29 July 2013

WikiProject Aircraft

There are a lot of interesting things happening over on Wikipedia and at least one of them involves aircraft, or at least articles about aircraft.

One of the aspects of Wikipedia that casual readers don't see is that there are many organized WikiProjects, where a group of editors work together to create new articles and to make existing articles better within a related topic area. WikiProject Aircraft is one of those projects and it has some goals that will be of interest to any aviator. The project has 348 signed up members, of which a couple of dozen are really active these days, making it a relatively small group. Aside from working on articles about aircraft components, history, engines, aerodynamics and so on, the project members are also putting together articles on aircraft designs, by type.

That aspect started a few years ago when it was pointed out that we had about 10,000 aircraft type articles and it was suggested that we finish off the task, by writing articles on the rest of them. That was readily agreed to, but no one knows how many distinct aircraft types have ever been built. We discussed it and my best guess was about 25,000. That meant that we hadn't even got half way at that time.

So we set to work, with about a dozen of us dividing up the work by area of interest and access to references to work from. The main challenge at that time was that all the easy and well-known types had been done, like the Cessna 172 and the Boeing 747. It was the odd, rare and obscure types that needed completing and that called for editors with access to detailed, published works about rare aircraft.

Everyone has their own areas of interest and expertise. Some editors set to work filling in the one-of-a-kind pre-First World War pioneering types, others the experimental World War Two aircraft, while others specialized in 1950s French homebuilts or 1920s light aircraft. For my part I started work on ultralights, gliders, hang gliders, trikes and homebuilts, mostly because I have the references available and no one else was working on those aircraft.

In the last few years the project members have probably added another 6000-7000 type articles, listing them as they are written, for peer review on a special list page. As can be seen there, the articles that are being written are on fairly unusual types these days.

So the goal continues - to have an article on every aircraft type that has been flown, developed or was even just proposed by an established aircraft manufacturer.

How will we know when we are done? A good question. Probably when we can't find any more aircraft in any references to write about we might be close to done. Of course every year new aircraft designs are announced, developed and flown, so the work will never be totally complete.

As the project members get closer to the goal it makes Wikipedia more and more the first stop for information on different kinds of aircraft. Our hope is that it will become the best source of aviation information and, of course, it will always be available to everyone for free.

25 July 2013

Red Bull Flugtag - Yes or No?

Red Bull has held one of their Flugtag ("airshow") events in Ottawa before, on 3 August 2008 and this Saturday, 27 July 2013, they will hold another one.

The event is, of course, sponsored by Austrian "energy drink" manufacturer, Red Bull. It consists of teams that create "aircraft" to be launched from a barge equipped with a runway, like an aircraft carrier, anchored near the Museum of Civilization in the Ottawa River. The aircraft are really "art projects" and aren't intended to fly away from the barge, but instead all just fall into the river. Teams are supposed to be judged on the basis of distance, creativity and showmanship, but not for anything relevant to aeronautics. Spectators laugh as each and every one is pushed down the runway and predictably plummets into the river, with its crew, to be rescued by the boats attending. None of them flew, all of them crashed. That's it. Nothing else.

Perhaps you need a Germanic sense of humour to find this amusing?

In 2008 about 100,000 Ottawa-Gatineau residents and tourists crowded the river on both sides, plus the Alexandria bridge to see this event. Naturally Red Bull got lots of exposure for the their products.

Other than being amazingly pointless, does this event do any harm? My opinion is that it hurts aviation. These "art projects" are supposed to look like small aircraft and there is some expectation that this is related to aviation in some way, which is why it is called a "Flugtag", and so 100,000 people now associate light aircraft with crashing instead of flying.

Needless to say I won't be attending this year's event.

External links

24 July 2013

Continental Purchases Thielert

On 23 July 2013 Continental Motors announced that they had purchased Thielert Aircraft Engines for an undisclosed sum.

At first blush this purchase by Continental looks like a great match. Thielert has been in bankruptcy for five years now and run by a temporary administrator who has been looking for a buyer through the Long Recession. The company has other concerns, as founder and ex-president Frank Thielert has been charged with fraud over misrepresenting the value and finances of the company during earlier attempts to find buyers and investors. Frank Thielert was arrested and jailed in mid June 2013 by a German bankruptcy court judge as a potential flight risk.

Continental Motors has been pursuing diesel aircraft engine technology itself and is actively working on its TD-300 engine, a derivative of the French SMA SR305-230 diesel engine. So with that interest in diesel engine technology and Thielert's need for a buyer, the purchase seems like a good move for both companies.

But there are also larger forces at work here. It helps to recall that in December 2010, Continental itself was purchased by AVIC International, and AVIC is wholly owned by the government of the People's Republic of China. That all adds up to the Thielert purchase being just another part in the Chinese government's large and growing portfolio of western aerospace firms. At this point it isn't clear how far they want to go in buying up companies, but time will tell if they just want a slice of the light aircraft business or something larger than that.

