AVwebBiz - Volume 10, Number 48

December 19, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Back to Bids for U.S. Light Training Aircraft back to top 

Judge Upholds Hawker Protest

With a $350 million contract at stake, a court has ruled that it's OK for the U.S. Air Force to restart its bidding process for 20 new training aircraft, the Wichita Eagle has reported. The contract was awarded about a year ago to Sierra Nevada Corp.'s version of Embraer's Super Tocano, but after a protest from Hawker Beechcraft, both parties were asked to resubmit their bids. Sierra Nevada protested that decision, but now the way is clear for both companies to remake their case. The court also said there was adequate evidence that the original decision was "likely tainted by bias."

Hawker had proposed its AT-6B single-engine turboprop for the contract, which could be worth up to $1 billion if all options are exercised. A new decision about the contract is expected next month. Early this year, AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles spoke with Hawker chairman Bill Boisture, who at the time was CEO, about the dispute; click here for that coverage and the associated podcast.

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Make Room for Epic back to top 

Epic Expansion Proceeds

Epic Aircraft has completed the deal to buy a former Cessna manufacturing plant at Bend, Ore. In an email to AVweb, Epic CEO Doug King said the deal, which we reported last week, went through earlier this week and will give the company the room it needs to meet demand both for its kit-built LT turboprop singles and the forthcoming certified E1000. "Our backlog is building both for kit planes and new certified aircraft," King said.

King led the effort by a group of kit owners with unfinished aircraft to buy the company out of bankruptcy and finish their planes. The company has been revived as a going concern and was bought by a Russian company earlier this year with an eye to certifying the big turboprop. "Five new Epic LT kit planes received Airworthiness Certificates this week," King said. "Epic continues to grow as our focus on the LT produces results and certification [of] the E1000 proceeds."

'The Aviators' Season 3 || The Biggest Aviation Show on the Planet - Now on PBS, 
iTunes, and Hulu
The Biggest Aviation Show on the Planet ... Is Back!
The award-winning hit TV series The Aviators is back for an all-new third season showcasing everything from the F-22 and DC-3 to LSA and balloons. We take you dogfighting in the Nevada desert, flying with the USAF Thunderbirds, and look on as Mötley Crue frontman Vince Neil learns to fly. Join our 10 million weekly US viewers and countless more worldwide.

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Probable Cause back to top 

Superjet Pilots Blamed For Indonesia Crash

Indonesian investigators say the pilots aboard a Sukhoi Superjet 100 airliner that crashed into a mountain last May, killing all 45 on board, were to blame for the crash. They said the crew ignored repeated warnings from the aircraft's systems of the impending terrain conflicts because they thought the alerts were the result of a database problem. In fact, it appears the crew never knew what they hit since they turned off the terrain avoidance functions just before the aircraft, on a demo flight with potential customers, hit Mt. Salak. According to The Associated Press, cockpit voice recordings show the captain of the aircraft was chatting with a potential customer as the aircraft hit the mountain.

The AP quotes Tatang Kurniadi, chairman of Indonesia's National Commission on Safety Transportation, as saying the accident was the result of pilot error perhaps compounded by the pilots' lack of familiarity with the area. "The crew was not aware of the mountainous area surrounding the flight path," Kurniadi said. The crash cast a shadow on the Superjet program, which is Russia's first clean-sheet airliner design in decades. Indonesia, however, expressed confidence in the aircraft after the crash. About a month before the investigation results were publicly released, the Indonesian government certified the aircraft and paved the way for Sky Aviation to take delivery of its 12-plane order.

AEA Pilots Guide || Aircraft Electronics Association
Pilot's Guide to Avionics Now Available
The 2012-13 edition of the Aircraft Electronics Association's Pilot's Guide to Avionics is now available. To request a complimentary copy, visit AEAPilotsGuide.net.

This special 10th anniversary edition is a consumer's directory containing buyer's guides, educational articles and timely information about the avionics industry, its products and its people. The publication helps pilots make better buying decisions and locate more than 1,300 AEA member companies, including government-certified repair stations around the world.
Aviation Safety back to top 

Boeing, Embraer Team Up On Runway Safety

Boeing and Embraer said this week they have worked together to develop a set of new pilot procedures that will help to prevent accidents on runways. "Runway excursion is one of the three major contributors to aviation accidents," said Paulo Cesar Silva, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation. "We firmly believe that a robust set of pilot procedures, training and new technology will substantially reduce these events." The training is featured in free videos. According to The Wall Street Journal, the training stresses that flight crews should discuss the details of approaches while there is still time to go around, and they also should employ extended use of thrust reversers.

