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|Top News: Federal Aid for Aviation
AIRLINES JOIN FORCES TO LOBBY FOR AID
After several years of
bickering among airlines and business-aviation advocates about who will
pay what taxes and user fees, all the aviation groups now are banding
together to lobby for a piece of the expected stimulus
package under discussion in Washington. "As we've gone around and
done meetings on Capitol Hill, that's been one of the first observations
they've made -- that 'this is great, you guys are all together on
this,'" AOPA's Andy Cebula told the Bloomberg News. Lobbyists are hoping to get about $4
billion to advance the development of NextGen technologies such as
ADS-B, improved cockpit computers, and better equipment and procedures
for instrument approaches. The Air Transport Association, the National
Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transport Association,
the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and several other groups
are all working together to lobby for the aid. Cebula said he hopes the
newfound collaborative spirit carries over when the issue of FAA funding
and user fees arises in Congress again later this year.
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TO RELEASE NINE HELICOPTER EMS ACCIDENT REPORTS
In an unusual
move, the NTSB on Thursday will release four probable-cause
reports all at once, together with interim factual reports on five other
accidents. All nine of the accidents involved helicopters that were
engaged in emergency medical flights, all of them occurred since
December 2007, and all of them were fatal, resulting in 35 deaths. The
NTSB says that helicopter EMS safety has been an "ongoing concern," and
the board will hold hearings in Washington, D.C., Feb. 3 to 6, to
examine the issue. The board will hear expert testimony from invited
witnesses. The public is invited to attend, and the proceedings will be
webcast live. The issues to be discussed include flight operations and
aircraft safety equipment. In January 2006, the board released a special
report on the safety of helicopter EMS operations, recommended changes
in training and oversight, and also suggested that all helicopter EMS
aircraft should have terrain awareness and warning systems installed.
PILOT CAPTURED AND CHARGED
An Indiana pilot who is alleged to
have faked a distress call on Sunday night, parachuted from his Piper
Meridian and fled a small Alabama town on a motorcycle he'd hidden there
was facing the end of his marriage and the collapse of his business
empire, authorities say. Marcus Schrenker, 38, was found by U.S.
marshals Tuesday night, in a tent at a Florida campground, close to the
Georgia border. He had slit his wrist in an apparent suicide attempt.
"There was a large loss of blood and he was pretty incoherent," Frank
Chiumento, a U.S. Marshal Service deputy chief in Tallahassee, told the
IndyStar. "If we didn't arrive at the time, his
survival was questionable, that's for sure." Authorities said Schrenker
is expected to recover and will face charges of criminal fraud and
several lawsuits, as well as federal charges alleging that he faked the
distress call and abandoned the airplane. In an e-mail to a friend sent
on Monday night, which has been posted online by Fox News, Schrenker insists that a side window broke
at 22,000 feet and he jumped out in hypoxia-induced panic. He added that
he had considered suicide for some time but would never intentionally
endanger others by abandoning the airplane. "If I would have wanted to
commit suicide with an aircraft I just would have flown it into a
mountain," he wrote. He added, "I have embarrassed my family for the
last time and by the time you read this I will be gone." After Schrenker
jumped, the empty aircraft continued heading south at about 2,000 feet
for about 200 miles. Military aircraft intercepted and reported the door
was open and the left seat empty. The airplane eventually crashed in a
swamp in northern Florida, narrowly missing several homes.
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|Cessna's SkyCatcher And the Skies It Will Fly
REPORTS PROGRESS ON NEW AIRCRAFT
Despite the ongoing economic
downturn, Cessna continues to move forward on new product development,
including the Model 162 SkyCatcher LSA, the large-cabin Citation
Columbus business jet, and the Citation CJ4, the company said in a news
release on Wednesday. "Despite the uncertainty of the world's economic
environment, we believe it is critical that we not compromise our
future," said Cessna CEO Jack Pelton. "Our new product development
programs are proceeding on schedule. We remain committed to investing in
these programs, whether it is in aircraft development, facility
construction or ensuring we have the people resources to meet our
schedule." The SkyCatcher is nearing final ASTM compliance certification
and deliveries are planned to begin later this year, the company said.
