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Volume 18, Number 34b
August 23, 2012
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FAA in the Hot Seat, Part Iback to top 

Pipistrel Aircraft is back in business in the U.S. after the FAA re-examined its position on the manufacturing site of the speedy composite LSAs and ended an import ban on the aircraft. As we reported in Wednesday's AVwebBiz, Pipistrel spokesman Michael Coates said the FAA imposed the ban after a staff member was unable to verify the location of Pipistrel's Italian factory on Google Earth. After a late-night inquiry by AVweb on Tuesday, the FAA issued the following statement Wednesday: "Earlier this year, Pipistrel's Italian-based light-sport aircraft subsidiary submitted an application to the FAA for special LSA airworthiness certification on a Taurus 503 motor glider. The FAA wanted to ensure that the application included sufficient proof the aircraft were built in Italy. We now believe we have sufficient evidence that the aircraft are manufactured at the Italian facility. We will contact Mr. Coates of Pipistrel to resolve the remaining issues. In describing the various aspects of our inquiry, staff anecdotally indicated that the Pipistrel LSA SRL facility was not visible on Google Earth, but that was not an official factor in considering the application." More...

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FAA in the Hot Seat, Part IIback to top 

The pressure is on for the FAA to allow drone operations in the National Airspace, and this week a major unmanned systems advocate complained that the agency is already behind schedule. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International wrote to the FAA that legislation (PDF) passed earlier this year set a deadline of Aug. 12 for the FAA to designate six test ranges where certification standards and air traffic requirements could be developed, but the deadline has passed and the FAA doesn't have a program in place. "This is a critical step in the process toward the safe and responsible integration of UAS into the national airspace by 2015," wrote AUVSI President Michael Toscano. More... || Intelligent Apps for 
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Research & Developmentback to top 

A research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has designed an autonomous airplane that is able to follow an internal map through a parking garage and navigate successfully, avoiding obstacles, without the use of GPS. The airplane, which has a wingspan of about 6 feet, has to determine where it is on the map in real time, using data from sensors it carries on board -- a laser rangefinder, gyroscopes and accelerometers. It also has to deduce its orientation, velocity and acceleration. To keep track of its position relative to the map at any moment, the airplane has to calculate 15 different values, according to MIT. More...

The Entrepreneurial Challenge is a competition organized by Sikorsky Innovations to promote emerging revolutionary technology in the advancement of rotorcraft, and the application period ends this fall on Oct. 10. This year's challenge comes in the form of five questions, all of which address increased efficiencies or new technology that leads to higher or more reliable performance in flight or production. To be considered, only one of the questions need be addressed by any given applicant. The winning entrepreneurial team will earn one year's utilization of space at Sikorsky's Stamford Innovation Center, its mentoring programs, and business services and educational resources. It can also lead to "follow-on investment" by Sikorsky. More...

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Add It to Your Wish Listback to top 

A southern California company has gained new attention after posting video clips (click "more" below) that show manned flight testing of its proof-of-concept VTOL vehicle, which it says could lead to "personal flight as intuitive as riding a bike." The vertical takeoff and landing vehicle employs no artificial intelligence, or electronic flight control, or software of any kind. Its design leaves the pilot "naturally in command with little prior training," according to the company. The pilot's movements are translated into control via two bars mounted at knee level. Aesthetically, the vehicle shares some similarities with another dual ducted fan VTOL design that first flew in 1958, the Piasecki VZ-8 Airgeep. That aircraft suffered from stability problems that Aerofex hopes to resolve. The Aerofex version is more compact, features a motorcycle-rider type flying position and is intended for first-responder, border patrol, or field drying duties, according to the company. More...

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Training and Safetyback to top 

At EAA AirVenture last month, the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators debuted a series of forums and simulator sessions it calls the Pilot Proficiency Project, and this week SAFE said it plans to expand the project to other venues. SAFE said based on its analysis of feedback from participants, the effort was a "resounding success." More than 700 people took part in the project. SAFE is now looking for funding and sponsorship to expand the effort. At AirVenture, participants attended forums and took part in training scenarios in Redbird simulators that addressed safety of flight topics. More...

