The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
USHERS IN THE YEAR OF THE GLASS PANEL
Whether by coincidence or design, a loose theme usually develops at
EAA AirVenture (unrelated to the stated theme hung on the show by its
organizers) and this was the year of the glass panel. Most major
piston single and twin manufacturers had something to say about glass
cockpits at this year's show (except Cirrus, which has been all-glass
for more than a year) and, in most cases, the gauges we puzzled over
as student pilots are giving way entirely to electronic
representations of the same gauges, plus all the other information
that can be superimposed, flashed or highlighted on the screens. Click
through for "who" carries "what." More...
We can't help but wonder, then, when accessible, affordable and
justifiable synthetic-vision systems will become the show watchword.
Chelton introduced the first GA-oriented synthetic-vision system at last year's
show but it's still a little pricey ($75,000) for most owner-pilots.
In fact, it seems like GA applications of new technology such as
synthetic vision are caught in the middle between the relatively
risk-free R&D advances in the experimental market (ranging below
$5,000) and the over-the-top bells-and-whistles systems developed for
the military. But it seems those military versions, if you walk in
front of the wrong end, might just give you a permanent tan ... not to
mention a respectable half-life. We did see some offerings on the
grounds at OSH. More...
ON THE DRAWING BOARD
At the other end of the spectrum are a couple of systems being
developed by NASA and the military that (we hope) will trickle down to
GA in the future. Gulfstream, which became the first GA manufacturer
to certify an enhanced vision system to give aircraft lower ILS
numbers (so to speak), is partnering with NASA to develop combination
head-up and head-down display systems that include "advanced
multi-scan weather radar, advanced sensors, a voice recognition system
and cockpit displays with computer-generated images of the terrain."
Like Chelton's already-available system, the NASA gear combines a
terrain database and GPS navigation to provide the virtual view of the
world outside. Another system under development is less dependent on
wizardry and more on wattage. More...
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UNION HOLD TALKS
Just as the long-awaited recovery in the aviation business is starting
to take hold, Cessna and its largest union have started bargaining
toward a new contract. According to a story in the Wichita Business
Journal, the union is aware of the delicate nature of the business as
it begins talks. "Remember, it only takes one more stupid act to throw
this critical and sensitive industry into turmoil," said Tom
Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinist
and Aerospace Workers (and author of rather candid quotes). The
current contract expires in September. More...
SEES AIRLINE FLEET DOUBLING
As it rolls up its sleeves to duke it out with Airbus for market
share, Boeing is predicting the world's fleet of airliners will double
in the next 20 years to 35,000 aircraft (and you've got trouble
getting a clearance, now?). And the Chicago-based plane-maker says the
most growth will come at the low end of the market. In its 2004
Current Market Outlook, Boeing sees the biggest market in single-aisle
airliners (perhaps a not-so-curious correlation with the sort of
airliners with which it's had recent success), which it predicts will
command 59 percent (14,770 aircraft) of the market. Curiously, it's
predicting that only 21 percent of sales will come from twin-aisle
mid-size aircraft, like its new 7E7 Dreamliner. Regional jets are
predicted to satisfy 17 percent of overall demand while large aircraft
(like Airbus's A380) have a minuscule (3 percent) of the future market
(790 planes), according to Boeing's built-by-Boeing crystal ball.
WAVE ON THE WAY UP
It's beginning to look like a huge range of wireless services will
soon be commonplace on airliners and perhaps general aviation isn't
far behind. Lufthansa inaugurated high-speed Internet access on its
flights with Boeing's Connexion system earlier this year and
now it looks like competition is coming via systems that will not only
provide broadband Web services, but on-demand entertainment and even
homeland-security functions. Heck, we'd be happy with permission to
use our cellphones. More...
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"In our estimation, the X PRIZE is about to be won," X PRIZE founder
Peter Diamandis said at a press conference at Oshkosh on Saturday.
"But that's not the end -- it's the beginning of the X PRIZE Cup,
which will be an annual event." Diamandis said the private space teams
that have been working to develop new technology trying to win the X
PRIZE will meet at an annual gathering in New Mexico to compete in
races for new cash prizes. The event will include a Public Spaceflight
Exposition. Twenty-seven teams from seven countries registered to
compete for the X PRIZE, and more are expected for the X PRIZE Cup
FIRST DAY OF THE NEW RULES
What will really change on the morning of Sept. 1, when the new
Sport-Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rules take effect? The one thing we
could find, with help from EAA info analyst Charlie Becker in the
AirVenture Sport Pilot tent, is this: If you want to fly a
standard-category aircraft that qualifies as a light-sport aircraft,
such as certain Aeroncas, or Luscombes, or Pipers, or Ercoupes -- EAA
has a long list of dozens of airplanes that qualify -- you can burn
your current third-class medical or let it lapse, show up at the
airport on Sept. 1 with only your valid driver's license, and fly as a
Sport Pilot. That means day VFR only. More...
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ANGEL AT OSHKOSH
While people were poring over Diamond's Twin Star in its
front-and-center location at Oshkosh AirVenture last week, almost as
much attention is being paid to a newly certified twin parked in the
camping area a half mile from show center. The Angel Aircraft Corp.
