Schlagwort-Archive: Airplane

Crossing the country solo, but not alone

“I need someone to fly my Super Cub from Frederick to Bozeman. Will you do it?” AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden’s question seemed too good to be true. You’re asking me to fly your pristine and beautiful airplane almost all the way across the country? Sign me up. On a calm June morning a few months later, McSpadden handed me the keys to N517WC and a tote of snacks his wife, Judy, had thoughtfully packed, wished me well, and I departed Frederick to the west. My plan was to fly to Wisconsin on day one if the weather cooperated and say hello to some of my favourite aviators at Middleton Municipal Airport (C29), then fly on to Mitchell, South Dakota, to join the annual Ladies Love Taildraggers fly-out. From there I’d fly to Rapid City, South Dakota, with the group, then alone to Bozeman, Montana. The more than 1,500-nautical-mile trip would take 20-plus hours at an ambitiously planned 100 mph.

On my way
The air was smooth and cool over the bemisted Blue Ridge Mountains, and I watched morning fog laze through the valleys and burn off as I approached the rolling hills of eastern Ohio. I crossed tortilla-flat farmland into Indiana and made my first fuel stop. I’d expected headwinds but was gifted a tailwind. Jeff Russell, genuine Piper Super Cub pilot extraordinaire and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, had offered to let me keep 7WC in his hangar at Middleton. I let him know I’d be earlier than expected, and he texted me his hangar number and told me I was welcome to anything in his fridge.

After fuel stop number two, I modified my route to fly east of Chicago instead of skirting the Class Bravo to the west as planned. I’d always wanted to do the skyline flight, and with the help of that tailwind, I had daylight to burn. A CFI friend in Chicago gave me the lowdown on altitudes, and I reviewed Editor Kollin Stagnito’s account of flying the Chicago skyline (“City with a View,” March 2021 AOPA Pilot) and set off.

Folks typically fly the route from north to south. You can do it without talking to anyone, but since it was new to me and against the known flow of traffic (and a good idea), I opted to call up Chicago for flight following. I’d fly a little higher than the southbound traffic, and farther offshore. It was just gorgeous. The visibility, which had been hazy over most of Indiana, cleared up. Lake Michigan turned Caribbean-colored blues, and the skyscrapers bloomed out from the parkland greens along the lakeshore.

Once north of the city, I turned direct to Middleton. After a long day on an unfamiliar route, with only new airports and unfamiliar faces, I had a feeling of coming home once I had Morey Field insight. I’d visited in summer 2019 before heading up to OSH, missed out on summer 2020 after the cancellation of AirVenture, and was thrilled to be back at C29. I landed in the grass (as a Super Cub should), taxied in, and turned the corner to Russell’s row, only to find the door already open and Russell waiting for me. Russell and another C29 local, Gary, helped me push the airplane in. Turns out he’d been tracking my N number and knew right when I’d arrive. While washing off a day of bugs, I told Russell about my planned route, and he gave me words of flying wisdom. “You can’t fly direct in a Super Cub,” Russell told me. “That’s not what they’re made for. Fly high enough to be respectful and safe, but low enough to see the folks waving up at you. And have fun!”

Flight of six
Since I’d made such a good time on day one, I was able to stay in Middleton for a few extra nights before I needed to be in Mitchell for the fly-out. On one evening, the weather was far too perfect to stay earthbound. With a few texts, we assembled a small fleet—Jim Stevenson and his Cessna 170B, Ross Wilke and his Husky A1–B, Joe McDonough with his Mackey Backcountry Super Cub Rev 3, Joel Wyttenbach and his Cessna 172, and Russell and his Super Cub. We visited a few beginner side-country strips—two charted and one that was not. The charted strips weren’t particularly challenging, but it was all new to me, and I was grateful for the careful coaching from the group. The uncharted strip was Mike Kindschi’s, and that landing was a real full-circle moment; it’s where my love for the area started back when the Air Safety Institute’s Kurt Sensenbrenner and I visited Wisconsin in July 2019 to film Beyond Proficient: STOL Goal. Running out of daylight, we departed Kindschi’s strip as the sun set, the nearby Wisconsin River a glassy mirror of the flame-bright sky. So this, I thought, is what it feels like to own an airplane.

