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Volume 9, Number 35aAugust 24, 2003

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

Despite the best efforts of the manufacturers to convince us to buy new airplanes, the GA fleet gets older, on average, with each passing year and that inevitably raises safety concerns. And where safety is an issue, new regulations are not usually far behind. In this case, however, the FAA seems to be aware of the negative potential (i.e., extra cost) of more rules and, instead, is suggesting a less intrusive approach to keeping old airplanes airworthy. According to AOPA, the agency has, in consultation with AOPA, type groups and other aviation organizations, developed "best practices" guidance for maintaining older GA aircraft. More...

This and other efforts to make airplanes safe have generally paid off. Although equipment failures occur, most aircraft are operating normally when they crash. Earlier this month, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told AVweb the agency is making GA accident prevention a priority through training and new technology. This year hasn't gotten off to a very promising start, however. The FAA has set a "goal" of 374 fatal GA and Part 135 accidents for 2003 and by the end of July there had already been 299. By 2007, the FAA wants no more than 350 fatal accidents. Apparently, the only way that will be achieved is if pilots set similar goals, because human factors are by far the leading cause of aircraft accidents. More...

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Boeing could be betting its commercial aircraft division's future on the new 7E7 (if it's ever built) and an aerospace industry lobbyist wants the government to hedge those bets. John Douglass, CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, told the Associated Press the company shouldn't have to go it alone in creating and selling a world-beater of an airliner. "I'd like to see the government recognize and say that this is our manufacturer, these are American jobs and we're going to do everything we can to make this program successful," Douglass said. Now, Douglass doesn't have an itemized list (yet) of everything the feds could do to get the Dreamliner off the ground but he does suggest a public statement of support for the project by the FAA would be a good start, followed by a streamlined certification process. He stopped short of suggesting a cash subsidy, a la France and Airbus, but ... More...

But could this good old American know-how end up being stamped Made In Japan? If Japan's three major industrial firms have their way, the country could end up directly subsidizing their effort to build the 7E7 airframe in Japan. Mitsubishi, Kawasaki and Fuji are said to be lobbying their government to declare the 7E7 a "national project" and thus make it eligible for subsidies and loans. Parts of the 767 and 777 are made in Japan under the same national project designation. An industry insider told Reuters the government is almost certain to embrace the 7E7 as well. According to Reuters, only one American company is in the five-way race for the contract to design and build the 7E7 airframe. More...

Another 1,440 employees received layoff notices Friday, bringing the total number of job losses to 35,410. The latest round of layoffs takes effect October 24 and most of those affected are in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. (Boeing has collected about 151 orders for airliners this year; Airbus lists 236.) But even if Boeing effectively bows out of the large airliner business by not pursuing the Dreamliner, it could endear itself to millions worldwide (including us) with a potentially high-flying product that has nothing to do with airplanes. It seems Boeing researchers have devised a "better" anti-spam system with some unique capabilities and the company has spawned a so-called Baby Boeing spinoff called MessageGate. More...

GARMIN'S 196 GPS HAS THE MOST UTILITY AMONG AVIATION HANDHELDS! WAAS-capable, the Garmin 196 has advanced mapping and logbook capabilities offering more utility as a cross-platform navigator than any aviation portable on the market. On land the GPSMAP 196 can navigate along roads or waterways. For details on the 196 and other Garmin GPS models go online at

Owners of aircraft grounded by the imposition of the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone may soon be able to make a one-way flight out of the restricted area. We've heard lots of opinions about the hassle (and futility) of the ADIZ but lost in the controversy is the plight of scores of owners of ultralights, homebuilts and vintage aircraft that don't have communications gear required to fly in the ADIZ. Short of hauling their aircraft on a truck to the nearest unrestricted airfield, these pilots have had no choice but to stay grounded since the ADIZ was imposed. It now appears EAA has convinced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to allow most of the simpler aircraft to fly to friendlier skies. Those based at College Park, Potomac Airfield and Hyde Field will not be allowed to take part. More...

Big Brother or "guardian angel"? We'll let the ethicists decide that one as an Albuquerque company releases its latest cockpit security device. Management Sciences Inc.(MSI) has developed a flight data and cockpit voice recorder that not only adds video, it can broadcast the goings-on aboard an aircraft in real time to a ground station. "We're looking for things that tell you what's happening before it happens," MSI VP Kenneth G. Blemel told the Albuquerque Journal. "Its purpose is to be a guardian angel." The company had already been looking at an improved black box for airliners when it landed a $1.5 million contract to build the Digital Download Flight Information Recorder for the Navy, which has since ordered hundreds for use in F-18s. More...

