AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 28a

July 9, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Avidyne Mixes Knobs and Screens back to top 
 

Avidyne Aims at Garmin With New Drop-in Mapcomm

In a continued attempt to tamp down high avionics costs, Avidyne this week announced a drop-in replacement competitor for Garmin's popular GNS430. The new IFD440 is a descendent of a larger model Avidyne introduced last year, the IFD540, a drop in box to replace Garmin's GNS530. Both of Avidyne's products use a combination of touchscreens and traditional knobs in function keys, something that Avidyne claims will appeal to buyers who aren't sold on touchscreens in Garmin's newer GTN line.

The IFD440 contains a modern Flight Management System that meets FAA requirements for SBAS/LPV precision approach guidance and positional source integrity required for ADS-B position reporting. WAAS GPS approach and ADS-B capability top the list of requirements of today's GPS buyer as the clock counts down toward the year 2020 ADS-B requirement mandate. Aviydne reasons that the direct slide-in capability may appeal to owners on tight budgets. "Our 'plug-and-play' strategy has really struck a positive chord with aircraft owners, many of whom want to upgrade their avionics for touch screen, WAAS, or ADS-B, but are concerned with the high cost of installation," said Dan Schwinn, Avidyne's President and CEO. Garmin's GNS430-series navigator – arguably the single most popular avionics radio ever produced for general aviation application – is discontinued and since been replaced with the new GTN650 navigator. The GTN650 shares the same footprint of the GNS430 but with incompatible wiring that requires a new installation when upgrading. Avidyne is bringing to market a complete line of slide-in replacement products including the AMX240 audio panel, the AXP340 Mode S ADS-B transponder and the proven DFC-series S-TEC-replacement autopilot.

The IFD440 should be right at home in the line-up and appears to be well-leveraged for Avidyne-equipped glass cockpit applications, too since the Entegra integrated avionics suite found in a large number of Cirrus and Piper aircraft also contains dual GNS430 navigators, . Dropping the IFD440, the AMX240 audio panel, AXP340 transponder and the DFC autopilot into these existing applications will yield a fully-modern one-brand avionics suit without having to endure a complex, lengthy and high-cost upgrade project. Retail price is $14,995.For more information on the IFD440 visit Avidyne.com.

 
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Learning to Fly — And a Few Other Lessons back to top 
 

Students Caught In Funding Fight

A total of 80 foreign students from an Irish flight school are stranded in Florida after a financial dispute between the Irish school and its American contractor ended their training last week. The students, some of whom paid Pilot Training College more than $100,000 for courses that are conducted by the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) at its flight training campus in Melbourne, had completed only a fraction of their course before FIT stopped their classes. According to the Irish Times, the Florida school claims the Irish school owes it money and the Irish school says it's suing the Florida school. "Everything I've been working for in the past 10 months has been ripped apart," student John Rawluk told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has suspended the PTC's license pending a restructuring bid and the Irish government says there is no aid available for the students. Meanwhile FIT says it's trying to work something out with the students but it's rejecting any notion that it's the bad guy in the mess. "Florida Tech recently ended its relationship with PTC after the organization quit paying its bills, including costs for flight training and room and board. Currently, PTC owes the university approximately $1.2 million," said a FIT spokesman. "Any assertion that Florida Tech has failed to act professionally or otherwise appropriately throughout its relationship with PTC is false."

 
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Rise of the Machines back to top 
 

British Test UAV See-And-Avoid System

A consortium of British companies is now flight testing a see-and-avoid system for drones that it believes will lead to a lot less cockpit manpower in the not-so-distant future. "It is doing all the things a human pilot would be doing," BAE spokesman Lambert Dopping-Hepenstal told the Daily Telegraph. It would not appear to come cheaply, however and there is human backup available, at least in the test phase.

