Final 2010 Market Report

Graphic courtesy
Dan Johnson’s periodic Market Share report (compiled by Jan Fridrich of the Czech LAA) is out on his website and there are some interesting trends.
For those who haven't seen these snapshots of the U.S. LSA market before, Dan focuses on FAA registrations, not sales quotes from manufacturers.  While this indicator may lag sales figures, over time it gives a more accurate view of who's actually delivering airplanes to customers.

The not-surprising but important highlight has to be Piper's shot in the arm to overall LSA production.
The venerable company registered 43 airplanes this year (24% of all registrations!) and will no doubt be stronger in 2011 as sales continue to mount for its sexy PiperSport.
CubCrafters really surged this year with 37 registrations, a 20% market share, on the strength of its 180hp-powered Carbon Cub SS.  My local field has one, and it's quite a performer.
In my recent post I mentioned Cessna's surge now that production at the China factory is in full swing.  A total 29 Skycatchers (16% of all registrations) went out this year: Cessna expects to ship 150-plus next year.
The market leaders, including Flight Design and American Legend are hanging in there, and newcomer Jabiru/Arion with its new Lightning was a big hit with 9 registrations for the year.
Sleepers to watch include Sportair USA's Sirius (4), Aerotrek (4), Skykits Savannah (4), FPNA A-20 (3), and 3Xtrim Navigator 600 (2).
Dan parses the numbers and projects, to end of 2010, a further slide of 4% over 2009, which was nobody's favorite year.
But with the economy slowly expanding again, a lot of folks are reading the tea leaves and hoping for a much stronger 2011.  Let's all keep drinking that happy tea.

Status confirmed of ZK-LXA

A follow up to the earlier blog covering the Clutton Fred's in NZ, see
I can confirm the dismantled (but still  currently registered) state of the Taieri based ZK-LXA, as seen above on 09-11-2010.

Ownership change for Cessna A185F ZK-WHJ.

A Matt Hayes photograph of the Cessna A185F ZK-WHJ (c/n 04304) taken on 11-08-2010.
WHJ were the personal markings of W H Johnstone of Christchurch, who imported the aircraft from Australia in March of 2004. It was then listed to J S & L F Kerr of Christchurch in July of 2006 but was based at Fox Glacier until recently replaced there by the unfortunate Walter Fletcher ZK-EUF. As of 22-09-2010 it was listed with Don West of Auckland.

Christchurch today 30-11-2010.

At the Garden City Helicopter base was the Aerospatiale AS 350 B2 ZK-HQN2 (c/n 1807). This was a Brian Comeford import, registered in July this year before moving to the Queenstown based Heli Tours in Sptember. 
Photo by Matt Hayes.
The seldom seen: the Air West Coast, Cessna P210N ZK-VIR2 (c/n 00482) at the main terminal area.
Photo by Matt Hayes.

Above is the Cessna/Reims F406 Caravan 11 ZK-CEC2 (c/n 0012) from Air Charter East Coast of Gisborne, on the Western side of the field. This aircraft has previously operated as ZK-CII2 (CityJet), ZK-VAA2 (Vincent) and ZK-XLC (Kiwi Air).

Below; also on the western grass, was the Cessna 402C ZK-VAD (c/n 0076) of Ridge Air.

Radovanović goes on vacation

In a pickle – Srdjan Radovanović
The soon to be replaced CEO of Jat Airways, Srdjan Radovanović, has taken vacation leave in order to prolong his exit date, the B92 biz portal reports. Over the weekend, Serbian media have reported that the Serbian Government will vote to replace Radovanović on Thursday. However, CEO’s of publically owned companies in Serbia cannot be fired while they are on vacation leave, which should give Radovanović more time at the airline’s helm. Similar tactics were used by the previous CEO, Saša Vlaisavljević, who is still part of the company’s management board.

Rumours of who will replace Radovanović have begun with Vladimir Ognjenović, the deputy CEO, being the most likely contender for the top spot. Ognjenović, member of the ruling Democratic Party was part of Saša Vlaisavljević’s disastrous management team which included signing a damaging code share agreement with Montenegro Airlines and claims of corruption. Ognjenović has been at war with the current CEO as the two come from different factions of the Democratic Party.

On Sunday, a spokesperson from the Serbian Government reiterated the government’s stance on Jat saying that the country needs a national carrier and that it will do all in its power to transform Jat into a successful company. Over the weekend, the President of the airline’s pilot union resigned.

Meanwhile, away from management wrangling, Jat will begin its announced two weekly service from Portorož to Rome on December 9. Flights, which are to be operated by the ATR72, will originate in Belgrade. It should be noted that the flights will not substitute the existing nonstop service between the Serbian and Italian capitals. Flight details can be found on the right hand side in the new route launches section.

Long Haul Arrival

1981 Cessna 180K N6TK touched down at Auckland just on 2109 30Nov from Pago Pago following a 12hr+ flight.  It had first been noted just over a week ago flying from Lompoc, California to Hilo and then onto Pago Pago.  Thanks to QW for pointing out where the pilot is featured prior to departing Florida on an around the world trip.

High altitude without turbo

I was thinking one day about the Bohannon B1. It is basically a modified RV (Harmon rocket something) with very high power to weight ratio and that's it. This plane climbed to something like 14 km.

So consider this (high excess power) case hypothetically:
- Airplane with high aspect ratio (low span loading) with high power engines with high power to weight ratio. Example: Chevrolet LS9 (600 hp).
- If the plane can maintain level flight with minimal power. 35000 ft we have remaining power 0.2 * 600 = 120 hp.
- Diamond flies nicely with 120 hp, actually 90 hp is quite sufficient for it for normal cruise speed. With lower span loading much less should keep the plane level.

