AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 30c

July 29, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Have You Changed Your Mind About Who Makes the World's Best Headset?
We're sure meeting a lot of folks who have. And they tell us it's all about the comfort, sound quality, and the best ANR they've experienced. Add the Bluetooth capability and the fact that the Zulu comes with either battery or panel power, and we think you'll agree that no other headset gives you the complete Zulu package. To learn more, go to ZuluChangeYourMind.com.
Booths at EAA AirVenture: 260, 2029-2030
Top News: Big Arrivals at AirVenture Oshkosh back to top 

Airbus 380: First Visit To Oshkosh

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Click for video of the landing

The arrival of the Airbus 380 at AirVenture on Tuesday afternoon drew huge crowds to the field, under bright blue skies and gusty winds, and even at its first appearance, far in the distance, it was clearly a much different kind of airliner. The airplane is so big that it appears to be moving very slowly, and as it gradually approached the field and grew bigger and bigger, then swept above the runway in a low pass, whisper quiet, the crowd cheered. After several fly-bys, including one with all the gear down, the A380 crabbed into a gusty crosswind, landed and rolled in to Aeroshell Square, the crowds following along behind. EAA President Tom Poberezny said it took three years of planning to bring the big airliner to Oshkosh. He and Jeffrey Skiles, first officer of the Airbus A320 that ditched in the Hudson River early this year, welcomed the crew to the show. Beaming officials from Airbus addressed the crowd, noting that the big airplane is fuel efficient and quiet, and very easy to fly. Tom Anders, chairman of Airbus, said he hopes that one of the A380 operators will begin to offer passenger flights to Oshkosh, like the Concorde used to do.

AVweb was among the media representatives who were given a half-hour tour of the aircraft interior and the cockpit soon after the landing. The interior is fitted out like a test airplane, with banks of computers and wiring, data displays and video monitors, and what flight engineer Martin Marcus called "silent passengers": large plastic vats bolted to the floor that can be filled with water to simulate passenger or cargo weights. The top floor has a small porthole in the top of the fuselage so engineers can use celestial navigation to double-check their instruments -- a feature that the customer copies don't have, Marcus said. The crew flew for nine hours to reach Milwaukee from Toulouse, France, at altitudes up to FL420, and conducted various system tests along the way. Each deck of the two-story cabin interior feels wider and taller than a usual airline cabin, and it's a long walk from nose to tail. The cockpit is fitted out with all the latest in computer avionics and sidestick controls. It's not too different from the cockpits found on smaller Airbus jets, Marcus said, but it's sure high above the ground. The airplane will be open for public tours at AirVenture on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 to 4 and on Friday from 9 till noon. They hope to accommodate up to 18,000 visitors.

WhiteKnightTwo Flies, Branson Welcomes New Partner

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Sir Richard Branson suited up on Tuesday for his first flight aboard WhiteKnightTwo, but before climbing aboard the big ship in Aeroshell Square -- and climbing is the right word -- he sat down to sign an agreement with Mohamed Badawy Al-Husseiny, CEO of Aabar Investments of Abu Dhabi. Under the deal, Aabar will invest $280 million and take about a one-third stake in Virgin Galactic. Will Wheaton, CEO of Virgin Galactic, said the new investment will help to develop a satellite launch system for WhiteKnightTwo. Branson added that there are now plans to build a spaceport in Abu Dhabi. After a quick signing ceremony, Branson boarded WhiteKnightTwo -- which entails grabbing the sides of a round hatch on the side of the fuselage of the starboard hull, about four feet off the ground, and jumping -- and strapped into the lone passenger seat, about 10 feet or so behind the two pilots, right next to a window. The one-of-a-kind ship was towed out to the end of Runway 27 at Oshkosh, where the crew spent close to an hour in preflight prep, then took off into the blue sky for its first public demo flight, before a packed Oshkosh gallery. Aircraft designer Burt Rutan, who hasn't yet flown aboard WK2, narrated the flight from the announcer's booth.

He said WK2 has the wingspan of a B-29 bomber, and SpaceShipTwo will just about fill the space between the two hulls. The big airplane was remarkably quiet and graceful in flight. Branson was ecstatic when he returned. "It flies just beautifully," he told EAA. "The feel and handling is fantastic. You would be surprised an aircraft shaped like that can fly so beautifully … It's wonderful!"

