Pictures of the day: Wingsuit slalom racing

Competitors

CLOVERDALE, Calif. — Streaking through an airborne slalom course above Northern California Oct. 24-25, Andy Farrington of the United States fought off a fierce challenge from an international field of 40 men and women from 18 countries to claim his second consecutive Red Bull Aces championship.

The event saw skydivers wearing wingsuits and racing through a slalom course of gates suspended thousands of feet in the air (see photos below).

Competitors
American Noah Bahnson had a repeat second place in the championship that takes the concept of ski cross to the skies, while a newcomer to the Red Bull Aces podium, Matt Gerdes, completed the American sweep in third.

Competitors

With wing suit flying, skydivers exit a plane or helicopter wearing special jumpsuits that shape the human body into an airfoil (or human wing), creating lift and, with it, human flight.

The winguits allow their pilots to zoom forward at a three-to-one ratio, meaning for every foot they fall, they advance forward 3 feet. By manipulating their bodies — streamlining them to speed up, for example — their aerobatic agility is similar to that of other non-motorized aircraft.

Justin Duclos and Carson Klein of the United States perform during the Red Bull Aces.

Justin Duclos and Carson Klein of the United States perform during the Red Bull Aces.

The Red Bull Aces is the world’s first-ever wingsuit four-cross competition, with athletes racing four at a time through a one mile-long slalom course made of five 112-foot long gates suspended thousands of feet in the
air.

Athletes jump in heats of four from a civilian Bell Huey helicopter at an altitude of 8,000 feet above sea level, and must weave between five gates positioned at descending levels between 6,500 feet and 3,500 feet. All the gates are equipped with GPS positioning, and the competitors each wear a GPS transmitter to determine whether they pass through the gates properly.

CompetitorsThe winner is based not only on how quickly the finish line is crossed, but also on how many gates he/she correctly passes through. The athletes then pull their parachutes and descend under canopy back to the takeoff area.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPictures of the day: Wingsuit slalom racing

Making a living as an airshow performer

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Following the dream of being an airshow performer can be a struggle financially.

“Only about 10 of the 300 or so people in the airshow industry actually make a living at it,” says Greg Koontz, who, to make ends meet, combines airshow flying with aircraft sales and an aerobatics school at his fly-in bed-and-breakfast in Ashville, Alabama.

Now 62, Koontz set his sights on a career as an airshow pilot at age 7 after his father, a corporate pilot, took him to see his first aerobatic performance.

In 2014, his many years of success in the industry were recognized when he was named the recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, which was presented at AirVenture by the Barber family.

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After soloing at 16 and getting his license at 17, Koontz quickly demonstrated his determination to have a career in aviation by investing in a basket-case J3 Cub, which he purchased for $1,400 and restored in his mother’s basement.

The Cub came complete with a spare engine, which Koontz sold right away. He then restored and sold the J3 for $3,000, but only after flying it for 300 hours to gain experience that would benefit him in his chosen career.

Greg KoontzKoontz used the proceeds from the Cub sale to finance the rest of his ratings. He also worked as a flight instructor while in college.

His opening to become an airshow performer came at age 20, when Koontz purchased a Cub from Ernie Moser of St. Augustine, Florida, who operated Colonel Moser’s Flying Circus.

When Moser called to borrow the Cub to use in one of his airshows, Koontz made himself part of the deal and was soon working for Ernie and Jim Moser at their Aero Sport flight school in Florida.

That’s where he learned low-level aerobatics and also perfected landing on the “The World’s Smallest Airport,” an airshow act which he continues to perform today during the “Alabama Boys” portion of his airshow offerings.

Starting with the famous “Flying Farmer” comedy Cub routine, Koontz concludes with landing on a special platform mounted on top of a moving pickup truck.

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Koontz stayed with Aero Sport until 1981, when he decided it was “time to get serious work” and pursue a corporate flying job like his father. He flew for a Birmingham insurance company until 2002, when he “retired” and started flying as a contract pilot while pursuing an airshow career on his own.

