The 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge Seeks Greener And Quieter Aircraft

The CAFE Foundation's homepage reports on the 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge to be conducted at CAFE's Flight Test Center in Santa Rosa, California from August 2-10, 2008.

According to the CAFE Foundation, NASA and CAFE have partnered to create a new challenge for 2008 to advance five vital General Aviation Technologies: noise reduction, fuel efficiency, speed, safety and ease of use.

The first-ever "Green Prize" for transportation will test true "Environmental Efficiency". Aircraft competing for the Green Prize will advance all of the valuable measures of energy use; MPG as well as speed and payload.

Reducing vehicle noise emissions is vitally important to general aviation. The new GAT Community Noise Prize Challenge places a major priority on the reduction of noise emitted into the community.

Making personal aircraft safer and easier to fly is a primary goal of the new Aviation Safety Prize Challenge. This $50,000 prize will recognize achievement in implementing electronic pilot assistance (eCFI) along with rewarding outstanding handling qualities.

The $25,000 CAFE 400 Prize is a 400 mile cross-country air race over Northern California. However, each aircraft's speed result is tempered by its takeoff distance capability as well as by its fuel efficiency. Burn too much fuel in the CAFE 400 and you are disqualified.

Source: The CAFE Foundation
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Green Flight - Is Algae The Aviation Fuel Of The Future?

Pratt & Whitney Canada is conducting research into a new source for aircraft fuel that is green…literally. The source is algae.

According to a press release, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) is leading a groundbreaking aerospace industry-university research effort to investigate the potential use of biofuels for small and medium size engine applications.

The most recognized biofuel is Ethanol, most commonly derived from corn. While corn is a renewable resource, it is also food. Critics of Ethanol charge that using corn for fuel will drive up food prices. P&WC is evaluating the feasibility of using "second generation" biofuels that originate from sources that do not compete with human food sources.

These could include jatropha and algae derived biofuels, as well as biobutanol to power aircraft engines. "Already a leader in green technologies for small aviation engines, we aim to have a fuel-flexible engine and to develop technologies that will allow us to offer aircraft manufacturers innovative and green power solutions," said Walter Di Bartolomeo, vice president - Engineering, P&WC.

The objectives for the four-year project include identifying and assessing appropriate biofuels, studying their effect on engine components such as combustors and fuel systems, developing appropriate technologies and design changes to accommodate them, and conducting tests comparing current jet fuels with first generation ethanol, as well as second generation biofuels.

According to US News and World Report, Airbus, Honeywell, Boeing, and Virgin Atlantic have announced they are exploring the possibility of algae-based fuels. The story also reports that algae fuels could power a third of commercial aircraft by 2030.

Source: Pratt & Whitney Canada and US News and World Report
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Harrison Ford Narrates "Oshkosh: The Spirit Of Aviation"

The official site for the EAA's AirVenture Oshkosh features a 18 minute video called Oshkosh: The Spirit Of Aviation, narrated by Harrison Ford.

The video highlights the events and history of the Oshkosh gathering and offers a glimpse of what this year's gathering will offer. The 56th annual EAA fly-in convention takes place July 28-August 3 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

Harrison Ford will be attending Oshkosh to introduce the classic "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" on Wednesday evening, July 30, as part of Fly-In Theater.

Aviation related films are shown during Fly-In Theater at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, presented by Ford Motor Company and Eclipse Aviation, featuring movies nightly on July 27 through August 2.

Source : EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
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Sluggish Economy Could Slow Demand For Private Aicraft

Is the softening United States economy slowing down the demand for private aircraft?

According to the International Herald Tribune, avionics manufacturer Honeywell reports the American market for business jets has fallen below 50 percent of global sales in recently.  Aircraft sales are growing in Russia, South Asia and the Middle East thanks to increased demand for air travel in those countries.

One culprit for the softening sales to the United States could be the cost of jet fuel. Security hassles and service issues are still driving business travelers to choose private jets over commercial airlines.

An uncertain economy has some businesses choosing fractional aircraft ownership companies or charter aircraft businesses instead of buying a plane.

Source: International Herald Tribune
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Mooney Aircraft Company To Display The Acclaim Type S At Parade of Pistons In Denver

Mooney Airplane Company will be displaying and demonstrating the world’s fastest piston single, the Mooney Acclaim Type S, at an upcoming aviation event, the Parade of Pistons, sponsored by FLYING magazine and AMPT Associates at Denver’s Centennial Airport (KAPA) from Thursday July 17 through Saturday, July 19.

The piston aircraft expo will be open to the public from 10 AM until 5 PM each day. Mooney will have an aircraft on static display, and will be scheduling demonstration flights for qualified prospects according to Bob Shank, Mooney’s Regional Sales Manager for the Northwestern United States. “FLYING magazine and AMPT Associates have created outstanding opportunities for us to interact with prospects and we’ve had some success at similar events in California and Texas,” said Shank.  Mooney recorded a pair of sales at the most recent Parade of Pistons event at Addison, Texas.  

