AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 53a

December 29, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Life Insurance Premiums Continue to Decrease in 2008!
According to a Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education report, 3/4 of Americans think life insurance is too expensive. Term and permanent life insurance rates are generally half from a decade ago, partly due to life expectancy increases. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with proper insurance planning at the most affordable rates available. A+ Rated Carriers – No Aviation Exclusions – Quick and Easy Application Process. Call 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
 
Top News: Pipistrel Virus SW Shipping by Year's End back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

Pipistrel's 100-HP, 147-Knot, Two-Place Efficiency Champ

Pipistrel has announced that its Virus SW -- the winner of the NASA General Aviation Technology Challenge for 2007 and 2008, exhibited higher speed, range and climb rate than other challengers while incorporating lower cabin noise, lower empty weight and shorter takeoff distances -- is now shipping to buyers. The two-place, side-by-side, Kevlar-reinforced composite high-wing is available in several engine and landing-gear configurations and can offer up to 7.5 hours endurance, burn 3.6 gallons per hour at 133 knots or fly at 147 knots behind a 100-hp Rotax 912 and an adjustable propeller. The aircraft offers "the largest flight safety margins in its category," according to Pipistrel, plus a useful load of 551 pounds and a range in excess of 1000 nm. The aircraft has high-aspect-ratio wings spanning just over 35 feet and boasts a 17:1 glide ratio. That has the manufacturer boasting that the aircraft is also "great for thermalling" and slope soaring, if you can manage the 42-knot clean stall speed.

The aircraft currently lists for over $100,000, but prices may be affected by exchange rates (euro to dollar). Pipistrel's win of the 2008 NASA GAT Challenge earned the company more than $60,000 in prize money; it was winner of the Green Prize for fuel consumption and winner for top speed and best climb rate of those aircraft entered. To enter, high-efficiency aircraft had to be capable of a 400-mile flight with 30 minutes reserve, stall at a speed not to exceed 52 mph and not exceed a noise level of 72 dBA measured at a distance of 500 feet during takeoff. Additional rules applied.

 
JA Air Center, Your Source for the New Garmin GPSMap 696
JA Air Center is YOUR source for Garmin equipment, including the new GPSMap 696 with Victor Airways, Jet Routes, XM Weather, Terrain, AOPA Airport Guide, and Safe Taxi. JA Air purchases used GPS units, avionics, and aircraft.

JA Air Center is now open in Sugar Grove, IL (KARR) providing the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Call (800) 323-5966, or click for more information.
 
Reacting to the Recession back to top 
 

Piper, Mooney See Cutbacks

Piper will defer about $10 million worth of incentive money that would have required the company to hire additional workers, and a former Mooney employee says his former company last week had another round of layoffs. Piper will not seek money that would have required it to produce the PiperJet and hire 400 new workers by 2012 for that project. The deal would also have required the company to retain 1,417 people through 2015, removing operational flexibility the company may need. Piper has already shortened its workweek and extended its winter holiday closure to nearly three weeks in adapting to a slowing economy. But the company is framing its actions as proactive, not reactive. "While this year has been a good one for Piper," spokesman Mark Miller told Florida Today, "we have taken measures to keep the company healthy and to weather any future adversity." At Mooney, where last month 229 employees were laid off, a new report published on Christmas Day cites a company employee who states that 40 more employees were laid off last week. Seeking confirmation from CFO, Jon Greenwood, reporters were told to contact Mooney CEO Robert Gowens, who is out of town through Jan. 5.

If confirmed, the move would mark the third workforce reduction at Mooney this year, cutting staff to minimums to watch over the company's Kerrville facilities and more than 25 completed aircraft sitting unsold on the ramp. At Mooney, June saw 80 workers let go as production was reduced from eight to five aircraft per month. Early November witnessed the loss of 229 workers (more than 70 percent of Mooney's workforce). By our math, removal of 40 workers from those remaining would leave a few more than 50 employed by Mooney at Kerrville, Texas.