Into the West
The morning I intended to depart, I woke to unforecast rain. Headwinds of more than 35 knots, wind shear, and haze are not ideal conditions. There would be no flying that day. One sunrise later was a marginal, yet good enough, improvement in the weather, and a significant improvement in the company. With a new departure day on Saturday, Wilke had offered to escort me to my fuel stop, Blue Earth Municipal Airport (SBU). With a long day ahead and thankful for summer light, we were wheels up by 6 a.m. We let the river guide us to the mighty Mississippi River and passed over the farm fields of Iowa. Near Waukon, Iowa, Wilke said, “Oh hey I’ve actually been here.” I looked down to see a figure in a bright red shirt in a lush garden waving emphatically up at us. I waved my wings and couldn’t stop smiling—I had wondered if I’d actually see anyone waving at me, but Russell was right.

Ladies Love Taildraggers
I crossed into the South Dakota plains alone. The wind wasn’t finished with me yet, battled headwinds and midday turbulence to the fly-in at Mitchell. I taxied to Wright Brothers Aviation where an impressive array of taildraggers was already on the line—a Cessna 170, a Cessna 195, and a Decathlon to name a few—all securely tied down to contend with the South Dakota wind. All the airplanes were worth drooling over and most had a pair of stilettos in front of them, the Ladies Love Taildraggers (LLT) calling card. The folks at the FBO whisked 7WC away and I had just a few minutes inside to make introductions and proudly confirm that yes, I had flown that beautiful Super Cub in before we loaded up into two vans on our way to explore Mitchell. It had already been a long day of six-plus hours of bumpy, hot, gusty flying and I felt a little behind the curve while I lined up for a van. It seemed I was the only one who had come solo. I eyed the groups of old friends choosing seats together and was grateful when a pilot about my age came up and introduced herself. Laura Doornbos of Bloomington, Illinois, had flown in with her father, Keith, in the gorgeous 170 I’d admired earlier. She made sure I had a seat in the van with her and her dad, and we set off, chatting about our journeys so far.

We were taken to an archaeological site, and then to the one-of-a-kind icon of South Dakota—the World’s Only Corn Palace. That evening over dinner, and in between getting-to-know-you conversations and hangar flying stories, we discussed tomorrow’s forecast—winds gusting well into the forties almost all day. Even if you’ve never flown a taildragger before, you probably know that the wind is typically a greater factor in a go/no-go decision than with nosewheels. Judy Birchler, the organizer of the event and founder of LLT, stressed that there was no pressure to push our limits and reminded us that we were each our own pilot in command. When the sun rose, the wind was already howling. We shuttled over to the airport and began the long, somewhat frustrating process of waiting out the weather. Not only was the wind hellacious at Mitchell, it was also severe at our destination, Rapid City. I was unwilling to launch until the wind was better in both spots. As the day progressed and the winds lessened slightly, some felt comfortable to depart. But Keith made a good point: “It isn’t an emergency, is it? I’m perfectly happy to stay in Mitchell another night if we have to.” There was no need to push it. At long last, the weather improved, and we finally launched to the west. The three-hour leg felt easy compared to other days, and I made it to Rapid City as the last rays of light slipped behind the Black Hills.

