Commentary: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Epic? UPDATED

Epic LT. (Photo: Epic Aircraft.)

The winding road traveled by Epic Aircraft rounded what could be the last bend today. On Wednesday, April 7, the bankruptcy judge received a proposal that would, in essence, put a consortium of Epic LT builders in the driver's seat. In the agreement, China Aviation, an aerospace concern owned by the Chinese government, will be allowed to develop the Epic aircraft for sale outside of North America. According to a report in The Oregonian, China Aviation and the LT Builders Group will pay $4.3 million for the assets of the collapsed company.

The lead creditor in the proceeding is quoted as calling the agreement, "an ideal cross between a shotgun wedding and a Mexican standoff." Federal judge Randall Dunn told China Aviation and LT Builders Group this week that if they couldn't come to an agreement, he would award the assets to a third party, Harlow Aerostructures. Continue reading "Commentary: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Epic? UPDATED"

Commentary: Homebuilt Aircraft Safety Picture Blurred by Bad Data

When a Lancair IV-P lost power, began leaking oil over the windscreen and eventually landed on a Florida beach, the subsequent crash set off a surprising chain of events. The pilot's calm under fire has been overshadowed by the freakish outcome of the forced landing; a runner on the beach was struck and fatally injured by the Lancair.

In the specialist press, the pilot was celebrated for keeping the airplane under control and putting the Lancair onto the Hilton Head beach instead of into a parking lot—potentially injuring many more souls—or into the ocean, which might have had dire consequences for him and his passenger. We pilots realized just how challenging such a situation can be: little to no forward visibility in an airplane that descends quickly and lands fast, and no power at all to help moderate the descent. Continue reading "Commentary: Homebuilt Aircraft Safety Picture Blurred by Bad Data"

Kitplanes Newsline Launched

Spring has sprung, and airshow season is upon us. Even if you can’t make Sun ‘n Fun this year, follow all the action on our updated news section on Called Newsline, our fresh approach to current events will bring you right into all the major events this year with breaking news, video feeds, and informed commentary. Easier on the eyes and easier to navigate, Newsline also provides an opportunity for reader feedback. Check it out today.

LeRoy Cook's Tour: Rainy Days and Thursdays

There is a long tradition of under-wing camping at Oshkosh, regardless of weather.

It occurs to me that there are two Oshkosh rain modes. The first kicks in when rain erupts with a certain amount of warning after a beautiful airshow day, one that began with no hint of precipitation. The midday rain crowd shifts into indoor exhibits, huddles under wings and sprouts ponchos, and even stays for the Doobie Brothers concert on Monday evening. Continue reading "LeRoy Cook's Tour: Rainy Days and Thursdays"

LeRoy Cook’s Tour: Tempting Tidbits

Calling all early adopters... Photo: Terrafugia.

I must confess to being torn between twin folding-wing temptations. Should I get on the Early Adopter list for the Terrafugia roadable airplane or the Icon A5 amphibious LSA? In the presence of the respective pitchmen, I can almost be persuaded. However, a third dilemma now presents itself in the form of a proposed flying trike-motorcycle, the Sampson Motors Switchblade. Only jaded Oshkosh temperament stiffens my resolve. If you prefer to carry your motorcycle rather than fly it, the folks at MotoPod have devised a belly pod for the Vans RV-10 that accommodates a modified 225cc Suzuki with the front wheel detached and handlebars folded. Approvals are being sought for certified aircraft. Continue reading "LeRoy Cook’s Tour: Tempting Tidbits"