Last Ever Biplane Expo, 2009?

The National Biplane Association board of directors, citing costs, has announced that 2009 will witness the "final aviation event for the organization." Over 23 years, some 2,500 biplanes and 7,000 other aircraft have drawn some 75,000 fans to the Biplane Expo, but times are changing. The events ran annually since 1987 and included exhibits, type club gatherings, forums and seminars, attendee-decided aircraft judging, aviation rides and famous personalities. With admission fees set at $5 and under, the 2008 event saw retired Air Force Colonel Joseph Kittinger speak. An earlier year included Paul Tibbets of Enola Gay fame. But increasing staffing requirements and costs have conspired with a deteriorating economy to pull the plug. Enthusiasts are now facing what is being billed as the Grande Finale at Bartlesville, Okla., June 4-6.

The coming year's honored guest is yet to be announced. The National Biplane Association was formed as a non-profit organization in 1987 to "educate the general public on the history and development of biplane aircraft and to promote their preservation." Membership is open to anyone interested in biplanes and in preserving them.

 
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.
 
Aviation Safety back to top 
 

Alaska Airlines Investigating De-Ice Fumes Incident

Alaska Airlines confirmed last week that it was fumes from de-icing fluid that caused at least 18 of 143 passengers aboard an Alaska Boeing 737-800 to be treated by paramedics for eye irritation, while seven crew members went to the hospital. The jet was operating as Flight 528 out of Seattle for Burbank and had pulled away from the gate prior to being de-iced. Then, passengers and crew reported fumes. That led the crew to return the aircraft to the gate where 18 passengers were treated with eyewash. At least one passenger told local news that all aboard were subjected to the fumes for 45 minutes before they were able to leave the aircraft. The airport was closed to all traffic after the accident and passengers were evacuated from the aircraft to buses. All of the passengers on the flight elected to continue to Burbank after the airline found a replacement aircraft, but seven crew members (six on duty and one off) were treated at a local emergency room as a matter of procedure. Six were soon released, but one was held for further evaluation. Exactly how the fumes got into the cabin is a matter still under investigation.

Problems for most passengers flying across the country this holiday weekend bypassed fumes, but as airports in the U.S. were dealt significant weather, delays became a significant widespread problem. Washington State declared a statewide weather emergency as winter storms marched east. Passengers last week flying out of Newark had to wait three hours past scheduled departure times. O'Hare, JFK and San Francisco saw delays that averaged an hour or more. Airlines were forced to operate extra flights to move stranded passengers. United, which had canceled 40 flights by Saturday, took on an additional 65 flights to move inconvenienced passengers even as delays continued.

Christmas Conspiracy Theories Catch Connell Crash

Michael Connell, 45, an instrument rated private pilot flying since 2006, was also a Republican media consultant subpoenaed for expert testimony by a lawsuit alleging electronic voting fraud in 2004, and that, along with reported threats against him, has brought additional attention to his death last week in a plane crash. Connell was flying alone in a Piper Cherokee Six Turbo Saratoga on approach to Akron-Canton Airport Friday, Dec. 19, when he crashed two miles short of the runway in the front lawn of a vacant house and was killed. The FAA's preliminary report on the accident includes very little additional information (which is not at all unusual) other than weather, which it lists as "192251Z 30011 9 BKN005 OVC 01/M01 A2978." The report suggests very low clouds, near-freezing temperatures and a tight temperature/dewpoint spread. But, in a world of conspiracy theorists, that's just half of the story. Connell was, according to CBS, the chief IT consultant for Karl Rove and reportedly built a Web site that carried now missing e-mails sought by investigators looking into the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Now, after Connell's fatal accident, CBS affiliate WOIO has reported that "an anonymous close friend" warned Connell "at least twice about flying his plane because his plane might be sabotaged," and that Connell himself had "twice in the past two months" canceled flights "because of suspicious problems with his plane."

