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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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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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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.
AeroExpo UK: 25-27 May 2012 AviationExpo Europe: 22-24 June 2012 Established, proven, and successful! The exhibitions to attend in the U.K. and in Europe, whether you are interested in learning to fly or are already a pilot and want to view the latest
products available! Showcasing all sections of the market, including the latest aircraft available from light aircraft or pistons and turboprops from all the major manufacturers to
gliders and power gliders; AeroExpo UK at Sywell Aerodrome (EGBK) and AviationExpo Europe at Bitburg Airport (EDRB) has them covered!
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 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.
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."
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.
Sport-Aviation-Expo.com for details.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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?
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.
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!
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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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:
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Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
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Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
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Contributors Kevin Lane-Cummings Jeff Van West
Advertising Director, Associate Publisher Tom Bliss
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