AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 43a

October 22, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Supply and Demand (And Flight Tests) back to top 

FAA Policy Causes Checkride Costs To Rise

Obtaining a pilot certificate in popular training areas of the Southwest may get more expensive thanks to a decision by the FAA to limit the number flight tests designated pilot examiners (DPEs) can administer. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor confirmed to AVweb that the agency has capped flight tests for DPEs under the authority of the Scottsdale and Las Vegas flight service district office (FSDO). "The FAA routinely reviews procedures, policies and programs to ensure they are operating safely, efficiently and properly," Gregor said. "A review of our Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) program identified potential issues with DPEs who conduct a high number of pilot flight checks. As a result, the FAA's Western Pacific Region is limiting DPEs in two locations -- Las Vegas and Scottsdale -- to conducting 50 flight checks per quarter, or 200 per year." Gregor declined to specify what led to the action but Fred Gibbs, a flight instructor in Flagstaff, said the result will come right out of the pockets of his students. "The examiner intends to raise the rate from $450 to $700 to make up the lost income he will incur as a result of the fewer number of flight tests he is allowed to administer," Gibbs said.

Gibbs said his understanding is that some DPEs in Las Vegas were doing two or three exams a day and there were questions raised about the thoroughness of the tests they administered. He said the cap on flight tests could also lead to longer wait times for students ready to take their rides. He said the policy will also burden already-taxed FSDO staff with monitoring DPE activity, which may compound the delays facing students.

Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
Be certain you have the right life insurance coverage. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit PICLife.com.
The New Hawker Beechcraft back to top 

Hawker Beechcraft Bankruptcy Takes A Turn

Talks between Hawker Beechcraft and Superior Aviation Beijing Co. have ended without agreement and the company has now announced plans to emerge from Chapter 11 protection as the standalone company, Beechcraft Corporation. A letter to customers signed by Hawker Beechcraft chairman Bill Boisture and executive vice president Shawn Vick said the company's main goal is to ensure the company completes reorganization "in a strong operational and financial position." That may leave it without Hawker product lines "or a closure of the entire jet business," as a result of strategic or financial considerations. The company says it will focus on other holdings, including piston lines and refurbishments, which are seen to "have high growth potential."

"In consultation with its key creditor constituents," the letter says, the company is "evaluating its strategic alternatives for Hawker product lines." Specifically, that could include sale of some or all associated product lines. If no suitable bids are received, the jet lines could be shuttered altogether. The company says it will focus instead on those areas it has identified as having high growth potential. That includes turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft as well as parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbs. While the company's discussions with Superior are over, it still retains a $50 million deposit from the company, which it says is "now fully non-refundable" and the property of Beechcraft. The company says it has sufficient liquidity to complete its restructuring and has announced that it will develop and file a Joint Plan of Reorganization which will be the subject of a hearing on Nov. 15, 2012.

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Aviation in the Media back to top 

Branson Leverages Baumgartner's Record Jump

The ever adventurous and publicity-savvy Sir Richard Branson Thursday recognized Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull-sponsored record freefall by also telling the world his company once considered a jump from 400,000 feet -- and might consider it, again. In a blog post at Virgin.com Branson says his people were approached in 2005 by an individual who wanted to use SpaceShipOne for such a jump. The craft would carry the jumper to its apogee at 400,000 feet where the parachutist, clad in a fully pressurized spacesuit, would simply exit. The jumper would return via freefall and parachute. Meanwhile, a pilot (also wearing a spacesuit) would remain with the craft and its life support systems to guide their safe return. Branson says the trip "is theoretically possible" but the attempt was preempted by other factors.

At the time in 2005 when Branson's team was approached, SpaceShipOne was being removed from testing and placed at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum. But, says Branson, technology marches forward every day and "we look forward to taking on new challenges as we move closer towards commercial space flight." He goes on to suggest that "the next record leap could one day be from Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo." In keeping with his reputation for adventure, Branson signs off by saying, "Haven't had a challenge myself for a while. Could be fun for Virgin to give Red Bull a run for their money." Baumgartner's 128,000-foot plunge on October 14, 2012, broke at least two records that stood for more than 50 years. He set the new mark for highest-ever parachute jump and highest manned balloon flight. He is also believed to have reached 1.24 Mach during freefall.