The "robot pilot" uses a vast array of sensors to visually and electronically detect things it doesn't want to fly into, like other aircraft, terrain and bad weather and if any of these get in the way of its preprogrammed flight plan, it sends a query to someone on the ground at a laptop. If the laptop jockey is indisposed, it knows what to do, however. "If the communication link goes down or the operator is not paying attention, the on-board system will take action itself," Dopping-Hepenstal said. "In an emergency, it can use infrared cameras to identify safe sites to set down aircraft by itself and can look for body heat to make sure a landing area is clear of living things."

 
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Flight 447 Report back to top 
 

Air France Flight 447 Final Report

The French Accident Investigation Bureau (BEA) Thursday released its final report on the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, an Airbus 330 that went down off the coast of Brazil in 2009, killing all 228 aboard. Among the report's conclusions are that neither of the two copilots flying the aircraft called for the "unreliable IAS" procedure after pitot icing led to the loss of airspeed indications. Neither pilot had training for hand flying the jet at high altitude, according to the report, or for flying with questionable airspeed indications. "Inappropriate pilot inputs" led the jet to "exit its flight envelope" less than one minute after the autopilot disconnected and before the captain returned to the flight deck from his rest station. The report faults the pilots' actions and also finds that their training met regulatory standards. There may be other implications for regulatory agencies, Airbus and Air France regarding their pre-existing knowledge of shortcomings in the aircraft's pitot system.

Loss of airspeed data during the event was attributed to icing of the pitot probes. Airbus and Air France had recognized deficiencies in the probe prior to the crash and began modifications to aircraft (that included new pitot equipment) on May 30, 2009. The loss of Air France Flight 447 took place two days later, on June 1, 2009. The report states that "EASA had analyzed pitot probe icing events; it had confirmed the severity of the failure and had decided not to make the probe change mandatory."

During the accident, a stall warning sounded continuously for 54 seconds. According to the BEA report, the Airbus A330 only exhibits buffet on the approach to stall. The pilots made no reference to the warning, the "appearance of buffet," or the stall suffered by the aircraft. BEA notes that the aircraft's angle of attack is not directly displayed to its pilots. The report concludes that the conditions of flying at high altitude in turbulence "led to excessive handling inputs in roll and a sharp nose-up input by the pilot flying." It goes on to say that, "In the minute that followed the autopilot disconnection, the failure of the attempts to understand the situation and the de-structuring of crew cooperation fed on each other until the total loss of cognitive control of the situation." The last recorded values of pitch attitude were 16.2 degrees nose-up with a roll of 5.3 degrees left and a vertical speed of negative 10,912 feet per minute. Find the full text of the BEA final report online (PDF).

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

AKIA -- The Kit Manufacturers' Association

The Aircraft Kit Industry Association, AKIA, has formed around a primary objective of preserving the FAA's 51-percent rule, improving experimental-amateur built aircraft safety, and promoting the kit aircraft industry. The group is led by President Dick VanGrunsven, the designer of the world's most popular kit aircraft -- the RV series -- and Vice President John Monnett, a kit aircraft pioneer. AKIA so far includes Vans, Sonex, Lancair, Kitfox and Zenith among its members, and includes kit aircraft suppliers Wicks and Aircraft Spruce. Statistics show the experimental aircraft industry is growing and recent actions by federal agencies show that scrutiny of the segment may be growing, too.

Roughly one in ten general aviation aircraft in the U.S. is experimental, and about 1,000 more are added to the FAA registry each year, according to AOPA. In May, the NTSB released a study regarding the safety of experimental amateur-built aircraft. It found that more than 10 percent of accidents suffered by the segment occurred on the first flight of an aircraft. According to the NTSB, one of the most important findings of the study "is the number of seasoned and experienced pilots getting into accidents so early in the life of structurally sound airplanes." The NTSB made 16 safety recommendations based on its study, including that pilots submit a detailed flight test plan to the FAA and develop a flight manual with emergency procedures. Homebuilders are generally a group of self-confident, driven individuals -- traits that are generally required for completion of the task. AKIA is similarly "composed of some very independent and strong-willed people," according to its secretary, Dave Gustafson, "who are united behind the same set of values."

