The Countdown Is On!
Don't miss your last chance to vote for your choice as to which aviation charities will receive the $10,000 grants from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation. If you have not voted, go to
LightspeedAviationFoundation.org and cast your ballot. There is no obligation but to share your opinion and vote. It will only take a minute. Again,
today and make your vote count for your favorite charities.
Those who might have thought they were fractional owners of aircraft managed by OurPLANE are finding out, the hard way, that they are now little more than creditors in the bankruptcy of the
company. Although it was apparently billed as a fractional, instead, OurPLANE maintained sole ownership of the planes (mostly Cirrus SR22s) and entered into contracts with "owners" promising to pay
them their share of the depreciated value of the aircraft when the five-year terms of the contracts were over. When OurPLANE filed for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy last week, it appears all the
aircraft had been sold and instead of a check in the mail, "owners" are getting an invitation (PDF) to a bankruptcy hearing in Buffalo where they have
status as creditors. Several have contacted AVweb to outline similar tales in which aircraft sat unmaintained for up to a year after the five-year contract ended and then suddenly were sold without
the payment they were promised. AVweb has e-mailed OurPLANE CEO Graham Casson for his take on the events but he hasn't returned the message. He has, however, been in correspondence with some of
his clients and in one of those e-mails said he and his director of operations Mike Huffman were "getting on with our lives." The new life appears to be Exclusive Jetz, which is offering access to Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft.
It now appears that former OurPLANE clients are organizing a legal challenge. Most who have contacted AVweb seem to understand that they were not actually owners of the aircraft but a few
did find a way to secure their investments by putting FAA liens on the aircraft. The registration couldn't be transferred unless the liens were satisfied and those folks got their money. There will
certainly be more to this story, so stay tuned.
"Uncommanded changes" to radio frequencies, altitudes and transponder codes by the electronic flight information systems in some Eclipse jets have been reported, the FAA says, and an Airworthiness Directive issued this week mandates upgrades to the system. The AD affects approximately 168 aircraft in the
fleet, the FAA said, and depending what kind of system the airplane has, the fix could cost as little as $770 to $1,670, or as much as $249,950. The FAA said it has "no way of knowing" how many
airplanes would need each type of upgrade. In a statement sent to AVweb on Wednesday, Eclipse Aerospace said the AD is related to a three-year-old Service Bulletin originally issued by Eclipse
Aviation. "Eclipse Aerospace has verified that 90 percent of the fleet has previously complied with the service bulletin," the statement said. "By issuing this AD, the FAA is ensuring that the other
10 percent of the fleet complies ... Eclipse Aerospace supports the FAA's adoption of this AD and encourages all remaining operators to comply with its requirements."
Eclipse Aerospace, based in Albuquerque, took over the type design from the former Eclipse Aviation in 2009. The entire fleet comprises 260 airplanes. Eclipse Aerospace has been providing service
and support to the fleet, and has bought back and refurbished some of the airplanes and is reselling them as the "Total Eclipse." The company has also been working to upgrade the fleet to meet its
original operating targets.
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After six days of searching, the Italian Coast Guard on Monday called off its efforts to find missing U.S. balloon pilots Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis. The two, who were competing in the
Gordon Bennett International Gas Balloon Race, went missing on the morning of Sept. 29 while flying over the Adriatic Sea. An analysis
of radar data has shown that the hydrogen balloon appeared to be plummeting toward the sea at a rate of 50 mph before contact was lost. Rough seas and thunderstorms were reported in the area at the
time. No ELT signals or other distress signals have been received. Searchers scoured the presumed impact area with boats, aircraft, divers and an underwater robotic vehicle, but failed to turn up any
sign of the aircraft or its crew.
