AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 10b

March 7, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Making Airplanes back to top 

Cessna Flies Production TTx

The first flight of a production Cessna Corvalis TTx -- the plane Cessna bills as "the world's fastest fixed-gear, single-engine piston aircraft in production" -- took place on Saturday, March 2, at Independence, Kan., the company announced Wednesday. The Cessna turbocharged TTx evolved from the Corvalis (previously Columbia) line. Cessna says the plane is the first to fly with Garmin G2000 14 avionics. The power plant for the four-seater is a 310-hp Continental TSIO-550-C engine that the company says will pull the plane to a maximum cruise speed of 235 KTAS. Saturday's flight took the aircraft to 17,000 feet and "a speed of 213 kts," according to the company.

The TTx best range of 1250 nm (with reserves) comes while flying at 25,000 feet (its operating ceiling) at 45-percent power and carrying a payload of no more than 388 pounds. Maximum payload is 700 pounds. The aircraft is not pressurized. According to the company, maximum takeoff weight is 3,600 pounds and maximum landing weight is 3,420 pounds. Cessna announced at Sun 'n Fun 2012 that it had started production of the TTx. Along with Garmin G2000 avionics, Cessna has also incorporated Garmin's Electronic Stability Protection System (ESP), which is designed "to help pilots keep the high-performance aircraft operating within the normal flight envelope." The aircraft comes with an option for a flight into known icing system. Prior non-production examples have already logged 339 hours in the air.

Grand Forks Asks Cirrus For More

A decision on whether or not the city of Grand Forks, N.D., will provide Cirrus Aircraft with a $950,000 loan will be delayed for at least a few days until the company answers questions about its financial standing, the Grand Forks Herald reported Tuesday. Cirrus wants to use the loan to expand its Grand Forks production facility and hire workers for jobs that are currently outsourced. But city officials noted in a meeting, Tuesday, negative financial reports about the company and the fact that the new loan would add more than 28 percent to monthly payments Cirrus was already making to the city. Cirrus' William King objected to city's interpretation of the company's financial position.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, the new loan would raise Cirrus' monthly payment to $90,000, an increase of more than 28 percent above its current payment. Members of the city's Growth Fund Committee noted Tuesday that Cirrus last year showed "significant losses" on its financial reports and that the company also has liabilities due in 2013. Cirrus Vice President for Business Administration William King told the Grand Forks Herald, "What they are quoting were not even the correct numbers." King said that Cirrus has met its past obligations to the city and had 15 years of history there. According to King, the loan would lead to savings for the company and create 10 new jobs. King says Cirrus is operating at a break-even point and he was "just stunned at the treatment" the manufacturer was receiving from the committee.

912 Rotax Training Available at California Power Systems
912 Rotax Training Available at California Power Systems
California Power Systems still has space available for Rotax training in March. Our training facility is located at the Chino Airport (CNO) in California. If you own a Rotax engine and want to do your own maintenance, you need to consider attending these courses. With over 40,000 912 engines produced, it's obvious these engines will continue to be the leader in light sport aviation. For more information and to sign up, please call us at 1 (800) AIR‑WOLF or visit 800-airwolf.com.
Last Call for Old PPCs back to top 

Last Of FAA Paper Certificates To Expire Soon

Pilots have been required to carry plastic certificates since 2010, but the deadline for replacing other paper FAA certificates, such as mechanic, repairman, flight engineer, or ground instructor, is coming up March 31. You still have time to meet the deadline, as long as you apply online, which takes about 7 to 10 days for processing. Mail requests will take 4 to 6 weeks to fulfill. Each certificate replacement costs just $2. If you'd like to keep your old paper certificate, you can, but it will no longer have any official authority.

Temporary certificates and student certificates are exempted from the rule, and will remain valid until the expiration date. The FAA launched its effort to replace paper certificates back in 2005, mainly in response to security concerns. The new plastic cards are more difficult to counterfeit.

Avidyne IFD540 & IFD440
The Easy-to-Install IFD440 & IFD540 with Hybrid Touch
The IFD440 & IFD540 are plug-and-play replacements for GNS430 and GNS530 Series navigators, providing powerful NAV, COM, and Map capabilities. Featuring a Hybrid Touch user interface, these new systems allow pilots to perform virtually all functions using dedicated knobs/buttons or via the touchscreen interface.

