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Volume 25, Number 30d
July 26, 2018
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BendixKing Certifies AeroVue Flight Deck for King Airs
Larry Anglisano

After years snagged in the certification process, the BendixKing AeroVue retrofit flight deck has been approved for installation in B200 King Air models. At AirVenture 2018 at Oshkosh, the company had the AeroVue system on display in its pavilion and also brought its B200 test bed for media flights (look for a video soon on

The AeroVue, which trickles down from the Honeywell Apex avionics suite used in the Pilatus PC-12NG, plus has technology from the company's business aviation applications, has three color displays (two PFDs and one MFD), including engine display and a pedestal-mounted flight management controller with CCD (cursor control device); it doesn't have a touchscreen interface. The system is equipped with mandate-compliant ADS-B Out, weather radar, SXM satellite weather, TAWS-B terrain alerting, active traffic alerting, plus it has the company's AeroWave inflight cabin connectivity.

The system is intended to replace nearly the entire radio package in vintage B200 models, including the autopilot and VHF radios. It doesn't have environmental controls (the existing pressurization controls are retained), but the company says it can save over well 100 pounds compared to the equipment it replaces.

BendixKing currently has eight installation centers capable of completing the retrofit and is building the network for more installation support. It's targeting an approximate $350,000 fly-away price, with a downtime of roughly four weeks for completion.

BendixKing is also in the process of certifying the AeroVue Touch retrofit flight display for lower-end applications, which will come in at under $20,000 including installation. It was also on display at the show.

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100th Set of Wipaire 8750 Floats Delivered to MAF
Tim Cole

Mission Aviation Fellowship delivers humanitarian aid to remote locations throughout the world, and that takes a special combination of talent and utility. The organization has found a perfect marriage in the short-body Cessna Caravan attached to a pair of Wipaire 8750 amphibious floats. The 100th shipset of the 8750 floats will soon be winging its way to Indonesia aboard a new MAF Caravan.

MAF Chief David Holsten took delivery of the big machine at AirVenture 2018. The principal advantage of the 8750 system is increased buoyancy allowing an additional 400 pounds of cargo.

“Multiply that increase times the thousands of flights this aircraft will be making into places where there are sometimes no roads and you can see the leverage this airplane will give us,” Holsten said.

The Wipaire 8750 system also includes a 600-pound baggage capacity in two float lockers port and starboard, plus a unique single-point refueling port on the main strut that allows Jet-A to be pumped into wing tanks from the ground. The system allows for a quicker turnaround to get the airplane back on task.

You can learn more from the video below. For more information go to

AOPA, NATA Disagree Over FBO Conflicts
Mary Grady

AOPA and 11 other aviation user groups called on the FAA on Tuesday to take action against “egregious FBO fees and denial of airport access.” The groups said hidden fees and unaffordable costs for ramp space deny pilots “reasonable access to federally funded airports.” NATA quickly issued a dissenting statement, citing “misguided assumptions” driving AOPA’s campaign. “We believe AOPA’s initiative risks increasing costs for users, will redirect resources from important operational and safety projects at airports, and fails to recognize how airports carry out mandates from TSA and satisfy its rigorous requirements,” said NATA President Marty Hiller.

AOPA, along with Women in Aviation International, the American Bonanza Society and nine other pilot groups, said that “pilots across America” want FBOs to be healthy and profitable, but they also want FBO fees to be publicly disclosed online, with public access to and from parking ramps, charted and fully disclosed transient parking, competition among FBOs and freedom from paying for unwanted services. “Egregious, hidden fees drive down traffic and cut off access to important communities,” AOPA said. “It's time for the FAA to ensure pilots have a right to reasonable access to federally funded airports.” NATA said AOPA has identified problems at only 13 airports, out of 5,136 public-use airports. “Every FBO market and region is different, with specific local economic circumstances,” NATA said. “NATA encourages airport users to talk with the airport manager and FBO when an issue arises.”

[Image: AOPA]

AirVenture: Big Numbers In The Spreadsheet
Paul Bertorelli

For this week’s AirVenture coverage, we’ve been running daily AirVenture look backs reprising what we reported on in previous shows. When I was writing the 20-year installment—1998—I was struck by how many products and ideas were floated at AirVenture that just never potentiated. I left out a few because it was getting depressing and I don’t want readers reaching for the Seconal and bourbon on the first day. Look, we need all the clicks we can get, uninterupted for stomach pumping.