Connell's work was often highly politically connected. Aside from the connections previously mentioned, Connell had database clients that included the White House, and in 2004 he helped form an advertising firm that administered the Web site for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. All of that, plus his demise during a time of year when few people watch the news, has led suspicious minds to wander. Connell left behind a wife of 18 years and four children.

 
Fly With Bose® Aviation Headset X
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Purchase by December 31, 2008 and receive a complimentary pair of Bose in-ear headphones ($99.95 value). Learn more and order.

Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
 
AD Alert for Cessna Owners back to top 
 

Check Your Cessna's Alternate Static Port

A new airworthiness directive from the FAA applies to certain Cessna 172, 175, 177, 180, 182, 185, 188, 206, 207, 208, 210, 303, 336, and 337 series airplanes. The AD requires operators to check the alternate static air source selector valve to assure that the alternate static air source selector valve port is not obstructed by a part number identification placard. The FAA has been notified that several aircraft have been found with blocked ports as the result of "improper installation of the part number identification placard on the alternate static air source selector valve." The agency hopes to identify affected ports and prevent the condition from providing pilots with incorrect flight information that could lead to loss of control. The agency is asking operators to check the port, determine whether a placard-induced obstruction exists and removing the placard if it does. Those finding an obstruction are asked to report it to the FAA. This AD is a direct-to-final rule action that goes into effect Jan. 5, while it is accepting comments through Feb. 23.

Full details are available online, here. You'll want to check the full list of models to see if your aircraft is affected. The FAA issues direct-to-final ADs when it believes the rule addresses an unsafe condition that is likely to exist or develop.

 
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.
 
Far from Home back to top 
 

Oil Company Jet Encourages Bird Migration

It wasn't long after an oil company's private jet arrived at landlocked Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, last week after flying from St. John's on the east coast, to Saskatoon, to Calgary, that its crew discovered a disoriented and strange-looking bird wandering around near the cargo hold. It was scooped up and taken to Calgary's Medicine River Wildlife Center (not far from the airport it had apparently visited, earlier), and naturalists unfamiliar with the bird sent out pictures to experts for identification. The universal reply was that the naturalists were keeping company with a black guillemot ... a native fish-eater of the east coast that was now about 4,000 miles away. It seems the pigeon-sized east coast seabird had stowed away from the rocky shores of St. John's, Newfoundland, to reach the prairies of central Canada. And, all told, it was not much worse for the wear ... except that it was now somewhat malnourished and perhaps more than a little confused.

In the good nature of the holidays, the bird has been fed from a feeding tube and may soon be eating small fish. Both Shell and WestJet offered last week to fly the bird back to Newfoundland for transfer to an east-coast wildlife facility and its eventual release back into the wild.

 
Sensenich: Right on the Nose ... Again!
For more than 75 years, Sensenich has been the industry's fixed-pitch prop leader. No surprise Sensenich leads the way again with new composite propellers for light sport and homebuilt aircraft. Proven on 5,000 airboats over the last eight years, plus Rotax- and Jabiru-powered planes, the new lightweight, precision composite props are now available for Continental- and Lycoming-powered planes. Call (717) 569-0435, or click here to learn more.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Air Show Benefits Alan Henley

File Size 4.2 MB / Running Time 4:36

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The air show community was saddened last July when Alan Henley, lead pilot for Team AeroShell, was severely injured in an accident at his home. The best performers in the business have rallied to organize a benefit show at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla. next April 18 and 19. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with air show director Bobbi Thompson.

Click here to listen. (4.2 MB, 4:36)

AVweb Insider Blog: Patty Wagstaff, Booze and Flying

Patty Wagstaff's official statement on the embarrassing incident at an Oshkosh runway this past summer has sparked a lot of reaction among our readers. AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles has been reading the mail, and while your comments are harsh, they're mostly fair. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ doubts that Patty Wagstaff will ever make such a faux pas again.

