AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 25a

June 16, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Cirrus Perspective™ by Garmin: A New Beginning for General Aviation
As a pilot, you sit in a cockpit and experience the world in ways others can only imagine. As leaders in technology and innovation, Cirrus and Garmin sat in the cockpit together and imagined how to redesign the flying experience. Together they have re-imagined the pilot-airplane interface, and as a result, revolutionized general aviation. See the result at CirrusDesign.com.
 
Hiring More So More Can Fail? back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

Controller Wash-Out Rate Added To Push For More Money

After spending roughly $78,000 on each one, the FAA's own projections predict that some 14 percent of new controller hires will elect to do something other than be air traffic controllers this year, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The washout rate more than doubles that of 2006 and is up substantially from the 9 percent who left in 2007. In response, the FAA says it is hiring more people than it needs to stay ahead of retirements and controller departures, but Patrick Forrey, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), says the controller staffing crisis is real ... and it's because of low wages. The Transportation Department Inspector General's (IG) recent report discussed in the House last Wednesday says that top pay for controllers has been cut from $143,984 to $106,200 while starting pay is down to $37,800 from $44,800.

Representative Jerry Costello, D-Ill., said in a meeting last week that the FAA has lost nearly 1,000 controllers since last October resulting in the lowest number of qualified controllers since 1992. The IG reported that the number of controllers in training rose from 2,209 in 2004 to 3584 last year, but that the number of qualified controllers has dropped from 12,328 to 11,026 over the same period. But traffic is down, too. The FAA plans to hire and train 17,000 new controllers by 2017. Placing those that stay and moving veteran controllers has been identified by the IG as a key to maintaining appropriate functionality in the system, which is currently benefiting from an overall reduction in traffic, from airlines to GA.

 
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User Fee How-To back to top 
 

AOPA Finds New Threat Of User Fees

AOPA recently announced that a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) titled Federal User Fees: A Design Guide is a "49-page instruction manual" that teaches Congress and federal agencies "when and how to charge for government 'services.'" While fees are not part of current FAA funding legislation pending before Congress, and the report does not target FAA funding, AOPA warns that there is no long-term protection against fees built into currently proposed FAA funding legislation. AOPA says the GAO's report shows increasing deficits based on current long-term funding solutions for the FAA. The GAO attempts to distinguish between taxes and user fees, but adds that the distinction is not always clear-cut and that when services benefit both users and the general public, both fees and general revenues should be used to supply those services.

The report also notes that the more work the government puts into trying to match fees to the actual cost of providing services, the more expensive it becomes to collect. As for AOPA, "user fees are a threat that will never die," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. The Association is determined to keep watch and beat that threat back as it recurs.

Australian Push For Aviation Fuel Tax

Proponents suggest that raising fuel taxes on aviation fuel would raise nearly $1 billion for the government and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but opponents say the idea seems unlikely to succeed in its environmental goals. The tax makes no bones about reducing emissions by increasing costs associated with air travel, thereby discouraging it. And therein lies the problem; according to the proposal's opponents, travelers will still be burning fossil fuels to travel. Plus, because of an emissions trading scheme set to be implemented by the Australian government, a cap may be set on overall emissions, but reductions in emissions from one market segment will then be made available as increases from another segment. The end result, opponents of the tax argue, could be a reduction in air travel along with a potential increase in overall emissions and a failure of the planned emissions trading scheme.

 
Fly With Bose® Aviation Headset X™
Enjoy an unmatched combination of full-spectrum noise reduction, clearer audio, and comfortable fit. Voted the #1 headset for the seventh consecutive year in Professional Pilot's 2007 Headset Preference Survey. Also rated "Best ANR Headset: The Aviation Consumer Product of the Year" by Aviation Consumer. Learn more and order.

Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
 
Fuel For Thought back to top 
 

Gas Prices Stunt Aviation Boom In India

Rising oil prices have India's recently booming aviation industry seeking governmental intervention through application of lower taxes to help stem losses that have been piling up since last year. Fuel accounts for roughly half the cost of operation for Indian carriers, according to some sources, and the steadily rising costs of air travel passed on to their passengers by the airlines has resulted in a slowdown of passenger growth. Going forward an overall loss of $2 billion plus is expected for the 2008-2009 timeframe and that is the amount being sought by a delegation seeking subsidies from the government on behalf of the airlines. The Indian airline industry lost more than $1 billion in the fiscal year 2007-2008. Last week, the Prime Minister refused to announce any immediate relief, but said the government would review the situation Monday (June 16) and hinted that fare structures should be addressed. The trickle down is likely to hit manufacturers as Indian carriers postpone planes for fleet acquisition. The prior boom and hard times may bring about consolidation in the Indian aviation market as well as cost-cutting measures to include fleet cuts, deferred routes and restructuring.

Fuel Theft

A commercial aircraft at New Zealand's Paraparumu Airport suffered the loss of 26 gallons of fuel and theft is the suspected cause. The thief or thieves are suspected to have made off with about $200 worth of avgas. Fuel prices in the area had risen 20 percent in the past month, rounding the figure to a 100-percent year-over-year increase. The pilot became aware of the alleged theft during his preflight inspection when he noticed the aircraft's fuel caps were improperly secured and fuel was splattered on the ground. The theft has raised concerns on the airport over security with one pilot noting that the pre-flight should catch such aircraft tampering, that doesn't mean that it always will. The event is being investigated by local police who are already investigating a theft of 26 gallons from a tanker at a golf club ten days prior.

