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Sikorsky Aircraft has completed a minority equity investment agreement with Eclipse Aerospace that was first announced at NBAA 2010 in October. The deal provides Eclipse with "some extra investment
dollars to work with," Eclipse CEO Mason Holland told AVweb on Wednesday, but he said the two companies agreed not to release details of the amount. But even more important, Holland said, the
deal gives his young company access to Sikorsky's established supply chain, parts-distribution system and engineering talent. The deal will have "immediate impact" on current Eclipse owners, Holland
said, in enhancing the "strength and support of a global network," but it also means an "accelerated time frame" for getting the E500 back into production quickly "as soon as the market demand is
Mark Cherry, a spokesman for Sikorsky, said the management team at Eclipse "shares with Sikorsky a passion for quality products and a customer-first commitment." He added, "We are pleased to make
this equity investment and look forward to providing global support to Eclipse as it works to re-start production of its twin-engine very light jet." Eclipse Aerospace, based in Albuquerque, N.M.,
provides engineering, service and support for the fleet of roughly 260 Eclipse jets that were built by the original company. The company also sells low-time, refurbished, fully equipped Eclipse jets
with a "tip to tail" one-year factory warranty. Sikorsky Aircraft, based in Stratford, Conn., manufactures the Black Hawk helicopter and other aircraft. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies
Corp., which is also the parent company of Pratt & Whitney Canada, the manufacturer of the jet engines used by Eclipse.
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Northrop Grumman said this week it will launch a remotely piloted airship designed for military use sometime this summer. The airship will be more than 300 feet long and 70 feet tall, and capable
of staying aloft for more than three weeks at a time. The Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) is designed for use by the Army as a surveillance and reconnaissance platform. Alan Metzger,
the leader of Northrop Grumman's airship team, said the ship will be ready for hull inflation in the spring and first flight by mid-to-late summer. Test flights should be complete by the end of the
year, and in 2012 the LEMV will participate in an Army Joint Military Utility Assessment in an operational environment. "As you can imagine, it's a very aggressive schedule to deliver from
concept-to-combat in [an 18-month] period," Metzger said.
The LEMV system will provide "plug-and-play" payload capability for military missions, Metzger said. "The system rapidly accommodates next-generation sensors as emerging field requirements dictate,
and will provide increased operational utility to battlefield commanders," he said. "The LEMV system provides a high level of fuel efficiency ... it utilizes approximately 3,500 gallons of fuel for
the air vehicle to remain aloft for a 21-day period of service, that's approximately $11,000 at commercial prices." Northrop Grumman's industry team includes Hybrid Air Vehicles, Ltd., of the United
Kingdom, Warwick Mills, ILC Dover, AAI Corporation, and SAIC. Northrop Grumman will lead the flight and ground control operations for the unmanned vehicle to safely take off and land in worldwide
operations. The Army has reportedly invested $517 million in the project, which will produce three airships.
Prop Strike? Contamination? Lightning Strike?
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Glasair has added an amphibious version of the Sportsman 2+2 to its "Two Weeks to Taxi" program, which provides builders with two weeks of support at the Arlington, Wash., factory. The company is
offering an introductory price of $199,000. The Sportsman is "a go-anywhere, do-anything airplane, and it's fun to fly," says company president Mikael Via. Two kids can ride in back, or the seats can
be quickly removed and provide a roomy space for camping gear, golf clubs or fishing equipment. The amphibious version provides more options for backcountry excursions. The amphib has a useful load of
950 pounds, a cruise speed of 110 knots, and a 600-mile range.
Glasair's two-week builder-assist program provides a step-by-step building program. Customers get access to the company's tools and expertise to accelerate build time significantly, "without
violating the spirit or intent of the 51-percent rule," according to Glasair. Owners can choose from a variety of instruments, avionics, engines and propellers. Kitplanes editor Marc Cook
built his Sportsman in the program; click here for a 2009 video report on the airplane by AVweb editorial director
Corporate Aviation Is Landing in Florida
Explore the latest developments in the U.S. corporate aviation sector. Debate the future of corporate aviation, discuss the latest developments in light jets, explore the air taxi market in the U.S.,
and network with leading experts as well as business aircraft operators. Meet operators, manufacturers, consultants, bankers, lawyers, airport executives, leasing and financing companies, and other
senior professionals with an interest in the development of corporate aviation in the U.S.
At age 81, Arnold Palmer, a pilot since 1956, has logged nearly 20,000 flight hours and Monday took his last flight as pilot in command, before voluntarily hanging up his wings. Palmer has owned 10
aircraft, from an Aero Commander 500 to the Cessna Citation X he piloted for his final flight. Speaking with Golf Digest, Palmer said he would continue flying, just not in the cockpit. "Flying has
been one of the great things in my life," Palmer said. "It's taken me to the far corners of the world. I met thousands of people I otherwise wouldn't have met. And I even got to play a little golf
along the way." In October, 2010, Palmer was chosen by the FAA in the company of six others, including Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan, to receive a Wright Brothers Master Pilot Certificate. The
certificate recognizes 50 or more consecutive years of safe flight operations and is not Palmer's only distinct achievement in aviation.
Arnold Palmer set a speed record in 1976 when he flew a Lear 36 east from Denver around the world in 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds. The flight stopped in Boston, Paris, Tehran, Sri Lanka,
Jakarta, Manila, Wake Island and Honolulu, and the time still stands. Palmer didn't dally, but did take time to ride an elephant in Sri Lanka and accepted a gift from Manila's then-president Ferdinand
Marcos. Palmer learned to fly in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa. His last flight was from Palm Springs to Orlando.
