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Diamond Aircraft will have to find other ways to get the funding it needs, said President Peter Maurer this week, now that the Canadian government has turned down a request for a $35 million loan.
The company has been working to find private investors to keep the company and its D-Jet program going while waiting for a
decision from the government, but so far nothing is nailed down. The longer it takes, the harder it will be for the company to stay in its current location in London, Ontario, Maurer said. "There
are some good, viable prospects out there" to provide the funding Diamond needs, Maurer told the London Free
Press, but "it will take time." He said the delay also means more laid-off workers from the D-Jet program will find jobs elsewhere, making it harder to re-start when funding is secured.
Maurer also said the company is counting on the jet program to repay its existing debt obligations. "It would not be reasonable to expect that we would be able to service those debts with piston
sales," he told the Financial Post. Diamond has over 200 orders for the D-Jet,
which sells for $1.9 million. Industry Minister Tony Clement told the Free Press that the government had already invested $20 million in the company through a research and development fund, and felt
to add another $35 million for operating expenses was not in the taxpayer interest. "We are stewards of taxpayers dollars and we have risked, quite rightly, $20 million in taxpayer dollars to date,
and it is not judicious to up that by another $35 million," Clement told the Free Press. "We hope the company Diamond continues to be part of the scene in London. We do not wish for its demise."
Diamond has laid off more than 200 workers, just over half its workforce, while trying to raise the money it needs.
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Three crew somehow escaped serious injury when their fully loaded Boeing 707 tanker crashed and burned on takeoff from NAS Point Mugu in California late Wednesday afternoon. The airframe is
obviously a writeoff. The aircraft was one of two 707-300 passenger aircraft converted to tankers owned by Omega Air Refueling, which has been contracted to the Navy and the Marines for
inflight refueling for seven years. The company also has a DC-10-40 converted to a flying filling station.
The crash occurred about 5:25 p.m. on Wednesday and pictures from the scene showed the aircraft in pieces at the end of the runway and close to the ocean. The aircraft was reportedly carrying
150,000 pounds of fuel and that fed a furious fire. Details of the crew's escape will undoubtedly emerge shortly, and AVweb will keep you posted.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh: The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration July 25-31
It's gonna be a big year at Oshkosh. We're celebrating 100 Years of Naval Aviation all week long. Plus: Special tributes to Bob Hoover and Burt Rutan, a Monday concert by REO
Speedwagon, the return of the Saturday night air show, and innovation in the air with the Electric Flight Prize competition.
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Investigators have successfully downloaded all the data from the flight recorders from Air France Flight 447 that were recovered two weeks ago, the French accident investigation bureau announced on Monday. The data includes two hours of cockpit voice
recordings and all the information stored in the flight data recorder that monitored the systems of the Airbus A330, which crashed into the Atlantic nearly two years ago while en route from Rio de
Janeiro to Paris. The recorders were found nearly two and half miles deep. An interim report on the analysis of the data should be published sometime this summer, according to BEA, the French accident
Among other questions, the cockpit audio recordings may help explain why the crew didn't choose to take a route around the storm as some other flights did (click here for an animation showing trajectories of several flights in the area), and
which members of the flight crew were at the controls. AVweb's Glenn Pew recently spoke with Mike Purcell, a leader of the search crew that found Flight 447's voice and flight data recorders;
click here to listen.
Preliminary analysis of the flight data recorder from Air France Flight 447 has not revealed any mechanical malfunctions that would require safety recommendations for the A330 fleet, according to a
notice Airbus sent to its customers this week. That notice
sparked speculation in the French media that pilot error was the likely cause of the June 2009 crash, but BEA, the French accident investigation bureau, objected to such reports as "sensationalist"
and premature. "At this stage of the investigation, no conclusions can be drawn," BEA said in a statement. However, BEA said analysis of the recorders is expected to be key to finding the probable cause of the accident.
"Collection of all of the information from the audio recordings and from the flight parameters now gives us a high degree of certainty that everything will be brought to light concerning this
accident," BEA said. According to The
Independent, investigators now believe the senior captain may not have been in the cockpit at the time of the accident, but it would be normal for him to take a rest period after flying the first
leg and turning over the controls to two other pilots. The cockpit voice recorder is expected to provide insight into why the crew chose a route that took them into the center of the storm, while other flight crews in the area
chose other routes. The A330 crashed while en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 on board. The recorders were recovered from the bottom of the Atlantic about two weeks ago.
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The tricky maneuver of re-entry to the atmosphere is a challenge for spacecraft, but Burt Rutan's innovative "feathering" mechanism aims to make it simple and safe -- and now Scaled Composites has
successfully tested the technology on its large-scale SpaceShipTwo. The first feathering test was completed earlier this month, and this week, Virgin Galactic posted video footage of the flight (at
right). "It was a really major milestone for the test-flight program," says Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides in the video. "Today we received confirmation that the basic design of the
spaceship is solid." Program manager Matt Steinmetze says, "We dropped it, we folded it in half, and the airplane didn't do anything bizarre, it didn't turn upside down. It did what it was supposed
to, so now we've got an entry vehicle. Now we can come back from space."
