AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 28a

July 7, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Fly With Bose® Aviation Headset X™
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
 
Top News: Emergency Craft Under Scrutiny back to top 
 

As Wildfires Burn, Air Tanker Fleet Updates Uncertain

Six years after the entire big air tanker fleet was grounded by the NTSB over airworthiness issues, some fear little has changed even as massive and abundant fires currently burning in northern California push the demand for the aircraft. Thursday, two Colorado congressmen pushed the Department of Agriculture for the Department's plan to modernize the fleet. Awareness was raised in 2002, when the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management permanently grounded nine air tanker firefighting aircraft and temporarily took 35 more out of service pending inspections. At that time, a panel of aviation experts concluded that the air tanker system was unsustainable and called for a system-wide overhaul. The 2002 groundings followed two 2002 air tanker crashes -- a C-130 in June, and a PB4Y-2 in July -- that killed five crewmen. Both aircraft suffered in-flight catastrophic wing failure.

By March 2003 inspected tankers began returning to service only to have the entire fleet grounded by the NTSB in May of 2004 for concerns. In 2006 Colorado congressmen Mark Udall and John Salazar were told by the undersecretary of agriculture and natural resources that the spring of 2007 would see a new plan to modernize the air tanker fleet. Thursday, Udall and Salazar were still waiting.

 
JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source
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JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA), West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Call (800) 323-5966, or click for more information.
 
This Summer's Hottest Tickets back to top 
 

Is Sport Pilot The Future Of GA?

If the architects of the Sport Pilot certificate are correct, there should be thousands of teens like Kris Halvorson out there. At least that's what they hope. Halvorson is a textbook case of how the simpler certificate is supposed to entice youngsters to fly. Halvorson earned his Sport Pilot certificate on June 18 at the AirLake airport (KLVN) in Minneapolis. He recieved his certificate almost exactly one year after starting his flight training. All of his training was done in a Flight Design CTsw at LSA North, Inc. "I really enjoyed the flight training," said Halvorson. "The Sport Pilot program was pretty straightforward and was what I was expecting." Halvorson chose the Sport Pilot license for its simplicity. He paid for his flight training himself by working nights and weekends at LifeTime Fitness. "My schedule was work, then fly, work, then fly," said Halvorson. "I would have been able to get my Private [Pilot Certificate], but it would have taken a lot more time."

Kris's instructor, Scott Johnson, sees many benefits to the Sport Pilot program for young people . "One benefit is that you can get your initial license in half the time and half the cost," said Johnson. Last summer Johnson had 4 or 5 sport pilot students. Currently he has over 20. "Sport Pilot is more than just ultralights. It's an easier way for people to "test the waters" to see if they like flying," said Johnson. "And if you want to go further all of your training counts toward any future ratings."

Fuel-Conscious Ways To Oshkosh

More then ever before, drivers and pilots are affected by the steeply rising fuel costs. But the folks at the EAA have a plan. Actually, they have numerous plans that can make the trip to Oshkosh for both drivers and flyers more economical. To help share travel costs to and from the show the EAA has a program called RideShare. Through the website visitors can either advertise empty seats in their car or plane, or search for local travelers who are willing to offer a lift. This five-year-old program was formed due to members request and is getting more interest than ever this year. To help further alleviate costs, many FBOs across the country are offering fuel discounts for travelers flying to Oshkosh. "We encourage pilots to support these businesses that support EAA members and EAA AirVenture," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. The exact discount varies, but can each be found by contacting the individual FBO. For those that prefer to fly in via airline, discounts are available for those flying on Midwest Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Midwest offers an 8% discount and Northwest a 5% discount to published fares.

As far as attendance figures goes, the EAA feels optimistic. "We have a higher number of exhibitors registered this year and early camping arrivals are similar to past years." said Dick Knapinski, EAA Media & Public Relations. "Most of the people we've talked with indicate that they will find ways to economize elsewhere so they can make that big trip to Oshkosh."

