AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 17b

April 25, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Overhauling Part 23 back to top 
 
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GAMA at Aero: Part 23 Rewrite Gaining Momentum

General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Pete Bunce said Wednesday at Aero in Friedrichshafen that the international regulatory community has seen the light on revising certification rules and efforts to overhaul Part 23 and its international equivalents are gaining momentum. "When you can go and put modern equipment into an amateur-built aircraft and have it perform just tremendously well, but then it costs ten times as much to be able to put that into a certified airplane … wait a second, our regulatory process is defeating the purpose for which it was set up, and that's to enhance safety. We, as an industry, need to change that."

At Aero this week, some 80 regulators from all over the world were meeting to harmonize certification requirements for light aircraft that would simplify new certification projects and, it's hoped, dramatically slash the cost and time necessary to bring new products to market. "That type of changing the thinking and whole mindset of the regulators working together with industry has got some tremendous potential," Bunce added. "The goals of this rewrite are many, but the sound bite we like to use, which was actually coined by the regulators, was doubling the safety at half the cost." And said Bunce, it's not just lowering the cost to manufacturers and eventually customers, but also for regulators.

Bunce said that ideas being considered by regulators here at Aero and elsewhere are "truly dynamic." Certification costs are generally thought to account for a third to up to 40 percent of the cost of a typical light aircraft. GAMA's thinking is that lowering cert costs will allow even lower aircraft prices because the market will expand at the lower end. Bunce said one critical goal is to reduce product development cycles from five to seven years to a year or two. Critical to the success of the CS23/Part 23 revision is to have all countries on the same page and the same timeline. "We have the leaders of those agencies talking about this issue when they give public speeches," Bunch said. Watch for a more in-depth interview with Bunce later in AVweb's continuing coverage of Aero 2013.

 
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Cirrus at Home and Abroad back to top 
 

Cirrus Bullish On European Market

Cirrus COO Pat Waddick said at Aero in Friedrichshafen on Wednesday that its first public unveiling of the Generation 5 SR22 aircraft was done in Europe for a reason. The company now considers Aero as its primary spring show and the official start of the selling season. Although the company remains committed to some U.S. shows, including AirVenture, it skipped Sun 'n Fun this year, Waddick and VP for sales Todd Simmons said, because Aero presents stronger market opportunity for the buyers the company is hoping to reach. Cirrus has made a significant investment in marketing staff for Europe and may increase that if sales continue to grow. "We see a lot of excitement here in Europe and a lot of innovation. We think that's going to accelerate during the comings years," Waddick added.

In a short rundown on the company's current status, Waddick reviewed new top-level appointments at Cirrus specifically designed to reach a global market. "That's because our customer is changing," Waddick said. "It's not just the person flying in the left seat, it's now grown to the person flying in the right seat or flying in the back," he said. Cirrus sees institutional operators, including businesses, using the airplane in ways the company never envisioned 15 years ago.

Waddick also brought aviation editors up to date on the status of the Vision jet project, whose accelerated restart was announced at Aero a year ago. Waddick said the project is funded by the company's Chinese ownership at least to production phase. It will soon start flight test certification on three essentially production-compliant test articles. Cirrus says it has about 540 orders booked for the airplane.

Podcast: Cirrus Eyes Europe

File Size 7.5 MB / Running Time 8:10

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Cirrus increased its presence at Aero Friedrichschafen this year, and the company is confident the investments it's making in that market will pay dividends. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli spoke with COO Pat Waddick at the show.

Click here to listen. (7.5 MB, 8:10)

 
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Coping with Cuts back to top 
 

Airline Delays May Spark Action On FAA Sequester Cuts

Amid speculation as to whether a spike in airline delays concurrent with recent FAA furloughs have been created as a tool for political leverage or are an inevitable result of sequester cuts, the White House Wednesday hinted that changes may soon come to FAA spending restrictions. White House press secretary Jay Carney Wednesday told reporters that if Congress wants to address sequester-related problems specific to the FAA, the White House "would be open to looking at that." The FAA began furloughs of all employees Sunday. According to NATCA, the first three days of furloughs saw 5,800 flight delays versus 2,500 during the same period last year without furloughs. Now, some legislators are floating proposals that would allow the FAA special latitude in how it applies the required cuts.

