Lightspeed Invites You to Celebrate Aviation
... at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 (July 27 - August 2, Oshkosh, WI). Come visit our tent outside Hanger B for demos, t-shirts, show specials, free refreshments, video presentations, and more.
Click here to visit
This Tuesday, the Antares DLR-H2 took off at Hamburg Airport in Germany using only power from fuel cells, a feat that its builders say is a first for a piloted aircraft. The motorglider, built by the
German Aerospace Center, flies with zero carbon-dioxide emissions and is much quieter than similar aircraft. "This motorglider achieves new quality standards in the field of high-efficiency,
zero-emission energy conversion and clearly demonstrates the progress that has been made in fuel-cell technology," the Aerospace Center said in a news release. The DLR-H2 is based on the Antares 20E
motorglider, and has a wingspan of 66 feet. With its fuel-cell propulsion system, the aircraft can stay aloft for five hours and reach speeds of about 105 mph.
"With our successful first flight, we have verified the feasibility of fuel-cell-powered flight and our next steps will focus on improving efficiency levels and on extending the service life of
these systems," said Dr. Josef Kallo, Antares project manager from the DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics. "At this stage, we have only tapped into a fraction of the performance capabilities
of this technology for aerospace applications. The Antares DLR-H2 will help us to make much greater use of these areas of potential." To accommodate the fuel cell and its hydrogen supply, two external
pods were attached under the aircraft's wings, which were reinforced to carry the load. The total efficiency of the drive system from tank to powertrain, including the propeller, is about 44 percent,
making it about twice as efficient as conventional propulsion technologies based on combustion processes, according to the Aerospace Center. For more details about the project, click here to read the Aerospace Center's lengthy news release.
Teledyne Continental Motors announced this week that its O200 lightweight engine is now for sale to the piston aircraft market. The
199-pound engine, which is up to 40 pounds lighter than some earlier versions, is fully FAA-certified and comes with a factory warranty and 2,000 hours TBO, TCM spokesman Mac Little told AVweb.
The O200 is similar to the engine that Cessna is using for the SkyCatcher, but it is now for sale to the individual buyer, Little said.
The engine comes complete with starter, ignition, and fuel systems, at a list price of $21,499. Orders are being taken now and deliveries will start next month, the company said. Little added that
trade-ins are accepted from builders who already have a different engine but would prefer the O200; details and limitations can be found on the company Web site.
Wireless Tire Pressure Monitor System Available Now at Aircraft Spruce Aircraft Spruce introduces a wireless tire pressure/temperature LCD monitor (TPMS). With the flip of a switch, this battery-operated handheld unit displays the actual tire
pressure and temperature. Small, removable electronic valve sensors transmit pressure & temperature within 25-50 feet of the aircraft. Pressure can be read as PSI, KPA, BAR, or KG/CM2. Temperature can be read in Centigrade or Fahrenheit. The monitor also has an alarm setting for high or low pressure. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit
Times have been tough lately for the U.S. aircraft biz, but a bright moment occurred this week when Allegro announced that its
LSA, formerly built in the Czech Republic, will now be manufactured in Roseburg, Ore. "We believe in the Allegro and the USA Light Sport market and will continue with our expansion," said Doug
Hempstead, president of Allegro USA. The new location will make it easier for U.S. customers to deal with warranties, parts, delivery and financing, the company said. The move was prompted by the
strong Euro currency, which made the airplane too expensive for U.S. buyers, the company said. Australian customers will also benefit from the move, because their exchange rate in relation to the U.S.
dollar is more favorable than the euro. Shipments from the Oregon factory are expected to begin by August.
Meanwhile, pilots who are considering an LSA purchase now have some help to sort through the almost 100 models now available. LSA guru Dan Johnson has created an easy-to-use online tool at his Web site that helps buyers find the right LSA by choosing preferences in 24 categories, such as price range, STOL capability, and metal or
composite construction. The PlaneFinder will generate a listing of the LSAs that meet the user's criteria, with links to more info about each model. Use of the PlaneFinder is free, but registration is
Aspen Makes Going Glass More Affordable! Aspen Avionics offers the most affordable glass cockpit solution on the market today. And until July 31, 2009, Aspen has made going glass more
affordable with the Grand Glass Rebate program, offering a $1,000 rebate for all purchases of an EFD1000 Pro PFD. Come see Aspen at EAA AirVenture in Hangar B, Booth 2126.
Act quickly to take
advantage of this limited-time promotion.
Pilots who are ready to get out and explore the western U.S. this summer will find a warm welcome in Bozeman, Mont., thanks to the folks at the Recreational Aviation Foundation. Volunteers have built a new pilot shelter on land donated by the Gallatin Field
Airport (KBZN), with bath and shower facilities, lots of green grass, a barbecue pit, and tie-downs. Pilots are welcome to stop by for a lunch break or to camp overnight. "It is a free facility
and a wonderful aviation amenity," John McKenna, of the RAF, told AVweb this week. "The Bozeman airport would love to encourage out-of-the-area pilots to use it. They just need to know it
The public airport offers two paved runways plus a grass strip, and fuel is sold on the field. Yellowstone National Park is nearby, and the area is a popular fly-fishing, hiking, and outdoor recreation destinations. "I know when I have traveled across the country, finding a place like this pilot facility would be like finding a
gem," said McKenna. He also added that the RAF will be hosting a work party this weekend to help wrap up work on a new grass strip under construction in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. It will be the first new airstrip on
U.S. Forest Service land in over 45 years, he said.
