AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 30e

July 27, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 

Embraer's Phenomenal First Flight

Officials from Embraer's executive jet division were all smiles at AirVenture when they received word that the Phenom 100 very light jet made a one hour 36 minute first flight in Brazil. Aircraft S/N 99801 became airborne on Thursday at 10:55 a.m. local time, piloted by Embraer test pilot Antonio Bragança Silva and Eduardo Alves Menini. "This is a key milestone for Embraer," Embraer President and CEO Frederico Fleury Curado said. "When we unveiled the Phenom jets a little more than two years ago, we asserted to the business aviation community our commitment to be a long term player in the executive aviation market. The first flight of the Phenom 100 confirms this commitment." The flight crew, accompanied by flight test engineer Marcelo Toledo Basile, checked out the aircraft’s flight characteristics and systems operations. According to Embraer executive jets vice president Luis Carlos Affonso, during the flight the Phenom 100 reached 15,000 feet and the gear remained extended, which is not at all uncommon on a maiden jaunt.

Four aircraft will participate in the Phenom 100 flight-test program, and Affonso said the second airplane is expected to join the test fleet in another month or two. Brazilian and U.S. certification is expected next summer for the $3.4 million VLJ, with deliveries planned to start immediately afterward. Meanwhile, Affonso said the Phenom 300 -- a $6.75 million stretch derivate of the Phenom 100 -- is on track for first flight next year and certification in 2009. Combined orders for the Phenom 100 and 300 has swelled to more than 450 aircraft, with the airplanes' backlog extending into 2011 and early 2012, respectively.

Two Killed, Four Hurt at Scaled Composites Explosion

Two people were killed and four others critically hurt in an explosion at Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif., on Thursday afternoon, the Associated Press reports. Burt Rutan, president of the company, was reached by the AP and said he had no information about the incident but was on his way to the scene. Local TV news showed the blast scene in a remote corner of the airport, with wrecked vehicles and equipment strewn over the site.

The accident involved nitrous oxide, a local fire official told KABC-TV reporters, which is used as a fuel in rocket motors. SpaceShipOne was built by Scaled, and a second generation of ships is currently being built for Virgin Galactic. Fire officials were concerned that hazardous materials might be found at the site.

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» Visit Cessna Aircraft in booths 143-156 at AirVenture
News Briefs back to top 

NTSB: Pilots at Fault in Comair Crash

The flight crew of the Comair flight that crashed in Lexington, Ky., in August 2006 failed to keep track of the airplane's location on the airport during taxi and then didn't check that they were on the right runway before takeoff, the NTSB said in its final report on Thursday. "This accident was caused by poor human performance," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said in a statement. "Forty-nine lives could have been saved if the flight crew had been concentrating on the important task of operating the airplane in a safe manner." Contributing factors in the accident were the crew's nonpertinent conversation and the FAA's failure to require that all runway crossings must be authorized by specific air traffic control clearances, the Board said. The actions of the air traffic controller on duty were not cited as a contributing factor. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said the Lexington controller did nothing wrong.

"He cleared the aircraft to the correct runway and performed his duties by the book," NATCA President Patrick Forrey said in a news release on Thursday. However, he said, the tragedy might have been averted if a second controller had been on duty. “NATCA’s long-held position is there should never be one controller working by themselves," he said. “This is a system operated by human beings. Pilots make mistakes. Controllers make mistakes. But we catch each other’s mistakes if we have the resources and the staffing to do so. That is the key to aviation safety. " The Air Line Pilots Association submitted a 128-page report to the NTSB this week, detailing its own analysis of what happened and a list of conclusions and safety recommendations. For the complete text of ALPA's report, go to its web site.

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News Briefs back to top 

Blakey Gives Last Pitch for User Fees

Outgoing FAA Administrator Marion Blakey gave one last pitch for the implementation of general aviation user fees at EAA AirVenture on Thursday. And a gracious capacity crowd attending the annual "Meet The Boss" session let her have her say. During her introduction, EAA President Tom Poberezny noted that the FAA reauthorization bill is before Congress and that means the debate at the grass roots level is over. But Blakey, who could have let the issue go, instead suggested that Congress's failure to implement a "cost-based" system of revenue generation could result in blocks of airspace being closed to general aviation. "There's a very real possibility you won't be able to fly where you want, when you want," she said. "We believe a cost-based system will keep you flying rather than keep you from flying." She also stressed that under the proposal her adminstration made, the majority of general aviation operators would not be affected.

