AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 15b

April 9, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! AVweb Settles in for Sun and Fun back to top 

Coming Up In Lakeland -- Blue Skies And Lemonade

Every airshow, no matter where or when, has its share of challenges, and hopefully its share of good luck, too, and this year's edition of Sun 'n Fun, in Lakeland, Fla., seems to have plenty of both. No military jet team will appear to split the sky with a pure booming roar, thanks to the federal sequester. No military aircraft at all will make it to the show, but Sun 'n Fun CEO John "Lites" Leenhouts has no gripe with that. "I understand that, I was in the military, and when you have to cut back, you cut down on the stuff that's not mission-oriented," he told AVweb on Monday. He said the organization put out a call to warbird fliers around the country to come to the show and fill in that void, and quite a few are flying in from around the nation. "Our vintage ramp is fuller now than it was last year, two days in," Leenhouts said. "The campground is fuller. This year looks to be a banner year."

Leenhouts said he offered discounts to vendors who hadn't been to the show in a while to get them back on the grounds, and he's shortened the airshow to three hours, instead of four, so the crowds don't disappear to the flight lines too early. Despite the military pullout, the airshows will have a varied lineup of performers, with Michael Goulian, Patty Wagstaff, the Bat Copter, and many more, and two night airshows, Friday and Saturday. The Geico Skytypers will fly for their first time at Sun 'n Fun, and Team Aerodynamic -- 12 RVs flying in formation -- will perform in the night show for the first time. The Black Diamond jet team, featuring MiG-17s and L-39s, will fly Wednesday through Saturday. Here and there are signs that the industry is still not expecting airplanes to sell like hotcakes -- Cessna's exhibit has fewer jets than it used to, and Cirrus skipped the show -- but signs of life and optimism abound, and there are plenty of shiny new aircraft of all shapes and sizes to encourage any pilot to dream about their next set of wings. On Monday, the weather was near-perfect, with bright sun and gentle breezes. The forecast suggests some showers and rain later in the week, but whatever comes -- tornadoes, sequesters, economic downturns -- for this one week every year, there's Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland.

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The Long Road to This Year's Sun 'n Fun back to top 

At Sun 'n Fun, Challenges, Changes, And High Hopes

The FAA's decision to delay its tower shutdowns until June was a save for Sun 'n Fun, but the federal government still has declined to pay all the expenses of sending 50 extra controllers and 20 technicians to cope with the traffic, so the bill -- an estimated $285,000 -- is going to the Sun 'n Fun organization. "That's a pretty substantial chunk of money," Sun 'n Fun CEO John "Lites" Leenhouts told AVweb on Monday. To raise the funds, Sun 'n Fun has put together a coalition of donors in the state and local area who are pitching in to support the event. Leenhouts also said the focus of Sun 'n Fun this year is on the pilot community, with more attention to workshops and sport flying, lower ticket fees for anyone who flies in, and less emphasis on the airshow.

Leenhouts also said the experiment last year to organize additional events year-round on the Sun 'n Fun campus was successful, and will expand in the future. Events included fly-outs to the Bahamas, AOPA and EAA fly-ins and gatherings, a weekend fly-in for local scouts, and a barbecue fly-in last fall that brought in about 200 airplanes. A major change to the Sun 'n Fun site for this year's event is a new paved road that leads to the LSA Mall and the ultralight area at Paradise City, with an improved grass strip that will allow operations to continue all day, even during the airshow. Those changes have had an impact, according to Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. At the new LSA Mall, he said on Monday, exhibitors are up from 25 a year ago to 44 this year.

For more details from Leenhout's conversation with AVweb's Mary Grady, click here to listen to the podcast.

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Podcast: Sun 'n Fun Prevails Over Challenges

File Size 8.1 MB / Running Time 8:52

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

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It's not easy running an aviation event like Sun 'n Fun at the best of times, but with everything that was thrown at organizers this year, it was an even bigger challenge. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with SNF President Lites Leenhouts about how it all got done.

This podcast is brought to you by Sennheiser, Bendix/King by Honeywell, Garmin, and Lightspeed Aviation.

Click here to listen. (8.1 MB, 8:52)

Sennheiser at Sun 'n Fun
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Air Show Performers at Sun 'n Fun

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Top Tech: Sagetech's ADS-B Offering back to top 

Sagetech Rolls Out Impressive New ADS-B

Sagetech, a company little known among general aviation pilots, has introduced a new portable ADS-B box at Sun 'n Fun that combines weather, traffic and a compact, sophisticated AHRS with synthetic vision. If it sounds like this gadget can turn your iPad into a basic EFIS, that's exactly what it does, according to Sagetech. Measuring about two inches square and an inch or so high, the Clarity is powered by an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery and from a perch on the glaresheild -- or perhaps elsewhere in the aircraft -- the Clarity transmits its data through a dedicated wireless network, similar to other ADS-B devices already on the market. It works with about five popular tablet apps, including WingXPro.

