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  1. This is why the infamous glider regiments quietly fizzled out of history (442nd Fighter Wing Archive) The United States Military has always prided itself on its legacy. That's why the historical accomplishments of a unit are almost always passed down from the old-timers to the young bloods. And if a great troop does a heroic deed, you can bet the installation where they were once stationed will have a street named after them. The history books of the United States Military are extensive and cherished — but you won't often see mention of the glider regiments. Outside of randomly finding their insignia on "Badges of the United States Army" posters that line the training room, you won't ever hear anyone sing the tales of the gliders. That's mostly because the history of the gliders is a bit... awkward, let's say. Since their inception, gliders have been at odds with the paratroopers. Instead of having an infantryman jump from an aircraft and float down individually, the gliders would be filled to the brim with infantrymen that could all exit the glider at the same time and location. Gliders could also be filled with heavy equipment or vehicles and moved into the battlefield, remaining fairly silent as it glided to the ground. And that about does it for the list of benefits to using gliders. Still though. There was a need that the gliders filled and they got the job done... some times... The thing is, all of the functions of the glider were better (and more safely) served by the helicopter. But even before helicopters were ready to take on a primary role, the Army had long abandoned gliders. There were simply too many problems in the operating of gliders. First, gliders had to be towed by a much larger aircraft. When the time came, the glider would release the line and, as the name implies, glide to its intended destination. It didn't have its own engine or any completely reliable means of piloting it. Accidents were frequent. After all, there's a reason they were unaffectionately called "flying coffins." The glider needed to remain light (despite the heavy load in the back), so it had barely any kind of protection. The glider was literally made of honeycombed plywood and canvas, meaning air pockets or 40-mph winds could start shredding the exterior. If the glider did manage to hold together throughout its journey, it was most left to its own devices after the departure of the towing plane. There were no brakes and steering was difficult. The only safe bet was to find a clearing, which were difficult to spot, seeing as the gliders cut the line while still miles away from their destination. It also didn't help that the Axis knew about the gliders' biggest weakness: randomly placed ten-foot poles in giant clearings. Earlier anti-glider poles had explosives, but the Axis found it a bit of overkill, as the inertia alone did the trick. (National Archives) Gliders, in the eyes of the public, were doomed from the very beginning. In August, 1943, the gliders were given their first public demonstration in front for 10,000 spectators in St. Louis. A single bolt came undone and the glider fell like a sack of bricks right in front of the grand stand. Everyone onboard, including the mayor of St. Louis, was instantly killed. The gliders did land properly more often than not and they played an instrumental role in major Allied invasions, but the fact that a staggering eleven percent of all troops who rode in them would die (and thirty percent were wounded upon landing) was something that the military just wanted to forget about. Farewell, gliders. You won't be missed. (442nd Fighter Wing Archive photo) We are the mighty
  2. Plate-lattices will be the design of choice for future lightweight porous materials. Credit: ETH Zurich / Marc Day 3D printing and other additive production techniques make it possible to manufacture materials with internal structures of previously unimaginable complexity. This is interesting for lightweight construction, too, as it enables the development of materials that have the highest possible share of interior voids (to make the materials as light as possible) but are simultaneously as robust as possible. Achieving this requires that the internal structures be intelligently organised for maximum efficiency. A research team from ETH Zurich and MIT led by Dirk Mohr, Professor of Computational Modeling of Materials in Manufacturing, has developed and fabricated material architectures that are equally strong in all three dimensions, and that are simultaneously extremely stiff. It is possible to determine mathematically just how stiff materials with internal voids can theoretically become; Mohr's structures have been shown to come extremely close to this theoretical maximum stiffness. Put another way, it's practically impossible to develop other material structures that are stiffer for the given weight. Plates replacing trusses A characteristic feature of the design is that the stiffness in the material's interior is achieved through plate-lattices rather than trusses. "The truss principle is very old; it has long been used for half-timbered houses, steel bridges and steel towers, such as the Eiffel Tower. We can see through truss lattices, so they are often perceived as ideal lightweight structures," says Professor Mohr. "However, using computer calculations, theory and experimental measurements, we have now established a new family of plate-lattice structures that are up to three times stiffer than truss-lattices of the same weight and volume." And it is not just the stiffness (resistance to elastic deformation) of these structures that approaches theoretical maximum values: their strength (resistance to irreversible deformation) does, too. The ETH researchers initially developed these lattices on the computer, calculating their properties in the process. Then they produced them at the micrometre scale from plastic through 3D printing. Mohr emphasises, however, that the advantages of this design are universally applicable -- for all constituent materials and also on all length scales, from the very small (nanometre-sized) to the very large. Ahead of their time Mohr and his research team are ahead of their time with these new lattices: at present, manufacturing with 3D printing is still relatively expensive. "If these kinds of lattices were to be additively manufactured from stainless steel today, they would cost as much per gram as silver," says Mohr. "But the breakthrough will come when additive manufacturing technologies are ready for mass production. Lightweight construction, the current cost of which limits its practical use to aircraft manufacturing and space applications, could then also be used for a wide array of applications in which weight plays a role." In addition to making structures lighter, the numerous voids also reduce the amount of raw materials needed, and thus also the material costs. There's no limit to the potential applications, Mohr says. Medical implants, laptop casings and ultralight vehicle structures are just three of many possible examples. "When the time is right, as soon as lightweight materials are being manufactured on a large scale," Mohr says, "these periodic plate lattices will be the design of choice." Science Daily
