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Volume 15, Number 8b
February 26, 2009
"Happy Helicoptering" Offer Extended! Get $100 Off a Zulu for Helicopters
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Top News: GA on the Cusp of Major Security Changesback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

The Transportation Security Administration's proposed Large Aircraft Security Program is causing quite a high level of concern among the GA alphabet groups, and this Friday marks the end of the comment period on the proposal. The advocacy groups are asking their members to submit comments and protest this plan, which they say would impose crushing burdens on GA airports and operators. The program would apply only to aircraft of 12,500 pounds and up, but it would mark the first time for TSA to gain access to purely private flight operations. "It would, in effect, require governmental review and authority before you could operate your own personal vehicle," says EAA. "The TSA's proposal raises serious constitutional questions about personal liberty, privacy, and freedom of movement." The plan would also impact sport aviation, such as skydiving and historic aircraft flights, and EAA says it would be especially onerous in the Alaska aviation community. "What the TSA calls an 'all-encompassing solution' is a legal death sentence to the functional present-day means that provide essential services to most of rural Alaska," one commenter wrote last week. At least one company, Carrington Capital, of Greenwich, Conn., the parent of Peregrine Jet, aims to challenge the matter in court. The suit, to be filed on Friday, contends that Congress never gave TSA the authority to institute LASP, but only directed TSA to "transmit a report on airspace and other security measures that can be deployed, as necessary, to improve general aviation security." More...

AOPA says it's working behind the scenes to mitigate the effects of a so-far secret plan by the Transportation Security Administration to require background checks and badging of general aviation pilots using airports served by airlines. AOPA says it's been aware of the proposal for some time and its lobbying efforts resulted in a 60-day delay (to June 1) for implementation while the TSA considers input from general aviation operators. It's hoped that security measures more in tune with GA operations and requirements will result. This latest security news, on top of a veritable blitz of attention on GA by the TSA has lit up blogs and forums and suffice to say there's not much support for the initiative. More...

SofTorq Carbon Fiber AN Wrenches Available Now at Aircraft Spruce
Designed to meet the torque requirements for fastening your aluminum anodized hydraulic A/N fittings, SofTorq Carbon Fiber AN Wrenches are made from a special formulation of fiberglass layered with carbon fiber for strength and durability. Comes in SAE, Metric, and AN sizes. Designed, assembled, and made in the U.S.A. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
Eclipse Saga Draws to a Closeback to top 

A Web site created to help laid off Eclipse Aviation employees get on with their lives says there have been reports of a group forming to create a company that would at least support the 260 aircraft now flying. Although there are no details provided, it's evidence that the wheels are already turning as Eclipse enters Chapter 7 liquidation. "I know of at least one group that is trying to put something together to at least support the 260 finished aircraft," former Eclipse engineer Brian Turner, the host of the site, wrote there Wednesday." I am guessing there are others also looking at the bankruptcy as an opportunity to buy the assets cheap. We will not know anything until we see what happens in the bankruptcy. " More...

Eclipse Aviation sent an email to staff late Tuesday that signals the end of a 10-year odyssey that started with the promise of a made-in-America everyman's jet that would revolutionize aviation and ended with a messy bankruptcy that involved the likes of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The email says the board of directors will support a move by creditors to convert the current Chapter 11 bankruptcy into a Chapter 7 liquidation. "All of the executive management team at Eclipse gives you our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your tenacity and perseverance in trying to deliver this dream we know as the Eclipse 500," the email reads."We gave it one heck of a try. We are sorry that it came to this today." The email is signed by executives Mark Borseth and Michael McConnell. Notably absent is the signature of CEO and Chairman of the Board Roel Pieper, the architect of the failed deal that led to the collapse. More...

A group of creditors involved in the Eclipse Aviation bankruptcy have asked the courts (read the motion in this PDF file) to liquidate the company as quickly as possible. The Ad Hoc Committee of Secured Noteholders has applied to the Delaware Court that approved the Chapter 11 filing and subsequent sale of Eclipse to a subsidiary of ETIRC Aviation to convert the proceedings to a Chapter 7 liquidation. The noteholders claim that the financing for ETIRC's purchase of the assets has fallen through and that every day that goes by reduces the asset pool that will be available for them. "The debtors are administratively insolvent and expenses continue to accrue, thus eroding the limited values that are available for distribution to creditors," the application reads. More...

