AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 52b

December 27, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce — A Proud Sponsor of the Sebring Expo, January 17-20, 2008
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Search-And-Rescue's Permanent Home on the 'Net back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

New Online Search And Rescue Mission Launched

A group of committed volunteers who met online while participating in the Amazon/Google search for Steve Fossett has launched a new Web site, InternetSAR.org, to facilitate such searches in the future. "We learned a lot during the three months or so of searching for Steve, and we didn't want that collective wisdom to get lost," site founder Ken Barbalace told AVweb on Wednesday. About two dozen people have pitched in to help create the site, Barbalace said. "Our backgrounds range from pilots, professional image analysts, a skydiver, a Web site developer, and a few programmers, to people that just have a good eye for detail and have extra time to devote to the search." Tutorials and protocols are being developed to provide all searchers with feedback from senior image analysts, Barbalace said, so they can constantly improve their reports. Experienced searchers with proven abilities can weed out false positives and "white noise" to help make the process more useful to search-and-rescue teams. Currently, the site is helping in the search for pilot Ron Boychuk, who disappeared on October 23 while he was flying alone in a Cessna 172 from Revelstoke, in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, to Vancouver Island. Volunteers, who must have Google Earth loaded on their computer and a broadband connection, are invited to register at the site and participate in the image analysis. Barbalace said he is working to organize the effort as a non-profit group. "Our goal is to develop an efficient and cost-effective Internet imagery analysis search process, so that SAR organizations all over the world can take advantage of this innovative way of using technology to assist rescue workers," the site reads.

PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
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Sturgell's FAA Admin Nomination in Jeopardy? back to top 

Congress In Conflict Over Confirming FAA Administrator

The confirmation of Acting FAA Administrator Robert "Bobby" Sturgell, who seemed like a shoo-in when President Bush nominated him in October to take on the administrator job for the next five years, now is encountering political turbulence. Powerful members of Congress from the Northeast are saying they will oppose the appointment unless Sturgell agrees to revisit plans for the ongoing redesign of the region's congested airspace. The nomination was scheduled for review last week but now has been postponed until after the Congressional recess. Committee spokesmen denied any political motive to the postponement, saying they simply ran out of time. Former Administrator Marion Blakey, now president of the Aerospace Industries Association, expressed concern over the delay. "It is critical for the continued smooth operation of our nation's air transportation system to have a person confirmed and appointed for a five-year term as soon as possible," she said in a statement.

The nomination now won't be considered until late January, at the earliest. Sen. Bob Menendez (D - N.J.) said he may hold up the nomination indefinitely, until he's satisfied with the FAA's repsonse to questions he's raised about the airspace redesign plans.

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SC Airport's Delicate Balancing Act back to top 

In Hilton Head, Airport A Pivotal Issue

Sometimes an airport is more than just an airport, and in Hilton Head, S.C., it has become a symbol of the island town's future -- will historic buildings and neighborhoods and trees be preserved, or will the needs of business and growth and tourism prevail? The town, aligning itself with longtime residents, has voted to restrict any expansion of the airport without town approval. But the business community protests that if the runway can't be lengthened, celebrities, golfers and wealthy homeowners who want to fly bigger airplanes will simply find somewhere else to go and spend their money. Any expansion of the runway would affect a nearby 122-year-old church that is a popular community gathering place. "I don't think they're thinking of the value people have placed in this church," Charles Young III, president of a local property owners group, told the Island Packet. "We've got people down there that have (had) property for generations and generations." Newcomers to the island "just don't seem to care," he said. "They have a lot of money and they can spend it to get what they want." Other citizens have formed a group to support the business community's push to improve the airport, and they are working for a change of leadership in the town's next election. They will have to be patient, though, since the next vote won't be until 2010.

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Buying Time for Ultralight Conversions back to top 

EAA Seeks FAA Extension For Ultralight E-LSA Conversions

EAA has asked the FAA to extend its January 31 deadline to allow owners of ultralights more time to convert them to Experimental Light Sport Aircraft status. The FAA has stated repeatedly that the final deadline would not be elastic, but EAA says that given the backlog of applications awaiting processing, an extension is necessary and justified. "We were hoping that the backlog would start to shrink as we got into the fall, but that has not been the case," said EAA's Joe Norris. "An exemption would provide more time for FAA inspectors and Designated Airworthiness Representatives to deal with the volume." The EAA has asked the FAA to allow owners of two-place, or "fat," ultralights who have submitted an application to the FAA on or before January 31, 2008, to complete the process, including issuance of an airworthiness certificate, beyond the deadline. A backlog of applications has outpaced the ability of FAA inspectors and designated airworthiness representatives to perform inspections before the deadline, EAA says. The required forms (FAA form 8050-1 & 8050-88A) are available at your local Flight Services District Office (FSDO). EAA also sells a kit with all the paperwork and instructions needed to complete the process.

Bennett Avionics: Used Avionics Guidance You Can Trust
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Around the Patch back to top 

Florida Hangar Used As Marijuana Farm

In rural Sarasota County, Florida, police have been on the lookout for "grow houses," secluded properties where barns and even homes are used as factories to grow large amounts of marijuana. This week, their investigations led to an airplane hangar at an 11-acre property in a neighborhood with a private airstrip. The home and a hangar had been sold to new owners in February. Neighbors reported "suspicious activity" at the site, and detectives conducted months of surveillence before conducting a raid. They found 80 marijuana plants growing in the hangar beneath heat lamps and arrested two men, according to the Herald Tribune. Among the clues detectives cited were sophisticated techniques used to steal electricity.

