AVwebBiz Complete Issue: Volume 11, Number 16

April 24, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! It All Starts in Friedrichshafen back to top 

Diamond Unveils Turboprop Single At Aero

click for larger versions

As the 21st Aero opens in Friedrichshafen, Germany, an early peek by AVweb on Tuesday suggests there will be plenty new to look at and even some surprises. At the top of a list is a new turboprop from Diamond called the DA50 Turbine, some new models from established Italian aircraft maker Tecnam and a surprise flying appearance by Pipistrel's sleek Panthera retractable single, which proved to be the hit of Aero last year. We didn't expect to see it here this year, but Pipistrel has done sufficient flight testing and felt confident enough to bring it into the show.

Diamond CEO Christian Dries gave a quick tour of the DA50 Turbine, a beefy looking single turboprop that capitalizes on the fuselage design used first in a piston version proposed a few years ago and now finding application in the DA52 diesel twin. The DA50, which Dries says hasn't flown yet and is just entering the proof of concept phase, is powered by a 450-HP AI-450S turboshaft engine built by the Ukrainian company Motor Sich JSC. When the Soviet Union still existed, Motor Sich built engines for the prodigious Mil line of military helicopters and the An-124 commercial transport. Dries said the company has entered into an agreement to develop markets for western application of the engines and that the initial focus, if the project comes together, will be a heavy hauling aircraft for unimproved airports in Russia. Dries said a mid-altitude high-speed cruiser version might be pitched to western buyers, with cruise altitudes typically in the high teens. The aircraft would not be pressurized.

Tecnam will also be revealing two new models, the single-place aerobatic Snap! design, which is intended as an aerobatic LSA, and another new 600-kg LSA called the Astore, which appears to be a high-wing design similar to the company's P2008. Also on display is the P2010 which, for lack of a better description, is really a modernized Cessna 172, with slightly better performance and an inexpensive glass cockpit. We'll have video reports on these aircraft and others as our show coverage unfolds this week.

Also, we'll be reporting on increasing presence of North American-based companies at Aero this year, including new appearances by Superior and Eclipse and expanded efforts from both Cirrus and Cessna. Luann Alesio, who represents Aero in North America, reports that participation by U.S. companies is on the rise, with more than 40 represented this year. Attendance at Aero is typically in the 30,000 to 35,000 range, with participants from all over the world, many of who come ready to buy or order aircraft. Continental Motors' Michael Gifford said Aero has become one of the company's strongest shows for vendor-to-vendor contacts.

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Clear Skies for Solar Impulse back to top 

Solar Impulse Flies, As Electric Aircraft Experts Gather

Solar Impulse, the one-of-a-kind solar-powered airplane from Switzerland, flew above the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco on Tuesday as the crew prepares for a flight across the U.S. next month. The aircraft took off from Moffett Field about 7 a.m. with Bertrand Piccard at the controls and flew above the bridge at about 3,500 feet. Another flight above the Bay Bridge was planned for later in the day. As the crew continues to prepare for the cross-country trip, experts in the development of battery-powered aircraft will be gathering in nearby Santa Rosa for the 7th annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium.

A roster of speakers from research centers, NASA, the Green Flight Challenge, and major aerospace companies will be meeting at the event to share an "interest in rejuvenating general aviation with small, quiet electric aircraft," event organizer Brien Seeley told AVweb on Tuesday. "Several new electric aircraft and related technologies will be unveiled," he added. The event will be held Friday and Saturday; registration is open online. AVweb's Mary Grady will be reporting on the symposium from the site.

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Coping with Tower Closures back to top 

BizAv Affected By ATC Delays

Although airline flight delays due to sequester measures have grabbed the headlines, business aviation is also being affected by reduced staffing levels at air traffic control facilities. An aircraft management company on the East Coast told AVweb that a planned flight from the Baltimore area to South Carolina was scrubbed because air traffic control problems effectively ground stopped it. "The pilot was told that ATC was not accepting any departures over GVE or DAILY," a representative of the company told AVweb. "No estimate of when departures would be available was given, and no optional routing was offered." Meanwhile Dallas/Fort Worth Airport is the latest to report major traffic headaches, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

In a bulletin sent to the media, NATCA said that as of late morning arrivals at DFW were delayed by 30 minutes and they were increasing. A ground stop was in effect at Dulles and a ground delay was affecting flights at Reagan National. LAX was experiencing its third straight day of delays. Ironically, to cope with the situation, some controllers are being asked to work overtime at time and a half, thereby negating some of the cost savings of the furloughs.

