NewsWire Complete Issue

June 22, 2006
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

Sport Flying In The Public Eye
Northwest EAA - Arlington Fly-In 2006

Lack Of Medicals Raises Safety Concerns

Soon, pilots will be flying around the Texas skies without medical exams, with just a driver's license and half the experience of a private pilot -- that's the alarm raised by a story about sport pilots in last weekend's Dallas Morning News. "If they don't have to get a medical, or if there are ones who do this because they can't pass the medical, then they probably shouldn't be flying," Cynthia Godfrey, operations director of the Mesquite City Airport, told the newspaper (she did have more positive things to say). Ken Wiegand, head of Collin County Regional Airport in McKinney, countered. "There's a conception that a pilot will have a heart attack and come down on my house..." he told the Morning News. And yet, "I know there are folks out there with weak hearts and minds going down the highway doing 80." Historically, pilot incapacitation is a factor in a very small percentage of general-aviation accidents. According to the most recent Nall Report, compiled by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, there were a total of five such accidents in all of 2004, four of them fatal. One resulted from a heart attack, one from carbon monoxide poisoning, and three (one nonfatal) from unknown causes. Only one of these accidents occurred with a passenger aboard, and none harmed persons on the ground. Godfrey added that pilots are required to self-certify before every flight. "Most people who have medical problems know their limitations, and I don't know too many pilots who wouldn't say, 'If I can't do this, I shouldn't be flying.' I've been in this business 25 years, and I think 99.9 percent of pilots would be very conscientious about it," she told the Morning News.

Coping With Costs, Enter: The LSA Fractional

While industry advocates hoping to attract new hordes into aviation hope too that any attention is good attention, publicity isn't the only hurdle. Alluring as reduced training and medical requirements may be, the sticker prices on factory-built light sport aircraft (LSAs) could prove daunting, if newbies find the costs out of proportion with other options for weekend fun. One solution is to buy just part of an airplane, and LetsFly.org has made that option available for LSAs with its own form of fractional/cooperative ownership. LetsFly helps pilots to buy a share in a new sport plane. One popular option requires just $2,900 up front, a monthly fee of about $300, and about $30 an hour to fly. That's for a brand-new airplane; packages for pre-owned aircraft run as low as $59 per month, and experimental aircraft fees can be even lower. LetsFly arranges financing, insurance, maintenance, and creates a Web site with online scheduling for each co-op. Pilots can construct a co-op around any type of aircraft they like, from production singles to homebuilts or experimental LSAs.

Rotax Two-Stroke To Make LSAs Affordable?

Another development that may lead to lower prices for those new to sport flying is the recent announcement from Rotax that its two-stroke 65-hp R-582 engine has met ASTM standards. The two-stroke is commonly used in smaller aircraft such as ultralights, trikes, and powered parachutes. Up till now, those aircraft had to install a heavier four-stroke engine to qualify for LSA certification, because no certified two-stroke was available. "I'm excited that they finally did this," LSA advocate Dan Johnson told AVweb yesterday. "It could mean more lower-priced sport aircraft entering the market." There are also other implications to the new development. Of the 36 LSAs that are certified so far, only six are made in the U.S.A., Johnson said. European models had an advantage because they'd been designed to fit under rules similar to LSA for years. In the U.S., the wide range of aircraft flown under ultralight rules -- or sometimes, just beyond those rules -- were smaller and lighter. "The powered parachutes and trikes that have been LSA certified did it with four-stroke engines because that's all that was available, but they'll get better performance with a two-stroke," Johnson said. Those lighter aircraft, if LSA certified, could sell in the $40K and under range, more accessible to many than the current models, most of which are $80K and up. Johnson added that the Rotax engines could become more familiar to mechanics if the rumors prove true that Cessna will go with a Rotax choice for its LSA model, to be unveiled at EAA AirVenture next month. "When you look at all the options available, a Rotax really would be the best choice," he said. "So we'll find out at Oshkosh."

