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Volume 15, Number 5a
February 2, 2009
When Is the Last Time You Reviewed Your Life Insurance?
Annual reviews of life insurance needs can help determine if you lack important coverages — or if you can save on existing policies. As a pilot, you are likely paying more for life insurance than you should be. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with insurance planning at the most affordable rates available. A+ Rated Carriers – No Aviation Exclusions – Quick and Easy Application Process. Call PIC at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
Top News: Fueling Economic Recoveryback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that passed in the House last week "would pump an additional $3 billion toward airport improvements," according to AOPA President Craig Fuller. Of course, the wording of the package is expected to see changes on its course through the Senate. And, the Senate is considering economic stimulus legislation that proposes "a smaller amount of additional AIP funding," according to AOPA. Still, the organization is hopeful that projects that would immediately create jobs are backed by the argument of improving the country's transportation infrastructure and apparent benefits for the long term, and may yet see favor. Under the plan as it is -- before seeing the Senate -- projects that could go to contract within three months of FAA approval would be the targets of additional funding. AOPA will be lobbying the House and Senate to include "bigger investment for airports" as they "resolve the differences in a conference committee." More...

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When One Door Closes ...back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Cessna announced a further 2,000 layoffs last week, bringing the company-wide total to 4,600. Most of the layoffs hitting workers in Wichita. However, the company's Bend, Ore., facility (where the Corvalis -- previously Columbia -- series is manufactured) is losing another 120 as part of the latest cuts. That facility is currently producing about one aircraft per week where last year it produced four. Loss of personnel there has cut Cessna's Bend staff to less than half of its former levels. In Kansas, where about 4,000 of the 4,600 can be found, Governor Kathleen Sebelius called the move "devastating." In all, Cessna has trimmed about half of its Bend workforce and about a third from Wichita. At Independence, Kan., the company plans to cut 200 jobs as part of the latest cuts, bringing the employee roster there to about 1,300. According to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, "Making this decision is difficult for your leadership team and me personally. These actions are necessary to secure our future." According to BizJournals.com, "Cessna's backlog at the end of the fourth quarter was $14.5 billion, up $1.9 billion from the end of 2007," but revenue fell. More...

Full-page ads in the papers of America's most aviation-oriented cities -- Wichita, Savannah and Seattle -- are attempting to draw 100 specialized engineers to the HondaJet headquarters at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. Cessna and Boeing may be laying off, but Honda Aircraft Co. is starting to ramp up. The specific technical positions target design and certification specialists from out of town even as Piedmont Triad works to develop an education and recruitment infrastructure. The area appears determined to leverage Honda's investment of $100 million (that will ultimately create 400,000 square feet of facilities) and build on the 3,3000 aviation professionals already calling the area home. HondaJet's new hires would bring Honda Aircraft's total employee base to about 500 (averaging $75,000 per year). Conforming HondaJets should be in the air sometime this summer for use in FAA certification testing and Honda hopes to have one in the hands of its first customer by late 2010. 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.
Aftershocks of the "Miracle on the Hudson"back to top 

An American Airlines pilot who was aboard US Airways Flight 1549 says she heard the "thumps" of what she assumed were bird strikes, smelled burned flesh and braced for an impact that ended up "no worse than a carrier landing." Susan O'Donnell, a Boeing 767 first officer for American, was a "jumpseat passenger" on 1549, seated in first class after identifying herself to the crew. In an account written for the Allied Pilots Association, O'Donnell describes her experiences in detail on that storied flight. "I believed the impact would be violent but survivable, although I did consider the alternative," she wrote. More...

American Airlines has decided that its possible failure to equip aircraft with enough emergency life rafts means that it will limit the number of passengers it carries on those aircraft until it knows exactly how many rafts it might need. That means American's Boeing 767-300 aircraft, which are configured to hold 236 people (including crew) and fly mostly trans-Atlantic routes, will hold no more than 228 people until the situation is resolved, probably by February. The FAA requires carriers to provide enough rafts to accommodate everyone on the aircraft even if one raft fails, and following a recent review of its own 737 aircraft American decided to investigate other aircraft in the its fleet. The airline added seats to certain 767s when it increased business-class capacity beginning in 2005. American told its employees in a note Tuesday that the safety of passengers had never been in danger, thanks to other available flotation devices available on the aircraft. Of course, survivability for ditching survivors may be improved for those who find themselves rafts when compared to those immersed in cold waters, clutching a seat cushion. More...

The US Airways flight that on Jan. 15 ended in the Hudson River (and otherwise about as successfully as could be imagined) recently became the instantly popular free online video game, "Hero on the Hudson." The game's hosting site was so visited by the weekend that the game was (at least temporarily) unavailable, Saturday. Players were provided with a scenario -- "Both engines are out. The plane is too low and too slow to make it to the airport. You decide to make emergency landing in the river." The game's makers may be traced to Orbs Games Limited, which appears to have its chief executive based in Kiev, Ukraine. The game was not at all flight simulator-like in its representation of flight dynamics, but did offer players control via left and right arrows. Successful ditchings (in the game) are signaled by passengers stepping out on the wings and a banner that declares you a hero. Players who fail to land the jet successfully watch it sink. More...

