AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 10b

March 12, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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.
Airplanes and the Law, Part I back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

DOJ Investigating Anti-Trust Issues in Superior Sale

Did the U.S. Department of Justice nix Lycoming's bid to buy the assets of bankrupt Superior Air Parts? Sources in the engine business tell us this may be the case. Several have been contacted by Department of Justice investigators looking into the details of Lycoming's bid to buy Superior, which filed for bankruptcy in early January. Lycoming submitted a bid of $11.5 million through a bankruptcy court, which rejected the offer last week. A second offer from Continental was also rejected. Two engine shops told us that DOJ lawyers contacted them last month inquiring about competitive conditions in the aircraft engine and parts business and one of those investigators mentioned a possible Hart-Scott-Rodino Act probe.

The Hart Act is an anti-trust statute that requires companies to submit their plans on mergers and acquisitions for federal review before the transactions take place. The act requires, among other things, a 30-day waiting period from the time of filing. Lycoming made its offer for Superior within a day or two of the bankruptcy filing. It's not known if they were required to file a Hart notice. The DOJ did not return AVweb's query on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Texas Attorney General has notified Superior and the court that it's conducting its own investigation into "reduced competition" that the sale of Superior to Lycoming or Continental might represent. The AG said the investigation will continue through March.

"Happy Helicoptering" Offer Extended! Get $100 Off a Zulu for Helicopters
Lightspeed has lowered their price from $900 to $850, plus they will give you a $50 mail-in rebate. Experience unmatched performance, lightweight comfort, crystal-clear audio, unsurpassed quiet, and built-in Bluetooth. Purchase from an authorized Lightspeed dealer between February 1 and March 31, 2009. Click here to see why Zulu is Aviation Consumer's Headset of the Year.
Aviation Safety back to top 

Time To Pay Attention To Preflight Briefings

Many passengers ignore the safety briefing when flying commercial, convinced that the only useful action to take in the event of an emergency is to call your loved ones (flagrantly disobeying the no-cellphone rule) and say goodbye. But a series of recent crashes -- the ditching in the Hudson and the Turkish Airlines accident in Amsterdam, for example -- have reminded us that in fact many accidents are survivable, and it might be a good idea to pay attention after all. And it turns out that there is much that passengers can do to save themselves and others in the event of an emergency. British Airways knows this, and has trained over 9,000 frequent flyers in Flight Safety Awareness courses at its simulator center in West London. CNN's business-travel reporters tried out the course recently, and found the simulated evacuation "unsettling -- almost frightening."

CNN lists the main lessons that passengers should remember -- know where the exit rows are, be sure to know how to open the door if you are sitting next to one, avoid wearing high heels and other restrictive clothing, and assume the brace position when told -- and "ignore Internet rumors that the brace position guarantees to break your neck and back to make death as painless as possible." The position has been proven to minimize injury, says CNN. For a CNN video of their visit to the simulator facility, click here.

Datatoys Airborne Digital Recording Systems Are Available Now at Aircraft Spruce!
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Airplanes and the Law, Part II back to top 

CAF Loses F-82 To Air Force, But Will Pursue Appeal

A rare F-82 Twin Mustang that has long been operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is now being dismantled in Midland, Texas, for shipping to the National Museum of the Air Force (USAFM) in Dayton, Ohio. CAF has operated the airplane since the 1960s, but its right to do so has been in dispute since 2002, when the CAF said it was going to trade the airplane and the Air Force said it couldn't. A judge ruled in September that the Air Force owns the airplane, but the CAF has been pursuing an appeal. This week, the CAF said it had offered to drop the appeal if the Air Force would allow the F-82 to remain on static display in Midland, but that proposal was rejected, leaving the CAF no choice but to hand over the airplane. "I had great hopes that this would be an amicable way to agree to disagree, yet still concede to the USAFM's policy to not fly the F-82, which has supposedly been their concern," said Stephan Brown, president and CEO of the CAF. "This decision to reject our proposal is confusing and disappointing."

The response to the CAF proposal by the director of Air Force History and Museum Policies and Programs states: "After a robust and thorough discussion, the voting members of the Heritage Board unanimously decided that, based on the history of this matter and the precedential import of the judicial determination concerning the ownership of the F-82 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the other Armed Services, the offer of settlement could not be accepted." Brown said the CAF will now move forward with the appeal process. "The appeal is a de novo review, in which the appellate court is not bound by the trial court, but reviews the entire case," said Brown. "We are hopeful that the appellate authority will see things differently."

