AVweb Flash

  • Owners impacted by the recently announced Lycoming connecting rod bushing service bulletin will be on their own to pay labor charges, the company told AVweb this week. However, Lycoming will provide the necessary parts. Customers who bought factory engines still covered under warranty will be afforded a labor allowance, according to Lycoming.

  • The Stratos 714 VLJ (very light jet) will be making its public debut at AirVenture 2017, as promised by company officials earlier this year. The 714 is design to carry six people up to 1,200 NM at 400 knots, which, if realized, will make the Stratos 100 knots faster and slightly larger than the Cirrus Vision Jet—though the Cirrus has the considerable benefit of being for sale now.

  • AOPA awarded its Sweepstakes Cessna 172 to its new owner, Gary Walters, at Henderson Executive Airport this week. As in past years, the sweepstakes winner was lured to meet his new airplane under false pretenses, sort of. In Walter’s case, he was expecting to meet a potential home buyer at the FBO for a possible real estate transaction. Mark Baker, AOPA President was there to present Walters with a set of keys to a very large poster. The actual Sweepstakes 172 will be spending next week on display at Oshkosh for AirVenture 2017.

  • The 2017 Red Bull Air Race World Championship heads to the Russian city of Kazan this weekend. Yoshihide Muroya of Japan leads the series after back to back wins at San Diego and Chiba, with 39 points. Second place, Martin Sonka, follows closely, two points behind. The first American, Kirby Chambliss, won the most recent event, held in Budapest, and currently sits in 4th place overall.

  • The Civil Air Patrol says it can take days for pilots to be found after an off airport forced landing, but Jim O’Donnell had the first emergency vehicle on scene before he came to a stop after landing his Cessna P206 on the Sunrise Highway in Suffolk County, New York. Shortly after takeoff from Brookhaven Airport, en route to Eagles Nest New Jersey, O’Donnell’s P206 experienced unspecified mechanical problems.

  • Two new portable weather receivers, a budget-based mandate-compliant ADS-B Out system, an expanded G5 electronic flight instrument interface and the next-generation D2 Charlie aviator watch are among the major product announcements from Garmin as AirVenture 2017 at Oshkosh gets underway on July 24.

  • As it promised at Sun 'N Fun this past spring, TruTrak Flight Systems will begin delivering complete and STC-approved Vizion autopilot systems at AirVenture this week.

  • The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will travel to Anchorage, Alaska, for a hearing on the crash of Ravn Connect Flight 3153 in October 2016. Flight 3153 was a Cessna Caravan traveling from Quinhagak to Togiak carrying one passenger and two pilots that impacted rocky terrain near Togiak killing all aboard. This is the first NTSB hearing held outside Washington, D.C., in over 20 years.

  • Icon has started to deliver airplanes to customers and let them “take them home and fly them wherever they want,” the company said in its annual newsletter, issued on Tuesday. The first deliveries, completed in June and July, went to owners in Seattle, Montana and California. To support these A5s out in the field, Icon said it has trained authorized maintainers at the home airports of the delivered aircraft. “We are continuing to grow the third-party partner network to service upcoming deliveries that aren't near factory service centers, currently in Vacaville and Tampa,” Icon said.

  • ForeFlight is now offering an ADS-B In device that’s compatible with its flight-planning app for $199, the company said this week. The unit, developed in collaboration with uAvionix, is small (about 3 inches by 1 inch and weighing less than an ounce), easy to set up and use, and provides weather and air-to-air traffic data. The product goes on sale next week at EAA AirVenture at the Foreflight exhibit, or via Amazon starting Saturday.

  • Lycoming issued a Mandatory Service Bulletin on Monday that requires owners and operators of its engines to check them for connecting rods that contain bushings that do not meet Lycoming Engine’s specifications, and if the bushings are found, to take follow-up corrective action. This inspection must be completed within the next 10 hours of engine operation.

