Category Archives: News from the web

News from various sources around the web.

Obama Administration Chides Senate Over FAA Bill

OMB Says 18 Months Is Not ‘Long-Term’ Funding The Obama Administration Office of Management and Budget has sent a letter to Senators John Thune (R-ND) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) … the Chairman and Ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, saying that the FAA Reauthorization Bill currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate has some areas that need to be improved.
Source: aero newsObama Administration Chides Senate Over FAA Bill

Solar Impulse Ready To Resume Around-The-World Flight

Team Has Re-Entered ‘Mission Mode’ And Is Looking For A Weather Window Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg are ready to resume their attempt to achieve the first ever Round-The-World Solar Flight with Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) – the first solar airplane capable of flying day and night using only solar energy. After replacing overheated batteries and running maintenance flights, the team is now re-entering “mission mode”, and are now working to identify the first favorable window for Bertrand Piccard to fly toward North America, despite the current difficult weather conditions.
Source: aero newsSolar Impulse Ready To Resume Around-The-World Flight

Competition On For Reusable Unmanned Spaceplane Design

Three aerospace teams will compete for a military contract to further develop their ideas for a reusable unmanned spaceplane that can make daily flights over a ten-day period. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced this week it will hear proposals in person on April 29 for its second and third phases of its XS-1 booster vehicle program.
Source: avwebCompetition On For Reusable Unmanned Spaceplane Design

Don’t let your iPad overheat – and crash

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Your iPad will display this message and stop functioning if the internal temperature gets too warm.
Your iPad will display this message and stop functioning if the internal temperature gets too warm.

We love the iPad because it’s probably the most versatile gadget we own. And for many, it has become a required item for every flight. After flying with the iPad for more than six years, we’ve also learned that it’s also extremely reliable, provided you follow a few important preflight steps. Ultimately, as long as you have a fully-charged battery and current charts downloaded in your app, the odds of the iPad failing in flight is extremely low. There is one thing though that will get your every time if you’re not careful, and that’s the potential for overheating.

Apple lists the normal temperature operating range for the iPad as 32° – 95° F. While using the device below the freezing point may cause the screen to lag a bit, it will still function. However, if you’re using the iPad at the other temperature extreme, it will eventually resort to a thermal protection mode and become completely unusable until the internal temperature of the device is reduced. The primary reason for this is to protect the internal lithium-polymer battery (bad things can happen if they get too hot).

There are a couple of ways on a typical flight that this can happen and both will catch you off guard if you’re not paying attention. The first scenario can happen when you’re flying in a low-wing airplane en route at altitude with the iPad secured in a kneeboard on your lap. You’re in VFR conditions in sunny weather, but the iPad is out of direct sunlight. Then you make a turn over a waypoint, and the sun begins to shine directly on your iPad’s dark screen without you noticing. Even though the ambient temperature may be well below the 95° F limit, the iPad’s internal temperature will quickly elevate and soon display the overheat warning.

The other likely scenario in which your iPad can unexpectedly overheat is after shutting the engine down on the ramp on a hot summer day. Prior to the iPad, many pilots would throw their paper charts or kneeboard on the glareshield to get them out of the way. New iPad useres might inadvertently do the same thing out of habit. As we all know, the temperature inside the cabin will quickly rise after you shut the door, again putting the iPad in a vulnerable state for potential overheating. Make it a habit to take your iPad with you after shutdown, or store it in a protected part of the airplane to ensure a timely departure when you return to the airplane.

Your iPad becomes completely unusable when it overheats and will display a temperature warning on the screen. At this point, your only option is to get it to a cooler environment and lower the internal temperature. Remove it from direct sunlight and aim a few air vents over if possible. If you had it in a kneeboard or case, remove these to aid the cooling process. Once the iPad’s temperature lowers it will automatically switch back on–there’s nothing else for you to do at that point, except to keep it out of the sun.

If you fly an airplane that has large windows and lets in a good deal of sunlight to the cabin, your best bet is to consider a yoke or suction cup RAM mount. These provide plenty of flexibility to pivot the iPad screen away from direct sunlight, and expose more of the front and rear surfaces of the iPad to ambient air for continuous cooling.

