April 10, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
|This special Sun 'n Fun issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Oregon Aero
Chances are good that you'll cover more miles on your feet than you will in the air at Sun 'n Fun each day ... so treat your aching feet to comfort with a pair of Oregon Aero ShockBlockers Insole Inserts, which absorb more shock than any other insole guaranteed. Visco-Kinetic polymer provides the best shock absorption available, and the custom-designed fabric is high-wicking, low-friction, and extremely durable. You can sample ShockBlockers Insole Inserts at Oregon Aero's booth in Building A or purchase them before your visit online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.
Visit Oregon Aero at Sun 'n Fun Booth #MD-009A
In Lakeland, Fla., this week, aviators are gathering for Sun 'n Fun, and the FAA is making the most of it by getting past a huge bump on the rocky road to light sport aviation -- as of Friday, manufacturers that build fixed-wing airplanes can now get airworthiness certificates for them and sell them as special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA). The FAA has signed the final papers that put in place all the necessary procedures, and will start training designated airworthiness representatives, who will conduct inspections to be sure the airplanes are in compliance. Sun 'n Fun opens tomorrow, and those S-LSAs are going to be for sale all over the field. What kind of response they get will be closely watched by many. Is the pent-up demand there? Or is the takeoff point for LSA still somewhere in the future? Either way, the momentum of the industry is sure to get a kick. Even if sales are slow at Sun 'n Fun, there is a whole summer season ahead to push the marketing effort.
Among the S-LSAs expected to be on display are the Flight Design CT, an all-composite, high-wing airplane built in Germany and sold in the U.S. by Flight Design of Connecticut. Two Evektor SportStars, a low-wing, all-metal airplane from the Czech Republic, will be there, the ink still wet on their airworthiness certificates. Sport Aircraft International, of Kerrville, Texas, says that by 4 p.m. Friday it already had S-LSA approvals in hand for the two airplanes. Making its debut is the Legend Cub, an LSA-compliant "redefined" Piper Cub lookalike, with a 100-hp Continental engine, a wider cockpit, and other modern touches. The first aircraft is flying, and the company expects to start deliveries later this summer. Engine makers also are jumping aboard the LSA train. Jabiru Aircraft, Australia, says its four-cylinder Jabiru 2200 engine and its six-cylinder 3300 engine are LSA-ready.
Plenty of the established certified airplane manufacturers and kitplane companies will be in Lakeland this week also, with new aircraft to show and product updates to boast about. Aviat Aircraft is bringing several new Huskies, showing off the recently STC'd weight-saving MT propeller and a newly modified aileron/flap combination. Lancair President Bing Lantis will announce details of a new "set and forget" climate-control system for the production models Columbia 350 and "world's fastest certified piston single engine" 400, and talk about company expansion initiatives. Chelton Aviation has a new digital autopilot mounted in a Cheetah. Watch your inbox for two special editions of AVweb straight from the show, arriving Wednesday and Friday, with a wrap-up next Monday. Other news we'll be gathering includes an update from Symphony Aircraft, which says it will introduce its new strategic partners (and perhaps some new hardware). New Piper Aircraft CEO Chuck Suma is holding a press conference to deliver a company update. We'll also look for news from Innodyn Motors, which is at work on a small turbine for the experimental market and had planned for first delivery this past February.
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Admiral David M. Stone, the third person to head the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the three years of its (somewhat rocky) existence, announced Friday he will step down in June. Officials were mum on the reasons for the departure and plans for a successor. The move could reflect an effort in Washington to diminish the agency's role, according to The Washington Post. The TSA could be limited to just managing airport security screeners, or it could be disbanded altogether. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is currently undertaking a review of the TSA to be completed in May or June, which is expected to lead to major changes. "We need to step back and look at the billions of dollars we spent on the system, which doesn't provide much more protection than we had before 9/11," Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) told the Post. "TSA was something we put in place in an emergency, but it needs to evolve. You could whittle TSA down to a very small organization and do a much better job." Stone replaced Admiral James Loy as TSA administrator in early 2004.
