For the past 15 years or so, there have been strong threats on the part of a number of major engine makers that they were going to get serious about diesel aircraft engines, and so far only two have made good on that threat. Both of them, Thielert and Austro, were house suppliers to Diamond Aircraft, Austro being a subsidiary.
A question I’ve been hearing lately is whether China will scoop up the assets of Hawker Beechcraft, which has filed for bankruptcy and is known to be for sale. Already, several potential bidders have come forward with hopes of buying the entire company or select pieces.
I would bet China has at least joined the discussions about purchasing Hawker Beechcraft, and in particular its business jet line, which would be one more piece of a puzzle that’s forming a clearer picture of the country’s far-reaching aviation aspirations.
In case you’ve been absent from the country without access to a laptop or a newspaper, you have probably taken note of the advent of what I’ve been calling the Drone Wars. (Are apologies to George Lucas in order?). These battles, which are upon us already, though few pilots have taken notice, will go a long way toward defining who we are as pilots and, hence, what our member organizations need to focus on in the coming years to protect and assert our rights as pilots.
As we reported last week, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes activity at iconic Wichita GA manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft, a company that was hit harder by the economic downturn than any of its competitors.
Last week, three small airplanes were intercepted by F-16s in the Los Angeles area as a result of busting temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) during President Obama’s visit to the area. These types of incidents remind me of why it’s so important to get the latest information available for each flight. I always call flight service for a preflight briefing in addition to getting a briefing online.
If you’ve been around aviation for a while, you know that there are a few famous cases of airplanes so profoundly hyped that even if there had been any substance to their manufacturers’ overinflated claims, nobody would have believed it.
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.