Famed aircraft authority Jane's All the World's Aircraft says there's convincing evidence that Gustav Whitehead, not the Wright brothers, was the first to achieve powered controlled flight, but critics may be unmoved. In the foreword of the 100th edition of Jane's All the World's Aircraft, Jane's editor Paul Jackson cites the work of Australian aviation historian John Brown. Brown's evidence includes a 1901 article describing Whitehead's sustained flight in a controlled powered aircraft flown from a field in Connecticut, ahead of the Wrights' 1903 flight. Unfortunately, although one picture of a Whitehead flight was reportedly taken, observers who require any direct visual evidence will be disappointed. And Whitehead is not without his detractors.
The full impact of the 5% budget cut is becoming known, and GA-oriented airports are bearing a significant portion of the impact. Will the sequester cut your flying?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they'd had encounters with drones in the air space; click through to see the breakdown of responses.
Integration of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the U.S. national airspace system is scheduled for 2015 and, according to the UAS industry itself, that will create more than 70,000 jobs and have a broader economic impact of more than $13.6 billion by 2019. The numbers are not from an independent study but from a study done by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. It details specific job growth forecasts within the first decade following integration. By 2025, the study predicts more than 100,000 new jobs will be created by the new industry in manufacturing, maintenance, operation, sales and support.
Laser chemist and researcher Jayan Thomas of the University of Central Florida is working to create eyewear that could use gold to prevent pilots from being temporarily blinded or injured by laser light shot into the cockpit from the ground. Thomas is working in collaboration with other researchers at the Carnegie Mellon Institute in the field of nanotechnology. The team is working to develop a method of impregnating lenses with tiny nano clusters of gold that block out high-intensity laser light while allowing normal visible light to pass through. Last year, the FAA documented more than 3,400 laser incidents that involved aircraft.
Eight high-school students will win a free trip to the Glasair build center in Arlington, Wash., this June, in a new educational competition announced this week by GAMA and Build-A-Plane. The students will participate in Glasair's "Two Weeks to Taxi" program, building two Sportsman airplanes and learning about science, technology, engineering and math. "This competition will give students the opportunity to explore general aviation," said Pete Bunce, GAMA president. "We need to expose young people to the exciting and rewarding careers that await them in the aerospace industry and ensure they have the tools to succeed." High schools who wish to enter the competition should call Katrina Bradshaw of Build-A-Plane at 804-843-3321 immediately, as space in the competition is limited.
As federal agencies scramble to cope with looming federal budget cuts, GA advocacy groups are pressing to minimize the impact on flight operations. NBAA President Ed Bolen this week asked FAA officials to consider more factors than simply the total number of operations at an airport in deciding which towers will close. For example, Tracon staffers would have to handle IFR traffic into those airports, adding to their workload, Bolen said. The shutdown of 173 control towers (PDF) is expected on April 7, with 16 more to close on Sept. 30. The FAA said it won't take any more industry input on its tower-closure plan after today, and will announce a final decision on Monday, March 18.
The FAA has approved flight testing of what Boeing hopes will be a permanent fix for the lithium ion batteries on its 787 airliners. Two test aircraft have been cleared for flight to test a three-part solution to the issue that has grounded the fleet since the middle of January. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the aircraft won't carry a passenger until the fix is proven through a "comprehensive series of tests." "We won't allow the plane to return to service unless we're satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers," LaHood said in a statement. It appears Boeing has opted to fix the existing setup rather than recertify a new system and it involves a reworking of the internal workings of the battery.
The NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team will receive the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy, the National Aeronautic Association announced on Tuesday. In choosing the project from a field of seven nominees, the committee cited the"extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation's technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity's understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments."
The NTSB issued five safety alerts on Tuesday that aim to highlight the five most frequent errors that cause general aviation accidents. "We see the same types of accidents over and over again," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "What's especially tragic is that so many of these accidents are entirely preventable." The alerts remind pilots to develop effective risk-management strategies, pay close attention to maintenance issues and always conduct a careful diagnostic flight after leaving the shop, be vigilant when flying at night or in reduced visibility, and be sure to understand stalls and how to prevent them. One alert, aimed at mechanics, reminds them to carefully follow procedures when conducting inspections and maintaining aircraft.
Cirrus executives got what they wanted from the city of Grand Forks. N.D., this week -- not only the $950,000 loan they had requested, but also an apology. Last week, city official Doug Christensen raised questions about Cirrus's ability to repay the loan, and William King, vice president for business administration at Cirrus, tried to explain that his concerns arose from a misinterpretation of the company's financial reports. On Monday night, Christensen apologized for how he "conducted the meeting
[and] addressed Mr. King," and the city approved the loan, which will go to buy an autoclave for Cirrus's Grand Forks manufacturing facility. Cirrus also announced this week the appointment of a new president for the company, Patrick Waddick.
