AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 17b

April 26, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. || East Coast Super Sale & Fly-In || May 
5, 2012
Aircraft Spruce
East Coast Super Sale & Fly-In — May 5, 2012

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty will be hosting their annual East Coast Super Sale & Fly-In Saturday, May 5, 2012 from 8:00am to 4:00pm in Peachtree City, Georgia. Discounted prices, spectacular raffle prizes, and a free lunch will be enjoyed by all in attendance. Lots of opportunities to win raffle prizes from some of your favorite vendors, and a complimentary shuttle will be offered to and from Falcon Field airport. For more information, please call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
AVflash! Eclipse 550 Moves Toward Production back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Great Alaska Aviation Gathering || May 5-6, 2012 || 
Anchorage, Alaska

Eclipse Earns Production Certificate

The FAA has granted Eclipse Aerospace a Production Certificate for the new Eclipse 550 twin-engine very light jet, signaling an FAA-certified production process and established supply chain for the aircraft. Senior Vice President of Eclipse, Cary Winter, explained Eclipse is now well-positioned for production and the company now looks forward "to advancing the Eclipse 550 aircraft to full scale production." The company, which has focused on providing service parts and support for the Eclipse fleet, plans to now advance toward production with the help of financial backing won in February 2011.

Sikorsky Aircraft Company early last year invested in Eclipse. According to Eclipse CEO Mason Holland, Sikorsky "remains a significant investor in [Eclipse]." Holland says his company will draw on the experience and expertise of Sikorsky while moving toward production "with its own team." Eclipse has held production as a long-term goal and those plans are unchanged. "We continue to support field aircraft, sell Total Eclipse aircraft, and built the Eclipse 550 new production order book with initial deliveries planned in 2013." In other recent developments, Eclipse announced Tuesday that the largest operator of Eclipse 500 aircraft in North America, North American Jet Charter Group (NAJ), has been approved for paperless cockpit on Part 135 flights. NAJ will now operate an Electronic Flight Bag based on the iPad, which, among other things, will save pilots 35 pounds of paper per aircraft.

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Speed Tests back to top 

Drone Tests Aim To Advance Supersonic Flight

The U.S. Air Force is planning to fly a drone this summer to test technologies that will be needed for new kinds of lightweight supersonic aircraft with flexible wings, according to a news release from NASA. The drone itself, the X-56A, is subsonic, but the knowledge gained about flutter and gust suppression will be used in designing the proposed supersonic X-54, NASA said. The tests this summer will take place at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in California. After the Air Force completes its tests, NASA plans to take over the X-56A for continued testing.

The X-56A is 7.5 feet long, with a 28-foot wingspan. It's powered by two 52-pound-thrust JetCat P200-SX turbine engines. Its long, thin wings are susceptible to uncontrollable vibrations, or flutter, and can be stressed by bending forces from wind gusts and turbulence. The tests this summer aim to practice suppressing flutter by adjusting software programs in the aircraft's flight computer. Researchers also will try to learn how to ease the gust loads, to make flexible aircraft safer in turbulence.

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On the Chain Gang back to top 

Alleged Plane Thief's Plans Shackled

Among the first things student pilots learn is the importance of a thorough walkaround and a California man now has plenty of time to ponder the wisdom of that precaution. Police in Compton, Calif., allege that Troy Long, of Bellflower, described as a "former student pilot," pulled a gun on staff at the Compton/Woodley Airport when they discovered him taking keys from the hook. They say he then bolted for a Cessna 152 parked outside. As staff called the authorities, Long started the aircraft and made good his escape -- except for one thing. He didn't unhook the chain holding the tail to the concrete.

When police arrived they found the 152 straining against its restraint. They had guns, too, and the rest was by the book. Long was arrested without further incident and booked on suspicion of air piracy, which can carry a life sentence.

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Now That's a Hobby back to top 

Controller Has 737 In His Garage (Sort Of)

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Air traffic controller and private pilot James Price has never flown a jet, but he has logged plenty of time in the cockpit of an actual 737 that he converted into a flight simulator and keeps in his garage. Price had already been working on earlier versions of his simulator when a life change and similarly motivated friend led him to pursue his pastime with renewed vigor. Price told the Mercury News that on the advice of friend Matt Ford (who had already hauled home his own 737 cockpit), he visited a boneyard in Ardmore, Okla. There, Price found and purchased a 2,500-pound 737 cockpit shell of his own for $1,500. He then brought it to a hangar at Livermore Municipal Airport, in California, where he got to work. It's come a long way since then. Price now estimates his total dollar investment at close to $150,000.

