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Its hard to preview an event like Sun 'n Fun -- to be held tomorrow through Sunday in Lakeland, Fla. -- because its hard
to know where to begin. And while AVweb has been flooded with advance notice of numerous announcements, press conferences and product launches, the best way to stay on top of what will be hot
in the coming year for aviation is to keep checking your inbox. Well be publishing a roundup of each days activities, supplemented with audio and video files to capture the full essence of
a great event. If you see us on the grounds, please say hello. If you cant make it this year, well be your eyes and ears.
Those attending Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., starting tomorrow will be among the first to get a close look at Cessnas
proof-of-concept Next Generation Piston (NGP) aircraft. Dealers and prospective fleet customers have already given the flashy high wing a good going over, but the company has always kept it away from
the masses since its surprise debut at EAA AirVenture last year with a flyby. The curious at AOPA Expo in Palm Springs had to be satisfied with a mock-up display, but the actual airplane will be at
the Cessna pavilion at Lakeland. In fact, the company will have an example of every production model on display to help mark Clyde Cessnas brave venture that started in 1927. In case youve
lost track of the Wichita-based manufacturer's current offerings, thats nine Citation models, the Caravan and three piston singles. The NGP, the proof-of-concept light sport aircraft, the
Mustang entry level jet and a Grand Caravan will be on view outside. There will also be exhibits from Cessnas trophy case, including the 1996 Collier Trophy it won for the Citation X.
It's probably not a coincidence that the guts of the FAA's proposal to impose user fees came out when much of the GA population was dodging
the winter, but spring is here and you can expect a major push against the plan starting at Sun 'n Fun this week in Lakeland, Fla. AOPA is launching a anti-user-fee petition campaign at the official
start to the air show season. AOPA President Phil Boyer will hold a pilot town hall meeting at Lakeland April 19, and you can guess what the major topic will be. But while all that is to be expected,
theres opposition to the funding proposal coming from a variety of quarters, some of it substantial. Nothing less than the State of Alaska is ready to battle the proposal via a formal resolution
from the state legislature. The resolution, sponsored by state Rep. Kyle Johansen, is expected to be taken up soon and, given the mood up there, it seems sure to pass. A group representing a broad
cross section of the cities, towns, charitable groups and businesses that might be affected by the proposal has formed, calling itself the Alliance for Aviation Across America, and the National
Association of Counties has also chimed in.
It has a new name but it also has a product line that traces its roots to the 1940s. Can you believe the Bonanza turns 60 this
year? Beechcraft itself is also celebrating its 75th birthday, so the newly privatized company that was hived from Raytheons considerable corporate bulk last month is pulling out all the stops
at Sun 'n Fun. "It is an exciting time for our customers, our employees and our business. For the first time in 25 years, we are a private company and with two of the strongest brands in aviation in
our new name, were quite bullish about our future," Brad Hatt, the companys president of commercial sales, said in a news release. A special-edition Bonanza will be on display at Sun 'n
Fun this week. Also competing for attention at the show will be a new Baron as well as a King Air C90 GT and a Beechcraft Premier IA.
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The Comp Air 12 turboprop single achieved first flight on Saturday at
6:10 p.m. from the Merritt Island (Fla.) Airport, where Comp Air is
based. Ron Lueck, owner of Comp Air Aviation, was behind the controls
of the all-composite, Honeywell TPE331-14GR-powered airplane.
According to the aircraft manufacturer, the maiden flight was "a
complete success" and ensures Comp Air will deliver on its promise to
fly the Model 12 to the Sun 'n Fun fly-in this week in Lakeland, Fla.
In a press release, the company said, "After shutting down the
turbine, Ron Lueck emerged from the cabin door with a smile that told
it all. Ron and his team did what some had questioned and this Comp
Air 12 will be the first aircraft to enter FAA certification from a
well known builder of experimental turbine aircraft kits." The
airplane will be on static display for the duration of Sun 'n Fun at
The long-awaited (and excruciatingly foreshadowed) unveiling of a
mockup of Cirrus' "the-jet" will occur at a June 27 private event for the hundreds of people who've put up $1,000 to secure positions on the
aircraft. The public gets a peek the next day as the
company uses the unveiling to kick off its annual "migration" of
Cirrus aircraft back to the plant in Duluth, Minn. In an e-mail sent
to members of the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) late
last week, COPA President Mike Radomsky said the unveiling will be
the highlight of the weekend of seminars, discussion groups and
parties that Cirrus hosts each June. And in keeping with the coy
nature of the PR campaign that's building hype for the aircraft,
anyone who wants to see the mock-up firsthand will have to make the
trek to Duluth. Radomsky says in the e-mail that the mock-up
will not be displayed at EAA AirVenture a few weeks later. Cirrus
didn't really announce that it was working on a jet -- it waited
until something slipped out in the media and then merely confirmed
the project. The first concrete evidence of that was the collection,
at last year's migration, of names of those who would be interested
in the aircraft. They all got a "grey box" with a drink coaster and
some very basic details about the plane and, based solely on that,
were asked to send a $1,000 refundable deposit. Hundreds sent in
their checks and they'll be rewarded with the first look at the
plane. In the meantime, Cirrus is sending them, piece by piece, a
jigsaw puzzle of an image of the jet. Just how much of the picture
they'll have before June 27 isn't clear.