 

Source: Ipad appsDon’t let your iPad overheat – and crash

Don’t let your iPad overheat – and crash

overheat

Your iPad will display this message and stop functioning if the internal temperature gets too warm.
Your iPad will display this message and stop functioning if the internal temperature gets too warm.

We love the iPad because it’s probably the most versatile gadget we own. And for many, it has become a required item for every flight. After flying with the iPad for more than six years, we’ve also learned that it’s also extremely reliable, provided you follow a few important preflight steps. Ultimately, as long as you have a fully-charged battery and current charts downloaded in your app, the odds of the iPad failing in flight is extremely low. There is one thing though that will get your every time if you’re not careful, and that’s the potential for overheating.

Apple lists the normal temperature operating range for the iPad as 32° – 95° F. While using the device below the freezing point may cause the screen to lag a bit, it will still function. However, if you’re using the iPad at the other temperature extreme, it will eventually resort to a thermal protection mode and become completely unusable until the internal temperature of the device is reduced. The primary reason for this is to protect the internal lithium-polymer battery (bad things can happen if they get too hot).

There are a couple of ways on a typical flight that this can happen and both will catch you off guard if you’re not paying attention. The first scenario can happen when you’re flying in a low-wing airplane en route at altitude with the iPad secured in a kneeboard on your lap. You’re in VFR conditions in sunny weather, but the iPad is out of direct sunlight. Then you make a turn over a waypoint, and the sun begins to shine directly on your iPad’s dark screen without you noticing. Even though the ambient temperature may be well below the 95° F limit, the iPad’s internal temperature will quickly elevate and soon display the overheat warning.

The other likely scenario in which your iPad can unexpectedly overheat is after shutting the engine down on the ramp on a hot summer day. Prior to the iPad, many pilots would throw their paper charts or kneeboard on the glareshield to get them out of the way. New iPad useres might inadvertently do the same thing out of habit. As we all know, the temperature inside the cabin will quickly rise after you shut the door, again putting the iPad in a vulnerable state for potential overheating. Make it a habit to take your iPad with you after shutdown, or store it in a protected part of the airplane to ensure a timely departure when you return to the airplane.

Your iPad becomes completely unusable when it overheats and will display a temperature warning on the screen. At this point, your only option is to get it to a cooler environment and lower the internal temperature. Remove it from direct sunlight and aim a few air vents over if possible. If you had it in a kneeboard or case, remove these to aid the cooling process. Once the iPad’s temperature lowers it will automatically switch back on–there’s nothing else for you to do at that point, except to keep it out of the sun.

If you fly an airplane that has large windows and lets in a good deal of sunlight to the cabin, your best bet is to consider a yoke or suction cup RAM mount. These provide plenty of flexibility to pivot the iPad screen away from direct sunlight, and expose more of the front and rear surfaces of the iPad to ambient air for continuous cooling.

 

Source: Ipad appsDon’t let your iPad overheat – and crash

Pictures of the day: Red Bull Air Race demo wows SUN ‘n FUN crowds

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The Red Bull Air Race Demo took flight for the first time ever last week at one of the largest airshows in the Northern America, the SUN N’ FUN International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida.

Red bull 4

Fans were treated to the first ever demonstration of the ultimate motorsport series in the sky with a brand new track design which saw two of the title contenders from the Master Class, Americans Kirby Chambliss and Michael Goulian, showcase the high-speed, low-altitude action. The pilots raced through the 80-foot pylons, while thousands of fans cheered from the crowd lines.

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Red bull at SNF

Jim DiMatteo, Race Director for the Red Bull Air Race, noted, “The aviation community here in SUN ‘n FUN love anything to do with flying and planes. And today we were honored to demonstrate to the crowd what we do in our sport. We have a fast-growing fan base in the US, and our American pilots certainly showed what our World Championship can do.”

SNF Red Bull

Photos by Chris Garrison and Jose Ramos

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPictures of the day: Red Bull Air Race demo wows SUN ‘n FUN crowds

Air Racing from the Cockpit: Speed kings

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Dispatch from T74, Taylor, Texas: I’m singing out loud, off-key, in the cockpit. I can do this because I’m alone in the plane. I’m not normally the singing type, but I’m in a buoyant mood.

