! A bird? A plane? A ... UFO?
Video: UFO over O'Hare Airport?

Published January 1, 2007

It sounds like a tired joke--but a group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously.

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently. But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

The FAA is not conducting a further investigation, Cory said. The theory is the sighting was caused by a "weather phenomenon," she said.

Click the link for much more...