Flight testing is focused on gathering data and making minor refinements
to ensure the aircraft complies with ASTM requirements and fulfills its
intended role in the training and sport flying market, Cessna said. An
extensive ground vibration test, though not an ASTM requirement, was
conducted to ensure a high standard of airframe integrity. Additional
testing beyond the ASTM requirements will include a full airframe
fatigue test on a production aircraft. More...
WEATHER CONSOLIDATION PLAN DRAWS OPPOSITION
The FAA's plan to
take forecasters out of the 21 Air Route Traffic Control Centers around
the country and consolidate weather services at two sites, in Maryland
and Kansas, is drawing opposition from the GA alphabet groups. The FAA
has set a deadline of Feb. 23 to come up with a plan for the change,
which also could eliminate up to 39 forecaster positions. "If these
employees are removed from the centers, we will lose a valuable asset,"
Ron Carpenter, NATCA rep at the Memphis Center, said on Wednesday.
"We currently receive instant updates on the ever-changing weather. We
don't believe any technology that exists now will give us the speed or
effectiveness with which we must have our weather reports delivered."
Forecasters in the centers provide "a vital means of communicating
late-breaking weather warnings and advisories to pilots," AOPA said this week. "Meteorologists with local
weather expertise, who are co-located in each ARTCC, are able to quickly
relay information about adverse weather to controllers, who in turn
advise pilots whose routes may take them near danger." FAA spokesman
Paul Takemoto told the Memphis Commercial Appeal, "We're simply looking for
ways to reduce costs. The main thing to keep in mind is this would not
compromise safety at all." The FAA hopes to launch the consolidation
plan later this year, and complete the project by 2011, AOPA said.
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BOYER JOINS ASPEN AVIONICS BOARD
Soon after retiring from his
18 years as AOPA's president, Phil Boyer has taken a next step common to
many executives who complete a successful career while still healthy and
full of energy -- he has joined the board of an industry stalwart. Aspen
Avionics announced on Tuesday that Boyer will be the first
outside member of its board of directors, joining six investors and
company executives. The board will help to guide the company through its
next stages of growth. "Nearly two decades spent listening to the
concerns and issues of the nation's pilots, aircraft owners,
manufacturers and regulators has given Phil a deep understanding of the
GA industry's opportunities, as well as its challenges," John Uczekaj,
president and CEO of Aspen Avionics, said in a news release. "Phil's
extensive expertise and relationships will be invaluable in helping
chart Aspen's strategic course in the years ahead, and in ensuring that
our products meet the needs of pilots around the world." Aspen Avionics
sells the Evolution Flight Display System, a glass cockpit for certified
GA aircraft. The opportunity to continue bringing transformational
technologies to all segments of the GA industry is part of what
attracted Boyer to join the board, according to the company.
The Associated Press is reporting that a public auction to sell the assets
of Eclipse Aviation Wednesday has been cancelled for lack of qualified
competing bidders. According to AP's story, that will pave the way for
EclipseJet Aviation, owned by current Eclipse Chairman Roel Pieper, to
pick up the company for roughly 20 cents on the dollar. ETIRC is
proposing to pay $188 million ($28 million cash, $160 million in new
notes) and offer 15-percent equity to senior secured creditors.
Eclipse's total liability was estimated at more than $1 billion when it
filed for Chapter 11 protection in late November. More...
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly
business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the
products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business
aviation industry, making it a must-read.
Add AVwebBiz to
your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing
"Update E-mail Subscriptions." More...