Engine Beat: Continental's Next Move

TCM’s Future View: FADEC Married To The Internet

What will the next-generation light aircraft powerplant be? Will it be an off-the-shelf FADEC-driven engine with improved fuel specifics? Or a large-displacement six-cylinder powerplant capable of burning unleaded premium autogas? A 300-hp two-stroke diesel? In the world according to Teledyne Continental Motors, it could be any or all of those and this week, the company hosted a small entourage of aviation journalists to explain its view of the future of light aircraft powerplants. TCM is, in fact, contemplating if not actively working on all of these concepts and no matter what kind of engines emerge from the company’s Mobile, Ala., factory during the next decade, one thing seems certain: All are likely to be driven and/or monitored by electronic controls. Those controls will be capable of recording critical engine parameters to both improve engine longevity and make maintenance less of the hide-and-seek process it now seems to be. And all of that engine data may find its way back to the factory via Web-based technology that TCM is now developing.

The Game Changer -- Engine Electronics

TCM already has the firewall side of the equation wrapped up in its PowerLink FADEC system, the company’s president, Bryan Lewis, told a group of journalists this week. The Aerosance-developed PowerLink employs pulsed fuel injection and variable timing in lieu of conventional magnetos and pump-driven mechanical fuel injection. It also has an engine control unit capable of storing every engine operating parameter imaginable. But it’s no secret that PowerLink, which originally flew in 1999, hasn’t yet made significant market inroads, with under 150 systems flying. TCM is targeting reasons... Lewis believes lukewarm market acceptance has been due largely to buyers being unfamiliar with FADEC’s most appealing benefit: the ability to log engine data for improved maintenance and engine longevity. Lewis and Steve Smith, who oversaw development of PowerLink at Aerosance, say a FADEC-controlled engine should be more thermally stable, more economical and more durable than traditional engines over the long haul to TBO. Now they aim to prove it. (And that’s one reason journalists were invited in to have a look around.)

Alpha System Introduced

Part of TCM’s vision is an all-encompassing data, marketing and service system that it’s calling the Alpha System. For nearly a decade, the company has had the bones of this in its online TCMLink service, one of the better Web-based service and data networks. The Alpha System might be thought of as v. 2.0 of TCMLink. Data from FADEC-driven engines will form the centerpiece of the Alpha System, but it will stitch together any and all data related for engine operation and maintenance, from technical specs and service bulletins, to oil-analysis reports, to individual engine histories, and more. As explained to us, the Alpha System will have a powerful online diagnostic function, something that may be necessary if FADEC is to prove practical in the field. Although the full-blown system is still in the developmental phase, TCM is beginning to market some Alpha components, including an Alpha magneto system based on improved Bendix mags shipped complete with harnesses and Champion plugs. Look for more Alpha products and services during the coming months, says TCM. In the meantime, tune in to AVweb’s in-depth podcast for Friday, June 23, for more detail from Bryan Lewis on major changes at TCM.

Firewall Forward Reopened, Revamping

Firewall Forward's Resurrection?

Despite recent reports that employees of Firewall Forward returned from lunch one day last week to find the doors locked, spokesmen for the company told AVweb yesterday that the engine-overhaul outfit is not shutting down. "We're definitely in business and intend to stay in business for a long time," Don Taranto, owner of Firewall Forward, told AVweb yesterday. "We went in and shut everything down for about a week to evaluate where we were." He said the financial status and operations of the company are being reviewed. Mark Seader, who owned the company before selling it to Taranto several years ago, is stepping in as general manager. Seader told AVweb he will refocus the company's efforts on customer service and engine overhauls, and scale back on other side projects that had accumulated. Staff has been cut from 43 employees to about 20, and the production schedule will be managed to ensure that customers get their engines back on time, Seader said.

