DeltaHawk Awarded LoPresti Innovation Prize

LoPresti Aviation has announced the winner of the first annual Roy Lopresti memorial "Innovation in Aviation Award" to DeltaHawk Engines for their development and refinement of heavy-fuel piston engines over the last 12 years. The late Roy LoPresti made significant aerodynamic improvements to light aircraft during his career, including the Grumman American line of singles and twins, the Mooney 200 and 300 series, the LoPresti (Swift) Fury, and even contributed to the Lunar Lander. His life's work of developing refinements for GA aircraft continues to this day by LoPresti Aviation.

The much anticipated DeltaHawk engine line is a liquid-cooled, inverted V4 design that burns Jet A and develops between 160 and 200 horsepower. Dry weight is claimed to be 330 pounds. According to Doers, DeltaHawk engines will be undergoing the FAA certification process shortly, and will only be offered for sale to the public once the engine installation infrastructure is fully in place to insure that finished installations are properly performed.

Doers accepted the award during a press conference held at AirVenture. LoPresti Aviation COO R.J. Seigel said of DeltaHawk "This small company has worked tirelessly for 12 years to bring a great design to market. The persistance and creativity of this company is something of which Roy would have approved."

Commentary: A Conversation with GAMA's CEO

Most of us know Alan Klapmeier as the CEO and Chairman of Cirrus Design, and part of the duo (with his brother Dale) who brought the Cirrus SR-20, SR-22 and now Vision SJ50 jet into the world, but did you know that this year Alan Klapmeier is also serving as the Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturer's Association (GAMA)?

"GAMA is very much a behind the scenes organization, because the members are a couple of handfuls of manufacturers," explains Klapmeier. Some of those manufacturers build the radios and electronics, engines and other components that most of us use in the Experimental aircraft that we build and fly.

"We are clearly working toward the same goals--to help general aviation," says Klapmeier. "The largest issue on GAMA's plate right now is next-generation airspace issues, and how can we get that to work. And we do have other hot issues, for example 100 octane fuel going away, environmental concerns, liabilities, but from an industry point of view, changing how airplanes interact in the airspace and with each other, that's big for us," he says.

So how do they advocate for general aviation? Klapmeier believes that there has to be not just consensus between government and industry, but something he deems "rational consensus."

How do we get there? "What is very important on issues as large as next-generation airspace is that we break it into pieces," he says. "You've got to have a path to a goal. And the first steps on the path have to be doable tasks. There are pieces to the big goal of making next generation airspace work, and we need to get on with implementing them first so that we can progress toward that ultimate goal."

One big piece of that puzzle will be exacting regulatory assurances from the FAA that general aviation aircraft can continue to have unrestricted access to airspace that is considered congested, and that the equipment required to fly in "congested" airspace never be so onerously expensive as to prohibit general aviation aircraft from occupying "congested" airspace. Technology is a great thing, but it needs to be affordable if everyone is going to have to use it. GAMA hopes that its advocacy can help keep the airspace usable by all.

ClickBond Fasteners Streamline Construction

Having just spent a couple days replacing traditional cowling nutplates before coming to the show, I was intimately familiar with laying out the rivet holes for each one, drilling two different hole sizes, deburring, dimpling, and flush-riveting.

Then I heard there was a better way. With the ClickBond system, there's only one hole to drill, some two-part glue to mix up, and the "installation fixture" to hold everything tight until the adhesive fully cures. Time savings? About 80 percent.

Frankly, the "installation fixture" just cracked me up. It looks for all the world like a rubber worm that you might find in the bottom of your tackle box, only with some precise tapers to it. It's simplicity itself to run it through the hole to hold the fastener tight, and then pulls right out with good tug after the glue sets up. The adhesive comes in two flavors, the $12 variety that sets up in under an hour, and the $20 high-strength stuff that takes 24 hours to cure. Each one is enough for about 50 fasteners.

If you screw one up and want to remove it after the glue has cured, it can be done with the application of some heat from a heat gun to about 350F degrees and the fastener will peel off. If you have a composite structure, however, some care is required to avoid overheating what's underneath.
Currently in use by the military and commercial aircraft builders, the ClickBond system is gaining significant ground among homebuilders. Of course, it won't replace traditional fasteners in structural applications, but they're perfect for, say, installing cowling or fairing fasteners. "Sure, they're more expensive," says ClickBond's Tim Anderson. "They run from a buck and a half to two bucks each. But they really save time. What's worth more, your time or your money?"

