AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 12b

March 20, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Win an AVweb DC-3 Flight at Sun 'n Fun back to top 

Always Wanted To Fly A DC-3?

copyright © John Fleck
Entry Deadline:
April 1, 2008
Flight Date:
April 8, 2008 (7 a.m.)
Flight Location:
Linder Airport, Lakeland, Florida
Winners Announced:
April 3, 2008
To qualify, you must have a valid pilot certificate and current medical. (It doesn't have to be a U.S. certificate.)

Arguably the most important aircraft ever produced, the DC-3 ushered in the "modern" era of air transportation. But until you've sat in the left seat, gripped that huge yoke and tried to muscle the big bird onto final, you can't appreciate what life was like for the tens of thousands of pilots who have shaken, rattled and rolled in the confines of that cockpit.

Or maybe you're a former DC-3 pilot looking for a trip down memory lane. Whatever the motivation, now's your chance to fly left seat in the iconic aircraft, courtesy of Herpa Wings, AVweb and the owner of N143D, Dan Gryder, at Sun 'n Fun on April 8. You'll be in control as Dan guides you through takeoff, pattern work and even a few low and overs in a beautifully maintained but still very historic DC-3. All you have to do is tell us (and 200,000 AVweb readers) why you want to. Send us a short (no longer than 200 words) essay on the topic: "Why I Want To Fly The Herpa Wings DC-3."

E-mail your entry to fly-the-dc3@avweb.com by April 1, 2008.

Important Rules:
To qualify, you must have a valid pilot certificate and current medical. It doesn't have to be a U.S. certificate. You must be available to fly at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at Lakeland Linder Airport in Florida. All entries must be received by April 1, 2008.

Winner will be announced in the April 3 edition of AVwebFlash. Good luck!

To get some idea of what you're in for, watch this video of AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles as he tries to push the aircraft around (left) and Dan's patented one-wheel landing (right):

Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Sponsor of the 34th Annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In
Join Aircraft Spruce in Lakeland, Florida at Sun 'n Fun (Hangar B, Booths 4-9) April 8-13th, 2008, 9am to 5pm. Sun 'n Fun brings together those from all around the world and from all segments of the aviation community. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products), and Aircraft Spruce's helpful staff to answer questions. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.

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Staying Alert back to top 

Crime Institute Warns Of Enhanced Threat Of Aircraft Theft

Officials in Mexico have cracked down on aerial drug trafficking, says Bob Collins of the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute, and this has created a need for criminals to quickly steal more airplanes to replace those that are seized. Collins said the threat to King Airs, Caravans and Cessna cabin-class twins has intensified, and interest in Cessna single-engine models is likely to continue. "ACPI does not send this kind of information lightly," said Collins. "The threat is real." He suggested that pilots should take extra care to be sure their aircraft are secure.

The guidelines in AOPA's Airport Watch program, which aims to improve security against terrorism, also can help to keep aircraft out of the hands of criminals.

Related Content:
Poll: How Secure Is Your Airplane?

Aircraft Loans to Fit Your Needs
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Building ... and Beyond back to top 

EAA Reacts To FAA Action On "51-Percent Rule"

"FAA should not attempt to change the experimental amateur-built rules," says Earl Lawrence, EAA's vice president of industry and regulatory affairs, in a response to a report published by the FAA last month that raises concerns about the way those rules are being implemented. Lawrence said now is the time for EAA to "articulate a definitive position," while the aviation community awaits the FAA's next move -- a draft proposal of its new guidelines, which is expected to be released in the next month or two. Lawrence said the FAA should not prevent paid professionals from helping to construct an experimental aircraft, as long as the amateur personally carries out a majority of the work. He also said that aircraft eligible for amateur-built status should not be limited by complexity, power, size, or performance. EAA urges the FAA to "preserve the amateur-building movement and the constructive environment that exists today," Lawrence said.

"Having established a clear and firm position on these fundamental points in our dialogue with the FAA, the EAA community will be well-positioned to respond - favorably, in protest, or somewhere in between - when the FAA makes clear its position," he concluded. Lawrence urges anyone who has worked on an amateur-built aircraft to share their experience with the FAA now, and to respond during the comment period after the FAA publishes its draft proposal.

Cirrus Includes Maintenance Package

While business jet demand continues to exceed supply, piston manufacturers have noticed a significant softening of the market this year. Cirrus Design’s new Chief Operating Officer Brent Wouters told AVweb in a podcast interview that the current economic downturn and declines on financial markets have hit his sector noticeably. “People are feeling less rich,” he said. Rather than simply discount prices, Cirrus has taken an automotive industry approach and launched an ambitious incentive program that covers scheduled maintenance for two years or 600 hours, whichever comes first. Wouters said Cirrus has been planning the maintenance program for some time as part of the company’s ongoing effort to change the way people think about owning airplanes.

