April 20, 2006
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Over An Hour Of Testing
Diamond Aircraft flew its single-engine D-Jet SN001 for the first time Tuesday afternoon, taking off from London International Airport in Ontario, home of Diamond's North American operation. After a run of high-speed taxi and rotation tests, the jet lifted off at 5:08 p.m. and flew for an hour and six minutes. Nineteen distinct test points were completed, the company said in a news release yesterday. The jet climbed to 12,000 feet, and checked for stability and control with flaps and landing gear extended and retracted. The test speeds ranged from slow flight at 1.1 Vs to 160 KIAS. Engine and systems tests were successfully performed, as well as roll rate and lateral directional stability tests and simulated landing at altitude, the company said. See AVweb's NewsWire for in-flight images and Diamond's full press release. After completing all tests, the jet flew in close formation with the chase aircraft for photo and video recording. The landing, with a 5-knot crosswind, was normal.
NATCA, FAA Remain At Odds Over Contract
"We are absolutely delighted with this flight," said Diamond CEO Christian Dries, who flew the chase aircraft. "The test flight went exactly as planned. ... Our crew did a fabulous job." The D-Jet is a five-seat single-engine personal jet, powered by the FADEC-controlled Williams FJ33 turbine and equipped with Garmin all-glass flight deck and autopilot. Diamond has said it has orders for 125 copies of the D-Jet, which are expected to sell for under $1 million each. The jet's maximum altitude target is 25,000 feet and the cruise target is 315 knots. As for delivery, one flight school is laying plans to be near the head of the line. Utah Valley State College, which is already home to 21 Diamond aircraft, including two new Diamond Twin Star DA42-TDIs "[UVSC] will be the first flight school to use our complete range of aircraft for flight training," said Christian Dries, CEO of Diamond, according to a school publication. " In fact, they are also in negotiations to receive the company's first single turbofan engine jet, the D-Jet, within the next few years."
Note: Click through for Diamond's full press release and full-size images. (The aerodynamically inclined may enjoy a close view at the airflow indicators clearly visible near the engine intake/wing joint.)
Contract talks between the FAA and air traffic controllers remain at impasse, but John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), claims it doesn't have to be that way. "We have always been dedicated to good-faith bargaining and a voluntary agreement, and we still believe both good faith and an agreement are possible," he said in a news release on Tuesday. Carr was responding to Monday's AVweb story that quoted an FAA spokesman who said the agency would welcome renewed talks if there was some movement from NATCA on the issue of new-hire pay scales. On March 31, NATCA circulated a press release stating in its headline, "...Talks Break Down." "We want to continue bargaining with the agency in hopes that both sides can find that elusive common ground," Carr said. "The FAA wants a voluntary agreement and so do we. The place to find that agreement is at the table, not in the Congress." The FAA declared an impasse on April 5 and sent the last offer from both sides to Congress for resolution. Congress has 60 days to act upon the matter or the last offer becomes the new contract.
"John Carr is grasping at straws," FAA spokesman Geoffrey Basye told AVweb on Tuesday. "The FAA remains at impasse in its contract negotiations with NATCA." Basye said the FAA already has spent more than nine months in negotiations at a cost to the taxpayers of $2.3 million, and the two sides remain far apart on pay and work rules. The decision to declare impasse is "in accordance with the procedures Congress established in 1996," he said. Congress has 60 days to review the proposal. "The clock is ticking. Congress can act on it, or the clock can run out. It's out of our control now," Basye said. If the clock runs out, the last offer will stand. "The FAA could not accept a proposal that mortgages the agency's ability to modernize our aviation system and hire the next generation of controllers and safety inspectors," Basye said.
The Next Generation
"NATCA has shown significant movement at the table," Carr said. "We proposed $1.4 billion in concessions, and we are still willing to get back to the table and work on our proposal and theirs, continuing to negotiate in good faith to secure a voluntary agreement." Basye said NATCA "has shown no willingness to meet in the middle. We are still $600 million apart on the wage issue, and their work-rule proposals are outrageous." In its 62-page submission to Congress,, the FAA details each of its proposals and the union's objections, from pay scale, overtime, and annual-leave issues to dress-code disputes. NATCA described the FAA document as "a collection of revisionist history, misrepresentation, finger pointing and contempt for the role of the Legislative branch." For example, NATCA says, the FAA "...falsely states that controllers currently receive pay raises that are larger on a percentage basis than other federal government employees. The FAA is well aware that this is an incorrect statement."
