AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 22b

May 29, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
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Dateline: Vero Beach, Fla. back to top 

It's Official: Piper Will Stay In Florida

After more than a year of exploring various sites for its next stage of growth, Piper Aircraft announced on Wednesday that it has officially reached an agreement with the State of Florida and Indian River County to stay put. "We are pleased and honored to announce our decision to remain and expand our operations in Indian River County," said Piper President & CEO James Bass. "Our decision is not just a vote of confidence for our hometown, it is also a commitment by Piper to Indian River County and the State of Florida." A $32 million, three-year incentive package from the state and county requires Piper to hire more workers and invest in its physical plant. Bass said Piper will make a substantial capital investment in facilities, technology, equipment and tooling; undertake product development; and design, develop, produce and assemble the PiperJet and other aircraft projects in the state.

Bass said a skilled local workforce was a key factor in the decision to stay. Piper has been in Vero Beach for 50 years. Oklahoma City and Albuquerque also offered enticements to the company in hopes that it would relocate. A preliminary agreement among the parties was announced about a month ago, but today's announcement makes it official.

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Economic Indicators back to top 

Flight Options Cuts Staff

Flight Options, a fractional operator based in Cleveland, Ohio, has laid off about 200 workers across the country, including about 75 pilots, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Wednesday. The company blamed high fuel prices and overall economic conditions for a reduction in demand over the last few months, and said in a statement that "we anticipate that prevailing economic conditions will continue." Pilots for the company joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters two years ago, but no contract is yet in place, the Plain Dealer reported. Some pilots complained that the job cuts were not based on seniority. The company said "productivity" drove the decisions, but some pilots said union activists were targeted. Flight Options operates a fleet of over 130 aircraft, including the Hawker 400XP, Hawker 850XP, Citation X and Embraer Legacy.

The company was founded in 1998, and in 2005, it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon. In 2007, the company was acquired by H.I.G. Capital LLC, a global private equity firm.

GA Makes Strong Showing At Berlin Air Show

The Berlin Air Show, officially known as Internationale Luftfahrt-Ausstellung (ILA), opened on Tuesday with its biggest show ever, which should provide some reassurance to those who tend to worry about the future of aviation in an uncertain economy. More than 300 aircraft are on display, and over 1,100 exhibitors from 37 countries expect to welcome record-setting crowds. Visitors will see the world's largest aircraft, including the Airbus A380, an Antonov An-124 and a C-5 Galaxy. GA has a home of its own along General Aviation Avenue, where exhibitors include Bombardier, Cessna, Cirrus, Diamond, Embraer, Extra, Grob, Hawker Beechcraft, Piper, Liberty Aircraft, Pilatus, Socata and Stemme. "The ILA is the most important meeting of the year on the European continent for the industry -- which, in Germany, has become one of the few sustainably expanding industries and has bucked the current trend by actually creating more jobs," said Dr. Thomas Enders, president of the German Aerospace Industries Association, which organized the event.

"Once again the aerospace industry here at the ILA is demonstrating its innovative and productive capabilities with a combination of outstanding technological achievements, economic success and the fascination of flight," said Enders. India, which is a partner in the show, is hosting its biggest-ever aviation display abroad. A special "innovation" area with 24 exhibitors focuses on low-emission flight. The event also includes daily air shows, featuring the Patrouille Suisse team with six F-5 Tiger jets, military fly-bys, and demonstrations of ultralights, gliders, and aerobatics. The 60th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift will be commemorated. Among 50 historical aircraft on display are an Me 262, a PBY-5A Catalina flying boat, and Dornier Do 24ATT. The show runs through Sunday.

Visit Aircraft Spruce at the 2008 Golden West Regional Fly-In
Come join the Aircraft Spruce team in Marysville, California in Booths 8 & 9 on June 6 and 7 from 9am-5pm and June 8 from 9am-4pm. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products) and Aircraft Spruce's helpful staff to answer any questions. Golden West strives to present aviation at its best in a venue that provides a fun and educational outing for the entire family. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or visit Aircraft Spruce online.
New Airplanes back to top 

The Next Stealth Bomber -- From Mojave?

Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman is secretly at work on a next-generation stealth bomber, with the prototype likely to be built by Scaled Composites, Defense Technology International reported this week. A recent financial report from Northrop Grumman shows $2 billion of new funding for "restricted programs," which DTI reports is "almost certainly" for the bomber. According to DTI, the prototype will use technology that already is under development for the Navy's X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator, with the aim of flying the new bomber by 2018. The bomber initially will be flown by an onboard pilot, but later extended-endurance versions are expected to be unmanned. The NGB will probably use newly developed materials and a blended-wing-body tailless design for the fuselage, DTI reported.

