Aviation in Politics

Yesterday’s election is poised to effect almost everything, including aviation. Check out these headlines.

From Aero-News.Net, two election-related stories:

A broo-haha is developing regarding Bush officials traveling in private jets:  

In related news and in response to the recent crash involving Corey Lidle, The Christian Science Monitor asks the question: Should aviation guidelines be revised?

High-Noon Visibility at Midnight with Synthetic Vision

What if your plane could sense the terrain below you even in murky weather or the dead of night, and you could see it plain as day on a view screen?

Sound too much like Star Trek? Guess again.

Aviation engineers are hard at work developing this new ability to see, reports the Chicago Tribune’s Jon Hilkevitch in Flying blind can’t happen with latest cockpit magic (posted on montereyherald.com). The article states:

Today, pilots must study their instruments and conjure up a mental picture of where they are and what the aircraft is doing based on the aeronautical map in the pilot’s lap and cockpit gauges showing airspeed, altitude, course heading and aircraft pitch and roll in relation to the horizon. Those mental calculations take time and talent, adding significantly to pilot workload.

Many accidents occur because the pilot, who should always be thinking about what’s coming next – it’s called "flying ahead of the plane" – fails to keep up with current demands.

With synthetic vision and enhanced vision, which uses infrared or millimeter wave technologies to improve low-vision situations, boosting pilots’ awareness of their surroundings is expected to help reduce the two leading causes of fatal aviation accidents – flying into terrain and loss of control during flight.

Read the article for more details about this new system in action.

New Hangars Being Built Across U.S.

In what is surely a good sign for the aviation business, newspapers around the country are reporting improvements in local airports, including the addition of new hangars for private and commercial aircraft.

Cited as reasons for the expansion in these articles are: demand for charter and corporate flights, ease of access at smaller airports, increased demand for aircraft storage, and the desire to improve local economies.

All with the result that there will be more options than ever for private aviators to travel throughout the U.S.  

Fractional Ownership Hits Hollywood

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Even the highest rollers in Hollywood don’t always want to own and maintain their own jets. But they still need to get where they want to go when they want to go there.

Enter Blue Star Jets, with the motto, "Any Jet. Any Time. Any Place."

"When called upon, Blue Star agents work the phones to find available jets at the best prices — all the while boasting a four-hour response time. Blue Star members pay for flight time in advance using a debit-card setup, and infrequent travelers may pay per excursion," says The Hollywood Reporter in a recent report.

Aviation Videos: See It for Yourself

The pictorial history of aviation is wide and deep; mankind’s fascination with flying is matched by his need to photograph it.

The site Aviation Videos offers film clips from airshows to accidents, today’s flights to those of yesteryear. Bombers, helicopters, combat situations, adverse weather conditions — it’s all here. As the site says of its videos, "Some depict terrible accidents, while others are just plain cool."

If you’re not in the air yourself, you might enjoy spending some time on this fascinating site.  

Cessna Mustang Fully Certified

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It’s a new day for private jet owners!

A press release from Cessna Aircraft Company reported the Federal Aviation Administration has granted type certification (TC) to Cessna’s Citation Mustang, making it the world’s first fully certified, new-generation entry level business jet.

FAA type certification for the Mustang includes single-pilot operation, day/night operations, visual and instrument flight rules (VFR/IFR), and operations in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace.

The fully functional Garmin G1000 equipped Citation Mustang includes an integrated, dual-channel fail passive digital autopilot, and is the first aircraft with an integrated flight deck that is certified to take advantage of WAAS navigation features including WAAS LPV approaches that provide both lateral and vertical guidance. The Garmin G1000 avionics suite also includes a new feature called SafeTaxi(TM) that gives a graphical representation of the aircraft on the ground in the airport environment.

Cessna hopes the new certification will bring the benefits of jet ownership to more people than ever before.