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The KAI KC-100, a four-seat general aviation aircraft that is the first of its kind to be designed and built in South Korea, is now in flight testing, the company announced recently. The airplane,
called the Naraon, aims to be 10 percent more fuel-efficient than others in its class, with a top speed of about 210
knots and a range of about 1,000 nm, which is enough to reach most major cities in Japan and China from South Korea. It's expected to be FAA certified and will sell for about $575,000. The first
flight took place on July 20, the company said. The airplane is expected to be available in the market in mid-2013.
The Naraon is powered by a FADEC-controlled TCM TSIOF-550-K turbocharged engine. It's constructed of carbon fiber, with a cabin that's an inch or two wider than Cirrus and Corvalis designs, with
gull-wing doors for entry. It is expected to be finished with an Avidyne Entegra II panel, standard TKS ice protection, air conditioning and oxygen. A full-plane parachute is expected to be offered as
Icon this week announced the first flight of its A5 amphibious LSA with the new spin-resistant wing that will go on the production model. The flight took place last Thursday, following "many months
[of] development and fabrication," according to the company's Facebook page. The airplane will remain wings-level in a stall, the company said, helping the pilot to maintain control. The wing
also is without flaps, which Icon said will simplify operations and increase safety for new pilots. Deliveries are set to start in the fourth quarter of next year. Those who can't wait can now order
an RC model of the A5, ready to start shipping next month.
The models, created by Horizon Hobby, have a 52-inch wingspan and removable landing gear for amphibious operations. They're available in various configurations at prices from $199 to $340. The
models are for sale on Icon Aircraft's web site and at Horizon's web site. Icon also announced recently that it has narrowed down its choices for the location of its future headquarters. The new facility will consolidate engineering, production,
corporate and flight training, and will be located in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada or Texas. The company currently works from a facility in Tehachapi, Calif.
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Congress adjourned on Tuesday night without taking action to fully fund the FAA, leaving 4,000 workers on furlough, and officials were not happy. "It's a sad day for America," said FAA
Administrator Randy Babbitt, according to CNN. "I've been around this business a long time. I've never seen
anything like this," Babbitt said. "And I find it appalling, candidly." He added that some of the furloughed workers will leave to find other jobs, setting back airport construction projects for
months. President Barack Obama described the shutdown as
"another Washington-inflicted wound on America," and called on Congress to break the impasse. Various issues have stalled efforts to reauthorize FAA funding, including disputes over subsidies to rural
airports and language that would make it easier for workers to unionize. The failure to act before the recess means another five-week delay before FAA funding is addressed.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood also addressed the press on Wednesday, demanding that Congress should come back to Washington and pass a bill. "Leave your vacations!" he said. "Get off the
beach come back to Washington, pass a bill." LaHood added that about 40 FAA safety inspectors around the country are continuing to work for free. On Monday, Babbitt and LaHood had joined
together to "demand that Congress pass an FAA funding bill before getting on airplanes to fly away for vacation," according to an FAA news release. Besides the 4,000 FAA employees, an estimated 70,000 workers in construction and related
fields are out of work due to project delays. The U.S. government will also forfeit about $1 billion in uncollected taxes from airline tickets during the recess. LaHood and several other guests spoke
about the issues on Wednesday on NPR.
Until 2001, air traffic controllers were welcome to ride jump-seat in airline cockpits under a program that aimed to familiarize them with flight-crew procedures. This week, the FAA said it is
reviving that program. "This [Flight Deck Training] gives our new generation of air traffic controllers a chance to see and hear what the pilot is experiencing so they know exactly what is happening
on the other end of the microphone," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "As a pilot, I think this important training will give controllers a richer picture of the airspace system." The program aims
to improve safety by giving air traffic controllers a greater understanding of the pilots' experience and workload in the cockpit. Controllers can take up to two trips per year, and cannot take
the training in conjunction with any leave.
A controller must have advance approval to participate and must also submit an itinerary, as well as medical and security information, the FAA said. Foreign travel is not permitted. Once approved,
the controller must present unique identification to access the cockpit. During the flight, the controller must complete pre-approved training objectives, such as observing pre-flight aircraft
preparation, taxi instructions and procedures, departure delays and ground stops, types of approaches, en route weather and flow constraints. Flight Deck Training is a pilot program that the FAA will
evaluate and monitor over the next six months.
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An Oklahoma woman who was eight years old when the man popularly known as D.B. Cooper made his famous 1971 hijacking has come forward to say she is the man's niece, that he was really L.D. Cooper,
and he's been dead since 1999. D.B. Cooper is the name that has stuck with a man who identified himself as Dan Cooper when he hijacked a Boeing 727 on Thanksgiving-eve, 40 years ago. He ultimately
left the aircraft with $200,000 in cash and a parachute after opening the rear airstair. At the time, the aircraft was flying at night through weather en route from Seattle for Reno at approximately
10,000 feet as directed by the hijacker. He was never found. Marla Cooper says she's working on a book on the subject and her memories have come rushing back over the past few years.
