Design Defect! Call in the product liability lawyers!
The SeaWind amphibian had been flying since 1997 and had logged
about 40 hours when the pilot encountered a rather unique problem.
The canopy on the aircraft acts as a large magnifying glass,
and when open, the canopy focuses the sun's rays on the backs
of the rear seats. The other day, the pilot was inspecting some
damage to the left rear seat. "When we looked over at the
right seat, smoke was curling up from a hole burned deep into
the back of the right rear seat. The whole process took less
than a minute."
SF.600 Canguro twin turboprop utility aircraft was built in small
numbers of SIAI-Marchetti and has now been relaunced by VulcanAir,
which has set up a production line in the former Partenavia works
at Naples. One VulcanAir-built Canguro is already flying, with
another due to be completed by summer. The company has plans
for a stretched PT6A-powered development.
We're all taught to fear wake turbulence from big
heavy airliners, but imagine the surprise of the English pilot
taking off in a Robin just after an Antonov An-2, the huge, slow
Russian biplane. However, as the Robin was climbing, it suddenly
rolled to the left through about 80 degrees for no obvious reasons.
The pilot fought to get the plane back under control, but the
nose dropped steeply and the airplane spiralled in and crashed.
Damage was extensive but both pilots survived with whiplash injuries
and minor cuts. Although the An-2 is technically a 'light' aircraft,
at full gross it is seven times the weight of the Robin, and
has about twice the wing span.
Hot Section Overhaul. JOHANNESBURG, May 31 (Reuters) Business
class passengers on a South African Airways flight were treated
to a brazen demonstration last week when a couple made love in
full view of fellow travelers, a South African newspaper said
on Sunday. "It was the most callous display of lust I have
ever seen," a mother, accompanied on the flight by her husband
and two young sons, told the Sunday Times newspaper.
SAA corporate relations manager Leon Els said the couple,
a white male in his 40s and an Indian female companion, would
not be charged over the incident which occurred during a scheduled
flight from Johannesburg to London. Their names were not disclosed.
"Ours is not the first airline to have this sort of thing
happen, and it won't be the last," he told the newspaper.
Embarrassed cabin crew appeared unsure how to handle the situation.
The couple halted their love-making only when the captain was
called and bellowed at them that the airplane was not "a
shag house" -- by which time most of the damage was done.
"I could understand it if they covered themselves with
a blanket, but no -- it was wham, bam, right there in the seat
-- in the missionary position," the woman's husband told
Grafitti inside a fiberglass porta-poty at Oshkosh:
"I could have been a Glasair!"
| Media watch.
The Falco is featured in the October 1998 issue of CustomPlanes magazine, and the article focuses on Bob Brantley of Santa Barbara,
California who is building a Falco and John Shipler of Huntington
Beach, California who finished his Falco some years ago. And
the cover of Pilot Getaways premiere issue depicts the
runway at Telluride and the flagship of the Bach Corporation,
Falco N241TE. In the Falco are pilot and chocolatier Eric Wierman
and passenger Caryn Puma.
Above average. Kim Mitchell recently passed his
final inspection. The FAA inspector said it was the nicest homebuilt
he had seen in 40 years.
|Two Virginia universities
took top honors in the 1998 design competition sponsored by NASA.
The awards were announced at Oshkosh, and top honors went to
the Virginia Tech team for their 'VicTor' single-engine four
seater. A team from the University of Virginia were honored for
developing a computer program that predicts resistance to airflow
in the design of a small passenger airplane. In their design,
they based the progrm on the Falco, which they developed into
a three-dimensional model to study the flow of air about the
airplane. The UVa team was lead by James McDaniel, professor
of mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Engine clones a-coming. With Superior and others
manufacturing parts to overhaul Lycoming and Continental engine,
it has only been a matter of time before the aftermarket companies
made the few remaining components and sold an entire engine.
It's finally happened and Superior has announced the the XP 360-1,
a Lycoming O-360 kit for experimental airplanes that you will
be able to buy both assembled or in a build-it-yourself model.
The engine is still under development, and they plan to offer
refinements of the engine design. Initially, the engine will
be available in a carbureted version only, but they plane to
offer an an IO-360, a TIO-360, and eventually the 540 series
as well. It's far too early to form any assessment of this engine,
but it will be worth watching.
now. In Milan, we asked Stelio Frati if he would come to the
45th and 50th birthday parties for the Falco at Oshkosh. He's
making no commitments yet on the 50th since he wants to see how
his health holds up, but he said he'll come to the 45th birthday
party at Oshkosh 2000.
Blue Skies. In life, Bill Knight was colorful,
if anything. He was an actor (in Oliver Stone's Wall Street and Born on the Fourth of July), writer, wannabe Falco
builder, SF.260 owner ("Marchetti Madness" March 1994
Falco Builders Letter) and eccentric in general. We're sorry
to report that Bill died late last year in an RV-6, in Maryland
on his way back from Florida.
But by virtue that he had a bottle of Viagra in
the plane, the NTSB is considering this as a possible cause of
the accident-some theory that perhaps it made him see blue-and
it's been all of the aviation press as a result. Nobody wants
to die, in an airplane or in bed, but if you gotta go, you might
as well go out colorful, and with all this nonsense about Viagra,
well, Bill would have loved it, if only for the humor.
|And speaking of
Viagra and the bedroom-related infirmities of age, a jovial Falco
builder from Texas with a 180 hp Falco (who asks for anonymity)
said "it's like trying to put an oyster in a parking meter."
Here today, disbonded tomorrow. When polyurthane
glues first appeared, they sounded too good to be true, and indeed
they are, and they have not proved to have long-term durability.
Indeed, Ben Owen at the EAA reports that the researchers at the
Forest Products Laboratories call the glues 'honeymoon glues'
because they're true to you for a while.