AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 6b

February 10, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! DeltaHawk Deja Vu back to top 
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DeltaHawk Engine Certification Looming (Again)

DeltaHawk has had a moving target for certification of its diesel aviation engine since at least 2006 but says its new target of 2011 is backed by millions in investor capital and two leases covering 70,000 square feet of space. The company says major investors began stepping up in March of last year and brought millions of dollars to the table. The newly announced leases are for facilities at John H Batten Field, Wis., where the company will house its production plant and headquarters. That arrangement may hinge on incentive deals with the city of Racine and might be approved as early as Thursday evening (a mayoral press conference has already scheduled for 5 p.m.). If approved, DeltaHawk says it would get started with engine production even before certification. The company says it is targeting general aviation, military drone markets and the generator industry, and aims to sell more than 900 engines by its third year in production.

A certified engine and large-scale success in the market would complete a long journey for the company. It was ten years ago that DeltaHawk first thought it would soon bring its engines to market, but years of challenges brought years of setbacks to the project. DeltaHawk has only recently grown from seven employees (last year) to its current group of 23. Among those hires, the company has created a management team and says it plans to soon add up to 20 additional workers to help fill standing paid orders for about 50 engines. And for the other 850, time will tell.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Search To Resume For Air France A330

Next month, officials will launch a fourth effort to find wreckage from the Air France A330 that crashed into the mid-Atlantic, about 600 miles from the Brazil coast, in June 2009. Previous searches have retrieved debris and remains of some of the 228 people who died, but investigators still hope to find the missing cockpit data and voice recorders. Heavy thunderstorms and faulty pitot tubes have been cited by accident investigators, but the full chain of events that led to the crash remains unclear. The new search is scheduled to start March 18 and could last until July. Three autonomous probes operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Woods Hole, Mass., will search about 4,000 square miles of seabed. Each probe is fitted with ultra-high-resolution cameras and sonar gear.

David Gallo, of WHOI, told The New York Times the new submersibles are a state-of-the-art version of the vehicles that found the remains of the Titanic in 1985. "We are employing the most advanced robotics that exist in the world today," Gallo said. "I have confidence that if the aircraft is in this area, we will be able to identify it." The PBS show Nova will debut an hour-long report about the crash next week. "Crash of Flight 447" premieres Wednesday, Feb. 16. Compiling expert testimony, satellite weather images, and messages transmitted by the aircraft's computer system, Nova attempts to trace the events that led to the crash.

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Going Green back to top 

"Green Alliance" Will Address Aviation's Impact

The Lindbergh Foundation has launched a new project called the Aviation Green Alliance that will bring stakeholders together to reduce aviation's environmental impact. "With a stated mission that includes 'Encouraging solutions, acknowledging progress and communicating ideas,' the Aviation Green Alliance will create multiple platforms for members to share strategies, findings, progress, and ideas related to addressing aviation's environmental challenges," said Lindbergh Foundation Chairman Larry Williams. The Alliance intends to provide news and information about green initiatives, grant funding for research into new technologies, recommended practices for conservation and sustainability initiatives, and educational programs and outreach.

The Alliance is open to all aviation-related companies and individuals committed to proactively addressing the issue of aviation and the environment. The group aims to offer forums at aviation events, publish a newsletter, and present Aviation Green Awards. Reeve Lindbergh, honorary chairman of the Lindbergh Foundation, said the Alliance is a step in the right direction for the Foundation formed and named in her parents' honor. The Lindbergh Foundation was founded in 1977, and works to promote a balance between technology and the environment.

Electric Flight Symposiums Set, Prize Offered

The CAFE Foundation has scheduled its fifth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium for April 29 to 30, in Santa Rosa, Calif., and EAA has announced it will hold its second World Symposium on Electric Aircraft and a prize competition during EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. The CAFE event will feature presentations by a variety of experts from industry, academia, and government agencies (PDF schedule). NASA scientists will provide an update on advances in batteries and new emerging technologies; Stanford professor Ilan Kroo will explore design concepts for small electric aircraft; Karl Young, CEO of X-Cap, will report on energy storage using carbon nanotubes; and many others will discuss their current research and future plans. Online registration is now open, and the cost is $399.

