AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 15c

April 9, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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» Try out the Headset X™ and other Bose Corporation products at booth SNF-009 at Sun 'n Fun
Top News from Sun 'n Fun: Cessna, Cirrus Updates back to top 

Cessna Hints At Change In NGP Project

Cessna has stopped calling its NGP design project a next-generation piston, and this week instead identified it as a "next generation propeller" aircraft. With the addition of the former Columbia single-engine airplanes, now the Cessna 350 and 400, Cessna said it is working on re-positioning the NGP to "fit logically" into its product lineup. “Our team is working on finalizing the configuration,” said Van Abel, Cessna’s project engineer for the NGP. “We continue to evaluate features and materials that will produce a new, unique aircraft family with a potential for multiple powerplants.” Cessna has displayed the NGP concept at numerous air shows to gather customer feedback, while a cross-functional team continues to assess the business case for adding what Cessna calls "a family of innovative airplanes." Cessna added that it will not release any performance data or specifications until a launch decision is made.

Meanwhile, Cessna said it is continuing to integrate the former Columbia manufacturing plant in Bend, Ore., into the company, and will deliver 150 of the airplanes this year. The NGP proof-of-concept debuted at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh . Since then, engineers have collected performance numbers and made aerodynamic modifications based on those figures, Cessna says.

Cirrus Updates Jet Progress

Cirrus Design has leased extra space in Duluth, Minn., to work on its jet prototype, CEO Alan Klapmeier said at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday. The jet now under construction will be used for aerodynamic flight testing, and Klapmeier says he hopes it will be very close to the final conforming prototype that can be used for certification. The engineers have done extensive computer design and testing, and wind tunnel tests will soon be underway at Langley, he said. Progress is also being made on the aircraft parachute system, he said. He wouldn't estimate when first flight would take place, but said as soon as it flies, they will announce it. Klapmeier also said the company is making progress on its SRS, the light sport design it bought from FK GmbH. The airplane is being redesigned to take advantage of the U.S. light sport rules, he said. Gross weight will go up closer to the 1,320-pound limit. He added that the new SRS will have a glass panel, it will burn auto fuel, it will be quiet to help make it more neighbor-friendly for training, and it will be built in the United States. He hopes that the SRS will prove popular as a trainer to entice new pilots in the 18-to-25-year-old range.

Cirrus also announced that it is launching a new combined private/instrument curriculum. The company encourages all owners to get instrument training so they will get the maximum utility from their aircraft, Dale Klapmeier said.

Avidyne Extends Interface Capability for Tactical WX Detection System
Avidyne's TWX670 Tactical Weather Detection System has a Compatibility Mode providing a second output format for display of monochromatic lightning strike and storm cell information on a number of existing lightning detection-compatible displays. The TWX670's normal RS-232 output protocol supports the TWX670's TWxCell™ and Color Strike modes on compatible displays, including Avidyne's EX500, EX5000 and MHD300. With Compatibility Mode, the TWX670 provides an alternate protocol compatible with other manufacturers' displays. Click here for more information.

Sign up to be an Avidyne Insider.

» See Avidyne technologies in action at booths D-069-070 and N-028 at Sun 'n Fun
Good News for Acclaim Owners, Ultralight Pilots back to top 

Mooney Offers Retrofits For Older Acclaims

Mooney brought the first customer copy of its new Acclaim Type S to the show this week, just a week after it was certified and delivered. The airplane will replace the earlier version of the Acclaim, so all Acclaims going forward will have the Type S speed enhancements, which boost the aircraft's top cruise speed to 242 knots. The enhancements will also be made available as a retrofit package later this year, so all Acclaims can achieve the same speed gains, the company said. Pete Wallach, of customer service, also said that the company is extending its three-year warranty on new aircraft to cover up to 1,000 hours of service, a boost from the 600 hours that were covered before. More owners are using the airplane for business and the hours pile up faster, Wallach said, so it was time for an adjustment. Further, from here on, the company will handle all warranty claims for any component of its airplanes, he said.

The Type S retrofits probably won't be made available for Ovation models, Wallach said, because the greatest gains are seen at the higher altitudes. The changes include a streamlined cowling, lighter weight composite gear doors, lighter nose gear, and a new three-blade propeller. The Type S is priced at $599,500.

