Bombardier is expected to fly its new CSeries commercial jet for the first time this week, following a disappointing response to the airplane at the Paris Air Show last week. "This is a white-hot market for selling aircraft and the only odd man out is Bombardier," Richard Aboulafia, of the Teal Group, told The Canadian Press. Boeing, Airbus and Embraer together secured more than 1,200 orders at the show, while Bombardier announced just a few commercial aircraft orders, valued at about $400 million, though the company's business jets drew $1.8 billion worth of interest, according to the CP. The CSeries jet, a clean-sheet design in the works since 2008, will offer comfort, fuel efficiency and "unsurpassed economics" for the 100-to-149 seat class, according to Bombardier.
Qantas flight crews are furious that an airline staffer was allowed to dress as a pilot and fly in the jump seat of an A380, according to a story in Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald. The pilots' union has lodged a formal complaint with the airline, stating that a staff member from navigation services wore a second officer's uniform and showed up for a flight last week from Dubai to Sydney. "At the company's direction, they put a person on the flight deck dressed as a pilot who is not a pilot. It is not appropriate under any circumstances," Australian and International Pilots' Association Vice President Richard Woodward told the Herald. "The pilots are all up in arms." Qantas said in a statement it was unclear why the staff member was dressed as a pilot.
Lockheed Martin has been at work on a giant high-lift hybrid airship since at least 2005, and the company now is moving toward certification and first delivery as soon as next year. The FAA this week published a notice about the company's application to certify the LMZ1M airship, and noted that because it's a hybrid and incorporates a number of advanced features, traditional airship design criteria have proved inadequate. A new category for "hybrid transport category airships" will be created specifically for the airship. Advanced features of the vehicle include a tri-lobed envelope with displacement of 1.3 million cubic feet, four thrusters to allow thrust vectoring, and electronic fly-by-wire controls for both the aerodynamic control surfaces and the thrusters.
LightHawk, a nonprofit group that uses airplanes to promote environmental-protection efforts, has recently been working in Panama to help an indigenous group trying to protect their land. The Wounaan have lived along Panama's Pacific Coast for generations, says LightHawk, and have proved to be able stewards of the tropical forest, preserving some of the region's last intact ecosystems. But recently, cattle ranchers and loggers have encroached on their traditional territories, causing conflict and damaging the forest. LightHawk stepped in to help, providing a volunteer pilot who took officials and a photographer aloft for a bird's-eye view of the forest's destruction.
How do you cut a hole the size of a two-car garage door into the side of a 747 and fly with it at 0.8 Mach without turning the thing into a 300-ton organ pipe? In this exclusive AVweb video, find out how NASA did exactly this for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (or SOFIA). AVweb recently visited the program at its Palmdale, California headquarters.
The company that I was with had a chief pilot who liked to play with ATC (in the '60s):Bonanza 123:"Bonanza 123. Give me the word. I want to make like a bird."Detroit Tower:"You got the nod. Leave the sod!"Bud Walkervia e-mail
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.01 (down 1¢ from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.41 (no change from last week)Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav, based on prices from the past 2 weeks. Changes are relative to last week's prices. /TEXT_ONLY-->AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Advanced Aviation Jet Center at New Century AirCenter Airport (KIXD) in Johnson, Kansas (near Olathe/New Century).AVweb reader John Keller called Advanced Aviation "a great stop south of the Kansas City area that is worth a visit":A planned flight into Olathe was delayed 12 hours due to severe weather en route. Jonathon had previously made hotel and rental auto reservations for our arrival but was able to cancel the hotel without a charge. The rental auto was a 24-hour rental so it was planeside when we arrived. Fuel pricing was due to the CAA Program, but their regular prices are very reasonable, also. Anything we needed at the time they were able to answer or provide in a competent and friendly manner. Excellent customer service all around!Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
AOPA has offered guidance to GA pilots if they are met with an intimidating show of force as they're going about their business. In the last few weeks there have been widely circulated reports about law-abiding pilots being confronted by heavily armed local cops and federal Customs and Border Protection agents who appear to act as if they have absolute authority to search and interrogate pilots and passengers. "At least 12 of our members have been stopped and had their plane searched by CBP for absolutely no reason at all," said AOPA spokesman Steve Hedges. "We've asked CBP for documents related to the searches, filing a Freedom of Information Act to get it, but so far they have been unresponsive." As always, it's best to be polite with folks carrying semi-automatic weapons but that doesn't mean anyone has to be a pushover.
Roscoe Morton, "The Voice" of EAA fly-ins for 50 years, died June 15 in Frostproof, Fla., at the age of 81. EAA reported that Morton started calling the airshow portion of what became AirVenture when it was being held in Rockford, Ill. Over the years he took over as the announcers' manager and retired in that position after AirVenture 2011. He was also the announcers' chairman for Sun 'n Fun and sat on the board. Morton was a lifelong career pilot whose experience in a wide variety of aircraft and jobs gave him insight to the aircraft he was calling. He retired as a Delta 747 captain. Meanwhile the founder of DayJet, Ed Iaccobucci, also died last week.
Pilot Charlie Schwenker and wingwalker Jane Wicker were killed when they crashed while performing on Saturday. The duo was performing at the Vectren Air Show near Dayton. The rest of the show was cancelled but resumed on Sunday. Spectator videos (graphic and disturbing images) show Wicker hanging upside down from the lower wing of the Stearman at low altitude. As Schwenker attempts to roll inverted the aircraft banks sharply and cartwheels before exploding.