This is why reporting on shows like AirVenture is a conundrum for journalists. Off camera or off the record, we often say one thing but report another under the guise of fair journalism untainted by opinion, or at least too much opinion. After the show, I’m often asked what I really think of something I saw here and lately, I try to say what I think in this blog space so my public opinion is the same as my private view.

I’m sure I’ll be asked about the Opener BlackFly, which got lots of airtime and ink in the daily press recently, deservedly so. (Here’s  AVweb’s video on it.) In short, this is a flight-stabilized multi-rotor capable of carrying a single pilot. Flight stabilized means it flies similarly to small multi-rotor drones, although the Opener people discourage the comparison. I’m not sure why. Drone auto flight has revolutionized remote piloting and it will eventually revolutionize or certainly fundamentally impact manned flight for small vehicles first and, eventually, for everything. Opener and other companies should stop running away from that.

I said in a previous blog that I think the BlackFly is a terrific idea and I’m betting the concept itself has legs, whether Opener’s version fails to gain a market or not. The BlackFly will be pitched as an ultralight and although it faces some regulatory hurdles related to ultralight limitations, I think these can be overcome, allowing Opener—or whoever pursues this technology—to open up a new world of flight requiring less skill and training than what we’re doing now.

Opener brought a VR-based simulator of their aircraft to Oshkosh and although the waiting line was too long for me to fly it, I watched a few people give it a go. Just as I thought it would be, it appears easy to master, with a single stick for pitch and lateral translation and a button for throttle control. Because it’s auto-stabilized, releasing the control causes it to enter a stable hover, just like a remotely flown multi-rotor drone does.

Opener was cagey about the details of the BlackFly. They wouldn’t let us look inside the vehicle, wouldn’t answer detailed technical questions and when we asked about price, Opener’s Marcus Leng told me “the same as an SUV.” Ok. What SUV? He wouldn’t say, which leads me to believe Opener hasn’t figured out price yet. Fair enough. It’s early in their game and they have a long developmental road ahead before selling these things. But when I asked Leng to conceptually frame for me the cost/value relationship, what he said stunned me. “We don’t have to worry about that. We have a ridiculous amount of interest in this,” he said.

In one woozy swoop, I was back to 1998 pondering all those can’t-fail projects that did. Stipulating that you have to be slightly daft to be in the aviation business in the first place, it’s still dispiriting to hear people who hope to make a go of a good product commit the same overreaches that everyone else has. Over optimism about potential high volume is a weird sort of pathology in general aviation and hype aside, businesses that plug the big numbers into their spreadsheets are almost certain to fail, and not just in aviation.

Aviation startups invariably underestimate the difficulty of modest serial production, never mind high-volume manufacturing or the complexities of dealing with production type certificates. Future aviation manufacturers—and Opener may become one of those—will have it a little easier on the regulatory side because the FAA has sustained a genuine trend toward simpler certification and the light sport industry—such as it is—has enjoyed less onerous manufacturing oversight.

All good. But the production economics remain relentless and unforgiving. Just ask Icon or Eclipse. More than one aviation company has stumbled on that daunting step between a fat order book and a profitable, sustainable business. A good idea and a good product is fundamental, but it’s actually a minor piece of a puzzle with a million pieces.

Cool New Instruments

One must-do visit at AirVenture is the Innovation Center. This year it’s chock-a-block with interesting stuff, including some cool new multi-purpose EFIS instruments from a startup called AeroVonics. These are approvable under the FAA’s NORSEE protocol and demonstrate once again that the FAA has found religion in allowing inexpensive, capable safety equipment into the cockpit without strangling it with a paper trail. Here's a video.

AeroVonics’ instruments also represent a milestone in another trend: highly capable instrumentation driven by the high-volume automotive and cellphone market for small, inexpensive electronic gyros and accelerometers. And the operative word is inexpensive. The AV-20 AeroVonics was showing fits in a 2-inch instrument hole and for $800, it’s a combination EFIS, AoA indicator, electrical system monitor and basic flight computer. AeroVonics has another larger version that’s capable of displaying not just the familiar blue-over-brown electronic AI, but also a conventional AI or an HSI display. The display’s resolution is simply gorgeous. Somehow, I found that old-school depiction of a conventional AI a refreshing change from the dreary sameness glass panels all seem to share.