SpaceShipTwo launched from Mojave early on May 4, attached to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft. At the controls of the spaceship were Scaled test pilots Pete Siebold and Clint Nichols. After a
45-minute climb to 51,500 feet, SS2 was released from the carrier ship and established a stable glide profile before deploying, for the first time, its "feathered" configuration by rotating the tail
section of the vehicle upwards to a 65-degree angle to the fuselage. It remained in this configuration at a level pitch for about a minute while descending, almost vertically, at around 15,500 feet
per minute, slowed by the powerful shuttlecock-like drag created by the raised tail section. At around 33,500 feet the pilots reconfigured the spaceship to its normal glide mode and executed a smooth
runway touchdown, about 11 minutes after release. "All objectives for the flight were met," said Virgin Galactic in a news release.
In China it may not always be easy -- or legal -- to fly a general aviation aircraft, but a very small, very select group of Chinese are doing it anyway. There are an estimated 1,000 registered
private aircraft in all of China. Among that group, there is a tiny subset of wealthy individuals that chooses to bypass protocol altogether. According to the New York Times, such pilots are called
"black fliers" (think "black ops") for their habit of taking flight on the sly. "It's like this -- your family, your wife, won't let you go out and pick up girls. But you went out and did it anyway,"
Guan Hongsheng, told the Times. "Secret flying is like secret love. You do it, you don't tell people about it." How it works is easy, if imprudent, enough. But not all of the unapproved flights end
Seeking approval for a legitimate private flight plan in China can take days. Even receiving permission to land after that flight plan has been approved can be a challenge, according to the Times. One source the paper spoke with said most clandestine flights are
relatively short hops in helicopters and offered the simple example of a treetop-level flight between a mansion and a golf course. But there are complex examples that lead to more complex outcomes.
"Black Flight" pilots have been the targets of UFO sightings in China, and one unapproved flight over an airport last July disrupted commercial jet traffic. Some pilots, including Guan Hongsheng, have
been apprehended for their illegal flights. Penalties have so far been fines that Guan Honghsehng says he's been able to talk down from about $15,000 to about $3,000.
The number of women pilots has increased since 2000 by 18.6 percent and the number of those with ATP certificates is up 35 percent while the number of male pilots has dropped, according to
statistics updated Monday by the FAA. There were an estimated 42,218 female certificate holders in 2010, which puts the group at 6.7 percent of the total 627,588 certificated pilots recorded by the
FAA. Among the ranks of Airline Transport Pilot rated certificates, women jumped from 10,218 in 2000 to 13,755 in 2010. Over the same period, the number of men holding certificates dropped nearly 1
percent and the number of men holding ATP ratings dropped about 1/2 percent. The numbers also show that the advance of women in aviation goes beyond the flight deck.
The first decade of 2000 also saw increased numbers of women in aviation-related fields like ground instruction, where their numbers rose more than 14 percent. For female dispatchers, the number
rose 71 percent and the number of female flight instructors rose more than 6.5 percent. The number of aviation mechanics who are women also went up -- by 43 percent from 2000 to 2010 -- and the number
of repair workers who are women increased more than 35 percent. However, if one imagines the end result as equal numbers of both men and women in aviation related jobs, then there is still a long way
to go. The number of women in these fields still composes single-digit percentages of the total number of workers represented. For the complete collection of data, click through to the FAA's US Civil Airmen Statistics page.
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The second annual International Learn to Fly Day, which is organized by EAA, aims to provide free introductory flights and encouragement to adults curious about aviation, with events at airports
around the world. This year's event is set for Saturday, May 21, with close to 200 sites participating. Many airports and flight schools host an open house for the day, to reach out to the community
and invite those who have always wanted to fly to try going up in a small airplane. Last year's inaugural event drew more than 40,000 people. Sites are easy to find via the Learn to Fly Day web site; just type in your zip code to find events near you.
"The joy, fulfillment, and sense of accomplishment of flying an aircraft is unlike anything else that one can experience," said EAA President Rod Hightower. "As we grow the next generation of
aviators, International Learn to Fly Day is one day where we can make a special effort to invite and welcome those who have always dreamed of flying." The web site also offers support for those interested in hosting an event and pilots who want to offer rides. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Ron Wagner, manager of field
operations for EAA, for more information about Learn to Fly Day and how pilots can participate; click here for that podcast.
On Saturday, May 21, the second edition of Learn to Fly Day will launch at airports around the world. Ron Wagner, the manager of field relations for EAA, talks with AVweb's Mary
Grady about how pilots can get involved and help introduce people to aviation.
