November 9, 2005
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
|This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.
AIRCRAFT SPRUCE NOW OFFERS CHRISTAVIA
Next year, over 800 business jets are expected to ship, a new record, according to a report by Honeywell that was released on Tuesday. "The industry is in great shape right now," Charles Park, Honeywell Aerospace's director of market analysis, told The Wichita Eagle. By 2013, bizjet deliveries should reach 1,000 a year, Park said. By 2015, the industry will have added 9,900 new jets worth $156 billion. That's in addition to sales of 4,500 to 5,500 very light jets, such as the Eclipse 500 and Adam 700, over the next 10 years. Robust sales are expected at this week's National Business Aviation Association conference in Florida, Park added. "I think if we have a successful NBAA, and there's some pretty good order rates encountered by the aircraft manufacturers there, we'll sail right through 2007 and beyond," he told the Eagle.
Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation (SSAC), manufacturer of the newly FAA-certified SJ30-2 twinjet, already has piled up 295 sales, the company said last week. The orders add up to $1.5 billion. "Orders are accelerating into the stratosphere," said company spokesman Gene Comfort. The jet cruises at 487 knots and has a range of 2,512 nm. SSAC promises to have "exciting and spectacular announcements" to come this week at the NBAA show in Florida. The FAA officially handed over the Type Certification for the SJ30-2 yesterday. A full-size SJ30-2 is on display along with a full-size cockpit and interior. Two SJ30-2 aircraft were flown in for the NBAA static display. The new SJ30-2 corporate jet operates at altitudes to 49,000 feet and maintains a sea-level cabin through 41,000 feet. It's certified for single-pilot operations. The jet is built in San Antonio, Texas.
Despite an 11th-hour diversion from its planned locale -- New Orleans -- to Orlando, NBAA's 2005 annual meeting will be in full swing by the time you read this. The association is expecting more than 1,100 exhibitors, 110 aircraft on static display and thousands of attendees to descend on the Orange County Convention Center for the three-day event. And AVweb is there, too. An exclusive issue of our BizAvFlash will arrive in e-mailboxes tomorrow, with expanded NewsWire coverage coming this weekend. If you're going to Orlando, be sure to check the NOTAM. And if you're not already signed up for AVweb's twice-a-month, no-cost BizAvFlash, here's some good news: You still have time. Just click here to add your subscription. See you tomorrow!
LIGHTSPEED SHOWCASES MACH 1 AT NBAA
With the National Business Aviation Association's convention now underway in Orlando, the head of the Air Transport Association (ATA), which represents U.S. airlines, told a Canadian audience of airline industry executives last Monday that business aircraft should pay as much as airliners to use the National Airspace System. Further, slower aircraft should be segregated to make the system more efficient. Speaking to the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) annual meeting in Montreal, ATA President Jim May said airlines shouldn't be expected to shoulder an unfair burden of the FAA's funding load in the new financial formula that would result from the reauthorization of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund in 2007. May said the predicted explosion of air taxi operations and the continued increase in business flights mean that 25 percent or more of ATC traffic will in the future come from those sectors. "What we're saying is if they're using 25 percent of the service, they ought to be paying for 25 percent," he told the meeting. May also said that less-capable aircraft need to make way for airliners. He said allowing slower aircraft to use the same flight levels as airliners bogs down the system and reduces capacity. He suggested aircraft be "segregated by altitude," presumably relegating slower aircraft to the lower (and less-efficient) flight levels.
May said a system of user fees is the most equitable way to assess ATC charges. "The best proxy for use of the system itself is user fees," he said. Five days earlier, at AOPA Expo in Tampa, Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta said he didn't favor user fees for general aviation. However, he didn't define GA and that's where he and May might find some common ground. May said he doesn't believe non-business flights should be assessed the ATC fees his group is proposing. "Somewhere you have to draw the line," he said, suggesting that personal use of aircraft would be exempt from the fees. May said that based on the number of aircraft in operation, fractional operator NetJets is actually the second-largest carrier in the U.S. He said ATA is unconcerned how the fees are collected, as long as they add up to a representative share of the cost of operating the system. AOPA has adamantly opposed user fees for GA aircraft and considers business aircraft to be under the GA umbrella.
