Pilot Briefing

NBAA '96

January 1, 1997

Clash of the Titans; year five

This year's National Business Aircraft Association convention — like the four preceding — provided yet another venue for the "dueling press conference" public relations style that has come to characterize the competition between Gulfstream's G-V and Bombardier's Global Express — two jumbo-sized, extra-long-range business jets locked in combat for a total market estimated at anywhere from 200 to 800 aircraft.

In one announcement, Bombardier announced a 200-nm increase in the Global Express' range, thanks to a newly added aft fuselage fuel tank. This gives the Global Express a 200-nm range advantage over the G-V, which has a stated range of 6,500 nm.

Meanwhile, Gulfstream broke some bad news during the show. The G-V's max ramp, takeoff, and zero-fuel weights have been revised upwards — by 1,500 pounds. In addition, a "weakness" in a midspan wing rib had been discovered, according to Gulfstream, and a modification had to be developed to correct the problem. All of this may push the G-V's certification date into early 1997.

Originally, the company promised certification by the fourth quarter of 1996.

Asked about the effect of the Global Express's claimed 6,700-nm range and comparative fuel economy advantages over the G-V, a peevish Theodore Forstmann, Gulfstream's chairman, said, "Hey, all I know is that we're selling airplanes." Gulfstream claims a total of 67 orders for the G-V, and says that its production rate will be boosted to meet the demand. Bombardier says that it has $2 billion worth of orders, which works out to about 60 airplanes. — Thomas A. Horne

Civil applications of the tiltrotor aircraft promised by Bell Helicopter Textron 14 years ago are beginning to emerge with the announcement of the Bell Boeing 609, a six- to nine-passenger, two-crew aircraft. The 609, expected to sell for $10 million or less, can do all that a helicopter can do, but with greater speed (275 knots promised) and range (750 nautical miles predicted). The 26-foot-diameter rotors tilt upward for vertical landings. While aimed at the corporate market, the range is especially important for offshore oil operators. Bell salesmen also believe the speed will appeal to emergency medical transportation providers. The first flight is due in 1999, followed by certification in 2000 and first deliveries in 2001. Bell, which has just placed the military V-22 Osprey tiltrotor into production, said the 609 will be a new design.

Keeping up with the Joneses just got tougher now that Boeing and General Electric have teamed up to form Boeing Business Jets. The new 737-700 derivative of the venerable airliner is a direct competitor with the super-long-range Gulfstream V and the Bombardier Global Express. All of the airplanes promise ranges of 6,200 nm or more. Like the others, the Boeing will set you back a cool $30.5 million. You'll have to add your own interior, though, and that goes for another $5 million or so. With the necessary 11,178 pounds of fuel to go the full 6,200 nm, you'll be able to take along only seven of your friends. On shorter trips, the BBJ becomes a real party wagon with enough room for the entire bowling team. The company has already sold three of the airplanes. Rollout is set for the third quarter of 1998 with certification and deliveries later that year.

Revolutionary engine on display at NBAA

NASA's Lewis Research Center and Williams International displayed a new engine designed to power tomorrow's light singles and twins.

The tiny FJX-2 turbofan is expected to produce about 700 pounds of thrust and allow light aircraft to operate at higher speeds and altitudes, while keeping fuel consumption, noise, and emissions to a level comparable to today's piston engines. The joint project is coordinated with the Advanced General Aviation Transport Experiments (AGATE) program.

Williams International intends to employ some of the technologies it uses in its FJ44-1 and -2 engines that currently power the Cessna CitationJet and the Sino-Swearingen SJ30-2 light jets. Williams also plans to tap its experience in automotive gas turbines aimed at high volume/low cost production. NASA Lewis will be contributing technical expertise, financial resources in the area of $100 million, and facilities.

Williams and NASA Lewis will build a test bed aircraft specifically for developing and demonstrating the new turbofan. The aircraft is not intended for production but will be revealed to the public at the Experimental Aircraft Association's Fly-In and Convention in Oshkosh next summer.

BFGoodrich introduced its Smartboot pneumatic deicing boot at the NBAA convention in Orlando last November. The system utilizes 1-inch 2 3-foot strip sensors that monitor ice accretions on surfaces not in view of the pilot, such as on the horizontal and vertical stabilizers. The comparatively large size of the sensor in the Smartboot system will allow it to monitor a three-foot section of the leading edge, instead of just a highly localized area as in previous systems. After detection of ice, the unit tells the pilot when to inflate the boots and verifies that the system worked. It is also intended to let the pilot know how much residual ice is left over after the cycling of the boots. The typical installation weighs less than 15 pounds and requires one amp of electrical power on a 28-volt system. For more information, call 330/374-3121.

