Aviation Stories and Aviation News

Aeroshel Aerobatic Team

London, United Kingdom –- Shell Aviation today announces that it is has extended its partnership with the AeroShell Aerobatic Team for a further three years. Shell Aviation’s AeroShell Lubricants has been the proud sponsor of the aerobatic display team since 2003, with the pilots relying on the protection that the company’s range of high-quality engine oils and greases provide.

Asked about the re-signing, Team Lead, Mark Henley said: “We are thrilled to have AeroShell on board as our co-pilot for the next three years and we look forward to continuing this strong partnership. As our primary sponsor, AeroShell has been integral in helping the team grow and continue to perform at the high-level our fans expect. I have said this before, but when we fly wing tip to wing tip, there is no other oil I would trust.”
Members (in photo) of the Shell Aviation Lubricants Team and AeroShell Aerobatic Team celebrate the signing of the new agreement in Tallulah, Louisiana. From left to right: Jon Stoy, General Aviation Manager, and Rodney Eckert, Marketing Manager, from Shell Aviation Lubricants, with Mark Henley, Team Lead, Jimmy Fordham, Slot, and Steve Gustafson, Left Wing, from the AeroShell Aerobatic Team.Team, they have performed at hundreds of air shows across North America in their AT-6 Texan Aircraft, which can reach a max speed of 212mph.

With routines that see them make spectacular manoeuvres, the Team rely on the protection provided by AeroShell lubricants’ line-up of high-quality piston engine oils and greases that meet and exceed the high-temperature, high-RPM demands these pilots put on their aircraft.

Heber City Airport Rebranding

HEBER CITY, Utah – Heber City announced the rebranding of the city’s municipal airport with a new logo that parallels the recently refreshed branding of Heber City, while providing an individual identity for the well-established airport. As part of the branding process, the airport’s name was simplified from the Heber City Municipal Airport to Heber Valley Airport in a nod to the airport’s origins when founded as Heber Valley Airport.
The new airport logo features the silhouette of a vintage 1945 P-51 Mustang aircraft flying over the distinctive Timpanogos mountain range. The iconic plane was chosen to reflect the airport’s heritage of serving the aviation needs of the Wasatch Back region since 1947. The aircraft is also an homage to airport co-founder Russ McDonald, who owned and based a P-51, Mustang at Heber Valley Airport.
“Legacy is important to people here and the airport is dedicated to the memory of one of the airport founders, Russ McDonald,” noted Denis Godfrey, Airport Manager.  “For years the Heber Valley was thrilled by the sight and sound of Captain McDonald in his legendary P-51 Mustang of World War II fame. The airfield is named ‘Russ McDonald Field’ to honor him and the spirit of flight above the Wasatch Range, and the new logo echoes that honor.”
The branding links airport operations to Heber City, sponsor of the airport, through usage of the same color palette and fonts, the horizontal “tracks” that frame the words, “Heber Valley”, and the inclusion of Mt. Timpanogos, the strong and ever-present backdrop for both the airport and the town. The logo’s parallel tracks symbolize Heber Railroad, a historical feature of the area that has been turned into a modern attraction, drawing a connection to the past in one direction and the future in the other.
“This new logo resonated with members of the Airport Board, with graphics that simply convey the heritage of the airport, its place within the history of Heber City, and its role in the continued stability and growth of the region,” explained Godfrey. “The tag line, ‘Gateway to the Wasatch Back’, identifies Heber Valley Airport as a key portal to the area, facilitating transit, tourism, and commerce, and serving the cities, townships and unincorporated areas of the region.”
Heber Valley Airport will begin rolling out the new branding on stationery, signage, clothing and other materials beginning this month. T-shirts and other items will be available to locals and visiting pilots soon.
About Heber Valley Airport
Heber Valley Airport (FAA Identifier HCR) is a public use, municipally owned general aviation airport located one mile south of Heber City, Utah. It is a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City and 20 minutes from Park City, Utah. With 76 aircraft storage hangars and a single 6900-foot long runway, the Heber Valley Airport serves a wide variety of aircraft from gliders to recreational aircraft to business jets. The airport hosts a wide variety of general aviation services such as aviation fuel, maintenance, primary to advanced flight training, and special events such as the Boy Scouts Aviation Merit Badge Encampment. Heber Valley Airport is home to the Commemorative Air Force – Utah Wing, a museum that is dedicated to preserving and sharing U.S. military aviation history.
Founded in 1947 the facility, originally known as Heber Valley Airport, was formed by a group of local residents led by veteran aviator Russ McDonald. The airfield started as a 3300-foot long dirt landing strip where World War II veterans learned to fly under the GI Bill. By the mid-1950’s the airport had transitioned to a general aviation airport with a full time fixed-base operator, offering fueling, parking, maintenance, flight instruction and related services for private aircraft. Today Heber Valley Airport is a preferred entry point for visitors to nearby Park City, UT and to destinations throughout Wasatch and Summit counties seeking to access the famed mountain recreation, and rich arts and cultural events such as the annual Sundance Film Festival, Heber Valley Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and The Midway Swiss Days festival.

