Perlan, Solar Impulse, Skigull - Big Year for Aviation R&D

It's been a fun year for for projects seeking to advnace aviation.

Solar Impulse 2, the all-solar aircraft flying around the world is staying the winter in Hawaii. It was a lot of fun reading about the aircraft's progress. Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard wrote a short note about his trip home from Hawaii in July. I can feel his disappointment, but I have no doubt he'll return to the sky with great success.

At least they left their gear down...

...after all, wouldn't want to do anything "dangerous" like scraping the belly on landing.

I wonder if they managed to actually do the stunt on the first try. Click on the picture for the full story and video of this impressive Redbull stunt.

ADS-B For Gliders? Dangerous Attitudes and Uninformed Media

When I first heard about the FAA's new rule for ADS-B, I didn't even think to check and see if it made exceptions to allow certain aircraft to operate in controlled airspace without ADS-B. I assumed it would be that way because that's how the current rules regarding transponders work. (This affects gliders, hot air balloons, airplanes not originally equipped with electrical systems and some others.) It turns out that this exemption did carry over into 91.225(e) of the new ADS-B rule (page 140.)

While that makes plenty of sense to someone with an aviation background, it apparently doesn't compute with someone who has little (if any) understanding of the subject. I just realized that fact when I read an editorial in the Washington Examiner yesterday. I'm disturbed and offended that The Examiner would publish such an alarmist story by an author unfamiliar with the subject who didn't bother to do any in-depth research to improve his or her knowledge in the area. However, I'll let that be for a moment.

This article highlights some potential attitudes regarding ADS-B that could prove extremely hazardous to everyone in our country - pilots or not. I want to address these attitudes first.

This Weekend's Crazy Video

I realize this is the second somewhat crazy aviation video I posted lately. I promise I'm not some adrenaline junkie or anything, but some of these are just too much fun not to post. I definitely don't recommend trying this at home, but it sure looks cool.

There are a couple practical notes to glean from this though:

Ridge Soaring!

Ridge Running from Bo Lorentzen on Vimeo.

When I first heard about flying gliders I thought it sounded boring: no engine, slow-flying airplanes taking very short flights. Luckily, I got the opportunity to try it anyway. I found it to be anything but boring. Even the clunkiest gliders (like my beloved SGS 2-33) don't feel slow when you're in them. The challenge of planning to make it back to the runway and get your landing right the first (and only) time is a thrill. The best part though is finding some type of lifting action that can keep your plane in the air for more than a couple tenths. This video got my heart racing! It shows a truly exciting type of lift-riding called ridge soaring.

Engineless Aerobatics

Take a look at this highlight reel, glider aerobatic routines aren't exactly mainstream... but they bring new meaning to energy management.

Energy Management

Here's a great glider aerobatics video, you don't see this too often but these guys are great at what they do. Not quite as loud and intense as their powered counterparts, but equally entertaining.

Glider Flying in Wyoming

One of the tough things about getting into the sport of soaring is the fact that it's sometimes very difficult to find a glider to fly. Thanks to the Big Horn Soaring Club based in the Powell/Cowley, WY area, residents of Wyoming and Eastern Montana finally have a way to solve that problem without traveling so far from home. This is the first and only glider club in the state of Wyoming and possibly the newest glider club in the US.

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