Aircraft Spruce Acquires SkySports
Corona, California-based Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., a leading supplier of experimental and certificated aircraft parts since 1965, has acquired SkySports International.
SkySports produces its own line of single and dual fuel systems and fuel probes and also carries a complete line of products such as instruments, radios, GPS, strobes, Comtronics helmet/intercom
systems, winter instruments, and hardware for the ultralight market. All SkySports products are now available from the Aircraft Spruce West, East, and Canada warehouses. Call 1 (877)
For the last 50-plus years, two Pobereznys have been at the helm at EAA -- first Paul, the founder, now 87, and then his son Tom -- but
that is about to change, at least partly. On Wednesday, EAA said Tom Poberezny will take over as chairman of the board,
a position that Paul stepped down from recently, and also announced that Tom is ready to step down as president as soon as EAA finds the right replacement. Tom Poberezny said he will begin work with
the board to initiate and lead a search for a new president, who will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. As chairman, Tom Poberezny will provide ongoing counsel to the organization while
focusing specifically on building EAA's endowment. "It is my goal to responsibly secure the future of this organization and provide continuity of leadership," Poberezny said. "I'm very proud of EAA's
accomplishments over the past half century. The organization is financially strong and ready to invest in its long-term future. I look forward to dedicating my experience and energies toward ensuring
EAA's ongoing success."
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According to the folks at Cessna, you may not have to buy a new airplane to qualify for the tax benefits of bonus depreciation in 2009 -- upgrades such as new avionics, which add value to the aircraft
or increase its lifespan, may qualify. The company added a note that it can't give tax advice, but it offered to work closely with customers' accountants to ensure they have all the information they
need to explore specific tax situations. "This is a good time to consider enhancements to your Citation, such as a glass cockpit, productivity features in the cabin, upgraded operational or
navigational systems," said Mark Paolucci, senior vice president, Cessna Customer Service. "As a result of the current business climate, utilization is lower which makes now the perfect time to
schedule major upgrades -- less disruption to operations," Paolucci said.
Upgrades that may qualify include new communications and avionics gear, TCAS and radar upgrades, enhanced instrumentation, RVSM, WAAS/FMS updates, interior upgrades, and new paint, he said. The
upgrades must be installed on the aircraft before Dec. 31, 2009, to qualify. Bonus depreciation for 2009 is part of the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the Stimulus Act), which was signed into law last month.
A review by the FAA about what the word "current" really means in a regulation regarding maintenance of multiengine turboprops and turbine-powered aircraft is good news for owners and operators, AOPA said this week. The legal interpretation arose from a question regarding whether an aircraft operator is
obliged to comply with the maintenance standards that were in place when the aircraft was manufactured or with updated maintenance instructions. Although the industry has historically interpreted the
rule to mean that the latest standards must be applied, the new interpretation says the operator is not obliged to do so. The FAA notice says an operator needs only to adopt a manufacturer's
inspection program that is "current" as of the time he adopts it, and that program remains "current" unless the FAA mandates revisions to it. Such a mandate would be adopted in the form of either an
AD or an amendment to the operating rules.
"By extension, this interpretation applies to ANY aircraft," says AVweb's Savvy Aviator columnist Mike Busch. "What it means is that no change that the manufacturer makes to its maintenance
manual or ICA subsequent to aircraft delivery or STC installation is compulsory UNLESS it is explicitly FAA-approved." AOPA says the FAA's review is particularly good news for owners of Cessna 425 and
441 Conquests, which were built 20 to 30 years ago. Recently, these owners were facing the possibility of having to comply with extremely invasive inspections, including the removal of the aircraft's
wings, because of multiple updates to Cessna's maintenance program, AOPA said. They now can comply with the maintenance program in place at the time their airplanes were built.
"Owners need to spend time talking to the mechanics who've worked on their aircraft to decide what type of inspections to have performed," said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory
affairs. "Owners should consider many factors, including the aircraft's history, total time, how long they've owned it, how familiar they are with its maintenance, and the information they gather from
those who have completed the inspections in making their decisions." For more info about this topic, click here for a PDF of the
FAA's notice, and click here for AOPA's explanation.
Sun 'n Fun It's Like Spring Break for Pilots Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial
exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special
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When a Turkish Airlines 737-800 crashed short of the runway in Amsterdam last week, killing nine people, it was one of those relatively rare accidents where no apparent cause was readily discernible.
But on Wednesday, Dutch Safety Board investigators
said a faulty radio altimeter fed misinformation to the autopilot. The altimeter registered that the airplane was approaching ground level when in fact it was still at 1,950 feet. The autopilot
initiated a power-down of the engines in preparation for landing and the airplane slowed to near stall speed. The pilots responded to the situation too late, and the airplane hit the ground. The 737
data recorder showed that problems with the altimeter had occurred twice before, investigators said.
