AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 7, Number 11

March 18, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Roadable Aircraft Takes Flight back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Transition Roadable Aircraft Flies

The Terrafugia Transition, the "roadable aircraft" that's attracted considerable attention at aviation shows in the last year, flew for the first time on March 5, and its makers say they've changed aviation as a result. "This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility. Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience. It's what aviation enthusiasts have been striving for since 1918," said Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia. While most "flying car" concepts to date have incorporated detachable or trailerable wings, the Transition has electromechanical folding wings that convert the vehicle in 30 seconds. The company says production models will meet Light Sport specifications and be street legal.

Test pilot Col. Phil Meteer (retired) said the first flight went well. "The first flight was remarkably unremarkable. I've flown several thousand hours in everything from Piper Cubs to F-16s, and the Transition flew like a really nice airplane." The first example will be used for advanced flight and road testing while a production prototype is built. The second aircraft will go through the ASTM review process for Light Sport certification. Terrafugia says Transition will cruise 450 miles at 115 knots and is capable of highway speeds in car mode. A 100-horsepower Rotax 912S powers both the pusher prop in flight mode and the front wheel drive on the ground. The aircraft is not intended to be flown from roads, but to provide immediate transportation to and from airports.

Related Content:
AVweb's original first flight video

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VLJ Revolution 2.0? back to top 

VLJs Are The New Cool

Timing is everything, and VLJs are the right product for a recession, claim, well, VLJ salesmen. Cyrus Sigari of JetAVIVA and Randall Sanada of Jet Alliance claim the exodus from big business jets is filling the seats of the smaller aircraft. "It is still cool to own a VLJ," Sigari told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. "It is not so cool to own a $20 million, $30 million jet." But busy execs still need to get around, and when current political correctness doesn't allow them exclusive access to an aircraft, charters are filling the void, Sanada said. He started Jet Alliance as a fractional ownership business but has expanded to provide charter service.

Sigari said it's now generally accepted that the high-volume, per-seat air taxi model that was supposed to provide most of the customers for VLJs has all but evaporated but the virtues that made the small jets attractive for that market have a new allure for cost-conscious business travelers. Sanada said it's a lesson that came too late for the CEOs of the Big Three on their now-infamous trip to Washington last year. "Had these guys flown together in a VLJ, it would have cost less than a tenth of what it cost in a larger plane," Sanada said.

Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all. Visit CessnaRise.com.
Staying Connected, Staying Informed — Anywhere back to top 

Satcom Capability For EFB

A collaboration between Latitude Technologies and navAero has resulted in an electronic flight bag with satellite communications capability. Latitude makes voice and data devices that use the Iridium satellite system, navAero makes the EFBs, and the partnership between the two has resulted in greatly expanded utility for EFB users. The new setup allows the EFB to be used as the telephone dialer and for sending and receiving text messages via the sat phone network. "Text messages from the cockpit and cabin can be sent and received with any web-connected device through Latitude's LWS Sentinel™ data service," Latitude said in a news release. "Received messages can be displayed in-flight through the EFB, a PDA, or a laptop computer. Crew and passengers can communicate using operator pre-defined messages, or messages can be typed freehand."

The integrated system also allows the satellite gear to send WAAS and GPS information to the EFBs for "real-time, on-screen satellite weather displays for any position along the route." Retrofits will be available for existing navAero EFBs and Skynode satcom devices. Information will be going out to distributors and avionics shops shortly.

Eur-Avia Cannes 2009 Announces the Conference Program, to Include:
Buying new or second-hand aircraft; security round-up for 2008; technology to help the pilot; how to renovate and modernize your aircraft and interiors; external paintwork; avionics; engine improvements; and interior comfort. This Third International Exhibition will open its doors from April 30 to May 2, 2009 on the International Airport of Cannes Mandelieu (LFMD). Visit Eur-Avia.com for details.
News Briefs back to top 

Study Shows Older Controllers Can Do The Job — But Do They Want To?

