Is Your Representative a Member of the GA Caucus?

I just got a note from the AOPA mentioning that with the start of the new Congress, it's necessary for the General Aviation Caucus to be re-established. Congressmen Sam Graves (R-MO) and John Barrow (D-GA) are leading this effort. The AOPA message suggested that I contact my Congressman, Representative Jeff Miller from Florida's 1st district, and urge him to join this effort.

I figured that was a great idea, so I decided to write him. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it took all of about 5 minutes to send him a message and get a reply confirming that my message had been received.

Aviation Wins Again in Santa Monica

The city of Santa Monica, CA, has spent the past few years trying to enact a ban of large (Class C and D) aircraft at the Santa Monica airport (KSMO.) In 2009 the FAA rejected the city's ban and enacted a restraining order that allowed those jets to continue to use the airport. The city tried to appeal the FAA's actions, but their appeal was recently rejected by the US District Court of Appeals for Washington DC.

Make no mistake: this is a win for aviation and a caution to cities that choose to allow development in areas that should be reserved as safety zones around airports.

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.

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