AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 13b

April 2, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Reports from Dallas, Friedrichshafen back to top 
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AEA Convention Bullish, AVweb Is There

Although new aircraft sales are in the doldrums, some avionics shops are doing brisk business upgrading older airframes and that makes the Aircraft Electronics Assciation bullish on 2009. The AEA opens its 52nd annual convention at Dallas's Gaylord Texan convention center today with a record number of new product introductions and strong participation by association members. AEA President Paula Derks told AVweb on Wednesday that some member shops have seen only modest business decline since last fall, if they've seen any. "I can't say certain regions or certain shops are busier than others. Thankfully, our segment of the industry, the repair stations and the manufacturers of avionics system, are not reporting a lot of layoffs," Derks said.

In some ways, strong OEM sales during the past five years may have prepared certain segments of the market to weather the current downturn. Expensive-to-develop systems such as Garmin's G1000 and Avidyne's Entegra line were designed with new aircraft in mind but everyone expected they would eventually find their way into the aftermarket. And eventually is evidently here, as both Garmin and Avidyne are selling aggressviely into the legacy fleet while newcomer Aspen Avionics is doing well with its popular EFIS retrofit. Lesser known players such as Sagem, Chelton and ISS are also angling for a share of the retrofit market. Aspen CEO John Uczekaj told us Wednesday that sales for March showed a definite uptick and Aviydne's Tom Harper reported the same trend. Aspen has sold more than 1000 of its unique retrofit PFDs and expects to be shipping a companion MFD by about mid-year. Look for more reporting on the retrofit market later in the week.

Aero Friedrichshafen Opens Today, AVweb Is There

Aero Friedrichshafen, which opens today and runs through Sunday, is continuing to grow, and attracting a wide range of exhibitors eager to expand in the European market. Overall, 625 exhibitors from 27 countries are setting up at the show, with German companies in the lead, followed by companies from the U.S. and the Czech Republic. AVweb is staffing the show and will have reports later in the week. Many companies have expanded their space compared to the last show. The show is the biggest for gliders from around the world, and ultralights, LSAs, and helicopters are robustly represented. An E-Flight Expo will showcase aircraft with electrical propulsion, new solar technologies and other innovative propulsion concepts. The show also provides an opportunity for GA folk from various places to meet, and Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, said that could have some significant repercussions, perhaps leading to a universal standard for light sport aircraft. "A Certification Specification for Light Sport Aircraft (CS-LSA) is working its way through the European Union and at Aero, some key meetings are planned to help EASA personnel get with FAA people and ASTM committee members," Johnson wrote at his blog this week. "Dull? Maybe ... But look at the prize: the potential for a worldwide standard for LSA."

Johnson said if a universal ASTM standard can be created, U.S. companies could work to enlarge their market in Europe at dramatically lower cost than for type-certificated airplanes, which must gain approval country-by-country. "Can we expect LSA to give birth to a global aircraft certification standard?" asks Johnson. "Possibly, and my best analogy is jet or auto fuel. In every country on Earth, these fuels meet non-governmental ASTM standards. If it works for major commodities like airline and auto fuel, many believe it can work for light-sport aircraft."

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Plenty of Life in the Aviation Marketplace back to top 

Signs Of Spring -- New Deals, New Products

Amid all the economic gloom, a bright spot is growing -- with the approach of spring, and the imminence of the season-opener shows at Aero Friedrichshafen and Sun 'n Fun, bargains for pilots are flowing into our inbox every day, and manufacturers are rolling out new products. Socata announced on Wednesday that it will now offer Garmin's synthetic vision technology in the TBM 850. LSA builder Tecnam has a new model, the P2008. Compared to earlier models, the P2008 has a new wing, a bigger cabin and larger doors. (Click here for a recent AVweb podcast about flying cross-country in a Tecnam LSA.) Other new deals we heard about this week include an amphibious float kit for the Storm Rally LSA, for $9,995, and a new price from Team Tango for its quick-build aircraft, with savings of about $5,000 on each model for the next 90 days. Add in the substantial Glasair Sportsman discounts we told you about on Monday, and the new Super Sport Cub from CubCrafters, and it's like a breath of fresh air.

