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Volume 15, Number 2a
January 12, 2009
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Top News: Watching the Weatherback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Garmin has issued an update for certain handheld GPS units to fix a problem with access to the XM weather option. The 4.60 upgrade is aimed at upgrading "XM data validation for XM subscribers with weather data only." Over New Year's hundreds of Garmin XM subscribers lost weather capability and it was several days before service was restored. (Be sure to read Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli's take on the way the companies involved handled the outage.) More...

Cirrus Design will announce a series of model changes for 2009 today, including certified flight into known icing for the SR22. A news conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Central time in which the company will unveil details of the FIKI system, which will be an enhancement of the current TKS set-up now available. There's a larger tank of fluid and more surfaces with the weeping surface. Other enhancements to the product line will include avionics options based on the Perspective glass panel. AVweb's podcast interview with Cirrus spokesman Ian Bentley will go live at 11 a.m. EST. The product enhancement announcement comes three days after Cirrus cut production to eight planes a week, laid off 50 administration staff and extended the furlough period of 100 of 500 employees who were just getting back to work after a month-long furlough. More...

Cirrus Aircraft Announces New SR20, SR22, and Turbo Model Packages
Cirrus Aircraft announces comprehensive new features, upgrades, and option packages to its best-selling SR20, SR22, and Turbo model aircraft lineup for 2009. These include "Known Ice Protection" on SR22 and Turbo models; well-equipped "S," "GS," and "GTS" editions available on all models; an all-new "X-Edition" premium interior and exterior upgrade package; new paint schemes across the line; and more. Visit the all-new CirrusAircraft.com for complete details.
Economic Challenges for Some ...back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Boeing announced Friday that it will layoff 4500 workers from its commercial aircraft division, beginning with 60-day layoff notices to be issued on Feb. 20 and amid reports that it would lose both the orders and deliveries race to Airbus in 2008. The eight-week-long machinists strike suffered by Boeing did affect the number of aircraft delivered by the company in 2008, which fell behind Airbus' total deliveries for the sixth straight year. The strike that began in September helped Boeing's deliveries in the fourth quarter plummet down to 50 (from 112 a year earlier). In the orders race, where Boeing's net figure fell from 1413 in 2007 to 662 in 2008, Airbus (which hasn't yet reported December figures) earned 756 orders through the first 11 months of last year. The tale of the tape shows that record order numbers in 2007 were halved at Boeing in 2008. Airbus' orders through 11 months are two-thirds that company's 2007 figure. Both companies still have extensive order backlogs -- Boeing alone looks to fill more than 3,700 -- that likely will be whittled down by some degree through deferrals and cancelations. Demand for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner accounts for nearly 900 orders now to be delivered no earlier than the first quarter of 2010. That aircraft is expected to fly in the second quarter of 2009, as the result of a fourth announced delay, and the company's efforts to speed the process has allocated its resources from other projects. A 747 update will now be at least nine months late because engineers have been diverted to the 787 project. More...

AVwebBiz Wednesday reported that following a December announcement that Cessna would cut 500 workers, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton rang in the New Year with a Jan. 6 e-mail to employees that announced the possibility of still more layoffs. The number of jobs affected is yet to be determined. "As soon as we finalize our revised 2009 production plan, we will communicate what the implications are for our company," wrote Pelton. Wichita is already reeling from 800 jobs eliminated by Boeing and 490 removed by Hawker Beechcraft. Now, as Cessna seeks to find its balance with order cancellations, deferrals and their associated production cutbacks, more layoffs will be coming. The company delivered a record number of aircraft in 2008, but jet orders began to decline mid-year and plans for growth must now be reassessed. A spike in used aircraft on the market has had wide-ranging impact and "the domestic market remains very soft," according to Pelton, while "the international markets that were very strong a year ago are now quiet." Even shared aircraft service providers like NetJets have significantly altered their plans and NetJets specifically has backed off of an order for what Pelton called, "a significant number" of aircraft. Based on prior announcements, at least 150 employees volunteered for a layoff program through which Cessna offers a severance package. More...

