Lindbergh Foundation, Electric Flight Program Merge »

The Lindbergh Foundation is taking over the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Program, which includes the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize, the groups announced at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday. The two nonprofit groups share a common mission, Lindbergh Foundation Chairman Larry Williams told AVweb . "There was an opportunity to bring the two groups together and be stronger collectively," he said. Erik Lindbergh, founder of LEAP, will continue to support and promote the program. Yolanka Wulff, who was CEO of LEAP, will become executive director of The Lindbergh Foundation. More

Is There Room For A 240-HP Turbine? »

A Florida-based company called Diemech Turbine Solutions thinks so. Here at Sun 'n Fun it's showing a nice little 241-HP turbine that weighs about 125 pounds, less accessories. In this video, Diemech president Christian Skoppe told AVweb that it's made an agreement with the Czech-based PBS to eventually certify the TP 100 engine, which will be available in both turboprop and turboshaft versions. The market thrust, says Skoppe, isn't so much speed as it is fuel availability, a story we're hearing more and more from the international market. With avgas under threat of extinction, more OEMs and buyers are looking toward heavy fuel solutions, either Jet A or low-sulphur diesel fuels. The TP 100 springs from a small turbojet engine PBS made for the drone market, but the company also has experience in the manufacture of APUs. More

American Legend's 0-233 Cub Moving Along »

AVweb got a close look at American Legend's Lycoming-powered Super Legend but, alas, not at Sun 'n Fun. Legend's Dave Graham told us testing delays kept the company from bringing the airplane to Lakeland. But in this detailed video, which AVweb shot at Legend's home field in Sulphur Springs, Texas, you can get a look at some of the airplane's features. To keep the airframe light, Legend has used quite a bit of carbon fiber throughout the airframe, including the cabin detailing and the cowlings. It has new, balanced tail feathers and, like the Super Cub that inspired it, it has a wider cabin than the original J-3 and flaps. With the 115-HP engines, says Graham, the Super Legend has the same power-to-weight ratio as a Super Cub so we would expect similar performance. More

Sun 'n Fun Launches The Flight Season »

After record mild winters in much of the U.S., celebrating the arrival of Spring may seem anticlimactic, but springtime in Lakeland, Fla., still has it attractions -- jasmine in bloom, calm blue skies, and thousands of airplanes en route to Sun 'n Fun. The weather outlook for this year's show is looking very promising, especially compared to last year, when torrential rains were followed by a destructive tornado. On Monday, the parking and camping areas all were manicured and ready, with no mud to be seen, and sunny, relatively calm weather was forecast through at least the next few days. More

Embry Riddle To Offer LSA Audits »

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association are moving forward with a plan for ERAU to provide audits to LSA manufacturers, LAMA and ERAU said this week. The audits, which previously were provided by LAMA, are meant to ensure buyers that an independent party has checked to ensure that the manufacturer is following ASTM standards in production. Dan Johnson, president of LAMA, told AVweb the idea took root when LAMA worked with staff and students from the school on the Green Flight Challenge last year. "We found out that they were interested in taking this on, so we started discussions and have been figuring out how to make it work," he said. More

Quest Teams With Northrop Grumman For Kodiak Special Missions »

Quest Aircraft is now working on developing "special mission" capabilities for its rugged Kodiak STOL turboprop in partnership with Northrop Grumman, the companies have announced. Under the new agreement, the two companies will work together to develop technology to use the Kodiak as a platform for new purposes such as aerial intelligence, aerial observation, law enforcement, search and rescue, and aero-medical transport. "We believe that once integrated, this platform will be a real game-changer for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities for state, civil and international agencies as well as for special operations forces," said Bob Gamache, of Northrop Grumman Technical Services. More

"I Survived Sun 'n Fun" T-Shirts For Sale »

The Sun 'n Fun tornado last week was certainly a dramatic enough event, and affected enough people, that a T-shirt to commemorate it was inevitable. By Saturday, show-goers were turning up with gray T-shirts that proclaim, "I survived Sun 'n Fun 2011," with a graphic of a spinning tornado tossing tents, airplanes, and various critters into the air. The actual tornado that hit the airport, while it was certainly damaging, was not quite so dramatic as the one on the T-shirt, but for those who were there, it's now officially a t-shirt-worthy event. More

Able Flight Awards First Career Training Scholarship »

Able Flight, which helps people with disabilities learn to fly, awarded its first-ever career-training scholarship on Tuesday at Sun 'n Fun. The scholarship will provide funding for Paul Lampasso, a former New York City firefighter, to attend a three-week course that leads to an FAA repairman certificate for light sport aircraft. Lampasso's first career goal was to be a professional pilot, and he was enrolled at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and had completed his private pilot training when he was diagnosed with cancer and had to drop out. After regaining his health, he joined the NYC fire department, where he served for 11 years until a knee injury forced him to retire. More

"Town Meeting" Issues: Avgas, Pilot Decline »

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who chairs the General Aviation Caucus in the House, visited Sun 'n Fun on Saturday to host a "Town Meeting" with a panel of GA leaders. Graves, who is a pilot himself, said it's important for all of GA to "stick together" to ensure that vital policy issues are addressed. Pete Bunce, head of GAMA, took on the issue of avgas, and said considerable progress has been made since the initial "sky is falling" concerns that arose several years ago when the EPA proposed to reduce allowable lead emissions. He commended FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt's efforts to address the problem, and said a lot of work has been done behind the scenes to educate the EPA and others about the safety issues involved in finding a replacement. Bunce and AOPA's Craig Fuller essentially said that leaded avgas is not going to go away until a reasonable and workable "drop-in" alternative fuel is available. "There is no reason to believe 100 low-lead will become unavailable in the foreseeable future," Fuller said. More

NWS Confirms: Lakeland Airport Hit By Tornado »

The National Weather Service confirmed in a report released on Friday that a category EF-1 tornado hit the Lakeland airport on Thursday about noon time. The tornado had top winds estimated at 95 mph, a path length of just over a half mile, and a path width of about 30 to 40 yards. The NWS report also confirmed the impact of 70 to 75 mph "downburst thunderstorm severe straight-line winds," with the tornado impacting the west end of the runway about 12:05 p.m. The full NWS report is available online ( PDF ). More