World's Leading Independent Aviation News Service
Volume 25, Number 36a
September 3, 2018
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Van's Takes RV-12 Assembly In-House
Russ Niles

The world’s largest kit aircraft manufacturer is about to become the world’s newest aircraft manufacturer. Van’s Aircraft has announced it will expand its Aurora, Oregon, facility to build its popular RV-12 light sport aircraft. Factory-built RV-12s have been available for several years but Van’s contracted out the building of them to Synergy Air. Van’s is now bringing the operation in house and building a new assembly line. It will continue its relationship with Synergy as a builder assist facility. “As the SLSA program has matured, Van’s has expanded its workforce and capabilities to include marketing and aircraft construction,” Van’s said in a news release. “This change represents the next logical step in both companies’ successful business growth.”

Van’s says there will be no price increase and pledges to maintain the build quality that Synergy achieved. “Synergy Air has been Van’s assembly partner since the launch of the RV-12 SLSA program and has done a tremendous job for Van’s and our customers,” the company said. The new factory will make the RV-12iS and RV-12-iST models and the move is not expected to affect delivery schedules for aircraft already on order. Aviation Consumer Editor Larry Anglisano reviewed the aircraft four years ago at the Light Sport Expo in Sebring.

They Call The Wind Betty
Paul Berge

No matter how much we who carp continue to carp, certain aviation themes will never change. It’s karma—what happens to pilots happens because we made it so.  An unchangeable percentage of aircraft will run out of gas or slide sideways off runways in the mildest of crosswinds, and—unrelated to safety but irksome—82 percent of our community will confuse “hangar” with “hanger,” regardless of how snarky and uppity we who correct the spelling errors on FBO bulletin boards get.

For the record, flight jackets are hung on hangars, while airplanes are stored inside … oh, carp! It’s too late, the two words have become interchangeable. Best to admit defeat and turn away from hopeless—albeit righteous—pursuits and tackle issues of lesser significance. Namely, how to land an airplane with minimal damage. Yeah, I’m aiming low.

Most aircraft will land if left unattended. Gravity giggles at our squishy attempts to overpower its grip. I once made a bad landing. And, then, the next time I attempted to land, I made another stinker … and another. Forty years later, I found myself grinding rubber off my Citabria’s left tire on a paved runway while landing in what—to my surprise—turned out to be a right crosswind, despite the AWOS promise that the wind would be from my left. Two lessons worth sharing: 1.) AWOS lies; it’s a computer, and all computers are evil; and, 2.) airplanes should only land on grass, because it’s much quieter than a hard surface. But, when instant karma strikes, you should always have something to blame, especially when flying solo.

Don’t underestimate the redemptive power of blame. Rare is the day goes by I don’t blame someone or something for my faults, which are really not my fault. How often have you attended a pilots lounge debrief and listened to the most recent arrival hold forth on the “tricky crosswinds,” as the assembled coffee-drinkers nod in unison as though winds of any kind play tricks? They don’t. Wind is just wind, and, although, that should be the end of any Zen treatise on the being of air, it’s not. 

Wind has no malice. It has no conscience, nor does it have intent. If it did, its desires would reach beyond our sniggling ambitions to navigate through the moving air while seated, white-knuckled, inside a beer can with wings pulled by a 50-year-old engine well past TBO. Nothing against beer, but the wind doesn’t give a fig about us. And yet, we worship it and even give it names, such as Williwaw, Scirocco or Mariah. Well, some people call the wind, Mariah, but I prefer to call the wind as I experience it. Or, Betty.

When my students —clutching their EAA caps—question if it’s too windy to fly, I smile in an insane old CFI way and shout into the gale, “The wind is our friend!” And, then, like Captain Ahab, offer great reward to those who will launch with me in a monomaniacal quest for the perfect wind. I’ve yet to encounter it, but I have tangled with a few contenders, only to discover that wind never sticks around to take credit for the havoc it wreaks. It morphs, shifts shape and steals into the night like a thief with your severed ego stashed inside its swag bag. Friend? I should think not, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all get along. Or at least recognize a bully and stay out of its way? Never! To do so is to shrink from the challenge, and that’s no way to handle a bully. Best to strike a Churchillian pose and spit in its eye.

