AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 2b

January 12, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! LSA Buyers Between Scylla and Charybdis back to top 
 
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Aviation Consumer: LSA Shoppers Face Financing Challenges

Shoppers in the market for a light sport aircraft have lots of choices, but according to a report in the February issue of Aviation Consumer, those choices get thin when it comes to finding a loan. "The LSA industry is stuck in a Catch-22," the report found, "where low volume of sales hinders financing, but the impediments to financing hinder sales volume." The impact of the credit crunch is widely variable. Well-qualified buyers are most likely to find financing for well-known LSA models that can show a track record of holding their value. But the report concludes that financing for less-common models or commercial use is virtually unavailable.

Phil Solomon, CEO of Tecnam North America, told Aviation Consumer his sales were cut in half because flight school operators couldn't get loans. Cessna, however, eliminates that obstacle by providing its own financing. In fact, three out of four Skycatchers financed by Cessna are for flight schools. Some specialty LSA manufacturers, like Cub Crafters, sidestep the issue by appealing to buyers who can write a check for a $165,000 airplane. While the picture is mixed for LSAs, Aviation Consumer found that overall, financing for aviation has been increasing, with one lender reporting a 30-percent rise in approvals in 2010 over the year before, and 18 percent more transactions.

 
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Watching the Watchmen back to top 
 

Domestic Drone Use Sparks Lawsuit

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Tuesday filed papers seeking to force the FAA to release information about use of drone aircraft and the identity of entities allowed to fly them inside the U.S. above an altitude of 400 feet. That specific kind of operation requires authorization from the FAA and as yet, the FAA has not made public any information regarding who has been granted the authorizations and how those recipients are using approved aircraft. Last April, the EFF sought records through the Freedom of Information Act and says it has not seen a response from either the FAA or the larger DOT. The use of drones in surveillance of U.S. citizens is not theoretical, according to at least one report.

The EFF's lawsuit specifically cites law enforcement's use of those drones in "at least two dozen surveillance flights since June," as reported by the Los Angeles Times. The suit has prompted public support from Jane Harman, former chair of the House Homeland Security Intelligence subcommittee. "There is no question that this could become something that people will regret," Harman told theHill.com. The EFF believes the public "needs to know more about how and why" drones are employed in surveillance of U.S. citizens. Drone use has been on the rise militarily, but also domestically as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has started to employ use of the vehicles and currently operates eight Predator Bs. It is the reported loaning out of those drones for local police activities that has drawn the most public scrutiny.

 
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Chicago's Potential Runway Incursion back to top 
 

Midway Controller Clears 737 Into Path Of Learjet (Audio)

File Size 2.1 MB / Running Time 2:14

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Audio has been released of an event that took place at Chicago Midway Airport and appears to show that Midway tower controllers cleared a Southwest 737 to cross a runway into the path of a jet that was taking off. The event involved Southwest Flight 844, a Boeing 737, and a Learjet. Together, the two aircraft carried 85 people. According to the NTSB, "Air traffic control did not cancel the takeoff clearance of the (Learjet) nor direct the (Southwest plane) to hold short of Runway 31R," the Washington Post reported. As the Southwest jet approached the intersection, its crew spotted the Lear on its departure roll. The Southwest crew stopped short and "the thing went right over our head." The NTSB calculated separation at 287 feet with the Lear passing 62 feet overhead. The Southwest crew then called the tower and may have gotten a response they were not expecting.

Click here to listen. (2.1 MB, 2:14)

 
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Click here to learn more about both shows.
 
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Hawker Beech Ramps Up Fight With Air Force

Hawker Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture vowed the company will fight vigorously to overturn an Air Force decision to exclude its AT-6B from the bidding for a light air support platform. "We won't go away quietly," Boisture said in an interview. In a podcast interview with AVweb he said his company has sold hundreds of aircraft to the Department of Defense and it has never handled a bid in the way the LAS competition was dealt with. He said the DOD constantly changed bid criteria and processes without properly notifying Hawker Beechcraft and finally excluded the AT-6B from the competition days before awarding the deal to Embraer and its Super Tucano. Hawker Beechcraft has filed suit in Federal Claims Court alleging the bid was mishandled by the DOD.

Boisture said the case will be heard by the end of March. In the meantime, the Air Force has halted work on the LAS project. Air Force officials say they're confident the bid was handled appropriately and that the Super Tucano is a superior aircraft. It appears the issue could become a political football in Washington as lawmakers prepare to head back to the capital after a shortened Christmas break. Boisture said Hawker Beechcraft is gathering political support not only from the Kansas delegation but from politicians in other areas concerned about the jobs that could be threatened by Hawker Beechcraft's loss of the contract.