Exploring
The Ladies Love Taildraggers squad spent the following morning driving the winding roads of Badlands National Park. Lunch was a feast of fry bread and ended with souvenir shopping before a stop at Wall Drug on our way back to Rapid City. Wall Drug—which I had somehow managed to live my whole life without hearing about—is a historic wonderland of kitsch, much more than just a roadside drug store (though it does still have a small pharmacy). That night in town, a group of us went to the old fire station for dinner. The others planned for the next day’s trip to Spearfish, and I said my goodbyes—tomorrow, I’d fly on to Bozeman solo, or as far as I could make it. Keith and Laura offered to help push the airplane out of its sloped, grassy parking spot. They made my morning a whole lot easier. Since I’d miss out on the drive the ladies would take the following day to Mount Rushmore, I decided to fly by on my way to my fuel stop, Sheridan, Wyoming. Helicopter pilots chattered to each other on the charted frequency. I could tell by their quick back and forth that they did this all day every day. I gave a basic position report, adding that if my altitude interfered with tours to let me know. One of the tour pilots let me know my altitude was just fine and thanked me for calling—most transient traffic, he said, didn’t call. As I departed toward Spearfish and Sturgis, waypoints on my way around the Black Hills, I marvelled at the terrain. These western hills would’ve been eastern mountains. Spearfish looked like an aviator’s haven, with multiple grass runways tucked away in the hills. Sturgis was surprisingly tiny and I wondered where all those motorcycles park every summer.

Last legs
On my way to Sheridan, the true Rocky West began. From miles out, I could see the towering, snowcapped Bighorn Mountains. I landed and checked the weather. The forecast had changed, and the radar now showed a thin but growing line of convection directly between me and Bozeman. I was only two hours away from my destination, but the risk wasn’t worth it. Thankfully, the weather the following morning was just as perfect as forecast. The familiarity of the route, plus the comfort and affection I’d grown for the airplane over the many hours of our trip, made that final leg even sweeter. These were my old stomping grounds, and where I’d earned my instrument, commercial, multi, and CFI certificates. I said hello to my old friend the Bighorn Canyon and climbed abeam the deep green Pryor Mountains. I kept climbing to give myself some more security near the mountains and headed directly toward Livingston and the Bozeman Pass. Mountain passes can present a bit of an X factor. On a calm day similar to this one during training, my instructor and I had approached the pass only to be met with a textbook downdraft. With full power at VY and still descending, we turned around and headed back toward Billings. Remembering that, I approached the pass, hypervigilant of any changes in the wind and ready to turn around if needed. Before I knew it, Bozeman tower cleared me to land, I touched down in the grass and taxied in for a post-trip oil change. Minutes after shutdown, I handed the keys over to McSpadden, and my little companion was whisked away into the hangar at its new summer home. My job was done.

Time to spare
The next day, feeling grateful after 24.7 hours and a couple of thousand photos, I flew home to Los Angeles via the airlines. I learned so much from this trip. I do, I confirmed, want to own my own airplane one day. I want adventures like this to be part of my normal life. I learned for myself something I’d already suspected and been told—flying with friends is better than flying alone. Last, I was reminded on every leg just how fortunate we are to live in a place where a trip like this is possible. From one coast through the heartland, across the Mississippi, to the mountains, this country is extraordinarily diverse. So, what are you waiting for? Take the long and winding road. Go fly. Source: ‘Alicia Herron on the AOPA website‘.

Passenger with ‘no idea how to fly’ lands plane

A passenger with no flying experience radioed an urgent plea for help when the pilot of a small plane suddenly fell ill off Florida’s Atlantic coast and was able to land the plane safely with the help of air traffic controllers. “I’ve got a serious situation here,” the man said on Tuesday afternoon, Florida-time, according to audio on LiveATC.net, a website that broadcasts and archives air traffic controller communications. “My pilot has gone incoherent. I have no idea how to fly the airplane.”

An air traffic controller in Fort Pierce responded, asking if he knew the position of the single-engine Cessna 280. “I have no idea. I can see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea,” the passenger said. According to Flight Aware, the plane had taken off earlier on Tuesday from Marsh Harbour International Airport in the Bahamas. As the plane flew over Florida, the controller, speaking very calmly, told the passenger to “maintain wings level and try to follow the coast, either north or southbound”. Twin controls enable a Cessna 280 to be steered from the passenger seat. Minutes passed before controllers were able to locate the plane, which by then was heading north over Boca Raton. Then the man’s voice seemed to fade, so the controller in Fort Pierce asked for the passenger’s phone number to enable controllers at Palm Beach International Airport to communicate with him more clearly. Air traffic controller Robert Morgan, a 20-year veteran, took over at that point, talking the passenger down to a safe landing. “Kudos to the new pilot,” one controller told him after the plane smoothly wheeled down the tarmac. Morgan told television station WPBF that he felt like he was in the right place at the right time. “I knew the plane was flying like any other plane. I just had to keep him calm, point him to the runway and just tell him how to reduce the power so he could descend to land. It felt really good to help someone,” Morgan said. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Rick Breitenfeldt confirmed that the pilot and passenger were the only two people aboard. The agency is investigating, he said in an email. Source: ‘Sidney Morning Herald‘. Picture: ‘Palm Beach Airport‘.

