AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 20b

May 17, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Pilot Input Needed || Spend Five Minutes to Take the AVweb/MIT GA Survey
Tell MIT Researchers About GA's Challenges,
Your Ideas and Concerns

The International Center for Air Transportation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is conducting a study of general aviation trends. Let them know what you think about fuel costs, how to advance general aviation and why you fly. It takes ten minutes or less. AVweb will publish the results — so will MIT.

To take the survey, click here.
 
AVflash! Continental Shuttering Mattituck Location back to top 
 

Continental's Mattituck Services To Close

Troubled by decreasing volume in a flat aviation economy, Mattituck Services, one of the northeast's longest-established engine shops, will close at the end of May, according to Continental Motors. Some of the 23 affected employees will move to Continental's Fairhope, Alabama facility, which offers similar services on overhauls and factory service.

"Very simply, we're closing the Mattituck facility and integrating it with our facility in Fairhope, Alabama. Unfortunately, four years of continued bad GA market meant that it was not effective to keep two facilities open," said Rhett Ross, CEO of Continental Motors. "Very bluntly, I think both us and Lycoming have a done a good job of pointing out the value of factory options and that has made a contribution across the board to the decline there. It was not an easy decision, but that facility has been marginal for at least the half decade."

Mattituck was founded in 1946 by Parker Wickham, who converted part of the family's Long Island potato farm into a small airport that eventually became known as Mattituck Airbase. The airport is located on the north shore of Long Island on Great Peconic Bay. The business remained in the Wickham family until it was sold in 1984, then bought back by the family in 1988. Teledyne-Continental bought Mattituck in 1999 and renamed it Teledyne-Mattituck Services. When Continental was itself bought by the China-based AVIC International, the shop was again renamed Mattituck Services.

 
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Flying the F-22 back to top 
 

Limits Set For F-22 Flights

Concerns over the system that delivers oxygen to pilots of the F-22 Tuesday led Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to set flight limits for the fighter jet and add safety measures. The jets must now be flown "within proximity of potential landing locations." The specific restrictions will be drawn by individual pilots and commanders, Pentagon spokesman and Navy Captain John Kirby told the Washington Post. Panetta added other specific instructions in a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley. Meanwhile, two pilots who appeared on CBS News' 60 Minutes saying they did not want to fly the jet have reportedly had a change of heart.

In the letter, Panetta told Donley to fit each F-22 with an automatic backup oxygen system and ordered the Air Force to seek guidance from the Navy and NASA. The systems are expected to be in place before year-end. The action comes roughly one week after two F-22 pilots appeared on CBS News' 60 Minutes and explained that concerns over the aircraft's oxygen system led them to choose to not fly the jet. A report by AirForce-magazine.com says both men "want to resume flying the jet" now that charcoal filters initially added as a safety precaution have been removed from the jet's oxygen system. Twelve incidents involving hypoxia-like symptoms were reported between April 2008 and January 2011 by pilots of the F-22. And one fatal crash has been linked to oxygen-delivery problems. The widow of the crash pilot has launched a lawsuit that names Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell International and Pratt & Whitney. The suit alleges that the aircraft's systems failed to "safely or properly provide breathable oxygen" to the pilot as he flew the aircraft.

 
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More on Hartzell Engine Technologies' aircraft starters ...
 
New Airplanes back to top 
 

Kickstarter Relents, OK's Synergy Project

Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site, has reconsidered its rejection of a proposal from Synergy Aircraft, and this week said it would allow the project to go forward. John McGinnis, the aircraft designer, said on Sunday that he had "received an email from a human being" saying that Kickstarter had reconsidered his "incredibly ambitious and creative project" and would be excited to host it. "It's quite the ride out here at the end of the whip," McGinnis said. As of Wednesday, Synergy's project had attracted 51 backers and $13,924. At least $65,000 must be pledged by June 4; otherwise, the donors will get their money back.

McGinnis said the initial goal of $65,000 would help the company complete the engine and landing-gear installation in its prototype airplane. The team, based in Montana, has experimented with a 25-percent flying model and is currently building a full-scale version, with the aim of creating a product for the homebuilt market. The five-place, all-composite airplane features an unusual double-box tail. McGinnis recently spoke with AVweb's Glenn Pew about the Synergy design; click here for that podcast.

