AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 38b

September 23, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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The R15V00 Rev A 14Vdc Alternator Controller works with 12Vdc aircraft alternators on many Cessna, Beech, and Grumman aircraft models. It provides voltage regulation, low/high voltage indicator pin, over-voltage protection, field-to-ground short protection, and a troubleshooting light (TSL). The indicator light and the on-unit TSL allow the mechanic and pilot to see different charging system problems. For example, the TSL turns red when the unit protects itself from damage by a grounded alternator field. Call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
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"First Ever" Human-Powered Ornithopter Flight

A group of University of Toronto students has just announced that a flight of their human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, The Snowbird, on Aug. 2 may have set an FAI record with a "first ever" flight for its kind. The group believes that after being towed aloft, the aircraft maintained speed and altitude for 19.3 seconds and covered approximately 145 meters while flying at 25.6 km/h. During that time, it was powered solely by its pilot and designer, U of T engineering PhD candidate Todd Reichert, who estimates he's capable of about 0.3 horsepower. Reichert believes his team's effort represents the first-ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. The aircraft was built from carbon-fiber tubing, balsa wood and foam with a Mylar covering. It weighs 94 pounds and boasts a 32-meter (105-foot) wing. The wing's bracing wires, like the rest of the aircraft, serve as the team's best compromise amongst aerodynamic, structural and weight considerations. They also serve to pull the wing down, leading edge first, during the thrust portion of the wing's stroke.

The aircraft is designed to be strong enough to survive flight, but little more. The team hopes to receive official notice of its record from the FAI this October. To read more, visit the project's website here. Find the team's YouTube channel here.

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Through-the-Fence Over the Hill? back to top 

Hangar Homes Debate Heard In Washington

The FAA says so-called through-the-fence agreements, where "hangar home" landowners adjacent to airports have gated access to the airport next door, threaten operations, safety, securit and future expansion of airports and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure heard from all sides of the debate over whether these kinds of deals should be allowed. The FAA has proposed that the 75 existing arrangements between publicly funded airports and private owners be honored but that no further through-the-fence deals be allowed. AOPA says it was misquoted by the FAA in FAA new releases about the issue. "The FAA stated that AOPA would accept a policy against establishing new residential through-the-fence (RTTF) access arrangements," AOPA said in a statement. In fact, AOPA's comments on the FAA's 2009 proposal to eliminate this access clearly stated 'that the FAA should not necessarily close the door to future requests but rather establish specific criteria for new RTTF access and not ban it entirely.'" The National Air Transportation Association supported the FAA proposal.

NATA President Jim Coyne said airports are for airplanes and related businesses and residential development doesn't fit. "Due to the intrinsic nature of residential properties, as compared to commercial properties, RTTF agreements limit the flexibility of airport sponsors to expand according to the needs of the community. NATA believes that the FAA has made an overwhelming case for prohibiting new RTTF agreements and supports its proposal." The hearing also heard from some airport operators supporting the RTTF ban. Ann Crooks, manager of Emira Corning Regional Airport in New York said it's about the money. "Scarce federal funds should not be squandered on airports that do not take steps to preserve the ongoing viability of the facility."

Related Content:

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Cutbacks at Cessna back to top 

Cessna To Cut 700 Jobs

Cessna will cut an additional 700 jobs, CEO Jack Pelton announced on Tuesday. In an e-mail to employees, Pelton cited a "stalled ... lackluster economy" and said that while cancellations of aircraft orders have slowed, the recovery and growth that was expected this year has not materialized. "We must continue to lower our cost structure to remain competitive," Pelton wrote. Scott Donnelly, the CEO of Textron, Cessna's parent company, said orders for business jets at Cessna have failed to show a "discernable improvement," although most of the conglomerate's other businesses are showing "solid performance." Cessna is based in Wichita and Independence, in Kansas, but also has operations in Georgia and Mexico. The company has already cut its workforce in half over the last two years, eliminating 8,000 jobs, mostly in Wichita.

"Our strategy is to defend and protect our current markets while investing in products and services to secure our future, but we can do this only if we succeed in restructuring our processes and reducing our costs," Pelton said. Over the weekend, members of the Machinists Union at Cessna rejected a contract offer but narrowly averted a strike when just 49 percent of the membership voted to walk off the job. The main issue at stake in the contract was job security.

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News Briefs back to top 

Eclipse Aerospace Pursues Higher Operations

Eclipse jets should soon be able to fly as high as Flight Level 410, as originally intended, Eclipse Aerospace said this week. Currently, the FAA restricts the fleet to FL 370, but since taking over the EA500 twin-engine personal jet design just over a year ago, the new Eclipse Aerospace Inc. has been working to upgrade the fleet. EAI said it has designed a modification for the EA500 to dissipate potential precipitation static, using a maintenance-free thin carbon strip that is bonded across the windshield and the aircraft structure. "This new diverter strip replaces the previous chemical-based application, which was hard to apply and difficult to maintain," said Ken Ross, president of the company's service and support division.

EAI said it is in the process of testing the design modifications and expects final certification from the FAA before the end of the year. With the modifications installed, the EA500 will be certified to return to a service ceiling of 41,000 feet, the company said. Mason Holland, CEO of EAI, said the windshield upgrade and return to 41,000 feet were the most difficult challenges the new company had to overcome in its upgrade program. "By completing these projects we are officially announcing that the initial commitments to our existing customers have been met," he said.

