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For many pilots, the first realization that the bellies of their airplanes are becoming hazardous waste sites is when ATC advises that their transponders are intermittent. Investigation reveals a layer of goo on the belly antennas, doing its best to block the signal.
Frequently cleaning the by-products of engine operation — oil, grease, soot and other delicacies — off of the belly isn't just presenting a pleasing view to the world when over-flying, it helps keep the dorsal antennas working their best, keeps potentially corrosive materials off the paint and aluminum and lets you easily see whether the fasteners are in place or the paint isn't.
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American Airlines' 787 Dreamliner nightmare
According to author Peter Cohan: American Airlines probably thought it was making the right move when it bought seven Boeing 787 Dreamliners. After all, the $166 million 250 to 330 seat aircraft was known for using 20 percent less fuel — thus the profits from filling them up would be higher.
But that was before American Airlines Flight 88 flew through a hailstorm outside of Beijing. The result was a punched-in nose that will keep the aircraft on the ground for now.
Yikes, I've gotta land gear up
You're approaching the end of an excellent flight on a lovely day; life is good. Now, on downwind with the speed down into the gear extension range, you move the gear handle to the down position, keeping your hand on it until you get a solid gear down indication — as you've done scores of times.
Except ... nothing happens. There's no thunk as the gear doors cycle open and the uplocks disengage. There's no deceleration as drag increases when the gear drops into the wind. Nothing changes.
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BASF Corporation America
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Group advocating for improvements to Maine airport
Bangor Daily News
A group of advocates is pushing for improvement to Maine's Machias Valley Airport that members say could save lives. An airport committee was formed this past spring to rally support from the Machias Board of Selectmen for the municipal airport, which represents a $13,000 annual line item on the Machias town budget.
You can help rekindle the magic of airplanes
General Aviation News
According to author Ben Sclair: I suggest you make plans to see Living in the Age of Airplanes. Better yet, take some non-pilot friends and go see it together. Then go out to dinner so you can talk about the movie.
Living in the Age of Airplanes is from the director that made 2005's One Six Right, Bryan J. Terwilliger. But unlike One Six Right, Living in the Age of Airplanes isn’t for pilots, it's for everyone else.
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New Perlan glider debuts at Wisconsin airshow
The new Perlan 2 glider joined the Airbus A350 XWB at EAA AirVenture. The pressurized, two-seat glider has been designed to fly up to 90,000 feet, at the edge of space, where it will explore the science of stratospheric mountain waves that affect the global climate. This will require the engineering of a spacecraft, according to the Perlan 2 project, with glider wings that can fly in less than 3 percent of normal air density and at temperatures of -70 degrees C.
Flight Design C4 expands envelope
Flight Design has begun production on its conforming prototypes of its new C4 aircraft and has expanded the flight-test envelope of the non-conforming model as the manufacturer works toward its first certified product. Germany-based Flight Design is hoping to achieve EASA CS-23 certification for the four-place general aviation aircraft next year, with validation from the FAA following after that.
The proof-of-concept first flew April 9 at Kamenz airfield in Germany, testing basic handling, trim, spiral stability and go-arounds.
A Ghanaian woman's quest to work — and fly
Air & Space Magazine
According to author Jonathan "Capt. Yaw" Porter: "Engine failure! Engine failure!" I shouted into the radio as I pulled the power on my 80-horsepower Rotax boxer engine back to idle. We were at less than 1,000 feet, climbing from a grass strip at Kpong Airfield in Ghana, West Africa. The baobab tree below reached out its naked branches like it wanted to claw us from the sky.
Kweku, the young student next to me, pushed the stick forward as he'd been trained to do.
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