NewsWire Complete Issue
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Bose at AirVenture Tents #174-176
Rutan, Branson Steal The Show With SpaceShip Plans
The SpaceShip Company -- that's the straightforward name of the next (publicly announced) venture for Burt Rutan, announced last night at Theater in the Woods, here at Oshkosh AirVenture. Rutan and
Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic took the stage before an overflow crowd and said they had signed the papers that day to create the new company as a joint venture. "Scaled Composites will do the
research and development, and then hand over those designs to the new company, which will be the manufacturer and marketer for what we envision as a large fleet of spaceships," Rutan said. The
company's first project (funded to the tune of $120 million by Virgin Galactic) is to build the five SpaceShipTwos already on order for Virgin Galactic, but Branson and Rutan made clear they expect
many more, and already are thinking about the next generation of suborbital and eventually orbital commercial spaceships. (Rutan would like to ultimately beat this planet's governments in the race to
put humans on Mars.) The new company will be established in Mojave, Calif., alongside Scaled Composites. Rutan said SpaceShipTwo will have a cabin as big as that on a Gulfstream V and allow room for
six or seven passengers to move about freely and enjoy their five minutes of weightlessness. He also said the ships will be capable of flying as high as 140 kilometers and over a range of a couple of
hundred miles, to extend their trajectories beyond the basic up-and-down of SpaceShipOne.
Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn said the ships will be flying by 2008 and will fly over 35,000 passengers in the first 10 years ... but Rutan later said that he hasn't announced any timeline,
but did let slip he believes competing "spacelines" will push the number of passengers closer to 100,000 in a relatively short period of time. Rutan also invited anyone in the audience who wants to be
part of this effort to send in their resumes ... we think that includes you, too. "We have several extremely interesting programs we're working on over the next 10 years or so," he said. Also at
Theater in the Woods last night, EAA President Tom Poberezny said Scaled is going to build a copy of SpaceShipOne that will go on display in the EAA AirVenture Museum by next year's AirVenture, and he
presented this year's Freedom of Flight award to Mike Melvill, the first commercial astronaut.
On Monday, hundreds of people crowded the Aeroshell Square area to watch the (somewhat firm) landing and rollout of the bulbous aircraft duo -- SpaceShipOne and White Knight. The occupants were
greeted by EAA President Tom Poberezny and other EAA officials (who drove up in one of EAA's equally bulbous roofless Volkswagen Beetles). Rutan and astronauts Mike Melvill and Brian Binnie each took
turns thanking EAA for the fundamental role their participation in the event over the years had in setting the stage for their launch of the commercial manned space industry. Poberezny recalled that
during one of Rutan's 35 consecutive visits to the show, he said that one day he'd arrive there from space. And while that might not be technically true this time around, Rutan said his turn is
coming. The stop in Oshkosh was the third leg in a trip to take the space ship to a place of honor in the National Air and Space Museum. The team took the aircraft to a fly-in in Oklahoma, "just to
give them all a thrill" with a once-in-a-lifetime flyby.
Rutan said he had spare engines after the successful X-Prize flights and had considered using them for flights with passengers (Binnie and Melvill both flew with ballast to simulate the weight of
passengers). But he told a news conference just after arrival in Oshkosh that he didn't want to risk the spacecraft before it could be taken to Washington. He noted that the test program for
SpaceShipTwo, the commercial passenger craft being built for Virgin Galactic will involve 400 flights. "I'll be on one of them," he said. He also said that test program would put more people into
space than have flown there in the last 44 years of spaceflight. Forty-four years, which have so far yielded fatalities for each 62 flights, according to Rutan. It's the result of ground-launch
methodology that among other things places people "on top of a one kiloton bomb," according to Virgin Galactic's Whitehorn. Part of the plan is to exponentially surpass that safety record.
