The Internet's Aviation Magazine & News Service

Now Over 130,000 Subscribers
Volume 9, Number 38aSeptember 14, 2003

Email this AVflash to a friend

This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by …

TIRED OF JUMPING THROUGH HOOPS FOR LIFE INSURANCE? The Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) offers PREFERRED RATES FOR PILOTS WITH NO AVIATION EXCLUSIONS. PIC will quote you accurately on your life insurance by taking into account your medical and aviation information. STUDENT, PRIVATE, COMMERCIAL, or ATP, PIC will provide you coverage with no aviation exclusions and will save you 30-60% off of your current coverage. Great Savings and A+ Rated Companies. Get a no-obligation quote and apply in less than 5 minutes by calling 1 800 380-8376 and mention this AVflash, or go online at

The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

While the administration tries to turn up the heat, the FAA Reauthorization Bill remains stuck on the back burner over a single clause that has split traditional allies in aviation and in politics. It's been a long time since lobbyists and political tacticians have burned the midnight oil over an aviation matter but that's what's happening in Washington as the dispute over privatizing 69 so-called VFR towers grows into a full-blown legislative crisis. The current FAA funding bill expires Sept. 30 and the pressure is on to get it passed before then. "We should not be in this position," said Doug Church, spokesman for the embattled National Air Traffic Controllers Association. "They (the Bush administration) created this mess." NATCA has lined up some impressive political support to keep those towers in the government fold but has received tepid backing, at best, from aviation groups. More...

Alphabet groups, which have generally favored keeping air traffic control a government function, appear willing to concede the 69 towers to ensure the rest of the goodies contained in the bill are preserved. AOPA issued an analysis of the current situation last week that included an explanation of its position that "the total benefits of the bill to general aviation outweigh the concern over the 'qualified' anti-privatization language." The National Air Transportation Association also maintains there is too much good in the bill to jeopardize over a "theoretical labor-management tug of war." The controllers' concerns notwithstanding, there appears to be something for everyone in the bill. More...

The administration appears ready to flex its authority in the face of a stubborn Congress over the issue. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta recently wrote to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert threatening to furlough some FAA employees and freeze some airport construction projects if the bill isn't passed by the end of the month. NATCA is furious about the threat, saying funding authority can be extended by Congress beyond the expiration date of the current legislation. "This is scare tactics 101," said Church. More...

TRADE-A-PLANE, IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST AVIATION RESOURCE There's no better way to buy, sell, and fly. Call 800 337-5263 and mention this AVflash, or order your subscription online at

The 500-mph barrier has been smashed at the Reno Air Races -- at least on paper. Dago Red, the intensely modified P-51 with Skip Holm on the stick, recorded an average speed of 507.105 mph during a qualifying heat Friday, becoming the first to do so. Dago Red also took the Unlimited Gold this weekend with Rare Bear in second. But the numbers might be a bit misleading since race organizers have changed the way they calculate speed and time for this year's races. The race distance used to be measured from pylon to pylon. The new calculation allows for the curving path of the aircraft around the course and the distance they travel is thus increased. Pilots were told to expect speed increases of about 2.5 percent, so, under the old measurement system, Dago Red would have missed the magic number by about five mph. More...

Reno evokes the full range of emotions, from the visceral to the nostalgic, and nobody felt them more than two of this year's 16 grand marshals. Retired Lt. Col. James Warren and retired Chief Master Sgt. Fred McLaurin fought two different kinds of conflict throughout their careers. As alumni of the Tuskegee Airmen, they did their duty while battling the kind of racial intolerance that would be unthinkable today. "We succeeded where we were expected to fail," McLaurin, a former T-6 mechanic, told the Gazette-Journal. "Nothing was done to help us. We had to succeed by guts and willpower." Warren was once refused entry to a Reno hotel while in uniform and helped lead a mutiny against the white-only policy at an officers club in Indiana in 1945. But all that's changed, he said, and he called the U.S. military "the most equal-opportunity community in America." Others faced different challenges on their way to Reno. More...

ATTENTION 1968 THROUGH 2003 172 SKYHAWK OWNERS! SEMINAR OPENINGS The Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) will conduct Lycoming Powered 172 Skyhawk Systems and Procedures Seminar at CPA headquarters in Santa Maria, October 11-12. This program will not be offered again on the West Coast until 2005. Those interested should make an effort to attend this October seminar now! More information and on-line sign up are available at

The rumors about Beechcraft and Hawker being up for sale just might be true. Raytheon's new CEO William Swanson told Bloomberg News last week he'd consider selling the aircraft division after fixing what ails it. "As soon as the market wakes up and people realize there is a rationalization that needs to take place, we'll be in the right position to be able to do that," Swanson said. The aircraft division is being extensively revamped, much to the disappointment of some workers who are seeing in-house jobs being sent to contractors. More...