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Early field tests of the effects of LightSquared's 4G signal on GPS-dependent devices showed some disruption of service when tested by first responders in New Mexico. In a letter to federal
officials (PDF) last week, Bill Range, the program director for New Mexico's 911 system,
says the tests run by police and emergency medical services personnel from two counties "substantiate concerns that the LightSquared network will cause interference to GPS signals and jeopardize 911
and public safety nationwide." In the tests, first responders reported inaccuracies and failures with GPS equipment in proximity to the LightSquared towers that persisted even after the 4G signal was
turned off. As we reported Monday, LightSquared began live tests from a transmitter in the Nevada desert near Boulder
Meanwhile, LightSquared has submitted a progress report to the FCC on the testing so far (PDF), and the technical work group overseeing the testing according to GPS World will host a webinar May
26 to discuss the highly technical report. Also, the National Business Aviation Association has announced that it has joined the Coalition to Save
Our GPS. The coalition was formed in April in response to the LightSquared proposal, which will involve the construction of 40,000 transmission towers broadcasting broadband Internet signals in a
frequency band adjacent to the band used by GPS satellite transmitters. The fear is that the much more powerful broadband signals will overwhelm the weak GPS signals.
Have you flown through the test area during testing (midnight to 6 a.m.)? If so, have you noticed any effect on your GPS equipment? After telling the FAA, why
not drop us a line at email@example.com and let us and your fellow AVweb readers know what you
Eurocopter has conducted full-power tests of its hybrid helicopter design and says the X3 maintained 232 knots TAS in straight and level flight for "several minutes" on May 12. The aircraft, with
twin outboard propellers augmenting the conventional rotor, first flew last fall but didn't have the final-design transmission on board and was restricted to 180 knots. With all the right gears in
place, the aircraft actually beat the target top speed of 220 knots and the test pilot said it provoked no grey hairs. "We were impressed by the ease at which this speed objective was attained," said
test pilot Herve Jammayrac. The X3 is intended to grow into a family of aircraft that offer conventional aircraft speed with helicopter versatility. Sikorsky also has a hybrid called the X2 and it's
been recognized with aviation's most coveted award.
As we reported in March, the Collier Trophy went to Sikorsky for the X2 and its record-setting 250-knot dash. Sikorsky is now
working on a military version of the X2 as a close-support and attack platform.
The two pilots who were flying an Embraer Legacy 600 jet that collided with a Boeing 737 at 37,000 feet above the Amazon jungle in 2006 were convicted of negligence in a Brazilian court late on
Monday. The judge said the pilots, Joseph Lepore and Jan Paul Paladino, failed to adequately check that their transponder was working. Federal judge Merilo Mendes gave them a four-year sentence, but
then suspended it and instead required them to do four years of community service in the U.S., where they have been since shortly after the accident. The two pilots testified during the trial via
video link. Mendes also suspended their pilot certificates for four years. It's not clear whether those suspensions can be enforced.
An NTSB investigation into the crash found Brazil's air traffic controllers mainly at fault, for putting the two
airplanes on a collision course. A Brazilian investigation parceled out blame to both ATC and the cockpit crew. All 154 people on board the 737 died. The Legacy jet was damaged but the pilots managed
to land it safely at a remote jungle airfield. A lawyer for the pilots said he would appeal the ruling in Brazil's courts, according to the Associated Press. A lawyer representing the families of
those who died also said he would appeal, to seek prison time for the pilots.
AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey, who was onboard the Legacy at the time of the collision, in 2007; click
here for that podcast. Editorial director Paul Bertorelli expressed his opinion of Brazil's 2008 investigation that blamed the Legacy pilots; click here for that blog post.
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.
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This week, a Brazilian court convicted two American pilots in absentia for being negligent in the 2006 midair collision between the Embraer Legacy they were flying and a GOL 737, which crashed,
killing all aboard. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says this verdict serves no one and only does harm to Brazil's reputation in the world of aviation.
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No one does aviation quite like the Navy, and carriers are only half of the story. In this vodcast, author/photographer Erik Hildebrandt talks about his experiences in shooting and
compiling an impressive history of a century of naval aviation.
Come ride along on some simulator training in a Cirrus SR22 to see the kinds of things you can do better in the box than in the real world. We'll also give you some tips for getting
the most out of your simulator time.
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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We often hear about great FBOs that readers discover during a trip, but AVweb reader Paul MacMelville reminded us how your local FBO can come through in a pinch and save the day when
you're busy attending to other matters:
I had flown from Oscoda, Michigan to Minuteman Air Field in Stow, Massachusetts to visit my mother in the hospital before heading down to Virginia to attend my daughter's Air Force retirement
ceremony. On Friday, we had a heavy wet snowstorm, and, needing to leave on Sunday, I decided to go out to the airport Saturday to check on the airplane and field conditions. The heavy snow had
pulled the tail of my plane down to the ground where it froze overnight, and when it thawed in the morning the fiberglass tailcone stayed stuck to the ground, tearing out the screw holes in the
fiberglass as the snow melted and the nose came back to earth. I brought the tailcone into [FBO owner] Bob Booth's shop and asked for help. He not only repaired the cone but reinstalled it on the
aircraft while I was back at the hospital with my mother. He called and left a message on my cell phone telling me the bird was ready to go and there was no charge! He saved my trip!
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
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