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Volume 15, Number 14b
April 9, 2009
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Top News: Eclipse Owners to Deal with HBC?back to top 

With the auction of the assets of Eclipse Aviation, including the type certificate for the E500 jet, expected soon -- perhaps sometime this month -- interest is ramping up, and this week, the Eclipse Owners Group, which plans to enter a bid, said it is working with Hawker Beechcraft on a plan to provide maintenance support for the fleet. David Green, a spokesman for the EOG, said on Tuesday the group has entered into a preliminary agreement with Hawker, contingent on EOG's winning the auction. "This relationship [with Hawker] is sure to create tremendous confidence in Eclipse owners that their planes will be flying for many years to come," said Green. "Hawker Beechcraft is pleased to offer Eclipse 500 owners the highest quality service and support in general aviation," said Bill Brown, president of global customer service and support for Hawker Beechcraft. "We look forward to this new relationship and keeping the Eclipse 500s in the air." The owners group will be competing with at least four other likely bidders, including one that is headed by former Eclipse CEO Roel Pieper, one foreign entity, and one OEM. Randall Sanada, an Eclipse owner who is also chairman of Jet-Alliance, an aircraft management company, told AVweb on Wednesday that the EOG has raised enough money through contributions from its members to be a viable bidder for the company's assets. However, he added that the owners would be glad to see a stronger, better-funded candidate come along and out-bid them. "What we don't want is for another bankruptcy to occur," he said. The challenge is to create a viable business plan that will support the fleet of 260 jets in a way that is affordable for current owners. Sanada also said that Jet-Alliance is working on a plan to acquire DayJet's fleet of E500 jets and disburse them at a discounted price to deposit-holders who have lost their money in the bankruptcy, perhaps on a shared-ownership basis. More...

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NTSB Investigationsback to top 

Mechanics at American Airlines used the wrong procedure to manually start an engine, and when the left engine caught fire during the departure climb the crew mishandled the emergency, the NTSB said this week. The MD-80 was taking off from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport in September 2007 when the left engine caught fire. The crew turned back to the airfield, but the nose gear wouldn't extend, so they went around, got the gear down, then landed on the runway -- with the engine still burning -- and safely deplaned all 143 pax and crew. It sounds like a pretty good outcome to a dicey situation, but the NTSB was not impressed. "The Board examined how the flight crew handled the in-flight emergency and found their performance to be lacking," says Tuesday's news release. The crew got distracted from the engine-fire checklist at a critical point, which prolonged the fire and led to the loss of hydraulic pressure, which caused the nose gear failure. The first officer at one point mistakenly fed fuel to the burning engine, which could have exacerbated the fire, the board said. "Here is an accident where things got very complicated very quickly and where flight crew performance was very important," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. "Unfortunately, the lack of adherence to procedures ultimately led to many of this crew's in-flight challenges." Yet despite its criticism of the crew, the board found that the decisions they made were "reasonable ... appropriate.... [and] prudent." As a result of this investigation, the NTSB wants the FAA to ensure that flight crews are trained to handle multiple emergencies simultaneously and to communicate effectively with the cabin crew. More...

Helicopter pilot David Keith Martz, 52, this week lost his appeal to regain his certificate, which he lost after a video surfaced that allegedly shows him having sex with a Swedish adult film actress while flying a helicopter over San Diego. Martz argued that since his hands never left the controls during the encounter that he was not being "careless or reckless," and he has also said that he knows his actions were unwise and he's more responsible now, according to the Associated Press. The NTSB judge who heard his appeal -- and watched the unedited video of the notorious 2005 event in his chambers -- was apparently not impressed. Judge William Mullins upheld the FAA order revoking Martz's right to fly after a hearing on Tuesday in Gardena, Calif. Martz had no comment after the proceeding. His certificate has been revoked or suspended several times in the past, for incidents such as landing a helicopter on a Hollywood street to pick up a rock star, flying too low over a residential neighborhood, landing too close to a military base, and flying with damage to his helicopter. More...

