Pilot Briefing

June 1, 1999

Emergency AD issued on TCM crankshafts

More than 3,000 large-bore engines manufactured by Teledyne Continental Motors in 1998 are targeted in Priority Letter Airworthiness Directive (AD) 99-09-17. The AD is intended to eliminate a rash of crankshaft breakages caused by a manufacturing defect.

Seven crankshaft failures resulted in six on-airport landings and one off-airport landing that resulted in minor injuries. In all of the failures, the crankshafts broke in the same place. Continental determined that the tool used to press counterweight bushings into the crank damaged a small number of cranks that were produced between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 1998. The nick penetrated the nitride layer, which is much harder than the crank itself; then a stress riser propagated across the number-two cheek.

TCM released Critical Service Bulletin 99-3 to owners of new or rebuilt 470-, 520-, and 550-series engines. The inspection process will involve removing cylinders one and three to allow visual and ultrasonic testing of the crankshaft's trouble area. TCM estimates the inspection will cost $700 to inspect normally aspirated engines and $900 for turbocharged installations. Charges will be picked up by TCM's warranty. The nondestructive testing part of the process will be performed by 20 designated TCM representatives.

The AD requires owners to comply within 10 hours' time in service if the engine has between 50 and 300 hours. If the engine has more than 300 hours, compliance time will be extended to within the next 50 hours. Failures have been occurring at accumulated times in service of 85 hours to 175 hours. Those with more than 300 hours' time in service are assumed to be undamaged, but TCM is taking no chances.

Meanwhile, owners of airplanes affected by this AD rallied together at the end of April to file a class-action lawsuit. The suit claims that TCM's inspection process is inadequate and the crankshafts must be removed and inspected by magnaflux instead of ultrasound. The damage amount of the lawsuit was not specified.

In late April AOPA Pilot visited Piedmont-Hawthorne Aviation in Leesburg, Virginia, which had more than a dozen airplanes in the hangar awaiting inspection from one of TCM's field representatives. Shop employees were worried that TCM had too many airplanes to inspect and too few inspectors.

TCM also wanted to reassure owners that this issue has nothing to do with the ongoing debate about crankshafts built using the airmelt process vs. the vacuum arc remelt (VAR) technique. Continental has set up a hotline for more information on the issue. Call 888/200-7565 or visit the Web site ( www.tcmlink.com).

Pilots receive $1 million
Breitling Orbiter 3 to go to NASM

Part of the envelope and the entire gondola of the record-setting Breitling Orbiter 3, the first balloon to make a nonstop flight around the world, will be on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

The April 7 announcement, which took place in the Milestones of Flight gallery at the museum, followed the presentation of the Budweiser Cup and a $1 million check to pilots Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones from representatives of Anheuser-Busch. The Budweiser Cup challenge, announced in November 1997, awarded $500,000 to the pilots and $500,000 to the charity of the team's choice.

NASM will receive the balloon around mid-September after temporary displays in the pilots' home countries of Switzerland and England.

Second Cirrus production prototype flies

Cirrus Design of Duluth, Minnesota, flew its second production prototype of the SR20 on April 29, a little more than a month after the crash of the first production prototype, which killed test pilot Scott Anderson (see " Pilot Briefing," May Pilot).

NTSB officials are still investigating the March 23 crash while the FAA and Cirrus are conducting an internal review of the SR20 design and production procedures.

A Cirrus official stated that production plans slipped about three to four weeks because of the crash but added that deliveries should begin this summer.

Michael W. Campbell of Scottsdale, Arizona, had his Giles G-202 tandem-seat aerobatic airplane painted by artist Larry Vela to resemble a biomechanical monster. Primal Fear, as the airplane is known, was on display at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In. Perhaps it is more like a creature from the film, Alien. As a matter of fact, Primal Fear was inspired by the artwork of H.R. Giger, the creator of the Sigourney Weaver-harassing creature in that film. The name Primal Fear came from a conversation Campbell had with a friend about what it's like to fly extremely agile aerobatic airplanes. It took 10 weeks of eight-hour days, six days a week, to airbrush the nightmarish design.

Record billings for GA aircraft in first quarter

The first quarter of 1999 continued GA's bull market for new aircraft deliveries, according to statistics released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

At $1.7 billion, billings were up nearly 50 percent compared to the same period in 1998. Meanwhile, shipments were up 5 percent to 479 units. The jet market experienced explosive growth as deliveries were up nearly 60 percent to 107 aircraft compared to the first quarter of 1998. Piston shipments dropped 2.4 percent to 322 deliveries. GAMA considers that statistic steady in comparison to 1998's record numbers.

