Pilot Briefing

April 1, 1997

Spartan, Diamond trade lawsuits

Spartan School of Aeronautics and Diamond Aircraft are trading lawsuits in federal court over the return of Spartan's leased fleet of 40 Katana DA20 aircraft.

Spartan sued Diamond on November 1 when an agreement to return the aircraft fell apart. Diamond Aircraft then filed a suit in Denver's U.S. District Court seeking more than $100,000 in back rent on the fleet (see " Pilot Briefing," January Pilot).

The Diamond complaint further alleges that Spartan President Terry Harrison and Spartan official Douglas Yost have made "false statements" which were "derogatory" to Diamond and the Katana DA20 to newspapers and television reporters in Tulsa, where Spartan is based.

Information on incidents occurring at Spartan since 1991 indicates that Katana accidents were in the minority at the school. Spartan announced the move to an all-Cessna fleet and the return of the leased Katana fleet to Diamond, following two Katana incidents 8 days apart last August, in which the right main gear on both aircraft collapsed during hard landings. There were no injuries.

From 1991 to 1996 there were nine accidents at Spartan, involving Cessna trainers and a Piper trainer. Three of those nine accidents resulted from apparent pilot error, fuel starvation, taxiing into parked aircraft, and a hard landing. Three people died in December 1995 when a Cessna 172RG crashed.

Diamond's statistics indicate that Spartan accounted for 60 percent of all Katana flight-related accidents, but Spartan flew only 8.5 percent of all Katana fleet hours. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada indicates that there are 11 to 12 accidents per 100,000 flying hours for aircraft of all types operating in Canada. Diamond says that the Katana accident rate per 100,000 flying hours is 5.15 when Spartan accidents are included, but only 2.32 accidents per 100,000 hours when Spartan statistics are excluded.

A lawyer for Spartan declined to comment on the statistics.

Coming up at Sun 'n Fun

Mooney Encore to debut in Lakeland

Mooney has revived the 252, equipped it with a 220-horsepower Continental TSIO-360-SB, increased the useful load by 200 pounds, and dubbed it the Mooney Encore M20K. It is shown above on an early February flight and will be unveiled at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. It has completed 10 flights and has reached flight level 250 since this engineering photo was taken. The turbocharged four-seater is supposed to deliver more than 210 knots at FL 200 feet while burning only 13 gallons per hour. The cost for all that speed, plus an AlliedSignal Bendix/King IFR package, dual alternators, high-capacity oxygen, and speed brakes, is $324,950. For information, call 210/896-6000.

Magellan plans to introduce its new SkyStar GPS receiver with moving map at Sun 'n Fun booth A19. It can be customized to record checklists, weight and balance data for your aircraft, and a glide profile to predict whether you'll make that nearby airport in the event of an engine failure. It also has flight-planning capabilities. See " Pilot Products," page 144.

Any piston aircraft attending Sun 'n Fun has a chance to beat Pushy Galore in a special category of the Aeroshell 3-D Speed Dash time-to-climb race. Piston aircraft will be given handicaps. For information, call Pushy Galore pilot Bruce Bohannon at 281/992-8989. In the non-handicap category, Performance Aircraft in Olathe, Kansas, is expected to enter its 325-mph Legend kitplane, powered by a 530-horsepower engine based on a highly modified Chevrolet V-8. The engine, which costs $36,000, is also built by Performance Aircraft. The aircraft is capable of climbing at more than 5,000 fpm. Future plans call for a 700-hp engine, and finally a 1,000-hp engine, says Jeff Ackland of Performance Aircraft. The Legend kit, minus the engine, costs $78,500. For information, call Performance Aircraft at 913/780-9140.

The thirteenth annual Sun 100 and Sun 60 air races will take place on April 7 and April 9, respectively, at Sun 'n Fun. For information, call Charlie Gray at 561/466-4460.

NTSB: Hillard accident pilot error

Last year's death of airshow legend Charlie Hillard at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In was caused by pilot error, the National Transportation Safety Board has determined.