Podcast: The Restorers Aims for TV

File Size 5.8 MB / Running Time 6:22

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset

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Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Documentary films about aviation are a labor of love, but filmmaker Adam White of Hemlock Films has created several and now is working to raise money to bring a new aviation series to TV. AVweb's Mary Grady talks with White about the project and how you can get involved.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (5.8 MB, 6:22)

Copperstate Fly-In || October 25-27, 2012
The Southwest's Premier Aviation Event, the Copperstate Fly-In & Aviation Expo will take place October 25-27 in Casa Grande, Arizona at the Municipal Airport. This, the 40th annual event, will include over 500 aircraft of all kinds, airplane rides, aviation exhibitors, fly-bys, vendors, a food court, and the Ford "Go Further" Tour. Adult admission: $15. Children 12 & under: no charge. No-cost parking. See Copperstate.org for more information.

Come and enjoy an aviation experience at its best!
Scientific Breakthrough, Financial Reality back to top 

'Air Into Petrol' Achieved, And Why It Still Doesn't Work

A small British company claims to have done it, and hopes to use similar processes to produce aviation fuel, but there are still some reasons we probably won't be creating vast quantities of fuel from air anytime soon. Since August, the systems and processes developed by Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced "five litres of petrol" from carbon dioxide and water vapor, the Independent.co.uk reported Friday. The company reportedly says it hopes to within two years build a commercial-scale plant that will turn out one ton of petrol per day from the conversion. Researchers have long been aware of the science behind the processes -- and the inefficiencies and costs that likely explain why no one other than Air Fuel Synthesis is attempting it now.

The chemistry of the transformation requires a still-complicated series of steps and the use of enough electricity to make other methods of energy production, by comparison, significantly more efficient and cost-effective. A Forbes article that addressed the process characterized the inefficiencies as "grotesque" suggesting it would be far cheaper to use the electricity to power electric cars or even "to electrolyse water to run fuel cells in cars." Proponents of the technology recognize the costs inherent in process-essential steps like carbon capture but expect that the prices will fall as the technology develops. Contacted for comment by The Independent, Columbia University professor Klaus Lackner noted, "the cost of a light bulb has fallen 7,000-fold during the past century." Air Fuel Synthesis may need similar advances before its processes become commercially viable.

ProActive Safety Systems
Operational Safety Management Seminar
Denver, Colorado, November 13-14
This real-world, two-day operational safety management seminar focuses on the four pillars of SMS: Safety Policy, Risk Management, Safety Assurance and Safety Promotion. 18,000-hour pilot J.R. Russell and guest speaker David Soucie (former FAA official and author) show you SMS applications and case studies from the inside out. "Operationally relevant," says corporate pilot-safety officer Gary Tucker. Stay at Denver's great Inverness Conference Center, where rooms and meals are included — networking, too. Click here for details.
Uncovering the Past back to top 

Spitfire Excavation Deal Signed

British farmer and aviation enthusiast David Cundall Tuesday signed an agreement with Burma's government to unearth a cache of what he expects will be dozens of Spitfires carefully stored and buried in that country at the end of World War II. Roughly 35 Spitfires are still flown in the world, today. Cundall and his Burmese business partner Htoo Htoo Zaw estimate there may be at least 60 Spitfires, all of the rare Mark XIV model, at a location Cundall discovered in February after a 16-year search. Cundall will get 30 percent of the aircraft. He's spent about $200,000 locating them and arranging the deal. It's believed the aircraft were greased and wrapped prior to being buried in crates, and may be recovered in good condition. Some 20,000 Spitfires were built during the war, but the Mark XIV model represents a much smaller segment of that group.

Earlier Spits were powered by the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine and only a few dozen more than 2,000 of the aircraft were built as Mark XIV models driven by a more powerful Griffon engine coupled with a five-blade prop. Those buried in Burma may have seen very little use prior to being put in storage. The agreement to excavate the famed fighters came after a disagreement between Cundall and British businessman Steve Brooks, who also claimed the right to retrieve the planes. Cundall came out on top but more work followed. In the end, an April meeting between British prime minister David Cameron and Burmese president Thein Sein led to the agreement. Cundall and Zaw signed the deal with Burma's director-general of civil aviation, Tin Naing Tun, Tuesday. Excavation awaits, and if the aircraft are recovered in good condition, they may be worth roughly $2.3 million each.

