AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 39b

September 25, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
NEW! Zulu with Panel Power!
With the new Zulu: P (Panel Power) headset, Lightspeed has raised the bar in performance, comfort and crystal-clear audio quality, with more total noise cancellation than any other headset — and no batteries needed! The Zulu: P uses the same LEMO plug that you may already have installed. The Zulu: P also comes with built-in Bluetooth. No one else offers this much in a total headset package. Click here for more information.
SkyCatcher Prototype Update back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

SkyCatcher Crash Update

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 deploy.

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 testing.

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!
Meanwhile, on the Cutting Edge back to top 

NASA, USAF Expand Hypersonic Research Efforts

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. For more information, go online.
Strange Days for Eclipse back to top 

Eclipse's Russian Factory Gets Financing, Approvals

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.

Air Taxi Operators Aim To Fill DayJet's Slots

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 visit online.
Safer Skies back to top 

Trainees In The Tower In Airliner "Swerve"

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.

Canada's Safety Board Seeks Stricter Ballooning Oversight

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. Learn more online.
News Briefs back to top 

Customs Proposal Won't Fly, AOPA Tells White House

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.

FAA Funding Extended To March 2009

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.

On the Fly ...

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...

The 2008 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships are under way in Texas all this week...

Two Seattle pilots have completed their 10,000-mile circumnavigation of Canada in de Havilland Beavers...

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 the route.

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 safety tools.
New on AVweb back to top 

The Savvy Aviator #62: What's That Going To Cost?

When it comes to aviation maintenance, it's not impolite to ask what something is going to cost. It's mandatory.

Click here for the full story.

On a winter Friday evening a few years ago, a Texas-based aircraft owner loaded three family members into his Baron and flew to Kansas City to attend a weekend function. One of the aircraft's vacuum pumps failed over Oklahoma. Upon landing at Kansas City Downtown Airport (MKC), the owner asked the FBO on the field if they could replace the failed pump over the weekend, in time for his planned departure late Sunday afternoon. They said they could, and the owner gave them a go-ahead.

When the owner and his family returned to MKC on Sunday afternoon, the owner was pleased to find that the pump had been replaced as advertised. But when he gave the FBO his credit card to pay the bill, he was told that the invoice wouldn't be ready until Monday when the bookkeeper returned to work. The FBO insisted that the owner sign a blank credit card slip to cover the work. The owner was initially unwilling to do this, but ultimately capitulated when it became obvious that was the only way to get the FBO to release his airplane.

When the FBO's charge finally showed up on the owner's credit card, it turned out to be over $1,900. The pump was invoiced at $1,400 -- well above the manufacturer's published list price of $1,090 and almost twice the usual "street price" of $800. The labor charge was about $500 for a job that shouldn't have taken more than an hour. The owner was upset, of course. He fired off a nastygram to the owner of the FBO and vowed never to patronize them again. But in the final analysis, the owner was stuck paying a bill he appropriately considered outrageous.

This sort of thing is hardly uncommon. I know one owner who was charged nearly $1,000 to have his Cessna 210 deiced in Memphis, another who was charged $350 for one hour in a heated hangar to melt the snow of his light twin near Boston, and yet another who was charged $180 at Washington Dulles to have two tires aired up on his Skylane.

Most of these incidents occurred at large FBOs that cater mostly to the bizjet set. But such FBOs certainly aren't the only offenders. Not long ago, a mechanic removed a leaking fuel selector valve from a Bonanza and sent it off to a well-known FAA-approved repair station for overhaul. After inspecting the valve, the repair station quoted $2,000 to overhaul it. At this point, the aircraft owner wisely intervened, directed the repair station to return the leaky valve, and sent it to another repair station in California who overhauled the valve for $375.

While these may be extreme cases, I sincerely doubt there are many aircraft owners among us who haven't felt blindsided by what they considered to be an unreasonable maintenance invoice from time to time. (Been there, done that, got the bloodstained tee-shirt to prove it.)

