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We talk to the U.S. representative and importer for Shark Aero, and learn what it takes to bring a new airplane into the country. In the news, the House Aviation Subcommittee is holding hearings in advance of FAA reauthorization, a town targets a membership airline, a new online aviation video service launches, travel bookings to the U.S. slow down, and the former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is sentenced. Plus, the story of memorable flights from a listener, and an Australia News Desk segment.
Jonathan “JB” Baron owns the first and only Shark UL in the Americas, and is the Shark Aero US representative and importer. The Shark UL is manufactured by Shark.aero s.r.o. and type certified in Germany and the Czech Republic as an “Ultralight Aircraft.” It’s too fast and too complex to be a Light Sport Aircraft in the U.S., so the Shark UL is offered as the Shark US, an Experimental Amateur Built Kit with Builder Education and Assistance.
JB explains the process for importing an aircraft, including identifying the applicable certification type, obtaining an airworthiness certificate, transition training, registration, shipping and customs, and obtaining insurance.
JB recently retired from the Navy after two decades as a Naval Aviator flying Seahawks. He’s flown from every class of US Navy combatant including frigates, destroyers, cruisers, and aircraft carriers. In in the Navy, JB was a Fleet Replacement Instructor Pilot, a Weapons and Tactics Instructor, and the Commanding Officer of the West Coast Seahawk Weapons School. He holds a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot rating, is an avid first person video aero-modeler, and he currently works as a lead systems engineer in the Washington DC area.
Features of the Shark Aero include an aircraft parachute, a cockpit safety cell, and a wide, forgiving flight envelope. Able to cruise at 150 knots consuming just five gallons of unleaded gasoline per hour, it can easily fly from DC to Atlanta in about three and a half hours. Its tandem seat, dual controls, glass cockpit, and bubble canopy gives the Shark the feel of a modern “pocket fighter.”
Aviation Subcommittee to Examine the State of the Air Transportation Industry in the 21st Century
As it prepares to develop an FAA reform and reauthorization bill later this year, the Subcommittee on Aviation is holding a hearing on the current state of the U.S. air transportation industry. The hearing is titled, “Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Air Transportation in the United States in the 21st Century.”
Previous Subcommittee hearings:
- Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: State of American Airports
- Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: State of American Aviation Manufacturing
- Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America
Proposed San Carlos Airport Ordinance Targets Surf Air, Excludes Ellison
Residents of San Mateo county don’t like the noise from the Surf Air Pilatus PC-12s. The County Board of Supervisors has proposed a new curfew ordinance limiting one takeoff and landings of “noisy airplanes.” A noisy airplane is defined a one with a certificated noise level above 74.5 dB. The quietest PC-12 is rated at 74.6 dB.
Uflytv Launches an Online Aviation Video Network
The new aviation video service Uflytv comes from Tom Poberezny and Jim Irwin. Poberezny was EAA AirVenture chairman from 1977 to 2011, and president of EAA from 1989 to 2010. Jim Irwin is president of Aircraft Specialty & Spruce. Currently offering 220 titles.
Trump Uncertainty Slowing U.S. Travel Bookings: Report
Travel analysis company ForwardKeys says demand for travel to the United States has declined due to the uncertainty of travel bans.
David Samson, a Christie Ally, Is Sentenced to Home Confinement
The former chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey was sentenced for pressuring United Airlines to operate a weekly flight to South Carolina for his personal convenience.
American Airlines To Phase Out Complimentary Cabin Pressurization
The Onion reports that due to the high cost, American Airlines will no longer offer free cabin pressurization to passengers starting March 15. You gotta love the Onion.
Air India’s all-female crew makes history with round-the-world flight
An Air India Boeing 777 completed the flight with an all-female crew, as well as female check-in and ground handling staff, the engineers who certified the aircraft, and air traffic controllers.
Dave Homewood from The Wings over New Zealand Show describes his 1993 flight in a Grumman Avenger, and his 2016 ride in a Supermarine Spitfire.
Dave provided some interesting videos:
- Spitfire Start Up
- Spitfire Taxiing Out
- Spitfire Take Off
- Spitfire Over Auckland City
- Spitfire landing
Dave said, “The thing that got me the most about the Spitfire was on the start up how hot and fumey the cockpit suddenly becomes, I’d seriously never thought about it before but wow there’s a wave of very hot air blasting you from the Merlin up front, and the fumes are choking and I gagged slightly. The first thought was oh no, is it going to be like this for half an hour? But no it quickly passed and you could breath again, plus with the canopy shut it was all good.”
Also, “The other sensation in the Spitfire was looking out at those famous elliptical wings and smiling so much, more than I’d done on any other flight. I also spent a bit of time thinking about all the amazing veterans I have met and interviewed over the years who flew these machines in combat. I had over time gathered a vivid mental impression of what it was like to fly in a Spitfire from them, but having the actual real opportunity with all the sounds, smells, vibrations, sights and other sensations absolutely took that appreciation to a whole new level.”
“In 2014 our Wings Over New Zealand Forum raised the money to take two wartime RNZAF veterans, Alan Peart DFC and Jim Robinson, up in that very same Spitfire. They had flown together in No. 81 Squadron RAF, the same squadron that the aircraft’s markings are in. It’s marked up as the personal aircraft of Wing Commander Colin Gray, New Zealand’s top ace, who was Alan and Jim’s boss on the squadron. That was very special indeed, but I never thought for a moment then that I’d be doing it myself 18 months later. Great memories!”
The Australia News Desk
Steve Visscher and Grant McHerron from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast bring us a report from Avalon 2017, which saw the arrival of the first two RAAF F-35’s in Australia. Steve has been doing some reports for AOPA Australia Live:
- Aminta Hennessy OAM talks about what GA today are facing
- AOPA Australia chats to Craig Morrison from Benalla Aviation Museum in the Studio
- AOPA Australia speaks to Garmin
Bay Area Expert Weighs In on Possible Cause of Deadly Plane Crash
Co-host Max Trescott West was interviewed on NBC Bay Area regarding the C310 crash in Riverside, California.
A4A has a new survey out on the “Status of Air Travel in the United States” [PDF] This was conducted in January 2017 and released on February 28.
Intro music courtesy Brother Love from his Album Of The Year CD. Outtro by Bruno Misonne from The Sound of Flaps.
It was a shame we didn’t get to hear that other guy on the show this week – especially after we’d made a special report. Oh well… What’s his name again? Rob….er….Smith? I think it was.
You know, the guy from Chicago.
Seriously though, it was great to be doing a segment for the Geeks again. Just like old times for sure. Talk to you all again in the future. Cheers. Steve