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NASA announced last week
that as part of its Centennial Challenges program, it will fund a $1.5 million prize for the first aircraft that can average at least 100 mph
on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles per gallon. A competition is scheduled for July 2011 in Santa Rosa, Calif., which will be hosted by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation. A variety of innovative experimental aircraft using electrical, solar,
biofuel or hybrid propulsion are expected to enter, NASA said. Several major universities and aircraft builders have expressed their intention to enter teams in the challenge. The competition is
expected to advance the development of technologies that will promote efficiency, conservation, and the use of zero-carbon energy sources, according to NASA's news release. This is the largest prize
ever offered for a general aviation competition, according to CAFE.
A $150,000 prize for best score by a bio-fueled aircraft is also offered, as well as an honorary achievement prize of $153,000, which may be awarded to the top competitor if nobody takes the top
prize. Teams must pay a fee of $4,000 to $8,000 and submit a design proposal to register for the competition with CAFE. Team leaders must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. CAFE said a maximum
of 18 competitors will be accepted. Wingspan for competing aircraft is limited to 44 feet, so they can fit inside the CAFE Flight Test Center hangar for weighing (wing folding or tip removal is an
option). The hangar parameters also restrict aircraft height to 13 feet and length to 23 feet.
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The FAA on Tuesday changed its certification standards for transport category airplanes to require either the automatic
activation of ice protection systems or a method to tell pilots when they should be activated. "We're adding another level of safety to prevent situations where pilots are either completely unaware of
ice accumulation or don't think it's significant enough to warrant turning on their ice protection equipment," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. The new rule requires that airplanes must have an effective way to ensure the ice protection system is activated at the proper time. The FAA
has previously required the activation of pneumatic deicing boots on many aircraft models at the first sign of ice accumulation, a rule that has been controversial among pilots, some of whom believe
they should wait for ice to form before activating the boots. Dan Hubbard, spokesman for the National Business Aviation Association, told AVweb: "NBAA supports efforts to increase a pilot's
awareness of hazardous weather conditions and to alert the flight crew of necessary corrective action to prevent the degradation of aircraft performance." The new certification standard avoids relying
on the pilot alone to observe whether the airplane is accumulating ice, the FAA said, and it applies to all types of ice-protection systems, not just the boots.
The new rule applies to new designs. There is no requirement to modify existing airplane designs, unless they undergo significant changes. However, the FAA is considering a similar rulemaking that
would cover aircraft not affected by this rule. Under the revised standards, new transport aircraft designs must have one of three methods to detect icing and to activate the airframe ice-protection
system: an ice-detection system that automatically activates or alerts pilots to turn on the ice protection system; a definition of visual signs of ice buildup on a specified surface (e.g., wings)
combined with an advisory system that alerts the pilots to activate the ice protection system; or identification of temperature and moisture conditions conducive to airframe icing that would tip off
pilots to activate the ice protection system. The standards further require that after initial activation, the ice protection system must operate continuously, automatically turn on and off, or alert
the pilots when the system should be cycled. Click here for the full text of the new rule.
It took a while -- the proposed airworthiness directive was out over a year ago -- but this week, the FAA issued a final rule
requiring inspections and compression tests for some 8,000 engines built by Teledyne Continental Motors with cylinders by Superior Air Parts, if they have logged more than 750 flight hours. The FAA
said its rule aims to prevent the separation of the cylinder head, which could result in immediate loss of engine power, possible structural damage to the engine, and possible fire in the engine
compartment. The cost of compliance is estimated at about $1,550 per airplane. The AD becomes effective Sept. 9. For the full text of the final rule, click here.
The FAA's final rule provides details about several comments that were made and considered, but in the end, no substantial changes were made to the AD as it was originally proposed. The AD affects
a wide variety of Cessna and Beechcraft models, as well as a few Bellancas and Navions, and the Rockwell 200D.
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Sales of piston aircraft dropped 58 percent in the first half of 2009, compared to the same period a year before, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported in their quarterly
update on Tuesday. Shipments fell from 1,034 airplanes last year to just 434 units in 2009. Business jets were also down, by 38 percent (from 663 to 412), and turboprops showed a relatively upbeat
trend, with a drop of only 14 percent (221 to 191). "These are extremely challenging times for all general aviation manufacturers and suppliers," GAMA CEO Pete Bunce said in a news release. "Layoffs
continue and our industry has been forced to slow, and in some cases, temporarily halt production lines." However, Bunce added that he is seeing some encouraging signs. "The overall economic picture
is showing some signs of improvement, which is a crucial condition for recovery in the general aviation market," he said. "Flight hours are stabilizing, used inventories are beginning to shrink, and
our manufacturers are seeing signs of renewed interest in airplane purchases."
Bunce added that he is also encouraged by reports that accelerated depreciation, passed by Congress earlier this year, is stimulating some new orders, and he's hopeful that positive momentum will
continue through the end of the year. The total shipments, for pistons, turboprops, and business jets in the first half of this year came to 1,037, a drop of 46 percent from last year's total of 1,918
for the first six months. Total billings fell from $12 billion to $9.26 billion, a drop of 23 percent. Some manufacturers have had to cope with dramatic changes -- Cirrus, for example, delivered 549
airplanes in 2008. In the first half of this year, the total was 121. Mooney delivered 65 airplanes in 2008, and so far this year the total is 5. For the full text of GAMA's news release and a PDF
copy of their complete report, click here.