The Sam LS, a new kit airplane with a retro look, flew for the first time on February 26, near Montreal, Canada, the company announced last week. "Liftoff was perfect, in about 300 feet," said Thierry Zibi, president of Sam Aircraft. The all-metal airplane features tandem seating and a narrow fuselage with a choice of three different wings -- short, for speed; medium, for versatility; or long, for short-field operations. The company is taking orders now for fast-build kits, which they say will take about 250 hours, for $75,000, or standard kits at $39,000 and 900 hours. First deliveries are scheduled for late this summer. Also in the works is a ready-to-fly LSA version for $135,000.
Heard on the tower frequency at an airport that will remain undisclosed to protect the innocent:Cessna 12345:"Tower can you have regional jet ABC meet us on Unicom freqency for a personal message?"Jet ABC:"Tower, tell the Cessna we are a professional crew on a schedule and we don't have time for idle chit chat."Cessna 12345:"O.K. Tower, you may want to tell that professional crew they left the landing-gear lock pin in the nose gear. Have a nice day!"Larry Cosbyvia e-mail
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.07 (up 1¢ from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.64 (down 2¢ 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 latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO at Orangeburg Municipal Airport (KOGB) in Orangeburg, South Carolina.AVweb reader Jeff Grigg described his recent visit to the airport:We had an appointment with an examiner at this airport. While there, we were offered a nice Ford to go get some lunch. When our appointment was over, the weather had turned real sloppy, and the ceiling at our home airport was only 600 feet. The folks at the Orangeburg Airport offered the use of a hangar for a few days until we could return and pick up our plane. When we returned, she was nice and dry in the hangar. The manager filled the plane and even gave me a little discount on fuel and did not charge me any rental for the hangar due to the weather. With service like this, you bet I'll recommend this airport and the management to anyone flying through! Everyone was very friendly, the facilities were everything I could want in a small town, and these were just plain good folks.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!
Eclipse is touring the country with its Total Eclipse, a factory re-do of the original EA500. But the airplane is a good stand-in for new production airplanes, which will be called Eclipse 550s. AVweb recently took a flight demo in a Total Eclipse and prepared this video report.
As AOPA President Craig Fuller announces his departure, a survey of AVweb readers reveals that about half - 53 percent -- think AOPA has done a good to exceptional job of promoting and protecting general aviation. But almost one in five -- 17 percent -- say just the opposite; AOPA has done a poor to mediocre job, in their view. Readers are less generous in rating Fuller's job performance. Some 32 percent say Fuller has done a fair to satisfactory job, while
Popular aviation charts vendor Air Chart Systems has sent a notice to its subscribers that it's ceasing publication of the spiral-bound paper atlases that were its signature product for more than 50 years. In a note attached to the March 7 electronic update of en route charts and approach plates the company suggests it's out of the paper charts business. "Due to adverse business conditions and the increasing use of electronic charts, we will not be publishing our atlases or renewing next cycle," the note reads. The company says it will no longer mail hard copy updates either. The company has not responded to our repeated attempts to contact them for clarification of the note.
Sun 'n Fun will hire air traffic controllers on its own if necessary to staff the annual airshow and fly-in next month. President Lites Leenhouts told the Lakeland Ledger paying controllers would reduce the amount of money the organization can give to aviation scholarships but it will do what it must to ensure a safe and orderly air traffic flow at the show. "The public won't know the difference," Leenhouts said. "We're doing everything we can to ensure there are qualified controllers in the tower during all hours of operation." Lakeland Linder Airport is among a reported 173 airports across the country that have been targeted for closure due to budget restrictions imposed by sequestration and a final decision will be made March 18. The towers may close as early as April 7. Airport officials have until Wednesday to appeal the closure notice and Lakeland Linder director Gene Conrad told the Ledger he will cite Sun 'n Fun as a reason to keep the tower open.
A North Carolina judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the family of a 16-year-old boy whose body was found in Boston after it is presumed he fell from the wheel well of a US Airways flight that was landing there. The mangled body of Delvonte Tisdale, of Charlotte, was found Nov. 15, 2010, on the approach path to Logan Airport a day after he was last seen at home in Charlotte. It's theorized that he got over the airport fence and managed to sneak into the aircraft wheel well before the A320 took off on its non-stop to Boston. According to The Associated Press, Tisdale's family sued the City of Charlotte, the airline and the airport alleging, among other things, that the defendants didn't do enough to warn Tisdale of the danger of "boarding a plane as a passenger in the wheel well of an airplane."
The NTSB Friday announced it will meet next week to consider issuing Safety Alerts to the general aviation community as an effort to help curb the number of accidents and fatalities associated with the segment. Safety Alerts are outlines that offer practical remedies for specific safety issues. There are five areas of concern that will be considered at a March 12 meeting. They include inattention to mechanical problems, risk management, stalls and controlled flight into terrain. The meeting will be available to pilots via live webcast.