June 29, 2006
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Lockheed Martin Wants To Hear From You
If Lockheed Martin proves successful with the AFSS transition, will the airspace system be next? The company recently teamed up with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to create the "Airport of the Future," a technology test bed at Daytona Beach International Airport. This "teaching airport" will demonstrate how to provide more comprehensive data to air traffic controllers, airport operators, security officials and airline dispatchers. "We believe that a strong transportation infrastructure is critical to our nation's economic well-being and our citizens' way of life," Judy Marks, president of Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions, said last week at a briefing of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. "What works today may not be effective tomorrow," said Marks. "For example, when you add micro-jets to the mix by 2025, you need to fundamentally change the National Airspace System and our airports. When it comes to transportation innovation, we must look with a long eye toward the future."
Lockheed Martin, which last year took over operation of Automated Flight Service Stations (AFSS), this week launched a new AFSS Pilot Information Web Portal for GA pilots. The Web site provides a feedback mechanism where pilots who use AFSS services can register complaints, comments or compliments. The site also includes contact information for each AFSS, system status reports, and general information about using the system. The new information portal will serve on an interim basis until the spring of 2007, when the new Web-based FS-21 system is expected to be deployed, the company said. The FS-21 portal will enable pilots to file flight plans online, plus provide weather, NOTAMs and other services. Pilots can easily sign up and gain a member logon to the new site by providing just an e-mail address and password. "We want pilots to log on to the site frequently and tell us how we're doing," Dan Courain, vice president for Flight Services at Lockheed Martin Information Technology, said in a news release. "Feedback from our users is critical as we strive to maintain excellent service on a continuing basis." Lockheed Martin Information Technology assumed operation of all Flight Service Stations in October 2005 after being awarded a $1.7 billion outsourcing contract by the FAA.
Coming Soon, Oshkosh In 2006
When Lockheed took over the system, the company set its performance standards high. AOPA this week provided details of what kind of service you should be getting -- and said if you're not getting it, you should report that via the feedback form on the new Web portal. (After all, you paid for it.) According to AOPA, the AFSS should answer your phone call within 20 seconds and radio calls within 5 seconds. You must receive service from your radio call within 15 seconds. PIREPs must be processed within 30 seconds and within 15 seconds if they are urgent. Briefers must have knowledge of the unique weather conditions in your area. Briefers must meet those standards whether it is a busy, clear summer day or a slow, dreary day in winter, AOPA says. And if Lockheed doesn't live up to those standards, the company will face financial consequences. "If your telephone or radio call isn't answered promptly, I would be registering a complaint through their Web site," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "We want to make sure the modernization is done right ... If pilots report when and where they have service problems, Lockheed will be able to address and correct those issues."
As thousands of pilots polish their airplanes and study their NOTAMs for the flight to Oshkosh, less than four weeks away, exhibitors too are busily getting ready to show off the latest of everything. Diamond's brand-new D-Jet will arrive at AirVenture on Wednesday morning, July 26, taxi into Aeroshell Square, fly a demo at 2 p.m., then head back to work in Ontario. "We look forward to publicly showcasing our latest achievement for the first time at AirVenture and sharing with the industry our excitement and prospects for the D-Jet," said CEO Christian Dries. Cessna has promised to unveil its Light Sport Aircraft concept aircraft on Monday the 24th. The one-of-a-kind experimental HondaJet, which made a brief visit last year, will return and stay for the whole week, EAA says. The Javelin jet prototype will be too busy with flight testing to make it to Oshkosh, ATG spokeswoman Sara Newton told AVweb on Tuesday. But the company will be there with a mock-up, right off Aeroshell Square. Just yesterday, the company announced a few final tweaks to the design, and said the airframe is now "frozen" so suppliers can start producing the production parts. Newton promises more announcements to come just before the show. Austin Blue, of Spectrum Aeronautical, told us the company is fully occupied right now with technical development of its highly anticipated Spectrum 33 bizjet, so won't be staffing a booth at the show. The jet first flew in April. Go to each company's Web site for videos of the jets in flight.