Wouters said many aircraft owners want to be able to get in their planes and go without spending weekends tinkering. The maintenance program ensures the aircraft is in top condition and ready to go. The program is expected to improve safety, too. It covers all recommended maintenance, plus the replacement of parts that wear out due to normal wear and tear.

Piper Matrix — Piper Compelling
Click here for more information on the new Matrix, Piper's next generation of cabin-class sophistication. Compellingly priced at $757,000.

» Discover the Matrix and other Piper Aircraft at booths MD-018C and MD-019B at Sun 'n Fun
Eyes on the Skies back to top 

Controller Union Blames Separation Errors On Poor Training; FAA Says Training OK

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is blaming poor controller training practices for a March 13 incident in which a Boeing 737 and an Embraer regional jet did not have adequate separation while on approach to Chicago's Midway Airport. But the FAA says the current training regime is an improvement over old methods. According to a NATCA spokesman, a controller trainee was working both aircraft at the time of the incident. In an e-mail response to AVweb from an FAA spokeswoman, the March 13 incident was classified as a Level C controller error—meaning that 75 to 89 percent of the safety margin between the aircraft was in place when the event occurred. "Since the error occurred while the planes were flying away from each other, no accident was possible," the FAA said. An FAA fact sheet on controller errors states that during fiscal year 2007 at U.S. airports, 844 controller errors took place involving airborne planes. Of those, 95.9 percent were Level B or Level C incursions, meaning that between 35 and 89 percent of the safety margin between the aircraft was in place at the moment of closest proximity.

"I think we are headed down a dangerous path of certifying individuals to be controllers before they are truly ready," said Jeffrey Richards, NATCA's Chicago Center facility representative. Richards argues that functional training—wherein a controller learns a new position while continuing to work shifts in the old position—offers trainees "no time to perfect the skills they have learned. This creates a situation in which the trainee could be certified at a position and then not see that position for months afterwards." But according to the FAA, functional training is an improvement on old methods "because it pushes more classroom and simulator training to the front end of the process, eliminates redundancies, and reduces waiting time for classes and simulator training. It allows for more continuous training instead of dealing with numerous stops and starts of training over long month to month periods." According to the FAA, there are 353 certified controllers at Chicago Center with 70 currently in various phases of training.

Aspen Avionics Glass-Panel Units Get FAA OK

The new Evolution Flight Displays that were introduced last summer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh by Aspen Avionics now are FAA-certified and will be ready to deliver by the end of the month, the company says. The system aims to be an affordable upgrade for general aviation cockpits, with modular units that can be installed directly into existing three-inch instrument panel holes. The basic model lists at $5,995, and a pro model goes for $9,995. The market has been enthusiastic about the launch, according to the company, buying over $1.5 million of the units in the first week after Oshkosh. "This is the right product, at the right time, for the right price, and is a joy to fly," said Doug Cayne, Aspen's vice president of marketing. About 300 authorized avionics dealers are ready to begin installations of the Evolution system next month, the company said.

Depending on the software installed, each of Aspen's modular units can act as of a primary flight display or a multi-function display. The first unit is typically installed as a PFD, replacing the old attitude indicator and directional gyro or HSI. A second unit can be configured as an MFD and replace the altimeter and VSI. A third unit can offer a second MFD to gain even more capability and backup options. AOPA will install the units in its next sweepstakes airplane, a Piper Archer.

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» Learn more about the Precise Flight HID Landing Light at booth C-057 at Sun 'n Fun
New Airplanes back to top 

RAMtech Aldera, An S-LSA From Canada

Since the launch of the light sport aircraft, many of the LSAs on the U.S. market have arrived from Europe, where airplanes that fit the certification parameters have long been in production. Now, a company in Canada is building a new clean-sheet LSA for the U.S. market. Rex Meade, president of RAMtech Aviation, based near Toronto, Ontario, says his young company has zeroed in on a market sector that has not been addressed. "The Aldera utilizes advanced composite technology, resulting in a uniquely 'Canadian tough' airplane that incorporates innovative production methods," he says. The company hopes to keep the introductory price under $80,000, which would be a considerable price advantage over much of the current fleet. RAMtech has recently completed its prototype aircraft, after two years of development. First flight is expected in May.

Production tooling is almost complete and the ASTM certification process is well under way, the company said. The low-wing aircraft will be available with the choice of either a Rotax or Continental engine. Performance specifications and pricing details are pending.

