AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 17b

April 30, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce East Coast Annual Super Sale
Aircraft Spruce East will be holding their Annual East Coast Super Sale and Fly-In on Saturday, May 16, 2009 from 8am to 4pm in Peachtree City, Georgia. Come and join the Aircraft Spruce Team and vendors for lunch, special pricing, vendor demonstrations, and educational seminars. Lots of opportunities to win raffle prizes from some of your favorite vendors, and a complimentary shuttle will be offered to and from Falcon Field Airport. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE, or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
Top News: Eye on New York P.R. Mishap back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Air Force One Photo Op: What Was FAA's Role?

An FAA memo (PDF) floating around the Internet Wednesday suggests that if the FAA didn't originate the secrecy surrounding Monday's White House photo op over New York, it certainly went along with it. The memo—authored by James J. Johnston of the agency's security operations branch—clearly indicates the FAA was notified well ahead of the planned flyover and that it recognized the kind of reaction it might cause. The memo begins by saying: "The information in this document is considered FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY, and should only be shared with persons with a need to know. Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media." The document then details the flight planning and the schedule, including the intent to fly around as low as 1000 feet in the Hudson River Corridor in the vicinity of the Statute of Liberty. The flyover occurred on Monday morning and raised a considerable ruckus in lower Manhattan and mid-town, as hundreds of workers panicked and evacuated buildings in the city, fearful of another 9/11-type terrorist attack. Also circulating the news sites are recordings of hysterical calls to New York's emergency services numbers. The FAA did not respond to email and telephone requests for comment and, interestingly, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association told AVweb that it was declining comment because it didn't normally comment on security issues.

The memo popped up on Wednesday, posted on a blog about operations in the Washington TRACON. According to the memo, besides forbidding others to release information on the flight, the FAA planned to take no action at all to notify the public. "The Public Affairs posture for this effort is passive. No media or press releases are planned. Please direct all media inquiries to the FAA Air Traffic Security Coordinator at (202) 493-5107. Due to the possibility of public concern regarding DOD aircraft flying at low levels, coordination with Federal, State and Local law enforcement agencies, emergency operations centers and aviation units has been accomplished."

Related Content:
Paul Bertorelli speculates on the thought process (or lack thereof) behind this stunt on the AVweb Insider blog.

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Cessna Continues to Tighten Belt back to top 

Cessna Will Suspend Columbus Program, Close Bend Factory

In response to a dismal first-quarter earnings report, Cessna's parent company Textron said on Wednesday the Citation Columbus program will be put on hold. Also, the former Columbia factory in Bend, Ore., where the Cessna Corvalis models are built, will be closed, and those airplanes will be built in Kansas instead. The company will lay off 1,600 workers, including all 150 staffers in Bend, plus up to 700 workers in the Columbus program, and will shut down for four weeks this summer. Just last October, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton had said the company would invest $780 million into development of the Columbus, its largest business jet ever, and add up to 1,000 new jobs. The 10-passenger, $27 million jet was expected to start deliveries in 2014. About $50 million in deposits will be returned. "Don't write the Columbus off your radar screen," Textron CEO Lewis Campbell said on a conference call on Wednesday. "Until we know much more about the market we're going to be selling into, we thought it was prudent to suspend it and redirect all of our efforts to reinvest into our core products in Bell and Cessna."

Textron said it expects to deliver only about 300 Cessna jets this year, about 20 percent less than its previous forecast. In 2008, the company delivered 476 jets. Things may still get worse: "We certainly haven't seen the bottom," company spokesman Bob Stangarone told the Associated Press. "The economy may be approaching bottom but our business typically lags the general economy by a significant amount." Cessna's revenues decreased $477 million in the first quarter from the same period last year, Textron reported on Wednesday, and in the first quarter of this year 92 orders were cancelled.

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Looking Beyond the First Quarter Reports back to top 

A Glimmer Of Good News -- Cirrus Boosts Production

Things might be grim still in the business jet world (see today's Cessna news), but at least one company in the GA piston world is starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Cirrus Aircraft announced on Wednesday that it is increasing its production rate to six aircraft per week starting immediately. The increased rate follows nearly six months of significantly reduced production rates that averaged about three to four airplanes per week. "We continue to see very encouraging trends in sales activities and interest from sales prospects domestically and around the world," the company said in a news release. The market has responded well to new upgrades including FIKI and Cirrus Perspective by Garmin avionics across the line, according to Cirrus.