Right on schedule, Embraer on Friday afternoon quietly showed off its first fully assembled Phenom 100 to a group of
journalists at its headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil. First flight of this airplane is scheduled for the end of June, with Brazilian certification and first delivery expected a year later.
The very light jet's Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engine is currently being flown on a test bed, and Embraer has also made the mating check with the wing and the fuselage and says the assembly
program is going "very smoothly." A second Phenom 100 is now in construction at Botucatu, and a total of three development aircraft will be used for certification flight testing. According to
Embraer, the VLJ is mostly metal construction with 20 percent composite parts. The projected range of the $2.85 million twinjet is 1,100 to 1,160 nm with IFR reserves. Embraer said it will increase
the price of the Phenom 100 after the European Business Aviation Convention and Expo next month in Geneva, though it declined to give that figure today. The company says it has combined orders for
more than 350 Phenom 100s and derivative Phenom 300s. The Brazilian manufacturer is also actively looking at two new bizjets in the super-light and midsize categories and is gaining feedback for such
airplanes from its advisory boards.
Meet the Oregon AeroSM SkyDancer Duo at Sun 'n Fun
Make sure to visit Building A (#40) to meet Oregon AeroSM SkyDancer pilots Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, one of the most thrilling and unique aerobatic and
skywriting teams. While you're there, pick up autographed hero cards and SkyDancer trading cards, and check out Oregon Aero's wide range of Painless, Safer, Quieter aviation
upgrades. For more information,
» Visit Oregon Aero in booths A-040-042 at Sun 'n Fun
With ads everywhere from college counseling offices to Craigslist, the FAA would appear to be serious about finding replacements for
the thousands of air traffic controllers who will retire in the next 10 years. The armed forces-style recruiting campaign is playing up the free training and importance of the job while downplaying
the stress, shift work and relatively low pay as it tries to hire an average of about 1,400 controllers per year. In addition to conventional and Internet advertising, the agency is also working with
the Department of Veterans Affairs to train disabled veterans to become controllers. As always when controllers are the topic, whether the program is working depends on which side of the negotiating
table you occupy. Ventris Gibson, who heads up the recruiting drive for the FAA, says shes already found 1,300 prospects and the program is in its early stages. But the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association says the campaign makes the FAA look desperate to accomplish something at the last minute that it should have been working on for years. "If they had this huge list, then why
are they advertising on places like MySpace?" union spokesman Mike Conely told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I don't
think it's working worth a plumb nickel."
Nav Canada, the private company that runs Canadas airspace system, is making money, and since it isnt supposed to its
giving the profits back in the form of rate reductions. Effective Sept. 1, rates charged for its services
will be cut by 3 percent, which is in addition to the 1.8 percent cut made last Sept. 1. "Increased traffic growth together with the company's continued focus on cost control, provide the opportunity
to offer lower service charges to our customers while meeting our essential safety and service obligations," CEO John Crichton said in a news release. Nav Canada took over air traffic services 10
years ago and rates have fluctuated according to traffic levels. They took a significant jump in the doldrums following 9/11, but traffic is up about 5 percent this year and that makes the whole
operation more efficient. The company has also built an $86 million war chest in case theres another unexpected downturn.
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An international bid to preserve the last two remaining Martin Mars flying boats in museums in British Columbia and Maryland has
failed. Instead, the massive aircraft will continue to be used as heavy-lift firefighting aircraft throughout western North America by Coulson Aircrane, which bought the aircraft from forest company
TimberWest in a deal finalized Friday. Coulson is a helicopter logging and firefighting company based in the Mars current hometown of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. "This is a positive
outcome as the water bombers will be operated by a local company that is experienced and focused on aviation firefighting," said TimberWest CEO Paul McElligott. "TimberWest takes great pride in having
operated the Martin Mars over the last several years and we know that Coulson will continue that tradition." When TimberWest put the aircraft up for sale late last year, there were controversies on
several fronts. British Columbia cities and towns that have watched the 64-year-old aircraft at work on wildfires near, sometimes in, their communities passed resolutions aimed at keeping the Mars in
the air. Others wanted the Mars replaced with more modern aircraft. An aviation museum in Maryland, where the aircraft were built, and a group of British Columbia aviation enthusiasts were promoting a
joint bid for the aircraft that would have seen one housed in the Maryland museum and another in a museum built on the site of their current home base on Sproat Lake. The deal with Coulson included
the Sproat Lake base, facilities, spares and infrastructure, and the aircraft will likely stay where they are.
