Pilot Briefing

August 1, 1998

Mooney cuts short-body models

In a move to consolidate its line and improve profitability, Mooney Aircraft Corporation has announced that by the end of summer both of the short-body models will go into hiatus. These include the evergreen Allegro (last produced as the MSE, and as the 201 before that) and the recently certified Encore, a significantly revamped turbo-Continental-powered 252.

Production of the Continental-powered Ovation and the Lycoming-motivated Bravo (formerly TLS), both so-called long-body models, will continue. The majority of the fuselage stretch in these models comes aft of the front seats, creating cockpits of similar dimensions for all models. (The longer fuselage was first used on the normally aspirated Porsche Mooney in 1988.)

Plans to replace the Allegro are said to include a new entry-level model with a longer airframe. Batch production of similarly equipped Allegros and Encores-as Mooney has done in the past-has also been discussed. Company spokesmen have hinted for some time that the line would really benefit from a pressurized model, and this has been taken to mean that a new fuselage could be forthcoming. The current Mooney fuselage, with steel-tube substructure, is ill-suited to pressurization.

In the last quarter, Allegro and Encore models combined to make up nearly half of all Mooney deliveries. Mooney has also said that it will keep the tooling in the event that demand dictates a return of either model. - Marc E. Cook

Commander 114s get known-ice approval

Commander Aircraft Company announced several new options for the 114B and 114TC high-performance singles, including the availability of the TKS deicing system, complete with known ice certification.

After nearly a year and a half in the certification process, Commander landed the FAA's blessing of the weeping-wing deicing system for installation on the wide-body singles. TKS is an option on new Commanders and is available as a retrofit installation on older 114Bs and 114TCs. TKS with known-ice approval will be a $42,000 option. Retrofit jobs will cost $44,000. Other safety options added to the list are an 85-amp standby alternator and warning annunciators for the airplane's two vacuum pumps.

On the avionics side, Commander is now offering BFGoodrich's Skywatch collision avoidance system, a Shadin fuel computer, and Arnav's MFD 5200 multifunction display. Also enhancing the usefulness of new Commanders is a recently announced long-range wing tank option for the 114B model, which boosts usable fuel by 20 gallons over the standard 68 gallons. For more information, contact the Commander Aircraft Company in Bethany, Oklahoma, at 405/495-8080 or visit the Web site ( www.commanderair.com).

Two men were killed in the crash of a prototype Van's RV-8 single engine tailwheel aircraft on May 24 near Ripley, California, after taking off from Blythe, California. Killed were Van's Aircraft employee John Morgan and passenger Lawrence Hull. A portion of the left wing out-board of the gas cap was found miles from the crash site. The had previously been tested to 9 Gs. The aircraft was featured in the October 1997 Pilot. A preliminary NTSB report has been posted on the Web ( www.vansaircraft.com).

ADS-B begins testing

II Morrow has received permission from the FAA and Federal Communications Commission to begin testing of the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) system that has been installed in the company's Partenavia twin. Using ADS-B, pilots will be able to receive traffic, weather, navigation, and flight information in the cockpit.

II Morrow's ADS-B testing will explore three types of datalink technology. Tests will transmit information on 966 MHz, through a Mode S transponder, or through VHF datalink mode 4. 11 Morrow, which is owned by UPS, is developing the technology on behalf of the Cargo Airlines Association. The test marks the first stage of ADS-B evaluation.

Two $15,000 flight training scholarships have been awarded by Sporty's Pilot Shop. The winners are Joe Black, a student from Michigan who hopes to study aviation in college, and Dennis Dennison, of Maryland, who will use the funds to become a flight instructor.