Light Aircraft And The Struggle To Survive
Whether you're at home, in the office or at your hotel in Wisconsin, AVweb's intrepid news staff will bring it all to you. This year's expanded AVwebFlash schedule will deliver the news to your inbox Monday, Wednesday and Friday, July 24 to 28. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, we'll supplement that with special expanded podcasts. Image galleries will be posted online at avweb.com. Monday, July 31, we'll wrap it all up and get back to the regular schedule. And you'll get to enjoy it all via our brand-new redesigned Web site, due to launch soon, with all of our great content, easier navigation, and a crisp, readable look.
Symphony Aircraft, based in Quebec, has been through many ups and downs already in its short life, and President Paul Costanzo says the latest snag is just one more. "This thing's going to survive," Costanzo told reporters in an upbeat teleconference on Tuesday. But for that to happen, the company needs to raise at least $5.5 million. "That's about what we need, to execute our business plan," Costanzo said. "We've turned over every stone here in Quebec and have not been able to bring the capital in." Canadian tax rules give a hefty advantage to local investment, Costanzo said, but he's now issuing "last call" and looking to U.S. investors instead. Meanwhile, the company has cut its staff from about 30 down to 15. "We've been trying for months to work our way through this," Costanzo said. Some suppliers grew impatient with the cash crunch, forcing the company to go to court and seek protection from creditors. It's been one thing after another for Symphony Aircraft -- in 2003, its German parent company declared bankruptcy, shortly after starting up a brand-new production plant in Trois-Rivières. Costanzo worked then for almost seven months to put together a new company, and finally brought the two-seat Symphony 160 to the North American market.
"We got calls from three different U.S. groups just today," Costanzo said. Those investors want the company to relocate, which would incur significant costs and downtime, but the company is ready to go if that's what it takes. Symphony recently announced a deal with Spartan School of Aeronautics to provide a fleet of about 40 training aircraft. "Spartan understands our situation, and they are standing by us," Costanzo said. "They'll give us some time to get it solved, but we know they won't wait forever." Meanwhile, the company is moving forward with plans to have a strong marketing presence at AirVenture 2006, coming up in just a few weeks. "We'll be there in full force, and might have some positive updates for you then," Costanzo said. An all-glass version of the 160 is nearing certification, and a diesel version and a four-seater are in the works.
While GA pilots have been warned over and over to stay far away from nuclear plants (lest a Skyhawk might dive into one and ... bounce off), the FAA's proposed new departure routes from Westchester County Airport in New York would send airplanes directly above the Indian Point nuke. The plan is "a significant security risk that is not acceptable and must be avoided," according to Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano. U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel also was critical. "This decision by the FAA, coupled with the Homeland Security Department's decision to cut funding for New York City, makes me wonder what these people are smoking," he told midhudsonnews.com. Spano said the FAA's study of the airport was inadequate. "Precipitous reassignment of air traffic without the legally required level of review is unacceptable and could undo decades of hard work and good will," Spano said in a letter to the FAA's Steve Kelley. The county will soon unveil a Web site from which the public will be able to send "electronic postcards" to the FAA on the matter, Spano said.
David Herrington, 74, had just climbed out of a Cessna 210 at Hayward (Calif.) Executive Airport on Sunday when he was hit by the propeller and killed. Herrington had been along on a banner-towing flight with pilot Robert Franklin, 58. Later that same day, Franklin took off in the 210 and the engine failed on climbout. Franklin was able to get the airplane down on a nearby golf course, and was unhurt. "We are all in shock," Brent Shiner, manager of the city airport, told InsideBayArea.com. "When you get a call about an incident and it was the same plane that we had just been out for, it was very disheartening ... We haven't had a fatality in I don't know how long." The FAA said a propeller should be inspected after a strike, and it wasn't yet known if this one had been checked before the last takeoff. The airplane was substantially damaged.
The 1,000 or so residents of Block Island, 12 miles off the New England coast, are facing six weeks or more with no aviation access later this year, when the local airport corporation plans to close their lone 2,500-foot runway for reconstruction. That will leave islanders dependent on the off-season ferry schedule, or in an emergency, helicopter service from pricey private operators or the U.S. Coast Guard. Bill Bendokas, operator of New England Airlines, has proposed that the grassy area adjacent to the runway should be made available so he can continue to fly the airlines' six flights per day. At a recent meeting about the shutdown, concerns were raised that using the grass would disturb the habitat of the endangered burying beetle. "That time of year, on the ferry schedule, it's tough for islanders to get to the mainland, conduct business or get to a doctor's appointment, and get back the same day," Bendokas told AVweb on Tuesday. The ferry trip takes about an hour, while the flight is just 12 minutes. Patti Goldstein, a spokeswoman for the state airport corporation, told AVweb that the grass-runway option will be looked into. "We want to work with the community," she said, and added that another meeting on the matter will be scheduled soon.
