AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 26a

June 29, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Eclipse Embattled in Europe back to top 

Eclipse Loses EASA Type Certificate, Suppliers Lose More

The EASA Type Certificate covering the Eclipse 500 has been suspended (PDF) as of June 12, 2009, striking a potential blow to the value of Eclipse Aviation's intellectual property assets that may soon be sold at auction. Now in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Eclipse Aviation has even less to offer potential buyers. Eclipse achieved the EASA certificate in November of last year, hoping to win a new market for the aircraft in any of 30 European nations, but since that time the vast majority of delivered Eclipse 500 very light jets have been registered in the United States. So, on the upside, the suspension shouldn't have much of an effect on aircraft that are currently in use. On the rapidly growing downside, Eclipse's assets will now offer even less to the company's suppliers that have lined up to fill out bankruptcy court claim forms for money due them. One supplier (of about 145) that may take a big hit, 59-year-old Sun Country Industries, may be stuck with unpaid invoices totaling half a million dollars and "is sitting on an additional $750,000 in parts and material" otherwise destined for Eclipse, according to Aircraft Maintenance Technology online (AMT). To make matters worse, of Eclipse's physical assets, which could be sold to repay its debts, it seems many may have never been paid for by Eclipse.

According to AMT, court documents show that some $76 million worth of equipment and parts housed in Eclipse's facilities were never owned by Eclipse. Companies that continued to work with Eclipse in 2008 reportedly saw payment delays increase to about three months in the second half of the year when many suppliers shifted to a credit freeze/cash only policy with the company. Of those that stayed with the company, many truly wanted the manufacturer to succeed, according to AMT. That condition lasted mostly until July 2008, when Eclipse CEO Vern Rayburn was removed from his position, blaming much of the company's problems on problems with suppliers.

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The Changing Face of Flying back to top 

Viper Claims Experimental "First"

Viper Aircraft's new Viperjet LXR fanjet is a 375-KTAS, experimental two-place tandem aerobatic-capable personal jet with an 1100-nm range (with reserves) and room for 125 pounds of baggage -- and it's now available with a special endorsement from the FAA. The company has established standardized qualifications and training for the aircraft that qualifies pilots who've taken that training for an Authorized Experimental Aircraft certificate. The certificate is basically the experimental aircraft version of a type rating and in practice it means its holder "will no longer need to receive a Letter of Authorization (LOA) from the FAA," to operate the aircraft, according to Viper President Scott Hanchette. Hanchette believes that makes his the "first experimental aviation company in its class" to receive such a certificate. According to Viper, the authorized certificate is part of the FAA's vintage and experimental program's goal of establishing standardized pilot qualifications, training and certification in experimental U.S. and foreign aircraft.

Viper's program has already seen its first certificate recipients in Alain Garcia and professional test pilot Len Fox. All pilots seeking the certificate must complete the recommended training syllabus and fulfill the certificate requirements, which include a comprehensive review and flight evaluation by an FAA designated experimental aircraft examiner.

Solar Impulse Is Revealed

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An aircraft was unveiled Friday in Switzerland that aims to take off with one pilot aboard and fly day and night propelled only by solar energy, flying around the world without expending any fuel or expelling any pollution. The team led by Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg believes the goal is unachievable "without pushing back the current technological limits in all fields." The craft measures 61 meters in span and will carry aloft about 3300 pounds of aircraft and 12,000 photovoltaic cells. There are more efficient options, but the 130-micron monocrystalline silicon solar cells were chosen for their combination of light weight and efficiency. The cells are dispersed over 200 square meters of surface area as part of a 12 percent efficient propulsion chain designed to deliver about eight horsepower from four motors. The motors are housed in under wing pods with lithium polymer batteries that are insulated to conserve the radiated heat that will allow them to function at the -40 degrees Centigrade at 27,000 feet the aircraft may experience. Power collected from the solar cells and stored in the batteries will be used to drive 3.5-meter propellers through a gear reduction that will swing them at 200-400 revolutions per minute -- lifting the giant craft off the ground at about 19 knots and flying it at about 60. And then there's what's on the inside.

