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September 3, 2003

NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by …

AEROPLANNER ISN'T ALL FLIGHT PLANNING...IT'S CONVENIENCE AeroPlanner is the best flight planning program around giving you all the information needed for any particular flight. Team your knowledge and skill with AeroPlanner flight planning and it's a winning combination. For a no-cost, no-obligation demonstration go tohttp://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeroplan

Cirrus Heading To Court

Widow Of Crash Victim Sues...

Cirrus Design says it will vigorously defend itself against a lawsuit that claims its SR22 aircraft has "dangerous stability, handling, stall and spin characteristics" and that the onboard parachute system failed when the pilot tried to activate it. "We're going to court," Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier told AVweb. "We're very confident we have the facts on our side." The suit stems from a crash near Parish, N.Y., on April 24, 2002. The two co-owners of the aircraft, Joseph C. Fisher and Thomas P. Sedgewick, died when the plane entered a spin from more than 5,000 feet and did not recover. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), manufactured by Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS), did not deploy. BRS is also named in the suit as is Wings Aloft, author of the Cirrus Training Manual. The suit was launched by Fisher's wife, Kathleen. According to the NTSB report on the crash, witnesses said they saw the Cirrus dive and then pull up three or four times. On the last such maneuver, the aircraft went into a spiral that some said turned into a flat spin. The plane was substantially destroyed by fire after impact. Investigators found the CAPS parachute, still in its bag, beside the airframe and the solid rocket that deploys it nearby. The propellant was expended. The safety pin for the handle that activates the parachute was not located.

...Flight Characteristics, Parachute System Blamed

The suit alleges that the aircraft went into the spin because of its flight-handling characteristics and maintains that the pilots tried, and failed, to deploy the parachute. Klapmeier flatly denies the claim, saying the allegation about flight-handling characteristics is a direct challenge to the FAA's certification of the aircraft. He said Cirrus wings are designed to prevent stall/spin conditions. As for the parachute, he said Cirrus' view is the rocket motor cooked off after the crash, not as a result of a last-second attempt to deploy it. "There is no evidence the parachute rocket deployed before the airplane hit the ground," he said. Klapmeier said he stands behind the company's decision to design an aircraft that resists stalls and spins. He said that most spins occur below recoverable altitude and the spin-recovery characteristics are a moot point in those cases. "I think we're going to save a lot of lives by preventing the spin," he said. The lawsuit claims the aircraft, the instruction manuals and the parachute system "were defective and unreasonably dangerous and unsafe." Klapmeier said defending the suit will cost the company a lot of money but with the fundamentals of his business under attack he's not about to settle out of court. "My view is, if we're wrong, we ought to pay," he said. "We aren't settling this because we aren't wrong." He said it will take at least a year to get to court.

LIGHTSPEED PRODUCT FOCUS: THE QFR SOLO SS HEADSET LightSPEED has launched several new products based on earlier models with additional features and improvements. One of these products is the QFR Solo SS. LightSPEED has had great success with the QFR Solo SS at large fly-ins where pilots could compare the Solo SS to other headsets with similar, or higher retail prices. Improvements made to the QFR Solo SS, from the basic Solo product are: Studio quality speakers; Improved noise reduction microphone; Confor-foam comfort seals; and a Padded headpad. See LightSPEED's QFR Solo SS headset and other quality headsets at the Reno Air Races booth #508 or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed

Celebrating The Past

National Air Tours Are Re-created...

The innovations of the Wright brothers are not the only aviation milestones being celebrated this year. The re-enactment of a nationwide air event during aviation's golden era is also being remembered with a special series of events. The National Air Tours were conceived in 1925 and held annually through 1931 to demonstrate the reliability of air travel, to encourage the development of safe and reliable aircraft, and to promote the building of suitable airports and ground facilities. Now, an organization has been formed to fly some of the routes those pioneers covered to show a skeptical public the possibilities of aviation. The Aviation Foundation of America Inc., a non-profit public charity, is sponsoring the re-creation of the 2003 National Air Tours to be held from Sept. 8 to Sept. 24. Ford Motor Company was the major sponsor of the first tours and is also supporting this year's event.

