Baby Boomer Airplane Blog

Innospec--sole producer of TEL for Avgas--fined for bribing Iraqi and Indonesian Officials

A recent press release from the US Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) announced that Innotech, the sole producer of tetraethyl lead (TEL)—a key detonation suppression component in 100LL avgas in the United States— had agreed to a $40.2 million settlement with the SEC, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Department of Foreign Assets Control, and the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office.
According to the SEC, Innospec paid approximately $9.2 million in bribes to insure that TEL would continue to be the knock suppression additive of choice in state-owned refineries in Iraq and Indonesia.
See more of the story here.
This news adds another variable to the flurry of activity—and editorial content—that has resulted from the April 2010 issuance of an advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) proposing to ban TEL by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But given that the EPA sent a letter to the AOPA on August 2, 21010 clarifying the ANPRM as "a means of gathering information," and that it "has not established or proposed any deadline for banning the use of lead in avgas, the pressure to come up with a lead-free replacement for leaded avgas may ease.
The EPA also acknowledged that is did not have the power to regulate aviation fuels.
According to an August 2, 2010 article in Aviation Week by Kelly Lynch and Fred George (click here) associations involved with the avgas issue have heard that 2017 is going to be the date for the final ban of TEL.
The TEL ban date is speculation at this point. What is not speculation is that the SEC just fined the one remaining producer of TEL in the world a bundle of cash because representatives of the company were caught bribing foreign officials to use their product. This can't be good news for 100LL users. Anyone out there got 2 cents to add??

BlackHawk Aircraft Performance Enhancements Jacks up the Caravan

Blackhawk Aircraft Performance Enhancements of Waco Texas has boosted the performance of the Cessna Caravan by nearly doubling the power through the installation of a PT6-42. Due to the dual exhaust configuration of the more powerful -42 powerplant, a new cowling was required as well as other major changes.  The modification is projected to be FAA approved by the end of summer.
Edwin Black is the Director of Marketing at Blackhawk. I caught up with Black at the PilotMag party on Saturday night at AirVenture 2010. He mis spoke on the website address of Blackhawk. The correct address is />

Download | Duration: 00:03:57

Hanging out in Portland and the Willamette Writer's Conference

It's Friday evening. I just got back to my room after the first day at the 41st annual Willamette Writers Conference Click here
I am learning to improve my wordcraft and there's no better place for me to get inspired than a well-run writer's conference. This is a good one. By the end of Sunday there will have been over 90 one and a half hour long presentations covering topics from "The BS in Back Story" to "Going from a Good Idea to a Sold Idea."
I have never done an honest to goodness pitch to a literary agent before. But this morning I joined a small group of 5 others and pitched my creative non fiction idea to Melissa Flashman, a literary agent for the Trident Media Group. She liked it and asked me—and everyone else in the group—to send her either a completed story for the fiction writers—and a proposal from me. I later signed up to practice my pitch to a staff volunteer. She also had some good recommendations. Tomorrow I do an actual one on one pitch to Gordon Warnock. a literary agent from the Andrea Hurst Literary Management group.
Then I sat in on a presentation on "The eMedia Publishing Revolution" by Julie Fast. Learned a lot about the fast-changing world of electronic publishing.
After lunch I sat in on "Beginnings, Endings and Turning Points" by Jessica Morrell, the author of 7 or 8 writing books such as, "Thanks, But This Isn't for Us;" "Master The Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing;" and "Writing Out the Storm." After that session I had decided that I wanted to write my story as a novel. My mind is a very changeable thing.
I asked a couple of other writers who I was standing in line with to practice their pitches into my recorder. The first writer you're going to hear from is Colleen Sohn. Colleen writes on the website />
Here's Collen's pitch:

Download | Duration: 00:01:10

If you're thinking about writing a story you'll need to learn how to write it and how to pitch it to an agent. The other thing I learned here is that the days of publishers footing the bill for promotion are gone unless you're a big name writer. Today new authors are expected to get full tilt into promoting their books through social networking sites, and websites.
More to learn tomorrow.
Are there any other writers out there??

One of a Kind Airplane at OSH

The Fletcher  FU 25 is a small—2696 # gross weight—single engine counter-insurgency aircraft. Built by the Fletcher Aircraft company and designed by John Thorp, there were 15 built in the 1950s. Equipped with two .30 caliber machine guns and wing hard points and pylons adaptable for bombs, rockets and napalm, the FU-25 (Thorp design T-15) is powered by a 250 horsepower version of Continental's six cylinder E-225 engine. The only flying FU-25 in the world is owned by Phil Esdaile, partner in Utility Aircraft Click Here of Woodland, California, who flew it to OSH. It was displayed all week long at the Pacific Aerospace Limited (PAL) exhibit site.
Esdaile, an intrepid Kiwi who with partner Ray Ferrell convinced PAL to build the world's premier sky diving airplane, the PAL 750 XSTOL  told Ells Aviation that his FU 25 is for sale and that all documentation, drawings, spares and manuals are included in the sale price.
So if you have a yearning for an airplane that's not only unique and in good flying condition, give Esdaile a call. Why shouldn't you be the only pilot at your airport to own your very own counter insurgency warbird. There's only one catch—the machine guns were removed a long time back.  But you don't have to tell !

