AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 36b

September 9, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Come and Get Your Roadable Aircraft! back to top 

Terrafugia Preps For "Low-Volume Production"

The developers of the Transition folding-wing roadable aircraft are preparing a 19,000-square-foot. facility in Woburn, Mass., for low-volume production to begin as early as late 2011. The company is currently working on construction of two of its newly redesigned vehicles, which will serve as road test and light sport aircraft certification flight test vehicles, respectively. Terrafugia is currently targeting a low- to mid-$200,000 purchase price for the Transition, and says construction of the two test prototypes will help finalize final pricing. If all goes well, the company hopes to provide "fifty skilled manufacturing jobs" at its new facility by 2013 as it ramps up toward high-volume production. But those plans have not yet been finalized and will similarly be affected by the lessons of low-volume production, according to the company.

"We can get to positive net income and be self-sustaining in a relatively short time here," said CEO/CTO Car Dietrich. Terrafugia expects to fulfill "reservations" for the aircraft within the first two to three years of production. Reports from 2008 indicated that the company had taken more than 100 orders, but Dietrich told AVweb at this year's AirVenture Oshkosh that the number is currently set near 80 orders for the airplane. Terrafugia is accepting reservations with a $10,000 refundable deposit.

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This Cricket Doesn't Jump — It Flies back to top 

First Flight For Four-Engine Electric Airplane

The tiny all-electric four-engine aerobatic aircraft known as Cri-Cri, which is "cricket" in French, has flown for the first time, EADS has announced. The company's Innovation Works developed the airplane together with Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association. The first flight launched from Le Bourget airport near Paris last Thursday morning. "Take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt and maneuverability was excellent," EADS said in a statement. The project may seem like pure fun, but it has a serious purpose, according to Jean Botti, EADS's chief technical officer. "The Cri-Cri is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects like our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters," he said. "We hope to get a lot of useful information out of this project."

The airplane is built of lightweight composite structures to compensate for the additional weight of the batteries, and four brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers deliver propulsion with zero CO2 emissions and significantly lower noise compared to thermal propulsion, EADS says. The system is powered by high-energy-density lithium batteries. The company aims for Cri-Cri to deliver 30 minutes of cruise flight at 60 knots, 15 minutes of aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 135 knots, and a climb rate of approximately 1,000 feet per minute. The aircraft was displayed in June at the Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget. It is based on a French homebuilt design from the 1970s.

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Rules, Regulations and Safety back to top 

Alaskans Question Value Of ELTs

Recent crashes in Alaska have illustrated the limits of current search-and-rescue technology that depends on ELT signals, according to a story in Monday's Alaska Dispatch. The Otter that crashed last month, killing former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens and four others, carried a new-generation 406 MHz emergency locator transmitter, but the force of the crash separated the unit from its antenna cable. As a result, according to the Dispatch, satellites were unable to detect the signal. The Dispatch also reported that another airplane that has been missing since Aug. 21 in the same region of Alaska where Stevens crashed is equipped with an older 121.5 transponder, and no signal at all has been detected. Some pilots told the Dispatch they depend on non-approved supplemental gear such as personal locator beacons, Spot messenger units, and Spider Tracks tracking systems, which use GPS technology and communications satellites, to supplement their FAA-required ELTs.

AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Master Sgt. Sal Provenzano at Alaska's Rescue Co-ordination Center, to learn more about how first responders deal with the limitations of the current technology and to discuss the pros and cons of supplemental gear, in this week's podcast. AVweb's Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles argues in this week's AVweb Insider blog that it's time to ditch ELTs and move on.

Related Content:

NTSB Pushes (Again) For Child Seat Rules

The NTSB last month asked regulators to require children to have their own seats and seat belts, but the FAA squashed that idea back in 2005, citing statistical data, and may do so again. The new call (specific to commercial aircraft, though relevant to small aircraft) is tied to a March 2009 crash of a Pilatus PC-12/45 that had been configured to seat 10 but crashed killing all 14 that were actually loaded aboard. Seven of those aboard were children and several appeared to have been thrown from the aircraft after initial impact. The crash itself was severe enough that it's unlikely anyone would have survived regardless of seating choice. But the FAA agrees that infants and toddlers are safest in their own seat using a child-specific approved restraint like those approved in 2006. But in the larger picture, the agency believes applying the requirement (buying an extra seat on a commercial airline for a small child) would ultimately drive more travelers to other, statistically less safe, modes of transportation.

