Airways - June 2006

Cessna Makes First Flight of Encore+, New: Garmin GMX 200, Columbia Offers TAA Students Initial Purchase Option, and much more...

air_606_1.jpg

Cessna Makes First Flight of Encore+

Cessna continued its aggressive program of incremental product improvements with the first flight of the newly announced Citation Encore+ in late March. In terms of avionics, the Encore+, which Cessna expects to be certified for single-pilot operation, incorporates many of the improvements rolled into the "Plus" lineup of CitationJets, with electronic charting, graphical weather and enhanced mapping. Providing the motive force for the Encore+ is a pair of 3,400-lb thrust Pratt & Whitney PW535B engines with dual-channel fadec. The jet will boast a 200-pound maximum weight increase, giving it a 1,100-pound full fuel payload (in addition to two pilots). Certification is scheduled to take place by the end of the year. New: Garmin GMX 200 Garmin has introduced the successor to the popular MX20 multifunction display, the GMX 200. While Garmin says that the new product is "similar to the MX20," it's really an all-new product that does everything the MX20 does and much more, while fitting into the same panel space as the MX20. For starters, the GMX 200's display is big, 20 percent larger than the MX20, and the screen resolution, 640 x 480, is even better than the excellent MX20's screen res. There's also a new rotary knob, a much requested improvement, to allow for faster data entry and range changes. Also new on the GMX 200 is an industry-standard Secure Digital (SD) card slot on the front of the unit, so uploading data-most new PCs have an SD slot built in - is easier, and buying additional cards is cheaper, too.

There are three different GMX 200 models available, with more costly models featuring additional display abilities. In addition to the basic model, there's the GMX 200-Traffic, which comes ready to display Traffic Information Services (TIS) and ADS-B. It can also interface with certain TCAS and TAS receivers. The GMX 200-Radar/Traffic model interfaces with Garmin's GWX 68 color weather radar, with both vertical and horizontal modes.

Depending on which model of the GMX 200 you install, there are several different page displays available. The standard map page, with a high-res Garmin basemap with land and water data, is complemented, when connected to Garmin's GDL 69 XM receiver, by a display of XM Weather and XM Radio. In addition, like the MX20, the GMX 200 can display Jeppesen approach charts, but at a larger size and with more detail.

Garmin says that the GMX 200 will begin shipping this summer. Price of the standard model is expected to be $8,995. For more details, visit www.Garmin.com.

Columbia Offers TAA Students Initial Purchase Option Recognizing that first-time aircraft buyers are most comfortable purchasing an airplane similarly equipped to the one they trained in, Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing has introduced an incentive program to encourage them to buy a Columbia. Since Columbia offers aircraft with either the Garmin G1000 or the Avidyne Entegra, pilots who learned in technically advanced trainers equipped with either of those systems will feel comfortable moving up to a Columbia. To make the move up even easier, Columbia has established an IPO (initial purchase option). Students who complete primary or advanced training in a glass-cockpit trainer, purchase a new Columbia 350/400 within 12 months of an FAA check ride and submit an IPO affidavit signed by their CFI, will be reimbursed for their flight training expenses up to $7,500 upon delivery of their new Columbia aircraft. For more information, visit www.flycolumbia.com.

Raytheon Aircraft Donates to Corporate Angel Network

The Corporate Angel Network (CAN), which coordinates free flights for cancer patients on corporate airplanes, has received a $50,000 donation from Raytheon Aircraft's Charitable Foundation. The current donation brings Raytheon's contributions to more than $100,000. In addition to its financial help, Raytheon has flown nearly 80 flights with cancer patients onboard. Founded nearly 25 years ago, CAN has grown to include 530 participating corporate flight departments and has arranged nearly 25,000 flights. It currently provides about 200 patient flights a month.

First Satellite for Europe's GPS System

The European Union launched the first satellite in its emerging Galileo satellite navigation constellation late last year. A second satellite will be launched soon, to be joined by two others in 2008, at which point its signal will be usable, though the EU will continue to place new satellites in orbit over the next few years.

