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12 Things You Didn’t Know About the Wright Brothers

by Sarina Houston 15. December 2014 16:05
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Most of us know that Wright brothers Orville and Wilbur were smart guys who also had a thing for bicycles. But what else do we know about these two brothers that successfully launched America – and other countries – into the world of flying? Here are a few interesting facts about the fathers of modern aviation.
  1. Neither Wilbur nor Orville finished high school. A hockey accident left Wilbur badly injured and he fell into a depression, forgoing his plans to attend Yale. Instead, he stayed home and cared for his mother, who had tuberculosis. In the meantime, Wilbur’s younger brother Orville dropped out of high school his senior year to open a print shop.

  2. In 1889 Wilbur and Orville started their own newspaper. It was a West Dayton paper called West Side News, in which Wilbur was the editor and Orville the publisher.

  3. Orville and Wilbur’s father was a bishop who traveled a lot. Their mother was the parent they turned to for advice on their engineering and design pursuits. Being mechanically inclined, she would design and build small appliances and also built toys for the two boys and their siblings.

  4. Wilbur was mature for his age, and he preferred to hang out with his two older brothers. He was invited to join their social group called the “Ten Dayton Boys,” where activities included annual meetings, drinking, eating and singing.

  5. Wilbur was quiet and studious. Orville was mischievous, but shy.

  6. Orville played the mandolin. His sister Katharine, whom he was very close to, is known to have said, “He sits around and picks that thing until I can hardly stay in the house.”

  7. The brothers funded their airplane pursuits with bicycles. The pair went into business designing, building and repairing bicycles. They competed with many other bicycle shops, at first selling the popular brands and later designing and manufacturing their own.

  8. The Kitty Hawk location was chosen based on certain criteria that included a soft place to land, sustained winds, elevated areas to launch from and, of course, wide open spaces.

  9. The test gliders were left on the beaches of Kitty Hawk. After the test flights of the first three gliders, the aircraft were so beat up from their time at Kitty Hawk that the Wright brothers just left them behind on the beaches of Kitty Hawk. A wingtip was later recovered, and is the only piece found from the Wright brothers’ gliders.

  10. One wing was shorter than the other on the Wright Flyer On the Wright brother’s design of the 1903 Wright Flyer, the left wing was engineered to be four inches longer than the right wing in order to compensate for the engine placement on the right side of the pilot.

  11. The brothers tossed a coin to determine who would be flying the Wright Flyer during its first test flight. Wilbur won.

  12. Farmland was used for future flight testing in Ohio, as long as they moved the cows first. Tired of continuous flights to Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers sought out the use of land from a nearby farmer in Ohio. They built a hangar there and began a mission to fly circular flights and make the aircraft more practical. The farmer requested nothing in return, except that they lead the cattle away before flying.

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Aviation History | Flying | Sarina Houston

New Cost Effective Solutions for Upcoming Mandates

by GlobalAir.com 4. December 2014 13:36
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Garmin is Now Offering Standalone ADS-B Solutions

By Conrad Theisen
Avionics Sales Manager for Elliott Aviation

www.elliottaviation.com

Earlier this year, Garmin announced a cost-effective, stand-alone Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) solution for Citation V, Hawker 800A/XP, Hawker 400A/XP, Learjet 60 and Learjet 35A. Their solution, which utilizes Garmin’s GTX 3000 Mode S Extended Squitter (ES) transponders, satisfies upcoming global ADS-B mandates without making costly Flight Management System (FMS) and cockpit display upgrades. What this means for owners and operators of these aircraft is that you now have a much more cost-effective solution to meet your NextGen requirements.

Not only does this solution satisfy upcoming NextGen mandates but paired with the Garmin GDL 88 ADS-B datalink and Flight Stream wireless gateway it gives you the capability to wirelessly receive the benefits of ADS-B In on your mobile device. While not a requirement, the addition of ADS-B In allows you to receive traffic and weather on your mobile device, which in these aircraft, currently do not have any other way of displaying the information.

Elliott Aviation is currently working on an STC to install Garmin’s new ADS-B solution in Hawker 800A/XP and Beechjet 400A/Hawker 400XP, while Executive Aircraft Maintenance is working on the STC for the Citation V and Butler National is pursuing an STC for Lear 60 and Lear 35A. With thousands of these aircraft currently in service, owners and operators now have a way to meet NextGen requirements and get added benefits of ADS-B In without the cost of a full cockpit retrofit.

