NewsWire Complete Issue


OREGON AEROS PORTABLE UNIVERSAL SOFTSEATTM CUSHION TAKES AWAY THE PAIN! Word is spreading rapidly about the dramatic reduction in pain that pilots and others are experiencing with Oregon Aero’s Portable Universal SoftSeatTM Cushions. Testimonials have been overwhelmingly positive on the model designed for aerobatic and commercial aircraft and for the standard model made for all other aircraft and for other seating applications. No matter how long you sit, the cushion design shifts you into a sitting position that reduces fatigue and eliminates pain. Visit us at Oshkosh (Building C 3137) to “rump test” the SoftSeatTM and to see other products that eliminate pain, reduce noise and improve impact protection. Check out all of Oregon Aero’s products online at

It Only Gets Better

More Oshkosh…

So far at AirVenture 2003, we’ve seen something of everything: breezy sunshine, pouring rain, blue skies, gray overcasts, lightning, and threats of hail. But the crowds here continue to grow undaunted. Showplanes keep streaming into the field, and aviation fans with their families, backpacks, and cameras swarm the grounds. Yesterday, a couple of Harriers were added to the list of aircraft to fill Aeroshell Square; the two jets are scheduled to arrive this morning to join a diverse group of unique aircraft already in place. With the weekend still ahead, the camping areas bursting at the seams, and the celebration of flight in full swing, this year’s show promises to be one that won’t soon be forgotten.

…More Streaming Video

Enjoy the latest installment along with installments #1, #2 and #3 of AVweb/AirsideTVs free streaming video coverage of AirVenture 2003. Thanks to our AirVenture partner AirsideTV, AVweb readers will enjoy this exciting video supplement to our in-depth Oshkosh coverage including an up-close view of the Boeing 307 Stratoliner, which is bound to Virginia for the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Well also give you a peek at the Orbis DC-10 flying eye-care hospital and P-51 Mustangs showing off for the AirVenture crowd. Of course, this is just a sample of our unique extended-play video coverage, where pay-per-view subscribers get a front-row seat to the flight display plus exclusive interior tours of the larger aircraft.

AEROSANCE – PowerLinkTM FADEC APPLICATIONS GROW With STCs for a number of Beech Bonanza and Baron models now in hand, Aerosance, another Teledyne Technologies company, is highlighting the latest developments with their revolutionary PowerLinkTM FADEC digital engine control system. A number of FADEC-equipped aircraft are on hand at the Teledyne Continental Pavilion, adjacent to Exhibit Hangar C, this week at AirVenture 2003 in Oshkosh. Technical experts from Continental and Aerosance are ready to answer questions on how to bring your aircraft into the FADEC generation.

FAA Head Marion Blakey Tells All

Sport-Pilot Rule Still A Year Off…

It could be another year before the final rule on Light Sport Aircraft/Sport Pilot is complete, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told a forum at EAA AirVenture yesterday, and the crowd grumbled in dismay. Blakey had drawn a standing ovation when she said she has signed off on the rule for the FAA, but when she added that implementation still may be a year away, the disappointment was both publicly expressed and privately shared among the attendees. The rule now must be scrutinized by the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget. Blakey said she’s being conservative in her timeline estimate and it’s possible the process will take six months or less — but she doesn’t want to raise any false hopes. (LSA has a legacy of false hopes, as year after year the final rule is said to be “coming soon,” and years pass with more delays.) “I tend to be short on promises and long on deliverables,” Blakey said. Light Sport Aircraft/Sport Pilot is an enormously complex initiative and one that is important both to the government and to the flying public, she said. “We see this as one of the most important developments in aviation in 40 years.”

