AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 24b

June 20, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
EAA AirVenture || July 29 - August 4, 2013
EAA AirVenture 2013: You Gotta Be There!
Enjoy daily world-class air shows plus two sensational night air shows; witness the first U.S. public flights by Yves "Jetman" Rossi; see 2,500-plus show planes; camp with 40,000 fellow enthusiasts; rock to the classic sounds of Chicago; choose from hundreds of forums and workshops; peruse what's new from 800 exhibitors ... Only in Oshkosh and all in one week!

Oshkosh, WI
July 29 to August 4
Buy now & save!
Cover-Up or Conspiracy Theory? back to top 

Filmmaker Challenges TWA Flight 800 Crash Report

A documentary film called TWA Flight 800 is attracting attention through its claims that the NTSB's four-year investigation into the 1996 crash included intentionally falsified information and a phony conclusion, and that the case should be reopened -- but some key players are, so far, unimpressed. Tom Stalcup, the documentary's co-producer, says the movie does not explain the explosion of the jet. He told CNN the documentary presents "solid proof that there was an external detonation" and "radar data shows an asymmetric explosion coming out of that plane," contrary to the findings of investigators. He says the documentary includes six former investigators and eyewitness accounts, and the producers say they intend to file a petition asking the NTSB to reopen the case. TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747-131, exploded in the air over southern Long Island on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 onboard. Investigators determined the cause of the explosion was a fault common to several other explosions. In response to the documentary the family member of one victim was direct in his criticism of the filmmakers.

"Personal self-fulfilling motives by exploiting those who died on TWA800 is nauseating," Matt Zimkiewicz, who lost his sister to the flight, told ABC news. Zimkiewicz said both he and his family had "full faith and confidence" in the NTSB's findings. The NTSB determined that "the crash occurred as  the result of a fuel/air explosion in the airplane's center wing fuel tank," and the ignition energy "most likely" entered the tank through the fuel quantity indication system wiring. (PDF) The NTSB stated that neither the location of the ignition within the tank, or "the  ignition energy  release  mechanism," could be determined  from the available evidence. It also stated, "There was no evidence of a missile or bomb detonation." Asked why the government would hide a "real" reason for the crash, Stalcup said he refused to speculate. Sources at the NTSB stand by their conclusions and say they are open to any new evidence.

The NTSB's computer models predicted that, on average, an aircraft would suffer a similar fuel tank explosion every four years. In May 1990, a Philippine Airlines 737-300 had suffered a center-wing fuel tank explosion. In 1996, Flight 800 exploded. In March 2001, a Thai Airways 737-400 exploded while sitting on a hot ramp at Bangkok. In 2006, a Boeing 727-200 suffered a fuel tank explosion in its right wing while the aircraft was on the ground at Bangalore, India. Multiple Airworthiness Directives were issued by the FAA for different Boeing models to address the problem many years after the TWA explosion. Each gave operators years to address the issue. In 2012, some of those directives met formal opposition from airline trade groups, which sought to delay implementation, citing cost concerns.

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New from the Paris Air Show back to top 

Bell Unveils New Light Helicopter

Bell Helicopter introduced a new five-seat, entry-level helicopter at the Paris Air Show this week. The aircraft was developed to meet performance targets set by an advisory council of customers who will operate the aircraft for utility, training, private use, and law enforcement. "The SLS [short light single] class is both extremely competitive and price sensitive, so we collaborated with customers to incorporate their mission needs in a high-performance, high-value helicopter at a very competitive price," said John Garrison, Bell CEO. The helicopter will feature a high-visibility cabin with large cabin doors, a flat floor, and five forward-facing seats. It will cruise at 125 knots for up to about 360 nm and carry a useful load up to 1,500 pounds, the company said.

The new aircraft will be powered by the Turbomeca Arrius 2R FADEC engine. Avionics have not yet been specified. It is expected to fly for the first time next year and will be "priced to compete," the company said.

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You Can Never Have Too Many Flying Bikes back to top 

Flying Bicycle, Version Two

Last week, a group of Czech engineers flew a hybrid bicycle/multi-copter by remote control, but this week, another take on the flying-bicycle concept -- one that's already flown with live human pilots -- turned up in the news. This one is basically a lightweight powered-parachute with a bicycle attached as a means of traveling from your garage to your launch site. For a powered parachute, the launch site doesn't have to be much more than an open field. The folding bicycle tows a two-wheeled trailer that holds the fan. An optional tent creates an all-in-one door-to-campsite recreational vehicle. Its British creators have spent two years developing and test-flying a prototype, and now have launched a Kickstarter campaign with the hope of developing a production line.

"One of the biggest barriers to flying is cost," says Yannick Read, one of the aircraft's designers. "One of the beauties about the flying bicycle is that it's accessible and it's affordable." John Foden, co-designer, said, "We wanted something that we could ride and fly out of our backyard." The flying bicycle, called the Paravelo, is aimed to appeal to people who want to explore the outdoors. The system is modular -- the bicycle can be used on its own, and folds up for carrying on a bus or subway. Docked with the two-wheel trailer, the system can carry "all the equipment you need to ride, fly, and camp," the designers say. The bicycle and trailer can be detached and the fan can be carried like a backpack for foot-launched flying. Fully rigged, the aircraft can fly for up to three hours at about 25 mph.