The FAA says the cuts do not allow it the flexibility to switch money from accounts and apply cuts with discretion -- suggesting that controller positions may remain fully staffed at the expense of other FAA positions. Nearly 15,000 air traffic controllers are subjected to furlough, along with the FAA's roughly 32,000 other employees, as part of sequester cuts that require the agency to save $637 million. One solution proposed by legislators would allow the FAA to reallocate financial resources to allow for full employment for air traffic controllers, but it was not clear by late Wednesday whether such a measure would be brought to a vote before Congress begins a week-long vacation. And while the White House has suggested it may try to work with Congress to administer targeted action regarding negative effects of the sequester, Carney has said "that would be a Band-Aid measure."

Some congressional representatives Wednesday directed their displeasure with commercial air traffic delays at FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Huerta said both he and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had brought the matter to the attention of committees at least twice by late February but noted that media attention had fixated on the threat of tower closures. Meanwhile, Delta Airlines VP and General Counsel Richard Hirst said in a letter to the FAA that it has the discretion to decide where the cuts are made without Congressional intervention according to interpretations by two former solicitors general.

Question of the Week: How Have the Sequester Cuts Affected Your Flying?

The general public are noticing the effects of FAA budget cuts now. How about you?

How have the sequester cuts affected your flying?
(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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Thinking Outside the Box back to top 
 

Hyundai's Flying Concept Car

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As part of an annual festival to encourage its engineers to develop creative ideas, Hyundai recently exhibited a "flying car" based on a quad-copter design. The aircraft has four sets of four propellers, with a seat in the center, which was occupied by a crash-test dummy for the demo flight at the festival. A short video posted online (right) shows the vehicle taking off vertically from a road in Korea, and climbing to several feet above the surface, operated by remote control.

The multi-rotor "flying car" is powered by four electric motors and propellers, "which means the car can hover above the ground, keeping the driver above congestion," according to Hyundai's news release. The engineers were challenged to develop "unique ideas for single-person future mobility … for use in congested cities." The prototypes were submitted to an internal company competition called the "Idea Festival." The flying car was not among the winning designs.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Pilot's In-Flight Suicide?

The NTSB may remove itself from further investigation of the fatal crash of an RV-4 at Laughlin Bullhead International Airport, Ariz., Saturday April 20, after an autopsy determined the pilot died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head prior to the crash. First reports speculated that the pilot and sole occupant, 44-year-old Thomas Joseph, died from injuries sustained when the plane impacted the ground near Bullhead's single 7,500-foot runway. But a police spokesperson said Monday an autopsy completed earlier in the day determined that the pilot was dead before the plane crashed.

The airport has a control tower that operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to AirNav.com. Authorities believe the experimental plane crashed between 6 and 7 a.m. There were no witnesses and no cameras are on the field and Joseph was flying the two-seat experimental alone. The wreckage was discovered between the runway and a parallel taxiway at 7:20 a.m. Inside, investigators found a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun. NTSB investigator Patrick Jones told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "We investigate accidents. This doesn't appear to be an accident." Jones, who has spent 11 years with the NTSB and has investigated more than 300 accidents, said he could not immediately recall any that involved "an in-flight shooting." The FAA and NTSB have both been involved in the investigation. Local authorities may now expand their investigation.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Solar Impulse Flies, As Electric Aircraft Experts Gather

Solar Impulse, the one-of-a-kind solar-powered airplane from Switzerland, flew above the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on Tuesday as the crew prepares for a flight across the U.S. next month. The aircraft took off from Moffett Field about 7 a.m. with Bertrand Piccard at the controls and flew above the bridge at about 3,500 feet. Another flight above the Bay Bridge was planned for later in the day. As the crew continues to prepare for the cross-country trip, experts in the development of battery-powered aircraft will be gathering in nearby Santa Rosa for the 7th annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium.

