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Volume 15, Number 9b
March 5, 2009
Aircraft Spruce Acquires SkySports
Corona, California-based Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co., a leading supplier of experimental and certificated aircraft parts since 1965, has acquired SkySports International. SkySports produces its own line of single and dual fuel systems and fuel probes and also carries a complete line of products such as instruments, radios, GPS, strobes, Comtronics helmet/intercom systems, winter instruments, and hardware for the ultralight market. All SkySports products are now available from the Aircraft Spruce West, East, and Canada warehouses. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
Top News: Changing of the Guardback to top 

For the last 50-plus years, two Pobereznys have been at the helm at EAA -- first Paul, the founder, now 87, and then his son Tom -- but that is about to change, at least partly. On Wednesday, EAA said Tom Poberezny will take over as chairman of the board, a position that Paul stepped down from recently, and also announced that Tom is ready to step down as president as soon as EAA finds the right replacement. Tom Poberezny said he will begin work with the board to initiate and lead a search for a new president, who will assume responsibility for day-to-day operations. As chairman, Tom Poberezny will provide ongoing counsel to the organization while focusing specifically on building EAA's endowment. "It is my goal to responsibly secure the future of this organization and provide continuity of leadership," Poberezny said. More...

Trade-A-Plane, Aviation's Original Search Engine
Back in 1937, Trade-A-Plane was the original — and only — place to look for parts to repair an airplane. Trade-A-Plane is still the best, with everything that keeps you flying — thousands of planes, products, and services updated hourly. Call Trade-A-Plane at (800) 337-5263 or subscribe online.

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Attention, Aircraft Owners ...back to top 

According to the folks at Cessna, you may not have to buy a new airplane to qualify for the tax benefits of bonus depreciation in 2009 -- upgrades such as new avionics, which add value to the aircraft or increase its lifespan, may qualify. The company added a note that it can't give tax advice, but it offered to work closely with customers' accountants to ensure they have all the information they need to explore specific tax situations. "This is a good time to consider enhancements to your Citation, such as a glass cockpit, productivity features in the cabin, upgraded operational or navigational systems," said Mark Paolucci, senior vice president, Cessna Customer Service. "As a result of the current business climate, utilization is lower which makes now the perfect time to schedule major upgrades -- less disruption to operations," Paolucci said. Upgrades that may qualify include new communications and avionics gear, TCAS and radar upgrades, enhanced instrumentation, RVSM, WAAS/FMS updates, interior upgrades, and new paint, he said. More...

A review by the FAA about what the word "current" really means in a regulation regarding maintenance of multiengine turboprops and turbine-powered aircraft is good news for owners and operators, AOPA said this week. The legal interpretation arose from a question regarding whether an aircraft operator is obliged to comply with the maintenance standards that were in place when the aircraft was manufactured or with updated maintenance instructions. Although the industry has historically interpreted the rule to mean that the latest standards must be applied, the new interpretation says the operator is not obliged to do so. The FAA notice says an operator needs only to adopt a manufacturer's inspection program that is "current" as of the time he adopts it, and that program remains "current" unless the FAA mandates revisions to it. Such a mandate would be adopted in the form of either an AD or an amendment to the operating rules. "By extension, this interpretation applies to ANY aircraft," says AVweb's Savvy Aviator columnist Mike Busch. "What it means is that no change that the manufacturer makes to its maintenance manual or ICA subsequent to aircraft delivery or STC installation is compulsory UNLESS it is explicitly FAA-approved." AOPA says the FAA's review is particularly good news for owners of Cessna 425 and 441 Conquests, which were built 20 to 30 years ago. Recently, these owners were facing the possibility of having to comply with extremely invasive inspections, including the removal of the aircraft's wings, because of multiple updates to Cessna's maintenance program, AOPA said. They now can comply with the maintenance program in place at the time their airplanes were built. More...

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.
Aviation Safetyback to top 

When a Turkish Airlines 737-800 crashed short of the runway in Amsterdam last week, killing nine people, it was one of those relatively rare accidents where no apparent cause was readily discernible. But on Wednesday, Dutch Safety Board investigators said a faulty radio altimeter fed misinformation to the autopilot. The altimeter registered that the airplane was approaching ground level when in fact it was still at 1,950 feet. The autopilot initiated a power-down of the engines in preparation for landing and the airplane slowed to near stall speed. The pilots responded to the situation too late, and the airplane hit the ground. The 737 data recorder showed that problems with the altimeter had occurred twice before, investigators said. Boeing has issued a statement to 737 operators reminding pilots to carefully monitor instruments during critical phases of flight. More...

