Maybe it isn't newsworthy any more, but we had two single-engine planes forced down by military fighters at our local airport, Crest Air Park (S36) in Kent, Wash., during the presidential visit to the Puget Sound area. I live inside the traffic pattern and heard, saw, and felt the F-15s as they flew at an estimated 250 to 350 feet AGL, making a couple of big circles before departing.
I went up to the airport after giving time for any "officials" to be gone, only to find out from the airport office manager that no one came out to talk to the pilots who landed. One of the pilots was on a buisness trip and his Comanche was still at the airport when I visited -- about 3-1/2 hours after the event. The other plane had already departed. The office manager estimated the altitude of the F-15s at 200 feet AGL. Another pilot who lives close by concurred. Good use of tax money, right? Sure is great to live in a police state.
As an industry member on CASA's panel reviewing the revamping of the Australian regulations and especially the Australian Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) proposed regulations (On The Fly, August 25), I find it hard to understand how we in Australia can harmonise our LSA with the FAA LSA when the U.S. is still light years behind us.
As a former Technical Manager for the Australian Ultralight Federation, I am proud to say that we have had Ultralights for about 10 years with a MTOW of 544 kg, retractable undercarraige, maximum stall speed of 45 knots, and variable pitch propellers!
The U.S. LSA proposal only offers an increase in MTOW to 560 kg. So you can see see it makes one wonder about harmonization.
Keep up the good work.
The airplane produced by Gippsland Aeronautics is called an Airvan, not a Caravan (On The Fly, August 25). I had an opportunity to ride in one last year at the Colorado Civil Air Patrol's mountain flying clinic. I was very impressed with the performance and the almost butal simplicity of the aircraft's systems. We are waiting the dilivery of ours.