Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oshkosh Adventure 2013

Flying cars, the JetMan, a new electric airplane and fantastic weather: one of the best years ever

Aviat Aircraft debuted its CNG-fueled Husky A-1C, a project with the Aviation Foundation of America.
Aviat Husky CNG
For years, general aviation's many crises have made for a cloak of gloomy colors, notably ever-more-expensive flight training, hamburger flights over $100, the search for leaded avgas alternatives and more. Electric flight propulsion and autogas conversions have gotten most of the attention so far. Then came Stu Horn of Aviat Aircraft with another idea.

His 180 hp Aviat Husky showed up looking 8.75 months pregnant with its pendulous belly tank. In the tank? An overlooked fuel source and something we're all familiar with: compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG has a lot going for it: high octane (138), cleaner burning, and it's cheap at less than a buck a gallon. Compare that to 100 low lead's $5 to $6.

Terrafugia Transition LSA flying car
Horn's tilt at Big Oil's windmill is a dual-fueled affair: cockpit-selectable avgas or CNG, a nod to the lack of CNG pumps at our airfields. But then there aren't any electric "pumps" yet either...we're in transition mode in GA, and CNG is commonly used for heating hangars, and gas pipelines are common near many airports.

The project, a joint venture with Aviation Foundation of America (AFA), took several months to complete. That big-belly tank holds an equivalent 14 gallons of CNG and weighs 135 pounds full. To demonstrate the concept in the best way possible, Horn flew the CNG Husky to Oshkosh from Afton, Wyo. What a gas! Contact:

Lightspeed's new Zulu PFX headset.
Lightspeed Zulu PFX Headset
Another noteworthy innovation debuting at Oshkosh is this ANR (Active Noise Reduction), Bluetooth-capable headset that goes one step beyond to quiet down the ever-present din of cockpit noise. An extension of the successful Zulu headset family, it's two ounces lighter and has lower-profile ear cups.

The company's new PFX (Personal Flying Experience) technology takes a two-layered approach to delivering the quiet ride:

Acoustic response mapping actively measures and adapts to the sound "landscape" of your own ears to enhance sound quality
Streaming Quiet dynamic ANR uses microphones on the sides of the ear cups to continuously sample the environment and update noise cancelling, such as from taxi to full power. Zulu claims it's the world's quietest headset.

The audio experience is fully customizable to your personal preferences (bass, clarity, etc.) using FlightLink, the proprietary app Lightspeed introduced at last year's Oshkosh.

Enhancements include a battery box with a 1 million calculation-per-second CPU that's firmware upgradeable. Connection ports allow for future innovations. Even the cables are neat—silver-coated copper alloy wraps around a Kevlar core; strong, yet flexible as cooked spaghetti. Contact:


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