Flight Shame in Great Barrington

Thirty years ago I was living on the Red Sea coast on the Egypt-Sudan border in an area where there were no roads. Nomadic tribesmen went down to the sea to fish and sometimes found the shore covered with plastic that drifted in on the waves. Plastic bags filled with air and skittered away over the landscape making circles in the desert wind. I think of those plastic bags when I see the small planes coming over the wooded ridges around the old farmhouse where I live in rural New York state. Since the pandemic began, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people going up in small planes. These are coming from an airfield in Great Barrington, Mass., where the newspapers reports town hall meetings packed with local residents shouting at the owners of the Barrington airfield about the squalid atmosphere of noise pollution and intrusion — the general degradation of conditions of life they impose on the people below.

Small planes fly low above the ground. They are the only vehicles in the United States that still use leaded gasoline. Studies from the Harvard Medical School and elsewhere link air traffic noise to the onset of heart disease and stroke. The Berkshire Eagle reports that the airfield has come up with a noise mitigation strategy: Tell the pilots to fly across the border into New York state. The damage done to daily life by an airfield of this kind stands in sharp contrast to the trivial nature of who the pilots are and what they are doing. A glance at FlightAware shows that in Barrington these people, who teach or have taken up aviation as a hobby, fly around in circles pouring noise and toxic emissions on the landscape and the people who live there. The Massachusetts pilots use local New York state farms for practice, circling the fields with the farmhouse as the target in the middle. The supervisor of the Town of Austerlitz sums up the situation: “This is obviously deliberate harassment, but the pilots tell me they can do whatever they want.”

Small planes are unmonitored. They do not need to use tracking devices. They can “request invisibility.” The pilots of small planes are not supposed to fly below 500 feet, but as their transponders are easily turned off, the FAA cannot track their altitude. If an amateur pilot plays at flying “below the radar” low above the ground, who can stop them? At least Jetskis are confined to shorelines and motorcycles by roadways. They cannot circle houses revving their engines. But small planes buzz houses for fun. Last summer careening small planes killed a woman on a riding mower and hit a woman in a kayak. In recent years an 87-year-old man crashed not far from here in Ghent, a 17-year-old girl crashed in Millbrook, and an amateur pilot flew into a house in Lagrangeville, setting it on fire and killing the residents inside.

It is time for the FAA to draft new regulations that prioritize the health and safety of people on the ground. The FAA needs to insist that recreational planes fly at an altitude high enough to muffle the engine noise, that they are tracked and monitored, and that they are not used in a manner that endangers public welfare, whether by dangerous proximity to people and houses, or noise pollution that poses a threat to health and well-being. Currently, the FAA seems to restrict its focus solely to the pilots and their machines. There needs to be broader attention paid to the effect that small planes have on the environment, and on the people who live in it. Small planes are not harmless. And experience has taught those who live near private airfields that we cannot rely on the manners, skill, or sense of responsibility of the pilots. Scaling back commercial aviation has long been a primary topic in the discussion of mitigating climate change. The Flight Shame movement already considers flights under 200 miles unnecessary and environmentally indefensible. Last year, France moved to ban short-haul domestic flights.

Small planes need to be part of this discussion. They have a particularly disproportionate effect as polluters of the environment, and while they are an amusement and convenience to pilots passing through—or over—that comes the expense of people who have given their lives to the place they live in. The romance of Lindbergh’s solo flight gave way in a mere few decades to Lindbergh’s recognition that aviation would become a blight on the world. Though other aspects of his career remain problematic, he spent the last years of his life fighting for conservation. The answer to climate change does not lie in pursuing escapist fantasies in the air, but in taking responsibility for where you are, for the ground under your feet. Source: ‘Susan Brind Morrow in The Nation‘.

