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In perfect weather and overlapped with the NBAA convention in Orlando, the Deland Sport Aviation Showcase opened Thursday morning with about 100 exhibitors. This is the Showcase’s first year and it’s clearly positioned to compete with the Sport Aviation Expo to be held in January in Sebring.

With broad support from the Deland Airport, show director Jana Filip told AVweb on Thursday that the city sees enough potential in light sport aircraft to invest in the development of a sport aviation village on the airport. “And when I say a village, I don’t mean a village where people live but where airplanes live,” Filip said during an interview on the opening day of the show. The airport has carved out 40 acres for sport aviation activities, including manufacturing and sales. The sport aviation village will be completed in four phases, the first of which is already underway with the construction of taxiways and hangars. The city also plans to build at least five large hangars suitable for manufacturing.

Filip said the Showcase is intended as a natural support activity for the light sport industry and it got off to a good start on Thursday with about 100 exhibitors, both indoor and outdoor. Although lightly attended in the morning, the crowds picked up a little in the afternoon and the flight demo area is located conveniently near the static display area. As at the Sebring show, there are forums and food services on the field.

“The two go hand in hand. The village is an anchor for the Showcase,” Filip said in this video interview on Thursday. “It was important to me that we establish a solid foundation for the Showcase and we came up with a layout that we like. Our goals are clearly to develop around the sport aviation community,” Filip said. Several vendors we spoke to like the show’s design and layout, but they were withholding judgment to see how many attend. The show continues through Saturday. You can find out more on the organization’s website.

Filip previously oversaw the annual Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, but left that organization when the Deland Airport approached her about organizing a similar event. She said the Deland Showcase will continue to schedule a fall date while the competing Expo in Sebring occurs in mid-January, when weather in Florida has proven to be iffy. 

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A Chinese-made stealth fighter that some say resemble the U.S. Air Force’s F-22 Raptor debuted this week at the Zhuhai Air Show, the nation's best-known aerospace event. The J-20 jet performed a surprise ground-rattling flyover during Tuesday’s opening day and also caught the attention of media outlets around the world. The first public showing of the twin-engine jet sparked new speculation about China’s ability to upgrade its technology to the point of winning comparisons to other military superpowers. As with most of China’s aircraft certification programs, the J-20 project remains mostly secretive, with The Wall Street Journal reporting that photos of test flight operations several years ago were the only evidence the fighter was nearing completion.

It’s not clear exactly when the fighter will go into service, but 2018 was a possible time frame reported by the BBC, which also noted that the public won’t get a closer look at the J-20 as it won’t be on display at the country’s largest aviation exposition. A smaller version of the jet, the J-31, debuted at Zhuhai in 2014 and is expected to be certified for export, while the J-20 remains China’s own stealth fighter. Australia’s reported that the jet isn’t all Chinese-designed, as the challenge of developing an engine to power such aircraft led engineers to turn to Russia for the technology.

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Air France-KLM will start a new airline to compete with Middle Eastern carriers in the long-haul market, the company said Thursday. The new project, which Air France is calling Boost, will aggressively pursue “ultra-competitive” international routes while stepping up business at the carrier’s Charles de Gaulle hub in Paris. The airline will go after the business taken from fast-growing competitors such as Dubai-based Emirates, which has drawn customers to its hubs with competitive fares and updated fleets, according to a Reuters report. The airline stressed that the new, yet unnamed carrier will not be in the “low cost” category but will ”offer its customers business and leisure destinations with standards comparable to those of Air France in terms of product quality and the professionalism of the crews.” 

The company said it expects to have ten aircraft operating by 2020 and hire Air France pilots who transfer voluntarily. While the company doesn’t want the new carrier to be dubbed a budget airline, the new entity will have lower operating costs than its flagship French and Dutch carriers, in part by reducing labor expenses. Employees will have longer work schedules while aircraft fly more hours each day, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the company is dealing with unprofitable routes along with labor strife brewing at Air France over efforts to cut labor costs, so trying to boost profits with a much smaller airline could be a big challenge, analysts told Reuters.

