AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 4a

January 23, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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FAA Reauthorization Really Happening? back to top 
 
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FAA Reauthorization Compromised Reached (?)

A compromise on an arcane bit of labor law will likely result in a long-term reauthorization bill approval in the next month or so. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have struck a deal that will require a public hearing if the National Mediation Board wants to make changes to the Railway Act to make it easier for airline employees to unionize. The Washington Post's explanation is here.

Assuming the two leaders are correct, the resulting long-term funding will avoid a repeat of the partial shutdown of the FAA that occurred last July and allow work to commence on things like NextGen, major airport construction projects and the like. However, neither Boehner or Reid is guaranteeing the railway/union/airline compromise can be resolved in time for the expiration of the FAA's 22nd temporary funding extension at the end of January.

 
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Coverage of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2012 back to top 
 

Sebring Breaks Attendance Records

click for photos

Sport Aviation Expo officials say this year's show has set attendance records. Although no figures were released, sunshine and warm temperatures in Sebring drew significant crowds. At least one exhibitor reported brisk sales. Renegade Aircraft said it sold at least three aircraft at the show. The weather also boosted fly-in traffic and the normally sleepy central Florida airport was among the nation's busiest for a couple of hours on Saturday.

"There were 1,256 operations on Saturday and 1,091 operations on Friday. Total operations on Friday and Saturday were greater than any airport in the state of Florida," said Bert Simpson, the FAA's staff manager for that area of Florida. "Over 200 operations took place in the first two hours on Saturday alone. That's the same as Atlanta Hartsfield or Chicago O'Hare."

Click for photos.

 
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to be Debated in the Middle East

The successful Legal Aviation Workshop (LAW) on Aircraft Leasing and Financing is returning to Dubai in 2012 in order to address legal issues and answer critical questions. The workshop will cover themes such as Principles of Contract Law, Operating Leases ("Dry"), Aircraft Finance, Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance ("Wet") Leases, and Aviation Insurance. A practical exercise is included in order for the participants to debate the results of the day. Click here to learn more and register.
 
Light Sport to Get a Little Less "Light"? back to top 
 

LSA Weight Increases For Safety Equipment?

Weight increases for light sport aircraft may be intended to allow for the installation of safety equipment, like ballistic parachutes, without affecting payload. Whether the weight increase will open legacy trainers like the Cessna 150 and 152 to be included in the category, as many people have suggested since the category was created in 2008, is not clear. In a podcast interview at Light Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA), told AVweb the weight increase proposal, which is at the earliest stage of internal discussions at the FAA, may be compensation for a joint proposal by EAA and AOPA to the FAA to relax medical requirements for pilots of certified aircraft with no more than 180 horsepower. Many in the light sport sector were surprised and angered by the proposal when it was announced last fall, particularly because there was a lack of consultation, Johnson said. The weight increase idea could be a sign that respect for light sport is growing, Johnson said.

He said the industry is maturing and has shown it is able to recognize and fix some of the self-regulation issues that have arisen in the eight years since light sport was enacted. That, he said, has boosted the sector's credibility. LSA, like other aviation sectors, is feeling the economic pinch and that was evident from a noticeable decline in exhibitors at Sebring. Johnson said companies that didn't display this year are not necessarily out of business but may be dormant. Most are small businesses that have that kind of flexibility, he said. Meanwhile, the market continues to be dominated by a handful of manufacturers and Johnson doesn't see that changing. The result could be further rationalization of the crowded field of light sport offerings.

Hightower On Weight Increase, New Pilots

The FAA has opened "a dialogue" about increasing the maximum weight for light sport aircraft as a safety measure, Rod Hightower, the president of EAA, said Thursday. In answer to a question following a speech at the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, Hightower stressed the preliminary nature of the FAA's consideration of the idea but he did acknowledge the idea is being floated internally at the FAA. In a later podcast interview, he called it an "interesting" opportunity to possibly enhance flight safety but he also said it hadn't reached the "discussion" stage. In the speech he told about 200 LAMA members that EAA is refocusing to concentrate on its core mandates, including renewed energy at the chapter level and encouraging new pilot starts.

