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Volume 15, Number 13a
March 30, 2009
Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
Lycoming® produces the most complete line of horizontally opposed, air-cooled four-, six-, and eight-cylinder certified aircraft engines available, with power ranging from 100 to 400 HP. For homebuilders, air race and aerobatic pilots, and others looking for non-certified engines with Lycoming dependability, Lycoming offers custom-built Thunderbolt Engines. Lycoming piston engines have a reputation for reaching or exceeding TBO. For more information, please visit
Top News: Next-Gen Spacecraft Specsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

WhiteKnightTwo (WK2, also dubbed "EVE" by Virgin Galactic's Sir Richard Branson), which will serve as the launch vehicle for Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (SS2), has expanded its flight envelope with a third test flight that took the aircraft to 140 knots and 18,000 feet. The flight also tested engine thrust asymmetry parameters and in-flight engine restarts. Burt Rutan, founder of Scaled Composites, which has been instrumental in the development of the vehicles, believes WK2 will ultimately find niche applications "beyond the initial requirements of Virgin Galactic." Powered by four Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308A engines and slung below a 140-foot carbon composite wing spar, WK2 is designed for a payload capacity of more than 37,000 pounds and a "coast-to-coast" range. Tests to 50,000 feet (SS2's launch altitude) are expected to take place during the next few months. As for the huge aircraft's flight characteristics, pilot Peter Siebold commented that the aircraft "might look unique from the ground" but "it is not strange to fly" and is "in fact a great piloting experience." Rutan believes the capabilities of WK2 will find it work outside of space tourism, as well. More...

Fly with Bose Aviation Headset X®
Enjoy an unmatched combination of full-spectrum noise reduction, clearer audio, and comfortable fit. Voted the #1 headset for the seventh consecutive year in Professional Pilot's 2007 Headset Preference Survey. Also rated "Best ANR Headset: The Aviation Consumer Product of the Year" by Aviation Consumer. Learn more and order.

Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Of Babbitt and Birds: This Week in FAA Newsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

A pilot, a labor relations consultant, and the former president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), ATP-rated Randy Babbitt is now officially President Barack Obama's choice to serve as FAA administrator. Babbitt's nomination must now pass the Senate before he can set to the present priorities of (and problems posed by) air traffic control modernization and funding authorization. The FAA has been operating since 2007 without official funding reauthorization, but under temporary funding extensions. Hot-topic issues yet to be resolved revolve mainly around funding plans and the possibility of user fees that go beyond current taxation methods and do not exclude general aviation operations. Babbitt will also walk right into the long-brewed enmity of FAA/air traffic controller relations. AOPA offered a statement, Friday, welcoming the announcement of Babbitt's nomination and looking forward to working with the new administrator, once confirmed. Babbitt's nomination is viewed as "labor friendly" and is supported by ALPA and the Air Transport Association whose president James May called Babbitt "a superb choice." More...

The FAA normally releases annual summaries of aircraft/wildlife collisions (in 2007 there were 7,439), but following the Hudson River ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 and a subsequent Associated Press request for access to the FAA's wildlife hazard database, the agency has sought changes. The FAA on March 19 published a notice of proposed rulemaking earlier this month to keep its Wildlife Hazard Database "protected from public disclosure" of relevant data. In essence, the FAA proposes that wildlife hazard reports be treated with the same confidentiality as other voluntary safety reporting systems. The FAA contends that public release of the data may on one hand discourage reporting and on the other "produce an inaccurate perception" of the dangers posed to aircraft by wildlife and compound that by attributing those inaccuracies to specific airlines or airports. Currently, and contrary to a 1999 request by the NTSB, pilots are not required to report all bird collisions and the FAA estimates that only about one in five wildlife collision incidents that involve commercial aircraft are reported. But the FAA's unfortunately timed desire to keep what gory details they do collect within the confines of aviation's regulatory professionals has met official resistance from voices in the United States Senate and former NTSB chairman, James Hall. More...