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Flying, Florida, and Financesback to top 

Just in time for spring and cross-country flying plans, the state of Florida has made some progress in getting rid of its aviation-unfriendly user tax, AOPA said recently. Current law allows the state to levy a sales tax of up to 6 percent of the purchase price on out-of-state airplanes that land in Florida, if they were bought within the last six months. The law requires the owner to pay the difference between any out-of-state tax and the 6-percent Florida tax. Bills now gaining support in the state legislature would cut the tax to 3 percent, and would exempt pilots who stay in the state less than three weeks, AOPA said. "Passing this exemption could transform the message Florida is sending to the aviation community," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of airports and state advocacy. "Now, pilots who might otherwise come to Florida for maintenance, business, and tourism are avoiding the state altogether. Removing the threat of a hefty tax on visitors will welcome pilots -- and revenue -- back into the state." More...

Engine Failure at Night: Listen to a NEW Real Pilot Story from ASF!
An instrument-rated pilot faces his worst nightmare — an explosion, complete loss of power, and violent shaking of the aircraft in the middle of the night. Hear, in his own voice, how he overcame terrible odds to land himself and his passenger safely. This pilot will share all the details and lessons learned. Listen to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Real Pilot Story now.
News Briefsback to top 

A Silicon Valley company has come up with voice-based GPS for aviation use. GiPSi Navigation Corp., of Menlo Park, Calif., says the GiPSi eliminates "heads-down" navigation by enunciating the information a pilot needs in a "clear human voice." In fact, the GiPSi has no display. It communicates entirely by voice. In a news release the company said the $395 device doesn't require extensive training and allows pilots to maintain situational awareness. "The interaction is very intuitive. It speaks to the pilot. The pilot can focus on flying the airplane." More...

The flight school whose Cessna 172 was stolen for a cross-border flight Monday says security was not compromised in the incident because the alleged thief was a student who had normal access to the aircraft. Adam Leon, a 31-year-old Turkish immigrant who became a Canadian last year, was arrested near Ellsinore, Mo. Monday evening after landing on a highway. In a statement, Confederation College, of Thunder Bay, Ontario, said that it was the first incident of its kind in the flight school's 35-year history. But in an interview with the Canadian Press, Pat Lang, the college's president said a thorough review of security would be undertaken. Under the existing policy, flight students have access to the ramp and hangar. "When the planes are beside the hangar, the keys are kept in the aircraft," she said. More...

AV8OR™ Handheld
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Market analysts say Textron, the parent company of Cessna and Bell Helicopter, is prime for a takeover bid, and speculation grew this week that a move is imminent, perhaps by Lockheed Martin or Raytheon. Sikorsky officials have also expressed interest in acquiring Bell, according to Reuters. None of the companies would comment on the rumors, but Textron's stocks rose 11 percent by Tuesday, trading at 12 times the usual level. Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia told the Wichita Eagle that both Cessna and Bell are solid companies that would be attractive to buyers. Other analysts, however, noted that some of Textron's other divisions, such as a golf-cart company, would be less appealing. Officials at Textron have said that divisions may be sold off one by one if necessary to raise cash. Textron share values dropped 87 percent over the last year, and last week more layoffs at Cessna were announced. More...

The mainstream media is starting to take note of the impact of TSA rules that general aviation pilots and operators have been unhappy about, and if a story in this week's Denver Post is any indication, GA may get a sympathetic hearing. The costs and logistics of TSA regulations on Colorado's airports are significant, Rex Tippetts, director of aviation at Grand Junction's Walker Field, told the Post. New TSA rules will require him to provide 2,000 additional security checks and badges. "It's out of control," he said. "We have a large maintenance operation here with 400 people. We have a large interagency fire-fighting operation here, with maintenance facilities. It's an unfunded mandate we have to comply with. We had to hire people just to comply with it." James Elwood, director of Sardy Field in Aspen, said the regulations will be "time-consuming and difficult to accomplish." Details of the security procedures have been released only to airport managers. The Post reporter said the TSA refused to release a copy of the directive, but a spokeswoman wrote that all personnel with access to secure areas, including private pilots, must undergo a Security Threat Assessment, which includes matching their names against a terrorist database, a criminal background check, and a review of immigration status. Pilots must attain a security badge from each of the 13 commercial airports in the state, and passengers and guests who don't have badges must be escorted. More...