Luscombe Aircraft Corporation of Altus, Oklahoma, completed the first flight of its 126-kt Luscombe Spartan 185 11E prototype on June 19. The $140,000 (IFR equipped) four-place airplane is based on the older tailwheel Luscombe 11E design, with several changes. During the flight the aircraft demonstrated its maximum cruise speed of 130 kts. The company, which owns the type certificate for the Luscombe 11E, added a nosewheel to that design, made electrical and control changes, modernized the windscreen, and modified the engine cowling to accommodate a 210-horsepower Continental IO-360ES engine. The changes mean that the aircraft will have to go through recertification, which could be completed in a year The engine has been derated to 185 hp and is claimed to burn nine gallons per hour The company will build two additional aircraft to be used for certification testing. Production is scheduled to begin by late 1999. The company says that the aircraft has a payload with full fuel (40 gallons, of which 39 are usable) of 690 pounds and a range of 425 nm at 80-percent power For information, call Charles Gibson at 7021434-6722.

Cirrus Design Corporation has increased the price for its four-place single-engine aircraft, the Cirrus SR20. All orders placed for a Cirrus SR20 after July 17 will be at the standard price of $168,800. Today, an SR20 starts at $159,600. The newly priced SR20 will include the same standard equipment as provided under the old price. It includes Trimble TrimLine avionics (with an IFR approach GPS), the Arnav 10-inch moving map display, the PS Engineering stereo audio panel, the S-TEC System Twenty autopilot, and a BRS parachute recovery system. Currently Cirrus has 156 firm orders for the SR20, all secured by $15,000 deposits. It is expected that the SR20 will be certified and deliveries will begin later this year.

The Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame has given its 1998 Spirit of Flight Award to the Palwaukee Airport Pilots Association for numerous activities in support of general aviation, including airport tours for the public, safety and educational seminars, and scholarship awards.

Dassault Aviation has unveiled the design concept for the Dassault supersonic Falcon business jet. The aircraft is planned to have a range of 4,000 nm and cruise at Mach 1.8 carrying eight passengers. Three nonafterburning engines to be derived from either the GE F414 or SNECMA M88 series will power it. The aircraft will be 104 feet in length, with a 56-foot wingspan and a maximum takeoff weight of 86,000 pounds. In other Dassault news, the Falcon 2000 has become the first business jet to earn both European Joint Aviation Authorities and FAA certification for Cat. III(a) operations. The certification is based on use of the Flight Dynamics HGS-2850 Head-Up Guidance System and allows the jet to land in weather conditions of a 700-foot runway visual range and a 50-foot decision height.

Golf pro Nick Price (seated) has taken delivery of a Bell 407 helicopter. Price (shown with Bell Helicopter President Terry Stinson) predicted that the helicopter will give him more time to spend with his family Price, 41, joined the PGA Tour In 1982 and has professional earnings of $9 million.

NASA 'ice zapper' to be used by Lancair

An innovative NASA ice-removal system will be offered with the new Lancair Columbia 300 airplane later this summer.

"The system pulverizes ice into small articles and removes layers of ice as thin as frost or as thick as an inch of glaze," said inventor Leonard Haslim of NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. Haslim won NASA's inventor of the year award in 1988 for the Electro-Expulsive Separation System, which he also calls the "ice zapper."

The system uses a powerful electronic photoflash-like power supply combined with a thin copper ribbon that looks like a belt flattened on itself and is embedded in a rubbery plastic. The looped, flattened copper ribbons are bonded to the wings, engine inlets, and other airplane parts where ice can form. In less than a millisecond, the system sends bursts of high-current electricity through the two parallel layers of copper ribbon. The resultant magnetic fields suddenly repel each other. The upper ribbon jumps less than twenty-thousandths of an inch with high acceleration. The motion breaks the ice bond, shattering the ice into table salt-size particles, and the airstream carries them from the airplane's surface.

The Transponder Landing System (TLS) made by Advanced Navigation & Positioning Corp., in Hood River, Oregon, has received type certification from the FAA. The certification grants approval for use of the system at airports in the United States as well as worldwide. The system has been in development for five years, and four have been installed around the world. Through use of a computer base station, which interrogates the approaching aircraft's transponder, the system uplinks precision guidance signals to the aircraft, allowing it to fly approaches to Category I minimums. The accuracy of the approach can be monitored on the ground-based computer and is saved for review.

Lou Wipotnik, AOPA 182439, of Mount Prospect, Illinois, has added his fifth ATP certificate to his long list of pilot credentials. Wipotnik, 1996's Flight Instructor of the Year, has all seven CFI certificates, and all rotorcraft and ground instructor certificates.

