April 8, 2014
A flood of surplus aircraft, affordable prices, and new models stoked a boom in general aviation sales in the 1960s and 1970s. Both Cessna and Piper refreshed their lines of tailwheel aircraft with tricycle-gear airplanes, giving birth to the Cessna 172 (in 1957) and the Piper Cherokee.
The Bell JetRanger became the workhorse of the helicopter fleet while business jets came into their own with the Cessna Citation 500 and the Learjet 23.
Composite materials appeared with the Windecker Eagle in 1967. The Champion Decathlon began its role as a conventional-gear aerobatic trainer, and delivery totals for all manufacturers hit levels unequaled since.
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New legislation in both houses of Congress would allow thousands of pilots to fly without a third class medical and offer new protections for GA pilots.
From celebration to legislation, aviation was in the spotlight at the state Capitol of New Mexico in Santa Fe on Feb. 20.
A career spent “democratizing flight” is entering the realm of documentary movie-making as two filmmakers launch a project to tell Burt Rutan’s story.
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