As EAA works to give introductory flights in GA aircraft to another million Young Eagles, other programs around the country also turn to aviation as a source of inspiration for youth. In Naples, Fla., third-graders last week took a tour of the local airport, and pupils who read more than 100 books get to go flying. "It's so neat," teacher Diane Rowe told The Naples News. "The idea is to turn them on to reading outside of the classroom." The airport tour is meant to inspire them further, by showing them the airplanes and terminals up close. Rowe said she hopes at least 40 students will meet the reading challenge in time for this Saturday's flights. In Pensacola, Fla., the National Museum of Naval Aviation introduces sixth-graders to the inside of a jet fighter. "It was exactly like flying in a real plane, except you can crash without dying," 12-year-old student Tuong Nguyen told The Pensacola News-Journal, as she climbed out of the cockpit of a flight simulator. Each year for the last 10 years, 5,000 students have participated in the museum's program, called Flight Adventure Deck. "What we offer is not just a field trip," Woody Woodward, a retired Navy commander and the program director, told the News-Journal. "It's a formal curriculum with the angle of aviation as the motivator." Students learn about gravity, atmosphere, buoyancy, aerodynamics and propulsion, and practice math and science skills.
Getting kids excited about aviation is one thing, but helping them to follow it as a career and find the money for flight training is another. For one aspiring pilot, help came from an unexpected source -- the Montel Williams Show. Randy Waldron, 24, of Revere, Mass., works as a flight attendant, but his dream is to fly. That dream was derailed when he reportedly discovered his credit rating had been ruined by his own father, who allegedly used his identity to run up thousands of dollars in debts, leaving Waldron with no way to pay for training. A producer from the show called Daniel Webster College, in Nashua, N.H., and Waldron was offered a $54,000 scholarship. The show airs next Tuesday. "Being a pilot has been my lifelong dream," Waldron said. "I still have not fully comprehended this entire chain of events. When I was on the show, I really couldn't believe what was going on. I still find it amazing that anyone thought enough about my situation and extended a helping hand. It has forever changed my life."
Hendrick Motorsports has filed suit against the U.S. government over the 2004 crash that killed 10 people near Martinsville, Va., according to SceneDaily.com, alleging that the feds should contribute to the paying of damages if any negligence is found. Hendrick believes the actions of air traffic controllers contributed to the crash, SceneDaily.com reported. The NTSB blamed the crash on the flight crew's failure to properly execute a missed approach, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Another issue being hammered out in court is whether or not faulty parts have been used in the assembly of Boeing 737s, and if so, whether they pose any danger. In a Page One story in Monday's Washington Post, reporters found that the FAA did not assess many of the whistle-blowers' key allegations, and the Pentagon and Transportation Department, in turn, relied on the FAA's work.
Ranchers in the American West have been saying for years that when it comes to shooting coyotes that threaten their livestock, powered parachutes are the way to go. But the FAA disagreed, saying ultralight aircraft are for sport and recreation only. Now with the advent of the Light Sport Aircraft rules, that obstacle is gone. "Ranchers can take eight hours of instruction, pay a small certification fee and then just take a felt pen to write your 'N' number on the side of your craft and bingo, you're legal," ranch lobbyist Stanley Boyd told The Associated Press. According to the AP, the FAA has OK'd the use of LSAs for aerial hunting. The FAA is now allowing the state of Idaho to issue permits to ranchers for aerial shooting of predators to protect livestock if their vehicle qualifies as an LSA, the AP said.
Faced with concerns about the long-term viability of the satellite network that provides data to its popular cockpit aviation weather system, WSI recently announced a partnership with Sirius Satellite Radio. But with that deal in place, WSI now is faced with another problem ... how to update all of its customers' hardware. The company has announced a rebate program that will offer "free" upgrades to customers who sign up for four years of service. Lesser rebates will offset costs to those who renew their contracts for shorter periods. The rebates apply to all WSI InFlight subscribers who purchased their system on or before Feb. 7, 2006. Customers can upgrade to either the WSI InFlight AV300 system, which provides WSI weather information only, or the AV350, which receives both WSI weather and Sirius Radio programming. Owners will receive letters with more details on the program, WSI said. The current WSI InFlight systems (AV100 and AV200) will remain fully operational through April 30, 2007.