There are two version of the Clarity. The basic model sells for $1150 and includes dual-band ADS-B (978 and 1090 MHz) and a 66 channel WAAS GPS. The Clarity SV model, which sells for $1400, includes the AHRS. Both models fit into a soft, slide-resistant mount that attaches firmly to smooth, flat surfaces.

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Video: Sagetech's Clarity SV ADS-B/EFIS

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

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Portable ADS-B is all the rage these days, including a new class of products that provide not just ADS-B weather and traffic but also turn an iPad into an EFIS. AVweb just flew with the first of these products this week, and Paul Bertorelli prepared this video report.

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This video is brought to you by Sennheiser, Garmin, Aspen Avionics, and Flying Eyes Pilot Sunglasses.

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Russian Workhorse on Holiday in Lakeland back to top 

Russian-Designed Flying Pickup

Well, it's not entirely new, but it's the first time this no-nonsense pickup truck of an airplane has appeared at Sun 'n Fun and in the U.S. The Discovery 201 is an offshoot of a Russian design called the Akord 201, which found some service in Russia as a heavy-hauling utility airplane. The aircraft has a pair of Continental IO-360s (210 hp each) mounted on a high wing close to the centerline, vaguely reminiscent of a PBY or a Grumman Goose. It's got a pair of clamshell doors in the back for loading heavy or large cargo and can easily accommodate more than eight feet if the rear seats are removed. Question is, what's it doing here?

Discovery Aviation's Rick Cunliffe told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun Monday that his company is planning to build the airplane at a production facility in Melbourne, Fla., and will market it in the U.S. as a unique cargo and working airplane. The aircraft on display at Lakeland has been fully brought up to date with Garmin 500 EFIS equipment and although the exact price hasn't been set yet, Cunliffe said it would probably be just under $1 million. The Discovery 201 is designed for operations from unimproved landing areas and it can also accommodate floats and skis.

For more, see AVweb's video in today's Sun 'n Fun coverage.

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A private pilot in sunny California, tired of sunglasses becoming uncomfortable on long flights and causing noise leaks in his headset seal, has designed a completely unique pair of sunglasses. Flying Eyes exist for one specific purpose: to be the best, most comfortable sunglasses to wear with a headset. Prescription lenses available by special order. Standard bifocal/readers in stock. Visit us at Sun 'n Fun at the MyGoFlight booth (#C-049, C-050). Watch the video review and take advantage of our special introductory price.

Video: Discovery Aviation's New Aerial Pickup Truck

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

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Lightspeed Springtime Sale || $100 Off Zulu.2 ANR Headset with Bluetooth XM WX Satellite Weather || Weather with Perspective

At Sun 'n Fun 2013, Discovery Aviation showed off its new Russian-designed Discovery 201.

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

This video is brought to you by Aspen Avionics, Flying Eyes Pilot Sunglasses, Lightspeed Aviation, and XM WX Satellite Weather.

XM WX Satellite Weather || Weather with Perspective
Weather with Perspective
XM WX Satellite Weather gives you onboard perspective on the weather. Graphical data like Radar, Lightning, Winds, and more enhance your situational awareness and are compatible with the industry's leading MFDs, EFBs, glass cockpits, and now the iPad. Additionally, flexible subscription options ensure you get the dataset that's right for you. Come see the latest from XM WX Satellite Weather at booth C-024 during Sun N Fun 2013 or visit us online at XMWXweather.com/aviation.
Underestimating LSAs? back to top 

Light Sport Counts Up Its Impact

The president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association says the industry has been underreporting the impact of the LSA sector on aviation as a whole and is remedying that with new numbers. Dan Johnson told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., that his group took a conservative approach to reporting LSA numbers by relying solely on completed registrations with the FAA. That, he said, left out whole segments of the industry that are legitimate contributors to its overall contribution. "We've been kind of underreporting the size of the community," he said. In fact, he said, there are about 8,000 light sport aircraft flying in the U.S.

He said the association's previous reporting method ignored weight-shift aircraft, gliders and everything else that wasn't a completed airplane, which by definition has three-axis controls. If the "alternative" types plus all the experimental and LSA-eligible kits that have been completed in the eight years since LSA became a reality are tallied up and added to the two-seat ultralights that found a regulatory home under the new rule, that equals the 8,000. In terms of more immediate impact, Johnson said the more liberal accounting method brings to 383 the number of LSAs added to the fleet in 2012. That's about half the number of single-engine piston aircraft reported by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. He said that means light sport represented a third of the market for single-engine aircraft in terms of the number of airframes. "We think that's a pretty significant number," he said.

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Podcast: LSA Bigger than You Think

File Size 7.2 MB / Running Time 7:53

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

ADS-B || New Solutions from Aspen Avionics Flying Eyes || Headset-Friendly Sunglasses
Bose® A20® Aviation Headset XM WX Satellite Weather || Weather with Perspective

The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association says it's been underreporting the true impact of the Light Sport sector on the industry as a whole. LAMA's Dan Johnson spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.

This podcast is brought to you by Aspen Avionics, Flying Eyes Pilot Sunglasses, Bose Corporation, and XM WX Satellite Weather.

Click here to listen. (7.2 MB, 7:53)

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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.

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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