After an April 16, 1996, performance in his recently refurbished Hawker Sea Fury, Hillard was asphyxiated after the airplane flipped over during the landing rollout. The NTSB determined through an investigation of a videotape that the probable cause was the "pilot's improper use of brakes and ailerons during the landing rollout with a right crosswind." Related factors were "the crosswind and the pilot's lack of experience in the Hawker FB.60 airplane." Hillard had 41 hours in the Sea Fury.

Initial speculation pegged the cause of the accident as the locking of one of the airplane's brakes. However, the NTSB determined that the brake system functioned normally in a test after the accident and showed no abnormal wear. Skid marks on the runway were also used to determine the probable cause.

"I can't say I agree with the report and I haven't ruled out mechanical failure," said Tom Poberezny, an airshow partner of Hillard for 25 years. Poberezny also said the crosswind was probably not an issue. "I was there and I don't recall the wind as being a factor that day. My respect and feelings toward Charlie as an aviator have not changed."

GA accidents hit 15-year low

In a preliminary analysis of 1996 data, the National Transportation Safety Board says that general aviation accident rates were the lowest in 15 years. A total of 631 people were killed in GA accidents last year, compared to 733 in 1995. Fatal accidents were down 13 percent, for a total of 358. The fatal accident rate was 1.51 for every 100,000 hours flown — the lowest in 15 years, says the NTSB. Despite popular belief that scheduled commuters are unsafe, that segment realized its lowest fatal accident rate in 15 years, as well.

This is what it feels like to pass the private pilot checkride. Celebrating is actor Harrison Ford, who is now filming Air Force One. Ford got the flying bug while using general aviation aircraft to meet his schedule of appearances, and he was taught by Terry Bender, the pilot on those trips. He began in a Cessna 182 but switched to a Cessna 206 during 143 hours of training because he liked it better. Shown is designated examiner Max G. Gibson (left), who said that the actor did a great job on the test. Rumor has it that "Harry," as he is known to friends, might be interested in an instrument rating next.

Aerospatiale/Renault engine already running

Aerospatiale and Renault Sport have teamed to design and produce piston aircraft engines through an equally owned subsidiary, Société de Motorisations Aéronautiques (see " Pilot Briefing," March Pilot). The new company is to produce diesel aircraft engines of 180 to 300 horsepower.

According to Socata, the general aviation subsidiary of Aerospatiale, an engine is already running and should be installed on a company Trinidad that will be on display at the Paris Air Show. The Trinidad's engine is the MR250, a 250-hp turbocharged four-cylinder that runs on Jet-A. Through a gear reduction, the propeller turns at 2,000 rpm in an effort to keep noise to a minimum.

SMA also intends to produce 180-, 200-, and 300-hp variants of the engines. All will be horizontally opposed, turbocharged, four-cylinder, direct injection engines. The 180- and 200-hp engines will be direct-drive models, while the two larger engines will be geared. The 300-hp engine will have an inverted oil system for aerobatic applications. The engines are supposed to maintain 70-percent power all the way up to 25,000 feet. Single-lever control will reduce pilot workload.

Socata predicts that operating costs will be 30 to 40 percent lower than current piston engines through lower maintenance costs, lower fuel burn, and a 3,000-hour TBO. Socata intends to use the new line of engines on its Caribbean line of singles and possibly the twin-engine Tangara, a reworked Grumman Cougar.

U.S. certification of the 250-hp engine is expected in spring of 1998 with the 180- and 300-hp versions following in 1999. With more than 3 years' development time behind them, the Renault/Aerospatiale team has quite a jump over Continental, which recently announced its NASA-funded development of a 200-hp, two-stroke, supercharged diesel, the CSD 283 (see " Pilot Briefing," February Pilot).