Aside from a pilot, the aircraft will also be carrying an on-board computer to analyze and manage hundreds of parameters that it will transfer to a ground team and simplify the task for the pilot. The system is designed to manage optimal power for the motors in every possible flight configuration and battery charge or discharge condition. If it works as intended it will allow the plane to "self-correct and minimize its energy consumption." What its designers hope is the beginning of the ultimate alternative fuel vehicle is here. Let the testing begin.

Related Content:

3 Airplanes ... 3 Levels ... 1 Edition ... Ice
New for 2009, Cirrus Aircraft shakes the lineup with a new way to spec out your new Cirrus. SR20, SR22, and Turbo models are now available in three well-equipped trim levels - "S," "GS," and "GTS"; Known Ice Protection is ready to go on SR22 and Turbo models; or choose an all-new premium interior and exterior upgrade package dubbed "X-Edition." Visit CirrusAircraft.com for details.
Investigating Beyond the Aircraft back to top 

NTSB To Investigate A330 Air Data Anomalies

Investigators recently reported that the crew of Air France Flight 447, lost earlier this month with all aboard, may have been fed faulty air data, and Friday the NTSB announced that it is investigating "two recent incidents" in which A330 instruments may have malfunctioned. Earlier this month, after it was publicly disclosed that Airbus had recommended changes to the jets' pitot tubes, some pilots for Air France were urged by their union to refuse flights on A330/A340 series aircraft if their pitot sensors had not yet been replaced. Of the two incidents the NTSB will be investigating, the first involved a TAM Airlines flight out of Miami May 21, bound for Sao Paulo. The airliner lost "primary speed and altitude information" during cruise. Pilots reported the event was precipitated by an abrupt drop in indicated outside air temperature. Soon after, the Air Data Reference System was lost and the autopilot and autothrust disconnected. The crew flew the jet on backup instruments for about five minutes until primary data was restored. The flight continued to a Sao Paulo, where it landed without incident. A Northwest Airlines A330 flying between Hong Kong and Tokyo on June 23 may have experienced a similar event. The NTSB in its statement did not draw any connection between these investigations and the Air France disaster.

The NTSB is collecting weather and data recorder information, as well as Aircraft Condition Monitoring Systems messages and crew statements, to evaluate the incidents. The board will release information on both incidents as it becomes available.

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Shake-Up for Cirrus Vision Jet? back to top 

Klapmeier Makes Play For Cirrus Jet

Click for video of the Vision's first flight

AVweb has confirmed that former Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier is making a bid to acquire the rights to manufacture and sell the Vision SF 50 single-engine jet. A source close to the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Klapmeier announced that he has "formed a team of financial advisors and engineers" to try to take over the project. The source said Merrill Lynch is involved in the negotiations between the Klapmeier group and Arcapita Ventures, Cirrus Aircraft's majority investor, over the potential acquisition of the project. The new company will be separate from Cirrus and a name has not been chosen.

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The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
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Click here for more information on the new Piper Meridian G1000.
News Briefs back to top 

Fractional Cub?

American Legend Aircraft announced Thursday that its Legend Cub, a modernized Piper J-3 Cub, could be had for as little as $2900 down and flown for $28 per hour when purchased through the LetsFly four-person joint-ownership program. The LetsFly Cooperative Ownership Program is "the largest aircraft cooperative in the country," according to President Eldon Corry. The company claims to offer an affordable model for pilots "who wish to fly often, but prefer not to rent" in a package that offers "a very appealing aircraft ownership alternative," especially in the context of difficult economic times. For the roughly $110,000 Legend Cub, the company says its four-person system translates into the previously mentioned low initial cost, low hourly cost, and monthly fees that land in the ballpark of about $400 (depending on the loan's interest rate). For what it's worth, LetsFly will also put you in a Mooney Acclaim or Cirrus SR20 for that same initial $2900 ... but you'll be paying about $1500/month and $185/hour for the Mooney, or $710/month and $90/hour in the Cirrus.

