AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 18b

May 1, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce East Coast Annual Super Sale
Aircraft Spruce East will be holding their Annual Super Sale and Fly-In on Saturday, May 17, 2008 from 8am-4pm in Peachtree City, Georgia. Come and join the Aircraft Spruce Team and vendors for lunch, special pricing, vendor demonstrations, and educational seminars. Lots of opportunities to win raffle prizes from some of your favorite vendors, and a complimentary shuttle will be offered to and from Falcon Field Airport. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1-877-4-SPRUCE, or visit online.
GA and Government back to top 

Senate's FAA Bill Faces White House Opposition

The GA community has been cautiously celebrating this week over the removal of user fees in the final version of the Senate's FAA reauthorization bill -- but there's a ways to go before any bill becomes law, and the White House on Tuesday made clear that it's not ready to welcome this latest iteration. The Senate bill, the White House said in a policy statement, fails to include "critical reforms proposed by the Administration," including "more closely aligning FAA's revenues with its costs through fair fees linked to usage of the system..." which is another way of saying "user fees." The statement continues, "If the President is presented with a bill that not only excludes the critical reforms proposed by the Administration, but also includes provisions that would further exacerbate an untenable status quo, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto it."

Other provisions in the Senate bill that the White House objects to include limits on how the FAA can restrict airport access to reduce congestion and too much funding for airport-improvement grants. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are holding a news conference in Washington today that will also be attended by representatives of most aviation groups to discuss the Senate bill.

Florida Acts To Ease GA Tax Worries

When aviators around the U.S. were preparing to fly to Florida for Sun 'n Fun a few weeks ago, concerns arose about a "use tax" that could be levied against out-of-state aircraft, as has been done to pilots who fly in Maine. This week, the Florida House of Representatives passed a new General Aviation Tax Exemption to "limit" tax exposure for new aircraft owners flying into the state -- although it does not eliminate that exposure. The newly passed legislation allows aircraft that were purchased within the last six months to be in Florida for a total of 21 days, plus up to 20 days for maintenance, without being subject to a tax. It also exempts new aircraft owners who come to Florida for flight training during this time frame. The Florida Aviation Trades Association lobbied for the legislation, which they say will enable non-resident pilots to visit Florida for vacation, flight training, or to attend an event without fear of receiving a tax bill when they return to home where the aircraft is based.

Documentation will be required by the state, said FATA. Acceptable documentation will include fuel, tie-down, and hangar receipts that prove the aircraft is not based in Florida. "Lifting the entry barriers to our state will spur activity at Florida's airports and tourism industry," said FATA President Michael Slingluff. "Increased activity creates tax revenue for the state. ... More work needs to done to change state tax regulations that impose barriers to our state's businesses." House Bill 1379 will now move to the Senate, where it must be considered and approved before it is presented to the governor.

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Manufacturer News back to top 

First Phenom 300 Flies

Embraer announced Tuesday that the prototype of its Phenom 300 light business jet flew for the first time from the company’s Gaviao Peixoto plant. Three more test articles are under construction and will be used in the 1,400-hour certification test regime. The first production models are scheduled to enter service in the second quarter of 2009. “This first flight of the Phenom 300 executive jet is a very special and historic moment for all of us at Embraer…,” said CEO Frederico Fleury Curado “We unveiled the Phenom jets nearly three years ago, making a clear statement to the business aviation community of our commitment to becoming a long-term player in the executive aviation market.

The company said the first flight occurred a couple of months ahead of schedule, largely because the development process was entirely digitized. As expected, the 82-minute first flight was uneventful with Capt. John Sevalho Corcao and Embraer Chief Pilot Eduardo Alves Menini and flight test engineer JensPeter Theodor Geiger Wentz checking maneuvering characteristics, systems and general qualities as data was streamed in real time to engineers on the ground. “The quality of the Phenom 300 design and onboard high technology provided a very smooth and pleasant flight, increasing the thrill of flying the aircraft for the first time,” said Corcao.

