Compiled By The Staff and Readership of the Aero-News Network
and Aero-TV -- Part 2
For quite a while, we have recognized the highs and lows
inherent in the general and sport aviation community -- and yes,
we’ve had a bit of fun in the process.
There are but a few places where that is more a propos than at a
major event like the Oshkosh Fly-In -- a place where one can take a
solid read on the heart and soul of aviation. It's hard to know
what really is going to make a difference and what really qualifies
as exceptional unless you've been watching this industry carefully
for several years... as we have.
Over the last few years, ANN readers remarks have been heavily
incorporated into ALL aspects of this report, and not just the
Aircraft awards and such. Their contributions have been carefully
considered and (in many cases) incorporated into our annual
The full list of our Annual Best Plane of the Year Selections
(tentatively announced after Oshkosh and finalized at year's end)
will await the end of the year. So; here are our picks for the Best
and Worst of this year's Oshkosh... and why we think so...
Best Darned Ideas: Too Many To Count... BUT, we
will mention the honoring of Bob Hoover, Aspen's Connected Panel
concept and Redbird's amazing FMX as a few of our
The Cloak Of Invisibility: Garmin. Normally the
belle of the ball, Garmin was virtually silent at this year's
Oshkosh. After finally updating some of the industry's most popular
boxes (the nearly iconic GNS430 and GNS530), with the much upgraded
GTN 650 and GTN 750, it seems that there was little left for Garmin
to say or do... which surprises the heck out of us. Mind you;
Garmin is facing incredibly strong and exceptionally innovative
competition from Aspen, Avidyne and an invigorated Honeywell, and
no one expects them to fold their tent and let them take over...
but we're kinda surprised that Garmin was willing to let these
up-and-comers take all the limelight... even for this one event.
|Normally the belle of the
ball, Garmin was virtually silent at this year's
Best Warbird: B-29 Super Fortress, 'FiFi'. Of
the nearly 4,000 that were produced, this is the only one flying in
the world today and she is a joy to behold.
Funkiest Aircraft: Ted Smith/AeroStar TurboJet.
|B-29 Super Fortress,
Nice to see the original dream completed. Now with a price
completed of $2.1M. Still, you have to weigh that against a Total
Hottest Prospect (not yet evaluated): Inogen
Aviator. The Inogen Aviator is a lightweight, in-flight
tankless pulse oxygen system for the general aviation community.
Currently tested up to 13,500', the Inogen Aviator can either run
off a cigarette lighter power interface or a 12 cell or 24 cell
batteries (up to 3 or 6 hours respectively). The Inogen
Aviator G2 Oxygen Concentrator is a supplemental source of oxygen
for pilots in flight. It supplies a high concentration of oxygen
and is used with a nasal cannula to channel oxygen from the
concentrator to the pilot, or individual passengers, and is
considered a single-user oxygen supply system.
| The Inogen Aviator is
a lightweight, in-flight tankless pulse oxygen system
Best Airshow Performance: USMC Harrier. The
demo pilot was super smooth and steady while conducting extended
maneuvers. Best Harrier demo we've ever seen.
Best Aero-Software: (A Tie) ForeFlight and
Wing-X. The two companies offer a competing series of
products that are updated (it seems) on nearly a daily basis...
leaving both in a neck and neck race to see who’s the best...
for a day or two and/or until the next evolution of their product
line puts them on top... for a while. Either way, aviation wins.
Annual subscriptions required.
Best Avionics - Portable: Aspen Connected
Panel. The community wants to be able to move data from
mobile devices to their avionics and back. Finally we have
something that has done it. Hopefully many more will come to market
| Aspen Connected
Best Avionics - Panel Mount: Avidyne AMX240, IFD540,
AXP340, DFC90. Finally a complete avionics stack from a
vendor other than Garmin. Let the competition begin -- and again,
everyone in aviation will win from this type of competition.
|Finally, a complete avionics
stack from a vendor other than Garmin.
Best Accessory – Electronic: James Wiebe's
Inline Fuel/Water Detector. Wiebe, an inventor and
innovator in both Ultralight airframe and instrument design,
revealed new sensor technology at AirVenture designed to annunciate
water contamination in fuel. The sensor he has developed is
reportedly sensitive enough to detect minute amounts of water as
small as a 1 ml drop in the flow of fuel, and further stated the
system was discriminatory enough to detect the difference between
gasoline and jet fuel (kerosene). Prediction... if this really
stands up, its a matter of time before it's in just about every
|James Wiebe's Inline
Best Non-Certified Flight Deck/Panel: MGL Avionics
iEFIS. Completely redesigned hardware with touch
screen. Features include a flexible design that allows the
builder to completely customize the screen, with an exceptionally
low price-point. The units come in sizes ranging from
7” to 15”.
Best Accessory – Safety: Alpha Systems
AOA's. Fly the wing, not the ASI, and you'll tame the
stall demon. Nothing more needs to be said. Every plane needs an
Best Accessory – Powerplant: Lopresti/Deltahawk
Diesel Engine Firewall Forward Installation package.
LoPresti Speed Merchants and Deltahawk Diesel Engines' SR20
“Shark” cowling has an air intake that provides
unseparated flow, directed flow, and thermal coupling on demand to
keep the engine in optimal temperature with the least drag
Best Event/Exhibit Of Show: Sporty's Sub-Divided Exhibit
Area. Good mixture of products in a cooperative marketing
Most Anticipated But Not Yet Ready For Primetime: Flight
Design C4. Everyone was ready to really try out the
mockup. They thought it would be like most in the past with the
ability to get in an interior. Having only an exterior one was a
big letdown. Many people are very interested in this instead
of a C172.
| Most Anticipated But
Not Yet Ready For Primetime: Flight Design C4
The Most Educational Booth/Display: Lincoln Electric
Welding. Training in every type of welding.
