AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 51b

December 18, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce Offers Lowest Pricing on Oil Filters!
Tempest and Kelly Aerospace oil filters are now $173 for a case of 12. Tempest Oil Filters feature a magnetic secondary filtration system that attracts steel particles too small to be caught in the filter, available in 6-packs. Kelly Aerospace Oil Filters' 8-point spot-weld-on-hex-nuts filters make it your aircraft engine's ultimate protection, available in 4-packs. Save 10% on 6 or more of the same Kelly filter. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or order online.
Top News: Obama Names Sec'y of Transportation back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Illinois Republican Likely Next SecDOT

Ray LaHood, a moderate Republican Congressman from Illinois, has accepted a request to become transportation secretary in the coming Obama administration, news agencies reported Wednesday. The nomination is expected to be officially announced within a few days. LaHood, 63, has served in Congress since 1995. Kenneth Quinn, a former FAA chief counsel, told the Washington Post that LaHood is an "outstanding bipartisan pick." Quinn noted that the new secretary will face "extremely daunting challenges" in the aviation industry, especially in trying to cope with labor-management relations at the FAA. "At the same time, he'll have to effectively modernize our air traffic control system and deal with very pressing competition and congestion problems," Quinn said. According to the National Air Transportation Association, LaHood has been a "proponent for improving local airports [in Illinois] through securing funds for new construction and expansion, while also working with officials to increase air service." In 2000, when LaHood served on the House aviation subcommittee, he was cited as a "strong advocate of general aviation" by AOPA.

The aviation industry is sure to weigh in thoroughly on the choice over the next few days as the news is made official.

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Pilots Making Their Voices Heard back to top 

Eclipse Aviation Customers Organize

Customers of Eclipse Aviation announced on Wednesday that they have formed an Ad Hoc Customers Committee to represent the interests of owners and position holders as the company works its way through bankruptcy proceedings. Eclipse delivered 259 aircraft and took deposits in the estimated amount of $300 million for future deliveries before filing for Chapter 11 late last month. "Eclipse customers hold contracts under which Eclipse is obligated to provide warranty coverage, upgrades, uninstalled equipment, maintenance coverage, subscription services, and future aircraft deliveries," the group said in a news release. "In terms of dollar amount, customers are likely the largest constituency in Eclipse's Chapter 11 case." The news release said the new committee will act for the common interests of all owners and position holders of both the Eclipse 500 twin jet and the Eclipse 400 single-engine jet. David Green, who is also the president of the Eclipse 500 Owners Club, was chosen as chair. "The Ad Hoc Customers Committee is funded by the owners and position holders in recognition that a unified voice is the most effective way to ensure that customers are fairly treated and that the Eclipse order book is preserved as one of the most valuable assets of Eclipse," Green said.

"Prospective purchasers of company assets must recognize that satisfied customers, many of whom have supported Eclipse for over eight years, can be the most effective marketing group for Eclipse aircraft," he added. "Finding a mutually beneficial outcome with the purchaser is our purpose; but all options are under consideration as we fulfill our mandate of protecting the interests of the customer group." To contact the group, e-mail Nanette Metz or Randall Sanada at info@JetAlliance.com, or call (805) 409-0426.

New TSA Rules Affect GA Pilots; TSA To Hold Hearings On LASP Plans

AOPA reported on Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration has issued a directive that will require background checks for general aviation pilots based at airports served by airlines, starting next year.

Those pilots who pass the background check will receive an ID badge to allow them access to the airport. The directive won't affect transient pilots, AOPA said, who will continue to be subject to the current escorting and monitoring requirements in place at airports that serve air carriers. Currently, most airports exclude GA operations from these security requirements, but that is about to change. "Pilots have long operated without incident on these airports, and it is surprising that the TSA appears to have implemented such a significant new mandate with no notification or discussion," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "It will have a significant impact on pilots and airports in many small communities across the country." Meanwhile, the TSA has announced a series of public hearings to be held in January to hear public reaction to its Large Aircraft Security Program, which has met with considerable opposition in the aviation world. The National Business Aviation Association has listed details about the hearings, as well as its analysis of the TSA proposals, at its Web site. The hearings will be held on various dates in January 2009, in White Plains, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill.; Burbank, Calif.; and Houston, Texas.