May also said the air traffic control system needs operational and funding independence from the FAA and that likely means some form of privatization. "We need to establish a level of independence for the ATC system," he said, citing Canada's transfer of ATC to NAV CANADA, a private company, as an example. "It's got to have independence of action and thought," May told AVweb in a later interview. Jim Gouk, a Canadian member of Parliament, told the meeting Canada would be happy to help the U.S. make the transition. May also said the U.S. system needs to be financially independent. Rather than be subject to the political whims of Congress, May said the restructured ATC system should have the ability to go to the bond market to raise capital for the massive investment required to modernize the system. He said new technology would allow the restructured system to operate from five to six strategically placed centers across the U.S., instead of the current 23, and to close many of the terminal radar approach control (TRACON) facilities.
THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
AVweb has learned that those in attendance at a recent Cessna dealer's meeting were encouraged to pore over Columbia and Cirrus aircraft -- but also were introduced to renderings of what could become Cessna's new aircraft. We're told attendees learned that the aircraft's basic design would incorporate a strutless high-wing planform built of composite material. Attendees were told the craft would be pulled by a 350-hp powerplant with speed, comfort and ... speed ... as high priorities. Rear-door entry was included in the design, as was fixed gear -- which would cut down on complexity and cater to the aerodynamic reality that, while at cruising altitudes, retractable gear offers precious little advantage over properly faired fixed gear. Plus, fixed gear generally incurs lower maintenance, insurance, production cost and weight penalties.
Aviator Gus McLeod had hoped to launch from Maryland this month and circumnavigate the earth via both poles in his single-engine Firefly -- but the effort is now on hold at least until spring. A landing-gear glitch had already caused delays, but now there's a problem with a thick yellow fluid contaminating the fuel system. "As of now, I do not know what the contaminant is, nor how it got there," McLeod said last week. "But its presence in the fuel system and engine requires that I partially disassemble the aircraft to correct the damage. Although this process is not difficult, it is very time consuming ... Fortunately, the Poles are not going anywhere and they will be there this spring." McLeod made a similar attempt last year and was turned back over Antarctica by weather and icing problems. About a quart of mysterious goop was found in the tanks after a test flight last week. "I've been turning a wrench for 40 years and I've never seen anything like this," Bob Hawkins, an A&P who worked on the airplane, told The Associated Press. The contaminated fuel has been sent to a lab for testing. McLeod plans to move the airplane to a more secure hangar to ensure it can't be tampered with.
INSIDE TRADE-A-PLANE IS A PILOT'S ULTIMATE CHRISTMAS LIST
Boeing said on Monday it expects that customers in the Asia-Pacific region will buy 7,200 new aircraft over the next 20 years, at a cost of $770 billion. "The airlines will continue meeting passenger's demands for more direct nonstop flights to destinations around the world with longer-range, efficient and comfortable airplanes," said Boeing spokesman Randy Tinseth. The trends, at least as Boeing sees them, seem to favor Boeing's new products rather than large-capacity behemoths like the Airbus A380. Tinseth said the region will require aircraft in the 200- to-400 seat capacity category, "with only a few very large ones being needed." In Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region, available seat miles have doubled since 1990, Boeing said, and are forecast to continue growing at 6 percent per year. China's domestic market is projected to grow at a rate of almost 9 percent.
"Aviation in China is, of course, growing by leaps and bounds," spokeswoman Abby Bried of the International Aviation Women's Association (IAWA) told AVweb on Tuesday. That's why the group met in Shanghai last week for its 17th annual conference. "They are in the midst of creating their aviation markets, from A to Z. And women are very much a part of it, holding very high-level positions in all aspects of China's aviation industry," Bried said. About 100 Chinese women attended the event, together with about 100 IAWA members from around the world. Speakers at the meeting included FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, Patti Grace Smith of the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation office, and many other industry leaders from Russia, Hong Kong, Europe and China. The meeting was co-hosted by China's Civil Aviation Administration. China recently announced that the first five women training to be airline pilots are due to graduate soon. "Given the severe pilot shortages in China, their qualification is even more welcome," China Daily reported.