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Flight Delays Will Worsen Says NATCA Rep

A senior controller at one of the West Coast's busiest facilities says sequester-related issues and delays will only get worse as increasing demand meets diminished capacity throughout the system. For the third straight day since one-day-in-10 furloughs have been in place for air traffic controllers, significant delays have been reported at major airports all over the U.S., and Scott Conde, the president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association at Oakland Center in California, said the true impact has been barely felt. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," he said in a podcast interview. Conde said the sequester-related staffing cuts came between Easter and summer, normally the time when staffing is at its maximum and there's a slight lull in air traffic. Once summer vacations further diminish the ranks of controllers and traffic increases, the delays will almost certainly be much worse. He also expects the stress and long hours experienced by controllers will also start to take their toll, adding to the existing problems.

Conde said there is simply no substitute for manpower to handle the work, so there will be no managerial or technological workarounds for the issues. Under the circumstances, he said, the only tool controllers have to ensure safe separation is to space aircraft farther apart. Conde also noted that since the system is so interdependent, problems at one facility affect operations at all the others.

Podcast: Flight Delays 'Tip of the Iceberg'

File Size 8.5 MB / Running Time 9:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Scott Conde, a senior controller at Oakland Center in California says that delays resulting from controller furloughs are just getting started. He told AVweb's Russ Niles that when summer vacations hit, the situation will be much worse.

Click here to listen. (8.5 MB, 9:15)

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ATC Trainers Laid Off Due To Sequester

About 300 contract workers, most of whom provide training for air traffic controllers at the FAA's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, have been laid off due to federal budget cuts. The workers are employed by Raytheon and subcontractor ISG, according to local news reports. "This is something that is happening because of the terrible position we are in with the federal government and sequestration," ISG president Gerald Williams told The Oklahoman. Spokesmen for the training center and for Raytheon declined to comment. Some of the workers were told the furloughs would be temporary.

As the sequester continues to affect controller staffing this week, with about 10 percent of the workforce on furlough on any given day, the impact of the staff reduction is unclear. A few airports on Monday reported above-average delays, but good weather across much of the country seemed to help keep most flights running on time. "Staffing challenges at regional centers led to ground delays and more spacing between flights around the country," the FAA told NBC News on Monday. About 400 delays on Sunday were due to staffing shortages, the FAA said.

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Gather Your Investors ... back to top 

Beech Hopes To Sell Jet Business This Summer (Corrected)

Beechcraft hopes to sell off the now-dormant Hawker jet assets within three months and is dealing with several potential buyers. In comments made after a speech to the Wichita Aero Club Monday, Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said the company has non-disclosure agreements with an unspecified number of interested parties and is, of course, not saying who they are. An online "data room" for qualified purchasers has been set up. Beechcraft dumped the jet line as part of its restructuring and emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a process Boisture said has set up the new company to prosper even in difficult times. "We have come out clearly and cleanly as Beechcraft," Boisture is quoted by the Wichita Eagle as saying. "We've got ourselves on a good foundation now." Boisture said.

Boisture said the company is carrying about $425 million in debt compared to the $2.6 billion it had before restructuring. It has also shed hundreds of jobs and reduced its manufacturing footprint by 40 percent. Among those in the audience were representatives of companies that were owed money by Hawker Beechcraft before it went into Chapter 11. "You went down a rough road with us this past year," he said. "We want to thank you and your companies for your support."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA Budget Cuts -- Go for the Paper Clips

If you're a student of the First Amendment's right of redress, aviation gave you a good week last week, with a lawsuit to stop the FAA from furloughing controllers. But if you're a deficit hawk? Not so much. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli observes that by the time all the special interests get their piece of the pie, the FAA will be back where it started: no budget cuts at all. Maybe those people who say we're doomed have a point.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Jack Howell's Worthy Cause

Post-traumatic stress disorder is well-known for soldiers returning from combat, but less known is that it affects the children of soldiers killed or wounded in battle. Jack Howell is doing something about that, offering free flight training for the offspring of wounded or deceased military members. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains why he sent Jack some money — and why you should, too.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Video: Randall Fishman's Electric-Powered Ultralight

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

Randall Fishman first exhibited this lightweight new design at EAA AirVenture in 2012, shortly after its first flight. At Sun 'n Fun in April 2013, the prototype had about 30 hours of flight time, and Fishman was ready to sell copies under Part 103.

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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 Refurbished Airplane of the Month

New airplanes sales may be a little soft, but we're seeing plenty of refurb work -- everything from new panels to fresh paint to full-up interiors. We would like to feature some of these airplanes in the pages of AVweb and spotlight the owners and shops doing the work. If you have photos of your restored aircraft -- single, twin or turbine -- send them along to us, and if we select your airplane as refurb of the month, we'll contact you for more information.

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.


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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