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Volume 17, Number 45b
November 10, 2011
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Follow the Flying Ball — Into the Future of UAVs?back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Legal Aspects of Aircraft Lease Agreements 
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The Japanese Defense Ministry unveiled at a trade show the latest version of a small unmanned spherical aircraft that can take off with vertical thrust, fly horizontally, and roll controlled across the ground. It has also demonstrated (on video) that it can maintain its position in space autonomously, while being batted at with a hand. The vehicle was constructed from about $1,400 in parts including carbon panels and foam, lithium batteries, a video camera and transmitter, plus electric motor. It is gyro-stabilized, can fly up to 37 miles per hour and easily negotiates obstacles like windows and enclosed stairwells. The latest model is the evolution of a series of prototypes (the seventh flew for the first time this summer). As with many current electric flying innovations, the vehicle is so far limited by a flight duration -- in this case, less than ten minutes. The Japan Defense Ministry hopes further development with produce an able search and rescue, intelligence and reconnaissance tool. Click through to watch what it can do in those ten minutes. More...

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Battle of the Band(width)sback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
AeroExpo || 25-27 May in Sywell, UK || 
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A coalition of GPS manufacturers told the FCC Tuesday that there is still no reason to think that LightSquared's use of frequencies to provide broadband will not impair GPS signals as LightSquared expands its plans. According to the coalition, "there has been no suggestion that there will ever be an effective way to mitigate interference from its [LightSquared's] use of the upper 10 MHz without seriously degrading GPS performance." LightSquared has claimed that solutions exist for mitigating interference from use of a lower 10 MHz band. The coalition contends that claim has yet to be demonstrated and tested and that LightSquared has plans to move beyond that range, anyway. Meanwhile, an announcement Wednesday shows that LightSquared is doing anything but backing off of its plans. More...

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Mining Sense from Statisticsback to top 

Despite this week's GAMA report showing a continuing decline in sales of GA aircraft, both Piper and Cirrus said they found some positive trends in the data. Piper noted in a news release that its delivery numbers have increased in each quarter this year, and revenues are up 19 percent compared to the first three quarters of 2010. Piper delivered 26 airplanes in the first quarter, followed by 33 and 34 deliveries in the next two quarters. Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons said his company recently completed 20 airplanes that are now on their way to China for delivery, and if those had been counted in the GAMA data, Cirrus would have shown an increase over the third quarter last year -- from 61 deliveries to 68. The light sport aircraft segment also recently reported third-quarter delivery numbers. More...

Hartzell Aircraft Starters || 
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Lycoming & Continental Aircraft Starters: Aviation-Manufactured, OEM-Endorsed, & Factory-Installed — For Over 20 Years
TCM supplier Hartzell Engine Technologies introduces the zero back torque M-Drive starter — the best lightweight starter designed to start even the hardest-cranking large-bore TCM engines while safely disengaging from the starter adapter. Lycoming-chosen E-Drive starters from Hartzell Engine Technologies are unaffected by kick-backs, saving hours of service time and replacement costs along with the best warranty available — two-year unlimited!

More on Hartzell Engine Technologies' aircraft starters ...
News Briefsback to top 

Both Continental and Alaska Airlines this week are launching their first passenger flights powered by biofuel. On Monday, a Continental Boeing 737-800 flew the first biofuel-powered commercial flight in the U.S., from Houston to Chicago, burning a blend of 40 percent algae-derived biofuel. United, the parent company of Continental, said it intends to buy 20 million gallons of the algae fuel per year, starting in 2014. Alaska Airlines said it will power 75 flights with a 20-percent biofuel blend, starting this week. More...

From 6,000 photos submitted to a National Geographic photo contest, the grand prize this week went to an aerial shot of two aerobatic aircraft, shot by Evan Peers of San Carlos, Calif. "Sean Tucker and his son, Eric, were flying a photo shoot with Sean's new Challenger III biplane in Salinas last May," Peers told AVweb on Wednesday. "He had space in his Seneca photo plane and invited me to come along." Peers, an avid airshow fan and amateur photographer, had met Tucker at a local event. For the grand prize, Peers got to choose a trip for two from National Geographic Expeditions, and he and his wife will spend 12 days in the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan. More...