Think you've got the right stuff to fly a commercial spaceliner? Get in line. Virgin Galactic President Will Whitehorn said the company has received more than 4,000 applications for pilot jobs in its
new enterprise and estimates it will need about 75 after the full flight schedule is in place. "We will be looking for pilots," he said. Of course Virgin has thousands of its own pilots to choose from
in its three airlines and there have been applications from the U.S. as well -- mostly ex-military, ex-NASA, and test pilots. Qualifications are going to be tough and those with military, space and
test flight backgrounds are likely to get priority. But not everyone will need a fat logbook to get a foot in the door. And some early passengers may only need a computer and $10. Whitehorn said the
company would consider developing an internet "game of skill" that would allow players to fly SpaceShipTwos into space. The payments would enter the players into a raffle and once the requisite price
(likely near $200,000 for early flights) was matched, a winner would be chosen. For pilots, the company has plans for a reality TV show in which contestants would go through a full training program to
become commercial space pilots. There's no word yet on the selection process for the show. And while becoming a space pilot may be too much of a stretch for many people, Whitehorn emphasized that
Virgin Galactic intends to "democratize" space travel by making it as easy as possible to get ordinary people to the black sky as passengers. He noted that 80 percent of people are physically capable
of making the flight but not many are now financially equipped. The well-heeled will be the first commercial passengers (Whitehorn leaked that Victoria Principal is on the list) but Whitehorn said
that as they gain experience and equipment (provided by the $200,000 fares put up by the first relative few) he said he expects the price to drop to about $50,000. "That's the cost of a cruise," he
said. (We just looked at each other.)
FROM WARBIRDS TO HOMEBUILTS, OREGON AERO
MAKES THEM ALL MORE COMFORTABLE AND SAFER
Thousands of aircraft arrive at EAA Airventure each year, and Oregon Aero,
Inc. has a seating solution that can make flying painless and safer in them
all. Oregon Aero Seat Cushion Systems combine the benefits of improved safety
and comfort for pilots and passengers in all types of aircraft. You can also try
out the High-G Safety Seat a complete seat including frame, pan, assembly,
cushions, and operating mechanisms when you visit the Oregon Aero booth at EAA
Airventure (#3137 in Building C). To find out more about the relationship
between seat comfort and safety, be sure to attend the forum in Pavilion #5 on
Wednesday, July 27 at 4:00 pm with Mike Dennis, founder and CEO of Oregon
Aero or go online at
Oregon Aero at AirVenture Booths #3137-3140
It's Finally Here. Now, Who Will Use It?
Light Sport Aircraft may find its largest markets on either end of the active pilots' life cycle. That is, by attracting entry level "I just want to have fun" pilots on the front end, or by providing
a last ride for pilots whose financial means, comfort, or age has caught up with their desire, or ability to fly higher performance aircraft (or earn a third class medical). On the grounds of
AirVenture, it is not easy to decipher if Sport Pilots will be a well-defined group, and that may not be a good thing for the price-points of the breed. In the end, the desires of the market with the
most buying power will ultimately define the most successful Light Sport Aircraft designs. For now, lack of a well defined group may mean a lack of mass production and a lack of new very low cost
aircaft. The current crop includes some offerings in the range of $80,000. A lack of very low cost aircraft specifically marketed to entry level pilots may deter those pilots from joining the fray and
moving on to fly larger more capable planes. It may also amount to another missed opportunity in the quest to make flying more accessible to a broader group.
But the FAA could still claim a small victory. The rules would still offer legitimate status to those pilots and craft who were (prior to the new rules) flying beyond the limitations of the ultralight
category with training that fell short of the certificated pilot. They would also offer sanctuary to those certificated pilots with lapsed medicals willing to adhere to the regulations set forth by
the Sport Pilot regulations. Wherever this ride goes, the technology evoked by this initial push may yet benefit us all.
A total of 13 airplanes are now fully approved under Special Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) provisions and now the push is on to put pilots in them and the dozens that are sure to follow. It's only been
a few months since the first ready-to-fly planes were approved and not much longer since the first examiners were certified so there's a lot of catching up to do as these aircraft hit the market.
However, we're now getting some idea of the training that will be required and its cost. Joshua Foss, of SportsPlanes.com told an
Oshkosh news conference that a full training package for fixed wing S-LSAs should be less than $4,000. Foss said that although the Sport Pilot rules call for a minimum of 20 hours of instruction, 30
hours is more realistic. Ironically, hourly instruction costs likely won't be a lot cheaper (and may even be more expensive) than private pilot training because the airplanes used will be brand new,
in most cases, and worth more than the decades-old aircraft many schools use for training. Foss's company now has 20 regional sales, service and training centers lined up around the U.S. and there are
plans for more, including some in Canada. It's likely the largest company involved in the burgeoning market and is the U.S. representative for three recently approved S-LSAs and the fully certified
An interesting wrinkle in the carefully refined rules that define Light Sport Aircraft is its "conforming standards" provision. What it all means in the practical world of instrumentation, is glass,
glass, glass. Of the thirteen aircraft on display in EAA's Sport Pilot Mall at Oshkosh 2005, multiple examples incorporated multifunction wonder-boxes placed prominently (dare we say, proudly) in
places far more capable higher performance aircraft could not legally use them -- in their instrument panels. That's right, you too can carry one passenger at 100-or-so knots in VFR glory while
referencing a single $3,000 unit for airspeed, turn rate, heading, altitude, VSI, artificial horizon, airspeed (plus true airspeed), ground speed, GPS slaved CDI, Zulu time and moving map. Blue Mountain Avionics offers just that -- for $6,500 you can replace that flat horizon with synthetic vision 3D terrain. Purists may
elect a more sporting Dynon Avionics $2,000 EFIS-D10A unit -- you'll have to do your own navigating with one of those (no GPS interface) and
look outside to see the mountains.
