The US Sport Aviation Expo will take place on 14-17 January 2015 at Sebring Regional Airport. The event’s slogan is “The Affordable Aircraft Expo” and will feature light-sport, homebuilt, refurbishes production aircraft and ultralights. With more than 160 exhibitors and thousands of visitors, the Sebring US Sport Aviation Expo is the place to see the latest products, trends and technologies. The 2015 event will offer private aircraft owners the opportunity to sell their aircraft. For more information visit http://sportaviationexpo.com/
Dates: 14-17 January 2014
Venue: Sebring Airport
Country: United States
Since starting in 1992, the EAA Young Eagles program has given more than 1.6 million young people the opportunity to experience the thrill of flight, and continues to extend an invitation to anyone between the ages of 8 and 17 years to apply to join the ranks of EAA Young Eagles. More than 42,000 pilots in over 90 different countries are registered to participate in the program, offering the flights free of charge to approved applicants.
Before taking off, the pilot may explain a bit about the aircraft while doing a preflight inspection. Young Eagles will be told what to expect during a flight and may have the opportunity to review the aeronautical chart and identify reference points. After buckling up, the pilot will explain various functions of the instrument panel and the interior of the airplane before heading to the runway for takeoff. The flight lasts up to 20 minutes and participants are encouraged to ask questions and make observations about the experience, as pilots are keen to share their knowledge and love of flying with future aviators. Each Young Eagle receives an official logbook, signed by the pilot they flew with.
With its headquarters located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization that was founded in 1953 to bring together aviation enthusiasts from all walks of life. While the word “experimental” may suggest otherwise, these airplanes which have been built by individuals, are required to undergo inspection and be certified as airworthy by the FAA. With chapters in all 50 states, and a number of other countries, the EAA currently has more than 160,000 members, all of whom share a love for aviation.
Sitting alongside an experienced pilot in the cockpit of an airplane is an awesome and unforgettable experience. Most famous aviators discovered their love for flying at a young age, and the EAA Young Eagles program opens the door to the exciting world of aviation for future pilots and aviation innovators.
As the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Wisconsinite Paul Poberezny spent 70 years encouraging thousands of amateur pilots to design, build and fly their own aircraft, having fought for federal approval allowing them to do so. When Poberezny started the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) at his home in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, in 1953, he likely had no idea how successful it would be. Today the EAA has around 170,000 members, located in more than 100 countries, while the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh convention, exhibition and fly-in attracts more than 500,000 visitors each year.
Born in Leavenworth County, Kansas, on September 14, 1921, Paul Howard Poberezny had a passion for aviation from a young age, and has been quoted as saying there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t say the word “airplane”. As a youngster, he dreamed of being a pilot and, thanks to his high school history teacher, Homer Tangney, he was able to attain his goal, going on to help thousands of other would-be pilots to do the same during his career. Seeing that Poberezny was interested in aviation, Tangney gave the high school student a Waco Primary Glider that had seen better days, with the proviso that Poberezny restore the craft to a flight-worthy state. Fifteen-year-old Poberezny took on the task and soon had the glider restored and was testing it tied to the back of a tow car. By the age of 19, with the help of a loan from his father, Poberezny had co-ownership of an American Eagle biplane.
Poberezny’s flying skills stood him in good stead when the US entered World War II. He earned all seven types of pilot wings offered by the armed services, being the only person to do so, and served as a flight instructor for most of his term. He reportedly had great success in teaching students that other instructors had given up on and all his students graduated, many of whom were four or five years older than him. He noted that with time and patience, almost anyone could be taught to fly.
Following the war years, Poberezny pursued his passion for flying by forming the EAA, with his first office being an old coal bin in his home. Anyone with an interest in homebuilt aircraft and supporting the purpose of the organization was welcome to join, and in time membership cards, a constitution and bylaws were introduced. Prominent aviators of the time were invited to speak to club members, and a monthly newsletter, The Experimenter, was published by Poberezny and his wife, Audrey. The first official fly-in of the EAA was held in September of 1953 with 22 aircraft and around 150 people attending. This was the start of an organization that, through the vision and determination of its founder, has helped many aviation enthusiasts enjoy this thrilling sport.
Paul Poberezny passed away on August 22, 2013, and was honored posthumously by the State of Wisconsin for his achievements in aviation. His family, including his wife Audrey, son Tom and daughter Bonnie, received the resolution at a ceremony at the Wisconsin State Assembly in October 2013.
As amateur-built aircraft, also referred to as homebuilt aircraft or experimental aircraft, become more popular, safety issues have become more pressing. At a seminar held at the US National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) training center recently, the topic “Transitioning Into a Homebuilt: This is Test Flying” presented case studies on the buyers and sellers of homebuilt aircraft, and the current safety trends. In a 2012 NTSB study it was revealed that the accident rate for homebuilt aircraft in the United States was three to four times higher than in general aviation. It was also revealed that up to ten percent of accidents with homebuilt aircraft occur on the first flight, and up to fifty-five percent of homebuilt aircraft accidents occur in pre-owned aircraft.