AVIONICS WEST HAS LOWEST PRICES ON LOWRANCE, GARMIN, BOSE, LIGHTSPEED & MORE Save on all AirMap GPS's including the AirMap 100 and 500 series. Save serious dollars on the Lowrance AirMap GPS and accessories. Avionics West has dropped the price on both the panel-mount and portable BOSE X ANR series headsets. And VXA Deluxe Transceivers are priced low with factory rebates! For more too-low-to-advertise prices, call 805 934-9777, or send an email to or go online at

The Mooney Aerospace Group is claiming victory in its effort to revive the almost-defunct GA icon. CEO Nelson Happy said in a statement that in the first six months of the year the company finished and sold eight planes that had already been started before Mooney went bankrupt in 2001. With the addition of $1.35 million in parts and service, revenue for the first half of the year totaled $4.5 million. Happy said there is now an order backlog of 13 worth $5.4 million but it's not clear how many will be all-new aircraft. More...

Seeing is believing and the dust raised by wingtip vortices is giving them away in a unique test at Denver International Airport. NASA and the FAA want to try predicting wake turbulence by listening for the wind it creates. The Wake Turbulence Research Program (WTRP) has installed a series of microphones at DEN and hopes to be able identify and characterize vortices (and hence their potential danger to following traffic) by collecting their sound signatures in varying conditions. But first they have to know what they're hearing and that's where something called the WindTracer Doppler Lidar comes in. More...

DIAMOND CONTINUES ONGOING COMMITMENT TO FLIGHT TRAINING Diamond Aircraft presented Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a $20,000 donation for their scholarship fund. Embry-Riddle has purchased ten DA40 Diamond Stars for their innovative Commercial Aviation Training Program (CAPT) in Daytona Beach, and 35 DA20-C1s for the USAF Academy Introductory Flight Training Program in Colorado Springs. The complete line of Diamond Aircraft is available through Diamond Regional Distribution Centers. For further information, or for the distributor near you, call 1-888-359-3220 and mention this AVflash or go to

What's louder than an F-16 in full burner? Well, besides an F-14, it's the collective voices of Melbourne (Fla.) International Airport neighbors protesting a military flight school next door. Residents near the airport shouted out Aerogroup Inc.'s operation at Melbourne saying the training provided F-16 pilots of the Royal Netherlands Air Force was too noisy and dangerous. There is some question about who was actually in danger, however. "We're still getting death threats over the phone," Aerogroup CEO Mark Daniels told Florida Today. The Dutch military apparently decided not to risk an escalation of the fight and cancelled a second training session. More...

Landing gear from crash-landed Airbus to get museum spot...
Australia's new air regs helped manufacturers compete on world market...
UAVs will help ensure a healthy wine harvest...
Fire operations closed B.C. airport to GA...
American military aircraft performed over Moscow Air Show...
Wings and Wheels event failed to attract crowds. More...

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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

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As the Beacon Turns #67: Mr. Herrick's Great Adventure
After many decades, the National Air Tour is in the air again. Two dozen vintage airplanes will caravan around the country, landing at airports small enough that visitors don't have to watch from outside chain-link fences. AVweb's Michael Maya Charles has a preview in this month's column.

Aviation's Ambassadors
All pilots are ambassadors for aviation, whether you want to be or not. How you treat non-pilots and aviation novices will have a big effect on whether you will get much support when someone wants to close your airport or put more restrictions on your flying.

ATTENTION CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS! Membership in the Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) affords you access to EXPERTS who answer all your questions, SEMINARS on everything from rigging to maintenance, and a MAGAZINE and E-NEWSLETTER with exceptional information. If you care about flying and maintaining your Cessna go online for more information at

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

Reader mail this week about prop strikes, navel gazing at the FAA, contract towers and more.

Short Final...

Overheard on tower frequency at El Monte, Ca. airport, several years ago...

Tower: "Cessna Nxxxx, say your location."

Cessna Nxxxx: "I'm over here!"

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VANTAGE AND SPIRIT AIRCRAFT PROPERTIES BEING SOLD Visionaire Corporation's intellectual properties: 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 for the Vantage and Spirit aircraft, are being sold. 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 or Janice R. Valdez at 314 721-7011; or Michael Yeager at 314 447-3200.

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