Drug Smugglers Turn To Ultralights

An ultralight aircraft might not seem the ideal transport for a drug smuggler trying to move contraband across the U.S.-Mexico border -- they can't carry much weight, and flying an overloaded little trike low and slow above dark terrain at night seems like a recipe for disaster. But officials in Arizona know of three such attempts in recent months, The Associated Press reported this week, and all of them ended badly for the pilot. One pilot was killed when the aircraft crashed into a field, another smuggler hit power lines and was paralyzed, and the third flier was caught and arrested. Officials said ultralights were more commonly used about 20 years ago, before smugglers upgraded to bigger airplanes that could carry more bales of marijuana. Officials say the ultralights seem to be coming back because of increased vigilance along the border, which drives smugglers to attempt new strategies. The small aircraft are hard to spot on radar, and they are cheap and easy to fly.

Officials were unsure if the recent uptick represents a trend. "If the cartels feel they're successful, they'll go with it," Rick Crocker, a deputy special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Tucson, told the AP. "If we can shut it down, they'll go with other means." The ultralights that were found by officials were outfitted with cages to hold up to 350 pounds of marijuana, according to USA Today. The Border Patrol believes the plan was to fly over a designated spot, pull a lever to drop the load, then fly back over the border without ever touching down.

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.
Spotlight on Jobs back to top 

United Technologies To Cut 11,600 Jobs

United Technologies, the parent company of Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky, said this week it will eliminate 11,600 jobs worldwide, or about 5 percent of its workforce. "The outlook for commercial aerospace and global construction markets has continued to deteriorate since UTC's December investor meeting and the economic recovery previously anticipated in the second half of 2009 now appears unlikely," said CEO Louis Chenevert in a news release on Tuesday. "In 2008, UTC anticipated slowing economies for 2009, although not at the severity which has since developed. ... Employment reductions will total approximately 18,000 or slightly more than 8 percent over the two years. These difficult actions will allow us to continue outperforming peers."

The company, based in Hartford, Conn., also owns aerospace manufacturer Hamilton Sundstrand and several non-aviation businesses. Pratt & Whitney also said this week it will furlough all of its workers for five days this year. Chenevert told industry analysts at a conference in New York that he intends for the company "to be fully prepared for a deeper and longer deterioration of market conditions."

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Key Congressman Raises Questions About LASP

Those in the GA community opposed to the intrusive Large Aircraft Security Proposal (LASP) proposed by the Transportation Security Administration gained some important support, AOPA said on Monday, when U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., asked the TSA to delay implementation of the program. Congressman Thompson chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the TSA. In written comments on the proposed rule, submitted last week, Thompson told the TSA that several critical elements of its plan "appear to be problematic, infeasible, or overly burdensome to industry." He urged the TSA to delay implementation of the proposed regulations until the new TSA leadership has a chance to review the NPRM and discuss it with Congress and industry stakeholders. "Chairman Thompson understands the negative impact the LASP would have on general aviation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "We hope the TSA will stop its plans for the program and address the grave concerns being expressed by the Committee on Homeland Security and so many others who have spoken out against LASP."

The LASP proposal calls for enhanced security procedures to be applied to aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, regardless of how they are used. It has drawn widespread opposition from the GA community, and over 5,000 comments were filed. 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 expressing the legislature's opposition to LASP. EAA has said that it would likely mean the end of operation for large historic aircraft that now offer rides to the public. Click here to listen to AVweb's recent interview with EAA's man in Washington, Doug McNair, on this topic.

Eclipse Owners Want Assets

The spokesman for a group of Eclipse 500 owners says plans by New Eclipse — listen to the New Eclipse podcast here — and one other unnamed group trying to resurrect the failed company are "predatory" on existing owners because of the costs proposed to finish the aircraft already flying. Randall Sanada, of Jet Alliance, told The Associated Press the Eclipse Owners Group hopes to buy the company assets that would allow owners to arrange for their own upgrades and maintenance and the other bids, one of which has not been made public, want to take advantage of the owners. "The idea in both of these plans is to exploit the captive market that the Eclipse customers represent," he said.

New Eclipse's leader Phil Friedman would probably disagree with Sanada's terminology but he told AVweb that finishing the existing fleet (avionics, ice protection, etc.) is a necessary revenue stream to get the company on its feet and resume production in a couple of years. Friedman said he's worked with former Eclipse executives to come up with the plan. It's not known who's behind the other bid for the assets but there's been speculation for months that founder and former CEO Vern Raburn is in the picture somehow. A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved the Chapter 7 liquidation of Eclipse last week. Stay tuned ... .