Conrad Theisen has been with Elliott Aviation since 1996. He started his career as an Avionics Installer and was promoted to Avionics Manager in 2001. In 2009, he led the Customer Service and Project Management teams for all in-house aircraft. He joined the Avionics Sales team in 2012.

The Balloon Corps of the Civil War

by Tori Williams 3. December 2014 21:40
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Thaddeus Lowe’s Union Army Balloon Corps poses with an inflated balloon and observation basket near an unidentified battlefield. Photo via.

If there is anything that has experienced an entirely unique and interesting history, it is aviation. From the Wright brothers to the Blackbird, the innovations and creative ideas that helped get us into the air have been nothing short of amazing. Recently I was studying aviation history and I came upon something I had never heard of before. I decided to do some research and find out more about this interesting piece of aviation history.

In 1861, the beginning of the Civil War had come upon America. The North and South were split, and President Abraham Lincoln was desperate for a new way to help the Union defeat their enemies and abolish slavery. It would take some creative ideas to get the upper hand against the Confederate Army.

A man by the name of Thaddeus Lowe was one of the top American balloonists and was also in the business of building balloons for other aeronauts. He successfully flew his balloon over 600 miles on an eastward wind to the coast. He traveled from Cincinnati, Ohio to South Carolina in about nine hours. He was convinced he could cross the Atlantic Ocean, a feat unaccomplished at the time, in just two days.

Unfortunately Lowe never had the chance to complete is Atlantic flight. After landing in South Carolina, the locals saw his Ohio newspapers and figured he was a Yankee. They ordered him to be shot, but he used his charm and wit to talk his way out of the situation. When he finally found a northbound train and headed home, he could see the beginnings of war in America. He decided then that his Atlantic flight was not important, and he was determined to serve his country. With a great idea and resources available, he went to President Lincoln to pitch the idea of creating a Union Army Balloon Corps.

On June 18, 1861, Lowe had the chance to show Lincoln exactly what his balloon was capable of. He traveled to Washington and discussed the possibilities with the president, who was intrigued and asked him to demonstrate with his balloon. To prove that balloons had value in the war, Lowe decided try something he had never done before. He ran a telegraph line from his balloon to the ground, and sent a telegraph to President Lincoln from the air. He was asked to spend the night at the White House and they discussed plans for a future balloon corps.

Lowe was placed in charge of all Balloon Corps operations, and successfully aided in several spying, land mapping, and other helpful missions for the Union Army. The creation of the Balloon Corps also brought along the first instance of an aircraft carrier in history. Although many enemies shot at the balloons, they were never hit.

This is just a brief overview of the fascinating story of the Balloon Corps. I highly encourage further reading and research into the subject, as the stories of these aeronauts are simply amazing!

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Tori Williams | Aviation History

Honda Flies High

by GlobalAir.com 2. December 2014 14:46
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Photo: Courtesy of Honda Aircraft Company

Honda Motor has long been a crowd pleaser. Its cars, motorcycles, and lawnmowers are consumer favorites around the world. Now the Japanese giant is about to try its hand at producing a light jet, and by all indications, the plane will be another winner.

The unusually light and speedy HondaJet, priced at $4.5 million and capable of carrying four to six passengers, looks set to win Federal Aviation Administration certification by first-quarter 2015. It will be the most expensive aircraft in its class, but buyers already are lining up. The company claims that its first two years of production are sold out, though it refuses to disclose exactly how many jets it is capable of producing per year.

Honda has been quietly laying the groundwork for this since 1986. Back then, wanting to better understand aircraft design, Honda sent Michimasa Fujino, now 54, to Mississippi State University’s Raspet Flight Research Lab. It was at Raspet that the young Honda engineer eventually designed and built two research aircraft.

The second of these, the MH02, was an all-composite, 8,000-pound, high-wing twin jet with the engines mounted atop the wings, which Fujino would later enhance and dub Otwem, for over-the-wing engine mount, since that was the key distinguishing feature of the plane. He figured that this aesthetically challenged configuration -- which looked vaguely like a giant attacking insect from a 1950s horror movie -- would allow for bigger cabins and improved aerodynamics. After Honda green-lighted a move into the light-jet market, Fujino set about converting his MHO2 research into a commercially viable aircraft.

