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FEES OUT OF FAA REAUTHORIZATION BILL
The Senate will likely
vote on Monday or Tuesday on an FAA Reauthorization bill that does not
contain user fees for general aviation. The breakthrough came late
Friday with an agreement between Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman
of the aviation subcommittee, which supported user fees, and Sen. Max
Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the finance committee, which opposed them.
Under the deal, the tax on jet fuel for general aviation will rise 65
percent to 36 cents a gallon from the current 21.8 cents, increasing the
contribution toward the FAA budget by corporate aviation by 2 percent to
5 percent. "This agreement is a good down payment toward ending the
growing inequities that exist between airline passengers and corporate
jet users," Rockefeller said in the statement. But in a podcast interview with AVweb, Eric Byer of
the National Air Transportation Association said the deal had more to do
with political expediency than any softening of Rockefeller's stance on
Related Content: More...
Russ Niles wonders aloud if the FAA's internal troubles might deserve
more credit for defeating user fees than even the combined lobbying
might of weekend flyers and Gulfstream owners in the
AVweb Insider blog.
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AIRCRAFT ENGINES FILES FOR INSOLVENCY
Engines has thrown in the towel after its share prices dropped to near
penny stock levels as the crisis over its financial reporting practices
deepens. Thielert filed for insolvency on Friday as its share price
dipped to .35 Euros. It's traded as high as 25.22 since it went public
in 2005. The very existence of the company is now in question as the
insolvency process begins. "The going concern of Thielert Aircraft
Engines GmbH can only be ensured permanently by restructuring activities
with the support of investors, due to the fact that the Holding Thielert
AG is not capable to do so anymore," the company's supervisory board
said in a statement. More...
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STUDENTS LAUNCH BIOFUELS PROJECT
The Society of Aviation
Technicians at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are testing the
performance characteristics of biofuels used in aircraft engines. The
tests will subject a four-cylinder Lycoming to E85 biofuel (an 85/15
ethanol/gasoline mix) to asses the fuel's performance and its potential
to reduce aircraft emissions and lower costs. Under controlled
conditions, student researchers aim to discover and quantify specific
performance values associated with use of the fuel. Ethanol is viewed by
the Department of Energy as a top alternative to petroleum. As one
of the few renewable energy sources that can directly replace gasoline,
it may be the shortest route in cutting the cost of aviation fuel,
said student Rick Cevallos, lead investigator in the project.
JAVELIN GEORGE BYE'S ALTERNATIVE ENGINE VENTURE?
Javelin Jet hit a credit crunch in December, but ATG chairman and
president George Bye is now seeking unnamed incentives to lure a
different business, Bye Engineering, to an airport in the southwest. Bye
Engineering was formed in early 2007 to focus on alternative energy
engines for aircraft and aerospace consulting. It is funded by private
investors, has 25 employees and is in growth mode, Bye told Phoenix's
East Valley Tribune. Bye says he believes that bio-fuels, electric power
and battery technology have collectively reached a tipping point and
should now be evaluated for use in general aviation aircraft. Bye's
Aviation Technology Group, which stalled in December on its way to bring
a fighter-like two-place "executive" jet to business and military
markets, was last seen seeking a buyer that would fund completion of the
jet's certification process and begin production. More...
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LITE LSA SETS HIGH HOPES
Two companies promoting the Quasar
Lite -- a Brazilian-made light sport aircraft currently aiming for S-LSA
approval in September -- are hoping an experimental version of the
aircraft will this year successfully fly "from California to Florida on
a single [40-gallon] tank of fuel." No date for the flight has been
announced. Powered by a 121-pound HKS-700E 60-hp 4-stroke engine that
promoter GeBe LLC says sips about 1.7-3.5 gallons per hour, GeBe claims
the roughly 500-pound aircraft could be "the greenest aircraft on the
planet," or, less subtly, "the most efficient commercially available
aircraft on earth." The company also calls the Quasar Lite a "2-seat
trainer" and likens its handling qualities to "a Pitts in the air." In
terms that should prove less subjective, the aircraft's fuselage is
composite, its 30-foot span wings are aluminum and the tail is aluminum
structure with Dacron covering. More...
DARPA'S VULTURE TO LOITER ALOFT FOR FIVE YEARS
Lockheed Martin have been selected, along with Aurora Flight Sciences,
by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to design and
develop an unmanned solar-powered aircraft that can stay aloft for five
years. The venture, DARPA's "Vulture" program, would ultimately see a
fixed-wing aircraft ascend to 60,000 to 90,000 feet carrying a
1,000-pound payload, produce 5 kW of onboard power and loiter
uninterrupted in its mission airspace 99 percent of the time. Those
missions may include support of regional telecommunications, persistent
surveillance, reconnaissance and atmospheric research. The first 12
months of the program will explore vehicle configurations and
investigate in-flight energy collection and storage (solar/photovoltaic
cells and fuel cells), along with reliable propulsion systems.
Carry the Card That Pays You to Support
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To find out more, visit AOPA
CHINA NEEDS 190 A380S
Airbus forecasts that demand for
passenger aircraft in China will weigh in at 2,800 aircraft through the
year 2026. The forecast need translates to $329 billion worth of
aircraft and represents more than one tenth of the world's total
forecast demand for the period. China's passenger fleet is expected to
triple in size over the next 20 years to meet passenger and cargo
traffic, which are expected to grow five to six times, respectively.
