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April 18, 2004

NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Oregon Aero


U.S. National Champion Kirby Chambliss is one of many aerobatic winners performing at this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In who depends on Oregon Aero for comfort in the cockpit. "I use the Oregon Aero™ Pilot SoftSeat™ in my Edge 540," says Kirby. "When pulling up to 10Gs, the seat cushion takes on about 2,000 pounds. It helps to make my performance more bearable and also reduces back pain when I'm done performing." Visit Oregon Aero at Sun 'n Fun Building A, Booth #A-040-042 to see what Kirby means, or check out all of Oregon Aero's products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.

Oregon Aero — Official Sponsor of AVweb and Sun 'n Fun 2004
Global Aviation — Official Sponsor of AVweb and Sun 'n Fun 2004
AVEMCO — Official Sponsor of AVweb and Sun 'n Fun 2004
Ryan International — Official Sponsor of AVweb and Sun 'n Fun 2004

Sun 'n Fun Wrap: Plenty Of Both

Sun 'n Fun finished up with a spectacular weekend in Lakeland, Fla., as the perfect weather combined with pack-em-in crowds to end the event on a high note. The weekend schedule was filled with crowd-pleasers, from a pyrotechnic air show on Saturday night to a stately balloon launch on Sunday morning. Fly-bys and demo flights filled the sky nonstop, with sounds from roaring jets to blatting radials to punchy opposed pistons, plus the occasional silent sailplane. Officially, the show ends today, but already many of the vendors and exhibitors are packed up and headed home. Reports on attendance numbers and sales -- as the industry keeps hoping for signs of an upswing -- should be available later in the week.

You could be the lucky winner! Global Aviation is sponsoring a fantastic contest: Order a sterling silver, numbered aviation key and be entered in a drawing for an all-expenses-paid use of a new Piper Aircraft to tour the Greek Islands, plus airline tickets and hotel accommodations. For complete details, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/global/avflash.

EAA Petition Pushes For Sport Pilot

New Rule Could Be Months Away...

With the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport rule stalled again in the federal bureaucracy, EAA took advantage of the eager crowds at Sun 'n Fun to collect signatures on a petition demanding action. The petition says that "Numerous U.S. small businesses ... are significantly financially stressed due to delays in the release of the final regulations … [and] the sale of new products and services for the recreational market has declined as consumers are waiting until these regulations are made final." Directed to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the petition asks the agency to "approve the proposed regulations as written ... as expeditiously as possible." You too can read and sign the petition online. EAA's Ron Wagner, answering questions as show-goers queued up to sign at the busy Sport Pilot tent, told AVweb that as of Saturday morning, about 3,000 signatures had been collected, with another 600 submitted via the Web thus far supporting the petition's credo that "The public of this country desire to have these new regulations." The delay now in progress, as the FAA tries to satisfy the OMB's concerns and resubmit the rule, could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, Wagner said.

...Companies Anxious But Not Worried

A quick survey of companies directly affected by the rule at Sun 'n Fun revealed reaction ranging from resigned acceptance to mild irritation. Zenith Aircraft Company spokesman Nicholas Heintz said the delay hasn't really caused much direct financial hardship but has stalled the potential upsurge in business the industry is hoping for when it becomes law. "We haven't really lost any customers because of the delay," he said. "It hasn't completely dampened our sales." The major pent-up demand will come from pilots who can't qualify for a regular medical but will be able to fly under the relaxed Sport Pilot rules. But until they know exactly what those rules are and they're etched in stone, they're kicking the tires and keeping their wallets closed. RANS Aircraft owner Randy Schlitter said he's confident the rule will be passed and the best anyone can do is be as ready as possible for it when it does. He said he believes the FAA will try to announce the rule at EAA AirVenture in late July, guaranteeing the maximum exposure for the announcement. But a Canadian company that sells a lot of its kits in the U.S. isn't so sure. Murphy Aircraft spokesman Stephane Marois said the hangar talk on the rule is that noise and the question of medical fitness are the hang-ups and neither is easily addressed. In the meantime, he said, the delays give the traditional aircraft industry more time and more ability to influence politicians against the rule.