Older air traffic controllers can head off mid-air collisions at least as well as younger controllers, using experience to compensate for age-related declines in mental sharpness, according to a report published this month by the American Psychological Association. Controllers in the U.S. face a mandatory retirement age of 56, which the report suggests should be reconsidered. "Given substantial experience, older adults may be quite capable of performing at high levels of proficiency on fast-paced demanding, real-world tasks," wrote Ashley Nunes and Arthur F. Kramer, researchers at the University of Illinois. However, while airline pilots lobbied for years to raise their mandatory retirement age of 60, no such movement has been seen among controllers. "Only 2 percent of all controller retirees the past three years reached the mandatory retirement age of 56," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told AVweb on Tuesday. "So it's irrelevant and foolish to raise the issue of mandatory retirement in any discussion of this kind. Controllers in this country are not staying to 56." Church blames hostile working conditions and pay cuts for destroying morale and removing any incentive to stay even until 56, never mind beyond.

"This report reached the right conclusion but offered the wrong recommendation," Church said. "That is to say, we agree that experienced, veteran controllers are smart, highly skilled, and know the best, most efficient ways to do their job and handle their airspace. ... But all that aside, this is a job in this country that takes a brutal mental and physical toll on these controllers and they are mostly burned out and ready to retire between 50 and 56. They earned their retirement." Church also noted that the controllers in the study were recruited from Canada, where working conditions and workloads are very different than in the U.S.

The researchers evaluated 36 certified air traffic controllers and 36 non-controllers, with 18 older and 18 younger adults per group. On most lab tests of cognitive processes such as inhibitory control, task switching, visual spatial processing, working memory and processing speed, the authors observed predictable age-related declines among all groups. However, on the simulations, experience helped the older controllers to compensate to a significant degree for those declines. "Older controllers performed quite well on the air traffic control tasks," the authors wrote, adding that the benefit of experience was greatest when it came to solving the most complex simulated air traffic problems. Older controllers also issued fewer commands than younger controllers, while achieving the same results. According to the researchers, older controllers acted "in a more measured fashion to achieve performance that rivals that of their younger counterparts, who exhibited better cognitive ability." The authors added that to harness the abilities of older workers, society needs to overcome negative stereotypes about aging. "Workers should get and keep jobs on the basis of their ability, not their age," they concluded.

To read the full text of the research report, click here.

Cessna Exec Predicts Upturn Soon; SATSAir Thrives

"We think we're probably close to the bottom" may not seem like the most optimistic words about the global economy, but the upside is that the sooner we get to the bottom, the sooner we start back up. That was the take from Roger Whyte, Cessna's senior vice president for sales and marketing, on Monday as he delivered two new Citation XLS+ jets to a customer. Whyte told the Wichita Eagle that a little historical perspective helps in keeping a positive outlook -- the bizjet business has been through slow times in the past, he said, before it boomed in the last 10 years or so. And even with the projected decline in deliveries for the next couple of years, the numbers aren't expected to fall below where the industry was in 2005, he said.

Meanwhile, SATSAir has found an aviation business model that works, with record growth last year despite a slight downturn in the fourth quarter. The South Carolina air-taxi company operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22s, serving hundreds of airports in the eastern U.S. "We're extremely pleased with the strong 2008 numbers and the expanded presence in the Southeastern growth corridor that they represent," said Steve Hanvey, SATSAir president and CEO. "2008 was a landmark year for our business concept from a financial perspective and signals a growing acceptance of this innovative approach to business and personal air travel." Cancellation of airline operations into regional hubs and reduced use of personally-owned aircraft contributed to increased demand for SATSAir services, according to the company. SATSAir launched in November 2004 and so far has flown 14,000 flights and covered more than 11 million passenger miles.