Click for photos.

EFB Charts & Plates Cost Less and Are Easier to Update Than Paper!
FlightPrep™ ChartBook™ EFB shows your position directly on charts, plates, and airport diagrams, far ahead of the simple stick maps on handheld GPS devices. ChartBook™ EFB makes it easy to add XM™ in-cockpit weather now or later. Now displays Zaon™ Traffic, too! FlightPrep™ ChartBook™ systems start at $1,595. Full VFR/IFR charts just $357! To demo ChartBook™, see us in Hangar C, Booth 3119/3120 or buy online at FlightPrep.com/AVweb.
Booths at EAA AirVenture: 3119-3120
The Sights and Sounds of Oshkosh back to top 

This Week, Live from Oshkosh: The AVwebCam (Live Video Feed)

Watch for live video coverage of EAA AirVenture throughout the web, via our AVwebCam. We'll be broadcasting live from 9am to 6pm local (Oshkosh) time each day of the show. Look for the webcam player on our home page to enjoy the sights and sounds of the show — and maybe catch a glimpse of the AVweb team in action.

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EAA AirVenture 2009 Galleries: Day Three

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EAA AirVenture is now in full swing, which means a couple of things: (1) Our eyes are big as saucers at all the great airplanes and product announcements coming out of the show; (2) we're having a hard time remembering whether it's day two or day three of the show; and (3) there's even more cool stuff to see than yesterday.

Click here to view photos.

Fly with Bose® Aviation Headset X®
Enjoy an unmatched combination of full-spectrum noise reduction, clearer audio, and comfortable fit. Voted the #1 headset for the eighth consecutive year in Professional Pilot's 2008 Headset Preference Survey.

Purchase by August 22, 2009 and also receive a complimentary Bose premium flight bag ($80 value). Learn more and order.

Quote reprinted with permission:
Professional Pilot, 2008 Headset Preference Survey, 12/08.

Booths at EAA AirVenture: 283, 284, 285
Biz at AirVenture back to top 

Piper Likes Future With Imprimis

Piper Aircraft has been re-energized by what it says is a long-term commitment by its new owners to make the company a "formidable competitor" in the general aviation market. At a news conference Monday at AirVenture Oshkosh, company spokesmen said Piper has finally landed an owner/investor with a long-term interest in the storied planemaker instead of a quick-turn profit. "We are fully prepared to make Piper a formidable competitor in the general aviation market," said Steve Berger, managing director of Imprimis, the Singapore-based investment company who is representing the government of Brunei as the sole investor in the deal. "We invest for the long run." He said Brunei is anxious to diversify its economy (huge oil and gas reserves make it one of the richest countries in the world) and make better use of its well-developed aviation infrastructure. Neither Berger nor Piper officials would speculate on whether those future economic initiatives would involve manufacturing aircraft in Brunei. They did stress that Vero Beach would remain company headquarters. Berger said Piper's virtual absence in Asia is what made the purchase so attractive because of the future market potential in that part of the world. The company also announced the restart of production of the Piper Archer and updated reporters on a variable vectored-thrust design on the PiperJet that will simplify handling characteristics.

Piper VP Bob Kromer said the new Archer will have a 180-horsepower engine, Garmin G600 panel with an S-TEC autopilot, and air conditioning as standard equipment for about $300,000. "We wanted to be back in that entry-level market," he said, noting that new Archer owners will likely progress to more advanced models as their flying skills (and budgets) improve. If a jet is on the horizon, Kromer said the hope is that the newly improved PiperJet will be a consideration. Engine maker Williams International recently installed an automatic variable vectored-thrust system on the aircraft. It automatically alters the thrust angle to eliminate the nose-over tendency of the tail-mounted engine when power is applied. The nozzle eliminates the need for a complicated and heavy trimmable horizontal stabilizer, which has been replaced with a fixed tail with standard elevator. Kromer said the aircraft is hitting or exceeding its speed and range targets and the program is being accelerated with the hiring of 50 more engineers dedicated to the jet.

Socata Still Working On Twin

Daher Socata will make a decision by the end of the year on whether to proceed with plans to build a twin-engine business aircraft. At a news conference Tuesday at AirVenture Oshkosh, CEO Nicholas Chabbert told reporters that advanced technical design is under way but the project will hinge on the availability of capital and market demand. Chabbert said that when the proposal was first floated, the company stressed that it would not rush into something that didn't make sense and the discussion about those factors is going on now. The company has also never specified whether the aircraft will have turboprop or pure jet engines. Meanwhile, the company is hoping to build 40 of its flagship TBM 850 turboprop singles this year.

