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With the future of 100LL avgas looking ever more iffy, Teledyne Continental's new president, Rhett Ross, says the company is planning to aggressively develop a diesel or heavy fuel engine for
certification in late 2009 or early 2010. "We are kicking off a major aerospace engine project this year with some realistically aggressive targets," Ross told AVweb's Paul Bertorelli in a detailed podcast interview last week. Ross says TCM would like to ground demonstrate a prototype later in 2008 or early 2009, probably in the
300-horsepower range, thus making a nice fit with the company's IO-550 series that dominates the high-performance gasoline engine market. TCM is no stranger to diesel engines, having developed a
four-cylinder prototype under NASA's GAP program. That engine flew just once, but was then shelved awaiting market developments. Ross said he believes that general aviation will be forced out of the
100LL option and that a Jet A piston engine will be one response to that. The company's PowerLink FADEC will be another. Although TCM's initial foray will be a high-horsepower, heavy fuel engine, Ross
says the company will eventually introduce smaller engines as well.
On Friday, the FAA published the final report (PDF) from the Amateur-Built
Aircraft Aviation Rulemaking Committee that outlines plans to keep the "home" in homebuilt. There will be a public comment period, which EAA predicts will be announced in April or May, and the FAA
intends to have a final rule by October. The report follows months of work by the FAA and industry representatives in an attempt to curb flagrant violations of the experimental/amateur-built rules,
which state that individuals must complete a major portion of the aircraft to be eligible for registration in that category. The report acknowledges that some companies provide de facto
manufacturing facilities for kitbuilt aircraft in which the builder does little actual work. In the most extreme cases, other persons fabricate and assemble the major portion of an
amateur-built aircraft for the applicant, according to the report.
To curb these abuses, the FAA has proposed changes to the guiding documents rather than a rewrite of the FARs that govern the category. Specifically, changes are expected to Advisory Circulars
20-27 and 20-139 that more accurately tally and identify outside commercial assistance on the forms used by the builder and the final inspector of the aircraft. The intention is, according to Earl
Lawrence, vice president of industry and government affairs at the EAA, to clarify which parts of the airplane are completed by the builder, what is done by the factory as part of the original kit,
and what has been done by commercial assistance. Now, for example, a kit manufacturer can construct all but one wing rib while the builder fabricates the remaining rib, and both entities
get credit for all the work. There is also no requirement to state which parts of the aircraft have been fabricated or assembled by third-party commercial assistance. The revised ACs are expected
to address these issues with specific guidance.
The vast majority [of the report] is what we expected. We still dont
know what the FAA intends, said Michael Via, of Glasair Aircraft. Were waiting to see what the policies and orders state. Nothing here affects our existing customers.
Jeremy Monnett, of Sonex Aircraft, said his company has always taken the 51 percent rule to heart and enforcement is the key to ensuring all kit manufacturers and builders adhere to the rules.
The resources required to carry out this enforcement have not been made available by the FAA over the last few years, Monnett said in a news release. Without these resources,
enforcement loosens and the rules are pushed beyond their spirit and intent, compromising the rules' continued existence. The FAA has proposed forming a group of Aviation Safety Inspectors to
validate a manufacturers claims that its kit allows the builder to complete the major portion of the aircraft. In addition to publishing the report, the FAA announced Friday that it
was temporarily suspending inspection of aircraft kits for inclusion on the 51% list. This does not impact local inspections of completed airplanes. The move halts inspection of designs at
the manufacturer level until the final rulemaking is published.
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Diamond Aircraft confirmed on the weekend that its five-passenger D-Jet will be built at its London, Ont., facilities after the Canadian government announced it was giving the company a $19.6
million strategic, repayable investment. The money is being provided under a new aerospace business incentive program. This investment will play a vital role in enabling our company to
complete the final development, flight testing and certification of the D-Jet, and to complete our transition to production, said Peter Maurer, president of Diamond Aircraft Industries.
