AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 15a

April 8, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Pipistrel's Panthera Takes to the Air back to top 

Panthera First Flight

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Pipistrel's long-awaited Panthera four-place GA aircraft had its first flight April 4 and continues testing in Slovenia. The all-composite aircraft flew for 54 minutes from the airport at Cerklje ob Krki where the test team, including test pilot Mirko Anžel and co-pilot Sašo Knez, got help from the Slovenian Armed Forces. The aircraft reportedly performed as expected during the first few flights. "Both pilots agreed the handling was straightforward and pilot friendly, with parameters exactly as predicted," said a Pipistrel news release, which added that the flights so far offer "reassurance that all target performance goals will be met." Those goals are lofty.

The Panthera's design specs call for a 200-knot cruise at 10 gallons per hour with four people. It has a range of about 1,000 nm. It's powered by a Lycoming IO-390 and has retractable trailing link titanium landing gear. "We knew for a long time that we were capable of developing and producing aircraft larger and more capable than ultralights/LSAs," said Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol. "Panthera is proof that Pipistrel's team can indeed compete with the most eminent global general aviation producers." The Panthera will also be available in hybrid and electric versions.

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Tower Closures back to top 

FAA Delays Tower Closures

Citing safety and logistical concerns, the FAA Friday announced it will delay until June 15 closure of 149 federal contract air traffic control towers. The FAA previously decided to begin tower closures on April 7, and to carry them out over a four-week period. According to transportation secretary Ray LaHood, "We will use this additional time to make sure communities and pilots understand the changes at their local airports." Complications resulting from the announced closures include lawsuits brought against the FAA by local authorities and, separately, requests to maintain open towers with non-FAA funding. The delay brought positive responses from AOPA, the American Association of Airport Executes (AAAE) and the U.S. Contract Tower Association (USCTA).

Since the closures were announced, some 50 airport authorities have indicated to the FAA a desire to fund their own tower operations through the non-Federal Contract Tower program. The FAA says that delaying tower closures "will allow the FAA to help facilitate that transition." AOPA responded to the delay saying, "We applaud the decision" for allowing the aviation community and the FAA time to "properly assess this proposed budgetary action." AAAE and USCTA issued a joint statement saying they "appreciate" the delay and they "remain hopeful that DOT and FAA will find a way forward" and find a solution to budgetary issues that is less impactful to contract towers. Meanwhile, multiple lawsuits have been both threatened and filed by multiple airport authorities contesting the FAA's decision to halt tower operations on their fields.

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Grab Your Tablets back to top 

iPad Seminars For Pilots At Sun 'n Fun

MyGoFlight, which sells cases, mounts, bags and other accessories for iPads, is offering a "Mastering the iPad" seminar at Sun 'n Fun 2013. The company says the seminars will help pilots choose the best apps for their needs and identify strategies for optimizing use of the tablets in both preflight and in-flight scenarios. Specific topics include flight planning, "iPad readiness," in-flight re-routing, and re-planning for diversions or emergencies. The company is running a total of three seminars at the airshow, with one each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

The company says the seminars will offer ideas and solutions for safe and effective one-hand operation of the iPad during critical phases of flight and will train pilots in best practices for in-flight use of the tablet. Times and dates for seminars are 12 noon, Tuesday, in Room 5; 9:00 a.m., Wednesday, in Room 5; and 12 noon, Friday, in Room 2.

Garmin Pilot App Adds New Features

Garmin has added new features to its Garmin Pilot app, enabling track-up, faster rendering, SafeTaxi, cloud-based information storage and chart annotations, the company announced Thursday. Garmin says the new feature set includes customization, with adjustable label sizes, visibility range, and map color, and pilots can now also annotate charts. Subscribers to Garmin's SafeTaxi will see airport diagrams appear automatically when zooming in on airports and Garmin says new cloud integration will make it easier for subscribers to use the app across multiple devices.

Garmin says it has made enhancements to its cloud computing technology and pilots can share information "between all Garmin Pilot-enabled mobile devices." That means your trips, bookmarked flight plans, waypoints and other details are automatically uploaded and saved to the cloud. The information is tied to each pilot's user name and accessible from another device that also runs the app. The latest version is available as a free update for existing iOS Garmin Pilot subscribers. New customers can try the app free for 30 days, after which a paid subscription is required for access. Visit Garmin.com for more.

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Where the Women Are back to top 

Women Of Aviation Week Flies 5,000 Girls

St. Andrews Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is the World's Most Female Pilot-Friendly Airport after the results from Women of Aviation Worldwide Week in early March were tabulated. More than 150 volunteers, including dozens of pilots, gave introductory flights to 680 girls and women on March 9. Second place went to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which did 634 flights and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario was third at 517. The top U.S. effort was in Frederick, Md., which managed 342 flights. "Engaged individuals at all levels is what has made the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative the largest female outreach aviation program ever created," said Mireille Goyer, founder of the initiative and president of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide.

