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Volume 9, Number 36bSeptember 4, 2003

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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 to

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. More...

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. More...

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

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. More...

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. More...

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. The official program will begin at 8:30 a.m. with departures beginning at 9 a.m. (See our video interview with Greg Herrick, founder and president of The Aviation Foundation of America Inc.) More...

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

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. More...

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. More...

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

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. More...

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. More...

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

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 "speech output technology," according to BBC news, and a sighted pilot for safety and legal reasons. Hilton-Barber 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. More...

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

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 Rules and information are at

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

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.

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LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHEN YOU'LL BE HOME WITH FLIGHT EXPLORER It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters your aircraft's N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and obtain updated ETAs. AVweb Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month. A small price for big peace of mind. Details at

IFR MAGAZINE SUBSCRIBERS SAVE BIG! If you love the challenges and rewards of flying the gauges, don't miss this opportunity to subscribe to IFR Magazine. Each issue briefs you on what you need to know to fine-tune your technique, sweet-talk the system, and bust-proof your ticket. Go to

PRACTICE NAVIGATING AND TALKING TO ATC ON YOUR PC WITH COMM 1! Comm 1 has added an interactive multimedia AvTutorials navigation training software to their line of high-quality aviation educational products. These are effective and engaging training tools for both navigation and radio communications, the two toughest skills for most pilots to learn. SPECIAL: $10 discount on each additional CD with the purchase of two or more Comm1 or AvTutorial navigation training products. Save up to $50.00 when you buy all 6 CD-ROMs! Order at

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.


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

AEROX EXTENDS RANGE CAPABILITIES WITH NEW OXYGEN SYSTEM Aerox's high-duration, portable oxygen systems are designed for extended use during high-altitude flights with Oxysaver oxygen-conserving nasal cannulas conserving 75% of the oxygen previously wasted with standard cannulas. Pilots as well as passengers can arrive alert and rested with Aerox's portable oxygen systems. See all Aerox's models and accessories at

2003 COMM1 SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE CLOSES SEPTEMBER 30! Comm1's scholarships represent funding to assist young aspiring aviators with training required to pursue an aviation career. Applicants must meet published eligibility requirements. For more information call 888 333-2855.

BIRTHDAY, ANNIVERSARY, FIRST-SOLO GIFTS AT PORT-TO-PORT AVIATION JEWELRY No matter the occasion Port-to-Port Aviation Jewelry has the perfect gifts from costume, sterling silver and 14k gold all at

"SKY RANCH ENGINEERING MANUAL" IS THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE BOOK on modern piston aircraft engines. It explores virtually every aspect of powerplant engineering and operations, using case studies of Continental and Lycoming engines with photographs, diagrams, graphs and tables. Your copy awaits at

DON'T BE GROUNDED ONCE YOU FLY INTO AN AIRPORT, USE YOUR HANDYBIKE! Trans-Plata's folding 17-pound HANDYBike can relieve you from expensive rental cars and cabs. This German-engineered, all-aluminum, racing-inspired bike folds so small that one for each passenger can be carried in a Cessna 172. Details and ordering information on the HANDYBike, and other TransPlata products at


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