AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 13a

March 26, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Save Up to $5,000 on a Rebuilt Engine from Lycoming
Two Great Ways to Keep Your Engine Up to Speed
Do you have a new engine core that's never been rebuilt or overhauled? Save up to $5,000 on a rebuilt engine. Do you have an original Lycoming factory engine that last left the factory as a new, rebuilt or overhauled engine? Save up to $1,900 on a new, rebuilt or overhauled engine. For complete details, call (800) 258‑3279 to find an authorized Lycoming Distributor near you or visit Lycoming.com.
Sun 'n Fun 2012 — Going Straight to the Source back to top 

New SNF Boss Refocuses Show

John "Lites" Leenhouts, who was named president of the Sun 'n Fun organization just last summer, has hit the ground running, with an abundance of energy and new ideas for this year's show. "I want all of our guests to leave here feeling inspired and educated, and with a plan for moving forward if they want an aviation career or to learn how to fly," Leenhouts told AVweb on Sunday in his new office, filled with memorabilia from his active aviation career. "I want all of them to become participants, not just observers." Leenhouts has been meeting with staff and volunteers to ensure everyone is focused on customer service. He also has scheduled a new event for the Sun 'n Fun campus on Nov. 9 and 10, called "When Pigs Fly," a weekend barbecue and fly-in paired with a motorcycle and car show.

Leenhouts also is working on more plans for the next five years, from an enhanced focus on education and career-building, to teaming up remote-control aircraft displays with military exhibits of unmanned aerial systems. "I've been an aviation enthusiast since I was a kid," Leenhouts said. As an F-18 pilot in the Navy, he set the record for most carrier landings, despite having been "scared to death" when he first started. Later, he took on various fundraising projects, managing flocks of volunteers, and worked for Northrop Grumman, where he learned about running a business. And for 30 years, he's been a visitor at Sun 'n Fun, camping under the wing of his Stearman, and experiencing the show from that perspective. "So it's as if I've been training for this job my whole life," he said.

Video: Sun 'n Fun Preview with J.R. 'Lites' Leenhouts

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

Lakeland, Florida and the 2012 Sun 'n Fun international fly-in and expo. AVweb staff is on location and got a preview with new Sun 'n Fun president and CEO John "Lites" Leenhouts. And from our off-camera conversations, we'll add thiss: If you get the chance to talk airplanes with Leenhouts, take it.

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Pilots Require a Different Approach
When It Comes to Buying Life Insurance

Just because you fly, don't overpay for life insurance. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center.

Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit PICLife.com.
The Future Offers Nothing If Not Possibilities back to top 

Unleaded Avgas: Why UL 91 Isn't "The" Answer

UL 91 is an unleaded avgas already powering aircraft engines in Europe and may within weeks be approved for use in a range of Lycoming engines, but it's unlikely you'll see it at your airport soon. AVweb spoke with Lycoming vice president Mike Kraft, who said the fuel is basically 100LL -- without the lead. In essence, any aircraft engine currently burning 100LL that is approved for operation on 80, 90 or 93 octane fuels can operate just as well burning UL 91. But 100LL supplies a one-product solution for a more complete range of engines. And that may be reason enough for distributors to balk at offering the product to users.

Today, of roughly 15,000 airports in the U.S., there are about 400 that offer a lower-octane fuel than 100LL, Kraft said. And for pilots who have opted to run high-grade auto fuels in engines compatible with lower octanes, ethanol requirements and other issues have caused concern. According to Kraft, "100 percent of our concerns with auto gas are addressed with UL 91." But engines that need 100LL will not be well-served by that product, and distributors would need reason to invest in changing their networks. In short, the availability of an unleaded fuel alternative for aircraft engines in the U.S. does not hinge on the approval of UL 91 alone. Other forces will be required to see that unleaded alternative made available at airports nationwide.