GPS Disruption for CA

There will be testing of the GPS signals over parts of CA during May starting on 4 May.  Be advised that the GPS signal will be far from accurate if flying in the testing area.





From the NTSB website on recent accidents.

On March 25, 2018, about 2137 Central Daylight Time, a Beech V35A was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Hydro, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field (ODO), Odessa, Texas, about 1947, and was destined for El Reno Regional Airport (RQO), El Reno, Oklahoma.

The pilot had departed his home airport, RQO, earlier in the day with the passenger and arrived at ODO about 1345. A line technician who worked at the ODO fixed-base operator (FBO) reported that he added 25 gallons of fuel to the airplane shortly after the arrival. According to another line technician, throughout the afternoon while the pilot was at the FBO, he requested that weather radar and satellite information be displayed on a large monitor, because he was “concerned with the clouds.”

Review of an audio recording from Austin, Texas, Leidos Flight Service, revealed that the pilot called for a weather briefing at 1806, about an hour and a half before his departure. The pilot informed the flight service specialist that he planned to complete a “VFR [visual flight rules] flight” from Odessa, Texas to El Reno, Oklahoma in about 30 minutes and it would be about a 2.5-hour flight. During the 11-minute call, the flight service specialist provided the pilot with numerous weather details pertaining to his flight.

The specialist informed the pilot that multiple Airmen’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) reports affected his flight. The specialist stated that one AIRMET was for “IFR [instrument flight rules] right at your destination,” developing between 1900–2200, “shortly after you depart Odessa.” The pilot responded by stating that, “I don’t see it as a problem right now, the skies look, and I can see that things are changing out here, but things look to be VFR over here at Odessa right now.” The specialist responded by stating, “It’s not a problem at Odessa, this is about your destination.” He then asked the pilot, “can you go IFR if you need to?” The pilot responded by stating, “Yeah, I can if I need to.” The specialist and pilot continued their weather discussion for another 7 minutes, with the specialist providing current conditions, radar information, winds aloft, pilot reports, notices to airmen, and forecast conditions for the destination area.

Review of preliminary air traffic control audio provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot radioed the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW), at 2133, after being handed off from the Oklahoma City Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility. The pilot checked in with ZFW and when asked by the controller, what his intentions were, the pilot stated, “ok, my intentions are now, I’ve got myself out of the clouds, I’m back up on top here, I’m going to try to go out to the west and fly down underneath it.” The ZFW controller responded by asking where he wanted to fly out west, and where he was trying to get back. The pilot stated, “ok, I’m going to try to go out towards Hinton Oklahoma and I’ll try to get on the outskirts of this overcast and try to go underneath it, to go to El Reno [Oklahoma].” The ZFW controller responded by saying “all right sir,” and there were no further communications from the pilot.
Review of preliminary radar data provided by the FAA revealed that the airplane was headed toward the destination airport, RQO, and about 8 miles southwest, at 2125, the airplane turned north and then west toward the town of Hinton, Oklahoma. The airplane continued flying west, past Hinton, and then flew southwest. At 2134, the airplane was about 8 miles southeast of Weatherford, Oklahoma, flying at 3,850 ft. mean sea level (msl), continuing southwest. Subsequently, the radar track showed the airplane enters two left, descending, 360° spiral turns, leveling off about 2,200 ft. msl. The airplane then flew north, for about 20 seconds, with the last radar data point recording at 2137, showing the airplane flying at 2,125 ft. msl, headed 033°, with a 157-knot groundspeed. The last radar point was about 1/4-mile southwest of the accident site. Elevation at the destination airport is 1420 ft. msl.