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Biofuels: Going the Distance back to top 

Biofuel Powers 182 Flight

Aviation biofuel experiments took another step forward this weekend when a crew from the New Jersey-based Paramus Flying Club flew their Cessna 182 with an SMA diesel engine from Smithfield, R.I., to Kitty Hawk, N.C., on a blend of 50 percent biofuel and 50 percent Jet A. The biofuel, made by SkyNRG in the Netherlands, is refined from recycled cooking oil. "This was the first time this fuel has been used in a general aviation diesel engine," Ross McCurdy, one of the pilots, told AVweb. Before taking off, McCurdy and Chris Howitt, president of the flying club, filled up the 182 on the ramp, and took it for a long run-up and a fast taxi. "If anything, the engine seemed to run better on the biofuel blend," McCurdy said.

Howitt and McCurdy, along with flying club member Jochen Spengler and McCurdy's nine-year-old son Aidan, made the 500-mile trip on Saturday and returned the next day. McCurdy said the engine ran just fine on the biofuel blend. McCurdy, who teaches high-school science in Rhode Island, hopes to take the biofuel airplane on a coast-to-coast flight, perhaps as soon as this summer. His students helped with research and planning of the weekend's flight, he told AVweb, and will also be involved in the next phase.

Podcast: Flying on Recycled Fuel

File Size 6.7 MB / Running Time 7:19

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Ross McCurdy, a science teacher and private pilot in Rhode Island, worked with members of the Paramus Flying Club in New Jersey to test a 50/50 biofuel blend in their diesel 182. After returning from a 1,000-mile test flight, he talked with AVweb's Mary Grady about how it went, why they did it, and what he hopes to do next.

Click here to listen. (6.7 MB, 7:19)

Masimo SpO2 at AeroMedix.com
Get Masimo's iSpO2 at AeroMedix.com
Masimo is an American manufacturer of hospital-grade oximeters famous for holding a signal in high vibration/motion environments. With iSpO2, they have developed software that will run on an iPod/iPad/iPhone and married it with their pulse oximeter design. You can watch your oxygen saturation as you climb to altitude and observe your heart rate. Very helpful for setting the proper oxygen flow. Get yours today at AeroMedix.com!
New Now Navs back to top 

Spidertracks Adds Real-Time Features

Consumer technologies that use GPS to track aircraft in flight are adding features all the time, and this week one of the more popular vendors, Spidertracks, of New Zealand, announced new capabilities in its latest device, the Spider S5. The new unit retains the small footprint of the earlier models, but adds integrated Bluetooth communications to enable two-way messaging, SOS alerting, and real-time flight tracking, the company said on Wednesday. The S5 is portable, and no installation is required. Using a free app called Spidertxt, users can connect their smartphones to the S5 unit via Bluetooth, and send and receive text messages to any mobile phone on the ground.

The system uses the Iridium satellite network to make those connections. The Spidertxt app is now available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, the company said this week, as well as Android and Blackberry smartphones and tablets. Spidertxt can also send short messages to email. Consumer tracking devices like Spidertracks were recently cited as a factor in helping to improve aviation's safety record in Alaska, where search-and-rescue is especially challenging.

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Rise of the Machines back to top 

Drone Reported In NYC Airspace

A small hovering drone was reported by an Alitalia pilot near New York's John F. Kennedy Airport about 1 p.m. on Monday, officials said on Tuesday. "The FAA is investigating a report ... [the pilot] saw a small, unmanned or remote-controlled aircraft while on final approach to Runway 31 Right," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN. The drone came within about 200 feet of the Alitalia airplane, according to the FBI. It was described as black in color with four propellers, and about three feet wide. The sighting was about four to five miles west of the airport at an altitude of about 1,500 feet, the FAA said. That location would put the drone somewhere over Brooklyn, according to CNN. The Alitalia pilot took no evasive action and the aircraft landed safely.

Controllers warned other approaching aircraft about the sighting, but at least two pilots said they didn't see it, CNN reported. Recreational drones are not allowed within three miles of an airport without prior permission. They also are supposed to stay below 400 feet and within sight of the operator. The FBI has asked the public to report any information about the aircraft or the operator. "Our paramount concern is the safety of aircraft passengers and crew," said Special Agent in Charge John Giacalone.

Question of the Week: Ever Seen a Drone?

An Alitalia pilot did on final to JFK.

Have you had an encounter with a pilotless aircraft while piloting yours?
(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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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Heavy Crosswind Cited In Crash

The weekend manager of a New Mexico airport questioned a Texas pilot's intention to take off in a heavy crosswind that may have contributed to his Mooney crashing and killing all four occupants, including his 13-year-old niece. "'Are you really going to try to fly in this weather?'" Angel Fire Airport manager Harvey Wright quoted his weekend manager as asking the pilot. "And his answer was, 'Yeah.' I guess he felt confident in his abilities in his skills, and in the plane." Wright made the comment to the San Antonio Express News. Pilot John Phillip Verhalen III, 33, of San Antonio, was killed along with his sister Sara Verhalen, 41, and niece Chloe Marie Jameson, 13, both from the Dallas area; and girlfriend Jennifer Woodward, 26 of San Antonio. Weather records indicate the crosswind far exceeded the demonstrated crosswind component in the POH.

