AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 2a

January 8, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Just Plane Crazy back to top 

Boeing Sets Record

Lest there be any doubt about which is the largest commercial planemaker in the world, Boeing need only point to its year-end results. The Chicago-based company recorded almost double the number of solid orders of rival Airbus to soar back to the top in terms of both popularity and production in 2006. Boeing took in 1,044 orders (and also turned some away) compared to Airbus’s approximately 650 (final figures won’t be released until next week). In fact, Boeing got more orders (729) for its ubiquitous 737 series than Airbus attracted for its full line of aircraft. Boeing now has a production backlog of about five years and delivered 398 planes in 2006. Delays in Airbus's A380 program dominated the news about the company in 2006, but it did achieve certification for the super-sized airliner late in the year and a reorganized executive suite at the company is promising to meet the current deadlines. Although Airbus had a comparatively tough year, the forecast for commercial airliner business in general is bright, particularly in the rapidly expanding markets in Asia.

Thielert Chugging Along

Thanks in part to Diamond Aircraft's willingness to take a chance that diesel engines could catch on in the U.S., Thielert AG is undergoing a major expansion and enhancing its product line after record sales and profits in 2006. Diamond uses the 1.7-liter Centurion engines in its twin-engine DA42 and in a version of its DA40 single, and sales have been brisk. According to a company news release, Thielert has secured a second "major" aircraft manufacturer to supply engines for factory installation and also has some "minor" original equipment manufacturers interested. The long legs of the diesels have not gone unnoticed in military circles and Thielert is the sole engine supplier to General Atomics for a new surveillance drone for the U.S. Army. Thielert was founded on the fuel-sipping appeal of its Mercedes-based 1.7-liter, 135 hp in-line four. But the company announced in November that the 1.7-liter engine would be replaced by a more robust 2.0-liter mill that was designed to "meet the requirements of the U.S. market." Despite its larger displacement, the new engine puts out the same 135 hp as its predecessor. As part of the development of the new engine, Thielert designed and built the block. The company says the 2.0-liter engine will be used in new installations and will eventually replace all the 1,500 1.7s currently in use.

GAMA Forecast Session Feb. 12

And there'll be a pre-Valentine's Day love-in of sorts when the General Aviation Manufacturers Association hosts its annual Industry Review and 2007 Marketing Outlook briefing in Washington, D.C. Barring some utter market collapse that we haven't heard of in the last three months, 2006 will almost certainly have set sales and income records in many GA sectors and happy days are expected to continue. GAMA's third-quarter review showed a boisterous industry that was up an average of 18.9 percent in shipments and 28.6 percent in billings over the first nine months of 2005, and 2005 overall was considered a very good year. But while it will be hard to take the bloom from this rose, the picture isn’t entirely positive. The briefing is almost certainly to be another forum for GA representatives to bring up the user-fee issue in the context of the potential for user fees to discourage people from flying, just when other alphabet groups are mounting campaigns to shore up the numbers of new pilots.

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News Briefs back to top 

Mooney Acclaim Certified

Mooney is now formally laying claim to the title of "fastest piston single" with the final certification of its Acclaim speedster. The aircraft, which was introduced at Sun 'n’ Fun last April, sports twin intercooled turbochargers on its 280-hp TSIO-550-G Continental engine. The airplane is said to hit 237 ktas while cruising at its 25,000-foot service ceiling. Next fastest is the Columbia 400, which is marginally slower (two knots so) with a similar engine (it's a C model rather than a G). The Columbia model previously held the "fastest" title for several years. "With the certification of the Acclaim, the debate is over," said Mooney Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Copeland. "Now there’s no question which single engine piston airplane can claim the title as the ‘fastest’ since the Acclaim clearly boasts the highest maximum cruise speed and it is now officially 'in service.'" Mooney says the Acclaim will hold 200 ktas at 10,000 feet and go as far as 1,600 nm with optional long-range tanks (assuming the occupants are similarly equipped) at 200 knots. It comes with a G1000 package and is also available with a factory-certified system for flight into known icing. Mooney says there is a "significant" order backlog for the Acclaim, and production is gearing up to fill them. The Acclaim replaces the Bravo in the Mooney lineup, which also includes the updated and speedier Ovation 3 introduced last summer.

