AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 14a

April 2, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Medical Certificate Reform Down Under back to top 

Australia Looks At Driver's License Medicals

Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Agency (CASA) is considering "driver's licence" medical requirements for private pilots who want to fly mainly recreationally. However, there would still be some medical standards to be met beyond simply carrying a valid D.L. In a newsletter, CASA Director of Aviation Safety John McCormick said pilots would still need a note from their family doctors declaring their medical fitness to drive a car but after they got that they would email CASA and carry the declaration with them while flying. CASA also appears to be much less restrictive when it comes to aircraft than the joint AOPA/EAA proposal now before the FAA.

McCormick says the general guidelines CASA are considering would allow driver's license medicals for aircraft up to 3,300 pounds day VFR and "generally with one passenger." There are no horsepower or equipment limitations (like retractable gear and constant speed props) mentioned by McCormick but they could end up in the final rule. There's also no indication what exemptions might be considered for the single passenger aspect. He stressed the proposals are preliminary but they are moving along. "I look forward to being able to announce some positive news later in the year," he wrote.

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Wait! ... What? back to top 

April Fools Imagination Reigns

Flying is serious business and maybe that's why aviation organizations can't resist a prank or two on April Fool's Day. The web is replete with obvious gag postings for April 1 but a couple that caught our eye likely had some believers, initially at least. Canadian budget carrier WestJet likely had some customers laughing on the outside but crying on the inside that their YouTube video announcing the creation of child-free cabins on some flights was a hoax. The tipoff was footage of a couple of tots disappearing on a luggage conveyor before being loaded into the "Kargo Kids" compartment in the belly of one of its 737s. And an Ottawa vintage aviation collection turned some heads with an April 1 announcement of the creation of a special variant of the venerable Beaver.

Vintage Wings of Canada sent out its regular newsletter to its thousands of followers with a treatise on the Zwillingsbiber Twin Beaver "The Edsel of de Havilland." It dubbed the oddly appealing Photoshop creation the "Holy Grail for Beaver collectors."

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The Future of Research back to top 

NASA Creates "Virtual" Aeronautics Research Institute

NASA plans to launch a "virtual institute" to solicit and foster innovative ideas that address technological challenges facing aviation and the U.S. air transportation system, the agency said on Tuesday. The NASA Aeronautics Research Institute (NARI) will be based at Moffett Field in California. "This institute will fulfill NASA's desire to make deliberate investments in innovative, early stage and potentially revolutionary aviation concepts and technologies," said Jaiwon Shin, NASA's associate administrator for aeronautics research. "We want innovation not only within our technical portfolio, but also in the management of it. NARI represents a new approach to introduce fresh lines of research."

NARI will be comprised of multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary research teams creating new tools and technologies for reducing air traffic congestion and environmental impacts, improving safety, and designing aircraft with unconventional capabilities, NASA said. The institute will be funded with $10 million per year to distribute for early-stage concepts. As a virtual institute, NARI will facilitate technical exchanges, solicit research proposals, award research grants, and use technologies such as web-based seminars to disseminate research findings.

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Powerhouse Partnership Produces Premium Panels back to top 

Aspen, Avidyne Team Up On New Interface

Avidyne Corporation and Aspen Avionics announced a new autopilot interface that includes the popular Evolution Primary Flight Display and the DFC90 flight control system. The all-digital DFC90 interface was previously certified and limited to Cirrus and Piper PA-46 aircraft that are equipped with Avidyne's Entegra suite. But the DFC90 and Evolution PFD interface opens the interface potential to a wide variety of aircraft and aftermarket retrofits thanks to Aspen's sizeable Approved Model List (AML). The DFC90 includes full-time flight envelope protection and alerting as well as a straight and level mode. Since the DFC90 is an attitude-based autopilot the Aspen PFD is a logical interface given its proven AHARS system that seamlessly drives pitch and roll reference to the autopilot. Further, the DFC90 logically displays its mode annunciation on the Aspen PFD display using symbology and mode status color coding that was borrowed from the transport category aircraft world.

Aspen and Avidyne plan to aggressively pursue additional STC approvals to include the Cessna 182, Beechcraft Bonanza and other common aircraft models. The DFC90 is reasonably easy upgrade for existing S-TEC 55X interfaces since it drives the existing autopilot servos and shares much of the same wiring. The DFC90 can also offer a seamless upgrade for other autopilots in the S-TEC line. Aspen's software that enables the DFC90 interface is expected in the coming months and pricing for the DFC90 starts at $9,995 not including installation. Aspen's software unlock to make the interface work is $1,995. For more information visit Avidyne.com and AspenAvionics.com.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sun 'n Fun -- Notes from the Show

Over on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli checks in from Sun 'n Fun -- with a bevy of thoughts and name-checks on subjects ranging from the Redbird sim training program to what consitutes great customer service at FBOs to promising new engines and what Phil Boyer got up to at the show. Plus a few thoughts on getting around the show -- and missing some of the things you most want to see.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Sun 'n Fun Changes

Paul Bertoreli's already spotted lots of changes this year at Sun 'n Fun, most of them positive. The fly-in's management is making subtle changes in how the show is marketed to local and regional audiences — and that's worth a few words on the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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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.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Flightways Columbus (KCSG, Columbus, Georgia)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Flightways Columbus at Columbus Metropolitan Airport (KCSG) in (you guessed it) Columbus, Georgia. "The entire staff on more than one occasion has gone way beyond to make sure that I was happy," writes AVweb reader Matt Hinkle. "These guys really know what customer service means!"

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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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

While I was waiting for departure clearance, a student pilot was departing on a parallel runway and was cleared to cross my intended departure flight path. Concerned of a possible collision, he was maintaining healthy climb.

"Skycatcher 12345: While your climb performance is impressive, I would remind you that Class B Airspace starts at 3,000 feet."

[A long silence followed.]

Skycatcher 12345:
"Skycatcher 12345 leveling out at 2,500 feet."

Michael Landgraf
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.

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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

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