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AVweb’s search of news in aviation found announcements from Coast Flight Training, the Recreational Aviation Foundation, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Coast Flight Training and Envoy Air/American Airlines Group will host a free Aviation Career Day on Saturday, Nov. 12, noon to 4 p.m., at Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport and are teaming up to provide scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and recent graduates with a passion for flight. Driven by the demand for more information about private airfields, the Recreational Aviation Foundation has compiled a Guide for the Private Airfield Owner. The guide states that private airfields are invaluable, especially as pressure increases on public lands to restrict aviation access to many of our nation’s special places. 

The Board of Directors of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association at its fall board meeting elected Simon Caldecott, President and CEO of Piper Aircraft, as its chairman for 2017. In addition, Phil Straub, Managing Director of Aviation and Vice President of Garmin International, was elected as vice chairman. Straub is a former chairman of GAMA’s Technical Policy Committee. The Board also voted Nicolas Chabbert, Senior Vice President of the Daher Airplane Business Unit, as chairman of GAMA’s Safety and Accident Investigation Committee. The National Aviation Hall of Fame announced the names of four individuals elected as the Enshrinee Class of 2017, each of whom will be inducted at a formal ceremony next fall. NAHF Enshrinement Director Ron Kaplan revealed the names before an audience of nearly 1,000 attendees at a special session of the National Business Aviation Association Convention in Orlando.

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Business aircraft are fast but owners and operators also want fast internet and Iridium is answering that call. The company is getting set to launch a constellation of satellites that will deliver email and internet capability to any aircraft with the gear to receive it. Iridium's Brian Pemberton explained the coming benefits of the new system.

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Genysys/S-Tec is launching the first new design autopilot in several years and targeting the Part 25 market. Jamie Luster spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles at NBAA 2016.

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As simple and straight forward as the visual approach, is sometimes you might end up wishing you were in the soup to minimums. The visual approach has a few traps waiting to grab you. It is important to remember the visual approach is not an instrument approach even though you are still on an IFR flight plan.

More than anything else, the visual approach requires a high degree of situational awareness. To receive a visual approach (besides remaining VFR) you must have the airport in sight or, you must have the preceding aircraft in sight and follow in trail.

When’s there only one big airport in the area, this is easy. But it’s more complicated when there are both multiple airports and aircraft to sort through. More than one pilot has landed at the wrong airport or on the wrong runway from a visual and not just GA pilots, either. An instrument approach usually assures you get to the right airport and runway, but this isn’t necessarily true for a visual.

Weather Permitting

The weather in general is typically better during a visual approach and you should have a lot more altitude to play with. With this in your favor you would expect fewer errors being made. Yet a visual approach can be not much different than a circling approach with all the attendant hazards associated with the former. The fact that conditions are usually good during a visual approach (ceiling 1000 feet above MVA and three miles visibility) can undoubtedly lead to a certain level of complacency.  Don’t forget, when you accept a visual, navigation and separation are your responsibility.  

The visual approach alleviates our need to rely on electronic navigation since we should either see the airport or other traffic heading to the same airport. This is the first trap. Available electronic navigation is often routinely ignored—depriving the pilot of an excellent means of enhancing situational awareness. Assuming you have a GPS, program-in direct to the airport and even the approach to the active runway to improve situational awareness. Even a VOR can help orient you to the field if necessary. While it is a visual approach, there is nothing preventing you from using the electronic tools you have readily at hand.

The second trap is the visual approach eliminates any IFR separation requirements. While controllers tend to keep aircraft tightly spaced, once on the visual approach you may find the aircraft you are supposed to be following is rapidly pulling away from you and out of sight. Since this is a VFR approach, the aircraft ahead may have to maneuver to avoid clouds further complicating your ability to keep it in sight. On the other hand, you may find yourself creeping up on the traffic ahead to the point they won’t be able to clear the runway prior to your arrival forcing a go around. You are also responsible for maintaining any wake turbulence separation.

The worst scenario is you end up following the wrong traffic. If you agree to follow traffic that ATC has advised you is ahead you must positively identify that traffic and keep it in sight. This is not always an easy task when the target may have a paint scheme that blends into the background or you are flying directly into the sun.

