Aviation Stories and Aviation News

RAF Call To Action


In 2012, through a collaborative effort involving the RAF, the USFS/USDA published a new Planning Rule to develop, revise and amend FS land management plans. The RAF and others successfully added recreational aviation and the importance of recognizing airstrips as a valid part of USFS infrastructure.

The national Forests are now engaged in revising forest plans using the 2012 Planning Rule and Directives. This Forest Plan will be the planning “Bible” for the next 20-25 years, replacing the 1980s plan.

Recently, Montana’s Custer-Gallatin National Forest released a Proposed Action document, which will provide the design content for the new Forest Plan that will direct forest management practices for the next 20 to 25 years. Public comment period ENDS March 5, 2018. Note the size of the Custer-Gallatin National Forest below:

The RAF asks you to please submit your comments and ideas.

• You may email by using this link:
Click Forest Plan Revision – then click on Commenting;

or directly at: https://tinyurl.com/caracgnf
Submit email to cgplanrevision@fs.fed.us
Use Subject line: “Comment – draft plan – CGNF”

or by mail:
Custer Gallatin National Forest
Attn: Forest Plan Revision Team
P.O. Box 130 (10 E Babcock)
Bozeman, MT 59771

•At local open houses by placing in comment box.

Here are key points to make in your own words concerning the Proposed Action Document:

• USFS airstrips are an important recreational and operational part of the USFS infrastructure. Please ask the FS to change all instances in the Proposed Action where “trails and roads” appear, to read: “trails, roads, and airstrips”.

• In many places throughout the proposed document, various forms of recreation are listed and discussed. The 2012 Planning Rule mentions aviation as a valid form of recreation. However, the Proposed Action restricts aviation activities. Please ask the FS to restate aviation as a legitimate access method to National forest lands.

• Many USFS airstrips are maintained through joint efforts of the USFS and volunteer groups, including the RAF. Please ask the FS to revise the Proposed Action to include guidance for planners on the importance of coordinating with volunteer groups.

• The Chief of the USFS, the heads of other agencies such as the BLM, and the US Congress, have all published comments on the significance of airstrips as part of an overall balanced public lands transportation system. Unfortunately, not all USFS planners and managers are familiar with the airstrips within their planning area. Please ask the FS to place greater emphasis on their airstrip infrastructure through direct inclusion of airstrip guidance and instructions to planners in the Proposed Action document.

• Forest Planners may not have detailed knowledge of airstrips; they need instructions on where to find that information. The Proposed Action clearly outlines sources of information when accessing and planning for roads, trails, historic sites, utility corridors, etc. Airstrips need the same considerations so planners will fully understand airfield planning requirements and issues. Please ask the FS to include sources of information on airstrips in the Proposed Action document.

• Within the next 10 years, the bulk of baby boomers will retire, increasing pressure on USFS recreational airstrips. The Forest Plan must provide planners with the tools to recognize, assess, and adapt to this increasing demand. Please ask the FS to include recreational aviation and airstrips in order to encompass potential future demand on airstrips.

Hints to make your comments effective:

◦ Write comments in your own words. Form letters and similar mass emails are usually not counted as individual responses.

◦ Be courteous and give constructive comments. FS planners have worked hard to make the Proposed Action document the best they can. We’re helping them see items they have overlooked.

◦ Send your comments ASAP; no later than March 5, 2018. Our goal is for 300+ RAF members to submit comments per this Call to Action.

The RAF appreciates the collaborative process the USFS/USDA has used to accomplish this tough job. But some dedicated FS folks overlook aviation when planning. They’ve never been required to do so; and they may be ignorant of recreational aviation. Our purpose is to elevate awareness, so every time a plan is written or revised, airstrips will be included and provided for within that plan. It’s not happening now, but with your help, we can change that.

Helping now will go a long way toward protecting, preserving, and creating recreational airstrips. That’s why you joined the RAF, so won’t you take a little time now to help ensure recreational aviation within the vast lands of the USFS? A quick investment of your time will have a long payoff for your kids and grandkids.

Thank you for your support and participation in the RAF mission!

Any questions?
Contact Mark Spencer: mspencer@theraf.org
or Ron Normandeau: rnormandeau@theraf.org

18K Scholarships

The Arkansas Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), in November, presented Aviation Hall of Fame awards to three Arkansans for their dedication given to aviation. They were Zane Anderson, Harold Johnson, and General William Smith.
On the other hand, AAHS presented $18,000 in aviation scholarship to six students. The three thousand dollars per student scholarship is a sought after scholarship in Arkansas. There are two colleges in Arkansas that have aviation degrees. They are Ozarka and Henderson. It is the AAHS plan for 2018 to offer even more of the same size scholarships. Requirements for both the Hall of Fame and scholarship are on the website at www.arkavhs.com
For thirty-four years, AAHS has presented awards to outstanding Arkansans who excelled in Aviation. Now along with that goal, AAHS gives assistance through scholarships to the young aviators who aspire to have a life in aviation.

