AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 12, Number 46a

November 13, 2006

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
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AOPA Tallies The Numbers back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

Election Helps Aviation User-Fee Fight

The massive shift in the political winds in Washington is a major boost to the fight against general aviation user fees, delegates to AOPA Expo in Palm Springs were told on Saturday. "The election says we're in much better shape," AOPA President Phil Boyer told those attending the morning general session. Boyer said the political dynamics might result in the FAA's proposal to replace taxation with user fees to fund most of the agency's operation being shelved. "There will be gridlock in Washington for at least a year," he said. Since Congress must reauthorize the FAA funding formula by the end of next September, a frozen Congress might not be able to deal with it in time and that could mean the current system will just be rolled over for another 10 years. But even if Congress does become unstuck enough to deal with a new funding proposal, Boyer said the user-fee option now has powerful opposition in Washington. Boyer said Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., will be the next chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and he well understands the impact of general aviation on the economy, since Cirrus Design is in his district. The Aviation Subcommittee will be headed up by either Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., or Jerry Costello, D-Ill., and both are strong opponents of the user-fee option. "Either way, we win on this issue," Boyer said, while adding there are indications in trade publications that the airline industry, which strongly supports the user fee initiative, considers the election a setback.

AOPA: Other Issues, Other Victories

Although the user-fee issue dominated the political discussions in Palm Springs, there were some other victories being heralded in the host state of California. Earlier this year, the FAA, with some prodding from AOPA, emphatically denied a request from the city of Bakersfield that it be released from its obligations to the FAA so the airport could be closed in favor of residential and commercial development. Since federal funds were used to buy the land for the airport in the 1980s, the site must remain an airport in perpetuity, unless the FAA says so. In a 10-page denunciation of Bakersfield's rationale for closing the airport, the agency made it clear that option wasn't on the table. The Oceanside, Calif., battle wasn't as simple. Andy Cebula, AOPA's government relations expert, said pilots, with AOPA help, got directly involved in local elections. The campaign involved advertising and direct mail urging voters to support pro-airport candidates. Two were elected and that was enough to shift the power balance on the city council to preserve the airport, at least for now. In her speech to delegates on Friday, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey stressed the agency's commitment to keeping airports open. She pledged that the FAA wasn't "going to sit idly by" when local governments try to close or restrict federally funded airports. "The condos will just have to go somewhere else," she said.

AOPA Expo Ends On A High Note

This year's AOPA Expo reached an all-time record high of 12,973 attendees by the time the show closed on Saturday afternoon. Later that evening, AOPA paid tribute to Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, R-Ky., for his dedication to general aviation, awarding him with the prestigious J.B. "Doc" Hartranft Award for 2006. Rogers is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee On Homeland Security, and he's been an advocate for reasonable approaches to GA security. As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, Rogers has ensured that resources paid into the aviation trust fund reach GA airports across the country. Also on Saturday evening, AOPA bestowed the 2006 Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award to Felix Maguire for his "selfless commitment, tireless leadership, and commitment to general aviation in Alaska." According to AOPA President Phil Boyer, he was a driving force for "improvements for VFR pilots -- including the unprecedented establishment of a VFR route across the Bering Straits to Russia -- to the cutting edge of instrument flight using [automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast]."

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

Foxjet Revived After Nearly 30 Years

The project that started the very light jet movement almost 30 years ago might be revived in a modern form. Millennium Aerospace earlier this year purchased the rights to manufacture the rakish little jet that Tony Fox predicted would revolutionize air travel when he introduced it in 1977. Although there are plenty of opinions about why the project never progressed beyond the mockup stage (it still hasn't), Fox says it was just too far ahead of its time. His plan was to use modified cruise missile engines from Williams International (sound familiar?) but the federal government wasn't keen on having the technology released to the public at that time and there were no suitable substitutes. Fox, now 85 and promoting his latest invention, talking garbage cans for fast food restaurants, said times have changed and the world is ready for his jet, even though he considers himself too old to take it the rest of the way. "I just want to see it take off," he told AVweb last week at AOPA Expo. The new Foxjet will use Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615 series engines, similar to those in the Cessna Mustang. The company is predicting the six-place jet will cruise at 320 knots with a range of 1,215 nm and a stall speed of 74 knots. It will be a composite airplane with a full glass panel. Interiors are being designed by Porsche. Projected price is $1.7 million and first flight is planned for mid-2007, with certification in 2008.

