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Volume 9, Number 39bSeptember 25, 2003

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

Politics and airplanes may both be about the art of compromise but opponents to expansion of the contract tower program say a White House olive branch is covered in thorns. Rep. Peter DeFazio and Rep. James Oberstar have written their colleagues urging them to turn down the administration's proposal to drop a clause in the FAA Reauthorization Bill that allows the privatization of 69 FAA-run towers. The problem is, that section also guarantees that the other 94 percent of the air traffic control system will stay in government hands through the four-year term of the bill. "This change would not solve the problems that have been raised," the letter reads. More...

The compromise was offered on the eve of a formal hearing on the safety of the contract tower program. On Wednesday, the House Subcommittee on Aviation examined a recent report by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General Ken Mead, which stated that contract towers are much less expensive to run than government-staffed towers and report fewer errors. During testimony, the validity of the safety statistics in both FAA and contract towers was challenged by National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr. He said the Inspector General's report itself recognized weaknesses in the data because error reporting in both types of towers is voluntary and there are no standards and methods established to verify the reports. The value of the safety comparisons is also challenged by the General Accounting Office (GAO), which reviewed the report at the request of Oberstar. More...

What has always made the privatization legislation unusual is that it exempted two VFR towers in Alaska. Fingers immediately pointed at Rep. Don Young, who, as a representative of that state, is also the chairman of the powerful Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which incorporates the Aviation Subcommittee. Young did little to dispel accusations that he'd cut a side deal to maintain FAA service in Alaska when he appeared on a television show last week. In an interview on a show hosted by the American Association of Airport Executives, Young appeared to cite his own personal safety as justification for exempting Merrill Field, in Anchorage, from the privatization clause. Young failed to return AVweb's request for comment prior to publication. More...

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Aircraft certifications are rare enough in this day and age, not to mention those that incorporate a major technological shift. Liberty Aerospace entered the history books earlier this week as the first manufacturer in the world to gain a Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for their Liberty XL2 two-place piston single with Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC). The aircraft flies Continental's IOF 240, a 125-hp FADEC-equipped engine. "There's a degree of relief," said Liberty President Anthony Tiarks. "It's nice to be the first." Full certification is expected soon. All that's left is for FAA pilots to put the trim two-place touring plane through its paces and match the results of 132 knots on 5.5 gph reported by Liberty pilots. "We've been told it takes four to five weeks," said Tiarks. More...

There's nothing new about FADEC itself. Tiarks said that about the only jet aircraft still in the air today without it is the notoriously demanding Concorde and it will be out of service in a month. With respect to power adjustment, the Liberty will be something like a jet. The Teledyne Continental (TCM) PowerLink system replaces all the dials and knobs with a single lever. Power is expressed on a jet-like scale. While the pilot worries about the percentage of power he or she would like to tap, computers create the optimum combination of fuel and air to carry out his or her wishes. Quite the pitchman, TCM President Bryan Lewis said FADEC moves the care and feeding of a piston engine "beyond folklore to precise digital control" and said it was long overdue. More...

AEROSANCE PowerLink™ FADEC APPLICATIONS FROM TCM GROW With STCs for a number of Beech Bonanza and Baron models now in hand, Aerosance, another Teledyne Technologies company, is highlighting the latest developments with their revolutionary PowerLink™ FADEC digital engine control system. For more information on how to bring your aircraft into the FADEC generation, go to

The rest of us could learn a lesson in air-crash survival from a couple of Minnesota tots. Three-year-old Lily Pearson and her big sister Grace, 4, defied monumental odds in surviving a plane crash that killed their mother Kathryn Pearson and uncle Charlie Erickson last Aug. 28. The Beechcraft twin piloted by Erickson went down in fog near Grand Marais, Minn. The girls were thrown from the plane. "They have no explanation as to how the girls survived," their father, Toby Pearson, told reporters in a news conference. But while sheer luck seems to have been a major factor, the girls themselves can claim some credit because they applied many of the same survival procedures drummed into student pilots. More...

