June 1, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
|This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Trade-A-Plane
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With Memorial Day weekend past, it's officially summer now across the U.S., and with summer comes a deluge of flying events -- some old, some new and some in a state of metamorphosis. One unique event that starts Sunday in Danville, Va., is SATS 2005, a demonstration of the new Small Aircraft Transportation System technology developed by NASA, the FAA and the industry over the last five years. On Monday and Tuesday, technical demonstrations will be held, along with various seminars and panel discussions. SATS aims to show that on-board computing, advanced flight controls, "Highway in the Sky" displays, and automated air traffic separation and sequencing will help people to travel faster and farther by enabling safe and affordable access to virtually any runway in the nation in most weather conditions. The SATS technologies aim to allow higher-volume operations at airports that don't have control towers or terminal radar, many of which today are underutilized; help pilots to land safely in low-visibility conditions at minimally equipped airports; increase single-pilot performance; and integrate SATS aircraft seamlessly into the national airspace system. Nearly all the U.S. residents live within 30 minutes of one of these underutilized GA airports. For a look at the SATS vision of personal air travel in the future, check out this animated video.
The first Tunica (Miss.) Air Races start today with Unlimited, T-6 and Formula One aircraft racing around pylons to win the Tunica Cup. Aerobatics and military aircraft will fly between events. Tunica, a 30-minute drive south of Memphis, Tenn., is a resort area with abundant casinos and hotels. Meanwhile, the Red Bull Air-Race season is already underway. The first race for this year was held recently in Abu Dhabi, with the next leg set for June 12 in Rotterdam. The race makes four more stops in Europe before finishing up Oct. 8 in San Francisco. No word yet on the race course, but it seems it ought to include flying under the Golden Gate Bridge. Another new air sport, the Aero GP, launched in Maribor, Slovenia, last weekend. The event combines air-racing, dive-bombing and air-combat competitions at low levels. Hungarian pilot Zoltan Veres won the first round. The event's next date is not confirmed, but it is expected to travel to Spain, the U.K. and Dubai this year.
For many pilots, their favorite summer events are not the air shows where they spectate, but the fly-ins where they can actually aviate ... or at least, park and then hang out with other aviators. One newcomer is an as-yet-unnamed event now in the planning stages for Sept. 23-25 at the Alva (Okla.) Airport. Organizers hope to draw up to 800 fly-in aircraft and a bill of top-end air show performers. And for those in the market for something shiny and new, Clow Airport, in Bolingbrook, Ill., hosts the 6th Cavalcade of New Airplanes this weekend, when visitors can get an up-close look at the latest Diamonds, Lancairs, Cirri, and more. And for those on the East Coast, AOPA's annual open house and fly-in is this Saturday in Frederick, Md. AVweb will be there to tell you all about it.
|LIGHTSPEED QFR SELECTED AS "GEAR OF THE YEAR 2004" BY AVIATION
Aviation Consumer released their annual August 2004 "Gear of the Year" issue and tapped LightSPEED's QFRXCc ANR headset as the "standout performer" for its "first-rate value." Newly added cell/satellite phone and music interface make the QFRXCc headset even more attractive at only $379. Other standard features include auto shut-off, super-comfortable headpad, independent volume controls, and a 3-year warranty. To order or to obtain more information, call (800) 332-2421 or click on http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/avcons/avflash.
When the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated last year, most veterans were already over 75 years old. Some of them were patients at the V.A. hospital in Ohio where Earl Morse works as a physician's assistant, and Morse realized many of the aging vets would never make it to D.C. to see their monument. Some couldn't afford the plane ticket to Washington, or were too infirm to make the 10-hour car ride. So Morse, a retired Air Force captain, came up with a better idea -- he and his fellow pilots from the Wright-Patterson Aero Club would fly them there, in a Bonanza, a Mooney, a Cessna 210, or a Piper Aztec. Those aircraft and four others -- eight pilots and 12 veterans -- made the two-and-a-half-hour flight from Ohio to Washington and back on May 21, the first of what Morse hopes will be many similar trips. In Washington, the vets were treated like heroes, as they took pictures and reminisced at the Memorial and shared a meal with the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. The cost to the veteran is zero, and although it's a long day -- leaving Springfield at 8 a.m. and returning about 12 hours later -- the traveling is relatively easy on them.
