Category Archives: Flying

The History & Story of the R-985 Powered Boeing PT-17 Stearman

Climbing over the narrow, wing-root walkway and stepping on to the cushioned seat of the tandem, two-place, blue and yellow fabric-covered open-cockpit Boeing PT-17 Stearman registered N55171 in Stow, Massachusetts, I lowered myself into position with the aid of the two upper wing trailing edge hand grips and fastened the olive-green waist and shoulder harnesses.  Donning era-prerequisite goggles and helmet, I surveyed the fully duplicated instrumentation before me and prepared myself both for an aerial sightseeing fight of Massachusetts and a brief, although temporary, return to World War II primary flight training skies.

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The PT6 Remains True To Standards, Even In Changing Times

Air Tractor Front w COV LogoOne of the things that we truly appreciate at Covington Aircraft is the engineering innovations that go into aircraft designs. The PT6 engine is an ideal example of such a feat of design, since it has maintained its initial structure and mechanisms, but has also allowed for retrofitting older engines to perform with greater stability and efficiency. This has allowed for pilots to vastly extend their range of flight, and it has also allowed for flight in more diverse environmental conditions.

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The Feeling Of Flying Radials

jdoumis_de593e5750718b60aa217b56b446f83d6c79d958-0For private pilots and aircraft owners, the motivation behind this pursuit can be personal, but it can also be practical. Along with a love of aeronautics, pilots are also in tune with engine performance, as this does impact the overall experience. For owners of small commercial fleets, a focus on safety and efficient performance can often be the deciding factor in terms of what type of aircraft and what type of engine will provide the strongest asset.

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Are The Skies Getting Too Crowded?

Are The Skies Getting Too Crowded?As aircraft enthusiasts and pilots are finding a greater demand for their commercial services, a number of changes have been witnessed in the airspace. This includes a greater volume of small aircraft that navigate the skies, along with larger commercial and military airplanes. However, these actions also require the registration of flight plans with the FAA, in order to maintain both safety and the proper operation of aircraft. Continue reading Are The Skies Getting Too Crowded?

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Careers In Aviation, From The Ground Up

Careers In Aviation, From The Ground UpAn interest in flying and mechanics can turn into a growth oriented career for many individuals. Becoming an aircraft mechanic not only fills a demand for quality technicians in the industry, but it also offers people an engaging career that incorporates mechanics and inspiration. This can become even more viable for many people as a degree and licensing are not a requirement for employment. Continue reading Careers In Aviation, From The Ground Up

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Air Force Pilots and Navy Pilots: What’s the Difference?

Air-Force-Pilots-and-Navy-Pilots-Whats-the-Difference2-448x198Air Force pilots and Navy pilots perform a valuable service to our country, but each branch of the military provides a different type of protection. Air Force and Navy pilots are no exception to that, as each type of pilot performs a different function.

Training and Missions 

Air Force pilots and Navy pilots share some similarities. They receive similar training and, in fact, often train together. However, Navy and Air Force missions are different. Navy pilots usually respond faster to missions as they are often stationed on aircraft carriers, located closer to areas where they are needed. Because Air Force pilots consider their home base an Air Force base, the response time often is longer.

Aircraft Size 

One difference between Air Force pilots and Navy pilots is the size of the aircraft they fly. Navy pilots use smaller aircraft more suitable for takeoffs and landings on the deck of an aircraft carrier, while Air Force pilots handle larger aircraft. The smaller aircraft used by the Navy pilots are also more suitable to the types of missions involved.

Pilot Wings 

Whether the pilot is an Air Force pilot or Navy pilot, once they are certified to fly, they are given wings as a badge. The type of wing distinguishes the branches of the military. Air Force pilots earn silver wings with a large shield on the design. Gold wings given to Navy pilots not only have the large shield but an additional small shield connected to a big anchor. Gold wings are given to the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Both Air Force pilots and Navy pilots provide an invaluable service to the country as part of the military. For more information on aviation, visit us at www.covingtonaircraft.com. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to stay up to date on the latest aviation news.

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So You Want to be a Spitfire Pilot?

A spitfire pilot is best known for performing tactical movements during air combat maneuvering, also known as dogfighting.  Many pilots used these maneuvers to gain positional advantage over opponents, either offensively or defensively.  On occasion, the maneuvers are neutral, where both opponents work toward an offensive position, or may help facilitate escape, known as disengagement.

