AVmail: August 18, 2014
Letter of the Week:
Hangar Policy Proposal
No doubt this proposal makes sense in some arcane budget discussion among ignoramuses divorced from aviation.
But saying aircraft can't be built in an airport hangar simply to preclude inappropriate use of federally funded airports makes about as much sense as saying birth can't occur at home because the mortgage may be a tax deduction.
The heart and soul of an aircraft should begin at an airport. The gestation period and infancy of an aircraft needs and deserves to be nurtured in its natural home among members of its kind. If it takes a village to raise a child, shouldn't it make sense that the humans needed to create an aircraft gather at an airport?
There are many legal ways to ensure that increasingly rare airport hangar space is used appropriately and legally. Everyone who operates an airport or even frequents one knows of the abuses of hangar space that are taking place. Enforce the rules and the contracts that exist, evict the abusers, and let aviation have its proper place at the airport.
The reason that airports and hangars exist at all is not to foster the use of tax funds but to nurture and support aviation in all its forms. There are other ways to protect the intent of federal airport funding on behalf of the tax-paying public. This one simply ignores intent and use of airports — especially small, non-commercial-use airports, which will be caught in the resulting regulation.
Stop the airport hangar abuses and make room for aircraft. Don't destroy the nesting grounds.
Regarding the FAA's proposed policy on non-aeronautical uses at airports: In my 45 years in aviation, this is, with no doubt whatsoever, the stupidest thing I've ever seen come out of the FAA in Washington. And I almost never use the word "stupid," but in this case it fits perfectly.
We got dozens of letters about this issue, all of them in opposition.
Spin Test Stunt
Regarding your article on spin testing of the Panthera, I think you do the aviation community a disservice by even publishing the video.
First, there is no FAA requirement for a 10-turn spin under any circumstances. The maximum is six turns for an acrobatic category airplane, and I doubt that they are going to certify in the acrobatic category.
More importantly, it is reckless and irresponsible to spin any aircraft with four people on board. As you can see in the video, they are not wearing parachutes. That would be illegal in the U.S.
They were also using externally mounted video cameras to record the publicity stunt. Many years ago, the great pilot Art Scholl was lost in a Pitts spin. I believe the best explanation for the accident was that an external camera had been installed and changed the spin characteristics to include an unrecoverable mode.
I have been involved in numerous spin test programs at a GA OEM in the past and have observed thousands of spin entries and recoveries. Spins are not to be taken lightly, even in airplanes that are certified for intentional spins. There is always that one mode out there that can go non-recoverable and end a flight in a very bad way. The regulations call for testing "every possible control input," but that is just not feasible in any certification program.
It is best to think and remember that any time you spin an airplane you are venturing into the "test pilot" world. That is why our regulations require parachutes, certain minimum altitudes, and locations away from populated areas when performing aerobatic maneuvers, which would include spins.
In closing, you can't stop the company from making this video to promote the "safety" of their airplane, but you can choose not to perpetuate the irresponsible nature of it by publishing it for all the world to see. I fear that it will encourage others to try this stunt in different airplanes with passengers on board and take innocent people to their demise, all the while thinking that if they could do it in the Panthera they can do it in their airplane.
Best of AirVenture
Besides being immersed in all things aviation, the deciding factor this year for us was the Kenny Loggins concert opening night, and it didn't disappoint. I wouldn't be surprised if the concert was a factor for greater attendance at the beginning of the show.
However, EAA did miss a great opportunity to make a low-altitude, high-speed pass with a vintage jet fighter during the opening number of "Danger Zone."
The bonus was getting to camp out near the departure end of RWY 27 with three of my grown kids and being woken up by P-51s taking off by the tent at 6:15 a.m. each morning.
I came to AirVenture all the way from Australia. I had a backpack on as I walked around. In the backpack, I had an iPad with the EAA app loaded so I could find my way around.
On the Tuesday, the iPad must have fallen out, and I lost it.
I went to the lost-and-found booth on Friday, and someone had handed it in.
So I am impressed with the honesty of you Yanks, and I would not hesitate to come back.
I also stayed with some local people as a home stay and can't say enough about them. They couldn't do enough for me.
Thank you, EAA and the people of America, for making my first trip to the States and Oshkosh a really great trip.
Just wanted to thank you for all the good work the AVweb folks do. Your AirVenture coverage is far and away the best in the industry, and your commitment to producing excellent reporting really shows. Keep up the good work.