 
Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
Lycoming® produces the most complete line of horizontally opposed, air-cooled four-, six-, and eight-cylinder certified aircraft engines available, with power ranging from 100 to 400 HP. For homebuilders, air race and aerobatic pilots, and others looking for non-certified engines with Lycoming dependability, Lycoming offers custom-built Thunderbolt Engines. Lycoming piston engines have a reputation for reaching or exceeding TBO. For more information, please visit Lycoming.com.
 
'The-Jet' Goes Airborne back to top 
 

Cirrus' The-Jet Flies, July 3

July 3 marked the first flight, a 45-minute jaunt, of Cirrus Design's The-Jet -- the company says the five-plus-two seat aircraft "performed flawlessly." The first aircraft is dubbed "V1" for verification and validation testing. It, like other Cirrus aircraft, flies with a full-plane parachute -- unlike other Cirri, The-Jet is powered by a Williams FJ33-4A-19. Performance targets are 300 ktas at 25,000 feet, range was not specified in Cirrus' latest release. Cirrus Chairman and CEO, Alan Klapmeier set the bar for the aircraft at holding "the unique promise of redefining general aviation." Aimed at owner-pilots, if The-Jet hits the mark it will be simple to fly and wrap efficient single-jet operation in a package that offers more flexibility and "more lifestyle pursuits" than other aircraft. The-Jet recently completed wind tunnel tests at Langley and has been further tested to substantiate the structural load capacities of its sub-assemblies.

Cirrus says the aircraft marks the first application of the v-tail on a major consumer aircraft in 60 years and touts its backpack engine mount design as a common sense solution that keeps the engine outside of the fuselage structure and though it employs vectored thrust, "makes for smooth handling and excellent engine efficiency."

Related Content (AVweb The-Jet Videos):


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Exclusive Video: Cirrus The-Jet -- First Flight

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

July 3, 2008, Cirrus Design marked the first flight of its jet offering. The aircraft, currently dubbed "The-Jet" successfully flew for 45 minutes. AVweb's Glenn Pew has video of the flight.


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Alan Klapmeier on the First Flight of Cirrus Design's "The-Jet"

File Size 6.0 MB / Running Time 6:30

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In many ways, today was the day Alan and Dale Klapmeier have been waiting for since the 1980s when they first started thinking about building airplanes. But as Alan Klapmeier told AVweb's Russ Niles, Thursday's first flight of the verification test aircraft of Cirrus's The-Jet is actually more of a beginning as they head toward certification and production of the five-plus-two-passenger personal jet.

Click here to listen. (6.0 MB, 6:30)

 
Cirrus Perspective™ by Garmin: A New Beginning for General Aviation
As a pilot, you sit in a cockpit and experience the world in ways others can only imagine. As leaders in technology and innovation, Cirrus and Garmin sat in the cockpit together and imagined how to redesign the flying experience. Together they have re-imagined the pilot-airplane interface, and as a result, revolutionized general aviation. See the result at CirrusDesign.com.
 
A Different Kind of Balloon Flight back to top 
 

Kent Couch's Helium Balloon Lawn Chair Success

Kent Couch, 48, Saturday lifted off from a pasture in Bend, Ore., suspended in a green lawn chair beneath a collection of more than 150 giant helium-filled party balloons, and covered about 235 miles in about nine hours, landing in Cambridge, Idaho. Couch controlled his ascent and descent with a Red Ryder BB gun and ballast (in this case, 15-gallon barrels of cherry Kool Aid). Couch also carried two GPS units -- one for himself and one for the chair, just in case it got away again (last year, it blew away on landing). He also had with him a blowgun and steel darts ... and boiled eggs, jerky and chocolate. The balloons give about four pounds of lift, each. The chair and supporting structure weighs about 400 pounds, and one Couch plus parachute weigh in at about 200. The flight cost about $6,000 for aircraft and fuel, or in this case, the rig itself and the helium, a cost that was defrayed by "corporate sponsors," according to The Associated Press. "If I had the time and money and people, I'd do this every weekend," said Couch. "Things just look different from up there. You're moving so slowly. The best thing is the peace and serenity." His wife Susan added, "It's never been a dull moment since I married him." The flight was Couch's third.

