Training Apps For Mobile Devices »

MS Aviation, of San Jose, Calif., announced the release of a family of mobile applications designed for the student pilot and his or her CFI at Sun 'n Fun 2010. A CFI can grade a student during flight creating content for the student to study at the conclusion of the lesson. The information can also be shared anonymously with students and instructors worldwide and that data can be used to spot trends or common deficiencies in training. "For the first time in flight training we have a way to see how students are doing on a national basis," said CEO Mike Shiflett in a podcast interview with AVweb . More

Inexpensive Instrumentation »

Belite Electronics has introduced the Patch Flyer line of solid state flight instrumentation that sells for less than $1000. These easy-to-install instruments are offered individually or in full-panel configuration. Full-panel configuration includes volt meter, engine EGT and CHT, fuel quantity, an above ground level altimeter, turn rate indicator, inclinometer, G meter, and airspeed indicator with pitot input. The EGT and CHT instruments use 24 LED columns for each parameter, are color coded to warn of excessive temperatures and can be connected to common temperature probes. While designed for non-precision "low and slow" applications, the company says the flight instruments can be more accurate than traditional steam gauge instruments and are easier to use. For instance, setting the local altimeter is as easy as pressing a single button that establishes ground reference. More

LSA Sector Reports Sales »

"I think by the end of this show we're going to have 20 to 30 LSA sales," Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun on Saturday. "That's huge ." At the Sebring Light Sport Expo earlier this year, which usually attracts a lot of serious buyers, most sales failed to materialize, Johnson said. "There was a lot of interest, but not a lot of buying. It's been tough out there. But at this show, it seems those fears about the economy have given way to some level of confidence." Nick Otterback, of Lightning Aircraft , said he had just sold another airplane, when AVweb caught up with him on the field Saturday afternoon. "That's three kits and one S-LSA so far." More

A New Online Resource For Air Campers »

If exploring the U.S. in your airplane and camping out under the wing is your idea of a grand adventure, then a new group called the American Air Campers Association is eager to provide you with all the resources you need. They are building a website with a directory of aviation-accessible campsites, along with an online gear store where you can rent or buy equipment for your trek. The group also plans to lobby for continuing access to airports and improved facilities, Don Abbott, founder of the for-profit group, said at Sun 'n Fun this week. "We think adding camping facilities is a great way for airports to attract more traffic," Abbott said. "We want to promote, preserve and protect the combined freedoms of camping and flying in America. And we want to get young people out to fly with us, to hike and laugh and tell stories by the campfire with us, and get away from their video screens." More

Lindbergh Prize Promotes Alternative Aviation »

Erik Lindbergh came to Sun 'n Fun this week to promote his latest project, the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize . He told AVweb he hopes the prize will help boost efforts to create technology that will enable pilots to fly more safely and cheaply, while using renewable and sustainable resources. The prize will be awarded for the first time this year, at AirVenture Oshkosh. "We don't want a $4 million prototype," he said. "We want something that's going to make electric flight more accessible to the average pilot." Lindbergh said there is a lot of disagreement among experts in the field about the problems and potential for the technology, but some of his advisors think it would be possible to power an aircraft like a Cessna 172 with an electric motor within seven years. "That's the kind of progress we'd like to see," Lindbergh said. You can hear more about Lindbergh's ideas and the challenges and potential of alternative technologies in AVweb 's podcast feature . More

Mooney Production On The Horizon »

It's been 18 months since Mooney Airplane Company built its last airplane but the iconic planemaker is considering a comeback. In a podcast interview with AVweb at Sun 'n Fun 2010, spokeswoman Susan Harrison said the company and all its dealers have sold through their backlog inventory and she hopes it won't be long before the line in Kerrville is moving with Ovations and Acclaims. "We're just waiting for the market to gain a little more momentum," she said. Harrison said they're anticipating new financing in the coming months but there is no specific target for a resumption in production. Meanwhile, the 60 employees who still work in Kerrville are making sure existing Mooney owners have the support they need. More

FAA Administrator Babbitt Takes In Sun 'n Fun »

Randy Babbitt spent four days at Sun 'n Fun this week, a first for an FAA administrator. Babbitt also is the first FAA administrator who has worked as a general aviation flight instructor, and he spent many years flying for the airlines. Those facts earned him a warm welcome at the show, though he still had to field the hard questions from the audience at the public forum on Friday afternoon. Babbitt and his staff addressed questions about through-the-fence operations, medical issues, and airport-community relations. Babbitt said the through-the-fence issue is "complicated," and a staffer added that they are working to release a proposal to address the problem before summer. James Fraser, deputy federal air surgeon, responded to a question about the sport pilot rule that disqualifies pilots who have been denied a medical. Denied pilots can request a review to see if they can qualify for a special issuance, Fraser said. If they get it, then they can choose to let it expire and fly under sport pilot rules, if they want to. More

Paris Jets Debut At Sun 'n Fun Airshow »

MS760 Corp is introducing their two-ship aerobatic show this week at Sun 'n Fun, with two ex-fighter pilots flying the vintage Paris Jet. The team of Dale "Snort" Snodgrass and Jerry "Jive" Kerby are putting two of the sleek Paris Jets through their paces, to show off their capabilities and promote the product. The two jets are sporting gleaming fresh black-and-white paint jobs, and both have recently been refurbished and upgraded by the new company. The interiors are roomy and plush, with seats for four in a retro interior reminiscent of a '50s family sedan. The MS760 Corp, based in Calhoun, Ga., recently acquired the type certificate for the aircraft and they're offering them as personal or corporate jets for transportation and for fun. AVweb caught up with Snort on the ramp on Friday; click here for the video . More

AOPA Promotes Engagement At Sun 'n Fun »

The future of general aviation rests in the hands of today's pilots, AOPA President Craig Fuller said at Sun 'n Fun on Thursday evening, as he kicked off the event's annual AOPA Day, which will be held all day Friday. "At AOPA we are busy doing more than ever before to keep flying strong," Fuller said. "And everywhere I go I meet people who want to help, but they don't know how." Fuller is on a campaign to get grass-roots aviators fully engaged in meeting the challenges ahead. "Being more engaged can be as simple as staying informed about the issues that affect your flying and as involved as hosting a major public event," he said. "But in between are almost infinite opportunities." AVweb spoke with Fuller about some of those opportunities, as well as the challenges facing GA; click here for the podcast . More

Flight Services Here To Stay? »

Although calls to Automated Flight Service Stations are decreasing steadily, the service they provide remains valuable, says Jim Derr, the program director of Lockheed Martin Flight Services. In a podcast interview with AVweb at Sun 'n Fun 2010, Derr said that despite the huge shift in communications, weather and avionics technology over the last decade, there are still times when that "personal touch" from a live briefer is invaluable. Although most if not all information a pilot needs is available online or through the panel, sometimes pilots don't get all the data they need for a flight. Briefers often notice those gaps and fill them, he said. More