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Volume 25, Number 15f
April 14, 2018
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Cessna Will Offer Epic Optix’s Low Cost HUD
Paul Bertorelli


Head-up displays, once and still the stuff of airline and military cockpits, will soon be an option in Cessna’s single-engine aircraft line. Cessna will offer the new Epic Optix Eagle HUD, a low-cost combiner display that’s capable of projecting not just basic flight data, but all kinds of imagery that any tablet can output.

The Eagle’s bright, three-color display is easily visible in bright sunlight and rather than the pull-down combiner that mounts to a ceiling fixture that HUDs typical have, Epic Optix’s product clamps the glareshield directly in front of the pilot. The screen is about 20 inches from the pilot’s eyes. The Eagle clamps to the glareshield and can also mount with commercial mounts from MyGoFlight and RAM. Because it’s a portable device, no approvals are necessary and it can be moved from aircraft to aircraft easily.

“Up until now, there was no true head-up display for general aviation,” Epic Optix CEO Ray Kwong told us during an interview at Sun 'n Fun. “So the idea was that we needed to build one that would fit into most general aviation aircraft, be cost effective and high performance," he adds. Although the Eagle is portable, it does need to be level and on the horizon when in use.

Textron will offer the Eagle as an option, but it can also be purchased as an aftermarket accessory directly from Epic Optix at Retail price is $1999. Watch for a video report on the Eagle later this week.

Update: Dynon’s Full Panel Installs for 172s On Track
Tim Cole

Following a March STC announcement, Dynon President Robert Hamilton told AVweb Friday that interest is building in the full-panel Skyview HDX upgrade for Cessna 172F through 172S models. “It’s an overnight sensation that only took eight years,” said Hamilton during an interview at Sun ‘n Fun. You can listen to a podcast of our conversation here.

The STC allows for the removal of the existing round-gauge primary flight instruments— including vacuum source— since the SkyView HDX system provides complete flight instrumentation on its 10-inch primary flight display. It also includes synthetic vision and angle-of-attack data. There's also engine monitoring with digital fuel flow, a fuel computer and lean assisting.

The HDX suite comes with Dynon’s integrated two-axis autopilot, with approach coupling when the SkyView is integrated with an approved third-party GPS navigator. The STC-approved installation also includes a Mode S transponder with 2020-compliant ADS-B Out, plus ADS-B In.

Hamilton says price of the fully installed one-screen system will come in around $25,000, with development underway to create an optional screen for the right seat. There are three installation centers, which Hamilton hopes to expand as they learn more.

From the outset, Hamilton said there was a special emphasis on making the panel upgrade affordable. “The FAA was very encouraging. They told us, ‘We consider this safety equipment, but it’s not safety equipment if you can’t afford to put it in your airplane.'”

You can learn more about the HDX program for Cessna 172F through 172S models at

A Terrible, Bad, Really Wrong Idea
Mary Grady

I had a sinking feeling the other day when I read that a senator in Utah has introduced a bill to try to make it OK for pilots to seek out passengers by using apps and the Internet, joining the “sharing economy” of Uber and Airbnb. This argument already played out, over a year ago. So far, the courts have upheld the FAA’s notion that pilots who try to share flights online are essentially “holding out” and engaging in “common carriage.” Now Senator Mike Lee, of Utah, is sponsoring the Aviation Empowerment Act, which argues that sharing the expenses of a flight with passengers does not amount to “compensation,” so the FAA’s scruples don’t apply.

Some pilots argue flight-sharing online is no different really from hanging a note on the airport bulletin board, which is just fine with the FAA. Some (including AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli) say flight-sharing amounts to a private exchange among grown-ups, and the FAA should leave it alone. Some point to Wingly, a flight-sharing site based in Europe, that claims to have helped arrange more than 10,000 bookings since it launched last year. Wingly pilots must have logged at least 100 hours and verify that they’re current. As far as I can tell, from a quick Google search, people seem to like it, and I found no reports about safety concerns or reports of accidents.

