Boeing’s struggling 747 jumbo snags a lifeline from UPS order

Boeing’s 747 jumbo jet may have won a reprieve from an uncertain future as United Parcel Service agreed to buy at least 14 freighters — the biggest order in almost nine years.

The deal for 747-8 aircraft, fueled by UPS’s international expansion, may provide the first signs of an air-cargo recovery that would renew demand for the iconic humpbacked plane dubbed the “Queen of the Skies.” Sales have dwindled for the four-engine 747 and Airbus Group’s A380 superjumbo as passenger carriers shift long-range flights to more fuel-efficient twin-engine jets.

The UPS deal is valued at $5.3 billion based on list prices, before discounts that are customary for aircraft purchases. Based on real-market pricing estimates by aircraft-valuation firm Avitas, the order has a value of about $2.6 billion.

UPS will deploy the front-loading cargo planes on international routes while shifting some earlier-model 747s to domestic flying, the Atlanta-based courier said Thursday. The jets, which will be delivered over a three-year period starting in 2017, will begin a “cascade” of aircraft-route reassignments that will add significant capacity to the company’s busiest lanes.

“UPS is making several strategic capital investments for increased global operating capacity,” Chief Executive Officer David Abney said in a statement.

UPS’s international export volume has grown by more than 40 percent since 2008, with U.S. domestic volume rising by 20 percent, said Myron Gray, president of U.S. operations. That growth spurt should support the addition of the bigger 747-8 freighters, which can carry 16 percent more cargo than their predecessors, according to Boeing. The shift will enable UPS to reduce the frequency of flights in overseas markets, Gray said.

Talk of the jet order dominated a morning call between UPS management and analysts, with some skeptical of the new fleet strategy. UPS fell 1.4 percent to $107.13 at 11:44 a.m. in New York. Boeing dipped 2 percent to $142.68 after rising 4.7 percent Wednesday, the most since January 2015, on a strong earnings report.

The trading may reflect investor concern that the plane purchase and other recent capital expenses might eat into UPS’ free cash flow and reduce its ability to buy back shares and issue dividends, Stephens analyst Jack Atkins said.

“The underlying air market is not strong enough to support that kind of expansion,” Atkins said in an interview. “Obviously, they feel like that plane fits in well with their network.”

The order is the largest Boeing has landed for the redesigned 747 since November 2007, according to the manufacturer’s website. It gives new credence to the company’s forecast of a late-decade replacement cycle for older air-cargo jets, which may revive the half-century-old 747 program. UPS also holds options for another 14 jumbo freighters.

Boeing had only netted three orders for the 747 this year. The sale almost doubles Boeing’s current backlog of 15 unfilled orders for the plane, according to the Chicago-based manufacturer’s website. The company said in July it was slowing 747 production output to six a year and would have to end the program if new orders didn’t materialize.

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Bauer Beaten by Cubs Instead of Bloodied by Drone

Trevor Bauer had hoped to pitch a bloody good game. Instead, he had trouble finding the plate and his pitch count rose rapidly.

Nine days after he walked off the mound with his stitched-up right pinkie dripping blood as if in some horror flick, Bauer failed to finish the fourth inning and left the Cleveland Indians with a two-run deficit. The Chicago Cubs went on to a 5-1 victory Wednesday night behind Jake Arrieta, tying the World Series at one game apiece as it heads to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945.

“I just wasn’t sharp for whatever reason,” Bauer said.

His postseason interrupted by a sliced finger, the result of tinkering with one of the drones he enjoys flying as a hobby, Bauer never got into a flow against the Cubs. He started six of his first nine batters with balls while scattering pitches high, low and wide. Anthony Rizzo’s RBI double in the first and Kyle Schwarber’s run-scoring single in the third — his first hit on a 3-0 pitch — built Chicago’s 2-0 lead.

“They never let him settle into the game,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “They didn’t chase. They had a lot of deep counts.”

Bauer said he entered the start with his normal routine, but did throw to batters on Monday. He needed 87 pitches to get 11 outs on the 43-degree night.

“Tough conditions to play in, obviously,” he said.

A 25-year-old right-hander selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks from UCLA with the third pick in the 2011 amateur draft, Bauer is somewhat of an eccentric. He prepares for starts by making long tosses of about 300 feet between the foul poles. In an era when his colleagues are trying to refine and master two or three pitches, he throws a four-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, cutter, slider and changeup.

His curve stymied him early against the Cubs.

