AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 43b

October 25, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! The EAA After Rod Hightower back to top 

Pelton: EAA Will Keep On Course

The departure of Rod Hightower on Monday from the helm of EAA doesn't signal any major change in the direction of the organization, chairman of the board Jack Pelton told AVweb on Wednesday. "This all happened kind of quickly and unexpectedly," Pelton said. "We're still focused on our core mission, which is supporting our EAA membership, volunteers, and employees." He said he will be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the organization, and no timeline has been set for finding Hightower's replacement. "Transitions are never easy," he said. "My real goal here is to keep everybody on the track that we've been on … and get the day-to-day stuff done while we focus on getting to an airshow in July."

Reaction to the sudden change in leadership was mixed on the EAA online message board. Some members expressed concern that a core group that wants EAA to focus only on the homebuilder community was behind the change; others felt Hightower had tried to expand the membership and that was a good way to go. A few said they had thought of quitting, but now would wait and see; others said they had planned to renew, but now would wait and see. Mac McClelland, EAA vice president of publications, told the local Oshkosh Northwestern that Hightower had simply failed to move to Oshkosh from his home in St. Louis as the board expected. "I know there's all kinds of complaints, but that's not it," McClelland said. "[The residency] was the unsolvable requirement. The board sees the president/CEO living in the Fox Valley as essential to the mission."

AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Jack Pelton on Wednesday afternoon to find out what happens now at EAA. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Podcast: EAA Moves on After Hightower

File Size 5.6 MB / Running Time 6:07

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Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

As of Monday, Rod Hightower is no longer president of EAA. Jack Pelton, who is leading the search for his successor, speaks with AVweb's Mary Grady about what happens now.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (5.6 MB, 6:07)

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Hightower's Departure: Now What? back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Hightower's EAA Departure -- What's Next?

In a surprising move that wasn't all that surprising, EAA's board dismissed Rod Hightower as the association's president. The good news? Jack Pelton will chair the board to get the association back on track. Paul Bertorelli runs down the plusses in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

Question of the Week: Advice for Pelton?

Not that he likely needs any, but Rod Hightower's sudden departure may open opportunities to make EAA better.

What would you tell Pelton to do?
(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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High-Concept High-Speed back to top 

NASA Tests Boeing Supersonic Design

A number of technologies are in the works to solve the problem of sonic booms and resurrect commercial supersonic flight, and recently NASA tested one potential design from Boeing. Two models were tested in the supersonic wind tunnel at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The model in the photo is the larger of the two, and it's shown upside-down. The model contains a force measurement balance used to measure forces on the model such as lift and drag. The smaller model was used to measure the off-body pressures that create a sonic boom. NASA has been funding research by Boeing and Lockheed Martin to develop designs for a small supersonic airliner that would carry between 30 and 80 passengers and potentially enter service in the 2025 timeframe.

NASA's computer analysis has shown that a long, slender fuselage can reduce the loudness of a sonic boom; however, an 800-foot-long airliner wouldn't be manageable with today's airport infrastructure. "The long, skinny fuselage is not a practical answer," said Peter Coen, NASA's supersonic project manager at Langley Research Center in Virginia. "In our pursuit of boom reductions, we examine the whole, three-dimensional shape of the vehicle including the engine configuration." The researchers aim to create a design that would modify the shape of the supersonic shockwaves coming off the airplane so by the time the shockwave reached the ground the sonic boom would be nearly inaudible. "The booms are still there, but your ear is tricked into hearing a thump," Coen said. He added that while a supersonic airliner is likely a decade or two away, supersonic business jets could be flying much sooner, because lighter aircraft create weaker shock waves, making the low-boom design challenge easier to solve.

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Speaking of Tomorrow's Air Space ... back to top 

Drone Collision-Avoidance Tech Advances

As the FAA faces a challenging deadline to integrate unmanned aircraft systems into the national airspace by 2015, probably the biggest challenge is to ensure collision avoidance. This week, an engineering company in Maryland says it has successfully tested an ADS-B-based, fully autonomous collision avoidance system on a UAS. The test by R3 Engineering took place in August in Newfoundland, Canada. The sense-and-avoid system, with no external command or control inputs, "commanded the UAS's autopilot to depart from its programmed flight path, execute an internally computed maneuver to avoid a potential collision, and then return to the original planned flight path when well clear of the intruder," the company said in news release on Wednesday.

