AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 43b

October 23, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Zulu Named Aviation Consumer's 2008 ANR Headset of the Year
The Lightspeed Zulu: P (Panel Power) headset raises the bar in performance, comfort, and crystal-clear audio quality, with more total noise cancellation than any other headset — and no batteries needed! The Zulu: P utilizes the same panel-powered LEMO plug used in Bose headsets and comes with built-in Bluetooth for wireless cell phone or music interface. Click for more information.
AOPA Reports on the Presidential Candidates back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Where The Candidates Stand On GA

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.

Whelen Model 71125 LED Recognition Light Available at Aircraft Spruce
The Whelen Model 71125 Series LED Recognition Light is designed to provide supplemental lighting for a wide variety of aircraft applications. Provides all of the advantages of LEDs as a light source — no EMI/RFI, low current draw, low heat, long life, and fits in the palm of your hand. At 3.25" W x 1.96" H x 1.25" D, there's nothing that pushes as much light as the 71125. Call Aircraft Spruce at (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
Questioning the Training Paradigm back to top 

Union Decries FAA Change In Controller Training

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 congressional review.

Future UAV Pilots May Skip Real Flying

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.

Zero-Down Factory Engine Financing! Guaranteed Lowest Price!
Most Knowledgeable Factory Engine Team!

It's no wonder Air Power is the #1 Factory Engine Distributor, with over 27,000 engines sold! To get a quote and see what everyone is talking about, call Air Power at (888) 759-4295, or visit online.

Air Power
The Best Engines, at the Best Prices, by the Best People!
News Briefs back to top 

Thielert Hourly Costs Down Slightly

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.

Hawker 4000 Seized In Cigarette-Tax Case

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 prosecutors.

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.
News Briefs back to top 

U.S. Pilot Fired On UFO During Cold War

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.

On the Fly ...

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 last month...

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 Security Administration.

Avoid Unintentional Stalls and Spins — No-Cost Online Course!
Getting a handle on aerodynamics doesn't have to involve dry textbooks and dense equations. AOPA Air Safety Foundation's no-cost interactive online course, Essential Aerodynamics, provides need-to-know concepts to help you upgrade your aerodynamics skills quickly and easily. Complete this fun, challenging course in less than an hour on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation web site. Click to get started.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Eclipse Selling Off DayJet Fleet

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.

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/.

Piper Matrix — Piper Compelling
Click here for more information on the new Matrix, Piper's next generation of cabin-class sophistication. Compellingly priced at $757,000.
New on AVweb back to top 

The Savvy Aviator #63: Recommended or Required?

Your aircraft is undergoing its annual inspection, and your IA tells you that he has to perform some costly maintenance task because the manufacturer says it's required. But is it really?

Click here for the full story.

Recently, my aircraft management company SAMM was managing the annual inspection of a client's piston-powered, single-engine airplane at a well-known maintenance facility in Texas. The inspection found very little wrong with the airplane, and it looked like the annual would be completed quickly and inexpensively. Then, quite unexpectedly, the IA responsible for the annual went to work for another shop, and a new IA was assigned to take over. Things quickly went downhill after that.

The new IA informed us that he would not be able to sign off the annual unless we agreed to have both TCM/Bendix S-20 magnetos overhauled or replaced, something that would add nearly $2,000 to the cost of the annual and delay its completion by at least a week. He stated that the magnetos were required to be replaced or overhauled because they had been in service for more than 4 years.

We told the IA we saw absolutely no reason to overhaul or replace the magnetos, and would not approve this work. The IA stubbornly refused to sign off the annual unless this work was done. After several back-and-forth iterations, it became obvious that we were at an impasse with the IA.

At that point, we took the only reasonable course of action available to us under the FARs: We directed the IA to sign off the annual with discrepancies, obtained a ferry permit from the local FSDO -- allowing the aircraft to be flown back to its home base -- and then had a local A&P make logbook entries clearing the "non-discrepancy discrepancy" that the IA had recorded, and approving the aircraft for return to service. (The local A&P saw no reason to overhaul or replace the mags either.)

For what it's worth, the TCM/Bendix magnetos on my own Cessna T310R have not been replaced or overhauled for 18 years, and I do not plan to overhaul them until the engines are overhauled. I do regular 500-hour disassembly inspections of the mags and that's all that I consider necessary. Most mechanics would agree with this approach.

What Was the IA Thinking?

