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Volume 26, Number 21b
May 22, 2019
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Dynon Expands SkyView HDX To Bonanzas
Larry Anglisano

Dynon's Certified SkyView HDX retrofit avionics suite started out with an STC for Cessna Skyhawk models, but now the company announced that it's approved via an STC (and PMA) for select models of the Beechcraft Bonanza. This includes the Bonanza P35, S35 and V35/A/B series aircraft.

"The Bonanza community is one of the most passionate and organized out there and they've done a great job of convincing Dynon to bring the Certified line to these aircraft," said Dynon's Michael Schofield of the latest STC.

The SkyView HDX has a starting price of $9000 and the STC is priced at $4000. There are single- and dual-screen options and the suite has synthetic vision, AoA, digital engine monitoring and a fully integrated three-axis autopilot with yaw damper. The system also has built-in mandate-compliant ADS-B Out and is IFR capable when connected with an approved IFR GPS navigator. Backup flight instrumentation comes from Dynon's EFIS-D10A standalone EFIS display.

Bonanza owners can expect a sizable gain in useful load because Dynon says the typical HDX Certified installation is typically 50 to 80 pounds lighter than the instruments and hardware it replaces, including the vacuum system—which can be removed in its entirety as part of the STC.

The system can be installed by qualified and approved A&P/IA mechanics or by Dynon installation centers, and it can be purchased directly from Dynon. For more, visit

Do What's Right (You Can't Go Wrong)
Russ Niles

The temptation was to assume that balladeer Billy Joel was enforcing his star quality when news hit mainstream media that the Piano Man was fighting to keep his ability to land a helicopter at his New York home. It seemed he was yet another spoiled celebrity bothering his neighbors with frivolously obnoxious use of a helicopter on bucolic Center Island in Oyster Bay in New York.

But it turns out that Joel, who commutes to a once-a-month concert he stages at Madison Square Garden in his helicopter, is as much a victim of another obnoxious neighbor as are others in one of the priciest areas of the city.

Using the helicopter cuts his travel time from more than two hours to less than 15 minutes and the noise is brief and is over before midnight. Just down the street, however, is an apparently obnoxious character named Clive Holmes, an investment guy who apparently blasts around the island a couple of times a day in a helicopter equipped with speakers and lights and “makes a heck of a lot of noise.”

As seems to be the impulse these days in helicopter-weary New York, fed-up residents wanted a total ban on helicopters landing on the island but it would appear a more common-sense limit of 15 flights per month will be set.

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if we could all just get along? But pilots and aircraft operators are part of that process and not just those who fly for a living. Every time we flip on the mags we should be aware that not everyone shares our delight.

From the bright lights of the Big Apple to the usually dusty roads of rural South Dakota, the parallels are easy to draw at an aviation level.

Aerial application is a vital service for this breadbasket state and the pouring rain of the last few weeks has made a lot of places a boggy mess that airplanes cannot use. That meant Isaac Wilde, pilot, maintenance man and CEO of Wilde Air Service, had to fly miles away to one of Brookings County’s few airports to reload with the fertilizer his clients need at this time of year, costing them a lot more.

He proposed landing on paved roads adjacent to the fields he was serving and County Commissioners (probably with a nudge from their constituents) saw the wisdom. It will all be done safely with flaggers and insurance in place and as is common with aviation ventures, innovation and flexibility go a long way to solving a problem.

Aviation is seemingly always under attack from somewhere because we are at times necessarily noisy and intrusive. But we also work magic when called and are welcome to help when disaster strikes or people are in peril.

Sometimes we are also unnecessarily noisy and intrusive and we can all help buff up GA’s image with some courtesy that we would expect from others if it were jet skis, loud music or garish lighting that was bugging us.

So, as we enjoy the summer flying season, resist the temptation to buzz the beach or do a dozen touch-and-goes at daybreak.

With apologies to Billy Joel, you may have the right but you may be wrong.

