AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 48b

November 29, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
IFR Pilots: Take Your Flight-Planning Skills to the Next Level
Introducing IFR Weather, Planning & Tactics — a new computer training program from PilotWorkshops.com. Join their experts as they plan and fly real IFR trips, using the latest online tools to interpret the weather and develop the safest flight plans. This program provides a structured approach that will have you better prepared to manage the complex and challenging environment of instrument flight. Click here to learn more.
Manufacturers Coping with Costs back to top 

Skycatcher To Be Made in China

Cessna has chosen the Chinese-government owned Shenyang Aircraft Corp. to build the Model 162 Skycatcher. Earlier this week, Cessna announced it would be building the Light Sport Aircraft offshore. In a news release, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton said the company needed top quality at a competitive price and SAC put it all together. "Our solution is to partner with SAC, a company with excellent facilities, state-of-the-art technologies and a workforce highly experienced in aircraft manufacturing. SkyCatcher customers will get an advanced design, high-quality workmanship and world-class product support, all at an affordable price from Cessna, a brand known and trusted worldwide." According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, building the Skycatcher in China knocks $71,000 off the price compared to building it in the U.S. The other issue is plant capacity. There is no room in Cessna's Wichita or Independence plants to turn out the 700 Skycatchers per year that Cessna envisions. The move, coupled with Cessna's acquisition of Columbia Aircraft has dominated Cessna's profile in recent months as it continues to pile up record sales for its business jets.

SAC is better known for its activities in jet aircraft and whether this is a foot in the door for future projects seems likely from the comments made by the head of SAC. "SAC greatly values the cooperation with Cessna, and sees Cessna as a significant partner in the general aviation segment. Since the start of the cooperation between the two companies that began in 2003, a good foundation has been established," said Chairman and President, Mr. Luo Yang of SAC. "The communications and exchange of visits between the management of our two companies have strengthened the trust and understanding, which leads to today's signing of the Model 162 contract, making SAC the sole source supplier of this great airplane." SAC has been building aircraft—mostly for the Chinese military—since 1951 and has entered into joint projects with a number of Western companies, including Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier.

Eclipse Offers Discount to Customers for Cash Up Front

In a letter to position-holders this week, Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn asked customers to send money now, and he will in return give them a discount on the final delivery cost when their jet is ready. Raburn said he hopes to raise $30 million in the next few weeks with the offer, which will go to finance operations while the company finalizes a new round of capital raising. The offer would give customers a locked-in base price of $1.25 million in return for an up-front payment by Dec. 14 of $625,000. The deal can save owners up to a half-million dollars on the final cost. Some customers already have shown interest in the program, Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom told AVweb on Wednesday. "We're not trying to raise all of our money via customers, but we are raising more money and thought we would ask our customers to participate," he said. If not enough customers come forward to raise at least $30 million, then Eclipse will refund the money, he added.

Raburn said the money would "help meet our need for short-term funds while our production capability matures and we put in place additional long-term financing.... The financing we are seeking is relatively small as a percentage of the total capital we have raised to date. We have been successful in the past in our ability to raise capital and believe we will be able to close this financing within 120 days. In the meantime, we are looking to raise funds now so that we can complete our financing in an orderly fashion." Raburn also said acknowledged in the letter that Eclipse has not met demand for pilot training, but three full-motion simulators will be operational by March, which should allow training to catch up with deliveries.

The Toughman Tie-Down Is Available Now at Aircraft Spruce
The new and unique multi-use rope-based tie-down system is easy to use, extremely lightweight, high-strength, and permanently corrosion-proof. The Toughman™ Tie-Down product package includes one rope clamp, ten feet of rope, and one corrosion-resistant steel hook. Features include quick lock and release, adjustable rope tension, no bouncing or vibration, and safety. The Toughman™ uses braided rope as the restraint, so loads can be safely secured without dangerous quot;elastic stretch" situations. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1-877-4-SPRUCE, or visit online.
Fossett Search, Columbia Bidding War Winding Down back to top 

Cessna Gets Columbia

As expected, Cessna was the top bidder for Columbia Aircraft, paying $26.4 million for "select assets" of the bankrupt Bend, Ore., planemaker. The bankruptcy auction was held Tuesday afternoon. CEO Jack Pelton said the company will invest money in the Bend plant, make sure existing owners are looked after and will keep making the two aircraft models under the name Cessna 350 and Cessna 400. "The Columbia models are a good fit with our existing product line," Pelton said in a news release. "We look forward to providing existing Columbia owners with improved levels of service and support and introducing new customers to these outstanding aircraft."

