Monday, March 26, 2007

Grass roots flying in NH

Here's an interesting story about a New Hampshire pilot.

Sawyer commuted to college in a Piper Cub in 1967. Flying 60 miles from Jaffrey to the University of New Hampshire's Durham campus, he set his plane down on the athletic fields and strolled to class.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

ATC About Face Down Under!

From AIN:

The Australian parliament voted yesterday to take regulatory control of the nation’s airspace away from the private ATC service provider and return it to the government’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Though safety was an issue, a larger concern was that a private company should not hold both regulatory control and service responsibility.

How about that? Now the change doesn't necessarily mean an end to what they call "User Pays," but it's a step. And given that the former head of Australia's aviation agency told Congress how User Pays has nearly killed GA Down Under, maybe that government will see the light and reverse User Pays, as well...

And wouldn't it be nice if people in our government took note?

Prepping for Sun 'n Fun 33 -- GET THE NOTAM!

Yes, aviators, it's nearly time for the annual spring launch of airshow and fly-in season -- the 33rd annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Florida. The dates are April 17-23, and the event is shaping up to be another memorable gathering.

You can find lots of information about what Sun 'n Fun promises at

More important for anyone planning to fly GA to Sun 'n Fun is the Sun 'n Fun NOTAM that outlines the special procedures for Lakeland and nearby Plant City and Winter Haven airports.

PLEASE don't be like some of the bonehead pilots we shared airspace with during a lengthy hold at Lake Parker when KLAL was shut down for nearly an hour after a fatal accident several years ago. GET THE NOTAM so you know where to go, how to go, and to whom you'll speak -- and not speak to -- when flying the formal arrival to Sun 'n Fun. The NOTAM covers Lakeland, Plant City (where the FAA installs a temporary tower) and Winter Haven, so you need it even if you're landing at one of those fields.

The NOTAM covers special procedures for participants, show planes, warbirds, ultralights and general attendees. Get the NOTAM here: and the supplement, here:

Get these and help make all of us a little safer.

Don't neglect to check the forecasts a few days before your flight because storms can occasionally slam shut the funnel that is Northern Florida.

Hope to see you there! Shiney side up!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hats off to Bombardier and Bob Agostino!

Bombardier deserves a big pat on its winglets for a different kind of export -- this one its Safety Standdown, to Europe, to coincide with the 7th Annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exposition (EBACE 2007) coming in May.

Safety Standdown Europe is a non-commercial effort by Bombardier, NBAA and the European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) to provide insight and knowledge designed to change the way operators think about safety. The information presented at the Safety Standdown is not aircraft or manufacturer specific. Attendance is free but space is limited. For additional details and to register, visit the Web site

Having attended several U.S. Safety Standdowns, held annually in Wichita, I can attest to the value of this event. Last fall, Bombardier held its 10th such event. The Standdown is also headed to a one-day event on the west coast later this year.

Way to go to all the sponsors and the staff that makes this ambitious event happen!

TSA -- More to come for GA...

Here we go again, it seems. Recent blurbs from various sources and reports indicate that our friends at the Transportation Security Administration are working on plans for "more robust" security oversight of general aviation -- both in larger aircraft like mid- and large-cabin business jets, fractional and corporate operators and...shoe drops here -- general aviation airports.

According to some reports, the work underway includes an effort to develop a standardized security assessment tool for GA fields and requirements and grants to bring those fields up to the standards that haven't yet been proposed or codified.

Once again the question comes up: exactly what GA threat is TSA -- and some members of Congress -- trying to solve?

Congressional Skepticism Grows Over FAA Fee Plans

New stuff from recent hearings in Congress includes this, as reported by McGraw Hill:
User Fees May Further Slacken FAA Cost Control, Oberstar Says

Financing modernization of the ATC system over the next 10 years with user fees instead of excise taxes might make it too easy for FAA to pass cost overruns through to airlines, passengers and other system users, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) believes.

Speaking as the House Transportation aviation subcommittee launched hearings on the Bush Administration's FAA reauthorization proposal, Oberstar linked the source of funds with the potential for loosened management reins.

"The pressure for efficiency will be much less if FAA can require airline passengers and system users to bear the burden of any cost overruns or delays in the modernization program," he said. "Instead, I believe that this Administration should have to come to Congress and seek additional funding if there are cost overruns or delays."

Panel Chair Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) took the same tack, expressing "grave reservations" about a system in which "FAA would have broad authority to raise fees to match whatever costs are incurred," and cited poor FAA management in past modernization programs.

The reauthorization proposal would permit FAA to reset fees every year to cover ATC operating and capital costs. The agency has said Congress would retain full oversight authority, however, presumably including annual appropriation of money raised from fees, fuel taxes and the general fund.


My question on this is similar to questions raised by past Bush Administration actions: did they [i] really [/i] believe we wouldn't notice the huge disconnect between what they say and what they try to do?
The saga continues...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

FAA Forecast Out

Here's the skinny on where the Fah sees aviation growing over the next several the book.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Dead Cow International Info...a.k.a. 71K, Westport Airport

Here are a few links with info about my favorite little airport, Westport, a.k.a. Dead Cow International (71K) in southwest Wichita...inside the ICT Class C...and about 2 miles from ICT's east runway...

Homey, friendly, eclectic little field with less than 2,200 available for landing on 17...if you get a chance to drop in, you'll save money on fuel and get to meet The Leprechaun -- Westport's owner, Earl Long...

Westport Ag's homepage:
And some other sites with 71K info pages...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Personal Jet's at the Superbowl

I want to look at this more closely to see what I think. But this story shows a flight tracking website showing all the private jets heading home after the Superbowl.