Wildlife Hazards and Aviation Safety

June 19, 2012 by  
Filed under News

With recent FAA data revealing that aircraft bird strikes in the United States continue to pose a significant threat to both civil and military aviation, the services of the Bird Strike Committee USA are more necessary than ever before. Formed in 1991, the Bird Strike Committee USA is a volunteer organization with members from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), US Department of Defense, and US Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from the aviation industry, airlines and airports. Among the organization’s goals is to facilitate the collection and analysis of accurate data regarding wildlife strikes; facilitate the exchange of information between the various aviation industry sectors; promote the ongoing development of new technologies for dealing with wildlife hazards; advocate high standards of conduct and professionalism in wildlife management programs, including the appropriate training for bird control personnel; and liaise with similar organizations based in other countries.

Together with Bird Strike Committee Canada, the Bird Strike Committee USA meets once a year to discuss matters pertaining to their stated goals. Taking place over a period of three-and-a-half days, the conference program includes field training and classroom sessions covering wildlife control at airports in both civil and military aviation. Also on the agenda is the presentation of technical papers, with exhibits and demonstrations by suppliers of wildlife control equipment, and a field trip at the host airport to observe firsthand the current management programs and the specific habitat issues faced by authorities responsible for aviation safety. The last meeting of the Bird Strike Committees was held in September 2011 in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, and the 2012 event is scheduled to take place in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, on 13-16 August.

Among the topics covered at the annual meeting are wildlife strike reporting; bird control techniques; new technologies for reducing wildlife hazards; wildlife management training at airports; environmental issues; aircraft engine performance and standard specifically related to wildlife hazards; migratory patterns of birds; and remote sensing to detect, and predict, bird movements and numbers. Attendance at the annual meetings is open to anyone interested in environmental management at airports and the reduction of wildlife hazards in aviation.

Bearing in mind that reporting wildlife strikes in civil aviation is not compulsory, and many incidents likely go unreported, statistics reveal that about 10,000 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported in 2011 for civil aviation in the USA, and about 4,500 were reported by the USAF. Thanks to quick-thinking pilots and sound equipment, hundreds of potential disasters have been averted -the historic landing of Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in January 2009 being an example that readily comes to mind. Nonetheless, more than 221 people have been killed as a direct result of bird strikes worldwide since 1988, highlighting the need to continue to seek solutions to the ongoing problem of bird air strikes.

Candy Canes and Airplanes

November 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Events

This fantastic fly-in event will see aviation enthusiasts celebrating Christmas amidst aircraft at Salina Airport. Civilian and military aircraft will be on display. Children can welcome Santa as he arrives in the “Santa One” which will be piloted by Capt. Elvin T. Elf. Those attending the event can also bring along items for the Toys for Tots collection. There will be plenty of entertainment, prizes and fun!

Date: 3 December 2011
Time: 2:00 pm till late
Venue: Hangar 600 at Salina Airport
State: Kansas
Country United States of America

Take to the Skies in an Ultralight

August 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Ultralight or microlight aviation generally refers to an aircraft that seats either one or two people and became very popular during the 1970s through to the 1980s, as it was more affordable than other aircraft. Due to the development in popularity of this type of aircraft, each country set up their own rules and regulations in regard to ultralight aviation, taking into account speed and weight, with allowances being made for amphibian and seaplanes. Some countries also make allowances for the installation of ballistic parachutes, meaning that there are no internationally recognized regulations, as each country has their own guidelines.

In affluent countries such as the United States and Canada, a large number of their civil aircraft consist of ultralight planes. The strictest regulations in regard to ultralight or microlight aircraft are in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy. In the United Kingdom, New Zealand and India, the usual term is ultralight, while other countries will refer to these aircraft as microlights if they are three axis aircraft and depending on their weight. Varying from country to country, ultralights are viewed under the general aircraft specifications, requiring that pilots and aircraft have the necessary certifications.

Generally microlight and ultralight aircraft are used for sport and leisure, but pilots need to ensure that they are aware of the rules and regulation of their country before they lift off. For instance, under the Federal Avaition Regulation, an ultralight aircraft has a maximum speed of fifty-five knots, has a five gallon fuel capacity, is a one-seater aircraft, and has a maximum powered weight of two hundred and fifty-four pounds. In Australia, ultralights fall under their Recreational Aviation regulations and allows for two seats with a maximum of five hundred and forty-four kilograms as take-off weight. It is therefore vital for pilots to ensure they know the regulations of their local aviation authority.

Ultralights are also divided into various categories, such as weight-shift control trike, powered parachutes, powered paragliding, powered hangglider, autogyro, and electric powered ultralights. Due to the high number of ultralight accidents that were recorded, it is standard regulation in most countries that pilots must have a certification or license to pilot an ultralight. There are also numerous academies that offer ultralight pilot training and certification to ensure the safety of pilots and their passengers.