Air Force reports trainer having engine problems

The Air Force says that its T-3A, a two-seat all-composite trainer used to screen pilot candidates, has experienced 54 engine stoppages of its Lycoming AEIO-540-D4A5 — most of them on the ground — since 1994 (see " An Air Force Audition," October 1995 Pilot). One of the stoppages is believed by Air Force investigators to have occurred during flight and to be involved in a fatal crash last September.

Lycoming officials said that most of the 54 incidents have occurred on the ground when the engine is at or near idle. Many occurred after startup or during taxi to or from the runway, and Lycoming officials are instructing Air Force personnel on starting techniques. In addition, the aircraft's Hoffman three-blade composite propeller is very light weight, compared to a metal propeller, and has little inertia to keep the engine turning.

The stoppages of the 260-horsepower engine began shortly after the first deliveries in February 1994, according to an Air Force report on a September 1996 crash of a T-3A near Calhan, Colorado. Two Air Force Academy personnel, a student and an instructor, were killed while practicing a simulated engine failure. The aircraft hit the ground in an aerodynamic stall. However, it is unclear to Lycoming officials whether the engine had actually stopped, and they are continuing an investigation. Air Force investigators said that the starter was engaged at the time of impact, indicating that the pilot was attempting a restart. The investigators found contamination of fuel valves; sticking fuel servos; and a loose wire on the fuel boost pump, with burn marks indicating that there had been arcing; but investigators could not link any of the discoveries to the suspected stoppage.

Suggestions from both the engine and aircraft manufacturers have been incorporated, but the engine stoppages are continuing, an Air Force spokesman at Randolph Air Force Base said. Lycoming said the problems experienced by the Air Force have not been seen in civilian applications of the engine, including highly demanding competition aerobatics.

The accident followed by a year another fatal T-3A accident at the Air Force Academy. At the time, it was thought that a spin might have been involved. Students are no longer allowed to perform spins in the T-3A, which are now merely demonstrated by the instructor.

Simulated forced landing procedures in the T-3A were flight-tested for 6 hours in October 1996 at the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. The aircraft was found to have no unfavorable flying qualities. However, no spin testing was done.

Air Charter Net of San Francisco has launched an online charter reservation service. Air Charter Net will link customers to charter companies. See the company's web page ( www.aircharternet.com).

AlliedSignal demos TCAS II Change 7

AlliedSignal recently demonstrated the latest improvements to its traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) to comply with the next phase of the FAA's TCAS Transition Program.

Change 7 of the FAA's program will be implemented by January 1, 2000, in response to TCAS II user feedback. Every major passenger airliner and many high-end corporate jets utilize TCAS II, a $200,000 system that not only will point out the bearing and distance of traffic, but will give an advisory message to resolve the situation. Users have indicated a need for an updated system with clearer verbal commands, improved target surveillance, and fly-to green arcs that will smooth out resolution advisories for passenger comfort.

The cost of upgrading current AlliedSignal TCAS II systems to Change 7 status will cost a maximum of $5,000, a nominal fee compared to the cost of acquisition. Change 7 will also require a comparably inexpensive upgrade to the aircraft's Mode-S transponder.

Honeywell is also working on a Change 7 upgrade for its TCAS II and TCAS 2000 systems that should debut by the middle of next year. Its system software upgrade will be available for a maximum of $6,000.

Boundary Layer Research has acquired Robertson Performance Systems, adding 33 vortex generator STCs to the 34 that BLR already had. BLR makes VGs and modifications for everything from Piper Cubs through Beech Dukes. For information, call 800/257-4847.

Aircraft Spruce is offering plans and materials for a single-seat aerobatic aircraft called the Acrolite, which was designed by Ron Wilson. The aircraft is said to cruise at 95 knots behind a Rotax 912 engine, with a range of 217 nautical miles and a useful load of 255 pounds. It is designed for Sportsman category aerobatics. The plans are $300, and complete construction materials (minus the engine) will cost $6,500. For information, call 800/824-1930 or 360/676-5700.

AOPA members in the news

John Glenn, AOPA 640064, has decided to retire from the United States Senate at age 75. The first American to orbit the Earth, he set a speed record between Dayton, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., on December 17 (the anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight) in his 1981 Beech Baron. The flight averaged 229 mph.

