If Tuesday was a weather-challenged day at Sun ‘n Fun, and it was, Wednesday has been absolutely perfect, and that’s not a word we throw around lightly. Since morning the sky has been blue with barely a wisp of cloud rolling through and airplanes have been generating the kind of beautiful noise that was absent from the grounds for nearly the entire morning on opening day.
There is a lot of news at the show this year, too, some of it, like Piper’s big announcement yesterday, that is industry news, but there are lots of grassroots GA goodness happening, too.
- The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and Lightspeed announced a generous donation by the headset maker. The winners of Ray Aviation Scholarships, funded by the Ray Foundation, will get a Lightspeed Zulu 3 headset as a bonus to their award, so they’ll be doing their flight training with first class headwear.
- We reported on Piper’s big announcement of its new Continental-equipped trainers with Garmin G3X Touch avionics, but Piper also announced a huge sale to L3 Commercial Aviation – the largest in company history. L3 will take delivery of up to 240 new Piper aircraft, including 26 to be handed over this year. This year’s haul consists of 19 Archers and seven Seminole light twins. Aviation giant L3 has greatly accelerated its training efforts of late. It has academies in Florida, the UK and Portugal.
- EAA, which wants to make sure you remember its cozy affair up in Oshkosh this summer, announced that it would host a special program honoring the mission of Apollo 11 in July of 1969, 50 years ago to the month. Astronaut Michael Collins, commander of the mission, will be the honored guest at the event, hosted by another space legend, Space Shuttle Commander Charlie Precourt with yet another legend, astronaut Joe Engle, the last person to fly the X-15, also in attendance.
- Sporty’s Pilot Shop announced the winner of its first Richard L. Collins Writing Prize For Young Authors. Emma Hutchinson attends the U.S. Naval Academy and hopes to fly helicopters for the U.S. Marines upon graduation. Her story, a touching tribute to her grandfather, also an aviator, is surely a worthy effort. Sporty’s planned to award Emma the $2,500 inaugural prize at Sun ‘n Fun.
- We wrote last week in Plane & Pilot eNews about the revolutionary new products from Garmin International, the G3X Touch for certified airplanes and two new navigators, the GPS 175 and GNX 375. At Sun ‘n Fun the company had on display a vintage Grumman Tiger (is there any other kind?) its panel filled with gorgeous E2C (experimental to certified) gear. Stay tuned for a full report on the plane, the new avionics and how it might affect your buying plans for the coming year.
- And in case you were feeling all happy about the good stuff, the FAA weighed in with a big fat reminder that its mandatory ADS-B equipage deadline is a-comin’ up. The agency, which is in the middle of its drama vis-à-vis the Boeing 737 Max, said that pilots looking to fly into ADS-B airspace starting on January 1, 2020, had better start making other plans. Gulp.