AVwebBiz - Volume 11, Number 13

March 27, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! AVweb at AEA 2013 in Las Vegas back to top 

AEA Opens In Las Vegas

The Aircraft Electronics Association opened it's 56th convention and trade show in Las Vegas Tuesday with an eye opening number: $6.3 billion. That's the current size of the avionics industry—including new installation and retrofits, but not repairs—according to a recently compiled economic study done by the association based on 2012 sales. The report drew surprised reactions from several attendees we spoke to at the show, including some major players.

AEA's Paula Derks told AVweb that the study will be continued and conducted on a quarterly basis to track industry performance. The next phase of the study will lend more detail to both certified and uncertifed sales. At AEA's opening session, 27 companies announced new products, including Garmin, Aspen and Universal. Some 1500 manufactuers, dealers and installers are attending the show, which runs through Thursday. AVweb will have continuing coverage of the show this week.

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Rutan's Legendary Recollections Kick Off AEA back to top 

Dick Rutan Recalls Voyager's 1986 Circumnavigation

Twenty seven years after the fact, Dick Rutan says he's somewhat astonished that he and Jeana Yeager made it around the world in the Burt Rutan-designed Voyager, given the rudimentary avionics of the day and the fact that the airplane had so little surplus load factor that moderate turbulence would have torn it apart. As the keynote speaker at the 56th Aircraft Electronics Association Convention opening in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Rutan flashed a photo of his panel that was then state-of-the-art but which now features some boxes long since faded from the market.

Rutan recalled a number of knock-down arguments with brother Burt, not the least of which was his decision to install radar, a now-vintage Narco KWX56. But Rutan said he'd flown the equator and realized he and Yeager would never survive it without radar. "If I knew it was going to be that dangerous and take than long, I'd never have gotten on the train in the first place," Rutan told the crowd. He also singled out a then little-known engineer from King Radio named Carl Wolf as being instrumental in the flight's success. Wolf went on to become Garmin's VP for aviation sales. Rutan has followed the development of avionics since his historic flight and says the airplane could be made lighter and better three decades after the fact.

In this podcast with AVweb from the AEA show, Rutan recalls the challenges of his historic flight.

Podcast: Dick Rutan Remembers

File Size 10.1 MB / Running Time 11:05

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

It's only been 27 years since Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager flew around the world without refueling, but the technology that has been introduced since then would make it a much different trip today. Rutan spoke with AVweb's Paul Bertorelli after speaking to the Aircraft Electronics Association convention in Las Vegas.

Click here to listen. (10.1 MB, 11:05)

'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.

Watch The Aviators on PBS, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu.
The Nuts and Bolts of Tower Closures back to top 

Closure Dates For Towers Posted

Not every air traffic control tower slated for shutdown will stop operating at once, according to an FAA list posted online by AOPA on Monday. The first group of 24 towers will close on April 7, another 46 on April 21, and 79 on May 5. The Lakeland, Fla., tower will remain open until April 21, giving the Sun 'n Fun organizers a respite from having to hire their own ATC staff for the event, which runs April 9 to 14. AOPA said the closing dates were based on activity levels, with the towers that handle the fewest commercial operations closing first. FAA spokesperson Laura Brown told AVweb on Tuesday the posted lists are "pre-decisional." She added, "We should have a final official list in the next day or so."

The FAA also is reportedly reviewing the possibility of closing towers overnight at 72 airports around the country. Although the sequester budget cuts officially extend only until the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, it remains unclear whether any of these towers, once they are closed, will reopen. John Leenhouts, CEO of Sun 'n Fun, told AVweb on Tuesday that plans for the Lakeland tower after next month are uncertain, but he expects it to be fully staffed for Sun 'n Fun in 2014.

