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After years of patient waiting, Continental Motors announced Wednesday at Aero what many diesel owners have been hoping for: significantly longer replacement cycles for its four-cylinder diesel engines. The new longer TBRs (time between replacement) extend to 2100 hours for both the CD-135 and CD-155 Continental diesels. Moreover, according to Continental CEO Rhett Ross, the engines also get longer gearbox intervals, doubling to 1200 hours from the 600 currently imposed. The new extended hours apply to new engines coming off the assembly line in Continental's St. Egidien, Germany, factory, as well as replacements being sent to the field.

In addition to longer TBRs for the CD-100 series, Ross also announced that the company's high-power diesel, the 310-HP V-6 CD-300, is proceeding through certification and will be production ready by early 2017. Although Ross hints at OEM interest, he wouldn't reveal what companies are nibbling on a V-6 diesel. Ross did confirm that Cessna is now taking orders for its diesel-powered Skyhawk, the Cessna 172TD.  Cessna actually announced its first diesel 172 in 2007, but narrowly avoided committing to it just as the then-Thielert Aircraft Engine company was headed for bankruptcy. It re-announced the project for the Skyhawk at AirVenture in 2014, but gave no firm commitments on delivery schedules. A 182 powered by the SMA SR305 four-cylinder diesel is still under consideration at Cessna, but the company won't put a schedule on that project.

Ross said that the new extended replacement times make what were "unassailable" economics for low-cost operating even more impressive. "We continue to believe this validates our focus on diesel," Ross said. You can hear a full podcast of AVweb's interview with Ross here.

Ross also announced that it has entered a distribution arrangement with Aviall to provide parts distribution for its Continental and PMA parts. Diesel parts aren't yet part of the Aviall deal, but Ross hopes they eventually will be.


Continental Motors' Rhett Ross shared some developments in the company's TBR program for diesel engines at Aero this week. We were on hand to ask questions and learn how the program works.

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Piper Aircraft announced several price rollbacks and a large trainer order from the University of North Dakota on the opening days of the Aero exposition in Friedrichshafen, Germany, on Wednesday morning.

Piper CEO Simon Caldecott told the press that some 100 aircraft have been ordered by UND, one of the largest single trainer orders during the past decade. Heretofore, UND's single-engine fleet consisted of Cessnas. The school has more than 2000 students and operates 120 aircraft. Deliveries will begin in the last quarter of this year and will extend over the next eight years. UND's Donald Dubuque said the university looked at Piper's DX diesel and conceded that diesel power will be in the school's future, but for now, it decided to stick with Lycoming-powered aircraft.

Caldecott also announced surprising price rollbacks on both the company's M-class line and the Seneca, which remains a mainstay piston twin. The M500—formerly the Meridian—has been reduced in price from $2.26 million to $1.99 million. Caldecott said the M500 is on display in Europe for the first time.

The Matrix has also been reduced in price by about $40,000 to $899,000 while the Seneca 5 was reduced by $50,000 to $979,000. When asked why and how Piper made the reductions, he said the company has shifted its marketing and production focus away from predicting market demand to a model that assumes everything on the production line is already sold. In addition, during the past six years, Piper has retooled its workflow and invested in CNC equipment to improve production efficiency.

Caldecott reported that certification testing work on the new turboprop M600 continues, with a type certificate expected later this year. He said the company's initial testing revealed that the M600 is faster than expected—274 knots actual, compared to 260 knots predicted—and will also have more than 1400 miles of still-air range, more than 200 miles greater than originally projected.


With nearly five months of certification behind it and production ramping up, Honda announced at Aero Wednesday that is has delivered the first HA-420 HondaJet to Europe. Although the airplane has appeared previously at Aero in mockup form, this week's announcement marked the first time the actual aircraft has appeared at Aero. The airplane will be operated by Rheinland Air Services, one of three regional Honda aircraft dealers in Europe.

It will initially be used as a demonstrator in Europe. The HondaJet is currently priced at $4.85 million and HondaJet CEO Michimasa Fujino said six aircraft have been delivered and a seventh is about to be. Fujino said Europe is a significant market for Honda, with at least 20 percent of the aircraft's 100 or so orders originating on the continent. In Honda's Greensboro, North Carolina, factory, production is slowly ramping up to an eventual capacity of 70 to 80 units a year. Currently, Fujino said, production capacity is about three aircraft per month. The HondaJet, an eyeball-catching staple of every major airshow for the last decade, was first proposed in 1997, but didn't begin serious design and prototype work until 2003, with the decision to commercialize it made in 2006. 

Honda claims the HA-420 is a class leader in speed, at 420 knots, and in cabin comfort. It also claims to be as much as 17 percent more efficient than its closest competitors, thanks to a low-drag, laminar flow wing and Honda's unique over-the-wing engine mount.


At Aero in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this week, Eclipse, under its One Aviation banner, was showing the first completely certified-for-Europe 550, a new-production aircraft that CEO Alan Klapmeier flew from the U.S. Before the show, Klapmeier told us about something we're hearing more and more: Regulators in both Europe and the U.S. have become much more cooperative and practical. The airplane on display was a new German-registered Eclipse.

In a podcast, Klapmeier told AVweb that the light end of the aircraft market in Europe is vibrant, but there are still issues in using airplanes for transportation. "For transportation, it's improving and we've been really happy with the changes at EASA. For an airplane like the Eclipse, basically everything in Europe is two hours away. It drastically shrinks the time and distance it takes to get anywhere," Klapmeier said. Eclipse has delivered four airplanes in Europe and hopes to increase its market share in 2016.

As far as production, One Aviation/Eclipse has entirely reconstituted the original assembly line in Albuquerque and although it was offshoring some parts manufacturing for a short period, Klapmeier said the company is taking more work back in house, a trend that's apparent in other aerospace companies as well.


Alan Klapmeier spoke to us at Aero Friedrichshafen about the Eclipse 550's long, strange journey and its new lease on life under the One Aviation banner.

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As Cirrus tends to the final details of its certification of the SF50 Vision Jet, the first production model is within days if not hours of its first flight, according to Pat Waddick, Cirrus president. Speaking at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Thursday, Waddick said four test aircraft have accumulated some 1700 hours and the test articles are completing the final stages of function and reliability testing and the type inspection authorization from the FAA.

In a long-form podcast we'll publish later today, Waddick said Cirrus can't say when the first deliveries will be made because the company is still working on the FAA's schedule. But the first four Vision Jets are on the production line and nearing completion. Waddick said the Cirrus order book totals 600 and that it expects to deliver about 50 airplanes during the first full year of manufacturing, with 125 jets a year as the eventual production goal. The current price of the SF50 is $2 million, to include the CAPS whole-airframe parachute that's a trademark of the Cirrus piston line.

AVweb and other news outlets recently reported that because the CAPS isn't considered a required safety system and isn't needed in lieu of spin certification, as it was for the SR line, the company isn't required to do extensive flight testing. However, Waddick showed test video of a full-size, full-weight mock-up SF50 under canopy after the test aircraft was dropped from a helicopter. Initial CAPS testing was done from a race car on a track. The SF50's unique automatic flight control system will be an integral part in the CAPS deployment sequence and will intercede to pitch the airplane into slower flight if the pilot commands a deployment outside the system's airspeed envelope.

The helicopter deployment, Waddick said, was done in a near vertical attitude at a speed between 120 and 130 knots. The canopy itself is quite large; 88 feet in diameter and 6000 square feet. Waddick said it will have a vertical descent speed equal to or a little less than the systems used on the piston SR line. The jet's seats are designed to absorb vertical loads to protect passengers from injuries.

When asked if he's comfortable with the jet system having been tested less than the piston CAPS was, Waddick replied that it actually has been tested to the same standards, although it likely won't be deployed from an actual flying jet. He said the drop tests gave Cirrus equivalent test data so tests on the actual aircraft aren't needed.

"These systems are highly complex. We happen to agree with FAA's special conditions. We need to demonstrate its intended function and that doesn't cause a hazard in normal flight," Waddick said. He believes Cirrus' tests have achieved this.


At Aero, AVweb caught a good long look at the first serious high-output aircraft serial hybrid drive. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli interviewed Tine Tomazic of Pipistrel Aircraft about the Hypstair project.


