July 2013 Aviation Articles

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's a...Where is It Again?

Like everyone at Oshkosh, I was most looking forward to Ives Rossy, aka Jetman, take to the skies with that jetpack we've all been promised since the 50's.  That's the 1950's to you kids.  


It was a huge crowd gathered to witness history for the festival, with dads all around me forcing their kids to sit down and watch - the same way my mom made my sister watch the moon landing.  Didn't matter that she was only 5 months old - Mom just wanted to say "she saw it".  Everyone KNEW they were going to see something special.


Shortly, Rossy took to the sky in his launch helicopter, climbing higher and higher.  The announcers kept us entertained with the details of how Rossy arching his body changes the direction of flight, or how he normally does a 6-point landing (feet, knees, then hands), but sometimes adds a 7th point (his nose).  We also learn that every jump is different, because the air is different, the wind is different, his frame of mind is different, etc.  I morbidly joke that the ground is always the same - hard.


Suddenly, he was out.  You only knew he was freefalling because of the big screens showing the view from Rossy's wing.  So we're all scanning the sky, seeking this miracle worker.  And we're looking.  And we're looking.  And we're...WAIT! Nope, that's a seagull.  And we're lo..THERE!  We see an arrow-shaped pinpoint move swiftly across the sky, darting from cloud to cloud.  This is cool!  This is great!  This is...happening 2,500 feet up in the sky, and I barely see him.


Don't get me wrong, it was cool to be there, and everyone around me was rightly awe-inspired.  However, I didn't really get that "I'm a part of this" feeling I went to receive.  I blame my own build-up - kind of like going to the opening night midnight showing of "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace".  At least this was cooler technology than what brought Jar Jar Binks to life!


After 10 minutes of occaisionally getting a glance of the world's smallest stealth bomber playing hide-and-seek, suddenly the parachute was out, and he was on the ground three minutes later.  I think I finally got him on camera at that point. My work here is done!


So what did I learn today?  I learned I STILL want my jetpack I was promised in the 50's - just so I can finally get a good picture of Jetman.

Check out the attached video!

Jetman2.MTS (9.66 mb)

Shared Light Aircraft Ownership Options for Getting Work Done

With a light aircraft, sharing the costs among two or more owners is common. If you own a small business, using a light aircraft may be ideal and time-efficient. Sharing the costs with another owner can bring down the threshold of cost.

Successful shared ownership requires consideration of the Three C's: Compatibility, Compromise and Contracts.

There needs to be a degree of compatibility between the owners. The type of aircraft must be suitable to the owners' missions. A Cessna 206 and a Mooney Ovation have different strengths. So do a PC-12 and a Piper Meridian. If you are becoming a second (or third) owner, make sure the aircraft will be effective at what you need to do: big load hauler or speedy cross-country machine. Just as important as the mission is NOT having similar flying schedules. If both owners need to use the aircraft every Monday thru Wednesday, sharing cannot work. Ideally owner #1 is a weekend flier and owner #2 is a business-weekday flier. Discuss in advance what your expectations are and how you will schedule the use of the aircraft.

Even if the owners have compatible aircraft requirements and complimentary travel schedules, there needs to be compromise. There will be times when you need to allow for flexibility in the schedules. Visiting family for Thanksgiving? Maybe this year you get the plane and your partner gets it for next year. Other compromises may involve the maintenance and upgrades. If you are a heavy-IRF flier and your partner isn't, then your requirements for upgrading the avionics will differ. If you fly for your business and take passengers, the interior standard you have may well exceed the pleasure-pilot.

Lastly, there needs to be a contract outlining the sharing of the costs and the responsibilities of each owner, and perhaps most important: a way to end the shared ownership. Will you split the fixed costs like hangar and insurance along ownership share? Will you set up a reserve account to pay in advance for the maintenance? What about unscheduled maintenance, how will you split the costs? The engine may cost $38,000 for an overhaul, or cost well over that if you want to do an exchange. How soon do you want that engine back? What do you do if one owner wants out (or cannot afford to stay in)? What if you ant to take on an additional partner? This should be in writing to keep the relationship as amicable as possible.