There will be three levels of Galileo service: There is the free service (accuracy between four and 15 meters, depending on the receiver); a paid, commercial service (accuracy of better than one meter); and a public use service, for military and police use. The EU and the United States have been cooperating on Galileo's architecture, and (somewhat chillingly) the system will enable mutual shutdown of the other's satellite system in times of war.

Upon completion, Galileo will consist of 30 satellites and associated ground infrastructure. Current GPS receivers will not be able to receive Galileo signals, though many future receivers, even in the United States, will likely contain dual GPS/Galileo receivers. In addition to EU countries, partners on Galileo include China, Israel, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, India, Morocco and South Korea.

Mooney Aircraft Delivers 11,000th Airplane

On February 23, 2006, Mooney handed over the keys to an Ovation2 GX to Dennis Strigl of New Jersey and celebrated the delivery of its 11,000th airplane. The milestone airplane features a G1000 avionics suite, a GDL 69A weather uplink with XM satellite radio, a GTX 330 Mode "S" transponder and an S-Tec 55X autopilot. Mooney delivered its first airplane in 1948 from its initial location in Wichita, Kansas. In 1951, Mooney moved to Kerrville, Texas, its current home.

Coffee-Table Book

At the Controls: The Smithsonian Air and Space Museum Book of Cockpits_lets you into the cockpits of some of aviation's most famous airplanes. Included in the 144-page, 9- by 12-inch book are 90 color photographs and 28 historic black and white photos. Among the images are those of the _Wright Flyer, Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, Chuck Yeager's Glamorous Glennis, and John Glenn's Friendship 7. Other cockpits include those of a Fokker D.7, Howard Hughes's Special 1B Racer, the Wildcat, the Spitfire, several helicopters and a variety of spacecraft. Priced at $24.95, the book is published by Boston Mills Press (www.bostonmillspress.com) and distributed by Firefly Books (www.fireflybook.com).

SWEEPSTAKES WINNER

Tom McGowan, from Hicksville, New York, was the winner of the King Schools'New Century of Flight airplane sweepstakes. McGowan's new mount is a Cessna172S Skyhawk fitted out with a KLN 94 GPS, MFD and a KAP 140 two-axis autopilot. Next year's King Schools' giveaway will be another 172S Skyhawk, but it will feature a Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system.

AIR RACE

The 2006 edition of the National Cross Country Air Races is scheduled to take place July 16 to 23 with three different racing events. The jumping off point this year will be Hutchinson, Kansas, which will host the Hutchinson 300 on July 16 and the beginning of the 1,800-mile Marion Jayne Air Race that starts on July 19 and finishes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on July 21. The Stevens Point 300 will run from July 21 to 23. The races are all conducted under VFR conditions and open to all pilots flying piston-powered airplanes. The airplanes are handicapped to equalize the chance of winning for the variety of airplane types that participate. For free entry kits, go to www.us-airrace.org or call 903/564-9410.

Eviation Jet's EV-20 Vantage Program Progresses

If the company is successful, Eviation Jets expects the first flight of its EV-20, a twin-engine follow-on version of the single-engine VisionAire Vantage jet, to occur in October of this year with certification following in late 2007. Eviation Jets acquired all the technical drawings, trademarks, molds and tooling from VisionAire in 2003 and plans to develop, certify and produce the EV-20 in Brazil. Powered by a pair of Williams FJ44-1A engines and fitted with Garmin's G1000 integrated avionics system, the 8- to 10-seat EV-20 will be priced at $2.995 million.

Triumphal Helicopter Gathering in Dallas Story & Photography by Robert Goyer

With the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina calling the nation's helicopter fleet to service, an increasingly active marketplace in nearly every sector, exciting new models, mergers and potentially revolutionary innovations, it was an eventful year for the helicopter industry, to say the least.

