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For pilots discouraged by their encounters with government beauracracy, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on Wednesday
brought a morsel (or two) of hope. The agency has cut the time it takes to process special-issuance medical certificates from several months to an average of 16 days. Investments in new technology
have paid off in making such change possible, she said. Further, many pilots will soon be able to cut back on the number of times they must visit an FAA medical examiner for a certificate renewal. The
FAA plans to issue a proposed rule that would reduce the frequency of renewals from 6 months to 1 year for first-class certificate holders, and from 2 years to 5 years for pilots under age 40 who have
third-class certificates. Blakey also said the number of conditions that can be approved for the special-issuance medicals has increased from 20 to 35.
Blakey said she's determined to change the way the FAA is funded once the current structure expires in 2007. However,
she expects that a contribution from the General Fund and continued oversight by Congress will be part of any new plan. She also tried to reassure the crowd that whatever plans and proposals
eventually emerge, "We do not want to in any way stifle the general aviation community." The current airspace system needs an overhaul, she said, because it's simply not capable of handling the
projected increase in airplanes and traffic. "We have to transform the system," she said, with new technology and efficient infrastructure, to ensure that it will continue to be safe and meet the
needs of all users. Those changes will have to be funded somehow, and she said that every group will have to "pay its share of costs." The full text of Blakey's talk is posted online at the FAA Web site.
In response to a question from the audience, Blakey said that a newly established Aviation Rulemaking Committee
will soon begin a review of the rules that govern homebuilders. She said "commercial entities" have made use of the 51 percent rule in ways in which it was never intended. The homebuilt category is
meant to allow hobbyists to build their own airplanes, but its application to ever-more-sophisticated aircraft has raised concern. Also, when an audience member asked for clarification of the agency's
position on the contentious Age-60 rule, she seemed to soften a bit from the agency's long-held "neutral" stand. She is well aware that new international rules will soon take effect that allow for one
pilot in a two-pilot cockpit to be over 60. "We're looking at that," she said. She added that "common sense" is clear that people today are staying healthier longer than was the norm several decades
ago when the age limit was set.
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With balloons, banners, and crowds of special guests, Eclipse
Aviation hosted a big celebration yesterday at their pavilion just off Aeroshell Square. Just seven years after announcing a radical plan to build a small jet unlike anything else then on the
market, Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn took possession of an official Type Certificate from the FAA. Eclipse flew in 170 of its workers for the event, and dozens of them, wearing white T-shirts labeled "We
Did It," looked on and cheered as Raburn accepted the certificate from Acting Secretary of Transportation Maria Cino. The certificate is provisional, and won't allow the company to start customer
deliveries yet. They can, however, start to train pilots in the jet. "Today's announcement is significant because it means we anticipate no further major hurdles in the process to award full Type
Certification to the Eclipse 500," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said in a news release. "Close teamwork between the FAA and Eclipse has been a hallmark of this certification program, and that will
continue as the company works toward full certification." Raburn praised the FAA for their hard work, cooperation, and accessibility in bringing the program this far. The industry has criticized the
FAA a lot, he said, but the FAA does not stifle innovation. "The FAA is an enabler of innovation," he said. The full certification is expected by the end of August.
Eclipse also announced plans yesterday for the further development of its service and support network. In
addition to previously announced Factory Service Centers now in the works for Albuquerque, N.M., Gainesville, Fla., and Albany, N.Y., four additional sites will open by the end of this year. The goal
is that by 2008, an Eclipse Service Center will be within a 60-minute flight of virtually all customers in the lower 48 states. "Eclipse is dedicated to expanding access to private jet travel
throughout the nation, particularly in areas that are currently under-served by commercial airlines," Raburn said. "It's critical that our Service Center network mirrors our overall strategy, and
provides the highest levels of access, convenience and flexibility required by our rapidly growing and broadly distributed customer base."
