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Enter the 2011 EAA "Share the Spirit" Sweepstakes at WinAPlane.com for your chance to win a Cessna 162 Skycatcher with enough fuel for an entire year courtesy of Shell
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Aviation industry analyst Brian Foley said this week he's hoping to organize a counteroffer from U.S. investors that would tempt Cirrus Aircraft to change its mind about its recent sale to China
Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Foley told AVweb on Wednesday that when he published a report last week about China's recent investment in U.S. general aviation companies (PDF), he got an "overwhelming response" from e-mails and online comments that suggested to him that the U.S. aviation
community "wants this company [Cirrus] to be owned and operated on American soil, period." Foley also told AVweb that he had contacted Cirrus officials about his plan to find alternative
investors but so far had not had any response. Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons told AVweb on Wednesday, "We have no comment at this point."
Foley said he believes that better marketing of Cirrus Aircraft's need for fresh investment could make a difference, especially if the effort is made to find "a pool of investors" rather than a
single buyer. "Assuming this falls into place, we're confident we can identify and combine enough qualified investors who value Cirrus' promise as a distinctively American company," Foley said in a
news release (PDF). "Cirrus is an American success story that started in a humble dairy barn,
introduced important new technologies and rocketed to market leadership," he said. "So it's not surprising that our U.S. aviation community would take an interest in this pending sale. But what
surprised me was the speed, passion and near-unanimity of the feedback we received. I didn't talk to anyone who wanted to see Cirrus shipped overseas." Cirrus said last month that while the company may expand into China in the future, there are no plans to abandon the current
facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota.
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The FAA is prepared to take measures in consultation with Japanese officials to minimize the threat to air traffic posed by radiation from Japan's troubled nuclear power plants. The Japanese civil
aviation authority has already established flight restrictions to usher civil aircraft around the Fukushima facility in an effort to control the site and minimize exposure. Tuesday, FAA spokeswoman
Laura Brown said "there is no credible information available at this point indicating the need for further restrictions," but that may change. Wednesday the Japanese response evolved to dropping
water on the site from helicopters. If the situation worsens, said Brown, "the FAA is prepared to take air management measures, including the rerouting of air traffic." That possibility now seems more
Safety officials were pessimistic Wednesday about the situation in Fukushima. Nuclear safety officials in France stated questioned whether a meltdown could be avoided, according to the Telegraph.co.uk. US nuclear safety officials
have said that initial warnings from Japanese officials about the seriousness of the situation had been understated. The Pentagon has moved troops sent to aid in the relief effort to 50 miles from the
Fukushima plant -- more than four times the distance set by the Japanese government. That's a sign, some say, that the situation is "out of control." A French government spokesman has said that if
conditions at the plant erode, the result could have an impact worse than Chernobyl.
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The 2010 Robert J. Collier Trophy will be officially awarded May 5, 2011, to Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and the X2 Demonstrator Team "for demonstrating a revolutionary 250 knot helicopter." The
National Aeronautic Association, which offers the award, says the aircraft "marks a proven departure point for the future development of helicopters by greatly increasing their speed, maneuverability
and utility." The X2 demonstrator combines counter-rotating coaxial rotors, fly-by-wire flight controls, active vibration control and integrated auxiliary propulsion. AVweb got an inside look
at the aircraft at HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando -- click here for the video.
Sikorksy plans to follow the design with S-97 Raider production models based on the technology. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Collier Trophy and Sikorsky faced tough competition.
Nominees for the 2010 Collier Trophy included the team that created the hypersonic 1-mile-per second X-51A WaveRider scramjet (click
for video); the Boeing C-17A Globemaster III Team; the Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System; and General Aviation for its role saving lives after the January 2010 earthquake in
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With 100LL threatened by environmental regulation, what do owners think should replace it? An unleaded 100-octane equivalent fuel is the most popular choice, according to a recent survey of more
than 3100 AVweb readers. Moreover, many owners also want mogas as a second choice, offering some downside protection against escalating fuel prices that have already curtailed flying for many.