EAA: Insurance Now Available For More Sport Aircraft

Insurance options for those who fly powered parachutes and weight-shift aircraft (trikes) have long been scarce, but new plans now available should cover most needs, EAA announced at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday. Bob Mackey, lead representative for the EAA Aircraft Insurance Plan, said the new plan is very flexible, and will cover pilots from student all the way up to ATP. Passengers can also be covered, as well as dual flight instruction. Both liability and hull insurance are available, Mackey said, at prices that are similar to rates offered for more traditional fixed-wing aircraft. A selection of makes and models are on the EAA's "approved list," and more models may be added as new information is collected, EAA said. "Insurance options are part of the necessary infrastructure to make Light Sport Aircraft viable," Mackey said.

He added that the new insurance products are all based in the United States, which he said offers additional assurance that the plans are solid. More info is available at the EAA Web site.

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» See why XM WX Satellite Weather is the official weather provider of Sun 'n Fun
when you visit WxWorx at booths C-024-025 and N-036 at the show
Buzz Around the Show Grounds back to top 

LoPresti Chooses New Site In Florida

Since getting its program underway to build the long-awaited LoPresti Fury a few years ago, the LoPresti company has been looking for just the right place to build a new facility. This Tuesday, at Sun 'n Fun, CEO Curt LoPresti announced the company will move to the airport in Sebastian, Fla., by the first quarter of 2009. Development and flight testing will be done there, LoPresti said, and once the conforming prototype is completed -- which should take about 18 months -- manufacturing will be done at the company's facility in Belen, New Mexico. First deliveries are estimated at 2010. The company will also maintain a presence in its current home in Vero Beach. LoPresti has orders in hand for 60 copies of the airplane, said R.J. Siegel, vice president of operations. Those were sold at a special price of $275,000 to pilots who had placed deposits for an earlier version of the Fury that never came to pass. Once those orders are fulfilled, new copies will be sold for $355,000.

Once the manufacturing process is up and running, he expects to be able to produce about 60 airplanes per year.

U.S. Companies Team Up To Sell Spanish Amphibian

The Colyaer Freedom amphibious light sport aircraft, designed and built in Spain, will be marketed in the U.S. by Waterbirds LC and LSA Aero, of Little Rock, Ark., the companies announced at Sun 'n Fun this week. Waterbirds will provide sales and marketing support, and LSA will import the aircraft and provide customer service. The Freedom, a tricycle-gear pusher, is a brand-new design based on the Martin airplane built by Colyaer in the mid-1990s. It has seats for two, with a useful load of 576 pounds. The wing and tail are both removable. The airplane is constructed of carbon fiber, Nomex, Kevlar, and stainless steel, for resistance to corrosion. With wheels down, the Freedom can safely land in rough fields.

The Freedom is powered by a Rotax 912 engine.

Discover the Thrill
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» Be there with Cessna Single-Engine at booths SNF-001-005 at Sun 'n Fun
Best Toys We Got to Play With at Sun 'n Fun Today back to top 

Jeppesen Via Cell Phone Or PDA

Jeppesen is putting its prodigious database at the fingertips of clients who need flight information on the go. With technology partner Hilton Software, which has figured out how to make all that information available to your personal communicator. And it’s an impressive array of information that can be displayed on that little screen. From DUATS supported legal weather and flight plan filing, to real-time depictions of weather, airport information, and even weight and balance calculations for more than 400 aircraft stored in the database. The system is available for Windows-based mobile applications and Iphone and Blackberry versions are in the works. Jepp has also made learning (and teaching) the G1000 easier than ever.

The computer-based training programs put a graphic depiction of the glass panel on the screen and a special menu bar runs the scenario-based individual courses. The software also keeps score. It records when each of the dozens of tasks has been completed without asking for help or looking up answers and ticks a box on a scoresheet. That way instructors can send students off to do self directed study and know the work is being covered. There’s a familiarization course, one for VFR and one for IFR.

Glass For Your Conquest

Avidyne has introduced an integrated flight deck and retrofit for the Cessna 441 Conquest II that brings all the modern avionics conveniences to the venerable twin turboprop. The Alliant Retrofit was introduced at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday and puts Avidyne's Envision Integrated Flight Deck System and S-TEC 2100 digital autopilot on two large-screen displays. It's also available with RVSM for operators who fly above 29,000 feet. Avidyne also introduced a new weather detection system.