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... Opportunities for Othersback to top 

Superior Air Parts, which has filed motions for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, now expects to obtain court approval of the bidding process by Jan. 15 as Avco (a subsidiary of Textron) sits poised to compete with offers above its own $11.5 million cash bid for "substantially all of Superior's assets." That bid is free of all liens and other claims. Aside from supplying parts for Continental and Lycoming engines, Superior is also an OEM for the 180-horsepower Vantage Engine. Superior "is a distributor of over 2,000 general parts purchased from other manufacturers," according to papers flied Wednesday. As such, its sale or dissolution could affect a wide swath of aviation interests from overhaul shops to individual pilot/owners. Superior told AVweb last week that it is maintaining sufficient staff to accept and fill orders. Superior's XP experimental engine program will continue, but its popular owner-build program for homebuilders has been at least temporarily suspended. Superior is expected to file a plan to distribute the proceeds of the sale to all creditors, according to each creditor's legally determined priority. The coming auction will deliver Superior's assets free and clear and all creditors will be enjoined and barred from pursuing any claims against Avco or any other purchaser of Superior Assets. More important to Joe Pilot, it may also significantly alter the landscape of engine parts pricing and availability for general aviation aircraft. Detailed information on the asset auction follows after the jump. More...

It has nothing to do with the economy, according to 70-something-year-old owner Armand Rivard, it's just "time to go fishing." The company, which once employed about 200 people in Maine and Fort Pierce, Fla., and reached peak production of about 100 aircraft per year in the mid 1980's, now retains four people in Kissimmee and two in New Hampshire to support some 1,300 Lake-manufactured aircraft in service throughout the world. Lake Aircraft is currently owned by Rivard's Revo Inc., and the latter will soon offer Lake's assets at a price yet to be determined. Rivard's previous attempts to sell Lake -- in 2001, 2002, 2005 (through what became an uneventful auction at AirVenture Oshkosh) and 2007 -- all fell short. But Lake aircraft remain unique to a market that retains a cost of entry great enough to potentially dissuade competition for years to come, according to Rivard. The assets for sale include the company's rather unique FAA certificate for a single-engine amphibious aircraft, dies and drawings, component and assembly tooling, plus global manufacturing and marketing rights. Revard this time says he's just trying to get a feel for the market, would prefer to sell to an American buyer, and doesn't "need that much" for the company. Lake Aircraft produced all of zero aircraft in 2008 and just one in 2007, but Rivard says that's mostly due to a lack of marketing and that the aircraft's certification in a niche market gives it the potential to corner markets he hasn't properly explored. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

In a letter obtained by Dow Jones Newswire, aviation groups are seeking funds to launch NextGen and equip aircraft with ADS-B. The letter outlines how a $4 billion cash infusion could be used to ignite NextGen air traffic control infrastructure modernization and create 77,000 jobs while obliterating previous completion date estimates. "Significant benefits that the FAA and Congress believe will be realized over the next 17 years could actually happen in the President-elect Obama's first term," according to the letter. The groups also emphasized that NextGen's reliance on ADS-B and GPS technologies would provide carriers and controllers with the ability to meet a projected rise in air traffic with more efficient (and more direct) routing that would not only counter an increase in traffic but also promise savings in both time and fuel. The groups represented by the letter specifically named in published reports so far include the commercial airlines via the Air Transport Association (ATA), and business jet operators via the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). More...

Six cadets from China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines last month completed work at Boeing's training arm, Alteon, in Brisbane, in a Multi-Crew Pilot licensing program (MPL) that aims to revolutionize and streamline airline cockpit crew training to answer the forecast demand for pilots. Boeing and Airbus together currently have a backlog of more than 7,000 aircraft -- all of them will need pilots at a time when the pilot population is expected to lose increasing numbers to age-induced retirement. To produce more airline pilots at a faster rate, MPL shifts training's emphasis from flight hours directly to airline cockpit competency with a focus on cockpit resource management, critical thinking and risk management. Aspiring airline pilots in the 20-month trial program did not spend thousands of hours building their flight skills, working their way up from private, to instructor, to commercial aviator to airline pilot, but instead were "trained from day one for the job they will be doing in aviation," Civil Aviation Safety Authority chief executive Bruce Byron told The Australian. MPL, now tested through two years, was on Dec. 19 endorsed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with rules and requirements that support the program. But because the program replaces what could be years of hands on flying with simulator training and coursework, opponents say substantial concerns remain. More...

Two passengers noticed last week at a security checkpoint at Port Columbus that an airline pilot they passed nearby smelled strongly of alcohol, so they told a TSA agent ... but they didn't stop there. As the men proceeded beyond the checkpoint, they noticed that the pilot was heading toward their own departure gate and so with further inspired mortal vigor took matters into their own hands. They approached the pilot and frankly told him he stank of alcohol, adding that if he had a drinking problem, he shouldn't be flying an airplane. At that point, the man identified only as a Chicago-based Southwest Airlines captain turned red, turned around and ran away. Airport police were dispatched and later found the captain in a restroom, where he'd apparently removed his uniform jacket and replaced it with a normal business jacket. The police may have just missed the phone call the captain had just made to his employer, but what they did hear may have been interesting enough. More...

