AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 22a

May 31, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! USAF Goes Hypersonic back to top 

X-51A Scramjet Flight Good, Not Perfect (With Video)

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The Air Force's scramjet, the Boeing X-51A Waverider, set a new world record, Wednesday, when it ran for 200 seconds, burned JP-7, and reached a speed of about Mach 5 (roughly 1 mile per second). In 2004, NASA's X-43 flew much faster (Mach 9.7) but burned hydrogen and managed that for about 12 seconds before it melted. Early data show the unmanned X-51A suffered from some temperature problems of its own, though not as severe. It had been scheduled for a 300-second run topping out at Mach 6 near 70,000 feet. But temperatures at the rear of the engine bay grew higher than expected. After the vehicle reached roughly Mach 5, it began to slow down for reasons yet to be determined and the vehicle was destroyed by its operators.

In theory, the X-51A scramjet engine should be able to operate indefinitely -- so long as there is an indefinite supply of fuel. The engine has no moving parts but must be accelerated to very high speeds to work. In the case of the X-51A, it was launched from a B-52 mother ship at about 0.8 Mach and 50,000 feet. A booster then accelerated the vehicle to about Mach 5 where ethylene was used to ignite the scramjet before it transitioned to JP-7. A scramjet uses fuel to cool the engine which in turn heats the fuel that ignites when injected into the engine's supersonic flow. Ramjets operate similarly, but the airflow through the engine is subsonic. Aside from its longevity, the X-51A scramjet's flight still operated in the Mach 3 to Mach 6 regime shared by ramjet engines. Find more information in the military's release, here.

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All About the Engines back to top 

NTSB Acts On GE Uncontained Engine Failures

Citing four foreign accidents in two years involving uncontained engine failures, the NTSB Thursday issued recommendations that ask the FAA to require GE to redesign a specific engine component. The failures (one each on two Boeing 747s, an Airbus A300 and a DC-10) did not result any injuries or death, but the NTSB believes they presented direct hazards to the aircraft, the passengers and aircraft systems. An uncontained engine event results in fragments of rotating engine parts penetrating and exiting through the engine case. The NTSB would like to see the FAA require operators of CF6-45/50 engines to perform recurrent borescope inspections and recurrent fluorescent penetrant inspections, until GE provides a redesigned substitute low-pressure turbine stage 3 disk and operators have it installed. The NTSB believes the disks can "fail unexpectedly when excited by high pressure rotor unbalance." The board's recommended timeframe for replacement is "at the next maintenance opportunity."

According to the NTSB, engine cases are not designed to contain failed turbine disks. "Instead, the risk of uncontained disk failure is mitigated by designating disks as safety-critical parts, defined as the parts of an engine whose failure is likely to present a direct hazard to the aircraft. The four failures noted by the NTSB occurred on aircraft flown by Saudi Arabian Airlines, Arrow Cargo, Jett8 Cargo and ACT Cargo. The timeframe for the incidents extends from July 4, 2008, to April 10, 2010. The full test of the NTSB's safety recommendation letter to the FAA is available here: (PDF).

Lycoming Takes Piston Manufacturing Back In-House

For the first time since the late 1960s, Lycoming can produce in-house pistons, and the company believes the technology it developed with an English partner company and a Japanese machine tool company puts it well ahead of competitors. The company unveiled its new process and machinery Wednesday. In practice, a billet goes through four individual but connected machines -- with automated quality-control measures built in -- and, two to four minutes later, it comes out as a finished piston. According to the company, each sub-process ends with an automated quality inspection to ensure it meets manufacturing specifications, and every fifth piston is checked manually. "Now we don't have to worry if there is a supplier out there to fill our needs," company spokesman Scott Miller told the SunGazette.com. "We can fill our own needs."

To create the machines and process, Lycoming partnered with Cosworth Group of England (a technology company) and Takisawa of Japan (a high-performance machine tool company). Cosworth was a key player in designing the machine line, process and pistons used by Lycoming, and says the system is "far in excess of anything Lycoming's competitors have." According to Lycoming, in-house piston manufacturing for aircraft engines, which it suspended more than 40 years ago, is just one step toward the quality assurance and on-time delivery standards the company is seeking to ensure.