After the announcement that the search would end, Richard Abruzzo's wife, Nancy, told KOB News of Albuquerque
that she is returning from Italy to be with her children, but added that she remains confident the search will continue in an unofficial capacity. "As I get ready to leave, it gives me great comfort
in knowing this is a populated area and the admiral we've been working with is passionate about finding some answers," she said. Richard Abruzzo, 47, of Albuquerque, was an accomplished balloonist who
had won many races and awards in his career. He was the son of the late Ben Abruzzo, a crew member aboard the Double Eagle II, the first balloon to cross the Atlantic. Rymer Davis, 65, lived in
Denver, where she worked as a radiologist. They won the Gordon Bennett race together in 2004.
The Airship Ventures zeppelin, the only one of its kind in the U.S., recently helped out some scientists by providing a platform for
their study of whales in the Pacific Northwest. "The flight took a lot of planning," airship pilot Katharine Board told AVweb. "Whales don't recognize international borders, so we had to be
prepared to deal with Canadian airspace." The airship provides the scientists with a vertical perspective they can't gain from boats. "Seeing them from the air is just a completely different picture,"
researcher Erin Heydenreich told the Associated Press. "Watching the way they move together under
water is just incredible. That's something you definitely don't see and can't very much capture from a perpendicular photograph."
The airship can hover above the whales at about 1,000 feet, Board said, and the engines are relatively quiet. Low vibrations make it easier to capture photos and video of the whales, and the
zeppelin's plentiful windows provide various angles for observation. "It requires very accurate flying and a huge amount of concentration," Board said. "It was good fun to fly with the scientists, and
I'm hoping to do it again next year." The scientists on board were affiliated with various institutions including Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. The flight was donated by the zeppelin's current sponsor, Farmers Insurance. Others have seen the value of lighter-than-aircraft for wildlife studies. This summer, the Lindbergh
Foundation awarded a grant to Paul Slusser, of the University of Utah, and Daniel Geery, president of Hyperblimp, both in Salt Lake City, for a project using radio-controlled airships to study the behavior of endangered right whales.
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FAA guidelines that require ADS-B equipment to be installed under the supplemental type certificate (STC) process will derail efforts to provide low-cost solutions for general aviation aircraft,
the Airline Electronics Association said this week. The FAA policy, stated in a memo (PDF) sent out on Aug. 30, would "stall early equipage,
delay early implementation, and, at the extreme, cause the failure of ADS-B implementation all together," AEA said in an Oct. 4 letter (PDF) to
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. STC rules would at least double the cost of installing a single ADS-B system in a business or corporate aircraft, and for light GA aircraft, the costs would increase
by as much as 700 percent, the AEA said. The FAA said the STC installation rules may relax over time, but the AEA says that will only discourage the adoption of ADS-B avionics by GA owners.
"How do we encourage an early [adopter] to commit to an installation with a 700 percent premium that would likely take months to complete, instead of choosing to delay equipage until some later
date, knowing it will reduce the owner's initial investment from $35,000 for a required STC installation to more of an industry palatable and promised $4,500 for a follow-on installation?" asks the
AEA in the letter to Babbitt. "We believe the consequences of the August 30, 2010, memorandum will have a fatal effect on the first phase of your FAA Flight Plan towards the Next Generation Air
Transportation System. Your immediate intervention is needed to limit the damage caused by this policy," the AEA letter concludes. The FAA said recently that ADS-B will be fully operational in the
U.S. by 2013. By 2020, aircraft operating in controlled airspace will be required to have ADS-B-out capability to announce their position and identification. Optional ADS-B-in will provide cockpit
displays of traffic and weather.
Researchers at Stanford have created a fine mesh of sensors they say could wrap around an aircraft to provide nerve-like sensory information about the aircraft's structural integrity, skin
temperature and even map air pressure. The material can expand up to 265 times its original size while still remaining strong and durable, according to scientists. That means one square foot of the
material could stretch to cover an average car, without breaking. Scientists believe the material could provide real-time information on a variety of parameters defined by the sensors fitted to the
material. Aside from skin strain and temperature, sensors are currently in development that would scan the aircraft internally. Of course, weight matters, but scientists believe they've addressed
Scientists say they've reduced the material that makes up the sensors by 99.7 percent, vastly reducing the weight of adding sensors across the entire surface of an aircraft. Ultrasonic
wave-inducing piezoelectric devices, according to scientists, could scan the aircraft's internal structure for microscopic cracks. Scientist Fu-Kuo Chang told Discovery News, "we want to make airplanes that fly like birds" ... "sensing information about what is happening
around them, just like birds do."
