Pilot Briefing

March 1, 1997

AOPA Pilot founder dies

Max Karant, who founded AOPAPilot in 1958 and served as its editor for 18 years, died on February 1 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He was 83.

During his career, Karant amassed 11,000 flight hours in general aviation aircraft, including five Atlantic crossings and a circumnavigation of South America. He held certificates to fly single- and multiengine airplanes, seaplanes, gliders, helicopters, and hot air balloons.

The aviator's ashes were to be flown by AOPA over a route past Washington National Airport, FAA headquarters, Capitol Hill, KRANT intersection (named after him), and out to sea, where — as he wished — they were to be scattered.

A tribute to Karant is planned for the April issue of AOPA Pilot.

Aerospatiale, Renault join to develop new engines

Aerospatiale and Renault Sport have formed Société de Motorisations Aéronautiques to develop a new family of diesel aircraft engines of 180, 200, 250, and 300 horsepower.

An engine is running and should be installed on a Trinidad for a Paris Air Show debut this June. The light-weight, Jet-A-burning, single-lever-control engines will have a 3,000-hour TBO.

Depreciation's impact minimized
A new way to step up the Piper product line

In an effort to sell more of its complete line of piston-powered aircraft, The New Piper Aircraft recently launched an innovative trade-in program for buyers of its new models.

The Piper Step-Up Program enables purchasers to trade up the product line easily, without the heavy depreciation often associated with late-model aircraft trade-ins. The program is applicable to any Piper model, but is envisioned mostly as a way for new pilots to transition up the line from an Archer through the Malibu Mirage.

A pilot buying an Archer, for example, would trade in the airplane 18 months later and be credited with the entire retail price that he paid minus a usage fee. In the case of the Archer, the fee is $30 per hour, and the minimum usage is 250 hours, or $7,500. In other words, if an Archer owner traded in his airplane 18 months after purchasing it, he would receive the retail price minus $7,500 toward the purchase of the next aircraft up the model line, the Saratoga II HP — assuming that he put no more than 250 hours on the airplane. Additional hours would be charged at $30 per hour. Piper would permit a maximum of 800 hours to be put on the airplanes over the 18 months.

When turning in the Saratoga 18 months later for a Seneca V twin or Malibu Mirage, the buyer would be credited with the price of the Saratoga minus a minimum of 250 hours at $60 per hour. The Seneca V rate is $100.

Those taking advantage of the program must maintain the aircraft according to Piper's service schedule, and the aircraft being turned in can have no damage history. The aircraft are covered by Piper's two-year spinner-to-tail warranty.

The second and subsequent aircraft purchased under the Step-Up Program are eligible for an interest rate reduction of 0.25 percent under the Piper finance plan.

The Step-Up Program can be an attractive plan for those interested in moving up the Piper line. A 1995 Archer, for example, has experienced a depreciation of about $26,000, according to the Aircraft Bluebook-Price Digest. The average owner flying no more than 250 hours over 18 months could recoup all but $7,500 toward another aircraft under the Step-Up Program. — Thomas B. Haines

Notice of annual meeeting of members

The annual meeting of the members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and AOPA Legislative Action will be held at 12 noon on Saturday, May 3, at Wings Field, Ambler, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the meeting is to receive reports and transact such other business as may properly come before the meeting, including the election of trustees. — John S. Yodice, Secretary

Pilots planning to attend the 1997 Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, who are unfamiliar with arrival procedures should call 941/644-2431 for a free video. Arrival procedures will be in effect April 4 to 12. The video describes air traffic flow into the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and provides aerial footage of local landmarks. In addition, a recently constructed air traffic control tower at Kissimmee will be staffed for the fly-in. For additional information, see Sun 'n Fun's World Wide Web site ( www.sun-n-fun.com).

Meyer to remain at Cessna for three more years

Despite musings that Cessna's Russ Meyer would retire from the company this year, the 64-year-old chairman and CEO is planning to stay for three more years, according to Cessna officials.

