I liked this preflight video a lot. I’m definitely going to make on in the new year for my passengers.
Near the end of August, a 93-year-old widower named Tom Lackey broke his own record to become the world’s oldest wing walker. The former builder from the West Midlands broke his old record by being tied to the top of a 1943 Boeing Stearman biplane which flew at an altitude of about 1,000ft from Castle Kennedy, near Stranraer, Scotland to Derry, Northern Ireland.
(Picture: Charles McQuillan/PA)
Tom had completed his first wing walk 13 years ago at the age of 85 after the death of his wife, Isobel, who had served in the Royal Air Force. He was recognized by Guinness World Records in 2005 as the oldest person on top of an aircraft that looped the loop.
Since taking up wing walking, Tom has raked in over £1 million for charity and was even named Fundraiser of the Year at the Mirror’s 2011 Pride of Britain Awards.
However, Tom’s last one-hour-21-minute stunt was his hardest due to the wind pressure on top of the biplane e.g. just try keeping your head above the sunroof of your car while going 75 to 80 mph!
In these first two video, Tom talks about how he got into wing walking at the age of 85:
Finally, this next video tells a little bit more about Tom’s latest record breaking wing walking exploit:
Winter tends to ground most recreational pilots in lower latitudes, but not in places like Alaska where cool weather still means cool flying and even cooler videos.
In this next video, also from the Alaska Dispatch, you will learn how to safely land your aircraft in a gorge during a blizzard:
Meanwhile, a quick look around on YouTube found this cool video (the person who uploaded it has a few other great videos as well) showing what to expect in good winter conditions for flying, skiing and sightseeing around the spectacular Glacier Bay National Park:
Finally, the Aviationist blog has found a really cool video shot from a cockpit of a NASA P-3B aircraft as part of an operation under a name of Ice Bridge which is intended to examine ice conditions at both the North and South poles. Its one of the largest surveillance missions covering both the Arctic and Antarctic regions with the main goals being to create a 3D map of the ice cover:
Last Sunday, 130,000 visitors came to the centre of Dublin to watch FlightFest – an event modeled on the flypast that took place during the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations. Some thirty aircraft participated with the event being brought to a close by the British Airways A380 Airbus.
This first short video explains the complicated behind the scenes flight planning that was required to safely pull of FlightFest:
This next video was actually taken a few weeks before FlightFest and gives you a good birds eye view of what the pilots flying the aircraft saw on Sunday (with 130,000 added in):
If you really want to know what it was like to see FlightFest live, there is a couple of hours of footage posted in three videos on Aertv.ie here. Otherwise, this following video shows all the important action in just three minutes:
We recently profiled the Mallards Landing Airpark in Henry County just south of Atlanta, but General Aviation News has brought our attention to the SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark located in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The project was conceived by pilot owner John McKeown who wanted to build a residential airpark, but finding the right spot wasn’t easy because the right location had to be:
- Adjacent to a public airport with a runway long enough for larger aircraft.
- Close to a vibrant town where people could walk or take a short drive to restaurants, shopping and other activities.
- Be in a beautiful location that offers year-round recreational activities and of course, flying.
A flight over Long Bridge, Lake Pend Oreille and downtown Sandpoint that culminated with a landing at the Sandpoint Airport (SZT) on its 5,501 foot or 1,677 meter runway convinced him he’d found the right spot.
John was quoted by General Aviation News as saying that:
“The Sandpoint Airport is one of a few mountain resort airports located in the center of town, just minutes from skiing, boating, shopping and restaurants. USA Today named Sandpoint one of the best five small towns in America and we couldn’t agree more. In the winter, Schweitzer Ski Mountain is the place to be. Just a 15-minute drive from the SilverWing, Schweitzer was named the ‘best kept secret’ by Ski Magazine. From the top of mountain, at 6,400 feet, the stunning views include Canada’s Selkirks, Montana’s Cabinet and Bitterroot Mountain Ranges, as well as Lake Pend Oreille. Downtown Sandpoint is picturesque with holiday lights, earning Travel + Leisure’s accolade as one of ‘America’s Prettiest Winter Towns.’ When the weather heats up, activities on Lake Pend Oreille are boundless. At 65 miles long and 1,150 feet deep, Lake Pend Oreille is Idaho’s largest and the fifth deepest lake in the United States, making it great for boating, kayaking, fishing and more.”
SilverWing purchased 18 acres adjacent to the airport in late 2006 with the first model home being completed in 2011. Today, there are 44 residential lots ranging in size from 6,000 to 27,000 square feet (557 to 2,508 sqms) and these lots can be individually built on or combined for larger hangar-home units.
Mike Mileski, one of the developers, noted:
“There are five designs to choose from, ranging from a 50 x 42 foot hangar with an equal size residence above to a 60 x 70 foot hangar with over 4,200 square feet of residence above. The average cost of building a hangar and a residential shell starts at $75 per square foot and can increase depending on finishes and other items an owner wants to do. All of our lots are on fee simple land and ready for immediate build out.”
In addition, there are plans to build a common area with an exercise center, swimming pool, spa and a BBQ area while a full service SilverWing FBO is already at the airport.
Click here to see the latest information about pricing and availability and do note that each owner must pays an annual fee of $150 to Bonner County for airport access rights plus additional fees of $75 per year will be required for any additional aircraft that is hangared for longer than 30 days a year.
Interested? You can find out more information and see plenty of pictures (including floor plans) of SilverWing at Sandpoint Airpark on the development’s website here while a quick search on YouTube revealed this really cool flying video over the area which gives you a good idea of just how beautiful the location and region around the Airpark is:
We have mentioned the Martin Jetpack in the past (see The Martin jetpack is coming to a garage near you), but Yahoo! News recently ran an update and it sounds like the jetpack is coming closer to reality.
Apparently, the Martin Jetpack’s latest prototype, which can fly for 30 minutes, reach heights of 5,000 feet/1,500 meters and speeds of 60 mph/96.6 kph, has been cleared for manned testing by New Zealand’s aviation authority.
When asked how safe it was, inventor Glen Martin said:
“In comparison with a light helicopter or something like that we believe this is going to be significantly safer.”
Moreover, there are redundant operational systems, an impact-absorbing undercarriage and a ballistic parachute that opens in .2 seconds (if needed).
It also took twenty years of tinkering for Martin and his team to come up with an engine that is 90% efficient in converting horse power to thrust and uses a giant ducted fan fired by a piston internal combustion engine – similar to what a personal watercraft or snowmobile uses.
Once airborne, an onboard computer controls the Martin Jetpack while the “pilot” uses the computer’s two joysticks with the left one controlling height and the right one controlling direction. If the pilot removes his or her hands, the jetpack simply hovers in place.
According to Martin, various governments and military units are already interested in using the Martin Jetpack for border patrols and search and rescue missions. He is also planning to deliver a recreational model for approximately $150,000 and there are already more than 2,000 buyers on a waiting list.
A quick look on YouTube reveals a Martin Jetpack channel with the following video uploaded in early August showing the latest prototype (it already has over 100,000 views):