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Lloyd McKee and his wife Maureen survived when their aircraft (identified by the FAA as a Piper PA-32R but also by "friends" as a Beechcraft), Wednesday
at noon, crashed through the wall of a fitness club located in Naperville, a suburb of Chicago. The crash aircraft is reportedly not directly registered to either McKee, but is registered to a
Holdings Company in Delaware, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The two occupants had departed nearby Aero Estates for a trip to Pittsburgh. During the crash, the aircraft passed through a corner wall near the top of the the
roughly four-story building and then became lodged in that corner's adjacent wall. When it came to rest, the aircraft was visible from outside of the building and was leaking fuel into the building.
No one inside the building, which includes a day care center, was injured. The McKees survived with minor injuries, but were trapped in the aircraft.
The aircraft lost its left wing to the impact and spilled fuel into the building. The couple was eventually extricated by emergency personnel, while the wreckage remained suspended by the tower.
Structural engineers brought to the scene after the crash determined that a portion of the building's facade had to be removed before the aircraft could be moved. The McKee's flight originated at Aero
Estates, an airport homes community not far from the crash site. Aero Estates was closed Wednesday after the accident.
The Maverick "flying car" has received ASTM approval as a Special Light Sport Aircraft, the company said this week. I-tec, based in
Orlando, Fla., has been working on the vehicle for about six years, with the goal of creating transportation for indigenous people who live in roadless areas. The vehicle also has commercial potential
for sport flyers, search and rescue, fire spotting and other uses, the company says. The Maverick looks like a rugged off-road vehicle but it can reach highway speeds and in most U.S. states it can be
driven on public roads under "kit car" rules. It can be quickly transitioned to flight mode by erecting a mast that carries a wing similar to those on powered parachutes. The pilot can control the
vehicle in flight with the gas pedal and steering wheel, the company says, so controls are intuitive and easy to learn even for novice pilots.
The aircraft will sell for $84,000, design manager Troy Townsend told AVweb this week. The first 10 copies, however, will be sold at a $5,000 discount as E-LSAs, with a quick builder-assist
program. "Our goal is to get these out into different countries and usages, such as Alaska pipeline work, ranchers and farmers checking fence lines, special forces, and get feedback about what's
working for the buyers, or not working," Townsend said. The company has not been taking pre-orders but Townsend said about 100 people have expressed interest in buying a Maverick. He added that
commercial sales will subsidize the production of the aircraft for humanitarian use in South America, Africa and elsewhere.
Michael Maya Charles, a former AVweb columnist, was named editor-in-chief of Flying magazine in July, but on
Tuesday he was out and longtime staffer Robert Goyer stepped into the job. "It was a mutual decision" for Maya Charles to leave, publisher Dick Koenig said. "We certainly wish him success in his next
endeavor." Goyer has been with the magazine since 1994 and said this week he plans to take the magazine to "new heights." Koenig cited Goyer's "skill with new media" along with a track record of
success in the magazine industry and a wide breadth of aviation knowledge. Maya Charles had taken over the job from J. Mac McClellan, who had been editor-in-chief since 1990.
McClellan is now with EAA's publications division, where he will contribute to their print and online media. He said in July that his departure was due to a disagreement with the magazine's new
owners, Bonnier Corp., over the editorial direction of the magazine. Bonnier, which acquired Flying last year, had "very specific ideas about how to produce editorial content for its special
interest titles," McClellan told EAA, requiring as much as 14 months advance planning in very specific detail for each issue. Maya Charles is expected to return to his work as an aviation writer and
photographer, according to Flying's news release.