Ayres enters freighter business

Ayres Corporation of Albany, Georgia, has announced plans to manufacture the Loadmaster LM200 aircraft, powered by two Light Helicopter Engine Company CTP800 turboshaft engines driving a single propeller through a gearbox. Its unpressurized airframe is of conventional metal construction, and the airplane will be offered initially with fixed landing gear only. The powerplants generate 2,400 horsepower, providing the 19,000-pound aircraft with a revenue payload of 7,500 pounds.

Federal Express has signed a letter of intent to purchase 50 Loadmasters, with an option for 200 additional airplanes. "These aircraft complement our feeder network beautifully," said Mark Blair, FedEx's vice president for supplemental air operations. "They are a natural fit between our Cessna Caravans and Fokker F27s."

Fred Ayres, Ayres president and CEO, said that delivery of FedEx's first LM200 is scheduled for December 1999. He projects a market for 600 Loadmasters by 2010; half of that will be to overnight parcel carriers in the United States. Another large market will be emerging nations, he said. "It's a multipurpose airplane — you roll on and roll off the equipment that's needed," Ayres said. In addition to cargo and passengers, the airplane could serve as a firefighting, spray, or coastal patrol aircraft. The LM200 can be fitted with floats or skis. Ayres plans to fly the airplane in 18 months, with certification a year later. Pricing has not been determined. For more information, call Ayres Corporation at 912/883-1440. — Michael P. Collins

Orenda's V-8 Certification delayed

Teething problems with Orenda Aerospace Corporation's water-cooled 496-cubic-inch V-8 aircraft engine have delayed the target date for FAA and Transport Canada certification from the end of 1996 to the second quarter of 1997, but company officials said that the delay will not affect production plans.

Although detonation and crankshaft vibration testing had been completed successfully, the required 150-hour endurance test had to be aborted because of a manufacturing defect in the test crankshaft, said Larry Shiembob, Orenda's program manager. The company was aware of the defect but decided to attempt the test anyway, he said. Shiembob said that it will take 16 weeks to obtain new crankshafts; during that time, engineers will also change pistons and rings and incorporate cast-iron sleeves.

Orenda is developing a normally aspirated 500-horsepower engine, as well as turbocharged 600- and 750-hp variants. Retrofitting turbine aircraft is a primary target market, with initial efforts directed to the Beech King Air — for which Stevens Aviation has ordered 140 engines and will be the exclusive installer — and, later, to Cessna and Piper twins and a variety of other aircraft.

The company, based in Toronto, expects to announce the site for a new piston-engine facility soon. To be located in Canada, it will offer both engine production and remanufacturing capabilities. — MPC

Soloy Corporation announced at NBAA that it has renamed its Dual-Pac Caravan the Pathfinder 21. The name change was intended to differentiate the Pathfinder from the Cessna 208B Caravan, from which the Pathfinder is derived. According to some sources, Cessna did not want the highly modified, twin-engine, single-propeller Caravan associated with its stock model. Soloy also announced that the maximum gross weight of the Pathfinder has been increased from 10,500 to 12,500 pounds. FAR Part 23 certification is expected in mid 1998. For information, call 360/754- 7000.

Aviation's pathfinder dies at age 89

Elrey B. Jeppesen, founder of Jeppesen Sanderson in Englewood, Colorado, died November 26 at age 89.

Captain Jeppesen, or "Jepp," as he was known, began his flying career in 1923 at age 16. He bought a war-surplus Jenny with $500 that he borrowed from customers on his paper route. When the government began registering pilots in 1928, Jeppesen was among those receiving a license signed by Orville Wright. Unable to resist the call to aviation, he quit high school to join Tex Rankin's Flying Circus in Portland, Oregon. His career then took him to Fairchild Aerial Surveys, and on to Boeing Air Transport, later to become United Airlines, as an airmail pilot.

The dangers facing Jeppesen — including night runs he flew for double pay — prompted him to begin recording in a loose-leaf notebook such information as smokestacks, field lengths, slopes, drainage patterns, and lights surrounding airports and landing strips. Word of Jeppesen's collection of information spread rapidly through America's small pilot community by 1933, and he began printing and selling copies of the notebook for $10 each.

