This Memorial Day weekend was my most special one to date. While I didn’t celebrate it the way it was intended – in remembrance of the members of our Armed Forces who gave their lives to protect our freedom – I had a chance to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.
The other day I read about an accident that happend in a neighborhood in the Los Angeles, California area. As I was flying over the congested spread of the city later that day I was contemplating what my options would be should I have an engine failure. With the crowded streets, tightly packed homes and thousands of power lines, there are not many available emergency-landing sites other than runways.
The announcement last year by Cessna that it was going to begin issuing, in conjunction with the FAA, airworthiness directives (ADs) on many of its airplanes has been greeted with skepticism by owners associations. The worry that some members expressed was that the ADs were a veiled attempt on Cessna’s part to create new spare parts business for itself.
The NTSB held a fascinating meeting at its Washington headquarters on Tuesday morning that explored in detail the poor safety record of experimental amateur-built aircraft and produced a laundry list of solutions aimed at stemming the problem. The raw data presented in the NTSB’s study of experimental aircraft safety was wholly absorbing in and of itself, but it was the compendium of safety recommendations the Board put forward – 16 in all – that provide at least a glimmer hope that an abysmal safety record can indeed be improved.
Recently, I was reminded about that “thing” about flying when Bonnier Corp.’s Flying magazine and Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Florida, hosted 12 folks visiting from the Bonnier parent company’s headquarters in Sweden as part of a Live the Brand event. Flying offered up two choices: discovery flights in Cessnas or discovery flights in seaplanes. No one signed up for the more “traditional” option.
Warn the neighbors and anybody else who will listen: The FAA and FBI are cracking down on people who intentionally point laser lights at aircraft in flight, launching dozens of investigations and charging nearly 30 alleged perpetrators since stepping up enforcement last summer. A new law enacted in February makes doing so a federal crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
I’m at EBACE in Geneva this week. Geneva, Switzerland, not Geneva, New York. This is the 12th annual EBACE, and it was an idea that was greeted with a huge collective yawn when the idea was broached two decades ago. The first shows were cozy affairs, small gatherings of parochial bizav concerns coming together as much out of convenience as anything.
Most pilots that I know have decided at one point in their flying careers to make a huge smoking crater in the earth. Although I don’t typically advertise the fact, the truth is, I’ve done it a few times, myself, though not for many years. Who knows, maybe you have too. After all, what could be more exciting than ending the day in a smoking heap of wreckage? What fun.
As I have reported before, the City of Santa Monica is going through a three-step airport community process, also called the visioning process, to help determine what the future holds for the Santa Monica Airport (SMO). Phase II of the process, in which community members were given an opportunity to put in their vision for the airport property, has concluded and a report has been submitted to the City Council by Moore Icanofano Goltsman, Inc. (MIG), which conducted the study.
In the May issue of Flying I argued that it was high time for revisions to Part 23 certification standards for light airplanes, a piece that, based on our email response, resonated with our readership. You agreed that it was time for the FAA to get real with Part 23. The amazing thing is that it’s happening. As we speak some of the best and brightest minds in aviation are working together to re-imagine Part 23 with the goal to slash the price of admission. Godspeed.