Competitor Offers D2A Customers A Discount

A rival avionics company is offering some solace for customers of Direct To Avionics (D2A) who may have been left hanging by the company's abrupt closure late last month. OP Technologies of Beaverton, Ore., is offering a $1,000 credit toward the purchase of one of its EFIS systems to D2A customers who have been financially affected by the closure. The systems have to be purchased by Jan. 31, 2007. D2A was the exclusive dealer for Chelton EFIS systems for experimental aircraft. A notice that replaces D2A's homepage confirms the company closed its doors Dec. 22 and says it is working to settle any outstanding accounts with customers. "We regret all inconvenience this has caused and are taking steps to help all our customers affected," the notice reads. It also asks anyone with questions to call Chelton, which is now looking after all the D2A customers' inquiries. A message left with a Chelton representative was not immediately returned on Friday.

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA: Plastic Pilot Certificates Mandatory in 2009

Your paper pilot certificate will be suitable for framing -- and not much else -- likely sometime in 2009 as the FAA puts every pilot on plastic. The new, more forgery-resistant certificates were introduced at EAA AirVenture in 2005 as a security enhancement. The FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) Friday that will make them mandatory two years after the final rule is adopted. A comment period lasts until March 6 so the final rule could be adopted as early as this coming spring. Those holding mechanic or flight engineer certificates will have five years to convert, but student pilots won't be affected. The NPRM also makes it a requirement that when an airplane is sold that the FAA is notified within five days. Buyer's and seller's names have to be printed or typed beside the signature on the transfer papers to make the paper trail more meaningful when other agencies are trying to track drug smugglers.

Stealing From Peter's Airport To Pay For Paul's

Tracy Municipal Airport in California is getting $500,000 for upgrades that will at least make trips to the bathroom there more pleasant, but are ultimately intended to draw more business to the field. Toward that end, the city will seek more than $2 million in state loans for the purpose of adding 44 hangars. City staff intends to repay that loan with increased fuel sales that would result from the population increase created by the new hangars and estimates those sales could generate almost $90,000 in profit by 2011. The airport already owes the city more than $1 million, which it is paying off at a rate of $20,000 per year and the effort comes at the continued expense of New Jerusalem airport. The city has for a decade attempted to sell New Jerusalem, but has been thwarted by deed restrictions that require the land be used as an airport. The new push for Tracy Municipal will be added to the city's continued attempts to explore with the FAA alternative opportunities (read: selling it to a developer) for the land at New Jerusalem.

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News Briefs back to top 

Teen Tackles Homebuilt Airplane Project

While there may be nothing unusual about a 15-year-old spending the holidays working on an airplane kit, Rusty McCullough plans to do more than hang this one from his bedroom ceiling. Just before Christmas, McCullough, who lives in Tehachapi, Calif., received the empennage of an RV-7A he's now building at the local airport. “It's a lot of fun, but it's going to be a lot of work to build this airplane,” Rusty told the Tehachapi News. "This will be a bit more complicated than the Lego models I used to put together." The only help he's getting from adults is a lift to and from the airport, as well as some carefully selected Christmas presents in the form of some of the tools he needs. [more] As you might expect, McCullough is no stranger to aviation. He grew up flying with his mother and grandmother and has already soloed a glider. He plans to continue his glider training and get his private certificate when he's old enough. And he already has plans for the RV-7A. McCullough intends to have it finished by the time he starts college so he can use it to come home on weekends.

Embry-Riddle Back In The Air Jan. 16

Just three weeks after tornadoes destroyed most its training aircraft, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's (ERAU's) Daytona Beach campus will resume flight training Jan. 16. ERAU is leasing airplanes from other flight schools, Cessna dealers and several individuals to replace the 40 airplanes that were tossed to destruction by two Christmas Day tornadoes. The twisters also did substantial damage to nine of the campus's buildings. EAA sent an alert to its members looking for Cessna 172s for the university to borrow and hundreds of responses were received. AVweb is spearheading a fundraising drive to help the university mitigate insurance deductibles and other non-insured costs arising from the storm. The tornadoes turned many of the airplanes into barely-recognizable heaps and the university's call for replacement aircraft was swiftly rewarded, particularly by EAA members. "It shows again what EAA and its members are all about," EAA's Director of Marketing, and ERAU alumnus, Rick Larsen said. "We at EAA headquarters simply made the need known to our fellow members and they energized the response. EAA members know schools such as Embry-Riddle represent the future of aviation and immediately stepped forward to assist."