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Something New in the Diamond DA42 back to top 

Re-engined Diesel Twin Star EASA Certified

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the Diamond DA42 NG, which is powered by Diamond's own 170-horsepower Austor diesel. The certification came less than a year after Thielert, whose engines powered first generation Twin Stars, became insolvent, resulting in serious maintenance issues for DA42 owners. The EASA certification means Diamond can start delivering Twin Stars again in Europe (it has 40 on the line) and also start turning its attention to retrofits for existing owners who want to swap out their Thielerts. "We are focusing our efforts to achieve the certification of the optional upgrade of all delivered DA42s with the Austro Engine, such that all customers can benefit from these improvements along with comprehensive customer support for their engines," said Diamond CEO Christian Dries. Although the EASA certification is valid only in Europe, it should be fairly straightforward to get it recognized everywhere else, and Dries said Diamond is working on it.

Dries says that even though the new engine pumps out 20 percent more horsepower, it actually delivers better fuel economy than the Thielerts while giving the aircraft a higher gross weight and better performance. As part of the NG package, the new DA42s come with Garmin GFC 700 autopilot, and they're ready for Garmin synthetic vision. The initial TBO of the new engine is 1,000 hours, but Dries said the goal is to extend that to 2,000 hours. It's not clear how that will translate to North American customers where the Thielerts are on a 1,000-hour TBR (time before replacement). The company is also working on a maintenance program that will undoubtedly address some of the cost and AOG time spans that affected Thielert operators.

Diamond's Austro Engine Ready

File Size 8.7 MB / Running Time 9:28

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the Diamond DA42NG with Diamond's own Austro engines, marking the beginning of the end of a challenging period for the company. AVweb's Russ Niles talks with Diamond's Peter Maurer about what the certification means to new and existing customers.

Click here to listen. (8.7 MB, 9:28)

Sun 'n Fun — It's Like Spring Break for Pilots
Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special online-only discounts. Get your tickets online now at Sun-N-Fun.org.
New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Note to Air Force — Butt Out

The Air Force has gotten itself into quite a snit over the CAF's rare F-82 Twin Mustang. It wants the airplane back. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders why there wasn't just one starred officer to say, "Ya know what, let's not do this. We'll look really dumb, and, anyway, we already have a Twin Mustang in the museum." Too bad it didn't happen that way.

Read more.

Jeppesen Offers New & Innovative VFR+GPS Charts for North America
These charts offer a fresh perspective on what a VFR chart should be, with better color and contrast, coverage areas based on where you fly, and intuitive symbols. Space Shuttle radar data accurately depicts terrain. Jeppesen's VFR+GPS Charts are easier to use in the cockpit or at the kitchen table, and they're designed specifically to help you get more from your GPS. Click here to learn more.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: First Flight of the Terrafugia Transition Roadable Aircraft

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Not a flying car, but a roadable aircraft — the Terrafugia Transition took flight for the first time March 5, 2009.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Want to see more shots of the Transition in flight?
You can view the raw video footage here.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

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Do you want to save avgas (and money) by running your engine lean-of-peak? If so, you'll need a reliable engine monitor. AVweb's Liz Swaine highlights the features of and functions of the EDM700, from JP Instruments.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

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Bonus Video back to top 

Exclusive Video: AVweb's Blooper Reel

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

So you think TV is easy? Take a look at AVweb's hilarious blooper reel, in which the staff unmasks the ugly side of the exciting world of web video. (And this is the G-rated version.)

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.

Professional Pursuit A&P's Flash Cards
400 popular-style flash cards with 1,600 questions and answers from the FAA exams for the general, airframe, powerplant, and avionics technician. See how much you remember. Better yet, see how much they remember! Spread them around the break room (or the board room). It's great fun, and they keep your crew and students busy during their free time. Click here for more information.
Who's Where back to top 

Petkus Promoted At HBC

Edward Petkus

Edward Petkus is Hawker Beechcraft's new vice president of product development and engineering. He's been the acting VP since December.

Tweyman Joins Precision Aero

Cara Tweyman has joined Precision Aero, of Mississauga, Ontario, in a newly-created sales and marketing position. Tweyman has 16 years of experience in the aircraft parts business.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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.

You Pay More for the Unbiased Truth — To Ultimately Save More
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Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

AVwebBiz is a weekly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

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