July 31, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... LightSPEED Aviation
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The usual remark heard in all corners of Wittman Field last week was simply: "What a great show!" From start to finish, spirits were high, and vendors saw brisk traffic. After an opening weekend of heat, humidity and storms, the weather cleared to bright sun and cool breezes, just about ideal, right through Saturday. "Two years ago, GA was, well, there was barely a pulse," said Cirrus spokesperson Kate Dougherty, a veteran of many Oshkoshes. "Then last year, you could feel it coming back, and this year, the pulse is throbbing. The energy is really surging here." Traffic through the Cirrus tent was "incredible," Dougherty said. "Sales have exceeded expectations, and we've got incredibly strong leads. We're very excited."
Part of that energy flowed from Aeroshell Square, where Burt Rutan had three new airplanes on display -- GlobalFlyer, White Knight, and SpaceShipOne. All three flew before huge Saturday crowds, and Rutan and company drew overflow audiences to at least a half dozen various forums. More energy was generated at the nearby LSA Mall, where little two-seaters sought to entice new markets of GA flyers. "We've been hopping here all week," said Dan Johnson, who organized the Mall for EAA. "At least 20 LSAs have been sold, that I know of, so far," he said Saturday morning, and every day 6 to 10 of the aircraft flew in the LSA Parade. "And we just certified another S-LSA -- the Savage, from Italy -- so we're up to 14 now," Johnson said. The Savage is similar to a J-3 Cub [though apparently not at all in name], Johnson said. With the Legend Cub already certified, and Cub Crafters also working on an LSA model, Cub fans will have plenty of choices. Josh Foss, of Sportsplanes.com, also was enthused. "We're getting a tremendous response here at the show," he said. "This is an exciting time for aviation."
The growth of the light-jet segment, so long in incubation, also gave an energy boost to this year's AirVenture. Two Eclipse jets flew every day, and a live jet with finished interior was open for visitors at the Eclipse tent, finally replacing the long-suffering mock-up. Also debuting were the Cessna Mustang and Honda's present, but otherwise yet mysterious, HondaJet experiment. Adam Aircraft flew its A700 jet prototype, which already has been flying for a couple of years. Epic unveiled its new jet design. And the jet that flew around the world on a tank of gas showed its lines to all at Aeroshell square. But the real heart of this show was the first homebuilt airplane into space, which occupied show central the whole week long. The spaceship was surrounded by crowds just about 24 hours a day, with fans and photographers making the most of the bright nighttime security lights to take some atmospheric shots. One security guard, asked if there was ever a time when somebody wasn't taking a picture of the ship, said, "Between about 3 and 3:30 [a.m.], there were a few minutes, I think."
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The folks from Quest Aircraft, of Sand Point, Idaho, were happy with the attention their prototype Kodiak bush plane was getting. "We had hoped that maybe we would sell one airplane," said marketing manager Kelly Mahon, "but we already have two deposits and a few more are pending. There's been overwhelming interest." Mahon said the 10-seat single-engine turboprop was designed for missionary projects, but most buyers so far are looking for a backcountry airplane for personal use. "We designed it to be easy to maintain, and for short takeoffs and landings in places with no runways," he said. The prototype first flew last October and has 215 hours on it. FAA certification is expected early next year, and base price is $1.11 million. The Kodiak has a useful load of 3,450 pounds and comes with a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 turboprop. Floats are optional. The company first introduced the aircraft at the Alaska Aviation Trade Show in May, and had 12 deposits prior to Oshkosh. The production target for the first year is 13 aircraft.
Not far away in the North Display Area, Pacific Aerospace Corp. of New Zealand introduced its PAC 750XL to the Oshkosh crowds. The 750XL was FAA certified last year, and five already are operating in the U.S., according to Ray Ferrell, who is the U.S. distributor and also an owner. The big cabin will hold 17 skydivers and the fast climb rate means operators can haul four loads per hour, compared to three per hour and 15 jumpers for a Caravan, Ferrell said. That performance plus fuel efficiency can make the brand-new aircraft, with a base price of $1.12 million, competitive in a market where the economics usually have required the use of older aircraft, he said. The aircraft on display at Oshkosh was the first built under a joint venture with Mechachrome of Canada. Airplanes for the North American market will be manufactured to kit form in New Zealand and assembled at Mechachrome. The 750XL flies with a Pratt & Whitney PT6-34 and has a useful load of 4,280 pounds. It can be configured for skydivers, seated passengers, cargo, or medical missions.