"It may be time for the city to re-evaluate this strategy," Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a budget watchdog group, told Crain's Business News. The FAA levied the $33,000 fine against the city last October for failing to provide advance notice of its intent to close (that is, bulldoze) Meigs Field three years ago. The city has spent even more to fight FAA allegations that it misused $2.9 million in airport development funds, according to Crain's, and claims the fight is about more than money. The city has said that to simply pay the fine could damage its position in other continuing legal battles over Meigs. Friends of Meigs Field, an advocacy group, continues to lobby for bringing airplanes back to the site. The city's recent proposal to open a private heliport on public lakefront land shows the baselessness of the city's position that it needs a "no-fly zone" for security reasons, according to the group.
The FAA has released its draft Environmental Assessment for a plan by Blue Origin to build a spaceport in West Texas. The move was welcomed by space fans as a move forward in what seems to be an excruciatingly slow-moving process, and a glimpse into what the secretive company has in the works. The FAA report says Blue Origin plans to launch reusable launch vehicles to altitudes above 325,000 feet. The spaceport plans include a launch complex, a training facility and a landing area. Space Review gleaned a few more facts from the 229-page document -- the planned reusable launch vehicle (RLV), dubbed the "New Shepard," will take off vertically, using hydrogen peroxide and kerosene as propellants. A separate crew capsule atop the propulsion module could carry three or more paying passengers. After zooming 100 kilometers into space, the RLV would return to a vertical landing, or under another scenario, the crew capsule would separate and land beneath a parachute. The entire trip would take about 10 minutes. Operations could start as soon as 2010.
News in Brief
It's been good times for Mooney lately, with the introduction of two speedy new models in the past few months, and fair winds were with the company again last week, when CEO Gretchen Jahn took first place in the Air Race Classic, recording an average speed near 195 knots. In her 14th year in the race, Jahn and teammate Carol Foy flew a Mooney M20 R Ovation2 GX over a 2,400-mile course from Arizona to Michigan. Thirty-seven aircraft competed in the all-woman race, which traces its origins to the original Women's Air Derby in 1929. "This event is one of the highlights of my year every year, but this year will obviously be a memorable one," said Jahn. "I am especially pleased to represent my colleagues and fellow employees at Mooney, and Carol and I owe them a special 'thank you' for building us such a great airplane and helping us prepare for this race. They certainly deserve a great deal of credit for contributing to this victory." Jahn and Foy will split a $5,000 cash prize.
The pilot was killed Tuesday morning when a BD-5J microjet crashed near Ocean City, Md., while flying in military radar tests. Another BD-5J pilot died in a crash two weeks ago in Ottawa...
The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in North Carolina in 2004, killing a sheriff on board, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Prosecutors say the pilot was not licensed to fly the helicopter and failed to maintain it in an airworthy condition...
OurPlane has teamed with a fractional yacht company, so you can fly in your fractional Eclipse jet to the seaside resort where your fractional yacht awaits...
Kids out of school and getting on your nerves? Try an aviation day camp...
Two Navy F/A-18 Hornets collided over California Monday; one pilot was killed and the other was seriously hurt...
Boeing is trying to unload its Connexion in-flight wireless system, which has failed to make money after five years of trying...
Wind-farm projects across the U.S. are still stalled, while the FAA waits for a Defense Department report that was due in May. The FAA is worried about impacts of the wind turbines on radar...
A milestone was reached last week for the project that used ultralights to reintroduce endangered whooping cranes to the wild -- for the first time in 100 years, wild chicks were born in the U.S. Midwest.
Coming, Friday: 250 knots, 450 ft. takeoff, landing speed about 80 and room for 4. Some people will likely be dropping $180,000 for the kit, but will this flying car fly? 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.
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.