LightSPEED at AirVenture Booths #2023-2024
Mustang Hits The Ground Running
Cessna left little doubt as to how serious it is about claiming its share of the very light jet (VLJ) market with the splashy arrival of its Mustang prototype at EAA AirVenture on Tuesday. With Cessna CEO Jack Pelton at the controls, the latest stablemate in the Citation line did a low and over (flyby) before landing
and receiving a personal greeting from EAA President Tom Poberezny. "We're really happy that Cessna chose AirVenture for the public debut of this exciting new aircraft," Poberezny told AVweb.
Pelton said the aircraft performed as expected on the cross-country flight wasn't pushed to its full potential. "We flew it at FL 270 because it's not certified for RVSM," he said, noting the speed
was reduced by the lower altitude. And while the Cessna CEO wasn't concerned about speed on the trip from Wichita, there's not much doubt the company is galloping to catch Eclipse in the race for
Eclipse Aviation has the biggest presence ever at AirVenture, including two type conforming copies of the 500, one of which didn't come
out of the factory until two weeks ago. However, in contrast to the Mustang's splashy arrival, AirVenture patrons could be forgiven for missing the arrival of the first two flying Eclipses to be
displayed at Oshkosh because of some unfortunate timing. The Eclipses landed just before White Knight and SpaceShipOne and ground controllers told the pilots to stay put on a taxiway while the Rutan
crew was formally greeted. However, the Eclipse 500 gets time in the spotlight today with a slot in the air show. Eclipse now has four type-conforming planes in the air and a fifth should be ready any
day now. The latest aircraft on display at Oshkosh has a full interior and there was a long lineup of interested onlookers (and seat comfort testers) going through the airplane on Tuesday. Eclipse
also announced a nosecone to tailfeather maintenance and support package called JetComplete that it says will reduce costs of ownership by up to 30 percent. "The program provides virtually everything
customers will need to operate and maintain their Eclipse 500 at a fixed, guaranteed price," the company said in a news release. The cost is $34,500 or $115 an hour based on three years of use at 100
hours a year.
Once considered by some to be a sleeper, at best, in the VLJ market, Aviation Technology Group's Javelin, a fighter-like two-place twinjet,
has been piling up orders as it gets its prototype ready for its first flight. The company has also hired veteran Cessna exec Charlie Johnson as chief operating officer to guide the project through
certification. Johnson took 20 Cessnas through the process and told a news conference on Tuesday he's excited about the prospects for the plane. More than 100 deposits have been received from
individuals who'd like a $2.8 million, 600 mph jet that climbs at 10,000 feet per minute. But the military-style performance hasn't gone unnoticed elsewhere. At least one unnamed European country has
ordered eight military training versions of the Javelin at a cost of $5.5 million a copy. The extra money covers ejection seats, military radios and electronics, including head up display. The
prototype of the all-composite jet has been taxied as fast as 100 mph but the first flight won't be launched for six to eight weeks while the nose gear is redesigned to get rid of a shimmy.
PIC at AirVenture Booths #2065-2066
Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin were lost to this world July 10, but at AirVenture the two men are this week held close at heart. Just last year at AirVenture, the men and their X-Team left all
onlookers wide-eyed with the Masters Of Disaster display -- if you were on the grounds last year, you likely couldn't look away. Younkin was awarded the World Airshow News Bill Barber Award for
Showmanship here at AirVenture last year. But for a pair of men who together shared more than seventy years of flight experience and thrilled air show-goers for decades, the flying ended in Moose Jaw,
Saskatchewan on a Sunday when their craft collided in mid air. Monday, the greatest general aviation gathering in the country began in tribute. A missing man formation was flown to a lone bugle that
played Taps. The tribute at the same time both recognized the lost performers Younkin and Franklin, and officially started the show. The moment was punctuated as the show's biggest arrival and welcome
-- SpaceShipOne, its host White Knight, its entourage of money-man and dreamer Paul Allen, designer Burt Rutan, pilots Brian Binney and Mike Melvil, plus EAA president Tom Poberezny -- stopped in the
middle of their arrival press conference to remove cover as each man turned with hand on heart to face the display. It was a moment to remember. In memoriam, recall your stories with those who never
saw the men fly, relive the emotions the displays evoked and share the memory of Jimmy Franklin and Bobby Younkin, lost to us, too soon.