In 1936, Jeppesen and his wife, Nadine, turned the chart-making hobby into a business, working out of a basement in their Salt Lake City home. The booklet, now called the Jeppesen Airway Manual, is standard equipment for commercial and private pilots around the world. The business was sold to Times Mirror in 1961, but Jeppesen remained as its chairman until 1988. The company moved to Englewood in 1981.

"It was magical for me," Jeppesen recalled in a 1990 interview. "Those old, open airplanes — you felt like a bird, part of the airplane. It was so damn much fun."

Spartan to return Katana trainer fleet

Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is returning its fleet of 40 Katana DA-20 trainers to the manufacturer, Diamond Aircraft Industries, after two landing incidents in which the gear collapsed. There were no injuries in the mishaps, but the aircraft remained grounded by late November and had not been transferred to other sites.

Spartan had leased the aircraft from Diamond Financial and has now terminated the lease. Spartan President Terry Harrison said that the school temporarily suspended training in Katanas immediately following the incidents but is satisfied that the Katana provides adequate occupant protection.

In the meantime, Spartan has begun talks with Cessna about replacing the Katana fleet with new Cessna 172 aircraft. Harrison said that the decision to switch to Cessnas was based on information that the Katana will not be certified for IFR flight as soon as had been expected.

Additionally, Spartan has decided to consolidate its single-engine trainer fleet into one aircraft make. Since entering the lease with Diamond Financing last year, Spartan had offered training in both Katanas and Cessnas. Harrison said the Katana had become popular with both students and instructors.

A Diamond spokesman said that Spartan's trainers were only a small part of a growing Katana rental fleet nationwide and that the aircraft will be placed in service at other locations.

Edo Corporation of College Point, New York, ended 71 years of service to the seaplane community in October when it sold its seaplane float operations to Edo Float Manufacturing LLC of Kirkland, Washington. The Washington operation is an independent business established by Craig McCaw. Edo Corporation has become a supplier of electro-optical, electronic, mechanical, acoustic, and composite products to defense contractors and commercial original equipment manufacturers.

Air BP and Conoco have teamed up to provide avgas and Jet-A to general aviation aircraft flying in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. As part of the agreement, Conoco will supply the fuel to Air BP FBOs in those areas.

Single-engine IFR for part 135 imminent

A notice of proposed rulemaking has been published in the Federal Register that would allow IFR passenger-carrying operations in single-engine aircraft on FAR Part 135 air-taxi flights. Currently only multiengine aircraft can carry passengers in IFR conditions under Part 135.

Despite the belief that engine failure was the main reason single-engine IFR was not allowed, the FAA is more concerned with VFR-into-IMC accidents. By allowing airplanes to file and fly on IFR flight plans, pilots can utilize IFR services which should enhance safety and reduce the possibility of VFR-into-IMC accidents.

SuperSkyrocket LLC has purchased the rights to the Riley Skyrocket and Riley Super Skyrocket Cessna P337 conversions formerly owned by Riley International. Riley International, of Carlsbad, California, declared bankruptcy last spring after founder Jack Riley suffered a stroke.

The Breitling Masters aerobatic championship series, which allowed participants to compete several times over a year at locations around the world, has been replaced by the World Grand Prix of Aerobatics. The new series is under the aegis of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. It is limited to the top 12 available pilots from a list of applicants, which this year included 21 of the world's leading unlimited aerobatic competitors. The top 12 names on the "qualified unlimited" list includes only one American, Michael Goulian, the reigning United States national aerobatic champion. Gene Soucy, three-time national champion, has been invited to compete as well, as a "guest of honor."

Third quarter Piston shipments on track with '95

After a booming first half, 1996's third quarter shipments of piston aircraft took a decisive downturn — but year-to-date 1996 deliveries are exactly where they were at the close of the third quarter of 1995, according to statistics compiled by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Piston airplane deliveries, including singles and twins, hit 382 units, with Raytheon's Beech A36 Bonanza leading the pack at 17 deliveries. In spite of the sour numbers, GAMA President Edward Stimpson predicts that the fourth quarter "will be the strongest delivery period of the year as industry revitalization continues."

Charles (Sandy) Sanford, of Chama, New Mexico, won a restored Luscombe Silvaire 8E in an October 1996 drawing held by the Luscombe Foundation.