Focus On Customer Service

The company changes were precipitated by complaints from dissatisfied customers, Seader said. "Customer service is everything in the engine-overhaul business. But we were hearing that work was taking two to three times as long as they were promised, and phone calls would go unreturned. Quality was high, but efficiency was not." Seader said he's now trying to manage the volume to ensure minimum turnaround times for aircraft owners. "There are no tax problems, and the bank is not calling in the note," said Seader, rebutting reports in a local newspaper last week. "I don't see that this company is going to close. There's too much going for it."

News Briefs

FAA Revises DC Flight Procedures

The FAA issued a new National Security Flight Advisory on Monday for flights in the Washington, D.C., Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ). The advisory replaces the previous Notice to Airmen and details procedures for operating within the FRZ. Also covered are operations at the "Maryland 3" airports that lie beneath the airspace. "[The advisory] includes some minor changes, none of which impact general aviation pilots or GA operations," AOPA spokeswoman Kathleen Vasconcelo told AVweb on Tuesday. The advisory also explains the procedures to be used in case of a transponder failure, and warns about the consequences for those who fail to observe the procedures. Pilots who break the rules, whether inadvertently or not, "may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by federal law enforcement/security personnel and/or DOD, additional sanctions are possible," the FAA says.

Grounded Mallards Raise Aging Aircraft Issues

Six months after a Mallard seaplane broke up in flight near Miami, Fla., the fleet of 34 is still grounded. The FAA had planned to have an approved method of inspection for possible wing cracks in place by Feb. 15, but that hasn't happened, The Associated Press reported over the weekend. "We are waiting to figure out if there's a way to do the inspections without tearing the airplane to pieces," FAA spokesman Les Dorr told the AP. The Grumman G-73T Turbo Mallard seaplane that crashed shortly after takeoff in December was operated by Chalk's Ocean Airways. All 20 people on board were killed. Meanwhile, the NTSB said on Tuesday it will release a series of factual reports about the crash today. The information being released will include investigative group factual reports, interview summaries, a cockpit voice recorder report, and other documents from the investigation. Analysis of the accident, along with conclusions and a determination of probable cause, will come at a later date.

News Briefs

Engine Explosion Shows Inspections Don't Always Work

When an engine on a Boeing 767 suffered uncontained failure and blew apart on the ramp in Los Angeles earlier this month, federal regulators took note. Not just because some engine parts were found more than a half-mile away, but because they had believed the exploding-engine problem had been solved. After several similar failures, including the famous one in 1989 when the crew landed a disabled DC-10 using just engine thrust after the controls failed (see AVweb's interview with The New York Times reported on Monday. That it failed on the ground and nobody was hurt was just luck. The engines involved are variations of the General Electric CF6 built between 1982 and 2001. In 2001, the company switched to a stronger disk, according to the Times. "I view these as warning shots," John Goglia, a former member of the NTSB, told the Times. "If we don't pay attention and figure out what went wrong, we're going to repeat it."

Congress Pressures FAA To OK Wind Farms

Representatives in both houses of Congress are lobbying the FAA and the Department of Defense to remove the FAA's roadblock to the development of major wind farm projects across the country. The FAA said recently it wouldn't OK the projects until the DoD completes its study of their impact on radar returns. The study was due in May but it's late, and no revised due date has been set. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) is asking others in the Senate to sign on to his letter urging the FAA to resolve the issue, The Associated Press reported on Monday. A letter from the House went to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last week with more than 20 signatures. Proposals in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois have been stalled by the FAA's position. Studies have shown that the turbines do affect radar returns, just as any large towers do, but whether that is a problem depends on how it's managed.