After crash-landing arrested in Morocco

A Spanish citizen was arrested by the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie on Tuesday, November 30th. The man was arrested on the outskirts of Tangier after trying to land his plane in an emergency and crashing. Not only did the man manage to crash his plane into a lorry during the emergency landing, but it was also full of drugs.

Judicial sources confirmed to Efe, that the crash-landing took place in the village of El Aouama, around 30 kilometres southeast of Tangier. The man had attempted to perform an emergency landing on a road but crashed into a lorry. At the moment there are no details regarding whether the pilot or the lorry driver were injured.

Official sources have not said what type of drugs were aboard the drug-laden plane. There have been previous incidents of light aircraft carrying drugs crashing in northern Morocco. The aircrafts had been loaded with hashish. Light aircraft or even microlights are often used to transport drugs from Europe. The Moroccan government have repeatedly criticised illegal entries into Moroccan airspace. Source: ‘EuroWeeklyNews.com‘ and ‘fr.le360.ma‘.

Tecnam P2010 Tdi Achieves FAA Certification

Tecnam announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded a full Type Certificate to the P2010 TDI with the number A00066CE for Part 23 of the FAA Regulations. The P2010 airframe, with its wide, composite, fuselage design and the all-metal wing and stabilator, has proven to be the perfect platform to match the Diesel engine performance and capabilities. The consolidated comfort, 3rd door back seat accessibility, safety and reliability of the “P Twenty-Ten” are now accompanied by the added efficiency granted by the use of Diesel/JetA1 fuel. This proven power plant technology attributes to the extremely low operating costs provided by the dual FADEC-controlled Continental engine.

The Continental Diesel 170 hp Turbocharged Engine joins the P2010 power plant options of the 180 hp Avgas/Mogas and 215 hp Avgas engine. This latest engine pairing brings the aviation market unbeatable fuel efficiency and performance: the Turbo Diesel/JetA1 power plant offers an outstanding cruise-fuel burn that ranges from 4.5 USG/hr (17 litres/hr) at 55% power, to 7 USG/hr (27 litres/hr) at 75% power. This provides consistent performance up to 8,000ft and allows operations up to 18,000ft, allowing the P2010 to “soar higher” (for which an optional oxygen system is available). The standard P2010 fuel tanks ensure an unrivalled range in excess of 1,000 NM and endurance of up to 12 hours, all monitored through the state-of-the-art standard Garmin G1000Nxi avionics package. TECNAM and Continental are working on the latest improvement of Sustainable Aviation Fuel, for a real commitment for a greener future with SAF.

“The addition of the Continental Diesel Engine is more proof that Tecnam is dedicated to the General Aviation Marketplace by providing safe, efficient, innovative aircraft for today’s pilots,” says Tecnam’s Director of Sales, David Copeland. The TECNAM Engineering Team paid particular attention to maintaining the P2010 series design characteristics that provide: cabin comfort, low noise and minimal vibration. The GFC-700 autopilot with ESP Electronic Stability and Protection, which ensures smooth and precise autopilot operations in now included in the Standard Package, while some of the many options available include Premium Italian Leather interiors with electric seat and additional safety that can be provided by the Garmin GTS-800 TAS system.

The P2010 TDI is a culmination of all the very latest technologies, where Tecnam’s ability to manage both metal and composite components has shaped a unique solution in terms of efficiency, load-carrying structure and unique Italian style. The fuselage and vertical fin, entirely made of pre-peg carbon fibres, provide the best use of space, while wings, horizontal tail and rudder, as well as all the load-carrying structures, are built with 70 plus years of experience of light alloy structures.