And more good news: Airshows are expecting an attendance surge this summer. "Families are cutting costs, but they're still looking for quality entertainment," said John Cudahy, president of the International Council of Air Shows. "That's why airshow attendance spikes in a bad economy. Ticket prices are low, but the entertainment value is high." Cudahy reported a 12- to 15-percent increase in airshow attendance during 2008, which followed patterns witnessed during earlier recessions. Spring shows in Florida so far have reported robust crowds, and more than 10 million spectators are expected at about 400 shows in the U.S. and Canada this year, according to the ICAS.

Super Sport Cub LSA Debuts With New ECI Engine

CubCrafters, of Yakima, Wash., this week introduced the Super Sport Cub LSA, a beefier version of their Sport Cub. Equipped with a new 340-cubic-inch engine developed by CubCrafters and ECI, the airplane can take off in less than 100 feet even at gross weight, and climb out at over 2,100 fpm. The new CC340 four-cylinder engine is certified to ASTM standards and produces up to 180 hp for takeoff and climb while maintaining 80 hp continuous power up to 12,000 feet, with a fuel burn of about 5 to 6 gph. "It's a very powerful engine and probably something that wasn't expected in the LSA industry," CubCrafters CEO Jim Richmond told AVweb on Wednesday. "But the beauty of operating an engine that's more powerful than it needs to be, is that when you power back to cruise speed, the fuel flows are the same as with a smaller engine."

At 240 to 245 pounds dry weight, the CC340 is about 35 pounds lighter than a comparable Lycoming engine, Richmond said. The weight savings came from replacing the magnetos with electronic ignition, along with a range of small changes. "A gram here and a gram there, and it all adds up," Richmond said. The airframe is essentially the same as for the Carbon Cub kit, made from carbon fiber and other composites with aluminum ribs. The Super Sport Cub can be delivered with tundra tires, floats or skis. Click here to check out the CubCrafter Web site for more info and a video, or check it out in person later this month at Sun 'n Fun. Base price is $163,280.

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Safety Concerns in Unexpected Places back to top 

ABC Raises Questions About Red Bull Albatross

An FAA spokesman told ABC News the agency is "comfortable" with the way Red Bull operates its restored Grumman Albatross seaplane -- but former FAA safety inspector Bill McNease told reporters the airplane is "terribly unsafe, because the wing could fall off at any time." The ABC story also notes that the airplane operates under an "experimental airworthiness certificate" and flew above Super Bowl activities in Tampa last month despite the fact that it is supposed to avoid densely populated areas. "Neither Red Bull nor any of its pilots or flight crews have or would operate an aircraft that is known to be unsafe or in an unsafe manner," a Red Bull spokeswoman told ABC. Red Bull also said the airplane is operated in full compliance with FAA regulations, according to ABC.

The report includes dramatic video of a "similar seaplane" crashing into the ocean off Miami after its "aged wings had snapped off." The airplane in that video is a Grumman Turbo Mallard G-73T, while Red Bull's seaplane is a Grumman HU-16E Albatross. The NTSB found the probable cause of the Mallard accident, in which 20 people died, was the in-flight failure and separation of the right wing, which resulted from the operator's inadequate maintenance program and the FAA's inadequate oversight.

Homemade EMPs A Threat To Aviation?

Devices that could emit an electromagnetic pulse capable of disabling the avionics on an airplane are fairly simple to build with off-the-shelf components and information from the Internet, according to an article in this week's New Scientist. Such a device, at least theoretically, could be smuggled aboard a commercial airliner or aimed from the ground at an aircraft landing or taking off, the magazine says. Speculation persists that such weapons have already been used in the Persian Gulf and in Afghanistan, though no reports have been confirmed, according to the New Scientist.

Concern about the impact of EMPs on aircraft is nothing new, as the pulses are a known side effect of nuclear weapons. GE has been working on a $12 million military contract since 2006 with the goal to find a way to make aircraft immune from electromagnetic threats. Results from the project are due in 2011. Meanwhile, the increasing use of composite materials in aircraft is making them more vulnerable, Yael Shahar, director of a counter-terrorism institute in Israel, told the New Scientist. Composites provide poor shielding against electromagnetic radiation compared with metal. "What is needed is extensive shielding of electronic components and the vast amount of cables running down the length of the aircraft," Shahar said. One solution may be to protect cables with a metal mesh that can absorb interference.