Come by the AVEMCO Booth (#C-055-056) at Sun 'n Fun and ask about reduced rates on Non-Owned insurance. Today there may be as many as 300,000 pilots flying aircraft they have rented or borrowed without insurance to protect their liability should an accident occur. Many of these pilots believe the owner's insurance will cover them, only to find they were not covered under that policy following an accident. Don't take the chance of flying without adequate protection. For as little as $215 for the Aviator Series Silver package, you can have coverage and the peace of mind you deserve. For complete details, come by AVEMCO's Booth, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

Gadgets Galore

Walking The Grounds...

Some attend shows like Sun 'n Fun for the airplanes, others the air show, but plenty are there to find the latest hardware to attach, install or otherwise hang from their airplane (or themselves). AVweb scoured four hangars and about four acres of exhibitors' booths to see what's available and we found a few things that have just hit the market. Note that some of this stuff is for experimental aircraft only but some are STC'd for certified planes. Drop by AVweb's NewsWire to get a quick glimpse of 10 products that caught our eye -- pop-out air-driven emergency alternators, fuel computers, bronzing your certificate, collision-avoidance gizmos and more. Plus, if you've ever wanted to build your own prop, it just got a lot easier.

...A Small Sample

    • If flying brings a song to your heart... Just when you thought every sort of electronic option for an aircraft had been created, PS Engineering has taken in-flight entertainment to new highs (or lows). The company, which makes audio-control systems that provide single-panel access for nav, com, stereo and even DVD systems is singing the praises of the karaoke function it's added to its latest offering, the PMA 8000. For about $1,700, you and your passengers can croon the flight away. Just please make sure the mic isn't keyed. Click through for a look at the others -- some may be more creative, some may be more useful. You decide.
    • MPG Display For Homebuilts... The experimental market can sometimes be the birthplace of truly useful devices that find their way into certified airplanes and this might be one of them. Porcine Associates (the owner's name is James Ham; the name was his ex-wife's idea) has come up with a tiny LED readout that eliminates the mental gymnastics that go along with squeezing the most out of each gallon of increasingly pricey gas. Ham's device couples the plane's existing fuel-flow meter to a GPS to give a constant readout of miles per gallon. It will also do nautical miles per gallon and liters per 100 kilometers.
    • Trim And More In Palm Of Your Hand... If you want your stick to work harder, The Ray Allen Company might have the answer. The company, which makes electric trim setups for experimental aircraft, offers stick grips that contain the trim control, a push-to-talk finger button and up to four other switches to control other functions. It's only for homebuilts.
    • Be Proud Of That Ticket... Ask any pilot for his or her biggest accomplishment, and chances are they'll say that getting their pilot's certificate is numero uno. So why does it stay stuffed in a wallet where no one can see it? George McCuiston believes that coveted piece of paper belongs up on the wall with your diplomas, doctorates and other honors. He'll copy your certificate onto a metal plate with an attractive wood mount for $60 to $100. He has no Web site but his toll-free number is 888-994-7152.
    • Wind Power For Airplanes... With all the electronics we pile in our airplanes these days, losing the alternator is not only a big pain, it can be downright dangerous. Enter the Basic Aircraft Products stand-by alternator. In certified aircraft (STC'd for the Cessna 182, 206, and 210, Mooney, Bonanza and PA-32) the wind-powered alternator pops out from the side or belly and takes over until you're on the ground. The unit costs about $2,000 (installation requires cutting the skin and putting in a manual control) and will provide up to 18 amps at 14 volts and 150 knots. The company also makes add-on wind-powered alternators for aircraft without electrical systems.
    • Wind Info Added To Air Data Computer... The tiny size of the TAS 100 from Insight Instrument Corp. belies a huge array of air data computer functions, including the "Windicator" that's calculates all the various wind components in flight. Everything from the air temperature to altitude alerts are available at the twist of a knob. It's STC'd for the Bonanza but can also be installed via a field approval. Cost is $3,500.
    • Just For RV Builders... This U.S. Airtool Company offering gives you some idea of how popular the Van's RV kits are. The company has put together a toolkit with the major items you'll need to put your RV together. There are 518 pieces altogether but more than 400 of them are clecos. You get a riveter, drill, squeezers and bucking bars, to mention a few items, and the show price was $685.
    • Collision Avoidance For Under $1,000?... That's the promise from SureCheck Aviation. The TrafficScope picks up the signal from any transponder-equipped aircraft and turns it into an LED readout of the traffic situation around you. It tells you the distance and altitude from each "threat" and throws in an altitude alert to help you make sure you don't become one of those "threats." It's $985 but only for experimentals. A company spokesman said the comparable certified gear is more than $7,000.
    • Tiny Electric Mini-Bike... The biggest problem with light aircraft travel can be ground transportation at the destination. A-Z Surplus (no Web site: phone 612-473-3871) has solved that problem for some with possibly the smallest collapsing motorcycle on the market. The company imported 432 of the tiny rechargeable electric mini-bikes and sold them ($399) in two months. The bike goes 20 miles on a charge and has a top speed of about 15 mph, but the factory may have designed it for the Chinese market rather than the ever expanding (girth-wise) U.S. norm because the maximum weight is listed at 175 pounds. You have some time to get under the limit if you want to, however. The next shipment of bikes is expected to take most of a year to arrive.
    • Prop Job Made Easy... Just in case you ever feel the need to make your own wooden propeller, or, more likely, start making them for others, the Gemini Propeller Duplicator could be just what you're looking for. A router attaches to one side of the setup and a guide on the other precisely tells the cutting head where to cut and how much. Cost is $3,680 to $4,850 depending on the size of props you want to make.
The 9900B TCAD (Traffic Collision Alerting Device) bridges the gap between TIS (Traffic Information System) and TAS (Traffic Advisory System). It provides real-time information that operates in any type of radar environment and is unaffected by the limitations of TIS, which operates only in select approach radar sites. The 9900B will interface with many manufacturers' Multi-Function Displays (MFDs) and offers a cost-effective upgrade path to the 9900BX (TAS) system. For more details, go by Ryan's Sun 'n Fun Booth (#D-071-072) or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ryan/avflash.

