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Volume 9, Number 33aAugust 11, 2003

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

"Chaos in California" was a common headline over the weekend, as dozens signed up to run against Gov. Gray Davis in the state's recall election. That chaos is affecting GA, too. In the midst of a budget crisis, the state, through signed budget legislation, could divert $4.8 million (capable of leveraging near $28 million in federal funds) from the Division of Aeronautics into the general fund. That money is derived from taxes on users of the aviation system, says AOPA, and should be used for aviation support. While AOPA last week urged approval of a bill now in the state Senate that would safeguard the funds, a story titled "State budget includes vital airport funds" that last week ran in California's Desert News credits others and seemed more assured of the outcome. ...Maybe Arnold could figure it all out? More...

Amidst all that California chaos, air traffic controllers from Van Nuys Airport held a press conference to publicize the fact that their tower -- which handles more than 500,000 takeoffs and landings each year -- could be contracted out to private workers under the current version of the FAA reauthorization bill. "Privatizing air traffic control will put companies focused on cutting corners in charge of landing planes," said John Goodin, local chapter president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) at the Van Nuys control tower. Of the 69 air traffic control towers slated for privatization, 11 are among the nation's 50 busiest towers, NATCA says. Van Nuys is the eighth-busiest in the country, says NATCA. (Preliminary information from the Airports Council International this year lists VNY at number 12 among U.S. airports for total aircraft movements.) More...

Meanwhile, as tensions intensify over the issue of ATC privatization, the tower at California's Vandenberg Air Force Base has quietly become the first active-duty Air Force tower to be manned by contract civilian air traffic controllers. The switch took place August 1. "Air traffic control is on the critical-skills list for the Air Force," Capt. Michael Horowitz told the Air Force News Service. To help free up some controllers for other Air Force slots, Horowitz said, it was decided that some of the slower towers could be outsourced to civilian contract workers. The switch will save the Air Force $520,000 over a three-year period, he added. More...

AEROPLANNER ISN'T ALL FLIGHT PLANNING...IT'S CONVENIENCE AeroPlanner is the best flight planning program around giving you all the information needed for any particular flight. Team your knowledge and skill with AeroPlanner flight planning and it's a winning combination. For a no-cost, no-obligation demonstration go to

When Cirrus Design announced last week that sales of its SR20 and SR22 aircraft set a new sales record in July, at 51 airplanes, the natural reaction was a warm and fuzzy feeling. Granted that 51 airplanes in a month is a drop in the bucket compared to GA's overall peak production -- back in 1979, GA manufacturers in the U.S. cranked out more than 1,400 units each month on average. (For 2003, total deliveries for the entire first six months amounted to 1,031 aircraft, averaging 171 per month.) GA shipments overall are still in decline, down 13.8 percent compared with the first half of last year, but perhaps other manufacturers should look into the Cirrus surge. More...

Lancair also is offering good news of its own. Lancair announced at Oshkosh that the turbocharged Lancair Columbia 400 is ready to start flight-testing and said it's building one Columbia every four days, and continues to ramp up production. This follows last year's cash crunch that shut down the factory. Early this year, investors supplied the cash needed to restart production. "We've been making significant capital investments in the organization that will enable us to continue to produce aircraft rapidly, cost-efficiently and to a very high level of quality," said Lancair President Bing Lantis. "Our production ramp-up is on or a little ahead of schedule in all areas. We're right where we want to be." More...

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Congress may be taking a recess -- putting the FAA reauthorization bill on hold till after Labor Day -- but the debate over privatization goes on without a break. In the latest round, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) is getting snippy with DOT Secretary Norm Mineta over the Bush administration's decision to declare seafood inspection an "inherently governmental" function -- the very designation NATCA has been insisting for years that ATC deserves. John Carr, president of NATCA, asked Mineta last Thursday to "extend the same level of safety to our skies as you do to our seafood." More...

Owners and operators of repair stations face a sea of paperwork from the FAA, but a new publication from the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) aims to relieve some of that workload. ARSA, based in Alexandria, Va., announced last week that it has published a Model Domestic Repair Station Manual to help small repair stations develop their own manual and comply with the latest FAA rules. The model manual is designed for small domestic repair stations, and addresses every section of the new FAR Part 145 (see AVweb's earlier coverage, " ...Repair Stations Face New Rules") to facilitate verification of compliance. The document is not likely to make any best-seller lists: cost is $1,000, but members of ARSA can get a copy for only $250. More...