Lears, Citations may be grounded in Part 135 cargo operations

In a recent rulemaking the FAA rescinded supplemental type certificates that it had previously issued for Cessna Citations and Learjets converted to cargo or so called "combi" (combination cargo/passenger) configurations. Part 135 cargo operators of these airplanes are worried that the rulemaking would ground them or drive up costs substantially.

At the heart of the rule is the agency's determination that these modified airplanes did not meet the cargo compartment certification requirements and emergency exit requirements.

The National Air Transportation Association issued a strongly worded press release blasting the FAA for "reversing its own approved alterations." According to NATA, the FAA failed to identify any specific unsafe conditions of the aircraft in its Handbook Bulletin for Airworthiness 98-12. NATA went on to say that the FAA is second-guessing its acceptance of engineer- designed, FAA-approved aircraft alterations for the past 20 years. Prior to the rulemaking, NATA recommended that the FAA issue an airworthiness directive to correct any unsafe condition.

According to the handbook, owners can comply with the rule by accepting a 12-month implementation plan that includes the installation of an unspecified STC.

An FAA spokeswoman said the agency has not "grounded" any airplanes. "We have told the industry that they have to come up with a transition plan and once the plan is in place, they have one year to do the work. We expect to issue an amended handbook bulletin to our inspectors shortly that will provide additional guidance."

Texas Skyways, of Boerne, Texas, received a supplemental type certificate to install a 300-hp Continental I&S50 and Hartzell three-blade propeller on Cessna 205 and 205A airplanes. No airframe or cowling modifications are required Cost for the conversion Is $35,000 to $40,000 and one week of downtime. For more Information, contact Texas Skyways at 8301755-8989.

A tethered balloon built to carry 25 passengers and standing 115 feet tall has begun service for visitors to the Fantasy of Flight attraction in Polk City, Florida. The balloon is filled with 200,000 cubic feet of helium. It can lift passengers up to 500 feet when allowed to float aloft at the end of a cable.

Raytheon spin-testing Beech Baron - again

Raytheon Aircraft Company issued a safety communique to owners of Beech Baron twins that deals with the subject of spin avoidance and recovery techniques.

Up to the issue date of the bulletin, Raytheon test pilots had completed a total of 97 spins in a B55 Baron. Raytheon admits that it has found nothing new about the characteristics of multiengine airplane spins. They confirmed that it is possible to enter a spin from which the airplane will not recover.

The tests were conducted in various flight configurations; in all but two of the spins, the aircraft responded to standard spin recovery techniques. In the two unrecoverable spins, the test pilots found that if asymmetric thrust was carried through the spin entry and into a developed spin, the airplane would enter a dangerous and possibly unrecoverable spin. A spin chute was used by the test pilots to recover.

Data collected from the spins will be provided to the FAA. Raytheon noted that the B55 and other Baron models have good spin-avoidance characteristics and that a multiengine pilot of ordinary skill can easily avoid an unintended spin. The report also states that "at forward centers of gravity, typical of most training flights, the aircraft will not experience a loss of directional control before a single-engine stall occurs."

FAA establishes Flight Information Services

The FAA has a new Flight Information Services policy that clears the way for broadcasting text and graphic weather and traffic information to the cockpit.

Under it, the FAA will make weather and traffic information equally available to all users, petition the Federal Communications Commission for four 25 kHz channels in the 136 to 136.9 MHz VHF spectrum over which to transmit the information, and establish guidelines.

Industry will provide the ground infrastructure and services, and develop products. Users may equip their aircraft and then receive basic information free, but they will pay for value-added services developed by industry.

AOPA worked with the FAA and others on the new policy statement. Pilots who do not buy the equipment will continue to get weather information from existing sources.

Buy a ticket, build a museum. Sponsors of the Fina Dallas Air Show at Dallas Love Field on September 12 and 13 are hoping to raise funds for a new aviation museum. The Frontiers of Flight Museum is now located in limited space in the Love Reid terminal building. Proceeds will go toward a home for the museum on the southeast comer of Dallas Love Field. The show features huge piston-engine transports used in the Berlin Airlift and stars Jan Collmer in the Fina Extra 300L (above) and Bobby Younkin in the huge 450-hp biplane known as Samson.

