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Volume 15, Number 2b
January 15, 2009
Holiday Special Extended! 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. So there's still time to 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 January 31st, 2009. Click here to see why Zulu is Aviation Consumer's Headset of the Year for 2008.
Top News: Federal Aid for Aviation Infrastructure?back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

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. More...

Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Sponsor of the Sebring Expo January 22-25
Come join Aircraft Spruce in Sebring, Florida (Tent E: 18-20) on January 22-24 from 9am-5pm and January 25 from 9am-3pm. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (doesn't apply to hazardous or oversize products), and the Aircraft Spruce staff on-site to answer all questions. Call Aircraft Spruce at (877) 4-SPRUCE, or order online.
Aviation Safetyback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

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. More...

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. More...

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Cessna's SkyCatcher — And the Skies It Will Fly Inback to top 

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...

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. More...

Choose Cutter Aviation PHX for NBA All Star 2009!
Cutter Aviation PHX is your premier FBO for Phoenix, AZ destinations! Make your FBO fuel and ramp reservations today for the NBA All Star Game in Phoenix with Cutter Aviation, and you're automatically entered to win your choice of a Citizen Black Eagle Skyhawk watch or a Coach handbag at tip-off! Reservations must be received by February 8th to be eligible.

Click here to reserve online!
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

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. More...

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...


Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every 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."


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D.C.: T Minus Five Days and Counting ...back to top 

Unprecedented 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 FoundationWeather Wise: Precipitation & Icing. Check out this no-cost online course now!
News Briefsback to top 

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...

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 age 85...
EAA will commemorate the 100th anniversary of Canada's first flight at AirVenture. More...

$99 Online Pilot Specialty Courses!
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers a variety of online Pilot Specialty Courses ranging in topics from Cold Weather Operations to Required Navigation Performance. For more information, visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's web site.
New on AVwebback to top 

Virtually all aviation industry groups are in on a lobbying effort to get the government to allocate money for aviation projects. AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles wonder why it isn't like this all the time, in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

Cut the Cost of Aircraft Ownership by At Least 50% — Or More!
With most pilots flying under 75 hours out of 8,766 yearly hours, co-ownership is the smart-money way to own. The Aircraft Partnership Association helps find co-owners for any type of aircraft, anywhere, for any reason: to purchase, to add to an existing co-ownership, or to form any kind of co-ownership — partnership, cooperative, fractional, or club. Individual memberships are at no-cost! For more information, call (972) 334-0403, or visit online.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

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 priority?

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...

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...

Diamond Aircraft Raffle — Win a Diamond Star DA40 XLS!
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 

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...

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...

Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
Since 1995, AVweb has been the most comprehensive no-cost aviation site online. Advertisers reach over 255,000 pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation professionals via a unique and effective combination of newsletter text messages and web site banner ads. Links send readers directly to advertisers' web sites for instant information. Click now for details on AVweb's cost-effective programs.
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!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Michael 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 keep sending them our way! 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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