If you have an aging GPS, and a friend on the grounds at OSH, you may soon be thinking of express mailing option. With bubbles of excitement frothing over the color-screened, terrain aware,
weather-displaying, satellite music playing Garmin 396 handheld wonderbox, Lowrance has made an offer -- limited in time to the duration of
AirVenture (now through July 31). Anyone walking the Oshkosh show grounds carrying older Garmin products -- or owners of any competing GPS product -- can exchange the units for a rebate letter worth
$50-$100. Lowrance will put that dollar amount toward your purchase of any Lowrance AirMap series GPS. (The largest rebate for the most
expensive unit.) For faithful Lowrance AirMap owners, larger rebates reflect a respect for customer loyalty and range from $100-$225. Find Lowrance on the showgrounds at Booth B-2096 in Hangar B and
ask for Larry Toering, Shelly Keas or Grant Farrell. If you miss that deadline ... well ... there's always eBay.
ANNOUNCING TRAFFIC ALERT WITH DIRECTION FOR ONLY $1,795.00!
True Flight announces Traffic Alert. Coming Soon: You will be able
see the direction, relative altitude, and distance of aircraft within five miles
of your current position. This is just a small sample of what our portable
flight displays do that separate us from the competition. Compare our FL210
flight display to anything else on the market, and see why, when people compare,
they pick us. For more information, go online for a video demonstration at
Visit True Flight
at AirVenture Booth #4143
For most student pilots, the introduction to aviation is often a highly personal, humbling and even slightly intimidating (if exhilarating) experience. Well, Rick Roberson quite literally didn't know
what he was getting himself into when he signed up for a $49 introductory lesson through the Be A Pilot program at a school in
upstate New York. Not long after the first flight (which hooked him, incidentally) he got a call from Be A Pilot CEO Drew Sketekee telling him he was the 250,000th "pilot prospect" to take the
introductory flight and his prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to Oshkosh. "'What's Oshkosh?' he said," Sketekee told a news conference at AirVenture on Tuesday. Sketekee said it was the perfect
response from the winner who typifies many of the new pilots that Be A Pilot hopes to attract. He and his wife have raised their children and are looking for new challenges. In his case, the children
are moving to other cities and he figures learning how to fly will allow he and his wife to visit them more often and more conveniently. As part of the news conference, Roberson shared the stage and
had his picture taken with air show great Patty Wagstaff, who was there to promote a new online donations option for those who
want to support the program. And no, he didn't know who she was, either. Roberson has only three lessons under his belt but he told AVweb he loves flying and plans to get his private
Diamond Aircraft has announced that it's fuel-sipping, Thielert Diesel-powered DA42 TwinStar has been certified by the FAA. The type certificate will be
presented by the FAA's Director of Aircraft Certification Services, John Hickey, at a ceremony at EAA AirVenture on Thursday. The plane has been certified in Europe for almost a year and 35 have been
delivered. The company is also testing a Lycoming-powered avgas version of the plane that it hopes will be certified next year. "The DA42-TDI is the world's very first certified piston aircraft that
incorporates new technology airframe, powerplant, and avionics technology," said Peter Maurer, Diamond,'s president. The all-composite twin also sports a full Garmin G1000 panel in addition to the
Thielert engines, which churn out 135 h.p. a side while burning less (cheaper) jet fuel per hour than many singles. While the Lycoming version uses 30 percent more fuel, the extra ponies (180 a side)
greatly improve takeoff and climb performance. Both are on display at Diamond's booth.
AVIATION TECHNOLOGY GPS SWEEPSTAKES!
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flying! Purchase a SkyBuddy Heading and Altitude
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For those in the market for the ultimate lightweight comfortable tried and true technology (it uses wires) headset, LightSPEED Aviation is
offering up to 40dB of hearing protection in a unit roughly the size of a cell phone headset. Appropriately, the design includes inputs for cell phones and music devices, cast in a magnesium alloy
belt-clip worn unit. If you practice the black magic wireless and would like to invite it into the cockpit, wireless communication ultra-lightweight in-ear headsets (also about the size of a cellphone
headset) are on the market. For those seeking the ultimate in lightweight (and untethered) communication headgear, think Bluetooth. The new technology translates to wireless headsets available right
now from both Peltor and Panther Electronics.
