Monday, April 12, 2010

The Day the Music Died...

"There's nothing certain but death and taxes".

Say, where'd THAT come from? Well, that's about the way the weekend went...(isn't the internet handy for things just such as this question:

"Several famous authors have uttered lines to this effect. The first was Daniel Defoe, in The Political History of the Devil, 1726: 'Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believed.'

"Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) used the form we are currently more familiar with, in a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy, 1789, which was re-printed in The Works of Benjamin Franklin, 1817: 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.' "

Hmmm- just what I thought. No doubt the tea-party enthusiasts enjoyed extolling the former interpretation this past (Tax Day in the USA was April 15).

Anyway, unfortunate, but peculiarly fitting, I was working on taxes last weekend, and The Buddy Holly Story was playing on television. (A 1978 movie, staring Gary Busey. A bit of -ironically fitting- Busey trivia: "In 1975, as the character 'Harvey Daley,' he was the last person killed on the series Gunsmoke (in the third to the last episode, No. 633 - 'The Los Carnales'". (Okay, okay- I had to look it up too: "The Brotherhood"). An interesting- and shocking for anyone who has seen Gary Busey in, ah, anything lately: he was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Buddy Holly (the movie won an Oscar for, logically, Best Music).

Anyway, enough of Gary Busey- how about the REAL Buddy Holly. (Well, the real Charles Holley, a.k.a. Buddy Holly.

It's an unfortunate tale of Buddy Holly (age 22) and two other performers of musical persuasion (as opposed to performers of the tea-party persuasion), "The Big Bopper" (Jiles Perry "JP" Richardson, Jr.) age 28, and "Ritchie Valens" (Richard Steven Valenzuela) age 17, who were killed along with the pilot Roger Peterson age 21, back in the early morning hours of February 3, 1959.

The story I was -vaguely- familiar with was something along the lines of the Wikipedia synopsis:

"Holly was offered the Winter Dance Party by the GAC agency, a three-week tour across the Midwest opening on January 23, 1959, with other notable performers such as Dion and the Belmonts, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. He assembled a backing band consisting of Tommy Allsup (guitar), Waylon Jennings (bass) and Carl Bunch (drums) and billed as The Crickets.

"The tour turned out to be a miserable ordeal for the performers, who were subjected to long overnight travel in a bus plagued with a faulty heating system in −25 °F (−31.7 °C) temperatures. The bus also broke down several times between stops. Following a performance at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on February 2, 1959, Holly chartered a small airplane to take him to the next stop on the tour. He, Valens, Richardson, and the pilot were killed en route to Moorhead, Minnesota, when their plane crashed soon after taking off from nearby Mason City in the early morning hours of February 3. Don McLean referred to it as "The Day the Music Died" in his song "American Pie"."

I had generally attributed the accident to weather- probably icing, turbulence, or systems failure in blind conditions.


As Paul Harvey used to say (before he rendezvoused with Buddy, the Big Bopper, and Richie - just over a year ago, as a matter of fact: September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009, R.I.P.), it's time for THE REST OF THE STORY...

Here's the Civil Aeronautics Board report. (I found it a bit dismissive) -
"This accident, like so many before it, was caused by the pilot's decision to undertake a flight in which the likelihood of encountering instrument conditions existed, in the mistaken belief that he could cope with en route instrument weather conditions, without having the necessary familiarization with the instruments in the aircraft and without being properly certificated to fly solely by instruments".

The flight conditions, while bad, was not as brutal as the -25 degrees earlier encountered in the tour. A tour bus was used to transport the bands- but there was some severe weather, and the bus had numerous mechanical problems- including the heater- the Big Bopper and Richie Valens both had colds from conditions in, and out, of the bus. Buddy had rented the airplane for only his own band, but they gave up their seats for the ailing Big Bopper and Valens; Waylon Jennings "Jennings admitted that, in the years afterward, he felt severe guilt and responsibility for the crash. After Jennings gave up his seat, Holly had jokingly told Jennings, 'I hope your ol' bus freezes up!' Jennings shot back facetiously, 'Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes!'"; Tommy Allsup "a coin flip Allsup had with Ritchie Valens on February 2, 1959 that saved Allsup's life"; the other member, Carl Bunch was previously incapacitated: "The tour bus heater failed, and Bunch suffered from frostbite and was hospitalized".

Not quite as glamorous as today's rockstar acoomodations.

The C.A.B. report comments on the pilot,
"Roger Arthur Peters, 21 years old, was regularly employed by Dwyer Flying Service as a commercial pilot and flight instructor, and had been with them bout one year. He had been flying since October of 1954, and had accumulated 711 flying hours, of which 128 were in Bonanza aircraft. Almost all of the Bonanza time was acquired during charter flights. He had approximately 52 hours of dual instrument training and had passed his instrument written examination. He fail an instrument flight check on March 21, 1958", but this was some nine months prior to the accident.

The pilot does seem to have been conscientous, and alert to the potential of weather complications-
"At approximately 1730, Pilot Peterson went to the Air Traffic Communications Station (ATCS), which was located in a tower on top of the Administration Building, to obtain the necessary weather information pertinent to the flight...At 2200 and again at 2330 Pilot Peterson called ATCS concerning the weather...At 2355, Peterson, accompanied by Hubert Dwyer, a certificated commercial pilot, the local fixed-base operator at the Mason City Airport, and owner of Bonanza N3794N (the aircraft used on the flight), again went to ATCS for the latest weather information...While the aircraft was being taxied to the end of runway 17, Peterson called ATCS and asked for the latest local and en route weather."

The ceilings had decreased from 5000 ft in the early evening, to 3000 ft at the time of takeoff. The C.A.B. report continues-

"A normal takeoff was made at 055 and the aircraft was observed to make a left 180-degree turn and climb to approximately 800 feet and then, after passing the airport to the east, to head in a northwesterly direction. Through most of the flight the tail light of the aircraft was plainly visible to Mr. Dwyer, who was watching from a platform outside the tower. When about five miles from the airport, Dwyer saw the tail light of the aircraft gradually descend until out of sight. When Peterson did not report his flight plan by radio soon after takeoff, the communicator, at Mr. Dwyer's request, repeatedly tried to reach him but was unable to do so. The time was approximately 0100."

Although light snow was reported at the time (and when the wreckage was found 8.5 hours later, there was 4 inches of snow on it), it would seem the snow wasn't extremely severe, if the 12 volt tail navigation light could be seen from the ground at 5 miles out.

But the weather was changing fairly rapidly-
(At 2330)"The Mason City weather was reported to the pilot as: ceiling measured 6,000 overcast; visibility 15 miles plus; temperature 15 degrees; dew point 8 degrees; wind south 25 to 32 knots; altimeter setting 29.96 inches.

"At 2355, Peterson, accompanied by Hubert Dwyer, a certificated commercial pilot, the local fixed-base operator at the Mason City Airport, and owner of Bonanza N3794N (the aircraft used on the flight), again went to ATCS for the latest weather information. The local weather had changed somewhat in that the ceiling had lowered to 5,000 feet, light snow was falling, and the altimeter setting was now 29.90 inches.

"The passengers arrived at the airport about 0040 and after their baggage had been properly stowed on board, the pilot and passengers boarded the aircraft. Pilot Peterson told Mr. Dwyer that he would file his flight plan by radio when airborne. While the aircraft was being taxied to the end of runway 17, Peterson called ATCS and asked for the latest local and en route weather. This was given him as not having changed materially en route; however, the local weather was now reported as: Precipitation ceiling 3,000 feet, sky obscured; visibility 6 miles; light snow; wind south 20 knots, gusts to 30 knots; altimeter setting 29.85 inches."

The C.A.B. report continues-
"The accident occurred in a sparsely inhabited area and there were not witnesses. Examination of the wreckage indicated that the first impact with the ground was made by the right wing tip when the aircraft was in a steep right bank and in a nose-low attitude. It was further determined that the aircraft was traveling at high speed on a heading of 315 degrees. Parts were scattered over a distance of 540 feet, at the end of which the main wreckage was found lying against a barbed wire fence. The three passengers were thrown clear of the wreckage, the pilot was found in the cockpit...

"Although the aircraft was badly damaged, certain important facts were determined. There was no fire. All components were accounted fro at the wreckage site. There was no evidence of inflight structural failure or failure of the controls. The landing gear was retracted at the time of impact. The damaged engine was dismantled and examined; there was no evidence of engine malfunctioning or failure in flight. Both blades of the propeller were broken at the hub, giving evidence that the engine was producing power when ground impact occurred. The hub pitch-change mechanisms indicated that the blade pitch was in the cruise range."

Given the ground observations, I'm not sure how pertinent to the accident the "Flash Adviosry" on weather was (although it could well have become a significant factor if the flight had continued much further)-

"Another advisory issued by the U. S. Weather Bureau at Kansas City, Missouri at 0015 on February 3 was: 'Flash Advisory No. 1. Over eastern half of Kansas ceilings are locally below one thousand feet, visibilities locally 2 miles or less in freezing drizzle, light snow and fog. Moderate to locally heavy icing areas of freezing drizzle and locally moderate icing in clouds below 10,000 feet over eastern portion Nebraska, Kansas, northwest Missouri and most of Iowa. Valid until 0515.' Neither communicator could recall having drawn these flash advisories to the attention of Pilot Peterson. Mr. Dwyer said that when he accompanied pilot Peterson to ATCS, no information was given them indicating instrument flying weather would be encountered along the route."

Probably at least an equal factor to the pilot's lack of instrument rating, was the instruments he had available:

"When his instrument training was taken, several aircraft were used and these were all equipped with the conventional type artificial horizon and none with the Sperry Attitude Gyro such as was installed in Bonanza N 3794N. These two instruments differ greatly in their pictorial display...The conventional artificial horizon provides a direct reading indication of the bank and pitch attitude of the aircraft which is accurately indicated by a miniature aircraft pictorially displayed against a horizon bar and as if observed from the rear.. The Sperry F3 gyro also provides a direct reading indication of the bank and pitch attitude of the aircraft, but its pictorial presentation is achieved by using a stabilized sphere whose free-floating movements behind a miniature aircraft presents pitch information with a sensing exactly opposite from that depicted by the conventional artificial horizon.