“It’s tough on a cold night,” Bauer said. “There’s no moisture in the air, really. It’s slippery. It’s hard to get a feel for it. Went up in the cage after the second inning and threw like 20 or 30 of them and got the feel for it, and I thought I was pretty good after that.”

Bauer won a career-best 12 games this year, but his notoriety increased exponentially after he got hurt Oct. 14. His finger was cut by his toy’s propeller, a mishap that delayed his AL Championship Series outing against Toronto.

Bauer had the drone at the news conference before his Game 3 start, saying, “I brought my friend to answer any questions about what happened that I can’t answer.”

Bauer lasted just two outs against the Blue Jays because the 10 stitches he received didn’t hold and he began bleeding on the mound. Cleveland’s bullpen strung together 25 outs for the victory.

The odd accident turned Francona into a comedian, too. He said Monday he reserved the right to alter the team’s Series roster “if we have another drone incident or anything with model airplanes or anything.”

Before taking the mound, Bauer tweeted a photo of a small drone and a gift card that read “Go Cubs Go!”

“I see the @Cubs fans love me!” Bauer wrote. “How nice of them to send me a gift!”

His offerings to Chicago were generous. Bauer threw 53 pitches for strikes, allowing two runs and six hits in a 90-minute outing that, well, droned on and on as baseball officials fretted over whether rain would arrive before the final out. Sprinkles started in the eighth, but the game went on without interruption.

Francona said before the game he intended to use only three starting pitchers in the Series, bringing Game 1 winner Corey Kluber, Bauer and Game 3 starter Josh Tomlin back to face the Cubs on three days’ rest.

“I like to pitch whenever they tell me to pitch,” Bauer said. “I’ll be ready.”

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Continued below…

Damning indictment: Ongoing support,  through ignorance, apathy, gullibility, willful blindness or their tragic adherence to the sinister and toxic Progressive ideology

With the possible election of Hillary Clinton as President, the Democrats will pull out all of the proverbial stops, including pervasive voter fraud, as they actively endeavor to destroy what’s left of our Republic and formally turn the American dream into the American nightmare.

The mere fact that tens of millions of American citizens actually think that such a uniquely dishonest, corrupt and amoral reprobate could even be considered as a viable and worthy candidate for any elective or appointed office in America, let alone the Presidency, should literally shock the conscience, heart and soul of any rational human being. Their ongoing support, whether derived through ignorance, apathy, gullibility, willful blindness or their tragic adherence to the sinister and toxic Progressive ideology, comprises a damning indictment of the current health and welfare of their hearts, minds and souls.

My fellow Americans, we are indeed poised on the precipice of a moral, ethical and spiritual abyss, if we’re even considering electing a woman as President who could be the handpicked candidate of the Father of Lies himself.

Her unprecedented and patently obvious record of malfeasance, recklessness, mendacity, corruption, scandal, incompetence, ineptitude, duplicity, criminality, dereliction of duty and betrayal could fill numerous volumes in any set of historical treatises, exposing the worst traitors and villains in American history.

Anyone who thinks my characterization of Hillary is too harsh only needs to complete a little objective research into her adult life. Unless you are afraid of the truth or permanently detached from reality, there are numerous scrupulously fact checked books and/or documentaries which fully expose the depraved life of this odious malefactor, without holding back any punches. The most current set of scathing, damning and honest offerings include, Clinton Cash, by Peter Schweizer, Guilty as Sin, by Ed Klein, Hillary’s America, by Dinesh D’Souza and Armageddon, by former Clinton confidante and advisor Dick Morris. They all vividly portray the true nature and extent of the Clintons’ ongoing curse on America.   

In sum, she has accomplished virtually nothing positive in nature or of real importance or significance during her entire adult life. This woeful record of non-achievement includes her scandal du jour stints as the First Lady of Arkansas and the First Lady of the U.S., and her completely undistinguished role as a U.S Senator of New York.

She was not only an unmitigated failure as our Secretary of State but shares direct responsibility with President Obama for the current and appalling state of chaos, death and destruction in the hellfires of the Middle East. She directly helped to enable and facilitate the current terrorist driven turmoil and humanitarian disasters in Libya, Syria and Iraq, the rise of ISIS and all of the related refugee crises currently creating havoc in Europe and America.

Christians in the Middle East particularly, are facing complete genocide at the hands of radical Islamic monsters, whom she and President Obama still breathtakingly fail to identify as such. A searing legacy of death, mayhem and suffering rests on both of their shoulders.

State Department and the giant money laundering, influence peddling and patently sham charitable enterprise known as the Clinton Foundation.

