AEA International Convention & Trade Show 2013

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Taking place on March 25-28, the 56th Annual AEA International Convention & Trade Show 2013 offers the opportunity for networking between manufacturers, distributors, business leaders and technicians and is the only wholesale avionics show that represents up to 90 percent of the international government-certified avionics shops. For more information visit

Dates: 25-28 March 2013
Venue: MGM Grand Resort & Convention Center
City: Las Vegas
State: Nevada
Country: United States

Advances in Avionics Improve Safety

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American aerospace and defense contractor, Raytheon, has developed a wearable computer and monocle display to increase pilot situational awareness to the extent that the pilot may feel like he is “flying in a glass ball”, according to the company’s business development manager for the new Advanced Distributed Aperture System (ADAS), Trevor Bushell. The new wearable computer technology enables pilots to see through dust storms, and even see through the floor of their aircraft, according to a Raytheon spokesperson. This is achieved, in part, with maps and videos via the computer strapped to the pilot’s wrist.

Former V-22 Osprey pilot turned Raytheon engineer, Todd Lovell, notes that the aviation industry is moving into an era of “cutting edge pilot capabilities”. Key visual data is presented to the pilot in a heads-up manner via a monocle placed in front of the pilot’s eye. 3D audio in the pilot’s helmet allows him to hear where hostile fire is coming from, while a state-of-the-art system of exterior sensors provides circular vision, even when normal vision is compromised, such as in dust storms.

High-resolution infrared and near-infrared images are delivered to the pilot and crew by the Advanced Distributed Aperture System, allowing pilots a view beyond the floor and walls of the aircraft. This can prove invaluable particularly for helicopters required to land in darkness or when the pilot’s view is compromised by bad weather conditions.

With avionics continually advancing, trade shows such as the upcoming Avionics Europe in Munich, Germany, on 20-21 February 2013, perform a vital role in keeping key players in the aerospace industry informed. One of the topics for discussion on the Avionics Europe conference program is the much debated topic of Head Up vs Head Down displays for pilots. Other topics on the agenda include Global Market Challenges for Avionics; Air & Ground Surveillance; Safety & Security; Cockpit Control & Displays, Retrofits, Upgrades & Derivatives; and Helicopter Technologies. Among the exhibitors at the event include Airbus, Avionics Intelligence, Euroavionics, Northcorp Grumman, Barco Avionics, Institute of Flight Systems Dynamics, Techsat, Institute of Flight Systems and many more.

Tips for Buying an Airplane

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It has been your dream to purchase your very own airplane and you’ve finally decided, after careful consideration, to take the plunge. Before you rush out to buy your plane, there are some important points to think about. The first of these is that it is highly advisable to consult a number of specialists and experienced individuals along the way; this may include other pilots, mechanics, lawyers and so forth. Such individuals will assist you in making a wise decision when it comes to choosing a plane and dealing with everything that goes along with a purchase.

Before deciding on which airplane to buy, you need to carefully consider the financial aspect of plane ownership. Costs could include a down payment and monthly installments (if borrowing from a bank), liability insurance (in case of an accident), hull insurance (for damage to the plane), storage (from tie downs to hangars), operations (fuel and airport fees), maintenance, taxes and other fees.

Once you have determined whether you can afford your own plane, you can start deliberating over which airplane is for you. There are a variety of factors that should influence your choice. What will you be using the airplane for? Is it for fun, acrobatics, long distance or short distance trips? Will you be taking passengers, and how many? Where will you be landing and what sort of airspace will you be flying in? Is the model relatively easy to maintain with access to replacement parts? What type of aircraft would suit your pilot skills? Do you want a new plane or a used aircraft? And so forth. It is a good idea to try out a variety of aircraft, either through flight schools or with other pilots. Do as much research as you can on the airplanes that interest you.

After picking the model that best suits your needs, you can go about sourcing planes for sale. When contacting a person or company selling a used airplane you may wish to ask what the flight time is for the engine and airframe, about the maintenance schedule, if it has any history of damage, what the condition of the exterior and interior is, and so forth. Be sure to view the airplane’s paperwork, including its state of airworthiness. Make a careful inspection of the airplane when going to view it. Ensure that everything is functioning as it should, look for damage and wear, and check the instrument panel, avionics and electrical system. It is a good idea to get a mechanic in to inspect the plane before the final purchase.