NFlightMic: Adding a Mic to a Non-Aviation Headset
Paul Bertorelli

Noise cancelling headsets are a cockpit standard, but even the least expensive ones aren’t exactly cheap. So why not use a consumer grade ANR? Well, no microphone. And that’s the dilemma a company called NFlight Technology wants to address with a gadget intended to add an aviation-quality microphone to consumer headsets like the Sony MDR.

NFlight’s NFlightMic attaches to an earcup with an industrial-grade hook and loop fastener and the mic taps into the audio through a 2.5- or 3.5-mm jack consumer headsets typically have. A standard phone lead then connects to the aircraft audio system. The mic system has input jacks for external audio input from smartphones or MP3 players. NFlight, which makes a line of highly regarded aircraft camera mounts, announced the NFlight Mic at AirVenture 2018 this week.

Two models are available, one for mono and one for stereo, priced at $249 and $299 respectively. For a detailed explanation of the product, see this podcast recorded at AirVenture.

AirVenture Time Capsule: 2011
AVweb Staff

2011 was a busy year for AirVenture. Aviation apps on mobile devices were gaining popularity and avionics manufacturers were taking notice. Aspen introduced its “Connected Panel,” which for the first time allowed app data like flight plans and frequencies to be transferred to Aspen avionics displays. Data was transmitted via Wi-Fi, USB or Bluetooth. Also on the app front, Jeppesen introduced en route mapping and flight planning with its new Jeppesen Mobile Flight Deck app and said it was looking to add flight planning and overlaid weather in the future.

Flight Design announced that it was branching out from light sport planes to develop a certified, $250,000, four-place aircraft it called the C4. After a series of delays, the C4 first flew in 2015. Development was suspended when Flight Design entered receivership the following year. The company was purchased in 2017 and the new owners have said that they intend to go forward with an updated version of the design.

Another aircraft that debuted that year was the Aerostar Jet. The jet, which used a piston-powered Aerostar airframe and added Pratt & Whitney PW615F engines, could cruise at 340 knots at 85 percent power and climb at 5,000 feet per minute. The prototype first flew in 2010, but the aircraft never completed the certification process and the project seems to have been abandoned.

Also at the show, EAA held a flying car drive-in complete with 1950s-style curb service, Boeing brought the not-yet-certified 787 Dreamliner (FAA and EASA type certification came in August 2011 with the aircraft entering service the following October) and the U.S. Navy celebrated 100 years of naval aviation by arriving with an even wider variety of naval aircraft than usual.

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CAFE Symposium Explores Flight’s Future
Mary Grady

After 10 years of annual gatherings, participants at the CAFE Foundation’s Electric Aviation Symposium are “starting to get realistic about technology, business strategies and certification,” executive director Yolanka Wulff told AVweb this week. There are more than 100 eVTOL projects now in development, she said. “There’s a call for companies to work together, and maybe each focus on certain components—an airframe or charging system—instead of an entire vehicle,” Wulff said. The challenges now are not only to continue to develop the technology, but also to face the barriers in place regarding infrastructure, investment and certification. “I think we all recognize we’re not going to have 100 different companies successfully rolling out eVTOLs,” she said. “Investment dollars are one way that companies are going to be down-selected.” However, fixed-wing electric flight is consistently making strides, Wulff said, citing aircraft by Pipistrel, Eviation and Bye Aerospace. “With the Part 23 rewrite, there is a clear path to certification” for those aircraft, Wulff said.

For eVTOLs, the pathway still has a long way to go. “I think we’re going to start to see applications, but for urban air taxis, it’s going to take a long time for public acceptance and the regulatory structure to catch up,” Wulff said. CAFE also is working to ensure that all electric aircraft will be able to use one universal type of charger, to make it more practical for pilots to travel. About 60 participants from five continents attended this year’s symposium. The move to Oshkosh, the weekend before AirVenture, has proved popular, Wulff said, and this year CAFE lowered the registration fee for the two-day event to $175. Also, CAFE partnered with the Vertical Flight Society to record video of all the speakers. Those videos will be available free at the CAFE website in about eight weeks. Speakers at the event represented NASA, Uber Elevate, GAMA, Aurora Flight Sciences, Boeing, Kitty Hawk and more.

AirVenture Gallery, July 25, 2015
Paul Bertorelli
Some sights from the third day of Airventure 2018.