The transaction is expected to be completed Dec. 4 and the Cessna logo will go up on the Bend plant. Pelton said it's good news for the existing employees and those who own Columbia aircraft. "We plan to make significant investments in Bend, in people and operations, to bolster customer satisfaction and business profitability. We will continue to improve quality, reliability and performance as we strive to deliver customer value and fulfill our commitments," Pelton said. Among the big changes for existing Columbia owners is access to Cessna's full parts and service network.

Fossett's Wife Asks Court To Declare Him Dead

The wife of adventurer Steve Fossett, who vanished in September while flying over the Nevada desert, asked a court in Chicago to declare him dead on Monday. "As painful as it is for Mrs. Fossett, other members of the family and his many friends, it is time to initiate this process," lawyer Michael LoVallo told The Associated Press. The court petition clarified some details of the disappearance. It stated that Fossett was on a pure pleasure flight, not scouting for sites for a land speed record attempt, as was widely reported early on. The petition also confirmed that Fossett did not take along a watch he owned that was capable of sending out a distress signal, and he did not have a parachute on board. LoVallo said the court request is a necessary step to resolve the status of Fossett's estate, which he said is "vast, surpassing eight figures."

Besides official search-and-rescue missions, thousands of Internet users aided in the search by scrutinizing satellite pictures for clues. Friends of Fossett also funded a private search that continued after the official search was suspended.

PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.
Not Too Late to Voice Opinions on ADS-B back to top 

ADS-B Comment Period Extended

The transition from radar to ADS-B is expected to take more than 13 years and may cost you, personally, close to $9,000. The FAA is now giving you an extra 60-days to add your thoughts on its Notice of Proposed Rule Making -- the comment deadline is now March 3. Currently, some forecasts expect the transition to cost the average aircraft owner about $9,000 in necessary equipment upgrades should ADS-B compliance become mandatory, as planned by 2020. All aircraft flying within Class B and C airspace and above 10,000 feet would need to carry the equipment. On the whole, the FAA predicts that the industry faces a projected investment of between $1.27 billion and $7.46 billion.

With those costs in mind, AOPA petitioned the FAA to add a 60-day extension to the comment period so that more research may be employed regarding the financial feasibility and impact of a mandatory equipment upgrade and effective long-term oversight of a contracted ADS-B program. For more information, click here (PDF document).

Make the AOPA WorldPoints Credit Card Your Card of Choice
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Light Sport & Homebuilts back to top 

EAA's Push For New Homebuilt Rules

The Experimental Aviation Association is seeking to expand channels that would allow aircraft enthusiasts to build and fly their own airplane while participating less in that aircraft's construction process. The organization's latest push "supports the revision of the existing experimental 'Primary Kit Built' category to make this certification category readily available to consumers that desire to build their own personal aircraft without a restriction on the amount of commercial assistance they receive." The FAA has indicated that a new policy statement regarding amateur-built rules may be forthcoming in the new year. Note that EAA's board of directors last week voted to preserve existing amateur-building in support of "the 51-percent rule," which very appropriately allows certification in the experimental category for any aircraft built at least 51 percent by its owner. EAA says its new drive is simply pushing for FAA approval of alternatives for kit manufacturers and their customers.

EAA sees key elements in this push as the FAA recognizing and empowering an industry-auditing group to ensure compliance with quality and safety standards for kit-built aircraft similar to those created in the light-sport market.

Flight Design Expands Training Effort

The Light Sport Aircraft era faced a number of chicken-and-egg difficulties in getting launched, such as ensuring there would be enough flight instructors and mechanics to train students and maintain airplanes. Folks were cautious about buying aircraft if that infrastructure was sparse, but businesses were reluctant to invest until they were sure the market was there. Now, with more than 1,000 light sport aircraft sold and registered, those issues are starting to work themselves out. This week, Flight Design USA, which builds the top-selling LSA, said it has graduated 23 technicians, distributors, and dealers from its comprehensive engine and airframe training classes in the last year. Students in the week-long courses at Aero Technical Institute, in Sebring, Fla., learn about the Rotax 912 engine and the CTsw composite airframe.

Under training programs run by Flight Design of Germany, technicians can qualify at three levels of expertise that enable them to work on increasing portions of the airplane.