If this looks like it could be the airplane for you, take it for a test flight. During the flight you can listen to the engine, check the avionics, watch the gauges, get a feel for the aircraft and ensure all is in working order. If all works out well, you can negotiate on the price and start the purchasing process.

Please note that this is just a brief summary to aid potential aircraft buyers. We advise all those in the market for new or used aircraft to do plenty of research and seek the advice of professionals and those in the know, before purchasing an aircraft.

Florida Aviation and Avionics Expo

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The FAAE is held annually at the Charlotte County Airport (PGD) in Punta Gorda, Florida, and the next event is Saturday and Sunday, February 17-18, 2007. Admission price for the Florida Aviation and Avionics Expo is free to anyone who attends.

At the Florida Aviation and Avionics Expo you can see some of the latest aviation products on the market and get up close to the airplanes on display. You can find some great bargains at the Aviation Flea Market, or even sell some of your own aircraft parts or accessories.

While at the Florida Aviation and Avionics Expo visitors should take the opportunity to enjoy the many presentations and seminars led by aviation experts from industry leading firms. Learn about engine performance, avionics, engine overhauls, and more. Visit with flight schools and aircraft sales people, and meet aviation authors who will be on hand to personally autograph copies of their books. You can also enjoy the exhibitions and demonstrations from companies sponsored by Cessna Aircraft Corporation, Piper Aircraft Corporation, Garmin Avionics, Honeywell Bendix/King Avionics, and others. For those seeking the thrill of real action, attendees can try an airplane rides and even discounted flying lessons.

For more information, visit the Florida Aviation and Avionics Expo website If you would like seminar, exhibitor or media information call Phil McCoy or Jim Kantor at 1-800-628-2667, or 941-637-8585.

Special notes for those who fly in to the event:

For those who fly in to the event, the FAA will temporarily staff the tower to enhance safety. For an airport advisory or general expo information, contact Charlotte County on 122.975. Early arrivals will have access to the south ramp. Discounted avgas will be available during the expo from the Charlotte County Airport FBO.

To reserve a free spot at the flea market or park your aircraft in the “for sale” area, call Cindy at the airport office at 941-639-1101. (There’s no cost to airplane sellers.) Before starting your journey call Airport Operations on the local airport frequency for taxi instructions.

All other taxi and parking instructions should be requested on a special frequency designated by Expo Aircraft Taxi and Parking Advisory. Pilots will need to bring tie downs and chalks for their aircraft as there will not be any available for sale or rental. Of course before planning any fly-ins, pilots must check all airport frequencies, as well as airport availability and weather conditions to insure a safe and enjoyable flight.

C2A Greyhound

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The C-2A Greyhound is based on the E-2 Hawkeye and its mission is to ferry cargo and personnel to and from U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. The C-2A Greyhound’s wings are similar to the E-2 Hawkeye, but the loading ramp is located in the rear and the fuselage is wider. Production of the C-2A began in 1965; just one year after the prototype completed its first flight.

It’s the primary Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft for the Navy. To conserve space while onboard the carrier, the C-2A has folding wings. For ease of loading and unloading, the airplane has an over-sized aft cargo door and ramp. This makes the process much faster and efficient than traditional side or underside doors and ramps. Saving time is especially critical during wartime and relief missions when every second counts.

In flight, the C-2A Greyhound can be used to airdrop supplies and/or military personnel. Most cargo planes require ground support and electrical power for engine starting, but the C-2A carries its own power supply to start its engines. This makes the airplane incredibly versatile and self-reliant even when using undeveloped airfields.

A number of design enhancements and upgrades have been performed on the C-2A Greyhound, with the intention of extending the airplane’s service life for several years and will affect the avionics system, propellers, wiring, and structural design. Safety improvements include the installation of a Terrain Awareness Warning System and a Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System.

Some additional data about the C-2A Greyhound:

Maximum speed: 310 knots
Cruise speed: 260 knots
Range: 1,300 nautical miles
Ceiling: 30,000 feet
Length: 57 feet, 7 inches
Wingspan: 80 feet, 7 inches
Height: 17 feet
Maximum weight: 57,500 pounds
Engine(s): Two Allison 4,910 ESHP T56-A-425 turboprop engines
Crew: Four
Armament: Up to 10,000 pounds of cargo, passengers, or a combination of both
Contractor: Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman
United States Navy

CV-22 Osprey

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The CV-22 Osprey is a unique combination of helicopter (rotary) and airplane (fixed wing) aircraft and is an Air Force modified version of the MV-22 used by the U.S. Marine Corps. Not surprisingly, design and development of the CV-22 required a combination of resources from Bell Helicopter Textron Inc., and Boeing Company, Defense and Space Group, Helicopter Division.