Flight safety is self-evident in the latest certification requirements, followed by the electrically operated, adjustable-height seats with 26G-capable crashworthiness. The flying experience is the ultimate with the Garmin® G1000® NXi glass cockpit and GFCTM 700 autopilot, entirely integrated and tuned around the Continental® CD-170 engine. Continental’s JetA1/Diesel-powered 170 HP engine offers ease of flying with its single-lever control, full FADEC, electronic engine monitoring and redundant safety features. The CD-170 is the newest design and also the highest-horsepower engine in the CD-100 series, well-proven with more than 7,500 engines delivered and over 8.5 million service flight hours. Tecnam’s Managing Director, Giovanni Pascale says: “The FAA certification of the P2010 Tdi marks a significant milestone for the Tecnam US Market, the availability of Jet A1 in every airport makes our four-seater the ideal machine for cross-country mission and efficient flight training.”

Hybrid-Electric Pipistrel Panthera starts Test Campaign

In mid-October 2021 the “MAHEPA Panthera”, integrated with the novel, SAF-capable, hybrid-electric powertrain developed during the project, took off from Cerklje airport, in Slovenia, successfully demonstrating the possibility of local zero-emission flights by performing all-electric take-offs. Expectations set by prior ground tests were only confirmed by the powerful, yet quiet performance of the MAHEPA Panthera, which has all the characteristics to become a flying test-bed for future developments in hybrid aviation. With the achievement of this essential milestone, the MAHEPA project is, with its numerous novel technologies developments and exemplary results, again contributing to a cleaner, quieter and more sustainable aviation, making the Europe Green Deal’s goals one step closer to reality. MAHEPA consortium, composed of Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, Compact Dynamics, DLR, H2Fly, Politecnico di Milano, TU Delft, University of Maribor and the University of Ulm is a pioneer project in the development of hybrid-electric technologies which will serve the next generation of greener aircraft. Source: ‘Pipistrel‘.

Aus Cessna (Denali) wird Beechcraft

Cessna wollte mit der neuen Turboprop Denali eigentlich durchstarten. Dann verzögerte sich die Entwicklung und die Zulassung rückte in weite Ferne. Nun bekommt die Einmotorige einen anderen Hersteller. Konkurrenz belebt das Geschäft. Das dachten sich wohl die Verantwortlichen beim amerikanischen Flugzeugbauer Cessna, als sie auf den Siegeszug der schweizerischen Turboprop Pilatus PC-12 aufmerksam wurden. Die Eidgenossen verkauften von der Maschine bis heute mehr als 1800 Exemplare. Dieser Erfolg weckt deshalb wohl auch jenseits des Atlantiks Begehrlichkeiten. Das Rezept der Eidgenossen: Platz entweder für bis zu zehn Passagiere, Fracht oder eine Kombination aus beidem, eine Druckkabine sowie günstige Betriebskosten durch lediglich eine Propellerturbine machen die PC-12 für viele Einsatzzwecke attraktiv. Dazu ihre Fähigkeit, neben Asphalt auch auf Gras-, Schotter- oder Sandpisten starten und landen zu können. Das ließ sie in der Klasse druckbelüfteter Turbinen-Singles bisher konkurrenzlos sein.

Vor vier Jahren schmiedeten die Chefs von Cessna daher ambitionierte Pläne. Eine neue einmotorige Turboprop mit Namen Denali sollte rasch neue Käuferschichten erschließen. Der 530 km/h schnelle Tiefdecker mit Druckkabine würde für unbefestigte Pisten und den Transport von maximal zehn Passagieren geeignet sein. Und rein zufällig sieht die Maschine nahezu identisch aus wie eine PC-12. Im Sommer 2021 ist nun aber Ernüchterung angesagt: Der Erstflug der Denali fand nach etlichen Verzögerungen immer noch nicht statt, eine Zulassung ist in weiter Ferne. Unterdessen verkauft sich das Schweizer Konkurrenzprodukt weiter wie geschnitten Brot.

Mitte Juli hat die Denali plötzlich und für viele überraschend nun sogar einen neuen Hersteller bekommen. Statt Cessna wird künftig Beechcraft als Erbauer der Maschine fungieren. Dieses Badge-Engineering genannte Verfahren, in der Autobranche lange gängige Praxis, ist in der Aviatik sonst unüblich. Zwar hat etwa Airbus aus der Bombardier CS-300 nach der Übernahme des kanadischen Unternehmens einen Airbus A220 gemacht oder Cessna aus der Columbia 400 nach dem Kauf des einstigen Rivalen eine Cessna Corvalis, aber es bleibt die Ausnahme.

