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Wed, Apr 09, 2003

AOPA Comes To The Aid Of Official Wright Flyer Replica

AOPA has filed a waiver petition on behalf of Ken Hyde to let him flight test two replicas of Wright Flyers, including the official replica of the 1903 Wright Flyer, which will take part in the Centennial of Flight commemoration in Kitty Hawk in December 2003.

Hyde contacted AOPA President Phil Boyer directly, after discovering that the small airstrip where he's attempting to duplicate the Wright brothers' accomplishment falls just within the Washington, D.C., air defense identification zone (ADIZ). (Aircraft without radios and transponders are prohibited from flying in the 25,000-square-mile security zone surrounding the Washington-Baltimore area.)

"We are very hopeful that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will recognize both the historical significance and lack of a threat these aircraft, like other small general aviation aircraft, represent and will quickly approve a waiver," said Boyer. Hyde is ready to flight test both the 1903 replica and a 1911 Wright Model "B" Flyer reproduction as part of a documentary on his remarkable job of reverse engineering. While the 1903 Flyer is the showcase, Hyde's project spans the evolution of the Wrights' aircraft, from their early gliders through the Model "B," which was their first production aircraft.

"In talking to the TSA, AOPA has stressed the extremely unusual nature of these aircraft and their inability to comply with the ADIZ regulations," said AOPA Vice President of Air Traffic Policy Melissa Bailey. "They have no electrical system to support a transponder. And they're so inherently unstable that it would be both unrealistic and unsafe for the pilot to let go of the controls and use a handheld radio to talk to air traffic control."

FMI: http://www.wrightexperience.com, www.aopa.org

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