AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 16c

April 18, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Reason #31 — Look Ma, No Hands
The new Garmin GFC 700 autopilot gives you more hands-free flying control than ever. The flight director is seamlessly integrated into the G1000 glass cockpit and standard on new Skylanes and Stationairs. Letting go never felt so good. For more great reasons, visit CessnaReasons.com.

» Visit Cessna Aircraft in booths SNF-003-007 at Sun 'n Fun
Avionics for the Masses back to top 

Avidyne Going After Mass GA Market

At the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In, Avidyne said it plans to expand its reach into the lower end of the general aviation market, a segment that includes more than 70,000 airplanes. With this goal in mind, the company has teamed with Southern Star Avionics to offer the Envision integrated flight deck in most Cessna 300 and 400-series airplanes, as well as pre-2003 Cirrus Design SR20s and SR22s. Avidyne said the retrofit includes an EXP5000 primary flight display (PFD) and EX500 multifunction display (MFD), and will be able to interface with "popular" autopilots, GPS, terrain, traffic and other systems. There are more than 12,000 Cessna twins and 700 Cirrus piston singles that are eligible for the roughly $39,000 (plus installation) glass cockpit upgrade. Going even further down market, Avidyne is now offering the Envision system for experimental aircraft.

Equipment retail prices for this market also start at less than $39,000. “With Envision for experimental aircraft, Avidyne is now flying in aircraft ranging from turbine-powered business aircraft to piston twins, singles and kitplanes," said company President Dan Schwinn. “We’ll continue to build the eligibility list for Envision across a wide range of existing GA aircraft.”

Oregon Aero® Aviation Headset Upgrade Kits End Pain and Noise
Oregon Aero now offers the complete solution to painful, noisy aviation headsets with its new, convenient upgrade kits. The complete aviation headset upgrade kits eliminate pain and pressure, improve intelligibility, and keep the head and ears cool and dry. Visit Oregon Aero in Building A (#40) and get complimentary installation when you purchase a headset upgrade kit during Sun 'n Fun. Visit online for a complete catalog of Oregon Aero products

» Visit Oregon Aero in booths A-040-042 at Sun 'n Fun
All Hail Columbia back to top 

Columbia Proves Its Mettle Is Better than Metal

Fallout from last year's devastating hail storm at the Columbia factory in Bend, Ore., has yielded some encouraging information. After the storm, Columbia did some structures testing that convinced the FAA the planes were safe to repaint and ship to customers. But the FAA also wanted the long-term durability of the hail-pummeled airframes put through a full fatigue analysis. An airframe was dotted with more than 200 simulated hail strikes that were inflicted with twice the force of the actual storm. The company's vice president of engineering, Tom Bowen, told the press at Sun 'n Fun that the airframe was put through the equivalent of 25,000 flight hours at loads greater than the utility category in which it is certified. "The airplane didn't care," Bowen said. "This test should unequivocally quell any lingering misconceptions that somehow a composite airframe is less durable than an aluminum one."

In fact, the steel testing equipment started to break down before the end of the ordeal. "As far as we know, no other personal aircraft airframe, composite or aluminum, has ever successfully completed such an exhaustive and severe fatigue testing program." The test approximates 123 years of aircraft life if the plane was flown an average of 200 hours a year.

Fly with the Bose® Aviation Headset X
Enjoy an unmatched combination of benefits: Full-spectrum noise reduction, clear audio, and comfortable fit. Voted the #1 headset for the sixth consecutive year in Professional Pilot's 2006 Headset Preference Survey.

Buy today and receive a complimentary Garmin® Geko 201 handheld GPS. Learn more and order.

» Visit Bose Corporation in booth SNF-009 at Sun 'n Fun
Piper Thriving back to top 

PiperJet on Plan, New Project Coming

James Bass, president and CEO of Piper Aircraft, this week revealed that the Vero Beach, Fla.-based aircraft manufacturer plans to announce a new airplane later this year. "We can't tell you much about this new airplane, but it will be very, very special," he said at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. "It will take the market by storm." Meanwhile, Piper continues to make progress on its single-engine PiperJet. According to Bass, the program has "come a long way" since the $2.2 million very light jet was announced in October at the National Business Aviation Association convention. Wind tunnel testing will conclude this summer, with first flight of the PiperJet expected in early 2008. Bass said that there are firm orders for more than 186 of the Williams FJ44-3AP-powered jet single.

Piper still hasn't chosen the avionics suite for the PiperJet, t hough Garmin's and Avidyne's integrated glass flight decks are known to be in the running. A week ago, one could reasonably assume that Piper favored the Avidyne Entegra system for its jet since the company chose the avionics suite for its piston line. However, this week Piper announced that it would offer the Garmin G1000 avionics suite as a $4,000 upgrade for the Saratoga II and Piper 6X.

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun 2007 Podcast #2: Bob Kromer on Piper's Comeback

File Size 5.3 MB / Running Time 5:47

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The aircraft company that practically defined general aviation for decades faded for a while as it switched owners and battled the same demons afflicting other manufacturers, but Piper is here to tell you that not only has it survived, it's starting to thrive. AVweb's Russ Niles sat down with the company's executive vice president of sales Bob Kromer to talk about progress on the jet, a new avionics option and the feeling in Vero Beach.

