AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 15b

April 13, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: PiperSport Officially Enters the Market back to top 

PiperSport LSA Ready To Deliver

Piper will be delivering the first copy of its own PiperSport light sport aircraft at Sun 'n Fun on Tuesday afternoon. The airplane has been tweaked a bit from the SportCruiser model by Czech Sport Aircraft that the company adopted. Besides the fresh paint job, Piper's version of the LSA includes a beefed-up nosegear, a BRS chute as standard, a sunshade for those Florida summers, and adjustments to the pitch control, Jackie Carlon, Piper's marketing director, told AVweb on Monday. "We've also made the leather interior a standard feature, as well as the dual Dynon avionics," she said. Piper promises to have more news at a press conference on Tuesday morning.

The PiperSport was introduced at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo at Sebring, Fla., in January. The airplanes will continue to be built in the Czech Republic under a licensing agreement with Piper. The airplane is being sold in three models: the basic PiperSport at $119,900, the training-oriented LT at $129,900, and the fully decked-out LTD at $139,900. All are powered by the Rotax 912, which will run on premium unleaded mogas as well as 100LL. AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli took a test flight in the airplane; click here for the video report.

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FlightDesign Buzz at Sun 'n Fun back to top 

Flight Design Keeps On Designin'

The folks at Flight Design must be feeling some impact of the down economy, but it hasn't slowed them down much. They are here at Sun 'n Fun, busy as ever, and with a list of new stuff to entice light sport buyers. Now they are offering floats for their fleet, as well as a "show special" value package -- several popular options for the CTLS, including the Garmin 695, Artex ELT 406, and leather seats, included at no extra charge. The company also continues its efforts to attract new pilots, with three new Flight Design Pilot Centers coming online around the U.S. They have also developed a two-day training syllabus to help improve transition training for experienced pilots who are switching to LSAs. "It's about five hours of flying, and a good introduction to what's different about flying and owning light sport planes, for pilots who might be switching over from other kinds of aircraft," John Gilmore, a company spokesman, told AVweb.

On Tuesday, the Flight Design crew was busy getting ready an example of their CTLS-Lite, being shown here at Sun 'n Fun for the first time. The model has a lower price, by $20,000, than the standard model, as well as more useful load. Gilmore promised to have more updates later in the week. He also said that more new projects are in the works, some of which might be ready for the market by Oshkosh. A CT model with a high-lift wing is one item expected soon, as well as a Rotax 914 turbocharged option.

FlightPrep ChartBook EFB || Aviation Consumer's Top Pick || Demo It 
Yourself at Sun 'n Fun Hangar B36/37
Top Pick EFB by Aviation Consumer:
ChartBook, Again!

FlightPrep™ ChartBook™ EFB wins "Top Pick" again with the call-outs "best 3D, simple, big buttons, highly configurable, fast rendering." Dedicated Charts and IP (instrument procedures) buttons make using the system easy and intuitive. Our Exclusive Flight Definition display upgrade gives you improved brightness, clarity, contrast and freedom from glare. Includes standard solid state disk, too. Add XM Wx or traffic awareness when you're ready. Demo ChartBook™ yourself in Hangar B, Booths 36 and 37 at Sun 'n Fun or buy online at FlightPrep.com/AVweb10.
Tiny, Powerful Spot Now Has More Features back to top 

Spot Introduces New Messenger With Added Features

Spot, a hand-held satellite GPS messaging unit, is now shipping in its latest version, distribution manager Greg Wilkinson told AVweb on Monday. The new version is smaller than the original unit, weighing in at only 5.2 ounces, with added features. The Spot taps in to the company's own global satellite network which covers most of the world's surface. It can transmit tracking information to the company's Web site, where others can follow a traveler's progress. A message function will send e-mails to up to 10 addresses to announce that you have departed on a flight. The unit also has an SOS/911 feature that sends an distress signal that is received at the company's emergency center in Houston.

The new units originally began shipping in October, but Spot then initiated a "product return program" asking buyers to return all of the units for replacement. According to the Spot Web site, "During recent testing, we discovered that these SPOT 2 devices may not meet battery and messaging operating specifications. We were not 100% satisfied with the performance of this unit." Units shipping now are not affected by the recall.

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Choose the Evolution Package that suits your needs and budget. Now is the time to buy with Aspen's "Power Your Panel" Rebate offer through June 30, 2010.

Come see us at Sun 'n Fun Booth D-16 or click here to learn about the rebate online.
Meanwhile, Outside of Lakeland ... back to top 

NAFI Director In Legal Tangle

The executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) has been released from a Michigan jail after he was arrested earlier this month on a charge of embezzlement of between $20,000 and $50,000. The charge relates to Blair's term as manager of the Hastings Barry County Airport in Michigan from 2007 to 2009. On the advice of his lawyer, Blair declined comment on the case when contacted by AVweb. He was arrested April 2 by the Alleghan City Police and taken to the Barry County Jail. He was released after posting a $5,000 cash surety. He continues in his role at NAFI, according to EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski.

Knapinski said the matter is under investigation in Michigan and the local district attorney has not yet decided on whether to proceed with the charges. Knapinski told AVweb his understanding of the case is that it resulted from a "contractual dispute" at the airport. NAFI is affiliated with EAA but has its own board of directors. Blair has been the executive director since 2008.