  3. Admin

    Killer Gas

    It was to have been a quiet Friday evening at home. The weather was that chilly, misty, rain-threating mix that seems to define November, there was a crackling hot fire in the wood stove and the idea of going anywhere wasn’t the least bit inviting. The bed with its thick comforter was starting to call my name. My cellphone rang. Until I looked at the caller ID, my reaction was one of annoyance and intent to punch the button that would decline the call. I didn’t want the outside world intruding. It was my daughter. She lives two time zones east of me, so having her call at that hour of the evening meant something was going on that I shouldn’t ignore. After I answered she got right to the point. She’d been called out as part of a massive search for a missing general aviation airplane. As is sadly pretty normal in such situations, there was a lot of confusion, conflicting reports from people who claimed to be witnesses and difficulty in getting hard information. She’s an EMT and, as it turned out, was the only pilot on the search team to which she’d been assigned. Her team had been unsuccessful in its attempts to get radar track data on the airplane when she called me. She told me that ATC had had some contact with the airplane, probably a Seneca. A person on the airplane said that the pilot had had a heart attack and that a student pilot aboard was trying to land the airplane. One of the pieces of information passed on to the search teams was that the airplane had been vectored toward an airport around which search teams were spreading out. My daughter had been trying to get the dispatcher to talk to ATC and get the location of the last radar hit on the airplane and the direction it was traveling at the time. She was frustrated because no one seemed to be able to get that bit of information and was calling to see if I had any ideas. She had an N number and asked me to see if I could pull it up on FlightAware. Her attempt showed no flights in the last three years, but she’d also been told by one source that the airplane was on an IFR flight plan and wondered if I could find anything. She was standing outside in below-freezing weather, with light snow, and rapidly depleting her cellphone battery trying to see if a flight tracking app would be of any help. I struck out as well. (It turned out that the airplane was not on an IFR flight plan—nor, as initially reported, a twin.) Over the next few hours we talked briefly as she and her team walked through farm fields in central Iowa hoping to find the missing airplane. She was pleased that the search response had a lot of resources, including four helicopters, but frustrated over the lack of information available to the search teams and the inability to get the location of the last radar hit on the airplane. That brought back memories of the huge levels of confusion, misinformation and rumors that flew during the search and rescue practices I was involved with when I was in Civil Air Patrol. Her team was pulled out of the field about 3:00 am. A Tragic Find After dawn, the airplane, a Piper Dakota, was spotted by the farmer on whose land it had crashed. All four occupants were deceased. Newspaper photos showed that the airplane had traveled a very short distance from the point of impact to its resting place. I suspect the impact angle was fairly steep. I was relieved to learn that none of the scores of people involved in the search were injured or killed. That’s not always the case—we humans have a selfless streak that sometimes results in searchers getting hurt or killed trying to help others in challenging weather. I was saddened by the tragic outcome of what had to have been a terrifying situation for the student pilot and two passengers in the airplane—a pilot becomes incapacitated just about sunset in weather that is VFR, but probably not great VFR. A student pilot must try to find an airport that may or may not be lit (I didn’t know what the situation was regarding whether there were runway lights and if they required action by a pilot to activate them and whether the student would have known how to activate them). (Full disclosure, I’m not an unbiased observer—I’ve had complete electrical system failures at night and I despise pilot-activated runway lighting systems. I think they are killers.) What I learned some days later was even more distressing: All of the occupants had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood—some sources said fatal levels (I don’t know if that’s true, the NTSB preliminary accident report only refers to “elevated levels.”) There was a two-inch crack in the muffler with sooty gray material in the muffler heat shroud and the cabin heater hose. The Bully on Steroids Even using a hyperbaric chamber pressurized to three atmospheres to treat victims of CO poisoning, the gas stays in the system, depriving the body of oxygen for what can be hours. Every year there are a few accidents in which carbon monoxide poisoning is a factor. The toxic gas is odorless and colorless—and the manner in which it attacks a human makes it nothing short of a bully on steroids. Once in your lungs it combines with the hemoglobin in your red blood cells to form carboxyhemoglobin (COHb) with a bond that is 200 times stronger than oxygen’s bond on hemoglobin. CO shoves its way into your system and takes over. It puts your hemoglobin out of commission and deprives your body of oxygen. The hyper-strong COHb bond means that even tiny concentrations of CO can kill you through slow poisoning during a flight of just a few hours. The oxygen-deprivation function of CO poisoning makes it deadly because it attacks the most important parts of your body first—brain, nervous system, heart and lungs. To make matters worse, the deadly effects of CO exposure in an airplane are exacerbated by altitude—the normal decrease in oxygen with altitude that causes hypoxia becomes a co-combatant with the COHb bond to disable and then kill you. The first symptoms are headache, fatigue, dizziness, vision problems, increased pulse and respiration rates and nausea. Not one of those effects is a prescription for enhanced flying skills and judgment. I shudder to think about what the