Midwest LSA Expo This Week

The Midwest LSA Expo, which launched for the first time just last year, is back for a second time. This version features more exhibitors and it's scheduled a week earlier in hopes of catching nice early-fall weather. The event runs Thursday through Saturday this week at Mt. Vernon Outland Airport (MVN) in Illinois, about an hour's drive south of St. Louis. The organizers say hotel rooms and restaurants are plentiful in the area, and even those without advance reservations should have no trouble finding a place to stay. The airport will provide free shuttle service for those who fly in. About three dozen exhibitors will be on hand, ready to show off their LSAs to potential buyers, and a full slate of forums will cover topics such as how to form an aircraft partnership, how to navigate with GPS, and how to care for your airplane's engine.

Midwest LSA Expo Inc. created the event to promote the sale of LSAs and to educate aviators about the LSA industry, including the different types of aircraft types, available engines, and LSA performance. Entrance fees are $8 per day, free for kids under 16 accompanied by an adult. Parking for aircraft or anything on wheels is free, as are all the shuttle services. Hotel rooms in the area are available for rates as low as $30 to $90 per night, and camping on the airport is free (though there are only two showers to be shared among those who choose this option). The organizers are promoting the event as affordable, easygoing and fun, featuring even an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for $7.99.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Senate OKs Tax Break For Aircraft Sales

The Senate has OK'd the continuation of a tax break for companies that buy airplanes before the end of this year, and both the National Business Aviation Association and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association welcomed the news. The tax break, known as "bonus depreciation," allows companies to take a bigger tax deduction in the first year of ownership rather than spreading it over five years. One general aviation manufacturer said the provision helped close 55 percent of its aircraft sales last year, according to GAMA. "This incentive is a critically needed measure for bringing back jobs and boosting economic recovery in our industry," said GAMA President Pete Bunce. NBAA President Ed Bolen called on the House to quickly approve the House bill to allow time for sales to close before the end of the year.

"Accelerated depreciation is a proven investment incentive, and could significantly benefit the business aviation community," Bolen said. Aircraft purchased before the end of 2010 must be placed into service by the end of 2011 to use the bonus depreciation option. "Our industry has been waiting for this key measure to be passed to help in our recovery," said Bunce. "We look forward to swift passage of this bill in the House and to the president's signature on this important piece of legislation."

ERAU Considers Third Campus

If there's any truth to the maxim that the right time to expand is when times are tough, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University may be poised to test that. The country's largest aviation education institution is considering a third campus to complement the current facilities in Daytona Beach and Prescott, Ariz. ERAU President John Johnson told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Houston, Los Angeles and Rockford, Ill., are being considered for the new facility, which he said will be similar in scope to the Daytona main campus but much smaller. Johnson said the university is looking to serve untapped markets. "We are not expanding for the sake of expanding. We are trying to make it possible for students to get an Embry-Riddle education who currently would not come to either Daytona or Prescott," he said. Johnson said no decision has been made on whether to expand, much less where, but Rockford is rolling out the red carpet.

The town's airport, about 80 miles west of Chicago, is already used as a bizjet reliever airport and local officials clearly think ERAU would be a good fit. There's even talk of a taxpayer-funded $35 million building to lease to ERAU. "We are very impressed with some of the things they have to offer," Johnson said. "But we also have not ruled out Houston or Los Angeles either." The expansion discussions are going on even though enrollment is down slightly at both the main campuses and its satellite operations all over the world.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Rules to Ignore

Noise abatement rules top the list when complying with them whittles your margin down to unacceptable limits or is just — stupid. Better to have the neighbors complain about the noise than to have a Cub come down on the patio. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers his usual inciteful, hot-headed and %#*! crazy observations on the topic.

Read more and join the conversation.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: Through-the-Fence Deals in Jeopardy

The FAA says through-the-fence arrangements work against airport development and expansion. Opponents to their plan to ban any future TTF deals on federally funded airports say the opposite is true. What do you think?

Do through-the-fence deals threaten airports?
(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.)

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.

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

Video: "First Ever" Human-Powered Ornithopter Flight

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

A group of University of Toronto students has just announced that a flight of their human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, The Snowbird, on August 2 may have set an FAI record with a "first ever" flight for its kind. The group believes that after being towed aloft, the aircraft maintained speed and altitude for 19.3 seconds and covered approximately 145 meters while flying at 25.6 km/h. During that time, it was powered solely by its pilot and designer, U of T engineering Ph.D. candidate Todd Reichert, who estimates he's capable of about 0.3 horsepower. Reichert believes his team's effort represents the first ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. The FAI ruling committee (the record keepers) is expected to offer it's opinion in October.

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.

Video: Kansas City's Airline History Museum

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

AVweb visits the Airline History Museum in Kansas City.

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.

Congratulations to David Durnan of Somerville, Massachusetts, who won our last prize, a Bose Aviation Headset X! (click here to get your own from Bose)

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Tradition Aviation (KTRM, Thermal, CA)

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

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

AVweb reader Brian Stirm from Swift Enterprises recently spent some time at our latest "FBO of the Week" — Tradition Aviation at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (KTRM) in Thermal, California.

As Brian's quick to point out, "A closed course world speed record was set at the airport by Smokey Young, his Reno race crew using Swift's new 100SF renewable pure hydrocarbon fuel." And the staff at Tradition? During Brian's stay, "Penny, Ann, Lynn, and crew went out of their way to support the effort. ... [Over] a three-day period, I observed many happy customers who received a great value and wonderful services with a smile from every Tradition employee," writes Brian.

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 

... will return on Monday. We're running a bit behind today, but we've got a fresh batch of reader submissions ready and waiting to be cropped, sized, and shared. Watch for 'em!

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.

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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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