AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 28a

July 9, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News back to top 
 

Victory Is In The Air For Epic Aircraft

Epic Aircraft CEO Rick Schrameck confirmed to AVweb that the company's very light jet (VLJ) single, dubbed Victory, made its maiden flight on Friday at 7:30 a.m. from the Redmond (Ore.) Airport. The Friday morning flight lasted about 50 minutes, during which time Epic test pilot Len Fox flew the Williams FJ33-4A-powered airplane with the gear extended to examine its basic flight characteristics at altitudes up to 14,000 feet. The all-composite jet single took a few more laps in the air on Friday afternoon and over the weekend, and at press time it had logged about seven hours, Schrameck said. He noted that the five-place aircraft is performing well, and added that it needed only 1,500 feet of runway to land after its initial jaunt. The Victory's achievement is astonishing given its short seven-month design to first flight timeline (rivaling that of the famed P-51 Mustang), as well as because it follows the first flight of the company's other clean-sheet jet -- the Elite Jet twin-engine VLJ -- by only a month. Epic plans to bring the Victory to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., along with the Elite Jet and the Epic LT and Dynasty turboprop singles. "It's our people that made this first flight happen in such a short time," Schrameck said, while he also offered praise to the FAA's Seattle MIDO and Portland FSDO for working overtime to process the paperwork that authorized the jet single to actually become airborne. The $1 million experimental version of the Victory will sport Garmin G900 avionics, while a planned certified copy will come with the Garmin G1000 system. Schrameck promised more details on the previously unannounced certified version later this month at AirVenture ("Stay tuned," he mused), but Epic's Web site shows that the Victory will fly up to FL280, cruise at more than 320 knots and have a range of about 1,200 nm at a more modest 250 knots.

Point2Point Airways’ Aircraft Repossessed

A North Dakota air-taxi service that was heavily funded by state and local governments has defaulted on its aircraft lease payments, and its aircraft, a Cirrus SR22 and a Diamond DA42 Twin Star, have been repossessed by the bank holding the leases on the airplanes. The Fargo Forum reported last week that Point2Point Airways owes Northland Financial $362,000. A judge ordered the company to repay the money and started the clock on interest on June 26 at the rate of $70.90 a day. Point2Point quit flying at the end of April after a tough winter. The company was unable to fly its two aircraft in icing conditions, and that put a major crimp in the operations of the Bismarck-based on-demand operator. The company attracted more than $2 million in start-up funding from government sources. The city of Bismarck contributed $1.25 million after it received a $250,0000 federal grant to study the proposition. The State of North Dakota chipped in more than $200,000 and NASA is on the hook for $350,000.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

New FAA Midair Incident Reporting Standards Implemented

According to the FAA, 4.5 miles is the new five miles. USA Today reported last week the agency has adopted new reporting standards for air traffic separation errors that, among other things, give controllers a 10-percent margin for error in maintaining the once-sacrosanct five-mile spacing. The newspaper paraphrases Tony Ferrante, director of the FAA's Air Traffic Safety Oversight Service, as saying the half-mile fudge factor is designed to encourage controllers to tighten up traffic at busy airports without risking being cited for busting the five-mile barrier. The new standards also, at the stroke of a pen, dramatically reduce the incident rate by reclassifying some separation errors, adopting new standards for others and eliminating 25 percent of those that are now reportable. The FAA says the new system takes a more rational and realistic approach to the whole error-reporting system, but critics say it will hide the truth about the state of the increasingly crowded airspace. Bryan Zilonis, a regional vice president with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, helped design the old system and he’s upset with its being changed. "It's going to make them look like geniuses when really they've done nothing," he told USA Today. "You improve safety by reducing operational errors, not recategorizing them." Ken Mead, the former DOT Inspector General, said the FAA shouldn’t fuzz the rules when it comes to separation of aircraft. "Do you want planes coming that close together or not? If you don't, then you ought to say that," Mead said.