Air Power: Striving for "Raving Fans"!
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Light Sport Aircraft Certifications and Standardsback to top 

When the light sport aircraft industry launched, less than five years ago, with an FAA mandate that would allow manufacturers to essentially self-certify their airplanes, there was some concern about whether buyers or even insurers would consider such a process adequate. But now, the FAA has completed 23 of a planned 29 assessments of LSA manufacturers, and so far has been pleased with the results. "The FAA is confident that LSA manufacturer's compliance can match that of the commercial aviation manufacturers," John Colomy, acting manager of FAA's Small Aircraft Directorate, recently told LSA industry officials. "This will be a major accomplishment since using consensus standards and compliance self-declarations is a new way of doing business for the LSA industry." Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, points out that self-certification is not really new for the LSA industry, since that's how it's been done from the start -- however, it's new for the FAA. "And congratulations to this federal agency for stepping back from their normal regulatory control," Johnson said. The FAA added that it found some areas where improvements could be made, and the manufacturers are sure to hear more about that soon. Johnson said that's to be expected. "How could it be otherwise? We have an industry barely four years old while Cessna, for example, has had 80-plus years to get it all right." More...

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Aviation Safety Reportback to top 

A Boeing 737-800 operated by Turkish Airlines crashed into a farmer's plowed field in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning while on approach to Schiphol airport. The airplane, which took off from Istanbul, hit the ground about 2,000 feet short of the runway. The engines sheared off and the fuselage split into three pieces. There was no fire. Of the 134 people on board, nine were killed, including the two pilots and a third crewmember who was in the cockpit. Of those who were hurt, 6 were in critical condition, 25 were seriously wounded and 24 had slight injuries, according to the Associated Press. Visibility was reportedly good at the time of the crash, with a low overcast and some light rain and light wind. An official said Turkish Airlines has a good safety record, although the airline has had three fatal crashes since 1983. The 737 was just seven years old. Early reports were inconsistent regarding how much fuel may have been on the airplane and whether it had stalled or was still under control when it hit the ground. Officials said that there was no evidence of a terrorist attack. Investigators have recovered the cockpit voice and flight data recorders, and the NTSB has sent a team to help with the inquiry. More...

On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Patrick Harten, the air traffic controller who was on duty the day US Airways Flight 1549 ditched in the Hudson, spoke about the event publicly for the first time. He told members of the House Subcommittee on Aviation that when he heard Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger tell him, "We're gonna be in the Hudson," he asked him to repeat himself, even though he heard him just fine. "I simply could not wrap my mind around those words," Harten said calmly. "People don't survive landings on the Hudson River, and I thought this was a death sentence. I believed at that moment, I was going to be the last person to talk to anyone on that plane alive." Harten said that during the emergency itself, he was hyper-focused. "I had no choice but to think and act quickly, and remain calm. But when it was over, it hit me hard. It felt like hours before I learned about the heroic water landing that Captain Sullenberger and his crew had managed. Even after I learned the truth, I could not shake the image of tragedy in my mind. ... I felt like I had been hit by a bus." Harten will return to work later this week for the first time since the ditching. The panel also heard from Capt. Sullenberger, who warned that airlines of the future may not be as safe as airlines today. "I am worried that the airline-piloting profession will not be able to continue to attract the best and the brightest," Sullenberger said. More...

ASF Real Pilot Stories: Snake in the Airplane ... Cemetary Crash ... Power Loss on Takeoff ... and More!
Each Real Pilot Story on the AOPA Air Safety Foundation web site is a true account of a good flight gone bad. In just minutes you can watch, listen, and learn from these multimedia presentations as pilots tell their harrowing tales of survival. The quick thinking and skillful techniques shown in the ASF Real Pilot Stories can help make better pilots of us all. Listen now.
Coping with the Economic Downturnback to top 