Initiating The Clearance

Either ATC or the pilot can initiate a visual approach. Another trap is accepting or requesting a visual approach when the plane, pilot, or conditions are not exactly conducive to the task at hand. “Get home itis” might regrettably trump common sense. You are not required to accept a visual approach when offered. You can also delay acceptance to give you more time to become situationally aware. ATC cannot give you the visual approach until you confirm either the airport in sight or that you have the air traffic they have designated you to follow.

If you have any doubt as to your ability to successfully conduct a visual procedure, you should simply remain IFR. What is important to realize is that once you accept a visual approach there is no missed approach. You are essentially a VFR pilot. The only option you have is a go-around, but you have to remain out of the clouds. Now will ATC assist you should you venture back into the clouds? Of course, but be prepared to hear, “On landing, please call…” Certainly do whatever is necessary to be safe, even if you may have to answer a lot of questions later. Should things go awry, the good news is that as soon as you contact ATC, IFR separation will once again be maintained.

Fortunately, ATC has certain restrictions on when and how they offer a visual approach. A vector for the visual approach can only be given if the weather at the airport of intended landing is at least a reported ceiling of 500 feet above the MVA/MIA (Minimum Vectoring Altitude/Minimum Instrument Altitude) and the visibility is 3 miles.

To clear an aircraft for the visual approach the ceiling must be at or above 1000 feet and 3 miles visibility. This is the weather at the airport of intended landing. The weather between you and the airport may be a whole lot different. Don’t accept the visual if you won’t be able to maintain VFR, especially if ATC issues altitude restrictions along with the clearance. If there is traffic ahead of you that ATC wants you to follow and you do not see it, ATC must continue to provide separation even if you have the airport in sight.

ATC must give you the location of the destination airport when they ask you to report the airport in sight. Should there be multiple airports located in close proximity, ATC will also provide you with the location of any airports that may cause confusion.

Things can get a bit hairy when multiple approaches to parallel or converging runways are in effect. All aircraft must be informed by ATC that approaches are being conducted to parallel, intersecting, or converging runways. However, this may be accomplished solely through use of the ATIS.

Note that visual approaches may be conducted to one runway while visual or instrument approaches are being conducted simultaneously to other runways. For parallel runway approaches, ATC will vector aircraft so they intercept the final approach course with a 30 degree or less intercept angle. This is to reduce the potential for overshoots of the extended centerline of the runway and mitigate side-by-side operations where one or both aircraft may be in a “belly-up” attitude during the turn restricting visibility of the other traffic.


One other variant of the visual approach is the CVFP, Charted Visual Flight Procedure. These are usually found in congested airspace to help expedite traffic through the area. Those charted approaches lack of any missed approach instructions. It is a visual approach with one caveat, you must fly the charted procedure as depicted. The CVFP is a blend of instrument and visual approach procedure. A CVFP also may incorporate some portions of the instrument approach to the runway although it is not a mandatory part of the procedure, just an aid to navigation that the prudent pilot will take advantage of. Altitudes are also recommended and not mandated though ATC can always impose altitude restrictions if necessary.

While they call this a procedure (to try and differentiate it from a normal instrument approach) ATC will issue this similar to an instrument approach, giving you the published name of the CVFP and the landing runway in the approach clearance. 

Unlike a standard visual approach, ATC can clear you for the CVFP even if you are not following another aircraft on the approach, or when you do not have visual contact with the airport—provided you can report sighting one of the charted visual landmarks. A CVFP may impose higher weather minimums from a standard visual approach as defined in the notes on the plan view. Don’t expect a CVFP at an uncontrolled field and you will not be issued a CVFP if the control tower is not in operation.

Cleared To Land

One last thing when flying a visual approach, don’t forget to contact the tower prior to landing. Just like being cleared on a regular instrument approach, you have to talk to the tower. On a regular instrument approach this usually occurs around the final approach fix but for a visual there is no final approach fix. More than one pilot has landed on a visual approach without contacting the tower. Don’t add yourself to this list.

Richard Lanning Ph.D. is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has been a pilot for more than 30 years. He is a FAASTeam member, an active CAP mission pilot, CFII and CFIG.

