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AOPA comes to the aid of official Wright Flyer replicaAOPA comes to the aid of official Wright Flyer replica

Click for larger image
This replica of the Wright brother's 1911
Model B is similar to the flying reproduction
that Ken Hyde wants to test fly from his
landing strip within the Washington ADIZ.

Thanks to AOPA's quick intervention with the Transportation Security Administration, Ken Hyde and the Wright Experience have a waiver that will allow them to flight-test two replicas of Wright Flyers inside the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). One of the aircraft on the waiver is the official replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which will take part in the Centennial of Flight commemoration in Kitty Hawk in December 2003.

"I must say, AOPA works fast," said Ken Hyde. "AOPA was the first organization that stepped forward to support our work to recreate the Wright brothers' gliders and flying machines. That was October 1998 in Palm Springs during the AOPA Expo. We greatly appreciate it."

Hyde had contacted AOPA President Phil Boyer on Monday after discovering that the small airstrip where he's attempting to duplicate the Wright brothers' accomplishment falls just within the Washington ADIZ. (Aircraft without radios and transponders are prohibited from flying in the 25,000-square-mile security zone surrounding the Washington-Baltimore area.)

"In talking to the TSA, AOPA stressed the extremely unusual nature of these aircraft and their inability to comply with the ADIZ regulations," said AOPA Vice President of Air Traffic Policy Melissa Bailey. "They have no electrical system to support a transponder. And they're so inherently unstable that it would be both unrealistic and unsafe for the pilot to let go of the controls and use a handheld radio to talk to air traffic control."

"We're extremely pleased that the TSA moved so quickly to come up with a common-sense solution to Ken's problem," said Boyer. "By allowing him to use a cell phone to contact air traffic control just prior to beginning a flight and immediately after its conclusion, TSA found a way to balance security concerns with the realities flying these unique aircraft."

While there are no immediate plans to flight-test the 1903 Flyer, AOPA applied for a waiver for that aircraft as well, so that Hyde may do so in the future.

Hyde is ready to flight-test a 1911 Wright Model "B" Flyer reproduction as part of a documentary on his remarkable job of reverse engineering. While the 1903 Flyer is the showcase of the project, the Wright Experience spans the evolution of the Wrights' aircraft, from their early gliders through the Model "B," which was their first production aircraft.

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