In 2004, 43,000 people were killed while traveling by road versus 13 who were killed aboard commercial flights (see FAA news release, here). The number is down for 2009 to 33,808, which is the lowest since 1950, according to the Transportation Department. Clearly the number of people involved and the number of hours spent on either endeavor affects the final totals. But the FAA says that requiring parents to purchase seats for small children would put many more of those people on the nation's highways as they sought to avoid added the cost of purchasing an extra seat. And that, it says, could result in anywhere from 13 to 42 more deaths over a 10-year period. View the NTSB's recommendation here (PDF). For general aviation pilots, the decision may be more flexible, but the same advice on restraints (and approved devices) may still be applied.

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Investing in Infrastructure back to top 

Obama Proposes More Money For Runways, NextGen

The federal government plans to invest more in NextGen and fund the rehabilitation or reconstruction of 150 miles of runways and other airport facilities as part of a $50 billion infrastructure effort that would create jobs, President Barack Obama said in a speech in Milwaukee on Monday. The six-year plan would not add to the federal deficit, but would be paid for via a new Infrastructure Bank that Mr. Obama says will leverage federal dollars and focus on the smartest investments. If Congress goes along, the plan would reform "the haphazard and patchwork way we fund and maintain our infrastructure ... to focus less on wasteful earmarks and outdated formulas, and more on competition and innovation that gives us the best bang for the buck," the president said. He proposed a "robust investment" in NextGen, to help move from a radar-based system to one based on satellite technology. AOPA was quick to respond to the president's remarks.

"We appreciate the recognition in President Obama's infrastructure announcement of the critical role aviation plays in the nation's transportation system," AOPA President Craig Fuller said in a statement on Monday. "AOPA will work to support the President's infrastructure program to ensure the monies are used effectively at airports across the country and to advance the modernization of our air traffic control system as part of the FAA's NextGen initiative." Fuller added that general aviation must not be forgotten as new technologies are brought online. "As Congress and the Administration proceed, it is vitally important that they both remember that general aviation is an integral part of the national transportation system, and that the key to the success of NextGen is a commitment by the government to invest in new technologies for all users," he said. The initial $50 billion to fund the plan would come from higher taxes levied on oil and gas companies, according to the Washington Post. The American Association of Airport Executives also welcomed the plan. "Greater funding for infrastructure is the right move and now is the right time, for jobs, for the economy and for future generations of Americans," said AAAE President Charles Barclay. "Passing along a healthy infrastructure is an obligation of each generation, and properly designed infrastructure funding pays dividends as a foundation of economic activity over many years," Barclay said. "Investment and consumption are different and we should recognize that fact in our debates about federal spending." Barclay called on Congress to support the plan.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Russian Crew Deadsticks Tu-154 Safely

A Russian airline crew may have pulled off an amazing dead-stick landing on Tuesday. According to Russian media, the Alrosa Airlines Tu-154's "power supply, fuel pumps, radio link and navigation equipment failed" and the only available airport was at Izhma, whose only runway is 4,500 feet long. The reports say the crew deadsticked from 35,000 feet, put down on the short runway and overran it by 600 feet. Although the aircraft suffered some damage, all 72 passengers and nine crew were uninjured.

The flight originated in Polyarny, Siberia, and was headed to Moscow. So far there's been no explanation of how virtually everything on the aircraft could shut down, if that's what actually happened. The passengers and crew were put up in a school building while the airline figured out how to get them to Moscow.

Brownback Wants Bizjet Trade Review

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback is calling for an International Trade Commission study on the global competitiveness of the business aviation industry after suggesting Embraer's success in the sector is at least partly the result of help from the Brazilian government. Brownback, who's running for governor of Kansas, issued a statement last week saying the ITC should not only examine Embraer, but should look at the business aircraft industries in Canada, Europe and China to ensure U.S. manufacturers, most of whom are headquartered in his home state, are getting a fair shake on the world market. "For years, Kansas has been leading the way in the general aviation industry, and I know that if everyone plays by the rules, Kansans will easily rise above the competition," he said. It was a report by the ITC in 2004 that triggered the drawn-out battle at the World Trade Organization over alleged subsidies by the European Union to Airbus for the development and manufacture of airliners.