Dual Antenna Traffic Systems Simply Perform Better
Avidyne's dual-antenna TAS600 Systems detect other aircraft sooner and more accurately, avoiding the shadowing effects inherent with single-antenna systems. TAS600s actively interrogate other aircraft, providing timely alerts and precise locations of conflicting traffic. Starting at just $9,990, the dual-antenna TAS600 provides full-time protection and higher performance. When it comes to safety, you want to see the whole picture. Go online for details.

» Visit Avidyne in booths D-069-070 at Sun 'n Fun
Some Bad News from Lakeland ... back to top 

Two Days, Three Mishaps at Sun 'n Fun

Police have identified two Ohio men as those who died in the crash of a Wheeler homebuilt on final approach to Lakeland Linder Airport on Monday. Terrence Albert Sack, 61, of Dublin, Ohio, the pilot, and his passenger, Roger L. Caldwell, 56, of Blacklick, Ohio were killed when the aircraft hit a barn just east of the arrival runway for Sun 'n Fun. Meanwhile, a Newton, Ala. man is in a Lakeland hospital after his Hummelbird homebuilt crashed into the parking lot of an insurance company office building about a mile from the field on Wednesday. Jim Goodyear, 47, broke some bones but is expected to make a full recovery. There were no injuries in a strange taxiing accident at Sun 'n Fun.

Pilot Richard Demortina, 42 of Palm Bay, Fla., was taxiing his Cirrus SR22 near the main access ramp to the display area when it left the pavement and rolled over a concrete culvert into a ditch. There were three passengers on board. Initial reports suggest the right brake locked up. FAA is investigating.

Comp Air Jet in Limbo

There will likely be one less entry in the light jet market as Comp Air has all but abandoned its jet project. "It's not dead," said President Ron Lueck but he said the prototype has languished in Bowling Green, Ky. since last July when Lueck dead sticked it after an engine failure. "We have an engine for it we just have to get up there and get it," said Lueck. But Lueck admits he's lost interest in the project because of some relatively stark realities. He said the aircraft is too big to be flown with the relatively inexpensive new generation of engines made by Williams and Pratt & Whitney Canada for the very light jet market. Larger engines are significantly more expensive and would price the Comp Air jet out of the market. "It's just not a viable product," Lueck said.

He added that fuel prices will continue to rise and efficiency will become a bigger factor in buying decisions. That, he said, will bring a surge in sales of turboprop singles. Lueck claims the Honeywell turboprops in his aircraft are 20 percent more efficient than comparable engines from other manufacturers.

Upset Recovery Training: Are You Prepared?
APS Emergency Maneuver Training, the leading provider of upset recovery and spin avoidance/recovery training, delivers enjoyable turn-key programs. Fixed-wing pilots will recognize, avoid, and recover from any upset scenario. Courses directly address Loss of Control In-Flight, the leading cause of aviation accidents worldwide.

Sun 'n Fun Special: Book a 3- or 4-day course to receive one complimentary add-on training session ($750 value). Call (866) 359-4273 or go online.

» Meet APS President B. J. Ransbury at the NAFI booth (E-032) APRIL 20th at Sun 'n Fun
Cirrus, Diamond Shine at Sun 'n Fun back to top 

Avemco Drops Insurance Rates for Cirrus, Diamond Twin

Avemco Insurance has announced that rates for Cirrus aircraft will drop from 10 to 30 percent depending on model, and the insurance cost for Diamond DA42 Twin Star will be cut by 30 percent thanks to a better than expected loss record. Vice president of aviation insurance underwriting Jim Lauerman said at Sun 'n Fun that the rates were likely artificially high to begin with because they're new aircraft and there was no data to base them on. Now that the fleets have significant hours on them, the company has determined the rates are unnecessarily high. The company is also reducing the qualifications needed before pilots can even buy insurance, particularly in higher performance, more complex aircraft. For instance, he said, as long as the required training is taken, the company will underwrite a student pilot in a Cirrus SR22.

Lauerman said the company continues to pursue training and safety programs aimed at getting to the heart of most aviation accidents, namely the actions of the pilot. He said they're trying to identify the personality traits and characteristics of higher risk pilots. The company is also involved with BuildAPlane, the non-profit group that supplies mostly unserviceable aircraft to school shop classes. Avemco donated 20 seawater inundated aircraft from Hurricane Katrina to the program.

Diamond Launches Flight Centers

Diamond Aircraft launched its long-awaited Diamond Flight Center (DFC) program this week the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Fla. "We have heard for some time that flight schools wanted a fresh alternative to the status quo," said Diamond Aircraft Industries President Peter Maurer. "There were several key elements we wanted to have in place before launching the program, and we are delighted that today is the day that we can confidently say we have a very comprehensive and competitive program." The Diamond Flight Center program includes all the elements of current pilot centers, as well as additional enhancements. Interestingly, the DFCs are allowed to operate competitive-brand airplanes, even though Diamond offers a full line of ai rplanes, including the two-place DA20, DA40 series, DA50 Super Star DA42 Twin Star and D-JET. Jeppesen has also developed online Diamond-specific flight training materials for the DFCs.