IMC Club International, Inc. will be opening additional chaptersin the next few weeks at: CP Aviation in Santa Paula, CA Aug. 25; RedBird Skyport in San Marcos, TX Sept. 13 and MotionAir Aviation in Midlothian, TX Sept. 14 for the inaugural meetings. Also, new chapters and meetings are planned for North Carolina, Nevada, Michigan, Alabama and Nebraska all of which will bring the total number of IMC Club Chapters to more than 36. Prospective members will be given the opportunity to meet and interact with IMC Club founder and president Radek Wyrzykowski at each of these opening meetings. More...

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

Pilots are flying less these days, and among the most important skills that might be eroded are those involving IFR flight. The IMC Club is trying to address that with "organized hangar flying" meetings, but what's your own assessment of your IFR currency?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers how they handle cell phone calls as pilot in command; click through to see the breakdown of readers' answers. More...

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 What have you heard? More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Embraer, which only really got started in the business jet industry five years ago, says it wants up to 30 percent of the market and it's most of the way there. "We don't want to be greedy," Ernie Edwards, head of Embraer's executive jet business, told Reuters in an interview at LABACE last week. "Twenty to 30 percent would be healthy market share," Edwards said. The Phenom series of light business jets has made significant inroads in that market segment but it's the higher-margin mid-sized realm that is next on the Brazilian company's agenda. More...

When Cessna introduced the mid-sized Latitude at last year's NBAA convention in Las Vegas, much of the hallway discussion was about its relatively modest range of 2,000 nm. Cessna apparently heard that chatter and a few months after the convention boosted the range to 2,300 nm, matching that of the Embraer 450. At LABACE in Sao Paulo last week the company added another 200 nm to the Latitude's range, making it among the most long-legged in its segment. More...


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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

One way of preventing the sort of opposite-direction loss of separation that occurred at Reagan National in late July is to just shut the airport down for a while. That's essentially the gist of a new order from the FAA. On the AVweb Insider blog, you can hear how it works out with live audio from Los Angeles tower. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The problem with flying cars is that it's a lot harder to make a car fly than it is to make an airplane drive. That's the thinking behind Trey Johnson's roadable Glasair Sportsman, which we filmed at Oshkosh. He flew it in and drove it around town a couple of times. We're not sure what kind of demand there is for this sort of thing, but it's fun to watch it come together. More...

Maybe we should blame Popular Mechanics for all those magazine covers featuring — artist's conception only — a flying car in every garage. The idea has never worked, and it's probably never going to work, yet it persists and draws more interest than a lot of practical designs that just aren't as sexy. Or, as Paul Bertorelli surmises on the AVweb Insider blog, maybe they just don't have that edge-of-sanity dingbat factor. Just because people won't buy crazy doesn't mean they don't want to watch people try to pull it off. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb readers often discover great FBOs on their individual journeys to Oshkosh for AirVenture. This year was no exception, as we received quite a few nominations during the weeks after the show.

Our latest "FBO of the Week" is one of these, recommended by annual patron Les Smith - Hangar 9 at Aberdeen Regional Airport (KABR) in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Les had high praise for H9 and its staff:

Hangar 9 greeted our arrival with a lineman ready to marshall us in. Free refreshments (a variety of drinks and snacks) were available. An Oshkosh special price for fuel was in effect [during our visit]. Owner Darryl Shook was very hospitable. He provided a late-model loaner vehicle and hangared our Cardinal overnight against potential storms — not forecast, but hey, this is South Dakota — and offered recommendations for both food and lodging. KABR is a natural stop for our Seattle area trip to/from Oshkosh, and Hangar 9 is a natural for a friendly, helpful FBO.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 
Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

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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