"Service experience with the use of the attitude gyro has clearly indicated confusion among pilots during the transition period or when alternating between conventional and attitude gyros. Since Peterson had received his instrument training in aircraft equipped with the conventional type artificial horizon, and since this instrument and the attitude gyro are opposite in their pictorial display of the pitch attitude, it is probably that the reverse sensing would at times produce reverse control action. This is especially true of instrument flight conditions requiring a high degree of concentration or requiring multiple function, as would be the case when flying instrument conditions in turbulence without a copilot. The directional gyro was found caged and it is possible that it was never used during the short flight. However, this evidence is not conclusive. If the directional gyro were caged throughout the flight this could only have added to the pilot's confusion.

"It is believe that shortly after takeoff pilot Peterson entered an area of complete darkness and one in which there was no definite horizon; that the snow conditions and the lack of horizon required him to rely solely on flight instruments for aircraft attitude and orientation.

"The high gusty winds and the attendant turbulence which existed this night would have caused the rate of climb indicator and the turn and bank indicator to fluctuate to such an extent that an interpretation of these instruments so far as attitude control is concerned would have been difficult to a pilot as inexperienced as Peterson. The airspeed and altimeter alone would not have provided him with sufficient reference to maintain control of the pitch attitude. With his limited experience the pilot would tend to rely on the attitude gyro which is relatively stable under these conditions."

The accicident airplane involved, was a Beech Bonanza , indeed, the first year of production-

"The aircraft, a Beech Bonanza, model 35, S/N-1019, identification N 3794N, was manufactured October 17, 1947. It was powered by a Continental model E185-8 engine which had a total of 40 hours since major overhaul. The aircraft was purchased by the Dwyer Flying Service, July 1, 1958, and, according to records and the testimony of the licensed mechanic employed by Dwyer, had been properly maintained since its acquisition. N 3794N was equipped with high and low frequency radio transmitters and receivers, a Narca omnigator, Lear autopilot (only recently installed and not operable), all the necessary engine and navigational instruments, and a full panel of instruments used for instrument flying, including a Sperry F3 attitude Gyro."

Now, I don't want to stir up a beehive of frenzied Bonanza enthusiasts, but I'll quote from an article I found, on a 1965 S35 Bonanza- which is a six-seat model, 18 years newer than the original involved in the Buddy Holly accident-

"Recent photos of N1965Z were taken (May 2007) showing important structural safety modifications to the tail area. The vee-tail Bonanzas, particularly the early 35 models, have 24 times more incidence of in-flight airframe failures and breakups than the straight tail Bonanzas, which have an excellent safety record. The early vee-tail Bonanzas had thin-skinned wings without a shear web in the wing leading edge. The ruddervator tailplanes starting with the C35 model had increased area forward of the spar (leading edge 16 inches forward of spar) and showed a pattern of tail failures where the tailplane skin fails and folds over the spar, leading to loss of control. Actual separations of the control surfaces from the vee-tail have occured. The vee-tailed models have very light ailerons and low lateral stability, causing 'spiral divergence'. If a wing drops a little, it tends to keep dropping with low rolling stability, unless caught by the pilot and corrected. In IFR conditions or storm turbulence the stable flight situation can quickly get out of hand, leading to a 'graveyard spiral'.

"Intrinsic low longitudinal stability or rearward c.g. limit exceedances of the Bonanza's already narrow c.g. envelope can quickly lead to airspeed and altitude excursions. The c.g. moves aft as fuel is burned due to the wing leading edge fuel tank locations. Remember to observe that the maneuvering speed is less than the cruising speed. A moderate or abrupt control wheel pullup under such cruise speed conditions can easily exceed g limits with high destructive airframe forces. The Bonanza does have a sharp stall characteristic with little aerodynamic buffeting. With any back seat passengers, the aft c.g. limit may be easily exceeded, exacerbating the stability problem with an illegal flight condition.

"Also, the ruddervators are sensitive to flutter from any imbalances. Repainting the aircraft requires careful measurement and rebalancing the tail, by removing and weighing all components. As little as two ounces of imbalance can be dangerous, causing flutter under some flight conditions. The ruddervator must be within specified weight and balance conditions. N1965Z has several mods to strengthen the leading edge of the ruddervator's tailplanes. Several A.D.s (airworthiness directives) have been issued by the FAA pertaining to conditions that could lead to flutter and its destructive effects in vee-tail Bonanzas."

Okay- before I get a load of bombs dropped on my head, I'll point out the accident airplane was NOT a C-model or newer, with the propensity for structural failure due to the (ill-supported) extension of the stabilator leading edge. BUT- I would question why a 9-inch extension of the stabilator leading edge was needed- perhaps to improve the "spiral divergence"?

(And the 1947 model did NOT have the extra row of seats in back. I suspect the rather skinny Buddy Holly and Richie Valens (age 22 and 17 respectively) being young and a product of the less "portly" 1950's, did not present any c.g. challenges, despite the somewhat more "substantial" Big Bopper being onboard.

But the Buddy Holly plane did not have the extra 18 inch fuselage length, nor larger tailplanes, so I would expect it to be a bit more fidgety in turbulence. (How's THAT for being diplomatic! :)

Another factor is pilot fatigue- even though the flight was just minutes old, I wonder how well rested the pilot was-

"On the evening of February 2, 1959, the manager of the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake contacted Peterson to arrange a charter flight from Mason City to Fargo, North Dakota. The Ballroom was hosting the Winter Dance Party that evening and one of the tour's performers, Buddy Holly, wanted to fly ahead of the rest of the tour members, who were traveling by bus. Peterson agreed to take the flight, and when the performers arrived at the airport, he learned that in addition to Holly, his other two passengers would be Ritchie Valens and J.P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson."

It sounds like a spur of the moment arrangement, the pilot had probably been up since 6 or 7 AM, going on 18 or 19 hours at the time of the accidemt.

The proverbial accident chain, is more like a wobbly stool at this point:
1) Relatively low time pilot
2) Probably ill-rested pilot
3) Aircraft with demanding flying characteristics
4) Non-standard instrumentation (for the era)
5) Weather conditions which exacerbated all of the above

A most tragic confluence of circumstances...

Here's a picture of the Sperry F3 Attitude Gyro

And a discussion of attitude presentation conventions.

The theory/speculaton of Bonanza flight characteristics arose from some conflicting information:

The C.A.B. reported-
"Examination of the wreckage indicated that the first impact with the ground was made by the right wing tip when the aircraft was in a steep right bank and in a nose-low attitude. It was further determined that the aircraft was traveling at high speed on a heading of 315 degrees. Parts were scattered over a distance of 540 feet...All components were accounted fro at the wreckage site. There was no evidence of inflight structural failure or failure of the controls."

But this narrative notes (with a lot of other interesting non-crash related items)-
"Part of the tail was found 1/4 mile away and a wing was found 1/2 mile away."
Which if true, seems to support the spiral divergence/structural breakup scenerio...

Also, the coroner's report notes-

"The main part of the plane lay against the barbed wire fence at the north end of the stubble field in which it came to earth. It had skidded and/or rolled approximately 570 feet from point of impact directed northwesterly. The shape of the mass of wreckage approximated a ball with one wing sticking up diagonally from one side." Here's a picture of the airframe. (It looks like the left wing is the one still "attached"- from the pitot probe and airleron orientation? A right side impact would have probably sheared off the right wing...but a separated right wing would be consistent with the impact orientation- I'll trust the C.A.B. report...mostly- it would sure be interesting to read local paper accounts).

Here's a couple of accounts of the tour "the boys" were on:
Winter Dance Party Map
Winter Dance Party Itinerary
That was a rigorous tour!

Interesting to note the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa is still open. (Last year was the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the last performance). Going to see a show there? Considering the circumstances, I don't know as I'd recommend flying in. But I don't think I'd take a bus either!


Phil Bell said...

I survived April 15- barely.
(Like, by 4 minutes before the post office closed).
And a major design review at work.
And having my car towed.
And 30 hours per week of A&P class.

All in the same week!
How... exhilarating!
(Or something like that :)

Not to have a morbid fascination with the Buddy Holly accident- more paranoid fascination- making sure we know what went wrong- so it won't happen to us.

Makes me grateful for all the safety improvements that have come along.

Interesting to note- an air-taxi Eclipse 500 would have been just about the perfect airplane for the hop from Mason City to Fargo...especially with FIKI.

The perfect airplane for the band anyway. (It seems the economics have yet to be proven for an air taxi operator).

While we might, or might not celebrate the Eclipse economic record- it is pleasing to note it has provided safe transport.

Is it safer than the alternatives?Well, maybe- Does anyone know how well the heater works?

Baron95 said...

There is nothing remarkable about this accident. Marginally trained pilot, in a marginally equipped and unfamiliar plane, takes off late at night into marginal weather.

These were a dime a dozen, and, sadly, still happen with some frequency to this day.

The only way to avoid these types of accident is to NOT launch under these conditions.

It has nothing to do with any particular Bonanza flying characteristics. It has everything to do with sound decision making.

Baron95 said...

A couple of GA updates....

From the Zombie zone of GA companies that are dead but still trying to walk, Mooney announced that they will re-start production after an 18 months hiatus. They claim they have sold through their overstock (B95 translation: they managed to sell the 6 unsold planes in 18 months), and will restart production "as soon as the market gains a little momentum" (B95 translation: if a miracle materializes).

From the new entrant zone, the no brainer I never understood why it was not more popular. Tecnam announced that they will have a fixed gear version of their light-light twin. Lost in cruise speed? 4 kts. Increase in payload? 40 lbs or about 10%. Decrease in insurance premiums? 40% Expected.

Not sure why Diamond doesn't offer a welded version of the DA42, also.

gadfly said...