Eclipse also said yesterday that noise tests have shown the Eclipse 500 to be quieter than any other jet
aircraft as well as virtually all multi-engine turboprop and piston airplanes. Since the 500 is designed to land at small GA airports, quiet operation is an important part of ensuring public
acceptance of the added traffic of some 2,500 Eclipse jets due to enter the airspace system. "We set out to provide our customers and the aviation communities they frequent with an aircraft that
produces exceptionally low noise on takeoff, in the air and on landing," said Raburn, "This is a very, very community-friendly airplane."
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Although Cirrus has proven to be the GA success story of the new century, like every other airplane
manufacturer, it still works hard to find to more buyers. As we reported in Thursday's AVweb podcast, Cirrus is now offering the option for buyers
of its new airplanes to hire a professional pilot and flight instructor for a year -- to live near the buyer -- so the new owner can learn the ropes at his or her own pace and schedule, and if he or
she feels like it, train the rest of the family, too. But that's only one of a broad palette of initiatives Cirrus announced at this week's AirVenture show designed to make getting into one of their
airplanes safer and more affordable.
Besides the live-in pilot program -- which Cirrus calls Access -- the company is also launching an aggressive program to help groups of local pilots setup partnerships in new airplanes,
Cirrus-specific insurance and finance services and a service called Cirrus Certified, which is essentially a finder program for buyers and sellers of used Cirrus aircraft. To go along with these new
services, Cirrus is also offering tailored warranties for all buyers, including flight schools and businesses. Other airplane companies -- notably Cessna -- have tried their own financing and factory
supported used sales -- but we can't recall any company combining so many ownership pot sweeteners at one time. Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier told us this week that the new ownership programs give
substance to the company's determination to make GA flying available to more people. For more details, click here.
Alan Klapmeier, CEO of Cirrus Design, gave reporters at Oshkosh a brief
update on the future Cirrus Jet... "I have no pictures, no specifications, no price, and no dates to announce," he said. Such details will be forthcoming at a later date. But he did confirm that a jet
is in the company's future. It would be "a logical step-up path for Cirrus owners," he said. He aims for it to be the lowest, slowest, and shortest-range aircraft in the small-jet field. "It will be a
personal jet," he said, "not a VLJ." The candid nature of Klapmeier's comments may imply to some that the jet's cost will also be correspondingly curtailed, but ... see above. Of the
details offered: it will have a single engine, and a parachute will definitely be part of the package, he said.
Reason #1 Pilots First
Leading the aviation industry isn't about bragging rights. Being No. 1 is about providing pilots with all of the things that make owning a Cessna such an irresistible value. Things like
safety. Affordability. Reliability. Insurability. Flyability. And the world's largest service organization. All of which have helped make Cessna the No. 1 selling line of new single-engine
aircraft. Explore more reasons at CessnaREASONS.com.
Visit Cessna Aircraft at EAA AirVenture Booths #143-156
Spectrum's principals and associated manufacturer Rocky Mountain met Wednesday to discuss future plans,
including certification of the Spectrum 33 light jet and matters far more personal. The light jet and its test crew were lost Tuesday at about 4 p.m. in a crash at Spanish Fork-Springville airport.
It's been just four months since Linden Blue, veteran pilot, founder and managing director of Spectrum Aeronautical, LLC, had his dreams take flight aboard a carbon fiber 10-seater design-prototype
ultimately aiming for a performance goal 415-knot cruise at 45,000 feet and 2,000 nautical range. It's been some forty flights since the jet's first. Glenn Maben, Spectrum's director of flight
operations, and Nathan Forrest, vice director, were killed in the crash, according to Austin Blue, president of Spectrum Aeronautical LLC. The jet was on the road toward certification, but the company
now faces a very different set of priorities. Energy at the roughly 85 person company will likely be spent on investigation, until a cause is determined, and healing. Witnesses describe the aircraft
departing the runway at Spanish Fork-Springville airport in Utah when the right wing dipped and caught the ground. The aircraft then cartwheeled and broke up. One hundred eighty gallons of Jet-A were
spilled, but there was no post-crash fire.
