AVwebFlash Complete Issue:

December 24, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?
The truth is most people do not. Studies show that 40% of adult Americans have no life insurance whatsoever and over 50 million people in this country lack adequate life insurance. Pilot Insurance Center can help you protect your family with full-coverage life insurance and no aviation exclusions. PIC specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with the life insurance protection they need. For a personalized quote, call PIC today at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
 
Aviation Safety: Good News at Year's End back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

GA Safety Trend Continues

AOPA's annual Nall Report (PDF) says 2006 was the safest year ever for general aviation operations. According to the report, there were 6.32 accidents for every 100,000 hours flown in 2006 compared to 7.19 in 1997. The report bases its analysis on trends, rather than year-to-year statistics. There's been an increase in the number of weather-related accidents, possibly due to the availability of advanced, high-performance aircraft. Other categories of accidents are generally declining but one thing remains constant. "No matter what accident statistics you look at, pilot decision making continues to be the leading cause of all accidents," Bruce Landsberg, head of AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, said in a release. While pilots are flying more safely, they're also flying less often than five or 10 years ago.

The report shows that there was a slight increase in the number of hours flown in 2006 compared to 2005 but the amount of time we spend in the air has decreased by 5.9 percent since 2002. The foundation encourages pilots to take advantage of the free resources it provides to improve flight safety.

 
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Regional Fly-Ins and the EAA back to top 
 

Lawsuit Sparked Fly-In Review

EAA says a judgment against it stemming from an accident at an unnamed regional fly-in resulted in the controversial review of its association with such events. In a statement issued a week after AVweb reported that the annual Texas Fly-In at Hondo was being scrapped because of the proposed policies, EAA said the review was necessary because the judgment threatened insurance coverage of its core activities. "The damage award affected the evaluation of EAA's coverage in the insurance market and created a situation that, if not addressed, would lead to very significant and unsustainable increases in the cost of EAA's insurance coverage at the levels required for all of its programs," the statement said.

EAA said the judgment resulted from the apparent mistaken belief that EAA was directly involved with the organization and running of the fly-in even though it and all others besides Oshkosh are independent events. EAA did allow the events to piggyback on its umbrella insurance coverage but that will have to end because of the lawsuit. It also appears that EAA’s name or logo will not be approved for use in the name of each event. EAA says it wants to remain involved in the fly-ins through "sponsorship of specific areas, such as forums, workshops, aircraft judging and awards banquets, among others" and it will continue to promote the events in its print and online publications.

 
Inspiring Daydreams Daily, BoeingStore.com
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FAA Certifications back to top 
 

Eclipse Celebrates Funding, Avionics Certification

There were a couple of pieces of good news for Eclipse Aviation and its customers this week as the business year wound down. The company received certification for its Avio NG avionics suite and it also got a $30 million shot in the arm from customers who paid deposits in advance in return for a lower overall price on their aircraft. Certification of Avio NG was a major milestone and the system will be immediately integrated into aircraft coming off the assembly line.

In a news release, Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn said the system has already been installed in aircraft serial number 105, which will be delivered in the next few weeks. The first 104 aircraft will be retrofitted, at no cost, within a year, he said. Meanwhile, the controversial capital-raising effort from within the ranks of Eclipse customers took about three weeks. Existing position holders were asked to up-front $625,000 into their escrow accounts in exchange for a guaranteed base price of $1.25 million for their aircraft. Eclipse would be allowed to draw on that money as required.

Aspen Avionics EFD1000 Certification Delayed

Aspen Avionics announced last week that expected certification and deliveries of its new EFD1000-series electronic flight displays have been delayed until the end of March. Rollout was originally planned for this fall. In a letter to customers dated Dec. 19, the company said it has released a preliminary installation manual to dealers that can help them pre-wire a plane for the new equipment. Aspen says it plans to submit its final FAA certification package in time to support shipment of EFD1000 Pilot and Pro primary flight display (PFD) units by March 31.

The initial STC will cover most general aviation aircraft weighing less than 6,000 pounds. Certification for larger aircraft is expected later in 2008, along with certification and initial shipments of the EFD1000 and EFD500 multifunction display (MFD) units. The suggested retail price for the PFDs ranges from $5,995 for the EFD1000 Pilot to $12,995 for the EFD1000 ATP. The EFD1000 MFD is priced at $7,995, with the EFD500 MFD listed at $4,995. No information was available on how many orders have been received.

 
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Quotes reprinted with permission. Aviation Consumer, August 2007.
 
Pilots in the Spotlight back to top 
 

HAI Recognizes 2008 Pilot of the Year

Franz Ivanovich Levitskiy, a helicopter pilot and instructor with UTair Aviation of Surgut, Russia, is the Helicopter Association International's 2008 Pilot of the Year. During his 40-year career, Levitskiy has logged 27,500 accident-free flight hours in various aircraft including the Mi-4, Mi-6, Mi-8, Mi-8MTV and Mi-26T helicopters.