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

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I was on my way into the static display at NBAA in Orlando yesterday when I bumped into a photographer friend. He had been sent out to grab some crowd shots at Orlando Executive but was heading home empty handed. “Couldn’t find any crowds,” he said. I wouldn’t exactly say the place is deserted; the parking lot was its usual jammed mess and there were a lot of airplanes on the ramp. I have previously cautioned about reading too much into perceptions of crowd density as a means of measuring the industry’s health.

Nonetheless, in the eighth year since the economic downturn of 2008, one thing is worth noting: Virtually no one is using the word “recovery” anymore as an aspirational term that sales and manufacturing of aircraft of any kind are about to somehow turn a corner and swing upward. That this has taken so long for industry executives to concede is perhaps an equal measure of the unbridled optimism and maddening self-delusion that have propelled general aviation forever.

What’s settling in is the realization that current market conditions are the new normal for at least the next decade. In its annual aerospace forecast earlier this week, Honeywell Aerospace put some numbers on the continuing blahs. It reduced its forecast for the number of business jets to be delivered over the next decade to 8600, down from 9200 in the previous forecast. It lowered expectations by 250 airframes in 2015 over 2014, so if there’s recovery out there, it’s unlikely to be defined by rising jet sales.

Maybe that’s a reflection of this year’s NBAA BACE and maybe it’s not. There are no major airframe announcements this year and the press conference schedule was both lightly populated and sterile of any major news. As we reported, Embraer is showing two things not seen before, the Phenom 100EV and the Legacy 450. But the EV is just an upgraded 100 and the 450 has been out there certified for a year; its appearance here just marks the first time it has been seen with a completed interior. Dassault revealed a new cabin for its 900LX and today, Pilatus will fly in its PC-24 jet, but again, it’s midstream in certification so it’s nothing but a photo op.

I’ve noted before that the sales of large cabin jets have been hit hard by a flat world economy but that hasn’t stopped development of new models, nor should it. At Orlando, Cessna is showing a cabin mockup of its new Citation Hemisphere, the largest business aircraft the company has ever attempted. Look for a video tour of it later in our show coverage. That airplane won’t fly until 2019 and certification will happen in the early 2020s. That won’t be beyond Honeywell’s sobering lukewarm market forecast, but companies can’t stop developing new products simply because the current market is flat. If they do, they’ll be caught flat footed when the market swings upward, as it always has.

In the boom-bust cycle of aerospace, one phrase has always been verboten: managing the market. American companies have tended to go full tilt when the market was strong and suffered the consequences when it reversed, which it, without fail, always has. Ask anyone in Wichita about this and the thing they’ll most remember is the painful layoffs ignited by aerospace downturns. In that context, something Pilatus said at its press briefing Monday caught my attention.

Pilatus has had a pretty good couple of years, selling between 60 and 70 PC-12s. But a Pilatus executive said the company would limit production in 2017 because it doesn’t want to saturate the market and tank the used prices of recent models. The company terms this as customer protection and whether that’s the true motivation or not, it’s refreshing to hear. Second, despite taking its share of the pain in 2009, Pilatus didn’t lay off any workers. That’s a fundamentally different way of looking at capitalism than American companies tend to practice, where, in management by quarterly P&L performance, workers are viewed as little more than fungible spreadsheet entries. U.S. business enjoys a certain vitality from the creative destruction of boom-bust cycles and that’s a nice philosophical talking point. But it’s less impressive if you’re one of the workers shown the door.


In Deland, Florida, the new Sport Aviation Showcase opened this week. AVweb attended and interviewed show director Jana Filip about what Deland's plans are.


DC One-X from David Clark

Jeppesen has introduced an online trip planner that pulls together all the moving parts of sending a business jet anywhere. Jeppesen's Matt Ardrey walked us through some of it.

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Picture of the Week

Don Thun shot Skip Stewart and airshow partner making a crossover pass during their routine at AirVenture. Dramatic shot, Don.


During helicopter primary flight training at Fort Wolters, TX in 1970 a long, loose line of TH-55 helicopters, some with solo students, some with instructors,  were returning from afternoon training. 

Student: (In broken Vietnamese) Wolthers Tower, Osage 1234 entering extended down wind for landing. 

Wolthers Tower: Osage 1234, negative entry, you are entering traffic from wrong direction. 

Student : Thats OK tower, I solo. 


Bob Page 



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