AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 16f

April 21, 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
'Chute Happens back to top 

BRS Parachutes Now Ready for LSAs, DA50

Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) aircraft recovery parachutes now are available as an option on the Sport Cruiser light port aircraft (LSA) built by Czech Aircraft Works, BRS CEO Larry Williams announced at Sun 'n Fun on Friday. "Now that we've had some experience working within the LSA rules, we have a process and procedures in place to quickly develop more systems," he said. "We expect to announce five more BRS systems for LSAs very soon." BRS chutes already are standard on the Flight Design CT light sport aircraft. Also, he announced that the new Diamond DA50 Super Star will offer a BRS chute as an option. The chute for the single-engine Diamond D-Jet is also well along in testing. "We completed some drop tests about six weeks ago, and the chute deployed properly," Williams said. "The canopy is stable and the descent rates are better than expected. We will start more drop tests on May 8, and if all goes well, as we expect, we'll move into the certification phase of testing soon after that."

He also added that a recent Service Bulletin for the Cirrus BRS system is a minor adjustment, and Cirrus already is making the changes. "There was one incident in Australia when the rocket deployed and behaved erratically," Williams said. Engineers were able to diagnose the problem and Cirrus is paying for minor changes to be made. "The modification is required, but the system is still functional," Williams said. "If any owner needed to use the system before complying with the SB, they shouldn't hesitate to use it."

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
AVweb Exclusive Video back to top 

A Video Look at Cessna's Light Sport Aircraft

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Cessna's LSA concept aircraft has undergone changes and may see more. At Sun 'N Fun 2007, Glenn Pew got the story from Cessna's Vice President of single engine piston sales, John Doman.

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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
A500 Matures back to top 

Adam Aircraft Continues to Refine A500

The Adam Aircraft A500 inline piston twin is closing in on full functionality, company CEO Rick Adam said this week at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla. The final certification paperwork allowing the A500 to operate at altitudes up to FL250 has been submitted to the FAA and is pending approval. In September, the airplane's type certificate was amended to include night and IFR operations, pressurization, autopilot and operations up to 18,000 feet. In the meantime, Adam Aircraft is adding several avionics upgrades to the A500, including a traffic advisory system, terrain awareness and warning system and XM weather, as well as CMAX Jeppesen chart viewing on the Avidyne multifunction display.

In addition, the company is also working on the airplane's anti-ice/deice system, air conditioning and lightning strike protection. Adam Aircraft is getting ready to deliver A500 S/N 11 soon and is preparing to ramping up to a production rate of three of the piston twins per month in 2008.

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.
User Fee Fact & Fiction back to top 

FAA Mythbusting — Should GA Worry About User Fees?

Would the FAA's proposed new funding structure force general aviation to pay more than its fair share of the FAA's costs? According to the FAA, that's a "myth." At an "Ask The FAA" session at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., on Friday, the FAA answered questions about user fees and distributed a "fact sheet" that explains the effects of its proposed financing changes on general aviation. The "facts," according to the FAA, are that GA currently drives about 16 percent of the expense of the air traffic system, but pays only 3 percent of the cost. The proposed changes would raise that percentage to 11 percent, with only 1 percent coming from piston-aircraft users. It's also a myth, says the FAA, that the airlines drive the cost of the infrastructure, while GA is only a marginal user. The FAA says it has taken those factors into account in its cost analyses. Will the proposed tax increases "ruin" GA in the U.S.? No, says the FAA. The increased cost would work out to about $500 per year for most piston fliers, according to the fact sheet.

A group of FAA officials answered questions from the audience during the hour-long open session. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey was not able to attend, but FAA Southern Region Administrator Doug Murphy led the panel. One airline pilot protested the FAA's slow progress in addressing the age-60 rule, and was told that an NPRM will be issued soon to propose a change to the rule, but "there is a process we need to follow," and it will take time. John King, of King Schools, said user fees for services would jeopardize safety, and was told that pilots would not be charged a fee for anything that would make them safer.

User Fee Compromise in the Works

Capitol Hill pundits are predicting the compromise on general aviation user fees that will be sent to Congress will spare the piston crowd any increases, but sock business aviation with charges for their use of the airspace. (Hear what Cessna chairman, CEO and president Jack Pelton has to say about aviation user fees. [3.3MB mp3]) A story in The Hill earlier this week quoted unnamed sources as presenting this scenario. “The piston thing is not going to happen,” the source told The Hill. “I do think there’s significant traction on the whole issue of corporate aircraft.” The story also quotes an internal Air Transport Association memo as conceding that the statistics it has widely used to support the airlines' position on user fees are somewhat skewed. The ATA, the strongest proponent of user fees, has publicly claimed that U.S. airlines pay 95 percent of non-general-fund contributions to the FAA's trust fund through ticket taxes, but The Hill says the internal memo admits that the airline portion is more like 74 percent, with cargo companies and foreign airlines picking up the difference. Meanwhile, there's a furor north of the border as Nav Canada has singled out very light jets for inclusion in its second tier of charges.

Currently, the owner of any aircraft weighing less than three metric tonnes (roughly 6,600 pounds) pays an annual fee of $71 for full access to Nav Canada services. Aircraft larger than that pay as they go for movement and terminal charges. The new charge captures at least two very light jets that would have slipped under the three-tonne limit, including the Eclipse 500 and the Canadian-built Diamond D-Jet. The cost difference is significant. Kevin Psutka, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association says his calculations show a short flight between London, Ont. (where the Diamond is built) and Toronto would cost the Diamond owner C$105.42 and the Eclipse owner C$114.14.