She also played a prominent role in formulating the recent and catastrophically dangerous nuclear arms deal with Iran. An abomination of an unsigned deal which will inevitably create an existential threat to Israel in the near term and ultimately to Western Civilization itself. This utterly reckless arrangement which provided well over one hundred billion dollars to the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism, could constitute perhaps the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history.

Her State Department ignored over six hundred separate requests for additional security for our threatened and justifiably terrified diplomats in Benghazi; a decision that unquestionably led to the deaths of four Americans, and then deviously created a gigantic web of lies and engaged in a massive cover up of this tragic debacle. Oh, and then there was the infamous pay to play scheme she and her subordinates established, creating an immense conflict-of-interests scandal between the State Department and the giant money laundering, influence peddling and patently sham charitable enterprise known as the Clinton Foundation. This was the same State Department that also lost or misplaced over six billion dollars of U.S. taxpayers’ money during her turbulent tenure.

The huge and now infamous email server scandal that she personally helped to create might just comprise the greatest security breach in U.S. history and she and her closest advisors continue to participate in a related and ongoing campaign of deceit, perjury, obstruction of justice, felonious misconduct and criminal conspiracy, unparalleled in our nation’s history.

Without a doubt, her mind boggling actions compromised the integrity of some of our most sensitive and top secret information and data on governmental communications channels, which unquestionably have been accessed by our enemies. She and her acolytes actually created an electronic pathway through which many supposedly highly secured internal communications channels, involving other federal agencies, were rendered vulnerable to any sophisticated hackers. A President Clinton could actually be subjected to blackmail and extortion from any foreign entity which threatened to reveal her hidden secrets and treachery.

Needless to say, if anyone, other than Hillary Clinton, or her innumerable co-conspirators, had engaged in a tiny fraction of similar activities, they would have immediately been terminated and lost their federal security clearances. They also would have been promptly indicted, likely found guilty and imprisoned. No one should be above the law.

By the way, many people are unaware that a much younger Hillary Clinton, who was serving as an attorney on the original Watergate investigatory committee was fired by her stalwart Democrat boss for being so dishonest and unethical in the performance of her duties. Obviously, she’s the same contemptible human being she’s always been.

This wholly mischaracterized and hyper-hypocritical champion of women’s rights did achieve some level of ignominious success, while holding onto her husband’s coattails and leading the singularly atrocious campaign to defame, demean and destroy the lives, careers and reputations of numerable female victims of a certain serial sexual predator named Bill. Ironically, I even agree with Hillary when she herself recently stated that women in these circumstance need to be believed. She also happily and willingly accepted tens of millions of dollars in contributions to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Library from various countries in the Middle East, which treat their women as mere chattel.

I would argue that any female who would support this despicable woman in any manner, has essentially forfeited any possible personal claims to human dignity and self-respect. Any female who would identify this queen of hypocrites as a role model for their daughters, or for their sons for that matter, should be charged with criminal child abuse. Have you no shame?

This pernicious harpy is also an unwavering disciple of the infamous and utterly depraved eugenicist Margaret Sanger

This pernicious harpy is also an unwavering disciple of the infamous and utterly depraved eugenicist Margaret Sanger ( who had an unrestrained hatred for America’s African American population ), the diabolically evil George Soros ( who could be the prototype of the ultimate James Bond villain ), the former KKK leader Senator Robert Byrd, the very prominent anti-American anarchist duo of Richard Cloward and Frances Piven and her favorite American hating radical and personal idol Saul Alinsky, on whose life and ideology she apparently wrote a glowing undergraduate thesis, that has, unsurprisingly, not been released to the public for a full review. By the way, Mr. Alinsky dedicated his magnum opus Rules for Radicals to Satan, whom he identified as the ultimate radical.

To add fuel to this monumental Clinton conflagration, Hillary has formally declared she will effectively be doubling down on her support of President Obama’s myriad domestic and international policy failures. Thus, any semblance of our absolutely essential national borders will effectively cease to exist and we will literally be overwhelmed by countless numbers of unvetted immigrants, many of whom will not have any intention to assimilate to the American way of life and who will potentially pose a greater risk and threat to the wellbeing of our nation and the lives of its citizens than all of the internal and external threats we’ve encountered throughout our nation’s entire history. Hillary and her minions actually appear willing to expose American families to an unimaginably dangerous threat of death, chaos, carnage, anarchy and terror, via the importation of innumerable radical Islamists and unwavering advocates of Sharia law, for political expediency. Unfortunately, far too many Americans seem to be unaware that Sharia law is totally inconsistent and incompatible with the tenets of our Constitution.