Best Promotional Literature: Lincoln Electric
Welding. They handed out more literature than any other
booth we visited.
Best Display/Booth/Presentation: Tornado Alley Turbo's
George Braly. George just cuts through the crap and tells
it like it is. He told us what we needed to know on 100LL
replacement and what was keeping us from “Fixing the
Best New Tenant at Oshkosh: HAI's New
Heli-Exhibit. Great design, cool, comfortable, phenomenal
view, practical and interesting giveaways that promote aviation and
feature women, and great for families as it includes a space for
children complete with toys, crayons and coloring books.
| HAI's New
Best New ANN Feature: Live Daily Coverage. We
almost didn't do this, this year... but with all the new stuff we
were unveiling (the new ANN website, among others), it just made
sense to raise a the bar a little more. ANN's "Airborne" live
Aero-TV coverage of each day's pivotal planes, people and products
provided us a chance to test out a number of processes that will
shortly reveal ANN's next big programming project... and we think
you'll like it.
| Best New ANN Feature:
Live Daily Coverage
ANN's MVP: Nathan Cremisino. Nathan is one of
those guys that you 'just depend on' -- a steadfast and expert part
of the ANN Team, Nathan has taken charge of the Aero-TV process and
made it his own with a solid work ethic, calm/good humor, a
tremendous team spirit and the ability to get things done even when
the chips are down. ANN would not be the same without his
| ANN's MVP: Nathan
ANN's Rookie Of The Year: John Ylinen. Every
year, we meet a new stringer that surprises us... and while we've
been inordinately lucky in our selection of stingers and staffers
over the years, John's efforts at Oshkosh 2011 stand out. He did it
all... he wrote, he took pictures, he brought solid GA expertise,
and he even pulled off some pretty solid Aero-TV interviews. John
really added a lot to our efforts this year and it was greatly
| ANN's Rookie Of The
Year: John Ylinen.
Outstanding Personality (Commercial): Redbird's Jerry
Gregoire. We admit it... we have an immediate
predisposition towards innovative persons who color outside the
lines... and Gregoire is one of those guys... and possibly the most
visible such person breaking down aero-barriers in recent memory.
Gregoire's redbird operation threatens to shake up flight training
in a number of ways and based on what we've seen and the discussion
that have taken place so far, we think you ain't seen nothing
Personality (Commercial): Redbird's Jerry Gregoire
Runner-Up: Concorde Battery's
Skip Koss. Skip is one of those guys that has become a
focal point of knowledge for an entire aero-industry segment...
watching him work the booth at Oshkosh each year, doling out info,
recommendations solutions and insights into all things battery and
electrical is short course in Aviation Power 101. We're no sure
that anyone in all of GA is more knowledgeable... but we're quite
sure that no one does it as affably and professionally as Koss...
one of the true treasures of the GA world.
| Concorde Battery's
Outstanding Personality(s) (General): Bob
Hoover. What can I say that hasn't been said already about
a true American hero? Bob is one of those guys whose deeds will
never be eclipsed by words... his or anyone else's. A true Aviation
Icon, this bright, cheery gentleman is one of aviation's most
amazing men, ad reason for aviators the world over to be proud of a
world that has a guy like Hoover in it. Even after a life long on
achievement an dealing with a lot of the physical issues that being
nearly 90 years old presents... the bright smiling eyes that greet
me each time we meet are a high point of my year... and gives me
the proud ability to be a "Friend of Bob." That may be one of the
great titles I will ever earn...
|The Incomparable Bob
Hoover... Truly An Aviation Icon
True Gentlemen of Oshkosh: Dick Knapinski. He
dealt with the world's aviation press courteously, and with a
smile, regardless of the pressure they (OK, we) were putting on
|A True Gentlemen of
Oshkosh: Dick Knapinski
Greatest Improvement Over Previous Oshkosh:
Drainage, drainage, drainage! Despite some serious
rains, there was no repeat of last year’s infamous
| Greatest Improvement
Over Previous Oshkosh: Drainage, drainage, drainage!
Dead Grass/Eroded Concrete Award: Boeing's B787
Dreamliner. No contest, the short visit by Boeing';s
next-generation airliner was a huge hit and the non-stop lines of
people trying to get just a few minute s onboard show that American
ingenuity and creativity are still very much appreciated by the
| Dead Grass/Eroded
Concrete Award: Boeing's B787 Dreamliner
The Steel Cojones Award: FAA Boss Randy
Babbitt. Randy, who we oft figured its a pretty OK guy
seems to be drinking too much of the FAA Kool-Aid. When asked about
the nature of his support (or lack of it) for the
‘Pilot’s Bill of Rights’ by ANN’s Jim
Campbell, Babbitt replied that, “I think we’re doing
most of the that already...” Sorry, Randy, we beg to
disagree in the strongest possible terms... pilots and other airmen
continue to be victimized by the FAA’s administrative
procedures, the vagaries of FAA staff “hits” and a
number of other issues... hardly something that fits with ANYTHING
called a Pilot's Bill of Rights.
|The Steel Cojones Award: FAA
Boss Randy Babbitt
--- More To Come!!!!