AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 36a

September 1, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Cessna Caravan
Introducing the perfect union of brains and brawn. With more than 10 million fleet hours under its heavy-lifting wings, the Cessna Caravan now has brains to match. The standard Garmin G1000® glass cockpit combined with the WAAS-certified GFC700 automated flight control system integrates all primary flight, engine and sensor data to provide intuitive, at-a-glance situational awareness and precise flight guidance and control. For complete information, go online.
Top News: Hurricane Watch in the U.S. back to top 

CAP Preparing For Gustav, Maybe Hanna

Civil Air Patrol members spent the weekend making preparations both to safeguard their assets and to respond to those in need after Hurricane Gustav makes landfall. And forecasters are now tracking Tropical Storm Hanna, which they say may follow Gustave to New Orleans. Both Southeast and Southwest wings of CAP were Friday ordered to initiate communications checks and update alert rosters, plus aircraft resource lists. CAP wings in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama were busy Friday relocating aircraft and vehicles, with Alabama organizing aircrew, ground crew and urban direction-finding teams from those members available for "a one- or two-week tour" (if necessary) following the storm's landfall. CAP currently includes some 56,000 volunteer members nationwide and performs "90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center." CAP is promoting National Preparedness Month (September) and the Ready Campaign Web site, Ready.gov.

Insurer AIG recently made proactive changes to its coverage in an effort to encourage aircraft owners to move their aircraft out of the path of powerful storms.

Fly With Bose® Aviation Headset X™
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Flybuddy on the Fritz? You're Not Alone ... back to top 

Garmin Working On Fix For Older Flybuddy Models

Garmin Model 819 and Model 820 Flybuddy GPS units "stopped working" on or about Aug. 16, according to e-mails received by AVweb from users of those products. Thursday, AVweb contacted Garmin for comment and Friday, Garmin responded with Service Advisory No. 0835 (PDF), which clearly states that the affected units "cannot recover normal operation on their own." Applicable to all Flybuddy GPS Model 2001/2101 GPS owners, Garmin's service advisory differentiates affected models by sensor, stating that "model 2001/2101 Systems with TSO-C129 GPS sensors are not affected." The affected units use GPS sensors purchased from a third-party supplier and Garmin is working with that supplier toward a solution. Garmin hopes to have "a reasonably priced upgrade program" in place as soon as possible.

Garmin's description of the problem states that almanac data stored in the third-party receivers "has reached the end of the programmed GPS week," and that "this has resulted in an interruption of service or degradation of the operation of these legacy Garmin AT products." Affected products may show incorrect dates, fail to provide a fix or provide a 2-D fix only, or offer only brief periods of 3-D fix -- or any combination of those symptoms. "Some units may show the incorrect date but appear to operate normally otherwise," according to Garmin.

Smart Safety ... Leave Anxiety Out of Your Flight Plan
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Aviation Law back to top 

Eclipse Sued For Deposit Refund

A British buyer of an Eclipse 500 very light jet is reportedly suing the jet maker, claiming the order has been cancelled, but that a $180,0000 refund is past due, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Attorney Robert Sutphin is suing Eclipse on behalf of London-based Ice Blue Air, which signed on in July of 2006 to purchase a $1.5 million Eclipse 500. Meanwhile, Eclipse says, through its attorney David Thuma, that the buyer is not entitled to a refund of the deposit per the purchase agreement. The company has also said that refunds will be delayed until its next round of financing is in place, possibly as late as the end of the year.

Since Ice Blue placed its order, Eclipse has raised the price of the aircraft to $2.15 million, according to the lawsuit, which claims the purchase agreement allows for cancellation and a full refund in the event that the jet's final price is raised. Sutphin claims the refund was due on Aug. 1, and filed the lawsuit on Aug. 5. He also says that since filing the claim, he's heard from other buyers.

An earlier lawsuit filed against Eclipse disputes billing for an aircraft scheduled for delivery in October, but the Journal speculates that Stuphin's suit may be the first of its kind. Eclipse had been building about three aircraft per day prior to its recent layoff of about 650 of its roughly 1750 employees.

