Pilot Briefing

May 1, 1995

Bankruptcy ending this time?
Teledyne joins Philadelphia investors in Piper bid

Yet another new deal has been inked for the sale of Piper Aircraft Corporation. The latest one, for $95 million, comes from a group — to be called Newco Pac, Inc. — that includes Teledyne Industries, the Philadelphia investment firm of Dimeling, Schrieber & Park, and the Piper creditors.

This newest reorganization plan, which could end a four-year bankruptcy, was to be the subject of April and May hearings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Miami.

Ownership would be split, with 50 percent going to Dimeling, Schrieber & Park, 25 percent to Teledyne, owner of Teledyne Continental Motors, and 25 percent to the Piper creditors. The $95 million comprises $30 million in cash, $20 million in notes to creditors, $13.5 million in stock value, $6.5 million in trust expenses, and $25 million in assumed liabilities, including the pension fund and a Small Business Administration loan.

Initially, creditors were to be paid 35 cents on the dollar subject to approval of the court at an April hearing.

Observers of this latest deal remain skeptical that the bankruptcy is finally over. In previous failed offers, Dimeling, Schrieber & Park made a bid for Piper alone, and Teledyne was teamed with Kaiser Aerospace & Electronics. Kaiser is now suing Teledyne for reneging on that deal. A provision in this latest offer provides that Dimeling, Schrieber & Park will become lead purchaser, in the event Teledyne gets tied up in court with Kaiser. Teledyne would drop out of the latest offer.

Also, Piper in the past has offered creditors stock in lieu of cash (see "Pilot Briefing," September 1994 Pilot). That deal came unglued when Teledyne, whose Continental Motors division is Piper's largest creditor, broke ranks with the Official Committee for the Unsecured Creditors of Piper to team with Kaiser. Other suitors include Joe Garrihy, a former consultant to previous Piper owner M. Stuart Millar, who owned Piper through parent company Romeo Charlie.

When Romeo Charlie common stock was sold to present Piper board chairman Stone Douglass in 1992, the deal included an option for Garrihy to buy back 50 percent of the stock. He exercised that option recently. Millar retained $2.5 million worth of preferred, non-voting stock, but sold stock proxy votes to Garrihy. (The law allows preferred, non-voting stock to revert to voting stock upon the failure of the firm to pay dividends.)

That meant that Douglass was no longer sole owner of Romeo Charlie: So, he stepped down as CEO in February. Piper President and Chief Operating Officer Charles Suma then added the CEO title. Garrihy, in the meantime, has already tried to install himself and another Romeo Charlie director on the Piper board, a move that was blocked in bankruptcy court by attorneys for Suma and the creditors. He was ordered not to participate in Piper operation for 90 days. Suma and Piper attorney E. Glenn Parr have told bankruptcy court Judge Robert A. Mark they will resign if Garrihy gets control of the company. Mark banned Garrihy from exercising any control until May 4.

Over the years, federal bankruptcy court Judge Robert A. Mark has granted 15 extensions of a 120-day period allowing Piper to file a reorganization plan without competition from others, but that ban may end in early May. Some have speculated that Millar might one day return to the Piper helm if Garrihy is successful. Reached at his new Santa Barbara firm, Delta Tango, Millar said he wishes the new owners well and "will not be returning to Piper." He said he has not been involved in the efforts by Garrihy. It could also open a new bidding free-for-all.

Emergency Ad grounds Lycoming-Powered aircrafts

An emergency airworthiness directive was issued on March 17 by the FAA concerning the potential failure of connecting rod bolts in approximately 6,000 Lycoming 360-, 540-, 541-, and 720-series engines.

The AD requires the inspection of many variants of the above engines that were overhauled or assembled by anyone other than Lycoming, after February 15, 1994, to determine if the installed connecting rod bolts are from a batch of about 2,500 potentially defective bolts that were sent out by Superior Air Parts of Dallas and possibly other distributors. Of the 6,000 suspected engines, only 300 are estimated to actually contain the inferior bolts.