In California on Tuesday, Marine officials held a news conference to explain their findings in the December crash of an F/A-18 that killed four people on the ground. The officials blamed "a series of well-intentioned but incorrect decisions" by the pilot and his advisors. Nine people were reprimanded and four were relieved of duty. The airplane had a known fuel-flow problem and should have been grounded, officials said, and once the in-flight emergency occurred, the pilot and ground crew should have opted to land at North Island, a nearby airfield with an over-water approach. "Landing at North Island was the prudent and correct decision to make," said Col. John Rupp at the news conference. "Unfortunately, that decision was never made." The FAA released a tape of the conversation between the pilot and ATC in which the North Island option was offered and the pilot chose to head for Miramar, which is further inland. (Click here to listen to AVweb's podcast of the ATC audio). More...

Remos Aircraft announced this week that it has issued a Mandatory Safety Directive to owners to ensure that proper checks are made to secure the aileron controls when extending folded wings. A preliminary NTSB report of a fatal accident in January found that the left aileron quick fastener had not been secured prior to takeoff. The directive contains illustrated directions for the proper method of securing the aileron controls when extending the wings, which can be folded for easy storage or trailering. The company also issued replacement pages for the POH and additional placards that prompt additional pre-flight checks for control quick fasteners. "We have issued this mandatory safety directive to assure that all pre-flight procedures are followed with precision," said Corvin Huber, CEO of Remos Aircraft. "We are in the process of making a safe airplane even safer." The Remos GX Special Light Sport Aircraft crashed Jan. 25, during the Sebring Light Sport Expo at Sebring Regional Airport in Florida, seriously injuring the aircraft's pilot and killing its passenger. More...

Piper Meridian — Exhilarating
Piper Meridian. Power. Pure and simple. Relax in business jet luxury with turbine simplicity for 30% less than any comparable six-place turbine-powered aircraft.

Click here for more information on the Piper Meridian.
Life in the Wake of Eclipseback to top 

Eclipse Aviation was required by federal law to give employees 60 days' notice before laying them off, but failed to do so, according to a suit filed by two former employees on Tuesday in Delaware. Annette Varela, who worked in Albuquerque, and John J. Dimura, who worked at a service facility in New York, are asking for back pay and benefits, and may pursue the matter as a class action if other former employees join them. Jack Raisner, their lawyer, told KQRE.com that the two face "an uphill battle." However, he also said that when money is raised by the Chapter 7 bankruptcy sale of the company's assets, some money might be left over for former employees. A judge was due to decide on Wednesday whether to allow the company to convert its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to Chapter 7 liquidation, but at our deadline, the judge had not yet ruled. A newly formed company, New Eclipse Acquisition LLC, is working to acquire the assets of the company and eventually resume production. More...

With Eclipse Aviation facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation -- a court hearing is set for today, March 4 -- and all operations closed, owners of the little jets are left with plenty of questions, and the FAA attempted this week to answer some of those most frequently asked. Question number one, naturally, was this: Can I still fly my Eclipse EA500 airplane? The answer, says the FAA, is yes, as long as the aircraft is in an airworthy condition in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91. "Contrary to media reports, the FAA has no plan to ground the EA500 airplanes," the FAA said. However, if the airplane becomes un-airworthy -- for example, if owners can't get replacement parts or approved repairs -- then pilots can't legally fly. The FAA noted that the EA500s with IS&S cockpit displays require a navigation database that must be updated by Eclipse every 29 days, and since this update is not available, the types of approaches that the pilots can make with these airplanes may be limited. The airplanes with Avidyne displays may be updated through other sources, the FAA said. Spare parts are not available from Eclipse, but owners can get some parts directly from suppliers, and the FAA said several suppliers have asked about getting approved to sell parts directly to owners. "Be aware," warned the FAA, "that there may be interface issues that only Eclipse can address." More...

Aircraft Financing Available
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News Briefsback to top 

We're used to reporting the first flight of new aircraft designs, but this week, Gulfstream announced the first simulated flight of its G650 bizjet -- a less satisfying milestone, perhaps, but nonetheless significant. "This achievement demonstrates the successful integration of numerous cockpit systems, including those designed by Gulfstream and those provided by our suppliers," said Gulfstream spokesman Pres Henne. The first flight was conducted on Dec. 15 in Savannah, Ga., by the project's lead test pilots, although a team of engineers and other pilots also got a chance to try out the controls during the simulation -- a chance they are unlikely to get when the non-simulated first flight occurs. The G650 simulator, which was developed in-house by a team of Gulfstream engineers and technicians, comprises a full-scale cockpit with avionics, hardware and sensors, as well as a full-scale cabin mock-up with a galley. The simulator enables all aircraft systems to be thoroughly evaluated and tested by engineers and pilots in a controlled lab environment well before the aircraft makes its maiden flight, says Gulfstream. The G650 will be Gulfstream's biggest-ever jet, carrying up to 18 passengers as far as 7,000 nm. With a max operating speed of 0.925 mach, it aims to displace Cessna's Citation X as the fastest civil aircraft flying. The first flight in our real world is expected by the end of this year. More...

