AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 9a

March 2, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Eclipse Saga Far from Over, Say Devotees back to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

New Eclipse Lining Up Support

New Eclipse Acquisition LLC moved forward with plans to acquire the assets of defunct Eclipse Aviation over the weekend, holding meetings with various stakeholders in Albuquerque. Phil Friedman, who's spearheading the bid, told AVweb in a podcast interview that he met with key Eclipse employees to try to bring them into the new company and get working on a two-year recovery scheme. He's also busy lining up support among existing aircraft owners, investors and creditors of the old company. He said that by first upgrading existing aircraft the new company can generate cash flow necessary to resume production in 2011. The company is setting production goals, "at modest levels, approximately 100 aircraft per year," and hopes to price the jets at roughly $2.4 million each. Friedman, currently CEO of an aircraft electro mechanical and structural assembly company in Wichita said he intends to take advantage of "an excellent business opportunity if managed correctly." Friedman says he's studied Eclipse for a year and, working for the past several months with former Eclipse CFO, Peter Reed, has developed a business plan that aims to first upgrade and service the existing fleet, driving the jet's value "up to the $2 million range."

New Eclipse would charge current owners to bring their aircraft up to the latest certification level and bring the jet's avionics "to the latest functionality." Failing that, Friedman's company would work with owners to find buyers willing to purchase the jet and pay for the upgrades. Moving on to production, Friedman's plan would focus on "reducing manufacturing costs" and re-establishing the supplier chain. New Eclipse, headed by Friedman, would hope to employ about 400 people as it worked to upgrade and service the existing fleet and then grow to employ 600 people while producing 100 jets per year.

Related Content:
Podcast interview with Phil Friedman

 
You Won't Need SVT to See Where No-Cost Fuel Can Take You,
But We're Throwing It in Anyway

If you buy one of a limited number of 2008 Cessna 350 or Cessna 400 aircraft from existing inventory, Cessna will supply you with $25,000 in fuel at no cost to you and upgrade your state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck with new Synthetic Vision Technology. Supply of eligible aircraft is limited, so act fast and contact your Cessna representative today.
 
They're Back: User Fees Surface in Federal Budget back to top 
 

$7 Billion In Aviation User Fees In Obama Budget

Aviation groups are raising the alarm after combing President Barack Obama's first budget and finding the term "direct user charges" in relation to FAA funding. In fact, the Obama administration targets raising $7 billion annually, roughly half the FAA's budget by "repealing some aviation excise taxes and replacing these taxes with direct user charges." The charges would begin in 2011. The language is on page 129 of the budget (View the PDF.) Not surprisingly, general aviation groups are unanimous in their opposition to the language.

"It is often said the devil is in the details, but even with only a few details, there is much about which we are concerned," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. Fuller said AOPA has been working with the new administration on air traffic control modernization and airport development The warning light went on with the budget briefing documents and the plan for imposing billions in user fees on the aviation community." There is no mention of the form the fees might take or what taxes they'll replace but the lobbying against them has already begun. And a senior congressman is reminding the administration that aviation user fees have had a rough ride in the legislative process. "Aviation user fees have been proposed several times in the past by OMBs of various administrations, and have not been adopted by Congress." Oberstar noted.

 
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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
 
TSA Draws Fire in the Wake of LASP Comments back to top 
 

LASP Comment Period Ends Amid Widespread Rejection

Framed by some commenters as a "death sentence" for the functionality of operations that, according to the EAA, "raises serious constitutional questions about personal liberty," the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) comment period ended Friday amid a chorus of new negative opinion. The National Air Transportation Association Thursday released its recommendation that LASP, a TSA-proposed program that would govern security operations for all aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, be withdrawn. "Overall, this NPRM demonstrates a troubling lack of knowledge and understanding of the general aviation community by the TSA," stated NATA President James K. Coyne. In Alaska, where aviation is often a critical component of daily of life, State Sen. Gene Therriaut and Rep. Mike Kelly separately introduced identical resolutions in the Senate and House this week expressing the legislature's opposition to LASP. Friday, GAMA added that while it was willing to work with the TSA toward a practical effective proposal, the current one "completely misses the mark." Both EAA and AOPA have expressed comments opposing the proposed security rules as well.

