It’s all over — EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the world’s largest-attendance airshow event. It’s a delicious, if somewhat overwhelming, drink out of a firehose for an entire week. Oshkosh has something for every pilot and more than any one person can see. I’ll mention this news briefly as I wish to pay respect to fellow pilots. Two crashes on the weekend after we departed resulted in four fatalities reportedly including one passenger. My sincere condolences to the surviving families. Oshkosh has had safe years with no loss of life but when so many airplanes assemble, mathematical odds suggest a crash is going happen despite heroic efforts to make the event as safe as possible. During the week of Oshkosh, a few days were rather warm. Cooling rains came mostly at night, sparing the airshow but surely soaking campers in tents. The campgrounds were full to the edges and EAA opened multiple other locations to handle the overflow.
It's all over — EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the world's largest-attendance airshow event. It's a delicious, if somewhat overwhelming, drink out of a firehose for an entire week. Oshkosh has something for every pilot and more than any one person can see. I'll mention this news briefly as I wish to pay respect to fellow pilots. Two crashes on the weekend after we departed resulted in four fatalities reportedly including one passenger. My sincere condolences to the surviving families. Oshkosh has had safe years with no loss of life but when so many airplanes assemble, mathematical odds suggest a crash is going happen despite heroic efforts to make the event as safe as possible.During the week of Oshkosh, a few days were rather warm. Cooling rains came mostly at night, sparing the airshow but surely soaking campers in tents. The campgrounds were full to the edges and EAA opened multiple other locations to handle the overflow. AirVenture's campground metric — Camp Scholler handles 40,000 campers and that wasn't enough — plus thick throngs of people to weave around anywhere I walked the show grounds suggested a great turnout to me. Indeed, EAA president Jack Pelton reported more than 677,000 visitors.
Mosaic and MoreGiven FAA's earlier-than-predicted release of the highly-anticipated NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rule Making), Mosaic was on the minds of many aviators. The one thing that is no longer included is drones or multicopters. Once they were removed, the regulation went forward swiftly. Mosaic burst upon the scene bearing unanticipated surprises. Through their proposal FAA has confirmed industry did well regulating itself. FAA has said repeatedly, "We want industry to do more." ASTM's F37 LSA committee members have clearly done an impressive job. Join ASTM here if you'd like to help! In the video below I highlight several aspects of the new proposal but in the days and weeks ahead I will dive much more deeply into the NPRM. Various groups will closely examine the NPRM, producing summaries as soon as possible so you can digest the NPRM and compose your response. I hope each of you will let FAA know what you think, but write your own words. Scanning technology lets FAA group identical responses as one response, so say whatever you think but don't copy and paste language others have proposed. Also, be polite and constructive; ranting will not help. The good news is that you don't have to wait. I am quite impressed with nearly 200 comments to my earlier article. Some commenters have clearly dug into the details intensively. Fly at Night? — Here's one part of the NPRM that generated many comments. The question raised: "Can a Sport Pilot fly at night …without a medical." Commenter Rich wrote, "FAA stated at a forum yesterday [at Oshkosh 2023] that, yes, the intent is that for night flight a medical or BasicMed is required. The reason given was that they did not have enough trust in state driver agencies to adequately check eyes." I'm sure Rich heard and quoted the FAA guys correctly, however, reading the Federal Register release of Mosaic, I still believe the FAA will use endorsements to allow Sport Pilot certificate holders to receive training in pursuit of skills for night flying, retractable gear, adjustable props, and even IFR. The language in the NPRM supports this on page after page.