The NTSB is recommending (PDF file) that the FAA order airlines to more thoroughly inspect aircraft that have encountered severe turbulence after the discovery of a composite delamination in an American Airlines Airbus A300 that was missed during the inspection specified in the maintenance manual. The NTSB said the plane, operating as Flight 903, was inspected after a severe upset incident in May 1997 and damage was found in the wings and engine pylons. Repairs were made and the plane returned to service. Five years later, based on the findings from the investigation of the suspected tail failure that brought down American Flight 587 in New York, the tail from the Flight 903 aircraft was put through an ultrasound. One of the attachment lugs was damaged. That plane got a new tail and it might not be the last if the FAA adopts the NTSB's recommendations. More...

OREGON AERO’S PAINLESS AND QUIETER HEADSET UPGRADE HELPS BRUCE BOHANNON BE HIS BEST. Competitive aerobatics champion Bruce Bohannon can’t afford distractions in flight. So he depends on his Oregon Aero headset upgrade to eliminate noise and pain when he's in the cockpit. Says Bruce: "The difference in comfort and sound levels since Oregon Aero worked its magic on my headset is nothing short of fantastic!" Oregon Aero offers upgrades for nearly all civilian and military headsets on the market today, and the upgrades are customized for each specific headset model. Check out all of Oregon Aero's products online at

Scaled Composites keeps marking milestones toward the capture of the $10 million X Prize to build the first civilian spacecraft. Last week, Environmental Aeroscience Corp. (eAc), one of two contractors competing to supply the rocket for the suborbital SpaceShipOne spacecraft, did a full-duration test of its hybrid rocket engine. Its competitor, SpaceDev, has already tested its entry. More...

Airports and housing developments don't mix, but try telling that to the community of Greenwood Village, near Centennial Airport in Colorado. The community recently approved a 387-lot subdivision less than 1.5 miles from the north end of the airport's main runway. Centennial is the closest airport to downtown Denver and the second-busiest GA field in the U.S. In 1998, the airport released land-use zoning guidelines that urged local governments to prohibit new homes in areas less than 1.5 miles from the runway ends. Now, Centennial officials are worried that other tax-hungry jurisdictions will do the same and noise complaints will put the airport out of business. But it's not like the new residents of Greenwood Village haven't been warned. More...

SEPTEMBER SPECIALS FROM MARV GOLDEN PILOT SUPPLIES Purchase any LightSPEED ANR headset from Marv Golden Pilot Supplies and receive a LightSPEED logo flight bag at no additional cost. Or, order any Icom A-5 or A-23 and get an alkaline battery pack at no-cost AND a $30-$50 rebate. Purchase any Vertex VXA 150 or 210 to receive a $25 rebate with an alkaline battery case and cigarette lighter adapter at no additional cost. Save on these specials and many other pilot supplies from avionics to watches at

The cash-starved city of Cincinnati might be looking lustily at 230 acres of prime real estate it owns as a cash cow, but those using Blue Ash Airport hope not. The city has a $450,000 FAA grant in the bank to resurface the runway or do other improvements but it's decided not to spend it. Using the money would mean guaranteeing the future of the airport, as an airport, for another 20 years. "We're just trying to keep our options open," Transportation Director Eileen Enabnit told The Cincinnati Enquirer. The city will also give up a $150,000 annual grant from the FAA. [more] Meanwhile, the runway is in need of some attention. Bill Christian, owner of Schmidt Aviation, said the potholes and uneven pavement are a liability issue. The city says the runway doesn't need replacing and the rough spots will be repaired. Although the rumor mill is full of stories of developers lining up to pluck the real-estate plum, Airports Manager Dan Dickten said the airport won't necessarily be sold for development. "There is no intention I am aware of to close the airport or not maintain it," Dickten said. But that doesn't wash with officials in Blue Ash, which is a separate jurisdiction from Cincinnati. "A lot of people are wondering and we're among them," said Blue Ash City Manager Marvin Thompson. More...

Someone must have thought of this before, but how do you guard against terrorists armed with remote-control aircraft? As we suffer any number of indignities on our trips through the National Airspace System, technology marches forward in pilotless vehicles, such as the system IBM engineers are fooling around with. The folks at Big Blue's Pervasive Computing Advanced Technology Laboratory have replaced the remote control on a model aircraft with a PDA that not only incorporates GPS navigation, it also beams an image back to the handheld computer's display. We'll spare you all the self-congratulatory jargon but it's basically done with a cellphone and off-the-shelf computer hardware and software. Sound too far out to be of any practical use? Consider the case of a conventional RC model and its semi-successful assault on a Sydney, Australia, prison last week. More...

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR CLUB? TimeSync's ScheduleMaster online aircraft scheduling service offers advanced features such as standby scheduling and notification of cancellations. ScheduleMaster helps your club improve aircraft utilization and will make your members happy. Add AccontMaster, an integrated billing system that works with Peachtree and QuickBooks. For a no-obligation online demonstration go to

Shortly after 3:15 p.m. yesterday, an U.S. Air Force Thunderbird was lost during a flight display at an air show in Idaho. Early reports say the pilot ejected safely, but his F-16 was dramatically destroyed in front of a crowd of thousands when it crashed on airport grounds at the Gunfighter Skies Air Show at Mountain Home Air Force Base. Witnesses told the Idaho Statesman the aircraft had performed a vertical climb and roll, pulling over the top, but as it dove, appeared to be "dropping like he had no control." Pilot Kris Stricklin of Nellis Air Force Base (Nevada) was treated by military medical personnel; the aircraft left a burning path near the control tower. More...