"Clearly, this is an upward move and is indicative of a stronger bias toward growth in aircraft orders," the company said. Yet Cirrus is not ready to claim that the worst is over. The company will continue to determine output on a month-to-month basis, in response to market fluctuations. The increased production will be covered by increased efficiency, and no laid-off workers are expected to be called back. "Though we remain in a very challenging environment, our hope is that this new rate is the first step and initial indicator of what will become a more substantial trend into the second half of the year and beyond," the company said.

Gulfstream Bucks First-Quarter Trend

Well, Bloomberg got most of its predictions about the state of business aviation right in its pre-first quarter analysis predicting a bloodbath in their numbers. But it included Gulfstream's parent General Dynamics in the doom and gloom and the iconic planemaker actually did quite well. In fact, Gulfstream's margins dipped only slightly from 18.5 percent in the same quarter last year to 17.7 percent in the first four months of this year on new aircraft and that revenue in the aerospace division, which includes Gulfstream, newly-acquired Jet Aviation and General Dynamics Aviation Services, was up 13.8 percent, a Gulfstream spokesman said in an email to AVweb.

He said the company delivered 31 aircraft (18 large cabin, nine midsize) and 34 aircraft (18 large, 16 mid) were completed. He said Gulfstream's revenue is not reported separately from the whole aerospace division but it was a contributor to the bottom line.

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Helicopter Safety Update back to top 

FAA Will Develop New HEMS Rules

Last week, during a hearing convened by the House Aviation Subcommittee to address safety issues regarding the use of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS), an FAA spokesman said the FAA has reversed its previous stand that the current rules were adequate, and new rules will be forthcoming soon. "We recognize that relying on voluntary compliance [with suggested safety standards] alone is not enough to ensure safe flight operations," said John Allen, the FAA's director of flight standards. "The FAA Rulemaking Council has given approval to begin drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which we are aiming to have published in late 2009 or early 2010." Allen also said the FAA does not support new legislation now in play in Congress that would empower states to impose more regulations on HEMS or require HEMS operators to comply with Part 135 procedures. "The FAA does not believe that new safety legislation is needed at this time," he said. Matt Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, also testified at the hearing, and said FAA action is too slow. "Congress should direct the FAA to review its current rulemaking procedures and revise same to expedite implementation of beneficial safety initiatives, when appropriate," Zuccaro said.

The FAA said its upcoming rulemaking effort will consider issues such as whether terrain warning systems and radar altimeters should be required, imposing stricter weather minimums, making operational control centers mandatory for operators with 10 or more aircraft, requiring flight monitoring and recording devices to be installed on HEMS helicopters, mandating more pilot training, and changing the rules so it's easier for HEMS pilots to fly IFR. Click here for a full summary and video of the hearing, along with complete written testimony from each of the participants.

Entegra Release 9 the Very Best Flight Deck System in Aviation
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News Briefs back to top 

Ecoflyer LSA Crashes, Company Owner Killed

Bernard Laferriere, 56, president of Explorer Aeronautique, was killed on Tuesday when he crashed while en route to Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, in an Ecoflyer, the pudgy-looking LSA that his company has been developing. The Ecoflyer, which aims to be a kind of flying RV, was hard to miss at Sun 'n Fun all last week, on display close by the main entrance to the show, and it also attracted attention at its debut at EAA AirVenture last summer. Laferriere had stopped in Norwich, N.Y., on Monday afternoon, where he fueled the airplane and took a two-hour break, telling airport workers that he had landed because of "abnormal wind conditions" aloft. His next stop was Quebec, but he never arrived, and a land owner found the wreckage near Hamilton, N.Y., on Tuesday afternoon, about two miles from the nearest road. The airplane was broken into several pieces.

The company has delivered several copies of the Ecoflyer as E-LSA kits, and has been working on plans to offer a factory-built S-LSA version by sometime this year. Laferriere proudly gave a tour of the unusual Ecoflyer to AVweb staffers at AirVenture last summer, click here for the video. Explorer Aeronautique also sells the Private Explorer kit airplane, a flying camper with its own bed, galley, and a shower onboard.

