AOPA asks House to Protect Airport Funding

By Elizabeth A Tennyson

General aviation airports rely on federal money, making it vitally important that Congress maintain Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funding at least at current levels, AOPA President Mark Baker testified before the House Aviation Subcommittee.

During the June 18 hearing on airport financing, Baker told the panel that the need is high for safety, expansion, improvement, and environmental projects at general aviation airports. According to the FAA’s most recent National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems report to Congress, airport infrastructure needs far exceed the funding available. From 2013 through 2017, the FAA estimates that airports will require some $42.5 billion to meet all AIP-eligible infrastructure development demands. That’s significantly more than the roughly $3.35 billion annual allotment.

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SkyCraft Declares Light Sport Compliance, Purchases New Factory in Utah

Last month, SkyCraft Airplanes declared to the FAA that its SD-1 Minisport is compliant with all ASTM regulations for Light Sport Aircraft—one year after publicly announcing it would be producing the airplane ready to fly.  SkyCraft now awaits an FAA audit, after which it will be able to make its first aircraft deliveries to its eagerly awaiting customers.  The FAA has scheduled SkyCraft’s audit for two months from now.

Over the last year, SkyCraft has made several upgrades and refinements to the design for the SD-1 Minisport.  Most recently, the mechanical brakes on the SD-1 were replaced with a stronger, smoother hydraulic brake system, which will shorten the landing distance of the aircraft and improve taxi operations.  Historically, many airplane manufacturers have struggled to keep their initial price point during these developmental stages of production, however SkyCraft has been able to maintain its highly impressive $54,850 price tag for the SD-1 Minisport even with the many improvements that have been made.  SkyCraft remains committed to the quality and affordability of its airplanes.

SkyCraft Provo Factory

SkyCraft’s new factory will be capable of producing 100 airplanes a year.

In preparation for increased production after certification, SkyCraft has purchased a new factory and hangar at KPVU in Provo, Utah.  The new facility will triple the production space from the current factory, allowing enough room to build 100 SD-1 Minisports per year.  The additional space will be used to expand the production line for the SD-1 Minisport and to continue development of future aircraft models.

SkyCraft will be displaying a flying aircraft publicly for the first time at EAA Airventure Oshkosh later this month.


Air Show Star Michael Goulian to Serve as AOPA Ambassador

Frederick, MD – Legendary air show and racing pilot Michael Goulian will serve as an “AOPA Ambassador,” the Association announced Thursday.

“Nobody conveys their passion and enthusiasm for flight quite like AOPA’s newest Ambassador, Michael Goulian,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) President Mark Baker. “His unique flying style epitomizes the freedom, fun, and challenge of aviation. He has been a dedicated AOPA supporter over the years and we couldn’t be more appreciative of Michael’s willingness to contribute in this new way.”

Goulian is known as a fierce competitor whose aggressive but precise approach to flying delivers heart-pounding thrills to audiences around the world. A winner of the U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Championship and a racer in the Red Bull Air Race Series, Goulian has been honored with all of the airshow industry’s top awards. In his Extra 330SC, he continues to redefine what is possible in the air.

He is also a longtime AOPA member and supporter, serving on the AOPA Foundation’s Board of Visitors and as an honorary chairman of the Foundation’s Hat in the Ring Society.

During AOPA’s July 12, 2014 AOPA Fly-In in Plymouth, Mass., Goulian will host a seminar about refining decision making skills and setting personal limitations. He will also take time to meet fans and sign autographs.  Learn more about the Plymouth Fly-In at



Pilot Plans to Be Youngest Circumnavigator By EAA Staff


Next week on May 27, Matt Guthmiller, 19, of Aberdeen, South Dakota, will embark on an around the world flight that could land him a Guinness World Record. Guthmiller, EAA 1133537, plans a May 27 departure from Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California, estimating to arrive back at the end of June after flying a total of 28,000 miles.

Guthmiller, a computer science freshman at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was inspired after reading about Jack Wiegand last year, who at 21 years old became the youngest pilot to fly solo around the world. Several months later, that record was broken by Australian Ryan Campbell, 19, EAA 1001585. Both of those young pilots attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013.

“I thought, ‘I could do that,’” he said after reading of Wiegand’s flight. He’s making final preparations to depart Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California, next Tuesday. If Guthmiller is successful by the planned end date of June 30, he’ll be the youngest person to fly around the world by a little less than two months. Guthmiller also plans to attend AirVenture this summer and give a presentation about his adventure.

While setting a Guinness World Record would be exciting, Guthmiller’s true goal is to inspire other young people to do big things. “That’s what I hope to accomplish with this flight,” he said, calling it “Limitless Horizons.” It’s also a charitable mission designed to benefit, a 501c3 organization devoted to expanding access to computer science, particularly in underserved areas.

Guthmiller began writing computer code in the 5th grade and started one of the very first Apple iPhone unlocking businesses in 2007. By high school, he had moved on to producing algorithms that could predict crude oil prices and using supercomputers to analyze stock trades.

He will fly a modified 1981 Beech A36 Bonanza (N367HP) with a Continental IO-550 engine. The plane is being specially outfitted with ferry tanks (rear seats will be removed to make room for them) giving the plane 2,800 nautical mile range at an expected cruise speed of 155-175 mph at 11,500 feet msl.

The aircraft, which is being leased from High Performance Aircraft of El Cajon, has a well-equipped glass panel including a Garmin G500, dual GTN-750s touch screen navigators, GSR-56 for weather, GDL-69A data link, GTS 800 traffic advisory system, and ADS-B out.

He is using Paramount Aviation Resources Group to help secure landing permits, overflight privileges, and to help him manage other issues that can challenge international private flights. The 28,000-nautical mile journey will include planned stops in Aberdeen, Teterboro, New Jersey, Newfoundland, and the Azore Islands. Other stops include London, Cairo, Rome, Dubai, and Honolulu. (Learn more about the flight itinerary on the Limitless Horizons website.)

Guthmiller has always been fascinated by aviation and took to computer simulators when he was younger. He started flight lessons at the Aberdeen Regional Airport (ABR) FBO, Hangar 9 in July 2011. Ten hours of dual training later, he soloed on August 14, and passed his checkride on his 17th birthday, November 29, 2011. Since then he’s added instrument, glider, and commercial single-engine land/sea ratings.

“Nothing is impossible,” Guthmiller said. “And I’ve never been the kind of person to just hang around and wait for great things to happen. If you really want to achieve something great, you have to go out and get it.”


Florida Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum cordially invites you to join them for the Florida Aviation Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. The ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 6 to 8 p.m at Aerospace Discovery at the Florida Air Museum on the Sun ‘n Fun campus. (4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL)

Honoring the following 2014 inductees nominated by the membership of the Florida Aviation Historical Society:

Betty Skelton
Frankman Erde

(1926 – 2011)
Aviatrix, aerobatic champion, land/air speed record-holder

Capt Henry Tyndal
“Dick” Merrill

(1894 – 1982)
Pioneer aviator, commercial record holder, Eastern Air Lines

Curtis Pitts
(1915 – 2005)
Pitts Special aerobatic bi-plane aircraft designer

Dinner, cash bar and program begin at 6 p.m. $35 per person $60 per couple.

CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets now! (Please bring online receipt of purchase with you to the event)

You may also call 863-644-2431 ext. 177 to make your payment with a CC or send a check payable to The Florida Air Museum: 4175 Medulla Road, Lakeland, FL 33811. Checks must be sent by May 9.


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