The survey, which began in late February, revealed that there's not much support for lower-octane dedicated aviation fuels, such as 94UL, nor are owners particularly supportive of engine
modifications that would make it possible for many aircraft engines to burn lower-octane fuel without detonating.
Of the 3151 readers who took the survey, 97 percent were pilots and 96 percent were based in the U.S. or Canada. AVweb also asked if readers owned airplanes that require 100-octane fuel and
86 percent of those who responded said they did, with 16 percent reporting that their airplanes were approved for lower-octane fuel. This is the mirror opposite of the accepted estimate that 30
percent of the fleet requires high-octane fuel while 70 percent can operate on lower-octane fuel, such as 91 AKI mogas, 80/87 or other aviation fuels. Judging by reader comments, the high response
rate may be due to owners of high-performance aircraft believing they have more at stake if a replacement fuel isn't found.
When asked which future fuel approach made the most sense, 51 percent said they favored a single, 100-octane drop-in replacement, 33 percent favored 100-octane, plus mogas as an option, 7 percent
said they liked 94UL and another 7 percent thought a dual aviation fuel system such as 100-octane and 94-octane should be put in place. But the vast majority of readers recognized that dual fuel isn't
practical: "We need a drop in replacement for 100LL. There's no way to have two separate fuels. The infrastructure can't support it," one reader told us. Not too surprisingly, owners whose airplanes
don't require 100-octane fuel chaff at the prospect of having to buy it just for the sake of having a single fuel and these owners tilt strongly toward mogas. But there's also strong support for mogas
on airports among those who need 100-octane. Nearly 30 percent of these owners said they wanted mogas available, either because they own a second airplane that can burn it or they're looking forward
to owning or flying an LSA.
But owners aren't naïve about the difficulty of finding reliable mogas supplies not blended with ethanol, a periodic problem for some of the 100-plus airports that carry it now. We asked our
survey takers if they believed it was likely mogas would be part of the fuel solution. Twenty one percent considered it likely, but nearly half -- 48 percent -- told us it was not likely at all; a
We also asked readers if they would be willing to modify their engines to burn a lower-octane fuel, such as 94UL. There's evidently not much sentiment for this. Only 8 percent said they would very
likely to modify their airplanes, while another 25 percent said they would be somewhat likely. More than a quarter said they would be unlikely or simply wouldn't not buys mods of any kind to
accommodate lower-octane gas.
When asked about which mods they would consider, the most popular choice was an electronic magneto or ignition system that would provide detonation margin. Readers reacted far less warmly to
operating at reduced power (9 percent), installing low-compression pistons (8%) or installing a full-up FADEC system (14 percent).
Judging by our e-mail, many owners are concerned enough about the lack of clarity in the fuel market to forgo upgrades or new aircraft purchases, at least those that require 100-octane fuel. Our
survey put some numbers on this. Exactly one third --- 33 percent -- said they wouldn't delay purchases over worries about fuel, but 31 percent said they were on the fence and 22 percent said they
definitely won't do any upgrades until they know what's going to happen to 100LL.
"I fly a Beech Bonanza with an IO-470N TCM. This engine requires 100LL. I am concerned that the $70,000 for the new engine and airframe upgrades may become useless if 100LL is pulled from the
market," one survey participant told us.
Last summer, the EPA said it has no timeline for additional regulation on lead emissions and if this was supposed to allay concerns among owners, it may have little effect. A quarter of the survey
respondents said the EPA pronouncement made them more confident in future fuel supplies, but 48 percent said it made them less confident. Said one reader: "The intrusion of EPA into the life of the
free enterprise system, with their onerous growth and stifling regulations will continue ... to the destruction of innovation in aviation. Regulation limits the progress to a real solution."
A strong majority of survey takers told us the industry shouldn't panic over a fuel solution, but that it needs to be solved soon. Nearly an additional third (28 percent) said the industry needs to
be more aggressive in finding the replacement fuel.
