October 13, 2003
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by
With a couple of weeks to go before an extended funding deadline, the lobbying equivalent of trench warfare has taken over the battle for the FAA Reauthorization Bill as those on both sides of the Air Traffic Control privatization issue launch a vote-by-vote campaign to get their version passed. Congress agreed to extend the FAA's funding authority for a month beyond the Sept. 30 expiration of the previous legislation while the privatization issue is sorted out. A prominent Ohio senator found himself directly in the line of fire last Thursday when the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) got wind that Ohio Republican Mike DeWine might be waffling on his previous support to maintain ATC as a government-run function. In a conference call arranged by NATCA with Ohio reporters and a few aviation publications, including AVweb, NATCA President John Carr said he wants DeWine to know there is public support for keeping ATC in government hands. "We want to shore up support for our delegation," Carr said. DeWine was one of 10 Republican senators who supported a version of the reauthorization bill that prevented further privatization of air traffic control services, helping the measure pass. But the House/Senate conference committee's final version of the bill, issued in late July, allowed the contracting out of an additional 69 so-called VFR towers. Since then, NATCA has been running a flat-out campaign to have Congress reject the bill as written and so far it seems to have the upper hand. Carr said NATCA's polling indicates 80 percent of Americans favor keeping ATC a government function and he said he hopes wavering politicians like DeWine are mindful of that. A coalition of consumer groups has joined NATCA. Winnifred DaPalma, of the Public Citizen's Congress Watch, told the conference call that Americans want the government looking after them in the air. "When people get on an airplane in this country, they want to know that the entire security process is being operated in the public interest," she said.
A spokesman for DeWine admits the senator is reconsidering his previous position. Mike Dawson told The Columbus Dispatch that the senator must weigh whether the ban is worth risking all the funding in the bill for Ohio airports and other provisions. According to the Dispatch, DeWine still favors the privatization ban but he's not sure he'd vote against the reauthorization bill if the current language remains. Despite what must be enormous pressure from the White House to change his vote, DeWine's fellow Ohio Republican George Voinovich has apparently indicated to NATCA that he won't alter his position. Ohio Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Lorain) accused the White House of mounting an "ideological jihad for privatization" and said the public won't stand for it in the case of air traffic control. He said similar debates are being conducted over Medicare, parks and a host of other publicly run services but air traffic control is different in the minds of voters. "This one is barely debatable," he said. "I just urge my colleagues to put public safety over political ideology." Brown and Carr both reject the notion, brought forward by supporters of the conference language, that intransigence on the privatization issue is threatening airport project funding. Carr said any funding delays must be the White House's responsibility because it is the administration that is trying to modify the will of Congress to meet its own agenda, first through veto threats, then by pressuring the conference committee to change the bill. "Everything was fine until another branch of government (the executive branch) interfered," said Carr.
Of course, the language, as it is currently before Congress, has its supporters, including Rep. John Mica, the powerful chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. He told the National Business Aviation Association convention that NATCA's fears of wholesale privatization of ATC are unfounded. He also offered a cursory assessment of the Department of Transportation's Inspector General's report on the contract tower program, saying the report found that in most cases, comparable FAA towers are "more error prone and more costly compared to contract towers." NATCA and its supporters have previously attacked the report, saying its data is suspect because of inconsistencies in error reporting in the different types of towers. The union has also suggested that contract-tower costs are spiraling out of control. Mica has also apparently been telling reporters that the political battle has been won and supporters of the conference report have the votes they need to carry it. Both Brown and Carr scoffed at the suggestion. "If they had the votes, it would be on the floor (of the House and Senate) right now," said Brown. He dismissed Mica's comments as "Republican bravado." The administration has been floating a compromise but Carr said it might actually be worse, in his mind, than the conference report. The administration has suggested that the whole section on privatization be simply dropped but that would also eliminate a guarantee that the bulk of the ATC system will stay in government hands through 2007. Meanwhile, the clock ticks toward the next deadline, as the current funding extension runs out in less than two weeks. Stay tuned ...
