Jennifer Murray and Quentin Smith completed an around-the-world flight in a Robinson R44 helicopter that covered 28,500 nautical miles in 320 flight hours. According to Robinson Helicopter, their journey marks the the first time that a piston helicopter has been flown around the world.
The 97-day journey began from England on May 10, flying eastbound. Their course took them up the east coast of Asia, across the Bering Straits, across the United States, and across the North Atlantic via Greenland and Iceland. A 50-gallon auxiliary tank was used to extend the Robinson's range. The crew landed in London on August 15.
Murray, 56, is the first woman helicopter pilot and grandmother to circumnavigate the globe, Robinson says. Smith, 32, is the world helicopter freestyle champion who won a gold medal for Great Britain at the 1994 World Helicopter Championships. The purpose of the trip was to raise some $800,000 for the "Save the Children" fund.
The FAA has awarded Harris Corporation, of Melbourne, Florida, a contract to replace the current system through which flight service stations provide crucial information, emergency assistance, and weather briefings. Under the $120 million contract, Harris will replace the existing flight service automation program with a new system called the Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS).
The current system cannot accommodate the growing amount of weather data required by pilots. A lack of spare parts and an inability to handle new products also decreases the current system's utility. OASIS will solve this problem through the use of state-of-the-art hardware and software to combine weather, flight plan, and aeronautical database information within a single system.
The contract will require Harris to provide all hardware, software, maintenance, training, and functional enhancements for the full life of OASIS. Subcontractors include Data Transformation Corporation of Turnervsille, New Jersey, and Unisys Corporation of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Student pilots find that little things mean a lot when it comes to acquiring all the trappings of pilots. After all, kneeboards, headsets, flashlights, transceivers, flight computers, hoods, publications, and software all add up to a rather large bill after awhile. Meanwhile, experienced pilots are throwing those same items into a stray drawer, never to be seen again. AOPA member and Daniel Webster College freshman Ryan Keough has a plan to let students take advantage of unwanted pilot gear. He set up a Web site ( www.wycol.com/the-roost/) called The Fledglings Roost. (Wycool means, of course, way cool.) All items and their final distribution are at the discretion of the original owners; Ryan is simply providing the meeting ground. You'll find a link to Keough's site on AOPA Online (www.aopa.org).
For the first time in many years, a Cessna is the best-selling new piston airplane, according to second-quarter figures released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
After fighting for the number one spot for the last several years, Raytheon's Beech Bonanza and The New Piper's Malibu Mirage will probably have to sit back and watch Cessna churn out progressively larger quantities of 172 Skyhawks and 182 Skylanes. By the end of the second quarter, the Wichita-based manufacturer shipped 82 172s and 11 Skylanes.
Roy Norris has resigned as president of Raytheon Aircraft Corporation, a position he has held since the company was formed in 1994 by the merger of Beech Aircraft and Raytheon Corporate Jets.
Norris joined Raytheon Corporation as president of RCJ when that entity was formed in 1993 after the company acquired the Hawker line of business jets from British Aerospace. Norris, a flamboyant executive known for his tell-it-like-it-is style, accomplished much at Raytheon.
Under his leadership, the company successfully moved Hawker production from the United Kingdom to Wichita; won the lucrative JPATS contract; launched the new-generation Premier I; and, last fall, announced the Hawker Horizon.
An RAC spokesman said Norris "elected to resign" and will pursue a number of interests on his own. His duties at RAC will be absorbed, at least for now, by Art Wegner, the company's CEO. — Thomas B. Haines
Cirrus Design announced that it will begin flying a conforming prototype of its all-composite SR20 aircraft this month. Since 1995 the Duluth, Minnesota-based company has logged more than 1,500 hours of testing, using two non-conforming prototypes . Cirrus also announced that it has selected S-Tec's System 20 autopilot as standard equipment for the $159,600 airplane. S-Tec's System 30 two-axis autopilot will be optional. Cirrus says that it currently has 106 orders for the SR20.
Thomas H. Davis, founder and retired chairman of Piedmont Aviation, says that he will match $1 for every $2 raised by the First Flight Centennial Foundation, up to $500,000. The foundation is raising money to restore the monument to the Wright brothers near Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and to build a new visitors center at the site. The efforts are in preparation for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of man's first powered flight. Read all about it on the Web ( www.firstflight.org) or call 919/840-2003.
There are now more than 5,000 aviation Web sites listed on the Internet aviation directory page ( www.aerolink.com). Maya Technologies, which operates the site, said that the aviation directory is growing at 100 sites per week.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association has released its 1997 General Aviation Statistical Databook. It is available for $10 by writing to GAMA, 1400 K Street Northwest, Suite 801, Washington, D.C. 20005.
FlightSafety International and Simuflite are recommending the Texas Air Aces Advanced Maneuvering Program to corporate clients as a complement to simulator training. Texas Air Aces, located in Spring, Texas, near Houston, is also working with USAIG and other aircraft insurance companies by providing the Advanced Maneuvering Program and recurrency training. Texas Air Aces official Don Wylie said that no simulator can model the disorientation, G forces, vestibular upsets, and visual scenarios associated with recovery from unusual attitudes. So far, 170 corporate pilots, 100 GA pilots, and 50 airline pilots have completed the training.
The market value of used aircraft at the end of May was up 1.5 percent over the previous quarter, continuing the 3.5-year upward trend in values, according to the Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest.
The Bluebook labels 36 "benchmark" aircraft, ranging from Cessna 150s to Gulfstreams, to track overall used aircraft values.
This quarter the overall piston segment fleet values were stable; but, as usual, some aircraft fluctuated up or down. Beech's A36 and early model 33 Bonanzas; Cessna 150, 172, 182 (RG), 185, 206, and 210; and Piper Cherokee Six, Comanche 260, early Cherokees, Arrows, and Super Cubs were the upwardly mobile single-engine aircraft. In the multiengine segment, the Beech Baron B55 and E55; Piper's Seneca I and III, Aerostars, Twin Comanche, Navajo, and Mojave continued to rise.
Those that lost some momentum in the piston market were the Aerospatiale TB 9, later Beech F33s, Cessna T337s, Lake 200, later Maules, and the Piper Malibu Mirage. For twins, the Beech Duchess, Cessna 404, and later 421s suffered.
Knots 2U, maker of Piper and Beech speed modifications, has moved to the Burlington (Wisconsin) Municipal Airport. New owners Gary Meisner and Katie Kraus are planning to broaden the range of offerings to include more mods for Beech and Cessna aircraft. The new address is 3106 Bieneman Road, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105; telephone 414/763-6152.
Raytheon Aircraft Company is appealing a $60 million product liability verdict following the 1991 crash of a Beech 58P Baron in Arizona. According to the National Transportation Safety Board's accident report, the airplane entered a flat spin during a training flight. Raytheon maintains that the pilot and flight instructor were negligent and added that the airplane had been equipped with vortex generators, a modification that Raytheon has never endorsed. Raytheon says that it does not believe the facts support the verdict and has asked that it be set aside.
Tradewind Turbines of Amarillo, Texas, is in the planning stages of offering a Beech 58P Baron powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT-6 turboprop.
Readers may recall the Beech 38P Lightning project of the early 1980s in which Beech essentially removed the two piston engines from a 58P Baron and dropped a PT-6 in its nose. The performance of the prototype was an impressive 275 knots at FL250. Unfortunately, Beech was unable to keep the cost of the airplane within the reach of the targeted customer and the program was dropped.
Tradewind's Larry Boyd believes that the company will be able to sell converted airplanes for less than $1 million. Boyd also said that conversions of customer 58Ps will probably be available as well. For more information, call Tradewind at 800/873-5204 or 806/376-5203.
Meanwhile, Galaxy Aerospace is pursuing $1.5 million in funding for its turboprop variant of the Beech 58P Baron. The company, headed up by former Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper, believes that an STC can be obtained in six months after funding is received.
Powered by two Allison 250-B17F turboprops, the 245-knot Galaxy Baron is expected to have a single-engine rate of climb of 1,118 feet per minute at sea level. Twin-engine rate of climb is better than 3,000 fpm. Range can be enhanced by a pair of optional 40-gallon tip tanks that increase fuel capacity to 246 gallons. Galaxy claims the modified Baron can carry six passengers, 400 pounds of baggage, and 158 gallons of jet fuel. For more information, contact Galaxy at 818/997-4418.
After considering 43 candidate sites, Galaxy Aerospace Corporation officials picked Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, as the home for a 143,000-square-foot, $12 million headquarters complex. The center will include corporate and marketing offices, an aircraft completion center, a factory service center, and a parts depot/logistics center. Ross Perot, Jr., chairman of Alliance Development Company, said "Alliance was established to provide one of the premier locations in the country for distribution, manufacturing, and industry." Galaxy Aerospace President and CEO Brian E. Barents said the choice of Alliance allows the company to build an all-new, custom-designed complex that allows room for growth. The facilities will open by September 1998, in time to take the first "green" deliveries of Galaxy business jets from Israel Aircraft Industries in Tel Aviv.
