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Volume 14, Number 38b
September 18, 2008
Win a Brand-New Ford Mustang GT Convertible!!!
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Top News: Eclipse 500 Hearings on Capitol Hillback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

A congressional committee on Wednesday heard a litany of concerns about the FAA's oversight of the certification of the Eclipse very light jet, including a report that the FAA okayed the jet for a single pilot even though the FAA's Flight Standardization Board had determined that the aircraft required a two-pilot crew. The House Aviation Subcommittee heard from Calvin Scovel, the Inspector General for the Transportation Department, who said his investigation showed that FAA employees were given "marching orders" by management and a target date was set for the jet's certification. "It was a calendar-driven process ... with a predetermined outcome," he said. He added that FAA Administrator Robert Sturgell told him that the FAA, which recently completed a "special review" of the E500's type certificate, will also review the production certificate. When asked by U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, of North Carolina, if the Eclipse jet is a safe airplane to fly, Scovel responded, "My office has no evidence that it is unsafe." Scovel later said that given the information that was available to the FAA on Sept. 30, 2006, when it awarded the type certificate, "a reasonable decision would have been to defer the granting of the type certificate."

The hearing lasted more than five hours and heard from witnesses on all sides of the issue. Be sure to click through to read AVweb Contributing Editor Mary Grady's complete story on the proceedings, including these highlights:

  • numerous squawks flagged during certification flights, many of them serious
  • testimony that FAA certification staff were pressured into certifying the aircraft
  • allegations that performance bonuses for FAA managers figured in the pressure to certify the aircraft
  • testimony from senior Eclipse executive Peg Billson that the FAA test pilots were flying "an immature aircraft"
  • links to all the relevant documents, including the testimony of Nick Sabatini, the FAA's associate administrator for aviation safety.

Introducing AV8OR™ from Bendix/King by Honeywell
The AV8OR is the portable and affordable GPS built specifically for pilots, by a company that knows pilots. With navigation routing, planning and weather information for the aircraft and the automobile, the AV8OR uses aviation software and symbology pilots understand. Its 4.3-inch touch screen is larger and easier to read than competing GPS systems, with an intuitive interface derived from the pilot-friendly, panel-mounted Bendix/King multi-function display systems. For more information, go online.
Eclipse Clarifies Its Positionback to top 

Although the congressional panel that met in Washington on Wednesday said the issue wasn't Eclipse, but the FAA's allegedly inadequate oversight and flawed procedures, Eclipse Aviation has issued a "fact sheet" in response to the inspector general's testimony and other matters that arose at the hearing. The fact sheet, which is posted at an Eclipse Web site called eclipsefacts.com, disputes several statements made by the inspector general. It's not true, Eclipse said, that problems with the jet's tires occurred because they were designed for landings on soft fields. The tire supplier failed to meet durability standards as promised, Eclipse says, and a change in tire type is pending. Also, Eclipse says it's not true that EASA has declined to certify the EA500 to fly in Europe -- that certification is now in the works and is expected within 60 days. Eclipse notes that a statement was made at the hearing that one pilot who flew for Eclipse's largest customer [DayJet, which flies all the jets with two-pilot crews] "lacked the confidence that the aircraft could be operated safely by a single pilot." Eclipse says this is hearsay and "selectively choosing a single pilot to push the agenda of changing the Single Pilot certification of the Eclipse 500." However, the Inspector General's report also states that the FAA Flight Standardization Board determined, prior to FAA certification, that the aircraft required a two-pilot crew. More...

Aircraft Spruce West Holds Annual Super Sale & Fly-In
Join the Aircraft Spruce Team Saturday, September 27, 2008, 7am-3pm in Corona, California. It's that time of year when Aircraft Spruce offers spectacular discounts on their most popular products and a chance for customers to meet vendors. Enjoy seminars by Garmin, Team Nemisis, the FAA, and Aircraft Spruce's Avionics Specialist Ryan Deck. Aircraft will be on display, and hourly raffles will be held. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or visit online.
In the Wake of Hurricane Ikeback to top 

While Hurricane Ike has faded from memory for most of the country, those hit by the storm will think of little else in coming weeks as the cleanup goes on. In the aviation world, nowhere did the storm wreak more havoc than at the Lone Star Flight Museum, in Galveston. As we mentioned in earlier issues, the museum took a direct hit but the scope of the damage wasn't clear until we received these photos from a reader there. As much as eight feet of water filled some of the facilities and priceless aircraft were inundated. More...

