AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 3b

January 20, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Sport Aviation Converges on Sebring back to top 

PiperSport Just A Name: Distributor

Regardless of its name, the soon-to-be-former PiperSport will continue to be a part of the LSA market according to the head of the company that brings them into the U.S. Piper announced earlier this week that it was dropping the PiperSport, citing a difference in business goals with its manufacturer, Czech Aircraft Works (CZAW). Although Piper branded what used to the the SportCruiser, the airplane will continue to be sold without Piper's involvement. In an exclusive podcast interview with AVweb on the eve of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL, U.S. Sport Aircraft CEO Don Ayres said it's "business as usual" despite the parting of ways between Piper and CZAW. "Aircraft will continue to be sold and supported," he said.

Piper's sudden departure a week before the biggest sport aviation show in the U.S. will leave some awkward reminders for those attending Sebring. The show aircraft are emblazoned with the Piper logo, as are all the tents and promotional material at the booth. But Ayres is unfazed. "Piper said they would continue to support us through Sebring and for another 90 days," he said. As the PiperSport, 45 aircraft were sold but Ayres said he's not concerned about the name brand departure. "I've sold five airplanes since the announcement," he said. Piper and CZAW are expected to make a joint statement at Sebring but Ayres said he doesn't expect them to say anything different from what has been publicly released.

Related Content:

LSA Expo This Week, Florida Tour To Follow

The sixth annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo runs Thursday through Sunday this week, in Sebring, Fla., offering the year's first big aviation event. The expo features forums and exhibits, but the main attraction is the easy access to sport airplanes and demo flights, along with a first look at the latest new models and accessories. After the event, several of the LSA manufacturers and distributors will stage a "road show," flying their demo aircraft to six airports throughout Florida. "We wanted to create an intimate atmosphere for purchasers to see planes, without the noise of a show," said Bill Canino, of SportairUSA. Other participants in the tour include American Legend Aircraft, Flight Design Southeast, Rans Aircraft, and Sportplanes Florida.

The group will visit Naples, Tamiami, Orlando, Spruce Creek, Leeward Air Ranch, and Tallahassee, from Tuesday the 25th to Sunday the 30th. Visitors are welcome from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. For more details, download this PDF. Last year's LSA Expo drew a positive response from AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli -- "It's small, contained and intimate," he wrote. "You can walk right out on the flightline and right up to the runway ... And you can actually, like, fly real airplanes." Click here to read his full report from the 2010 event, and click here for the round-up of video reports.

Dan Johnson, one of the Expo organizers, spoke about this year's show recently with AVweb's Mary Grady; click here for the podcast. AVweb staff will be reporting from the show grounds starting Friday.

Related Content:

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Science Fiction Flyers back to top 

Carter PAV Now In Flight-Test Mode

Carter Aviation has completed the first phase of flight testing for its Personal Air Vehicle, a four-seat aircraft that combines fixed-wing and rotary components, the company announced this week. The test crew flew the first traffic pattern in the PAV in December, and on Jan. 5, they completed a 36-minute flight. The initial phase of the flight-test regimen is focused on refining the flight-control systems for the PAV's gyro performance capabilities, including vertical takeoff and landing, the company said. In the next phase of testing, Carter will add a 45-foot wing section to the aircraft. Carter, which is based in Wichita Falls, Texas, debuted the aircraft at EAA AirVenture in 2009.

The PAV features automated computer controls that greatly reduce pilot workload, the company said. The company also said it expects to relocate to a new facility near the Wichita Valley airport soon and complete four new aircraft by the end of the year. Carter President Jay Carter Jr. said, "This is an exciting time for us. Our first aircraft proved the viability of our technology. This aircraft translates that technology into a viable consumer product." Carter Aviation also has been working with AAI, an operating unit of Textron Systems, along with several other companies including Bell Helicopter and Terrafugia, in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Transformer program. The team is working to develop Slowed Rotor/Compound technology, which aims to expand VTOL capability for small aircraft. AAI and Carter also entered into an exclusive licensing agreement in 2009, under which AAI intends to incorporate SR/C technology into unmanned aircraft designs.

UAV Flights Concern Oregon Pilots

Local pilots are concerned that a proposal to test drones in a central Oregon military operations area will effectively close that airspace to private aircraft, but proponents say the concerns are overblown. The pilots say the MOA falls along a popular route between Bend and points in Idaho, and is also used by AirLink Critical Care Transport air ambulance service. Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO), the group supporting the proposal says complexities brought forward during introduction of the proposal may have led some to misinterpret the group's intent. Unmanned aircraft are currently prohibited from flying in the area and similar testing is usually contained within restricted airspace. EDCO says that while it does want use of the airspace, it plans to consider the pilots' concerns.