LetsFly offers a very wide range of aircraft options, from light sport aircraft to a Beech Duke, depending on inventory. At the time AVweb went to press, American Legend Aircraft was listed by Google as potentially affected by malicious software, so we'll direct interested readers to contact the company by phone if interested in further details: 903-885-7000.

One Man's Dream: 60 Airplanes At 60

Celebrating a 37-year career in aviation and his 60th birthday, Tim Carter has set himself a goal of flying 60 aircraft in the year starting immediately after his Nov. 1, 2008, 60th birthday. He's got about four months left and, according to his Web site, he's flown 29 aircraft. Carter's career has taken him through the United States Air Force and Delta Air Lines before he moved to his current job at a fractional jet company. The man says he has about 17,000 hours total time with type ratings in the B727, 737, 757/767, CE500, CE525 and LOA Folland Gnat. With previous experience flying everything from a Cub through a Zivco Edge to an L29, his logbook may already contain 60 different types, but thought his plan would be a fine "grand finale" to "cap off a great career." Even if he doesn't succeed, the quest has no doubt produced some memorable days, including one spent at the U.S. Flight Academy, where he went once around the patch in eight aircraft (one of which was a helicopter). Carter maintains a Web site where he posts pictures of his conquests.

Carter is getting help from an aviation insurance company and is seeking help in any way it comes. "In some cases I can rent, share expenses, or swap favors. Whatever we can work out." Carter doesn't truly expect to end his career when he turns 61, he just knows his active flying days may be ticking down and so long as he's still going strong and "couldn't think of a better way" to celebrate "than to do what I have enjoyed most during my life, and that is flying airplanes."

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New on AVweb back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #134:
Gear Up, Good Night — Flying Freight in the Not-So-Good Old Days

While it is fashionable in some circles to assert that society is falling apart and that if only we could return to the ways of yore, all would be well, in the world of Part 135 flying, it simply isn't true. The cowboy days of operators cutting every corner possible trying to make a buck while the FAA looked the other way killed way too many people.

Click here for the full story.

Here at the virtual airport, a number of the regulars in the Pilot's Lounge fly charter under Part 135 of the regs. Having done so as well, I greatly enjoy spending time with charter pilots and listening to them tell of some of the more, ah, interesting trips they have.

As I listen, I find that I am glad that the majority of charter operators make a pretty good effort to follow the regs; actually giving training and doing maintenance rather than faking the logbook entries as was so widely done back in the 1970s and early 1980s. I like the fact that the accident rate has gone down since then because I like my friends and want to keep them around.

While it is fashionable in some circles to assert that society is falling apart and that if only we could return to the ways of yore, all would be well, in the world of Part 135 flying, it simply isn't true. The cowboy days of operators cutting every corner possible trying to make a buck while the FAA looked the other way killed way too many people.

We sure aren't perfect today, but it just seems to me that a pilot who has had some real recurrent training and is about to launch into foul weather in an airplane that has had its squawks fixed stands a lot better chance of arriving at the desired destination alive and well than if the training had been lousy or nonexistent and maintenance just some entries in a logbook. I think it is appropriate to open a page of aviation history, look at it objectively and recognize that there were definitely some "bad old days" in professional aviation.

I've not talked about this era much outside a small circle of friends, which includes some FAA inspectors, and whatever statutes of limitation there may be on the myriad of regulations my compatriots and I so routinely violated have long run. I happened to come into the Part 135 freight hauling scene at a time when the FAA chose, for whatever reason, to not enforce its regulations on the charter operations at one of the busiest freight airports in the country.

I was like many other professional pilots at that airport, young, burning with desire to fly and didn't much care about how well the airplanes we were to fly were maintained because we not only figured we could fly anything, anywhere, anytime, we also knew that if we didn't go because of weather or condition of the airplane, we would be fired and someone else would go in our place. I only differed from the group in that I was luckier than some. I survived. Not all of my contemporaries did.

