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Teledyne Continental said on Wednesday that it has just completed a round of flight and test-cell trials that suggest that 94UL may be an adequate replacement for 100LL, whose existence is
threatened by continued availability of tetraethyl lead. TCM says it will push for approval of 94UL as the leading replacement for 100LL. 94UL is essentially 100LL without the TEL additive. It meets
vapor pressure and other avgas specs, but without the lead, it doesn't match 100LL's octane, which is typical about 103 straight from the refinery.
But is 94 sufficient octane to avoid detonation on a hard, hot climb on a summer day? Teledyne said in a press conference that it hasn't expanded its testing into all corners of the flight envelope
but four flight tests in a normally aspirated A36 Bonanza have revealed no cooling or detonation issues thus far. The company also said it doesn't think Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)
will be required to make the engines run properly on 94UL.TCM has not, however, conducted a standard FAA climb-cooling test, which is the regime in which detonation usually occurs. Further, said
Continental, it's not opposed to autofuel as a replacement for 100LL provided that certain standards are in place to assure consistent specs with regard to octane, vapor pressure and especially
oxygenate additives such as ethanol. Although pure ethanol has been approved for limited use in modified aircraft engine in Brazil, it's considered a bad actor for aircraft use because it's strongly
hydrophilic, lacks the energy content of avgas and causes corrosion in aluminum parts and degradation of soft seals and gaskets. High-octane autofuel does, however, meet basic octane requirements for
normally aspirated engines. Owners who use it are finding it increasingly difficult to find autogas without ethanol blended in.
What about Continental's large-displacement turbocharged engines, such as the TSIO-520 and -550 series? Will 94UL work for them? TCM says stay tuned; it hasn't done the flight testing to confirm
that. Others who have, however, have had difficulty passing the climb cooling barrier without encountering at least light detonation. TCM began its alternate fuel testing about a year ago and it plans
to push for ASTM approval of 94UL as the transparent replacement for 100LL. That application will be submitted in a few weeks and could be approved as early as next fall. However, that's just the
beginning of 94UL's journey to becoming a certified fuel, if it ever does. It will still require FAA certification and approval and at least a paperwork shuffle so that owners can legally use it in
some airplanes. TCM's testing took place in an IO-550-B powered Bonanza, but it has done test-cell work with the 200-series engines, the O-470 and O-520 series.
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The world's largest flight simulator manufacturer says lessons learned in the sim will help it develop real-world applications and it's
investing about $600 million to develop new technologies. CAE says Project Falcon will last five years and, in addition to expanding current modeling and simulation technologies, "increase its
capabilities beyond training into other areas of the aerospace and defense market, such as analysis and operations," according to a news release issued by the company. Project Falcon will include
"augmented visionics," which sounds a lot like enhanced vision, new and better sims for future manned and unmanned aircraft and, in what sounds like the world's coolest video game, "networking
technologies to allow defense forces of many nations to participate simultaneously in real time training and mission rehearsal exercises."
The Canadian government is providing a $200 million loan to help the company. The loan is repayable and, in the meantime, will help create about 1,000 high-technology jobs in Montreal, which is
also home to Bombardier and its new CSeries program. More than 40,000 people work in aerospace in Montreal. CAE CEO Robert Brown said cutting-edge companies like CAE must invest in research and
development to stay on top of new technologies even when times are tough. "Innovation is essential for CAE in order to sustain its leadership position in modeling, simulation and training. We will
therefore, continue to invest in R&D, even in these challenging times," he said.
3 Airplanes ... 3 Levels ... 1 Edition ... Ice
New for 2009, Cirrus Aircraft shakes the lineup with a new way to spec out your new Cirrus. SR20, SR22, andTurbo models are now available in three
well-equipped trim levels - "S," "GS," and "GTS"; Known Ice Protection is ready to go on SR22 and Turbo models; or choose an all-new premium interior and
exterior upgrade package dubbed "X-Edition."
CirrusAircraft.com for details.
It would be hard to imagine a worse time to be launching a new airliner but Bombardier is forging ahead with its new CSeries
single-aisle airplanes and winning new orders that might otherwise have gone to Boeing or Airbus. The company announced a $1.44 billion deal with Lease Corporation International (LCI) on Monday for
three of the 110-seat models and 17 of the 130-seat variants and options for 20 more. Earlier this month, Lufthansa committed to 30 CSeries aircraft, with options for 30. LCI represents 20 airlines in
Europe and Asia and did not say where the aircraft might end up, but LCI spokesman Tasos Michael told the Montreal Gazette the CSeries offers a combination of technological advancement (launch customer for Pratt and Whitney Canada's geared turbofan engine) and a sweet spot in the
market for cabin size. "There are good deals from everybody at the moment. We went with Bombardier," he told the Gazette.
