Feb 16th

Drones rules are coming. New FAA proposed rules has similar airspace restrictions as Ultralights

By Paul Hamilton

Drones are coming. Keep ypur eyes open below 500 AGL  where many of us like to fly.


AOPA came out with a great summary and here it is:


The FAA has announced a proposed rule governing the use of commercial small unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that would address many of AOPA's concerns, including setting certification requirements for operators and requiring see-and-avoid capabilities. The rule affects UAS weighing 55 pounds or less that are flown for non-recreational purposes.


Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced details of the proposed rule during an unusual Sunday news conference on Feb. 15. Under the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), small UAS would be required to “see and avoid” other aircraft, giving right of way to manned aircraft.

They also would be limited to daylight, line-of-sight operations with a least 3 statute miles visibility at speeds of less than 100 mph and altitudes below 500 feet. The UAS would not be allowed to operate over people, except those involved in the flight. They would be required to remain outside of Class A airspace and at least 500 feet below clouds and 2,000 feet from them horizontally. Operations in Class B, C, and D airspace, as well as within the lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace, can be allowed with prior permission from air traffic control. 

The NPRM also sets certification requirements for small UAS operators, requiring them to be at least 17 years of age, pass an FAA-administered knowledge test every two years, and obtain an FAA-issued UAS Operator Certificate with a small UAS rating.

While the FAA will not require the aircraft themselves to be certified, it will require them to obtain an FAA registration and display an N-number. Operators must also conduct preflight safety inspections before each flight.

“Safety is our biggest concern when it comes to integrating unmanned aircraft into the airspace system,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Clear guidance for UAS operations is needed to protect pilots and passengers. We’re pleased that the FAA is moving the rulemaking process forward, but this really can’t happen fast enough.”

Privacy issues also have been a concern when it comes to small UAS operations, but the FAA’s NPRM does not address those issues. Instead, the FAA has said the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will engage with the FAA and stakeholders to address privacy issues.

In the meantime, the White House issued a presidential memorandum dealing with drone privacy issues shortly before the FAA’s Feb. 15 announcement. The memo requires federal agencies to make their policies and procedures consistent with limits on data collection and use as well as the retention and dissemination of information collected by drones. It also gives the NTIA and Commerce Department 90 days to create a “framework for privacy, accountability and transparency.”

In announcing the new rules for small commercial drones, the FAA said it would seek input on whether to create a subset of rules for so-called “microlight” UAS weighing 4.4 pounds or less. The FAA suggested those aircraft might not require a UAS operator certificate but could be restricted to daytime line-of-site operations at altitudes of 400 feet or lower in Class G airspace. Those requirements are not part of the current proposed rule.

The agency is also seeking input on how the agency can further leverage the UAS test site program as well as plans for a UAS Center of Excellence designed to spur innovation.

The publication of the NPRM opens the way for the public to review and comment on the proposal, and AOPA will file formal comments in advance of the deadline set for 60 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

AOPA has long expressed concerns about safely integrating unmanned aircraft into the National Airspace System, insisting that commercial UAS be flown by an FAA-approved pilot or operator, have see-and-avoid capabilities, and be flown in compliance with current operating rules and airspace requirements.

In December 2014, Baker asked the House Aviation Subcommittee to reinforce the need for the FAA to expedite the rule governing commercial UAS operations and to address the reckless and careless operation of recreational UAS. In 2014, the FAA received nearly 200 pilot reports describing encounters with unmanned aircraft.


While the NPRM does not address recreational UAS operations, AOPA has asked the FAA to issue clear and definitive guidance for recreational operators, encourage manufacturers to include information on FAA guidance in their packaging materials, work with AOPA and remote control aircraft groups to conduct educational outreach, and publish guidance to help pilots file timely reports of reckless UAS operations.

End of AOPA article.

If you want the AOPA article go to 


We are all free to comment but the rules usually end up how they are proposed


Feb 16th

Using iPad Mini or iPad for Nav? My findings...

By Ted Hunting

Wanted to share my learnings as thought it would help others.  

Issue:  my iPad mini worked fine with Foreflight but when I went to fly this weekend for a cross country lesson, the gps did not work.