These may be tough times for the aviation industry, but at the 20th Annual International Women in Aviation Conference, which wrapped up last Saturday in Atlanta, the mood was upbeat. The economy and jobs were on everyone's mind, and older WAI members assured the younger attendees that ups and downs are nothing new for the aviation industry. "Companies and organizations continue to hire, and we had active career recruiting by many of our exhibitors, especially for mechanics and technicians, but also for pilots, air traffic controllers and other positions as well," said WAI President Peggy Chabrian. "Our members and conference attendees are proactive and steadfast; they are the top-tier candidates that any employer would want to hire." About 3,000 people from 15 countries attended the event, which featured 125 exhibitors plus forums and workshops. Scholarships totaling $459,450 in value were awarded to WAI members at every stage of life from university students to some seeking a midlife career change into aviation. Five women were inducted into WAI's International Pioneer Hall of Fame: Jacqueline Cochran, the first woman to break the sound barrier; Patricia Malone, a U.S. Navy WAVE who trained aircraft carrier-based pilots on instrument flight procedures; Ruth Nichols, who holds more than 35 aviation records; Dawn Seymour, the first woman accepted into the Civilian Pilot Training Program at Cornell University; and Anna Timofeyeva-Yegorova, one of the most famous Soviet women to fly in a male combat regiment during World War II and holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union award. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

As the North American and European aviation industries retrench and regroup, the worldwide economic crisis seems to have missed China, at least as far as investment in aviation projects is concerned. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) announced today that it is investing $3 billion in three projects in the Beijing area that would seem designed to vault the country into being a player in the international aviation market. According to China Daily, AVIC intends to build facilities to build engines, airborne systems and composite structures as it continues its aggressive campaign to build a homegrown aerospace industry. More...

Recall last summer that we reported on a new proposed replacement for 100LL that would be both cheaper than avgas and have higher octane. While we don't yet know about the cheaper part, the FAA's initial testing has revealed that Swift Fuel has a slightly higher octane than 100LL and has excellent resistance to detonation, something other fuels haven't been able to achieve without lead as an octane booster. The new fuel contains about 13 percent more heat value than avgas, but it's also about a pound heavier per gallon. It meets most of the requirements of the ASTM D 910 standard for avgas.The FAA's Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, N.J., completed technical testing on Swift Fuel in mid-January, reporting an octane value of 104.4. Worth noting is that the tech center's testing doesn't constitute industry or FAA approval of the fuel, but is rather a first run at examining the concept. More...


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

If you own a glass cockpit aircraft, Aviation Consumer wants to hear from you. We want to know about the real costs of maintaining and upgrading these aircraft for an upcoming article. Please take a moment to fill out a short survey so others can benefit from your experiences. Click here to participate.(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.) 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...

AVweb Bookstore
Come see AVweb Bookstore — the world's most complete aviation book shop. Whether your interest is flight, maintenance, management, or just having fun with airplanes, we have what it takes to grow your career and get the job done right. Books, eBooks, videos, eVideos, software, pilot supplies, and more — the AVweb Bookstore offers over 500 titles by over 60 publishers, a knowledgeable staff, and the best service in the business. We are your professional source.

Visit us at AVwebBooks.com.
New on AVwebback to top 

The FAA says you can continue to fly them and efforts to save the visionary parent company are underway, but seriously — what's the post-collapse market value of an Eclipse 500 jet? We want to hear what you think.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers to reflect on the legacy of Eclipse Aviation; click through to see how they answered our previous poll. More...

This podcast is an edited version of all of the relevant radio traffic between Shooter 25, the F/A-18 and San Diego Approach. Shooter 25 crashed near Miramar on December 8, killing four people on the ground. The tape has been compressed to delete gaps and transmissions not relevant to the accident. More...

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.) More...

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes you on a detailed cockpit tour of the Collings Foundation B-24J Liberator, the only one of its type still flying. More...


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. (Click through to watch the video.) More...

We Live in a Fast-Paced World; Use Your Travel Time Wisely
Subscribe to Pilot's Audio Update and you'll receive monthly CDs packed with up-to-the-minute information on topics ranging from "Understanding GPS and WAAS" to the lowdown on "Light Sport Aircraft." Put your in-flight "down time" to work for you. Subscribe now to receive the Acing the Flight Review CD as a gift with your order.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Talk about your good seats! Michael Parsons of West Hills, California shares the view from Heroes Air Show in Los Angeles. Even as wintery weather swept across North America and submissions numbers dipped, the quality of this week's photo submission soared. Kick back, grab a soda, and take a few minutes out of your busy day to enjoy the top five photos with us. (When you're done here, don't forget that there are more to be seen in the slideshow on AVweb's home page!) 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.

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