Maintenance - Page 10 Aviation Articles

May An Inspector Return An Aircraft To Service As Airworthy If The Aircraft's Registration Has Expired?

According to the FAA, the answer is "yes." This question was discussed and answered in a recent  Legal Interpretation issued by the FAA's Office of the Chief Counsel. The issue arose after the FAA amended 14 C.F.R. § 47.40 to mandate that failure to renew an aircraft's U.S. registration at the end of the three-year registration period results in the expiration of the certificate. Apparently at least one Flight Standards District Office ("FSDO"), and other individuals, had taken the position that an aircraft could not be returned to service as airworthy after an inspection if the aircraft's U.S. registration had expired.

The Interpretation initially observed that an aircraft's airworthiness certificate is not "effective" if the aircraft's U.S. registration is expired. It also noted that 14 C.F.R. Part 43, which contains the FAA's general maintenance regulations, applies to a U.S. registered aircraft whether or not it has a current registration certificate and "[n]othing in the regulation indicates that a failure by the owner to renew the registration is a type of discrepancy contemplated by part 43."

The Interpretation concluded that "no current FAA regulation proscribes an approval for return to service of a U.S.-registered aircraft following an inspection required by parts 91, 125, or 135 if the aircraft's registration certificate is not current." As a result, an aircraft may be approved for return to service as airworthy as long as the aircraft

  1. has an airworthiness certificate (regardless of whether or not it is effective);

  2. conforms to its type certificate (including any applicable supplemental type certificates (STC) and is in compliance with all applicable airworthiness directives (AD)); and

  3. is in condition for safe operation.

What can we learn from this situation, beyond the obvious interpretation of the regulations? FSDOs don't always interpret or apply the FARs correctly. As a result, if you disagree with a FSDO's interpretation and application of the FARs, you should definitely pursue relief up the FAA food-chain to the regional or national level. Although you still may not get the relief you would like, at least you should be able to get the correct answer.

Learjet 85 Jet Gets its Wings

 

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Nov. 19, 2012) - Bombardier Aerospace announced today that the first wing shipment for its Learjet 85 jet has arrived at the Wichita assembly line and is now in the process of being readied for mating to the fuselage of Flight Test Vehicle one (FTV1).

Alongside the arrival of the first complete Learjet 85 aircraft wing, the fuselage for FTV2 has successfully completed its integrity inspection. Installation of the nose, bulkheads, floor, windshield and door surrounds are scheduled to begin in the coming days. Once complete the main fuselage will be shipped with the aft fuselage to the final assembly line.

Wings for the complete aircraft static test article are expected to arrive from Queretaro by the end of November as preparations for static ground testing continues. Elsewhere, the program is soaring along as all system supplier safety of flight test rigs been commissioned.

"Seeing the wings arrive for our first Learjet 85 test aircraft is a wonderful moment. A moment that could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of every single person involved in this project," said Ralph Acs, Vice President and General Manager, Learjet. "This development program is gaining ever more momentum as we tirelessly work towards first flight and the first customer delivery."

Learjet 85 aircraft: The Learjet 85 aircraft lives up to its nomenclature with its sleek Learjet lines, legendary performance, and blends the newest technology to deliver an aircraft that will redefine the midsize segment with the largest, fastest and longest range Learjet aircraft to date. With its stand up cabin and superior design this jet can seamlessly fly 3,000 nm (5,556 km) and speeds up to M0.82 (470kts 871km/h). It can link Montreal with Caracas, and fly Montreal to Los Angeles(i). And with its Bombardier Vision Flight Deck offers pilots the most sophisticated cockpit in its class.

Last Flying B-29 Grounded, Faces Costly Repair

Keep FIFI Flying Campaign Launched To Get B-29 Back in the Air

Midland/Odessa, Texas (November 14, 2012) - During the last airshow flight of the season, the world's only flying B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, experienced an engine problem. The crew returned the airplane safely to the ground, but it was soon determined that FIFI's number two engine would need major repairs. In response, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) launched a major fund raising campaign to raise money for one of the world's most famous World War II bombers.