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Two pilots who were in the area to participate in AirVenture were killed in two separate crashes during the week. Richard James, 67, of Fennimore, Wis., died Tuesday in the crash of his North American P-51D. James had taken part in the warbird show, and was flying in formation with other aircraft and staging for additional maneuvers when his aircraft went down and crashed in a rural area near Fond du Lac, southeast of Oshkosh, EAA said. No cause for the crash was immediately apparent. On Wednesday morning, Michael Crowell, 48, of Arlington, Wash., was flying a 2005 Sportsman 2+2, a Glasair kitplane, en route to a video shoot at nearby Wautoma Municipal Airport, when it crashed into a grassy part of the airfield and caught fire. The video team was shooting another subject at the time and caught the crash on camera. The NTSB is reviewing the tape.
The EAA Sport Pilot Tour that started last year will continue this fall, Dan Johnson told AVweb at AirVenture on Saturday. "We'll have our second Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., October 27-30, and we'll have a static display at AOPA Expo [Nov. 3-5 in Tampa]," he said. In addition, the tour will visit at least three other sites, yet to be determined, and Johnson hopes to schedule up to a dozen events over the winter months. The tour brings sport planes to airports around the country, where the curious can learn about them and get demo flights. The tour also distributes information about how to get certified as a sport pilot. Other highlights of each event include sport pilot forums, education for flight instructors, plus an FAA "Wings" safety program related to light-sport aviation.
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One of the stranger-looking aircraft around the edges of Aeroshell Square this year was the Dornier amphibian, powered by three big PT-6s arrayed across the high wing, the only one of its kind still flying. The aircraft was originally built in Germany in 1944, then after the war went to work for the Spanish Navy for sea rescues and border patrols. At the time it was a true flying boat, with no gear for landing on runways. In 1980, the aircraft was acquired by Dornier and used as a technology testbed. That's when its piston engines were replaced with the new powerplants, a new wing was attached, and gear was added to make it amphibious. Since 2004, the Dornier has been flying on behalf of UNICEF, to promote education and awareness for the children of the world.
Innodyn now has its 165- to 225-hp 188-pound turbine for GA flying in a Super Cub, aims to have two engines delivered to customers/investors next month and is optimistic that a kit airframe manufacturer's experience with the engines may lead to an announcement of the turbine as an option on those airframes. Expect it only when that manufacturer is good and ready. The engines are light -- half the weight of a comparable piston -- burn a bit more fuel per hour for the equivalent horsepower (about 7 gph per 100 horsepower vs. 5.5 gph for an average 100LL piston) ... and howl like a banshee. The Cub flew to OSH at about 8,500 feet burning close to 9 gallons per hour. Operation is turbine smooth of course and the units aim for a projected TBO of 5000 hours. Operation of the unit is simple, if a bit different. The start sequence is automated. After start the throttle is firewalled and left there until shutdown. The pilot controls power by adjusting the prop pitch and the engine automatically adjusts its power to keep prop speed constant. After landing a beta (reverse pitch) prop setting may be utilized for short stops, making the units attractive to cold weather, high altitude, short takeoff and landing applications. Innodyn is developing a twin turbine setup where two turbines power a single prop. These engines will be ready for experimentals in a few months but there is no timeline for certified installs.
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On The Fly...
One stop shopping for images from Oshkosh AirVenture 2005. A collection of our previously published pages:
A unique formation flight (or maybe they're models), some unbelievable paint jobs, and a few other things you don't see every day.
The Honda/GE HF118 turbofan (jet not included) and Innodyn 200 hp turbine ... maybe you can tell them apart.
A walk around GlobalFlyer
A walk through AeroShell Square -- plus a Cirrus Avidyne panel in action
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.
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New Articles and Features on AVweb
CEO of the Cockpit #47: Pilots Have Never Changed
Sure, you've heard it all before: What with "cockpit resource management" and deregulation, being an airline pilot today is nothing like it was 50 years ago. Wrong. AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit just watched two flying films from the 1950s and he saw himself and his friends in them.
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FLYING TO OSHKOSH? PIT STOP: DEKALB, IL
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JA Air Center invites you to "pit stop" at our newest location at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (KDKB) on your way to and from this year's show. We offer full FBO services as well as big discounted fuel prices for EAA members. As an added bonus, if you stop on July 22, 23, or 24th, you can preview the new Garmin GPSMap 396 (estimated July 31, 2005 delivery). Plus: If you purchase fuel, we will update select Garmin Portable GPS databases at no charge (July 22, 23, & 24th only). For more, contact JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ja/396/avflash.
Occasionally heard on the MRI ATIS on slow days (and on dozens of other ... ATII ... across the country).
Advise on contact you have information ECHO...Echo...echo...
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