Revolution Helicopter Corporation, maker of the single-place Mini 500. has introduced the Voyager 500 two-place kitbuilt helicopter. Powered by a U.S. Air Power H1300 engine capable of producing 165 horsepower but derated to 138 hp, the Voyager 500 is expected to have a 14,000-foot service ceiling, a 560-pound useful load, and operating expenses as low as $20 per hour. For more information, contact Revolution in Excelsior Springs. Missouri, at 816163 7-2800.

The Gavilan 358 EL-1 single-engine utility aircraft made by El Gavilan of Bogota, Colombia, has received FAA certification. The $332,000 aircraft can carry eight people at 130 knots. It employs a tubular steel fuselage and is powered by a turbocharged 350-hp Lycoming VO-54alNV engine.

The prototype Thunder Mustang crashed on May 30 about 20 miles southwest of the Papa 51 Company factory, located near Nampa, Idaho, killing pilot Dale M. Clarke and passenger John K. Whitney. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. Debris from the impact was contained within 100 feet, suggesting that the aircraft hit the ground at an acute angle. Papa 51 will continue to produce kits for the Thunder Mustang.

In an effort to more easily identify the borders of sigmet (significant meteorological information) areas, the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center will soon adopt a new sigmet plotting chart that references VORs found on high- and low-altitude en route charts. In areas where there are gaps in the sigmet coverage, well-known airports are used instead of VORs. Previously, sigmets were plotted using VORs that may have been depicted only on low-altitude charts, making the plotting of sigmets difficult for those using high-altitude charts.

Cessna Aircraft has celebrated the delivery of the 250th Cessna 525 CitationJet. Sixty of the aircraft will be delivered in 1998.

Squawk Sheet

A proposed airworthiness directive ( 98-CE-47) has been issued that will require owners of Mooney M20J, M20K, M20M, and M20R model airplanes to grind the surface of the main landing gear leg bracket, inspect the area for cracks, and replace any cracked bracket.

A new airworthiness directive ( 98-13-10) that has been issued to owners of new Cessna Mode1182S airplanes requires a repetitive inspection of the exhaust muffler end plates for cracks. If cracks are found, the muffler must be replaced. The AD also requires the installation of a placard that specifies the immediate inspection of the muffler end plates any time the engine backfires upon startup.

Two new Blackmac Conversions announced by McCauley

McCauley Propeller Systems of Vandalia, Ohio, has introduced two new Blackmac propeller conversions for Piper airplanes. A new STC for the Piper Comanche 250 includes a new three-blade propeller, spinner, and governor for $6,825.

The propeller currently has no airworthiness directives against it, requires no changes to engine dampers, and is not affected by Lycoming service letter L235. McCauley claims that the new propeller provides significant improvements in climb rate and allows for shorter takeoff distances. TBO of the Comanche 250 Blackmac is 2,000 hours or 72 months. The three-blade McCauley is 6.8 pounds heavier than the two-blade Hartzell that it replaces.

McCauley also introduced a new Blackmac QZP propeller for the Piper Navajo (PA-31, PA-31-325). The three scimitar-shaped blades of the new propellers are claimed to provide smoother, quieter, and more reliable operation, while lowering operating costs with a TBO of 2,400 hours or 72 months. The kit includes two propellers and spinners for $18,000 to $20,000, depending on equipage. For more information, contact McCauley at 800/621-7767 or 937/890-5246.

On November 5, 1998, the abbreviation currently used for ice pellets, PE, will be replaced with a new abbreviation, PL, in the Aviation Routine Weather Report (METAR) and the Aerodrome Forecast (TAF). Members of the International Civil Aviation Organization agreed that this change is necessary because of the offensive language that resulted when rain, RA, and ice pellets, PE, occurred simultaneously or were forecast.