If You're Looking For Aviation Insurance, Give Avemco a Call
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News Briefs back to top 

Four Killed in Minnesota SR22 Crash

A Cirrus SR22 was on its second try to land at the Faribault airport in southern Minnesota on Sunday afternoon when it flipped over and burst into flames by the side of the runway. All four on board were killed. The pilot, Dr. Chester W. P. Mayo, 51, was a descendant of one of the founders of the famed Mayo Clinic. The others on board were his 17-year-old son and two of his friends, who were on their way back to school after the holiday. Winds were gusting at up to 20 knots, but officials weren't speculating as to whether that was a factor in the crash, and also didn't say why the pilot had aborted his first landing attempt. The airplane had departed from Aberdeen, .D. "There's very little left [of the airplane]," Faribault Police Chief Dan Collins told the Associated Press on Sunday.

The NTSB is investigating.

Air India Fails To Attract Aging Pilots

Desperate for pilots to fill the cockpits of its expanding fleet, Air India made a deal with the Indian air force to offer a new career option to military pilots age 54 and over. But so far only nine pilots have agreed to join the airline, though dozens more are eligible, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. "Civil aviation flying testing procedure is over-hyped and impractical, whereas the IAF procedure is more practical, result-oriented and operates within flight safety envelopes," a senior IAF official told the Times. The air force said it is not trying to get rid of the older pilots, but just trying to help out the struggling civilian sector. "At this age, an IAF pilot would have contributed adequately to the force," the IAF said in a statement. "To enable them to seek a second career option would help in utilizing their duties in civil aviation flying, where one can fly till 65 years of age."

Air India currently has 777 pilots, including 117 expatriates, but needs 200 more, the Times said.

Diamond DA40 A Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, European-American Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Sabena Airline Training Academy, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all selected the G1000-equipped Diamond DA40. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. Go online for information on all Diamond Aircraft.
News from Around the Web back to top 

The New Grass Routes -- YouTube Airport Videos

"To increase awareness and support for our airport," Linda and Mike Ely produced a video that puts the focus on that airport -- Liberty Municipal Airport (T78) in Liberty, Texas (population 9000). They say they thought it would be a good way to promote general aviation and their community airport and, they say, city officials are just now starting to pay attention. The Elys posted their 4:19 video, Tango Seventy-Eight, on YouTube. Airport and GA self-promotion ... a template for others?

On the Fly ...

J. Clarke McNeace of Mesa, Ariz., is the first CFI to be named an Instructor in Aerobatics by the National Association of Flight Instructors ...

Honda Aero broke ground Wednesday on its new corporate HQ and jet engine plant in Burlington, N.C. ...

ATG has laid off workers from its Javelin jet program, reports Flight International.

Make Plans Now to Attend a 2008 Savvy Aviator Seminar
Mike Busch has completed his very successful Savvy Owner Seminars for 2007. In 2008, he'll be conducting four more in Austin, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Norfolk. Sign up for one of these classes and learn how to save thousands of dollars on maintenance costs, year after year. Do it before your next annual inspection! For complete details (and to reserve your space), click here.
The Most Important Part of AVweb ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: If X < 51%, Then Does Y = A Kitplane?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Time magazine recently reported that 49% of professional pilots are "very happy" with their jobs.  Last week, we were curious how that figure matches up to the AVweb readership population.

While our readership may be slightly less joyful than the pilots Time interviewed, you're a pretty happy bunch.  One in four respondents called flying a dream job, but another one-and-a-half of you (39% of the total responses) said there were things you'd like to improve (like the pay or benefits).

For the complete breakdown of answers, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already participated in this poll.)


The EAA is recommending a new class of kitbuilt aircraft where builders might not have to complete a strict "51%" of the process on their own.

Do you think this is a good idea?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

Did Your Battery Die? Tell Us About It

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, will soon publish an in-depth report on aircraft batteries. As part of that report, the magazine would like to hear about your experiences with aircraft batteries -- good, bad or otherwise.

To take part in our online survey, click here.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Get into the Cockpit!
Classic Cockpits is a series of high-quality DVDs that put you into the pilot's seat of some of the world's great airplanes. Be there for engine start, checklists, taxi, take-off, climb, cruise, descent, landing, and more. Titles currently available are: Flying the Legendary DC-3, Flying the PBY Catalina, and Flying the De Havilland Vampire. Order your DVD now online.
New on AVweb back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #127: Ramp Check

Brainteasers Run away! Run away! No, it's not that scary. You can turn the tables on an FAA spot-inspection by having your paperwork in order and answering a few questions.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

FBO of the Week: Monaco Air (DKLH, Duluth, MN)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Monaco Air at Duluth International Airport (KDLH) in Duluth, Minnesota.

