AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 19, Number 27a

July 1, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Jets! back to top 

Cirrus Readies For Vision Jet Production

Preparations for production of the Cirrus Vision SF50 jet are bringing changes to the company's Grand Forks, N.D., facility that will affect SR-2X series aircraft as well, Cirrus said Thursday. The company's expansion includes the addition of an autoclave facility that will move some previously outsourced production "in-house." Cirrus expects the autoclave to go online in mid-August, producing spars for both SR-2X series aircraft and the Vision SF50 jet and saving the company time and money over outsourcing. But customers may be more interested in the SF50 certification schedule.

The company announced in April that it is hoping to roll out its next version of the SF50 before year-end with certification flight testing to follow in 2014. The autoclave project may facilitate that and "was made possible with the assistance of funding from a loan" granted by Grand Forks Economic Development, Growth Fund Committee. Cirrus says the autoclave "creates the opportunity for future job growth." It announced in February that it was hiring and at that time listed roughly 65 job openings online. The company did not note the cost of the autoclave but said it would save the company "several million dollars" over the next decade. An autoclave is basically a large-scale pressurized oven. Cirrus' is capable of compressing composite parts with 125 psi of nitrogen gas during the cure cycle, increasing the part's strength and longevity.

Honda Predicts HondaJet Profit By 2020

Honda hopes to begin deliveries of HondaJet aircraft as early as next year and said in a Tokyo interview, Tuesday, that its aviation business is on track to become profitable within fives years after that. Honda has kept order numbers close to the vest, saying its order books are full for at least two years, and maybe three. It has not said how many jets that represents. Tuesday, Michimasa Fujino, president of Honda Aircraft said he expects sales to top 80 jets annually within a few years.

The $4.5 million six-seat twin-jet aims to realize a fuel efficiency increase of about 15 percent while flying faster than similar jets and carrying a lavatory as standard equipment. Honda had originally hoped to begin deliveries this year but has been delayed due to certification issues surrounding its GE/Honda Aero engines. More testing is required but the company expects the engines to be FAA certified later this year. It has not set a new delivery schedule, Mr. Fujino's comments notwithstanding. Meanwhile, Honda is moving ahead with investments into its production infrastructure in the form of facilities and staffing increases at its Greensboro, N.C., production site. Honda facilities at Piedmont Triad International Airport now employ at least 800 people and Honda the company is still hiring. Honda has committed to adding 400 jobs to support work, there.

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In May, BlueStage is all about the sonic experience on wings. Download, swipe, and enjoy! Learn more.
From Here to There back to top 

Chip Yates Presses On In Quest To Cross Atlantic On Electric

AVweb introduced readers to Chip Yates in April, and his quest to retrace the steps of Charles Lindbergh, flying more than 3,500-miles across the Atlantic -- but in an electric aircraft -- is making progress, but is hampered by funding. The engineer's project currently exists as plans calculations and projections. Among them, Yates proposes to build an electrically-powered twin motor aircraft that otherwise has the physical appearance of a sailplane in canard configuration. Yates calculates his 100-foot wingspan airplane will have a sailplane-respectable lift to drag ratio of 35:1 and the ability to carry 26,000 pounds of its own airframe and batteries. As we told you in April, his design is not solar powered and he would undertake the 3,500-plus mile oversea route with the clear understanding that his battery pack only has capacity for 700 miles. Yates' solution to that mathematically impossible range dilemma is that he would not be flying "alone." If successful, this project would not be Yates' first "first."

Yates' project would use unmanned aerial drones to carry battery packs to his aircraft. He plans to depart from New York with one attached. The two aircraft would fly as one until the batteries were near empty. At that point, the main aircraft would jettison the battery pack drone which would fly off for a landing at a suitable airfield under what remains of its own power. The main aircraft would continue on and perform what might visually appear to be the electrical equivalent of aerial refueling. Another drone would attach via tether to the main aircraft and supply power for flight. The aircraft's own batteries will be used to span a section of the mid-Atlantic furthest from land. Each drone would detach with enough energy to fly back to a powered landing at an appropriate airfield. Yates expects to use five and power along at a speed close to Lindbergh's (roughly 100 mph). He is currently testing electric batteries, a 440-volt 80 amp-hour lithium ion set, in a Long-EZ.  The 42-year-old earned his pilot certificate last year and if his flying history is short, his electrical engineering credentials lay out a much longer list culminating in a 2011 world record. Aside from the Long-EZ he converted to electric flight, Yates, with his own money, built an electric motorcycle that was competitive with and beat track-raced bikes in competition. At the Bonneville salt flats in 2011, Yates set a world record for electric motorcycles at 197 mph. Yates hopes to bring a sample of his progress to EAA AirVenture, 2013. 