"We know who we sold these bolts to and have notified our customers," said David Sisson, president of Superior.

On December 15, 1994, Superior Air Parts notified the FAA of a potential problem after a Cessna Cardinal made a forced landing following an engine failure attributed to the failure of several connecting rod bolts. On February 21, another bolt failure was reported during maintenance on a Piper Aerostar. The next day, Superior again warned the FAA of the discovery. The bolts failed in no particular pattern. After testing, it was determined that the bolts, among other problems, were made by machining bar stock material and were not heat treated. The bolts were received by Superior in fake Lycoming packaging from a distributor in Germany and are speculated to be surplus from the German Air Force.

Cost of inspecting each of the 6,000 engines has been estimated by the FAA at $1,500. For those engines found to have the faulty bolts installed, the estimate rises to $5,000 per engine for replacement of the bolts. On March 3, Superior sent a vendor service bulletin to the owners of aircraft that were known to have the bolts. The VSB contains labor and parts allowances to reimburse their customers for the inspection.

The bogus bolts are identified as having no markings on the heads. Any bolt with no marking should be suspected as an unapproved part. Approved parts will have raised letters or part numbers etched or forged into the head. Lycoming has stressed that no new, remanufactured, or overhauled engines — or replacement parts shipped from Lycoming — are not affected by the AD.

The Experimental Aircraft Association has voiced its concern about the emergency AD, stating that the "FAA does not notify owners of those airplanes when ADs are issued for parts they might use." The 360-series engines are among the most popular for homebuilt aircraft."

North Dakota passes tough aircraft liability law

North Dakota state officials hope general aviation manufacturers will be attracted to their state by new liability limitations passed by the state legislature. The bill was expected to be signed by Governor Edward T. Schafer in April.

The bill, much tougher than a similar measure passed by the U.S. Congress last year, limits liability to 10 years after manufacture of an aircraft or component. The legislation is aimed at aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds, and carrying fewer than 20 passengers.

The legislation also calls for risk contracts and insurance requirements. Buyer and seller must agree to be bound by North Dakota law, and purchase product liability insurance covering exposure to tort liability in the United States. Buyers must also provide proof of a $100,000 insurance policy for property damage and personal injury or death on the ground.

Most manufacturers are expected to wait until the law has been tested in court before moving to North Dakota. However, it gives the state an important new incentive to attract attention of new aviation manufacturers, state aviation director Gary R. Ness said.

Cessna announces powerplant choices for new singles

Cessna Aircraft Company chairman and CEO Russ Meyer announced, at a March 15 meeting in New York City, the company's choice of engines for their new single-engine product line. Advances will include fuel injection and probably electronic ignition.

When new Cessna 172s start rolling out of the factory, Meyers said they will be equipped with fuel-injected Lycoming IO-360 engines. Though versions of this basic engine are capable of producing up to 210 horsepower in other production aircraft, Cessna said that the -360's redline will be limited to just 2,400 rpm, giving the new Skyhawk engines the same 160 hp rating as the 1986 models, which were the last ones Cessna produced. In those days, though, the powerplant was a carbureted O-320. The limited rpm on the new models will reduce flyover noise levels and potentially increase engine life.

Meyer also announced that new Cessna 182s will be powered by a fuel-injected Lycoming IO-540 rated at 235 hp. The IO-540 is new to the non-turbo 182s, previous models were powered by Continental O-470s.

Cessna's reborn 206 will also lose its Continental powerplant and switch to a Lycoming IO-580, which is basically a bored-out 540 that will produce at least the same amount of power as the Continental it replaces — but at a lower rpm to reduce noise. Why is Cessna exclusively using Lycoming? Cessna's parent company Textron also happens to own Lycoming.

Cirrus SR20 makes first flight

The Cirrus SR20 prototype made its first flight on March 31 from Duluth International Airport. The airplane was designed and built by the Cirrus Design Corporation of Duluth, Minnesota.

