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.
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.