Pictured on this post is Clay Mosley and Simeon Sapp from Ozarka College.  Both received $3K scholarships from AAHS.

Ozarka Air

Clay Mosley

Ozarka College, located in Melbourne, Arkansas, offers an Associate of Science degree in Aviation – Professional Pilot. This program puts students on the fast track to becoming commercial pilots as they complete all the required skills to earn a Private Pilot certificate with airplane single–engine land (ASEL) rating from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). John Catlett, Aviation Director and Flight Instructor, stated, “We also have plans to start a Commercial Multi-Engine training program in the near future.”

Ozarka began offering aviation courses under a provisional certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during the 2015 fall semester. After meeting strenuous requirements, the FAA certified Ozarka’s aviation program as a full-time part 141 flight school, effective July 19, 2017. Currently, there is only one other college with a part 141 certified flight school in the state of Arkansas, so this is a big achievement for the College, the aviation program, and the community moving forward.

To date, twelve Ozarka students have completed solo flights, four have earned a Private Pilot Certificate, and three have graduated with an Associate of Science degree in Aviation – Professional Pilot. Ozarka also offers aviation courses through continuing education, which allows students to complete courses at their own pace versus on a scheduled degree plan. Ozarka will also provide an instrument training class via continuing education, beginning in the spring semester of 2018. There are currently six students enrolled in continuing education aviation classes and eighteen students enrolled in the aviation degree program.

For students who desire continuing their education at another accredited institution, Ozarka has partnerships with Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri, where students can complete the additional advanced training necessary to launch their aviation careers and earn a Bachelor of Science in Aviation.

In addition to admission requirements, Ozarka College aviation student must meet Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements. Students must be at least 16 years of age; read, speak, write, and understand the English language; and provide documentation of U.S. citizenship or nationality. Citizens or nationals of countries other than the United States are required to receive authorization from the TSA prior to commencing flight training.

For more information about one of the most affordable collegiate aviation programs in the nation, please call John Catlett, Ozarka College director of aviation, at 870.368.7926 or email: john.catlett@ozarka.edu.

Quest Aircraft

November 10, Sandpoint, Idaho – Quest Aircraft Company is pleased to announce a new joint venture agreement between Quest parent company Setouchi Holdings, Inc and the Maldives-based company Island Aviation Services Ltd. The agreement establishes a new seaplane operation, Sky Atoll Private Ltd, and an initial order of four Kodiak 100s has been placed to kickstart the new program.

Made up of roughly 1,200 coral islands, the Republic of Maldives is world renowned for its “one island, one resort” ultra-luxury resorts, and each year continues to draw a growing number of tourists from around the world. Seaplanes are the primary means by which tourists travel to each resort from the international airport through which they enter the country, and the scale of seaplane operations is among the largest in the world.

The Kodiaks being delivered to Sky Atoll Private will be utilizing the Aerocet 6750 straight floats, which were certified on the aircraft earlier in 2017. The Kodiak 100 is available with either straight or amphibious Aerocet composite floats. Thanks to its original design parameters, the Kodiak does not require any structural changes or aerodynamic fixes for float operations, which in turn makes it a highly stable seaplane. It’s also the fastest seaplane once airborne, cruising at 162 ktas.

“We are pleased that after a rigorous operational evaluation in the Maldives the Kodiak proved that its robust construction and short field performance made it the ideal aircraft Island Air Service’s single-engine float operations,” said Rob Wells, CEO of Quest Aircraft Company.

Island Aviation Services Ltd is a state-run airline established by the government of the Maldives in 2000. It operates both domestic and international flights under the Maldivian brand name, and also operates seaplanes.

About the Kodiak
The Kodiak’s rugged aluminum construction combines superior STOL performance and high useful load. It offers proven turbine reliability with the Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engine, has the ability to land and take off from unimproved surfaces and is capable of working off floats without structural upgrades. The Kodiak can take off in under 1,000 feet at full gross takeoff weight of 7,255 lbs and climb at over 1,300 feet per minute. Three interior packages are available along with a wide range of factory-installed options.