THE PILOT INSURANCE CENTER (PIC) IS YOUR BEST CHOICE! Dont pay more for your life insurance coverage just because you fly. Compare Pilot Insurance Centers rates to any other insurance organization and you will find what thousands of pilots have discovered- The Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) is your best choice for life insurance. A+ RATED CARRIERS NO AVIATION EXCLUSIONS A Quick and Easy Application Process. Go by AOPA Expo Booth #500, call 1-800-380-8376, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife
Dec. 17, 2003, may take on an even greater meaning to certain sectors of the aviation community if some of the alphabet groups have their way. The 100th anniversary of the first powered, sustained flight of a private aircraft may also be the day private and charter aircraft are allowed to return to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). National Air Transportation Association President James Coyne set the centennial date as his goal for resumption of non-scheduled flights to DCA in a statement drafted during the National Business Aircraft Association convention last week in Orlando. "We dedicate ourselves at NATA to work with the entire community to achieve the goal of equivalent access to DCA by Dec. 17, 2003," Coyne said. He said NATA and the NBAA have both been working hard to restore access by charter and private aircraft since scheduled carriers were allowed back shortly after 9/11. The key to that access is being able to ensure that crews and passengers get the same level of security screening as airline passengers. "We are committed to restoring access for security-qualified general aviation operations, including private and charter flights," said NBAA President Shirley Longmuir. Ed Bolen, president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, also chimed in. "There is no reason why qualified general aviation operators following appropriate airport-specific security protocols should not have the same opportunity [as airlines]," he said.
It took a few discordant notes to get the three groups singing the same tune, however. Earlier in the convention, NATA Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs Jeb Burnside told NBAA Convention News, the unofficial organ of the gathering, that the NBAA's lobbying may have actually hindered efforts to crack open the security wall around DCA. "We have been told time and time again that the way to do this is incrementally," said Burnside. "This would mean charter operations with 12,500 security approval [TSA security rules for aircraft 12,500 pounds or more] as the next step in implementation." Burnside suggested that the NBAA's lobbying to include private aircraft under similar arrangements now, while part of the ultimate goal, may have led to the watered-down promise by Congress to support the return of GA to DCA that came without any specific criteria or timetable. In a statement, Coyne coyly said he was surprised to read Burnside's comments and that they were contrary to NATA's cooperative attitude with the NBAA toward restoring GA access to DCA. "The statements quoted in the article reflect only the passionate outpourings of an employee of NATA and do not reflect the position of NATA's board, its president or the association," Coyne said. He also congratulated the NBAA for its efforts to fight for DCA access. The NBAA's Longmuir welcomed Coyne's comments and pledged to continue to fight for access by both private and charter operators. "We have never and will never favor one segment of the general aviation community over another," she said.
IF YOU TAKE PRIDE IN YOUR AIRCRAFT'S APPEARANCE AEROSHELL CAN HELP AeroShell, the name you trust for lubricants, introduces a lne of aircraft polish and cleaners designed specifically for general aviation aircraft. AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be purchased in a convenient leak-proof kit bag designed for any carrying and storage. The AeroShell Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all six AeroShell Flight Jacket polish and cleaners along with applicator pad and cleaning cloths. Shine and protect your aircraft with AeroShell Flight Jacket products. Go by AOPA Expo Booth #520, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell
The glass cockpit is coming to aircraft designs that date back to the 1950s. Cessna used the National Business Aircraft Association convention to announce that its venerable Skylane and Stationair models of single-engine aircraft will be offered with an optional Garmin G1000 avionics package. Last week, Diamond Aircraft announced the G1000 will be available as a $25,000 add-on to its DA40. Both companies have had similarly glowing things to say about the panel setup. "The G1000 avionics package is the most advanced flight deck package to fly on a single-engine piston aircraft," Cessna said in its release. The G1000 packs all primary flight, navigation, communication, terrain, traffic, weather and engine-sensor data onto two 10.4-inch, high-resolution, sun-readable screens. Old habits die hard, however. Whereas Diamond offers optional and nearly wholesale replacement of the dials and gauges, Cessna believes its customers want the security (and weight) of vacuum-operated primary instruments and a magnetic compass as a backup to the electronics. They'll be right underneath the screens.
