AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 7b

February 14, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Do You Zulu? ... From Lightspeed

"The Zulu is the company's best headset ever ... . Lightspeed has knocked the competition out of the park." — Ian J. Twombly, AOPA Pilot Associate Editor

Zulu sets a new standard in ANR performance, comfort, and audio quality. Includes built-in BlueTooth for your cell phone, not available on any other headset. See why more pilots are Zuluing. Click here for more information or to order!

Happy Valentine's Day from Lightspeed
 
Top News back to top 
 

Congress Seeks Results On Runway Safety Issues

Progress on reducing runway incursions is impeded by a lack of leadership in the FAA as well as technology challenges, a Congressional committee was told by Gerald Dillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, on Wednesday. Dillingham's report also cited NTSB concerns about air traffic controller fatigue, which may result from regularly working overtime. The House Subcommittee on Aviation convened the hearing to discuss how runway safety can be improved. AOPA President Phil Boyer said his group will commit to expanding programs to educate pilots in 2008, but the FAA also needs to do more to make runway safety "a national priority." The FAA said it is expediting its certification process to get better equipment into cockpits faster. "We are actively working on an application from Jeppesen [for a GPS moving-map system], and we expect they will complete certification soon," the FAA said in a fact sheet released on Tuesday.

The Congressional panel also heard testimony from spokesmen for the NTSB, NATCA, the Air Line Pilots Association, Honeywell, and airport advocacy groups. The FAA's Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer of the Air Traffic Organization, said the agency will create a new Runway Council Working Group to identify and address the issues.

Piston Sales Slip Slightly

Piston single sales continue to buck the trend in a generally robust general aviation industry. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its annual statistics (PDF) on aircraft deliveries, and piston aircraft sales were down slightly at 2,675, compared to 2,755 in 2006. Business jets simply blew away other sectors in all aspects. "Aside from the record set for year-end billings, the industry also experienced an all-time high in business jet shipments, delivering over 1,000 units for the first time in history," GAMA reported. In fact, business jets accounted for more than 25 percent of the impressive total of 4,272 aircraft sold in 2007, with 1,186 delivered. The business jet tally was up 28.4 percent over 2006's total of 886. Turboprop numbers were also up at 459 compared to 412 last year.

Cessna sold a total of 807 piston aircraft (including one each of the Columbia derived 350 and 400 models). The 172 accounted for almost half of the piston sales at 373 but the 182 wasn't far behind at 301. Cirrus sold 710 aircraft and its SR22 was by far the most popular aircraft model with 588 deliveries. On the business jet front Cessna delivered a total of 388. The most popular was the XLS (82), followed by the CJ3 (78). Cessna shipped 45 entry-level Mustangs in 2007, a number that will go up considerably this year as production ramps up in Independence. Cessna sold by far the most airplanes, a total of 1,274 piston, turboprop and jet aircraft. But the $3.9 billion derived from those sales was far behind the money leader. Bombardier's 226 deliveries were worth $5.2 billion. Gulfstream, with 136 deliveries, collected $4.8 billion. Hawker Beechcraft sold 351 aircraft, most of them jets and King Airs, and took in revenue of almost $1.9 billion.

 
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The Latest on Closings back to top 
 

Adam Employees Hopeful, Industry Less So

There appears to be little optimism among aviation industry leaders that Adam Aircraft will be resurrected. Sources speaking on condition of anonymity have told AVweb that the prevailing opinion is that the company will fold. Adam officials are expected to reach a decision on the future by the end of this week after suspending operations on Monday. Hours after being sent home, employees gathered JD's Bait Shop Sports Grill were relatively upbeat. According to the Denver Post, rather than crying in their beers, the 20 or so Adam employees there expressed hope that someone with money will see the company they way they do. "We're all here tonight because we love this company," quality control worker Ray Romero told the Post. "We want to be there, but there's no money. We're a privately funded company. We have a beautiful product." About 500 remaining workers got the word after lunch on Monday that Adam had failed to raise the $100 million it needs to get the A700 jet certified and in production and to ramp up production of the already-certified A500 piston twin. Adam spokeswoman Shelly Simi also held out hope that funding could be found. "It's a very dynamic situation. We are looking at alternatives," she told AVwebBiz in a phone interview. A final decision on the fate of the company is expected within a week.