News Briefs

Military Eye Surgery Affecting The Pilot Pool

Fighter pilots in the U.S. military are finding that the widespread availability of laser eye surgery is affecting their careers. Midshipmen at the Naval Academy all are offered free eye surgery, and in the last few years as many as one-third of them had it done. The Navy uses a procedure that grinds the cornea into shape, different from the Lasik approach generally used by civilians, which cuts a flap into the eye surface. The military method is considered more stable and less likely to cause problems for pilots operating at high altitudes and subjected to G forces. The widespread acceptance and availability of the procedure is having profound effects on the military that extend beyond the pilot pool, The New York Times reported over the weekend. Traditionally, the high-ranking candidates who washed out of flight school due to poor vision were recruited into the submarine corps, and those positions now are harder to fill, the Times said. Aging fighter pilots now can qualify to fly for more years, which reduces recruiting and training costs for the military, but shrinks opportunities for new pilots. The easy availability of the procedure also increases competition for training slots. Last year, of the 310 midshipmen competing for 272 flight training slots, 104 had laser eye surgery, according to the Times. "If we didn't have [laser surgery], where would those 104 midshipmen have gone?" said Capt. Michael Jacobsen of the Naval Academy. "Tough to say, but we know they wouldn't have gone into flight training."

AOPA Opposes FAA Radar Tower Near Airport

It seems the FAA would know that if it's going to mess around with the airspace near Frederick (Md.) Municipal Airport, AOPA is going to be paying close attention -- since its headquarters overlooks the field. Sure enough, a plan by the FAA to install a 122-foot-tall radar tower on a ridge just 100 feet off the extended centerline for Frederick's Runway 12 has attracted a quick and loud protest from AOPA. "One part of the FAA already says [the tower] would be a 'hazard to air navigation,'" AOPA said in a news release yesterday. The tower would affect traffic-pattern operations and some instrument operations. Also, it would probably prevent adding a needed LPV instrument approach to Runway 30. "It's the old story about the right hand, the left hand, and mutual knowledge. It will come as no great surprise to many AOPA members that when it comes to the FAA, the hands sometimes don't communicate," AOPA said.

News in Brief

On The Fly...

The FAA yesterday issued its final rule for pilots regarding alcohol violations and refusal to be tested...

A pilot was killed when his RV-6A collided with an RV-8 while they were landing in formation with two other airplanes at the Illinois Valley Air Show Sunday morning. The four were to perform in an air show later in the day. The other pilot declined medical treatment...

The nose gear failed to deploy on an American Airlines MD-80, it landed safely at O'Hare Airport on Tuesday...

The NTSB will hold a two-day hearing next month to examine safety issues regarding cargo aircraft. The hearing will focus on the fire aboard a UPS airplane in February...

CNN's "Welcome to the Future" will feature Cirrus aircraft this weekend.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Podcasts

Coming, Friday: Teledyne Continental Motors talks about FADEC and the future of general aviation engines, TCM-style. Check AVweb.com tomorrow for the podcast link at the top of the page.

Online Now: Exclusive interviews featuring New Piper's Jim Bass, Excel Jet's Bob Bornhofen, Adam Aircraft's Joe Walker, FAA administrator Marion Blakey, Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier and more. AVweb's Podcast index, is available online -- pick and choose your pleasure, or subscribe free to AVweb's podcasts and receive them automatically for listening on your computer, iPod, or while traveling with any MP3 player. You'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

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Features

New Articles and Features on AVweb

COLUMNS
Say Again? #64: Flying Higher
You wanna go high? Wanna take that single-turbroprop or new VLJ into the the rarefied air above FL240? Things are a little different there, as AVweb's Don Brown explains in this month's Say Again? column.

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SKYWRITINGS
First Solo Stories
Last week in AVweb's Brainteaser we invited readers to submit short stories about their first solo flights. The response was so overwhelming we can't publish them all, but here are a few for your enjoyment. Congratulations to all who have ever soloed!

AVweb's Business AVflash

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s 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/

Attention, Piper Owners and Pilots!
The Piper Flyer Association (PFA) provides parts locating, tech support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. With a one-year membership for $39, access the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from owning and flying your Piper aircraft. The PFA is located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport in Wisconsin, just 35 miles NW of Oshkosh. For more information, and to request a sample copy of the magazine, click here. ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS AND PILOTS! The Piper Flyer Association (PFA) provides parts locating, tech support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. With a one-year membership for $39, access the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from owning and flying your Piper aircraft. The PFA is located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport in Wisconsin, just 35 miles NW of Oshkosh. For more information, and to request a sample copy of the magazine, click here: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pfa/flashYour Favorite FBO's

FBO of the Week: HOUMA JET CENTER

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to HOUMA JET CENTER at KHUM, Houma, LA.

