Jetman’s Grand Canyon overflight

French pilot Yvess Rossy strapped a small wing and a jet engine to his back, launched from a helicopter at 8,000 feet and overflew the grand canyon about 200 feet above the rim.  His flight reached speeds of 190 mph and lasted for more than 8 minutes!  He then deployed his parachute and landed on the canyon floor.

Jetman completes Grand Canyon overflight

Click on the picture to view an article in AOPA’s online magazine, complete with video footage!

Rocket Belt

Ok, maybe the water powered jet-pack wasn’t what you need.  Maybe you need to travel away from the water.  Finally – a company is producing these things.  Of course, it isn’t in our overly litigious United States (perish the thought!).  The big problem with these things is flight time – 20-30 seconds maximum, so if you are planning on using one of these to commute to work, it’d better be a short commute, and you’d better hurry!

     

Here’s a video of Isabel Lozano flying one of these new rocket belts: Windows Media 1.24 MB

Here’s her first flight (first woman to fly one of these!):

A flying car? Yes, and a new take on an old problem

There have been several different “flying cars” throughout the years, and it’s always been a dream of many people.  However, there have always been problems with the designs.  Usually, while they do fly, they are terrible on the road.  As a pilot, this sort of thing holds a particular fascination for me.

These guys decided to design a vehicle that was good on the road first, and then make it fly.  They use a ram-air parachute for the wing, and have created a really unique and clever vehicle.  Check out the video on their website.  Amazing stuff!

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2011 improving economy for general aviation?

Craig Fuller, the president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said 2011 should bring an improving economy for general aviation. "Uncertainty remains, but there’s more optimism in the land, I think," said Fuller.

Wow, that’s certainly something to bank on.  I think.

Death of Common Sense in Aviation

I ran across this link to a story about the death of common sense in Aviation.  On the one hand I found it amusing, but amusing is not so funny when it gets too close to the truth.  An attorney on linkedin responded to discussion about this very defensively.  Sensitive much?  The point really isn’t the lawyers, the point is the people who hire them to sue, and our crazy legislation system that allows it to go on.

One of the examples in the article is something that has bothered me for quite some time.  I am a private pilot, and so Aviation is near and dear to my heart.  I have never understood how people can buy a home next to an airport, and then start to complain about noise, pollution, or whatever.  Hello?  If you don’t want to live next door to an airport, here’s a hint: don’t buy a home there.  Expecting the airport to change or move is just ridiculous.  As to airport expansion causing issues, I say the same thing: If you don’t want that, then don’t buy a house in a spot where that might happen.  It’s not difficult, really it’s not.

I NEED a solar airplane (not want… NEED)

SOLAR IMPULSE – AROUND THE WORLD IN A SOLAR AIRPLANE

How cool is that?  As a pilot, I’d love to own an airplane like this.  One of the biggest barriers though is operation costs.  With fuel prices these days, it’s extremely expensive to just buy fuel, let alone any of the other mandatory maintenance.  Most light aircraft that I can fly get 8-12 gallons per hour.  They fly around 100 kts (115 mph), so at 10 gph that’s only  11.5 miles per gallon.  A trip from LA to Vegas is 270 miles, so that burns over 23 gallons of fuel.  Add that to the $100/hr rental fee for the airplane … Cha-Ching!

General Aviation as a Terror Weapon

Is General Aviation as a Terror Weapon a Real Threat or Red Herring?

Here’s a really good article on it: General Aviation as a Terror Weapon: Technology at Officer.com.

However, what post of mine wouldn’t be complete without my own spin?

Actually, on this one, it’s hard to improve on the article above.  I completely agree.  The media in general has been playing Chicken Little with General Aviation since 911, and as a private pilot, I know just how limited that threat really is, and how silly they are being.  Small planes just can’t carry very much payload, and they aren’t very big and heavy (that’s sort of the point of an airplane – make it light so it flies), and they don’t carry all that much fuel.  A typical light plane will carry around 48 gallons of AvGas.  Since they burn 10 gallons per hour (some more, some less, but an easy number for discussion), unless some nutter’s target is right next door to the airport, odds are only 38 gallons would be remaining on board after you allow for taxiing around the airport, taking off, climbing, getting out of the pattern and heading toward your target.

My verdict: Red Herring