It was also, probably not coincidentally, a Heli-Expo to remember. Held in Dallas in late February, the three-day affair put on by the Helicopter Association International (HAI) attracted a record 16,629 attendees. In fact, the gathering had broken the previous attendance mark by the second day of the show.

Helicopter sales are strong, and the industry remains largely segregated from fixed-wing aviation. In its annual Civil Turbine Powered Helicopter Market Outlook, Honeywell projected a sales increase of about 15 percent (sales of approximately 2,650 turbine-powered helicopters) over the next five years, 2006-2010, compared with the previous five-year period, during which time 2,300 such aircraft were delivered. And the long-term picture is even rosier. Looking out 10 years, Honeywell's forecasters see sales of approximately 6,000 turbine-powered helicopters. BIGGEST SALES YEAR EVER

The forecast doesn't take into account piston-powered helicopter deliveries and last year, once again, the biggest helicopter manufacturer was Robinson, which sold the most helicopters ever by a manufacturer in a single year, 806. According to Robinson, the previous mark was 780, set by Bell Helicopter more than 25 years ago. Robinson also claims a new record for a single model sold in one year, with 563 R44 Ravens sold during 2005; they surpassed Bell's sales mark of 550 Model 206s, sold in1980. The Robinson tally accounted for roughly 90 percent of the U.S. helicopter output by units in 2005, according to HAI numbers.

CEO Frank Robinson also went on record as encouraging flight schools to make more use of the R44 as a trainer. While popular with flight schools because of its low operating costs, the two-place R22 is a more challenging helicopter to fly than the four-seat R44. Robinson said that the operating costs of the R44 are only slightly higher than the R22. Robinson agreed that the parallel between Robinson helicopters and Cessna piston singles - Cessna last produced the two-seat 152 trainer in the mid-1980s and now markets the four-seat 172 for that purpose - was perfectly valid.

Robinson also told Flying that his company continues to explore alternative powerplant technology, including turbines and diesels, but not to expect a launch of any models soon. KATRINA RESPONSE

HAI presented its annual Igor I. Sikorsky Award for Humanitarian Service to all of the responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Despite the delayed response to the disaster from the federal government, helicopters flown by corporate operators and even private individuals were instrumental in supplying relief to the victims of the devastation. With nearly every Gulf Coast runway under water or otherwise unusable, helicopters were instrumental in evacuating survivors, transporting medical and other relief supplies, and providing logistical support. Over the weeks that followed the storm, helicopters were used to transport tens of thousands of evacuees and thousands of tons of supplies.

Enstrom delivered 29 helicopters in 2005, an increase from 24 the previous year, and it plans to build and deliver 32 helicopters this year. Deliveries for 2005 included 14 turbine-powered 480Bs. News & Notes

  • Sikorsky announced certification and first delivery of its upgraded S-76 corporate transport. The S-76 C++ features more power, better avionics and interior refinements. But the company plans another major model change when it launches the S-76D in 2008.

  • Bell/Agusta continues to test fly the BA 609 tilt- rotor, a smaller, civil version of the V22 Osprey tiltrotor, though Bell says that certification is still a few years away.

  • MD Helicopters, under new ownership and new leadership, announced that new investment would allow it to increase spare parts production and to ramp up manufacturing to as many as 20 helicopters this year.

  • The next edition of Heli-Expo is scheduled to take place from March 1-3, 2007, in Orlando.

BELL

Bell launched its Model 417 light single, a derivative of its successful Model 407. The 417 features forward looking infrared, upgraded skids and more evolutionary enhancements. Bell also hinted at future projects, including a clean-sheet medium twin that will compete with the former Agusta/Bell 139, now a joint project of Agusta and Westland. In 2005, Bell sold 105 civil and 59 military helicopters, valued at more than $2 billion.