Bombardier Wichita Expansion Announced

Bombardier formally announced expansion plans for its Wichita facilities Tuesday, saying it will add about 450 jobs as it ramps up for production of the Learjet 85. At a news conference, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said he said the state was providing $16 million in incentives toward the expansion, which will start with a $52.7 million for paint, preflight and delivery facilities. The city and county governments in Wichita are chipping in $1 million each. That's in addition to the $600 million the company has already sunk into development and infrastructure for the Learjet 85.

In the future, Bombardier says it will add engineering, flight test and information technology facilities. "We want to build lots of airplanes here," said Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft. "Bombardier as a company is very, very happy here." The Learjet 85 is Bombardier's first composite design and was announced in 2007. First deliveries are expected in 2013.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

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."

 
U.S. Sport Aviation Expo || Sebring, FL || January 19-22, 2012
Sebring Regional Airport Hosts U.S. Sport Aviation Expo!
January 19-22 get ready to see what's new in the LSA world. Conventional aircraft, kitplanes, powered parachutes, trikes, gyros, amphibians, and innovative designs such as electrically powered aircraft — 150+ aircraft on display. Plus demonstration flights, educational forums, food and wine pairing events, a live aircraft auction, and more. Visit Sport-Aviation-Expo.com for details.
 
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

Question of the Week: Are Air Shows Safe Enough?

The NTSB held hearings this week to take the temperature of the industry and the authorities on the safety of air shows. What do you think?

Are air shows safe enough?
(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.)

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Cirrus Parachute -- A Successful Failure?

The full airframe Cirrus CAPS system by BRS has definitely saved lives. When deployed properly, it seems to work as advertised. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli points out that it hasn't been successful enough to have given the Cirrus aircraft anything other than a barely average safety record. Why not?

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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New on AVweb.com back to top 
 

Forty-Seven Years in Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 9: Strategic Air Command, Part 1

Finally joining the Air Force's Strategic Air Command, Dick Taylor and his wife move to Florida, and Dick begins training in air-refueling techniques in the KC-97 Stratotanker.

Click here to read the ninth chapter.

 
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Orzel Aviation Services (St. Clair Airport, Port Huron, MI)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" is Orzel Aviation Services at St. Clair County International Airport (PHN) in Port Huron, Michigan.

AVweb reader Hella Comat explains how the Orzel team bent over backward to make a recent visit outstanding:

Sue and Rick at Orzel couldn't have been more helpful or friendlier. They were able to arrange overnight hangarage, accept a shipped parcel for me, find out about taxi services, and generally be as accommodating as possible on my recent stop there. Thanks so much!

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!

 
Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video: Got an Oily Hangar Floor? This Stuff Can Spruce It Up

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

Many of us dream of a gleaming gray expoxy-coated hangar floor illuminated by the glare of bright lights. But most of us actually have oil-stained concrete, dingy from years of abuse. If your floor is stained badly, a product called ReKrete can help improve it. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli demonstrates the product in this brief video.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: F-106 Corn Field Bomber, Convair Delta Dart

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

This is an unusual story. The jet you're looking at is an F-106 Delta Dart. A storied interceptor in its day, it was built to exceed an Air Force requirement for 1.9 mach and continuous flight at 57,000 feet. It did both. And in December 1959, it set a speed record, of 1,525 mph, or about 2.3 mach, while flying at 40,000 feet. Its pilot at the time, Major Joseph Rogers, claimed the record might not be accurate. He was still accelerating, he said, at the time.

But this particular jet is famous for a different reason.

As the story goes, the aircraft you see here on February 2, 1970 flew itself into the ground -- a snowy field in Montana, where its engine continued to run for another hour and 45 minutes. Grounded, pilotless and still under power, with its radar still sweeping, the jet sometimes crept forward foot by foot through the snow as a small collection of onlookers watched. Its pilot, 1st Lieutenant Gary Foust, had ejected roughly two hours before that show was over. Foust's trip was just as interesting. He'd lost control of the jet while flying a mock engagement that led his and two other jets into harsh maneuvers in the thin, unforgiving air at 38,000 feet. Attempting to match a high-g reversal by another pilot, Foust's jet bucked. He entered a flat spin, and the jet fell, spinning slowly like a model on a turntable. The flight's two other pilots came to his aid, calling out recovery procedures. But by 15,000 feet the result seemed certain, and an instructor in one of the other jets ordered Foust to eject. Foust obeyed.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and it could be it's that law that saved the jet. As Foust shot up, the jet's condition changed -- just enough for it to recover on its own and head off for the horizon. Legend has it that one of the observing pilots said on frequency, "Gary, you better get back in."

In the end, the jet was recovered, rebuilt and put back to work as tail number 80787. But it was forever known as the Corn Field bomber. Delta Darts were phased out in the 1980s.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

I heard this on a recent trip into New York's JFK Airport:

Air Carrier:
"Kennedy tower, how do you read?"

Kennedy Tower:
"Usually from left to right."


Keith F. Lauder
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 twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Advertising Director, Associate Publisher
Tom Bliss

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.