Reports: VIPs May Have Pressured Flight Crew In Russian Crash

Investigators so far have found no mechanical problems with the Tupolev 154 that crashed on Saturday, killing the president of Poland and 95 others, but they are now looking into reports that various VIPs, either on the airplane or elsewhere, may have put pressure on the flight crew to attempt a landing despite the weather. The airplane was attempting to land in thick fog at a military airfield at Smolensk, in western Russia, when it crashed, although air traffic controllers had warned the crew about the airport conditions and advised them to land elsewhere. The passengers were en route to a memorial service to honor Polish soldiers who had been executed by Soviet secret police in 1940. If the flight had diverted, the service would have been delayed, according to CTV News. Many of those on board were high-ranking Polish officials. The airplane was operated by the ministry of national defense of the Republic of Poland, according to Pravda, specifically for the transportation of top officials.

Pravda also said the military airfield uses a different instrument landing system than civil airfields, and the fight crew may have been more accustomed to the civil procedures. A Yak-40 with journalists on board landed safely at Smolensk just before the Tu-154; however, a military Il-76 diverted to a Moscow airport, Pravda said. "It is worthy of note that the Il-76 was piloted by a very experienced pilot who was very familiar with the area," according to Pravda. Although the airplane doesn't appear to have been a factor, fatal crashes in Tu-154s have occurred at least nine times in the last 10 years, according to the Associated Press. The airplane was built during the Soviet era, said Viktor Baranets, a military journalist quoted by Pravda. "More than half of the civil planes in Poland were made in the USSR," Baranets said. "Many of them had to have their engines replaced several times already. ... Tu-154 planes crashed in Poland twice. Both crashes were caused because of poor repairs."

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

John Burton, Chairman of Sun 'n Fun Fly-In

File Size 7.2 MB / Running Time 7:54

Lightspeed Aviation || Change Your Mind WX WX Satellite Weather || Vital as Vision

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

John Burton talks with AVweb's Mary Grady about the highlights and new events coming up this week at Sun 'n Fun and shares some of the behind-the-scenes considerations and planning that go into creating the Sun 'n Fun show every year.

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

Click here to listen. (7.2 MB, 7:54)

Flying Car Update

File Size 4.6 MB / Running Time 5:04

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Terrafugia is working on a major redesign of its "roadable aircraft," the Transition. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with CEO Carl Dietrich at Sun 'n Fun 2010 about progress to date.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation and Conoco-Phillips.

Click here to listen. (4.6 MB, 5:04)

Lightspeed Aviation || Change Your Mind
Opening Day of Sun 'n Fun Is Bringing a Very Important Announcement from Lightspeed
Come by our booth for details about the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation that will help support a select group of charities nominated by the aviation community. Also, find out about Lightspeed's hot Sun 'n Fun Zulu special running April 13-18 at the show. Can't make the show? The special's also available through any Lightspeed dealer nationwide. Learn more at LightspeedAviation.com.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Jeff Skiles — How to Handle Fame? Ignore It

On a cold Thursday morning 15 months ago, Jeff Skiles was just another anonymous first officer making a routine flight from LaGuardia to Charlotte. By the end of the day, he was a household name. Paul Bertorelli met and spoke with Skiles at AEA and reflects on how fame has(n't) affected him on the AVweb Insider blog.

Click here to read more.

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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.

WX WX Satellite Weather || Vital as Vision
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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win Scheyden Frames and Flight Gear

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win Scheyden Dual RX frames and Flight Crew Ensemble flight gear as we celebrate our 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 30, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Kitfox Aircraft
Fly Away for As Little As $83,495
... in a tri-gear or taildragger SLSA. The Kitfox Super Sport is a proven design, made in the USA for 26 years. It's at home at the FBO, in the back country, on floats or skis, and everywhere in between. The "No Show Special" will credit your demo flight at the factory and adds extra options* with a purchase.

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AEA Round-Up back to top 

Aircraft Electronics Association Video Round-Up

AVweb was on-hand for the 2010 Aircraft Electronics Association show in Orlando, Florida. Here's an overview of our video coverage (with individual links), and you can click here for an index of our complete 2010 coverage in one place.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to view this playlist directly on YouTube.

Watch all of our AEA 2010 videos in the player above or click these thumbnails for individual videos:

Now You Can Fly an Approach on Your Garmin || True Flight TV
Something New Your Garmin Can Do
Now you Can fly an approach in real time on your Garmin 696, 496, 396 or 296.

To find out more, go to True Flight TV.
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.

Where to Find Our Sponsors at Sun 'n Fun 2010

B-004-B-009Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
C-053AirFleet Capital
SNF-008AOPA Air Safety Foundation
D-016-017Aspen Avionics
C-055-056Avemco Insurance
C-071-072, N-026Avidyne
C-092-095Bendix/King by Honeywell
A-076Big South Fork Airpark
SNF-009Bose Corporation
SNF-001-002, SNF-004-005Cessna Aircraft
N-083, N-088Conoco-Phillips
MD-023B, MD-024CDiamond Aircraft
E-021-024Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
A-065General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI)
D-051-053Lightspeed Aviation
D-039-042Lycoming Engines
MD-007BMooney Airplane Company
MD-014B, MD-018C, MD-019BPiper Aircraft
MD-027CRemos Aircraft
C-065-067Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM)
C-024-026, N-036WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather