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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is being flooded with petitions from various sources to do more to curb greenhouse-gas pollution from aircraft. While the called-for measures are mostly aimed
at airlines and large aircraft, general aviation, especially the business sector, is not likely to escape scrutiny. On Wednesday, a consortium of state and regional governments and environmental
groups urged the agency to address the effects of pollution from the world's aircraft fleet. The petitions are the first step in a process that requires the EPA to evaluate the current impacts of
aircraft emissions, seek public comment and develop rules to reduce aircraft emissions or explain why it will not act. "The commercial airlines already are driven to be as fuel efficient and
environmentally conscious as possible," said David Castleveter, spokesman for the Air Transport Association. U.S. airlines have improved their fuel efficiency 103 percent since 1978, he said, and ATA member airlines have committed to another 30-percent improvement by 2025. Petitions were
filed by the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Mexico; the South Coast Air Quality Management District (Southern California); the City of New York; the Pennsylvania
Department of Environmental Protection; and the District of Columbia.
Earthjustice filed the environmental groups' petition on behalf of Friends of the Earth, Oceana and the Center for Biological Diversity. The requested rules could include measures such as
requiring the use of lighter, more energy-efficient airplanes; mandating the development of more efficient designs; and creating incentives for the use of cleaner jet fuels. Aircraft are generally
estimated to contribute about 3 percent of global-warming pollution worldwide, but that percentage is expected to grow.
Despite FAA efforts to improve safety, the rate of runway incursions has not decreased in the last five years, according to a report released Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office. The report also notes that air traffic controller fatigue continues to be a matter of concern. As of May 2007, at
least 20 percent of the controllers at 25 facilities, including towers at some of the country's busiest airports, were regularly working six-day weeks. The FAA's Office of Runway Safety has not carried out its leadership role in recent years, the report says, and technology upgrades that could enhance
safety are behind schedule. The GAO concludes that the FAA needs a new national runway safety plan, better data about runway overruns and ramp accidents, and a plan to address controller overtime and
fatigue issues. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association was quick to respond. "The facts are crystal clear: Both the NTSB and the GAO are now on record saying controller fatigue affects
runway safety," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey in a statement on Wednesday. "There is nowhere else
the FAA can run and hide from this staffing crisis and deny its existence."
Another promise or strategic plan is not needed, Forrey said. "The time to act is now, not after a catastrophe. The agency needs to sit down and settle the labor problems with its unions, stop the
bleeding of experienced controllers, and find ways to entice the best and brightest to stay on the job and fix these safety problems with a fully staffed and rested workforce."
Aircraft Spruce Now Carries VpCI-326 Corrosion Inhibitor Oil Additive VpCI-326 is an approved Lycoming engine oil additive for prevention of oxidation of all metals. Designed for use in engine oil at 1:10 concentration, VpCI (Vapor-Phase Corrosion
Inhibitors) will protect your engine from corrosion (in solution and in all void spaces) for up to 3 years during storage. It is nitrite-free, non-toxic, and thermally stable, providing
long-lasting contact and vapor-phase corrosion protection. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or
The Red Baron Squadron, a team of four vintage Stearman biplanes that has flown formation aerobatics at air shows for 28
years, will fly no more (PDF), the team's sponsor, the Schwan Food Company, said this
week. "The Red Baron Squadron has been an incredible asset to our company and we are very proud of its long, successful history," said Bill McCormack, executive vice president. "The retail grocery
industry has experienced considerable change over the past few years. And, as a result, we have decided to refocus our Red Baron marketing program and to discontinue the Red Baron Squadron." The team
flew at more than 2,000 air shows and gave rides to more than 80,000 passengers. They won the Art Scholl Award in 1995 and the Bill Barber Award in 1993.
Forty-two pilots have been members of the squadron. "We are very proud to have been a part of such a legendary program," Jayson Wilson, director of flight operations and left wing pilot, said in a
news release, speaking on behalf of the squadron's pilots, technicians and administrative staff. "We can all say we were a part of something really special. The air show community and our fans have
been great. We'll miss all of them."
CubCrafters, of Yakima, Wash., announced this week that it will sell its 27-year inventory of used, pre-owned and "new
old stock" Super Cub and similar parts through eBay. "Ultimately, we'll get listed just about anything and everything that ever went on a
Super Cub," said CubCrafters President Todd Simmons. That includes engines and engine components, landing gear, cowlings, instruments, control surfaces, wings and wing tips, tail feathers, wheels,
tires, brakes, hardware, and more. Items will be added over the coming weeks as detailed descriptions and photos are prepared for each listing. "That effort will take some time," Simmons said. Items
already on the site range from switches and cables with starting bids as low as $1.25, to a Continental O-200 engine with a reserve of $3,100.
CubCrafters started in 1980, rebuilding and refurbishing old Piper Cubs. In 2004, the company introduced its own Top Cub and also builds the Sport Cub, a light sport aircraft.
Zulu Time ... From Lightspeed
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
entire audible range. Zulu has more total noise cancellation than any headset on the market.
Click here for a
dealer near you.
That's the question that Steve Kahn and dozens of other pilots are wondering about, after being hit by the state of Maine with tax bills in the thousands of dollars for flying into the state. Kahn, an
investment advisor who lives in Boston, flies his Cirrus SR-22 frequently into Maine to visit a summer home and other destinations, and as a volunteer with Angel Flight. He's been doing that since
2003, but this year, he got a tax bill from the state of Maine saying he owes them a "use tax" that totals over $26,000 with interest. Kahn says he had no way of knowing that flying in Maine would
trigger the tax until he got the bill. "It's so unreasonable and unfair," he says. He has hired a lawyer to appeal the assessment, but since the appeal is heard by the state tax division, he doesn't
have much hope of success. If the appeal is denied, he can take the matter to court, but then expenses will pile up fast. "I'm willing to fight this on principle," he says. "But there is a point where
you just give up, even though you know you're right." AOPA has been talking with officials in Maine.
A meeting was set up for this week, but was cancelled due to a snowstorm. "We're working now to set up another meeting, probably in January," Greg Pecoraro, AOPA's vice president for regional
affairs, told AVweb on Wednesday. Some pilots who fly into Maine, even if just for a handful of trips, have received tax bills up into the six figures, he says.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, has been named to succeed Sen. Trent Lott on the Senate Aviation Subcommittee. When longtime Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., announced last week that he will leave the
Senate at year's end, that raised questions about what will happen next in the user-fee fight in Congress. Lott
is the ranking member of the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation, where he has been a proponent of user fees. On Wednesday, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, was named to serve as the new ranking
member of the Subcommittee, and the National Business Aviation Association was glad to hear it. "The Senator is
very knowledgeable on aviation issues and has an in-depth understanding of general aviation," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "NBAA looks forward to working with Senator Hutchison and the other
Subcommittee members to advance our aviation system, which is the world's largest, safest and most efficient." AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy said his organization is looking forward to working with Sen.
Hutchison. "She voted with general aviation earlier this year on an important amendment that would have stripped user fees from the Senate's version of the FAA reauthorization bill," he told
"AOPA is looking forward to the opportunity to work with her in her new role as ranking member of the aviation subcommittee." Hutchison's appointment will become official following Lott's
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
environment of instrument flight.
Click here to learn
Sir Richard Branson is among the latest graduates of a two-day training program for space tourists. Future passengers who have reserved seats to fly into space aboard SpaceShipTwo have started their
training at the National Aerospace Training and Research Center, a private company based in Bucks County, Pa. Sir
Richard Branson completed his course this week. "It was an amazing experience," he said. "I really felt like I was launching into space." About 60 of the first 100 Virgin Galactic customers have
completed the two-day course, which exposes students to simulated flight conditions and G-forces. The course is as much about anxiety reduction as it is about physiological training, says Dick Leland,
president of the NASTAR Center. "You can practice what you will feel on the actual launch, so when that day comes, you can say to yourself, 'Hey, I've experienced this before, and I did just fine. I
think I'll look out the window and enjoy my ride.'" The test flight program for SpaceShipTwo and its launch aircraft WhiteKnightTwo is expected to begin next summer, with the first flight into space
in the following year.
Commercial operations are expected to begin from Spaceport America, in New Mexico, once all test flying is successfully completed and the FAA has issued the OK to fly. Others who took the course
this week with Branson were his son Sam; Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic; Alan Watts, who earned a flight aboard SpaceShipTwo by cashing in his Virgin Atlantic frequent flyer miles; and
scientist James Lovelock.
It may seem obvious that the surface of an airplane should be as smooth as possible to minimize aerodynamic drag, but that's not really the case. A bit of roughness can break up the boundary layer and
improve efficiency. Sharks, with skin formed of rough scales called denticles, can slip through the water
at speeds of up to 60 mph with minimal drag. This week, The Lindbergh Foundation awarded a grant to Dr. Amy Lang, at the University of Alabama, to study whether the surface texture on the skin of fast-swimming sharks, capable of bristling
their scales when in pursuit of prey, could be mimicked and used to reduce the drag on aircraft. "If we can successfully show there is a significant effect, future applications to reduce drag of
aircraft and underwater vehicles could be possible," said Lang. The technology has the potential to increase aerodynamic efficiency up to 30 percent, with savings of billions of dollars and
substantial reductions in fuel burn and emissions.