Related Content:
Podcast analysis of the Eclipse situation with the Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia

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."

Over 17,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
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News Briefs back to top 

Aviation Companies Forge Ahead, Despite Economy

Every crisis is an opportunity for somebody, and as the economic news continues to sour, plenty of aviation entrepreneurs are finding ways to adapt to the new markets. This week, Revolution Air, a charter broker based in New York, said it has seen an increase in corporate charter flights from companies receiving government assistance. "It's no secret that corporate flight departments are currently being regarded as luxury items for businesses, which is rather unfortunate given their necessity in today's worldwide competitive corporate environment," said company President Ron Goldstein. When commercial flights are not an option for time or security reasons, Goldstein's charters offer a cost-effective solution. He added that he is seeing a trend to use charters for business travel only and executives are switching to commercial travel for skiing and golf trips. In Europe, new air-taxi startup Blink, which launched in June 2008 with a fleet of Citation Mustangs, has also seen growth in demand as corporations downsize from larger jets. The company promises the benefits of personal air travel at prices competitive with commercial business class and up to 50 percent cheaper than other corporate jet services.

In Boston, Mass., Eclipse 500 operator Linear Air said revenue in February grew 131 percent over the year before, and it is now adding flights between several East Coast airports and the Bahamas. "While the fractionals, major airlines, and even low-cost airlines reported serious declines in February, demand for our unique low-cost personal air service more than doubled in New England," said CEO Bill Herp. The company also operates a fleet of Cessna Grand Caravans. And Hopscotch Air, an air-taxi service based in New York, is moving forward with plans to launch a fleet of Cirrus SR-22s next month. The company promises airline-competitive prices for personal service to convenient airports.

Other GA companies may not be seeing growth right now, but remain bullish about the near term. Executive AirShare, based in Kansas City, Mo., is moving ahead with its plan to add nine more Embraer Phenom charter jets to its fleet this year, though business lately has been down. "We haven't lowered our goals for 2009," company President Keith Plumb told the Kansas City Star. "We think we can target the customer base from the national fractional programs and grow." ImagineAir, an Atlanta-based operator flying Cirrus SR22s, doubled its business in 2008; click here for that story from Monday's AVwebFlash.

Europe's GA AERO Show Offers Expanded Space, Fresh Ideas

AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe's biggest general aviation trade show, is coming up April 2 to 5. This is the first year of the show's switch to an annual event -- in the past it was held every other year -- and also the first year since AERO and EAA announced they would engage in a "strategic relationship" to promote the show. About 570 exhibitors will be on hand, and the crowds are expected to exceed the 2007 total of over 45,000. Exhibit space has expanded from seven halls to 11, featuring a wide variety of GA aircraft and interests, from gliders and ultralights to model airplanes, skydiving and corporate jets. A new Helicopter Hangar will display rotary aircraft and gyrocopters. An E-Flight Expo, billed as a trade show within the show, will showcase aircraft with electrical propulsion, new solar technologies and other innovative propulsion concepts. A hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered trike, a solar-powered motorglider, and other unique aircraft are expected to be on display.

The AERO show is also the place where Europe's GA community can discuss issues of common interest, such as fuel supplies, environmental concerns, and the health of the industry. On Thursday and Friday, exhibitors will offer demo flights, and on the weekend, an air show will feature fly-bys and aerobatic performers. Flight Design GmbH, which makes the popular CT line of light sport aircraft, will debut a new hybrid engine concept at the show. The concept engine is based on "a well-established certified aircraft engine" mated with an electric booster only used to boost performance for takeoff and climb, according to the company. Click here for more from Monday's AVwebFlash.

On the Fly ...

Citing two engine thrust rollback events on Boeing 777s powered by Rolls-Royce engines, the NTSB issued an urgent safety recommendation on Wednesday calling for the redesign of a Rolls- Royce engine component...

Mitre has received an FAA aviation research award for its Universal Access Transceiver digital radio system...

A proposed airworthiness directive for certain Piper PA-23 series airplanes and all PA-31 and PA-42 series airplanes aims to prevent the nose baggage door from opening in flight...

A final airworthiness directive for the Pilatus PC-12 addresses a possible problem with the elevator control mechanism...

