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'Caption Contest' #8 Reaches Higher - Ends 9PM Tuesday 2-17-09

 You've only got until 9pm EST on Tuesday 2-17-09 to come up with a clever caption for this here photo. I don't think this one should be to hard to get funny with!  Then, as has been our custom of late, we'll have open voting to pick the winner from late Tuesday night til 9pm Wednesday night.

 And remember that the winner will get $20 in AirPigz funny money. And I really am gonna get a post pulled together with the 'funny money' details (my complex plan to test your patience is almost over!)
 Here are the rules:

1) Max of 2 submissions per person 

2) Submissions go in 'comments' 

3) Game ends Tuesday at 9pm EST 

4) Keep it clean!

 Then, anyone who wants to cast their vote will be able to right after the 9pm Tuesday deadline. The voting will be open for 24 hours, til 9pm EST Wednesday. The winner will then be posted within an hour of the end of the voting : )  I think this is gonna be a good game to 'stretch' on



H2O Boy!  JetLev Water Propelled Jet Pack!

 After about 6 seconds of watching the JetLev water propelled jet pack, you're probably gonna be like me and want one really bad! This German engineered design is a truly unique concept that seems to work extremely well. The 4-stroke engine, either 155hp or 215hp (and the fuel) stay down on the water so it only has to lift you and the nozzle pack. Top speed is around 50 mph.        

 And sure, you can only go to a max altitude of about 50', but when you think it thru, isn't 50 feet high with a pile of semi-soft water under you a pretty good idea when flying a jet pack, hmmm? It looks like way more fun than a jet ski to me! Price is about $128,000 or $153,000 depending on model, and it goes on sale April 2009 with first deliveries expected in June.



Podcast #2 Including Southwest Airlines And Exploitation Illustrated

Listen right now thru this player

Download this episode (right click and save)

 A fresh podcast with a brand new Samson G-Track mic, and it sounds nice!  

 In this episode... DC-3's To 747's, Who Could Ask For More - continued tribute to my dad's life in aviation.  

 Quest Kodiak: Call It Anything You Want, But Please Don't Call It A Caravan! - a little comparo of the Kodiak and Caravan.  

 Have You Pull-Started Your 'Me 262' Lately? - some details on the unique starting system of the first jet in service during WWII.                 

 And lastly, my in-depth look at why the Southwest Airlines tie-in with Sports illustrated is a really bad idea all around.  If you don't know what's it's all about, you can learn about it at  No ranting and raving here from me, just some common sense ideas that are worthy of your time and consideration.  And feel free to comment on the Southwest issue.  I'm curious to see how you think, and I'd like to hear your thoughts.



'Caption Contest' #7 Tankfully Has A Winner!

 Twitter follower @Captain_Ron thought he would never win a Caption Contest, but now he has!  Congrats for being voted the winner in a race that went right down to the wire. And of course, tanks for playing : )              

 He's earned $20 in AirPigz funny money.  BTW, I'll finally make a post this week that tells everyone what AirPigz funny money will get ya.  I think we all need to know (especially me!)  Next CC game on 2-16-09. 



Have You Pull-Started Your 'Me 262' Lately?

Screenshot from 'Flight Check Fighters' video


 Maybe this pic doesn't strike you the way it does me... but a guy pulling a handle on a rope that's attached to something inside the engine on an Me 262 definitely makes me go, hmmm (out loud). 

 Let's back up a minute here. Since my dad passed away recently, I've been going thru boxes of stuff he'd accumulated over the years.  In a recent box, I found a 2 DVD set from 2007 titled ‘Flight Check Fighters' - ‘The How-To-Fly Series' that's available from  These 2 DVD's have tons of actual footage from military training films that show you about everything you need to know to properly fly the P-38, P-39, P-40, P-47, P-61, and the Me 262.  It's a great set that you should seriously consider adding to your collection.

 It was the Me 262 that caught my eye on the package right away.  So I tossed the DVD in the computer and start watching an actual German training film on the first jet aircraft to go into service in WWII. Cool stuff.

 I'm just watching away thinking this is pretty amazing to see (and I'm thinking, wow, the crazy mechanical nightmare that were the aircraft from that era!).  After a bit, an instructor is showing a student about the throttles and engine controls when a third guy walks up and grabs a handle on a rope located right at the hole in the bullet in the middle of the nacelle. Then, he starts yankin' on it!  I'm thinking, what the heck?!  Is this some kind of crazy pull-start pre-rotator for the compressor? What in the world is he doing?


Delaware Valley Historical Aviation Association Museum - Horsham, PA. Photo:

  <Air Victory Museum - Lumberton, NJ


 Well, my friend ‘Mr. Google' helped me out... and I found out something very interesting.  Seems the Germans engineered a small 10hp 2-stroke 2-cylinder gas engine into the nacelle to use as the starter for the turbine when a ‘cart' wasn't available!

