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National Aviation Day: A Look Back at Aviation through the Years

by Sarina Houston 18. August 2014 09:43
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Photo: Library of Congress

August 19th is National Aviation Day, a day on which many of us involved in aviation reflect on the past, present and future of our industry. Since it's the past that got us to where we are today - an aviation industry focused on innovation and technology - this year on National Aviation Day, take time to consider how far the aviation industry has come. From the earliest balloons to the Boeing 747, and from the Wright Brothers to the F-35, here are a few aviation highlights that will take you back in time.

Early Flight
Birds and Balloons - Before airplanes, scientists were studying birds, balloons, and other flying contraptions. According to the Library of Congress, the first kite was invented as early as 1000 B.C. in China. The Chinese later used kites to measure distances and for reconnaissance. As kites and other flying wings were being developed during this time, Leonardo Da Vinci was studying the flight of birds and developing designs for flying machines. Balloons became popular in the 1700s, after the Montgolfier brothers powered the first balloon flights.

The First Fixed Wing Aircraft - Balloons were no match for Sir George Cayley, also known as the Father of the Aeroplane, who first noticed and recorded the four forces of flight. Cayley also design the first fixed-wing aircraft and was perhaps the first modern engineer, researching and recording the first theories about stability & control and wing dihedral.

Langley vs. Gustav Whitehead vs. the Wright Brothers - In the early 1900s, Samuel Langley was designing and building the first airplanes with a grant from the U.S. government. Langley was unsuccessful, and during the same time, the Wright brothers successfully made the first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. Later, witnesses would claim the Gustav Whitehead had actually successfully completed the first manned flight in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers, but his flight are unrecognized due to lack of proof.

Going the Distance
The 1900s brought considerable advancements in aviation. With two world wars, competition was heavy, bringing many "firsts" in aviation and rapid progression.

Crossing the English Channel - 1909 brought the first crossing the English Channel by a heavier-than-air aircraft - a simple monoplane piloted by aviation pioneer Louis Bleriot.

US Airmail - In 1911, the U.S. started using aircraft for air mail. In 1911, the first U.S. airmail flight occurred. Many more would follow, and in 1914, with World War I about to being, The Benoist Company started the first scheduled passenger airline service between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida.

Crossing the Atlantic - In 1919, the infamous Vickers Vimy made the first nonstop Atlantic crossing while the military developed bombers and fighter aircraft. Charles Lindbergh completed the first flight solo nonstop Atlantic crossing in 1927, becoming an aviation legend.

Barnstomers
The post-World War I era brought a surplus of inexpensive aircraft - specifically the Curtis JN-4 "Jenny" - to the civilian world, and people started flying these airplanes around to give rides and performing air show type stunts. These "barnstormers" as they were named, operated out of fields and traveled frequently.

Modern Flight
Post- World War I and World War II brought even more advancements, like instrument flight, jet engines, supersonic flight and a trip to the moon!

First Instrument Flight-In 1929, Jimmy Doolittle took off, flew and landed without any outside references. Doolittle is also credited with discovering the visual and motion limitations involved with instrument flight, including the idea of trusting the instruments over bodily sensations.

Jet Engines, Supersonic Flight and Moon Landings - The 1930s brought us the first practical jet aircraft - the HE-178 Heinkel - and Chuck Yeager's legendary flight that broke the sound barrier for the first time. By the 1970s, Boeing was making the 747 and the first Concorde entered service, capable of supersonic flight from New York to London in just less than three hours - incredible by anyone's account. And do you think Sir George Cayley or the Wright brothers have ever imagined we'd land on the moon in 1969?

While the supersonic transport aircraft industry didn't take off, today's technology is amazing, nonetheless. With airliners like the A380, capable of transporting over 800 passengers, stealth technology found in the B-2 Bomber and now the F-35, composite materials and electric powered aircraft, the aviation industry continues to advance in fascinating ways.

