Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Sept-Oct 2004 On The Radar
|If you’ve been wondering if this tsunami of new technology that’s been threatening to forever change the way we fly is just a passing fancy, the news is now clear: Every major airframe manufacturer has announced they’re presently or will shortly begin shipping airplanes featuring glass panels. Cessna Aircraft Company (www.cessna.com) just received the FAA’s blessing to begin delivering Garmin (www.garmin.com) G1000-equipped Skylanes, both turbocharged and normally aspirated models.|
| Electronic Flight Solutions Autopilot Training Course|
|SimCom’s Piper Meridian Simulator|
If this blur of new technology finds you using the Direct To function on your GPS, but little more, there’s help in that category as well. COMM1 (www.comm1radio.com
) has released VFLITE GPS Training to its suite of interactive CD-ROMs. Pilots can learn the multiple features of some of the most popular Garmin boxes, the GPSmap 196 and GNS 430/530 at home on their computers. Electronic Flight Solutions also offers computer training courses. Program topics include autopilot systems, traffic awareness TAS/TCAS, weather awareness, GPS navigation and terrain awareness TAWS Class B. Electronic Flight Solutions has been accepted by the FAA for the WINGS Program and by a variety of notable training organizations, including FlightSafety and the United States Navy. Spaceship First
Clearly the grandest technical recognition goes to Burt Rutan and his staff at Scaled Composites (www.scaled.com
) based out in Mojave, Calif. On June 21, the team launched the first privately built rocket plane into space. The effort, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, enabled 63-year-old Mike Melvill to pilot the small SpaceShipOne to an altitude of 328,491 feet (62.214 miles), just past the Earth’s discernable atmosphere and into the record books as the first non-government-sponsored manned space launch. Melvill was awarded astronaut wings from the Department of Transportation as well as some hearty handshakes from attending NASA staff, including Buzz Aldrin, the second man to step onto the moon.
The small spaceship was carried aloft under the belly of the gangly jet-powered White Knight, another Rutan design. When the aircraft reached about 46,000 feet, SpaceShipOne was released, and Melvill ignited the rocket that sent the tiny spacecraft on its nearly vertical trajectory toward the anticipated altitude of 360,000 feet. A trim actuator malfunction caused SpaceShipOne to veer from its planned ascent profile, resulting in a reduction in altitude. Melvill switched to the backup system and continued the mission.
News of Rutan and Melvill’s space success was relayed by NASA’s Houston Control to astronaut Mike Fincke, who was orbiting in the International Space Station. “Fantastic!” replies Fincke. “We were wishing them the best of luck. We’re all in the space business together, helping mankind to get off the planet and explore the stars.”
Page 3 of 3