February 3, 1959, . . . What was I doing? ‘Guess I was back in school, the thing I hated most . . . yet it was another thing to be “overcome” on my way to becoming a “bush pilot” and A&P, with training in theology, teaching, and other skills for the mission field. ‘Having graduated from high-school, glad to be free from “prison” (school), I found myself back in school in the Navy, “electronics”, then a few months in a commissary store, learning to butcher beef while I waited to begin “electronics school” (at least I had already learned electronics on my own), and then submarine school, and during that service, a few other special schools . . . from learning how to show movies with two DeVry projectors, to various specialties in submarine surveillance, etc., . . . and now, “free at last”, back . . . in school, again.

And who was this Buddy Holiday, anyway . . . ‘never heard of him until many, many years later. Somehow, he didn’t do much for those out in the Pacific, etc., . . . we had a lot of records on the “Seeburg 100” jukebox (on the sub . . . one of my duties was to keep the thing in operation . . . but rather than pay a nickel for “six selections”, was to reach back in the food locker on the port side, run your finger along all 100 tabs, and play all 50 “45 rpm” records, both sides . . . forever and ever), but “Buddy Holly” wasn’t one of them. However, "hell" must include Elvis Presley, singing “Peace in the Valley”, over and over, for eternity . . . while everyone plays “cribbage”, etc., etc.

But back to . . . Buddy something . . . and the Peachcraft Banana . . . and stability, etc.

In the “early days” of our discussion (of the Eclipse), I asked more than a couple times, “If the little bird is trimmed out, in “VFR” conditions, could the pilot take his hands and feet off the controls, and expect the thing to come back to straight and level flight?” . . . and the answer was always the same . . . deafening silence!

As I was looking through old photos on my home computer, I came across some of my best friend taken days before he died about three years ago . . . and remembered his story about making the long trips up and back between Albuquerque and Winona, Minnesota, while working on our two big 137 foot diameter "honeycomb" fiberglass domes. His “passenger”, a co-worker, was asked to “stay awake”, to keep Ray company in the Bonanza . . . but John would drift off to sleep. Ray, with his sense of humor, would maintain a smooth soothing flight, then suddenly jerk the controls forward and back a couple of times . . . close his eyes “feigning sleep”, allow John to come back to reality, and say, “What was that?”, while appearing to come back awake, himself. From then on, Ray had a “wide awake” passenger, while they continued their flight, and came down to a safe landing, between the banks of the Mississippi. But, as I recall, the “Bonanza” was a wide-awake type plane, without much forgiveness . . . but would come back “straight and level” if properly trimmed out, beforehand. But certainly not a Cessna 150, etc.


(Yes . . . I really miss Ray Richmond . . . a brilliant engineer, inventor, and friend . . . we could consider any problem, without either of us attempting to “prove who’s right” . . . a most valuable process in engineering design, and yet so rare. Not so very long ago, he flew over the shop in a B17, of the “Confederate Air Force” (he said he “waved”), and was at that time, helping to restore a “PT19" or “PT24" . . . something of that sort. Ray also designed and built that big telescope satellite tracking dome in the "Manzanos", behind Sandia Labs, and also the 92 foot retracting telescope dome, up on the mountian on Maui . . . with help, of course.)

gadfly said...

Thinking of Baron’s last question . . . actually it goes back a long time, I sometimes have dreamt of re-establishing a relationship with my Dad’s old company, Pacific Scientific Corp. But the reality is that all the old crews are long gone, and even the early understanding of those first successful designs are no longer in the minds of the new generations of college graduates, etc.

Think, for a moment, of the “Ancient Ones”, the “Anasazi”, as it were, of the aviation and engineering world. Where is a modern version of “Bellanca”, or “Stinson”, or “Taylor”, or “Mooney”, or “Douglas”, or “Boeing”, or “Johnson”, or “Martin”, or the “Loughead Brothers”, or . . . “fill in the blank”. Sure, the companies continued on . . . but that original “spark” of genius is missing, in almost every case. Even “Howard Hughes”, before he got addicted to pain killers, after his “almost” fatal accident in Beverly Hills, was a genius.

For the most part, most seem to be entirely gone . . . there was a certain “excitement”, back then . . . and a certain freedom from fighting the “unions” and the “lawyers”, etc., etc.

Sometimes, in the night hours of dreamland, I am back on the shop floor, in Glendale . . . or in Anaheim . . . and going over the latest problems of a cable tension regulator, or an inertial restraint system, or some other pressing problem . . . and then wake up, to realize that essentially there has been no real advance in fifty years . . . and all those folks that I just left in “dreamland”, have been dead for decades.

We’re living, to a great extent, on the “past glories” of aircraft design and innovation. Sure, there are “refinements”, but from what I can tell, there is little new. And it’s not because we are unable to go to the next levels, but the political climate is fighting tooth and nail against someone being “unique”, or “exceptional”. We’re now living in the age of bringing everyone, and everything “down”, to a common level of mediocrity.

The real problems are much deeper . . . actually “spiritual” in nature, forgetting our “roots” as a nation. But most bloggers don’t wish for that to be brought into the discussion . . . so I won’t even mention it.


ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

FAA has dropped a new NPRM suggesting they learned from the Eclipse fiasco and will require full Function and Reliability (F&R) testing for 6000 lb aircraft.

All I can say is it is about time, better late than never.

gadfly said...

Let’s talk about the “old stuff” for a few moments. Back when I got out of the Submarine Service, I began attending a Bible study, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Moomaw in Santa Ana. Their son was a famous football star for UCLA, and later a pastor . . . to President Reagan, giving the inaugural . During that time, I read a book, “Through Gates of Splendor”, and another one, “Jungle Pilot”, the story of Nate Saint. It was about that time that I determined to train as a “bush pilot”. So, Mrs. Moomaw gave me direction to MAF, in Fullerton . . . and to my surprise, my own Grandpa was already doing some “machining” for MAF . . . the story goes on from there.

But back to those early days, and the writing of “Jungle Pilot”, and the early story . . . it comes to a climax on January 8, 1956 . . . well documented in “Life” magazine, when five young men . . . Jim Elliot, Ed McCully, Nate Saint, Pete Fleming, and Roger Yourderian, were murdered . . . giving their lives while bringing the Gospel to the “Auca” tribe in Ecuador. All that is “history” . . . yet, I came across something, just now, . . . worth “watching”. One of the sons of the men killed on that day demonstrates the “technique” that was used to great advantage, before helicopters were available, to supply missionaries and sick people in remote areas.

The three minute video shows the technique developed by “Nate Saint”. Flying a small aircraft, such as the Piper J3, in a tight circle, and trailing a bucket on a long line, Nate’s son shows how the bucket is brought down to an almost stationary position near the ground (the video shows it actually on the ground), a transfer of medicine, or important “something”, is either placed in the bucket, or taken from the bucket, and the aircraft flies away, without ever having landed, nor even coming close to the ground.

Even five decades later, I get all “teary eyed”, recalling what these five men did, “back then”, and their surviving families went back into that remote area, becoming friends with the very people that killed their own loved ones, and today, there is a growing community of Christian believers there in Equador.

When I first learned to fly, the people who were my instructors were even then working in similar areas . . . what a privilege to have known some of them, and I thought submarine duty was dangerous. Well, in fact it is dangerous.

But more of those I have known in flying, lost their lives "doing their job" than those in the sub service.


gadfly said...

We all have a different perspective. Phil titled the latest “The Day the Music died . . .” . . . and my own thinking turned to Milton Cross (1897-1975) . . . you see, to me, “real music” included the Metropolitan Opera, each and every Saturday . . . in the early years on KFAC in Los Angeles, and anywhere else I could get it on the radio, and now on the internet . . . such as KUSC or KWAX. That’s real music! And after his final heart attack, Peter Allen took his place. I have a couple of his reference books . . . but like fine classical music and the early days of aviation . . . it’s now more about “ticket sales” than understanding the subtle differences between, say, “Tosca” and “Turandot”, or “Tristan und Isolda” say, and “Lohengrin” . . . frankly, how could we make such a choice!

There are a myriad of aircraft designs . . . and many from past generations that are more than “airworthy”, with reliable histories. Today, the “new ones” seem to struggle over the most basic of requirements. And we wonder . . . where did it all “fall apart”?

As in music, we are overwhelmed by the genius of those of “yester-year”, while the present generation seems to make their statement by breaking a “fake” guitar, on stage, and calling it “art”. And we see the same in the “attempts” to make something that “flies”, and call it a “break through” in aviation. Well, I’ll give them this . . . it’s a “breakthrough” in one sense . . . but it’s hard to see most of these things as “flying successes”.

In “cost per mile” and downright reliability, a true test would find the old “DC3" a most remarkable example of the best of everything. But there are any number of those that would argue otherwise. Well, there’s the “F27" . . . that was a good one . . . and maybe a civilian version of the “C130" . . . does such a thing exist?

Take it all in any direction . . . GA is in trouble, and the “design boys” aren’t really doing much to solve the problems . . . the new “carbon wonder” of Boeing, not withstanding.

‘Just thinking out loud, without really wishing to get into a fight with anyone.


gadfly said...

Did you bother to follow up the other "Youtube" videos and stories about how the airplane changed lives?

Two among many are:

Even if for no other reason, the pioneering efforts of such men as "Nate Saint" have done much to change the use and safety of air travel into remote areas of the world, not only to take the Word of God to the lost, but the saving of lives that would otherwise have been lost, to disease and accidents. And let us not forget Betty Greene, the first MAF pilot.


Baron95 said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

new NPRM suggesting they learned from the Eclipse fiasco and will require full Function and Reliability (F&R) testing for 6000 lb aircraft.

All I can say is it is about time, better late than never.

Perhaps you misunderstood the NPRM.

It is another in a series of brain dead ones. It ONLY applies to turbine-powered aircraft under 6,000 lbs MTOW.

So, if tomorrow, you were trying to certify say the Adam-500 pressurized twin piston at 6,000 lbs, no need for F&R.

But god forbid if you were say certifying a new fixed gear, unpressurized turbine at 6,000 lbs, say a turboprop Maule or turboprop Cessna 206 (like the Soloy conversion), OH MY GOD, IT IS TURBINE, OOOOOOHHHHHH, need F&R testing, ooooohhhhh boooogey man.

F%#$ing brain dead.

The powerplant technology had NO BEARING on the need for F&R testing.