Bruce And Flyin' Tiger Break Record No. 25

Bruce Bohannon and his Flyin' Tiger launched from Lakeland Linder at noon on Saturday and returned to Earth about a half-hour later. "We were aiming at 10 minutes, but we didn't quite hit that," he said. "We got 9 minutes and 51 seconds." That's time-to-climb to 9,000 meters, or almost 30,000 feet, a new record for piston-powered aircraft, the 25th record set by Flyin' Tiger. Over the winter, the team added about 30 hp to the Tiger's Mattituck engine, for a total of 380 hp. The airplane is now ready for its Oshkosh flight, Bohannon said, when he hopes to reach 50,000 feet -- breaking the absolute altitude record for piston aircraft, now held by the B-29. The airplane, a highly customized RV-4 homebuilt, now five years old, is approaching a 1-to-1 thrust-to-weight ratio, Bohannon said. Once he's reached the 50K level, he plans to start stripping it down to reduce weight, and go for sustained vertical climb.

Diabetic Pilot's Record Flight Abandoned, Will Try Again

Insulin-dependent pilot Michael Hunter and two other pilots launched from Sun 'n Fun in a Cirrus SR22 last week in an effort to set a record for the fastest time to land in each of the 48 contiguous states. To beat the record, the team needed to complete the flight in less than five and a half days -- but they ran into mechanical problems in Kansas when the alternator acted up, and delays in getting it replaced put them behind schedule. With other commitments looming, they decided to cut short the attempt and return to Florida, to try again another time. Hunter is the first person with diabetes granted FAA approval to fly as an air show performer (he flies a Laser 230) and is believed to be the only insulin-dependent diabetic air show pilot in the world.

Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) insures more individually underwritten pilots than anyone in the country. PIC is able to accomplish this because of their pilot-friendly rates. PIC works directly with the nation's top-rated insurance companies and has developed exclusive underwriting programs designed for pilots. A+ RATED CARRIERS, NO AVIATION EXCLUSIONS, quick and easy application process — all are reasons to go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife/avflash.

This Airplane's For The Birds

As flying jobs go, Steve Earsom must have one of the best around -- as a pilot-biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he flies out of Puerto Rico in a twin VulcanAir with a big glass nose built for wildlife-watching. "We monitor endangered species like whales, pelicans, and manatees, work airborne ATC to help in aerial firefighting, assess the condition of coral reefs, help with aerial mapping and oil-spill detection, enforce the Clean Water Act ..." The list goes on and on, ensuring a slim chance of pilot boredom. Fish and Wildlife operates a fleet of about 60 aircraft, Earsom said, including five of the VulcanAirs. About two-thirds of the fleet is based in Alaska. Earsom said he flew about 400 hours last year, and also works on the ground as a biologist at a wildlife refuge.