He contributed to the exploration and development of the largest Russian West-Siberian oil-producing complex and has flown peacekeeping support missions for the United Nations throughout the world. He has landed at the North Pole. A banquet to celebrate Levitskiy and the other winners of HAI's Salute to Excellence awards will be held in Houston, Texas, on Feb. 25 as part of HELI-EXPO 2008.

Air Force Cutting Pilot Training

The U.S. Air Force will train about 925 new pilots in 2008, a decrease of about 12 percent from the 1,100 that will graduate this year, the Air Force Times is reporting. The Times says there will be a slight bump in trainees in 2009 to about 1025, which is expected to remain constant for several years. The newspaper says the reduction is directly related to the decline in the number of aircraft and will be particularly felt in the fighter pilot ranks. "If the Air Force did not slow down pilot production, the service's fighter squadrons would be overwhelmed by first-assignment pilots who could not get adequate training because there wouldn't be enough jets or instructors," the newspaper reported.

The right mix of experienced (500-plus hours) and rookie fighter pilots is about 55 percent veterans and 45 percent newbies, the Times said. Transport and other types of military aircraft offer new pilots more training opportunities and the ability to ride along on a multitude of flights to gain familiarization. The Air Force has already reassigned almost 200 bomber and fighter pilots because there's nothing for them to fly. The Air Force Academy and ROTC program will continue accepting the same number of officer trainees but fewer of them will be offered pilot training.

 
The Finer Points — Delivers Weekly Training Tips

"Brilliant! I just discovered the site about a week ago. As a student pilot, I'm finding the podcasts a fountain of knowledge and somewhat of a mentor. Thank you so much for your service. Without a doubt, you have made me a safer pilot."

Training can be fun and informative ... and you don't need an iPod.
Hear what the buzz is about; visit TheFinerPoints.net.
 
Will Uncle Charlie Be Home for Christmas Dinner? back to top 
 

Global Airport Flight Delay Index Launches On FlightStats.com

Airline travelers can now monitor flight delays at airports throughout the world for free on FlightStats.com. The Web site's new global delay index provides a graphical indication of whether your flight to or from a given airport is likely to be late. Users can get details on the status of particular flights and request e-mail or text message alerts. FlightStats assesses the airport's current departure performance and the severity of delays and cancellations using data collected from the previous hour and from flight schedule delays for the upcoming two-hour period. Conditions are translated into an index score between 0 and 5 where higher values indicate more severe departure disruptions.

The score is updated every 30 minutes and overlaid on maps for easy viewing. Users can also get current status information on individual flight arrivals and departures. "When travelers are fully and accurately informed of both airport and flight status, their stress levels tend to decrease," said Jeff Kennedy, CEO of Conducive Technology, developer of FlightStats.

 
XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
 
Season's Greetings — From the Skies! back to top 
 

Track Santa Online

Santa's new sleigh? It's red ...
Beginning at 0900Z on Dec. 24 you can track Santa live online at www.NoradSanta.org as he makes his annual round-the-world flight. "Santa has had to adapt over the years to having less and less time to deliver his toys," states the Web site, which is run by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). With a world population of more than 6.5 billion, Santa has but a fraction of a second to deliver a gift to each person on Earth. "The fact that Santa Claus is more than 15 centuries old and does not appear to age is our biggest clue that he does not work within time, as we know it."

Yet several sources (who begged not to be identified) told AVweb that Santa has, for years, contracted his gift deliveries to Part 135 freight dogs. Think about it. Who really knows what these pilots wear while flying through the night? Who would notice the puffy red suit? While the timing of Santa's mission is challenging, with the right equipment it might work. The circumference of the Earth through the poles — presumably Santa's preferred routing — is 24,859 miles. If, for instance, Santa was flying the Aerion supersonic business jet at 1,112 mph, he could fly around the world in just over 22 hours — leaving about an hour to refuel, grab a cup of virgin eggnog and unload goodies to the freight dogs. But whatever Santa's flying, let's hope he doesn't squawk 1200 when making deliveries in the Washington, D.C., area this year. NORAD is watching!

Dallas Holiday Lights Attract Aerial Sightseers

What started as a way to earn extra money during college has grown into a booming holiday business for David Snell, owner of Starlight Flight in Frisco, Texas. This month Snell's company will fly about 90 people low and slow over the glistening lights of Interlochen and Highland Park, two Dallas-area neighborhoods known for their large and elaborate holiday light displays (this is Texas, after all). A 30-minute flight for two people in a Cessna 172 costs $160, and an hour-long flight costs $215 — about half the price of similar helicopter flights.

Passengers are encouraged to bring their own bubbly beverage onboard to celebrate (as long as they stay sober) and small snack baskets and fresh mistletoe are available for an extra $12. Snell said that some particularly romantic customers have taken that not-so-subtle invitation to kiss a little too far, though. "I've had people ask if we do the mile high club, but we have a family-friendly reputation," he said.