So now the naysay would be "nah, LS9 can not sustain 600 hp continuous without breaking". However, 120 hp is hardly 600 hp continuous even if the engine is at full throttle and giving all it can at the altitude. It is still stressed only for the 20 percent power.

Same engine, with single stage turbocharger, it should be possible to extend this quite a bit further. With two stage turbocharger even higher altitude should be possible, 70000 ft might be feasible given that the other challenges that come with the altitude are solved somehow.

So you could have a 1200 hp airplane with 240 hp used at altitude for cruise (in case of twin). This should give a quite generous cruise speed at the altitude given that the props are big enough (disc loading low enough).

KS400 airfoil


KS400 wing at altitude 20 km, speed = 155 kts

Here is the dat-file. Download it here: KS400.dat

Works from Re 500 000 up.

More simulations to follow later.

Question time # 117.

Aviation archaeology !

Four parts to this QT.

1:- What make & model is this ? [Now this shouldn't fool many of you].

2:- What registration would it have worn ?

3:- What type is that in the left rear ?

4:- Would you care to put a registration on it ?

Flying into history. Zlin ZK-WLO

 Zlin Z-37T ZK-WLO ( c/n 020) departing Alexandra on the morning of  15-11-2010 to work in the Wanaka area. As of this date it had only 80 hours remaining on its airframe.
Its replacement with Willow Air is the rebuilt Zlin Z-137T ZK-WLT (c/n 0039, ex ZK-VIH) as depicted below at Taieri on 09-11-2010. Its awaits the engine and spray gear from WLO.

Some more Zlin bits can be found at :-



After the superb blog done by Sir Minty on all the Turbulents, plus some cajoling (and a couple of threats) I thought I'd better chuck in an update. Very new to blogging and don't really know what I'm doing so it will be basic and I hope that I can improve with time. The main purpose of it is to announce to the world and anyone that will listen, that I have just registered my Turbulent as ZK WPT. After about 6 months work, (almost full time) it is finished apart from a whole lot of ground running and testing on and off the ground. I'm just waiting for the shiny new Brent Thompson prop to arrive so that I can swing on it.
I bought this with almost all the woodwork done, from Dennis Niles of New Plymouth as a 15 year labour of love. Unfortunately health issues meant Dennis had to give up the build and put it on Trade/Me. I've always wanted to build an aeroplane as a pilot and an IA. but I'm afflicted with elastic tapemeasure disease. Wise men say, "measure twice and cut once" I can measure 10 times and get different answers each time. I believe its because they are making tape measures out of elastic. Damned Chinese. Anyhoo I needed something with the woodwork nearly done and Dennis's was just perfect. It needs all the things that I know and love to do. It has a zero timed 1600cc VW single port heads, twin carbs (off a 582) mounted on top. I've stuck to basics such as a new distributor, coil, mechanical fuel pump with electric back-up pump. AHA, I hear you say, you'll need electricity. A georgeous little Kubota alternator and a rectifier, belt driven off the back of the crank and a dinky little car battery. May fit an electric starter one day. It has all been sanded and resprayed in White with rescue red empenage and wing ends. I'll post some pickies when I figure out how. So,, Pull finger, Brent and we'll see if it'll make some noise and maybe even aviate.

Illyrian Airways to launch flights

Illyrian Airways to be based in Priština and Skopje
A new Priština and Skopje based airline, Illyrian Airways, will commence scheduled flights from December 18 to several Italian cities. The airline recently received a Boeing B737-300 and an Embraer E145 jet, with which it will operate its initial route network. The airline also plans to introduce a Boeing B737-500 and another E145 at a later stage.

Illyrian Airways will inaugurate services with flights from Priština to Brescia and Treviso in Italy and from Skopje to Treviso on December 18. On December 24, the airline will commence flights from its two bases to Rome. On December 24, Illyrian Airways anticipates to launch 1 weekly flight to Antalya. Most other flights will operate twice per week.

Yesterday, Illyrian Airways arranged a promotional flight between Priština and the Albanian capital Tirana. Whether Illyrian Airways will be successful or not remains to be seen. Several previous airlines based in Priština, such as Kosova Airlines and Air Prishtina, suspended services over the past few years.

* Photo curtsey of Skyliner Aviation News Magazine

More on the Wild Thing.

 A couple more photos of the ULBI WT-01 Klassik ZK-DTT2 , c/n 052 , as supplied by the builder/owner Jersey Seipel. Top pic shows it in its German registration of D-MDTT. Below in its ZK marks.

Question time # 116 resolved.

 Sir Minty cracks Question time # 116.
The above damsel, and the second clue in the shot below showing the "Kills" is on the Jodel D.11 ZK-CHX.
 The other damsel was indeed Linda Lovelace on the side of Titan T51 ZK-DGM2.

Wild Thing D-MDTT is Now New Zealand's ZK-DTT

A trip to North Shore today saw Jersey Seipel polishing his Wild Thing ZK-DTT and he was happy to stop for a chat and pose for a photo. In a nice touch Jersey didn't just remove the D-M from its previous registration but he has added new sloping registration letters. Jersey explained that the Wild Thing was modelled on the Murphy Rebel however it is much lighter than the Rebel and is registered in New Zealand as a Class 2 microlight with a MAUW of 544 kg. By comparason the Rebel is an Amateur Built aircraft and has a MAUW of 750 Kg. ZK-DTT has a 6 cylinder Jabiru 3300 motor and its first flight in New Zealand was at Parakai on 11/11/10.

