More than 560,000 visitors and 10,000 airplanes flocked to Oshkosh, Wis., for EAA AirVenture 2007. There was something for everyone, including daily air shows featuring performers such as the Red Barons, Patty Wagstaff and Michael Goulian. The Collaborators (pictured above), a team of aerobatic pilots Sean Tucker, Bill Stein, Eric Tucker and Ben Freelove, debuted their new, dynamic four-ship formation sequence. On the ground, attendees checked out new aircraft and hot gadgets at hundreds of exhibitor display booths. There were even a few surprises. Here are some of general aviation’s latest and greatest:
Sport Cub Series 2
CubCrafters premiered its Sport Cub S2 aircraft at Oshkosh. New features include second-generation airbags by AmSafe as standard for pilot and copilot; lighter weight plus stronger material (40 new carbon-fiber and composite parts); increased horsepower (AWI “4 into 1” exhaust system); new cabin door; new tailwheel; new engine mount; optional AOSS landing gear; new paint scheme and much more. “Sport Cub S2 uniquely answers the demand for more because S2 is a Super Cub that you can fly without a medical and it forever leaves the open-cowled, J-3 type Cub aircraft behind,” remarked CubCrafters Vice President Todd Simmons. Visit www.cubcrafters.com.
Honeywell announced the development of an MFD that will incorporate GPS and WAAS capability as well as a new software-based VHF communication and navigation radio. The 5.7-inch diagonal display features control inputs including hard keys, line select keys and a cursor control device. Certification of the system, the Bendix/King KSN 770, is expected in late 2008. Also in the works by Honeywell is a new PFD system, the Bendix/King KFD 840. The unit will be an 8.4-inch LCD, which can be retrofit into older aircraft. To learn more, visit www.honeywell.com.
New Top-Name LSAs
At the opening of EAA AirVenture, Cessna Aircraft Company announced details and rolled out a full-scale mock-up of its highly anticipated LSA, the Model 162 SkyCatcher. At an introductory price of $109,500, the 162 will be powered by a 100 hp Continental O-200D, air-cooled, carbureted engine and a fixed-pitch composite propeller. The aircraft will cruise at speeds up to 118 knots and will have a maximum range of 470 nautical miles. (A Cessna 152 reaches a maximum speed of approximately 109 knots with a similar range.) It will feature a Garmin G300 avionics system with information presented in a single, split-screen PFD and MFD, or as two full-screen displays with an optional second screen. The SkyCatcher will be capable of VFR day and night operations.
The tricycle-gear aircraft has a maximum gross weight of 1,320 pounds, a service ceiling of 15,500 feet, a useful load of 490 pounds, a usable fuel load of 24 gallons and a cabin width at shoulder height of 44.25 inches. (Gross weight on a 152 is 1,600 pounds and useful load is 571 pounds. Service ceiling caps off at 14,700 feet.) It features two cabin-entry doors and forward pivoting seats giving access to a 12.5-cubic-foot baggage compartment.
First flight of the prototype 162 is set for the first half of 2008, and deliveries are expected to begin in 2009. Once at full-rate production, Cessna expects to produce up to 700 per year. Since the official launch, Cessna has taken approximately 570 orders for its new LSA. Visit www.cessna.com for more details.
Another significant light-sport announcement was made at Oshkosh by Cirrus, debuting its own take on an LSA, the Cirrus SRS. This streamlined, composite LSA will cruise at a maximum speed of 120 KCAS. “We’re working some things out, such as how to get it a little slower,” said Cirrus cofounder Alan Klapmeier with a laugh. “It’s too fast. But that’s an easier problem than the other way around!” The low-wing two-seater has a useful load of 400 pounds, burns premium mogas or 100LL avgas and has the Cirrus hallmark CAPS airframe parachute system. For more information, visit www.cirrusdesign.com.
Diamond Aircraft unveiled its five-seat, 350 hp, FADEC, turbocharged DA50 SuperStar aircraft at Oshkosh. “We looked at the piston-single market and saw a sweet spot,” said Diamond VP of Sales & Marketing Heike Larson. He describes it as “a plane with room for more than four people, a high-performance plane made simple to fly with a FADEC, turbo engine, a plane to step up to for owners of other singles who want to take on more serious traveling.” The aircraft’s 52-inch-wide cabin has a three-seat back bench with an optional rear-seat entertainment system. To place your $15,000 refundable deposit toward a position reservation, visit www.diamondair.com.
