Best of the Web

Air Force One For Sale. Over in the USA, an Air Force One is for sale for a minimum deposit of $50,000 and not because of the sequester or any austerity initiative. And as the Aviationist blog pointed out, its not even one of the 747s but a DC-9 used from February 1975 until September 2005 that was hated by the media because its seats were uncomfortable. As of writing this, the reserve for Air Force One has not been met and you - Air Force One for salestill have at least a week to place your bid by going to the auction site here.

Orville Wright Letter to be Auctioned Off. For aviator buffs with a tighter budget, the Swann Auction Galleries’ Autographs Sale will auction off a letter signed by Orville Wright and dated November 10, 1921, that was sent to the publisher of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering in response to the controversy surrounding the Langley vs. Wright controversy. Auction officials estimate the letter will go for between $4,000 and $6,000. In addition, the auction will sell a signed portrait of aviator and aerospace engineer Howard Hughes, from the pressbook for his 1930 film Hell’s Angels (estimate: $1,000-$2,000). The auction will take place on May 23rd and for more information, visit

First British Pilot Ever to Attend the Top Gun School. In British aviation news, British Royal Navy Lieutenant Stephen Collins will soon be the first ever British pilot to attend the famous Top Gun school. Collins is no stranger to naval aviation as his father was a pilot during the Falklands War and later moved to Red Arrows aerobatic team. Collins has also flown for the US Navy for the past five years as part of an exchange programme that allows British aviators to get used to aircraft carrier operating conditions.

RAF Black Arrows’ Hawker Hunter Restored. Roger Topp, 90, who commanded the RAF’s 111 Sqn and led its Black Arrows team, the forerunner of today’s Red Arrows, was recently reunited with his older Hawker Hunter – which was later grounded, modified to look like a Russian MiG and used for target practice. The aircraft has since been restored and is now on display at Wattisham Airfield Museum in Suffolk. It should also be mentioned that Topp completed a record 22-plane loop at the Farnborough Air Show in July 1958 – a feat that is still on the record books.

Will the Swiss Airforce Display Team be Disbanded? The Aviationist blog has noted that the Patrouille Suisse could be forced to stand down as early as 2016 as a consequence of budget cuts. Beginning in 2016, the ageing F-5 fleet will be progressively retired and replaced by the first JAS-39 Gripen examples – meaning there won’t be many military aircraft in the Swiss Air Force to equip an aerobatic display team, despite its popularity.

Alaska Pilot Crosses Both Poles in a Cessna. The Alaska Dispatch has profiled Alaska pilot Art Mortvedt who recently crossed the Geographic North Pole in his Cessna 185 to become the first pilot to cross both poles in a single-engine aircraft. Mortvedt has also flown more than 20 missions to Antarctica and purchased his aircraft, the “Polar Pumpkin,” after its years of service at the South Pole.

The Truth About Flying in Alaska. On the subject of Alaska or Alaskan pilots, Rex Gray, the president of the Alaska Airmen’s Association, has written an article for General Aviation News where his opening line was:

I’ve heard it a lot — even made the same proclamation myself — “Flying in Alaska is different.” Okay, the truth: It’s not.

He went on to explain why it isn’t except for one important difference: The entire state has a population of less than 800,000, but the pilot population is around 8,000 – meaning 1% of the state’s residents are pilots.

Teen Pilot Completes Her Check Ride. Finally, we recently mentioned the story of teen pilot Amy White who soloed on June 10 (before she passed her driver’s test) and her mother who soloed the following New Year’s Eve. According to General Aviation News, Amy took her check ride on Friday, May 10 (her 17th birthday) and she is now a licensed private pilot.

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