GA Aircraft R&D

ADEPT Airmotive Nearing First Flight of 320T Engine

I wrote last December about a South African aircraft called the SA Ravin 500. It has some pretty impressive performance numbers, but they are hoping to pair their plane with a new motor that will let them completely revolutionize the 4-place piston market.

According to South Africa's, that motor, ADEPT Airmotive's 320T, underwent taxi tests on an SA Ravin 500 Monday and they are planning on flying it very soon!

Eve Carries Enterprise for First Time

I must be delirious from lack of sleep lately, because I missed a really exciting milestone in the development of commercial space flight. Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites and the EAA are proudly announcing the first captive carry flight of space ship two, the VSS Enterprise, by her mothership, Eve.

See Spot Work

The Spot Messenger has always intrigued me a little bit. It's basically a portable ELT allowing you to call for help with the push of a button rather than a crash... You can chose folks to view your progress on google maps, or even have them get updates via text message. Additionally if you just need help, like a mechanic and not a paramedic, there's a button to ask for that.

While this certainly isn't a replacement for an ELT in your aircraft, it could be a useful tool for you backcountry folks to keep in the ole safety vest. Check out the video below from Wired detailing their test of the service. It's $169 to buy and about $100 a year to keep the service active making it one of the cheaper additions to your lifesaving kit! If you've carried a Spot and had the chance to use it, we'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Step Up Folks and Order Your New Robinson R66!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Robinson Helicopters is finally offering their new, turbine-powered R66 for sale. This company has rocked the light helicopter industry and hopes to push things even further with their newest design. With a price tag of only $770,000 I'd say there is a good chance the R66 will to do just as well as its predecessors.

Looks Like Fun...Someday

An article at discusses a pretty interesting sounding aircraft: the SmartFish. the blended wing design immediately suggests a quest for greater efficiency. The capabilities they're boasting their plane is capable of are pretty amazing. The SmartFish website says the technology could be applied from anything to small UAVs to business jets to midsize business jets.

So, is this one of those eternally under development concepts or a potential leap in aircraft design?

China - Making Me and the Wright Brothers Proud

Michele Travierso at recently posted a great article about Do It Yourself (DIY) aviation in China. While some of the flying machines being developed definitely need some work, I am truly impressed by the ingenuity and tenacity of these fledgling aviators. Hearing about them should remind us all of how aviation started.

In China, like some other countries, the military owns all the airspace. The average citizen has no right to aviation. (Are you glad your country doesn't work like that...I sure am!) As such, there isn't much opportunity to enjoy flying over there and few major companies have marketed GA aircraft to the potentially 1 billion customers of China. A few brave souls have decided that this is unacceptable, and rather than sit around and whine, they are actively developing aircraft on their own.

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