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Husky now available with glass cockpit Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyoming, can claim to be the first original equipment manufacturer to offer the option of the Garmin G600 glass cockpit, now available in the popular Husky A–1C tandem-seat tailwheel aircraft. Along with the G600, a $53,000 option, comes a wider door on both the 180-horsepower and the 200-horsepower Husky models.

Husky now available with glass cockpit

Aviat Aircraft in Afton, Wyoming, can claim to be the first original equipment manufacturer to offer the option of the Garmin G600 glass cockpit, now available in the popular Husky A–1C tandem-seat tailwheel aircraft.

Along with the G600, a $53,000 option, comes a wider door on both the 180-horsepower and the 200-horsepower Husky models. With the IFR G600 installed, the prices for the two models range from $250,000 to $291,000. Another option is the Electronic Instruments MVP50 color engine-instrument monitor.

The G600 features a large split screen with a primary flight display and multifunction flight display. The system will work with most autopilots and will provide GPS horizontal steering for flying arcs, holding patterns, and procedure turns.

In addition, you’ll get all the bene-fits of a glass cockpit, such as situational awareness, airspace information, weather, and traffic. The
system includes diagrams of 850 airports.

Flying conductor works in three cities

How do you conduct symphony orchestras in Brooklyn; Phoenix; and Boulder, Colorado? Get an airplane! That’s what Phoenix-based orchestra conductor Michael Christie did.

Christie is pictured on the cover of the January/February issue of Symphony magazine, the magazine of the League of American Orchestras, his arms resting against his 1990 Mooney. He is the conductor of the Colorado Music Festival in Boulder, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and the Phoenix Symphony.

While an airplane makes it easy to keep track of three jobs, Christie probably would have become a pilot no matter what career choice he made. Both his interest in airplanes and his desire to be a trumpet player began when he was about 14. A weekend job at an airport in Buffalo spurred his interest in aviation. “I did line service and mowed the lawns on Sundays at age 14. This was at Buffalo Airfield, 9G0. I distinctly remember fueling a Mooney that came in from Boston. The owner was going to watch a Buffalo Bills/New England Patriots game that afternoon. This was my ‘ah-ha’ moment about the utility and fun of GA,” Christie said.

Christie told Symphony he loves to fly at night when the air is smooth and the controllers are less busy.

You may have seen him with his Brooklyn Philharmonic orchestra on the Late Night with David Letterman show two years ago.

In Boulder, he reaches out to children to help them appreciate music, while in Phoenix he links performances to the area’s Native American past. In Brooklyn, a group of contract players tackle the more complicated productions. For more information, visit the orchestras’ Web sites (,,

This airplane will swim

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is paid to invent futuristic systems for military purposes and says it wants an airplane that can travel underwater at shallow depths.

The idea is to insert a special forces team by landing at sea and moving underwater for 12 miles. The aircraft is to have an operational radius of 1,000 miles, and be able to travel 100 miles above the water either in or out of ground effect. It would then submerge at its destination and swim ashore with a 2,000-pound payload of covert forces and equipment.

DARPA has asked for proposals on how it could be done. Eighteen companies have responded, ranging from aviation research firms, ocean systems companies, the University of Colorado, and individual tinkerers and inventors.

There is no concept yet, thus no drawing of what it might look like. This is not a flying submarine, but an airplane that submerges. Limiting underwater travel to shallow depths reduces the structure needed to counter water pressures at lower depths. Its engine will breathe through a snorkel tube when underwater. It must also float for up to three days for water rescue.

The DARPA proposal acknowledges the difficulty, noting that submarines keep control surfaces on the bottom of the vessel so they will be underwater. Amphibious aircraft generally are high-wing models to avoid spray damaging the wing. The final design will be a compromise between those two requirements.

Crossfield Award nominations open

Applications will be received until May 1 for the 2009 Crossfield Award given by the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton to honor classroom teachers with aerospace education programs.

Applications are available online. Click on the “2009 Crossfield Award” link on the left side of the Web page. The award is named after A. Scott Crossfield, the late test pilot and science committee staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives. His record-setting flights at Mach 2 and Mach 2.97 helped pave the way for space travel.

Red Bull race series begins in April

Fifteen pilots, including three from the United States, are ready to begin the Red Bull Air Race World Championships starting April 17 in Abu Dhabi.