As the Beacon Turns #102: The Eyes Have It
Flying is definitely a visual activity, and nowhere is that more obvious than when you're landing. Where you look has a big impact (sometimes literally) as Michael Maya Charles points out in this month's As The Beacon Turns column.
The price for one gallon of 100LL recently topped $7, according to AirNav.com. Fortunately, that all-time high price report was particular to Atlantic Aviation's Teterboro, N.J. facility.
Ever wonder what the national average is for a gallon of avgas? Need to find up-to-the-minute fuel prices at all the FBOs along your route? Starting this week, you'll be able to answer those questions with our handy AVweb Fuel Finder (to your right).
Featuring data provided by AirNav, the Fuel Finder will appear every Thursday in AVwebFlash -- listing the latest prices for 100LL and Jet A, along with a quick view of how those prices have changed in the last seven days. To get local fuel prices, just enter a U.S. ZIP Code or a 3- or 4-letter Airport Identifier into the Fuel Finder and click "Go."
Your Favorite FBO's
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs 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/
Cessna Single & Twin Owners: Learn to Save Thousands on Maintenance!
Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to COOK AVIATION, INC. at KBMG, Bloomington, IN.
Two separate submissions offered strong praise for Cook. RAY ANDRAKA told us, "SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND, INCLUDING MEETING ME AT THE PLANE WITH MY RENTAL CAR." And Savvy Aviator's Mike Busch wrote, "NOT ONLY DOES COOK AVIATION HAVE AMONG THE LOWEST FUEL PRICES IN THE REGION ($3.37/GAL FOR 100LL AS THIS IS WRITTEN), BUT ITS COURTESY CREW CARS ARE NEW CADILLACS! AND UNLIKE MOST FBOS, COOK WILL LET YOU KEEP THE CAR OVERNIGHT WHEN YOU REST OVER NIGHT."
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!
This Week's Question | Last Week's Question
PREVIOUS RESULTS ***
LSA has officially been with us for more than a year now and last week AVweb asked if the Sport Pilot Rule is really bringing new pilots into the fold.
The greater part of you who took time to answer last week's question (46%, to be exact) thought said NO. The barrier isn't training; nor is it medical considerations, you wrote. The barrier is money.
A much smaller (but still notable) 14% of our readership said that YES, Sport Pilot has removed some of the barriers that prevent new pilots from taking up flying. According to those readers, we should expect a steady and growing flow of sport pilots as the years go by.
Another significant segment of respondents, 37%, told us to instead expect old pilots to retire to Sport Pilot status, [but] don't expect a big influx of new pilot starts due to the Sport Pilot rules.
Finally, 13 readers (3% of the total response group) told us that growing the pilot pool is not what Sport Pilot is about. It's about legalizing fat ultralights, you said, and it's done that.
For real-time results of last week's question, click here.
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
This week, AVweb looks to the future and asks you to speculate on some of the possible perks of a privatized ATC system. Are pilots overlooking the upsides of privatization?
Click here to share your opinion
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
Attention, Cessna Owners and Pilots!
The Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) 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 Cessna aircraft. The CFA is located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport in Wisconsin, just 35 NW of Oshkosh. Click here to request a sample magazine and more information.
AVweb Announces AVweb Flight Explorer Personal Edition 5.0 Coming to Your Computer July 6th!
New features include: FAA airport delays; enhanced terrain/elevation map depictions and updated Airways; NAVAIDs; Fixes; Special Use Airspace; Sector boundaries; Flight Service Stations; and more. Current subscribers will need to download and install the new version of AVweb Flight Explorer. For more information about the AVweb Flight Explorer upgrade, check out the FAQ page.
Light Plane Maintenance Magazine Saves Owners Big Money!
With your subscription to Light Plane Maintenance, you will join thousands of savvy general aviation owners who are saving big by doing it themselves! Each monthly issue brings tips and techniques for maintenance procedures you can perform yourself, legally and easily. Order online for big savings from the regular rates.
Power Flow's Short Stack Approved for Pipers & Grummans
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of FAA-certified tuned exhaust systems, have introduced a new "short stack" exhaust pipe for Piper PA-28 and Grumman AA5 series aircraft. The new STC'd short stack looks better while still providing up to 23 more available horsepower. For more information on this, and the right tuned exhaust system for your aircraft, go online.