But I still think it’s a bad idea for the U.S. I think there are pressures and hazards specific to aviation that make flight-sharing a whole different thing from ride-sharing. Mainly, my concern rests on the fact that for many pilots, building time, in itself, has value. Even if a pilot is just breaking even on the flight expenses, the more hours you log, the closer you get to qualifying for the next certificate needed for the next job. This puts extra pressure on pilots to want to make those flights happen.

With the reach of the Internet on everyone’s cellphone, it would be immeasurably easier to keep that airplane full and flying, as compared to that lonely note on a bulletin board. The Skyhawk or Cirrus becomes a de facto little airline, only with no oversight. Your private pilot, age 17 and up, with maybe 100 hours of flight time, or less, is the final authority. Yikes.

My other concern is that flight safety depends on a zillion parameters that may not be easy for the casual passenger to understand — weather, and TFRs, and weight and balance, and all kinds of variables that might affect the flight’s outcome. This is less true when it comes to sharing a ride in a car — especially since most passengers are also licensed to drive, and there are fewer variables to determine a safe arrival. When passengers show up at the airport, ready to go, and the clouds roll in, will that 100-hour private pilot have the confidence to disappoint them? What if the pilot is just not feeling well, or tired? Will safety parameters be decided, and abandoned, on a whim?

It’s easy to imagine all the million ways this could go bad. The upside is, I can’t imagine that the FAA will let it happen. But Bertorelli could be right … the speed of modern life will carry us along to flight-sharing, sooner or later. If he’s right, then I’m hoping I’m wrong.

C-47s Return To Normandy
Larry Anglisano

Daks Over Normandy is the planned flyover crossing the English Channel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019. Commencing in Oxford, Connecticut, dozens of C-47 aircraft and hundreds of paratroopers billowing through the sky in authentic Allied uniforms and World War II military-style parachutes will be the largest assembly of authentic aircraft and paratroopers since that fateful day on June 6, 1944. For this video, AVweb contributing editor Larry Anglisano talked with the D-Day Squadron's Executive Director, Moreno "Mo" Aguiari, about the event and toured one of the C-47 aircraft on display at Sun 'n Fun 2018 in Lakeland, Florida.

LAMA Works on LSA Initiatives with FAA
Kate O'Connor

The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) is having good luck working with the FAA on initiatives to benefit the LSA community, according to LAMA Chairman of the Board and President Dan Johnson. In this podcast, Johnson spoke with AVweb about LAMA’s process in developing these initiatives and how the association has been coordinating with the FAA.

Johnson said that LAMA has been honing these initiatives for the last four years. They began with a list of 26 goals for the future of LSA aircraft and whittled it down to the four most important. Those initiatives include expanding commercial use (what LAMA is calling aerial work) of LSAs. As it stands, LSAs can, in some circumstances, be used for flight instruction, rental and towing. The idea is to eventually provide space for working pilots to use LSAs—and thus take advantage of their often lower fuel burns and reduced emissions—for additional tasks. An example given was pipeline patrols.

Another initiative is an allowance for electrically powered LSAs. Johnson believes that LSAs and electric propulsion make a lot of sense, given the size of most light sport models. LAMA would also like to see fully built gyroplanes for sale in the U.S. and single-lever control, in-flight adjustable propellers for LSAs.

According to Johnson, LAMA, the U.S. Ultralight Association and the FAA are working together on methods for providing some exemptions for these activities. The hope is that this will allow LAMA and others to gather data on how these changes would function in order to provide good information for future regulation. Though he doesn’t believe new regulations will ever come quickly, Johnson was clear that the FAA has been very open to working with LAMA and the LSA community.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Wing-Mounted ADAHRS Now Available
Kate O'Connor

The new portable, externally mounted WingBug Air Data, Attitude and Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) from Straight & Level Technologies provides independent flight data for pretty much whichever aircraft it can be clipped to—as long as the aircraft in question doesn’t exceed 200 MPH. The device, CEO and inventor Alex Rolinski explained to AVweb, sends the data to an iPad via internal Wi-Fi, displaying it on the WingBug mobile app. To see learn more about it, see this video.