Chabbert said the company delivered 60 aircraft last year, it's best ever, and has historically averaged about 30 units a year. The company recently delivered its 500th TBM to Dr. Ian Blair Fries and his wife, Susan, and it's on display at the Socata booth at Oshkosh. The company also used its news conference to introduce the two Young Eagles interns who spent part of the summer working at Socata's Tarbes, France, headquarters. Karl Parsons, of Prescott, Ariz., worked in the engineering department investigating possible retrofit applications for the TBM 700 and Irene Trujillo, of Albuquerque, N.M., worked on a customer service development project.

Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all. Visit CessnaRise.com.
Booths at EAA AirVenture: 78-80, 100-116
Biz at AirVenture II back to top 

Cessna Still Selling Citations

The big news from Cessna this week at AirVenture Oshkosh is obtaining ASTM approval for the Model 162 SkyCatcher LSA. But the company's presence here at OSH -- which is liberally sprinkled with Citation jets among the piston offerings -- emphasizes its status as one of the remaining full-line aircraft manufacturers. And despite the recently announced suspension of its Citation Columbus program, Cessna's jet business is doing about as well as can be expected, even with the double whammy of poor economic conditions and adverse publicity. "Even in this downturn, we're continuing to look at what keeps our products fresh," Gordon Vieth, Cessna's vice president, Citation domestic sales, told AVweb this week, emphasizing his company's commitment to all models, piston and turbine.

For example, Vieth told us, Citation Mustang personal jet production is sold out well into next year, with some 260 copies already delivered. Too, the company is in the final stages of developing the forthcoming Williams FJ44-powered CJ4, with FAA certification expected during Q4 2009 and initial customer deliveries set for early in 2010. According to Vieth, the CJ4 promises to improve on the CJ3's popularity, with a larger cabin, slightly more speed and improved interior furnishings. Meanwhile, and although the Columbus project has been suspended, the company remains very interested in the market segment it targeted: large cabins and long range. "The business case is still credible," Vieth told AVweb, but what it will look like when an industry turnaround is firmly in place is anyone's guess. And that turnaround? Cessna is doing its part to ensure it happens sooner instead of later. The company is seeing its customers, not just the industry's alphabet soup, step forward with positive stories of what an airplane can do to enhance productivity. "There's a clearer definition of the roles" business aviation can play in hastening that turnaround, Vieth told us. Let's hope so.

Embraer Debuts Phenom 100 At Oshkosh

Brazilian airframer Embraer has a substantial presence at this week's AirVenture Oshkosh, with a production Phenom 100 light jet on display at its booth just off AeroShell Square and a mockup of the 100's larger cousin, the Phenom 300, nearby. "The Phenom 100's debut at this year's EAA AirVenture is of particular significance, since its first flight occurred just two short years ago, at the same time as Oshkosh 2007," said Ernest Edwards, Embraer Vice President, Marketing and Sales. First deliveries of the Phenom 100 began in December 2008, immediately following FAA certification, with Brazilian customers initially receiving their new airplanes in late June.

Meanwhile, the company continues to work toward certifying the Phenom 300, designed to compete against light jets such as the Cessna CJ3, Learjet 40XR and Hawker 400 XP. The Phenom 300 will seat up to eight passengers and features swept-wing performance, a single refueling port, an externally serviced lavatory, and extra-low cabin altitudes while in cruise. Embraer bills the Phenom 300 as one of the fastest aircraft in the light jet class, with high-speed cruise expected in the 450-knot range, a maximum altitude of FL450 and range of 1,800 nm, including NBAA IFR reserves. The company currently has four Phenom 300 prototypes undergoing certification flight testing, with more than 750 hours total time flown. Embraer projects Phenom 300 certification will be obtained later in 2009, with first deliveries to follow shortly thereafter.