Aviation Safety Reporting System Turns 30

NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), which is widely used by pilots and other airline employees to identify potential safety hazards, last week marked its 30-year anniversary. Established under a memorandum of understanding between NASA and the FAA, the system collects, analyzes and responds to voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident reports to reduce aviation accidents and improve safety. The confidential reports are also used to identify deficiencies and discrepancies in the National Aviation System that need to be remedied. "Since the implementation of the Aviation Safety Reporting System in 1976, more than 474,000 reports have been submitted by pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, flight attendants and other airline personnel," said ASRS director Linda Connell. "Many of those reports have had a direct impact on making the nation's airways safer." Over the years, ASRS has issued more than 2,500 safety alerts to the commercial and private aviation community.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Nexaer Took Low-Altitude Route To Expo

One of the first high-tech American-built light sport aircraft (LSA) made the trip to Palm Springs for AOPA Expo on a trailer, but it should be flying freely soon. The Nexaer LS1, with its distinctive swooping fuselage, has flown a couple of hours at home base at Meadow Lake Airport near Peyton, Colo., but its experimental research and development designation with the FAA prevented it from being flown to the show, said spokesman Scott Belliveau. The plane, which is surprisingly large for an LSA, made its first flight in October but then the emphasis switched to getting it painted and in show condition in time for Expo, Belliveau said. The aircraft is only being flown a few feet above the runway at first to assess its flying qualities and the FAA restrictions will keep it within a few miles of Meadow Lake when it does put some air under its wings. Belliveau said the unusual shape of the fuselage was incorporated purely for styling. "We call it ramp presence," he said. But initial tests have revealed the shape actually contributes lift and has positive aerodynamic influences. "We got lucky," he admitted. The plane is currently flying with a six-cylinder, 120-hp Jabiru 3300, but numerous engine options, including some certified mills, will eventually be available. Useful load with the 3300 engine is 570 pounds, including up to 167 pounds of fuel.

NTSB Issues Update On Comair Crash

Late last week the NTSB said its investigation of Comair Flight 5191 continues to make progress. The board will not hold a public hearing on this investigation, but the public docket is expected to open in January. According to the NTSB, the docket will contain the cockpit voice recorder transcript, flight data recorder information and the other group factual reports, including interviews. A public safety board meeting will be held late spring or early summer, at which time the NTSB will consider a final report on the investigation and will include the determination of the probable cause and potential safety recommendations.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

RV-12 Prototype Flies

Van's Aircraft's entry in the LSA category had its first flight last Thursday. The mini-RV, which sports many of the characteristics of its larger stablemates (bubble canopy and a big, fat wing), was flown by company founder Dick VanGrunsven, who put it through a variety of speed profiles and basic handling tests. "It’s far too early to make any statements about what the airplane is like or what it will do, or what the performance numbers may eventually be," said Van's Web site. "We can report that when Van taxied in and opened the swing-up canopy, he was grinning." The Web site also says the plane shares some flying qualities with other aircraft in the Van's family. "Even from the ground we could tell the roll rate was pretty snappy," the site says. The aircraft is powered by a 100-hp Rotax and the payload goal is 550 pounds.

Aerostar Aircraft Introduces Newest Model

Hayden Lake, Idaho-based Aerostar Aircraft unveiled its latest model, the Aerostar 702P, at AOPA Expo. The company holds the type certificate of the venerable recip twin, but is now only modifying previously manufactured Aerostars to this new model. Aerostar vice president Jim Christy told AVweb at the show that the 702P recently completed extensive FAA flight testing that allows for an increased max takeoff weight of 6,850 pounds, a 2,200-pound useful load and a 6,850-pound max landing weight. To handle the extra loads, Aerostar beefed up the landing gear and brakes on the airplane. In conjunction with the weight increase, Aerostar also certified an optional 5.5-psi pressurization system, which raises the 702P's ceiling to FL280. Specifications include a 1,000-nm range, 275-knot max cruise speed and a 69-knot stall speed. Christy said that his company still has plans to produce a Williams FJ33-powered twinjet version of the Aerostar, but is still seeking funds to bring this program to fruition.

