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Why Does Air Travel Make People So Grumpy?

Few things make Americans more publicly irate than flying. Every day brings a new Twitter rant, and most of them are too unhinged to even be entertaining. On Twitter, the variety of airlines called out as the “worst” is surprising—American, United, Spirit, EasyJet, and even proper old British Airways regularly receive severe condemnation—but at this point, the accompanying vitriol isn’t surprising in the least.

This is not to say that travelers’ complaints aren’t justified. Not too long ago, flying could be a relatively pleasant experience, but executives focused on cutting costs have stripped away everything flyers associated with luxury or even dignity. Food, baggage handling, boarding in a logical manner: Things once taken for granted now must be paid for or done without. Flights are more crowded than they’ve been since World War II, when they were carrying troops. And on a recent Ryanair flight, I discovered that not even water was free.

So yes, certainly, flying is rough and getting rougher. But so are many things in modern life. Restaurants charge more and offer less. Movie theaters raise prices and force patrons to sit through endless, blaring pre-roll commercials. And, of course, jobs ask more and more of employees, including longer hours and fewer benefits, and yet give less and less in return.

Why is it that the frustrations of airline travel are what makes so many people explode? Why is this particular experience the one that resonates so deeply?

“If I’ve learned one thing, it’s to never underestimate people’s contempt for the airlines,” said Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, when I spoke to him. “Where this sentiment comes from is hard to pin down, but it has something to do with the way the air-travel experience has devolved over the years.”

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This tiny Russian plane has a ridiculous number of weapons

In the world of Russian jet fighters, Moscow’s finest  —  such as the Flanker and the fifth-generation Sukhoi T-50  —  tend to grab the most headlines.

But the Yakovlev Yak-130, a comparatively non-glamorous twin-seat jet trainer, is quietly turning heads … because it’s obviously more than just a trainer. The twin-engine jet dubbed “Mitten” by Western intelligence is now showing its credentials as a genuine multi-role fighter.

When an air force wants to maximize its combat potential, a trainer  —  even a jet-powered one  —  might not be the most obvious choice of aircraft.

But today’s multi-role combat trainers are a viable and comparatively low-cost alternative to conventional fighters  —  even one that originates from behind the former Iron Curtain.

Like many post-Soviet military projects, it took a long time before any pilots got their hands on the Yak-130. But now the aircraft is showing up at the Russian air force’s advanced flight training schools.

Further, the Kremlin has begun deliveries to Belarus, a close military ally of Moscow. Previously, the Kremlin delivered Yak-130s to Algeria, another established customer of Russian-made warplanes.


The Yak-130 has three hard-points under each wing. That means it can carry up to three tons of air-to-air missiles, air-to-surface missiles, precision-guided bombs, free-fall bombs, rockets, gun pods, and external fuel tanks.

Another two stations at the wingtips can carry air-to-air missiles or decoy launchers to spoof enemy heat-seeking missiles. That’s not at all. Under its belly, the plane can carry a hard-hitting 23-millimeter cannon.

Recent photographs reveal the next stage in the Yak-130’s maturation to a combat aircraft. In the photos, a Yak wearing the latest Russian military markings has a characteristic “bump” in front of the cockpit. This could house the LD-130 laser rangefinder and TV camera for identifying targets and improving the accuracy of its weapons.


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Single-Engine Airplane Facts

People have been fascinated by gasoline-powered airplanes since the late 18th century. However, it wasn’t until the Wright Brothers built and flew their twin-screw Flyer in 1903 that the airplane really took off, as it were. Their plane was low on power and even lower in terms of propeller thrust, so the Ohio-based brothers decided on a twin-propeller design. However, there were others in the United States and Europe who were attempting to fly with only engine and one propeller.

The Bleriot XI

  • Louis Bleriot had been building and trying to fly single-engine airplanes in parallel with the Wrights’ development, beginning in the late 1800s. His most successful version was the Bleriot XI, built in 1908. This is the airplane that allowed Bleriot to fly across the English Channel and set a number of other records for time and distance.
    Image by Bleriot

The Curtiss Golden Bug

  • Glenn Curtiss was known for his daredevil exploits on motorcycles, but he wanted to do more than simply turn in a circle at high speed. As a result of a mutual interest in engines and their potential use in airplanes, Curtiss, Alexander Graham Bell and several other like-minded visionaries founded the American Experimental Association in 1908. Curtiss followed up with his own airplane design christened the Curtiss Flyer, but the name that most people remember is the Golden Bug. This was a single-engine, single-prop design, and because Curtiss was highly adept at producing high-power engines, the airplane set a number of speed records. He continued in aviation and built airplanes until he died in 1930 at age 52. The company that he founded continued without him and produced some of the more innovative high-speed metal monoplanes throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
    Image by the Glenn Curtiss Aviation Museum

World War I

  • On August 1, 1914 the German Empire declared war on what were then referred to as the Allies including England, France and Russia. It was quickly clear that aviation would play a part in the conflict, and many of the early pioneers were already building and flying their aircraft over their own countries. Of these, Curtiss was particularly notable in addition to France’s Sopwith. On the German side there was primarily Fokker, although Pfaltz and several other manufacturers tried their luck at planes during the war. All fighters of the day were single-engine, and of these there were three that were particularly notable for their maneuverability speed and kill ratio’s. The first was the Fokker D7, which has been suggested by many to be the best airplane of the war. The second was the Fokker D3, also known as the Triplane. Finally there was the Sopwith Camel, which was both speedy and packed a hard punch in the early days of the war.
    Image by Aviation Central

A Single-Engine Speedster Between The Wars

  • At the end of World War I there were many airplanes available, and pilots who managed to survive bought them for various reasons. Some made a living doing aerial stunts in the emerging movie industry while others tried their hand at operating regional airmail contracts. Howard Hughes made his money in oil, but what he really liked to do was build airplanes that went traveled very quickly. His single-engine H-1 (pictured here) was beautiful and very fast. The airplane turned a 352 mph average speed over four timed runs in 1935, and 18 months later set a coast-to-coast speed record at 322 mph.
    Image by Wayne Sagar/AAFO

Single Engines in World War II

  • When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States was in an economic depression that had put aviation technology on the back burner. Therefore, when the war started the United States was behind the power curve in terms of manufacturing and design. The venerable Curtiss P-40 and the Bell Airacobra held the Japanese tide for much of 1941 in China and Southeast Asia, while in North Africa and in Russia the two airplanes exacted significant tolls on the Germans. Regardless, both were generally slower and less maneuverable than their enemy. By 1942, however, there were positive signs in the air for the Allies. In the Pacific, the Grumman Hellcat was beginning to dent Japanese power in the air, while the initial variant of Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was doing good work taking on the German Luftwaffe.

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Spy Hawk RC-plane lets you snoop from the skies

  • The Spy Hawk has a flying range of 600 meters (roughly 2000 ft) and a video ...If you’ve ever found yourself bemoaning the relative dearth of viable personal UAV (or “drone”) options but still find the idea of an eye in the sky alluring, then you may well be in luck, because UK-based gadget purveyor RED5 has unveiled the Spy Hawk: a remote-controlled plane which runs from a rechargeable battery and features a video camera to facilitate easy snooping from up above.
  • The Spy Hawk can fly for an average of 15-20 minutes from a full chargeThe Spy Hawk has a wingspan of 84 cm (33 inches), weighs 180 grams (6.3 oz) and is referred to as a “mini-glider” by RED5. For capturing video footage, there’s a 5 megapixel video camera on-board which beams a first person view, live video feed to a 3.5″ LCD screen housed in the remote control transmitter unit. The rubberized remote control also has 4 GB SD card built-in, committing everything the diminutive spy plane sees to memory.


  • The Spy Hawk also sports an on-board 4 GB SD card to store captured footageThe Spy Hawk even boasts an autopilot which the company state is capable of keeping the plane level with minimal effort, its built-in gyroscope causing automatic flap controls to compensate for errant gusts of wind, and thus allow a budding James Bond to concentrate on the actual spying.
  • The three channel Spy Hawk has a wingspan of 84cm (33 inches) and weighs 180 grams ...However, though the 600 meter (roughly 2000 ft) range of the plane itself and 400 meter (1,300 ft) video feed range should be sufficient to make your neighbors consider a restraining order, Spy Hawk’s espionage capabilities are limited somewhat by a reported 15-20 minutes average fly time from a full charge – a charge which takes around 40 minutes to complete. That said, such a flight time does compare favorably to similar gadgets, like the Swann Sky Eye RC Helicopter, which can only manage around eight minutes of fun before depleting its battery, and the A.R. Drone’s 12 minutes of airborne surveillance.

The Spy Hawk is up for pre-order from RED5 now at a price of £250 (around US$388) with an estimated shipping date of early August. Though only UK and EU shipping is cited on the website, quotations for other locations are said to be available on request.

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Types of Private Planes

Purchasing an airplane can be an exciting proposition, especially for the first-time buyer. Even experienced pilots need a wealth of knowledge to understand the different makes and models for an informed purchase decision. Important factors have to be considered, like mileage to be traveled, passenger capacity, flight frequency, weather and topography. Then again, some people just want to know what types of planes have become popular with the private pilot.
The Cessna corporation has an entire line of high-wing series of aircraft in the 150-152, 172,177, 182, and the 206 models. The higher the rating number the larger the plane and engine size, along with the cabin dimensions and seating accommodations. The Cessna 150 has long been the chosen leader in the pilot training department and a choice for first-time or experienced pilots, being easy to handle and forgiving when encountering difficult maneuvers. The overhead wing design allows for maximum viewing underneath the aircraft, which makes it popular with charter and tourist enterprises. The Cessna 150 has fixed landing gear, two seats, and typically has the 100 or 110 horsepower Lycoming engine.

Piper Cherokee Series
The Cherokee 140 in the Piper Cherokee (the smallest version) series has been designed for the trainee and first-time pilot in mind, yet many seasoned pilots still have their original models. The Cherokee 140 has an all-metal fuselage construction with a low fixed wing design, which helps with overhead visibility. The landing gear retracts up into the wings, cutting down on wind drag. The plane has a full avionics package and comes standard with either 150 or 160 horsepower engines. The two-seat configuration makes it an ideal trainer, as it hosts double controls.

Under-wing mono planes afford good overhead visibility.
Under-wing mono planes afford good overhead visibility.
Piper Cub
The Piper Cub was built with no nonsense in mind, having only the most basic components and design necessary for normal and sometimes advanced flight. It has the low monoplane wing design. Its light body weight in the air currents makes it noticeable as a moving object, rather than a sleek piece of metal carving its way through the air. It has a rather high nose angle upon landing, making visibility a little difficult, but it lands predictably with a light touch. Instructors have said that it behaves slowly and predictably, giving first-time pilots plenty of time to react to difficult control situations. With controls that are a bit sluggish, the pilot can actually feel input responses more so than with other, heavier planes. Its two-seat design can be cramped for large occupants. The Piper Cub has a long history of training Air Force pilots and has been used in agricultural applications like crop dusting.

Aeronca Champ
The Aeronca Champ has a boxy looking fuselage with an overhead wing and fixed landing gear. The engine has been available in 65, 80 and 90 horsepower versions through the years. Although bulkier than the Piper Cub, the Champ has a lowered nose and raised pilot seat for better visibility, both for straight flight and landing. Although the cabin has been arranged for in-line seats, the height and side clearance have a proportionately larger area than all other planes of its size and configuration. Instrument panel gauges sit near the pilot’s left hip for easy reading, even from the back seat. The Original designer of the Champ, Raymond Hermes, set out to best all the features found in the Piper Cub, and it was decided that he had done so, judging from the reaction that came from both instructors and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Some of our best planes today were military trainers.

How to Choose a School for Aviation

Finding the right aviation school takes a lot of careful consideration. There is a wide variety of schools to choose from, and they will all offer a different kind of programming. For example, there is a big difference in the type of training you will get as a private pilot versus a commercial pilot. You will also want to know what types of planes you want to be able to fly. Once you have considered all of the pertinent factors, you can start narrowing down your list of ideal schools. Here are tips on how to choose a school for aviation.

Decide Between Private and Commercial

The first thing you need to do before you can find the right aviation school is to decide what kind of a pilot you want to be. You will need to spend a lot more time in the air and go through much more extensive training if you want to be a commercial pilot, but it makes sense because you will be responsible for larger planes and a considerable number of lives. However, you will also be able to make a living with your license, so there’s a big difference between what you can do with these two separate credentials.

Consider Your Options for Ground Aviation School

No matter what kind of pilot you want to be, you’re going to have to complete ground aviation training. This training will ensure that you understand all of the theoretical mechanics behind your operations as a pilot so that you can make intelligent decisions in unideal situations. You can complete this training independently with videos and online tests, or you can complete this training in the classroom at a major college like Georgia State University.

Choose Your Ideal Aircraft

You want to know what kinds of aircrafts you would ideally like to be flying before you can decide what school to go to. Before you decide to go for USC’s GIS certificate, you want to know what kinds of aircrafts will be available to you. This is one of the easiest ways to start crossing schools off the list when you’re trying to find your top aviation schools.
Request Promotional Materials

There’s a lot you can learn just by exploring a school’s website, but you can learn a lot more from the promotional brochures that they send in the mail. Once you start getting a good idea of the different schools that you’d like to consider, you should start sending out requests for more specific information about the programming. You will want to know about the classroom sizes, curriculum, instructor credentials and so much more.

Visit Several Campuses

Once you’ve gone through all the promotional materials, you can usually get a pretty concise list of schools down on paper and start making plans for campus tours. These visits are extremely important because there’s a lot that you just can’t learn on paper. Just like you can’t learn to fly without leaving the ground, you can’t fully learn about a school without stepping foot on its campus.

How to Choose an Aviation School

There are all kinds of resources available to you in high school when you want to prepare for college, but it’s much more difficult to get the information you need to prepare for aviation school than most other college programs. Learning how to fly a plane requires a top-notch education, a measured sense of precaution, and the ability to perform responsibly under pressure. There are many different types of planes you can learn to fly, and likewise, there are many different types of pilots. If you are trying to find the best flying education for you, then you’re going to need to know what you’re looking for. Here is how to choose an aviation school.

Know Your Goals

As stated earlier, there are several different types of pilots that you could become, and you need to know what your ultimate goals are before you start assessing different programs. The two main pilot licenses you can earn are a private pilot license and a commercial pilot license. Not only will the types of planes you learn to fly be very different, but so will the number of hours you need to spend in the air. There is a lot more responsibility for those who want to be professional pilots, so your pilot training will be far more rigorous and extensive if you decide to go this route, rather than that of a private pilot.

Consider an Aviation College Degree

While it’s not necessary to earn a college degree in aviation in order to become a professional pilot, it can definitely increase and improve your employment opportunities if you have one. There are several major universities, like University of Cincinnati and Georgia State University that offer degrees in aviation, but you’ll want to research the full list of colleges that offer these programs before you start sending out applications.

Compare and Contrast Several Schools

Whether you’re looking at major universities or independent flight schools, you want to make sure you do a lot of research before you compile your list of top schools. You will want to know about the reputation of the school, the credentials of its instructors, the different types of aircrafts that are available and a lot more. So make sure that you request brochures and other promotional materials from all the schools that you might be interested in.

Tour Several Campuses

A lot of schools may sound really great in theory, but nothing can replace the practice of stepping onto the campus in real life. There are all kinds of factors that you will need to consider, such as the quality of the food and lodging that is offered, the size of the classrooms, and the overall culture of the school in general. These are things that you can’t read about and gain a true understanding of from a distance, so you will need to see for yourself.

