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Volume 9, Number 38bSeptember 18, 2002

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LIGHTSPEED PRODUCT FOCUS: THE QFR SOLO SS HEADSET LightSPEED has launched several new products based on earlier models with additional features and improvements. One of these products is the QFR Solo SS. LightSPEED has had great success with the QFR Solo SS at large fly-ins where pilots could compare the Solo SS to other headsets with similar, or higher retail prices. Improvements made to the QFR Solo SS, from the basic Solo product are: Studio quality speakers; Improved noise reduction microphone; Confor-foam comfort seals; and a Padded headpad. For more information on LightSPEED's QFR Solo SS headset and other quality headsets go online at

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

Imagine an FAA where friendliness, fair play and good "customer" relations are the priorities. Visit your local FSDO in coming months and the agency's brass is hoping you're in for a surprise. The FAA Office of Regulation and Certification ("AVR") is pressing ahead with its new AVR Customer Service Initiative to treat the pilots more like customers. Now, we don't expect to see door greeters or free roses on Mother's Day but the agency we sometimes love to hate has promised to try and make our visits to its facilities a bit more pleasant, depending, of course, on the circumstances. More...

Well, since this attitude might be new to some employees, the FAA has embarked on a comprehensive training program that has so far included memos and checklists circulated to all staff. "The Customer Service initiative enables us to better document AVR decisions; helps us to be consistent and fair in application of our regulations; and promotes earlier resolution of disagreements," reads one of the memos. But what if an FAA employee is caught in a customer-relations situation without being able to put his hands on the latest memo? The agency has issued a Wallet Information Card, which among other things asks the employees, "Have you considered the customer and FAA perspectives on this issue?" More...

Is there a nice way to tell a pilot his or her certificate has been pulled? The FAA and the Department of Homeland Security are quietly continuing a practice to bar pilots -- on the basis of "security concerns" -- from flying our friendly skies. The Associated Press reports that in July the Homeland Security Department directed U.S. and foreign anti-terrorism entities to review crew lists for foreign commercial flights using U.S. airspace. Sixteen pilots raised suspicions and five have been denied permission to fly into the United States. The agency, however, did not provide the reasons for the denials nor the names of the affected pilots. More...

AEROPLANNER ISN'T ALL FLIGHT PLANNING...IT'S CONVENIENCE AeroPlanner is the best flight planning program around giving you all the information needed for any particular flight. Team your knowledge and skill with AeroPlanner flight planning and it's a winning combination. For a no-obligation demonstration go to

The FAA hopes to have its Reauthorization Bill in place by the end of the month despite a proposal by a senator to delay Congress' vote on $60 billion package by six months. John Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) has proposed a bill that would extend the funding authority of the agency for six months so Congress can reconsider a section of the bill that would permit the privatization of 69 so-called VFR towers. But a top FAA official says he doubts Rockefeller's bill will pass. "We just don't see that proposal having any support," Communications Director Greg Martin told AVweb. "It's entirely too premature to suggest an extension is a possibility." More...

If, as Martin predicts, the funding extension bill fails, then what happens if the full Reauthorization Bill isn't passed by Sept. 30? Another top FAA official is predicting thousands of furloughs and the halting of dozens of airport projects. "It's not something we're bluffing about," Woodie Woodward, the FAA's associate administrator for airports, told a conference of airport directors in Tampa on Tuesday, just before Rockefeller made his announcement. "It's a real dire situation." Although it appears that essential core services would be maintained, the furloughs would cut a broad swath through FAA offices throughout the country. More...