By the mid-1970s, Willow Run Airport, created by Henry Ford on one of his farms west of Detroit to build B-24s for World War II, had become the center of the universe for airplanes hauling components needed for the manufacture of cars. The Big 3 auto companies were so huge that there was always an assembly line somewhere that was in danger of shutting down because of a shortage of some part. It meant that any pilot who could scrape up a down payment on a clapped out Beech 18 with a cargo door and could obtain a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate could promise traffic managers at the car makers lower air freight prices than anyone else in hopes of getting the call to haul auto parts on short notice. It was unbridled capitalism with constant price wars, minimal training for the pilots, little maintenance for the airplanes and an FAA that was looking the other way.

During law school I had hauled freight out of Willow Run in piston twins. About the time I graduated and began studying for the Bar exam, a number of the operators which had been flying Beech 18s discovered that the per-mile operating cost of a well used Lear 23 or early 24 was about the same as the Beech, and the Lear got the freight delivered much, much faster.

Suddenly there were Learjets at Willow Run, almost all of which were being operated by folks who had previously done nothing but run single-pilot airplanes.

They weren't exactly sure what to do about the requirement of a copilot in a Learjet. The regs said that the copilot had to go through some training and make three takeoffs and landings in the airplane. However, there simply wasn't the money for any training, or to pay more than a pittance for a right seat warmer and by gawd, the Learjet 23 panel was set up for single-pilot operation anyhow, even if Lear couldn't convince the FAA to grant single-pilot certification.

The reactions among Lear operators varied. One was reputed to simply tell the lineboys that fueled him that he needed a copilot for a trip and one of them would go. As he never let his copilots do any flying it worked out fine until the night the lineboys put a guy who'd never even been in an airplane before into the right seat, promising him an airplane ride. Eventually the Lear operators hired and trained copilots, paid them a living wage and put them on the path to upgrade to captain. But in the interim, where I came in, the practice was for an operator to find some pilots he trusted and pay them a small amount to fly right seat time in the Lear as needed. Training was on the job - no classroom, no books, no three takeoffs and landings before the first revenue trip and certainly no checkride.

After getting a call from one of the operators who needed another part time copilot, I found myself sitting sideways in the "barrel chair" right behind the copilot's seat of a Model 24B Learjet as we taxied out for 27R at Willow Run. Behind me the rest of the seats had been stripped out and the cabin wrapped with heavy gauge plastic to protect it from the sharp edges of freight.

In short order I learned that all ground ops were on one engine because the fuel burn of the GE CJ610 engines was higher on the ground than in cruise flight (as all Lear pilots, I rapidly became obsessed with fuel). The second engine was not started cleared for takeoff. Moments later I learned that the acceleration of a Lear on takeoff was as nothing I'd ever experienced and that it might well be investigated for its deeply addictive properties. Grabbing the partition behind the copilot's head in a death grip, certain that I would otherwise be hurled aft and pulverized against the rear pressure bulkhead by the stunning acceleration, I knew I was going to like Learjets.

On the second leg of the trip I was assigned to the right seat where I was to talk on the radio, call airspeeds during the takeoff roll and final approach and, upon the captain's command after we broke ground, raise the landing gear and flaps, turn on the yaw damper, turn off the landing lights and generally make myself useful while learning by doing and trying to avoid causing catastrophe. This time takeoff acceleration was a physical entity that shoved me back in my seat, accompanied by view similar to that from a go-kart.

Seated eyes low to the ground, the sensation of speed was vastly amplified as the Lear went scorching down the runway at something approaching a million miles per hour (conservative estimate) and I, overwhelmed, did my best to gasp out "airspeed alive and cross check", then "V1" and finally, sharply, "rotate!" With that we pitched up at an improbable angle and tore our way into the sky as sensory overload caused me to struggle to do my simple post-launch tasks. The VSI pegged at 6,000 fpm, a rate I had never seen and my brain, doing its best to keep up, informed me that the vertical vector of our climb was, stunningly, more than a mile a minute.

