AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 34a

August 20, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Lycoming || Factory-Rebuilt: The 
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AVflash! Search for Earhart Continues ... back to top 

Earhart Researchers Found "Debris Field"

Researchers who combed the sea bottom off a remote Pacific island for Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra say raw video shows "manmade objects," but they are stopping short of saying the mystery of her disappearance has been solved. "It's still very early days but we have man-made objects in a debris field in the place we'd expect to find it if our theory about the airplane is correct," said Ric Gillespie, director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), in a statement Saturday. The news comes on the eve of the airing of a Discovery Channel program on the TIGHAR expedition to Nikumaroro in July. The group believes the Electra was swept offshore sometime after Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan made an emergency landing on the island.

Gillespie said that soon after they arrived at the island 1800 miles southwest of Hawaii they realized the conditions made it unlikely they would find a "nice intact airplane." Using a remotely piloted submersible they took a large volume of video of the sea floor but couldn't review it until they were back in Hawaii. Gillespie said more expert analysis of the video is needed. "We don't want to oversell this. It is more evidence. It is where it should be and that is encouraging," he said.

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World Gliding Championships' Eventful Weekend back to top 

French Team Unlimited Glider Champion (CORRECTED)

Laurent Aboulin, of France, won the unlimited class in the World Gliding Championships in Uvalde, TX on Sunday. Dozens of teams competing in three classes flew prescribed courses with a minimum of three waypoints in closed loop over more than 200 miles over 13 days of competition. First place in the 18-meter wingspan (about 60 feet) class was Zbigniew Nieradka, of Poland and the top pilot in the 15-meter class (which flew 12 flights) was Sebastian Kawa, of Poland. Full results here. The top U.S. entrant in the unlimited class was Dick Butler, who came seventh. It was his aircraft, Concordia, with its 92-foot wingspan that was the talk of the meet, nicknamed the Olympics of Gliding, however.

Concordia was designed from the belly wheel up to race and it attempts to discover the sweet spot between strength, speed and flyability. The group that built the aircraft decided to eliminate any marketability concerns (accommodating a second seat, incorporating an engine) and design a pure competition aircraft. With pilot Dick Butler, it won two of the races and was in a logjam of top-place finishers.

Competition Gliders Collide: No Serious Injuries

Gliders competing in the 15-meter class at the World Gliding Championships collided Friday and one crashed, but there were no serious injuries. Competition officials said late Friday that Louis Bourderlique, of France, and Peter Hartmann, of Austria, came together about 30 miles from Uvalde, Texas, the base airport for this year's competition. Bourderlique flew his damaged aircraft back to Uvalde while Hartmann bailed out and landed safely by parachute. Bourderlique was uninjured, while Hartmann was picked up by helicopter from his landing site, returned to Uvalde and then taken to hospital for a checkup.

Competition spokesman said more details of the circumstances of the collision will be forthcoming as the various investigations ensue but for now organizers are thrilled that the only casualty was some shattered plastic.

What He Didn't Know About His Life
Insurance Cost His Family $500,000

Pilots should take special care when comparing life insurance. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots with insurance planning. Get the right coverage. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit PICLife.com.
Rethinking the Model (and the Money) back to top 

Lower Costs Via Aircraft Certification Reform?

The FAA submitted a report to Congress this week titled Aircraft Certification Process Review Reform, which could ultimately affect the cost of new aircraft, and GAMA has now issued a cautious but positive response. According to GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce, the report is "an important first step" toward improving the efficiency of the certification process. Technological advances are expected to create an increasing demand for product certification. Bunce says the FAA is now publicly committed to "dramatic process improvement" and the agency has worked "diligently" with industry representatives to create metrics that will evaluate progress. But, says Bunce, "much work remains."

According to Bunce, focus will be required to ensure that improvements are made and implemented in a way that bolsters safety and the economic interests of the industry. The FAA's report shows a commonality with those goals and highlights challenges it expects to face in the coming years. According to the FAA, the migration of technologies from large transport aircraft through other categories, fleet-wide safety initiatives, and improvements in materials and technologies will lead to the introduction of new products and require new forms or regulatory oversight. A main thrust of the FAA's reform initiative is its attempt to ensure that future certification processes will be more efficient than old ones. The FAA recognizes that will enable the development of new technology and its adaptation into aircraft. And that, in turn, could increase the global competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry. The FAA's report is available online, here (PDF).

