GAMA Responds to Sensationalistic USA Today Story on GA Safety 

By Pete Bunce
President and CEO, General Aviation Manufacturers Association

President and CEO Pete Bunce issued the following response to Thomas Frank’s sensationalistic story in, “Unfit for Flight:”

Thomas Frank’s sensationalistic three-part series in USA Today (Unfit for Flight, June 18, 2014) fails to acknowledge the significant progress general aviation manufacturers have made to improve safety.
The reality is that the number of fatal accidents in general aviation aircraft has declined substantially in recent years. In fact, the goal of one fatal accident per 100,000 hours flown by 2018 now appears increasingly likely.

Aircraft manufacturers spend significant time and expense to ensure the safety of their aircraft. This process begins with a three-to-six year period in which the manufacturer demonstrates to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that each design meets the applicable regulations. The tightly controlled aircraft design process results in a specific design approval – the type certified design, or TC – which applies only to that particular approved design that can then be produced. If a manufacturer wants to make something different, it must go through another safety review process for approval.

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Kitfox: 30 Years and Looking to the Future

Affectionally known as The Mule this aircraft was originally built as a Kitfox test aircraft for prototype reasons. The Mule ended up being an Bronze Lindy award winner at Oshkosh in 2010 with the 7 cylinder Rotec Radial engine then was the first to fly the new O-233 LSA engine with their electronic ignition. Then followed by the first kit install of the Rotax 912iS and 912 iS SPORT.. then converted from Tail wheel to Tri-gear. (Kitfox Aircraft LLC)Kitfox, the iconic kit plane that first hit the market as what was basically a two place, cabin ultralight, is celebrating 30 years of continuous production. Introduced in 1984, the Kitfox Model I was powered by a 50 hp. two-stroke engine contained in the classic look of a round cowl. It caught on with Model II and Model III versions following during the next five years. The gross weight and engine options were expanded with each new model. All versions had a common feature that remains alive today, the ability to buy the entire kit in a single box, including engine, and assemble it in minimum time. 1989 saw a “new” Kitfox arrive, with the introduction of the Model IV, having a higher gross weight, different wing and completely revised flight control system. The “Speedster” version of the Model IV captured the imagination of every classic aircraft lover and Kitfox was soon outselling the “big three” GA aircraft manufactures combined.

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Contrails: Oh, The Places You’ll Go

By Steve Weaver

When most pilots consider the hours they have logged in the air, the time usually remains just hours to them. The recorded flights are remembered as a cross-country, as an instrument flight, or as the hour spent learning recovery from unusual attitudes. But as time aloft accumulates, it can also be viewed using other measurements. By the time a student pilot has qualified for his or her private license, he or she has gained a bit of experience and is ready to begin learning to fly the airplane on instruments. He or she has probably spent about a week apart from the surface of the earth. That would be a total of seven 24-hour days spent hanging suspended above the earth or 168 hours total. Later, at the 500-hour milestone, our pilot has been missing from the earth for over two and a half weeks, and on the day he or she logs his or her one thousandth hour, he will have spent a total of more than 41 24-hour days some place other than on the planet where he was born.

Those of us who have flown most of our lives as a profession, rack up a prodigious amount of hours in the air, and the high timers among us have lived aloft literally for years.

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Interview: Andy Weir Spins a Riveting Tale of Survival and Space Travel in The Martian

By S. Mark Rhodes

The Martian (Crown) by Andy Weir is the story of a regular guy who happens to be an amazingly resourceful astronaut who is stranded on Mars with limited resources and mainly limited time as his resources are finite, and he finds himself facing certain death if he doesn’t figure out a way to survive and get help from NASA back on earth. The novel, a New York Times Bestseller, told mainly through log entries is one of the most riveting science fiction tales in many years and has created some motion picture buzz. Mr. Weir, a former software engineer, has a talent for technological detail and innovative storytelling, and has built a very appealing character in his stranded astronaut Mark Watney. Mr. Weir was nice enough to correspond via email about his work, the technology of the book, and how he created his tale.

IF USA: What was the origin of the plot behind The Martian?

AW: “I was daydreaming about how a manned mission to Mars would work. I wanted to be as realistic as possible in the mission design. I knew the mission would have to account for problems that could happen, so I started thinking up things that could go wrong. I realized that those problem scenarios would make a cool story, so I made a hapless main character and subjected him to all of them.”

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Summer Jam July Promotion 

Hey In Flight fans!

The marketing side of our team just informed us (me?) that they have cooked up a special advertising promotion for our annual “Summer Jam.” The next four months are the busiest flying months of the year with terrific air shows (like EAA AirVenture) and flying opportunities. Our distribution and news coverage has been pumped up to match the excitement. Readers with products or services to sell should contact Ed Downs at or (918/873-0280) to get the details, which include some of the lowest prices we have ever offered and a number of free services and promotional space.  Act fast; this is a four-month package that expires in just a few weeks. By the way, Ed has been looking for flying adventures to share with our readers, so send him your stories, and we will see if editorial immortality is in in your future!


Ed Downs 

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