A roster of speakers from research centers, NASA, the Green Flight Challenge, and major aerospace companies will be meeting at the event to share an "interest in rejuvenating general aviation with small, quiet electric aircraft," event organizer Brien Seeley told AVweb on Tuesday. "Several new electric aircraft and related technologies will be unveiled," he added. The event will be held Friday and Saturday; registration is open online. AVweb's Mary Grady will be reporting on the symposium from the site.

Beech Hopes To Sell Jet Business This Summer (Corrected)

Beechcraft hopes to sell off the now-dormant Hawker jet assets within three months and is dealing with several potential buyers. In comments made after a speech to the Wichita Aero Club Monday, Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said the company has non-disclosure agreements with an unspecified number of interested parties and is, of course, not saying who they are. An online "data room" for qualified purchasers has been set up. Beechcraft dumped the jet line as part of its restructuring and emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a process Boisture said has set up the new company to prosper even in difficult times. "We have come out clearly and cleanly as Beechcraft," Boisture is quoted by the Wichita Eagle as saying. "We've got ourselves on a good foundation now." Boisture said.

Boisture said the company is carrying about $425 million in debt compared to the $2.6 billion it had before restructuring. It has also shed hundreds of jobs and reduced its manufacturing footprint by 40 percent. Among those in the audience were representatives of companies that were owed money by Hawker Beechcraft before it went into Chapter 11. "You went down a rough road with us this past year," he said. "We want to thank you and your companies for your support."

Flight Delays Will Worsen Says NATCA Rep

A senior controller at one of the West Coast's busiest facilities says sequester-related issues and delays will only get worse as increasing demand meets diminished capacity throughout the system. For the third straight day since one-day-in-10 furloughs have been in place for air traffic controllers, significant delays have been reported at major airports all over the U.S., and Scott Conde, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Oakland Center in California, said the true impact has been barely felt. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," he said in a podcast interview. Conde said the sequester-related staffing cuts came between Easter and summer, normally the time when staffing is at its maximum and there's a slight lull in air traffic. Once summer vacations further diminish the ranks of controllers and traffic increases, the delays will almost certainly be much worse. He also expects the stress and long hours experienced by controllers will also start to take their toll, adding to the existing problems.

Conde said there is simply no substitute for manpower to handle the work, so there will be no managerial or technological workarounds for the issues. Under the circumstances, he said, the only tool controllers have to ensure safe separation is to space aircraft farther apart. Conde also noted that since the system is so interdependent, problems at one facility affect operations at all the others.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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

Video: Randall Fishman's Electric-Powered Ultralight

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

Randall Fishman first exhibited this lightweight new design at EAA AirVenture in 2012, shortly after its first flight. At Sun 'n Fun in April 2013, the prototype had about 30 hours of flight time, and Fishman was ready to sell copies under Part 103.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA Budget Cuts -- Go for the Paper Clips

If you're a student of the First Amendment's right of redress, aviation gave you a good week last week, with a lawsuit to stop the FAA from furloughing controllers. But if you're a deficit hawk? Not so much. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli observes that by the time all the special interests get their piece of the pie, the FAA will be back where it started: no budget cuts at all. Maybe those people who say we're doomed have a point.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Harrison Aviation (KGKY, Arlington, Texas)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Harrison Aviation at Arlington Municipal Airport (KGKY) in Arlington, Texas.

AVweb reader Carol Goldberg found warm Texan hospitality awaiting her here on a recent diversion:

Due to weather, we diverted to Arlington, Texas on our way home from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The entire staff went out of their way to assist us in obtaining hotel reservations, driving us to the hotel, recommending a dinner place, assuring us the jetprop would be hangared if the winds increased, and having snacks and hot drinks.

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!

 
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.

AVweb's Refurbished Airplane of the Month

New airplanes sales may be a little soft, but we're seeing plenty of refurb work -- everything from new panels to fresh paint to full-up interiors. We would like to feature some of these airplanes in the pages of AVweb and spotlight the owners and shops doing the work. If you have photos of your restored aircraft -- single, twin or turbine -- send them along to us, and if we select your airplane as refurb of the month, we'll contact you for more information.

 
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:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
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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