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The test pilot for the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher LSA prototype that crashed last week was spin-testing the airplane and
put it into a cross-controlled, power-on stall, Cessna spokesman Doug Oliver told AVweb this week. "He got into a flat spin and couldn't recover," Oliver said. The airplane, which was one of
several used in the test program, remained intact until it hit the ground. The spin testing started at about 10,000 feet, and the pilot bailed out safely at about 5,000 feet above the ground. The kind
of testing it was undergoing was beyond what is required for the airplane's intended ASTM light sport aircraft certification, Oliver said. He added that the accident is still under investigation but
he doesn't expect the findings will result in any plans to modify the design. The airplane was equipped with a BRS ballistic recovery parachute, which was activated by the test pilot but failed to
Larry Williams, CEO of BRS, told AVweb this week it is too early to determine exactly why the chute didn't work. "It looks to me that the parameters were pretty exceptional," he said. "It
was an unusual situation." He added that BRS is working with Cessna and the NTSB to determine what happened, and he might have more information later in the week. Williams added that the BRS design
has proven to be robust across a wide range of situations, but if this event shows that the design could be improved to increase its range of effectiveness, his team is ready and willing to learn and
make changes. Oliver, of Cessna, noted that the BRS system on the accident aircraft was a standard chute and was not a specially designed spin chute, which is sometimes used in flight
NASA and the U.S. Air Force said this week they intend to establish three national hypersonic
science centers and they are actively seeking university and industry partners. Hypersonic speed is defined as Mach 5 and faster. "We have identified three critical research areas: air-breathing
propulsion, materials and structures, and boundary layer control," said James Pittman, principal investigator for the Hypersonics Project at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. "These three
areas are the biggest hurdles to successful hypersonic flight and low-cost space access using an air-breathing engine." NASA and the Air Force plan to set aside as much as $30 million to fund the
centers over five years.
Meanwhile, however, efforts by the Pentagon to get funding to develop a hypersonic airplane called Blackswift have met resistance in Congress, and it's not clear yet how much funding that project will get. According to The Register (a UK newspaper): "Testy senators, having scribbled all over the project's budget with
red ink, reportedly said: 'It is not clear ... whether a hypersonic cruise aircraft ... designed for long-range flight and recovery offers unique capability and operational utility.'"
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.
information, go online.
Russian officials have given their OK to allow the construction of a factory in Ulyanovsk, Russia, where copies of the Eclipse 500 jet will be assembled, Eclipse Aviation announced on Tuesday. The Russian State Bank, chaired by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir
Putin, will finance the project in full, providing $205 million in return for a share of the enterprise. "Obtaining this approval and financing is an enormous step forward in our efforts to globalize
the Eclipse 500 and create a highly competitive worldwide business model for Eclipse Aviation," Eclipse CEO Roel Pieper said in a news release. Components of the jet will be manufactured elsewhere and
shipped to Russia for assembly. The factory will be built in Ulyanovsk, and is expected to be ready to start production in 2010. Workers will build up to 800 jets a year. The factory in Albuquerque
will continue to work at full capacity, the company said.
The new facility will be operated by European Technology and Investment Research Center (ETIRC) Aviation, which is the exclusive provider of sales, customer service, maintenance support and flight
training for the Eclipse 500 in Europe, the Russian Federation, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Republic of Turkey. Eclipse CEO Pieper is also the chairman of ETIRC Aviation.
For those passengers who had grown to enjoy DayJet's air-taxi service and find themselves missing on-demand air transportation since the operator suspended its services last week, other air-taxi companies are offering to fill the gap. SATSair, ImagineAir, and North American Jet, all members of the Air
Taxi Association (ATXA), provide service to all 60 of the communities in the Southeastern U.S. where DayJet formerly served more than 2,400 members.
The carriers operate a combined fleet of over 30 Cirrus SR-22 and Eclipse 500 aircraft. "DayJet shined a bright light upon the emerging next-generation air-taxi industry and it is our duty to help
affected passengers and communities," said ATXA President Joe Leader. The companies are offering discounts and price matches to DayJet customers.
SATSair and ImagineAir operate SR-22s, and North American Jet operates E500 jets. Meanwhile, much of DayJet's fleet is on the ramp outside Eclipse's Gainseville, Fla. facility.