General aviation pilots are often frustrated in their efforts to lend a hand with their aircraft after a natural disaster, but Fred Quarles, of Operation Teacup, is welcoming help from willing aircraft owners. Volunteers can expect "No pay, no thanks, hard work, little sleep, and all the alligators you want," Quarles said this week. "The bonus is all the armadillos you want, and expenses are tax deductible." Volunteers can visit his Web site and sign up via e-mail, and Quarles will contact you with flight assignments. Pilots are needed to fly medical evacuation flights into Texas and Louisiana and to take supplies to Haiti and the Bahamas. If volunteers have spare rooms at home, they are welcome to take home a few people and give them a dry place to stay and a few meals till things settle down and they can go home. There are about 40,000 people homeless just in the Houston area, Quarles said. This is a big job and may last for several months. "We will have a party when the work is done," he said. For more information contact Quarles at (434) 220-4880. More...

Trade-A-Plane Features Thousands of Classifieds, Updated Hourly
With thousands of hourly updated Classifieds, a Product & Advertiser Index, Forums, NAAA Evaluator, Performance Database, Spec Sheets, and Aviation Weather, Trade-A-Plane gives you everything that keeps you flying. Order your Trade-A-Plane subscription by calling (800) 337-5263, or go online.
The Latest on Thielertback to top 

The Thielert engine factory in Liechtenstein is continuing to build and deliver diesel engines and spare parts while sorting through various offers from new investors who hopefully will rescue the company from insolvency, company representatives told the media in a conference call from Europe on Tuesday. Asked whether a new owner will honor the warranties that are currently worthless paper in the hands of engine owners, spokesman Christoph Moller said that will be up to the new investors to decide. "We are not authorized to tell the new investors what to do with their company," he said. Gunter Kappler, head of technology at Thielert, said that even if Diamond Aircraft switches to their own Austro diesel engine, as they have said they plan to do, Thielert has enough other customers to keep the company viable. Also, the company is focused now on extending the life of life-limited components from 300 hours to 600 hours, though Moller said he couldn't give a timeline for when that goal would be reached. He also said it would be up to the new investor to figure out the problems associated with a lack of service centers in North America -- engines now must be shipped to the factory in Europe for inspection and repair. And he added that since the factory is still operating and the service center is open, "There is no reason from our side that aircraft are AOG" -- a claim that aircraft owners whose Thielert engines are now up against life limits and no apparently viable options to keep them in the air, are sure to dispute. More...

Aircraft Financing to Fit Your Needs
AirFleet Capital offers a competitive and experienced approach to each and every loan program by focusing exclusively on aircraft financing. AirFleet Capital provides exceptional terms coupled with personal service and a long-term commitment to support the business and shared passion of aviation. From Light Sport Aircraft to VLJs and Business Jets, AirFleet Capital has a loan program to fit your needs. Call an AirFleet Capital financing specialist at (800) 390-4324, or request a quote online.
News Briefsback to top 

The NTSB on Tuesday released a special report identifying several recurring safety issues with parachute jump operations, and recommended improvements in aircraft maintenance and pilot training. The report was prompted by a crash in July 2006 in Missouri, when an engine failed shortly after takeoff in a de Havilland DHC-6-100. The pilot and five parachutists were killed, and two other parachutists were seriously injured. Since 1980, 172 people have died in 32 skydiving-related accidents that had nothing to do with the act of actually jumping from the airplane and deploying the chute. The board found a "pattern of safety deficiencies" in aircraft maintenance, pilot training, and FAA oversight. For example, the board found in its final report on the 2006 accident, released this week, that more parachutists may have survived if better restraints had been used. "This clearly emphasizes the importance of implementing our recommendations designed to increase survivability when an accident does occur," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. More...

Donations cover slow-taxiing pilot's lost pay ...
Spanair flaps didn't deploy, warning didn't work ...
Prince William will fly Apaches. More...

