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FAA Administrator Michael Huerta addressed the crowd at EAA AirVenture on Thursday, at Theater in the Woods, and reminded aircraft owners that time is running out to get equipped for ADS-B. “All aircraft flying in controlled airspace are going to need ADS-B by January 1, 2020,” he said. “That deadline hasn’t changed, and won’t change.” As many as 160,000 airplanes need to get equipped, and only 26,000 are currently in compliance, he said. The FAA still has 12,000 incentives, worth $500 each, to give away by Sept. 18. “I didn’t think we’d have a problem giving away free money,” Huerta said. “Please: Don’t leave this money on the table ... It’s time to call your repair shop, make installation plans, and pick out your equipment.”

Huerta also addressed the FAA’s problems with funding. Since he joined the FAA seven years ago, Huerta said, the agency has endured the uncertainty of 23 short-term reauthorization extensions. “That’s no way to run the best aviation system in the world,” he said. He added that the debate taking place in Washington now about the FAA’s funding structure is “long overdue.” The country needs to have a “meaningful discussion about how we can improve the services we deliver today,” Huerta said, “while preparing for an increasingly complex and growing set of users in the future.” Huerta also encouraged pilots to take advantage of the FAA’s new BasicMed program for pilot medical certification. His term as administrator will end this year.


One person was killed and two injured, when a Lake Renegade crashed on takeoff from the AirVenture Seaplane Base on Thursday. The victims, all believed to be from Minnesota, were trying to fly home when the amphibious flying boat flipped as it was taking off from a choppy Lake Winnebago. The aircraft remained partially submerged in the water and first responders arrived by boat to rescue the occupants.

The three occupants survived the crash but one died later in the hospital. Two people were trapped in the plane but one managed to escape through a door that opened on impact, according to the sheriff’s office. One of the first responders suffered a cut and burns from leaking gasoline. Winds were reported about 12-15 knots on the lake Thursday afternoon.

The Over and Above Underwriter - Click to read about Aerial Application

Image: EAA

A team of three high-school students from Alexandria, Virginia, won EAA’s $25,000 Founder’s Innovation Prize on Tuesday night, after a live judging event at the Theater in the Woods at Oshkosh. Their concept, titled “Remora System,” displays airspeed and angle of attack on a head-mounted display. A pod mounted under the wing provides the sensor inputs. Team member Justin Zhou said last year’s winner, Ihab Awad, was generous in helping them to prepare. “It was amazing how much effort he put into telling us how the competition worked,” Justin said. “We had no idea. We had never been to Oshkosh. The fact that we are here now is amazing.” Thomas Baron and Max Lord rounded out the team. The five finalists each had 10 minutes to present their ideas to the judges, followed by five minutes of questions.

Second place and $10,000 went to Andy Meyer, who developed a device that provides progressive aural cues as an aircraft approaches attitude regimes where loss of control may be imminent. Third place and $5,000 went to former astronaut Mike Foale for his “Solar Pilot Guard,” which provides voice cues to the pilot when it detects the potential for loss of control. The judging panel consisted of Charlie Precourt, a former NASA shuttle commander and chairman of EAA’s safety committee, aerobatic champion Michael Goulian, former NTSB air safety investigator Gregory Feith, civilian test pilot Dave Morss, and Van’s Aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven. The judges sorted through more than 70 submissions before selecting the five finalists. “Comparing last year to this year, the presenters were much more prepared from a technical, in-depth understanding of what they were trying to accomplish, and what the limitations were,” Precourt said. “Each of them showed that they had great, broad knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of their concept.”

BREAKTHROUGH! - Cubcrafters

After a two-year test program that started in September 2015, Richard Hogan’s Commuter Craft is prepping for ShipTwo, the second and final company aircraft before moving into an “alpha test” stage. ShipTwo is expected to be the final design as far as pilots are concerned, but the Cartersville, Georgia-based company plans to work with five experienced builders to test the build experience before unleashing their kit on the broader market in the fall of 2018.

Commuter Craft used ShipOne to validate the aircraft’s stall/spin resistance and slow flight characteristics, which Hogan reports were benign and as one would expect from a canard-controlled aircraft. Hogan says ShipOne had roll rates that were probably too high for non-aerobatic use and the canopy wasn’t the ideal configuration for easy access—both problems that will be fixed in ShipTwo.

Hogan says the final consumer-facing kit airplane will have a top speed just over 200 MPH with a final approach speed around 75 MPH. Commuter Craft intends for builders to come to the company's facility to assemble their airplane with the company’s tooling and under the company’s expert supervision. Someday, Hogan wants to build a roadable version for last-mile trips to and from the airport, which he expects will be licensed as a motorcycle and use electric wheel motors for propulsion on the ground.

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A remote tower system will be installed, tested and certified at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, a general aviation field in Loveland, Colorado, Searidge Technologies, the vendor that will build the system, announced this week. The project will provide a test site for the technology, and will increase efficiency and safety at the airport, Searidge said. “Searidge is looking forward to working with the FAA and [Colorado] Aeronautics to certify one of the first remote towers in the United States,” said Moodie Cheikh, CEO of Searidge, which is based in Ottawa, Canada. “We are confident in our team and our technology to deliver a flexible solution that will not only meet the needs of [the airport] but also demonstrate how such a system could be used around the country to provide safe, cost-effective control services.”