In subsequent correspondence with the general manager of the Texas shop (who was the IA's boss) we learned more about why the new IA had decided to take the action he did. The shop manager wrote,

We had an honest difference of interpretation of the maintenance regulations with respect to TCM magneto time/life. Please allow me to outline our view. To be clear, there are two very different TCM magneto inspection and overhaul/replace criteria to be met.

First, there is a 500 hours-of-use inspection. This is commonly done at any full-service maintenance facility, and there has been no debate about this requirement. It is nothing new, and it is common industry practice to perform this inspection at 500-hour intervals. In fact, to complete an annual, any shop must perform this inspection if due. I think anyone in the industry would agree.

Second, there is a relatively new, four years time-in-service or five years since-date-of-manufacture requirement to either overhaul or replace TCM magnetos. This fairly recent change was published by TCM as a revision to SB643B (150 KB Adobe PDF). Our three very experienced and well-respected IAs on staff here have concluded that TCM magnetos must be overhauled or replaced on a four-year time-in-service schedule, and that neither we nor any other maintenance facility has any leeway with respect to this requirement.

The key points in the revised Service Bulletin SB643B are in the first and the last paragraphs. The first paragraph says, "The following information constitutes the manufacturer's Instructions for Continued Airworthiness [emphasis added] ..." While this is a service bulletin and is therefore by definition optional, TCM chose to add the language "Instructions for Continued Airworthiness" or ICA.

This language -- highly unusual for a Service Bulletin -- led to our interpretation that the 4-year/5-year requirement is not optional based on FAR 43.16 "Airworthiness Limitations," which states, "Each person performing an inspection or other maintenance specified in an Airworthiness Limitations section of a manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness shall perform the inspection or other maintenance in accordance with that section ..."

Section 4.C of SB643B then spells out the ICA requirement that "... magnetos must be overhauled or replaced at the expiration of five years since the date of original manufacture or last overhaul, or four years since the date the magneto was placed in service ..."

Our own opinion based on experience is that the four-year overhaul/replace requirement is too aggressive and does very little to enhance the safety of these aircraft. But until we can obtain some written guidance to the contrary, we feel that we have no option but to abide by the regulatory requirement as stated in SB643B.

Why the IA Was Wrong

It is apparent from this correspondence that the IA at the shop in Texas did not arrive at his decision lightly. His position was thoughtful and logical. Unfortunately, it was also wrong.

I decided to write this column because I think it's important for aircraft owners and mechanics alike to understand precisely why the IA was wrong, and why the four-year magneto overhaul/replacement is not required. The same logic used by this IA to conclude that the magnetos had to be replaced is also used by many other mechanics and shops to justify all sorts of other maintenance "requirements" that aren't actually required.

The Texas IA's principal mistake was misunderstanding the meaning of FAR 43.16:

§43.16. Airworthiness Limitations.
Each person performing an inspection or other maintenance specified in an Airworthiness Limitations section of a manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness shall perform the inspection or other maintenance in accordance with that section ...

The critical point that the IA missed is that TCM SB643 (which he is relying upon for authority on the four-/five-year "requirement") does not contain an "Airworthiness Limitations" section. In fact, according to TCM's Loren Lemen (who is the person responsible for writing TCM's maintenance manuals and ICAs), no current TCM maintenance document contains an "Airworthiness Limitations" section. No Lycoming maintenance document has one, either.

Most maintenance manuals for unpressurized piston-powered airplanes do not contain an "Airworthiness Limitations" section. The only ones that do are recently certified Part 23 airplanes like the Cirrus SR2x, Columbia 3/4xx, and Diamond DA-4x -- and for those aircraft, the Airworthiness Limitations section contains just a tiny handful of items, none of them related to magnetos. For instance, the Airworthiness Limitations section of the Cirrus SR22 maintenance manual contains a 10-year parachute repack requirement, a six-year replacement for the parachute-reefing line cutters, and a 15,000-hour life limit on the airframe, and that's about it.

So long as a maintenance manual or ICA does not contain an Airworthiness Limitations section (and most do not), FAR 43.16 does not apply. If it does contain an Airworthiness Limitations section, FAR 43.16 applies only to those items in that section.

The Texas IA also seemed to ignore the fact that TCM SB643 is a manufacturer's service bulletin and therefore ipso facto non-compulsory for a Part 91 operator. I have an official Letter of Interpretation from the FAA Office of General Counsel that states unequivocally that compliance is never required by regulation with any manufacturer's service bulletin -- even if the manufacturer says it is mandatory. Consequently, I'm fairly certain that there's no such thing as a service bulletin that contains an Airworthiness Limitations section -- it would make no sense to have something that is always compulsory embedded in the middle of something that is never compulsory.