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Piper Expected To Accept $32 Million Incentive, Stay In Vero Beach

After more than a year of exploring various sites for its next stage of growth, a $32 million incentive package that won approval this week seems likely to entice Piper Aircraft to stay in Vero Beach, Fla. CEO Jim Bass told TCPalm that he will recommend the package to the company's board of directors, and said he expects a final decision by June 30. "We really think that this is good for Piper and the community, and we look forward to a long partnership," he told the Palm Beach Post. The county on Monday OK'd a $12 million incentive, and the other $20 million will come from the state. For its side of the deal, Piper must hire more workers and invest in its physical plant. The PiperJet program is expected to absorb most of that extra investment.

Oklahoma City and Albuquerque also offered enticements to the company in hopes that it would relocate.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Report: DFW Tracon Managers Lied About Errors

Management at the Dallas-Fort Worth Tracon investigated operational errors and deviations, but routinely and intentionally misclassified them as pilot errors or non-events, the FAA said late last week. That conclusion was reached after an investigation by the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General. The OIG report, prompted by whistleblower allegations, found that between November 2005 and July 2007, Tracon managers misclassified 62 air traffic events as pilot deviation or non-events when it fact there were 52 operational errors and 10 operational deviations. In response, the FAA removed both the facility manager and assistant manager at the Dallas-Fort Worth Tracon from their positions. Additional personnel actions may be taken, the FAA said. "I am deeply disturbed by the findings in this report," said Hank Krakowski, chief operating officer of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization. "I am personally committed to making sure the IG’s recommendations are implemented and that managers are held accountable."

The OIG report will be investigated further by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The FAA said it will accelerate deployment of the Traffic Analysis Review Program (TARP) -- software that automatically detects losses of aircraft separation at terminal facilities. The program will be implemented at the DFW Tracon by the end of fiscal year 2008, and nationwide by the end of next year.

NTSB Examines Safety Of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Pilots, engineers, regulators and others with an interest in the technology and utilization of unmanned aircraft systems met in Washington this week to discuss the latest developments in the field, with regard to safety. The forum, hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board, looked at issues such as integration of the systems into the National Airspace System, air traffic control procedures and training, and a look at the lessons learned from accidents and incidents that have occurred so far. Other topics included UAS design standards and airworthiness, pilot training and fatigue issues, and the use of the systems in firefighting missions. A Webcast from the forum is archived online at the NTSB Web site.

Last October, the NTSB conducted its first investigation of an unmanned aircraft accident, and issued 22 safety recommendations covering aspects of unmanned aircraft system design, operation, and safety management. This process raised "significant questions" about how these unmanned aircraft systems will fit into the aviation system, the NTSB said, and what kinds of safety challenges such integration will present. This week's public forum aimed to address those questions. Click here for more details about the forum and presenters (PDF).

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Alternative Energy back to top 

EAA Seeks FAA OK For Electric Powerplants

The days of flying in quiet, emissions-free aircraft are closer now, following EAA's announcement that it has filed a request to the FAA for regulatory exemptions that would allow the use of electric motors in ultralight and light-sport aircraft. "This is only a first step," said engineer and EAA member Craig Willan, who made the announcement last week at the CAFE Foundation 2008 Electric Aircraft Symposium, in San Francisco. "I'm participating on an EAA task force charged with further facilitating progress in the use of electric energy to power aircraft," Willan said. "The EAA community is committed to this direction. More announcements are coming."

EAA's petition to the FAA proposes specifications for battery-pack weight limits on ultralight aircraft and the development of electric-motor ASTM standards for light-sport aircraft. "We have the responsibility to be part of the solution," Willan said. "We in the EAA family have the intellect, the drive, and the passion to do something that can change the world. We have the ability -- now we must take the responsibility." The petition can be viewed online, click here.