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Pilots in Melbourne, Australia, will undertake a special "Crash Scene Investigation (CSI) style" training session this Saturday, aimed at teaching them to avoid aircraft accidents caused by bad weather. "The whole day is one long whodunit and why," said David Pattie, a safety expert with Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). The lesson will re-create the investigation of a real accident that killed three people -- the crash of a Piper Warrior in 1999, which was caused by deteriorating weather conditions. "Pilots will unravel what went wrong and how the fatal accident could have been avoided," Pattie said. Once every 10 days an Australian pilot declares an emergency due to deteriorating weather conditions, according to CASA, and many of those emergencies are fatal. Pilots will leave the workshop with a much stronger understanding of the risks of flying into deteriorating weather conditions while operating under visual flight rules, Pattie said. The workshop also will teach pilots how to avoid weather emergencies, what to do if caught out in worsening weather and how to maximize chances of survival if a crash occurs. CASA is hosting the CSI workshop. Experts from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the Bureau of Meteorology, Australian Search and Rescue and an aviation medical specialist will take part. "CASA's CSI pilot safety workshops will help save lives," Pattie said.
Bystanders are rarely hurt in GA accidents, but recently, two non-flying women were injured when airplanes crashed into them. Early Sunday morning, veterinarian Laura Pratt was driving to work near Houston, Texas, when a Piper PA-34 Seneca trying to land at an airport hit power lines, then crashed in the road, hitting Pratt's car. The pilot and his 10-year-old grandson were killed. Pratt was knocked out by the impact and is recovering from minor injuries. Last Wednesday afternoon, in Blue Hill, Neb., an ultralight pilot (now criminally charged) was flying above a high-school football game when he crashed into the field. Bystander Kathy Seeman suffered a broken shoulder blade when she was hit by a wing as the aircraft rolled to a stop. The aircraft also hit two parked cars. The pilot suffered some minor cuts, and has been charged with two counts of assault, criminal mischief, operating an aircraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and refusal to submit to a blood-alcohol test. "I think everybody is taking this matter quite seriously because there were children [nearby]," said County Attorney Jerry McDole. "There were a lot of young people. There were a lot of spectators, and I think that it is just ordinary prudence would tell you that this was not a place for this aircraft to be."
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For those in need of holiday gift ideas, a surplus MiG fighter could be just the thing. Albania has decided to sell off its aging fleet of 65 Soviet-era jets and resupply with modern helicopters. You can choose a MiG-15, MiG-17, MiG-19 or MiG-2, in various states of repair -- or disrepair -- some of them in flight condition. Military use is banned, but if you want to turn yours into a weekend toy, or a bar or lawn decoration, no problem. "If anyone wants to buy them, they are welcome," Gen. Pellumb Qazimi told Reuters. No prices were made public, but inquiries are invited. Meanwhile, a California woman is buying a defunct 747 fuselage and turning it into a house. The wings will form the roof, the nose will point skyward, and the bulge will become a loft. Other chunks will go into six more buildings, including a barn, guest house, and yoga studio. The parts will be carried by helicopter to a 55-acre site on a mountainside near Santa Monica. The project will be environmentally friendly, too. "It's 100 percent post-consumer waste," future homeowner Francie Rehwald told The Wall Street Journal. "Isn't that the coolest?"
A pilot was hurt when his twin-engine cargo aircraft crashed into a Wal-Mart garden center in Manchester, N.H., on Tuesday morning. The airplane apparently had just taken off and was trying to return to the airport. The pilot was able to walk away from the crash...
A V-22 Osprey being delivered to Edwards Air Force Base in California last month was damaged in a thunderstorm en route. Repairs will cost up to $1 million, officials said. The engine intakes sucked in pieces of ice, damaging the compressor blades. The crew made a precautionary landing in Prescott, Ariz....
An ultralight pilot followed and filmed migrating monarch butterflies for 3,000 miles from Canada to Mexico, finishing the trip last week after 72 days....
A bird and a Cessna bizjet collided at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport last week, forcing an emergency landing -- for the jet. No humans were hurt but the bird punctured a wing fuel tank. Local pilots have complained of bird hazards due to nearby dumps...
Groen Brothers Aviation has been awarded over $6 million by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to design a VTOL prototype aircraft for combat search-and-rescue missions...
NASA has formed the Commercial Crew/Cargo Project Office in Houston to help private industry provide cost-effective access to low-Earth orbit and the international space station...
A $10,000 reward is offered for the return of a 1979 Cessna T210, N210WX, white with red and black stripes, with aux tanks in extended wingtips. The airplane was stolen from Hermisillo, Mexico, on Nov. 6. It was the 7th GA aircraft stolen this year. Call Aviation Crime Prevention Institute at 800-969-5473.