AOPA calls LASP a "one size fits all approach" that is "as unwise as it is unpopular." Summarizing the overall consensus at an EAA meeting, one EAA member said most in attendance thought the LASP proposal "doesn't make any sense and would be prohibitively costly and operationally negative." Many comments express concern that the LASP proposal fails to differentiate private from commercial air operations.

 
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.
 
Aviation Safety back to top 
 

NTSB On Remos Light Sport Expo Crash

The NTSB has released a preliminary report that includes a witness account of the Remos GX Special Light Sport Aircraft that crashed Jan. 25, during the Sebring Light Sport Expo at Sebring Regional Airport in Florida and notes evidence of problems with the controls. The crash seriously injured the aircraft's pilot and killed its passenger. A witness who took off in-trail of the accident aircraft reported that both the left and right ailerons of the accident aircraft appeared to be drooping as the accident aircraft started to roll right and climbed through 50 feet. The right roll progressed as the witness observed the aircraft's rudder "fully deflected to the left." The accident aircraft then flew a slipping right turn to roughly 100 feet agl but lost altitude as the bank angle increased. Eventually turning through 270 degrees, the aircraft struck the ground at 80-degrees right wing down.

The NTSB notes that the trailerable aircraft included folding wings and its ailerons could be disconnected. The board found that "the left aileron's quick release rod-connector was not connected to the quick connector release fork" and "control continuity could not be established" for that aileron.

Relatives Of Buffalo Crash Victim Sue Continental

The lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court alleges that the Continental Connection Dash 8 that crashed Feb. 12 in a Buffalo suburb had inadequate deicing equipment and was flown by an improperly trained crew. The suit names Continental, Pinnacle Airlines, and Colgan Air, along with Bombardier -- all of which have declined comment. Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 aircraft operate in frequently cold parts of the world. But attorney (and pilot) Ronald Goldman, acting on behalf of the victim's family, told Fox news that the aircraft's deicing system "cannot guarantee the safety of passengers on a commercial flight." He concludes that the aircraft therefore "should never be flown in these kinds of conditions." The NTSB has not yet offered its own conclusions and a full investigation by the board could take more than a year. Goldman says his legal team will conduct its own investigation and is seeking wrongful death damages, along with monetary compensation for any pain and suffering endured in the flight's final moments.

Some 230 Bombardier Q400 aircraft operate the world over, according to a company spokesman, who also pointed out the aircraft is actively used in Norway and Quebec. The crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 killed all 49 passengers aboard the aircraft and one on the ground at it approached Buffalo at night in near-freezing temperatures with visible moisture in the air and light precipitation reported.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

First Responders: Be Careful With Your Old ELT

Concerned that an exodus from old 121.5 MHz to new 406 MHz Emergency Locator Beacon (ELT) technology may translate into otherwise capable ELTs activating as they're tossed into dumpsters, AOPA and CAP have initiated a communications offensive. Feb. 1, 2009, marked the end of satellites' ability to notice your 121.5 MHz-specific ELT, while 406 MHz ELTs are satellite supported. Though responders still make efforts to monitor 121.5, 406 MHz is more widely supported and "switching to the new beacon is important," CAP said in a news release. It is similarly important that the people who would search for you and your downed aircraft aren't dispatched to spend their time digging through dumpsters and landfills to shut off improperly disposed of equipment. If you're changing out your ELT, properly disconnect the ELT from its battery or make sure that whoever does the work does so. Do not risk misusing search and rescue resources and personnel through improper removal or disposal of your old unit. The stories are already piling up.

AOPA shared one story of a California CAP squadron that searched through trash at a local recycling facility for six hours before finding an activated ELT that had nothing to do with a crashed aircraft. "Pilots can help save vital search and rescue resources," said AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs, Rob Hackman. Just properly dispose of your ELT.

