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Volume 15, Number 13b
April 2, 2009
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Top News: Reports from Dallas, Friedrichshafenback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Although new aircraft sales are in the doldrums, some avionics shops are doing brisk business upgrading older airframes and that makes the Aircraft Electronics Assciation bullish on 2009. The AEA opens its 52nd annual convention at Dallas's Gaylord Texan convention center today with a record number of new product introductions and strong participation by association members. AEA President Paula Derks told AVweb on Wednesday that some member shops have seen only modest business decline since last fall, if they've seen any. "I can't say certain regions or certain shops are busier than others. Thankfully, our segment of the industry, the repair stations and the manufacturers of avionics system, are not reporting a lot of layoffs," Derks said. More...

Aero Friedrichshafen, which opens today and runs through Sunday, is continuing to grow, and attracting a wide range of exhibitors eager to expand in the European market. Overall, 625 exhibitors from 27 countries are setting up at the show, with German companies in the lead, followed by companies from the U.S. and the Czech Republic. AVweb is staffing the show and will have reports later in the week. Many companies have expanded their space compared to the last show. The show is the biggest for gliders from around the world, and ultralights, LSAs, and helicopters are robustly represented. An E-Flight Expo will showcase aircraft with electrical propulsion, new solar technologies and other innovative propulsion concepts. The show also provides an opportunity for GA folk from various places to meet, and Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, said that could have some significant repercussions, perhaps leading to a universal standard for light sport aircraft. "A Certification Specification for Light Sport Aircraft (CS-LSA) is working its way through the European Union and at Aero, some key meetings are planned to help EASA personnel get with FAA people and ASTM committee members," Johnson wrote at his blog this week. "Dull? Maybe ... But look at the prize: the potential for a worldwide standard for LSA." More...

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Plenty of Life in the Aviation Marketplaceback to top 

Amid all the economic gloom, a bright spot is growing -- with the approach of spring, and the imminence of the season-opener shows at Aero Friedrichshafen and Sun 'n Fun, bargains for pilots are flowing into our inbox every day, and manufacturers are rolling out new products. Socata announced on Wednesday that it will now offer Garmin's synthetic vision technology in the TBM 850. LSA builder Tecnam has a new model, the P2008. Compared to earlier models, the P2008 has a new wing, a bigger cabin and larger doors. (Click here for a recent AVweb podcast about flying cross-country in a Tecnam LSA.) Other new deals we heard about this week include an amphibious float kit for the Storm Rally LSA, for $9,995, and a new price from Team Tango for its quick-build aircraft, with savings of about $5,000 on each model for the next 90 days. Add in the substantial Glasair Sportsman discounts we told you about on Monday, and the new Super Sport Cub from CubCrafters, and it's like a breath of fresh air. More...

CubCrafters, of Yakima, Wash., this week introduced the Super Sport Cub LSA, a beefier version of their Sport Cub. Equipped with a new 340-cubic-inch engine developed by CubCrafters and ECI, the airplane can take off in less than 100 feet even at gross weight, and climb out at over 2,100 fpm. The new CC340 four-cylinder engine is certified to ASTM standards and produces up to 180 hp for takeoff and climb while maintaining 80 hp continuous power up to 12,000 feet, with a fuel burn of about 5 to 6 gph. "It's a very powerful engine and probably something that wasn't expected in the LSA industry," CubCrafters CEO Jim Richmond told AVweb on Wednesday. "But the beauty of operating an engine that's more powerful than it needs to be, is that when you power back to cruise speed, the fuel flows are the same as with a smaller engine." At 240 to 245 pounds dry weight, the CC340 is about 35 pounds lighter than a comparable Lycoming engine, Richmond said. The weight savings came from replacing the magnetos with electronic ignition, along with a range of small changes. "A gram here and a gram there, and it all adds up," Richmond said. More...

