News - Page 3 Aviation Articles

Pilots Bill of Rights 2: Medical Exemptions, Due Process & NOTAMs

Photo © Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr

In a move that is being applauded by the general aviation community, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) last week introduced two new GA-friendly bills. The new laws– the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR-2) - could have a significant impact on general aviation operations if they move through congress.

Sen. Inhofe successfully led the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights through Congress in 2012. PBOR-2 expands upon the pilot protections offered by the initial PBOR.

"The first Pilot’s Bill of Rights was a victory for the aviation community and made possible by the support of pilots and industry leaders across the nation," Inhofe said. "Since being signed into law, more issues facing the general aviation (GA) community have surfaced. The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 addresses these concerns and builds on the success of my previous legislation."

Twelve sponsors, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), House General Aviation Caucus co-chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.), and a variety of industry stakeholders, such as AOPA, EAA, and GAMA, supported Sen. Inhofe’s Pilot Bill of Rights.

Mark Barker, President of AOPA, released this statement: "The introduction of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is great news for the general aviation community and we are grateful to Sen. Inhofe for putting forward this legislation that would do so much to help grow and support general aviation activity. Pilots have already waited too long for medical reform, so we’re particularly pleased to see it included in this important measure. We will actively work with Congress to build support for this legislation that is so vital to the future of GA and the 1.1 million jobs that depend on it."

The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act was first introduced in 2013. The 2015 version intends to expand the medical exemption requirement for pilots, and the PBOR-2 addresses the same medical exemption requirements, along with a handful of other issues.

According to Sen. Inhofe’s website, highlights of the new bill will include the following:

  • Medical Certificate Exemption:
    Allows more pilots to operate without obtaining an aviation medical certificate. Under the new law, private pilots would be able to fly VFR or IFR in aircraft under 6,000 pounds, below 14,000 feet MSL, and under 250 knots.
  • Due Process:
    PBOR-2 will maintain the rights set forth in the first PBOR from 2012, and will extend those rights to all FAA certificate holders instead of just pilots. This means that maintainers, dispatchers and other certificate holders will also be granted due process rights along with the right to appeal an FAA decision through a merit-based trial in Federal Court.
  • Violation Transparency:
    The new bill will require the FAA to notify pilots of any pending enforcement action, as well as provide specific documentation.
  • Flight Data Accessibility:
    Under the new bill, pilots will be able to access data from contractors, including flight service stations, contract controllers and controller training programs in order to defend themselves from enforcement action.
  • Protection for Volunteer Pilots:
    PBOR-2 will establish a Good Samaritan Law to protect volunteer pilots from liability.
  • Protection for individuals performing federal tasks:
    PBOR-2 will establish liability protections for individuals performing federal tasks, such as designated examiners, medical examiners and airworthiness inspectors.
  • NOTAMs:
    PBOR-2 will require the FAA to develop a better NOTAM (Notice to Airman) system, and maintains that the FAA will not be allowed to bring about enforcement action on pilots until they complete the NOTAM Improvement Program

The FAA has 180 days to weigh in on the regulations. If the organization doesn’t respond, the bills will automatically become laws.

Legendary Designer Burt Rutan Returns to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2015 for VariEze Anniversary

All Rutan designs and canard aircraft invited to Oshkosh for VariEze’s 40th

Photo courtesy Scaled Composites

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (February 19, 2015) — Burt Rutan, the visionary aircraft designer whose innovations made history and changed the aviation world, will be back at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2015 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of his iconic VariEze aircraft.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, the 63rd annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, will be held July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

Rutan’s designs have been groundbreaking for more than 40 years, beginning with the VariViggen in the early 1970s through the concepts that became the SpaceShipOne and SpaceShipTwo vehicles that are launching the era of space tourism. His use of canard wings and composite materials changed the look and efficiency of homebuilt aircraft, with more than 1,000 airplanes based on his designs now flying in the U.S. alone.

"There are few individuals in the history of aviation who can match Burt Rutan’s imagination and accomplishments," said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman of the board. "His presentations are eagerly anticipated whenever he is in Oshkosh. Although he officially ‘retired’ several years ago, his innovative mind continues to push forward with new concepts and ideas that he’ll share at EAA AirVenture in 2015."

Rutan is perhaps publicly known best for his SpaceShipOne design, which in 2004 won the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE as the first successful private spacecraft. He also designed the Voyager, which in 1986 became the first aircraft to fly around-the-world nonstop on a single tank of fuel. That accomplishment earned him, along with pilots Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, the Presidential Citizen’s Medal. Burt Rutan was also named to the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1995 and EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame in 1998.

His VariEze aircraft first flew in May 1975, with the prototype causing a sensation at that year’s EAA fly-in. That canard design evolved into other Rutan aircraft innovations, such as the Long-EZ, that are still being built today. Rutan’s multitude of interests has also led him into successfully exploring space flight and into electric flight.

