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 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.

J-20: China Publicly Tests New Stealth Fighter

You should be pretty surprised by the aircraft in this slide show. It's China's newest fighter jet prototype, called the J-20 Black Eagle on The Chinese government parked it in plain sight at the Aviation Design Institute in Chengdu and started conducting testing in front of the public.

Good Story and Trip Idea

If you have a few minutes, I recommend reading an article about flying over the Grand Canyon from this month's Flight Training magazine written by Greg Brown. It's a quick story, but has some useful information that I'd want if I were going to fly there.

More Scare Tactics from FlightPrep?

I wasn't going to write anything else about FlightPrep and their self-damaging legal tactics against free online flight planning resources like; however, I was browsing ANN, the Aero-News Network, and came across an article about GA's boycott of FlightPrep. The article has some interesting tidbits and links to a site called where over a thousand pilots have already stated their outrage at FlightPrep's actions and pledged to boycott all their products.

I was surprised that people had gotten angry enough to make an entire website opposed to FlightPrep, but what really shocked me was reading that FlightPrep has been making direct threats to several other companies, including ANN.

Patriot Pilot: Friend or Foe?

I've been on the road for a couple weeks, so I didn't catch the buzz about the self-proclaimed "Patriot Pilot" until just today. A recent CNN article summarizes the story: An airline pilot named Chris Liu is concerned that security measures for airport workers are severely least at his home base of KSFO. He feels that TSA is being very hypocritical by enforcing burdensome and intrusive security measures (like full body scans and pat-downs) for airline passengers while letting baggage handlers, marshalers and others onto the flight line by just swiping a key card.

Wanting to let people know about the problems (and I suspect hoping public outcry would put pressure on some bureaucrats to make implement some changes,) he used his phone to record video clips showing some of the weak security measures and posted them on YouTube. (Sorry, he's since taken them down.)

Obviously the airport and TSA didn't like this. They revoked his certification to carry a handgun in the cockpit and sent 6 air marshals to his home to confiscate his weapon. He's naturally a tad worried about further reprecussions.

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