AVweb reader Armand Bendersky recommended the FBO for its friendliness and careful preparations, calling Monaco "a first-class operation with first-class folks":

[W]hen I told Holly were we were staying, she gently suggested that we could do better and proceeded to name about four hotels that were much better. Also, she said that Monaco had checked them out and arranged special rates for transient pilots. We got a great rate at her first choice. ... Also, she and the line manager were so helpful on our arrival. Our rental car had been pulled up and was running, as temps were in the teens.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

Attention, Piper Owners and Pilots!
Join the fastest-growing and best association for Piper Flyers — the Piper Flyer Association (PFA), since 2004 providing same-day parts locating, faster answers to technical questions, an informative monthly magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual gathering, seminars, member discounts, and more for only $40 yearly. The PFA is located in the Blue Hangar on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ) in Waupaca, Wisconsin, 35 nm NW of Oshkosh. For more information, visit PiperFlyer.org.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings.  The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week."  Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?  Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.


While many of us were fighting the crowds on Friday morning trying to find that perfect bargain on a widescreen TV or iPod, quite a few AVweb readers opted to stay home and submit a few photos to our "Picture of the Week" contest.  Most of you, in fact, did your submitting on Friday instead of scattering it out over the whole seven days.  That's O.K. with us, though — especially considering the great pics we found waiting in the submission box once we'd finished digesting our Thanksgiving turkey.

Before we dive in, we'd like to give a quick tip of the hat to one of last week's submitters, Paul Sisul, and apologize for misspelling his name.  Sorry, Paul — Sisal just rolls off the fingers a little too easily.  (We've corrected the spelling error in our archive so future generations of web surfers will know who you are.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Brian Kilby

"Fat Albert" Is the Max

Brian Kilby of Newnan, Georgia kicks off the festivities this week with a photo he took during the Great Georgia Air Show a few weeks ago.  (That's the incredible AeroShell Aerobatic Team overhead.)

As Brian probably knows (but new readers may not), we'll be sending him a keen AVweb cap in the mail for submitting this week's top photo.  Wear it with pride, Brian — but remember to hold it over your heart when they play the national anthem.


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copyright © John Rippinger
Used with permission

MIA Hunters

John Rippinger of Schaumburg, Illinois is semi-regular contributor to "POTW," but we haven't heard from him lately.  From his previous submissions, we figure he must keep pretty busy — and this confirms it.  Like a few other regular contributors, he's been poking around the airways and hidden treasures of Papua New Guinea:

This is the wreck site of an A-20 Havoc bomber that impacted a mountain top at 4,000 feet.  It's located about 50 miles north of the city of Lae in Papua New Guinea.  It carried a full bomb load and was scattered over a quarter-mile area.  MIA Hunters have forwarded all pertinent information to Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) for possible future recovery of MIA remains.  This was the second of three expeditions to PNG to look for WWII MIA aircraft.


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copyright © Michael J. Gallagher
Used with permission

The Front Office

We've seen versions of this photo before — and, frankly, we never tire of it — but rarely do we get to see it in flight.  Michael J. Gallagher of Peoria, Illinois drives home the point that yes, AVweb readers get to do far cooler things on a weekly basis than AVweb copy writers do.  :(


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Used with permission of Jerome LaForest

Helping Daddy

We'd have called this one Pull, Daddy, Pull! — or maybe Why Don't We Wait Until It's a Little Warmer Out? but Jerome LaForest of Highland, Michigan chose a far better title.  It isn't about the towbar or the frost on th ground, after all; it's about little Tiffany picking the perfect moment to get interested in her dad's Skyhawk.


medium | large

Used with permission of Michael Brewer

P-51 "Ain't Misbehavin'" at the End of the Day

To see us off this week, here's a photo we dropped on the floor of our cyber-office two weeks ago and accidently left out of the "POTW" column.  Michael Brewer of Birmingham, Alabama had submitted a couple of photos of Ain't Misbehavin', and while we're happy we ran one of his others, this is the one we really dug.  Hopefully you'll get as big a kick out of it as we did.

By the time you read this, there will be even more new photos to be seen in the "POTW" slideshow on AVweb.comGo check 'em out!

And don't forget to send us your photos!  (Where do you think we get all these pictures?)

A quick note for submitters:  If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week!  That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too.  ;)

A Reminder About Copyrights:
Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or or

send us an e-mail.

New Gift Ideas Have Been Added to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace
When purchasing gifts for family, friends, and flying buddies, go to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace. AVweb is the perfect place to find perfect gifts for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. And for yourself — forward the link to your family and friends as a hint as to what you want! It's easy online, with AVweb!
More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.