Piper Abruptly Exits Light Sport Market

I think most of us were pretty excited when Piper entered the LSA market by adopting Czech Sport Aircraft's SportCruiser as their own. Their well-established name gave credibility to the market as a whole and to SportCruiser itself. We were shocked and disappointed to read in Aviation Week and a Piper press release that they have officially terminated their relationship with Czech Sport Aircraft. Piper cites "differences in business philosophies" as the driving reason for this split.

All of Piper's statements now feel like they're trying to distance themselves from Czech Sport Aircraft as quickly as possible. It's a surprisingly rapid turn-around from an advertising campaign that basically named the PiperSport as the successor to the iconic J3 Cub and pictured them next to each other in advertisements.

Flies & Honey: Kestrel's Presence Helping Maine to See the Light on Use Tax

Over three years ago, I wrote about Maine's outrageous Use Tax. The levy up to a 5% tax on any airplane owner whose aircraft spends more than 20 days in the state and hasn't already paid that much tax elsewhere.

The unfair and overbearing tax is a huge deterrent to both business and tourism. Thankfully though, it looks like Maine may be starting to see the light.

Footage of Sikorsky X2 Setting 260kt Speed Record

Jud just pointed me to this video...official footage from Sikorsky of their X2 technology demonstrator setting a record speed of more than 260 knots in a helicopter. The video quality is great and it's interesting to hear the actual cockpit communications and see the cockpit cameras.

Turbine STOL CH 701

If you're anything like me, this project is probably a little beyond the abilities of the average AviationBull fan. However, it's such a fun idea that I can't resist posting it. This is a video of Scott Ehni's CH 701 equipped with a Garrett JFS 100-13A Turboshaft engine.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 Approaching Certification

I was over a year and a half ago when I wrote about the Sukhoi Superjet 100's first flight. The plane hasn't entered service yet, but it's getting close. In many ways I think this is a good sign, though Sukhoi and their partners are suffering a little because of it.

The Moscow Times just wrote about a big hit that Sukhoi and partners have taken. Italian flag airline Alitalia was supposed to be a launch customer for the SSJ100. This was at least in part a by-product of Alenia Aeronautica, part of the Italian group Finmeccanica, having a 25% stake in the SSJ project. Alitalia is worried about the SSJ timeline slipping too far, so they cancelled an order worth $500 million and decided to lease some planes from Embraer instead.

Flight Design 4-Place

According to the EAA and others, Flight Design, the market leader among Light Sport Aircraft, just announced plans to build a 4-place aircraft. This in an impressive move on many levels and I'm excited to see what they come up with.

A Long Way to Go in Just 82 Years...

Aviation has come a long way since the Wright Brothers in 1903. We get some sense of this when we look at older aircraft, but we seldom get the chance to make side-to-side comparisons. This picture, however, is a rare and perfect illustration of just how far aviation has come. What's more impressive is that it shows the progress of just one company - an aviation powerhouse that has been around nearly as long as manned flight itself.

This picture comes from an article at Wired.com and shows Boeing's oldest airliner, the Boeing Model 40 flying next to their newest airliner, the 787 Dreamliner.

Wind Tunnel Time for Stratos

They haven't posted the press release on their website yet, but Stratos Aircraft just announced that they are another step closer to giving customers this much legroom in an aircraft that will hopefully be able to take 4 people 1500 miles at 400 knots.

They've raised enough funds to build a 1/8 scale model of their aircraft for wind tunnel testing to verify the computational fluid dynamics analysis that they've already done on their design.

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