Related Content:

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Eye on China back to top 

Cessna Wants To Build Jets In China

Cessna announced today it intends to build business jets in China in a joint venture with Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) as part of a future plan to potentially build the entire Cessna line of aircraft in China. "The agreements together pave the way for a range of business jets, utility single-engine turboprops and single-engine piston aircraft to be manufactured and certified in China," Cessna said in a news release. Agreements were signed in China to negotiate a joint venture to build existing models of Cessna bizjets and to perhaps develop new models in the future at the China operations. Cessna also announced that it will negotiate with Chinese partners to develop an aircraft service network in China and other needed aviation infrastructure. "China recognizes general aviation offers the foundation to support its national air transportation needs for the future," CEO Scott Ernest said in a statement. "These agreements will help take the industry to the next level." It was not clear what, if any, impact the deal would have on Cessna's Kansas operations.

The announcement was made in advance of the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition (ABACE) and could very well herald an influx of joint ventures in China. As the aviation market shifts from traditional areas like North America and Europe, the industry is increasingly dependent on emerging markets like China for growth. China has made it clear that participation in its market by foreign companies will require investment by them in Chinese enterprises. Cessna has a manufacturing footprint in China. Its entry-level 162 Skycatcher LSA is built in China but assembled in Kansas.

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It's Cool — Is It an LSA? back to top 

French Amphib Seeks LSA Nod

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A French company says it's preparing to certify as an LSA an amphibious aircraft that can also be equipped with skis. The Akoya, developed by Lisa Aircraft, first flew in 2007 and has been flying regularly ever since, according to the company. Along the way, they say it has proved the validity of several design innovations, including a pair of seafoils that give it stability in the water and serve as the surface-tension-breaking mechanism for getting it unstuck on takeoff. The aircraft sports an electrically powered canopy, retractable gear and folding wings, but has a useful load of more than 500 pounds as an LSA, the company says.

Lisa says the aircraft will get airborne at 13 knots and reach the LSA-mandated speed limit of 120 knots with a range of up to 1,000 miles. It's powered by a tail-mounted Rotax 912 ULS in tractor configuration and there are plans for a hybrid version with solar cells on the wings and horizontal stab. The company says the aircraft owes its relatively light weight to the use of sandwich structures of foam core and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic along with aluminum and titanium for the metal parts. The company has not set a date for LSA certification.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Widow Sues Pilatus Over Butte Crash

The widow of a pilot killed along with 13 others, including seven children, in the crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in Butte, Mont., three years ago is suing the planemaker and others involved in the maintenance of the aircraft, even though the NTSB laid all the blame for the crash on the pilot. As we reported last year, the board found that pilot Bud Summerfield didn't add a fuel deicer to the aircraft tanks, as specified in the flight manual, after filling it up for a trip from Oroville, Calif., to Bozeman, Mont. It also blamed Summerfield for failing to divert sooner when he noticed a fuel imbalance and cited the resulting left-wing-heavy state of the plane as a factor when he tried to land in Butte. But in her suit, Janet Summerfield says the manufacturer and its maintainers were to blame.

The suit claims the design of he fuel system is faulty and that Martin Aviation failed to maintain the aircraft properly. Summerfield is seeking unspecified financial damages. The 13 passengers aboard the aircraft were on their way to a ski trip. The aircraft has seating for a maximum of nine passengers and two crew. The board concluded it was also overweight.

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'P' Is for 'Paper' ... and 'Pirates' back to top 

The 45-Foot Paper Airplane

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The Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, has built and Wednesday flew (sort of) a 45-foot-long paper airplane. The team included Art Thompson as lead engineer. Thompson's previous projects include work on the B2 Stealth Bomber, and he currently serves as technical director of the Red Bull Stratos Program. But the project also included insights from the 12-year-old winner of a "Great Paper Airplane Fly-Off" that took place in January, hosted by the museum. A first video of the flight, which followed tests of smaller versions, shows the aircraft pulled aloft tethered by a cable to a Sikorsky S-58DT. Once released, the aircraft appears to briefly fly in a condition similar to dutch roll before banking off sharply down and left.

Pirate Internet Site Threatens To Use Drones

The largest file-sharing website in the world, Pirate Bay, says it is considering the use of aerial drones in a scheme to elude regulatory efforts that might shut down the site over copyright concerns. The website provides a platform for users to share content that could include copyrighted software, video, music, and intellectual property, without payment to the copyright holder. Lawmakers have recently proposed legislation that could lead to the forceful shutdown of that kind of activity. And now Pirate Bay has announced it will consider the use of unmanned aircraft drones to serve as "low orbit server stations." The company says, "This way our machines will have to be shut down with aeroplanes in order to shut down the system. A real act of war."

