Three Rs Launch Today At AOPA Summit »

A wide range of aviation companies will be represented in AVweb 's launch of its Three Rs Affordable Aircraft Initiative to boost the refurbishing and remanufacturing sector of the industry. "We expect about 15 participants for [today's] round table discussion [at AOPA Summit] in Palm Springs," said AVweb Publisher Tom Bliss. The discussion will be held in the executive boardroom of the PSP Hilton Hotel next to the Palm Springs Convention Center starting at 2 p.m. Thursday. Check out this podcast for a preview. More

Refurb Specialty Market Strong »

New aircraft sales continue to be on the soft side, but some specialty refurbishing and modification companies can't keep up. "I can't build them fast enough," said Todd Peterson, owner of Peterson's Performance Plus, creator of the King Katmai modification of the Cessna 182. On setup day Wednesday at AOPA Summit in Palm Springs he sold a fully tricked-out $350,000 version of the aircraft complete with Tundra tires, wing extensions and nose-mounted canards that turn the venerable cross-country platform into a serious back-country performer. More

AOPA Summit 2011: Complete Coverage Round-Up »

Click here for all our news stories from the AOPA Summit both for 2011 and previous years. And our AVwebAudio newsletter has the complete run-down of this year's multimedia coverage: Podcasts Videos Daily E-Mail Coverage Want to get AVwebAudio in your inbox every Friday? Just log in to AVweb (or create a free account in the upper right corner of this page) and visit AVweb.com/profile . Choose "Update E-mail Subscriptions" in the profile center, and from there, you can add or drop any AVweb newsletters. More

AOPA Unveils New Flight Training Program »

The day before AOPA Aviation Summit opened this week in Hartford, Conn., the association hosted its second Flight Training Summit, for about 100 participants. During that event, AOPA introduced a demo of MyFlightTraining, an online personalized support system that aims to help student pilots achieve their goal of earning a pilot certificate. The program, which has not yet launched online, breaks the training process into six milestones -- introductory flight, first solo, student pilot certificate, solo cross-country, FAA knowledge test, and FAA practical test. Participants also will be entered into a sweepstakes that awards $1,000 for flight training every month. More

Babbitt: FAA To Review Flight-Training Rules »

At AOPA Summit on Friday, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced that he signed off this week on creating a new Aviation Rulemaking Committee that will review the current flight-training rules. "The ARC will make recommendations as to how to improve testing and instruction," he said. "This effort is part of a five-year plan for transforming GA safety." After his presentation, Babbitt spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady in more detail about the FAA plan. "We're going to look at the curriculum, the materials, and what are we testing," he said. "Everything is on the table." Training at all levels will be included in the review. Click here for the full podcast. More

Avgas Replacement: Drop-In Appears Unlikely »

In its first interim briefing to the public, the FAA committee charged with recommending a framework for replacing leaded avgas indicated this week that a straight-up drop-in appears increasingly improbable. Both the FAA's Robert Ganley and Michael Kraft of Lycoming engines told a small audience at AOPA Summit on Thursday that an across-the-board replacement for 100LL that won't require at least some downstream changes in the distribution infrastructure looks less likely to happen now than it did a year ago. Although the Unleaded Avgas Transition rulemaking committee (UAT-ARC) isn't charged with actually finding the replacement fuel, but rather recommending a regulatory framework, its deliberations so far have revealed significant enough technical challenges to suggest existing tankage, distribution and transportation may require modifications. More

A New LSA: Bristell From Liberty Sport Aviation »

Liberty Sport Aviation brought a new LSA to the AOPA Summit in Hartford, Conn., this week, for the airplane's U.S. debut. The all-metal low-wing Bristell is built in the Czech Republic. "We were looking for something fast, fun, and easy to fly," said John Calla, of Liberty. The cockpit is a roomy 51 inches across at shoulder height, and it's covered by a clear bubble canopy. Useful load is 616 pounds, and it can carry up to 34 gallons of fuel. The demo airplane has a Rotax 912 engine, but Calla said other options will be available. The Czech manufacturer BRMAero already has built 42 copies of the design. In the U.S., it will sell for $125,000 to $150,000, Calla said. The Bristell was designed by Milan Bristela, who also was involved in the design of the PiperSport LSA and the Evektor SportStar. Liberty is forming a new company, BristellUSA, to market the airplane. The partners plan to ensure that dealers who sell the aircraft also provide parts, support, and training, Calla said. AVweb's Mary Grady took a tour of the airplane at AOPA AirportFest, check back here for that video report later in the week. More

Cirrus Aims To "Go Back To Our Roots" »

"We want our customers to be truly ecstatic about our products," said Dale Klapmeier, co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft, at AOPA Summit on Thursday, appearing in his new role as CEO. Klapmeier said he wants to promote GA to new customers not only because it's useful, but because it's fun. "We're in this business because having an airplane can transform your life," he said. He also said the new Chinese owners of the company, CAIGA, are reviewing the details of the Vision jet program and have not yet funded it. Pat Waddick, Cirrus COO, added, "It's a big interest for them." The jet is about three to three-and-a-half years away from being ready to start production, Waddick said. More

Continental Introduces New Lower-Octane Engine »

While the industry awaits an unleaded replacement for 100LL, Continental has moved rapidly forward to certify a new version of its six-cylinder IO-360 that will run on lower octane fuel. At AOPA's Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, the company's CEO Rhett Ross told us the new engine will be used in the four-place C4 announced by Flight Design earlier this year. The engine's designation is IO-360-AF for alternative fuel and it's intended to operate on fuels such as 94UL with sufficient detonation margin. The IO-360, which is used in the Cirrus SR20, normally has an output of 210HP, but for the AF variant, Continental has essentially de-rated it to 180 HP by installing lower-compression pistons (7.5 to 1) and with minor tweaks to the fuel injection system. The version we were shown, which represents a new type certification for Continental, has conventional magnetos, but it might eventually use Continental's PowerLink FADEC system. More

AOPA Summit Opens In Hartford »

AOPA Aviation Summit opens in Hartford, Conn., on Thursday with a challenging agenda: how to get all of general aviation's advocates to work together to advance the industry. President Obama's Jobs Act may have provided a rallying cry with its shop-worn inclusion of user fees on top of fuel taxes as a new method of raising revenue. "This group in the White House can't say 'No' to user fees," AOPA President Craig Fuller told AVweb 's editor-in-chief Russ Niles, on the eve of the show. (Click here for the full podcast.) "We want to help pay for the system but we want to pay at the pump." The Summit features an exhibit hall packed with aviation products for sale, keynote talks, a series of seminars aimed at light business aircraft users, static displays at the nearby Brainard Airport, and lots of social events. AVweb staffers are on site to bring you daily podcasts, videos, and reports from the show right through Saturday. More