China's mainland traffic is expected to require nearly 700 large
passenger jets and, Airbus forecasts, 190 VLA's ... or, very large
aircraft like the double-decker A380. Airbus has already increased its
market share in China to nearly 38 percent (up from 7 percent in 1995)
and is shooting for control of 50 percent of the market by 2011. For
2007, Airbus delivered about 15 percent of its new aircraft to China.
The company is reportedly considering a joint venture in China that
would produce composite aircraft components for the manufacturer.
OVERSHOOT PILOTS TOLD TO DO SAME
"After a thorough internal
investigation into the incident on Feb. 13 in which go Flight 1002
overflew the airport at Hilo, Mesa has terminated the employment of both
pilots involved," Mesa Air Group (go! parent company) said Wednesday in
a statement, though the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) says the
pilots were fired at least 10 days prior. The 50-minute trip, carrying
40 passengers aboard Flight 1002, a 50-seat CRJ regional jet out of
Honolulu for Hilo, overshot Hilo airport by 15 miles. For 25 minutes
during the flight, controllers made repeated efforts but were unable to
contact the recently fired pilots. While Mesa seems to have arrived at
its own conclusion, the FAA is expected to conclude its investigation in
a few weeks. FAA sanctions for the pilots could range from warning
letters to suspension of certificates. Mesa pilots have been the subject
of media reports on pilot fatigue in the past. More...
FOR PRIEST TURNED HELIUM BALLOON PILOT SUSPENDED
force Thursday suspended efforts of finding a Roman Catholic priest,
42-year-old Reverend Adelir Antonion de Carli, presumed missing off the
coast of Santa Catarina, where pieces of the hundreds of helium party
balloons that carried him aloft (Sunday April 20) were found. After an
initial climb to 20,000 feet, Denise Gallas, treasurer of Carli's parish
told The Associated Press, Carli settled in at roughly 8,200 feet for
his planned trip from Parangua to Dourados -- a city 465 miles away. At
the time of his last communication with the port authority Carli was
already 30 miles off the coast and stated he would soon crash in the
Atlantic. Eight hours later, according to The Associated Press, he was
reported missing. The priest had launched wearing a helmet, a thermal
suit and a parachute. He was armed with his skydiving experience, a GPS,
a satellite phone and a "buoyant chair," the AP reported.
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THE FLY ...
Embry-Riddle summer camp opens June 9 ...
AirVenture 2008 to open with rock band Foreigner ...
passenger was duct-taped to his seat by crew and fellow passengers
India is seeking to accommodate general aviation expansion.
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NEW FOR APRIL 2008
This month, AVweb's survey of the
latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners
brings you Garmin WAAS training, an aircraft cleaner, digital engine
management and more. More...
APR. 28, 2008
Reader mail this week about synthetic vision
and aviation films, and still more about civilian flights through MOAs.
INSIDER BLOG: USER FEES CLASS WARFARE IN THE
AVweb Insider continues to server up personal
insights and commentary on the aviation industry from our staff of
writers and editors. Today, AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
recalls his first impressions of the user-fee debate and wonders aloud
if the FAA's internal troubles might deserve more credit for defeating
user fees than even the combined lobbying might of weekend flyers and
Gulfstream owners. More...
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FEES OUT OF THE FAA REAUTHORIZATION BILL? NATA'S ERIC BYER GIVES US THE
Thanks to the tremendous pressure the FAA has
come under in recent weeks over maintenance inspections and the air
traffic controller situation, the issue of user fees as a method of
financing the agency just didn't seem that important anymore to
legislators in Washington. In order to get an FAA reauthorization
package in place, the user fee issue has been abandoned, and a new
reauthorization package will likely be voted on by Tuesday.
AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Eric Byer of the National
Air Transportation Association for an explanation of Friday's events.
OF THE WEEK: BOEING 777 "PTQ" ("PUT TOGETHER QUICKLY")
see a Boeing 777 put together from the ground up? Got five minutes?
Thanks to the wonder of time-lapse videography and the thoughtfulness of
AVweb reader Denis Donohue (who forwarded the video link
to us), you can watch the whole process and not get caught by your boss.
(No guarantees about that last part; we understand the boss comes around
a little more often these days ... .) (Click through to watch.)
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OF THE WEEK: FIVE STAR JET CENTER (KBAF, WESTFIELD,
"FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Five Star Jet Center at KBAF in Westfield,
This is facility that's shown up on our nomination
list several times, and but it was this strong endorsement from
AVweb reader John Light that made us name Five Star our
"FBO of the Week":
I expect that I fly
considerably more X/C miles than most GA pilots that I know; I stop at
far more FBOs in a year ... [and] Five Star Jet Center is, without
exception, the best FBO in New England. Beth and Patric make you feel
100% at home ... . Even before they knew that I might buy av fuel or
anything else they were right on the spot to offer me a hand ... without
me even asking. I simply cannot say enough for these people. They well
exceed any measure of customer satifaction practices that I can think
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Today, the weather in Southern Wisconsin was dicey.
Severe thunderstorms with hail, high winds, and tornados on the ground
20 miles north of the Madison, Wisconsin Dane County Regional
A female voice in a Learjet 45 comes over to Madison
approach from Chicago Center and says:
Lear 12345 is with you out of 10,000 planning on landing Madison to pick
up fuel. We've been chased all over the place with this
After vectoring her to the 18 ILS, the
"Airport 11 o'clock, 10 miles; do you have
"Yes, we have the runway in
"Then I suggest that
you take over visually and 'save yourself.' Tower now on
With a halting voice she
"I've never heard it put quite that way before.
That's pretty blunt. Going over to the tower now."
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
If you're having
trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd
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there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete
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Navigate. Communicate. More...