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The Hunt Continues...... 

It’s been a while since our last post so I thought we’d get you all up to speed. We’ve been working extremely hard trying to secure our title sponsor. We have managed to have several meetings a week. As we continue to get accolades about the program, the economy is really on everyone’s mind we have met with, and the reason most want to delay any commitment.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many emails we receive wanting to see the Turbine Toucan at their local air show. We have had a great deal of interest from air show promoters as well. It is really amazing and frustrating all at the same time. We continue to be absolutely amazed at the level of support we receive by folks like your selves. The frustration comes from not being able to perform for you all.

As we’ve stated before, it is impossible to campaign our air show program without a title sponsor. And this is true for several reasons. Our program is expansive; it not only includes the Toucan, it also includes a 75ft. tractor-trailer, support/media aircraft and support equipment. Add required spare parts inventory in excess of $300k and you start to see the picture.

And then there’s is the operational costs. Because our program is predicated on safety first, we require Ken to be flying at a minimum of four times a week, every week for several months before we campaign the aircraft. To illustrate the cost, the last time we topped off the Toucan it was about $500.00. It is a thirsty little bird that loves its nectar. At 60 gallons an hour in the aerobatic environment, Jet-A adds up quickly. That is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, but you get the idea.

So when we get requests to do a few shows while we are looking for our title sponsor, the investment in training still has to be made whether we do two shows or twenty. Our other major concern is for our title sponsor. Our title sponsor needs to be associated with the Toucan from day one.

In the mean time, we are now just designing and working out all the maneuvers. Many of these maneuvers will be proprietary to the aircraft and first-evers! The potential in the vertical really makes for an interesting exploration, which I know Ken has been mentally exploring since the start of this project.

And lastly, we continue to get hammered by people wanting to see “real” video of the Toucan doing its thing. We have learned a lot about shooting the Toucan and one thing is for sure, a helicopter seems to be the appropriate platform for this bird. So, once we get our maneuvers worked out, we’ll plan on doing some shooting. In the mean time, we really appreciate your patience.

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Thank You for All the Kind Emails! 
We are very grateful for all the kind emails of encouragement we have received since the Toucan had been returned to flying status. We cannot thank you all enough for the continued support!

Now and then we get some fun e-mails of quotes that have been posted on the Internet regarding the Turbine Toucan. We can't find who the author was but found this saying very amusing. "Anything worth powering is worth over powering". I think I need to get some T-Shirts of that one made, very funny.

Now that the plane is back in the air and things seem to be moving along in that department, it is back to work for the team to acquire a title sponsor. More to follow in that department.

Have a great rest of the week!

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Toucan Returns to the Air with Great Success 
Today we had a very good day flying the Toucan. Brought the plane over to Half Moon Bay for lunch and did a few take off and landings. Eddie Andreini was in his Sterman having a good old time. Met a few very nice folks who have been following our progress online, so it was nice that they got to enjoy the plane up close and personal.

We learned one thing about the plane today, the plane will accelerate indefinitely straight up at about 75 kts -80 kts. I say indefinitely but perhaps it will finally slow down a bit by 10,000ft. The performance of the plane just continues to amaze all of us. After this last shake down cruise the plane will be handed back over to Mr. Ken Erickson. We will have a press release or two once Ken gets settled back in the plane and we are doing what the plane was designed to do in the first place.

All the best and have a great week!

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Turbine Toucan Returns to Flight Status Sunday March 9th 
As of Saturday afternoon the Turbine Toucan has been returned to flight status and will be flying Sunday March 9th!

Insurance Technologies and Programs has endorsed 750T to flight status as of 9:30pm Saturday night. Talk about incredible service, we sent them an e-mail letting them know we're ahead of schedule with maintenance and that we'd like to return the aircraft to flight status for flying on Sunday. The e-mail was sent out tonight (Saturday at a 9:00pm PST). By 9:30PST (12:30AM EST) we received a confirmation e-mail that we are good to go, endorsed for flight status. UNBELIEVABLE.