...With Planes of Yesteryear, Pilots Of Today...

Many of the pilots who pioneered aviation flew in the original tours, including Walter Beech, Eddie Stinson, and Anthony H.G. Fokker. This year, our very own AVweb contributor Brent Blue will be participating in the tour, as one of a group of "rotating pilots." Brent and company will be flying many of the airplanes seen in the 1931 event. In fact, 27 rare and vintage aircraft will take to the skies for the celebration. The list of airborne beauties includes a Ryan M-1, two Waco ASOs, a Fairchild FC-2W2, two Stearman Speedmails, a Buhl Airsedan, Bird CK, Stinson SM8A, three Ford Tri-motors, and a Laird Speedwing. Oh, let's not forget about the FAA's last DC-3 too.

...And Coming To A Town Near You!

The 2003 event retraces the historic 4,000-mile route of the uncompleted 1932 tour with stops in more than two dozen cities. The National Air Tour will start at the Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport, near Detroit, Sept. 8. See our video interview with Greg Herrick, founder and president of The Aviation Foundation of America Inc. The official program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with departures beginning at 9 a.m. After departing from the airport, the tour will fly around Ford's World Headquarters as a salute to Edsel and Henry Ford and then "touch wheels" at Ford Airport (Detroit Proving Grounds) to officially begin the National Air Tour 2003. The process will be repeated prior to landing at Willow Run upon the tour's return on Sept. 24.

AEROSANCE PowerLink™ FADEC APPLICATIONS GROW With STCs for a number of Beech Bonanza and Baron models now in hand, Aerosance, another Teledyne Technologies company, is highlighting the latest developments with their revolutionary PowerLink™ FADEC digital engine control system. For more information on how to bring your aircraft into the FADEC generation, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec

Piston Singles Pushing 500 Miles Per Hour

The faithful will make their annual pilgrimage to Reno Stead airport next week to pay homage to horsepower and high speed as some of the gutsiest pilots compete for air racing's most coveted title. Hyped by organizers as the "world's fastest motor sport," and officially called the National Championship Air Races and Air Show 2003, air racing is the main draw to the Reno event, which runs from Sept. 11 to Sept. 14. Several big-name teams are vying for the championship, including 500-plus mph Dago Red Air Racing and the 4000 hp Rare Bear Air Race Team. Rare Bear is a highly modified Grumman F8F Bearcat sporting a Curtiss-Wright R3350 engine producing a whopping 4000 horsepower. The team, which has already established several records, including the official world three-kilometer speed record, world 3,000-meter time-to-climb record, and the Reno Championship Race speed record of 482 miles per hour, will try for another at this year's event. The team will attempt to break its previous Gold Race Championship speed record at Reno. The Dago Red team also has a few achievements to boast about. The modified P-51D Mustang is not only the defending champion, it's also the current Reno qualifying record-holder at 497.797 mph and the current record-holder of the 15-km segment at 517.323 mph. The big, loud unlimiteds are just one of six classes racing at Reno, with, among others, biplanes, Formula One and T-6s providing lots of action. Of course, there also is an air show, starring the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, to complement the festivities.

Enduring Dreams: Cruise Ship Airports and Flying Cars

There's no shortage of imagination when it comes to new ways to make aviation more convenient and accessible, even if the result of these musings can be a little out of the ordinary. Take, for example, the Freedom Ship, which is touted as "the future city on the sea." With a design length of 4,500 feet, a width of 750 feet, and a height of 350 feet, Freedom Ship would be more than four times longer than the Queen Mary and carry its own airport. The airport on the ship's top deck would serve GA and small commercial aircraft, including its large fleet of commuter aircraft that would ferry residents and visitors to and from shore. Those residents who want to fly to their floating residence in style may prefer to do so in their very own kit-built flying car, like the one being developed by Aerospectives. The Denver-based company is marketing its two models of flying cars, the TAERO 4000 and 8000. While the company does not offer a lot of technical information on these new aircraft, it does explain "the wing fold system will enable automatic transformation from air to land travel with the wings folding to a position parallel with the fuselage." The target base price for the TAERO 4000, in assembly kit form, is $400,000.Yet to be determined are additional costs for assembly supervision, accessorizing and flight training.