Continental Extends TBOs Up to 400 Hours || Click for 
Continental Motors Extends TBOs Up to 400 Hours!
TBOs are increased on our Gold Standard Factory-produced engines. The majority of engine models manufactured after February 2012 beginning with serial number 1006000 will see TBOs increase by 200 hours with frequent flyers receiving up to 400 hours. In 2012, Continental Motors introduced its Gold Standard Factory Rebuilt and New Engines. These engines incorporate improvements in technology and manufacturing processes that have allowed us to increase the TBO. Click here for more details or call (800) 326‑0089 or (251) 436‑8292.
And Then There Were Two back to top 

First Flight For Jetman No. 2

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Until this week, Yves Rossy was the only human to have flown the jet-pack that he designed, but now there's a second flyer, after two years of training. Vince Reffet on Monday became the second person to fly the Jetman wing, and Rossy's Facebook page promised that soon there will be news of a Jetman Team. Reffet, 28, is an experienced skydiver, BASE jumper, and instructor from France. Rossy is scheduled to make his first public flight in the U.S. at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh next month. Also, on Tuesday, Rossy posted a short video titled "Close Encounters," showing a jet-powered flyer in the air with at least two parachutists.

Rossy previously flew in the U.S. in 2011 when he made a successful flight over a section of the Grand Canyon, but the public was not allowed to view that flight. He flies using a tapered wing made of Kevlar and carbon fiber strapped to his back, powered by four small turbine engines. He controls thrust with a hand-held throttle and controls his flight path through body movement. He deploys a parachute for landings. Rossy also plans to fly an exhibition at the Reno Air Races in September.

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News Briefs back to top 

EADS-Backed E-Fan Ducted Fan Electric Trainer

In 2011, Didier Esteyne and EADS debuted a tiny, single-seat, aerobatic electric-powered Cri-Cri at the Paris Air Show and this year returned with the E-Fan, a twin ducted-fan, electric-powered, aerobatic, tandem-seat trainer project. The project is co-funded by the French civil aviation authority and other government entities. Aside from shrouded propellers the design incorporates a wheel motor to more efficiently drive the aircraft over taxiways and early in the takeoff roll. E-Fan employs multi-cell lithium ion battery packs housed in the wing roots that, Esteyne estimates the power pack is easily capable of driving 20 kilowatt motors for one hour's flying at 110 mph cruise. The plane is still in development and has not yet flown, but the developers have big plans.

In its current configuration, the aircraft has a 31-foot wingspan and would have a maximum weight of 1,212 pounds, fitting inside LSA weight parameters. The project has seen the aircraft through taxi tests and is expected to take flight for the first time this fall. The airplane's developers say they ultimately hope to see the E-Fan certified for production as a trainer and general aviation aircraft. Regulations for electric aircraft would have to be set in place, first.

Another Event Lost To Sequester

While EAA and Sun 'n Fun weren't happy about paying for their own controller staff for their airshow events, at least they had the resources to do it, which isn't true for many smaller events around the country. At Columbia Airport in Tuolumne County, Calif., the 47th annual Father's Day Fly-in never happened last weekend, due to the cost for the FAA to staff a temporary tower. "We don't have the money," airport supervisor Jim Thomas told the local Union Democrat news. An "airport appreciation day" was held instead, with airplane rides, a pancake breakfast, and a barbecue. In addition, many local airshows have been cancelled due to the unavailability of military aircraft, especially the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.

In Rhode Island, the annual June airshow hosted by the National Guard since 1991 was cancelled when the Blue Angels were grounded. The event, which is free to the public, has raised more than $1.5 million for a local children's hospital. At least 64 airshows across the country have been cancelled due to the lack of military participation, according to John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows, and the number is still rising. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., has introduced a measure that would require the U.S. Department of Defense to reconsider its blanket prohibition on U.S. military support and involvement in airshows, ICAS said this week. "Airshows in the United States have a $1.5 billion economic impact on the communities in which the events are held," Cudahy said. "That impact has been significantly reduced this year … Needless damage was being done to our industry and it's encouraging to see our elected leaders taking proactive steps to correct this problem."

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Question of the Week: Is Innovation Still Alive?

There's nothing like a global recession to kill the buzz around new airplanes and gadgets, but they seem to keep cropping up. This week, we have a 1,430-lb. personal jet, two flying bicycles, and electric taxiing for airliners. What's going on?

Is innovation in aviation alive?
(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?

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Send your suggestions to .

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: New Fuel -- Who Picks It?