student pilot was going through as he tried to save the flight while his faculties were progressively robbed from him by the killer gas. Adding a nasty twist to depriving you of oxygen while you are being exposed to CO, that mega COHb bond means that the CO remains firmly in place a long time even after you’ve gotten away from the source. Once you start breathing uncontaminated air, the half-life of COHb is five hours. Think of it—you somehow manage to land, park the airplane and crawl out the door with a COHb saturation of 50 percent. In five hours, it will be down to 25 percent—that’s still a big-time exposure. If you breathe pure oxygen, the half-life drops to two hours, still not a rapid re-oxygenation of the body. In severe exposure events, the victim is placed in a hyperbaric chamber with pure oxygen under three atmospheres. Even then, COHb hangs on—the half-life becomes a half hour. Protect Yourself There is no data on the number of landing accidents in which CO poisoning diminished the ability of the pilot to effectively control the airplane because the pilots survived the landing and were not tested for CO poisoning. Based on the number of CO-involved pilot incapacitation fatal accidents, there is good reason to believe that the rate of CO-involved nonfatal accidents is significant. The data I’ve seen shows that the risk of an accident due to CO poisoning is slightly less than that of a midair collision. However, I strongly suspect that a fair number of pilots have experienced CO poisoning and torn up an airplane on landing, survived and did not get tested for CO poisoning. I also am of the opinion that more than a few have been poisoned, landed without breaking anything while feeling strange and didn’t get tested for CO poisoning. I suspect that if the numbers were available, the true rate of CO poisonings in little airplanes, especially ones that are a few years old, would be shown to be much higher than the rate of midair collisions. We pay good money for devices that will warn of a risk of a midair. Good-quality CO detectors cost less. It seems to me that there isn’t an excuse for not having at least a portable CO detector in your airplane that will give you an effective warning when even low levels of CO are present. Low levels are dangerous because the body doesn’t shed the toxin rapidly, so the effects multiply. The device has to have an effective warning system—a warning that doesn’t get your attention is worthless. You’ve got to know of a risk to act on it. Some CO Detectors I did a review of CO detectors in the October issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer. The takeaway I got from researching the article was three-fold: 1) A CO detector should read out CO levels from 1 PPM (part per million) up, so that you can spot-check areas in the cabin (surprisingly, the baggage and rear seat areas are notorious for CO because CO can come into the tailcone where the air flow is forward into the cabin and the baggage curtain often doesn’t seal well enough to keep the air from coming into the cabin; 2) A CO detector should sound a loud warning when the level hits about 35 PPM because of the cumulative risk of exposure to relatively low levels of the gas; and 3) The stick-on chemical “spot” detectors that have a circular chemical patch that is advertised to turn “dark” in the presence of CO are, in my opinion, nearly worthless. Get One Tocsin OI-315 CO Monitor I’ve been flying with various portable low-level CO detectors for several years. Turning the unit on before startup and off after shutdown is part of the checklist. There are three that I recommend because I’ve flown with them and tested them in the presence of CO. In my opinion, they work well, have a loud alarm and detect very low levels of CO. The Tocsin OI-315 CO Monitor by Otis Instruments is available for $169.95 at Sporty’s. It alarms at 35 PPM, with a flashing LED light, 90 dB Piezo horn and the thing vibrates. It has a belt clip, mounting ring and hook and loop tape so it can be mounted almost anywhere. The low-level alarm can be silenced. At 100 PPM it activates a high-level alarm that can’t be silenced except by moving the unit to a fresh air location and shutting it off. I think that’s a potential distraction, but not a deal-killer. For several years that was the unit kept in an airplane I shared with two other owners. CO Experts ULTRA CO Detector The CO Experts ULTA is the most sophisticated of the portable units I’ve found. It’s available for $199 from Aeromedix. I’ve owned two CO Experts units, using one for the house and one that I’d pull out of the flight bag and use in rental airplanes. Its Piezo alarm sounds at 85 dB. The first alert is at 7 PPM. The type of alert changes as the concentration level rises. It has a memory feature that can be helpful to medical personnel to show the history of exposure. It also has a warning silence feature, which I used one year when holding for a long time for an instrument clearance from AirVenture in a twin. The wind from the left blew enough exhaust from the left engine through the open vent window in the cabin to trigger the alarm. The Pocket CO 300 is the unit I’m using now. It’s a keychain CO detector. It doesn’t alarm until 50 PPM—a little high, in my opinion—setting off an 82-dB warning, LED light and vibration with increasing frequency at thresholds of 125 and 400 PPM. It has a replaceable coin cell battery. My airplane keys are on the unit and I turn it on when I put the key in the ignition—off at shutdown. Pocket CO 300 CO Detector I suggest that you stay away from the chemical spot detectors. To start with, you have to have keep it in your panel scan to see if it is giving you a warning. Worse, each type has a life limit—but pilots seem to stick them on the panel and leave them forever. Beyond that, for the ones that turn “dark,” what is “dark”? How do you tell “dark” when you’re flying at night? (It was cold, it was dark, I was alone … precisely the time you need a CO detector with an effective warning.) The one we tested at Aviation Consumer didn’t change color until CO hit 90 PPM; way too high, in my opinion. They are cheap, and pilots have a reputation for being tightwads—so they buy something that is probably not going to be effective and fly away with a false sense of security. Do you really want to be that pilot? Conclusion My daughter’s involvement in an ultimately tragic search for a missing airplane triggered my thoughts of the need for carrying an effective CO monitor in the airplanes we fly. I think that the level of risk involved combined with the price of an effective detector make buying and using one in an airplane worthwhile. I’m also going to check the battery on my keychain unit when I get up from this computer.