According to a witness who was traveling in his car, southbound on a road about a 1/2-mile west of the accident site, about the time of the accident, he reported that he observed a “steady red light” and a “steady white light” travel over his car. He continued observing the lights out of his driver’s side window for about 10 to 15 seconds, looking eastward, as the lights continued to get lower in his field of view, and then suddenly, he observed a bright “yellow glow” ignite.
The airplane came to rest upright in a flat, open field, on a magnetic heading of 060°. The airplane sustained extensive impact damage, and evidence of a small post-impact fire was observed. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established for all flight controls to the cockpit area.
The airplane was equipped with five seats. The front two seats were found separated from the airframe in the debris field. One front seat lap belt was found buckled with its attached point stitching ripped on one side. The other front seat lap belt was found unbuckled, with one of its attach points stitching ripped. The number 5-passenger seat was the only seat that was found attached to the airframe. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses. The engine separated from the airframe and was found about 220 ft. forward of the main wreckage.

A review of the airplane’s maintenance records revealed, the most recent annual and 100-hour inspection was performed on December 21, 2017, at an airframe time of 3361.17, a tachometer time of 2559.17, and 887.6 hours since major engine overhaul. The tachometer was found in the debris field and it displayed 2583.17 hours.
According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, as well as instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on January 18, 2018. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 4,500 total hours and 2 hours in last 6 months.
A witness reported that at the time of the accident, it was windy, and it was a darker than normal night, as “the moon was not visible.” He reported that other than a farmhouse light, there were no other cars that past him near the time of the accident, the road was not lit, and the fields around the accident site were “pitch black.”

The weather conditions reported about the time of the accident at Thomas P. Stafford Airport (OJA), Weatherford, Oklahoma, which was located 8 miles northwest of the accident site, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft. above ground level, wind 120° at 11 knots, gusting 18 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 17°C, and dew point 16°C. The weather conditions at the destination airport RQO, about the time of the accident, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft. above ground level, wind 140° at 19 knots, gusting 25 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 18°C, and dew point 16°C.

Throttle Forward 3-2018

Every year as 1 March comes along, I get a bit of wistfulness. It was on that date many years ago that I created and produced our first FLY-LOW magazine. For several years, I had this idea to retire from retail, close stores, and travel. After those items, I considered producing an aviation magazine. Some of that did indeed happen, but not all.
It seems like we have been producing a magazine for thirty years… in reality, this begins our 18th year. This is issue number 205. That is 205 covers, 205 Throttle Forwards, 205 everything. It is a fun job. I just enjoyed another visit to a fantastic museum in Tucson, AZ. It is the Pima Air and Space Museum. I recommend it to young and old alike…
So Happy Anniversary to US…
No, this is not a discussion of who was first in flight. It is about museums that preserve our first and last in flight machines. As I mentioned, the Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the best to which I have ever been. They have inside and outside displays. Most marked with the type of plane, year of production, and etc. I didn’t realize that the B-58 (my youthful favorite shown on cover) flew as late as 1970. I was ten years old when I saw my first B-36 at Biggs Air Force Base in El Paso, TX. It seems smaller as I view it this month. It was gigantic when I was ten, but today… well… a bit smaller. This month was the first time I was near a B-36 Peacemaker since then. It was very evocative. There aren’t many B-36 in museums. It is rather a large item to display. More photos of the museum in my article this issue.
Oh yeah, the cartoon is for my printer. It seems that some subscribers received seven copies of our publication when they were to receive one. I would guess that some that were to receive seven only received one… hummmmm… seems that there was a mistake in the production/distribution room at my printer (who shall remain anonymous). We have some airports that receive seven to one-hundred copies each month. If any of you single subscribers received fifty or one-hundred… whooooops… sorry…
Throttle Forward and Fly-Low….


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.