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With the bankrupt Columbia aircraft company due to go up for sale on November 27, Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier told AVweb on
Tuesday that his company won't be making a bid after all. "We have done our due diligence, and we think there are a lot of problems that would have to be solved," he said. "They wouldn't be in
bankruptcy, if that wasn't true." A buyer would have to take on those problems, plus all the warranty costs for the current fleet, he said. Taking on the Columbia product line would divert a lot of
financial and engineering resources that could be better invested in developing The Jet, Klapmeier said. With Cirrus out of the running, that leaves Cessna as the most likely buyer, although other
companies remain in play. But if Cessna does acquire the Columbia line, Klapmeier says he can live with that. "We are quite comfortable with our product offerings, and quite willing to compete," he
said. He added that he sees plenty of growth potential in the GA market and expects there will be more than enough buyers to keep everyone busy. Other companies that have expressed an interest in
acquiring Columbia are Versa Capital Management and Park Electrochemical Corp.
All three occupants of two Cessnas that brushed each other over Commencement Bay, off Tacoma, Wash., on Tuesday walked and swam away from the mishap. Cessna 182 pilot Bud Williams said he
felt a thud that sent his charts and paperwork flying all over the cabin and looked out to see another aircraft in a circling descent to the ocean below. Williams said he quickly determined his
aircraft was controllable. "I figured my plane was in flyable condition. Everything checked out," Williams, 63, told the Seattle Times. He followed the other aircraft and watched it ditch under
control. He called 121.5 to give the coordinates of the ditching and then headed to a nearby airfield where he made an uneventful landing. His aircraft suffered damage to the right wheel pant,
fuselage and a wingtip. Meanwhile the two unidentified occupants of the other aircraft, a son taking his mother for lunch at nearby Gig Harbor, clung briefly to the sinking Cessna before it sank in
200 feet of water. A family out for a cruise in their 46-foot boat saw the accident from three miles away and headed for the ditched airplane. "I put my throttles down as far as we could go and headed
toward it. It probably took us 10 minutes to get there," boat owner John Farrell told the Times. "When we got there, the pilot was treading water with his mother in his arms." The boats
passengers stripped the wet clothes off the pair and wrapped them in blankets. They were checked in to the hospital and released. Other pilots interviewed by the Times said Tuesday was unusually busy
for small aircraft traffic because weather had improved from the previous few days. Lingering low clouds forced pilots to fly at low altitude, congesting the airspace further.
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The new Zulu headset looks different because it is different. Made with magnesium, stainless steel, and four types of composite plastics, it's extremely durable and yet weighs just over
13 ounces. Rather than concentrating purely on cutting decibels, Lightspeed engineers looked at how pilots perceive noise at different frequencies. You get broader noise attenuation over the
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Precision Airmotive has reached a tentative deal with "a group including Tim Henderson, President of Aero Accessories, and others involved in the manufacture of the Tempest brand of general aviation
products," to buy Precisions line of MSA aircraft carburetors, according to a news release from Aero Accessories/Tempest issued Monday. The group says it plans to move the manufacturing
facilities for the carbs to a facility in an undisclosed location in North Carolina. Precision announced earlier this month that it was suspending manufacture and distribution of the carbs and parts
after it was unable to obtain product liability insurance. Theres no mention of the insurance issue in the Henderson Groups release. Precision has been involved in several high-profile
lawsuits concerning the carburetors and the company said it was unable to get insurance coverage, at any cost, necessary to continue supplying carbs. MSA carburetors are used in most normally
aspirated Continental, Lycoming and Franklin engines. There is an inventory of carbs and parts available. The deal with the new group is expected to be finalized by the end of January.
When a Beech Baron crashed into a New Jersey neighborhood in November 1999, killing the pilot and his wife and child, as well as one person on the ground, many lawsuits followed. This week, one of
those suits was resolved in favor of S-Tec Corporation, based in Texas, manufacturer of the airplane's autopilot. The case was significant for general aviation, according to lawyer David Zeehandelaar,
who led the defense team for S-Tec, because "the conventional wisdom is that it's tough for a manufacturer to win in a product liablity case." The NTSB had determined in July 2000 that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control. Factors in the accident, the
NTSB said, were failure of the horizontal situation indicator for undetermined reasons and the pilot's use of inappropriate medication. Zeehandelaar told AVweb on Wednesday that although the NTSB
report was not admitted in court, his firm argued that the HSI that failed was not part of the S-Tec autopilot system, and also that the autopilot wasn't being used at the time of the crash. "We had
radar data that showed the final turn was made at a rate of 6 degrees per second, which is not standard rate, and would require pilot input," Zeehandelaar said. The trial lasted for eight weeks and
included testimony from approximately 30 expert witnesses on topics including piloting, aerodynamics, engineering, meteorology, aeromedical issues, and more.