Here's the key point that every aircraft owner and mechanic needs to understand: No manufacturer can mandate any maintenance requirement on a Part 91 aircraft owner; only the FAA can do so. The FAA may mandate a maintenance requirement in three different ways:

  1. In the Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for the aircraft, engine or propeller;
  2. In an FAA-approved "Airworthiness Limitations" section of a manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continuing Airworthiness; or
  3. In an Airworthiness Directive.

If a maintenance requirement is not mandated by the FAA in one of these three ways, then it is not required by regulation for a Part 91 operator.

Recommendation vs. Requirement

The manager of the Texas shop also spoke about a 500-hour time-in-service inspection "requirement" for mags. This disassembly inspection is not a regulatory requirement either, only a manufacturer recommendation. It happens to be a good recommendation, and one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I do this 500-hour inspection on my own aircraft and always have it done on the aircraft my company manages, because I believe that it is important to ensure continued reliable operation of the magnetos.

However, I never refer to the 500-hour mag inspection as a "requirement" because it is not. It's simply a recommendation, and a good one. Many operators go far beyond 500 hours without opening up their magnetos for inspection, and while they may be imprudent in doing so, they are not in contravention of any FAA regulation.

Now, it's very likely that the Texas shop works on multiengine turbine aircraft and large aircraft above 12,500 pounds gross weight. The rules for those aircraft are completely different; they are required to be maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's recommended maintenance program. Thus, for such aircraft, a manufacturer's recommendation does become a regulatory requirement.

But small piston or single-engine turbine aircraft are maintained under a far-less-exacting set of rules, the requirements for which are set forth in Part 43 Appendix D. Those aircraft are not required to be maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. For such aircraft, manufacturer's recommendations are only that: recommendations.

When I maintain my own airplane, or advise my clients on how to maintain their aircraft, I suggest following manufacturer's recommendations when they make sense, and to disregard them when they do not make sense. The Texas IA and I seem to agree that arbitrarily replacing or overhauling magnetos every four years does not make sense. The difference is that he believed it was required, while I know it is not.

Methods, Techniques and Practices

Another much misunderstood regulation is FAR 43.13, which states in part:

§43.13 - Performance rules (general).
(a) Each person performing maintenance, alteration, or preventive maintenance on an aircraft, engine, propeller, or appliance shall use the methods, techniques, and practices prescribed in the current manufacturer's maintenance manual or Instructions for Continued Airworthiness prepared by its manufacturer, or other methods, techniques, and practices acceptable to the Administrator, except as noted in §43.16 ...

This regulation is often misinterpreted by mechanics to mean, "If it's in the maintenance manual, then you have to do it." But that's not what it means, at least for Part 91 operators of small piston or single-engine turbine aircraft. The key to understanding FAR 43.13 is the phrase "methods, techniques and practices." That phrase refers to how to do something, not when to do something.

In other words, if the manufacturer's maintenance manual or ICAs tells us to do some maintenance task every 500 hours or four years or 2500 landings (or whatever), that's simply a recommended interval and we (as Part 91 operators) aren't required to comply with those times if we don't want to. However, if we ultimately decide to perform the task at some point, then we are obligated to do it in precisely the fashion spelled out by the manufacturer in the maintenance manual or ICAs. The manufacturer's "how-to" instructions are compulsory, but the manufacturer's "when-to" instructions are not.

For example, suppose the maintenance manual tells us to remove, clean, gap, rotate and reinstall spark plugs every 100 hours. This is merely a recommended interval, and we're not required to do it every 100 hours if we don't want to. However, if the maintenance manual tells us to torque the spark plugs to 330 ±30 inch-pounds, then whenever we decide to do spark-plug maintenance, we are required to install the plugs to the manufacturer-prescribed torque. The 100-hour interval is a "when-to" (and therefore not mandatory), while the 330 ±30 inch-pound torque is a "how-to" (and therefore mandatory).

The exception is that a "when-to" becomes mandatory if it is prescribed in (1) the aircraft, engine or propeller TCDS, (2) an "Airworthiness Limitations" section of the maintenance manual or ICA, or (3) an Airworthiness Directive.