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 for details.
Signs of the Timesback to top 

Liberty Aerospace has "no intent to shut down," but has laid off another 14 workers, bringing the once 180-strong workforce down to about 32, president Keith Markley told Florida Today. The company laid off 30 workers in January. The Brevard, Fla., company is maintaining offices in Melbourne and a contract facility in Romania and intends to continue production with its skeleton staff, until such time that it can "put people back on board." All employees laid off by Liberty have received severance packages, according to the company. Liberty worked as a pioneer in the development of FADEC controls, which are available on its models, and bills its product as the "most economical certified aircraft" available in the IFR market. The company had delivered 100 aircraft by February, but blames the economic slowdown for a sharp decline in sales for all general aviation sales. The base two-seat IFR Liberty XL2 is priced at $188,000 is marketed to flight schools and individual pilots. More...

A Life Insurance Policy That Returns All of Your Premiums? — YES
The Return of Premium Term policy available through Pilot Insurance Center features fixed premiums and guarantees to return the total of all premiums at the end of the policy. No aviation exclusions. Call (800) 380-8376 or visit
Sullenberger, Skiles Visit Oshkoshback to top 

The pilots every other pilot wants to talk to will be at EAA AirVenture to retell the most celebrated ditching in history. US Airways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and FO Jeff Skiles will be featured guests at Theatre in the Woods on the evening of July 31 and they'll also show up at other venues during the big show. "These two pilots have told their story to the world since the remarkable events of January 15th, but at EAA AirVenture they'll have the opportunity to talk in person with fellow aviators on how their training, planning and airmanship skills were tested," said AirVenture Chairman Tom Poberezny. "There is perhaps no place better than Oshkosh where an audience would understand the decision-making process that took place in the cockpit that day and learn the lessons from these two pilots' experiences. More...

JA Air Center, Your Source for the New Garmin GPSMap 696
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Here's Your Chance to Stimulate the Economy ...back to top 

Six new buyers can purchase a 145-knot, 1,000-pound useful load Glasair Aviation Sportsman 2+2 that takes off (and lands) in less than 400 feet and costs less than $125,000 -- finished and flying, complete with a 180-hp Lycoming IO-360, a constant-speed prop and a VFR panel. The promotion, announced Thursday, offers a 25% discount from normal pricing, according to the company, and is first come, first served. The Glasair 2+2 is a kit-built experimental category aircraft, but Glasair offers a "two weeks to taxi" program that is included in the promotional pricing. That program does require purchaser participation for the duration of the two-week build cycle. The company is also offering special pricing for builder assist programs and upgrade programs (including a panel upgrade and firewall-forward plan), which are available to kit builders who bypassed the two weeks to taxi program in their initial kit purchase and even some who are already flying. More...

It may be the first time in more than 20 years that a two-seat Supermarine Spitfire has gone to auction and the current example (once stationed at RAF Lyneham in 1944) is expecting to draw bids of more than $2.1 million, next month. Some estimates put the number of flying two-seat Spits at seven (flying single-seaters may number closer to 60). That, from some 22,000 Spitfires flown between March 1936 and 1957. But this particular aircraft did not begin its life as one of the roughly 20 two-seat Spits originally built; it was born as a Mark IX. Classic Aero Engineering was hired by the aircraft's recent owner, Paul Portelli, to restore the aircraft and transform it into a two-seater. That process took seven years, and outlived Portelli, but met the authenticity requirements demanded by CAA to certify the aircraft as an airworthy genuine Spitfire. As such, the auction's lucky winner can expect to carry an annual insurance policy in the $70,000 range for serial number SM520 and about that much for annual maintenance. Fuel will be extra, provided the buyer has the fortitude (and skill) to risk flying the aircraft at all. The auction will be held by Bonhams' at the RAF Museum in Hendon, April 20. More...

