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With the U.S. presidential election less than two weeks away, AOPA has released the answers it received from candidates John McCain and Barack Obama on topics of interest to general aviation pilots
and aircraft owners. AOPA has not endorsed either candidate, but asked about a range of issues including user fees, the next FAA administrator, airports, ATC privatization, and more. Senator McCain, a
former naval aviator and former chair of the Senate's aviation subcommittee, can cite more experience with aviation issues. Senator Obama notes that GA accounts for over a million jobs in the U.S. and
says he would "engage the general aviation community in the FAA decision-making process." As for user fees, Senator McCain doesn't express any vested interest in any particular funding system, but
says it is critical for some kind of system to be put in place as soon as possible. "I fear that it will be very difficult to adequately fund the FAA while the aviation community is in a civil war
over funding," he told AOPA. Senator Obama said simply, "I believe we must continue to use an appropriate mixture of reasonable taxes and fees to fund the FAA." To read the full text of the
candidates' response to AOPA, click here.
Two days after the Nov. 4 election, AOPA will host a discussion at AOPA Expo, in San Jose, Calif., among several Washington, D.C., aviation
insiders about what the results mean for GA. Also, since laws get made in Congress, those races are also of interest for general aviation. AOPA has posted a list of its allies in the House and Senate who are up for re-election this year.
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The FAA wants to change the way air traffic controllers are trained, dividing the job into two specialties for working in either a tower or a radar center. Most controllers currently are trained in
both functions. John Wallin, president of the controllers' union local in Memphis, told The
Associated Press that cross-training is important for effective coordination when both facilities work together. "Controllers who work in the tower will no longer have the experience that radar
controllers have and that could lead to a disaster because they're not going to know what each other is doing," Wallin said. But the FAA says it is simply more efficient to train workers for just one
job. "It's simply focusing their training to do precisely what they're going to be doing," FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto told the AP. The union also said the changes would mean a cut in controller
salaries and would limit staffing flexibility, especially in emergencies. At the nation's largest airports, the two controller functions already are separate, but Wallin said most of those controllers
have already worked at smaller facilities where they got experience in both the tower and the radar center.
U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), chairman of the House subcommittee on aviation, told the AP that any move by the FAA to lessen certification requirements for controllers would draw a
Unmanned aerial vehicles are becoming more vital all the time to military operations, and as their capabilities develop, demand for trained pilots is expanding. "[UAV] missions are no longer support
operations, they are the operations," USAF Col. Scott Murray told Defense News recently. The Air Force is working on a report, to be released in December, that will lay out plans for UAV development
through 2047, according to Defense News. Meanwhile, the Air Force will start next year for the first time to
train UAV pilots who will not have any actual flight experience. The training will be a "beta test," according to Aviation.com, but if it is successful, the Air Force hopes to create a separate
training track specifically for UAV operators, rather than choosing trainees from the pilot pool. "Fully half of the aircraft that the Air Force will be buying in the future are going be unmanned,"
Col. Curt Sheldon told Aviation.com. "Getting in early is not a bad thing."
Also this week, the U.S. Special Operations Command said it expects to take delivery of the first of 10
new A160T Hummingbird UAV helicopters by the end of this year. This new vehicle, which was under development for a decade, weighs three tons and can fly up to 30,000 feet and stay aloft for over 18
hours at a time. As the capabilities of UAVs continue to evolve, it seems inevitable that pressure will increase to expand their use in civilian airspace.
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Owners of Thielert aircraft engines who have been impacted by the company's bankruptcy proceedings now can expect some relief, the company said on Monday. Bruno Kubler, insolvency administrator for Thielert Aircraft Engines, said owners of the Centurion 1.7 and Centurion 2.0 engines can expect lower costs thanks to the development of a new fuel
feed pump, which will extend the maintenance intervals from 300 to 600 flying hours, and the lowering of costs for transmission inspections by about half. Inspection costs for the clutch of the
Centurion 1.7 also have been lowered, Kubler said. However, clutches and transmissions still will have to be replaced after 300 flying hours, the company said, adding that "an increase up to 600
flying hours is not yet possible for safety reasons." The statement adds that "concerted efforts to extend the life span of these components continue to be carried out with absolute priority."
