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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
TURBINE FOR CHRISTMAS?
Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania company called Affordable Turbine
Power attracted some attention when they turned up at air shows with a turbine-powered RV-4 and
said they would soon be selling their little engines to the
experimental market. The company now has changed its name to Innodyn, and is
also flying a turbine-powered RV-6. President Chuck Nearhoof told
AVweb on Friday they are on track to start production of the
turbines next month, with first deliveries in February. Each of the
four models weighs less than 188 pounds and delivers a range of
maximum power from 165 to 255 hp, at costs ranging from $26,500 to
$34,500. Nearhoof says they have a "substantial number" of orders to
PATENTED FUEL TECHNOLOGY...
Nearhoof said the fuel system uses a patented technology called "pulse
width modulation" to control fuel flow to the engine. The system not
only reduces operating and purchase costs, but also simplifies the use
of the turbine. "This is light years beyond FADEC," Nearhoof said. The
engine spins at 61,000 rpm and the computer that controls the fuel
flow can make three decisions for each rotation. "It gives new meaning
to the term 'full authority,'" Nearhoof said. The company is now
working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a test
regime to determine the efficiency of the system, and Innodyn is not
talking about fuel flow till those results are in. At Sun 'n' Fun, in
April, the company was reporting 13.3 gallons per hour in the RV-4.
The engine by itself is of very little value without firewall-forward
support, Nearhoof said. Innodyn had been working with Rivers
Aeronautical, of Greenville, S.C., to develop firewall-forward
kits, but announced last month that it will provide that support
in-house instead. "Innodyn believes that they can supply the kits to
the consumer at a more affordable price and Rivers Aero supports them
in their endeavor," Rivers says at its Web site, and Nearhoof
confirmed that. He said Innodyn is trying to meet a price target of
$6,000 to $7,000 for the kits, though it will vary depending on the
airframe. That doesn't include a prop. Nearhoof said kits and support
will be in place by the time deliveries start. More...
FLIGHT SERVICE STATIONS, FUTURE IS NOW
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey was at a Flight Service Station in
Mississippi last week, to talk with the staff about the current
bidding process that could change federal employees to contract
workers. "It's going to be a challenging time," Blakey told the
Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth. "We don't know whether it is
something that ultimately will be staffed by federal specialists or
something that would be staffed by specialists in the area but under
private contract. That decision will be made in a couple of months,"
Blakey said. Bidders for the contract include the agency's own
employees in partnership with Harris Corp., Computer Sciences Corp.,
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. The FAA wants the
bidder to cut costs by at least 22 percent from the current $502
million annual tab. More...
"LOWEST BIDDER" PROSPECT WORRIES STAFF
The union representing the FSS staff, the National Association of Air
Traffic Specialists (NAATS), is opposed to the bidding process. "Flight
Service Controller duties will be sold to the lowest bidder with no
system announced as of yet to monitor safety and security," says the
NAATS Web site. NAATS has also disputed the FAA's contention that each
contact with a pilot costs $25. "Flight service cost an average of $12
per contact until you factor in the cost of all the technical and
administrative support costs. These support personnel are not included
in any privatization or job elimination study," says NAATS. AOPA has taken the position that aviation weather
services are critical to public safety and should be provided by the
government without fees. More...
JA AIR CENTER YOUR GARMIN SOURCE HOT
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"POLISHED FROST" IS NOT A SAFE CONCEPT
The FAA needs to change its rules to encourage pilots to totally clean
frost from their aircraft's wings before takeoff, rather than just
smooth it out to remove the bumps, according to a safety
recommendation from Britain's Department for Transport. The
recommendation was prompted by the investigation into the crash of a U.S.-owned and
operated Bombardier CL-600 that crashed in the U.K. in 2002, under
circumstances similar to last week's crash of a CL-600 in Colorado that killed three people. FAR
Part 91.527 says pilots must remove frost from the wings and other
aerodynamic surfaces "unless that frost has been polished to make it
smooth." The British report says it's not clear exactly how pilots
should "polish" the frost, and that the rule may give the pilots the
impression that some amount of frost is acceptable. More...
DEVELOPMENT FUNDS USED TO DESTROY MEIGS
Friday, Chicago officials sent off a 43-page legal brief in response
to the FAA's concern that the city diverted $1.5 million from O'Hare's
federal airport development funds to pay for the destruction of Meigs
field. The FAA has already ordered the city to pay a $33,000 fine for
insufficient notice (not telling anyone at the FAA 30 days ahead of
time that the city intended to close Meigs field). As it turns out,
the city's brief defends both actions. The text says that the city did
give notice of closure and also that the city did spend the O'Hare
money, plus another $1.3 million, to destroy the field, according to a
report in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times. But in an epic twist of
lay-logic, the brief contends it's legal to use "development funds" to
destroy an airport. (... Bless the lawyers, every one.)
FRONTIER FOR GA -- CHINA
China's economy is the fastest-growing in the world, second only to
the U.S. in overall production, and it seems to be ready for GA.
