Free Aviation Guy Newsletter Want to receive the latest on aviation delivered to you? Get all the latest and greatest aviation insights for FREE! Join your fellow Av Geeks who subscribe to Aviation Guy for FREE!!

Sun ‘N Fun Kicks off in Sunny Florida #SNF12

As I sit in my house getting ready for work listening to the Blue Angels practice, like they do every Tuesday and Thursday, I can’t help but wish I was getting ready to go to Sun ‘N Fun.  Obviously, most people would rather enjoy a day in sunny Florida admiring airplanes and enjoying the atmosphere of such an event, but I am around planes everyday.

Like I said, I get to see the Blue Angels practice a couple of times a week.  I work in military aviation, and I really enjoy it.  It is worth all of the long days, the changing schedules, and the general frustration that goes along with any flying career.  That being said, sometimes we need to get away from the work side of it, and enjoy the fun of it.

If I was in a position to own a small plane and go out and enjoy it, then I would do that, but what I really want right now is to enjoy the fun of an air show.  Just being around the people at air shows that love aircraft is so awesome.  It is not a competition or a challenge where we are looking for a winner, it is simply a celebration of flight and all of the wonder that it entails.

Flying was born on the dreams of adventurous men and women who did it because they loved it, not because it was really profitable.  It has proved to be profitable for many people, but that is not where its roots are.  It is rooted in the hearts and dreams of every little boy and girl who dreams  of touching the sky and experiencing what relatively few people have.

Many of those dreams were born at an air show that was visited with a parent who has that love of aviation and wants to share it with the next generation.  I hope that everyone who has the chance to attend Sun ‘N Fun this week has a great time and is able to enjoy the wonder that is aviation.  I guess there is always next year for me.

I would love to live vicariously through you and hear about some of the experiences being had.  What is your favorite part of an air show?

March 27, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

With the Choice of Dropping TSA will Airports Make the Switch?

I hate TSA.

I know that I am not alone in that sentiment.  I think it is one of the biggest wastes of money in the federal government.  The quality of the product borders on ridiculous.  There are the well documented cases of not being allowed to take a cupcake through because it has too much “gel” in the form of frosting, and the obvious removal of shoes, jackets, and who knows what else in the future.  Of course there is also all of the uproar over full body scanners that can easily be seen as an invasion of privacy.

Beyond the well documented accounts, we all have experiences of forgetting a knife or some other weapon in our bag that gets completely missed.  I even had one friend who had forgotten two knives, but only one was found by the screeners.

An article in the New York Times made me aware of something that many people may not realize: since TSA was created in 2001 airports have been allowed to request permission to replace federal screeners.  To this point only 16 airports have been given permission to make the switch, but others are beginning to consider the option despite TSA saying they will no longer accept applications last year.

In response to that decision by TSA, Representative John L. Mica, Republican of Florida, included a provision in aviation legislation that strengthens the ability of airports to switch to private screeners which passed in February.  Mica represents the district that includes the Orlando Sanford Airport that is anxiously trying to switch to private screeners.

According to the above mentioned article, the committee that supported the provision estimated that  if the 35 biggest airports in the country switched to private screeners, the government would save $1 billion over five years.  I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers were inflated to prove their point, but everyone agrees that private screeners are cheaper than TSA.

In an economy, and aviation industry, where every dollar counts, how can this not become a more viable option for the nation’s airports?  The answer is TSA being unwilling to give up their monopoly.  If they are forced to compete against private companies that have to operate efficiently, they will have to change the way they operate.  They will no longer be able to waste millions of dollars on useless purchases like changing the color of shirt their employees wear, and that is awesome.

If this provision does nothing more than force TSA to operate more efficiently and effectively, then it is one of the best bills I have heard about in recent memory.  Here’s hoping that airports are actually able to have the screeners they want to have without any unnecessary hoops to jump through from the government, but what are the odds of that happening?

What is your take on the value of TSA over private screeners?

March 26, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Hilton Head Airport Finds a Solution In Place of User Fees

The debate over user fees has calmed somewhat since the initial release of the 2013 budget that wants to include them.  While user fees will likely become more of an issue as the actual passage of the budget comes up, it is important to look at what other options there may be in place of user fees.

At the Hilton Head Airport in South Carolina they were able to create a solution to prevent user fees but still increase revenue for the county.  The specific numbers of the deal can be found in this article from  What I like about the situation is that the parties involved were able to get together to find a mutually beneficial solution.