Holiday Special! Get $100 Off a Panel Power Zulu
Lightspeed has lowered their price from $900 to $850, plus they'll give you a $50 mail-in rebate. Give your special pilot everything dreams are made of: performance, comfort, and crystal-clear audio, with more total noise cancellation than any other headset, plus built-in Bluetooth. Purchase from an authorized Lightspeed dealer by December 31st, 2008. Click here to see why Zulu is Aviation Consumer's Headset of the Year for 2008.
That Time of the Year When a Sleigh Is an Aircraft ... back to top 

A Pilot's Dream Gift -- Time In Mustang Simulator

If there's a pilot on your holiday shopping list who's impossible to buy for, here's a gift that should put a spark in any pilot's eye -- an hour in a full-motion Citation Mustang jet flight simulator. FlightSafety International is offering a special gift package for anyone with an interest, pilot or not, the Wichita Eagle reported this week. The Cessna Learning Center in Wichita, Kan., will provide a brief overview of the jet plus an hour at the simulator controls, with an instructor, for $400. Eagle reporter Molly McMillin tried it out, and said "You really feel like you're doing the flying." Time slots can be booked between Dec. 29 and Jan. 2, a time frame, we suspect, when regular paying customers are scarce. For information, call Catherine Kreitler at (316) 220-3100.

Year's End Is Time To Give

Many folks will face the New Year warily uncertain of what it might bring, as global economic turmoil continues, and those who depend on the charity of others face even worse uncertainty. When times are tough, it's harder to give, but that's when generosity is needed most. Aviators have long been proud of their charitable efforts, and EAA has some practical suggestions -- take advantage of your employer's charitable gift matching program if available, and if you are aged 70 1/2 or older, you can transfer funds directly from your IRA to qualified charitable organizations, thus eliminating income tax on withdrawals. Check with EAA for more details. Also, EAA announced last week that AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 will spotlight the breadth and depth of good works accomplished by general aviation. The Fly for Life program will highlight more than 200 organizations that promote flying for humanitarian goals. Activities will include a major display adjacent to AeroShell Square, aircraft displays, numerous forums and presentations, an evening program, and other events.

"There are so many ways that general aviation serves people around the world -- even people who don't have a direct involvement with flying," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "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. We are looking forward to recognizing those people and organizations during EAA AirVenture 2009." Learn more about the work of GA volunteers, and find out what you can do to participate or contribute, in Friday's AVweb podcast with Rol Murrow, president of the Air Care Alliance.

Icing and Precipitation Can Be Deadly — Refresh Your Skills Now!
Icing and precipitation are among the top causes of fatal weather-related accidents. Learn how to recognize the hazards and create a strategy for avoidance with the newest interactive course from the AOPA Air Safety FoundationWeather Wise: Precipitation & Icing. Check out this no-cost online course now!
News Briefs back to top 

Questions Surround Missing Aircraft In Caribbean

A Britten-Norman Islander took off from the Dominican Republic on Monday afternoon, with 12 people on board bound for New York, but disappeared from radar 35 minutes later after sending an emergency signal, The Associated Press reported this week. Six airplanes, two helicopters, and a ship from the U.S. Coast Guard searched the seas near the Turks and Caicos Islands for the aircraft, but no sign had been found of the Islander as of late Wednesday afternoon. "The weather was really difficult to search in last night," Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson told Reuters on Tuesday. "We had 6- to 8-foot seas, lots of whitecaps and next to zero visibility. It's been clearing up but the seas are still a little rough." On Tuesday, the AP reported that aviation officials were giving conflicting reports regarding the airplane's origin and destination, and the registered owner said the airplane had been stolen. It was also unclear whether the airplane had landed in the Turks and Caicos Islands prior to its disappearance. "There's still a lot of unanswered questions here," FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the AP. Questions also were raised about the pilot's credentials; one report said the pilot had only a student license.

WhiteKnight2 Completes Taxi Test; New Mexico Spaceport OK'd

Is a first flight imminent for the White Knight Two? When the huge double-hulled aircraft rolled out last summer in Mojave, the media was told to expect a first flight by the end of this year. This week, Flight International reports that at least one low-speed taxi trial took place last Friday at about 3 p.m. local time (click here for video), and the first flight may take place as soon as this Friday. The airplane was designed to carry space tourists for Virgin Galactic. WK2 will fly to about 50,000 feet with a spaceship suspended beneath its wing. The spaceship will then fall free and light a rocket to reach altitudes above 100,000 feet, where tourists can experience weightlessness and view the curvature of the Earth. This week, the age of space tourism took another step forward when the FAA issued a license for vertical and horizontal launches for Spaceport America, in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic is expected to sign a lease for the facility by the end of this month, and construction should begin early next year. The project will be the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the U.S.