Weigh Your Options for Aviation Ground School

Every aviation student will need to undergo aviation ground school. This is where you will learn all of the academic components that you will need to master in order to get into any type of flight school. You can either complete this part of the process online or you can get the training you need in a standard classroom setting. It all depends on your resources and your learning style.

Improve Your Ice Skating In Easy Ways!

There are many ways to satisfy your need to looks gracious and do some sport in winter, one of the best winter sport you might want to try is ice skating. Ice skating is sport that can be done by moving on ice using ice skates. This sport can be done for exercise, leisure, traveling and even for serious sport. Generally, ice skating can be done in ice surfaces, such as frozen lake, frozen field, or even in indoors arena. However, ice skating can be very difficult to master, especially when you are the first timer. You can falling on your bottom or even split every time. Mastering ice skating might need a lot of practice and learning. Therefore, today i will provide you a step by step guide on how to ice skating in easy ways. All yo need is proper equipment, ice rink or arena, a good friend and faith to read this article.

The first step is make sure that you are wearing proper clothing for sport in cold environment. You may wear casual clothing that will allow movement and water resistant, this way you will be able to move around and capable to skate around in flexible manner. Since ice skating is also a sport that will make your body warmer, the clothing should not be too warm. Otherwise, this will make you sweat and freeze your body. Avoid jeans because it is not flexible and will be very heavy when get wet. I recommend you to get ice skating outfits that will provide proper water resistant, flexible and not too warm. This way, you will be able to do ice skating for a long time and properly.

The next step is find a good skating equipment. You will need to find a good skates that are fitted for comfort and proper sized. You can find in most shoe store, or you can rental them at skate rink. Make sure to try rent skates for the first time to try the best shoes size and type that makes you comfortable skater outfits and skate shoes that comfortable for you. Your skates should feel tight however, you dont need to worry, this is should be done for your safety. Otherwise, ask someone who has expertise in this matter to examine if your skates are too tight or not.

The next step is try to walking off the ice. Every ice rinks have rubber matting you can walk on. You can try to walk on the rubber matting and try to balance yourself. Make sure to make yourself comfortable on skates and your body will adjust the balance by itself. However, this is a learning process, so dont expect to be an expert right away. Keep your head steady, your eyes fixed and loose your hand and spread it out to adjust the balance.

The next step is start slowly and ask your friend to accompany you. Then try to skating a little faster, bend your knees and put your arms to prevent tripping and posibly getting injured. Dont forget to get proper ice skating costumes to support your movement.


How to Make Time Pass Quickly on an Airplane

Air travel is one of the fastest, most efficient and safest forms of travel that man has developed. However for most people, spending a few hours on a plane is a dull and boring experience. Knowing how to make time pass quickly on a plane will benefit you both physically and mentally. The long tedious and monotonous flight time along with the endless humming of the engine and other audible ambient noises can render a person on a plane bored and exhausted.

Making time pass quickly on an airplane is not as complicated as it sounds. Knowing how to make time pass by will make your trip much more bearable. Most people just try to sit still and be quiet, but to be honest; that only makes things more unbearable and time pass even slower. It would also contradict our first tip on how to make time pass quickly on an airplane, which is:

1. Stop watching the clock. Watching the clock and minding the time will only make you count more sheep and exhaust you unnecessarily. Checking the time frequently will only make the time pass by slower on an airplane.  As the saying goes “a watched clock never moves”

2. Another small but great idea when making time pass quickly on a plane is deep breathing, as most people with any kind of medical knowhow would suggest. It’s probably the most common health advice in the hospital besides “drink lots of water”. Breathing shallow and quickly tricks our bodies into thinking that time is moving more slowly. So breathe deeply and let time pass quickly.

3. Other than ignoring the slowness of time, a great technique for making time pass faster on an airplane is making conversation with the people seated next to you. Making good conversation not only makes time pass quicker it also opens up opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. It’s a win-win deal.

4. Sleep is probably more of common sense than advice but it is nevertheless worth mentioning. Sleep will not only help you make pass time longer in an airplane but also prepare you and rejuvenate your mind and body for the activities you may have planned upon arrival in your destination.

5. You can’t sleep? Well then maybe some soothing music can help you get to sleep and make the time pass quickly while on the plane. Music has proven to make boring and exhausting flights much more bearable. It is no secret that music can affect our mood. So it’s probably wise when trying to make time pass quicker while on a plane to play a music genre that has that relaxing effect on you.

6. In this day and age, everything we need can probably in your pocket. If you have your hand-held gaming device with you, you can spend the time playing and actually enjoy this spare time. This is also a great option for those restless kids.  These games can work wonders on kids, keeping them focused and, more importantly, quiet and occupied.

7. Portable computers such as laptops also give you something to do to pass the time while on a long flight. Most modern airplanes even have power sources for recharging and wireless internet available and we all know what the internet means. The internet is the best cure for boredom and will definitely make your flight much more bearable.

8. In-flight movies are also available on most airplanes, if you are lucky enough you might find the screening movie to be of your liking, which will probably render at least 2 hours off your flight wait. Nowadays, many planes allow you to choose from a selection of movies that will play in your own personal screen, located in the seat back in front of you.  Just like watching a movie at home, in-flight movies are sure to help make time pass quicker during a long airplane flight.

9. On a long quiet flight, there is nothing more entertaining than reading a good book. Now, it doesn’t even have to be a physical book; you can read e-books on your phone or other handheld device. Some people enjoy reading newspapers, magazines or comics to pass the time on a plane. There really is no better way to pass the time on an airplane than by reading a great book!


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Airplane Travel: From Plane Reservations to Sightseeing Destinations

If you’re planning to travel overseas, the most common form of transportation is by airplane. Knowing the entire procedure from purchasing plane tickets to coping with in-flight emergencies can ensure that you have a pleasurable trip.

First all of, choosing an airline carrier might depend on a number of factors including the company’s service record, price of the ticket, length of time to destination, and even in-flight service.

Now, once you’ve purchased your ticket, you still need to make the long journey through the airport. Once you arrive, you usually check your bags at the main ticket counter. Then, you have to pass through the security checkpoint, where you will have to walk through an X-ray machine, and they will check your carry-on bags for any prohibited items, including firearms, explosives, and knives. Of course, this is for everyone’s safety. You might also be asked to open your bags to be manually checked.

Once you pass through this checkpoint, then you will go to the designated boarding area and gate to wait for your plane. Just wait there until they announce your flight.

Of course, once aboard the plane, no one ever wants to experience any emergencies, but the plane is equipped with emergency exits in case you have to leave the plane. There are also life jackets under the seats, and oxygen masks in case the plane’s cabin unexpectedly loses pressure. Be sure to read the safety instruction card located in the pocket of the seat in front of you.

Airplane travel can be exciting and knowing what to expect before you can make this experience even better.



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How to Transport Personal Weapons on Airlines

Just the thought of taking a personal weapon aboard an airline is enough to ring alarm bells by the Transportation Security Administration. However, you can still take one on an airline, if you want to deal with longer security inspections. You first have to remember that you can’t place this personal weapon on your carry-on baggage, but only in your checked baggage. And you’ll need to deal with particular requirements for transporting it and guidelines for the security inspection.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Hard-sided container for a firearm
  •  Combination lock or key for firearm container
  •  Wood, metal or cardboard box to transport ammunition
  •  Pouch or holster to transport firearm magazine

Transporting a Firearm

Place a firearm in a container with hard sides that locks securely. The firearm has to be unloaded to be legal.

Tell security in the airport that you have a firearm. If you don’t, you have the potential of being fined up to $10,000.

Lock the container containing your firearm securely, but provide an easy-to-open combination on the lock or a key so security can easily open it for inspection.

Stay near the security inspector so they can report directly back to you. If you wander off before they get back to you, they may not allow the container with your weapon on the airline due to your firearm container being unlocked.

Ammunition and Firearm Parts

Carry all ammunition in secure boxes made only of wood, metal or cardboard.

Pack ammunition or firearm parts in the same container containing your firearm. This is the most acceptable way of transporting additional parts to your personal weapon on an airline.

Use a firearm magazine as an acceptable alternate to carrying ammunition. However, TSA suggests you carry the magazine in a pouch or holster so it’s covered. Exposed ammunition on an airline is illegal.

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Laser Fighters: 100 kW Weapons By 2022

Air Force artwork of a future dogfight with lasers.

PENTAGON: Star Wars fans, calm down. The US Air Force wants to fire a 100-plus-kilowatt laser from a small plane. And not just any airplane, Air Force Research Laboratory officials. The last laser on an airplane — the megawatt Airborne Laser, which filled a converted 747 and cancelled in 2011 — the 2022 demonstration will be fired from a fighter.

But this isn’t a real-world X-Wing. It probably won’t even be an F-35A because that’s a stealth aircraft that carries its weapons inside to give it a smaller radar cross section. Instead, the 2022 weapon will be built into an external weapons pod.

It’s a crawl-walk-run approach, said Morley Stone, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s chief technology officer. Modern electrically powered, solid-state laser technology is “orders of magnitude” simpler and more compact than the vats of toxic chemicals that powered the cancelled Airborne Laser, Stone told reporters at Thursday’s “DoD Lab Day” in the Pentagon courtyard. But technological advances still don’t make putting lasers on airplanes simple. So, he said, “before we start getting into really what we consider a lot of risk with internal carriage integration, we’re going to look at external integration via a pod.”

Even an external pod on a fighter, however, is a much tighter and more challenging fit for a laser weapon than, say, the massive weapons bay on an AC-130 gunship. Special Operations Command wants a laser cannon on future AC-130s, but “what we’re doing is taking the most challenging case, and that’s on a fighter,” said AFRL director Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello. “As technology advances, it can be spun right off into a larger platform like the AC-130.”

By way of comparison, the only forward-deployed laser weapon in the US military today is a 30-kW prototype installed on the broad decks of the USS Ponce, a converted amphibious assault ship now in the Persian Gulf. Lasers fired from a ship face some unique problems that an airplane doesn’t. Sea air is full of moisture, which can weaken and distort the laser beam. Higher altitude air is clearer, but airborne lasers still require sophisticated corrective optics to stay focused on their target. While the atmospherics are arguably easier for an airborne laser than a shipborne one, ships are a lot bigger than a fighter.

“Air applications actually can be the most challenging,” said AFRL laser guru David Hardy. (His formal title is “Director, Directed Energy Directorate” — yes, really, he says with an apologetic smile). “On a ship, I’m probably going to have more SWAP [Size Weight And Power] than I’m going to have on an aircraft,” Hardy said. What’s more, he went on, “aircraft tend to shake more than a ship does: A ship rolls but it doesn’t vibrate as much.” Vibration is hard on any complex machinery, but it’s especially problematic for a laser, which has to hold its beam steady enough to burn through a single spot on the target.

“A laser is basically a heating device,” Hardy said. “It heats up something. It melts holes in it. That’s what we do.” But it takes a lot of technology to get that hot spot on target, especially when fired from a flying platform. While the military has abandoned the bulky chemical lasers used on the Airborne Laser program, the experience of building ABL taught valuable lessons that still apply to the more compact electrically powered lasers of today, Hardy told me. “Making ABL work was not just fitting the laser in: It was building the beam control system, it was building the pointing system, it was building the targeting,” Hardy said. “We learned a lot from that.”

Another crucial evolutionary step is the General Atomics HELLADS laser, which will soon shift from a DARPA experiment to a DARPA-Air Force Research Lab joint venture. “That was a major investment on the part of DARPA,” Hardy said. “It’s the first time anybody’s shown you can make a 150-kW-class electric laser.”(The exact power output of HELLADS isn’t published, and many details are classified). The whole point of HELLADS was to build a high-power laser weapon small enough that it could fit on an aircraft, although it’s never actually been installed in one. So while HELLADS is technically a ground-based weapon, it generates a lot of power in a compact package, making it “the existence proof that we can really make these electric lasers work in the greater-than-100-kw regime, in a reasonable SWAP [Size Weight And Power].”

“We believe [that] in the next decade we’ll have systems that routinely deliver over 100 kw,” Hardy told me. “Exactly how many hundreds of kilowatts we don’t know.”


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The History of Private Jets

The concept of private jet ownership arose in the early 1960s, but the high purchase price, storage, maintenance and operation costs made the purchase of planes inaccessible to all but the ultra-rich. Since the introduction of private jet ownership, the industry has grown rapidly and adapted to changing economic and social circumstances.

The First Jets

  • Plans for jet propulsion systems were on the drawing boards of Sir Francis Whittle and Dr. Hans von Ohain by the early 1930s. While Whittle was the first to receive a patent for his system, in 1930, it was Ohain who got the first jet off the ground, in 1939. Whittle did the same two years later.
    A tug of war ensued within the airline industry between propeller-driven aircraft and the new jet technology. Jets won the battle for supremacy in the longer-route market, relegating prop-driven planes to shorter hops between cities.

    Sir Frank Whittle (left) and Dr. Hans von Ohain

The Genesis

  • Not long after World War II, private enterprise saw the advantage of taking more passengers further and faster, and the commercial jet industry skyrocketed. In the early 1960s, private jet travel became popular with a handful of millionaire businessmen.
    Jet engine

The Introduction of Private Jets

  • At first, jets were fairly standard, but as the rich became more accustomed to the finer things on the ground, they soon wanted them in the air too. The jet companies complied, with the interiors of some planes paneled in posh mahogany wood, seats upholstered in leather, well-stocked wet bars and just about any service or amenity you might find in five-star hotels. Think Waldorf Astoria in the air. One of the most well-known entries to the market came in in 1963 when the Learjet was introduced; it has since become almost synonymous with small privately owned jets.
    In the ensuing decades, the demand for such conspicuously opulent planes has shifted to a more austere, office-like design as businesses became the predominant customers. But amenities for business purposes remained, such as satellite phones and flat-screen monitors. Think a flying Motel 6.

The Industry Grows and Changes

  • In the 1990s growth in the industry took off in large part because of the new concept of fractionalized ownership. The concept was introduced by Executive Jet and later rebranded as NetJets after Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway became the majority owner of the company.
    Under fractionalized ownership, companies share the cost of using, maintaining and housing the jets, as well as cover payroll and other costs. It’s more of a lease arrangement, in which some operators offer the availability of a jet for company use in as little as 4 hours. While fractional ownership represents less than a 20 percent share of the private jet market, those numbers are expected to grow with environmental awareness and an increase in the number of companies streamlining costs.

Did You Know?

  • Well before jets hit the market, privately owned airplanes for the well-to-do were being sold as early as the 1920s and 1930s.
    The first privately owned planes cost about $1 million each. Today, private supersonic jets costing more than $300 million are already on back order and expected to be delivered by 2014.
    The new supersonic private jets can fly from New York to Paris in a little over 4 hours. The fastest jets available now take more than 6 hours to cover that distance.


How to Make a Model Airplane for Kids

Many professional airplane model kits, geared toward children and adults, are available in plastic, wood, steel and high-tech metals. These models are nice for display pieces but may lack originality and the ability to spark your child’s imagination and creativity. Children can become innovators by crafting their own model airplanes out of simple materials such as paper, cardboard and aluminum cans. With a few soda cans and supplies, your child can make a fun model airplane.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Three aluminum soda cans
  •  Sharp scissors
  •  Glue
  •  Permanent marker
  •  Hammer
  •  Craft knife
  •  Work gloves
  •  Nail
  •  Block of wood
  •  Screwdriver
  •  Small screw
  •  Nut


    Punch a small hole 1/2 inch from the top of one soda can using the pointed end of a pair of scissors. Cut the top off of the can by inserting the scissors blade into the hole and cutting around the can. You may want to do this step if your child is young. Be careful not to crush the can when removing the top. Discard the top.