The plaintiffs in the case were the estates of the three persons on the plane and the owner of one of the destroyed buildings. The city of Newark and about 20 residents of the neighborhood who were
affected by the crash sued the pilot's estate and were awarded $2 million in a
settlement in 2001. S-Tec also announced this week that it has been acquired by U.K. aerospace firm Cobham PLC for $38 million. The
transaction should be completed by the end of this year, subject to regulatory approval, S-Tec said.
IFR Pilots: Take Your Flight-Planning Skills to the Next Level
Introducing IFR Weather, Planning & Tactics a new computer training program from PilotWorkshops.com. Join their experts as they plan and fly real IFR trips, using the latest
online tools to interpret the weather and develop the safest flight plans. This program provides a structured approach that will have you better prepared to manage the complex and challenging
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When famed aviator Steve Fossett went missing in Nevada last September, the scale of the search was humbling to many pilots who wondered, if
I disappear one day, will the whole world come looking? Thanks to the Internet, it's easier for even us regular folks to get the word out when a beloved pilot fails to come home. On Oct. 23, Ron
Boychuk, 60, took off in his Cessna 172 from Springbank Airport near Calgary, Alberta, en route to Qualicum Beach, in British Columbia. He never arrived, and after extensive air and ground searches
turned up nothing, his family launched a Web site in the hope that folks in the area will remember to keep a lookout. "If you or
anyone you know has any information, no matter how small, we want to know, as any info that leads to the finding of Ron will result in a cash reward," the site reads. Boychuk's family has raised about
$20,000, according to the Edmonton Sun. His three sons have joined with search and rescue teams and many
volunteers to scour the area, but came up with nothing. "Because of the large area and the terrain, there is still sooo much more to search," it says at the site. "His sons will not give up until
their father is found."
The site makes no mention of using the Mechanical Turk method that was employed in the search for Fossett, in which hundreds of volunteers worked online to search satellite images. But Fossett went
missing over the desert. It seems unlikely the satellite method would help in searching the mostly forested Canada region.
If you think your flying job is stressful sometimes, consider the Monday morning that two Australian pilots had this week in Papua New Guinea. They were flying a chartered aircraft -- the reports
don't specify what kind of airplane -- carrying $2 million in cash for a bank, with two security guards on board. The two guards, however, pointed their guns at the pilots and suggested they should
change course. They landed at a neglected World War II-era airstrip on an offshore island near Port Moresby, the nation's capital, where the guards' three masked and armed accomplices were waiting.
The pilots, however, apparently managed to signal air traffic controllers of their dilemma. Reports differ regarding what happened next -- it may be that the three masked men armed with shotguns stole
a dinghy from island locals and headed for the coast, with the pilots on board, but were captured. But another version
says the pilots were found by police, covered in mud and handcuffed to a tree. A gunfight ensued, the police killed one of the guards and recovered the money, but two of the bad guys escaped. "It is
only a matter of time before the other two are captured," Police Commissioner Gari Baki told the Herald-Sun.
The U.S. State Department seems less confident of the PNG police. "Papua New Guinea, unlike the United States, does not have a tradition of strong local police authorities," notes the State Department Web site, while advising visitors that random or opportunistic crime is "common."
The 2008 Aircraft Spruce Pilot Shop Catalog Is Now Available Aircraft Spruce & Specialty has published a new, full-color, 88-page pilot supply catalog which is available at no charge. Products in the new catalog include handheld GPS and nav/coms,
JPI and Electronics International engine monitors and scanners, headsets, intercoms, flight bags, laminated checklists, folding bikes, oxygen systems, windsocks, survival gear, flight
jackets, Scheden sunglasses, weather stations, Jeppesen and ASA flight training products, aviation software and simulators, charts, videos, books, and much more. Call
It wasn't that long ago that female pilots here in the U.S. were an uncommon sight -- and unsettling, to some. Now in other parts of the world, women are just starting to find their way into the front
seat, and not everyone is happy about it. In Qatar, the first Arab woman to fly a helicopter has been widely ridiculed and subjected to threatening phone calls after appearing in public wearing her
pilot's uniform. "All phone calls had a similar message to convey," Munira Al Dosri told The Peninsula. "People were telling me they felt
ashamed to see me without the abaya and veil (Qatari women's traditional attire). They told me they were ashamed of me being a Qatari woman." Qatar, a small country bordered by Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf, is one of the richest
countries in the world. Al Dosri works for Gulf Helicopter and plans to continue flying and earning more ratings.