Flying (Almost) Straight Up

At the far end of the field, near the woods, the little village of Choppertown hosts an assortment of ultralight and experimental rotorcraft. Attracting attention this year was the Monarch-Butterfly kit gyrocopter, with new "g-force" landing gear. The hydraulic gear offers a wide stance for more stable landings, and high energy-absorption that is "friendly to low-time pilots," according to the company brochure. Also popular was the ultralight Mosquito one-place helicopter. The little Mosquito, which sells for about $20,000 per kit, is a true helicopter, not a gyro, with a two-cycle, two-cylinder engine, an aluminum main mast, and a carbon-fiber tail boom and support struts. The company says construction of the Mosquito can be completed in 200 hours or less.

"I was surprised that I won, and even more surprised at the quality of these glasses!" said recent AVweb winner Ted Weiner of Massachusetts. A pair of Scheydens will be given away every other week to a lucky AVweb winner — a retail value up to $395! The unique flip-up design has become the choice of pilots who demand quality and function in every aspect of aviation. Handmade titanium frames, quality lenses, a Rosewood case, plush micro-fiber bag and cloth are standard equipment on all styles. For more information (and to register to win), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/scheyden/avflash.

Fuel Fight Goes To FAA

In what can only be described as a last-ditch effort, a Naples, Fla., FBO is appealing to the FAA to grant it the right to sell fuel at the airport (and restore competition on the field). Whether the FAA feels like trying to overrule a court decision that stopped the fuel from flowing at Jet 1 Center Inc. could be another matter. Last December, a circuit court ruled that the Naples Airport Authority had the sole right to sell jet fuel and granted an injunction to lock up the pumps at Jet 1. It was the culmination of a years-long battle between Jet 1 owner J. Scott Phillips and the airport authority. Now, admitting his legal options don't look good, Phillips is asking the FAA to intervene, according to the Naples Daily News. Phillips claims that FAA rules prohibit the airport authority from having a monopoly on fuel sales. But lawyers for the airport authority say there's a specific FAA regulation that gives the authority exclusivity rights on the field. The rest of Phillips's business hinges on the FAA decision. The airport authority is trying to have Jet 1 evicted for breaching its lease agreement by selling fuel illegally. They also want an estimated $5 million in compensation for the business they claim was drained away from the airport. The airport relies on fuel sales for about 66 percent of its operating expenses.

727 Gets A New Life (Or Lingering Death)

There might be a use (besides fire practice) for all those old Boeing 727-100s out there. A Guadalajara, Mexico, company has stripped the wings from one and turned it into a 50-seat luxury limousine. For about $300 an hour, Limousines de Guadalajar Vaca Meters will whisk you and your closest 49 friends around Mexico (a big diesel replaces the turbojets). Truck-style wheels and suspension replace the landing gear. Inside, passengers are treated to neon strobes, a dance floor, a bar and a "'romantic space in the back," according to Brunei.Direct.com.

With more than 12,000 active members, the Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) is the world's biggest and best aviation "type club" for Cessna pilots and owners. Members receive a monthly magazine, a weekly e-mail newsletter, technical support by a full-time staff of A&Ps with tremendous expertise in all Cessna models, model-specific buyer's guides and systems courses, a group aircraft insurance program, and access to CPA's giant online knowledge bank and popular online member forums. Join by calling (805) 922-2580 and mentioning this AVflash, or by clicking here: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cpa/avflash.


Our story about Superior Aircraft Parts' new engine in the April 16 edition needs some qualification. The Vantage may be the first U.S.-built GA engine to be certified for unleaded automotive fuel but it's certainly not the first overall. We believe Rotax claimed that title years ago.

On The Fly...

The Red Knight, a T-33 that flew for many years for the Canadian Forces, rejoins the air show circuit after an 11-year hiatus, flown by Chris Rounds...

The U.S. Ultralight Association has teamed with First Flight Insurance Group to offer liability coverage to its members...

About 200 law-enforcement officers searched a hangar at Oakland International Airport on Friday in search of rocket launchers, but found nothing. Air traffic was routed away from the complex during the search. The hangar's tenant blamed a "prankster" for the anonymous tip that prompted the search...

Investigators have found that mechanics skipped a maintenance step and installed a piece of equipment backward before clearing a Colgan Air Beechcraft 1900D that later crashed in Nantucket Sound, killing the two pilots, the Cape Cod Times reported Friday.