Florida Tech Goes With Remos LSA For Flight Training

One trend we noticed at Sun 'n Fun last week -- more and more LSA manufacturers are finding that flight schools are interested in their products. The LSAs are less expensive to acquire and operate, and they can be used for flight training right up to ATP. Now that the aircraft have been around for a few years, and have a track record and some maturing of designs, flight schools are finding them hard to resist. Case in point was the decision, announced last week, by the Florida Institute of Technology's FIT Aviation program to utilize new Remos GX 2009 light sport aircraft not only for its flying club but also for primary flight training and time-building in its professional pilot curriculum. "We were very impressed by the useful load factor in the Remos," said Nick Frisch, director of FIT Aviation. "The fact that we could fill it with fuel and take up two large adults with room for plenty of baggage, spoke highly of the aircraft's capability."

Copies of various LSA designs were flown by the flight training staff and students at FIT Aviation. "We asked everyone who flew the airplanes for their overall impressions, their response to the ergonomics, the layout of the aircraft, its performance and handling. ... In the end, nine out of ten picked the Remos GX," said Frisch. The staff was also impressed with the folding wings of the Remos aircraft. "We're in hurricane country," said Frisch, "and we have a new hangar that's designed to withstand hurricane-force winds. The fact that we can fold the wings on the Remos allows us to store four of them in place of one aircraft that won't fold up." Florida Tech opened the $5.1 million Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research at Melbourne International Airport earlier this spring. The center serves as home base for the school's flight training programs.

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News Briefs back to top 

Air Journey Working To Offer Fly-Yourself Trips From Florida To Cuba

Flying to Cuba from southern Florida could be an appealing trip for a GA pilot -- it's only about 80 miles away, and the beach resorts and Cuban cigars still have the romantic appeal they had in Hemingway's time. But while flying your private airplane into Cuba is not expressly forbidden, it's not easy to do, and restrictions on spending make it impractical. But Thierry Pouille, CEO of Air Journey, is working to change that, by organizing escorted trips where his company will handle all of the bureaucracy and paperwork. The educational trips, which include meetings with Cuban officials to learn about their aviation system, will depart on a Thursday and return on Monday, with time to visit Old Havana, a cigar factory and more. The journey is pending approval by federal officials, but Pouille said he is hopeful that the first trips will be launching by this summer.

For more details about Pouille's plans, click here to listen to AVweb's exclusive podcast interview, available Friday morning.

On the Fly ...

Alan Edgar Bristow, founder of Bristow Helicopters, died on Sunday, at age 85...

The Centers for Disease Control has released guidance for flight crews arriving from areas affected by swine flu, and information to help identify affected passengers...

A plan to privatize Chicago's Midway Airport has failed; the investors were unable to raise the money needed to make the deal happen...

Linear Air, an air-taxi operator based near Boston, Mass., has received approval from the FAA to provide recurrent training for owners of Eclipse E500 light jets.

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

Question of the Week: Shopping for Your Airplane

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Wayyy back in the days before Sun 'n Fun, we ran a couple of stories that promised improvement on the economic horizon and asked AVweb readers if they really believed there were brighter days ahead for GA.

The largest segment of you (41%) said things haven't turned around yet, although 21% said you saw glimmers of hope. More than a quarter of our respondents (27%) said they think GA has been permanently harmed by this and will never fully recover.

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.)


Vendors at Sun 'n Fun reported surprisingly brisk sales this year, which indicates owners are tarting up their existing airplanes.

What are you buying for your airplane this 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.

Aviation Consumer's Aspen Avionics Survey

Have you installed an Aspen Avionics PFD/MFD? Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, wants to talk to you about the experience and your satisfaction with the system.

Please take a moment to fill out this survey and share your experience with other potential buyers.

(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.

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb's Sun 'n Fun 2009 Photo Bonus: Desktop Wallpapers

Before we close the door on Sun 'n Fun 2009, we have one final treat for our readers — three exclusive AVweb desktop wallpapers from photographer Mariano Rosales!