Yesterday at Oshkosh, AirShares Elite said it will donate $100,000 worth of free flight time to help
encourage AOPA's latest effort to recruit new pilots. In the few weeks since AOPA launched its revitalized Project Pilot at its annual Open
House in Maryland, nearly 1,000 AOPA members have already signed up to be mentors and recruit new flyers. "When I learned that the pilot population had declined by 25 percent over the past 25
years, I knew that we had to inspire more people to move from being wannabe pilots to gottabe pilots," said AirShares Elite CEO David Lee. Lee said he hopes that introducing interested newcomers to
flight in a Cirrus will help to convince them of the benefits of GA flying. "Using the great tools available through Project Pilot, we want to enable all
of our owners to each convert at least one new prospect into a successful student pilot as well as challenge other aviation companies to step forward and support such a worthwhile cause," he said.
Avidyne TAS600 Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
Whether you're flying in a busy terminal area, navigating a long cross-country, or hovering over a city, seeing and avoiding traffic requires having the right information in real time.
Avidyne's TAS600 Traffic Advisory Systems, with dual-antenna technology, provides significantly improved signal coverage and target tracking, enabling faster updates and enhanced performance
over single-antenna systems, for maximum safety. Starting at $9,990, Avidyne's TAS600 Series makes premium performance, active-surveillance traffic alerting affordable for virtually every
general aviation aircraft. Visit Avidyne at AirVenture or online.
Diamond's newest project, the single-engine D-Jet prototype, made its world
debut at AirVenture on Wednesday morning. The jet rolled in to a welcome from officials from EAA and the FAA, then was displayed at Aeroshell Square before flying back home to Canada mid-afternoon to
get back to work. Diamond CEO Christian Dries said the five-place jet is "extremely comfortable" to fly in, and so far has logged about 30 hours aloft. Labeling it as a "personal jet," Dries said its
target market is the 500 to 700 hour owner-pilot. With that in mind, the aircraft is designed to be safe and easy to fly. The jet will be certified up to 25,000 feet, which Dries says is a safer
altitude. "At that altitude, if there is a pressurization failure, you have about three minutes to react." At 40,000 feet, he said, you'd have a much briefer window. "Up there, you pass out and then
you pass away," he said. The D-Jet also will include a whole-aircraft ballistic parachute, under development by BRS. Dries says the lower altitudes are safer and the aerodynamics are easier to manage.
The jet, which has a Williams engine and Garmin avionics, is expected to be on the market in 2008.
Makers of electronic flight bags and cockpit computers have struggled with making the things readable in direct
sunlight and no one has really figured out an elegant way to display approach plates. But at AirVenture 2006, we saw an intriguing gadget that appears to have broken the code. The eFLYBook from Arinc was described by a company representative as "electronic paper." And it is, too. It's an impressively thin tablet computer
(Linux based) about the size of a standard approach plate. Rather than a backlit LCD display, the eFLYBook uses proprietary technology from iREX that works sort of like a high-tech Etch-a-Sketch, requiring only tiny amounts of power and displays in a black and white (ish) format. It looks almost like ink on paper and,
like ink on paper, this electronic display is easier to read in direct sunlight. The display doesn't refresh fast enough to work as a moving map, but it's perfect for electronic representation
of charts and plates, POHs and other documentation. The device sells for $1100. Find more information on Arinc's site at www.arinc.com.
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Mooney Airplane Company delivered its first Ovation 3 this AirVenture to Andre Kulaga. "I studied airplanes for the
last couple years, and compared the price, performance, and the quality of the work," said Kulaga, "...and I think Mooney is the best airplane out there." The Ovation 3 is the normally-aspirated
version of Mooney's twin-turbo Acclaim. There is some contention as to whether the Acclaim has displaced the Columbia 400 as the fastest piston single, but, according to Gretchen Jahn, CEO of Mooney
airplane company, that uncertainty won't last long. "When we first announced the Acclaim we were conservative and said 230 knots. Then as testing went on we said 230-plus. I personally, flew down to
Sun and Fun and had 237 [in the Acclaim]. We're not done yet. Watch this space." Mooney products are all about speed and given that Kulaga's paint scheme for his 197-knot Ovation 3 is designed to
match his M-class BMW... it looks like Mooney is reading its customers right.