"My family, especially my parents, are very understanding and supportive," she said. "Thanks to them, I am able to carry on with my profession and focus on what I'm doing."
If your holiday wish is to go flying with CNN reporter (and pilot) Miles O'Brien or to have aviation photographer Paul Bowen personally autograph a copy of his classic book "Air to Air" for you, then
Build-A-Plane's eBay auction site is the place you're looking for. You can also bid to share a talkative lunch with
aviation writer Bill Cox, fly a P-51 Mustang, or take an aerobatics course. Purchases at the site support Build-A-Plane's mission to help kids learn science, technology, engineering and math by
building real airplanes. New items are being added to the auction all the time, says Build-A-Plane President Lyn Freeman. "The proceeds from this unique fundraiser, something totally new and different
for aviation, will help us continue to help kids," he said.
Build-A-Plane has more than 70 projects in schools across the U.S.
Download No-Cost Runway Flash Cards Now!
Landing a plane is tough. Flying into unfamiliar runways makes it even tougher and more dangerous. Ensure you and your crew's safety by downloading these no-cost flash cards today. Each of
the 23 flash cards displays an airport sign or pavement marking as well as the required pilot action. Use them as a quick reference before your departure or during your flight.
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After a TSA agent at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport said he smelled alcohol on the breath of a Midwest Airlines pilot last week, airport police arrested him. A breath test registered a
blood alcohol level of .016, and the FAA limit for pilots is .04 and eight hours. The airline's own limit is .02 percent. Reports were unclear regarding how long since the pilot had indulged (if he
had), but his lawyer said there's enough alcohol in mouthwash to register a .016 level. The pilot was detained by police for three hours, but wasn't charged with a crime. He was taken off flight duty
until the airline completes its investigation. Some early reports of the incident noted that the pilot was carrying a gun, for which he was certified, and also mis-reported the alcohol level at
The legal limit for driving in Minnesota is .08, more than four times as high as the pilot's test result. Midwest Airlines ranked No. 1 this week in a Zagat survey of customer satisfaction.
Most pilots love the sound of engines in the morning -- and have little patience with airport neighbors who complain -- but in Vancouver, one airline pilot who chose to live close to the airport has
had it with early-morning engine tests and middle-of-the-night jumbo-jet takeoffs. "Some areas of [the city] are absolutely blasted," Neil Filipek told Canada.com. "Most airports in the world do a better job addressing complaints than
Vancouver." Filipek says the airport should build an engine run-up enclosure to shield neighbors from the noise, and do a better job of addressing complaints. "Other major airports do not allow
24-hour operations," he said. He says he got the brush off from the airport when he made suggestions for improvements. "Officials are used to doing whatever they want because the airport is on federal
land," Filipek said. Airport officials told Canada.com they might consider building a noise shelter, and said they are already doing a "really good job" at addressing noise issues.
The airport had an average of 43 takeoffs and landings each night last year.
AFSS Is Up to Speed. And Gaining Altitude.
The new automated flight services system is here. Revolutionizing flight service operations. Reducing legacy sites. Bringing 15 upgraded sites and three hubs online. Retaining 1,200 specialists.
Marrying local needs with national information sources. The result: ever-improving levels of performance. And a future of efficient, effective service that give general aviation pilots more
flexibility than they've ever thought possible.
To see for yourself,
Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news
tips via email to email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Last week, spurred on by a group of pilots of legislators who are
asking for a serious inquiry into the nature of UFOs, we put the
question to AVweb readers: Is it time to get serious about
these airborne phenomenon, or are we dredging up an old issue that's
long-since been resolved?
63% of those who took time to answer our poll question said that
yes, we government agencies should be taking UFO reports seriously,
as long as there's credible evidence to back up the reports.
For the complete breakdown of answers,
(You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already
participated in this poll.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
According to Time magazine, 49% of pilots are "very
happy" with their jobs.
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is
only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send
"QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.