Why Take Chances?
Thousands of pilots will receive certificate actions this year. You could be the pilot whose certificate is suspended for 180 days because you flew past the 100-hour inspection. Or you may discover the aircraft you rented is past due for its annual, putting your certificate at risk. By enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan, you can receive aviation legal consultation, advice, and even representation. Enroll today — Private Pilot coverage is $29.
News Briefsback to top 

The Hotelicopter is "the world's first flying hotel," and it's a helicopter, according to its promoter. An "elegant modification" of the Soviet Mil V-12 helicopter (only two were ever built back in the late 1960s, one was damaged in a hard landing and the other, according to several sources, is on display at a museum), the twin-rotor Hotelicopter derives added forward thrust from four GEnx turbofan engines that offer "a thrust range" of 75,000 pounds. Aboard the aircraft, each of 18 luxuriously appointed "soundproofed" rooms is equipped with a queen-sized bed "and all the luxurious appointments you'd expect from a flying five-star hotel," according to the promoter. That includes 600-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets on every bed, plus a SkySpa, where you might "touch up those highlights" or "take a soak in the Jacuzzi." As the promotional Web site eloquently notes, "traveling today is getting to be a real pain in the ass." So, obviously ... the Hotelicopter. The 137-foot-long, 91-foot-high, 232,870-pound, 18-room hotel cruises at about 145 miles per hour over about 700 miles suspended beneath two giant rotors, according to promoters. Feel free to sign up now. The inaugural 14-day tour departs from JFK on June 26, according to the Hotelicopter Web site, which comes complete with computer-generated images and a description of a first test flight that "went great" according to the imaginative folks behind it. More...

Put AeroExpo Europe - Prague and AeroExpo Europe - London on Your Show Schedule
AeroExpo Europe - Prague (May 22-24, 2009) will showcase everything from ultralights to helicopters to business aircraft in the heart of Europe, marketing to the European and emerging Eastern European and Russian markets. AeroExpo Europe - London (June 12-14, 2009) includes aircraft from light aircraft, pistons, and turboprops through to VLJs (very light jets) and all parts and services for these general aviation aircraft. Go online for exhibitor and attendee details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

AVMAIL: MARCH 30, 2009

Letter of the Week: In Perspective

I have only one thing to say regarding the ruckus JetBlue's big wig campaign is causing in our industry. General Aviation (and the NBAA in particular) need to get over themselves. The advertisements are pointed at corporate wonks who are having their use of private jets cut back and not general or business aviation. The ads are not likely to affect our sector of this industry. The damage has long been done by the numbskulls from the Big Three automakers. If you want to vent on someone, I suggest you start at the source.

This message has been brought to you by an employee of a full-service FBO whose business depends heavily on the very clientele these ads are geared to. The difference is, I have a sense of humor.

David Auts

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 What have you heard? More...

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.
New on AVwebback to top 

One of the biggest reasons cylinders fail to go the distance is insufficient fuel flow at takeoff. Is yours set high enough? More...

After 18 months without an official leader, the FAA will need Randy Babbitt to get to work immediately if he's confirmed as FAA administrator. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, editor-in-chief Russ Niles speculates on which he'll lean and runs down the best- and worst-case scenarios. More...

Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
Since 1995, AVweb has been the most comprehensive no-cost aviation site online. Advertisers reach over 255,000 pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation professionals via a unique and effective combination of newsletter text messages and web site banner ads. Links send readers directly to advertisers' web sites for instant information. Click now for details on AVweb's cost-effective programs.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

When Bendix/King rolled out its AV8OR portable GPS last summer, the $749 retail price — about $675 discounted — caught GPS buyers by surprise. So did the AV8OR's feature set, which includes a touchscreen interface and automotive navigation as built-in standard capability. In this video, AVweb's editors took the AV8OR out for a spin to wring out its major features. More...

Video Marketplace Spotlight

New for 2009 from Flight Design
Flight Design CEO Tom Peghiny joins Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli to outline the company's new-for-2009 offerings at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

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 Tri-City Aviation at KTRI in Kingsport, Tennessee.

AVweb reader Jonathan Butkovic recommended the FBO:

I was in Bristol for the NASCAR race, and Tri-City Aviation was the FBO on the field, so I parked there. They were helpful, friendly and very cost-friendly. ... I loved it and certainly will be back next time I go to the races!

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


From Naples [Florida] tower (KAPF):

Student Pilot Preparing for Departure to Miami:
"Tower — so, then, you want me to go east?"

Naples Tower:
"Well, that would be the easiest way to get to Miami — unless you want to go completely around the globe."

Paul Scott
via e-mail


Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Jeff van West

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.