First Quarter Aircraft Deliveries Up: GAMA
Marc Cook

It’s a mixed bag as the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) disclosed its first quarter 2019 aircraft shipment and billings report. Fixed-wing aircraft saw a boost over the same quarter from last year while rotorcraft were down.

“While our rotorcraft segment experienced some headwinds, our airplane segment remains strong,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “Statements by our member companies point to solid order intakes during the first quarter, laying down a positive marker for later in 2019.”

A surprise to those industry watchers expecting turbines to lead the way, fixed-wing piston aircraft saw an impressive 24% bump, with 248 deliveries in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 200 this time last year. Turboprops accounted for 123 deliveries, a 7% increase from last year. Bizjets were up 6.8% with 141 shipments. Overall the fixed-wing segment saw 14.5% more deliveries in 1Q19 than last year, accounting for billings of $4.24 billion, a 10.5% increase.

Rotorcraft were down, as mentioned; piston-powered craft accounted for 66 deliveries, down 14.3%, and turbines accounting for 170 deliveries, a drop of 22.4%.

Cirrus delivered 80 aircraft in the first quarter, 34 of those SR22Ts. Piper delivered 58 aircraft total, including 35 Archers. Tecnam delivered 51. Cessna delivered 35 piston singles, mostly the 172. Diamond delivered 31 aircraft, led by the DA40 (17), while Icon delivered 14 A5s. Mooney delivered two Acclaim Ultras.

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Honda Expands Jet HQ, To Increase Production Rate
Marc Cook

Honda Aircraft will break ground on a new 82,000-square-foot facility in Greensboro, North Carolina, this July that could lead to a production increase of 25%. Honda currently builds four HondaJet Elites a month, but additional capacity will allow this boost when the facility opens next summer.

Honda says the $15.5-million investment will add to its 133-acre facility in Greensboro and form the basis for a new wing production facility that will allow more wing sets to be produced concurrently. In addition, Honda says the new facility offer more storage for service parts.

“As the HondaJet’s popularity and presence continues to increase around the world, it is necessary for our facility to meet our production and service needs while operating at the highest level of efficiency,” said Michimasa Fujino, president and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. “We are proud that Honda Aircraft Company is expanding its footprint in North Carolina and in the aviation industry.”

Honda delivered 37 aircraft in 2018 after sending 43 out into the world during 2017, a reduction attributed in part to the government shutdown, a switchover to the new longer-range Elite model and other factors.

Bizjets to EBACE on Alternative Fuel
Marc Cook

The European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) kicked off this week with 23 aircraft heading there with some “sustainable alternative jet fuel” or SAJF in their tanks. SAJF is “derived from renewable feedstocks,” which is how it earns the “sustainable” descriptor. SAJF is an important component of the bizjet industry’s desire to reduce its carbon footprint a massive 50% by 2050.

“This week’s record-setting EBACE SAJF Fly-In is a milestone in business aviation’s commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon emissions,” said EBAA Chairman of the Board of Governors Juergen Wiese. “We are proud that Europe’s leading business aviation event, which has always showcased innovation, is proving the viability and value of alternative fuels.” Participants included Air BP, Avfuel, Aviator, Bombardier, Cirrus Aircraft, Daher, Dassault Aviation, Diamond Aircraft, Embraer, Gulfstream, JSSI, NESTE, Textron Aviation and World Fuel Services.

“These flights are intended to demonstrate to everyone in our industry that SAJF is, quite simply, Jet-A in every way: a drop-in fuel that has undergone exhaustive testing and meets all specifications and requirements,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “As an industry, we are extremely proud to have delivered a 40 percent fuel efficiency improvement over the last 40 years through improved aircraft and component designed materials and manufacturing processes. We look forward to building upon these efficiency gains, which directly translate to our industry’s environmental sustainability goals through the growing availability and use of SAJF.”