PATCO President Turns Down Controller Job

Ron Taylor has been out of work in his chosen field for almost 26 years, but that doesn't mean he's going to take the first offer that comes along. Taylor, the president of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) whose members were fired en masse by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 when they went ahead with strike action, says he's been offered a job as an air traffic controller by the FAA in his old facility at West Palm Beach, Fla., but he's not taking it. In a news release, Taylor said he's not about to work for the FAA's new starting wage, which was imposed as part of the enforced settlement of a labor contract with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) last year. He said he was offered about a third of what an experienced controller would make, and he's not about to accept the "inadequate, substandard and discriminatory salary that the Agency has offered to me." According to FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown, there are plenty of people anxious to take Taylor's spot. "We've been having no trouble attracting people who want these jobs," Brown told AVweb. She said she's not sure where Taylor would have entered the system, but given his lengthy absence from the console she surmised that at the very least he would need to recertify. Even if that meant going to the controllers' academy to start over, Brown insists it's still not a bad deal. Fresh recruits get about $2,500 a month while they're training and the salary goes up quickly after that. "After one year, they're making $50,000 and after five years they're making $94,000," she said. Taylor is apparently leaving the door open for the FAA to sweeten his deal. He made sure his rejection letter to the FAA was written "without prejudice," meaning he doesn't think this particular tiff should get in the way of his being offered and accepting a better offer.

Three Slots Open For $250,000 Personal Air Vehicle Challenge

Think you have the airplane/flying car of the future ready to show its stuff? There could be $250,000 in prize money waiting for you in the first annual Personal Air Vehicle Challenge. The CAFÉ Foundation, a group of homebuilders that evolved into an organization promoting the flying-car concept, is organizing the event and it’s funded by a $2 million injection from NASA in something called the Centennial (referring to the centennial of flight) Challenges. The first contest gets under way Aug. 4, and organizers say three slots have opened up by competitors withdrawing. Given the parameters of the competition, it’s perhaps easy to understand why these folks didn’t think they would measure up. [more] According to the general guidelines of the competition, the CAFÉ Foundation is looking for a combination of a Cessna 150 and a Ferrari that runs on peanut oil and is “as affordable as travel by car or an airliner.” The PAVs that do show up for the competition will be judged on flying qualities, efficiency, short-field capability, noise and speed, and the common thread in all the flight trials is ease of use and low pilot workload. The foundation claims that almost half of all future travel will be accomplished in "near all-weather STOL PAVs [that] will be able to transport people to within just a few miles of their doorstep destination at trip speeds three to four times faster than airlines or cars."

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Water Skimming Plane Scares Tubers

The Sheriff’s office in Butte County, Calif., is investigating an impromptu Fourth of July air show that reportedly scared people tubing on the Sacramento River and resulted in a small aircraft being forced to land on a gravel bar after pursuit by a police helicopter. According to the Chico Enterprise-Record, Sgt. Dave Lilygren of the neighboring Glenn County Sheriff’s department was patrolling the river when he saw the aircraft drop its wheels in the water and skim the river for about a half mile, crossing under the Gianella Bridge. The plane made several more low passes before the Glenn County Sheriff’s helicopter arrived and forced the gravel bar landing. Glenn County Sheriff’s Capt. Jerry Smith noted that the pilot was in violation of any number of FAA regulations and he would look into the report from a criminal point of view. But Smith, who heads up air operations for the department, also had some grudging admiration for the pilot’s skill. "The pilot's either good, or crazy, or both," Smith said.

Medical Flight Pilot Reported Runaway Trim

A pilot of a Cessna Citation 550 carrying an organ transplant team that crashed in Lake Michigan in early June reported to air traffic control that the aircraft had runaway trim, as AVweb previously reported. An investigation update from the NTSB says a pilot is also heard telling the other pilot to take the controls of the aircraft while he pulled circuit breakers. The aircraft crashed a short time later, killing all six people on board. According to the NTSB, the aircraft took off from General Mitchell Field in Milwaukee and climbed to 4,400 feet in two stages within the first two minutes. It then descended at 2,260 fpm until it crashed. A team of experts is now going over the cockpit voice recorder information, but it seems clear the crew was having trouble controlling the plane shortly after takeoff. Examination of the wreckage has also shown that pitch, yaw and roll trim were not set in the neutral position when the plane crashed. The significance of this is being studied and more instruments and equipment are being examined. More information will be released as the investigation proceeds.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