The TWX670 Tactical Weater Detection System is based on a new generation lightning detector. It accurately measures electrical discharges, which are the primary indicator of weather you don't want to mess with. Color coding shows the areas of greatest intensity. It has a range of up to 25 nm and it's considered a complement to data link weather services.

Bennett Avionics: Used Avionics Guidance You Can Trust
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SkyCatcher #2 on Track for EAA AirVenture back to top 

Cessna Updates SkyCatcher Progress

The second SkyCatcher, Cessna's light sport aircraft model, is now nearing completion and will soon join the flight-test program, Cessna announced at Sun ‘n Fun this week. The airplane will be designated as the production prototype, and will be equipped with a full interior in time to fly in to EAA AirVenture later this summer. Meanwhile, the first SkyCatcher, which flew for the first time last month, has undergone extensive testing. The flight test team thoroughly explored the aircraft's handling qualities and stall characteristics, and an extensive ground vibration test was conducted. A third airframe is in the works that will be used a structural test article for the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) protocol. Cessna also announced this week it will offer an autopilot from TruTrak Flight Systems as an option on the SkyCatcher.

This week in Lakeland, the SkyCatcher mockup is on display. The airplane sells for $111,500.

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» Ask Avemco Insurance Company what policies are right for you at booths C-055-056 at Sun 'n Fun
Flying High with Our Contest Winners (and Friends) back to top 

Exclusive Video from Sun 'n Fun 2008:
Essay Contest Winner Christa Mabry Flies the Herpa DC-3 in Warbird Formation

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Thanks to Dan Gryder and our friends at Herpa Wings, "Why I Want to Fly the DC-3" essay contest winner Christa Mabry kicked off Sun 'n Fun in style. Dan and his crew had planned a very special surprise, allowing our contest winners to take the controls of the their DC-3 and lead a morning formation of warbirds over the show grounds, welcoming everyone to the 2008 fly-in. We took up a couple of spots in the DC-3 and another plane — what, you thought we were going to watch this from the ground? — and brought back this video of an unforgettable experience, courtesy of AVweb video editor Glenn Pew:

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

This video brought to you by WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather and Bose Corporation.

Related Content:
Read the essay that earned Christa (and our other winner, John Kaminskas) their DC-3 flights

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"Live" from Sun 'n Fun 2008 — Exclusive Audio back to top 

Lightning Ahead! Avidyne Brings Sferics Back to the Cockpit in 21st Century Style
(Recorded Live at Sun 'n Fun 2008)

File Size 7.8 MB / Running Time 8:16

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

For the past five years, Sferics technology has taken a backseat to datalinked weather as a means of skirting convective weather. But Avidyne hopes to change that with the introduction of a new state-of-the-art lightning detector system called TWX670. Like Stormscope and Strike Finder technology, it detects and plots distant lightning strikes, but unlike earlier equipment, it paints strikes in cell-like patterns color-coded by threat level. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli talked to Tom Harper from Avidyne about this new product.

Click here to listen. (7.8 MB, 8:16)

This podcast brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

Return of the King — The Bendix/King Glass Panel
(Recorded Live at Sun 'n Fun 2008)

File Size 6.2 MB / Running Time 6:49

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Aviydne and Garmin have largely owned the market for light aircraft electronic flight display systems in recent year, while Bendix/King has been dormant. But later this year, the company will begin delivering its new Apex Edge glass system, a combination PFD/MFD integrated package suitable for retrofit in older aircraft. In this podcast, Bendix/King's Dan Barks gives an update on this major product line.

Click here to listen. (6.2 MB, 6:49)

This podcast brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

C'mon — Walk the Grounds with Us back to top 

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun 2008 Galleries: Off We Go!


Helping Out the Husky

Checking Out the Husky

At the Cessna Display

Good Photos Today

Muddy Path to PC-12

Ah, the Food Court!

The Eclipse Jet

It's a Family Affair

Flight Design CTLS

Rans S-19

Freedom Aviation Phoenix

From the FAA Roof

Rans S-7C

Leza Lockwood Drifter

Taking in the Sights

Vans RV-12

Vulcan Air P68-C


The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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.

Got Cylinders? Tell Us About Your Service History

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on aircraft engine cylinder products. If you've done an overhaul during the past several years, the magazine's editors would like to hear from you on how the cylinders have performed.

Just click on this link to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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.)

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