NOTE the fire control switching panel on the right side of the instrument panel.

Anyone else out there have any good warbird stories???

Pictures from AirVenture 2010 Day 5

Pictures from Day 5.
A beautiful Staggerwing in the Woods

The folks at EAA think of everything. Bring your cell phone and charger and they will charge your unit for free

And no matter how well attendees plan, there's always one or two that crashes due to fuel exhaustion. This young man laid down around two in the afternoon and took a nap on the grass between the forum workshops

Diamond's Two-Mass Clutch System for the Austro AE300 Turbo Diesel Engine

One of the drawbacks of the first iteration of Thielert's turbo diesel was a 300 hour change interval for the clutch system that was installed between the crankshaft and the output shaft for the propeller. Diamond, convinced of the need for a turbo-diesel aircraft engine for their fleet of aircraft has spent the last two years developing their own turbo diesel powerplant. The Diamond AE300 engine is rated at 170 horsepower. To transmit the power Diamond developed what they term the Two-Mass clutch system. One mass is driven by the engine and the other mass is bolted to the propeller. The connection between the two masses is made by two springs. The springs absorb the power impulses before transmitting the power to the propeller.
Ken Schaelchlin is Director of Customer Support at Diamond Aircraft. He took some time to explain the Two Mass system to Ells Aviation at AirVenture 2010

Download | Duration: 00:01:32

AirVenture 2010 Day 5 Departure Briefing

Flying into and out of AirVenture is like taking dancing lessons from Arthur Murray—all visiting pilots have to do is follow. The team of EAA employees and volunteers, and the FAA ATC employees that volunteer to work the show are masters at separating warbirds, ultralights, slow and fast experimental and certified aircraft, and IFR traffic safely into and out of the airport.
Here's a podcast of a departure briefing given by Jim Goldman on the afternoon of Friday, 7-30 to a pilot wanting to depart on runway 18-36

Download | Duration: 00:03:33

A Picture Digest of Day Four at AirVenture

As I moved around the grounds at AirVenture 2010 a number of things and images caught my eye. Early in the day I spotted a young man with what appeared to be a Pratt and Whitney tattoo on his neck. I'm no longer surprised at the proliferation of tattoos on the youth of America; I've even become accustomed to seeing tattoos on otherwise normal appearing middle class men and woman but I haven't seen this fashion spread to the airports I have visited.
So I was relieved when Donnie Holder, the young man with the "tattoo" and the Director of Advertising and Information Services at Blackhawk Aircraft Performance Enhancements Blackhawk Aero told me that his "tat" was temporary. Take a look and tell me what you think

Blackhawk installs larger engines in proven airframes. Many of the engines are Pratt and Whitney PT-6 variations.

This year the program lists nearly 700 exhibitors. These range from industries power houses such as Cessna, Pratt and Whitney, Hartzell and Piper to fly in communities such as Heaven's Landing Heaven's Landing , a mountain estate airpark in Clayton, Georgia. Some exhibitors wire up their pitchmen to draw the curious near enough to demonstrate their wares, while others such as Heaven's Landing choose the softer approach. That's Katie on the left and Ondra in their angel outfits.

In addition to the huge cross section of exhibitor AirVenture always features 7 day of forums and presentations. These range from welding, to metal forming to engine break in and run in. Attendees can sit and listen, and in some cases get to join in an build a part. I found Rick Seys and son Quinn of Mankato, Minnesota as they worked together to build a wood wing rib.

There is too much to take in in a week. The opportunities for education, appreciation and adoration—a highly polished Cessna 195 must be adored—seem to be endless. The best restored, best maintained weird and wonderful airframes of yesterday, today and tomorrow—at least what start up companies hope will be the designs of tomorrow—are all on the grounds at AirVenture. Yes, the food on the grounds is expensive and the possibility of one day of nasty weather is good but there's nowhere else on the planet that airplane lovers will learn more, see more and experience more in one week than at AirVenture. Make plans to do whatever it takes to get yourself to Oshkosh, Wisconsin next year from July 25 through the 31st. You can arrange for housing, buy tickets and maybe even share a ride with another AirVenture AirVenture bound traveler.