October growth for Croatian airport

Osijek's numbers rise after several months of stagnation
Most Croatian airports reported passenger growth in October 2010 when compared to the same month last year. Both Dubrovnik and Split have already surpassed last year’s annual result. Osijek has managed to buck the negative trend, recorded in the past few months, and report a sensible increase.

Croatia’s main hub handled 187.286 passengers in October, up by 7.3%. Split and Dubrovnik also continued their impressive run, recording an increase of 14.4% and 10.1% respectively. Osijek welcomed only 2.311 passengers, but saw numbers increase by 4.1%. The star of the pack, Zadar, proved it could continue to grow even during the winter as the airport handled 25.590 passengers and saw an increase of 33.6%.

Rijeka Airport has continued it’s less than impressive run. In October, its passenger numbers more than halved. The airport handled 3.620 travellers compared to 7.944 last year. Since January, its numbers have slumped by 44% compared to the same period last year.

Below you can view October 2010 results for Croatian airports:

AirportPassengers OCT 2010Passengers OCT 2009Change (%)
Zagreb187.286174.490 7.7
Dubrovnik102.96393.483 10.1
Pula10.71410.781 0.6
Split85.59274.766 14.4
Zadar25.59019.147 33.6
Osijek2.3112.220 4.1
Rijeka3.6207.944 54.4

Game over for Srdjan Radovanović

Radovanović’s time to fly
The CEO of Jat Airways, Srdjan Radovanović, is expected to be ousted from his post by the end of next week after a damaging front page article in the national newspaper, “Politika”, reported on the shortcomings of his management. Jat’s Finance Department, which was restructured by Radovanović earlier this year, has not been running the airline’s books properly and has failed to pay its debt to Jat Catering, Jat Tehnika, Lufthansa Tehnik, the water supply company and the electricity supply company. It also owes money to various media outlets for the airline’s recent advertisement campaigns. Furthermore, Jat owes money to the Jordanian aviation directorate for unpaid overfly fees and to its ground handling agent in Dubai.

Employees at the airline are anticipating Radovanović’s exit. The blog has recently received e-mails from several disgruntled employees revealing the inner workings of Srdjan Radovanović’s team, which is now pushing for a disastrous ticket price restructuring plan which will hurt the airline and all its international cooperation agreements. Furthermore, Radovanović decided to sell Jat’s headquarters in Belgrade earlier this year and the entire company is now moving to derelict buildings near the airport. This is in line with the CEO’s policy of closing down the airline’s international offices which has had a drastic impact on Jat’s sales figures in the past 2 months.

In order for Radovanović to be removed from his post, Jat’s management board (which is at war with the current CEO) has to meet. It is believed that they will be doing so next week and were waiting to get the all clear from the Serbian Government, which appointed Radovanović as Jat CEO in the first place.

Srdjan Radovanović, a lawyer by profession, was appointed as the airline’s CEO in 2009, despite the fact that he has never worked in the airline industry. The similarly disastrous management strategy was led by the previous CEO, Saša Vlaisavljević, who worked as a ground handler at Belgrade Airport before being appointed as the head of Jat. After he was driven out of the company he became the city manager of Belgrade only to be fired 2 weeks later.

B&H delays Amsterdam launch

Amsterdam awaits B&H
B&H Airlines has delayed the launch of its much publicised Sarajevo – Amsterdam service. The flights, which were supposed to be inaugurated on December 02, have been deferred until December 16. Flight times have not been altered. However, the Bosnian national carrier will operate the service every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday instead of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The route will operate with an Airbus A319. All flight details can be found on the right hand side in the new route launches section.

Bookings for the new route have been going well in the lead up to the holiday season. Schengen zone visa restrictions for Bosnian passport holders will come to an end on December 15, which could be one of the reasons for the delay, although no official word has been given as for the reason behind the deferral. B&H is no stranger to cancelations and delays.

The Education Corporation

I have work experience in both the private and public sector, and have noticed a fair bit of commonality between the two.  This is not surprising, as no matter what kind of work you are involved in, no matter where the funding is coming from, there is a job to be done. 
I worked at a space engineering corporation in the private sector for a few years.  Like any corporation, the whole point of its existence is to make money, and thus the whole function of the worker at the end of the day is to contribute to that cause.  This is the fundamental reason why I could not stay in the private sector; the capital driven corporate culture does not propel me out of bed in the morning.  My reaction was not extreme disgust, but rather, apathy for the cause.  How much does money drive corporations?  It is illegal for a CEO of an American corporation to make a decision that could reduce its shareholder’s share value.  Illegal! 

