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 Oshkosh365.org. 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 RunwayFinder.com; 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 BoycottFlightPrep.com 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 lacking...at 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.

Nature's Way of Telling you to Stay Home!

I'm a sucker for great photography, especially stuff that really speaks to the beauty of nature. Unfortunately the only thing this photo says to me is STAY ON THE GROUND!

Runway Finder Accepting Donations

Runway Finder owner Dave Parsons just announced on his blog that he's going to start taking donations to fund his defense in FlightPrep's lawsuit against him. Click here to go to his blog...the "Donate" button is on the left side of the screen.

It would be easy to say that I'm not going to give FlightPrep my business anymore, but something more to say that I'm going to give Runway Finder money to help defend themselves. If you have the means available, I encourage you to consider contributing.

Chinese Company Buys Continental Motors - Time for a Diesel Now?

AvWeb recently mentioned a deal that Teledyne struck with AVIC International, a Chinese company, to sell Continental Motors to AVIC subsidiary Technify Motors. (See TCM's press release here.)

This is a pretty big deal for several reasons. First, it's more aviation business going to companies based overseas. Thankfully, AVIC seems to have made a strong commitment to keeping Continental at their current location in Mobile, AL. Second, this move will hopefully provide Continental the capital it needs to develop a series of diesel aircraft engines.

First Flight of Fully-Conforming HondaJet

We've all been drooling over the HondaJet for some time. Honda did a great job of capturing our attention by surprising us with a polished-looking, fully functional aircraft that included some interesting new design features.

Although the prototype HondaJet looked great from a distance, I'm told it wasn't perfect up close. It definitely didn't conform to FAA standards for production Very Light Jets. Having gained a lot of knowledge from their prototype, Honda built a fully-conforming version and proudly announced its first flight this Monday.

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