As Fujino and his team refined the jet over nearly a decade, they also built a massive, state-of-the-art manufacturing, engineering, and service center in Greensboro, N.C. -- for an estimated $140 million. This is now Honda Aircraft, where Fujino serves as CEO and oversees more than 1,200 employees.

Check out the rest of the Mark Huber’s story here!

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Can You Buy Replacement Aircraft Data Plates on the Internet?

by Greg Reigel 2. December 2014 09:44
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The internet can be a wonderful thing. From the convenience of your computer you can buy most things aviation. Whether you are looking for pilot supplies, aviation paraphernalia or even an aircraft, it is quite likely that you can locate, and complete, your purchase via the internet. But, the convenience of buying through the internet doesn't always mean that you are really receiving the item for which you paid, or that you will be able to actually use the item as anticipated. A recent Legal Interpretation issued by the FAA's Office of the Chief Counsel illustrates this point.

This particular Legal Interpretation responded to a request from an individual regarding an advertisement on an internet auction site promoting the sale of "high quality reproduction aircraft identification plates." Specifically, the individual wanted to know how to determine "whether a reproduction plate is 'eligible for installation on a type certificated product.'"

The Interpretation initially notes 14 C.F.R. § 21.8 states that a part which must be approved by the FAA, such as an aircraft data plate, must be approved for production under a parts manufacturing authority (PMA), a type supplemental order (TSO), in conjunction with type certification procedures, or the catchall: "in any other manner approved by the FAA." It goes on to observe that, not surprisingly, when it comes to installation of data plates on aircraft, the FAA usually relies upon the original aircraft manufacturer to install the data plates on its aircraft.

According to the FAA Chief Counsel, the FAA views the aircraft manufacturer's installation of the data plates as a declaration or representation that the aircraft conforms to its type design. If for some reason the aircraft manufacturer refuses to issue or install data plates, the FAA assumes (yes, the Legal Interpretation actually uses the word "assumes") the aircraft does not conform to its type design.

With that background, the Interpretation then addressed several situations in which the aircraft owner may not have original identification plates issued by the aircraft manufacturer. First, if the data plate is lost, stolen or damaged during maintenance operations, the Interpretation states that the aircraft owner should "seek a replacement from the aircraft's original manufacturer." Unfortunately, since product liability exposure is always a concern for manufacturers, they are reluctant to issue a new data plate and expose themselves to additional potential liability for an aircraft whose condition they have been unable or unwilling to verify. As a result, that option is seldom successful.

Next, the Interpretation addressed the situation in which "the aircraft's original manufacturer is no longer in business or is otherwise unable or unwilling to produce a replacement plate for reasons unrelated to the condition of the aircraft. It observed that FAA Advisory Circular 45-2D, Identification and Registration Marking provides a means of compliance. Referencing Section 6(i)(3) of AC 45-2D, the Interpretation states than an owner or operator may only buy data plates from an approved source after "going through the process" of contacting the local Flight Safety Standards District Office (FSDO) or Manufacturing Inspection District Office (MIDO) for assistance and approval in obtaining a replacement. Unfortunately, neither the Interpretation nor AC 45-2D provide any explanation for what this "process" involves or requires from the aircraft owner or operator, nor does it state what the FSDO or MIDO are obligated to do in assisting or providing approval of a replacement data plate. As a result, it is unclear whether this is truly a practical or viable option.

Finally, in addressing the specific request before it, the Interpretation concludes that "[a] reproduction identification plate sold on an online auction website would presumably be produced by neither the manufacturer nor an FAA-approved alternative source (such as a PMA holder for the article), and therefore it could not indicate to the FAA that an aircraft conforms to its type design." And without an approved data plate to "prove" conformity with the type design, the aircraft would be ineligible for a standard airworthiness certificate.

So, the moral of the story: Simply because you can buy replacement data plates on the internet (or anything else for that matter), that doesn't mean you can use them. At least the individual in this case asked the question before, rather than after, spending good money on "reproduction" data plates. But, as with most purchases, some degree of "caveat emptor" is almost always a good thing.

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Greg Reigel | Maintenance





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