AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 26b

June 27, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Look, Ma — No Plane! back to top 

Cluster Balloonist Ready For Transatlantic Flight

In the far northeast corner of the U.S., near the small town of Caribou, Maine, cluster-balloon pilot Jonathan Trappe is getting ready to fly his unusual lighter-than-air system across the Atlantic. He has put together a system of 370 small helium balloons, and he plans to fly in a small boat suspended beneath the cluster. He has acquired the helium he needs to inflate the system, and now will await favorable weather. "We are on-site and aim to be ready to fly anytime in July, August, or September," Trappe posted on his Facebook page. Col. Joe Kittinger, who was the last pilot to launch from the U.S. and cross the Atlantic in a gas balloon, in 1984, has been helping with the expedition and plans to be in Maine for the launch, Trappe told AVweb in an email this week.

Trappe has previously flown across the English Channel, and says on his website that he is well aware that this crossing will be challenging. "This is very serious; it is the great Atlantic Ocean," he wrote. "Five people have lost their lives attempting to cross these waters in a balloon, and two non-pilots were lost into the oceans flying cluster balloons. I know this, and I work to methodically reduce the risk, so we can have a successful flight for a new generation." Volunteers who want to be on call to help with the launch can sign up at Trappe's website. AVweb first ran across Trappe at EAA AirVenture in 2010; click here for the video.

EAA AirVenture || July 29 - August 4, 2013
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'Buy It Now' for $1.5 Mil back to top 

Harrier For Sale On eBay

A Canadian businessman says he doesn't have the time to enjoy it so he's selling his Sea Harrier jump jet on eBay. Ian Cotton, of Red Deer, Alberta, is hoping to get $1.5 million for the ex-Royal Navy aircraft. He bought the fighter from the British government four years ago and imported it to Canada with an eye to getting it into taxiing condition. To that end he bought another fuselage for spare parts and a flight-worthy Pegasus engine. He said the aircraft is in excellent condition and needs only a few parts to fly but it's being sold as a static display aircraft only. "I can provide an itemized list of the parts needed," he said in an interview with AVweb.

Cotton, who has taken a few lessons but is not a pilot, has five other ex-military jets but he says his natural gas transmission and power generating business keeps him too busy to spend any time with them. He's considering selling off his Hawker Hunters and Lightning fighters but he may keep the Strikemaster trainer/light attack aircraft and get it into flying condition. Cotton said he's so far had a lot of inquiries from the eBay listing but no bids. The Harrier is well known to the people of Red Deer, a resource and farming city about 100 miles north of Calgary. When Cotton first bought the aircraft, he had it parked in his driveway.

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Podcast: Bidding Open for Harrier

File Size 4.6 MB / Running Time 5:00

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Canadian businessman Ian Cotton is selling his almost-flyable Sea Harrier on eBay. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles about how the jump jet made it to his driveway in Red Deer, Alberta.

Click here to listen. (4.6 MB, 5:00)

iPads in the Cockpit — ForPilotsOnly
Find the most versatile kneeboards and mounts for your iPad and iPad mini at ForPilotsOnly.com. These patented designs are manufactured in the USA and solve the issues that face iPad pilots. The iPro Series kneeboards are the only iPad kneeboards that include a clipboard that can be opened and closed in flight without bumping the yoke. And the iPro Navigator mount protects your mini from direct sunlight. Find your ideal iPad solution now.
LightHawk's Witness to Environmental Calamity back to top 

LightHawk Project Aims To Preserve Panama's Tropical Forest

LightHawk, a nonprofit group that uses airplanes to promote environmental-protection efforts, has recently been working in Panama to help an indigenous group trying to protect their land. The Wounaan have lived along Panama's Pacific Coast for generations, says LightHawk, and have proved to be able stewards of the tropical forest, preserving some of the region's last intact ecosystems. But recently, cattle ranchers and loggers have encroached on their traditional territories, causing conflict and damaging the forest. LightHawk stepped in to help, providing a volunteer pilot who took officials and a photographer aloft for a bird's-eye view of the forest's destruction.

For the photo flight, Stephanie Wells, a LightHawk pilot from Colorado, took along Christian Ziegler, one of the founders of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Ziegler donated more than 700 aerial photographs to the effort, which will be used to develop new maps of Wounaan territories and provide footage for a documentary about the conflict. For the second flight, Wells brought together indigenous leaders with the government officials who have the power to protect their land. From the air, the officials were able to view the full impact of the damage to the forest. The ultimate goal, says LightHawk, is to preserve the region's rich biodiversity.

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New Home for Electric Airplane back to top 

New Company Will Market Yuneec Electric Aircraft

Two of the electric aircraft produced by Yuneec International, a Chinese company, will now be produced and sold by a new company called GreenWing International, the companies announced on Tuesday. GWI will sell the single-seat eSpyder ultralight and the two-seat e430, and also will provide support for the fleet. Yuneec first exhibited its electric airplanes at AirVenture in 2009, and this year, GWI will bring several eSpyder aircraft for ground display, and will fly the aircraft daily from the runway in the ultralight area.

