Category Archives: general aviation

Governor proclaims September as Aviation Appreciation Month

Gov. Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring September as Aviation Appreciation Month, the Department of Transportation said in a release Friday.

The proclamation celebrates Kansas’ rich aviation history and recognizes the upcoming inaugural Kansas Aviation Expo, which will be held Sept. 26 and 27 at the National Center for Aviation Training in Wichita.

Kansas is one of five aviation clusters in the world, and the Air Capital is often considered the birthplace of general aviation, the release said.

The state’s aviation history began in September 1911 when Albin K. Longren became the first Kansan to fly a Kansas-built aircraft.

On September 25, Jesse R. Romo, acting director of the Department of Transportation’s aviation division, will present the Governor’s proclamation to the Wichita Aero Club at its luncheon, which will feature Selena Shilad, head of the Alliance for Aviation Across America.

The Kansas Aviation Expo will include business sessions on a variety of aviation issues and will feature guest speakers from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Weather Service and  others.

EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh sets dates through 2020

Each year, scores of Wichitans are among of the 500,000 people who travel to Oshkosh, Wisc., for the annual AirVenture fly-in convention, sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association.

The organization has set dates through 2020.  So you can mark your calendars now. (Some dates have been changed from previous schedules.)

“We realize that the dates of EAA AirVenture affect yearly schedules for the entire aviation community as well as events throughout the Wisconin and the Midwest, so we want to secure these future dates to minimize conflicts,” Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

2014: July 28 to Aug. 3

2015: July 20 to 26

2016: July 25 to 31

2017: July 24 to 30

2018: July 23 to 29

2019: July 22 to 28

2020: July 20 to 26

AOPA board of trustees names pilot and businessman Mark Baker president, CEO.

courtesy photo

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a national organization of pilots, has named Mark Baker as its new president, the organization’s fifth president in its history.

Baker replaces Craig Fuller, who earlier this year told the board of his intentions to move on to other opportunities.

Baker, a native of Minnesota and an aircraft owner and pilot, began flying in his 20s. He now has more than 7,500 hours of flight time.

Most recently, he served as CEO of Orchard Supply Hardware Stores Corporation, a retailer of home improvement and garden products. He also served in senior executive roles at Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Gander Mountain Company, The Home Depot and other companies in the industry.

Baker takes office September 6.


EagleMed begins ground ambulance service in western Kansas

Wichita-based EagleMed, an air medical transport company, has launched ground ambulance service in Great Bend.

It will be the preferred provider for Great Bend Regional Hospital and will provide ground vehicle inter-facility critical care transportion. It also will serve as a backup for emergency calls to the Great Bend Fire Department for Emergency Medical Service transport.

In addition, EagleMed is locating an ambulance at Great Bend’s St. Rose Ambulatory and Urgent Care Center. The site will be staffed with six paramedics and six emergency medical technicians.

The ambulance service will be dispatched from EagleMed’s headquarters in Wichita.

EagleMed operates a fleet of airplanes, helicopters and ground ambulances from 29 locations in 10 states.


EAA’s 2013 AirVenture by the numbers

Last week’s Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisc., drew roughly 500,000 visitors, about the same as last year’s show, according to the association.

“First, it was a safe AirVenture, which is always our top priority, plus we were blessed with a week of nearly perfect weather,” EAA chairman Jack Pelton said in a statement. “We also met a number of other objectives this year, including reconnecting with our volunteers and members on the grounds, upgrading the food concessions and options, and providing more value and activities throughout the day for attendees. We also had a tremendous amount of aviation innovation brought to Oshkosh.”

Aircraft: More than 10,000 arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.

Showplanes: 2,341, including 867 homebuilt aircraft, 858 vintage airplanes, 343 warbirds, 130 ultralights, 92 seaplanes, 27 aerobatic aircraft and 24 miscellaneous showplanes.

Commercial exhibitors: 821, a record.

International visitors registered: 2,115 visitors from 64 nations.

Media: 914 media representatives on-site, from five continents.

Small Airplane Revitalization Act passes out of committee, now goes to House

The Small Airplane Revitalization Act has crossed a major hurdle by unanimously passing out of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee.

It now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

If passed, the bill promises to double safety and cut certification costs in half for light general aviation airplanes, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has said.

It addresses a number of challenges facing the general aviation industry caused by outdated regulation, including the steady decline of pilots, flight activity and the sales of new, small general aviation airplanes, Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who introduced the bill, said.