Marla Cooper says her family lost touch with her uncle L.D. in 1972 one year after the famous hijacking. She says she recently remembered her family planning something prior to the hijacking,
seeing her uncle (badly injured) shortly after the hijacking and being told by her father never to talk about the event. She says she called the FBI two years ago and has since passed a lengthy lie
detector test, which may suggest that she believes what she's saying. The niece supplied an old guitar strap worn by her uncle to the FBI for DNA testing. She told CNN Wednesday that, to her
knowledge, the FBI had been unable to retrieve any relevant evidence from the strap. For the FBI's part, they have not yet been able to rule out the possibility that L.D. Cooper was D.B. Cooper or
if he was completely unconnected to the event.
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Officials have ceased all flight and ground operations for the Joint Strike Fighter after the integrated power package (IPP) on a U.S. Air Force variant test aircraft failed, Tuesday, during a
ground maintenance run at Edwards Air Force Base. No injuries were reported as a result of the unit's failure and developers are working to source the cause. The particular aircraft is an AF-4, which
is a conventional takeoff and landing version of the multi-role aircraft. The IPP combines functions performed by an auxiliary power unit, emergency power system and environmental controls. It's
failure isn't the only electrical problem to ground F-35s this year.
The cessation or limiting of specific operations during the test program is not particularly unusual, but putting a halt to ground operations is less common. Overall, the F-35 is ahead of its
latest schedule, which was put in place in January. The F-35 has previously suffered delays this year. In March the fleet was grounded due to a dual generator failure on this same test aircraft. In
June, the Navy's F-35C variant was grounded due to a software problem that could have caused the control surfaces to freeze in flight. In both cases, the problem was sourced and resolved, and aircraft
were returned to testing shortly thereafter. Developers are aiming for a similar result now.
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AOPA, GAMA, and Garmin added their comments to a roster of more than 2,700 on Monday to protest FCC plans that would allow LightSquared to broadcast over frequencies that would interfere with GPS
signals. Garmin said the "laws of physics prevent the results LightSquared desires," adding that "no workable filters currently exist" that would eliminate the problems with LightSquared interference.
AOPA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association issued a joint commentary, strongly urging the FCC to rescind the conditional waiver it granted to LightSquared. "The evidence is clear:
LightSquared's proposal puts the entire GPS system at risk," said AOPA President Craig Fuller in a news release. A recent FAA report also showed that the LightSquared plan would cost the aviation
sector $70 billion over the next 10 years, and would "severely impact" NextGen.
The FAA assessment, according to The Wall Street Journal, also said
LightSquared's plan could hurt U.S. leadership in international aviation by eroding confidence in commitments made to ICAO to maintain the GPS system's safety and availability. "Study after study has
shown that LightSquared's plan is simply 'incompatible' with GPS," said AOPA's Fuller. "At the same time, the company's proposed solutions rely heavily on technology that doesn't exist. That's why we
are joining with GAMA to ask the FCC to revoke LightSquared's waiver immediately, and to begin a rulemaking process that will protect the integrity of the GPS system into the future." The full text of
all comments to the FCC regarding LightSquared can be found online at the FCC web site; insert
Proceeding Number 11-109 to reach the list.
Reports are trickling in that visitors to EAA AirVenture last week were in a buying mood. Piper Aircraft spokesman Jackie Carlon told EAA the show was "fantastic." Leads were up 90 percent over the year before, according to Carlon, and the company
sold two twin-engine Seminole trainers, two Meridian turboprops, and took two orders for the Altaire jet. FlightDesign took 40 orders for its new four-seat fully certified C4 airplane, which isn't
even flying yet. "These orders reported are real product requests with money changing hands," said company spokesman John Gilmore. According to Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft
Manufacturing Association, other LSA manufacturers saw an uptick in sales, with a half dozen companies reporting two to six orders, and Icon taking about 50 deposits on delivery positions for its
"This was a vast improvement over 2010," Johnson wrote in his
blog. "I had easily 30 conversations [at AirVenture] revealing either outright positive successful results or varyingly robust mood indicators such as, 'Looks like aviation has life in it again.'
" In a show wrap-up, EAA President Rod Hightower said attendance for the week was 541,000, an increase of about 1.3 percent over 2010. "Opening day was a tremendously successful day, while Friday was
very close to a record and Saturday -- with the superb lineup and night airshow -- was a big draw. Only some rainy weather in the middle of the week prevented the increase from being even greater,"
Hightower said. Next year's show, the 60th annual fly-in, will feature a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Piper Cub and tributes to the Tuskegee Airmen, Van's Aircraft founder Dick
VanGrunsven, and Paul and Audrey Poberezny. Also, Hightower added, EAA will be working to "improve the visitor experience" by offering improved features and attractions, better ways to minimize dust
and mud, and new ways to manage traffic for fewer backups.
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A woman in Oklahoma says D. B. Cooper, the name associated with the man who hijacked a Boeing 727 40 years ago and parachuted out the airstair door, was her uncle and he died in 1999. What do you think?
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The debt deal may have avoided default, but the FAA is still without authorization for the same bloody minded, no-compromise reasoning. This time, the snit is over Essential Air Service. On the
AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli notes that Congress adjourned until after Labor Day with this issue left on the table and thousands without jobs as a result.
Our AirVenture coverage included a podcast interview with Dennis Maxwell, whose new book, The Great Eclipse, details the
most costly business failure in general aviation history: The bankruptcy of Eclipse Aviation. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli reviews the book and offers his own views on Eclipse's
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