New Presidential Helicopter Flies

The next president will have an "Oval Office In The Sky" aboard what is described as the most technologically advanced helicopter ever built. According to a news release, the AgustaWestland/Lockheed Martin VH-71 flew for the first time on July 3 and test pilots reported the aircraft performed well on the 40-minute flight at Italy-based AgustaWestland’s facilities in Yeovil, England. The flight occurred 30 months after the controversial contract was awarded (this will be the first Marine One that isn’t designed and built by a U.S. firm) and the company says it’s on track for on-time delivery of the first aircraft in late 2009. Although it’s a European design, the presidential helicopters are being developed with Lockheed Martin and will be assembled by Bell Helicopter in Texas. The VH-71s will have significantly better performance than the existing VH-3D and VH-60N aircraft currently in use. The VH-71 is based on AgustaWestland’s EH-101 tri-engine military and search and rescue helicopter. The program is being implemented in two stages, and in the second phase the helicopters will be outfitted with the gear needed to allow the president to exert command and control functions from the air. By 2014, the VH-71s will replace all 19 helicopters currently in the presidential fleet. Why so many? Marine One is usually accompanied by four other identical helicopters that change formation with the one occupied by the president to lessen the chance of his being attacked.

Community Helps Paralyzed Pilot Fly Again

Oakland, Calif., pilot Quincey Carr might yet achieve many of his dreams after going through a nightmare for the past year. Carr, 22, was getting his hair cut last Aug. 11 when, for no apparent reason, a man shot him five times as he sat in the barber chair. At the time, Carr had paid to earn his private pilot certificate by working three jobs. He was heading for his commercial ticket when the seemingly senseless violence almost sent him on another journey. Carr almost didn’t survive the shooting but, as he recovered from his multiple injuries, he never lost his desire to fly. The shooting robbed him of the use of his legs but, according to the Alameda Times-Star, with some help from the local aviation community, his family and church, that won’t be an obstacle to his resuming flying. Local pilots, with help from his congregation, have raised almost $10,000 to buy hand controls and to pay for more training. In all, more than 100 donations were received, some from as far away as Hawaii and Pennsylvania. Local flight instructor Bill Dillon spearheaded the drive and is now designing Carr’s training program. "[Quincey] is so enthusiastic about flying," Dillon told the newspaper. "We'll be setting up a formal training agenda for him, to get him trained on these hand controls. We might even have to pull the reins in on him a bit, he's so excited about it."

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

British Balloonist Sets Trans-Atlantic Record

British adventurer David Hempleman-Adams set a record Friday after flying a helium balloon from Newfoundland and Labrador to the French countryside near Dijon. According to Canadian Press, he used the smallest helium balloon ever to make that kind of trip. He took off from St. John’s on Monday and spent four almost sleepless days crossing the pond. The balloon gondola was so small it had a flap cut in the side so he could stick his feet outside to sleep. He never used the flap. "The French countryside is gorgeous," he wrote in his blog. "Thank God I'm over land." Although the exact distance flown hasn’t been released, Hempleman-Adams beat the old record of 3,400 miles while he was still over water but in sight of the French coast. The former record holder for that size of balloon, Benoit Simeons, was clearly impressed by Hempleman-Adams’ exploits. "This adventure is without any doubt the most daring flight ever tried with this kind of balloon," Simeons said in a message e-mailed to Hempleman-Adams during the flight.

Bats Hold Keys To Future UAVs

The Air Force is putting $6 million into a Brown University project that’s trying to apply the amazing flight capabilities of bats to agile stealthy unmanned aircraft. The team of researchers speculates that bats are wired for flight with an array of sensors on their highly flexible wings that allows them to perform maneuvers that would send a bird or an airplane tumbling from the sky. The Air Force is hoping it might be able to replicate bat flight to some degree with electronic sensors and computers and achieve some of the nocturnal mammal’s aerial prowess. "The Air Force envisions a future in which they have lots of autonomous air vehicles that can take on different kinds of missions and that don't have pilots," Sharon Swartz , an evolutionary biologist at Brown who is helping run the project, told the Boston Globe. The Air Force will have to come up with a lot more than electronic wizardry to capture some of the magic of bat flight, however. Bats have very light, very flexible wings that, in the blink of an eye, can change from a smooth, low-drag, high-lift configuration to a contorted shape that allows a 180-degree turn in the space of half a wing span. Not only that, pregnant female bats carrying half their body weight in babies can keep flying the same way, which is getting the Air Force thinking about payloads. "We know a lot about the aerodynamics of large things moving very fast,” Swartz said. “There is almost nothing known yet about the basic physics of bat flight."