Intellectually I knew that the speeds and operating altitudes of the Lear were old hat, for jets had been going far faster and higher for decades, yet the visceral reality of those first flights created a burning excitement that penetrated every level of my being, so much so that it would take me hours for the euphoria to drain away after the trip. On the first flight in the right seat, as we cruised at FL450 (45,000 feet, the max legal altitude for the airplane and where we routinely flew to minimize fuel burn), I, who held an ATP, was so effectively mesmerized by the concept of being that far above the planet that I was unable to utter the simple phrase, "Flight Level 450," in response to an altitude query from ATC, managing only after a number of stammers and halts to utter, "forty-five hundred feet." I thought the captain was going to hurt himself laughing at the rube to his right.

As I came to know the airplane the captain I most often flew with, who also owned the company, and whom I'll call "Ben," would put me in the left seat every other leg. He wasn't being generous, he was tired and utterly pragmatic.

Once he was reasonably certain I wouldn't kill him, he engaged in what had come to be called "gear up and good night." Going through about 10,000 feet following takeoff the copilot's workload dropped off to talking occasionally on the radio. Thus, because we so often ignored crew duty time limits and kept flying so long as there was freight to be hauled, we were frequently deeply tired, so upon passing through 10,000 it was not uncommon for the right-seater to unbuckle and head aft to spread out the sleeping bag wherever there was room, and fall asleep instantly upon becoming recumbent. Invariably the pressure change during the descent would wake him up at about 15,000 feet or so and he'd be buckled in and ready to take over copilot duties when descending through 10,000 feet.

Even when things settled into what passed for a routine, there were events, good, bad and funny, that made each trip its own adventure. Once, when light on fuel, we broke ground at O'Hare and passed through 10,000 feet exactly one minute later, a rate of climb of nearly two miles per minute. Ben carried an HP calculator that could provide great circle routes from latitude and longitude inputs. Coming out of Van Nuys for Willow Run one night I asked Los Angeles Center for "060 degrees, direct Detroit."

When I was asked if we were carrying inertial nav, I said we had Hewlett-Packard. We were cleared direct Detroit. We made it, too, but with maybe enough fuel to go around the pattern once after a balked landing.

There was the 3:00 in the morning out of Fairfax (Kansas City, now closed) bound for Teterboro. I was cleared to fly a heading until receiving Cleveland, then direct Cleveland. With Captain Ben asleep in back, I dutifully flew the assigned heading, vainly waiting for the "off" flag on the VOR head to disappear and the needle to come alive. After some time Center asked me where I was going. I confidently read back my clearance, only to hear a laconic voice respond with, "You're over Joliet." I was so tired I'd put the wrong frequency in the nav radio. I shuddered to think what would have happened had I been on an approach where there were things to hit.

There were all sorts of creative electronic warning noises to alert the crew to the fact that all was not right in their little world aloft. I slowly learned where to look for information when one of the high decibel alerts activated. When I heard the noxious beeping akin to the French fries being done at McDonalds, I knew that I'd let the speed slide a little over the barber pole on descent. A "bing!" alerted me to wandering off altitude.

Then, one morning, again at about 3, when I thought I'd heard all the noises the airplane could generate, I was trying to move a bit to ease the discomfort of being 6 feet 4 inches tall in a cockpit built for smaller humans when I heard a sharp "Yelp!" Adrenalin poured into my system. I urgently scanned the panel trying to figure out what was wrong, what system was malfunctioning, and what I must do to set things right. What goes "Yelp!?" All needles were firmly where they should be.

I had to find what was wrong because at FL450 any problem can become huge in a frighteningly short time. Nothing. All seemed in order. I pulled the flashlight from its holder and started a complete exam of the cockpit. Its light revealed Ben's small dog, who frequently rode with us, curled up, asleep, around the base of the left hand control column. As I'd stretched, I'd inadvertently kicked him and he'd given a single, loud announcement of my transgression before going back to sleep.

Ben's dog was the source of enjoyment for us, as he had a universally pleasant personality. He never fussed when the flying pilot would err and have to shove forward on the yoke to avoid blowing through an assigned altitude and float him off the floor. He would not bark, just start running as fast as he could in midair, which usually caused him to invert (I never figured out why) and whoever was in the right seat would reach out and cradle him to his chest until gravity returned, and then set him gently between the seats.