…TFRs Are Not Going Away…

Blakey also told the crowd that: TFRs are here to stay (so let’s learn how not to bust them), the age-60 rule isn’t going anywhere, there’s nothing the FAA can do to change the fate of Meigs Field, and a new certificate (sporting an FAA logo hologram and other safety features) will be issued to all airmen as they achieve new ratings. Blakey reminded the crowd that the TSA and the Secret Service play a major role in creating security-related restrictions and the FAA is trying to get the word out to pilots as soon as possible when new restrictions are implemented. She said they’ve even used local media to broadcast warnings of new TFRs. Blakey said she welcomes suggestions on how to improve the notice process. “We’re very game to do so,” she said. Blakey also confirmed that more pop-up TFRs are likely as the 2004 election race swings into high gear. (A couple of weeks ago, a pipeline inspection pilot was forced to land by military aircraft after busting a presidential TFR in Philadelphia, and it’s been suggested there was not enough notice of the restrictions.) EAA President Tom Poberezny noted it’s also possible that TFRs will be put in place for other candidates besides the current president. Blakey said pilots have to adjust to the new environment. She said pilots continue to violate long-established TFRs that have been thoroughly publicized. “It’s something we all need to look at as a shared responsibility,” she said.

…And The Age-60 Rule Is Likely Staying

Blakey pretty much ended the hope of some airline pilots of staying in the cockpit beyond the age of 60, at least in the near future. “I think that’s where it’s [the retirement age] going to be for a while,” she said. Blakey said there is no evidence the current mandatory retirement age is inappropriate and, since there are now thousands of furloughed and laid-off pilots, it would be a tough political sell to change it. “I just don’t see any momentum,” she said. And while she offered sympathy, she said she couldn’t do much to help those trying to get Meigs Field in Chicago reopened. “My heart absolutely sank,” she said of her reaction to Mayor Richard Daley’s surprise destruction of the Meigs runway on March 31. She said FAA staff tried to find a way to stop Daley but couldn’t. “From a legal standpoint, there’s nothing we can do,” she said. But she told Friends of Meigs President Rachel Goodstein the agency will be on guard against threats to airports elsewhere. “Meigs was a bit of a wake-up call,” she said. Goodstein said later she was disappointed with Blakey’s response, which acknowleged that the aviation infrastructure system is at risk but offered no remedy. “Now that we’re awake, what are we going to do?” Goodstein said.

FLIGHT SCHOOLS & FBOs, HAVING TROUBLE KEEPING PILOT DATA UNDER CONTROL? TimeSync’s AccountMaster integrates our ScheduleMaster online aircraft scheduling system with both of the major accounting packages (Peachtree and QuickBooks). In addition to billing and owner statements, you can print BFR and medical reminders on customer statements, as well as control scheduling privileges when they are expired. Powerful reports let you know who’s flying the aircraft and enable sensible billing policies. OSHKOSH SPECIAL: One month COMPLIMENTARY or A NO-CHARGE set-up. For an online demonstration go to

Hi-Tech For GA: What’s Real (And Certified) Right Now

Enter: Synthetic Vision…

AVweb has flown with Chelton’s Electronic Flight Information System and seen the future (of aircraft navigation, anyway) and it is nifty … and pricey. Chelton has recently been granted a technical standard order (TSO) for its synthetic vision. “It’s a new way to fly,” said Randy Shimon, the head of sales for Chelton and demonstration pilot for AVweb‘s demonstration flight yesterday(click through for streaming video). The system integrates radar and GPS signals with a remarkably accurate geographical database to give pilots a virtual depiction of nearly everything they would see if they ever bother to look out the window again. You’ll still have to look outside for other aircraft … and elsewhere to fill the $75,750 system cost (plus 150 hours for in$tallation). “Some people say they can’t believe how expensive it is and some people can’t believe how cheap it is,” Shimon said. Of course, PCFlightSystems showed us a portable non-certified product loaded with PCAvionics MountainScope software that together offer remarkably similar features for roughly $73,000 less. Chelton’s screen is split with blue for the sky and brown for terra firma. Overlaid on the ground is a visible but unobtrusive grid that depicts the ground topography, cross-referenced through the GPS from a topographical database. Over table-flat Wisconsin, the grid lines stayed obediently straight, but in mountainous terrain they bulge and twist into a 3-D view of the outside world. Obstacles like transmission towers are color-coded according to the threat they pose to the oncoming aircraft. Audible warnings are sounded if things are looking especially tight. The terrain database is said to be accurate to within 12 feet and the obstacle information is updated every 28 days. Navigation data is updated in the standard 56-day cycles.