Basic flight stability and systems checks were made during the 45- minute flight by Air Force test pilot Maj. Norman E. Howe.

FAR Part 23 certification is expected in 1996, with delivery of the first production aircraft scheduled for late 1996. A second prototype of the SR20 is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The composite, fixed-gear, four-place aircraft is powered by a 200-horsepower Continental IO-360 engine. Cruise speed claims are pegged at 160 knots. Useful load is expected to be 1,160 pounds. Fuel capacity is 60 gallons. The sales price of an IFR-equipped model is projected to be $130,000.

Signature introduces new pricing program

Signature Flight Support introduced its Prime Rate II program on April 3 as an expanded version of the Prime Rate Savings Plan.

Customers will be entitled to a volume discount of 10 cents per gallon beginning at 10,001 gallons — and up to 65 cents per gallon when you buy 800,001-plus gallons in one year.

For those flying aircraft that burn only double digits or less per hour, the new program can be advantageous as well. Signature's Spot Rates would give discounts to those who buy at least half their airplane's fuel capacity. Discounts range from 10 cents per gallon for all piston airplanes on up to 35 cents per gallon for a Gulfstream IV.

The only hitch to the program is that a handling fee (independent of any existing landing or parking fees) will be charged if:

  • you don't fill up to the minimum fuel purchase (half the airplane's capacity, in most cases).
  • you don't purchase fuel under the Spot Rate program.
  • the aircraft does not belong to a customer qualified under the high-volume program.

The handling charges begin at $18 for piston singles and range up to $85 for heavy corporate jets.

New charts nearing publication

The National Ocean Service is expected to release a new Low-Altitude IFR/VFR Planning Chart which will replace the Flight has been out of publication for more than two years because of budget constraints.

The annually revised charts depict the eastern half of the United States on one side and the western half on the other. Two charts will be needed to depict the entire continental U.S. Planning Charts will cost $4.50 and are scheduled to be released on May 25 through AOPA Chart Services (800/4-CHARTS), NOS (301/436-6990) or Sporty's Pilot Shop (800/SPORTYS).

NOS will also begin releasing Helicopter Route Charts printed on a more-durable plastic material in response to complaints that the charts were not durable enough to last the two- to three-year printing cycle. The charts are available for various metropolitan areas.

Factory reman or field overhaul?

Since the issuance of Lycoming Service Bulletin 505A regarding corrosion of crankshafts on 235-, 290-, 320-, and 360-series Lycoming engines, it appears that a factory remanufactured engine from Lycoming may be more cost effective than many field overhauls.

A new crankshaft from Lycoming is priced at $3,800, a charge that is added to a field overhaul bill if your crank fails the inspection required by SB 505A. A factory remanufactured O-235 includes a serviceable crank for $11,700. An O-235 overhaul at Mattituck Airbase in Mattituck, New York, for example, includes a new crank and new cylinders for $13,246.

SFAR for Robinsons

Robinson R22 and R44 helicopter operators were the target of a new Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) to establish special training and experience requirements in response to the high number of fatal accidents involving main rotor-airframe contact.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA have determined pilot performance or inexperience has a direct relationship on the number of accidents involving the helicopters. In response, the SFAR, effective March 27, states "no person may act as pilot in command of an R22 or R44 unless that person has:

  • had at least 200 flight hours in helicopters, at least 50 of which were in the R22 and R44.
  • had at least 10 hours dual instruction in the R22 or R44 and has received an endorsement from a CFI.
  • completed a flight review in an R22 within the preceding 12 calendar months and obtained an endorsement for that flight review."

A Sky Arrow 650TC, manufactured by Iniziative Industriali Italiane of Italy, is nearing certification under Italy's CAA rules, as well as European JAR-VLA rules. It is expected to be certified in the United States as a Primary Category-Sportplane in a few months. The aircraft is powered by either a Rotax 912 or 914, and is constructed of carbon sandwich material. Another model, the Sky Arrow 1450L, is now flying as a demonstrator for Sky Arrow distributor Pacific Aerosystem of San Diego. Deliveries of the Primary Category certified 1450L begin in August.