Statistics indicate that buyers in general have not put sufficient effort into transitioning from certified aircraft to homebuilt aircraft, by taking time to learn its systems, flight characteristics and performance. Not having enough information on the testing and performance of an aircraft appears to be more of a problem when the aircraft is pre-owned. The variance between expected performance and actual performance is often much wider than expected – a fact that may only be discovered in flight and to the detriment of the pilot. It was also pointed out at the seminar that having a good understanding of the aircraft’s construction does not necessarily mean having an understanding of its performance.
While the ideal situation would be to buy an aircraft from the builder who has firsthand knowledge of design and performance, and who has tested the aircraft extensively, this is seldom the case. Case studies reveal that typically the seller is a private pilot who never quite got the hang of the aircraft and eventually gave up and put it on the market. It was also noted that buyers often rushed through checking the aircraft out, and when offered additional training, deemed it unnecessary because they knew how to pilot a plane.
Bearing in mind that homebuilt aircraft do not have to meet the airworthiness standards of certified aircraft, buyers need to understand that flying the aircraft is entirely at their own risk. The very fact that these aircraft are referred to as ‘experimental’ should make that clear. The Air Safety Institute reportedly has plans to make available an online course in 2014 to assist pilots with transitioning from one type of aircraft to another – including homebuilt and experimental aircraft.
A series of recent crashes in southwest Florida involving ultralight aircraft has highlighted the risks of operating these non-standard, unregulated aircraft – for the pilot, and people on the ground. All of the five aircraft that crashed were non-standard, and two of the five pilots were more than eighty years old, with one being over seventy. Because ultralight pilots need no license and are exempt from taking a yearly physical, it would appear that older pilots, who may fail to meet the requirements to keep their licenses, are turning to ultralight aircraft to satisfy their need to fly. Critics are raising the question of whether these ultralight, homebuilt and experimental aircraft, along with unlicensed and unqualified pilots, are creating a public safety hazard.
Ultralights that carry only one person, a maximum of five gallons of fuel, and fly no faster than 62 mph need not be registered with the FAA, with the proviso that they stick to non-urban areas, but this is not regulated, neither are there any mandatory maintenance requirements. The main investigative agency for air crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), only investigates if the plane has a number on its tail. Otherwise the investigation is left to local authorities, who only investigate if there is a death. Also, because there is no regulation and/or investigation, there is no database on accidents and their causes, and information gathered is more anecdotal in nature. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) director of communications, Dick Knapinski, noted in an interview with the Herald Tribune that the organization is working with the NTSB to narrow down the causes of crashes.
Of the five recent crashes, only two of the ultralight aircraft had tail numbers and were flown by trained pilots, the kit-built Seawind 3000 that crashed on the Sarasota campus of the New College of Florida on Jan 12, 2013 and the amateur-built Skybolt that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico on December 19, 2012.
Currently, pilots who move from piloting a smaller airplane, such as a single-engine Cessna, to a larger twin-engine plane, are required to undergo additional training. But when pilots downsize, additional training is not required despite the fact that the aircraft handle very differently. As more and more amateur pilots built their own ultralight aircraft and take to the skies, authorities are being urged to take steps to regulate the operating of what one critic described as “flying lawn furniture”.
Homebuilt airplanes are aircraft built by individuals and then licensed as “experimental”. They are used solely for educational or personal purposes. Many thousands of homebuilt airplanes are being flown in the world, and there are four main types.
The first is built from steel tubing which is welded together and then covered with fabric. The fabric used for these homebuilt airplanes is durable Dacron. Another type of homebuilt airplane is that made of aircraft plywood and spruce. The third homebuilt airplane is built of aluminium. This is the easiest type for an amateur to put together. The final type of homebuilt airplane is a composite airplane.
The airplane is cared from lightweight plastic foam. It is then covered with fibreglass or carbon fibre skins containing epoxy resin. This method gives the homebuilt airplane a smooth surface.
Just more than 80 years ago Bernard Pietenpol set about designing some of the most user-friendly and original aircraft concepts in the world. He quickly set about building a company and marketing his products. His brand of homebuilt aircraft designs made flying accessible to millions and many of them are still built regularly today. This year the Pietenpols Experimental Aircraft Association will be celebrating their 80th anniversary during the 2009 EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh.
Looking for a great airplane-orientated activity to enjoy with the family early next year? Look no further than the 2009 Cable Air Show! This great weekend-long event will have Californians arriving in their droves to some great flying-orientated family fun.
Every year the Experimental Aircraft Association holds its AirVenture celebration, but lately fans have been worried that that the event is slipping further and further away from its homebuilt roots. Indeed, it has been giving more and more floor space to plane manufacturers like Cessna and Cirrus over the years, but this year the EAA is attempting to ensure that homebuilt aircraft gets the spotlight.
It is a legal requirement in the United States that all amateur built and homebuilt aircraft must be inspected and then registered with the Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) before an Airworthiness Certificate can be issued. This is a thorough, and sometimes painstaking, process which can be drastically simplified for the builder if the aircraft kit is on the FAA Eligible Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits list. On 21 February 2008, Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc. announced that the FAA has confirmed that their SparrowHawk III gyroplane kit meets the necessary specifications to be included on the Eligible Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits list.