…And A High Price Tag…

Shimon said the system has been flight-tested more than 5,000 hours and has undergone rigorous examination by the FAA. It’s being installed in aircraft in Alaska as part of the Capstone Program, a real-life experiment aimed at using technology to reduce the grim terrain-related accident record there. As many aviation innovations do, the synthetic vision system started life as an uncertified package for kit-built aircraft. More than 100 are flying and Shimon said the only difference between the certified system and those in Lancairs and other high-end homebuilts is the FAA stamp of approval. The Chelton system is STC’d for more than 600 types of aircraft but being on the cutting edge has a price. The hardware, which includes two screens and all the required sensors, is $75,750 and it will take about 150 hours to install. The price, of course, is relative to the value of the airplane and the deepness of its owners’ pockets. But Shimon said it’s impossible to put a price on the added measure of safety the system provides.

…Certified In-Cockpit Weather…

Another player in the datalink field, WSI, announced that it has obtained FAA certification for its Inflight AV200. The WSI system uses geosynchronous satellites to continuously broadcast weather data to the cockpit. Cost of the certified system is $4,995, plus a monthly charge. WSI says its weather will eventually be displayable on various kinds of screens, with UPSAT’s MX20 multi-function display being the leading contender.

TURBOWX – NEXRAD & AVIATION WEATHER FOR YOUR WIRELESS PDA OR SMARTPHONE TurboWx is a subscription based wireless service for the delivery of NexRad and aviation weather to your wireless PDA or SmartPhone. TurboWx is available for Palm OS or Pocket PC PDA’s. METAR’s, TAF’s, PIREPS, FA’s, FD’s, National Weather Service zone and forecast discussions, graphic forecasts and 5 different views of NexRad and NexRad composite radar images. TurboWx uniquely allows you to center your graphic or text request over any public airport or VOR in the United States. Try TurboWx free for 30 days. See the TurboWx website at

…Non-Certified Aircraft Datalink…

The world of aircraft datalink continues to lurch forward although no clear leader in the field has emerged. At last year’s AirVenture, a company called WXWorx appeared, proposing to provide weather data via XMSatellite’s wide-area satellite broadcast system. This offering appears to be maturing as WxWorx was demonstrating a portable, non-certified XM data receiver that will receive and display a range of proprietary weather products on electronic flight bags or tablet-type computers. For a price of $600 to $700, WXWorx provides the receiver — a unit that looks like a puffed up CD player — and the necessary software to process and display the data. Monthly fees for the service start at $49.99. WXWorx partner Heads Up Technology plans to offer a certified receiver by the end of 2003. It’s expected to sell for below $4,000 and a version of it will be dual channel, allowing both weather data and entertainment channels.

…ADS-B Offers Cockpit Weather, Traffic

Imagine getting real-time traffic and weather information in the cockpit for about $6,000 and no monthly fee. That’s the promise of the Universal Access Transceiver and its attendant systems being developed by UPS Aviation Technologies (UPSAT). The radio uplinks weather and radar traffic information from FAA-financed (hence free to pilots) ground stations, and displays the data on an existing cockpit display. The system uses cellular technology on a protected frequency range that provides plenty of bandwidth, said UPSAT spokesman Doug Helton, at AirVenture this week. “It’s a bundled set of benefits,” he said. There will be other long-term benefits of the system as more airplanes are equipped with it. Planes with the transceiver can interrogate and transfer data from one to another, providing aircraft identification and position data for collision avoidance outside of radar range. This Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system is being installed in Embry-Riddle University’s training aircraft so pilots can keep tabs on each other in the often-crowded patterns and practice areas at their training sites in Florida and Arizona. The system will also allow university staff to monitor the activities of all their aircraft on a visual display. Embry-Riddle will start using the system by the end of the year and the FAA will start installing their uplink stations at airports on the East Coast early in 2004.