GARMIN'S 196 GPS HAS THE MOST UTILITY AMONG AVIATION HANDHELDS! WAAS-capable, the Garmin 196 has advanced mapping and logbook capabilities offering more utility as a cross-platform navigator than any aviation portable on the market. On land the GPSMAP 196 can navigate along roads or waterways. For details on the 196 and other Garmin GPS models go online at

Raytheon Aircraft Co., which may or may not be for sale, has come under the Security and Exchange Commission’s microscope lately, likely compounding the headaches it's already enduring in the soft post-9/11 economy. In January, the SEC began to look into how Raytheon Aircraft recognized revenues from 1997 to 2001. The investigation specifically focused on the manufacturer’s regional aircraft business. The SEC’s investigations -- the third federal inquiry for Raytheon Co. since 2001-- focuses on a transaction in October 2001 in which Raytheon took a $693 million charge on its 19-seat commuter aircraft business. More...

Philadelphia may be home to several historic treasures, but aviation will be the main draw next month. The city is playing host to a couple of major aviation events that will surely draw in thousands of enthusiasts. The Franklin Air Show, The Franklin Institute's newest exhibit on aviation, opens to the public Oct. 18 after seven months of intensive renovations. Aside from the Franklin Institute’s exhibit, the upcoming AOPA Expo will also make the headlines in Philly from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1. More...

GULF COAST AVIONICS: "THE LOWEST PRICES IN THE INDUSTRY, PERIOD" Gulf Coast Avionics is a leading supplier of avionics, instruments and pilot supplies. With one of the largest comprehensive inventories in the industry, pilots are sure to find what they need. Go online to Gulf Coast Avionics' e-commerce site to shop for the latest products and offers at

On September 2, 1998, Swissair Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing all aboard. Now, four years later, the FAA has yet to act on recommendations by Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) and the NTSB to increase the length of time flight data and cockpit voice recorders gather data. The Canadian agency also wants the so-called black boxes to have independent power supplies. In this crash, both devices stopped working six minutes before the crash, denying investigators crucial information about the MD-11's final few minutes. More...

While many engineers have spent countless hours and dollars trying to design the next propulsion system, a South Carolina teenager has worked with the basics -- namely a paper airplane and a lot of creativity -- to come up with some ideas of his own. Apparently, it’s paid off, as Hilton Head High School sophomore Ben Rosenberg has been invited for an all-expense-paid trip to Japan to continue his work with laser propulsion. Ben will get to work in the Tokyo Institute of Technology's labs for two weeks with Takashi Yabe, a professor and chief laser researcher, who is looking at ways to use lasers to propel spacecraft and airplanes. More...

AFFORDABLE FLIGHT. LOOKING FOR BIG FUN WITH A SMALL PRICE TAG? There’s nothing better than the Symphony 160, the two-place, high wing, single engine aircraft from OMF. This well-equipped aircraft can take you and a passenger, plus full fuel and baggage, wherever you want to go, and make getting there part of the fun. It has the sporty good looks, comfort, safety and German engineering that will make possible the lifestyle you want. The Symphony 160 makes flying fun again. To discover more about the fully-loaded Symphony 160, call 1-866-OMF-1600 or visit

The Australian and British governments aren’t taking any chances with cellphones on airliners. The Aussie Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has published an article calling for restricted use of cellphones aboard airliners after tests in England determined cellphones caused compass freeze, navigational instrument errors, communication interference and false warning reports. In the latest edition of its Flight Safety Australia magazine, CASA says that while a link between electronic devices and in-flight incidents has been difficult to prove in the past, evidence is increasing and is being supported by controlled testing. More...

The National Air tour stopped in Wichita during its historic trip...
Suspected human waste dropped from an airplane was found stuck to a house...
Work began on revamping the Manassas, Va., airport’s aging runway...
Tampa welcomed the 12th Annual ACI-NA Conference and Exhibition. More...

DON'T SIT THERE AND WISH YOUR AIRPLANE HAD ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES! Bennett Avionics meets your aircraft's needs while maintaining your budget. Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft at a price that makes sense. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics-your one-stop used avionics specialist at


AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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

Say Again? #28: ATC 203 -- IFR Flight Plan
Everybody who flies a flight IFR has to file a flight plan. Even if it's just a pop-up clearance with ATC, there's gonna be a flight plan somewhere. But pilots (and others) are still not following the rules, and safety is being compromised. AVweb's Don Brown continues his 200-series of online IFR "courses" with this discussion of what should and shouldn't be in an IFR flight plan.


