Each day we see new advances being made in electric flight. Improvements are seen in scale, size and endurance.

Today, we have another milestone with the electric Cri-Cri project crossing the English Channel. This comes one day in advance of Airbus’ e-fan flight. Pilot Hughues Duval flew the Cri-Cri across the English Channel from Dover,UK to Calais,France at 81 knots and covered the distance in 36 minutes.

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/f87a4d72cff04882aa6fe4a198f88cb6/first-electric-planes-fly-over-english-channel

More about the electric plane here

CPJ

Here is an ARF built Fokker D VII. Really well built. Nicely detailed. Equipped with a decently sized engine, the model flew real nice. First introduced around the April of 1918, 800+ aircraft were built.

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Here is a nice page on role of Fokker aircraft during World War I – http://www.wwiaviation.com/fokker.html

CPJ

The reflection on the rim of the engine is nice to have…

The Piper Cubs are a common sight at the RC field. They are also a part of the model inventory of most RC modelers. Here is a picture of a well built Cub at the field this morning. The owner of this model also flies real-world Cubs and flew this model real scale.

CPJ

There were many warbirds at the RC field this morning. Some of them are featured in the picture below. Spitfires, Mustangs, P-51… and more. The level of detail in some of these scale aircraft is striking. The pilot figures, gauges… even the rivets are detailed out. Its a joy just looking at these models. The effort put into building them shows on them. Not to mention the gasoline engines that power these war era favorites.

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CP Jois

Last week, I had the opportunity to fly the Diamond DA-40 airplane. The plane was similar and different from the airplane I fly regularly – the Piper Archer II. Most different was the move from steam gauges to a glass cockpit. This is more of a mindset shift. The Garmin 1000, G1000 as it is typically called, is a fabulous innovation. I have used it before on simulators but this was the first time I had used it in real-world aviation.

Being a technologist, I am throughly impressed by what it offers. I also think that in a typical flight, one perhaps uses a tenth of what the G1000 can do. The increase in situational awareness is tenfold. Between cohesive situational awareness, traffic warnings, NexRad radar, NAV overlays…and a lot more, the AHRS is a superior form of addressing safety in the 3 dimensional space of aviation.
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All this said, G1000 is also not for someone to simply get into one day and go out flying while learning it on the fly. The G1000 is not another set of gauges. Its a mindset shift. You read and absorb information differently. You assimilate and act differently. It is NOT merely a set of traditional gauges put on a glass interface. It can be cause overwhelm if not treated with respect. Its easy to get caught up in using the knobs and trying to skim through the various pages on the G1000 while in flight. Training for using it is important. The instrumentation is very different. It is easy to see the impact such technology bears on human factors.

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All that said, one does goes through a set of mixed feelings when making this shift to glass interfaces. Flying the Diamond, I somewhat missed the old fashioned 6-pack gauges that essentially inspired my love for airplanes. I worry that some day all airplanes will be fitted with these glass displays and the old gauges will be gone forever. Those gauges speak a story – the story describing the historic evolution of aviation. Would never want to lose them….

CPJ

For many years now, the concept of having a motion platform for hobby simulators has been on my mind. A couple of months ago, I began on this journey. Of course I didnt want to dive into building a full-scale one right away. I thought a prototype would be a good idea.

The video below shows my first gen prototype in action. A lot more work to do, however the basic concept has begun to take shape.

CP Jois

The Curtiss Jenny served as a trainer for over 95% of the WWI pilots. It was first put into production in 1915. They also were the early choice for mail delivery. Many of these were sold in the post war market for very little.

I came across a very nice story of one of these planes that went through a restoration recently. Dorian Walker, a filmmaker by profession, got associated with the restoration of a Curtiss Jenny by virtue of being in the right place at the right time. Of course, his decision turned out to be more valuable than he would have ever thought at that moment in time. The story in EAA’s Sport Aviation magazine is an inspiration to aviators. Historic aircraft have a special place. The Jenny, as it was called in the US, is a forerunner in its league. With a 6500 foot ceiling, a 90hp motor and a top speed of 75 mph, the aircraft did wonders. Read the story in EAA’s June 2015 edition. More on this project found at ‘Friends of Jenny’ website

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An interesting piece of trivia – the Jenny had no brakes nor a tailskid. It had tip skids that helped minimize the impact on touchdown.

CPJ

I recently came across this interesting aviation podcast channel – AviatorCast. I found it very interesting and heard one of the episodes recently. I have been hooked since then. You can find this one on iTunes and SoundCloud.

There have been, and still are, many podcasts on aviation. However, there are very few that sustain over time.  This one is over a year old. Chris is the founder of Angle of Attack, most known for their rich training content.  The thing I find different about this show is the variety of topics, speakers, guests, and the relevance of updates. I am even more enthused by the fact that they have been able to sustain the show for well over a year.

Chris is a fine host, posing specific, relevant questions. Many times now, I have found him asking the guest the exact question that was on my mind at that point in the conversation.

Here is a link to their site – http://www.aviatorcast.com

Hope you enjoy the show as much as I do.

CP Jois

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