Greg Harbaugh, AOPA 875036, and astronaut Joseph Tanner rode the space shuttle Discovery into orbit and installed a new data recorder and guidance sensor on the Hubble Space Telescope during a spacewalk (see photo, above right). In a later spacewalk, astronauts Mark Lee and Steven Smith installed a new infrared camera and a light-splitting spectrograph that will allow the telescope to look back further in time than ever before.

Shannon Lucid, AOPA 283741, has received the trophy from the National Aviation Club intended for Amelia Earhart, had the aviatrix finished her round-the-world flight. Lucid, a NASA astronaut, set a record for her stay aboard the Russian space station Mir and contributed significantly to science. The trophy will be awarded every year to a woman who has made significant contributions to aviation. Lucid is the first to receive it.

John N. Strahan, AOPA 1124708, knew that he had a problem when his Cessna Cardinal lost hydraulic pressure after takeoff from Ogden, Utah. The solution was to refill the hydraulic reservoir, but where was it? Strahan had his two friends unscrew part of the flooring with a fingernail file before a mechanic on the ground said that it was behind the baggage compartment. The men filled the reservoir with coffee, melted ice cubes, and soft drinks. Not enough. The nose gear came only partially down. Obviously the men were on the right trail but were a little scared. The nervousness created a need for a restroom, and what better place than the reservoir? They passed the now-empty coffee thermos and filled the reservoir with processed coffee. Three greens!

Jan H. Vanderbie, AOPA 481512, has written Flying and the Art of Democracy. It is available for $12.75 from HT Press, 22 Hillcrest Avenue, Natick, Massachusetts 01760.

Anne Harlan, AOPA 1043011, of Mayo Landing, New Jersey, has been named director of the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Sylvia J. Otypka, AOPA 588926, has written and published Flying The Big Birds: On Becoming An Airline Pilot. Otypka, a pilot on a United Airlines Boeing 747-400, includes information on choosing a college, finding a scholarship, and getting an airline job. The book has been endorsed by astronauts, educators, and airline pilots. To order, send $14.95 plus $2 shipping (Colorado residents, add $1.13 sales tax) to Leading Edge Publishing, Post Office Box 461605, Aurora, Colorado 80046-1605 or telephone 303/680-0279.

Helen B. Walkinshaw, AOPA 1208127, of Fargo, North Dakota, and Dorothy Norkus, AOPA 1084614, of San Diego, have won $1,000 flight training scholarships from the National Council for Women in Aviation/Aerospace. Norkus is a 327-hour commercial pilot and ramp agent for Southwest Airlines who plans to use the money for a multiengine rating. Walkinshaw, an ATP with 5,000 hours, will spend the scholarship on cockpit resource management and glass cockpit systems classes at the United Airlines Flight Center in Denver. For information about the scholarships, call 800/727-6292.

Jeff Miller, AOPA 672631, has been named vice president of corporate communications for Galaxy Aerospace (see related story, page 46). Miller previously worked for Learjet Inc., Piaggio Aviation, and as an associate editor of AOPA Pilot. He holds flight instructor and commercial pilot certificates.

Franklin G. Reick, AOPA 484523, has written a book for pilots about the stock market called Flying the Stock Market. He describes market concepts in aviation terms, which helps pilots translate the art of investing. It is available for $24.95 plus $3.50 shipping. Write or call Glenbridge Publishing, 6010 W. Jewell Avenue, Lakewood, Colorado 80232; telephone 303/986-4135 or 800/986-4135.

Mark Pottinger, AOPA 1056153, of Denver, representing Centennial Express Airlines, successfully argued against the banning of scheduled flights by the carrier from Centennial Airport near Denver. The Arapahoe County Public Airport Authority, under heavy pressure from local residents to close or restrict airport operations, had previously halted the operation.

