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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.
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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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 hes 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 shouldnt 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.
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.
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 its 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, its perhaps easy to understand why these folks
didnt 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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The Sheriffs 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 Sheriffs 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
Sheriffs helicopter arrived and forced the gravel bar landing. Glenn County Sheriffs 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 pilots skill. "The pilot's either good,
or crazy, or both," Smith said.
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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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 AgustaWestlands facilities in Yeovil, England. The flight occurred 30 months after the controversial
contract was awarded (this will be the first Marine One that isnt designed and built by a U.S. firm) and the company says its on track for on-time delivery of the first aircraft in late
2009. Although its 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 AgustaWestlands 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.
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 didnt 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 wont 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 Carrs 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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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. Johns 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 hasnt 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.
The Air Force is putting $6 million into a Brown University project thats 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 mammals 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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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
Germanys 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
Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news
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411, said in a side conversation recorded during his pre-flight weather briefing with the Riverside (Calif.) Automated Flight Service Station, "Thank you very much for coming and helping I ... it's
been four and a half months since I've been in an airplane, I can't even figure out how to put the radios back in."
The airplane took off from the Corona (Calif.) Municipal Airport around 1430, and was en route to Santa Monica, Calif. Day visual conditions prevailed. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot checked in with
SoCal Approach and requested flight following to Santa Monica. Upon initial contact with SoCal approach, the airplane was observed heading east, away from Santa Monica. When the controller queried the
pilot, the pilot said his GPS indicated he was heading the correct direction. The controller informed the pilot that he was heading east when Santa Monica was to the west, and gave the pilot an
appropriate heading towards his destination.
Approximately three minutes and 15 seconds after initial contact with SoCal approach, and at an altitude of 4000 feet, the pilot reported an "engine cutting out," and said he intended to return to
Corona. The controller observed the airplane descend in altitude, assisted the pilot with vectors to the Corona Airport, and expressed concern about the airplane's ability to maintain altitude. The
pilot reassured the controller that he could maintain altitude.
Approximately three miles east of the Corona airport, the controller reported losing radar contact and advised the pilot to switch to the airport advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged this last
The airplane flew over several witnesses who were within 1/2 mile of the accident site. They reported observing the airplane flying "very low," at about 300 to 500 feet MSL and heading toward the
Corona airport. The witnesses reported consistent observations of the airplane "wobbling," then going into a steep, knife-edge, left bank before it dove into the ground. The accident occurred at 1453
Pacific time. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed.
All major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The airplane was laying upright with the landing gear collapsed underneath the fuselage. The nose, flight deck and instrument
panel of the airplane were completely destroyed.
The engine control quadrant -- throttle, propeller, and mixture control levers were all found parallel, in the full forward position.
The left propeller blades exhibited aft bending and slight chordwise scratches. The spinner was crushed aft without torsional twisting and with folds that paralleled the aft face of the spinner. The
right propeller's blades exhibited chordwise scratching and trailing edge buckling, forming a sinusoidal bend. According to the NTSB, damage to the left propeller "was significantly less than that of
the right propeller indicating lower energy (power) at impact." The wreckage exhibited evidence that the flaps were retracted and the landing gear was extended at impact. No pre-impact discrepancies
were found with either engine.
Investigation also revealed that it was likely the left-wing fuel transfer pumps were not working as well as they should have been, if at all. A Cessna service letter dating June 27, 1967, directed
the installation of wing tip tank fuel pumps intended to maintain a constant fuel supply at the wing tank fuel outlet at all times. According to the NTSB, Cessna's model 411 service manual states that
the purpose of these pumps "is to transfer fuel from the forward end of the main tanks to the center baffle area where it is picked up and routed to the engine by either the engine-driven pump or the
auxiliary fuel pump."
The pumps are powered from the landing light circuits. The mechanic who performed the aircraft's required annual maintenance mentioned that in order to keep the fuel transfer pumps from running
continuously when power was on the airplane, technicians would pull the landing light circuit breakers while performing maintenance. Investigators found the circuit breaker panels had pulled apart.
Most circuit breakers were popped or broken and extended out of position. So, it's not clear whether the landing light circuit breaker had been re-set since the annual inspection. Even if it was, one
of the pumps was not performing well.
The left-wing fuel pumps appeared to be in good condition with intact electrical connections and were tested for operation. The left auxiliary pump and fuel transfer pumps were wired with an external
power source and tested using water as a working fluid to determine if the fuel pumps worked. The left auxiliary pump operated and produced
approximately a flow rate of 2.4 gallons per minute. The left fuel transfer pump operated and produced a flow rate of approximately 0.3 gallons per minute.
Further, no fueling records were found at the Corona airport. The last location of the airplane prior to its arrival at Corona was Bermuda Dunes, Calif. Bermuda Dunes records show the airplane as
fueled on October 31, 2002, taking on 56.2 gallons. Witnesses reported that the airplane did not take on any fuel immediately prior to the accident flight.
The NTSB noted that the FAA's "Airplane Flying Handbook" (FAA-H-8083-3) discusses the effects caused by a failure of the critical engine in typical multiengine airplanes manufactured in the U.S.:
"When the right engine is operative and the left engine is inoperative, the turning (or yawing) force is greater than in the opposite situation of an operative left engine and an inoperative right
engine. In other words, directional control is more difficult when the left engine (the critical engine) is suddenly made inoperative."
The NTSB also noted that the Cessna 411 Owners Manual states, "climb or continued level flight at a moderate altitude is improbable with the landing gear extended or the propeller windmilling."
The NTSB determined the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows to include: "The failure of the pilot to
properly configure the airplane for a one-engine-inoperative condition (including his failure to feather the propeller of the affected engine, retract the landing gear and maintain minimum
single-engine speed). Factors related to the accident were fuel starvation of the left engine, due to an inadequate fuel supply in the left tanks, inoperative fuel transfer pumps, and the pilot's
decision to take off without fueling."
It's one thing for a current, proficient pilot to accept an airplane with a known deficiency. It's quite another for a pilot who hasn't flown in a few months to knowingly fly a twin with several
problems. The pilot stacked his own deck for this flight. Pulling the wrong card was inevitable.
More accident analyses are available in AVweb's Probable Cause Index. And for monthly articles about safety, including accident reports like this one,
subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Safety.
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
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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 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.
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.
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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."
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),
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.
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."
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
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.
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version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.