The First Commandment

In almost every such case, these unpleasant surprises occur because the aircraft owner authorized the work to be done without first asking what it would cost. In doing that, the owner broke the first commandment of aircraft maintenance:

Never permit a shop or mechanic to perform maintenance on your aircraft until you have received and approved a work order and cost estimate in writing. If and when you approve the work to be done, instruct the shop or mechanic explicitly not to exceed the cost estimate without first obtaining your explicit approval.

I find it amazing how often this commonsense commandment is broken. In almost every other sort of commerce, it would be absolutely unthinkable for someone to purchase goods or services without knowing what they will cost. Most of us would never buy a headset, a pair of sunglasses or a gallon 100LL without checking the price. Nor would we consider hiring a plumber to install a new water heater, a roofer to fix a leak, or a garage to replace a muffler without first obtaining a quotation or estimate.

Yet more often than not, aircraft owners put their plane in the shop and authorize work to be done without obtaining even a verbal estimate, much less a written quote. Frequently, the first time they learn what the work will cost is when the work is finished and they are presented with the invoice. At that point, it is too late for them to influence the outcome; they can only complain and lick their wounds. (Show me an aircraft owner, and I'll show you an expert complainer and wound licker.)

Why do we do this? I can think of three reasons:

  1. We're uncomfortable asking the shop or mechanic for a cost estimate.
  2. The aircraft has a known problem, but we don't yet understand what's wrong sufficiently for the shop or mechanic to estimate how much work needs to be done or what parts need to be replaced.
  3. The aircraft is in the shop for an inspection, so we don't yet know what problems are going to be found, much less what parts and labor will be needed to fix them.

Let's consider these three cases in turn.

Case 1: Uncomfortable Asking

I suspect the Baron owner was uncomfortable about asking the Kansas City FBO for a cost estimate to replace his failed vacuum pump. Perhaps he felt the FBO was doing him a big favor in agreeing to do the work over the weekend. (They weren't. Their labor rate was top-dollar, and they charged time-and-a-half for the weekend labor.) Or perhaps it was because this big-city FBO was one that catered largely to the bizjet crowd ... you know, the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" guys.

Perhaps the Cessna 210 owner was uncomfortable about asking the FBO in Memphis what it would cost to deice his airplane because he thought it couldn't possibly be enough to worry about. (He found out otherwise.) Or perhaps it was because he felt he had no alternative but to have the airplane deiced, no matter what it cost. (There's always an alternative.)

Whatever the precise reason for their discomfort, their failure to ask what the work would cost before authorizing it cost them dearly. It never makes sense to purchase goods or services without first asking what they will cost.

Purchasing aircraft maintenance is just like any other purchase. The fact that it is not your field of expertise should never intimidate you into failing to asking key threshold questions like "What's that going to cost?" In fact, the less you know about something, the more questions you should ask before making a decision.

Never feel embarrassed to ask for an estimate before authorizing work to be done on your aircraft. The only time it's bad form to ask the price is when someone gives you a gift!

Case 2: Don't Know What's Wrong

Sure, but what if you don't know what's wrong? Say you put the airplane in the shop because the engine has started running rough, but you don't know why. How can you possibly ask your shop or mechanic for a cost estimate under such circumstances?

My answer is simple: Never ask a shop or mechanic to fix a problem unless you know what's wrong. That's like going in for surgery before your illness is diagnosed. Aircraft owners do this all the time, and it's an expensive mistake.

I spend a lot of time discussing owner-performed troubleshooting in my seminars. In a nutshell, I advise aircraft owners to do as much troubleshooting as they possibly can before putting their aircraft in the shop. In my view, it's primarily the owner's job to troubleshoot and the mechanic's job to fix. It's often difficult or impossible for a mechanic to reproduce problems in the maintenance hangar. If we owners don't diagnose a problem before we put our aircraft in the shop, our mechanic often has no choice but to resort to guesswork, trying various things and hoping he gets lucky. When mechanics guess, owners pay through the nose.