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Dallas Area Gets Factory-Owned Cirrus Service Center
Marc Cook

Launching by August, the new Cirrus Services facility at the McKinney National Airport (KTKI, 30 miles northeast of downtown Dallas) will by early 2020 morph into an entirely new facility that will include “flight training, maintenance and aircraft management.” The McKinney facility follows the 2016 launch of the lifestyle/sales/training Cirrus Vision Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Cirrus Services continues to transform the way we deliver factory-direct service and support,” said Todd Simmons, president of customer experience at Cirrus Aircraft. “We recognize the importance of developing a world-class, comprehensive owner and operating experience, and our new location in McKinney, Texas, is the latest step in providing factory-direct support to our customers in the south-central area of the United States.”

According to the company, the Dallas metroplex is an ideal location based on the cluster of Cirrus aircraft based in the region. Cirrus also says that “McKinney National Airport offers optimal accessibility in a business-friendly environment.” “Our goal is to expand the premium experience our customers expect from our flagship Vision Center Campus in Knoxville, and we have found that opportunity at McKinney National Airport,” said Ravi Dharnidharka, senior vice president of Cirrus services at Cirrus Aircraft. Some 30 jobs will come with the new facility.

Video: D-Day Squadron's Departure Prep For Normandy
Larry Anglisano

The D-Day Squadron is the American contingent participating in the Daks Over Normandy flyover crossing the English Channel to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019. The epic journey of a fleet of C-47s (military DC-3 aircraft) will honor the soldiers of the War.

Catching A Wave
David Jack Kenny

Odds are you remember this from your first intro flight: Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft was rocked by some little burble in the air. If you’re like most people, you turned to the instructor to ask in alarm, “Did I do that?” Later in training, we learned to view bumpy conditions as a potential checkride ally that might persuade a pilot examiner to interpret the published performance standards a little more flexibly. Still later, even “light” turbulence might have posed an obstacle to sharing your love of flight with friends and family.

The fact that you’re reading this article proves that you’re not one of the casualties whose airplanes were broken up in flight by thunderstorms or slammed into ridgelines by mountain waves. But whether it’s life-threatening, alarming or merely annoying, turbulence remains a concern, not the least because it can’t be seen directly and is one of the less-predictable weather hazards. Some situations give all the warning of an irascible drunk trying to pick a bar fight...but even airliners on the high side of 80 tons have had wing skins wrinkled and passengers’ bones broken by jolts that literally arrived out of clear blue skies.

It’s Out There...Maybe.

In the mid-Atlantic states, the warming temperatures of spring are typically accompanied by an AIRMET for “moderate turbulence”— usually from the surface to eight or ten thousand feet—that seems to stay in constant effect from mid-May until at least Halloween. On most of those days, conditions are actually fine, with nothing worse than mild bumps. Occasionally, though, the air gets genuinely unfriendly. Pilots who want to do any flying during daylight hours during that half of the year quickly learn to seek guidance beyond AIRMET Tango, which after all does cover an area of at least 3000 square miles for a six-hour period.

Useful hints come from multiple sources, including prog charts, topographic relief shadings on sectionals, METARs and TAFs. Closely spaced isobars on the prog chart mean a steep pressure gradient, which in turn generates powerful (and often gusty) winds. Strong winds crossing surface irregularities—even ridges as insignificant as the Appalachians’ thousand-foot-high foothills—mean energetic updrafts and downdrafts with all their accompanying turmoil.

In addition to wind speeds and directions, ceilings and visibility are informative in and of themselves: Sunny weather means thermal updrafts, while great visibility suggests unstable air. (Stable layers collect humidity and particulates that increasingly restrict vision the longer they remain undisturbed.) And forecasts of wind shear are clarion warnings of likely nastiness, at least along the boundary layer between quiet and rapidly moving air.

The clear air turbulence that’s been known to wallop airliners is more of a high-altitude phenomenon tied to disruptions of the jet stream, but it’s been known to poke tendrils down into piston altitudes. And mountain waves can propagate hundreds of miles downstream from the mountains in question (although some of the associated roughness often gets scrubbed off en route).