The product has been under development for about four years. In addition to providing airspeed and attitude information, WingBug will document flight data for later review, including making use of its built-in GPS to plot the aircraft’s flight path. WingBug will display airspeed up to 260 MPH—it can show knots as well—and altitudes up to 25,000 feet. It’s also shock and water resistant. Price for the unit is $950. Going forward, the company is looking at adding angle of attack and side-slip indicators and ADS-B In to the device.

The WingBug team will also be heading to Oshkosh Air Venture this year to compete for the 2018 EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize. The EAA Innovation Prize is awarded every year at Oshkosh Air Venture for the best loss of control solution. The winner receives $25,000, second place gets $10,000, and third $5,000.

Boeing Invests In Hypersonic Engine
Mary Grady

HorizonX, the Boeing “innovation cell” that launched about a year ago, has invested in its first U.K. company, Reaction Engines Ltd., Boeing announced on Wednesday. Reaction is known for its “Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine” (Sabre), a hybrid engine that blends jet and rocket technology. The engine is capable of Mach 5 in air-breathing mode and Mach 25 in rocket mode for space flight, Boeing said. "As Reaction Engines unlocks advanced propulsion that could change the future of air and space travel, we expect to leverage their revolutionary technology to support Boeing's pursuit of hypersonic flight," said Steve Nordlund, vice president of Boeing HorizonX.

Reaction Engines was founded by three propulsion engineers in 1989. According to the Reaction Engines website, “Sabre is at heart a rocket engine designed to power aircraft directly into space (single-stage to orbit) to allow reliable, responsive and cost-effective space access, and in a different configuration to allow aircraft to cruise at high speeds (five times the speed of sound) within the atmosphere.” The engine achieves this goal by operating in two rocket modes: initially in air-breathing mode and subsequently in conventional rocket mode. These capabilities may lead to high-speed point-to-point transport that is cost-effective and sustainable, according to the company website.

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General Aviation Accident Bulletin

AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine, and is published twice a month. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause in the NTSB’s website at Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

January 1, 2018, Lynchburg, Va.

Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam P2006

At about 1725 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage following a landing gear separation during landing. The flight instructor in the right seat and the pilot receiving instruction in the left seat sustained no injuries. Visual conditions were present.

As the flight turned onto final approach, and with the flaps fully extended, the aircrew verified verbally that all landing gears were down and locked. The pilot maintained about a 500-fpm descent on final and verified verbally with the flight instructor that the airspeed was 70 KIAS. The pilot flared and executed a normal landing. Immediately after touchdown, the left main landing gear assembly separated at the axle. Subsequently, the airplane skidded for about 100 feet, departed the runway to the left and came to rest on the grass. The pilot performed a shutdown and the two occupants egressed without further incident.

The flight instructor reported there were no wind gusts during the approach and landing, and there was no side loading at touchdown. The flight instructor further reported that in his experience, he did not feel the landing would have caused any damage.

January 1, 2018, Nampa, Idaho

Cessna 150

The pilot later reported becoming disoriented on a dark night. He circled over a nearby town for about an hour, but was unable to find any visual references to aid in navigation. The pilot then called a family member on the ground, who provided guidance to the destination airport via a cellphone app. He spotted what appeared to be the destination airport and maneuvered for an approach but realized in the landing flare he was not at the airport. Instead, the pilot landed on a road about six miles from his intended destination. During the landing, the airplane struck trees, landed on a road, veered left and impacted a light pole.

January 2, 2018, Aurora, Ore.

Cessna T210L Turbo Centurion

At about 0920 local time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its right main landing gear collapsed during landing. The solo private pilot was not injured; visual conditions prevailed.

After failing to obtain indications that the landing gear was down and locked, the pilot flew a low approach, after which tower personnel reported that the landing gear appeared to be down. During the landing, the right main landing gear collapsed, followed by the airplane veering off the right side of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right elevator and right horizontal stabilizer.