Rolls-Royce Presents Helicopter Forecast

From 2009 through 2018, Rolls-Royce predicts deliveries to total roughly 15,000 turbine helicopters. The new number represents a 5-percent increase from the company's February 2008 forecast and that uptick is entirely due to an expected increase in civil helicopter deliveries. Over the next 10 years, the civil market is expected to account for 9,000 aircraft -- most of which will be entry-level turbine helicopters. The value of those airframes is expected to chime in at about $26 billion, with a combined cost of $4 billion for engines. Still, the market, according to Rolls, will not escape near-term weakness, but should come out of that period with a resumed strength that translates into growth and strong demand by 2013. Overall, the projected 15,000 turbine helicopter deliveries are valued at some $130 billion in airframes and $12 billion in engines.

The Rolls-Royce forecast projects some 6,000 military helicopter deliveries that account for about $112 billion, eight of which represents engine value. Rolls-Royce Helicopter engines are used in some 150 models working in more than 120 nations.

Russians Are Coming (Again)

About 24 hours prior to President Obama's Feb. 19 visit to Canada, Norad CF-18 fighters were dispatched from Cold Lake, Alberta. to intercept a Russian military bomber that closed on northern Canadian airspace. The Canadian Hornets met the Russian aircraft and "sent very clear signals" that the Russian aircraft was to turn around, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said at a press briefing. The Minister did not name the type of bomber and said he would not "stand here and accuse the Russians" of any particular intent regarding the president's visit. MacKay said the incident was not especially unusual and said the timing of the event could have been either deliberate or coincidental. He did however say it was a "strong coincidence," regarding Canada's temporary focus on Ottawa and the visiting American president. The aircraft did turn around prior to entering Canadian airspace.

The Minister said that while Russian bombers have resumed and routinely prompted Norad intercepts in recent past years, following a halt of such activities that came with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Now, the Minister says the frequency of the unannounced flights has increased. Some observers, along with the Minister, speculate that the flights may be linked to increased competition for arctic resources as the retreat of polar ice reveals new opportunities to tap the region's resources.

 
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

AVmail: March 2, 2009

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Lake Placid Runway Closure

In response to Steve Comer:

I believe that when an airport manager closes the entire airport, any state or federal aid is cut off for the duration of the closure. This occurs frequently during winter hours when runways are being plowed. If it is a solo runway, many times, the airport manager will close the runway but leave the airport open. Technically, helicopter traffic can still land at the airport, thus the airport is not closed.

I assume that maintenance run-ups can also still be performed. I do agree that the ball was dropped on this incident/accident, but the ball was dropped by the FAA when they contracted out and closed 95% of the Flight Service Stations and allowed an ill-prepared company to take over the system. Congress promised to monitor this contract, but it appears they too have dropped the ball.

Daniel Holodick


Eclipse a Symptom

I am not sure what preconceived thoughts you have about what Eclipse was, but just in the interest of being fully informed, I will attempt to shed some light. The passing of Eclipse, aside from the fact that it left several hundred of the most dedicated and talented people in the industry jobless, shows an underlying problem in the U.S. We no longer make anything. Here's a breakdown of U.S. employment:

agriculture:1.2%
industry:19.6%
services:79.2% (2008 est.)

We missed a real chance to get something right here. I worked there for about five years and was proud to be a part of developing what I still consider to be an excellent aircraft. There were many bad decisions on the business plan and how to market the jet, but if you had the ability to devoid the management from the product, you would feel the sense of loss that I do for not only the industry, but the country as well.

Name Withheld by Request


Badging No Secret

What's the "secret"? Here at KSNA (Orange County, CA), the airport operators have been processing a batch of forms from all GA operators and users based on the field, with a "required by" date of March 1st. It seems that isn't going to happen, and it also appears that the airfield management is being sensible about allowing old credentials to get us airside until the new ID badges are fully deployed, but Big Brother is everywhere with little real gain for a lot of baggage.

