AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 28a

July 11, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Pilots Escape Mid-Air at U.K. Air Show back to top 
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P-51 Pilot Parachutes From Mid-Air

The pilot of a P-51 bailed out safely after a mid-air collision with a Douglas Skyraider at a heritage aircraft display in Duxford, England on Sunday. The Skyraider was able to land safely minus a wingtip. Neither pilot was injured. The accident occurred after a formation pass including the two crash airplanes and at least three other piston single military aircraft. The Mustang ended up in a farmer's field after the pilot hit the silk. A few hours before, a replica Fokker triplane ended up on its nose in a landing accident. The accompanying video shows the pilot being helped out of the vertical aircraft.

The event was Duxford's Flying Legends show, which featured dozens of mostly Second World War and earlier aircraft. There were seven Mustangs and three Skyraiders in the show along with eight Spitfires and a laundry list of rare and historic aircraft. Cause of the accident was not immediately known and the Air Accident Investigation Branch is investigating.

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Powered by the Future back to top 

Unleaded Alternative Eyes California

A newly-formed California company is hoping to set up a distribution network for ethanol-free unleaded automotive gasoline to GA airports in the state. Clear Gas was created partly in response to a lawsuit threat from the Center for Environmental Health that would end the sale of 100LL in California. The company is also looking at the marine and off-road market for customers since engines used by many boats and off-road vehicles are allergic to the ethanol present in most automotive fuels. Aircraft using the fuel need an STC, and the company has information on how to obtain it. It estimates that upwards of 80 percent of aircraft can use the fuel legally.

The company hopes to set up an innovative distribution system that will allow customers to monitor online the fuel demand at airports in their area and place orders when that demand makes it feasible for a truck to be dispatched. Orders as small as 500 gallons without delivery penalties are envisioned under the system.

Electric Aircraft Outbreak, Speed Or Distance

The past few weeks have seen two high marks set for electric flight -- one in distance and one in speed -- but not at the same time. The eGenius is a two-seat motor glider with a wingspan just over 55 feet adapted for electric flight by a team from the University of Stuttgart. It was modified with a forward-facing, tail-mounted 80-hp electric motor and last month flew with full seats on a back-and-forth course between two cities near Mindleheim, Germany, for just over two hours. That flight averaged more than 100 mph. Meanwhile a tiny twin-engine Cri-Cri managed a speed of 175 mph flying at the Paris Air Show, but managed that speed just long enough to record the mark.

The Cri-Cri runs two 35-horsepower electric motors drawing current from 1.5 kWh batteries that can sustain it for 25 minutes at 65 mph and far fewer minutes at 175 mph. For comparison, the eGenius landed after its two hours with some power remaining in the aircraft's 56-kilowatt-hour battery pack, according to its creators. Specific figures defining its power reserves were not revealed, perhaps because the team aims to enter the aircraft in NASA/CAFE's Green Flight Challenge to collect a prize of $1.3 million. That event will run Sept. 25 through Oct. 3 at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. The winning aircraft will fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of less than 1 gallon of gasoline per occupant. And eGenius appears to fit that bill.

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Meanwhile, in the World of Leaded Avgas back to top 

The Calif. Avgas Suit -- Follow The Money?

The Center for Environmental Health and the Attorney General of the State of California are threatening to sue local FBOs and suppliers for dispensing leaded avgas, and shutting down small GA in the state is only one potential outcome. The suit's origins stem from the California Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65). Prop 65 is meant to safeguard people from dangerous toxins that could lead to birth defects and illnesses. But in light of federal interests (the FAA and EPA's control of air safety and environmental protection, respectively), restricting or altering the use of leaded avgas in California may not be the immediate, or likely, outcome of this case. And more likely outcomes may suggest other motives. Click here to listen to AVweb's conversation with NATA's Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs, Eric Byer, and Andy Steinberg, NATA's acting attorney on this case.

