AOPA Live This Week - August 5, 2021
Coming up, AirVenture is a huge success. We have the numbers. Plus take a loop with the Phillips 66 Aerostars and experience what it's like to fly to Oshkosh for the first time. AOPA Live This Week begins in just a moment.
(upbeat music) This is AOPA Live This Week with Alyssa Cobb and Paul Harrop, filling in for Tom Haines. We're back. We are finally back, and this is going to be the beginning of next resurgent of what we're going to see. I think as far as AirVenture goes in the years to come. Yes, AirVenture is back.
The Oshkosh show is among the biggest in history that after a year off and few international visitors this year, all due to COVID-19. Folks were clearly happy to be back at Oshkosh. And the numbers reflect that more than 10,000 aircraft flew to Whitman Regional Airport and other airports around Oshkosh. That includes more than 3000 show planes, including vintage aircraft and warbirds.
The campgrounds were packed to capacity, EAA says more than 12,000 camping sites, folks sleeping under their wings and others driving in, and they recorded some 608,000 visitor days. Not quite a record, but just 5% off the 2019 record attendance. Well, I'll tell you what, it just feels good to see all the people that we've seen over the years and celebrating aviation and it's booming.
I mean, I think almost everybody that's been here this week has seen activity, like never before, in terms of people buying things, fixing things, learning things. It's, you know, the other night I made the comment that there's really been a growth in GA during this pandemic that most people aren't even aware of. And that's very, very encouraging for the future. I think it is. I think it bodes well that the 2022 is going to be a big year. What do you think? It's gonna be.
I think we're, we're back in, in a, in a trajectory we haven't seen before. And we'll have more of that chat between Mark and Jack later in the show. But despite all of the good feelings and optimism flying around Oshkosh, there was a four letter word that was not only raining on the parade, but also raising fears of future thunderstorms, that word LODA. This is a documentation exercise. No doubt.
The bottom line, when you cut through everything, is that we've got a rule on this topic that does not say what we want it to say. And, and we had guidance out there for the agency, for our inspectors in particular, that was incorrect. And you know, that's really the, the nut, you know, the nut of the issue, the sum total. Yup. You heard him correctly. The FAA administrator called a LODA, a Letter Of Deviation Authority, a paper exercise.
It's unnecessary paper shuffling that doesn't do anything for safety. AOPA and EAA have argued that it might very well hurt safety because it discourages people from getting needed training in experimental, limited, and primary category aircraft. Dixon says the agency is starting rulemaking to fix the problem, but that might take up to two years to complete.
In the meantime, he says, you don't need to worry about a LODA ramp check. You know, I've heard some rumors about, you know, ramp inspections and things like that. And is my, my check ride that I took last week valid, I just went to allay your concerns, all that we're hearing those kinds of concerns. Our inspectors are not going to be out there conducting active surveillance on this.
We're not out there looking for issues. Now, if someone brings something to us or raises a concern that an individual is operating outside the bounds of the spirit of the rule or something falls into our lap, you know, we'll look into it and follow up accordingly, but that's it. Well, let's just say that confidence is low, that the FAA will get to the right result with rulemaking. And that process would definitely take too long. Some folks in Congress are as fed up as we are.
So this is just more bureaucratic takeover is what it is. They're just trying to control everything about aviation. I think they were looking for an excuse and they found one in this, in this flight instruction and gray area that they always, you know, we're looking, you know, they, they just, it was never a problem before now they've found it.
And so they found a way to get at us. So they're using us, they're taking advantage of it. Congressman Graves and Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma have introduced bills to fix the LODA problem. The proposed law would make it clear that flight instruction is education, not operating an aircraft for compensation or higher.
Well, there's nothing quite like flying into Oshkosh especially for your first time. AOPA senior director of communications, Eric Blenderman is a newly minted, private pilot of whom we're all very proud. And he shares the story about what his experience was like. (guitar strumming music) I am a relatively new private pilot having earned my certificate in May, and was thrown right into the fire by flying to Oshkosh a couple of months later, it was a great experience.