Morse has christened the effort Honor Flight, and organized support from veterans' groups and local businesses, who chipped in to provide meals and ground transportation for the travelers. The pilots paid the Aero Club rental fees, or flew their own airplanes. "It was the most rewarding thing I've ever done," pilot Ron Smith told AVweb on Tuesday. "When we landed back at Springfield that night, there were 200 people there to greet us, waving flags ... that's when the veterans really got very emotional." Honor Flight already has more than 150 vets on a waiting list to make the trip. And "sadly, time is not on our side," says the group's Web site. Another trip is planned for June 11. "We'll do these trips all summer," Smith said. "As long as we can get pilots to volunteer, we'll do it."
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With wildfire season upon us, the Forest Service has decided that its fleet of large firefighting aircraft is fit for service, despite a fatal accident during a training run in April. The Forest Service has contracted for nine P2V tankers and seven P-3 Orion turboprops, as well as a DC-7 that will be used to gather data on wildfires. The aging aircraft have come under scrutiny in recent years after several fatal crashes caused by structural failure. "Aerial firefighting is an inherently high-risk business," Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said last week in a news conference. "Our job is to minimize that risk." Rey said the aircraft would be periodically inspected for signs of fatigue. Firefighters will have the following aerial resources at their disposal this season, according to the National Interagency Fire Center: at least six large helitankers and helicopters and more than 700 helicopters total; 28 single-engine airtankers as well as about 70 on standby; six CL215 and CL415 airtankers; eight military C130 aircraft outfitted with modular airborne firefighting systems; seven P3 airtankers; and up to nine P2V airtankers (once additional inspections are completed). In the next couple of years, Rey said, the government will be looking for a new generation of aircraft to fill these roles as many in the current fleet reach their life limit, which is set at 15,000 hours for the P2Vs and 19,000 hours for the P3s.
While observers wait on 10 current "production" models to be tested at the factory, shipped and flown on customer aircraft, Innodyn has completed its preliminary design work on a new product called the TwinPack turbine. The TwinPack bundles two of the company's small lightweight turbines together into a package that fits easily into most engine spaces, dialing-down the extent of firewall-forward reconstruction needed for a turbine refit. The two Innodyn turbines are geared through a common gear box with a total output of up to 500 shp while weighing in closer to 350 pounds ... somewhat similar to a Lycoming 360-series engine (in weight). The engine will be on static display at AirVenture Oshkosh next month, Innodyn says. The company says the TwinPack will provide redundancy and independence of operation between the two turbines, and burn about 35 gallons per hour of fuel. "Our new TwinPack design has generated far more interest than initially anticipated," the company said in a news release. "Testing and refinement will take several months to complete before production deliveries will commence." The TwinPack prototype measures 29 inches in length by 24 inches wide by 14 inches in height and weighs 350 pounds.
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In other engine news, the first owner-built XP-360-plus Superior Air Parts engine was completed last week by Adam Silverstein at the factory build school in Coppell, Texas. Silverstein is building an RV-8 at home in New Jersey. The plus version has roller cams and roller lifters, which were designed and developed by Thielert Aircraft Engines in Germany. "Our roller lifter design relies on a different lubrication strategy than the sliding interface of a conventional flat tappet," said Keith Blockus, senior engineer for Superior. "This results in the engine being more tolerant to surface degradation than the conventional lifter in low-lubrication conditions such as engine startup, eliminating cam and lifter spalling." The roller lifter has a conventional hydraulic plunger assembly that interfaces with conventional pushrods. However, the oiling strategy has been designed such that increased oil is directed to the cylinder top-end, aiding in both lubrication and cooling of valve and rocker components, Blockus said. "I think the value received is very good for a brand-new engine," said Silverstein. "I didn't necessarily want to be the first to do this, but somebody had to do it."
For more info about Superior and other "aftermarket" engines, see AVweb columnist Marc Cook's recent Motor Head column.