FLIGHT TRAINING REBATE FROM OMF Earn a new FAA rating, fly one of general aviation’s most exciting new aircraft and save money, all at the same time, with OMF Aircraft’s new Flight Training Rebate. OMF and its distributors are offering a $2,000 rebate to anyone who purchases a Symphony 160 between July 28 and August 15, 2003, and a new FAA rating in their Symphony 160 within two years. To learn more about OMF’s flight training rebate, stop by OMF’s AirVenture outdoor display next to the entrance to Building D, or call 1-866-OMF-1600, or visit


Diamond Diesel Goes Great Guns

Was it really only early this year that Diamond announced certification approval for its DA-40TDI diesel-powered Star? Yes, it was, but the company says it has experienced unusually strong demand for this aircraft in Europe. Thus far, 25 of the diesel-powered Stars have been sold in Europe and the orders continue to pour in. The DA-40-TDI is powered by the Thielert Centurion 1.7 (formerly the TAE 125) diesel, an engine that debuted here at OSH several years ago. The attraction for European customers is obvious: Jet-A is less expensive than gasoline in Europe and more widely available. Since the Thielert engine uses less of it, it yields a dual advantage that halves the direct hourly fuel costs for the Star. How about a U.S. version? Not just yet, says Diamond, but as interest in diesels grows, we think the model will prove attractive here, too.

BRS And Diesel For OMF

BRS, maker of ballistic recovery chutes for aircraft, said this week its new system for Light Sport airplanes is ready to go, and available for sale. Also, BRS President Mark Thomas said OMF Aircraft will include a BRS chute as standard equipment on its new four-place Symphony 4, which is expected to be on the market by the end of next year. OMF also will offer the chute as a $16,000 option on its two-place Symphony 160. The Thielert Centurion 1.7 powered Symphony will weigh in at $7,000 more than the standard 160, but offers higher efficiency, a constant-speed prop, FADEC-facilitated flight, plus push-of-a-button run-ups … and the option to fly if 100LL goes away. Thomas said the BRS option for the 160 should be available by the end of this year. Derek Stinnes of OMF added that the chute is especially important when it comes to enticing the non-flying public into the world of aviation. “It’s an option that everybody can understand,” he said.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE TODAY AT OSHKOSH? WSI, the Trusted Leader in Aviation Weather, is publishing a free website of WSI aviation weather for the region surrounding Oshkosh leading up to and during AirVenture 2003. The site offers surface prognostics, satellite imagery and WSI’s industry leading NOWrad Radar Summary. If you are attending AirVenture visit WSI at Booth 3090-91 for up-to-the-minute weather conditions for the show, or go online where the site will be available through the event and for a short time thereafter at

Maule Goes Jet-A, Too, And Adds LSA

Maule appears equally bullish on selling diesels, and it will be marketing in the U.S. This week at OSH, Maule debuted an M-9 fitted with SMA’s SR 305-230 aerodiesel, which was first certified in Europe a while ago and is now poised to make inroads in the U.S. Like the Diamond, the Maule diesel’s appeal is theoretically long range and lower operating costs. With 85 gallons of Jet-A aboard, the diesel M-9 appears to deliver on the range claims. Maule says it will fly more than 1,000 miles on a single top off. Another surprise on the show line was a new sport aircraft from Maule, a light taildragger powered by a Rotax 912S. It’s called the M-4-100 and Maule hopes — but isn’t certain — that it will qualify under the new Light Sport Aircraft certification standards. If it does, Maule thinks it will sell for between $70,000 and $80,000. Price for the M-9 diesel model is set at “about $200,000” according to Maule, a premium of some $50,000 over the gasoline-powered equivalent.

Two New Portable GPSs From Lowrance

Since the introduction of the Garmin 196 last year, the aviation portable GPS market has been quiet. Lowrance tossed a rock into the calm waters at AirVenture this week, displaying the new AirMap 500 and AirMap 1000 portables. The 500 has a three-inch diagonal screen with 240 X 180 pixel density, while the AirMap 1000 sports a five-inch diagonal 320 X 320 pixel screen. We got a look at both in Lowrance’s booth and we’re impressed with the screen sharpness. The 500 is already shipping at a suggested retail price of $499 while the AirMap 1000 is expected to be available in September for $799 retail. (Lower prices are available on both from discount sources.)

