The Air Force Air Mobility Command last year awarded a contract for up to 18,000 iPads and believes it is on track to see a $50 million cost savings from their intended use once implemented. The contract, a $9.36 million investment, is one step in replacing what amounts to hundreds of pounds of paper documentation on larger aircraft. In the case of a C-5 Galaxy transport, the weight savings has been estimated at nearly 500 pounds, including paper documentation carried by each crew member and paper documents stored on the aircraft. That weight savings translates to an accountable fuel savings, but doesn't account for the $50 million.
Eleven aviation advocacy groups Wednesday cosigned a letter to the House Appropriations Committee seeking financial support for the FAA contract tower program through 2014. Signatories included AOPA's Craig Fuller, NBAA's Ed Bolen, and leading members of the National Air Transport Association, Air Carrier Association of America, Regional Airline Association and others. Currently 251 airports participate in the contract tower program, accounting for an estimated 28 percent of all air traffic control tower aircraft operations in the U.S., according to the letter. But, the letter argues, costs associated with the program account for a significantly lower percentage of relevant budgets.
New Jersey's Attorney General (AG) and Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) have filed a lawsuit regarding the distribution and sale of 100LL at six gas stations in the state, last December. The suit charges that the avgas was advertised as unleaded auto fuel and sold to customers between Dec. 6 and 8, 2012. According to the state AG, the gas stations "clearly knew, or should have known" that they were selling leaded avgas to motorists. A distributor and transporter were also named in the suit. Zephyr Oil is accused of purchasing more than 70,000 gallons of avgas on Dec. 4, 2012, from a California-based company (not named by the suit) and selling it at a deep-discount price to Pamsel Property Inc., which owned all six affected stations. For pilots, the lawsuit may pose more questions than it seeks to resolve.
EAA has been put on notice by the FAA that it wants the organization to cover the extra costs of controllers for the annual extravaganza. What do you think? Who should foot the ATC bill at AirVenture?Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers what kind of fuel they expect to be burning in their airplanes ten years from now; click through for the breakdown of answers.
The organization Women in Aviation International launched with a conference in Prescott, Arizona 25 years ago, and members are marking that anniversary with several events in Oshkosh, Arizona, and Florida. Peggy Chabrian, the founder and president of WAI, talked with AVweb's Mary Grady about the group's achievements, her goals for the future, and what's in the works for EAA AirVenture this summer.
EAA is offering a special four-day program for high-school girls during AirVenture this summer, Aug. 1 to 4, in an effort to "engage, inspire, and educate young women to pursue their dreams in aviation and beyond." The program, called Women Soar You Soar, will introduce 100 girls to 35 women working in a variety of aviation and aerospace fields, from engineers to fighter pilots. The event is "filled with career exploration, discovery, inspiration, and fun," says EAA. Girls in grades 9 to 12 can apply. A fee of $75 covers dormitory lodging at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, meals, seminars, T-shirts, and AirVenture admission. Financial aid and scholarships are available, and EAA can pick up and drop off the girls at the Appleton airport.
DGCA, the regulating authority for Indian aviation, has drafted strict rules under which airline pilots may be allowed to nap while on the flight deck. Pilots unions had sought changes to flight duty time limitations to combat fatigue associated with flight duty time limitation provisions. DGCA would allow controlled rest only under certain conditions and on flights of three or more hours during cruise in conjunction with added responsibilities for the cabin crew and non-sleeping pilot. Regulators in other parts of the world, including the U.S. and Europe, already regulate controlled rest periods for pilots during certain phases of flight to combat fatigue.
Pipistrel has developed an online interactive training tool specific to Pipistrel owners or flight students flying Pipistrel aircraft as part of the "Pipistrel Academy Program" for Pipistrel certified flight schools, the company formally announced Wednesday. The training solutions, which were introduced during AERO 2013, seek to provide "a deep understanding of flight theory with a specific focus on flying Pipistrel aircraft models." The full academy program provides both students and flight schools with training materials, syllabus, a business model and consultation and is for schools certified by Pipistrel. The company describes its model-specific training as "online mentorship" tailored through interactive programs to meet the needs of individual students. Currently, model-specific training is limited to just one model, but the company says more options will follow.
Researchers at MIT recently developed two new methodologies for creating composite materials that are both lighter and stronger than today's materials. Their methods make it easier to create composites of carbon fibers coated with carbon nanotubes, a process that has proved problematic in the past. "Up until now, people were basically improving one part of the material but degrading the underlying fiber, and it was a trade-off," says Brian Wardle, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. Using the newly developed techniques, he said, "you can now get everything you want." The researchers have filed for patents, and they expect that advanced fiber composites incorporating their techniques will be developed for a range of applications, including aircraft.
Aspen Avionics has been offering a wifi-connected panel interface in the aftermarket for about a year now, and this week Pilatus announced it will offer its own version of the system as a factory option or retrofit for its PC-12 NG turboprops. Pilatus worked with Aspen, Jeppesen and Honeywell to create four customized applications designed for the PC-12 operators' needs. One app will enable the pilot to wirelessly upload chart, navigation and terrain databases to the cockpit. Pilots also can create a flight plan on an iPad or other tablet and wirelessly upload it to the PC-12 NG flight deck. The other two apps provide wireless downloads of maintenance data and a moving map that can show passengers their current location and ETA on their own mobile device. The system can be installed at a retail price of about $16,500, according to Pilatus.