Parade of Pistons is an aircraft expo designed to build momentum in the new piston engine aircraft marketplace.   Participants include manufacturers offering airplanes ranging in price from $50,000 Light Sport Aircraft (LSAs) to $650,000 high performance singles and twins.  It will include information and representatives from aero clubs, insurance and finance companies, as well as one of the country’s top aircraft brokers.

Source: Mooney Aircraft Company
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Cessna Asks Business Travelers "Are You Ready To Get Your Life Back?"

Cessna Aircraft Company has launched a website called gethomeontime.com, featuring a video of two business travelers flying from Chattanooga to the same destination in New York City.

Showing both travelers in side-by-side video, one flies by the most direct commercial flight available, the other flies on a private Cessna Citation CJ2+.  The message featured on the website and in the video asks viewers "In the end, you just have to ask yourself: are you ready to get your life back?"

Business travelers, frazzled by rising fare costs and flight delays, will probably empathize with the commercial air flyer having to sit for a spell in the airport lounge.  Meanwhile, the private air traveler is at home with the kids.

According to bizjournals.com, Cessna is taking the "get your life back" message to the jumbo video screens of New York City's Times Square over the next two months.

Source: Bizjournals.com and Cessna

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Cessna Announces Program Offering Free Fuel

Cessna Aircraft Company recently announced a program that offers free fuel for up to 18 months and a free Garmin synthetic vision upgrade for new buyers of Cessna 182 Skylanes or Turbo Skylanes through September 30, 2008.

Under the program, Cessna will pay for fuel for the new Skylane up to $15,000 between now and the end of 2009, based on average usage and power settings.1 Cessna will also upgrade at no charge the Garmin G1000 avionics package standard on the 182 with Garmin’s Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) currently in the final stages of certification by Cessna and Garmin.

“When you couple this with the U.S. government’s bonus depreciation program for new business aircraft passed earlier this year, we have a package that offers unparalleled value for the popular 182,” said John Doman, Cessna’s vice president for propeller aircraft sales. “This will prove to be a very popular program as it provides unique ownership opportunities.”

Bonus depreciation is part of the U.S. government’s economic stimulus package enacted earlier this year and, if aircraft use and other factors meet qualifications standards, may provide substantial tax savings for new aircraft ordered in 2008 and delivering in 2008 or 2009.

Source: Cessna
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"The Jet" By Cirrus Design Makes Its First Flight

Cirrus Design Corporation reports that the most highly anticipatedaircraft in the company’s history, currently called ‘The-Jet’, made its first flight on July 3rd, 2008.

According to Cirrus Design, the45-minute flight was conducted from company worldwide headquarters atthe Duluth International Airport, Duluth, MN and the aircraft performed flawlessly.

The-Jet is an all new personal aircraft that blends boththe high performance single-engine class and the very light jet (VLJ)category.

Single engine fuel efficiency,flexible seating options for a family of up to seven, state-of-the-artadvanced avionics and flight systems and the Cirrus Airframe ParachuteSystem (CAPS) are each hallmarks of the new design.

Source: Cirrus Design
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Business Jet Sales Continue To Grow In A Tight Economy

As major airlines are trying to cut costs to deal with high fuel prices, sales of business jets are booming.

The San Jose Mercury News reports a study indicates that the number of business jets being built will double in the next ten years.It is more than just the price of airline air travel making the difference to businesses that lease or buy jets. The choice is also a matter of convenience.

Business jets bypass the annoyances of lost baggage and intrusive security checks.

Fuel costs are hitting jet-charter companies just as hard as big airlines and raising rates, but customers are still willing to pay more for a business jet to avoid the unpleasantness of flying a big airline.

Source: The San Jose Mercury News
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“Liberty Belle” B-17 Flying Fortress Crosses Atlantic Ocean For July 4th

Photo by Alton K. Marsh
The APOA Pilot Blog reports on the the “Liberty Belle”, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress that is crossing the Atlantic Ocean and set to land on the Fourth of July in England.
According to the story, the Liberty Belle will arrive on the Fourth in Duxford, Englnad, performing a flyby above an cemetery where 300,000 Americans who died in World War II are buried.
You can track the flight on the Liberty Foundation's offical homepage.
There are more photos of the Liberty Belle on the Liberty Foundation's Flickr account and more photos of WWII aircraft.
Source: AOPA Pilot Blog and The Liberty Foundation

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Eclipse 500 Receives Flight Into Known Icing Certification

© Eclipse Aviation Corporation, 2008

Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), recently announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) certification for the Eclipse 500. With this certification, the Eclipse 500 can now operate in conditions in which ice is known to be present.

© Eclipse Aviation Corporation, 2008

"This certification process is one of the most difficult things to put a new model of aircraft through," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "We've worked through this process for some time, flying the Eclipse 500 in the precise natural icing conditions that the FAA requires. We tested the aircraft in some of the most severe weather conditions we could find, wherever we could find it. By receiving the FAA certification, we proved that the aircraft can withstand known icing conditions in a real-world operating environment with no structural changes required of the airframe," said Raburn.

Source: Eclipse Aviation

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