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Safety Concerns in Unexpected Placesback to top 

An FAA spokesman told ABC News the agency is "comfortable" with the way Red Bull operates its restored Grumman Albatross seaplane -- but former FAA safety inspector Bill McNease told reporters the airplane is "terribly unsafe, because the wing could fall off at any time." The ABC story also notes that the airplane operates under an "experimental airworthiness certificate" and flew above Super Bowl activities in Tampa last month despite the fact that it is supposed to avoid densely populated areas. "Neither Red Bull nor any of its pilots or flight crews have or would operate an aircraft that is known to be unsafe or in an unsafe manner," a Red Bull spokeswoman told ABC. Red Bull also said the airplane is operated in full compliance with FAA regulations, according to ABC. The report includes dramatic video of a "similar seaplane" crashing into the ocean off Miami after its "aged wings had snapped off." The airplane in that video is a Grumman Turbo Mallard G-73T, while Red Bull's seaplane is a Grumman HU-16E Albatross. More...

Devices that could emit an electromagnetic pulse capable of disabling the avionics on an airplane are fairly simple to build with off-the-shelf components and information from the Internet, according to an article in this week's New Scientist. Such a device, at least theoretically, could be smuggled aboard a commercial airliner or aimed from the ground at an aircraft landing or taking off, the magazine says. Speculation persists that such weapons have already been used in the Persian Gulf and in Afghanistan, though no reports have been confirmed, according to the New Scientist. Concern about the impact of EMPs on aircraft is nothing new, as the pulses are a known side effect of nuclear weapons. GE has been working on a $12 million military contract since 2006 with the goal to find a way to make aircraft immune from electromagnetic threats. Results from the project are due in 2011. Meanwhile, the increasing use of composite materials in aircraft is making them more vulnerable, Yael Shahar, director of a counter-terrorism institute in Israel, told the New Scientist. More...

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Eye on the Economyback to top 

Textron, the parent company of Cessna, said on Tuesday that it will further lower 2009 manufacturing production rates at Cessna, and Cessna CEO Jack Pelton confirmed in an e-mail to workers that that means more job cuts. "I've never seen any situation as dynamic as this," Pelton wrote, according to the Wichita Eagle. "Financing continues to be problematic for many customers," he said. "Their economic health may have stabilized, but their decision to take delivery of the jet they ordered two years ago now hinges on increased profitability which is still some time away." In addition to the staff reduction, details of which will be announced at the end of this month, the company will shut down for two weeks in July. Other staff may face short-term furloughs as production of some models is suspended pending an upturn in demand. More...

In its annual aviation forecast, released on Tuesday, the FAA said it expects U.S. aircraft operations to decrease almost 6 percent this year compared to 2008 levels but then start to rebound in 2010. Operations overall will then grow at about 1.5 percent per year through 2025, with general aviation growing slightly faster at 1.8 percent per year. The total GA fleet should continue to grow at the rate of about 1 percent per year. "A vibrant, efficient and green aviation system will play a key role in our nation's economic recovery," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The report noted that GA operations at combined FAA and contract towers were down 5.6 percent last year, the steepest decline since 2003. GA activity at consolidated traffic facilities (FAA TRACONs) fell 6.3 percent, while the number of GA aircraft handled at FAA en route centers decreased 7.6 percent. The number of student pilots decreased 4 percent in 2008, the fourth consecutive year of decline in this category. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 
Click for Cirrus Perspective video from EBACE 2008

As expected, Cirrus has announced that the Perspective avionics suite developed by Garmin will be standard panel in the SF50 Vision (we're not sure when it changed from SJ50) jet. Cirrus launched the proof-of-concept Vision with L-3's Smart Deck system but there were reports late last year that the two had parted ways. Since it's introduction a year ago as a top-of-the-line option, Perspective has been praised by the Cirrus community and it has spread to other models, so from a conformity standpoint it makes sense the jet would be equipped with it, too. "This is great news for present and future Vision jet and SR22 Perspective owners because the SR22 and Turbo with Perspective and known ice protection is the natural training and transition aircraft in preparation for flying the Vision," said Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters. A Perspective panel will be installed in the proof-of-concept, which is still undergoing tests. More...

Teledyne Continental said on Wednesday that it has just completed a round of flight and test-cell trials that suggest that 94UL may be an adequate replacement for 100LL, whose existence is threatened by continued availability of tetraethyl lead. TCM says it will push for approval of 94UL as the leading replacement for 100LL. 94UL is essentially 100LL without the TEL additive. It meets vapor pressure and other avgas specs, but without the lead, it doesn't match 100LL's octane, which is typically about 103 straight from the refinery. More...