WingX Version 1.4 builds upon an already solid software solution for the Pocket PC by offering over 240 predefined aircraft models; graphical ramp, taxi/runup, and flight fuel weight-and-balance calculations; user-defined routes; and more. For example: WingX now has AC61-65D endorsements (great for CFIs), NWS Contractions, and local toll-free FSS numbers — that's in addition to FARs 1, 43, 61, 91, 119, 141, 830, and the Pilot/Controller Glossary. WingX has a powerful E6B, now with wind chill calculations. WingX will remember expiration dates, too. For a limited time, WingX is just $39.99 — 30% below the normal price. Take a look at screen shots and download the demo at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/hiltonsoftware/avflash.

New Articles and Features on AVweb

The Pilot's Lounge #73: A Test Pilot's Story
As the WWII generation ages, we begin to lose details from the days when flying turned from novelty to a true industry. Among many recent books of dubious value, a gem is found in a self-published memoir by Al White, one of the most self-effacing test pilots of his time. Rick Durden reviews it from the Pilot's Lounge.

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:


Reader mail this week about getting lost with glass cockpits, avoiding blacked-out military aircraft, airport and aircraft security and more.

Ever had "sticker shock" when you got the bill after an annual? Spend an illuminating weekend with Mike Busch — AVweb founder, writer, teacher, pilot, aircraft owner, and A&P mechanic — at one of his Savvy Owner Seminars. Mike will share his 40 years of aviation experience, help you become more maintenance-savvy and empowered, and teach you how to get better maintenance while saving thousands of dollars. For seminar details, Mike's no-cost monthly e-newsletter, and dozens of maintenance articles, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.

Business AVflash

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/

Short Final...

Submitted to you without further comment ... the pilots of Cessna ABC weren't as lucky.

Cessna XYZ: Cessna ABC, Cessna XYZ return to base due to turbulence. Student unwell.

Cessna ABC: Cessna XYZ, my student suggests it will be better for the both of you if you climb on top.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.


Please remember these Sun 'n Fun exhibitors whose
patronage brought you AVweb's coverage of the show:


WxServer works with virtually any internet-enabled phone and any nationwide wireless carrier. WxServer gives you up-to-the-minute aviation weather information such as the NEXRAD, METAR, TAF, and satellite images. Now WxServer includes airport frequency listings, fuel availability, and quick-dial links to FBOs, rental cars, and taxis. SPECIAL OFFER: This month, AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rates, and CFIs can sign up for the WxServer Referral Program at no charge! 10-day Free Trial. See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.

Sign up for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters your N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated ETAs. AVweb Edition Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month, a small price for such big peace of mind. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.

You worked hard for your IFR ticket. Now protect it! IFR Refresher is the monthly that polishes your proficiency, challenges your knowledge, briefs you on changing regs, and keeps your decision-making skills sharp. Order today and you'll enjoy guaranteed savings for as long as you subscribe. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrref/avflash.

During the month of April, PilotMall.com is offering a complimentary soft leather ID holder with a stamped airplane on the cover (a $19.99 value) with any order of Pilotmall's quality leather flight bags, backpacks, and Scheyden sunglasses. Show your style and save now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotmall/avflash.

Just in time for Mother's and Father's Day gifts! Chase-Durer, maker of world-renowned watches, is offering a perfectly balanced, platinum-toned pen with gold accents for only $30 (regularly $90) with any watch purchase. Beautiful and functional timepieces for both men and women, with Chase-Durer quality and workmanship — order today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/chasedur/avflash.


Lazy Buzzard has decided to send his pilot racing. Come late summer, the Lazy Buzzard Pitts Special will be tearing around the pylons at the Reno Air Races. Check out the site to see the Lazy Buzzard airplane and other great stuff!! Watch for Lazy Buzzard at air shows throughout the year. Be a part of it all and support Lazy Buzzard in his quest for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness and Speed. Online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lazybuzzard/avflash.

AvBuyer.com offers the complete solution when buying and selling aircraft. Listing business aircraft from around the world, along with the most complete listing of piston airplanes in Europe. Try AvBuyer.com today and experience fast, effective aircraft sourcing — or sign-up for the complimentary latest aircraft e-mail "Alert." For more information, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avbuyer/avflash.

We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

AVflash is now available in optional easier-to-read graphic format, which includes some photos and illustrations. If you prefer, you can continue to receive AVflash in text-only format. Simply follow these instructions and AVflash will continue to arrive as it always has, in text format.

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