International Pterodactyl Club Takes Flight
The first Pterodactyl Pfledge flew in 1977 and five Pterodactyl
models are still available today, supported by DFE Ultralights
in Pennsylvania. During the Pterodactyl's 26-year production run,
with more than 1,400 ultralights produced, a type club has never
been formed for these models.
Over the years 'Dactyl drivers have earned a reputation for
being an independent breed of pilot, which is probably why they
never organized. However, there is still a need for a type club
through which to share information.
That need has been filled with the launch of the International
Pterodactyl Club (IPC), a nonprofit club dedicated to keeping
Pterodactyls flying. Supporting all the different Pterodactyls
and DFE models, the club is an online service entirely free of
charge. Interested 'Dactyl pilots and aficionados of the unique
design are invited to check out the IPC Website. Browsers will
find articles, photos, safety information, an online forum, guestbook
and lots more. And you can ask questions, send photos and share
your Pterodactyl stories.
Pterodactyl Club Website: www.pterodactylhangar.com .
Report filed by Adam Hunt
TC's Trikes Newest North Wing Design Dealer
TC's Trikes, manufacturer of the TC Trike, will be
exclusively adding the North Wing line of Mustang 19, 17 and
15 trike wings as options to the TC Trike. "This will enable
any TC Trike customer to choose from a full range of wing sizes
and performance ranges to complement the Super D-16 Wing already
available for TC Trikes," says company owner TC Blyth.
"When the Super D-16 wing was developed, it was designed
for one reason to offer a high-quality, inexpensive wing
that excelled in stability and handling to match the TC Trike.
I have flown and researched a lot of wings and, at the introduction
of the Super D-16 Wing, there were no other comparable products."
In the meantime, Kamron Blevins and his staff at North Wing
Design have continued to refine and expand their wing program.
"The new strutted versions of the Mustang wings are such
an improvement over previous trike wing designs, that the match
of the Mustang wings with the TC Trike was an obvious
choice," Blyth continues.
Along with carrying the North Wing Mustang wings, TC's Trikes
will also stock all other North Wings products. "Full customer
support will now be available in the Eastern United States for
anyone who wants to purchase, service or learn to fly in a North
Wing Apache, Maverick or ATF Trike," says Blyth. In addition,
all the wings associated with these machines, such as the Contour
14.5 (now strutted), the Maverick, Pacer 13 and the Illusion
will be available through Blyth's company.
"I am thrilled to be associated with North Wing Design,"
says Blyth. "I have the experience, credentials and the
facility to be a big contributor to North Wing Design's continued
success. Engineering and design has been my other career and
I'm ready to help the North Wing organization continue manufacturing
ultralight trikes and wings."
"It's good to have a professional dealer such as TC Blyth
on board," says North Wing Design owner Kamron Blevins.
"TC has a reputation for providing good customer service,
which is important in a good dealer."
Info: TC's Trikes, 2323 Pineway Tr., Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379.
Phone: (423) 802-1193 * e-mail:
Wing Design, 3904 Airport Way, East Wenatchee, WA 98802. Phone:
(509) 886-4605 * e-mail:
Ultralight Club Formed in New Hampshire
In November '02, Tim Pierce and Tim Wall both ultralight
pilots decided to form a club in their part of New Hampshire.
Now 5 members strong, Frequent Flyers Ultralight Club (USUA 162)
meets the first Sunday of every month at 10 a.m. at their home
base of Hawthorne-Feather Airport (8B1) in Hillsboro, which is
southwest of Concord. "We mostly fly out of Hawthorne-Feather
Airport with an occasional trip to nearby landing sites,"
says Pierce. "Right now it's too cold to do much flying,
so it's hard to attract new members. Hopefully when the weather
warms up we'll get more members in the club."
Info: Frequent Flyers Ultralight Club, phone: (603) 464-5407.
TSA Passes "Pilot Insecurity" Rule
On January 24, 2003, the Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) and FAA released and implemented new rules that direct FAA
to deny/revoke the airman certificate of anyone whom TSA says
is a threat to national security. Bearing the lengthy title "Ineligibility
for an Airman Certificate Based on Security Grounds," this
final rule "expressly makes a person ineligible to hold FAA-issued
airman certificates if TSA notifies FAA in writing that the person
poses a security threat," reads the summary of the rule,
which was published in the Federal Register. "This
action is intended to reduce the opportunity for persons to carry
out terrorist acts in the aviation environment."
The final rule was released without prior notice and prior
public comment. Based on secret information possessed by TSA that
considers a pilot a security risk, that agency can force FAA to
revoke the pilot's certificate. Here's what will happen:
* TSA will notify an individual that he or she has been
determined to pose a security threat and to advise FAA of its
determination. One process applies to U.S. citizens; the other
to non-U.S. citizens. Under both procedures, the individual is
served with an Initial Notification of Threat Assessment.
