By The AVweb Editorial Staff
OREGON AERO HELPS SEAN TUCKER BE HIS BEST The success that world-class aerobatics performer Sean Tucker enjoys as a champion is due in part to the comfort he experiences with his Oregon Aero custom seat cushion system and helmet upgrade. They help Sean to perform his best by eliminating pain, which helps maximize his concentration. "The products from Oregon Aero are incredibly comfortable and easy to install," says Sean. "I highly recommend them for anyone. They will make flying more enjoyable." Visit Oregon Aero at AirVenture in Building C, Booth 3137, or check out all of Oregon Aeros products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon
As The Industry Winds Up...
The weather threatened through most of the week, but then the economy has threatened throughout the year, and neither seemed to make a dent in the celebration of general aviation and 100 years of innovation in powered flight at AirVenture 2003. Honda, with a new GA engine, told us quite clearly they believe "the long-term GA economy is on the rise" and they plan to be there. Adam aircraft stunned all by Thursday bringing the first flying, smaller small jet to AirVenture, beating Eclipse, Cessna and more. Diamond is proving diesel power with their ultra-efficient, head-turning TwinStar and will soon have a jet, too. OMF added a BRS full-plane parachute and training incentives. Cirrus, which has always had a BRS, is putting out two $189K - $389K planes per day, now fully glass-paneled. The industry is looking good. Freshly refinanced Lancair's similarly priced aircraft is biting away at an 18-month order backlog. Russian Beriev aircraft company July 31 won FAA certification (and overwhelming attention) for a six-seat, 135-knot, 932-pound-useful-load, 61-knot-Vmc, amphibious twin that will cost prospective buyers closer to $1/2 million. Chelton has brought certified synthetic vision to GA, while PCAvionics and PCFlightSystems will very soon bring non-certified synthetic vision to GA. In short, it's been a very good show.
...AVweb And AirsideTV Put You On The Flight Line
It's better than being there, because you wouldn't have the access, but you would have the crowds. The latest installment of AVweb/AirsideTV's streaming video coverage of AirVenture 2003, thanks to our AirVenture partner AirsideTV, brings AVweb readers flight displays including the Marine AV-8 Harrier and a flight performance from Patty Wagstaff. You'll see FAA Administrator Marion Blakey at the certificate-signing ceremony for the Wright Flyer replica, and much more. It's a small portion of our extended pay-per-view coverage. See also previous installments #1, #2, #3, and #4.
It's a small portion of our extended video coverage, where pay-per-view subscribers see each day's hour-long feature program with inside access to the best AirVenture offers. Get special access, you'll like it.
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Blakey Debunks Privatization Hype...
The head of the FAA continues to insist that what most of us define as air traffic control will remain a government function, regardless of suggestions to the contrary by union officials and at least one senior senator. "There are absolutely no plans to privatize air traffic control as we know it," Administrator Marion Blakey told AVweb in an exclusive, if brief, private interview at EAA AirVenture. Blakey's jammed Oshkosh schedule precluded in-depth treatment of the issues but she did take a few minutes to discuss the privatization issue and give us a hint of what's to come to improve GA safety. Last Friday, a congressional consensus committee gave final structure to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which sets the agency's spending for coming years. Both houses now have to vote on it. The president had threatened to veto provisions calling for almost a blanket ban on privatization of ATC services and, in the end, the compromise bill preserved the FAA's ability to add 71 towers at relatively low-volume VFR facilities to its list of "contract towers." Blakey told AVweb the measure, which prompted noisy reaction from the National Air Traffic Control Association and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, meant that the FAA already had the option to add those towers to the contract list and the proposed legislation would have cancelled it. She said the option hasn't been exercised, so far, but FAA management couldn't be put in a "straight jacket" where those towers are concerned. The union has repeatedly suggested the contract provisions are the first step on a slippery slope toward full privatization of air traffic control and Lautenberg chimed in last week at a news conference. "The president wants to turn their jobs over to the private sector. That plan won't fly with the public," Lautenberg is quoted by NATCA as saying. But Blakey flatly rejected that notion, as she has previously done in public statements and in a memo to FAA staff. "I don't know what it is about 'No' that they don't understand," she said.