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HOPE TO COPE WITH INAUGURATION AIR TRAFFIC
crowds are expected in Washington, D.C., next Tuesday for the
presidential inauguration events, and that will lead to unprecedented
air traffic problems, especially on Wednesday. "People will be trickling
in over the weekend, and all coming out on the 21st," Tad Hutcheson, a
spokesman for AirTran Airways, told the Chicago Tribune. AirTran and other airlines have
boosted traffic into Washington's two main airports by 20 percent, and
Delta is planning to fly Boeing 767s into Reagan National, the closest
airport to the Mall, which usually accommodates smaller airliners and
private jets. At Dulles, Baltimore-Washington International, and several
local GA fields, taxiways will be used as parking areas for transient
aircraft. AOPA is inviting GA pilots to fly in to Frederick,
Md., AOPA's home base, about 50 miles from downtown D.C., and take the
train to the city. The FAA has imposed extra restrictions for pilots
flying in either the ADIZ or the Flight Restricted Zone; go to the FAA
Web site for full details. The FAA makes clear that erring pilots
will not be tolerated: "Pilots who do not adhere to the following
procedures may be intercepted, detained and interviewed by Law
Enforcement/Security Personnel," the notice reads. More...
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 Foundation
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DELIVERS FIRST KODIAK AIRCRAFT FOR MISSION WORK
When Quest Aircraft
launched its Kodiak design back in 2005, the company said it was
motivated by a need to support missionary activities in remote places
around the world. This week, that goal has been fulfilled with the
delivery of Kodiak serial number 008 to JAARS Inc., the first mission or humanitarian
customer to take delivery of one of the 10-place turboprops. JAARS was
originally formed in Peru in 1948, where it was known as the Jungle
Aviation And Radio Service, and provides support to Wycliffe Bible
Translators, a group that aims to translate the Bible into thousands of
languages. "We looked into the future of aviation for a safe, effective
solution to our passengers' unique transportation requirements," said
David Reeves, president of JAARS, who took delivery of the airplane in
Sandpoint, Idaho, on Monday. "The Kodiak is well-poised to meet the
challenging needs of the translation community in remote operations."
The airplane burns Jet A, which is much easier to find in many remote
locations than the avgas that powers much of JAARS' current fleet of
aging piston airplanes. Kodiak No. 008 will spend the next several
months in the U.S. for pilot training and then will be exhibited at EAA
AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., this summer before heading for its new base
of operations in Papua New Guinea. More...
THE FLY ...
Lorraine Howerton has joined AOPA as vice
president of legislative affairs...
A Chicago area pilot had
alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines in his system
when he crashed...
Charlie Johnson has joined Viper Aircraft as
director of business development...
John H. Winant, a former
president of NBAA, died Tuesday at his home in Williamstown, Mass., at
EAA will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada's
first flight at AirVenture. More...
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
OF THE WEEK: AVIATION STIMULUS MONEY IF IT COMES, WHERE SHOULD IT
Times are tough, and money is tight but everyone
knows there are plenty of projects that need tackling in the aviation
world. If the newly-unified aviation industry succeeds in getting
federal spending for aviation infrastructure, what should be the first
Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers
if 2009 might be the year they take the plunge and buy a light airplane;
click through to read what they told us. More...
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Economic Challenges Call for
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OF THE WEEK: DESERT SKIES EXECUTIVE AIR TERMINAL (LAKE HAVASU,
"FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Desert Skies Executive Air Terminal at Lake
Havasu City Airport (HII) in Lake Havasu, Arizona.
reader Claudia Huber confessed that she stopped at Desert Skies
"because of the cheap fuel," but was surprised by the
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
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
Senese of San Francisco, California claims this week's top
honor with a photo of two of our favorite nighttime sights the
moon and a GA night flyer. The cold snap affecting much of North America
is keeping many AVweb readers indoors, but that's not necessarily
a bad thing. Judging by the uptick in submissions to our
"POTW" contest this week, you're finding worthwhile ways to
keep yourself occupied indoors. So keep sorting those photos and
them our way! More...
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...