Northwest Aviation Conference

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The Washington Aviation Association (WAA) began in 1938 with a casual group of aviation companies. Ten years later the WAA officially became a non-profit corporation. A major part of the WAA is sponsoring the annual Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show that in 2007 will be going into its 24th year.

More than 12,500 people are expected to attend the 2007 show, more than 80% of whom are pilots, and a little over half are airplane owners. Visitors will have the opportunity to attend numerous safety seminars and exhibits in the 122,000 square foot exhibition hall. Previous exhibitors have included Cirrus Design, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Microsoft Flight Simulator, the FAA, and the Ninety-Nines Inc.

The conference presenters for 2007 include two AOPA Air Safety Foundation presentations: Emergency Procedures and Do the Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots. Noted bush pilot Lori MacNichol will present Mountain Flying Proficiency and Safety. Another guest speaker will be Rich Stowell who is a master CFI-Aerobatic pilot and expert in emergency maneuvers, aerobatics, tail-wheel training, and spin recovery will also speak. There will be many others as well, including representatives from the National Weather Service. Phil Boyer, President of AOPA, will speak on important issues such as minimizing costs associated with flying, aviation security, and future goals of AOPA.

The Members of the Washington Aviation Association will hold the 2007 Aviation Hall of Fame Awards Banquet on Saturday, February 24 to honor those individuals and businesses that have made significant contributions to aviation in the Northwest. It will be hosted by the WAA and aviation humorist Rod Machado will speak. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

For more details, visit the Web site for Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show at You can reach the Washington Aviation Association by calling 866-WAA-SHOW or faxing them at 360-868-2211. For questions about the trade show, call Rachel Hansen the Trade Show Coordinator. Her number is 866-922-7469 or 360-427-5599 when calling from the Washington area. The fax number is 360-868-2211. She can also be reached by email at

The next Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show event will be held in the Exhibition and Conference Center, Blue Gate at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup Washington and is scheduled for February 24-25, 2007 (Saturday and Sunday).

Extra 300

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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

Sukhoi SU-31

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The Sukhoi Su-31 has been a top-performing aerobatic plane since production of it began in 1994. Many pilots from countries around the world often fly it in competitions. The Su-31 can withstand tremendous G-forces and can handle repeated maneuvers that generate +12 or -10 Gs. Sukhoi intentionally designed the Su-31 to be less stable than earlier versions of the Su, which makes the airplane preferable for free-style competitions and for performing snap rolls.

Originally known as the Su-29T during its testing phase, the Su-31 was designed purely for aerobatic flying. What primarily set the plane apart from earlier models was the manufacturer’s extensive use of composite materials to increase the Su-31’s strength and durability while also minimizing the overall weight. The thrust-to-weight ratio was the same that enabled the pilot to perform some maneuvers similar to that of a helicopter. In addition, the cockpit incorporated an ergonomic design for ease of use by the pilot.

On June 22 1992, Russian aerobatic pilot Yurgis Kairis performed the plane’s first flight. That same year, he won the bronze medal during the World Championships in aerobatics while flying the Su-31. Several other pilots have gone on to win aerobatic competitions in the Su-31, including the Breitling championships, and the World as well as European championships in both the women’s and men’s categories.

In an emergency, the pilot can use the SKS-94M ejection system to bail out of the plane. Known as the Zvesda Pilot Extraction System, a pilot can be free of an unrecoverable aircraft in one quarter of a second. This is not an after-market option and is only available on factory versions of the Su-31. The system weighs 12 kilograms. An unusual feature for an aerobatic plane is that the Su-31 has three luggage areas.

The Su-31 remains in production at the Lukavitzy factory in Russia, but the number of planes of produced every year is very low.

Maximum speed: 450 km per hour
Range: 1,100 km
Length: 6.83 meters
Wingspan: 7.80 meters
Height: 2.76 meters
Maximum weight: 1,050 kg
Empty weight: 700 kg
Engine(s): 400 HP M-14PF
Rate of climb: 24 meters per second
G-limit: +12/-10
Roll rate: 7 seconds
Takeoff run: 110 meters
Landing run: 300 meters
Parachute: PNL-91
Crew: One

T6 Texan

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The T-6 aircraft is considered to be one of the foremost military trainers in history. It was used extensively as a trainer during World War II, not only by the United States Army Air Force and Navy, but also by the Royal Air Force (RAF). Known as the “SNJ” by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force used the designation AT-6. For U.S. airmen, almost half of their required training hours were often completed in the cockpit of the T-6 Texan.

The majority of World War II military aircraft had a rear third wheel versus a tricycle gear configuration that utilized a forward nose wheel. Known as “taildraggers,” these aircraft could be initially difficult to control because any crosswind or improper technique by the pilot could cause the plane to crash. This presented a problem for pilots who were learning how to fly in advance of entering the war. It was expensive and impractical to train in the more advanced and challenging aircraft then used in combat.

The T-6 was also a tail dragger but it was easier and friendlier to learn on than the airplanes the pilots would eventually fly, such as the Wildcat or Mustang. For this reason, the T-6 airplane was known as “The Pilot Maker.”

The AT-6A was a modification of an earlier version of the T-6, but with a more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-1340-49 Wasp radial engine. Another modified version, known as the AT-6B was adapted specifically for gunnery training. The engine used was eventually installed on all T-6 planes in production. Canada and the RAF also made modifications that resulted in additional designation variations.

The T-6 also served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as forward air controllers which were known as “Mosquitoes”. Of the more than 17,000 T-6 Texans produced, approximately 350 remain operational. Some are used as aerobatic planes. Some specifications of the T-6 include:

Maximum speed: 208 mph
Cruise speed: 145 mph
Range: 730 miles
Ceiling: 24,200 ft
Length: 29 ft
Wingspan: 42 ft
Height: 11 ft 8 in
Maximum weight: 5,617 lb
Empty weight: 4,158 lb
Engine(s): one 600 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-AN-1 Wasp radial engine
Crew: one or two
Armament: one .30 machine gun
Contractor: North American Aviation

If you would like to submit a story about the T-6 or any other aircraft (whether military or civilian) then please contact us and we will share your stories on

Patty Wagstaff

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Patty Wagstaff is an aerobatic pilot who performs low-level aerobatic routines at air shows all over the world. In 1991, she was the first woman to win the U.S. National Aerobatic Championship. She also won it in 1992 and 1993. Wagstaff was the top U.S. Medal Winner, World Aerobatic Championships in 1990, 1992, and 1994, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals.

In March of 1994, Wagstaff’s Goodrich Extra 260 went on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. That year she also received the National Air and Space Museum’s Award for Current Achievement. She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in July of 2004.

Patty Wagstaff currently flies the Extra 300S, an aerobatic airplane with a Lycoming 330 HP engine.


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Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
Next airshow: July 28-29, 2007

The Sunderland International Air Show is the largest free airshow in Europe. While most airshows are held at airports, this one takes place on the seafront at Seaburn. More than a million people enjoy the Sunderland Air Show every year. It features civilian, vintage, and military jet aircraft. The Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team usually performs, as does the Royal Navy Black Cats Helicopter Team. Previous aerial displays have also included the Pitts Special and the B17 Flying Fortress ‘Sally B’.

The airshow takes over the entire Sunderland coastline with displays, vendors, and ground entertainment. Visit the Sunderland Sunderland International Air Show at or call +44 (0)191 553 2006 and tell them sent you!