Diamond jumped into the aerodiesel market early, and it still leads the industry in the number of diesels flying. This spring, it's deep into certification work on a new diesel twin, the DA52. Based on the DA42 twin, the DA52 is larger, faster, and carries up to seven people. Diamond views it as a high-class, luxury minivan. On a recent visit to Diamond's factory in Austria, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a demo flight in the new airplane and shot this exclusive video report.
Every crisis creates opportunities, the saying goes, and with aspiring pilots facing a 1,500-hour minimum flight-time requirement for entry-level jobs in the regional airlines, due to take effect in August, FlightSafety Academy is offering a new program to address that need. FlightSafety said it plans to hire college graduates who have at least a commercial certificate plus multi-engine and instrument ratings, and will give them free training for their flight instructor certificate as well as CFI-instrument and CFI-multi. Hours flown in training and in giving instruction will help the pilots qualify for the ATP certificate, the company said. The pilots must make a two-year commitment to work at FlightSafety.
Every year for EAA AirVenture, the FAA sends a batch of controllers to handle all the extra traffic at the Oshkosh tower, but this year, the FAA is asking EAA to chip in to cover their costs. The FAA wants to collect enough to cover the controllers' travel expenses, per diems, and overtime. EAA is not happy about the change. "This may be an early indication of further efforts by the FAA to charge GA operators for functions in ways that could add unforeseen costs for the average pilot who simply wants to enjoy flying," said EAA, in a news release. Jack Pelton, EAA chairman, called the change "alarming," and AOPA president Craig Fuller said it was "extremely troubling news."
In an open letter to the general aviation community sent just before the Memorial Day weekend, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta asked each pilot to "make sure you're ready -- really ready -- to fly." The letter (PDF) noted that GA accident rates have remained "stubbornly flat" in recent years and asked everyone in the GA community, from pilots to mechanics to passengers, to share some simple messages. Huerta's advice includes: Take advantage of all training opportunities, know the weather for every flight, help to grow a safety culture among your local contacts, and intervene if you see someone doing something unsafe.
>>> AVWEB FUEL FINDERCURRENT PRICE FOR 100LL: $6.03 (up 1¢ from last week)CURRENT PRICE FOR JET A: $5.43 (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 Copeca Jet Center at Rafael Hernandez Airport (TJBQ) in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.AVweb reader Bruce Huester told us about the FBO:Copeca Jet Center is a well-run, family-owned and operated FBO on the northwest end of Puerto Rico. We have stopped there several times for fuel and customs. The customs folks are friendly, courteous, and quick! We park right outside the customs office and are typically processed in less than ten minutes. We had a pressurization issue after departure, and when we returned, Copeca was very helpful with lining up a mechanic, arranging accommodations, and providing transportation. I highly recommend Copeca for a tech stop or overnight.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!
I heard the following a few days ago over eastern Kentucky:Flagship 123:"Indy Center, Flagship 123 climbing through 12,000."Indy Center:"Flagship 123, roger. What was your assigned heading?"Flagship 123:"370."Indy Center:"370?!"Flagship 123:"370."Indy Center:"O.K. Continue present heading."Dennis Mahanvia e-mail
A Brazilian air force Boeing 707 went off the runway on its takeoff roll at Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Haiti Sunday but none of the 121 people onboard was injured. One of the engines reportedly caught fire and the aircraft left the runway. The aircraft was totaled. Details are sketchy but the airport was closed for a time and some flights were delayed.
Although most people think multiple landings are what wears aircraft tires the most, the reality is that they take a bit of beating during taxi, too. And if tires are underinflated, they'll tend to heat up more, causing accelerated wear and premature replacement of an expensive tire. In this brief video, Michelin Tire explains the importance of proper inflation.
A Utah company says it will introduce the "most affordable" glass-equipped ready-to-fly LSA at AirVenture Oshkosh this year. The SkyCraft SD-1 Minisport is a Czech design that zips its single occupant at 118 mph at 1.8 gph on a 50-horsepower Hirth engine. SkyCraft says the little LSA costs $12 an hour to fly, including the overhaul of the Hirth (1,000-hour TBO). The kit has been available for some time at around $21,000, including engine. The ready-built model will be a hair under $55,000.
A Piper PA-34 Seneca being flown for Angel Flight Northeast crashed in Garoga, N.Y., killing at least two of the occupants and likely the third. The aircraft took off from Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., bound for Rome, N.Y., and crashed about 60 miles from its destination. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft, minus a wing, drop into a reservoir next to a campground crowded for the long weekend. Two bodies were recovered and the third was believed to be trapped inside. Angel Flight Northeast confirmed the crash. "Angel Flight NE staff and volunteers are tremendously saddened by this tragedy and we all offer our thoughts and prayers to the families of those affected," said Larry Camerlin, the group's founder and president, in a statement.