Australia's New Prime Minister Opposes Airport Noise

When Kevin Rudd was sworn in as Australia's new prime minister earlier this month, among the items on his agenda was airport noise. Rudd has worked in the past to oppose expansion of the Brisbane Airport, and now is looking into imposing a curfew, the Courier-Mail reported this week. The curfew could ban aircraft operations between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., a move that opponents say would discourage international flights and devestate the tourism industry. During the campaign, Rudd promised hundreds of suburbanites who live below the flightpaths that he would pursue the curfew. Now his opponents say that he needs to put the national interest above the needs of just a few supporters. Rudd has said that a similar curfew imposed at Sydney Airport doesn't seem to have affected its commercial viability. "Brisbane offers some of the best approaches and departures from a noise-mitigation perspective of any airport in the country," transport spokesman Warren Truss told the Courier-Mail. "It is time Kevin Rudd realised he was Prime Minister of Australia and needs to take the national interest into account rather than just the concerns of one or two of his constituents."

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.
News Briefs back to top 

Mother And Son Solo On Same Day

copyright © AOPA
That first solo flight is special for all pilots, but for a mother and son in Texas, it was even better sharing the experience. AOPA reports that Steve Poteet, 43, watched as his mother Sylvia, 64, soloed recently at Seymour Municipal Airport in Seymour, Texas. “Then we hugged, high-fived, and I got in and did mine,” Steve said. Steve had recently partnered with a friend to buy a Cessna 172 and was surprised when he showed the airplane to his mother that she was so interested in it. Turns out she had wanted to learn to fly since she was 9 years old but had never pursued it. She is now part owner of the airplane. “It was special to see her pursue a lifelong passion,” Steve told AOPA. “Taking her first solo flight was a major step toward that goal.”

On the Fly ...

A 12-year-old girl from California was the sole survivor when a single-engine Cessna crashed in Panama, killing her friend, her friend's father, and a pilot ...

FAA updates and clarifies Hartzell prop Airworthiness Directive ...

FAA's Commercial Aviation Safety Team launched a new web site, Cast-Safety.org, about efforts to make commercial air travel safer.

Make Plans Now to Attend a 2008 Savvy Aviator Seminar
Mike Busch has completed his very successful Savvy Owner Seminars for 2007. In 2008, he'll be conducting four more in Austin, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Norfolk. Sign up for one of these classes and learn how to save thousands of dollars on maintenance costs, year after year. Do it before your next annual inspection! For complete details (and to reserve your space), click here.
Interact with AVweb back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #128: Go Global

Brainteasers Some things old, some things new and a few things out of the blue make up the way we navigate. Answer the following questions correctly, and you're cleared direct-to-anywhere-in-the-world with your GPS.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Question of the Week: The Top Aviation Story of 2007

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers to peer once again into their crystal balls and make a guess as to aviation's next great frontier.  Will personal flying devices like the jet pack put air travel in the hands of everyone — or will future aircraft be so complicated that only the professionals can afford the investment of time and money to learn to fly?

As it turns out, the readers who took time to respond to our query didn't foresee much change, predicting the current mix of G.A. and mass air travel will stay about the same for the immediate future.  (We did, however, get some very thoughtful letters on the subject.)

For the complete breakdown of answers, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already participated in this poll.)


It's time to cast an eye backward over the past year and ask, What was the biggest aviation story of 2007?

Click here to answer.

(If your nominee isn't listed, don't worry:  We've set up a temporary address at 2007@avweb.com where you can tell us your contenders.)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

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.

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.

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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!

The AVweb Bookstore, The Most Complete Aviation Bookstore Anywhere
Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for immediate delivery — as books, videos, or CDs. 100+ titles available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Click here to visit online.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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.


It's our last installment of "POTW" for 2007, and AVweb readers didn't let us down this week.  It seems some of you are using the holidays to sort through your airplane photos and submit a few to good old AVweb.  (Talk about holiday cheer!)

medium | large

copyright © Gary L. Jones
Used with permission

You Cannot Hide!

Gary L. Jones of Clovis, New Mexico is a frequent contributor to our weekly contests, but (until now) his name had never shown up in our top spot.  Funny enough, the photo earning Gary a long-overdue AVweb cap is one he shot over 20 years ago, "during a takeoff from RAF Mildenhall" in the U.K.

Thanks for digging through the album, Gary!


medium | large

copyright © Michael J. Gallagher
Used with permission


Another regular submitter, Michael J. Gallagher of Peoria, Illinois gave Gary a run for his money this week.  This shot of Steve Jones bursting a pylon at the Red Bull Air Races came in a very close second — but it'll show up as desktop wallpaper on the computers in our office a little later in the week.


medium | large

copyright © Tomas Thomas
Used with permission

Wisconsin State Capitol

Tom Thomas of Madison (duh!), Wisconsin snapped this "while being vectored for final approach ... at the Dane County Regional Airport (MSN). The Capitol building," Tom tells us, "is about three nautical miles south-southwest of the airport."


medium | large

copyright © Andrew L. Kocher
Used with permission

Winter Blues

Andrew Kocher of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania gave us the chills in a series of wintry photos submitted to this week's contest.  (This almost-eerie shot was our favorite.)


medium | large

Used with permission of Michael Schmidt

Precious Cargo

Michael Schmidt of Orlando, Florida tells us "17-month-old Charlie is very comfortable flying, with required gear — Bose headset, flight jacket, [and] Gerber Binki."  (Didn't we read in Aviation Consumer that those things prevent hypoxia?  No?  Well, what's a harmless little pacifier-sales-boosting rumor among friends ... .)

Send us your photos here!

Want to see more reader-submitted shots?  There's always a few surprises in the slideshow on our home page.

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:s:
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, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an e-mail.

Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You
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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 back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.