With a partner, Koontz soon bought an American Champion Super Decathlon and developed an airshow routine with the basic aerobatics trainer. Since Koontz expertly demonstrates the full capabilities of the popular taildragger made in Wisconsin, including an inverted ribbon cut, American Champion Aircraft has been his main sponsor since 2003.

As an authorized dealer, Koontz orders a new Decathlon each year in time for the airshow season and then sells it in the fall.

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For the past few years, Koontz has performed in a new 210-hp Xtreme Decathlon, which he says is seven knots faster and has better vertical penetration than the 180-hp Super Decathlon he keeps as a trainer.

By shopping carefully on the used market, Koontz typically buys a low-time, 10-year-old Super Decathlon at a good price and then tries to break even after flying it an average of 400 hours in his flight school operation.

To keep his overhead low, Koontz has no employees and, as an experienced A&P and IA, he does most of his own maintenance work. Also, several well-known aviation companies in addition to American Champion help with sponsorships, including David Clark and Champion Aerospace.

Located out in the country northeast of Birmingham, Alabama, on a beautiful 3,900-foot grass strip (AL60) with its own aerobatic box, the Sky Country Lodge serves as headquarters for Koontz, who moved there in 2004 after he and his wife, Cora, built their dream home and two hangars.

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Although the nine acres of runway are not his, Koontz maintains the strip and holds an annual fly-in there for friends and fans each October.

“Since we’re so far out in the country, the bed-and-breakfast concept just fell together,” explained Koontz. “One wing of the house has two bedrooms that we rent to pilots who come for basic and advanced aerobatic instruction, plus spin training and tail wheel ratings.”

“Although I sometimes take on two pilots at a time, such as a father and son, most lessons are given on an individual basis and I stay totally swamped with bookings four to five months in advance,” he adds.

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Spouses are welcome and Koontz often offers them a sunset ride in one of the three Cubs he owns.

“I’ve logged over 24,000 hours so far and now average around 400 a year, but I don’t log Cub rides any more,” he says with a grin. “I’ve told Cora that she’ll have to sell a Cub some day, because that will be the last plane I own.”

An all-inclusive two-day, two-night package to learn basic aerobatics is priced at $1,700, including accommodations and meals, which are often cooked by Koontz, who even lists recipes on his website. Students are typically booked on a Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday schedule.

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Greg works with a student.

These days Koontz takes weekends off when his schedule permits, but he still managed to perform in 20 airshows in 2015, including several in the northeast. To keep travel costs down for those dates, he stored his airshow planes and the “The Word’s Smallest Airport” in that region and commuted back and forth as needed.

Although Koontz has succeeded in the tough world of airshows, he will never forget his roots.

“For years I didn’t have weekends or vacations with my family,” he remembers. “I had to make it work.”

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comMaking a living as an airshow performer

Use your iPad to help reduce fuel costs

Reduce fuel costs ipad

There’s little question that the digital chart revolution and subscription-free ADS-B weather led to the iPad’s success in aviation. But when you think about it, even the most sophisticated aviation apps are still displaying the same aviation data that was available prior to the introduction of the iPad, including weather reports and forecasts, graphical flight planning tools and airport/facility information.

The difference now is that this information is presented in a much more meaningful way, taking advantage of the iPad’s touchscreen capability and intuitive software design. This allows you to view and interact with the data in better context, like seeing your planned route on top of a digital sectional, with radar imagery, PIREPs and graphical winds aloft all shown at the same time.

In addition to weather, today’s iPad apps can also provide you with a wealth of data to assist in fuel planning. There are a lot of variables that come into play here, including winds aloft, airplane performance, airport service availability, and of course fuel prices. Here we’re going to look at series of tips to help you use your iPad to make the most of this decision-making process and reduce your fuel expenses.

1. View fuel prices on the moving map. This is probably the single most helpful tool when you need to plan a fuel stop on a longer trip or decide on an airport at your destination. In many of the apps you can select a Fuel Price overlay (either 100LL or Jet A) on the moving map and display this info right along with your flight plan. This takes the guesswork out of the equation to make sure you’re getting the best deal on fuel.