With the AerFlight Virtual Radar system, just about any desktop PC can be turned into a virtual ATC-style radar screen. The AerFlight captures the Mode-S signals emitted by aircraft. Users can control parameters such as range, data displayed, waypoints and geographic outlines. Online databases provide extensive details for each aircraft. AerFlight VR software also can communicate with other users, providing real-time, live airspace traffic positioning around the world. The system is being marketed as a security asset and to anyone with an interest in what's going on in the airspace above them, including flight departments, FBOs, flight schools and aviation enthusiasts. Notes can be ascribed and activity histories stored. The system consists of an antenna, receiver, and software package, and sells for about $900.
All three people on board were killed when a Beechcraft Duke crashed shortly after taking off from Gainesville (Fla.) Regional Airport on Sunday. The airplane hit a Ford Explorer in the airport parking lot then both vehicles crashed through a wall into the terminal. The airplane had just been fully fueled, and an intense fire ensued. Nobody on the ground was hurt. No distress call was made, an FAA spokeswoman told The Associated Press. The pilot, Guiseppe Basile, 69, was a retired University of Florida engineering professor. Steve Varosi, 40, was a former student. Also on board was Varosi's nephew Michael Varosi, 12. The two men had been working on an autopilot system together, according to The Gainesville Sun. The terminal was closed for repairs, but reopened on Monday.
At about 3:15 a.m. on April 11, the crew of a 747-400 inbound to Seattle-Tacoma Airport radioed the tower for permission to land. There was no response. On the ground, a Delta jet was ready to back away from the gate, but also got silence on the frequency. The 747 crew reached someone in a nearby radar facility, who sent a guard to the tower, and at 3:40 the facility was back online. An airport spokesman said the incident was under investigation, and the FAA had no comment. Only one person was required to be on duty in the tower cab during that time, but starting the next day, minimum staffing was upped to two. That change was already in the works, the FAA told The Associated Press.
DayJet, a new company that plans to pioneer point-to-point, on-demand service for business travelers with a fleet of Eclipse 500 jets, last week postponed a rollout announcement. A conflict in executive schedules caused the delay, DayJet's public-relations company, Schwartz Communications, told AVweb yesterday. No date has been set to reschedule the event. DayJet has said it plans to launch its service from Delray Beach, Fla., toward the end of 2006, "subject to receipt of the necessary government operating authority." The company says it has 239 Eclipse jets on order, with options to purchase 70 more. The company, founded by high-tech entrepreneur Ed Iacobucci, plans to serve more than 35 markets by the end of its second year of operations, with "Per-Seat, On-Demand" jet service tailored to the passenger's individual schedule and priced only slightly higher than full-fare coach airfares.
The NTSB was unable to determine a reason for a March 2004 helicopter crash into the Gulf of Mexico, but said that a terrain warning system would likely have prevented the accident...
Boeing to lay off 900 workers in Wichita, Kan....
Rob Penrod, formerly with Bell Helicopter, has joined Adam Aircraft as vice president of manufacturing, the company said on Monday...
A vintage Aeronca crashed in a New Hampshire school playground on Saturday, nobody was hurt...
Airline pilots are biking 3,000 miles to raise money for a memorial to the crews who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks...
Liberty Aircraft will debut its XL2 for the European market at this weekend's London Airshow...
A British Airways pilot asked passengers if he could have a ride home, none offered...
A hearing-impaired pilot from Sweden launched March 15 to fly around the world in a Diamond TwinStar, to raise awareness about what hearing-impaired people can accomplish. This week, the team is trekking in Nepal...
NTSB member Ellen Engleman Conners, who served two years as the agency's chair, announced this week that she intends to leave the Safety Board on May 31.
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Your Favorite FBO's
Quiz #106: Fly Raw Cross-Country
Long before GPS, pilots navigated with compass, plotter, and E6-B computer. Lindbergh found his way to Paris using a cheese sandwich. You, too, can dead-reckon like an aviation pioneer by testing a few basic skills
Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" contest is sponsored by Aviation Safety magazine, the monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention.
