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Less expensive infrared vision system offered
Forward Vision, in a press release at Sun 'n Fun, said it now offers a new model of an enhanced vision system, the 1.2-pound EVS-100 that is claimed to be easier to install. It helps pilots see better in poor visual conditions using new-generation sensor technology, is sunlight safe, and maintains the price at that of the previous system of $14,995.
Sporty's Mustang auction is going, going...
Sporty's Pilot Shop announced a deal that is going, going, and will be gone soon — the opportunity to bid on a new Cessna Citation Mustang light jet. Sporty's founder and Chairman Hal Shevers bought the Serial No. 13 Mustang and plans to auction it online starting June 4. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to The Sporty's Foundation, which Shevers recently started to provide funds for qualified aviation educational and safety programs with an emphasis on youth. The new white, gray, black, and "coral red pearl" airplane, valued at $2.67 million, comes with the original warranty. Bidding closes on June 8. Bidders must register prior to the auction.
XM weather comes to JeppView
The new 3.5 version of JeppView from Jeppesen includes the ability to overlay real-time weather provided by XM WX Satellite Weather over Jeppesen electronic approach and en route charts. JeppView is Jeppesen's digital charting solution, playing on a variety of computers. With an XM WX Satellite Weather subscription, JeppView users will be able to overlay any of the satellite-delivered weather products on the Jeppesen chart products. The new JeppView version also allows for improved text page interaction via XML rather than PDF — meaning easier ability to do keyword searches, bookmark pages, and zoom and scroll through text info, such as weather briefings.
Sporty's downloadable library grows
Pilots on the go have found the downloadable instructional videos at Sporty's Pilot Shop so popular that the company has added four more titles to the list. New to the downloadable list are Flight Review, Instrument Proficiency Check, So You Want to Fly Seaplanes, and Transition to Gliders. Users can download the videos for $9.95 each; all 32 Air Facts programs can be had for $99. The videos can be viewed on personal computers, Macintosh computers, iPods, and a variety of other personal viewing devices.
Embraer shows off its Phenom 300 mock-up
In a bid to expand its reach into the lighter end of the business jet market, Embraer has of late shown much more presence at shows such as Oshkosh and continues this strategy with its display at this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In. In a press conference, the company talked about its developing line of jets, including the Phenom 100, a very light jet, and the Phenom 300, a light executive jet. Both Phenoms are still under development, with the $2.85 million 100 expected to enter service in the third quarter of 2008, and the $6.65 million 300 to debut in mid-2009.
New power possibilities from Sporty's
If you're perplexed by the new sophisticated avionics in your airplane or just want some quiet time practicing with the buttons, you'll quickly find out that sitting in the airplane with the avionics master switch on will run the battery down. To that end, Sporty's Pilot Shop is now offering The Power Supply. The aptly named power supply supplies consistent, regulated power to the airplane so you can dabble in the cockpit at will without worrying about the battery. The $399 unit comes with two connectors appropriate to power most light airplanes — the three-pin or single-pin Piper style. The 8-pound system can also charge the aircraft battery.
Lycoming powers world record holder
Most pilots think of "around the world" as an equatorial trip, but Hans Georg Schmid is going pole to pole — twice — and Lycoming has announced that its 315-horsepower IO-580-B1A engine is powering this attempt. Schmid is flying a custom-built Express experimental aircraft. He has more than 16,000 hours flight experience and holds more than 162 aviation world records.
Piper's big fish 'chums' for reporters
Piper President and CEO James K. Bass said Piper Aircraft will announce a "new product" this year that "will fly in more ways than one." He wouldn't go beyond that, saying he merely wanted to "chum the waters" in hopes of inspiring a press feeding frenzy. Composite airplane? Any guess at this point is a good one. In other news, Piper is adding the option of a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit system to both the Saratoga II TC (turbocharged) and Piper 6X. There is a slight change in the panel. Annunciator lights at the top of the panel have been removed and the top of the glareshield lowered to improve pilot visibility. Finally, Bass said there are 186 orders for the PiperJet.
S-Tec is ready to roll
S-Tec Corp. has received supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for its roll axis servo for use with the System Fifty Five X autopilots installed on Cirrus SR22 aircraft. The S-Tec roll axis servo will improve roll response time, approach authority, ILS tracking, and autopilot roll axis control throughout all facets of flight. The installation will also expand the life of the trim cartridge and will reduce motor noise into the radios. The kit weighs 5 pounds, takes 20 hours to install, and costs just under $4,000.