If a CEO wishes to pursue an environmental cause in the name of his oil company, he could be sued for his efforts, as the move could be seen as a waste of capital.  As a lemming working on the ground floor, the work environment felt rather backwards.  If the only goal is to make money, you may succeed, or you may fail.  If your goal is to do good work, make a good, useful product, have a positive impact on the world, you will likely succeed in that, and derive profits as a natural consequence.  Turning the whole work culture onto its side in this way amounts to eliminating the fear culture.  Money as a motivator is simply a fear mechanism in the workplace.
I currently work at a public institution; a college where I teach Physics to sometimes eager young minds.  My measure of success now is “Did my students absorb the intended content of the course?”  Now, I feel motivated to get out of bed; teaching is a rewarding job in this way.  As I am motivated by fear to a much lesser extent, I am excited to do good work, and success is arrived at in a natural, unforced way.  My students are not as lucky as me.
I was a student for umpteen years, and am thus qualified to comment on the culture of the education system.  It is in large part, a culture of fear.  The currency in the school system is not money, it is marks.  The vast majority of students who enter my class have a goal, but it is most certainly not to learn.  Their goal is a number.  This number, if high enough will allow them to pass the course and never take it again.  Other more ambitious students strive for an even higher number, which may allow them to pursue studies in a field that makes them lots of money later.  Do good marks lead to good money?  I suppose it is possible.  In the first class of a given course I offer the following advice to my students:
“If your goal in this course is to get a certain mark, you may succeed in doing so, or you may not.  In the process you may learn something.  If, on the other hand, your goal is to learn and to do good work, you will very likely succeed at that.  In the process, you will no doubt achieve good marks, but it will be a natural offshoot of your learning and good work.”
This mentality would probably make the classroom a much more fun place to be.  I cannot say so with assurance, as I have never seen the majority of the students in a class follow this path.  Rare is the student who puts learning first, but it is not their faults.  The fear culture of the education system is simply flowing through them; it has been painfully instilled in them since their parents reviewed their first report card.  When parents encourage kids to do well in school, they are asking them to get a good report card – kids know that.  As the students mature into young adults, they may feel that their lengthy experience of chasing good marks has been a waste of time.  This is not the case, as these kids have certainly learned a great deal as they moved through the school system.  However, I think that the experience, the journey, could be made more pleasant by turning the system on its side. 
Something deeper is going on here.  Perhaps it is the fear culture as a whole that has flowed down into the education system and the corporate world.  It may turn out that fear is a good thing, or at the very least, a necessary thing.  Fear is what often dictates to us what directions to choose in life.  Fear was without doubt the entity that allowed man to survive through its most difficult times; and survival is what life aims to do with more rigour than anything else.  Without the fear of dying due to hunger, we would not have hunted when we were hungry.  Fearlessness tends to go hand and hand with recklessness, and is not a quality one should strive for.  It could lead one to speed excessively on the highway or try to jump out of a three-story window.  Fear keeps us grounded, and, historically, has kept us alive.
Things are different in the culture of today’s developed nations.  It is just a minority of its citizens who struggle for survival.  For the vast majority, survival, in the day-to-day sense, is an expectation.  Our instinct to survive is not being tapped into on a daily basis.  As survival has become a given, man has become greedy; people in this culture wish to thrive, to succeed.  But, while the goal has changed from surviving to succeeding, the mechanism relied on to achieve that goal has not changed in the slightest; it is still fear.  I don’t know if fear is the best means to reach our current goals.  Maybe we have kept it with us like an old friend.  It serves as a reminder of our history, and is deep-rooted in our brains.
Without question, a certain amount of fear is useful to have as a motivation to accomplish a given task.  But let us not make it our only motivation.  A student is not legally bounded to strive solely for high marks the way a CEO must strive only for lots of money.  Today’s student can choose how to approach learning, just as teachers have autonomy in their approach to teaching.  We can all balance our fear with other things, like passion and integrity.  As a society, let’s loosen up a bit, relax, and take a deep breath ... we’ve survived.  We are likely to survive tomorrow and the next day.  With that in mind, let us live with a minimal, acceptable level of fear, and remember that there is a lot more to school and life than marks and money.

Caravaning to Central Otago

No, I'm not referring to Blue Bus and her owner's sojourn of the South Island, but the departure from Timaru for Jardines 25Nov of Cessna 208B Caravan ZK-KPH/2

At Timaru 25Nov, Simon Brown photo

The arrival of ZK-KPH brings the NZ Caravan population to 9 aircraft:
Cessna 208
ZK-PDM (Sounds Air)
ZK-PMT (Skydive Tandem, Methven)
ZK-SKB (Air Milford 2000)
ZK-TZR (Sounds Air)

Cessna 208B
ZK-KPH (Skydive Queenstown)
ZK-MJL (Salt Air)
ZK-MYH (Air 2 There)
ZK-SAA (Sounds Air however on 'sabatical' in Northern Territories and northern Western Australia)
ZK-SRI (Air Safaris)

Montenegro to Brussels

Soon in Brussels
As promised at its 16th birthday bash last month, Montenegro Airlines will commence flights from Podgorica to Brussels and Milan in the following months. Although the exact dates were not specified, services to Brussels now appear to be commencing in December. The flights are yet to be listed in reservation systems, however, “Luchtvaart Nieuws” reports that the airline will commence 4 weekly services from Podgorica to Brussels National Airport. When the route is eventually launched, B&H Airlines will be the only EX-YU national carrier not to operate services to the self proclaimed capital of Europe.

Meanwhile, as if Adria’s and Lufthansa’s planned flights from Germany to Priština were not enough, the Albanian low cost airline Belle Air will commence flights from Priština to Munich on December 14. The service will operate once per week. Along with Adria, Belle Air will compete with Germanwings and Air Berlin on the route. Flight details can be found in the new route launches section on the right hand side.

"New" Resident at Ardmore

Aero L39 ZK-WLM was delivered to Ardmore 17Nov and registered to the McCready Investment Trust one week later.  This example arrived in NZ during early part of 2003 and was initially registered ZK-LLR with B-B Aviation of Wanaka.  It changed to its current registration on 01Nov 2004 and ownership records changed to Jetflights Wanaka from Sep 2006.   ZK-WLM was the first of type in NZ has since been joined by three addition L39's based at New Plymouth, Wellington and Nelson.

Airborne runway 29 at the Warbirds over Wanaka airshow Easter 2006, Mike Condon photo

Qatar gives Adria the cold shoulder

Qatar Airways not interested in Adria
The CEO of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, has said that his company will not be taking over 49% of shares from Adria Airways, “Bloomberg” reports. The CEOs of the two companies met in Doha recently to discuss the possible partnership. However, Al Baker now says that he wants Qatar Airways to concentrate on its own business and expand its fleet and destination network.