Aspen Avionics EFD 1000 Pro: Installation and Flight

Aspen Avionics, the little EFIS company that has taken aviation by storm with its modular PFD/MFD designed for a low cost retrofit in aircraft with traditional analog instruments, announced the availability of a NEXRAD weather enhancement for its products.

The EFD 1000 Pro is currently shipping and has been installed in Experimental aircraft as large as a P-51 Mustang, to date. Pascal Gosselin, of Aero Teknic, in St. Cyhu, Quebec, an aircraft maintenance and installation shop, was the first to receive and install an EFD 1000 Pro in Canada, and handled the installation himself.

"We did encounter a few challenges in the beginning. We could not get it to calibrate," he says. A change-out of some washers from ordinary to stainless steel resolved the problem, and the unit worked fine. "We also did a burn in of the unit on the bench before putting it in the airplane, and we discovered that it required a supplementary avionics fan to keep the unit adequately cooled," he says. "Also, currently the interface between the Garmin 430/530 and the Aspen products is being reverse engineered, so the Aspen does not talk well to the Garmin, even though the Garmin information does flow fine to the Aspen EFD."

Gosselin says that should not be a big problem, however, because the Aspen EFD 1000 Pro is primarily a software driven unit, which is what makes it so affordable. That software is constantly being upgraded and refined, and the company has been good about sending these revisions to the shop, which can install them into the units for the customer.

KITPLANES flew the EFD 1000 Pro that Gosselin installed in a Cessna 182RG during the EAA AirVenture 2008 show. The unit boots up in 20 seconds, with all of its functions available within 40 seconds. The screen is brilliant and easily sunlight readable, even from the co-pilot's seat, and even with morning sun pouring through the windscreen. Its "knobology" is simple, and one button-push brings up the soft keys, which allow the pilot to select from numerous map or PFD presentations. The unit slaved effortlessly to the Garmin 530 in the panel and picked up its flight plan and displayed it.

Inflight the EFD 1000 Pro updated smoothly, giving the pilot a realistic depiction during even steep turns. It coupled with the autopilot/GPS, even though this airplane does not yet have the software update installed to facilitate this. All in all, it was a strong performer from one of the first 25 customer installations in the field.

For more information, visit Aspen Avionics.

AirGizmos Portable Antenna Package Debuts

Air Gizmos has introduced a premium beanbag XM antenna package, designed for easy switching of your Garmin GPSMAP396 or 496 antenna between an airplane and another vehicle. Having one antenna saves on service subscriptions and alleviates the need for the purchase of additional equipment. (Use of the product requires that you first purchase the XM antenna dock.)

The antenna dock package weighs 10 ounces, and measures about 7 by 1.5 inches. The beanbag base allows you to place the dock on a glareshield or auto dashboard, and the design tames antenna cables. The package includes the base, cradle, beanbag assembly and two cables. The price is $99.95.

For more information, call 972/671-8001, or visit AirGizmos.

Hangar D, Booths 4104, 4105.

ElectraFlyer-C Concept Airplane Flying

Randall Fishman, the principal of Electraflyer, manufacturer of the Electraflyer Trike ($18,385 complete), a legal ultralight sporting a battery-powered electric engine is currently flight testing an electric airplane from a highly modified Moni motorglider fuselage and wing base.

"The main landing gear and tailwheel have been lengthened to raise the fuselage and enhance ground control," says Fishman, who built the Moni in the 1990s with a gasoline engine, and decided, after the success of his Electraflyer Trike, to modify it for an electric engine. The original two-stroke gasoline engine and propeller were completely removed and replaced with an 18 hp DC electric motor with a controller and regenerative drive attached to a composite, ground adjustable two-blade propeller. The new motor, at cruise, is 90% efficient.

The controller is managed by a throttle, and the pilot reads volts and amperes to manage the discharge rate of the batteries. When the propeller is windmilling it can, through the regenerative drive, recharge the battery. Typical takeoff power is 200 amps, which produces a climb rate of 500 fpm. Cruise power is at 33% and produces 70 mph.

Powering the machine are two custom lithium polymer 5.6 kilowatt battery packs, weighing 78 lbs. One pack sits in front of the firewall and the other is located in the tunnel that formally held the gasoline engine's exhaust.

When asked about potential heat issues, Fishman said, "Lithium-polymer batteries, when discharged properly, do not heat up." Just to be extra cautious there is fireproof material surrounding the batteries.

Electraflyer-C's test pilot Joe Benis has seen one powered flight last 5 hours, but typical flights on one 6 hour charge is currently one to two hours. The cost of the electricity to fully charge the batteries? Seventy-five cents, U.S.