AVflashSpecial Sun 'n Fun IssueApril 4, 2003
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated Sun 'n Fun Coverage At http://www.avweb.com/news/snf2003/184230-1.html
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by
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THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY...
We've waited and waited, the excitement has come and gone, but while foreign companies wait to send an initial wave of invading aircraft compliant with the requirements of the elusive Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category, U.S. companies are sitting tight ... and, for the most part, are quite happy to do just that. With the economy still weak, a war on, and LSA floundering somewhere in the distance, the U.S. kit manufacturers best poised to take advantage of LSA tell AVweb they're doing just fine, thank you very much. More...
...COMMENTS FROM KEY PLAYERS...
Schlitter's aircraft and business model have served as an example for the light aircraft industry and have spawned numerous clones overseas. The problem LSA may cause is the arrival of those aircraft in the U.S. market at a cost lower than American wages could allow. "We taught Europe how to build," said Schlitter. Now that market is filled with light aircraft built to completion by factories following the example set by companies like Rans. If LSA does come through, Rans may lose some business to competing designs -- based on his own -- from overseas, but Schlitter is confident that the remaining differences will ultimately lead the expanded market back to his door. More...
...SONEX SITS TIGHT...
Jeremy Monnet who, with his father -- award winning designer John Monnet -- markets the plans and kit-built and LSA ready Sonex aircraft aren't bothered by the lagging rulemaking process that seemingly has LSA stalled. Though the Sonex is a great fit for the potential category, Monnet has no intent to produce turnkey aircraft. There remains the issue of liability. "How is the manufacturer going to get it?" he asked rhetorically, "We'd love to talk to Cessna if they wanted a turnkey LSA aircraft to produce." More...
...AND OVERSEAS UPSTARTS
In Paradise City, the Ultralights section of Sun 'n Fun, creations resembling more of what the spam can drivers would consider "real airplanes" are sprouting up left and right ... and perhaps of incestuous parents. But these are sport pilot candidates. More...
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BOHANNON: HEAD, SHOULDERS, AIRPLANE, ABOVE THE REST...
Sun 'n Fun wouldn't be the same without Bruce Bohannon and while the rare-air reaching record breaker sat this show out on the ground, he yet again impressed upon us his ability to achieve the seemingly impossible by setting four more aviation records without taking to the air ... sort of. Try to follow along. This much we knew: recognized as world records by the National Aeronautic Association in Arlington, Va., and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland, Bruce's October 22, 2002 flight at Palm Springs, Calif., claimed three world records. Then, somebody started looking at the fine print. More...
...ONWARD AND UPWARD
Bohannon has been chasing time to climb records for years and now in his fifth year with Exxon has yet again set his sights a bit higher -- at 50,000 feet. So what's an extra 9,000 feet or so? Well, it will require a quarter million dollar pressure suit to keep Bruce's innards in working order. The team is currently pursuing channels to borrow one. More...
FLIGHTMAX EX500 MAKES DATALINK AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE. The FlightMax EX500 provides a high-resolution depiction of the weather along the route of flight, including NEXRAD and graphical METARs, seamlessly integrated with the moving map. Textual METARs are provided in plain English for easy interpretation. The FlightMax EX500 also receives Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) updates, which provide additional situational awareness and an added measure of safety with the ever-changing airspace restrictions. At $8,995, the FlightMax EX500 makes airborne datalink weather affordable even for light general aviation aircraft and is available now. See the FlightMax EX500 at Sun 'n Fun Booth D43/D44, or visit online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne
A NEW ARRIVAL: WXWORX...
If ever there was a moving target for the avionics buyer, its a weather data link system. After a year, one leading contender---Merlinis laying low or gone entirely, only to be displaced by this years new star: WXWorx. This is a new company thats an offshoot of Baron Services, which every TV weatherman knows as the leading company delivering NEXRAD products to the domestic broadcast market. But Avidyne, Garmin and Bendix/King are still in there pitching. More...