AVIONICS WEST IS HAVING A BIG BLOW OUT SALE! On all AirMap GPS's including the AirMap 100 and 500 series. If you want to save some serious dollars on the Lowrance AirMap GPS and accessories, now is the time. For a limited time, Avionics West has dropped the price on both the panel-mount and portable BOSE X ANR series headsets. For more too-low-to-advertise prices, call 805 934-9777, or send an email to or go online at

The FAA has extended its comment period by one month for two proposed Airworthiness Directives that would require a wing-spar modification for several models of Cessna twin-engine aircraft. Comments can now be submitted on or before September 8, 2003. Click here to download the proposed AD affecting Models 402C and 414A, and click here for the proposed AD affecting Models 401, 401A, 401B, 402, 402A, 402B, 411, and 411A. Plus, Notices of Proposed Rulemaking have been issued for Cessnas including certain 172, 182, and 206 models to address inadvertent and undetected engagement of the Honeywell KAP 140 autopilot system (click here for details). Inboard forward flap bellcranks on Cessna Models 208 and 208B airplanes have also achieved new regulatory attention. More...

Onboard systems help military aircraft to anticipate and avoid attacks from missiles, and in this post-9/11 era, efforts are mounting to quickly transfer that technology to the civilian realm. The FAA reauthorization act now in the works would create (in Sec. 427) a task force to hasten that process. Underscoring the urgency, The New York Times reported last Wednesday that the U.S. government several weeks ago secretly dispatched teams overseas to investigate the dangers of shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles at civilian airports. Teams have been sent to Greece, the Philippines, Iraq, and elsewhere in Europe and Asia, the Times said. More...

HOW SENSITIVE IS "YOUR" CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR? Low levels of carbon monoxide can be hazardous in aircraft since the effects of CO and hypoxia are cumulative. By the time a chemical spot or hardware store CO detectors alerts, you could have a life-threatening exhaust leak. The CO Experts 2002 from Aeromedix warns of CO levels as low as 5 parts per million! On sale for $99.95. Be safe and order your CO detector today by calling 888 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or go online at

Flying at 40 feet or so AGL while firing at wild animals on the ground might not seem like the safest way to fly an airplane. But it's standard practice in the American West, where the federal government operates a fleet of aircraft and contracts with pilots to fly their own small airplanes and helicopters for "predator control." This summer, the practice is under fire from environmentalists, following several crashes they say boost their argument that the practice is unsafe ... for humans, that is. This summer, a small airplane and a helicopter involved in hunting crashed in Montana, injuring four people, two of them seriously, and a federal aircraft in Nevada crashed in July. More...

As long as pilots are up in the sky, they'll be looking for ways to anticipate what to expect next from the weather. New tools are constantly in development, and one popular way to access text, digital and graphical forecasts, analyses, and observations of aviation-related weather is via the Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) and its experimental Flight Path Tool. The National Weather Service (NWS) is proposing to provide technical support to the project, and needs comments from pilots about the usefulness of ADDS. AOPA says it strongly supports ADDS and urges pilots who appreciate it to let the NWS know. For more information, go to the project's Web site. More...

SINGER RAY CHARLES & THE BEACH BOYS TO APPEAR AT CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION This six-day Celebration, December 12-17, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is designed to commemorate the last century of flight; celebrate the achievements of aviators throughout history; and inspire the next generation of aviators. Secure VIP events seating, purchase commemorative collectibles and apparel, and enter to win the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes at

An RC airplane is headed to Ireland from Newfoundland...
EADS Socata and P&W will increase the TBO for TBM 700 by 500 hours...
A hydraulics system failed on an Osprey V-22 last Monday at Quantico...
APSA blames TSA for the slow pace of guns-in-the-cockpit training...
See AVweb's homepage for online video coverage of Oshkosh AirVenture 2003. More...

Overheard while flying east from Dayton...

Approach: Cirrus 123, what’s your speed?
Cirrus 123: Now showing 200kts over the ground on the GPS.
Unknown pilot on frequency: That’s one fast-moving cloud! More...

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Steve Craig, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to Rules and information are at

VANTAGE AND SPIRIT AIRCRAFT PROPERTIES BEING SOLD The trademarks, drawings, flight test and performance data, marketing and customer contact list, and tooling and molds from more than 12 years of research and development will be sold for both aircraft. The Vantage, is a six-seat, single engine, business class jet, and the Spirit, is an experimental two-seat aircraft. The sale will be by sealed bid, according to bidding procedures approved by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (Case No. 02-47804-293). Deadline for submitting a bid is September 18, 2003 at 01:00 p.m. (US Central Daylight Time). To receive a copy of the bidding procedures as well as information on how to obtain a bid package contact: Howard S. Smotkin, email: or Janice R. Valdez, email:, phone 314 721-7011; or Michael Yeager, email:, phone 314 447-3200.

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:

Reader mail this week about AVweb's Oshkosh coverage, pictures and questions of the week, cargo plane crashes and more.

Failure is Not an Option -- Part I
Failure of a key component of your plane like a vacuum pump or the electrical system is not optional -- it's a certainty if you fly enough hours. But failure to complete a flight safely after an electrical failure shouldn't be left to chance. A successful outcome is likely if you plan in advance.

The Pilot's Lounge #64: It's OK
New pilots (and old hands, for that matter) sometimes need permission to do what their gut tells them, rather than trusting old wives' tales told during hangar flying sessions. Other times, the gut instinct needs to be honed with a few well-placed stories. AVweb's Rick Durden has some of both.

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