In a news release, Adam said it was forced to close the doors "due to the inability of the company to come to terms with their lender for funding necessary to maintain business operations." The news release doesn't identify the lender but previous rounds of financing, totaling almost $300 million, have included such major investment houses as Goldman, Sachs and Co. and Hunt Growth Capital as participants. In January, Adam announced that it needed $30.5 million in interim financing to allow its current financial partner, Citibank, the time to find the $75 million to $150 million it needed to get into production and start selling against a backlog of orders the company estimated to be worth $1 billion, according to some reports. In a letter to shareholders leaked to the media in late January, CEO John Wolf said that if the company didn't have the $30.5 million by the end of January, the company was likely doomed.

As little as a week ago, company officials were claiming that the search for funding was continuing and that production of the fifth A700 jet was under way. The jet has not achieved FAA certification but the A500 push/pull piston twin has. Adam has reportedly sold 17 of the piston aircraft and delivered seven. Meanwhile, the city of Pueblo, Colo., didn't wait for Monday's announcement to demand $2 million in incentives it says should be returned. The city says Adam promised to create 448 jobs and actually created about 90, most of which disappeared in a round of layoffs and plant consolidations in January. The city of Pueblo has placed liens against Adam's equipment in the city-owned buildings that were part of the incentive package.

Related Content:
Read what AVweb Editor Russ Niles wishes Adam had done in our AVweb Insider blog ...

Lawsuits Build Against Silver State Helicopters Founder Airola, Lenders

Lawyers from across the country are busily rallying former students of Nevada-based Silver State Helicopters, which abruptly went out of business and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection two weeks ago.

As many as 2,700 students paid about $70,000 each for the proposed 18-month training program, which many never completed. Peter C. Lown, an aviation attorney from Jonesboro, Ga., told AVweb that last weekend he met with about 150 potential plaintiffs in Arizona and plans to meet with a similar group in Georgia this weekend. He plans to file suits against Silver State’s founder Jerry Airola and, possibly, the banks that lent students money. "One of the problems is that many of these people don’t know what kind of loan they have," Lown said. As of Wednesday afternoon, Student Loan XPress, the primary originator of student loans to Silver State students, had not filed a claim with the bankruptcy court and did not respond to repeated requests by AVweb for information about the number and type of outstanding loans made to Silver State students. It is not known how many of the loans were private loans and how many, if any, were federally guaranteed, but Lown told AVweb that some of the people he’s spoken with were paying 17 percent interest or more.

While the bankruptcy trustee spends the coming months poring through thousands of claims (it has a special hotline established just for this case), former students and employees are posting to message boards and telling AVweb that signs of the company’s impending demise began to surface in October 2007.

Jimmie "Tri" Evans was the first student enrolled at the Houston location when it opened in 2006. He told AVweb that around the time that he earned his instructor’s certificate last fall, rumors began to spread internally that the company was in trouble. "Some people had started to get the indication that it might be occurring, then we were sent e-mails that it was just a rumor, and not to worry," he said. Evans said that at one point the Houston school had 60 students and just one helicopter that had to be ferried 130 miles away to Silver State’s New Braunfels, Texas, location for maintenance. "We couldn’t fit everybody into the helicopters we had. I remember flying until midnight or at four in the morning because that’s when they had a helicopter," Evans said.

 
Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Sponsor of the WAA Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
Come join Aircraft Spruce in Puyallup, Washington at booths 625, 627 and 629 on February 23 (9am-5pm) and February 24 (10am-4pm). Help celebrate the 25th anniversary of this important aviation event. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, a helpful Aircraft Spruce staff on site to answer any questions, and complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous and oversize products), and a helpful staff to answer any questions. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit online.
 
