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Volume 9, Number 36aSeptember 1, 2003

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The folks in San Diego need a new airport, but where's it going to go? A study group met last week and found objections for every one of the 16 sites proposed -- except military bases, not all of which were really feasible, and the ocean, the Union-Tribune reported. Building runways on the ocean may seem far-fetched, but this is far from the first time it's been suggested. In California, a company called Float Inc. worked on the concept for more than 10 years, with funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Navy, but never tested a prototype. In Japan, a 3,280-foot-long floating runway was built several years ago and test flights were successful, so it seems to be possible at least on a limited basis. More...

In San Diego, the 32 members of the airport study group found obstacles at every site -- immovable mountains, or too many people, or environmental conflicts. They also wanted the airport to be convenient for people to drive to, without being too close to where those people actually live, which sounds great if you can make it work. While they couldn't find anything really objectionable about the ocean site, the trouble is that it's never been done. The Japan project worked, but after testing it was abandoned and the runway was disassembled. A few parts became fishing parks, another is a floating parking lot, and most of it was scrapped. 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

OMF Aircraft says it will offer Ballistic Recovery Systems Inc. (BRS) whole-aircraft emergency parachute systems as a factory-installed option on the two-place Symphony 160 and the diesel Symphony 135-TDI, and as standard equipment on the four-place Symphony 4 now in development. BRS announced it expects to have the necessary Supplemental Type Certificate to offer the chutes on the two-place aircraft for first customer deliveries as soon as December. Certification of the Symphony 4, including the BRS parachute system as a standard equipment, is expected by OMF near the end of 2004 or early 2005. OMF is concurrently developing a diesel version of their two-place aircraft and will offer a BRS parachute system as an option on that model as well. More...

The biggest customer for BRS so far has been Cirrus Design, which was the first manufacturer to include the chutes as a standard feature on all of its aircraft. On Thursday, Cirrus announced that it has built its 1,000th airplane, within four years of its first delivery. That milestone secures the company's place as the fastest-growing GA manufacturer in the industry, Cirrus said. Headquartered in Duluth, Minn., Cirrus now employs more than 800 people, and churns out two airplanes a day. That should increase to three a day within a year, the company said last week. "We have gone from producing nine planes in 1999 to production of 450 planes planned for this year," said David Coleal, chief operating officer. More...

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AVweb told you last week that the little state of Rhode Island had enacted an "emergency regulation" that could slap a 7-percent use tax on transient aircraft ... but despite what the regulation says, that is not what it means, according to a Rhode Island tax official. The regulation is intended only for residents of the state, or businesses based there, who bought their aircraft out of state, and hangar it out of state, but then fly it in Rhode Island (remember, Rhode Island is only about 40 miles across). "The regulation does not apply to non-commercial aircraft purchased by the user while a non-resident of this state ... and thereafter brought into this state," Robert Geruso, R.I. assistant tax administrator, wrote to AOPA. Geruso said the regulation will be rewritten -- and clarified -- next month. More...

The pilot of a Colgan Air Beech 1900 that crashed into the ocean off Cape Cod last Tuesday had declared an emergency and reported a problem with "runaway trim," according to preliminary reports. The pilot tried to return to the airport at Hyannis, Mass., but in less than two minutes hit the water at a 30-degree nose-down attitude, at 250 knots. Both pilots were killed. The NTSB said that during a routine maintenance check at Barnstable Municipal Airport the day before the crash, the airplane's two twin-tab actuators and a forward-elevator trim cable had been replaced. The accident reminded some of another fatal B1900 crash. More...

AEROMEDIX OFFERS NEW 406 MHZ PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON FOR UNDER $500 The ACR 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is on sale for $475 (retail $799). The top-of-the-line Pains-Wessex Fastfind Plus with a built-in GPS is on sale for $895 (retail $1199). Aeromedix also has the ACR GyPSI unit with GPS interface on sale for $599 (retail $899). For these very special AVflash prices while supplies last call 888 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or go online at

Flight tests last Wednesday proved that modifying the shape of an aircraft can reduce the intensity and noise of a sonic boom, Northrop Grumman has announced. The new technology could eventually make it possible for supersonic jets to fly from point to point over land, instead of being restricted to transoceanic hops, like the Concorde ... and to be much uglier. A team from NASA, Northrop Grumman, and the Pentagon flew an F-5E with a modified nose section at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, in California. The test aircraft has a specially shaped "nose glove" and added aluminum substructure and a composite skin on the underside of the fuselage, and has designers dreaming of aircraft that may precipitate reworking the term "sonic boom." More...