“General aviation has never asked for a bailout, but we can cut red tape and at the same time improve safety, effectively revitalizing the industry by cutting the cost of new planes,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The existing outdated certification process needlessly increases the cost of safety and technology upgrades by up to 10 times. With this bill, we can ensure that the general aviation industry has what it needs to thrive.”

The passage was praised by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

“The bill will help industry and FAA develop and adopt more effective, consensus-based compliance standards that would spur manufacturers’ investment in aircraft design and help put critical life-saving equipment into the existing fleet of airplanes,” GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce said in a statement.

Over the past 18 months, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 23 Reorganization Aviation Rulemaking Committee, made up of aviation experts and industry representatives, worked to create a regulatory environment to help revitalize the health and safety of new and existing small airplanes, Pompeo said.

The bill requires the implementation of those recommendations by the end of 2015.

It has 31 bipartisan co-sponsors. A companion Senate bill was introduced in May.

Cessna delivers first production Cessna TTx

Courtesy photo

Cessna Aircraft Co. delivered its first production Cessna TTx high-performance single-engine plane in a ceremony last week at its Independence plant.

“The TTx is an aircraft which will wow pilots with its performance and surprise passengers with its comfort,” Brian Steele, business leader for the program, said in a statement. “Everything about it is fun, fast and sporty, while at the same time intuitive and comfortable.”

The four-seat airplane was delivered to executives of Watermark Retirement Communities.

David Barnes, Watermark Retirement Communities CEO, plans to use the plane to travel among the 32 Watermark properties throughout the U.S., according to information from Cessna.

The composite airplane is assembled in Independence. Its composite structures are built at Cessna’s plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.

The Cessna TTx is an upgraded Cessna 40 Corvalis TT (for twin turbocharged). It was initially built by the Columbia Aircraft Co. in Bend, Ore.

Cessna acquired Columbia’s assets in 2007.

The company announced the improvements to the model in 2011.

The plane has a top speed of 270 mph, a range of 1,250 nautical miles and is the “world’s fastest single-engine aircraft,” according to Cessna.

Its starting price is $733,950, according to Cessna’s website.


Pilot turned author to hold book signing at Watermark Books on Saturday

Wichita native Philip Donlay learned to fly at Riverside airport and earned his private pilot’s license at 17.

He then flew charter flights for Yingling Aviation, freight for Great Western Airlines and corporate jets for a Fortune 500 company. He was based in Wichita.

After more than 30 years as a professional pilot, Donlay was diagnosed with a medical condition that forced him to give up flying.

So he turned to another passion, writing.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, Donlay will hold a book signing at Watermark Books for his third novel, Zero Separation, an aviation thriller.

A fourth novel is scheduled for release next year.

Donlay now divides his time between Minneapolis and the San Juan Islands.



Cessna: First Corvalis TTx production flight test a success

Cessna Aircraft announced that the company completed the first production flight of its TTx, formerly called the Corvalis TTx, on Saturday.

The company is in the midst of dropping the Corvalis name, a Cessna spokesman said.

The single-engine composite airplane took off from Cessna’s Independence facility.

The pilot took the airplane to 17,000 feet and to a speed of 245 mph.

“The TTx performed exceptionally well,” Brian Steele, Cessna’s business leader for the airplane, said in a statement.”The TTx is a nimble, top of the line airplane. It’s the world’s fastest fixed gear, single engine piston aircraft in production.”

Cessna announced last year that it had begun production of the TTx, an upgraded Corvalis TT.

During its development, test pilots made 275 flights and logged 339 hours in the air, Cessna said.

The plane can reach a top speed of 270 mph and has an operating ceiling of 25,000 feet. It can cross the country with one stop.

Cessna halted production of the carbon-fiber composite Corvalis, formerly called the Columbia, in late 2010 after problems were found at the company’s Chihuahua, Mexico, facility, which builds the fuselage components and wings.

The entire environmental system in Mexico, key to working with composite materials, had to be redone.

Now, the humidity, air pressure and temperature are controlled through use of a continuous monitoring system, company officials have said.

Assembly of the upgraded Corvalis – the $734,000 Corvalis TTx – restarted in October.




AOPA’s president and CEO Craig Fuller to retire

Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said he will retire from the pilot organization later this year.

Fuller, 62, plans to stay in the position while the Board of Trustees conducts a national search for a new president and a replacement is named, AOPA said.

Fuller took office in January 2009.

“Craig has been a highly effective champion for the general aviation community, in large part because he has been a cohesive figure with a big-picture perspective,” said Ed Bolen, National Business Aviation Association president and CEO, in a statement. “He has always understood that by working together and leveraging our strengths, a group as large and diverse as the (general aviation) community can accomplish great things.”