  4. To build a fleet of giant airliners requires a building just as big. Boeing’s Everett Factory, built to construct the famous 747, is the biggest enclosed structure in the world. When you’re building some of the world’s biggest airliners, you need an equally outsized building. When Boeing decided to build the 747 – a plane so big it would become known around the world as the jumbo jet – they had to build a factory large enough to build several of them at the same time. If you’ve ever seen a 747 from close quarters you’ll know just how giant Boeing’s jumbo is. So it’s no surprise the factory which ended up building has to be very big indeed. How big? Try the biggest enclosed building in the world. Boeing started work on the Everett factory in 1967, just as the Boeing 747 project was starting to gather pace. Bill Allen, Boeing’s charismatic chief, had realised the company would need a huge amount of space if they were going to build an airliner big enough to carry 400 passengers. They chose an area of woodland some 22 miles (35km) north of Seattle, near an airport that had served as a fighter base during World War Two. An article in the Daily Herald, Everett’s local paper, recalls just how out of the way the airport was. According to Joe Sutter, the engineer who masterminded the 747 project, the site had only minor road access to the nearest highway and no railway connection. In the forest roamed wild bears. The factory now produces the newer generations of Boeing airliners (Credit: Getty Images) At the same time Boeing was building the prototype of the world’s biggest airliner, it was also having to construct the factory to make them in. Today, the Everett factory easily dwarfs any other building in the world by volume, with the Guinness Book of Records reporting that it occupies 72 million cubic feet (13.3 million cubic metres). “We’ve overlaid the building over some of the most famous landmarks around the world,” says David Reese, who helps runs the factory tours at Everett. “We have various famous places like Versailles, the Vatican and Disneyland, and you see them when you start the factory tour. “I remember I did an interview with the BBC a few years ago, and I thought ‘I wonder what the volume of Wembley Stadium is?’ Well, it turns out you can fit 13 of them in the volume of our factory.” The Everett plant still produces a dwindling number of 747 freighters, but today it mostly concentrates on the smaller 767, 777 and 787 models. To build that fleet of planes requires lots of room. Everett’s main building covers 97.8 acres (39 hectares), more than 30 times as big as London’s Trafalgar Square. Boeing had to build the new factory at the same time it was designing the 747 (Credit: Boeing) Each shift has as many as 10,000 workers, and there are three shifts each day. Over the course of 24 hours, the factory has a population only a little less than the Australian city of Alice Springs. Reese has worked for Boeing for 38 years – 11 of them running the factory tours – but says he can still remember his first impression of the factory. “It was very awe-inspiring the first time – and I would have to say every day since, too. It changes constantly. Each day there’s something new.” The Everett factory is so big that there’s a fleet of some 1,300 bicycles on hand to help cut travel time. It has its own fire station and medical services on station, and an array of cafes and restaurants to feed the thousands of workers. Overhead are a multitude of cranes used to move some of the heavier aircraft parts as the planes start to take shape. The operators, Reese says, are some of the most highly skilled and best-paid workers at the factory. There are a few rules for working in, or even just visiting, the factory. “We do require proper footwear, so no open-toed shoes and no high heels for the ladies – anything that could possibly cause a fall or damage your feet – and you have to wear safety glasses at all times in the factory. Constantly. That can be an issue with some of our visitors, they say things like ‘Oh, I wear reading glasses, that will be enough.’ It’s not.” The factory boasts some surprising features. While there is ventilation, there is no air conditioning. In summer, if it gets too hot, Reese says, they just open the massive doors to let in the breeze. In winter, the effect of the more than one million lights, the huge amount of electric equipment and some 10,000 human bodies also helps moderate the temperatures. “I only have to wear a sweater or a light jacket and that’s sufficient.” There is a longstanding urban myth that the building is so large and high that clouds form at the top of it. Not quite so, says Reese. “The building was still being constructed as the first plane was being built, and one wall was not yet enclosed. We think that fog or mist from the outside and accumulated in the building, and it looked like a kind of hazy atmosphere. The finished aircraft are towed over a bridge to a nearby airport (Credit: Boeing) “It’s the same thing when we had wildfires nearby, it got pretty hazy inside the factory.” Reese says the factory’s days have an ebb and flow, the factory changing tasks as the day progresses. “The second shift, that’s when there’s more crane activity when there isn’t quite as many people. “When we move a finished aircraft out of the factory it’s driven over a freeway to an airport nearby, and in order not to startle the drivers too much, we tend to do that at night.” Not just the world’s biggest building, but full of surprises too.