AveoFlash Experimental Airplane Lights Available at Aircraft Spruce! AveoFlash LED lights feature the exclusive SmartStrobe synchronizer internal circuitry, eliminating the need for external heavy-draw flasher/strobe box units. Includes
user-selectable flash patterns, with a choice of five patterns, along with user-selectable flash speed from 2-150 flashes per minute. The PowerOptimizer circuitry permits a universal product
for voltage from 9-32 volts (no separate voltage), resulting in lower power consumption. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or
An incident that thankfully ended with some fairly rattled pilots and passengers but no more than a little lost tire rubber begs the
question of who is training whom at some of the nation's air traffic control towers. The National Air Traffic Controllers Union says two trainee controllers were in on duty by themselves in the Lehigh
International Airport tower when a Mesa Airlines CRJ700 had to swerve (as in the sudden deviation from a straight path) to avoid a just-landed Cessna 172 while taking off from the Allentown, Pa.,
airport. The widely accepted estimate is the RJ, with 60 passengers aboard, missed the 172 by about 10 feet while decelerating from 120 knots. According to the NTSB, the Cessna was told to take an
early taxiway exit but missed and the pilot reported he or she was heading for the next taxiway. The trainees missed that and, thinking the 172 had left the runway, cleared the RJ for takeoff.
The Mesa crew apparently heard the 172 pilot's report that the controllers missed but started the takeoff. They were almost at rotation speed when they spotted the Cessna and swerved to miss it.
While no one is so disputing the facts of the incident, NATCA is suggesting a shortage of qualified controllers played a role and it's sure to come up at a meeting of the House Aviation Subcommittee
on Thursday to discuss--runway safety. "The FAA is so desperate to staff its towers they are forced to work trainees by themselves without adequate numbers of experienced controllers there to work
with them," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey. "This has exposed the inexperience of our new workforce. It's unfair to these trainees and should be unacceptable to the flying public." The Mesa
flight (operating for United) was cancelled.
Companies that offer hot-air balloon rides to the public should be subject to periodic inspections by federal officials, according to a report by Canada's Transportation Safety Board. Two hot-air
balloons were destroyed by fire in August 2007 in Canada while carrying paying passengers. Two passengers died and several others were badly hurt. The board concluded that Canada's Department of
Transport should require commercial balloon operations that take paying passengers to provide a level of safety equivalent to that established for other aircraft of equal passenger-carrying capacity.
Standards and regulations should be clear, and inspections should ensure that they are met, the safety board said. The safety board also wants rules established to ensure that balloons carrying paying
passengers are equipped with an emergency fuel shut-off. Transport Canada said it will conduct a risk assessment of the industry before deciding if new regulations are necessary.
Two passengers died in August 2007 in Surrey, British Columbia, when a fire broke out in a balloon while it was still tied to a trailer before launch. The pilot and 10 other passengers escaped,
though several were hurt. That same month, a balloon caught fire during a rough landing in Winnipeg, Manitoba. All occupants escaped; however, the pilot and two passengers suffered serious injuries in
the intense fire.
Precise Flight: Hidden in Plain Sight
With design capabilities as varied as the number of aircraft models available, it's easy to find at least one device manufactured by Precise Flight in the cabin, cockpit, or body of any
aircraft on the market. In fact, integration is a key characteristic of Precise Flight's operating code.
AOPA staffers met with officials from the White House Office of Management and Budget last week and explained that many general aviation pilots are not happy with a proposal that would require them to
electronically provide advance notice and passenger manifests when crossing the U.S. border. "While the idea of telling Customs who is on the aircraft prior to entering the United States is OK with
members," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, "we reinforced the fact that the requirement to do this electronically would significantly impair general aviation
operations." The problem with the rule is that many GA airports in the border regions do not have the required Internet access. A final rule is expected within a few months, AOPA said.
The original proposal would have made electronic filing the sole means of submitting Customs arrival/departure notification and passenger manifests. It also would have added a new requirement to
notify Customs for approval of flight and passenger manifests at least 60 minutes before departing the United States. AOPA told the OMB that alternatives to electronically filing the manifests should
include telephone, aircraft radio, or flight service, and in addition, aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds should be exempt from the rule. More than 3,000 public comments have been filed on the
proposal, which is now under review.
