AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 24b

June 12, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
The Finger Pulse Oximeter Is Available Now at Aircraft Spruce
As one clinic electrical product with humanity technology, the Fingertip Pulse Oximeter (MD300-C201), with its extra-traditional display screen LCD, provides the best solution for spot-check, simply and conveniently. Intended for non-invasive spot-check measurement of function oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin (SpO2). The Finger Pulse Oximeter works on two AAA batteries with low power consumption and only weighs 50g, including batteries. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or visit online.
Top News back to top 

Eclipse's Vern Raburn Emcees Launch Of ICON Amphib LSA

In an unveiling at ICON Aircraft's company headquarters in Los Angeles—in fact, directly across Jefferson Avenue from the defunct Hughes Airport—the A5 Light Sport amphibian was introduced to a crowd of 500-plus trendy Angelenos, investors, powersport stars, and designers packed cheek-to-diesel. After a short speech from Eclipse Aviation CEO Vern Raburn, who's also on ICON's board of advisors, and introductions by ICON Aircraft's founder Kirk Hawkins (to include powersports design impresario Troy Lee and former Red Bull director of sports marketing, Paul Crandall) and the company's chief of engineering, none other than Matthew Gionta, ex of Scaled Composites, the drape was lifted on the A5.

The high-wing, two-seat amphibian wears a sleek strutless, all-carbon-fiber airfoil "custom made" for the aircraft hiding a clever, crowd-wowing feature: an electric fold mechanism. With the whir of anticipation, the audience watched the A5's wings pull back at the leading-edge root, rotate nearly 90 degrees up and swing their tips back toward the T tail. "You can pack it up and haul it behind the car like a speedboat," said Hawkins.

In many details, the A5 is unique. Twin landing lights in the nose evoke automotive headlights, a plane-as-car theme carried through to the interior. "You won't see an airliner's cockpit," said Hawkins. Indeed, the instrument panel is more like a motorcycle's; the interior very car-like and supposedly roomy, with a claimed 46 inches between the sidewalls.

Perched atop the carbon-fiber cockpit and behind the front-hinged canopy with removable side windows is a 100-hp Rotax 912S pushing a three-blade propeller. Nominally a tri-gear airplane, when waterborne the A5 is a hull floater, with small pods behind the cabin on each side for stability that also enclose the retracted main gear. A ballistic parachute is part of the design.

ICON is claiming a maximum speed of 120 mph, range of 300 nautical miles and a useful load of 430 pounds, which is also the legal minimum useful load for a two-seat, 100-hp LSA. The A5 will carry 20 gallons of autogas for the 912. Takeoff and landing distances are claimed to be 750 feet each.

Announced price is $139,000 with deliveries expected to begin in 2010. The design has not yet flown. At the introduction, guests were offered the chance to get on the sales list before the general introduction of the aircraft on Thursday. All it took was $5000.

Click here to view photos.

AOPA: Lockheed Flight Service Shows Improvement

The local-area knowledge of Flight Service Station briefers is still not as good as it should be, says Andy Cebula, AOPA's executive vice president for government affairs. But the system is working much better than it was last summer, when pilots frequently were having problems with lost flight plans and long hold times. Since then, Lockheed has upgraded its systems and pilots have learned how to cope with their procedures. Increased oversight by Congress has also had an impact, Cebula added, and weekly meetings with AOPA since February have helped as well.

Hear more on this topic from Cebula, as well as his views on fuel costs, ADS-B deployment, and the impact of national security measures on GA pilots, in Friday's upcoming AVweb podcast.

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Safer Skies back to top 

Federal Report Critiques ATC Training, Congress Investigates

The FAA's procedures for training new air traffic controllers are falling short, according to a report from the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General issued late last week. On Wednesday afternoon, the topic got a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Aviation. In its report, the OIG said the FAA's program for training new hires on the job is "extremely decentralized" and the efficiency and quality of the training varies widely from one location to another. The same problems were found in 2004, the OIG said, and FAA has made little progress in addressing them. At Wednesday's hearing, Pat Forrey, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said a third party -- perhaps the National Academy of Sciences -- should be brought in to help establish "scientifically based" staffing standards for every FAA ATC facility. He also said the FAA needs to back off on the work rules it imposed when negotiations reached an impasse, and try to encourage veteran controllers to stay.

"There are far too many trainees, more than the FAA can safely and effectively handle," NATCA spokesman Doug Church told AVweb on Wednesday. "These human beings are being put into extremely perilous, demoralizing and exhausting conditions, often well before they are prepared to handle it, because the FAA has no other choice due to the staffing crisis." The OIG report said that if the FAA plans to hire and train 17,000 new controllers by 2017, the agency must do a better job of training new hires, be careful not to exceed the training capacity of individual facilities, and must encourage veteran controllers to transfer to the more challenging sites. Hank Krakowski, head of the FAA Air Traffic Organization, testified that traffic is down overall in the national airspace, from airlines to GA traffic, which is helping to "de-stress" the system.

One Wing, No Pilot, No Problem

A recent flight test showed that an unmanned, autonomous F/A-18 jet aircraft may be able to land safely even after losing almost 60 percent of a wing, Rockwell Collins said this week. Athena Technologies, a division of the company, conducted the test this spring flying a scale-model airplane. The control systems automatically adapted to the loss of control surface, the company said, and then landed safely, using internal Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System reference only. Rockwell Collins says the capability could be applicable to all commercial, business and general aviation aircraft for full flight automation and backup, as well as for military aircraft in combat. "This powerful capability can save the military the expense of lost UAVs," said David Vos, senior director of Control Technologies at Rockwell Collins. "But more importantly, the solution can save lives."

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) sponsored the flight demonstrations, which were conducted at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Click here to view videos of the flights.

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.
The Future of Flight back to top 

NextGen Comes To Florida Via DayJet

DayJet, which operates an on-demand charter fleet of Eclipse VLJs, said on Tuesday that it has signed an agreement to work with the FAA and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to deploy NextGen technologies throughout the state of Florida over the next five years. The project will serve as a proving ground for the technology, to develop procedures and wring out any problems, and it will help smooth the way for nationwide deployment over the next 15 years. The FAA's Hank Krakowski, the head of the Air Traffic Organization, said at AOPA's fly-in last weekend that as a pilot himself, he will keep the needs of GA pilots in mind as the NextGen system evolves. NextGen will create more access to airspace, more options for pilots, and increased efficiency, he said: "That's the promise of the new technologies."

AOPA President Phil Boyer said at the fly-in that his staff will keep a close watch on the evolution of NextGen to ensure that GA pilots benefit from the changes, and are not saddled with too many costs for new equipment. DayJet President and CEO Ed Iacobucci said on Tuesday, "We are proud to leverage our technology and expertise to help the nation enter the new age of digital aviation."

August FAA Charts To Include MOA Frequencies

Starting with aviation charts to be released in August, the FAA will print contact information that will make it easier for pilots to decide whether it is OK to fly through a Military Operating Area (MOA) or if it's better to go around. With more pilots trying to improve their route efficiency to save on fuel, the change is a timely one -- if long overdue. "For more than a decade, AOPA has been advocating that the military and FAA work together to chart these frequencies," said Pete Lehmann, AOPA manager of air traffic services. "This is a move in the right direction to allow all pilots to access real-time data regarding the status of special-use airspace." The new FAA charts will provide contact frequencies for an FAA center controller, military air traffic controller, or range control officer for each MOA and restricted area, AOPA said, so pilots can check to see if the airspace is active, and if it is, at what altitudes.

"Often, when MOAs are active, the military is using a higher floor than what is printed on the chart," said AOPA. "In these cases, pilots can find out the floor and decide whether they can safely fly under it." The change will hopefully prevent encounters like the one between two GA pilots and an Air Force F-16 earlier this year, which was discussed extensively in AVweb's blog and examined in-depth in Aviation Safety magazine in May.

Aviation Headsets: Share Your Thoughts and Be Entered to WIN!
What is important to you when considering aviation headsets? Your opinion counts. Take a few minutes to answer some questions on what features lead you to purchase and how you choose between brands, and you can be entered to win a $100 Sporty's gift card. Click here now to complete this short survey and help influence the future of the aviation headset industry.
Things to See and Do at Oshkosh back to top 

Lancair Evolution Will Fly At Oshkosh

The Lancair Evolution, a four-seat, pressurized turboprop kit aircraft that flies at 335 knots behind a Pratt & Whitney PT6, will make its first appearance at EAA AirVenture next month, the company said this week. The airplane first debuted in April at Sun 'n Fun, but at Oshkosh it will fly daily exhibition flights, and the company also will offer demo flights to prospective buyers and the media. The company says the airplane has undergone independent evaluations that found its flight characteristics meet FAA Part 23 standards. Production of kits has started and the first delivery is scheduled for July. The Evolution fast-build kit sells for $250,000, with the completed airplane costing up to $1 million. Click here for an exclusive AVweb video tour of the Evolution, inside and out, from the Sun 'n Fun debut.

Lancair, based in Redmond, Ore., has delivered over 2,000 kits since it was founded in 1984. The company produces the Lancair Legacy FG, Legacy RG, Lancair ES, Lancair ES-P, Lancair IV and Lancair IV-P.

Virgin Galactic Presence Promised For Oshkosh

When the gigantic WhiteKnightTwo spaceship-hauling airplane rolls out of the hangar in Mojave on July 28 -- the opening day of EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. -- the event will have "real-time ties... back to Oshkosh," EAA President Tom Poberezny promised this week. "We've been in regular communications with our friends at Virgin Galactic and its partner organization, Scaled Composites, to coordinate." The next day, July 29, designer Burt Rutan will arrive at AirVenture along with Virgin Group owner Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn, where they will host a forum and interact with visitors. While WhiteKnightTwo would seem the perfect vehicle for them to arrive in, Whitehorn told Space.com the ship won't start flight tests before September. No public glimpse of SpaceShipTwo is expected before early 2009, he said.

EAA promised to announce more details regarding the Virgin Galactic story at AirVenture as they are finalized. Click here for a video of one of last year's Virgin Galactic events from Oshkosh.

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.
News Briefs back to top 

SJ30 Making A Comeback

The surprise appearance of one of two production Sino Swearingen SJ30 aircraft at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition last month prompted plenty of speculation on the future of the speedy bizjet, and the plans to resume production were confirmed earlier this week. Sino Swearingen announced on Monday that it now has a deal with Dubai-based Emirates Investment and Development PSC to buy 80 percent of the company and get the plane back in production.

The SJ30 development program lasted almost a decade and was funded by the Taiwanese government to the tune of $700 million. Political changes in Taiwan prompted the country to stop the money flow, just as the San Antonio-based company was gearing up for production. Taiwan retains the remaining 20-percent share. The company says it has about 300 orders for the aircraft, which cruises as high as 49,000 feet at 486 knots and will maintain sea-level cabin pressure at 41,000 feet.

Cause Unclear In Airbus A320 Crash In Sudan

A Sudan Airways Airbus A310 ran off the runway and burst into flames after landing at Khartoum International Airport in Sudan on Tuesday night. At least 29 people died and 171 escaped, with 14 still unaccounted for, according to The Associated Press. On Wednesday, investigators were on the scene but it was unclear what had caused the crash. Some reports cited thunderstorms, gusty winds and a sandstorm in the area at the time of the landing. One official said the airplane had landed safely when "technical problems" caused an engine to explode. Another report said the jet ran off the runway and hit some navigation-light structures with its right wing, sparking the fire. Experts from Airbus and France's aviation-safety agency will assist in the investigation. Click here for a Reuters video of the inferno.

The flight originated in Damascus, Syria, and made a stopover in Amman, Jordan, before flying to Khartoum.

On the Fly ...

The FAA needs to deal with pilot fatigue issues in airline operations, says the NTSB...

Bye Engineering has teamed with Porous Power Technologies to develop electric and hybrid powerplants for general aviation. Both companies are in Colorado...

Two FAA whistleblowers allege that safety issues in airline inspections continue. The FAA says it is investigating...

A sightseer riding in a C182 skydiving plane fell 10,000 feet to his death, an apparent suicide, in Schenectady, N.Y., over the weekend.

Precise/Cirrus Fixed Oxygen Is Now Available as an SR22 Retrofit
Because every SR22 deserves the best, we have acquired STCs for the G2 and G3 Models. The Precise Flight Certified Fixed Oxygen System, unique in its clean and simple integration into the aircraft, is making its way "standard" on the industry's leading airframes. Click here to find out more about the Precise Fixed Oxygen System.
New on AVweb back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #134: Give Yourself WINGS

Brainteasers Time to blow off a little steam -- FAASTeam. That's shorthand for FAA Safety Team, a relatively new program promoting aviation safety. Test your knowledge of the program and some of its hotter topics.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

AVweb Insider Blog: Will Apple Kill Garmin?

Apple's iPhone will soon have GPS capabilities, and Garmin's poised to counter with their own NuviPhone. Which device will win the hearts and minds of users — the phone with GPS or the GPS device that can make calls? AVweb's Paul Bertorelli has some ideas of his own, and he shares them in the latest installment of AVweb Insider.