More Aircraft ComingI know what most readers enjoy and fortunately I have the same interest. The following flying machines are ones I will be writing about in the days and weeks ahead. As with those aircraft already reported from the show, by no means are these all the intriguing aircraft at Oshkosh but they are ones I hope you will enjoy. AEROPRAKT — I simply have to admire the Aeroprakt team, led by designer Yuri Yakovlev. Everyone on the planet is aware how their home country of Ukraine is under immense pressure from every direction including missiles flying and bombs dropping. How they can keep it together is something of a miracle and certainly a credit to their dedication and resolve. During AirVenture, former importer Dennis Long (who's still helping) texted to say Aeroprakt had built their 1,500th aircraft. They aren't just repeating though; they're still innovating. One Aeroprakt on display had a third door (similar to Jabiru J-230D, Montaer MC-01, and KFA's Safari XL). This makes loading baggage easier and allows use of the aft space in A-32 Vixxen's roomy cockpit. New importer, Andy Humphrey, who operates as Heaven Bound, showed me another Aeroprakt at Oshkosh that was fully equipped for IFR, a use he noted is "permitted for Special LSA when used for IFR flight or recurrent training." A standard in development by ASTM should allow flight into IMC that is not presently advised. HAWK ULTRA AIR — You know Hawk for many years; they celebrated 40 years in 2022 (as did the Part 103 regulation). Today, one organization, CGS Aviation, builds the Special LSA version. In Oshkosh, I met a new engineer hire at CGS Aviation who confirmed they are going through the two seater carefully, creating all-new CAD files that never existed with the original. This is a very worthy effort but prevented them from displaying at AirVenture. Bob Santom and son LB focus solely on the single place CGS Hawks including models that qualify for Part 103's wonderful privileges. It turns out both CGS enterprises can stay busy. At AirVenture 2023, Bob and LB exhibited their open-cockpit Hawk Ultra Air. I thought it looked good with no Dacron skin covering the structure. I observed different pilots enter the cockpit — one weighing 165 pounds and one at 240 — and both seemed to fit easily. A 200-250 hour build for beginners, the display Hawk Ultra Air makes 103 with an airframe parachute, tipping the scales at a completely proper 278 pounds empty. Read this article to learn more about Hawk as it celebrated 40 anniversary in 2022 (along with Part 103; botht came out in 1982). AQUILAE — The name means Eagle in Latin, a great name for an airplane even if everyone will ask how to spell it and say it — "Ack-will-lay." Does it look familiar to you. It did to me as I toured the ultralight area at AirVenture 2023. I had a hint, though. Mark Mellicker represented the G1 STOL at airshows for the last couple years (see this earlier article). As happens in aviation and any other business, events changed the organization and another company at AirVenture told me they were representing G1. So I had two clues when I saw Mark by this shiny new airplane. Mark decided to go on his own and, voila!, Aquilae. When I write more about this, you will see it has a wing-fold system that many buyers like. It's a large-ish, STOL-capable design like G1 but both G1 and Aquilae owe their design heritage to Alisport's Yuma from Italy, though even that design signficantly resembles the Zenith 701, the granddaddy of such designs. FUSION NANO GYRO — I will readily admit I was charmed by Fusion's Nano gyro when I saw it and reported on it from AirVenture 2021 (article). However, it needed a different engine and Jeffrey Boyd was already on it with European producer, Fusion Copter. At AirVenture, Jeffrey of FUN, or Fly Ultralight Nano, showed an example propelled by a Hirth F23 engine producing 50 horsepower. He says it has behaved well for him and he's actually had quite a success with this modestly-priced (less than $30,000) Part 103 aircraft. Big two seat gyros are fun and essential for training but once you know how to fly this type aircraft Nano might be the last aircraft you ever need. I tried it on for size in 2021 and loved the way it felt and fit. Now with more substantial and dependable power I'd bet many more will arrive in the USA. However, it's already been a good run as Fusion now has 35 flying around the world and Jonathan has lead the charge selling 21 units in the USA. That's a performance of which he can be proud. GOGETAIR 750 — As I wrap up this preview, I come to an aircraft I've seen for a few years at the German Aero Friedrichshafen show that I have enjoyed for 25 years. As I close this article, it may be appropriate to bring attention to a four seater — as that category will be coming in 16 months when we get Mosaic LSA or mLSA. Shannon Hankins & Alan Jackson from Scissortail Aerosport, LLC are representing the G750 to North America. GoGetAir is a fairly new company, arriving on the scene during what might be called the Covid era. They started before but had to immediately survive that trying period with their handsome aircraft. The timing of Scissortail and GoGetAir is marvelous, being right on the cusp of Mosaic being released. In the meantime, FAA has registration categories such Experimental Exhibition that allow import of a small number of fully-assembled aircraft to test the market. By late 2024 or early 2025, we should see Mosaic become official regulation and then G750 will easily fit the mLSA category assuming the company chooses to pursue and declare compliance with ASTM standards. Naturally, we have yet to learn how FAA will audit a new producer like GoGetAir although third-party audits have been discussed. In case you didn't notice the subtle suggestion in the photo, G750 is a four-seater, powered by the Rotax 915iS. This will be a very common combination when Mosaic officially arrives, but G750 also demonstrates style and a beautifully compound-curved leading and trailing edge wing. All the preceding aircraft will get their own fuller treatment beyond this summary.
- Previous article written as Mosaic had first arrived; with almost 200 reader comments
- Proposed document in PDF form (318 pages)
- More recently released Federal Register document on Mosaic
- Same document as above, but in 3-column PDF format (may be the easiest to read/study; 90 pages)
- Link to EAA Radio, relating to the video below but offering lots more content
- Join ASTM if you wish to help with these standards; you will be welcomed
- Aeroprakt in the USA, at Heaven Bound
- CGS Hawk single seat aircraft
- Aquilae website
- FUN: Fly Ultralight Nano, including articles on this website
- GoGetAir in the USA; Scissortail Aerosport