 
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.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Tiger On The Ropes?

The media around Martinsburg, W. Va., are chronicling the fortunes of Tiger Aircraft and the implication is that the company can't last much longer. According to a story in the Martinsburg Journal, the latest nail in the coffin is that the company owes $115,000 in back taxes. It has, however, paid its lease to the airport through next April for a building that, according to the Journal, houses only two employees at the moment. The company hasn't shipped any airplanes for at least three months and civic politicians are now pondering the potential demise of the company. "You sense it's coming," noted Bob Crawford, executive director of the Berkeley County Development Authority. The Journal says a company employee declined comment. A phone message left by AVweb this weekend was not immediately returned. Tiger Aircraft has revived the Grumman design and, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association stats, sold three airplanes in the first half of the year. The company laid off most of its staff earlier this year and an attempt to sell the assets by then-CEO Gene Criss was challenged by company shareholders who said he wasn't authorized to do so. Criss is no longer with the company.

Dynasty Makes Public Debut At AOPA Expo

With some 1,100 hours of flight testing logged, the Epic Dynasty -- the $1.9 million certified version of the owner-assisted-built Epic LT -- made its first public display last week at AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, Calif. With a high-speed cruise of up to 340 knots and an 1,874-nm NBAA IFR range, Epic said the single-turboprop pressurized Dynasty is very competitive with very light jets. AVweb had the opportunity to conduct a short demo flight of the Dynasty on Saturday at the show, and the airplane appears to be a solid performer. As would be expected with a speedy, six-seat cabin-class turboprop, the controls were a little on the heavy side, though no more so than the Beech King Air series. The airplane exhibited good handling characteristics in our view, and appears on track to meet its projected maximum speed. Transport Canada certification is scheduled for mid-2008, with FAA approval expected soon afterward. Epic is already delivering $1.2 million experimental versions of the airplane.

Correction

The deal between skydivers and the airport in Deland, Fla., won't prevent a control tower from being built there, but will ensure that skydiving operations can continue after the tower is built.

 
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News In Brief back to top 
 

On The Fly

On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico denied Aviace's request for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit against Eclipse Aviation. In denying Aviace's request, the court found that "Aviace has not shown a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits of any of its claims." The finding concluded, "Therefore, Aviace's Application for Preliminary Injunction must be denied."…

Mooney Airplane is launching a multi-city "Lead with Speed" tour this week to show off the Acclaim and Ovation3. The demo tour tour starts Friday at Flightcraft's facility at Portland International Airport in Oregon and will eventually hit more than a dozen stops by the spring…

The Ninety-Nines are seeking donations of aircraft, and even aircraft parts, to preserve its Museum of Women Pilots in Oklahoma City. Donations made under the "Wings for History" program are fully tax-deductible since all money raised from the sale of donated aircraft goes into a charitable remainder trust…

Another lawsuit was filed against Honeywell, as well as ExcelAire and its pilots, in the aftermath of the Brazilian midair between a Gol Airlines 737 and an Embraer Legacy bizjet. It was the second lawsuit filed in the U.S., and more specifically Florida, since the September accident that killed 154 people, and the first case that names pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino, both of New York, as defendants…

The Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership's use of ultralights to lead migrating whooping cranes to Florida is succeeding. Three reintroduced whooping cranes led last year made their first unassisted migration and arrived in Florida on Nov. 6. The WCEP ultralight-led migration of the "Class of 2006" is currently underway…

Chelton Flight Systems received FAA STC approval for its synthetic vision EFIS in the Eurocopter EC 120B helicopter. The STC was developed with Hillsboro Aviation and will be available in a standard two-screen system with a primary flight display and multifunction flight display. An optional three screen system with one PFD and two MFDs is also available.