How much hassle will this casue for visiting GA pilots? And, now that I've seen this article and the suggestion that TSA's plan is "secret," I'm wondering what compatability there will be for SNA-issued IDs to be used elsewhere. Come to think of it, if one has such an ID, why can that not be used to fast-track through commercial security channels (at least at SNA!) when we GA-ers have that much access already?

Richard Wilsher

AVweb Replies:

When we said the plan was secret, we meant that details of the program are confidential — not that the initiative itself is a secret.

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief


Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

Attention, 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 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.)

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

 
Eur-Avia Cannes 2009 Announces the Conference Program, to Include:
Buying new or second-hand aircraft; security round-up for 2008; technology to help the pilot; how to renovate and modernize your aircraft and interiors; external paintwork; avionics; engine improvements; and interior comfort. This Third International Exhibition will open its doors from April 30 to May 2, 2009 on the International Airport of Cannes Mandelieu (LFMD). Visit Eur-Avia.com for details.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Brainteasers Quiz #140: Winter Be Damned

Brainteasers When temperatures drop below an acceptable level of civility, pilots must face some cold realities: What you don't know about ice could severely chill your flight plans. Ace this ice-bound quiz to once again feel the warmth.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

AVweb Insider Blog: Oh, The Humanity! Or — Why Mainstream Aviation Reporting Is So Bad

Actually, it's not. And to prove the point, Paul Bertorelli carefully dissects a few select passages from the New York Times in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog. (He gives the working press a B+ for its coverage of the Colgan crash in Buffalo.)

Read more.

 
TWX670 Color Lightning — A Whole New Way to Look at Weather!
Avidyne's TWX670 is the first highly-accurate and reliable spherics system available for certain composite airframes, including Entegra- and G1000-equipped Cessna/Columbia 350 and 400, on which the TWX670 is now certified. Advanced digital signal processing and greater noise immunity allow the TWX670 to more accurately detect and display weather based on lightning and electrical activity. The TWX670 provides a perfect complement to Avidyne's MLB700 or MLX770 Datalink Weather systems for tactical and strategic weather along your route of flight. Click here for more information.
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Can Eclipse Be Saved?

File Size 6.9 MB / Running Time 7:34

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Wichita businessman Phil Friedman thinks it can — and, in a short time, he's gathered some important support in his bid to keep the company alive. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

Click here to listen. (6.9 MB, 7:34)

Exclusive Video: Can't Get to the Airplane Dealer? The Dealer Will Come to You

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

With perfect weather — almost — over the weekend, Florida Aircraft Expo kicked off something new in aircraft sales. Would-be buyers could kick tires and twist knobs on new aircraft at two Florida airports — St. Petersburg/Clearwater and Sarasota. The Expo shows off most models of new aircraft across a range of manufacturers, offering serious buyers a chance to spend as much time with the airplanes as they like and even get a demo flight, all on one day and in the same place. Fort Lauderdale-based Premier Aircraft Sales developed the Expo idea by expanding on its own regional sales efforts. Premier's Jeff Owen told AVweb Saturday that although turnout at the Expos is designed to be small, the leads it generates tend to yield real sales. (And yes, there are buyers out there, although many are hesitant to pull the trigger, awaiting yet a better deal.) Owen told us the new and used aircraft market has never had better inventory or more high value offerings. Check out the event's web page at FloridaAircraftExpo.com.


Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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

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.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Landmark Aviation (GSO, Greensboro, NC)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Landmark Aviation's Greensboro, North Carolina location.

AVweb reader Chris Fischer tells us "the line staff was second to none; these guys are on top of their game."

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!

 
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.
 
More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 
 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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."

 
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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.
 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

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

While on a Bay tour near San Francisco, a Cessna 172 pilot received an instruction from San Francisco tower to turn to a heading of 120 degrees for noise abatement.

Cessna:
"Noise abatement?"

ATC:
"Yeah. Did you ever hear the sound a Cessna makes when it hits a 747?"

Richard Bertoli
via e-mail

 
Names Behind the News back to top 
 

Meet 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.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
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.