Although he mentions other countries, Brownback seems to be focusing his attention on Brazil and Embraer, which certified its first business jet, the Legacy 600, essentially a conversion of its regional jet. "Embraer is now responsible for about 14 percent of all global sales of business aircraft," Brownback said. "This is an almost unbelievable feat for a company that has been manufacturing business aviation aircraft for a little over seven years." In the past five years, Embraer has introduced or announced at least five business aircraft and has been aggressively marketing them through the economic downturn. "Embraer's activity does not seem possible without heavy and creative government support across the board," Brownback said.

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We've Got the Qs, You Bring the As back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #151: Something Special in the Air(space)


Special Use Airspace (SUA) isn't special because Mr. Rogers said so. Instead, it's special because someone inside that airspace may be taking aim at you. Show your special grasp of SUA by acing this quiz.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Question of the Week: Time to Phase Out ELTs?

In some high-profile recent accidents, emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) have failed to activate or their signals were obscured. The technology has existed for some time to track individual aircraft by satellite. Should we scrap ELTs in favor of satellite tracking?

Should ELTs be replaced by satellite trackers?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

What's On Your Mind?

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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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.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Let's Ditch ELTs

There are much better alternatives to emergency locator transmitters. In his post to the AVweb Insider blog, editor-in-chief Russ Niles focuses on one that's affordable, reliable and readily available: GPS. With better technology at hand, Russ wonder why ELTs are still the law.

Read more and share your comments.

AVweb Insider Blog: Clinging to Skills — Or to the Past?

Paul Bertorelli recently blogged on the state of sim training, and that (plus your letters) got him thinking about the state of the art — and how so many of us insist on teaching skills that technology may have already rendered obsolete. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider, Paul asks if we're being traditionalists — or just getting a jump on becoming the cranky old farts of tomorrow.

Read more and share your comments.

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

Aviation Consumer Flies a Silver Eagle Turbine-Converted Centurion

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

Wanna go fast and climb like hell? That's what the Silver Eagle Conversion of a P210 with a Rolls Royce turbine engine does. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli recently took a flight demo in the airplane.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for more on the Silver Eagle package in the September 2010 issue of Aviation Consumer.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Aircraft Ditching Training with the Editors of Aviation Consumer

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

Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West got water up his nose as he practiced exiting an aircraft that has sunk and flipped over. It was quite a ride.

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

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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 a PMA6000B Audio Panel from PS Engineering

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

You could win a PMA6000B audio panel from PS Engineering! 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 Friday, September 24, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Orion Flight Services (Wittman Regional Airport, KOSH, Oshkosh, WI)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Under Our Wings, Reward Yourself a Latte || Click to Get Your 

AVweb reader Doug Latch pointed out that we'd given due praise to two FBOs who stepped up to the plate when traffic was routed away from Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh at the beginning of AirVenture — but no one had given a nod to KOSH's own Orion Flight Services:

These people went well beyond normal. They treated me like I had a Gulfstream or Boeing business jet, and they knew from the start I was flying a 1966 Cessna Skyhawk. During AirVenture this year, parking was extreme and almost gone. [While] the other FBO was only accepting twins and jets, Toby Kamark took me and my Skyhawk and treated us like Royalty ... [then] he took as many people as he could to register for the show and returned. ... I was there after the show, and the level of service did not decline.

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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.


medium | large

copyright © Scott Peterson
Used with permission

Spitfire Crews

Scott Peterson of Santa Rosa, California didn't have to visit 1945 to get this photo; he just went to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and "happened by when these guys came in period uniforms and posed for another photographer."

Thanks to the internet, Scott's good luck is now yours and ours to enjoy.

medium | large

copyright © John Rippinger
Used with permission

Mirror Image

"It's the extra elbow grease," writes John Rippinger of Schaumburg, Illinois, "that makes the P-51D Dixie Boy look so good." (John picked up this little tip at this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Lidia Nonn

No Go

Everyone agrees that emoticons are overused in today's electronic communication — but we'll confess, the very first thing that cross our mind on viewing this photo from Appleton, Wisconsin's Lidia Nonn was this:


medium | large

Used with permission of Larry Tatsch

"I'm NOT Impressed"

Unwritten rule of "POTW" submissions: You can never go wrong when contrasting two airborne wonders. Larry Tatsch of Ringoes, New Jersey knows that, and he brought his this excellent shot from the Atlantic City (NJ) Air Show last week.

medium | large

Used with permission of Tom Neale

F-18 Super Hornet Just Below Mach 1.0

Tom Neale of Danville, California flies us out with a shot captured during a practice session at the Wings Over Wine Country Air Show at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa.

You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page — and there are some good ones this week, so make with the clicking, O.K.?

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

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.

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