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Eye on the Economy back to top 

More Layoffs To Come At Cessna

Textron, the parent company of Cessna, said on Tuesday that it will further lower 2009 manufacturing production rates at Cessna, and Cessna CEO Jack Pelton confirmed in an e-mail to workers that that means more job cuts. "I've never seen any situation as dynamic as this," Pelton wrote, according to the Wichita Eagle. "Financing continues to be problematic for many customers," he said. "Their economic health may have stabilized, but their decision to take delivery of the jet they ordered two years ago now hinges on increased profitability which is still some time away." In addition to the staff reduction, details of which will be announced at the end of this month, the company will shut down for two weeks in July. Other staff may face short-term furloughs as production of some models is suspended pending an upturn in demand.

Cessna has already laid off 4,600 workers. The next round of cuts will affect workers in all departments and all pay levels, the company said.

FAA Predicts GA Growth Will Resume In 2010

In its annual aviation forecast, released on Tuesday, the FAA said it expects U.S. aircraft operations to decrease almost 6 percent this year compared to 2008 levels but then start to rebound in 2010. Operations overall will then grow at about 1.5 percent per year through 2025, with general aviation growing slightly faster at 1.8 percent per year. The total GA fleet should continue to grow at the rate of about 1 percent per year. "A vibrant, efficient and green aviation system will play a key role in our nation's economic recovery," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The report noted that GA operations at combined FAA and contract towers were down 5.6 percent last year, the steepest decline since 2003. GA activity at consolidated traffic facilities (FAA TRACONs) fell 6.3 percent, while the number of GA aircraft handled at FAA en route centers decreased 7.6 percent. The number of student pilots decreased 4 percent in 2008, the fourth consecutive year of decline in this category. "The industry is trying to stimulate interest in flying, but the data suggest that more needs to be done," the report says. The FAA said that although this worldwide recession is one of the most severe downturns since the end of World War II, new federal stimulus packages and monetary policies are expected to turn the economy around in the second half of this year.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Perspective Picked For Vision Jet

Click for Cirrus Perspective video from EBACE 2008

As expected, Cirrus has announced that the Perspective avionics suite developed by Garmin will be standard panel in the SF50 Vision (we're not sure when it changed from SJ50) jet. Cirrus launched the proof-of-concept Vision with L-3's Smart Deck system but there were reports late last year that the two had parted ways. Since it's introduction a year ago as a top-of-the-line option, Perspective has been praised by the Cirrus community and it has spread to other models, so from a conformity standpoint it makes sense the jet would be equipped with it, too. "This is great news for present and future Vision jet and SR22 Perspective owners because the SR22 and Turbo with Perspective and known ice protection is the natural training and transition aircraft in preparation for flying the Vision," said Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters. A Perspective panel will be installed in the proof-of-concept, which is still undergoing tests.

Wouters said V1, as it's known, flies about five times a week and now has 140 hours. He said test pilots have completed power-on and power-off stalls, established the full CG range, assessed the icing system (this is Duluth, after all) evaluated wing root vortex generators. The company is moving out of the huge former Northwest maintenance hangar and taking the jet program back to the main plant across the field.

Continental: Maybe 94 Unleaded Fuel Will Fly

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Teledyne Continental said on Wednesday that it has just completed a round of flight and test-cell trials that suggest that 94UL may be an adequate replacement for 100LL, whose existence is threatened by continued availability of tetraethyl lead. TCM says it will push for approval of 94UL as the leading replacement for 100LL. 94UL is essentially 100LL without the TEL additive. It meets vapor pressure and other avgas specs, but without the lead, it doesn't match 100LL's octane, which is typical about 103 straight from the refinery.

But is 94 sufficient octane to avoid detonation on a hard, hot climb on a summer day? Teledyne said in a press conference that it hasn't expanded its testing into all corners of the flight envelope but four flight tests in a normally aspirated A36 Bonanza have revealed no cooling or detonation issues thus far. The company also said it doesn't think Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) will be required to make the engines run properly on 94UL.TCM has not, however, conducted a standard FAA climb-cooling test, which is the regime in which detonation usually occurs. Further, said Continental, it's not opposed to autofuel as a replacement for 100LL provided that certain standards are in place to assure consistent specs with regard to octane, vapor pressure and especially oxygenate additives such as ethanol. Although pure ethanol has been approved for limited use in modified aircraft engine in Brazil, it's considered a bad actor for aircraft use because it's strongly hydrophilic, lacks the energy content of avgas and causes corrosion in aluminum parts and degradation of soft seals and gaskets. High-octane autofuel does, however, meet basic octane requirements for normally aspirated engines. Owners who use it are finding it increasingly difficult to find autogas without ethanol blended in.

What about Continental's large-displacement turbocharged engines, such as the TSIO-520 and -550 series? Will 94UL work for them? TCM says stay tuned; it hasn't done the flight testing to confirm that. Others who have, however, have had difficulty passing the climb cooling barrier without encountering at least light detonation. TCM began its alternate fuel testing about a year ago and it plans to push for ASTM approval of 94UL as the transparent replacement for 100LL. That application will be submitted in a few weeks and could be approved as early as next fall. However, that's just the beginning of 94UL's journey to becoming a certified fuel, if it ever does. It will still require FAA certification and approval and at least a paperwork shuffle so that owners can legally use it in some airplanes. TCM's testing took place in an IO-550-B powered Bonanza, but it has done test-cell work with the 200-series engines, the O-470 and O-520 series.

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News Briefs back to top 

Bombardier Gets $1.44 Billion CSeries Order

It would be hard to imagine a worse time to be launching a new airliner but Bombardier is forging ahead with its new CSeries single-aisle airplanes and winning new orders that might otherwise have gone to Boeing or Airbus. The company announced a $1.44 billion deal with Lease Corporation International (LCI) on Monday for three of the 110-seat models and 17 of the 130-seat variants and options for 20 more. Earlier this month, Lufthansa committed to 30 CSeries aircraft, with options for 30. LCI represents 20 airlines in Europe and Asia and did not say where the aircraft might end up, but LCI spokesman Tasos Michael told the Montreal Gazette the CSeries offers a combination of technological advancement (launch customer for Pratt and Whitney Canada's geared turbofan engine) and a sweet spot in the market for cabin size. "There are good deals from everybody at the moment. We went with Bombardier," he told the Gazette.

The CSeries was first proposed almost a decade ago and shelved a few years ago before being formally resurrected at last year's Farnborough Air Show. The tipping point seemed to be the geared turbofan, which may improve efficiency by as much as 15 percent, a major consideration for any airliner but especially poignant on the short- and medium-haul routes that its chief competitors, the Boeing 737 and Airbus A319 and A320, serve. "If it does everything it says on the box, it will be great for airlines," Michael said. Analysts say LCI's order is speculative and could be deferred if its own customers don't bite. "Yes, our order is speculative," Michael told the Gazette. "But I don't think the risks are very weighty. There are not many narrow-body aircraft in the market, and the potential is huge." Teal Group VP Richard Aboulafia told the Gazette Michael might be right. "[Bombardier] may well have tapped into an underserved market," he said.

On the Fly ...

President Barack Obama has extended the FAA's current budget for another six months, giving Congress more time to work out a new funding plan, AOPA said on Tuesday...

An FAA Airworthiness Directive affecting some Piper Malibu airplanes restricts their use to VFR only until certain current limiters are checked...

Some flight schools have been cut from Sallie Mae's student-loan program, AOPA reported this week...

China will host a second GA forum in June....

New FAA handbook on flying weight-shift-control aircraft (trikes) now available online.

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

Question of the Week: Your 2009 Event Plans

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers which sectors of the aviation economy could benefit the most from stimulus money.

We got some interesting responses, but the largest segment of participants thought the money could be put to the best use at local airports. (38% of you chose this answer.) Coming in second (and accounting for 28% of votes) were big-picture items like NextGen.

