GA Aircraft R&D

Why the SkiGull is Important

Legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan retired from his company, Scaled Composites. What did he decide to do next? Design and build another airplane of course!

Rimowa/Junkers F-13: Useless and I Don't Even Care

When someone asks: "What makes airplanes fly," the running joke is to answer: "Money." While a lot of people and companies are able to earn a living in aviation, there's no doubt that it's expensive. We're doing a lot to try to reduce the costs of flying because we're worried that the pilot population is shrinking too much. We're using new regulations and new technology to make aircraft more efficient and it's absolutely paying off.

However, everyone once in a while someone decides to throw economy and advancement out the window and do something wild with aviation. The example I just ran across is the luggage company, Rimowa. They're going to resume production of the Junkers F-13. In this day and age, that airplane is almost completely useless...and I'm thrilled by what they're doing!

Second PC-24 Flies

Before we get started, I have to admit that I'm a big fan of Pilatus aircraft. Though it may appear otherwise, I, sadly, won't get paid a dime to write any of this.

That said, I'm very happy to report that the second PC-24 prototype just completed its first flight. What, you haven't heard about the PC-24? I can't fault you - Pilatus hasn't been as vocal about it as they could. I don't think they need to though. The PC-24 starts with the capabilities and credibility that Pilatus built with the PC-12 and takes them to the next step in a logical progression. This isn't just an incremental improvement like next year's iPhone though. The PC-24 is a revolution in both the idea of utility business aviation and small jet capability.

Awesome Out of Nowhere: Cobalt CO50 Valkyrie

A few days ago I came across an article announcing an awesome new aircraft that I expect will be selling like hotcakes in the very near future. Strangely, I found out about it in an article on Wired, and I'd never heard any mention of this plane before.

The Cobalt CO50 Valkyrie had me drooling the moment I saw it.

More Big Turboprop News

About a week after Diamond announced their new 7-place turboprop, a couple other aircraft companies made splashes in the media with aircraft in or near the DA50-JP7s class.

Piper announced three new models, grouped together as the "M-Class." There aren't a lot of specifics yet, but the M350, M500 and M600 appear to be an update and rebranding of Piper's current 6-place cabin class aircraft, the Matrix, Mirage and Meridian. Using just basic info from their website, the only difference between the Meridian and M500 or the Mirage and M350 are about $50,000 in each case.

Diamond Turboprop: Balancing Innovation and Risk

I'm pretty impressed overall with Diamond Aircraft. They've very quietly been making innovative, high-quality aircraft for years. They have a firm foothold in the training market with their economical DA20, and the DA40 is well-regarded in the 4-place piston market by those who fly it. Their DA42 Twin Star is probably the first meaningful piston twin developed in decades. With its diesel motors, FADEC and advanced aerodynamic design it's a really cool airplane.

Cirrus Now Owned by Chinese Investors - So What?

As mentioned in a Cirrus Press Release and on AVweb, a Chinese company called China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA) purchased Cirrus Industries Inc. at the end of February. There have been some mixed feelings about this deal, and we're still waiting to see if it's going to cause any major changes in the company.

Turbine STOL CH 701

If you're anything like me, this project is probably a little beyond the abilities of the average AviationBull fan. However, it's such a fun idea that I can't resist posting it. This is a video of Scott Ehni's CH 701 equipped with a Garrett JFS 100-13A Turboshaft engine.

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