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A recent FAA proposal that suggested a protocol for marking meteorological evaluation towers to make them more visible
to low-level aviators didn't go far enough, the NTSB says. "The NTSB is concerned that the application of the [FAA Advisory Circular] is voluntary, and, without mandatory application and marking
requirements for METs, many METs will still be constructed without notice to the aviation community and will fail to be marked appropriately," the board said in a Safety Alert (PDF) issued on Friday. Meteorological Evaluation Towers (METs) are used to measure wind speed and direction during the development of wind
energy facilities, and many fall just below the 200-foot threshold for FAA-required obstruction markings. At least three fatal accidents have involved MET tower collisions, the NTSB said, the most
recent one in January.
According to the Safety Alert, the METs are hard to see from the air, and pose a threat to low-flying aircraft operations such as helicopter emergency medical services, law enforcement, animal
damage control, fish and wildlife, agriculture, and aerial fire suppression. The NTSB recommends that pilots should "maintain vigilance for METs" when conducting low-altitude flights and encourage the
marking of METs in their area. Also, if pilots locate a MET, they should let other local pilots know about it. FAA Safety Team members are exploring methods of notifying pilots of the location and
height of METs and are working to educate MET owners, builders, and communities on flight-safety issues, the NTSB said. The National Agricultural Aviation Association welcomed the NTSB's effort and agrees that the FAA marking protocol should be
mandatory. "The airspace aerial applicators work in is becoming increasingly obstructed by transmission lines, communication towers, wind turbines and hard-to-see meteorological testing towers," says
the NAAA. "That poses a real concern to the aerial application industry, not just in terms of safety, but also in terms of accessing farmers' fields to treat their crops, since many prime wind-energy
development areas are located in rural, agriculturally rich areas."
The National Aviation Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for the 25th annual A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Education Teacher of the Year Award, which includes a $1,500 cash stipend and an
expenses-paid trip for two to the Hall of Fame's annual enshrinement event in Dayton, Ohio. The award recognizes public-school aerospace educators in grades K through 12 for effectiveness, creativity,
and the ability to maintain high standards for their students and themselves. The award is named for research test pilot Scott Crossfield (1921-2006), who was the first pilot to exceed both Mach
2 and Mach 3, and the first pilot of the X-15. The deadline for nominations is May 1. Details are posted at the NAHF web
site. The award is funded by the Scott Crossfield Foundation.
The 2010 Crossfield Award Winner was Lt. Col. Herbert W. (Bill) Powley of Erwin, Tenn. Powley is a 1967 Air Force Academy graduate who flew 347 missions during the Vietnam War and twice was awarded
the Distinguished Flying Cross. After retiring, he began a second career as an instructor for an Air Force Junior ROTC unit in Erwin, Tenn., in 1991. Over the next 19 years he developed an
award-winning program that helped thousands of students take orientation flights and dozens of the cadets to fly solo. Several of his former students have become military or professional pilots. Lt.
Col. Powley spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady this week about his program; click here to listen to the podcast.
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Relief organizations and business aircraft operators working in the aftermath of Japan's earthquake and tsunami need to navigate a maze of airspace restrictions and airport closures, a challenge
that is made a little easier with a list of resources and updates compiled this week by the National Business Aviation Association.
Tokyo International Airport is closed to general aviation traffic until Friday, but many other airports are open, NBAA said. Rumors that Japan plans to close all of its airports "have not been
confirmed with Japanese authorities," the FAA told NBAA on Tuesday. Aerobridge, an NBAA-sponsored volunteer aviation group that coordinates
disaster response, is working to make space available on GA passenger and cargo jets to Japan. The group is also assisting with transportation of small search-and-rescue teams and medical assessment
NBAA asked any member flight departments traveling to Japan with empty seats to contact them and consider donating those seats to
personnel who need to reach the disaster area. In addition, there is a need to transport relief workers to Los Angeles, Seattle, and Phoenix to take advantage of transport offers from airlines. Any
aviators planning to fly to Japan should plan carefully. "Conditions on the ground are changing quickly and operators are reminded to contact their international service provider for the most current
information," NBAA said.