The ad suggests something nothing less than revolutionary but, alas, Cessna's gussied-up 172, the SP model, doesn't really fly "fuel free." What it does, however, is fly on free fuel, the first $3,500 worth, anyway. The company's latest incentive supplies new owners with a fuel card that works at any FBO accepting Multiservice Fuel cards. The cards stop working after two years or at $3,500, whichever comes first. Assuming you can use the full $3,500 within the two years, it amounts to a 1.8 to 2.1 percent discount on the purchase price of the airplane, which ranges from $165,000 for a base model (with standard leather and a few other goodies missing on the plain-Jane Skyhawk) to $195,000 with air and all the electronics. The offer applies to all SPs currently in stock and those scheduled for delivery in 2003. More...

The final frontier may be coming to a museum or science center near you in the next five years. General Motors, Space Day Foundation, and Lockheed Martin have joined forces to sponsor a 12,000-square-foot traveling exhibition on the whos, the hows and, perhaps most important, the whys of space exploration. "SPACE: A Journey to Our Future" lifts off at Seattle's Pacific Science Center Nov. 22. It will be in Seattle until May 9 before heading off for a tour of up to 15 U.S. cities. "We hope this exhibit will help inspire the next generation of dreamers and explorers," said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, of NASA, which created the exhibit in conjunction with Clear Channel Exhibitions and the National Science Teachers Association. More...

LIGHTSPEED HEADSETS ARE FIRST TO: Give you over 30 hours of battery life on just two AA batteries; Give you intelligent auto shut-off; Integrate a music/cell phone jack conveniently located on the control box; and Offer customers a trade-UP program so they can always keep current with the best LightSPEED products and accessories. Thousands already know what headsets are first...LightSPEED at

Well, the Windy City failed to live up to its name and so did the Wright Flyer. The Wright Redux Association's replica of the first real airplane couldn't break the surly bonds of a Chicago lawn last Saturday, despite three attempts. "The Wrights flew into a 25-mph wind. I think we could have flown if we had that," said Mike Gillian, pilot of the replica. Wind speeds on the lawn of the Museum of Science and Industry were estimated at just 5 mph and the faithful replica of the primitive engine just didn't have the power to compensate. More...

An airspace dispute of a different sort is brewing off the windy coast of Maui as the FAA prepares to clamp down on what it claims is a hazard to operations at Kahului Airport on the Hawaiian island. The agency is planning to cancel a waiver that allows kiteboarding, or kitesurfing, within five miles of the airport. Local officials are afraid the ban will chase away tourists and eliminate up to 100 jobs now dependent on the dramatic sport. By tacking into the stiff marine breeze on what looks like a small surfboard, a rider can jump off a wave and then pivot the sail so it becomes a wing. Some of the best kitesurfers can turn that initial jump into a soaring flight more than 100 feet above the waves and, according to the FAA, it's somewhere they shouldn't be without a landing clearance. More...

The TFR that early Tuesday set an ADIZ for the Class B airspace surrounding New York City from the surface up to but not including 18,000 feet also closed down all operations (except commercial carrier traffic flying into LaGuardia) within seven nm of the U.N. through 4:30 p.m. yesterday. The wording was passed on to weather briefers with the usual moment's notice and appears to have never made it to the FAA's Web site, but area pilots -- for the most part -- took it in stride. A call to the manager's office at non-towered Lincoln Park airfield tucked under the ADIZ in New Jersey was fielded by an individual who preferred not to be named (go figure), who offered, "The bottom line with the TFR is that it sucks, but it shouldn't stop you from flying. People are moving in and out today." More...

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Aussie carriers are urged to provide input on changes to a revamped Part 121b...
Two men arrested in theft of computers from Sydney Airport appear only interested in hardware...
Rotorway International announced the sale of its 700th Exec. 162F kit helicopter...
Backward illustration in maintenance manual studied as factor in Beech 1900D crashes...
Tickets for the final scheduled flights of the Concorde are selling fast...
Canadian crew flying a Twin Otter rescued a sick man from the South Pole last Sunday. More...


AVweb's AVscoop Award...

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


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


The 2003 National Air Tour: A Travelog (Part 1)
As previously reported in AVweb, the National Air Tour is being re-created, 75 years after the first time. Dozens of antique airplanes are barnstorming the country, and getting warm welcomes everywhere they go. AVweb's Brent Blue is helping out and sends this first report.