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News Briefs back to top 

Rigby's Recognition

Alden Rigby, who on Jan. 1, 1945, shot down four German aircraft in 25 minutes, on Memorial Day (May 28) will join the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame at the Hill Aerospace Museum. Rigby and fellow WWII fighter pilots found themselves on the runway at their base in Asch, Belgium, when it was attacked by an estimated 50-plus German fighters, part of a coordinated attack aimed at 16 Allied bases. Over Rigby's base that day, 11 American P-51s downed 23 German aircraft without losing one of their own in a battle that has come to be known as the legend of Y-29. Rigby's own account of the battle can be found here. Rigby's tour included more than 70 combat missions over Europe. He held the Silver Star, served in the Air National Guard, served three years' active duty in Korea and spent 25 years with the FAA as an air traffic controller and supervisor at Salt Lake International Airport, among other accomplishments.

Bombardier Water Bomber Wins Kudos

Bombardier was recently awarded by Spain for the "greatest technological advancement in firefighting," citing the accomplishments of the 1960's era Canadair CL-215, -215T and, since 1994 its current incarnation, the Bombardier 415. Continuous improvements were credited for making the series "the most efficient tool for the aerial combat of forest fires," a status held "over more than 30 years." Two juries composed of "the most reputed and recognized technicians in firefighting in Spain" offered the award. In accepting, Bombardier noted that 64 of its latest model (the 415) have been delivered to and put to work in Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Ontario, Quebec and Spain. Meanwhile, Bombardier France's Securite Civile late last month placed a firm order for another Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft, which will bring the French fleet to 12 of the Canadian-built water bombers.

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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

Liberty Air Ventures is hoping to open a new FBO at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport by midsummer. The company is headed by Mary Pilgrim and an all-female board of directors and will compete with the Signature facility already on the field…

King Schools has launched a new interactive computer-based video course on the Garmin GNS 530 and 430 systems. The course is designed to make students proficient in the many features and systems so they can use these powerful tools to their best advantage…

First there was the VLJ and now there’s the VFT, or very fast turboprop, as EADS Socata is now calling its TBM 850. The 320-knot, six-place turbo has attracted 80 orders and the company recently made its first delivery in its home country of France…

Iceland’s new private air traffic services provider has reached agreement with controllers but may have started a new controversy. Flugstodir ohf is apparently considering raising service fees, which will affect thousands of trans-Atlantic flights that go through its airspace every year…

The New York Times says football fans in Alabama logged onto FlightAware.com looking for clues as to who might become the new coach of the Crimson Tide. They were looking for incoming and departing flights and aircraft that might hold the new bench boss or University of Alabama officials embarking on a talent search. Last Wednesday Nick Saban announced he was leaving the Miami Dolphins to take the post but there’s no word on whether he flew into Tuscaloosa to take the job…

A brain tumor survivor is mounting a fundraising flight in 1942 Piper L-4 Cub. Brian “Brain” Kissinger has raised $12,000 toward his goal of $100,000 for brain tumor research…

China has deployed its new made-in-China fighter jet, the Jian-10. The plane looks like a cross between a Saab Gripen and an F-16…

Eclipse Aviation formally handed over the keys of its first customer-ordered aircraft last Thursday to co-owners David Crow and Jet-Alliance representative Randall Sanada. The event was captured on video

Northwest Airlines has retired its last DC-10. The venerable widebody entered service with Northwest in 1972 and, at one point, the airline operated 45 of them. The last flight was from Honolulu to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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

AVweb's Business AVflash

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly business newsletter, AVwebBiz? 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. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
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New On AVweb back to top 

New Articles and Features on AVweb


Pelican's Perch #82: The Dreaded Three-Engine 747
With 27 years as a worldwide 747 captain, five as a worldwide Gulfstream IV captain, and lots of overwater time in a host of piston aircraft (including singles), AVweb's John Deakin has some pretty strong opinions about overwater flying in general, and about the recent flight of a British Airways 747 from Los Angeles to England with one engine inoperative. As usual, he seems to be in the minority.

