AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 47a

November 17, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Major Manufacturers Reigning in Costs back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Eclipse Promises Paychecks By Tuesday

Eclipse Aviation says it will be able to pay its workers on Tuesday and has asked them to report for work as usual on Monday. The company, which sent home workers without their paychecks last Thursday and left it up to them whether they stayed at the plant, did not say what caused the delay in paying them. Also, Cessna has announced that about 500 jobs will be cut from its Wichita workforce by January and 165 (of 420) will be lost at Bend. Hawker Beechcraft has announced a cut of 490 people; and Piper has announced a reduced workweek program to save the company money, but retain jobs. Cirrus already announced layoffs in September, affecting about 8 percent of its workforce. Being aircraft companies, the losses are complicated, could effect city and state incentive packages previously arranged to support the companies and promote job growth, and could easily extend to suppliers.

Piper, which has an agreement with Florida to stay in the state and receive $32 million in incentives, needs to increase its workforce to 1400 and build the PiperJet, to see that money. The jet's development costs have been estimated at more than $100 million -- a figure on par with the size of the incentive package ($100 million over 20 years) Eclipse says it received from local government in New Mexico. Cessna has a deal with Kansas, Wichita and county officials worth "tens of millions" (about $43 million), according to The Wichita Eagle, that requires the company to build a plant, put 1,000 people in it and produce Citation Columbus jets by 2014. Business jet shipments continue to be good and Cessna intends to honor that deal. Beechcraft's 5 percent workforce cut comes along with lowered production targets for 2009, and Cirrus' layoffs (of about 8 percent of its workforce) are a reaction to similarly lowered expectations for sales this year.

Untie Your Dreams at 235 Knots
Leave the runway at 1,400 vertical feet per minute. Climb to 25,000 feet. Cruise at 235 confident knots. Nothing releases a pilot's passion for flight like the Cessna 400, the world's fastest fixed-gear aircraft. It's more than speed that makes the Cessna 400 such a pleasure to fly. There's the sophisticated stylish cabin, glass cockpit, side-stick control, and the head-turning gorgeous looks. Looks like Cessna is in the fast business. Go online for all the details.
Safety & Sales back to top 

Controller Mistakes In Dallas Misclassified, Now Forgiven

Thursday, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel confirmed that local managers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport air traffic control center had hidden controller mistakes ... and that makes it twice in three years. The FAA has responded by initiating an amnesty program to help make sure the errors are properly reported and resolved. Controllers are being told they may now report any unsafe situations without concern of reprisal, which some feel risks retention of sub-par controllers. Local managers have been assigned responsibility for the misclassifications, but it seems FAA administrators at the facility may have escaped blame.

The report showed that the local air traffic control managers had masked the real safety issues facing DFW air traffic control by active misclassification of some 62 errors from 2005 through 2007. Two of those errors were falsely blamed on pilots. The Office of Inspector General for the Department of transportation has attributed those safety issues to the negligence and incompetence of the local ATC managers. For its part, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association feels the report absolves its members and points to a failure on the part of FAA management.

GAMA: Shipments (Barely) Up Through Three Quarters, Pistons Down

The first three quarters of 2008 showed 2,977 aircraft shipped compared to 2,918 shipped over the same period last year, but those 59 extra airplanes made a big difference. The 2 percent increase in the total number of shipments accounts for a $3.1 billion (or 20 percent) increase over the value represented by last year's shipments for the same period. And, yes, that's because they're all business jets and turboprops -- piston shipments through the first three quarters are down, year over year, by more than 11 percent. The financial windfall comes from the 30 percent increase in business jet shipments, plus the more than 13 percent increase in turboprop shipments. Even while some shipments increased, the conflux of an economic slump, curbed lending and volatile fuel prices has many businesses playing defense. General aviation aircraft manufacturers, "reacting to the lead and lag nature of this economic slowdown," have announced layoffs (Cessna, Cirrus and Hawker Beechcraft included) and according to GAMA president and CEO, Pete Bunce, "the uncertainty of financial markets worldwide is negatively impacting the entire aviation industry."