...Puts Emphasis On GA Safety
Blakey told AVweb the FAA will soon publish 300 Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) approaches to airports around the country that currently don't have instrument approaches. She called it a significant step toward the major goal of her term to improve GA's safety record. "Now, the average private pilot is going to have very accurate vertical as well as horizontal [position data]," she said. WAAS uses a system of ground-station relays to correct errors inherent in the satellite signals, thus boosting the accuracy of GPS position data to the point that it can be used for ILS-like approaches and non-precision approaches with vertical guidance to high minumums. Most of the available "WAAS capable" GPS systems are not yet certified for the vertical component of the WAAS data so can't be used for WAAS approaches. Blakey said other initiatives are on the way to help us fly more safely. She said a concerted effort by the agency to improve airline safety has paid off and now it's GA's turn. "It's very clear that we are not making as much progress [in GA safety] as we are in the airlines," she said. Look for a shift in training priorities as the agency shifts to a more tailored approach to teaching us to fly. "One-size-fits-all really doesn't," she told an EAA forum earlier in her visit to Oshkosh. Blakey said it makes more sense to train pilots for the kind of flying they intend to do than for every type of flying. That will also extend to training pilots for specific aircraft as the hardware becomes more technologically advanced. The FAA Industry Training System (FITS) will involve manufacturers in setting type-specific training and standards. Cirrus and Eclipse have already been approved as participants in FITS program. Blakey also said there will be some attention paid to aircraft certification but did not have time to elaborate. She showed tangible support to the Light Sport/Sport Pilot sector by going for a ride in a Flightdesign CT. To the delight of onlookers at the ultralight area of AirVenture, she and pilot Tom Pigehny lifted off the grass strip for a 20-minute tour of the Oshkosh area.
TELEDYNE MATTITUCK SERVICES A BRAND NEW ENGINE FOR EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT DEBUTS AT AIRVENTURE 2003 Teledyne Mattituck Services is everywhere at AirVenture 2003 showing off its new TMX 360 four-cylinder engine for experimental aircraft. You can find Mattituck at the Continental Motors Pavilion, inside Exhibit Hangar C and at the Exxon Flying Tiger exhibit adjacent to the FAA building. The new powerplant is available today with PowerLink FADEC installed for about the price of a good quality overhaul. Mattituck personnel are on hand to discuss the nuances and applications of this new mill as well as their full line of legendary overhauls and factory-backed engine installation program. Stop by and Teledyne at AirVenture 2003, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/matt
Adam's Big Entrance...
Well, there's nothing like making an entrance. To the clap of thunder and the drumbeat of torrential rain, Adam Aircraft's brand-new (15 hours TT) A700 jet landed at EAA AirVenture on Thursday, four days after making its initial flight. The appearance so surprised Oshkosh crowds that Adam put a sign on the nose asserting that yes, the airplane really did fly to the show from Denver. "People keep asking if it's a real airplane," said Adam spokesman John Hamilton. He said the trip from Denver (at 25,000 feet, 220 knots and wheels down) was uneventful and bolstered earlier data that the plane is stable and predictable in the jet configuration. The surprise appearance by the A700, the only flying example of the vaunted mini-jet craze at Oshkosh, gave the aviation media some welcome news, which has been in something of a holding pattern in this sector in recent months. Eclipse's major announcement was that it has secured $87 million in financing, including $10 million from the state of New Mexico, that topped up the company's $325 million development fund. "We have all the cash we need to get the airplane certified," CEO Vern Raburn told reporters at a news conference. "The finish line is now in sight." For Eclipse position holders, however, the finish line is a couple of years away, when the first deliveries of the almost-$1 million jet are scheduled. Eclipse had planned to fly its aerodynamic testing prototype to Oshkosh but a test-flight gear failure on rollout cancelled the trip. Raburn said the failure was caused by a faulty actuator casting on a part no longer used in the aircraft.
...Diamond's Engine Choice Looms
Diamond had nothing new to report on its D-Jet but that might change in the next month or so. A spokesman said the engine will be selected for its "well under $1 million" five-place jet "within 30 days." Since it's widely acknowledged that there are only two realistic choices, the announcement, when it comes, might be a little anti-climactic. The field has been narrowed to the Williams FJ-33 (chosen by Adam and Javelin) and the Pratt and Whitney Canada PW-600 series (Cessna Mustang and Eclipse). Diamond joins Cessna and Javelin in a group that hasn't built any prototypes yet, although first flight for the D-Jet is expected in 2004. Cessna spokeswoman Marilyn Richwine told AVweb the Mustang program remains on schedule and a prototype should be ready in six months or so. "We're still working on the design," she said. Also, the Pratt and Whitney engines won't be ready for testing until next year. First delivery of the $2.9 million jet is still slated for sometime in 2006. The Aviation Technology Group (AGT) could have a composite prototype (production models will be aluminum) of its Javelin next year. The two-place "executive" version of the fighter-like aircraft will cost $2.5 million but it's apparent that AGT is pinning most of its marketing hopes on military training, homeland security and light interceptor applications. But company officials insist that the fully aerobatic, Mach .95 aircraft will be as easy to fly as a Citation.
