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Volume 14, Number 50b
December 11, 2008
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Top Stories: Good News Amid Economic Turmoilback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Companies of all kinds worldwide are feeling the impact of the current economic problems, but many of the smaller companies that build light sport aircraft and sell kit airplanes appear to be holding their own. "New kit sales are down across the board, a little bit," Kitplanes editor Marc Cook told AVweb on Wednesday, while acknowledging that the sector doesn't track hard numbers. "But nobody is really panicking," he added. He's noticed a "small uptick" in used homebuilt aircraft for sale, but he said it's nothing like what's been happening in the GA market overall. "I think most kit aircraft are more affordable to operate, and also the owners have more emotional investment in the aircraft," he said. An owner who has spent hundreds of hours building an airplane might fly less if cost becomes an issue, he said, but most are reluctant to part with their creations. Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, told AVweb on Wednesday that he sees a similar situation in the LSA market. While sales have definitely slowed, he said the smaller companies that build LSAs are better able to adapt to changes. "There's no market shakeout," he said. The annual Sebring LSA Expo is just six weeks away, and while a few companies have opted to conserve their cash and stay home, Johnson said, overall he expects a robust turnout for the show. Also, he noted that one company who pulled out is Cirrus, which won't be there to promote their LSA this year. Cirrus said in October it would slow down its LSA project for now, citing a lack of demand in the sector. More...

Aero Friedrichshafen, the European general aviation expo that has been growing fast in recent years, announced this week that next year's show, April 2-5, 2009, already is showing a 20-percent rise in exhibitor bookings over the last show, held in 2007. Starting next year, the show will be held every year, instead of every other year as in the past. "In these turbulent times, it is evidently important for most [exhibitors] to maintain their marketing efforts in order to create a basis for future growth," said Thomas Grunewald, project manager for the show. The event includes a wide range of aviation sectors, from parachuting and paragliding, ultralights, gliders and motorized gliders to single- and twin-engine piston aircraft and business jets. In 2009, the show will also add helicopters and a green-flying exhibit. Grunewald said he is seeing a rising number of bookings from Eastern Europe, especially the Czech Republic, as well as a sharp rise in interest from the U.S. In addition to many new exhibitors such as Hawker Beechcraft, he said he expects a significantly bigger presence from many returning exhibitors, such as Cessna, Cirrus, Diamond, Embraer, Pilatus and Piper. More...

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In print or online, start your search with the world's largest aviation resource — Trade-A-Plane.
Auto Makers' Jets Still in the Newsback to top 

When Congress on Tuesday proposed that automakers would have to sell off their private jets as part of a bailout deal, the National Business Aviation Association was quick to respond. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent late on Tuesday, NBAA President Ed Bolen expressed concern about the draft legislation, which "appears to prohibit the use of business aviation in ALL situations," Bolen wrote, "including when it is the sole mode of transportation available to a business, or it is the most prudent and cost-effective solution to a given transportation challenge." The $15 billion bailout deal is still undergoing intense negotiations between Congress and the White House, but pressure is high to resolve the issue quickly. Bolen argues, in essence, that the aviation sector shouldn't be made to suffer for the errors of a few auto executives. "Business aviation is the most prudent and cost-effective transportation solution in a wide number of situations," he wrote. "While we understand the intent of Congress to address a specific situation dealing with the auto industry, we believe that the broad wording of the provision could be misinterpreted as suggesting that Congress does not recognize the critical importance of this mode of transportation to the success of U.S. businesses facing unprecedented international competition, the economic development of small towns and rural communities, and the jobs of hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers." More...

