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User fees will likely form the foundation of a bipartisan budget deal aimed at avoiding another government shutdown and that has at least one aviation group calling its members to action. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) and his Senate counterpart Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are negotiating a spending plan that would avoid the political gridlock that led to the 17-day shutdown in October. Read More
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The Navy said Thursday that it successfully launched the XFC folding-wing unmanned aerial system (UAS, or drone) from a torpedo tube on the USS Providence, while the submarine was submerged. The all-electric, fuel-cell-powered aircraft has an X-wing configuration in flight that folds for storage and launch. The UAS was delivered from the submarine to the water’s surface using a canister system first developed for Tomahawk missiles. Once at the surface, the canister appeared “as a spar buoy,” which floats upright in the water. It then launched vertically from the canister and flew a mission that lasted several hours while delivering a live video feed back to the sub. Read More
Textron is aiming for first flight of the Scorpion jet on Tuesday at Cessna’s facility in Wichita, with a follow-up flight Thursday if all goes well, and weather permitting, DefenseNews.com reported Friday. The jet sports a two-seat tandem cockpit and turns twin turbofan engines. It supports six hard points capable of holding anything from drop tanks to Hellfire missiles. For surveillance and reconnaissance missions, the design offers more than 80 cubic feed of internal space for electronic warfare and intelligence components. Textron hopes to eventually demonstrate that the aircraft can be operated for roughly $3,000 per hour and that it will prove to be a viable alternative for a wide range of missions and operators. The first flight is expected to last 90 minutes. Read More
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Bangladesh Biman Airlines announced it would on Dec. 7 pull from service what it believes is the last McDonnell Douglas DC-10 to still carry passengers as part of routine commercial service, but enthusiasts may still get one more chance to fly in it. The big jet is still in operation with cargo carriers (FedEx included) but fans interested in flying on a passenger version of the airplane will get a chance to fly with Biman in February 2014. The airline says it plans to make seats available on the jet for a final flight from Bangladesh to England. And as Biman CEO Kevin Steele told CNN, “We want these tickets to go to genuine aviation enthusiasts.” According to Steele, if interest encourages it, some scenic flights may then be flown from Birmingham, England, to answer additional demand. Read More
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For decades, AirVenture Oshkosh officials have said that airspace considerations have prevented the appearance of military jet teams at the annual show but something has apparently changed. EAA says the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will "potentially" make their debut at the 2014 edition of AirVenture and EAA says the team is planning to do its full show. Read More
December marks the first month that a first batch of students will make their way through National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee and aerobatic pilot Sean Tucker’s latest project, Every Kid Can Fly, for local at-risk children. The Salinas, Calif., program is associated with Hartnell College and the NASA laboratories based there. It aims to inspire children who have found their way to Rancho Cielo — an organization established by a local judge to provide troubled young people a place to regain their footing and learn a trade that could become a job. As for Tucker’s involvement, he and his son Eric will lead seven of the children through an aviation program. And “if they stay drug- and violence-free and if they keep up their grades, we will not fail them — period,” Tucker told TheCalifornian.com. Tucker says that means he will stay with them until they solo. Read More
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While it seems a lot of billionaires are apparently pining for just one Gulfstream G650, an Egyptian family took delivery of two of the now-$65 million bizjets last week. Nasef Awiris and his father Onsi got their aircraft three days apart at the early order price of $59 million. Read More
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If you do your own airplane maintenance, that work will include checking spark plugs. Tempest says checks should include resistance measurements and they've developed a little gadget to do that. Read More
Larry Wheelock writes: "Regarding Shell's announcement that it has created an unleaded 100-octane aviation fuel: Once in production, and without knowing the ingredients, this should actually be lower in cost than 100LL for several reasons ... ." Click through to read the rest of this letter and other mail from AVweb readers. Read More
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While on a local flight close to my base airport (KLWB), a landing Gulfstream contacted the tower. The controller in the cab gave the Gulfstream clearance to land, along with a warning that buzzards were circling near the approach end of the runway. "O.K.," replied the Gulfsteam. "We've got the BB gun loaded." -- Kyle Jones, 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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Paul Bertorelli

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C'mon, this drone delivery idea will never work. Which is precisely while they may go forward with it anyway. Read More
ASA Holiday Gift Guide || Find Gifts for Your 
Favorite Student, Pilot, or AMT
AVweb visits Hawker Pacific in Shaghai. Read More
Composite props may be the latest shiny object to make airplanes go, but most of them have wood cores, and the basic wooden prop is enjoying somewhat of a resurgence. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a tour of Sensenich's prop factory in Plant City, Florida to see how these products are made. Read More
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