First, after a weather delay, we’re finally on the race course. Second I’m flying. And third, my airspeed indicator is showing  118 mph, and with a delightful tailwind I’m doing a kick-butt 139 mph over the ground.

Yes, Mother Nature is giving me a helping hand, but my speed mods seem to be helping, too.

William E Dubois

Raindrops zip across my bubble windshield as I belt out another chorus: “I’m racin’ in the rain, just racin’ in the rain…What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again… I’m laughing at the clouds, so dark up above…”

I key the push-to-talk switch on my Warren Gregoire slip-on yoke grip cover, “Race Five-Three, turn two.” I snap the yoke left, pulling back. My little racer cartwheels to the side, right wing rising high into the grey sky, the attitude indictor spinning like a top.

10°
20°
30°
40°

The G-forces start to push me back in my seat.

50°
60° of bank.

I glance down. The numbers on Coffield Regional’s Runway 35 revolve around the tip of my wing as I make the 320° heading change above the race turn, nearly doubling back on my course.

As we’re in Texas, I let out a good, “Yea-haw!” Then roll sharply out of the turn. I change my frequency from Coffield’s 122.9 back to the race frequency of 123.45. I’m 21 miles out from the next turn at Granger Lake Dam.

I’m on the short course of the Bob Axsom Memorial Air Race, which looks like a nautical pendent, with one gentle turn, one modest turn, and two switchbacks. It’s a hoot to fly.

The Bob Axsom Memorial Air Race short course, laid out over a sectional chart.

The Bob Axsom Memorial Air Race short course, laid out over a sectional chart.

Bob Axsom

Who was Bob Axsom? He was one of the early Sport Air Racing League (SARL) racers, flying under the number Race 71. He died in his sleep three years ago at age 77, just weeks before being inducted into the SARL Hall of Fame. Axsom was a retired NASA engineer who’s credited with creating the technology that led to today’s cockpit Synthetic Vision systems.

About half the racers who knew him described him as a “true gentleman.” The other half called him “quite a character.”

I suspect both statements are true.

Axsom flew a deep blue RV-6 with red sunbursts on the wing. I’m told that he personally developed many modifications for Race 71 that made it the fastest plane of its kind on the planet.

Of course Axsom wasn’t the first to look at an airplane and ask: “How can I make this mother go faster?”

Speed mods

Ever since the second air race in history, designers, mechanics, and pilots have been trying to figure out ways to wring more speed out of race planes. In Racing’s Golden Age, in the 1920s and 30s, technology surged forward around the pylons.

And that’s still true today. In a light-hearted snub on the limits of speed, many of the SARL racers wear T-shirts with the letters Vne (the never exceed speed for an aircraft) with the universal “no” symbol of the red circle with a slash superimposed over them. No limits. Not to speed. Not in air racing.BAMAR_3

But to go faster you must either add power or reduce drag.

My mods

There’s not much I can do about power. While I could legally put a slightly larger engine in my Ercoupe, that’s not something I can afford on my beer budget, and, at any rate, it would only buy me an extra 5-horsepower.

So for me, the only cheap way to buy speed is through the magic of aerodynamics. If I can make my stubby, draggy little ‘Coupe slicker, she’ll fly faster.

I gathered the Race 53 Fan Club at the hangar, and we studied our favorite airplane with critical eyes. The list of possible improvements is long. Some are complex — among other things, I’m shopping eBay and Barnstormers for “pants” for my nose wheel — but other ideas are simple-minded. In the extreme.

While we keep Race 53 in a hangar, in times past N3976H must have lived on a ramp somewhere, as she has canopy cover snaps. Well, more correctly, I should say she had canopy cover snaps. We took them off right before the Axsom race.

A handful of canopy snaps removed from Race 53 before the air race. Small reductions in drag can add up to big increases in speed, at least by air racings standards, in which every second counts. Literally.

A handful of canopy snaps removed from Race 53 before the air race. Small reductions in drag can add up to big increases in speed, at least by air racings standards, in which every second counts. Literally.