She will unquestionably accelerate the weaponization of federal agencies against our citizenry, impose massive economy crushing additional taxes and regulations, expand a fatally flawed Obamacare system, provide virtually unlimited funds to support the greatest scientific fraud in human history now called anthropogenic climate change, destroy what’s left of our essential coal industry and obstruct and disrupt our path to energy independence, by severely impeding the development of our own oil and gas resources and the development of safe nuclear energy. She will exponentially increase the size of an already massive and bloated federal bureaucracy, currently wracked with staggering levels of fraud, waste and corruption and continue to cede vast swaths of American sovereignty to foreign entities.

Hillary will endeavor to use her dictatorial like powers to crush any form of political dissent

She will endeavor to use her dictatorial like powers to crush any form of political dissent, to attack and dismantle what remains of our foundations of religious freedom and liberty and would be appointing three or more left wing judges to our Supreme Court and packing the federal bench with similarly disposed left wing zealots, who will simply ignore our Constitution and arbitrarily legislate from the bench. These actions alone are incredibly destructive in nature, scope and dimension and would negatively impact our nation for generations. She embodies a disaster of Biblical proportions.

On a more personal note of concern, this loathsome and self-proclaimed champion of children’s rights, in full accordance with the evil dictates and desires of the aforementioned Clinton hero named Margaret Sanger, would most certainly continue to advocate and support virtually unfettered abortion rights for women and significantly expand related federal funding through Planned Parenthood and similar organizations, regardless of any religious or moral concerns or convictions of America’s taxpayers.

I agree that ultimately the act itself is a personal choice and I certainly can’t speak for God, but I’m convinced there is indeed a special place in the lowest regions of Hell, for those practitioners and supporters of infanticide, who continue to mock God and who are so willing to sacrifice children on their perverse secularist’s altar to Baal and turn women’s hearts against their own totally innocent and precious unborn babies.

For the never Trump group of malcontents who inexplicably continue to sabotage his campaign, who appear to value their own egos more than America’s future and who actually believe we can simply weather at least another four years of political, economic, societal and judicial upheaval and devastation under a Clinton administration, I have one simple question.

Do you honestly think that a Presidential candidate who has escaped justice and avoided any responsibility or accountability for her countless crimes and transgressions against America for over three decades and is actually rewarded for her infamy, will be in the least bit restrained or constrained by morality, ethics, the rule of law, the separation of powers, Constitutional requirements and America’s traditional virtues, as President? The answer is obvious.

Although a sometimes too brash Donald Trump was not my first preferred choice as the Republican candidate for President and, in many ways, represents an unknown quantity to the so-called political establishment, he undoubtedly loves his country and has proclaimed strong support for most conservative and traditional American values and principles. He has repeatedly committed to adhere to the rule of law and the dictates and principles of our Constitution, and has selected a magnificently capable and knowledgeable conservative running mate, Governor Mike Pence. He will indeed strive to make America great again.

Trump will select originalists to the Supreme Court and the federal bench who will support the Constitution

He will select originalists to the Supreme Court and the federal bench who will support the Constitution, he will appoint individuals in his cabinet and administration who epitomize the notion and principles of American exceptionalism, rebuild our crumbling military capabilities, support our law enforcement communities, reduce our taxes and significantly expand our economy and workforce, reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy and immediately start to mitigate and overcome the extensive damage and harm caused by the out-of-control Progressives, currently managing our totally corrupted federal agencies and promptly implement essential policies and programs to finally and fully control our borders and fix our fatally flawed immigration system.

He has also promised to thoroughly investigate the overwhelming level of criminality and corruption so thoroughly embedded at all levels of the Obama administration past and present and hold these execrable men and women fully liable and accountable for their criminal misconduct. The federal prison system will fill up dramatically with Obama’s related sycophants, unless he issues hundreds of Presidential pardons, especially if the supreme felon known as Hillary, is not elected as President.

Unlike the Democrats and since he has been an exceptionally successful businessman and personally knows about budgeting and controlling costs, he won’t treat our taxpayer dollars like Monopoly money and will take steps to quickly reduce our national debt and deficits, ensure our energy independence in a viable and sensible manner and work hard to overcome the domestic and international policy debacles that have so severely weakened and damaged our nation, over the last eight years.

He will undoubtedly make mistakes along the way and he’s not a professional politician but he will be ably assisted in his daunting tasks all along the route by exceptionally qualified and true American patriots, who love their country and who will not be fully immersed in the scourge of political correctness. Hence, in a nutshell, he is the antithesis of a Hillary Clinton.