Spitfire-800x198Although a Spitfire is a common type of plane used in dogfights, many refer to all who engaged in such maneuvers as spitfire pilots.  The basic fighter maneuvers began during World War I and, due to the lower power of the aircraft, the most common type of engagement was the Lufbery, which involved two fighters chasing each other in a circle.

Basic Maneuvers

The basic maneuvers used by a spitfire pilot include tactical turns, rolls and other actions designed to get above or behind the enemy fighter.  Pilots are trained using the same type of aircraft, and during the training, pit their skills against each other.  During combat, the maneuvers are adjusted based on the type and number of aircraft involved and weapons systems.

Basic Maneuver Principles 

There are several principles involved in basic maneuvers.  These include:

  • Energy Management – Pilots are faced with many limiting factors. Some are constant, such as gravity and drag, and some vary, such as turn radius and turn rate.  A spitfire pilot learns to manage the energy of the aircraft to minimize these limiting factors and gain the advantage over the enemy.
  • Turn Performance – Pilots must turn the aircraft at its best sustained turn rate in order to maintain adequate energy, but in combat situations may need to make unusual adjustments.
  • Lead, Pure and Lag Pursuit – Lead pursuit by a spitfire pilot is designed to provide closure even if the opponent they are chasing is faster.  Pure pursuit also provides closure, but not as quickly, while lag pursuit stops or reduces closure.
  • Out-of-Plane Maneuver – Spitfire pilots use turns to make the aircraft harder to track, and an out-of-plane maneuver enhances the effect, diverting the fighter into a new plane of travel.

These are just a few of the maneuvers a spitfire pilot uses during dogfights during combat.  Visit us at www.covingtonaircraft.com for more information about radial and turbine engine overhauls, maintenance, and repair.  You can also find us on Facebook and Linkedin.

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The Most Unique Planes on the Planet: Aviation Enthusiast Planes

A few days ago we talked about the mythical Pool Plane, John Travolta, and Donald Trump’s gaudy plane.  Today we talk about some of the real deal stuff, the stuff us aviation enthusiasts care about! Happy Flying!

Enough with the jet-set celebrities, here are some planes that are really unique.

sr-71-blackbird-photo-from-lockheed-martinIn the history of aviation, there have been many attempts to make it fly faster, fly higher, and be more efficient while doing it.  Some of the greatest planes started out as being “unusual.”  The SR-71 Blackbird looked like no other plane when first introduced.  The Mach 3+ aircraft was used as a reconnaissance plane because it could fly higher than any fighter and faster than surface-to-air missiles.  By the way, the engines that can carry a plane this size, that fast and that far?  They’re Pratt & Whitney, of course.

Did you ever have one of those foam toy airplanes that looked pretty good and flew?

70663main_proteus_lgWell, take two of those, take the tail off of one and the nose off the other, glue them together so you have a nose and tail with two sets of wings, then run it over with your bike a couple of times and it will resemble the last of our unique planes worth mentioning.  The Proteus was designed by Burt Rutan, president of Scaled Composites LLC, based in Mojave, Calif.  This very unusual looking aircraft is intended for very high flight (59,000 to 65,000 feet) at up to 18 hours a flight.  Designed to be a telecommunications relay platform, other uses are seen as use for scientific atmospheric study, launching small satellites and earth monitoring.  Designed to be usable from many airports with little support, it can be flown by two pilots or remotely.

Going faster, further and longer is the dream of many airplane designers.

It is little wonder that many of them begin with a Pratt & Whitney power-plant.  Pratt & Whitney is the most dependable engine in the world, with some models that can perform for up to 8000 hours before required overhaul.  That is like driving a car engine more than a half a million miles.  At Covington Aircraft, we specialize in the PT6A turbine and R-985 and R-1340 radial engines for corporate, commercial, and agricultural aircraft.  We are also a Pratt & Whitney Canada authorized Distributor and Designated Overhaul Facility.  We carry a complete line of engine parts and strive to give you the fasted turnaround at a competitive price.  Committed to Integrity, Dependability, Affordability, and Quality Service, Covington Aircraft has been keeping planes flying since 1972 and is a full-service, world-class facility.

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