Clive Edwards and the Tale of N74589

From 1974 to 1978 I worked for Aero Dyne in Renton, Washington. Aero Dyne ran 7 DC-3/C-47s on a variety of missions. One of these was N74589.  After I left the company 589 was leased to an air freight company. I'm not sure of the details but 589 was abandoned on the airport at Covington, Georgia and hadn't flown since 1998.
Clive Edwards of DB Aviation in London, England has rescued a number of older transport category including 4 DC-3s/C-47s. When he heard that the 75th Anniversary of the DC-3 was going to be celebrated at The Last Time fly-in that was scheduled to take place the week before AirVenture 2010, he set out to find a DC-3 in the States to resurrect. After a search he settled on N74589. I tracked Edwards and 589 down on the grounds of AirVenture 2010.
Listen as Edwards tells the amazing story of the rapid resurrection of N74589.

Download | Duration: 00:03:46

Clive Edwards of DB Aviation:

This is the airplane and the team's motto

Thanks to Clive and his crew for putting forth a prodigious effort to get N74589 back in the air. 589 will be stored this winter. According to Edwards, 589 will eventually be flown to England

A Light Looks at Day 2--AirVenture 2010

Day Two—Good weather here means that. Hot and humid today but not as hot and humid as it was Sunday or Monday. We watched the weather starting about 11 am after an overcast blocked the blue sky. The overcast moved on but there was a small front off to the west with one cell that seemed to be on course for AirVenture. But as I've seen before, these weather pockets always bear away to the north before they hit the airport.
A much larger and more ominous cell was moving rapidly toward the Oshkosh airport in 2006, when I worked for AOPA. The AOPA staff was so concerned about the possibility of hail damaging the very thin aluminum wing skins of the Piper Twin Comanche sweepstakes airplane that we convinced the static display chief to let us move the airplane off our display so we could hustle it across to a hangar on the other side of the field. Just like this year, the cell abruptly turned and headed north. Weather—what a concept.
Flyers that haven't yet made it to AirVenture (Oshkosh) have missed some sights. Take a look at the rolling BBQ set up that is on site every year:

It's sponsored by Johnsonville Brats. Bratwurst is one of the featured food at AirVenture. There's lot of other food here too. Yesterday I bought a Salmon Salad for lunch. It was serviceable. There are lots of ice cream, frozen lemonade and bottled water vendors.
On a completely different subject, there are a number of bulletin boards on site. I spent a few minutes checking one out. The following airplanes were a few of the many listed for sale. An AirCam twin ($78K), a 59 Piper Comanche 250 (make offer), a 1934 Waco YKC advertised as complete but listed as a project for $34.5K, A 1975 Piper Arrow PA28R-200 ($42K), a Harmon Rocket ($99K), a loaded V35 Bonanza ($95K), an Ercoupe 415C ($23K), a Lancair IVP ($487K), a 1946 Taylor Craft ($16.8K), a Bowers Fly Baby ($11.5K) as well as many homes for rent during AirVenture week, parts, messages, and many other things aeronautical.
I stopped off to check out the ICON exhibit. ICON is working to finalize the design of their amphibious LSA aircraft. ICON aircraft.
There was a line of people waiting to get some "stick time" in one of the two ICON flight simulators. The simulators, created for ICON by CXC Simulations CXC Simulations were programmed so that each pilot took off from a paved runway, climbed and turned so that they were on a landing approach to a long lake. I watched and took a picture of a "pilot" as he attempted to land on the lake. The poor fellow kept over correcting in pitch during landing, never reduced the power and was heard to say after the A5 ground up onto the beach, "it ran out of water, man."
I picked up a tally sheet showing the number of international visitors that arrived on Monday, the opening day of the show.
The top 10 countries in order  were Australia (70), France (60), Canada (59), New Zealand (53), Germany (31), South Africa (28), Israel (24), Brazil (20), Switzerland (15), and England (12). In 2009 there were no visitors from Latvia, Columbia, Vietnam, South Korea, and Romania but this year there are.
A total of 461 foreign visitors from 40 nations attended AirVenture 2010 the first day of the show.
I spent most of my day with the guys from Utility Aircraft at their exhibit site in space 14.Utility Aircraft .

And to prove that airshow visitors still love their heros a long line of attendees lined up for a free T shirt signed by Sean Tucker, who is regarded as the most accomplished aerobatic pilot in the world and who flies for Team Oracle Team Oracle and is partially sponsored by Tempest Plus Tempest Plus.

AirVenture is the week long celebration of flight. A wide spectrum of  warbirds, antiques, kit built, production or any other kind of flying machine that has ever sprung forth from the mind of either engineer or dreamer is likely to be seen on at AirVenture. Plan to attend as soon as possible


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