This year on National Aviation Day, what part of aviation history will you remember and celebrate?

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Aviation Technology | Flying | News | Sarina Houston

Landmark Aviation Completes Acquisition of Ross Aviation

by Ray Robinson 11. August 2014 11:51
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Image Courtesy Landmark Aviation

(Houston, TX – August 1, 2014) Landmark Aviation has completed the acquisition of Ross Aviation, a network of fixed based operations located throughout the United States.

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Ross Aviation operates in major cities and resort destinations within the U.S., including Denver (BJC), Santa Fe (SAF), Miami (OPF), and six locations in Hawaii. The acquisition has increased the size of Landmark’s network from 57 to 75 locations globally.

“We are very excited to welcome these 18 locations into our network,” stated President and CEO Dan Bucaro. “They are geographically a good fit with their strength in the west and Hawaii. We also look forward to building strong relationships with the various airport authorities and being active in each of those communities.”

The Ross locations will begin operating under the Landmark Aviation brand immediately.

About Landmark Aviation

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Landmark Aviation operates a network of fixed base operations located throughout the U.S., and in Canada and Western Europe. The Company offers a wide range of services, including FBO, MRO, charter and management. Landmark is a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group. For more information, visit www.landmarkaviation.com.

About The Carlyle Group

The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) is a global alternative asset manager with over $199 billion of assets under management. Carlyle's purpose is to invest wisely and create value. Carlyle invests across four segments – Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Fund of Funds Solutions – in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America. Carlyle has expertise in various industries, including: aerospace, defense & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs 1,600 people in 38 offices across six continents.

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Aviation Fuel | Fixed Based Operators (FBO) | Airports | News | Press Release

New FAA Hangar Policy Draft: Much Confusion in GA Community

by GlobalAir.com 8. August 2014 17:21
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EAA asking FAA to recognize all homebuilding activity

August 7, 2014 - Two weeks after the FAA unveiled its draft policy for allowed uses in hangars at airports that receive federal grant funding, much confusion has emerged regarding the overall effect of the policy and what it means for hangar tenants. That’s particularly true for homebuilders, who have heard conflicting stories about what it means for building an aircraft in an airport hangar.

“EAA headquarters has heard from many people with concerns about the possible effects of the FAA’s draft hangar policy, and we’re happy to give them the facts and encourage them to comment on the policy prior to the September 5 deadline,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “Unfortunately, some of what is being spread is based on faulty information from inaccurate reports and chatter. That is lending to the confusion on the issue.”

For homebuilders, the draft policy offers protections that never existed in an FAA policy. For the first time, aircraft construction is included as a protected aeronautical activity. Previously, homebuilders had no protection from airports that demanded only fully operating aircraft could be housed in hangars.

“This is a major step forward because it nationally recognizes homebuilding as an aeronautical activity, which it never was previously, even if it was allowed at an individual airport,” Elliott said. “Most homebuilders probably don’t realize that FAA has never recognized homebuilding as a protected aeronautical activity. Now that will change.

“However, we do not agree with the draft language regarding final assembly stipulations. EAA will ask the FAA to consider all active aircraft construction as an aeronautical activity. We believe any type of active homebuilding meets the standard of aeronautical activity and EAA will fight for that language.”

EAA members can do two things to help themselves and the homebuilt community: First, be informed by reading the policy draft and comment before September 5. Also, fully read and understand your airport’s hangar rental agreement to prevent any future disputes over what is allowed at your airport.

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Fixed Based Operators (FBO) | Press Release

Can You Barter For Aircraft Rental And Expenses? FAA Says "Yes"

by Greg Reigel 5. August 2014 16:09
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As you may know, the FAA defines compensation very broadly. Compensation may include not only the exchange of money, but also the exchange of value. With this expansive view of compensation as a backdrop, the FAA was recently asked whether it was permissible to barter services in exchange for (1) a private pilot's pro-rata share of operating expenses under 14 C.F.R. § 61.113(c) and (2) rental of an aircraft.

