With their wide open spaces and VFR nature, there’s something about the American deserts that seem perfectly suited for flying light airplanes. At the same time, the region, with its sky-high terrain, soaring temperatures and relentless turbulence, is by nature antagonistic to what we do.
I spent the better part of the past week flying around the desert southwest in my SR22, which while new to me is a 2010 G3 turbo with the Tornado Alley turbocharged Continental IO-550 engine.
In the FAA’s rush to shut down scores of the nation’s contract control towers, nobody within the agency saw it necessary to perform a thorough analysis of the potential safety ramifications. Nor did the agency conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to consider, among other things, the millions of dollars it took to build the towers at the airports that will now lose them. Perhaps worst of all, there is no long-term plan in place for resuming services at affected towers.
As the Part 23 rewrite proceeds, it has become more and more clear that the light airplane segment needs a boost, and rethinking how we certify airplanes is a good place to start, though it might not be the best place.
The problem is obvious to anyone in the market for a new set of wings.
The NTSB this week issued five GA Safety Alerts aimed at preventing the most common fatal general aviation accidents. The big question centers on whether the Board’s action will have any discernable impact in moving the safety needle. My guess is no, it won't.
My trip down to Galveston was becoming remarkably complicated, which is always a red flag to me that signals the need to look out for increased risk. Sure enough, there it was, staring me in the face.
It was low IFR at Austin Executive as I did my preflight in the early morning mist. The automated weather said 400 overcast and a half-mile visibility, though the viz looked slightly better than that to the naked eye.
You’ve no doubt heard and read a lot about 3-D printing in the last couple of years. Known as “additive manufacturing” in industrial-design circles, the process is used to produce three-dimensional solid objects of virtually any shape from a digital model fed into a special kind of printer.
The news from Diamond Aircraft is that the company is suspending D-JET operations in its London, Ontario, Canada, factory and laying off the majority of its workers — a mere 50 out of 200 will remain; among them, the entire D-JET team has been laid off. While the layoffs have implications for the continuing piston business, it most likely spells the end of the D-JET program.
There have been a couple of accident reports that have come to our attention in which the NTSB cites as a probable cause the accident airplane making a downwind turn. Don’t get me wrong: The statement of probable cause is often little more than a way of saying the airplane crashed because, well, it crashed. The statement, “the pilot failed to maintain control,” is one of my favorites. Yes, we can tell he did, by the way the airplane crashed.
Naming the “downwind turn” as probable cause rises to a whole new level, however.