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The assets of Lancair International’s older kitplane series are for sale as the company splits off into another entity that will focus on its more advanced Evolution series of experimental aircraft. Lancair announced this month it has an “all-inclusive offering” to a buyer to take over the assets, inventory and customer base for the Lancair 320/360, IV, IV-P, ES and Legacy aircraft. “It is Lancair’s intention to continue the support of over 2000 current customers through this transition as well as assist the new owners into the future,” the company said. Meanwhile, the business will become Evolution Aircraft Company and continue operations at the current headquarters in Redmond, Oregon. The Lancair Web site hasn't yet changed during this wee's AirVenture and still lists all of its aircraft, but the company is listed on the exhibitor's directory at Evolution Aircraft.

Soon after the public debut this spring of a piston version of its Evolution turbine airplane, Lancair said it was ceasing production of the Legacy kits. “Closing down production of the Legacy line was a tough but necessary decision,” the company said on its website. “We have come to a point where a significant investment will be necessary to continue the production and after 15 years we feel it is time for something new.” The composite Lancair kits rose to prominence in the 1980s with new high-performance designs that ramped up in features and performance over the years, leading to the Evolution turboprop. The prototype made its public debuted in 2008 at Sun n’ Fun.

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EAA’s 2 millionth Young Eagle, plus three others in the count around the milestone, received their memorable airplane rides at Oshkosh Thursday with prominent EAA pilots. Actor Harrison Ford, a former Young Eagles chairman, flew Jodie Gawthrop, 16, of Illinois in his de Havilland Beaver. She described the flight in an EAA interview as “amazing.” The high school junior, an aspiring career pilot, won the ride along with a $7,500 flight training scholarship. “You see aircraft after aircraft going by on the ground, but it’s not until you’re up there that you realize how big this event really is,” she said.

Three other Young Eagles joined Gawthrop in a 15-minute airborne procession over the field above the crowds attending this week’s AirVenture show. Airline pilot and former Young Eagles co-chairman Jeff Skiles flew the 1,999,998th ride for Braeden Edbert, 10, of Wisconsin. Airshow pilot Sean D. Tucker, the current chairman, took Oshkosh resident Owen Wrolstad, 13, for the 1,999,999th flight. Ride no. 2,000,001 went to 11-year-old Annalee Wrolstad of Oshkosh with EAA volunteer Fred Stadler, who has flown the highest number of Young Eagles at 6,500.

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Murphy Aircraft unveiled the Radical at AirVenture and caught the attention of showgoers with an unusual option. The third generation of the company’s light single comes with bicycle racks that allow a bike to be hung from each wing. The racks are among a series of innovations that make the Radical the most capable Murphy yet. General Manager Zrinko Ameril told AVweb in a podcast interview the aircraft will take engines ranging from 130 to 220 horsepower and it has a useful load of 950 pounds.

The Radical will mark the long-lived Canadian kitbuilder’s first foray into manufacturing ready-to-fly aircraft. Ameril said the plane will be available as a kit, a 49-percent quick-build kit, or the Chilliwack, B.C., factory will build the aircraft under Canada’s liberal build-assist regulations. “People either have money or time,” said Ameril. The company will also offer complete aircraft packages with avionics and engine options ordered and potentially installed by Murphy. Test flights will happen this fall and the first aircraft will be available in 2017.

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Tecnam’s 11-seat P2012 Traveller twin flew for the first time, in Capua, Italy, last week, the company has announced. Test pilot Lorenzo De Stefano said he checked the basic behavior of the aircraft, engine and flight controls. “The aircraft responded exactly as expected,” he said. “After a couple of circuits around the airfield, I landed and the Traveller stopped in a very short distance.” The P2012 will first enter service carrying passengers for Cape Air, Tecnam said. The versatile airplane can also be outfitted to fulfill other needs, including VIP transport, cargo, skydiving operations and medevac services.

The P2012 is powered by two Lycoming 350-HP, turbocharged, six-cylinder, direct-drive, horizontally opposed air-cooled engines that can burn either avgas or mogas. It will cruise at about 175 knots and can fly more than 600 NM nonstop, the company says. The cockpit will feature Garmin glass avionics with three screen displays. The company is working toward certification by both EASA and FAA. Cape Air, which is based out of Hyannis, Massachusetts, operates more than 525 flights every day, with a fleet of 83 Cessna 402s, 4 Britten-Norman Islanders, 2 Cessna Caravan Amphibians and 2 ATRs. Tecnam has a wide variety of airplanes from their stable on display this week at their AirVenture exhibit near show center, but the P2012 remains in Italy.


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Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier accepts the award.

AOPA’s Air Safety Institute has created a new annual safety award named in honor of Joseph T. Nall, and this week named Cirrus Aircraft as the first recipient. “Over the past decade, Cirrus has earned one of the best safety records in the industry, and we are proud to acknowledge their work,” said George Perry, senior vice president at ASI. “Cirrus has doubled down on safety, working with its owners group and making investments in training and transition courses, to lower the accident rate for Cirrus aircraft to less than half the industry average.”

