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Jane Garvey, who served as FAA administrator from 1997 to 2002, will accept a position on the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama, it was announced on Wednesday. She will leave her
current post as a board member for Bombardier, where she has served for about a year. "I would like to thank Jane Garvey for her sound advice and guidance during her tenure," said Bombardier Chairman
Laurent Beaudoin. "We wish her great success." Garvey will take charge of reviewing transportation agencies' decisions and policies for the Obama transition team, according to the Montreal Gazette. She is also widely considered to be a top candidate
for Secretary of Transportation in the new administration, which takes office in January. When she was appointed by President Bill Clinton, Garvey was the first woman to head the FAA and the first to
serve a five-year term.
Garvey, 63, lives in Maine. Before joining the FAA, she was acting administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. AVweb's Liz Swaine spoke with Garvey in 2002 as she prepared to step
down from her FAA post; click here for that exclusive report.
The FAA has revised its rules that govern the operation of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), and has invited comment on the changes. The changes were made because the FAA determined "that
safety in air commerce and the public interest requires additional hazard mitigation for HEMS operations," according to the FAA notice published on Friday. The revisions specify that HEMS pilots must
determine a minimum safe cruise altitude during pre-flight planning by identifying and documenting obstructions and terrain along the planned flight path. HEMS pilots must also determine in pre-flight
planning the minimum ceiling and visibility required to conduct the flight. The revised rules allow HEMS operations under IFR at landing areas without weather reporting only if an approved weather
reporting source is located within 15 nm of the landing area or if an area forecast is available. The full text of the changes can be viewed in PDF files: Click here for Operations Specifications A021 and click here for A050. Comments must be received by Dec.
15. For more details, click here for the full text of the FAA notice.
The NTSB has also expressed concern about the safety of HEMS operations, and recently announced plans for a public hearing on the issue, Feb. 3-5, 2009, at its Washington headquarters. The board
said the hearing is aimed at educating the board on the operational challenges of EMS services and helping members figure out how to stem the rising tide of accidents. "We have seen an alarming rise
in the numbers of EMS accidents and the Safety Board believes some of these accidents could have been prevented if our [previous] recommendations were implemented," says member Robert Sumwalt, who
will chair the hearing. "This hearing will be extremely important because it can provide an opportunity to learn more about the industry so that possibly we can make further recommendations that can
prevent these accidents and save lives." The proceedings will be webcast live. For more info, and a link to the webcast, go to the NTSB Web site.
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The NTSB on Wednesday issued an update into its investigation of a September incident when a Canadair CRJ-700 regional jet taking off with 56 passengers had to swerve to avoid a Cessna 172 that was on
the runway. Nobody was hurt, but the jet crew said they cleared the Cessna by only 10 feet, and their flight was cancelled so the jet could be checked for damage. It was about 7:30 at night when the
incident took place, and according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, both controllers in the Lehigh International Airport, in Allentown, Pa., at the time were trainees. The NTSB's
factual report says the Cessna pilot contacted the tower while about 8 miles east of the airport, and was cleared to land on Runway 6. The Mesa jet was then cleared to hold short of Runway 6. The
Cessna landed, and the Mesa crew was told to taxi into position and hold. The Cessna pilot was told to exit the runway at taxiway A4, and the Mesa crew was then cleared to take off. However, the
Cessna pilot missed the turn, and called the controller asking to exit at another taxiway; the controller responded "...no delay, turn immediately," which the Cessna pilot acknowledged. Mesa Air then
radioed the tower controller: "We got it, tower - we're going to need to go back to the gate." Following the incident, both aircraft taxied to a parking area. The tire marks created by the Mesa Air
regional jet as it veered around the Cessna can be seen on the left side of the centerline in this image, released by the NTSB.
"The FAA is so desperate to staff its towers they are forced to work trainees by themselves without adequate numbers of experienced controllers there to work with them," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey, when the incident took place. "This has exposed the inexperience of our new workforce.
It's unfair to these trainees and should be unacceptable to the flying public."