According to Weather Underground there were sustained winds of 30-35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph directly across the runway when Verhalen took off. According to another witness, a gust seemed to cause a wing to dip shortly after takeoff and the aircraft crashed between the runway and a highway. Wright said Verhalen was the only pilot who attempted to fly on Sunday and added that local terrain makes the wind even trickier to handle. "We sit in a bowl," he said. "When the wind comes over the west ridge, it accelerates and tumbles and is hard for even experienced pilots to navigate."

Electric Tiltrotor Unveiled

AgustaWestland has unveiled an unmanned electric tiltrotor technology demonstrator at Heli-Expo, which runs until Thursday in Las Vegas. The aircraft, which features twin rotors powered by independent electric motors, was built in less than six months and has flown a few times, tethered and untethered. The aircraft is entirely electric with no hydraulic system. Although it's a drone, it has what appears to be a handy place for a cockpit up front, but the lack of redundancy in the powerplants (there is no transmission linking the two rotors in case one of the motors fails) likely ensures this aircraft will remain pilotless. Although limited by the battery power they can store, electric aircraft have some advantages over their petroleum-powered counterparts, say AgustaWestland officials.

It was stressed that the electric vehicle has a low noise and heat signature and can fly in conditions that cause trouble for air-breathing aircraft. AgustaWestland CEO Daniele Romiti said tiltrotors are the way of the future for some helicopter applications. "We strongly believe in the tiltrotor concept as the future of high speed rotorcraft flight as it offers much greater speed and range than compound helicopter technology," Romiti said. A hybrid version is envisioned.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

The Phillips 66® Aviation Wings™ Card - The Card That Does More
The Phillips 66® Aviation Wings™ Card — The Card That Does More
When your primary business is aviation, your primary fuel charge card should be the Phillips 66® Aviation Wings™ Card. With more locations, more rewards, and superior service, your Wings Card is convenient and flexible. Use it with your WingPoints® Rewards Card for twice as many points! Corporate flight departments can apply online today for the card that does more. Click here to start now.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Dow Soars, Airplanes Don't

While the Dow Jones tears off to new highs in early 2013, aircraft sales remain in the dumps. The two used to be joined at the hip, but not anymore. Or at least not yet. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli runs through the data but is even more clueless than usual about what's going on.

Read more and join the conversation.

IFR || The Magazine for the Accomplished Pilot || Subscribe Now
In the Soup?
Whether you fly in the system daily or just IPC check rides, IFR magazine helps you be the best instrument pilot you can be.

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Recent Features on AVweb You May Have Missed back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: AOPA -- Fuller's Out, Who's In?

After just four years on the job, AOPA President Craig Fuller announced that he's leaving the association. That represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the board in finding a replacement. One thing's for sure, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog: We not looking for more business as usual.

Read more and join the conversation.

Survey: What Now, AOPA?

With the sudden resignation of president Craig Fuller comes the opportunity for some navel gazing and maybe even some chest poking from the membership.

Take our survey and tell us what you really think about the job the organization is doing.

(It only takes five minutes.)

Brainteasers Quiz #181: Above the Ordinary


Think about the last time you made a truly beautiful landing. Remember how the passengers cheered and the local FSDO inspector paused, in the middle of a ramp-check, to shake your hand? You'll feel even prouder when you ace this quiz. (Plus we ask, "If you were the Secretary of Transportation or FAA Administrator, what would be your top priority, and who would you nominate as your successor?")

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Video: Oil Filters Compared

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

An oil filter is an oil filter, right? Generally, yes — but there are some subtle differences between the two aviation oil filters on the market, Champion's line and the newer Tempest product. Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano recently compared the two brands, and this video summarizes his findings.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: West Houston Airport (KIWS)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to West Houston Airport (KIWS) in Houston, Texas.

AVweb reader Trevor Fenimore recommended the FBO:

I spent three months working out of West Houston Airport doing Aerial Survey, and this FBO was the best I have used during my eight months on the road. They were always very professional and courteous. Breakfast is catered free for customers every morning. There are massage chairs with big-screen TVs, a 3-D cinema, and an excellent flight planning room with multiple computers. The line staff is very efficient and will have you back in the air in no time with a clean windshield and full tanks. Reduced fuel prices on the weekends. Truly a first-rate 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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Our latest winning photo comes from Alan Wirth of Lexington Park, MD. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
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.

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.