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By Thomas Turner

Your choice of instructor determines the time it takes to meet your goal -- therefore, how much money it’ll cost -- how safe you’ll really be on completion, and whether you’ll ever earn that certificate or rating at all.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

One has to wonder why there were only four Chiltons completed before the airplane was put out of production.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The 2003 destruction of Meigs Field on Chicago’s lakefront ranks as one of the most infamous acts of former mayor Richard M. Daley. But last week the current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, called Daley’s actions “the right thing to do,” now that the area is being converted into a park and nature preserve. In the middle of the night in 2003, Daley ordered bulldozers to gouge giant X marks in Meigs’ only runway; aircraft parked that night had to get FAA waivers to take off from a parallel taxiway. The FAA eventually fined the city $33,000 and made it pay back $1 million in federal airport funds that were used to tear up the airport. But now the city is using a $2.8 million federal grant to turn the man-made 40-acre airport footprint into a nature preserve that can be used for hiking and camping.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/14529157-418/rahm-says-destroying-meigs-field-right-to-do-made-way-for-nature.html

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By Paul A. Craig

How could a student work with his instructor all the way to the Private Pilot checkride simply to be sent home by the Examiner?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

One of the most neglected pieces of equipment on most planes is the shimmy dampner.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

I got a real eye-opener from an airport operator the other day. After landing at Brandywine PA (N99), I watched a nice Piper Seneca come in for a landing. The pilot was too high on the approach, and had allowed too much of the 3000 foot long strip to pass by.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I changed the oil in the Beech Sierra on a hot, humid morning in July … and found it's a great way to enjoy personal aviation.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

I called out the Interactive Pilot readers a few weeks ago by asking them to get off the fence and into the Challenge -- you responded and overwhelmingly met the challenge.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A prototype Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed in Indonesia in May, killing all 45 people on board, because the flight crew ignored a series of low altitude alerts and commands from the cockpit’s terrain warning system. That was the finding this week of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, which investigated the crash. The board said the pilots had asked controllers to descend from about 10,000 feet to about 6,000 feet shortly before the crash, but Jakarta’s radar system was not equipped with a minimum safe altitude warning system in that part of Indonesia’s airspace. The first cockpit warning came 38 seconds before the crash, and was followed by six more warnings, which the crew disabled thinking that there was an error with the terrain database. The investigative board ran simulations that found that even if the crew had responded to the alerts as little as 14 seconds before the crash, the accident could have been avoided. The crash was seen as a major setback in the development of Russia’s first new jet in years. Even still, Indonesia’s aviation regulators certified the Sukhoi Superjet for flights in the country last month.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fedd1d0a-4924-11e2-b94d-00144feab49a.html#axzz2FRjWwZMn

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By Editor Staff

The newly redesigned Sovereign business jet gains range, a newer cockpit and distinctive winglets, among other improvements announced at NBAA this week. The midsize jet, which could already fly some transcontinental legs, now has a 3,000-mile range, thanks in part to new Pratt & Whitney engines and winglets that reduce drag. The aerodynamic improvements mean the new Sovereign will also be able to use shorter runways. The cockpit features the Garmin G5000, a souped-up touchscreen glass avionics suite similar to what’s available in Cessna’s piston aircraft. And in a separate announcement, Cessna said it was restarting production of its high-end turbocharged Corvallis TTX single-engine piston plane. Cessna bought the Corvallis line from bankrupt Columbia Aircraft several years ago, moving much of the aircraft’s production from Oregon to Mexico. But the recession took a particularly heavy toll on the high-end piston market, and Cessna had stopped making new Corvallis planes as its dealers struggled to sell the planes. The new TTX, which was announced at Sun ‘n Fun in April, will cost about $750,000 and will cruise at up to 235 knots.

http://www.cessna.com/NewReleases/New/NewReleaseNum-1192567935928.html

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By Editor Staff

As part of a growing joint venture, a Chinese company will assemble Caravan turboprops for Cessna’s Chinese customers. The China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. will do all final assembly on the China-bound Caravans, though Cessna will continue to manufacture many of the plane’s parts in Wichita. CAIGA and Cessna previously agreed to make the company’s Citation XLS+ line of business jets in China for customers there. CAIGA has been rapidly expanding its aviation portfolio, including the $210 million purchase of Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft last year.

http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-11-28&val=760268&cat=industrial