The Williams-Rolls FJ44-2A turbofan engine received type certification from the FAA's Chicago Aircraft Certification Office on July 7. The 2,300-pound-thrust FJ44-2A is slated to power the Sino-Swearingen SJ30-2 and Raytheon Premier I light business jets and is a higher-powered version of the engine that powers the Cessna CitationJet. On-aircraft flight testing is to begin this fall, with deliveries starting in 1998.
New Zealand pilot John Bolton Riley set a record when he flew an Italian-manufactured Sky Arrow 2,000 nautical miles in 20 hours nonstop from New Zealand to Australia over the Tasman Sea. The 80-hp Rotax engine consumed only 83 gallons of fuel on the journey.
AlliedSignal Aerospace has completed its acquisition of Grimes Aerospace, which is known mostly for its exterior and interior lighting systems for aircraft. Grimes, founded in 1933, employs 1,400 people worldwide. Annual sales are currently $230 million.
The cable network Speedvision, available to 10 million viewers, plans to air two half-hour episodes of Roaring Glory Warbirds on October 19 at 8 p.m. The episodes were completed by noted aviator and author Jeff Ethell just weeks prior to his death in a Lockheed P-38 Lightning in Oregon. Ethell was the son of legendary World War II fighter pilot Erv Ethell. Speedvision claims to be the only 24-hour network devoted to those who love cars, boats, airplanes, and motorcycles. For information, call 203/406-2500. For those who do not have Speedvision in their area of the country, the Roaring Glory Warbirds episodes featuring the P-38 should be available for purchase in video stores next March. Other aircraft featured in past episodes will be available this year, starting on October 14. Call 213/650-3300 for details.
Sporty's Academy has become the first training facility in the country to obtain FAA Part 141 approval for a recreational pilot certificate course. The Sportsman's Market, the parent company of Sporty's Academy, has also started a new incentive program for its employees to learn to fly. Patterned after Boeing Aircraft Corporation's successful learn-to-fly program, Sporty's will pay $500 to those employees who complete their first solo. Upon obtaining a recreational pilot certificate, the employee will receive an additional $1,000.
The third Copperstate Dash Air Race will take place on October 10 between the Apple Valley Airport in California and Coolidge Municipal Airport in Arizona. The event, sponsored by Aircraft Spruce and Specialty and the Experimental Aircraft Association, will be held in conjunction with the Copperstate Fly-In at the Williams-Gateway Airport in Phoenix. For more information, contact Jerry Aguilar of Aircraft Spruce at 800/824-1930.
A fully restored Douglas SBD-5 Dauntless is now on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas. It will fly for museum visitors on November 8. It was known during World War II as the "slow-but-deadly Dauntless" and could carry a 1,000-pound bomb or two 500-pound bombs. It has a 1,200-horsepower Wright R-1820 engine.
Amateur-built aircraft registrations should require more information so that owners may be more easily notified of potential safety problems, the National Transportation Safety Board says.
The NTSB, approving the recommendations at Oshkosh during the EAA Fly-in and Convention, said that the FAA should require owners to list the manufacturer, model name, serial number, and make and model of the engine. While most kit manufacturers use newsletters to keep owners informed of potential problems, such methods are often inadequate, the NTSB said in its report. The method of storage used in the FAA aircraft registry database prevents it from being used for dissemination of safety information.
Additionally, the NTSB said type-specific training could have eliminated accidents in past years where inexperience played a role. However, amateur-built experimental aircraft can't be used for compensation or hire under regulation 14 CFR 91.319(a)(2). An owner/builder may pay for instruction received in the his/her aircraft, but not for the use of another experimental aircraft to receive the instruction. Removing this restriction would allow pilots to receive training before flight testing begins.
Cape May County Airport near Erma, New Jersey, now has a new FBO. South Jersey Airlines, with headquarters in Rio Grande, New Jersey, has taken over fuel sales and is negotiating a long-term lease to become the permanent FBO.
The first Gulfstream V long-range business jet was delivered to publishing magnate and former United States ambassador to England Walter H. Annenberg and his wife. Mrs. Annenberg was President Reagan's chief of protocol. The aircraft is based at New Castle County Airport in Wilmington, Delaware, in a hangar constructed for the Gulfstream V.
Michael Slingluff is the new president of Diamond Aircraft. According to Christian Dries, Diamond's CEO, Slingluff earned the promotion after his seven months as executive vice president of Diamond, the Canadian manufacturer of the Katana DA 20 airplanes. Prior to joining Diamond in June 1996, Slingluff was president of Solaire North America, Ltd., a distributor of the Austria-built Super Dimona motor glider, which is currently known as the Katana Xtreme. In addition to manufacturing the Katana airplanes, Diamond imports Xtremes from Austria.