Pilots now can fly into Clermont County Airport in Ohio and their orders from Sporty's Pilot Shop will be delivered to their airplane, 24 hours a day.

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.
New on AVweb back to top 

Question of the Week: The Annual Spending Report

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers how much they'd be willing to spending on an Eclipse 500 jet.

The largest segment of respondents fell in the less than $500,000 bracket. (We noted in the option that engines alone are worth that price.) Another 29% of you said a value around $1 million would still be reasonable (it's a buyer's market). And 23% of you said nothing; they're worthless.

For a complete (real-time) breakdown of reader responses, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer if you haven't already participated in this poll.)


With everyone tightening their budgets, this is a good week to ask about your aviation spending over the last twelve months.

How much have you spent on flying in the last year?
(click to answer)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

AVweb Insider Blog: Swift Fuel — Can It Replace 100LL?

The concept and the numbers more or less add up, although industry experts we've talked to think the claims may err on the side of optimism. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli sorts through the clutter.

Read more.

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

Own a Glass Cockpit Aircraft? Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from You

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.)

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.

AVweb Bookstore
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Visit us at AVwebBooks.com.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: B-24 Cockpit Tour

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

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.

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.

Exclusive Video from U.S. Sport Aviation Expo 2009: Cessna Skycatcher's Journey to Market

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

Kitplanes Editor-in-Chief Marc Cook talks with Neal Willford, Cessna Aircraft's project engineer on the 162 SkyCatcher. Neal was kind enough to share the inside scoop on the SkyCatcher's journey to market.

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.

Are Your Company's Sales Stalling?
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Griffing Flying Service (KSKY, Sandusky, OH)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Griffing Flying Service, a family-owned FBO at Griffing-Sandusky Airport (KSKY) in Sandusky, Ohio.

AVweb reader Joe E. Greene rents a hangar at Griffing and had plenty of nice things to say about the facilities:

They offer charter services to local Lake Erie islands, including also have two King Airs and other aircraft. They continue to struggle with the existing economy, [but] are very profesional and dedicated.

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!

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week." Want to see your photo on AVweb.com? Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.


Has it really been a week since we last dipped into the submission box and shared our favorite reader-submitted photos? Apparently it has — and once again, AVweb readers have risen to the challenge submitting 70 breath-taking pics in the last few days. We can't run 'em all, but we've got the top five here, and we'll load up as many extras as we can in the home page slideshow. Be sure to head over there when you're done here.

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copyright © Mrs. V. James
Used with permission

Biggin Hill, UK, Summer of 1940 — Battle of Britain (Tea Time)

We're not sure what brought on the flood of vintage photos our readers have been submitting (maybe it was some begging we forgot that we did?), but we're certainly enjoying them!

Jeremy James of Banbury, Oxon (UK) brightened our day with this photo of his mother, Mrs. V. James, doing her part during World War II. According to Jeremy, she "drove a tea truck supplying RAF air fields near London during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Here she is on the wing of a Spitfire, with pilots in between sorties at Biggin Hill."

"And yes," writes Jeremy, "she is still with us at 95." A tip of the hat and a long-deserved "good show" to Mrs. J.!

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Used with permission of Terry Dickinson

Departing in Twilight

Ah, Terry Dickinson of Big Lake, Alaska — how we longed to feature this frozen moment as our "POTW" — but the competition was just too darned stiff this week. If it's any consolation, we can't wait to see more of your photos. (Yes, we really are that shameless.)

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Used with permission of Kirk Groves

Fresh Paint

Kirk Groves of Paradise, Pennsylvania snapped this photo "just out of the paint shop" and points out the colors, which are intended "to honor the 352nd FG." Lookin' sharp!

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Used with permission of Daniel Barber

Water Skiing at Sunset

"Flying in its most basic form," according to Daniel Barber of Alexandria, Minnesota. It may have been a simple outing and a simple photo, but we think everyone will agree that the thrill is spectacular.

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copyright © Thomas Auerbach
Used with permission

Dawn Pass in a Cessna 195

It bears noting that Thomas Auerbach of Ponca City, Oklahoma has done more than any other single "POTW" contributor to encourage us to get up early and have a steaming plate of flapjacks. Once again, Mr. Auerbach serves up a delightful treat, this time featuring pilot Jim Bowen arriving for the monthly breakfast fly-in in his 1947 Cessna 195.

Don't forget: There are more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Go have a look.

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW." We want to see them!

A quick note for submitters: If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too. ;)

A Reminder About Copyrights:
Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an 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:

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.