At Aero 2016 in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a company called Skyleader was showing a wild scale knockoff of an L-39 Albatross called the UL-39 Albi. It's equipped with a 13-blade ducted fan powered by a BMW motorcycle engine. AVweb shot this video on this unique airplane.

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After a nine-month hiatus in Hawaii, Solar Impulse 2 is ready to resume its around-the-world flight. The crew will look for favorable conditions this month so the single-seat aircraft can launch from Oahu for North America, where landing options include Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Phoenix. From there, the aircraft will continue eastward and cross the Atlantic on the way to Abu Dhabi, where it departed last year. The voyage was cut short last July after pilot Andre Borschberg's flight from Japan to Hawaii, where Solar Impulse 2 was grounded due to overheated batteries. 

The team decided to add a cooling system to help prevent overheating and also worked to replace the entire collection of battery cells, which took a number of months as the parts had to be manufactured in Korea, according to a report in Wired. In the meantime, Solar Impulse, a nonprofit group, raised $29 million to complete the around-the-world trip, which was designed to prove the viability and environmental benefits of solar-powered aircraft. Solar Impulse 2 has 17,000 solar cells to power its four motors and recharge lithium batteries for use at night.


The former postal carrier who landed his gyrocopter at the U.S. Capitol a year ago was sentenced to 120 days in prison on Thursday. Doug Hughes, 62, walked out of federal court after a lengthy hearing and told reporters he still doesn't regret his flight, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times. Hughes, a Florida resident, had planned the flight for months as a public protest. On April 15, 2015, he drove to the Washington area with his gyrocopter, then took off in it with letters addressed to each member of Congress in hopes of drawing their attention to money's impact on the political process. Police arrested him upon his landing on the Capitol lawn. "I haven't apologized in the past and I'm not apologizing now," he told reporters Thursday.

Hughes also maintains his flight did not pose a hazard to other aircraft or people on the ground, but a federal judge thought otherwise. "I don't think you appreciate how dangerous your conduct was and how you could have injured yourself and others," the judge told him, according to the Times report. Hughes pleaded guilty in November to flying without a pilot certificate after negotiating a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to ask for a maximum of ten months in prison instead of three years. Hughes had pleaded not guilty to a battery of felony and misdemeanor charges including illegally operating an aircraft and flying into Washington, D.C.'s restricted airspace. He would have faced nearly ten years in jail for all of the charges originally lodged against him.

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AVweb's search of aviation news around the world found announcements from Dual Electronics and GoPro, Embraer Executive Jets, the National Air Transportation Association and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Dual Electronics Corporation announced it is working to integrate Dual's portable GPS receivers with GoPro HERO4 cameras, as part of the GoPro Developer Program. The integration allows the GoPro cameras to receive real-time information from Dual's GPS devices, including precise GPS coordinates, G-force, yaw, pitch and roll. Embraer Executive Jets achieved a new milestone when Cleveland-based Flexjet took delivery of Embraer's 1,000th business jet. Embraer Executive Jets' 1,000th aircraft, a midsize Legacy 500, is the fourth of its kind to join the Flexjet fleet and is part of a firm order for both Legacy 500 and Legacy 450 jets.

The National Air Transportation Association announced the recipients of its Industry Excellence Awards given annually to individuals, offices and organizations that have helped improve the general aviation community: The ATP/NATA General Aviation Service Technician Award, the NATA Airport Executive Partnership Award, NATA's Excellence In Pilot Training Award, NATA's FAA Service Excellence Award and the second annual Safety 1st Certified Line Service Professional Award. The National Aviation Hall of Fame has officially announced its nationwide "call for entries" for the 14th Annual Combs Gates Award. The prestigious $20,000 cash award is presented each year to an individual or group for a submitted project judged to be exemplary in the promotion and preservation of America's air and space heritage.


The Weekender's taking off cross-country in search of cookouts and more as found on SocialFlight. The Calaveras Air Faire will take place all day Saturday in San Andreas, California, starting with a Lions Club pancake breakfast and followed by lunch choices of pulled pork, bratwurst sandwiches and hot dogs. Airplanes rides will go all day along with aircraft and classic car displays, plus RC aircraft and music. Also Saturday, New Castle Airport in Delaware will host its first 2016 summer picnic. Bring a chair and something to share, and enjoy seeing a variety of unique aircraft from ultralights to warbirds.