The best sellers of the big three? Cessna sold 51 of its 180-horsepower Skyhawk SPs, New Piper delivered 28 Archer IIIs, and Raytheon sold 12 Beech Baron 58s.

Thomas F. "Tony" Piper, son of Piper Aircraft founder W.T. Piper, died in Fort Myers, Florida, on April 3 at age 84. He was the first member of the Piper family to become a pilot and flight instructor. He was vice president and general manager of Piper Aircraft from the late 1940s through the 1960s. Piper was the third of William T. Piper's five children. He retired from Piper in 1969, shortly after Piper became a division of Bangor Punta Corporation as the result of a hostile takeover attempt by Chris Craft Industries.

Cessna's CitationJet 2 made its first flight on April 27. The CJ2 is essentially a stretched, more powerful version of the company's CitationJet and is powered by two Williams FJ44-2C turbofans. The CJ2 is expected to begin deliveries in 2001.

Thomas A. Horne, AOPA Pilot editor at large, has written Flying America's Weather, published by Aviation Supplies & Academics of Newcastle, Washington.

You've heard all the weather theory, but how do you learn about regional weather in the places you'll be flying? Horne, author of Pilot's "Wx Watch" column for the past 12 years, shows how global forces create understandable and repeating patterns as they act on regional geography.

The book is available for $19.95 plus shipping from ASA, 7005 132nd Place Southeast, Newcastle, Washington 98059-3153; telephone 425/235-1500.

Squawk Sheet

Cessna recently released a mandatory service bulletin affecting 600 Cessna 172R and 172S aircraft that requires an inspection of the vertical fin aft spar and rivets used to attach the lower fitting. The SB calls for checks of clearance between the aft tailcone bulkhead, tailcone side skins, and the horizontal stabilizer forward spar. Depending on what is found, some 172s may need to have rivets replaced or the vertical aft spar support filed. In some cases, the fin will have to be removed for modification. Compliance is mandatory within 200 hours or six months, whichever occurs first. Cessna is picking up the tab under warranty.

The FAA has proposed an airworthiness directive (98-CE-112) that will require the calibration of the turbine inlet temperature gauge on Piper PA-46-310P and -350P airplanes to ensure the accuracy of the gauge. Systems that fail the calibration test would need to be replaced if the AD becomes final.

Porsche Mooney (M20L) owners should be aware of airworthiness directive 99-04-15 that requires replacement of valve springs prior to further flight to prevent an in-flight engine failure.

SJ30-2 visits future home

Sino-Swearingen Aircraft's prototype SJ30-2 business jet made its first visit to the company's new factory at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport in Martinsburg on April 26. Five production prototypes will be built in San Antonio, where the company's engineering functions are located, and then the tooling will be moved to the West Virginia facility.

The certification prototype airplane should be ready for its first flight by the end of this year, according to Jack Braly, the company's chairman and chief executive officer. Completion of the first production aircraft is expected by the end of 2000 — about the same time the company expects FAA certification of the SJ30-2.

The company advertises a 2,500-nm range, a Mach 0.80 cruise speed, and a service ceiling of 49,000 feet. "We have clearly demonstrated that our design will meet all the claims," Braly said. The SJ30-2 will seat a pilot plus six or seven passengers, depending on configuration. The company is seeking certification in the FAR Part 23 Commuter category; it would be the first jet to be so certified by the FAA. — Michael P. Collins

AlliedSignal's Bendix/King division introduced the KLN 94 IFR GPS receiver with color moving map at the Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In. The KLN 94 is a plug-in replacement for the company's monochrome KLN 89B GPS receiver. The KLN 94 offers an enhanced version of the KLN 89B's operating system for easy transition. Cartographic data — such as rivers, roads, lakes, railroads, and towers — is displayed on the map. Like the KLN 89B, the 94 will depict special-use airspace. A quick-tune feature will feed frequencies from the 94's database directly into a KX 155A navcom. Built-in annunciators negate the requirement for a separate annunciator/switching unit. Deliveries of the KLN 94 are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2000. Price of the unit will be $5,190. For more information contact Bendix/King at 913/712-2613, or visit the Web site ( www.bendixking.com).

Gulf Coast purchases remaining Terra inventory

Gulf Coast Avionics, which recently moved from Tampa to a new 29,000-square-foot facility comprising a showroom, repair shop, and a 9,000-square-foot hangar at Florida's Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, has acquired and will sell the remaining inventory of Terra by Trimble general aviation avionics.