Raytheon Company President Max E. Bleck will retire May 1. He was president and chief executive officer of Beech Aircraft Corporation from 1987 to 1991. He also served during his career as vice president of Cessna for aircraft operations, and as president and chief executive officer of Piper Aircraft Corporation from 1978 until the mid-1980s.

Bryan Moss has resigned as president of the Bombardier Business Aircraft Division to join Gulfstream Aerospace as vice chairman. Gulfstream also recently hired Joseph Kent Walker from Cessna to become vice president of North American sales, and Gene Rainville from Dassault Falcon Jet to direct international sales.

This Aerospatiale TBM 700 set 10 new records for its powerplant and weight classification during a recent flight around the world. Seven city-to-city records were broken on the 19,315-nautical mile flight, which averaged 244 knots. The max takeoff weight of the airplane was increased from 6,579 to 9,480 pounds. An additional 450 gallons of fuel, coupled with a maximum certified altitude of Flight Level 350, allowed the TBM 17.5 hours of endurance or a 4,500-nm range.

Local pilots and businesses near the Henry Tift Myers Airport in Tifton, Georgia, came together to refurbish the airport's tetrahedron wind direction indicator. Pilots donated more than 350 hours of their time to repair, replace, and upgrade the tetrahedron's wiring and local businesses replaced bearings and repainted it. Why the smiling face? According to Joe Courson, "The first and last thing a person sees at the Tifton airport is a smiling face."

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the FAA have developed a system of foam blocks to arrest aircraft that have overrun the end of runways. Testing of the system was conducted at the FAA Technical Center in Atlantic City and the first installations are to be at New York's John F. Kennedy International and La Guardia airports.

Squawk sheet

At press time, the FAA was planning to release a priority letter airworthiness directive applicable to Continental TSIO-360 engines that have had the check valve on the turbocharger outlet oil line replaced on or after August 1, 1994. Applicable engines are the TSIO-360-E, EB, F, FB, G, GB, KB, LB, and MB, and LTSIO-360-E, EB, and KB. Owners can inspect the valve themselves for a date stamp. The affected valves are stamped either 3/94, 4/94, or 1/95. If the valve is stamped with one of the above dates, it must be replaced prior to further flight. Continental estimates that 220 engines were affected by the AD and that most of the owners have already been contacted. The company has agreed to reimburse the cost of compliance.

Some Beech Model 33, 35, and 36 Bonanzas with Continental IO-470 and -520 series have experienced engine oil loss and subsequent engine failures attributed to the installation of Cessna spin-on oil filter adapters (P/N 1250922). The modification is not approved by either Beech or Teledyne Continental Motors. FAA Advisory Circular 43-16 recommends frequent inspections of the modified adapters for evidence of oil leaks.

A notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) has been issued for an airworthiness directive that will require repetitive inspections of clearances between the oil cooler hose assembly and the front exhaust stacks of Piper PA-28 and PA-32 series aircraft. The NPRM is intended to supersede an AD aimed at only Piper PA-28-140 aircraft. The proposed AD provides the option of installing an approved TSO-C53a Type D hose assembly as a terminating action for the repetitive inspection. The proposed action is prompted by numerous incidents and accidents that occurred following the failure or rupture of oil hoses. Compliance will be required within 100 hours time in service after the effective date of the AD.

