Top 5 Reasons to Get Airborne

Don Knotts (left) as Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show.

I’ve never really understood why it’s true, but people seem to like lists for some reason. They’re forever buying magazines and clicking on hot links that will take them to The Top 3 Retirement Destinations in America, or The Top 5 Cars For 2016, or The Top 10 Reasons You Should Shop at Ralph’s.

It’s enough to drive a man to distraction.

I’m a team player, though. I can be flexible when the situation calls for it. So here I go, getting all flexible, playing ball, and basically giving in to the appetite of the crowd. So here, I offer you my Top 5 Reasons to Get Airborne. Go ahead and see how my list stacks up against yours.

Reason Number 1: To commemorate the work of Otto Lilienthal.

At the exact same time General George Custer was on the plains hunting native Americans in an effort to eradicate them from the face of the nation, a German engineer named Otto Lilienthal was in the early stages of actively engaging in a field of endeavor that was widely thought to be impossible — human flight.

Otto Lilenthal (Photo from U.S. Library of Congress)

Otto Lilenthal gliding experiment. (Photo from U.S. Library of Congress)

By 1891 Lilienthal was launching himself from a hillside, to pilot a frail craft for only a matter of seconds. Over the course of more than 2,000 flights, Lilienthal learned more about aerodynamics than had been amassed by the entire human population combined to that point.

In fact, Otto Lilienthal was the only person on the planet who could, and did, fly reliably and repeatedly during the later years of the 19th Century.

Yes, that’s right. While it is absolutely normal to look up and see contrails of aircraft passing overhead on almost any day now, 120 years ago there was only a single person capable of planning and executing a flight that carried a human being. That person was Otto Lilienthal.

Reason Number 2: The Wright Brothers made it possible.

Yes, the Wright Brothers. I don’t care what the Governor of Connecticut signs into law. It wasn’t Whitehead. It wasn’t Pearse. It’s certainly wasn’t Langley. No. It was the Wrights.

Spurred to action in part by Lilienthal’s death, the self-taught engineers from Ohio turned the world on its head by proving the naysayers wrong, and beating the best funded scientists and technologists of the day into the air with a heavier than air, powered, controllable flying machine that was capable of carrying a man aloft.

The original Wright Flyer only flew for one day. It was damaged on the sands of Kitty Hawk and never flew again.

The Wright Flyer on a North Carolina beach

The Wright Flyer on a North Carolina beach

But the door to manned flight had been opened and the floodgates of experimenters, daredevils, serious engineers, and even shade-tree tinkerers began to pour into the industry, expanding and improving on the basic design of the aircraft, its mission, and its viability in the marketplace.

Reason Number 3: Glenn Curtiss did the Wrights one better.

If the airplane was brought to life by a couple bicycle mechanics, it only makes sense that it would be improved by a motorcycle man.

After their major success with the 1903 Flyer, the Wrights busied themselves by threatening to sue, or actually suing everyone who had the audacity to attempt to operate a flying machine with wings.

The Curtiss Hydroaeroplane, which was named the Triad because it could operate in three dimensions — sea, air, and land. (US Navy photo)

The Curtiss Hydroaeroplane, which was named the Triad because it could operate in three dimensions — sea, air, and land. (US Navy photo)

Motorcycle racer and engine builder Glenn Curtiss spent his time tweaking the machine, making it more to his liking. He won races at speeds of over 46 mph, a rate considered to be blistering at the time. He also flew long distances in record time, covering a 137 mile route from Albany to New York City in less than four hours, with only two fuel stops.

He also pioneered the seaplane, and built the only American aircraft to see any use in Wolrd War I, a big, wallowing trainer known as the Curtiss Jenny.

Reason Number 4: Flying has never been safer.

The terms “aviation,” and “safety” had only the most casual acquaintance in the early days of flight. In truth, flying was downright dangerous.

Building materials were of unknown reliability, aircraft designs were often questionable, and the pilot’s knowledge of aerodynamics, meteorology, structural integrity, and upset training were shaky at best. Instrumentation was less than reliable, and the amount of support a pilot could expect from the ground often amounted to little more than a water tower with the name of the town painted on it.

John_Wayne_Today aviation is safer than ever. In fact, even with an enviably low accident rate, in nearly 75% of aircraft accidents, the pilot and passengers suffer little to no injury at all.

Classic designs that have been flying for decades have given us tremendous insight into what can go wrong with a particular airframe, engine, or appliance. With that information in hand, prevention becomes the name of the game, and it’s a game the general aviation community has become amazingly adept at winning.

Don Knotts (left) as Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show.

Don Knotts (left) as Barney Fife on the Andy Griffith Show.

Pilot training has also come a long way. We now realize the keys to safety are not found in the icy-cool stare of a pilot who looks and acts like John Wayne or Tom Cruise, but rather, in the methodical and well reasoned thought processes of a thoroughly prepared pilot who may bear a closer resemblance to Don Knotts or Halle Berry.

Reason Number 5: Flying is less expensive than ever.

Yep, it’s true. Flying today is less expensive than it’s ever been.

And that’s even true when you figure in fuel costs, insurance, and hangar fees.