The general manager of the Texas shop was not an A&P or IA himself, so he had relied on his IAs to ensure compliance with FAA regulations. But I found the general manager to be an extremely intelligent, well-educated and thoughtful person. I had him pull out a copy of Part 43 and of TCM SB643 and we walked him through those documents together much as I have done in this column. After reading the regulations and the service bulletin with his own eyes, the general manager agreed that I was right and that his IAs were wrong, and promised to give them a little remedial education in this area.

We've now got another client's airplane undergoing an annual inspection at this same shop, and I don't expect that we'll run into this problem again.

See you next month.

Want to read more from Mike Busch? Check out the rest of his Savvy Aviator columns.
And use this link to send questions to Mike.

// -->

Across the Pond #22: Report from Europe

AVweb's European correspondent Liz Moscrop pays a fond farewell to the Robin and the Kestrel manufacturers and tells why it is vital to speak up in Europe now.

Click here for the full story.

Bad News For British Radio Users

Britain's Office of Communications (OFCOM) is proposing all users of U.K. airspace -- i.e., airports and air-navigation service providers -- should pay an "administrative incentive pricing" charge for using radio spectrum.

According to the Association of European Airlines (AEA) the new pricing scheme is merely "a euphemism for tax" that will add £60 million ($105 million) a year to the U.K. treasury's coffers. AEA also points out that U.K. airlines, airports and general aviation (GA) will become less competitive, since no other governments charge.

OFCOM's response is that it is simply suggesting that aviation and marine sectors be brought in line with other services that use the spectrum, including radio and television. Police and ambulance services are already charged.

It is possible to comment here on the proposed charges until Oct. 30.

Importance Of Speaking Up

IAOPA-Europe reports that Eurocontrol's director general David McMillan has warned that GA must ensure that its "voice really is heard" as European consultations continue on the development phase of the Single European Sky SESAR.

He indicated to IAOPA that the regulators are aware that GA should not be penalized as new airspace regulations are formulated. He said, "I'm conscious that there's a direct link between the levels of equipment that we regulators impose on people and airspace access issues, and we need to find the right balance between the two. It doesn't seem to me that it's in anybody's interest to regulate a level, either in terms of airspace classification or equipage, that prevents GA doing what seem to me to be a very legitimate set of activities. We need to get that balance right."

EASA Extends FCL Discussions Deadline To December

A great place to speak up is via the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Web site. EASA has extended the deadline for responses to some of the most far-reaching discussions to impact GA to December 15, two months later than its original deadline of mid-October. New regulations for flight-crew licensing will attempt to bring all European pilots under the same umbrella, with rules implemented by EASA. The discussions cover the new Leisure pilot license, an overhaul of the IMC rating and medical assessment, among other key issues.

Regional AOPAs are urging their members to log on and respond. AOPA France reports that in the last 18 months 200 French Private pilots obtained an American Instrument rating. The French pilots' group is calling for an Instrument rating "adapted for Private pilots" (much as the IMC rating is available for U.K. Private pilots). The association says that in North America more half of private pilots are qualified to fly on instruments and that proportionally PPLs are safer. On a similar note, Martin Robinson, chief executive of AOPA-U.K., is calling for pilots to complete an online survey on the current IMC.

Germany's AOPA Web site concentrates on the potential pitfalls of over zealous license revalidation. Should a pilot fail an onerous theory test, says AOPA, he or she may abandon flying completely.

EASA says that it has "further extended the consultation period due to the importance of the subject."

The relevant documents NPA 2008-17 a, b and c are available here. Be warned: NPA 2008-17b is 647 pages long (4.5 Mb).

To comment on the new rules go to this page at EASA.

GPS Approach for UK's Shoreham Airport

Pointing the way to a good reason to retain the IMC in the U.K. is the U.K.'s first approved RNAV Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) non-precision approach for GA to use with a GPS. The GPS approach will be introduced at Shoreham Airport.

Details of the approach at Shoreham are included in the U.K. Air Pilot update published on Oct. 9, and the approach will be available to aircraft and crew meeting the necessary requirements starting on Nov. 20.

Richard Taylor, Chairman of the CAA's Communications, Navigation and Surveillance for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Steering Group, said, "The introduction of the GPS approach at Shoreham Airport is a significant development in the on-going project to make GNSS non-precision approaches available to U.K. GA pilots."

Pilots flying the approach must have a current Instrument rating or IMC rating. Taylor added, "Now the first approach has been introduced at Shoreham we hope to see other airfields follow. We would encourage any other airfield meeting the criteria that wishes to add an approach to contact us for assistance and guidance."