A theoretically permanent fix is now available for troublesome engine mounts on Piper Mirages. Enhanced Flight Group, of Lexington, Ky., has received a supplemental type certificate (STC) to beef up the mount in the area of the nose-gear actuator attach point. The factory assemblies have suffered cracking and even complete nose-gear collapses, prompting a Service Bulletin requiring repetitive (and expensive) dye penetrant inspections or installation of a revised part. While developing a powerplant upgrade for Mirages, Enhanced Flight also tackled the mount problem. As with many things in airplanes, size matters and the fix essentially involves putting beefier materials into the affected area. The STC covers the replacement of four tubular steel members with stronger materials and includes machined pivot tubes with three times the wall thickness of the Piper-supplied parts. Internal corrosion proofing is part of the package, something Piper didnt supply. The STC assembly is tested to withstand operation for more than 40,000 hours at double the anticipated loads.
PILOTS! MARV GOLDEN IS YOUR ONE-STOP SHOPPING FOR PILOT SUPPLIES From Apparel to Headsets to Watches find everything you need at Marv Golden Pilot Supplies. OCTOBER SPECIALS: Receive a cigarette lighter adapter at no cost with any Icom IC-A5 or A-23; reduced price on LightSPEED Twenty 3G headsets; and, NEW Pulsar Tech Gear Flight watches from Seiko at discounted prices. For these any much more go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold
It's doubtful many Malaysians have ever even heard of a Lancair Columbia 300, much less imagine themselves in the left seat. But there are literally millions of reasons that the Bend, Ore., company held a board of directors meeting there recently and let the country's prime minister take an hour-long hop in the plane. Investment from the South Pacific country is the financial underpinning of the planemaker and Lancair executives showcased the Columbia at the LIMA International Air and Maritime Show. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad stole the show when he took off in the 300 for what was supposed to be a brief flight over the airport. "Instead, he kept his entourage, dignitaries, members of the press and an entire nation waiting for well over an hour," said a Lancair press release. Dr. Mahathir, an avid pilot and aviation enthusiast, praised the "beautiful design and wonderful handling" of the aircraft. Investment by the government of Malaysia nine years ago enabled the kitplane maker to create a company to build certified Lancairs. The Lancair deal was a catalyst to launch Malaysia as a major investor in aircraft-related industries. The country also makes wing components for Airbus.
Airline officials are warning Toronto that spiraling fees at Pearson International Airport might prompt them to bypass Canada's largest airport. Eugene Hoeven, of the International Air Transport Association, said last week he's concerned Pearson's $4.4 billion expansion is over budget and airlines will be left footing the bill through landing fees and other charges. Toronto is already at least the 11th most expensive airport in the world. It costs an airline $8,560 to land a fully loaded Boeing 747-400 there, an increase of 142 percent since 1999. Tokyo's Narita Airport is the most expensive at about $16,000 for the same aircraft. Toronto officials angrily deny the project is over budget but they do admit that airlines will pay the cost, whatever it is. "While we recognize that fees have increased, that was part of the understanding: that the infrastructure investment that needs to happen has to be paid for," said Greater Toronto Airports Authority spokesman Peter Gregg. Most of the money is slated for a new $3.6 billion terminal, which was to open this month but has been delayed until at least next March. Hoeven said rising costs could result in some airlines reducing service or skipping Toronto entirely. For instance, a European carrier that doesn't fly to Toronto often might choose to land elsewhere and force its passengers to switch to an airline with which it has an alliance for the final leg of the flight.
SEAN TUCKER RELIES ON OREGON AERO WHEN PERFORMING The success that world-class aerobatics performer Sean Tucker enjoys as a champion is due in part to the comfort he experiences with his Oregon Aero custom seat cushion system and helmet upgrade. They help Sean to perform his best by eliminating pain, which helps maximize his concentration. "The products from Oregon Aero are incredibly comfortable and easy to install," says Sean. "I highly recommend them for anyone. They will make flying more enjoyable." Check out all of Oregon Aero's products online athttp://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon
It would appear that the long-standing battle over curfews at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport may be over, at least for now. In an arguably more sensible agreement between the city and the FAA, noise -- not size -- will determine which aircraft can use the airport between 11:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. A previous city bylaw banned anything larger than 75,000 pounds from using the airport in the wee hours, but owners of large but quiet aircraft claimed the law was arbitrary and discriminatory. On the heels of Larry Ellison's court battle at the airport, a court case brought by the owner of the airplane that transports the San Jose SaberCats arena football team, scheduled to be heard in three weeks, sparked the new rules. Under the new regulations, any airplane that puts out 89 decibels or less (about the same as a lawnmower) will be able to come and go at will. The FAA determines the noise level by measuring it at various distances and also takes into consideration its duration. Anyone caught busting the 89-decibel limit will face a $2,500 fine. The old regulation wasn't really working anyway. Since Oracle chief Larry Ellison successfully challenged the law in court several years ago, a growing number of aircraft have been getting exemptions. City official acknowledge the new rules might lead to increased late-night traffic but Mayor Ron Gonzales noted the compromise "prevents the possible elimination of our curfew."