A full weekend of barbecue awaits at the fifth annual Capital City Cook-Off and Fly-In in Lexington, North Carolina. This is an official Kansas City Barbecue Society event, featuring more than 70 competition teams, live music and plenty of food and beverages. Head to Fly High Lexington at the Davidson County Airport for fuel discounts and transportation to the event. DeFuniak Springs Airport in Florida will host its weekend-long Fly-In & Expo featuring the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Memorial Wall, OV-1D Mohawk and displays from the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation Wiregrass Chapter. Campers are welcome and admission is free with a food pantry donation. For more on this weekend's events, visit SocialFlight.

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So there you are, coming down to the decision height (DH) watching as the approach lights emerge from the clag—all configured and at the right speed. In a few seconds the wheels will kiss the pavement and you will have logged another perfect approach and landing.

But this is not to be: The tower orders a miss as the preceding aircraft has blown a tire and can't clear the runway. What would have been a simple, gentle flare to a touchdown is now a flurry of activities.

Both statistics and personal experience can attest to the fact that go-arounds can be both difficult and dangerous—especially when they put you back into the overcast—initiating a full-power climb with an airplane configured for landing.

There are many phrases used to describe the procedure where the aircraft abandons the landing to commence a climb out. Go-around is perhaps the most common one—aborted landing, pull-up, wave off are others. The missed approach is of course the maneuver flown on instruments. They all however, describe the same transition between two distinctly different phases of flight. Your flight environment determines which phrase you use.

Making The Transition

On approach and landing the aircraft is configured for maximum drag with flaps and gear down. Engine power is usually low and in the flare, often idle. Speed is low and aircraft trimmed appropriately.

On climb out the landing gear will be retracted and the flaps either full up or at a low setting as prescribed for initial climb. Power is at maximum and speed will be higher than on approach. All this causes a very different pitch trim (as well as rudder trim if available, in some aircraft). There may be ancillary devices such as cowl flaps that need adjusting

As an added complication there are radio calls to be made, quite possibly an intricate missed approach procedure to be flown as well as checklists to be handled. If the go-around was caused by excessive crosswinds or below minimums weather the pilot now has the added mental stress of having to prepare to execute plan B involving a possible diversion.

As always, the old saw aviate, navigate, communicate holds true. First and foremost we must maintain positive control of the aircraft at all times. And this is a time where it can indeed be very difficult to do so, requiring all your physical and mental attention.

Only after this is accomplished must we assure that the spinner is pointing in roughly the right corner of the compass and that the good folks in the tower know what's going on.

There are few instances in flying where you need to react quickly to an emerging situation. I'll describe one of the exceptions later. Repeatedly I've seen my fellow aviators get themselves into a planeload of trouble by rushing instead of taking their time.

The most common reason for a go-around is probably the unwanted conclusion of an instrument approach, a miss. Unlike our example presented at the start of the article, it will most likely not occur below the ILS category 1 decision height of 200 feet.  It is simple mathematics to deduce that a touchdown at the sink rate (roughly half the ground speed for approach) even of a jet will not occur for at least another 20 or more seconds.

This is more than sufficient time to safely transition the aircraft into a climb. Note that the pilot is allowed to descend below the DH if the aircraft is transitioning to the miss.

Nature has bestowed a dizzying array of flying creatures with many different "configurations." Man has been no less inventive. Singles, multis, props and jets with all sorts of different systems. The procedure for a successful go-around is however similar. Let me illustrate from my current workplace, an Embraer 175 fly-by-wire airliner: The go-around call out is: 1) Go around, 2) TOGA, 3) Flaps 2.

Three Simple Steps

When the decision is made, the flying pilot calls "go around." This is important as once the decision is made it must be clearly communicated—there is no going back. Oh, but don't tell the tower—not yet.