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale

July 26, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

Founded in the year 1905, the head office of Federation Aeronautique Internationale, a governing body in the world of aviation, is located in Switzerland. It keeps record of achievements within the aviation industry, and it does not limit itself to airplanes, but records aeronautics, astronautics and even air sports that include everything from air balloons and unmanned aviation vehicles to spacecrafts. The Federation Aeronautique Internationale therefore regulates the sport of flying as set out by the Olympic Congress, and rewards the achievements in various disciplines.

Some of the activities that are governed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale include aeromodelling, aerobatics, ballooning, rotocraft, gliding, hang gliding, general aviation, parachuting and microlighting. The Yuri A. Gargarin Gold Medal was created in 1968 by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, and has been awarded to aircraft in various classes. The classes are as follows: Class A – Free Balloons, Class B – Airships, Class C – Aeroplanes, Class CS – Solar Powered Aeroplanes, Class D Gliders & Motorgliders, Class E – Rotorcraft and Class F – Model Aircraft. Class F has five subdivisions that consist of Class F1 – Free Flight, Class F2 – Control Line, Class F3 – Radio Control and Class F5 – Electronically Powered Model Aircraft. The remaining classes include Class G – Parachuting, Class H – Vertical Take-Off and Landing Aeroplanes, Class I – Manpowered Aircraft, Class K – Spacecraft, Class M – Tilt-Wing / Tilt Engine Aircraft, Class N – Short Take Off and Landing Aeroplanes, Class O – Hang Gliding & Paragliding, Class P – Aerospacecraft, Class R – Microlights and Paramotors, Class S – Space Models and Class U – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.

Most of the record breaking events that have been recorded by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale have been made by military aircraft, and all records have to exceed standing results by a predetermined percentage. Military aircraft seem to perform well when looking at height, speed, payload and distance, while civilian aircraft take over other divisions. Even though some records are not officially recognized by the organization, they are recorded by their individual countries. To have an achievement recorded by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, records have to meet strict standards set by the federation, and thus all records on their list are of world class standards.

Southend Air Festival 2010

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

Entrance to the Southend Air Festival is free of charge, and it one of the largest air shows of its kind in Europe. Celebrating its 25th year, the Southend Air Festival will offer visitors the opportunity to see more than forty aircraft demonstrating their capabilities, including military and civilian aircraft. Between thrilling aerial demonstrations, visitors will be able to enjoy rides, a variety of entertainment, water walkers, simulators, bungee trampolines and exhibitors displaying everything from framed aircraft prints to EA Games.

To find out more about the show and accommodation options in town, to attend the entire air show, visit http://www.visitsouthend.co.uk/whats-on/festival-of-the-air.aspx.

Date: 30 – 31 May 2010
Venue: Thames Estuary
City: Southend-on-Sea
Country: United Kingdom

Air Lauderdale Beach Fest 2010

February 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Events

Millions of spectators will be crowding the Fort Lauderdale Beach on the 24th and 25th of April 2010, not only to soak up the pleasant weather, but to be witness to breathtaking military and civilian aerial performances. Another attraction of this event is the Green Village, where exhibitors promote and educate the public on the latest sustainable technology products. The Air Lauderdale Beach Fest is the perfect event to attend as it combines a thrilling air show, with the magnificence of the beach.

The official Air Lauderdale website provides additional information in regard to sponsors and exhibitors, at http://www.airlauderdale.com/FLASH/Air_LDD_Flash.html.

Date: 24 – 25 April 2010
Venue: Fort Lauderdale Beach
City: Fort Lauderdale
Country: United States of America

Scott AFB Air Show 2009

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Events

Advertised as “Airpower Over the Midwest”, the Scott Air Force Base Air Show promises a program loaded with fun and excitement, with something for each member of the family. Aerobatic and fly-by events include breathtaking displays of skill by the Canadian Snowbirds and the Golden Knights, as well as demonstrations by an F-16, F-15, F/A-18, C-17 and an F-4 Phantom II Heritage Flight. Static displays include a variety of military and civilian aircraft, with Warbird aircraft on display including the B-25J Mitchell, TBM Avenger and C-141C Starlifter. Make a note on your calendar to attend this fun-filled family event.

Date: 19-20 September 2009
Venue: Scott AFB
City: Shiloh, Illinois
Country: United States

Selfridge Air Show 2009

July 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Events

Aviation enthusiasts will not want to miss the Selfridge Air Show on 22 and 23 August 2009. Visitors can expect to see a huge line-up of both static and aerial displays of military and civilian aircraft. Military displays include the legendary USAF Thunderbirds, USAF KC-135 Stratotanker, USAF A-10 Thunderbolt II, US Army CH-47 Chinook, USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon, USAF KC-10A Extender and the AFA Wings of Blue Prachute Team. Historic warbirds include an MIG-17 Fresco, Yankee Air Force B-25 Mitchell, Yankee Air Force C-47 Skytrain, T-6 Texan, T-2C Buckeye, F-86 Sabre and L-39 Albatros. Civilian participants include the Starfighters and Brett Hunter Pitts Freak. The show will start off with a special Launch Party on Friday 21 August – booking essential. Kid activities include a range of inflatable jumping castles and slides. Entrance and parking are free.