So far, EDCO says that the public response has delivered feedback that will improve a future version of the proposal. The chairman of EDCO, Collins Hemingway, has said that going forward, "We're just going to say, 'This is what we want to do, figure out how to make it work,'" according to local news service, KVAL. Pilots are seeking to avoid the need for significant deviations, longer flight times, higher fuel burns, and general inconvenience.

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'Please Turn Off All Electronic Devices' back to top 

Safety Concerns Persist For Electronics Aloft

Passengers and airlines have become too complacent about the use of electronic devices on board aircraft, according to an article in Tuesday's New York Times. One report filed by a pilot with NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System told of an incident in which the navigation equipment on a Boeing 737 failed after takeoff, but came back online after a flight attendant told a passenger to turn off a handheld GPS device. However, it wasn't clear how the GPS device might have had an effect, or if it was pure coincidence. The links may be difficult to prove, but engineer Bill Strauss told the Times the growing use of such devices aloft is "worrisome." They may be harmless much of the time, but a combination of rare events -- the kind of "accident chain" that causes many aviation accidents -- could have disastrous results.

For example, consider a hypothetical instance with an aging airplane, a cellphone or battery that's damaged or malfunctioning, and avionics that are more susceptible to interference because gaskets have failed. "And boom, that's where you get interference," Strauss said. "It would be a perfect storm that would combine to create an aviation accident." At least nine other ASRS reports in the last 10 years have cited possible safety issues due to use of consumer electronics, according to the Times. However, FAA spokesman Les Dorr told the Times there is "not enough evidence to warrant a change" in the current rules regarding the use of portable electronic devices. The FAA says (PDF) the aircraft operator or pilot-in-command may allow the devices if they have determined they don't affect the operation of onboard systems.

Cannes AirShow || 9-11 June 2011 || The Only GA Expo in 
The Only General Aviation Exhibition in France
The Cannes AirShow brings together the leading protagonists in general and business aviation to allow a demanding client¨¨le discovery of 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, Africa, and Russia ¡ª offering visitors a large and representative palette of the aeronautics industry. The Cannes AirShow is southern Europe's leading exhibition in general and business aviation. Click here for details and registration info.
Also This Weekend back to top 

Aviation's 'Living Legends' Gather Friday

On Friday night, Hollywood notables and famous aviators will mingle at the 8th Annual Living Legends of Aviation awards event, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Actors John Travolta, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks and Kurt Russell are scheduled to participate, as well as aviation legends including Sean D. Tucker, Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger and Bob Hoover. Among those receiving awards for their contributions to aviation are Capt. James Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 mission; U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Texas, a former U.S. Air Force pilot; Clay Jones, CEO of Rockwell Collins; and Lynn Tilton, CEO of MD Helicopters. The event will be held at the Beverly Hilton. It is produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a nonprofit group that works to inspire young children, ages 5 to 11, to take an interest in aviation and excel academically.

The "Living Legends of Aviation" is a group of 70 aviation entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers and astronauts, as well as celebrities who fly. The group meets once a year to recognize those who have advanced aviation and to induct new members. Other celebrities and well-known aviators attending the event include Cliff Robertson, Clint Eastwood, Clay Lacy, Kermit Weeks and Tom Selleck. Tickets for the event are made available to the public every year; for this week's event, the cost is $800 each, or $250 for the cocktail event or after-party only. The event is sold out, although a waiting list is available online.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Bonus Depreciation More Generous

An unusually generous tax break aimed squarely at general aviation aircraft manufacturers and their business customers is now in effect and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association is advising those with aircraft acquisition plans to act within its fairly broad parameters. In a podcast interview, GAMA spokesman Paul Feldman suggested the bonus depreciation measure signed into law by President Barack Obama in December might be a rare tax break that may not be repeated anytime soon. "I would act on it," he said.

In case you missed it, the measure allows a 100-percent depreciation write-off for new aircraft and many parts and modifications in 2011. It also recognizes the long production cycle of aircraft and will allow 2012 deliveries of aircraft ordered in 2011. Feldman said the impact of bonus depreciation is considerable and OEMs report as much as half their business is directly related to measures like this when they're in force.

Related Content:

Waco Revives Great Lakes Biplane

Waco Classic, of Battle Creek, Mich., is adding to its product line with the reintroduction of the Great Lakes Model 2T-1A-1/2, a fully aerobatic 180-hp biplane, which has been out of production since 1980. The two-seat airplane is smaller than Waco's YMF-5D biplane, with simpler avionics and systems. Several changes have been made from the 1980 model, the company said this week, such as using aluminum instead of wood for the spar, upgrading the brakes and updating the avionics. Preliminary prices are set at $219,000 for the Touring model, with a Lycoming IO-360-B1F6 engine, and $239,000 for the higher-performance Sport model, with a Lycoming AEIO-360-B1F6 engine.

The open-cockpit airplane cruises at 105 knots and comes with an optional pilot canopy. The Great Lakes is a good choice for pilots and flight schools who want aerobatic capabilities plus docile handling, the company said. The airplane will debut at the Sun 'n Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., in April. Production will start in late summer, and first deliveries are expected early next year, the company said. About 20 new staffers will be hired with the expectation that sales will run about 10 to 12 airplanes per year.

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli went flying in Waco's YMF-5D last April; click here for his video report.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

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

Question of the Week: LSA Gut Check

The LSA market continues to evolve and go through changes many predicted in concept, if not in detail. With the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring this week, we're asking you if light sport has raised the profile and appeal of general aviation as a whole.

Is LSA fulfilling its goals of bolstering GA?
(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.)

De-Icing in the Real World: Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from TKS Users

Aviation Consumer is researching an article on TKS performance in the real world and could really use your help. If you fly an aircraft equipped with a TKS system, please take just a few moments to complete this online survey.

Information about how you use the system and how it performs will be kept anonymous, but the general findings will be reported in a future issue of Aviation Consumer.

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Remembering the Andes Crash

We've just passed the 38th anniversary of one of the most remembered crashes in aviation history, Uruguayan Flight 571 in the Andes Mountains in 1972. It's an epic story of survival, and a new History Channel program puts a fascinating twist on the telling. It's not the grisly details that captivate Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, but the character of the men whose steely resolve led to the party's eventual rescue.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Piper Exits the LSA Market

As Piper exits the LSA field, AVweb Insider blogger Paul Bertorelli finds himself wondering if this is the leading edge of the long-awaited shakeout in an over-supplied industry.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Aviation Biofuels — The Real Deal or Greenwash Fantasy?

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that it's hard to tell at this juncture, but news stories on the topic tend to suggest the equation is more proven out than it actually is. Turbine biofuels work well, and the military is all over them, but until we see the price at the pump, call us skeptical.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Business as Usual for PiperSport/SportCruiser

File Size 4.0 MB / Running Time 4:21

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The aircraft formerly known as the PiperSport will continue to delight its existing and future owners, regardless of its nameplate, according to Don Ayres, CEO of U.S. Sport Aircraft, the company that imports and assembles the airplane in the U.S. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles on the eve of U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida Wednesday.

Click here to listen. (4.0 MB, 4:21)

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

Video: First Flight of Chinese J-20 'Stealth Fighter'

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

A collection of video clips from Chinese media outlets including: the J-20 fifth-generation "stealth" fighter jet's first flight, taxi and flight control tests, a size and planform comparison with other contemporary aircraft (F-22 and T-50), and brief images that may suggest the aircraft's avionics package.

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: Canopy Covers Reviewed by 'Aviation Consumer'

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

If you park your aircraft outside, you need a cover. Jeff Van West shows the pros and cons of Aviation Consumer's top picks.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Raeco at Baytown Airport (KHPY, Baytown, TX)

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

AVweb reader Bud Beaty is a frequent visitor to Baytown Airport (KHPY) in Baytown, Texas — and to hear him tell it, there's no better FBO in America to be our latest "FBO of the Week":

The manager (Charlie) is a corporate pilot (Citation V), and he knows how pilots and passengers should be treated. His lovely wife Kathy and all his great employees treat their customers like royalty. We don't ask for anything — they take care of our every need automatically including an overnight crew-truck for the pilot. Charlie has spared no expense transforming HPY ... into a showcase FBO, completely gutting and rebuilding a new FBO, building new hangars, expanding/renovating the runway, and implementing (through the FAA) two GPS approaches. All the while, he has kept the fuel prices the lowest in the area and among the lowest in the nation. They have one price (and that is for self-service), yet they always provide full service at this price. Charlie has also expanded the airport operating hours and published his personal cell phone number as the after-hours contact number. It is truly a joy to visit HPY.

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!

New on AVweb.com back to top 

Sebring Photo Gallery: U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2010

click for more photos

The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida hasn't gotten underway yet — but that didn't stop us from prowling the grounds and snapping a few photos of the LSA vendors moving into their booths and setting up displays.

Click for photos.

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.