EADS Sees Potential For Space Plane Market

It may be easy to be skeptical of dreamers who imagine they can launch a space-tourism industry, but when a hard-headed gigantic company like EADS starts talking about building a production line for rocket planes, that's harder to ignore. "To satisfy the market you will need more planes than you think, because once there is regular operation, the price will decrease, which means there will be more customers," Robert Laine, chief technical officer of Astrium, EADS's aerospace division, told BBC News. Astrium is developing a six-seat rocket plane, Laine said, that will take off from a runway using normal jet engines. At about 40,000 feet a rocket engine will ignite to boost the aircraft to the edge of space.

The space tourism market is providing the impetus to develop the next generation of transportation technology, Laine said. The ships may be the forerunners of super-fast intercontinental passenger transportation. "Today we don't know how to go to space cheaply," he told the BBC. "Being able to climb on a regular basis to 100 km will give us the motivation to develop the plane that goes not just up and down to the same place, but from here to the other side of the Earth." Click here to see an Astrium video of a future space ride.

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» Ask Avemco Insurance Company what policies are right for you at booths C-055-056 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefs back to top 

Atlanta's GA Airports Spared Tornado Damage

The tornado that ripped through downtown Atlanta on Friday night, damaging parts of the CNN Center and the Georgia Dome, spared the city's two general aviation airports.

"We dodged the bullet," Doug Barrett, manager of Fulton County Airport, told AVweb. The airport is located about eight miles west-northwest of where the tornado touched down and received some pea-sized hail, Barrett said. Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, located about 10 miles northeast of the tornado's path, was also unscathed, according to airport manager Lee Remmel. There were no media reports of damage at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Severe thunderstorms rumbled through the southern states over the weekend, spawning multiple twisters and leaving two dead in northern Georgia. Lans Rothfusz of the National Weather Service told CNN that the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta measured an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with peak winds of 130 miles per hour.

Los Angeles Teens Solo Six Planes, Helicopter In One Day

Last weekend, two Los Angeles-area teenagers completed what they hope will be a record-setting solo marathon, flying six airplanes and a helicopter on the same day. Kelly Anyadiki and Jonathan Strickland, both 16, are among the more than 800 young flight students who participate in aviation-themed after-school aviation programs provided by Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum at the Compton/Woodley Airport in Compton, Calif. The museum, founded by Celebrity Helicopters chief pilot Robin Petgrave, offers subsidized flight training to underprivileged and inner-city children in grades K-12. Kids earn credits toward instruction by washing planes and other volunteer activities. "If you see the lives of some of these kids, the museum is really an opportunity for them to do something positive," he said.

Within the span of about six hours, Strickland soloed a Cessna 172RG, a glass-panel 172SP, a Cessna 152, a Piper Warrior, a Sting Sport, a Remos light sport aircraft, and a Robinson R44 helicopter. Anyadiki flew the 172SP, 152, Remos and the Warrior. It was her first solo and her sixteenth birthday. Strickland has logged about 150 hours of flight training and had previously soloed in Canada at age 14. Several flight instructors, including Petgrave, were on hand Saturday to coach the students and sign their logbooks. Maj. Levi H. Thornhill, 85, one of four original Tuskegee Airmen, also attended. "We gotta keep the kids off the streets," he told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Actor Michael Dorn, who played Lt. Commander Worf on the television show "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," was also there to cheer the kids on, Petgrave said. "We weren't pushing them or anything," he said when asked about the day's schedule, adding that he told both of the anxious teens, "there's a hundred and one things that will make this not happen. The Tuskegee Airmen are getting their dreams fulfilled just by you making the effort."

On the Fly ...

Jeppesen will stop updating NavData databases for some older IFR GPS receivers as of next year, says AOPA...

Vicki Van Meter, who was celebrated for piloting an airplane across the country in 1993 at age 11, died Saturday, an apparent suicide. She was 26...

Officials in Mexico have cracked down on aerial drug trafficking, and the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute says this has created a need to replace seized aircraft, increasing the threat to King Airs, Caravans and Cessna cabin-class twins, as well as Cessna single-engine models...

Big Sky Airlines, of Montana, flew for the last time last week, a victim of cuts in federal funding for essential air services...

A helicopter system that monitors the condition of components is being tested in research flights at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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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New on AVweb back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #131: Reflections on Short Final

Brainteasers When you're on final, aiming for the numbers, with passengers squawking, "Are we there yet?" there's little time to preplan. So, take a moment -- assuming you're not on final -- to test your approaches to landing.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Question of the Week: Airplane Thefts and Personal Security

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last time, we asked how much of a crimp Old Man Winter put in your flying over the past few months (if any).

Nearly half the readers who took a moment to answer our poll said, The seasons don't matter to me. I fly year-round. Only 10% chose the opposite end of the spectrum, identifying themselves as fairweather pilots who are looking forward to getting back to it.

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.)


With the Crime Institute reporting an increased risk of aircraft theft, now might be a good time to re-examine our safety habits.

How secure is your airplane?
(Click to answer.)

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.