 
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News In Brief back to top 
 

On The Fly

Boeing turned on the hoopla for the rollout of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Sunday, including a parade of all seven of its predecessors (including the adopted 717). Dozens of orders for the 787 were also announced, pushing the total to almost 700…

Germany’s DFS air traffic control system could be the next to privatize. Reports from Europe say the German parliament will pass a law this fall that will allow the privatization by the end of 2008…

Cirrus Design founders Alan and Dale Klapmeier have been honored by the Aero Club of New England. The club awarded the brothers the Dr. Godfrey L. Cabot Award, its highest honor, in June…

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.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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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 23-20 & S-14 at AirVenture
 
New On AVweb back to top 
 

Probable Cause #36: Stacking The Deck

A rusty pilot attempts to ferry a twin with fuel-system and propeller problems.

Click here for the full story.

The New Flight Service: An Insider's View

This week a Flight Service Specialist provides an interesting opinion on the whole issue of privatization of Flight Service.

Click here for the full story.

 
FLITELite™ Reinvents Light ... Once Again
FLITELite, aviation's LED innovator, introduces the next step in headset technology — a new intercom-powered, hands-free LED flashlight built into the headset microphone without loss of audio system quality, factory installed by AVCOMM Communications. Never lose your flashlight again. And the FLITELite never requires batteries. FLITELite controls are hands-free; just a gentle touch with your lip to turn it on — give it a kiss, and conquer the night. More details online.

» Visit FLITELite & AvComm in booth 223 at AirVenture
 
AVweb-Exclusive Audio And Video 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 hear you'll hear Dick Knapinski give a preview of EAA AirVenture 2007. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier; NBAA's Harry Houkes; Reason Foundation's Robert Poole; SATSair's Sheldon Early; Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; AOPA's Randy Kenagy; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Xwind's Brad Whitsitt; BoGo Light's Mark Bent; DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; Pogo Jet's Cameron Burr; Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia; Air Journey's Thierry Pouille; Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; Cessna's Jack Pelton; Embraer's Ernest Edwards and LAMA's Dan Johnson. In today's podcast, hear Alfred Repetti of BusinessJetSEATS and Earthjet's Dean Rotchin talk about their partnership to deliver per-seat air taxi service using the existing bizjet fleet. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Exclusive Video: An Inside Look at Cessna's Citation Mustang

Take a quick tour of Cessna's introductory jet with AVweb Video Editor Glenn Pew. Some may refer to the Citation Mustang as a very light jet or "VLJ," but others are calling it a whole new breed of personal jet.


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.

 
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FBO Of The Week back to top 
 

FBO Of The Week: Atlantic Aviation KISM

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at KISM in Kissimmee, Florida.

AVweb readers (and Cessna Pilot Society members) Dave Kalwishky, Greg Wright, Gene Cartier, Gilberto Velez-Domenech, Ray Mozingo and Keith Dorken said the facility's staff rose to the occasion during a fly-in for their annual get-together.

"We had a group fly-in to ISM and we used this FBO. They did a great job of parking the 25 of us, brought us ice cold bottled water when we came in and gave us rides on golf cart from our plane to the FBO," noted Kalwishky. Velez-Domenech added, "Each and every person in the staff made me feel like I was their most important customer. They were efficient, courteous, friendly and always had a smile on their faces."

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!

 
Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You!
If you live near or in one of these states — California, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, and Oklahoma — Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed Savvy Owner Seminar. In one information-packed weekend, you will learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands of dollars on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details (and to reserve your space), click here.
 
Video Of The Week back to top 
 

Video of the Week: Relentless #42 at the Reno Air Races

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Feeling the need for speed? "Video of the Week" has your Monday morning pick-me-up, courtesy of a 2005 CW Films documentary on the Reno Air Races. Featured is pilot Kevin Eldredge of the Relentless Air Racing Team.

Originally posted on YouTube by cwfilms.


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. (Try as we might, we can't seem to goof off enough to see all the videos on the Web!) 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."

 
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The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Heard one day near Chicago:

Chicago Center: Southwest Two Four One Three, traffic at your nine o’clock, three miles.

Southwest 2413: What kind of a plane is that?

Center: Beech Seven Two Two, what type plane are you flying?

Beech 722: Bonanza F33A.

Center: Southwest did you copy?

Southwest 2413 [other pilot’s voice]: I don’t know why he wants to know — he can’t afford it.

 
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.

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.

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