Pilot Briefing

News from the world of general aviation

June 1, 2011

Memorial to his dad

A son's memorial to his dad

This is the second time this Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair aircraft has been restored. After serving on two aircraft carriers during the Korean War, the aircraft went to the Honduran Air Force. An airline pilot bought it in 1970 and returned it to the United States. Joe Tobul and his son, Jim, bought it in 1981 and began a long restoration; they had it flying again in 1991.

In November 2002, the aircraft was destroyed in an accident that took the life of the elder Tobul. It sat unrepaired for two to three years as the younger Tobul dealt with the loss, but he decided to fully restore it as a memorial to his father, and as a tribute to Korean War veterans.

“There’s lots of emotion in this project,” Tobul said.

Restoration was completed in March and the aircraft began a tour of 14 airshows less than two weeks later. Friends went with Tobul, of Bamsberg, South Carolina, to the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, at the end of March, helping prepare the aircraft, named Korean War Hero,for judging. At the midpoint of the show, Tobul, was awarded the grand championship in his category of restored aircraft. And, happily, Korean War Hero was safely in a hangar when a tornado hit during the fly-in, destroying or damaging nearly 50 aircraft.

The Corsair flew 200 combat missions in Korea, and served on the USS Boxer and the USS Valley Forge. Tobul honors the squadrons in which it served by placing one of the unit’s insignia on one side of the vertical stabilizer, and the other squadron’s insignia on the opposite side. Normally restorations are painted to represent one unit, but Tobul wanted to honor them both. You can read more about the aircraft online.


FAA to change light sport approval

LSAsThe FAA plans an audit of all light sport aircraft manufacturers, including those overseas, and any new aircraft those companies might produce, said Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association.

The FAA is planning on auditing existing LSA manufacturers, an FAA spokesman told Johnson. Any new make or model aircraft being produced will be inspected by the FAA along with an assessment of aircraft systems prior to issuance of the first Special Light-Sport Airworthiness (SLSA) certificate.

The FAA’s concerns about quality assurance show FAA officials remain uncomfortable with self-certification of LSAs, even though the safety record for such aircraft is good.

The new audit, intended to ensure that a company is complying with industry agreed-upon standards, and the new-model aircraft inspection would be conducted by FAA personnel, not designated inspectors. The inspections could start this summer, Johnson said.

At present, manufacturers declare that their LSA meets ASTM industry standards, and an FAA representative from the nearest office examines the paperwork and aircraft. Usually the examination is done after the aircraft has reached a dealer, and there is no factory inspection required. For foreign manufacturers, the aircraft would not be permitted for sale in the United States until the inspections are complete.

“The FAA believes many companies could not demonstrate with all the required documentation that they were in full compliance. Therefore, it is in a manufacturer’s best interest to review compliance with ASTM standards. While the FAA’s initial plan appears to be a review of any new SLSA, it is possible the FAA will also review existing SLSA,” Johnson said.


Gulfstream G650 aircraft crashes

Gulfstream Aerospace, located in Savannah, Georgia, has confirmed the crash of a Gulfstream G650 flight test aircraft in Roswell International Air Center, New Mexico, on April 2.

The Gulfstream G650 crashed during takeoff-performance tests. Two Gulfstream pilots and two Gulfstream flight-test engineers died in the crash. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were lost," said Joe Lombardo, president of Gulfstream Aerospace. The accident is under investigation by Gulfstream, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the FAA. "We are cooperating 100 percent with the investigation," Lombardo said.

FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford of the FAA Southwest Region said that the aircraft, N652GD, had just taken off when the right wing hit the ground. The aircraft crashed on the runway, collapsing the gear. "The aircraft skidded for quite some distance," Lunsford said. Lunsford said the aircraft had been in the pattern for at least two hours.

The new G650 is billed as the company's "ultra-large cabin, ultra-high speed" model. It can carry a crew of four and eight passengers on a nonstop, 7,000-nm flight and can cruise at Mach 0.85 on longer trips, or cover shorter distances at Mach 0.925. Rolls Royce BR725 engines rated at 16,100 pounds of thrust at takeoff power the aircraft.

The aircraft that crashed was one of the G650 models used for certification testing. One of the test aircraft flew at near the speed of sound last year.


Say Again?

Test yourself with these aviation quiz questions

By AOPA Pilot staff

  1. What World War II combat aircraft was produced in greater quantity than any other?
  2. What U.S. combat aircraft was produced in the greatest quantity?
  3. What U.S. fighter was most produced?
  4. What was the cost to U.S. taxpayers of a new P–51 Mustang in 1945?
  5. What was the most expensive aircraft in the U.S. arsenal?
  6. When the U.S. 357th Fighter Group switched to P–51 Mustangs while deployed to England in 1943, how much transition training did the pilots receive?
  7. What U.S. airplane had the highest training accident rate?
  8. What U.S. bomber had the highest accident rate?