Trimble had been trying unsuccessfully to sell its general aviation product line, including the Terra brand that the company purchased several years ago. Gulf Coast will sell the remaining Terra by Trimble transceivers, transponders, audio panels, and navcoms. The Gulf Coast announcement confirms an earlier report that Trimble was planning this spring to build out the general aviation line with the remaining new parts in inventory. Gulf Coast President Rick Garcia said his company was still negotiating with Trimble to provide warranty repairs on all new and existing Terra by Trimble products.

"After several failed attempts to sell the manufacturing rights to the products, it was important for Trimble to conclude this type of arrangement," Garcia said. Trimble is not leaving the aviation business, and will continue to manufacture its commercial aviation product line. Garcia emphasized that Gulf Coast has not purchased the rights to build new Terra by Trimble avionics. Trimble will continue to support the TrimLine series of avionics, but it has no plans to produce new units.

For more information, visit Gulf Coast's Web site ( www.gulf-coast-avionics.com).

Aviat signs agreement with Garmin

Aviat Aircraft will install Garmin avionics in its Pitts and Husky model lines. Aviat customers will have a choice of either a VFR or IFR package. Both feature the GTX 320 solid-state transponder.

The VFR stack includes the Garmin GNC 250XL moving-map GPS/com, featuring a 12-channel GPS and a 760-channel com radio. The IFR stack features the GNS 430 moving-map GPS/com with VOR, localizer, and glideslope. It also includes the GMA 340 audio panel.

A Land Rover dealer has purchased a Maule M-7-260 that his company will use to promote the popular sport/utility vehicle. The new model sports the Land Rover logo on the tail, wings, and seats, and will be used to supply trips into the Colorado wilderness that the Colorado Land Rover dealer arranges for its customers.

FAA and industry sign GPS agreements

The FAA, Raytheon Systems Company of Salt Lake City, and Honeywell Inc. of Glendale, Arizona, have agreed on joint development of the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS). Raytheon and Honeywell will provide funding for its development, and the FAA will provide the specifications and expertise on development and certification.

The LAAS will augment the Global Positioning System (GPS) signal for accuracy and integrity at approximately 150 airports to support Category I, II, and III precision approaches. LAAS also will support ground operations such as collision avoidance and airport surface navigation and surveillance.

LAAS is a complementary system to the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) that is presently under FAA development and acquisition. WAAS is a GPS-based navigation and landing system that will provide the accuracy, integrity, availability, and continuity required to support all phases of flight through Category I precision approaches.

FAA acquisition and fielding of LAAS is expected to begin in 2003 with the final deployment in 2006. The LAAS capability does not require WAAS, and its implementation schedule is independent of the WAAS program.

The USA Junior Soaring Team will be competing in the first World Junior Gliding Championships in Terlet, Holland, in July. Pilots and their respective ground crews will compete in the Club and Standard classes. The competition involves a 10-day race over a different task area to be assigned daily. For more information, call the Soaring Society of America at 505/392-1177, or visit the soaring team's Web page ( www.win.net/~greeley/ssay/jrtm.htm).

Vision Micro Systems receives TSO

Pilots have long complained about old-fashioned "steam gauges" as primary engine instrumentation, but those may become a thing of the past. Vision Micro Systems, which has for more than a decade supplied the homebuilt market with computer-driven instruments, announced at Sun 'n Fun its receipt of technical standard order (TSO) approval for its VM1000 system as primary instrumentation on factory-built airplanes.

According to company founder Lance Turk, the changes necessary to meet the TSO were trivial, amounting to a bit of additional electrical shielding. The VM1000 places all of the engine instrumentation — including all-cylinder EGT and CHT as well as fuel computing — into a 5-inch-square panel display.

Mod Works of Punta Gorda, Florida, has obtained supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for installation of the system in Mooney airplanes. Mod Works has applied for STCed installation in Cessna, Beech, and Piper aircraft. For homebuilts, a four-cylinder VM1000 costs about $3,000. Certified versions will be approximately 8 percent more. TSOed versions of the VM1000 are now available in new Aviat Huskies and will soon be available in Diamond aircraft. For more information contact Vision Micro Systems at 360/714-8203 or contact Bill Mastro at Mod Works, telephone 800/252-0231 or 941/637-6770. — Marc E. Cook

Officials of the Civil Air Patrol — a nonprofit auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force — say that the Air Force has drafted legislation to return control of the CAP to the Air Force. In a meeting with Acting Air Force Secretary F. Whitten Peters, CAP officials were told that the Air Force has three areas of concern about the current nonprofit Civil Air Patrol Corporation: the budget and auditing process, the CAP safety program, and standards of accountability. In April, the Air Force sent fact-finding teams to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where the CAP is headquartered. The Air Force turned the CAP over to a nonprofit corporation in 1995. "Experience over the last four years has convinced the Air Force that the 1995 reorganization has not resulted in the intended managerial alignment and savings envisioned by Congress," the Air Force said in a statement to AOPA Pilot.