...AND UPSAT WILL GO WITH WSI
UPSAT is evidently pursuing a similar strategy, but with leading weather provider WSI furnishing the hardware to display weather on the companys popular MX-20 MFD. We dont have cost numbers on the WSI system yet but were told it will be competitive with whats already fielded, namely the EchoFlight request-reply system Garmin is using and Bendix/Kings Wingman services, which continuously broadcasts weather data via ground-based datalink. More...
YOUR FLYING ADVENTURE AWAITS YOU! AIR JOURNEY MAKES IT FUN AND SAFE! Air Journey is offering two exceptional tours this spring: The first, May 12-17th, going to Mexico and Belize. During your journey you will experience unique destinations such as Merida, Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Departures are offered from Key West, FL and Brownsville, TX. The other journey is taking off June 16-27th, headed for the Grenadines. This itinerary includes the islands of Provo, Beef Island, Virgin Gorda, Canouan, St. Martin, Punta Cana and Stella Maris. Air Journey adventures include hotels, transfers, meals and some planned activities. The pilot is provided with a complete trip-kit. Air Journey supplies everything needed for a fun, safe and hassle-free excursion. Call Air Journey at 888-554-3774 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/airjour
WANT A D-JET? YOU CAN ORDER ONE NOW...
In the personal jet field, Diamond got serious at Sun n Fun Thursday, announcing that its ready to take orders for its new D-JET this week. Current Diamond owners will be given preference for delivery slots, says John Gauch, Diamond VP for sales and marketing. The D-JETs first flight is promised for 2004 and a rather modest $20,000 deposit will secure a position on the $850,000 single-engine jet. More...
...THAT ECLIPSE IS PLAYING CATCH-UP BALL
Many of these companies are chasing the apparent leader in the personal jet field, Eclipse 500. But if Diamond meets its 2004 first-fly date, it could easily catch Eclipse, which stumbled late last year when the Williams International EJ22 engines it had originally planned to use evidently came up short on thrust. Eclipse has since announced it will use Pratt & Whitneys PW610F, a new low-weight, high-thrust turbofan. More...
CELEBRATING THE NEXT CENTURY OF FLIGHT! From ASA's Virtual Test Prep DVD courses and On Top PC simulator, to the best selling FAR/AIM Series on the market, ASA is focused on being at the forefront of technology to provide the best materials available to make safer and more efficient aviators. ASA provides a full line of aviation products, working closely with their authors and the FAA to continually improve ASA's reputation for accuracy and top quality. Dont miss out, see the new ASA 2003 catalog at Sun 'n Fun booth #B-059-061, or online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect
THE RETURN OF LUSCOMBE
Did you know you could now buy a new Luscombe from two separate companies? Luscombe Aircraft Corp. is building the Model 11E, a four-place design that looks for all the world like a stubby Cessna 172. The company got its type certificates late last year and they have a couple of airplanes on display at Lakeland. (Actually, they have the entire fleet on display; only two production airplanes have been built.) The 11E is a modernized version of an earlier Luscombe design. Powered by a Continental IO-360-ES, the 11E sells for $155,900. And nostalgia buffs can get a new version of the airplane that made the original company famous. More...
CIRRUS OFFERS TRAINING INCENTIVES
Even with the soft overall and GA economy, Cirrus continues to boom along with its popular SR20 and SR22 aircraft. But the company has suffered a difficult initial accident record, with 13 accidents so far, seven of them fatal. Cirrus is addressing this issue head on and announced at Sun n Fun on Thursday an aggressive owner-training program that offers decreased insurance premiums in exchange for meeting certain training milestones. More...
LANCAIR KITS REMEMBERS AFFORDABILITY
There was a time in the world of kit-built airplanes when "fast glass" almost certainly referred to either a Glasair or a Lancair. At Sun 'n Fun 2003, a new aircraft and a new design perpetuated that tradition. For Lancair, the new Legacy FG is a fixed gear fiberglass 200 hp alternative to their 300 hp retractable carbon fiber Legacy kit. It will cruise near 200 mph for some 1,300 miles, but only after a willing $32,900 investment in the kit, more for the powerplant, and a significant personal investment in the building process. More...
