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Volume 15, Number 6b
February 12, 2009
Air Power: Striving for "Raving Fans"!
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Top News: Reauthorization Debate Re-Energizedback to top 

A new bill that would reauthorize the nation's aviation programs for another four years was introduced in the U.S. House on Monday. The bill does not call for any new aviation user fees, and would authorize nearly $70 billion in spending for the FAA through 2012. "This legislation is long overdue," said U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. "Short-term funding extensions and continuing resolutions have led to delays in critical capital projects. Timely passage is needed to sustain FAA's programs and keep the FAA moving forward on airport development and the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen)." Oberstar added that despite the past delays, he believes the new bill will move forward quickly. "We have a new President and a new Congress," he told EAA. "This time we'll get the job done." The bill was the subject of a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon. More...

Happy Helicoptering! Get $100 Off a Zulu for Helicopters
Lightspeed has lowered their price from $900 to $850, plus Lightspeed will give you a $50 mail-in rebate. Experience unmatched performance, lightweight comfort, crystal-clear audio, unsurpassed quiet, and built-in Bluetooth. Purchase from an authorized Lightspeed dealer by February 28, 2009. Click here to see why Zulu is Aviation Consumer's Headset of the Year.

Drop by Lightspeed's Heli-Expo Booth, #639.
Wait, Bizjets Are Good for Something (Business!)back to top 

Hawker Beechcraft has launched an ad campaign promoting business aviation but it's taken a different tack from Cessna's challenge to CEOs to keep their jets. Instead, Hawker Beechcraft is recommending CEOs to ditch their jets—and buy a King Air. "If the three Detroit CEOs had arrived in Washington in the Beechcraft King Air 350, they might have received a warmer reception from their legislative hosts," the company says in a cheeky reference to the incident that started the latest backlash against the use of business aircraft. Beech isn't afraid to name names in its comparison of the King Air's speed and fuel efficiency in comparison to the jets used by the CEOs and also claims the latest incarnation of the venerable turboprop is the "world's greenest and highly efficient aircraft." More...

Cessna, along with the rest of the bizjet industry, has been watching its orders tank in the last two months, and on Wednesday the company launched a counterattack to all the bad publicity that started with those auto execs flying to Washington, hats in hand, in their cushy corporate jets. A new Web site and an intensive ad campaign aim to make it OK again -- even imperative -- for the captains of industry to fly. "Today, we are demanding business leaders and managers work at their absolute peak to turn their companies, and our economy, around," said Cessna CEO Jack Pelton. "We think it's time the other side of the story be told, and that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment and courage to use business aviation to not only help their businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly forge a path toward an economic upturn." Cessna is calling its new initiative "The Leadership Campaign," and the first ad says: "In today's corporate world, pity the poor executive who blinks. The good news is, in trying times like these, fortune tends to favor those who make bold, decisive moves." One blogger, at gawker.com, characterized the campaign as, "Only wimps give up their jets." Cessna, which has downsized its staff by about one-third due to the downturn, has allocated more than half its advertising budget to the campaign, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Related Content:
AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles responds to Pelton's comments on the AVweb Insider blog


Here's an example of what Cessna's campaign is up against -- on Wednesday, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit apologized during a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing for almost taking delivery on a $50 million Falcon 7X bizjet. "I would also like to say something about the airplane that was in the news," he said, the Washington Tribune reported. "We did not adjust quickly enough to this new world, and I take personal responsibility for that mistake. In the end, I cancelled delivery. We need to do a better job of acknowledging and embracing the new realities. Let me be clear with the committee: I get the new reality and I will make sure Citi gets it as well." Of course, Citigroup is subject to extra public scrutiny, since it accepted billions in federal bailout funds. Pandit was one of eight CEOs who traveled to Capitol Hill on Wednesday via Amtrak and commercial flights, trying to show that they understand they are no longer entitled to such perks as private jet travel. More...

Aircraft Spruce Exhibits at WAA Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
Join Aircraft Spruce in Puyallup, Washington (Booths 621-623) on February 21, 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., and February 22nd, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (doesn't apply to hazardous or oversize products), and Aircraft Spruce staff on site to answer all questions. Join Aircraft Spruce's Avionics Specialist February 22 at 10:15 a.m. for a seminar on GPS Handheld Comparisons. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
Speaking of "Forging Ahead"back to top 