One visible source of extreme disruptions is thunderstorms, from which a healthy buffer is always recommended. Thunderstorm avoidance is a topic that’s generated many well-deserved articles in its own right. Suffice it to say that any detection system other than the Mk. I, Mod. 1 eyeball is subject to potentially catastrophic error. Radar depicts precipitation, not the turbulence that will eventually create it, so towering cumuli building into incipient thunderstorms don’t usually register. And radar images downloaded from datalink are out of date before they arrive due to associated processing, transmission and broadcast delays that can stretch up to 20 minutes. They’re great for identifying areas to avoid but inadequate for navigating in the vicinity of storms.

Last but in no way least, PIREPs reflect the actual real-time experience of other pilots operating nearby in the reasonably recent past. These can be your very best friend if someone happens to file one along your route near your proposed time of departure. (Our ongoing favorite is the one that included the comment, “Rough as a stucco bathtub.”) Bear in mind, though, that these are reflections of how one pilot perceived conditions in one place (see “Who’re You Calling ‘Moderate’?” below), conditions that can change quickly over both time and space. The superstitious among us feel that the best way to provoke atmospheric instability is to file a PIREP reporting “negative turbulence.”

Two other considerations can come into play. Forecasting inaccuracies run in both directions. An AIRMET for moderate turbulence doesn’t mean you’ll encounter anything significant, but nor does it guarantee you won’t run into something worse. And the wider the area covered by the AIRMET, the more likely it is that some genuinely rough air will be in there somewhere. (An AIRMET for “moderate to severe”—or worse—is an automatic no-go in our book.) And we’ve found our own tolerance for turbulence atrophies when it isn’t exercised regularly. Bounces that were unremarkable when you flew twice a week can trigger a panic reaction if you haven’t been up in three months. Yes, this tends to improve as you get reacclimated, but as with instrument or crosswind landing skills, it’s best to be realistic about where your comfort zone is right now.

I Still Want To Fly This Year

In aviation as in medicine, prevention is generally preferable to treatment. Since we can’t make the air settle down and behave itself, that translates as avoidance: flying early in the morning or after dark to evade thermal instability, taking the long way around rather than trying to skirt thunderstorms or cross the most rugged line of mountains, and leaving enough time to make alternate arrangements to complete trips that can’t be rescheduled.

Still, the only absolutely sure way to avoid unsettled air is to stay on the ground. Even careful planning and conservative weather judgments don’t guarantee that you’ll never find yourself up in conditions that make you (or your passengers) wish you’d stayed on the ground. Returning in one piece starts with maintaining the calm and focus essential to handling any in-flight emergency.

Getting Out Alive

In a serious turbulence encounter, the most urgent priority is to avoid overstressing the airframe, or at least minimize the extent of the damage. (A Florida flight instructor and his student landed without injury after a thunderstorm encounter on an instrument flight sheared the hinge pins off one door, blew out a passenger-side window and bent the right horizontal stabilizer 30 degrees.) This means minimizing aerodynamic loads, which starts with slowing down—preferably before that first jolt, but if not, as soon as possible afterward. It’s not consistently published for light aircraft, but there is a turbulent air penetration speed—defined as the maximum speed at which gusts won’t cause structural overloads—that’s as much as 20 knots below maneuvering speed. Like VA, it also decreases with aircraft weight; two knots per 100 pounds is a reasonable rule of thumb.

While you’ll want to exit those conditions as expeditiously as possible, remember that gusts momentarily increase your effective airspeed and the corresponding loads. That argues for finding the lowest speed at which the craft can stay aloft. We wouldn’t worry too much about any momentary stalls—the next blast of air will get the wing flying again. Lowering the gear helps to both slow and stabilize retractable-gear airplanes. However, extending flaps is a no-no, since doing so can drastically increase loading and reduce or eliminate the protections offered by flying more slowly.