SHOW YOUR PRIDE AND ELITE STATUS WITH FIRST FLIGHT COMMEMORATIVE ITEMS Shop for First Flight Centennial collectibles and apparel online, by entering promotional code "AVWEB" for a 10% discount on everything. While there enter the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes. The lucky winner will be a part of the Kitty Hawk activities on December 17. Other prizes include commemorative watches and more. Order, enter the sweepstakes, secure VIP events seating and more at

We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Karen Ness, of Munster, IN. Her winning photo -- appropriately titled "Tails" -- was taken the first day of the National Air Tour, which appeared at Karen’s home field (KIGQ) on Lansing, IL. The pictured S-26 and other aircraft all participated in this historic event. Great picture, Karen! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to More...

We received over 100 responses to our question last week on The Two-Year Anniversary of 9/11. When asked how has aviation recovered from the tragic events of September 11, 2001, 39 percent of those responding felt the airline dilemma was developing well before the attacks but 9/11 was truly devastating, and still greatly affects, general aviation. About one-third (30 percent) of our respondents felt the industry, as a whole, has continued to suffer greatly after the attacks, while 13 percent felt general aviation is fairing better than the airlines.

To check out the complete results, please go to More...

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THE AVWEB EDITION OF FLIGHT EXPLORER LETS YOU SEE WHAT ATC SEES The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft situation display that shows a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in-flight over the U.S. and Canada. Whether you're tracking a friend's trip, or want to learn more about the system in action, Flight Explorer has the information for just $9.95 a month. Go to

ORDER EITHER DREAMFLYER BOOK AND DREAMFLYER WILL PAY THE POSTAGE "Flying and Learning the Basics for Every Pilot" and "Music's Broken Wings: Fifty Years of Aviation Accidents in the Music Industry" are being offered with the publisher paying the postage and shipping till September 31. For more information on these publications and to order go to


IF YOU FLY WEST OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE, PILOT GUIDES ARE A NECESSITY! "Pilots Guide to California Airports," "Pilots Guide to Southwestern Airports," and "Pilots Guide to Northwestern Airports" contain all the information about an airport and its surrounding environment and airspace. Each Guide is updated every four months and comes in a sturdy three-ring binder, which fits into most flight bags. Read an AVweb Review and order at

IFR-THE MAGAZINE FOR THE ACCOMPLISHED PILOT Coming in IFR's October issue: "You Can't Flunk Your IPC", tips to make your IPC more useful; "Picture Yourself In A Hold", a mental exercise to visualize before you panic and push buttons; "Go Missed Approach Wisely", where IFR pilots tend to go wrong; "The SR22 As An IFR Plateform"; plus editor's notes, aviation news, and IFR Radio Theater as heard "On The Air". As an accomplished pilot order your subscription at

WAS A POTENTIAL CATASTROPHE AVERTED ABOARD AN AIRTRAN DC-9 FROM ATLANTA? The NTSB has released its report on the fire which affected AirTran flight 956 detailing how the flightcrew recognized an unfolding problem and how they responded. Don't miss the story in September's NTSB Reporter. Order your subscription at

DON'T WAIT TILL YOU NEED A MAGNETO TO KNOW WHAT TO BUY, HOW THE IGNITION system works, and what prevents the magneto from working properly. "The Magneto Ignition System" book, with illustrations, includes all you need to know about the Bendix and Slick magnetos used on virtually all piston aircraft engines. Order your copy online at

"SPEAKING OF FLYING" OFFERS 44 AVIATION CELEBRITY STORIES OF HEROISM, humor, skill and terror. The perfect gift for any aviation buff at

RECOMMEND AVWEB & AVFLASH TO FELLOW PILOTS AND/OR BEGINNING STUDENTS! Send them over to AVweb for their NO-COST lifetime subscription at

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