All posts tagged 'general aviation' - Page 6

New FAA Hangar Policy Draft: Much Confusion in GA Community

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.

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

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!

The Future of Aviation in the U.S.

By: Brent Owens
Owner/Publisher: iflyblog.com

future of aviationWhen the group was deciding on a theme for this month’s Blogging in Formation series (#blogformation), we agreed to anchor it around July 4th (U.S. Independence Day). We settled on The Future of Aviation in the U.S., but we encouraged each other to explore the edges, good or bad, as we saw fit.

We Are The Future of Aviation In The United States

 
Aviation in the U.S. is at an interesting crossroads. We have enjoyed large populations of pilots and a commensurate number of airplanes through the bulk of the last century. Now with Baby Boomers aging and economies melting, the population of aviators has reached historically low levels. Couple that with the cost to fly at unprecedentedly high levels, things aren’t looking good. Also, we have more regulation, more oversight, more scrutiny, and our safety record, although good, is not good enough in the eyes of regulators. Combine all this with our modern distractions and it is very tough to recruit young men and women into our ranks, especially as a career. Flying for fun, or for a living, in the U.S. has proved to be a very difficult proposition in recent decades.

So with all this as the backdrop you would think that aviation here has gone the way of CB radios or Disco, but you’d be wrong. The group that has remained in this new era is more vibrate, engaged, and resourceful than ever. If you have been to Oshkosh, you know what I mean. It is truly amazing to be in the presence of such an awesome group of dedicated people.

The passion from those of us left is infectious. We are constantly looking for alternative ways to continue to do what we love and spread the gospel of flying. The organizations that represent us, are as strong as ever and are working hard to make sure we don’t give up any more of our freedoms to bureaucracy and security theatre.

Since we are in the eve of Independence Day in the United States, it is more than appropriate to celebrate our successes and put behind us our losses. Looking forward is the only way to get where we want to be in the future. It is incumbent on us to be leaders in our small family and do our part to light the way for future generations.

In a related article I wrote about how the EAA is working on a program to bridge the gap between Young Eagles prospects and future pilots (to be announced at Oshkosh 2013). This endeavor, will tap into a great deal of grassroots energy and it is bound to succeed. With it, we may come away with our own version of a “pilot boom” that hasn’t been seen since the Baby Boomers took up wings.

New pilot starts is really an important concept, because this is what will fuel the industry into the future. If we don’t have this, our ranks will keep dwindling away and soon we will have no voice to counter opposition and no economy of scale. If that occurs it’s only a matter of time before flying will be completely inaccessible to the average American. Several organizations have recognized this decades ago and started working on plans to stave off the bleeding, but it hasn’t been enough. Our current economic climate hasn’t helped either.

My plan is to do my part to support all these new (and old) efforts, because I know the greater good is the end goal. That also means; giving rides to people who are interested in flying; getting involved in local and national organizations that support us; writing my politician when our freedoms are under attack; volunteering at events; flying for charity, if possible; speaking at functions about aviation; (add your ideas here). See related article here.

We all have a choice to make, fly and be free or accept a fate of mediocrity. WE are the future of aviation in the United States and with that comes an awesome responsibility. What are your intentions?

Boeing 787 Engine Failure Sparks Fire at Charleston Airport

Article by: Gregory Polek
Brought to you by: AINONLINE

Another Boeing 787 engine problem—this time involving a General Electric GEnx turbofan in an airplane destined for Air India—sparked a grass fire at Charleston International Airport during a pre-flight test on Saturday, forcing the airport to close its main runway for more than an hour. The contained engine failure has prompted an investigation by the NTSB, Boeing and GE, maker of the engine now in service with Japan Airlines on four 787s.

Evidence so far points to a failure in the “back end” of the engine, specifically in the area of the low-pressure turbine. “GE Aviation continues to work with the NTSB and Boeing to determine the cause of Saturday’s incident during a ground-test run in Charleston on a newly built 787,” said the engine company in a statement sent to AIN. “GE is working aggressively to move the engine involved in the incident to a GE facility for an investigative tear-down.”

The incident involved the second of three 787s that have rolled off Boeing’s new assembly line in Charleston, South Carolina. It came roughly a week after Japan’s All Nippon Airways had to ground its five Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787s following the manufacturer’s discovery of corrosion in a crown gear within an external gearbox during product development testing.

ANA has since returned four of its five airplanes to service, and plans to redeploy the fifth early this week.