Adria will now have to look elsewhere for a future partner. Lufthansa has also expressed interest in Adria Airways according to the Slovenian “Finance” portal. However, Lufthansa would face significant scrutiny if it purchased Adria shares as it would have to face the European Commission’s anti monopoly body. The German national carrier was recently forced to give up frequencies on certain routes from Vienna, London and Brussels after it purchased Austrian, Brussels Airlines and BMI. Some of these frequencies went to Adria.

Like all other national carriers in the EX-YU region, Adria will end 2010 with significant financial losses. The Slovenian Government wants to sell the company’s shares as early as the first half of 2011.

Classic at Auckland International

Brendan Leddy of Kumeu (northwest of Auckland) Hiller FH-1100 ZK-HHW was spotted at Auckland International today 24Nov.  This machine is one of two owned by Brendan and it has been operating out of Invercargill in recent years for Stewart Island Helicopters.  A sticker below the rotor blades appears to read "Coastguard".
Outside the Air NZ Jet Base at Auckland 24Nov, Wayne Grant photo

The Airport Kid

On those weekends that I'm hanging out at my newly adopted country airport of Great Barrington, MA (GBR), I always look forward to seeing young Joe Solan.
Joe's 12...going on 28, as someone at the airport affectionately quipped.
Joe is one great kid, the kind I sometimes wish I'd been more like when I was his age.
Joe Solan, right, giving local CFI John Lampson a ride
When we first greet, whether he's dutifully dragging a heavy gas pump hose that weighs half what he does, answering the airport office phone or hunting up a charged handheld battery, he'll flash a friendly smile, say "Hi!", and stick out his hand like the straight-up little man he is.
He's growing up at the airport, mentored in running the business and mentored in life by his dad Rick, a co-owner of the airport with lots of great ideas for growing its prosperity.
Rick's also the guy who keeps American Airlines 777 drivers on the straight and narrow as a top-level inspector pilot. 
I wrote a column recently for Plane & Pilot about GBR, extolling the charms, which are manifest, of this wonderful throwback to a kinder aviation era.
It's melange of hangar styles, tied-down airplanes and acres of grass, surrounded by the bucolic Berkshire Hills farmland of western Mass., inspires flights of poetic as well as winged fantasy throughout the year.
The 2600' paved runway has a grass strip right next to it, and there's another short-field strip at an angle alongside the triangle of tall corn that grows in the summer.
The recently repaired asphalt is long enough to let fast singles and some light twins in, but short enough, with the very tall trees at the west end of the runway, to inspire routine vigilance and Plan B thinking ahead on takeoff or landing.
Richard Solan, co-owner of GBR, American Airlines top gun...and Joe's dad.
Back to Joe: he's one of those genuine kids you like immediately.  He doesn't come off entitled or overindulged, has an adult-like work ethic, and like GBR, is a throwback himself to an earlier time when kids were eager to help out any way they could and took no small measure of quiet pride in doing so.
Oh, he gets to be a kid too, flying electric-powered RC models on the far side of the airport, or roaring by in the very cool Quantum Go Kart his dad just bought for him.
Mostly though you'll see him holding the unicom station mic to give radio checks or wind and weather updates, gassing up planes and running errands.
Last weekend was a classic late fall day in New England.  Clear and crisp, in the low '40s, no winds to speak of: the kind of flying day you just don't pass up if you can help it.
Sure enough, lots of folks and airplanes were out.  Pilots and friends shot landings and swapped tall tales over doughnuts and coffee or munching down a tangerine from the wooden crate Rick always has on hand in the office/"clubhouse".
I was eager to go flying but leery of hand-propping the cold J3 engine without some assistance -- and everybody else was busy.
"I can do it," offered Joe, confidently grabbing his parka and waving me to the door.
Outside, he offered me the right seat in his go kart.  Of course it was less than a minute's walk to the Cub, but no way was I going to pass up a chance to share that ride.
We shot across the ramp and onto the grass, moved some planes around and rolled out the J3.  I put on some gloves against the chill and Joe hopped into the front seat.
"Switch off," he called out, somewhat dwarfed by the big cockpit but not intimidated one bit.
"Switch off," I said back.
"Throttle cracked," he said.
"Roger that."
"Brakes on," he cried, all 100 lbs. of him applied directly to the little heel pedals to keep me safe in case the Cub surged forward.
I gave the prop hub a good tug: didn't budge an inch.  That's my Little Big Man.
It's not every day you trust your life to a 12 year old future pilot.
But Joe's not your typical 12 year old.
As Les, one of the local pilots, quipped, "This is a kid who will go far, whatever he sets his sights on."
The engine flooded a couple times, but Joe hung in there, giving me suggestions, offering advice (he's learned quite a lot already from Rick) and after 15 minutes, that cold-soaked 65-horse mill caught and came to life.
Joe worked the throttle just right to keep her idling, waited until I climbed into the rear seat, then hopped out, waved and drove off in the kart to help someone else.
It's less common for kids today to have the kind of experience Joe is having.  Access to airports starts with an intimidating fence and a coded gate, the sad icons of a frightened age.
But we can be happy there are kids like Joe Solan, and big kids like Rick Solan, who's favorite flying is in one of his J3s at the field where he learned to fly in the '70s.
They both help keep us all young, and ever mindful to practice gratitude for the gift of flight.

