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Volume 16, Number 11a
March 15, 2010
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Top News: Interest in Epic Air Heats Upback to top 
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Aviation || April 8-11, 2010

Court documents obtained by AVweb show Harlow Aerostructures is seeking to acquire the assets of Epic Air, by March 30, for one-tenth of Epic's estimated value. Under the purchase agreement, Harlow has agreed to purchase substantially all of Epic's assets for $2 million, payable in cash on closing. According to the filing, "the Debtor's bankruptcy schedules value the assets at approximately $20,295,000." An auction is scheduled for March 26, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time that may preclude the sale to Harlow, but Harlow is seeking approval of the sale if a "higher and better bidder" does not step forward. Epic's fast prototype-to-production process saw its Epic LT 6-place jetprop arrive at AirVenture Oshkosh in 2004, less than one year after it was announced. The company's subsequent unveilings quickly created a range of high-profile, high-performance, single- and multi-engine, turbine- and turbofan-powered experimental aircraft. But that course came to an end when, on Oct. 23, 2009, Epic filed under Chapter 7 (liquidation) in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court. More...

What He Didn't Know About His Life Insurance Cost His Family $500,000
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High-Flying Legal Mattersback to top 

The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) has announced its strong opposition to proposed legislation that would allow use of CVRs to punish pilots for procedural violations. The bill was introduced Feb. 26, by Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in part to "improve air safety" by allowing carriers "limited use" of the information collected by the recorders. Specific language in the bill would allow use of CVR material "to discipline or discharge a pilot" and "to evaluate or monitor the judgment or performance of an individual pilot," among other things. CAPA says the legislation "would turn back the clock on every safety improvement the industry has attained in the last fifteen years of voluntary aviation safety programs." CAPA is calling on members of the Senate to oppose the measure, saying that if it passes, the measure would "irreparably harm our aviation safety system in America." Meanwhile, the NTSB has its own take on the matter. More...

Washington State legislators estimate they can raise $8.4 million a year on an excise tax increase on general aviation aircraft. As we reported in January, a citizens' committee recommended a 1 percent annual tax on the value of an airplane (as opposed to the current $65 a year flat tax), calling it a "revenue opportunity." Washington pilots immediately rallied to oppose the tax and the State Senate dropped the proposal while the House still includes a modified version in its tax package. More...

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Landmarks on the Road to Tomorrow's Skiesback to top 

The Army expects to top 1,000,000 total hours in unmanned aviation by April, and sees a need for over 3,000 UAV operators by 2018. The Army plans to recognize the hours-flown milestone in late May with displays in Washington at the Pentagon and the Smithsonian Museum. Meanwhile, fiscal year 2010 should see the addition of about 800 trained operators (UAV pilots). Aside from vastly reducing the risk to military personnel, the Army's UAV program has pushed human error accident and incident rates close to the single-digit mark, according to the military. The military attributes that, at least in part, to the adoption of automated methods employed for takeoff and landing. Currently, roughly 90 percent of the hours flown by unmanned aircraft are done in support of combat, according to Col. Christopher Carlile, director of the U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence. He added that the Army is ready to both expand use of unmanned systems and broaden the unmanned aerial system mission set. As for personnel, a joint training installation operated by the Army at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., trains soldiers, sailors and Marines. More...

Cessna announced on Saturday that its new CJ4 received type certification by the FAA. That paves the way for deliveries to begin later this year. The aircraft is the largest in the CJ line and seats eight passengers in standard configuration with an aft lav. It will cost about $9 million. Of course, it comes with the latest in electronics and flight management goodies, including a four-screen Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite with electronic charts and graphical weather, TCAS II, EGPWS Class A TAWS, Dual Mode S Diversity transponders with ADS-B out capability, Multi-Scan weather radar, Emergency Descent Mode, and an essential electrical bus. It's powered by Williams FJ-44A FADEC engines that were certified Feb. 2.As expected, the aircraft's performance numbers came in better than the design targets. More...

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Fuel for the Futureback to top 

Boeing Phantom Works has begun construction of a liquid-hydrogen powered high altitude long endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicle designed to fly for more than four days at altitudes up to 65,000 feet, while carrying a 450-pound payload. Key to Phantom Eye is its propulsion system, which after five years of development saw completion of an 80-hour test in an altitude chamber on March 1 (and about which Boeing offered few details). The twin-engine Phantom Eye demonstrator aircraft will have a 150-foot wingspan. Successful testing could make it the precursor of a larger HALE that would carry 2,000 pounds for more than 10 days. A third design, the Phantom Ray, is also expected to evolve from the program and may be the first to fly. The Ray will be a fighter-sized UAV designed as a flying test bed for advanced technologies. Phantom Eye is the evolution of Boeing's earlier piston-powered Condor, an aircraft that set records for altitude and endurance in the late 1980s.  Boeing expects first flight of the Phantom Eye UAV to take place early next year. More...

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to go through administrative motions suggesting it's serious about removing lead from avgas. Earlier this month, the agency sent a draft endangerment finding to the White House as part of its proposed action to address a petition from Friends of the Earth claiming that lead in avgas represents a public health risk. More...

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... And a Pilot Population for the Future, Tooback to top 

Teachers who inject a little aviation into their lessons are invited to apply for an award that can put them in touch with some of the biggest names in the industry. Nominations close May 1 for the A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award. Crossfield, who died in 2006, started the award in 1986 in recognition of the fact that it was an airplane-savvy teacher who pointed him on his career path. Crossfield's daughter Sally Crossfield Farley kept the award going and explained in a podcast interview that it's now handed out as part of the start-studded National Aviation Hall of Fame induction ceremony, held each July. More...

