How new aircraft buyers are changing the face of general aviation
Just over a decade ago, buying a brand-new aircraft wasn’t an option. While you might have been able to special-order something esoteric, most legacy manufacturers had altogether stopped building new airplanes. When you could buy something brand-new, it looked just like the airplanes already sitting on the ramp, albeit a bit shinier and with that “new plane” smell. The technology, both in the cockpit and within the engine, was pretty much the same from one aircraft to another and hadn’t really progressed much in more than 40 years. The designs of the aircraft themselves had stayed pretty much the same since the 1950s.
We’re on an Expedition. Two of them, actually. Four of us are aboard the Expedition E350, the new tricycle-gear bush plane from Found Aircraft (www.expeditionaircraft.com). The others in our party are aboard the Expedition E350XC, the conventional-gear variant—this one outfitted with amphibious floats—flying barely 20 yards off our right wingtip. We’re making a short hop to Ontario’s Muskoka Airport, a mere 27 nm southeast of Found Aircraft’s headquarters at Parry Sound Area Municipal Airport, also in Ontario.
With four seats, a 112-knot cruise and the lowest price in the class, Robinson’s R44 is perhaps the ultimate multitasker
In case all you fixed-wing pilots hadn’t noticed, Frank Robinson’s success in the light helicopter market has been nothing short of spectacular. Robinson Helicopter Company (www.robinsonheli.com) has sold some 8,500 helicopters in the last three decades.
I love movies! I especially enjoy it when writers use their imaginations to create futuristic technology. For example, do you remember 1985’s Back to the Future with Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly? He finds himself traveling back in time with the help of a DeLorean car that’s converted to a time machine by his mad scientist friend, played by Christopher Lloyd.
You may already fly an aircraft with a turbocharged engine. If not, and you plan on expanding your aviation horizons, there may be a turbocharger in your future. A turbocharged engine can maintain sea level manifold pressure up to critical altitude. When equipped with an automatic density controller, nearly constant horsepower will be automatically produced up to the critical altitude.
Sometimes cutting an expense costs more in the long run
Are we now seeing apocalyptic signs that the world, as we know it, is about to collapse in on us? I checked my avgas price this morning (yeah, I know, dumb move) and it was $6.72, which means, at present rates, by the time you read this, it’ll be over seven bucks.
This could be the greatest thing to happen to general aviation since the 1940s,” says Mike Zidziunas. “This” refers to the rise of light-sport aircraft (LSA). Industry “pundits” set the number of LSA sold so far in the United States at nearly 1,400, give or take an airframe or two. Although the credit crisis and fuel woes are doing a sumo squat on the picture as we speak, recreational pilots, aviation career seekers and flight schools intent on bringing fresh hardware and energy to aging trainer fleets forge ahead.
The market for new general aviation airplanes seems to be changing. Today’s new airplane buyer has different needs, goals and experience. To pinpoint this psychographic, Marc C. Lee spoke with sales representatives from various aircraft manufacturers, and it’s clear that there has been a shift in who’s buying what, and why.
Does your adrenaline level skyrocket on gusty days?
We can all admit that, at some point, we’ve scared ourselves in a crosswind. Sure enough, most flying accidents occur during landing, and most of those are in crosswinds. Almost all crosswind-related accidents happen due to loss of control after touchdown; only a tiny portion involve a crash on approach or on a go-around. To stay safe, we should examine the true risks we face when landing in a crosswind, and the big risks come after touching down.
When Vern Raburn talks, people listen. Recently, the visionary behind the Eclipse VLJ was talking about a new light-sport amphibian, the ICON A5. Raburn is an adviser for start-up ICON Aircraft, which aspires to create a sport aircraft that will “do for recreational flying what personal watercraft did for boating.”
Better airplanes and scenery for your home computer
You may view a home flight simulator as akin to a game. True, simulators can be fun to play with, but X-Plane is much more than a game. Twelve years ago, I bought X-Plane 1.0, the work of one pilot, aeronautical engineer and programmer, Austin Meyer.
Join this six-pack of Cubbies on a low-and-slow cross-country jaunt, and hone up on your
“Uh oh,” crackles Rand Siegfried’s voice over the intercom. “There goes A.D.D. again.” He chuckles, “I think we’ll have to do something about that.” And just like that, the sky drops away and we’re in a brain-floating dive in pursuit of Bob Elliott’s Legend Cub.
Plane & Pilot’s Guide TO AVIATION’S most current PROMOTIONAL DEALS
US Aviation Group is offering a free sport pilot rating to anyone who purchases a new LSA from the company’s inventory. “Since people are showing up with the intention of getting the rating and buying an airplane, we decided to offer the instruction free of charge for anyone who buys one of our LSA,” said Mike Sykes, president of US Aviation.