William K. Kershner, AOPA 084904, has completed the eighth edition of his popular The Student Pilot's Flight Manual. The AOPA Pilot contributor has included a new chapter on weather and new information on wake turbulence and medical facts, has updated FAA test questions with explanations, and has provided a detailed description of the FAA flight test. Call Iowa State University Press at 515/292-3348.

AOPA members in the news

Don Feight, AOPA 962053, has painted Thanks Charlie, a tribute to the late Eagles aerobatic team leader Charlie Hillard. It Is signed by team members Tom Poberezny and Gene Soucy. For Information, call 3031730-2340.

Charlie Precourt, AOPA 957416, has just completed his fourth space shuttle mission aboard Discovery, acting as the commander for the first time. Precourt is, like most of us, a grass-roots pilot; his piloting days began when he walked into Executive Flyers Aviation at Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, in the 1970s and asked to take flying lessons. He then went to the Air Force and later to NASA.

Gregory E. Chamitoff, Ph.D., AOPA 1276300; Nicholas J.M. Patrick, Ph.D., AOPA 953427; Garrett E. Reisman, Ph.D., AOPA 1118411; and U.S. Army Maj. Douglas H. Wheelock, AOPA 1268828, have been named as members of the astronaut candidate class of 1998. They report to Johnson Space Center in Houston this month. The class includes eight pilots and 17 mission specialists.

Eddie Duffard Jr., AOPA 064390, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, received the Forest of Friendship and Kitty Hawk awards for his nearly 50 years of flight instruction. The Forest of Friendship is a reserved area in Atchison, Kansas, for those who have contributed significantly to aviation. The award was given to Duffard during the national meeting of The Ninety-Nines in Atchison, the birthplace of Ninety-Nines founder Amelia Earhart. In 1997 Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster presented Duffard's Kitty Hawk Award, which recognizes 50 years in aviation as a pilot. Duffard now has more than 57,000 hours in the air, most of it in dual instruction. Duffard is a 49-year AOPA member who owns a Piper Archer.

Dorninik Strobel, AOPA 973942, has received television and newspaper coverage of his Flight Training Adventure Camps summer program. He is offering 20 scholarships, ranging from $200 to $1,700, for the first youngsters to sign up. For further information, call 515/472-5217 or send an e-mail to scholarships@ftacamp.com. For a brochure, write to Flight Training Adventure Camps, Post Office Box 1971, Fairfield, Iowa 52556.

Greg Teeter, AOPA 965524, led a group of pilots who built a 40-percent-scale replica of the Wright Flyer, to be displayed in a new airport terminal opening this summer in Cumberland, Maryland. Teeter got the idea after a visit to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, and obtained plans from the National Air & Space Museum.

Kenneth F. Wiegand, AOPA 915062, has received a distinguished service award from the FAA for his contributions to advances in Virginia's air transportation system. Wiegand is director of the Virginia Department of Aviation.

Robert J. Pinizzotto, AOPA 1191833, of Hammonton, New Jersey, and copilot Maryrose Crist won the Garden State 300, which is sponsored by the Garden State chapter of The Ninety-Nines. The team won the event in 1997, as well.

Norman L. Carroll, AOPA 714001, has opened Pilot Mart, a new pilot shop in Butler, Pennsylvania, and has published a 52-page color catalog. A new Web site is under construction ( www.pilotmart.net). For information, call 800-158-5529 or 724-586-1122.

Ron Wilson, AOPA 940038, a physical science teacher at the Chapelgate Christian Academy in Marriottsville, Maryland, took 42 students for introductory flights during a field trip to the Martin State Airport in Baltimore. Brett Aviation provided three Cessna 172s and three instructors, including Will Price, AOPA 1364412, of Middle River, Maryland.

Susan Colter, AOPA 945020, of Bloomington, Indiana, and Nancy Toon, AOPA 773102, of Atlanta, won the fourth annual Marion Jayne U.S. Air Race. The pair averaged 207.31 mph copiloting Colter's 1975 Mooney M20F on the abbreviated race route from Shreveport, Louisiana, to North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The VFR-only race finished in North Wilkesboro because of bad weather at the planned terminus in Frederick, Maryland. They won a trophy and $5,000 in cash.