The three American pilots are Kirby Chambliss, Mike Mangold, and Mike Goulian. Chambliss won the series in 2006.

The race series, conducted over a tight, low-altitude course marked by inflatable 60-foot-tall pylons, consists of six races at locations worldwide. The pylons are designed to come apart if an aircraft hits them. The race comes to San Diego on May 9 and 10. The 2009 series will conclude October 3 and 4 in Barcelona. Other races will take place in Canada, Portugal, and Hungary. The races generally draw hundreds of thousands of spectators, and in 2006 the Barcelona race drew one million fans.

The race will be shown on the Fox Sports Network in the United States, and on television in 40 countries. For more information, visit the Web site.

‘No Plane, No Gain’ called back to battle

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have relaunched and refocused their “No Plane, No Gain” campaign in defense of business jet use.

To win congressional approval of emergency financial support, GM and Chrysler had to stop using business jets. Ford stopped as well. Banks soon followed with Citigroup cancelling a jet on order. Other corporations reportedly have stopped using jets “as a courtesy” to those companies seeking federal help. The jet bashing comes at a time when 7,000 business jet workers in Wichita are laid off along with 1,000 at jet engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney Canada. (Actually, 8,000 are laid off in Wichita, but at least 1,000 of those are not involved in business jets.)

The campaign gets its name from a public advocacy effort launched by GAMA and NBAA in 1993. “This is an all-new media campaign…specifically calibrated to the challenges of today, and the technology of today,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. It targets policymakers and opinion leaders, and its goal is to communicate the message that business aviation is necessary.

The new campaign targets policy makers with a four-part message: business aviation creates jobs; it is the lifeline to small communities; it increases productivity; and it encompasses humanitarian and emergency service flights that save lives every day.

“The contributions of business aviation to our nation’s employment, commerce, competitiveness, and health are profound but not always well understood,” said GAMA President and CEO Pete Bunce. “We are launching this new multimedia educational campaign to get the word out that business aviation is working for America. It is responsible for well over one million manufacturing and service jobs, and is one of the few industries that contribute positively to our nation’s balance of trade. It is also serving as a lifeline for communities all across the country that are seeing scheduled airline service being reduced or eliminated.”

Bolen agreed. “At a time when we are facing almost unprecedented economic challenges, U.S. businesses need tools that will help them enhance productivity, maximize flexibility, and maintain strong communications. ‘No Plane, No Gain’ will underscore why business aviation is critical to tens of thousands of cost-conscious companies fighting to succeed in a difficult market. It will also remind people of the relief efforts and humanitarian assistance that is only possible through this mode of transportation.” You can see the campaign online.

Sikorsky’s next gen S–76 makes first flight

Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has begun flight testing in Florida of the next generation of its popular S–76D helicopter. It has been in design for three years.

Among the S–76D helicopter’s features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced Thales avionics system and autopilot; a dual-speed rotor with active vibration control; Pratt & Whitney 210S engines; a “quiet” mode for enhanced public acceptance; and an optional rotor ice protection system for all-weather capability. The S–76D helicopter also will offer an increase in useful load and extended range.

The S–76D helicopter will reach customers in 2010. Sikorsky has nearly 100 orders for the aircraft.

New aircraft shipments down

Strong general aviation aircraft billings in 2008 were tempered by a decrease in the number of new aircraft delivered worldwide, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) reported in mid-February. “We all know that the deteriorating economic situation is a severe thunderstorm that’s affecting our flight path,” said GAMA Chairman Mark Van Tine, president and CEO of Jeppesen. The industry is feeling a significant impact from the slowing worldwide economy, he said.

Billings for new aircraft delivered worldwide during 2008 set an industry record of $24.8 billion, 13.4 percent more than the previous year’s $21.9 billion. However, the number of GA airplanes shipped last year decreased for the first time in five years—to 3,969, a drop of 7.1 percent from 2007.

Manufacturers in the United States reported billings of $13.35 billion during 2008, up 11.8 percent from the previous year. U.S. shipments of 3,079 were 6.1 percent lower than the 2007 totals. The number of piston-engine aircraft shipped during 2008 decreased, both in the United States and worldwide, while shipments of turboprops and business jets increased across both markets. —Mike Collin

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