There was, however, the night we stopped for fuel at Flower Aviation at Pueblo, Colorado while carrying eight, count 'em, eight Camaro door panels from Cincinnati to Van Nuys. Any Lear looks great from outside. The scantily clad line woman waved us into parking as Ben advised me that on a fill up for a jet, Flower gave the crew a box of steaks. As we shut down the young lady spread a red carpet in front of the door. I went back and opened it. When she saw that the guy coming out of the airplane and asking that it be topped off looked to be a bearded reprobate in a lumberjack shirt, blue jeans and boots and who certainly had no business in a Learjet, her welcoming smile disappeared. When Ben's dog jumped out behind me and relieved himself on the left main landing gear tires, she picked up the red carpet and drove away in her little golf cart. While we were fueled, we never did get our steaks.

There was terror as well: Late night over the Grand Canyon, again at FL450, above a thunderstorm, Ben asleep in the back, and sudden, sharp turbulence that caused both the autopilot and the yaw damper to shut off. A Lear at FL450 without a yaw damper will yaw in one direction while rolling in the other and then reverse itself with the magnitude increasing (true Dutch Roll). It is akin to being in a very bad skid on ice, in slow motion, in three dimensions. Unless you have received training for handling it, there is a good chance of loss of control of the airplane. I had not received such training.

I shouted for Ben. He couldn't hear me. My control inputs did not seem to be helping the situation and I suddenly couldn't recall where the yaw damper switch was. Good grief, I'd only been turning it on after takeoff for some time now, but as I'd turned the lighting down to enjoy the light show from the thunderstorm, I couldn't find the switch. The combination of fatigue, increasing terror and that I was used to activating the switch from the right seat did not help my increasingly frenetic search. I realized I had to go to plan B because I couldn't find the damn switch.

I turned on the autopilot, hoping it would fly the airplane better than I. Things got better, as the oscillations were not as profound. The autopilot was a model that had indicators showing the actions of its control servos. I could see those indicators moving nearly to their limits. I didn't think that was a good thing. I had to find the yaw damper switch. I grabbed the flashlight, turned it on and pointed it where I thought the yaw damper switch lived. The light made the difference. I found the switch and flipped it on. Instant return to sanity. The rudder pedals were again seemingly encased in concrete, the fear-inducing roll-yaw coupled cycle stopped and the Lear was serenely cruising the heights. It took some time for my pulse to return to double digits.

I was luckier than some of my contemporaries who went to work for companies that had either no scruples whatsoever, or no understanding of high speed aerodynamics combined with high altitude meteorology. Those operators were the ones who put "go fast switches" under the panel of their Learjets. The switch disabled both the overspeed warning and stick puller. The 20-series Learjets have so much power they can exceed redline airspeed in cruise flight. Doing so is an exceedingly serious affair because at some speed past redline it induces what is known as "Mach tuck". When that happens the airplane begins to pitch down, eventually uncontrollably until the airplane violently comes apart. There is a very limited time for a well trained crew to take precisely the correct action to save the airplane and themselves. While I was flying as copilot there were some inflight breakups of Learjets, notably freighters. It was later discovered that go fast switches were to blame in at least some of those tragedies.

It was a time of certain adventure, generated by characters behaving as humans will when no one is watching. I was lucky. There were too many deaths and too many publicized close calls for that time to have been sustainable. As the Marshalls came in and cleaned up the wild west, the FAA eventually paid attention to the smaller operators at Willow Run, although it was not until after the Michigan economy had undergone one of its periodic collapses, this time in the winter of 1978-1979 and Ben's company went under.

When the FAA started inspecting for real, one operator had to junk some half-dozen 20-series Lears because it had never conducted required maintenance and the cost to make them airworthy exceeded their value. A lot of pilots found themselves facing violation actions. It took a few more years before the cowboy days ended. Flying with another operator, Ben died about that time in what I always thought was purely a fatigue induced event. It was a time of walking very close to the aeronautical edge even though a heck of a lot of us did not understand that the edge existed or where it was most of the time. The times the abyss suddenly made itself known to me were terrifying. Looking back at some of the events with the knowledge I have now sometimes causes me to break out in a cold sweat. I got lucky. Too many of my peers went over that edge.