AVweb's Mary Grady interviewed Chip Yates in April; find that podcast here.

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Airliners Then ... back to top 

'First Airliner' Certified Airworthy

With more than five years of work behind it, a replica of The Lark of Duluth (a 1913 Benoist flying boat) has officially received its airworthiness certificate from the FAA, clearing it for first flight, the Duluth Aviation Institute said Thursday, and also a centennial celebration. The Institute recognizes the two-seat aircraft as "the world's first 'commercial' airplane" and says "January 1, 2014, marks the 100 year anniversary of commercial aviation." The organization also says it managed to see the airplane FAA approved on the 100-year anniversary of its first flight in Duluth. The original aircraft was intended to fly passengers for hire and did so on Jan. 1, 1914, in Florida, and for at least three more months that followed. Now, pilots and vintage aircraft lovers will have a few chances to see it again.

The aircraft will be shown at AirVenture Oshkosh this year, and prior to that at the festival to be held on the grounds of Sky Harbor Airport-Duluth July 12-14. The original aircraft's history suggests it was rather prolific. It involves carriage of more than 1,200 passengers, including those flown by its sister ship named Florida, from January to April. The "airline" carried them one at a time between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla., at a cost of $5 per ticket, but service ended when a public subsidy dried up. The Lark of Duluth reportedly continued to fly, offering flights to joyriders at different locations across the U.S. While performing those duties in San Diego in 1914, the aircraft suffered a hard landing and was not repaired. Aside from the Duluth Aviation Institute's replica, there is at least one other. It was constructed nearly 30 years ago by the Florida Aviation Historical Society and has spent time at Polk City Florida's Fantasy of Flight museum.

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... And Now back to top 

ATSB Releases Final Report On A380 Engine Failure

Australia's aviation accident investigation agency, the ATSB, Thursday released its final report on an uncontained engine failure that occurred November 4, 2010, on a Qantas Airbus A380 over Indonesia and severely damaged aircraft systems. Investigators concluded that an oil pipe in the jet's Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine had been "made with a thin wall section" that "did not comply with the design specifications." That pipe cracked, investigators concluded, led to an oil fire that eventually caused one of the engine's turbine discs to separate from its drive shaft. The disc then over-accelerated, broke apart and burst through the engine casing "releasing other high energy debris" tha damaged the aircraft's structure and caused a "multitude of system failures." The jet was carrying 469 people out of Singapore at the time and returned to the airport safely. Rolls-Royce issues a statement, Thursday, supporting the ATSB's conclusions and saying in part, "On this occasion we clearly fell short."

In the company statement, Colin Smith, director engineering and technology for Rolls-Royce, called the event "serious and rare" and one "which we very much regret." Said Smith, "the  robustness of the Airbus A380 and the professionalism of the Qantas crew members assured that the aircraft and all its passengers landed safely." Rolls-Royce has already applied preventive measures through its engineering manufacturing and quality assurance procedures "to prevent this type of event from happening again." Adjustments include modifications made to engine software that Rolls-Royce says will prevent a turbine disc from bursting as a result of over-speed due to similar failures. The disc failure knocked out the aircraft's anti-lock brakes caused serious damage to a flight control motor, severed wiring, damaged a forward wing spar and tore open a fuel pipe.  A hydraulic system was also damaged. In the aftermath of the incident, Qantas temporarily grounded its A380s and Rolls-Royce paid the carrier $88 million in compensation.