Several commercial launches for various clients already have taken place at the site since April 2007, and more launches are planned. The terminal and hangar facility for horizontal launches are scheduled to be completed by late 2010.

On the Fly ...

Shuttle astronaut Eileen Collins, former Cessna CEO Russ Meyer, late actor and aviation advocate Jimmy Stewart and late Apollo astronaut Ed White are the 2009 inductees into the National Aviation Hall of Fame...

Special flight rules will be in place for the presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 20...

Pax were stunned when an airline pilot said he had to turn around on approach to Paris because he wasn't qualified to land in fog...

FAA will reinstate 60 pilot testing centers whose privileges had been revoked, AOPA reports...

United Air Lines is sued for allegedly serving too much alcohol to an inebriated passenger, who later beat his wife.

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.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

ADIZ/SFRA Permanent

click for larger image

The FAA has made the Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C. permanent (and called it a Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA)), but AOPA says it will keep fighting to get rid of it. "While this is a final rule," Andy Cebula, AOPA's executive vice president of government affairs said in a news release.

"Circumstances and conditions evolve, and rules can be changed." While AOPA is working on that, the government seems pretty stuck on keeping the 15 and 30-nm bubbles around DC (flying shoes notwithstanding) and says it's in everyone's best interests. "This rule will help air traffic controllers and security agencies monitor air traffic by identifying, distinguishing and responding appropriately if an aircraft deviates from its expected flight path or is not complying with instructions from controllers," the agency says in a news release AOPA maintains the ADIZ/SFRA is unnecessary, costs millions of dollars a year in hardship to airports within it and creates a lot of upset. AOPA is also reminding pilots that with the hardening of the airspace barriers around Washington, a new rule requiring aircraft operating in the vicinity is also coming into effect. If you plan on flying within 60 nm of D.C. in the future, you need to take the online course mandated by the FAA by Feb. 9.

Two New Air Shows Ahead For 2009

Air shows continue to be one of the best vehicles for introducing the masses to the world of aviation, and this week brought announcements about two major new shows coming up next year. Colorado Sport Aviation said it will launch the Colorado Sport International Air Show and Rocky Mountain Regional Fly-In at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Denver, on Aug. 22-23. The Rocky Mountain Fly-In has been held at various locations in its 29-year history, and this will be a new venue, incorporating the airport's popular annual open house event. The airport, located between Denver and Boulder, is close to plenty of tourist facilities and potential visitors, and provides spectacular mountain scenery.

Also, Branson Airport, in Branson, Mo., will host the first annual Branson Air Show, May 8-10, which will set the stage for the grand opening of the brand-new, privately operated commercial airport on May 11. Acts will include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Manfred Radius, Patty Wagstaff, and more, plus plenty of warbirds on display. More performers are expected to be confirmed soon. Branson Airport is the first privately financed and operated commercial airport in the U.S. Organizers of the $155 million project say it will create a more pleasant travel experience for customers.

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/.

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.
New on AVweb back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #132: Why Flying Is Such A Buzz

We demonstrate all manner of inherently unsafe behavior in airplanes to student pilots. Why not show them how to buzz?

Click here for the full story.

AVweb's Video Gift Ideas 2008

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.

Find it here.

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.

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.
Commentary & Opinion back to top 

Question of the Week: The Perfect Gift for a Pilot

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they're flying more now that fuel prices have fallen again — and we got a wide array of responses.

One in five of those who responded told us the recent economic problems have impacted their flying more than high fuel prices. Presumably, any gains those pilots would've seen have been more than offset by the tight times. On the other hand, 35% of you told us that you're either flying more already or "ramping up." The most popular answer in last week's information poll was the perennially popular other ... .

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.)


With Christmas only a week away, AVweb would like to know what constitutes "The Perfect Gift" when it comes to pilots and aviation buffs.

What's the ideal holiday gift for a pilot?
(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.

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.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Avidyne Entegra Integrated Flight Deck (Release 9)

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

Avidyne has upgraded its Entegra Flight Deck. Join us as we have a look, courtesy of Paul Bertorelli and Glenn Pew.

For more on the new Entegra, click here.

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.

Central Europe's Dedicated General Aviation Exhibition for 2009
AeroExpo Europe/Prague is the dedicated general aviation exhibition in Central Europe in 2009, showcasing everything from ultralights through business jets. Its location at the heart of Europe together with the facilities means it will be the single most important venue for exhibitors to showcase their products and services to the European general aviation market and particularly to the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Russia. Go online for complete information.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Pecos Air Center (KPEQ, Pecos, TX)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Pecos Air Center at KPEQ in Pecos, Texas.