Scaled Composites, based in Mojave, Calif., was founded in 1982 by Burt Rutan. Northrop Grumman acquired 100 percent of the company last August. The Air Force expects the 2018 bomber to serve as an "interim fix" to bridge a bomber capability gap, allow it to retire a portion of the current bomber fleet, and prepare for development of a follow-on bomber with more advanced technologies such as hypersonic (Mach 5-plus) engines, according to a March 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service. About 100 of the NGB bombers will likely be built, the report says.

An LSA For Less

Plenty of recreational pilots who thought light sport aircraft might be the right thing for them have been dismayed by the price tags for most models, which start around $100,000 and quickly go up from there. But occasionally a new LSA surfaces that offers reasonable capabilities at a lower price point, and the latest of these is the X-Air LS -- you can fly it home for $46,900, if you don't mind flying at about 90 mph. "Yes, it has sewn Dacron wings," writes Dan Johnson, at his Sport Aircraft blog. "No, it isn't as sleek as the carbon-fiber jobs." But for the price, you'll get a ready-to-fly airplane, complete with a fuel-sipping 85-hp Jabiru 2200 engine, flaps, trim, Icom radio, Dynon engine monitor, and basic flight instruments.

Today's X-Air began as a U.S. design but was redesigned in France, says Johnson. Major components have long been produced in India, and the airplane is assembled in Oregon. The company began pursuing SLSA status about six months ago. Put 20 percent down on a 10-year loan, and you can be flying your own X-Air LS for a monthly payment of $460.

CAV Aerospace Offers Summer Savings for TKS Ice Protection
Schedule summer installation of CAV Aerospace TKS ice protection today for $1,000 or more in savings for: Cessna 182, Piper Saratoga, Mooney 252, Encore, TLS/Bravo, Ovation, Eagle, and Acclaim aircraft. For peace of mind, call (888) 865-5511, contact TKS sales by e-mail, or go to WeepingWings.com.
Keeping Current in Your Cirrus (For Parts and Pilots) back to top 

Weekend Courses Help Keep Cirrus Pilots Current

It's one of those moments that just about every pilot has experienced -- the instant when you go from feeling confident and in control, to realizing that your skills are not as sharp as you'd like them to be. The cure for that sinking feeling is recurrent training, and for Cirrus pilots, it's time to sign up now for this year's series of Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program workshops, held at various sites around the U.S., plus a couple in Europe. These intensive sessions offer nine hours of ground instruction and six hours of dual in the air, all in a single weekend, for $850. They fill up early, so sign up soon. You can also opt for a full 15 hours of ground instruction for $350. The sessions cover topics such as weather, single-pilot resource management, normal maneuvers, and emergency procedures.

Pilots who take the flight portion are encouraged to arrive with a list of areas they would like to emphasize. Some sessions offer special programs for non-pilot frequent flying companions. Sites for this year include Indianapolis, Ind.; Newburgh, N.Y.; Everett, Wash.; Denver, Colo.; Concord, Calif.; and Shreveport, La., plus one stop each in France and Germany.

Avidyne Reacts To Cirrus Garmin Avionics Launch

Cirrus got a lot of attention last week when it unveiled its new Garmin "Perspective" panel at the EBACE show in Geneva, and now Avidyne wants to remind future Cirrus buyers that its Entegra panel, long the standard, is still an option. "Among other benefits," the company said in a news release on Tuesday, "the easier-to-use Entegra-equipped Cirrus SR22 is $48,000 less expensive and provides an additional 42 pounds of useful load, both critical factors for many potential Cirrus customers." The company said it will continue to provide support and to continuously upgrade the Entegra system, and added that Avidyne remains in a strong position overall, with a growing aftermarket segment and international expansion. "Avidyne is very confident that pilots will continue to select their avionics packages based on core value propositions such as price, ease of use, interoperability, performance and future upgradeability," the statement said.

"Avidyne remains very dedicated to working with the owners and operators of all 4,000+ Cirrus/Entegra airplanes worldwide and helping them maintain their value." The company recently introduced a new product that provides datalink weather via Iridium satellites, aimed at the European market.

