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

Civilian

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

For the average pilot, civilian aircraft form the nucleus of their world. While they might admire and desire the faster, more exciting models that are seen at military airbases, it is the slower, more functional models that bring home the bacon. In general, civilian aircraft are more affordable and are easier to obtain as they are sold by both private sellers and dealers. This section of Airplanes.com covers not only all these factors, but also takes a look at some popular classic and vintage aircraft for the connoisseurs of flying.

Cessna 172

2006 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Cessna Skyhawk 172. The tricycle-gear 4-seat Cessna 172 is one of the world’s most popular airplanes of all time. To date, Cessna has delivered more than 35,000 of the single-engine, high-wing airplanes. The 172 is a forgiving aircraft which makes it attractive for novice pilots or those who operate on short strips or unpaved runways.

Another reason given for the 172’s popularity is that Cessna has consistently improved the aircraft’s design, engine, and avionics. Some of these changes include adding a rear window, aerofoil modifications, increased fuel capacity, and more horsepower. From 1956 until 1967, the 172 ran on a 145-horsepower six-cylinder Continental O-300 engine. From 1968 until 1984, Cessna replaced that engine with a 150-horsepower four-cylinder Lycoming O-320 engine.

Cessna then ceased production of the Skyhawk 172 until 1996, when they released the 172R with the current 160-horsepower, fuel injected four-cylinder Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine.

Higher performance variations of the 172R come with more features and more horsepower. The 172RG featured retractable gear and a variable pitch, constant speed propeller with a more powerful engine in the 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360.

Specifications of the current Skyhawk Model 172R:

Engine: Textron Lycoming IO-360-L2A, 160 BHP at 2,400 RPM
Landing Performance: ground roll 550 ft
Propeller: 2-bladed fixed pitch
Cruise Speed (80% power at 8,000 feet):122 kts
Takeoff Performance (total distance over 50 ft obstacle): 1,685 ft
Optional Garmin G1000 NAV III glass cockpit

Cessna 185

February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under

Though the Cessna 185 Skywagon is considered by many to be the premier bush plane, it’s also popular with many other pilots and owners who’ll never fly anywhere near Alaska or northern Canada. Cessna began manufacturing the six-seat 185 Skywagon in March of 1961. The company produced 4,400 Skywagons before it ceased production of the plane in 1985.

The 185 Skywagon is a tail dragger, which means its third wheel is located beneath the tail instead of the nose. This wheel type was a popular configuration for World War II era aircraft and the 185 Skywagon was the last tail dragger that Cessna manufactured. Due to their tendency to ground loop, tail dragger planes often cost more to insure and aren’t as popular because of their challenging landing and takeoff characteristics.

In lieu of wheels, the 185 Skywagon can be equipped with floats, amphibious floats (floats that also have wheels for non-water landings), and skis. This makes the 185 Skywagon particularly attractive to those who fly in northern latitudes where the summer season is short and water runways are more plentiful than those found on land. Bush pilots will often change their 185 Skywagon from floats or wheels to skis and back as the season dictates.

Many install aftermarket Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) kits, vortex generators, stall fences, and other modifications on their 185 Skywagon to lower the stall speed and minimize the plane’s landing and takeoff distances. Other options available for the 185 Skywagon include external fuel and cargo pods, baggage extensions, oversized doors, and giant tundra tires that are used for bush strip runways. For those who desire a more powerful engine, which with a full load and floats may be necessary, a larger 300 HP Continental IO-550 engine is available. The 185 Skywagon can also be used for aerial applications when spray booms and a 151-gallon chemical tank are installed beneath the belly.

Maximum speed: 155 knots
Range: 573 nautical miles
Ceiling: 17,150′
Length: 25′ 9″
Wingspan: 35′ 10″
Height: 7′ 9″
Maximum weight: 3,350 pounds
Empty weight: 1,600 pounds
Engine(s): One 300 HP Continental IO-520-D engine
Rate of climb: 1,010′ per minute
Crew: one pilot and up to five passengers

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