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

Attention, Power Flow Customers: Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from You!

Have you installed a Power Flow Exhaust on your airplane? Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, is conducting a survey on Power Flow exhausts and would like to learn about your experiences with their products.

Send a note to aviation_safety@hotmail.com to share your experiences. We're particularly interested in your opinions on the exhaust system's price and performance, its ease of installation, before and after performance measurements, fuel flow, whether you'd purchase the system again and any other comments you'd care to share. Please include information on your airplane (make/model/year) and its engine (e.g., Lycoming O-360).

(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.

 
Dual Antenna Traffic Systems Simply Perform Better
Avidyne's dual-antenna TAS600 Systems detect other aircraft sooner and more accurately, avoiding the shadowing effects inherent with single-antenna systems. TAS600 actively interrogate other aircraft, providing timely alerts and precise locations of conflicting traffic. Starting at just $9,990, the dual-antenna TAS600 provides full-time protection and higher performance. When it comes to safety, you want to see the whole picture. Click here for more information.
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video of the Week: Big Beautiful Doll at Compton Abbas

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

A favorite plane of ours (and pretty much everyone else) is the P-51 Mustang Big Beautiful Doll, and this week she touches down for a gorgeous landing on a small grass field runway at Compton Abbas in Dorset, U.K. AVweb reader Charles Davis had just hangared his Cub when he heard a Mustang was coming in for a landing and show this clip of Rob Davies landing the Doll on the fly. "I like it so much I put in on YouTube," Charles writes; "I hope you like it, too."

No worries there, Charles. We enjoyed it quite a bit, and now the rest of AVweb can start the week with it, too.


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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."

Exclusive Video: Avidyne Entegra Integrated Flight Deck (Release 9)

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

Avidyne has upgraded its Entegra Flight Deck. Join us as we have a look, courtesy of Paul Bertorelli and Glenn Pew.

For more on the new Entegra, click here.


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

 
Rediscover Jet City!
Make King County International Airport/Boeing Field your flight destination! Conveniently located just 5 miles from downtown Seattle, KBFI is positioned in the center of the growing economy of the Puget Sound region, serving as a hub for business travel, private jets, and general aviation travel. Partner with aviation experts when you fly to Seattle. Make your destination King County International Airport/Boeing Field! For more information, visit online.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Epps Aviation (KPDK, Atlanta, GA)

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

Santa makes one final delivery for the holiday season, awarding AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon to Epps Aviation at KPDK in Atlanta, Georgia.

AVweb reader Steve Shrum has the story of how Epps saved his Christmas:

I was delivering some very special cargo to Peachtree on Christmas. The cargo included a mother, father, son, and daughter who otherwise would not have made it back home to visit with their family over the holiday. We had to wait out a long line of severe thunderstorms that stretched from Canada to Mexico. After the delay, we arrived in Atlanta just shortly after midnight. Little did we know that our batteries had made their last start. The kind folks at Epps Aviation were incredibly helpful — most specifically, Lymen Fisher. He didn't seem to mind when getting a call at 2 in the morning. He made the one-hour drive to the airport to help us with a battery change at 4 in the morning. The time for us went extremely fast as he kept us laughing with flying and mechanic stories that he had accumulated over the years. Needless to say, he is the sole reason I made it back to northern Arkansas with five minutes to spare to save my Christmas morning. In my opinion, this is yet another Christmas miracle. Thanks, Lymen!

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!

 
Are Your Company's Sales Stalling?
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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/.

 
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"

Overheard on Baltimore approach frequency:

Approach:
"Cessna 1234B, what code are you squawking?"

Cessna:
"We're squawking [CODE]. Is everything O.K.?"

Approach:
"Cessna 34B, you're inside Class B air space, you don't have a clearance to enter Class B, and you're squawking the wrong code. Other than that, everything is just fine."

Alexei Tsekoun
Princeton, New Jersey

 
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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
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.