As part of the purchase the Thielert name will disappear. The company will become a division of Continental and will be called Technify Motors GmbH. Given the troubles the company has endured this is probably a good move on Continental's part.

Here is my revised current list of western aerospace firms bought out so far by non-western interests:

  • Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
  • Enstrom Helicopter Corporation - Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, China
  • Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
  • Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
  • Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
  • International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
  • Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
  • LISA Airplanes - 75% owned by Heima Mining Company, China
  • Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
  • Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
  • Thielert Aircraft Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China

External links

23 July 2013

Vintage Wings: "Calling All Volunteers"

By Dave O'Malley, Vintage Wings of Canada

It's just 8 weeks until the first vintage aircraft touches down here at Gatineau for the Wings over Gatineau-Ottawa en vol Air Show. Just 8 weeks to prepare and there is still lots to do. We are looking for volunteers of all ages to move mountains, spread the word, impress guests, inspire children, look good, escort veterans, secure aircraft and show lines, put up signs, park cars, pick up trash, sing songs, sell swag and share smiles.


You'll get a cool shirt, new skills, lasting memories, lots of sun, and a heart full of pride.

External link

19 July 2013

Further Details About the 2013 CAHS National Convention and AGM

by Timothy Dubé, CAHS Convention Chairman

The Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) returns to Ottawa-Gatineau for its 50th Convention and Annual General Meeting on 11 - 15 September 2013 - the Big Five O!

Both the Program and Schedule of Events has been finalized and can be downloaded by following the links below or on the CAHS website under "Events." To be part of this very special five-days, complete the Registration Form and Schedule of Fees and return it with your cheque to us today.

More information on the event - including awards ballots and 50th Anniversary mechandise pre-order forms - will be distributed to CAHS Members shortly.

For more information, please contact the Convention Chairman, Timothy Dubé.

We hope to see you in September for the Big Five O!

Event Schedule and Details

Celebrating 50 years is a BIG deal and the Big Five O promises CAHS members just that – a BIG deal!

In addition to two-days of historical presentations (see links to view the Program with the list of speakers and their subjects), the Big Five O will include a number of special events and tours. These begin on Thursday evening with a BBQ and tour of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (CASM), with the bonus of seeing the ongoing restoration of Canadair C-54GM North Star 17515. On both Friday evening and all day Saturday, the CAHS will be special guests at Vintage Wings of Canada's Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa air show. On Sunday, CAHS members will return to the CASM to be witness to the annual Battle of Britain parade and flypast. The BIG FIVE O wraps-up on Sunday evening with an early-Autumn Harvest Feast and the presentation of CAHS awards.

Program of Events (217 KB PDF document)

Registration Information

To attend this year's Convention, simply download and complete the Registration Form and Schedule of Fees and return with your cheque to the address below! The forms can be downloaded below or at www.cahs.ca under "Events".

Registration Form and Schedule of Fees - 2013 CAHS Convention (78 KB PDF document)

Location and Accommodations

Headquarters for the Big Five O will be the Albert at Bay Suite Hotel in downtown Ottawa. Each newly-renovated, one-bedroom suite includes one or two queen-size beds, a spacious living room (some with a pull-out couch), private bath, and a fully-equipped kitchen. We have secured a rate of just $139.00 plus taxes, per night, single or double occupancy. Make your reservations now by calling 1-800-267-6644 or 613-238-8858 and asking for the "CAHS Annual Convention" Group Rate. The deadline to secure this rate is 12 August.

11 July 2013

Is Your Aviation Document Booklet Expiring?

by Patrick Gilligan, COPA

Did you know your Aviation Document Booklet (ADB) must be renewed every five years from date of issuance?

This fall, pilots, flight engineers and air traffic controllers will begin renewing their Aviation Document Booklets (ADB). Transport Canada first introduced the ADB in 2008 with a five year expiry date, so the majority of ADB holders will need to renew their booklets this year.

How do applicants renew their ADB?

To renew an expiring ADB, applicants are required to submit a completed Application for an Aviation Document Booklet form (TP 26-0726) and a passport style photograph to the TCCA regional office that holds their pilot licensing file. Transport Canada requires four to six weeks to process a completed application. Applicants should submit their applications at least 90 days before the expiry date. There is no fee for renewing your ADB.


Transport Canada provides an ADB to flight crew members and air traffic controllers in order that they may exercise privileges of aviation-related permits, licences and ratings, and possess evidence of medical validity. Note that a Student Pilot Permit (SPP) is a standalone document. Students should not apply for an ADB if they only hold a Student Pilot Permit (SPP).

The ADB replaced paper licensing documents. The ADB enhances the security of licensing documents and provides pilots with a more durable product.

The ADB must be renewed every five years to ensure the photograph is current. Some ADB holders may require earlier renewal for other reasons (for example, if a pilot holds a Level 4 Language Proficiency).

External link