Dwight D. Eisenhower may have once said, but likely didn’t, “To defeat a pernicious enemy you have to know it and, then, overwhelm it with unfathomable force.” Truth is you’ll never overwhelm the wind, but you can know a bit about it before taking it on. Know that’s it’s fickle and never blows in straight lines like in textbooks. In fact, it has no lines. Wind is a giant blob of swirling 3-D atmosphere, possibly moving in one general direction.

Picture a wind sock. This iconic tattered rag waves like a battle flag atop a skinny pole, several hundred feet from your touchdown spot. Much like its digital offspring, the AWOS/ASOS, it samples the movement of air—at that location and nowhere else. From its flapping reports we humans—the ones with the brains—interpret the semaphore: “Hey, winds outta the west … no, southwest ... no, wait, I mean northwest ….” And, somehow, we have to plant our three wheels on the centerline without a sideload. Only we don’t plant three wheels or shouldn’t.

Pop quiz: How many wheels are in a Cessna 172’s landing gear? The answer is two. The mains are the landing gear. The wheel under the nose is there to keep the prop from striking the runway. Extra credit: Why don’t we call it taking-off gear? After all, we use the wheels just as much for takeoff as landing … with the possible exception of complex airplanes that periodically take off on the wheels but land on the belly skins, a bad thing. 

Tailwheel pilots, shaking fists at the screen, know they can “three-point it on,” and that’s cool, because tailwheel pilots are above the ordinary. Still, try three-pointing it on with a stiff crosswind, and you may look silly as your Cub suddenly becomes a YouTube wind-T star. And we won’t even divert into the shibboleth of: “Which is the better way to land a taildragger in a crosswind—full-stall or wheel-landing?” The answer is, “Depends.” End of discussion, except, yeah, I know that only airplanes with tail skids are technically taildraggers.

Fourteenth century comedy writer, Dante Alighieri, wrote, “All hope abandon ye who enter here.” I guess it’s funnier in the original Italian, but the point is that, as applied to aviation, hope springs with every takeoff and shouldn’t be dashed upon arrival. My friend and fellow blogger, Paul Bertorelli, recently wrote a piece on appropriate approach speeds. You can click on it here or just take his word that … there are no appropriate, one-size-fits all airspeeds.

But I wouldn’t know, because I teach from the back seat of a tandem aircraft where I rarely see much of the instrument panel. Mostly I see backs of heads swaying opposite to turns, hinting that the student is uncoordinated or afraid of falling out. I also watch them stretch their necks in the landing flair to see over the cowling, when they should be slumping lazily into the seat and bringing that same nose up to avoid the inevitable flat-landing bounce, blush, swerve— “I got it!”—and go-around.  

I don’t need instruments to feel when the airplane is sinking on final—power … power … power! —or when we’re about to float over the corn, across the threshold and past the departure end. A CFI’s calibrated butt possesses sensitive Ground Proximity Warning Sensors (GPWS), there to save the host.

When it comes to crosswinds there’s no panel instrument in my world that gives an appropriate wind correction angle in that final few, gyrating seconds of approach, flair and flop. The AWOS is useless at this point, as is the wind sock, yet so proudly waving from the FBO’s ramparts a half-mile away. To get a little Zen here, again, you become the wind sock as flying beer can meets planet Earth at whatever appropriate airspeed the wind gods demand.

The angle between rolling it on straight or ripping off the sidewalls is determined by the appropriate sneaker pressing the rudder pedal, with an opposite-hand input poking the joystick or yoke into the wind. How much of each? Whatever works, because a good landing is more solo improv jazz than regimented marching band. Yer on yer own so blow cool, and the wind might not applaud, but at least you’ll know you’ve played your best.