Dr. Lang will perform water-tunnel experiments to measure the flow over and within a bristled sharkskin model (2 cm size scales), which achieves similarity with real sharkskin (0.2 mm size scales)
by a corresponding scale down in velocity of the experiments. She will also obtain drag measurements over a sharkskin model in a Couette flow facility containing high-viscosity oil. Her work is also
supported by the National Science Foundation.
What Is the True Age of an Aircraft?
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Pilots who inadvertently violate TFR restrictions will not be criminally prosecuted, the FAA told AOPA ...
Hawker Beechcraft's King Air B200GT has received FAA approval. The GT, powered by new Pratt
and Whitney PT6A-52 engines, will cruise 20 knots faster and climb more quickly than the B200, which it replaces ...
Berlin's historic Tempelhof Airport will close next year, a court ruled on
Tuesday, ending efforts to preserve the site of the famous Berlin airlift ...
Able Flight offers aviation-oriented holiday gifts at their eBay
site, with proceeds benefiting their charitable programs.
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.
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,
Ho, Ho, Ho! It's that time of year again when aviators keep an extra lookout for unidentified flying objects traveling fast enough to circumnavigate
the globe while landing a few billion times en route, and traffic controllers receive reports of old men in red suits whizzing around the skies who aren't retired fast-jet display pilots.
Too much festive cheer at the clubhouse can lead to some strange hallucinations ...
Whilst there are always circumstances that cast a dampener over General Aviation, there are some things we can be cheery about over here in Europe. New products are cropping up and it looks as if EASA
is seeing sense over creating more flying instructors. There is also a smattering of sponsored cadetships evolving, which is essential considering the costs to young students of obtaining an ATPL.
Tackling Pilot Shortages
As an increasing number of airlines clamor for pilots, schools in Europe are at long last waking up to the fact that wannabees have to fund their way through training somehow. British airline Flybe
and Oxford Aviation Training (OAT) -- also based in the U.K. --announced at the recent Flyer Professional Flight Training show that they have created a new ab-initio sponsorship scheme.
As the largest regional airline in Europe, Flybe will need a strong supply of well-trained pilots. OAT also recently entered into a bizjets training scheme with NetJets Europe. Although OAT has
reportedly supplied new pilots to Flybe in the past, both the flight training organization and the airline say this new relationship will allow more suitable candidates to train for an ATPL.
Selection for the new scheme will happen at the beginning of next year, and the first four students will start training at OAT's Kidlington base in April 2008. They will join Flybe as first officers
on the Bombardier Q400 in autumn 2009. Flybe has said it will contribute "significant financial assistance" to help with training costs.
European Instructor Ratings Made Easier to Obtain
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has said that it is considering removing the requirement for PPL instructors to be CPL rated in addition to having to an instructor's license. In future,
instructors teaching the mooted new EASA leisure PPL may not need to have a CPL. This would certainly ease the pressure on a European-wide instructor shortage.
Over in Portugal, Portimão Airfield is still out of action, possibly until the end of the year. The airport is the only GA
airport in the Algarve region and has been closed since mid-October. It has suffered a series of delays and setbacks to refurbishment work, disrupting flying for many local pilots. AOPA Portugal
reports that the floor is being recovered and the facility repainted. The President of the Portimão Camara (Chamber of Commerce) has written to AOPA guaranteeing that the Camara will push for the
reopening of the aerodrome as soon as possible.
Grand Turnout for Spanish Symposium
AOPA Spain reports that October's International Air Meeting (IAM) in Sabadell took 100 million ($148,226) in revenues. IAM was
important for Spain with Sr. Joan Clos, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Commerce opening the inaugural event, which was deemed to be a great success. Local Mayor Manuel Busts said that he would like
to see the event become an annual fixture.
Questionnaire on Weather Service
Also in Spain, the Spanish National Institute of Meteorology is asking AOPA members to let it know how satisfied they are with its aviation weather services. It has created an online form that can be accessed to add your voice to an initiative that will benefit all GA pilots in the country.
U.K. CAA Consultation Period Ends Soon
As I mentioned last month, British pilots will benefit from Air Traffic Services Outside Controlled
Airspace (ATSOCAS). Flying outside controlled airspace in Class F and G airspace has caused confusion for many GA pilots, particularly flying around highly congested airspace such as near London in
the U.K. The CAA is soliciting comments for a new Airspace and Safety Initiative (ASI) that it is working on in conjunction with National Air Traffic Services and the Ministry of Defense. The
consultation process ends on Dec. 14, 2007, and the new procedures should come into effect in April 2008. Do log on
and share your views.