On the heavier side of light, Eclipse, which according to recent reports failed to pay its Albuquerque employees for the first two weeks of November, shipped 43 of its Eclipse 500 jets in the third quarter, versus 52 in Q1 and 60 in Q2. In contrast, Cessna (which announced layoffs for about 665 employees in Wichita, Kan., plus Bend, Ore., combined) shipped 15 Citation Mustangs in Q1, 19 in Q2, and 30 in Q3.

Fly With Bose® Aviation Headset X
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Safety & Sales, Part II back to top 

Mexican Officials: Learjet Crash Not Caused By Foul Play

Mexican officials' initial investigation of the Learjet crash in Mexico City that Nov. 4 killed Mexico's Interior Minister, and second most powerful official, Juan Camilo Mourino, along with eight others on the jet and five on the ground, suggests pilot competence and wake turbulence may have contributed, according to Mexican officials. The interpretation of evidence that includes analysis of the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder notes "apparent deficiencies in the training and certification process of both pilots," according to Communications and Transportation Minister Luis Tellez.

The Minister said the contract pilots took more than a full minute to slow the jet after being told to do so by controllers and their speech appeared to suggest they were not entirely familiar with the aircraft's cockpit instrumentation. As a result, the Learjet closed distance with a Boeing 767-300 that it was following in sequence to landing. According to the Minister, the Learjet encountered turbulence, perhaps the wake turbulence of the Boeing, and crashed. Recent violence against Mexican officials increased the profile of the deadly crash and raised concerns of foul play.

Fuel Spike Revives Open Rotor Jet Tests

GE and NASA, with help from Snecma of France, have teamed to continue evaluation of counter-rotating fan blade systems for open rotor jet designs. Back in the '80s, GE successfully flew an open-rotor jet engine. The GE36, with two rows of counter-rotating blades, was mounted on Boeing 727 and MD-80 aircraft and demonstrated fuel savings of more than 30 percent over similar-sized jet engines running with their front fans conventionally ducted. That efficiency was soon confronted with falling fuel prices and countered by the design's greatest challenge -- noise -- which together (likely along with development costs) effectively shelved the product's development. But GE says it has now "dramatically advanced its data acquisition systems and computational tools to better understand and improve open-rotor systems."

That and wildly volatile fuel costs have led to the company's joint research with NASA as part of a longer term technology evaluation that focuses on advances for next-generation engines GE/Snecma CFM56 engines. Current tests do not involve full engines, but component tests of subscale fan systems. Snecma, a longtime GE partner is participating in the project by contributing fan blade designs.

Smart Safety ... Leave Anxiety Out of Your Flight Plan
As a Cirrus owner, you join a lifestyle that takes safety very seriously. Whether flying for pleasure or business, you always fly smart and safe. Cirrus Perspective by Garmin is designed to help by giving you more time and information to make better decisions, reduce workload, and improve your overall flying experience. Cirrus Perspective adds more ability to experience the Cirrus lifestyle fully and leave anxiety out of your flight plan. For complete features, go online.
Which Way Is Up? back to top 

Spatial Disorientation Aids Still In The Works

Project leader Ron Small's study, under the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), is working on a tool that will help pilots overcome spatial disorientation in real time, and so help avert the root cause of 10 percent of general aviation accidents. According to Science Daily, the current project involves the use of specially designed software to monitor the aircraft's attitude and the pilot's inputs. Pilots are alerted to flight aberrations by audio and visual cues, but a vest embedded with isolated tactile stimulators to convey attitude information may also be tested.

A similar vest called the Tactile Situational Awareness System, and intended for the Navy, was tested earlier this decade when it was worn by a pilot who successfully flew test maneuvers with no other reference. Proponents of the current study hope to find its products applied both in aviation and space missions and project team members believe the systems will be especially useful for medevac helicopter pilots flying missions in foul weather at night. Of course, less experienced pilots of fixed-wing aircraft far outnumber astronauts and medevac pilots and as one project consultant (and former astronaut) told Science Daily, "their lives can be saved by having this extra help in the cockpit."