'Big and beautiful' from Avidyne
"It's amazing what can be cleaned up in the panel," said Jamie Luster, director of aftermarket sales for Avidyne Corp. in a press conference where she introduced the Envision integrated flight deck for retrofit installation. Envision modernizes Cessna piston-engine twin aircraft with situational awareness and safety systems in Avidyne's integrated flight deck. "Customers love it because it's big and beautiful," said Luster. Envision for Cessna 300- and 400-series aircraft is developed jointly by Avidyne and Southern Star Avionics of Mobile, Alabama. Avidyne and Southern Star Avionics also introduced the Envision retrofit system for 2002 and earlier Cirrus Design SR20 and SR22 aircraft with traditional instrumentation. Envision will also be available for Experimental aircraft.
EADS Socata to look at composites
EADS Socata, manufacturer of the TBM 700 and 850 turboprops, has begun a four-year study of composite pressurized fuselages using the vacuum infusion process. The idea is to make the current line of turboprops lighter. The company displayed the TBM 850 at Sun 'n Fun that can fly at 360 KTAS at 26,000 feet and can reach 31,000 feet in 20 minutes. The company expects to deliver 50 total aircraft in 2007.
Epic unveils two aircraft, goes Garmin
Epic Aircraft, of Bend, Oregon, debuted not one but two new entrants into the turboprop and very light jet markets. The Escape is an ultra-high-speed single-engine turboprop with great similarity to the experimental LT and Dynasty (currently in production flight testing), and it's expected to cruise at 365 knots, according to the company. The Victory is a single-engine VLJ that is projected to cruise at 320 knots at Flight Level 280. Epic has also selected Garmin avionics for its aircraft, with the G900 integrated cockpit system going into its owner-built aircraft, and the G1000 ICS installed in production aircraft. Epic CEO Rick Schrameck also commented on the certification progress of the Epic Dynasty, which is "about 100 to 110 days to the end of flight test."
Mooney Acclaim sets new speed record
Mooney Airplane Company's M20TN Acclaim set a speed record on April 6 from San Diego to Charlotte, North Carolina, in a total elapsed time of seven hours and 26 minutes. It traveled more than 1,800 nautical miles. The aircraft cruised at 223 KTAS to 237 KTAS at altitudes from 23,000 feet to 25,000 feet.
Diamond to expand flight center program
Diamond Aircraft plans to expand its present Diamond Flight Center (DFC) program to become "the industry's leading flight training and airplane rental network," says Diamond President Peter Maurer. It is allowing flight schools to sign up online to become a center. The company is offering some "enhancements" aimed directly at the current international network of 280 Cessna Pilot Centers (there are 270 in the United States). One is a non-restrictive policy that permits DFCs to operate other brands of airplanes. Jeppesen will develop online Diamond-specific training materials to replace training materials presently available on paper, DVD, or CD. (Jeppesen said in February that it has nearly completed a model-specific course for Cirrus Design.) Diamond-specific flight training devices will also be available at the centers. "We are presently distributing program details to over 140 applicants," Maurer said. "We expect the program to be a huge success and anticipate establishing over 200 DFCs in the USA over the next four to five years."
Special Bonanza commemorates 60th anniversary
Hawker Beechcraft's sixtieth anniversary edition of the Bonanza G36 is being showcased at Sun 'n Fun. Commemorating 60 years of continuous production of the venerable aircraft, the special edition aircraft is capped by dark silver paint on the cabin roof, designed to look like the polished aluminum of the 1947 original aircraft. The anniversary stripe design features Matterhorn White and Anniversary Diamond in combination with Anniversary Topaz, Anniversary Onyx, Anniversary Sapphire, Anniversary Ruby, or Anniversary Agate. In the cabin, the interior is highlighted by embossed leather on the seats and padded leather handgrips on the yoke. The sixtieth anniversary edition Bonanza costs $598,000.
Cessna celebrates 80 years
A cardboard cutout of Clyde Cessna holding the prop of a Jones Six greets visitors as they enter Cessna Aircraft's exhibit chronicling its 80 years in aviation. The family that Clyde Cessna started — a family of aircraft and employees — is portrayed through historic photographs, period advertisements, and a timeline of the history of the company. Old black-and-white photographs such as one depicting 28 Cessna employees standing on the wing of a DC-6B, new color prints of the entire Cessna fleet on the flight line in Wichita, and a trophy case of Cessna's awards are highlights of the exhibit. Cessna celebrates 80 years on April 19; Clyde Cessna and one employee officially opened Cessna Aircraft on that day in 1927. The display echoes the quote on the timeline from Cessna chief Jack Pelton who says, "If you want to fly, come to Cessna."