In the first scenario presented to the FAA, a private pilot (Pilot A) who is also in the business of aircraft detailing desires to barter aircraft detailing services in exchange for Pilot A's pro-rata share of expenses on common-purpose, recreational flights in an aircraft owned by Pilot B, also a private pilot, and with Pilots A and B as the sole occupants of the aircraft during the flights. The common-purpose for the flights would be the building of pilot time as allowed by applicable regulations.

For purposes of the request, the FAA was asked to assume that the aircraft's type certificate does not require operation by two crewmembers, the flights are operated under 14 C.F.R. Part 91, and during the common-purpose flights one pilot is acting as pilot in command and the other pilot is strictly a passenger and not a required crewmember.

Pilot A would perform aircraft detailing services for Pilot B's aircraft. Pilot A and B would determine the fair market value of the aircraft detailing service and that amount would applied to Pilot A's pro-rata share of the operating expenses of the flights shared by Pilots A and B.

Based upon this first scenario, the FAA answered the following questions:

Question 1: Does Pilot A's bartering of services in exchange for Pilot A's pro-rata share of the operating expenses of a common-purpose flight with Pilot B comply with 14 C.F.R. 61.113(c)?

Answer: Yes, as long as the amount of the bartered services did not exceed Pilot A's pro-rata share of the expenses, otherwise Pilot B would be in violation of § 61.113(c).

Question 2: May Pilots A and B agree upon the fair market value of the aircraft detailing services to be bartered against Pilot A's pro-rata share of the operating expenses for the common-purpose flight?

Answer: Yes, the two parties to the transaction would need to reach an agreement with respect to the fair market value and, although FAA regulations do not require a written record of the agreement, they could certainly make such a record. (I would certainly recommend that the parties have a written agreement executed at the time of the transaction, rather than trying to later come up with documentation to prove the agreement as to fair market value.)

Question 3: May the fair market value of the aircraft detailing services be applied prospectively to Pilot A's pro-rata share of operating expenses for future/successive common-purpose flights with Pilot B?

Answer: Yes.

Question 4: What documentation, if any, would Pilots A and B need to evidence their compliance with 14 C.F.R. § 61.113(c) in this scenario?

Answer: None. The FAA does not require any documentation. (However, having appropriate documentation will definitely help in proving compliance.)

In the second scenario provided to the FAA, a private pilot (Pilot A) who is also in the business of aircraft detailing desires to barter aircraft detailing services in exchange for rental of an aircraft owned by Pilot B for personal flights operated under 14 C.F.R. Part 91 and in which Pilot A would be the sole occupant. The FAA was asked to assume for purposes of the request that the aircraft being rented is a type certificated aircraft with a standard airworthiness certificate and is not subject to the Truth-in-Leasing requirements of 14 C.F.R. § 91.23.

Question 5: Does Pilot A's bartering of services in exchange for rental of Pilot B's aircraft violate any regulations administered by the Federal Aviation Administration?

Answer: It does not violate any FAA regulations.

Question 6: May Pilot A and B agree upon the fair market value of the aircraft detailing services to be bartered against Pilot A's rental of Pilot B's aircraft?

Answer: Yes, as long as the flight is not for compensation or hire.

Question 7: May the fair market value of the bartered aircraft detailing services be applied prospectively to Pilot A's future/successive rental of Pilot B's aircraft?

Answer: Yes, as long as the flight is not for compensation or hire.

Question 8: What documentation, if any, would Pilots A and B need to evidence the barter arrangement under this scenario in order to comply with any applicable regulations?

Answer: FAA regulations do not require documentation.