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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
NOT ALL AIRCRAFT HULL AND LIABILITY INSURANCE IS CREATED EQUAL
Say Again? #56: The More Things Change
There is a lot of new technology coming to aviation and -- amazingly -- to air traffic control. But that doesn't mean things will get better; nor does it mean things that already work OK won't get corrupted by the latest and greatest. AVweb's Don Brown steps back from the bleeding edge of high-tech in this month's Say Again? column.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, AVweb asked for your reactions to the closing of Potomac Airfield, a small GA airport near one of our favorite hotly-debated airspaces Washington, D.C.
Nearly 94% of those who responded to our poll were concerned about the implications of Potomac's closing. 267 of you asked How long before they come for my airport? and another 304 readers wondered How did my own government become "they"?
Only 5% of respondents a mere 33 readers at press time saw some value in closing Potomac to protect the sensitive airpace over and around the nation's capital.
Six readers shrugged their shoulders and answered What do I care?
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb wants to know if you still want to be a commercial jet pilot when you grow up.
The lure of the airlines. Recent times have put the spotlight on some of the downsides of professional big-jet piloting. Do you still want to fly the heavy iron, or have you been won over by the dark side?
Click here to answer this week's question.
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
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MIKE BUSCH THE SAVVY AVIATOR IS THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions
Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners
Hmmm "Picture of the Week" returns to familiar territory this week, with low submission numbers but extremely high quality. We received only sixty submissions this week, but many were Top Three contenders. After much deliberation, we decided to award top honors and an official AVweb baseball cap to Phillip Salter of Beaumont, Texas. But our runners-up are nothing to sneeze at this week. In fact, this is the first week in a long time where five of the six photos went into our desktop wallpaper rotation. Strap in and enjoy!
Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
Used with permission of Phillip Salter
"Hammer Flight Texas"
Phillip Salter of Beaumont, Texas takes home a
brand-new AVweb baseball cap for his outstanding photo
of a Yak formation over Livingston, Texas. Shown are
lead pilot/instructor John Unangst in Red Yak 52 (foreground),
Edwin Curry in White Yak 52, John Sykes in Winter Camo Yak 52,
and Glenn "Furnace" Friedrich in Camo Yak 50 way back there.
Pilot Breff "Nordo" Cooling missed the photo op, but Phillip
still wanted to give 'im credit. Say thanks to Phillip,
Nordo maybe he'll let you try on his hat ... .
here to view a large version of this image
Click here for a medium-sized version
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.
Used with permission of Jody M. Wittmeyer
Man, we love this photo from
Jody Wittmeyer of Kewanee, Illinois, who writes
"This gave me the same feeling the old barnstormers
must have had." In the foreground is Jody's "12-year-old
niece waving goodbye after getting a ride in my Champ from
my dad's pasture." Nice job, Jody thanks for sharing!
"Hornet Full-Power Take-Off"
Barry Dohrman of Laguna Miguel, California
is back with another action-packed photo from
last month's 50th anniversary Miramar Air Show.
It's hard to pick just a few from
this week's crop, but we'll do our best.
Buckle up; it's time for bonus pictures!
Used with permission of Bill Lowe
"Eyes on the Target!"
Bill Lowe of Rochester, New York
was one of the announcers (along with his wife) at the
Westfield (Massachusetts) International Air Show
which explains how he got such great shots, right?
Used with permission of Max Haynes
"Autumn in a Howard DGA-15"
Max Haynes of Maple Grove, Minnesota
sends us this lovely image of Bruce Olson
in his newly-restored Howard DGA-15.
For more photos of the "Damned Good Airplane,"
visit Max's nifty web site, MinnesotaWing.com.
Used with permission of David Francis
"Registration or Freudian Slip?"
David Francis of Aledo, Texas saw our
Airbus A380 gallery on Monday and wanted
to share a quick photo of the registration number
for A380 #1 F-WWOW. "It is heavy on the
'wow' factor when seen up close!" writes David,
who snapped this photo at this year's Paris Air Show.
copyright © Paul
"Preflight 2: RH Engine Missing"
We were secretly hoping
Paul Gernhardt of Ashburn, Virginia
would take us up on our challenge and send
in a third sunken ship photo. This week he did,
with another DC-3 shot. (We sure hope he's not
billing the "POTW" department for these excursions ... .)
Thanks for the great photos, Paul you've earned
your special once-in-a-great-while bonus "POTW" hat!
Watch your mailbox, and remember it ain't waterproof.
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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