Slaves to our Bodies

Life can be going along swimmingly one day only to turn utterly miserable the next, and the change can be solely attributed to a change in health.  The human body is a wonderful transport vessel for our respective journeys through life, but damage to the haul, engine failure, or a computer virus wreaking havoc with the operating system can make the trip a bumpy one.  The vessel’s state of well-being can turn ugly due to mismanagement, making it prone to trouble, by choosing to smoke on deck or drink way too much while on duty.  Most of the time, however, when the ship takes a turn for the worse, it is simply a case of bad luck: Unavoidable bad weather, an iceberg that appeared out of nowhere, or just the fatigue failure of an old part.  These are sometimes referred to as acts of God.
With a background in Mechanical Engineering, the science that flows off of my tongue with the greatest ease is Physics.  However, more than ever, today’s engineers and scientists are finding that the divisions between science’s three pillars (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) are fading, with each discipline spilling over into the next.  Fields such as chemical engineering, and biomechanical engineering are growing (particularly the latter) at a staggering rate.  The most accomplished scientists of the twenty-first century will be those who see science as one great field without borders, and allow them to overlap and flow into one another where appropriate.
Let us look at the progression of the three scientific fields since the dawn of time.  The big bang occurred roughly 13.7 billion years ago.  For the first ten billion years, all can be explained with Physics alone (physical evolution).  There were really only two chemicals in existence (Hydrogen and Helium) in our galaxy until some four billion years ago.  This age of chemical evolution saw the periodic table fill itself in, and thus, to fully describe the Universe in this time domain, one would need Physics and Chemistry.  Shortly thereafter, cells emerged, and so began biological evolution, when all three scientific areas of study must be employed to fully describe everything.
These three fields are not really so different.  They all deal with the microscopic to macroscopic scales.  Biology uses cell building blocks to create tissues, which lead to organs, which make up systems, and eventually constitute an organism.  Chemistry begins with elemental building blocks, and on a larger scale, may constitute a cup of coffee or other liquid solution.  Physics has a truly universal range, with subatomic particles (elementary particles such as electrons) on one end of the spectrum, and cosmological systems such as galaxies on the other.
The most compelling parallels I see today exist between Biology and Physics.  Engineers have long tried to emulate biological systems when designing tools and technological gadgets.  Spiders make excellent support structures for themselves both in material and geometrical constitution.  Civil engineers can only dream of building a bridge as efficient as a spider’s web.  Steel’s strength properties are impressive, but fall quite short of that of a web.  The truss shapes used in bridges have, in some cases, been derived by our eight-legged friends.
There are countless examples in life of the beauty and engineering excellence of nature’s design.  Engineers have long desired to build robotic equivalents of certain wonders of biology.  In the best case, a pump would work as efficiently as the human heart, a robotic manipulator would be as dextrous as the human shoulder/elbow/wrist/hand/fingers system, and a computer would have the creativity of the human brain.  In some cases, the engineering technology is approaching and even surpassing the biological equivalent.  This occurred long ago if we consider the computational power of a cpu versus that of the human brain (with the exception of “Rain Man”).  Many of today’s surgeons perform certain surgeries with the help of robotic manipulators whose hands don’t ever tremor, even if the doctor had a wine cooler with lunch.
Engineers are beginning to use an alternative thought process to solve a problem.  Why try to redesign a pump with the same efficiency as a heart?  Would it not be better to grow a new actual heart from some cells?  Why use a less optimal design when the best current design beats within each of us?
If we are on the cusp of using biological parts to create mechanical tools, it seems a no-brainer that we ought to produce spare biological parts to service ourselves.  For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would denounce stem cell research as a “bad thing”.  With or without the support of every member of congress, the future of technological growth will be in the following fields: cell/tissue manipulation, DNA manipulation, and robotics.  When these three fields are superimposed, we see the emergence of some life-altering technologies.  These are the fields where investors ought to consider investing, and represent fields that young scientists ought to consider pursuing.
One ultimate result of combining our scientific ingenuity in the three pillars of science is that we may no longer find ourselves as slaves to our own bodies.  When our parts fail, replacement parts will become available.  The better we manage to understand our physiology, and the science that governs it, the more empowered we will become.  Knowledge leads to power, and scientific growth is our greatest source of new knowledge.  In my humble view, scientific knowledge is man’s greatest asset for improving the quality of life of future generations.  Of course, the knowledge is only useful if it is acted on appropriately.
As an ailing patient, one can often feel powerless; a victim of imperfect biology.  As the barriers between the sciences get broken down, new options for patients will surely emerge.  To expedite this process, citizens ought to inform themselves of the science behind such developments, and encourage governments to support research in these emerging areas.  It is the barrier between the public and science that causes inertia in technological growth.
What is the human body, but an optimized transport vessel?  We service ships when they break down, and with medicine, we service the human body as required.  The quality of the maintenance of the human vehicle will vastly improve as research in the above-mentioned fields continues.  Perhaps, one day, single-point failures in the human body, like many cancers, will not lead to complete system failure.  I am not proposing that human beings could or should live forever.  But I do believe that the quality of our lives is related to our physical and mental health.  Modern science will revolutionize many aspects of life, and the notion that we may no longer feel like slaves to our bodies when they break down represents one very promising and empowering revolution.

Breaking news

Jat Airways’ aircraft, that is due to depart from Dubai to Belgrade on Wednesday morning, could be seized by local authorities as the airline has not payed outstanding debt to a Jordanian travel agent, Serbian media report. Jat has been issued with a court decree to pay up to 1 million American dollars to the agent. If the aircraft is grounded it will be the final blow to the airline’s management which is hanging by a thread. Jat’s financial manager, brought to the company by the CEO Srdjan Radovanović has a high school diploma as his highest form of education. Ironically, all of his advisors must have university degrees. Rumours continue that Srdjan Radovanović has resigned as the airline’s CEO although there is no official confirmation.