There are more than 250 public-use airports in California used by nearly 100,000 local pilots flying more than 35,000 aircraft that burn leaded avgas. According to Byer, GA represents more than 80 percent of operations state-wide, helping employ 1.7 million people generating $18 billion. Those numbers create an industry that brings jobs and substantial cash flow into the state's cash-strapped economy. Shutting down or negatively impacting that industry could add a new wrinkle to the state's current budgetary concerns. But many suits based on Prop 65 settle. And while in this case that could do little to alter the use of leaded avgas in the state, it could mean that aviation entities would pay a relatively small fine -- and pay the other side's potentially generous legal fees -- to prevent more drastic measures. In that case, seeking to enforce Prop 65 could produce an outcome that fails to change how pollutants are delivered into the environment and delivers financial gain to the entity that brought the suit. Meanwhile, actually enforcing Prop 65 such that it restricts delivery of lead into the environment through aviation fuel could prove economically disastrous for the state. It could also open a gateway to the creation of a different set of rules regarding the use of avgas, for each state in the country.

Podcast: NATA on the California Avgas Lawsuit

File Size 15.8 MB / Running Time 17:15

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California FBOs and suppliers are facing a legal threat to shut down small GA in the state in order to save people from the lead in avgas. But the details of the case might suggest the effort does not represent all of the suit's motives. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with NATA's Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs, Eric Byer, and Andy Steinberg, NATA's attorney on the case, to learn more.

Click here to listen. (15.8 MB, 17:15)

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Light Sport Prices Trending Upward? Could Be ... back to top 

European Regulatory Impact On LSA Market

EASA, roughly Europe's FAA, has released certification specifications for light sport aircraft, and LSA watchdog Dan Johnson believes that could affect availability and pricing of European-made LSAs. The European regulatory agency has basically adopted ASTM standards. But unlike the FAA, which is funded by taxpayers, EASA is funded by fees and charges paid by the companies it reviews. That means meeting regulatory requirements can result in up-front costs and annual fees for airframe manufacturers in Europe. According to Johnson, that could mean one of two things for American buyers seeking European models: higher prices, or fewer options. But the outcome isn't yet certain.

With the current plan, "Either way, aircraft made in Europe and subject to EASA rules will experience upward price pressure," according to Johnson. But it's also possible that the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) Europe will succeed in pressuring the regulatory agency to create a self-declarative system. That would put it more in line with the current U.S. standards regarding LSA regulatory requirements. Regulations aside, exchange rates are also affecting the market. Currently the dollar is low and the euro is high. That situation creates unfavorable conditions for European manufacturers looking to sell their wares in the U.S., while it improves things for U.S. manufacturers seeking to sell products in Europe. It presents a double-negative for European manufacturers compounded by fees and charges associated with EASA regulation. Johnson speculates that unless things change, the situation may price some smaller European LSA manufacturers right out of the market.

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Rules and Regs back to top 

Appeal Filed In Cory Lidle Cirrus Crash Case

Cirrus Design Corp. on May 24 was cleared of liability in the October 2006 death of Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his instructor Tyler Stanger, and, Thursday, the plaintiffs in the case filed an appeal. The aircraft impacted a Manhattan building while attempting a turn that departed the area above Manhattan's East River. The widows of Lidle and Stanger allege that the Cirrus SR20 included a design defect in its flight control system that caused the men to lose control. Their appeal says that critical evidence was excluded from the case and they are seeking a new trial.

According to the appeal, exclusion of critical evidence from the original trial created a condition that "was substantially prejudicial to the plaintiffs and presented a scenario of total inequity... ." A lawyer for the widows asserts that Cirrus was able to present multiple theories in its defense, and the plaintiffs were "restricted from counteracting such evidence." The SR20 carrying Lidle and Stanger impacted the face of a building at an altitude of 332 feet. It was the end of a turn to the south that saw the aircraft descend and stray west of the East River's border. The NTSB found in May 2007 that he pilots' inadequate planning, judgment and airmanship in performing a 180-degree turn in a limited space was the probable cause of the Cirrus SR20 crash.

Camp David TFR Busted Three Times Over Weekend

The airspace around Camp David was busier than usual over the weekend and there will be some unwelcome letters in the mail for three pilots. NORAD had to scramble F-15E fighters on three separate occasions to shoo errant GA aircraft out of the TFR that surrounds the presidential retreat in Maryland. Two incidents occurred Saturday, one shortly after noon and the other just before 7 p.m. The third identified by the Associated Press as a Cessna 182, was intercepted about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

AP says that in each case the fighters were scrambled because the pilots of the light aircraft couldn't be raised on the radio. Standard procedure is for the offending aircraft to be escorted to an airport outside the TFR where security officials, including the Secret Service, are waiting to interview the pilot. FAA sanctions are likely to follow. President Obama was at Camp David for part of Sunday with his family before heading back to Washington for another week of wrangling over the debt crisis.