LSA Hopeful Faces Financial Restructuring

LISA Airplanes' amphibious AKOYA LSA turned heads at AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, may have prompted some head scratching with its $350,000 price tag, and may now add some head shaking as the company enters receivership "to protect its future." Receivership is a type of corporate bankruptcy in which a court-appointed "receiver" is given the responsibility to recoup unpaid loans owed by the company. LISA says that it was engaged in fundraising negotiations in July "bound to the commercial development of the company" that were meant to provide the manufacturer with progressive long-term funding. But "selected investors were not able to fulfill their commitment." LISA describes its receivership as a "period of transition" and says customer deposits are unaffected.

According to the company, when long-term financing negotiations fell through, the company turned to its historical shareholders. Those investors then balked at securing LISA's financial plan. The company's founders then decided to seek, and a court has granted, the company a six-month period of observation under receivership. The company says that managers will be supported during the six-month period  "to ensure a fast resumption of every activity." The period also creates "investment opportunities" as the company seeks the funding to support a plan aimed at launching the AKOYA in a worldwide market. LISA says clients' deposits are held "under a bank warranty," and the current situation "has no impact" on those deposits.

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Honeywell's High-Tech Harbinger of Bad Weather back to top 

Honeywell's 3-D Predictive Weather Radar

Honeywell's IntuVue 3-D radar predicts what storms contain hail and lightening, identifies turbulence and allows pilots to determine the top and bottom of storm cells, giving up to 10 minutes advance warning for jets. Honeywell says the system is an upgrade that provides pilots with more tools to make safe flight-path decisions while en route. It works by analyzing data captured through algorithms as radar scans an area from the ground to 60,000 feet and up to 320 nautical miles out. Weather is color-coded with turbulence is shown in magenta. Storm cells are analyzed and those that display the characteristics for hail and lightning production are assigned an associated icon. Honeywell says the range of the system's turbulence detection sets a new standard for the industry.

IntuVue 3-D Weather Radar is STC'd and is "the first and only radar certified to the FAA's new enhanced Minimum Operational Performance Standard." It is marketed for commercial, business and military applications. The system's interface is designed to present superior information regarding weather threats relative to the aircraft. According to Honeywell, it presents the information in a simplified manner that reduces pilot workload, allowing the flight crew to focus less on collecting data and more on flying the aircraft. With ADS-B on the horizon, information sharing between aircraft will become common. Whether or not weather information gathered from expensive systems on commercial aircraft becomes a regular part of that sharing remains to be seen. As does whether or not other methods render it redundant or unnecessary.

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News Briefs back to top 

National Aviation Day Passed Quietly

It was National Aviation Day in the U.S. on Sunday, marking what would have been Orville Wright's 141st birthday. The day passed unnoticed in most places although it's been a nationally proclaimed special day since 1939, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt deemed the nation's first pilot of a powered aircraft worthy of remembrance on his birthday. As national observances go, it's not a particularly significant one. At his discretion, the sitting president may order federal buildings to fly the flag and he might encourage people to take part in activities that bolster aviation. It's in the same league as White Cane Safety Day and Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day. The First Flight Society held a full program of events Sunday to mark the day.

Among the highlights of the program was an hour-long scheduled presentation by astronaut Dr. Don Thomas, who made four trips in the space shuttle. Thomas was to speak about living and working in space and the preparations that will be made as man gets ready to return to the moon and perhaps start exploring more distant places. Thomas also presided over a hands-on presentation that looked at how liquids behave in space and there were numerous other activities at the national historic site to occupy kids and adults.

Snowbirds Prepare To Retire CT-114 Tutor

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds aerobatics performance team has flown the CT-114 Tutor since 1971 and now, according to documents obtained by Canada's The Citizen, they are in the early stages of finding replacement aircraft. Amid tight budgeting guidelines and looming modernization costs across the whole of the Canadian Forces, authorities are prepared to spend $755 million for a new Snowbirds jet fleet. Tutors have been in the Canadian Forces inventory since the 1960s and the Snowbirds currently operate 11 of them. Nine fly formation maneuvers when two solo aircraft are included. Two jets are kept available as spares. It is not yet clear if the military will be replacing all of the aircraft to create a fleet of equal number. But the current Tutors are scheduled to retire by year-end 2020.

