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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News
Coverage At AVweb's
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. More...
WITH COSTS, ENTER: THE LSA FRACTIONAL
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. More...
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
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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 companys Mobile,
Ala., factory during the next decade, one thing seems certain: All are
likely to be driven and/or monitored by electronic controls.
GAME CHANGER -- ENGINE ELECTRONICS
TCM already has the
firewall side of the equation wrapped up in its PowerLink FADEC system,
the companys 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
its no secret that PowerLink, which originally flew in 1999,
hasnt yet made significant market inroads, with under 150 systems
flying. TCM is targeting reasons... More...
Part of TCMs vision is an
all-encompassing data, marketing and service system that its
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...
The SJ30-2 Is
the World's Fastest Light Business Jet
Not only is it
fast; it has intercontinental range -- 560 mph and over 2800 sm
range. The SJ30-2
is the most advanced light business jet in the
sky today -- the perfect package of speed, range, and good looks.
here for details
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. More...
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." More...
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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. More...
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. More...
Zuluworks Adds Three New Bags to Its
Introducing the Oryx Roller Office
Topi Shoulder Pack
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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.
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.
The AOPA Aircraft Financing Plan Could Make
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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.
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. More...
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FAA issued its final rule for pilots regarding
An RV-6A and RV-8 collided in midair in
Illinois, one killed...
The nose gear failed on an MD-80, it landed
safely at O'Hare...
NTSB will hold a hearing on safety issues
regarding cargo aircraft...
CNN's "Welcome to the Future" will
feature Cirrus aircraft. More...
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. Find it all in AVweb's Podcast index, or subscribe
free to receive them automatically.
Garmin 396 vs. Flight Cheetah with XM
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #64:
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.
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!
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
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Attention, Piper Owners and
The Piper Flyer Association
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information, and to request a sample copy of the magazine, click
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See What ATC Sees & Then See What They Do
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Flying Magazine's July Issue
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
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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:
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OF THE WEEK
Light Sport -- It's here, but has it removed the
barriers keeping prospective pilots from aviation? AVweb wants to hear
your opinion. PLUS: Results of last week's question on the Cessna
"Cirrus Killer" and its place in the market. More...
OF THE WEEK
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. This week's top submitter is
Andrey Belchev of Arlington, Texas.
Andrey's exciting parachutist photo is one of the first non-airplane
shots to take top honors (and win an official AVweb baseball cap) in
quite a while. Hope you enjoy it, Andrey! While you're waiting for your
hat to arrive, the rest of us are click through and enjoy the rest of
this week's photos! More...
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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