AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 6a

February 4, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Breaking News: AVweb Exclusives back to top 

Cirrus Jet Expected To Fly At AirVenture

Cirrus Design co-founder Dale Klapmeier said a prototype of the company's single-engine personal jet will probably make at least a fly-by at EAA AirVenture this summer. However, he told AVweb in an exclusive interview that the jet may not be ready for static display at the show. The Duluth, Minn., manufacturer has taken more than 400 deposits of $100,000 each for the jet, but the final price hasn't been disclosed. Klapmeier said the project is a few weeks behind schedule, due in part to difficulties in hiring qualified engineers who are willing to relocate to Duluth. He said the company is actively recruiting but is not going to extraordinary means, such as offering cash incentives, to convince people to take the plunge. Michael Van Staagen, Cirrus vice president of advanced development, said that the roughly 120 people currently assigned to the jet project have not yet moved into the company's recently acquired hangar space at the Duluth International Airport, where the jets will be produced. The hangar, formerly used by Northwest Airlines for maintenance, does not have the requisite network connections, Van Staagen said, but Cirrus is working on it.

Symphony Planning Comeback

The former lead investor in bankrupt Symphony Aircraft Industries has formed a new company and hopes to resume production of the two-seat aircraft. Lou Simons told AVweb in an exclusive interview that the new company, North American Factory for Technologically Advanced Aircraft (NAFTAA), is aiming at an initial production rate of at least 80 aircraft a year. Location of the factory hasn't been confirmed but the former company's Trois Rivières, Quebec, facility is in the running. Symphony filed for bankruptcy last year. Simons announced at EAA AirVenture last July that he was hopeful the company could be revived. Simons said there are plans for new models and options and the name of the aircraft and company may also be changed. Simons said new Symphonies (or whatever they're called) will have increased fuel capacity, that a diesel option is being considered and that a 200-hp version with a constant speed prop is also in the cards. A four-place model may be offered, but the company will concentrate on the existing, type-certificated 160 model at first. “We’re going after the flight training market first,” Simons told AVweb. “This aircraft is ideal for schools.” He said a less-expensive version will be available for the training sector. Simons said reducing outsourcing and cutting production costs are key to reviving the aircraft.

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Closing the Book on the Past ... back to top 

Recession Fears Spark Retirements/Cancellations At AA?

A downturn in the stock market made it appealing for 143 senior pilots at American Airlines to call it quits Thursday, according to American. The airline says the departed were watching the falling stock market and decided to lock in the value of their retirement plans by jumping ship. An AA pilot can lock part of his pension plan's value three months ahead of an announced retirement date, but can either retire or withdraw his notice at the end of that three months depending on his perception of the market. With pilots now allowed to stay on to age 65, senior pilots must weigh the value of those extra years against the value of their pension portfolios. American employs about 9,000 pilots, but in anticipation of Thursday's fallout canceled 28 flights (mostly long-haul routes flown on Boeing 777 aircraft by senior pilots) scheduled for February. The cancellations represent about one-tenth of one percent of AA's entire February schedule. The move brought some quick winter heat from the Allied Pilots Association (APA). The APA is framing American's strategy in the union's weekly newsletter as "inept decision-making in manning this airline," which it believes is understaffed. Cuts in training capacity at American may also make it slower to respond to an increased demand for pilots. APA is currently engaged in contract talks with the airline. American last year canceled more flights than any network carrier -- 2.7 percent of its schedule, according to early statistics by Flightstats.com. American Airlines officials have proposed changes to retirement plans that would dissolve some of the flexibility built into the current programs.

T-2 Buckeyes To Retire

The only U.S. base still using T-2 Buckeye aircraft, Pensacola NAS, will put that distinction to rest with a ceremony to take place in early August as the base makes way for the new T-45 Goshawk. The T-2 saw its 50th anniversary as an active military aircraft pass on Jan. 31. It made its first showing at Pensacola in November of 1959, nearly a year after its introduction, and proved its staying power long after. The aircraft was used to teach air-to-air techniques and train airmen to drop munitions while preparing the pilots for jets. Pensacola instructors and maintenance crew will be trained in Meridian, Miss., to tangle with the Goshawk, which offers contemporary avionics and technology similar to modern fighter jets. New pilots may welcome the change. Older ones may wonder if the Goshawk can possibly outlast the T-2 ... or if they can soon find a Buckeye on eBay.