That is the problem that I have with user fees in general: supporters seem to think that user fees are a quick fix for a problem that is much more complicated than just money.  They are not willing to put forth the time and effort to come up with real solutions, they just want more money.

This solution may not work at other airports, but if the airports, FBO’s, and cities/counties would all just sit down and work together they could come up with systems that would provide the necessary funds without overburdening anyone.  Of course we must also consider the FAA and federal government, but they should be no different.  Instead of looking for a quick fix for a long-standing problem, do some work and come up with a solution that everyone can be okay with.

Few will argue that there are not financial concerns when it comes to aviation in general, and air traffic control in particular, which should also mean that people can be reasonable when it comes to developing solutions.  Like most government programs it likely needs to be a tightening of belts along with an increase in revenue, but what we definitely don’t need is a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Airbus Inviting Students to Change the Future of Aviation

Innovation can come from anywhere, and oftentimes the best ideas come from some of the least likely sources.  Airbus is embracing this concept by inviting students from around the world  to participate in their Fly Your Ideas Challenge(FYI 2013).  The contest, which is held every two years, asks students to develop ideas for an eco-efficient aviation industry for the top prize of €30,000 with the runners-up receiving €15,000.

This is an awesome competition, because it encourages entries from anywhere, not just aviation.  According to Charles Champion, Executive Vice President Engineering at Airbus and FYI 2013 patron, “Some solutions will require thinking out of the box.  At Airbus we work in a world of unobtainiums, solutions for seemingly impossible challenges that shape the way we live – like those that made air travel a reality.”

Aviation has always benefited from the ingenuity from all types of people.  In case you forgot, the Wright Brothers owned a bike shop before they transformed transportation.  For all we know the next great idea in aviation could come from an engineer, a scientist, or maybe a marketing major.

There is only one real certainty in the future, and that is that we have absolutely no idea what it will hold.  That being said, there are few things that excite me more than thinking about what the future may hold, and how we have no idea what amazing things will inevitably develop.  Aviation is the industry that made people dream about reaching the skies and ultimately the stars, and I hope competitions like this bring that fantasy back to an aviation industry that has become somewhat stagnant and businesslike.

March 20, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: An Unbiased Visitor Gives His Opinions

It can be really hard to get an honest, unbiased look at anything that is new.  That really is no surprise since the first group to share any information are the people who build it.  Up until recently, pretty much everything we have heard about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has come from Boeing.  As much fun as it is to listen to the Kool-Aid drinkers from any company, it is so refreshing to get an unbiased perspective.

That is exactly what you can get from Brett Snyder, The Cranky Flier.  If you are not familiar with his blog, I highly recommend that you go to his blog regularly as he always provides a very nice perspective of whatever he writes about.

In this case, he had the opportunity to go and take a tour of the 787 Dreamliner while on its tour stop in Long Beach.  He provides some really fun pictures, as well as a short video, and a nice refreshing perspective.  I am so jealous, and I hope that I get the opportunity to see it for myself sometime soon.

My dad has dreamed of flying on a 747 his entire life, and came as close as sitting on one when the flight got cancelled and they had to switch planes.  I have a feeling that the 787 may just be that plane for me.  Right now there are so few of them, and most of them are overseas, so I don’t see a chance to fly on one anytime soon.  In the meantime, I will live vicariously through those who have the opportunity.

March 15, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Lego Space Shuttle Launched Into Space to Celebrate End of the Space Shuttle Era

Legos are one of the single greatest things that have ever been invented.  They provide hours and hours of entertainment, and they bring out a child’s imagination as well as anything out there.  You can create cars and buildings and animals and monsters and anything else that your mind can think of.

One of the most amazing things about them is how incredibly simple they are.  They are just small pieces of plastic with bumps on them that get combined into amazing things.  If you don’t believe me, go into a Lego store, or just check out their website.

In contrast, the space shuttle is one of the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment that has ever been developed.  Unlike Legos, which are timeless, the space shuttle has reached the end of its service.

In tribute to this amazing piece of machinery an Australian entrepreneur teamed up with a Romanian teen to give the shuttle a nice sendoff.  In adding to the beautiful irony of this sendoff they attached a space shuttle made of Legos to a balloon, which was the very first object to take a man into the air.