General aviation advocacy groups are growing weary of the TSA revolving door. "We need consistent and steady leadership by the individuals that shape our fragile flight environment," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. Each new leader needs to be convinced that GA aircraft are not a threat and educated about the nature and needs of small airports, a frustrating exercise when they keep leaving. Stone had appeared last October at AOPA Expo in Long Beach, Calif., where he showed a willingness to listen to the concerns of GA pilots. He also had worked closely with the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) on plans to reopen Reagan Washington National Airport. "We hope that Admiral Stone's successor will demonstrate the same openness and desire to understand and work with the industry," Boyer said on Friday.
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The crash of a Hughes H-1B Racer replica in August 2003 was caused by the loss of a propeller counterweight in flight, the NTSB said in its final report. The pilot then lost control of the airplane during a forced landing attempt and spun into the ground. The crash took place in Yellowstone National Park as pilot James Wright, 53, of Cottage Grove, Ore., who had built the replica, was flying it home from Oshkosh. The propeller was a "highly modified" constant-speed prop with a history of control problems, the safety board said. The NTSB said it found nothing to indicate that Wright, who was killed in the accident, had any physical problems that might have contributed to the crash. Wright was wearing a parachute at the time of the accident. He had told his lead mechanic and several friends that if "something goes wrong, I'm bailing out," the NTSB said. The airplane made its first flight in July 2002. Wright flew the replica to a world-record speed for the airplane's class, reaching 304 mph at Reno, Nev., in September 2002, on the 67th anniversary of Hughes' first record in the original airplane. Howard Hughes himself, the billionaire recluse, died while being flown to the hospital in April 1976.
Three men from northern California died Thursday morning when their Cessna T210L crashed into a field near Fresno. A witness said he heard an "explosion" and saw debris raining down from the sky at the time of the crash. Other witnesses reported sounds like backfiring and sputtering from the engine. The FAA told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa that one wing was found some distance from the main wreckage, but investigators have not yet determined if there was an in-flight breakup of the aircraft. The three men -- Tom Hobart, of Healdsburg; Kieran Burke, of Geyserville; and Karl Esposti, of Windsor, the pilot and owner of the airplane -- were flying to Scottsdale, Ariz., to meet some friends for a golf holiday.
|CONFUSED ABOUT DATALINK WEATHER?|
UNDERSTANDING DATALINK WEATHER AT SUN 'N FUN
WSI Corporation is offering a no-cost Seminar Series on the topic of Datalink Weather. Created with the pilot in mind, these seminars will instruct on the proper use of datalink weather systems in the cockpit. Close attention will be paid to the exact nature of data products now available on various systems ask your own questions about datalink at WSI's premiere presentations: 10:00 AM April 12 and 17th at Sun 'n Fun. For more details, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wsi/snf/avflash
To help you get to Sun 'n Fun, WSI offers a no-charge Sun 'n Fun Weather Web Site. See what the conditions are in Lakeland right now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wsi/snf/wx/avflash
Visit WSI at Sun 'n Fun Booths #A-040-042
Last week, authorities located a 35-year-old British national who had been the subject of a "special alert (scroll down) issued to flight training providers. The alert included a picture of the man and said he should not be allowed to rent or fly airplanes or take lessons. A flight school in Georgia, where two of the 9/11 hijackers had briefly trained, had reported that the man had tried to have his pilot rating upgraded despite not being qualified. He also became "aggressive" while pushing for his training schedule to be accelerated. Authorities say they now have located the man in the U.K. The matter is still being investigated and he has not been taken into custody, but his name is now on the FAA's "no-fly" list. He is a licensed pilot but apparently was in the U.S. illegally. The special alert also said that he had no known means of income, used calling cards to communicate with associates, and may have fled the country when he was alerted to official interest in him.
Two Indian air force helicopter pilots visited the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C., last week to accept an award for a record-setting high-altitude rescue flight in the Himalayas last May. The two pilots landed their Cheetah helicopter at 23,240 feet on a glacier to rescue three critically hurt mountaineers. Wing Commander S.K. Sharma and co-pilot Flight Lieutenant A.P. Dhanake made the landing despite turbulent conditions and high winds. The helicopter's official service ceiling is about 17,700 feet. India is working on building a beefed-up helicopter that could fly rescue missions above 25,000 feet. The award was given by Aviation Week & Space Technology.