It's basically everything that I trained for. Really led to this flight. And I've often heard if you can fly VFR private into Oshkosh, you could basically go anywhere. So now I'm looking to go anywhere.
The most challenging part of it was flying into totally unfamiliar territory, new air spaces, new cities, new airports. You kind of have to stretch the knowledge a little bit from flying around the neighborhood of Frederick into neighboring states, different time zones, different regions. So there's a, there was a lot to absorb and a lot of decisions made in real time.
And I do have to say that I've heard the saying often that a good pilot is always learning. I learned an awful lot on this trip, and I am grateful to captain Dave Tullis, who was my co-pilot and mentor on this flight. As we were landing into the airport, seeing thousands of other aircraft already there. What I really loved was, the people who are already there kind of lining the taxiway with their lawn chairs, waving to the newly arrived planes taxiing. For me, that was the moment that I realized that I was part of a community.
It's, it's been my dream to, to fly, to fly to fun new places. And now that I have Oshkosh under my belt, I really do have the world to where I want to go. That is great. Well, the flight in is just the beginning of all there is to experience at Oshkosh.
The afternoon air show drew thousands out to the flight line and for the pilots of the Phillips 66 Aerostars demonstration team, Oshkosh was only their second show since the COVID layoff. Their first performance was at sun and fun in April. Now during their long layoff, they worked hard to stay sharp and to add something new to the routine. We, Harv and I, really pushed ourselves to bring a new figure, we took it as an opportunity to increase our, our show presence and complexity. So we've put in a formation outside figure, which currently nobody in North America I think is doing it. Wow.
It really forced us to get in the air and fly all the way up through November in Northern Illinois last year we were, we were in and then we were back at it. As soon as the spring broke. I mean, we were out practicing in the spring, you know, sometimes 20 degree Fahrenheit and an Extra with no heat. The Aerostars will be flying their Extras, later this month at the Decatur, Illinois, 75th anniversary air show. And the Aerostars are working to promote flight training opportunities for women as well.
As part of that, corporate jet pilot, Kim Kissh, I hart flying foundation, founder, Rachelle Spector, and student pilot, Lyndse Costabile took a formation aerobatic flight over Wisconsin with the Aerostars. We were able to go up, get ready, set up for the maneuver, handed the flight controls back to the pilots, and that's when we start our descent and went into this enormous loop, came back around, did another, broke to the right, and then into a barrel roll. It was just probably two minutes of pure adrenaline. I think I had tears in my eyes from happiness.
The women flew with the team to announce the new flight training scholarships. They're through a partnership between the Aerostars and the I hart flying foundation. I hart flying foundation provides opportunities and scholarships specifically to women who are underrepresented in the industry. And this provides an opportunity to introduce and excel those aviators in the industry. We can find out more about the scholarship on the I hart flying website.
Another claimed EVTOL first for AirVenture at Oshkosh. Last week, we told you that Volocopter claimed to be the first public crewed electric vertical takeoff and landing in the US. Well, Opener claimed it flew the first public human operated EVTOL fixed wing aircraft demonstration. See how finely they split those hairs. They're really different machines for different functions.
Volocopters going after the advanced air mobility market with a commercial air taxi and Opener's black fly is a single seat recreational vehicle in the ultra light class. So you won't need an airman certificate to fly it. And the FAA won't certify it. But when it comes to extreme vertical takeoff and landing machines, Bell has a new concept for the US military.
They just released this image for a machine they say will cruise it more than 400 knots. So they're calling it, of course, the HS VTOL Like we need another acronym, that stands for high-speed vertical takeoff and landing. Bell is proposing a variety of sizes and gross weights ranging from 4,000 pounds to 100,000 pounds. That would make the Osprey look pretty stodgy. Well, five new sport pilots and a new CFI received their wings at AirVenture in Oshkosh. The annual ceremony recognizes graduates of the nonprofit able flights annual scholarship program, which provides people with disabilities opportunities in aviation.