Judge: Pilot Gets No Compensation For FAA Rights Violation

A federal judge has ruled that a pilot whose health status was shared by federal agencies cannot sue the government for violating his rights because he did not prove he was harmed financially. The FAA and Social Security Administration shared medical records and personal information on the pilot in 2005 as part of "Operation Safe Pilot." That FAA investigation examined the records of some 45,000 pilots in Northern California, comparing pilot certificates against records of disability benefits. The investigation ultimately led to charges against 40 pilots -- each of whom allegedly defrauded the government with regard to his or her medical status. In this specific case, as a result of the information sharing, the pilot who later brought the lawsuit was charged with three felonies of making false statements to the government and his certificate was revoked. His certificate was reinstated once his medical records were reviewed, but not until after he was made the subject of a disparagingly titled news segment.

While the federal Privacy Act protects individuals from such information sharing, the judge in this case dismissed the pilot's claim for damages, saying the Privacy Act requires proof of economic loss and the pilot's claim was restricted to emotional trauma. The pilot will be appealing the judge's ruling.

When Is the Last Time You Reviewed Your Estate Plan?
Estate tax reform is a hot button issue in Washington. The federal estate tax may change significantly. What can you do to move ahead on your estate plan? Review your existing plan now — especially if you haven't done so within the past year. Pilot Insurance Center's combination of insurance expertise and aviation underwriting can help provide the most competitive products for your estate-planning needs. To schedule an estate-planning review, call PIC at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
The Airspace of Tomorrow back to top 

FAA Updating Flight Planning Computer

The National Airspace Data Interchange Network (NADIN), which failed Tuesday at a Georgia facility causing at least 646 flight delays, is scheduled for an update to be installed by year-end. Hank Krakowski, COO of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, said Wednesday an improved version with vastly higher memory will offer noticeable improvements before November, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Our exposure to this will be much reduced," said Krakowski. Tuesday's failure on the distribution side that sends flight plans out to other FAA facilities where controllers use them to clear aircraft for departure was the first of its kind, according to Krakowski. The Journal points out that a separate ($2.4 billion) system meant to provide redundancy for communication has failed both before and after upgrades (specifically at Memphis last September, where 550 flights were delayed when voice data and radar were lost for three hours). The failures are not sitting well with the air traffic controllers union.

"We continue to lose confidence in the reliability of the equipment we are tasked to use to keep the system safe and efficient," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told MSNBC. When computers failed Tuesday, controllers were tasked with making radio calls to pilots to acquire the flight-plan information, type it into computers and send the information along. Church said those kinds of data-entry and processing demands distract from controllers' focus on directing air traffic.

AOPA Pushes WAAS As FAA Targets VOR Retirements

The FAA plans to reduce VOR coverage beginning in 2010, according to AOPA, in spite of AOPA's urging against the reduction -- particularly if widespread implementation of WAAS is not part of the plan. The association argues that FAA regulations require pilots flying with non-WAAS GPS to also carry a "primary navigation system" and AOPA says that for general aviation "the primary system available for regulatory compliance is VOR." AOPA's concern stems in part from estimates that WAAS-equipped GA aircraft make up only about 15 percent of the general aviation fleet. In a letter to the FAA dated May 23, AOPA urged the FAA to more universally implement wide area and required navigation performance systems to boost user confidence and ensure "that all IFR flights can be conducted from takeoff to touchdown with an IFR GPS, regardless of the airports involved." Until GPS-equipped aircraft are allowed to fly direct, instead of point to point via VORs, AOPA argues a "reduction in the VOR network would be premature."

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News Briefs back to top 

Boeing's Contract Offer, Machinists' Potential Strike

Boeing's goals of building 160 aircraft and flying its 787 Dreamliner for the first time before year-end may have hit a snag when the company upset the Machinists union by the way it offered workers an 11-percent raise in base pay. The plane-maker apparently held one-on-one meetings between managers and machinists to lay out its offer, bypassing union leaders and prompting those leaders to file unfair labor charges against the company. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers also rejected Boeing's offer and may follow up with a strike that could begin as early as Sept. 4, further delaying the long-awaited Dreamliner. As the workers' contract came to an end, Boeing began posting online its proposal. That "openness" may now lead to a work stoppage that could cost the company an estimated $3 billion per month.

Reports last week had the company and union in familiar negotiation form -- the company feels its offer is fair and the union feels the company is not listening and knows what it needs to do to reach an agreement. We'll see.

Sikorsky Tests Fly-By-Wire Helicopter

Sikorsky last week announced that its upgraded UH-60M Black Hawk, which could become the first fly-by-wire (FBW) helicopter for the U.S. army, has begun flight testing. The digital triple-redundant FBW system involves dual-channel flight control computers and actuators as well as active control sticks. It eliminates mechanical control linkages, saving weight and reducing maintenance requirements, lowering pilot workload and increasing the aircraft's handling qualities, according to Sikorsky. "The UH-60M Upgrade will reduce pilot workload, increase lift, offer better protection and enhance survivability," said Sikorsky president Jeffrey Pino. The entire system is coupled with a Rockwell Collins glass cockpit suite and upgraded engines with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). The first flight took place at West Palm Beach, Fla., and tested forward flight as well as hovers and hover turns over the course of about an hour. The Army hopes to one day operate more than 900 of the new fly-by-wire Black Hawks following first deliveries currently scheduled for late 2010.

On the Fly ...

A woman escaped serious injury when she fled from her parked car just before a Cessna 172 crashed into it. The aircraft was apparently trying to go around at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank when it hit power lines and crashed into the car, injuring all three on the plane. The woman saw it coming and got out, falling and scraping her knees ...

East Midlands Airport in England had to close 1,400 feet of runway when operators of a nearby racetrack allowed a large midway ride to be erected in the flight path. The closure was lifted just before two incoming cargo flights were cancelled because of the reduced runway length ...

The Department of Transportation suspended the public auction of two slots into Newark Airport Thursday, saying it wants to study the various legal arguments against the controversial idea. Airlines are generally against the idea as is the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.

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.
Reader Voices back to top 

AVmail: Sep. 1, 2008

Reader mail this week about the TSA attacking airplanes, the cost of an F-35 and an ADS-B, and lots of letters about flying Experimentals in congested areas.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

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.

Sensenich: Right on the Nose ... Again!
For more than 75 years, Sensenich has been the industry's fixed-pitch prop leader. No surprise Sensenich leads the way again with new composite propellers for light sport and homebuilt aircraft. Proven on 5,000 airboats over the last eight years, plus Rotax- and Jabiru-powered planes, the new lightweight, precision composite props are now available for Continental- and Lycoming-powered planes. Call (717) 569-0435, or click here to learn more.
New on AVweb back to top 

Panel Replacements: Metal vs. Overlay

If you're sinking $30,000 into new avionics, that old, cracked, Royalite panel has got to go. Here's a look at some options. FAA approval may be the tricky part.

Click here for the full story.

Probable Cause #63: Stick To The Procedure

Instrument currency is more than simply controlling the aircraft in the clouds. Currency also means making the right decisions when weather goes sour.

Click here for the full story.

AVweb Insider Blog: Hurricane Flyouts — Why It's Not Easy

In Florida, you never know quite where the storm will go, but you can still make sensible evacuation decisions. Oh, and if you think you're subsidizing the sunny Florida lifestyle with your insurance rates, you need to read Paul Bertorelli's latest blog on this topic at the AVweb Insider.

Read more.

What Are the Advantages of Working with an Aviation Insurance Broker?
An aviation broker gives you a choice of coverage and pricing options offered by numerous insurance companies. Today's policies offer more enhancements and features, including coverage for handheld avionics, automatic increase in insured value, trip interruption, and more. The AOPA Insurance Agency can help you select the features that best meet your unique insurance needs. Call for a complimentary quote at (800) 622-2672, or go online.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Santa Monica Airport Director Bob Trimborn Checks In with AVweb

File Size 9.5 MB / Running Time 10:21

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

A legal dispute between the FAA and Santa Monica Airport continues to simmer before the courts about the city's intention to ban Class C and D jets from the facility. We heard from Airport Association spokesman Barry Schiff a few months ago, and now AVweb's Russ Niles has spoken with Airport Director Bob Trimborn, who says that, all conspiracy theories aside, this is really about safety.