The FAA has certificated the Zlin 143L four-place aircraft powered by a 235-horsepower Lycoming O-540 engine. It is an aerobatic and utility aircraft stressed for plus 4 and minus 1.75 Gs, and is approved for positive-G maneuvers only. It does not have inverted oil and fuel systems but can be used for introductory aerobatic training. Priced at $165,900, the aircraft is targeted for flight schools seeking a multirole trainer. It can cruise at 130 knots at 5,000 feet, according to the aircraft's North American marketing agent, Aerospace Sales of Barrie, Ontario. The aircraft is built in the Czech Republic and then shipped to Zlin Aerospace in Canada for final assembly and certification. For information, call 800/959-6988 or 705/722-3522.

Aviation Heritage Books has two new releases titled Travel Air: A Photo History and Beechcraft Twin Bonanza. Both books take an in-depth look into the history of each airplane and utilize many accompanying photographs and drawings. To order, call 800/999-0141.

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale's General Aviation Committee is scheduled to hold a long-range air race as part of the World Air Games in Turkey this fall. Only 30 aircraft will be allowed to participate in the race, which will start in Reykjavik, Iceland, and end at the site of the Games in Antalyia, Turkey. Interim stops are scheduled in Strasbourg, France; Seville; Rome; Jerusalem; Amman; and Trabzon and Adana, Turkey. The event will be organized by Bernard Lamy, technical adviser to the FAI's GAC and organizer of many long-range air races through his volunteer organization, Arc en Ciel. For more information, contact Lamy at (33-1) 39 55 32 00, or in the United States contact Marc Mosier at 804/589-2274.

AOPA members in the news

Hubert C. Smith, AOPA 091804, of State College, Pennsylvania, received the 1996 Piper General Aviation Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Named after William T. Piper, Sr., the award recognizes outstanding contributions leading to the advancement of general aviation. Smith is director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Penn State University. Smith owns a 1967 Piper Cherokee 180.

Don Thompson, AOPA 006060, of New Market, Virginia, and Ernest Kittner, AOPA 118688, of Honesdale, Pennsylvania, were recently awarded the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award for their more than 50 years of service as aviation technicians. Thompson is a member of the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame. Kittner owns a Piper Apache.

Gary Fetting, AOPA 763300, of Sandusky, Michigan, was honored by the Michigan Aviation Education Foundation and the Sandusky Aeronautics Board for his efforts in keeping the Sandusky City Airport open. Fetting is the airport's manager.

Stephanie Hartung, AOPA 1212431, of Chelan, Washington, was elected president of the Rural Nurse Organization, a nonprofit group that promotes rural nursing because of the challenging environments in which rural nurses practice. Hartung flies her Cessna Cardinal in her duties as president of RNO.

Guy Juntunen, AOPA 734841, will use this Extra 300L for unusual attitude training at Western Michigan University's School of Aviation Sciences. Students will experience fully developed, accelerated, and flat spins, as well as basic aerobatic maneuvers. A tail-mounted camera records the maneuvers for post-flight debriefing. Juntunen is the chief aerobatics instructor.

Michael R. Terry, AOPA 798701, has published a calendar of beautifully photographed antique aircraft called Aviation Legends 1997. The calendar is available for $14.95 plus $4.50 shipping by writing Aviation Legends, Post Office Box 226, Santa Paula, California 93061-0226; telephone 800/266-1995.

Denis Horn, AOPA 721181, general manager of the Monterey Peninsula Airport District, was elected to the board of directors of Airport Council International-North America.

Terry D. Stinson, AOPA 848309, has been named president and chief operating officer of Bell Helicopter Textron, replacing Lloyd Shoppa, who will become vice chairman in January before retiring in August 1997. Stinson previously was president of Textron's Hamilton Standard Division and president of the Elliott Company subsidiary.

Sean D. Tucker, AOPA 1132425, the extraordinary airshow pilot who flies his modified Pitts aircraft nearly sideways, has picked up McCauley Propeller Systems as a sponsor. You'll see Tucker in McCauley ads and at special appearances.

LoPresti Speed Merchants of Vero Beach, Florida, claims a top speed increase of 18 knots on the Piper Saratoga and 21 knots on the Piper Lance when all of the company's performance modifications are installed. Among the changes is a recently certified cowling that completely encloses the nose gear and new wing tips with enclosed navigation, strobe, and landing lights. For information, call Lo Presti at 800/859-4757.