About Quest Aircraft Company
The Quest Aircraft Company is dedicated to providing access to more people and more places by building the most rugged, reliable, turbine STOL aircraft in the business. For the past decade, the 10-seat Kodiak 100 has proven its versatility in a wide range of public, private, business and humanitarian applications. Additionally, Quest’s continuously growing dealer and global support network provides customer assurance that their missions will be accomplished. The Kodiak is proudly built in Sandpoint Idaho, with a fleet of over 200 aircraft certified in over 50 countries around the globe. For additional information on Quest and the Kodiak, please visit questaircraft.com.

CAF Awards 5

Five scholarships have been awarded by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Wings Over Houston Airshow to university students from Texas who are pursuing careers in aviation-related fields. The CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow Scholarship Program provides assistance to students who have completed two years of study in aviation or a related field and who demonstrate academic potential, leadership and extracurricular involvement.
“Each of this year’s recipients are all high achievers who share the passion and commitment to aviation, as do all of us who are associated with or perform in the CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow,” said Airshow Director Bill Roach. “When you purchase a ticket to this year’s show on October 21 and 22, you will not only see an amazing show featuring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and other great performers, but you also will be helping to fund our college scholarship program, programs for high school students, restoration of historical aircraft and many other local non-profit organizations.”
This year’s scholarship recipients, all from Texas, are: Rodger Walter Garcia Advincula, Jr., of Katy, Gaetan Pinjou Newou of Houston, Walker Goodman of Crandall, Glen Colby of Belton, Ryan Stuart Carr of Austin,
One of Houston’s largest non-profit civic events, the CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow proceeds are used to sponsor the Wings Over Houston Scholarship Program for college students studying for careers in aviation, Aviation Career Education (ACE) Summer Academy for high school juniors and seniors interested in aviation, Commemorative Air Force aircraft restoration and flying historical programs, Exchange Club of Sugar Land, Rotary Club, and many other area non-profit groups.

Christensen Eagle

Frank Christensen Honored at AirVenture on 40th Anniversary of the Eagle Aerobatic Biplane

Oshkosh, WI – The International Aerobatic Club (IAC) rolled out the Red Carpet at EAA’s AirVenture 2017 for Frank Christensen, aircraft designer, kit manufacturer, and aerobatic pilot. The occasion was the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Christen Eagle, an aerobatic aircraft that Frank designed and manufactured as a competitor to the Pitts Special. The Eagle II, a two seat version are still very active in aerobatic competitions around the world. Hundreds of Eagles have been built and flown in the past four decades. Only a few single seat versions have been built.
Having been a successful aerobatic pilot and former US Aerobatic Team Manager, Frank knew what he wanted in a competitive airplane. He incorporated a number of significant innovations in the Eagle. This included his inverted oil system that is now found universally in aerobatic aircraft.
The Eagle has had a profound impact on the world of aerobatics. It also became one of the most revered aircraft in the world of airshows when Frank talked Charlie Hillard, Tom Poberezny and Gene Soucy into retiring the Pitts Specials they were flying as the Red Devils Aerobatic Team and replacing them in 1979 with Christen Eagles. The group then became known as the Eagles Aerobatic Team and for a quarter century they were the primo aerobatic act in the airshow circuit, revered for their boldness, precision, and thrilling routine. The Team and the aircraft had a dramatic impact on the lives of a lot of pilots.
Frank’s greatest contribution to sport aviation, however, may have been in the standard he set for homebuilt aircraft kits. He revolutionized the homebuilding industry with the thoroughness of his kits, the amazing series of detailed, illustrated builders’ manuals he created to go with the kits and the support he provided the people who built them. Many kit-makers have emulated what Frank introduced at the EAA Aviation Convention in 1977, but none have exceeded the gold standard he set.
What seemed to impress Frank the most during the day he spent at AirVenture this year, and in the evening ceremonies where he was recognized for his accomplishments, were the pilots who came up to him all day long and told him “You changed my life.” Whether inspired by the Eagle Aerobatic Team, by building an Eagle, or by flying in competition with an Eagle, there are a lot of people who expressed profound appreciation, respect and esteem after shaking his hand.
It was announced at AirVenture, while presenting the Curtiss Pitts Trophy for Outstanding Aircraft Design, that Frank Christensen will be inducted into the Aerobatics Hall of Fame this fall.

PHOTO CAPTION:         Frank Christensen (left), shared a moment with IAC President Mike Heuer at AirVenture this summer.