Returning to your rough-running engine: In a perfect world, you'll use your digital engine monitor and well-honed troubleshooting skills to diagnose the problem: e.g., a clogged injector nozzle, or a faulty bottom spark plug in cylinder #3. Then, you'll put your aircraft in the shop and obtain a cost estimate to fix the problem.

But what if you can't figure out why the engine is running rough? In that case, you put your aircraft in the shop and authorize your mechanic to spend up to two hours (or whatever seems reasonable to you) troubleshooting the problem, and instruct him to report back to you with his diagnosis. Only then, when the problem has been diagnosed, do you ask for a cost estimate to fix the problem and (if the estimate is acceptable) authorize the repair.

Case 3: Annual Inspection

In the case of an annual inspection where, by definition, you don't know what problems will be found, my advice is similar. Put your aircraft in the shop and instruct your mechanic to perform the inspection (which is normally done at an agreed-to flat rate) and prepare a detailed list of discrepancies with a cost estimate to fix each one. At this point, sit down with the mechanic, go over the discrepancy list and estimates in detail, and come to agreement on exactly what repairs are to be done and what they will cost. Only then should you authorize the repair work to proceed.

No matter what the situation, there is never a good reason to authorize a shop or mechanic to perform maintenance on your aircraft until you have received a detailed written estimate of what it will cost. If the shop or mechanic won't provide one to you, take your airplane elsewhere. Always know what it will cost before you say, "Go ahead."

See you next month.

Want to read more from Mike Busch? Check out the rest of his Savvy Aviator columns.
And use this link to send questions to Mike.

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Question of the Week: Is the VLJ Dream Dead?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


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 purposes.

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.)


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.

Is the VLJ dream dead?
(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.

Piper Matrix — Piper Compelling
Click here for more information on the new Matrix, Piper's next generation of cabin-class sophistication. Compellingly priced at $757,000.
Commentary & Opinion back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: FSS Under Lockmart — Stop Whining and Lobby for Some Better Tools

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 Blog.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: Fresh Hell for Eclipse — A Poster Child for FAA Mismanagement

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.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Don't You Have an Engine Monitor?

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.

Read more.

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 details.
What You May Have Missed in AVwebBiz back to top 

Turbine Baron Touted As VLJ Substitute

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.

How to Test a Jet: Piper's Chief Test Pilot Tells How

File Size 8.4 MB / Running Time 9:08

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Continuing our coverage of Piper's press debut of its new jet on September 18, 2008, the company's chief test pilot, Dave Schwartz, tells AVweb's Paul Bertorelli how the aircraft is performing in the early stages of the test program. (Find photos of the PiperJet here.)

Click here to listen. (8.4 MB, 9:08)

PiperJet Press Demo Photo Gallery

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.)

Click here to view photos.

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.
Don't Miss It Next Week — Sign Up for AVwebBiz 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/.

Help AVwebBiz Spread Your NBAA News

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 rniles@avweb.com and thanks for your help in making our coverage the most comprehensive available.

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.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Which Deicing System Do You Prefer?

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 you.

Send a note to aviation_safety@hotmail.com to share your experiences.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. 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.

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: University of Central Missouri FBO (Skyhaven Airport, KRCM, Warrensburg, MO)

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

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.

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!

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.


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.

medium | large

Used with permission of Guy Lynch

Beautiful French Sunset — Microlight 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.

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copyright © Vahid Jahed
Used with permission

"Which Way Is Up?"

Hey, that's no biplane! We'll let it slide this time, but only because Vahid Jahed of Minden, Nevada vouches for you. (We've got our eye on you, Thunderbird!)

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copyright © Mujahid Abdulrahim
Used with permission

Wheelchair Ramp

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.

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copyright © Brian Brooks
Used with permission of Jim Thrash


Jim Thrash of Edmond, Oklahoma tells a spate of bad weather in Dallas diverted this airliner to OKC. (Photo copyright Brian Brooks.)

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Used with permission of Michael Hudgins

Modern Airplane Sales

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 now.

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.

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

Scott Simmons

Mariano Rosales
Jeff van West

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