For those who think a picture is worth a thousand words, the galleries:
The grounds of AirVenture Oshkosh, Sunday (pre-show)
New aircraft, nose art and warbirds
AirVenture Oshkosh, Sport Pilot Mall
Unique aircraft, the Exxon Flyin' Tiger, EpicJet in spandex, Tom Poberezny and more.
SpaceShipOne arrival, and taxi and the team that brought it to us.
WSI at AirVenture Booths #2123
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 ... often, the best
What's New for July 2005
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you lightning maps, weight and balance on your cell phone, light sport aircraft and much
AIRCRAFT INSURANCE? MAKE SURE YOU KNOW
ABOUT ALL YOUR OPTIONS GO DIRECT TO AVEMCO
If you are in the market for aviation insurance for your aircraft or rental
activities, calling an agent or broker will not give you
all the available options. Learn about the Avemco advantage. Contact them
directly and see what a difference dealing directly with the insurance company
can make. Spectacular customer service, flexible policy options (including
mid-term changes to reduce your premium), and Saturday hours are just a few of
the advantages when insuring with Avemco. Experience the difference. Call (888)
241-7891, or go to
Avemco at AirVenture Booths #1159-1160
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/
ASA BRINGS YOU A LIFETIME OF HANDS-FREE COMMUNICATIONS
ASA's new portable push-to-talk switch works with any general
aviation headset, intercom, and radio. It features a low-profile ergonomic
button, superior contact switch, heavy-duty gold-plated plugs and jack,
durable shield-coiled cord, hook and loop mounting strap, molded strain
relief, and a lifetime warranty. Eliminate the distraction of picking up the
microphone, keep your focus on flying the aircraft, and modernize your
interior with the sleek functional design. For complete details about this
new product, visit ASA's web site at
ASA at AirVenture Booths #2075-2077
A man and his grass-roots space ship.
and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided
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MEET THE AVWEB EDITORS AT AIRVENTURE
Do you have something you've been dying to say to
our editors, contributors, or staff? Many of them
will be on hand at AirVenture 2005 plus a few
expert consultants from our sister publications
like Aviation Consumer and Aviation
Safety. To make our staffers easy to
find, we're locking them down to one-hour booth
shifts. So if there's someone you've been dying
to talk to, just print out this schedule and bring
it with you to the show:
AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS
TAKE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
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.
Avidyne at AirVenture Booths #174-176
PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT
WITH A NAME YOU KNOW & TRUST AEROSHELL
AeroShell Flight Jacket products are specifically designed for
general aviation aircraft. The AeroShell Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all
six AeroShell Flight Jacket Polish and Cleaners, along with the application
pad and cleaning cloths. To order the best in shine and protection for your
aircraft, go online to
Shell at AirVenture Booths #4036, 4085,
and Combo O
GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT AIRCRAFT FUEL BILLS BY 20 PERCENT!!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices; install
GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your
aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more
efficiently. Order a kit online for your Continental or
Lycoming engine at
GAMI at AirVenture Booths #3005-3006
APPROACHES, APPROACHES THERE'S NO IFR PILOT ALIVE
WHO HAS HEARD ENOUGH
IFR Magazine understands that. The July issue
of IFR brings you: "RNAV Approaches with a Twist"
plug your GPS into a flight director and meet the
approaches of tomorrow; and "Go Missed Approach" a little
foresight goes a long way. Also included in this issue:
"The Convective Day" understanding "the picture"; "The
Guys in Columbus" no, not the Space Shuttle the tower;
"Downlink on the Fly" other uses for that NEXRAD box;
"Combining IFR and VFR" know when to mix and how to make
the system work for you; plus important clarifications on
how to fly those WAAS-friendly LNAV approaches, a potential
coffin-corner in the GNS 480 user interface, and the truth
about why Daddy won't fly you to the Bahamas this year. For
your money-saving subscription to IFR, log on to
Belvoir Media Group at AirVenture Booths #1005-1008
SHORT STACK HAS ARRIVED AT POWER FLOW!
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of tuned exhaust systems, has
introduced a new "short stack" exhaust pipe for Skyhawks and Cardinals. The
new STC'd short stack reduces the profile, weight, and drag of the original
exhaust duct and is identical in length to original Cessna equipment. For
more information on this and the tuned exhaust system right for your
aircraft, go online to
Power Flow at AirVenture Booth #1050
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