Complexity and mission (e.g. high altitude or high speed or pressurization or systems like autothrotles) are what should be looked at.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron, I understood the NPRM, you very obviously did not.

I work in this industry, you do not.

I make a good living in this industry - I am not sure what you actually do, if anything.

Next time you have that burning desire to tell someone who has spent two decades in a particular pursuit, who has made significant innovations in a particular industry, and who has actually worked with the FAA and industry on the development of guidance material, just stop, put the keyboard down and walk away.

FAA needed to do something as there were 8 findings in the Eclipse SCR - this is one of 6 specific recommended changes to practice to prevent that kind of shoddy certification from ever happening again.

6 AD's in 12 months Baron - unprecedented.

A special certification review with specific findings and recommendations Baron.

It is about safety - you might think it is silly for turbine powered aircraft to actually, I don't know, operate safely and reliably when in the airspace they share with the rest of us, but I take it seriously and finally FAA has shown that they do to.

Baron95 said...

And how many were found in the Malibu? And the P337? Those planes were chewing up their engines and vacuum pumps and dropping out of the skies.

You failed to address the question.

Why is F&R limited to turbine airplanes? If it is a good idea for the Eclipse, why isn't it not a good idea for planes like the Malibu, the Adam-500, etc.

Why does a 6,000lbs unpressurized single engine fixed gear plane like say a Turboprop Caravan or maule need more F&R testing than a pressurized, faster, higher altitude retract, twin engine, plane like an Adam 500?

It is totally idiotic. And you know it.

As for working in the industry, Fuchs worked in finance and lost Lehman, Wagoner worked for 30 years at GM and cratered the company, Skiling worked in energy and cratered Enron and is in jail.

How about addressing the point, rather than hiding behind pseudo-credentials.

I'm *SURE* this new rule making is great for you. More hurdles, more opportunity for consulting, more barriers to entry, etc.

But does it make *ANY* sense?

Baron95 said...

P.S. I am *TOTALLY* in favor of requiring F&R testing for the Eclipse 500.

But not because it has turbines, but because it is a twin, retract, with a FL410 ceiling, and uses advanced cockpit integration.

How about a rule requiring F&R testing for any pressurized or any twin airplanes with a ceiling above FL210?

That somehow correlates to capability, or complexity.

Basing it on power plant technology is idiotic.

Baron95 said...

On other news...EADS will bid directly for the tanker replacement contract. That should be interesting.

This will be down to who wants it more.

gadfly said...

Coldfish . . . You're not going to win this one. It's not about "logic", etc., but proving that you and the rest of us are wrong, no matter the facts, etc. So, ignore the static, sit back, and share some of your wisdom with the rest of us.

For instance . . . about an hour ago, a "C130" flew low overhead swinging around left, to head out over the volcanoes to the west . . . on some training mission, no doubt. But as those big square-tipped-four-bladed props chewed through the New Mexico air, driven by four turbine engines . . . I got back that same exhilaration of flying, as when I saw and heard the early "YP-38's" flying low over our house in the Verdugo Foothills near Burbank, way back when we were at war . . . that deep roar of two powerfull "Allisons", with the "whistle" of two turbo-chargers . . . a memory that remains for over sixty some years. (Hey . . . that's a long time, don'cha know?)

The mounting dark "cumulo-bumpest" clouds, slightly above, would have been a fantastic "photo-op" . . . with stereo sound, but my camera was back in the shop. I could only enjoy the moment, while saying goodbye to one of my grandsons . . . who was also taken by the sight.

His younger brother is "hooked" . . . taking every opportunity to "go up", and work on getting his "ticket".

And I remembered the first time I ever saw a "C130" . . . I was on the United company bus, going from the company parking lot, over to the main terminal at ORD. There was this low big dark "something-or-other", slowly making it's way south, on what from my perspective, was surely one of the taxiways . . . not making much noise, nor moving very fast . . . and the thing seemed to lift off the ground as if some giant "sky-hook" had suddenly taken charge. That was about 1963.

When you work on things that fly, you must never get over the shear excitement of things that "fly on the wings of the wind", and find great pleasure in the system, created by God, that allows us to gain a preview of the things to come . . . if we accept His offer.

We, who have devoted much of our lives to making "manned flight" possible, and safe, must never get over the "little kid" mind-set. When you lose that point of view, it's time to get out of the business . . . life, then, has become a "rut".


(Definition of a "rut": A grave, with the ends kicked out.)

(It's little known, but contrary to common belief, "thunder" is caused by "Cumulo Bumpest Clouds" banging into each other . . . at least that's what I have told my kids. But they don't believe me.)

gadfly said...

Before I go home . . . a few quick thoughts from this old man:

Some seem to get their kicks from “putting down” others . . . and I get the impression that they’re really saying something about their unhappiness with themselves. That’s too bad.

Once upon a time, I began to think of the things that I wanted to be . . . and do in this exciting thing called “life”, that God had provided. Back then, times were rough . . . but I didn’t know that. Shucks . . . I was only four or five years old . . . What did I know?!

But guess what! . . . every thing on the list is “ticked off”, and now I’m just building on the earlier stuff . . . and life is still exciting. The list is rather long . . . and I won’t bore y’all with the details.

If God keeps me around for a few more years, it’s all a bonus.

One thing I left off the list . . . “Get rich!” . . . How’d I miss that one? Oh well, doesn’t seem to matter much. My oldest son says, “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor . . . and rich is better!” Well, he and I say it with tongue in cheek . . . it’s not all it’s cracked up to be . . . not by a stretch.

‘Working on the plans to build another house . . . or rather, this time ‘round, have someone else build it . . . up close to the kids and grand-kids . . . a work in progress.

Back to the subject that brought on all this monologue . . . Early on, I discovered that God has given me certain talents and abilities . . . and doing whatever He has planned is hardly work at all. Oh yes, sometimes it requires much effort, but sleep is sweet at the end of a hard day. And work turns out to be a blessing, with great reward.


Baron95 said...

And our wonderfully effective Federal Air Marshals are at it again.

Not satisfied with wearing telltale suits on flights to Florida and conspicuous pre-boarding policies, leaving loaded guns in airplane toilets, shooting mentally disturbed passenger trying to deplane, they are now using their badges and service weapons to rape and rob women.

FAM charged with using authority, badge and gun to rape and rob woman in Seatle

"The defendant used his position as a federal air marshal and his government-issued firearm to commit this crime," Senior Deputy Prosecutor Charles K. Sergis told the court. "He raped the victim and by threatening her with his gun and claiming she had to do what he said because he is an air marshal."

"the woman told police Settles placed a handcuff on one of her hands and pretended to phone his supervisor. She told detectives she heard him say, "Okay, you want me to let this one go?""

And after 9 years, not a single effective intervention by a FAM in a terrorist incident - wasn't that why they were hired?

Baron95 said...

But, fear not, we are now giving FAM and minimum wage TSA personnel access to clear images of the bodies of women and children as they pass through aviation checkpoints.

Yep - those are the creeps that will be watching you, your daughters, your wives.

airsafetyman said...

"Yep - those are the creeps that will be watching you, your daughters, your wives."

And giving them "harmless" doses of X-rays from machines that are always, absolutely, perfectly calibrated with no danger whatsoever by the skilled TSA workforce. Just the ticket for the pregnant wife or the 14 year-old daughter.

KnotMPH said...
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KnotMPH said...
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Floating Cloud said...

Okay Guys let's get one thing straight:

A horrible abuse of power by a Federal Air Marshal has NOTHING to do with a full body scan!

RAPE IS AN ACT OF VIOLENCE. It is too horrible to think what that woman went through. When those that are supposed to protect us (and I mean everybody) harm us, there is unimaginable harm and suffering done.

The Full Body Scan is nothing more than another option for security and I ALWAYS choose it if offered. I have jewelry tha doesn't come off and wear underwire (pretty) bras. Plus I am not nor will I become pregnant. FBS is as harmless as wearing a bathing suit in front of someone with a good imagination -- who cares?

Knot, you totally got the sequence of events in Iowa -- in my humble woman's intuition's opinion.

Floating Cloud

Baron95 said...

FC, the issue is that the idiocy of policies has negative consequences.

Federal Air Marshals have absolutely nothing to do. Ever. They fly, sleep, fly, sleep, never ever performing any useful action.

It is like a programmer showing up day after day at work, but never writing code. Or a surgeon showing up to the hospital day after day after day and never operating.

Since the first three hijackings on 9/11 were made known to Americans, from flight 93 to the last Christmas bombing attempt, it has been regular passengers that have stopped every terrorist attack in aviation. Not FAM.

What individuals are attracted to a profession that in 9 years have never actively performed any useful function?

Their idiotic and useless occupation, leads to many problems. Boredom = forget loaded weapon on bathroom. Anxiety to perform some useful function = shooting innocent disturbed passenger trying to deplane. Isolation/Frustration = using your badge to rape.

Enough pilots are armed in enough cockpits, and enough passengers are prepared to fight to defend the flight to provide sufficient deterrence against in-the-cabin terrorism. FAM add nothing, other than an easy target to obtain a firearm in flight.

Similarly, FBS, etc are marginal to useless. The focus should be on who can fly, not what they are bringing on board. The more we invest and "show-off to the public" in "indiscriminate searching", the less the pressure is to making sure that scrutiny is directed at risky targets.

Take a flight on El Al. You'll see what effective passenger screening is all about. Hint: It has nothing to do with the x-ray/metal-detector capabilities.

julius said...


very organisation has some very special people. I do not know if the number of incidents has increased since 9/11.

What individuals are attracted to a profession that in 9 years have never actively performed any useful function?.....

Perhaps some might think that this job (FAM) is better than doing nothing or sitting around in a an office and reading a newspaper or a book.
Unfortunately sleeping is not allowed while on duty - the main challenge of this thrilling job!

But in Europe we had vulcano ash in the air or air that might contain some ash. Nobody knows/knew anything precise or even tried to get some precise data about the speading of the vulcano ash.
The estimated costs for the airliners: €1.7 B. And some of the affected customers...are still stranded.
Lessons laernt...hmm. Oh, some "ash clouds" arrive in/over northern America and some airspaces is closed!