To use these on your desktop, just click the resolution you prefer — 1024x768 for standard monitors, 1280x800 for widescreen monitors. The image will open in a new window or tab; once it's fully loaded, right-click on the large image and select "Set as Desktop Background" (or the comparable choice in your browser/OS).

1024x768 (standard) | 1280x800 (widescreen)
1024x768 (standard) | 1280x800 (widescreen)
1024x768 (standard) | 1280x800 (widescreen)

AVweb Insider Blog: New York to White House — Are You %$#&*^& Nuts?

In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli asks the same questions you've been thinking: "Who's in charge at the White House? What idiot authorized the New York flyover of Air Force One?"

Read more.

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

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

Exclusive Video: Martin Jetpack Shows Improved Controllability

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

At last year's AirVenture, the Martin Jetpack was easily the most anticipated and hyped product. But the sort-of jetpack only sort of flew, with spotters keeping a close eye on it. Martin has shown the vehicle will fly without external assistance in this latest video, but as AVweb Video Editor Glenn Pew explains, the latest demonstration may not answer all those questions from Oshkosh.

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.

Want to see more shots of the Transition in flight?
You can view the raw video footage here.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Magnolia Aviation (Eaker Field, DUA, Durant, OK)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Magnolia Aviation at Eaker Field (DUA) in Durant, Oklahoma.

AVweb reader Laura Stephens, of Nolan Avionics, had plenty of great things to say about Magnolia:

The Airport manager is a very caring and sweet individual. He would do anything for you and doesn't mind going above and beyond the call of duty. Although Durant's terminal building is old ... Dwayne keeps it nice. His father and brother are the mechanics on the airport, so if you have any problems, they are always there to help. Also he helps out the local Avionics shop by allowing their overflow to be stored in the community hangar at no charge. If Nolan Avionics ever needs a plane moved, he jumps right on it. The airport is home to a local University flying program, and so the traffic is heavier than normal at a small airport, but he handles it with grace and professionalism.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

Reader-Submitted 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.


Time flies when you're having (Sun 'n) fun! It seems like just the other day we ran our "pre-show" edition of "Picture of the Week," but now we're back with our regular Thursday-morning feature. With one difference: We'll be leaving up the current slideshow for a couple of extra days to give those photos the exposure they deserve. Be sure to check back for more photos on Saturday, when we'll update the home page with this week's batch of reader-submitted photos. In the meantime, let's enjoy this week's Top Five!

medium | large

copyright © Zach Lickerman
Used with permission

Wind Sock Indicates: Too Gusty to Fly

This entry from Zach Lickerman of Wildwood, Missouri may be simple, but it's one of our favorite photos to arrive in the submission box this year. "As you can probably tell," writes Zach, "it had been rather windy that week."

medium | large

copyright © Ray H. Liles
Used with permission

Smoking in the Night

Ray Liles of West Melbourne, Florida combine light, shadow, and smoke in this incredible shot from the AeroShell Team's night performance at Sun 'n Fun. (Which the AVweb team managed to miss yet again!)

medium | large

Used with permission of Mark Williamson

Smith Mini Aerobatics Over Virginia

Now here's an angle you don't see every day, even among "POTW" submissions! Mark Williamson of Richmond, Virginia had us spinning the image and getting a touch of vertigo — the next best thing to actually being there.

medium | large

copyright © Outwardbound Photography
Used with permission of Donald Neuberg

F-86 and P-51 TIGHT Formation Pass

Donald Neuberg of LaGrange, Georgia treats us to a truly nail-biting photo from the Alan Henley benefit air show in Jacksonville last week. Seen here are Lee Lauderback and Dale Snodgrass flying (as Mr. N describes it) "a tight formation pass."

medium | large

Used with permission of Eric Lawrence

Global Flyer

Eric Lawrence of Salina, Kansas "took this photo just after we finished hanging the Global Flyer in the Udvar-Hazy Center" — and we've decided to close this installment of "POTW" with it. (Great shot of the display, Eric!)

If you haven't already, be sure to check out the two dozen awesome photos on AVweb's home page in our "POTW" slideshow. We'll take them down and swap in the newest entries on Saturday morning, so don't miss your chance to see them.

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
Mariano Rosales

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.