See you next month.

Want to read more from Rick Durden? Check out AVweb's "Pilot's Lounge" index.

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AVweb Insider Blog: Lancair Knows News

In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles has some all-too-infrequent praise for the high art of communicating with the media. When the Lancair Evolution suffered a potentially embarrassing gear-up landing, the company was quick to provide information, help news outlets get the details right, and the world didn't come to an end.

Read more.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration
July 27 - August 2 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
This year is too BIG to miss. Literally. Witness the world's largest airliner — Airbus A380 — overtaking AeroShell Square; see the first world public debut of Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo; attend appearances by the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 cockpit crew; and enjoy performances by the Doobie Brothers on opening day and comedian Jeff Dunham Saturday night. Hurry — savings end soon! Buy your tickets online through June 30 and save $5 on every weekly ticket and $2 on every daily ticket. Visit AirVenture.org/tickets today.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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.

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AVweb Audio —? Are You Listening? back to top 

EAA AirVenture Update

File Size 10.9 MB / Running Time 9:33

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EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh is coming up in just a few weeks — July 27 to August 2 — and this year's aviation celebration features lots of special visitors and exhibits, as well as extensive new upgrades to the show grounds. AVweb's Mary Grady talks with Dick Knapinski, EAA spokesman, for all the latest on the show, plus some important advice for pilots planning to fly in.

Click here to listen. (10.9 MB, 9:33)

The Future Of Cirrus's Jet

File Size 5.3 MB / Running Time 5:47

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Cirrus Design co-founder and former CEO Alan Klapmeier dropped a bombshell on the annual Cirrus Migration in Duluth by announcing he wants to take over the SF 50 jet program through a separate company. But current CEO Brent Wouters says the company remains committed to seeing the project through, although it's willing to listen to Klapmeier's ideas. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Wouters about the proposal.

Click here to listen. (5.3 MB, 5:47)

Entegra Release 9 the Very Best Flight Deck System in Aviation
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Yuneec E430 Electric Airplane Makes Its First Flight

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

The Yuneec E430, a 54hp two-seat Chinese electric airplane, gets put through its paces and undergoes its first flight in this video from Glenn Pew.

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27 Years of the RVator
Over half the airplanes at GNB are Vans homebuilts. In fact, over 6,100 have been completed and are flying. If a 200 mph, 9 gph airplane intrigues you, this is where to learn more. It's 500 pages of builder and flyer advice written by Vans Aircraft, specifically on the RV-3 through RV-10. Nothing will describe the building experience better, and nothing will be more useful once you start. Buy the book, CD, or eBook at AVwebBooks.com for $29.95.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport FBO (SC)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the city FBO at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (KSPA) in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

AVweb reader Jacquelyn Balish explains how the KSPA FBO staff went above and beyond to bring a smile to her face:

I fly with very young children by myself. This really can be challenging upon landing. I have a plane, kids, and luggage to deal with. The personnel at this airport jump right in to help. They take the children and luggage, [then] take kids to play while I secure my plane. They are Johnny on the spot. On one trip, the birds decided that my plane was a great toilet. [As soon as] I drove up, the plane was being washed for me at no charge!

P.S. The children love all the people at this airport.

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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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

At the Charlottetown (CYYG) airport last summer, while doing my run-up in my 172, an air Canada flight had just finished copping their clearance when they saw an osprey fly by with a large flounder in its talons. They contacted the tower:

"Charlottetown Tower, Air Canada 123."

Charlottetown Tower:
"Go ahead."

"There's an osprey that just flew overhead carrying a fish!"

Charlottetown Tower: (without missing a beat) :
"Have him contact the tower."

This kind of made my day in this very friendly maritime town.

Neil Angus
Montreal, Québec

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
Mariano Rosales

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.

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