In honor of the VariEze anniversary, EAA is inviting all Rutan and canard aircraft owners to come to Oshkosh and participate in the festivities. More details on specific dates and events will be released as they are finalized.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is "The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration" and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.eaa.org/airventure. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAA.

Aerospace Education Program moves to new headquarters at Bowman Field

Louisville, Kentucky - Air+Space Academy, America’s leading provider of aerospace educational programs for students in grades 9-12, is establishing the national headquarters for the program in the Hangar 7 complex at historic Bowman Field. The program was first established in 2010 by educator Dr. Tim Smith as the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education and based out of Frankfort. Over the next five years, the program grew and expanded to include more than thirty schools in Kentucky and Tennessee. As the program continued to grow, the need arose for a permanent headquarters to house the program staff, educational and training activities, and aircraft that have been donated to the program.

"We are thrilled with the Hangar 7 property and location," said Dr. Tim Smith, Executive Director of the program. The location is highly visible and accessible, there is room to grow, and right out our back door we have access to one of the premier general aviation facilities in America. We are excited to bring our program here and to bring new life, energy, and activity to Bowman Field and to the Louisville community. We owe a big thanks to LRAA for making this possible."

Hangar 7, which was originally housed an Army Reserve Aviation unit, has been empty for a number of years. The structure, which can be accessed from Cannons Lane, has a combination of outdoor, office, and hangar space. While facility is in need of a major renovation, the program is making minor improvements and will operate from the facility while contributions are raised to do a complete makeover and create a 21st century aerospace education facility. It is anticipated that this process will be complete in the next two years.

Originally a regional project, the Air+Space Academy is now offering it program to schools across the country. In a ceremony held February 10th, 2015 at Hangar 7, members of the AOPA executive team and the mayor’s staff will join the board, staff, teachers and students of the program to officially kick off and celebrate this nationwide initiative. The program is nationally recognized as one of the most effective tools for teaching skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math and producing career and college ready graduates.

Hangar 7 will serve students, teachers, administrators, and instructors from the program on a local, regional,and national level. Participants from all around the country will come to Louisville and Bowman Field to participate in training programs, competitions, aircraft maintenance and restoration, simulator flights, satellites launches, flight training, summer camps, as well as day to day after school programs for students in the local area.

National Air+Space Education Institute is a 501(c) 3 non-profit educational organization based in Louisville, Kentucky and is the nation’s leading provider of aerospace education programs for students grades 9-12 that develop and promote study and proficiency in the STEM subjects, produces college and career ready graduates, and is training the next generation of aerospace professionals. Their new website is in development at www.airandspace-ed.org.

Editor's Note: Welcome to the neighborhood!

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 to Host Word-Record Skydiving Attempts During Afternoon Air Shows

Skydiving Hall of Fame to organize international teams of expert jumpers

Skydiver courtesy cristinasz @ Morguefile

Photo courtesy cristinasz@Morguefile

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin - A world-record skydive attempt will be part of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, with an international team of top skydivers aiming to make history at The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 is July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The Skydiving Hall of Fame based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, will organize the 108-person jump team for the record attempts sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), which is the official organization that maintains the world’s aviation-related records. The teams will practice and prepare with record attempts at Skydive Chicago in Ottawa, Illinois, before the scheduled record attempts on July 22 and 24 at Oshkosh (weather and conditions permitting).

"Skydivers have been part of the EAA AirVenture air show for decades, but the opportunity to have a world-record attempt at Oshkosh is something unprecedented here, and very exciting," said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, who leads the AirVenture event organizing team. "The Skydiving Hall of Fame is bringing the best of the best in their community to Oshkosh, matching the standard of performers that have made the AirVenture air show a true all-star event."

The Skydiving Hall of Fame team, known as the Eagles, will jump from as high as 20,000 feet from its Short SC.7 Skyvan and deHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otters to begin their record attempts. Any record would then be confirmed by FAI and its U.S. representative, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA).

"These seasoned skydivers, who are among the best in the world, face enormous challenges," said James F. (Curt) Curtis, president and CEO of the Skydiving Museum & Skydiving Hall of Fame. "To achieve an FAI world record while performing a high-profile professional exhibition requires extraordinary skill, talent and focus. But the opportunity to attempt this at Oshkosh during AirVenture week is a unique moment for our community."

About the Skydiving Museum & Skydiving Hall of Fame

The purpose of the Skydiving Museum is to recognize and promote the sport of skydiving through public education and awareness; recognize the contribution to skydiving by its participants, suppliers and supporters; capture forever the history of the sport via its events, equipment and personalities; and enhance aviation safety. Established by the Museum in 2010, the Skydiving Hall of Fame recognizes and honors those who, through leadership, innovations and/or outstanding achievements have defined, promoted, inspired and advanced skydiving at the highest and sustained levels in the past present, and for future generations of skydivers. More information on the museum and its programs is available at skydivingmuseum.org.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is "The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration" and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

Honda Flies High

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!

End of content

No more pages to load