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Big Event, Big Headaches Among Organizers back to top 

DC-3 Reunion Hits Turbulence

The structure of a much-anticipated mass arrival of DC-3 aircraft at this year's AirVenture Oshkosh is in question after an apparent rift developed between the owners group organizing the 40-ship formation and EAA. Last week EAA announced that it will "exclusively organize and coordinate all AirVenture activities for the DC-3 75th anniversary." The owners group, which says it's been working for more than a year to organize the gathering independently of EAA under the name The Last Time, has termed the EAA announcement "a hostile takeover" of the event and it calls into question whether a formation flight over Wittman Regional Airport on the opening day of AirVenture will be held. EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said EAA is not trying to hijack the event; rather, it's trying to ensure it goes smoothly and safely.

Knapinski said EAA has been trying to coordinate the AirVenture aspects of the event with The Last Time organizers but EAA officials felt they were unable to effectively communicate the nitty-gritty details, like parking, of the massive undertaking to the individual operators taking part. "We're now 60 days to opening day," Knapinski noted, saying there is a lot to consider in staging an event like this. The Last Time organizers claim it's a naked attempt by EAA to capitalize on their effort. "This is clearly an attempt at ousting the celebration's original organizers," the group said. "It was planned, coordinated, and privately funded without any support from EAA. Now they want to claim it to be theirs." The group is still planning to hold its weekend celebration and gathering at Sterling Rock Falls Airport in Illinois on July 24-25 and a formation flight is still planned, but apparently over that airport. EAA says that regardless of the Illinois event, it's looking to hear from DC-3 operators planning to attend AirVenture and will help organize a mass arrival of the aircraft if one is planned.

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Concorde May Carry History Aloft, If Not Passengers back to top 

Concorde May Fly Again

An Air France Concorde was to have undergone borescope tests Saturday to determine if its four engines can be safely started in advance of a possible return to flight. The aircraft is at a French museum at Le Bourget Airport, where it was mothballed seven years ago when Air France and British Airways ended supersonic service after decades of financial losses and the spectacular crash of a Concorde in Paris in 2000 that killed 113 people. There was no word at our deadline on the outcome of the tests but it's hoped the aircraft can soon be fueled and readied for taxi tests before returning to the air for heritage flights. It's hoped the aircraft can be airworthy in time for a flight over the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The effort is expected to cost more than $20 million and is being spearheaded by a French group, Olympus593. A British organization, Save Concorde Group, has also been trying to get authorities on that side of the channel to fire up one of the Concordes there but hasn't had as much luck as its French counterparts. Meanwhile, the trial of French and American people charged in the crash that effectively ended the commercial use of the airliner ended on Friday in Paris. A verdict won't be handed down until Dec. 6.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: ADS-B Rule — Big Bucks, Paltry Benefit

Somewhere out there, someone must be thrilled the with FAA's final rule on the implementation of ADS-B in the NextGen airspace over the U.S. That someone isn't IFR magazine editor-in-chief Jeff Van West, who confesses to more than a little disappointment in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

Click here to read his opinions, then chime in with your own in our comments section.

AVweb Insider Blog: Ghosts of Merlins Past — A V-Block Engine

As the season for new engines seems to be in full flight, Paul Bertorelli's latest post to the AVweb Insider blog addresses an intriguing new engine design from Adept Airmotive, a South African startup. The initial numbers sound good but, of course, the company has a long road ahead of it.

Click here to read Paul's thoughts and add your own comments — and you'll want to hear this podcast interview with Adept principal Richard Schulz.

EAA AirVenture || July 26 - August 1, 2010 || Click to Purchase Tickets Online
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration
July 26 - August 1 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
It's a year of firsts and once-in-a-lifetimes! 75th anniversary of the DC-3 (50+ attending!) and B-17; "Salute to Veterans" week-long celebration; opening day concert by Chicago; and Saturday, July 31 — first mass balloon launch, first Spirit of Aviation Auction, and night air show with fireworks to follow!

Save time and money when you buy your tickets online now.
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.