    Cut off 2 1/2 inches from the bottom of the second can using the scissors, and put it aside. You will use the excess aluminum piece later.

    Repeat steps 1 and 2 to cut the top and bottom off the third soda can. Now, using the scissors, cut the body of the third soda can in half so it lies flat.

    Draw a 3-inch-long airplane propeller on the flattened piece of can using a permanent marker. Draw two airplane wings on another part of the flattened aluminum. The wings should be the same size and shape.

    Cut along the propeller shape carefully to avoid being cut by the sharp aluminum. Cut out the airplane wings.

    Take the first soda can and make two thin cuts in the middle using a craft knife. As in step 1, if you have young children, you or another adult should do this step. Make sure that the cuts are approximately the width of the airplane wings. At the bottom of the can, make a horizontal cut, slide each wing through the cuts, and secure them with glue.

    Take the excess flattened aluminum can and draw the tail of the plane. Cut it out with a pair of sharp scissors, slide it through the cut you made on the back of the can and glue it.

    Punch a hole through the bottom center of the excess aluminum can from step 2 by placing it on a block of wood and using a hammer and nail to punch through. Now, poke a hole in the center of the airplane propeller.

    Attach the propeller to the bottom of the can with the hole using the screwdriver, screw and nut. Be careful not to over tighten the nut, so the propeller will turn. Attach the piece with the propeller to the piece with the tail by sliding them together and securing them with glue.

Tips & Warnings

 You may choose to paint the model airplane to cover the logo of the soda can.
 Aluminum is thin and sharp; children should be monitored by an adult when crafting the airplane.

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How to Clean Aircraft Engines Using Walnut Shells

Walnut shells have been chosen for the cleaning of valuable turbojet engines because of unique compounds that give them the durability to stand up to the elements of a turbine engine while providing the elasticity and abrasives required to clean the engine.
The environment the turbine engine is exposed to will determine the rate at which the engine should be cleaned. High salt and high humidity environments can rapidly degrade the efficiency of a turbine engine. Cleaning the compressor with a compound such as walnut shells will increase the efficiency and life-expectancy of the engine.

Things You’ll Need

  • Hopper of sufficient size with temporary attaching hardware and control valve
  • Walnut shells
  • Attach a hopper with a control valve near the intake of the turbine. A hopper is typically installed as a gravity feed device with an electrical control valve that is controlled by a nearby bleed air valve, such as an engine anti-ice valve. Fill the hopper or injection system with quality walnut shells.
  • Start the engine and run at idle or the best operating temperature for cleaning as determined by the manufacturer. Lower compressor speeds may produce better cleaning due to less disintegration of the shells in the first stages.
  • Using the electrical controlled valve, introduce the walnut shells to the intake of the compressor. Control the rate of flow by adjusting the control valve and monitoring the turbine inlet temperature (TIT) or exhaust gas temperature (EGT).
  • When TIT and EGT have stabilized, usually at a more efficient rate, close the control valve. Allow the engine to operate for an additional five minutes (or manufacturer’s recommendation) to ensure all foreign material is purged from the engine.
  • After engine shutdown, remove the hopper or injection system and restore any electrical connections used for controlling the valve. Restore any pneumatic changes that were made due to pneumatic control systems.

Tips & Warnings

  • When using walnut shells to clean a turbine engine that incorporates a pneumatic control system(s), the engine being cleaned should not be used as the source of the control air.

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Types of Small Airplanes

A single prop floatplane comes in for a landing.There are several categories of small airplanes primarily used by recreational pilots. Different aviation certifications are needed for the different categories. This article is limited to discussion of the various aircraft used for recreation or for sport, and to piston-powered airplanes.

UltralightUltralight airplanes are single-seat, single-engine aircraft that carry up to five gallons of fuel and weigh less than 255 pounds. They can carry only one person, who is responsible for his own safety. Allowed only for recreational purposes, ultralights are flown for sport in areas isolated from busier airspace. Although formal certification is not required to fly these airplanes, training is highly important for safety reasons.

An ultralight flies over the desert.

Light SportA light sport airplane is slightly larger than an ultralight. It can have two seats, but cannot weigh more than 1,320 pounds at takeoff, including passengers and fuel. These airplanes require a minimum sport pilot certificate. This certificate allows only daytime flying in weather conditions with good visibility and in airspace where radio communication is not required.

Experimental Amateur-BuiltIf you want to build your own airplane, the FAA requires that at least 51 percent be built by someone other than a manufacturer. Building your own plane is allowed for educational and recreational purposes. Home-built and amateur-built planes must be inspected by and registered with the FAA.

A man flies a home built floatplane.

Single-EngineBeing relatively simpler and more economical to operate and maintain than multi-engine airplanes, single-engine aircraft are well-suited to non-professional pilots. They typically have from two to six seats, and have a better range than sport planes. Cessna, Piper, and Cirrus are popular manufacturers. A private pilot’s certificate is needed to fly single-engine aircraft.

A vintage single-engine military aircraft sits on a runway.

Multi-engineMulti-engine airplanes deliver a higher workload for a small plane. The enhanced performance of a multi-engine plane means higher speed and the ability to carry more weight. The additional engine(s) provides redundancy, meaning if one engine fails, there is a backup. A multi-engine certificate is required to fly these airplanes.

A multi-prop plane sits on a runway.

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Private Jets for Sale: Saving You Time and Money

Private jet ready for boarding

Sure, booking a personal aircraft for charter promises a comfortable, fast, and safe way of traveling, but its benefits go far beyond that. At Western Aviation, we’ve been making private jets for sale since the turn of the millennium so have become intimately familiar with the many advantages that a private jet can offer. Flying in a private jet is a luxurious and prestigious way to travel, but one of its main benefits has to do with time saving. And, as responsible business owners ourselves, we know that saving time means saving money. So when you’re looking for private jets for sale, factoring in the amount of time that you or your company can save with a private jet is key.

The time saving starts even before the plane takes off. Because smaller jets don’t require the huge runways and the limited amount of airports that the major airlines do, you can thankfully dodge the nightmares of baggage checks, long TSA lines, and invasive security checks. This means that you don’t have to arrive for your flight hours ahead of time. Instead, travelling in a private jet can be tailored to work around your schedule. You can arrive at your jet’s designated airport minutes in advance and casually bring your luggage directly onto the plane with you. You’ve already saved precious hours and haven’t even taken off yet!


Private jets also have an easier ability to fly directly to your destination without time wasting layovers. They generally fly faster and higher than traditional airplanes as well, so you’ll be gliding above inclement weather sooner and be able to take advantage of better winds while simultaneously avoiding crummy weather. This means shorter and more efficient trips for your executives and clients, which can save you or your company invaluable amounts of time.

Many private jet owners report that they’re able to get more work done in the privacy of a company aircraft as well. According to a 2009 survey by the National Business Aviation Association, participants reported that they are 20% more productive while flying on a company aircraft than they are in the office. Those that flew commercially stated that they experience a 40% drop in productivity. So, when you or your company is looking for private jets for sale, remember to take note of just how much time can be saved with your own personal aircraft.  And remember, time=money!


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How Much Does It Cost to Charter a Private Aircraft?

This is a question that we hear quite a bit, as we talk to people who are looking at private jets and other private aircraft. So this article walks you through the different factors and provides some pricing indications. At the bottom of the page is a pricing tool to give you a quote on a custom flight.

To start off you should have in mind:

– Where you want to go, since the distance between these two locations helps define the size of aircraft you will need. The longer the distance the larger the size of aircraft you will need, unless you are happy to stop for refueling.

– The number of people and the amount of baggage you will be travelling with. So more people and/or more baggage will require a larger, more expensive aircraft

Other items that can affect the price are the departure time and date, since prices increase during periods of peak demand. Your return plans are another key pricing element, so if the plane just takes you one way and has to fly back empty you may end up covering the cost of that empty flight.

For a full list of the types of things that you could be charged for, see our earlier article Private Jet Charter Costs – What’s on the Invoice?

Having said all the above, we asked Patrick Harris, President at Velocity Jets to provide some examples of typical flight costs in a range of light, mid, and heavy jets. The prices below are all inclusive prices.

  • Miami (MIA) to Los Angeles (VNY) flight time 5.2 hours,  light jet $21k, mid jet $24k and heavy jet $33k
  • New York (TEB) to London (EGLF) flight time 6.5 hours,   heavy jet $60-85K
  • Chicago (MDW) to New York (TEB) 2 hour flight,    light jet $9k, mid jet$ 12k, heavy jet $18k
  • St. Maartin (TNCM) to Miami (KOPF) 3 hour flight,   light jet $15k, mid jet, $18k heavy $23-25k
  • Chicago (MDW) to Los Angeles (VNY) 4 hour flight,   light jet $16k, mid jet $21k, heavy jet $30-32k

Some other examples of prices come from Avinode, which gathers a large amount of data on the charter marketplace. Their recent data shows the average price per hour including taxi rate + fuel surcharges, for various aircraft including:

Midsize Jets

Citation X $4,897
Hawker 800 $3,763
Learjet 60 $3,305

Heavy Jets

Falcon 900 $6,085
Gulfstream IV $5,632
Challenger 604 $5,023

All of the above average prices have increased over the last 6 months. Note that hourly rates can vary quite a bit depending on the age and condition of the aircraft.

If you’re looking at chartering a plane and plan to use a charter broker, there’s good list of questions to ask a private air charter broker or service in this article.

Use the instant flight quoting tool below, to obtain prices on specific flights you are planning. Just input your starting and end locations and expected dates of travel. Please contact us with any questions.


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Forget Flying Commercial: The Personal Airplane Is Taking Off

Terrafugia Transition

LET’S FANTASIZE a little: It’s the Friday afternoon of a long weekend. The roads are jammed, so driving from Manhattan to your vacation home in Massachusetts’ Berkshire hills will take hours. The airports are going to be mobbed, too. But the Hudson River dock where you park your seaplane is walking distance from the office. You get in, start her up and take off.

While this may sound improbable, it isn’t completely outlandish, thanks to a newish class of diminutive, two-seat aircraft known as light-sport planes. In addition to being easier to fly than many of the traditional small planes that have been on the market for decades, a few of these newcomers have been bestowed with superpowers of the aviation world. There’s the ICON A5, which can take off and land on water as well as paved runways and grass. A flying car called the Transition, slated for release in a year or two (if all goes as planned), promises to eliminate the hassle of renting a car at your destination since, after you land, you can drive away in this aircraft. And the SuperSTOL, an old-fashioned-looking plane with a fabric-covered steel-tube frame, may eliminate the need for airports altogether. It can take off and land in relatively tight spaces—“runways” as short as 150 feet long, instead of the 2,000 feet or more required by similarly sized planes.

Light-sport aircraft have been around for more than a decade. They cater to pilots with a “starter” license that the Federal Aviation Administration introduced in 2004, part of an effort, hashed out with pilots’ groups and plane manufacturers, to make personal-air travel more accessible. A light-sport license is considerably easier to acquire than a traditional private-pilot certificate: It requires about half as many hours of training—roughly 20 hours—which also makes it less costly. (Budget about $4,000 to $6,000 if you want one.) Of course, there are restrictions: You can only fly during daylight in good weather, not in conditions that call for flight instruments (foggy or cloudy skies, for example). Also, the weight and power of your plane cannot exceed set limits, and it can carry no more than two people.

Granted, flying your own plane isn’t as safe as flying commercial. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the fatality rate for small private planes in 2010 (the latest year available) was 2.09 deaths per 100,000 hours flown. The fatality rate for commercial air travel that year is tallied differently—0.02 deaths per 100,000 aircraft departures—but was clearly lower.

Risk notwithstanding, I took my first flying lessons in 1988, long before the light-sport trend got off the ground. Even though I have the more advanced private-pilot license today, a handful of companies are trying to lure weekend pilots like me into their plane’s cockpits, not just with the speed and thrill of flying but with the ability to land closer to their destinations—or even, in the case of the Transition, to drive their planes directly there.

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Types of jet engines

Jet engines have evolved quite a bit since Whittle’s era. Now there are several distinctly different types, each working in a slightly different way.


Turbojet engines on a Stratofortress airplane

Whittle’s original design was called a turbojet and it’s still widely used in airplanes today. Turbojets are basic, general-purpose jet engines. The engine we’ve explained and illustrated up above is an example. Read more about turbojets from NASA (includes an animated engine you can play about with).



An airplane propeller showing how the blades are twisted and make an angle to the hub.

Turboprop engines have a propeller at the front and are popular in smaller, more economical aircraft and helicopters. The propeller is driven by a jet engine mounted directly behind it. Read more aboutturboprops from NASA.



Turbofan jet engine showing fan and bypass.

Turbofan engines are much quieter than turbojets and are typically used in large airliners. A turbofan engine has a large fan that sucks in air at the front. Some of the air is blown into the compressor; the rest is blown around the outside of the combustion chamber and straight out of the back. This “bypass” arrangement cools the engine and makes it much quieter. It also produces much more thrust at both takeoff and landing. Read more about turbofans from NASA.


Ramjets and scramjets

Ramjet rocket engine showing fan and bypass.

Ramjets are simple and compact jet engines—little more than gas-burning pipes, typically used to power rockets and guided missiles. Scramjets are supersonic ramjets (ones in which air travels through the engine faster than the speed of sound). Read more about ramjetsand scramjets from NASA.


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How a jet engine works

This simplified diagram shows you the process through which a jet engine converts the energy in fuel into kinetic energy that makes a plane soar through the air:

Artwork diagram showing how a jet engine works

  1. For a jet going slower than the speed of sound, the engine is moving through the air at about 1000 km/h (600 mph). We can think of the engine as being stationary and the cold air moving toward it at this speed.
  2. A fan at the front sucks the cold air into the engine.
  3. A second fan called a compressor squeezes the air (increases its pressure) by about eight times. This slows the air down by about 60 percent and it’s speed is now about 400 km/h (240 mph).
  4. Kerosene (liquid fuel) is squirted into the engine from a fuel tank in the plane’s wing.
  5. In the combustion chamber, just behind the compressor, the kerosene mixes with the compressed air and burns fiercely, giving off hot exhaust gases. The burning mixture reaches a temperature of around 900°C (1650°F).
  6. The exhaust gases rush past a set of turbine blades, spinning them like a windmill.
  7. The turbine blades are connected to a long axle (represented by the middle gray line) that runs the length of the engine. The compressor and the fan are also connected to this axle. So, as the turbine blades spin, they also turn the compressor and the fan.
  8. The hot exhaust gases exit the engine through a tapering exhaust nozzle. The tapering design helps to accelerate the gases to a speed of over 2100 km/h (1300 mph). So the hot air leaving the engine at the back is traveling over twice the speed of the cold air entering it at the front—and that’s what powers the plane. Military jets often have an after burner that squirts fuel into the exhaust jet to produce extra thrust. The backward-moving exhaust gases power the jet forward. Because the plane is much bigger and heavier than the exhaust gases it produces, the exhaust gases have to zoom backward much faster than the plane’s own speed.

Pratt Whitney F119 Jet engine test

Photo: Top artwork: This composite artwork uses part of the top photo on this page, taken by Ian Schoeneberg and courtesy of US Navy, combined with a photo of a turbine exhibit at Think Tank, the science museum in Birmingham, England, which we took ourselves.

Photo: Bottom photo: Massive thrust! A Pratt and Whitney F119 jet aircraft engine creates 156,000 newtons (35,000 pounds) of thrust during this US Air Force test in 2002. Picture by Albert Bosco courtesy of US Air Force.

Whittle’s engines

British engineer Sir Frank Whittle (1907–1996) invented the jet engine in 1930, and here’s one of his designs taken from a patent he filed in 1937. As you can see, it bears a resemblance to the modern design up above, although it works a little differently (most obviously, there is no fan at the inlet). Briefly, air shoots in through the inlet (1) and is pressurized and accelerated by a compressor (2). Some is fed to the engine (3), which drives a second compressor (4), before exiting through the rear nozzle (5). The rear compressor’s exhaust drives the compressor at the front (6).

Frank Whittle gas turbine jet engine patent from 1937

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Aircraft Engine Overhaul Keeps Your Plane Healthy

Aircraft Engine OverhaulAn aircraft engine is literally the beating heart of an airplane, and an aircraft engine overhaul is the best way to keep the plane’s “heart” healthy and functioning smoothly.  Environmental conditions are just some of the factors that can play a major role in wear and tear on an aircraft engine, and an overhaul helps address those issues as well as many others.

Aircraft Engine Overhaul 

An aircraft engine overhaul involves removing, tearing down, cleaning, inspecting, repairing and testing all engine parts.  The time between overhauls is determined by each aircraft engine manufacturer, based on a combination of the hours of service and the age of the engine.  The average time between overhauls for most manufacturers is 2,000 hours.  

Reasons for Aircraft Engine Overhaul 

Aircraft engines function in less-than-friendly environmental conditions, with exposure to corrosive saltwater, dust, and dramatic climate changes—all of which can lead to internal corrosion.  In addition, engines that are subject to short-term use often need more frequent aircraft engine overhauls as short-term use results in increased condensation.  Engines in use for less than 40 hours per month will experience corrosion due to condensation, as the moisture does not evaporate off engine parts quickly enough.  Engine components experience significant expansion and contraction due to extreme heat during operation and rapid cool down upon landing.  Metal that is contracted and expanded often degrades, and parts break down due to friction.

Extend the Life of an Aircraft Engine 

The most important reason to undergo an aircraft engine overhaul is that the procedure will extend the life of an aircraft engine. An aircraft engine overhaul keeps the engine running smoothly and extends the life of the aircraft significantly.

Visit us at to learn more about the aircraft engine overhaul services we provide.  Let’s talk on Facebook and LinkedIn also!

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What Is An Aircraft Engine Light Overhaul?

Your TBO isn’t just about your safety; it is also about the resale value of your PT6A engine and aircraft. Your aircraft will not sell very quickly if your maintenance log books aren’t kept up to date. You want to have a reasonable amount of work done on your engine at all recommended intervals so that the next prospective owner knows that the airplane is in tip-top shape.

A light overhaul is a great way to keep your maintenance log books full without emptying your wallet. The light overhaul is different than a full overhaul because it focuses solely on the most important parts of the PT6A engine. This ensures the safety of your flight beyond TBO, extends the life of the aircraft and lets the aircraft retain the most resale value.

Covington Aircraft knows that maintaining a PT6A engine can be expensive. Sometimes that TBO sneaks up on you and hits you with an expensive overhaul. But that doesn’t need to be the case. You can choose a light overhaul because it costs roughly half of what a full overhaul costs. This can save you money if you currently can’t afford a full overhaul, or you can have a light overhaul done just before selling your craft so you don’t have to cover the entire cost of a regular overhaul.

At Covington Aircraft, we take great care in completing the light overhaul and in filling out your maintenance logs. We will make sure that every little detail of our work is logged into your maintenance record so that you can show your prospective buyers down the road. Nowhere in the log will it explicitly say “Light Overhaul”. Instead, we choose to focus on the work completed when filling out the books. Every single job, no matter how large or small, will be recorded and the work will stand for itself. A prospective buyer will be impressed with the quality of the work and the detail of the maintenance log.

Of course, a light overhaul is not just for people looking to sell an aircraft. The light overhaul will earn you another 2,500 of flight time beyond your TBO. That is a pretty impressive amount of airtime for such an affordable overhaul. This allows pilots to stay in the air and make more money. Later on down the road, a full overhaul can be purchased as the 2,500th hour approaches. This allows you to choose your business’s finance options throughout the year.

Perhaps you have expanded your fleet and need light overhauls to keep the entire fleet in the air. The light overhaul is a great option for the entire fleet. Your expanded fleet will make you more money as you work towards the 2,500-hour mark, allowing you to afford full overhauls for the entire fleet at a later date.

The light overhaul is just another way that Covington Aircraft keeps you in the air and making money. Contact us today to setup your aircraft’s light overhaul and get back to flying as soon as possible.

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The Facts About Aircraft Engine Leasing Returns

Aircraft engine leasing is a highly effective, economical alternative for most operators. Even large operators who own the majority of their engines have the need for leased engines in times of high UER’s (unscheduled engine removals), LLP shop visits, etc. The flexibility to plan removals, plan for UER’s, warranty issues, etc. relies upon the use of leased assets. In reality, the cost of ownership versus the cost to lease can make a huge financial impact on the operators.

Understanding the Aircraft Engine Leasing Return Process
So understanding that leased aircraft engines is invaluable to the industry, what about when they are ready to be returned? Even though lease engines are widely used, the industry still struggles when it comes time to return them. Operators are aircraft engine leasing not designed nor do they plan for the hassles associated with engine lease returns. This can be a multitude of reasons. Maintenance or quality departments do not get involved with the signing of lease contracts so they are unaware of the contractual requirements for lease return until the engine is ready to come off. Some operators are not set up to perform some of the required functions of the lease return. In any event, regardless of who actually owns the engine, through the guidance of the administrators (FAA, EASA, etc.), the operator is responsible for that leased engine while it is under their maintenance program. Once the engine is off wing, it simply becomes an accessory. Some operators may even use large engine overhaul companies to tend to lease return but this has its own large pitfalls as well. Lease returns can be time consuming and they do not generate the large sales numbers such as engine overhauls and hospital type visits. These larger shops are typically very busy so aircraft engine lease returns get pushed to the end of the line dramatically increasing lease return time. Seems odd considering 70% of the world’s aircraft engines are leased assets.

Depending on the lease company, most lease return requirements are generally universal. Leasing companies are typically not maintenance or engineering departments. They are more like aviation financial institutions so they rely on the operators for this. Since the operator is on the hook for the aircraft engine leasing fees until the lease return requirements are met, the leasing company will wash their hands of this. This is especially true if there are no other customers waiting for this particular aircraft engine asset to lease. We must be careful there; however, as this is a double edged sword meaning that there could be another lease awaiting this aircraft engine or the asset needs to be staged for a potential lease. Not to mention its great customer support for the leaser to try and help get the engine closed out as fast as possible. Some leasing companies will send representatives on site to monitor the process in order to help the operator return the engine and/or monitor the engine itself.

Understanding the Entire Scope of Aircraft Engine Leasing Returns
We must consider the entire scope of the aircraft engine leasing return process to fully understand the difficulties associated with it. So lets start with the records since they are the biggest issue to tend to.For records, operators must provide:

  • Maintenance history
  • Service reports
  • Replaced component trace (most lease companies will not allow PMA parts)
  • AD and SB’s that may have been complied with
  • Operator or shop issued engineering deviations
  • Engine trend monitoring data
  • LLP status
  • Utilization reports
  • Engine shop visit records if accomplished
  • Inventory of the engine
  • MPA data and/or test cell data if required
  • Various other aircraft engine lease company required forms

These typically will require operator QA signoff. The problem here is that operators do not usually have to concern themselves with most of these items all at one time or some of the items may not be in the normal operation of that operator. Their operations are geared towards running an airline while their internal systems and requirements do not have the flexibility to meet the needs of a lease aircraft engine records pack. Adding to this, depending on the term of the lease and what maintenance the engine has undergone during the lease, the records could be quite extensive. This leads us into replacing and repairing engine components.

Some operators are notorious for using PMA parts and either PMA repairs or airline generated repairs through their engineering departments. Again, the supervisors, QA’s and technicians may not know or care that the engine is a leased asset. They are doing exactly what they need to do by keeping their airplanes flying. So as you can imagine, and engine that has been on lease for years will have gone through a number of maintenance activities and quite possibly a shop visit. In most long-term aircraft engine lease agreements and some short-term agreements, the engine must have a certain amount of performance and LLP left at the end of the lease. Imagine the headache the operator faces when tasked with this burden. Lets be honest. 98% of all agreements and contracts executed are by finance folks who may or may not (most likely) have the knowledge and background for the technical portion of the lease return. So when it comes down to it, supervisors, QA’s and technicians have to weed through the barriers to try and get lease return conditions accomplished. It takes them out of their comfort zone of day to day normal operations. Imagine the cost of an aircraft engine at a daily rate of $3000.00 or more and the time to complete a lease return which runs an industry average of 20 days. That is $60,000.00 not including records labor time, maintenance labor time and materials. So in this example, the cost to return an engine could be over $70,000.00 for an asset that is no longer producing any revenue!

What’s the Answer to These Aircraft Engine Leasing Return Difficulties?
The answer? Dedicated aviation industry professionals and cooperation of leasing companies to make turn-key lease solutions. It follows the rental car industry. Rent the car and return it when you are done. If you do not put gas in it or it is damaged in any way, you are liable. Why couldn’t’t a similar model apply here? Well my friends, it seems that the leasing industry could be heading down this path.

There are a few companies around the globe that provide these kinds of services, one of them being Jet Engine Solutions located in Coppell, Texas USA. This company was founded for the support of leased aviation assets.

It seems aircraft engine leasing companies are starting to listen and pay attention to the needs of their customers. In light of this, it is my opinion that if leasing companies were to provide this kind of service built into a lease agreement, not only would we see shorter turn around times for lease returns but the added value of that particular lease companies assets. This would benefit all parties involved in the aircraft engine leasing return process.

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The Little Gear That Could Reshape the Jet Engine

Pratt & Whitney’s new PurePower Geared Turbofan aircraft engines are impressive beasts. Scheduled to enter commercial service before the end of the year, they burn 16 percent less fuel than today’s best jet engines, Pratt says. They pollute less. They have fewer parts, which increases reliability. And they create up to 75 percent less noise on the ground, enabling carriers to pay lower noise fees and travel over some residential areas that are no-fly zones for regular planes. Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Irkut, and Mitsubishi have certified the engines for use on their narrowbody craft. JetBlue, Lufthansa, Air New Zealand, Malaysia’s Flymojo, and Japan Airlines are among the engine’s 70 buyers in more than 30 countries.

To people outside the aircraft business, what may be most remarkable about the engines is that they took almost 30 years to develop. That’s about 15 times as long as the gestation period of an elephant and unimaginably longer than it takes to pop out a smartphone app. Could Pratt have gotten the hardware out faster? Probably. But industrial innovation on the scale of a commercial jet engine is inevitably and invariably a slog—one part inspiration to 99 parts perspiration.

In Pratt’s case, it required the cooperation of hundreds of engineers across the company, a $10 billion investment commitment from management, and, above all, the buy-in of aircraft makers and airlines, which had to be convinced that the engine would be both safe and durable. “It’s the antithesis of a Silicon Valley innovation,” says Alan Epstein, a retired MIT professor who is the company’s vice president for technology and the environment. “The Silicon Valley guys seem to have the attention span of 3-year-olds.”

The PurePower GTF began to take shape in 1988, when Pratt staffers in East Hartford, Conn., including a 28-year-old engineer named Michael McCune, started developing a gizmo to slow the fan—the big rotating blades at the front of the engine that provide most of a jetliner’s propulsion. For planes flying at typical speeds, a slow fan that moves large volumes of air at a moderate velocity is more efficient than a fast-spinning fan that accelerates a smaller volume of air. (The slow fan’s also quieter.)

The problem was that the fan was attached to the same shaft as two other parts of the jet engine, the low-pressure turbine and low-pressure compressor. Those parts would be more efficient if they ran faster, not slower. Sharing a shaft was a compromise that hurt each part’s performance and left nobody happy.

The solution McCune and his co-workers pursued was one that had already been used successfully on turboprop planes: a gearbox between the shaft and the fan that lets the fan run slower while the compressor and turbine run faster. The gearing approach hadn’t been tried at the scale of a commercial jetliner because the conventional wisdom was that it would be too heavy and wear out too quickly. “We started studying all gearboxes in service” to determine what the obstacles really were, says McCune.

The biggest challenge in scaling up was how to keep the gearbox, which is about 20 inches in diameter and weighs about 250 pounds, from being torn apart if there was a shock that wrenched the fan in one direction and the shaft in another. Adding steel for stiffness would make the engine too heavy. To put some give into the system, McCune’s team attached the gearbox rigidly to the fan but somewhat loosely, with bendable metal baffles, to the compressor/turbine shaft and the engine case.

Pratt engineers borrowed technology and ideas from other divisions of parent United Technologies: notes on gears from Sikorsky, which makes turbine-powered helicopters; bearing know-how from Pratt & Whitney Canada, which makes the geared PT6 engine for smaller turboprop aircraft; and simulations of how lubricants move through the gear from the United Technologies Research Center. It also got special parts from Timken, the 116-year-old bearing maker, and permission from NASA to use its wind tunnels in California and Ohio.

At times, the extent of the operation had to be protected from bean-counting Pratt executives, says Epstein. “Sometimes we spent a lot. In other years we hid him [McCune] behind the curtain and slipped him some sandwiches so management wouldn’t know what the investment was,” he jokes.

By 2008 the engine was ready for testing. Pratt engineers deliberately broke a prototype, letting a fan blade fly off to test whether the accident would destroy the gears. Afterward, Epstein says, “we took the gearbox apart, and it looked brand-new. You could even see the machining marks on the gears.”

“There were a lot of false starts there, but they knew they had a concept that would work,” says Ernest Arvai, a partner in commercial aviation consultant AirInsight. “I’m amazed that they kept the research going as long as they did. I think they’ve got a winner there.”

Epstein gives much of the credit for the project to McCune, who has 66 patents to his name. “Mike has succeeded in what many people thought was an impossible challenge,” he says.

One consequence of the engine’s decades-long development is that it’s missed the window to be considered for inclusion on the latest generation of widebody jets, says George Ferguson, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. In the more important market for narrowbody jets, Ferguson says, the large fan makes the engine too big for Boeing’s 737 Max, which has low wings. On the plus side, Pratt & Whitney has fought General Electric nearly to a draw on airlines’ orders for engines for the Airbus A320neo family (46 percent vs. 54 percent, respectively, among orders in which an engine was chosen). And the PurePower GTF is the exclusive engine for the new narrowbodies from Bombardier, Embraer, and Mitsubishi. The jet engine market-share war plays out over decades. Speaking of the new engine, United Technologies Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes told analysts earlier this year: “Long-term, we like where we are.”


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Perfecting the jet engine

Fuel costs and environmental concerns are heavily influencing developments within the civil aerospace industry. The aircraft of the future and the propulsion systems that power them might look radically different in decades to come. Ingenia asked Rolls-Royce, and Professor Philip Ruffles CBE, former director of engineering and technology at the company, about the work being undertaken and where that might lead.

The gas turbine engine has changed dramatically since the father of jet propulsion, Sir Frank Whittle, unveiled his first engine in 1937. Thanks to major advances in materials, design and manufacturing, engines are now much more powerful and efficient. There are, however, plenty of design challenges left to address.

One of the major challenges for aero engine designers today is to find the optimum balance between fuel economy, noise and emissions. To make matters more difficult this balance is constantly changing in response to different requirements from aircraft manufacturers.

To achieve that balance, designers have to make choices. They can drive an engine’s thermodynamic cycle harder, boosting its thermal efficiency and cutting fuel consumption. However, this increases engine maintenance costs and can raise combustion emissions, especially oxides of nitrogen. Alternatively, they can increase propulsive efficiency, principally by increasing fan diameter. But this has to be balanced with increases in weight and drag which in turn increase fuel consumption and consequent CO2emissions. Finally, designers need to design a propulsion system that minimises noise which can increase engine weight and aircraft fuel burn.

Bigger fans

Making the most of propulsive efficiency is crucial to reducing fuel consumption. A jet engine works by sucking in large amounts of air – see Back to basics. So, one way to boost efficiency is to increase the amount of air being sucked into the engine relative to that going through the engine core. To do this, the engine’s fan blades need to be as large as possible while minimising the weight and drag that increase fuel consumption. There are a number of projects within Rolls-Royce working to increase propulsive efficiency.

At the moment, Rolls-Royce aero engines use super plastically formed/diffusion bonded (SPF/DB) hollow titanium fan blades to deliver the most efficient fan system created to date. With the advances in composite technology, the time is right to produce a new, lighter, composite system. Composite Technology and Applications Limited (CTAL), a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and GKN Aerospace, is developing new ways to manufacture carbon fibre fan blades and fan cases.

Historically, composite blades have been made by hand, but the CTAL team intends to automate production, increase quality and reduce manufacturing time. CTAL is pioneering a technique known as Automated Fibre Placement in which a purpose-built robot lays strips of impregnated carbon fibre tape on to a fan-shaped mould, which is then heated and pressurised to harden the strips. Once baked, the blade’s root and leading edge are machined and coated to protect the surface, edged with titanium to boost strength and, finally, painted with an environmental protective coating.

A similar process is being followed to manufacture the fan case, and the process is being further developed so it can be used to make more complex structures. The next generation of Rolls-Royce engine that uses this composite fan system could weigh between 500 and 1,000 Ibs less (depending on the application) than today’s equivalent – a weight saving in the range of 3-6%.

Rolls-Royce is also experimenting with mounting a bladed spinner in front of the main fan blades in order to boost mass flow. Thus additional gas flow can be captured by the fan, without increasing the load on the fan disk. In essence, more flow is squeezed through a fan of a given diameter. The downside to this would be that the additional bladed spinner will increase overall engine noise.

Engineers are studying ways of reducing overall engine noise, for example by using a mini-mixer which mixes some of the fan exit flow with the gases from the hot nozzle. This will reduce noise and improve the transfer efficiency of the engine by optimising the energy between the engine core gas stream and bypass stream.

More radical still, the open rotor concept has the greatest potential to increase bypass ratio and propulsive efficiency. Here, the fan case and nacelle, the outer casing of the engine, are removed from the fan system, leaving the rotors exposed without drag from the surrounding casing, enabling extremely high bypass ratios to be achieved.

A contra-rotating system using two rows of propeller blades would be preferable thus removing the exit swirl of air that occurs in a normal single row propeller. This would eliminate wasted energy, thereby achieving the highest propulsive efficiency.

A key focus of the work Rolls-Royce engineers are undertaking on the open rotor design is around blade pitch control. With airflow on to the fan no longer controlled by a duct, the engine control system must set the blades at the correct angle to the airflow for any given operating condition or stage of the aircraft’s journey. Installing such an engine to the airframe is a challenge and engine designers are working closely with airframers to ensure open rotor engines could be accommodated in new aircraft designs. Future open rotor powered aircraft will also be slightly slower than their conventional turbofan-operated counterparts. Along with noise, this is a key tradeoff that has to be weighed up against the exceptionally high efficiency benefits of this engine design.

Hotter cores

Thermal efficiency is essentially the efficiency at which the gas generator converts chemical energy from fuel into the available thermal energy in the gas stream.

To extract more thermal energy from the fuel and convert it into thrust, the overall pressure ratio (OPR) from the front of the fan to the rear of the compressor must be as high as possible within the constraints of available materials. However, as the OPR increases, so do the operating temperature environment of the core components and the temperature of the air used to cool the turbines.

Rolls-Royce carries out numerous technology programmes to improve engine design and performance. One such is the Environmentally Friendly Engine (EFE) demonstrator which focuses on improving the thermal efficiency of the engine. EFE utilises a three-shaft Trent 1000 engine as used on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This has been heavily modified to demonstrate the next generation and beyond of world class engine technologies.

Engineers working on the EFE demonstrator programme have been testing a range of materials, cooling specifications and different methods of film cooling for various blade and nozzle shapes. Additional work on lightweight intercoolers – devices that cool the air between compression stages – allows the engine to pressurise the air more efficiently and reduce the temperature of the cooling air extracted to cool other areas of the engine.

Ongoing studies continue to investigate the ‘statorless’ turbine. The usual set of stationary guide vanes, which direct gas flow into the next stage of rotating rotor blades, would be removed so that the gases exiting the upstream rotor impinge directly on the downstream rotor. This would lead to a large reduction in components and weights, and consequently generating fuel burn benefits.

Lastly, advances in computing power have led to engineers on the project developing new algorithms for electronically monitoring and controlling the engine. Active tip clearance control is a key example. Here, control software has been developed to monitor and alter the gap between the tip of a turbine blade and its casing. The turbine tip seal gap is in the magnitude of the width of a human hair. It minimises airflow losses and keep the blades and casing cool. However, the gap width normally varies throughout flight, as the casing and blade heat up and cool down and as the blade is subjected to centrifugal forces.

With active clearance control, sensors in the EFE continuously monitor the width of this gap and feed data back to the engine’s electronic control unit. Crucially, the control system can use this data to alter the width of the gap, according to engine condition, on a second-by-second basis. Systems such as active tip clearance control are paving the way to an intelligent engine that will ‘morph’ to its operating conditions.

Aircraft of the future

Ultimately, tomorrow’s engines will largely be defined by future aircraft designs. New concepts in development include Boeing’s blended wing body, Lockheed Martin’s box-wing and Northrop Grumman’s flying wing designs. All of the proposed aircraft are designed to halve landing and take-off emissions of nitrogen oxides by reducing the take-off thrust requirements. They also aim to cut fuel consumption by nearly 50%, compared with aircraft flying today, with a large proportion of this benefit being delivered by the engines.

These future aircraft concepts are not only radically different, but all point towards a need for closer integration between the airframe and the engine, even designing the aircraft and the engine as a single, fully integrated entity.

Danish physicist Niels Bohr reportedly said that “prediction is very difficult, especially about the future”. We cannot foresee what the aeroplanes of tomorrow will look like, but all the signs are that they will burn less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen.

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Model Plane Flies the Atlantic

When Maynard Hill decided he wanted to fly a model airplane across the Atlantic Ocean, no one took him seriously.

“To be perfectly honest, most of us thought he was crazy,” says Dave Brown, president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics and an old friend of Hill’s. “We didn’t think it could be done.”

Sometimes, daring to be crazy pays off. Last summer, one of Hill’s creations became the first model airplane to cross the Atlantic.

Named TAM-5, the 11-pound plane flew 1,888 miles from Canada to Ireland in 38 hours, 53 minutes. It set world records for longest distance and longest time ever flown by a model airplane.

The achievement came at a symbolic time in the history of flight. One hundred years ago, on Dec. 17, 1903, the Wright brothers made the first powered, sustained, and controlled flight in a heavier-than-air flying machine at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Their plane covered a grand distance of 120 feet in about 12 seconds.

TAM-5’s route also had historical significance. The model airplane followed the same path as the first nonstop, manned flight across the Atlantic in 1919. And Amelia Earhart left from a nearby spot in Newfoundland when she became the first woman to cross the Atlantic in 1928.

August launch

Hill, who is 77, legally blind, and mostly deaf, began his project 10 years ago. With the help of a support team, he made his first three attempts in August, 2002. He figured August would be the best time to launch because that’s the month with fewest storms, and wind conditions are usually favorable.

None of the planes flew more than 500 miles, less than one-third of the way to Ireland. “As we put it,” Brown says, “we fed them to the Atlantic.” The first plane the team sent up this past summer flew about 700 miles before plunging into the sea.

At about 8 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2003, Hill went for attempt number five. He had traveled from his home in Silver Spring, Md., to Cape Spear, Newfoundland, to toss TAM-5 into the air. Once the plane was airborne, a pilot on the ground used a remote control to steer the plane until it reached a cruising altitude of 300 meters. Then, a computerized autopilot took over.

For the next day and a half, everyone on the crew held his or her breath. “We were very much on pins and needles,” says Brown, who went to Ireland to land the plane.

They had plenty of reasons to feel nervous. To qualify for flight records, a model airplane has to weigh less than 11 pounds, including fuel. So, TAM-5 had room to carry just under 3 quarts of gas. This meant that the plane had to get the equivalent of about 3,000 miles per gallon of fuel, Brown says. By comparison, a commercial jet can burn more than 3 gallons of fuel every mile.

The biggest challenge in building the model, Brown says, was figuring out how to make TAM-5’s engine efficient enough to cross the ocean. Most model airplanes use alcohol-based fuels. Instead, Hill used Coleman lantern fuel because, he says, it’s more pure and performs better. He tweaked a regular model airplane engine to make the valves smaller and more efficient.

The plane also carried an impressive set of electronics. Every hour during the flight, crewmembers were able to get information about the plane’s location from a Global Positioning System (GPS) device on board. The GPS device communicated with a satellite orbiting Earth to determine the plane’s exact latitude, longitude, and speed.

The route was programmed into the computerized autopilot, which automatically adjusted the plane’s direction to stay on course. There was also a transmitter on board that sent signals directly to crewmembers on the ground when the plane was within 70 miles of its launch and landing sites.

Rough spots

Everything went smoothly until about 3 a.m. on the second day of flight. Then, suddenly the GPS unit stopped sending information. Everyone assumed the worst—until data started pouring in again 3 hours later. The satellite had just been busy for a while.

Even then, the model’s arrival was never a sure thing. TAM-5’s flight plan was programmed to use 2.2 ounces of fuel per hour. Crewmembers estimated that burning fuel at this rate would give the plane between 36 and 37 hours of flying time. They counted on having a good tailwind to push the plane to a cruising speed of about 55 miles per hour. When data came streaming back in at 6 a.m., though, the plane was moving at only 42 miles per hour. Apparently, there was no wind at all.

TAM-5 had already been flying for more than 38 hours when it finally came into view in Ireland. Brown was sure it was running on fumes. “The whole crew had visions of seeing the thing appear on the horizon,” Brown says, “then quit and fall in the ocean.”

With a remote control, he took over the plane’s flight in stages: first steering, then altitude. At a few minutes after 2 p.m. on Aug. 11, TAM-5 landed safely just 88 meters from the chosen spot on Mannin Bay, Galway. Cheers went up among the crowd of 50 or so people who had gathered to watch it land. “It was absolutely euphoric to see it arrive,” Brown says.

Brown’s wife was on the phone with Hill in Canada at the time. His reaction was even more emotional. “When the plane landed in Ireland,” Hill says, “I was so overjoyed I hugged my wife and cried.”

Nothing fancy

Amidst the celebration, Brown took the model apart to check how much fuel was left. He found just 1.8 ounces, almost nothing. Later, the team realized that the flight plan had been set to burn 2.01 ounces of fuel per hour instead of 2.2. The plane had wobbled up and down as a result, but the mistake was probably the secret of its success.

While Brown was working, he overheard one boy say to another, “That model isn’t very fancy.” This was quite true. TAM-5 was made of balsa wood and fiberglass, and it was covered with a plastic film, just like any ordinary model airplane. At 74 inches long and with a 72-inch wingspan, it used the same principles of flight as any other airplane, model or life-sized. “Yeah,” the other boy said. “I bet I could build one that good.”

The conversation forced Brown to reflect on the importance of TAM-5’s record-setting flight. “I realized later that the most important significance wasn’t the accomplishment itself but what it will challenge someone else to do,” he says. “Perhaps even that kid, or some adult down the road, will build one that’s better, or one that goes higher, faster, farther. That kind of challenge is what setting records is all about.”

For Hill, the accomplishment holds a lesson in persistence. Keep trying, no matter what kind of handicaps you have, he says.

“Kids can learn that it’s often necessary to try and try again to achieve a goal,” Hill says. “Don’t give up! I have worked on model airplane records for 40 years. This particular goal required 5 years of building and testing—and crashing!”

It’s impossible to know what TAM-5’s flight will lead to next. If a small model airplane can fly across the ocean, maybe someday jets will be able to carry cargo the same distance without a single human on board, Brown says.

Other consequences may emerge that nobody has dreamed of yet, Brown says. “When the Wright brothers finished their first flight,” he says, “if you had asked them what this means for the future, I don’t think they would have told you that some day a 747 would fly across the country. They wouldn’t have foreseen a flight to the moon.”

So, it’s onward and upward!

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How to Make Model Airplane Fuel

Building and flying model airplanes is a popular hobby for men and women of all ages. The first model airplane, the “Planophore,” was invented by Alphonse Penaud and flew 131 feet. Today’s model airplanes are much more technologically advanced and can glide through the air with the help of a motor. These motors require fuel that can be safely and economically mixed at home.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Measuring cups
  •  Respirator
  •  Safety goggles
  •  Rubber gloves
  •  Three-gallon plastic contain
  •  Bakers AA castor oil
  •  Klotz KL-200 oil
  •  Methanol
  •  Nitromethane
  •  HDPE gallon jugs

Prepare yourself for handling methanol by wearing a respirator, rubber gloves,and goggles.

Place four cups of Bakers AA castor oil into a plastic container that is at least three gallons.

Add four cups of Klotz KL-200 oil to the plastic container.

Add 28 cups of methanol to the mixture.

Add four cups of nitromethane to the mixture.

Mix the ingredients well.

Pour the fuel immediately into HDPE gallon jugs that can be firmly sealed to prevent moisture in the air from mixing with the chemicals.

Store the fuel and all the chemicals in an environment between 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.


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How to Make Model Airplanes

While not as popular as it once was, airplane modeling remains a satisfying pastime for creative aviation enthusiasts. While there are many ways to make model airplanes, such as sculpting from wood, or molding with plasitc, this article will focus on building models using glue together plastic kits. These kits have been around for many decades and there is much more to making a model than just gluing the pieces together.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Glue-together airplane kit of a plane of your choice
  •  Airplane glue
  •  Flat wooden toothpicks
  •  Rubber bands
  •  Old newspaper
  •  Filler putty (intended for plastic models)
  •  Small paint brushes of varying sizes
  •  Tweezers
  •  X-acto knife (or similar modeling knife)
  •  Sandpaper (both fine and medium)
  •  Model airplane paint (both spray paint and brush paint are available) and are used for different purposes.

Getting started

Choose an airplane kit. Model airplane kits may still be easily found at hobby stores. Ebay is another good source, if you are looking for something unusual. If you are inexperienced, do not pick a kit that is too complex. If you read the box, the difficulty level is usually printed somewhere.

Read the instructions completely before attempting to begin working on your new model. Sometimes there may be choices that must be made in advance. For example, you may need to decide whether the landing gear will be retracted or extended on the final model. Decisions like this often affect the order in which certain parts need to be assembled.

