Ah, June -- the beginning of summer and the inspiration for flying plans. What's your agenda?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers who should foot the ATC bill at AirVenture this summer; click through for the breakdown of responses.
A circumnavigation flight that will launch from Sun 'n Fun 2014 is aiming to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to high school students. AVweb spoke with pilot and founder Judy Rice.
The Think Global Flight Initiative has received funding from the Wolf Aviation Fund as it gears up for a circumnavigation flight in support of a global effort to increase student interest in the so-called STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects in school. Flight organizers have already involved 10,000 students in 10 countries (including 25 states in the U.S.) with projects to help with flight planning, navigation and logistics of the flight. Donors who want to be involved can buy a "Skyway" that will fund fuel for the flight. Judy Rice will be the pilot and she will be accompanied by navigator and relief pilot Fred Nauer. Rice said in an interview with AVweb the goal is to inspire and enthuse students all over the world in the "hard" subjects.
Van's Aircraft has delivered its first ready-to-fly aircraft and it seems like there will be a lot more to follow. George Longino took possession of his Signature Series RV-12 S-LSA at Van's Aurora, Ore., manufacturing plant on May 31. He flew it back to his home near Dallas with a transition training pilot. Van's did a production test run of 12 RV-12s and they were all spoken for within hours of the announcement, but there will be one available to Sporty's customers.
Robust demand for Gulfstream's new ultra-large-cabin G650 jet is driving a hiring surge in the company's Greenville, Wis., plant, which has added about 60 new jobs so far this year and plans to fill 30 to 40 more positions in the next few months. General manager Gregory Laabs told the Appleton Post-Crescent the company has more than 200 orders for the G650, which will keep the work force busy at least until 2017. The job openings are "across the board from design work to engineering," Laabs said. "And we also have positions for cabinet finishing and some sheet metal posts. There are many good jobs still available." The $58 million G650 started deliveries in December.
A month after its departure from San Francisco, Solar Impulse on Tuesday landed in St. Louis, marking the fourth stop on its six-stop flight across the U.S. The unique solar-powered airplane previously landed in Phoenix and Dallas, and plans to stop next in Washington, D.C., and New York. The latest leg of the trip, with Bertrand Piccard at the controls, lasted 21 hours and 21 minutes and covered 562 nautical miles. The advance crew for the first time used an inflatable hangar that was designed for the project's planned 2015 round-the-world flight, after the planned hangar space in St. Louis was damaged by storms over the weekend.
It was 2004 when a small Luna reconnaissance drone almost collided with an Ariana Airbus A300 over Kabul, but the video was posted online this week by Der Spiegel and is adding fuel to a debate over the use of unmanned aircraft in Europe's airspace. About 100 passengers were on board the A300. According to Der Spiegel, the video from the drone was classified as "secret" in an accident investigation report, but the clip has been posted online for several years. The 88-pound drone hit the wake turbulence from the Airbus, crashed, and was never recovered, according to Der Spiegel.
Investigators in Afghanistan have discovered evidence that may support the widely held theory that shifting cargo caused the crash of a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 in late April near the airfield at Bagram. The New York Times reported Monday that the heavy military vehicles hit the back of the aircraft so hard on takeoff that parts broke off the plane and were left on the runway. Cockpit voice recorder copied the pilot's last words as "Wait, wait," but there is also speculation that it was actually "Weight, weight," the pilot was saying. Investigators also found the charred remains of some cargo straps that were cut but there is no way to tell if they were the cause or an effect of the tragedy.
EAA is rallying the troops to encourage Senate action to block an FAA proposal to collect expenses for the controllers that staff AirVenture. In a bulletin to EAA members, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton urged members to contact their local representatives and ask them to sign a letter being circulated among senators (PDF) calling on the FAA to abandon the plan. But Pelton also said there was no time to waste since the letters were being collected for presentation to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta by close of business on Tuesday. EAA has set up a petition website.
Residents in the urban neighborhoods that surround busy Santa Monica Airport in southern California have complained about operations there for years, citing noise, air pollution, and the danger from plane crashes, and now the city has approved new landing fees that not only more than double the fees for transient flyers, but also now apply to airport tenants, including flight schools. "Our students will go from not paying for a landing to paying about $12 for each landing in a Cessna 172," said Jay Elder, executive vice president of the American Flyers flight school. The fee increase would add "hundreds of dollars" to each pilot's training, he said. Transient pilots will avoid the airport because of the fee, he added, reducing traffic at the school's pilot shop. If pilots don't visit the shop, they won't learn about instrument-training courses, "and it hurts the whole airport," Elder said.