The political stakes could not possibly be any higher

The political stakes could not possibly be any higher and the choice could not be more stark, but, in reality, it’s really a very simple choice for America, because if the words or concepts of honesty, truth, honor, dignity, faith, wisdom, conscience, character, self-respect, common sense, self-esteem, virtue, freedom, liberty and justice have any real meaning to you and your family, you simply can’t be a supporter of someone like Hillary Clinton. Any voter who actually chooses to continue defending the indefensible, excusing the inexcusable, denying the undeniable and thereby supporting such a vile sociopath and pathological liar for President, in the futile hope that her Presidency will, in any way, be a positive, helpful, beneficial or constructive thing for America, has not only lost their mind but is in grave danger of losing their soul.

If we tragically choose to crush our moral, ethical and spiritual compasses, formally embrace evil, push the national self-destruct button and thereby unleash an unforgiveable tyrannical nightmare on America, I think everyone will need to review the Declaration of Independence, for a sobering description of America’s future. The totalitarian architects of the American nightmare will have sown the seeds of unbridled national chaos, despair and destruction and might just reap a fearsome revolutionary whirlwind, which we haven’t experienced, in that same just over two hundred and forty years long period, I mentioned above.

To really drive the most salient point home, every time you see or hear a political ad for the truly reprehensible Hillary or for virtually all other Democrats, please be advised there is a subliminal and/or unheard message at the end of the ad, which is truly revelatory in substance and nature, proclaiming, I am the Father of Lies and I support this message.

May God ward off the impending darkness and bless, protect and save our Republic!

I am a retired attorney, accomplished author of fiction and non-fiction and award winning playwright ( under various pen names ), and staunch Conservative, who has never been more concerned about the future of our nation.

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Community encourages aviation appreciation

Photo Courtesy of Gianna Ciaglia

Gianna Ciaglia, freshman in aerospace engineering, poses with a rocket she built in her Aerospace 100 course.

Kayla Guo, Contributing Writer

Seventy-five years ago marked the formation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron at the Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul. A portion of these men would go on to make history in WWII under the nickname of the Tuskegee Airmen, the Army Air Force’s first African-American fighter squadron.

Less than 30 years later, man would set foot on the moon with the help of aviation technology.

November is Aviation History Month, which gives people a chance to commemorate past milestones in the development of mechanical flight and to recognize current innovations.

The University campus and the surrounding community promotes aviation history with a variety of clubs.

“When the Chanute base closed, the town of Rantoul helped with the formation of Chanute Air Museum,” said Carson Vericker, Rantoul airport operations supervisor. “It opened in 1994 and was a combination of general aviation and military aviation. The museum stayed in operation until November 2015.”

Gianna Ciaglia, freshman in Engineering, developed a passion for space and astronomy early on in her life after growing up next to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado.

“I’m used to having all these aircrafts flying around my house,” Ciaglia said. “Also, when I was young, my dad and I used to bond over building model airplanes.”

Ciaglia received a congressional nomination to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, but decided not to complete her application, instead opting to join the aerospace program at the University.

She currently serves as a representative on the Illinois Aerospace Engineering Undergraduate Advisory Board and is involved with the Illinois Space Society.

Illinois Space Society is an organization that strives to educate the surrounding community in the field of space exploration and to build a network of people interested in space. Along with Illinois Space Society, organizations like Student Space Systems are encouraging students to pioneer the field of aviation.

“The organization is trying to launch a rocket 1,000 kilometers, which is a really hard endeavor,” said Scott Zelman, senior in Engineering.

Zelman also pointed out other impressive student-led groups on campus like Student Aircraft Builders.

The team is currently building a functional plane with a 30-foot wingspan, scheduled for completion early next year.

“They do everything from designing the wings to building the engine,” Zelman said.

Zelman said one of his role models in the field of aviation is Elon Musk. Musk has envisioned a 21st century transportation service called the Hyperloop, which would be a high- speed system for transporting passengers and goods. This past year, a group of University seniors competed to design a Hyperloop pod for SpaceX, a company founded by Musk that designs, builds and launches spacecraft.

Although such advanced technologies as the Hyperloop have not yet been refined for commercial use, the room for aviation exploration is limitless. Simply looking at how far aviation has come in less than a century is proof of its potential.

“I do believe it’s important to preserve aviation history,” Vericker said. “That is why with every aircraft that lands at Rantoul, I do let them know that this is a former air base with a deep rich history in aviation.”