This makes Team Turbine Toucan VERY happy. Now, if the weather cooperates we should be in the air tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

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Bleed Air System Complete......Thank You Syl!!!!!!! 
Today we finally finished the bleed air mixer, thanks to a wonderful person named Syl Heumann. This makes our last job complete; we are now about ready to fly the airplane! Anyway, Syl was kind enough to build us some parts to complete the bleed are system (for cabin heat because we cruise at 17,500ft…..and it’s *#@>ing cold up there).

Syl has been a huge supporter of the Turbine Toucan for some time now and we are extremely grateful. I first saw Syl a number of years ago (before we actually met) at an anodizing facility named Dean’s Anodizing in Redwood City. Syl was having some absolutely beautiful fly-fishing reels anodized. What I didn’t realize at the time was, he actually made them from billet aluminum. He is a master of many things, including a CNC/Mill, lathe and other such hardware.

At 82 years old, this guy is sharper then any 30 something genius you’ll ever meet. I don’t know any sixteen year old that can keep up with him technology wise. He has EVERY latest gadget from Apple and is extremely well versed in SO many applications it blows my mind. Did I mention he is an accomplished pilot, yachtsmen and astronomer? The telescopes he has built are works of art. Even more impressive are the scale model engines he has built. From Sterling to Steam to a four cycles engine, Syl has built them all. Check out his site at http://www.syl.net/engines.html

I have had the extreme pleasure to enjoy breakfast with Syl several times a week for the past few years now. The thirst for knowledge is something that keeps him so young at heart. I don’t care the subject; he will have an opinion, and usually a very good one at that. And that included politics!

Syl, thanks for being such a good friend and the next lunch is on me!

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Upgraded Panel Photos........FINALLY 

It was a long time in the making but the panel is finally complete and the plane is about ready to fly. The Comm radios were relocated to the new sub panel on the left hand side with the new glass panel. Lots of little things done throughout the panel upgrade but would take to long to list them all. You’ll notice we even have a custom start screen on the new engine display. Electronics International was kind enough to help us out with our graphic, which I will also post. Enjoy the photos of the new panel and we’ll keep you posted on our flying now that we are just a few days away from it, finally.

Have a good week!!!

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We Promised Photos, So Here You Go! 
We finally had time to get a few photos off today and thought we'd share them with you. Here is the start cart before we put in the GPU and Generator.

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Getting Started on the Start Cart 
Greetings All!
As of yesterday we received our custom-built start cart for the Toucan. Matt Jackson of Proline Pit Carts was kind enough to provide the team a custom cart specifically design for our application. The start cart consists of a GPU, Generator, Computer(s), telemetry system and all required general maintenance tools and supplies. It is designed to be with the Toucan on the line and will provide us with 3500 cranking amps at 28V! It will travel in with the tractor-trailer venue to venue.

We immediately got to work installing our Tesla GPU (another great sponsor!) today and should be done on Sunday with this. We also will be installing the generator so the cart not only has 28v but 110v service as well. Lastly will be the computer, telemetry system and antennas for both the telemetry radio and VHF crew radio.

Should be a fun little project. We will post pictures in the next few days along with the new panel.

We want to again thank our fantastic sponsors for all their help and continued support around the start cart.

Tesla's website
http://www.teslaind.com/lspeed/site_con ... lamain.htm

Proline Pit Carts

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Panel Upgrade Complete 
As of today (Thursday the 28th), the panel upgrade is now complete. I'd have posted photos but didn't bring the camera down to the airport. We're still waiting for paving to be completed so we can roll it out of the hangar and fire it up. We have only to finish the bleed air system and we will start putting the Toucan back together for some flying, which could happen as early as next weekend.

