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TOWARD PILOTLESS AERIAL REFUELING
Northrop Grumman announced
Wednesday that its Jan. 21 flight of an autonomous Global Hawk and a
manned Proteus test aircraft sets the stage for autonomous aerial
refueling between two unmanned aircraft. The two aircraft flew as close
as 40 feet apart at 45,000 feet, which Northrop says sets an industry
record. The flight studied wake turbulence effects, engine performance,
and flight control responsiveness at altitude. Northrop is working
toward a spring 2012 flight that would demonstrate autonomous aerial
refueling of two Global Hawks as part of the company's KQ-X program.
According to Northrop, that program may be just the tip of the spear.
"When you add autonomous flight of both aircraft into the mix, as we
will do later in the KQ-X program, you gain a capability that has
mission applications far beyond just aerial refueling," said program
manager Geoffry Sommer. More...
This Skycatcher, Your Hangar
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Enter the 2011 EAA "Share the Spirit" Sweepstakes
for your chance to win a Cessna 162 Skycatcher with
enough fuel for an entire year courtesy of Shell Aviation. Or you could
win a 2011 Coleman Travel Trailer, HotSeat Flight Simulator, and other
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|End of an Era And This Time, It's No
photos and video|
The Space Shuttle Discovery has
flown 39 missions (the most of any shuttle), traveled 148 million miles
and carried 246 crew members over 27 years in service and after landing
Wednesday, it started a long journey to retirement, most likely at the
Smithsonian. Discovery landed Wednesday at Kennedy Space Center in
Florida following the 13-day mission dubbed STS-133. The vehicle first
launched on Aug. 30, 1984, and has now spent a total of 365 days in
space. It will next undergo a months-long process of decommissioning
that will make it safe for transport and storage at its expected final
destination, the Smithsonian Institute's Steven F. Udvar Hazy Center.
(An official announcement is scheduled for April 12.) A number of
museums (possibly as many as 29) are hoping to win one of the remaining
two shuttles and some have mounted major investments in support of the
cause. Acquisition will come with a cost. (Click through for an image
gallery of dramatic Discovery moments and a video of its final landing.)
What Could You Do with
If You Own an Aircraft, Give Us Some Time
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three $200 prizes. This online survey is being conducted by Research
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DEAL FACES SECURITY REVIEW
Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters told The Wall Street Journal this week he expects the
deal to sell Cirrus Aircraft to a Chinese firm will pass a
national-security review by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment.
The two companies sought the review as a pre-emptive move, to avoid
becoming "a political football," Wouters told the WSJ. Wouters said he
expects the deal will be approved because Cirrus isn't a high-tech firm
with national security-sensitive trade secrets. AVIC, the state-owned
parent company of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., has come
under scrutiny in the past for bidding on U.S. defense contracts, the
WSJ said. Besides its general aviation interests, AVIC also manufactures
a stealth jet fighter. More...
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EAGLES WORKS, SAYS EAA
EAA says its Young Eagles program,
which aims to introduce youngsters to general aviation, has been
successful at inspiring those youngsters to become pilots. By checking
FAA's pilot registry against its list of Young Eagles going back to
1992, EAA said it found that Young Eagles are 5.4 times
more likely to become a pilot than those who never participated. "The
numbers show that Young Eagles is making an impact on the pilot
population that is unmatched by any other single program," said EAA
Chairman Tom Poberezny. The EAA analysis also showed that 9 percent of
those pilots are female, a gain of 50 percent compared to the overall
figure of 6 percent of the pilot population. More...
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WARPLANE TO BE RECOVERED
A TBD Devastator war plane that was
lost at sea in 1941 has been located off the coast of San Diego, and a
Florida museum plans to raise it from the bottom. Capt. Ed Ellis (USN,
retd.), head of aircraft restorations for the National Museum of Naval
Aviation, in Pensacola, told EAA the Devastator is "the 'holy grail' in terms of
naval aviation, and something we'd like to have in this museum." Many of
the Devastator bombers were lost in World War II, and today there are
none on display. About $300,000 must be raised to move ahead with the
recovery. The location of the wreck has been known for about 15 years by
A&T Recovery, of Chicago, which has recovered more than 30 airplanes for
the museum, mostly from Lake Michigan. The A&T team recently released
underwater video of the wreck, which shows parts of the cockpit
and fuselage. More...
COX, AVIATION JOURNALIST, DIES
Justin "Jack" Cox, known for
his work as a writer and editor for EAA's Sport Aviation magazine
and his own Sportsman Pilot quarterly, died on Sunday at a
hospital near his home in Asheboro, N.C. He was 77 years old. Cox worked
for EAA from 1970 until his retirement in 1999, serving as
editor-in-chief of publications as well as a frequent contributor to
Sport Aviation. Cox and his wife, Golda, who also worked for EAA,
flew together to many aviation events around the U.S., conducting
interviews and writing articles. In 1981, the couple began publishing
Sportsman Pilot, a quarterly aviation magazine, which they
continued until this year. More...
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FOLLOW FAA TEST CHANGES
The FAA recently changed its bank of
test questions without notice, causing a spike of up to four times the
usual rate of failures in recent weeks, according to the National
Association of Flight Instructors. The content of test questions was
significantly altered, NAFI said, for at least three tests -- the
fundamentals of instruction test, which is required for all flight and
ground instructors, and the ATP and flight engineer tests. "We fully
support the FAA's efforts to improve the quality of the knowledge
tests," said NAFI executive director Jason Blair. "However, we're
concerned that the test changes were made without any notification to
the industry." As a result, he said, the applicants who failed have
wasted their time and money -- up to $150 -- and must re-take the tests.
TO INTRODUCE "NEXT GENERATION" CORVALIS
The next generation
of the Corvalis single-engine piston airplane will be introduced later
this month at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., Cessna said on Tuesday. The
turbocharged Corvalis TT currently in production was originally
developed by Lancair as the Columbia 400, and taken over by Cessna a few
years ago. It can fly at speeds up to 235 knots, which makes it the
world's fastest fixed-gear single-engine piston aircraft. Cessna sold
110 copies of the Corvalis TT in 2008, which fell to 41 in 2009 and just
7 last year, as the general aviation market slowed overall. Details
about the new version of the airplane will be announced on March 29,
Cessna said, and a mock-up will be on display. More...
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's
no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter,
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
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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
Fly More for
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WORLD'S FASTEST HELICOPTER PILOT
Bredenbeck took the Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator to 250 knots and
beyond last September. He spoke with AVweb about the aircraft,
the program, and what it's like to go that fast in a helicopter in this
interview at the 2011 HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.
BELL 407AH HELICOPTER UNVEILED
Helicopters bypassed the usual military procurement procedure and
adapted a 407 for "law enforcement and paramilitary" use. With a
3,000-round-per-minute machine gun, a rocket launcher and FLIR, it's a
potent adaptation of a proven airframe that's already attracting
A LOOK INSIDE THE CESSNA FACTORY
ever-growing global competition, Cessna has to find way to make
airplanes more efficiently. In this video, Terry Clark explains how the
company has done that at the company's Independence, Kansas plant.
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create
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OF THE WEEK: COOS AVIATION (KOTH, NORTH BEND,
AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon is bound
for North Bend, Oregon, where Coos Aviation at Southwest Oregon Regional
Airport (KOTH) has impressed a couple of different AVweb readers
in recent months. Jerry Bialoetz sums their commitment to
customers up nicely:
friendy. Will go out of their way to help make your stay memorable and
are not after the big bucks in your wallet, like other
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...