AVweb Audio News

AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In Friday's podcast, you'll find an interview with Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, covering the company's light sport aircraft and next-generation piston family. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue, Adam Aircraft chairman Rick Adam and New Piper CEO Jim Bass. In today's news summary, hear about how the elections will affect the user-fee push; the FAA takes a hard stand on preserving airports; AOPA Expo sets record attendance in Palm Springs; Foxjet revived after being on the shelf for nearly 30 years; the Aviation Safety Reporting System celebrates 30 years; and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

 
Can a Portable Seat Cushion Really Be Comfortable?
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New On AVweb back to top 
 

New Features This Month

WHAT'S NEW FOR NOVEMBER
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you diesel engines for new Skyhawks, glass-cockpit flight training devices, an electric folding bike and more.

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/.

 
Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
Selling an aircraft can be a challenging odyssey. Aircraft owners need to: locate a broker with national resources to sell for top dollar; select and utilize the most effective advertising; access no-cost, no-obligation finance pre-qualification; consult aviation tax experts; and obtain insurance quotes with higher liability limits. Columbia Aircraft has created a tool to assist pilots and aircraft owners of all brands. Check out their web site.
 
AVweb Audio News back to top 
 

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles

AVMAIL

AVmail: Nov. 13, 2006
Reader mail this week about PATCO, user fees, Deland tower and skydivers outcome and much more.

AVweb's Newstips Address...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Find all of today's stories in AVweb's: NewsWire

 
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.
 
FBO Of The Week back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Montgomery Aviation

For local prices, enter your U.S. ZIP Code or Airport Identifier:

Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav,
based on prices from the past 2 weeks.
Changes are relative to last week.

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Montgomery Aviation at KTYQ in Indianapolis, Ind.

AVweb reader Justin Klump simply said that the FBO is tops and deserves to be highlighted in AVweb.

"Montgomery Aviation is a first class facility operated by first class people. You are always greeted with a smile. They are definitely deserving of the FBO Of The Week award."

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

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

 
ASO — A Better Way to Sell Your Aircraft Share
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Video Of The Week back to top 
 

Video of the Week: Patty Wagstaff, Champion Aerobatic Pilot

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Come take a wild ride with champion aerobatic pilot Patty Wagstaff in today's "Video of the Week"!

This week's clip was posted on YouTube by user Louie Schwartzberg and brought to our attention by AVweb reader Paul Stambaugh. (We'll be sending Paul a hat for his troubles — and we'll do the same for you, if you point us to an interesting new video that we use here in "VOTW.")

Let's watch:


Don't see a video screen?

Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.

If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. (Plus, we like watching videos.)

 
WingX 2.0 Now Available — With NACO Approach Charts, SmartTaxi™, Online Weather, and Podcasts!
Hilton Software LLC has just released WingX 2.0 for the Pocket PC — now with approach charts, weather images, podcasts, N-number search, helicopter W&B, and SmartTaxi™ to help prevent runway incursions. Of course, this is in addition to WingX's great Weight and Balance, Route Planning, FARs, color-coded weather reports, and superb E6B capabilities. Excellent A/FD with auto-dial. WingX is now GPS-enabled! Learn more and download WingX at HiltonSoftware.com.
 
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Heard at Lawrence, Massachusetts:

Tower: "Arrow Eight Two Xray, slowest possible speed. Traffic ahead is an ultralight on a half-mile final."

Ultralight: "Tower, we'll climb out so he can land."

Tower: "Roger, climb and maintain 1700, runway heading. Arrow Eight Two Xray, cleared to land, caution, mowing in progress, right side of runwav."

Arrow: "Roger, duck under the lawn mower ahead and avoid the one on the ground, cleared to land, Arrow Eight Two Xray."

 

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Knowledge Is Power; Knowledge Is Also a Safety Factor When Flying IFR
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Power Flow Is Now FAA-Approved for the Diamond DA40
The Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System is now standard equipment on all 2007 Diamond DA40 aircraft. Benefits include: Speed increases of up to 8 knots; 15% more climb; or, go the same speeds and save up to 1.2 gallons per hour. Starting in October, existing DA40 owners can retrofit their aircraft. For complete details, go online.

Better than an IFR Refresher, This Manual Is Real-World Flying!
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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 Editor In Chief Chad Trautvetter and Newswriter/Editor Russ Niles (bio).

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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