Thanks to all the pilots and AVweb readers who took time to nominate their favorite FBOs in our "FBO of the Week" contest. Today's ribbon finds its target in Michigan.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to ACKER AVIATION at 48D, Clare Municipal Airport, Michigan.
MARCELAINE LEWIS put it simply, "THE WELCOME MAT SAYS IT ALL. IT'S A RUNWAY LEADING RIGHT IN THE DOOR. IF YOU'VE MADE YOUR POSITION REPORTS 10 MILES OUT, YOU ARE GREETED BY THE FRAGRANCE OF A FRESHLY BAKED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE! SMILING AIRPORT MANAGER."
Keep those nominations coming.
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*** PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
Last week, in the wake of the latest Lycoming crankshaft issues, AVweb asked whether owners should have to foot the bill to replace suspect crankshafts built into their engines.
The majority of respondents (63% of you) said NO mostly because we're talking about paying for crankshafts that haven't been proven to be substandard.
A small group (24% of respondents) also said NO, but this time because the buyer no matter what the situation with Lycoming or the engines is not at fault for defects in the crankshafts.
And another 6% of readers said NO, even though their feelings on the issue didn't match our available choices.
On the other side of the issue, only 7% of those who responded thought Lycoming should pass along the replacement costs to engine owners. Eight readers thought it was better than bankrupting Lycoming, 16 wanted to see if the company could survive the backlash from retroactively raising costs, and another 8 said their feelings weren't represented by our choices.
*** THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
If we gave you a closetful of cash but only enough for one jet which VLJ would you choose? (Assume for the sake of this question that each design succeeds in attaining certification.)
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Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past POTW Winners
Two weeks out from Sun 'n Fun, the photos are starting to roll in. Pictures from the Florida fly-in dominate our current batch of "POTW" entries. As it turns out, many AVweb readers attended the show this year and had their cameras on hand. (Good thing, too, since you folks saw some things we missed!) Of all the Sun 'n Fun pics and a few stunning non-air show pictures our favorite this week came from Rich Spolar of Orlando, Florida. Rich submitted several photos from the show, but (alas!) we had to choose only one.
Like all top-spot winners in the "Picture of the Week" contest, Rich will receive an official AVweb baseball cap. To win one of these sharp numbers for yourself, you'll have to do the same thing Rich did submit your photos here. Each week, we'll choose one photo from the top ten or twenty entries as our winner and share as many of the rest as we have time to re-size and post!
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
Rich Spolar of Orlando, Florida sent us a great assortment of photos from this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. We had a tough time choosing from Rich's entries, but eventually settled on this sun-drenched DC-3.
|AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.|
"Away We Goooo ..."
Vincent Maarschalkerweerd of Raleigh, North Carolina snapped this photo during a skydive in Orange, Virginia. We aren't sure whether Vincent participated in the jump or just took photos but either way, we're willing to bet this was a fun way to spend the day.
"RV-8 on Final for Runway 5 at Spruce Creek"
If the fiery clouds and crisp blue skies in William Rexer's photo don't capture your imagination, that perfect RV-8 silhouette certainly will. Direct from the Spruce Creek Fly-In Community in Daytona Beach, Florida although William hails from Perrysburg, Ohio.
Crisp blue contrast made this photo from Jim Weaver of Prescott, Arizona one we couldn't pass up. The subject, according to Jim, is the world's only civilian-owned Phantom jet.
Yes, we are jealous.
"Attack of the Cubs"
David Martin of Winter Park, Florida was one of many readers who continue to send us their Sun 'n Fun '06 photos. Here, David shows us a flight of Piper Cubs coming in for a mass landing.
Dave Upchurch of Tucson, Arizona reminds us that good parking spaces are hard to find at AirVenture. Fortunately, the Kent Pietsch Aerial Team knows how to solve the problem, downing two birds with one stone.
"Stearman in a Hangar, N72"
Jeanne E. Palazzo of Port Murray, New Jersey thanked us for considering her entry as a "POTW" contender. So we owe her a hearty "you're welcome, Jeanne." Thanks for taking time to submit your photos!
"Sea Gull Sunset"
Ron Jones of Summerville, South Carolina writes, "Of all the flying pictures that I have taken, this is my favorite. Had to wait for this lone gull to get into position for almost an hour." Ron's magic moment finally came after 12 out-of-position shots on the Carolinas' Lake Moultrie.
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.Names Behind The News
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