 So, the guy is actually pull-starting that little gas engine, which then spins the compressor enough to fire up the turbine engine.  I think that's just cool, crazy, and topped off with more cool! I never knew the Me 262 was really a 4 engine, turbine/2-stroke hybrid!  Also very interesting to note that these early turbines had a TBO of only about 25 to 50 hours!  Ouch! 

 The upper picture above shows a 2-place version of the Me 262 from the Delaware Valley Historical Aviation Association Museum in Horsham, PA.  This beautifully restored aircraft makes it easy to see the pull ring in the center of the nacelle, and the 2-stroke is nestled inside the 'bullet'.   

 The lower pic is from the Air Victory Museum in Lumberton, NJ and shows the little Riedel 2-stroke engine on the front end of a Junkers Jumo 004 engine (with the center ‘bullet' removed).  Apparently this 2-stroker could be started from the cockpit via electrics, and the pull start option was for back-up. The large 'pull' ring is clearly visible here.  Looking close at the 2-stroke engine design, and the compressor blades behind it, it's fascinating to see how little has changed in 65 years.  Materials and details have improved greatly, but the basic concepts are very similar. 

 Pretty stinkin' cool stuff all the way around. Just goes to show that you never know what you don't know! Keep this in mind the next time you're at a sweet aviation museum.  Dig a little deeper into the displays cuz you just don't know what cool tidbit is just waiting for you to discover : )



'Caption Contest' #7 Under Way Til Tuesday Evening 2-10-09

 Another $20 in AirPigz funny money will go to the winner of ‘Caption Contest' #7, now under way. I think we're falling into a nice groove with the game now... no changes this time around, kinda like Groundhog Day.

 All that's needed now is for you to get creative and funny and then put a nice short caption for this weird pic in the ‘comments' area. After we get all the submissions in by Tuesday evening at 9pm, we'll then have open voting til Wednesday evening at 9pm when the winner will be crowned!                

 Here’s da rules:

1) Max of 2 submissions per person  

2) Submissions go in 'comments'    

3) Game ends Tuesday at 9pm EST  

4) Keep it clean!

 Then, anyone who wants to cast their vote will be able to right after the 9pm Tuesday deadline.  The voting will be open for 24 hours, til 9pm EST Wednesday.  The winner will then be posted within an hour of the end of the voting : )

 Be creative and funny… the world is watching you!



Take A Listen To The AirplaneGeeks Podcast

 Episode #33 was just released over at, and I'm as sure as I can be that you NEED to give it a listen.  I had a great time with Court and Max as we talked about current aviation issues in the news, and also about AirPigz stuff. 

 So c'mon, take a little time and head over to check it out.  It's a great way to find out more of what AirPigz is all about.  Plus, if you listen to the very end, you'll here me lose my train of thought!  Here's the episode #33 mp3 if you wanna go straight there. 



Caption Contest #6 Has A Winner!

 We made it thru Caption Contest #6 with what I admit is probably the funniest caption we've had yet.  I've also gotta say tho, that this here entry was right up to the line of where I'm trying to see this game go...  but, my wife agreed that it didn't 'cross' the line!

 So, congrats to twitter follower @isuhawkeye for coming up with the winning caption.  A fresh, crisp $20 in AirPigz money will be on its way before long.  Thanx to everyone for playing once again, and for helping to pick the winner with the online poll.  Next game: next Monday : )



Quest Kodiak: Call It Anything You Want, But Please Don't Call It A Caravan! 

 Hey, don’t misunderstand. The Caravan is an awesome airplane with a fabulous work history.  With over 1,500 built since the Cessna ‘big boy’ single was first intro’d in 1984, the Caravan can only be described as a huge success.

 But calling the Quest Kodiak a Caravan is kinda like calling a chimpanzee a monkey.  Yeah, they look a lot alike, but the truth is that they’re really an all together different animal.  Stick with me til the end and I’ll help you see the differences both inside and out.

 Sure, the basic planform is similar between the two, but the Kodiak is more compact, especially in the aft fuselage.  It’s quite a bit shorter behind the big door than the Caravan, even tho the overall cabin length is pretty close to the same.  This has the fab effect of helping to reduce the weight of the structure.  Anytime you can get the airframe to accomplish the goal with less weight (without sacrificing any safety), you are gonna come out ahead.

 The people at Quest Aircraft have worked really hard to engineer an airplane that’s really light while at the same time being extra, extra beefy. Compare the fact that both airplanes have useful loads within about 200 pounds of each other (possibly much closer depending on how you read the published numbers), but the Kodiak does it with a gross weight that’s 1,250 pounds less than the Caravan. That's a huge difference! 

 Far from being a lightweight though, the Kodiak has been designed from the ground up to work in the environment of airplanes like the de Havilland Beaver and Otter, or the Pilatus Porter.  Backwoods or jungle aircraft that routinely operate off the ‘earth’, but not so much out of ‘airports’. 