Andrea S. Waas, AOPA 1071907, has formed Wings of Light, a national nonprofit organization to assist survivors of aircraft accidents and people affected by accidents. She also has established a Web site ( www.wingsoflight.org). Corporate sponsors include Boeing Company and Jeppesen Sanderson.

On February 14 Rodney E. Slater was sworn in as the Secretary of Transportation. Slater previously headed the Federal Highway Administration.

Engine Components of San Antonio, Texas, is offering aircraft owners a free booklet titled Dynamic Balancing — Questions and Answers for the Airplane Owner. The 19-page book about dynamically balancing crankshafts can be obtained by calling 800/324-2359.

GAMA: Most deliveries since 1990

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) says that 1996 was the best year for aircraft deliveries since 1990 and the best year in history in terms of total billings.

The total number of shipments of GA airplanes reached 1,132 units, for a total of $3.1 billion. A total of 600 piston-powered airplanes were delivered; 530 were singles and 70 were twins. Leading the sales for piston-powered airplanes was Raytheon's Beech A36 Bonanza, with 83 sales, of which 38 were in the last quarter. Piper sold 57 of its pressurized Malibu Mirage singles, and Mooney sold 33 M20R Ovations. Raytheon's Beech Baron 58 led piston-twin sales with 44 shipments (compared to 29 in 1995), and Piper's Seneca IV racked up 18.

Robinson Helicopter's R22 was the best-selling piston aircraft of 1996, with 86 sales. The company also sold a respectable 76 copies of its R44, the higher-powered four-place version of the R22.

Turboprop shipments were up 13.3 percent, with the Cessna 208B Caravan in the lead with 94 sales. Turbojet sales declined 1 percent compared to 1995.

Continental announces new cylinder line, warranty program

Teledyne Continental Motors has made substantial changes to its cylinder line and launched a program called TopCare. Under the program, new cylinders — delivered as aftermarket cylinder kits or as part of new or factory-remanufactured engines — will receive several changes intended to improve top-end life and will be offered with a more generous warranty. Initially, the TopCare program will extend to the 520 and 550 series cylinders, but it will eventually expand to include the entire line by early summer.

Responding to reports that cylinders in the large-bore engines were experiencing early failures, Continental engineers sought to determine the cause and concoct a remedy. Many field service personnel believe that the cause is related to excessive heat and the current trend for these engines to exhibit exceptionally low oil consumption.

Under TopCare, the cylinders will receive several new construction processes. The cylinder bores will be finished in a new hone pattern — the crosshatching that is intended to promote ring seating in new cylinders — that employs a second honing step. This soft hone process helps knock off the sharpest peaks in the bore facing, while allowing a deeper hone pattern than before. This change should allow more oil to remain on the cylinder walls. On the pistons, Continental has relaxed the tension on the oil-control ring's spring expander and opened the gap on the second compression ring. These alterations are aimed at increasing cylinder-wall lubrication and will result in higher oil consumption.

Finally, to address a specific problem with engines that are test-run in the airframe and then allowed to sit inactive for long periods, the TopCare cylinders will be treated to a phosphate bore coating. This coating is expected to sublimate over the life of the jug, but its main duty is to prevent corrosion of the bore in the critical period between engine build-up and the accumulation of preservative varnish that occurs after several hours of use.

Continental is backing these new jugs with a warranty package — 12 months or 480 hours parts and labor; after that period, a prorated warranty remains in effect through TBO or 48 months based on 25 hours (or actual usage) per month. Previously, the warranty covered parts only and the prorated portion was based on 40 hours per month. To get the extended warranty coverage, owners must have a detailed health check performed at each annual (or once a year if on 100-hour inspections). The list includes a check of baffle condition, fuel-system setup, submission of lubricant for analysis, and several other items to help rule out maintenance as a potential jug-killing problem.

