AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 8, Number 8

February 24, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Skymaster Crash Revives Wing Concerns back to top 
 
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Wing Broke On Crash Skymaster

The outboard six feet of the right wing on a Cessna 337 broke off just before the aircraft crashed and killed five people in New Jersey last week. Just what effect that will have on Cessna's process to initiate an extensive wing inspection program on the aging aircraft isn't clear at this point but it's likely to come up. As AVweb reported in January, Cessna is developing a supplemental inspection document (SID) that focuses on the wing attach points of the Skymaster series. It appears the Feb. 15 failure was outboard of the strut attachment point and involved failure of the "horizontal flange of the forward spar lower cap," according to the NTSB preliminary report. The report says the failure occurred as the aircraft pitched up after a high-speed, low-altitude flyby at Monmouth County Executive Airport. The aircraft had STC'd tip tanks and had taken on 90 gallons of fuel prior to the flight.

The pilot, a 45-year-old ATP, was in the right seat while his Polish private pilot friend was in the left. Another adult, a 14-year-old boy and a six-year-old boy were on board. The accident happened about four minutes into the flight. Relatives of those on board were on the ground watching. The NTSB says the wing section, which included the aileron, was found on the runway, about 633 feet from the main wreckage, and showed signs of going through the rear propeller.

 
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Happy Days for Helicopters, Part I back to top 
 

Strong, Steady Future For Helicopters

The helicopter market never seems to be as volatile as other sectors of GA and Rolls-Royce's annual forecast for turbine helicopters seems to bear that out. The civilian market has been down a bit, but the military market has been rock steady, and the resurgence in civilian orders will give manufacturers a boost in the next 10 years. Helicopters are a necessity and new ways to use them are being exploited all the time so Ken Roberts, president of Rolls-Royce helicopter engines said in a presentation at Heli-Expo 2010 he's expecting strong demand to continue. Rolls-Royce is predicting worldwide demand for civilian helicopters at 10,300 units through 2019 and 6,100 for the military.

Each sector will bill $38 billion for its portion so there's a combined market of $76 billion to carve up. There will be 26,000 engines required for all those helicopters and they'll be worth $12 billion. Rolls says the surge in demand for civilian helicopters is mostly about fleet replacement as 30-year-old airframes reach the end of their lives.

 
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Happy Days for Helicopters, Part II back to top 
 

Robinson Sets R66 Price At $770,000

Robinson Helicopters has set the price for its new R66 turbine-powered helicopter at $770,000 and founder Frank Robinson told Rotorhub.com he expects the aircraft's introduction to help the company recover from a tough year. Speaking at Heli-Expo 2010 in Houston, Robinson said the turbine version of his popular design is "a little bit smoother, a little bit quieter and a little bit faster than the [piston] R44." He said certification is imminent and an early production rate of two helicopters a week is planned. Robinson, never one to mince words, placed blame for the industry's troubles directly on the banking industry. "The problem was those damn bankers – rather than provide loans to people like they were supposed to, they used the $700 billion bail-out money to make acquisitions, to buy other companies, and give themselves bonuses," he said. Although they chose less colorful language, other top helicopter executives mentioned the availability of capital as critical to the recovery of the industry and there were some signs that the market is starting to loosen.

American Eurocopter announced about 20 new orders and Agusta Westland added a dozen to its order book during the show. Bell Helicopters showed off its new 429 model and Sikorsky announced a 50-percent uptick in business this year over last. As far as the show was concerned, there were marginally fewer attendees (about 17,000) but the number of exhibitors was up slightly at 595. Heli-Expo wrapped up in Houston on Tuesday.

 
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Preparing Europe for AERO back to top 
 

Aero Friedrichshafen Organizers Upbeat

Aero Friedrichshafen, Europe's general aviation show coming up April 8 to 11, will host 450 exhibitors from 25 countries in nine halls, organizers said this week, and the outdoor exhibit space is fully booked. The event showcases all facets of GA flying, from hang gliders to business jets. "With Aero, we're offering the general aviation industry a powerful marketing tool," said project director Thomas Grunewald. "For many of our customers in the industry, [Aero] is a persuasive reason not to take cover and react to these challenging economic times in an anti-cyclical manner." In difficult times, Grunewald said, it's more important than ever for manufacturers to market their products aggressively. The show will also feature expanded space for helicopters and will explore developments in environmentally-friendly technology -- electric, hybrid, diesel, and fuel-cell driven aircraft.

The event also will host the first European Air Ambulance Meeting. The show was formerly held every other year, but as of this year, will be held annually. The organizers have worked with Sun 'n Fun to coordinate their schedules so exhibitors can appear at both shows.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Safety Updates: AOPA Analysis, NTSB Most Wanted

The Nall Report, an annual analysis of general aviation accident data by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, found an increase in accidents involving amateur-built aircraft. The statistics from 2008 showed more fatal accidents and fatalities than any year in the past decade, the report says. "The 27 percent lethality rate in these accidents was 10 full percentage points higher than that for accidents in type-certificated airplanes," according to the report. The foundation is working with EAA to address safety issues, said ASF President Bruce Landsberg. "Builders, pilots, and designers should have reasonable freedom to experiment, while members of the public are entitled to their expectation of safety," he said. Also, the FAA has issued a response to the NTSB's annual list of Most Wanted Safety Improvements. The FAA says it has made progress in the main areas of concern cited by the NTSB: fatigue, emergency medical services flights, runway safety, and crew resource management. Regarding the installation of image recorders in cockpits, the FAA says it is working to improve data monitoring systems but has no plans to mandate image devices.

The Nall Report also expanded its database this year to include an analysis of accidents involving helicopters and for-hire GA operations with aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less. Overall, the 236 fatal accidents and 433 deaths were the lowest on record, but the fatal accident rate, taking into account the decrease in flight activity, was close to the historic average. Click here for a short synopsis of the findings, or click here for the full report. The NTSB's most-wanted list of safety improvements for aviation also includes the operation of aircraft in icing conditions. The design and approval process for flight in icing conditions should be revised using current research about freezing rain, and those revised requirements should be applied to currently certificated aircraft, the NTSB said. Also, crews flying airplanes with pneumatic de-ice boots should activate the boots as soon as the airplane enters icing conditions, the safety board said. Click here for the complete list of wanted improvements from the NTSB; click here for the response from the FAA.

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Maybe Pogo Was Right

When we meet the enemy, he is sometimes us, or so it would seem. The day after the tragic crash in Austin, a stolen SR22 surfaces and is corralled in, of all places, Los Angeles International Airport. In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli ponders that and grinds his teeth over the rise of push-button cable talking heads who are ever-willing to stir the public's fears.

Click here to join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Austin — It's a Test, Really

Another lone kamikaze pilot with a grudge has crashed an airplane into a building, this time in Austin, Texas. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli is watching the news coverage with interest. Will this be reported as another instance of "domestic terrorism," or have we crossed back into the realm where such crimes are — well, just "crimes"?

Click here to read Paul's thoughts and voice your opinion.

 
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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.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 
 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a Garmin Aera 510 Handheld GPS

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time March 12, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Exclusive Video: Advanced Flight Systems' Innovative Display

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

Wouldn't it be great if the modern primary flight display integrated the attitude indicator with the HSI? You'd have only one point to scan. Advanced Flight Systems' new EFIS does exactly that. Rob Hickman gives us a tour.

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

Exclusive Video: AVweb's PiperSport Flight Trial

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

At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, Piper launched its entry in the light sport market, the Czech-built PiperSport. Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli got a flight demo on the airplane, and here's his video report.

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.

 
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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Jeff van West

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