A Belgian company called Sagita earned attention at this year's Paris Air Show with its Sherpa mockup, a two-seat, 575-pound helicopter turning counter-rotating blades driven by a compressor system. The compressor is driven by a 130-hp powerplant. It takes air in at the rear of the fuselage and then splits its output, sending some air back to the engine and the rest through the powerplant's cooling system. After leaving the cooling system, that warmed air is then mixed with the engine's exhaust and sent to two turbines that directly drive each rotor. According to the company, the system is 85 percent efficient. And they've already set targets for production and price.
The FAA said Friday that recommendations from an advisory panel that could lead to broader approved use of personal electronic devices aboard airliners have been delayed. Originally expected this summer, the FAA is now says it expects to receive the recommendations this September. Cellphone use is reportedly not within the scope of the panel's focus. But the rule change could set the stage for worldwide standards regarding use of other electronic devices on aircraft during operations below 10,000 feet. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday its sources said that would likely happen. However, changes can still be made while a vast potential in-flight entertainment market waits on the sidelines.
Solar Impulse, the one-of-a-kind solar-powered airplane from Switzerland, is finishing up its flight across the U.S., with just one more short leg to go from Washington, D.C. to New York. AVweb's Mary Grady talks with pilot Andre Borschberg to learn more about this unique project.
ICON Aircraft announced Thursday that it has completed a final round of equity funding that will bring its amphibious A5 aircraft through demonstrated regulatory compliance and into full-scale production, but questions remain. The company did not make an announcement regarding its effort to seek an exemption from the FAA that would allow the A5 to operate at 250 pounds over the 1430-pound limit for amphibious LSA aircraft. ICON sent the request for exemption in mid-2012 and this year asked the FAA to deliver a response by May 31. As of Thursday, the FAA had not offered a reply and ICON lists the A5's maximum takeoff weight at 1430 pounds. ICON says the final round of investing, completed in May has secured "over $60 million" and "the company's order list has continued to grow."
They're aware that about 12 of their 400,000 members have been stopped and searched by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and AOPA Wednesday sent a letter to CBP seeking clarification regarding the authority for, and legal limits of, such searches. According to AOPA, none of its pilot members who have been stopped knew of any reason for the searches. The pilot group has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents related to those events, "but so far they have been unresponsive," Steve Hodges, AOPA director of media relations, told AVweb Thursday. Meanwhile, AOPA has crafted a kneeboard-sized advisory checklist for pilots, titled "What to do if stopped by law enforcement." CBP has already given AOPA a timeframe within which it can expect a response to its concerns. And through its letter, AOPA has offered a litigious reply.
In 2011, Didier Esteyne and EADS debuted a tiny, single-seat, aerobatic electric-powered Cri-Cri at the Paris Air Show and this year returned with the E-Fan, a twin ducted-fan, electric-powered, aerobatic, tandem-seat trainer project. The project is co-funded by the French civil aviation authority and other government entities. Aside from shrouded propellers the design incorporates a wheel motor to more efficiently drive the aircraft over taxiways and early in the takeoff roll. E-Fan employs multi-cell lithium ion battery packs housed in the wing roots that, Esteyne estimates the power pack is easily capable of driving 20 kilowatt motors for one hour's flying at 110 mph cruise. The plane is still in development and has not yet flown, but the developers have big plans.
There's nothing like a global recession to kill the buzz around new airplanes and gadgets, but they seem to keep cropping up. This week, we have a 1,430-lb. personal jet, two flying bicycles, and electric taxiing for airliners. What's going on?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers what air shows they're attending this year; click through for the breakdown of answers.
A documentary film called TWA Flight 800 is attracting attention through its claims that the NTSB's four-year investigation into the 1996 crash included intentionally falsified information and a phony conclusion, and that the case should be reopened -- but some key players are, so far, unimpressed. Tom Stalcup, the documentary's co-producer, says the movie does not explain the explosion of the jet. He told CNN the documentary presents "solid proof that there was an external detonation" and "radar data shows an asymmetric explosion coming out of that plane," contrary to the findings of investigators. He says the documentary includes six former investigators and eyewitness accounts, and the producers say they intend to file a petition asking the NTSB to reopen the case. TWA Flight 800, a Boeing 747-131, exploded in the air over southern Long Island on July 17, 1996, killing all 230 onboard. Investigators determined the cause of the explosion was a fault common to several other explosions. In response to the documentary the family member of one victim was direct in his criticism of the filmmakers.
Frank Thielert, founder of Thielert Aircraft Engines, which produces Centurion diesel engines for the aviation market, last week was jailed by a judge in a German bankruptcy court who reportedly considered him a "flight risk." According to the Google translation of a story in the Hamburg Abendblatt newspaper, the judge said Thielert faces several years in prison if convicted on charges that investors in his company were "systematically deceived." The Thielert AG company went public in 2005 and declared insolvency in 2008, but continues to operate. Sebastian Wentzler, a company spokesman, told AVweb in an email, "Frank Thielert is out of the company since summer 2008.
The trials against Frank Thielert do not affect the business of the company in any way."
An extraordinary assembly of Merlin-powered warbirds took to the skies over Hamilton, Ontario on Father's Day weekend, providing sights and sounds not experienced in decades. The star of the show was Jerry Yagen's recently rebuilt de Havilland Mosquito (the only one of its type flying), and it flew in formation with the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster, alongside two Spitfires and two Hurricanes. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Mosquito pilot Mike Spalding of the Military Aviation Museum.