Comp Air 12 turboprop makes maiden voyage
Ron Lueck, owner of Comp Air Aviation, successfully flew the Comp Air 12 from Merritt Island, Florida, to Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland on April 15, where it is being displayed next to the Comp Air 7 and 8 experimental aircraft kits. This all-new carbon composite aircraft, powered by a 1,650-horsepower Honeywell TPE331-14GR turboprop engine, is positioned for business owners and corporations. The aircraft will seat eight and has a 2,500-nautical-mile range at 30,000 feet. Comp Air has not yet decided on the avionics package that will fly in the certified aircraft. Certification of the Comp Air 12 is slated for the first quarter of 2010.
Cessna evaluates new engine for light sport airplane
The Cessna Light Sport, a project still in the proposal stage, appeared at Sun 'n Fun not with the Rotax, as in earlier appearances, but with the Continental O-200. Still to come is an evaluation of Continental's new light sport engine, which may be ready this fall. Cessna engineers said in Lakeland that they haven't yet decided on an engine, although it appeared in February that they might be leaning toward the Rotax. The O-200 adds lots of unwanted weight to the 1,320-pound airplane, and the Continental light sport engine will be still 30 pounds heavier than the Rotax.
Adam upgrading aircraft previously delivered in 2005
When Adam Aircraft delivered the first batch of A500 airplanes, they were limited to a day VFR type certificate granted in 2005. Now all of them are back in the factory to be upgraded to the expanded 2006 type certificate allowing night IFR operations and pressurization. Planned new enhancements also include a traffic advisory system, enhanced ground proximity warning, air conditioning, and XM weather and lightning reporting. Adam is using much of this year to improve factory tooling so that faster production can be launched in 2008.
File flight plans from your mobile phone
Digital Cyclone, a subsidiary of Garmin Ltd., now offers a new version of its Pilot My-Cast cell phone application that gives pilots a fast and easy way to file a flight plan while on the go using a mobile phone. Pilot My-Cast is a cell phone service that gives pilots personalized flight planning and weather information in the palm of their hand.
Flight Design to standardize maintenance training
Flight Design, manufacturer of the Flight Design CT light sport aircraft, has started a standardized maintenance training program in Germany for mechanics worldwide. A training team will teach small classes, offer phone support for students afterward, and, in some cases, travel from Germany to assist graduates of the program. Now service is done locally but by technicians who do not have standardized training on the Rotax engine used by the Flight Design CT or on composite repair. "This is a new engine nobody knows at the moment," said Matthias Betsch of Flight Design, Germany. Students will receive reduced rates for the training courses but will have to provide their own transportation to Berlin.
Cirrus Design introduces Generation Three
Cirrus Design began selling Generation Three models of its SR22 during Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida. The aircraft is 53 pounds lighter than previous designs yet includes new enhancements. Eventually, Generation Three improvements will be applied to the SR20. Enhancements include: a lighter wing, 92-gallon fuel capacity (11 gallons more than Generation Two aircraft), two-inch increase in height for prop and tail clearance in rough terrain, recognition lights, increased wing dihedral for better stability, better wing root fairings to reduce drag, ice protection for the entire length of the wing, and better fresh-air flow inside the cabin. A two-tone paint scheme is offered for the first time. The avionics remain the same as those currently in Generation Two aircraft. Cirrus Design will be offering demonstration flights nationwide of Generation Three aircraft.
Columbia donates 'New Spirit of St. Louis' to museum
The New Spirit of St. Louis Columbia 300 that Erik Lindbergh flew from New York to Paris in 2002 to recreate his grandfather's historic flight has been donated to the St. Louis Science Center where it will be used to support aerospace education. The center played a key role in the flight as an information and command center. The composite-structure aircraft is expected to be retired from flight within the next two months.
Columbia airframe outlasts steel fatigue testing structure
Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corp. announced that one of its Columbia airframes has absorbed the equivalent of 25,000 flight hours of punishment in fatigue testing. The company deliberately inflicted one of its airframes with 100 damage sites and placed it in fatigue testing. The tests were stopped when the steel fatigue testing structure, which is used to bounce and bend the airframe, began to have metal failure.