Aircraft Financing to Fit Your Needs
AirFleet Capital offers a competitive and experienced approach to each and every loan program by focusing exclusively on aircraft financing. AirFleet Capital provides exceptional terms coupled with personal service and a long-term commitment to support the business and shared passion of aviation. From Light Sport Aircraft to VLJs and Business Jets, AirFleet Capital has a loan program to fit your needs. Call an AirFleet Capital financing specialist at (800) 390-4324, or request a quote online.
Missed Opportunties (and Upcoming Ones) back to top 

Balloon Leaves Skydiver Behind

French adventurer Michel Fournier watched his dreams of a record-setting skydive drift away on Tuesday as the helium balloon that was to carry him to the edge of space slipped its moorings and disappeared into the Canadian prairie sky. At a news conference Tuesday, Fournier speculated that static electricity caused the explosive charges that would release the balloon from the pressurized gondola to go off, allowing the partially filled envelope to fly away solo. Television coverage shows the main part of the envelope suddenly rising from the ground at North Battleford, Sask., Airport and then the whole thing taking to the air, minus Fournier and the pressurized capsule that would have taken him to 130,000 feet. The balloon was later found 25 miles from the airport but it can't be reused. The estimated value of the lost balloon is more than $200,000 and a spokesman for Fournier said he expects the adventurer will try to buy another one and attempt the feat at a later date. Fournier was hoping to go as high as 130,000 feet and freefall for most of that, reaching supersonic speeds on the way down. He's spent about 20 years gathering the financing and creating the equipment necessary for the attempt, which would beat a 45-year-old record currently held by Col. Joe Kittinger, who jumped from 102,000 feet.

EAA AirVenture, Coming Up Soon

With the Memorial Day weekend now past, the summer season is launched, and before we know it, EAA AirVenture will be under way in Oshkosh, Wisc. Already our AVweb inbox is filling up with advance notices about new aircraft that we'll be seeing there. Doug Rodante, founder of Green Flight International, said this week he's working with the FAA to get the OK to fly his L-29 BioJet to the show from Reno, Nev., on 100 percent biodiesel fuel. Cirrus test pilots are working to launch Cirrus's The-Jet prototype soon, and workers there are hopeful it will be ready to fly to the show, but the test regime and crew safety always come first. Jon Sharp will be at Oshkosh flying the NemesisNXT in an attempt to break a speed record. AirVenture will debut a new exhibit, the Affordable Flight Center, to share creative ways for sport flyers to pursue their dream of flight even on a limited budget.

This year's show also will debut the Rocket Racing League. We'll also be looking for new aircraft from Virgin Galactic, more electric-powered airplanes and other alternative technologies, and more light sport aircraft. AVweb staff will be there to bring you daily reports, podcasts and videos.

The World of Flight Gathers at EAA AirVenture
EAA AirVenture is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration. Whatever your favorite aircraft, you'll find it along the flight line in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Plus nearly 1,000 forums, workshops, and seminars; 750+ exhibitors; daily air shows; evening programs; and more add up to the event of a lifetime! Go online for more information.

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Advance ticket purchases now available online.
News Briefs back to top 

Close Encounter With A Model Rocket?

Investigations are currently underway concerning a report of a possible model rocket flying notably close to a Continental Airlines 737 mid-morning on Memorial Day. Shortly after departure from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, the pilot of Continental flight 1544 reported to controllers what appeared to be a model rocket with a flaming tail and trailing smoke just in front of the aircraft.

The airliner was east of the airport flying at about 5,000 ft. when the sighting occurred. The aircraft did not deviate and the flight continued on to Cleveland without incident. The FAA and FBI are conducting investigations to find out exactly who was involved and if indeed the object was a model rocket. According to the Houston Chronicle, local model rocketry clubs were questioned and none had scheduled launches during the holiday weekend. Also, any model rocket launch would have to be reported to the local ATC facility in accordance with FAR Part 101.25.

On the Fly ...

A San Diego filmmaker is working on a documentary about the 1978 midair crash of a 727 and a Cessna 172 that killed 144 people...

The Moffett Field dirigible hangar near San Francisco is named an endangered historic site...

Operational deviations at Indianapolis Center are up, and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association blames fatigue and forced overtime...

Enthusiastic GA pilot Sidney Pollack died Monday of pancreatic cancer. He's also known as the director of such movies as Out of Africa, The Interpreter and Tootsie. He was 73.

Can You Believe Avemco® Will Not Exclude Coverage Even If ...
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New on AVweb back to top 

A Pilot's History: Chap. 9 -- Starting A New Airline

A few trips north was all the experience Carl Moesly had when he was asked to fly people and freight up to the DEW line in northern Canada.

Click here for the full story.