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Shopper's Marketplace back to top 

MyWingMan App Now Available

Bendix/King has announced that its myWingMan application is now available for download from iTunes. The app is an all-in-one navigation, weather and flight information tool that combines moving map, weather and synthetic vision in one package with a simple user interface that does not use multiple menus for on-screen navigation. "We didn't set out to simply design another application for the GA marketplace," said Kevin Gould, president of Bendix/King. "The myWingMan app sets a new standard for what pilots can expect from future mobile flight planning and navigation tools." Bendix/King's Jeff Simon took us through the app in this video.

Bendix/King introduced myWingMan at AirVenture Oshkosh and announced last week at AOPA Summit that it had submitted the app for review by Apple. Apple took less than two weeks to approve the app. The app features a two- or three-way split screen that can be easily sized and manipulated with touch controls. The information available on the app can be synchronized with panel avionics like the Bendix/King KSN 770 using the Aspen Connected Panel system.

Flyable Hurricane For Sale

One of about a dozen flyable Hawker Hurricane fighters will go on the auction block in England in December. The Hurricane Mk. X11a is now owned by the Historic Aircraft Collection in Duxford and is expected to fetch about $2.7 million when prestigious auction house Bonhams puts it on the block. "This Hurricane is one of only a handful of these iconic aircraft still flying today, and is presented for sale in highly original condition. We expect it will be a lot that will generate much interest among buyers at our December sale," Bonhams said in a release. It's not clear why the Duxford group is selling the aircraft. It also owns a Spitfire, Nimrod and Hawker Fury.

The aircraft in question was built by Canadian Car Foundry in 1942 and was in the Royal Canadian Air Force in various roles until 1947, when it was bought by a group in Saskatchewan. It was restored in the 1980s and flew in 1989. It still has its 12 Browning machine guns. It's been in Duxford since 2002.

myWingman Navigator App for Tablets || Bendix/King by Honeywell
Bendix/King myWingMan Navigator App
There's no easier way to fly informed.
Ease-of-use is on just about every pilot's checklist. Which makes the new myWingMan Navigator app worth checking out. With full-screen or two- and three-way split-screen views, myWingMan lets you easily modify the screen to provide the information you want. Swap windows with just two fingers: drag and drop. It's completely intuitive. There's no easier way to fly informed. Just touch. And go. Visit PreviewMyWingman.com.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Flying Clubs vs. Renting

Flying clubs are hardly the ideal option for all of us. On the other hand, they do offer affordable access to an airplane for people who can't afford ownership on their own or in partnerships. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli tries to look into the future of AOPA's new initiative to link clubs into a network. It may or may not work, but it at least gives the flying club idea some deserved attention.

Read more and join the conversation.

VoiceFlight || Aren't You Tired of Twisting Knobs?
GNS 430W/530W Users:
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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.

Introducing the IFD440 FMS/GPS/NAV/COM || Avidyne
Easy Upgrade to IFD440 FMS/GPS/NAV/COM
As the newest member of Avidyne's integrated flight display family, the IFD440 has been designed to be an easy-to-install, plug & play replacement for legacy GNS430-Series navigators. The IFD440 provides powerful navigation, communication, and multi-function display capabilities, and its easy-to-use Hybrid Touch user interface allows pilots to perform virtually all functions using dedicated knobs/buttons or via the touchscreen interface. Now you have a Choice. And the Choice is Easy.

Click here to receive introductory pricing information.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Eagles of America (KABY, Albany, Georgia)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Eagles of America at Southwest Georgia Regional Airport (KABY) in Albany, Georgia.

AVweb reader Matthew Hevey recommended the FBO, writing:

While flying with my family to Atlanta from Orlando Sunday evening before Labor Day, I experienced an alternator failure which required a diversion to KABY (the nearest airport). On very short notice late on a Sunday before a holiday, they arranged for a rental car in a matter of minutes. Ron (maintenance) kept in contact with me and updated me regularly on the status of repairs. I understand that they are a relatively new FBO at Albany, and they did a fantastic job with assisting my family and me. Kudos!

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!

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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 one week, on a relatively busy Saturday afternoon I heard this exchange:

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

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

"Frederick Tower, I'm a glider."

"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.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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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

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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.