In May there is an important election in Germany - good times for incompetent ministers!


P.S.: The UK Met offices just produces some forecasts about the spreading of the ash - not more. Thus some areas may be "full" of "ash clouds" while others never might be affected by ash...

julius said...


isn'nt it very difficult to fly VFR at night when the sky is obscured and there are no or very few references (lights) on ground?
The clouds were not visible.

The fact that the pilot did pass a flight plan might indicate that he did not manage to stabalized the a/c to the cruising attitude.

What is the behavour of a musician after a gig? Tired, calm, or full of vim?

No chance for that pilot at that day? What was the responsibility of his boss in that situation?
Filing the flight plan in flight is
a method of controlling a pilot and a stress factor.


Baron95 said...

Hey Julius, not sure what your point about the ash cloud was, but as far as (US) airlines losing money, what is new?

American Airlines just lost $0.5B in 3 months (before ash clouds), even with a strong rebound in air travel, full planes, bag fees, et.

They reported it matter of fact. No sense of urgency. No explanation. They simply said "huh, we have higher costs than our competitors, because we didn't go through bankruptcy".

But hey, according to CW, who are we, mere mortals, to questions the gods of the aviation industry. After all, the people running AA into billions of dollars in losses and driving every other US legacy airline into CH11 or extinction (PanAm, Eastern, etc), have DECADES OF EXPERIENCE, and ALL THE CREDENTIALS.

I'm typing this sitting on seat 31A on an AA decrepit MD-80. (I gave up my first class upgrade to get an earlier flight). Yes. That is right. That is the seat right next to the freakshily loud left engine. The isles are so narrow, and overhead bins can't accommodate roll-on on one side: result 35 minutes to board a flight and lots of frustration with bags being removed from the plane. AA is selling a sandwich on board for $10. Beer is $6. Spirits $7. Tens of US$ to check bags.

No in flight audio or video. That is right, not a a single TV. Flight attendants doing safety demonstration by hand holding belts and masks.

A miserable experience.

And they can't make money.

And they don't change anything. They continue to pay their countless unions. They continue to fly decrepit fuel hogs like the MD80 and 767-200s (my last flight). They continue to fail to hedge fuel costs.

Meanwhile, WN has a young virtually an all 738 fleet. B6 has an even younger all A320/E190 fleet. And they manage to make money, with the exception of the odd quarter here or there.

AA is living out of Cramdal's ideas. They have a profit center in AAdvantage (largest frequent flier program) from affinity partners that pre-buy miles. And they count on the loyal elite frequent flyer - god knows that is the only reason I fly American.

Sooner or later though, I'll give up on them. And others will also. Then they will fail in heart beat.

What does that have to do with Ash Cloud?

Well, I will BET that AA will use the ash cloud as one of the reasons why they lost another 1/2 billion $ in Q2. Watch.

I wish I could buy credit default swaps on AA.

Baron95 said...

Contest Question of the Day (ATM that should be easy for you)... first to respond correctly wins a day's supply of diet coke (for me that is 48 cans).

Here is the question....

What plane did Big Ed (GM CEO) fly in from Kansas to DC to mingle with Pelosi and the other pols? Bonus questions: What company operated the flight?

Baron95 said...

Oooops ... forgot the other bonus question...Who paid for the flight? (answer to that only counts if you answered correctly one of the previous ones) ;)

BassMaster said...

MD 83 or Falcon?
You and I

BassMaster said...

Nice avatar btw!

Floating Cloud said...


Yeah, I knew what your main point was in terms of wasted Federal monies on FAM. I agree. Just didn't see how we go so way off the point to include FBS in the coversation and I think that may have been ASM who made the comment surprisingly!

At any rate sometimes I try to offer a women's viewpoint when needed.

HUH, Im getting on one of those horrid AA MD-80s to Mexico City. It was the cheapest flight I could find with a return from Cancun direct to Dallas. I thought imediately of you when I booked the flight fully knowing what I was getting into thanks to you. At least its not a long flight. sigh...

Floating Cloud

Floating Cloud said...

PS At least once I get to Mexico City one of my favorite restaurants in the world awaits me. The Bellenhousen in the Zona Rosa never fails to have waiters with sparkling clean aprons who give impeccable service with great pride and remember you and your favortie dish and drink after even sometimes several years. Its so wonderfully old world in the new world. That's even hard to find in the old world anymore!

Floating Cloud

Baron95 said...

BassMaster said...

MD 83 or Falcon?
You and I

Nope - not even warm ;)

Not AT&T, not you and I (at least not directly) ;)

He actually did it in a classy way.

Using some assets that ATM loves ;)

Baron95 said...

FC, I'll buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice, if you go through security on your way to Cancun dressed like this.

I really want to know what they would do.

Please. Do it ;)

Floating Cloud said...


That's exactly what I meant by jewelry that doesn't come off and underwire bras! Okay, I'll DO it! But not sure they will apreciate me doing the limbo through the FBS!

Floating Cloud

gadfly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

FC said...Okay, I'll DO it! But not sure they will apreciate me doing the limbo through the FBS!

You have to. Tell them you've heard that it is less sensitive near the bottom. ;)

Floating Cloud said...

Whose bottom? Mine or the FBS's?

EVERYBODY do the FBS Limbo!!!

Now we really have reached bottom!

Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gadfly,

It was so much better WITH your innuendo!!!

You are so blessed indeed!

Floating Cloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

Floating cloud, you can fool the face recognition systems very easily using this make up.

I'm not sure, but I'm willing to bet that someone can fool the FBS machines by using different fabrics (e.g. sections with metallic fibers, sections without) in interesting shapes.

Muslim women, I'm sure, as required by their religion will be wearing burkas with metallic shield.

Then, what is our govmt to do? Scrap the $18B they are spending on the machines?

Of course not.

They'll be passing laws regulating what fibers your clothing can be made of. No spray-on metallic flakes allowed. Forget about that aluminum underwear.

It is a dive into greater forms of ridiculousness.

Just like - can't take liquids through security.


You are a crew member.

You are traveling with young kids.

You have *ANY* Dr's note saying you need liquids.

So... liquids = danger.

But many individuals (as above) subject to checkpoint (presumably because they can't be trusted) can get passed with liquids. Which leads us to conclude that Liquids are safe. But liquids = danger. Which leads us to conclude that the TSA is idiotic.

Oh well.

airtaximan said...

Whitacre paid for a CHARTER flight with his own money...

EJM was the operator, citation Sovereign or

but knowing Baron it might have been an EA50... I really do not know

Baron95 said...

It was *not* an EA50. It was not a loaded question. Just a fun contest. No agenda.

The GM CEOs used to fly on company planes. Then AT&T planes. Then charter paid by the company. Now charter paid out of their own pockets.

I just thought it is a nice chronicle of descent.

Of course, my preference would be that corporations would just let employees fly their planes and reimburse for mileage, like they do when you use your personal car for business.

When I was doing consulting I did that for about 3 years. I lost a bit of money on every flight, just as I lose when I drive my car to the airport for work, but the freedom and effectiveness were tremendous.

T2 said...

Hi Baron,

My guess is Big Ed paid for the flight himself in a C680 Cessna Citation Sovereign, KMKL to KIAD, EJM777 Executive Jet on 4-21-10. If I won please send the prize to FC, she just sounds so darn cute!

As I was searching for this info I notice other blog comments were mostly positive about biz aircraft being used for actual business and it is silly to have CEO's wasting time driving or flying commerical when they could be much more porductive using biz aircraft like Big Ed did.

Maybe the tide has turned and it is safe for CEO's to be productive again.


airtaximan said...

there is a move to "charter" for a number of reasons, which includes some gov't BS... but also includes:

- Vast charter fleet usually ends up with an aircraft in better position to serve your needs than your own plane, unless money is no object

- quality and safety standards that provide a comfort level

- the choice to use the best aircraft for the trip, instead of having to use what you have - again, only relevant if money is no object

- companies using their capital in a better way than having a flight department or very expensive fractional share

The marketplace is shifting, and owning the assets is no longer required for service... just like hosted / on demand computer services versus owning your own computer equipment and having your own IT department, and servicing your own software. In some specialized busiesses, this is the way to go, but for the most part, sofetware as a service, on-demand, or cloud computing is the way to go.

Industry standards, plus a vast network of reliable quality equipment, plus on-demand service models, plus highly qualified pilots/crews/operators provide the opportunity to access private aviation in a very convenient and const effective manner, without up front costs.

PS. was I correct on the Whittaker charter?

Baron95 said...

T2 said...
My guess is Big Ed paid for the flight himself in a C680 Cessna Citation Sovereign, KMKL to KIAD, EJM777 Executive Jet on 4-21-10. If I won please send the prize to FC, she just sounds so darn cute!

And what an excellent guess it was - lets wait for confirmation.

And nice move sending the drinks to FC. Women always get so many perks, right?

Anyway - I'll deliver the case personally to FC, together with the diner once she does the FBS limbo.

T2 said...

Maybe the tide has turned and it is safe for CEO's to be productive again.

Lets hope so. It is silly for our elected officials to choose an entire sector of the economy to vilify.

Baron95 said...

ATM - very good comments and insight ATM.

It is true that companies do better by focusing on their core businesses, without distractions from large flight/IT/HR departments.

If the Charter industry can provide the same level of outsourcing of air transportation that say IBM provides for IT, it can be a valuable transformation.

I'm pretty sure you could trust your CEO to NetJets or (hypothetical) Boeing Executive Flying Services. But, when it comes to trusting him/her to "Two Wing Aviation", not sure the industry is quite up to the standards needed.

julius said...

Now down to CEO of EAI:

AVIO NG 1.6 was announced in late december 2009! Now there is a presentation of AVIO NG 1.7 ("customer communiqu├ęs").... with neither production nor delivery date.
"Moving map" is supplied with Avio NG 1.6 and other promised standards with Avio NG 1.7????
Hmmm ....No surprise!