  5. Admin

    What Now - please advise

    Hi all, as you may have seen by now the User Post Bit that is displayed on the left side of a post when viewed on a PC is now complete. here is an explanation of what is contained in the post bit: Please note that the user's general location is displayed as a link which enables you to see on a Google Map the general area of the user which will help everyone in perhaps creating a stronger community of site users by being able to catch up in person if you find yourself flying in the area or get stuck due to weather etc.
  6. If a flying car doesn't really appeal to you, how about a flying bike? A California company is apparently on the verge of making this dream a reality. However, much like the flying cars of today, this product too will not come cheap. The company, Hoversurf, claims to have developed their own engines and computerized flight systems to make their ‘aerial motorbike’ effective, safe and manoeuvrable in the air. All this translates into an asking price of $150,000. For this, you get an impressive, drone-like machine capable of propelling you into the air at something like automobile speeds. What is the Flying Motorbike and Where Does It Come From? This new type of vehicle is called the Hoverbike eVTOL S3 2019. Its makers, Hoversurf, say that the product is ready for sale. eVTOL refers to the battery technology found in the product, a form of the lithium-nickel-manganese block that powers the Hoverbike’s four large propellers. Indeed, the vehicle does closely resemble a drone and is even referred to as one in the company’s product-information material. However, this drone is capable of lifting a human (who weighs about 250 pounds or less) up to 16 feet off the ground. This human can sit on the Hoverbike, and control it via front-mounted stalks, much like a regular motorbike. A shot of the Hoverbike in flight. (Source: Howversurf) Hoversurf claims that their new “personal drone” can fly at up to 60 miles per hour. However, as with many other pro-sumer drones, it can only do so for about 25 minutes at a time. The company asserts, however, that the onboard computer is equipped with the flight-modeling and fail-safes necessary to control the risks of collisions or fatal cut-outs in the air. This modeling is also intended to address other dangers, including wind speed and turbulence while flying. So, Who Gets to Fly a Hoverbike? As with Terrafugia’s latest 'flying car,' the Hoverbike does not require that the user have a pilot’s license or other specialist training. Hoversurf commented on this saying that it has been categorized as an ‘ultralight aircraft’ by the FAA, thus rendering its use unrestricted and without the need for certification (in the United States, at least). However, a potential customer may need the financial flexibility needed to rationalize spending over $100,000 on what is essentially a giant bike-sized drone. These enthusiasts could also be advised to wear a helmet while riding their new flying bikes. Speaking of flying vehicles, the Hoverbike is not the only product its manufacturer has in mind. Hoversurf also seems to be working on developing flying taxis too. This new type of drone is also powered by eVTOL technology and is portrayed as having an enclosed cabin. The “electric flying car” may be propelled by Hoversurf’s new type of engine, the Venturi. The company claims that this is a hybrid between the engines of an aircraft and helicopter but gains additional jet-stream by sucking ordinary air into it, which, in turn, increases efficiency and reduces noise. New Type of Taxi, New Type of Engine The Venturi’s moving parts are all contained within a carbon-fiber shell, which is intended to boost safety and also reduce the engine’s volume. The company has also apparently secured a patent for the Venturi engine. These may be incorporated into the ‘drone taxi’ (also known as Project Formula) to give it vertical take-off and landing. This vehicle is also described as containing sensors for a 3D perspective of its surroundings and object recognition, which may be controlled by an AI for safe and effective flight. It is also to be equipped with an airbag, a ballistic parachute and landing gear in cases of difficult landings or adversity during flight. In addition, from the implication of the title 'drone taxi' and the fact that the scope for only one passenger is mentioned, it appears that this vehicle is also to be driverless. In that case, it is to be hoped that it comes equipped with mapping, traffic control and aerial co-ordination systems like those proposed by a team at MIT for such flying vehicles. Hoversurf does not mention plans to market or sell this particular product (i.e., the taxi), any time soon. However, it is yet another exciting hint of a future with real, personal flying machines!