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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
News Briefsback to top 

A project titled "the development and industrialization of light aircraft" in China has successfully developed and flown a two-seat light aircraft based on independent research and self-owned intellectual property. The Hunan Sunward Science and Technology Co Ltd. built the aircraft, which is built of composite parts pulled from molds and tooling that allows the company to build all components in-house. General aviation in China is in its budding stages and the production of high-performance manned light aircraft is a step ahead of the industry's current state. The two-seat "LSA" is part of a larger $60 million program that will include 15 UAVs, 70 flying boats and 15 of the newly flight-tested two-seat light aircraft. More...

Patty Wagstaff says she "probably did use a few choice words" for Winnebago County Sheriff's deputies when she was arrested on July 31 on a runway at Wittman Regional Airport but she maintains that officers overstepped their bounds during the incident. Local authorities paint a different picture, however, and more details of the incident came to light Sunday. The Oshkosh Northwestern obtained copies of reports by arresting officers and jail personnel, including a video of the booking procedure, through an open records request and what resulted is a she said/he said collection of mutual accusations. The newspaper reports that authorities claim Wagstaff was abusive, hit one deputy on the arm and had to be "wrestled to the ground" on the runway to be cuffed and later had to be "assisted to the ground" to be patted down. Wagstaff told the paper the incident took her by surprise because she was properly credentialed to be driving on the airport, although she took a wrong turn onto the runway. The airport was closed at the time. "I don't think they gave me a chance. They didn't offer me a field sobriety test," she said. "They were just real excited when they got there and I never understood why." But the police say it's Wagstaff who was agitated. More...

3 Airplanes ... 3 Levels ... 1 Edition ... Ice
New for 2009, Cirrus Aircraft shakes the lineup with a new way to spec out your new Cirrus. SR20, SR22, and Turbo models are now available in three well-equipped trim levels - "S," "GS," and "GTS"; Known Ice Protection is ready to go on SR22 and Turbo models; or choose an all-new premium interior and exterior upgrade package dubbed "X-Edition." Visit CirrusAircraft.com for details.
News Briefsback to top 

Japan Airlines set out Friday to become the fourth airline in about one year to flight test a biofuel -- this one mixes jatropha oil, algae and camelina (flax) and follows recent flights by Continental (last week), Air New Zealand (December '08) and Virgin Atlantic (February '08). The latest test was scheduled for one hour flown aboard a Boeing 747-300 powered by both jet fuel and the biofuel blend. Continental's flight was similar, flying one engine of a 737-800 on jet fuel and the other on a 50/50 blend of traditional fuel and a jatropha/algae blend. Proponents encouraged by the promise of algae fuels are anxious to convert ponds (enough to cover Belgium) into algae farms, claiming that would provide enough fuel to feed all commercial airlines worldwide. The biofuels are seen as an attractive option for their negligible carbon footprint and sustainability. Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force has awarded $18.5 million to a division of General Dynamics to develop an engine built with parts that do not corrode, that will not use or release hazardous materials and generally offer a low emissions and noise signature. More...

The FAA has released a new letter of interpretation intended to better define "flight into known icing conditions" that, according to AOPA, "could benefit many GA pilots." According to the FAA, while known icing conditions are "not defined by regulation," the term has been "used in legal proceedings involving violations of FAA safety regulations." Where regulations already require that pilots not operate an aircraft in a "careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life of property of another," the letter now states that with regard to icing, "reasonable and prudent" decision-making will be considered. Specifically, if the available information "indicates to a reasonable and prudent pilot that he or she will be operating the aircraft under conditions that will cause ice to adhere to the aircraft along the proposed route and altitude of flight, then known icing conditions likely exist." AOPA's interpretation of the letter is that the FAA will now judge each encounter with ice by whether a "reasonable and prudent" pilot would have taken similar actions when faced with similar available information and circumstances. AOPA believes that the specific wording describes a break from its previous interpretation of the FAA's position that any situation of below-freezing temperatures and visible moisture would constitute known icing conditions. More...

Business Owners: AOPA Business Credit Card Offers WorldPoints® Rewards
The AOPA Business Credit Card with WorldPoints® Rewards is offered to business owners and AOPA Members. No-cost online account access makes managing business finances easier than ever. With WorldPoints® Rewards, every dollar spent on purchases earns one point for airline travel, hotel stays and gift certificates. This program provides valuable AOPA revenue to continue daily efforts maintaining General Aviation's freedom, safety and affordability. Call AOPA at (866) 494-3299, or go online.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 


Letter of the Week: Bizjet Benefits? Ask Obama

Why have I not seen it mentioned that President Obama made extensive use of private (chartered) aircraft during his very long Presidential campaign? He found this means of transportation very beneficial, even indispensable, during the two years he was on the campaign trail. So why does he consider this an inappropriate tool for corporations? It would be interesting to know exactly how many flights he made during this period and his reasons for using private aviation.