The press release of 2010-03-19 contains the follwing passage:
Don’t Wait, Fly a Total Eclipse Now

Total Eclipse program customers can buy a fully configured EA500 aircraft that encompasses all currently available features and functionality. Specific components will include flight to 41,000 feet, 20,000 cycle airframe life and an on-board color radar, electronic moving maps and eCharts (Jeppesen) all presented directly on the EA500 multifunction display. Every Total Eclipse, priced at $2.15 million, also includes a factory warranty. For a limited number of “early buyers” each Total Eclipse purchase also comes with a guaranteed buy-back provision. With this guarantee, EAI will agree to repurchase the aircraft for a guaranteed amount which can be applied towards a first year production slot when EA500 manufacturing resumes.

The wedge is on board again?

The new director - Mr. Orlowsky - will be pleased!


WhyTech said...

"My guess is Big Ed paid for the flight himself in a C680 Cessna Citation Sovereign, KMKL to KIAD, EJM777 Executive Jet on 4-21-10"

You dont seriously believe that Big Ed paid this himself do you? His name may be on a check, but you can be sure that the was reimbursed in some way.

In any event, no matter who pays, conspicuous consumption/excess.

Baron95 said...

I actually do.

First, big Ed/GM spokesperson said so, and I don't think he'd risk being outed.

Second, he is more worried about his legacy (last big job) at this time, and not on collecting $20,000 reimbursements.

Either way, he is old news. New news is that Big Alan is expected to report over $1.0B in profits for Q1 tomorrow, marking the first time in years and years since Ford has reported 4 consecutive profitable quarters.

Also will be reporting an almost 3% rise in market share (that he took away from big Ed, little Toyoda, and poorly dressed Machione (sp) - largest increase in over 3 decades.

Lucky guy. I wish he ran for CT governor ;)

airtaximan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
airtaximan said...

If CT has a trend-bucking policy of keeping cash on hand equivanlent to one years operatng expenses, he would be a as lucky there, too...

The he would need to follow, and do as everyone else normally does, and leverage his cash position and borrow to the hilt - luck happends when he decides to do this just before all captal markets crash - try timing this again.

Sorry you do not see this, but most everyone else does.

Its not pure luck, BUT, very lucky indeed... he joined a company with the strongest cash position in the industry... he leveraged this and decided to buck the historical trend, and did it just prior to a crash - not his doing or even his intention, just dumb luck.

While everyoe else was SOL regarding bowworing, he just finished borrowing, and this led to his advantage.

I suspect over time this will be clear to you.

Baron95 said...

Well CT has 3.5M captive "lenders" - nothing to worry about. It is believed that the lenders have an endless supply of money to send to the government.

But what I want to know is how this wind farm, to be built off Cape Cod will be depicted on aeronautical charts? Are they going to plot each turbine as a separate obstruction, or (more likely) they'll devise a new meat grinder-like symbol to mark the whole field?

Baron95 said...

Either way, it will be a bitch for the seagulls flying in low IFR - they freaking can't read the charts.

Me thinks there will be a large concentration of sharks around the turbines - feeding from the giant meat grinding field.

Can't be too healthy for annual hot air balloon festival participants either.

Baron95 said...

Oh, if you need to know, those turbines will be (at least) 440 ft high.

I've heard that Red Bull Air Racing around the turbines is being considered. It is said to be more exciting than racing around pylons. More skill required. You have to time your turns around the pylons and the blades.

I'm excited about the possibilities.

Floating Cloud said...


I'm in Taos and not in the loop here. So did I or did I not win 48 cans of Diet Coke on the wall? T2 forwarded his prize to me FC, the lucky and pretty darn cute gal that I am. Thanks T2!

I still got some time before the FBS limbo gig so who's going to pay up? Hey wait a minute, was this some sort of Eclipse trick? Making me think I was getting one thing and then give me something else with another promise? ... and WHO is Mr. Orlowsky exactly?

Floating Cloud

Baron95 said...

Hi FC - enjoy Taos.

We are waiting for confirmation on your win. I sent an email to big-Ed's office asking for it.

No. No Eclipse Trick. Your Diet Coke can is in escrow in my fridge ;)

Here is another beautiful image for you. Wind Tunnels are cool places for sure. But unlike the ones at NASA et al, the Ferrari wind tunnel looks great on the outside as well. No wonder out of it come some of the sexiest non-biological entities in existence.

Baron95 said...

Not to say that the $2.1B man doesn't look good in F. red.

airtaximan said...

Ford-man's numbers are up again, due in large part to the smear campaign against Toyota...

How lucky can a guy get?

Floating Cloud said...

Been once in a Ferrari and was given the chance to actually drive it myself for a short while. It was truely an experience I will never forget. It was the sound of the engine and how it moved as if it wasn't even touching the ground... but hey, those Italians are way over rated-- as was my date at the time.

I am much more of classic 70s Corvette kinda girl. Take me to a drive-in, buy me (or better win me) a diet coke and a burger with lots of mustard and pickles and then we are all happy as can be!

Floating Cloud

Baron95 said...

You put mustard on your burger? What is wrong with you? ;)

To be honest, classic Ferraris (pre 360 Modena) never did anything for me. Likewise classic planes do nothing for me.

Up until 1972, American cars, including the Corvette you mentioned were in a class by themselves.

To think that is the late 50s and early 60s American cars were available with 302s-427s, Hemis, fuel injection, positraction (LSD), auto transmission, power windows, etc, when the rest of the world was driving barely functional machines. How they squandered all that is beyond me.

Now, there are only a handful of "American" cars that are world class, but it looks like that number is poised to increase.

At this minute there are more 14 year old boys dreaming about tuning an Mitsubishi Evo than a Corvette. That is sad.

Floating Cloud said...


You're right it is sad, (and parents of teenagers should rest easier knowing) boys ARE really missing out while focusing solely on a hand held miniture devices.

Nothing like the real thing, a real woman in your own American car -- that's been tuned and polished to perfection!

And hello! Mustard is the whole purpose for the burger.

Floating Cloud

WhyTech said...

"At this minute there are more 14 year old boys dreaming about tuning an Mitsubishi Evo than a Corvette. That is sad."

Sad but appropriate. Any idea what an Evo in rally trim can do? Blows the doors of the Vette at half the price.

WhyTech said...

"classic Ferraris (pre 360 Modena) never did anything for me"

This explains a lot. The 365 GTB/4 is perhaps the most appealing performance car ever designed! Seek help!

Floating Cloud said...


I was wrong, and I would delete my comment but then that never seems fair to the next responder.

I thought the Mitsabishi EVO was a telephone! (There is Sprint 4G phone called an EVO.) My faith in American teenage boys is restored! A good car is a good car no matter where it comes from or who makes it. Funny, kinda like people that way.

The rest of the stuff I'll let you take up with the B95.

Floating Cloud

Turboprop_pilot said...

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Baron95 said...

WhyTech said...

"classic Ferraris (pre 360 Modena) never did anything for me"

This explains a lot. The 365 GTB/4 is perhaps the most appealing performance car ever designed! Seek help!


I'll stick with a 360 Modena, F430 Daytona or 358 Italia, thank you very much. Clean, functional, reliable, rigid, Aluminum, with semi-decent to good low end power and 7,500-9,000 RPM redlines, mated to a transmission that works.

Not dissing the older Ferraris, but the level of engineering of the 360+ is in a different league.

Incidentally, a tuned Evo and even a CTS-V will blow the 365 out of the water any day.

Baron95 said...

TP lets see how they do. HPN is the right airport to launch the service, though space there is very expensive.

WhyTech said...

"Incidentally, a tuned Evo and even a CTS-V will blow the 365 out of the water any day."

Well ... of course. Twenty - thirty years of evolution/innovation should make a difference.

Baron95 said...

Yet, 50 years later the 2010 Cessna 182 is just as slow as the 1960 one. Isn't that amazing?

It actually has worse specific fuel consumption with that disgraceful IO-540.

More amazing is that Cessna is peddling them for $500K.

If it were not for the G1000 it would be even sadder.

Oh well. I guess progress bypassed certain sectors.

Floating Cloud said...

If only Buddy and Gang had been driven IN those fabulous American-made cars of the time, instead of by a dreadfully cold bus, then divided into an airplane late at night -- the music may have not died.
That's the bye-bye Miss American pie part.

Floating Cloud

WhyTech said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WhyTech said...

"Yet, 50 years later the 2010 Cessna 182 is just as slow as the 1960 one. Isn't that amazing?"

Check out the G1000 avionics and GFC 700 AP. Pretty amazing alright!

What engine do you recommend at this price point? Not much to choose from. Should Cessna do their own next gen engine development?

"More amazing is that Cessna is peddling them for $500K."

More like mid to high $300's street price. Still a lot of airplane for the money, and apparently enough buyers think so the keep production running.

airtaximan said...

funny to see someone continually bashing products that have a sustained value to the consumer over many decades.


One should just note that as an amazing accomplishment.

gadfly said...

Folks, folks, folks!

A long long time ago, before some of you were more than "gleam" in your father's eye, lawyers began to get very gready . . . and it's a wonder that Cessna and any of the others even survived. I first flew in a Cessna 150 that could be purchased for about $5,000 from the factory . . . and with the Moody "Avionics" upgrades, topped out at a little over $10,000 . . . in 1960, a lot of money back then.

And then came the lawyers! And not soon, thereafter, the future of any aircraft manufacturer was in serious doubt.

You figure it out!

And about that time, while working for United, and being "forced" to join the "IAM" . . . [What the "International Association of Machinists" had to do with loading baggage on a plane, I still have no clue] . . . but in Chicago, you don't argue with the "union", believe me . . . but I got a first hand education that you do not argue the point if you wish for your family and yourself and even your personal property to see many more "sunrises".

So, between the unions, and the lawyers, we behold a modern miracle . . . that a Cessna 180 . . . er, 182, should even be for sale at any price. And you do the math as to the reasons for a $60,000 aircraft to cost a half million clams.