Blakey also took some time to reflect on her five years as Administrator and noted some accomplishments. Under her administration, the wait time for processing of flight medicals in which some issue was flagged at the local level has gone from a number of months to about three weeks. She's also happy with the progress of the deployment of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), noting she expects the $1 billion contract to initiate the system in the Lower 48 states to be awarded to one of three private sector bidders on Aug. 30. She also said that her term has seen the safest period for U.S. aviation.

FAA Simplifies, Shrinks ADIZ

The New ADIZ Area
Click for a larger view

The FAA will reduce the size and simplify the geography of the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone, cutting 1,800 square miles from the zone and removing 33 airports. The new zone gets rid of the so-called "Mickey Mouse ears" that described the complex shape of the old ADIZ and creates an almost perfect circle with a 30-nm radius, centered on Washington. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey made the announcement at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh today. The new ADIZ takes effect on Aug. 30. Blakey said the new ADIZ was shaped based on consultation with aviation groups and the 20,000 comments received from the public when the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued two years ago. "Score one for GA," she told a happy crowd that loudly applauded the decision.

Blakey acknowledged the existing ADIZ was put together in haste in the post-9/11 era and its complicated geography resulted in a lot of unnecessary violations. To help prevent unintentional violations of the airspace, Blakey announced four air traffic control positions will be created at Potomac terminal radar control center that will be dedicated to handling ADIZ traffic. She said the extra attention and the simplified geography will enhance security by allowing staff to concentrate on those who appear to be intentionally violating the space. The airspace has a triangular transition area in the northwest section for Leesburg Airport, but special procedures must be used for ingress and egress to the field.

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News Briefs back to top 

ADS-B Rollout Is on the Way

FAA officials showed a handful of aviation journalists a glimpse of the Next Generation Air Transportation System at EAA AirVenture on Thursday afternoon. Accompanied by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and Associate Administrator for Safety Nicholas Sabatini, AVweb, along with three other aviation news organizations was given a demonstration aboard the $25 million Bombardier Global 5000 long-range business jet the agency uses as a flying testbed for new technology. In 10 to 15 years' time, all aircraft that do any kind of meaningful cross-country flights will need the gear onboard gear that makes ADS-B work, but the FAA is selling that aspect as a plus for safety and operational convenience. Wilson Felder, director of the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City that is evaluating the system, told reporters that ADS-B is something all pilots should want in their panels. He's flown with it personally for about 60 hours in his Cessna 172 and seen its value firsthand. "It's saved my life at least three times," he said. He noted that ADS-B will be implemented in the GA community first and data gathered on its integration will be used when the agency eventually starts using it as a critical element of the air traffic control system.

ADS-B works by making aircraft an active part of the traffic separation loop. The onboard equipment emits a signal once a second giving position, altitude and identity of the aircraft. Equipped aircraft can "see" each other's signals and those will be overlaid with ground-based signals, giving pilots a clear picture of the traffic around them. Sabatini said the system won't replace radar entirely, and radar data will also be uploaded to the onboard gear. Comprehensive weather information will also be provided continuously. He said the equipment is so accurate that he predicts major reductions in separation requirements and a change in role for air traffic controllers. "They will become airspace managers," he said. First deployment will be in the Gulf of Mexico, and eventually there will be 740 ground-based stations to provide coverage for the Lower 48. ADS-B has been part of the Project Capstone system in Alaska and is credited, along with the navigation gear that supports it, with dramatically reducing the accident rate in the state.

Meet the Oregon AeroSM SkyDancer Duo at AirVenture 2007
Make sure to visit Building C to meet Oregon AeroSM SkyDancer pilots Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver, a thrilling and unique husband-and-wife aerobatic and skywriting team. While you're there, pick up autographed hero cards and SkyDancer trading cards, and check out Oregon Aero's wide range of Painless, Safer, Quieter™ aviation upgrades. For more information, visit Oregon AeroSM SkyDancer.