Click here to listen. (9.5 MB, 10:21)

Video of the Week: 747 Acrobatic Aerosur Low Pass Over Portugal 2007

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

We try to spend as much time as possible surfing the web for aviation-related content, but some days we think AVweb reader Robert Reid may have us beat. Robert's usually the first person to e-mail us links to flying videos buried deep in the bowels of YouTube and other user-driven aviation communities, and this week we feature one of his recommendations as our "Video of the Week." Although the airplane featured here is a real 747 (an acrobatic Aerosur) performing a low pass during last year's Portugal Air Show, your brain can easily mistake it for a prop of some sort, watching its low, slow glide for the crowd:

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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."

AVweb's AirVenture 2008 Video Round-Up

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

This year at EAA AirVenture we brought you fourteen video reports over the course of seven days. We realize the news was flying fast and furious during the show, so just in case you missed any of our reports, you can catch them all here. (The main frame contains all of our videos, or you can click over to a particular video if one interests you more than the others.)

Editors' Preview


Rocket Racers

Contest Winner


Bobby Sturgell

ChallengeAir Auction

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Sean Tucker


Martin Jet Pack



ATC Tower


"A Celebration"
Celebrating their 45th anniversary this September, the National Championship Air Races are the last head-to-head air racing event left on Earth and are the favorite among aviation enthusiasts, worldwide. The event features six high-speed racing classes and a static aircraft show, and this year the USAF Thunderbirds and F-22 Demonstration Team will highlight a fleet of world-class aviation demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races or to purchase tickets, call (775) 972-6633, or visit AirRace.org.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Stout Flying Service (KLWS, Lewiston, ID)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Stout Flying Service at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (KLWS) in Lewiston, Idaho.

AVweb reader Steve Cronje gave the FBO "a big thumbs up" for going above-and-beyond to correct an honest mistake. While visiting the FBO, Steve received a fuel bill that he thought was a little high, and after returning home, he began to wonder if the lineman had overcharged him or if (perhaps more worrisome) someone had breached security and stolen a bit of his fuel. Here's the rest of the story, in Steve's own words:

Imagine my pleasure when I received an unprompted letter from Stout Flying Services today. It apologized for accidentally overcharging us for 40 gallons of fuel when we refueled. Apparently, the fuel meter had not been reset properly, and the lineman, who was new, did not notice it. (It was early in the morning and he was the only one around.) They had corrected the accounting with the credit card company and included transaction receipts for our records!

It is great to find a company that puts honesty and integrity above the bottom line in the world of today. There was no need for the Stouts to do anything other than nothing — yet they went to the trouble of tracking us down and putting the matter right.

I hope that Stout Flying Service wins the "FBO of the Week" award for putting principles before the bottom line. Our family, for one, will be certain to use their services again and hopefully this nomination encourages others to do the same.

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!

AVweb Bookstore Features Downloadable Jeppesen Training Manuals
AVweb Bookstore offers Jeppesen (and other) maintenance and pilot training manuals in e-book and book format, letting customers choose how to receive content. E-book advantages including complete search ability, no-cost and instant delivery, and storing hundreds of volumes on a laptop or mobile device. Attention, international customers — no import taxes or fees! For a complete list, call (800) 780-4115 or go online.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on a scanner recently at St. John's International Airport (CYYT):

An inbound commercial flight was getting the bad news from the tower that conditions for the active runway were 200 feet and 1/4 mile in heavy fog. Controller and aircraft discussed alternatives for a few minutes before the pilot, knowing his passengers were going to be disappointed by a diversion, asked the tower wistfully:

Commercial Pilot:
"Any chance it'll change soon?"

Tower (after a brief pause):
"Yeah, maybe August."

Commercial Pilot:
"I don't think we've got that much reserve fuel."

Gary Hebbard
via e-mail

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
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

Scott Simmons

Mariano Rosales
Jeff van West

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.