Boeing has issued a statement to 737 operators reminding pilots to carefully monitor instruments during critical phases of flight. The Dutch Safety Board said in its report that it is "of the
opinion that extra attention is needed for the role of the radio altimeter when using the automatic pilot and the automatic throttle system." The board asked Boeing to pay extra attention to a part of
a manual for the Boeing 737 in which is stated that in case of malfunction of the radio altimeter(s), the automatic pilot and throttle system that are connected to it may not be used for approach and
landing. The board would like Boeing to consider an investigation into whether this procedure is also applicable during other phases of flight.
In California on Tuesday, Marine officials held a news conference to explain their findings in the December crash of an F/A-18 that killed four people on the ground. The officials blamed "a series of
well-intentioned but incorrect decisions" by the pilot and his advisors. Nine people were reprimanded and four were relieved of duty. The airplane had a known fuel-flow problem and should have been
grounded, officials said, and once the in-flight emergency occurred, the pilot and ground crew should have opted to land at North Island, a nearby airfield with an over-water approach. "Landing at
North Island was the prudent and correct decision to make," said Col. John Rupp at the news conference. "Unfortunately, that decision was never made." The FAA released a tape of the conversation
between the pilot and ATC in which the North Island option was offered and the pilot chose to head for Miramar, which is further inland. (Click here to
listen to AVweb's podcast of the ATC audio).
Lt. Dan Neubauer had just taken off from the USS Abraham Lincoln on a training flight when the right engine on the aircraft failed. He was heading for Miramar on one engine when the other one quit.
He ejected at 2,200 feet, two miles short of the runway. A mother, grandmother and two young children were killed in one of the houses hit by the falling fighter.
Remos aircraft announced this week that it has issued a Mandatory Safety Directive to owners to ensure that proper checks are made to secure the aileron controls when extending folded wings. A
preliminary NTSB report of a fatal accident in January found that the left aileron quick fastener had not been secured
prior to takeoff. The directive contains illustrated directions for the proper method of securing the aileron controls when extending the wings, which can be folded for easy storage or trailering. The
company also issued replacement pages for the POH and additional placards that prompt additional pre-flight checks for control quick fasteners. "We have issued this mandatory safety directive to
assure that all pre-flight procedures are followed with precision," said Corvin Huber, CEO of Remos Aircraft. "We are in the process of making a safe airplane even safer." The Remos GX Special Light
Sport Aircraft crashed Jan. 25, during the Sebring Light Sport Expo at Sebring Regional Airport in Florida, seriously injuring the aircraft's pilot and killing its passenger.
A witness who took off in-trail of the accident aircraft reported that both the left and right ailerons of the accident aircraft appeared to be drooping as the accident aircraft started to roll
right and climbed through 50 feet. The right roll progressed as the witness observed the aircraft's rudder "fully deflected to the left." The accident aircraft then flew a slipping right turn to
roughly 100 feet agl but lost altitude as the bank angle increased. Eventually turning through 270 degrees, the aircraft struck the ground at 80-degrees right wing down.
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Eclipse Aviation was required by federal law to give employees 60 days' notice before laying them off, but failed to do so, according to a suit filed by two former employees on Tuesday in Delaware.
Annette Varela, who worked in Albuquerque, and John J. Dimura, who worked at a service facility in New York, are asking for back pay and benefits, and may pursue the matter as a class action if other
former employees join them. Jack Raisner, their lawyer, told KQRE.com
that the two face "an uphill battle." However, he also said that when money is raised by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy sale of the company's assets, some money might be left over for former employees.
A judge was due to decide on Wednesday whether to allow the company to convert its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to Chapter 7 liquidation, but at our deadline, the judge had not yet ruled. A newly
formed company, New Eclipse Acquisition LLC, is working to acquire the assets of the company and eventually resume production. [more] Phil Friedman, currently CEO of an aircraft electromechanical and
structural assembly company in Wichita, said he intends to take advantage of "an excellent business opportunity if managed correctly." Friedman says he's working with former Eclipse CFO Peter Reed and
has developed a business plan that aims to first upgrade and service the existing fleet, which he hopes will drive the jet's value up to the $2 million range.
With Eclipse Aviation facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation -- a court hearing is set for today, March 4 -- and all operations
closed, owners of the little jets are left with plenty of questions, and the FAA attempted this week to answer some of those most frequently asked. Question number one, naturally, was this: Can I still fly my Eclipse EA500 airplane? The answer, says the
FAA, is yes, as long as the aircraft is in an airworthy condition in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91. "Contrary to media reports, the FAA has no plan to ground the EA500 airplanes," the FAA said.
