The world of flight simulation has changed quite a bit since Edwin Link invented the first flight simulator in 1931; today, realistic simulation is available in packages that range from software that can run on a desktop computer up to multimillion-dollar systems used to train airline and military pilots.
General Aviation brings election results home faster!
When the voting polls closed last night in California, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s aero department was set into motion. We joined them in an AS350-B2 Astar flying the ballots in sealed, locked bags, from the ramp at Santa Monica Airport to the counting station at the office of the Registrar Recorder in Norwalk. These shuttle flights were part of a larger network encompassing six general aviation airports, all aimed at bringing in election results as soon as possible.
With an auction bid of $26.4 million on November 28, 2007, Cessna Aircraft finalized its purchase of select assets of Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company, which had declared bankruptcy. The Bend, Ore., factory will now carry the Cessna name and the Columbia low-wing, high-performance, all-composite, single-engine aircraft will be branded as the Cessna 350 and the Cessna 400. Cessna Parts Distribution and the company’s network of authorized dealers and service centers have already begun plans to integrate sales and support of the new Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 aircraft.
In late November 2007, Cessna’s bid for Bend, Oregon–based Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company was accepted, bringing the speedy Columbia 350 and 400 under the Cessna banner. As with all current Cessna products, Cessna Parts Distribution and the Cessna network of authorized dealers and service centers will take care of sales and support of the rebadged Cessna 350 and Cessna 400 aircraft.
Flying The Light Retractables: A Guided Tour Through The Most Popular Complex Single-Engine Airplanes by LeRoy Cook (ASA, 2007, 9781560276074). As the author states in his introduction, “It is for the prospective buyer…that this book was written.” The small 180/200 hp four-seat light retractables are the most popular class of GA airplane, and Cook offers more »
Black Wings: Courageous Stories of African-Americans in Aviation and Space History by Von Hardesty (HarperCollins Publishers, 2008, ISBN: 0061261386). Beginning with Bessie “The Barnstormer” Coleman—the first female African-American pilot to achieve national fame for her aerial aerobatics—this book continues with inspiring stories from the Golden Age of Flight. Chronicling the famed Tuskegee Airmen and astronaut more »
Zaon’s PCAS (portable collision-avoidance system) XRX is “the first ever portable, passive, stand-alone collision-avoidance system for general aviation to offer direction from within the cockpit.” After flight-testing one at four busy airports one recent Sunday afternoon, I can confirm that it does exactly what Zaon claims.
Cirrus Design announced that its fleet surpassed a milestone of two million flight hours with just more than 3,500 aircraft. Cirrus likened this mileage to more than two round trips to the sun, or more than 15,000 trips around the world. “When we began development of the SR line, it was our intention to produce a product that gives our customers great utility, based on comfort, performance and, most importantly, safety,” said Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier. “Achieving the two million flight-hour mark demonstrates our commitment to our customers and determination to grow the industry.”
Artful Flying by Michael Maya Charles (Artful Publishing, 2006, ISBN: 0976827409). Michael Maya Charles’ book is intended to raise your flying to an artform. It’s the only aviation book that shows you new ways to approach your hours in the cockpit, resulting in more awareness, increased levels of safety and more enjoyment from flying. Bomber more »
Liberty announced the closing of a major debt financing, arranged by Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain), which will allow the company to expand its production capacity. “The decision to raise finance was based on the strong worldwide demand for Liberty’s XL2 aircraft,” said the General Manager of Kuwait Finance House, Abdulhakeem Alkhayyat. “The finance is important, as it gives strength, stability and resources to Liberty, which will culminate in Liberty’s further success in aircraft sales.”
A guide to gadgets that will keep you and your passengers secure
Remember when CB radios were actually useful? Like CBs and just about everything originally intended for emergency purposes, many of the safety items listed in this article are for situations of distress, where life, eyesight or organ health is in danger. Let’s all be careful and professional when using PLBs (personal locator beacons) and ELTs (emergency locator transmitters).
Flight bags have certainly changed over the years, but what has changed most is what today’s pilots consider “must have.” My first flight bag was a military flying suit with pockets everywhere, each stuffed with some necessity.
British race pilot Paul Bonhomme was victorious at the penultimate stop in the 2007 Red Bull Air Race World Series. More than 50,000 spectators gathered around the San Diego Bay as competing pilots sped around a challenging course marked by inflatable pylons. Bonhomme’s finishing time was 1:23:80; placing second was U.S. pilot and last year’s series winner Kirby Chambliss at 1:24:69, only fractions of a second behind. This year’s series champion will be determined in November at the final race in Perth, Australia.
The latest version of the world’s best-selling business jet model, the Citation XLS+, recently completed its first flight. “With the flight progressing as planned and the aircraft performing as expected, this first flight was a great success,” said Cessna Citation XLS+ Program Manager Kevin Steinert. “The integration of the new Collins Pro Line 21 and Pratt & Whitney’s FADEC-equipped engines went smoothly, and we look forward to continuing this program on schedule.”
I’m sold on the concept that using portable avionics in the cockpit will make the flying experience safer and more convenient. As a flight instructor, I teach in aircraft with large differences in avionics, ranging from the latest and greatest in glass panels to ships with no radio or electrical system. Regardless, it’s always comforting to have my trusty Garmin GPSMAP 496 along for the flight to help with situational awareness and to have the latest weather at my fingertips.
After introducing the 300 Knot Club, Columbia began to receive photographic evidence from aircraft owners of groundspeeds in excess of 300 knots. The company has subsequently inducted these pilots into the club. “The 300 Knot Club is simply a way to celebrate what a purpose-built speedster can accomplish in the hands of a skilled aviator,” said Columbia Aircraft VP of Sales Randy Bollinger.
More than 560,000 visitors and 10,000 airplanes flocked to Oshkosh, Wis., for EAA AirVenture 2007. There was something for everyone, including daily air shows featuring performers such as the Red Barons, Patty Wagstaff and Michael Goulian.
Dangerous Past by A.F. Ebbers (Silverhawk Books, 2007, ISBN: 9780978948238). Unknown assassins are stalking airline captain Frank Baden, and they’ve got a deadline by which point they must make his death look like an accident, or a suicide. In their first attempt, an airliner piloted by Braden undergoes a decompression explosion that the FBI believes more »