AkroTech Aviation, located in Scappoose, Oregon, has developed the Giles G-300 which combines a 1,050-pound-empty-weight airframe with a 330-horsepower Lycoming IO-540. The roll rate is claimed to be 450 degrees per second at 150 kt. Richard Giles, designer of the G-300, is also the designer of the turboprop Oracle Raven flown by airshow pilot Wayne Handley. The $218,000 G-300 is sold only as a completed airplane and is certified in the experimental/exhibition category. The price could increase after the first three aircraft are sold. One has been sold and won the freestyle aerobatic event at Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 1998. For information call 503/543-7960.

Tuskegee Airmen site to be restored

The U.S. National Park Service will restore facilities at Moton Field (06A), in Tuskegee, Alabama, where the famed Tuskegee Airmen received primary training. The airport, built in 1941, was named after Robert Russa Moton, the second president of the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University.

The university is donating the airport and more than 80 acres of land to the federal government. Eventually, Moton Field's hangar, control tower, administration headquarters, and other historic buildings will be restored to World War II condition, with authentic furnishings and period aircraft on the flight line.

The famous pilots downed 409 enemy aircraft and even sank an enemy destroyer. Known as the Red Tails for the color on their aircraft, they built a reputation for not losing any of the bombers they escorted. The Germans, who both feared and respected them, called them Schwarze Vogelmenschen (Black Airmen).

They showed as much courage facing segregation in America as they did when facing the enemy. More than 150 Tuskegee Airmen officers were arrested in 1945 for refusing to leave a white officer's club in Indiana. That contributed to a decision by President Harry Truman to integrate the armed forces.

DC-3 designer dies at age 99

What better tribute to a genius than to have his aircraft design outlast even himself? Arthur E. Raymond died on March 22 at age 99, two days before his 100th birthday. On March 22 there were still 581 Douglas DC-3 aircraft — his famous design — listed on the FAA registry. There are perhaps 1,000 more flying in other countries.

Raymond led a team that designed the prototype DC-1, but its name had changed to the DC-2 before production began. Total production reached nearly 11,000 DC-3s. Of the 581 DC-3s still on the FAA registry, 33 were built prior to 1940. "It was an airplane built in a time when product life was designed to be indefinite," Raymond told the Los Angeles Times in 1985. The DC-1 first flew in 1933 only 10 months after it was ordered by TWA. The DC-3 was credited by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as being one of the most important tools at his disposal in World War II.

Raymond's last design was the Douglas DC-8 jet. In 1946 he founded The RAND (stands for research and development) Corporation, a think tank aimed at industrial participation in military planning, the Los Angeles Times reported. His career was inspired by a dirigible ride over Los Angeles at age 15. He last served as an advisor to NASA during the 1960s race to the moon.

The National Transportation Safety Board has concluded that the actions of the pilot and the design of the aircraft are probable causes in the crash of an Adrian Davis Long-EZ aircraft that killed singer John Denver on October 12, 1997. "The Board determined that the builder's decision to locate the unmarked fuel selector handle in a hard-to-access position, unmarked fuel quantity sight gauges, inadequate transition training by the pilot, and his lack of total experience in this type of airplane were factors in the accident," a final report said. Denver purchased the aircraft already completed from another owner. The Board said that Denver's diversion of attention from the operation of the airplane and his inadvertent application of right rudder resulted in loss of control while attempting to manipulate the fuel selector handle.

American Flyers will begin offering its aircraft dispatcher training course at existing facilities in the Kissimmee Airport, Florida, terminal building.

Going to be in the Dallas area? SimuFlite Training International is exhibiting aircraft photos by Japanese photographer Katsuhiko Tokunaga at its Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport training center. The exhibit continues through July 6 at the center, located at 2929 West Airfield Drive at Glade Road.