The CSeries was first proposed almost a decade ago and shelved a few years ago before being formally resurrected at last year's Farnborough Air Show. The tipping point seemed to be the geared
turbofan, which may improve efficiency by as much as 15 percent, a major consideration for any airliner but especially poignant on the short- and medium-haul routes that its chief competitors, the
Boeing 737 and Airbus A319 and A320, serve. "If it does everything it says on the box, it will be great for airlines," Michael said. Analysts say LCI's order is speculative and could be deferred if
its own customers don't bite. "Yes, our order is speculative," Michael told the Gazette. "But I don't think the risks are very weighty. There are not many narrow-body aircraft in the market, and the
potential is huge." Teal Group VP Richard Aboulafia told the Gazette Michael might be right. "[Bombardier] may well have tapped into an underserved market," he said.
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As expected, Cirrus has announced that the Perspective avionics suite developed by Garmin will be standard panel in the SF50 Vision
(we're not sure when it changed from SJ50) jet. Cirrus launched the proof-of-concept Vision with L-3's Smart Deck system but there were reports late last year that the two had parted ways. Since it's
introduction a year ago as a top-of-the-line option, Perspective has been praised by the Cirrus community and it has spread to other models, so from a conformity standpoint it makes sense the jet
would be equipped with it, too. "This is great news for present and future Vision jet and SR22 Perspective owners because the SR22 and Turbo with Perspective and known ice protection is the natural
training and transition aircraft in preparation for flying the Vision," said Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters. A Perspective panel will be installed in the proof-of-concept, which is still undergoing
Wouters said V1, as it's known, flies about five times a week and now has 140 hours. He said test pilots have completed power-on and power-off stalls, established the full CG range, assessed the
icing system (this is Duluth, after all) evaluated wing root vortex generators. The company is moving out of the huge former Northwest maintenance hangar and taking the jet program back to the main
plant across the field.
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The high-end business traveler has different needs in these difficult times and that means there's opportunity for the aircraft
interiors business to meet those needs. "Don't overreact, innovate," attendees at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg were urged during the first day of the event. Klaus Brauer, Boeing's director
of passenger satisfaction and revenue, told a workshop at the event that super premium passengers who are looking to step down a touch as a reflection of the times still have certain expectations.
"You can't let such a time pass without finding the opportunities in it", he said.
Bernhard Conrad, of Lufthansa Technik, told the crowd not to overreact to the current downturn and Bob Lange of Airbus said the industry is reacting. "You only have to look at the exhibits on the
floor below to see how innovation is being applied to a range of areas," he said. More than 500 exhibitors from 25 countries are showing their wares to 170 airlines at the show.
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In its annual aviation forecast,
released on Tuesday, the FAA said it expects U.S. aircraft operations to decrease almost 6 percent this year compared to 2008 levels but then start to rebound in 2010. Operations overall will then
grow at about 1.5 percent per year through 2025, with general aviation growing slightly faster at 1.8 percent per year. The total GA fleet should continue to grow at the rate of about 1 percent per
year. "A vibrant, efficient and green aviation system will play a key role in our nation's economic recovery," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The report noted that GA operations at
combined FAA and contract towers were down 5.6 percent last year, the steepest decline since 2003. GA activity at consolidated traffic facilities (FAA TRACONs) fell 6.3 percent, while the number of GA
aircraft handled at FAA en route centers decreased 7.6 percent. The number of student pilots decreased 4 percent in 2008, the fourth consecutive year of decline in this category. "The industry is
trying to stimulate interest in flying, but the data suggest that more needs to be done," the report says. The FAA said that although this worldwide recession is one of the most severe downturns since
the end of World War II, new federal stimulus packages and monetary policies are expected to turn the economy around in the second half of this year.
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After 18 months without an official leader, the FAA will need Randy Babbitt to get to work immediately if he's confirmed as FAA administrator. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider
blog, editor-in-chief Russ Niles speculates on which he'll lean and runs down the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Professional Pursuit A&P's Flash Cards
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When Bendix/King rolled out its AV8OR portable GPS last summer, the $749 retail price about $675 discounted caught GPS buyers by surprise. So did the AV8OR's feature
set, which includes a touchscreen interface and automotive navigation as built-in standard capability. In this video, AVweb's editors took the AV8OR out for a spin to wring out its major
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Knowledge Is Power; Knowledge Is Also a Safety Factor When Flying IFR
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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.
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