Findings: It turns out that newer iPhones and Ipads DO have a built in GPS chip.  However, on the iPad Mini the Wifi version does NOT have a GPS chip and only the cellular/Wifi version includes a GPS chip (this is unlike the normal wifi ipad which does have a GPS chips).  The iPad mini Wifi version only gives you GPS when you are on Wifi via the Internet, if you arent on Wifi there is NO GPS capability. Regarding the iPad Mini with Wifi AND Cellular capability: Even if you are not using celluar via a plan, the GPS chip will work fine if you have the ipad mini, but you will have no GPS chip if you get the Wifi only version.  Bottomline is you MUST have an iPad Mini with the celluar capbility if you want to get a GPS signal, even if the cellular capability is not being used.  You need a GPS chip!  

I also learned that any iPad, iPad Mini or iPhone that does contain a GPS chip, contains a chip that uses cell towers to locate the GPS coordinate.  This chip is not as accurate or as sensitive as a standard GPS which uses satellite.  For flying, the iPad GPS chip if it can't locate a cell tower cannot provide GPS whereas a standard GPS can with much better performance.

The Solution:   After researching I found 3 options I considered,  in order of quality and expense (funny how those 2 go hand in hand).  

Option 1:  By a Stratus receiver that has GPS that connects to iPad mini via Bluetooth and Foreflight.  This option gives you great GPS signal for Foreflight and also gives you real-time Foreflight weather and even shows you on radar other aircraft near you!  Expensive at around 700-800+ but something I will consider someday flying in the Bay Area.  

Option 2: By a Bad Elf Pro GPS (Foreflight recommended and found many pilots even commerical who use it).  It connects to iPad Mini via bluetooth and provides great GPS with around 16 hours of battery life and is rechargeable.  I just ordered on Amazon for around $139 and will be using this with my iPad Mini soon (also on some of the aviation vendor sites for $10 more).  Reviews have all been excellent from many sources I investigated.  

Option 3:  I had my iPhone  turned on and turned on "Personal Hotspot" and connected my iPad Mini to it when flying Sunday.  This let me effectively be on a wifi network (linking to my phone) and gave me a GPS signal.  But it was weak and did not work reliable when flying Sunday.  I could not find my location with the blinking dot but it did show me the distance to the nearest airport in Foreflight.  No cost with this last option except phone data charges.

Option 2 gave me best combination of excellent GPS/nav capabilities with lowest cost.  BTW there is a newer Bad Elf Pro+.  The + gets you a GPS using the Russian satellites too similar to my Garmin Running Watch and Garmin Backpacking Nav.  Has a few other bells and whistes but it's another $100 and not needed for me.

Hope this helps others.  If any questions let me know.

Have fun flying...


Jan 23rd

SilverLight Aviation Rotax 912iS power Offer for a limited time

By Abid Farooqui
SilverLight Aviation is able to offer a special price for Rotax 912iS powered trike option right now. Usually this option and installation would be $8000 extra but for a limited time and number of orders both on our trikes and gyroplanes we are able to offer this upgrade for only $4000 above 912ULS price. That measn you can have a 912iS fuel injected Delta Jet-II or Monsoon with the high performance Cheval 12 cross country wing loaded with other options including a BRS for $76500.00. Act now while the offer lasts.
Jan 23rd

Strong US Dollar - best time to order your new P&M trike!

By Tony Castillo
It is worth mentioning that the dollar is strong and the GP exchange is the lowest it has been in 11 years!!! also, there has not been a price increase yet for the 2015 models!!!

If you have been thinking on upgrading to the world class P&M trike, regardless of the model you choose, do not wait! place your order with a deposit to lock the price and have your trike ready to fly by end of Spring!

P&M trikes hold their value well, and having the opportunity to purchase a 2015 trike at 2014 prices, and with an exchange rate the lowest in 11 years it guarantee your investment will hold its value or better.

