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Volume 26, Number 14c
April 3, 2019
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Piper Unveils Pilot 100 Trainer
Kate O'Connor

Piper Aircraft announced the addition of a new PA-28-based trainer aircraft on Tuesday at Sun ‘n Fun 2019 in Lakeland, Florida. According to Piper, the VFR-only Pilot 100 and the IFR-capable Pilot 100i version were designed to meet “the need for a new trainer aircraft at a price point that could support the growing demand for professionally trained pilots.” The Pilot 100 and 100i are powered by Continental's 180-HP Prime IO-370-D3A engine.

“With the unprecedented demand for professional pilots, our team worked closely with several key suppliers to deliver an aggressively priced, proven trainer that offers the advanced systems and performance that flight schools and airline programs of all sizes desire,” said Piper CEO Simon Caldecott. “We are excited to add the Pilot 100 series to our training product line at a price point that provides optimal economics for all operators.”

Base price for the Garmin G3X Touch-equipped Pilot 100 is $259,000. The Pilot 100i starts at $285,000 and comes equipped with Garmin’s G3X Touch, GFC500 autopilot and GNX 375. It has a maximum cruise speed of 128 KTAS, a 522-NM range with a 45-minute reserve, and seats two, with an optional third-seat configuration. Piper says both versions of the aircraft will be available on a limited basis beginning in 2020.

Video: Garmin's All-Glass Grumman Tiger
Larry Anglisano

At Sun 'n Fun 2019 in Lakeland, Florida, Garmin revealed the first STC-certified G3X Touch glass cockpit in a Grumman Tiger. The certified G3X Touch suite was revealed to Garmin dealers last week and this week it's showing off the system to potential buyers in the Grumman, which is parked in the Garmin exhibit at the show. Aviation Consumer Editor Larry Anglisano took a look at the aircraft with Garmin's Jessica Koss and prepared this show video.

Lycoming 'When can an engine give you 200 extra flying hours?'
Daher Unveils Refreshed TBM 910
Russ Niles

Daher has split the linear development of its highly regarded high-performance turboprop singles at Sun ’n Fun 2019 with the unveiling of the refreshed TBM 910 and more detail on its more advanced TBM 940. The 940 was announced about a month ago and is a deluxe version of the type with increased automation, including an autothrottle, that, because of the automation, is even a little faster (by about three knots). The 910 lacks the autothrottle and has a Garmin G1000nxi panel instead of the G3000 in the new model but they both share the newly introduced automatic de-icing feature.

A deicing sensor detects ice buildup and if the pilot doesn’t take timely action the system kicks in with an annunciation to the pilot. TBM spokesman Nicholas Chabbert said the automated system adds another layer of safety for the owner-pilots it targets for the aircraft and that also underlies the dual path to ownership. The 910’s G1000 will be a familiar cockpit environment for pilots graduating to high-speed access to the flight levels and when they want to take it to another level, the 940 is what Daher believes is a “dream machine.” The autothrottle is driven by the autopilot software in the top-of-the-line Garmin panel and while automation drives safety Chabbert said it only reduces workload, it does not make the pilot redundant. “We want to keep the pilot in the loop.”

Senate Launches Probe Into Improperly Trained FAA Inspectors at Boeing
AVweb Staff

Adding to the FAA’s look-see into Boeing and an ongoing FBI investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, the Senate Transportation Committee is launching its own investigation. This time is has to do with whistleblower complaints claiming the FAA improperly trained its safety inspectors to review the MAX 8 design and certification.

“In light of recent 737 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, the committee is investigating any potential connection between inadequate training and certification of Aviation Safety Inspectors who may have participated in the FSB evaluation of the 737 MAX," Sen. Roger Wicker, chairman of the committee, said in a letter to FAA Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell delivered on Tuesday.

Wicker said the FAA may have been notified about these deficiencies as early as August of 2018 and that an in-house investigation of the allegations may have already been done and completed by the FAA.

Meanwhile, Boeing said earlier this week that although it had hoped to deliver revised software to the MAX fleet by mid-April, that fix will be delayed at least several more weeks. Some 350-plus MAX jets remain grounded as safety agencies grind through investigations on two crashes, one in Indonesia in October 2018 and a second in Ethiopia in March. Those probes appear to be focusing on a background anti-stall system called MCAS, which may have been erroneously triggered by faulty angle-of-attack sensors.

Video: Sling TSi: Torrance To Tampa Nonstop
Marc Cook

Sling Aircraft's Jean d'Assonville and Wayne Toddun made the trip from Torrance, California, to the Lakeland area for Sun n Fun 2019 without a fuel stop. From an easy ride at 17,500 feet with a ripping tailwind to dodging rain showers in a frontal system at 800 feet over the Gulf of Mexico, the pair relied on the Sling's turbocharged and intercooled Rotax 915, modern Garmin avionics and plenty of relief bags. d'Assonville recounts the flight and hits the highlights of the Sling TSi in this video.

L3 Orders 240 Pipers
Kate O'Connor

L3 Commercial Aviation has placed an order with options for up to 240 new Pipers over the next ten years, the company announced at Sun ‘n Fun this year. The new aircraft, a mix of single-engine Archers and twin-engine Seminoles, will be going to “expand and modernize” fleets at the company’s Airline Academy pilot training sites in the U.S., Portugal and the U.K.

“We are continuously exploring ways to improve both the quality and capacity of our training facilities,” said Airline Academy Vice President Geoff van Klaveren. “This significant investment in expanding and modernizing our fleet with these brand-new aircraft will help us in our aspiration to provide the highest-quality training while meeting the increasing international demand for new pilots from our airline customers.”

L3 will be taking delivery of 19 Archers and seven Seminoles in 2019 with the first aircraft arriving later this month. The new planes will be glass cockpit- and ADS-B-equipped. According to L3, it has also invested in training and recruiting additional instructors across its Airline Academy sites in order to increase training capacity.

Aireon's Space-Based ADS-B Goes Live
AVweb Staff

ADS-B may be a great thing for tracking airplanes—until they’re 50 miles offshore. To remedy that, Aireon’s space-based ADS-B tracking system goes live this week, allowing any ADS-B aircraft to be tracked in real time at almost any point on the globe and especially on congested oceanic tracks.

Prior to Aireon’s system, ground-based ADS-B was capable of tracking coverage over only about 30 percent of the globe, according to the company. “For the first time in history, we can surveil all ADS-B-equipped aircraft anywhere on earth,” said Don Thoma, Aireon’s CEO. “With the launch of our space-based ADS-B service, Aireon now provides a real-time solution to that challenge—one that will radically optimize flight safety and efficiency,” he added.

Aireon’s system will be particularly welcome over the busy North Atlantic oceanic routes where better real-time tracking can allow airliners to fly optimal speeds and altitudes, offering significant savings in time and fuel while reducing carbon emissions by up to two tons per flight, according to an analysis conducted by NATS and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Regulations mandate ADS-B in the U.S. in select airspace by January 2020 and in Europe by June 2020. Other countries have imposed their own deadlines or are the process of doing so. Continuous oceanic ADS-B coverage will give ATC a view of the tracks virtually identical to radar. The Aerion system is hosted in the Iridium NEXT low-altitude satellite system.

Video: Piper Introduces Pilot 100/100i Trainer
Kate O'Connor

Piper Aircraft announced the addition of a new PA-28-based trainer aircraft at Sun ‘n Fun 2019 in Lakeland, Florida. The VFR-only Pilot 100 and the IFR-capable Pilot 100i version were designed to meet the need for a durable, lower-cost aircraft option for flight schools. Piper CEO Simon Caldecott gave AVweb the details at the show.

Buffett: Boeing's Stock Tank Won't Damage Industry
Paul Bertorelli

Investment savant Warren Buffett says the hammering Boeing’s stock value is taking in the wake of the 737 MAX 8 certification fiasco won’t have a long-term effect on the aviation industry. "Obviously there's a problem with this 737 MAX, but Boeing, you can bet they're staying up 24 hours a day to get it worked out," the 88-year-old Buffett said, speaking at a benefit event in Grapevine, Texas.

In just the past three weeks, Boeing’s stock price has sagged from $432.69 to $391.30 on April 2, a paper loss of about $13 billion for the company. The stock soared to a historical high in early March at $440.62, but plunged after the second crash of a Boeing 737 MAX 8, dragging the Dow down 150 points with it later in March.

Buffett, who once described airlines as suicidal business models, is now heavily invested in three airlines. His Berkshire Hathaway owns 9.9 percent of Southwest, 9.7 percent of American Airlines and 8.2 percent of United Airlines. "The airline industry is a very, very competitive business, and it will always be a competitive business," he said. "I don't think it's a suicidal business anymore, but it was for quite a while."

Apollo 11's Michael Collins Highlights AirVenture
Paul Bertorelli

Famed Apollo astronaut Michael Collins will be the featured guest at EAA AirVenture 2019’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the Sea of Tranquility. Collins will be joined by Joe Engle, another Apollo alumnus, but who never flew in that program. Engle did fly on the Space Shuttle and is the last living X-15 pilot. A second shuttle pilot, Charlie Precourt, will host the event, to be held on July 26 at AirVenture.

“Even a half-century later, the Apollo 11 mission stands as one of the great human achievements of all time,” said Rick Larsen, who coordinates AirVenture features and attractions. Collins, you may recall, was the command module pilot of Apollo 11’s Colombia and orbited the moon in solitude while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin completed the first manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969. The Colombia was the only major piece of flight hardware to return intact to earth.

Collins, who once famously said he gave Apollo 11’s chances of success as 50/50, attended West Point and flew F-86 Sabres in the U.S. Air Force. Post-NASA, he served as director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum for seven years. He has also written widely, including 1974’s Carrying the Fire, documenting his experiences in the space program.

Podcast: Continental Prime IO-370
Kate O'Connor

Continental Aerospace Technologies' Prime IO-370 certified engine has been seeing increasing use, including being selected by Piper to power its new Pilot 100 and 100i trainers. AVweb caught up with Continental CEO Rhett Ross at Sun 'n Fun 2019 to learn more about it.

Midshipman Wins Collins Writing Award
AVweb Staff

Emma Hutchinson, a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman, has won the inaugural Richard L. Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots, according to Sporty’s Pilot Shop. The company established the award last year under the banner of its Air Facts Journal, an online resurrection of the publication Richard L. Collins’ father, Leighton, launched in 1938.

Midshipman Hutchinson won for an essay called “The Old Man in the Plane,” a tribute to her grandfather who inspired her with his tales of flight. She wrote, “My grandpa told me the sky was his church, the place he felt the presence of a higher being, always present. He guided me to start my own journey in the old plane, this time with a new instructor.” Read the winning article here.

Hutchinson will receive a $2500 award to be presented during Sun ‘n Fun 2019. Hutchinson is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in English and earned her private pilot certificate in 2017. She’s a member of the USNA cycling team, paints and writes daily. Upon her commissioning, Hutchinson wants to fly helicopters for in the U.S. Marine Corps, a goal of which she says her grandfather, Ronald Hutchinson, would be proud.

Based on the success of this first year’s Writing Prize, plans are underway to continue this award in 2020. Details will be posted at on the Air Facts Journal site later this year.

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