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At Sun n' Fun 2016, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA), in coordination with sponsor Aviators Hot Line, hosted four of the industry's favorite journalists as part of the show's Great Debates series. The journalists—General Aviation News publisher Ben Sclair, Flying magazine senior editor Pia Bergqvist, Plane and Pilot editor Robert Goyer and AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli—all took the stage at the Sun n' Fun Paradise City area for a lively hour-long discussion on a wide variety of topics, including the future of light GA.

Moderated by Robert Helms (from engine distributor UL Power), the journalists addressed questions on topics ranging from the future of the LSA market, electric flight, the sharing of the airspace with UAVs, to aeromedical reform.

The journalists also weighed in on two of the most popular current events at this year's show—ICON Aircraft's controversial sales contract for its A5 LSA amphib, and the announcement from EAA and Dynon Avionics that its partnership has achieved FAA STC approval for the installation of Dynon's D-10A experimental EFIS display in certified aircraft.  

LAMA produced the first in a series of Great Debates—a timely spin off the ongoing presidential debates—at the U.S. Sport Aviation in Sebring, Florida, this past January. Other debates in the series include topics on engine technology, avionics and aviation tablet apps.


"We have the data," says the FAA, and they are looking for your ideas about how you can use it. The FAA wants to know what kinds of aeronautical data pilots would like access to in the cockpit, and what kind of data developers need for use in creating aviation products. "Our goal is to help industry be in a position to create innovative products and technologies that improve safety and efficiency," FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker said in a forum at Sun 'n Fun this week.

The FAA invited interested parties to take a survey or participate in an online forum to generate ideas about how they can work with FAA data. Interested individuals also can email the FAA directly at

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Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. says it's doubled its order book for the Sun Flyer solar-electric aircraft with a deposit on 30 aircraft from Bloomington Corporation. Bloomington CEO Larry Williams is the former CEO of BRS and is also on the board of directors for AEAC. Bloomington intends to use the aircraft in a network of independently owned flight schools in Florida, complete with charging stations to service the aircraft. "We are very excited about the flight training market and the impact the Sun Flyer is having," Williams said. "The acquisition of the high-quality electric Sun Flyers, along with the build-out of the infrastructure to support the aftermarket batteries and charges, is an opportunity for us to maintain our desired growth into 2017 and beyond."

Meanwhile, CEO George Bye said the proof-of-concept Sun Flyer is going through final assembly at the company's facility at Centennial Airport near Denver. The company is hoping the aircraft will be "the first FAA-certified, U.S.-sponsored, practical, all-electric airplane serving the flight training market."


A new all-composite light twin built in Ukraine made its first appearance at Sun 'n Fun this week. The four-seat Softex Aero V24 is being sold in the U.S. as an experimental, with a builder-assist center in Washington, company representative Dara Voss told AVweb at the show today. About eight of the aircraft have been sold since 2014, Voss said. With a Lycoming engine, he added, the airplanes are for sale at $550,000, or a show special price of $375,000. It's also available with a Rotax ULS/S engine or a TP100 turbine. With the Lycoming, top speed is 205 knots, and it tops out at 276 knots with the TP100. The engines are mounted on pylons above each wing.

The Softex company operates from a 50,000-square-foot production facility, with 170 employees, according to its website. Besides the twin, the company also produces a light multipurpose helicopter. The Rotax version of the twin was type-certified in the Ukraine in late 2014. It has a range of 800 nm.


Richard Hogan's Commuter Craft Innovator, which attracted crowds recently at the Sport Aviation Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, is on display at Sun 'n Fun this week and continues to attract the curious. The experimental canard airplane, which has been in development for a few years, first flew last September and now has about 30 hours on it, Hogan said. It has a 60-inch-wide cockpit, a twin tail with a boom, and a three-surface design that Hogan says is stall-proof and spin resistant. All of those qualities appeal to new pilots, Hogan said. The company is working on a builder-assist center in Cartersville, Georgia, where buyers will be able to take delivery of their kit. Hogan said he hopes to start deliveries in the second half of 2017.

Hogan said he has started to take $500 deposits from buyers, which is enough to reserve a position and lock down a price. As of early this week, he had 27 deposits, he said. The base kit, not counting engine, prop or avionics, runs about $50,000. Hogan said he's also working to create a builder mentor program to help ensure buyers make steady progress on their aircraft. Eventually he hopes to produce an LSA version of the airplane. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli shot video of the airplane at Sebring.

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As the FAA's complex Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative moves to the second phase of its testing, General Aviation Modifications Inc. is closing in on final testing for STCs on its G100 unleaded fuel. GAMI started work on its fuel in 2010 and has been pursuing fuel approvals via STC, despite fierce resistance from the FAA. But the viability of G100 or the other two fuels that made it through the PAFI process depends on the EPA acting on lead restrictions.

As part of the Clean Air Act, the EPA was mandated to publish rules eliminating lead from all motor fuels. But playing a perpetual safety card, the FAA has kept those rules at bay. Roehl says once a viable unleaded fuel is available—GAMI's G100 or candidates from Swift or Shell—EPA may have the trigger point it needs to issue the final NPRM declaring lead to be a danger in avgas.