Yuneec will continue to develop electric motors and power systems, according to Tuesday's news release. Initial production for the eSpyder is expected soon, the company said. Click here for earlier AVweb reports on these aircraft, including videos showing both of the aircraft in flight.

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Question of the Week: Should There Be Limits to Air Exploits?

Two people died doing low-level aerobatics with a wing walker this week, and Jonathan Trappe is ready to launch across the North Atlantic in a boat suspended by hundreds of small helium balloons.

Should the government be involved with adventuresome aviation feats?
(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 

A330 Engine Failure Caught On Video

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If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube.

The pilots of a Thomas Cook A330 had their hands full when the right engine of the big airliner failed on the takeoff roll at Manchester Airport in the U.K. Planespotter video by Eddie Leathwood shows a jet of flame exiting the rear of the engine followed by smoke and the delayed sound of the explosion. There were no reported injuries and the explosion appears to have been contained.

The engine comes apart about 10 seconds into the takeoff roll and that left plenty of runway for an emergency stop. The video shows smoke pouring from the tires and one of the spectators says he sees a tire blow. There were 325 passengers and crew on the aircraft, which was headed to the Dominican Republic. Emergency crews responded but there was no fire and the aircraft was able to get back to the gate under its own power. A couple of flights were diverted while the runway was cleared of engine bits.

Company Says New Ailerons Boost Performance

A California company says it has increased the top speed of the fastest fixed-gear single by almost 10 percent, added up to 30 percent range and given it a 40- to 50-percent increase in climb rate without touching the engine. In fact, says Lam Aviation, the Columbia 300 (predecessor to the Cessna Corvalis) saw all those improvements and more with new ailerons. It's not quite as simple as that. The Lam aileron allowed the installation of a smaller, lighter wing while retaining or improving handling across the full flight envelope. "The Lam Aileron enables aircraft to use smaller wings that weigh less and produce less drag, yielding higher cruise speeds and rates of climb, lower fuel consumption and improved ride comfort through turbulence, while also improving roll control and slow-speed flight handling," the company said in a news release.

The aileron system was invented by aerospace engineer Lawrence Lam and gives the outboard trailing edge the capability to perform two functions at once. The lower piece of the aileron is deflected downward as an extra flap while an independently functioning upper layer can be simultaneously used as an aileron. This, says the company, eliminates the normal compromise between flap and aileron span. The Columbia has been put through its paces by former Navy test pilot Len Fox who says the aileron setup has applications from bush planes to airliners. "From the pilot's perspective, operation of the Lam Aileron is seamless," Fox said. "With the Lam Aileron, a slower stall speed was achieved with a smaller wing. The reduction in wing area contributed to a higher cruise speed." Lam will have the Columbia at AirVenture 2013.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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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.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Post-Takeoff Engine Failures -- Why So Common?

No one seems to know, but they occur more often than most of us might care to admit. The video that appeared on AVweb recently illustrates how one pilot handled a post-takeoff engine loss, but the subsequent accident report shed little light on what actually happened. The only useful conclusion to draw is that these failures aren't uncommon and when the engine is recovered, it may run as well as it did when it left the factory. Oh, and such failures can happen to anyone at any time.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Air Show Crashes (Again)

When crashes occur at air shows, AVweb has a dilemma. Do we cover them at all? Cover them without video? Or show the video prominently? On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains why we link to video, if it's available. We think it has news and educational value.

Read more and join the conversation.

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NASA's Flying Observatory back to top 

Video: NASA's Flying 747 Observatory

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

How do you cut a hole the size of a two-car garage door into the side of a 747 and fly with it at 0.8 Mach without turning the thing into a 300-ton organ pipe? In this exclusive AVweb video, find out how NASA did exactly this for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (or SOFIA). AVweb recently visited the program at its Palmdale, California headquarters.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

AVweb Insider Blog: Behind the Scenes -- NASA's 747 Airborne Telescope Program

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli describes his recent visit to NASA's SOFIA project and provides some interesting detail on the kind of engineering it took to install a 17-ton infrared telescope in a modified 747 SP. The result: the world's most advanced and sophisticated airborne observatory.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Garmin G3X Systems Now Starting at $4,375
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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.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Advanced Aviation Jet Center (New Century AirCenter, KS)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Advanced Aviation Jet Center at New Century AirCenter Airport (KIXD) in Johnson, Kansas (near Olathe/New Century).

AVweb reader John Keller called Advanced Aviation "a great stop south of the Kansas City area that is worth a visit":

A planned flight into Olathe was delayed 12 hours due to severe weather en route. Jonathon had previously made hotel and rental auto reservations for our arrival but was able to cancel the hotel — without a charge. The rental auto was a 24-hour rental so it was planeside when we arrived. Fuel pricing was due to the CAA Program, but their regular prices are very reasonable, also. Anything we needed at the time they were able to answer or provide in a competent and friendly manner. Excellent customer service all around!

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!

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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.