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The Reno Air Racing Association says it has had to cut wages and benefits, furlough staff and eliminate some positions. It also needs to raise $500,000 by Dec. 15. In an open letter, RARA President Mike Houghton said the "agonizing" cuts were made following three years of financial losses in the wake of the crash of Jimmy Leeward's P-51D, which killed 11 and injured 69 on Sept.16, 2011. Read More
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The Federal Communications Commission will reportedly propose lifting a ban on passenger use of cellular phone use — both for voice and data connections — above 10,000 feet. Doing so would shift the approval decision to airlines, which would still be restricted from offering that utility while their aircraft operate below 10,000 feet. The FCC has made similar proposals twice before. In 2004 the FCC received thousands of comments to a proposal and a 2007 proposal was withdrawn amid strong objections from flight attendants and passenger groups. A 2012 study offered technical findings that may now lend more support to a change. The issue is now poised to see discussion again this December. Read More
The U.S. House of Representatives has created a bill that would require the FAA to open a public comment period and apply normal rulemaking procedures before imposing new policy regarding pilot girth, medical testing, and sleep apnea. AOPA and EAA reacted to the announced policy with strongly worded letters “demanding” that it be suspended. They argued that the policy addresses a problem that exceeds the Federal Flight Surgeon’s mandate, could add a financial burden to the pilot community, and hasn’t been proven to exist. AOPA Thursday expressed its support for the House’s legislation and added some choice words. Read More
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Boeing has told 15 airlines operating certain versions of its 787 and all its 747-8 aircraft not to fly within 50 nautical miles of high-level thunderstorms after six incidents in which their GEnx lost thrust due to ice crystal buildups. Boeing and GE say they are changing engine control software to address the problems. Read More
Dick VanGrunsven of Van’s Aircraft; Joe Brown, president of Hartzell; and David Pasahow, founder of an executive search firm, have joined EAA’s Board of Directors, EAA announced Thursday. The men were invited to join during EAA’s fall meeting on Nov. 14-15 at Oshkosh. Each will each serve one-year renewable terms on the EAA board. Current EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said EAA is “grateful that each of them has stepped forward to represent our membership and help lead the association as we pursue our mission of growing participation in aviation.” Read More
Boeing says it has identified 15 locations, including its production home base of Washington, as potential sites to build the next generation 777. According to the Seattle Times, the contenders have until Dec. 15 to submit proposals. Read More
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Authorities allege that John Walsh, 46, has been using an unregistered LSA-type aircraft and falsified pilot certificate to fly customers near Key Largo, Fla.. Walsh was charged Tuesday with felony operation of the aircraft — an M-Squared Breeze II that would otherwise be an LSA or experimental category aircraft, fitted with pontoons — in a careless and reckless manner and possession of an unregistered aircraft. Authorities say Walsh was in possession of a fake pilot’s license and used Facebook to advertise for customers. They say he was not in possession of a pilot certificate of any kind and an FAA safety inspector reportedly shot video of Walsh flying the unregistered seaplane, exiting the aircraft with a passenger, and soliciting others. Read More
Eighteen-year-old Geoffrey Biteman has been charged in Roseau, Minn., with theft of a 1971 Cessna 150 that he allegedly flew regularly without a pilot certificate, or the benefit of any prior lessons, and later used for unique night operations. The charges bring a potential sentence of 10 years in prison. In separate instances, the young man allegedly accessed the airport with friends, drove the airport’s courtesy car and accessed the incident aircraft. Later, he allegedly used the aircraft for commercial activities that included landing on an unlit road, at night, and loading the plane with sugar beets, according to police. Read More
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Cary Alburn writes: "I have several thoughts about the sudden concern by the FAA over sleep apnea in pilots and controllers. The NTSB Safety Recommendation was issued August 7, 2009. Why has it taken more than four years for the FAA to jerk its knee in response? Has it occurred to anyone at the FAA or elsewhere that there may be a significant relationship between the reliance on autopilots and falling asleep in the cockpit? Although it's not impossible, it's hard as heck to fall asleep while hand flying. We already know from the empirical evidence of the last few years that there is obviously a significant loss of hand-flying skill due to excessive reliance on autopilots. Perhaps all of this is closely related." ... Click through to read the rest of this letter and other mail from AVweb readers. Read More
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Periodically, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership).

Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

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Owners who are new to Garmin's GTN750/GTN650 and G500/G600 avionics systems may not realize that the company offers a training course at their Olathe, Kansas factory support center. Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano recently took the class and reports on it in this AVweb video. Read More
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Background: In the C-141 at the time, there was a three-position switch on the right side of the yoke. Up was interphone, neutral was off, and down was transmit on the active radio. And in a USAF "crew-served" aircraft, you identify yourself by position when responding to a question or checklist item. (I.e., "Ready for take-off?" "Pilot ready." "Co-pilot ready." Etc. In order of precedence: pilot, co-pilot, navigator, flight engineer, load master.) ... So: Many years ago, a new co-pilot (me) on his first operational MAC trip to Hawaii out of McChord Air Force Base had just finished the after-take-off-climb checklist and: ... Loadmaster: "Who wants coffee?" ... Pilot: "Pilot will take Black" ... Co-Pilot: "Co-pilot will take cream and sugar." ... ATC: "Seattle Center will take two black and one with sugar." ... Oops! -- James Patridge, via e-mail Read More
Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

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AVweb is the world's premier independent aviation news resource, online since 1995. Our reporting, features, and newsletters are brought to you by:

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AVweb 
Insider
With the FCC poised to approve cell phone use in aircraft, all that stands between passengers and insanity are the airlines. Not a comforting thought. Read More
U.S. Sport Aviation Expo || Sebring, FL || 
January 16-19, 2014
Responding to the growing demand for ADS-B-capable equipment, BendixKing is rolling out a new Mode-S transponder called the KT-74. AVweb got a tour of it at AirVenture last July. Read More
AirClassics HS-1A Headset || $149.95 || ASA - 
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With a cruise speed of around 270 knots and a price tag of nearly $5 million, the 2013 Pilatus PC-12NG isn't the fastest or the least expensive single-engine turboprop on the market. It is, however, arguably in a class of its own. That's because it has a cabin that can carry 1,200 lbs. of payload while carrying over 400 gallons of fuel, the ability to operate from unpaved runways, and a huge 53x52-inch cargo door. In this video, Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano takes a look at the airplane. Read More
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