At nearly $10,000 and 100 volunteer hours per hour of flight, keeping FIFI in the air is no easy task. And the cost for repairs to the number two engine and the purchase of a spare will top $250,000. The Keep FIFI Flying campaign's goal is to raise those funds, ensuring continuous future operation and flight.

"The number of World War II veterans is dwindling every day," said Neils Agather, Commander of the B-29 Squadron of the CAF that operates the aircraft. "Our mission is to preserve the living legacy of the Greatest Generation and we intend to do all we can to preserve their story of sacrifice and honor."

FIFI is a traveling piece of military history. The airplane flies to air shows and tour stops all over the country demonstrating to young and old the sights, smells and sounds of history. These personal experiences perpetuate the spirit in which these aircraft were flown in defense of our nation - honoring the courage, sacrifice and legacy of the greatest generation.

"But the continued flight of FIFI is at risk," Agather continued. "We need your help, each one doing a little bit, to continue to spread the message."

For more information about the campaign, visit www.KeepFifiFlying.com.

In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to "Keep 'Em Flying!" Now, 55 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, operating 156 vintage aircraft in Honor of American Military Aviation. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 9,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to 73 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org or call (432) 563-1000.

Boeing Starts Building First 777 at New Rate

Article by: Gregory Polek
Brought to you by: AINONLINE

Boeing on Tuesday began building the first 777 at the highest rate ever for any of its twin-aisle models, the company said today. The rate of 8.3 airplanes per month amounts to a nearly 20-percent increase over the previous rate of seven per month.

Assembly mechanic Ryan Hoover monitors 777 drilling progress of the Flex Track on his laptop computer. Flex Track fuselage drilling equipment consists of numerically controlled drill machines riding on flexible tracks that attach to the exterior of the fuselage skin with vacuum cups. (Photo: Boeing)

Workers loaded into position the first part—the lower lobe of the 777’s aft fuselage—for assembly under the new rate in its factory in Everett, Washington.

“The preparation the team has done for this historic rate increase has been comprehensive from floor to ceiling,” said Scott Fancher, 777 vice president and general manager. “We’ve hired and trained hundreds of additional employees and the efforts of the team to get us to this point have been simply outstanding,” he said.

Boeing has applied new technologies to achieve the highest production rate the Everett plant has seen. Flex-track drilling machines in the 777 body and wings area along with automated spray-painting equipment have increased productivity and improved quality and safety, according to the company.

Boeing plans to deliver the airplane, a 777 Freighter, to Korean Air in February. Since the program’s inception, 62 customers from around the world have ordered 1,380 of the airplanes, 1,049 of which have entered service.

Pietenpol (Home-Building) Instructions: Step One - You Gotta’ Have Faith

 

         On a chilly Friday in October, I met a man with ambitions unlike anyone I have ever met before. Building an aircraft completely by hand from the ground up might not seem so astonishing at first; so marinate on that for just a minute. For 10 years, Jeffrey Faith has owned and traveled by way of a 1947 Cessna 120. This aircraft is fast enough for long distance travel says Mr. Faith, and with clear certainty he states that it is absolutely a blast to fly, nonetheless it bores him. So, in an eager search to rekindle his passion for flight, Jeffrey pursues a mission to once again find the adrenalin in which he seeks.

***

                   In 1928 Bernard H. Pietenpol designed a homebuilt version of the parasol fixed wing aircraft. The very first prototype became known as the Air Camper and it has proceeded to become an absolute sensation; one of the very first successful homebuilt airplanes ever created. By 1932 Bernard’s success was published in Flying and Gliding magazine, incorporating a step by step manual and reprints provided by the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) on how to build your own Pietenpol aircraft at home. In the 1920’s, although production throughout the United States was moving quite rapidly, we did not yet have means to make an aircraft from ideal or modern materials that might be seen in production today. The Air Camper was designed with an all wood airframe and it was typically composed of Sitka Spruce with either Birch or Mahogany plywood; this was developed to be considered a “value” aircraft (if you will). One of Bernard H. Pietenpol’s original goals with this airplane was to create a masterpiece that was not only affordable but also easy to construct and original. The Pietenpol Air Camper is not available in a kit; therefore each piece of plywood must be made by hand. As one might imagine, this is certainly no walk in the park. In order to produce an aircraft such as this, basic woodworking skills, hand tools and patience are nothing less than necessary.