Acording to Diamond, the response to initial advertisements has exceeded their expectations. "We are presently distributing program details to over 140 applicants. We expect the program to be a huge success and anticipate establishing over 200 DFCs in the USA over the next four to five years."

Safety Alert: How to Avoid Aviation's Most Preventable Accident
Get a complete, no-cost guide to managing your fuel from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Reduce your risk with detailed information on estimating your fuel consumption, understanding your fuel system, and managing fuel. Download your no-cost Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor now.

» Visit Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) in booth SNF-010 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefs back to top 

User Fees Debate Airs in Mainstream Media

"The federal government has taken billions of dollars from the taxes and fees paid by airline passengers every time they fly and awarded it to small airports used mainly by private pilots and globe-trotting corporate executives." That was the opening line in an Associated Press story that was reprinted widely in newspapers and distributed online this week. General aviation advocates did get a say. "Not all aircraft are the same nor do they impose the same costs on the system," Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, told the AP. "If we were grounded tomorrow, the system would cost the same." But as the story makes clear, the number of people who fly on airlines far exceeds the number who utilize GA airports.

"Critics question why families shlepping through Logan International Airport should pay for an instrument landing system in Pittsfield [Mass.] that allows wealthy clients of the nearby Canyon Ranch Spa to land in bad weather," reported Boston News 7.

ViperJet Executive Edition Unveiled

Viper Aircraft Corp., which has been selling kit versions of its personal jet for several years now, will showcase its new ViperJet MKII Executive edition on May 17 at the Porsche Aviation Jet Preview in Van Nuys, Calif. “We listened to our target audience and created the ViperJet MKII Executive to meet and exceed their expectations,” said Scott Hanchette, president of Viper Aircraft. The jet’s interior features integrated glass-cockpit flight systems by OP Technologies, adjustable front and rear seats upholstered in Italian leather, and overlay accents of layered Brazilian burl wood. The cabin design has been optimized for interior spaciousness and comfort, the company says.

The fully aerobatic airplane is powered by a single GE J-85/CJ-610 powerplant generating 2,850 lbs. of thrust. Prices for the basic MKII kit start at about $191,900. The prototype MKII first flew in 2004, and about 23 kits are now in the process of being built, company vice president Dan Hanchette told AVweb on Tuesday.

Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.

» Visit Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing in booths MD-020B-021C at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefs back to top 

Blind Pilot On His Way to Sydney

Miles Hilton-Barber landed in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Sunday, having launched on March 7 from London, heading halfway around the world in a microlight aircraft. Barber has been blind for 25 years, and is flying with a co-pilot. The team hopes to raise $1 million for Seeing Is Believing, a charity that aims to restore the sight of millions of people around the world who are afflicted with cataracts and other forms of curable blindness. Barber is flying a Mainair Quick GT450 equipped with "talking" instruments that tell him heading, bank angle, and other information he can use to control the aircraft.

The trip will cover almost 14,000 miles across 19 countries. “I may never see again” says Barber, “but if, through this flight, thousands of blind people in developing countries can have this gift of sight restored to them again, it will be so incredibly worth it!”

On the Fly ...

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker in a speech on Monday pressed the FAA to do more to prevent runway incursions ...

The second Spirit of St. Louis, the Columbia 300 that Erik Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic along the same route as his grandfather has been donated by Columbia to the St. Louis Science Center. It will be used in the center's education programs ...

Avidyne today launched the MX20 trade-up program, allowing owners to trade in old UPS-AT/Garmin MX20 units in exchange for discounts of up to $5,000 on the purchase of new Avidyne EX5000 MFDs or up to $2,000 on Avidyne EX500 units. This program is valid for new Avidyne systems ordered and shipped between April 2 and June 30, 2007.

Unapproved parts were sold by a dealer in Pompano Beach, Fla., the FAA said this week. The dealer sold parts as "new" or "new surplus" when, in fact, they were used or overhauled, the FAA says ...

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.

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.

» Visit General Aviation Modifications, Inc. (GAMI) in booth A-065 at Sun 'n Fun
Question of the Week back to top 

Question of the Week: Speculating on Toyota's Future as an Aircraft Manufacturer

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


The FAA plans to extend the validity of medical certificates for pilots under 40 years of age — but is it enough, or does the FAA need to institue more medical certificate reforms?

Last week, AVweb put that question to our readership, and a 52% majority of those who answered said that no, the FAA should eliminate third-class medicals altogether.  Significantly fewer respondents agreed with the FAA's proposal as-is or though the age floor should be moved up.  (For a complete breakdown of answers, click here.)


Now that Honda is firmly committed to the general aviation market, it stands to reason that arch rival Toyota will follow. Which GA market segment would you like to see Toyota enter?

Click here to answer.

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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 Chad Trautvetter.

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