EAA's event in July will feature influential industry leaders offering their vision of the future of electric-powered flight. More information and registration details will be announced later. Meanwhile, EAA is accepting applications for a $60,000 electric flight prize. The prize will go to the aircraft that excels in four categories: endurance, time to climb, speed, and innovation. Applications must be completed by July 1. The qualifying flights will take place at Oshkosh during EAA AirVenture.

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Setting a New Standard for Parts Makers? back to top 

South Dakota's Aircraft Parts Liability Cap

A bill proposed for South Dakota its Governor, Dennis Daugaard, would create a 10-year liability cap for in-state aviation parts makers and has earned unanimous approval in a state committee. Parts manufacturers would be protected under the bill if their parts became defective or led to damage 10 years or more after the part was installed. Some exemptions would apply. Manufacturers could still be sued if their parts failed to meet safety standards at the time of manufacture, and if a company offered a warranty of longer than 10 years. The bill is intended to attract new business to the state and was modeled after legislation in Kansas. But the state's lawyers aren't entirely happy with it.

The South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association employed the slippery slope argument in opposing the bill, the Associated Press reported. "This year, it's airplanes. Next year, it's heavy equipment or automobiles," said one lobbyist for the association. And while state officials stipulate that there don't appear to be any aviation companies standing at the state line waiting for reasons to come in, Governor Daugaard believes the move will eventually do what he hopes -- to attract jobs to South Dakota.

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Collier Nominees back to top 

Nominees Announced For Collier Trophy

The National Aeronautic Association has announced its 2010 nominees for the Robert J. Collier Trophy, which will be awarded for the 100th time at a luncheon in Arlington, Va., next month. The award aims to honor "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America" during the year. This year's nominees are: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and the X2 Technology Demonstrator team, the Boeing Company C-17A Globemaster III team, the X-51A WaveRider team, the automatic ground collision avoidance system fighter risk reduction program team, MC-12W Project Liberty team, the Orion launch-abort system development team, and a nominee listed as "General Aviation: Saving Thousands of Lives in Haiti."

Past winners include the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, the Mercury 7, Scott Crossfield, Burt Rutan and Howard Hughes. Projects and programs which have been the recipient of the Collier include the B-52, the Polaris Missile, the Surveyor Moon Landing Program, the Boeing 747, the Cessna Citation, the Gulfstream V, the Eclipse E500 and the F-22. The selection committee comprises 30 leaders in the fields of aviation and aerospace and is led by NAA Chairman Walter J. Boyne. The committee will meet on March 14, and the winner will be announced on March 15, at the NAA Spring Awards Luncheon. The formal presentation of the Collier Trophy will take place on May 5 at the 100th Anniversary Collier Dinner in Arlington.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Rule Would Open Up Bizjet Flight Tracking

NBAA has sent a letter to members warning that their ability to keep the movements of their aircraft from being tracked and reported by any of a myriad of Internet-based aircraft trackers could be gone by Feb. 15. According to NBAA, the Department of Transportation is considering a rule change that would make it much harder for GA aircraft owners to take part in the Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. BARR was introduced in 2000 as a way for private aircraft owners to stay that way and keep business competitors or others from knowing where the company aircraft (which most likely is carrying senior executives) is flying. "NBAA has long understood that in the instant-information age of the Internet, with the flight-tracking software that web-based technology has made available, there are legitimate reasons why companies' flights should not be displayed on a real-time basis," NBAA President Ed Bolen said in the letter.

Until the notorious hearing when car industry executives were questioned about their use of business jets to fly to Washington in 2008, not much attention was paid to the program. But in 2009, a Web site called ProPublica won a court ruling allowing it access to the blocked N-numbers. Its investigation uncovered a lot of routine business travel and a television evangelist who used the flock's jet to go to Hawaii. NBAA says it's fighting the rule change but doesn't appear to give its battle much hope. "We will keep you informed of our progress; however, as of now, it appears new limitations could go into effect as early as February 15," Bolen wrote.

