Forward This E-mail | Edit Email Preferences | Advertise | Contact | Privacy | Help

  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Sun 'n Fun played host on Wednesday to an aviation career fair inviting employers, pilots and mechanics to mix, mingle, interview and trade resumes. Fourteen aviation employers were in attendance, including most of the big regional airlines. Skywest, Envoy, ExpressJet, Frontier, Spirit and Republic all sent pilots or hiring reps to fish for fresh talent. By late afternoon, the lines to speak with the airlines were getting shorter, but employers never lacked for someone to speak with and reported robust attendance by qualified pilots.

Dual - GPS and ADS-B Receivers for All Your Flying Adventures

Full-time internet connectivity is a fact of life for businesses, homes and even some cars and will soon be just as common in light aircraft, according to Avidyne’s Dan Schwinn. The company is busily whiteboarding what may be the next big thing in avionics. He explained his vision of the future in this long-form AVweb podcast.

“Right now, a GA aircraft is one of the few places you go and there is no connectivity,” Schwinn said in this podcast recorded at Sun 'n Fun. While Sirius XM data, ground and satellite phones and data through ADS-B are common, that’s barely a beginning, Schwinn believes. “None of these are what I would call general-purpose connectivity. And that is where we need to get. It’s where businesses got first, homes got second and cars are getting there now. And larger airplanes are getting there now,” he adds.

While satellite data link is widely available and so are ground-based data link system, none are yet evolved to the point of the continuous connectivity Schwinn believes light aircraft will have to have. “And we see that as the next big area of equipage after ADS-B,” Schwinn says. “My vision is an airplane that’s connected absolutely all of the time.”

This will most likely come through a combination of the broad coverage of satellite systems and the faster and cheaper ground data links, including existing Wi-Fi and 4G LTE networks. What’s needed is the avionics hardware to tie it all together. “If we have a data pipeline to the ground that’s available all the time, the world is a different place,” he says, potentially offering real-time flight tracking and monitoring. “The first solo could be a totally different experience during the next decade. I really hope and expect that these kinds of applications are going to increase safety,” Schwinn says. Avidyne expects to have a wireless hotspot of some kind certified by 2018.

If drones can do pipeline patrol and survey work, why can’t a light sport aircraft do the same? That’s the question the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association is asking the FAA to consider and the answer may eventually result in an approval for just such work.

“We’ve adopted the term aerial work, which is a European term, to get away from commercial use which might be interpreted to be passenger or cargo carrying which is certainly not part of our request,” says LAMA’s Dan Johnson, who spoke us about the proposal for this podcast at Sun 'n Fun this week. Using the pipeline patrol as an example, Johnson said light sport aircraft are already effective in doing such tasks and have proven themselves. The airplanes are fuel efficient, quiet and have a licensed pilot on board. He said the FAA initially pushed back, arguing that the light sport rule was intended for sport and recreational use only. But it also allows flight instruction, towing and rental, which are definitely commercial activities.

“There’s a fuzzy line between that being OK, but flying a pipeline patrol is not OK,” Johnson says.

Rather that request a rule change, LAMA says it wants to see specific exemptions for qualified companies to conduct such work. It has proposed to the FAA to set up a monitoring system to track how the exemptions are working. He says the FAA has been responsive to specific light commercial or aerial work for light sport airplanes.

Aspen Avionics - Certified Display for Under 4k - Why fly with anything less? Evolution VFR PFD

The noise-cancelling aviation headset has been with us for three decades and may have now reached a plateau in further development, according to Allan Schrader of Lightspeed Aviation, which just released the Zulu3, an incremental upgrade to its best-selling Zulu2.

“So what could be next? There’s little reason to make a quieter headset. We learned from PFX that it’s hard to change everybody’s life with even more quieting,” Schrader told us in this podcast recorded at Sun 'n Fun this week. He said the PFX product was the quietest headset Lightspeed had ever made but the tradeoff was a larger, more complex control box and shorter battery life. Buyers were lukewarm about it.

He believes wearability and comfort are where future developments will occur. “I think we have to look at wearability in a different way now, maybe for instance to put active noise into earbuds. That’s not something that’s been done before. But not everybody likes earbuds.