Members in the news

Robert A. Lutz, AOPA 1251411, president and chief operating officer of Chrysler Corporation, has purchased and completed training in a 300-knot Aero Vodochody (Czech Republic) L-39C basic and advanced jet trainer. Lutz bought the aircraft, developed for training Warsaw Pact pilots, from International Jets in Gadsden, Alabama, where he was instructed by former Soviet Air Force Maj. Alexander Malarenko. The former Marine Corps jet pilot left flying after the service, but flying never left him. He said the lure of aviation was tolerable "as long as I stayed away from flying." (He has 2,000 total flight hours, with 1,200 of those in single-seat jet fighters.) But when he got interested in helicopters, eventually learning to fly an MD-500E, the memories of his jet pilot days came flooding back. His new acquisition will be hangared in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Tom Landry, AOPA 876447, the former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team, deserves a stadium full of cheers from his fellow pilots. Landry piloted his Cessna T210 to a successful forced landing in Ennis, Texas, in early March. While flying from Dallas to Austin with three family members aboard, Landry reported engine trouble to Fort Worth Center. Landry touched down in a spacious field near Ennis High School. There were no injuries and no damage to the airplane as a result of the forced landing.

Derryn Marchetti, AOPA 1239947, a student pilot in Walpole, Massachusetts, has flown a solo round trip from Frenchville, Maine, to Key West, Florida, in a Piper Warrior. He took his first flying lesson last August. Marchetti said his goal was to demonstrate the safety of general aviation flying. Now that he is back, he is editing hours of videotape into a show to encourage his friends to fly. Scenes include a low approach over the Kennedy Space Center, scenes from a Piper factory tour, and his visit to the First Flight Airport at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Carol Hallett, AOPA 630449, of Alexandria, Virginia, was recently named president of the Air Transport Association. Hallett was commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service during the Bush Administration. Hallett has logged more than 5,000 hours as a general aviation pilot.

Pamela A. Melroy, AOPA 980198, a major in the United States Air Force, was recently selected by NASA as a pilot astronaut. Currently, Melroy is a test pilot for the C-17. She previously flew 25 missions in a KC-10s during Operation Desert Storm. Melroy is a co-owner of a Decathlon and has accumulated 3,500 hours in 46 different types of aircraft. She was recently an honored guest at the National Aviation Club's tenth annual luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Scott Wallace, AOPA 7457548, a helicopter pilot and traffic reporter in Oklahoma City, has been elected secretary/treasurer of the National Broadcast Pilots Association. Wallace, an ATP and CFII in both fixed- and rotor-wing aircraft, was NBPA's 1993 Pilot of the Year.

Tom Ellis, AOPA 689236, was honored by the Commonwealth of Kentucky's House of Representatives for his assistance in the aerial search for a missing man. Ellis employed his Cessna 182 to carry search officials over Webster and Hopkins counties.

Christopher A. Hart, AOPA 536264, of Washington D.C., was recently named assistant administrator for system safety at the FAA. Hart is an aeronautical engineer, pilot, and lawyer who will act as a key adviser to FAA Administrator David R. Hinson on emerging trends in aviation safety.

Roland Moody, AOPA 71116, of Aleknagik, Alaska, was one of the recipients of the FAA's Charles Taylor "Master Mechanic" Award for his 50 years of service in the field of aviation maintenance. Moody flies a Piper Cherokee 180.

Juan Torres, AOPA 1233741, of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, earned his private pilot certificate at age 71. He owns a Cessna 172 and has built two Rotorway Exec 90 helicopters.

Lifeline Pilots of Chicago reported a 21 percent increase in missions flown in 1994. According to Lifeline, 139 pilot/members, flying everything from Cessna singles to Beech King Airs, transported 361 ambulatory patients and passengers at no charge from their home towns to distant medical centers. Pilots with more than 200 hours who are interested in learning more about flying Lifeline missions should write Post Office Box 3862, St. Louis, Missouri 63122.

Maine Instrument Flight, located at the Augusta State Airport, recently received FAA Part 141 and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approval for seaplane training. MIF's seaplane program consists of 15 hours of dual flight in a Lake amphibian at a cost of $125 per hour and 11 hours of ground instruction at $20 per hour. For more information call MIF at 207/622-1211.

Sporty's Academy has introduced flight training syllabi for use as a supplement to the Recreational Pilot, Private Pilot, and Instrument Rating video courses. The syllabi can be obtained individually or will be included at no charge with the purchase of the respective video course. For more information call Sporty's 800/SPORTYS.