CAROL SCANLON told us, "THE BEST FBO RED CARPET TREATMENT AND FUEL PRICES IN THE COUNTRY. THEY NOT ONLY TAKE CARE OF YOUR PLANE THE SERVICE TO THE PILOT AND CREW IS WONDERFUL. THEIR EXTRA CARING TOUCH IS ONE THAT MAKES YOU PLAN TO STOP THERE ON EVERY CROSS COUNTRY TRIP."

Keep those nominations coming.

Click here to nominate your favorite FBO and here for complete contest rules

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBO's in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!


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It's Not What You Know But Who You Know That Can Save You Money!
Avionics -- next to your airframe and engine(s), avionics are the most expensive items you will purchase for your aircraft. Don't spend more than you need to! Before you buy anywhere else, call Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295, or visit Bennett online. You'll be glad you did!

Isn't It About Time You Chose Something Extra?
Pilot-inspired, German-engineered, and internationally renowned -- that's the difference in Extra Aircraft's EA-300 and EA-500. All it takes is one flight in the EA-300, and you'll discover why so many world-champion aerobatic pilots choose Extra. Extra's certified, Rolls Royce-powered, 6-seat turboprop EA-500 is in a class all by itself. The only new-technology cabin class airplane, the EA-500 averages 220 kts, gets 11 mpg, and costs less than $200/hr to operate. Click here for more information on both remarkable aircraft.

Get Into Today's Most Innovative Aircraft
Start your subscription to Kitplanes magazine now. Kitplanes is where the pieces come together and dreams take flight. Each subscription includes a must-have three-issue directory, listing well over 100 of the latest kits and plans. Order the world's #1 homebuilt aviation magazine online.

See What ATC Sees & Then See What They Do with the Information
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft situation display that gives you a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in-flight over the U.S. and Canada. Whether you're tracking a friend or want to learn more about the system in action, Flight Explorer has the information you want for just $9.95 a month. Subscribe online

Flying Magazine's July Issue Highlights:
Editors give Diamond's DA-42 Twin Star a spin and give a rave review; a recap of Sun 'n Fun 2006; the Lockheed 10 Electra remembered; and why it costs so much to insure retractable gear airplanes. Plus, all the columns you've come to respect are in Flying's July issue. Money-saving subscriptions are online.

Gas Prices Keeping You Grounded? Share Expenses on Your Next Flight!
Join PilotShareTheRide.com. This unique site is offered at no cost to pilots AND those who love to fly and don't have access to an aircraft. You can share costs on your next flight! Pilot Share The Ride is supported by advertisers, just like AVweb, so there are no membership costs. Check out PilotShareTheRide.com.

Aviation Safety Gets Your Head Out of the Clouds Previews of June's issue: "Defeating Gravity" -- no power landings lesson from sailplane pilots; "Turning Stalls" -- complicated relationships; "Engine Break-In" -- the how and why; "Neither Down nor Locked" -- blame distractions and modified procedures; "Back Door IFR" -- practical tips to get airborne clearance; "Healthy Respect" -- well enough to fly? PLUS: "Squawk Box" summarizes ADs and maintenance information, including installing Cessna fuel strainers, cracked and broken Piper landing gear components, malfunctioning Cessna twin cabin heaters, and more. Order your Aviation Safety subscription online.