Northrop Grumman: Zero Gravity Helps Science And Math

Northrop Grumman says that 77.8 percent of teachers sent floating around in a modified Boeing 727 aircraft flying parabolic arcs as part of the company's Weightless Flights of Discovery Program report an increase in the number of their students interested in pursuing science and math careers. In a release, the company said 205 once weightless (mostly middle-school) teachers have passed on the message that "science is cool" to an estimated 25,000 students and Northrop has qualified that interest with an acronym. The company says the initiative has driven interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Teachers from around the country flown in this year's continuation of the program (it ran in 2006 and 2007, too) should pass on their wonder to 6,000 more students. The program's supportive statistics were collected by Northrop via an online poll. Among other things, the poll found 91.9 percent of participating teachers responded that their students displayed "a notable increase" in their interest in science, with nearly 75 percent of the teachers noting their students display an increased desire to continue studies in science and math in high school and college. That interest is correlated with the teachers' incorporating their flight experiences into lesson plans and extracurricular activities.

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?
According to LIMRA International, a leading industry research firm, 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance. Those who own life insurance have an average of four times their annual income in coverage, considerably less than most experts recommend. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with insurance planning at an affordable rate. A+ Rated Carriers – No Aviation Exclusions – Quick and Easy Application Process. Call PIC at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
News Briefs back to top 

Pilots Wanted For Cockpit Traffic Display Study

All licensed and current pilots are invited to complete an online study seeking input about symbols for use on air traffic displays. The Cockpit Display of Traffic Information Symbol Research Study is being conducted in conjunction with the USDOT Volpe Center and MITRE Corporation's Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development (CAASD). The study will call on your experience to identify your expectations, or what information you expect a traffic symbol to convey; show you what proposed symbology is intended to deliver what information; and test your recall of proposed symbols.

It should take about 45 minutes, according to the study, but you should note that if you close your browser at any time before you've finished, your efforts will be wiped out. So, participants are asked to block out at least an hour of time for breaks and interruptions. Pilots wishing to participate are asked to never use the "back" button and complete the task without use of external references. Find the complete rules and description here with a link to the informed consent form from that page ... and a link to the study itself, beyond that.

On the Fly ...

A Grumman Goose operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines crashed west of Vancouver on Sunday killing seven of eight on board. The lone survivor, a passenger, was found by the Canadian Coast Guard on Thormandy Island ...

A Naples, Fla. helicopter pilot who allegedly flew passengers while drunk at the Suffolk, Va. Peanut Festival a year ago will go to jail for 60 days and not be allowed to fly for five years. Ronald John Davis, Jr. was convicted of erratic operation of an aircraft, but had blown .116 on a breathalyzer when arrested ...

A Chicago-area man was arrested after the Cessna 182 he was flying clipped a house in suburban Downers Grove, hit trees and flipped. Police arrested him as he was leaving hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

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.

Between Wheels Up and Wheels Down, There Is One Important Word: How
As the team managing the FAA AFSS system, Lockheed Martin serves nearly 90,000 general aviation pilots every week. Providing timely, accurate information and helpful service 24/7. From weather forecasts to en route information, from Hawaii to Puerto Rico, ensuring flight safety in the National Airspace System is all a question of how. And it is the how that makes all the difference. Click here for more.
New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Blue Skies, Jerry Smith

Garmin's Jerry Smith was recently killed in the crash of his Cardinal. He knew everyone in the GA business, and everyone he knew will miss him, including us. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli remembers Jerry on the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more.

Dr. Blue Says, "Be Smart — Carry a PLB!"
Flying, hiking, camping, riding your ATV or bike — accidents happen that can become a life-threatening situation. Be prepared with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It's as easy as pushing a button. PLBs from Aeromedix.com include the ACR MicroFix 406 MHz for pilots when you're enjoying activities in unpopulated areas. Click now to visit Aeromedix.com for complete details.
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Design and Build Your New Panel without Leaving the Computer Chair

File Size 4.0 MB / Running Time 4:24

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Putting together a new panel can be a painstaking process, involving hours' worth of research, measuring, and comparison shopping — but Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Company hopes to make that a thing of the past. Avionics specialist Ryan Deck explains how their new Panel Planner software suite can help you design the perfect panel for your layout, find the right intruments, and order the parts directly from Aircraft Spruce.