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SPOT gives you a vital line of communication when you want it and emergency assistance when and where you need it. SPOT utilizes 100% satellite technology and works around the world — even where cell phones don't. Purchase your SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger through December 31, 2008 to receive a $50 mail-in rebate. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
Accident Reportsback to top 

It was a night flight, across a cold stretch of the Arctic so empty and dark that the two ferry pilots didn't know for sure if there was land or water or ice beneath them. But when both engines on their Cessna 337 Skymaster failed on Sunday night, just south of Baffin Island in the north Atlantic, they had little choice but to radio for help, aim for the surface and hope for the best. The airplane came to rest in the water, with one wing resting on an ice floe, and the two scrambled out of the windows onto the ice just before the airplane filled with water and sank -- taking with it their life raft and emergency gear. They were wearing their survival suits, a precaution that likely saved their lives. Soon they heard search planes overhead, but with no flare guns or flashlights to signal them, the aircraft flew right by. "We were on this ice sheet not having a clue if it would support our weight, hoping to death that it would," Oliver Edwards-Neil, 25, an Australian living in Sweden, told the Sydney Morning Herald. With no food or water, no shelter, and nowhere to sit, Edwards-Neil and his flying partner, Troels Hansen, 45, a Dane who also lives in Sweden, spent the long Arctic night standing on the ice and shivering as temperatures fell to about 4 degrees below Zero. After more than 12 hours, when the sun crept above the horizon, the pair spotted land in the distance and began to head for it, hopping from ice floe to ice floe and hoping to escape the notice of polar bears, when the crew of a shrimp boat, which had been fishing 180 miles away, turned up to rescue them. "They were happy to see the boat," ship captain Bo Mortensen told the local media. "They were a little bit frostbitten on the feet, but they were in good shape." The Toronto Globe & Mail has a photo of the two lost pilots taken from the deck of the rescue ship that simply must be seen; click here to view it. More...

A Marine F/A-18D based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station near San Diego, Calif., crashed at 11:59 a.m. local time in a residential neighborhood, destroying two homes and killing four on the ground. The pilot and sole occupant ejected successfully. One home was thought to be unoccupied at the time of the crash, the other home contained four people -- a grandmother, a mother and two children. The aircraft encountered a problem during training with the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and was returning to Miramar for landing, according to local news reports. The jet approached Miramar MCAS from the west with a slight tailwind when it crashed nose-down less than 9000 feet shy of the longer Runway 06 Left, and north of the extended runway centerline. Witnesses reported hearing two bangs followed by a larger earth-shaking explosion that many likened to an earthquake. Debris from the crash was resting on the residential street and strewn in neighborhood trees after firefighters quenched flames. The crash site is about 1000 feet east of local high school buildings, 300 feet from school grounds and less than 200 feet from an uninhabited canyon, just beyond the debris field.

See AVweb's initial video coverage, including still images from the crash site edited together with images from Google Earth and Google Maps. More...

Win This Plane! Last Chance to Win — Enter by December 31st
Enter AOPA's 2008 Sweepstakes and you could be flying high in a fully-refurbished Piper Archer II, accented with a new instrument panel featuring the world's first installed certified EFD1000 PFD. Custom extras include handcrafted leather seats, tie-down rings, nav light retainers, and wood trim accents. Click for more details.
Flying for Fun: Don't-Miss Destinations for 2009back to top 

The breadth and depth of good works accomplished by general aviation pilots will be in the spotlight at AirVenture Oshkosh 2009, EAA announced this week. A weeklong "Fly for Life" program at next summer's event will recognize those who fly to serve others. "Aviation is used to meet basic human needs and bring hope in so many ways, including medical and dental missions to remote regions of the world, famine relief, and a wide range of other humanitarian projects," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "We are looking forward to recognizing those people and organizations during EAA AirVenture 2009." The Fly for Life program will highlight public-benefit aviation activities and mission-based flight operations, with EAA working with the Air Care Alliance and the International Association of Missionary Aviation to represent more than 200 organizations. Activities will include a major display adjacent to AeroShell Square, aircraft displays, numerous forums and presentations, an evening program, and other events. AirVenture 2009 will be held July 27-Aug. 2, at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. More...

Australia has always been a popular destination for pilots in search of a flying vacation, and with so many vast open spaces to explore, flying a general aviation aircraft is hands-down the best way to see the continent. Now with a popular new movie, Baz Luhrmann's Australia, out in theaters, and a favorable exchange rate (right now, $100 U.S. will buy about $150 Australian), Australia is likely to be a top choice for flying vacationers in 2009. A new trip offered by Air Adventure Australia takes eight travelers around the continent for two weeks as passengers in their own private twin-engine aircraft, with a professional photographer along to offer tips on getting the best pictures of your trip. "The Australian landscape is truly magical, and by plane is the perfect way to experience it, especially with a tour like this that visits so much of the best of Australia in a short time frame," said John Dyer, tour leader with Air Adventure Australia. Pilots can also book tours that allow them to fly on their own with Australian Air Safaris, which offers a wide variety of tours flying single-engine Cessnas, from the Outback to wineries to the Great Barrier Reef. More...