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Figure 1 Offers Aerobatics Scholarships
Kate O'Connor

The Figure 1 Foundation is providing aviation training scholarships covering both advanced and basic flight training, the organization announced at AirVenture 2018 on Wednesday. Specific scholarships are available for upset recovery/spin training and introduction to aerobatics and aerobatic judge certifications, along with fixed-wing private pilot certificates and tailwheel endorsements. Champion aerobatics pilot Patty Wagstaff introduced Figure 1’s latest Intro to Aerobatics Scholarship winner Andrea McGilvray at the organization’s AirVenture press event.

McGilvray says she is looking forward to upset recovery and aerobatics training at Wagstaff’s Florida flight school, Patty Wagstaff Aerobatics. Figure 1 Foundation scholarships are not location-specific and the foundation also considers international applications for the advanced training and aerobatic judging scholarships. Tailwheel and upset recovery scholarship applicants are required to have at least a private pilot certificate. Scholarships are awarded quarterly.

California-based Figure 1 Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Scholarship funds come from corporate sponsorships and donations. The foundation reports that is has awarded 18 scholarships and raised $107,000 since it was founded in 2016.

Aviation Restoration Series Gets Release Date
Kate O'Connor

Hemlock Films announced at AirVenture 2018 that the premier season of its documentary series of The Restorers is scheduled to be released for the first time on Veterans Day 2018. The series was inspired by Hemlock’s 2003 documentary titled The Restorers: Giving History a Future..., which won an Emmy Award in 2004.

Like its predecessor, The Restorers – Season 1 examines historic aircraft restorations. It consists of five one-hour episodes, each focused on a specific restoration-related theme. Themes include aircraft recovery, women aviators in history and restoration, and the Doolittle Raiders. The Restorers – Season 1 will be available to stream through Amazon’s video-on-demand services on Nov. 11, 2018 and will be released on PBS in 2019.

Hemlock Films has previously produced two other award-winning historic aviation documentaries. Beyond The Powder follows the 2014 Air Race Classic and the original 1929 Powder Puff Derby and Red Tail Reborn explores the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. The company is also working on a film about World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots for the Commemorative Air Force, titled CAF Rise Above: WASP.

FAA Seeks Controller Applicants
Mary Grady

The FAA will accept applications nationwide from people interested in becoming air traffic controllers, beginning this Friday, July 27, the agency announced this week. Applications will be accepted until next Tuesday, July 31, or until a sufficient applicant pool has been reached to meet the needs of the FAA, whichever comes first. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, speak English clearly and be no more than 30 years old (with limited exceptions). A combination of three years of education and/or work experience is required. Applicants also must pass a medical examination, security investigation and the FAA’s pre-employment tests. The median annual wage for air traffic control specialists was $127,805 in 2016, according to the FAA website. The salaries for entry-level ATC specialists increase as they complete each phase of training. Applicants must be willing to work anywhere in the U.S.

Active-duty military members can apply, but they must provide documentation certifying they expect to be discharged or released from active duty under honorable conditions no later than 120 days after the date the document is signed. Accepted applicants will be trained at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Initial selection does not guarantee placement into federal civilian service, the FAA notes at its website. Entry-level applicants must complete required training courses at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and gain on-the-job experience before becoming certified professional controllers. Interested applicants should visit the FAA jobs website to start building their applications, or go to this site for more information about ATC careers. The FAA’s hiring practices in recent years have been met with some pushback, including a lawsuit claiming the practices are discriminatory.

Air & Space Museum Hosts ‘Mission Impossible’ Premiere
Mary Grady

The new Mission: Impossible movie, Fallout, opens nationwide on Thursday, but visitors to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, in Washington, D.C., got a sneak preview on Sunday, complete with a guest appearance by Tom Cruise and the rest of the cast. “The red carpet [at the Museum] was flooded with A-listers for the U.S. premiere of the summer blockbuster,” according to The Washington Post. The film features some action sequences with an Airbus helicopter, which Cruise learned to fly for the movie. He also did all the stunts, including hanging on a rope below the helicopter in flight. “I loved flying the helicopter … it was very exciting,” he said at the premiere. He added that he had always wanted to get his helicopter certificate, and the movie gave him “an excuse.”

With an initial score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Fallout is “already being hailed by some as the film of the summer,” according to the Post. USA Today says the film proves the Mission: Impossible franchise sets “the gold standard for international action-adventure and that Cruise is this generation's James Bond.” The museum appearance wasn’t a first for Cruise — he also visited the NASM for a screening of Top Gun in 1986. Fallout will be showing on the Imax screen at the NASM starting Thursday, and also will be shown at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
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