AVwebBiz - Volume 10, Number 29

August 8, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Getting Ready for UAVs in the Airspace back to top 
 

Huerta Confident UAS Deadlines Will Be Met

Acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta was long on optimism but short on specifics in a pointed Q & A session at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday. The FAA is under congressional order to integrate most UAVs into the national airspace system by 2015 (2014 for UAVs weighing less than 55 pounds) and Huerta told a room full of people with a lot riding on those deadline the agency will get it done. "I am very optimistic that we will get there," Huerta said. "Rest assured that the FAA will fulfill its statutory obligations to integrate unmanned aircraft systems." Just how it's going to crunch that deadline is not something Huerta wanted to elaborate on, however.

National Defense Magazine reported that the FAA has some significant issues to address, including standardized pilot training, effective and safe sense-and-avoid systems and emergency autonomous flight safety, before UASs can be allowed to share the airspace with piloted aircraft, but if Huerta knows how they will be resolved he wasn't saying. "I don't really want to speculate on hypotheticals that we won't get there because I am quite optimistic that we will," he said in answer to persistent questions about the pace of the agency's progress toward those standards. The FAA hasn't yet decided on the location of six UAS test facilities to shake down these issues. Huerta told the convention the sites will be determined "very soon."

 
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Unplanned R & D back to top 
 

Flight Test Crash May Affect Relentless

The crash of a decades-old Bell 414 helicopter in Texas on Tuesday could have an impact on the development of Bell's latest high-tech helicopter, the 525 Relentless. The 414 is a technology demonstrator for Bell's Xworx development center in Arlington, Texas, and was apparently testing gear for the Relentless when it went down about 30 miles from Arlington. Both pilots escaped injury after making an emergency landing in a cotton field after reporting tail rotor problems. The aircraft flipped on its side on landing.

The Relentless is Bell's latest large commercial helicopter and was announced at last year's HAI convention. It will carry 12 to 16 passengers up to 400 miles and features the latest in glass panels and digital flight controls to make it safer and easier to land in bad weather. Offshore oil platform servicing is much of the market for this class of helicopter. In the announcement, Bell said it would fly a prototype by 2014.

 
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Icon A5 Will Have Cirrus DNA back to top 
 

Cirrus Will Build Icon Components

Cirrus Aircraft will build "a significant portion" of the composite airframe components for the Icon A5 light sport aircraft, the two companies announced on Monday. Cirrus will add up to 60 jobs over the next 18 months or so to handle the extra work, Cirrus spokesman Todd Simmons told AVweb. "It could be even more," Simmons said. Composite component production will begin by the end of this year at the Cirrus facility in Grand Forks, N.D., and the first production aircraft will be completed next summer, according to the news release. Icon expects the effort to produce about 50 airframes in the first 12 months, and about 250 to 300 in the second 12 months, Icon spokesperson Amy Julian told AVweb.

It's unusual for Cirrus to manufacture parts for other companies, Simmons said, but the concept is not unprecedented. "We've looked at other projects in the past," he said, citing for example a UAV project that was considered about a decade ago. "But never on this scale. So, in that sense, this is new for Cirrus." Icon and Cirrus are compatible companies that "view the world in a similar way," he said. Icon will ship the composite assemblies supplied by Cirrus and others to its facility in Tehachapi, Calif., where all design, system integration, final assembly, finishing and testing will take place. Icon says it has more than 850 deposits for its amphibious LSA. Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier said, "We're delighted to be able to play a meaningful role in bringing [the A5] to production … We believe that light sport aircraft and sport pilots are critically important to the growth and future of aviation." Icon recently asked the FAA for an exemption that would allow the A5 to be 250 pounds above the LSA weight limit to accommodate spin-resistant structures. The FAA hasn't said when it will respond to that request.

 
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More Losses at Hawker back to top 
 

Hawker Cuts 170 More Jobs

Another 170 workers at Hawker Beechcraft have been told their jobs will gone in 60 days, the Wichita Eagle reported last week. The jobs will be lost from across the ranks at the company's facility in Little Rock, Ark. "The company continues to evaluate and balance production rates throughout a difficult and rapidly changing environment," Hawker said in a letter to employees. "Over the last several months, we have worked to appropriately size our business, primarily in Wichita. Today, we are faced with additional challenging decisions that involve further resizing our work force."

The company filed for Chapter 11 in May. Last month, the company accepted an offer to be sold to Superior Aviation Beijing for $1.79 billion, but a final agreement must be worked out by the end of this month. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli weighed in on the recent request for bonuses from Hawker Beechcraft executives; click here for the discussion.

 
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Soft Landing for Emergency Helicopter back to top 
 

Mattresses Aid Helo Landing

A medical helicopter broke a skid in flight when it hit a cellphone tower early Sunday morning, but the crew landed safely at San Antonio International Airport after firefighters built a pile of mattresses to take the place of the missing skid. The Bell 407 helicopter, with three crew and a patient on board, was headed for the San Antonio Military Medical Center about 3:30 a.m. when the accident occurred. "[The pilot] knew if he landed, that he would crash," firefighter Kevin Campbell told the San Antonio Express-News. "He suggested mattresses, and I told Engine 23 to grab three or four mattresses from the dorm." They also brought 45-pound weights from the firehouse gym to hold the mattresses down. Campbell said the helicopter crew hovered for a short time before attempting the landing. "It was tense for a little bit," he said. But the helicopter landed safely, and nobody was hurt. "It worked great," Campbell said.

"All the credit goes to the pilot," Campbell added. "We were glad it worked out. But no, I don't think I ever want to do that again." FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford told the Houston Chronicle that using mattresses for the emergency landing is "what you'd call fast thinking." The FAA will investigate whether the cell tower had proper lighting and at what altitude the helicopter was flying, he said. Another helicopter took the patient to the medical center.

 
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Who's Where back to top 
 

Denny Promoted At WYVERN

Del Denny

Del Denny is the new director of operations at WYVERN. He was the former auditor.


Ross New Manager for Continental

Bill Ross

Bill Ross is now the manager of Continental Motors Inc.'s factory service center in Fairhope, AL. He has been with Continental for 11 years.


Prost Represents Piper in Asia

Jeremy Prost

Jeremy Prost is Piper's new sales manager in Asia. He was formerly with Diamond Aircraft's Chinese operations.


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.

 
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New on AVweb.com back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Pistons Endure

We all like to flap our lips about the imaginary light, cheap and efficient turbine that's hovering somewhere out there over the horizon. Except that it isn't. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines the reason: We just like piston engines. It's that simple. (Plus an extra bonus thought: Do you have the guts to hog up all the overhead space in an airliner? He doesn't.)

Read more and join the conversation.

AirVenture 2012: News Coverage Round-Up

The year's mostly eagerly anticipated fly-in and trade show, EAA AirVenture took place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin from July 23 to July 29, 2012. Click here for an all-in-one-place index to coverage from the show — including podcasts, videos, blogs, and photo galleries.

Or skip to your favorite section here:

videos | podcasts | photo galleries | blogs | daily coverage

 
Light Plane Maintenance || Practical Maintenance Advice for Mechanics and Pilots
Is Your A&P Keeping Secrets?
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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video: Flight Trial -- Dynon's New D1 Pocket Panel

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

It was only a matter of time before someone stuffed a full-up EFIS into a portable box the size of drink coaster. It didn't exactly take Dynon very long to get around to it, either. In this video, AVweb takes a tour of the new D1 Pocket Panel, and while it's not really a full EFIS, it's close enough — a clever combination of MEMS gyro and GPS aiding.

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 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 255,000 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.

 
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 world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone 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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