It's a dream that has eluded aircraft designers for almost a century but a California engineer and A&P mechanic says his strange-looking craft will end the quest. "Real freedom of flight is when you don't have to use an airport," said AMV Aircraft owner and designer Atilla Melkuti. A six-foot vaned fan under the belly would provide lift for vertical takeoffs. After the aircraft transitioned 26 degrees forward the fuselage and wing lifting surfaces would take over. With a turbocharged 450-horsepower Mazda rotary engine, Melkuti predicts a 5,000-fpm climb for the 900-pound aircraft (gross 1800), 280-mph maximum speed (250 mph at 60-percent power) at 10 gph. First test flight is set for August. Melkuti's friend Imre Nagy has a different dream, one that has also been tried many times but never really caught on. Nagy has always thought that airships offered the best of all worlds in aviation. He's designed a kind of personal airship that offers 1,500 square feet of living space and the go-anywhere flexibility of aircraft that don't need to use the National Airspace System. Nagy said the airship is also amphibious because all the accommodations and systems are inside the waterproof hull. "You can just land on a lake and hang a fishing line into the water," he said. Four Mazda rotaries on revolving pylons provide power and control. "Since you don't need to take off from a runway, anyone can fly it," he said. The self-financed project is on hold for now until Nagy can sell some real estate to finish the prototype.
What's not to like? We dropped the thing into a 2,450- by 20-foot strip (watch the streaming video) after a short jaunt at 170 knots with four full seats and 70 gallons of fuel. Then, still rolling, we tested the 310-hp Continental and climbed out at 1,000 feet per minute somewhere near 100 knots while spotting -- over the cowl -- traffic at our one o'clock and low. Great fun ... and we didn't have to pay for it. Paying customers, of course, get to keep the airplane. Our brief tour impressed us with excellent visibility, dreamy avionics, ultra-comfortable seating, and ergonomics that could make your ground-bound friends think they're in a fine touring sedan. What else should you expect for $389,000? The ability to fly steep turns on the edge of stall all day long, courtesy of large outboard wing cuffs, but then you get all that in the $189,000, 200-hp, VFR, Cirrus SRV, too -- just don't expect the same cruise performance. The side stick feels different in many ways, perhaps in part due to a rather unique trim system, and may take some getting used to. It didn't bother us, it was just different and this time, different was good.
On Friday at 12:53 p.m. a Van's RV and a Lancair experimental aircraft made contact as they both rolled out on Runway 27 at OSH. We know the time, because we heard it. Last year, across the nation, there were 339 incursions recorded by the FAA, down 17 percent from previous years. Of course, normal operations at EAA AirVenture, with several aircraft using the same runway at any given time, would qualify as incursions at any other airport. Two pilots who witnessed the accident at OSH told AVweb that the RV was rolling out on the right side of 27 when it turned left and made contact with a Lancair. Both aircraft spun off the runway into the grass. We do have pictures of the results. Though the Lancair spun far and dramatically, it appeared to the pilots who had just arrived in a Skylane II from Greeley, Colo., that no one was seriously injured, though a Cessna taxiing on the grass nearby may be counted among the lucky and survived the incident unscathed. Both aircraft directly involved suffered damage. Elsewhere, in the relatively relaxed environment beyond AirVenture, everything from new radar systems to better pavement markings and signage are credited for the marked improvement. LAX and North Las Vegas Airport were tied for the worst record for incursions,
recording 34 in the past four years.