P-51 painting

Michael Short's "The Eyes of Eagles," a tribute to the 363rd Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, is a signed and numbered print containing the original signatures of four of the group's aces: Col. Bud Anderson, Capt. Bill O'Brien, Capt. Bill Overstreet, and Gen. Chuck Yeager. The print is available for $175 from Tangmere Aviation Art, Post Office Box 460771, San Antonio, Texas 78246; 800/349-8130.

Air Adventure Weekend packages are being offered by the EAA Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The weekend includes flights in four vintage aircraft, including a Bell 47 helicopter and a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor transport. For information call 414/426-4886. Meanwhile, an aviation television show titled Ultimate Flight: EAA's Monthly Aviation Magazine begins airing once a month this summer on ESPN2. No dates have been announced. The show will be part of ESPN2's weekend sports programming. In other EAA news, two extended performances by the EAA Warbirds of America will be presented July 29 and 30 at this year's Fly-In at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the conclusion of World War II.

Pan Am Systems of Minneapolis now offers add-on equipment for Automated Weather Observation Systems (AWOS) that will report lightning activity to pilots. Airports will pay a $2,000 fixed fee and $75 a month to add the capability to existing AWOS units. Virginia aviation official James L. Bland said he hopes to add lightning reporting to 20 automated weather systems throughout the state. He anticipates the total cost to be $100,000, but added that no state program has been funded as yet. He said the new reporting system will give pilots an idea of whether lightning is on, near, or within 30 miles of the airport. For information, call 612/727-1084.

An Air Race of the Americas is planned for mid-April 1996 by Arc En Ciel, the French sport racing organization. Entrants will race from New York south around the southern coastline of South America, then return along the west coast of South America and Mexico to Las Vegas before returning to New York. The group sponsored around-the-world races in 1992 and 1994. The race is open to single- and twin-engine piston aircraft, turboprops, and jets. For information call Marc Mosier at 703/967-1720, or write: Bernard Lamy, Race Director, 4 rue des Erables, 78150 Rocquencourt, France.

Construction of a new 25,000-square-foot production facility is planned at Sebring Regional Airport, Florida, for Lockwood Aircraft's Air Cam twin- engine experimental airplane. The Air Cam was recently refined for production. The aircraft will be sold as a kit and is expected to cost $29,500, including engines. For information, call Lockwood Aircraft at 813/655-4242.

Six Pacific Rim telecommunications companies have formed the Skyways Alliance to provide voice and data satellite services to general aviation and airline customers. Services will be provided through Inmarsat satellites, using ground stations operated by the telecommunications companies. Companies include Comsat from the United States, Indosat of Indonesia, KDD of Japan, Korea Telecom, Philippine Long Telephone Distance Company, Telecom Italia, and Telekom Malaysia. Taiwan is expected to join soon.

The Fairfax County, Virginia, County Police Department Helicopter Division has won the 1994 Helicopter Association International/McDonnell Douglas Law Enforcement Award for outstanding service. The unit performed hundreds of medical transports and numerous trackings of criminal suspects by helicopter facilitating the criminals arrests.

The Hartzell Service Center in Piqua, Ohio, now offers an STC for use of a three-blade propeller on the Cessna A185. The propeller is claimed to reduce cabin and flyover noise, and comes with an extended 2,000-hour TBO. For information, call 800/942-7767.

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty is sponsoring a cross-country race October 16 for single-engine aircraft ranging from ultralights to those with 160- horsepower engines. Called the Copperstate Dash, the race is from California's Apple Valley Airport to Williams Gateway Airport southeast of Phoenix, a distance of 286 nautical miles. For information, call 714/870- 7551.

The Planes of Fame Air Museum at Chino, California, plans to open a satellite museum at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, Arizona, in April. Catering to Grand Canyon tourist traffic, the museum will initially show 14 aircraft from the World War I, II, and Korean War eras. For information, call 909/597-3722.