Peter Miranda, of Charlotte, N.C., is the 10,000th AOPA Skyspotter...
Airlines, the New York Port Authority and Boeing could face lawsuits from Sept. 11...
If you ever wanted to own a piece of the Concorde, here's your chance...
Standards have been finalized for emergency parachutes for LSA aircraft. More...

AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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

GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT YOUR AIRCRAFT'S FUEL BILL BY 20 PERCENT! If you're tired of being grounded by sky-high gas prices, install GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine at


Pelican's Perch #73: Hurricane (Part 1)
It still gets less press than its more-famous compatriot, the Spitfire, but the Hawker Hurricane was the mainstay of the British fighter squadrons in the European theater of World War II. AVweb's John Deakin considers it one of his favorites, and his two-part pilot report begins this month.

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

Reader mail this week about contract towers, whether new technology helps pilot safety, the public's perception of aviation and more.


Boston Center: Citation XXX, Boston Center now on 123.75.

Citation XXX: 127.35, have a nice day.

Boston Center: Citation XXX, that frequency is 123.75.

Citation XXX: Sorry, 123.75, we were dyslexic but we’re KO now. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.


SEARCH NO MORE! AVIONICS WEST HAS GARMIN'S iQue 3600 PDA & PLBs Avionics West, the online avionics dealer you've come to trust, now carries the Garmin iQue 3600 color PDA with more features than any other PDA. And, Avionics West has the lowest price anywhere on the iQue 3600! Avionics West also carries 406Mhz Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) which should be a part of everyone's emergency/rescue equipment when camping, or traveling in a boat or aircraft. For more too-low-to-advertise prices on these items and LightSPEED quality headsets, the schedule for the CNX80 and GNS430/530 training classes call 805 934-9777, send an email to or go online at

LIMITED TIME ONLY! SHIPPING PAID ON ORDERS OF PILOT'S AUDIO UPDATES Sharpen your judgments and readiness with these audio programs such as: Are You Ready For An Emergency; Managing Your Fuel Supply; and Getting The Most Out of ATC. Order your Pilot's Audio Update selections online and receive no-cost ground shipping at

AVWEB SUBSCRIBER ONLY OFFER FROM BUTTERFIELD PRESS! Order "Choosing Your Homebuilt-the One You'll Finish and Fly!" during September at a special sale price of $15.95 and receive, at no extra cost, a 14-page Avionics Report on GPS handhelds, panel-mounts, and multi-function displays by the well-respected avionics writer Keith Connes. A $10 value with your order only on AVweb at

PROTECT YOUR RIGHT TO FLY With the one magazine dedicated to keeping pilots out of trouble. Aviation Safety is the informative, instructive monthly that strengthens your knowledge, sharpens your skills and gives you the winning edge in the air. Order today and enjoy guaranteed savings for as long as your subscribe at


AVIATION CONSUMER'S OCTOBER ISSUE IS LOADED! Articles include: "More Datalink from WSI and WxWORX"; "Hey, We Love This Stuff", what datalink users have to say; "Maule's New Diesel", a review; "MicroEFIS eGyro", wringing out the new eGyro-3; "Wanta Save A Little Oxygen?", a review on the PreciseFlow; Used Aircraft Guide Feature: Piper Malibu and Mirage; and "Cirrus Vs. Diamond", Aviation Consumer asks subscribers for help in an evaluation. Don't miss an issue of aviation's non-bias consumer publication! Order at

FALL COLORS LOOK THEIR BEST WHEN YOU FLY IN TO ENJOY THEM! Pilot Getaways magazine offers the perfect place to take special friends and family to hike among the fiery red, yellow, and orange leaves of aspens, tamaracks, and red oaks...choose from the highest commercial airport in the U.S., or a Canadian resort with a private runway not far by air from Toronto. These are just two of the destinations Pilot Getaways features in-depth in the Fall 2003 issue. Subscribe today at

THE MORE AVWEB/AVFLASH GROWS THE MORE WE CAN DO FOR YOU! Forward today's AVflash to a fellow pilot and introduce them to AVweb and AVflash. We thank you...and they will too!

We Welcome Your Feedback!

AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service.

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to Have a comment or question? Send it to

Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
AVweb's editorial team:

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team:

Let's all be careful out there, okay?

AVflash is now available in optional easier-to-read graphic format, which includes some photos and illustrations. If you prefer, you can continue to receive AVflash in text-only format. Simply follow these instructions and AVflash will continue to arrive as it always has, in text format.

Want to subscribe or unsubscribe? Review/update your AVweb Account? Forgot your password? No problem! Simply go to our friendly Member Services menu.

AVweb | Free Sign Up | Advertise | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Aviation Consumer | IFR Magazine | Aviation Safety
Light Plane Maintenance | IFR Refresher | KITPLANES

Copyright 2003, Aviation Publishing Group. All rights reserved.