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Volume 14, Number 36b
September 4, 2008
 
Aircraft Spruce at the 45th Annual National Championship Reno Air Races & Air Show!
Join the Aircraft Spruce team in Reno, Nevada for the 45th Annual Reno Air Show in the Exhibit Hangar inside the Pitt Gates. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products), and helpful staff to answer questions. The NEW 2008-2009 Aircraft Spruce Catalog will be available! Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
 
Top News: Lycoming, Thielertback to top 
 

LYCOMING APPEAL OF CRANKSHAFT CASE QUASHED
The lawyer for a Navasota, Texas-based foundry says the Supreme Court of Texas has upheld a lower court ruling absolving his client of wrongdoing in the manufacture of faulty crankshafts that were installed in Lycoming engines. In 2005, Interstate Southwest won a jury decision that not only found it blameless, but also found Lycoming liable for fraud in the case. Lycoming appealed and the Supreme Court rejected that appeal on Tuesday. "This Supreme Court decision means Interstate Southwest wins and Lycoming loses – it's as simple as that," attorney Marty Rose said in a news release "A jury of 12 people looked at this and said that Lycoming was to blame. This decision affirms that." Lycoming did not immediately respond to our email request for comment Wednesday. More...

THIELERT SAYS PURCHASE OFFERS ARE PROMISING
Several "well-known investors" have expressed an interest in buying the insolvent Thielert Aircraft Engines company, the company said this week. "In some cases, the offers even exceed initial expectations," according to company spokesman Sebastian Glaser. "Moreover, in recent weeks a number of other new prospective customers have expressed their interest as well," Glaser said. "Thus, the deadlines have been accordingly extended." Once all the bids have been collected, prospective buyers will be given the opportunity to thoroughly examine the company, then, actual purchase negotiations will begin. The company's statement did not offer a timeline for this process. Meanwhile, Thielert continues to produce diesel engines, and a new order from the U.S. has helped to stabilize the company's financial situation, according to this week's statement. "We can offer investors an intact company that is not making losses," said insolvency administrator Dr. Bruno M. Kubler. "Even if plans are to quickly find an investor, we are not under pressure to sell at an inadequate price." More...

 
Trade-A-Plane, Aviation's Original Search Engine
Back in 1937, Trade-A-Plane was the original — and only — place to look for parts to repair an airplane. Trade-A-Plane is still the best, with everything that keeps you flying — thousands of planes, products, and services updated hourly. Call Trade-A-Plane at (800) 337-5263 or subscribe online.

In print or online, start your search with the world's largest aviation resource — Trade-A-Plane.
 
Aircraft in Treesback to top 
 

PLUMMETING BALLOON SNAGGED BY TREES, PILOT SURVIVES
Imagine flying an airplane when both wings suddenly depart the fuselage -- that is about the kind of emergency that was faced by balloon pilot Chuck Walz on Sunday morning, when the fabric of his balloon envelope collapsed, and the aircraft plummeted toward the ground. But just before impact, the fabric snagged on a cluster of trees, breaking the fall, and the basket tipped, dumping Walz to the ground from a height of about 12 feet. He was taken to a hospital with a broken pelvis and a puncture wound to one leg, but he was conscious and alert, and by Tuesday his full recovery was said to be "promising." Walz, who is from Michigan, was competing in the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships in Anderson County, S.C. David Levin, an official with the Balloon Federation of America, which organized the event, visited Walz on Monday. "Chuck and I agreed that we witnessed the hand of God in the form of a tree that reached out and saved his life," Levin said. More...

MOTH IN A TREE
When deHavilland built the Tiger Moth, it was designed to have the gentle flight characteristics that would launch a legion of crack pilots against the Third Reich. It did that job with minimal damage to airframes and teenaged pilots and it helped Augie Gorreck and his passenger Susie Williams walk (make that rappel) away from mishap that might have had a terrible result. The 65-year-old biplane lost power in its unique inverted Gypsy Major engine shortly after takeoff from Skylark Airpark near East Windsor, Conn. on Sunday and Gorreck, lacking altitude to do anything else, settled it into a copse of trees at the end of the runway. "We got away with it," Gorreck told reporters as he and Williams rode on the back of an all-terrain vehicle from the crash site. Both were unharmed but spent three hours 50 feet above the ground waiting for rescue. More...

 
Win a Brand-New Ford Mustang GT Convertible!!!
Every Genuine Factory Engine purchased from Air Power, Inc. between September 8, 2008 and July 20, 2009 automatically is entered to win a Brand New Ford Mustang GT Convertible! For official rules and details, visit Air Power online at the web site FactoryEngines.com or call Air Power at (888) 759-4295.

Don't forget: Air Power's First-Ever, Zero-Down Factory Engine Financing makes it easier than ever to get the Factory Engine you've always wanted!
 