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Jet Fuel From Garbage

A Washington, D.C.-based company is in the preliminary stages of developing a $250 million plant in California to make jet fuel out of garbage, manure and tree bark. According to Biomass Magazine Solena Group hopes to build the plant in Gilroy, Calif., and will use raw material from municipal, agricultural and forestry waste supplied by Norcal Waste Systems, one of California’s largest municipal waste and biomass collectors. The announcement comes on the heels of the successful certification of jet fuel made by a South African company that uses a different raw material but the same basic process as that planned in California.

The South African company Sasol produces the fuel from coal using the Fischer-Tropsch method. The same method can coax petroleum out of just about any carbon-based compound but jet fuel has to withstand major temperature extremes and still keep the hot section hot. Colorado-based Rentech is working with Solena to create the jet fuel from the raw product. Financing is being worked on and the group hopes to be producing Jet-A by 2011.

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News Briefs back to top 

Air Marshals Denied Boarding Due To "No-fly List"

We've all heard the stories of ordinary airline passengers denied the right to fly because their name happens to match a name on the "no-fly list" kept by the Transportation Security Administration. But it appears that some federal air marshals, who are supposed to be on board as a protective measure, have also been denied boarding for the same reason. "In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not [allow the marshal to] fly," an unidentified air marshal told The Washington Times. On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security said it will start this week to implement a new program that allows airlines to store travelers' birthdate information, which should eliminate most of the watch-list misidentification problems. "This is good for travelers and for security, because as we make the checkpoint environment calmer, it becomes easier to spot individuals with hostile intent," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

"Hassles due to misidentification and the resulting necessity to stand in line to check in at the ticket counter [are] consistently among the deepest -- and most valid -- complaints of the traveling public," he said.

Lindbergh Collectibles To Be Auctioned Online

The Lindbergh Foundation announced this week that in connection with its 31st annual Lindbergh Award Celebration in May, several one-of-a-kind items will be available for on-line bidding. Kelley Welf, spokesperson for the Foundation, said the auction for 12 unique items opened on Wednesday and will close on May 15, at 4 p.m. CDT. Among the items for sale: a first-edition mint-condition copy of The Spirit of St. Louis signed by Charles Lindbergh; a lithograph of astronaut Neil Armstrong signed by both the first and last man on the moon; a print of a special-edition oil painting celebrating Lindbergh's arrival in Paris, signed by James Lovell, Alan Shepard, Neil Armstrong, and Jimmy Doolittle; dinner with John and Martha King and a flight in their Falcon jet; and a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN studios with correspondent Miles O'Brien. "This online auction of such unique items is unprecedented in the history of the Lindbergh Foundation," said Knox Bridges, president and CEO of the foundation. For more details, and to enter a bid online, go to the Foundation Web site and click on the "Participate in our On-Line Silent Auction" link.

"It's our intent to offer these rare collectibles as a way of letting the world know how special our Foundation is, and to raise awareness for the kind of support we enjoy among aviation's elite and famous who care about our mission," said Bridges. The auction will wrap up at the Lindbergh Foundation Annual Awards Celebration in Atlanta, Ga., on May 17. Tickets are still available for the event. Ted Turner, chairman of the Turner Foundation and founder of CNN, will receive the Foundation’s 2008 Lindbergh Award for his commitment to protecting the environment and promoting conservation and the reintroduction of native species on his land. The third annual Corporate Award for Balance will be presented to The Jacoby Group in recognition of their focus on sustainable development, which preserves and protects the environment on which we all rely. Miles O'Brien will be the Master of Ceremonies.

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News Briefs back to top 

On the Fly ...

An Illinois pilot who landed on a golf course to get his son to a tennis lesson has been charged with reckless conduct and endangering a child, both misdemeanors...

EOS Airlines, which offered "premium" service between New York and London, shut down this week and filed for bankruptcy...

AOPA warns pilots who use auto fuel to beware of unlabeled ethanol mixes...

A Supermarine Spitfire and a Hawker Hurricane were both damaged in a taxi accident on Saturday at an air show in Texas, nobody was hurt...