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Booths at EAA AirVenture: 259, 2083-2086, S-22
Biz at AirVenture III back to top 

Hawker Launches King Air Upgrade

A new model of the Beechcraft King Air, the C90GTx, was introduced Monday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. "The C90GTx is the latest example of our commitment to keeping the Beechcraft King Air family the most successful turboprop lineup in aviation history," said Bill Boisture, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft Corp. The new version of the airplane features new composite winglets and a 200nm range increase over the earlier GTi model. It will carry four people nonstop for 1,000 nm. The maximum takeoff weight of the airplane has been increased, allowing for a payload of 750 pounds with full fuel, almost double what it was for earlier models. The company is now taking orders and first deliveries will take place in 2010.

Starting this fall, current King Air owners can retrofit their aircraft to the GTx capability. Also, the company has started deliveries of about two dozen special mission King Air 350ER aircraft to the U.S. Air Force to provide airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The first of those recently completed its first combat mission in Iraq.

Adam A500: Push Me, Pull Me, Revive Me?

According to Kenney and based on several conversations the owner had as recently as this week with the Triton America representative, Hsueh has indicated he wants to return the A500 to production. How, when, where and under what circumstances that might happen is anyone's guess, though, according to Kenney. "What's the plan? I don't know," Kenney told AVweb. Clearly, though, Kenney is excited by the prospect of a saviour for the A500 type certificate and obtaining upgrades so his airplane can realize the promise Adam Aircraft originally envisioned. Triton America and Thomas Hsueh's plans for the A500 -- if any -- aren't known at this point. But owners like Kenney have their fingers crossed.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

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GPS moving map & XM Weather. The most advanced system anywhere.

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Looking Toward Future AirVentures back to top 

"Number One" REMOS' Larger Ambition

REMOS is 2009's leader in Light Sport Aircraft sales, CEO Corvin Huber said Tuesday at Oshkosh, and the company now plans to use a "low double-digit" investment (in millions) to create an "experiential marketing" program and do what almost no one before has done. Huber's vision is a "total solution" approach that begins with flight schools, engages REMOS owners, and reaches out to provide a realistic path to ownership for potential new owners. These programs will be made manifest later this year in the first REMOS Pilot Center. REMOS plans to use in-depth market research to further define the motives of buyers in using their aircraft as well as how those buyers approach life. It will then create products intended to prove for that segment the utility of aviation and facilitate aircraft ownership. Huber purposely avoided terms like "shared ownership" and "flying club" because the customer products he envisions will go beyond that to create a REMOS cultural experience. (Think ownership models and brand-specific franchises and a country club-like, family-friendly aircraft ownership experience, yet to be defined.) "Buying an aircraft is easy ... getting insurance, finding a hangar and maintenance that live up to customer expectations can be very hard," said Huber. REMOS Pilot Centers aim to change that, and more.

REMOS will use its first center to fine tune its programs, which will always be in continuous improvement mode, according to the company. More Centers will follow in the first quarter of 2010. Huber did not specifically name locations, but targeted the usual suspects: Florida, Texas, California and other aviation-friendly environments. In developing its programs, REMOS will work with "anyone who wants to play with us," says Huber. The company has already created partnerships with PilotJourney.com to provide flight schools with leads for potential students and is working with flight schools to make the acquisition of REMOS aircraft more affordable.

Yuneec Electric LSA Hopeful Debuts At AirVenture

Addressing a news conference at Aeroshell Square at Oshkosh on Tuesday morning, Clive Coote, the chairman and president of Yuneec International, noted a hopeful precedent for the potential growth of electric flight -- when electric motors were introduced in the remote-control market, that market quadrupled, he said, attracting many new enthusiasts, and today, 80 percent of the RC market is electric-powered. Coote said the Yuneec LSA prototype that his company brought to AirVenture is the result of an "extremely aggressive production schedule," driven by the goal to fly it this week. "We had 20 engineers working around the clock for three months," he said, to meet that deadline. They built it in China, test flew it for 20 minutes, then packed it up and sent it to Camarillo, Calif., where it flew for 22 hours and got an Experimental certificate from the FAA. So far it has not worked out for the aircraft to fly here at Oshkosh, but Coote said "we will fly as much as we are allowed to this week," and he expects it to definitely fly on Saturday. The projected price for the production LSA version of the aircraft is $89,000, he said.