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
LSAs at Sun 'n Fun back to top 

New LSAs in the Works from Brazil, Spain, and Italy

AirMax's SeaMax from Brazil
Composite Aeronautic Group's Toxo Sportster from Spain
Aerolab's airframe design from Italy

Right by the entrance at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., the pretty little SeaMax amphibian attracted a lot of attention from showgoers this week. The airplane has been in production in Brazil since 2001, company rep Carlos Bessa told AVweb, and 55 copies are flying. Brazil-based AirMax is now working to introduce the airplane in the U.S. as a light sport aircraft. "We hope to have completed the S-LSA process by July or August," Bessa said. The fuselage is all composite, so there is no corrosion issue. Price starts at about $137,000.

Also new this year is the Toxo by Composite Aeronautic Group of Spain. The airplane meets the U.S. regs for an LSA, and should be available by the end of the year, according to Director General Juan Carlos Ortiz Villajos. The airplane has flown just 15 hours, and a second prototype is in the works, Villajos said. The airframe is all carbon fiber for "an impressive strength-to-weight ratio," he said, and the interior is roomy and comfortable. Options include a glass panel and ballistic parachute. "And the design, is something they love to see," he added, noting the clean sweeping lines of the fuselage. Price will run about $148,000 fully loaded.

From Italy, "only for lovers of old-fashioned airplanes," Aerolab brought an open-cockpit design to Sun 'n Fun. The display showed just the bones of a fuselage, but company founder Francesco Rizzi said he hopes to have a flying copy on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in July. The airplane will be available in three variations -- monoplane, biplane or parasol wing. An LSA version should be available by the end of this year, Rizzi said. Kits will be available also. A full kit sells for about $45,000.

Bumpy Road for Sweepstakes Aircraft

The annual pilgrimage to Lakeland Linder Airport could take on special significance for one aviation buff next April. Sun 'n Fun unveiled its first sweepstakes aircraft on Friday as part of an online promotion. Over the next year, anyone can buy a sweepstakes ticket online and the aircraft, an American Flyer light sport aircraft made by Mountain Aircraft in Idaho. The aircraft is on display in the Sportsplanes.com booth behind the FAA center. However, it will not be exactly the same aircraft that will be delivered a year from now.

The $60,000 high wing, with convertible landing gear, was loaded on a trailer for the trek to Florida from Idaho in early April and Mother Nature intervened. A wind gust flipped truck and trailer into the ditch and heavily damaged the plane. The decision was made to load the damaged plane on another trailer and get it to Florida where a team of volunteers repaired and repainted it in three days. Some of the repairs are cosmetic only and, after the show, the aircraft will be gone through thoroughly and restored to brand-new flying condition.

Meridian. Mirage. Pressurized Comfort. Pure Performance.
Turboprop or piston, your choice in pressurized comfort.
Meridian: 500 hp turboprop; maximum cruise speed - 260 ktas; range - 1,000 nm; useful load - 1,720 pounds; maximum altitude - 30,000 feet.
Mirage: Turbocharged 350 hp piston engine; maximum cruise speed - 213 ktas; range - 1,345 nm; useful load - 1,245 pounds; maximum altitude - 25,000 feet.
Excitement Level: Off the charts!
Up to $150,000 in factory incentives on your way to PiperJet ownership. Call Piper at (866) FLY-PIPER for a dealer near you, or go online.

» Visit Piper Aircraft in booths MD-18C-19B at Sun 'n Fun
AVweb Audio News — Are You Listening? back to top 

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun Podcast #5: LAMA's Dan Johnson on Keeping LSAs Compliant (and Safe)

File Size 8.2 MB / Running Time 8:57

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

If LSA manufacturers are essentially certifying their own aircraft, can consumers have confidence that they are really okay? AVweb's Mary Grady talks with Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA), about a new program to verify that LSA airplanes are compliant with required standards.

Attention, Piper Owners and Pilots!
Join the fastest-growing and best association for Piper Flyers — the Piper Flyer Association (PFA), since 2004 providing same-day parts locating, faster answers to technical questions, an informative monthly magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual gatheringseminars, member discounts, and more for only $39 yearly. The PFA is located in the Blue Hangar on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ) in Waupaca, Wisconsin, just 35 nm NW of Oshkosh. For more info, visit PiperFlyer.org.
It's All in the Cards back to top 

"Trade You a Cherokee for a Concorde"

If you have kids, know a kid, or ever were a kid, you know somebody who'll probably love the new Aircraft Trading Cards from Alpha Tango Charlie Inc. When company founder Todd Trainor started handing out samples to a group of jaded old aviation reporters at the Sun 'n Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., this week, they immediately started to trade them. "These are designed to be educational for kids, and encourage their interest in aviation," said Trainor, a long-time pilot. "But adults like them, too." Each $3 packet contains 10 cards, eight of them will full-color photos of aircraft from around the world. The reverse side holds a story and facts about that airplane. The other two cards feature aviation trivia questions. "This is where the adults can engage with the kids, or the older kids can quiz each other," Trainor told AVweb. He said he got the idea when his six-year-old nephew asked for some airplane trading cards, and he couldn't find any. He tried selling some samples at a Young Eagles event and was inspired by the effect they had on kids.

"One parent told me that once they got the kids home, they didn't turn the GameBoy on all weekend," he said. And, he notes, "No batteries are required." The cards are for sale online.

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.

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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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