There were 74 events on four continents and many of them included offering introductory rides. In total, 333 pilots flying 109 different aircraft types flew 5,316 girls and put 1,500 hours on their planes. This year's theme celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first space flight by a woman, Valentina Tereshkova. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the first aerobatic maneuver by a female pilot and will be a tribute to female aerobatic pilots.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

NTSB Prelim On South Bend Premier Crash

The preliminary report of the NTSB into the crash of a Beech Premier bizjet into three houses in South Bend, Ind., last month raises at least as many questions as it answers. According to the report (PDF), witnesses told investigators they saw the airplane "bounce several times on the runway before it ultimately entered a climbing right turn" after apparently landing with only the nose gear extended. The unusual climb-out also occurred minutes after the crew told ATC, "We've lost all power, and we have no hydraulics."

The airplane went radio silent a few minutes before reaching the airport but the crew could apparently read incoming transmissions and had regained power, because they complied with an ATC recommendation to go around when controllers saw the main gear was not deployed. The aircraft climbed and entered the pattern for Runway 9R. It was on the second landing attempt that the witnesses reported the aircraft, minus the main gear, bouncing along the runway before getting airborne again. It crashed into a residential area soon after. The two pilots, Wesley Caves, 58, of Tulsa, Okla., and his friend Steve Davis, 60, were killed. Two passengers and one person on the ground were injured but are expected to survive.

Garmin Sport Aviation
Garmin G3X Systems Now Starting at $4,375
Now you have even more options when installing a Garmin G3X™. A new Garmin autopilot system brings robust capabilities to virtually any aircraft. An angle of attack pitot provides accurate, real-time measurement of wing performance to provide stall margin indication. And best of all, a new ADHARS unit and other essential system components means you can get a complete G3X system for a new low price starting at only $4,375. Learn more.
News Briefs back to top 

Expect A Jet Unveil From Pilatus This May

The existence of a Pilatus jet project has been discussed in the European press since at least 2011 and Pilatus has confirmed its plans to show a mockup of its twinjet design, the PC-24, at EBACE, Geneva, this May. Earlier reports had forecast that deliveries of the new jet would reach customers by 2015 for an asking price near twice that of the company's best-selling model, the PC-12 turboprop. The forecasts also foresaw the design's public rollout in the fall of 2012; later dates should now be expected. There are multiple rumors surrounding the PC-24 design that the May unveil should put to rest.

Rumors about the jet's design include possible similarities with Embraer's Phenom-series jets carrying up to eight seats but sporting a cargo door. Turboprop sales like those of the PC-12 have been relatively strong since the economic downturn of 2008. Pilatus saw very strong sales that year and also in 2010 and 2011. The company has also recently landed multiple military contracts, leaving it with an order backlog that could stretch well more than three years. Meanwhile, the company has been in expansion mode, increasing hires and supporting its facilities as it prepares for growth.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Are We Witnesses to Disruption?

Rancid backwater that it sometimes is, things change slowly in aviation. But two technologies are changing that, if just a little. They may also be feeding into a wider trend: People are getting fed up with the inaccessible cost of aviation. They may be tilting toward other solutions in droves.

Read more and join the conversation.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Leading Edge Aviation (KU42, West Jordan, UT)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Leading Edge Aviation at South Valley Regional Airport (KU42) in West Jordan, Utah (outside Salt Lake City).

AVweb reader Mike Coster recommended the FBO:

Capable and efficient staff. In the course of several visits in the past weeks, I've been impressed with the vey quick service — from marshaling to greeting [me] with carpet (!) and iced water and drinks planeside, from immediate delivery of a low-cost rental car (left running for warmth) to a greeting from a flight instructor offering a two-minute air space briefing. Facility is spotless and complete (right down to a good pilot shop), but not so extravagant as to make an RV pilot feel like he's paying for a corporate headquarters. On my most recent visit, they kept the doors open after hours to faciliate my return of the rental car. It was just the right balance of courtesy, speed, and good pricing. I highly recommend Leading Edge Aviation at South Valley Regional Airport.

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!

AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Aspen's New ADS-B Products

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

Demand for ADS-B products continues to trickle upward, and everyone who is anyone in the avionics business is developing or already selling ADS-B gadgets. Aspen rolled out its first products at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, with an eye toward a range of solutions that rely on the company's innovative Connected Panel system, an in-cockpit wireless network that links up with tablet computers. In this video from the show, Aspen's George Pariza gives AVweb a tour of the new products.

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Video: Garmin Team X -- Passion-Driven Products

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

Although they're not the centerpiece of Garmin's booth at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas this week, Garmin has made quite a ripple with its announcement of seven new avionics products for the experimental and light sport markets. In this video, Garmin's Jim Alpiser explains why the company is so bullish on the experimental segment and why Garmin carved out a segregated engineering team to develop uncertified avionics, with more products on the way.

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Video: Sandia Aerospace's New Compact Transponder

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

As avonics manufacturerers are spinning out new ADS-B products by the week, they're also creating some new sub-niches. One of those is for a simple, compact Mode-C transponder since some kind of transponder will be needed once the ADS-B mandate is in place. Sandia Aerospace recently added just such a product to its well-respected line of avionics fans, integration boxes, and encoders. At the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, Sandia's Dennis Smith gave AVweb a video tour of the company's new STX 165 compact transponder.

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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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

A ground controller told me, after I cleared the runway at JFK, to proceed to the gate and then "stay with me."

I said, "Sure. Just give me your address."

The silence was deafening.

John Lewis
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

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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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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