Organizers of the 4th Annual GA Forum in China, set for March 2005,
say that "yesterday's potential has turned into today's reality," and
now is the time to enter the market. Diamond Aircraft
is already making inroads there, and CEO Christian Dries says he
expects the growing Chinese aviation market to "potentially become a
very significant portion of our future business." Diamond announced
last week that it now has Chinese certification for its DA40
four-seater, and will begin deliveries there this month. The DA20-C1
two-seater received its Chinese certification in July.
340 EXPLODES ON RAMP
A Cessna 340 that exploded on the ramp at Lafayette (La.) Regional
Airport last week apparently had a slow fuel leak in its left wing
tank, investigators say. The pilot of the airplane had reported fumes
in the cockpit on its last flight, about three weeks ago. It sat on
the ramp until a mechanic went to check it out last Tuesday morning,
and when he turned on the master switch, the explosion occurred. No
flames or fire were reported. The mechanic suffered minor injuries and
was treated at a hospital and released. The explosion rattled windows
and knocked pictures off walls at nearby businesses, but nobody was
hurt (we're not real clear on how the mechanic managed that, either),
and traffic at the airport was not affected. The twin-engine airplane
was destroyed. More...
SYSTEM WOULD HELP PILOTS AVOID GROUND OBSTACLES
Lights are fine for marking towers, except when they're not working,
and those big orange balls help in spotting power lines, except when
visibility is poor. To help prevent collisions, the FAA in Fort Worth,
Texas, is testing a radar system that would continually scan the area
around power lines or antennae for nearby aircraft, and trigger a
strobe light to warn pilots (as opposed to just having a strobe
running all the time on every tower), The Dallas Morning News reported last week. The
Obstacle Collision Avoidance System could also broadcast a warning
over the aircraft's radio. Two recent accidents highlighted the
dangers of low-level obstacles -- a Gulfstream jet in Houston that hit a light pole on
approach, and an Army helicopter that hit the support cables of an
unlit tower in Texas. More...
AIRLINE PILOT GETS PRISON TERM FOR DRINKING
A Finnish 757 pilot who was apprehended by police in August during his
preflight and failed a breath test for alcohol was sentenced on
Thursday by a U.K. court to six months in prison. A blood test had
shown his alcohol level was twice the limit allowed for air traffic in
the U.K. The pilot, Heikki Tallila, 51, admitted to being drunk in the
cockpit of the chartered airplane, which he was scheduled to fly from
Manchester to Turkey, with 225 passengers on board. He was employed by
Finnair, but was suspended after his arrest and later resigned. He was
the first pilot to be sentenced under a new law, introduced in Britain
in March, that gives the police authority to administer breath tests
to flight crew members who are suspected of trying to fly under the
influence of alcohol. More...
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CERTIFIES TAWS FOR GNS 530 AND GPS 500
Thursday that it has received FAA certification to add Terrain Awareness and
Warning System (TAWS) capability to its GNS
530 and GPS 500 units. The system can provide pilots with
graphical and audible alerts of potential terrain and obstacle
conflicts along the flight path, Garmin said. "TAWS technology
represents a significant advance in flight safety and its widespread
adoption could dramatically reduce the number of terrain-related
accidents -- one of the leading causes of fatalities in aviation,"
said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing. New TAWS-certified
units start at $20,500, and upgrades for current owners cost $8,000,
Garmin said. The addition of TAWS enables the GNS 530 and GPS 500 to
graphically display the surrounding terrain and obstacles in bright
yellow and red, relative to the aircraft's current altitude, Garmin
A politically inspired Convair CV-340 ditched near Miami (there's a
The da Vinci Project completed helium balloon for
BRS hired Larry E. Williams as president and
chief operating officer...
Checklist for infant and child safety for GA pilots now free
Hurricane-damaged airports in Florida got another $4.5
New IMAX film, "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag,"
"Fighter Jets" airs on National Geographic
Channel December 15...
In Va., a departing C-414 crashed, stopping
just shy of the fuel farm...
AOPA's 2005 Karant Awards for GA
journalism now accepting entries. More...
ASA'S AIRCRAFT FLIGHT LOG IS EASY &
ASA's Aircraft Flight Log provides the operators
of individual aircraft an easy-to-use method of keeping track of
detailed items pertaining to the care and use of their airplanes.
Inspections, VOR/ELT checks, oil changes, and simple squawks are all
easy to find without digging through a stack of maintenance logs.
Instantly know the disposition of the aircraft you are about to fly,
simply by checking your ASA Aircraft Flight Log. Available now
for $9.95 from ASA at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.
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 email@example.com.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
From the CFI #4: Some Advice on Movin' On Up!
thinking about moving up to a faster, more complex airplane (or if
you're wondering how piston-pounding pilots are going to transition to
those very light jets), AVweb's Linda D. Pendleton has some advice:
Brush up on the basics. More...
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
mail this week about Presidential TFRs in Canada, the Age 60 rule,
doctored photos and much more. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business
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NO-COST RESOURCES FOR STUDENT PILOTS!
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Submitted to our "shouldn't you have better things to do" file...
Tower: L39 N###, Did you guys get that contract with the post office?
L39: Say again, Tower.
Tower: L39, We heard that the mail was going to be in the Czech.
L39: ... Slow day, huh.
Tower: (laughing) Sorry. More...
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GLASS COCKPITS HERE! HIGH-ADVENTURE FLYING IN RED ROCK
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