Exercise patience when getting started. These models are not designed to be assembled in a single sitting. Expect to spend days, weeks, or even months depending upon the complexity of the model you choose.

Decide if you will paint your model. With a little effort, you can greatly improve the realistic appearance of your model by painting it. You should decide this early, as some parts are best painted before the model is fully assembled.

Take care in separating the plastic parts from the plastic frames they are attached to. Try not to use too much force or you could damage the more delicate parts. In some cases, an X-acto knife will make this easier. Just be careful not to cut yourself. It is best to remove parts one by one, as they are needed, rather than separating them all in the beginning. Pieces are usually labeled with numbers and letters, which are sometimes imprinted on the frame rather than on the piece itself.

Choose a work area that is well ventilated (to protect against glue and paint fumes), and secluded from children or other people who could accidentally knock something over.


Follow the instructions in order. They are usually ordered the way they are for a good reason.

Larger pieces, such as the fuselage and wings should be spray painted before gluing them together. Lay them on newspaper and spray the paint in slow even sweeps.

Use a flat wooden toothpick to apply the glue. Always use glue sparingly. A thin coat on one of the edges to be glued is all you need. Otherwise it will squirt out between the two pieces, making an unsightly blob on your model when it dries.

Set aside pieces that have been glued together, and allow them to dry before working with them again. In some cases, you may want to use rubber bands to hold them together while they dry.

Examine components that have been glued together, after they have dried, and look for uneven areas, rough spots, or gaps between the pieces. Use sandpaper to get rid of rough spots. Use putty filler to fill in gaps or cracks. Always give the putty time to dry before working further with the piece. After it dries, it may be necessary to sand the puttied area a little, so that it is completely smooth.

Use tweezers to hold small pieces that need to be painted by brush. Wait until all glue and putty is completely dried before painting.

Paint internal pieces, such as instrument panels, engine parts, and landing gear before gluing them inside the airplane.

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How to Build Wooden Model Airplanes

Building wooden model airplanes is a challenging and engrossing hobby. It requires attention to detail and a steady hand, but the results can be amazing. Whether you choose a kit-built plane or build one from scratch, many of the basic steps are the same.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Building board
  •  Blueprint or plans
  •  Balsa wood
  •  Sandpaper
  •  Airplane glue
  •  Craft knives
  •  Tissue paper
  •  Plant mister
  •  Dope thinner
  •  T-pins or straight pins

Getting Started

Decide what kind of airplane you want to build. There are three basic kinds of wooden model airplanes–built from scratch, kit-built and ARF, almost ready to fly. ARF planes require very little time investment. Kit built planes usually include printed balsa wood and everything needed to complete your plane. Building from scratch is the most challenging and is not recommended for beginners.

Set up your work space. Choose an area that is well-lighted and within easy reach of an electrical outlet. You will need a card table on which to work and a building board which you can create yourself from an old bulletin board or a cork ceiling tile.

Assemble your tools. There are some basic tools that you must have before you can begin to build model wooden airplanes. These include straight pins, sandpaper, a good craft knife or set of craft knives, a ruler and glue.

Read the instructions from start to finish before beginning. It is important to understand what you will be doing and the order in which you will be doing each step.

If you are building from scratch or if your kit does not have pre-printed or punch-out balsa wood pieces, you will have to transfer the plans to the balsa wood. One of the easiest ways to do this is to pin the plan on top of the balsa wood sheet, then carefully draw over every line in the plan with a blunt number two pencil or an orange stick. Exert just enough pressure to impress the cutting lines into the balsa sheet. Label the pieces to avoid confusion.

Building Your Balsa Wood Model Airplane

Using a hobby knife, carefully cut the airplane pieces from the balsa wood sheet. It is best to cut out just the pieces you will need to build the wooden airplane one section at a time. Keep your plans nearby so that you can easily identify pieces if you get confused.

Sand each piece carefully until it is perfectly smooth. Use a sanding block if required to avoid rounding the edges.

Pin the wooden pieces in place on your work board to hold them in place. Apply glue to the joints. Allow it to dry before removing pins. Build one section at a time.

Assemble the sections of the plane. The order of assembly will depend on the plan or kit that you have chosen. Use a craft knife to remove any excess dried glue that will weigh the plane down.

Cover the wooden frame with tissue paper skin. Depending on your instructions, you may cover the skeleton one piece at a time as it is completed, or cover the completed plane skeleton. In either case, draw a line of airplane glue along each wooden rib, then carefully smooth tissue paper over the skeleton. Spritz lightly with a water mister and allow to dry. When the glue is dry, paint over the entire plane with thinned airplane glue.

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How To Make That Long Airplane Journey Fly By

As an impatient, restless and easily-bored person, the idea of hours in a plane, car or train is not an attractive proposition. Planes are the worst for feeling restricted and confined, especially when you have long legs and aren’t lucky enough to get an aisle seat or additional leg-room. So, as you prepare for the long journey ahead, take a look at the following list and ensure you are well prepared.

Remember, once you are on that plane, there is no getting off to buy those things that you wish you had packed. Trains and cars offer a more flexible system, but you should still follow the same rules. You never know when you will get the chance to fill your bags with these life-saving items, so always prepare before you even start that journey.

The most uncomfortable part of the plane journey is not necessarily the plane or the journey. As Jean-Paul Sartre exclaimed in his play No Exit – “Hell is other people.” This famous phrase can often describe the feeling of annoyance as the noise, smell or constant nudging of your seat neighbour begins to irritate you to an almost psychopathic extent. There are many things that you can use to distract from this irritant, and you may need to use all of them.

The modern-day traveller has an endless amount of technology at their fingertips, and the aeroplane is the perfect place to take advantage of such great inventions. Mobile telephones are slowly becoming allowed some usage on planes, but until then, technology fans can make use of the other top inventions of the last century, the digital audio player and the handheld video game console.

The digital audio player or MP3 player offers a more convenient, streamlined and powerful version of the portable cassette player. Ten to twenty years ago, passengers would be carrying a brick-sized tape player, accompanied by a clutch of various cassettes with all their favourite tunes to keep them occupied and entertained. Today, the process is so much more simple.

A couple of weeks before your flight, download the songs that you want, put them onto your MP3 player and ensure that it is fully charged. Pack it in your hand luggage and prepare for a journey with the sound of decent music in your ears, rather than the horrendous screech of children or the monotonous drone of ‘that’ man that loves the sound of his own voice. If you don’t know who that person is, then it is probably you.

For those people old enough to remember Tetris, Sonic and Super-Mario, the next item will provoke nostalgia and emotional memories. As a child, journeys would fly by with the simple friendship of the handheld video game. There are so many of these to choose from, with simple often being the most effective. Hours will seem like minutes as you become so involved in the games, that when you close your eyes, the scenarios reappear in your mind and you continue playing them until you eventually fall asleep.

If technology is not your strong point, or your budget doesn’t stretch to these electronic saviours, there are cheaper alternatives that have been delaying boredom for hundreds of years. Magazines and newspapers can keep you interested for some time, with the additional bonus of a crossword or quiz to take up a few more precious minutes.

As a restless person, when taking magazines onto a plane, I often become annoyed with the magazine itself and regret wasting the money on purchasing it. You can buy a quiz-book or book of puzzles as these can help distract your mind for longer periods than celebrity-filled trash at three pound a go.

Facing hours on a plane and with early or late boarding times, a passenger may not have the opportunity to eat before their flight. Nearly all planes offer hot food when you travel now, but don’t expect a michelin-star meal or you may be terribly disappointed. Pack a few snacks and treats into your hand luggage, and enjoy the foods that you love without paying the sky-high prices on board.

Hand luggage is becoming increasingly important and the planning and preparation stage should be taken seriously. With more restrictions and rules in place, what you take on board will be closely monitored. Adhering to the rules, but packing important items that will help you enjoy your flight, will ensure that long-distance plane journey will fly by in the blink of an eye.


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Superior Grand Canyon Chopper And Airplane Excursions for the Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day weekend is almost here. From September 5 to September 7, Americans will be celebrating the last three-day weekend of the year. A Grand Canyon sightseeing flight tour would be the perfect way to top off your holiday weekend and end the summer. With Labor Day coming up fast, you’ll need to decide on your tour package and make your booking within the next week.

Las Vegas Air Tours

When you depart from Las Vegas, you can take a landing tour or an air-only tours. Book a landing tour if you can, one of the most popular ones is where the chopper flies to the canyon floor and sets down by the Colorado River. This tour includes a nice champagne picnic and you can also add on a river boat tour that is very scenic and fun.

You can even do more fun things. You could even combine the bottom landing tour with a rim landing one. Then you can take a walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The Skywalk is a thrilling attraction with a floor made of thick glass that allows you to stand over the canyon floor thousands of feet below you. The view is simply amazing and it is a great addition to an aerial tour of the canyon.

If you’re in a larger group or are looking for the most economical tickets, you could try an airplane tour. Airplanes can’t fly down to the canyon floor, but they fly along the same flight path as helicopters, so you’ll see the same sights from a higher altitude. If you’re looking to see the South Rim, however, then an airplane is the best way to get out to Tusayan in Arizona.

South Rim Helicopter Tours

If you start your tour from Tusayan, or even if you fly there from Vegas, you’ll be able to choose from two helicopter tours. One gives you thirty minutes of air time and flies over to the North Rim and circles back. The other tour is highly recommended because it give you 50 minutes of flight time. It takes the same flight path as the shorter tour, but includes an extension out to the eastern boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park. This tour is so comprehensive that you’ll see about 3/4 of the entire Grand Canyon when you take it.

Helicopters cannot land on the canyon floor at the South Rim, but you can add on a fun Jeep tour instead. The Jeep tour is a scenic 2 1/2 hour ground tour through the park. You’ll appreciate getting to see the park from the ground as well as from the air.

Deluxe Tour Upgrades

The basic tours cost the least. They fly on AStar and Bell Ranger choppers. They provide excellent sightseeing, but if you have a little extra to spend, then it’s worth booking a deluxe tour.

Deluxe tours are provided in newer EcoStar helicopters. They are made for commercial sightseeing, so they offer a more comfortable ride. There are no bad seats on these choppers because the comfy bucket seats are positioned stadium style. These helicopters are roomier and they’re quieter too, but the star of the show is the huge windshield, which provides unobstructed viewing for 180 degrees at the front of the helicopter. Another perk of deluxe tours is that they come with free shuttle transportation from your Vegas hotel to the helipad located on the Strip.

Airplane tours are given on custom Twin Otter planes, which have seats for 19. These sightseeing airplanes offer great views too through their large windows.

Book Now To Secure Your Grand Canyon Helicopter Tickets

Labor Day is a very busy time at the Grand Canyon, so you definitely want to buy your seats by next week. It’s easiest to buy your tour online so you can get confirmation of your seats, plus you’ll find the lowest prices online anyway.

Grand Canyon helicopters provide memorable experiences, whether you choose a landing or a flyover tour. Plane tours are an economical option for larger groups, and flying out to Arizona from Vegas can offer you a side of the canyon that can’t be seen from Nevada.

Book soon, book online, and you’ll be set for the best sightseeing adventures at the Grand Canyon National Park.

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How do I Check a Weapon on Delta Airlines?

Delta Airlines permits weapons, including knives, firearms and ammunition, to be checked in on flights if they are each packaged separately, unloaded and locked. Each ticketed passenger may check up to 11 pounds of ammunition. Gunpowder, pepper spray and tear gas are never permitted on Delta flights. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) prohibits any weapons or ammunition from being carried on a commercial flight. Violators of Delta Airlines and TSA policies are subject to criminal prosecution and fines up to $10,000.

Things You’ll Need

  •  Hard-sided container
  •  Keyed or combination lock

Pack Weapons and Ammunition

Unload weapons prior to packing. Delta Airlines and the TSA require that all ammunition is removed from weapons and packaged in fiber (cardboard or wood) designed to carry ammunition. Ammunition may be packed in the same case as the weapon.

Pack weapons in a hard-sided case. Up to four rifles and shotguns may be packed in the same case, and up to five handguns are permitted in one case. Cases carrying more than two rifles or shotguns will be assessed an excess baggage fee.

Lock the hard-sided case securely and check for breach points. The TSA defines a locked container as “one that completely secures the firearm from access by anyone other than you.” If a case can be easily opened without a key or knowledge of the lock combination, the TSA and Delta Airlines will refuse to check it.
Weapon cases must be locked by key or combination.
Weapon cases must be locked by key or combination.

Check the Weapon

Inform ticket counter attendants that you are checking a weapon. TSA regulations require that all passengers with weapons must notify clerks and ticket counter attendants before checking in for a flight.

Surrender the case containing the weapon and the key, if available, to the ticket counter agent. The ticket counter agent may request that a TSA security officer inspect your weapon case and its contents.

Lock and secure the weapon after it has been inspected. After approval, the ticket counter agent will check your bag according to normal Delta Airlines procedures.

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Building World War 2 Model Airplanes For Fun and Relaxation

World War 2 Model Airplanes for SaleWorld War 2 was a period during which aviation made technological leaps and bounds, spurred by the urgent necessity of global combat. Today, you can buy inexpensive WW2 model airplane kits that you can paint, assemble and apply authentic decals to in order to achieve a scale model of your favorite world war 2 fighter plane. WW2 model airplane kits are for sale in your local hobby shop or over the internet for deep discounts and can be delivered right to your door. If you happen to be a world war 2 aviation buff and you’re looking for a great way to unwind, or if you want to learn more about WW2 fighter planes and to better understand how they were designed and what life was like for their pilots, taking up WW2 model airplane building is an excellent hobby choice.

What Will You Need to Build WW2 Fighter Plane Model Airplanes?

World War 2 model airplanes are easy to build and don’t require very much of an initial investment. The first important thing to understand about building world war 2 model airplane kits is that there are varying skill levels for beginner, intermediate and advanced hobbyists. The initial or lowest skill level model airplane kits actually don’t require any glue at all – they are known as snap together kits. Model airplane kits at this level may not even require painting. It depends on the company that manufacturers the particular model airplane kit.

The second skill level, intermediate, which is recommended even for brand new beginners as a more complete and interesting introduction to the world of building WW2 fighter plane models, requires that you buy, at the bare minimum, a tube of modeling cement (glue), and a small 8 or 12 color model paint set (which should include brushes as well as a bottle of paint thinner for cleaning your model paint brushes).

If you opt to go with the intermediary level of model airplane kit, you should also have an exacto knife and / or a couple of pieces of sandpaper on hand. These will help you to remove and the various model pieces from their plastic frames which hold them together in the box and on the production line. Once you snap off these model airplane pieces from their plastic frames, you will notice that many of the pieces still have little nubs on them. You can remove these more easily if you have an exacto knife or sandpaper on hand.

When you first open your world war 2 fighter plane model airplane kit, you will notice that most of the plastic pieces are one solid color, except for the few small see through pieces that are intended for the cockpit glass. Keep these clear pieces set well aside, as any contact with model cement or glue can permanently cloud them.

Beginning a World War 2 Model Airplane Kit

As you progress in your hobby, you will discover you own comfortable means of doing things, but in general it’s recommended that you first paint all of your ww2 model airplane pieces while they are still attached to their plastic frames, because doing so will allow you the easiest and most mess-free access to every surface of the airplane. If you first glue and assemble your model and then try to paint, you will have difficulty reaching all the small crannies and spaces that require paint and you will very likely accidentally tag other surfaces with the wrong color paint, which can be frustrating for a beginner.