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By Editor Staff

Responding to concerns that avgas is growing more expensive and harder to find in some parts of the world, Cessna used AirVenture to unveil a Jet A-powered version of its Skylane. The turbocharged diesel Skylane uses a 230-horsepower Safran engine that burns 11 gallons per hour in cruise flight. Not only is Jet A often more than a dollar less per gallon than avgas, but the diesel Skylane will burn 30 to 40 percent less fuel than the conventional Skylane. The new diesel Skylane will start deliveries sometime after March 2013, at which time it will replace the avgas-powered Skylane. It is priced at $515,000, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. The new Skylane is the first single-engine piston plane to be available with a diesel engine, Cessna said, though similar engines have been available on small twins like the Diamond TwinStar for several years. Cessna said the new Skylane will cruise at 155 knots and have a range of more than 1,000 miles.

http://www.cessna.com/NewReleases/New/NewReleaseNum-1192459154195.html

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By Editor Staff

Responding to concerns that avgas is growing more expensive and harder to find in some parts of the world, Cessna used this week’s AirVenture to unveil a Jet A-powered version of its Skylane. The turbocharged diesel Skylane uses a 230-horsepower Safran engine that burns 11 gallons per hour in cruise flight. Not only is Jet A often more than a dollar less per gallon than avgas, but the diesel Skylane will burn 30 to 40 percent less fuel than the conventional Skylane. The new diesel Skylane will start deliveries sometime after March 2013, at which time it will replace the avgas-powered Skylane. It is priced at $515,000, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. The new Skylane is the first single-engine piston plane to be available with a diesel engine, Cessna said, though similar engines have been available on small twins like the Diamond TwinStar for several years. Cessna said the new Skylane will cruise at 155 knots and have a range of more than 1,000 miles.

http://www.cessna.com/NewReleases/New/NewReleaseNum-1192459154195.html

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By Editor Staff

Despite earlier indicators this year that buyers where picking up new business jets in greater numbers, Cessna said this week that its business jet sales in the third quarter of the year, from July through September, was lower than in the same period in 2011. The company delivered just 41 new jets, compared with 47 last summer. That’s also two fewer than the 49 jets the company delivered in the spring quarter of this year. And more customers canceled orders that had been on the books. Despite the disappointing numbers, Cessna’s parent company Textron reported quarterly profits of $151 million, an improvement over the same quarter last year. But even with lower numbers of business jet deliveries, Cessna’s order backlog shrunk, since more orders were cancelled and the company gained fewer new orders. Generally a bigger order backlog is seen as a good thing for aircraft manufacturers. While orders for small and midsize jets have been down since the recession, larger jets made by companies like Bombardier and Gulfstream have been selling well.

http://buswk.co/RZ2GYZ

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By Editor Staff

Cessna is appealing an arbitration panel’s finding that the company owes a Canadian parts supplier $27.4 million for breaching its contract and making some of the parts itself.  Between 2001 and 2011, Avcorp made more than 4,600 wing spar and empennage assemblies for Cessna’s Sovereign and CJ3 business jets, among other parts. But the company  averaged about two problems per subassembly and was late in delivering parts two-thirds of the time, Cessna said in a filing. So it switched to other parts suppliers and started making some of the parts itself. In 2011, Avcorp went after Cessna, saying that the companies had a “sole-source” agreement that Cessna breached. The arbitration panel last month found that the contract was unclear on that point and sided with Avcorp. Cessna said that Kansas public policy doesn’t leave room for an implied “sole-source” relationship in contracts; that language must be explicitly spelled out in contracts.

http://www.kansas.com/2012/12/10/2598829/cessna-challenges-arbitration.html

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By Editor Staff

Like many homebuilders, Neal Willford spent a decade working on his kit plane before taking it for its first flight recently. But Willford's Thorp T-211 Sky Scooter kit had parts dating from the 1960s, making it something of an aviation time capsule. The T-211 first flew in 1945 and its designer had a hand in making the Piper Cherokee. While there is now a modern LSA version of the Sky Scooter, the original never caught on. The kit pioneered the use of matched hole parts, meaning builders wouldn't have to set up jigs and drill hundreds of holes for rivets. Willford, an engineer at Cessna, helped develop the new SkyCatcher by day as he worked on the T-211 in his free time. Willford built his with a Continental engine from a Cessna 150, giving it enough power to cruise at about 100 knots.