  7. Airservices Australia today announced it has reached two major milestones in OneSKY, the world-leading program being undertaken jointly with the Department of Defence. Air Traffic Management (ATM) service facilities in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth have switched over to the Civil Military ATM (CMATS) voice communication system. Brisbane’s air traffic service centre will follow suit in early 2019. Voice communications are a cornerstone of any ATM system, allowing air traffic controllers and pilots to talk to each other. “The new CMATS voice communications system enables greater efficiency of our air traffic resources, enhances safety outcomes and minimises service disruptions,” according to Airservices Chief Executive Officer Jason Harfield. “These benefits will be experienced by all users of Australian airspace, from the major airlines and their passengers right through to the smallest ultralight aircraft.” The Airservices and Defence project team worked with operational staff and industry partners, Thales Australia and Frequentis, to ensure a seamless transition to the CMATS voice communication system in the first three locations. “Achieving this milestone on schedule and with no disruption to existing services is an exceptional demonstration of how civil and military air traffic operations will work together,” Mr Harfield said. Airservices and Thales have also just completed the system definition review for CMATS, the technical platform that will unite Australia’s civil and military air traffic control systems. The project now moves into the detailed design phase. “We are proud to deliver these key milestones in the OneSKY program just nine months after signing contracts with our military and industry partners,” said Mr Harfield. About OneSKY OneSKY is a world-leading program to align the needs of civil and military aviation, while catering for the forecast growth in the aviation sector. Over the coming years, advanced air traffic management technology will be introduced in stages to unlock more than a billion dollars of economic benefits for Australia.
  8. Owning and flying your own small airplane offers a nearly unmatched level of freedom and autonomy. Traveling “as the crow flies” without having to deal with traffic on the ground immediately shrinks your world, and makes possible all sorts of trips and adventures. Unfortunately the crippling downsides of plane ownership (storage and maintenance costs, knowledge that you might die in a fiery crash, etc), keeps most of us planted squarely on terra firma. But not [ITman496]. His dream of owning an ultralight has recently come true, and he’s decided to share his experience with the world. He’s got a long way to go before he slips the surly bonds of Earth, but there’s no better place to start than the beginning. In a recent blog post he documents the process of getting his new toy home, and details some of the work he plans on doing to get it airworthy. The plane in question is a Mini-MAX that [ITman496] has determined is not only older than he is, but has never flown. It was built by a retired aircraft mechanic who unfortunately had problems with his heart towards the end of assembly. He wisely decided that he should find a safer way to spend his free time than performing solo flights in an experimental aircraft, so he put the plane up for sale. After a considerable adventure transporting the plane back home, [ITman496] found it was stored in such good condition that the engine started right up. But that doesn’t mean it’s ready for takeoff by any stretch of the imagination. For his own safety, he’s planning on tearing down the entire plane to make sure everything is in good shape and assembled correctly; so at least he’ll only have himself to blame if anything happens when he’s in the air. One the plane’s structure is sound, he’ll move on to some much needed engine modifications including a way to adjust the air-fuel mixture from inside the cockpit, improvements to the cooling system, and installation of a exhaust system that’s actually intended for the two-stroke engine he has. When that’s done, [ITman496] is going to move onto the real fun stuff: creating his own “glass cockpit”. For Hackaday readers who don’t spend their time playing make believe in flight simulators, a “glass cockpit” is a general term for using digital displays rather than analog gauges in a vehicle. [ITman496] has already bought two daylight-readable 10.1″ IPS displays which he plans on driving over HDMI with the Raspberry Pi. No word on what his software setup and sensor array will look like, but we’re eager to hear more as the project progresses. If you’re not lucky enough to find a mostly-complete kit plane nearby on Craigslist, you could always just make your own airplane out of sheets of foam.
  9. Photo: Courtesy Pal-V While we devote much ink (both actual and virtual) in our aviation coverage to first-class cabins, business jets, and charter services, planes are by no means the only ways to experience the thrill of flight. In fact, people were enjoying soaring through the air even before the invention of the airplane in a contraption that will actually make an appearance later on this list. The point is, there are plenty of fun ways to get an elevated perspective on things, from functional jetpacks to autogyros. Hoversurf Hoverbike parked Photo: courtesy of Hoversurf Hoverbike The Hoversurf Hoverbike is technically a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle. However, while most of the full-size VTOLs that hope to come to market will have to contend with strict FAA regulations (many of which still have to be debated and implemented), the Hoverbike was able to receive classification as an ultralight aircraft, which means that riders don’t need to get a pilot’s license or certification (though Hoversurf requires that the owner takes a mandatory training course). The fully-electric aircraft is ridden like a motorcycle, with four propellers at each corner to provide lift and thrust. Its carbon fiber body saves weight, which means Hoversurf was able to install larger batteries that can keep the personal drone aloft for 10 to 25 minutes (depending on rider weight and other factors). When pressed to its limit, the Hoverbike can fly up to a restricted 60 mph. The company is taking orders now for the $150,000 machine, which will be delivered in two to six months. The mandatory training package costs another $10,000. FlyDoo light sport balloon in flight Photo: courtesy of SkyDoo Hot Air Balloon The oldest form of air transportation on this list, unmoored ballooning has been around for more than 200 years (fun fact: The world’s first balloon passengers were a sheep, a duck, and a rooster). Although many people think of ballooning as fodder for cheesy romantic dates or remember it for its Mandela Effect–like non-role in Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, there are still enthusiasts out there who turn what is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most people into a serious hobby. And why not? While most of the vehicles on this list are meant to stir up your adrenaline, ballooning is about relaxation and killer views. One exciting new development in the field is the two-person FlyDoo, which could become the first hot-air balloon in