[email protected]

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Five Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Buying an Aircraft …

Robb Report’s private aviation advisors identify the costly errors and tell you how to prevent buyer’s remorse.

You’ve decided to buy an airplane instead of continuing to use charter services. Now what?  The market offers an overwhelming number of choices in new aircraft models, each with its own set of variables to consider, including speed, range, cabin amenities, seating options, and overhead costs. When buying a pre-owned aircraft, you have those factors plus many more to consider, such as the plane’s vintage, its maintenance history, its possible need of major repairs and refurbishment, and its cost relative to others of its kind on the market. The task of choosing the right plane may be daunting, but it’s only the starting point in a long process that can be fraught with pitfalls.

The acquisition of an aircraft is a complex transaction that can trigger many unexpected expenses for inexperienced buyers. Members of the Robb Report Private Aviation Advisory Board weigh in on five common and costly mistakes that first-time buyers make and how to avoid them.

Illustration by Jean-François Martin

1. Believing Everything You Hear
Don’t assume you know how much an aircraft is actually worth and how much another buyer paid for a similar plane. The community of aircraft buyers and sellers is relatively small, yet accurate information about past sales is still hard to come by. According to Kevin O’Leary, the president and CEO of Jet Advisors, buyers and sellers don’t always disclose the transaction’s financial contingencies when they talk about the price of a jet. “Someone may tell you that he sold his plane for $1.5 million but neglect to say that he had to spend $600,000 on maintenance before the sale went through because he sold it right before a major overhaul,” says O’Leary. “Buyers and sellers are optimistic about how well they did on a deal, but the details are always different.”

O’Leary cautions buyers to be wary of any numbers thrown around by other buyers, and to be especially cautious when a motivated seller or broker claims that a particular price is the deal of the century.

2. Failing to Consider the Production Run
Be cautious when buying an aircraft that has just been released or one that’s on its way out of production. “If you are buying at the beginning or the end of a production run, there are financial implications and other maintenance issues,” says Peter Agur, the chairman of the VanAllen Group.

The first few aircraft on a new production line may be subject to more maintenance tics as they’re broken in, and because it’s a new model, you may have trouble hiring a qualified pilot.
To exemplify the problem with buying an aircraft that’s being phased out by the manufacturer, Agur cites the Gulfstream G450, which, it appears, will be replaced by the G500. He says the G450’s resale value is declining as the G500’s delivery date (2017) approaches. “As I look to replace my current aircraft with a G450/G500-class aircraft, which will I choose?” says Agur. “I want an aircraft that has the attributes of advanced technology and current production. I’ll order a G500. That decision process drives customers toward future models and makes the current model more difficult to sell.” However, if you know an aircraft is near the end of its production run, you can use that information to negotiate a good price.

Agur and other board members also caution against buying an aircraft that has been highly modified by a previous owner. If, for instance, the owner had digital avionics retrofitted into an older-model airplane, you might have trouble finding someone to service the aircraft. “You could end up with an aircraft that no one knows how to service except the guys who installed the equipment,” says Agur.

3. Giving the Seller a Pass on Inspections
Don’t agree to a deal without first insisting that the plane go through a rigorous prepurchase inspection. Lee Rohde, the president and CEO of Essex Aviation Group, tells his clients that the inspection should be conducted at a facility other than the one that regularly maintains that aircraft. “Part of the inspection process is having the records examined for the whole life of the aircraft,” he says. This involves checking life-limited serialized components (those that must be replaced at regular intervals) in addition to confirming that regular engine overhauls took place. Inspectors also must be able to verify that any parts were sourced and replaced according to the manufacturer’s dictates.

The inspection is vital, yet many buyers forego it. “I’ve had clients refuse a prepurchase inspection because they knew the seller personally and felt a lot of trust for that person,” says Agur. “But there can be enormous maintenance issues—including corrosion—that the seller doesn’t know about.”

“I don’t care if you’re buying the aircraft from your brother,” says O’Leary. “Unless he’s the pilot or the mechanic, he doesn’t know that aircraft. He’s riding in the back, reading the Wall Street Journal.”

If you plan to make the plane available for charter after you purchase it, your aircraft management company has to have it inspected to ensure that it conforms to FAA requirements. “You could be in for a lot of expenses to get that plane ready for charter,” says Rohde, “and you should know about those before you buy.”