There is already tremendous demand for this new aircraft. The Ontario government earlier chipped in $11 million. Diamond did the research and development for the D-Jet in London and says
it cost the company $95.2 million. The first type-conforming D-Jet has been flying since last November and certification testing is under way. About 500 people will likely be employed building the
D-Jet in a factory thats expected to cost at least $100 million.
Composite Engineering Inc. of Sacramento, Calif., has announced the successful flight of its newest supersonic unmanned aerial
target system, the BQM-167X. The aircraft achieved sustained supersonic flight Jan. 31, 2008, at the U.S. Navy Pt. Mugu Test Range. The aircraft is powered by a Microturbo turbojet and equipped with
an avionics suite from Microsystems. CEi expects to complete its demonstration contract by the end of the Q1 2008. Sometime after that, the BQM-167X may be ready to be blown out of the sky, regularly
-- shot at and shot down as part of weapons and weapons systems projects. The BQM-167A aerial target system is currently used by the U.S. Air Force for all subscale target missions at Tyndall Air
Force Base in Florida.
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The House of Representatives has arranged for the FAA to remain funded through June 30, including provisions for $2.76 billion in
"contract authority" to restart the suspended Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Timing is seen as key to AIP construction projects that can be negatively impacted by weather if those projects are
not started early in the year. The Senate must now approve the extension prior to the current funding's expiration -- currently set for Feb. 29. Major industry players are expected to step forward to
press governmental powers to see beyond the conflicts and confusion surrounding funding mechanisms (read: the user-fee argument) and secure FAA reauthorization. Many of those major players could
become contract winners should this year's reauthorization provide for development of the NextGen satellite-based air traffic control system currently sought by the FAA.
"Nighttime aircraft noise can affect your blood pressure instantly and increase the risk of hypertension," according to Dr.
Lars Jarup of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College, London. ...And so can sleeping next to someone who snores, according to a study co-authored by Jarup and published
in the February issue of the European Heart Journal. Researchers remotely measured the blood pressure of 140 volunteers and analyzed the noise level in each person's bedroom. The sample included
people living near London's Heathrow, and airports in Athens, Milan and Stockholm. Noticeable increases in blood pressure were correlated with increases in noise levels reaching more than 35 decibels
-- which can be similar to the amount of noise generated by snoring or nearby automobile traffic. The level of noise, according to researchers, was the key factor. The type of noise was not. Similar
increases in blood pressure have been reported in other environmental noise studies. The study found that systolic blood pressure increased by 0.66 mmHg per 5 decibels of noise and increases were
apparent even when individuals remained asleep.
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The Leesburg Executive
Airport in Leesburg, Va., (JYO) was closed for nearly two days last week after a Raytheon 390 Premier 1 business jet slid off the end of an ice-slicked runway on Tuesday night. No injuries were
reported. While it normally takes just a few hours at the most to tow a disabled aircraft onto a flatbed truck and haul it out of the way, this rescue turned into a major production, hence the two-day
headache for local pilots. The jet was wrapped in a special sling sent from the factory and lifted out of the ditch using construction cranes. A Hawker-Beechcraft spokesman told AVweb that the
extraordinary extraction method was necessary to preserve the jets underbelly, since its landing gear was damaged as it slid into the ditch. Around the time of the incident, nearby Dulles
International Airport reported winds out of the north at six knots with three miles visibility in freezing rain and mist, with broken clouds at 500 feet. The aircraft, N16DK, was arriving from
the Beech Factory Airport in Wichita. The FAA's preliminary report lists the damage to the aircraft as substantial.
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Aspen Avionics recently completed its TSO performance tests and final systems integration testing and is ready for final FAA
certification test flights for its EFD1000. The digital electronics glass panel LCD cockpit display consolidates primary flight data and is designed vertically (the display is a vertical rectangle)
with pairs of instruments -- one on top (an EFIS, for example), and one on the bottom (maybe an HSI). System software versions allow the units to function as primary flight displays (PFD) or
multi-function displays (MFD). They are designed to work with whatever is currently in your panel and built to fit into a top instrument hole, replacing both it and the instrument below it
simultaneously. Test flights are expected to take place almost immediately. A Cirrus SR22, Cessna 412C and multiple Pipers have been or will soon be used for test installations. At last check, the
Cirrus was scheduled to begin testing at Aspen's Albuquerque headquarters on Valentine's Day. Pricing for units is currently just under $6000 not including professional installation.