Meyer was rumored to be considering retirement at the age of 65 with his company thriving in business jet sales and reestablishing its roots with the new single-engine program. A spate of promotions and delegation of authority to other Cessna executives had fueled the rumor.

But, according to company officials, Meyer never had any intentions of retiring and, in fact, never said that he was planning to. Meyer has been with Cessna since 1974 and says that he plans to stay through 1999.

Dan Denny, designer of the Kitfox, has developed the two-passenger Thunder Mustang kitplane with a 640-horsepower engine and a climb rate predicted to be greater than 5,000 feet per minute. The conventional-gear aircraft is in flight testing and has reached speeds of 217 knots. The three-quarter-scale replica of the P-51 Mustang is claimed to be capable of reaching maximum cruise speeds of 312 knots. The Falconer V-12 engine, which can be reconfigured to reach 1,200 hp and even 1,500 hp for short periods, was developed by Ryan Falconer. Race fans know him as the designer of the famous Novi engine that won the Indy 500 race in 1966. The kit for the 3,000-pound maximum gross weight aircraft, including the engine, totals $175,000. For information, call 208/466-5204.

Residents angered by Mile High flights

Noise-sensitive residents of Van Nuys, California, were perturbed to hear that one airplane departing Van Nuys Airport is used as an aerial bedroom, supposedly contributing to the airport's noise problem. The residents are targeting Mile High Adventures, which flies approximately 15 couples a month in its "specially equipped" 1957 Twin Commander.

Nick Edgar, owner of Mile High, said that residents simply view his business as a frivolous operation and that they try to use the moral issue to compound their noise complaints. In a press release, Edgar noted that his airplane would hardly be noticed compared to the noise created by the transport category jets that take off from Van Nuys. Edgar is quick to note that he has never violated the noise limit at the airport, either from the outside or the inside of his airplane.

"This is the last straw, people fornicating in the skies over our city. It's sleazy. What people do in their own bedroom is their business. What people do over our heads is the community's business," said Gerald Silver, president of a homeowners association who was quoted in the Daily News.

Edgar says, "The company's service is not simply about sex in the sky, it's about romance and something unique and special that couples can do."

"It absolutely infuriates me that someone is up there having a grand old time at my expense," said Ann Carver, another resident. It doesn't look like the residents will win this one, though. Mile High is licensed by the FAA and, as long as it runs a legitimate operation, there is no reason to shut it down. Mile High Adventures can be reached through an entertaining site on the World Wide Web ( www.milehighclub.com).

The FAA issued an emergency order revoking the repair station certificate of Memphis-based A/C Fuel Cells Worldwide, citing evidence of falsified part and serial numbers and the use of unauthorized parts in overhauling bladder-type aircraft fuel cells. The FAA also cited the operation for inspecting, repairing, and returning to service life rafts and life vests without the availability of appropriate maintenance manuals. A/C Fuel Cells says it does not agree with the findings and is cooperating with the FAA to remedy the situation.

Canada certifies ALS computer-based training device

Transport Canada has approved ground instruction on computer-based single- and multiengine training devices built by Aviation Learning Systems of Chantilly, Virginia, for use in obtaining any type of flight crew license.

Both trainers have instructor consoles where adjustments to the flight environment, such as engine failures, can be made while the program is running. The units were approved as Level Two Flight Training Devices, allowing their use in Canada to be credited towards the completion of flight training requirements.

Loaded in the system are five makes of single-engine aircraft and one twin-engine aircraft. The certification was for the professional-level devices; the single-pilot model costs $14,995, while the dual-pilot model costs $19,995. Aviation Learning Systems also makes training devices without instructor consoles. Their prices start at $7,500. For information, call 703/502-7971.

Trimble and AirCell announce phone service

Trimble, the GPS receiver and avionics manufacturer, intends to produce and support a new line of wireless aircraft telephones.

Under terms of a joint agreement, Trimble and the AirCell telecommunications network will create an airborne cellular telephone service. The system will consist of Trimble's TrimConnect 3100D handset and airborne antenna, plus a nationwide network of 150 of AirCell's dedicated ground-based antennas.