In 2006, Couch had to parachute from his rig when overzealous balloon popping led to a too-rapid rate of descent. Last year, his flight took him 193 miles to northeastern Oregon, but his real goal remained a trip out of state. His successful trip this year was aided also by dozens of volunteers who wore fluorescent green T-shirts that read "Dream Big." It's often a dangerous mission. In this case, mission accomplished.

Helium Balloon Failure, Body Found

The body of 42-year-old priest Adelir Antonio de Carli, who April 20 attempted to raise money for a worship center and rest stop for truckers by flying below an array of helium-filled balloons, may have been found in the Atlantic. Police in Brazil are investigating the findings of a tugboat crew 60 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. The priest had departed the southern port city of Paranagua for Dourados, 465 miles away. He took with him on the trip skydiving experience, a helmet, thermal suit, a parachute and what has been described as a buoyant chair. Aside from his philanthropic intents, it was his attempt to break a record for 19 hours aloft in such a contraption. After de Carli went missing, his former paraglider instructor told the Telegraph.co.uk that he had instructed Carli but later asked him to "abandon the course" because in his estimation Carli had personality traits that were "not ideal for a paraglider." The body is wearing the clothes and shoes of de Carli, but officials will wait for DNA tests to confirm the remains are indeed those of the priest.

 
Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) Offers Quick Decision Term Life Insurance
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News Briefs back to top 
 

More Small Turbines For GA? GE Buys Walter Engines

GE Aviation has acquired assets of Walter Engines, the Czech turboprop manufacturer, for an undisclosed sum of less than $70 million, GE spokeswoman Deborah Case told the International Herald Tribune. The move affords GE a stake in the small turboprop aircraft market, where it previously had none, and the ability do battle for business with Pratt & Whitney Canada -- taking aim specifically on the PT6 engine. Walter is currently nearly one percent the size of Pratt & Whitney but "whatever win we can get from the market ... it's more than we have now," said Case. GE plans to make substantial investments in Walter and this July is expected to introduce an improved version of Walter's most popular engine, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. A spokesman for Pratt & Whitney Canada told The Associated Press that the company takes all competition "very seriously," but "I don't see where there's much competition from someone one percent [our] size..."

With fuel costs rising, the speed, efficiency and reliability offered by turboprop aircraft led to a slight rise in shipments in Q1 of 2008, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, while the piston engine segment suffered a year-over-year drop of 28 percent.

In Destin, Lest Parasailers And Airplanes Meet...

Parasailing near the Gulf Coast city of Destin, Fla., is becoming a public-relations problem and potential danger for tourists, local business and local pilots. Destin airport is close enough to the ocean to pose concern, and operations at Eglin Air Force Base add to it. But add banner planes "that come two or three an hour" and aircraft that "like to do stunt flying" up and down the beach and you've got a problem, parasailing business owner John Cooper told local news. To complicate matters, a recent visit with Destin's code enforcement department by an FAA inspector prompted disagreement over what entity should handle violations of parasailing proximity and altitude by what Cooper calls "newer operators." Pilots and regulators aren't the only ones upset -- parasail operators who say they're already dodging low-flying aircraft flying outside of any restricted or controlled airspace would like to see a resolution, too.

Toward that end, parasail operators are willing to seek compromise provided regulators and the FAA move forward the understanding that the future of parasail businesses depends on a reasonable outcome.

 
New Financing Terms for Light Sport Aircraft *
If you're looking to finance a light sport aircraft, the terms just got better through the AOPA Aircraft Financing Program. Several types of light sport aircraft now qualify for 90% financing, extended repayment terms and lower interest rates. Call an AOPA Aircraft Financing loan expert today at (800) 62-PLANE to find out if your light sport aircraft qualifies.* For more information, go online.
 
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

AVmail: July 7, 2008

Reader mail this week about avgas, electric planes, pilot shortages (or overages) and more.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

Survey: How Is Flight Service Doing Now That They Suposedly Have the Bugs Worked Out?