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There were apparently no serious injuries but it looks like it might be awhile before an Aserca Airlines DC-9 is back in service after a bizarre accident at Simon Bolivar Airport in Maiquetia,
Venezuela, last week. According to the aviation Web site volarenvenezuela.com,the aircraft
apparently left a hangar with both engines running and crossed a runway and a taxiway before coming to rest with at least part of its gear collapsed in the infield. Details are sketchy but the report
says whoever was at the controls was unable to turn or brake the aircraft.
Two US Airways aircraft clipped wings at Reagan National Airport Sunday. There were no injuries and a total of 63 passengers were booked on later flights ...
Three people were killed when a helicopter and a Cessna (type not specified) collided above Paraparaumu Airport in New Zealand Saturday. A 30-year-old instructor and 19-year-old student were
on the helicopter and a 17-year-old man was flying the plane ...
A Chicago judge has declared Steve Fossett legally dead. Fossett went missing in Sept. on a flight in northern Nevada and an extensive search failed to turn up any sign of him or the
Citabria he was flying.
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Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is preparing a report on interior shops. If you recently had an interior redone, the editors would like to hear from you, whether the experience was
good or bad.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Owning an airplane can be a real pain. There are costs for insurance, tiedown/hangaring, annual inspections and debt service, all of which are
incurred before the engine even turns over. Add in the hourly costs of fuel, oil, tires, unscheduled maintenance and overhaul reserves, and it's a wonder anyone even wants to own their own airplane,
much less fly it.
Then there's the paperwork and other responsibilities that come along for the ride. It starts with making sure the FAA has correct documentation of the craft's ownership, that all the required
documents are both in-order and aboard the airplane, and making sure that other various requirements cropping up from time to time -- like airworthiness directives (ADs) -- either do not apply or are
properly complied with. Then, owners are often forced to spend hours poring over logbooks and other documentation to ensure all required inspections are conducted and properly documented. Any
modifications or repairs must also be recorded. All of this can generate mountains of paperwork, especially for older aircraft.
The more detail-oriented owners and operators among us come up with inventive ways to catalog and maintain all this documentation, including three-ring binders and multiple copies kept in fire-proof
lockboxes. Some produce CD-ROMs of all records and maintenance manuals and carry them in the airplane.
While these paperwork requirements can often seem burdensome -- and, when compared to automobiles, they are -- there are reasons we track all of this information. One owner learned this the hard way
on a cold night in January 2004.
On Jan. 5, 2004, at approximately 1825 Central time, a Cessna 182RG was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near El Dorado, Ark. It was owned and flown by a
non-Instrument-rated Private pilot who was seriously injured in the crash. His lone passenger was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight originating from the
South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field (ELD) near El Dorado at approximately 1815, and destined for the Memphis International Airport (MEM), Memphis, Tenn.
Shortly after takeoff, while in cruise flight at 3000 feet msl approximately 19 miles from the departure airport, the pilot heard "a very loud bang, followed by another loud bang." While he was
looking for a place to land, the engine "seized up." He saw sparks from the engine, and smoke had filled the cabin area.
The pilot attempted to return to ELD, but the engine had lost all power and he initiated a forced landing to a field with the Cessna's landing gear retracted. Cockpit doors were partially opened to
ventilate the smoke. The airplane collided with unseen trees and a steel fence during the ensuing crash landing.
Maintenance records indicated that the airplane's Textron-Lycoming O-540-J3C5D engine was overhauled by a factory-authorized repair station to manufacturer's new-part limits, including all applicable
ADs, on April 25, 2000. At the time of the accident, records indicated the engine had accumulated 438.6 hours since major overhaul (SMOH).