Now they train at Purdue University in specially equipped SkyArrow, light sport aircraft. Steve Curry used his Able Flight scholarship to become a CFI. He lost part of his leg in Iraq, but here in his private and commercial certificates, instrument, and multi-engine ratings.
I've always been fascinated by aviation airplanes, anything that could fly, but always thought that that was something that, you know, only certain people were allowed to do. You know, you had to be cut from some kind of special cloth to be a pilot. And you know, the past couple of years, I've kind of figured out that really any it's accessible to anybody. You know, you just got to figure out how you're going to do it and set your mind to it and you know, you could do it.
Well Steve is going to work as a full-time CFI. What an inspirational story. Oh, absolutely.
And Able Flight produces all those wonderful pilots with great stories. It is really, if you've never been at Oshkosh to the Able Flight wings pinning ceremony, make a point to get there next year. It'll just be the highlight of your week. It truly will. Well, she calls it thinking outside the shoe.
Jessica Cox is the first person with no arms to become a pilot and thinking outside the shoe is how she figured out how to do so many things related to flying. She flies an Ercoupe with her feet. The Ercoupe was well-suited for her because of its lack of rudder pedals. The rudder and ailerons are interconnected.
But Jessica told the audience in the AOPA program pavilion at AirVenture that she's taking on a new challenge, she's going to build an airplane. So the custom control airplane will be an RV 10. Built to be flown with feet.
And we are starting this project literally in a year's time hopefully. The, there is a back order on some of the kit airplanes. So it will take a year before we get the first kit.
And then we will start to build this with this different custom controls that will be used for, for me in the left PIC seat, and the right seat will have the same controls for anyone else to fly. So the goal will be to build this plane from scratch, with all these different prototypes and we encourage anyone who has ideas about how we can do this, to share with us what it is that you think is going to make this possible, because we are starting from basically just ideas and making it possible to retrofit an airplane, to be flown with feet. Well, she'll face an additional challenge. She flies the Ercoupe in the light sport category, so she doesn't need a medical. But for the RV, she will need a private pilot certificate and a medical certificate.
AOPA's medical department will help her work through that process and get a statement of demonstrated ability. Just a few miles from the main event at Whitman Regional Airport, the seaplane base offers pilots a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the big show, dozens of seaplanes land in lake Winnebago in taxi to the base and volunteers drive small Jon boats to move airplanes around and bring pilots out to their airplanes. We caught up with one volunteer. Who's been pulling seaplanes around at Oshkosh for 10 years.
You don't get to pull a plane around on the water anywhere else. So it's a, it's a unique experience. I like being on the water like being near the planes.
I'm not a pilot myself but I don't know, it's just fun. Just meet a lot of cool people and see a lot of planes. It's awesome.
Tom comes to seaplane base every year with his family. And if you've never visited the seaplane base at Oshkosh, it is well worth the trip. Well coming up after the break, an award-winning biplane. And a new kit built jet and celebrating 100 years of agricultural aviation. The future of USB charging power has arrived.
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Welcome back. A worthy honor for one of our own, Carlo Cilliers was honored with a bronze Lindy at Oshkosh for exceptional craftsmanship of a built airplane. Carlo is an AOPA pilot information specialist. The Lindy awards are named after Charles Lindbergh. They acknowledged the tireless effort that goes into creating an exceptional amateur built airplane. He spent years building the Hatz biplane, and it is truly beautiful.
I was fortunate enough to see the early stages of the aircraft coming together. Now we'll have more about the project in a later episode. Congratulations, Carlo. We're so proud of you. Now this is one heck of a home built.
Making its AirVenture debut, the Stratos 716 X prototype. This is the experimental kit belt version of the upcoming certified Stratos 716 The company started out with a home bit kit to use the process to refine the aircraft. So once the button is pushed on certification, we've worked out most of the, any major potential problems. And in the experimental realm, it's cheaper and easier as a company to solve those problems. The company will offer 10 to 12 kits in 2022.