(Come to think of it . . . clams "on the half shell" . . . [or is it "oysters" . . . 'get them all confused] aren't all that cheap any more . . . thinking back of a great restaurant down near Newport . . . "The Rueben E. Lee"? (too noisy, 'don't recommend it, and overpriced) . . . that and another . . . memory escapes me, but right up on the highway . . . on the Coast Highway, in Southern California. . . . Forget it! "In-N-Out" is a better deal, and much safer . . . and only about five miles away in Irvine. And if you want clams, 'just dig down a few inches at "15th Street" at Newport . . . great body surfing, and the clams are good, too . . . if you don't mind a little sand in your teeth.)

(Actually, "Victor Hugo's' . . . that's a better choice . . . and with the view, you'll forget all about aircraft, etc., except until you get the bill . . . but even then, it's worth it. Hey, it's only money . . . and O'Bama is out to get anything left over . . . whatever that is!)

gadfly said...

Ah yes! . . . "Victor Hugo's" . . . "bowling on the green", on a cliff overlooking the entrance into Newport by Balboa . . . now that's an interesting pastime. A grass lawn smoother than the carpet in your living room . . . and stone things, flat on two sides . . . and old men rolling them . . . and overlooking the Pacific near Laguna, in Southern California.

In 1935, my folks spent their brief honeymoon there . . . not on the "bluff", but down in a cheap cabin in the harbor . . . I have the photos. It was mostly foggy and cold, then . . . late October 1935. My Dad spelled out on the sand a message to my Mother . . . and they made plans for the future. I wonder if my Dad had the slightest idea that their marriage would result in "great things", and that not many years later, his ideas . . . his talents . . . his inventions would transform aviation in major ways. And he had no clue that he had less than 22 years left on earth, leaving a 39 year old widow behind . . . so much, so much, so much.

It's funny how the mind that God has provided, can dig up the past in an instant, and remind us of things from long ago . . . and carry us into the future.

"Human Life" is such a brief thing, yet I'm glad that provision has been made by God, (on His conditions) to take us from "here" to "there", allowing us to enjoy the fellowship with Him, and with some of our loved ones, that were only initiated in our brief excursion in "time".

Sometimes in the night hours, I have the greatest dreams. I fly . . . not in an aircraft, but wherever I wish . . . and in "color" (in case you should ask). Am I some kind of a nut? . . . Probably . . . but so what. The doctor back in submarine school verified that all of us, who qualified in submarines, were "abnormal" . . . in other words, some kind of nuts.

'Had we been normal, we would have missed out on a great experience, and been sentenced to a "normal life", whatever that might be.

Here I am, telling you like it is!


(Enjoying each moment, and too blessed to be stressed!)

Baron95 said...

Engine for the C182? TCM IO550. Cheaper than the Lyc IO540 with 10-15% better SFC, cheaper to overhaul or get a fac reman.

I get it that Textron is the parent of Lyc and that is the only way their engines was going to win any new designs.

Yep. The G1000 (as I pointed out is great). The parts produced by Textron (engine and airframe) have worse performance (by any measure) than the 1960s plane.

What other transportation machine can you buy today (other than GA planes) that has worse SFC and worse performance than the equivalent machine of 1960?


And as far as the 182 being successful. Well that depends on how you measure success. It sells less than 10% of what it sold in the past. It used to be the top seller in its class, now it is substantially outsold by SR22.

Is that considered success these days?

Baron95 said...

Gadfly, yes it is true that the "lawyers came".

But the lawyers came because the GA manufacturers were killing their customers.

There is absolutely NO EXCUSE today to sell a plane with an engine where induction icing and loss of power is an "expected event". NONE whatsoever.

Every plane crash due to carburetor icing should attract the attention of lawyers. The fact that the manual tell you how to deal with it is no excuse.

There is also no excuse for fuel systems that enable engine starvation to occur with substantial amounts of fuel on board. How many planes have crashed on short final because the tank with less fuel was selected? Pilot error? Sure. Induced by bad design.

How about fuel lines traversing the cockpit?

There was just too much bad design killing too many people in GA. There still is.

A $150K Aston Martin is just as low volume as a GA plane, and costs less than 1/2 as a 182. Still it has computers that will compensate for driver mistakes mid turn and protect its occupants from a 40MPT head-on offset crash with concrete with low likelihood of injuries.

The lawyer that puts carbureted engines out of business in GA will be my hero.

gadfly said...

Baron . . . You should learn to read . . . and understand those big words with more than two "cylinders".

Fifty years and more ago, the lawyers found fertile ground, and almost killed GA . . . believe what you will . . . and the manufacturers were not out to "kill their own customers" as you wish to believe.

But then, I'm not surprised at your response. Now, go your way and find someone else to dazzle with your intellect and prolific arguments. I'm not impressed.


RonRoe said...


When will this "tearing down" of others stop? Can't we all just discuss things "amiably", even with those with whom we don't "agree"?

Doesn't resorting to "insults" say more about the "insulter" than the "insultee"?


P.S. Aren't "unnecessary" quotation marks "annoying"?

KnotMPH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gadfly said...


Good point . . . and my point backfired. I apologize.


(I'll attempt to keep future comments in a positive and constructive direction, or keep my thoughts to myself.)

(Thanks for your input . . . your comments are received with gratitude.)

Floating Cloud said...

Knot said:

'Oak tree you're in my way' is a lyric from a Lynyrd Skynyrd song titled 'That smell' (as I'm sure you know) a band which also experienced a crash in a Convair 240 which killed six people and injured several for life.

Knot, you just took my breath away, because I never saw the connection between the two accidents, but it is clear now. I probably saw the Lynyrd Skynayrd band play about ten times in Denver growing-up.

Those of us who came of age during the 70s (<14 and > 20) were children of 60s with high ideals, but we were NOT hippies. Somehow we understood the 21st century and still do. We have good coping skills and make good mentors to young people. We are true survivors – if we are still alive!

Floating Cloud

Baron95 said...

Where there is gross government idiocy, private parties (like lawyers and insurance companies) step in to correct their failings.

When the FAA in certifies planes like the C182 with absolutely no requirement for the accuracy of the fuel gauges (except when they read zero) lawyers must step in (and I hope they do) every single time a such a plane runs out of fuel and crashes.

Reliable fuel gauges, with a reliable fuel system (up to including fuel delivery) is an absolute safety requirement.

It is an abomination to see pilots dipping sticks into C182 fuel tanks because there is no reliable way to determine fuel on board. Then fly with bouncing fuel gauges that mean nothing while relying on time and "expected fuel flow". If the plane is venting fuel for example, there is absolutely no way for the pilot to know.

It is really sad when people accept this as "that is the way it is".

5,500lbs , FL250 Diamond Jet = type rating required.

12,500 lbs, FL350 BE200 = no type rating, any private pilot with MEL can fly.

that is the way it is.

Carburetor icing, unreliable fuel gauges...

that is the way it is.

2010 model with worse SFC, same speed, lower payload than 1960 model = that's the way it is.


I have slightly higher expectations in life.

If the lawyers are the ones that will fix it, so be it.

You guys better watch out. If a guy like Nader trains his eyes on piston GA, he can get the entire piston fleet from Cessna and Piper grounded in no time flat. Or best case, in about half the time it took to get the Corvair off the roads. Not that I agree with the guy, but count yourselves lucky that he is busy somewhere else.

Baron95 said...

C182 = unsafe at any altitude by Ralph Nader

Baron95 said...

But hey, some people are very proud and happy with their rides.

RonRoe said...


Thank you, sir. You once again demonstrate how a true gentleman acts. I'm taking notes...

airsafetyman said...

Baron, You will be happy to know that the Cessna "Skycatcher" has a carburetor engine - the Continental O-200D, even though Continental wanted to supply the IO-240 fuel-injected engine. Throughout the lifetime of the fleet there is no doubt several (many) fatalities, mostly young inexperienced students, will needlessly happen because of carb icing.

Baron95 said...

ASM - I'm not happy about it at all. I am shocked that Cessna made that decision.

In the 90s, when Cessna was going to re-start single engine production, they sent many questionnaires and surveys to potential pilots on what improvements they'd like to see.

Number one and two at the least were FUEL INJECTION and King Avionics (instead of ARC crap).

This is one of those things that needs to be fixed via law suits.

Baron95 said...

These are the Biz Av Success Stories that we should be celebrating.

airtaximan said...

of note:
Just some tidbits...

Turkey announces regulatory approval for new air taxi service. Didn't our buddy Roel have some deal with Turkey at one point using the ea50? Anyhow, they decided to use the ATR 72 series... a little bigger than the EA50 - imagine that.

Cessna delivers 300th Mustang...

Some reports of air charter showing strong gains...

WhyTech said...

"C182 = unsafe at any altitude by Ralph Nader"

From AOPA Air Safety Foundation article:

"From a safety perspective, the Cessna 182 may be one of the best general aviation aircraft ever built. The aircraft structure is stout and simple. The systems are about as straightforward as they come. Its ease of handling and docile manners made it a sure winner in the marketplace, and a winner in the safety annals."

Baron95 said...

For the record, I don't have anything against the C182. I used it as a generic stand in for older GA designs.

Things to like about the C182 from a safety stand point - no need for pilots to switch tanks like on Piper singles. Fuel injected, unlike the competior Dakota. 2 exit doors for emergency egress, unlike the competitor Dakota. Excellent longitudinal stability, wide CG range, lightly stressed engine (2,400 RPM max, etc), incredible ability to carry ice, etc, etc.

airsafetyman said...

"The systems are about as straightforward as they come. Its ease of handling and docile manners made it a sure winner in the marketplace, and a winner in the safety annals."

Well, so is the DC-3, which even now is spraying oil dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico. Now THAT is an airplane!

WhyTech said...

"Now THAT is an airplane!"

As one who has just enough DC-3 experience to get a type rating, I strongly agree.

However, the C 182 blows the DC-3 away in at least one respect. The DC-3 entered service in 1936 (with KLM). The last DC-3 was produced in 1946. So, a 10 year production run. (This ignores the Super DC-3 which was a considerably different aircraft and sold in very small numbers.) The C-182 began production in 1956, and remains in production today - 54 years and counting. Both iconic airplanes in their own ways.

gadfly said...

Anything can be "proved" . . . They say, figures don't lie, but liars always figure. And so it goes.

