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Aviation entrepreneur Rod Rakic's idea for OpenAirplane has earned the support of some big names in the aviation industry who believe it could simplify access to aircraft, improve pilot safety,
increase profits for flight schools and FBOs, and generally boost the aviation industry -- all by changing how we rent airplanes. OpenAirplane is nearing its public rollout, expected before year-end.
If the concept catches on, Rakic believes it won't just put more pilots in the air more often, it will also lower accident rates for a segment of the industry that is notoriously worse than average.
And it might just make him rich. Maybe. But Rakic's idea isn't revolutionary or even all that new. His approach might be. And, so far, that's made all the difference.
ForeFlight Mobile Now Supports ADS-B In-Flight Weather for iPad! ForeFlight Mobile the award-winning, multi-purpose app for pilots now supports no-subscription-required ADS-B in-flight weather via Stratus. NEXRAD, METARs, TAFs, TFRs,
AIRMETs/SIGMETS, PIREPS, and more streamed effortlessly to your iPad via ADS-B. Intelligent Apps for Pilots backed by Fanatical Pilot Support.
ForeFlight.com to learn more.
With this week's news that Apple we release the iPad Mini on Nov. 2, aviation app providers are almost certain to see increased sales as a result. "After every new Apple device release, we've
always seen a wave of new pilots and new customers. There's always a group of pilots waiting to see what new technology brings," said Tyson Weihs of ForeFlight, a leading aviation app. AVweb
spoke to Weihs at Redbird Flight Simulations' industry training conference on Wednesday. Although the iPad has achieved impressive penetration in the GA market as an all-purpose navigator, plate
reader, E6B and pre-planner, many users have complained that it's just a bit too large for the cockpit. The Mini measures 7.9 by 5.3 inches and is barely a quarter inch thick. It weighs .68 pounds,
according to Apple. Base price is $329. By comparison, the iPad2 measures 9.5 by 7.3 inches, with a base price of $399.
Weihs says he believes many buyers will pull the purchase trigger on size alone. "The iPad mini is different than previous releases because it brings it to cockpits not previously adopted for size
reasons," Weihs told AVweb. "For example, guys in RVs, we have military customers flying T-38s, so I think this is going to be really good for a number of segments. I think we'll see a big push
as the Christmas season approaches and we'll see a lot of new pilots carrying iPads." Weihs also reports that commercial customers are likely to adopt the iPad in larger numbers this year. During
2012, many carriers and commercial customers were evaluating the iPad against potential Windows or Android entries. "Many of the carriers we've spoken to have cancelled those evaluations and they've
gone back to the iPad," Weihs said. What to expect from apps in the coming year? More emphasis on sophisticated moving maps and integrated functions such as ADS-B and AHRS.
The iPad Mini starts to ship on November 2, providing a new option for pilots to access apps and information in the cockpit. AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli talks with Foreflight's
Tyson Weihs about the impact of the new tablet and other new products and innovations in the works for pilots.
Kestrel Aircraft Company Kestrel Aircraft is a new aviation company led by general aviation entrepreneur Alan Klapmeier. Based on the original work done by Farnborough Aircraft, the Kestrel airplane will
be a six- to eight-seat, all-composite, single-engine turboprop, boasting a broad performance envelope and the newest technologies available in personal and business aircraft. Headquartered in
Superior, Wisconsin, currently over 80 engineers and support staff work at Kestrel, focusing on aircraft design and certification.
Go to Kestrel.aero for more information.
The departure of Rod Hightower on Monday from the helm of EAA doesn't signal any major change in the direction of the organization, chairman of the board Jack Pelton told AVweb on
Wednesday. "This all happened kind of quickly and unexpectedly," Pelton said. "We're still focused on our core mission, which is supporting our EAA membership, volunteers, and employees." He said he
will be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, and no timeline has been set for finding Hightower's replacement. "Transitions are never easy," he said. "My real goal here is to keep
everybody on the track that we've been on and get the day-to-day stuff done while we focus on getting to an airshow in July."
Reaction to the sudden change in leadership was mixed on the EAA online message board.
Some members expressed concern that a core group that wants EAA to focus only on the homebuilder community was behind the change; others felt Hightower had tried to expand the membership and that was
a good way to go. A few said they had thought of quitting, but now would wait and see; others said they had planned to renew, but now would wait and see. Mac McClelland, EAA vice president of
publications, told the local Oshkosh Northwestern that Hightower had
simply failed to move to Oshkosh from his home in St. Louis as the board expected. "I know there's all kinds of complaints, but that's not it," McClelland said. "[The residency] was the unsolvable
requirement. The board sees the president/CEO living in the Fox Valley as essential to the mission."
In a surprising move that wasn't all that surprising, EAA's board dismissed Rod Hightower as the association's president. The good news? Jack Pelton will chair the board to get the association
back on track. Paul Bertorelli runs down the plusses in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.
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