Date: 22-23 August 2009
Venue: Selfridge air National Guard Base
City: Harrison Township, Michigan
Country: United States

Extra 300

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

The Extra “Flugzeugbau” 300 is considered by many aviation experts to be the premiere airplane for serious pilots who compete in unlimited category aerobatic competitions. Designed and engineered by aerobatic pilot Walter Extra, the Extra 300 and its variations have helped several pilots win in competitions all over the world.

During the 1988 World Aerobatic Championship, three pilots flew the Extra 300 tail dragger prototype prior to it entering full production. Four years later, Extra introduced the Extra 300S, a single seat version based on the 300 aircraft, but with a shorter wingspan, larger ailerons, and a steel tube fuselage. The wings, control surfaces, and tail are made of carbon fiber which is stronger, but lighter, than metal.

Extra began offering a two-seat version of the 300 in 1993, with the designation 300L. As with the 300S, the wingspan of the 300L is smaller than the 300. The 300L can perform 400 degrees per second roll rate because of its improved ailerons. The 300L is FAA-approved to perform plus or minus 10 G’s.

In July of 2005, the EA-300LP made its debut during the annual EAA AirVenture event at Oshkosh. The 300LP’s cowling is made from a lightweight carbon fiber honeycomb composite. Engineers reduced the overall weight of the 300LP by 30 pounds as compared to the original 300. When flying in unlimited aerobatic competitions, the weight saving offers a considerable improvement for performance and safety.

In January of 2006, Extra produced the first EA-300SP, a high-performance, single seat version of the 300. It was originally custom built for an aerobatic pilot who was competing in the Red Bull Air Races. Based on the EA-300LP model, the 300SP comes installed with a carbon fiber instrument panel, Teflon hose kit, lightweight avionics, and a lightweight oil cooling system.

Maximum speed: 220 kts
Maneuvering Speed: 158 kts
Stall Speed: 55 kts
FAA Certified Load Factor: Plus or minus 10 Gs
Range: 414 nm
Ceiling: 16,000′
Length: 22′ 10″
Wingspan: 26′ 3″
Height: 8′ 7″
Maximum weight: 2,095 lbs
Empty weight: 1,470 lbs
Engine(s): Lycoming 300 HP 6 Cylinder AEIO – 540 L1B5
Rate of climb: 3,200′ per minute
Crew: 300-one pilot and up to one passenger, 300S-one pilot, no passengers

Piper Commanche

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

When Piper introduced the PA-24 Comanche in 1957, the company marketed it as a low-cost first-time buyer’s aircraft. The low-wing PA-24-180 Comanche with a 180 HP engine is somewhat more complicated to fly than a Cessna 172. As with the 172, the PA-24-180 Comanche is a four seat all-metal aircraft, but the gear is retractable and it uses a variable pitch propeller that requires more work on the pilot’s part than does a constant pitch propeller that never needs adjusting in flight. The same is true with the Comanche’s manually operated flaps. Piper manufactured 1,143 of the PA-24-180 Comanche airplanes.

Piper began selling the Comanche 250 in 1958. It had a 250 HP engine that provided more power than the earlier model. Carburetors were standard, but some planes came equipped with a fuel-injected engine. In later years, Piper included an optional 90-gallon auxiliary fuel system and replaced the hand brakes with toe brakes. Soon after, they also replaced the manually operated flaps with electrical flaps.

In 1965, Piper made the PA-24-260 available, most of which were fuel-injected. The company manufactured variations of the 260 until 1972, by which time they had sold 1,029 of the airplanes. Because of a larger, 260 HP engine and increase in propeller speed, the PA-24-260 is more powerful and faster than its predecessor, the Comanche 250.

Continuing with Piper’s desire to create ever more powerful aircraft, the Comanche 400 offered a 400 HP engine, a three-blade propeller, and greater fuel capacity for longer range and more power than earlier versions of the Comanche.

Piper sold 2,000 of the PA-30 Twin Comanche in its various forms. The first models were four-seat PA-30s that included minimal avionics and engine equipment. The PA-30B offered more, including third side windows and optional propeller and wing deicing equipment, a heated windshield, seating for six, and wing-tip fuel tanks. A turbo version (the PA-30B) came next, and though it had the same engines, they were manually controlled Rajay turbochargers, which when operated correctly, offered additional power. Operated by an unqualified or careless pilot, the engines were susceptible to sudden failure. Next from Piper came the PA-30C Twin Comanche. The turbo version of that aircraft was the fastest in the twin-engine line.

Piper then created the PA-39 C/R Twin Comanche with counter-rotating propellers. This was to correct the sometimes fatal control problems that occur when both engines’ propellers turn the same way. When the left, or critical engine, fails at a high angle of attack or at slow speed, the airplane will likely become uncontrollable.

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