If you are looking for a little nifty giftie for just shy of $100,000, a light sport aircraft under "The SmartPlane Concept" banner could be just the thing. AveoEngineering a joint venture between U.S. and Slovakian teams -- is building two aircraft named the Phantom and the Shadow, which were launched at the Sports & Leisure
Aviation Show in the U.K. last month.
Apologies for any confusion I may have caused last month for the paragraph entitled "Aerodrome Rules for
LSAs in the U.K." I was rebuked -- and properly so -- by the editor of a British aviation magazine for misleading people. The story referred to work performed by the Light Aviation Airports Study
Group (LAASG), which should have been the acronym I used. My apologies ... the jet lag gets to me sometimes.
Finally, I dug out a festive European video on YouTube. I'm lost after the first couple of minutes, but I reckon you might enjoy
the opening sequence. Happy Holidays!
For more aviation news and information from Europe, read the rest of Liz Moscrop's columns.
AVweb reader Brett Justus recommended the FBO, telling us that "'Brotherly Service' is abundant at this FBO":
I received exceptional service all the way around. Most notably, though, I needed a quick aircraft wash for some important clients the next morning (potential investors), and there was only an hour
and a half of daylight left. The entire staff jumped on it immediately to get it done and charged a ridiculously low price. Definitely the place to land if you're going to Philly!
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Bennett Avionics: Used Avionics Guidance You Can Trust
Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business! Bennett Avionics has served general aviation worldwide with reliable and quality used avionics for over 30 years. Bennett
Avionics can help you meet your avionics needs, improve the capability of your aircraft, and maintain your budget. Call Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295, or
go online for a
complete list of available products.
With the EAA contemplating a
of kitbuilt aircraft where the builder wouldn't (necessarily) have to be
involved in over half of all wrench-turns during construction, we asked
readers for their take on the 51% Rule.
A clear majority of our readers (54% of those who took time to
respond) said that yes, technology has come so far that the rule now
limits the ability of kit manufacturers to get maximum performance and
utility out of their designs. On the other hand, a pretty
significant 31% of respondents said maybe not but still thought
that professional assistance should be allowed (and encouraged) under
the 51% rule.
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 ***
The Environmental Protection Agency says it's getting
a lot of inquiries from people concerned about the impact of
aviation on the environment. What should aviation's response be?
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, will soon publish an in-depth report on aircraft batteries. As part of that report, the magazine would like to hear about your experiences with
aircraft batteries -- good, bad or otherwise.
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.
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 ***
As the holiday season gets more frantic, AVweb
readers are still making time to send us their original photographs.
With just under 100 submissions this week, we have plenty of great
images to choose from, so let's dive right in!
Timothy O'Connor of Cincinnati, Ohio
is a regular contributor to our "Picture of the Week" contest, and it's
a nice surprise to find his name on this week's winning photo.
We've been marveling at Tim's snapshots for two or three years now
(maybe longer?), and there's no AVwebber out there who's worked
harder to earn a baseball cap.
FYI, Balluminaria is a balloon gathering held at Cincinnati's Mirror
Lake and, according to Mr. O'Connor here, "the first time my wife has
taken me to an aviation event rather than the other way around!"
(We'll be including an extra hat for Mrs. O'Connor in our package.)
"After Much Trial and Error, Sara Finally Learned How to Use
the Garmin 430s"
Al Zlogar of Santa Barbara,
Sara is my 10-year-old Shepherd-Lab rescue co-pilot.
She holds a private pilot cert. with multi-engine and
instrument ratings and loves flying my Seneca V, although
programming the Garmins was a challenge.
(10 years old, eh? It seems like the graying of aviation is
happening across all species of pilot ... .)
This rather unconventional-looking chart sucked us in from the
moment we pulled it out of our submission box, but it wasn't until
Colin Anderson of Magnolia,
Texas pointed out the joke that it clicked:
When you look at the waypoints, you will see they come
from the Tweety Bird cartoon: "ITAWT ITAWA PUDYE TTAT."
The hold fix is at IDEED ["I deed tee a puddy tat!"], and
the IAF is at "SATAN," which was the name of the dog in the
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.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news,
Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.
There's Only 19 Shopping Days Choose Gifts from AVweb's Holiday Marketplace
When purchasing gifts for family, friends, and flying buddies, go to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace. AVweb is the 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,
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
Click here to send a letter to the
editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)
Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.
If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only
version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.