Truthin’ time: If I don’t have a student on board I’ll blame “tricky winds,” “dust devils,” “lactose intolerance” or “air pockets” for any of my numerous mediocre landings, although only if someone witnesses it.  But, if you’re walking across the ramp and your toupee blows off, don’t blame Betty. She and I go way back, and I know that she can be malicious, but I also know that she doesn’t care if we launch or sit in the hangar on her busier days and carp.

Flight Bag Roundup
Larry Anglisano

The pilot's flight bag has gotten smaller over the years and in a market flooded with compact flight totes, four bags—all with different styling—survived our long-term evaluation and earned our critical praise. In this video, Aviation Consumer Editor Larry Anglisano offers a close look at four favorites on the Aviation Consumer evaluation bench.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Jet Eze Builder Killed In Crash
Russ Niles

The pilot and builder of the one-of-a-kind Jet Eze aircraft was killed in the crash of the airplane on approach to the airport in Covington, Tennessee, on Saturday afternoon. Lance Hooley, who adapted the canard design of Burt Rutan’s Long Eze to take a GE-T58-8 engine, died when the aircraft crashed 2,000 feet short of the runway in Covington. None of the local media stories included witness accounts. Although the aircraft looked like a Long Eze, it was substantially altered with a wider cockpit, beefed-up internal structure and integrated winglets. It stood a foot taller than the Long EZE.

Hooley told Kitplanes Magazine the aircraft took off at 80 knots and that was the approach speed. It cruised at 250 knots true on 31 GPH and had a 4.5 hour range. The crash occurred about 5:26 p.m. and a post-crash fire consumed much of the wreck. Hooley debuted the aircraft at Sun ’n Fun 2017 and AVweb’s Geoff Rapoport prepared this video report.


Pratt Working On Geared Turbofan Vibration
Russ Niles

Bloomberg is reporting that Pratt & Whitney has been quietly assessing excessive vibration in its new-design geared turbofan engines in the latest of a string of teething problems with the fuel-sipping design. Bloomberg says a vibration issue has caused cockpit alerts in A320neos that have been delivered to airlines all over the world. Pratt told Bloomberg it’s working on the problem. The FAA has confirmed it’s working with Pratt to identify the cause but it hasn’t issued any orders or bulletins to operators. 

Bloomberg says its sources estimate that about 10 A320neos are grounded at a time while engineers probe the cause. Like most major technological leaps, the geared turbofan has suffered a series of service entry problems and Pratt is under pressure to get them fixed. The engine uses about 30 percent less fuel than previous generation engines and since fuel is the largest cost for airlines it’s a big attraction. Airbus has kept its chin up through the difficulties, which also affect its newly acquired A220 line of jets that it took over from Bombardier, but there are cracks appearing in that brave face as stock prices dropped more than a full percentage point on the latest news. Airbus says it still plans to deliver 800 A320neos this year. “The risk is that the series of issues with the GTF engine may have begun to test investor’s patience,” Bloomberg reported Jeffries International analyst Sandy Morris as warning clients.

Goodyear Christens New Blimp
Kate O'Connor

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company christened its newest blimp, Wingfoot Three, on Thursday, completing the company’s goal to renew its iconic blimp fleet. The ceremony took place on the 89th anniversary of the christening of a previous Goodyear Blimp by Amelia Earhart. Wingfoot Three was christened by Shaesta Waiz, who is known for being the youngest woman to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft.

“Shaesta is an aviation pioneer, an inspiring role model and a passionate advocate of pursuing STEM education and careers,” said Goodyear Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Richard J. Kramer. “Goodyear is proud to welcome Shaesta to the family of christeners of our iconic blimps.”

Goodyear says its three Wingfoot models are faster, more maneuverable and more than 50 feet longer than their predecessors, with significant upgrades to the avionics and flight control systems. The new flight control system replaces the manual flight system that Goodyear has been using on its airships since 1925. The Wingfoot blimps have a top speed of 73 miles per hour and can carry up to 12 passengers. Wingfoot One was launched in 2014 and Wingfoot Two in 2016.