Gangs of corrupt baggage handlers at Sydney Airport, the largest airport in Australia, are involved in activities that range from stealing valuables out of suitcases to using passengers' bags to smuggle drugs and stolen goods, The Australian reported Monday. A classified government report also says some Asian-recruited Qantas flight crew are "high-risk" and may be involved in the importation of narcotics but are not kept track of adequately by Customs officials, according to The Australian. The report also said 39 security screeners had serious criminal convictions, and 14 were suspected illegal immigrants. Government officials said the investigations are ongoing and safety precautions are adequate, and the flying public shouldn't panic.
THE BEST HEADSET IS THE ONE YOU ALREADY OWN
IndUS, a U.S.-based aviation company, opened an aircraft showroom in downtown Bangalore this week, the first of its kind in India. The company aims to fill what it sees as an unmet demand for personal aircraft. The showroom has new airplanes on display and sells books, model airplanes, T-shirts and other aviation-related items. Dr. Ram Pattisapu, of Texas, founder of IndUS, said the showroom will work to enhance the public's understanding of GA. "There is a common misconception that private aircraft are unsafe and too expensive," he said at the grand opening on Tuesday. "In the long run, we want to promote general aviation as a viable transport for government and business agencies. But first, we want to increase public awareness." IndUs also has a manufacturing facility in India, where it builds light sport aircraft for export to the U.S., and has formed a partnership with Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd of India, a manufacturer of aviation products and aircraft. The showroom opens to the public on June 10.
It seems like a simple enough idea ... place lights at runway intersections that glow red when it's unsafe to cross. And it seems to be working, in an experimental installation at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. In a three-month study concluding this week, there was only one minor incursion, compared to three incursions in the previous five months. "But as long as we're still having one [incursion], we need to focus on improving the system," FAA spokesman Paul Erway told The Dallas Morning News. The Runway Status Lights are embedded into the pavement along the centerline on 14 taxiways. The system works by illuminating the five red lights when the runway is unsafe to cross. The lights work independently of air traffic control, by processing surveillance data from sensors on the airport surface. There is no green light ... the red lights click off when the coast is clear. Pilots still must contact ATC to be cleared onto the runway. The system cost $1.2 million. A similar system, using different surveillance technology, is planned to go into operation at the San Diego Airport next year.
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT WITH A NAME YOU KNOW & TRUST AEROSHELL
In the May 30 edition of AVweb a quote concerning NASA's involvement in manned space exploration was incorrectly attributed to Burt Rutan. At a recent conference on commercial space development, Rutan was critical of NASA's record in space projects but did not use the words that we attributed to him. "My critiques of NASA have been focused on what decisions should have been made in the 70s and what we should do now, but I am not accusing them of killing people," Rutan told AVweb.
Airbus super-jumbo A380 first commercial flights will be delayed six months. Qantas previously expected its first aircraft in October of next year. Now an April 2007 delivery date seems a more accurate expectation. Expecting airlines may or may not elect to not seek apologies from the manufacturer in the form of cash...
Do you know a mechanic or flight instructor who deserves an award? The NBAA wants to hear about them...
T-6 owner/operators, the FAA wants your input this week as it prepares to determine what action to take in the wake of a wing failure in Florida last month...
NTSB investigators found no problems with the brakes of a Citation CJ2 jet that ran off the runway at Bader Airport in Atlantic City on May 15. The airport is closed to jet traffic. The pilot told investigators he "lost the brakes" during the landing roll...
The FAA proposes to give voluntary "safety approvals" to commercial space operators...
Air carriers need better ways to deal with under-performing crew, the NTSB said this week. The safety board made several safety recommendations stemming from its investigation of a 2003 FedEx crash...
Four Winds Aircraft will offer AmSafe's inflatable restraints on its FX-210 and FX-250T aircraft, AmSafe said last week.
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team.
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CEO of the Cockpit #45: Dead Dinosaurs
We're all flying with dead dinosaurs -- well, all of us powered pilots anyway. Airlines love to blame their bankruptcies on the price of fuel, but they won't raise fares to cover it. So AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit and some other pilots discuss other ways to use less go-juice.
What's New -- Products and Services -- June 2005
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you vortex generators, a flight simulator, leading edge protection and more.
