Pilot Briefing

Oshkosh '98

September 1, 1998

Misfueling scare stirs emotions at Oshkosh

A misfueling rumor on July 30 caused quite a stir at the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual AirVenture convention in Oshkosh. A spokesperson for Basler Flight Service, the FBO that handles the fueling of airplanes during the EAA convention, said that the owner of a warbird noticed that the fuel in his airplane had a strange color and odor. The scare started somewhat of a domino effect within the warbird area and led to the cancellation of the warbirds demonstration during Thursday's daily airshow.

Basler sent samples of the supposedly tainted fuel to the Wisconsin Bureau of Retail Petroleum Services in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and to Phillips 66, the FBO's supplier. Phillips summoned a corporate jet and flew samples of the fuel to a facility where the octane could be tested. All tests showed that the fuel met all specifications for 100LL avgas and was not contaminated.

Perhaps related to the Oshkosh incident is the fact that AOPA has received calls from members in Illinois and Wisconsin complaining of peculiar odors in other Phillips 100LL avgas. Phillips told AOPA that tests of the fuel were within specifications but that something in the base petroleum stock may have caused the odor.

AlliedSignal introduced the Skymap IIIC, the first portable color GPS moving-map display. The unit combines the most popular features of the Skyforce Color Skymap and Skymap II and is the first Skyforce product to be released since AlliedSignal acquired the company in May. Skymap III can also be mounted in the panel and can be coupled to aircraft autopilots. The unit has a 16-color active-matrix display that features a wide viewing angle (25 degrees from top to bottom and 45 degrees from side to side) and is expected to sell for less than $2,500. The GPS receiver and display also represents one of the first products introduced by AlliedSignal's restructured avionics operation; Skyforce is now part of the company's new Business and General Aviation Enterprise in Olathe, Kansas, a strategic business unit of AlliedSignal Electronic and Avionics Systems. — Michael P. Collins

Cirrus Design Corporation has formed Cirrus Aircraft Finance, offering flexible SR20 financing programs and leasing options. Cirrus Aircraft Finance has teamed with MBNA and Cambridge Leasing to offer customers financing for 90 percent of the SR20 purchase price, with extended terms of up to 20 years. In the monthly payment, finance programs can incorporate aircraft insurance and maintenance contract costs as they become available. Cirrus Aircraft Finance also will finance the down payment based on the production lead time for the aircraft. Both long- and short-term options are available for customers preferring to lease a new SR20.

Jeppesen's Guided Flight Discovery training system has added a line of materials designed for those pursuing the instrument rating or commercial pilot certificate. At the heart of the system is a colorful new 912-page textbook. Backing up the textbook are a series of videotapes, a syllabus, and other support materials. Kits for FAR Part 61 and 141 students are available. Prices range from less than $100 to $180. For more information, visit the Web site ( www.jeppesen.com) or call 800/525-7379. From Europe, Asia, or Africa, call Jeppesen at (069) 96124878.

Virginia Tech wins NASA design competition

NASA and the FAA chose a team of student designers from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, as the winners of the 1998 National General Aviation Design Competition. The team designed a single-engine, four-seat, high-performance aircraft. It features adjustable side-mounted control sticks and dual airbags.

The team received $3,000 as the first prize; an additional $5,000 went to the university's Department of Mechanical, Nuclear, and Aerospace Engineering. Second place went to Pennsylvania State University, while the University of Virginia came in third.

VisionAire displayed a fuselage mockup of the Spirit VA-12B, a two-place tandem sport jet that would be powered by a single Williams FJX-2 turbofan. The all-composite jet will have a gross weight of 2,500 pounds and is expected to achieve 300 knots at 30,000 feet. Pressurization keeps the cabin altitude lower than 10,000 feet at that altitude. Load limits of the aerobatic sport airplane are +10/-8 Gs. With 150 gallons of Jet A in the tanks and a fuel burn of less than 30 gallons per hour, VisionAire expects the Spirit to fly 1,500 miles with IFR reserves. The 900-pound-thrust engine is expected to be flying by the 2000 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.The 600-horsepower Lancair Tigress, powered by an Orenda V-8 engine, made its first flight on July 27. The $280,000 kitplane (when fully completed and outfitted) is a pressurized two-passenger aircraft that is expected to cruise at 350 kts at 25,000 feet. The fuselage is redesigned but uses the bottom portion of a Lancair IV fuselage. A custom-designed MT four-blade propeller is mated to the Orenda. The engine alone costs $110,000. Interest from the flying public will determine whether the aircraft kit will go into production.