JP International 'Checklist for JPI
Perlan Tops 76,000 Feet
Russ Niles

Airbus’ Perlan glider beat the U2's altitude record on Sunday, reaching 76,000 feet in pressure altitude in the mountain wave over Patagonia in southwestern Argentina. It came a week after Perlan broke its own record and hit more than 62,000 feet. The high-tech sailplane was piloted by Jim Payne and Tim Gardner, both of Minden, Nevada, the base for high-altitude gliding in North America. The Perlan beat Jerry Hoyt’s spyplane altitude record of 73,737 feet and the Perlan team hopes to get to 90,000 feet with this version of the Perlan. There is still a 45,000-foot cushion between Perlan and the holder of the ultimate aircraft altitude record.

That mark is held by Alexandr Fedotov, whose modified MiG E-266M got to 123,523 feet on Aug. 31, 1977. The highest an American pilot has gone is about 120,000 feet in a rocket-assisted F-104. The Perlan team has another few weeks to push toward its goal before the late winter weather of Patagonia starts to moderate and the mountain waves diminish. A video account of last week’s 62,000-foot flight is below.

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Industry Round-up, August 31, 2018
AVweb Staff

AVweb’s weekly news roundup found reports on a new exhibit at the Tillamook Air Museum, a research team looking for ASRS report from GA pilots, installation of a new in-flight connectivity system on a Bombardier Challenger 300, an updated white paper for business aircraft operators and an agreement between Hawaiian Airlines and MINT Software Systems.

In cooperation with Scroggins Aviation of Las Vegas, Nevada, the Tillamook Air Museum has added the forward fuselage of a 1960 Trans-World Airlines Convair 880 jetliner to its collection of historic aircraft and aviation exhibits. The 43-foot fuselage section will be taken to the museum’s location in Tillamook, Oregon, for use as an interactive walkthrough exhibit.

A team researching wake turbulence is asking for GA pilots to report wake turbulence encounters using the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). The researchers say that most of the wake turbulence reports received are from commercial airlines, leading to data that doesn’t take into account the perspective of small aircraft operators.

Banyan Air Service has announced that it has completed its first installation of a Gogo AVANCE L5 system on a Bombardier Challenger 300. The company says the installation of the 4G in-flight connectivity system was completed on budget in under three weeks. Also for business aircraft, the Advanced Aircrew Academy has published a white paper covering changes to training requirements and recommendations in the 2018 International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations. The white paper is available at no charge.

Finally, Hawaiian Airlines has signed a service agreement with MINT Software Systems to implement MINT's Training and Resource Management System. The system provides training schedules, record management, electronic grading, reporting and analysis capabilities.

Top Letters And Comments, August 31, 2018

Swift Fuels Suspends PAFI Activities

 I'm not at all surprised to see Swift bow out. They began life as a biotechnology company shopping microbial technology that might be used to produce aviation fuel. The economics were rarely discussed. During the clean energy boom eight years ago they (and other marginal concepts) were able to find financing and government grants. When that ended, Swift reinvented itself as a petrochemical company and got itself selected by the FAA - an agency that is not known for, and shouldn't be expected to possess, chemical engineering expertise. I'd like to make a couple of comments about mixing these candidate fuels. If you don't like chemistry, stop reading and I won't be offended. Each fuel has a fairly unique set of chemical components and, when mixed, the properties (vapor pressure, relative volatility, tolerance for water, detonation resistance.....) of the resulting solution can be very different from either starting fuel. Furthermore, these do not change in linear proportion as the fuels are mixed. Mapping these effects It is a daunting problem and an area of considerable research in chemical thermodynamics. I think we are underestimating the difficulty of certifying multiple fuels in all combinations. It is entirely possible that the STC process will be more effective when it is directed toward modifying existing power plants to tolerate current unleaded fuels. The market will sort it out.

