Like many an infant, aviation entered the world tentatively when the Wright Brothers coaxed a manned, heavier-than-air powered flying machine off the ground. Flight in America after the Wrights’ achievement was marked more by squabbling over patents than by rapid advances in the science, and the Europeans, particularly the French, seized on the new sport keenly.
News and issues concerning general aviation, specifically airplanes and helicopters powered by piston and alternative engines (i.e., non-turbine powered aircraft). Subjects include aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
It was late on an autumn night as I swung the car into the rough lane that leads to our house. A few feet beyond the mailbox post, the headlights caught something in the grass. At first it could have been a rabbit standing tall, but closer inspection revealed it to be a magnificent bird, most likely a Peregrine falcon but possibly a gyrfalcon, and it had chosen our lane as a resting place on its migratory route.
GECI International is offering its Skylander SK-100 light utility aircraft for sale and intends to fully launch the program in April. The program has been in the works since 2001, and the France-based company hopes to deliver the first aircraft from its factory in Evora, Portugal, in 2011.
When aerospace designer Burt Rutan rolled out his manned suborbital spaceflight program and its centerpiece, SpaceShipOne (SS1), from its Mojave, Calif., hangar in April last year, reporters asked about his plans for space tourism. Rutan said he himself wasn’t interested in launching a space tourism business, but he hoped others would be able to use his technology “sometime in the future” to begin a new space industry.
In preparation for his solo nonstop around-the-world (ATW) flight tentatively scheduled for January, adventurer and solo ATW balloonist Steve Fossett has begun familiarization flights in the single-engine Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer in Mojave, Calif., following a number of envelope expansion flights by Scaled Composites project engineer and test pilot Jon Karkow.
During the heyday of small-airplane manufacturing in the mid- to late 1970s, factories in Wichita, Lock Haven and Vero Beach built tens of thousands of airplanes, and every one of them somehow had to find its way from the conclusion of the production flight-test process into the hands of an owner or dealer.
Kevin Laufer, a GIV captain for an international reinsurance company based in Bermuda and the owner of a 1946 Globe Swift, recently established the Tailwheel Pilots Association (TPA). He says that 1,000 taildragger enthusiasts have already joined.
Elling Halvorson, chairman of Papillon Airways, and a team of investors composed of helicopter industry executives have acquired Soloy Corp., an engine mod company. Soloy will operate as a stand-alone company and will remain located in Olympia, Wash., according to Halvorson. Soloy was founded in 1970 by Joe Soloy, who died in February at age 78.
Bertrand Piccard, initiator of the Solar Impulse program, which is calling for a flight around the world with an aircraft powered exclusively by solar energy, showcased the state of his venture in a media conference at Duebendorf airfield near Zurich, Switzerland, last month.
Although the Transportation Security Administration’s general aviation airport security guidelines working group was unable to reach a consensus on how to categorize public- and private-use GA airports for security purposes, last month it urged the TSA not to “isolate” general aviation with more stringent security procedures than those being adopted as “best practices” by other modes of transportation such as maritime, rail or highways.