CS&A REPRESENTS OVER 40 MAJOR PROPERTY & CASUALTY UNDERWRITING COMPANIES including all major aviation insurance markets. CS&A Aviation Insurance is able to meet your needs for aircraft coverage and competitive pricing. A veteran CS&A staff of specialists have the knowledge to assure each client receives quality service and excellence in risk management. For a no-obligation quote, go to

We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Wynn O. Jones II, of Schofield, Wisc. The winning photo, titled "Red Radial" takes us back to yesteryear, when bi-planes sporting big radial engines ruled the day. While jets and turboprops are exciting to watch, few things match the unique sound of a big radial. Great picture, Wynn! 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 pending FAA Reauthorization Bill. The vast majority (75 percent) of those responding felt the ongoing delays of this legislation are a result of the usual play of politics on Capitol Hill. Less than one-tenth (8 percent) mentioned the need to understand how the legislative process works, while only 3 percent expressed any interest with this bill.

To check out the complete results, please go to

*** This Week's Question ***

This week, we would like to know your thoughts on federal funding for aviation. Please go to to respond. More...

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PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE GIVES OPPORTUNITY TO WIN GREAT GA PRODUCTS in their "Win These" prize drawings. In October's "Win These" giveaway, enter to win: an $895 Wireless Merlin, a wind instrument that gives present, peak and average wind direction/speed; a Bose Aviation Headset X; or navAero's Tactical Pilot Awareness Display (T-Pad 800, for short), worth $995. Log on now to


ATTENTION CURRENT POWER FLOW TUNED EXHAUST SYSTEM OWNERS & WANT-A-BES! Save $50 with the $200 introductory price on the new Exhaust Fairing for Cessna 172s AND Power Flow will pay postage for AVweb subscribers ONLY! Those wanting to order the Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System for their aircraft to save money and improve performance can order with Power Flow paying the UPS ground shipping, a $75 value. Both offers available at

AVWEB SUBSCRIBER ONLY OFFER FROM BUTTERFIELD PRESS! Order "Choosing Your Homebuilt-the One You'll Finish and Fly!" during September at a special sale price of $15.95 and receive a 14-page Avionics Report on GPS handhelds, panel-mounts and multi-function displays, a $10 value with your order at

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 U.S. postage and shipping. More information on these publications and to order go to

SEPTEMBER SPECIAL FROM HOWARD FRIED All Eye Of The Examiner books reduced $2.00 each, and a $5.00 discount on both "Violation" and "Fay Gillis Wells-In the Air and On the Air". Don't delay at

NOLLY PRODUCTIONS BUNDLES TWO OF THEIR BEST SELLERS AT A FANTASTIC PRICE Two Nolly Productions Career Path videos presenting professional development instruction for the advanced professional pilot are being offered for $74.99, a savings of over $24 AND Nolly will pay U.S. domestic postage. "Supercharge Your Scan" is essential for any pilot wanting to brush up on a rusty instrument scan. "Successful Simulator Training" stresses study skills, how to prepare for ground school, the oral and the checkride, develop your memory, and maximize the value of every simulator minute at


CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION HOST BEACH BOYS, TEMPTATIONS & AARON TIPPIN This six-day Celebration, December 12-17, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is designed to commemorate the last century of flight, celebrate the achievements of aviators throughout history, and inspire the next generation of aviators. Secure VIP events seating, purchase commemorative collectibles and apparel, and enter to win the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes at

USE PROVEN COVERT TECHNOLOGY TO READ CHARTS, MAPS AND MENUS! Photon's latest innovation, the Micro-Light 3, gives a choice of three levels of brightness, strobe and a handy one-minute auto shutoff feature with a water resistant case. Or, choose the Micro-Light Covert 3 that adds an extended bulb shield to reduce glare and eliminates all peripheral light. Great for reading in any situation in order not to disturb anyone or attract attention. Find these and many other Photon Mircrolight models at

LIGHT PLANE MAINTENANCE IS YOUR TICKET TO UNDERSTANDING MAINTENANCE If your engine is fuel-injected, you really should know how the system works. In the October issue of Light Plane Maintenance, you'll find a detailed article on the workings of the Bendix RSA ignition system presented in terms that a non-mechanic can easily understand. Subscribe now. What you don't know can cost you!

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