Question: Why Purchase Used Avionics?
Answer: Money

Purchasing used and reliable avionics from Bennett Avionics maximizes the additional capability for your budget. You can improve your aircraft's utility and safety while saving money compared to new. If a panel full of new avionics does not make sense for your aircraft, Bennett Avionics can help. Call Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295, or go online for a complete list of available products.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Out of the Blue Aviation (KAWO, Arlington, WA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Out of the Blue Aviation at KAWO in Arlington, Washington.

According to AVweb reader Jeanne Howe, Out of the Blue "has it all":

There is a comfortable lounge with great espresso, pilot supplies and top-notch instructors. Owner Cathy Mighell is enthusiastic about all she has developed. As a Cessna Pilot Training Center, the staff is knowledgeable and able to guide students and pilots to meet their needs. Everyone is friendly and excited about their seminars and events. I've enjoyed the North Sound Poker Run and look forward to their Mountain Flying seminar and beach BBQ getaway.

From Jeanne's description, it sounds like the FBO at Out of the Blue is a destination unto itself!

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!

NAA Spring Awards & Collier Winner Announcement in AVweb's Audio News
AVweb's Managing Editor, Meredith Saini, was on-hand for this year's National Aeronautic Association (NAA) Spring Awards Luncheon. Meredith spoke with NAA chairman Walter J. Boyne about the 2007 Collier Trophy winner he announced. Listen online.

Join NAA and be an aviation record setter and part of the Collier Trophy. Aviation enthusiasts can join for $39 a year and receive Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, aviation records, fee discounts, and much more. Join now online, or call NAA at (800) 644-9777.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Dassault Falcon 7X Fly-by-Wire Business Jet

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

Dassault has introduced a jet that changes the playing field for business jet manufacturers, operators and pilots. That jet is the $40 million Falcon 7X. In this exclusive video, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew takes us inside the Falcon 7X.

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.

Envision® Integrated Flight Deck Now Available for Retrofit Installation in Cessna 400-Series Aircraft!
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Sign up to be an Avidyne Insider.

» See Avidyne technologies in action at at booths D-069-070 and N-028 at Sun 'n Fun
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.


Over the last several weeks, we've witnessed the annual "spring thaw" in reader-submitted photos. Perhaps our readers' fingers are just now warming up enough to upload their photos, or maybe it's the lure of hanging around the FBO for a couple of hours when the sun stays out later. Whatever the case, photo submissions are up, so hang onto your seat as we dive into our latest batch of reader images!

medium | large

Used with permission of Leonard Ray Duncil


That's the spirit, Leonard Duncil of Titusville, Florida!

We're not sure how much camera zoom is at play here, but our first reaction was something along the lines of "They let him get that close at an air show?" (The show in question being this past weekend's Valiant Air Command Warbirds Air Show.)

So, Leonard — are you coming to Sun 'n Fun this year?


medium | large

Used with permission of Jeff Randall

Number Six

No man is a number, Jeff Randall of Clyde, Texas!

Oh, wait. You mean Thunderbird Number Six! (Jeff didn't snap this pic in the Village but at the San Angelo, Texas Air Fiesta, where this lone fighter waited patiently to rejoin the rest of the Fabulous Thunderbirds.)


medium | large

Used with permission of Greg Soaper

"Put the Spurs to Her, Chuck"

We thought we recognized this photo from Greg Soaper of Fullerton, California from a previous edition of "POTW," but it was just our addled memory playing tricks on us. We're half-convinced this one was submitted before and didn't make it into our weekly round-up — but if that's the case, it must've arrived on a heck of a week, Greg, 'cause we really dig the photo!


medium | large

Used with permission of Leonard Mack

Kathryn Burgess Unties for a Morning Breakfast Flight

Leonard Mack of Hilliard, Ohio writes, "Last weekend we had over 20 inches of snowfall and blizzard-like conditions. This weekend, all the snow melted, and it was in the mid-40s! ... This was the perfect day to go flying!"

We've been telling you spring is on the way, Leonard — there's no better indicator that the vernal uptick in "POTW" submissions!


medium | large

copyright © Kevin Virgil Brown
Used with permission


Kevin Virgil Brown of Boise, Idaho claims this is "something everyone will want to fly in, [a] Vertical Take-Off Hover Land Jet Aerial Terrestrial Transport (Or, VTOHLJATT)."

Or maybe it's a Doctor Who prop.

(Either way, we're pretty certain we're not type-rated for it.)


More Reader-Submitted Pictures ...
Hungry for more? Be sure to check out the "POTW" slideshow on our home page for a dozen or so extra pics we didn't have room to include here.

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

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.

» Subscribe to Light Plane Maintenance and other magazines
from Belvoir Aviation Publications at booth C-034 at Sun 'n Fun
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.