Jat's flight JU089 from Dubai departed to Belgrade this morning

Parliament votes on Jat

Serbian Parliament poised to approve Jat’s loan
The Serbian Parliament will, at 11.00 CET vote on a range of laws and bills, one of which is the approval of Jat Airways’ 51.5 million Euro loan, to be used for “rejuvenation” purposes and the lease of 2 Airbus A319s. The loan is set to be approved as the governing majority sticks together when it comes to passing laws and bills. Jat requested the loan back in March 2010 from 2 banks but it took the Government 7 months until it gave its backing and guarantees for the credit.

The parliamentary approval is the final obstacle for the launch of an international tender for the lease of the two Airbus jets. The Tender Commission will then choose the best offer. Tender procedures were scheduled to begin on November 3 but were delayed because the parliament hadn’t approved the loan yet. The aircraft are expected to be in the fleet by the end of January 2011. However, Jat faces a new dilemma as rumours spread that its CEO, Srdjan Radovanović, will be deposed from his post soon, after a series of gaffes.


The loan has been approved

Croatia Airlines feud continues

Competition mounts for Croatia Airlines
The ongoing feud between Zagreb Airport and its main customer, Croatia Airlines, has reignited once again after it was revealed that Norwegian Air Shuttle began flights to Zagreb only a month after the director of Zagreb Airport, Tonči Peović, was named the Honorary Consul in Norway. easyJet and Norwegian Air Shuttle both serve Zagreb from destinations already covered by Croatia Airlines, the “Croatian Times” reports. Croatia Airlines recently threatened to suspend flights from Zagreb to Paris, London and Copenhagen if Zagreb Airport continued to make deals with low cost airlines in an effort to lure them to Croatia’s main hub.

In his defence, Peović states that foreign airlines that wish to launch flights to Zagreb are warned not to hurt Croatia Airlines. The airport, however, does not have the possibility to influence the airline’s choice of destinations as specified under the open sky agreement. Peović told the “Večernji list” newspaper that he proposed to easyJet to commence flights to Zagreb from 6 different cities, but they decided to launch services only from Paris and London. He adds that Norwegian Air Shuttle carried 8.000 passengers from Zagreb to Copenhagen in 2009, which is 1.000 more than Croatia Airlines.

The Croatian Ministry of Transport has said that airports must be careful to strike a good balance between new carriers and Croatia Airlines. Croatia Airlines is the biggest airline in the country in terms of passengers and frequencies. It is followed by easyJet, Germanwings, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Austrian and Air Berlin.

Jodel D 9's of New Zealand (4)

The final batch of D 9's.
The photos are from the Keith Morris collection unless otherwise noted.

Our 9th D 9 was Robbie Gentry's ZK-FLI (c/n 10 4E), which was registered on 20/2/85. Robbie built ZK-FLI, his 5th homebuilt, at Masterton. It is photo'd here at the same Manawatu AACA Chapter fly-in at Feilding in 1985 as ZK-CTW was (see previous post). ZK-FLI migrated North to J D S Orr of Auckland in 9/87 then to B R Thow of Wellsford in 7/90. Then followed a series of syndicate owners at Blenhiem, and back to G C Southgate of Auckland in 11/98.

It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 20/1/99 and it is photo'd here at Pikes Point in 2000. It is still current with J P C Land of Kaikohe who has owned it since 4/09.

Our 11th D 9 (I have got the order wrong) was ZK-FRK (c/n AACA 523), built by Dave Kenny of Cromwell, which was first registered on 14/6/88 but first flew in 4/92. It is photo'd here at the fogged in AACA fly in at Rangiora in 1993. It was redesinated as a Class 1 microlight on 20/1/99 and has gone through owners A R Wood of Upper Hutt (5/99), N J Brown of Blenhiem (3/04), T M Page of Napier (1/06) and finally to its current owners N&T Sutherland of Blenhiem in 8/07.

Our 10th D 9 to fly was ZK-AKR (c/n AACA 360), which was built at Balclutha by Charlie Kenny. It was first registered on 12/2/87 and is named "The Clydevale Phantom". It is photo'd here at the 1989 AACA fly in at Tairei. It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 28/1/2000.

It was sold to P J Lock of Hokitika in 10/08 and he has since flown it widely around New Zealand. It is photo'd here at the 2009 SAANZ fly in at Ashburton, where it has signwriting commemorating the 50th anniversary of Jodels.

And our final D 9 to date is ZK-CHX (c/n A-11) which was completed Rex Kenny of Wellington and first flew at Masterton on 23/1/98. As you can see from the registration (which is in alphabetical order as things were done in the old days), its origins go way back to constructors in Tauranga, Dunedin, Kaikoura, and Christchurch before the project was purchased by Rex Kenny in 7/93. It was redesignated as a Class 1 microlight on 5/1/98. Rex sold ZK-CHX to C W Richmond of Stratford in 9/04, and it is photo'd here at the 2007 Black Sands fly in at Raglan. Can you see the outline of a scantily clad lady on the forward fuselage?

In this final photo, from Nick's Aviation in Stratford, ZK-CHX is shown in its Stratford Air Force colours, as "05". You can also just make out 5 swastikas below the canopy which Nick advises is the number of German campervans that it has taken out - yeah right! I think this is where Jodel D 9's of New Zealand meets Question Time 116!

Transavia cancels Sarajevo service

No Transavia for Sarajevo
The Dutch low cost airline, Transavia, has cancelled its planned Christmas and New Year service from Amsterdam to Sarajevo. The Air France – KLM subsidiary intended to operate 1 weekly flight from December 16, with services increasing to two per week from January 3 until January 20, 2011, when flights were scheduled to end.