Now available by Jeppesen are interactive E-Learning programs for Garmin panel-mount avionics systems as well as Garmin and Lowrance portable GPS units. The programs are scenario-based, with guided simulation training. Courses include Garmin GNS 530W/430W, basic VFR and IFR, Garmin GPSMAP 196, 296, 396 and 496, and Lowrance Airmap 2000c, 1000c and 500c. Later this year, courses for the Garmin G1000 system will be available as well.
Together with the FAA, Jeppesen produced AC 91-78, which states that electronic flight bags (EFBs) and electronic chart displays (ECDs) can legally be used during all phases of flight in lieu of paper documentation, and as long as the guidelines in the AC are followed, no specific authorization is required for Part 91 flyers. More information is available at www.flyelectronic.net and www.jeppesen.com.
Avemco Insurance Company announced at Oshkosh that it has lowered its rates and broadened its coverage on many technically advanced aircraft, including all Cirrus and Columbia models, as well as the Diamond DA42 Twin Star. Also, qualified customers will be eligible for higher liability limits up to one million combined single limit. “We’re constantly monitoring our underwriting results,” stated Avemco EVP Jim Laureman, “to ensure that we’re charging a rate that’s adequate to promptly pay for all covered claims and also provide the best possible long-term return on our stockholders’ investment.” Get your quote at www.avemco.com.
Evolution Flight Display System
Aspen Avionics introduced its Evolution Flight Display, a modular glass-cockpit system comprised of a PFD, starting at $5,995, and two MFD screens, starting at $4,995. Owners can upgrade their “six pack” to glass-cockpit technology all at once or in stages. “We believe that installing the latest avionics technologies and safety advances shouldn’t have to mean emptying your bank account,” said Aspen Avionics VP of Marketing Doug Cayne. The EFD1000 slides into three-inch instrument panel cutouts, and different software turns each EFD1000 into one of three levels of a PFD or an MFD. Get yours at www.aspenavionics.com.
Parachutes On Jets
Epic Aircraft flew both of its new VLJs, the twin-engine Elite and the single-engine Victory, to EAA AirVenture this year amidst much fanfare. “There’s a tremendous amount of excitement when a new jet is unveiled,” Epic CEO Rick Schrameck remarked. “But when you unveil two new jets at the same time, now that’s a very big deal!” Ballistic Recovery Systems announced an agreement with Epic to install its parachutes on the new Victory jet, which will carry four to five passengers to 28,000 feet at speeds in excess of 320 KTAS. “The level of safety provided by a BRS system is becoming increasingly important to pilots and passengers,” said BRS VP of Sales John Gilmore. “The consumer is now telling the aircraft companies the level of safety they expect in airplanes, and the companies are responding.” Learn more at www.brsparachutes.com and www.epicaircraft.com.
Gemini 100 Engine
UK-based Powerplant Developments announced the development of the Gemini 100, a new two-stroke, three-cylinder diesel engine. The 100 hp engine will initially be offered to the LSA market. “The Gemini Engine introduces a number of uncommon, yet proven, engine features to the aviation industry,” said Powerplant Developments CEO Timothy Archer. “For example, it has a unique two half-crankshaft, two-pistons-per-cylinder design, which eliminates the need for a camshaft, valve gear and cylinder head joints.” Delivery to the experimental-LSA market is expected by April 2008; ASTM approval and delivery of certified engines to the S-LSA market is expected by November 2008.
American Legend Aircraft has reduced the empty weight on the three base models of its Legend Cub aircraft as follows: The open-cowl model, with a Continental O-200 engine weighs in at 830 pounds; the closed-cowl version with the same engine is 845 pounds; and the lightest-weight unit with a Jabiru 3300A engine is 800 pounds. Also new for the aircraft is the availability of an autopilot, utilizing the two-axis ADI Pilot II from TruTrak Flight Systems. Find out more at www.legend.aero.
Husky Night Vision
Aviat Aircraft plans to make Forward Vision’s EVS-100 available as optional equipment on new Husky aircraft or as a retrofit item for existing ones. The Enhanced Vision System responds to long-wave infrared, providing pilots with a night-vision system. Weighing 1.2 pounds, the sensor is mounted on top of the aircraft. The display may be mounted in various locations in the cockpit and provides a 40-degree-wide image of what’s in front of the aircraft. “This is clearly the most significant advancement in technology since the introduction of GPS or EFIS,” said Aviat Aircraft President Stu Horn. “GA pilots are going to be grateful for this kind of eye-in-the-sky technology whenever they get into MVFR or worse conditions.” Aviat will offer installed Forward Vision systems for $22,000. For more on the EVS-100 systems, visit www.forward-vision.net or www.aviataircraft.com.