Low Year-End Aircraft Financing Rates
Get your aircraft financing application to AirFleet Capital before December 19, 2008 for a year-end closing to take advantage of tax benefits and low year-end rates. From light sport aircraft to VLJs and business jets, AirFleet Capital has a loan program to fit your needs. Call an AirFleet Capital financing specialist at (800) 390-4324, or go online to submit your application.
News Briefsback to top 

A 737-800 operated by Continental Airlines will be the first air-carrier aircraft from North America to fly on biofuels when a demonstration flight takes off from Houston on Jan. 7. Continental said on Monday that the flight, which will be operated with no passengers, will be powered by a special blend of 50 percent jet fuel and 50 percent components derived from algae and from jatropha plants. These sustainable, second-generation fuel sources don't impact food crops or water resources and don't contribute to deforestation, according to Continental. The demo flight will be the first by a commercial carrier using algae as a fuel source, and the first using a two-engine aircraft. The Boeing 737-800 is equipped with CFM International CFM56-7B engines. Developers of algae-based fuels have formed the Algal Biomass Organization, based in Seattle, which recently held a conference in Seattle. [more] It's possible to grow algae anywhere, according to the Tacoma News-Tribune. Algae can flourish in saltwater, freshwater or brackish water. Virgin Atlantic carried out the world's first flight of a commercial aircraft powered with biofuel in February, using fuel made with coconut and babassu oils. More...

Negligence charges against the U.S. pilots involved in Brazil's worst air disaster have been dropped...
FAA granted certification for WAAS LPV on a Bombardier Challenger 604 aircraft...
Canada's Transportation Safety Board calls for tighter balloon regulations.
Record world flight to raise funds for ALS research nears its finish...
Two flight students and their instructors died when their aircraft collided in Florida on Saturday...
A new book for children leads them through aviation's phonetic alphabet, to inspire an interest in flying...
A judge has blocked the planned slot auctions for New York City area airports. More...

Does Your Aircraft Insurance Provide $5,000.00 in Legal Costs?
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

Fuel prices are down. This week, AVweb wants to know how that's affecting your flying (if at all): Are you flying more?

Plus: Last week, we asked if Ford & GM made the right move in selling off their corporate jets; click through to read what AVweb readers had to say on the subject. More...

Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, wants your opinion on aircraft maintenance. If you'd like to participate, click here to complete a short, confidential survey.

(The results will be used in an upcoming Aviation Consumer article on managing your maintenance. For subscription information, click here.) More...

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. What have you heard? More...

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

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 — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Embraer's entry-level Phenom 100 jet has been certified in Brazil, and U.S. certification is expected shortly, according to a company news release. The $3.6 million aircraft emerged from certification testing with a top speed of 390 knots, 10 knots faster than expected, and an overall fuel consumption 3.6 percent less than predicted. Its range and takeoff numbers have also improved. "I am thrilled to announce that the Phenom 100 has not only met all original specification targets, but has also surpassed several performance goals," said Carlos Affonso, executive vice president of Executive Jets for Embraer. The certification came a few days after another milestone in the company's methodical plan to become a force in business aviation. More...

Piper Aircraft, in Vero Beach, Fla., is not immune to the market pressures that have been bearing down on the GA industry, and this week the company said it has instituted a reduced work schedule for some departments. "Our efforts are designed to maintain as many jobs (and associated benefits) as possible," Piper spokesman Mark Miller wrote to AVweb via e-mail on Tuesday. "We remain concerned about the turmoil and volatility in the world's financial markets," Miller added. "In accordance with normal seasonality and softening market demand, Piper continually assesses and adjusts its workforce and schedule." The company normally shuts down briefly around the holidays, he said, and this year will close most departments for three weeks. According to the Palm Beach Post, in recent years the holiday shutdown has been only one or two weeks long. Although the company has not announced any layoffs or staff cuts, one worker told the local TCPalm news site that her job was eliminated, along with about 20 others. Meanwhile, a recent report from PMI Media in the United Kingdom predicts that the current economic turmoil will have a dramatic impact on the VLJ market. "Prospects for the very light jet (VLJ) market for the next 10 years (2008 to 2017) have declined sharply over the last few weeks," PMI said last week. "Given the current difficult market circumstances it is difficult to see how more than one or two new aircraft entrants -- outside established aircraft manufacturers such as Embraer, Diamond, PiperJet, Cessna -- will be able to survive a prolonged period of market uncertainty," said PMI-Media's editorial director Philip Butterworth-Hayes. More...