Boeing is under scrutiny, and the heat is about to intensify on Wednesday, when a hearing will be held by the Senate Commerce Committee about the planemaker's $21-billion leasing deal with the U.S. Air Force for 100 B767 aerial refueling tankers. A report issued last week by the Congressional Budget Office concluded that "the proposed transaction would essentially be a purchase of the tankers by the federal government but at a cost greater than would be incurred under the normal appropriation and procurement process." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Friday that Boeing may have had improper access to information about Airbus's competing proposal for the tanker deal. Boeing denied that allegation. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a longtime vocal critic of the lease -- which he has termed "corporate welfare" for Boeing -- will preside over the hearing. Boeing has already been in trouble for "industrial espionage" this summer. More...

AT BENNETT AVIONICS THEY DISCOUNT THE PRICE--NOT THEIR SERVICE! Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Find the avionics equipment to meet your aircraft's needs while leaving enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft at a price that makes sense. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics-your one-stop used avionics specialist at

As hard as we try to see signs of a robust economic recovery on the horizon, the news stubbornly continues to be mixed. United Air Lines announced last week that its emergence from bankruptcy protection will likely be delayed until next year at the soonest, instead of later this year as it had hoped. But on the upside, Delta Air Lines announced last week it will recall 250 pilots furloughed in April. Delta will lay off 700 flight attendants this week, but that's not as bad as the 1,050 layoffs originally planned. Airbus and Boeing say they are seeing a renewal of interest from Asian airlines as they put the SARS crisis behind them. Some orders that were put on hold have been reinstated. Does it all add up to better times ahead? We'll have to wait and see. More...

Think how things have changed at your favorite airport since 9/11. Fences where there didn't used to be fences, proplocks, barbed wire, ID cards, and more. Yet last weekend, officials at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, in Grand Rapids, Mich., were shown how easily all of that can be circumvented by a man with a mission. Chad Robert Oliver, 21, was arrested after he allegedly climbed a 10-foot fence and boarded an empty Comair jet parked with its door open and its ladder down at about 3 a.m. on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The suspect took a seat toward the rear of the jet, and was detained by crew members until airport police arrived moments later. His motivation, however, appears to have been (relatively) benign -- he seems to have been trying to get to New York to visit Howard Stern's radio show. More...

Families of victims in Sen. Wellstone's crash settle for $25 million...
Air Force computers allowed sales of banned parts abroad...
About 50 stranded people are living at Moscow's airport...
AirLifeLine and Angel Flight America have merged...
Stratoliner, Dash 80 and Concorde arrive at new NASM Dulles museum. More...

ATTENTION NON-OWNER PILOTS! INSURANCE APPLICATION SIMPLIFIED! Avemco Insurance Company announces the launch of the "Avemco Aviator Series", an initiative created to simplify the process non-owner pilots use to secure insurance protection for rented or borrowed aircraft. By completing a short, one-page enrollment form, applicants can obtain bodily injury, property damage, and aircraft damage liability (hull) insurance tailored to their specific needs. For complete details go to

New Articles and Features on AVweb

CEO of the Cockpit #23: Flight Bag -- Early Retirement
AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit still has a few good years left in the cockpit, but his bag has run out of time. This bag has seen it all -- from the first indoc training with the airline up through two major wars, and all the people and places in between.

A Roll In The Sky With A Navy SNJ
There aren't many opportunities for a low-time pilot to fly one of these famous planes, but with a taildragger endorsement and the right connections, Rob Guglielmetti got to try some aerobatics in this WWII trainer.

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 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.

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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

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

Reader mail this week about presidential protection, Australia's revamped aviation regulations and more.

Control: Continental XXX give me a good rate please through FL100?

Continental XXX: Well sir, we are doing 2000fpm

Controller: Could you make it 3000 fpm?

Continental XXX: No Sir.

Controller: Oh ... do you not have speedbrakes?

Continental: Yes sir, I do, but that is for MY mistakes, not for YOURS! More...

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