Eur-Avia Cannes || June 4-6, 2010
Eur-Avia Cannes Is Southern Europe's Leading Exhibition in General and Business Aviation
The exhibition brings together the leading proponents in general and business aviation to allow a demanding clientéle to discover the latest developments and industry innovations in a geographically logical and appealing setting. This professional exhibition is designed for owners and pilots, whether passionate fans or professionals, in general and business aviation throughout Europe — offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry. Click here for more details.
Have a Moment to Help Us Out? back to top 

Got a Turbonormalized Cirrus? Aviation Consumer Wants You

Actually, Aviation Consumer wants a little bit of your engine data for a research product we're doing. If you don't mind sending us a sample data file, contact Paul Bertorelli at avconsumer@comcast.net.

Contact us before sending anything. Thanks.

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

Aviation Consumer's LSA Durability Survey

p>Do you have an LSA at a flight school? Do you rent one? Aviation Consumer needs to hear from you.

Aviation Consumer is looking at the long-term durability of these aircraft when subjected to the rigors of flight training, as well as their cost and ease of repair. Whether you run a flight school with LSAs, own an LSA that you lease back, or just rent them for your flight training, you voice matters.

Click here to participate in our quick LSA durability survey.

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

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Adept Airmotive's New V-6 Engines: The Details

File Size 11.4 MB / Running Time 11:07

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Adept Airmotive surprised us this week by announcing that it's launching a new general aviation engine line. The powerplants will be V-6s available in turbocharged and normally aspirated versions and up to 320hp. In this podcast, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli got some interesting details on the engines from Adept's Richard Schulz.

Aviation Consumer's Diamond Motor Glider Gliding Trial

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

At Sun 'n Fun, AVweb took a look at Diamond's reintroduced HK36 motor glider. In this follow-up video, we tried it out in extended glider operation, and (no suprise) it's a great performer. If you want to learn soaring and still want a powered airplane, the HK36 is a remarkably well-executed compromise.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for the print review of the FX8 in the June issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer.

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IFR Magazine Shares GPS Tricks for VOR Clearances

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

Handling clearances with that panel-mount GPS is a snap — until they throw some rogue radial off a VOR into the mix. IFR editor Jeff Van West unlocks the insider techniques that make clearances like this just another day plying the airways.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out our sister publication, IFR magazine.

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EDM 830 from JP Instruments || Technology That Works
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Craig Air Center (KCRG, Jacksonville, Florida)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

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Here at AVweb, we love a good "above and beyond" story — and this week's spotlight FBO, Craig Air Center at Craig Municipal Airport (KCRG) in Jacksonville, Florida, has made "above and beyond" their motto.

Dan Karney tells the tale:

I stayed at Craig for a week visiting family in the area. While taxiing to depart, we noticed one of our main tires was flat. The linemen came out and happily towed us back to their FBO. (Where we stopped was literally the farthest point from their FBO.) ... [S]ince it was Sunday, there were no maintenance facilities open that day. They inflated the tire for me ... [but] when it would not hold any air, they called every maintenance facility on the field ... [then started] calling flight schools on the field. Their last option came through: A mechanic was reached that worked at Criag Air Center, and it was fixed at a reasonable price, in a reasonable ammount of time. I was extremely pleased with their service and helpfulness. I will definitely be back if I am in the area.

... And given last week's top FBO, we'd say KCRG is looking good as a summer stopover!

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

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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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win an AV8OR Handheld GPS

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win an AV8OR handheld GPS (from Bendix/King by Honeywell) 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 June 18, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on the radio:

Piper 1234W:
"Chattanooga tower, Piper 1234W with you at 2,000."

Chattanooga Tower:
"Piper 1234W — cleared to land, runway 20."

Piper 1234W:
"Roger. Cleared to land, runway 20."

[after a pause]

Chattanooga Tower:
"Piper 1234W, you just flew past runway 20."

Piper 1234W:
"Yep, too much giddyup and not enough whoa. I'll do a 180 and catch it on the turn."

Chattanooga Tower:
"Roger. Cleared to land, runway 20."

Bob Jones
via e-mail

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.