AVwebFlash - Volume 12, Number 45c
Special Coverage from AOPA

November 10, 2006

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Adam Aircraft Designs & Manufactures the A700 AdamJet & A500 Centerline Piston Twin
The Adam Aircraft A700 features twin Williams FJ-33 engines, state-of-the-art avionics, and comfortable seating for eight (or seven with an aft lavatory). The A700 is currently undergoing flight test and development. The Adam Aircraft A500 centerline piston twin has been Type Certified by the FAA and offers superior safety, range, and performance, along with the pressurized comfort of a roomy six-seat interior. For complete details on both aircraft, go online.
 
Looking to the Future at AOPA Expo '06 back to top 
 

User Fees Fight Ramps Up

While it's too early to tell what effect the Nov. 7 election results will have on the most pressing legislative issue facing general aviation, something politicians in Washington (the new and the old) can count on hearing plenty about is the aviation user-fee issue. In yesterday's opening general session of AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, AOPA President Phil Boyer said the most crucial period of the lobbying effort is looming as President Bush prepares a budget for presentation in February. That budget must make provisions for funding the FAA and its funding tenure runs out at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, 2007. Just what the administration intends to do about FAA funding will be hidden in the folds of that massive document. "We'll be looking for blanks in the budget," Boyer said.

Currently, the FAA is funded 77 percent by taxes on aviation fuel (GA's contribution) and ticket taxes (the airlines' share), with 23 percent coming from general revenue. If any of those lines is missing from the next budget, it will mean the administration is looking for other methods of funding the FAA and that almost certainly means user fees. Boyer moderated a panel of GA leaders, including National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen, General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) President Pete Bunce, and Experimental Aircraft Association President Tom Poberezny, who spoke on a theme common to discussions at other GA conventions that the airlines are driving the user-fee agenda as a means of assuming control of the airspace system while shifting $2 billion in costs to GA. Bunce also noted that user fees will be applied to all FAA activities, not just airspace management. He said that will drive up the cost of aircraft because of fees for certification and other services now provided free.

Also on the panel was Missouri Republican Rep. Sam Graves (who kept his seat Tuesday) who sits on the House Transportation Committee. He said the election result "changes the dynamics considerably," but he didn't say how those changes might affect the debate on FAA funding. He did encourage those attending the session to buttonhole their elected officials and make sure they know about the issue and the potential effects of user fees.

Cessna's Future on Display at AOPA Expo

At AOPA Expo, Cessna is debuting a mockup of its Next Generation Piston (NGP) aircraft and displaying its flying proof-of-concept Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). It further announced upgrades for its current single-engine pistons. The company anticipates a launch decision for the NGP program by next summer, which would be followed by an 18-month certification schedule if given the green light. Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton said the flying proof-of-concept aircraft is meeting and exceeding expectations with more than 80 hours in the air since its maiden flight on June 23. Meanwhile, he said the LSA concept is on track, with a program launch decision expected in the first quarter next year. Cessna's LSA is expected to cost less than $100,000.

"The more we evaluate our Light Sport Aircraft proof-of-concept airplane and the market potential for such an aircraft, the stronger our conviction is that this could be a favorable step for our company's product line," Pelton said. Cessna's LSA model has made more than 11 flights, accumulating more than 20 hours in the air. The two-seat LSA proof-of-concept features a high wing spanning 30 feet, a maximum cabin width of 48 inches, tricycle gear and a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine. Not forgetting its current piston line, Cessna said its Skylane and Stationair will get significant enhancements for their Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite with the introduction of the Garmin GFC 700 automatic flight control and flight director system as standard equipment. In addition, WAAS, Garmin SafeTaxi and Garmin FliteCharts will be standard on all three of its piston models, and Garmin ChartView powered by Jeppesen will be available as an option.