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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
News Briefsback to top 

Common sense and a spirit of cooperation have resolved a peculiar impasse in New Zealand that would have resulted in the closure of towers at five airports for lunch, twice each day. Government officials, the air traffic control provider and employees have reached a deal whereby tower staff will eat lunch in a combination of scheduled meal breaks and traffic-dependent interludes. Late last week Air New Zealand said it would have to cancel 25 regional flights so tower staff at five small airports can comply with new labor rules. The rules, apparently strictly interpreted, would have required all lunch breaks to be scheduled. On the eve of the April 1 imposition of the rules, negotiators worked overtime to come up with schedules that complied with the law but kept the towers open and there were no disruptions. More...

You can place your order now online for the FAA Oshkosh Notam...
The Lindbergh Foundation is auctioning off rides in EAA's Spirit of St. Louis replica...
FAA is checking into questions raised by an ABC report about the Red Bull Albatross. More...

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

The theft of a Cessna 172 from Thunder Bay has reignited the debate over security at flight schools. This week, we'd like to hear your opinion on what constitutes good security measures at a flight school.

Plus: Is the economic storm raining on your air show plans? Last week, we asked AVweb readers how many aviation events they will attend this season, compared to 2008. Click through to see what they told us. 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 What have you heard? More...

Jeppesen Pilot Training
Smart pilots never truly fly solo. For 75 years, pilots have taken their aviation partner along for the journey — Jeppesen. Pilots (and future pilots) look to us for the tools and training they need to fly safely and effectively. Throughout your career flight path, you can count on Jeppesen. Choose the learning tools best for you with our integrated system. Learn more at
New on AVwebback to top 

Retirement? Now that the CEO is facing it, he recalls a prophetic flight with a retiring airline pilot in the jumpseat. More...

When you're trying to argue that it's ridiculous to think GA is a security risk, that last thing you need is a pair of F-16s chasing a stolen Skyhawk cross the border. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explain why we've got to stop leaving unsecured airplanes on the ramp. 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
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Just one more minute of your time! In this final "Product Minute" from the AEA Convention, AirCell's Andy Geist talks about in-flight wireless access, a hot topic in the age of Blackberrys and smartphones. More...

Video Marketplace Spotlight

Garmin GPSMap 696: Charts & Plates Demo
AVweb's Liz Swaine demos the Garmin GPSMap 696's incredible ability to manage charts and approach plates. Stuff those paper charts back in the folder and watch as we demonstrate the 696's capabilities as an electronic flight bag.

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

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.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Judging by this week's "FBO of the Week" nominations, many of our readers have had some very pleasant (and successful) trips this week. Thanks to everyone who nominated an FBO, and please — keep telling us about outstanding FBOs you encounter in your travels.

This week's ribbon goes to Flight School Hawaii, located at PHNL in Honolulu.

Chris Archer sang the FBO's praises, telling us about their "great service ... good instructors ... [and] best aircraft in Hawaii, hands down." (Chris regularly rents a Cessna 172SP with G1000 from FSH and tells us he's "never had a flight cancelled for maintenance.")

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 Photosback to top 

Derek Doyle of Kildare, Ireland says what's on all our minds when we view this photo of Padraic O'Reilly flying over Emo Court. (Unless you were thinking, "Nice gyro.") Click through for more top-notch photos from this week's contest. 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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.