Since overhaul and installation on the airplane, a series of service bulletins had been issued on the engine, noting reports "that operation at high temperatures can cause the converter-plate gasket
on the oil-filter base to become extruded from its seat, allowing oil to leak out between the plate and the accessory housing." Subsequently, Emergency AD 2000-18-53 was issued addressing this same
problem. The AD stated, "... engines with more than 50 hours time since new (TSN), time since overhaul (TSO), or time since last replacement of the oil-filter converter plate or gasket must have the
gasket replaced before further flight" to "prevent complete loss of engine oil and subsequent seizing of the engine, and possibility of fire."
The NTSB could not find any logbook entries noting compliance with the various service bulletins or the AD. The engine-overhaul work order revealed the affected oil-filter converter-plate gasket was
installed at the time of engine overhaul.
At the accident scene, the engine crankcase had two holes in the top half of the crankcase. The rear accessory housing and components were wet with fresh oil.
Teardown of the engine revealed the oil-filter converter-plate gasket was extruded in multiple locations. The oil-filter element, oil-suction screen, and oil sump contained metal debris. Two of the
main crankshaft bearings displayed signs of severe heat distress, as did several connecting rod journals. Four of the engine's six connecting rods were separated.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause(s) of this accident to include the
"loss of engine power as a result of loss of engine oil due to the failure of the oil-filter converter-plate gasket and the noncompliance to an AD. Contributing factors were the lack of suitable
terrain for the forced landing and the dark-night lighting conditions."
In addition to being legal requirements for continued airworthiness, ADs and a manufacturer's service bulletins are designed to highlight a deficiency in an airframe, engine or appliance that demands
attention to ensure safe flight. Of course, great controversy often surrounds a proposed AD -- whether for reasons of cost, impracticality, perceived benefit or other reasons. Owners of specific
aircraft types, in fact, have grouped together from time to time in well-financed efforts to modify or defeat proposed ADs they don't consider appropriate or cost-effective. This is as it should be.
But many other ADs are fairly simple affairs, mandating simple replacement of one small part or another. In this instance, an AD requiring replacement of an oil-filter gasket we found online for under
$25 seems like a no-brainer. Especially if it's designed to prevent all of the engine's oil from going overboard.
This winter might be a good time to sit down in front of a roaring fire and go through all your logbooks to make sure everything that should be done has been done. That's something we strongly
support, especially on a cold, January night.
More accident analyses are available in AVweb's Probable Cause Index. And for monthly articles about safety, including accident reports like this one,
subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Safety.
It's almost a given that the Bose Headset X is at or near the top of every pilot's wish list, in large part because the $1000 noise-canceler is
comfortable, quiet and sleek. Now comes the LightSPEED Zulu, a clear shot across the Bose bow. So here's the question: Can the
$850 Zulu's performance earn it best-in-class status?
Although LightSPEED claims that the Zulu is the quietest headset on the market, there's more to beating the Bose than just noise reduction. Along with quietness, we also weighed comfort, audio
fidelity and the headset's feature complement.
This was a subjective pilot test, conducted in two different cockpits: a pressurized Lancair IV and a two-year-old Columbia 400. The Columbia had a jack setup, combining Bose's unique single
connection and the two-plug industry standard in the same jack, so we could have two headsets connected at the same time, swapping them in seconds. It was as close as you could get to back-to-back
using one pair of ears.
LightSPEED's Zulu uses full-coverage, magnesium ear cups because this lightweight metal is claimed to be a better sound barrier than plastic ... 10 times better than any plastic at passively blocking
noise, according to LightSPEED. The manufacturer also claims that the technical result of this cup/seal combination is the best passive noise-reduction combination you can buy.
Compared to the Bose X, we noticed a significant reduction in cockpit noise in passive mode, which is only marginally important because most active noise reduction (ANR) headsets will be powered at
all times. When the ANR system was turned on, the Zulu got even better. How much? The techies say the combined passive/active noise reduction is about 8 decibels better than anyone else. Regardless,
in our subjective testing, the Zulu was more than a match for the Bose Headset X, though it's not a runaway victory: "very good" versus "even better."