Pilot error was to blame for the crash of a Hawker Beechcraft 125-800A in July 2008, the NTSB said
on Tuesday. The airplane, operated by East Coast Jets, crashed when the crew attempted a go-around after landing on a wet runway at Owatonna Degner Regional Airport, in Minnesota. Both pilots and all
six passengers were killed. The captain's decision to attempt the go around late in the landing roll with insufficient runway remaining was the probable cause of the accident, the NTSB found.
Contributing factors were poor crew coordination and lack of cockpit discipline; fatigue, which likely impaired both pilots' performance; and the FAA's failure to require crew resource management
training and standard operating procedures for Part 135 operators.
"This accident serves as a reminder that aviation is an unforgiving environment," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "No detail is too small to be overlooked -- not the winds, or the communication
between crew members, or even how much sleep they get. The small things do matter and in this case they accumulated to result in tragedy." The flight was a nonscheduled passenger
flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The NTSB investigators looked at several other safety issues, including go-around guidance for turbine-powered
aircraft; Part 135 preflight weather briefings; inadequate arrival landing distance assessment guidance and requirements; Part 135 on-
demand, pilot-in command line checks; and cockpit image recording systems. The safety board issued several safety recommendations to the FAA regarding training, operating procedures, and sleep
disorders. Those recommendations, along with a synopsis of the accident investigation report, are posted on the NTSB web site.
The complete report will be available on the web site in a few weeks.
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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Paul Bertorelli has finished compiling the results of our recent avgas replacement survey, and he gives you the skinny on what we've
learned in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog. Among our findings: Owners want to know what it's going to cost whatever "it" turns out to be.
Fire in flight is such a universally horrible thing to think about that most of us probably just don't think about it much. But two recent accidents highlight how important it is to spend
some time taking basic precautions. In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli (again) stresses why you need a Halon extinguisher and why you need to keep it close in
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One of our sister aviation publications is looking for an associate editor. If you are a savvy, motivated layout master and wordsmith, they would love to hear from you. (There's a link to
contact them beneath the following job description.)
Job Description: Associate Editor
Associate Editor will provide primary editorial support to Editor of consumer aviation magazine, which may include rewriting press releases for publication, web postings, copy and substantive
editing of articles, departments and columns, preparation of galleys for review, writing articles, sizing and color correction of photos, enterprise reporting, proofreading and packaging of layouts
for offsite production staff.
Ability to work both independently and collaboratively from a home office
Intellectual curiosity and willingness to learn
Strong work ethic and self-motivation
Clear written and verbal communication skills
Solid organizational skills
Excellent attention to detail
Sensitivity to and ability to meet deadlines
Ability to internalize and adhere to publication's style guide/style sheets
Willingness to travel occasionally
Experience in building things
Experience leveraging social networking/web to encourage product visibility and reader interaction
Digital video/still photography, video editing
This is a telecommute position. To apply, submit a cover letter, resume and three clips to BelvoirJobOpportunity@avweb.com. (Resume and cover letter should be Microsoft Word attachments;
please attach clips as PDFs.)
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.
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current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.
Kevin 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.
Facing 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.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Rider Jet Center at Hagerstown Regional Airport/Richard A. Henson Field (KHGR) in
AVweb reader John Keller uses RJC on a regular basis and vouches for their dedication, year-in and year-out:
We have been a frequent customer of this fabulous FBO for several years, and their high quality service has never waivered! When the snow was three feet deep and the winds blowing 35 MPH and the
temperature 10 degrees, the line and staff personnel were performing at the 110% level. We return on a regular basis because their attitude towards the customer is outstanding.
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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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
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)
Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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