How much could the drag from canopy cover snaps possibly slow down a plane? I don’t know. Not much. But gaining a second over an hour-long race can be enough of an improvement to win.

Next, I filled various empty holes in the airframe with silicone (like where the radio range aerial brackets attached to the tops of the rudders back in 1951), and I also ordered gap tape to smooth out rough surfaces where various fairings meet the airframe, but the rolls didn’t arrive before the race.

Dozens of door replacements over the last 69 years have left many holes on the top of the door support brackets. I filled them with silicone so they wouldn’t create small eddies of drag.

Dozens of door replacements over the last 69 years have left many holes on the top of the door support brackets. I filled them with silicone so they wouldn’t create small eddies of drag.

Still, my ground crew and I did have time to install an extremely high-tech aerodynamic landing light cover to “slick up” the airflow over our landing light, which is a four-and-three-quarter inch diameter flat disc positioned exactly perpendicular to the airflow — drag city.

OK. You got me.

The super-high tech aerodynamic landing light cover. Yes, it’s a three-liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off.

The super-high tech aerodynamic landing light cover. Yes, it’s a three-liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off.

The high-tech aerodynamic landing light cover is a three-liter soda bottle with the bottom cut off. We only chose a three-liter soda bottle because the two-liter bottles were too small in diameter.

It got some laughs at the race, but probably reduced my parasite drag more than the stupid snap removal did.

The cap of the landing light cover with a winking smiley face, showing that I recognize it looks silly. But hey, I increased my speed.

The cap of the landing light cover with a winking smiley face, showing that I recognize it looks silly. But hey, I increased my speed.

A trophy… Of sorts

How’d my first round of low-budget speed mods work out? My airspeed in the cockpit looked great. Of course, Mother Nature helped with that tailwind around the bulk of the zig-zaggy course, and I also was able to trade altitude for speed on the upwind leg — so I felt pretty damn good about my performance.

Still, there’s no real knowing how you did until you see the leader board. And when I saw it, projected on a rollup metal door, I got the shock of my life.

My “official” time was 198.76 miles per hour. I beat out the Mooney 201 J, the Mooney M20C, and the Grumman AA5A, to take first place in the Factory Category.

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Which seemed highly improbable to me. There had to be some sort of mistake.

And there was. My elapsed time of 56 minutes and 45 seconds was accidently plugged into the long course, not the short course. When the new distance was plugged into the calculation, I dropped to 10th place out of the 10 airplanes that completed the course (one bowed out before the race due to weather and one aborted during it due to a mechanical issue), coming in last. Again.

But still, I beat my speed at last week’s Azalea race by 2.66 mph for a new best-ever Ercoupe speed in a SARL race of 115.45 miles per hour, a performance for which I won a trophy.

Of sorts.

A SARL tradition in many races is a prize for last place. Yes that would be me. My trophy? An official Disney Planes aluminum lunch box.

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When League Chairman Mike Thompson presented it to me, he joked that I flew so slow I’d need to pack a lunch for the next race. It was all in good fun, and I was tickled to have won something. I don’t have a fireplace, or a mantle, but if I did, the little metal lunch box would have a place of honor on it.

Or, as it weighs nearly nothing, maybe I will use it to carry snacks to next weekend’s race. I’ll need my energy. It’s going to be a heck of a competition this time.

After two easy wins for League points, thanks to being unopposed in my class, next weekend’s race — the Texoma at Sherman, Texas, north of Dallas — is going to be a real fight.

To hold my place, and maybe move ahead of the competition, I need to beat out another Ercoupe, a Cessna 150M, and a Cessna 120. The other ‘Coupe should be closely matched to me. The 150 has a theoretical speed of 125 mph, and the 120 is supposed to be able to hit 120 mph with the throttle to the firewall. It will be a close race, and winning will come down to pilot skill.

Or maybe to a few speed mods.

My League Points: 200

My League Standing: After four SARL races, two of which I flew, I’m tied for first place in the Factory Category with Team Ely of Race 55. Team Ely and I are also tied for 4th Place overall in the League.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comAir Racing from the Cockpit: Speed kings