AVweb reader Jeffrey B. Chipetine called the FBO "a terrific stop on the way home to New York from California":

[I] called in on Unicom (45 miles out from 13.5K) as dark was falling fast. Was answered immediately and was told they'd be open when we arrived. Was offered a handshake, help with bags, tie-down assistance, and a courtesy car before I could say "thank you." ... These folks know how to make weary travelers feel welcome and wanted. Add me to the list of Pecos Air Center fans.

Didn't realize we were keeping the list, Jeffrey, but we've pinned it to the virtual AVweb bulletin board and added your name!

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!

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, plus access to aviation records and much more. To become an NAA member, sign up online or call (703) 416-4888 and press 4.
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.


That old holiday spirit seems to be upon us all this week — as evidenced by the outpouring of great "POTW" submissions we found in our inbox today. Among the sunsets and skyscapes, we found quite a few holiday cards and festive photos this week — but rather than run them, we'll save them for next Thursday, when AVwebFlash (and "POTW") will hit the streets on Christmas morning. Yes, we're planning to make next week's edition of "POTW" an all-holiday affair! Light the menorah, trim the tree, and send us your best and brightest holiday-themed airplane photos. We'll share as many as we can right here on Christmas Day! (Be sure to get your photos in by Tuesday morning to be considered for the holiday issue.)

Oh, and look for some answers to last week's ID challenge underneath the pics!

medium | large

copyright © Dwayne Clemens
Used with permission

Sunset Smoke

Dwayne Clemens of Benton, Kansas leads us into the skies this week with this photo of Greg Largen smoking up the air over Stearman Field.

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Used with permission of Michael Hays

Air Harbor Morning

Giving Greg a tough run for the top spot is Michael Hays of Bainbridge Island, Washington.

That should tell you what an embarrasment of riches we had this week — this shot is our Number Two pick!

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Used with permission of Todd Walter

NASA Low-Level Fly-By

Just to drive that point a little further home, we point out that a chance photo of the NASA 747 Space Shuttle Transport (submitted by Todd Walter of League City, Texas) is in the Number Three spot!

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Used with permission of William Fons

St. Lucia Approach

We're not sure why William Fons of Brookfield, Wisconsin never invites us anywhere — but at least he thought to send us this photo of the "very welcome sight" that greets arrivals at George Charles Airport in St. Lucia.

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copyright © Jeffrey P. Jacobs
Used with permission


Jeffrey P. Jacobs of Vancouver, Washington flies us out this week.

Don't forget to send those holiday-themed photos, so we can brighten up everyone's Christmas morning with lights, snowmen, Santas, airplanes, and all those other fine traditions!

Last week, AVweb reader David Lippincott asked for your help in identifying this plane adorning a patio in Taiwain. We received quite a few well-informed guesses (some informing us that the ID would've been easier if we'd linked to the correct plane during the first few hours of Thursday morning). Here's a sampling:

"... looks to me like a Kate."
— Larry Fries

"Converted NA T6 Texan dressed as a Mitsubishi Zero left over from Tora, Tora, Tora."
— Paul Esser

"It is the A6M8 variant of the Mitsubishi A6M Reisen (Zero Fighter), Allied code name Zeke. Looks like the dihedral has been bent to a zero angle."
— Sam Hawkins

"The aircraft in the photo is a North American AT-6 converted into a replica of the Mitsubishi A6M Reisen 'Zero', specifically the A6M5 variation where the Nakajima Sakae 21 radial engine was modified with individual ejector exhaust stubs for greater thrust augmentation."
— Nelson Tirado

I thought it might be an SNJ/T-6 but the canopy is too high. My guess is that its a movie prop; maybe from Empire of the Sun or Pearl Harbor.
— Kevin Korterud

O.K., I`ve worked on real Japanease Zeros, and I can tell you the canopy is Zero, but the 'engine cowling' is part of a washing machine or something. Also, the dihedral angle of the wing, or rather lack thereof, is wrong for a Zero. This is some kind of mock-up made of gosh only knows what.
— Chris Ball

We were thinking T-6 Texan SNJ ourselves — but there are a lot of niggling details to suggest there's been at least some modifications, as the folks above point out.

Remember how we said at the outset that this was an outstanding week for submissions? Well, that translates into a home page slideshow sagging under the weight of great photos. When you finish up here, head over to AVweb's home page and scroll about 1/3 of the way down the page to view 'em all!

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.

Are Your Company's Sales Stalling?
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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.

Got a Moment? Make Your Voice Heard with Aviation Consumer's Maintenance Survey

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.)

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.