The FAA says it will pick a 100LL replacement, after years of testing. But it hasn't determined the selection criteria, and, in any case, why doesn't the free market have a role? That's the question Paul Bertorelli is asking on the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

Clarity || The Most Sensitive ADS-B Receiver on the Market || Sagetech
Clarity SV: The ADS-B Receiver with Attitude
It's stunning — like having a back-up EFIS panel on your iPad or tablet. Clarity SV is GA's most sensitive ADS-B/GPS-WAAS/ADHRS with ADI/HSI depiction and 3-D synthetic vision. Its wi-fi connection lets your apps display no-cost NEXRAD radar, weather, and traffic for better situational awareness — weather or not. To see our video, click here.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Electric Taxiing Unveiled

Safran and Honeywell have unveiled an electric taxiing system for airliners that is expected to save millions of gallons of fuel and make airports much nicer places. According to France 24 the companies collaborated on the system, which puts electric motors on the main wheels to allow pilots to maneuver on the ground without using the main engines. The system is virtually silent and the weight penalty is more than compensated for by the smaller fuel load it allows aircraft to carry. It's estimated that about 5 percent of jet fuel is burned before takeoff and after landing and taxi times are on the increase at airports all over the world. The companies are demonstrating the system on an A320, which is actually at the upper end of the target market.

The system is aimed primarily at airlines with short-haul routes because the fuel burn during taxi is a bigger portion of the overall use on a short flight. The companies estimate the market at about $5 billion. Other electric taxi systems are under development. Israel Industry Aerospace and Airbus are developing a detachable tug that is remotely controlled by the pilots and KLM is designing a system with an electric motor on nosewheel airliners.

Polish VLJ Debuts In Paris

click for photos

Flaris, a Polish company, introduced its prototype single-engine personal jet at the Paris Air Show this week. The all-composite airplane reportedly has begun taxi tests and first flight is expected soon. It weighs about 1,430 pounds and can carry five people. Top speed is over 375 knots, according to the company website, and the range is 1,350 nm. It can fly from grass strips as short as 820 feet. It glides well, the company says, and comes with a ballistic parachute that's packed in the nose. Also, the wings can be removed for easier storage. The cockpit features Garmin avionics. The engine is by Pratt & Whitney, but the company told a French news site they are still considering other options. Flaris said it plans to start production next year and has set a price of about $1.5 million.

The airplane is the first aviation project undertaken by Metal-Master, a family-run business established in 2000 that manufactures parts for European automobile production. The chief designer is Andrzej Frydrychewicz, who also designed the Wilga, Kruk, and Orlik airplanes.

Click for photos.


Thielert Founder Jailed As Trial Proceeds

Frank Thielert, founder of Thielert Aircraft Engines, which produced Centurion diesel engines for the aviation market, last week was jailed by a judge in a German bankruptcy court who reportedly considered him a "flight risk." According to the Google translation of a story in the Hamburg Abendblatt newspaper, the judge said Thielert faces several years in prison if convicted on charges that investors in his company were "systematically deceived." The Thielert AG company went public in 2005 and declared insolvency in 2008.

The court said Thielert and several other defendants misrepresented the company's economic situation to potential investors, making it out to be more positive than it was. More than 3,500 of the diesel aircraft engines have been delivered around the world. A separate company, Centurion, provides service to the fleet.

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."

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Track Up with Garmin Pilot™
With new dynamic navigation maps in Garmin Pilot, you can now choose Track Up map orientation to see what lies ahead. You can also configure maps by turning on or off different airspaces, airports, and other features. Garmin SafeTaxi® airport diagrams are integrated right into the map, as well. Plus, you can now annotate procedures to highlight approach minimums, jot down frequencies, and more. Click here for more information.
AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Music of the Merlins

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

An extraordinary assembly of Merlin-powered warbirds took to the skies over Hamilton, Ontario on Father's Day weekend, providing sights and sounds not experienced in decades. The star of the show was Jerry Yagen's recently rebuilt de Havilland Mosquito (the only one of its type flying), and it flew in formation with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster, alongside two Spitfires and two Hurricanes. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Mosquito pilot Mike Spalding of the Military Aviation Museum.

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Video: Diamond DA40 Tundra Edition

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

It turns out there's money in Russia, and people want to fly sophisticated airplanes into places where the runways suck or don't exist. Diamond has risen to the challenge with its DA40 Tundra edition. Paul Bertorelli recently had a flight demo in the airplane and prepared this video report.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Atlantic Aviation (KAUS, Austin, Texas)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS) in Austin, Texas.

AVweb reader Diane Myers let us know about their outstanding service:

We always park at Atlantic in Austin. Large airport means more expensive fuel, but their service is outstanding. Two years ago, we needed maintenance on Sunday after Thanksgiving. They called out a mechanic. He was out of town but called his co-worker to drive out to the airport to fix our problem. Great service!

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!

ADS-B || New Solutions from Aspen Avionics
Aspen Avionics Introduces ADS-B Solutions
Designed to work with what you already have in your panel, Aspen's affordable NextGen ADS-B solutions provide an easy, cost-effective path to increased situational awareness and meeting the FAA's NextGen mandate. Try our simple ADS-B solution finder to get started, at AspenAvionics.com/EasyADSB.
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.

Aviation Consumer - The Consumer Resource for Pilots & Aircraft Owners
Like to Save Money?
With Aviation Consumer, you get only the facts — and none of the fiction. We buy products — just like you — and test, test, test. You get the results — right when you need them.

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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 Richard Depinay of Keller, TX. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
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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