Oxygen On Demand System »

The regs say you need oxygen above 12,000 feet. If you end a flight exhausted, with a headache, your body is telling you it needed oxygen regardless of the altitudes you flew. "Hypoxia is getting in there and doing its job," Robert Jamieson, of Mountain High Equipment and Supply told a news conference at AOPA Expo in San Jose. His company's answer is Full Authority Digital Oxygen Control (FADOC) through a device the size of a deck of cards that accurately meters the precise amount of oxygen aircraft occupants need in a process called "pulse demand." More

DA20 With Aspen Glass »

Diamond Aircraft says it's now offering the least expensive certified aircraft with a class cockpit in the DA20. The company announced at AOPA Expo that it is now offering Aspen Avionics primary flight displays as an option in the DA20 two-place aircraft. The $8,000 option (a few thousand dollars more for the pro model) puts the price of the DA20 up to $184,000, making it the only certified aircraft with purchase price of less than $200,000. In a podcast interview with AVweb , Marketing Director Mark Lee said flight schools have been looking for a glass cockpit trainer but the cost of most flat-panel systems was prohibitive for an entry-level aircraft. More

Avidyne's Entegra Weather Series Closes The Weather Gap »

For the past half decade, as aviation weather datalinked to the cockpit has become standard equipment for U.S. pilots, European pilots could only look on in envy. At AOPA in San Jose this week, Avidyne Corp. announced that weather envy is no more, with the introduction of what it calls its Entegra WX Series. This new product combines four weather-sensor choices -- datalinked weather via Sirius Satellite Radio, narrowcast on-demand datalink through the Iridium low-earth-altitude satellite system, onboard lightning detection with Avidyne's TWX670 system and, last, an onboard weather radar system. Obviously, this is a complex system, requiring two datalink receivers -- the MLX770 receiver handles Iridium data, and the MLB700 does Sirius duty. Currently, display options are Avidyne's latest versions of its popular EX500 and EX5000 MFD products. Eventually, display options may be expanded to include portables and EFBs. More

Epic Comes Home »

After flirting with Canadian and Russian certification for its composite aircraft, Epic Aircraft says it will certify its products in the U.S. CEO Rick Schrameck told a news conference at AOPA Expo on Thursday that it will certify its first aircraft, the turboprop Escape, in Bend, Ore., under the auspices of the Seattle FAA office. He said that problems with the foreign certifications notwithstanding (and aircraft seized in the Georgian conflict and high building costs in Canada), the current economic problems also helped make the decision to certify in the U.S. He said that certification inspectors now have time to do the Escape certification as activity in the market declines. Schrameck said the market decided his choice to certify a turboprop, rather than one of the jets his company is also developing. More

Diamond's Thielert Problems Ease »

Owners of Thielert diesel engine-powered Diamond aircraft have received some welcome relief in the cost of maintaining their aircraft and more is on the way. At a news conference on Thursday at AOPA Expo, Diamond Aircraft CEO Peter Maurer said the insolvency commissioner overseeing the restructuring of the engine maker now realizes that sale of the company depends on its ability to support the product. Therefore, the cost of many maintenance items that skyrocketed under the insolvency process have been reduced, and Thielert has started looking at ways to reduce those costs even more with lifetime extensions on gearbox clutches and other parts that require expensive scheduled replacement. As Diamond's own efforts to alleviate the issues of its customers materialize in the coming year, the cost-effective utility of its diesel-powered DA42 and DA40 aircraft should be improved. More

Cirrus Celebrates 10 Years »

Cirrus Design marked the tenth anniversary of the certification of its SR20, which happened at the 1998 AOPA Expo, with the announcement that the aircraft is getting some SR22-like upgrades. The less powerful entry-level Cirrus has always been less popular since the SR22 was introduced and now accounts for less than 20 percent of sales. But with tough times dominating discussion everywhere, the company has offered the Garmin Perspective panel, with optional enhanced vision, as an option in the SR20 for less than $300,000. Meanwhile, the development of the Vision jet continues unabated, despite market-related layoffs and production cuts for the current aircraft. More

Aviation Off D.C. Radar »

The economy will, of course, dominate the discussions in Washington, D.C., over the next while and that means some pressing issues in the aviation world will have to wait their turn, a panel of D.C. insiders told delegates to AOPA Expo in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday. "I don't think anyone gives a darn about aviation," Steve Alterman, president of the Cargo Airlines Association, told the first general assembly of the organization. He said he doubts, for instance, that FAA reauthorization will be decided within the next year and the much-needed modernization of the air traffic control system is likely to languish. Alterman was on a panel with National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne, former FAA Administrator Jane Garvey and former Department of Transportation Inspector General Ken Mead. Mead had some critical comments about the modernization effort so far. More

Cirrus Adds Enhanced Vision »

Six months after introducing the Perspective avionics package with integrated synthetic vision, Cirrus Design has added the Max Viz 600 infrared enhanced vision system to the package. The new system was announced at AOPA Expo in San Jose. The display is integrated into the 12-inch multi-function display and can be shown at full-screen size or simultaneously with Smart Taxi airport mapping function or the moving map. Meanwhile, the synthetic vision component is running on the PFD, giving the pilot both views to compare. "It really is a stress reliever, especially in night operations," said Cirrus Market and Product Strategy Analyst Matt Bergwall. More

Upset NAFI Members Plan AOPA Meeting »

A dissident group of members of the National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) will hold a meeting on Friday at AOPA Expo in a bid to force "sweeping changes" to the governance of the organization. The group, calling itself Take Back Our National Association of Flight Instructors Committee (TBO NAFI) claims in a news release issued last week that the forced removal of two members of the board, JoAnn and Sandy Hill, focused "long-due attention on the broader governance issues plaguing the NAFI Board." The NAFI board responded with a resolution to undertake "a thorough revision" of the organization's bylaws before its next board meeting. But that isn't good enough, according to the new group. More

Mooney Temporarily Halts Production »

On the day before the start of AOPA Expo 2008 in San Jose, another manufacturer announced production curtailments. Mooney Airplane Company spokesman Dave Franson told AVweb that production is being scaled down to balance the current inventory of unsold airplanes. The company laid off 229 of its existing 320 employees, virtually all of them on the production floor. "These are temporary adjustments and they only affect our manufacturing operations," Franson told San Antonio Business Journal . "So our (other operations) will continue to operate normally and be staffed at the normal level. There will not be any change to existing or potential customers and we will deliver airplanes as scheduled." More