Probable Cause #59: Failure To Identify

An engine failure in the clouds becomes even more challenging if the pilot misdiagnoses the problem.

Click here for the full story.

Around the World in 70 Days, Week 2: On To Paris

Last week, we left our intrepid band of GA pilots in Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, where they all had landed safely in VFR conditions, after a few changes of flight plans to accommodate the weather. The group spent the night there and by 5:30 the next morning they were up checking the weather in hopes of launching for Reykjavik, Iceland.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: Thielert Shows Us How to Kill a Company (or Two)

"If Thielert thinks it will dig itself out from bankruptcy with its stratospheric new parts prices and no warranties, it's likely in for a rude shock" — so says Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment of our aviation blog, the AVweb Insider. Think we're crazy? Click on over and join the conversation.

Over 17,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
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Reader Voices back to top 

Question of the Week: Summer Flying Plans

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked if the uncertain state of the aviation economy has affected your flying plans.

40% of those who took time to answer (the biggest single segment) said they're sticking with what I have for now. The second most popular answer (from the options we presented, of course) was economic problems are temporary; flying is forever, which accounted for 17% of respondents.

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


This week, we want to know how you're spending your summer vacation (flying-wise).

What are your summer flying plans?
(Click to answer.)

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.

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.

Stuck on the Freeway? Put That "Down Time" to Good Use with Pilot's Audio Update
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Midwest National Air Center (KGPH, Mosby, MO)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Midwest National Air Center at KGPH in Mosby, Missouri.

AVweb reader Robert Parker recommended the FBO, citing the owner's eerie prescience:

John somehow knew before we landed that we'd been fighting fierce headwinds the previous four hours. He met us at the plane,then towed the plane to the SS fuel pump, fueled it with my card (at prices quite below the national average), parked it back in front of the FBO, then drove out to buy batteries for our headsets so my wife and I could relax before flying the final four-hour leg home!

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!

AVweb Bookstore Features Downloadable Jeppesen Training Manuals
AVweb Bookstore offers Jeppesen (and other) maintenance and pilot training manuals in e-book and book format, letting customers choose how to receive content. E-book advantages including complete search ability, no-cost and instant delivery, and storing hundreds of volumes on a laptop or mobile device. Attention, international customers — no import taxes or fees! For a complete list, call (800) 780-4115 or go online.

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.


"Absence makes the heart grow fonder" — there seems to be some truth in that adage, at least where "Picture of the Week" is concerned. Submissions swelled while we were away in Geneva covering EBACE, leaving with two mighty large stacks of photos to get through. No worries, though — we'll barrel through the top five right now, and you can check our home page for more when we're done!

medium | large

Used with permission of Steve J. Cunningham

Turbo Beaver Takeoff

Steve J. Cunningham of Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) claims the top spot on a very competitive week.

Way to go, Steve! For your efforts, we'll be sending a pair of brand-new AVweb ball caps that you and your co-pilot Mark can wear on your next trip out to Shawnigan Lake.


medium | large

Used with permission of George Mock

Yellow Birds Over Festival Plaza

Speaking of Canada and terrific photos, we were delighted to find this gem from our old friend George Mock of Windsor, Ontario in the submission box.

We can always count on George for good Stearman photos, and this time he's joined by a couple of Chipmunks on a birthday fly-over for the city of Windsor. (The city is 116 this year, he tells us.)


medium | large

Used with permission of
Richard James Sears

Raven II on Mountain Helipad

Look closely and you'll see a Robinson R44 against the golden background in this photo from Richard James Sears of Escondido, California. Richard snapped this lush portrait of a perfect day in the Julian Mountains outside San Diego.

(If only we got to do half the cool things you guys do ... !)


medium | large

Used with permission of Gary Hockensmith


We're certain we've seen Gary Hockensmith's radio-controlled Red Baron before (although we can't find the picture in our archives to save our life), but here Gary matches the Baron up with the only other R.C. adversary who could chase him through the skies — Snoopy.


medium | large

Used with permission of Jeff Randall

Gas Prices Too High? FLY the Humvee There!

Jeff Randall of Clyde, Texas tells us the call sign of this particular C-130 (seen here demonstrating an air drop during an open house exercise) is "Hazard." We'll let that speak for itself.


Remember: There's More on AVweb.com
The "POTW" slideshow on AVweb's home page is loaded to bear, so why not check it out? Look for some awesome pics from readers like Jeff Miller, Bradley Lucak, and Christopher Triana who just barely missed being in this week's installment of "POTW"!

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

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.