August 2015 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

Textron To Develop New Single-Engine Turboprop

By Mary Grady
Textron Aviation

Textron Aviation has "been listening to the market" and sees an opportunity to introduce a new single-engine turboprop, the company confirmed in an email to AVweb on Monday. "This is an entirely new, clean-sheet design aircraft -- not a derivative or variant of any existing product," the company said. The company is not yet releasing details about the project, but said their intent is to "outperform the competition" in parameters including cabin size, acquisition cost, and performance capability. "By leveraging the newest technologies, we expect this aircraft to have a range of more than 1,500 nautical miles and speeds in excess of 280 knots, while offering best-in-class operating costs," according to the company's statement. The design will be on display next year at EAA AirVenture.

In its recent second-quarter shipments report, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said 191 single-engine turboprops had been delivered in the first six months of 2015, compared to 217 delivered in the same period last year. Textron already produces several turboprop aircraft, including the single-engine Cessna Caravan line and the Beechcraft King Air twins.

Seventeen People In A King Air?

By Adam Doyle – Pant and Interior Sales Manager
Elliott Aviation

While it may seem impossible, you can fit seventeen people in a King Air 350 or 350i, by modifying it from an executive layout to a 15-passenger commuter plus crew. When making this change, you will lose about a fifth to a quarter of your aircraft range depending on the weight of the passengers and the luggage.

When transforming a 350 or 350i from an executive layout to a commuter style layout, there are many obstacles that will need to be taken into consideration. The first thing to consider would be to eliminate all cabinets mounted to the seat tracks aft of the forward dividers. Next, whether it’s a 350 or 350i you are retrofitting, relocation of the lavatory from the standard location, across from the entry door, to the left handed aft baggage area is the next step, similar to a King Air 90. Along with doing this, you will need to incorporate an "L"-shaped curtain to provide the user some type of privacy, although it will be minimal.

When retrofitting a 350i in this manner, there are obstacles that you wouldn’t face on a 350. The 350i’s redesign of the drink ledge and lower side panel area affect what seats can be placed in the aircraft. At all table locations, the table housings and side panels arch inboard. The arch will not allow a commuter style seat to be placed in the tracks since they do not track inboard on the frame. On a typical King Air 350, this would not be an issue as the drink ledge and side panel area are flat and non-intrusive.

The preferred seating option would be AvFab’s Traveler Seat. These seats are engineered to be lightweight, durable and affordable. The Traveler Seat’s enhanced design creates increased leg, knee and foot room as well as ease of getting in and out for passenger comfort. Since you lose some of your range in this modification, keeping the seating as lightweight as possible will be to your benefit.

Oxygen requirements will need to be evaluated unless the aircraft was previously outfitted with dual aft jump seats. Placarding now becomes mandatory since both aft dividers and stub wall will be removed to accommodate the seating.

Considering the floor plan change, opting for alternative flooring designed for heavy use may be necessary. If you intend to retrofit a 350i and still want the look, there are options available to consumers looking for this solution. One of the biggest benefits is upgrading to LED downwash lighting instead of the fluorescent bulb/power supply issue.

Other modifications to consider include options for baggage. You lose the interior baggage area by eliminating the left handed aft baggage area to accommodate the new toilet location. However, there are still alternatives available. By adding wing lockers, you would gain 34 cubic feet total of baggage area.

Another topic to discuss is aesthetics. Are you considering function or appeal? You can always have closeouts fabricated to cover up the structure where items have been removed, though taking the next step to make your aircraft appear as if it came from the factory may be appealing. You may choose to have the drink ledges and lower side panels added onto and recovered, or gain a unique and seamless look by choosing to have all new fabrications. Fabricating new may sound over the top but taking into consideration the fact you won’t have to strip, prep and recover, some of the labor will be absorbed.

Seventeen people in a King Air? It is possible and a good shop that works on a lot of King Airs can do it. Knowing all of your options is the first step to knowing what modifications will fit your needs.

Adam Doyle joined Elliott Aviation in 2000 as an interior technician after graduating from Wyoming Technical Institute. While at Elliott Aviation, Adam has earned many different promotions on the shop floor including Install Team Lead, Soft Goods Team Lead, Assistant Interior Shop Manager and Seat Shop Manager. Adam’s most recent promotion has been to Paint and Interior Sales Representative for Elliott Aviation. He uses his experience with various vendors, products and processes to educate our clients by providing direction and helping plan for future investment with realistic and accurate figures.