the light sport category if the FAA approves the design. This development would make ballooning much more accessible to those with a casual interest. A complete FlyDoo is priced at around $21,000, but for an extra $14,000, you can add a vectored thrust unit (aka a motorized propeller) to help you direct your course. Apollo Flight Labs JetPack Photo: Courtesy Apollo Flight Labs Jetpack In most people’s minds, jetpacks are the stuff of science fiction and action movies. However, while no practical working model has been produced at scale, there are a few designs out there that you can actually get your hands on. Recently, Gravity Industries put a number of their Jet Suits on sale at Selfridge’s for $373,310. The suit employs a main thruster that attaches to the pilot’s back and two thrusters on each arm to control direction (yes, just like Iron Man). You may also want to comb the back alleys of eBay to get your jetpack fix. In September, Apollo Flight Labs put one of their used jetpacks up for auction to clear out some space in their shop. The Calidus AutoGyro has been flying in Europe since 2009 Photo: Courtesy Calidus Autogyro The technology behind autogyros is not new; It was developed nearly a century ago by Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva with the goal of creating an aircraft that could fly safely at low speed. Classified along with helicopters as rotocraft, an autogyro is different because instead of a motor driving the rotor blades, it has a free-spinning rotor that provides lift simply by the aircraft moving forward—thrust that is usually provided by a motorized propeller at the rear. Thankfully, autogyros are much easier to pilot than helicopters and revised FAA regulations have made it easier for models to get certified. The Calidus Autogyro, one of the most popular designs in Europe—where autogyros are a more common sight—was recently certified in the U.S. and can now be purchased for around $100,000 from its U.S. distributor, AutoGyro USA. If you’re in no rush, you can also check out the Pal-V, an autogyro design that’s in development, with certification planned for 2020 (though this date has moved back a few times in the past). This unique vehicle is not only an autogyro; when it lands, its rotors and tail fold away, transforming it into a road-going three-wheeler. The Pal-V Liberty version is priced at $600,000, while the PAL-V Liberty Sport costs $400,000. DJI Goggles give you an immersive view from your drone. Photo: courtesy DJI Drone with VR headset The consumer drone revolution has made the buzzing little aircraft the easiest way to begin a lifelong obsession with flight. But controlling a drone from the ground while watching its camera feed through your phone isn’t quite the same experience as being up in the air yourself. That’s were another revolutionary technology that’s picking up steam comes in. Many drones now support VR headsets that give pilots a completely immersive first-person view. Alternately, you could let a friend wear it while you pull off your most daring aerial maneuvers and try to make them sick. Market leader DJI offers a pair of $350 VR goggles that work with its popular Mavic, Spark, Phantom, and Inspire series. This pair also features headtracking mode, in which the viewer can control the pitch of the camera and yaw of the drone with just their head movements, letting you take in the scene as if you were a passenger in the drone itself.
  10. Rising interest in sports involving aircrafts including aerial acrobatics, and airplane racing has greatly put the focus on the usage of ultralight models of aircraft around the world. Moreover, the increasing application of ultralight aircraft in public and defense operations such as reconnaissance flights, search and rescue operations and more. Rising importance on aircraft operation and production regulations along with technological innovations by manufacturers is anticipated to boost the demand in the ultralight aircraft market in the years to come. Relaxation in Regulations to Boost Production of Ultralight Aircrafts Rising amounts of investments are being put towards the use of ultralight aircraft for sports and recreational activities for learner pilots, especially for travelling short-distances. With manufacturers giving increased importance to enhanced performances and flight speed for new ultralight aircraft designs, the demand for these aircraft is bound to increase in the near future. One more vital aspect that must be considered, is the recent increase in the number of short-term aviation courses, which allow new pilots to gain the requisite skills and authorized certificates that are required to fly ultralight aircraft, as a result boosting the demand for ultralight aircraft. Relatively lower costs for purchasing, maintaining, and using ultralight aircraft is a key contributor behind the rising sales of ultralight aircraft. Moreover, the capability to take off and land in very small airstrip will also boost demand. Recently the usage of ultralight aircraft within the United States has been freed from regulations. This move by the government authorities in the country is expected to attract more end users and generate enhanced opportunity for the growth of manufacturers. The fact that there are no fixed standards developing ultralight aircraft along with the recent losses in the market value of the aviation sector, coupled with concerns about the safety of ultralight aircraft on the other hand are expected to significantly constrain the progress of ultralight producers. Technology and Material Improvements Gain High Importance Major producers of ultralight aircraft such as Evektor Spol. S.R.O, Quicksilver Aircrafts, P&M Aviation, and Cirrus Design Corporation, are giving great importance to aspects such as improving material, design, and technological improvements to gain benefits over the competition. For instance, the EuroStar SL+ range of ultralight aircraft by Evektor Spol S.R.O. is designed with ergonomically shaped interiors that include modifiable pedals, intelligent ventilation control, high seat backrest, and the use of corrosion resistant body material that allows to significantly lessen aircraft weight, to enhance load capacity for fuel, cargo, and crew. The design also enables pilots to recover easily incase the aircraft goes into the spin, thereby ensuring improved safety standards. Similarly, the the Sport 2SE special light sports aircraft ultralight by Quicksilver Aircraft is designed to comply to regulations for FAA approved and it provides pilots with an open cockpit design, that allows unfiltered views and maneuverability, at low costs. Widespread Presence of Market Players to Play Vital Role The rapid growth of the tourism sector in the emerging countries including Brazil, China, and India, are expected to generate lucrative opportunities for ultralight aircraft manufacturers who are operating internationally. Moreover, Vietnam is also gaining importance in the international scene as a key hub for the production of such aircraft. It is important to note that the ultralight aircraft are gaining in usage, in the United States of America owing to the deregulation these aircraft types, thereby enabling ultralight aircraft producers to put efforts towards innovative aircraft designs and materials.
