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|Top News: GA on the Cusp of Major Security
COMMENT DEADLINE IS FRIDAY, COURT CHALLENGE EXPECTED
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."
BADGING PLAN DELAYED
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...
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REACH OUT TO ONE ANOTHER
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...
FINALLY FAILS, FAILS FINALLY
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...
CREDITORS WANT CHAPTER 7
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...
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|Light Sport Aircraft Certifications and
FINDS SELF-CERTIFICATION PROCESS EFFECTIVE FOR LSA
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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737 DOWN IN AMSTERDAM, 9 KILLED
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.
HEARS FROM HUDSON CONTROLLER, CAPTAIN, AND CREW
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
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
make better pilots of us all.
PIPER ADDS TWO MORE WEEKS OF SHUTDOWN
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...
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REORGANIZATION COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED
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.
SETS ATTENDANCE RECORD
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...
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly
business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
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." More...
Sun 'n Fun It's Like
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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
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BORRMAN, AUSTRALIAN AEROBATICS STAR, KILLED DURING
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...
CONFIRMS WHITEKNIGHTTWO WILL FLY AT AIRVENTURE
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.
MARKS 100 YEARS OF POWERED FLIGHT
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
THE FLY ...
A safety group sued the FAA and DOT, alleging
they are too slow to act on NTSB recommendations...
Corvalis TT single-engine piston aircraft is now EASA
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...
magazine examined the proposed airspace redesign for the New York metro
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
AIRCRAFT OWNERS/OPERATORS: 'AVIATION CONSUMER' WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR
EXPERIENCES WITH ENGINE WARRANTIES
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 email@example.com
and let us know your experiences, including the factory or shop doing
the work, the aircraft type and the nature of any
(The results will appear in a future issue of
Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click
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OF THE WEEK: GREAT BEND MUNICIPAL AIRPORT (KGBD, GREAT BEND,
"FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO run by the city of Great Bend
Bend Municipal Airport (KGBD) in Kansas.
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
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
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OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
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...
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...