Continental believes that a combination of high temperatures — caused in part by poor baffling maintenance and improper fuel-system setup — is behind fast-wearing cylinders. Moreover, the efforts to admit more oil to the cylinder walls make it clear that oil consumption is an important factor for cylinder life. Continental engineers say that oil consumption of 1 quart every 8 to 12 hours is ideal for the big-bore engines. — Marc E. Cook

Bonanza guru dies

J. Norman Colvin, recently retired technical consultant of the American Bonanza Society, died in late February at the age of 85 after a brief illness.

After retiring from his 37-year career at Beech as a Bonanza project engineer, Colvin was snatched up by ABS where he spent 20 years consulting Bonanza, Baron, and Travel Air owners on the care and feeding of their aircraft. The ABShad named its Wichita headquarters after Colvin earlier this year.

Incorrect telephone numbers appear in the 1997 AOPA's Airport Directory for five Florida airports and their associated businesses. Use the (813) area code when calling Peter O. Knight, Tampa International, Tampa North Aero Park, Vandenberg, and Plant City airports.

Ayres Corporation of Albany, Georgia, and FedEx Corporation have executed a purchase agreement for as many as 250 Ayres Loadmaster LM200 aircraft. In November, Ayres and FedEx signed a letter of intent to purchase the twin-engine, single-propeller cargo hauler (see " Pilot Briefing," January Pilot).

Flight testing has begun on the Rans S-7C prototype. Deliveries of the aircraft are to start late this year. The cost of the kit is $49,950. For information, call 913/625-6346, or write Rans, 4600 Highway 183 Alternate, Hays, Kansas 67601.

Allison Engine Company of Indianapolis has opened the Allison Access Center, a customer call center to handle customer inquiries 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center is staffed to support model 250 and T56/501D product-related inquiries, including parts ordering. Allison can be reached by calling 888/255-4766 or by e-mail ( access@allison.com).

Raytheon Aircraft has fabricated the composite-construction forward fuselage section for its new Raytheon Premier I business jet. The key to construction is a fiber placement system that lays an epoxy-impregnated carbon fiber tape on a mandrel guided by a computer. Layers of carbon fiber are combined with Nomex honeycombe in a sandwich construction (evident in the nose) and cured in an autoclave.

2 Stroke International of Beaufort, South Carolina, has introduced its Twin Pack powerplant for ultralight and experimental aircraft. Using two 40-horsepower 2SI/Cuyuna 460F-40 engines side-by-side but facing opposite directions, the result is an 80-hp powerplant with two counterrotating propellers on a single shaft. Price is $3,995. Weight is claimed to be less than that of a Rotax 912. Call 803/846-2167.

Every airplane built by The New Piper Aircraft in 1997 will have a PS Engineering PMA 6000 audio panel/intercom system to head the avionics stack, according to a joint press release by the companies. The PMA 6000 offers a built-in audio panel/marker beacon/6-place intercom that features optional stereo and "dual audio," allowing the pilot and copilot to communicate on separate radios simultaneously. For more information, contact PS Engineering at 423/988-9800 or Piper at 561/567-4361, ext. 2500.

EC-120 takes on JetRanger

A new single-engine turbine helicopter from Eurocopter made its North American debut at Heli-Expo '97 in early February. The show is the annual convention of the Helicopter Association International.

The all-new EC-120 is designed to go rotor-to-rotor against the venerable Bell JetRanger. The EC-120 is the first single-engine helicopter to comply with the safety features of new JAR 27 regulations specifying the crashworthy standards for fuel systems and pilot and passenger seats. Powered by a 504-shaft-horsepower Turbomecca Arrius 2F engine, the five-place helicopter has a maximum gross takeoff weight of 3,700 pounds with a payload of 1,170 pounds and max sling load of 1,543 pounds. Maximum cruise is 125 knots. The ship uses a three-blade composite main rotor and Eurocopter's signature Fenestron shrouded tail rotor. Base price is $770,000. Deliveries are to commence in the second half of the year.