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AOPA says a new regime of rules proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) "has potentially devastating implications for the U.S. general aviation manufacturers and for the U.S. flight
training industry." EASA intends to adopt a wide-ranging series of amendments to rules that appear to particularly affect those holding U.S. pilot certificates and aircraft registered in the U.S. but
resident in Europe. "It would render FAA pilot certificates and instrument ratings issued to pilots living and operating in Europe (including U.S. citizens based in and flying in Europe) effectively
worthless, requiring them to essentially start over and retrain and recertify," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb. "It would also eliminate any advantage to owning and operating an
N-number-registered aircraft in Europe."
There are an estimated 10,000 pilots in Europe flying under U.S. certificates. Many of them got their training in the U.S. and a lot of flight schools cater specifically to European students. U.S.
manufacturers will be hit from two directions. The rules will make U.S.-built aircraft "more difficult and expensive to own and operate," and therefore less attractive in Europe, a key market for most
U.S. manufacturers, Dancy said. "And on that side of the Atlantic, it could mean a glut of N-number-registered aircraft being dumped on the market, further depressing used aircraft sales." AOPA has
contacted members of Congress, the FAA and Department of Transportation to make sure they're aware of the issue. It's also supporting European aviation groups in their attempts to stop the
Master Instructors LLC owners Sandy and JoAnn Hill say they've agreed to abandon their copyright lawsuit against the National Association of Flight Instructors "in exchange for a waiver of fees and
costs." NAFI has confirmed it has accepted the Hills' offer and will continue to use the material in dispute. "NAFI will continue to grow this valued program along with other services that we provide
to the flight-instruction community," said NAFI Chairman Ken Hoffman. The Hills, who were leading members of NAFI until they were removed from the board of directors two years ago, sued NAFI for
continuing to use the training materials they say they developed. NAFI countered that since the programs were developed under NAFI's banner, they were free to use them. Regardless of the legal
intricacies, the Hills said their customers have spoken.
"We feel completely vindicated by the response of the marketplace to our program," Sandy Hill said. "It just no longer made sense for us to expend more time and money on the legal action -- a lot
of which had been donated by hundreds of wonderful friends and supporters." The Hills said they're just about as busy conferring Master Instructor status now as they were when they were at NAFI and
they need to concentrate on delivering their programs and services.
Richard Abruzzo and Carol Rymer Davis were equipped with the latest in tracking technology when they disappeared over the Adriatic Sea. On the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady asks the
quetion on many minds: Shouldn't we be able to build this stuff so it survives a crash and tells us where it happened?
One of them is that the only real pilots are taildragger pilots. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says he never really believed that. But what's this? He's changing his tune?
And now he thinks the ideal trainer is a Cub with a glass panel? Go read the blog and help reel this man back to reality.
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Cris Methvin describes our latest "FBO of the Week" as "a quiet and picturesque airfield in rural Virginia where you will not find a luxury crew car or a maze of cubical crash pads." So
what doesLawrenceville/Brunswick Municipal Airport have to offer instead? "A huge amount of coustomer service and great
southern hospitality." Cris reports, "I was met by the president of the airport and the field manager, a warm greeting, breakfast, low fuel prices and great conversation. Very relaxing atmosphere
and accomidating staff attended to my aircraft and made it a memorable visit."
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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Win a Lightspeed Zulu aviation headset 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 October 15, 2010.
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.
We love a good juxtaposition and Wes Beloncik of Oklahoma City apparently remembered that when he snapped this photo of a C-17 coming in over
tractor trailers on final at OKC's Tinker Air Force Base.
(Or maybe his life doesn't revolve around us and Wes just snapped it because it made a good photo. But until we hear differently, we're treating this as
the first Christmas present of a holiday season that's started very early this year.)
The internet can have its precious double rainbows. Tim H. Corban of Halsey, Oregon has 'em beat with this incredible shot of a rainbow painting
the sunrise and, according to Tim, he was facing west when he snapped the shot. That means there was a whoel lot of refracting going on at Lebanon State Airport last week. (The photos
was taken outside LebanAir Aviation there.)
You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't miss 'em!
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.
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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors Jeff van West Mariano Rosales
Click here to send a letter to the
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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