Piper Picks Williams Power

The PiperJet will be packing plenty of punch when it flies off the drawing board. Piper President Jim Bass announced yesterday at AOPA Expo that a Williams FJ44-3AP will be in the tail-mounted nacelle of the jet. The engine is normally rated at 3,000 pounds of thrust, but this one will be derated to 2,400 pounds, giving it 1,000 pounds more than the belly-mounted FJ33 on the Diamond D-Jet, and 500 more than the-jet proposed by Cirrus, which will also have an FJ33. Bass told AVweb he wanted a big engine in the plane to ensure it had the kind of performance he desired. But he also said the derated engine gives them the flexibility to make larger versions of the aircraft as demand warrants. Bass said Williams was the clear choice even though Piper has a business arrangement with Honda, which has developed a new jet engine in cooperation with GE.

Bass said he wanted proven reliability powering the PiperJet and noted that FJ44 engines have logged more than 2.5 million hours in larger bizjets like the Cessna CJ family, Raytheon Premier I and Sino Swearingen SJ30. He stressed that the arrangement with Honda, in which Piper will supply sales and service support for the HondaJet, in no way implies or exerts exclusivity on Piper or restricts its place in the market. Bass said the company has "scores" of orders for the PiperJet and to bolster the backlog the company announced an incentive program that will give those who buy a Saratoga, Seneca or Malibu up to $100,000 off the price of a jet when its ready for the market in two to three years.

 
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News from Diamond and Garmin back to top 
 

Diamond Announces D-Jet Fleet Order

Airline Transport Professionals, which provides direct track training for airline pilots, announced the purchase of 20 Diamond D-Jets at AOPA Expo. In turn Diamond has announced that ATP will develop and provide type certificate training for the D-Jet. Diamond President Peter Maurer said training is a key component of any jet program, because of the type certificate requirement, and he noted that ATP trains about 300 transport-rated pilots a month. Diamond is also developing a simulator. But the training arrangement goes both ways and ATP President Derek Dennis said the D-Jet is an ideal platform for his airline ticket students. "What the airlines want is jet time," he said.

Dennis said the school will take private pilot certificate holders, train them on multi-engine aircraft and then put them in the D-Jet. There's an extra time bonus for future D-Jet owners, too. ATP will take delivery of some of the first D-Jets, which means those with later positions can take the training while their aircraft is waiting to be built and have the type certificate when it's ready.

Garmin GNS 400/500 Series Get WAAS TSO

Garmin announced yesterday that the GNS 400/500 series have been TSO'd for lateral-precision with vertical (LPV) guidance approaches and receive GPS navigation via the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). The FAA also granted approved model list STC approval, allowing the 400W/500W equipment to be installed on more than 980 makes and models of aircraft. The GNS 400/500W series joins the G1000 and GNS 480 in providing WAAS enabled navigation for aircraft.

According to Garmin, owners of GNS 400/500 series panel-mount avionics will be able to upgrade their products to meet the FAA's WAAS standards without a field approval. Garmin expects deliveries of the new GNS 430W/530W to begin in about 30 days, with upgrades beginning in January. Upgrades are available for a suggested retail price of $1,500, while the GNS 430W and GNS 530W units will sell for $10,750 and $16,495, respectively.

 
Precise Flight to Supply Fixed Oxygen as Standard Equipment on Cirrus Turbo® SR-22 & SE-22
Bend, ORNovember 9, 2006Precise Flight announced it has received STC approval for its Fixed Oxygen System for Cirrus Design Corporation's SR-22 aircraft. This follows Cirrus' selection of Precise Flight at Oshkosh to provide the Fixed Oxygen System as standard equipment on the Cirrus Turbo® SR-22 and SE-22 and as an option on the SR-22 and SE-22. Click here to read the full release.
 
Plenty to See and Do Around the Show back to top 
 

Pilot/Journalist Barry Schiff Entertains Crowd

Barry Schiff has been checked out in more types of airplanes than most people have probably even seen in a lifetime but his message is consistent. "It doesn't matter what you fly," he told the opening luncheon crowd at AOPA Expo. "What matters is that you fly." Schiff, who retired as a Boeing 747 captain in 1998 after 34 years with TWA, has more than 300 types in his logbook and he's aiming for 400. While aviation has been his job for his entire adult life, he said he's never forgotten to have fun with it. Schiff, who has written several books and numerous magazine articles on the subject, said he tries to make his love and awe of aviation infectious. "And I urge you to pass it to others," he said.