 
JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source
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JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA), West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Call (800) 323-5966, or click for more information.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

FAA Issues Emergency AD On Eclipse Throttles

The FAA moved quickly on an NTSB recommendation and issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) late Thursday requiring inspection of Eclipse 500 throttle quadrants. Eclipse apparently moved quickly, too, and reports indicated all the aircraft were in compliance within a day of the AD's issuance.The AD was issued in response to an incident on June 5 when Eclipse N612KB experienced a throttle failure while on approach to Chicago Midway, resulting in maximum uncontrolled thrust from both Pratt and Whitney Canada PW601F turbofan engines. According to the AD, the pilot firewalled the throttles during a windshear encounter and pushed them past their limits. "...the pilot applied full throttle using enough force against the forward stops to exceed the design throttle position signal maximum range. The associated fault mode held the engine thrust settings at the last known throttle position, which was maximum," the AD says. The aircraft had accumulated 238 hours and 192 cycles since new. The pilots flying the aircraft referenced its handbook and elected to shut down one engine. However, when that engine was shut down, the other engine rolled back to idle power with no response to throttle settings. The pilots declared an emergency and landed without injury to themselves or the two passengers aboard. Subsequent test of the replacement throttle quadrant caused an "R ENG CONTROL FAIL" message to appear on the crew alerting system display. As a result, the NTSB Thursday announced its recommendation to the FAA to inspect all Eclipse 500 throttle quadrants and address the lack of procedures for that failure.

The AD adopts the NTSB recommendations and requires all Eclipse 500s to be checked to ensure that pushing the throttle to the stop will not result in engine control failure. Any units that fail are to be replaced. It also requires flight manual amendments to include procedures to deal with this kind of emergency. NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said, "This incident demonstrated a technical safety-of-flight issue that we believe needs immediate attention." Some 200 Eclipse 500's have so far been delivered, according to the NTSB, which considers it "still a new aircraft model." The safety board is continuing its investigation.

Cirrus Design Sets Up Shop In Athens

Cirrus Design has opened a sales center in Athens to provide sales and service of its products to the region. The facility's mission is to drive sales growth and showcase Cirrus aircraft to "inspire" and improve the Greek general aviation market, according to Robert Alchanatis, managing director of the new sales center. "We hope to make general aviation more accessible and affordable to Greek pilots," he said, commenting on the company's "innovative" ownership structures. Cirrus sales centers currently nest in North America, South America, Europe, China, South Africa, Australia and the Caribbean with foreign customers now accounting for more than 35 percent of Cirrus' sales. According to Cirrus, Greece offers an accelerating economy, great weather and multiple island destinations.

 
Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
Lycoming® produces the most complete line of horizontally opposed, air-cooled four-, six-, and eight-cylinder certified aircraft engines available, with power ranging from 100 to 400 HP. For homebuilders, air race and aerobatic pilots, and others looking for non-certified engines with Lycoming dependability, Lycoming offers custom-built Thunderbolt Engines. Lycoming piston engines have a reputation for reaching or exceeding TBO. For more information, please visit Lycoming.com.
 
New Briefs back to top 
 

ASRS CALLBACK Goes Online

The NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) has gone online. Now from the ASRS website, pilots can receive CALLBACK in their inbox by signing up online. The monthly safety bulletin includes excerpts from ASRS incident reports with supporting commentary as well as occasional research studies and aviation safety information. The ASRS website also offers an online database and Electronic Report Submission portal that accepted 45,000 reports from pilots, controllers, mechanics and flight attendants last year.

Airgyro Markets "Affordable" Light Sport Solutions

Airgyro of Spanish Fork, Utah, intends to focus on the fun and affordability of sport aviation and turn out some sport pilots in as few as 15 days. The company has alliances with Higher Class Aviation, which produces a two-seat tandem light sport aircraft and Australian Light Wing, which produces the Outback SP2000, but it also distributes the Sportcopter 2 gyrocopter. Pricing of aircraft sold by Airgyro starts at $65,000 "for a very well equipped machine," says the company. Airgyro's programs include financing options and insurance, plus fight training and "ongoing support." The company says it wants to bring aviation to a new generation that may have thought recreational flying was simply out of economic reach. Airgyro also offers training "that can go far beyond the Sport Pilot certificate for those pilots interested in pursuing more advanced training and commercial opportunities.

 
Between Wheels Up and Wheels Down, There Is One Important Word: How
As the team managing the FAA AFSS system, Lockheed Martin serves nearly 90,000 general aviation pilots every week. Providing timely, accurate information and helpful service 24/7. From weather forecasts to en route information, from Hawaii to Puerto Rico, ensuring flight safety in the National Airspace System is all a question of how. And it is the how that makes all the difference. Click here for more.
 
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

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.