Call or email. Tony C. P&M USA / pmaviationusa

Jan 21st

Antares and SilverLight Aviation Co-operation

By Abid Farooqui
Hi All:
Antares USA and SilverLight Aviation have decided to cooperate in design and construction of their models and Antares will start sharing an assembly facility with SilverLight Aviation. SilverLight Aviation will help Antares certify new trike models and distribute certified and compliant models in the market. This cooperation will be beneficial to both companies and consumers as the venerable Antares trike designs will once again become available for the US market. Antares has roughly 200 trikes flying in the US market (pre-SLSA) and about a thousand around the world. Sergey Zozulya of Antares will join SilverLight Aviation in Florida.
Jan 12th

Nothing like being a pilot

By Abid Farooqui
We take a lot of things for granted in our lives. People here who fly, take flying for granted. We should always remember what a select group of individuals we are to break the bounds of gravity just because we can and for having fun.

Find the time to cherish things you love and find the time to fly, safely.

ERIC MAGNAN - showreel from AIRBORNE FILMS on Vimeo.

Jan 8th

Some advantages of winter in FL

By Abid Farooqui
Well Florida does actually get cold. This morning it was 38 F. Yesterday evening was a cool 56 degrees giving us pretty close to real standard conditions at sea level.
I flew Todd Halver's trike whcih he has left at Zephyrhills with me to take to Sebring Expo (Jan 14-17). The flights were short because unknown to Todd the trike has a left turn in it which was being hidden mostly but not completely by his cameras he had installed at different spots. It was fun though going 2-up and getting 1250 FPM easily and getting 98 mph fast cruise at 5050 RPM.

One of the best advantages of this weather is you get to get real test data at standard conditions which is nearly impossible to do in the summer in FL and there is no reliable modeling available specially for trikes to get that data transposed.

This is the time, pilots in Florida can get 55 to 60 degrees, load their trikes up to near full gross weight and test takeoff distance, climb rate etc. for publishing. Get out there and get it done.

We hope to see some of you at Sebring Expo Jan 14-17 at booth 401. We will have 2 trikes, 2 gyroplanes and possibly one airplane there 
Jan 5th

Cross counrty and flying into complex airspace exercise

By Paul Hamilton

If you were flying cross country from KCXP to KCNO how would you get there as safely and  efficiently as possible flying with the wind conditions now taking off Tuesday morning? What route would you take? When would you take off?  When would you get there? Where would you stop for fuel based on fuel use and tank capacity? Great exercise for discussion. 

Jan 2nd

How to calibrate your airspeed.

By Paul Hamilton

To start, every airspeed indicator is off. That's why airplanes go from indicated to calibrated. It is only how much it is off.

Another factor is the difference between indicated and true. As density altitude increases, you go faster through the air than your indicated air speed reads. About 2% per 1000 feet. Less air molicules to create the pressure. So at 5000 feet density altitude you indicated would read 70 MPH but your true airspeed would be ( 2% times 5) 10 % higher or 77 MPH. Note your flight computer will give you 76 but pretty darn close. You stall at the same indicated airspeed at all altitudes.

Yes with the static port on most trikes in back of the dashboard/instrument, the static pressure lowers and the airspeed will read higher. To install a static port is not simple. It has to be put in the exact location or it can make things worse.

A simple calibration can be done with a GPS.

First determine a speed to calibrate at. Let's use 70 MPH indicated. Convert this to true airspeed at what ever altitude you want. At sea level standard conditions true and indicated should be the same. We will use 5000 density altitude so the true airspeed will be 77 MPH. Now since this is your true airspeed, that should match your ground speed in calm air. As simple as that. During your test do a circle at the same indicated airspeed to test for calm air. If your indicated stays the same and your ground stays the same, you have calm air. If there is any wind, you average your maximum and minimum speeds during your circle to get the ground speed number to calibrate to.

If the GPS ground speed is different than the true airspeed, you adjust/calibrate  your indicated until your true and ground speed match. Again, at sea level standard conditions true and indicated should be the same.

I had to drop my indicated by 5% to get my true airspeed to match my GPS speed. On my Enigma, there is an indicated airspeed calibration in set up where you can do this so you are always reading an accurate indicated air speed. On the enigma it also has the calculated true airspeed so it is easy to look at the difference between true airspeed and GPS speed for accurate wind direction and speed while flying.

There is a simple and accurate way to calibrate your airspeed in trikes.