The aviation industry may be going through tough times right now, but that's not stopping entrepreneurs from moving forward with new projects. Icon Aircraft, based in southern California, announced this week that its Icon A5 amphibious light-sport aircraft has completed its phase-one flight testing. The A5 has a folding-wing design to make it easier to store or transport by trailer, and was created by a team that included automobile designers as well as aircraft engineers who previously worked at Scaled Composites. So far, the aircraft has completed a series of 27 flights, and data was gathered across a wide range of speeds, gross weights, centers of gravity, flap settings, altitudes and sea states. "While there are areas to be further optimized, as with any flight test program, the A5, overall, performed as designed and is a blast to fly," reported lead engineer and test pilot Jon Karkow. The A5 prototype demonstrated exceptional water stability and handling, easy takeoff and landing performance, as well as light control forces with responsive yet docile flight characteristics, the company said. The estimated base price of the A5 is $139,000, and deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2010. At Sherpa Aircraft, in Scappoose, Ore., the company is moving forward with flight testing of its prototype turboprop eight-place utility aircraft. The versatile taildragger can take off and land in about 100 feet, the company says, and carry a useful load of up to 3,000 pounds. The first 12 Sherpas will be sold in kit form and produced under a builder-assist program at the Oregon site. Base price for the Sherpa with a factory-remanufactured 5400 TBO Honeywell-5 engine ready to fly is $850,000. More...

While everyone else in the aviation world seems to be in a dark and deepening slump, none of that is rubbing off on Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson. The irrepressible Brit brought his retinue of Virgin execs to Seattle the other day clad in T-shirts and shorts, while female cabin attendants sported bikinis, despite the damp and chilly weather. He was there to take delivery of a 777-300ER that is the launch vehicle for his newest airline, V Australia. But he made it clear -- painfully clear, no doubt, to Boeing executives -- that he wasn't happy about the delivery delay. He said the new airline was ready to go last Christmas, but had to wait for airplanes, due to the strike at Boeing. "The strike hurt hundreds of thousands of our passengers," Branson told reporters. "It messed up Virgin Atlantic, it messed up Virgin Blue in Australia, it ruined people's Christmas holidays. It was absolutely and utterly ghastly." He certainly didn't brighten Boeing's day when he added: "If union leaders and management can't get their act together to avoid strikes, we're not going to come back here again. We're already thinking, 'Would we ever risk putting another order with Boeing?' It's that serious." Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx later told reporters, "We never want to disappoint our customers to such an extent. We are committed to doing everything we can in the future to satisfy our customers in the manner they deserve." As for Virgin, it seems unaffected by the current worldwide slump, and while other companies are cutting staff right and left, Branson is looking to hire. "We have just launched our new group-wide careers site," he announces in his latest blog post. "We have roles in offices, on shop floors, in call centres, gyms, on trains and planes, in resorts and across different geographies. From customer service to finance to product development to sales ... and much more." More...

Turn Logbooks into Love Stories
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For a limited time only, receive a free Learn to Fly kit and two color prints. Click here to learn more.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Citing a "deepening global recession," Piper Aircraft, based in Vero Beach, Fla., abruptly laid off another 300 workers on Tuesday. "People aren't buying planes," Piper spokesman Mark Miller said in a statement. "Similar to many other businesses, general aviation has been experiencing one of the worst downturns in its history, and sales of airplanes have sharply deteriorated over the past few months. These unforeseeable business circumstances are virtually unprecedented and have caused the company to take agonizing and painful actions." The workers were laid off effective immediately, and several of them spoke with local reporters as they left the plant. "I am still in shock," Robert Krauss, who worked for Piper for three years, told TCPalm. "I am worried about my house, my kids, my wife. ... I don't know what we're going to do." Miller said the company regrets the pain caused by the layoffs, and added that Piper will do all it can to rehire impacted employees when the economy improves. But meanwhile, the 650-plus workers who remain can expect a one-week furlough in April and another one in July, without pay, to prevent the buildup of unnecessary inventory. These shutdowns will affect everyone in the company, including management, Miller said. "If market conditions continue to deteriorate, it may be necessary for the company to take additional actions," he added. Piper will do "everything possible" to preserve its remaining jobs and ensure the company remains viable, Miller said.

Related Content:
Podcast interview with Mark Miller


The FortWorth Star-Telegram is reporting that Textron CEO Lewis Campbell told an investment conference on Tuesday that the corporation may have to sell either Cessna or Bell Helicopter to cover losses by its financial arm. Campbell told a Barclays Capital conference in Miami Beach that the company needs to raise $1 billion in the first of this year and that means one of the aviation units could be put on the block. Which will go will likely depend on which has the most perceived value. Both companies are cutting back in the face of decreased demand. 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."