The test series included potential collision scenarios between the UAS and stationary hazards, moving ground hazards, and between two UAS aircraft. The system is able to develop target tracks from data it receives, project potential conflicts at a future time, compute and recommend to the ground-based remote pilot maneuvers such as course or speed change that will maintain safe separation, and if necessary, send collision avoidance maneuvers directly to the aircraft autopilot, the company said. More flight testing later this year will integrate data from sensors such as radar and electro-optical/infra-red into sense-and-avoid process. The testing has been funded by the Office of Naval Research and the Department of Defense.

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Future Holds More Handheld Wizardry for Pilots back to top 

ForeFlight: iPad Mini Will Ignite Pilot Sales

With this week's news that Apple we release the iPad Mini on Nov. 2, aviation app providers are almost certain to see increased sales as a result. "After every new Apple device release, we've always seen a wave of new pilots and new customers. There's always a group of pilots waiting to see what new technology brings," said Tyson Weihs of ForeFlight, a leading aviation app. AVweb spoke to Weihs at Redbird Flight Simulations' industry training conference on Wednesday. Although the iPad has achieved impressive penetration in the GA market as an all-purpose navigator, plate reader, E6B and pre-planner, many users have complained that it's just a bit too large for the cockpit. The Mini measures 7.9 by 5.3 inches and is barely a quarter inch thick. It weighs .68 pounds, according to Apple. Base price is $329. By comparison, the iPad2 measures 9.5 by 7.3 inches, with a base price of $399.

Weihs says he believes many buyers will pull the purchase trigger on size alone. "The iPad mini is different than previous releases because it brings it to cockpits not previously adopted for size reasons," Weihs told AVweb. "For example, guys in RVs, we have military customers flying T-38s, so I think this is going to be really good for a number of segments. I think we'll see a big push as the Christmas season approaches and we'll see a lot of new pilots carrying iPads." Weihs also reports that commercial customers are likely to adopt the iPad in larger numbers this year. During 2012, many carriers and commercial customers were evaluating the iPad against potential Windows or Android entries. "Many of the carriers we've spoken to have cancelled those evaluations and they've gone back to the iPad," Weihs said. What to expect from apps in the coming year? More emphasis on sophisticated moving maps and integrated functions such as ADS-B and AHRS.

Related Content:

Podcast: New Apps for Pilots

File Size 4.2 MB / Running Time 4:34

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The iPad Mini starts to ship on November 2, providing a new option for pilots to access apps and information in the cockpit. AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli talks with Foreflight's Tyson Weihs about the impact of the new tablet and other new products and innovations in the works for pilots.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (4.2 MB, 4:34)

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Redbird's Migration Training: A New Paradigm

After a year of research and training at its San Marcos, Texas, Skyport simulator lab, Redbird Flight Simulations is poised to roll out a new simulator-based pilot training program that expands its business beyond sim sales and into the wider market of flight training delivery. The training could, in some iterations, be based on a fixed-cost, fixed-time model that Redbird says it has had success with at its San Marcos location. Redbird will continue to market its line of affordable simulators while a separate company called Redbird Media will produce training support and outreach materials based on simulator-centric training. The new system is called Migration and will capitalize on what Redbird has learned from a year of intensive research on simulator training methods at its San Marcos facility.

At the company's second industry training conference in San Marcos on Tuesday, Redbird CEO Jerry Gregoire told about 175 instructors, flight school owners and industry professionals that Red Bird's sim-based training will change the rules for how flight training is delivered to customers while at the same increasing the return on investment for flight schools, a critical part of the GA equation. Gregoire has long been a critic of an established flight training system that he compared to trying to make progress by "climbing up a mudslide." In a day-long event introducing what will become the Migration method, Gregoire said current flight training is a game rigged against the student because it depends on instructor and equipment availability, not the would-be student's convenience or desires. The drop out rate is horrific, said Gregoire, and seems to be getting worse.