Pick an aircraft, and you can probably prove anything you wish . . . and what's the point?

Back in the 1930's, Boeing had been the first on the block with the "340" . . . I have an original aluminum cast model of it, from my uncle, who worked for Boeing/United Airlines at the time. But Douglas learned some valuable lessons and produced the DC2 . . . and quickly corrected their own problems to produce the fantastic DC3.

And in ten years time, maybe 10,000 were built . . . and that does not include those that were built by others . . . like Japan, under license, before and during the big war.

So, in fifty years . . . memory seems to recall maybe twice that many Cessna 182's . . . and variants of that great aircraft . . . what's the point, and who cares. The Cessna is a great aircraft . . . and so is the DC3 . . . and I venture that most of us would trust our lives to either aircraft in the most extreme circumstances.

And I would like to say the same about the little jet from Albuquerque, but I wouldn't trust that beast under any circumstances . . . not now, not ever. And I've put my life on the line under conditions that most wouldn't even consider. But I'm not stupid . . . and reputations of safe modes of transportation are "earned", whether at Cessna or Douglas or at the Mare Island Naval Shipyards. But Albuquerque? . . . No way, Jose!


gadfly said...

One other bit of thinking . . . before we begin another week:

A good aircraft . . . like the DC3 and the "182" is like a good wife . . . As the years go by, they get even more beautiful . . . regardless of all the "hype" for the lastest and greatest little thing that promises great performance, etc., etc., . . . Capiche?

And if you don't "Capiche", you're the poorer in the great and wonderful world of great marriages, with a good woman, or a good aircraft.


(Chew on those thoughts for a time!)

gadfly said...

Whoops! The gadfly made a terrible error . . . that old model is a Boeing 247, not a "340" . . . How in the world could I have made such a mistake?!

Thinking back . . . that aluminum model had at one time "propellers" that would turn, by blowing on them. And I even painted the plane a "dark grey" at one time . . . maybe because of the WWII colors, etc., . . . it's hard to remember.

But where would I have picked up the "340" number . . . and maybe it was on one of my flights across the Pacific . . . that thing that Boeing produced based on the Boeing B29, with the "double bulge", and to board the aircraft, passengers walked up a spiral staircase to get into the passenger compartment. And on the "MAT" (Military Air Transport) aircraft, we all sat "backwards", to be safe, should the aircraft make a hard landing, or ditch in the ocean.

Good grief . . . that was back in the 1950's . . . a long, long time ago . . . and Orville had hardly achieved room temperature!


gadfly said...

One last correction . . . in the middle of the night: It was "MATS", "Military Air Transport Service" . . . and those folks did an outstanding job. Thinking back when I had to make a quick trip back to the "states" from "Pearl" in March 1957, they gave excellent service. When I see that John Wayne movie, "The High and the Mighty", I think of that trip. And a month later, "MATS" got me back to my sub, landing in Tokyo, after a 27 hour flight across the Pacific . . . from Travis to Hickam to Wake (that'll wake you up, on that short strip . . . the wheels touch the pavement at "water's edge", and the plane makes a turn at the other end of the runway, with the wing swinging out over the coral sand at the other end) . . . and on to Tokyo (after a quick "fill-up") . . . on piston aircraft . . . Douglas DC6b, as I recall.

Good memories of "Douglas" and "Cessna" . . . no complaints!


(Except maybe the "Cessna 337" . . . . I hated timing the rear magnetos on that beast . . . there was no room between engine and firewall . . . a real pain.)

WhyTech said...

"A good aircraft . . . like the DC3 and the "182" is like a good wife . . . As the years go by, they get even more beautiful ."

Well, I'll stay away from a comment on women, but it really aint so for airplanes. The DC-3 was a great aircraft in its time, but is noisy, slow, and crude by todays standards. A beautifil bit of nostalgia perhaps, but like most old cars, you really wouldnt want to go anywhere in one.

Baron95 said...

DC3s belong in Museums and the occasional drug run operation, though most have been simply scrapped.

Not sure it is wise to think of your wives that way, but hey... ;)


I'm a firm believer that, in most products, you either evolve or become an irrelevant joke.

Example: The 737 is coming on 50 years old, but it has been constantly updated to be competitive. Same with say a Mercedes roadster or the Citation II lineage, or the Williams 44 Engine or Garmin avionics.

But (moving away from the C182 to avoid picking on only one type), when you get stuck in the past like say a Piper Dakota or Lyc IO540 or Chevy Impala or Nokia Smartphone or what have you...

then the world pass you by in a hurry.

Unfortunately, too much in piston GA is aging into irrelevancy.

And it is not me saying so. It is the customer base - dumping the junk as fast as they can and refusing to buy the crap.

WhyTech said...

"(moving away from the C182 to avoid picking on only one type)"

The C182 has actually benefited from an ongoing series of refinements over the years, including exterior "styling," minor aerodynamic improvements, interiors, paint, avionics (especially avionics!) and engine to name a few. Today's 182 is definitely not your father's 182.

WhyTech said...

"Unfortunately, too much in piston GA is aging into irrelevancy."

This argument could be made for virtually any acft with a piston engine. However, there are no alternatives at these price points, so if you want to fly a new acft for less than a million dollars, there you are.

Baron95 said...

Not true. The SR22, etc are much more evolved machines and have a lot of velocity behind them.

On SR182...

30 KTS faster on same size engine - check.

Known icing - check

G1000 with redundant AHRS and ADC, 12 inch displays, autolevel button, etc - check

Composite materials and carbon fiber spar - check

Ballistic parachute - check

On C182 and Dakota - ???? NOPE ???

The aerodynamics, materials, speed of improvements on those planes are on a different path compared to a C182 or the Dakota.

Planes above and below the C182 and Dakota, like the DA40 or DA42 are also evolving fast.

Diesel engines or avgas, etc.

I'm sorry, but the C182 and Dakota are not competitive as indicated by their sales numbers. The only advantage I can think off for those planes is lower stall/approach speed with the consequently shorter runway requirements. But that was there in 1960, it is not an evolution.

WhyTech said...

"The SR22, etc are much more evolved machines and have a lot of velocity behind them."

Remember that the the SR22 started with a clean sheet of paper in the mid 90's, so more flexibility to adopt newer technology. IIRC about $250K more in price. Compared the SR20/22 safety recored with the C182?

Actually, these are different classes of airplanes, not direct competitors. The C182 is more like a crew cab pickup. The SR22 is more like a Caddy CTS sedan - some good stuff plus lots of irrelevant dodads, IMHO.

WhyTech said...

Perhaps you misunderstood: I didnt mean that the C182 was all that one could get under a million, but rather, if you had less than a million to spend, it would be powered with a piston engine with all the implications that come with that.

"Composite materials and carbon fiber spar - check"

No thanks - I'll take good old fashioned aluminum whch many shops know how to deal with when repairs are needed.

"Ballistic parachute - check"

I'll pass on the cost, complexity, reliabilty of this one.

"Diesel engines"

So who knows how to fix these and where to get parts? Most everty shop on the planet know something about fixing a Lyc or Continental and parts are available from amny sources.

New technology needs to be more than just "new" to get my dollars. I look at the whole product (including support, repair cost, availability of service) and accept some compromises in performance to get an aiprlane that is easy to live with.

airsafetyman said...

Somehow I think when the last Eclipse is in the supermarket beverage section having been melted down into beer cans the DC-3 will be still spraying oil dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico and servicing the remote areas of the world. I was recently in Johannesburg, South Africa, and saw many DC-3s there. Most looked absolutely mint; the operators know what they have and take care of them.

Baron95 said...

Whytech said...
New technology needs to be more than just "new" to get my dollars.

NO disagreements there. None of these things (parachutes, etc) are high on my list. I just used them to illustrate how other manufacturers (like Cirrus and Diamond), who came to dominate piston sales (killing Mooney et al and marginalizing Piper and to a certain extent Cessna), are bringing innovation. Not judging if good or bad.

As for safety record of SR22 vs C182, while I do believe there is some airframe implications, it is really hard to compare the two. It may simply be that SR22s are being disproportionately bought by the new-to-aviation type As and used disproportionately in IFR transportation compared to the C182.

As for turbine under $1M, Robinson announced the pricing for their 5-place R66 turbine Helo in the $800K range. So if it can be done for a helo, it can be done for a fixed wing ship.

I think we need to get there in stages.

In 2010 US$, the C525 got entry level jet prices down to the $4.5M mark. The Phenom 100/Mustang got them down to the $2.75-$3.25M range. Maybe Diamond or whomever does a SEJ sub 6,000 lbs jet can get them down to the $1.75M-$2.25M range.

Then, 10-15 years from now, with Avionics becoming a lot cheaper and small turbines more competitive, someone can try for $1M-$1.5M (in 2010 US$), which is Baron territory.

I'm confident sooner or later someone will get there.

Baron95 said...

ASM, re DC3, I think you have to look at percentage of fleet produced that remains in operation. If you look at it that way, then the DC3 family does not stand out in anyway.

So like 100% of 777 planes ever produced (save the LHR hull loss) are still used in the intended mission. That being the perfect record, for a 15 year old frame. Meanwhile MD-11s and A340s got parked or converted to their secondary role. A340 has like a 75% retention in primary role, the MD-11 has closer to 0% (these off the top of my head).

Given the tens of thousands of DC3s produced, the fact that a few dozen are still flying (none is the primary mission), is not really a standout.

Example. 40+ year old Barons (excluding hull losses) are still being used at a high percentage in the primary GA mission (personal transportation and light freight).

I know they are a few decades apart, but the percentages of Barons voluntarily scrapped is tiny compared to the DC3. (yes, it is apples to oranges, just illustrating the point). The way to measure desirability and economic retention of an airframe is to plot voluntary scrapage as a percentage of total fleet. In light GA, Bonanza and Baron rank very high. Cessna singles (excluding 210) also rank very high.

Phil Bell said...

New headline post is up.

(The bus has been on cruise control for the past couple weeks- thanks for not jumping any curbs! :)

Work and A&P class didn't leave much time for anything else- getting caught up over the next few days- thanks!