These antennas will be colocated at existing ground mobile cellular telephone antenna sites but operate in a different frequency spectrum. Advertised as more than a mere voice system, TrimConnect will be able to send and receive data transmissions via modem, as well as fax messages, according to Trimble.

TrimConnect handsets and airborne hardware will sell for $5,995; there are 1,600 orders so far. AirCell says that airtime rates will be $1.75 per minute. The monthly service charge is $45. So far, antenna sites provide only partial coverage.

Twenty sites are being installed each month. The coast-to-coast network will be completed by July. Aircraft must fly above 5,000 feet for optimum reception. — Thomas A. Horne

Single-engine IFR for Part 135 revisited

The comment period regarding Part 135 single-engine IFR operations is drawing to a close and the proposed rule will likely not be opposed. What will the new rules require for operators interested in complying?

According to the notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Federal Register on December 3, 1996, an airplane will need an autopilot (for single-pilot operations); a standby vacuum source; and a means of engine wear and trend monitoring, including oil analysis, at every 100-hour (or annual) inspection. The rule will also require two independent electrical power generating sources. The second source may be a standby battery capable of providing 150 percent of the minimum electrical load (a yet-to-be-determined figure that is expected to appear in the final rule) for at least one hour.

Many operators and organizations were surprised to see that the rule included piston singles and not simply turbine-powered singles like the Pilatus PC-XII, Cessna Caravan, or the Aerospatiale TBM 700. The FAA believes that this move to allow IFR passenger-carrying operations in all properly equipped single-engine aircraft will improve safety since it allows operators to take advantages of the services within the IFR structure.

In addition, the FAA does not expect Part 135 operators to simply drop their twins in favor of the lower operating costs of the singles.

The X-33 reusable launch vehicle, the country's next generation of space transportation, is taking shape during wind tunnel tests. The Lockheed Martin "Skunk Works" is conducting low-speed aerodynamic wind-tunnel testing, while the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is conducting hypersonic aerodynamic and flight control testing in a Mach 20 helium gas tunnel.

Balloon competitors try for round-the-world goal

Steve Fossett landed safely in Pirthiganj, India, on January 20, after running low on fuel during his attempt at the first manned balloon around-the-globe nonstop flight. He had taken off from St. Louis in Solo Spirit 6 days and 3 hours earlier, setting a new duration record. Fossett ran low on fuel when forced to navigate around countries that would not grant him permission to pass through their airspace.

Earlier in the month, a separate attempt by Bertrand Piccard and Wim Verstraeten, aboard the Breitling Orbiter, ended with an emergency landing at sea. The balloon had developed a fuel leak. The team said that it will try again, but no date was mentioned.

Also trying for the record is the Dymocks Odyssey, sponsored by a book dealer, which will launch in late December or January from Australia. The balloon, using technology developed by NASA for scientific research, will cruise at 130,000 feet when warmed by the sun and 80,000 feet at night.

French international aerobatic competitor Dominique Roland has become CEO of AkroTech Europe, the new European distributor for the Giles G-200 and G-202 kitplanes. The operation will be based in Bernay, France. Roland is the former chief test pilot at Avions Mudry. Also part of the operation is Jean Marie Klinka, considered the father of the CAP series of aerobatic aircraft and former chief engineer for Avions Mudry. For information, write Dominique Roland at 36 rue de Chanoine, Poree-27300, Bernay, France or e-mail ( aeroland@mocronet.fr).

Wonder what flying will be like in 2001? For one thing, the airports with the biggest weather hazards will have new Integrated Terminal Weather Systems designed to predict microbursts, gust fronts, storm cell movements, and runway winds up to 10 minutes in advance. The FAA has ordered the systems from Raytheon Equipment Division in Marlborough, Massachusetts, under a $44.5 million contract, and will install the first one in Memphis in late 2001. There will eventually be 34 sites. The system combines data from FAA and National Weather Service sensors and radars, and converts it to graphics and text. The information can be transmitted to aircraft capable of receiving weather information via datalink.