Reorganization & Recoveryback to top 
 

ECLIPSE ANNOUNCES NEW ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
In its continuing effort to "ensure [a] clear path to profitability," the new management team at Eclipse Aviation said on Tuesday that it has created a new structure for operating the company. Peg Billson, previously the company's chief operating officer, has been appointed president and general manager of the Eclipse Manufacturing Division, and Mike McConnell, previously vice president of sales and marketing, will serve as president and general manager of the Eclipse Customer Division. Roel Pieper, who took over as CEO when founder Vern Raburn departed the company, says the new framework will serve to "rapidly advance" his operational excellence strategy. "I have been directly involved in several turnaround efforts over the course of my career and believe these changes will be instrumental in driving world-class manufacturing and a superior customer experience," he said in a news release. "I have absolute confidence in this leadership team's ability to deliver the profitable results this company requires," Pieper said. More...

GULF COAST MOPS UP FROM GUSTAV
Hurricane Gustav was no Katrina, but it still caused plenty of headaches for aviators in the Gulf Coast region. As of Tuesday, Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans remained closed to passenger traffic and was operating on generator power, but VFR daytime operations were allowed. The airport was expected to be back to normal operations sometime Wednesday. The city's Lakefront Airport was closed and unattended as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the National Business Aviation Association's hurricane report. Most other airports in the region were reopened by Tuesday, although some were lacking electrical power. Gustav has been downgraded to a tropical depression as it moves northwest, but threats of local rains up to 20 inches and possible tornados remain. More...

 
Introducing AV8OR™ from Bendix/King by Honeywell
The AV8OR is the portable and affordable GPS built specifically for pilots, by a company that knows pilots. With navigation routing, planning and weather information for the aircraft and the automobile, the AV8OR uses aviation software and symbology pilots understand. Its 4.3-inch touch screen is larger and easier to read than competing GPS systems, with an intuitive interface derived from the pilot-friendly, panel-mounted Bendix/King multi-function display systems. For more information, go online.
 
Meanwhile, On the Leading Edge ...back to top 
 

AUTONOMOUS HELICOPTERS TEACH THEMSELVES AEROBATICS
A fleet of scale-model autonomous helicopters operated by Stanford computer scientists can learn to fly complex stunts by "watching" other helicopters perform the same maneuvers, the research team said this week. The project illustrates the capability of "apprenticeship learning," in which robots learn by observing an expert, rather than by following pre-programmed software instructions. Using artificial intelligence, the autonomous helicopters are able to fly a complex routine while correcting for variables such as wind gusts. During a flight, instruments monitor the position, direction, orientation, velocity, acceleration and spin of the helicopter in several dimensions. A computer crunches the data, makes quick calculations, and beams new flight directions to the helicopter via radio 20 times per second -- with no human input. The technology could be useful in "training" autonomous helicopters to search for land mines or wildfires, said Andrew Ng, director of the Stanford research team. "In order for us to trust helicopters in these sort of mission-critical applications, it's important that we have very robust, very reliable helicopter controllers that can fly maybe as well as the best human pilots in the world can," he said. Stanford's autonomous helicopters have taken a large step in that direction, according to Ng. More...

MARTIN JETPACK NOW WITH BRS CHUTE
One of the biggest newsmakers at EAA AirVenture this summer was the Martin Jetpack -- a spiffy-looking unit that promised great mobility and potential, though its live demo at Oshkosh was inconclusive as to its true capabilities. But this week, the product took another step forward in mass-market appeal when Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) announced it has entered into an agreement with Martin Aircraft Company to provide an emergency parachute recovery system for the jetpacks. "This system enables the Jetpack pilot to be saved during a catastrophic failure even when flying at a reasonably low altitude," BRS said in a news release. How low is "reasonable" when you are strapped into a jetpack? "Our official position is 500 feet," BRS President Larry Williams told AVweb on Tuesday. "But as always, deploy when in doubt, since we have seen successful deployments as low as 60 feet. The parachute offers some drag immediately that will slow down the impact. Also, as with all our applications, the function of the system will be influenced by forward velocity as well." More...

 
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.
 
News Briefsback to top 
 

FOSSETT SEARCH CONTINUES, A YEAR LATER
A year after adventurer Steve Fossett disappeared while flying near a friend's ranch in Nevada, a group of 28 searchers are back in the field hoping to find evidence of his fate. The team began its search on Aug. 23 and plans to continue through next Wednesday, The Associated Press reported this week. They are focusing on a new area, west of the area previously scoured, based on new information that a radar track that was believed to show Fossett's route may instead have been the track of a local pilot who was flying over the area at the same day and time. This week's effort is the largest since the main search was called off last year, though other groups have continued to explore the region on a smaller scale. "We're pushing harder, leaving people in the field longer. We've got the lay of the land now," Robert Hyman, one of the team leaders, told the AP on Tuesday. Searcher Lew Toulmin added that he hoped the searchers would have a breakthrough on Sept. 3, a year to the day after Fossett vanished. "We hope that Wednesday's the day," Toulmin said. "That would be nice." More...

ON THE FLY ...
A Convair 580 crashed in Ohio on Monday, all three crew members died...
A P2V fire-fighting air tanker crashed in Nevada Monday, killing three...
A trial has been scheduled for Patty Wagstaff on drunk-driving charges...
Bombardier's CRJ1000 NextGen airliner made its first flight. More...