In September 2000, the Air Force received two CV-22 Ospreys for testing purposes. In 2006, aircrew training began in New Mexico at Kirtland AFB using the first two production model CV-22 Ospreys. On November 16, 2006, the Air Force Special Operations Command‘s 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida took delivery of the first operational CV-22 Osprey. By 2017, the Air Force expects to receive a total of 50 CV-22 Ospreys.

The CV-22 Osprey is dedicated to supporting missions performed by special operations forces. These missions can require long-range extraction, deployment, and resupplies of equipment and personnel, all of which the CV-22 Osprey can perform well. Helicopters can hover and move slowly, but their range and speed are limited. A fixed wing aircraft can have long range, and move quickly, but it cannot remain in one place, climb vertically, or fly too slowly. The CV-22 Osprey combines the best features of both types of aircraft with its ability to climb vertically or hover, then forward tilt its engines and propellers (the nacelles) to fly like an airplane. Because the CV-22 Osprey can operate as either a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, this eliminates the need to have both types on station.

To enable the CV-22 Osprey to fly at low altitude in difficult weather and in hostile territory, the aircraft’s onboard avionics include forward-looking infrared radar, terrain-following radar, and other integrated threat countermeasures.

Maximum speed: 277 mph
Cruise speed: 240 knots in the MV-22, 230 knots in the CV-22
Range: 2,100 nautical miles
Ceiling: 25,000′
Length: 57′ 4″
Wingspan: 84′ 7″
Height: 22′ 1″
Maximum Vertical Takeoff Weight: 52,870 pounds
Maximum Rolling Takeoff Weight: 60,500 pounds
Engine(s): Two Rolls Royce-Allison AE1107C turboshaft engines
Rotary Diameter: 38″
Crew: Four, including the pilot, copilot and two flight engineers
Payload: Choice of 24 seated troops, 32 floor loaded troops, or 10,000 pounds of cargo

F16 Falcon

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Since its inception in 1975, more than 4,000 F-16 Fighting Falcons in 110 versions have been produced. In addition to the United States Air Force, 24 additional countries have chosen the fourth-generation fighter to serve in their military. Some countries have purchased used F-16s from those mothballed by the U.S. Air Force.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon is capable of flying missions in total darkness and under difficult weather conditions. It was the first fighter plane to use fly-by-wire electronic flight controls with angle of attack and limiting Gs. These features enable the pilot to perform aggressive maneuvers without risk of structural failure or loss of control.

The F-16 has a solid reputation as a superior dogfighter. The frameless canopy enables improved pilot visibility and the side-mounted stick maximizes pilot control even when under tremendous G-forces. In fact, the F-16 Fighting Falcon can capably endure 9G turns!

Primarily, the F-16 has been deployed in Middle Eastern conflicts, more so than in most other conflicts situations. Israel has used F-16s against Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon beginning in 1981. During the Soviet-Afghan War, Pakistan used F-16s to destroy Afghan and Soviet aircraft.

The Fighting Falcon flew for the United States in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and again in 1998 when Operation Desert Fox required an extensive number of bombing sorties. From 2001 until present day, the Falcon has seen service in Afghanistan for the U.S. military. In 2003, Operation Iraqi Freedom relied heavily on the F-14 when U.S. forces invaded Iraq.

The F-16 Fighting Falcon remains in production and modifications continue. Some of the more recent changes have involved replacing the older avionics with new technology as well as replacing some of the antiquated weaponry with more effective armament. Here are some basic specifications for the General Dynamics F-16:

Maximum speed: Mach 2+
Range: 3,200+ miles
Ceiling: 55,000+ ft
Length: 49 ft 5 in
Wingspan: 32 ft 8 in
Height: 16 ft
Maximum weight: 42,300 lb
Empty weight: 18,238 lb
Engine(s): one Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 or one General Electric F110-GE-100 afterburning turbofan
Rate of climb: 50,000 feet per minute
Crew: One
Armament: Combination of guns, missiles, rockets, and bombs
Contractor: General Dynamics

If you are a current or former military pilot and would like to submit an article about your experience or a story about the F-16 or any other aircraft (whether military or civilian) then please contact us so we can help you share your stories with other veterans, military pilots and aircraft enthusiasts.