Model 44 would look a lot like many other piston twins except the
300-horsepower Lycomings are pointed backward. Closer inspection
reveals a foot-thick wing at the leading edge with full-length
flaperons. The Angel was designed by a missionary pilot who needed
something to get into short, unimproved strips while packing a big
payload. We're not sure why the props are behind the tires, either,
but extensive tire guards clearly indicate designers' attempts to
ensure the unimproved portion of a strip doesn't get kicked back into
whirring blades. More...
DEBUT OF ROLLER TAPPETS
New roller lifters (cam followers) were announced by Lycoming and
Superior for most Lycoming applications. Roller-tipped lifters are
used widely in the automotive world to reduce internal friction, but
the benefit for aircraft is improved longevity. Both companies said
the rollers are in development programs that should last through fall.
Lycoming plans to introduce the lifters as part of "phased design
improvements" to its engine line. More...
NON-OWNER (RENTER) PILOTS EXPOSED: PILOTS ARE HELD
for losses involving rented or borrowed
aircraft. You rent an aircraft on a beautiful day to fly around the
patch for a couple of hours. It's time to land, and you get caught in
a crosswind. The aircraft is damaged. Fortunately you are okay, but
the airplane is in bad shape. Who is responsible for the plane's
repair expenses and the FBO's lost revenue? Far too often, it's
YOU uninsured renter pilot. Get the comprehensive
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PRIMER LAUNCHED AT OSHKOSH
A new book launched at AirVenture aims to take some of the mystery --
and fear -- out of becoming a pilot while at the same time extolling
its virtues. You Can Fly, by Master CFI Greg Brown and author and
editor Laurel Lippert, is like an introductory guide to becoming a
pilot, laced with plenty of biased enthusiasm on why it's such a good
idea. "There wasn't anything like this out there," said Lippert, whose
husband Tom provided the photographs for the book. Lippert said she
speculates many prospective pilots reject the notion when they pick up
the heavily technical flight school manuals to see what they're in
REACHES OUT FOR MORE
If your plane is equipped with the Honeywell KGP-560 EGPWS or the L-3
Avionics WX-500 Stormscope Weather Mapping Sensor, you now have the
option of hooking in the Ryan Multi-Hazard Display (MHD). Ryan International execs
announced at AirVenture that the new interfaces will soon be
available, allowing pilots traffic, terrain or lightning activity on a
primary view and two thumbnail views simultaneously. The MHD is a
dedicated panel display that gets rid of some of the clutter pilots
have found with their moving map, communication and navigation
overlays. The 9900 BX MHD retails for $20,900. More...
YOUR PAINT SCHEME THE EASY WAY
The largest designer of airplane paint schemes in the U.S. is now
offering a service for aircraft owners who need a little help instead
of a lot. Scheme
Designers has launched www.aircraftcolor.com, a Web
site with a database of more than 3,000 airplane paint schemes. For
$39.95, you can use the site for 30 days, saving, downloading and
printing as many of the paint schemes as you would like. (You can
download drawings of different types of aircraft free.) The full
service, which buys you pages of paint plans down to the smallest
detail, runs from $450 to $950. But Scheme Designer's CEO Craig
Barnett knows that there are a number of aircraft owners who either
can't or won't spend that. "This [aircraft color] is a good tool for
those people who can't justify that," he said. After you choose a
paint scheme you like, you can either take it to your paint shop to
complete or Scheme Designs will draw up the plans for you for an extra
Here's a new air show for the calendar, especially if you like
The FAA is backing off on a plan to require babies to
be secured during flight...
A couple of crashes have left seven
dead and two injured...
A Cessna 421 carrying Kansas Fish and
Wildlife authorities hit a deer...
Embraer will build the U.S.
military's next spy plane. More...
COMPLIMENTARY WEEK OF ADVERTISING ON
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
The Savvy Aviator #8: Overhaul
When an instrument, accessory or other appliance stops
working on our airplanes, we generally get it overhauled or exchange
it for an overhauled exchange unit, right? Wrong, says AVweb's Mike
Busch, who argues that overhaul is often unnecessary and a big waste
of money, and offers several illustrative cases-in-point.
NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want
to know about? If it caught your eye, it will probably interest
someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ATTENTION, PROSPECTIVE OR CURRENT STUDENT
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QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know if you're happier with the round analog
gauges on older instrument panels, or just more familiar with them.
Flat panels are taking over, but because most of us don't buy or fly
new airplanes, most of us aren't all that familiar with them. These
incredibly capable boxes are out there right now but is it a
good thing for you? PLUS: Results of our pre-Oshkosh "QOTW," "Are CFIs
overpaid?" (Hoo-boy, wait until you see the results of this one!)
DA42 TWIN STAR CERTIFICATION: LOTS OF
Diamond's DA42 Twin Star marks some
significant milestones: First Aircraft Type Certification by the
European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA); first piston aircraft to
incorporate new propulsion, avionics, and airframe technology; first
modern jet-fuel/diesel-powered twin-engine aircraft; and first
certified application of the fully integrated Garmin G1000 glass
cockpit. Visit Diamond online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Yowza! "POTW" submissions usually drop off during an air show, but
AVweb readers kept up the flood of photos during last week's EAA
AirVenture. Way to go, guys you sent us so many photos that we
can't, in good conscience, roll two weeks' worth of entries into a
single contest! Instead, we're presenting last week's winners today
and we'll deliver a second, bonus "POTW" gallery on Monday! (Is
it just us, or is there something eerily appropriate about Tim Loehrke
winning this week's contest with a photo of the
lightest-of-all-possible-aircraft? Talk about LSAs... .)
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