See answers below.


U.S.-owned Epic passes FAA test

Epic Aircraft, located in Bend, Oregon, passed an important test with the FAA when it proved that its single-engine kitbuilt turboprop meets the FAA requirement that the owner complete 51 percent of the aircraft.

The FAA awarded two type certificates for two aircraft, after finding that the owners completed more than 60 percent of each aircraft. The aircraft costs $1.9 million fully completed, with interior, avionics, engine, and paint. Six Epic turboprops remain in various states of construction in the factory. There are 32 of the aircraft now flying. Four of the aircraft in the factory are for sale. The economic recession caused their former owners to withdraw from the purchase.

Although widely reported as a company that was sold to China, company official Daryl Ingalsbe said that is not correct. Under a complicated court agreement, the company was retained by Ingalsbe and co-owners, but they were required to sell CAD drawings and software to the Chinese for building Epic aircraft. The sale of that data, with those rights, amounted to $1 million. China aviation officials can market Epic in all countries except the United States and its territories.

Ingalsbe said numerous changes were made to the airframe by the new owners, resulting in a 30-knot increase in true airspeed. He reports 320 KTAS for his aircraft when cruising at 28,000 feet. At that altitude, the pressurized aircraft cabin is at 6,500 feet. It burns 52 gallons per hour at 28,000 feet, and has a payload of 1,600 pounds when fully fueled.


Mom's a rockin', Photoshoppin' pilot

Kalebra KelbyKalebra Kelby has lots of titles. She's lead singer in the band Big Electric Cat, she's a cofounder and managing partner of Kelby Media Group (including the National Association of Photoshop Professionals and Kelby Training), and she's a mom. But her newest title—the one she dreamed of since she was a child—is pilot.

"I guess, as I got older, I put things like that aside while I got on with the business of life," the Tampa-area resident said. That "business of life" included a singing career while simultaneously launching Kelby Media Group. "I started singing at around the age of 6 at the missions where my grandmother preached, but it became a full-time
occupation at the age of 18."

Then, a little more than a year ago, Kelby and her family were playing a road-trip game, and the question came up, "If money wasn't an object, what would you buy?"

"I said, 'A 747.' My son and husband then joined in on the fun and started talking about how they'd fly their NFL football team—if money wasn't an object—around in my airplane! We started laughing and building on this scenario, and then I said, 'You know what would be really cool is if I could fly that airplane.' The car went silent—I think my husband thought if he just kept looking straight ahead I might let this go."

But Kelby wouldn't let it go. She kept talking about flying; researched; and found a school, Avstar Aviation Flight School, at nearby St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport. "My husband could see how excited I was, so he decided to get me lessons for Christmas. And the rest, as they say, is history. Of course, the 747 may have to remain a dream."

Over the course of a year, Kelby mastered a Cessna 172 with a Garmin G1000 avionics suite, and then it was time for the checkride. "The checkride was one of the most terrifying and thrilling things I've ever done in my life! I completely expected the examiner to have fangs and glowing yellow eyes. Luckily, he did not.

"My kids love it. They both handle being in a light aircraft really well, and I'll never forget the first time I took them flying. As we departed the airport over the water heading toward the beach, I remember hearing my 14-year-old son Jordan saying to himself—but through the mic on the headset—'This is so cool!' I'll never forget that. My 5-year-old daughter Kira says she wants to be a pilot, too, only just one day a week because she's going to be something different on the other days."

Kelby has this advice for others dreaming of flying. "Make sure it's something you really want. If you have a family, make sure they are willing to support your efforts. Once you start, find like-minded, seasoned people so that you have a few that can talk you through the rough days."


Say Again? Answers

  1. The Soviet Union's Ilyushin Il–2 Sturmovik (36,183).
  2. The B–24 Liberator bomber (18,482).
  3. The P–51 Mustang (15,875), closely followed by the P–47 Thunderbolt (15,686).
  4. $51,572 in unadjusted dollars.
  5. The B–29 Superfortress ($605,360).
  6. Some pilots got a one-hour familiarization flight. Others were famously told by group commander Col. Donald Blakeslee to learn to fly the new airplane "on the way to the target."
  7. The A–36 Apache (more commonly called by its nickname "Invader"), a dive-bomber version of the P–51 Mustang, with 274 accidents per 100,000 flight hours.
  8. The B–29 Superfortress with 40 accidents per 100,000 flight hours.

Do you have suggestions for aviation questions? Send your questions to pilot@aopa.org.

Al Marsh

Alton K. Marsh | "AOPA Pilot" Senior Editor, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.