  • While two other autopilot manufacturers—TruTrak and Trio—have been racing to earn STCs for their experimental autopilots before AirVenture, Garmin introduced not one but two new systems of its own. The $6995 GFC500 is aimed at basic aircraft while the GFC600 caters to high-performance singles, twins and turboprops. Both systems are loaded with functions that trickle down from Garmin's integrated GFC700.

  • Pilot Vlado Lenoch, 64, of Illinois, and his passenger, Bethany Root, 34, of Kansas, died about 10:30 Sunday morning when the P-51 Mustang “Baby Duck” they were flying crashed in Kansas, news outlets have reported. Lenoch had flown the classic airplane on Saturday night at the Atchison airport, in an airshow that was held as part of the Amelia Earhart Festival. The airplane was owned by the Warbird Heritage Foundation.

  • The Global Super Tanker, a converted 747 designed to fight wildfires, has been grounded in California even as fires rage, and its operators say it’s because of “red tape” imposed by the U.S. Forest Service. “We just happen to be the biggest, fastest fire truck in the air,” said Jim Wheeler, CEO of Global SuperTanker Services, which owns and operates the airplane. But the company said in a news release on Friday the U.S. Forest Service said its contract limits firefighting aircraft to 5,000 gallons of fire suppressant. The 747 carries up to 19,000 gallons.

  • Heard over rural Massachusetts … Cherokee XYZ (tremulous voice): "Albany Approach, Cherokee XYZ five miles northeast of Pittsfield at 3500 feet, requesting fight following to Kilo Oscar Romeo Delta.” … Silence: all on frequency were contemplating the Cherokee, a student pilot at the controls, attempting the impossibly long flight to Chicago and then penetrating the O'Hare airspace … Cherokee XYZ (even more tremulous voice): "Albany Approach, Cherokee XYZ six miles northeast of Pittsfield at 3500, requesting flight following to Kilo Oscar Romeo Delta”… Longer silence: All on frequency, including the controllers, were now attempting to contain various forms of laughter. Eventually a different voice, one steeped in confidence and experience came on … Cherokee XYZ: "Approach, XYZ 8 northeast Pittsfield requests advisories at 3500 to Orange Mass, Kilo Oscar Romeo Echo". (KORE is an uncontrolled rural field slightly different from its near namesake) … Albany Approach: "Cherokee XYZ squawk 4350, I show Orange 38 miles to your east … And we were all left wondering what sage words of wisdom might just have been imparted by the instructor to his diligent student. Oh, to have been a back seat passenger in that Cherokee.

  • Nav Canada, the nonprofit corporation responsible for air traffic control in Canada and over the North Atlantic, said Sunday it had restored its automated flight planning system after the main facility housing the equipment was flooded by a thunderstorm in Ottawa, early Saturday.

  • The Pratt & Whitney F135 engine of a U.S. Air Force F-35A caught on fire during start, severely damaging the aircraft, due to a tailwind, says the Air Force Incident Investigation Board’s (AIB) report released this week. The pilot of the aircraft received some burns during egress and damage to the aircraft is expected to exceed $17 million. According to the report, “The mishap was caused by a tailwind blowing hot air from either the mishap aircraft’s Integrated Power Pack (IPP) exhaust or the mishap aircraft’s engine exhaust into the IPP inlet. The hot air entering the IPP inlet started a sequence of events ultimately ending in an uncontained engine fire.”

  • One of the most influential members of the so-called GA Caucus in Congress recently announced his support for privatization of air traffic control as a vote looms next week on the bill that would hand it over to a nonprofit corporation. Rep. Sam Graves voted against privatization last year but, according to The Hill, Graves switched horses after he spent the year convincing the architect of the bill, House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa), to exempt GA from user fees in the bill.

  • An air force pilot in Belarus may have had some explaining to do after he ejected from his MiG-29 during a fiery failed takeoff attempt.

  • Authorities in Sonoma, California, are investigating whether the deployment of a Cirrus whole-plane parachute at low level was a factor in the death of the pilot. Pilot Bill Goldman was killed and his son, daughter and their nanny were seriously hurt in the crash.

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