Kim Hunter

If you look at back issues of flying and other aviation magazines you find this debate about unleaded avgas has been going on for decades, since the 80's at least. I have a 2014 dodge. It can run on anything from 87 to 93 octane with no problem and adjusts the timing to prevent preignition. We are looking at this from the wrong end. If you want unleaded fuel you need to update the engines and ignition systems. We are still using systems designed in the 1950s. The FAA needs to certify drop in electronic ignition systems for current engines which, with variable timing, would allow the engines to operate on a variety of octane levels with minimal performance loss and reduce engine problems such as stuck valves and other issues due to lead. Our problem isn't so much the antiquated rules of the FAA regarding fuels but the antiquated rules requiring us to use ancient technology when so much more is available.

Rodney Hall

The Swift fuel 94 Octane lead-free is a great fuel. Luckily we have it at the Sebring Florida airport. Everybody that uses it reports the engine runs way better with it. Which kinda makes sense, lead does not burn, so whatever quanta it occupies in the fuel it is dead weight. Swift fuel or any comparable fuel burns 100% so per weight basis the pilot gets more bang for the buck. I run it in my old GMC Yukon and I can tell the difference. Anyone that has an 80/87 fuel capable engine and has access to Swift fuel ought to try it for themselves. I am eagerly awaiting the day I can fill up with 100 Octane Swift in my Beech Sierra, or comparable fuel that has no lead. Lead is poison to the engine, I'd like to see it go away.

Max Mason

Anyone who reads John Deakin (AKA "Pelican's Perch") would know that the PAFI process was pretty well doomed from the start. Deakin opines that a drop in 100 UL is unlikely, given the other restrictions from OSHA and EPA on toxicity of available high-octane hydrocarbons. You can either have octane or low toxicity, but you can't have both. What I find amazing is that the FAA apparently has no one who understands (or cares) about how developmental studies are conducted. To enter into a process to "refine" the formulation of a fuel and not allow any changes to the original mixture is unthinkable. A freshman chemistry student knows better than that. For once, however, the little guys get a break on this mess. Older low octane engines can do just fine on either ethanol free mogas or the (approximately) 94 octane avgas that is left after the lead is removed from 100LL. The big-bore high HP engines will have to have modifications to accept the same. But, their owners are better able to afford the costs than the unwashed masses. The alternative is to hope that GAMI or another STC applicant can come up with a universal substitute that may have its own problems, especially if the compatibility with other fuels cannot be overcome. Oh, and with all due respect to those who worship the kerosene gods, diesel engines are probably not the answer. While they may work in new airframes, they are hideously expensive, complex and not field repairable. Squeezing them into the legacy fleet is not an option and the whole idea of a replacement fuel is to keep the legacy fleet flying. Electronic ignition with variable timing is a much better, and more cost effective solution. Plus, it actually gives some return on investment through better fuel economy, longer plug life and lower maintenance costs. As usual, the free market can probably develop an answer if the FAA will just get out of the way.

John McNamee

Electrics and Diesels

On July 26, Paul commented in "Electrics are Meh" that the near-term future seems to lie with hybrids, but that it is more efficient to have the gasoline engine drive the propeller directly without the weight of the batteries, speed controls, electric motors, etc.

The next day, Paul said in "The Diesel Dance" that they "will have a steep uphill slog."

I think the only hope for diesels is as a part of a hybrid electric powertrain. Because diesel engines today produce a very sharp impulse to the shaft and prop every time there is a combustion event, diesel engines need to have heavy fly-wheels, gearboxes, torsional dampers, and robust propellers.

In a diesel-electric power train, the diesel would drive a generator directly, and there would be no need for the heavy fly-wheels, gearboxes, and torsional dampers. The propeller could be substantially lighter because the smooth torque applied by the electric motor would reduce the stresses on it.

Electric motors are relatively light, and the batteries in a diesel-electric would need only enough capacity to act as a reserve for a return-to-land engine failure on takeoff emergency.

A diesel-electric hybrid may, or may not, be as efficient as today's gasoline engines, but if a non-avgas fuel was required, the diesel-electric hybrid may be a more suitable alternative to a straight diesel.

Andrew Probert

When There's No Need For Speed

Having taught "bush" flying, I consider your comments on the value of appropriate speed to be right on. That applies to every airplane I have flown from 600 lbs. to 48,000 lbs.

