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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.
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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.
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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
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.
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.
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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.
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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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 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.
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
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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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Sensenich: Right on the Nose ... Again!
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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.
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
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.
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:
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."
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.)
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
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.
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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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:
"Any chance it'll change soon?"
Tower (after a brief pause):
"Yeah, maybe August."
"I don't think we've got that much reserve fuel."
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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:
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Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
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Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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