The $2.5 million kit will turn into a six passenger, a single engine jet that will cruise at 0.7 mach at 41,000 feet. They say you can build it in as little as nine months with some help from builder assist affiliate firms. Want to go halves on one? A small number of new aircraft saw their debut at Oshkosh this year. And interestingly many had a tandem seating arrangement.
One of those is the stream sport, an experimental aircraft it's powered by Rotax 912 ULS or a turbocharged Rotax STI, or And we now offer a turbo prop, a turbine, a PBS TP 100 for incredible performance. Even with the baby Rotax, the stream has pretty good performance, 145 knots cruise on less than five gallons per hour. Another nifty designed from the Czech Republic, the stream is an experimental. Well, the Cessna Denali is no more. The single engine retractable gear Turboprop is now the Beechcraft Denali. Just before AirVenture, Textron said it was realigning its turboprop lineup and positioning the Denali along with the Beechcraft King Air high-performance turboprop line.
Meanwhile GE said the catalyst engine that will power the Denali, should be certified next year. And we'll undoubtedly see the Beechcraft Denali next year at Oshkosh. And as we said before, this year show, was something special. Here's more of that conversation about AirVenture from the bosses, AOPA's Mark Baker and EAA's Jack Pelton. Well, Jack, here we go. Oshkosh 21.
It happened. (laughing) I mean, that's kind of the- I think the takeaway is that we actually had AirVenture 2021 and feels good and everybody's back and we can keep things at bay. 2022 will be even better. Well you and your team and the all volunteers that make this thing happen are just extraordinary. I've, and you and I agreed at this one time, we both been coming here since the seventies.
We didn't know each other back then, but it's been a so good to see people back and enjoying aviation and how many airplanes did you have on the ground at one time here? We had 18,000 operations by Wednesday. And so we're estimating, there's probably that 12,000 on the ground today. And it's, it's incredible. I, I always joke about the, we had the head of a FAA equivalent from Germany that was visiting one time and we said, excuse me, sir, we have more planes on the ground here than you have in your entire country. (laughing) And they're a pretty progressive place to be. Well, I'll tell you what, it just feels good to see all the people that we've seen over the years and celebrating aviation and it's booming.
I mean, I think almost everybody that's been here this week has seen activity like never before in terms of people buying things, fixing things, learning things. It's, you know, that the other night I made the comment that there's really been a growth in GA during this pandemic that most people aren't even aware of. And that's very, very encouraging for the future. I think it is. I think it bodes well that the 2022 is going to be a big year.
What do you think? It's going to be, I think we're, we're back in, in a, in a trajectory we haven't seen before. Good. Yeah you know, EAA and especially at AirVenture, we're trying to use this as a platform to showcase innovation because that's what's going to inspire young people to get involved.
When they look at the old traditional, vintage aviation, they're they're way beyond that they want to design and develop and be a part of the new things. That starts with things like the unmanned it goes to commercial space and we're going to continue to make sure that this is a place that they can, they can experience for the first time. I even think what they saw at the STOL competition as part of a lot of young people do because they see it as a critical category, a category that they can get into pretty easily.
And that's kind of the lifestyle piece that you and I enjoy from a recreation- I mean we both have flown neat necessary for our businesses professionally, but it's that recreational lifestyle. There's a whole side of that. That is really interesting.
I mean, you know, why go sit out on a pontoon boat in a lake, when you can go to the back country and- Fly. Fly. Exactly. Right. Good. Congratulations to you and your team.
And I love being here, I like spending time with you. I think we've have lunch every day this week. (laughing) But- I think we're the, the lost brothers that finally, finally met up at our association duties and it's been great. And boy, seeing the organizations working together on issues is really powerful. We don't have any space between us and the things that we celebrate in aviation and the things we can make happen in aviation of these associations.