Terrafugia Completes Phase 1 Flight Testing

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Phase 1 flight testing of Terrafugia's roadable aircraft production prototype was successfully completed last month, and the company is pushing forward toward LSA certification and approvals from the NHTSA. Terrafugia's Transition aircraft will have to earn the approval of both the FAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) before it can go into production. The company says the vehicle has so far passed handling tests that included power-on and power-off flight, and aircraft stability. The team also checked engine cooling and determined optimal settings for different phases of flight. The current flight test program involves five more phases, but now ground (road) testing will be mixed in.

On the road, the aircraft's ground drivetrain and handling will be evaluated and tweaked. Its suspension will be tuned and its brakes will be tested. Then more serious testing will begin as the Terrafugia team pushes toward compliance with light sport aircraft rules and NHTSA standards. The team posted a video compilation of recent tests. The new design appears to leap off the runway after a relatively long ground roll, appears stable in cruise, and rolls well when breaking away from the camera aircraft in flight.

 
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New on AVweb.com back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Not More Partnerships?

That's the question posed by Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. A recent survey by AVweb revealed that only 7 percent of LSA airplanes are in partnerships. Even though taking on a partner or two is the most effective way to reduce the cost of ownership, far fewer owners than we imagine seem to do it.

Read more and join the conversation.

Forty-Seven Years In Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 15: A Year In Korea, Then Back To OSU

The USS Pueblo incident near North Korea inspired a show of force requiring many reservists, including Richard Taylor, to drop what they were doing (teaching, in Richard's case) and head off to Korea. Along the way, he got to do a little bit of flying and practicing water landings with a parachute. Back in the States after a year, Richard went back to the classroom, but also flew the Ohio Army National Guard's Bird Dog and Beaver.

Click here to read the 15th chapter.

 
Eclipse 550 || Delivering in 2013
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Eclipse Aerospace is excited to announce for a limited time the "Total Eclipse = Total Savings" program for eligible purchasers of the Total Eclipse twin-engine jet. This package includes a Two-Year Extended Warranty, Complementary Options Package, Tax Incentives, and Factory Direct Financing through July 31. CLICK HERE for more info.
 
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 
 

Podcast: An Aviation Classic

File Size 5.5 MB / Running Time 5:57

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Victoria Holt (l.) and Dianna Stanger (r.)

This year's Air Race Classic, which recently finished up in Batavia, Ohio, brought together women from across the country who share a passion for aviation. AVweb's Mary Grady talks with Dianna Stanger, who won the race with teammate Victoria Holt, about their strategy, their motivation, and how they hope to inspire girls to pursue aviation careers.

Click here to listen. (5.5 MB, 5:57)

 
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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: Trego-Dugan Aviation (KLBF, North Platte, Nebraska)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Trego-Dugan Aviation at North Platte Regional Airport/Lee Bird Field (KLBF) in North Platte, Nebraska.

AVweb reader Larry J. Newland got the royal treatment on a recent visit:

In June, we stopped overnight, and as soon as we landed I told them I needed a room for overnight each time — and they made arrangements right away and got transportion to and from the hotel. [They also] tied down the airlpane and fueled it, and the whole crew was very friendly.

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!

 
Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video: 'Aviation Consumer' Takes the Show on the Road with Five Folding Bicycle Reviews

The July issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, features a blow-by-blow comparison of some of the best folding bikes for pilots we could find. See them in action in these five video reviews by Consumer's Jeff Van West.

 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK elevation: 303 feet) with a long-standing glider club on the field recently began tower operations. After the tower had been operating for about a week, on a relatively busy Saturday afternoon, I heard this exchange:

Glider:
"Frederick Tower, Glider XXX at 1,600 feet inbound for a right downwind for landing runway 12 with information Sierra ... ."

Tower:
"Glider XXX, Frederick Tower. Hold your altitude. I have a few ahead of you."

Glider:
"Frederick Tower, I'm a glider."

Tower:
"Glider XXX, cleared to land, runway 12."


Lance Nuckolls
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