Charles Kaman is credited with introducing the first turbine-powered helicopter in 1951, and the first remote-controlled helicopter in 1957; he died Monday at age 91, leaving a much longer list for
his lifetime of achievements. To build helicopters, Kaman founded a corporation that shared his name. Its H-43 Husky earned the distinction during the Korean conflict and Vietnam war of flying more
rescue missions than all other aircraft combined, according to the Air Mobility Command museum. The company's SH-2 Seasprite amassed roughly 1.5 million hours in service with the Navy. Kaman's work
earned him the National Aeronautical Society's Wright Brothers Award Trophy and the U.S Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. He has been inducted into the National Museum of Naval
Aviation's Hall of Honor, among other distinctions. Kaman's work wasn't limited to aviation.
With his wife, Roberta, Kaman founded the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation in the 1960s, which places guide dogs with the disabled. Kaman's guitars have been used by John Lennon, Glen Campbell and
Jimmy Page. Kaman's later work included the K-Max helicopter. Dubbed the aerial truck, the helicopter is capable of lifting and transporting three tons. Kaman was remembered this week by publications
ranging from The Wall Street Journal to Premier Guitar.
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A news video produced by CCTV, China's state broadcaster, purports to show a missile shot by a Chinese J-10 destroying
another jet during an air force drill, but in fact the clip appears to be from the movie "Top Gun," according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal's
side-by-side comparison of the clips shows them to be virtually identical. A Web user named Liu Yi first posted the questionable clips, which were later compiled by the WSJ. The video has been taken
down by the Chinese news site, but CCTV has not commented on the incident, according to the Toronto Star.
In the video clip, a CCTV reporter describes the air force training drill as three jets launch missiles, then shows a jet exploding in midair. The side-by-side comparison compares the explosion to
the clip from "Top Gun," showing identical chunks of debris flying from both jets. Ironically, Beijing authorities recently have been putting pressure on news organizations to dismiss journalists
suspected of falsifying reports, according to the WSJ.
In case there was any doubt that the upper end of the bizjet market is healthy, Airbus announced Tuesday that it delivered 15 corporate aircraft last year and took orders for eight more. Granted,
13 of the 15 delivered were low-end A318s and A320s, but a couple of widebody A330 and A340 aircraft also went out the door. The total value was more than $1.5 billion. "Like our airliner business,
the market for our corporate jets is worldwide and growing, as more and more customers recognise the greater capability, benefits and value that we offer, when compared with traditional business
jets," said COO John Leahy. Bombardier recently inked a deal for eight of its largest corporate airplanes and Boeing reported healthy numbers in that league, too. Embraer and Gulfstream are also
riding a surge in high-end business. The uptick at the top of the market also figures in the business of suppliers that cater to it and True North Avionics is just one example.
TrueNorth sells cabin communications and entertainment systems for big business jets and has apparently missed the recession. The company said it set sales records for its SimPhone OpenCabin system
and signed contracts with a long list of blue-chip providers of ultra-luxury, long-range transportation. TrueNorth says its success is a harbinger of good things to come in the bizjet sector.
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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.
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view
current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.
That's the prevailing wisdom, anyway. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains how years of research for Aviation Consumer have convinced him the little
airplanes are priced just about right. He's clearing out space on his hard drive for your disagreements.
The FAA is suggesting that if the folks who are putting up met towers wouldn't mind, it would be nice if they would paint them so aviators have a better chance of seeing them. On the AVweb
Insider, Mary Grady wonders why the FAA doesn't just, you know, issue some kind of mandate if the towers are a safety issue.
Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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Ever wish you could replay a flight and analyze what really happened? Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West reviewed three different cockpit recording systems that target three
significantly different needs. Here's the video recap.
If it seems like David Sussman has achieved airplane ownership Nirvana, he would probably agree. AVweb spoke with him at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring about enjoying
financial benefits from a light sport aircraft.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to TacAir at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (KAMA) in Amarillo, Texas.
AVweb reader Kenneth Oden tells us what happened when a short fuel stop turned into a potentially disastrous layover:
Our passengers were flying back from a Christmas holiday with a new two-month-old baby boy and didn't want to subject him to an 18-hour drive to Grandma's house. Our stop turned into an overnight
stay when weather at the destination went far below our jet's minimums. The good folks at TacAir found us a nice hotel in town and arranged for transportation. The following morning, our cold,
soaked Eclipse would not accept the local GPU and did not have enough battery power to start on its own. The linemen at TacAir towed us across the field to another hangar with a different GPU. Long
story short: we would still be stuck if it weren't for Mike Ryan's team. Our hats are off to this professional team that worked on our problem for over an hour when there were several other flights
leaving at the same time.
Beginning this week, we're making some changes to our regular "Picture of the Week" feature and we think you'll like them.
For starters, the slideshow on AVweb's home page is retiring. Over the last four years, the slideshow has brought you over 2,500 bonus pics that wouldn't fit into our five-pics-a-week story
format but, going forward, we'll be cramming all of those bonus pics into the reformatted "POTW" column each week. That means the next 2,500 bonus pics won't disappear beneath the waves of
time but will remain archived on AVweb.com, available via our site search just like everything else in our massive 15-year-old collection of news and feature stories.
We'll also be sharing more of the comments from our submitters including the camera specs and airplane details that sometimes got left out in our old "POTW" presentation. What you won't get
is as much editorial yapping; ye olde "POTW" editor will be keeping his trap shut and spending more time picking out great photos to share with you in each week's gallery.
Of course, all of this hinges on the one element we hope doesn't change: You, the AVweb reader. Your sharp eye and two minutes of free time are the powerful engines that drive
"Picture of the Week," so please keep submitting photos, and we'll keep sharing 'em with the rest of the world.
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
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