Aviators in the U.S. who received forwarded e-mails from AOPA-Italy in the last few days soliciting contributions may have thought it was a scam -- the e-mail offered a bank account number for direct
deposits, or suggested that readers "please call Antonella from Tuesday to Friday... giving us your credit card number." But although the e-mails may seem suspect, the appeal is legitimate, AOPA-Italia President Massimo Levi told AVweb on Tuesday. "Unfortunately, it is a very serious issue," Levi said in an e-mail. AOPA-Italia sent
the e-mails to its local membership, and then they apparently were forwarded widely. Levi said a large chunk of the country's airspace has been closed to VFR traffic because of a financial dispute
between Italy's aeronautics agency and its air force. The plea to its membership brought in the $20,000 AOPA-Italia needed to go to court against what Levi calls "an illegal administrative act." He
wrote: "Italian pilots gave us the money in less than a week ... and we are now ready to fight!"
Levi said the issue has been picked up in the national news, "and this disturbed considerably our authorities; so much that we have been invited to 'discuss' the change of the Notams." He hopes
that meetings will take place within a week or so.
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Epic Aircraft says it's working with customers and creditors to try to restore operations after economic issues forced curtailment of
activity at the company's Bend build center last week. Company spokesman Mike Hooper told AVweb Tuesday that all but about 15 staff have been furloughed but that customers are allowed access to
their partially completed aircraft. He said some work is being done but not at the rate before the furlough. "It's been scaled dramatically back," he said. Hooper said parts and service departments
are in operation to support the existing fleet. The furlough appears to mainly affect the build center. "We have owner airplanes that are in varying stages of completion," Hooper said. He also said
he's hopeful the problems can be resolved. "We have a plan afoot," he said. "Everyone's working to make a solution." AVweb has also confirmed that Epic is involved in at least two current legal
Related content: An owner's claim against Epic and Epic's response.
The Portland office of the U.S. District Court has confirmed that Epic is the defendant in a case brought by BlueSky AvGroup, one of the customers with an aircraft under construction at the build
center. Epic is also suing Williams International, which supplies turbine engines for some of its jet aircraft. In the first case, BlueSky is seeking the appointment of a reciever and Epic is fighting
that. In Epic's case against Williams, Epic is claiming that Williams defaulted on an agreement to supply engines for the Victory Jet program. While we could find Epic's statement of claim, we were
unable to find a reply from Williams and unable to contact the company before our deadline so those documents will be on our site later.
A new system to help guide pilots away from severe storms and turbulence in remote ocean regions is being developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., NASA said this week. NASA is funding the development of a prototype that should be ready for
testing next year. The system combines satellite data and computer weather models with artificial intelligence techniques to identify and predict rapidly evolving storms and other potential areas of
turbulence. "Turbulence is the leading cause of injuries in commercial aviation," said John Haynes, program manager at NASA headquarters, in Washington. "This new work to detect the likelihood of
turbulence associated with oceanic storms using key space-based indicators is of crucial importance to pilots." Turbulence has been cited widely as a possible factor in the recent loss of Air France 447 in the Atlantic Ocean, but it is not yet clear what role, if any, it played in that accident.
The prototype system will identify areas of turbulence in clear regions of the atmosphere as well as within storms. Pilots on selected transoceanic routes will receive real-time turbulence updates
and provide feedback. When the system is finalized, it will provide pilots and ground-based controllers with text-based maps and graphical displays showing regions of likely turbulence and storms,
NASA said. "Pilots currently have little weather information as they fly over remote stretches of the ocean, which is where some of the worst turbulence occurs," said scientist John Williams, one of
the project leads at NCAR. "Providing pilots with at least an approximate picture of developing storms could help guide them safely around areas of potentially severe turbulence." Click here for the full NASA news release, which includes to a link to related graphics.
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With the July 4th holiday behind us, and the Arlington fly-in going on this weekend, the next big thing on the aviation world's
calendar is EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh ... coming up in just about two and a half weeks. The Notam is out, and pilots planning to fly in
should be studying it soon to be sure they're familiar with all the procedures. Last-minute preparations are under way on site to be sure the grounds, now substantially reconfigured, are ready for the
onslaught (click here for the new maps).
The airshow schedule has been announced, and as usual it features the world's best performers. Kirby Chambliss and
Mike Goulian take a break from the Red Bull Air Races to fly their solo shows. Sean Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, Kyle Franklin, Debby Rihn-Harvey, the Aeroshell Team and many more unique and spectacular
acts will perform. The LSA folks will have a new site for their Mall, where the FlyMart used to be, which should provide great visibility for visitors shopping for a new airplane. Hundreds of other exhibitors will have their latest airplanes and cutting-edge gear of all kinds on display. Several new aviation-themed films
will get a screening, and popular entertainers from musician Livingston Taylor to ventriloquist Jeff Dunham will provide evening shows.