Our start cart has been down in Los Angeles and we plan on picking it back up tomorrow other wise we'd post photos tomorrow of the new panel. We've customized the cart to accept our Tesla GPU w/Gen Set, so it really should be very nice. We'll post new photos of the cart as well, just as soon as we get back home. Over the weekend we should be able to get some photos posted of the new panel, so please stay tuned.

We are really excited about the new panel, the glass instrumentation is just awesome and is extremely flexible. Every element of the system is customizable and user definable, which is exactly what we needed.

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Final Parts Arrive Panel Completion in less than 5 Days! 
We've been dead in the water for several weeks trying to complete the upgraded panel due to back ordered parts. As of Friday, all the parts are now at "The Bird Cage". We will have the anodized parts back early next week and we can finally put the panel back together. End of this week we should be done.

We'll move on to installing the new bleed air system which should only take a day or so to do. So all is looking good for flying in the first or second week of March.

Believe it or not, though they paved the taxi way next to our hangar row, they ran into soil issues with paving the taxi way in front of our hangars. No ETA on when they are going to be completing. To be completely fair, they have been dealing with an amazing amount of rain, which has left the area completely muddy. I could not get to the hangar without being ankle deep in mud, not at all fun.

Photos should finally be coming next week for anyone interested. Have a good week.

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A Story with Rosie the Kenworth 

I promised a while back I would post a photo of our tractor for an individual who has followed our progress with the Toucan. He is also a fulltime driver. Since we are still waiting for a few parts and have no new exciting updates to share, might as well talk about trucks.

For anyone interested in trucks, this is our Kenworth T2000 (VIP interior) Aerodyne. The T2000 is powered by a 550hp CAT and 13-speed transmission. We plan on pimping the truck out a bit, as soon as we decide on a final paint scheme, which really is driven by the Title sponsor.

It really is a fun truck to drive. We bobtailed it out to St. Louis to pick up our 53ft. hospitality trailer from Craftsmen Industries, who are great people. The trip was a blast. We decided to see a bit of the country and stay off the interstate for a day or so. Going through Nebraska we stopped in Beatrice, which was one of our stops a few years prior ferrying my Pitts back to California from Wisconsin. We had dinner at a bar and grille that had live music, which was just a blast. They had a car show that afternoon, so we spent time with people showing us some great little hot rods.

Anyway, left Beatrice on hwy 136 West bound. All the small towns were just wonderful to see, something you just don’t appreciate on the interstate. We started back up north to interest 80 around Kearney NE. We spent some time in Sidney NE, we really enjoyed our visit there too. That was our last real stop, and then we started the drive back to San Francisco on good old interest 80, an old friend. I think I’ve driven cross-country at least 12 times now. Next time I do it (in a car) I’m going back roads all the way; it is just fun and a great journey. Obviously I don’t drive for a living, though I do have a class A.

Back to the long-winded and never ending story….. Just about 10 or so miles from the border of Wyoming, we witnessed an accident that really took the winds out of our sails, and everyone around us going westbound. Two guys in fully dressed out Gold Wings were in the median between eastbound and westbound traffic. It was a fairly wide area, about 50 or so yards between east and west bound traffic. They obviously were going to attempt to make a u turn and head back east. About a quarter to half a mile in front of them, looking west bound, was a large sweeping turn, which descends from a large hill.

They thought they were clear and entered the fast lane. What they didn’t see coming was a 75ft fully loaded tractor-trailer, at speed, in the same lane. They literally never saw it coming. I don’t think there was a part of either motorcycle that was even remotely recognizable. Body parts were everywhere. The trucks front end was virtually destroyed, which is a scary thought if you think about the size of this conventional (our size tractor).

As awful as all this was, we couldn’t stop thinking about how traumatic it must have been for the poor driver of that truck. He will carry that with him the rest of his life and he did absolutely nothing wrong. Obviously it was a real tragedy for the bikers and their families too, but thankfully I don’t think the bikers felt a thing.