>>> AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF OUR SPONSORS, WHO BRING YOU THIS WEEK'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT NO COST TO YOU ------------------------------------------ IT'S NOT *WHAT* YOU KNOW BUT *WHO* YOU KNOW THAT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY! Avionics -- next to your airframe and engine(s), avionics are the most expensive items you will purchase for your aircraft. Don't spend more than you need to! Before you buy anywhere else, call Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295, or visit Bennett online: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/flash You'll be glad you did! ISN'T IT ABOUT TIME YOU CHOSE SOMETHING EXTRA? Pilot-inspired, German-engineered, and internationally renowned -- that's the difference in Extra Aircraft's EA-300 and EA-500. All it takes is one flight in the EA-300, and you'll discover why so many world-champion aerobatic pilots choose Extra. Extra's certified, Rolls Royce-powered, 6-seat turboprop EA-500 is in a class all by itself. The only new-technology cabin class airplane, the EA-500 averages 220 kts, gets 11 mpg, and costs less than $200/hr to operate. Click here for more information on both remarkable aircraft: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/extra/flash GET INTO TODAY'S MOST INNOVATIVE AIRCRAFT Start your subscription to "Kitplanes" magazine now. "Kitplanes" is where the pieces come together and dreams take flight. Each subscription includes a must-have three-issue directory, listing well over 100 of the latest kits and plans. Order the world's #1 homebuilt aviation magazine online: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/kitplanes/flash SEE WHAT ATC SEES & THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE INFORMATION The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft situation display that gives you a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in-flight over the U.S. and Canada. Whether you're tracking a friend or want to learn more about the system in action, Flight Explorer has the information you want for just $9.95 a month. Subscribe online: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/flash HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE JULY ISSUE OF "FLYING" MAGAZINE: Editors give Diamond's DA-42 Twin Star a spin and give a rave review; a recap of Sun 'n Fun 2006; the Lockheed 10 Electra remembered; and why it costs so much to insure retractable gear airplanes. Plus, all the columns you've come to respect are in July issue of "Flying." Money-saving subscriptions are online: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying/flash GAS PRICES KEEPING YOU GROUNDED? SHARE EXPENSES ON YOUR NEXT FLIGHT! Join PilotShareTheRide.com. This unique site is offered at no cost to pilots AND those who love to fly and don't have access to an aircraft. You can share costs on your next flight! Pilot Share The Ride is supported by advertisers, just like AVweb, so there are no membership costs. Check out PilotShareTheRide.com: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/share/flash "AVIATION SAFETY" GETS YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS Previews of June's issue: "Defeating Gravity" -- no power landings lesson from sailplane pilots; "Turning Stalls" -- complicated relationships; "Engine Break-In" -- the how and why; "Neither Down nor Locked" -- blame distractions and modified procedures; "Back Door IFR" -- practical tips to get airborne clearance; "Healthy Respect" -- well enough to fly? PLUS: "Squawk Box" summarizes ADs and maintenance information, including installing Cessna fuel strainers, cracked and broken Piper landing gear components, malfunctioning Cessna twin cabin heaters, and more. Order your "Aviation Safety" subscription online: http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avsafe/flash QOTW/POTW

Question of the Week

This Week's Question | Last Week's Question

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, it seemed like everyone was excited and curious about the announcement of a so-called "Cirrus Killer" from the design team at Cessna.  AVweb polled readers for their initial reactions, asking where a Cessna Cirrus Killer would rank in relation to other popular planes.

At press time, 46% of you had answered If it can't match the performance, it's still behind Columbia and Mooney on my list.

Aside from that rather sizable portion of respondents, the next most popular answer was a resounding endorsement for the hypothetical Cessna, with 19% of readers saying It's automatically higher on my list if it's from Cessna.

16% answered What can I say? I prefer to have the wing on top.

9% said it would take a Cessna 'chute (at the minimum) to make the plane a real Cirrus Killer.

And 10% of readers told us they'd have preferred an announcement of a Light Sport Aircraft from Cessna.

For real-time results of last week's question, click here.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

Light Sport:  It's here, but has it removed the barriers keeping prospective pilots from aviation?

Click here to share your opinion


Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to qotw@avweb.com.

NOTE:
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.

