Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg recently spent their first 25 hours at the controls of a flight simulator that replicates the cockpit in the first Solar Impulse prototype HB-SIA. Piccard flew the prototype from Tuesday, May 13 at 7:27 a.m. to Wednesday, May 14 at 8:43 a.m., and Borschberg from Thursday, May 15 at 7:20 a.m. to Friday, May 16 at 8:38 a.m.
News and issues concerning general aviation, specifically airplanes and helicopters powered by piston and alternative engines (i.e., non-turbine powered aircraft). Subjects include aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
Ed Boyo, director at Landover Aviation of Lagos, Nigeria, said, “The air transportation industry in Africa was dealt a huge setback after September, with a loss of consumer confidence and the bankruptcy of some airlines. This has meant an increased interest in business aviation.”
Several speakers at the FAA’s 10th annual general aviation forecast conference, held in Wichita April 15 and 16, disputed the agency’s numerical prophecies. Helicopter Association International president Roy Resavage asserted the FAA was underestimating the number of in-service civil helicopters by 50 percent, skewing that part of the forecast.
The CanPass general aviation border-crossing program resumes on April 2 at 176 airports in Canada. The program, which allows pre-screened travelers to clear customs quickly, was suspended immediately after September 11. The restored program will be available only for flights from the U.S. For more information, visit the Canada Customs Web site at www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/.
Eclipse Aviation introduced an in-house mandatory training program for customers of its Eclipse 500 very light twinjet, which includes pilot qualification and supplemental training by the University of North Dakota’s aerospace department. Jet-transition and type-rating courses will be provided free of charge with each Eclipse 500 purchased. A mandatory type-training admission evaluation, conducted by UND, will cost between $500 and $750.
Last month NASA made the first flight of an experimental “wing warping” Boeing F/A-18 flying testbed. In 1903 the Wright Brothers used wires connected to their control column to twist the wings of their Flyer, changing the airfoils’ shape to provide differential lift to control bank. NASA calls the 21st century version of wing warping the “active aeroelastic wing,” or AAW.
With the Republicans retaking control of the Senate when the 108th Congress convenes early next month, some recognizable names will be moving back into the leadership positions they were forced to vacate when former GOP Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont became an independent and allied with the Democrats in the middle of last year.
The Reno Air Races were back on form this year as some 180,000 people trekked to Stead Field in mid-September to watch 128 aircraft compete in six race classes for a record $800,000 in prize money. Last year’s event was canceled early in race week due to September 11.
The FAA has given $20 million to the FAA Center of Excellence for General Aviation, a research and training facility at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s (ERAU) Daytona Beach, Fla. campus. The money will be used in the advancement and study of such areas as ATC, Free Flight, composite materials, avionics, crashworthiness and survivability.
There may be some pilots who fly airplanes solely because it’s a soft ride to a bloated paycheck, and they may think EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., is only about little airplanes that “aren’t serious.” But most pilots don’t.