Saturday, November 30, 2013

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013: Sky Arrow LSA Is Versatile Performer

Fred Harl, Carmelo Turdo AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 was a haven for all types of aircraft, with the manufacturers of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) well represented at their exhibit areas and with visiting aircraft parked in the fields surrounding the runways at Wittman Regional Airport.  One of the more stylish and versatile LSAs we saw that week was the Sky Arrow, the Italian design distributed in the United States by Giotto Air of San Jose, CA. The 600 and 650 models both sport a sleek, tandem seating arrangement with a Rotax 912 engine driving a pusher propeller behind the cockpit on the high wing structure.  The mostly carbon fiber airframes are designed so that the engine and fuel tank mounts can survive an 18g impact load.  When cruising at 75% power at 100kts, these LSAs use 5 gallons of fuel/hour, giving over three hours of flight per 18 gallon tank of gas for the Model 650 and five hours per 26 gallon tank for the Model 600.  This performance envelope, along with excellent visibility and docile handling, make the Sky Arrow LSA ideal not only for training but also for missions requiring loiter capability such as (manned and unmanned) surveillance, environmental research and aerial broadcasting.   


The Sky Arrow was also a featured aircraft at the recent Midwest LSA Expo held at Mount Vernon Outland Airport:

(Mark Nankivil photo)

(Mark Nankivil photo)

The Sky Arrow has been a vital part of flight training for student pilots enrolled in the Able Flight Scholarship Program.  Able Flight Scholarships give people with disabilities an opportunity to experience flight and train to earn their LSA pilot license or other related career rating.  An adapted Sky Arrow 600 is used to facilitate the training process for those students who need hand controls to fly the aircraft.  The Aero Experience would like to spread the word about this exceptional program by presenting these videos and encouraging our audience to support Able Flight:

Monday, November 25, 2013

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013: Lockheed Shooting Star Jet Warbirds Keep the Excitement Alive at Daily Airshows

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo organizers faced the challenge of providing jet aircraft performances in the absence of the military jet teams during the 2013 airshow season, and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 was no exception.  As discussed in the previous feature, the role of jet action in the daily airshows was  filled by civilian warbird jets performing as individuals or in teams such as the Black Diamond Jet Team.  One of the most popular warbird jets on the airshow circuit is the Lockheed/Canadair T-33 Shooting Star family of jet trainers.  Manufactured mainly during the 1950s following the introduction of the P-80/F-80 series of early jet fighters, nearly 6,000 were built for the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and foreign air forces.  Later in it's service career, the aircraft was also used for other emerging roles such as drone director and target tow, and some aircraft were modified for the reconnaissance and attack roles in some countries.  Canadair produced 656, many now in the jet warbird fleet, and Kawasaki manufactured 210 in Japan.  The Shooting Star was even used as the basis of the Skyfox trainer aircraft developed as a replacement for the Cessna T-37 in the 1980s, but this effort was not rewarded with a contract.  

Lockheed T-33 with MO
Air National Guard*
The T-33 continues to fly in support of current aircraft development programs as chase aircraft and in other secondary roles, and of course, many can be found on the airshow circuit.  The Aero Experience continues our coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 with more jet airshow action featuring the T-33 Shooting Star:

*Greater St. Louis Air & Space Museum Archives   


Thursday, November 21, 2013

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013: L-39 Albatross Is the Jet of Choice for Airshows

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo organizers across the country faced a dilemma during the 2013 season: what jet aircraft performers to offer in the place of the idled USAF Thunderbirds and U.S. Navy Blue Angels jet teams.  In some cases, the entire event collapsed for lack of a suitable substitute for the excitement of these military jet team headliners, while other airshow organizers persevered with innovative civilian jet teams and solo acts that successfully entertained the loyal community audiences.  Just two Midwest aviation examples: The Cape Girardeau Regional Air Festival featured Randy Ball in his Cold War era MiG-17 in both Friday night and Saturday airshows, and the Memphis Airshow secured the Canadian Forces Snowbirds as their headliner.  Even the comparatively gigantic EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 was not immune to the effects of the military jet team stand-down, and some creative airshow scheduling was used to secure a number of popular civilian jets.  The civilian jet used most often during the week-long series of airshows was the Aero Vodochody (Aero) L-39C Albatross, flown by individual owners and also by the Black Diamond Jet Team.
 Aero produced over 2900 L-39s in the Czech Republic (formerly in Czechoslovakia), and later produced about 80 L-59 Super Albatross trainers from 1986.  Currently, Aero produces sub-assemblies for significant aircraft programs, such as the Sikorsky Blackhawk, Saab Grippon, Alenia C-27J and various aircraft from Airbus, Embraer and Boeing.  The Aero Experience continues our coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 with this extensive photo essay featuring the Aero L-39s flown by the Black Diamond Jet Team (led by friend of The Aero Experience Ltc. Jerry "Jive" Kerby, USAF Ret.) and the individually-owned aircraft that participated in airshows throughout the week.      
The Black Diamond Jet Team


Thanks Also to These Airshow Participants


 Special Feature: 3-Ship Formation from 2012 Airshow by Fred Harl