Keep your seatbelt securely fastened, the airline flight attendants say, but many passengers don't. That's how 58 airline passengers a year get injured, the FAA says. The FAA is working with consumer safety groups on a campaign called "Turbulence Happens."

Volunteers at the Carolinas Aviation Museum at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, North Carolina, are raising $64,000 to complete the purchase of a Douglas DC-3 once used by Piedmont Airlines. The museum's purchase prevented the aircraft's being sold for cargo duty in Venezuela. The museum also displays a North American T-28, a Republic F-84G Thunderjet, a Chance Vought A-7 Corsair II used in Desert Storm, and a Grumman OV-1.

AOPA members in the news

Don Engen, AOPA 471740, of Alexandria, Virginia, was presented the Welch Pogue Award by the Aviation Week Group for his aviation leadership. Engen is the director of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

David Waters, AOPA 1217381, vice president of Truman Arnold Companies (TAC), has completed the acquisition of two FBOs in Lexington, Kentucky, and Greenville, South Carolina. They will be named TAC Air.

Lt. Col. John Kennedy, AOPA 867128, of Edmond, Oklahoma, has become the first non-rated officer in Air Force history to command an operational flying squadron, the 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron based at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma.

Mike Potts, AOPA 718455, of Wichita has joined Sino-Swearingen Aircraft Corporation as the director of corporate communications. Potts previously worked in public relations for Raytheon's Beech Aircraft division.

Dominik Strobel, AOPA 973942, of Fairfield, Iowa, founder of Flight Training Adventure Camps for Youth, was featured in a half-hour television program titled Teenflight, which aired in Switzerland. The program profiled the camp, which is designed to lure teenagers away from drugs and alcohol with a cross-country aviation adventure in the United States.

Renee Mills, AOPA 1114383, of Milan, Michigan, has been appointed director of safety for American International Airways, a Part 121 freight airline in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Bill Olson, AOPA 1292412, of Beaverton, Oregon, has been elected president of the Oregon Pilots Association.

Kevin Wright, AOPA 743017, of North Mankato, Minnesota, was elected president of the Flying Funeral Directors Association.

Joseph A. Jansen, AOPA 315447, has been named manager of marketing and product development for McCauley Propeller Systems in Vandalia, Ohio.

Cessna Aircraft Company has appointed seven regional sales representatives for single-engine sales. They are: Bruce Keller, AOPA 1320872, of Middleburg, Virginia; Steve Kent, AOPA 1321716, of Warwick, New York; Bill Kovac, AOPA 1242693, of Milwaukee; Rich Manor, AOPA 1005656, of Orlando, Florida; Jim Roth, AOPA 902039, of Wichita; Bill Sprague, AOPA 1077270, of Seattle; and Mark Stevenson, AOPA 1237992, of Denver.

Bill Signs, AOPA 939074, will retrace the flight made by Charles Lindbergh 70 years ago, on the same date as Lindbergh. He will first fly from California to Long Island, beginning on May 10. The Dallas businessman will make the flights in his Cessna 210 and expects to complete the historic journey in 23 hours, or about 10 fewer than Lindbergh required.

Squawk Sheet

As many as 7,000 Lycoming engines may be affected by an airworthiness directive requiring the replacement of piston pins in 320-, 360-, 540-, 541-, and 720-series engines. The suspect pins (part number LW-14077, code 17328) were delivered from a batch that shipped after December 15, 1995, and before September 17, 1996. Any engine that was overhauled with Lycoming cylinder kits or had cylinder-head maintenance performed after December 15, 1995, is suspected. A maintenance records check may allow an owner to determine the applicability of the AD. If the inferior pins are found, they must be replaced within 50 hours' total time in service or within the next 5 hours if the engine has more than 45 hours' total time. Lycoming will pay for the compliance provided that the owner has a purchase order or other documented proof of the Lycoming part. View the AD on AOPA Online on CompuServe (library: Aviation Rulemaking; filename: 970103.TXT) or on the Internet (www.aopa.org).