Once you have painted all of your model’s pieces, according to the inserted instruction sheet which will show you graphics of how the actual planes were painted during the war, you can allow your paint to dry for an hour or two.

Once you return and find the paint on all the various surfaces has dried, carefully remove each piece of your model airplane from its plastic frame. Next, follow the step by step instructions on the assembly sheet to sequentially glue each pair of pieces together and begin building your WW2 fighter plane. A common mistake that many beginning hobbyists make is the over-application of model cement. Model cement is extremely strong and dires very quickly. You only need a barely visible drop on each peg that’s going to be inserted into a slot on another piece of the airplane. Once you have a drop of modeling cement on the pegs to be inserted, allow them 15 or 20 seconds to get a little tacky and begin to set. Then insert the pegs to the slots on the opposite modeling piece and hold the two pieces together firmly but gently for about a minute to ensure a good initial bond.

Repeat these steps for the remaining pieces of your World War 2 fighter plane model, according to the instruction sheet, until it is completely assembled. Once you have your entire WW2 fighter plane built and whole, allow it 10 minutes or so of stillness for all of the glue to further set.

The last stage in building your world war 2 fighter plane is to apply the decals. These decals are pre-made specialized stickers or labels that show the fine tuned and very difficult to replicate paint patterns that airfield artists would apply to the sides and noses of world war 2 fighter planes. Common decals for world war 2 fighter plane models include kill tallys, in the form of X’s or skulls that go underneath the nose, near the engine’s exhaust pipes, elaborate wind decorations in the case of the British and Italian Spitfire’s, or race flag checkering around the tail of the P-51 D mustang. If the decals that came with your model airplane kit are water decals, you should cut around the images carefully with a small pair of scissors. Once you have free a particular image from the decal sheet, drop the entire cutting into a shallow dish of warm water for 10 seconds.

Gently remove the decal cutting from the sheet and slide the top adhesive and image-carrying layer of the decal off its backing sheet. Gently apply this naked decal face up against the correct surface of your model airplane and very gently smooth out any air bubbles with your finger tips. It is very easy to tear these water based decals. The more you handle them, the more brittle and fragile they will become, so concentrate on getting the decal off the backing sheet and onto your model airplane’s surface on the first go.

What if someone shot a gun on an airplane?

Watch enough movies and you’ll eventually encounter one where terrorists or hijackers take over an airplane and start shooting up the place willy-nilly.

There’s even the flick “Air Force One,” where the president, played by Harrison Ford, is shooting a gun and the terrorists are firing right back.

Is this possible or just another example of Hollywood wielding an ample poetic license? Wouldn’t the plane explode or depressurize as soon as the bullet hit the skin of the airplane?

There are four things that might happen if a person were to fire a gun on an airplane:

  1. The bullet simply goes through the aluminum skin of the plane and punches a small hole as it exits.
  2. The bullet hits a window and blows it out.
  3. The bullet hits wiring hidden in the walls or the floor.
  4. The bullet hits a fuel tank.

If the bullet simply punctures the skin of an airplane, then it’s no big deal. The cabin of the airplane is pressurized, and the hole creates a small leak, but the pressurization system will compensate for it. A single hole, or even a few holes like this, will have no effect.

If the bullet blows out a window, that’s a problem. A big one. When the window blows, the plane will depressurize over the course of several seconds. Since all of the air in the cockpit is rushing toward the missing window, a lot of debris will be heading in that direction with it. If the person sitting next to the window isn’t strapped in, then it’s possible that he or she will get pushed out — another good reason to wear your safety belt at all times!

How to Build a Homemade Model Airplane

Building a homemade airplane model is a great inexpensive hobby to take up. These are great projects to get your children involved with and to inspire their imaginations as they build and customize the model airplane and give it their own unique features. This is also a great project for pilots or aircraft enthusiasts that will keep them entertained and give them a sense of accomplishment.

Choose your model airplane kit. You can find model airplane kits at any hobby shop, department store or online. There are thousands of different designs ranging from military planes, to jumbo jets. Choose a style of plane that would seem fun and exciting to build and purchase your kit.

Prepare a work space to build your model airplane. Clear off a desk or table and place old newspaper over the table top surface. This will protect the table from being damaged by model glue and paint. Also make sure the work space is in a warm, dry area such as a heated garage or basement.

Remove the plastic sprues containing all of the model kit parts and wash with warm water and soap. The parts and pieces may have some grease left over from processing and being attached to the sprues. This can prevent glue from setting properly or even ruin your paint job on the model.

Take a hobby knife and carefully remove all the airplane model kit pieces from the sprues. After you have cut each piece off the plastic sprue take a piece of sandpaper and sand any rough spots or notches left on the part from the sprue until it is smooth.

Take all of the small interior pieces of the airplane model and paint them. You will want to paint the cockpit pieces, wheel wells, and the engine pieces before gluing them together and placing them in the airplane model kit.

Paint the body of the plane and other large exterior pieces. Use the color of your choice and then allow the paint to dry for a day or two. After the paint has dried take some gloss and give your plane a little bit of shine.

Assemble the engine and glue cockpit pieces into airplane body. When gluing your model pieces together make sure to use an appropriate amount of glue and try not to use too much or too little. Using too much glue will create oozing which will need to be filed and sanded off, and too little glue will result in a bad bond.

Glue the wheels and cockpit canopy in place. Carefully locate the proper positions for these pieces on the diagram of your model that came with your kit and glue them down. Be sure to hold the piece in place a few seconds to let the glue bond.

Attach any extra pieces such as decals, guns and other pieces of equipment. You will need to let the decals soak in some water for about 30 seconds before they will adhere to the surface of the airplane.

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Catching a lift on a private plane

Taking a private aircraft can be a surprisingly cheap way of travelling.

The flight I took from the small aerodrome of Benavente, near the Portuguese capital Lisbon, to Braga, a city 300km further north, took around one hour and twenty minutes. The cost for a single passenger in the tiny two person airplane: €35 (£25) return.

That was a demo flight arranged by Skyuber. The Portuguese company has developed a mobile application to allow private pilots to find passengers for their flights and share costs with them. It works in much the same way as carpooling websites.

Despite its name, Skyuber has no connection to the popular taxi-hailing Uber app that allows users to book a car and driver. And the founders say they don’t want to compete with private jet companies and low cost airlines.

“It’s a booking service, matching pilots with empty seats to people wanting to fly,” explains co-founder Carlos Oliveira, a 38 year old entrepreneur and investor, who sold his first start-up to Microsoft. His business partner is Joao Paulo Girbal, a 53 year old former Microsoft manager, who now owns a pilot school.

In the narrow niche it operates in, Skyuber is another example of how the sharing economy offers a new way for people to monetise excess resources, such as seats in their cars or rooms in their houses. Just like Uber and Airbnb have changed traditional industries, Skyuber’s founders would like to give many more people access to flying.

“We want to have the largest aircraft fleet in the world without owning the planes”, says Mr Oliveira.

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How to Write Off a Small Airplane for Tax Purposes

In order to keep wealthy individuals from using aircraft purchases as tax shelters and tax deductions, there are strict Internal Revenue Service rules that explain how an airplane can be used as a tax deduction. If the airplane is used solely for personal use, it is considered a hobby and ca not be used as a tax deduction. However, if you use an airplane for business 100 percent of the time, you can apply depreciation guidelines to the aircraft and use that as a tax deduction. Depreciation is the calculated deduction for the gradual decline in value of an item because of wear and tear. Airplanes fall into the category of depreciable items.

Gather all paperwork related to the purchase of the airplane. Find the original sales price of the aircraft and the year you purchased the plane. Get the profit and loss statement for the current tax year from your accountant or personal files. Find the balance sheet for the last day of the fiscal year. These documents are needed to show exactly when the aircraft was purchased.

Evaluate the available methods of depreciation. Select the IRS Section 179 method if you want to take the entire depreciation that is allowable for the airplane in the year that it was purchased. According to, the maximum amount of depreciation cannot exceed $250,000 in one year. A purchase price below that amount can be used as an eligible depreciation deduction. Choose the modified accelerated cost reduction system (MACRS) depreciation method if you would like to deduct the depreciation over an eight-year period.

Calculate the depreciation deductions. According to, MACRS allows you to deduct only 14.29 percent of the cost of the aircraft in the first year. Over the course of the next seven years you are allowed to deduct the rest of the cost of the aircraft. Section 179 of the tax laws allow you to deduct the entire airplane purchase price up to $250,000 all at once.

Consider the disposition of the aircraft. Avoid drawbacks that are associated with the Section 179 depreciation method. According to, if there is a chance that you will sell or dispose of the aircraft before the eighth year of depreciation is over, you will have unrecaptured gains. You will be required to repay the years of depreciation that you deducted but didn’t use.

Tips & Warnings

Show documented proof that the aircraft is used for business. Flight logs, goods and services provided, and purchase agreements can be used to show business use.
Avoid Section 179 depreciation methods if you are not certain whether the aircraft will be functioning properly in eight years. Older aircraft models make this method even riskier.

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Oprah: It’s Great to Have a Private Jet


The private-jet industry may have finally found its savior.

During a speech to Duke University’s graduating class, Oprah talked about the secrets and joys of success. Among them: owning a mansion and a jet.


“It’s great to have a nice home. It’s great to have nice homes! It’s great to have a nice home that just escaped the fire in Santa Barbara,” she told the students. “It’s great to have a private jet. Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn’t great is lying to you.”

She went on to explain that “you haven’t completed the circle of success until you help someone else move to a higher ground and get to a better place.”

The golden nugget here is the jet part. In these times of hair-shirt capitalism and envy politics, the wealthy have been going to great lengths to pretend they don’t enjoy luxury or want nice stuff. If Oprah were like most of the faux-populist rich today, she would have said something like, “I don’t need private jets, in fact I’m happier flying commercial and living in a small house. I like the simple life.” Of course, she would be lying.

But she didn’t. She told the truth, which is that flying in a private jet is one of the great material perks that money can buy. (Talk to anyone who used to be rich and they will say one thing they really miss is the jet. Apparently Oprah’s ride is a $42 million custom-build Global Express XRS built by Bombardier Aerospace).

For the past few months, the private-jet industry has been mounting an enormous public-relations campaign to get people to fly private again. It will take a recovery and wealth creation to really turn the business around. Perhaps for the public-relations part, it should forget all the boring arguments about jobs and productivity and efficiency and run a picture of Oprah with one simple line: “It’s Great to Have a Private Jet.”

Counterfeit Goods: Designer Handbags, Rolex Watches, and Now Airplane Engine Parts

Counterfeit goods used to be so obvious most people knew if their Rolex was a fake. As the market has turned to the Internet, more consumers are unwittingly buying counterfeit designer handbags – and having gone so far as counterfeit airplane engine parts, it’s as much a health and safety issue as an economic one.

A sidewalk vendor. A wink. A misspelled designer logo glued to the interior of a handbag. The clues to counterfeit goods used to be so obvious that most Americans knew what they were buying.

No longer. By selling online, counterfeiters are hawking a growing variety of goods to a wider and unwitting audience. It’s not just scarves and suitcases they’re selling. It’s electrical components, pharmaceuticals, even airplane parts, which find their way into legitimate channels.

Now that almost everything can be faked, counterfeiting is as much a consumer health and safety issue as an economic one. The toughest part for consumers: spotting the fakes.

“Rather than visiting a familiar and trusted corner store for every purchase, consumers have turned to the convenience of the Internet – and can’t necessarily make informed judgments about the seller on the other end of the transaction,” says Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University who has a website on fashion law, “The shopper who would never have considered buying from the guy on the corner whispering, ‘Pssst! Want to buy a watch?’ can easily be fooled by a website that looks genuine but isn’t.”

The most common complaint about counterfeiting is its economic damage, especially for big firms selling overseas. It devalues brands and causes the loss of about 750,000 American jobs, says the US Chamber of Commerce. Now health and safety concerns are coming to the fore.

For example: Fake electrical components (which can end up malfunctioning while doing important tasks) cost the technology sector an estimated $100 billion a year, according to the National Electronic Distributors Association. Most alarming is the rise in counterfeit pharmaceuticals.

“As late as 2004, pharmaceuticals weren’t even on the list,” says Richard Halverson, of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which coordinates the US government’s enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). “Now they’re making the Top 10 list of items being seized.”




Five Great Small Airplanes for Beginner Pilots

As a beginner pilot, one of the most important things to do before you buy your first plane is to research. Investing as much time as possible into understanding the options of small planes available for beginner pilots is both wise and prudent.  You might think that buying a plane is like nothing you’ve ever done before.  That may be true, but think back to the purchase of your very first car.  The transaction of buying a small plane, though larger, and maybe more intimidating, is actually quite similar!  At the end of the day, it’s all about metal, wheels, engines, and horsepower.  Below are five great small airplanes for beginner pilots.

A great rule of thumb when buying a small airplane as a beginner is to consider buying something similar to what you learned to fly on.  The Cessna 150/152 will likely be just that.  This model of plane is the most commonly used to train beginner pilots.  Along with the fact that you may already be familiar with this plane, some pros to choosing it are that it is lightweight and very inexpensive.

The Piper PA-28 Cherokee line of small planes are also good picks for new pilots.  Even though production stopped in the 1980s, there are still plenty of options to buy in this line with everything from varied horsepower ratings to leather seats.   One draw towards these planes is that there is a specific model that was adapted specifically for flight training.

The Diamond DA20 Series is an Austrian copy with large wings, making it look slightly different than the recommendations above.  However, since safety should be of utmost importance for the beginner pilot, this may be one of the better choices.  Bigger wings equal more stability and increased margins of safety, which means this is a smart pick for rookie pilots.

Though not as flashy in appearance, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk is another excellent choice for beginner pilots to buy.  This plane is affordable and is known for its safety, reliability, and ease of use.  In fact, because of these points, many air forces choose this plane as a trainer for their pilots.  It is a widely produced small aircraft, so it will likely be a familiar sight on any airway ramp.  The biggest draw towards choosing to buy this plane is its reputation for safety and reliability.

Like its brother Skyhawk, the Cessna 182 Skylane is a good plane to buy in the beginning of piloting.  The Skylane however, might be something to consider if you are a slightly more advanced beginner.  This plane has a high performance engine, which performs better at higher altitudes.  It also is known for its flight platform stability, making it a reliable and safe choice.

With the many plane options available for beginner pilots to purchase, it’s important to research as much as possible to assist in the decision making process.  Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of all models, making certain that whatever plane you choose, it has a good track record and an excellent reputation for safety and reliability.  It should also be easy to move around and store.  There are a lot of resources out there to help you make your decision so make sure to do your homework.


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Small Aircraft Small aircraft safety: risks and dangers

Small Aircraft

Each year the trend is towards safer flight. Airline transport countries designed mile for mile statistically is twenty times safer than driving. Non-structural parts of aircraft (these parts of the aircraft developed to assist you in flight) are of necessity really delicate and fragile. Aircraft accident victims should consult lawyers who have a deep air apply. However in countries where this kind of as Russia and many African countries scheduled airlines have an accident rate noticeably better Small Aircraft . But airplanes are built maintained and driven by people. However the style was too big and therefore much more likely to crash.