Never Run It Dry

Keeping track of the time/speed/distance equation is only part of fuel management
By Bill Cox
www.planeandpilotmag.com



It was the Christmas holiday, and I was on my way back from the Bahamas to Venice, Fla. Joe Ponte of Piper had graciously loaned me a Cherokee Six 300 in conjunction with a pilot report, and I had elected to take my mom and stepfather on a quick, four-day trek to Freeport and Nassau.

On the trip back, we made a stop in Fort Lauderdale to clear customs, turn in our survival gear and close our international flight plan, then relaunched for the short hop diagonally across the state to Venice on the Gulf Coast.
My parents were luxuriating in the back of the big Six as we cruised 6,500 feet above the swamp when the engine suddenly quit cold.

The immediate silence got everyone's attention, especially mine. I was the number-one son, and mom trusted me implicitly in any airplane. I didn't want to dispel that trust by doing something stupid, though it seemed I already had.

Of course, I had let one of the Cherokee Six's four tanks run dry, and the engine had shut down in a heartbeat, without a telltale tick of the fuel flow or any other forewarning. As calmly as I could, I turned on the fuel pump, then, feigning a casual motion, reached down and switched to a tank with some fuel in it. I turned to Mom and Bob in the back seat, summoned what I hoped would be a reassuring smile and said, "Sorry about that. It's no big problem. I just ran a tank dry. The engine will pick up in a few seconds."

I turned back forward, expecting power to return at any moment. I waited and waited. Nothing happened. We were gliding down toward Lake Okeechobee, and I was beginning to wonder if we were about to discover firsthand that the lake was only five feet deep as I had read.

Finally, after perhaps 20 seconds that seemed more like 20 minutes, I heard some expectant coughs from the Lycoming before it came slowly back online. We continued to Venice, and Mom's only comment after we landed was, "Does that happen often?"

Fortunately, if you're smart enough to plan ahead, it need never happen even once. I obviously wasn't and didn't, so it did

Fuel Management
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation reports that fuel exhaustion or mismanagement are all-too-common causes of accidents, generally fourth behind landing accidents, takeoff incidents and maneuvering flight at low altitude. Fuel exhaustion is exactly what it sounds like—running the tanks dry. Fuel mismanagement relates to landing with fuel still on board but inaccessible because of a system problem, because the pilot didn't know he had it available or simply forgot to change tanks.

Fuel management isn't really that tough these days, considering that totalizers keep almost perfect track of fuel burned and remaining. Even modern aircraft fuel gauges are more reliable than they used to be. In fact, managing fuel use was never that difficult to begin with, provided you knew how much you had on board, how much you were burning and when you departed. Assuming there were no leaks, the answer was a simple problem in elementary math. The difficulties arise when you don't know all three of the items above. Trouble is, many pilots are convinced they do know how much fuel is in the tanks when, in fact, they have only a vague idea.

Let's consider fuel capacity. According to the book, I can carry 64 gallons in my Mooney…or can I? I bought my airplane in 1987 and knew it had never been wrecked, so it was reasonable to assume the tanks were not deformed and still in the original shape. Fortunately, I had my Mooney's tanks resealed a few years ago, so I had the perfect opportunity to determine true capacity. Every ounce of fuel had to be drained in order to reseal the tanks, and that meant I was starting from true empty.

Accordingly, I pushed the airplane out to a level ramp, with no apparent list left or right. It was mid-morning, and the temperature was about 60 degrees F, pretty close to standard, so fuel density wasn't a concern. (Some long-distance flyers, in search of maximum range, have their fuel supercooled and pumped aboard at the last possible minute, then climb quickly to high altitude and burn the top off each tank before the avgas can expand and overflow.)

When the fuel truck arrived, I asked the fueler to pump the 100LL slowly so there would be less chance of an air bubble. While he pumped, I shook the wing at the tip to help any air escape. Then, I watched carefully to make certain the level came to the exact bottom of the filler neck.

When the fueler was done, the meter suggested I had taken aboard 33.1 gallons in the left tank and 33.4 gallons in the right, a total of 66.5 gallons, 2.5 more than maximum. According to Mooney, that's all usable, so I could assume that figure for flight planning. I don't. I use the standard 64-gallon capacity instead.

A deformed tank can be more common than you might imagine, and any deformation will almost always rob you of fuel capacity. After a friend with a Comanche 260 died of a heart attack many years ago, his widow asked me to maintain his airplane for her, taking it out for a walk every two months or so. She swore she'd never sell it, as it had been her late husband's beloved toy. Finally, reality intervened, and she asked me to sell it for her.

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