B&H Airlines will breathe a sigh of relief as the carrier is to begin its long announced Sarajevo – Amsterdam service on December 2. There have already been a significant number of bookings for the B&H operated flights. It will run the service 3 times per week but will not be in direct competition with Transavia, as previously expected, for the first month.

No explanation has been given as to why Transavia has decided to pull out.

Tecnam P2006T ZK-TTW

Imported to NZ during June this year was Tecnam P2006T ZK-TTW.   It departed Auckland for Norfolk Island on 22Aug on its way to an Australian demonstration tour.  It was later recorded as having visited the following towns:
Coolangatta, Redcliffe, Byron Bay, Bankstown, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Bendigo, Moorabbin, Parafield, Nullabor, Caiguna, Kalgoorlie, Geraldton, Bunbury, Jandakot, Warburton and Moree, to name just a few, with the final known flight being on 07Oct when it arrived at Redcliffe from Moree.

It was cancelled from the NZ register on 18Nov as exported so no doubt it will have Australian marks by now.
at Ardmore 28Jun10, still awaiting final assembly.  Mike Condon photo

Montenegro airports boom

Big passenger increase for Podgorica and Tivat
Podgorica Airport has reported a significant increase in the number of passengers served so far this year. The airport recorded an impressive 47% passenger increase, while its rival Tivat posted a 2% increase. During the first 10 months of 2010, the two Montenegrin airports handled a combined total of 1.075.673 passengers, an increase of 20%. With November and December to go, the two airports are on track to beat the record set in 2008 when they handled 1.109.113 passengers.

The notable increase in passenger numbers is due in part to a significant increase in the amount of flights operated this year to Tivat and Podgorica. By the end of October, the two airports handled 9.573 flights while last year’s total for all 12 months stood at 9.681.

Montenegro could expect even more traffic next year as the low cost Air Berlin will launch flights to Tivat and Montenegro Airlines plans to introduce new flights to Milan and Brussels.

Pawnee ZK-JWW

Piper PA25-235 Pawnee ZK-JWW was placed on the register in August this year to Dennis Thompson International at Ardmore.  The aircraft has been imported by John W Walton and underwent rebuild work at a private airstrip.

It arrived in the circuit at Ardmore 19Nov and duly landed to be photographed by Colin Hunter.

Shares the same art as Harvard ZK-WAR (worn on its engine cowl).

Lufthansa to Priština

Soon in Prština
Germany’s national carrier has made good on its promise from earlier this year and will commence flights to Priština from March 2011. In an official statement made by the airport, the German giant will operate 4 weekly flights from Dusseldorf. This December, Adria Airways will commence flights from Priština to Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf as well, in what is believed to be a trial run for its Star Alliance partner Lufthansa. Priština is well connected with Germany with Air Berlin, Germania and Germanwings all offering flights to Germany.

The airport also announced that British Airways and easyjet will increase their frequencies to the airport next summer. “We are very satisfied with the interest displayed by new airlines in terms of commencing flights and increasing the number of frequencies”, Agron Mustafa, the director of Priština Airport said. He added that new flights would bring more competition and would increase the airport’s appeal. The airport expects to handle some 1.3 million passengers by the end of 2010.

Priština Airport has recently been renamed to Adem Jashari Internetional Airport, a controversial figure regarded as a hero by some and villain by others.

Deloitte to advise on Jat’s future

Jat’s future in Deloitte’s hands
The consultancy firm Deloitte will advise the Serbian Government on how Jat should be transformed into a profit making company, Serbian media report. The Serbian Government is torn between two factions in regards to the way Jat’s future should play out. While one influential party in the governing coalition wants to close Jat and create a new national carrier, the largest party that forms the bulk of the government wants Jat to live.

Deloitte will analyse the state Jat is currently in, the value of its assets, choose the best potential strategic partner and develop documentation for the airline’s privatisation. Deloitte has a 12 month deadline to complete the requested tasks. The current Secretary for Aviation in the Serbian Government is firmly in favour of creating a new national carrier although the ministry he is a part of, the Ministry of Infrastructure, is more in favour of investing into the current airline. Thus, the two frequently contradict each other in the media in relation to Jat’s future.

Deloitte is the largest professional services company in the world. It has been paid just under 1 million Euros to act as Jat Airways’ consultant.

Cessna Ships 50th Skycatcher

Here's an item we've all waited for: Cessna exercising it's production mojo by shipping its 50th production Skycatcher S-LSA.
     The company manufactures and ships the C-162 from its Shenyang Aircraft manufacturing site in China to the US final assembly facility (Yingling Aviation, Wichita, KS).
     Current Cessna projections call for 30 total deliveries by year's end, with another 150 in 2011.
     The skies will be white with Skycatchers before long!
     That's welcome and none-too-early news for the industry as well as all those Skycatcher owners who've been patiently waiting delivery, which includes flight schools across the country hoping this will be the next 150/152.
     Price is holding steady at $112,000, including a Garmin G300 avionics deck and the Continental O200D engine. Cessna has also added five flight training schools to its network, which bumps its U.S. presence to more than 280 Cessna Pilot Centers.
     Five of them already use the Skycatcher for flight training duties:
--Downtown Aviation;
Memphis, TN
--Eagle Aircraft; Valparaiso, IN
--Kansas Aviation; Wichita, KS
--Panorama Flight Service; White Plains, N.Y
--Space Coast Aviation; Merritt Island, FL  (which also rents the C-162 for $99/hr)

The more LSA people see, the more they'll grok that LSA are here to stay.

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