In an effort to remain viable and avoid further layoffs, Piper Aircraft has announced that it will close for a week in May and another week in June, in addition to two weeks announced previously. "These shutdowns will be without pay and will affect all employees in the company, from executive management to hourly manufacturing employees," Piper spokesman Mark Miller said in a statement released Monday. "We realize and regret the impact that this has on our employees and are doing everything possible to preserve the 650 jobs Piper continues to provide. Piper is focused on taking all necessary actions to weather the current downturn in such a way that we will be positioned for growth when the economy improves," he said. The two-week shutdown will reduce inventory as well as curtail expenses. Miller said the company is pleased that the new federal stimulus package includes a provision for bonus depreciation and believes that it will help facilitate a market recovery. "We are, however, still deeply concerned about high inventory levels of new and used aircraft, lack of available credit and the overall continued decline in consumer confidence," he said. 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.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

The FAA has extended by 30 days the comment period for a proposal to consolidate its in-house meteorological staff in to centers in Kansas City, Mo. and College Park, Md. The 84 weather folks are now spread across 21 facilities coast to coast and they're hoping the 30-day extension will lead to a change of heart. Essentially, the meteorologists are saying that no amount of technology can replace local knowledge in forecasting weather. "The people in Kansas City would be forecasting from the Virgin Islands to the Ohio Valley and out to Honolulu," Dan Sobien, president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization told the Associated Press. "There's no way to have that kind of expertise. They could be dealing with a blizzard and a hurricane at the same time." FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told AP that no formal proposal has been formulated and, whatever results, safety will not be compromised. "No matter what plan is ultimately put in place, the FAA would never adopt an initiative that would affect safety or reduce the amount of weather information that's going to our controllers," Bergen said. More...

Helicopter Association International says its annual Heli-Expo trade show will almost certainly set an attendance record despite the economic downturn. With one day still to go in the three-day event, held this year in Anaheim, this year's attendance total was just 52 people short of last year's record of 17,373. "Exhibitors reported high activity at their booths and vendors were able to interact with thousands of attendees on the floor," HAI said on its Web site. 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."


Sun 'n Fun — It's Like Spring Break for Pilots
Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special online-only discounts. Get your tickets online now at Sun-N-Fun.org.
News Briefsback to top 

Peter 'Pip' Borrman, 54, one of Australia's most popular aerobatic performers, was killed on Wednesday afternoon while practicing in his new Pitts Samson biplane, which he planned to fly for the first time in public for next month's Australian International Airshow. A witness, Peter Lott, told local reporters that the airplane took off, Borrman flew one maneuver, then there was a "weird bang" and he saw the smoke. "When I got over there the plane was just a ball of flames in the paddock," he said. According to the Edge Aerobatics Web site, Borrman was just nine years old when his father taught him to fly, and he fell in love with aerobatics as a teenager. He put his flying dreams on hold after his father was killed in a Tiger Moth accident in 1975 and went into business, but some years later he returned to aerobatic flying and eventually bought a Zivko Edge 540. He flew the Edge in airshows around the country, and in 1999 he received one of only two Ground Level Waivers ever issued in Australia. His wife of 30 years, Janet, said, "Flying was his passion, he just loved it ... he lived, ate and breathed it, he really did. Any spare time he had it was practice, practice, practice, he was just so particular." More...

As has long been expected, EAA confirmed this week that the Virgin Mothership Eve, also known as WhiteKnightTwo, will make its public debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, on opening day, Monday, July 27. The space launch vehicle, which is the largest carbon-fiber aircraft ever built, will be on view all week, departing during the Saturday airshow. EAA said it hopes to arrange showcase flights during the week. "This will be a major highlight of our event," said EAA President and AirVenture Chairman Tom Poberezny. "Since the appearance of the X-Prize-winning WhiteKnight and SpaceShipOne at AirVenture four years ago, our members have eagerly awaited the next advancements from the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites innovators." The ship has a unique heavy-lift, high-altitude capability and an open architecture-driven design that provides for maximum versatility in the weight, mass and volume of its payload potential, said Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic. Besides serving as a launch vehicle for SpaceShipTwo, VMS Eve can also be used to launch satellites, conduct space science projects and train astronauts. "Its carbon composite construction also gives unprecedented fuel efficiency and the strength to perform high g maneuvers and parabolic flight," Whitehorn said. The ship has a 140-foot wingspan. Burt Rutan, chief designer for Virgin Galactic's spacecraft, is scheduled for two forums on Wednesday, July 29, one during the day at the Honda Pavilion and one in the evening at Theater in the Woods. More...