Both the Zulu and Bose's X are extremely light: 13 ounces for the Zulu and 12 ounces for the Bose X. Both have low head-clamping pressure, too. In two-hour flights, they both felt comfortable and
unobtrusive. Call the comfort contest a tie.
The Zulu's audio quality was extraordinary. Supposedly, LightSPEED's engineers spent significant development time and dollars on sound fidelity. While ATC's calls won't be made or broken by this, we
sure noticed it when listening to music. If cockpit music isn't your thing, this will not be a significant measure. But if you've opted for satellite-delivered music along with your invaluable new
in-cockpit weather, you will notice the difference. As one iPod-listening teenager asked, "Do we have to leave these in the plane?" The superiority is hard to quantify. It's like trying to assess the
difference among in-home speakers in an audio component store: You know which you like better, but to articulate why, you use adjectives like "richer" and "fuller" and "purer."
New models always have the advantage in features. After all, the competition is already out there, so you know exactly where you can outgun them. Because the Bose X doesn't have a cell-phone
interface, much less Zulu's Bluetooth wireless capability, the features area is a no-contest. So what? Well, when it's expedient to call ATC for a clearance in some remote location instead of trying
to contact them by radio on the ground, or if you have cell-phone-delivered NEXRAD weather, this is not only a valuable convenience but a real-world safety feature.
The icing on the cake is the Zulu's "FRC" capability. The initials stand for front row center, and when it's engaged and you're listening to music, it has a live-concert quality. Gimmicky in an
aviation headset? Depends. How important is in-cockpit entertainment to you?
So, better than the Bose X? We say the Zulu is as good or better in every category, and when you add the fuller feature set to the slightly (by $145) lower price, the gap widens. It's not a slam-dunk,
but it sure looks like Bose has serious competition. Bring it on!
More AVweb product reviews are available here. And to hear an independent voice for homebuilt aviation, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, Kitplanes magazine.
With Diamond and Cessna onboard, the German-based Thielert Group dominates the aerodiesel market. But Teledyne-Continental would like to
change this and has announced its intention to aggressively develop its own heavy fuel or Jet A engine for certification, possibly as early as 2009. In this detailed podcast, TCM's Rhett Ross
tells Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli that the company will ground-demonstrate a diesel later this year or early next.
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You guys have been doing a lot of flying lately! We received more "FBO of the Week" nominations over the last seven days than we have in months. Despite some outstanding recommendations, we're
awarding our "FBO of the Week" ribbon to the FBO at Santa Ynez Airport at KIZA in Santa Ynez, California.
Not only do they have a great webcam on their site (where you can check real-time fuel prices and ground conditions at a
glance), but they inspired this heartfelt endorsement from AVweb reader Eric Cobb:
This is the way airports used to be, and I believe [Santa Ynez] is the best small airport in the U.S. Made me feel like a kid again.
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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A couple of weeks ago, we ran a pretty impressive video of some Alaskan pilots doing short-runway take-offs. This
week, we offer up something that can only be described as the opposite a Russian Ilyushin IL76 freighter making the most of a runway that seems nail-bitingly short in this clip from YouTuber
"NSFW" Note: This video does contain some objectionable language you'll see why as you wait for the Ilyushin to take to the air so keep that in mind when playing
it at the office or in the company of others.
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
Recounting one of the most impressive feats in recent aviation history, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew recalls the circumstances of the DHL A300 shot by a surface-to-air missile over Baghdad. The crew successfully landed the aircraft without the ability to manipulate any
control surfaces. (Note: The aircraft shown in simulation is a Boeing 777, not an Airbus A300.)
Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You Flight Explorer is an information system tracking commercial and general aviation flights. With the Flight Explorer Personal Edition, view air traffic for the U.S., Canada, or New
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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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Managing Editor Meredith Saini
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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