Pipistrel Alpha LSA Trainer Ready To Fly For $85K

Pipistrel on Monday announced that its Alpha LSA, which the company calls "the perfect training aircraft," is ready to go, at a price of $85,000. The Alpha trainer is equipped with a Rotax 912 80-hp engine and a ballistic chute. The panel features conventional instruments, complemented by a GPS Garmin Aera 500. The Alpha has a "beefed-up" undercarriage to handle rough student landings, and a full-fuel payload of about 500 pounds. Cruise speed is 108 knots and range is 400 miles. In the training role doing touch-and-goes, the aircraft will burn less than 2.5 gallons per hour, according to Pipistrel. The all-new airplane represents "a completely new approach to flight training," Pipistrel said, "at a cost nearly half that of our competitors."

The airplane has a new wing design based on the Virus wing, but without air brakes, for simpler controls, and with redesigned flaperons that have 25 degrees of flap travel for easy short-field landings. In creating the new design, Pipistrel said, "We have noticed over the last several years that customers have evolved from basic entry-level aircraft to more sophisticated glass everything with autopilot and every other conceivable addition. Great if you can afford it, but with the economy the way it is, most aircraft have been priced from the marketplace for the average person or flight school."

 
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Disable All Portable Electronic Devices — Or Not back to top 
 

Cell Phone Calls OK'd By Airline

There are a number of "catches," but Virgin Atlantic passengers will soon be able to make cell phone calls on the airline's flights from London to New York, the airline announced this week. No passengers will be allowed to have their phones powered up for takeoff or landing, and only six people will be allowed to talk at once. Each one will pay international roaming rates for the call and must have access to either Europe's Vodafone or O2 carriers, or the U.S.'s T-Mobile. By year-end, the service should be available on as many as 20 of the carrier's aircraft flying 10 routes. Virgin Atlantic isn't the first to offer the service, but there may be reason not to expect U.S. carriers to follow suit soon.

Emirates first offered passengers access to their phones while flying in 2008. Oman Air and Royal Jordanian followed soon after. American regulations require that Virgin Atlantic's cell phone service be turned off within 250 miles of U.S. airspace. Some tech-savvy passengers have reportedly accessed internet-based voice communication through the more common online services provided aboard other airlines. Not all of those attempts have been well-received by cabin crews. Virgin Atlantic expects to roll our service first on A330 Airbus aircraft and then retrofit its Boeing 747s with the necessary hardware. The limit of six passengers at one time is reportedly a restriction set as a function of bandwidth -- the system doesn't offer enough to cater to large groups.

Related Content:

Question of the Week: Virgin Atlantic's New Cell Phone Policy

Virgin Atlantic will allow six cell phone calls at a time on its London-New York flights.

Is that a plus or minus for you?
(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.

What's On Your Mind?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to .

NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)

 
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Plan Your Weekend Accordingly back to top 
 

Saturday Is Learn To Fly Day

If you or somebody you know would like to give flying a try, this Saturday might be a good time. During the third annual International Learn To Fly Day, airports around the world are hosting events and pilots are offering to take neighbors and friends up for a free introductory flight. EAA spearheads the community-wide effort, and provides information and a list of events online. Informal efforts to just take a friend or neighbor for an introductory flight or even for a visit to the airport also are encouraged. "As we inspire the next generation of aviators, International Learn to Fly Day is one day where we can make a special effort to invite and welcome those who have always dreamed of flying," said Rod Hightower, EAA president.

The Learn to Fly website also offers info for anyone who would like to organize an event. Last year, AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Ron Wagner, manager of field operations for EAA, for more information about Learn to Fly Day and how pilots can participate; click here for that podcast.

 
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In Memoriam back to top 
 

Legendary CFI Evelyn Bryan Johnson Dies At 102

Evelyn Bryan Johnson, who logged 57,635.4 hours in the air -- more than six years -- during her long flying career, died last week at age 102. Johnson, known as "Mama Bird," taught more than 5,000 students and gave more than 9,000 check rides for the FAA. She ran a small airport in Morristown, Tenn., until she was past 100. "Mrs. Johnson said she would retire when she was old enough, which she never was," reads her New York Times obituary. "Each time she went up in a plane -- her last flight was as a passenger in 2009 -- she said she saw something new and beautiful."

"Evelyn was a shining star whose zeal touched countless pilots," former student Peggy Chabrian, president of Women in Aviation International, said this week. "She was one of those lucky people who found their passion early so she could live her life doing exactly what she wanted to do ... A down-to-earth woman with a great sense of humor, Evelyn was definitely one of a kind, whose legacy lives on in her thousands of students." Among many awards, Johnson was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame. She held the Guinness world record for more hours in the air than any other woman. AVweb contributor Joe Godfrey spoke with Johnson in 1999 as she approached her 90th birthday; click here for that interview.