Although the FAA's answers were short and sweet, without any in-depth analysis of the regulations' application to the factual scenarios, at least the FAA has provided some guidance regarding the viability of barter transactions in connection with aircraft use, rental and expenses. As with most situations when dealing with the FAA, having a paper trail to document your compliance is a good idea. Thus, if you are going to enter into a barter arrangement, make sure you have something in writing that not only explains the barter transaction but also substantiates the fair market values upon which the barter transaction is based.

Thanks to the FAA's guidance, aircraft owners and pilots now have another option for aircraft use and rental. And that's a good thing.

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Greg Reigel

The World of Ultralights, Homebuilts, Experimentals and Light Sport Aircraft

by Sarina Houston 2. August 2014 17:12
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I haven't spent much time around ultralight aircraft, and to be honest, until my recent visit to the ultralight runway at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, I didn't actually know what some of the terms surround the ultralight community meant: Ultralight, microlight, experimental, trike, chute, weight-shift control, hang glider, gyrocopter...the terms are endless!

It only took one trip to Oshkosh, though, to realize why many aviation enthusiasts consider the ultralight category more fun than heavier single-engine general aviation aircraft. And the benefits of an ultralight hobby are numerous - it's simple and affordable, with less regulations.

Ultralight aircraft are actually referred to by the FAA as "vehicles" and they are regulated by FAR Part 103. You don't need a pilot certificate. You don't need a medical certificate. There is no age limitation and no training requirements (although training is highly recommended). Ultralight flying is mostly restriction-free, but pilots are limited to flying in good weather, during the day and over unpopulated areas.

In short, there's nothing to it! Ultralights are simple and easy to fly.

The ultralight category of vehicles is divided into powered vehicles (powered parachutes, rotorcraft, fixed wing) and unpowered vehicles (hang gliders, paragliders, balloons, etc.) Most are single-seat vehicles, but there are some dual -seat ultralights made for training purposes.

Ultralights are also known as microlights in some other countries, hence the confusion between the two terms. An ultralight aircraft can be one of a few different types of vehicles, including:

  • Weight-shift control (also known as a trikes).
  • Powered parachutes
  • Powered paragliding
  • Powered hang gliding
  • Autogyros or gyrocopters
  • Helicopters
  • Hot air balloons

What about Light Sport Aircraft and E-LSA?

Light Sport Aircraft can include airplanes, powered parachute, weight-shift control, gyroplane, balloons and gliders, but these aircraft aren't always considered LSAs. According to EAA, "These aircraft can be certificated in any category, such as standard, experimental amateur-built, experimental exhibition, experimental light sport aircraft (E-LSA), or special light sport aircraft (S-LSA)."

An E-LSA, or experimental LSA, according to the FAA, includes any aircraft that "was built and tested to the applicable consensus standards by the aircraft’s manufacturer, and possesses the manufacturer’s statement of compliance."

Wait, there's more! Amateur and Experimental Aircraft
Ultralight aircraft are often amateur built, which, Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR), part 21, section 21.191(g), notes that, "...a major portion of which has been fabricated and assembled by person(s) who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation."

Finally, the term experimental aircraft is an FAA term that describes an aircraft that is not type-certified under any other category (such as standard, aerobatic, etc).

But then there's this term: Experimental-amateur built (E-AB). What's this mean? E-AB aircraft are also referred to as just "experimental" or "homebuilt" and is described in this GAO excerpt:
"E-AB aircraft can contain previously untested systems, including engines not designed for aircraft use, and modifications of airframes, controls, and instrumentation. The E-AB fleet is diverse, ranging from open-framework designs with no cabin structure to small, pressurized airplanes able to fly long distances...Following a successful inspection of the aircraft and documentation review, FAA issues a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category to the aircraft’s builder and assigns operating limitations in two phases specifying how and where the aircraft can be flown."

A bit confusing, isn't it? Hopefully the explanations above clear up some of the confusion, but an experienced instructor can provide a thorough and proper understanding of all the terms and vehicles, making the idea of ultralights less foreign. I, for one, am encouraged to learn more!

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Flying | Sarina Houston





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