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NASA's Langley Full Scale Wind Tunnel (LFST), in Hampton, Va., is scheduled to be shut down and demolished later this month, and Ken Hyde, president
of The Wright Experience, thinks that would be a mistake. Hyde and his team used the tunnel to help create a reproduction of the first
Wright Flyer for the Centennial of Flight, and he thinks it has a lot of useful life ahead. "The tunnel can still provide us with invaluable research and information, especially in areas of national
importance like energy independence," he wrote to AVweb last week. The tunnel recently has been used to test trucks, resulting in design changes and fuel savings of up to 20 percent. "The LFST
is costing taxpayers no money to keep in existence; however, its destruction is costing every taxpayer money. ... [It] holds a unique place in our country's past, but its most valuable contributions
to our country are yet to come, but only if we can find a way to keep the tunnel open," said Hyde. The wind tunnel is currently being operated by Old Dominion University, but their lease runs out on
Aug. 18, and NASA plans to close down and demolish the aging structure, according to Hyde. It is currently being used for research on blended-wing structures.
Hyde said he believes the wind tunnel could operate for another decade or more if only modest investments were made to protect the facility from occasional flooding. "Urgent help is needed to help
preserve this National Historic Landmark," he said.
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It was 100 years ago, in 1909, that Louis Bleriot piloted the first airplane to cross the English Channel, and early in the morning of July 25, 2009, two French pilots marked the anniversary by
completing the same flight in two Bleriot XI monoplanes, one of them a replica and one a restored original. Later in the day, however, several other pilots, from Sweden, the Netherlands, and
Luxembourg, who hoped to make the same flight in their own Bleriot aircraft, were grounded by French authorities, who said the wind was too strong. The grounding caused some to complain that the
French had favored their own pilots, but others agreed that the winds were dangerous for the fragile aircraft. At least one of the grounded pilots, Mikael Carlson, of Sweden, was able to make the
flight successfully the following morning. About 300 French, British and Belgian pilots also made the flight throughout the day in a variety of small aircraft, sometimes despite dark clouds and rain.
Bleriot's flight from Les Barraques, France, to Dover, England, took just 37 minutes.
He won a prize of a thousand pounds, offered by the Daily Mail, and became an instant celebrity. The event startled British military leaders, who had to cope with the fact that they now were
vulnerable to attack from the air, as well as by sea. Bleriot went into business building airplanes, and many copies of the XI were built, several of which are still flying or in museums.
It's Thunderstorm Season Take ASF's New Thunderstorm Safety Quiz!
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In the week leading up to EAA AirVenture, we asked which of the four major attractions at this year's show you were most excited about seeing.
The most-anticipated attraction among AVweb readers turned out to be WhiteKnightTwo/Mothership Eve, which cornered 24% of your responses. Least anticipated? The crew of
U.S. Airways Flight 1549, who were the major draw for only 6% of those who participated in our poll.
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 ***
Earlier this week, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) revealed order and
cancellation figures that show an industry in crisis. Our question this week is about how soon you think that might change.
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.
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When the federal government needed Bill Clinton in North Korea to broker the release of two captive American journalists, it sent him there the only way it could: on a private business jet. In the
latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles wonders if this may drive home the point that bizjets are good for more than golf junkets.
So, did everyone at AVweb enjoy AirVenture? Paul Bertorelli did. Even though he's been to a couple dozen of these and didn't get far from his laptop, he still managed to recapture a little of
that air show excitement this year. Read all about the cool things he saw (and tire-kicked) at EAA AirVenture 2009 in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Over 18,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong! GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air
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Sitting in front of your computer thinking how awesome it would be if you could at least get up in the air for a few minutes and fly around the patch at Oshkosh? We feel ya and
that's why we strapped on some cameras for this bonus video, which gives you an aerial tour of the EAA AirVenture grounds.
Night Flying Will Never Be the Same! GloveLite® solves the cockpit flashlight issue a neoprene cover for the index finger and thumb that has two 3mm LEDs integrated into the fabric.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Royal FBO at Silvio Petirosi in Asuncióon, Paraguay.
AVweb reader Fabian Miño brought Royal to our attention, noting that "since there are very few FBO services in Paraguay, I believe the competition is much tougher. ... Royal FBO
has made great efforts to be one of the few really high-quality FBOs in Paraguay today."
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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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 ***
And we're back! Major thanks to everyone who kept the photos flowing during our AirVenture "POTW" hiatus and a tip of the hat to the handful of readers and submitters
we met in Oshkosh this year.
Todd Louis Bohlman of Lemon Grove, California helps us back to form with a photo shot by Chuck Hlavac. That's
Todd flying his '69 Citabria 7GCBC in a breakfast flight with a group he calls the "Ramona Gaggle." (Todd also gives shout-outs to Matt Hlavac in the photo plane and Dave
Leedum, who remembered to bring along his camera.)
Robert Collins of Ormond Beach, Florida 'fesses up to using PhotoShop to spruce up this heritage flight photo from the Titusville Air Show
but say what you will about photo manipulation, it makes a great desktop wallpaper.
Far be it from us to offer photo suggestions to submitters like Veronica von Allwörden of Langley, Washington who rocked our socks with
several great submissions this week; look for another in the slideshow on AVweb's home page this week but there are easier ways to get a close-up, like
having your subject step out of the plane first.
Yeah, on second thought, it's much better Veronica's way.
Nigel Thompson of Ann Arbor, Michigan draws things to a close with the perfect signature photo a rainbow over the North 40 camp at OSH.
We've already mention the "POTW" slideshow on AVweb's home page once today. Trust us when we say you don't want to miss this week's
bonus pictures, since many of them were so close to bumping these five out of the top slots. (Paul Oor and Christopher Zavatson, we're looking at you.) What are you waiting for? It's just
the contest tips below, and you're read those a thousand times already. Go!
(Unless, of course, you want to submit a photo. In that case, you can look at those slideshow photos later. Right now you need to click here,
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
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.