We and a few other tractor-trailers pulled off at the very next truck stop to collectively gather our thoughts before continuing west. There was a line from “Finding Nemo” when Marlin (the father) said to Dory……”good feeling’s gone.” Boy that was the truth. I don’t remember anything past that point in the trip other then crossing the border into California and thinking just five more hours and we’re home. I just wanted to get home safely, and we did.

Our poor truck needs to get out and be driven! Promise #326, will be to provide Rosie a sponsor so she can pull that hospitality trailer around the country to all those fun air shows. I think that would make her happy. OK, that is not the best story to kick off a weekend but non the less a story from the vantage point of Rosie the Kenworth.

Have a great weekend!

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Less Dirt and Sponsorship Update 
More dirt on the dirt. It’s gone! KSQL has started paving the taxiways as of today, which was a huge shock. We had been pacing ourselves thinking it would be at least another few weeks before things were somewhat back to normal at the airport.

We are just waiting for parts and we’ll start the reassembly process now that everything works nicely. We still have a few calibrations to do on the engine side as well as fuel tank recalibrations. We’re also going to rework the bleed air mix venturi for cabin heat, which could be performing a bit better. So, it looks like we’ll be in good shape for flying by the end of the month.

On the Sponsorship trail, we continue to receive fantastic feedback regarding our overall presentation, market data and property offerings which, is a nice shot in the arm during these tough times. We are extremely grateful to have secured more then 20 meetings at the CMO level with many Fortune 500 companies. Anyone who has ever done serious business development knows how challenging making contacts at this level can be.

As far as unique and compelling properties go, we have made good impressions. That said, we are faced with an economy that has many of these companies a bit scared. Many are either cutting back on spending or delaying any decisions for one to two quarters. So, obviously this is making it a very big challenge.

Have a great weekend and we’ll follow up with more news in a weeks time.

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Panel Powered Up 
As of this past Friday we powered up the panel and all is happy. We have a few minor troubleshooting tasks but nothing that a few hours won't cure. I personally have been down for about a week with the flu, but that's only slowed me down a bit. I still managed to sneak over to the hangar for a few hours before that wave of nausea starts kicking.

As soon as the panel is complete then we will start the re-calibration of all the transducers and thermocouples. We'll also configure all the aural annunciators for warning and redline. This should be a few days work as well.

We won't be able to run the engine for at least another few weeks considering there still is no taxi way and a large mound of dirt right outside.

Anodizing should be happening this week, which means things will be going back together shortly.

Have a good week!

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Wiring Harness for New Panel Complete 
As of Wednesday, we have completed the new wiring harness for the glass panel display for the engine instrumentation. We have added a few more pressure transducers to our proprietary oil system in the process. Before, we didn't have the panel space to monitor the secondary oil system, but with the glass display we now can add several more instruments to the mix, which is fantastic for us.

The physical panel itself is just now being finished up and will be sent to the anodizing shop along with a few other parts from the panel. We should have this wrapped up in the next week.

We have a few other projects around the plane which are coming along nicely as well.

There is still eight feet of dirt right outside the hangar, not sure how much longer it is going to be here, but it doesn't look promising.

More to follow.

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Panel Upgrade Continues 
Greetings All,
Well the wiring for the new panel upgrade is going well and should be complete as of this Saturday evening. We have a lot of new warning systems to integrate which might take us a few more weeks as we are waiting for special order parts. All in all, we are on track. The only thing that makes us feel a little better about our pace is the fact that there is still tons of dirt and no taxi way, so we couldn’t fly if we wanted to.

The sponsorship hunt is consuming better then forty hours a week with the team. The current economy sure has had a HUGE damper on available marketing dollars and this past week sure has been tough on the team. Add an election year to the mix and it sure has paralyzed spending.

Hopefully we’ll be at a point we can finally start taking pics of the new panel.

On the weather front, it's actually been snowing around the Bay Area, flooding down south and just bizarre weather overall. Stay warm out there and have a good weekend!

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