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More Info on Red Arrows Accidentback to top 

For the second time this year a pilot in the RAF's Red Arrows air demonstration team has been killed in an accident, but in Tuesday's mishap it appears the aircraft never left the ground. Early details are sketchy but it appears the pilot was killed when the ejection seat activated while the aircraft was parked at RAF Scampton, the team's home base. "It would be inappropriate to speculate on the cause of the incident until that inquiry is complete," Group Capt. Simon Blake told BBC News. "The investigation will determine the facts." In August a Red Arrows pilot died when his aircraft went down at the Bournemouth Air Festival. More...

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Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Natural Aviatorsback to top 

General aviation operators and airports need to do a better job of reporting wildlife strikes, the FAA said this week. A recent study showed that out of more than 100,000 reports, only about 6,000 originated from GA operations, indicating a reporting gap. The agency hopes to improve those numbers by distributing 12,000 posters to GA airports that encourage reporting, and redesigning its wildlife-hazard website so it's easier to file the reports. The new posters also feature a Quick Response (QR) code for smartphone users. More...

Have you had any wildlife encounters with your airplane? The FAA thinks you're holding back on reports of contact with self-propelled FOD -- but you can tell us what you've hit.

Plus: This week's it's wildlife, but last week we asked if our readers had ever had any encounters with lasers shone at them from the ground; click through to see the breakdown of answers. More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals 
in Aviation
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Can extensive use of simulators really reduce training times and costs? Redbird Flight Simulations and King Schools hope to prove it can with the opening of Redbird Skyport this today. In a podcast interview, Jerry Gregoire, president of Redbird, said the FBO and flight school is also a laboratory to test a new curriculum from King Schools that teaches everything in the simulator first. Once mastered in the sim, the student performs the lesson in the real airplane. The payoff, according to Gregoire, is a new private certificate in three weeks for a fixed cost of $9,500. Instrument and commercial certificates will be offered for the same price. More...

Related Content:

The 2011 China Airline Pilot Training Summit was held in Shanghai last Wednesday to address a looming pilot shortage. There are about 12,000 airline pilots in China. Up to 18,000 more are needed by 2015. The seven Chinese flight schools cannot meet such demand. The interim solution of sending students to train overseas is far from being ideal, according to airline representatives. The country's fast-growing general aviation sector, which claimed to have needed 15,000 pilots in 2011 alone, further escalates the shortage issue. Summit participants recognized that, rather than putting 250-hour graduates in airliners' right seats, it is a much better practice to have a pyramid hierarchy, where a large pilot population engages in Part 91 operations and proportionally moves up to careers in on-demand and air carrier services. More...


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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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

This Veterans Day, AVweb publisher Tim Cole invites you to chime in on the AVweb Insider blog and publicly thank an airman who defended freedom in the armed services. To kick things off, he has a special "thank you" for Capt. William L. Bacheler, author of the memoir Brave, Splendid Fools. Read more and join the conversation. More...

It's easy to take our aviation infrastructure for granted, but we'd miss it if it were gone. In her latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady explains how a little nurturing attention to the dull details of our aviation system can built a brighter future for everyone. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Even in an age when composite airplanes rule, the rag-and-tube taildragger still has a place in the market. In Rochester, Wisconsin, American Champion Aircraft still builds the airplanes the way they always have, but with a number of modern improvements. In this video, ACA owner Jerry Mehlhaff gives us a factory tour and tells us about some of ACA's models. More...

When the Aeronca Champion first appeared, it had 65 horsepower and was just fast enough to get out of its own way. Into what is a very similar airframe, American Champion has stuffed a 210hp Lycoming IO-390 to produce ACA's latest model, the Denali Scout. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently took a test flight in it, and here's his video report. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


On the electronic nomination form for "FBO of the Week," we often hear about operators who made visitors in small planes feel as important and some VIP or another — but this week's story takes the prize. AVweb reader Bruce Riter explains how the Million Air location at Bob Hope Airport (KBUR) in Burbank, California rolled out the red carpet for him when they clearly had other visitors to attend to as well:

We arrived at Million Air Burbank in our Cessna single just before a Presidential visit. We received the same VIP treatment as the celebrity visitors with their private jets and the Marine Corps One flight crew and security staff. The line crew brought our rental car to the aircraft and loaded baggage on arrival and departure. On departure day, the plane was ready to go within minutes after the ramp security was lifted. Thanks to all at Million Air Burbank for an unforgettable experience!

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 

Technical difficulties are holding up our latest batch of "Picture of the Week" photos, but they'll be back on Monday — and next week, we'll catch up with that double-shot we had planned for this week. Thanks for your patience! More...

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 What have you heard? More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.