Weeks into the New England summer season, which, as of July 4, is more like an extended March, I’m feeling a serious need for some LSA speed.
The crash of Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, during a flight from Brazil to Paris focused attention on pitot tubes, although many people had never heard of them before.
The other evening, I got a call from a friend who operates a Piper Navajo for his business. He filled me in on what had happened with a flight from his home airport in the Northeast to Miami, Fla.
As of June of this year, I’ve been cranking out this column for 40 years! These are words I never thought I’d hear coming out of my mouth.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic by pioneering aviators Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown (in 1919).
All of us have spent considerable time observing our fellow aviators’ takeoffs, landings, radio communications, preflight inspections and general behavior at (and away from) the airport.
It was the best of times; it was the most confusing of times. Half an hour or so into our virtual gum flap, courtesy of matching Gucci headsets and Skype’s Internet-based telephony, my head began to hurt.
In April, the NTSB advised the FAA to ground all Zodiac CH 601XL S-LSA and E-LSA until the FAA determines they have adequate protection from aerodynamic flutter, which occurs when airplane structures vibrate back and forth in increasingly violent oscillations, eventually reaching a point where the structure breaks apart.
Back in the ’80s, when I was working on the ABC TV show Wide World of Flying, I flew up to Washington State to interview Ken Wheeler, designer of the Wheeler Express homebuilt, and fly his innovative airplane.
You need go no farther than a summer air show buzzing with a vibrant, colorful contingent of light-sport aircraft to see what the excitement has been all about and sense where it might take us. The LSA movement is a living, breathing example of the sheer innovation, quality and giddy diversity that has characterized personal flight from the very beginning in 1903.
Each year, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union representing FAA controllers, honors members who’ve helped save pilots from dangerous situations that might have resulted in accidents.
Through my Lightspeed Zulu headset, I hear a confident voice: “Denver Center, Citation One Three Zulu Mike, vacating flight level 390 for 240, smooth ride.”
|Is it just me, or does the Cessna Skyhawk seem younger than 53? After all, take away the panel, paint and interior, and you might mistake a 2009 for a 1964 model if both airplanes were parked side by side on the ramp in bare aluminum livery. But while the current model’s configuration is physically very similar to that of the older models, the 2009 172S is a very different machine from that early version.|
|Unrestricted U.S. FAA certification of Embraer’s smallest jet, the Phenom 100, was awarded in December 2008, and the first delivery was made to James and Elizabeth Frost on December 24 in São José dos Campos, Brazil. “Surprises” in the final certified operating specs were an improved range (1,178 nm with four aboard), shortened max performance field requirements (now 3,125 feet at MTOW under standard conditions) and a 301-foot improvement in landing distance, among others. EASA certification is expected in Q2 2009, with European deliveries to begin shortly after. Visit www.embraer.com.|