Having just flown an Avid Flyer that was not quite rigged properly, I agree on the idea that very light aircraft can be a handful. (Also, the Avid has ATROCIOUS adverse aileron yaw.)

Ian Hollingsworth

I agree that a pilot must select the exact proper speed under local conditions for safe landings. However, I feel the location and type of speed indicator - whether steam or tape - is not the appropriate instrument for the task.

For steam style the location is too low in the cluster or with a tape it is part of a confusing array.

The pilot cannot see "trends" in speed variation well with either of these speedos - just sudden information of a change - and 5 Knots could be the difference between life and death.

My suggestion is to locate the speedo on top of the dash panel where the pilot could see it while looking thru the wind screen. This would be a digital style and the pilot could easily monitor TRENDS in airspeed and adjust (not correct) in small increments of throttle and pitch.

I think this would be easy to test as very fine recording of elevation are to be had with Flight Monitoring Apps. A more expansive test could be done with pressure sensors on the yoke and RPM recordings from the engine. My feelings are we would see much less yoke pressure and fewer and smaller engine RPM changes on final.

Frank Kalinski

You nailed this one. My Mooney days taught me that 5 Knots too fast made for long and bad landings. More than one Mooney pilot has pushed his nosewheel to the ground first resulting in damage to important things like props and engines. I flew with a Mooney test pilot in Kerrville when they were testing an aerobatic version of the short body Mooneys. When I came in for a landing a couple of knots too fast, his hand reached slowly towards the yoke to prevent me from "pushing". "Don't worry", I said, "I know I just have to wait for it to slow down".

Landing speed is like porridge, too hot is no good, too cold is no good, but just right is...a good landing.

Carl Marbach

The one thing I took away from your LSA video was exactly what you said ... too much speed is an issue. After many decades of flying my C172 with zero issues, I came close to crunching it on a blustery day last year (coming back from an ADS-B Rebate flight, BTW). I couldn't hold the centerline and was headed off the runway into the cross wind when I decided to get outta Dodge. I then ended a subsequent approach to a grass runway when I decided that wet grass would be worse. I shoulda gone around to line up with a "backup" runway locals use -- a taxiway -- but didn't. I then found out how good my brakes work. Subsequent self analysis yielded that I was too fast on the first landing and forced the successful one because I got nervous. Watching your video solidified my own thoughts and I learned from your analysis. Thanks. We're taught to fear stalls so much that we go too far the other way, I think. During my FR two years ago, the CFI complimented me on holding heading during a pretty deep stall sequence. I think that practicing slow flight and being confident on recognize what 'your' airplane does -- as you say -- is far more important than adding speed because you fear stalling. But NOW ... I have a new tool. Talk to myself and then answer. Why didn't I think of that? :-)

Larry Stencel

The critical difference between a traditional round, moving-hand display, and a "sexy" moving-tape display is this: the tape display has to be READ; then the acquired information has to be processed - the dial display information can be swallowed whole. Example: You've likely seen one of those large-form-factor clocks - the ones where the hands are visible; mechanism that drives them is buried in the wall; and the presentation may or may not include wall-mounted numerals or place-marker chits. Even without the chits, most people can glance at the display and tell the time within three minutes or so. Even when the display includes only an hour hand (no minutes pointer), most folks can gauge (couldn't resist the pun) the time within ten minutes or so. At a glance. No pondering required. Neatly, the angular presentation also offers a way to add and subtract blocks of minutes - or hours - VISUALLY: 90 degrees = 15 minutes or 3 hours, etc. It's a marvelous piece of human-factors engineering. Really. A ROTATIONAL sweeping-needle display leverages humans' amazing ability (adaptation?) to see and interpret ANGULAR-presentation information, including direction-and-rate-of-change - right to the point of being able to fly accurate phugoid trajectories based solely on the ASI display. By contrast, in Paul's own words, "the airspeed tape is like a berserk slot machine." Not to mention (but I'm about to) the running argument over whether the tape displays should show higher airspeeds descending from above, or rising from below... Cool is tempting, but effective is good. I say this less as a pilot, than as someone who has spent a LOT of time designing man-machine interfaces. As a side point, I'm STILL waiting for somebody to do what seems obvious to me: integrate AoA information into an ASI display, WHERE IT BELONGS. Just put colored AoA arcs (or pointers) onto an OLED "dial" face; expand/contract and rotate the arcs in response to changes in AoA - by reference to the MOVING airspeed needle. After ten minutes of practice, you could maneuver through the full range of airspeeds at a constant angle-of-attack - by loading and unloading the wing with the elevator. What a teaching tool THAT would be! Lecture/rant over.