A referendum that would have saved Berlin's historic Tempelhof Airport has failed.

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.

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 magazine, plus access to aviation records and much more. To become an NAA member, sign up online or call (703) 416-4888 and press 4.
New on AVweb back to top 

A Pilot's History: Chap. 8 -- Call To Duty

After a few years with startup airlines, Carl Moesly gets a callback from Uncle Sam. This time he helps paratroopers jump and cargo planes find their way in Greenland.

Click here for the full story.

Probable Cause #57: Out Of Control

Was a sudden physical or mechanical problem -- or some of both -- what led to this King Air pilot losing control of the aircraft?

Click here for the full story.

Question of the Week: Are You Ready for an Electric Plane?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked if AVweb readers did anything out of the ordinary (aviation-wise) to celebrate Earth Day.

18% of those who answered told us they abstained from flying, while the plurality of you (36% in our poll) felt that aviation is such a minor contributor to environmental problems, I don't worry about it.

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


With alternative power, fuel efficiency, and the environmental footprint on everyone's mind, we're all starting to think tomorrow's aircraft may look and feel a little different from what we're used to. This week, we want to hear what you think about electric aircraft.

Would you consider an electric-powered 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.

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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.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Five Star Jet Center (KBAF, Westfield, MA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Five Star Jet Center at KBAF in Westfield, Massachusetts.

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 of.

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!

Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You
Flight Explorer is an information system tracking commercial and general aviation flights. With the Flight Explorer Personal Edition, view air traffic for the U.S., Canada, or New Zealand and monitor and display real-time delay information, TFRs, SUAs, and more. With the Flight Explorer Pilot Edition, view weather along a route, receive alerts with your preliminary flight plan, and have an e-mail sent to someone on departure or arrival. Click here for more information and to subscribe.
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.


"Picture of the Week" submissions dipped a bit over the past few days, but the quality has thankfully remained high. Good for our eyes, but bad for our brains, as it means we have to make those oh-so-tough choices of which photos get featured here, which are showcased in our home page slideshow, and which only get airtime on our desktop monitors. To get in on next week's fun, click here and submit your own photos. We'll be looking for 'em!

medium | large

Used with permission of Michael Hays

Kenmore Air DeHavilland Beaver

Michael Hays of Vero Beach, Florida hammered us with great photo submissions this week — but it was his tall and elegant portrait of this Beaver getting pulled out of the water that nailed down his spot as "POTW" winner.

(You need to click through and view the large image to get the full effect here.)


medium | large

copyright © Daniel Valovich
Used with permission

Collision Avoidance

It's always a pleasure to find a shot or two from Hot Springs, Arkansas's favorite son Daniel Valovich in our submission box! This week, Mr. V serves up a little aerial action.


medium | large

copyright © Keith DeLong
Used with permission


Speaking of "aerial action," here's a little something from Keith DeLong of Freeland, Michigan. Take that, Valovich!

(Funny enough, this is the very same spot where we ran that kicking widescreen desktop wallpaper from Yinjie Zhang last week — and Keith's pic looks pretty awesome on our 1440x900 monitor!)


medium | large

copyright © Brandon Wren
Used with permission

A Break from Tree-Trimming

"The famous tree-trimming helicopter was taking a well-deserved break ... this past weekend," writes Brandon Wren of Lima, Ohio. Taking advantage of the down time, Brandon "took a self-guided tour around the ten 2' blades and 75'+ of boom," and obviously thought Man, I'll bet those guys from AVweb would love this!

(He was right.)


medium | large

Used with permission
of Kevin B. Torman

Gives New Meaning to "Remanufactured" ...

So what do you do with your DC-3 when she's finally ready to have her logbook closed? Maybe you donate her parts to a wine counter in Franschoek, South Africa — like this one Paul Kruger of Old Oak (Western Cape) photographed for us.


More Reader-Submitted Photos
... are found, as usual, in the the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Head on over there!

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.

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.