Eclipse Concept Jet
Commanding center stage at the EAA AirVenture display area, Eclipse Aviation’s Concept Jet (ECJ) wowed crowds with its futuristic composite lines. The highly secretive project will form the vanguard of a market research project for the emerging single-jet category. Design to first flight took just six months, and the ECJ has already accumulated 30 flight-test hours at speeds reaching 250 knots at altitudes up to 25,000 feet. The ECJ is meant to showcase advanced styling and technology to assess market interest. Although there are no current plans to produce the jet, company CEO Vern Raburn says the aircraft “will allow us to obtain real, quantifiable data…we’re anxious to reveal the potential of this emerging category and our opportunity to add real value to it.” Visit www.eclipseaviation.com.
Jim LeRoy, 46, passed away on July 28, 2007, as the result of a crash while performing in his “Bulldog” Pitts S2S at the Vectren Dayton Air Show in Ohio. He is survived by his wife Joanie and four-year-old son Tommy.
Extending beyond his mastery as an aviator, Jim was also a consummate showman who was a founding member of the X-Team, Masters of Disaster, Tinstix and Codename: Mary’s Lamb. Few people have had the impact on aviation that he had. Jim established himself at the top of the air show business, winning the 2002 Art Scholl Showmanship Award and the 2003 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship. Through discipline and professionalism, Jim was driven to provide the ultimate air show entertainment experience for his fans. He inspired not only the air show audiences, but almost every other air show pilot as well. His example clearly set the bar for pilots in the air show entertainment industry to follow.
For the benefit of Jim’s son, Tommy, please send contributions to Jim Leroy, Jr. Memorial Fund, c/o Harris Bank, 110 East Irving Park Road, Roselle, Illinois 60172; (630) 980-2700.World’s Quietest ANR Headset
Made with magnesium, stainless steel and four types of composite plastics, the new Zulu headset from Lightspeed is extremely durable, but weighs just over 13 ounces. Inside the headband is a core of thin, flexible spring steel. Luxurious, soft leather surrounds extra-wide earseals made from temperature-sensitive foam, offering your ears more space and greater comfort. Magnesium reflects 10 times more sound and is stronger and lighter than plastic cups. Bluetooth allows the headset to wirelessly connect with your cell phone, MP3 player and other compatible devices. Zulu headset’s unique earcup design offers more total noise cancellation than any headset on the market. For more information, contact Lightspeed Aviation Inc. at (800) 322-2421 or visit www.lightspeedaviation.com.
Weather Briefing Cards
To help organize the information pilots receive during telephone weather briefings, Sporty’s has created a handy pad of Weather Briefing Cards. A pilot can fill in the appropriate spaces on these kneeboard-sized cards, which come in a pad of 50, and have convenient access to current weather, forecasts, NOTAMs and more. Cards are organized in the order in which information is given, and they have room on both sides for notes and include a map of the United States to track weather systems and fronts. These cards are ideal for student pilots and experienced pilots alike. They also make a great teaching tool for instructors. The pilot can take this important weather data right into the cockpit. To learn more, contact Sporty’s at (800) SPORTYS or visit our Website at www.sportys.com.
WingX 2.5 With DUATS Support
Hilton Software LLC has just released WingX 2.5 for Pocket PCs and Pocket PC Phone Editions. WingX 2.5 adds DUATS support, which streamlines the preflight process and minimizes ground delays. Additionally, WingX 2.5 allows pilots to view animated RADAR, lightning probability and satellite images more easily and efficiently than ever before. The program provides the tools for pilots to calculate their weight and balance, plan a route, view color-coded METARs and TAFs along that route, check the animated RADAR, receive a legal DUATS weather briefing (including NOTAMS) and then file a VFR or IFR flight plan, all in a matter of minutes. WingX 2.5 is Windows Mobile 5.0- and 6.0-compatible, VGA-optimized and Internet- and GPS-enabled.
To learn more, contact Hilton Software LLC at (866) 42-WINGX or visit www.hiltonsoftware.com.
New Propeller Certified For T200-Series Cessnas
RAM Aircraft LP is now offering new, state-of-the-art propeller technology for turbocharged Cessna 200-series aircraft. The newly certified Hartzell ScimitarPlus SE (Single Engine) was built by Hartzell, flight-tested and backed by RAM and STC-approved by the FAA. The ScimitarPlus SE offers a combination of blended-aluminum airfoil design and tip sweep. A high-lift series of airfoils enhance takeoff and climb performance, and the total weight of the propeller assembly is lighter than that of stock propellers for applicable aircraft. Additionally, the design contributes to a measurable decrease in noise level. To learn more, contact RAM Aircraft LP at (254) 752-8381 or visit our Website at www.ramaircraft.com.