Price incorporated into the shell the many genuine parts he'd accumulated since starting down this road in 1994. And then he purchased additional authentic parts. His simulator now includes the seats, controls, instruments and lights from an actual Boeing 737. The project came home from the hangar on the back of a hired semi-truck in 2009. Price took four feet off of the nose and removed some portion of the garage door to fit it inside. The internal realism is augmented with external visuals provided by three projection screens that pull down to surround the cockpit. The projectors incorporate terrain scenery for the entire world and can adjust to present near real-time weather gathered from the internet. His system allows him to fly simulated engine failures and fires or land with blown tires all while bathing in the tactile feel and even the smell of real cockpit components. Price sees the simulator as an ongoing project and expects to continue to improve on it as he's able.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Skycatcher Sales On Hold In Europe

Cessna has run into delays certifying its Skycatcher light sport aircraft in Europe, according to the Wichita Business Journal, and has returned deposits to some of its European customers. A Cessna spokesman said no new orders will be taken in Europe until it has worked out a plan for securing certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency. As an LSA, the Skycatcher doesn't require an FAA type certificate or production certificate for U.S. sales, but the closest EASA equivalent would require the aircraft to have both, according to the Business Journal. Cessna said it is working with EASA to find an "economical solution."

Last November, Cessna hiked the base price of the Skycatcher from $114,000 to $149,000 and made many of the commonly chosen options standard equipment. In 2009, when Cessna delivered the first Skycatcher, the company said it had more than 1,000 orders. As of the end of last year, 169 have been delivered, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association database.

Fight Brewing Over FAA Fatigue Rules

A bill filed in the House last week aims to extend the FAA's new airline fatigue rules to cover cargo pilots, but the effort is already drawing opposition from the cargo industry. The new FAA rules, scheduled to take effect in January 2014, stipulate that pilots must get at least 10 hours of off-duty time between flights, and can't fly more than five consecutive night shifts. The bill to change that, called the Safe Skies Act (PDF), was filed by U.S. Reps. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., and Tim Bishop, D-N.Y. FedEx told The Hill that it would be a bad idea to impose the rules on cargo carriers.

FedEx said it has "worked with our pilots and recognized experts to mitigate fatigue for many years … [incorporating] the best scientific findings in the area of fatigue into our scheduling systems." Cravaack, a former cargo pilot, said, "I understand the importance of a single standard of safety for pilots who share the same airspace and runways with passenger aircraft. I introduced the Safe Skies Act in order to apply the new, common-sense standards for pilot rest to cargo pilots as well." The union representing UPS pilots, which challenged their exclusion from the new rules earlier this year, supports Cravaack's proposal. The Air Line Pilots Association also supports the change. "All airline pilots are human beings, and all airline operations should benefit from the same high safety standards," said Lee Moak, ALPA president.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: AeroNav Smackdown

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli lauds the Senate for tapping the brakes on the FAA's plans to charge for navigation data and wonders why it doesn't focus the same oversight on the FAA's long-delayed unleaded fuel transition committee.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Aero 2012 -- Smaller, But Plenty of New Stuff

This year, for the first time, Aero Friedrichshafen became an annual show, and as a result, it was a bit smaller than usual, according to veteran exhibitors. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli's summary reports on plenty of new stuff, including the Cirrus jet announcement, the stunning Pipistrel Panthera and more LSAs, ultralights and autogyros than we could even count. Attendance at Aero hovers around the 33,000 mark, but it's a potent audience of people who are seriously interested in aviation.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: How Much Sleep Do Pilots Need?

The FAA is reworking its sleep rules for big iron pilots, and it's causing controversy.

What are your personal standards for "enough rest"?
(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.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Flight Design News at Aero 2012

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

Flight Design announced EASA certification of two aircraft and unveiled the full-scale mockup of the interior of its C4 four-place at Aero 2012 last week.

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Video: PC-Aero's New Solar One Electric Cruiser

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

PC-Aero has come out with its second solar-powered airplane, the Electra Solar One. PC-Aero's Calin Gologan gave AVweb a briefing on it at the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Lux Air Jet Center (KGYR, Goodyear, Arizona)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Lux Air Jet Center at Phoenix/Goodyear Airport (KGYR) in Goodyear, Arizona.

AVweb reader Cathy Page told us about her recent experience:

We pulled in to park, [and the] line guy was right there. Before we even got out of the plane, he had it chained down. I asked him about fuel prices I had seen online, and he assured me they would honor whatever was posted. We walked inside and asked the desk if they could top off our plane while we met a business acquaintance. Then the line guy who parked us asked if we needed anything. [We told him] a ride to find the person we were to meet (who is slightly lost) would be great. He grabbed a golf cart and took us to find our guest. We had a little business to do and used the pilot lounge to finish up. We found out as we paid our fuel bill from the desk that the line guy who had been so helpful earlier was in fact the owner of Lux Air. How nice to see the hands-on from him.

Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Lux Air, for great service.

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Our latest winning photo comes from Ben & Scott Hobson of Olathe, KS. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.

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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