Memorabilia of pioneer Elrey Jeppesen, who developed Jeppesen approach charts, has been donated to the Seattle Museum of Flight. The exhibit includes Jeppesen's "little black book" in which he kept drawings of airports and terrain — even telephone numbers of farmers who could give him weather reports.
The City of Austin, Texas, received a $15 million grant to reduce the potential noise impact of converting the former Bergstrom Air Force Base to the civilian Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Aircraft noise reduction efforts are to include the relocation of as many as four public schools.
Torrance, California-based Dyna-Cam Engine Corporation has announced that it will again be producing engines for the aviation market, more specifically the amateur-built market.
The Dyna-Cam engine has been around since the 1950s, when it was actually certified by the FAA. The engines for which orders are now being taken will not yet be certified because many of the component suppliers do not have FAA production certificates in hand.
Dyna-Cam's 12-cylinder, four-cycle engine contains six double-headed pistons that slide back and forth to rotate a roller cam, which is keyed to the main shaft. Dyna-Cam claims its engine is much smoother than conventional aircraft piston engines because it fires 12 times per propeller revolution instead of three as in conventional six-cylinder engines. The 265-pound (dry) engine is liquid cooled and fuel injected.
Dyna-Cam claims that its engine has 50 percent fewer parts than conventional piston aircraft engines, and 50 percent less frontal area — allowing for a more streamlined cowling and airframe. Dyna-Cam tested the engine in 1987 on a Piper Turbo Arrow. Price for the new engine will be $25,000 to $35,000. For more information, contact Dyna-Cam at 310/791-4642 or visit the Web site ( www.dynacam.com).
The FAA wants to find out if students can qualify for both a pilot certificate and an instrument rating at the same time. Research on the subject will be led by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, in Daytona Beach, Florida. Team members are: Advanced Creations, Dayton; Cessna Aircraft Company, Wichita; Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida; and Jeppesen Sanderson of Englewood, Colorado. The team will also develop learning modules for highly computerized glass cockpit multifunction displays and for single-level power controls that replace the usual array of complex controls and gauges with a single lever and display.
Owners of Hartzell propellers are faced with a new airworthiness directive (97-18-02) that supersedes all four previous ADs on X- and V-shank, steel-hub propellers. The new AD will require initial and repetitive dye penetrant and eddy current inspections of the blade and an optical comparator inspection of the blade retention area for cracks. This AD also requires initial and repetitive visual and magnetic particle inspection of the blade clamp and dye penetrant inspections of the blade internal bearing bore. In addition, the steel hubs of model HC-(1, 4, 5, 8) (2, 3) (X, V) propellers are required to receive initial and repetitive visual and magnetic particle inspections. Given the length and complexity of this AD, affected members are urged to obtain a copy through AOPA Online ( www.aopa.org/members/files/airdirect/1997/971802ad.txt [ .pdf]) .
Owners of small Lycoming and Continental engines equipped with Precision Airmotive (formerly Facet and Marvel-Schebler) carburetor models MA-3(A, PA, or SPA) and MA-4SPA are affected by a proposed airworthiness directive (97-ANE-16) that will supersede AD 93-18-03. The new proposed AD would require repetitive inspections of those carburetors equipped with a two-piece venturi or replacement of the two-piece venturi with a one-piece assembly as a terminating action for the repetitive inspections. According to the FAA, 30,000 carburetors are affected by this proposed AD, at a cost of $195 per carburetor.
Airworthiness directive 97-16-10 has been published, requiring the removal from service of Rapco inline pressure filters installed on many light single- and twin-engine aircraft. Filter part numbers RA-1J4-4, -6 and -7 filters from lot numbers 05597, 07797, and 12597 are affected. The housing that contains the filter may crack, causing a loss of pressure and the eventual failure of the flight instruments.
Twin Commander 500, 600, and 700 series airplanes are subject to a proposed AD (95-CE-92) requiring the installation of access holes in both wing leading edges and repetitively inspecting the forward attach brackets and straps for cracks.
Owners of Rotorway International of Chandler, Arizona, have begun transfer of the company to its employees under a stock ownership plan. Rotorway manufactures kit helicopters.
Users of 80/87-octane avgas may be surprised to find that their fuel is clear. AOPA has learned that some refiners are taking the lead out of 80 octane, resulting in a fuel for which no dye specifications exist. Operationally, there should be no problems associated with burning the clear (unleaded) 80 octane. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) requires that leaded 80 octane be dyed pink. Since there is no requirement to dye the unleaded 80 octane, some users may find clear fuel in their tanks.