In Pirate Bay's vision, the drones would carry miniature servers and broadcast continuously, providing a 100Mbps transfer rate over a range of 50km, sufficient for large files. The company lost a court battle in 2010 and was fined 46 million Swedish Kronors for copyright abuse. According to TorrentFreak.com, a site that follows news in the file-sharing community, Pirate Bay's plans might just be possible. The site says a group called "Project 'Electronic Countermeasures'" has built a swarm of five fully operational drones, which prove that an "aerial Napster" or an "airborne Pirate Bay" is not as futuristic as it sounds. One group, Tomorrow's Thoughts Today, says they've already built and programmed drones "to broadcast their own local Wi-Fi network as a form of aerial Napster. They swarm into formation, broadcasting their pirate network, and then disperse, escaping detection only to reform elsewhere."

International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP)
There Are as Many Ways to Teach Flying
as There Are Good Instructors

And each of these good instructors has developed special ways to guide students toward becoming safe and competent pilots instead of simply accumulating hours to a minimum standard. Until now, it has been too hard to share such personal techniques beyond the local flight line. The International Association of Flight Training Professionals is helping to change this. Click here to learn more.
Bird-Man Fever Was Only a 48-Hour Bug back to top 

Bird-Man Video Formally Resolved

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More than three million views later, the video that became a media magnet for showing a man flying under homemade flapping wings has been identified by its creator as a fabrication. Bird-Man Jarno Smeets said on a Dutch television show that he is in fact Floris Kaayk, a filmmaker and animator -- and not the inventor of a physically real and functional man-machine-powered ornithopter as presented in his viral videos. Translations of his admission included the phrases "online storytelling" and "an experiment about online media." 

Kaayk's project included blogs and video that followed his character Jarno Smeets through the process of building and ultimately flying a personal set of flapping wings. The videos were widely perceived as an apparent claim that the project was real and a successful flight had actually been made. As such, they ultimately prompted CGI, hang gliding, and certificated pilot community experts to dig into the task of attempting to verify or (mostly) contest that claim. Emails sent to Smeets by AVweb seeking comment went unanswered, as did those from Wired magazine, which published an article questioning Smeets' resume after finding "nobody knows him." One early player that presented the video as real, tech blog Gizmodo.com, later sought comment from Hollywood CGI experts who rather universally identified the video as well-crafted computer-manipulated imagery. But, until Kaayk's TV appearance, the admission was still missing. Kaayk's project was produced in collaboration with Revolver, a media production company, and Omroep NTL, according to FoxNews.com, which spoke with "sources in the Netherlands who have spoken to the filmmaker."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: 'United Front' Waters Down Advocacy

EAA, NBAA and AOPA are speaking as one on a number of issues. In hia latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles says it might be better for us all if they kept their distance and spoke with their own voices.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Space Tourism -- Does the Public Understand the Risks?

Almost certainly not, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. The FAA estimates space rides will be a billion-dollar business within a decade, and, inevitably, that will lead to the first accident. As long as the public understands that those would-be astronauts signed the waiver, everything should be just fine.

Read more and join the conversation.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Corporate Flight Management (KJWN, Nashville, TN)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to a location we've spotlighted in the past: Corporate Flight Management at John C. Tune Airport (KJWN) in Nashville, Tennessee.

AVweb reader Charles George shares how CFM exceeded expectations on his visit:

I flew into John Tune Airport on a Mercy Flight recently. We were delayed by fog at the departure airport, so we were running late. The staff at Corporate Flight drove my patient to the hospital to save time and make the appointment. Another picked her up for the return. This professional level of service at a small, uncontrolled airport is outstanding! I'll definitely visit again when I'm in the area.

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!

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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Departing IFR out of KTOA; handed off to Socal Departure after take-off.

"Good morning, Socal Departure. Cardinal 177VA is climbing through 700 for 3,000."

"Cardinal 177VA, Socal. Please ident, and be advised the tower said your gear was still down."

"That's a good thing. This is a fixed-gear Cardinal!"

Stephen Feldman
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:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

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.