Collier Trophy Goes to Eclipse

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has presented Eclipse Aviation with the Robert J. Collier Trophy for advances and innovations Eclipse has promoted in the emerging very light jet (VLJ) segment. According to the NAA, the award was presented to Eclipse for its "leadership, innovation, and the advancement of general aviation in the production of very light jets, specifically, the Eclipse 500" and for the company's "spirit of entrepreneurship, technical innovation, and the impact on American aviation." Eclipse is expecting its $1.4 million (estimate) VLJ, the Eclipse 500, to achieve FAA certification in late June of this year.

The Collier selection committee cited Eclipse for innovative technology, including the use of friction stir welding, its patented fire suppression system and advances in aircraft electronics, as well as for its efforts to "drive down cost, increase performance, improve safety, and spur a new type of air travel - the air taxi."

The Collier Trophy is presented annually for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." Recent winners include the design team of the pioneering SpaceShipOne; Gulfstream for its ultra-long-range business jet, the G500; Cessna for its speedy Citation X bizjet; and Boeing for the 777 twin-engine wide-bodied airliner.

Pilots on Personal Jets: Gimme One

In his March Left Seat Column, Mac made it clear that the smallest single-engine jets, which he dubs "personal jets," have their limitations, including the lack of redundancy, the inability to fly at optimum altitudes, fuel inefficiency and lack of bizjet-class speed. Despite these drawbacks, these tiny jets, Mac suggested, would still be a big hit.

If you were to believe the results of our non-scientific poll on flyingmag.com, Mac hit the nail on the head when he wrote that the lure of single-engine jets would be beyond all proportion to their benefits.

When asked, "Would you buy and fly a single-engine PJ (personal jet)?" an impressive 58 percent of the respondents answered, "When can I can get one?" A smaller number, 23 percent, liked the smell of kerosene but opted for a prop by answering, "No way, give me a turboprop."

There were other dissenters. Seven percent answered, "No way, not enough engines," and another 10 percent chimed in with, "No way, too little bang for the buck," which were two of the reservations about the segment that Mac expressed in his column.

Learjet Provides Flights For Make-A-Wish Foundation

International Jet Aviation, based in Englewood, Colorado, donated a Lear 35A, dubbed Dream Chaser, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a two-week project in celebration of the foundation's 25th anniversary. During the two weeks, rides were given to more than 30 children in five western cities. In the process, the airplane flew more than 2,000 miles. The children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation ranged in age from 4 to 17 and were invited to sign their names on the side of the airplane.

Jet-Powered Birdman

A young adventurer named Visa Parviainen has been experimenting with a new form of powered flight, combining the use of what is known as a wing suit and small jet engines attached to his feet. The special suit has "wings" connecting the arms and legs of the jumper. Such a getup, unpowered, can reduce freefall rates of a skydiver significantly; glide ratios of 2:1 are common.

The use of jet engines attached to the legs - Parviainen's flight might not have been the first such experiment - take the experience to the next level. He was able to achieve approximately 30 seconds of level flight in the suit before his fuel ran out. Shortly thereafter he landed uneventfully after deploying his parachute.

Higher Powered Lasers Online

Because of a couple of recent incidents covered widely in the mainstream media, pilots might be concerned about unforeseen encounters with "laser beams." While the feds closely regulate the use of entertainment lasers at amusement parks and other attractions, the use of increasingly powerful personal handheld lasers has attracted media attention. The number of high powered lasers in the hands of private citizens is unknown, but by all accounts, it is growing fast. So too, to the surprise of no one, is the number of laser illuminations reported by pilots in the United States.

In the mid-1990s there was a rash of serious laser-related incidents, mostly in Las Vegas, that were the result of airplanes flying into the path of very high-powered laser displays from outdoor casino shows. Fortunately, there were no accidents associated with those incidents. Operations using entertainment-class lasers soon began complying with industry-wide guidelines, and there have been few incidents nationwide since that time.