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/
SEE CLEARLY METHOD IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS VISION NATURALLY
*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked what you thought of "push-button flying." Are the new wave of remote-controlled and autopiloted vehicles a modern convenience or an insult to the well-honed skills of pilots?
10% of you were completely in favor of the new technologies. Planes that are easier to fly and land, you reasoned, will be more appealing to a new generation of pilots and what aviation needs is a new generation of pilots.
Another 27% of those surveyed thought that autopilots and remote controls are good because they enable us all to fly (and arrive) more safely. The goal is to arrive safely, you reminded us not necessarily to push pilots' skills to the limit.
But a few of you disagreed. 22% of respondents thought that a pilot's strong skillset and sharp thinking are too important to be eroded by a growing dependence on machines.
And the largest number of readers (41% of you) agreed with our statement Don't write us off yet. Pilots are still the most important instrument in the cockpit.
As always, there were some insightful reader comments about this question in Monday's edition of AVmail. Check it out, if you haven't already.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb asks the perennial puzzler: "Build or buy?" The experimentals of yesterday are today's top-of-the-line certified designs. So what do you think of today's homebuilt aircraft? Would you build one yourself? Fly someone else's?
Click here to tell us where you stand.
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
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.
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO THE NEXT
CMax Approach Charts, which can be displayed on Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 or Entegra/EX5000 MFDs, provide geo-referenced approach charts and airport diagrams. CMax reduces the amount of paper in your cockpit, and allows you to access critical chart data more quickly and easily. CMax overlays your flight plan and aircraft position for optimum orientation. CMax even shows runway incursion hotspots and improves taxiway awareness, reducing the need for "progressives" at unfamiliar airports. With CMax, youll know exactly where you are on the approach or on the field. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Welcome back to AVweb's "Picture of the Week," where we share the most colorful, exciting, and breath-taking amateur aviation photos we've received this week with the rest of the world. Tyson Rininger headlines this week's batch of photos, with an image that may induce some déjà vu. As his reward, Tyson will soon be the proud owner of an Official AVweb Baseball Cap.
For your chance at an AVweb cap, submit your pictures today!
NOTE: There were so many great photos last week that we couldn't possibly fit them in. If you've submitted a really great photo in recent weeks and feel that you should've been a contender, you may want to re-submit your photo and try your luck a second time. Remember that we toss all photos out of the contest each week, so you have re-submit to be re-considered. (Of course, we do ask that you limit your re-submissions to once every few weeks as a courtesy to others.)
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Copyright © Tyson Rininger
"Legacy Flight '05 NAS Lemoore"
Two weeks ago, Rich Sugden of Jackson, Wyoming
took home top honors with his photo of an FJ-4B Fury
over Naval Air Station Lemoore in California. This week,
Tyson Rininger claims the Number One spot with
a dynamic photo of Rich Sugden's T-2, accompanied
by a USAF FA-18! Congratulations, Tyson
now you and Rich can both sport your
AVweb caps at NAS Lemoore!
See more of Tyson's photos at TVRPhotography.com.
Click here to view a large version of this image
AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view larger versions.
"Room with a View"
As the EAA B-17 Fuddy Duddy
continues its tour of the U.S., aviation buffs like
David Bier of La Grange, Illinois are enjoying
an increasingly-rare opportunity to ride in this bird.
Fortunately, David snapped this photo from the nose
of Fuddy and decided to share it with the rest of us.
Used with permission of Rand Baldwin
"Ready to Race"
Rand Baldwin of Madison, Alabama
photographed these sailplanes lined up
for take-off before the U.S. Region 5 Soaring
Contest in Cordele, Georgia earlier this year.
Used with permission of Chris Mellor
Chris Mellor of Newbury Park, California
caught this fleeting moment on a Canon D30
at the Pt. Mugu Air Show two weeks ago.
Used with permission of Iain Indian
Speaking of air shows,
Iain Indian of Oak Park, Victoria (Australia)
gets the credit for this great whirlybird pic.
Used with permission of Errol Hand
"Champ vs. Citabria"
And Errol Hand of Taylorsville, Kentucky
flies us out this week with a tranquil moment
from a Memorial Day fly-in. Thanks, Errol!
To enter next week's contest, click here.
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.
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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It's flying till every part stops.
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