Untie Your Dreams at 235 Knots
Leave the runway at 1,400 vertical feet per minute. Climb to 25,000 feet. Cruise at 235 confident knots. Nothing releases a pilot's passion for flight like the Cessna 400, the world's fastest fixed-gear aircraft. It's more than speed that makes the Cessna 400 such a pleasure to fly. There's the sophisticated stylish cabin, glass cockpit, side-stick control, and the head-turning gorgeous looks. Looks like Cessna is in the fast business. Go online for all the details.
New on AVwebback to top 

Garmin, XM and WxWorx didn't do the best job in keeping customers informed when their weatherlink service went down last week, and the missed opportunity reminded our Editorial Director, Paul Bertorelli, of another instance where a large firm made a costly public relations mistake. Read his thoughts in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

Dr. Blue Says, "Be Smart — Carry a PLB!"
Flying, hiking, camping, riding your ATV or bike — accidents happen that can become a life-threatening situation. Be prepared with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It's as easy as pushing a button. PLBs from Aeromedix.com include the ACR MicroFix 406 MHz for pilots when you're enjoying activities in unpopulated areas. Click now to visit Aeromedix.com for complete details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 


Letter of the Week: From an Ice Expert

Our company airplanes fly in icing as part of cloud-seeding and atmospheric research operations, so we have some experience in that area. The NTSB is completely missing the boat. ...

Hans Ahlness

Click through to read the rest of Hans's icing tips and other letters from our readers.


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...

Jeppesen Avionics Knowledge Library — Garmin G1000 IFR Training
The Jeppesen Garmin G1000 — IFR Procedures training is an advanced, extensive computer-based training program developed with Garmin teaching skills to master the operation of and confidently fly the G1000 in IFR conditions. Learn how to: Pull up and fly instrument procedures; load and activate approaches including RNAV and GPS; perform new WAAS-enabled approaches; and perform course reversals, fly holding patterns, and execute missed approaches. Call Jeppesen at (303) 328-4274, or visit online for more information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

We've seen bits and pieces of our latest "Video of the Week" around the web, but it was AVweb reader Joe Rowell who pointed us to the full version we're running today. Even if the phrase "wingsuit base-jumping" doesn't pique your interest, we think you'll enjoy the breath-taking scenery and incredible camera work in this clip from Matchstick Productions' Seven Sunny Days, posted by Vimeo user Ali. More...

One of the oldest continuously produced line of aircraft in the world, the Lake family of single-engine amphibians, is for sale. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with the current owner, Armand Rivard, about the potential future of the unique airplane. More...

Hill Aircraft Parts Department Announces January as Customer Appreciation Month
All Internet orders placed in January are eligible for an additional 10% discount off the total price. $500 maximum discount. (Excludes freight, taxes, and cores if applicable.) To be eligible for this discount, simply enter code Special 0109 in the "comments" section on the Internet order form. Click here to save now!
More to See on AVwebback to top 

IFR magazine Editor-in-Chief Jeff Van West spent time in the Tower at Kennedy airport to see what it takes to run the operation during the evening push and why it takes two years for a controller to reach full qualification at one of the busiest airports in the Northeast. More...

By now, you've seen and heard a lot about Garmin's new GPSMap 696 GPS device. In this video, Jeb Burnside, Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Safety magazine, walks you through four key safety features of the 696. (Click through to watch.) More...

Business Executives! Mark Your Calendars for February 3 & 4, 2009 in London, England
Active Communications' Efficiency in Aviation forum will provide a unique platform for senior aviation executives to discover, consider and discuss innovative management, operational and technical strategies to achieve greater cost and fuel efficiency. AVweb is a media partner for this forum. Call Melanie Mulazzi at +44 (20) 7981-2504, or click here to contact her via e-mail.

Details online.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Desert Skies Executive Air Terminal at Lake Havasu City Airport (HII) in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

AVweb reader Claudia Huber confessed that she stopped at Desert Skies "because of the cheap fuel," but was surprised by the hospitality:

Our first stop was at the wrong place, but there was no problem to get the fuel truck from Desert Skies to our parking. Inside the building, there were free coffee, donuts, popcorn, and much more for free for pilots. As a Swiss pilot usually flying in Euorpe, this was a wonderful arrival. Nice, helpful, friendly people, smiling all the time. Great!

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!


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More AVweb for Your Inboxback to top 

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...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Overheard while en route to Hendersonville, NC:

"Piper XXX, say destination."

Piper XXX:
T as in ... tail.
R as in ... roger.
I as in ... um ... inside."

Jeff Brooks
Flushing, MI


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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