Tom Yarsley

Garmin/uAvionix Lawsuit

I'm puzzled by Jim Holdeman's comment on the lawsuit. He refers to 2.4 GHz spread spectrum comm technology, but that's used in cellphones and is based on the Markey-Antheil patent #2292387 of 1942 of frequency hopping ("Markey" is Hedy Lamarr, and is the name of her husband of the time of filing). But spread spectrum is NOT ADS-B 1090 MHz/978 MHz frequency and could NOT be used with 2.4 GHz cellphone frequencies. The frequency hopping would prevent air-to-air communications of ADS-B OUT data between aircraft, so would be impractical. If Beard wants to change ADS-B to 2.4 GHz, convince the FAA to make the change, but that ship has sailed and I'm not going to re-equip for a new frequency on someone else's whim.

The lawsuit between Avionix & Garmin has to do with the '301' patent filed first by Garmin that patents the extraction of the existing ship's squawk code and other encoded data from the outgoing transponder signal using a 'receiver' built into the ADS-B box. Because Avionix uses this technique, albeit with a clever 'receiver' on the DC power bus collecting conducted EMI flowing back onto the DC bus from the transponder, it is, nonetheless, a 'receiver' and can be construed as violating the patent, just as anyone trying to patent spread spectrum technology nowadays can't do so because of the Markey-Antheil patent of 1942. (the 1942 patent is long expired, so folks can use the tech, but they can't claim patent rights on anyone else.) Garmin's patent was granted in 2011, so it's still valid.

David Rosing

Why Light Sport Airplanes Suffer So Many Crashes

Thank you so much for "Why Light Sport Aircraft Suffer So Many Crashes". Your presentation confirms my suspicions generated while flying in Africa for a conservation organization. LSAs were seen as an inexpensive way to get aerial surveillance into national parks. I flew a Cessna 206 and was skeptical about LSA use for the reasons you give in your presentation and more. When the director of the national park in Congo where I was working crashed and destroyed the park's LSA I began to grumble given not only that crash but three other LSA crashes in other national parks. I recommended Super Cub or Husky replacements but that fell on deaf ears because that would mean the pilots would have to get a private pilot license. Actually, all should have commercial licenses because the pilots were receiving compensation but that fell on even deafer ears. The 5th crash occurred and killed the just newly minted LSA pilot in a new Zenair with an illegal bladder tank on the shelf behind the pilot. He and his passenger burned to death in the Zenair, 90 kg over gross weight in windy down drafty conditions. Even then, I unable to get traction on aviation safety and management and did not renew my contract.

John Sidle

Colorado Now Has A Spaceport

This is one of the dumbest articles you've published. Considering the volume of information in my inbox, your help with winnowing the "fluff" out of your publication would be greatly appreciated.

John Gebhard

Space Force

The reason for implementing space force is to keep China and Russa in check, therefore it is long overdue. NASA really, they could not even keep our astronauts safe.

Allen Churchwell

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Picture of the Week, August 30, 2018
A D-Day veteran C-47 sitting quietly at its station in Douglas, GA. Copyrighted photo by Tom Glass.

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Healthy Pilot #15: Boosting Your Energy
Tim Cole

A lack of energy is one of those subtle health issues that are easy to ignore and hard to fix. We tend to brush off a lack of energy with a nap. But chronic lack of energy—especially for a busy pilot—can interfere with quality of life and even signal a potential health problem.

For this edition of Healthy Pilot, we looked at what energy is, and ways you can improve yours if you’re feeling a bit under the weather.  