Rans, Inc., located in Hays, Kansas, is celebrating the delivery of kitplane number 3,000. The first Rans kitplane flew in March 1983. The aircraft have been shipped to 40 countries.

Spain was the winning bidder n the contest to host the second World Air Games in 2001. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) met in Paris to award the bid put forth by the Real Aero Club de Espana and the Federacion Aeronautica Espanola. The games, which include competition in ballooning, gliding, parachuting, aerobatics, and rallying, will be held on 10 sites centered on Seville in Andalucia. The opening ceremony will be held in Seville, and the closing ceremony in Jerez de la Frontera. For more information, telephone 33-1-49-54-38-92; or visit the FAI Web site ( www.fai.org/wag/).

Raytheon Aircraft Services says that by the end of the year its charter service will include 60 aircraft dispatched from a 24-hour operations center in Wichita. Last year the charter service flew 10,000 hours. Most of the 43 aircraft now in the program, based at airports around the country, are privately owned. The aircraft include piston-engine, turboprop, and jet airplanes. For information, call Mark Danin at 316/676-8138.

Following an accident involving a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended to the FAA that an airworthiness directive be issued requiring compliance with Piper Service Bulletin 995A, which calls for the calibration of the turbine inlet temperature (TIT) system and possible replacement of the TIT probe in Malibu and Mirage airplanes.

Mattituck Airbase in Mattituck, New York, has become a sponsor of the French Connection Air Show Team. The engine overhaul firm sponsors very few performers but chose the French Connection because it demonstrates "precision and performance."

The business end of general aviation will get plenty of exposure over the next year as an anticipated 10 million people pass through a new exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit, called Business Wings, includes the oldest Cessna Citation 500 business jet in existence and a Beech King Air 90 turboprop. The Citation 500, the second one built, first flew on January 23, 1970. Besides the airplanes, the exhibit shows how general aviation moves the nation and its business, day in and day out. The display is funded in part by the National Business Aviation Association. At opening ceremonies on June 10, NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association honored two longtime aviation supporters who are retiring from the U.S. Senate: John Glenn (D-Ohio) and Wendell H. Ford (D-Ky.). - Thomas B. Haines

The Fantasy of Flight aviation theme park in Polk City, Florida, has acquired what is believed to be the last flying example of a Martin B-26 Marauder. For information, contact 941/984-3500.

Two GA airlifts in late June transported some 120 Belarussian children from Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., where they arrived on Aeroflot flights, to Youngstown, Ohio. AirLifeLine provided the transportation for the charity Children of Chernobyl. The children, suffering from radiation poisoning as a result of the 1986 nuclear power plant explosion, will spend the summer with host families and receive medical treatment. Signature Flight Support hosted the volunteer pilots' aircraft, which ranged from single-engine Cessnas to a Gulfstream I.

Steve Brown, formerly senior vice president for Government and Technical Affairs of AOPA, has been appointed FAA deputy associate administrator for Air Traffic Services. Brown had a long AOPA career, starting in the early 1980s in the AOPA Air Safety Foundation and rising through the ranks to head AOPA's government relations and technical activities. He left AOPA in 1997 to head the National Aeronautic Association. Well respected in the industry for his technical knowledge and service on numerous FAA committees, Brown is a flight instructor and aircraft owner.

Mr. RPM and Dakota Aero Manufacturers have taken delivery of the first certified copy of an Orenda OE-600 V-8 engine. The partnership is developing an STC to install two of the 600-hp, liquid-cooled V-8s on Twin Commander 685s. The consortium hopes to have an example on display at EAA's AirVenture '98 in Oshkosh this month. For information, call 701/223-8363.

The U.S. Aerobatic Team heads to Trencin, Republic of Slovakia, early this month to compete in the twentieth World Aerobatic Championships from August 14 to 24. Team pilots are Kirby Chambliss, Matt Chapman, Ellen Dean, Mike Goulian, Diane Hakala, Phil Knight, David Martin, and Debbie Rihn-Harvey. The Olympics-style competition occurs every other year. Sponsors and individual donations pay expenses. Sponsors this year include Aeroshell, Hartzell Propeller, Champion Aviation Products, and Lycoming.