The changes will lower operating costs by about 8 euro ($11) per hour for the 2.0 and about 10 euro ($13) per hour for the 1.7, the company said.
The first Hawker 4000 corporate jet that was delivered to a customer has been seized by federal
investigators in connection with a tax-evasion scheme, according to reports this week in the Associated
Press and the Wichita Eagle. Gary Hall, a Kansas businessman, took delivery of the $21-million Hawker bizjet in a ceremony
at the Beechcraft company in Wichita in June. He and seven others have been charged with scheming to avoid paying $25 million in taxes on cigarettes. Hall's lawyer Dan Monnat said the federal charges
involve the complex structure of cigarette taxes in the state of Oklahoma. "Gary Hall is a well-respected businessman and philanthropist," Monnat said. "He vigorously asserts his innocence of these
accusations and welcomes a jury trial that will make that clear." As for the fate of the Hawker: "If he's acquitted, he'll get his plane back," Jim Cross, a spokesman for the Kansas U.S. Attorney's
office, told the Eagle.
Hall owned and controlled several businesses, including some that deal with wholesale tobacco. Prosecutors allege that companies controlled by Hall and the other defendants improperly stamped some
of the cigarettes for sale, avoiding taxes. They carried out the scheme through a variety of means, including communications by Internet and fax and money wire transfers, according to the
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Classified British documents from 1957 that were released this week reveal that a U.S. fighter pilot flying from an English air base
was ordered to open fire on a massive unidentified object that had lit up his radar screen. Retired pilot Milton Torres, of Miami, is not named in the documents but has long maintained that the
incident took place. Torres was flying an F-86D Sabre and was told to fire all 24 of his rockets at a mysterious object visible on radar above the North Sea. It was moving erratically and was almost
the size of an aircraft carrier, according to the documents. It appears to be the only time that a military aircraft has been ordered to fire on a UFO. "It was an amazing night, and I never thought
the truth would be told," Torres said. "But I still don't know what it was." He told Sun Media that he
believes the unknown aircraft -- which he saw only as a radar blip -- was a spaceship. "I don't believe it was of this Earth," he said. "It moved faster than anything we were capable of." As he closed
in on the blip's location, it vanished from his instruments, he said.
Torres approached the UFO with most of his lights off, checking his instruments with a flashlight. His view was obscured by clouds and he never saw the aircraft. He felt as if he was about to
strike the first blow in a war, he told Sun Media.
Two single-engine Cessnas collided in midair above Colorado on Wednesday, both landed
safely and nobody was hurt...
The NTSB has published an update on the South Carolina Lear jet crash that killed four and injured two
Charley Fox, a legendary WWII fighter pilot from Canada who flew a Spitfire in Europe, died last week at age 88...
The popular Copperstate fly-in runs Thursday through Sunday this week in Casa Grande, Arizona...
The largest airship in the world, the Airship Ventures Zeppelin, has successfully been shipped from Germany to Texas and will now fly cross-country to San Francisco...
Atlantic Monthly reporter Jeffrey Goldberg tried, without success, to arouse the suspicion of the Transportation
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It wasn't that long ago that the waiting time for an Eclipse 500 was measured in years, but chances are you could have one in a few days if you don't mind a blue stripe down the side. Eclipse Aviation
is holding a dispersal sale of the 28 aircraft returned by DayJet when the incipient air taxi operator ceased operations in
September. Eclipse spokeswoman Alana McCarraher told AVweb the aircraft, which have between 150 and 450 cycles on them, are being sold "as is," which, as it turns out, is quite variable. The
aircraft come in a variety of configurations, but none of them has flight into known icing or the latest Avio NG 1.5 avionics package.
McCarraher declined to release prices for the aircraft, saying each will be priced individually based on equipment and use. All the aircraft have some factory warranty left and all have been
maintained by Eclipse and DayJet. DayJet closed its doors Sept. 20, citing an inability to get financing for expansion. CEO Ed Iaccobucci insisted the per-seat business model was working but without
the capital it couldn't be taken to the level needed for efficient, profitable operation.
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/.
We've all heard how difficult it is to get new people involved in aviation, and at this year's NBAA Convention AVweb Editor-in-Chief saw how easy it can be to spark an interest in aviation
and why it doesn't always work out. Russ shares his tale (and that of Dan-the-possible-pilot-in-waiting) in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.