         Originally the Pietenpol Air Camper was designed to be powered by a Ford Model-A automobile engine; however, since 1929 several hundred have been built, and various engines have been procured and used. Due to the design of the aircraft, the Pietenpol Air Camper is typically considered to be “low and slow” with an average cruise speed of 65 mph.

***

              In 2010 private pilot Jeffery Faith keeps himself busy and keeps his passion alive by building and producing handmade transportation. This includes a refurbished and modernized 1930’s model truck that he has since sold. This also includes an open-cockpit biplane known as a Ragwing Special. In fact, it was in this very biplane that Mr. Faith first soloed and acquired his license to pilot. He has since sold this masterpiece as well and is in hot pursuit for his next big project. As the pieces of Jeffrey’s puzzle were beginning to fall together he found a copy of the 1932 Flying and Glider Manual Magazine providing the EAA reprints for the Pietenpol Air Camper. Coincidentally, his neighbor had a spare Ford model-A engine; all Jeffrey could do at this point was to give the Pietenpol Air Camper a go. He missed his open-cockpit biplane, so let the games begin!

         On average, the Pietenpol Air Camper generally tends to take most home builders anywhere from five to ten years to complete. This is primarily due to the time intensive labor that goes hand in hand with this aircraft being entirely handmade. Jeffrey Faith glued the very first ribs of his Pietenpol together on Nov 1 2010 and is now officially in the home stretch of completion; finishing in an astonishing two years. Along with completing his aircraft in such a timely manner, he also did his best to keep his purchases local. Mr. Faith built this aircraft directly out of the magazine and he primarily used the AC4313 FAA handbook as his reference. This was his guide for finding and grading different characteristics of wood and it was because of this book that was able to find wood strong enough for his future fuselage. Generally speaking, the ideal wood of choice would be spruce wood that comes out of Alaska, however, since Mr. Faith chose to go local he was opted out of choosing this particular wood and had to research in order to find a commendable substitute.  What he found was Light Popler Douglas Fir and White Fir. Once he had acquired the necessary quantity of wood he used a 100 year old band saw and hand tools to hand carve the propeller.
          As of October 22, 2012 Jeffrey Faith has completed his aircraft almost entirely. Within the month he plans to receive an FAA regulated inspection as well as airworthiness certificate. Once these mandated regulations have been completed Mr. Faith’s Pietenpol will be complete and ready for takeoff. - Yes he plans to show off his masterpiece! Every year, the weekend before Oshkosh there is an annual Pietenpol fly located in Brodhead WI. This fly in usually incorporates anywhere from fifteen to twenty Pietenpol airplanes along with multiple airplane people who are interested in and fly the Pietenpol aircraft. This just one of Jeffrey’s many plans for the future of his most recent masterpiece.

          For anyone who may be interested in building an aircraft of their own, don’t worry, I’ve done the question asking for you. When asked what he might say to fellow plane builders, Mr. Faith states that “anyone can build an airplane. The thing to remember is, work on it every day. Never look at the big picture it will only discourage you; look at the little pictures all and along the way and one you will look up and see your finished product.” Most importantly, Mr. Faith advises the builder to enjoy every minute of it and if you’re anything like Mr. Faith, you might just “like the building part more than the flying part!”

         “I call it Piet (Pete)” says Mr. Faith. There you have it fellow pilots, this is the trick! When the Cessna 120 gets boring, build a Pietenpol Air Camper! The best part is, according to Mr. Faith, “contrary to popular belief, there is no black magic involved in the building of the Pietenpol!” So here it is, this is the spark that Mr. Jeffrey Faith has been seeking all along; the same spark that he seeks to revive his passionate flame for flight.

To see how very personalized the Pietenpol Air Camper can be visit: Westcoastpiet.com. Mr. Faith says that the coolest part about this aircraft is the originality and the personalization involved. By visiting this website you will get the opportunity to see previously developed Pietenpol aircrafts and view their cosmetic differences such as paint, engines, landing gear, etc.

Question to my readers - Rumor has it that the Pietenpol Air Camper handles similarly to a Piper Cub. If you have ever flown in one of these, please let us know! We would love to hear your input!

End of content

No more pages to load