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Quotes reprinted with permission. Aviation Consumer, August 2007.
... And Looking Toward the Future back to top 

406 ELT's Mandated In Canada?

The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is warning pilots they should be concerned that revisions to a regulation's wording could mean mandatory installation of 406 ELTs in all Canadian aircraft -- and transient aircraft, too. In a letter from Kevin Psutka, president and CEO, Canadian Owners and Pilots Association, Psutka states that "low-cost alternatives to ELTs have all but been ruled out for our sector of aviation." Because the U.S. does not mandate 406 ELTs, "thousands of U.S. aircraft will be banned from Canada," posing a particular problem for aircraft transiting to and from Alaska. COPA is advising its members that the next opportunity for comment will be when the draft regulation is publicly announced. While COPA seeks alternatives, it is also advising members in the market for an ELT to equip with a 406 ELT. "The battery must not be LiSO2 and, for a 406 ELT, it must be coded for Canada and registered with the National Search and Rescue Secretariat."


Pilots may not like sharing airspace with unmanned aircraft, but many like the temporary flight restrictions that often accompany UAVs even less -- so here's the good news. A recent decision by the FAA to issue an advisory NOTAM instead of a flight restriction for unmanned military aircraft operations has AOPA voicing its approval. "This needs to be the template for other locations where unmanned aircraft are used,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. AOPA was encouraged by the FAA's apparent consideration of "the needs of civil aviation" balanced with those of the military. The NOTAM advises pilots flying near Cherry Point, N.C. (and more specifically warns those pilots transitioning through Alert Area A-530) of the unmanned vehicle's expected altitude (2500-3500 feet) and "strongly advises" those aircraft flying without encoding transponders to steer clear unless in contact with Cherry Point Approach.

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News Briefs back to top 

EPA Cleans Up Radium Instruments For Strube

The Department of Environmental Protection Dec. 25 formally requested that the EPA take action including "removal and remediation duties" at seven facilities that house radium dial instruments. The facilities, owned by Strube Inc. and located in Lancaster Country, Pa., had been the subject of visits and inspections by the DEP, which found Strube uncommitted to meet previously outlined cleanup deadlines. Deemed "hazardous materials," the aged instruments that may no longer be used in aircraft must be "identified and properly disposed of" because Strube had "improperly stored" them, according to the EPA. Strube officials claim there is no public health threat. Strube's warehouses may contain an estimated 20,000 of the instruments hidden among some 58 million aircraft components, according Strube. The instruments may have been there since the 1950s. Strube had been issued a license "to possess and dispose of" all radioactive material at its facilities and has "made progress in properly containing hazardous materials at its facilities." The EPA judged Strube had offered no progress in the removal of radioactive materials. Strube had hired security guards and recently hired a licensed contractor to handle the cleanup of two warehouses.

Flight School Back Flying Despite Fraud Allegations

An Indian newspaper says India's Minister of Civil Aviation has overruled his own department and ordered reinstatement of the operating certificate of a flight school that allegedly rubber-stamped the conversion of foreign pilot's licenses to Indian permits. According to the Sunday Express, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel approved the resumption of business by Carver Aviation Academy in Baramati a week after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation closed it down for allegedly fraudulently granting Indian licenses to 25 pilots who had been trained in the U.S. and Canada. India does not recognize those credentials and requires "conversion tests" before pilots holding foreign certificates are allowed to fly. The ministry alleges that, for a fee, Carver signed off on the Indian conversions without actually testing the pilots. [more] Those pilots now face the loss of their licenses and could be charged criminally. At least four Carver employees were arrested and charged for alleged financial irregularities related to the affair. Meanwhile, it's business as usual at the flight school, with lessons being conducted and aircraft in the air daily. In ordering the school's certificate reinstated, the government appeared to acknowledge the irregularities uncovered by the investigation and directs staff to “ensure a strict monitoring system to avoid recurrence of such malpractices, not only in Carver Aviation Academy, but in all other flying training institutes.”

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News in Brief back to top 

On the Fly ...