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Diamond Keeping Busy, Staying Home This Summer back to top 

Diamond Bows Out Of Big Shows

With only two weeks until the start of aviation's biggest consumer show, Diamond Aircraft announced it is bowing out of this year's major aviation shows in favor of smaller, more specialized venues that offer a more targeted market for some of its products. "In consideration of the continued weakness of the economy and slow industry-wide retail sales, we have made the decision to forego the very significant expense of our traditional exhibits at [AirVenture] Oshkosh, NBAA and AOPA Summit in 2011," CEO Peter Maurer said in a news release. Instead, Diamond will be at "industry-specific events" like the Airborne Law Enforcement Association where it will show off its Austro diesel engine powered DA42 Multi-Purpose Platform. It's also targeting emerging markets and commercial flight training in its promotional efforts. The retail market will be served with enhanced online communications. The company will also host its annual DiamondFest event at the London, Ontario plant on the Sept. 17 weekend.

Maurer said the money and staff time saved will be plowed into the recently revived DJET program and in supporting its various piston programs. Diamond has been a major exhibitor at Oshkosh and its absence will leave a large empty space to fill. AirVenture spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb his organization was aware of the decision but the overall show is "looking pretty good" and there are new exhibitors attending the show this year. Maurer said Diamond will be back in the big shows once the market comes back. "The retail market is, of course, very important to us and we intend to resume our full show presence when the economic climate improves."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Inhofe's Pilot Bill of Rights — Should I Be Thrilled?

I'm somehow not, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. On the other hand, perhaps we're supposed to be grateful that something positive came out of Inhofe's inept, embarrassing display of poor airmanship at Port Isabel, Texas that merited him a peck on the cheek from the FAA after he scattered workers on a closed runway.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: A Summertime Take on LightSquared

While LightSquared isn't going to give up the fight for its piece of the radio spectrum easily, Mary Grady doesn't see a clear victory in the group's future — and in her latest post to the AVweb Insider, she reminisces about similar scenarios that have played out in the past.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: They Couldn't Jam GPS, Could They?

LightSquared's plan to offer 4G wireless broadband right next to the GPS portion of the radio spectrum isn't going away quietly — and in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles says it may be time to think about how GPS will share the band with its new neighbor.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Forty-Seven Years in Aviation -- A Memoir: Chapter 3 -- Primary Flight Training Part 2

In the third chapter of his aviation memoir, Richard Taylor begins flight training in a Piper PA-18 Cub -- including being "kicked out of the nest" for his first solo before he had 10 hours of flight time -- and then moving on to the (comparatively) massive T-6 Texan.

Click here to read the third chapter.

Video: Aviation Consumer's Tiedown Shootout

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

If that tornado at Sun 'n Fun in April didn't get your attention, it should have. With EAA AirVenture looming and storms hammering the midwest, it's time to think about portable tiedown systems for the show. In this brief video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer wring out three systems, and the walkaway winner is a product you've never heard of.

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Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Bismarck Aero Center (KBIS, Bismarck, ND)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Bismarck Aero Center at Bismarck Municipal Airport (KBIS) in Bismarck, North Dakota.

AVweb reader David Yost brought BAC to our attention:

On June 23-24, I was part of a team in the Bismarck-Minot (North Dakota) area doing aerial imaging of the flooding. We operated from Bismarck Aero Center and KBIS. Upon arrival, we were promptly met by a lineman who showed us where to park and supervised our refueling. The plane was hangared for us overnight and promptly brought out for us the following morning. There were even red carpets by both doors! This facility is clean, modern, and well-equiped, and the staff quickly took care of all our needs. But what impressed me the most was that every employee I encounted was friendly and seemed genuinely happy to be there. When in Bismarck, go to Bismarck Aero Center!

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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on Denver Center:

Denver Center (female voice) :
"Jetlink 1234, Denver Center."

[A moment later.]

Denver Center:
"Jetlink 1234, Denver Center —"

Jetlink 1234 (male voice) :
"Denver Center, Jetlink 1234 checking in at 240."

Denver Center:
"Sorry. Guess I was just being impatient."

Jetlink 1234:
"My wife does that to me, too."

Denver Center:
"Well, then, it must be you."

Paul Memrick
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

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.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

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.

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