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With many buyers putting their plans on hold in an uncertain economy, manufacturers are offering deals to tempt them into taking the plunge. "Turbulent markets may make today seem like the wrong time
to buy an airplane -- [but] there has never been a better time to buy," said Diamond Aircraft in a news release this week. Any new owner of a new DA40 who takes delivery by Dec. 31 will get
maintenance, insurance, fuel and flight training all free for a year, a $13,250 value. U.S. buyers also can qualify for a special
bonus-depreciation tax incentive that allows buyers to write off up to $300,000 of the purchase price. Also this week, the U.S. distributor for the Euro-Fox light sport aircraft lowered its base price by $10,000, to $58,950. The company said the price cut is possible "due to the recent improvement in the dollar-to-Euro
exchange rate." The two-seat EuroFox burns just 4 gph, the company said, making it an economical choice for the private pilot or sport flyer, and the wings fold back for easy trailering and
Diamond's offer is limited to new U.S. or Canadian-registered DA40 aircraft in current inventory at Diamond distributors.
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.
information, go online.
President Bush on Tuesday signed an Executive Order to mandate that modernizing our national airspace system remains a leading priority for federal agencies. "At an age when teenage drivers use GPS
systems in their cars, air traffic controllers still use World War II-era radar to guide modern jumbo jets," Mr. Bush said. "That doesn't seem to make any sense to me ... Modernizing our aviation system is an urgent challenge." He also called on Congress to "help make our transportation
system worthy of the 21st century," by providing incentives for the private sector to develop new technologies and investing in infrastructure upgrades. According to a White House fact sheet, the Executive Order will "help transform the national air transportation system and effectively
implement the NextGen Initiative (Next Generation Air Transportation System) that utilizes satellite-based guidance technology, which is safer, more secure, affordable, and environmentally friendly."
The action aims to strengthen the DOT's coordination with other federal agencies. But according to Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, "[The executive order]
certainly appears like yet another new red bow on the same old box, which remains empty. Is the administration now saying modernizing our aviation system was NOT a leading priority up until
Mr. Bush also announced a package of proposals aimed at relieving delays and congestion in commercial air travel during the holiday season. Military airspace will be opened for certain areas, three
new runways at major airports will open this week, and more TSA workers will be on duty to prevent long waiting lines for passengers.
A final rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security this week is not as bad as it might have been for GA pilots, but it still will have an impact on all across-the-border operations. That's the
bottom line from AOPA's analysis of the rule published Tuesday by the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, which is part of the DHS. As initially proposed last year,
the rule would have required pilots to file passenger manifests and other information via the Internet an hour before the flight, a problem for pilots who operate from remote and undeveloped airports
where Internet access is not available. More than 2,900 comments were filed. "Thanks to pilot input, the CBP better understands the nature of GA operations and the remote areas that pilots often
travel," Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs, said on Tuesday. The final rule offers various options for pilots to file the required information. "Pilots didn't get
everything they wanted," Cebula said. Concerns remain over the type of information required and possible delays in approving flights. But, Cebula said, the revisions in the final rule are "proof of
how influential general aviation pilots can be when they unite."
The rule will take effect on Dec. 18, and pilots will be required to comply with the new regulations starting May 18, AOPA said. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Monday that GA pilots can also expect further rulemaking that will require GA flights to be screened and
scanned for radioactive material at an airport outside the U.S. Although such screening is now required upon landing in the U.S., doing it on departure instead will prevent an attacker from flying a
bomb into the country and detonating it in the air, Chertoff said.
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Eclipse Aviation employees who have contacted AVweb this week are back at work and say they've been paid for the first half of the
month. There has been the inevitable speculation about what will happen on the next payday, but Eclipse's usual spokesperson has not responded to repeated e-mail and phone requests for comment on the
current situation. Last week the company told employees that it would not meet its biweekly payroll but it did arrange funding in time to pay workers on Tuesday. Meanwhile an increasing number of
disgruntled customers are filing lawsuits to get refunds of deposits.
According to KDBC News there are now a total of 10 such suits against the company, three of which were
filed on Friday. Eight companies and two individuals have filed the suits and the total of the claims tops $7 million. When Eclipse raised the price of the EA500 earlier this year it offered deposit
refunds to some position holders. Eclipse declined to comment to the TV station about the deposit suits.
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/.
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.