American Aviation Services, newly opened at Gloucestershire (Staverton) Airport in England, claims to be the first FAA computer test site on an airport in Europe. The center provides testing for private, commercial, ATP, instrument, dispatcher, flight engineer, flight instructor, aviation mechanic, and parachute rigger certificates/ratings. In addition, the company offers certificate conversion (ICAO to FAA), instrument flight training, biennial flight reviews, instrument competency checks, and aircraft delivery from the United States to Europe.

Engine Components, Inc., of San Antonio is offering its new Classic Cast cylinder heads for parallel-valve Lycoming 320-, 360-, and 540-series engines. The head is manufactured by using the tried-and-true sandcast method that ECI says is an economical way to make cylinders that can reliably go through several TBO runs. For information, call 800/ECI2FLY.

Officials of the Piper Aviation Museum Foundation of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, announced the purchase of a three-story, 56,000-square-foot building to house an historical museum with display aircraft and artifacts relating to the Piper family and its contributions to aviation. The facility will be located on the W.T. Piper Memorial Airport.

Sean King, a student at Southeastern Oklahoma State University majoring in aviation, has won a $2,000 scholarship from the Oklahoma Pilots Association. Scholarship winners are chosen each September. Applicants are selected from aviation-related schools in Oklahoma, but need not be Oklahoma residents. Applications are provided to the schools. For information, write to Michael C. Fling at 3621 Northwest 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73116.

Gulfstream has launched a marketing effort in China, Hong Kong, and Macau from offices based in Hong Kong. On a recent demonstration flight in China, a Gulfstream IV-SP landed at Lhasa, 11,719 feet up in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, and simulated an engine failure on the departure for Beijing.

Sporty's academy cofounder dies

Joseph F. Vorbeck, cofounder of Sporty's Academy and pioneer in the creation of weekend ground schools, died on October 31, 1996, after battling cancer. Vorbeck's career included several years as an aviation professor at the University of Illinois and as chairman of Aviation Technology at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. His flying experience totaled 14,000 hours. In 1987 he moved to Batavia, Ohio, to begin the academy and produce educational aviation videos. Those who worked with him called him "Mr. Instrument Flying," because of his encyclopedic knowledge of rules and procedures.

Squawk sheet

A new airworthiness directive has been proposed affecting Beech Model 35 Bonanzas that will require inspecting the ruddervator differential tail control rod assembly for corrosion or cracks. The affected parts must be repaired or replaced and treated with an anti-corrosion sealant.

An improved main landing gear A-frame assembly available for Beech 76 Duchess owners will exempt the requirements spelled out in AD 91-14-14, which requires repetitive inspections for fatigue cracks.

This Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Thunderbird, owned by the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, Texas, was recently infused with a $100,000 grant to be used for maintenance and to build a static and interactive exhibit about the airplane and its impact on world events. The grant was given in memory of George Watford, a former B-17 bombardier. For more information, call 409/740-7722.

The Eastern New England Chapter of The Ninety-Nines will award two scholarships of $1,000 to be used toward education or training for an aviation-related career. Applicants must reside in New England or study there. For more information, call 401/463-8802.

A new Alliance Aviation Services FBO has opened at Fort Worth Alliance Airport, Texas. The facility includes a 32,000-square-foot hangar and a 20,000-square-foot aviation center. The FBO is an Exxon Avitat dealer. For information, call 817/890-1000.

The Don Luscombe Aviation History Foundation has opened a World Wide Web site called Silvaires in Cyberspace. To visit, type www.luscombe.org. The site offers Luscombe maintenance tips, spare parts, and memorabilia. Another new Internet site is North American Top Gun at www.natg.com, where you'll find a description of the North American AT-6 Texan.

UNC of Annapolis, Maryland, has acquired Garrett Aviation Services, which provides aircraft and engine services for business aviation. The purchase price was $150 million. Garrett Aviation, which will be renamed the Garrett Aviation Division, is a 50-year-old company headquartered in Phoenix and has 1,100 employees.

The New Meyers Aircraft Company recently moved into its new facility at the St. Lucie County International Airport in Fort Pierce, Florida. There the company will be completing certification work on its new $255,000 M300, a four-place, single-engine design claimed to cruise at more than 200 knots. Powered by a 300-horsepower Lycoming, the M300 will feature Trimble avionics with an IFR approach-approved GPS and an S-Tec 55 autopilot. Also at the new site, Meyers is nearing certification of its SP20, a two-place derivative of the Meyers 145A taildragger. For more information, contact New Meyers at 800/647-9535.