* The individual may then respond in writing to this notification
and provide any information the individual believes TSA should
* In the case of a non-U.S. citizen, TSA's Deputy Administrator
either finds the individual does pose a threat and will
be issued a final Notification of Threat Assessment, or isn't
a threat in which case a Withdrawal of Initial Notification will
* A U.S. citizen will face the same procedures with one exception.
TSA's Under Secretary will also review the matter before a Final
Notification of Threat Assessment is issued. If the Under Secretary
determines the individual poses a security threat, the Under Secretary
issues a Final Notification of Threat Assessment.
* At the time TSA issues its notifications, FAA is advised of
TSA's decision with regard to individuals who hold or are applying
for an airman certificate.
"FAA will suspend an individual's airman certificates
after receiving the Initial Notification of Threat Assessment
from TSA," according to the rule. "Suspension is appropriate
in this circumstance, because TSA's initial assessment is still
subject to review by TSA's Deputy Administrator, and, for U.S.
citizens, the Under Secretary, and may be reversed."
Whether you hold a pilot's certificate or not, this rulemaking
ought to make you sit up and take notice. The person(s) under
scrutiny has no recourse but to go to the very agency accusing
him or her of being a security threat. There is no due process.
"If someone really is a terrorist, they shouldn't have a
pilot certificate," says Phil Boyer, president of Aircraft
Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), which has almost 400,000
members. "And frankly, we should take stronger action than
just lifting a license. But any American so accused must be guaranteed
their basic constitutional protections to due process, and that
includes the right to appeal to an independent adjudicator.
"Our goal is to sensitize members of Congress to the issue,"
continues Boyer. "Everyone we've talked to so far agrees.
While they share our concern for security, they also think these
rules appear to violate due process, and that a pilot should have
an avenue of appeal to an independent party, not TSA.
"We cannot, we will not give up our basic rights to protect
us from some vague and secret 'threat'. We are demanding that
the government suspend enforcement of these rules and recraft
them to protect national security and citizens' rights."
In a recent readership survey, 30% of Ultralight Flying!
readers indicate they operate with a FAA pilot's certificate when
flying their ultralights.
Readers who wish to view the entire rule can go to http://dms.dot.gov
. Search for docket number FAA-2003-14293.
Quad City Ultralight Aircraft Celebrates 20 Years
Quad City Ultralight Aircraft, manufacturer of the Challenger
line of single- and 2-seat ultralights and light aircraft, is
celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
Started in 1983, Quad City is one of the oldest ultralight
companies still under the same ownership. Company president Dave
Goulet, who is also codesigner of all four models of aircraft,
and vice president William Ehlers say the numbers speak for themselves.
"Today, with nearly 3,000 Challengers flying, we're one of
the very few manufacturers to achieve such longevity," says
Goulet. "The entire Challenger staff takes pride in a job
Information: Quad City Ultralight Aircraft, PO Box 370, Dept.
UF, Moline, IL 61265. Phone: (309) 764-3515 * Fax: (309) 762-3920.
Competition Aircraft Moves to New Facility, Offers 1982 Prices
20 Years in Production
Ultra-Prop propeller manufacturer Competition Aircraft, in
continuous production since 1982, has moved to a new 5,600-square-foot
facility. Company owner and president Bob Davis says, "The
new location will give us plenty of room for continued research
and development on propellers and other ultralight products. And,
to commemorate our 20-year anniversary, we're offering our line
of 2-, 3- and 4-blade Ultra-Props at 1982 prices until June 1,
Competition Aircraft says they introduced the first successful
composite propeller in 1982 and has manufactured more than 14,000
units. "We are the only company that uses thermoplastics
to make propellers," says Competition Aircraft. "About
50,000 blades have been injection molded from one mold. This process
and careful quality control means that all blades are interchangeable,
even with parts that are 20 years old."
Other composite props, including Competition Aircraft's high-performance
Brolga blades, use thermosets a wet, hand-laid-up process
with epoxy resins, requiring a family of many molds and oven cure.
Each blade has to have a final balance and usually is one of a
match set. This process makes a great blade, however the method
is very labor-intensive, says the company. A variety of blades
can be easily manufactured since the tooling is relatively inexpensive.
Contrast that with an injection mold that cost the company
$50,000 in 1982 but can make a perfect blade every 3 minutes.
"That cost is probably why no other propeller company has
used thermoplastics," says Davis. "The prop hubs and
pitch blocks are also injection molded. We plan to further develop
a new process that will use thermoplastic impregnated glass and
carbon fibers to make prop blades."
The company is also working on a twin-engine ultralight helicopter.
Info: Competition Aircraft, 10925 Shire Ct., Dept. UF, Grass
Valley, CA 95949. Phone: (888) 634-9839 * Fax: (530) 268-2321