From the FAA back to top 
 

FAA Rewards Efforts To Reduce Aviation's Environmental Impact

The FAA is presenting its 2007 Excellence in Aviation Research Awards to Professor Ian Waitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and to a U.S. Air Force fuel research team. "Aviation needs to continue to get greener," said FAA spokesman Dan Elwell. "Dr. Waitz and the Air Force team are taking the steps to put a big dent in aviation’s environmental footprint. Their work is going to make a difference across the face of our entire planet." Waitz and his research team are working on ways to reduce air and noise pollution from aviation. The U.S. Air Force team has developed a synthetic fuel blend for the B-52 fleet. The blended fuel has less exhaust smoke and fewer particulate emissions than standard fuel.

The synthetic fuel is not only cleaner, but could potentially save millions of dollars and reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil, the FAA said. This is the 10th year that the Excellence in Aviation Research Award has been presented. The awards are given to individuals and/or institutions outside the FAA whose research contributions have resulted in a significantly safer, more efficient national airspace system.

Hawker Beechcraft Type Certifies Hawker 750

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation announced on Tuesday that the FAA has awarded type certification to its newest aircraft, the light-midsize Hawker 750. The Hawker 750 has the same fuselage and wings as the midsize Hawker 800 series, providing the largest cabin in the light-midsize aircraft segment, the company says. The new model aims to reach new customers for the company, and is already sold out through 2010. "This aircraft has the perfect combination of reliability and operating efficiency, while incorporating a large luxurious cabin with internal and external baggage areas," said Brad Hatt, president, Commercial Aircraft. The 750, which can carry up to eight passengers, has a 2,116-nm NBAA IFR range.

It will be driven by two Honeywell TFE731-5BR engines. Prices start at $12.2 million.

 
Precise Flight's High-Intensity Discharge Landing & Taxi Light Systems ...
... Are the brightest illumination available. The stellar combination of increased light output, reduced power consumption, superior lamp life, and brilliant light quality are a few of the major benefits of HID lighting. The PreciseLite HID landing light, approved for Cessna and Piper models, is now approved for Beechcraft Bonanzas with cowl-mounted lights replacing the existing cowl lamp and available in 12 and 24 volts. Click here for additional information.
 
Upgrading Everything from Parts to the System back to top 
 

NextGen Weather Gurus Seek Industry Input

How will operators use the advanced weather information and tools promised by the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)? The Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) hosted a conference in Washington, D.C., this week to collect ideas on the matter from various government and industry subject matter experts. More than 200 people attended.

“We’re living in a system where we operate at capacity or where weather forces demand to exceed capacity,” said Ken Leonard, director of the FAA’s Aviation Weather Office. Weather accounts for 70 percent of all flight delays now, he said, but with improved coordination and dissemination of weather data among pilots and air traffic controllers that number could be slashed.

The NextGen concept envisions a system where aircraft are electronically networked, sharing data with each other and with air traffic control in a carefully orchestrated dance. But today, “everybody’s out there in bad weather doing their own thing, and honestly that doesn’t work,” said Kirk Shaffer, FAA associate administrator for airports. Jim May, president of the Air Transport Association, said that airlines are spending more than $1 billion a year dealing with weather delays. Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said that while many general aviation aircraft are far better equipped to receive and display weather information than some airliners, “affordability is key” when it comes to delivering on the promises of NextGen.

Midwest Modifications Offers Mooney Upgrades

Two power-boosting changes for Mooney aircraft by Midwest Modifications have been granted STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) approval from the FAA, the company announced on Tuesday. One STC allows the company to modify the 280-hp turbocharged engine of the Mooney Acclaim to increase the maximum power to 310 hp. With this change, Midwest says, the Mooney Acclaim and Acclaim Type S versions will take off with a shorter roll, climb at a higher rate and reach top speed faster. Midwest Modifications also won FAA approval to install the Hartzell composite propeller for three Mooney models -- M20R, S, and TN. The composite propeller is about 16 pounds lighter than the metal prop and offers a boost in climb performance, the company said.

Midwest Modifications is located in Flora, Ill.