Senate Committee Proposes 65 Percent Fuel-Tax Hike

The Senate finance committee approved a plan to hike the taxes on general aviation jet fuel by 65 percent, from 21.8 cents per gallon to 35.9 cents, The Hill reported on Tuesday. The change would raise $400 million per year, which the committee says will help fund NextGen, the FAA's plan to modernize the air traffic control system. The committee also approved a surcharge of 14.1 cents per gallon on jet fuel used by fractional aircraft. Fuel taxes have been supported as a better option than user fees by most aviation advocacy groups. "In the last two Congresses, AOPA and its members agreed to 25 percent and 65 percent increases on aviation gasoline and non-commercial jet fuel, respectively," AOPA noted on Tuesday. "Our position really has not changed," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb. "In 2007 and again in 2009, we and our members agreed to higher fuel excise taxes as a way to fund the FAA and NextGen in lieu of user fees."

NBAA agreed that the committee's plan is acceptable. "The business aviation community has long said that the best way for companies that rely on general aviation to help fund aviation system modernization is by building upon the proven and efficient general aviation fuel tax," NBAA said in an e-mail to AVweb. "The bill approved by the Finance Committee today mirrors previous Congressional FAA reauthorization proposals supported by NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community, in that it makes adjustments to the fuel tax in lieu of new user fees for general aviation. The revenues raised through the fuel-tax increase will go to funding aviation system modernization; we welcome this legislation, and look forward to working with its supporters in Congress to ensure its final passage." The full Senate is expected to continue its work on the FAA bill over the next week or so. The House Aviation Subcommittee also is holding hearings this week to hear from government officials and advocacy groups about FAA funding. After both the House and Senate have completed their bills, a final bill will be worked out. The current funding bill has been extended 17 times, and may have to be extended at least once more before a final bill is worked out, with a term of two to four years.

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: Another Fuel Committee? How Does This Help?

The FAA has formed a new joint committee to "investigate, prioritize and summarize" issues related to finding an unleaded replacement for 100LL. But what have we been doing for the past 20 years if not re-stating, reframing and investigating the problem? There is only way this new committee can make any progress, says Paul Bertorelli in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. But it'll take someone — not someones — with a lot of smarts, insider knowledge and leadership skill who doesn't work for the FAA. We'll see if it's possible.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Kelly Should Skip This Mission

NASA and Mark Kelly say the safest thing for everyone is for Kelly to command the last flight of Space Shuttle Endeavor — but with Kelly's wife Gabrielle Giffords recovering from a high-profile brain injury, AVweb Insider blogger Russ Niles isn't convinced the agency is making the right call.

Read more and join the conversation.

Question of the Week: Paying for NextGen

The Senate says a hefty tax increase on jet fuel for GA is the way to go. Is that fair? What are the options?

How should we pay for NextGen?
(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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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Is Carbon Monoxide About to Kill You?

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

Probably not, but you may still want to consider a cockpit carbon monoxide detector. In this video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer take a look at these relatively inexpensive safety gadgets. They have steadily improved in recent years, and there are more choices than ever.

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

Video: Navy X-47B Unmanned Combat Aircraft Flies

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

Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, the tailless, strike-fighter-sized unmanned system, the X-47B, under development by Northrop Grumman, completed its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), California. The flying wing took off at 2:09 p.m. PST and flew for 29 minutes. The UAV climbed to an altitude of 5,000 feet, flew several racetrack-type patterns, and landed safely at 2:38 p.m. Northrop says the flight provided test data to verify and validate system software for guidance and navigation and the aerodynamic control of the tailless design. The aircraft will remain at Edwards AFB for flight envelope expansion before moving its test program to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., later in 2011. There, the system will undergo tests to validate its readiness to begin testing in the maritime and carrier environment. The X-47 is being prepared for carrier trials in 2013.

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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: Kenosha Jet Center (KENW, Kenosha, Wisconsin)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Kenosha Jet Center at Kenosha Regional Airport (KENW) in Kenosha, Wisconsin — and while KJC was recemmended by a human reader, Warren Levin, we suspect the FBO is also popular with four-legged passers-through. Warren writes:

Over the last 18 months, I have done a dozen Pilots N Paws rescues and have used the assistance of Steve and Eric [at Kenosha Jet Center] to unload puppies and full-grown dogs. ... These two line personnel will meet me at the hangar and help me move the dogs to their new owners or rescue mission; they are always available to help and/or fuel. Marie, the manager, is always happy when they do assist, as she is also an animal lover.

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!

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

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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 newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
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.)

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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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.