TOGA is an acronym for Takeoff/Go-Around  (power). In a normally aspirated piston engine this requires nothing more than pushing the throttle all the way forward. Turboprops and jets can easily produce more power than is healthy for them so here the thrust levers must be pushed no further than to achieve whatever instrument value such as torque or rpm that qualifies as takeoff power.

Newer turbine engines incorporate computer controls, FADEC, (full authority digital engine control) that vastly simplifies engine management. The pilot just shoves the thrust levers all the way forward while the system sets power and makes sure no limitations are exceeded.

Flaps will most likely have been deployed fully for high drag—high lift for landing. These must now be retracted to the takeoff setting.

Decide on a course of action and execute. We have added power and reduced drag. If pitch is smoothly increased while doing this the aircraft will almost immediately start climbing with very little loss of height thus having achieved our primary objective. At this point the landing gear can be safely retracted for better climb performance.

In the G1000, as another example,  the ritual is pitch-up, power-up, clean-up, purple-up (switch to the GPS for the miss procedure).

Sounds Simple? Maybe Not

When power goes from idle to max most normal aircraft will pitch up, trying to maintain trim speed. This may require two hands pushing on the control wheel (and a third to run the trim) to prevent a stall. Powerful propeller planes in particular will require a large rudder input to keep the ball centered.

In addition flap retraction induces pitch changes, somewhat dependent on the configuration and type.

In combination, this behavior defines the meaning of the word "handful."

This is the reason why professional flight crews do many more go-arounds in their simulator training and checkrides than actual landings.

For those without access to a simulator, go-arounds can be practiced safely and efficiently at altitude in any airplane. Set a target altitude (say 3000 feet), configure the aircraft for the approach and descent towards it. At the designated altitude, initiate a go-around. The visuals may be different but the aircraft behavior will be the same.

Having a fellow pilot or other trustworthy person ride with you and randomly call for go-arounds to simulate the "turtle-on-the-runway" scenario so beloved by flight instructors. Then do it over again under the hood.

A couple of hours of this training will take most of the rust off your go around skills and provide you with the much needed muscle memory needed when it actually happens.  After having dealt with the aviate part now comes the navigate.

Miss On The Gauges

Instrument missed approach procedures can go from the simple to the ridiculously complicated. Sometimes that complexity can be explained by terrain and/or complicated airspace. Often there is no better explanation than the inherent evilness so often attributed to the FAA.

Luckily, even though you are required to train to fly these misses they rarely, if ever, happen in real life. For myself I have never had an abandoned landing result in anything but flying a heading to an altitude to be vectored back for another attempt. Or, high tail it to an alternate airport.

As for communicate, wait to announce your go-around until configured and safely established in your climb-out. You do not want to copy a missed approach instruction, departure frequency and such until you are prepared to do so.

The tower will (most likely) know you're not landing. They will hear you power up, they will see it, visually or on the radar screens most towers are equipped with these days.

There is one exception to the general rule of taking your time when going around. Low visibility caused by patchy fog or snow showers for instance, will vary in intensity. Inherent in that scenario is that you cannot see any upcoming areas of worsening conditions on landing. You may break out at minima with the required lights in sight and adequate flight visibility only to lose all references a few feet above the runway in the flare!

This does require quick action with an immediate pitch-up and power application. You may indeed briefly touch down before becoming airborne again. Safe? Well certainly more so than attempting landing and roll out in essentially zero/zero conditions. And yes, they do exist.

There are many calculated risks in flying. Go-arounds are certainly higher up on the list than other phases of flight. As always though, training and planning can help assure a successful outcome. Don't allow yourself to be caught wanting.

Bo Henriksson is a Captain with a major carrier and has more than 10,000 flight hours. He currently flies the Embrier 175.

This article originally appeared in the April 2014 issue of IFR Refresher magazine.

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In the early days of automotive diesels, stinky and slow were joined permanently to the concept of diesel cars. Not anymore. Driving on the autobahn yesterday in my crummy little rental Twingo, an Audi blew past me doing a buck and half and it was a turbodiesel that European drivers have come to love.

I wish I could say aerodiesel development cycles have been equally swift, but they've tended to move on geologic time scales. So it was only with great restraint Wednesday that I kept from shouting "finally!" when Continental announced higher TBRs for its four-cylinder diesels, the CD-135 and CD-155. I'll get to the economics in a moment. Suffice to say I've been waiting on tenterhooks since Frank Thielert told me in the summer of 2005 that the four-cylinder diesel would be at a TBR of 1800 hours by the end of the year. Ah, what an innocent time it was.

Reality set in, as it always does, and more than a decade later, we finally see the high replacement times that have, at least partially, kept this technology from maturing and expanding. So the question now is will this expand the diesel market which has been, heretofore, tepid at best. When it bought into diesel in 2013, Continental was angling for a 20 percent market share within five years. By my calculation, diesel in total has half that at the moment.

Let's run the numbers briefly. With Wednesday's announcement, the TBRs—time between replacement—on all of Continental's four-cylinder diesels rise to 2100 hours. Taking the worst case, the 155-hp CD-155 that previously had a 1200-hour TBR and costs $42,925 to replace, the hourly engine reserve cost drops from $35.77 to $20.44. Recall that these engines still require replacement gearboxes. That interval has been raised from 600 hours to 1200, so the engine needs just one $3191 gearbox on the way to TBR rather than two. That saves another non-trivial expense, at least on the CD-135, which had a 1500-hour TBR. I'll run more detailed numbers later, but this is a huge shift in diesel's favor.

Now it remains to be seen if it will be enough to ignite sales. We know OEMs other than Cessna and Piper have been flying if not offering diesels. Will the industry be able to get buyers to pay close enough attention to the economics on a $400,000-plus airframe to tilt toward diesel? We'll see. I'm not so sure compellingly lower operating economics are enough to do the trick, given how expensive the base airplane has become. It's like not buying a $240,000 Ferrari Italia because you hate putting $2.75 premium gas in the tank.

Continental's Rhett Ross said that Cessna has finally decided to push the button and take orders for its Skyhawk diesel and I'm sure they'll find buyers, especially in Europe. What they really need is a big U.S. institutional sale and maybe now with higher TBRs, they'll get one. But will it just cannibalize sales of avgas Skyhawks? My guess is yes.

Hand It to Honda

Aviation being an international business and all, you never quite know how cultural and language variations will cause people to react to questions from the press that we consider quite natural in the U.S. For example, at the HondaJet press conference here at Aero on Wednesday, CEO Michimasa Fujino was asked how much the HondaJet certification project had cost, in total.

"I don't remember," he quipped, getting a laugh from the reporters. I'd have expected a more culturally circumspect route to a polite no comment. I think Fujino has been around aviation and the U.S. long enough for a certain wry fatalism to have rubbed off. Who can blame him? Fujino has spent almost three decades of his life—he's 54 but looks 30—overseeing the HondaJet from conception to birth. The industrialization/certification alone took 10 years. By GA standards, much less the gotta-have-it-by-next-quarter demand of other industries, that's a lifetime plus. Any venture capital investor would be screaming for some ROI. But that's not Honda, which funded the project internally. Richard Aboulafia at Teal Group has said the glacial pace of the HondaJet cert means the project will likely never turn a profit. But then that wasn't the point; building a jewel that allowed Honda to stake a claim in the world of jet transportation was.

The general press has gushed over the HondaJet as being revolutionary and some coverage has hinted that it's a market changer. But not really. The company has about 100 orders on the books and while that's certainly impressive, it's not a major market presence and probably won't be for some time, if ever.

When asked about production rates to fill those orders, Fujino said the Greensboro, North Carolina, factory can produce up to three airplanes a month, but would eventually like to reach 100 a year. But in the same breath, he cautioned that this will take "a very long time." It's always refreshing when someone in aviation is brutally honest about the realities of serial production when we've grown accustomed to people who aren't.

In a way unusual to the world of business jets, the HondaJet is, more than anything, a tribute to one guy's patience and determination. Fujino was given a unique opportunity at Honda and he saw it through.

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Continental's six-cylinder engines are among the smoothest and most economical aircraft engines in the industry.  Now Vitiatoe Aviation is offering improvements for the Cessna 206/207 series engines that include crossflow induction for even smoother and more economical operation.  Here's an AVweb profile of the company.

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