Our sister magazine, IFR, is asking pilots nationwide how their experience with Lockheed Martin Flight Service has affected the way they do their preflight prep. We'd love to hear your thoughts on how LockMart is doing these days.

The survey takes just a few minutes. Click here to take part.

(The results will appear in a future issue of IFR magazine. For subscription information, click here.)

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.

 
Find Your Next Aircraft on ASO!
When you search for used aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete picture of the market available anywhere. View thousands of listings with detailed specs and photos or use ASO's advanced search tools to quickly find your next aircraft. Best of all, know that every ad is current and no time is wasted on stale listings. If you're ready for your next aircraft, it's ready for you — on ASO. Visit ASO.com today!
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Probable Cause #61: Illegal IFR Flight

The time and effort spent earning an instrument rating offers a pilot more than just added flexibility. It could save your life.

Click here for the full story.

Ragwing Repair Choices

Each system has its pros and cons, but our top pick is Poly Fiber. However, the shop's skills may matter more than the material itself.

Click here for the full story.

 
Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator Sale
For a limited time only, while quantities last, Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator models are available at a special price of $299,950. The aircraft also qualify for special 2008 tax incentives. You can enjoy owning a Diamond DA40 and write off up to 93% of the purchase price. Visit Diamond Aircraft now for more information.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: FlightLine First (KNEW, New Orleans, LA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to FlightLine First at Lakefront Airport (KNEW) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

AVweb reader Ian Cairns called the airport to our attention this week, calling the staff at FlightLine "good folks trying to make a go of it and up against two national chains." Ian went on to explain that the main office is still located in a trailer while they finish post-Katrina renovations, "but it has everything — widescreen TV, computer access for briefings, comfortable sofas ... [and the] courtesy car is a new Mercedes." Ian does warn us against higher fuel prices throughout the area, but he says FlightLine is very competitive in that context and should have self-serve options in the very near future.

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.
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Chris Eastlee of AAMS Addresses Medevac Safety Concerns

File Size 7.8 MB / Running Time 8:31

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

It's been a rough year for those who fly medevac aircraft, and the Association of Air Medical Services is hoping a series of initiatives will refocus operators on safety. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Chris Eastlee of AAMS about what can be done to improve safety in one of the most challenging flying environments.

Click here to listen. (7.8 MB, 8:31)

Exclusive Video: Inside Diamond's D-Jet Personal Jet Aircraft

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

With new personal jets popping up all the time, AVweb takes a look at what may very well be the next certified single-engine very light or personal jet to enter the market. Diamond's D-Jet is expected next year to earn its type certificate, and that's when the company hopes to make first deliveries. Diamond recently announced plans to upgrade the aircraft with Garmin's G1000 Synthetic Vision package and the Williams FJ33-19 powerplant — offering 20 percent more thrust and a 4,000-hour TBO. AVweb's Glenn Pew offers this look inside.


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Video of the Week: Tiger Moth Aerobatics Over Australia

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

AVweb reader Michele Travierso recently spent some time playing passenger during aerobatic passes — but unlike many of us who get the opportunity, he (a) had his videocamera handy, (b) was in what he describes as a "beautifully restored Tiger Moth" (what we can see in the video bears out his assessment), and (c) zoomed and flipped over some gorgeous Australian countryside.

See for yourself:


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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."

 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

I was departing Terre Haute, Indiana. The ATIS said clear below 12,000, but I could see a scattered layer of clouds to the south with tops around 4,500 feet. After tower switched me to departure, there was this exchange:

Cessna 123 (me):
"Approach, Cessna 123. Request VFR-on-top 5,500."

Controller (sarcastically):
"Cessna 123, it's called 'clear.'"

Cessna 123 (me):
"Then I'd like to report strange puffy white things with tops around 4,500, 12 o'clock, 10 miles."

The controller must not have understood that VFR-on-Top does not require clouds.

John Rudolph
Evansville, Indiana

 
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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
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.