A Messerschmidt 109, workhorse of the German air force in World War II, has gone on display at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum at Addison Airport north of Dallas. The museum says there are 50 ME109s left around the world out of 33,000 built. This particular one has been in the movie Memphis Belle and the British television series shown on public television in the U.S., A Piece of Cake. It will also appear this fall in an HBO movie, Red Tails, about the Tuskeegee Airmen, a P-51 fighter group. The museum also has on display a McDonnell-Douglas F-4 Phantom that shot down a MiG- 21 in Vietnam. Contact the museum at 214/380-8800.

Jett Aire — Daytona, a new FBO on the east side of Daytona Beach International Airport, Florida, opened in February. The FBO is operating out of a temporary facility until a new executive center is ready in October. Jett Aire headquartered in Sanford, Florida, is also building a new general aviation executive center at Sanford's Central Florida Regional Airport. Call Jette Aire on 122.95 at either location, or phone 800/392-2473.

Team Aircraft of Bradyville, Tennessee, has completed a new design called Air Bike, intended to operate under FAR Part 103 (ultralight vehicle). In addition, the firm has dropped prices of plans for its Minimax aircraft.

Flightstar of Ellington, Connecticut, now offers the Flightstar 2SL, featuring a folding wing system, for $12,750. The aircraft has an open cockpit, while the Flightstar 2 features a full enclosure and doors. It is powered by a 48-horsepower Rotax 503 engine. The company claims a build time of 100 hours for the 2SL. For information, call 203/857-8185.

Retired Vice Admiral Donald Engen, former head of the FAA and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation, has been named by the National Air and Space Museum to the Dewitt C. Ramsey Chair for Naval Aviation History. The appointment will include the preparation of a book on the development of naval aviation from World War II through the 1980s.

Hewlett-Packard Company has ordered two Astra SPX business jets, introduced last October, and taken an option on two Astra Galaxy jets now under development. Deliveries of the Galaxy, which can carry up to 19 passengers, will begin in 1997.

The Collier Trophy has been awarded by the National Aeronautic Association to the U.S. Air Force, McDonnell Douglas, and its contractors for design and development of the C-17 Globemaster III transport. The C-17 is approximately the same external size as the C-141B, but carries twice the payload.

Women working in aviation will be included in a project by historian Carol L. Osborne. She is producing a CD-ROM disc, a sort of who's who, titled "Women in Aviation." Those working in aviation in any capacity and interested in obtaining information should write Osborne at: 2464 El Camino Real, #99, Santa Clara, California 95051.

It's snowing, turn the runway on

Superior Graphite of Chicago has developed a synthetic graphite material for runways that conducts electric current, thus generating heat and melting snow. The system was tested last winter on a Chicago O'Hare International Airport taxiway.

"When turned on prior to a snowfall, it prevents ice and snow from accumulating and bonding," said Wayne Marsey, an investigator for the FAA.

The electric bill for heating a 10,000-foot runway during a typical 2.5-inch snowfall would cost up to $3,000 per hour, Superior Graphite officials said. Costs would be offset by a reduction in the amount of deicing materials used by the airport to clear the runways, Superior Graphite project manager Alan Tomlinson said. The system, given a two-hour head start, will bring the runway to just above 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Simcom International, which offers simulator-based flight training in twin-engine and turboprop aircraft in Orlando, Florida, plans to open a second center in Scottsdale, Arizona, November 6. Initially, the Scottsdale center will offer training for pilots of Cessna 300/400 models and King Air 90/100/200 series aircraft.

Green Tree, a St. Paul, Minnesota, firm previously specializing in mobile homes, trucks, and home improvements, has entered the aircraft financing arena. The firm provides loans from $5,000 to $10 million for everything from kitplanes to private jets.

Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft celebrated its fifteenth anniversary recently. In that time the Arlington, Washington, firm has shipped 1,400 Glasair kits, and begins shipping GlaStar kits this spring. GlaStar videos are now available for $15 from: Stoddard-Hamilton Aircraft, 18701 58th Avenue N.E., Arlington, Washington 98223.