MOONEY BACK, SOCATA SURGES
Mooney made its first serious post-bankruptcy debut at Lakeland, showing a pair of Ovation 2s and a revised mock-up that touts the companys new, lower glare shield and panel that ought to address some customer complaints about poor forward visibility in the long-body Mooneys. With the 2003 model year, Mooney has a leaner product line, with two versions of the Ovation and the TLS Bravo. Spokesman Earle Boyter told us sales were strong in February but fell off in March, no doubt due to war jitters. Socata is also bullish for the coming year and is expanding its support network to prove it. More...
AIRBORNE EMOTION FROM DIAMOND AIRCRAFT Your passion for excellence is well-defined. Diamond Aircraft's new-technology aircraft utilizes materials such as the carbon fiber and Kevlar found in Formula One cars to create performance (cruise speed of 160 mph) and safety not found in other aircraft. Embark on one of the most exciting and enjoyable experiences of your life in Diamond's DA20-C1 Eclipse SE sportplane. See Diamond Aircraft's two- and four-seat flight training and recreational aircraft during Sun 'n Fun at MD-018C, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond
BREATHE MORE FREELY
Got oxygen? If you own an oxygen system and the answer is no, it may be because you suck it through the hose as if it was free. There is a better way and a couple of vendors at Sun 'n Fun showed some products that will reduce oxygen consumption, keep you from turning blue with hypoxia and save you a few bucks in the process. More...
HOLD TIGHT WITH THE CLAW
We always get a good laugh when tying down an airplane at Sun 'n Fun or Oshkosh. Those canine auger thingies won't hold squat in a good blow and everyone knows it. A company called Hunting Solutions was showing an intriguing solution to this at Sun n Fun. Theyve got a product called "The Claw" which consists of a three-legged casting hinged in the middle. You open up the three legs flat on the ground and drive steel pins at an angle toward the center of the device. This causes the load vectors on the tiedown to be directed in such a way that the angles work against each other; the harder the wind blows, the more the thing digs in, up to a claimed 1200-pounds of resistance. The kit comes in a carrying bag and sells for $89.95. Contact 601-932-5832.
MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE
In the airware front, Destination Directs new flight planning software has advanced quite a bit during the past year. DD has joined up with aeroplanner.com and the offline version is cleverly married to online resources to gather up current charts and nav data and to plot TFRs and NOTAMS on your flight plan.
MORE PDA NAVIGATION
Speaking of charts and plates, Control Vision, which continues to develop new aeronautical applications for the PDA beyond its Anywhere Map program, announced yet another product called Pocket Plates. Think of it as a discount version of the Chart View program UPSAT offers for the MX-20 multi-function display. But rather than using Jeppesen charts, Pocket Plates used scanned FAA NACO products. But the scans are crisp and despite the Compaq iPAQs tiny screen, the zoom and scroll features makes the plates quite readable. Cost is $245, which includes six months worth of revisions. For $390, you get 18 months worth of revisions.
OIL ADDITIVE PROTECTS CAMS
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is forever cautioning against mechanic-in-a-can additives that promise more power, faster speeds and lower fuel consumption and deliver nothing. But a new engine oil additive that debuted at Sun n Fun this week may hold real promise. And while were on the subject of oil, there are now more products than ever to keep the stuff from blowing out the belly of the airplane and making a gooey mess. More...
AIR/OIL SEPARATOR RETURNS
One question we occasionally hear is whatever happened to the Walker Air/Oil Separator? It used to be big in the aircraft field but has disappeared. Well, now its back, being marketed by AirWolf, the folks who make aftermarket filter products of all kinds. Air/Oil separators, of course, condense the oil vapor from the breather tube and return it to the crankcase so it isnt pumped overboard, where it slimes the belly. More...
AIRBAGS IN THE SKY
"Inflatable restraint technology" is now available for your aircraft. Translation: if you really want to, you can get an airbag for your airplane. The AMSAFE Aviation Inflatable Restraint System (AAIR) is a self-contained modular restraint system compatible with standard seats and seat belt attach points and looks very much like a seatbelt system with a an inertial reel shoulder belt and padded lap belt. However, the "padded" section is actually an integral inflatable bag designed with sensors that "detect and verify a catastrophic event" before deploying a large airbag within milliseconds. More...
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