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2. Find self-service fuel and operating hours in the FBO directory. Finding an airport selling 100LL for less than $3/gallon along your route may seem like an incredible deal, but it’s completely useless if the FBO is closed when you get there. Make it a point to check out the FBO directory in your app after finding the price on the map to verify operating hours and determine whether it’s full or self-service price.

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3. Create a detailed performance profile for your airplane. Apps like ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot allow you to create custom performance profiles for the aircraft you fly most often. Here you can enter basic values like true airspeed and fuel burn for cruise, but you can also go further and enter optional data for climbs and descents, including true airspeed, climb/descent rate and fuel burn. Take the time to fill out these profiles in their entirety so that the app will more accurately estimate fuel burn for the entire flight based on your winds aloft at the selected altitude. It’ll also make the ForeFlight Altitude Advisor feature more accurate since it will account for climb/descent speed and fuel burn using greater precision (see next tip).

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4. Use the Altitude Advisor to find the optimum altitude. ForeFlight users can take advantage of the Altitude Advisor tool to help save fuel, which is accessed from the Altitude button at the lower left of the Route Editor in the maps tab. This will display the total headwind/tailwind component, time en route and fuel burn for your current flight plan for various altitudes based on the active aircraft profile. This can help you determine the optimum altitude based on the winds aloft to get the best possible groundspeed and lowest fuel burn.

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5. Use the graphical winds aloft to determine optimum routing. In addition to using the Altitude Advisor, consider viewing the graphical winds aloft points on the moving map along with your flight plan to determine routing that will provide the best tailwind (or minimize headwind). With ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot you can display these wind barbs starting at 3,000′ MSL and increase that altitude well into the flight levels. We’ve found this to be very useful when flying across low pressure systems to visualize and make the most of the counter-clockwise rotation.

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6. Store your cruise performance charts in the document manager. If you fly the same airplane day in and day out you probably have your basic performance numbers committed to memory. But if you fly less frequently or find yourself using round numbers for performance planning, you’d probably benefit from a periodic review of the performance charts in your POH. The problem, though, is that these are never around when you’re flight planning, because they’re stored in an inconvenient location like your office or in the airplane. Change up your routine by taking a few pictures of these charts with your iPad’s camera and store them in your app’s document manager. Now you’ll always have this data at your fingertips and you’ll be surprised at the fuel savings you can achieve by reducing power by just a small percent when flying by the numbers.

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7. Use weight & balance tools to optimize fuel load. Along the same lines as the last tip, many of us estimate the loading on each flight and tend to err on the conservative side during flight planning. Instead of this “ballpark” approach, consider using one of the weight and balance apps available (including one built right into ForeFlight) to more accurately determine airplane loading. This will allow you to know precisely know how much fuel you load on the airplane and take advantage of situations when the fuel price is favorably low.

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Source: Ipad appsUse your iPad to help reduce fuel costs

General Electric : Alec Burger Appointed President and CEO of GE Capital Aviation Services

Release date- 28102015 – NORWALK, Conn. – GE Capital Aviation Services, the commercial aircraft financing arm of GE (NYSE: GE), today announced the appointment of Alec Burger, 52, as its president and CEO effective January 1, 2016. Burger will take over …
Source: bingGeneral Electric : Alec Burger Appointed President and CEO of GE Capital Aviation Services

China Aviation Supplies Holding Company orders 30 A330 Family and 100 A320 Family aircraft

China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) has signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) with Airbus for the acquisition of 30 A330 Family aircraft and 100 A320 Family aircraft. The 30 A330s are the firm up of the commitment signed in June 2015.
Source: bingChina Aviation Supplies Holding Company orders 30 A330 Family and 100 A320 Family aircraft

Picture of the day: A final fall flight

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Larry Stencel snapped this photo as he took a flight around his summer home to enjoy the last of the fall colors around Wautoma, Wis., before putting the airplane away for the winter. “This picture looks northeast from Wautoma (Y50) toward Porter Lake and Mt. Morris ski area beyond (in the shadows). Oshkosh is just off picture to the right,” he explains.

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Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: A final fall flight