The EC-120 is a joint venture of Eurocopter, Singapore Technologies Aerospace, and CATIC/HAMC of the People's Republic of China, with each entity owning, respectively, 61, 15, and 24 percent of the project. — Thomas B. Haines

Galaxy ties knot with Pritzkers

In early February, Galaxy Aerospace Corporation gained approval for operations in North America, according to Brian Barents, president and CEO of the newly created company.

Israel Aircraft Industries and the Pritzker family of Chicago, whose holdings include Hyatt Hotels Corporation, combined to create Galaxy Aerospace, which will produce, market, and maintain the current and future line of Astra, Westwind, and the new Mach 0.85 Galaxy super-mid-size business jet. At a New York press luncheon, Tom Pritzker stated that his family will not be involved in the daily business of Galaxy; it is strictly an investor.

Galaxy is currently choosing from among 39 sites to base its headquarters, service, and completion center. At first, there will be only one service center, to be located wherever the headquarters is built. After that, Galaxy intends to add as many as two additional factory service centers by 1999. The location of those will be determined by fleet concentration. The new service centers will complement the existing IAI factory-authorized service centers. According to Barents, former president and CEO of Learjet, "Galaxy will be number one in product support."

Currently, IAI is assembling the first four Galaxies in Tel Aviv for use in development and certification. Pratt & Whitney has shipped the company the first set of 6,040-pound-thrust PW306A engines. Many Galaxy components, such as the empennage and fuselage, will be contracted out to other companies during production.

First flight of the $14.5 million Galaxy is scheduled for this fall. Deliveries are not expected until late 1998. If all stays on schedule, the Galaxy should be in production well ahead of its closest competitor, the Hawker Horizon. Beyond 2000, production should turn out 18 to 24 Galaxies per year. Also, expect to see some derivatives of the Galaxy in the future.

Two hooligan bull moose are suspected to have caused $20,000 damage to floatplanes at Anchorage International Airport. Their antlers should have dropped off last fall, but didn't. Taking matters into their own hooves, the moose spied what appeared to be some very stout shrubs and did their moose thing, leaving the aircraft dented, punctured, and scratched.

Signature Flight Support has acquired International Aviation Services and its facilities at Teterboro, New Jersey; White Plains, New York; and West Palm Beach, Florida. Signature's West Palm operation will be moving into the facilities previously occupied by International.

Cessna Aircraft Company is offering cash rewards to employees who learn to fly. The company also offers cash reimbursements to members of the Cessna Employees Flying Club who complete training. The club offers $500 for completion of the solo flight, and $1,000 upon completion of private pilot and advanced ratings, including flight instructor and airline transport pilot. The program is similar to one started by Boeing last year.

Extex, Ltd. of Mesa, Arizona, has acquired the Allison 250 replacement part product line of Dallas-based Superior Turbine. Terry Capehart has been named president.

Jan McIntire has returned to Cessna Aircraft after a 20-year absence to be director of corporate communications. She is a native of Independence, Kansas, the site of Cessna's single-engine manufacturing plant. She replaces Dave Franson, who left Cessna last summer to form a marketing and public relations firm.

Replacement of helicopters purchased during the late 1970s to early 1980s oil boom and the expanding markets in China, Taiwan, and the Commonwealth of Independent States are expected to cause an uptick in turbine helicopter deliveries over the next 10 years. In its 10-year forecast, Allison Engine Company predicts turbine helicopter sales will climb from about 500 annually to more than 600 by the turn of the century and then decrease slightly toward 2006. More than half the units delivered each year will be light single-engine turbine helicopters. — TBH

The FAA will begin a two-year test of the free-flight system in Hawaii and Alaska starting in 1999. The system allows pilots to fly direct, without the need for airways. If the test is a success, it will take 10 years to expand the system to the rest of the country.

The National Weather Service and the FAA have established an Aviation Digital Data Service on the Internet ( http://adds.aviationweather.gov) that allows pilots and the private meteorological industry to generate customized reports.

Florida's Jacksonville University has teamed with Comair Aviation Academy to provide practical training for a four-year aviation degree. For information call 800/822-6359 or 904/745-7434.