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Sebring, Sun 'n Fun, and AirVenture

From Bits & Pieces Newsletter, February 2015 Issue

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Ian BrownWell, here we are in February already. I hope many of you are managing to get out flying. In January I attended the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, with a friend, Patrick Lawrence, and was able to convince him to write us an article from the perspective of a first-time attendee at an air show.

Sadly, the day after we left, there was a fatal accident involving two experienced pilots flying an Aventura II seaplane LSA. One of the pilots was Jason Spinks, the sales and marketing development director at Aero Adventure, the company that markets the airplane. There were no reports of any problems seen during the flight until the plane fell from the sky after a hard right bank. All signs seem to indicate that this was the result of a stall, but we’ll leave it up to the FAA to determine that.

It does seem, however, that from looking at video footage of aircraft accidents, a very high percentage seems to be associated with loss of lift. It’s a good reminder that lift is not just our friend; it’s what separates us from the ground. Many videos demonstrate the difference between the lift provided by a pair of wings parallel to the horizon versus at extreme angles of bank, showing us that if you’re banking hard, you’d be wise to have several thousand feet between you and that hard surface below. Banking hard on turning to final approach is not a great idea.

The days we were able to attend the Sebring Expo were gray and overcast and a bit chilly, at least for Florida, so I’d estimate the attendance as low. But I was able to join a few volunteers in demonstrating how clecos work and how a homebuilt goes together. EAA’s One Week Wonder Zenith CH 750 Cruzer, built in one week at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, was there and flying, and we were assembling an Onex kit just to show how the parts get connected together prior to riveting. Despite the gloomy weather, there was a steady stream of attendees, both first-timers and experienced “multiple offenders” visiting the EAA booth and the One Week Wonder.

Van’s Aircraft had an RV-12A with a new paint job. Do you like it? I did, although it’s probably not particularly suited for high visibility.

New paint job for Van’s

I was checking out a Canadian website for aviators called www.Buddypilots.com to see if there was relevance for our readership, and it turns out there is quite a lot. It’s more of a management tool than an aviation one, and it costs $29 a month. So it’s clearly tailored for those with bigger aircraft and higher overheads, but it might be worth a look if you’re interested. Keeping track of flights, the aircraft, and pilot logbook are all integrated into the site, so you might find enough value to be interested.

As a way to reduce the costs of learning to fly, it seems obvious that an electric aircraft would be a smart way to go. Problems such as turnaround time between charges, and flight duration, have yet to be dealt with, but one could imagine that those problems are not insurmountable.

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