» Visit Oregon Aero in booths 3137-3141 (Building C) at AirVenture
News Briefs back to top 

Lancair Introduces Turbine Rocket

After a couple years of development, Lancair unveiled its most technologically advanced kitplane at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. The Evolution is a 338-knot, four-place pressurized aircraft that employs virtually all the latest avionics, safety and performance innovations. Despite its blinding speed, the Evolution was designed with the average pilot and builder in mind. "We tried to make the safest airplane possible," said Lancair spokesman Tim Ong. The Evolution is equipped with a BRS parachute recovery system and Amsafe airbag seatbelts. It's also designed to Part 23 standards so it stalls at 61 knots. Ong said the kit is designed with as many systems as possible integrated into the composite structures to make building easier and faster. Cost is $250,000 for the kit, minus engine.

The aircraft is designed for a 900-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 and that's by far the biggest ticket item in the project. A new PT6 will run around $500,000, so Ong believes most builders will be looking to the used market for an engine. "They'll be looking at mid-time Pratts because of cost," he said. Builders will have their choice of Garmin or Chelton avionics. As of Wednesday, four kits had been sold.

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News Briefs back to top 

PiperJet Specs Narrowed Down

The PiperJet very light jet single will cruise the airways at more than 300 knots and glide almost as well as some gliders. At a news conference at EAA AirVenture, Piper Vice President of Sales Bob Kromer said that a one-fifth scale model of the jet recently completed wind-tunnel evaluation and the results not only validated the basic design but revealed a surprise. The high aspect ratio of the wing appears to give the jet a 17:1 glide ratio, something Kromer said adds to the overall safety of the aircraft. He said Piper has settled on a 6.45-psi pressure differential for the cabin and said the aircraft is well suited to cruise between 25,000 and 31,000 feet. At 35,000 feet, Kromer said the jet single will cruise at 360 knots and have a 1,300-nm range. Certification is set for mid-2010 and first deliveries by the end of 2010. The wind tunnel tests also mandated design changes including a new wing root fairing and a 30-degree sweep on the horizontal stabilizer.

Kromer also said there's been no decision on where the airplane will be built. Its current home of Vero Beach, Fla., is competing with Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, N.M., for the location of not only the PiperJet plant but all the company's piston and turboprop manufacturing. He said the Vero plant will make 216 airplanes in the coming year and the bestseller is the Meridian, with 50 to be produced this year.

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News Briefs back to top 

Aviation Consumer: Mustang Is Top Product

In its annual review of the best products and services, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, has named the Cessna Mustang its Product of the Year. "It's not so much the airplane itself — although it's impressive — but the achievement of producing it on time, on budget and on the numbers," the magazine said. The Mustang was reviewed by Aviation Consumer in its May 2007 issue.

For more on the Mustang and Aviation Consumer's top product picks, see www.AviationConsumer.com.

Avidyne's New MLB700 Broadcast Datalink Receiver Really Delivers!
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» Visit Avidyne in booths 2098-2101 at AirVenture
AVweb Original Video News back to top 

Original Video: Touring the Quest Kodiak at EAA AirVenture 2007

Original Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

At EAA AirVenture 2007, Paul Schaller, President and CEO of Quest Aircraft, takes us on a tour of the Kodiak, one of the biggest little planes in off-airport operation.

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Original Video: Our ADS-B Preview Flight with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey

Original Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

AVweb flies with FAA Administrator Marion Blakey at EAA AirVenture 2007 and learns about the push for ADS-B and user fees.

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PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.

» Visit Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM) in booths 76-102 at AirVenture
AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening back to top 

AVweb's AirVenture Podcast #5: Cirrus Enters LSA — But on Its Own Terms

File Size 9.8 MB / Running Time 10:42

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Cirrus surprised most of us at EAA AirVenture this week with the announcement that it will enter the Light Sport Aircraft market. Rather than design an aircraft, it's adapting the German-built Fk14 microlight to the LSA market. AVweb's Russ Niles met up with Cirrus co-founder Dale Klapmeier to discuss the philosophy and direction of the company in joining this new market sector.

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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/.

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
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» Visit Diamond Aircraft in Combo L at AirVenture
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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