 
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 quick reference before your departure or during your flight. Download the Runway Safety Flash Cards now
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Reel Stuff Film Festival Debuts In Dayton

The National Aviation Hall of Fame will host the First Annual Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation on April 24-26 in Dayton, Ohio. The series of eight classic and contemporary Hollywood productions and documentary films will celebrate aviation history and the passion for flight. Each movie will be introduced by an actor, producer, aerial coordinator or cinematographer associated with its production, and an audience question-and-answer session will follow. Actor Cliff Robertson will introduce the 1964 drama "633 Squadron," and aviator Clay Lacy will introduce the 1986 hit "Top Gun" and the 2005 IMAX film "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag." Lacy was a pioneer in developing the air-to-air cinematic techniques used in both films.

The other films will be the classics "Battle Hymn" and "Battle of Britain," and the documentaries "One Six Right," "Pancho Barnes!" and "Speed and Angels." A schedule of Reel Stuff showtimes and locations, ticket prices (about $10 per film), packages, presenters' bios, hotels, and other details can be found online.

On the Fly ...

The Alaska Airmen's Association is raffling off a Supercub and tickets are $50 each. For more info send e-mail...

Red Bull will host two air races in the U.S. this year, adding Detroit to the schedule, plus San Diego and eight other cities around the world...

Diamond Aircraft's Chinese production facility has been awarded production authority for the DA40-TDI...

King Schools awarded a Cessna 172S this week to sweepstakes winner Dale North, of Madison, Tenn. ...

NASA has scholarships in aeronautics to give away to deserving students; click here for the info.

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.

 
Current and Former Aircraft Owners! What Could You Do With $200?
Take a few minutes to answer questions, and you will be entered into a drawing for one of three $200 prizes. This online survey is being conducted by Research Boston Corporation for an aviation client. All responses are confidential, and you will NOT be contacted. All qualified respondents completing the survey will be entered into a drawing in which three lucky people will win cash prizes of $200 each. Go online to enter.
 
AVweb Exclusive Coverage of ABACE in Hong Kong back to top 
 

ABACE: Olympics Kickstarts BizAv Growth

National Business Aviation Association President Ed Bolen opened the third Asian Business Association Conference and Exhibition today in Hong Kong by telling delegates the economic growth in the region makes aviation a natural partner for success. "There is no doubt that the future is bright for business aviation in Asia. China, in particular, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world and fueled by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games brings exciting opportunities for business aviation growth," he told the opening session.

Attendees and exhibitors are shivering in an unseasonably cold Hong Kong for the show. ABACE is smaller than last year, but is demonstrating that it still has value for manufacturers and regional operators. About 50 exhibitors and 800 registered attendees have flown in from all over the world and there is obviously brisk business afoot, with customer demonstrations and tours going on all day.

Click here for the complete story.

 
Aircraft Loans to Fit Your Needs
AirFleet Capital offers a competitive and experienced approach to each and every loan program by focusing exclusively on aircraft financing. We provide exceptional terms coupled with personal service and a long-term commitment to support the business and shared passion of aviation. From Light Sport Aircraft to VLJs and Business Jets, AirFleet has a loan program to fit your needs. Call an AirFleet Capital financing specialist at (800) 390-4324, or request a quote online.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Exclusive Video: Amazing Feats of Aviation — DHL Baghdad

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

Recounting one of the most impressive feats in recent aviation history, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew recalls the circumstances of the DHL A300 shot by a surface-to-air missile over Baghdad. The crew successfully landed the aircraft without the ability to manipulate any control surfaces. (Note: The aircraft shown in simulation is a Boeing 777, not an Airbus A300.)


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:
Our original news report
PowerPoint slide show (.pps)

The Savvy Aviator #54: How Much Insurance Do You Need?

It's important to carry enough liability insurance to protect your net worth. When it comes to hull insurance, however, having too much is almost as bad as having too little.

Click here for the full story.