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/. More...

Escape the Storm ... Invest in Diamonds
With bonus depreciation (write off over $300K), low long-term interest rates, low insurance rates (best in the industry), a no-cost fuel subsidy program, and complimentary flight training, there has never been a better time to buy a Diamond DA40 XLS. For complete details, go online.
New on AVwebback to top 

Looking for a gift for yourself or your pilot friends? AVweb can help! Video editor Glenn Pew has put together our most useful product overviews for you to peruse and get ideas. If you see something you like in one of these videos, visit our sponsors and get your shopping done online. Stay informed; stay entertained. Happy holidays from your team at AVweb. (Click through a link to the videos.) More...

What a surprise: Congress says it will give the Big Three bailout money, but the corporate jets have to go. Paul Bertorelli reacts in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog. More...

Diamond Aircraft Raffle:
Great Gift Idea for the Pilot Who Has Everything!

Win a Diamond Star DA40 XLS! Only 5,000 tickets will be sold to benefit Wings of Dreams, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Help Wings of Dreams complete their aviation museum and warbird restoration facilities at Keystone Heights Airport, Florida (42J). Target drawing date (if 5,000 tickets are sold) is February 22, 2009. Void where prohibited.

For more information, visit WingsOfDreams.org.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

An F/A-18 Hornet crashed about 9,000 feet shy of Runway 06L at MCAS Miramar, in a residential neighborhood near San Diego, California, Monday December 8, 2008 at approximately 11:59 a.m. local time. This initial report was published by Glenn Pew the day of the crash with the information available at that time. (Click through to watch.) More...

Avidyne has upgraded its Entegra Flight Deck. Join us as we have a look, courtesy of Paul Bertorelli and Glenn Pew. (Click through to watch.) More...

Virtual Flying in Some of the World's Great Airplanes
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. Makes the perfect holiday gift!

Click on the individual titles for complete descriptions, and click here to order all DVDs online.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Don Davis Aviation at Henderson County Airport (KEHR) in Henderson, Kentucky.

AVweb reader George Samara recommended this week's winner, writing:

This airport team goes out of their way to please and accommodate a visiting pilot ... [everyone from] the girls on the desk, Christa and Sarah ... [to] the manager, Nancy, who stay[ed] late one evening to make sure my passenger got his rental car through the security gate to load equipment and to make sure we got off OK ... [to. the line personnel ... [who] help[ed] chock and tie down the plane. They volunteered to put the plane into a heated hanger when it iced up overnight and did not charge for it! This FBO makes you feel inportant and well taken care of, including a well-equipped flight-planning room with a personal computer to use!

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!


Find an Unusual Gift for Any Pilot and All Aviation Enthusiasts
Build A Plane announces its annual fund-raising eBay auction. For sale: lunch with New Piper CEO James Bass, Patty Wagstaff's flight suit, a B-25 bomber ride, Eclipse 500 jet stick time, a Honeywell AV8OR MFD, a 1949 A35 Beechcraft Bonanza, and so much more. Items start as low as a few dollars. All sales will benefit the Build A Plane program. Complete information at BuildAPlane.org.
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Mark Reed of Seattle, Washington claims the top spot this week, with a photo that — let's be honest — has some shortcomings. Yes, it's hard to find the plane in there — but that's the point of Mark's shot! Still skeptical of our choice for this week's top spot? Put it to the same test we did: Set it as your desktop wallpaper and see if you can take your eyes off it. It's a lot of white, but one gorgeous photo ... . More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.

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