Die Denali soll vom guten Ruf profitieren
Da Cessna und Beechcraft zwei Traditionsfirmen sind, zudem beide zum Textron-Konzern gehören, ist das Marketing-Manöver aber womöglich sinnvoll. Denn Cessna ist berühmt für seine Kolbenmotor-Klassiker der Typen 172 oder 182, zudem für seine zweistrahligen Businessjets der Citation-Reihe. Beechcraft hingegen gilt als „Mercedes“ unter den General-Aviation-Flugzeugen. Kolbenmotor-Klassiker des Herstellers wie die Bonanza werden bereits seit 1947 mehr als unglaubliche 73 Jahre ununterbrochen gebaut, ein Jahrhundertentwurf. Berühmt ist Beechcraft aber vor allem für seine Zweimotorigen mit Propellerturbine. Die Flugzeuge der King-Air-Familie sind legendär und werden ebenfalls schon seit 1963 ohne Pause durchgängig in Wichita im US-Bundesstaat Kansas produziert. Die Denali soll also künftig vom guten Ruf der zweimotorigen Turboprop-Flugzeuge von Beechcraft profitieren und dem potentiellen Käufer so womöglich auch ein höherwertiges Image suggerieren.

Wie aber kann sich der Herausforderer überhaupt mit der neuen Maschine profilieren? Zuerst Cessna und nun Beechcraft setzen ihre Hoffnungen auf eine nagelneue Propellerturbine vom Typ Catalyst des Herstellers General Electric. Sie soll weniger Kerosin schlucken als die Pratt-&-Whitney-PT-6-Turbine in der PC-12. Die ist allerdings ob ihrer Zuverlässigkeit berühmt. Konkurrent General Electric will mit seinem neuen 1200-PS-Triebwerk auch mit geringeren Wartungskosten gegenüber der Schweizer Maschine punkten.

Der Erstflug ist nach Verzögerungen für dieses Jahr geplant
Das klappte bislang allerdings gar nicht. Das neue Catalyst-Triebwerk bereitete Probleme und konnte nicht geliefert werden. Statt also wie geplant bis Jahresende 2018 zum Erstflug abzuheben, hoffen die Verantwortlichen bei Beechcraft nun, dass die Maschine noch dieses Jahr zum ersten Mal in die Luft geht. Frühestens 2023 wäre dann die Luftfahrtzulassung erst durch die amerikanische FAA und danach die europäische EASA zu erwarten. Dabei hatte Cessna eigentlich genügend Zeit, die Konkurrenz zu studieren. Denn bereits vor 30 Jahren hob erstmals eine PC-12 in der Schweiz ab.

Ob Beechcraft auch das revolutionäre Sicherheitssystem „Autoland“ in der Denali anbieten wird, ist noch unbekannt. Dieses optionale System landet das Flugzeug nach Knopfdruck etwa eines Mitfliegers mittels Hightech-Autopilot vollautomatisch auf dem nächsten geeigneten Flugplatz, falls beispielsweise der Pilot ausfällt. Damit hätte die Denali ein Alleinstellungsmerkmal gegenüber der Schweizer Konkurrentin. Auch die beiden deutlich kleineren Turboprops Piper M600 SLS und Daher TBM 940 haben dieses neueste Sicherheitsfeature seit Ende 2020 an Bord, ebenso der einstrahlige Businessjet Cirrus Vision. Autoland funktioniert allerdings nur bei Flugzeugen, die mit einer Cockpit-Avionik vom Typ Garmin 3000 ausgerüstet sind. Die Beechcraft Denali hat diese ebenfalls an Bord. Quelle: ‘Jürgen Schelling in der FAZ‘.

