GA Aircraft R&D

Orni-what?

I don't think it's possible to watch this video and not be impressed. It was a short flight of only 19.3 seconds covering 145 meters, but it was an amazing achievement in many ways. This is the first ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. What's an ornithopter? I'm glad you asked...

My Kind of Swingset

What else would you use that old helicopter for right? Seriously though, I would definitely buy this at the local home improvement center... If only I could figure out how to get it past my wife!

Dedication

I think this qualifies as an aviation post right? I mean, this is some serious dedication to the sport, especially when the airplane you're towing not only weighs more than your car, but is worth about double. It's tough to tell what exactly they're towing but i'm leaning towards a glass experimental of some sort. The fuselage seems to have that grey primer look that you see on the unfinished Glasair's down at the airport. I especially like the way the rear wheels on the Miata are bowing out at the bottom... Come to think of it, I didn't even know you could put a hitch on a Miata...

Will Klapmeier and Kestrel Become the Next Cirrus?

I don't think anyone can argue that Cirrus co-founder Alan Klapmeier is an aviation genius. He started an airplane making company from scratch that with only two main models has dominated the piston single market for years. That company is currently working on a very promising VLJ prospect with several hundred pre-orders. Though Klapmeier is no longer with Cirrus, they are still going strong. The Duluth News Tribune mentioned Monday that Cirrus sales are up 5% this year. That's a stark contrast to sales being down overall worldwide.

Klapmeier came up with a great product and had the vision and leadership to bring it to market. Now, he's set his sights on a new aircraft: the Kestrel. This 6-place composite turboprop is a great next step for an SR22 owner and boasts performance numbers that beat a major competitor, the Socata TBM-850, and threaten to leave most of the VLJ fleet in the dust. It looks like this aviation genius has another great product and is posed to turn Kestrel Aircraft Company into the next Cirrus.

ADS-B For Gliders? Dangerous Attitudes and Uninformed Media

When I first heard about the FAA's new rule for ADS-B, I didn't even think to check and see if it made exceptions to allow certain aircraft to operate in controlled airspace without ADS-B. I assumed it would be that way because that's how the current rules regarding transponders work. (This affects gliders, hot air balloons, airplanes not originally equipped with electrical systems and some others.) It turns out that this exemption did carry over into 91.225(e) of the new ADS-B rule (page 140.)

While that makes plenty of sense to someone with an aviation background, it apparently doesn't compute with someone who has little (if any) understanding of the subject. I just realized that fact when I read an editorial in the Washington Examiner yesterday. I'm disturbed and offended that The Examiner would publish such an alarmist story by an author unfamiliar with the subject who didn't bother to do any in-depth research to improve his or her knowledge in the area. However, I'll let that be for a moment.

This article highlights some potential attitudes regarding ADS-B that could prove extremely hazardous to everyone in our country - pilots or not. I want to address these attitudes first.

Cirrus Vision Jet Prospects Remain Optimistic

The Duluth News Tribune reports that orders for the Cirrus Vision Jet are increasing, even with the unsteady economy. Cirrus needs to keep the orders coming to finance the conforming prototypes they will build next year. AIN points out that 106 orders have been placed in the past six months, however, there were also somewhere around 50 cancellations making that number just a little less optimistic.

Centurion 2.0s Adds 20hp, Keeps Kerosene C-172 Option Open

Do you remember when Thielert Aircraft Enginges GmbH declared insolvency and caused major headaches for owners of DA-42 Twin Stars, DA-40 TDI Stars and C-172TDs? It wasn't all bad; the problem led Diamond to produce their own series of Austro engines that offer more power and similar economy as Thielert's engines. However, Centurion Engines has been working to get the company out of insolvency and it appears they may be making progress.

According to the AOPA and Centurion, the EASA just approved an STC for the new Centurion 2.0s engine in C-172 aircraft. STCs for the Robin DR400 Ecoflyer and Diamond DA40 TDI are supposed to be on their way as well.

South Korea Next to Make a Bid for Piston Single Market

All recessions aside, the piston single market has been doing pretty well for the last few years. Cirrus has come from nothing to lead the pack in just over a decade and other big names like Cessna, Piper, Mooney, Beechcraft and others are working to keep pace. Flightglobal.com notes that Korea Aerospace Industries has taken note of this and is developing their own piston single. Although it sounds like they're just getting started, the plane will be impressive if it can perform as promised.

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