On the Fly ...

EAA has confirmed several top acts for its 2008 AirVenture air show. Among those performing will be Sean D. Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, the Warbird Spectaculars, Matt Younkin and Kyle Franklin ...

Rob Reider, the voice of numerous air shows as an announcer, has been named the 2007 recipient of the Sword of Excellence by the International Council of Airshows. Reider is also known for his work narrating Sporty’s Pilot Shop videos and online products ...

Cessna celebrated the completion of its 8,000th aircraft produced at the Independence, Kan. plant last week. The aircraft, a 182, went to the Civil Air Patrol, one of Cessna’s best customers ...

Herbert Weiss, of Germany, was the glider pilot killed during competition at the FAI World Gran Prix Gliding Championships in New Zealand on Friday. Cause of the crash is being investigated ...

FAA Acting Administrator Bobby Sturgell and Pat Forrey, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, met last week to discuss the union’s concerns about safety issues. Another meeting is scheduled for Jan. 3.

 
The Perfect Holiday Gift — A Citizen ECO Drive Watch
Citizen and PILOTessentials offer a great selection of ECO Drive watches this holiday season. From Skyhawk to the Titanium or Nighthawk, choose the watch that is perfect for pilots of all ages. Visit PILOTessentials.com for this and many other holiday gift ideas.
 
Readers Speak Out back to top 
 

AVmail: Dec. 24, 2007

Reader mail this week about the environment and flying, airline-congestion solutions, the future of GA and more.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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 newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

 
AOPA Aircraft Financing Program
Whether you are looking to purchase an aircraft or make upgrades to your existing aircraft, now is the perfect time. Check out the new lower rates, quick decisions, and No Document Loan Program for qualified members with AOPA's Aircraft Financing Program. Call AOPA's Aircraft Financing Program to speak with a loan expert at (800) 62-PLANE, or apply online today.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Emerald Coast Aviation (54J, Defuniak Springs, FL)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Emerald Coast Aviation at 54J in Defuniak Springs, Florida.

Emerald Coast brought a little holiday cheer to AVweb reader Travis Turner, who stopped at the FBO "to pick up my mother for the holidays":

She had not flown in a small plane before, and the owner Johnathan helped to reassure my mom that flying was a safe and fun way to travel. Aside from helping to calm her nerves, Emerald Coast has a clean facility, good prices and a new surface on their runway. I certainly will visit again!

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

 
StickyCharts — No Tape or Thumbtacks Required
Your favorite FAA charts beautifully printed on removable adhesive backing. Easily map your route with dry-erase markers. Up to 4 feet tall, StickyCharts are delivered in a sturdy tube in time for the holidays. They make a great gift for the "hard-to-shop-for" pilot. Go online to order at StickyCharts.com.
 
New on AVweb: Watch, Listen, Learn & Laugh back to top 
 

Probable Cause #48: Mountain Waves

Even though the weather may be clear, when flying in the mountains, what you can't see can bite you.

Click here for the full story.

AVweb's Monday Podcast: Aviation Consumer Reveals "Why Aircraft Batteries Don't Last"

File Size 11.8 MB / Running Time 12:55

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Usually it's because the owner or operator let them discharge too deeply or too often, according to Concorde's Skip Koss, who discussed battery technology and longevity with Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli. In its January issue, the magazine features an in-depth comparison of aircraft batteries, with some surprising results.

Click here to listen. (11.8 MB, 12:55)

Video of the Week: Drums and Aerobatics

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Here's a little air show fun to spice up your holiday week, straight from the e-mail of AVweb reader Robert Reid, who (accurately) describes the clip as "short, crystal clear, [featuring] amazing photography, and fun to watch":


Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

 
Find Your Next Aircraft on ASO!
When you search for aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete picture of the market available anywhere. View thousands of listings with detailed specs and photos or use ASO's advanced search tools to quickly find your next aircraft. Best of all, know that every ad is current and no time is wasted on stale listings. If you're ready for your next aircraft, it's ready for you — on ASO. Visit ASO today!
 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Heard at Lawrence, Massachusetts:

Tower:
"Arrow Eight Two Xray, slowest possible speed. Traffic ahead is an ultralight on a half-mile final."

Ultralight:
"Tower, we'll climb out so he can land."

Tower:
"Roger, climb and maintain 1700, runway heading. Arrow Eight Two Xray, cleared to land, caution, mowing in progress, right side of runway."

Arrow:
"Roger, duck under the lawn mower ahead and avoid the one on the ground. Cleared to land, Arrow Eight Two Xray."

Angelo Iannuzzo Nashua
New Hampshire

 
Fly Somewhere! Use AVweb's Calendar of Events
The skies are blue; you and your plane are ready. Check out AVweb's Calendar of Events for an event near you.

If you have an event you want folks to know about, post it at no cost on AVweb's Calendar of Events.
 
More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 
 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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/.

 
Names Behind the News
 
Volume 13, Number 52a back to top