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News Briefsback to top 

It would be hard to imagine a worse time to be launching a new airliner but Bombardier is forging ahead with its new CSeries single-aisle airplanes and winning new orders that might otherwise have gone to Boeing or Airbus. The company announced a $1.44 billion deal with Lease Corporation International (LCI) on Monday for three of the 110-seat models and 17 of the 130-seat variants and options for 20 more. Earlier this month, Lufthansa committed to 30 CSeries aircraft, with options for 30. LCI represents 20 airlines in Europe and Asia and did not say where the aircraft might end up, but LCI spokesman Tasos Michael told the Montreal Gazette the CSeries offers a combination of technological advancement (launch customer for Pratt and Whitney Canada's geared turbofan engine) and a sweet spot in the market for cabin size. "There are good deals from everybody at the moment. We went with Bombardier," he told the Gazette. More...

The FAA's current budget plan has been extended for another six months...
An AD affecting some Piper airplanes restricts their use to VFR only...
Some flight schools have been cut from Sallie Mae's student-loan program...
China will host a second GA forum in June....
New FAA handbook on flying trikes now available online. More...

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

AVweb staff are currently making the rounds at Aero Friedrichshafen and the AEA show in Dallas. It's official: Show season is upon us, and we want to know how many events you will attend this year.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers which sectors of the aviation economy could benefit the most from stimulus money; click through to find out where your peers thought that money could do the most good. More...

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 What have you heard? More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

Don't get him wrong: AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli is keenly interested in Teledyne-Continental's efforts to migrate from 100LL to "94UL" (essentially 100LL minus the lead) — but he can't help doing a double-take when discussing the research. In the latest edition of our AVweb Insider blog, he explains: "For nearly three decades we've been writing stories about the difficult struggle to find an octane enhancer as good as lead, and now here comes TCM to say, well, never mind. It reminds me of that classic headline about World War I: 'Archduke Found Alive; War a Mistake.'" More...

After 18 months without an official leader, the FAA will need Randy Babbitt to get to work immediately if he's confirmed as FAA administrator. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, editor-in-chief Russ Niles speculates on which he'll lean and runs down the best- and worst-case scenarios. More...

AERO Friedrichshafen — The Best Place for Your Business
AERO Friedrichshafen is the premier European trade show for the General Aviation industry. Starting in 2009, AERO will take place annually. Situated in Central Europe, within the border—triangle of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, AERO is the ideal platform for the European General Aviation market. In addition, Messe Friedrichshafen is one of the most modern fairgrounds in Europe. If you want to do business in Europe, you have to be there! Go online for complete information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

If any segment of the aviation industry can be said to be weathering the economic storm in good stead, it's electronics — and that's evident from the pre-show buzz at this year's Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention in Dallas, Texas. More...

When Bendix/King rolled out its AV8OR portable GPS last summer, the $749 retail price — about $675 discounted — caught GPS buyers by surprise. So did the AV8OR's feature set, which includes a touchscreen interface and automotive navigation as built-in standard capability. In this video, AVweb's editors took the AV8OR out for a spin to wring out its major features. More...

Video Marketplace Spotlight

New for 2009 from Flight Design
Flight Design CEO Tom Peghiny joins Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli to outline the company's new-for-2009 offerings at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Tri-City Aviation at KTRI in Kingsport, Tennessee.

AVweb reader Jonathan Butkovic recommended the FBO:

I was in Bristol for the NASCAR race, and Tri-City Aviation was the FBO on the field, so I parked there. They were helpful, friendly and very cost-friendly. ... I loved it and certainly will be back next time I go to the races!

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!


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Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

We realize that AEA is happening in Dallas, Texas right now, but did Texan readers, knowing that we'd be prowling the show, want to give us a Lone Star welcome by flooding our submissions box with "Picture of the Week" entries? It may be (and probably is) nothing more than sheer coincidence. Either way, we're happy to have a Texas-sized batch of submissions to sift through this week, starting with this night photo from Denton Finley of Waco, Texas. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.