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By Editor Staff

A new company that wants to make renting aircraft as easy as renting a car got a big endorsement recently when Cessna signed on with its Cessna Pilot Center training program. The partnership means that once OpenAirplane gets off the ground, pilots should be able to conduct a single Cessna Pilot Center checkout regimen, and then be qualified to rent Cessnas from any number of FBOs and flight schools nationwide. Details of the partnership haven’t been announced yet, such as whether pilots would have to do separate checkouts to fly Skyhawks with steam gauges and glass cockpits. In theory, once an OpenAirplane member completes a checkout in a particular make and model of aircraft, then he or she would only have to do an online course on local procedures for a particular flight school. Pilots would still have to do another checkout for each aircraft model; OpenAirplane would then keep track of each pilot’s credentials and checkouts for FBOs to verify. That could save pilots hundreds of dollars in required ground training sessions and trips around the pattern for each FBO from which they wanted to rent a plane.

http://www.pitchengine.com/OpenAirplane/openairplane-to-connect-cessna-pilot-centers

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By Jeff Pardo

The soul of aviation probably has no greater Mecca than the dunes of Kill Devil Hills, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Above these once shifting and untamed sands, now resting beneath 425 manicured acres of grass, stands a hallowed shaft of granite, over ninety feet high and crowning one central dune, also stabilized under a carpet of green. The striking memorial, a 60-foot high triangular pylon ornamented with outspread wings in bas-relief, stands like some colossal gnomon, presiding over both its own circular hill and the open spaces beyond. These grounds embrace the Wright Brothers' first four successful powered flights, as well as most of their earlier glider experiments. Since it was established by Congress in 1927 to commemorate their achievement, generations have flocked to the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Now, it was my turn.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Cell phones are handy, but there are potential 'gotchas' when using a cell phone to talk to Flight Service or Air Traffic Control that you should be aware of.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Few pilots consider how handy their Cell phone can be when it comes to their flying.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

If I told you that I think I’ve found the cure for the common cold, would you listen? (Despite my having no medical credentials whatsoever and the fact this isn’t exactly the New England Journal of Medicine, you might indeed continue to read this, but you would do so with a large helping of salt and a jaundiced eye, I’m sure.) Well, it so happens that I can offer you something of possibly equal value in the aeronautical arena. What if I told you that I can present you with potential immunity from distraction? (you know, that veritable petard upon which we can so easily become publicly hoisted?) Well, let me bend your ear a little.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

The "categorical outlook" is a very general description of ceiling and visibility conditions contained in the Area Forecast. How can we use this extremely broad description to make a good go / no-go decision?  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Current fire warning systems installed in cargo aircraft don’t give pilots enough time to react to prevent a serious accident, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a new set of recommendations this week. The board wants sensors inside cargo containers that would more quickly detect a fire than existing sensors inside a plane’s cargo hold. Cargo containers should be fire resistant, and planes should have fire suppression equipment in their cargo holds as well, according to the recommendations. The NTSB reviewed three serious accidents resulting from fires that started inside of cargo containers since 2006, including two that happened after a 2007 FAA report found requiring carriers to install fire suppression equipment would be too costly. Current regulations mandate that fire sensors in the aircraft detect a fire within one minute of ignition, but the NTSB found in reality, those sensors can take from 2 to 18 minutes to notify pilots of a fire onboard.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/28/us/cargo-plane-fires/

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By Thomas Turner

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a natural by-product of combustion, it is poisonous and, as long as your engine is running, it is present near your cockpit.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Using the magnetic compass as the basis for in-flight direction comes with some built-in problems that have caused pilots to get off course and even lost.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Getting aligned with a runway in visual conditions is no big deal; it's intuitively obvious when your flight path is on the extended centerline of the runway, but vertical alignment along the proper slope is a different story and more complicated than you might imagine.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

At least two people died when a National Guard C-130 crashed in South Dakota on Sunday, prompting officials to ground several other C-130s being used to fight wildfires. The most recent crash occurred about 80 miles southwest of Rapid City in very rugged terrain, but there was no immediate indication of what went wrong. There were six people aboard the plane, which was equipped with a 3,000-gallon belly tank for dropping water and fire retardant. The crash is the latest this season that has limited the number of aerial tankers available for fighting fires. Several more that President Obama called into service won’t be ready for deployment until mid-August. Until then, with the seven remaining military C-130s grounded, there are only 14 aerial tankers available nationwide for forest fires. Several Lockheed P-2Vs remain grounded following a fatal crash last month.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fatal-crash-of-air-force-plane-grounds-key-part-of-firefighting-fleet-amid-shortage-of-planes/2012/07/02/gJQAQKGXJW_story.html

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By Chad Austin

How many times have you heard this story -- a plane comes out of major maintenance and things don’t work quite right.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

For many pilots, GPS somehow translates to fat, dumb and happy— and maybe in hot water!  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