That quieting technology is evolving,” he said. And it actually is available in a product made by Japanese electronics giant Pioneer. Lightspeed will be offering these high-tech earbuds as a premium for Zulu3 purchases, Schrader told us.

While the U.S. has been working to revise its Part 23 certification rules for small aircraft, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been working on a similar project, and this week EASA published its final rule. Both new rules are set to take effect in August. “This is a landmark day for the general aviation industry,” GAMA President Pete Bunce said in a news release from Aero, Europe’s biggest GA show, which opened Wednesday in Germany. “This rule is nothing less than a total rethinking of how our industry can bring new models of pistons, diesels, turboprops, light jets, and new hybrid and electric propulsion aeroplanes to market, as well as facilitating safety-enhancing modifications and upgrades to the existing fleet.”

The new rule forms part of a global, harmonized effort to develop common certification standards and promote the acceptance of airplanes and products worldwide. New production aircraft will be required to meet consensus standards, similar to the way LSAs are certified now. And since the U.S. and Europe will share a similar structure, it should be easier for small manufacturers to market their products abroad, offering more choices to pilots. “The new CS-23 rule [will reduce] the time, cost, and risk involved in certification,” Bunce said. “This will provide existing and future pilots with the tools they need to fly safer and more easily."

FREE ADS-B IN & OUT with the purchase of an IFD550 - Premium GPS Navigator with Syn Vis & ARS

E-volo is debuting its new electric-powered VTOL, the Volocopter 2X, at Aero, in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this week. The new version of the company’s two-seat multicopter represents the “evolution of the VC200 prototype towards everyday use,” the company said. The 2X has been developed for approval as an ultralight aircraft and is expected to be certified as a Sport Aircraft under a newly created “Multicopter” type category in Germany next year. The new sporty design includes glazed doors and optional leather seats, plus a new battery replacement system that allows for a quick swap in just a few minutes.

The 2X is designed to be easy to fly and extremely safe thanks to its automatic height and position control plus a highly redundant power system that’s failure-resistant, the company says. The Volocopter also is emission-free, and has a low noise output. E-volo added they are striving to obtain a commercial registration for the Volocopter, which would allow for the transportation of passengers in commercial taxi flights. The development of a four-seat Volocopter with international approval (EASA/FAA) is one of the next planned steps in development, the company said. The Volocopter has not yet been to a show in the U.S., but company representatives have told AVweb several times they would love to come to Oshkosh, so we’ll see.

Genuine Lycoming Parts || Choose Innovation, Not Imitation

The U.S. Navy grounded its fleet of T-45 trainer jets on Wednesday, after instructor pilots refused to fly, complaining that the oxygen systems were not working properly and had caused lightheadedness and blackouts. “We take the concerns of our air crew seriously and have directed a two-day safety pause for the T-45 community to allow time for naval aviation leadership to engage with the pilots, hear their concerns and discuss the risk mitigations, as well as the efforts that are ongoing to correct this issue,” said Cmdr. Jeanette Groeneveld, a Navy spokeswoman, according to The Washington Post.

All 197 of the single-engine jets will be grounded as engineering experts meet with pilots this week at training sites in Kingsville, Texas; Meridian, Mississippi; and Pensacola, Florida, Groeneveld said. The grounding could be extended depending on what investigators find. A Navy officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Post that complaints about problems in the T-45 have been getting worse recently. He characterized the decision of flight instructors to not fly as “not so much a strike,” but instead “instructors invoking their responsibility to not fly when there is significant enough risk to the aircraft and personnel.”

Forward this email to a friend
Tailor your alerts!
Click here to update alerts preferences.
AVweb Insider

Mooney’s decision to rethink the M10 reminds me that I’ve seen this movie before. As we mentioned in today’s coverage, the company apparently realizes that the trainer market isn’t—and will likely never be—robust enough to support a major investment in a new aircraft. And that’s likely to be true no matter what the price point is, no matter how creative the avionics are, no matter how little fuel it burns and no matter how much marketeers like to believe a burning desire to fly consumes the heart of 1.3 billion Chinese citizens.

