Flying year-round becomes a possibility with the TKS Ice Protection system
Publishing an aviation magazine can be a lot of fun, especially when the assignment is to refurbish an airplane like a 1982 B36TC Bonanza, our most recent project plane. If you’ve been reading Plane & Pilot over the last few years, you’re probably familiar with this plane from the August and September 2003 issues. At that time, we pulled the best equipment on the market to retrofit the 20-year-old aircraft. The idea was to showcase all the emerging technology for high-performance, piston-engine aircraft.
The latest sales figures from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association are sizzling! First quarter 2006 billings, which include pistons, turboprops and business jets, came in at $4 billion—the biggest first quarter in history. This year’s sales were up a healthy 37.9% over the same period last year and early indications are that the trend will continue.
In 2005, the general aviation industry hit $15.1 billion in billings, an all-time high and a 27.2% increase over 2004. The good news came from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) at their annual Industry Review & 2006 Market Outlook Briefing. GAMA (www.gama.aero) figures put worldwide shipments of general aviation airplanes at 3,580 units for 2005, up 20.8% from the previous year’s total of 2,963 units.
IFR flight planning, electronic charts and moving map all in one package
In the fall of 2004, I closed a review of Jeppesen’s JeppView/FliteDeck 3 with a complaint about the lack of serious flight-planning functions in Jeppesen’s flagship electronic charting products. A Jeppesen representative responded: “At some point, we hope to offer a single solution.” He must have been serious because that single solution now exists.
Here are two products that might change your attitude about altitude
I’m fortunate to be able to fly a late-model Bonanza B36TC. At a recent American Bonanza Society convention, I was given a demo ride in the Rocket Engineering B36TC converted Pratt & Whitney PT6-A-powered TurbineAir.
Mid-Continent Instruments’ Lifesaver attitude indicator with built-in battery backup
Every pilot knows “Hoover’s Law”: It’s not a question of if your vacuum system will fail, but when your vacuum system will fail. To eliminate the vacuum problem, many owners have opted to go with an electric primary or standby gyro. Great idea—until the power goes out. Then what? Well, thanks to Mid-Continent Instruments, pilots who install its new 4300 series Lifesaver electric attitude indicator with built-in battery backup can keep flying for up to an hour.
Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation is celebrating a well-deserved FAA certification for its SJ30-2 business jet. Approved for day/night/VFR/IFR single-pilot ops, the new speedster reports a cruise speed that exceeds 460 knots. Passengers will enjoy a sea-level cabin pressure all the way to FL410, and the SJ30-2’s max altitude is another 8,000 feet higher. The “entry-level” jet will compete with the Cessna Citations and Raytheon Premier I. Sino Swearingen says that customer deliveries are forthcoming. For more, log on to www.sj30jet.com or call (949) 851-0900.
The wunderbox that brings satellite uplink weather and radio capabilities to the cockpit
Fourteen years ago, when I met Tim Casey of Garmin International, we were at the Paris Air Show, and Carl Pascarell and I had just ferried the prototype Sino Swearingen SJ30 jet across the Atlantic to Le Bourget Airport with little more than point-and-shoot VHF radios. Like most prototypes, the first SJ30 was having its share of systems problems, and electrical glitches had burned up both of our VLF/Omegas on the eastbound crossing. By definition, we were flying IFR above 35,000 feet and needed a method of positively identifying our position for the trip back to San Antonio, Texas.
There’s excitement in the air in both Albuquerque, N.M., and Wichita, Kan. Final certification for the Eclipse 500 and the Cessna Mustang is almost in sight, and soon, all of us will get the first hints of just how deep the water is for the very light jet (VLJ) aircraft market. At the recent EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., Eclipse flaunted two of its conforming prototypes, and Cessna debuted its Mustang, direct from Wichita, with CEO Jack Pelton at the controls.
Before they were booted up, the Chelton boxes in the Malibu Jet Prop we tested looked like any number of other newer panel configurations. Almost every new airframe manufacturer is putting glass into the cockpit now with a primary flight display (PFD) in front of the pilot and a multi-function display (MFD) right next door.
It’s always a bit mind-boggling when Cessna finds ways to improve the most popular line of jets in the world, but once again, that’s exactly what it has done. A new and improved Model 525 Citation CJ1+ has earned FAA certification and is headed to a runway near you before the year’s end.
Adam Aircraft received the final type certificate for the pressurized, twin-engine A500. Less than one year after founders Rick Adam and John Knudsen gave Burt Rutan $1 million and a back-of-the-napkin design for an all-composite, centerline-thrust twin, a proof-of-concept A500 was flying over Mojave, Calif. In 2002, flight testing began out of Denver’s Centennial Airport.
Final numbers for general aviation’s 2004 financial year have been released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), and the news is great. Piston singles sales hit a 20-year high. “Bonus depreciation, coupled with the continuing growth of the U.S. economy helped make 2004 a turning point for our industry,” says GAMA chairman Jim Schuster.
A buyer’s guide to the latest must-have gear for aviators
Almost every pilot searches for the right tools to make any flight a safe and enjoyable one. Whether it’s a gizmo that enables us to enjoy that short $100 hamburger flight or a portable piece of equipment that can save us baggage space during long cross-country treks to the backcountry, we’re always in need of that extra-special something that will make our trips a whole lot easier and the ride a whole lot more fun.
An unusual rash of activity has come out of Washington, D.C., this year that affects all pilots. Changes in regulations, aviation services, airspace and even outer space have, thus far, been the hallmark of 2005.
A portable, WAAS-enabled solution with a mighty big screen
AvMap’s EKP-IV—which is an enhanced version of its predecessor, called the EKP-IIIC—can most likely best be described as the Rolls-Royce of portable GPS units for in-cockpit use. It’s bigger than your average handheld, standing at 4.75x7x1.5 inches, and it’s a bit pricey—but both the money and size buy a couple of other things that usually aren’t available in any other portable GPS units of which I’m quite aware, perhaps because the company has seriously taken into account its customer’s suggestions and comments.
Our extensive Buyer’s Guide to the most unique paraphernalia that any flier could want
Wiith the holidays upon us, we knew we had to settle the one question that most of us are asking at this time of the year: What do you get for a pilot who has everything? Well, we’ve searched long and hard to answer that question, and we’ve come up with an exhaustive list of gizmos that you can get for your favorite flier—or better yet, perhaps even for yourself.
After nearly a decade of many birthing pains, the new sport pilot’s license as well as light-sport aircraft category has become a reality. The new 4,700 pages added to the FAA rules and regs went into effect on September 1st of this year, and while no one quite knows what’s next, aviation’s general consensus is positive.