And of course AVweb will be there, providing daily reports, podcasts, and videos, as well as news via Twitter. First-time
visitors will want to check out AVweb columnist Rick Durden's comprehensive "AirVenture Survival Guide." It was
last revised in 2007, so some of the links may be out of date, but most of the information and advice is timeless -- and priceless. Also, AirVenture fan Ken Kalynuk has posted his own camping guide to
help new visitors to the show; click here to download a PDF copy. And click here to listen to a recent AVweb interview with EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski about this year's show highlights. AirVenture runs from
Monday, July 27, to Sunday, Aug. 2.
The FAA has proposed an AD that would affect Pilatus PC-6 turboprops, requiring inspections and possibly replacement of
some wing fittings. Comments are open until August 7...
Another executive at Platinum Jet pled guilty this week to charges stemming
from a 2005 crash in which 11 people were hurt.
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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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Last week, in the wake of several VLJ announcements, we asked AVweb readers if there are still too many of these "personal jets" vying for space in an
increasingly tough aviation market.
A small segment of those who responded (only 10%) said there's no market, and manufacturers should stop wasting their time and money. A strong majority of you, however, thought
there's room for a few, although there will be more shakeout before things settle down. (This accounted for 60% of those who answered last week's questions.)
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 ***
Air show season is upon us, and this year we'd like to know which shows are part of your travel
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.
Entegra Release 9 the Very Best Flight Deck System in Aviation
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We get a lot of news releases, and Glenn Pew admits that when some press notes about a tiny wing-flapping drone came across his desk, he didn't give it the time of day. In the latest installment of
the AVweb Insider blog, Glenn explains why he's having second thoughts and shares the details.
In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, editor Mary Grady laments that it can be tricky to be both an aviator and an environmentalist but is thankful for new technologies (and new
ways of thinking) that help bridge the gap. When we talk about airplanes getting greener, notes Mary, it's not just emissions that make the difference.
eBooks & eVideos
Most titles on the AVweb Bookstore (including Jeppesen, McGraw-Hill, ICAO, and many others) are also available as electronic downloads. Why not consider an eBook in Adobe .PDF format?
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The DA20 is a terrific instrument and basic trainer, and now it has the option of a glass panel with the Aspen EFIS system. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently checked out the
system with test pilot Rob Johnson.
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Last week, the Cessna Pilots Society held their annual fly-in at Spearfish, South Dakota, bringing over 50 Cessnas to bear on today's "FBO of the Week," Eagle Aviation.
We were flooded with comments from pilots who attended the event, many of whom told the tale of an overwhelmed FBO pulling off the near-impossible without breaking a sweat. Apparently the FBO
offered a special rate on fuel to attendees and were johnny-on-the-spot when it came to assisting pilots with their tie-downs, serving up tasty barbecue, keeping the facilities "spotless" in spite of
the crowds, and (according to one attendee) even resolving some issues with a rental car company on pilots' behalf. Jeffrey Chipetine writes, "A full ramp coupled with a full field of
airplanes didn't faze them in the least. ... No matter what we needed (including such odd things as a PA system), Eagle came through for us."
Congrats to Laurie, Ray, and all the rest of the crew who got name-checked in this week's nominations. There's no doubt you guys worked hard to earn a nod as AVweb's "FBO of the Week"!
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 ***
Push the office door shut, turn off the overhead light, put the cell phone on vibrate, or do whatever it is you do to make sure nothing interrupts you for two or three minutes:
The latest installment of "Picture of the Week" is cleared for take-off!
Grant McHerron of East Bentleigh, Victoria (Australia) was on the ground crew for this commercial balloon "and supposed to be going up to the
proposed landing site ... when I saw this view and had to take the shot."
We can't get enough of classic planes that have been restored to flying condition. Thankfully there are plenty of AVweb readers like Steve
Rider (of Fishers, Indiana) out there working on great restoration projects. Steve tells us it took "two years of hard work" from American Military Heritage Foundation volunteers to get the left engine running on Hot Stuff (a PV-2 Harpoon).
Steve Runnalls of the beautifully named Narellan Vale, New South Wales (Australia) returns with a shot taken during a low-level New Year's Eve
fly-by. (Steve tells us they worked with Sydney ATC to get special permission for the flight.)
(Psst Steve also submitted another really cool cockpit view that we'll be slipping into this week's slideshow, so be sure to watch for it on AVweb's home page.)
It was a bumper crop of submissions this week, so we may not have the slideshow updated on AVweb's home page by the time you read this. Not to
worry we're loading it up with more than two dozen rockin' photos from AVweb readers, so check back later in the day if it hasn't been updated yet. (The silver lining is that you've got
a few more hours to look at last week's bonus pics and save any you want to keep to your hard drive.)
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 Mariano Rosales
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