Picture of the Week

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past POTW Winners

It wasn't the calendar that clued us in to the first day of summer here in the U.S. — nope, it was the overwhelming domination of air show photos in this week's "POTW" submissions!  With clear blue skies, longer days, and the kids out of school, there's no better way to spend a summer weekend than packing up the SUV and driving to your nearest air show.  And if you're an AVweb reader, you can add a little extra thrill to the trip by packing your digital camera and trying to get some shots that will land you a spot in our Thursday "Picture of the Week" feature.

Just in case you're new to AVweb, here's the deal:  You submit the pictures, we look at them, and then we run a handful of the best on AVweb.com.  And one submitter gets an official AVweb hat for going above and beyond the call of duty and submitting the top photo of the week.  This week, that submitter is Andrey Belchev of Arlington, Texas.  Andrey's exciting parachutist photo is one of the first non-airplane shots to win a hat in quite a while — hope you enjoy it, Andrey!  While you're waiting for your hat to arrive, we're going to kick back and enjoy this week's photos ... .

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

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Used with permission of Andrey Valentinov Belchev

"Incoming!"

Andrey Belchev of Arlington, TX snapped this week's winning photo at the Thunder Over Texas air show last month.  Apparently the thunder of military warbirds is often accompanied by a smoking rain of paratroopers ... .

 
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.
 

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Used with permission of Alex Marko

"Blimp Passengers Prepare for a Close Fly-By"

Talk about dedication to flying and photography: Alex Marko of Torrance, California was hiking in Palos Verdes when he looked up in the sky and saw this Stearman PT-17 putting on a private air show for the pilots and passengers of a Goodyear Blimp.  Lucky for us Alex had his camera on-hand.

 

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copyright © Lisa Salazar
Used with permission

"You Missed by an Inch!"

Andrey wasn't the only "POTW" submitter with his eye on parachutists this week.  Liza Salazar of Port St. Lucie, Florida snapped another top-spot contender, this one taken at the Ft. Pierce Air Show back in March.  "Despite a bit of wind," writes Lisa, "the paratroopers were right on their marks."

 

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copyright © Kevin Theron
Used with permission

"Low Flyin'"

Kevin Theron of Pretoria, South Africa delivers one of our favorite desktop wallpaper images this week.  Don't believe it?  Click through to the full-size image and give it a try.

   

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Used with permission of Joseph C. Bennett

"Four Generations of Warbirds"

Joe Bennett of Wilson, Wyoming captured one of our favorite air show formations at Hill Air Force Base (in Ogden, Utah) last weekend.  Now we're looking forward to seeing some of these planes in person again at AirVenture ... .

 

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Used with permission of Greg Side

"Harvard Wallpaper"

Speaking of desktop wallpapers, Greg Side of Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) thinks this one is great for your desktop.  We gave it a spin this afternoon and tend to agree.

The pilots shown here are the demonstration team of the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, who "put on a great aerobatic display" according to Greg and others who've seen them.

 

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copyright © Jannett Sue Johnson
Used with permission

"Golfers Gaze in Awe"

Let's take a quick break from air show photos and revisit one of our favorite recent subjects — fire-fighting helicopters.  (If you people don't stop sending us so many good chopper pics, we're going to have to rename this feature "Fire-Fighting Photo of the Week.")

This one is from Jannett Sue Johnson of Parowan, Utah — and the real kicker here (aside from the beautiful golf course at Helmet, California) is watching the golfers look on in surprise as a fire-fighting chopper dips into their water hazard.

 

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Used with permission of Brian Lee Robbins

"Seneca Sunset"

Brian Lee Robbins of Columbus, New Jersey flies us home this week.  "Admiring the colors in the sunset at South Jersey Regional Airport, I decided to capture this Seneca returning home," writes Brian.  "Taken with [an] Olympus C-2100."


And lest we forget:  Dagmar, we did enjoy the Road Runner photos — but decided they weren't really appropriate for a family publication like AVweb!  ;)

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

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

Today's issue was written by news writer Mary Grady (bio).

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