Read more.

Earn 10% Off Your Annual Aviation Insurance Premium!
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Tell Us What You Think back to top 

Question of the Week: The Future of 100LL

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we passed the buck and asked AVweb readers a question that was put to us by one of you, AVweb reader Steve Allen: Which is the bigger threat to general aviation — user fees or fuel prices?

Given the current state of our Fuel Finder, where 100LL prices have risen 84¢ since the beginning of the year, we weren't surprised by your answers. Rising fuel prices took the early lead over user fees and finished with a 60-40 majority in our informal poll. It seems you have your answer, Steve — although we doubt it's helping you sleep any easier at night.

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.)


With avgas prices rising and technology moving forward, we're starting to hear a lot of doom-and-gloom predictions for the future of 100 low-lead. This week, we want to know your opinion on the matter.

How long do you think 100LL will be available?
(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.

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, plus access to aviation records and much more. To become an NAA member, sign up online or call (703) 416-4888 and press 4.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Crash Technical Report

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

The crash on takeoff of a 509th Air Wing, Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber, February 23 operating at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, was caused by water in the aircraft's sensors, according to an Air Combat report issued Thursday. Specifically, moisture in three port transducer units "distorted data introduced by a B-2 Spirit's air data system" which led to flawed information entering the bomber's flight control computers. The aircraft was reacting to inaccurate airspeed and a "perceived" negative angle of attack. This resulted in an "uncommanded 30 degree nose-high pitch-up on takeoff," according to the Air Force.

The video has more detail, but you can also click here for the full story.

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

Artful Flying, Perfect Gift for Friends or Yourself
Artful Flying, the award-winning book by AVweb's former As the Beacon Turns columnist Michael Maya Charles, will show you how to turn your hours and hours of cockpit moments into a lifetime of art. This is no ordinary "how-to" text! Order online today and receive complimentary ground shipping.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Vee Neal Aviation (Arnold Palmer Regional, Latrobe, PA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Vee Neal Aviation at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport (KLBE) in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

AVweb reader Josh Allen put their FBO on our radar, writing that he "always look[s] forward to being to fly to Vee Neal":

Their attitude toward planes should be followed by all FBOs. Together, being friendly and fast and having the cheapest services around, they are an all-around wonderful FBO. I find myself with tons of time to kill because they are so quick with their service! Can't wait to come back!

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!

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 Zealand and monitor and display real-time delay information, TFRs, SUAs, and more. With the Flight Explorer Pilot Edition, view weather along a route, receive alerts with your preliminary flight plan, and have an e-mail sent to someone on departure or arrival. Click here for more information and to subscribe.
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.


As the temperatures continue to rise at "POTW" headquarters, so does the quality of our submissions. That's good news for you, too (assuming you enjoy a good break from work to ogle airplanes as much as we do). If you've got some photos to share, please — contribute to the fun! We look forward to seeing your images.

medium | large

copyright © Donald Reid
Used with permission

Gary Ward at Lumberton

This week's top photo comes from Donald Reid of Bumpass, Virginia, who shot this amazing photo for Ward in North Carolina last month. Gary tells the shot was taken using nothing more than a Canon with 200mm zoom and extender.


medium | large

Used with permission of
Miguel Angel Gordillo

The EAA Spirit

Miguel Angel Gordillo of Campo Real, Spain sent us this incredibly charming photo of his 7-month-old daughter Marta helping out with the building of his RV-8.


medium | large

Used with permission of Doug Moler

Airbike Smoke Pass

Doug Moler of Valley Center, Kansas made good use of his camera during a recent EAA Chapter 88 luncheon and fly-in.


medium | large

Used with permission of Chris Zavatson

Nighttime Departure

Chris Zavatson of Woodland, California writes, "This is a photo of a Seneca departing Woodland-Watts Airport ... (KO41). I happened to have my camera available and thought I would give this a shot." We think it turned out pretty nice, Chris!


medium | large

Used with permission of Timothy O'Connor

New Top Secret Air Show Act

Timothy O'Connor of Batavia, Ohio tells us "this new top secret air show act where a Stearman biplane walks a tightrope was observed last week at Red Stewart Airfield in Ohio." Mmm-hmm — I'm sure we'll see it for ourselves at AirVenture, Tim!


More Pics to See
Cruise on over to AVweb's home page, and you'll find more than a dozen bonus pics that we couldn't fit into this week's "POTW" story.

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.