With so many Tablet PC and Pocket PC navigators available, where do you even begin? A good place might be to
leave the regular Oshkosh product hangars and go out to the flymarket looking for Mercury Computing's VistaNav booth. VistaNav's 3D synthetic
vision recreates the view out the front of the airplane, complete with terrain, runways, and highway-in-the-sky (HITS) guidance. This actually isn't new, but newly completed -- in fact, a patent was
filed the day of the announcement -- with three new features that help with approaches, emergencies, and collision avoidance. As for the unit's price ... $4,300. If you were expecting something
higher, you can always buy more. Of course, this isn't a certified product. ... It simply appears that it may be a highly capable, practical and affordable one that would probably be nice to have.
VistaNav's 3D traffic takes the novel approach of creating "threat zones" depicted as areas in the virtual sky where the target aircraft might be. Stay clear of those and you stay clear of the
intruder. Their E-glide feature provides a glide path to the "best" airport for an emergency landing, even if it's not the closest, because system takes terrain into account. And, yes, future versions
will take winds into account and provide curved glidepaths to bring you down safely. HITS guidance is also available for a growing number of approaches in the U.S. The brains of the system reside in a
box containing a WAAS GPS and inertial navigation system. This sits anywhere you want in the plane and communicates to the tablet PC display/control via wireless Bluetooth. The only wires are for
power and since everything also has a battery, it serves as a full backup set of flight and navigation instruments.
Teledyne-Continental Motors Celebrates 100 Years of Innovation Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM) is celebrating 100 years of aviation powerplant innovation this year at AirVenture. Stop by the TCM Pavilion near the main entrance and help
them mark this milestone. TCM will be holding daily drawings for those who fly Continental engines, so don't miss out on the fun. Go online for more information.
Visit Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM) at EAA AirVenture Booths #96-102
AVweb's Oshkosh Picture Galleries. The F-22 was here, yesterday. The F-22 was here, yesterday. So, we took pictures while
enjoying a soundwave-induced full body massage. (Stealthy, perhaps. Quiet ... no.) It stood motionless on its tail, climbed out vertically, fell like a piloted spinning-leaf and generally did things
airplanes don't do. Come along and wander the show grounds at AirVenture Oshkosh for warbirds, Light Sport Aircraft, light jets (air conditioning optional).
Cessna -- a sleeping giant stirs. Hi-resolution images: Cessna NGP, the advanced concept. Cessna LSA
Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Find all of today's stories in AVweb's: NewsWire
The SJ30-2 Is the World's Fastest Light Business Jet
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speed, range, and good looks. Click here for details.
Click here to download. Garmin talks shop about its latest leading-edge glass and
Chelton responds. A Swedish group tells how they took Diamond's DA42 across the Pacific and will continue around the world. Cirrus's Alan Klapmeier talks about his company's program that leaves buyers
with a new airplane plus a CFII (for a year). ECI's Ed Salmeron explains the latest improvements his company's products add to aircraft engines. And you'll hear exactly how controllers at Oshkosh
manage 2500 operations a day, both when things go right and otherwise. Check AVweb's audio news index
Do You Know Who Aviation Insurance Brokers Represent?
The fact is that many private pilots don't understand that brokers do not represent Avemco. Yet many brokers say they represent the entire aviation insurance market. Avemco wants to make sure
that the aviation insurance consumer understands that they have a real choice. Call Avemco now at (888) 241-7891 for fast, accurate answers about aviation insurance or for an immediate
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Offering up Ocean Air, Scott Burton told us, "The elegant and relaxing facilities make it worth the stop coupled with the extraordinary service and friendly people. Denise runs that FBO as best as
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DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University CAPT, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, and Utah Valley State College all have selected
the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, click here.
It's Not What You Know But Who You Know That Can Save You Money!
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