America Discovers Sling

AirVenture 2017 – America Discovers Sling Aircraft!
by Jean d’Assonville

Oshkosh is all about airplanes, right? Well this is my third Oshkosh and what rang true for me is that Air Venture is actually all about people who love airplanes! It is the people who dream them, build them, fly them, polish them, sleep in or under them and really just simply love them. Yes, it’s the people!

This year our stand was filled with people. We our team of ten to man the stand, (next year we need some ladies too), was kept very busy sharing Sling facts with the continuous flow of airplane lovers. It’s always enjoyable sharing the Sling story because it is a pilot’s airplane that has been refined by pilots for pilots. This year we also offered demo flights to seriously interested people, which is really nice to do, because the Sling’s best quality is how amazingly she flies.

The master craftsmen from Midwest SkySports’ build center had two of their beautiful Sling 2s on display as well as their professionally-finished panels and a Sling 2 Quick build. There was the legendary Sling 4-4-40 that was built from a kit in 4 days by 40 people plus another three Sling LSAs. Down at the ultralight arena, AeroSport had their immaculate orange and white Sling LSA and received an offer to buy it then-and-there by a husband and wife team!

With all these beauties to show off, a lot of interested people spent a good amount of time acquainting themselves with the Slings and the Team. So we made a lot of new friends.

As a demo pilot during the Air Venture, it’s really exciting (but quite stressful) flying in the extreme traffic with only 500 ft. vertical separation while only listening on the radio. It was worth it though. Almost everyone that went for a demo flight has purchased or is in the process of purchasing a Sling aircraft or a kit.

So after a long and exciting week eventually the last demo is flown and it is time to pack up and say good bye to everyone: all those people, planes and new friends – all going their separate ways with new dreams.

And so what is in store for the TAF stand next year? Well, there are a lot of possible surprises coming off the drawing board in Africa. So come join all the people at the Greatest Aviation Celebration July 23 – 29, 2018 and see!

RAF Auction

RAF FUNdraising Auction

All items were donated by our friends in the industry,

so the Excess Goes To Access!

It’s short, online, and easy!

Preview auction items by clicking on the link below:


Bidding opens 8 am MDT , Oct. 1 –
Ends 10 pm MDT , Oct. 10!

One Aviation

ONE Aviation Receives FAA Approval Pertaining to Eclipse 500/550
Extended Tip Tank Configuration

Oshkosh, WI – Wednesday, July 26, 2017 – ONE Aviation announced today, at EAA AirVenture 2017, FAA approval of an unrestricted increase in the structural life limit of the Eclipse 550 and the Eclipse 500 in the extended tip tank configuration to 20,000 flight hours or 20,000 cycles, whichever occurs first. Previously the life limit had been 10,000 cycles, 10,000 hours, or 10 years, without enrollment in a life extension maintenance and inspection program. Completion of long term fatigue and damage tolerance testing of the aircraft structure and materials resulted in this change.

When maintained in accordance with the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM), the completion of the full-scale aircraft level testing, and the large scale material coupon testing, demonstrated the aircraft structure has fatigue and damage tolerance life, in excess of 20,000 cycles.

The increase in the life limit is automatic to existing and future Eclipse Jet owners, with no additional action necessary beyond continuing to perform the AMM required structural inspections.

“The FAA approved changes to the aircraft life limits greatly simplifies the ability of Eclipse Jet owners and operators to benefit from the extensive investment made by ONE Aviation in structural life testing,” said Brent Christner, Senior Director of Engineering at Eclipse Aerospace.

Currently these life limit changes are applicable to United States “N” registered aircraft. Eclipse is working to get the new life limits accepted by other civil aviation authorities.

Contact: Debbie Backlund
Email: Debra.backlund@oneaviation.aero
Website: www.oneaviation.aero

About ONE Aviation
ONE Aviation is a global manufacturing corporation, which markets, produces, and delivers the Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet, as it develops the Eclipse “Project Canada” and the Kestrel K350 single-engine turboprop. In addition, ONE Aviation will design, acquire, and build additional aircraft complementary to its core product line. ONE Aviation also provides engineering, maintenance, service, and support for the Eclipse 500 and Eclipse 550 fleet.
For more information, please visit www.ONEaviation.aero.

Day 1

The September issue will be available to you with your subscription for the online version of our FLY-LOW.   It is the same issue that will hit airports and your home.  This is our second issue to go online on day one of the month.  It is a real bargain.  Just $13 per year to read it in the comfort of your living room before most all the other readers gets one.

You will notice the change in our online service of news application to our online news.  We have way too much to print in our thirty-two page aviation magazine… so we bounce it off you here on this site.

Thanks for reading and being a visitor/subscriber

Ralph McCormick, Publisher