 
Avidyne Extends Interface Capability for Tactical WX Detection System
Avidyne's TWX670 Tactical Weather Detection System has a Compatibility Mode providing a second output format for display of monochromatic lightning strike and storm cell information on a number of existing lightning detection-compatible displays. The TWX670's normal RS-232 output protocol supports the TWX670's TWxCell™ and Color Strike modes on compatible displays, including Avidyne's EX500, EX5000 and MHD300. With Compatibility Mode, the TWX670 provides an alternate protocol compatible with other manufacturers' displays. Click here for more information.

Sign up to be an Avidyne Insider.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

The Pilot's Lounge #127: Unfairly Maligned Airplanes

Not every challenging airplane is actually a dog. AVweb's Rick Durden thinks some of the blame belongs to clueless pilots.

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

Learning From Mistakes

Our writer cleanses the soul about some of his flying misadventures. He obviously walked away from them, but not before learning some valuable lessons.

Click here for the full story.

AVweb Insider Blog: The Gate To Stupidity

Forget User Fees and High Gas Prices...if GA gets done in, it will be because of the utter stupidity of stuff we voluntarily put up with. And we seem to experience more of it every year. Read this week's AVweb Insider blog by Paul Bertorelli, who's off on a tear about small airport security.

Read more.

 
The Five (5) Things No Pilot Should Take Off Without!
Dr. Blue discusses what he believes are the five essentials every pilot should have on board for a safe and fun flying summer. Click here to see what Dr. Blue carries in his airplane!
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: AAR (Will Rogers World Airport, KOKC, Oklahoma City, OK)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to AAR's location at Will Rogers World Airport (KOKC) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

A couple of weeks ago, AVweb reader Mitch Hargrave found himself in the vicinity of Oklahoma City, checking the local weather reports:

I checked the weekend weather, and the chance for thundershowers was quite low for the OKC area. But, wouldn't you know it, three hours after arriving I could see storms brewing out to the west. As the evening wore on, they intensified and were moving toward Will Rogers, where our beloved N33V was sitting out on the ramp. Feeling not a little uneasy, I called AAR. I was told not to worry — 33V was [already] in the big hangar! That, my friends, is service. Needless to say, I slept soundly that night.

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!

 
Find Your Next Aircraft on ASO!
When you search for used aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete picture of the market available anywhere. View thousands of listings with detailed specs and photos or use ASO's advanced search tools to quickly find your next aircraft. Best of all, know that every ad is current and no time is wasted on stale listings. If you're ready for your next aircraft, it's ready for you — on ASO. Visit ASO.com today!
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Dick Knapinski Promises Big Things for AirVenture '08

File Size 5.9 MB / Running Time 6:28

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The folks at EAA are always coming up with ways to keep AirVenture fresh, and this year is no exception. From rock concerts to rocket planes, this year's event promises plenty of entertainment value, and there will be lots of product and technology announcements, too. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with EAA's Media and Public Affairs Director Dick Knapinski about the summer's most exciting event.

Click here to listen. (5.9 MB, 6:28)

Video of the Week: Air Show Fly-Over Grinds to a Halt in Heavy Wind

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Our latest "Video of the Week" is one that's actually been sent to us several times over the last few months, especially when high winds and difficult landings take the spotlight here on AVweb. And to be honest, we're a little surprised to discover that we haven't shared this one yet, so here goes — heavy winds bring an air show fly-over to a seeming standstill, much to the delight of the crowd below.


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Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

Exclusive Video: B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Crash Technical Report

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

The crash on takeoff of a 509th Air Wing, Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber, February 23 operating at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, was caused by water in the aircraft's sensors, according to an Air Combat report issued Thursday. Specifically, moisture in three port transducer units "distorted data introduced by a B-2 Spirit's air data system" which led to flawed information entering the bomber's flight control computers. The aircraft was reacting to inaccurate airspeed and a "perceived" negative angle of attack. This resulted in an "uncommanded 30 degree nose-high pitch-up on takeoff," according to the Air Force.

The video has more detail, but you can also click here for the full story.


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.

 
So You Think You Are a Safe Pilot!
Aviation Safety magazine will keep your decision-making skills sharp with interesting and information-packed articles. You may find lots you didn't know! Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

This is an exchange that happened ... on a trip from Las Vegas (Henderson) to Oklahoma City (Sundance Air Park). We were level at 15,000 and just handed off from Las Vegas TRACON to LA Center. We had been at 15,000 for a few minutes and were definitely hungry to get to our final altitude of FL270. The busy airspace due to a NASCAR race complicated matters for everyone.

Starship XXXX (me):
"LA Center, good afternoon, Starship XXXX level at one five thousand, direct cowboy, looking for higher."

ZLA:
"Starship XXXX, LA Center. Maintain one five thousand MD-80 traffic in your six o'clock position in a very slow climb. I need to keep you at one five thousand until clear of traffic."

Starship XXXX:
"LA Center, Starship XXXX, maintain one five thousand.

[pause]

"LA Center, Starship XXXX, no contact with traffic."

ZLA (without missing a beat):
"That's the idea."

Christopher Dean
via e-mail

 
More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 
 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

 
Names Behind the News back to top 
 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
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.