Lakeland, Fla., Mayor Gow Fields proclaimed April 11 “Women in Air Service 70th Anniversary Commemoration Day.” Attending were (left to right): Florence Elion Mascott, Dora Dougherty, Bernice “Bee” Haydu, Elizabeth “Betty Wall” Strohfus, Nell S. Bright, Barry Vincent Smith, and Kathleen Hilbrandt. The women were honored in a special presentation, and the proclamation was presented on Sun ’n Fun Radio prior to the opening of the afternoon airshow. Fields recognized the women for “stepping forward to fly for their country.”
Rotax Flying Safety Club, Ltd., an independent firm that maintains a service center and technician network, is offering a warranty extension on OEM Rotax 912 iS engines purchased through July 31 from vendors in North America, Central America, and South America. The company, which trains and certifies technicians in the Americas, will extend warranty coverage from 18 months or 200 hours up to 30 months or 400 hours at no cost. Engines already purchased must be registered (free of charge) on the RFSC Limited website, where a host of other information is available for owners and technicians. The extension is available for engines shipped with many factory-built and kit aircraft models, along with engines purchased as replacements or new installations. The announcement was made April 10 at Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo.
Unlike pilots flying on their own for business and recreation, many commercial operators require official FAA blessings to use to an iPad in the cockpit as a primary chart manager. John Zimmerman, Vice President of Sporty’s catalog division, notes that going paperless in the cockpit requires training, checklists, and other processes that can be challenging to assemble—unless you’ve been through it several times, as has the Sporty’s team. Having lived the process, Zimmerman decided others could benefit from Sporty’s experience, opening the door to a new product, the iPad Easy Approval Service. For FAR Part 135 and Part 91 Subpart K operators (fractional companies), Sporty’s provides a kit that allows operators to easily comply with FAA requirements. The process uses the Foreflight electronic flight bag (EFB) and includes the required documentation, comprehensive training and testing, and a unique operational guide. The training includes access to Sporty’s new Flying with Foreflight video. The “standard application” price of $799 includes approval for up to four airplanes and training for up to 20 pilots.
In an effort to “help pilots develop a new approach to old flying habits,” Jason Miller, a CFII and author of “The Finer Points of Flying,” launched a new iBook, “Setting the Standard,” on April 9. The iBook combines text, audio, and video to offer suggestions for developing standard operating procedures to those flying single pilot under Part 91 rules. “Commercial operators have successfully used standard operating procedures to mitigate the risks of flying,” according to Miller’s announcement. He said he believes the procedures offered in his iBook “will help save lives.” Pilots can preview a free sample of the book in iTunes.
Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association President Dan Johnson said light sport aircraft, including some very light airplanes and experimental models not included in the category created in 2004, now account for 5 percent of the single-engine piston fleet, with sales of various models amounting to half of the total number of piston singles sold in 2012, based on a combination of FAA registration data and General Aviation Manufacturers Association shipment reports. FAA registration data does include dozens of unsold Cessna 162 aircraft, and an accurate analysis of aircraft sales by type is problematic. Johnson said there are encouraging signs that business is picking up, Sun ’n Fun welcomed 44 LSA and other light aircraft vendors this year, up from 25 in 2012. Vendors are being allowed to fly demos from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport for the first time this year.
Daher-Socata has added new features to the TBM 850 Elite turboprop for 2013, including avionics and interior upgrades, and the company announced demand for the 320-knot aircraft is picking up. Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher-Socata’s Airplane Division, said the order backlog has built to 32 aircraft, just eight shy of the 40 the company had planned to ship for the year. The TBM 850 retails for $3.4 million, and Chabbert presented flight tracking data that showed it completed a flight from Indiana to Florida in just one minute longer than a light jet from an unnamed manufacturer, speed that may, combined with relative economy, explain the TBM 850’s appeal.