Among the initiatives on pilot starts is a new relationship with Boy Scouts of America to get more involvement in the Young Eagles program. He also called the current system of private pilot flight training a failure in that 80 percent of student pilots don't get their pilot certificates. He said the new Eagle Flight program for adults will target those who have long harbored the dream of flying and now have the personal circumstances to pursue it. He said the average late-bloomer student is certificated within 18 months and buys an airplane within 24 months.

AVweb Insider Blog: LSA Weight Limits — Is Higher Better?

Raising the 1,320-pound light sport aircraft weight limit is again being discussed. It's far from any action stage, but it's not clear exactly what the benefit is, other than to include in the LSA umbrella some additional legacy airplanes. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines the pros and cons.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Fuller Updates Us on Third-Class Medical Reform back to top 
 

Medical Proposal Likely Delayed: Fuller

A joint initiative by EAA and AOPA to convince the FAA to offer medical certificate exemptions for certain limited GA operations will likely be delayed while the agency looks for a new administrator. In a town-hall meeting speech at Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring on Friday, AOPA President Craig Fuller said former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt's resignation after a drunk-driving charge means the medical proposal will likely be shelved for a few months until a new administrator has been named and is up to speed. The joint proposal would exempt pilots flying day VFR in aircraft with not more than 180 horsepower from the third-class medical requirement. In a podcast interview, Fuller said he would support an increase in the maximum weight for light sport aircraft that is in the very earliest stages of consideration by the FAA. EAA President Rod Hightower, in response to a question from the floor, discussed the potential of a weight increase, for safety purposes, during his speech to the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) dinner on Thursday. Fuller also dropped some hints about the direction AOPA will be headed to improve student pilot retention.

Fuller will lay out the full program in a Web address next week but he told the crowd in Sebring some issues stand out after AOPA's two-year investigation of the abysmal success rate for student pilots. Less than 30 percent of those who start flying lessons get their certificates. Instructor professionalism and the training environment will undoubtedly be addressed (possibly by way of an incentive program) and there will likely be efforts announced to bolster the sense of community among pilots; Fuller mentioned flying clubs in that context. He also said he does not expect implementation of the $100-per-leg user fee for turbine aircraft in the election year but he does expect it to come up in 2013 when the new administration is in place.

Podcast: Medical Waiver Proposal Delayed

File Size 5.3 MB / Running Time 5:45

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The sudden departure of FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has thrown a wrench into EAA and AOPA's proposal for a waiver of medical requirements for those who fly certain aircraft day VFR. AOPA President Craig Fuller spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

Click here to listen. (5.3 MB, 5:45)

 
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More Podcasts from Sebring back to top 
 

Podcast: Hightower at Sebring

File Size 4.1 MB / Running Time 4:30

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

EAA President Rod Hightower keynoted the Sport Aviation Expo opening dinner Thursday and touched on EAA's strategic realignment, new pilot promotion initiatives, and the FAA's internal dialogue about a possible weight gain for light sport aircraft. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

Click here to listen. (4.1 MB, 4:30)

Podcast: LSA Earning Respect

File Size 7.6 MB / Running Time 8:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The Light Sport sector has been around for seven years and is earning a respected place in the general aviation industry according to Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA). He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

Click here to listen. (7.6 MB, 8:15)

Podcast: Haim Aviation's Retro LSA

File Size 3.6 MB / Running Time 4:21

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The LSA market doesn't lack for choice, and walking the line at Sebring, one show-goer told us they sort of all look alike. With a few exceptions, that's probably true. But one that definitely doesn't look like the rest is The Sam from Haim Aviation. It's a fast-build E-LSA kit powered by a Rotax that has a funky 1930s retro look, complete with a greenhouse canopy and art deco wheel pants. In this podcast, Haim's Thierry Zibi gave us the rundown on this new project.