It’s too sweet a deal -- your friend says you can fly his/her airplane, but before you jump in and fly away, you need to remember that borrowing someone else’s airplane is all about responsibility and trust... and rules.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

You're a fortunate pilot: you own your own airplane, but don't kid yourself, eventually someone is going to ask if they can fly it.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

In recent months, there have been numerous cases of the control wheels breaking off of the control column, causing an in-flight emergency for the pilot of the plane -- so, no, this is not a culinary article.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Brochet “Pipistrelle” was designed by Maurice Brochet before the War, but, as France was no place to be building sport planes during the Occupation, the design was not well known until the late 1940’s.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A British aviation buff who found as many as 60 World War II Spitfire fighter planes in Myanmar earlier this year could start excavating them later this month. David Cundall signed a deal with Myanmar’s government, capping a 16-year personal search for the planes, which he believed had been left behind by Britain’s RAF in 1945. Indeed, the planes appeared to have been greased and wrapped before being crated and buried at the end of a former RAF airfield runway. The planes may been in decent condition, and there is a possibility that some could eventually be restored to airworthiness. While the Spitfire was a lynchpin of Britain’s air force during World War II, with about 20,000 produced, only about 35 are still flying around the world today. The single-engine plane was powered by an engine producing as much as 2,000 horsepower in later models and could cruise at more than 450 mph.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/9615146/British-plane-enthusiast-wins-right-to-dig-up-buried-Spitfires-in-Burma.html

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By Editor Staff

The pilots of a Russian An-28 turboprop that crashed last month both had alcohol in their blood, investigators said. But it is unclear whether their apparent intoxication was a factor in the crash, which killed 10 people when the plane went down in a forest about five miles from its destination, a small airport in the far eastern part of the country. Investigators said one pilot had a “low level” of intoxication, while the other had a “medium level,” but did not provide estimated blood alcohol content numbers or other figures. And it’s not clear exactly why the plane went down, or whether mechanical issues or weather could have played a role. But investigators said neither pilot should have been allowed to board the plane and depart with their levels of intoxication. In recent years, several crashes in Russia have been blamed on drunken pilots, including the July 2011 crash of a Russian jet that killed 47 people.

http://rt.com/news/pilots-drunk-plane-russia-499/

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By Editor Staff

A mockup of the new $20 million Learjet 85 drew about 100 prospective buyers at a stop in Chicago last week, one of several such events across the nation to drum up interest in the plane, which is slated to start deliveries next year. The business jet is larger inside with a greater range than previous Learjet models and can carry four passengers and crew on a transcontinental flight, or up to eight people on shorter trips. The Learjet 85 uses carbon fiber composites for large parts of its fuselage and wing structures, a first for a business jet. Flight testing is slated to start soon, with certification and deliveries in the second half of 2013. Bigger overall than the current-model Learjet 65, the new Learjet 85 is meant to fill a niche in mid-size business jets between the other Learjet models and the larger Challenger 300, all of which are made by Bombardier. The jet features a glass cockpit that uses iPads to display charts and approach plates, while passengers will have wireless internet access and on-demand entertainment options.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/ct-met-getting-around-0924-20120924,0,6666143.column

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By Editor Staff

The new C-Series large regional jet won’t fly until the middle of the next year as delays mount with Bombardier’s parts suppliers. The news has some investors worried that the company is struggling to line up orders for the jet, which would seat up to 150 people and compete with the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. While Boeing and Airbus have swelling order books for their respective single-aisle jets, the C-Series has less than 150 total orders for the plane’s two variants, and orders for only five of the planes have been placed this year. The delays mean the plane likely won’t start deliveries until mid-2014. And that means Bombardier will have to use even more of its cash on hand to keep funding the $3.4 billion C-Series program, not to mention the separate costs of developing the company’s new LearJet 85.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/uk-bombardier-results-idUSLNE8A700T20121108

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By Editor Staff

Boeing is getting closer to making an official decision on building a stretch version of the Dreamliner, which would be known as the 787-10. The company is reportedly in talks with British Airways and Singapore Airlines about buying the plane. The 787-10 would seat about 75 more passengers than the 787-8, which is the only model currently in production. While the 787-8 has a range of over 9,000 miles and the forthcoming 787-9 will be able to fly nearly 10,000 miles, the prospective 787-10’s range would be significantly shorter, at about 7,000 miles. But that’s actually a good thing for airlines looking to cut operating costs on popular international routes being flown by more fuel-hungry Boeing 767s and even newer Airbus A330s today. The 787-10’s range would still be enough for it to fly across the Atlantic, or from Europe to Asia and the Middle East, among other routes that don’t need aircraft capable of flying ultra-long-range segments.