Cirrus created a video-intensive, type-specific training program called “Cirrus Approach” that emphasizes deciding in advance when to activate the full-aircraft parachute system, ASI said. The company also worked with the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association to create a culture in which pilots who pulled the chute were applauded — not criticized or second-guessed — for their actions. In 2015, with more than 6,000 aircraft flying, the number of fatal accidents involving Cirrus airplanes fell to the lowest level since 2001, when fewer than 300 Cirrus aircraft had been produced, ASI said.

The award is named in honor of Joseph T. Nall, who served as a member of the NTSB from 1986 until 1989, when he was killed in a plane crash while on NTSB business in Venezuela.

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image: Wikimedia

The pilot was killed when an F/A-18C fighter jet crashed Thursday night during a training mission in southern California, the Marine Corps has reported. The crash occurred around 10:30 p.m. in the vicinity of the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center near Twentynine Palms, about 140 miles east of Los Angeles. The pilot, whose name has not been released, was with the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, based out of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego.

The F/A-18 Hornet is a twin-engine, supersonic, carrier-capable multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft. It has been flown since the 1970s by both the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. The Hornet is also used by the air forces of several other nations and, since 1986, by the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.

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The Commemorative Air Force announced its newest educational outreach program this week at AirVenture 2016 in Oshkosh. The CAF Rise Above: WASP, about Women Airforce Service Pilots in World War II, arose from the Rise Above Red Tail Traveling Exhibit, which has brought the story of the Tuskegee Airmen to 200,000 visitors. The WASP film, to be produced following a fundraising campaign, will include historical footage, interviews with surviving WASP veterans and CAF aircraft. Funds will also cover the cost of portable, inflatable dome screens to show the film around the country and offer audiences an immersive experience watching the film.

“After the Red Tail Squadron’s tremendous impact, we identified the WASP as another group of aviators who had to rise above the circumstance of their perceived role in society in order to contribute to the war effort,” CAF President Stephan C. Brown said. “Our members at 60 CAF unit locations are eager to tell this history and bring the inspirational message of the WASP to today’s young people.” Heather Penney, a former F-16 pilot for the Air National Guard, is the national WASP program chair for the project.

AVweb’s Elaine Kauh talked to Heather Penney about the film and outreach program. Listen to the podcast here.

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I’ve always viewed competition in aviation as a relative thing. In new aircraft costing upward of $400,000, price breaks of a few percentage points don’t really amount to much and matter more to the big-box flight schools who now seem to be the main buyers of piston singles than to individual owners. In any case, the competitive leg up on those sales often comes from after-the-sale sweeteners like factory support or training programs.

For individual owners, the competitive environment is better for things likes accessories, especially headsets, where the market is closer to being over-served. For the past decade, avionics haven’t been impressively competitive because Garmin essentially owned the market. It had or was willing to develop a product for every niche and it also had the marketing apparatus to make these products pay off the investment of creating them.

Although I never thought I’d see it, that’s now changing. Avidyne has awoken with a range of products that are selling well, Aspen came on the scene with its Evolution EFDs aimed at the aftermarket and there are more ADS-B choices than one person—at least me—can possibly keep track of. But here again, Garmin is dominating thanks to product choices and marketing. The big avionics story at AirVenture was Garmin’s announcement that its G5 EFIS, heretofore developed for the experimental market, will now be approved by AML-STC for more than 500 certified aircraft models.

My reaction is twofold: That didn’t take long and what took them so long? Let me explain. In April, EAA’s Jack Pelton strode up to the podium at Sun ‘n Fun and stunned us by announcing it had partnered with Dynon to develop an STC for a limited number of models to install the D10 EFIS in certified airplanes. You coulda heard a pin drop in that tent. My colleague Larry Anglisano and I both bet that Garmin would respond with their own program and roll it out by AirVenture. Sure ‘nuff.

Now, is the race on between EAA and Garmin to extend this kind of favorable trickle-down product development to other products, of which Garmin has quite a catalog? We can only hope. Although this won’t reset the cost of flying to 1975 levels, or even 1995, it’s a positive development that does help owners in the bottom tier who want to upgrade their basic certified airplanes but can’t afford it because the manufacturers have lost sight of affordability. This trend, if it has legs, promises to at least level the cost curve, if not bend it downward. Well played, Mr. Pelton.

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AVweb caught up with Pipistrel at AirVenture 2016 to talk about  NASA's selection of the company's electric powerplants for its X-57 research program. The engine powers the Taurus Electro G2 aircraft.

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If the age of the piston engine flight recorder isn't upon us yet, you can see it from AirVenture 2016, where Jeff Van West spoke with Chris VanHorn from a company called Airbly. They make a clever cockpit monitoring system that automatically records critical flight parameters and downloads them to a smartphone for storage and analysis. Hear the full podcast here. 

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Once the rain blew through--the first time, at least--the weather at Oshkosh turned pleasant for mid-week at AirVenture 2016.

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