With the aviation world awash in good, well-maintained classic aircraft that can be had for well under the price of a new Hyundai, and a growing appetite for flying clubs, partnerships, and fractional ownership options, flying can be less expensive than many traditional leisure activities.

Combine that fact with the added bonus that no matter how long you play golf, you’re still right there on the golf course, but if you fly you can find yourself having lunch in an exotic location that was virtually inaccessible by other means.

And you still might have time for a quick round of golf before dinner. General aviation wins, hands down.

Those are my top five reasons to get airborne. If you’ve got something to add, let me know.

Maybe if we work together we can double this list and publish a Top 10 List later in the year.

Until then, get flying. There’s never been a better time.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comTop 5 Reasons to Get Airborne

Sporty’s Hosting Pilot/Controller Forum

Tuesday, June 7 – 7pm in Sporty’s Cafe

controllerAir traffic controllers provide vital radar services to make our VFR flights safer and our IFR flights even possible. Here is your chance to meet some of the people on the other side of the pilot/controller partnership.

In this informal group discussion, we will interact with two local controllers working in various ATC roles and sectors. Eddie Albert from Cincinnati TRACON and Andy Reynolds from LUK Tower will talk about the various services available to pilots and how proper phraseology and professionalism impacts General Aviation. You will learn some tips on how to operate better within the National Airspace System to make your next flight safer and more efficient.

This is a great opportunity to get your ATC questions answered!

Registration is not required; however, to receive FAA WINGS credit, register at

Source: SportysSporty’s Hosting Pilot/Controller Forum

Wright Seaplane Base, Inc.

One of the least known aspects of the Wright Brothers’  research work was the development of a hydro-aeroplane.  Wilbur died in 1912, but Orville and Co. continued to test several versions of a Wright seaplane. Starting with pontoons added to versions of the Wright “B” Flyer, the company went on to develop an entirely new seaplane with a hull like a boat –  the Model “G” Aeroboat. The Aerobat had a solid hull or fuselage with an enclosed cockpit, twin pusher propellers, and the engine in the
Source: aviation trailWright Seaplane Base, Inc.

Drones May Soon Deliver Vital Organs Across India

Delivery drones have been proposed for all sorts of purposes – pizza, soccer shoes and prescription drugs. But a new UAV project in India may literally save lives by speedily delivering vital organs for transplant. According to the Times of India, the nation’s National Programme for Micro Air Vehicles is working on pilot project in […]

The post Drones May Soon Deliver Vital Organs Across India appeared first on DRONELIFE.

Source: Quadcopter/Drone newsDrones May Soon Deliver Vital Organs Across India

FAA Tests FBI Drone Detection System at JFK

The FAA and its government partners are expanding research on ways to detect rogue drones around airports.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its government, industry and academia partners have joined forces to evaluate drone detection technology at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.

Over the last two years, the FAA has received numerous reports from pilots and residents about unmanned aircraft systems UAS, or drones around some of the nations busiest airports, including JFK.

We face many difficult challenges as we integrate rapidly evolving UAS technology into our complex and highly regulated airspace, said Marke Hoot Gibson, FAA Senior Advisor on UAS Integration. This effort at JFK reflects everyones commitment to safety.

Beginning May 2, the FAA conducted evaluations at JFK to study the effectiveness of a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) UAS detection system in a commercial airport environment. Five different rotorcraft and fixed wing UAS participated in the evaluations, and about 40 separate tests took place.

The JFK evaluation involved extensive government inter-agency collaboration, and cooperation from industry and academia. The tests expanded on research performed earlier this year at Atlantic City International Airport.

In addition to the FAA and the FBI, the agencies combining forces in this research included the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice, Queens District Attorneys Office and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. DHS and the FBI want to identify unauthorized UAS operators for law enforcement purposes, and the FAAs mission is to provide a safe and efficient airport environment for both manned and unmanned air traffic.

We applaud the FBI and FAA for their efforts to detect and track unmanned aerial systems (UAS), said Thomas Bosco, Port Authority Aviation Director. We look forward to supporting continued U.S. Government efforts to identify and deploy countermeasures to neutralize the threat posed by rogue UASs.

The team evaluating the FBIs detection system also included contributions from one of the six FAA-designated UAS test sites. The Griffiss International Airport test site in Rome, NY, provided expertise in planning the individual tests as well as the flight commander for the tests and two of the UAS used.

The FY 2016 Appropriations law mandates that the FAA continue research into detection of UAS in airport environments. The agency is continuing to formulate an inter-agency strategy to evaluate detection systems in a variety of airport environments.

Source: FAAFAA Tests FBI Drone Detection System at JFK

FAA SAIB Focuses On Lycoming Engine Prop Governors

Recommends Use Of Loctite On Idler Gear Set Screw The FAA has issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) concerning Lycoming Engines (Lycoming) O, IO, LIO, AIO, AEIO-320 Series; O, LO, IO, LIO, AIO, AEIO, TO, TIO-360 Series; O, IO, AEIO, TIO, LTIO-540 Series; IO-580 Series; and IO-720 series, wide cylinder flange engines, equipped with a front crankcase-mounted propeller governor.
Source: aero newsFAA SAIB Focuses On Lycoming Engine Prop Governors

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