AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 41

October 13, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Will The California Avgas Case Go to Court? back to top 

Judge's Ruling On Avgas Expected Soon

A federal judge in California has asked for more information before deciding whether to dismiss a case affecting the sale of avgas in California, the National Air Transportation Association reported this week. In a hearing last week in Fresno, Judge Anthony Ishii requested additional briefings to be filed by Wednesday before ruling on a motion to dismiss the case. His decision is expected within a week. The case was brought by a coalition of California FBOs and avgas distributors, who have asked the court to derail a suit brought by the Center for Environmental Health over the sale of leaded avgas.

The CEH said in May it intended to file suit in California state court in an effort to stop the sale of avgas in the state. The CEH later said if the sale of avgas didn't stop, the FBOs and distributors should provide warnings to nearby residents and anyone passing near the airport that the lead emitted by piston-engine aircraft "causes cancer and reproductive toxicity," NATA said. The CEH also called for payment of civil penalties as high as $1.3 billion per company. A coalition of the companies named by the CEH have asked the federal court to stop the CEH from continuing its suit because it would contradict federal laws, but CEH has asked the court to dismiss their case. If the court denies the motion to dismiss, a hearing will be held in Fresno on Oct. 26 to argue the merits of the avgas coalition's case, NATA said. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Eric Byer and Andy Steinberg, from NATA, about the avgas suit back in July; click here for that podcast.

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Naval Drone Hits a New Benchmark back to top 

Navy's X-47B Drone Flies Gear Up

The Navy's project to develop a tailless drone that can take off and land from ships at sea reached a milestone recently when the X-47B test aircraft retracted its landing gear and flew in cruise configuration for the first time. The successful test took place at Edwards Air Force Base in California on September 30, the Navy said this week. "Reaching this critical test point demonstrates the growing maturity of the air system, and its readiness to move to the next phase of flight testing," said Janis Pamiljans, program manager for Northrop Grumman. The project team aims to complete take-offs and landings from an aircraft carrier in 2013.

The recent flight was part of an ongoing envelope expansion program for the first of two X-47B aircraft produced by Northrop Grumman for the Navy's Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier Demonstration program. Envelope expansion flights are used to demonstrate aircraft performance under a variety of altitude, speed and fuel load conditions, according to Northrop Grumman's news release. The vehicle first flew in February, click here for AVweb's exclusive video of the event.

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Move Over, Howard Hughes (Pending Verification) back to top 

Reno Racer Beats Hughes Speed Record

Flying at 407 mph, Will Whiteside on Monday shattered a three-kilometer speed record that had previously been set by Howard Hughes in 1935 in his H1 racer, and which had since been broken only by the H1 racer replica, in 2002. Whiteside's Yak model 3U, which has been continuously refined over the last six years, beat the H1 replica's speed by 102 mph. The flight for the record speed over a three-kilometer closed course by a piston aircraft under 6,600 pounds was monitored by a representative of the National Aeronautic Association, but the result won't be official until it's vetted and accepted by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

Whiteside flew the course at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The Yak, which was built in Romania in 2005, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2000 7M2 piston engine. It was chosen for the record attempt, Whiteside said, because of its "significant power-to-weight design characteristics." Whiteside flew the airplane in this year's Reno Air Races.

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Barrington Irving's Flying Classroom back to top 

Phenom 100 To Promote Science Education

Embraer, together with philanthropist Fabio Alexander, announced this week at the NBAA convention that it will provide a Phenom 100 business jet to Barrington Irving's Experience Aviation educational program for use as a flying classroom. Irving will fly the jet around the world while engaging students via live video feed and encouraging them to pursue education in science, technology, engineering, and math. Students also will learn about history, geography, weather, and culture. The project will reach more than one million students around the world, according to Embraer.

Embraer said its commitment to education and its involvement with Experience Aviation will include continuing support as Irving utilizes the aircraft for his flying classroom and ultimately the global flight in 2013. Irving first flew around the world in 2007, in 97 days, becoming the youngest person, at 23, and the first African American pilot to complete the trip solo. "This is a great example of how business aircraft are used to advance our society and enhance quality of life around the world," said Ernest Edwards, president of Embraer Executive Jets. "[These aircraft] can inspire and excite our emerging generations and motivate them to pursue a future in STEM disciplines."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Yellville Turkey Drop -- FAA Is on the Case

When the FAA said it's going after pilots for dropping live turkeys in Yellville, Arkansas, we couldn't resist a blog on the topic. After all, how often do you get to use "Les Nessman" in a keyword search string? Paul Bertorelli has the hijinks in his latest post to the AVweb Insider.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: NBAA Notebook -- The Politics of Excess

As of Press Day, the NBAA Convention had adapted well to its 2011 setting -- Las Vegas, the showy capital of excess. But what happens at NBAA may not stay in Vegas, as celebrity and politics share the spotlight in a show of such theatricality that editor-in-chief Russ Niles had to post to the AVweb Insider blog about it.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Garmin's New aera 796 Isn't an iPad Killer -- And Vice Versa

Garmin's new mega GPS, the aera 796, is a tour de force. But an iPad killer? Not quite. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli analyzes why there's likely to be a market for both of these devices (or ones like them) for a long time.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Piaggio P.180 Avanti II

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One of the most unusual-looking aircraft flying and shown at the static display during the 2011 NBAA convention in Las Vegas, the Avanti II is an all-Italian twin-turboprop airplane. Manufacturer Piaggio Aero says the Avanti II offers superior speed per horsepower and larger interior cabin dimensions than its competition in the turboprop segment.

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Looking Back on NBAA back to top 

Question of the Week: NBAA's Top Story

We've just wrapped up our coverage of the 2011 NBAA Convention in Las Vegas, and now we'd like to hear from you.

What do think the big news out of NBAA was?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

What's On Your Mind?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to .

NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Henriksen Jet Center (KEDC, Pflugerville, TX)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Henriksen Jet Center at Austin Executive Airport (KEDC) in Pflugerville, Texas.

AVweb reader William Mills visited KEDC on a trip with his his daughter this summer and had a great experience:

Austin Executive Airport ... was nearly as conveniently located to where we needed to go as any other airport, and the brand-new facilities looked very nice and offered the services we would need. When we arrived (on a day that was already quite warm and promised to get much hotter), we were met on the taxiway by a "follow me" cart and led to parking underneath their large covered awning, just like the big boys. We were marshalled in by several linemen, and when we shut down and got out, our rental car was beside the airplane, running and air conditioning fired up. [Their] facilities are amazing, with a genuine Rolls Royce Olympus turbojet engine (from a Concorde) in the lobby. When we arrived back for departure, they took an air-conditioning cart out to the airplane and had it cooling down the inside -- definitely much appreciated. [The] entire staff was extremely friendly and couldn't do enough to make our stay as pleasant and comfortable as they could. Definitely will revisit [when] going back to Austin.

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!

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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.

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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
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.

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