 
Earn 10% Off Your Annual Aviation Insurance Premium!
Want better coverage and better rates? At Avemco®, you'll get up to 10% taken off your annual insurance premium just for completing FAA Wings, dual instruction, or qualified safety courses. To get your no-cost quote, call Avemco at (888) 241-7891 or click here to visit us online.
 
New on AVwebback to top 
 

BRAINTEASERS QUIZ #137: TWILIGHT ZONES
BrainteasersSubmitted for your consideration: VFR and IFR procedures with, one foot in the 1950s and the other in your 21st-century cockpit. Despite satnav bliss, the National Airspace System (NAS) clings to archaic items that you should know.

Take the quiz.
More...

AVWEB INSIDER BLOG: PIPER MATRIX — A SURPRISE TOP SELLER
In the latest installment of our aviation blog, AVweb Insider, Aviation Consumer's Rick Durden explains why the new Piper Matrix is a surprise best seller. (Cirrus has a lot to do with it.) More...

 
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.
 
Reader Voicesback to top 
 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: THE MARTIN JETPACK — YOU KNOW YOU WANT ONE (RIGHT?)
It was all the rage at EAA AirVenture 2008, and now it seems the Martin Jetpack will be available with a BRS 'chute. This week, we're curious how many AVweb readers would be willing to sink their (hypothetical) money into one. Plus: See what AVweb readers said about experimentals' access to airport in densely-populated areas (last week's Question). More...

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. What have you heard? More...

 
"A Celebration"
Celebrating their 45th anniversary this September, the National Championship Air Races are the last head-to-head air racing event left on Earth and are the favorite among aviation enthusiasts, worldwide. The event features six high-speed racing classes and a static aircraft show, and this year the USAF Thunderbirds and F-22 Demonstration Team will highlight a fleet of world-class aviation demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races or to purchase tickets, call (775) 972-6633, or visit AirRace.org.
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 
 

AVWEB'S AIRVENTURE 2008 VIDEO ROUND-UP
This year at EAA AirVenture we brought you fourteen video reports over the course of seven days. We realize the news was flying fast and furious during the show, so just in case you missed any of our reports, you can catch them all here. (Click through to watch.) More...

 
Attention, Turboprop Operators! Reserve October 28-30 on Your Calendars
Turboprop Expo 2008, October 28-30 in Scottsdale, AZ, will offer specialized programs including seminar tracks for airframe and turboprop engine topics as well as operational and ownership information. Dr. David Strahle will present his informative and acclaimed seminar: Understanding Nexrad Imagery. Enjoy the relaxing surroundings of a classic resort and network with industry leaders at Turboprop Expo 2008. For more information and to register, visit online.
 
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 
 

FBO OF THE WEEK: STOUT FLYING SERVICE (KLWS, LEWISTON, ID)

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Stout Flying Service at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (KLWS) in Lewiston, Idaho.

AVweb reader Steve Cronje gave the FBO "a big thumbs up" for going above-and-beyond to correct an honest mistake. While visiting the FBO, Steve received a fuel bill that he thought was a little high, and after returning home, he began to wonder if the lineman had overcharged him or if (perhaps more worrisome) someone had breached security and stolen a bit of his fuel. Here's the rest of the story, in Steve's own words:

Imagine my pleasure when I received an unprompted letter from Stout Flying Services today. It apologized for accidentally overcharging us for 40 gallons of fuel when we refueled. Apparently, the fuel meter had not been reset properly, and the lineman, who was new, did not notice it. (It was early in the morning and he was the only one around.) They had corrected the accounting with the credit card company and included transaction receipts for our records!

It is great to find a company that puts honesty and integrity above the bottom line in the world of today. There was no need for the Stouts to do anything other than nothing — yet they went to the trouble of tracking us down and putting the matter right.

I hope that Stout Flying Service wins the "FBO of the Week" award for putting principles before the bottom line. Our family, for one, will be certain to use their services again and hopefully this nomination encourages others to do the same.

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!

More...

 
Fly (or Drive) Somewhere! Use AVweb's Calendar of Events
Air shows, seminars, conferences, club events, fly-ins, pancake breakfasts, and trade shows are all featured on AVweb's Calendar of Events.

If you have an event you want folks to know about, post it at no cost!
 
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 
 

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
All good things come to an end eventually, and this week we saw the number of submissions to our weekly "POTW" contest finally recede to normal levels for the first time since AirVenture. Yes, yes, we know — we were making that awwwww sound, too — but wipe that frown off your face, and let's enjoy the terrific photos we do have to share — like this superfast fly-by, courtesy of Ian Astles from Knaphill, Surrey (England)! More...

 
So You Think You Are a Safe Pilot!
Aviation Safety magazine will keep your decision-making skills sharp with interesting and information-packed articles. You may find lots you didn't know! Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
 
More AVweb for Your Inboxback 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/. More...

 
Names Behind the Newsback 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

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Mariano Rosales
Jeff van West

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.

More...