EXCITING NEW PRODUCTS FROM ASA! 2004 Pilot Test-Preps and Maintenance Test-Guides are now available, and a NEW Commercial version of the Virtual Test-Prep DVD Ground School Series joins the already popular Private and Instrument courses. ASA offers a complete line of aviation products for pilots and maintenance technicians from textbooks and checkride essentials, to the Flight Timer and On Top PC simulator. Dont miss out, see ASA at AirVenture Booth 2076, or online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect
How big is too big? For the people who run Teterboro Airport in New Jersey -- by some standards the busiest GA airport in the country -- the limit is 100,000 pounds, regardless of what the FAA says. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says it will fight FAA pressure to allow larger aircraft into the airport, which now caters to bizjets, charters and well-to-do pistons. At the same time, landing fees for the little guys may be disproportionately going through the roof. The Port Authority has maintained the 100,000-pound ban for 30 years. The landing fees may not be a ban, but may also serve a similar function. Teterboro Airport Manager's Bulletin #03-01, dated July 15, 2003, according one FAA volunteer Aviation Safety Advisor who contacted AVweb, proposes new landing fees that would increase by 146% the charge for an aircraft under 2500 pounds. At the same time, aircraft between 7501 and 12,500 pounds would September 1 see an increase of only 20 percent The weight limit prevents some private aircraft, including the Boeing Business Jet (a 737 weighing 170,000 pounds) from using the airport. The landing fees make it much less than palatable for transient light singles. Rep. Steve Rothman (D-Fair Lawn) told Newsday the FAA wants the BBJ to have access to Teterboro but the Port Authority board is having none of it. The board unanimously passed a resolution asking staff to keep the FAA from having its way. Piston single drivers are still in search of sympathy.
Give some bright kids a few bucks and a junkyard and what can they come up with? "You just wait," says Al Janiszewski, who, a few weeks ago, was Col. Al Janiszewski and watching in amazement as a collection of wet-behind-the-ears military researchers revolutionized aircraft propulsion, promising zero to Mach 4 on regular gas and with great fuel economy. Until six weeks ago, Janiszewski headed the propulsion directorate of the Air Force Research Lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. What brought him to Oshkosh is a collection of automotive engine parts, electronics, belts and pulleys forming a successful pulse jet. Janiszewski said the key to a pulse jet is getting the fuel to explode instead of burn, extracting up to four times the energy of a normal combustion engine. Somehow, using an old car engine block and head with a confusing array of whirling pulleys and belts, the young researchers managed to turn $5,000 in spare parts into a system that sends Mach 5 pressure waves through exhaust barrels at the rate of 80 per second. After all that, their first engine puts out 200 pounds of thrust. Janiszewski said refinements of the design will power aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and missiles of the future. For now, it looks like farm equipment strapped to the belly of Long EZ, but Janiszewski said the Junkyard Wars version will be quickly refined once the major engine manufacturers realize the potential of the technology.
Later this year, the CarterCopter will be ready to break the Mu-1 barrier, company prez Jay Carter Jr. said at AirVenture last week. And just to show he has confidence, he plans to do it at Texas Motor Speedway in front of thousands of spectators, on November 22. Achieving Mu-1 means the gyroplane will be able to achieve greater forward speeds by slowing down its rotor and reducing its aerodynamic drag. Mu refers to the ratio of the aircraft's forward speed to the rotor's tip speed, which varies at a wider margin between the advancing and retreating blades as the vehicle's forward airspeed increases. The challenge in achieving Mu-1, according to Carter Copter, is to maintain rotor stability. "[Many] don't believe we can break Mu-1, but we are confident we can," Carter said. Carter also said they are working on their next-generation aircraft, which will include both certified and kit versions. They are designing the aircraft to be easy and fun to fly, with features to include a tiltable rotor mast for pitch control and a patented rotor blade to provide stability and ease of control.
FLIGHT TRAINING REBATE FROM OMF Earn a new FAA rating, fly one of general aviation's most exciting new aircraft and save money, all at the same time, with OMF Aircraft's new Flight Training Rebate. OMF and its distributors are offering a $2,000 rebate to anyone who purchases a Symphony 160 between July 28 and August 15, 2003, and a new FAA rating in their Symphony 160 within two years. To learn more about OMF's flight training rebate, stop by OMF's AirVenture outdoor display next to the entrance to Building D, or call 1-866-OMF-1600, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/omf
AVweb invites you to browse the grounds of OSH in our freshly expanded AirVenture '03 Image Galleries...
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE TODAY AT OSHKOSH? WSI, the Trusted Leader in Aviation Weather, is publishing a free website of WSI aviation weather for the region surrounding Oshkosh leading up to and during AirVenture 2003. The site offers surface prognostics, satellite imagery and WSI's industry leading NOWrad® Radar Summary. If you are attending AirVenture visit WSI at Booth 3090-91 for up-to-the-minute weather conditions for the show, or go online where the site will be available through the event and for a short time thereafter at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wsi
While flying through Colorado Springs Class C the other day, I heard the following exchange:
United 1234: "Springs Approach, United 1234. We cant read the localizer. Is there a problem?"
Approach: "The box is actually sitting right behind me. Theyre doing an upgrade and it should be back in service this Winter."
United 1234: "We cant hold that long."
Contributions to Short Final are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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