Redbird developed the underlying concepts at its Skyport lab and for its version of the training it used a fixed-cost model of $9500 for either private or instrument rating, with the training completed over a three-week period. Typically, a student spends two dual sessions a day of about an hour-and-half each, plus solo sim sessions. Aircraft sessions are scheduled as the simulator program progresses. Students can fly as much solo sim time as they like on the way to the rating. As the ideas behind the training filter into the wider market under the Migration nameplate, the program will be based broadly on Skyport's training findings, but it will up to individual flight schools to decide how fixed costs are set and whether the fixed-time model will be followed. The training materials will allow some flexibility.

Redbird's chief instructor Roger Sharp told the group that in some 10 months of operation, the lab tested a number of assumptions designed to improve the student's training experience, including the design of the building itself, how people learn -- or don't learn -- the sometimes daunting technical details of flying and how sim time can best be integrated with actual aircraft time. Redbird found that much of what pilots are forced to learn is useless rote-and-repeat knowledge designed to meet outdated FAA standards of what pilots are supposed to know. It has stripped down and simplified the delivery of required knowledge for the ratings.

One novel idea: The instructors aren't hourly employees, but full-time, salaried professionals with benefits. Sharp conceded that this definitely raises overhead, but he insists that it pays off in a higher margin for the flight school on both the simulator and aircraft investments. The lab has graduated 41 students, including 20 private pilots. Sharp said as a group, these pilots have had a 97 percent first-time pass rate on checkrides and have completed their training in an average of 38 hours for those who pursued the program full-time. The national average is 62 hours.

The Migration system will be rolled out to all comers by Redbird Media, headed by Jeff Van West. Although developed on Redbird simulators, the system can be used by any school with adequate simulation. The Migration training materials aren't available yet, but are expected to be in the months ahead.

Meanwhile, Continental Motors has already launched its own simulator-based training initiative called Zulu. Continental CEO Rhett Ross summarized this for the conference on Tuesday. Although it's not yet using the Migration system, Ross said Continental's initial experience has proven one thing: A simulator business can be placed off-airport in a shopping mall and draw both walk-in traffic and regular student trade. Ross said the storefront location spares the student a long slog through traffic simply for a one-hour flight lesson. The Zulu store has a spacious storefront in downtown Mobile and three Redbird simulators. It also has two glass-panel 172s for flight training. Ross said Zulu capitalizes on the fact that flight training simply hasn't kept up with customer expectations and he believes clean, modern facilities and full-time instructors can reset the rules. "We have to look at flight training differently," Ross said. "The customer is different today."

GAMA: Different World Ahead

FAA budget cutbacks are almost certain to directly impact the industry next, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce. "The world will be different starting next year," Bunce told participants Tuesday at Red Bird Simulations' second annual flight training industry conference in San Marcos, Texas. "There will be cuts made," he added, explaining that these might result in a more difficult regulatory environment for the short term. On the other hand, Bunce said a proposed revision of FAR Part 23 that is now underway shows promise of reducing the hoops aircraft manufacturers and modifiers have to jump through to gain certification approvals for new aircraft and mods.

The Part 23 Aviation Rulemaking Committee is tasked to simplify Part 23 to manufacturers and will have a menu of options to suit their particular circumstances, rather than having to comply with rules that don't apply to what they're building or modifying. Even the FAA has proposed the notion of "twice the safety at half the cost." The explosion in changes to Part 23 occurred between 1994 and 1996, said Bunce, amounting to about 800 additional requirements. The changes are so extensive, said Bunce, that the distinction between Part 23 and Part 25, which applies to transport category aircraft, is sometimes blurred. Bunce said the FAA is also showing flexibility on revising knowledge tests to more accurately reflect the way pilots actually fly in the system.

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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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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Our latest winning photo comes from Steve Durtschi of Centerville, UT. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
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].

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