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Delta Pilots Lost in the Shuffle back to top 

Retired Delta Pilots Want Pensions Back

A former Delta Air Lines senior captain has launched a petition trying to convince the reorganized company to reinstate pensions that were terminated when the airline first filed for bankruptcy eight years ago. Robert Moser was among about 3,500 retired pilots whose pensions were cut by 80 percent or more when they were assumed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Northwest Airlines filed for bankruptcy on the same day as Delta but the company did not ask for the pension plan to be terminated. Now that the two airlines have merged, Moser says there's a terrible injustice in that the reorganized airline continues to fund the pensions of the Northwest retirees while the long-term employees who were at Delta long before the merger are left without. "The very pilot group that helped place Delta in an extraordinary business position to capitalize on recent big moves, are the same ones that have disproportionately suffered the biggest hit during and after the re-organization," Moser says in the petition preamble.

Moser noted that pensions are not a "gift" from the company to retirees but include years of deferred income paid by the employees to provide income in retirement. Moser said those most affected by the situation retired between 2002 and 2007 when the retirement age for pilots went to 65 from 60. Like many of the others, Moser has taken jobs at foreign airlines to support himself and his family in the absence of the pension. He's currently a Boeing 777 instructor for an Asian airline. "My workdays are long, my commute is 15 hours each way, and I subject my body to 14 time zones every three weeks," Moser said. "And, I am better off than most of the 3500 retirees because I am still working and earning a few dollars."

iSpO2 from Masimo || Track and Trend 
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Dreamliner Returns to Test Flights back to top 

Boeing Test Flies 787

Boeing launched a 787 from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., on Monday afternoon and flew a two-hour test flight with its redesigned battery system. The 787 returned and landed with no apparent problems, The Associated Press reported. Boeing had said in a statement prior to the flight that during the check flight, the crew would cycle the landing gear, operate all the backup systems, and perform electrical system checks. "Following the completion of the functional check flight, we will analyze the data from the flight and prepare for certification ground and flight demonstration in the coming days," Boeing said. Also on Monday, the NTSB announced details of its upcoming forum on lithium batteries, scheduled for April 11-12.

The NTSB said the forum will focus on three areas: the design, development and performance of lithium ion batteries; regulations and standards related to manufacturing, use and transport of the batteries; and the application and safety aspects of lithium battery technology in various transportation modes. A preliminary agenda has been posted online. The safety board said the forum will be streamed live online and later will be archived on the NTSB website. The 787 fleet has been grounded since January after two airplanes experienced battery malfunctions.

'Instrument Pilot Handbook' & 'Instrument Pilot's 
Survival Guide' by Rod Machado || Available at AVwebBooks.com
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Who's Where back to top 

Welch Promoted at Skyway Aero

David Welch

David Welch is the new VP of sales at Skyway Aero. Welch has been with the company since 2009.

Tarapore Takes Over StandardAero

Firoz Tarapore

Firoz Tarapore is the interim president and CEO of StandardAero. Tarapore is a director of the company and will stay on the board as the company looks for a permanent CEO.

McGinn Joins Flexjet

Ryan McGinn

Ryan McGinn has been appointed sales director for Flexjet in New York. He was formerly at Callaway Golf.

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.

IFR Refresher
Get to the Next Level!
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Tower Closures -- Talk to Your Neighbor

We tried to forestall Paul Bertorelli from writing another blog about tower closures, but he wiggled out of the restraints and shook off the sedative. But he does make one relatively lucid point in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog: When your neighbor or a co-worker asks about this close of control towers thing, try to inject some sanity into the conversation.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Garmin Team X -- Passion-Driven Products

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

Although they're not the centerpiece of Garmin's booth at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas this week, Garmin has made quite a ripple with its announcement of seven new avionics products for the experimental and light sport markets. In this video, Garmin's Jim Alpiser explains why the company is so bullish on the experimental segment and why Garmin carved out a segregated engineering team to develop uncertified avionics, with more products on the way.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

Video: Sandia Aerospace's New Compact Transponder

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

As avonics manufacturerers are spinning out new ADS-B products by the week, they're also creating some new sub-niches. One of those is for a simple, compact Mode-C transponder since some kind of transponder will be needed once the ADS-B mandate is in place. Sandia Aerospace recently added just such a product to its well-respected line of avionics fans, integration boxes, and encoders. At the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, Sandia's Dennis Smith gave AVweb a video tour of the company's new STX 165 compact transponder.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

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:

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].

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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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