This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a Husky tow kit, aviator wings, metal bending tools and more.

AVmail: Jan. 8, 2007


AVmail: Jan. 8, 2007
Reader mail this week about aging aircraft maintenance, user fees, charter crackdowns and more.

AVweb Daily News Coverage

You can now get the latest general aviation news from AVweb -- the world's premier independent aviation news source -- as it happens at AVweb.com. Or sign up for our news feed and have the most recent headlines pushed directly to your RSS-based news reader. Either way, you'll be able to read the same concise, but comprehensive, news stories that you've come to expect from AVweb. And for major breaking general aviation news, AVweb will send out news alerts via e-mail to keep subscribers informed. Don’t worry -- you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday.
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AVweb Audio News back to top 

AVweb Audio News

AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's podcast, you'll find an interview with Professsional Aviation Maintenance Association president Brian Finnegan. aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia; NORAD; Bill Lear, Jr.; NATA President Jim Coyne; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; and Cirrus Design cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier. In today's news summary, hear about Mooney laying claim to the fastest piston single with the certification of the Acclaim, Thielert AG's successful year, a 15-year-old who's building his own RV-7A, OP Technologies move to steal Chelton's experimental EFIS customers who ordered equipment from now-defunct distributor Direct To Avionics and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

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AVweb Fund To Help Rebuild Embry-Riddle Fleet

AVweb has set up a "Rebuild the Fleet Fund" to help Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Fla. campus get back in the air following a direct hit from two devastating F2 tornadoes on Christmas day. University President John Johnson estimates that the Daytona Beach campus suffered between $50 million and $60 million in damage, $11 million of which is from the 40 airplanes that were destroyed and another 10 that were damaged. We've been assured that any donations to Embry-Riddle will be devoted to the flight line, and to help students continue their training. Contributions will be allocated to meet the school's significant insurance deductible, we're told, but also to help defray the cost of flying in leased replacements and to reduce losses by fixing repairable damage. The bottom line is that AVweb wants to support any mission that helps build tomorrow's pilots, so we consider a donation as an investment in the future.

To kick-start the "Rebuild the Fleet Fund," AVweb's parent company, Belvoir Media Group, is contributing $1,000. AVweb subscribers will soon be able to donate online to the fund, but for now those wishing to help can send checks to:

The AVweb Rebuild The Fleet Fund
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Office of Development
600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Attn.: Jamie Belongia

Small Business Owners! AVweb's Marketplace Is the Place for You
Showcase your product or service to over 300,000 unique visitors monthly on AVweb. For a small monthly fee, your business-card sized ad, with graphic, will be placed on the Marketplace page. The AVwebFlash newsletter will feature selected ads as space permits. Click here for more information on AVweb's Marketplace (PDF).
FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: Million Air KRIC

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Million Air at KRIC in Richmond, Va.

AVweb reader Joe Stubblefield said the facility treated him like he was royalty.

"After meeting our 172 and picking us up in a van to drop us at the office only a couple hundred feet away, we asked for a ride to the museum and were give the crew car -- an S-type Jaguar. All that and saving the $50 landing fee by getting a little fuel from them at a really fair price, too. Great folks and service. Made us feel like royalty among the jets and King Airs."

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!

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Video Of The Week back to top 

Video of the Week: Crosswind Aircraft Testing

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Welcome back to the working week!

AVweb's "Video of the Week" is here to ease the transition, with a little help from YouTube user Whatmap:

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. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Returning to Princeton, New Jersey in a Seminole, I was proudly clipping along at 140 knots and can only assume that my deep voice and professional-sounding tone led to us appearing to be more than we were:

Seminole Two Two Eight: "New York approach, Seminole Two Two Eight, 5,000."

Approach: "Seminole Two Two Eight, Morristown altimeter 30.08. Proceed direct Solberg, maintain 5,000. Were you given any speed restrictions? If so, you can resume normal speed."

Seminole Two Two Eight: "Direct Solberg, 5,000, Two Two Eight. And we're a Seminole. This is normal speed."

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 Contributing Editors Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (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.

Aviate, navigate, communicate.