Precise Flight: Hidden in Plain Sight
With design capabilities as varied as the number of aircraft models available, it's easy to find at least one device manufactured by Precise Flight in the cabin, cockpit, or body of any
aircraft on the market. In fact, integration is a key characteristic of Precise Flight's operating code.
A full 52% of readers who took time to participate in our poll told us this was the tip of the iceberg for regulations that will kill GA as we know it. At the other end of the
spectrum, on only five of you (!) called it a reasonable rule. (Although another 17 readers called it mostly reasonable.)
For a complete (real-time) breakdown of reader responses, click here. (You may be asked to register and answer if you haven't already participated in this poll.)
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.
Tired of High Fuel Costs? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run
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AVweb reader Skip Weld has been there twice and found them to be an outstanding FBO on both visits, going "far beyond what a normal good staff would do":
They have offered to stay late or open after hours ... [even] offering me the code for the pilots room so I could wait out bad weather in comfort. When I was too tired to fight bad weather, they made
sure I got into a reasonably priced hotel at a good price, made sure I knew where to eat, and picked me up the next morning and brought me to the airport. All because I filled up with fairly-priced
self-serve gas. (They also have full serve.) It is clean and neat [and] doesn't have gold-colored fixtures in the bathroom! ... I will be back every time I am going to the Homestead race track.
In case you missed any of our videos from the 2008 NBAA Convention & Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, you can watch all eight of them (plus two shorts you may find interesting) right
here. Just use the arrows at the right and left sides of the player to choose your video.
Go Green with Diamond: $1.99 Fuel
Buy a DA40 XLS between October 1 and November 30, 2008 and take delivery of your plane by December 31, and the Diamond team will buy down your fuel cost to $1.99 per gallon for the first
200 hours or 18 months, whichever comes first. The DA40 XLS is the savvy and responsible choice in this day and age of high fuel prices.
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Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured on
AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week." Want to see your photo on
AVweb.com? Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.
We love a photo that can stir up multiple reactions, and this week's top shot, from Kasi Reames of Aurora, Illinois, does just that. By turns
warm, isolated, eerie, and radiant, we're settling on the singular adjective evocative to label Kasi's photo taken at a Southwest Airlines waiting room at
Kansas City International Airport.
So That's Why I Got the "Ruff Weather" Report from Unicom!
God bless Timothy O'Connor of Batavia, Ohio. In addition to sending us awesome photos from his airplane adventures, he loves a bad pun almost as
much as we do.
Since Mr. O'C raved about it in his comments, we'd be remiss if we didn't point out that the setting here is Decatur FBO at Pryor Field Regional Airport in Illinois. Apparently
they've got some radio-controlled helicopter action to help pass the time while you wait ... .
Yep, that's the Fry's Electronics 747SP leading a formation of the Patriots Jet Demonstration Team at this month's Miramar Air Show. Jim Bryant of
Los Angeles, California caught the shot (and supplies us with a new desktop wallpaper image here at "POTW" world headquarters).
With the cost of aviation fuel being sky high, one of my favorite pastimes is flying sailplanes. Here is a picture taken from a Blanik L-23 glider over Northern Illinois October 18. ... Notice that
the VSI indicates a rate of climb at over 400 FPM without the aid of an engine. Several flights over three hours in length were made this day. It was one of the most perfect fall soaring days I can
We got more "first flight" photos than usual this week and it was a pleasant surprise! (Aviation outreach has been on our mind lately.) This one comes from David Murphy of Boylston,
Massachusetts, who writes:
This kiddo's dream is to be an Alaskan Bush Pilot. When I was asked if I would take him for his first GA flight, I jumped at the chance.
Thumbs-up back to you, guys!
You, uh, did tell him to sign up for all those great, no-cost AVweb newsletters, right, David?
Want to see more reader-submitted photos? O.K., we guess you've got some time before those reports are due, so we'll help you goof off a little longer. Cruise on over to AVweb's home page and scroll down to the slideshow to see all the "POTW" entries we couldn't squeeze in here.
A quick note for submitters: If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of
seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too. ;)
A Reminder About Copyrights:
Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to
release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an e-mail.
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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors 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.