January 3, 2018, Gulf of Mexico

Cirrus Design SR22T

At about 1800 Central time, the airplane was missing over the Gulf of Mexico and presumed sunk. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight departed Oklahoma City, Okla., at about 1419 with Georgetown, Texas, as its destination.

As the airplane approached the destination airport, ATC cleared it to turn right and descend to 13,000 feet msl. Instead, the airplane turned left. Controllers made multiple attempts to communicate with the pilot, but without success. Radar tracked the aircraft to its last known position about 220 miles north of Cancun, Mexico.

January 11, 2018, Elko, Nev.

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

At about 1800 Pacific time, the airplane collided with mountainous terrain. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the pilot reported encountering clouds and asked for the nearest airport, saying, “Alright, I’m getting super turbulent over here I’m going to head over there.” Shortly after, communication and radar contact were lost. Search and rescue efforts ensued, and aerial photography was used to identify the crash site January 19, 2018, on the east face of mountain peak, near its summit. Onsite examination by ground personnel identified the wreckage as the accident airplane.

January 13, 2018, Longmont, Colo.

Beech K35 Bonanza

The airplane experienced a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The pilot sustained serious injuries, the passenger sustained minor injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness heard “a popping noise” coming from the accident airplane during takeoff. A few seconds later, he heard the engine “shut off” with the airplane in a nose-up attitude. The airplane rolled to the right and then descended in a “steep dive” toward the ground. When the witness arrived at the accident site, he observed smoke and smelled fuel near the airplane. He stated the ground near the airplane was wet and fuel was leaking from the wing where it had separated from the fuselage. The pilot later told the owner that after the second consecutive touch-and-go, the engine lost power so the pilot pushed the nose down and made a forced landing in a field off the end of the runway. The pilot added that the landing gear had already been retracted and there was no remaining runway available to land.

January 17, 2018, Raton, N.M.

Bell UH-1H Helicopter

At about 1800 Mountain time, the helicopter impacted terrain; a ground fire and explosion subsequently occurred. The commercial pilot, pilot-rated passenger and three other passengers were fatally injured. One passenger sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was destroyed. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The surviving passenger indicated the helicopter was in level flight and recalled a big bang as the helicopter hit the ground. The helicopter rolled forward, coming to a stop upside down with the passenger hanging from a seat belt and jet fuel pouring on her. The passenger released her seat belt and evacuated the helicopter. The helicopter was on fire and subsequent explosions followed. The passenger called 911 and waited for emergency responders.

Weather at the departure point 10.7 nm from the accident site included wind from 030 degrees at 10 knots, visibility of 10 sm and clear skies. The fuselage came to rest on a flat mesa at the top of rising terrain. The elevation in the area of the main wreckage was about 6932 feet msl. The initial observed point of terrain contact was a parallel pair of ground scars, consistent with the width of the helicopter’s landing skids, which led directly to the main wreckage on a 074-degree bearing. The distance from the start of the parallel ground scars to the wreckage was about 474 feet.

January 17, 2018, Skyforest, Calif.

Mooney M20E Super 21/Chaparral

The airplane collided with rising terrain at about 1130 Pacific time. The private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries; two other passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported departing with 20 gallons of fuel aboard. About five minutes into the flight, the airplane approached terrain that rose from about 1800 feet msl to 5700 feet over about 5.5 miles. The airplane was about 1000 feet agl as it neared the top of the ridgeline. The pilot stated he encountered a downdraft and the airplane aerodynamically stalled. Seconds later, the airplane impacted terrain.

This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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BRS Expands Cessna Parachute Centers
Kate O'Connor

At a time when changing perceptions about flight safety have pilots more interested in whole aircraft parachute systems, BRS Aerospace is expanding their network of approved installation centers for chute retrofits on Cessna 172s and 182s. In this exclusive podcast, company President Enrique Dillon told AVweb that BRS is looking to increase the number of approved centers around the world.

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Picture of the Week April 9, 2018
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AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

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