Jim Oeffinger

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


Business aviation isn't just coping with the suddenly rotten economy, argues AVweb contributing editor Mary Grady. It's also fighting the perception that bizav is irrelevant and wasteful in the current circumstances. In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Mary argues that those who adapt to the new realities will survive, even thrive. 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...

Hill Aircraft Parts Department Announces February as Customer Appreciation Month
All Internet orders placed in February 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 0209 in the "comments" section on the Internet order form. Click here to save now!
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

It's the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada, and the Toronto Aerospace Museum is marking the milestone with a name change and a major expansion that will celebrate the role of Canadians in some of the greatest technological accomplishments of mankind, including the U.S. space program. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Susan Douglas of the soon-to-be-called Canadian Air and Space Museum. More...

Jeppesen Offers New & Innovative VFR+GPS Charts for North America
These charts offer a fresh perspective on what a VFR chart should be, with better color and contrast, coverage areas based on where you fly, and intuitive symbols. Space Shuttle radar data accurately depicts terrain. Jeppesen's VFR+GPS Charts are easier to use in the cockpit or at the kitchen table, and they're designed specifically to help you get more from your GPS. Click here to learn more.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

As the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2009 gets underway in Sebring, Florida, Chairman Bob Wood talks with Aviation Safety Editor-in-Chief Jeb Burnside. A quick preview of this year's show tells attendees what to expect and what they don't want to miss at the nation's premier sport pilot gathering. (Click through to watch.) More...

The nation's showcase for light sport aircraft and the Sport Pilot program (U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2009) kicks off in Sebring, Florida today. Tom Peghiny from Flight Design joins Aviation Consumer Editor-in-Chief Paul Bertorelli to discuss the company's presence at the show and the state of LSA. (Click through to watch.) More...

Kitplanes Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook talks with Neal Willford, Cessna Aircraft's project engineer on the 162 SkyCatcher. Neal was kind enough to share the inside scoop on the SkyCatcher's journey to market. (Click through to watch.) More...

New to the world of LSA? One of the things you'll discover is that your engine choice makes a big difference, in terms of both weight and performance. For an overview of the three top choices in the light sport segment, Marc Cook, Editor-in-Chief of Kitplanes magazine, visits Rotax, Jabiru, and Continental on the grounds of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida. (Click through to watch.) More...

February's Highlighted AVweb Classified Ad Now Online
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AVweb Classified Ads — Buying or Selling Anything & Everything Aviation

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


We appreciate your opinions and recommendations, so please continue to tell us about great FBOs you visit throughout North America by clicking here and filling out our nomination form.

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Peak Aviation Center at KCOS in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Out of all the great FBO stories you've submitted in the last couple of weeks, this one knocked a bit of the winter chill from our hearts and reminded us of why we love certain small FBOs. AVweb reader Nick Ruemker calls Peak "one of the best FBO operations I have encountered":

The service is always top-notch, and the staff is always prepared to help in any way possible. The owner, Pat Carlile, even took his own time to do a checkout with me. It didn't even seem to bother him that the only time I could do the checkout was at nearly 8 p.m., [when] it was pitch black. However, the service and hospitality are by no means the most impressive part of this operation.

Pat has founded an organization which both gives back to the local community and serves the general aviation community. It is called High Hopes For Teens, and their mission is to assist special needs, physically disabled, and disadvantaged children as well as children with parents killed or wounded in combat. It is a non-profit organization funded from a very small FBO. They teach these kids about aviation and how to fly. ... This is a program that can change these children's lives and keep them out of trouble, all the while giving them the opportunity that many of them would never have been able to dream of without Peak Aviation Center.

Pat, as well as his co-owner and director, Allen Mathews, are a true inspiration of what flying has given many of us and an excellent example of how we should all strive to give back to this wonderful community. I hope you will look at their link and spread the word about this wonderful organization.

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!


Don't Purchase or Sell an Aircraft Without the Used Aircraft Guide
Aviation Consumer's Used Aircraft Guide can pinpoint the aircraft that best fits your needs and budget, resulting in savings when you buy and more when you sell. Buying the right aircraft can minimize maintenance and operating costs, too. Go online to order your copy.
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

This comes from a search-and-rescue pilot at Canadian Forces Base, Bagotville, Québec. It allegedly happened late one night during bad weather, as heard over the tower radio:

First Voice (helicopter pilot):
"Roger, I'm holding at 3,000 over the beacon."

Second Voice (panicky):
"No, you can't be doing that — I'm holding at 3,000 over that beacon!"

[Brief pause.]

First Voice (again):
"You idiot — you're my co-pilot."

Jerry Blalock
Carmichael, California


More AVweb for Your Inboxback to top 


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."


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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.