Even shallow banks impose additional G-loading, so conventional wisdom is to refrain from turning and plow straight on ahead—unless, of course, there’s a chance to turn around before things get too bad. (The Florida instructor attempted a 180 and lost 2000 feet immediately; their Cessna 172 entered the first cell at 8000 feet and escaped the last one at 500.) Fighting the controls also imposes additional loads, so the best practice is generally to forget about maintaining altitude and heading and just try to keep the wings level as best you can. Request a block altitude if you’re IFR, and don’t hesitate to reply “Unable!” as needed—or to declare an emergency.

Calculations change as you get closer to the ground and collision becomes a greater threat. It doesn’t take much contact between a wingtip or tail surface and solid ground to send an airplane cartwheeling. If at all possible, line up a straight-in approach against the wind and come in a little high. If you have to fly the pattern, it’s probably not the time to show how tightly you can space the downwind; give yourself plenty of room to make broad, gentle turns. And if the aircraft’s been damaged to the point that it’s become difficult to control, a precautionary landing off-field may be the best option if you pass any place sufficiently wide and smooth. At that point, all you know is that the airframe’s no longer sound. You don’t know how badly it’s broken or how much longer its pieces will stay together.

With care and just a bit of luck, it’s possible to enjoy a long flying career without ever so much as wrinkling a skin, never mind snapping a spar. But unexpected things do happen, and the first step in escaping is understanding how to avoid making things worse. A prompt reduction in airspeed while avoiding unnecessary maneuvers can be the difference between a hair-raising hangar story and a full-scale NTSB investigation.

Who’re You Calling “Moderate?”

Paragraph 7-1-23 of the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Manual defines the four official levels of turbulence—in terms that are easier to interpret on the sofa than in the cockpit. As a public service, we’ve translated them into Aviator English:

  • Light: This isn’t so bad, even if Mom does look a little green.
  • Moderate: It’s no fun at all; wrestling the aircraft to keep it right-side up.
  • Severe: Even atheists start praying to get down in one piece. It’s how a ping-pong ball feels during a championship match.
  • Extreme: Here, the official definition works: “...the aircraft is violently tossed about and is practically impossible to control; it may cause structural damage.”
  • There’s also a fifth possibility, “Negative”—the air is buttery smooth.

Worth bearing in mind is that these are subjective impressions on the parts of individual pilots uncorrected for differences in aircraft weight, wing loading and airman experience. A solo student might report “moderate” turbulence in air that his uncle the freight dog considers smooth—while a report of “moderate” turbulence from the flight deck of a Boeing 757 climbing out of Charlotte is a clear indication that it’s not the best day to go up in a Cessna 152.

Avoidance May Be The Best Policy

Much of the time, we probably don’t have a lot of choice about where we fly, especially if it’s a short hop. But we often can choose when and, if it’s a long-distance flight, we can change our routing to avoid or minimize the impact turbulence might impose. While in-flight conditions are very much “what you see is what you get,” preflight tools like the ones highlighted here can help us make informed decisions on how we get to our destination.

At top right, the wind contours and barbs forecast where the highest velocity winds will be. Keep in mind the terrain these winds are flowing over. Bottom right, the graphic turbulence guidance, or GTG, provides four-dimensional forecasts of the expected intensity of clear-air turbulence, mountain waves and turbulence generated by terrain and/or thermal sources. The Pireps plot below tells us where turbulence has been reported.

Five Tips For Flying Turbulence

How a pilot properly responds to turbulence depends on the type of bumps being experienced: Dealing with widespread turbulence from summertime thermal activity will be different than coping with mountain waves. Some kinds you may have to live with for a while. If so, consider these checklist items:

  • Secure the cabin, including PEDs, pets and people. Not only may dislodged objects injure you, but you don’t want to damage the EFB; you might need it shortly. Tighten your belts.
  • Slow. Down. Early. If you’re about to cross a ridge generating a mountain wave or penetrate a building cumulonimbus cloud, don’t wait for the first bumps to decelerate below VA.
  • Don’t worry about altitude. Keep the wings level and accept altitude excursions by maintaining an airspeed below your weight-adjusted VA. Use power and landing gear as necessary; stow the flaps.
  • Consider a 180. If the turbulence is localized, going back the way you came may be the shortest, quickest and safest way out. Banking increases G-loading, so no steeper than standard rate, please.
  • Phone home: As your workload allows, give ATC or Flight Service a PIREP on what you experienced and your position relative to a known fix, the altitude, aircraft type and your intensity estimate.