So where to from here? As Mooney CEO Vivek Saxena said in today’s video coverage, the company is now pushing the project toward the next-generation piston aircraft. But what is that? Is it getting too late to think of it as a piston or should we be thinking about electric propulsion instead? My view is that we’re betwixt and between. It’s too early to invest heavily and expect a reasonable return on an electric airplane, although a hybrid like Pipistrel is developing may be more realistic.

Could a new model achieve success with an entirely new piston engine of some kind? I’m skeptical, because I don’t know what that would be. Despite advancements in piston technology, aircraft engines remain constrained by power-to-weight considerations and a duty cycle that requires them to operate at 70 percent power. Diesels have made a dent in operating economy, but just a dent. They haven’t rewritten either performance or operating cost rules.

With the revised Part 23 nearly a reality, certification costs are supposed to be lower, but it’s unrealistic to think they’ll be sufficiently lower to make the difference between a $500,000 airplane and a $250,000 airplane. Not gonna happen. The best we can hope for is certification hoops that speed the process and maybe allow more creative options to sneak into the design mix.

So whatever Mooney has cooking, it’s not going to be easy to figure it out and bring it to market, no matter how much we think the market is ready for such things.

A Bigger Show

Sun ‘n Fun director Lites Leenhouts told us Tuesday morning that this year’s event has a record number of vendors and that 85 of them are new to the show. He also said all of them were aviation related and that’s good news. But maybe there weren’t quite enough newbies to squeeze out those nice ladies in Hangar B offering eyelifts. Not that I couldn’t maybe use one, but I’m just sayin.’

It’s impossible to say how many people aren’t here who otherwise would have been because of the perfect wall of weather that hung out all day over the entire northern part of the Florida peninsula. It was probably a 100-mile wide band of showers and thunderstorm that’s a case study in training from west to east. I’m writing this at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and it’s still stewing out there. Better luck tomorrow to anyone waiting on the storms.

Auto traffic this morning was as dense as usual, with traffic backed up all the way to County Line Road. Here, I’ll cue my annual standing plea for Sun ‘n Fun to (a) fix this traffic snarl and (b) move the press center back up to show center, where it belongs. Probably a better chance of President Trump lifting the TFR over Palm Beach than the latter.

At Sun 'n Fun 2017, Garmin announced the G5 electronic DG/EHSI, which is expected to have a street price of $2449 (and $4598 when paired with the previously released G5 attitude instrument). The G5 electronic DG/EHSI—which will be covered by an extensive AML-STC—comes with a remote magnetometer, STC, battery backup and provides reversionary attitude data when paired with the G5 flight display. The instrument won't work with autopilots, but it will work with a wide variety of Garmin navigators and navcomms, including legacy GNS530/430s, GNS480, the SL30, GNC255 and the current GTN navigators. The company also introduced two low-cost slide-in audio panels. In this video from Sun 'n Fun 2017 in Lakeland, Florida, Aviation Consumer editor Larry Anglisano took a look at the products with Jessica Koss from Garmin.

If drones can do pipeline patrol and survey work, why can’t a light sport aircraft do the same? That’s the question the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association is asking the FAA to consider and the answer may eventually result in an approval for just such work. In this Sun 'n Fun podcast, LAMA's Dan Johnson filled AVweb in on the proposal.

Full-time internet connectivity is a fact of life for businesses, homes and even some cars and will soon be just as common in light aircraft, according to Avidyne’s Dan Schwinn. The company is busily whiteboarding what may be the next big thing in avionics. Dan Schwinn explains in this Sun 'n Fun podcast.

The noise-cancelling aviation headset has been with us for three decades and may have now reached a plateau in further development, according to Allan Schrader of Lightspeed Aviation, which just released the Zulu3, an incremental upgrade to its best-selling Zulu2. But what's ahead for future headset technology? Allan Schrader offers his views in this podcast.

DC One-X from David Clark - lightest full-featured ANR headset

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

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Geoff Rapoport

Contributors
Rick Durden
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Paul Berge
Larry Anglisano

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb web site 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: