AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 30a

July 23, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 

Cessna Thinks SkyCatcher Is a Home Run

On Sunday morning at EAA AirVenture, Cessna Aircraft revealed more details about its light sport aircraft (LSA), which is now known as the Model 162 SkyCatcher. "For the past year, we have been soliciting feedback from the market on our proof-of-concept aircraft, and the result is an airplane that we believe is the most advanced and innovative in its class," said Cessna President, Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton. The $109,500, aluminum Cessna LSA will sport the Continental O-200D engine, single-screen Garmin G300 avionics, two-blade composite prop, caster nosewheel, adjustable rudder peddles, painted metal interior and gull-wing doors. A significant change from the POC airplane is a constant chord wing, which makes it easier to manufacture. It is expected to cruise at up to 118 knots and have a max range of 470 nm and 15,500-foot service ceiling. Preliminary specifications of the day/night VFR-capable airplane include a 1,320-pound mtow, 490-pound useful load and 24-gallon useful fuel load. A conforming prototype is expected to be flying by next summer, with ASTM certification planned by the end of 2008 and first deliveries in the second half of 2009.

Cessna is taking $10,000 deposits at the show, and Pelton expects many orders from Cessna Pilot Centers (CPCs) since the airplane is targeted toward the training market. EAA is the launch customer for the new Cessna model, with the first production airplane going to the association's Young Eagles program and the second airplane to the EAA Flight Academy. Cessna is working on an FITS-approved SkyCatcher flight-training program for both sport and private-pilot courses.

New Panel, with FLIR, Could Be Cirrus' Big Announcement

Persistent rumors that Cirrus Design and L-3 Avionics Systems were collaborating on a new flat-panel display, called SmartDeck, that includes forward-looking infrared (FLIR) are actually old news to those who live in Grand Rapids, Mich. Last June 6, Cirrus taxied an SR22 down one of Cascade Township's main streets to an L-3 plant where the new display was developed. From the newspaper and television reports we've seen, it looks like a next-generation cockpit display that integrates all the stuff you'd expect: weather, collision avoidance, terrain, navigation, communication and aircraft systems monitoring in a touch-pad-accessible system. But it does include one you wouldn't expect -- a system that lets pilots see in the dark.

The local TV broadcast, which is now on YouTube, shows a remarkably clear FLIR display called IRIS that should make things a lot easier in marginal conditions. We're still hoping for the Cirrus jet to fly into EAA AirVenture on Monday morning, but the new panel may rate the hype of Cirrus' "surprise announcement." We'll have all the details in AVweb's Tuesday summary of news from EAA AirVenture.

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News Briefs back to top 

The King Is Back

Honeywell's Bendix/King division on Sunday unveiled two new glass-panel avionics -- the KSN 770 MFD/GPS WAAS/navcom unit and KFD 840 primary flight display -- in an attempt to leapfrog competitors. The KSN 770 borrows its easy-to-use graphical interface, which is called INAV GA, from Honeywell's higher-end integrated avionics systems for business aircraft. Not lacking any features, the 5.7-inch-diagonal LCD unit will be localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) and WAAS capable and will display a range of safety systems, including onboard weather radar, terrain awareness and warning system, datalink weather, traffic, charts and maps. It features multiple control inputs, such as traditional hard keys, line-select keys, display-based dedicated keys and a cursor control device. Bendix/King plans to certify the KSN 770 in late 2008; pricing has not been set, but "will be competitively priced" with similar WAAS receivers. "We believe the KSN 770 is revolutionary in that it pushes the boundary of performance for retrofit avionics," said Dan Barks, business director of GA operators and dealers. "This unit is a significant step forward in performance and ease of use over existing multifunctional WAAS displays. Pilots will see that this unit has some of the same look and feel as other Honeywell avionics on larger aircraft."

To keep the price of the KFD 840 under $20,000, Bendix/King is working with Crossbow Technology to develop a PFD for piston aircraft that interfaces with existing navigation systems and autopilots and offers pilots checklists and weight and balance calculations. According to Bendix/King, the KFD 840 will have a built in solid-state air data Computer and attitude heading reference system, altitude and airspeed bugs and a slaved horizontal situation indicator. The 8.4-inch LCD box will interface with common general aviation navigation systems, in addition to existing KAP-140 and KFC-150/200/225 autopilots. "We see significant interest in the retrofit market for 'glass cockpit' technology that makes flying easier and safer such as solid state sensors and a wide horizon. For many aircraft this will allow a pilot to add a second attitude, airspeed and altitude source, improving safety," Barks said. The KFD 840 will be available for delivery in the second half of 2008.

A Special Year for Bonanzas to Oshkosh

The annual Bonanzas to Oshkosh (B2Osh) trek on Saturday took on special meaning this year, which sees both the 60th anniversary of the Beechcraft Bonanza and the 75th anniversary of Beechcraft. This year's B2Osh flight to aviation mecca (EAA AirVenture) included 110 airplanes -- 102 Bonanzas and eight twin-engine Barons. However, the stars of the show were the old and new Bonanzas -- a newly renovated 1947 Model 35 (S/N D-18) owned by the Beechcraft Heritage Museum and the 60th anniversary G1000-equipped G36 piloted by Hawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO James Schuster. The group of airplanes took off about noon on Saturday from the Rockford (Ill.) Airport and landed in Oshkosh, Wis., at approximately 1:20 p.m. It took less than eight minutes for the group to leave Rockford, and an equal amount of time to land at Oshkosh. However, the mass landing in Oshkosh was missing N313W, a 1981 V-tail Bonanza, that suffered an engine failure shortly after leaving Rockford.

Pilot Kelly McBride left the formation about seven miles out from the departure point, radioed a Mayday call and landed in a cornfield just outside of Rockford. The B2Osh group was relieved when minutes later Rockland tower radioed that McBride was standing on his wing and waving at a search and rescue helicopter; at press time it was unknown if he later made it to the AirVenture show grounds sans airplane.

Looks Like an Interesting Show

EAA AirVenture has been the world's aviation showcase for years, but in recent years the big companies especially have ramped up the showmanship. Last year, for instance, Cessna surprised everyone with a flyby of its proof-of-concept next generation piston aircraft while the media and public were poring over the company's proposed entry in the light sport category. This year, Cessna sealed the LSA deal with a splashy press conference on Sunday. This year at AirVenture, Cirrus is unveiling its "big surprise" on Monday morning. Now it's natural for us to assume that it has something to do with its personal jet, and media types have been busy the last week busy analyzing every word spoken in reference to Cirrus's surprise announcement a month ago that it wasn't bringing its jet mock-up to Oshkosh (key word, mock-up). Whatever Cirrus ultimately reveals on Monday, there'll be plenty of other new product announcements this week and they start on Monday with first appearances by several aircraft.

Epic's new single- and twin-engine jets will arrive at Aeroshell Square and Diamond will show off its DA50 Super Star. Rotorway will give us details on its entry to the certified helicopter market after decades as a kitbuilder and there might be a third incarnation of Symphony, as the company, which went bankrupt in Canada earlier this year, holds a news conference on Monday. Several well established projects will be making first appearances at the show.

Grob's SPN business jet mock-up is here and so is the Bell/Agusta BA609 civil tiltrotor. Expedition Aircraft's rugged looking bushplanes made their entrance on Sunday. And it looks like AirVenture has been rediscovered by pilots. Fly-in parking areas were already almost full by Sunday and the aircraft just keep coming.

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News Briefs back to top 

Piper Declines Potential $76 Million Incentive

The key word is "potential". A $76 million incentive package offered to Piper Aircraft to keep the airplane maker in Vero Beach, Fla., the company's current headquarters and a possible manufacturing facility for the PiperJet, was tied to a countywide referendum, stimulating public conflict and stifling the company's interest in the plan. Piper management used a full page ad in Thursday's Vero Beach Press Journal to state its position: "We do not wish to subject the employees of Piper to the uncertainty of a highly controversial public political process related to the overall economic development efforts in Vero Beach and Indian River County." Other financial considerations factored into the mix. The ad went on to state that the proposed referendum would require payment of more than $100 million in rent over 30 years, in exchange for $23 million in incentives and was, therefore, "not financially compelling." Efforts to retain the employment that Piper provides and potential employment from the proposed single-engine PiperJet design are in the works.

"Our local government officials are determined to make this work by developing a mutually beneficial long-term partnership with Piper Aircraft and its workforce team," Helene Caseltine, economic development director at the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, told TCPalm.com. Albuquerque, N.M., and Oklahoma City are also in contention as possible locations for Piper to set up shop. Descr: Piper Aircraft turns down Vero Beach's $76.5 million incentive package to keep the airplane maker in the Florida town.

Alouettes Remain Grounded

An FAA spokesman says a paperwork snag that has grounded an unknown number of French-built Alouette helicopters in the U.S. doesn't seem to have any easy solution. "The short answer is they're ungroundable," Roland Herwig, a communications officer for the FAA's Southwest office, told AVweb on Friday. Herwig also said he's continuing to gather information on the unusual case, which has shut down at least one helicopter operation in West Virginia. As AVweb reported in a July 20 podcast, Marpat Aviation of Logan, W.Va., had three Alouettes grounded on July 6 after FAA inspectors, accompanied by two state troopers, failed to find a Certificate of Airworthiness for Export that would have been issued by French authorities when the aircraft were sent to the U.S. Joe Altizer, Marpat's chief pilot, said the helicopters were purchased in the U.S. and all came with current U.S.-issued certificates of airworthiness in the standard category, meaning that FAA staff approved them for import without the paper they're now demanding. Altizer says it's not fair that current operators of the aircraft, who might be the third or fourth U.S. owners of them, should have their investments essentially erased because of an administrative error at the FAA.

Altizer said he and other Alouette owners have offered alternative solutions to the paper snag. He said the regs allow for other methods of proving airworthiness, but the FAA doesn't seem interested in pursuing them. He said the operators have even offered to bring French officials to the U.S. to inspect the aircraft and issue attestations to their airworthiness, but the FAA seems stuck on having the original paperwork only. The French officials wouldn't be able to issue export papers because the aircraft have already left their country."They're asking us for impossible paperwork," he said. Altizer said the aircraft can't even be shipped back to France because they can't be exported without current airworthiness certificates. Altizer said that to this point he's been cooperating with the FAA to try and find a mutually acceptable solution, but the agency's intransigence and apparent unwillingness to reveal information about the situation is forcing him to change tactics. The former Marine Corps air traffic controller says he's contacted his congressman and is looking for a meeting with top FAA officials, up to and including Administrator Marion Blakey.

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News Briefs back to top 

EAA Chief Laments Dwindling Pilot Population

During the unveiling of the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft Sunday at EAA AirVenture, EAA President Tom Poberezny sounded the alarm bell about low student starts and a declining pilot population. According to Poberezny, "Seven out of every 10 people who take flight lessons drop out before they get their private pilot certificate. There are two reasons for this -- lack of time and money." He said he pushed for the light sport aircraft rules exactly for this reason and said he has high hopes that Cessna's commitment to build an LSA will contribute to reversing the downward trend. The student starts over the past decade have remained steady at about 60,000 per year, far below that of the heydays of the 1980s. Meanwhile, the overall pilot population dipped last year to 597,190 pilots, also far below the highs of about 850,000 pilots in the 1980s. "Six-hundred thousand pilots is not enough to sustain the general aviation industry," warned Poberezny.

He said the industry must embrace technology to attract young people toward aviation. "I know one 16-year-old who has more than 1,000 hours," Poberezny said, before pausing shortly and adding, "on Microsoft flight simulator." He said this exemplifies the fact that young people are more tech-savvy, while noting that flight training must adapt to this new reality.

Crash Probe Focuses on Thrust Reverser

As the political crisis that was ignited by last Tuesday's fiery crash of a TAM Airbus A320 at Sao Paulo (Brazil) Congonhas Airport continues to intensify, the investigation of the crash is shifting from the allegedly dangerous conditions at the airport to a thrust reverser that had been disconnected four days before the crash. The Airbus was landing in heavy rain on a 6,362-foot runway when it ran off the runway, skipped over a highway and exploded. The pilot may have been trying to take off again after realizing he wasn't going to stop. According to an Associated Press report, landing with only one reverser operating is "not unusual" but it cast the accident in a new light, apparently inspiring Marco Aurelio Garcia,an aide to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to make an obscene gesture for TV cameras that was interpreted as "reaction of glee" that some of the heat was coming off the government.

Immediately after the accident, Brazil's media and opposition politicians jumped all over Silva's government, saying it had ignored the shortcomings of the airport, Brazil's busiest, and laying blame for the deaths on Silva's administration. With a handy mechanical scapegoat suddenly popping up, Silva's back on the offensive, although he's also promising site selection for a new Sao Paulo airport within 90 days. In the meantime, charter aircraft and business jets are banned and airlines have 60 days to stop using Congonhas as their hub.

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News Briefs back to top 

Earth-Rounder Barrington Irving's New Goal

Barrington Irving, the Jamaican-born 23-year-old who this year flew around the world in a Columbia 400 built largely with parts donated from suppliers, plans to conduct an eight-week training course in October for inner-city kids in Miami. The program aims to expose disadvantaged youngsters to the world of aviation, while enhancing their math, science and reading skills. They'll use 10 Microsoft flight simulators housed in a "facility refurbished last year by Irving and one of his friends," according to BlackAmericaWeb.com.

In 2005, Irving established a non-profit organization to help reach his goals -- one of which is to be able to fulfill speaking engagement requests from entities that cannot even afford to pay Irving's travel expenses. "Those are most often the folks who need to hear what I have to say, and I want to be able to answer those requests," he told BlackAmericaWeb.com. Descr: Fresh from solo around the world flight, Barrington Irving plans to tech inner-city kids how to fly.

Ron Schreck and His RV-8 Have Very Long Day

"After seventeen hours and six minutes of flying time I touched down at all 110 airports (109 public plus one private) and averaged a landing every nine and a half minutes," Ron Schreck wrote of his journey to each public-use airport in North Carolina on July 4. Schreck said the total distance (minus a few wide patterns) was 1,991 nm, throughout which he managed an average 116 knots in his RV-8, "Miss Izzy." That doesn't include the two hours he spent at Currituck County airport waiting for the sun to come up so he could begin his assault on the state's non-lighted fields (Schreck began his journey just after midnight) or time spent during four trips to the pump for avgas. Schreck said challenges included inoperative runway lights and short (1,400 foot) grass strips "with huge trees at both ends" and meandering ground-bound flocks of geese. Fortunately, he didn't have to actually land, just touch and go.

Schreck found support along the way from fellow pilots who waved from hangars and even one supportive gentleman who picked up the tab for avgas so that Schreck wouldn't have to wait for his credit card to go through. Total time for the endurance marathon was 19 hours 51 minutes. Average distance between airports was 65.4 nm. He began in the first minute of the Fourth of July and finished at 8:09 p.m. "It was a great trip," said Schreck.

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News Briefs back to top 

Diamond Rolls Out First Conforming D-Jet

Diamond Aircraft on Friday celebrated the rollout of its first copy of the D-Jet that conforms to the expected production configuration in structural layout and aerodynamic design. The jet, S/N002, will fly for the first time next month. Meanwhile, Diamond Aircraft is at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this week showing a mock-up of the jet cabin, allowing all comers a chance to climb inside and try it on for size. Diamond is also already at work building the next three certification test planes. Diamond says it already has 300 orders in hand for copies of the jet, and expects to start deliveries next summer.