Elliott Aviation is a second-generation, family-owned business aviation company offering a complete menu of high quality products and services including aircraft sales, avionics service & installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair & overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. Serving the business aviation industry nationally and internationally, they have facilities in Moline, IL, Des Moines, IA, and Minneapolis, MN. The company is a member of the Pinnacle Air Network, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and National Aircraft Resale Association (NARA). More information can be found at

Oshkosh: It's Not About the Airplanes

Okay, so maybe it's a little bit about the airplanes. (Did you see the Mosquito? The GoodYear Blimp?!) But for most people, Oshkosh is about so much more than airplanes. If you follow Oshkosh on social media then you've heard the buzz of engines during the airshow and you've seen your friends posting selfies in front of amazing airplanes. But what you can't see from the photos is something else that's deeper, more elusive, that only exists at Oshkosh. Maybe it's a feeling, or maybe it's just something in the air. It's probably different for everyone, but whatever it is, it's general aviation at its absolute best. Airplanes are just the backdrop. A friend (who I happened to meet at Oshkosh) said it best in this video when he said, "It feels like coming home."

So what is it that makes Oshkosh special? What is it that keeps thousands of aviation fanatics returning each year to a place that's not even easy to get to? It's about the people, the encouragement, the mentorship, the conversation and the camaraderie. It's about an industry that welcomes you into it without pause and allows you to consider it your home without even a hint of reservation. It's an immediate family where every single one of your sisters and brothers just "gets" you.

Over fifteen years ago, I entered the world of aviation by walking into a sleepy airport terminal in my hometown, completely on my own. I had been on a single plane ride before, and I knew I wanted to fly. There was just one problem: I didn't know how. I didn't have a mentor. I didn't have a family member to show me the ropes. I didn't know anyone in aviation. I didn't know where to go or what it would take to become a pilot.

I remember walking into that terminal, a nervous teenage girl, to ask about flight lessons. With a comforting smile and a gleam in his eye, the airport manager sent me across the field to the sleepy little flight school. The owner of the flight school, without asking me why a girl like me would possibly want to fly, without hesitating or commenting on my five-foot-nothing height, hired me on the spot as a secretary. I could answer the phones, he said, and he'd pay me six dollars per hour and let me sit in on the ground school for free. "It's a deal," I said.

What I didn't realize was that this deal would go far beyond six dollars per hour and free ground school. I didn't realize I was gaining an instant family. The flight instructors took me seriously, treated me with respect, and introduced me to the world of flying with enthusiasm and encouragement. Beyond that, each one of them shared their worlds with me outside of our flight lessons. They told me about air shows and scholarships and what airline life would be like. They taught me about the bigger, Part 135 aircraft they flew during their off time. On their days off, they came to the airport with their wives and kids. It felt like home.

Fast forward a few years, and I made another solo trek, this time to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I'd heard the stories, but wondered how it could be more than just another air show with expensive food. I'd seen enough air shows. I'd seen Tora! Tora! Tora! and P-51s and Sean Tucker and Kirby Chambliss. What would be different about AirVenture? I had to find out. I showed up at my room that year - a small bedroom in a lady's house that I booked on a referral from a journalist friend - and found a group of people who had been coming to Oshkosh for years together. But instead of sticking to their own group, they immediately took me in, inviting me to ride the bus with them and inviting me to their nightly dinners. And then I showed up to the media tent, once again by myself, and immediately found friendly faces there, too. I walked the grounds, and while running into old friends, I made even more new friends. One introduction led to another and before I knew it, I had new aviation family members all over the place. It felt like a family reunion - with a pretty spectacular air show on the side.

Last year, I made a few friends at Camp Scholler who have been camping together as a group for years. This year, I was invited to camp alongside them at what they lovingly refer to as "Camp Bacon." I showed up with my kids, but otherwise alone, without really knowing any of these folks beyond social media. As if on cue, they welcomed me - and my children - into their aviation family immediately. They offered good conversation, interesting aviation stories, hot coffee, and even wine. They invited me to the nightly campfire, and to join them during their yearly "Dawn Patrol" walk to the warbirds at five a.m. They shared their stories with me and I learned about their aviation work. By the end of the trip, there were hugs, with the sound of P-51 Merlin engines in the background. It felt like coming home.

This is my family.

This is Oshkosh.

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