He said some pilots seem to be missing the joy of flying by being too focused on the destination rather than the journey. He said he frequently asks other pilots where they've flown and they usually answer that they've "stopped for fuel" at various airports. "I always ask them when they stop for fun," he said. Among his flying highlights (in 27,000 hours there've been a few) is soaring the ridges of the north shore of Oahu as whales passed by below.

Mustang Approved for Flight into Known Icing

Cessna yesterday said the FAA cleared the Citation Mustang for flight into known icing, some two months after the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F-powered very light jet received type approval. "While approval for flight into icing is not required for certification of the airplane, we wanted to have this in place prior to delivering our first Mustang and in advance of this year's major icing season," said Cessna Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Pelton. "The Citation Mustang has met or exceeded every performance objective established when we announced the program in 2002, and we beat the schedule doing it."

Cessna also said it will cost an estimated $2.06 per nautical mile to operate the Citation Mustang. First deliveries are expected to start later this year. Pelton said there are more than 250 orders for the $2.6 million twinjet, with the next available delivery slot in late 2009.

Bonanza Turns 60 and Has Never Looked Better

A special 60th anniversary package was revealed yesterday by Raytheon Aircraft for 2007 model-year Beechcraft Bonanza G36s. The anniversary editions will come with several upgrades, including a redesigned sidewall that offers more space and comfort, leather seats tailored with a combination of embossed stingray and wheat leather, removable headrest covers embossed with the Bonanza shield, leather-wrapped control wheels, tweed carpet and a sculpted 60th anniversary entry mat. Raytheon said the exterior will preserve the Bonanza legacy, while advancing technology and design with specially formulated paints.

The exterior will sport a 60th anniversary stripe design, a commemorative script on the upper surface of the starboard wing, a Beechcraft shield on the rudder and 60th anniversary emblems aft of the rear windows.

 
Visit Aircraft Spruce at the Annual AOPA Convention
Aircraft Spruce will be at AOPA in Palm Springs for their annual convention. Visit booths #1220 and 1222 for show specials and vendor demonstrations. Promotions will apply to a vast selection of products including Flightcom, Flitelite, Garmin, Genstar Technologies, Hilton Software, Lowrance, Scheyden, Sennheiser, VNY Documentary, and Telex. Pre-ordering available at Aircraft Spruce for the One Six Left DVD (more information on site). No-cost shipping available on show orders (doesn't apply to oversize or hazardous goods). Please call 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit online.
 
Sights and Sounds from Our First Day back to top 
 

"Live" from Palm Springs: Our AOPA Expo 2006 Photo Gallery

Our AVweb staffers had their cameras handy at this year's AOPA Expo. Walk the booths and by-ways of the show with us in our virtual stroll.

Click here for photos.


AVweb's Friday Podcast: Cessna's Jack Pelton

Today's podcast features an interview with Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton at AOPA Expo. Pelton talks about his company's next-generation small airplanes, namely Cessna's light sport airplane and Next Generation Piston family, both of which are being spotlighted at the show.

Click here to listen.

New to podcasts and audio news? You don't need an iPod (or any other special equipment) to listen! Our podcast is a simple .mp3 audio file. To listen, just click on the "download this podcast" link and play the file in QuickTime, Windows Media Player, WinAmp, or any other desktop audio player.

 
Attending the AOPA Expo in Palm Springs?
AVweb is here at the show! We'll be in Palm Springs, California through Saturday, November 11. We know many of you will be on-site with us this year, so please take a moment while you're seeing the sights to stop by our sponsors' booths. Their patronage of AVweb makes it possible for us to deliver the high quality of news, reviews, and information you've come to expect in your inbox twice a week — at no charge to readers. We encourage you to visit with them at the show and thank them for their support of AVweb. Click for a complete list of AVweb sponsors and where to find them at the show.
 
Names Behind the News back to top 
 

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 Chad Trautvetter and Russ Niles (bio).

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