 
Over 16,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced peak cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air ratio in each cylinder so that each cylinder operates with a much more uniform fuel/air ratio than occurs with any other factory set of injectors. To speak to a GAMI engineer, call (888) FLY-GAMI, or go online for complete engineering details.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: North Las Vegas Airport (VGT, Las Vegas, NV)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

AVweb's own Mike Busch has nominated these folks before, pointing out that "the same customer service people have been working there for as long as I can remember (zero turnover), so they really know what they're doing." In addition, Mike tells us, "The facility is very nice, and the avgas prices are always extremely competitive (particularly at the self-serve island close to the GA terminal). There's a regular shuttle service that runs between the GA terminal and the hotels on the Strip."

So why is Mike so eager to have us make VGT's FBO our "FBO of the Week"? Well, there's this:

About my only complaint is that there's a restaurant up on the second floor of the terminal building with a lovely view of the airport, but they seem to have a hard time keeping it open. It has changed hands a number of times and keeps going out of business, which is a bummer. Maybe if VGT [is] the "FBO of the Week," it'll get so much new business that they can keep the restaurant open!

One can only hope! Congrats to the folks at VGT for running such a tight operation. (Mike, bring us back a hamburger.)

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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For contact information regarding this ad, to view more ads, and to post your no-cost ad, click here.
 
Share Your Voice back to top 
 

Question of the Week: The Future of Adam Aircraft

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked which of general aviation's twin boogeymen was most likely to ground you — user fees or skyrocketing fuel prices.

While fuel prices continue to be a thorn in the side to those of us who fly for fun, user fees garnered 57% of the vote this week.

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

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

Following Adam Aircraft's decision to suspend operations on Monday, there have been quite a few long faces among fans of very light jets. Do you think Adam will be resurrected?

Click here to answer.


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.

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.

 
Understanding Your Airplane's Mechanics Could Save Your Bank Account
Light Plane Maintenance is the monthly magazine for aircraft owners who aren't satisfied with just flying. Aircraft repair can be simple when explained in concise, step-by-step details. If you want to truly learn about the workings of your airplane (and save a few dollars, too), Light Plane Maintenance is for you. Order online today and receive LPM's 40 Top Maintenance Tips as a gift.
 
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.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

The number of submissions to our weekly photo contest may have crept up again this week — but the quality skyrocketed! With so many gorgeous photos in our submission box, we're jumping straight to the goods. (Watch for an extra-large batch of bonus pics in this week's slideshow on our home page.)

medium | large

copyright © Justin Heitman
Used with permission

Newcastle Sunset

With a scene so evocative we can hardly believe it was taken "in the backyard of a client's house," Justin Heitman of Airlie Beach, Queensland (Australia) claims the top spot today. Justin and crew were "on the way to a helicopter safari with 11 helicopters traveling through Tasmania" when he snapped this on his Nikon.

Simply gorgeous. Thanks for the image, Justin! Naturally, we'll be sending out a sharp new baseball cap emblazoned with the AVweb logo. Maybe it'll bring you a little slice of serenity in return. (We can only hope!)

 

medium | large

copyright © Michael J. Gallagher
Used with permission

Cruising at Sunset Over the Late Summer Fields of Central Indiana

Michael J. Gallagher of Peoria, Illinois serves up a dynamic shot of Grayout Aerosports' Billy Werth.

 

medium | large

Used with permission of Chris Zavatson

Night Time at Nellis

Chris Zavatson of Woodland, California hung around a bit after the air show at Nellis Air Force Base and was rewarded with the peaceful majesty that can only be found when things quiet down after a show.

 

medium | large

Used with permission of Leonard R. Duncil

Sun 'n Fun Is Coming ...

You don't need to remind us of that fact, Leonard Duncil of Titusville, Florida!  We've already made our hotel reservations, started registering for press passes, and trying to remember where we packed away our short pants!  We'll see you (and these Iron Eagles you were so kind to snap) in just a few weeks, friend!

 

medium | large

Used with permission of Jake Bell

Just Having Fun

Gerald Benson of Alva, Oklahoma sees us off this week.

Until next time — have a little fun of your own (and take pictures)!

   

Need more great pictures?
Check out the bonus photo in the "POTW" slideshow on our home page.

(And don't forget to send us your own photos!)

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, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an 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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
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.