Green Taxes?

Elsewhere in Europe the European Commission imposed a new tax on Swedish avgas, equating to around one US$1 per liter for "private pleasure flying." Since personal pleasure flying is only a tiny fraction of the community who use avgas, mountains of extra work are created, as those who are eligible must claim the new tax back. The EC has refused to consider tax reductions for cleaner, lead-free avgas, which is the majority of avgas sold in Sweden.

Ironically, the European Parliament looks set to take a tougher stance on aviation emissions by revamping the European Union emissions trading scheme.

The Environment committee proposes that aviation buy 20 percent of its carbon credits at auction from 2013, gradually increasing to 100 percent in 2020, as well as introducing annual reductions on aviation emissions.

The committee will also try to subject aviation to a 5-percent higher level of auctioning than other sectors. Parliament will vote on the amendments on Dec. 16. Ministers were due to meet at the EU Environment Council on Oct. 20-22 to debate the topic further.

Fight Instructor Training Camp at Egelsbach

AOPA Germany's flight instructor training takes place twice annually alternately in Egelsbach and Braunschweig. This year the course is in Egelsbach on the weekend of Oct. 25-26. The advanced education course fulfills the prerequisites for extension and renewal of CFI Airplane, Helicopter, and Instrument (Airplane or Helicopter). Interested parties can register at AOPA Germany. Costs are €130 (including tax) for AOPA members and €180 for non-members.

You can get the registration form here.

Credit Crunch Bites Europe's Manufacturers

French aircraft manufacturer Apex Aviation has been put into liquidation by a court in France. The company built Robin and CAP aircraft. In Farnborough, U.K., the company behind the Farnborough F1 Kestrel is now in administration. The six-seat, single-engine, turboprop design was intended to be an air-taxi vehicle. Only one prototype was built, which first flew in 2006.

New Owners For Europa

On a brighter note, Britain's Swift Aircraft has bought British homebuilt firm Europa Aircraft. The Europa is the most popular kit-build in the U.K. The company says it has sold more than 1,000 models over the last two decades. Europa will continue to operate from its Yorkshire home.

For more aviation news and information from Europe, read the rest of Liz Moscrop's columns.

// -->

AVweb Insider Blog: Fresh Blood for Aviation, One Waiter at a Time

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.

Read more.

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. Learn more online.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: How Much Specialization Is Too Much?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked about the TSA's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program rule.

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.)


This week, the FAA said it wants to create separate training regimens for tower and radar controllers, and the Air Force said its next batch of UAV pilots won't have actual flying experience. AVweb wonders if this kind of specialization is a good idea.

Should aviation training be job-specific?
(click to answer)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail 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.

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 smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call GAMI at (888) FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Homestead Executive Jet Center (X51, Homestead, FL)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Homestead Executive Jet Center at X51 in Homestead, Florida.

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.

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!

Get into the Cockpit!
Classic Cockpits is a series of high-quality DVDs that put you into the pilot's seat of some of the world's great airplanes. Be there for engine start, checklists, taxi, take-off, climb, cruise, descent, landing, and more. Titles currently available are: Flying the Legendary DC-3, Flying the PBY Catalina, and Flying the de Havilland Vampire.

Click on the individual titles for complete descriptions, and click here to order all DVDs online now.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

AVweb's NBAA Convention 2008 Video Round-Up

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

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.

Video coverage of the 2008 NBAA Convention & Trade Show has been brought to you by Bose Corporation and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

More AVweb exclusive videos can be found at http://www.avweb.com/video.

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

Related Content:
Want more AVweb media from the show?
Click here for podcasts from NBAA 2008.

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. For complete details, go online.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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.


Opening copy

medium | large

copyright © Reames Photography
Used with permission of Kasi Reames

Terminal Sunset

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.

medium | large

Used with permission of Timothy O'Connor

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 ... .

medium | large

copyright © Jim Bryant
Used with permission

Fry's Photo Pass

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).

medium | large

Used with permission of Gregory B. Palmer

That's One Way to Conserve Fuel ...

Gregory B. Palmer of Palatine, Illinois writes:

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 recall.

medium | large

Used with permission of David Murphy

Great First Flight!

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.

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

So You Think You Are a Safe Pilot!
Aviation Safety magazine will keep your decision-making skills sharp with interesting and information-packed articles. You may find lots you didn't know! Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
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

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.