http://seattletimes.com/html/boeingaerospace/2019631619_boeing78710xml.html

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By Reader Submission

The basic design of the later KC-97 started out as a transport version of the B-29 Superfortress.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

From student pilots on up, we only see them from a distance now and then, but at the same time we all know what a bird strike can mean... or do we?  Continue»

By Reader Submission

Built in New York State by the Brunner-Winkle Aircraft Corporation, the Bird biplane began as another of those designs originally powered by a war surplus Curtiss OX-5 engine (scrapped from a Curtiss Jenny).  Continue»

By Chad Austin

When I heard about this story, I nearly fell out of my chair. A pilot and his passengers, with a flight plan on file but according to the NTSB's preliminary report not activated, had to wait an hour before he was cleared into the Washington area ADIZ. By the time ATC cleared him in, the aircraft ran out of gas and the aircraft landed deadstick in a field and collided with trees...  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The every-other-year Farnborough Air Show in England kicked off Monday with two companies announcing big new orders, and other announcements likely to come later in the week. Boeing, in its ongoing battle with Airbus over the narrow-body jet market, booked orders for 75 of its 737 MAX aircraft from Air Lease Corp., which leases its planes to airlines. At catalog values, that makes the order worth about $7.2 billion, though with discounts the purchase price usually ends up being about half that much. The 737 MAX, which is slated to start deliveries in 2017, features engines that are more efficient and winglets that will improve performance. In a separate announcement, Sikorsky said it secured a deal for hundreds of new helicopters for the U.S. military. The contract, which is worth at least $8.5 billion and covers four different helicopter models, will provide the military with more that 650 new Black Hawk and Sea Hawk variants. There’s an option for 250 more helicopters, which would add another $3 billion to the value of the contract if they’re all purchased. The contract is just the latest between Sikorsky and the military, which has been buying the company’s helicopters for more than 30 years.

http://www.nwcn.com/news/business/Boeing-opens-Farnborough-Air-Show-with-72-billion-order-161780185.html

http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/09/unitedtechnologies-idINL3E8I94JR20120709

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By Paul A. Craig

A pilot certificate (except for the student and flight instructor certificate) is issued without an expiration date, but there are things you must do -- and many more that you should do -- to maintain the privileges provided by that certificate.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

We all know the real reason for filing a VFR flight plan (to speed up a rescue should we not arrive at our destination), but there are places where even the flight plan is not fast enough…  Continue»

By Chad Austin

When the engine stops, some numbers are more important than others -- but so are some actions. As pilots, we don’t talk through this problem nearly enough...  Continue»

By Chad Austin

THUNK! As you rotate and lift off, you hear a healthy noise from the top of the plane, followed by a rattle.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

 

The wait is almost over for Bendix King’s iPad flight planning and GPS navigator app. The myWingMan lets pilots customize the screen by dragging  and resizing tabs and windows, with either two or three panels visible at a time. Each panel can include things like simulated instruments, sectional maps or airport directory information. And with a separate solid-state attitude instrument connected to the iPad, myWingMan will be able to display forward-looking synthetic vision with terrain, airports, landmarks and aircraft attitude all at once. The app, which is slated to go on sale later this year, will cost $100 for the VFR version or $150 for the IFR version, plus the cost of chart updates and optional satellite weather downloads. The myWingMan app joins a crowded field of iPad navigator apps including ForeFlight, WingX and Garmin Pilot.

http://www.bendixking.com/ProductDetail?ProdID=a01d0000004bW2GAAU

 

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By Editor Staff

The wait is almost over for Bendix King’s iPad flight planning and GPS navigator app. The myWingMan lets pilots customize the screen by dragging  and resizing tabs and windows, with either two or three panels visible at a time. Each panel can include things like simulated instruments, sectional maps or airport directory information. And with a separate solid-state attitude instrument connected to the iPad, myWingMan will be able to display forward-looking synthetic vision with terrain, airports, landmarks and aircraft attitude all at once. The app, which is slated to go on sale later this year, will cost $100 for the VFR version or $150 for the IFR version, plus the cost of chart updates and optional satellite weather downloads. The myWingMan app joins a crowded field of iPad navigator apps including ForeFlight, WingX and Garmin Pilot.

http://www.bendixking.com/ProductDetail?ProdID=a01d0000004bW2GAAU

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By Reader Submission

A step out of the norm for the Bellanca Aircraft Corporation, the Cruisair Junior was a small fully-cantilevered low-wing design, built by a company that was known for its large strut-braced high-wing airplanes.  Continue»

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