Compared with entertainment-grade lasers, it's widely agreed that low-powered laser pointers, like those used in classrooms and boardrooms, offer little risk. But a number of online companies are now offering higher powered lasers for easy purchase online, with prices ranging from around $500 to $1,000. Typical pointer-style lasers are classified as Class IIIa lasers, but some companies are selling lasers with significantly higher power output. These lasers, Class IIIb products, are classified by the Food and Drug Administration (go figure) as being for industrial or OEM use, or for incorporation into another product, though just about anyone can buy one. And it is the buyer who is responsible for how the laser is used.

The good news: According to experts, even these more powerful handheld lasers aren't capable of doing any kind of lasting damage to the eye of a pilot when used from the ground at any significant distance. Even the highly focused light of a laser diffuses geometrically over distance, so at a range of one kilometer, the beam of a 5-milliwatt laser (like the one used in a recent, highly publicized New Jersey incident) isn't a threat to a pilot's eye, even if it can be pointed with enough accuracy at that distance to make a direct hit, which is doubtful.

While the FAA has recorded more than 150 reported laser illuminations, there has never been a documented accident associated with laser illumination, and temporary pilot eye injuries have all been associated with high-powered entertainment or military lasers. The biggest threat to pilots encountering a laser illumination might be one of the very oldest pilot hazards: the distraction associated with the incident. As always, the best advice is, fly the airplane.-By Robert Goyer

Position and Hold Procedures Revised

As of March 20, 2006, in order for taxi into position and hold (TIPH) procedures to be used, the manager of the ATC tower has to determine that an "operational need exists considering factors such as capacity, efficiency and user input." If TIPH procedures are being used, the controller will have to notify pilots of aircraft that have been cleared "into position and hold" of aircraft on the approach, and inform aircraft on the approach that airplanes have been told to taxi into position and hold. The new procedures are in response to errors that the FAA says continue to occur with TIPH operations. Nevertheless, some controllers have expressed concern that the new procedures will result in long delays, particularly from a change that reads: "Do not authorize aircraft to taxi into takeoff position to hold simultaneously on intersecting runways."

Hawker 850 Certified The Hawker 850XP, the latest edition of one of the most successful bizjets ever, has earned FAA certification. The most noticeable improvement, from the outside at least, is the addition of winglets. The new upturned tips result in some dramatic performance gains, including a 100-nm increase in range and an 8 percent improve-ment in time-to-climb performance, as well as slightly faster airspeeds and block speeds. The 850XP also includes improvements already rolled into the Hawker 800XPi, which was announced last year. These include an updated premium interior, Airshow 21 cabin management system and the addition of an integrated flight information system to the Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics suite. Deliveries of the 850XP have already begun.

CAE SimuFlite/Flying Horizons of Flight Art Contest

This year marked the 13th year that CAE SimuFlite and Flying have co-sponsored the Horizons of Flight Aviation Art Exhibition and Competition. This year's crop of paintings featured a diverse mix of work in terms of both subject matter and medium.

Best of Show this year was awarded to Sharon Rajnus for her watercolor, Coast Guard, Hall PH-2. It was the first time in recent memory that a watercolor has won Best of Show, and Rajnus' work is unusual in that it features a Coast Guard amphibian in the water, and that the water in the painting, reminiscent of Winslow Homer's violent coast of Maine tableaus, is the chief character, a fitting commentary on the precarious nature of navigating the rough seas in a flying boat.

Second prize went to Kristin Hill's oil painting, New Horizon, which depicts a business jet, possibly a Gulfstream, winging its way westward at sunset while crossing a pair of contrails. Hill's painting was also awarded the SimuFlite Award for best painting of a business jet.

Awards of Merit went to Sam Lyons' Polished Perfection; Jack Fellows' Liberator; Cher Hogan-Pruys' Obscure Passage; and Ron Hart's Air Circus One. Finally, Bruce Leslie Thomas' A Sweetheart Wing was awarded the Association of Women in Aviation Award.

The deadline for the 2007 Horizons of Flight Competition is October 4, 2006. For more information about next year's competition, or if you're interested in purchasing one of the works shown - most are available - please contact SimuFlite's Margie Badyna at margie.badyna@cae.com.