Click here to listen. (3.6 MB, 4:21)

 
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Keeping Cool in Your Light Sport Airplane back to top 
 

Air Conditioning For LSAs

A Charlotte company has developed a lightweight air conditioning system that could find applications in a broad range of light aircraft. Corbi Air President Ron Corbi said that when he started flying the Alto Light Sport aircraft his company represents, he immediately recognized the need. "I wanted air conditioning and I was told it wasn't available so I decided to find it myself," he told AVweb. The answer came from a Colorado company that put together a 22-pound system that will fit most light sport and experimental aircraft.

The system is all-electric and puts out 7,000 BTUs of cooling power, about the same as a medium-sized room air conditioner. It gets around the high start-up loads of a big compressor motor in a clever way. There are three small compressors that draw a total of about 30 amps at 24 or 28 volts DC. On experimentals with conventional or automotive engines that means a beefed-up alternator. On those using Rotax engines, it means a secondary alternator. Corbi said the system is available for home builders and there are some light sport OEMs looking at it as an ASTM-certified option for factory-built LSAs. Certified aircraft owners have also expressed interest and Corbi said he's looking at the potential to TSO the system for bigger aircraft.

Video: Corbi Air Conditioning System

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

The common wisdom in aviation is that air conditioning is heavy. Corbi Aviation has proven that effective air conditioning can come in a package that's light enough (22-35 pounds, depending on application) to use in light sport aircraft. The system was on display at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

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.

 
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More Video from Sebring back to top 
 

Video: Vans RV-12

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

One of the most popular kitbuilt light sport aircraft is the Vans RV-12. Ken Scott took AVweb through the airplane at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

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: Allegro Comes to the U.S.

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

Most light sport aircraft are made in Eastern Europe, but there's a slight trend to bring these airplanes to the U.S. for manufacture. One of the companies at the fore of that trend is Allegro. At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, AVweb talked to the company about its plans.

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: The FK12 Comet Biplane

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

One thing the light sport aircraft industry doesn't have much of is biplanes and aerobats. But the F12 Comet is both. At the Sport Aivation Expo in Sebring, AVweb talked to Mike Hansen of Hansen Air Group about this German-designed East European import. Besides being the rare aerobatic LSA, it will soon be getting Lycoming's new AEIO-233, a fully aerobatic powerplant.

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.

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Red Tails -- Not Awful, But Not Great, Either

George Lucas intended Red Tails to feel like a movie shot during the 1940s. He got the hokey dialog part right, but at the expense of really telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. Still, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, it's worth a trip to the theater to see.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Bighorn Airways (KSHR, Sheridan, Wyoming)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Bighorn Airways at Sheridan County Airport (KSHR) in Sheridan, Wyoming.

AVweb reader Nick Tarasiuk recommended the FBO:

We arrived here on January 14, a cold windy night, [and] were guided in and greeted and tied down by Isaiah Bothamley. He pointed out an electrical outlet that we could use to keep our engine warm, then called a shuttle out to pick us up and take us to a nearby Holiday Inn hotel. He let us know that this particular hotel had special rates for Bighorn and got us an incredible rate. In the morning, when we arrived at the FBO, our aircraft had been serviced and was ready to go. All this was done with friendly smiles from everyone. Great job!

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 
 

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.

 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Whitted Ground:
"N12345, clear of the active, taxi to the Hangar Restaurant."

N12345:
"345 cleared to the restaurant via 'Bravo.'"

Whitted Ground:
"They're featuring five dollar hamburgers today."

N12345:
"Five dollars? I thought it was a hundred-dollar hamburger!"

Whitted Ground:
"For you, it's a hundred dollars. For me, it's five dollars."


Michael J. McCarthy
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.