MQ-5B Hunter

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The MQ-5B Hunter is an unmanned aircraft used for surveillance, reconnaissance, battle damage assessment, and identification of enemy targets. The medium altitude MQ-5B is based on the RQ-5A Hunter, which Northrop Grumman built for the U.S. Army in 1996. The newer generation Hunter can be operated by enlisted soldiers and minimal maintenance is required of the aircraft.

The MQ-5B Hunter transmits video imaging of mission targets to monitoring units, which then forward that information to battle commanders. It can also send that information directly to commanders or ground soldiers. The MQ-5B Hunter does this through the use of its onboard infrared sensors.

After reporting enemy target locations and receiving permission to attack, the MQ-5B can fire its own weapons and laser guide them to the target and it can also assess damage to the target, reporting that information back to ground commanders.

The avionics suite that the MQ-5B Hunter relies on are the most advanced in the U.S. military. It allows the airplane to be programmed for automatic takeoff and landing. One of its most unusual features is that the MQ-5B Hunter can control another Hunter over ground obstacles or extreme distances.

As part of the U.S. Army’s quest to use only one type of fuel for its engine powered equipment, which it calls the “Military Single Fuel Forward Logistics”, the MQ-5B Hunter was designed to use JP-8 heavy fuel. Despite some of the disadvantages of heavy fuel, one of which can be less power, Northrop Grumman claims that the heavy fuel engine permits the MQ-5B Hunter to climb faster and maintain high altitudes.

Wingspan: 34.25′
Length: 23′
Maximum GTOW: 1,950 plus lbs
Power Plant: Heavy Fuel Engine (“HFE”)
Maximum External Payload Per Wing: 130 lbs
Maximum Payload (including fuel): 500 lbs
Loiter Velocity: 60-80 knots
Maximum Velocity: 120 knots TAS
Maximum Altitude: Up to 22,000′
Endurance: 21 Hours

Scan Eagle

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ScanEagle is a low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Boeing and The Insitu Group. The UAV completed its first flight in 2002. The aircraft’s design is based on SeaScan, a miniature robotic plane that Insitu produced for collecting weather information and was used by commercial fishers to find schools of tuna.

ScanEagle launches from a pneumatically powered catapult and is flown on a predetermined flight plan that can be modified in-flight. It can also be flown by a remote operator by using GPS guidance. It comes standard with an infrared or inertially stabilized electro-optical camera. The internal avionics bay is designed to readily incorporate future upgrades and a custom payload.

ScanEagle doesn’t land at the completion of its mission. Instead, a 50′ pole with a dangling rope catches the UAV. The advantage to this system is that ScanEagle is runway-independent and can be launched from ships, vehicles, and frontline battlefields. The propeller-driven airplane can remain in the air for up to 19 hours on less than two gallons of fuel. It has the ability to work even in heavy rain and high wind which is notable for the fact that it’s only four feet long with a wingspan of ten feet. Most aircraft of that size would not be capable of performing adequately under those conditions. The plane and all the equipment necessary to operate it can fit into four Humvees.

Though ScanEagle flies at low altitude, because of its small size it’s very difficult to visually detect. In addition, the exhaust mufflers point skyward which minimizes the plane’s risk of detection by sound. ScanEagle is powered by a gasoline engine that will eventually be converted to one that can burn jet fuel.

The US Marines and US Navy have used ScanEagle extensively in Iraq for real-time reconnaissance, intelligence, and surveillance work. ScanEagle is also used by the Royal Navy for land reconnaissance in support of maritime operations. In 2007, the Australian army awarded a contract to Boeing Australia Limited for surveillance and reconnaissance services using ScanEagle.

Ceiling: 16,000′
Length: 4′
Wingspan: 10′
Maximum weight: 40 pounds
Engine(s): One 2.5 HP single-cylinder, two-stroke 3W-28 gasoline engine
Maximum speed: 75 knots

First F-35 STOVL Aircraft Has Successful First Flight

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Just recently the first F-35B STOVL aircraft took to the skies for its first successful test flight. The short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) jet took off from the Fort Worth Naval Air Station in Texas on June 12 and the flight lasted about 45 minutes. The test aircraft was piloted by test pilot Graham Tomlinson and the flight marked the second stage in the development of the next-generation of fighting aircraft.

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