Earlier in the development of the University of the air flight 1 believed developed with an eye toward the survivor of a plane crash. Since this drawing plane is concerned with minimizing the possibility of failure and pilots are trained with safety as a great thought. 3 major causes of air disasters include a lack of style poor maintenance and pilot error (or controller) Small Aircraft . Scheduled airline mishaps in Africa are 10 times greater mile per mile than in the United States. However the incident is rather low offered the full amount of functions.

if you have never flown in a small plane of four passengers you probably noticed that the doors dashboard seats and other visible within structures instead appears fragile. And humans are imperfect Small Aircraft . When accidents occur the airline stocks that are simply due to the substantial rate of the accident. When these small aircraft crash the results can be devastating. Personal flight plane is considerably more dangerous than scheduled airlines. Should have this support there is limited opportunity for a good result. They are offered at any time around 10 000.

differently programmed airways in a lot of instances of pilots have much less education maintenance is insufficient and the aircraft public contrary to airways planned do not have a technical redundancy in function of a program error.

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The Greatest Plastic Model Airplane Kits

A particularly popular passion these days among the the incredibly youthful all the way to the somewhat old is actually building plastic model airplane kits. Senior citizens together with generally young men participate in the pastime involving collecting along with constructing model planes. But on occasion you may discover young women joining in on the the joy of it also.

In many collections they’ll be happily displayed within cellars, dens along with the bedrooms. They may be hug on the ceiling as well as put on shelving as well not to mention several other creative methods of displaying them.

Locating new kits or even some of the vintage model kits from time gone by isn’t as challenging as you may possibly imagine. For collector’s young and old alike acquiring 1 to provide a gift for them will probably be extremely appreciated. Even duplicates due to the fact they might be painted to resemble other popular airplanes. Once the modeler builds old war-birds it is possible to build lots of distinctive famous airplanes painted several ways and have no two alike.

If a modeler collects old war-birds don’t acquire them a jet liner or commercial aircraft. Stick to the their area of interest, in the event that it’s American army or marine planes never purchase them a German fighter model airplane.

Modelers will most often stick to a particular theme for example trainer aircraft, Air Force 1 models, and military aircraft or commercial aircraft models. It really is incredibly unusual to mix themes. You can find few which mix themes and love to build just about any type of plastic model airplane kits and possess collections to prove it.
Probably the most loved varieties of kits are the difficult to find vintage kits and limited editions. Hobby shops are a limited source since they don’t carry massive inventories. A good source of vintage and limited edition plastic model airplane kits could be discovered at a great many of the old warbird museums. Several of them will have gift shops with airplane kits of all kinds which are vintage and lots of never seen before and are really rare.

Right now with support from the internet it makes it extremely painless to locate vintage and limited edition model kits. Plus you can study the history behind the models creation and use.

Brand name model producers are likely to produce a much higher superior quality kits. There are lots of exceptional airplane model companies developing duplicates of most everything ever made and also a lot of prototypes that never managed to get off of the drawing boards. Even so the off brand makers that may possibly make a lesser quality product may possibly not necessarily make a difference towards a veteran hobbyist due to the fact building in the quality is a expertise belonging to the model builder. So when you choose a plastic model airplane kit provided by an off brand maker keep in mind it could still make a treasure for the model collector builder.

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Build Working Model Airplane The Definitive Guide

You have not lived until you build a working model airplane to fly around the sky indulging in your greatest passion of model airplanes.

I had a few planes myself but never really felt the same about them after I built my own, it was a proud day to say that I can build model airplanes! And the greatest thing was the fact that I could do it so much more cheaper than I would have paid in the hobby store.

Here is my plane in action..

I used a guide to teach me tips and secrets that I needed to know to build and complete my very own aircraft. Before reading this guide I thought that building my own plane would take years, and cost an arm and a leg.

In fact my first model aircraft took me under a month to build, and cost me a fraction of my other hobby aircraft’s. And best of all is to see it fly like an eagle.

Build Working Model Airplane – The Definitive Guide

That link above will get you started on the same aircraft building journey I went on, and you wont look back too!

The build working model airplane guide is not only about just building your plane, its also covers some of the following information.

  • Types of toy planes, static airplanes, flying models and gliders and sailplanes
  • Types of model airplane engines, including two-cycle, diesel, Wankel, Gas Turbine and more
  • How to choose the best engine for you and your plane
  • Whether or not you should buy airplane insurance
  • How to fly safely and smartly
  • Pre-flight checks you should always make
  • How to fly a model airplane
  • More important flying tips
  • Commonly asked model airplane questions
  • Model airplane anatomy

I cant recommend this guide enough for any model airplane enthusiast, It’s full of some of the best tips I ever learnt in this hobby!

If you get the time, check it out for yourself. It really is a proud moment to finally finish a model airplane, and be able to say that you can build a working model airplane better than the pros.

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How to Make a Remote Control Airplane

Flying RC airplanes is an entertaining way to spend a leisurely afternoon with friends and family. Even more fun than flying a remote control airplane is building one. Building your own RC airplane is a pretty simple project that just requires a few tools, some time and some creativity. This is also a great project to get the whole family involved in as each member can contribute to putting it together.

  • Choose the type of remote control airplane you would like to build. There are all kinds of different model RC planes you can build, from fighter jets to miniature models of bush planes. It all depends on what you are into and what skill level you are comfortable building. An RC airplane kit typically runs for about $200. Check with your local hobby shop for more details involving price.
  • Clear out a work space for your plane. The same place you use to build your plane should also have adequate space to store your new plane as well. Make sure the area you use is dry and warm to avoid warping the wood of the plane. A great place to build your plane would be your garage. Clean it out and organize your toolbox in order to help you find the tools you need to put your plane together.
  • Remove the plane’s parts from the kit and organize them. Get a few plastic containers and group the parts according to their type and store them in the containers so that you don’t lose them.
  • Take sandpaper and sand all the parts of the plane’s body. Most RC planes are made of wood and you will want to make sure all the parts are smooth with no rough edges or nicks in the wood. These could cause your plane not to fly correctly, so it’s important to make sure the parts are smooth.
  • Assemble the remote control and place the remote sensor in the airplane. Once you have put the engine and all the electronics together, finish assembling the body of the plane.
  • Paint your airplane using an airbrush. Using an airbrush will help you to avoid missing spots and will help you paint the body quickly. You can paint the plane the same color as the picture on the box, or you can customize it yourself to give it a personal touch.
  • Take your plane to the park for test flight. Make sure that the area you are using to fly your plane is not heavily populated and is not close to any passing traffic.



How to Wash an Airplane

Airplanes attract dust, oil, exhaust stains and large numbers of bugs. These can accumulate and affect an airplane’s flight performance. You can enhance an airplane’s efficiency by washing it with a power washer to break down and remove any dirt buildup that may occur.

  • Begin washing the airplane at the tail end. If you can’t reach this area, don’t climb up on a ladder. The pressure from your washer can knock you off of the ladder and cause injury. Most pressure washers have extension parts to enable you to get to hard-to-reach areas on the airplane.
  • Move slowly toward the nose of the airplane as you clean. Power wash small sections of the airplane at a time, and wash the bottom first, then the top. Move the rudder and the flaps on the airplane as you wash to ensure that you clean all the parts.
  • Avoid power washing any windows on the airplane because they can scratch easily. Use a window cleaner instead. Check with the pilot to see if he wants to wash the windshield himself.
  • Use a lot of soap around the engines to clean away the exhaust residue. Be sure to wash the underside of the wings, and remember to clean the wheels. You can use a brush to scrub the wheels thoroughly and leave the soap on for a few minutes before rinsing to break down the dirt better.


How to Take Off & Land an Airplane

Takeoffs and landings are the among the most difficult aspects of flying an airplane. These are also the times when the aircraft is the most vulnerable to something going wrong, and this adds to the stress level. If you are learning to fly, or are just trying to learn how to fly a realistic simulator, understanding a few basic concepts will help make learning takeoffs and landings a bit easier.


  • Be gentle with the controls during the takeoff roll. Advance the throttle in a smooth gradual movement. Keep the yoke centered. Keep your heels on the floor to avoid pressing the brakes. Be especially gentle with the rudder pedals when making steering corrections. Remember that the pedals will become increasingly sensitive as the airspeed increases.
  • Learn how airspeed applies to taking off. You probably already know that the plane must reach a certian airspeed before it is possible to takeoff, but what about after you take off? During takeoff in a small plane, the throttle is usually fully open. This means that the engine is already providing the maximum amount of thrust available. Therefore, once you lift off the runway, your primary means of controlling airspeed is with the elevator control. Many student pilots feel shy of the ground, and as a result they tend to pull the nose up too much in order to climb as rapidly as possible. This habit should be avoided since it puts the plane at a greater risk of stalling. Unless there are obstacles near the end of the runway, a gentle, shallow climb is much safer than a steep, abrupt climb. Hold the nose just a few degrees above the horizon, and let the speed build up. This has the added advantage of making it easier to keep the plane aligned with the runway.
  • Know the wind direction and strength before you begin the takeoff roll. Visualize in your mind how the wind will affect the aircraft, and be ready to make smooth corrections in the appropriate direction.
  • Keep the plane aligned with the runway until you have passed over the end. After climbing 100-200 feet above the ground, it is generally good practice to momentarily lower the nose until you can see the end to the runway in front of you, and then resume climbing as normal. This will help you check your runway alignment, and will also allow the aircraft to build up some speed. Just keep one eye on the vertical speed indicator, and insure that you do lot allow the aircraft to descend.
  • If there are tall trees, buildings, or other obstacles off the end of the runway, then you may want to plan to a steeper climb out. Depending on the aircraft, this would typically involve lowering the flaps a few degrees before starting the takeoff roll. Consult the operating manual of your aircraft. Lowering the flaps slightly reduces the airplane’s stall speed, and therefore makes it safer to takeoff at a steeper angle. The key to this is planning in advance.


  • Always follow a standard left hand rectangular pattern, if possible. This is especially important for student pilots. Doing a straight-in approach requires significantly more experience and better judgement. Following a pattern makes it much easier to establish a standardized landing procedure.
  • Know the wind direction and speed. Visualize in your mind how this will affect the airplane, both in the pattern, and on final approach.
  • Begin the downwind leg with the airplane level at the appropriate pattern altitude for your airport. Maintain altitude. Increase your visual awareness, and adjust your speed to maintain spacing with the other aircraft in the pattern.
  • Keep track of your position in reference to the runway out your left window.
  • Reduce power (usually to around 1800 rpm; consult the operating manual) when your aircraft passes the end of the runway on which you intend to land. Reduce speed slightly and begin a shallow descent.
  • Extend the flaps by one notch or five degrees (consult operating manual) before turning onto base leg. Retrim the elevators, to hold attitude.
  • Extend flaps to approximately 1/2 (consult operating handbook) before tuning onto final approach. Retrim the elevators to maintain attitude.


  • Extend flaps to landing position once established on final approach. Retrim elevators to maintain attitude.
  • Watch the airspeed indicator closely and maintain approach speed (Vref) for the flap setting you are using.
  • Make small correction to keep the aircraft aligned with the runway.
  • Recheck your descent rate visually using the VASI or PAPI lights. Make small adjustments to throttle and elevators as needed.
  • Reduce power, or close the throttle fully (depending upon your aircraft) once you are steady on short final, and it is clear to you that you will reach the runway. Maintain a shallow glideslope and watch airspeed carefully until you cross the runway threshold.
  • Flare the aircraft gently at 5-10 feet above the ground and close the throttle if you have not already done so. Hold the nose steady until you feel the main wheels touch.
  • Hold the nose up until the airspeed dissipates and the nose drops to the runway of its own accord.
  • Let the aircraft coast to a safe speed and turn off the runway at the next available taxiway.

Airplane Crafts for Kids

Whether teaching kids about airplanes at home or in school, be sure to include a few craft projects to allow for some hands-on learning. Take crafting beyond making basic paper airplanes and allow the children construct their own planes and decorate them using various craft mediums, recycled items, and even a few edible supplies.

Airplane Crafts for Kids


Box PlaneDecorate a large cardboard box to look like an airplane. Use construction paper, paint, paper plates and aluminum foil to create wings, wheels, a steering wheel, and even headlights. Make sure the box is large enough for your child to sit inside so he can “fly” his homemade airplane.


Candy AirplaneCreate a craft the kids will want to eat when they are through. Use Smarties, in the packaging, as the body of each plane and then lay a stick of gum across the top of each roll of Smarties, to create wings. Slide a rubber band through the holes on two Lifesavers to make wheels and then wrap the rubber band around the body and wings to keep the airplane together until the kids are ready to eat the high-flying treat.


Airplane MobileMake a piece of decorative kid’s bedroom decor. Ask the kids to create several small paper airplanes using decorative origami paper or patterned scrapbook paper. Make a cross with two wooden dowels and tie them together with string. Hang the airplanes from the dowels at different lengths using fishing line or clear thread.


Craft Stick PlaneStack craft sticks on top of and across each other to create an airplane shape. Place a line or dot of liquid glue in between each of the sticks to adhere them together. Let the kids paint the airplanes in their favorite colors and then decorate them with glitter, sequins or buttons.


Plasti Foam AirplanesRecycle leftover plastic foam trays to use for making airplanes that the kids can fly. Cut a plane body, wings and propellers out of the plastic foam and use glue to adhere the pieces together. Let the kids decorate the planes using markers, crayons, stamps or paint.


How to Locate Airplanes in Flight

If you want to know the location of a loved one or friend while they fly, or if you’re an aviation enthusiast who wants to follow the locations of airplanes in the sky, one thing you can do is track planes as they fly through the air. This allows you to see where they are in the world, as well as how much time is left until the plane arrives at its destination.

  • Use the FlightView website to find and look for the flight you want to track online. You can select the airline and flight number from the website, and Flightview displays the plane’s general location on your web browser.
  • Connect to the Flightwise website to determine the location of the aircraft. Flightwise can search for aircraft by airline and flight number like Flightview can, but it can also look at the general traffic of a particular airport as well, allowing you to look at several flights all at once.
  • Enter the flight information into the Flightaware website to determine the location of the plane you are watching. In the event that you have forgotten what airline or flight number the plane way, but remember its destination and arrival city, Flightaware lets you search for flights based on that information alone.


How to Start a Private Jet Cleaning Business

Owners of private jets are clearly affluent enough that they can hire people to clean their planes, making them a good target for a business venture. However private jets also have quality fabrics, carpets, and furniture that will require special knowledge of their care. If you have this knowledge and an interest in private jets, here’s how you can start a private jet cleaning business.

  • Learn about private jet aircraft. The more you know about these planes and what they need in terms of care, the better you’ll be able to plan your business and get clients.
  • Define your service and set prices. Know what sort of cleaning you will be doing, whether you will have a variety of service levels and what you will charge for your service. Note whether you will be doing a lot of surface cleaning or whether you might be doing a lot of scrubbing and washing.
  • Write your business plan. Outline the details of your jet cleaning business including the services you’ll provide, the market for your business, your marketing plan, financial information, and your goals for the next year.
  • Set up your jet cleaning business. Pick a business name and make sure to check with the US Patent and Trademark office that the name is not trademarked already. Set up your business structure (e.g. LLC) and contact your local city or county to obtain business permits and licenses.
  • Obtain start up money. Your jet cleaning business plan can be used to apply for loans or get investors. For more information on financing a business, visit the Small Business Administration online at
  • Get needed equipment for your business. This includes cleaners for wood, gold, silver, carpet, upholstery, leather and glass, vacuums and other cleaning devices.
  • Market your jet cleaning business. Create marketing materials and put them in front of your market. If you know people in this affluent market, ask them to help you with referrals.
  • Provide stellar cleaning and customer service so that you can get repeat business and more referrals.