Win This Plane!
Enter AOPA's 2008 Sweepstakes and you could be flying high in a fully refurbished Piper Archer II, accented with a new instrument panel featuring the world's first installed certified EFD1000 PFD. Custom extras include handcrafted leather seats, tie-down rings, nav light retainers, and wood trim accents. Click for more details.
Interact! We Want to Hear Your Voicesback to top 

With so many members of the general aviation community donating their time, skills, money, and resources to the hurricane recovery effort in Texas, we'd like to know how much volunteering you've done. Plus: See what AVweb readers had to say about the state of aviation security in the U.S. seven years after 9/11. More...

There's no such things as cheap gas. Nonetheless, prices vary as much as $3 per gallon from one FBO to another and that's more than $100 on a typical fill-up. Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on how pilots find the best prices on gas. To chime in, e-mail avconsumer@comcast.net.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.) More...

Does Your Aircraft Insurance Provide $5,000.00 in Legal Costs?
When you insure with Avemco®, you get up to $5,000.00 in legal defense costs if the FAA or civil authority takes pilot certificate enforcement action against you for a covered loss or accident. To get your no-cost quote, call Avemco at (888) 241-7891, or click here to visit us online.
New on AVwebback to top 

We go beyond the basics in this article on getting the most out of your digital engine-monitor system. More...

Thielert's insolvency master says it has found investors for the troubled diesel engine maker. AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli doesn't see how they find value in the company, and that's the subject of his latest post to the AVweb Insider Blog. More...

Diamond Aircraft Distributors Offer Tax Advantage Program
September 30th is the deadline to take advantage of up to $300,000 in depreciation opportunities on a new Diamond DA40 XLS. Diamond Aircraft distributors are also offering a $3,000 cash back incentive, to pay for the tax and legal services needed to take advantage of this tax savings opportunity. Go online for full details!
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

The world's most important business aviation event, the National Business Aviation Association's annual convention, is coming up Oct. 6-8 in Orlando and there will be hundreds of product announcements and updates. AVweb will be there with daily coverage of the events, news conferences and announcements that make this show so important but if your company has something more than 100,000 business aviation decision-makers need to know about, we're encouraging you to let us know in advance. That way we can give your news the full attention it deserves and make sure it's released in a timely fashion during our coverage. Don't worry. We'll strictly observe all embargos. Send your advance material to rniles@avweb.com and thanks for your help in making our coverage the most comprehensive available. More...

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. What have you heard? More...

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Galaxy Aviation at KSUA in Stuart, Florida.

AVweb reader Adam Green recommended the FBO:

Enroute VFR and had to divert to Stuart due to weather. Galaxy's line guys were ready to greet us, and promptly helped us out of our Cessna and refueled. Inside, Vanessa and team were as friendly as can be and offered my girlfriend and Milo (the dog) coffee, popcorn, and dog treats. ... They even loaned us a car with a GPS, and gave us a list of local restaurants with directions so we could run out and grab a bite to eat. When we returned, we had a few hours to kill and their HD Satellite televisions in every corner were great entertainment. We even moved into the pilot's lounge where they offered us pillows and blankets, and gave us fresh popcorn to munch on. Thanks, Galaxy; this was a great FBO experience. Can't wait to come back!

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!


Attention, Turboprop Operators! Reserve October 28-30 on Your Calendars
Turboprop Expo 2008, October 28-30 in Scottsdale, AZ, will offer specialized programs including seminar tracks for airframe and turboprop engine topics as well as operational and ownership information. Dr. David Strahle will present his informative and acclaimed seminar: Understanding Nexrad Imagery. Enjoy the relaxing surroundings of a classic resort and network with industry leaders at Turboprop Expo 2008. For more information and to register, visit online.
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Gary Dikkers of Madison, Wisconsin takes some pretty incredible photos as a matter of course — but it's been quite a while since he's found himself at the top of our submission pile, and it's probably time Gary got a new AVweb cap. (We're not 100% sure, but we think the design has changed twice since Gary earned the top spot a copule of years ago.) Featured here, of course, are the amazing AeroShell Aerobatic Team thrilling the crowd at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. More...

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
More AVweb for Your Inboxback to top 

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/. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.

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