Avantair Grounds Piaggios, Furloughs Workers

Florida-based fractional Avantair employs about 500 people, is the target of a class-action lawsuit, and Wednesday said that it is furloughing pilots and workers while seeking financing to keep its aircraft and continue operations. Last summer, a company Piaggio Avanti turboprop lost its left elevator during flight and landed safely with passengers on board. And the company has grounded its entire fleet twice in the past eight months to conduct safety reviews. As the company was filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Wednesday, employees learned through a company letter that they would not be paid for their work since June 8.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, the company said it was addressing liquidity issues and pursuing alternative financing arrangements. But the class action suit may complicate matters even further. The suit alleges that since October, when the company furloughed workers and conducted safety inspections following the elevator incident, Avantair failed to adequately service its customers. Avantair is being sued separately by an individual businessman who filed papers earlier this month alleging that the company failed to provide service.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Glider, 150 Collide: Four Dead

Four people and a dog died following the midair collision of a Cessna 150 and a glider over a campground in British Columbia Saturday. Wreckage fell onto the campground, which was packed for the Canada Day holiday weekend, but there were no injuries on the ground. The accident occurred near Pemberton, a small town near the Whistler ski resort. The communities are about 60 miles north of Vancouver.

The Cessna, which had two people and the dog aboard, had reportedly taken off from 100 Mile House, about 100 miles to the east of the accident scene, and the glider was a local aircraft. Witnesses said they collided head-on. The airspace is uncontrolled in that area. The campground is several miles away from the airport.

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Break Out the Checkbook back to top 

Yagen Selling Warbird Collection

One of the largest and most prized collections of rare warbirds is being sold off because owner Jerry Yagen says he can't afford it anymore. (Click here for a PDF list of the inventory.) Yagen, who recently added the world's only flying Mosquito fighter bomber to his stable of 44 warbirds, says he's always pouring money into the aircraft and he can't do it any longer. "[I] just can no longer afford to subsidize the operations of these airplanes. There are a few interested parties," Yagen said in an email to AVweb. Yagen's B-17 "Chuckie" an a Focke-Wulf 190 were bought by the Tillamook Air Museum in Oregon.As we reported earlier this year, Yagen asked EAA for financial help to bring aircraft to AirVenture 2013 but EAA said it could not set that precedent. Yagen told the Virginia Pilot he's already sold four vocational trade schools associated with his aviation enterprises in Virginia and the Military Aviation Museum in Pungo, near Virginia Beach, may also be shuttered.

The news caused an uproar in the warbird community. The Geneseo Air Show's Web site says the Mosquito, which was scheduled to perform there in two weeks, has already been or is about to be sold. "The most reliable information we have is the rumors are true; the Mosquito is being/has been sold, and its appearance schedule is being modified," a note on the site says. "We have a signed contract and we are waiting to hear if the new owner is willing and/or able to honor that contract." Yagen has a reputation for faithful restoration of First and Second World War aircraft that incorporates modern technology to make them safer and more reliable.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: What Makes a Good Pilot?

You've probably thought about that from time to time, and so has Paul Bertorelli. On the AVweb Insider blog, he admits he can't make a list worthy of the name explaining why some pilots are noticeably better than others. But he has noticed and actually names some names.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Cullman Regional Airport (K3A1)

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

AVweb's latest blue ribbon goes to the FBO at Cullman Regional Airport (Folsom Field/K3A1) in Vinemont, Alabama.

AVweb reader Christopher Leonard brought Cullman to our attention:

This is a great airport! Ben Harrison, the assistant airport manager, was out in front to greet us when we arrived. That doesn't happen very often elsewhere.

In addition, I had an experience where they really shined in terms of customer service: I inadvertently left my iPad in a rental car there and called the next morning when I realized it was missing. The person I spoke with at the front desk immediately went and tracked it down, and then Ben took it over to the UPS Store for me, got me in touch with the person at the store while he waited so I could arrange shipping back to me, and then stayed to ensure that everything was all set with the package before leaving. This is fantastic 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!

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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn 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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If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Last week at our local airport (CYKF), the automated AWOS/ATIS was out of commission. So one of our well-known ATC guys (Dave Clark, who was working ground control at the time) was heard on the ATIS frequency stating:

"The automated AWOS/ATIS is currently unavailable. Winds are light and variable, and vis is CAVOK; runway 14 is in use, altimeter 29:95."

The pilot ahead of me taxiing out called ground and said:

"Waterloo Ground, this is Cessna CXYZ with information DAVE!"

The ground controller (Dave Clark) immediately broke up, and we all had a good chuckle.

T. G. Bennett
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.

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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