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Space Shuttle Discovery reached its launch pad Thursday morning, and is getting ready for the first flight in the orbiter program since the loss of Columbia in February 2003. The rollout is one of the last major steps before Discovery's launch, targeted for a May 15 to June 3 window. Shuttle Commander Eileen Collins will lead the seven-person crew. Meanwhile, Russia says it's ready to start building a new space shuttle of its own that would land on ordinary runways and be far cheaper to operate than the U.S shuttle. The Kliper spacecraft, which was unveiled recently at the 2005 World Exposition in Japan, would provide a supply link to the ISS, replacing the Russian Soyuz and the U.S. shuttle. The Kliper could carry up to six people in comfort, and start manned flights to the moon as soon as 2015, the Russians said. For those who want to try shuttle flight for themselves, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is building a $35-million-plus simulated ride called the Shuttle Launch Experience, which may be completed by the end of 2006.
Aging pilots can run into problems with insurance, facing substantial surcharges or even cutoffs. AOPA is working on a study to see if the accident record justifies such actions. "This study is extraordinarily important to pilots, because the answers could very well affect general aviation safety and the cost of flying for everyone," AOPA President Phil Boyer said. "This affects all of us. We're all getting older." AOPA will also fund an independent study to examine what happens to the cognitive and neuro-muscular skills of pilots as they age. "Currently, there is no hard, scientific data to justify the way some insurance companies are treating older pilots," said Boyer. "We're going to find the truth." Meanwhile, AOPA Insurance Agency has negotiated an agreement with Global Aerospace Inc. that assures pilots of any age they can retain their coverage as long as they take (and pass) a medical exam every year. "Since most aviation insurance carriers have a cut-off age for accepting new business, this agreement gives older pilots who are looking for insurance options beyond their current carrier a valuable new alternative at competitive rates," said Gregory Sterling, general manager of the AOPA Insurance Agency. To qualify, pilots must be AOPA members, and fly a single-engine, fixed-gear aircraft with four or fewer seats valued at less than $100,000.
|POWERLINK FADEC CERTIFIED ON LIBERTY XL-2; IS IT RIGHT FOR YOUR
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.
Visit Teledyne-Continental Motors at Sun 'n Fun Booth #N-093-102
Mooney to install inflatable airbag(-ish) seat restraints in pilot and co-pilot seats of all its Bravo and Ovation models...
The Professional Aviation Maintenance Association is lobbying Congress to declare May 24 National Aviation Maintenance Technician Day. That's the birthday of Charles E. Taylor, who built the engine for the Wright 1903 Flyer...
A Florida man whose wife and son were killed in a Piper Saratoga has sued the FAA for $30 million, saying controllers failed to warn his son about severe weather...
EAA LSA guru Dan Johnson has launched a new Web log that reports developments in sport aviation...
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has elected three new members to its board of directors: Michael Grossmann, president of Castle Aviation of Ohio; Theo Staub, president of Jet Aviation Holdings, of Teterboro, N.J.; and Reed Pigman Jr., president of Texas Jet of Fort Worth, Texas...
In case you were wondering, here's the cockpit checklist used by B-17 Flying Fortress crews.
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to email@example.com.
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AVmail: April 11, 2005
Reader mail this week about airborne cellphone use, privatizing Flight Service, medical certification for recreational pilots and much more.
CEO of the Cockpit #43: Summit Talks on Aviation
A informal meeting of the minds (such as they are) takes place each year where folks from many walks of life -- but connected by aviation -- discuss the state of the industry and relations among pilots, mechanics, and more. AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit tells the tale.
|JOIN NAA AND CELEBRATE AVIATION'S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE|
What a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization marking their 100th anniversary in 2005! NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast. You will receive two magazine subscriptions Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero and access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call NAA at (703) 527-0226 to become a member of the NAA family, or sign up online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/naa/avflash.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read. Watch for a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE "SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO THE NEXT
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Sometimes you fly touch-and-go's, sometimes you watch others fly touch-and-go's. Thrity minutes later, still at the runway's threshold...
Plane: Tower, 01Q.
Tower: 01Q, Tower.
Plane: 01Q has a request.
Tower: Go ahead 01Q.
Plane: 01Q would like to taxi back to the FBO to refuel.
Tower: OK 01Q, we'll see if we can't get you out of here today.
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
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Fly it till every piece stops.
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