Do it all from the comfort of your computer chair. Click here to learn more.

Click here to listen. (4.0 MB, 4:24)

Envision® Integrated Flight Deck Available for Retrofit Installation in Select Cessna 300-Series Aircraft!
Avidyne has added the popular Cessna 320/335/340 piston-engine twins to the growing list of Envision® Integrated Flight Deck–approved aircraft. The big-glass Envision system is the industry's easiest-to-use integrated flight deck, providing state-of-the-art situational awareness and safety, with a highly-reliable all-solid-state ADAHRS, a full-featured moving map, electronic approach charts, color lightning, traffic avoidance, and satellite datalink weather. Click here for more information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video of the Week: U.S. Air Force 'Monday Blues'

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

"Video of the Week" returns after a brief hiatus to accomodate our AOPA Expo in-house video production — and we've got some nice clips in the hopper. First up, a video montage of two USAF demo teams paying a visit to Poplar Grove, Illinois's C77, courtesy of AVweb reader Scott Ross. (Music by Jimmy Buffet and photos by Kindra H. and Buck W.)

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

Oh, and for those who may have missed it: We've seen the one-wing landing video that's been circulating, and you can read our comments (and watch the video if you're not one of the dozens who've e-mailed it to us) on the AVweb Insider blog.

AVweb's AOPA Expo 2008 Video Round-Up

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

At the 2008 AOPA Expo, our video team brought you exclusive interviews with outgoing AOPA president Phil Boyer and the incoming president, Craig Fuller — plus a demo flight with Cirrus Design's new EVS system and an in-depth profile of Garmin's hot GPSMap 696. If you missed any of those, you can watch all eight of our show videos right here. Just use the arrows at the right and left sides of the player to choose your video.

Video coverage of AOPA Expo 2008 has been brought to you by Lightspeed Aviation, WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather, and Bose Corporation. (Videos by Glenn Pew.)

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

More AVweb exclusive videos can be found at http://www.avweb.com/video.

Related Content:
Want more AVweb media from the show?
Click here for podcasts from AOPA Expo 2008.

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

If you have an event you want folks to know about, post it at no cost!
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Triangle Aviation (Leesburg, Florida)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Triangle Aviation at KLEE in Leesburg, Florida.

AVweb reader Dave Wilson had a top-notch experience there recently and wrote to share the details:

[Owner] Neil Fisher was on the ramp to assist in parking my Bonanza; his friendly and courteous attitude was a welcome change for some of the FBOs, where, if you are not a turbine-powered aircraft, you are treated with indifference. The lineman, D. J. Alexander displayed the same courteous, helpful attitude in helping with a courteousy car and local telephone business numbers, along with topping off the fuel tanks with 100LL; the price of the fuel was the lowest I have seen in the Southeast U.S. at $2.95 (for both full service and self-service) with an additional discount for Angel Flight pilots. Receptionist Bristy Jones, while being very busy, was also extremely efficient and courteous; her being there assisted in making this stop a very enjoyable experience.

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!

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Some years ago at Des Moines, Iowa, I was holding in the run-up area when I heard the tower call an airliner:

"Airliner 1234, cleared for takeoff. Runway 30 right."

"Tower, we're still waiting for our numbers."

"Roger, Airliner 1234. Cancel departure clearance; hold short of the runway."

"Airliner 1234, holding short."/p>

Several seconds later, the pilot's voice came over the frequency, sounding both apologetic and put out:

Airliner Captain:
"Ladies and gentlemen, we're experiencing an air traffic control delay, but we should be on our way shortly, as soon as the tower releases us."


"Nice speech, Captain, but ATC is not delaying you. Suggest you misinform the passengers on the PA, not my frequency."

Ralph Lund
Mal Paso Creek, California

More AVweb for Your Inbox 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/.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.