However, if the airplane becomes un-airworthy -- for example, if owners can't get replacement parts or approved repairs -- then pilots can't legally fly. The FAA noted that the EA500s with IS&S
cockpit displays require a navigation database that must be updated by Eclipse every 29 days, and since this update is not available, the types of approaches that the pilots can make with these
airplanes may be limited. The airplanes with Avidyne displays may be updated through other sources, the FAA said.
Spare parts are not available from Eclipse, but owners can get some parts directly from suppliers, and the FAA said several suppliers have asked about getting approved to sell parts directly to
owners. "Be aware," warned the FAA, "that there may be interface issues that only Eclipse can address." The FAA also issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin to ask the owners and operators
of Eclipse jets to inform the FAA of any unsafe condition involving the airplane.
Meanwhile, New Eclipse Acquisition is moving forward with a plan to acquire the company's assets, provide support for current owners, and restart production. Click here for AVweb's exclusive interview with Phil Friedman, who is leading that effort. Also, Bill Herp, CEO of Linear Air, based in Bedford,
Mass., has formed a co-operative owners group with the aim of obtaining the EA500 type certificate to help keep the current fleet flying economically.
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We're used to reporting the first flight of new aircraft designs, but this week, Gulfstream announced the first
simulated flight of its G650 bizjet -- a less satisfying milestone, perhaps, but nonetheless significant. "This achievement demonstrates the successful integration of numerous cockpit systems,
including those designed by Gulfstream and those provided by our suppliers," said Gulfstream spokesman Pres Henne. The first flight was conducted on Dec. 15 in Savannah, Ga., by the project's lead
test pilots, although a team of engineers and other pilots also got a chance to try out the controls during the simulation -- a chance they are unlikely to get when the non-simulated first flight
occurs. The G650 simulator, which was developed in-house by a team of Gulfstream engineers and technicians, comprises a full-scale cockpit with avionics, hardware and sensors, as well as a full-scale
cabin mock-up with a galley. The simulator enables all aircraft systems to be thoroughly evaluated and tested by engineers and pilots in a controlled lab environment well before the aircraft makes its
maiden flight, says Gulfstream.
The G650 will be Gulfstream's biggest-ever jet, carrying up to 18 passengers as far as 7,000 nm. With a max operating speed of 0.925 mach, it aims to displace Cessna's Citation X as the fastest
civil aircraft flying. The first flight in our real world is expected by the end of this year. Certification by FAA and EASA is expected in 2011, with customer deliveries to start in 2012, at about
$60 million per copy. Click here for a guided video tour of the cabin mockup from EBACE 2008.
These may be tough times for the aviation industry, but at the 20th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference, which wrapped up last Saturday in Atlanta, the mood was upbeat. The economy and
jobs were on everyone's mind, and older WAI members assured the younger attendees that ups and downs are nothing new for the aviation industry. "Companies and organizations continue to hire, and we
had active career recruiting by many of our exhibitors, especially for mechanics and technicians, but also for pilots, air traffic controllers and other positions as well," said WAI President Peggy
Chabrian. "Our members and conference attendees are proactive and steadfast; they are the top-tier candidates that any employer would want to hire." About 3,000 people from 15 countries attended the
event, which featured 125 exhibitors plus forums and workshops. Scholarships totaling $459,450 in value were awarded to WAI members at every stage of life from university students to some seeking a
midlife career change into aviation.
Five women were inducted into WAI's International Pioneer Hall of Fame: Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to break the sound barrier; Patricia Malone, a U.S. Navy WAVE who trained aircraft
carrier-based pilots on instrument flight procedures; Ruth Nichols, who holds more than 35 aviation records; Dawn Seymour, the first woman accepted into the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Cornell
University; and Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, one of the most famous Soviet women to fly in a male combat regiment during World War II and holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union award.
The 21st Annual International Women in Aviation Conference will be held at Walt Disney World's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., near Orlando, Feb. 25-27, 2010. For more
information, visit WAI.org.
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As the North American and European aviation industries retrench and regroup, the worldwide economic crisis seems to have missed China,
at least as far as investment in aviation projects is concerned. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced today that it is investing $3 billion in three projects in the Beijing area
that would seem designed to vault the country into being a player in the international aviation market. According to China Daily, AVIC intends to build facilities to build engines, airborne systems and composite structures as it continues its aggressive campaign to build a homegrown aerospace
The move is part of a consolidation of the state-owned company in the past year and AVIC now has six divisions that cross the spectrum of the aviation industry, from large commercial jets to GA. To
further those goals, AVIC is perhaps taking advantage of the tough times in much of the aviation world by doing some headhunting. "Our goal is to become globally competitive," Gao Jianshe, the group's
executive vice president, told Reuters. "And to do that, we need executives with international experience."