On the other hand, turbine aircraft operators should be alerted to lookout for fuel that has a slightly pink color instead of clear. Contaminated pipelines and tankers that previously carried untaxed red-tinted diesel fuel has led to the occasional reports of pink fuel, says Gus Ferrara, a consultant for AOPA. Preliminary data compiled by the Coordinating Research Council's Dye in Aviation Turbine Fuels Group indicates that low levels of red dye affect hot section components of turbine engines.
A new exhibit, "Flight: Where Adventures Take Off!" opens on October 3 at the Denver Museum of Natural History. It is located at 2001 Colorado Boulevard in Denver. The exhibit features full-size aircraft and helicopters as well as flight simulators and interactive wind-tunnel design areas.
The National Air and Space Museum has published Women and Flight by Carolyn Russo. The book, a collection of portraits and profiles of female pilots, is now reaching bookstores everywhere. The book may serve as an inspiration to women who are thinking of flying or want a career in some other branch of aviation. It is available for $40 from Bullfinch Press and Little, Brown and Company.
NASA is funding development of composite pistons for internal combustion engines. The carbon-carbon composite piston will be developed and manufactured by Hitco Technologies of Gardena, California. Advantages include significant weight savings and almost no heat expansion, compared to aluminum pistons. The new technology will be used in weight-critical applications, which, in the aviation arena, will probably start with ultralights.
Walter H. Nelson, AOPA 010129, an electrical engineer, has become AOPA's newest member at age 93. He just passed his medical and flies his Socata Trinidad with a copilot. He never retired, and operates Nelson Research Laboratories from his home, recently installing a sound system in a church. An electrical engineer with training from the Sorbonne in Paris, Nelson designed an electrical apparatus for separating U-235 and U-238 to make the first atomic bomb. He had been promised it would be used as a demonstration for heads of state over an unpopulated area, and quit his job out of a sense of betrayal the day after it was dropped on Japan. Veterans have told him since that he helped to save thousands of lives. He went on to a successful career as a radio and television broadcast pioneer who made major improvements to home television sets. He helped to establish the first television transmitter antenna at the top of the Empire State Building and has a home movie made by locking an arm around the antenna and swinging around for a panoramic view of New York City. Age is just a number, according to Nelson, who said he doesn't feel his years. Now recovered from the loss of his wife eight years ago, he admits to chasing "younger women." His girlfriend is 70.
Crocker Snow, AOPA 064966, who has led an extraordinary career in aviation, has written and published Log Book: A Pilot's Life. It features aviation prior to World War II and reveals many facets of aviation that were then secret. A pilot, he participated in all the events he discusses. The 280-page book is illustrated with numerous historic black-and-white photos. To order, send $30 to Crocker Snow, 126 Topsfield Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938-1665. Customers ordering from Europe should add $12 for shipping.
Marilyn Moody (right in photo), AOPA 1103059, of Greenbank, Washington, and copilot Jan Liberty set a world record from Duluth, Minnesota, to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, during the All-Women's Air Race Classic. The team, flying a 1963 Beech P35, averaged 219.1 mph on the 369-statute-mile leg.
Jim Byrnes, AOPA 180926, of St. Charles, Missouri, was named Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year by the St. Louis Flight Standards District Office.
David Treinis, AOPA 701869, Kevin May, AOPA 902156, and Burt Compton, AOPA 918223, teamed up to produce a video series titled Discover Soaring! The latest in the series, A Transition to Gliders, is geared towards the private pilot who is considering adding on a glider rating. For more information, contact Niche A/V at 800/838-0507.
Jim Monger, AOPA 487570, was named Airport Executive of the Year by the Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives.
Peter G. Conner, AOPA 851737, received the Northeast Region's Maintenance Technician of the Year Award from the FAA. He is the owner of Yankee Aviation Services of Plymouth and Chatham, Massachusetts.
Daniel J. Benny, AOPA 1106065, received the Grover Loening Aerospace Award for meritorious performance as a captain with the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 306 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Tony Simmons, AOPA 965410, of Green River, Wyoming, won Sporty's 1997 Cessna Skyhawk sweepstakes. Simmons is a 250-hour private pilot who works for the U.S. Postal Service. Simmons plans to use the Skyhawk to obtain his instrument rating.
Max Hall, AOPA 826108, of Springdale, Arkansas, has completed the restoration of a Piasecki-designed Boeing CH-21 helicopter like the one he flew in Vietnam. He may well have spent more on telephone bills to find parts than he did on the actual restoration. The helicopter he restored last served at Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, where it was used to drop paratroopers and resupply long-range patrols and field exercises. It was on display last summer at Oshkosh.