David Jack Kenny guesses he’s probably not alone in liking smooth air more than it seems to like him. He’s a fixed-wing ATP with commercial privileges for helicopters.

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

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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. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause on 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

February 6, 2019, Aurora, Ore.

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage

The airplane collided with terrain at about 1530 Pacific time while on short-final approach. The private pilot and flight instructor were seriously injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The purpose of the flight was to practice commercial pilot maneuvers. On returning to the airport, the flight instructor and the pilot briefed a practice power-off 180-degree landing as they entered the traffic pattern. When the airplane was abeam the 1000-foot runway markings, the pilot reduced power to idle and started a left turn toward the runway. He stated that he realized the airplane was probably not going to make the runway; he last recalls the airplane turning sharply to the left, as he was pulling on the control yoke, and adding right rudder input.

February 8, 2019, Atlantic Ocean

Convair C131B Samaritan

At 1216 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it was ditched in the Atlantic Ocean about 32 miles east of Miami, Fla. The captain was fatally injured; the first officer was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the international Part 135 cargo flight, which departed Nassau, The Bahamas, at 1113.

Earlier in the day, the crew had flown the airplane to Nassau. During that flight, the left engine’s propeller stuck at 2400 rpm, although the flight was completed. At the start of the accident flight, the crew assessed the earlier problem with the electric prop controls to be resolved. Climbing through 4000 feet, however, the left propeller once again stuck at 2400 rpm. The captain took control and tried to stabilize the power on both engines, leveling off at 4500 feet MSL. The remainder of the flight was normal until they began a descent—the right engine suddenly backfired and began to surge. The crew feathered the right propeller and shut down the engine. No more than two minutes later, the left engine backfired and began to surge. Soon, they were forced to ditch.

February 8, 2019, Vero Beach, Fla.

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior/Cadet

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a utility pole and trees during a forced landing at 1706 Eastern time. The solo private pilot was uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While practicing touch-and-go landings, the pilot noted engine roughness on final approach and advised ATC he would be making an emergency landing. He retracted flaps and lost total engine power at about 500 to 600 feet AGL. Unable to reach the runway, he executed a forced landing on a nearby gravel road. During the landing, the airplane impacted a utility pole, trees and shrubs. The right fuel tank was impact-damaged and leaking while the left fuel tank was full.

February 8, 2019, Diablo, Calif.

Mooney M20F Executive 21

At about 2010 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain. The solo student pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for takeoff, with a planned destination of Lincoln, Calif.

An FAA Alert Notification was issued for the missing airplane after a family member reported it overdue. The wreckage was located the next day by hikers about 1000 feet below and �-mile southwest of a mountain summit of 3849 feet. Preliminary radar data indicate the airplane departed and made a climbing left turn to the northeast. All major components were present at the accident site.

February 10, 2019, Laramie, Wyo.

Lancair IV-P Experimental

The airplane experienced a windscreen failure at about 1600 Mountain time and diverted to a nearby airport where the pilot made an uneventful landing. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was cruising at 15,500 feet MSL and about 235 knots when the pilot heard a loud “bang” as the windscreen suddenly blew out of the airframe. The pilot slowed and lowered the landing gear to stabilize the airplane. He diverted and made an uneventful landing.

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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Brainteasers Quiz #255: The Wind Is Your Friend

Even when tilting at windmilling propellers, pilots must understand the many ways seemingly innocuous air moves and scoffs at the best laid flight plans of those who wish to ace this quiz.

Click here to take the quiz.

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