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  12. Turbs, when they started I believe the CASA advised them NOT to try under 95 which would have all been sorted by now but to only apply under 149 which was supposedly coming soon at the time and allows for extra SAOs but 95 doesn't without great amounts of pressure so they did what they were told and given the extra time and the then supposedly 149 allowances they were able to add extra things in the mix...they were led along a long and winding road with RAAus given them the mud map that says turn left at every intersection...think about where you would turn up if you turned left at every intersection
  13. I was actually talking to one of the directors a couple of days ago on this and yes, CASA is the culprit, one day they wanted things this way and then the next it was that way, one day day it was to 149 then it was 95 then it was back to 149 but then their 149 was changing each day and now it may not even be 149. To my knowledge ELAAA has been trying their hardest
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  15. Announcements Information sessions – proposed new GA maintenance regulations To help people interested in the development of the new general aviation maintenance regulations, we are conducting a series of information sessions 10-14 December 2018. Bankstown and Archerfield have sold out—seats are still available at Moorabbin, Parafield, Cairns, Darwin and Jandakot. Join our experts to hear what the proposed changes mean for you and have your questions answered. Registrations close 5 December 2018. Live webinar – modernising Australia’s fatigue rules Public consultation will commence soon on a draft of Modernising Australia's Fatigue Rules - proposed CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019. Now, we are conducting a live webinar on Tuesday 4 December 2018 from 7.30pm to 8.30pm (AEDT) to encourage as many of you as possible to have your say on the proposed CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019. Spread the word and encourage your aviation colleagues to be part of the conversation and register by 6pm 4 December 2018. Consultations Proposed new GA maintenance regulations Our public consultation on our proposal to develop new general aviation maintenance regulations will open on 7 December 2018. Go to our Consultation Hub to find out more and have your say before the 13 January 2019 deadline. Modernising Australia’s fatigue rules - proposed CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019 Public consultation on the proposed CAO 48.1 Instrument 2019, which aims to address 12 of the actions contained in CASAs response to the independent review of fatigue rules, will commence on 10 December 2018. Go to our Consultation Hub to find out more and have your say before the 15 January 2019 deadline. Draft CAAP 166-01 v4.2 - Operations in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes Following extensive consultation with the aviation community, we have finalised the policy in relation to the appropriate frequency to use in the vicinity of non-controlled aerodromes. Public consultation on draft CAAP 166-01 will commence on 7 December 2018. Please go to our Consultation Hub and provide your feedback on these editorial changes via our Consultation Hub by 16 January 2019. Guidance material AC 39-01 v4.2 - Airworthiness Directive We published an amended AC 39-01 v4.2 – Airworthiness Directive to update parameters for defining ADs as urgent. View the AC on the CASA website. Civil Aviation Advisory Publications We published three amended CAAPs during November. CAAP 234-1(2) - Guidelines for aircraft fuel requirements Updated to align with recent amendments to the fuel rules. Key changes include clarification of existing definitions and new definitions; inclusion of additional fuel quantity and an expanded description of methods of determining fuel quantity; inclusion of a detailed description of in-flight fuel management procedures and practices, sample fuel calculations and detailed worked examples. View the CAAP on the CASA website. CAAP 215-1(3) - Guide to the preparation of operations manuals Updated to align with the recent amendment to the fuel rules. View the CAAP on the CASA website. CAAP 43-01 v2.0 - Maintenance release Updated to reflect changes to CAO 100.5. Key changes include clarification of requirements for making or clearing an endorsement on Part 2 of a maintenance release for defects that are not a major defect; explanation of requirements relating to issuing of the CASA maintenance release outside of Australian territory; and explanation of requirements for issuing a maintenance release for an aeroplane engaged in an aerial application conducted at night if the aeroplane is not equipped and certificated for night VFR flight under Part 21 of the CASR. View the CAAP on the CASA website. Visual Flight Rules Guide We have released the 2018 print edition of the Visual Flight Rules Guide. To order your copy visit our online store. Development projects We have closed Project FS 11/39 - Post Implementation Review (PIR) of CASR Part 67 – Medical. The issues and objectives identified in Project FS 11/39 will now be addressed through Project FS 16/08 – Medical certification standards. A new Project FS 18/07 - Proposed amendments to Part 60 Manual of Standards - Synthetic training devices has been approved.
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