Garmin GPS Upgrades

Although Garmin rolled out no new portable GPS this year, it did announce upgrades for its popular panel mount equipment, the GNS 400 and 500 line of navigators. WAAS upgrades for the GNS400/500 series will be available for under $1,500 by the end of 2004, says Garmin. If you’d like to add terrain detail and hazard alerting to the 400/500 series products from Garmin, you can do so for $500, and the upgrade is planned for the end of 2003. For serious terrain avoidance, you may want Class-B TAWS, which will be available as an upgrade to 500 series navigators only, by the end of this year. Price is set at $6,495.

WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE TODAY AT OSHKOSH? WSI, the Trusted Leader in Aviation Weather, is publishing a free website of WSI aviation weather for the region surrounding Oshkosh leading up to and during AirVenture 2003. The site offers surface prognostics, satellite imagery and WSI’s industry leading NOWrad Radar Summary. If you are attending AirVenture visit WSI at Booth 3090-91 for up-to-the-minute weather conditions for the show, or go online where the site will be available through the event and for a short time thereafter at

Ultralights At Oshkosh

Tucked down in the south corner of AirVenture, ultralights are as strong as ever. The little grass runway sees lots of activity, and the pattern is filled with nearly a dozen at a time. Ultralights of all kinds are here — powered parachutes, powered hang gliders, open-cockpit planes, and fully enclosed planes. There is even a helicopter that gets in under the maximum 254 lbs. to qualify as an ultralight. This area is also where the whirlybirds reside — everything from gyroplanes to a miniaturized kit-version of the MASH helicopters to Jet Rangers and Robinson R44s. Many ultralight manufacturers are exploring how to grow their designs into the new Sport-Pilot rules. Unlike manufacturers of larger planes — who have to think smaller (cutting weight is always tricky) — these ultralight companies can just let loose of their usual weight restrictions, add more strength or drag-reduction materials, and finally allow passengers in their second seat rather than just flight students. Even novice observers noticed one interesting design difference among the airplanes: Those that had a longer empennage (and, therefore, a longer moment arm for the tail surfaces) seemed to be more stable in yaw during takeoff and landing roll. The others were “twitchy” on the bumpy grass and didn’t give as much confidence to those pilots used to more conventional, certified planes. It will be interesting to see which new Sport Pilot planes end up attracting the new and old pilots.

History Repeats Itself

This year’s centennial celebration of the Wright brothers’ first flight is fueling an interest in a wide variety of events in aviation history. EAA’s AirVenture Museum is hosting a special exhibit on Charles Lindbergh, featuring rarely seen historical documents and photos. One highlight is a display of the actual Mercator chart that Lindbergh carried from New York to Paris, showing the great-circle route and magnetic courses he plotted. Over at the Vintage Aircraft field, the Aviation Foundation of America is displaying a few of the two dozen antique airplanes that will fly in September’s National Air Tour, a recreation of the tours that introduced aviation to the public during the 1920s and ’30s. A pair of Sikorsky flying boats, a Ford Tri-motor, and many more, each one pampered and unique, sit ready to fly.

On The Fly…

AVweb invites you to browse the grounds of OSH in our freshly expanded AirVenture ’03 Image Galleries


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The latest edition of this real-time flight tracking display of all IFR aircraft in-flight includes enhanced tracking of individual flights, surface overlays, terrain and elevation maps, and full screen mode for a larger picture on your PC. To subscribe at the AVweb member rate of just $9.95 a month go to

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Shop for First Flight Centennial collectibles and apparel online, by entering promotional code “AVWEB” for a 10% discount on everything. While there enter the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes. The lucky winner will be a part of the Kitty Hawk activities on December 17. Other prizes include commemorative watches and more. For complete details stop by AirVenture booth #3088-89, or order merchandise, enter the sweepstakes, and secure VIP events seating at

Stop by and tell AVweb sponsors how much you appreciate their support of your FREE AVflash issues. AVweb will be in AirVenture booth 4144-45. For a list you can print out and take with you go to