As you can see in the video below their was also a video camera attached, and the balloon, along with its space shuttle cargo, made it all the way into space.

My dad is the one that sent the video to me, and he captioned it, “Who says we can’t do it again?”  It really did get me thinking about what the future of the space program will be.  I would be really interested to see what other people’s thoughts are on the future of the space program.  In the meantime, enjoy the video.



March 13, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Citation M2 Makes Its Maiden Voyage: How Many Aircraft Does Cessna Need?

The Cessna Citation M2 made its first test flight on Friday and was met with all of the typical quotes from the people involved.  They talked about how it performed just as expected and how it will be such a blessing to their customers.

That’s great that everything went so well, but I for one have to wonder if Cessna really needs another aircraft.  According to the press release from Cessna, the M2 “fills the gap between the Citation Mustang and the Citation CJ family”.  Exactly how big of a gap do they think exists there.  If you look at the Mustang, various CJ aircraft, and the new M2, most people would be hard pressed to tell you the difference.

I understand that the avionics is an upgrade over previous aircraft, but do you really need an entirely new aircraft to roll out some new avionics?  How about upgrading one of your existing aircraft instead of coming out with a new aircraft every other year?

Cessna is THE American aircraft company in my eyes.  They cover pretty much the entire general aviation market with the exception of the airline size aircraft.  They make great aircraft that are a testament to the quality of American manufacturing, but this constant roll out of new aircraft almost makes them look desperate.

Maybe I am forgetting someone, but I can’t think of a single aircraft manufacturer that offers half as many business jets as Cessna.  I would start listing them all, but just the thought of it makes my head hurt.  Most companies offer 5-10 aircraft at the very most, but without even trying I can think of at least 20 jet aircraft that Cessna offers.

You have to wonder if spreading out so much is hurting their business.  Instead of just focusing on a smaller number of aircraft and making them awesome, I get the feeling that they are trying to be a jack of all trades, but master of none.

It also seems to me that people almost start ignoring new aircraft from Cessna because there are so many of them.

I really hope that this does help their business as Cessna is a very important company in this country, I just can’t help but wonder what they are trying to accomplish with releasing new aircraft all the time.

March 12, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Cessna’s New Citation M2 Makes First Flight Today

WICHITA, Kan., March 9, 2012 — Cessna’s new Citation M2, announced less than six months ago, made its first prototype flight today. The flight lasted a little more than an hour and a half and included tests of the avionics system, autopilot, engine system, aircraft systems and instrument approaches. The prototype took off and landed at Wichita, Kan., Mid-Continent Airport (ICT) where Cessna’s main manufacturing facility is located. Cessna Aircraft Company is a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.

“I am excited to say the aircraft performance, handling characteristics and Garmin G3000 avionics were exceptional, just as we had anticipated,” said Peter Fisher, Cessna’s engineering test pilot who flew the Citation M2. “With this essential program milestone complete, we are looking forward to a successful flight test program and FAA certification so our customers can soon enjoy this great aircraft.”

The Citation M2 is a new light business jet that fills the gap between the Citation Mustang and the Citation CJ family and gives customers another entry point into the Citation product line. Federal Aviation Administration certification (Part 23) is expected in the first half of 2013, followed by deliveries beginning in the second half of 2013.

“The Citation M2 development team is focused on bringing this program to maturity, and their dedication is reflected in the speed in which the program is moving forward,” said Brian Rohloff, Cessna’s Citation Mustang and M2 business leader. “Bringing this sleek airplane to market, so quickly, strongly positions Cessna in the marketplace and allows our customers to take advantage of its capabilities sooner.”

The Citation M2’s clean cockpit design is anchored by the fully integrated Garmin G3000 avionics suite and the aircraft is powered by a pair of FADEC-controlled Williams International FJ44-1AP-21 turbofan engines. It has an all-new cabin design, including the optional Cessna proprietary cabin management system that includes the latest interface options for greater in-flight productivity and connectivity.

With room for two crew and up to six passengers, the $4.195 million 2012 USD Citation M2 has a maximum cruise speed of 400 knots true airspeed (741 kilometers per hour) and a range of 1,300 nautical miles (2,408 kilometers). The aircraft can operate at airports with runways as short as 3,250 feet (991 meters) and will climb to 41,000 feet (12,497 meters) in 24 minutes.