GULF COAST AVIONICS: "THE LOWEST PRICES IN THE INDUSTRY, PERIOD" Gulf Coast Avionics is a leading supplier of avionics, instruments and pilot supplies. With one of the largest comprehensive inventories in the industry, pilots are sure to find what they need. Go online to Gulf Coast Avionics' e-commerce site to shop for the latest products and offers at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gca

To Boldly Go Where None Have Gone (Without A Rocket)

A helium leak halted an attempt by two British men to set an altitude record in a balloon. Colin Prescot, 53, and Andy Elson, 48, hoped to set a world record by piloting their 387-meters-tall helium balloon to 39,600 meters (132,000 feet). The QinetiQ 1, as it is called, was supposed to loiter for an hour and conduct experiments on the stratosphere before returning to terra firma. Unfortunately, the aircraft never left the ground, as a helium leak occurred during the balloon's inflation process. The current altitude record for a manned balloon is 34,667 meters, set in 1961 by United States Navy pilots Malcolm Ross and Vic Prather. The British pair will not be able to launch again until next year, as weather conditions are becoming less favorable. They have plenty of experience at this sort of adventure. The duo initially tried to make the flight last year but poor weather forced them to cancel. Each has set individual ballooning records and jointly set the world endurance record for any aircraft in the earth's atmosphere by flying from Spain to the Pacific in 17 days, 18 hours and 25 minutes as part of a round-the-world attempt.

Aerial Firefighters Change Battle Tactics

Canada's British Columbia has been under assault from wildfires throughout the summer and aerial firefighting pilots are fighting back with new tactics to tackle the massive blazes. The tanker group has resorted to "mass launches by multiple aircraft" during a fire's early stages to try and prevent the sort of disaster that befell Kelowna, B.C., two weeks ago. The Okanagan Mountain Fire has grown to 200 square kilometers and burned more than 250 homes, despite aggressive firefighting on the ground and in the air. In addition to the massed attacks, the air tankers are using a more highly concentrated retardant and much higher coverage levels than normal. The fires, the result of the driest summer on record, are answering back with towering columns of exploding trees and airborne debris, the likes of which the pilots have never seen before. Under those types of conditions, safety becomes paramount, and technology is helping ensure the planes and pilots return. All aircraft are now equipped with satellite phones, which now provide a direct link to the tanker group's dispatch center. Staff monitoring the weather and fires can pull a pilot out of a dangerous area at a moment's notice and hopefully increase the margin of safety. But it's a dangerous occupation and there have been three pilots killed, one in the crash of a helicopter and two in the loss of an Electra air tanker.

Blind Pilot Makes History

Flying blind isn't just a cliché for Miles Hilton-Barber. Hilton-Barber, 54, became the first blind person to fly across the English Channel in a microlight aircraft last weekend. Hilton-Barber was among about 80 pilots to take off from Headcorn Airfield in Kent (U.K.). He flew with a sighted pilot for safety and legal reasons. With this flight over, which was said to be the largest peacetime aerial crossing of the Channel, Hilton-Barber has set his "sights" on another goal in the not too distant future. He plans to fly 12,600 miles to Sydney, Australia, in the same aircraft. It's his way of honoring 100 years of powered flight and raising money for Royal National Institute of the Blind. "Apart from it being a great adventure for me, fulfilling one of my childhood dreams, it's also hopefully helping a lot of other people in Britain to have a better quality of life," Hilton-Barber told BBC news.

