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Sat, Jan 02, 2010

2009 In Review: The Year In Sport Aviation

ANN's Annual Review Of The Year That Was: Sport Aviation In 2009  

Final Compilations by ANN News Editor, Tom Patton

Sport Aviation is about fun ... flying for the sheer joy of being in the air. From new designs to advanced technology, the sport aviation world made large strides this past year, but had it's share of sad news as well. Here's a look back at some of the stories we brought you through 2009.

January
  • On the opening day of the US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL, Paradise USA LLC unveiled its new P1 SP -- a version of the Brazilian-sourced P1 light sport aircraft, with hand controls for paraplegic pilots...
  • Garmin kicked off this year's US Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL with the announcement of its new GDU 370 and GDU 375 developed for the light sport retrofit and experimental aircraft segments...
  • Gobosh unveiled a Dynon glass panel-equipped version of the 700... and at a base price less than $100,000, to boot...
  • CubCrafters shipped the first three Carbon Cub Wing Kits and the first Carbon Cub Fuselage Kit...

  • Following the company's move to a new factory in Woodbridge, Ontario Canada, Fisher Flying Products said it was ready to begin kit production for two of the company's aircraft...
February

  • The Oshkosh, WI-based manufacturer Sonex announced new sub-kits for its popular Sonex and Waiex airframes...
March

  • A BRS parachute deployment was used to recover the sole-remaining flying Cessna SkyCatcher after an as-yet undefined flight test criteria resulted in an "irrecoverable" flight condition...
  • CubCrafters unveiled its new Super Sport Cub, the company's most powerful aircraft to date... and, it's an LSA...
April

  • Kitfox Aircraft LLC provided ANN with a first glimpse of its new Kitfox Super Sport S-LSA, which will be formally unveiled at the Lakeland 2009 Fly-In...
  • The International Council of Airshows said that airshow attendance was not only holding up... but trending dramatically and demonstrably upwards...
  • Explorer Aeronautique Inc. designed what is a very interesting LSA made entirely out of composite materials, powered by a Jabiru 3300 and pushed along by a Sensenich two-blade prop...
  • The NTSB preliminary report on an Extra 300 fatal accident shed little light on potential causes for the 45 degree descent and impact into 225 foot deep waters near Santa Barbara, CA. The one person aboard, Stephen Birch, had reportedly been flying for thirty years...
May
  • The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) began transitioning to a board that is comprised of at least 51 percent of directors elected by NAFI membership...
  • AVSIM, a website dedicated to flight-simmers and the community that enjoys aviation simulation, was hacked by person(s) as yet unknown and that the damage was so great that the site, for now, is down and unlikely to return any time soon...
  • Dynon Avionics released two new EFIS products. The EFIS-D6  and EFIS-D60 offer modern glass panel avionics at the low cost of $1600 and $1900...

  • ICON Aircraft completed a series of rigorous hydrostatic and hydrodynamic tests on the ICON A5 Amphibious Sport Plane.
  • An NTSB report made the puzzling details behind a tragic Alabama Mid-Air involving an RV-8 homebuilt and a Chinese-made CJ-6A more clear...
June
  • The FAA began accepting comments on new petitions from three manufacturers of small gyroplanes, seeking authorization to sell them as Experimental Light Sport Aircraft in the US...
  • Wichita, Kansas-based aviation enthusiast and entrepreneur James Wiebe and his wife, Kathy, acquired the production rights to the Kitfox Lite, and formed Belite Aircraft to bring it to market...
  • The first instruction flight in a Chinook two seat tandem pusher ultralight trainer aircraft went astray when the aircraft appeared to have spiraled or spun in while on a down wind leg...
  • AMD has unveiled the S-LSA qualified STOL CH 750 LS -- the factory-built Special-Light Sport Aircraft version of the STOL CH 750...

  • According to a letter sent by the FAA in May, the city of Creswell, Oregon had to prove skydiving is unsafe at the airport before it will reconsider its position on a ban on the activity...
  • Stratos Aircraft announced the completion of a full-scale cabin mock-up to be displayed at Oshkosh...
July
  • Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg unveiled the Solar Impulse HB-SIA at Dübendorf airfield close to Zurich. It is the first aircraft designed to fly both day and night without fossil fuel or emissions...
  • The Rocket Racing League announced the closing of a $5.5 million dollar financing round , ensuring the next phase of development of the league...
  • Fears that Blue Mountain Avionics (BMA), a small company which created some very powerful and economical EFIS products targeting the experimental market, might be shutting down were confirmed by company founder Greg Richter on the BMA website...
  • LSA manufacturer Flight Design has recently entered the Indian market, and the largest flight school in India, Academy of Carver Aviation Pvt. Ltd.,  has become a Flight Design Pilot Center and the distributor for India...
  • The 'Belite' made a successful first flight after having been formally unveiled on June 30...

August
  • A fatal training accident occurred in which it was unclear whether the CFI was properly qualified in this aircraft...
  • Tom and Mary Noonan went to the Laconia Airport Authority in the lakes region of New Hampshire proposing a tandem skydiving business they hoped to locate at the airport. The situation remained unresolved...
  • A tragic accident claimed the life of aerobatic pilot Vicki Cruse...
  • Belite Aircraft completed a series of tests which statically demonstrated the structural integrity and durability of the aircraft's carbon fiber wing under loads of up to 4Gs...
  • High-performance kitplane manufacturer Epic Air is apparently out of business, after laying off most of its 160 person workforce over the first half of this year...
  • Samson Motors announced it had received its first deposit on the Switchblade MMV (Multi Mode Vehicle)...

September
  • A Dutch teenager built and flew human-powered airplane out of balsa wood, polyurethane, and rip-resistant foil...
  • The FAA cleared one obstacle in a long-simmering dispute between the City of Creswell, Oregon and Eugene Skydivers...
  • Cessna announced that the first Model 162 Skycatcher fabricated and assembled on production tooling flew at the factory in Shenyang in northeast China...

  • Vans Aircraft delivered its 3000th RV-8 kit...
  • SportairUSA, LLC, the North American distributor for the Sting S3, announced that the new TL-3000 Sirius LSA is now available for purchase in the U.S. ...
October
  • Reno racer Jeff Lavelle set a new speed record at Reno in his Glasair III...
  • Britain's Paul Bonhomme won the 2009 Red Bull Air Race World Championship on Sunday, with a thrilling victory in the final race of the season in Barcelona...
  • The FAA released the long-awaited final order that revises the amateur-built aircraft certification policy known as the 51 percent rule, as well as Advisory Circular 20-27G, the guide for amateur builders on how to properly certify every step of the building process...
  • Vans Aircraft announced  RV-10 kit number 1000 had been shipped to a customer in Irving, TX...

  • The Shelton, Connecticut Planning and Zoning Commission said the White Hills Eagles RC Club can keep flying at a local farm, but they will have to abide by new rules it says will promote safety...
November
  • Counsel provided to the EAA by Korn/Ferry International culminated in the award of the global executive search engagement for the EAA's next President...
  • NTSB recommends grounding after another fatal zodiac crash...

December
  • Long-time board member, David Pasahow, originally tasked with directing the search for EAA President Tom Poberezny's successor, tendered his resignation...
  • The NTSB issued a preliminary report in the November 28th mid-air collision between a tow plane and the glider it had released over Crazy Creek Private Gliderport in Middletown, California...
  • Chinese national XueQiang Si is reported to be building a Sportsman 2+2 at Glasair's Two Weeks To Taxi program and, upon completion, will fly it to China...

FMI: www.aero-news.net

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