4. Not Preparing for the Sales Tax
Don’t buy an aircraft assuming you can avoid paying the sales tax, which can be substantial. “It’s true that most purchasers pay a limited amount of sales tax on this kind of purchase, but that’s because they did the proper planning from the beginning,” says Keith Swirsky, the president of GKG Law. “If you call an advisor after you take title, there’s typically nothing they can do for you.”

An aviation lawyer can help you structure the deal so that it complies with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Swirsky says that many buyers assume they can create a limited-liability company (LLC) that will take title to the aircraft, and thereafter operate the aircraft. However, for operations under FAR Part 91 (the section of the Federal Aviation Regulations that governs noncommercial operation), the FAA doesn’t consider a specially formed LLC a viable ownership structure. “According to the FAA, such operations would be prohibited,” says Swirsky.

5. Trying to Go It Alone
Purchasing an aircraft is not like buying a home or a yacht or any other large and expensive item. It has more in common with setting up a new business, one that has its own technology, its own set of regulations, and its own culture. “Trying to do it on your own—not using specialists in law, taxes, and transactions—is a mistake,” says Rohde. “They can help you identify which airplane makes the most sense.”

“It’s difficult for any one person to accumulate enough knowledge about how to see a good deal,” says O’Leary, noting that even aviation consultants tend to focus on a single class of aircraft because so much goes into evaluating a plane.

Yet some buyers want to preserve their privacy by having a family office handle the purchase, or they want to rely on a pilot as the expert who will guide them through the purchase. “There are so many facets to buying an airplane, and so many opportunities for misunderstanding what’s happening,” says Agur. “I had a client who had done hundreds of millions of dollars in deals over the years, and he told me that this was the one time when he didn’t know what to negotiate. He didn’t even know which details were critical in the purchase.”

Buyers who arm themselves with the right advice can avoid feeling overwhelmed, and they can avoid the costly mistakes that go with that feeling.

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Bob Hoover, 1922-2016: Sky was the limit for legendary South Bay pilot

Bob Hoover arrives for the 11th Annual Living Legends Of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills, California. 2014 file photo. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)
Bob Hoover arrives for the 11th Annual Living Legends Of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills, California. 2014 file photo. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

Growing up in Nashville in the 1920s and ’30s, Bob Hoover spent hours putting together model airplanes. Later, he’d ride his bike 15 miles just to hang out at the local airfield.

The rest of the story was probably predictable.

“The only thing I ever wanted to do was fly airplanes,” Hoover wrote in his 1996 autobiography, “Forever Flying.”

And fly he did.

Robert “Bob” Hoover, who lived in Palos Verdes Estates more than 40 years until just recently, died early Tuesday morning at the age of 94 at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, ending what was a soaring tale of dreams come true.

Hoover was a fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War, an Air Force test pilot who flew as Chuck Yeager’s backup when he broke the sound barrier and an air show pilot who revolutionalized aerobatic flying.

He was, as many said Tuesday, one of the greatest pilots to have ever flown.

“Bob was one of the greatest pilots ever,” Torrance pilot Heinrich Gerhardt wrote in an email. Hoover flew out of Torrance airport, he said.

Reaction was swift and heartfelt as news spread among aviation circles on social media:

• Astronaut Buzz Aldrin said, “We lost an aviation pioneer today. I knew Bob Hoover forever. He could do magical things with an airplane. He was the best.”

• Smithsonian Air Space Magazine called Hoover “the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived.”

• And Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University said simply: “Aviation war hero. Groundbreaking test pilot. Air show extraordinaire. Blue skies and tailwinds to our friend Bob Hoover.”

Hoover was born Jan. 24, 1922, in Nashville, and his fascination with airplanes began early, though he insisted in the opening lines of his autobiography that “contrary to myth, I was not born in a nest.”

But from the start, his eyes were drawn skyward.

“I worked in a grocery store on Saturdays for 16 hours for $2 and then I would spend it on Sunday for a 15-minute flying lesson,” Hoover said in an Oct. 2, 1986, interview with the Daily Breeze. “That was all I could afford. It took a lot of 15-minute lessons before I could solo.”

Hoover joined the Air National Guard in 1938 after getting his pilot’s license.

When Pearl Harbor was bombed, he was sent overseas as a fighter pilot and was shot down over Italy, spending 16 months in a German POW camp. He escaped by stealing a fighter plane and flying it to the Netherlands.

“I used to fantasize at Stalag I about not only gaining my freedom but somehow stealing a German airplane to accomplish it,” Hoover wrote in his autobiography.

He managed the impossible.