Collier Trophy Collectible Medallion Series 3 Now Available NAA's Collier Trophy Centennial Medallion Series 3 is now available for gift-giving or for your own collection, along with Series 1 and 2. A commemorative card encases a heavy metal
medallion showing the Collier Trophy on one side and an image of the F-22 Raptor on the reverse. Series 1 reverse shows SpaceShipOne, and Series 2 reverse shows the Eclipse 500.
merchandise section to view and order.
AVweb reader Stan Prevost flies into KACB several times a year, and he tells us it's always a pleasant experience, accompanied by a warm welcome. Here's how Stan was greeted on a
As we disembarked the airplane, airport manager John Strehl met us at the airplane with two plastic bags, greeted us by name, and told us to help ourselves to tomatoes growing on vines they had
planted around the terminal.
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
New Gift Ideas Have Been Added to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace
When purchasing gifts for family, friends, and flying buddies, go to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace. AVweb is the perfect place to find perfect gifts for pilots and
aviation enthusiasts. And for yourself forward the link to your family and friends as a hint as to what you want!
It's easy online,
Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes
hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share
with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured on
AVweb's home page, and one photo
that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our
"Picture of the Week." Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?
Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
This week's top reader-submitted photos will be going
live just as our U.S. readers are busy skipping breakfast so they can
eat an extra-large helping of turkey and dressing and grandmother's
house. Yes, it's Thanksgiving here in the States, and in that
spirit we have to say thanks to every single reader who's taken
time to submit a photo over the past year (and earlier). Many of
you have been featured here (or in the
slideshow on our home
page), but many more haven't. Rest assured that even if you
haven't won a hat or been lavished praise here in "POTW," your photos
have brought us many hours of joy, and we look forward to seeing
more of them in the coming year. (Here's
where you send 'em in.)
Tom Callahan of Pensacola, Florida
knows his color wheel and knows when to feature at a
too-often-underappreciated subject, too. "We love the Blue
Angels," writes Tom, "but Fat Albert holds a special place in our
hearts. Like the character in the Bill Cosby cartoons, Fat
Albert always save the day by doing the heavy lifting."
You said it, Tom. And we'll say thanks by sending you one
of those coveted AVweb hats you read about here from time to
From the "No ... Really?" file, Felix Gadow
of Eichenau, Bavaria (Germany) told us this tale:
In Germany, there are always landing fees to be
paid. Why not land on top of your truck ... [while it's being] driven
down the 9,000-feet long runway? This could save you money at
least as long as they dont charge a fortune for the truck to use the
runway as an "Autobahn." ... It took us 23 attempts to find out
how to deal with the turbulence created by the truck. Now, it works
pretty well. Although, well never try again to do this little stunt
with a 15 knots crosswind.
Yikes! Just in case any of you were thinking of taking this
"advice" seriously DON'T. This is one of those "trained
professionals; do not attempt" deals, O.K.?
We were going to say something very kind about this photo from
Chris Bazeley of Blockley,
Gloucestershire (U.K.) but then we started talking about fuel prices
and tank sizes, and well, it's not your fault, Chris. (We still
like the photo!)
Warning! "Doctored" Photos Ahead!
The internet has changed quite a bit since we first started sharing
reader-submitted photos here on AVweb and long-time readers know that
we've loosened up a bit when it comes to allowing digitally-manipulated
images into our contest. Still, we do like to distinguish between
images submitted "as they were shot" and those that feature obvious
manipulations and we encourage our readers to tell us as much about
their photos as they can when they're submitted.
That said, we've got a handful of digitally-altered photos we've been
dying to share for a while, and the Thanksgiving holiday seems like a
great time to show you a couple.
Terese Barta of Stevens Point,
Wisconsin tentatively wondered, "Do I need Gleim's permission?" but we
think the flattery and parody will be appreciated over there.
After all, if there really were a Private Pirate's license, would
you risk the FAA Knowledge Test without a Gleim book?!
Paul Sisal of Chicago,
Illinois flies us out with a composite built from two photos he
snapped at the Chicago Air & Water Show in 1995. The funny
thing here is that all Paul did was superimpose the geese maybe
they were imitating the Fabulous Thunderbirds?
Or wait maybe we're imitating them, what with all
this "flying" we've starting doing ... !
More new photos are waiting for you on AVweb's home page,
in our "POTW"
slideshow. Don't miss 'em!
Look all you want, but don't forget to
send us your
photos, too! (Where do you think we get all these cool
A quick note for submitters: If you've got several
photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit
them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing
print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on
us, too. ;)
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the
source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest.
If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed
authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain,
send us an e-mail.
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AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.
The AVwebFlash team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)
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