It's been a challenge to get Congress to act on FAA funding this year, with elections looming and a change in administration certain, and this week the issue was postponed yet again -- this time until
March 2009. "That means we can declare victory in the battle against user fees, at least in 2008," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But it also means we start the battle anew in 2009," said Andy
Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "A new Congress means new FAA funding bills will have to be introduced. And the user fee proponents haven't gone away. With rising
deficits, the federal government has even more pressures on its spending and the need for new revenue sources." On Tuesday, both the House and Senate passed bills that will extend the deadline and
authorize the FAA to continue its current spending level, according to AOPA.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) also weighed in, urging Congress to have a new funding plan
ready to go by the time this one expires. "NBAA applauds Congress for the progress already made on FAA reauthorization, and this funding extension is important for allowing airport projects and other
FAA programming to continue," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "At the same time, we think it's also important for Congress to send to the President, as soon as possible, a completed
reauthorization package that provides long-term stability and builds on the work already being done to modernize America's aviation system." Assuming that President Bush signs the bill, aviation taxes
will continue at their current level, airports can continue to move forward with projects under the Airport Improvement Program, and no new fees will be imposed, says AOPA.
Two airline pilots who allegedly fell asleep during a flight from Honolulu to Hilo earlier this year were fired, and the FAA suspended their certificates, 60 days for the captain and 45 for the copilot...
USAIG, the United States Aircraft Insurance Group, wants everyone to know they are NOT affiliated with AIG, the American International Group,
which has recently been in the news. They are completely separate and distinct organizations and have no common ownership or legal relationship...
GE online video explores the meaning of EAA AirVenture as an innovation center...
Deadline nearing for comments on 51-percent rule...
Three vintage airmail airplanes and their pilots have completed a cross-country flight to commemorate the 90th anniversary of U.S. airmail. You can also click here to fly a simulation of
Some of Aviation's Worst Accidents Have Happened on the Ground; Find Out Why
Refresh your skills and learn how to avoid runway incursions by taking advantage of the Air Safety Foundation's complimentary runway safety tools. ASF's online Runway Safety
Interactive Course can be completed in less than an hour, and completion qualifies towards AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings Program. Plus, ASF's downloadable
Runway Safety Flash Cards help pilots better understand runway signage and markings.
Click for your runway
Last week, the outpouring of support from pilots for residents of Texas who were affected by Hurricane Ike prompted us to ask if you'd ever used your airplane for humanitarian
We listed several popular methods of helping out (mainly those we've engaged in or know others who regularly engage in), but the largest segment of respondents still told us My
volunteering experience doesn't gibe with any described in the choices. Right behind those answers, however, came another 30% who said are members of volunteer flight groups and another 21% who
are interested in volunteering but not certain where they could help out.
For a complete (real-time) 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'S QUESTION ***
Two years ago, very light jets were seen as the future of business aviation and possible a savior for the entire industry. A number of recent events have shaken the faith of even true
believers, but it's way too early to count VLJs out. This week, we want to hear what you think.
Don't like the brave new world of Lockheed-Martin's Flight Service? Too bad. It's here to stay and after three years of working at it they've clawed their way back up to the level of adequate. Some of
what we once had with locally knowledgeable briefers is gone forever, but at least one gem of bygone days could be brought back with the right software and some willing users, according to IFR magazine Editor-in-Chief Jeff van West, who takes the new FSS system to task in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider
In 2006, the FAA wasn't moving quickly enough to certify Eclipse's EA500, so the company pressured the agency from the top to move faster. AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli says that
will ultimately slow certification projects for everyone, and you can read his rationale in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.
In the era of $6 and higher gas, there's no reason not to have one of these devices. It will help with leaning and provide all-important engine maintenance cues. Read all about monitors on the
AVweb Insider Blog, in an article from Light Plane Maintenance by editor Kim Santerre.
Win This Plane!
Enter AOPA's 2008 Sweepstakes and you could be flying high in a fully refurbished Piper Archer II, accented with a new instrument panel featuring the world's first installed certified EFD1000
PFD. Custom extras include handcrafted leather seats, tie-down rings, nav light retainers, and wood trim accents.
Click for more
If your Baron could climb at 4,500 fpm and cruise at 300 knots, why would you need a jet?