Exxon is sponsoring a multiyear attempt by Bruce Bohannon, builder and pilot of the record-setting Pushy Galore aircraft, to break 10 more world records in the Exxon Flyin' Tiger. One of the record attempts will take the aircraft 11 miles up. Bohannon and crew chief Gary Hunter built the specialized plane, which features a large tank for 200 pounds of nitrous oxide to boost engine performance. The Flyin' Tiger is a hybrid made of various parts of several models of Van's RV kitplanes, and it will cruise at more than 160 kt. The aircraft will initially have a 300-horsepower engine to break time-to-climb records. Mattituck Aviation supplies the engine and is developing twin turbos to boost climb performance. Bohannon will also try to climb the piston-engine aircraft to 60,000 feet to break an altitude record that has stood since 1938, when a single-engine Italian-built Caproni aircraft reached 56,017 feet over Italy. He will have to wear a pressure suit for the attempt, just like an astronaut.

Sun 'n Fun marks 25 years

The Sun 'n Fun EAA Fly-In marked its twenty-fifth anniversary in April. Although this year's attendance of 684,200 did not set a record for the week-long event held in Lakeland, Florida, the April 11 through 17 fly-in and trade show enjoyed good weather most of the week.

The event was threatened by a brush fire on April 15 when wind-whipped flames raced to within a mile of the fly-in. Smoke forced the airport to close and the day's airshow was canceled. The fire, which charred 248 acres, was extinguished with the help of P-3 Orion tankers and Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

Sun 'n Fun began in January 1975 as a weekend fly-in; 1,980 people and 365 aircraft attended that first event. Snow and low temperatures greeted some 7,000 attendees in 1977. The January date was changed to March in 1980 and then to April in 1988.

The Sun 'n Fun Air Museum was opened in 1992. Now renamed the International Sport Aviation Museum, it has embarked on a $10.5 million expansion that will triple the facility's size.

The 2000 Sun 'n Fun Fly-In will be held April 9 to 15. For more information, visit the Web site ( www.sun-n-fun.org). — MPC

AOPA members in the news

Thomas H. Davis, AOPA 000106, founder and retired chairman of Piedmont Airlines and charter member of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Board of Visitors, died on April 22. He was 81. Davis remained an active pilot until 1998, amassing some 16,000 flight hours in the 64 years after soloing a Taylor E-2 Cub in 1934. He joined AOPA on August 1, 1939, shortly after its founding (see " AOPA Action," p. 18).

Paul Poberezny, AOPA 117957, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is to be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame during ceremonies on July 22 at the Dayton Convention Center in Dayton, Ohio. Poberezny will be honored for his contributions to American aviation, which include the founding of the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Mike Vivion, AOPA 604565, of Fairbanks, Alaska, was named the FAA's 1998 National Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year for his tireless dedication to aviation safety in Alaska. Vivion, a 22-year member of AOPA, is a wildlife biologist/pilot for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is also a field director in northern Alaska for the Seaplane Pilots Association and a frequent contributor to Water Flying magazine.

Matthew Warmerdam, AOPA 1127699, of San Rafael, California, was scheduled to appear on ABC television's 20/20 last month in a segment about the crash of Atlantic Southeast Airline's Flight 7529 in Georgia. Warmerdam was the first officer on the flight. The Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia suffered a catastrophic failure of the left propeller and crash-landed in a hayfield. Ten people died in the crash.

Holly K. Robinson, AOPA 087719, of Eugene, Oregon, has written You Can't Fly by the Seat of your Pants, an autobiography by the 90-year-old active flight instructor. It is available for $19 plus $3 shipping. Call 541/344-8524.

Vernon P. Harms, AOPA 191375, former chief of chaplains for the Civil Air Patrol, has written Kick the Tires and Light the Fires, a spiritual guidance book for aviators. It is available for $12.95 plus $4.95 shipping from Vernon P. Harms, 1723 West Placita Peseta, Green Valley, Arizona 85614.

Rich Stowell, AOPA 863347, has been designated a Master CFI by the National Association of Flight Instructors. Stowell is based at Santa Paula, California.

Kenneth M. Dufour, AOPA 120781, president of Aviation Management Consulting in Rockford, Illinois, has been named to the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University board of trustees.

Tim Weber, AOPA 1100709, an airshow performer, has traded his Yak-55 for an Extra 300, and also writes songs. He has released his first album, called Tumblin. The airplane is the LifeUSA Spirit.

Jon Harden, AOPA 710027, has formed Aviation Insurance Resources, with offices in Maryland, California, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. For information call 877/247-7767 or visit the Web site ( www.air-pros.com).