Comm1 Radio Simulator -- Special Offer to AVweb Subscribers
Receive a complimentary Communications Reference Card with the purchase of any Comm1 Radio Simulator. Fly confidently by training with Comm1 Radio Simulators -- unique, interactive CD-ROMs designed to teach pilots how to communicate safely and professionally with Air Traffic Control. Available in VFR, IFR, and Clearances on Request versions. Experience real flight situations through high-quality audio and graphics from the safety and privacy of your desktop. Also Available: VFLITE's Garmin GPSMap 396 Interactive Guide. Order online.
Discover Why Homebuilders Are the Hottest Segment in General Aviation Today
Subscribe to Kitplanes magazine and catch the building excitement. Each issue is packed with flight reviews; building, buying, and flying guidance; and more. And each subscription includes the Kitplanes hands-on, three-issue directory listing over 100 of the latest kits and plans. Order now.
Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past POTW Winners
Summer rolls on and photo submissions continue to roll in. This week, we received just under 100 photos from readers all across the globe. After an exhaustive gawking session (and a few minutes of heated debate), we managed to pick a handful of photos to share in our weekly "POTW" column.
This week's top photo comes to us courtesy of Eric Van Glider of Moorpark, California. As a first-place winner, Eric should start watching his mailbox. He'll receive an official AVweb baseball cap any day now along with the thanks and well wishes of everyone here at AVweb. We always enjoy looking at reader photos, so please send us some more! Even if we don't pick yours as top winner in a given week and believe us, the competition can be fierce at times we'll still enjoy seeing it. And with a little luck, your photo may end up here one Thursday morning, in front of more than 100,000 AVweb readers.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
Eric Van Gilder of Moorpark, California cornered the top spot this week with a tried-and-true formula: Classic plane + classic composition = one of our favorite "POTW" entries. The Fokker, Eric tells us, is flown by pilot Jimmie New while the photo was taken from an accompanying Stearman just a few weeks ago.
|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.|
"Not-So-Calm Before the Storm"
Brian Emch of Lancaster, California turned up twice in this week's finalist pile. But as much as we enjoyed his other photo, we couldn't pass up this one of Sean Tucker at this year's Riverside Air Show. According to Brian, this was Tucker's "final ribbon cut in the Oracle prior to [the] accident."
For the camera buffs in the crowd, Brian got this terrific air show photo "with the Canon EOS digital Rebel with a Sigma 175-500 (+60%) AF lens."
"Reflections at Udvar-Hazy"
Garrett Nievin of Ashburn, Virginia attended the Become a Pilot Fly-In at the National Aeronautics and Space Museum this past weekend along with Bruce Bohannon and the Exxon Flying Tiger. Here, Garrett captures both man and machine in a rare moment of downtime, reflecting off the windows of an Udvar-Hazy Center hangar.
"Margaret's Monthly Splash-In"
Margaret Jackson of Lake Wales, Florida tells us this is "just one of the many monthly seaplane fly-ins in Florida." They may be nothing special to Floridians, but to many of a us a moored seaplane is synonymous with summer ... .
"AT-6 and KC-135"
Gary Dikkers of Madison, Wisconsin sends us this image of "an AT-6 and a Wisconsin Air National Guard KC-135 at the Volk Air National Guard Base Fly-In [at] Camp Douglas, Wisconsin."
Wisconsin, eh, Gary? Are you planning to stop in and visit with us at AirVenture this year? (You can find us in Hangar C.)
"Will Fly for Food"
Tim O'Connor of Cincinnati, Ohio recently took his girlfriend, Connie Brockman, for her first spin in his Twinstar Gyroplane. According to Tim, both photos were shot while "on our way from the local EAA pancake breakfast ... to Sporty's (I69) for hot dogs." (We all know about the $100 hamburger, but man were you guys just trying to get your money's worth?)
In the inset, Tim cheekily gives Connie the caption Why Aren't You Supposed to Look Down?
Distance photo taken by Mark Webb. and used with his kind permission.
"Dutch Wave for Fat Albert"
The Blue Angels arrive in the Netherlands for the first time since the 1960s, according to semi-regular "POTW" contributor Erwin Stam of Medemblik, North Holland. Shot at Leeuwarden Air Base.
Thanks for the photo, Erwin we'll let this wave from the 'Angels see us off this week.
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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