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.)


AVweb staff are currently making the rounds at Aero Friedrichshafen and the AEA show in Dallas. It's official: Show season is upon us, and we want to know how often you'll be making the rounds this year.

How many aviation events will you attend this season?
(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'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.

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: TCM Tackles the Fuel Problem

Don't get him wrong: AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli is keenly interested in Teledyne-Continental's efforts to migrate from 100LL to "94UL" (essentially 100LL minus the lead) — but he can't help doing a double-take when discussing the research. In the latest edition of our AVweb Insider blog, he explains: "For nearly three decades we've been writing stories about the difficult struggle to find an octane enhancer as good as lead, and now here comes TCM to say, well, never mind. It reminds me of that classic headline about World War I: 'Archduke Found Alive; War a Mistake.'"

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: Is Babbitt Good for GA?

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.

Read more.

AERO Friedrichshafen — The Best Place for Your Business
AERO Friedrichshafen is the premier European trade show for the General Aviation industry. Starting in 2009, AERO will take place annually. Situated in Central Europe, within the border—triangle of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, AERO is the ideal platform for the European General Aviation market. In addition, Messe Friedrichshafen is one of the most modern fairgrounds in Europe. If you want to do business in Europe, you have to be there! Go online for complete information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: AEA Convention Pre-Show Report

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

If any segment of the aviation industry can be said to be weathering the economic storm in good stead, it's electronics — and that's evident from the pre-show buzz at this year's Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) convention in Dallas, Texas.

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Exclusive Video: Bendix/King AV8OR Demo

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

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.

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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.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Tri-City Aviation (KTRI, Kingsport, TN)

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

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!

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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.


We realize that AEA is happening in Dallas, Texas right now, but did Texan readers, knowing that we'd be prowling the show, want to give us a Lone Star welcome by flooding our submissions box with "Picture of the Week" entries? It may be (and probably is) nothing more than sheer coincidence. Either way, we're happy to have a Texas-sized batch of submissions to sift through this week ... .

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Used with permission of Denton Finley

Night Solo

Denton Finley of Waco, Texas kicks things off under the stars. An instructor, Denton snapped this photo of a student pilot embarking on a night-time solo at Texas State Technical College.

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Used with permission of Ken Durkin

Springtime in Texas

Ken Durkin of Downley, Buckinghamshire (U.K.) went to great lengths to get in on this week's Western theme — all the way to Huntsville, Texas, where he shot this taxiway light among the blue bonnets.

(For the record, we really dig this photo, Ken. We won't say you lost the top spot by a flip of a coin, but well — it was a close competition this week.)

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Used with permission of Alex McDonald

Show's Over, Folks!

Our third entry comes from Alex McDonald of Newtown, New South Wales — the, uh ... Texas of Australia? (O.K., so we got some photos that weren't from Texas this week.) Alex snapped this beauty departing the runway after a performance at the Australia International Air Show in Avalon.

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Used with permission of Mark Silvestri

"See Ya After the Air Show, Alex!"

Speaking of afternoon air shows, Mark Silvestri of Upton, Massachusetts took this photo at Tyndall Air Force Base, where "my good friend's four-and-a-half-year-old son was one of the few who waited long enough to watch the Blue Angels fly. Here is the slot pilot, Blue Angel #4, waving back to his new buddy Alex."

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copyright © Contributor #5
Used with permission

B-52 Squawk Sheet

Quick, someone call our resident A&P! We can always count on Fullerton, California's Greg Soaper to drop a photo in our submission box from time to time that simply must be stared at for long, excruciating moments (regardless of how tight those news deadlines are). This week, Greg runs down the squawk list for us:

Found oil drip under aft port landing gear bay. Please check fitting KM93049827-AB-09832DMS on manifold GMS2938749-4MDS-39874F. Also, wire DMQ8439485-2BWS-20938 needs a few more cable ties. One more, NAV cup holder broken. Thanks.

And that, folks, is as good a place as any to sign off for this week. Don't forget to check AVweb's home page for more photos (Texan and otherwise)!

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

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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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