The NTSB is investigating the diversion of an American Airlines Boeing 757 to West Palm Beach, Fla., after smoke from a windshield heater filled the cockpit and the inner glass shattered on Friday. A similar incident (without the shattered glass) forced the diversion of another American 757 on Wednesday ...

The crash of an F-15D off Hawaii has raised more questions about the safety of the Air Force's fleet. The pilot of the Hawaiian Air National Guard Eagle ejected safely after reporting control problems ...

There were no fatalities in the off-airport landing of a Boeing 727 in Bolivia on Friday. The aircraft reportedly landed gear up on a flooded field about three miles from the Trinidad Airport and only some of the 151 passengers and crew were slightly injured ...

Six people aboard a King Air were killed Friday when the aircraft crashed while trying to land at Mount Airy Airport in North Carolina. Witnesses said the crash occurred during a go-around ...

Rotax has amended a service bulletin on certain 912 and 914-series engines concerning abnormal wearing of the valve lifters. The serial number range of affected engines has been narrowed down and mandatory magnetic plug inspection has been added. More details are available at Rotax-Owner.com.

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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AVweb Readers Speak Out back to top 

AVmail: Feb. 4, 2008

Reader mail this week about the Gimli glider, peak-hour pricing, the airline age-65 rule and more.

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

Tell Us About Your Interior Shop

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is preparing a report on interior shops. If you recently had an interior redone, the editors would like to hear from you, whether the experience was good or bad.

To take part in the online survey, click here.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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New on AVweb back to top 

Leading Edge #14: In-Close Approach Changes

When ATC changes your approach clearance at the last minute, you need to be ready to switch gears fast ... or to say, "Unable."

Click here to read.

What's New for February 2008

This month, AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a mini-tug, instrument panel lighting, satellite phones and more.

Click here for the full story.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: American Aviation West (KPGA in Page, AZ)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to American Aviation West at KPGA in Page, Arizona.

According to AVweb reader Scott A. Hauert, "These folks embody the spirit of aviators helping aviators" — and after hearing his story, we tend to agree.

Scott arrived early the morning for what he'd planned as a three-day stay in Page. "Bob, the Chief Pilot, could not have been more helpful if he had to," writes Scott. "He opened the FBO an hour early so we could stay on [a tight] schedule." When mechanical troubles reared their head, Scott became worried he wouldn't be able to get back, so Bob stayed late ("the same day he picked us up early") to let him back into the hangar. And when Scott had to leave bright and early the following morning, "one of the linemen picked us up."

Now that's what we call first-rate service!

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!

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

AVweb's Monday Podcast: EAA's AirVenture Museum Turns 25 This Year

File Size 9.5 MB / Running Time 10:24

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In case you've lost count, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis. In this AVweb audio feature, EAA's Dick Knapinski tells Mike Blakeney about some of the major 2008 events scheduled to celebrate a significant milestone for this one-of-a-kind world-class museum.

Click here to listen. (9.5 MB, 10:24)

Video of the Week: Closing the Curtains on Provincetown Boston Airlines (1988)

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

An AVweb reader pointed us in the direction of this week's video as "a reminder of the days when it was fun to be an airline pilot." The video is a compilation of footage shot by pilots, staff and support personnel on the last day of operations for Provincetown Boston Airlines, all edited together and set to music by YouTuber DPatrickSutton.

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."

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

On November 2, 2007, an F-15C with the 110th Fighter Squadron (of the 131st Fighter Wing) broke up while conducting an air-to-air training mission. This video, produced by Glenn Pew for AVweb, covers the military investigative board's findings.

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.

Related Content:
F-15s Grounded, Structural Failure Suspected

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on a recent trip from Cross City to DeLand (Fla.), with flight following provided by Orlando Approach:

Orlando Approach:
"Cardinal 12345, destination is 12 o'clock 10 miles. Advise you have destination in sight."

Cardinal 345:
"Approach, 345 has destination in sight."

Orlando Approach:
"Cardinal 345, Squawk VFR, frequency change approved, no traffic observed between you and your present position."

Cardinal (pilot to co-pilot):
"I think that's good!"

Dee Ann Ediger
via e-mail

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

Managing Editor
Meredith Saini

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.