In other news from Diamond, the company said last week that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently took delivery of the second of a fleet of 10 DA42 Twin Stars.

Garmin Offers G600 Rebates, Wireless Flight Plan Filing

The folks at Garmin always come to the show with something new to announce, and this year is no exception, with price cuts and rebates on popular products, in addition new wireless services for mobile phones. Buyers of the new G600 retrofit avionics suite will get a $2,500 rebate off the G600 if they also buy two GNS 430W, two GNS 530W, or a GNS 430W and 530W by November 30. "We believe the G600 will change the way pilots fly," said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s vice president of marketing. "This $2,500 incentive will make it even more feasible for pilots to turn their avionics panel into the all-glass avionics suite they’ve dreamed about." The G600 incorporates two displays in a package designed to easily fit into the space currently occupied by the traditional instrument six-pack. The system list price will be $29,772, and Garmin said it will be available by the middle of next year. The company also announced that Pilot My-Cast by Garmin is now available for download on mobile phones.

Pilot My-Cast will enable users to wirelessly file a flight plan, view graphical winds aloft and PIREPS, and check Area Forecasts. "Whether you’re in the car or at the office, Pilot My-Cast by Garmin provides detailed aviation weather reports so you can make educated routing decisions before you reach the hangar," said Kelley. "You can then file your flight plan wirelessly."

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

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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New Columns and Features back to top 

Leading Edge #7: Fifteen Things

What stands between student pilots and their first solo? The list may seem long but it's the bare minimum to get you up and down safely.

Click here to read.

What's New for July

This month, AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you weather briefing cards, a Rotax engine DVD, the 2008 FAR/AIM, suction cup lights for your panel and much more.

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AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening back to top 

AVweb's AirVenture 2007 Podcast #1: Introducing the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher

File Size 9.6 MB / Running Time 10:27

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

On Sunday, Cessna gave its light sport aircraft a model number (Cessna 162) and revealed more details, including basic performance figures and other specifications for the Wichita-based company's entry-level piston single. AVweb Editor-in-Chief Chad Trautvetter sat down with Cessna 162 Program Manager Derek Mookhoek at the EAA AirVenture show grounds for an in-depth look at the $109,500 two-seat trainer.

Garmin GPSMap 496 Is Now $2,395 from JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source
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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO of the Week: Livingston Aviation (KALO, Waterloo, Iowa)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Livingston Aviation at KALO in Waterloo, Iowa.

AVweb reader Mark Griffith writes, "A fellow pilot and I were on a $100 Hamburger flight from Rochester, Minnesota. When we pulled into the Livingston Aviation parking area, we were met by a very professional lineman who provided us with as much attention as the Cessna Citation he had just parked. After filling our tanks and adding a little air to the tires, he took us inside, where the very professional receptionist gave us a crew car to complete our mission.

"The icing on the cake? Yesterday, I got a handwritten thank you note with a coupon for discounted 100LL next time we're in town."

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!

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AVweb Exclusive Video back to top 

Exclusive Video: Solar/Electric-Powered Flight with the Sunseeker

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

In anticipation of the many green innovations that will debut this week at AirVenture, we're foregoing our usual viral "Video of the Week" and bringing you a special look at the solar/electric-powered Sunseeker.

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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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"

On a bumpy day near New York City, we heard the following exchange:

Diamond 8DS: New York Approach, Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. I'm getting continuous moderate turbulence at 5,000. Request 6,000. It looks like I'll be on top at six.

New York Approach: Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Unable 6,000. Maintain 5,000.

Diamond 8DS: Maintain 5,000, Eight Delta Sierra.

New York Approach [a few minutes later]: Diamond Eight Delta Sierra, change to my frequency 133.75.

Diamond 8DS: “New York Approach, Diamond Eight Delta Sierra. Unable to change frequencies right now. I can't keep my hand on the radio knob in this turbulence.

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 Editors Glenn Pew (bio) , Mary Grady (bio) , and Russ Niles (bio) and Editor-in-Chief Chad Trautvetter (bio) .

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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