International Pterodactyl Club Takes Flight

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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

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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: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . North Wing Design, 3904 Airport Way, East Wenatchee, WA 98802. Phone: (509) 886-4605 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

Ultralight Club Formed in New Hampshire

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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

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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 consider.
* 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 be issued.
* 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

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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 well done."

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

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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, 2003."

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 * e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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