And 200 others are hanging with us because of the leadership that you and I put together and say, this is important follow us. It is and so thank you. Thank you, pal. Be well. See you next year. Lot of exciting things happening at Oshkosh, it looks like. That's right and everyone's so happy to be back together.
And I got to say, I look forward to seeing everybody next year. Yeah I didn't get to go this year either. And I don't know about you, but my phone was just blowing up the whole time.
Everyone's like, hey, where are you? Do you want to go to SOS Brothers? Do you want to go grab a food or something? And I'm like, well, I'd love to, but come see me in Maryland. And I will see them all there next year, because really the community is the best part of Oshkosh. You go first time for the airplanes and then you come back for all your friends.
That's right. Well, if you've ever eaten food, worn clothes, or visited Florida, odds are your life has been made better by aerial application. From mosquito control, to textile production, to farming food.
Aircraft had been using the process nearly 30% of the time. And they've been at it for 100 years this week, that landmark was celebrated by the national agricultural aviation association. Call them aerial applicators, ag pilots, or yes, even crop dusters.
Just remember, the world would be a lot different without these skilled pilots using high-tech aircraft. They're just great people. And salt of the earth, that love what they do.
In producing food, fiber and biofuel for, for the world. And it all started a century ago with much more humble roots. This photo is of the actual first aerial application, August 3rd, 1921. Lieutenant John McCrady was the pilot.
He had a passenger by the name of ETN DOR Moy, who was literally the applicator. He had a crank applicator. He's putting out a lead arsenate, literally dust in those days. That's where we got the, the term crop duster.
The dust went onto Catalpa trees used in telephone poles and railroad ties to eradicate Spinks moth larva. And the idea worked. News of the aerial crop dusting spread to the fertile south, where boll weevils were destroying cotton crops, one of the upstart companies that rose to the occasion was an outfit called Huff Dalen dusters with their puffer airplane. They'd crisscrossed the south helping farmers. By 1934, they were known as Delta airlines. But the industry has come a long way from Jenny's puffers, Stearmans, and ag cats who today's applicators are Turbine powered beasts driven by precision data.
Made by companies like Thrush and Air Tractor. You know, at Air Tractor, our mission is to do our part to help feed and protect the world. Ag aviation is so important to that mission. As without us, farmers couldn't grow the amount of food in the efficient ways that they do to make sure we're all fed. So next time you see a pilot flying low under the wires, know they carry 100 years of history in that seat and a task of maintaining the world as we know it on their shoulders. Autonomous flight and biofuels are the next technological developments expected to change.
The aerial application world work is already underway to integrate those technologies into the industry. And the world's most famous crop duster, got a hero sendoff from that event. Dusty Crophopper is the main character from Disney's film Planes. You may remember this air tractor was done up as dusty to promote the movie. It flew around the airshow circuit in 2013.
Well, this week it made its final flight. It left the in NAAA event and flew to Dallas airport where it will be on display at the Smithsonian air and space museum Steven F. Udvar-hazy Center. Smithsonian's general aviation curator, Dorothy Cochrane, says it's going to be a great teaching tool for kids. Well adding Dusty to the collection you know, it comes in, it has many different facets.
Of course, we're adding to our general aviation and agricultural aviation collection, which is very important. And part of my job as general aviation curator is to spread the word about how generation aviation affects people every day and food supply. You can't get much more critical than that. And dusty will be on display starting in a few weeks.
He rounds out the Smithsonian's ag airplane collection, serving as a modern example of an aerial applicator. Well, that's our show this week. Thank you so much for watching as always, don't forget to like comment and subscribe, ring that bell on YouTube, or you can send us your thoughts to the email address on your screen. That's right. Well, this week we leave you with one more taste of Oshkosh.
AOPA Live's Josh Cochran went to this show for a couple of days with his son Elias and gives us a glimpse of what the show looks like from a three-year-old's perspective. (upbeat music) See all the screens. It tells you, see here's the map that shows- this is called a radio engine.
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