Airworthiness directive 97-01-13 affects Cessna 100, 200, 300, and many 400-series airplanes. The AD requires a maintenance records check to see whether a fuel, oil, or hydraulic hose (part number S51-10) was replaced between March 1995 and February 3, 1997. If the hose has a diagonal or spiral external reinforcement wrap, it must be replaced. Reports of hoses collapsing in service prompted the AD.

AD 96-24-17 requires owners of Luscombe Models 8, and 8A through F to install new inspection holes, modify the wing tip fairings, and inspect the wing spar for corrosion.

Advanced maneuvers training has been added at SimuFlite Training International, a simulator facility located at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The newly approved course explores the roll and pitch attitudes associated with wake turbulence; it also includes training on when and where vortices exist. For information, call 800/527-2463 or 972/456-8000, or see the Web site ( www.simuflite.com).

Pilots entering the Wilson Air Center FBO at Memphis International Airport will think that they are entering a hotel, or at least that is the intention of the new facility's owners. Three brothers, all sons of Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, have joined forces to create an FBO based on a hotel theme. Yes, there's a concierge. Corporate aircraft owned by Kemmons Wilson Companies include a Cessna 182, a 210, and a CitationJet, and a Pilatus PC-XII. Before the Holiday Inn business was sold in the 1970s, the chain had a Douglas DC-3 as a corporate aircraft. They are still in the hotel business, now operating the Wilson World chain mostly in southern states, but they have not decided whether to build a chain of FBOs. The purpose of the design is to provide a classy front door for business visitors to Memphis.

Navy buys Lowrance AirMap handheld GPS units

The Pentagon, in its continuing effort to equip its pilots with moving map technology, has purchased 122 Lowrance handheld AirMap GPS units for U.S. Navy pilots under a $206,230 contract. The amount includes accessories, one-year subscriptions to North American and international database updates, and a training video for each unit.

The contract was awarded by the Naval Air Systems Command. In April 1996, following an Air Force accident in which Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was killed, the Pentagon directed that all military passenger-carrying aircraft should be equipped with GPS receivers "...as soon as possible."

The Navy had hoped to install fully integrated GPS receivers into 4,645 Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard aircraft before the end of calendar year 1996, but as of January 18, integrated systems were installed into only 989 aircraft (21 percent). As a result, interim portable GPS handheld receivers were purchased for those aircraft that did not yet have panel-mount units. In all, the Navy has purchased 684 handheld GPS receivers, including 547 Rockwell Collins Enhanced Precision Lightweight GPS Receivers (they do not have an aviation database and were built for ground forces), 10 Magellan EC-10X receivers, five II Morrow Apollo Precedus models, and 122 Lowrance units. The five-channel Rockwell Collins unit uses secret military codes for improved accuracy and is not available to the general public. The Air Force has purchased Bendix/King receivers.

Lowrance won its contract after supplying several units for field testing. Each AirMap comes with a 4-megabyte Worldwide Surface Background Map. In the contiguous 48 states, the background map includes interstate highways, cities, lakes, and rivers.

The Navy will not buy additional units.

Air Tractor of Olney, Texas, is flight testing an AT-402A powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-11AG engine upgraded to 550 shaft horsepower. It uses a three-blade Hartzell propeller. Certification testing should be completed this spring. The 400-gallon aircraft is designed for first-time turbine operators. For information, call Air Tractor at 817/564-5616.

Want a piece of fabric off the rudder or elevator of the Spruce Goose ? With it you'll get a certificate indicating that your square inch of fabric was airborne on November 2, 1947, when Howard Hughes flew the military transport prototype for a mile along the Long Beach, California, waterfront. The Evergreen Airventure Museum in McMinnville, Oregon, is selling the patches for $25 to raise funds for a building to house the Spruce Goose, now owned by the museum. The control surfaces have been repaired. For information, call 503/472-9361.

Western Michigan University has bought six new Cessna 172s for use as trainers. The school was the last fleet customer for the Cessna 152 before production was halted.

Bombardier Regional Aircraft announced the biggest sale to date of its Canadair Regional Jet. Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA), a Delta feeder airline, said that it will buy 30 of the aircraft, with an option for 30 more.