 The Quest Aircraft Kodiak was meant to be a workhorse in the humanitarian and missionary markets before the first sketches were ever made.  This is specifically what it’s made for, and it’s simply far better suited to this kind of work than the Cessna Caravan was meant to be.

Quest Aircraft KODIAK (photo:


Cessna CARAVAN (photo:

 The much lighter Kodiak airframe has been mated to a bulletproof Pratt & Whitney PT-6 kerosene burner that puts out a max continuous of 700hp (25 more than Caravan).  It’s the 750hp available for take-off that will really get your attention tho. 

 With large fowler flaps and an advanced STOL wing design, the Kodiak can shatter the grip of gravity at full gross weight in just 750’ of ground roll!  Again, the Caravan is a great airplane, but it simply can’t come close to that kind of STOL performance.  The Kodiak isn’t a slow poke either.  In fact, both aircraft pull their way thru the sky at essentially the same 185ktas cruise speed.

 In the cockpit, the Kodiak has been built around the Garmin G1000 integrated flight instrument system as standard equipment.  This not only helps to reduce pilot workload, but should prove to be very beneficial while operating in remote areas due to the more rugged nature of the system and the ease maintenance. 

 The Kodiak cabin is a little narrower and shorter than the Caravan, but a little taller overall.  Both have 2 seats up front and 8 in the back, tho Caravan can go 3 seats across and push a crowded cabin to 12 seats plus the 2 up front.  The bottom line is that the Kodiak is a smaller airplane, tho not by much, and again, has a nearly identical useful load.

 You can also buy a Kodiak for about $400,000 less than a Caravan, but be prepared to wait. Demand has exceeded expectations and the order backlog is currently about 3 years (keep this success story in mind when you get feeling bad about the economy and the future of aviation!) There’s also hope that they’ll be able to bring the delay down, but the company is being careful to ramp up production in a calm, orderly manner.

 Quest Aircraft is based in Sandpoint, a really nice little resort community settled in around the mountains of far northern Idaho, and currently employs about 250 people.


First JAARS Kodiak (photo: )

 It’s an interesting point to note that the Kodiak began as a project of Tom Hamilton from Stoddard-Hamilton and Glasair fame (according to Wikipedia, Tom named that company by taking his middle and last names to make it sound like a big time operation - works for me!)  So, while the Kodiak is a mostly aluminum airplane, unlike the composite Glasairs, you can see where the drive for performance was coming from.

 If you are 'plane-spotting' and you wanna get the Kodiaks separated from the Caravans, look for these details: The Kodiak has exhaust stacks on both sides, Caravan only on the right / Kodiak has the pointy ’mouth’ intake below the spinner / Kodiak has large fowler flap rails that are easily visible / Kodiak has the much shorter aft fuselage / and the Kodiak has a leading edge cuff on the outer wing panels.

 The closer you look, the more you realize that this is much different aircraft than a Caravan.  There’s good news tho, for both Cessna and Quest, in that both airplanes will likely continue to be great selling workhorses for a really long time.  

 In my mind however, the most important feature of the Kodiak is that it was designed from day one to be used in missionary aviation.  I don’t think there’s a more important use for an aircraft than this.  I’m really glad to see that it excels in this role, and I appreciate Quest aircraft and their dedication to this goal.

 The blue Kodiak above is serial number 008 and was recently delivered to Waxhaw, NC andJAARS, which originally stood for: Jungle Aviation And Radio Service.  Over the years, this missionary outreach organization has grown to include many additional services so that it’s really not an acronym anymore, it’s simply the name they go by.  This is their first Kodiak, and is scheduled to head to Papua New Guinea in August 2009 after an extensive training program is completed.

 My dad, who recently passed away, was an enthusiastic supporter of JAARS, and I know of one friend who made a donation to JAARS in his name.  Maybe you would consider a donation to them as well?  You can help support their mission, and their brand new Kodiak!



'Caption Contest' #6 - With Rule Changes - Ends Tuesday Evening 2-3-09 At 9PM EST

 I found this unknown skydiver pic while going thru my dad's stuff for the tribute I put together to mark his passing away.  He always thought that 'bat wings' would be the perfect way to mix skydiving and flying.  The modern version of 'wing' suits has finally proven the concept to work, and to be off-the-scale extreme.

 Seems like we can come up with some wacky captions for this pic!  The winner will get $20 in AirPigz Bucks (info coming soon on what that will get ya).  Remember that submissions end at 9pm EST on Tuesday and then voting for the winner ends at 9pm EST Wednesday.

 Note the underlined rule changes:

1) Max of 2 submissions per person  
2) Submissions go in 'comments'    
3) Game ends Tuesday at 9pm EST 
4) Keep it clean!

 Then, anyone who wants to cast their vote will be able to right after the 9pm Tuesday deadline.  The voting will be open for 24 hours, til 9pm EST Wednesday.  The winner will then be posted within an hour of the end of the voting : ) 

 PLease be as funny and creative as you can (without crossing any lines that shouldn't be crossed) and remember, this is fun!