From the cockpit divider aft through the rear lavatory, the main passenger cabin of the Citation M2 is 58 inches wide (1.47 meters) and 11 feet (3.3 meters) long with a 5-inch dropped aisle providing a cabin height of 57 inches (1.45 meters). Eight large windows, roomy pedestal seats and intuitive cabin appointments highlight the all-new interior.

A video highlighting the Citation M2’s features can be viewed on Cessna’s YouTube channel. Visit our gallery of Citation M2 images.

Cessna is the world’s leading general aviation company. Since its inception in 1927, Cessna has designed, produced and delivered more than 192,500 airplanes around the globe. This includes more than 6,100 Citation business jets, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Today, Cessna has two principal lines of business: aircraft sales and aftermarket services. Aircraft sales include Citation business jets, Caravan single-engine utility turboprops, single-engine piston aircraft and lift solutions by CitationAir. Aftermarket services include parts, maintenance, inspection and repair services. In 2010, Cessna delivered 535 aircraft, including 179 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of $2.6 billion. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at

Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, and Textron Systems. More information is available at

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

March Madness Aviation Style

March Madness is one of the greatest times of the year.  There is so much basketball on TV that with the creation of the DVR you could quite literally watch basketball games 24 hours a day.  Millions of dollars are lost in productivity every year because of the wonder that is March Madness.

The AOPA is doing their own form of March Madness with aircraft being the competitors instead of basketball teams.  All you have to do is log-on to their website and vote for your favorite aircraft.  Here is the description from their website:

In the spirit of the NCAA’s March Madness, AOPA is introducing the “Favorite Aircraft Challenge” bracket. No money, no prizes—the aircraft are competing. You vote for your favorite general aviation aircraft through a series of head-to-head matchups. Sixty four iconic models will compete—did your favorite make the cut?

Starting March 12, AOPA will present a list of matchups of some of the greatest aircraft on the face of the Earth. Get a sneak peek at the brackets. To vote, log in with your AOPA Online username and password, or register for a free account. Once signed in, review and vote on each pairing, then submit your selection. Another matchup will be presented until all the day’s matches are completed. Come back daily to vote for the next round and help your favorite aircraft progress to the next level in hopes of being declared the favorite aircraft. AOPA members’ votes count double. (Don’t like it? Become a member—membership has its privileges.)

Talking about old planes, or even new ones that have become fast favorites, is one of the best parts of aviation.  It will be really fun to see how the voting turns out.

March 9, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Top Gun 2 to Feature Tom Cruise and the F-35

Like many other young men I was completely enamored with aviation, and fighter jets in particular, from the very first time I saw Top Gun.  I was in elementary school and I still remember pretending to be Maverick on the swings.  That love of aviation has led me to my current career.

It was confirmed back in December by Tom Cruise that the sequel was in the works, but not a whole lot was known.  But, just like most Hollywood secrets some of the details are now starting to leak, though from some unexpected sources.

Tom Burbage, the Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager, recently let some of these details slip at a luncheon for the National Aeronautics Association.  According to the DEW Line blog at, Burbage confirmed that Tom Cruise will not only make a cameo appearance, but will be the star.

While that may be a little bit of a surprise, the much bigger news is the aircraft that they have chosen to star alongside Cruise: the F-35.  There is a little bit of irony in selecting a plane that is yet to really take-off to star alongside an actor that is in the twilight of his career, but I for one am intrigued.

Honestly, I don’t think the film will be that great just like most sequels made 35 years after the original.  I really don’t know where they are going to go in terms of a story with an old test pilot in a plane that has never seen combat, but it can be fun to take guesses.

The above blog post has an amusing take on a potential storyline.  Personally, I see Tom Cruise being the first to take the F-35 into combat because the other aircraft just aren’t cutting it.  Sending in an old man to do the job of younger men because they don’t have the experience.

It would be something like Kevin Costner in The Guardian, but since Goose is already gone Maverick can just take the fall.  Or maybe something along the lines of Iron Eagle (the other movie that made me fall in love with aviation) where Tom Cruise takes the F-35 into combat for the first time and gets shot down only to have to be rescued by a young heart throb who can go and play horseshoes or cards with Val Kilmer.

Regardless of the storyline, it may be the first exciting video we get of the F-35 in action.

More importantly, I hope that the sequel gets the young generation as excited about flying as the original did for my generation.

March 6, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.