SEPTEMBER SPECIALS FROM MARV GOLDEN PILOT SUPPLIES Purchase any LightSPEED ANR headset from Marv Golden Pilot Supplies and receive a LightSPEED logo flight bag at no additional cost. Or, order any Icom A-5 or A-23 and get an alkaline battery pack at no-cost AND a $30-$50 rebate. Purchase any Vertex VXA 150 or 210 to receive a $25 rebate with an alkaline battery case and cigarette lighter adapter at no additional cost. Save on these specials and many other pilot supplies from avionics to watches at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold

On The Fly...

One man's noise is another's music. Local residents and town officials are unhappy about the sounds emanating from an ultralight airfield. The Morningside Flight Park in Charlestown, N.H., operates ultralights for hang glider towing. Recent town council meetings have addressed the issue of this airborne noise, although officials aren't sure if they can regulate the air over the city...

On Monday, proposed tax plans that would raise airfares in Britain were unveiled. Characterized as "radical" by some analysts, these costs would result from tough noise, congestion and pollution charges against airlines. However, the proposals put forward by the British Commission for Integrated Transport are still under debate with no set implementation date as of yet...

A computer glitch caused the delay in processing arriving passengers at airports nationwide. Officials at Chicago's O'Hare International airport reported 2,000 arriving passengers were stranded for at least three hours on Sunday night when a glitch in the Homeland Security Department's computers slowed things down considerably...

Wichita State University is trying to make itself the world's leading aviation research location. Although the institution already performs 70 percent of the FAA's research on composites, the university wants a larger role, as a "lead" university, serving as a central location and coordinator of research. However, other institutions are also vying for this distinction.

AEROSHELL INTRODUCES FLIGHT JACKET KIT BAG WITH SPECIAL INTRO OFFER The new AeroShell Flight Jacket Leak-Proof Kit Bag contains all six of AeroShell's Flight Jacket cleaners and polishes along with the application pad and cleaning cloths. Shine and protect your aircraft with AeroShell Flight Jackets products. Place your order by September 15th to take advantage of an $10 introductory savings offer; just go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell

An ultralight airfield in N.H. is causing a town-wide ruckus over noise...
On Monday, tax plans that would raise airfares in Britain were proposed...
A computer glitch caused the delay in processing pax nationwide...
Wichita State University wants to be a "lead" center of FAA research. More...

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Char Ryan, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.

ATTENTION 1968 THROUGH 2003 172 SKYHAWK OWNERS! SEMINAR OPENINGS The Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) will conduct Lycoming Powered 172 Skyhawk Systems and Procedures Seminar at CPA headquarters in Santa Maria, October 11-12. This program will not be offered again on the West Coast until 2005. Anyone interested should make an effort to attend this October seminar. More information and on-line sign up are available at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cpa

New Articles and Features on AVweb

BIZAV, September 4, 2003
AVweb's expanded coverage of business/corporate aviation continues with NBAA's convention preparation, big steps in Cessna's Citation fleet, complaints about Europe's new biz av regulations and more.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.


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HE FLIES THROUGH THE AIR WITH THE GREATEST OF EASE, that daring young man in the flying machine! Inspiration for the song, and the "daring young man", are incorporated in Dave Higdon's photo gallery. Yes, you know Dave as an AVweb special projects editor. Go to Flying Machine Photo's site for a NO-COST, no-obligation download of some incredible wallpaper, plus order Dave's photos online to decorate or give as special gifts. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flyphoto


AEROSHELL SELECTED AS THE OFFICIAL OIL OF THE RENO AIR RACES In addition, AeroShell Flight Jacket Aircraft Polish and Cleaners have been named the "Official Aviation Polish and Cleaners". Each qualifying racer will be presented with AeroShell products with over 700 gallons of AeroShell oil being provided to the qualifiers and winners. Pilots trust AeroShell and know they are relying on AeroShell's performance and capabilities. See why AeroShell is the professionals choice at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Arturo Weiss:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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