The Great Ongoing General Aviation Thread

Europe should ban flights in and out of Belarus due to piracy concerns.

This one was through Belarus airspace but not planned to land there.

The real problem with dickhead regimes is they can remain effortlessly dickheady for years and years while the various prohibitions, sanctions, etc., are simply self-inflicted economic wounds to the good countries and their businesses.

Trying to set up some kind of apartheid between the “Good” world and the “Bad” world sorta-worked when Bad was the Soviets and their clients, often with a side order of Chinese. And everybody else was “good” or “mostly irrelevant”.

Now that so many countries (possibly including our own pretty soon) are authoritarian crony sorta-capitalist kleptocracies, the map looks more like a multi-shade checkerboard of good, good-ish, meh, bad-ish, and bad versus the former geographically contiguous blocks in two bright primary colors.

I know of a flight out of S America where they tried to turn the plane around because a local didn’t understand how gear doors worked. The crew just kept going.

From the New York Times
The European Union on Monday called on all E.U.- based airlines to stop flying over Belarus and began the process of banning Belarusian airlines from flying over the bloc’s airspace or landing in its airports — effectively severing the country’s air connections to Western Europe.

Damn!

OTOH, IMO they always had the look of something using each round of seed capital mostly to try to solicit the next round. They were working on actual hardware, but more than that on relationships with the big boys who’d actually design and build the hard parts. Given extra-good luck / timing they may well have succeeded. Given average or bad luck / timing they were screwed from the git-go.

I think it’s fair to say COVID has claimed another victim. Some things just can’t wait a year+ at a critical juncture. They were at that juncture & didn’t have enough staying power.

I have to wonder if they really had anything close to a mach 4 plane or was this a design concept pipe dream that never got off the ground.

Their actual plan was a Mach 1.2 plane; slower than Concorde. That is what they’d been working on for 15 years.

What they released about 6 months ago was a breathless press release that they had begun to draw artists’ conceptions of a potential Mach 4 plane as their v3 or v4 product. In hindsight that may have been a last gasp attempt at peddling vaporware to drum up excitement = investor money. It’ll be interesting to watch and see if we ever learn the truth.

Meh. I love aviation as much as anyone, but there are no tears here for the demise of Aerion. A supersonic business jet has to be among the most counterproductive, tone-deaf projects imaginable in this era of environmental consciousness and quest for efficiency in an increasingly polluted, overcrowded world. ISTM that the last thing the world needs is a horrendously inefficient, incredibly loud (with or without accompanying sonic booms) polluting vehicle whose sole purpose is to take a few super-rich from Point A to Point B in a huge hurry. I’m all for the development of innovative private aircraft and fuel-efficient airliners, but no one needed this thing.

Their secret sauce was to have made an aircraft no louder than existing business jets at takeoff and landing that creates no perceptible boom in cruise. All this may in fact be possible with almost-current tech; each piece has been pretty well validated in flight test by somebody, but nobody has assembled them all into a saleable product … yet.

Aerion is/was but one of a ballpark half-dozen companies working in that space right now.

The debate about elite transport and the per-person carbon footprint of the uber-rich, the corporate bigwigs, the first world middle class, the global middle class/average, and the global poor to indigent is a much larger topic.

Just using “Mach 4” in a sentence made my eyes roll. If it did anything it dried up investment interest.

A bit like Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes late in the pure con-artist stage of their corporate “evolution”, during that part of the game you want the dumb investors swallowing the sizzle, not the industry-smart ones measuring the steak.

See here for more if interested:

Consumer money is better spent on space travel anyway…

I’m willing to bet the people who could afford such a plane don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment impact of their plane or how it affects others.

If they feel really guilty they can buy some carbon offset credits.

If you haven’t watched it yet watch Nova’s Great Electric Airplane Race. I knew there was a massive push on electric airplanes but this was amazing.

hydrogen fuel cells look like the future for commuter aicraft.

A bit of aviation trivia I didn’t know. Germany ran a specially fitted zeppelin along the English coast a month before invading Poland to collect radar information.

The last Zeppelin Raid 1939.

I flew a couple of dozen times in Beech 18s, Lockheed 10s, Beavers, and once an Otter. All between the ages of 2 months and 5 years, though, so I don’t remember much. My Dad was an air traffic controller in Gander, when it was a busy hub of trans-Atlantic flights. The twin-engine flights were between Gander and my parent’s home town (and regional ATC HQ) of Moncton, while the single-engine flights were joy rides with bush pilot friends of my father, flying floatplanes off Gander Lake. I didn’t fly again until my mid-20s, and never again on a piston-engined a/c.

Here’s the story of a notable flight made on May 17: southeastern France to northeastern Greece (scroll down for the English version): OLC - News Magazin - Archive

It was done in a motorglider like this (prop folds away when not in use). The pilot used the engine for a few minutes to launch, and then again for 11 minutes in southern Italy when he couldn’t get clearance into a military area. Except for that, it was 14 hours of motorless flight, including climbs as high as 23,000’ and several long stretches over the Mediterranean (including 280km from southern Italy to Greece).

The Beech and the Lockheed sound like fun. When I asked about radial engine planes, I thought someone might guess a Grumman Goose, another reasonably popular radial.

No one answered my questions about why radials disappeared so completely, or whether anyone still makes a new radial you could design a plane around.