In our years in aviation, we've seen countless variations on the "flying car" theme, from rickety jalopies with wooden wings bolted on to high-tech dream machines with folding wings and James
Bond-level slickness. But a recent report from the fringe strikes us as something so simple that it might actually work. The Parajet
Skycar is a variation on the powered parachute. Beneath the canopy flies a small two-seat, dune-buggy-style off-road car with a powered fan on the back. After landing, the pilot can simply pack up
the chute and drive away three minutes later. A lightweight design, advanced aerodynamics and a Yamaha motorcycle engine (which runs on biofuel) make it work, says the company. The Skycar is easy to
fly, impossible to stall, and features an emergency ballistic parachute system. The aircraft can launch in less than 700 feet, fly at about 70 mph, and has a range of about 200 miles. In "road mode"
it can travel 250 miles at speeds over 100 mph. The company plans to prove the Skycar's capability by traveling from London, above the English Channel and the Straits of Gibraltar, and across the
Sahara Desert to Timbuktu, a journey of almost 4,000 miles, in January 2009.
The Skycar "will be the first high-performance, road-legal, bio-fuelled flying car capable of providing sports and rally car performance on or off the road and light-aircraft performance after just
a few minutes of wing preparation," says the company. They are already working on a "next-generation road sport model" that could be available by 2010. No word yet on what the vehicle will sell
An FAA Airworthiness Directive requires owners of Diamond DA42 airplanes to replace certain bolts with wire-secured
bolts to ensure they don't get loose in the engine compartment...
A flight student in California died on Saturday after being struck by the prop of a Cessna 152 while exiting the
aircraft, apparently hurrying to escape being seen flying with another student, which is not allowed...
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We're not sure how many airplanes are in partnerships, but anyone who has tried to form one will tell you that the hard part is finding like-minded people to set things up. A new organization called
the Airplane Partnership Association aims to use the power of the Web to do just that. APA launched its first efforts last spring and is soon to roll out a full-featured Web site that will collect
some basic data about airplane wants and needs from would-be partners and connect them with compatible candidates. APA's Dave Kruger told AVweb at AOPA Expo last year that partnerships knock
down or at least greatly reduce the major barrier to aircraft ownership: purchase cost. For a podcast on this topic, hear Dave Kruger
here and read Paul Bertorelli's views of this idea in today's AVweb Insider blog.
People who think GA's piston segment is dying are the same ones who think there's growth to be found in what's a long downward slide. According to AVweb's Paul Bertorelli, arguing that GA is
dying is like saying a fat man on a diet is committing suicide. The game isn't over, but first we have to accept some basic facts. Paul takes a hard look at those facts in the latest installment of
our AVweb Insider blog.
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Last week, we asked which issue should top the U.S. government's list of general aviation priorities in 2009.
The most popular answer was user fees, which garnered 44% of the vote. Coming in a distant second, FAA reauthorization accounted for 16% of the answers. The least
popular choice airport infrastructure.
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'S QUESTION ***
With the new administration preparing to take office in the U.S., appointments and high-profile positions are on everyone's mind. This week, we'd like to hear what you think of
aviation's top office.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual? A: SAMM 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
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At the 2008 AOPA Expo, our video team brought you exclusive interviews with outgoing AOPA president Phil Boyer and the incoming president, Craig Fuller plus a demo flight with
Cirrus Design's new EVS system and an in-depth profile of Garmin's hot GPSMap 696. If you missed any of those, you can watch all eight of our show videos right here. Just use the arrows at the right
and left sides of the player to choose your video.
Look Around Your Hangar and Office! Build A Plane needs items for their annual eBay auction. Avionics, parts, electronics, headsets, books, videos/CDs, software, leather jackets, even special airplane rides well, you get
the idea. Anything Build A Plane can sell will benefit school-building projects offering students an exciting way to learn science, engineering, and math and building a new generation of
aviation enthusiasts. For complete information, contact Katrina Bradshaw at (804) 843-3321, or
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Triangle Aviation at KLEE in Leesburg, Florida.
AVweb reader Dave Wilson had a top-notch experience there recently and wrote to share the details:
[Owner] Neil Fisher was on the ramp to assist in parking my Bonanza; his friendly and courteous attitude was a welcome change for some of the FBOs, where, if you are not a turbine-powered aircraft,
you are treated with indifference. The lineman, D. J. Alexander displayed the same courteous, helpful attitude in helping with a courteousy car and local telephone business numbers, along with
topping off the fuel tanks with 100LL; the price of the fuel was the lowest I have seen in the Southeast U.S. at $2.95 (for both full service and self-service) with an additional discount for Angel
Flight pilots. Receptionist Bristy Jones, while being very busy, was also extremely efficient and courteous; her being there assisted in making this stop a very enjoyable experience.
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
Another week has come and gone, it's time for another installment of our weekly photo contest. Let's dive in and get started!
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
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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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.