That's the thought process Rocket Engineering is promoting as it celebrates first flight of its fourth turbine conversion. The company, which already has turbine STCs on the Bonanza, Duke and Piper
Mirage, has fitted the 500-shp Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-21 to a Baron in hopes of having a retrofit package STC'd by late 2009. "The combination of speed, performance and economy of the new
P-Baron PT6A turbo-prop are very realistic, and will serve as a viable and compelling alternative to the yet unproven VLJ market," said Rocket Engineering's president, Darwin Conrad.
Rocket Engineering is calling the souped-up Baron the Cougar and is predicting it will be as efficient as it is speedy. The company is predicting an average fuel burn of 52 gph. Structural
analysis, flutter testing and flight characteristics will all be tested over the next year prior to submission to the FAA for an STC.
Piper rolled out the red carpet for members of the press wanting an inside look at their single-engine very light jet entry, the PiperJet, and AVweb's Paul Bertorelli was on
hand to snap a few photos of the demo model in action. Piper VP of Sales Bob Kromer told us in a podcast interview that we can expect the first
deliveries in 2011. (For more on Piper's press event, click here.)
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,
or call (703) 416-4888 and press 4.
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/.
The world's most important business aviation event, the National Business Aviation Association's annual convention, is coming up Oct. 6-8 in Orlando and there will be hundreds of product announcements
and updates. AVweb will be there with daily coverage of the events, news conferences and announcements that make this show so important but if your company has something more than 100,000
business aviation decision-makers need to know about, we're encouraging you to let us know in advance. That way we can give your news the full attention it deserves and make sure it's released in a
timely fashion during our coverage. Don't worry. We'll strictly observe all embargos. Send your advance material to email@example.com and thanks for your help in making our coverage the most
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.
With winter weather coming, now's a good time to think about the three main deicing systems out there: pneumatic boots, TKS and electro-thermal. Sister publication Aviation Consumer is conducting a survey on what pilots think about them. Even if you have experience with only two of the three, we'd like to hear from
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to an FBO at Warrensburg, Missouri's Skyhaven Airport (KRCM) run by the Department of Aviation at the University of Central Missouri.
AVweb reader Ryan Sanders gave the location his hearty recommendation:
I cannot say enough about this FBO. I get great service every time I come into Warrensburg. Although students run the University's FBO, they really are a great bunch. All ... are extremely
passionate about aviation, and they pass this on to their customers. They are quick on fuel, and the prices are the best in the Midwest.
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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
The weather is beginning to cool down a bit at "POTW" world headquarters, and that means we're spending more time indoors. Thankfully, AVweb readers from around the
globe continue to submit their original photos to our weekly contest, helping us pass the time in style.
Whereas we often close our weekly round-up of reader photos with a breathtaking sunset, we're turning things on their head today. Guy Lynch of
Pewsey, Wiltshire (U.K.) kicks off this week's entries with plenty of orange and just a hint of crisp evening air. "[I] nearly put 'no need for a caption,'" writes Guy and he'd have
been right to do so. Frankly, it can be a bit tough putting words to some of our favorite photos, so we know exactly what Guy was thinking.
Mujahid Abdulrahim of Canoga Park, California explains his entry thusly:
My wife and I fly from Sunquest FBO at Whitman Airport in LA on weekends and evenings. Last Saturday, we sat on the ramp by our airplane and were photographing the weekend air traffic. Between us and
the approach end of RWY 12 sat a wheelchair, dutifully tied down next to other aircraft, presumably saving a spot for a missing owner and aircraft.
What is a wheelchair doing tied down in the middle of a busy ramp? There are many puns to be made relating to wheelchair access ramps, but I will settle only for the most obvious one. [This photo
shows the] chair waiting behind a Skymaster, seemingly in line for takeoff.
Well, maybe "modern" is a tiny bit misleading. Michael Hudgins of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma tells us this DC-3 was retired last year, but
as the owner of a 1950 Packard 8 coupe, he just had to get this photo when the opportunity presented itself.
Michael also pointed out that his business, Genesis Aircraft Marketing "sell[s] much newer turboprop and jet
aircraft" and who are we to resist a carefully-crafted plug? Some might even say a little free exposure goes even further than an AVweb ball cap ... .
Join us next week for more photos from AVweb readers around the globe. (Assuming, of course, that they take time to submit them!)
In the meantime, you can satisfy your craving for more reader-submitted pics by visiting the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Head on over there
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.
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.