Before entering into a shared ownership, sit down and really look at the costs. The hourly rental at the local FBO may seem high until you figure out the cost of the initial investment and fixed costs. Sharing the ownership of an aircraft can lower to cost to access ownership, but everyone involved needs to work together to maximize the utility of the aircraft.

Cessna Updates on Programs in the Works

Today at Oshkosh, Cessna held a press conference to announce the progress on some of their programs that are underway.  Here are a few highlights:

* Grand Caravan EX has been delivering, 16 orders going into Africa alone, without a demonstrator present.  Huge in Russia as well, great commuter there.

* Cessna TTX has just been certified, starting on deliveries now.

* Turbo Skyline JTA, JET A fueled, currently in the certification process, expected in 3rd quarter.

* Turbo Stationair NightSky edition, new black paint that is reflective on the body and propellor, similar to white paint, defers heat and allows painting flexibility, offered for limited time.

* Cessna is now partnering with Kansas State University; any new pilots trained at Cessna pilot centers can now get college credit towards their degree, beginning in the fall of 2014. 

* Discover Flying Challenge, putting interns into the field in new aircraft to promote general aviation, now partnering with five charitable organizations.  The winner this year, based on his social media work and more, is Brian Todd.  

* Cessna's 9th year as presenting sponsoring the Young Eagles program.  Brian Olena, Young Eagle's leader, was presented a check for $100,000 for the Thursday Young Eagle's gathering.

* Jamie McMurray, the driver of the #1 Cessna stock car, was present as well to discuss the importance of general aviation for him and his racing team.  His aircraft of choice has been a Citation X.  They have also partnered to give the winning bidder at the Young Eagle auction an experience at the track in the pits and meeting drivers and more.

What Are An Airman's Options After The FAA Denies A Medical Application Based Upon A Disqualifying Condition?

When the FAA denies an airman's application for a medical certificate based upon an admitted condition that is disqualifying under 14 C.F.R. Part 67 (e.g. heart disease, epilepsy, bipolar disorder, diabetes requiring insulin, etc.), an appeal will, in almost all cases, be unsuccessful. In that situation, the airman has the burden of proving that the airman is qualified to hold a medical certificate. That's a tough thing to accomplish if the airman has already admitted that he or she has a condition that is specifically identified as disqualifying under the regulations.

If an airman is denied based upon a disqualifying condition, but the airman believes he or she is otherwise qualified, the airman should request that the FAA grant a special issuance medical certificate pursuant to 14 C.F.R. §§ 67.115, 67.215 or 67.315 (depending upon the class of medical for which the airman is applying). A special issuance is a medical certificate that has limitations and/or conditions with which the airman must comply in order for the certificate to be valid. The conditions/limitations will often include regular testing or evaluation, test results within acceptable ranges, no changes in medication etc.

If the FAA refuses to grant an airman's request for a special issuance, the airman may appeal that denial to the NTSB. However, since the Board defers to the FAA's discretion in denying a special issuance, the only way to be successful is to show that the FAA's denial is arbitrary or capricious. For example, if a denied airman can prove that the FAA has granted a special issuance in circumstances that are very similar to or identical with those of the airman, then an ALJ may be convinced that the FAA's denial in the airman's case is arbitrary or capricious. As a practical matter, however, this can be a very difficult task.

If you have a medical condition that may disqualify you from obtaining a medical certificate, get help before you apply for your medical certificate. Talk to an aviation attorney or the medical certification professionals at AOPA or NBAA. By taking a pro-active approach and getting help, you will be able to "pick your battles" wisely to maximize your chances of successfully obtaining a medical certificate.

FBO of the Week – Orion Flight Services Inc. (OSH)

When your FBO is in Oshkosh, WI, chances are good that you will be extremely busy the last couple of weeks of July! And no doubt the folks at Orion Flight Services are among the busiest in preparing for the influx of pilots flying in for AirVenture.

The staff at Orion are aviation career professionals, so they’re always ready for help on your charter needs, aircraft consultation, and learning to fly. They have a page set up on their website to assist in pre-registration of fuel purchase & ramp space that you’ll want to check out. FBO hours of operation during Airventure 7 am - 8 pm Daily.

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