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|Follow the Flying Ball Into the Future of
FLYING SPHERE UAV (WITH VIDEO)
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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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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FINDS HOPE IN SALES TRENDS
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.
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AIRLINES LAUNCH WITH BIOFUEL
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...
PHOTO WINS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC GRAND PRIZE
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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ARROWS PILOT DIES IN EJECTION ACCIDENT (CORRECTED)
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
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A BIRD? FAA NEEDS TO KNOW
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...
OF THE WEEK: AIRPLANE VS. WILDLIFE
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...
Fly More for
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.
Click for the resource page.
GA FLIGHT TRAINING EXPERIMENT BEGINS
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...
FACES PILOT TRAINING GAP
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...
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's
no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter,
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
Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb
subscriptions today by clicking
here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."
Get Them While They're
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AMERICAN CHAMPION FACTORY TOUR
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.
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
OF THE WEEK: MILLION AIR FBO (BOB HOPE AIRPORT, BURBANK,
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:
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
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
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Comments or questions
about the news should be sent
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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