Surf Air, which aims to offer private air travel in PC-12s among four California cities for a flat monthly fee, has received FAA approval to start flying. Flights will start June 12, with service between San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. The company also said it has closed on a round of funding that will allow for future growth. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new funding amounts to $7 million. The monthly memberships will cost about $1,650, according to NPR. Surf Air says its members can book or cancel flights in under 30 seconds using mobile apps, can park for free at the airports, and there are no fees for luggage or for flight changes.
A new animated film from Disney will bring the world of air racing to the masses this summer, when Planes hits theaters in August. The official opening, in 3D theaters across the country, is Aug. 9, but visitors to AirVenture can see a preview screening of the film on Friday, Aug. 2, in the EAA Fly-in Theater. A real cropduster, an Air Tractor AT-301, with a fresh paint job to transform it into "Dusty," the hero of the film, also will be featured at AirVenture all week. Disney says the design of Dusty was inspired by a combination of the Air Tractor 502 and the Dromader, built in Poland.
AOPA has revamped its aircraft financing division to include a broader range of prospective lenders. Adam Meredith, head of the AOPA Aircraft Finance Company spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.
AOPA is expanding its presence in the aircraft finance market with a new service for its members. The AOPA Finance Company is a brokerage that brings together borrowers and lenders to make getting money for airplanes and upgrades easier. Adam Meredith, who is heading up the new company, said in an interview with AVweb that AOPA has been helping members with financing for about 20 years but always through a single lender. The new company will deal with a multitude of lenders that have stuck with aircraft financing through the recession and are looking for new business.
While flying a Beech 18 in the late 1960s, my instructor requested take-off clearance in an unusual way:XXX Tower:"Twin Beech N1234 ready to accelerate on runway heading to generate sufficient lift to overcome the effects of gravity."Without skipping a beat, the tower retorted:"Twin Beech N1234, you are cleared to accelerate on runway heading to generate sufficient lift to overcome the effects of gravity."Patrick Tallonvia e-mail
Some tangled parachute lines, a seriously aft C of G and some kind of air turbulence ganged up on a Maverick flying car to send it spiraling into a schoolyard in western Canada in early May. Canada's Transportation Safety Board turned over the investigation to the manufacturer of the aircraft, ITEC, to come up with the cause and the company's COO Troy Townsend traveled to Kelowna, British Columbia, a week later to conduct the probe. By analyzing video from two GoPro cameras onboard the aircraft, plus video shot from the ground by AVweb and airport surveillance camera video, Townsend and pilot Ray Siebring determined at least three independent factors contributed to the stall/spin that ended with the Maverick spinning from an altitude of about 500 feet into the playground fence of a school in Vernon, B.C., on May 10. "Any one of those factors wasn't enough to bring the aircraft down but they all added up together," said Townsend, who has hundreds of hours on the vehicle, which is really just a large powered parachute with a street-legal car as its payload.
When a Maverick Flying Car crashed in Vernon, British Columbia in May of 2013, on-board cameras helped determine the causes of the accident. AVweb's Russ Niles assembled this report from the various media used in the investigation.
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.02 (down 1¢ from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.40 (down 3¢ from last week)Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav, based on prices from the past 2 weeks. Changes are relative to last week's prices. /TEXT_ONLY-->AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Base Operations at Page Field Airport (KFMY) in Fort Myers.AVweb reader Frank Ladd recommended the FBO:I have been to this FBO many times in the past on our yearly jaunts to Sanibel Island. I have always had excellent service with Scott and Debra at the Page Airport. This year, they excelled themselves. Their line personnel are very accommodating and most helpful. We were delayed due to weather on May 1, but they still accommodated us and our four-hour late arrival. Fuel prices are very competitive, too. The line guys had my car waiting and were helpful in loading our luggage. This FBO will get my business again.Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Two single-engine aircraft, both reportedly from local flying schools, collided near Phoenix Friday, killing both occupants of both planes. One aircraft, identified by Phoenix police as a Cessna from Westwind School of Aeronautics, burned almost completely after crashing and the two occupants were not immediately identifiable. The other, a Piper Arrow III, had two flight instructors aboard and was largely intact on the ground. "I thought possibly we might have survivors," Battalion Chief Gary Bernard of the Peoria Fire Department told the Arizona Republic.
The British Airways Airbus A319 that suffered an engine fire and lost cowlings off both engines on departure from Heathrow on May 24 took off with its engine cowls unlatched, according to an early report. An Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report discussed by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the right engine's cowl door departed the aircraft, but not before striking the engine and fuselage, leading to the engine fire. The cowl on the left wing ripped away without significant additional damage. The emergency, which saw the 80-person flight return to Heathrow for a successful emergency landing and aircraft evacuation, temporarily closed both of the airport's runways and caused the cancellation of more than 190 flights. The pilots union has already weighed in regarding some of the report's findings.