 
Eclipse 550 || Delivering in 2013
The Eclipse 550 Twin-Engine Jet: Delivering in 2013
Eclipse Aerospace has received Production Certificate #550 from the FAA, paving the way for production of the new Eclipse 550 twin-engine jet. What does this mean for you? It means you can fly 375 ktas at 41,000 feet while sipping just 59 gallons of fuel per hour. And you can do it next year. Take a look at the most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient jet on the planet by CLICKING HERE.
 
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

New 'BARR' Rules Open For Comment

The FAA will accept comments until June 8, 2012, on revised rules (PDF) for what used to be called the Block Aircraft Registration Request program, which allows aircraft owners to prevent public access to information tied to their aircraft N-number. The FAA wanted to all but scrap that ability last year but was blocked by Congress by an amendment in an appropriations bill. At the time, the FAA said it would present new rules for participation in the program; the Notice of Proposed Process appeared in the Federal Register May 9. Aircraft already on the list will be automatically included under the new rules but the rulemaking sets out some specific criteria for new applicants.

Only owners or those responsible for aircraft will be able to submit the requests and they must certify their direct interest in the aircraft and provide contact information. "The FAA does not view associations on behalf of their members to be agents for this purpose," the document says. There will be two levels of blocking. If the owner wants no one, including him or herself, to be able to track their aircraft, the registration will be blocked at the "FAA level." Those who want to be able to track their aircraft or have others do it for them will block the registration at the "industry level" and designated contractors will be able obtain and disseminate the information to the selected recipients. The unfiltered information will be available other government agencies through the FAA, however.

Eclipse, Sikorsky Sign Airframe Deal

Eclipse Aerospace and Sikorsky subsidiary PZL Mielec have signed a deal that will see the major airframe components of the new Eclipse 550 built at the PZL plant in Poland. PZL, which now builds the international version of the Blackhawk helicopter and the M-28 fixed-wing aircraft, will build the fuselage, empennage and wings for the 550, which is the same airframe as the original Eclipse 500 with updated and enhanced electronics. The parts will be shipped from Poland to Eclipse's plant in Albuquerque for final assembly.

The announcement comes two weeks after Eclipse obtained the production certificate for the 550. The airframe is built with a process called friction stir welding and that equipment and technology will presumably be sent to Poland to build the parts. The 550 will have auto throttles, synthetic vision and enhanced vision and will sell for $2.695 million. In a recent podcast interview, Eclipse CEO Mason Holland explained the relationship with Sikorsky and said the order book for the new aircraft extends to 2014.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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."

 
AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
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.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Airline Follies

Sometimes the airlines are nothing if not entertaining. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines Spirit Airlines' suit against the DOT, Delta getting into the refinery business, and cell phones on long-haul flights.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Cessna's Largest Jet Yet, the Longitude

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

On the first day of the European Business Aviation Convention and Expo in Geneva, Switzerland, Cessna Aircraft announced its largest jet yet — a new version of the Citation dubbed "Longitude."

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: How Austro Engines Are Made

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

Daimler-Benz makes about 1,500 OM640 diesel engines a day, and Austro diverts about 15 minutes worth of production to its factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, where it forms the core of the AE300 aerodiesel. In this video, Austro's Peter Lietz takes us through how the company turns a car engine into an airplane engine.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Maverick Air Center (FSD, Sioux Falls, South Dakota)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" is Maverick Air Center at Sioux Falls Regional Air Center/Joe Foss Field (FSD) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

AVweb reader Lynn Erickson recommended the FBO:

My wife and I were traveling from Madison, Wisconsin to Sioux Falls for our godson's confirmation and had decided on Maverick because of the rental car avialablility. The weather was a challenge, and after dodging around a line of storms and landing ahead of another, we were greeted by a very accomodating, experienced line crew who hustled our 182 into their brand-new hangar. The entire facility is new, with obvious attention to what makes a full-service FBO without the pretense. The people working there are an outstanding compliment to the surroundings. Bruce and his crew kept our airplane in for two nights, charged us for one, and gave us a very good price on fuel. This is definitely a GA-of-all-sizes-friendly stop.

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 
 
 
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
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

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.

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.