There's some irony that the re-enactment of the 100th anniversary of the flight of the first powered heavier-than-air vehicle in Canada was scrubbed by cold, snow and wind. As organizers planned the re-enactment, the overriding fear was that Baddeck Bay on a lake on windswept Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia wouldn't be frozen over as it was on Feb. 23, 1909 when J.A. Douglas McCurdy lifted off smoothly from the ice in the bamboo-and-wire Silver Dart. The bay hasn't frozen in the last six years. But Cape Breton has been pummeled by an old fashioned Canadian winter this year and, quite literally in the calm before the storm, flying conditions were perfect Sunday for a number of "test flights" in which Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason flew the replica aircraft in front of about 1,000 people. More...

A safety group sued the FAA and DOT, alleging they are too slow to act on NTSB recommendations...
Cessna's 400 Corvalis TT single-engine piston aircraft is now EASA certified...
Liberty Aerospace is spinning off Liberty Composites to market its expertise...
FAA issued ADs that affect some Gippsland Aeronautics GA8 airplanes and some Burkart Grob gliders...
Wired magazine examined the proposed airspace redesign for the New York metro region. More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli was traveling during President Obama's address to Congress, but he did catch the highlights on Wednesday. As you may have guessed, he's a little tired of the jet-bashing. More...

AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles has had a long, sometimes strange relationship with Eclipse. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, he muses on failure of Eclipse and the long shadow it will cast over general aviation. More...

Cirrus's Matt Bergwall recently checked out AVweb on the company's new approved flight into known icing package. When you see this video, you'll understand why this system is not just another version of TKS. The airplane is exceptionally well-protected, and the de-icing is cleverly integrated into the avionics suite. This demo is definitely worth the watching. (Click through to watch.) 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.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

The incredible journey of Eclipse Aviation seems to be over, and now the speculation has begun on what it all meant. We'd like to hear your opinion.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if their friends and family think they're rich because they fly; click through to see what the Rockefellers had to say for themselves. More...

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, wants to hear about your experiences with engine warranties. We'd like to know about warranties of new or remanufactured engines from the factory, field overhauls and "boutique" engine shops. In your opinion, was the warranty sufficient? Did you encounter problems after installation, and were they resolved to your satisfaction? Did any factory, overhauler or installer go beyond their warranty to address any problems?

Please send a note to aviation_safety@hotmail.com and let us know your experiences, including the factory or shop doing the work, the aircraft type and the nature of any problems.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.) 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...

Working Healthy
A "no excuses" book that belongs in every repair station and line shop, Working Healthy is a manual on health and safety techniques written specifically for the aviation technician. Learn to protect your most valuable assets (your employees and students) from the risks and long-term health issues common in every aviation facility, and so reduce absenteeism, job delays, and your workman's comp premiums. One minor injury prevented will pay for this book 100 times over. Click here for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO run by the city of Great Bend at Great Bend Municipal Airport (KGBD) in Kansas.

AVweb reader Chad Crow recommended the FBO, telling us about their "great hospitality, attitude, and all the amenities you could as for." Plus, Chad tells us the fuel prices ain't bad, either ... !

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!


Are Your Company's Sales Stalling?
Advertise Here to Reach Over 255,000 Aviators Worldwide

AVweb advertisers receive instant response, tracking, and flexibility in changing their message. Since 1995, AVweb has been the premier internet news source, now delivering over 255,000 pilots, aircraft owners and aviation professionals who use this most comprehensive no-cost online aviation site. Click now for details on AVweb's cost-effective programs.
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Jerry Riffel of Denton, Texas writes, "I'd just landed after a great flight and finished changing oil in my new RV7A. The sun seemed like a fitting end to a great day." The photo makes a convincing argument, Jerry — and if you don't mind, we'll use the end of your fantastic day to jumpstart our weekly run-down or reader photos. (Watch your mailbox for that spiffy AVweb baseball cap we'll be sending your way later in the week.) 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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.