Significant progress in Miniliner designs

Pipistrel is proud to announce that conceptual design studies that had been conducted are indicating significant market potential on the premise of identified technological and infrastructural feasibility. Our Miniliner concept will deliver a leading solution for future small regional aircraft that will enable clean, fast, and cost-effective transportation. The Miniliner is a new kind of zero-emission airplane in the 20-seat size class, capable of operating quietly from runways shorter than 1 km, including grass airstrips at small aerodromes. These aeroplanes have therefore the potential to disrupt aerial mobility, connecting currently unserved populations at 200 to 1,000 km range, but also catering for microfeeder services from small airports to large hubs. Having started considering larger zero-emission aircraft already as a part of the MAHEPA project several years ago, Pipistrel is now actively performing conceptual design studies in-house, as well as partnering with universities under the also EU-funded UNIFIER19 project.

While several powertrain solutions are being evaluated, advanced hydrogen-based propulsion systems answer the non-negotiable requirements of zero-emission, quiet and safe operations. Current aircraft in this segment rely on 40-year-old designs, powered by fuel-burning, noisy and maintenance-intensive turboprop engines. Pipistrel’s Miniliners allow for a Direct Operating Cost (DOC) reduction of 30 to 40% on a per-seat metric relative to today’s solutions, even with the introduction of new zero-emission propulsion, real-time emissions monitoring and advanced flight control automation technologies. The latter will, at the same time, facilitate single-pilot operations.

Pipistrel aims for an EIS (Entry into Service) of 2028-2030, as the proposed concepts are geared towards not requiring large infrastructural investments. To overcome current challenges on the regulatory, operational, and technological domains, Pipistrel is engaging with Europe’s Clean Aviation, SESAR, and EASA, as well as setting up multiple industry partnering initiatives. We are excited to be surrounded by like-minded organisations which will achieve regulatory adaptations to next-generation single-pilot cockpits and commuter operations from unpaved runways. Microfeeder flights will leverage advanced air traffic control systems to safely integrate the miniliners into the busy airspaces around large airports. With airports becoming zero-emission multimodal nodes, as directed by EC Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, hydrogen powered zero-emission miniliners are every day closer to reality and will Springboard the developments to bring Clean Aviation closer to communities. Quelle: ‘Pipistrel‘.

Mooney Aircraft am Ende – Entlassungen

Zwei Wochen vor Thanksgiving hat das in Kerrville, Texas, ansässige Unternehmen Mooney Aircraft Berichten zufolge seinen Betrieb eingestellt und sein gesamtes Personal entlassen, berichtet die Kerrville Daily Times. Das Voicemail-System von Mooney meldet: “Zu diesem Zeitpunkt wurden alle Mooney-Mitarbeiter entlassen und wir können deshalb Ihren Anruf nicht entgegennehmen.” Wir konnten keinen der Mitarbeiter oder das Management von Mooney erreichen und wir verstehen. Für jene, welche die Verkaufszahlen von Mooney in der ersten Jahreshälfte dieses Jahres verfolgen, ist der Stillstand keine große Überraschung. Laut GAMA-Verkaufsprotokollen verkaufte Mooney in den ersten beiden Quartalen jeweils zwei Acclaim Ultras, nachdem sie 2018 14 Flugzeuge im Wert von 10,7 Millionen US-Dollar verkauft hatte. Verglichen damit verkaufte Cirrus in der ersten Jahreshälfte 2019 203 Flugzeuge, während Mooney’s Produktion hinter Extra, Pipistrel und Quest’s zurückblieb. Bei AirVenture 2018 sagte Mooney, dass es beabsichtigt, in diesem Jahr 20 Flugzeuge zu bauen, dass die Verkaufszahlen 2019 aber auf 40 ansteigen und ab 2020 50 Flugzeuge pro Jahr produziert würden. Die Arbeiter von Mooney wurden 2017 beurlaubt, vier Jahre, nachdem sie die Produktion unter dem neuen Besitzer Soaring America Aircraft wieder aufgenommen hatten. Mooney hatte zuvor fast fünf Jahre lang keine neuen Flugzeuge mehr produziert. Die letzten Acclaim Ultras, welche die Hallen in Kerrville verliessen, wurden mit jeweils fast 850.000 Dollar bewertet.