Children all over the U.S. are being shown opportunities in aviation thanks to some enlightened teachers, and the late famed test pilot Scott Crossfield was one of them when he was in school. Crossfield established an award to recognize those teachers' efforts, and AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with his daughter, Sally Crossfield Farley, about this year's competition. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

A Santa Rosa, Calif. woman, with about five hours of dual instruction, has been arrested after allegedly stealing a Piper Cherokee, running it out of gas and landing, at night, in a hay field in northern California. Authorities believe Susan Alexandria, 28, took off from Charles M. Schulz/Sonoma County Airport sometime last Tuesday and flew north until the tanks were empty. That apparently happened near an ideal spot for an off-airport landing, a dormant alfalfa field in the appropriately named Surprise Valley, near Cedarville in the northeast corner of the state. She then walked three-quarters of a mile to the town of 800 and checked into the local hotel, telling the owners she was lost but apparently omitting the airplane part. More...

John L. Baker, former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot and second AOPA president, passed away March 11. Baker once served as assistant administrator in the FAA's office of general aviation affairs and headed AOPA from 1977 through 1990. At AOPA, he worked for fair distribution of a then $4 billion surplus in the Aviation Trust Fund, eventually influencing how money was distributed to some 3,000 general aviation airports. Baker's time at AOPA saw challenges that arose from the 1978 fatal midair of a Boeing 727 and a Cessna 172 near San Diego, GA issues surrounding the then newly established Terminal Control Area, and advancement of the first bills regarding changes to product liability law. In the words of his successor, Phil Boyer, "He was a highly qualified leader who transformed AOPA from a large flying club to one of the world's most successful membership organizations." More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

So glass cockpits don't necessarily improve safety? No surprise there, says Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. Maybe we should be grateful the NTSB study didn't connect EFIS to an uptick in accident rates. Click here to read Paul's comments and add your own. More...

AVMAIL: MARCH 15, 2010

Letter of the Week: Revamp Light Sport to Save GA

The real world responses to this week's Question of the Week on the FAA's 2030 Aviation Forecast once again underscore the fact that the FAA's "last great hope" for aviation, Light Sport, is going to go the way of the 1990s recreational pilot and the Dodo bird. It's high time that everyone involved "gets" the fact that aviation is a sunset industry [unless there's] a massive paradigm shift in thinking.

All of the ongoing positive accolades from FAA and EAA and AOPA aside, Light Sport has produced only 3,248 Light Sport pilots in just over five years. That's about one Light Sport pilot per State per month. The total number of active U.S. pilots is down more than 35 percent since the heyday of the early 1980s. Something has to be done.

Larry Stencel

Click through to read the rest of Mr. Stencel's letter and other missives from our reader mailbag.


Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to What have you heard? More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

BrainteasersAirlines lock their flight crews in the cockpit so passengers won't embarrass them by asking a lot of tough questions. We have no such qualms. Time to unlock your pilot minds and take this quiz.

Take the quiz.

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win an XM WX Satellite Weather receiver from WxWorx as we continue the celebration of AVweb's 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time April 9, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


So many great photos, so little time — a lament that's especially true this week, since we didn't have time to properly pick and format winners before press time. Not to worry — we'll sneak a link into this week's AVwebAudio and run the top five in Monday's edition of AVwebFlash. Enjoy — starting with this shot from Russell A. McDonald of Nappanee, Indiana! More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Republic Airport (KFRG) in Farmingdale, New York.

AVweb readers Jeffrey and Lisa Chipetine recently pulled some long hours flying rescued dogs to their new homes for Pilots N Paws — and the staff at Atlantic were more than happy to help in their journey. Click through to read their full story.

The fellows on the line made sure we were all safe [humans and dogs alike] by escorting the receiving vehicle onto the tarmac and ensuring everyone was kept clear during the transfer. As Atlantic Aviation hosts GA traffic that includes jets and turbines as well as prop aircraft, this was an important consideration. The line staff even helped disassemble the crates and load the (stubby tail-wagging) animals into the SUV belonging to the couple receiving the dogs. We all shared a good moment that night, each of us having a part in sending those terrific dogs onto the next leg in their journey towards a better life. Those animals likely got more rubs and hugs that evening than they had ever received, and they sure returned the love. ... We taxied back to our tiedown feeling a little better about answering a call from those two small voices.

Keep those nominations coming.


AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

If you're a pilot, do you know what the rudder is for? In this short video, Aviation Safety editor-in-chief Jeb Burnside shows the most basic of flying skills: How to keep a turn coordinated. More...

American Legend has made a name for itself in the LSA market with well-made Cub clones. At U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring in January, it showed a new amphib LSA that attracted lots of eyeballs. Last week, AVweb flew the amphib, and here's our video report on this new product. It's not just fun to fly; it's insanely fun to fly. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

During my IFR training at Duluth (Minnesota) International Airport, I'd just declared a missed approach. Here's the exchange I had with ATC:

"Cessna One Two Three Four Alpha: Fly heading of zero niner zero. Climb and maintain 3,200."

"Zero niner zero, climb and maintain 2,200."

"Make that 3,000."

"Climb and maintain 3,000."

"That should be 3,200. We'll get it right eventually."

"But will I? Climb and maintain 3,200."

Woody Minar
Dresser, Wisconsin


Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West
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.