Boeing and Embraer said they plan to continue working together to develop technology and systems for the flight deck to improve pilot information about approach and landing. The procedures could also be used by pilots flying other commercial aircraft, the companies said. The two companies announced in April they would work together in ways that would be mutually beneficial. This is their first joint safety initiative.

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Competition Comes to China — Or Not back to top 

China Investment Obstacles Persist

Companies thinking about investing in Chinese aviation projects may face insurmountable competition from China itself. The South China Morning Post says one privately financed FBO has been put out of business and another is on hold because local airport authorities have opened or are building competing enterprises. "There is an invisible threshold for FBO or MRO on the mainland -- they have to join hands with local airport authorities," said Kelvin Wu, the vice-president for North Asia sales and market development at Cessna. "The prospect of such infrastructure is so lucrative that the airport doesn't want to pass them to other investors."

Deer Jet, one of China's first business jet enterprises, opened an FBO at Beijing's international airport in advance of the 2008 Olympics but it closed in the face of competition from an FBO opened by the airport authority. Swiss-based ExecuJet announced a joint venture with Tianjin Haite Aircraft Maintenance to build an FBO at Tianjin Binhai International Airport two years ago and now the airport is building one. On the other hand, Sydney-based Hawker Pacific partnered with the Shanghai airport authority for an FBO in Shanghai, and that joint venture has been successful.

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Top-Notch Top Gun Re-Release back to top 

Date Set For 3D 'Top Gun' Release

Paramount Pictures has said it will release a 3D version of Top Gun for a six-day run in select Imax theaters starting Feb. 8, and then will debut the film on Blu-ray on Feb. 19. The popular aviation film, starring Tom Cruise, has been remastered from high-resolution original negative scans and was painstakingly converted to 3D under the supervision of the film's director, the late Tony Scott, the studio said. "Rendered in 3D, the film's complex, long shots reveal extraordinary depth and clarity, allowing viewers to explore every detail of the action," according to the studio. "From the spectacular aerial dogfights to the intense close-ups in the cockpits, each frame enables the audience to feel a part of the story."

The film will be available as a Blu-ray 3D disc or in a 2D version that includes the re-mastered film in high definition plus a six-part documentary on the making of the movie, interviews, and commentary. The U.S. Navy cooperated in the production of the original film, which was released in 1986. The Navy made several airplanes and an aircraft carrier available to the crew. Aerobatic pilot Art Scholl was killed while working on the film in 1985, when he failed to recover from an inverted spin in a Pitts biplane and crashed in the Pacific Ocean. Cruise had been working with director Tony Scott on a sequel, but after Scott's death in April that project was put on hold indefinitely.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Fly-by-Wire Fantasies

When Boeing built the last B-52H in 1962, they couldn't have imagined the design would still be in service nearly 100 years after it first appeared. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders if experiencing the same lack of imagination when playing it forward to technologies like fly-by-wire controls that might open up entirely new designs for general aviation. Or maybe it's just easier not to think about it and be happy with what we've got.

Read more and join the conversation.

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Survey: Are You Flying with a Garmin GTN Navigator?

If so, the staff of Aviation Consumer would like to know what you think of it. Almost two years ago, Garmin introduced the GTN-series navigators to update its mega-popular GNS products. If you've been flying behind one, tell us what you think of it by taking this survey. It'll only take five minutes.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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.

'Flying the Cessna 210: The Secrets Unlocked' by 
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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: FK's Comet Biplane

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

FK Lightplanes has significant presence in Europe but almost none in the U.S. They'd like to change that with a sporty little aerobatic biplane called the FK-12 Comet. Right now, it's got a Rotax 912, but it will soon have a fully aerobatic Lycoming AEIO-233, making it one of only a couple of light sports approved for aerobatics and the only biplane. AVweb recently took a spin in the Comet with Hansen Air Group's Mitch Hansen. Here's a video report.

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

Video: iPad Mini -- AVweb's Flight Trial

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

The iPad, and tablets in general, have gained wide acceptance among pilots. But if you find the iPad a tad too large for the cockpit, the new iPad Mini may address that complaint. It's 2/3 the size of the full iPad but otherwise has the same features and performance as an iPad 2. In this video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer wrung out the Mini for both cockpit and pre-flight use. Other than screen glare, we found it had few warts worth mentioning, and it just might become the perfect cockpit accessory.

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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Who's Where back to top 

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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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:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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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