The remote tower will be the first in the world to integrate both video and radar to provide a comprehensive view of the airport surface and Class D airspace to air traffic controllers working in a remote facility, according to Searidge. The technology will enhance situational awareness of the airport environment and airspace that will be superior to that of a traditional airport traffic control tower, Searidge says, yet the costs of construction, operations and staffing will be about $9 million, much less than what would be required for a traditional control tower. One other remote tower is operating in the U.S., in Leesburg, Va. That system is currently being tested.


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At AirVenture, the din of airplanes starts early and builds to a deafening crescendo about the time Jeff Boerboon launches his Screamin' Sasquatch jet-powered Waco. It’s just stupefyingly loud, to the point of causing minor trickles of blood out of exposed bodily openings. But I’m pretty sure the B-1 passes were even louder than that and there’s nothing like a touch of four-engine heater to trim out 110 db of skull crushing overpressure.

Not that I’m complaining. I’ve always believed that if it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing. However, compared to those noise makers, my contribution was rather more delicate. Wednesday morning, Dan Gryder called up and asked if we wanted to fly his DC-3 for some passes over Wittman. Sure, I’ll sign up for that. What could be more over the top than putting a DC-3 newbie in the left seat and flying 50-foot passes down Runway 18 in the misty morning?

Unbeknownst to me, this year’s sponsor of Gryder’s Douglas, Gold Seal Ground Schools, live streamed the whole thing, replete I suppose with my foul-mouthed cursing. I’ve really got to clean that up. I’ve got some video of the flight that I’ll post as soon as I get caught up.

I told Gryder that flying the DC-3 was about what I expected; it’s a big dump truck of an airplane with control forces that require both hands, both arms and three feet. I thought Gryder was pushing against me on the rudder, but no, it’s just that stiff. We strafed the runway three or four times and Gryder kept hectoring me to push the thing lower. He said we were at 100 feet, but I thought closer to 50. When an airplane that big gets into ground effect, it’s like flying into a big sponge; you have to forcibly push it lower.

In the midst of a busy Oshkosh morning, we were essentially doing pattern work for 40 minutes. Kudos to the tower controller who took all this in stride. We were weaving past the lumbering Tri-Motor, Cherokees and Ercoupes, all the while sweeping the thing inside of Runway 9/27, which had a steady stream of arrivals who I'm sure were wide-eyed at the green-shirted maniac barreling at them in a 25,000-pound classic twin.

From the cockpit, it looks like the airplane can’t possibly turn that tight, but it’s only going 100 knots, so the turn radius is surprisingly compact. If it looks stately and effortless from the ground, it ain’t that way from the cockpit. I’m pretty sure the audio will reveal me grunting to roll the beast over and put both feet on the yoke to get it to dive.

What great fun! And only at AirVenture.

Who Are These People?

Everyone I talk to, but especially the vendors in the hangars and the outdoor booth dwellers, seems to think there are more people at AirVenture this year. I’ve been doing this too long to rely on my own perceptions, so I’ll wait until EAA releases some final numbers.

Nonetheless, as I was driving out of the press parking lot on Thursday afternoon, an absolute sea of humanity streamed in front of the car, pinning me in place for what felt like 10 minutes. They were dragging folding chairs, bags full of food and drink, cameras, funny hats, kids in strollers and all the rest of the paraphernalia people haul to airshows. I was in a hurry, but it was at least entertaining.

Then this thought occurred to me: Who the %$#^ are you people and why aren’t you buying airplanes? If this many people are interested in coming to the spectacle of an AirVenture airshow, why aren’t they interested in participating and what will it take to get them to do that? Or maybe everyone who’s really interested in being a pilot is already here. But that can’t be it, because we’re getting all sorts of wish-I-was-there emails. Hey, it’s not too late. Today’s Friday and there are still three more days left. I was planning to leave today, but no way. There’s still too much stuff I haven’t covered. Today, I’ll hump my camera gear on foot; it’s faster. Maybe I ought to borrow one of those strollers. I long ago got over the fear of looking ridiculous.

Lynx EAA AirVenture show special

After a one-year absence, Engineered Propulsion Systems was back at AirVenture this year showing off its innovative Graflight engine. In this video, AVweb interviewed EPS's Michael Fuchs for an update on this engine.


At AirVenture 2017, AVweb's Geoff Rapoport spoke with Angela Anderson, ForeFlight's director of marketing, about the ForeFlight Scout—the smallest and least expensive ADS-B in receiver on the market. Designed specifically to integrate with ForeFlight Mobile, they're on sale now for $200.

Can wi-fi make you a smarter pilot?

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta made his farewell appearance at AirVenture Thursday and had some advice for his successor and for the agency's political masters. He spoke with Russ Niles after a news conference.


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Many years ago we were on the ramp at Augusta Bush Field tuned in to ground frequency about to call for our clearance and heard this.

Cessna XYZ:  Ground, Cessna XYZ requests taxi.

Ground:  Cessna XYZ, do you have Charlie?

Cessna XYZ:  Uh, no. I'm solo today.

Ground:  No, no, Cessna XYZ, do you have ATIS information Charlie?

Cessna XYZ:  Uh, Ground, I'm just a country boy. I don't know about that big city stuff.

 After that, Ground just chuckled, gave him the information and cleared him on his way. 


John Tensfeldt 


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