Landing in a ditch and climbing out of the plane in what was a safe country, he wrote, “I decided just to walk toward a small village I had spotted off in the distance. Just as I started to walk in that direction, a group of Dutch farmers armed with pitchforks came running toward me. I waved my arms and frantically spoke to them in English, trying to convince them that I should not be pitchforked.

“Since I’d landed in a German plane, they thought I was an enemy deserter. Confusion reigned for several moments since I had no identification other than my dog tags. Despite reservations, they escorted me into a small town where they turned me over to the British.”

Hoover’s escapades didn’t end with the war.

In 1947, he was a backup pilot for Yeager’s famous X-1 flight that broke the sound barrier. He also flew chase for the 50th anniversary of the Mach 1 flight. Yeager is quoted as saying that Hoover was “the greatest pilot I ever saw.”

Hoover later went on to set his own transcontinental and “time to climb” speed records.

Pioneer pilot and famed World War II military strategist Jimmy Doolittle was the first to call Hoover the “greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived.”

Through the years, Hoover collected dozens of awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, Soldier’s Medal for Valor, Air Medal with Clusters, Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre.

He was an honorary member of the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, RCAF Snowbirds, American Fighter Aces Association, and the original Eagle Squadron. In 1988, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and, in 1992, the Aerospace Walk of Honor.

He was given the Living Legends of Aviation Freedom of Flight Award in 2006. It was renamed the “Bob Hoover Freedom of Flight Award” the next year.

From the 1960s through the ’90s, Hoover flew in hundreds of air shows in a canary yellow P-51 Mustang and the Shrike Aero Commander. His many original, crowd-pleasing maneuvers are described in the glossary of his autobiography. Among them: “The Knife Edge to Knife Edge,” the “Tennessee Waltz,” the “Touchdown with One Wheel and Then the Other,” and the “Upside-Down Iced Tea.”

His air show career ended after the Federal Aviation Administration revoked his license in the early 1990s due to medical concerns. But his medical certificate was restored later — famed attorney F. Lee Bailey represented Hoover in his legal challenge — and he returned to the American air show circuit for several years before retiring in 1999.

A documentary about his life, “Flying the Feathered Edge: The Bob Hoover Project” was released in 2014.

He and his wife, Colleen, had two children.

No funeral arrangements were announced Tuesday as the news of his death spread quickly.

“So sad to hear about the passing of Bob Hoover,” the Aviation Times tweeted. “He was an amazing pilot and a wonderful person.”

Another Twitter member, by the name of Captain Socks, tweeted this: “I’m genuinely and deeply sad to hear of Mr. Bob Hoover’s passing. Blue skies, tailwinds and I hope he’s pouring iced tea inverted up there.”

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

12 O’clock High model aviation event takes off Oct. 20-22

LAKELAND — It’s a scaled-down way to take a time-traveling trip back to the skies of World War II.

Beginning today, Oct.20 and running through Saturday, Oct. 22, the war birds of yesterday will take to the sky over Lakeland once again, as the Twelve O’clock High Warbirds Classics radio-controlled aircraft event is held at Paradise Field at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, radio-controlled model planes — some of which have wingspans of over six feet — will fly under the remote-controlled instruction of their makers and owners. The sky will become abuzz with replica warplanes, biplanes and planes of yesteryear, representing more than six decades of aviation history.

Event organizer and promoter Frank Tiano some of the radio controlled airplanes have average weights of 50 pounds, run on 20 or more horsepower and can cost up to $30,000.

“These aren’t your kids RC models,” said said Tiano, who’s been in the model aircraft hobby since 1951. “These are serious hobbyists.”

Tiano said 12 O’Clock High draws about 100 pilots flying 220 airplanes and as many as 4,000 spectators on the ground, looking up. He said the event is also a draw for boosting local business and is “the only scale aero-modeling event in the world with cash prizes.”

“I came to realize it’s also good for the community,” he said. “I enjoy making things work and people making money, people having a good time. So, I’m providing a service and fun at the same time.”

The 12 O’clock High model plane event is not a competition, said John Burdin, event manager and emcee. A model aircraft hobbyist himself, he said 12 O’clock High is a fly-in for fun and camaraderie. He said plane enthusiasts exchange ideas and advice and get to interact with the public, showing off their realistic, small-scaled model aircraft.

“In many ways, they resemble the full-scale planes and there will be aircraft there that represents many, many years of aviation history,” he said. “Every ticket is a pit pass and you get to interact with the pilots.”

— Paul Catala can be reached at or 863-802-7533. He can be reached at Twitter @pcat0226.

Posted in Model Airpanes | Tagged , | Leave a comment