9:28 AM

You Can Tell Oshkosh
is Getting Close

This time of the aviation year is to us aviators that Christmas Eve is to a six-year-old. You just KNOW Santa is coming, bringing all kinds of special presents. But unlike the toy train sets and G.I Joe's that'll be under the tree, these gifts will be opened very soon at Aeroshell Square, deep in the heart of Brat Country, along the banks of Lake Winnebago.

Yes, it is almost time for EAA's Annual Airshow, Blowout and Trade Show extravangaza. If you have been lucky enough to attend what amounts to Woodstock of the Aviation World, you already know that every exhibitor keeps their hottest toys under wraps until the show.

And this summer, we again will see a TON of great new stuff. Here are just a couple of tastes, from this week's web news:

A new Bend, OR-based company called Stratos Aircraft is taking the wraps off their "Very Light Personal Jet," a composite single-engine jet that on paper looks like tough competition for Cirrus' Vision, the PiperJet, and even the Eclipse 500. The Stratos 714 is being designed to haul four people and their stuff 1,500 NM at 400 knots, and will be powered by a centerline-thrust FADEC-controlled Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan producing just over 3,000 pounds of thrust at sea level. Former Lancair chief engineer Carsten Sundin, Stratos CEO Michael Lemaire and entrepreneur Michael Lamaire are the principals behind Stratos. They claim their jet will fill a void between high-performance piston singles and larger, more expensive VLJs like the Citation Mustang and HondaJet. Stratos had a small presence at EBACE, and this summer, you can find Stratos in the East Exhibit Hangar E, booth number 5020 at OSH.
In exciting avionics news, Garmin is going to be pushing hard with what many are calling "G1000 Lite":
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman writes that he got to see Garmin's hot new G600 retrofit glass panel up close during a demo flight in Garmin’s Mooney M20J, and will publish a report in the organization's magazine. "The G600 has two 6.5-inch display screens (a primary flight display and a multifunction display) that are meant to replace the standard “six-pack” electromechanical flight instruments and greatly enhance reliability and situation awareness. Flying behind the G1000 is like watching a Jumbotron at a sports stadium. The G600 is like watching a flat-screen TV in your living room. It’s bright, crisp, and accessible. The G600 is expected to retail for just under $30,000, and it took about 70 shop hours to install the G600 in the company’s 1988 M20J."
You can bet the lines will be long at the Garmin booth, filled with GA drivers who want to junk their steam gauges and give their panels a major glass facelift.

Oh, Oshkosh, I miss you already. I cannot attend this year's show, and I feel like the black sheep step-child of the aviation family, yearning from the top of the stairs for my presents too. The rest of the "good" children are clustered around the Christmas tree, opening their gifts before a roaring fire, hot cocoa in hand. Susie gets some Bose headsets, Jack got a flight bag. Santa brought mommy a beautiful Abingdon lady's aviator watch, and daddy unwrapped a new personal jet.

And what do I get? I get to sit here on the left coast from July 20 to August 3, my mouth watering for grilled brats, missing the party, again.

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