In this exclusive podcast at Sun 'n Fun this week, GAMI's Tim Roehl told AVweb that the final test parameters for its fuels are complete and the final testing for the first group of aircraft should be done by later this year. "We're really kind of flying under the radar, heads down working very diligently completing the STC for the fuel. It's been a challenging year of finagling the final requirements. The goal is two STCs, one for engines and one airframes, each of them AMLs (approved model lists)," Roehl said.

Following the successful completion of those tests, GAMI will be granted a large number of approvals for airplanes of similar configuration, mostly on the low-horsepower spectrum. "We've basically completed all the tests for the first set of airplanes that used a Cessna 172 at Embry-Riddle where we did the full complement of testing there, with the exception of the detonation testing," Roehl says.

GAMI plans to incrementally expand its test program to include higher horsepower aircraft of the Cirrus SR22 class. Like Shell and Swift, it would produce and distribute G100 under license, since it doesn't plan to enter the refining business itself. As for price, Roehl said G100 is composed of components readily available in the commodity refining stream and so should be comparable in price to 100LL.


The search for a viable 100LL replacement is hotter than ever, and we caught up with GAMI's Tim Roehl at Sun 'n Fun 2016 about their work toward STCing their G100UL future fuel.


For Sun n' Fun 2016, Garmin has two major products for the experimental and LSA category. The G5 is a self-contained electronic flight instrument, which can be interfaced with Garmin's G3X/Touch avionics and autopilot for backup and flight instrument redundancy. The GMA 245 and remote GMA 245R Bluetooth audio panels have advanced entertainment input functions and onscreen programming. In this video, "Kitplanes" magazine avionics editor Larry Anglisano takes a close look at both products with Garmin's Jessica Koss.

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Daily news comes fast and furious in the aviation world, but some stories deserve a second chance to reach your eyeballs. Below are stories you may have missed recently.

At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Garmin introduced a new portable GPS called the area 660. Here's AVweb's first look at the new product, which will be on display at the show.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Just Aircraft is showing off its new Titan-powered SuperSTOL XL. Harrison Smith took AVweb's Paul Bertorelli for a half-day demo flight in the new airplane, and here's AVweb's video report.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, ForeFlight is introducing some new features for its popular iOS application. Here's a review of what's new.


The Commemorative Air Force is at Sun 'n Fun with one of airplanes it's been flying the longest. The B-17 Texas Raiders is a must for warbird buffs who want to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of a true-to-life war machine.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Dynon continued to push into the world of non-certified avionics with its Skyview SE, a less expensive version of its popular Skyview EFIS system. For Kitplanes magazine, Paul Bertorelli prepared this video report.


Avidyne showed up at Sun n' Fun 2016 with a handful of new products and enhancements to its IFD-series navigators. This included synthetic vision, the IFD550 navigator, and an iPad app that wirelessly connects the IFD products for redundant display. In this video, Aviation Consumer magazine editor Larry Anglisano takes a look at the products with Avidyne's Tom Harper.


Retirement means different things to different people, and to Jeanne and Dave Allen it means rebuilding vintage biplanes and keeping the spirit of barnstorming alive. They showed us their beautiful Waco at Sun 'n Fun.


At Sun 'n Fun, EAA announced its partnership with Dynon Avionics to STC experimental avionics for certified airplanes, including Cessna 172s and Piper PA-28s.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, David Clark introduced a new mid-priced headset, the One-X. Here's a video review of the new product with Clark's Mark Gardell.


The F-35 fighter made its Sun 'n Fun debut Thursday. Capt. Daniel Haley describes what it's like to fly the stealth fighter.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Guardian Avionics showed a line of new hardware that allows panel mounting of the entire iPad line, including the large-screen Pro models. Guardian's Ash Vig walked AVweb's video reporter through the product line.


At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Lancair flew in both versions of its flagship Evolution, one turbine and one piston. The piston version has the Lycoming IE2 electronic engine. AVweb interviewed Kevin Eldredge and prepared this video report as part of our Sun 'n Fun coverage.


Garmin's new GTX 335/345-series ADS-B transponders serve a broad market — from basic aircraft with stark panels to all-glass G1000 models. That's because the transponders are available with an internal ADS-B mandate-approved WAAS GPS receiver, wireless Bluetooth transmitters for overlaying traffic and weather on tablet computers, Garmin's portable GPS systems, and internal AHRS. They come in a remote LRU version for finally bringing ADS-B weather and traffic data to many G1000 screens.

In this video shot at Garmin's headquarters in Olathe, Kansas, Aviation Consumer editor Larry Anglisano and Jessica Koss from Garmin go flying with the new system in the company's G1000-equipped Diamond DA40 for an in-depth look.


Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something the flying world might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via e-mail here. (Or send them direct to Newstips at


AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
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Russ Niles

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Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
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Larry Anglisano

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Rotax's new 915iS engine, introduced at EAA AirVenture last year, is moving along in development, with first deliveries to pilots expected next year. Marc Becker of Rotax gave an update to AVweb this week at Sun 'n Fun.

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A viable replacement for 100LL seems closer than ever — and with the announcement that Swift Fuel can compete at low-lead's price point, it's looking more and more likely to end up in your tank before the decade is out. We spoke with Swift's Chris D'Acosta at Sun 'n Fun.

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Daniel Preston and his crew turned up at Sun 'n Fun this week with a pretty little one-seat airplane, its long wings covered in solar cells. He talks with AVweb's Mary Grady about the airplane's genesis, its performance and his future plans for the design.

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