The effort is entirely funded by Yuneec CEO Tian Yu, who is also building a 260,000 square foot production facility in Shanghai, which is due to open in October. Production of the LSA is planned to start in late 2010, with first deliveries early in 2011, Coote said. He also said the company is working on solar-cell installations that could go on the wings that would recharge the batteries. Battery life is about 1,500 hours. Right now replacements cost about $7,000 per battery pack, and the aircraft carries three to five packs. Coote said battery technology is evolving fast and he hopes that by the time most users are ready to replace their batteries, better batteries at lower prices will be on the market. The Yuneec can fly up to two hours on three battery packs, or up to two and a half hours with five. Recharging takes about three hours.

As Vital As Vision
XM WX Satellite Weather provides comprehensive in-flight weather data directly to your cockpit. Never fly blind again when you sign up today for one of XM Weather's Aviator LT, Aviator, or Aviator Pro weather data packages. Enhance your situational awareness with data products like Radar, Lightning, Winds, and more. Come see the latest from XM WX Satellite Weather at Booth C-3030 to C-3032 during EAA AirVenture 2009 or visit us online at XMWXWeather.com.
Booths at EAA AirVenture: 189, 3030-3032
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

EAA AirVenture 2009 Video Series: Airbus A380 Hard Landing

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

The Airbus A380, the world's largest airliner, made quite a dramatic arrival at Oshkosh on Tuesday. Dan Gryder, a Boeing 777 pilot, analyzes what went wrong.

This video is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

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EAA AirVenture 2009 Video Series: Dan Gryder's Ford Trimotor Tour

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

Golden Wing's historic Ford Trimotor is at AirVenture in Oshkosh this week. Dan Gryder gives us a tour.

This video is brought to you by Lightspeed Aviation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

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EAA AirVenture 2009 Video Series: Product Minutes

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

How can we squeeze in all the news and announcements from AirVenture? To be honest, we're not sure — but one thing that may help are some of our patent-pending Product Minutes, bringing you the skinny on some of the new products and services we encountered at the show. Watch them all in the embedded player on this page, or use the thumbnails at right to view them one-by-one.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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Cirrus Flying 2.0
There is something vastly better than the status quo of Flying 1.0. At Cirrus, we reject the status quo — and offer you the achievement of vastly higher standards of technology, reliability, and performance. With unique features like Cirrus Known Ice Protection, Cirrus Perspective by Garmin™ avionics, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™) and now the new standard in airplane individualization, Xi, Cirrus continues to reinvent the lifestyle of flying. We call it Flying 2.0.

Booths at EAA AirVenture: 183-188, 199-204
AVweb Audio —? Are You Listening? back to top 

EAA AirVenture 2009 Podcast Series: New Life for Piper

File Size 3.6 MB / Running Time 5:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Piper Aircraft has been through tough times in the last few decades, and a series of owners have, for better or worse, left their stamp on the company. There are, however, high hopes for the latest owner — Imprimis. Backed by the very wealthy government of Brunei, the company says it intends to make Piper a major player in general aviation, especially in Asia. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Imprimis Managing Director Steve Berger about his plans.

This podcast is brought to you by Lightspeed Aviation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

Click here to listen. (3.6 MB, 5:15)

EAA AirVenture 2009 Podcast Series: Flying For Good — Lindy Kirkland

File Size 4.5 MB / Running Time 6:32

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

One of the themes of this year's AirVenture show is public-benefit flying, and as president of the Air Care Alliance, Lindy Kirkland is working to bring pilots together with opportunities to serve the greater good. He took a break from setting up the Fly4Life exhibit at AirVenture on Sunday afternoon to sit down with AVweb's Mary Grady and talk about the importance of public-benefit flying, and explain how easy — and rewarding — it is for any pilot to get involved.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (4.5 MB, 6:32)

TCM AirVenture and Web Specials!
Come see Teledyne Continental Motors for our show specials, seminars, new engines, and innovation in booths 229-234. Can't make it to AirVenture? Read TCM's exciting news and get exclusive web discounts on factory-new and rebuilt engines for the first 50 engines ordered from July 27 to August 2. For any engine owner unable to attend AirVenture, please click here to find out more information or call (888) 221-6442 for a quote.
Booths at EAA AirVenture: 229-234
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.

How Do You Like That Glass Panel? Take Aviation Consumer's User Survey

Virtually every new airplane these days has an electronic flight display system of some kind. Our sister publication Aviation Consumer would like to hear from users of these systems.

Click here to take the survey.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.