Recall last summer that we reported on a new proposed
replacement for 100LL that would be both cheaper than avgas and have higher octane. While we don't yet know about the cheaper part, the FAA's initial testing has revealed that Swift Fuel has a slightly higher octane than 100LL and has excellent resistance to detonation, something other fuels haven't been able to
achieve without lead as an octane booster. The new fuel contains about 13 percent more heat value than avgas, but it's also about a pound heavier per gallon. It meets most of the requirements of the
ASTM D 910 standard for avgas.
The FAA's Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., completed technical testing on Swift Fuel in mid-January, reporting an octane value of 104.4. Worth noting is that the tech center's
testing doesn't constitute industry or FAA approval of the fuel, but is rather a first run at examining the concept.
Swift proposes to make its fuel from cellulosic biomassswitch grass and agricultural waste, for examplefor a manufactured price of under $2 a gallon, according to a proposal it
presented to an industry research council last year. Although Swift Fuel produces alcohol in its process, the fuel is not ethanol-based but rather combines acetone compounds derived from fermentation
of biomass. Swift is continuing its testing through 2009 and seeking investors to fund further research and industrial rollout of the product.
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(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, wants to hear about your experiences with engine warranties. We'd like to
know about warranties of new or remanufactured engines from the factory, field overhauls and "boutique" engine shops. In your opinion, was the warranty sufficient? Did you encounter problems after
installation, and were they resolved to your satisfaction? Did any factory, overhauler or installer go beyond their warranty to address any problems?
Please send a note to email@example.com and let us know your experiences, including the factory or shop
doing the work, the aircraft type and the nature of any problems.
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via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Last week, we asked AVweb readers to reflect on the legacy of Eclipse Aviation.
Despite the bumps and bruises of Eclipse's long shutdown, most of you felt the journey was worthwhile. One-third of those who answered our poll said new technologies were developed
and lessons learned, and another third said other than shareholders and aircraft owners, there was at least no lasting damage done to the industry.
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.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
The FAA says you can continue to fly them and efforts to save the visionary parent company are underway, but seriously what's the post-collapse market value
of an Eclipse 500 jet? We want to hear what you think.
This podcast is an edited version of all of the relevant radio traffic between Shooter 25, the F/A-18 and San Diego Approach. Shooter 25 crashed near Miramar on December 8, killing four people on
the ground. The tape has been compressed to delete gaps and transmissions not relevant to the accident.
Actually, it's not. And to prove the point, Paul Bertorelli carefully dissects a few select passages from the New York Times in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog. (He
gives the working press a B+ for its coverage of the Colgan crash in Buffalo.)
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With perfect weather almost over the weekend, Florida Aircraft Expo kicked off something new in aircraft sales. Would-be buyers could kick tires and twist knobs on new
aircraft at two Florida airports St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Sarasota. The Expo shows off most models of new aircraft across a range of manufacturers, offering serious buyers a chance to
spend as much time with the airplanes as they like and even get a demo flight, all on one day and in the same place. Fort Lauderdale-based Premier Aircraft Sales developed the Expo idea by expanding
on its own regional sales efforts. Premier's Jeff Owen told AVweb Saturday that although turnout at the Expos is designed to be small, the leads it generates tend to yield real sales. (And
yes, there are buyers out there, although many are hesitant to pull the trigger, awaiting yet a better deal.) Owen told us the new and used aircraft market has never had better inventory or more high
value offerings. Check out the event's web page at FloridaAircraftExpo.com.
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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
Even as wintery weather swept across North America and submissions numbers dipped, the quality of this week's photo submission soared. Kick back, grab a soda, and take a few minutes
out of your busy day to enjoy the top five photos with us. (When you're done here, don't forget that there are more to be seen in the slideshow on AVweb's home
William Derrickson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania tells us, "This 727 served more than 40 years as a passenger airliner with United and a cargo
hauler with FedEx Express" before finally making her way to the scrap yard.
"Most of us are used to high-definition color photos," writes David P. Thomas of Lebec, California, "but here's one that's a bit
different." David continues, "This photo was taken aboard the 'escort' carrier Roi (CVE 103), probably 1944-ish by my father ... scanned from the original black-and-white negative,
and the emulsion is starting to flake off. I don't know about you, but I can feel the wind coming across the deck."
You said it, David! What an incredible photo. Thanks for sharing it while the original is still in good enough condition to be scanned. Like you, we can't help but wonder what
happened to all those Corsairs ... .
Jeff Hersom of Anchorage, Alaska snapped this photo "on the way from Key West to Anchorage." While we're not 100% certain what made Jeff
contemplate the scene and snap it, we couldn't help wondering: Was the owner of this pipe and matches on the verge of lighting up when he thought better of it? Or did he just leave these behind?
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.
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
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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