The subsonic jets offer a different and relatively graceful experience when compared to the faster and much louder routines performed by U.S. teams like the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy's Blue Angels. Along those lines, the Canadian Forces do operate a version of the F-18, which critics note offers an operating cost 20 times higher than CT-114s. The Snowbirds serve as a recruiting tool for the Canadian Forces and the team has established an image of flying a large formation jet team. According to the Calgary Herald, the Canadian Forces reportedly considered using propeller-driven aircraft, but noted that other teams that made the switch saw a drop in airshow attendance. Leasing aircraft has also reportedly been considered. Whatever aircraft is chosen, it may be expected to serve in the role like the Tutor -- for 30 or 40 years.

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When Cars Fly back to top 

Video: PlaneDriven's Roadable Airplane

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

The problem with flying cars is that it's a lot harder to make a car fly than it is to make an airplane drive. That's the thinking behind Trey Johnson's roadable Glasair Sportsman, which we filmed at Oshkosh. He flew it in and drove it around town a couple of times. We're not sure what kind of demand there is for this sort of thing, but it's fun to watch it come together.

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AVweb Insider Blog: What Is It with Flying Cars?

Maybe we should blame Popular Mechanics for all those magazine covers featuring — artist's conception only — a flying car in every garage. The idea has never worked, and it's probably never going to work, yet it persists and draws more interest than a lot of practical designs that just aren't as sexy. Or, as Paul Bertorelli surmises on the AVweb Insider blog, maybe they just don't have that edge-of-sanity dingbat factor. Just because people won't buy crazy doesn't mean they don't want to watch people try to pull it off.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Using a high-performance sailplane, Ascension Scattering™ releases cremated remains into strong thermals over the Rocky Mountains. The ashes are carried heavenward, making them part of the sky. Your family is invited to personalize the release to create an individualized memorial event. Optional video of the release serves as a lasting memorial. Contact Aerial Tribute to book an eternal flight, either as an advanced arrangement for yourself or as an arrangement for a loved one. Click here for a video overview.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Survey: How Are Your GAMIjectors Working?

General Aviation Modifications has been out there with a staple of eninge mod business: Custom fuel injectors called GAMIjectors. If you have GAMIjectors on your airplane, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, would like to know how they're working out for you.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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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What Have You Missed on AVwebcom? back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Curious About Curiosity

Imagine the technical challenge of flying a Toyota Camry to Mars and plopping it down in one piece. NASA has done just that with the Curiosity rover, although it's a tad more sophisticated than the Toyota. And at $2.5 billion, you could cover Mars in economy cars. Resident cheapskate Paul Bertorelli offers this question on the AVweb Insider blog: Could a private company like SpaceEx do it for less?

Read more and join the conversation.

Video: Airplane Crash In-Cockpit Footage -- Stinson 108-3

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

Video of a plane crash as it was experienced from the right seat, inside the cockpit. The accident took place on Saturday, June 30, 2012 near Bruce Meadows airstrip, not far from Stanley, Idaho. At the time of this report, information was preliminary and subject to change, but some had been collected by the NTSB. The aircraft is a Stinson model 108-3, a 165-horsepower single-engine high-wing propeller-driven plane capable of carrying four, plus full fuel and light baggage. All four occupants survived the crash with the pilot suffering the worst injury. The cause of the crash is yet undetermined, but an aircraft's performance is dependent, among other things, on the density of the air it moves through. The pilot appears to have faced "high-density altitude" conditions, which degrade an aircraft's take-off and climb performance.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Hangar 9 (Aberdeen Regional Airport/KABR, South Dakota)

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

AVweb readers often discover great FBOs on their individual journeys to Oshkosh for AirVenture. This year was no exception, as we received quite a few nominations during the weeks after the show.

Our latest "FBO of the Week" is one of these, recommended by annual patron Les Smith - Hangar 9 at Aberdeen Regional Airport (KABR) in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Les had high praise for H9 and its staff:

Hangar 9 greeted our arrival with a lineman ready to marshall us in. Free refreshments (a variety of drinks and snacks) were available. An Oshkosh special price for fuel was in effect [during our visit]. Owner Darryl Shook was very hospitable. He provided a late-model loaner vehicle and hangared our Cardinal overnight against potential storms — not forecast, but hey, this is South Dakota — and offered recommendations for both food and lodging. KABR is a natural stop for our Seattle area trip to/from Oshkosh, and Hangar 9 is a natural for a friendly, helpful FBO.

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!

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Heard on KBIS tower frequency years ago:

"NorthWest XYZ, cleared to land, 31. Be advised of model rocketry testing from the United Tribes Educational Center just west of the airport."

Northwest XYZ (with a Texas drawl) :
"Ah liked it bettah when they only used bows and arrows."

Rob Scarlett
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 

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

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

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.

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Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.