The FAA has enacted an Airworthiness Directive (AD) concerning the tightness of fuel line fittings on various Cessna 172, 182 and 206 models after the same problem kept cropping up after the first AD was
issued last August. The original AD was intended to ensure that the fittings were all tightened properly to prevent them from separating from various fuel system components. However, the FAA now says
it wasnt specific enough in the first AD and there have been at least four engine failures due to fuel line separation since it was issued. [more] The original AD didnt specify that the
torque settings of the fittings be checked and some aircraft got only visual inspections. This AD clarifies that the torque values need to be physically established and visual inspection only is
not sufficient, the AD reads. It comes into effect on May 2 but why not beat the rush.
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A Midland, Texas, company has received FAA approval to take over the engine type certificate for the Orenda OE600A, a Canadian-developed,
600-hp V-8 based on a big-block Chevy engine. The granting of the type certificate transfer from the former Canadian owners allows Trace Engines to begin shipping engines, including the 10 finished
mills it inherited in the takeover of the project. Two engines were shipped, ironically, to Canada last week and are expected to be flying by the end of the month. The Texas plant wont likely
build its first engine until September. "Because this is a start-up, we have the opportunity to do things right the first time," spokesman Craig Hoover told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. "We have an active research and development
program. There are things we want to improve on the engines even before we begin production." The big recips are aimed at replacing far more expensive small turboprops on a variety of light and
business aircraft. They were developed about 20 years ago in Canada, but despite gaining certification were not widely installed. Hoover said his company aims to change that and he expects a lot of
foreign orders. There are 12 people working at Trace now, but plans are to increase that tenfold and incorporate a college training program into the factory.
The concept of prayer is not lost on most pilots, but its usually the result of something that happens in the air and not
the reason for being up there in the first place. But 10 pilots from various states werent involved in the usual type of cockpit entreaties -- instead they were aiming their message at the state
of Ohio on Good Friday with sort of a blanket blessing from on high. The volunteers crisscrossed the state invoking their message on 11 million unsuspecting Ohioans. "A plane is a good way to cover a
lot of ground," Kenneth Wortman, 73, a pilot from Lima, Ohio, told The Cincinnati Enquirer. "In the Bible, God tells us
the fields are ripe for the harvest. From the air, a person can see a lot of fields." Wortman came up with the idea for PrayerFlight last fall as he was trying to dream up more efficient ways to
spread the Word. He found a couple of other pilots willing to give it a try and, after a shakedown flight, the decision was made to try and cover the whole state. It seems everyone had their own style
of high-flying prayer; some were silent, some expressive and others a mix. But they all had a similar goal in mind. "You see rows and rows of houses, and you know they are full of people you are
praying for," Samantha Ciminillo, 18, a member of Teens for Christ, told the newspaper. With Ohio now "successfully redeemed," the group hopes to take the effort national.
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Xerion Avionix recently received technical standard order (TSO) authorization for its AuRACLE I & II engine management system. The system replaces old-style engine
instrumentation with digital tapes, and STCs are being sought for most types of light aircraft
AVweb freelance contributor Tim Kern has earned the Certified Aviation Manager certificate. The program was set up by the National Business Aviation Association to enhance the level of
professionalism and expertise in flight departments. There are fewer than 100 people with the certification
Neighbors and a sympathetic council in Sheffield, Ohio, will likely end a local mans plan to convert an old Convair airliner into a bed and breakfast suite. Ed Guidicelli thinks it would
be just the thing to put his depressed area on the map, but the local council recently passed an ordinance against having such eyesores on private property.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly 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/.
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AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's podcast, you'll find part one of an
interview with Ed Iacobucci of start-up air-taxi DayJet. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Hawker Beechcraft's Jim
Schuster; Avfuel's Craig Sincock; Comp Air's Ron Lueck; Expedition Aircraft's Jim Schuster; VistaNav's Jeff Simon; Andrew Hamblin; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; NBAA's Ed Bolen; Open Air's Michael
Klein; Air Excursions' Cable Wells; Stephen Brown; NATCA's Paul Rinaldi; AOPA's Kathleen Vascouselos; and Maule Air's Mikel Boorom. In Monday's special podcast, hear part two of DayJet's Ed Iacobucci interview with AVweb on the on-demand, per-seat operator's plans. Remember:
In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
AVweb reader Richard Ciccone says the FBO blends old-fashioned service with modern facilities.
"It's easy to see why Bergstom Aircraft has been Central Washington's foremost full service FBO for 35 years. They offer a highly regarded maintenance facility, as well as efficient and friendly
office and line staff that supports an extended and loyal customer base. A consistent population of primary and advanced students is also supported by a dedicated staff of professionals in a very
modern facility. This family's strong commitment the aviation community is reflected in everything they do, everyday."
Sun 'n Fun 2007 kicks off today, but before we roll out the carpet on this year's fun, let's take a quick look back at last year's with a video montage of the 2006 air show heritage flight,
courtesy of YouTube's mig8769. (Music: Coldplay's "Clocks," from A Rush of Blood to the Head. [Amazon link])
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."
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 Editor Russ Niles (bio) and Editor In Chief
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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