Are You An Air Safety Ace? Test Your Skills Now
In aviation, you've got a split second to make the right decision. Put your safety skills to the test and take the Air Safety Foundation's online safety quiz. New quizzes are posted every other week — on topics from icing and stall/spin awareness to emergency procedures and more. Quizzes only take minutes to complete — minutes that could save your life. Take the ASF Air Safety Quiz now.
Meanwhile, in Orbit Around the Earth ...back to top 

As improbable as a midair collision is, the chance of two satellites finding each other is, well, astronomical. But it happened in the sky over Siberia Tuesday when a dead Russian spacecraft and a perfectly functional and likely highly expensive Iridium communications satellite turned into about 600 pieces (at last count) of orbital space junk. "They collided at an altitude of 790 kilometers (491 miles) over northern Siberia Tuesday about noon Washington time," Nicholas Johnson, NASA's chief scientist for orbital debris at the Johnson Space Center in Houston told CBS News "The U.S. space surveillance network detected a large number of debris from both objects." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA will impose a TFR over Chicago this weekend as President Obama visits...
Heli Expo coming up, Feb. 22-24, in Anaheim, Calif....
A new documentary film aims to inspire the next generation of aviators...
A new $1,000 learn-to-fly scholarship is available. More...

Putting More Power in Your Logbooks
Subscribe to AircraftLogs, a total aircraft management service for private and corporate aircraft operators. AircraftLogs has developed industry-leading technologies that automate aircraft records and eliminate paperwork. Flight data, maintenance records, expense records, even tax requirements are captured with FAA-compliant technology that is secure and simple to use.

AircraftLogs is the Cadillac option for tracking pilot and aircraft time!
Subscribe. Click. Fly. For complete details, call (888) 359-5647, or go online.
New on AVwebback to top 

While the world waits for a miracle from the trillions of dollars government is pouring into economic stimulus, Cessna's Jack Pelton is urging the industry to get busy and get flying. AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles thinks that's a good, and he explains why in the latest edition of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

Get the Diamond Advantage with the Leaders in Flight Training
Diamond's DA20 and DA40 CS offer low operating costs, attractive insurance rates, simple maintenance and an industry-leading safety record. No matter what your mission or budget, there are no better options to update your fleet and customize your training flight line. Diamond's DA20 is now available with optional Aspen Avionics Evolution primary flight display, making it the industry's most affordable certified glass cockpit aircraft. For complete details, go online.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

There's no question about it: Washington is down on bizjets. Now that major airplane makers like Cessna and Hawker are mounting campaigns to remind everyone why companies use them, we thought a little armchair quarterbacking might be in order. This week, we invite you to picture yourself as the head of a major airplane manufacturer and tell us how you'd respond to the current climate.

Plus: Last week, we asked if the FAA should take a closer look at helicopter EMS procedures and perhaps create a new class of regulations; click through to read what AVweb readers had to say on the subject. 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...

Online Aircraft-Specific Ground Schools
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, through its Office of Professional Education, now offers a series of aircraft-specific ground schools: Boeing 737 Classic — NG, 747, 757, 767 and 777; as well as Airbus 319, 320, 330 and 340; and the Bombardier CRJ 200. For a complete list, visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's web site at ERAU.edu/professionaleducation.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Fly on water thrust — this new jet pack idea may not be the best way to get to work, but it sure does look like a good time. The German company MS Watersports GmbH is marketing the JetLev-Flyer and selling it (lessons included) for about $128,000 — or just about what a brand-new two-seat 120-mph light sport aircraft costs. (Click through to watch.) More...

Judge for yourself by viewing AVweb's latest product report video. Editorial director Paul Bertorelli demonstrates traditional incandescent bulbs, HIDs, and new-age LEDs. The results are revealing. (Click through to watch.) More...

AERO Friedrichshafen — The Best Place for Your Business
AERO Friedrichshafen is the premier European trade show for the General Aviation industry. Starting in 2009, AERO will take place annually. Situated in Central Europe, within the border—triangle of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, AERO is the ideal platform for the European General Aviation market. In addition, Messe Friedrichshafen is one of the most modern fairgrounds in Europe. If you want to do business in Europe, you have to be there! Go online for complete information.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Million Air's facility at KALB in Albany, New York. AVweb reader Victoria LeBlanc brought this location to our attention, noting how the staff treats everyone as if they were a VIP guest.

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!


Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

We were a bit worried that delaying last week's installment of "POTW" to Monday would leave us with a thin selection this week — but we should've known better. AVweb weren't discouraged by the delay, and we've got a great assortment of photos to share with you this week, starting with this shot from the "Is-That-What-I-Think-I'm-Seeing?" file. According to submitter Sam Brown of Panama City, Florida, these two Hueys (spaced with separator bars) were being evacuated for maintenance "at Chu Lai, sometime around the 1968 Tet." While the photo is a little worn, we were immediately struck with the odd nature of the operation — and Sam's comment: "This was an experimental rig. (It worked!)" More...

eBooks & eVideos
Most titles on the AVweb Bookstore (including Jeppesen, McGraw-Hill, ICAO, and many others) are also available as electronic downloads. Why not consider an eBook in Adobe .PDF format? Instant delivery. No shipping costs. Fully searchable, bookmarked, and hyperlinked. Hundreds of reference titles at your fingertips, in your laptop computer. Environmentally friendly. And no import taxes to international customers. Are you sold yet? Click here to learn more, and download a sample to try it out.
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.