Energy has two components: physical energy and mental energy. We achieve physical energy when the oxygen we breathe and the nutrients we consume travel through our blood stream to cells throughout our body. Structures in the cells called mitochondria convert the oxygen and nutrients into a chemical called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which provides energy for all human activity.

Mental acuity results when the ATP in your brain cells generates energy. But mental energy is also influenced by emotions, so positive thinking is a significant part of boosting your brain. What decides your energy level? Your genes play a part, but also sleep cycles, seasons and light, hormones, your body weight, your age and your overall health.

Food has a big influence. Muscles burn carbohydrates, but it’s important to pick your carbohydrates carefully: Avoid refined carbohydrates and instead concentrate on the kind of complex carbs found in high-fiber multi-grain bread, brown rice, whole-grain pasta and most vegetables. You need protein to maintain muscle and bone—and the best sources are lean animal protein like fatty-fish and skinless chicken. But don’t discount protein from plant-based sources like beans and legumes.


Stimulants like coffee have a short-term effect on energy levels. Be careful of overconsumption of energy drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar, which have caffeine, but also sugar.  Since 2004 the FDA has received reports of 34 deaths and 56 adverse reactions associated with energy drinks. Supplements like Coenzyme Q10 have been shown to increase exercise capacity, but more research is needed. The naturally occurring energy supplement DHEA has been touted as an energy booster, but there are concerns DHEA may increase the risk of breast and prostate cancer. Gingko biloba is perennially touted as a brain booster, but there are no strong studies available to prove the point.

What’s a pilot to do?

If you're find your energy flagging—and you want to stay sharp during a particularly tough flight, there are some things you can do:

Get plenty of sleep: That means early to bed and early to rise, with no energy-sapping alcohol the night before.

Eat for energy: Choose carbohydrates carefully, favoring fruits and vegetables.

Exercise: The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans says you should get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. But any exercise is better than none—even walking up the stairs or across a parking lot. So don't discount--maybe even enhance-- the normal activity you’re already getting.

Control stress: Easier said than done. But stress-induced emotions consume a lot of energy, and the cockpit distractions caused by stress could be life threatening. If you are experiencing unusual stress because of trouble at home or work, it might be smart to dial back on your flying.

Consider meditation and other restoratives: Gardening, reading, walking in the park—they are all natural calmatives, and calm boosts energy.

Stay goal oriented: Explore your “why.” Why do you want to feel more energetic? So you can travel with your spouse? Have fun with your grandkids? Fly your airplane? Having a strong reason to eat better, sleep better, banish stress and focus on what’s important is a great way to boost energy.

Short Final: Turtle

I was doing traffic pattern work in a Citabria on a Friday afternoon at a busy, towered, Class D airport. Meanwhile, the business jet traffic was picking up, and the tower controller was doing an admirable job working our touch and goes in between the jet arrivals and departures.

Lear123 (just departed): KXYZ Tower, be advised there is a large turtle on Runway 17, about two‑thirds of the way down from the numbers.

KXYZ Tower: Lear123, thanks for turtle report. Contact departure on 123.8.

KXYZ Tower: KXYZ traffic, be advised there is a large turtle on the west edge of Runway 17 at about 6,000 feet. We are monitoring his position.

Citabria 34NM: KXYZ Tower, 34NM is midfield downwind for another touch and go.

KXYZ Tower: 34NM, did you hear the turtle NOTAM?

Citabria 34NM: Roger that, but we don’t have him on TCAS, Turtle Collision Avoidance System.

KXYZ Tower: Citabria 34NM, you might want to avoid using too much runway on this one, although the turtle is likely no factor, he’s much faster than you are. Cleared touch and go Runway 17.

Grant Haddix
Katy, TX
Brainteasers Quiz #247: What's Ahead Can't Be Left Behind

As Space Force cadets boldly reach for the Sun and galaxy quests beyond, it's incumbent upon those left behind to maintain the aviation traditions that lead to successful sub-orbital flight while acing this earthly quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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