"I've shot three thousand dead-stick landings in this airplane," he said. Bob Hoover, the war veteran, test pilot, and grand old man of air show routines, last Friday saddled up in his famous Shrike Commander 500S for one last flight, The Flying Life's Jamie Beckett told AVweb. Hoover, along with co-pilot Steve Clegg, were wheels-up at 9:15 a.m. to deliver the famously green-and-white business aircraft from its temporary digs at the International Sport Aviation Museum in Lakeland, Fla., to the Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C. As Sun 'n Fun Vice President Greg Harbaugh explains it, the aircraft will be displayed 30 feet above the museum floor in a familiar pose, inverted with both props feathered. Once a backup and chase pilot for the sound-barrier-breaking Bell X-1, Hoover's logbook includes time in over 300 types. Hoover had offered the aircraft to the D.C. museum two years ago, but lack of room at the facility caused delay. Look for more details in an upcoming issue of The Flying Life magazine.
RYAN OFFERS THE LATEST IN COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEMS! Ryan's 9900BX Traffic Advisory System (TAS) features a range over 20 miles and audible position alerting, "Traffic! 6 o'clock! Low! One Mile!" The 9900BX TAS will be on display at AOPA Expo Booth #817. To learn more about flying the Ryan 9900BX TAS visit the Ryan experts at AOPA Expo Booth #817, or online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ryan
Chase planes might enable resumption of spectacular night launches of space shuttles. NASA is working on a system whereby two WB-57F converted bombers, carrying sophisticated cameras, will be able to watch for pieces falling off the shuttle as it climbs through the atmosphere. Such imagery is required in the wake of the Columbia disaster, in which a piece of foam insulation damaged a wing and led to a re-entry breakup of the craft...
An expensive-sounding Airworthiness Directive (AD) is being proposed for Piper PA-46-500TP owners. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking involves replacing all the electronic modules in the electrical system with newly designed modules after reports of smoke in the cockpit and failures. KG Model STEMME S10-VT sailplanes are the subject of an AD requiring placarding for new flight restrictions to prevent failure of a cog in the engine gearbox
Concorde is going out with a bang. The supersonic airliner broke its own record for a trans-Atlantic flight with a hop from London to Boston that lasted just three hours, five minutes and 34 seconds. The old record of 3:09 was set in 1974 on a flight from Paris to Boston. The latest record was set on Concorde's farewell tour. The last trans-Atlantic flight of the aircraft is Oct. 24...
The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have resumed touring after a Sept. 14 crash grounded them for almost a month. The team will fly with five F-16s instead of the usual six through the rest of the schedule, which resumed at the Ft. Smith, Ark., air show over the weekend. The cause of the Sept. 14 crash in Idaho has not yet been determined
From the "Don't try this at home" file. An unidentified air show pilot was uninjured when the Piper Cub he was trying to take off from the roof of a moving 1961 Pontiac Catalina fell off the car and slid along the runway before an air show crowd at McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport Oct. 4. The pilot had managed to land on the car but the tailwheel caught on part of a support structure when he tried to lift off.
CERTIFIED FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS! NON-OWNED INSURANCE AVAILABLE FROM AVEMCO Liability insurance is a high priority for CFIs. Avemco offers the CFI Non-Owned Aviator Series insurance program providing liability and aircraft damage liability coverage for both bodily injury and property damage sustained by others during instruction. This program also provides coverage for the instructor's personal use of non-owned aircraft. The simplified application process of the Aviator Series makes it quick and easy to obtain the appropriate coverage. Vist Avemco at AOPA Expo Booth #522, call 888 241-7891 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco
Tower (again): Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
Sponsor News and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
AVIONICS WEST HAS GARMIN GPSMAP 196 IN STOCK AT THE LOWEST PRICE! Avionics West has reduced the price on most Garmin products including
the Garmin GPSIII Pilot, the Geko and Rino series, and the Garmin Color Streetpilot III. Now is the time to purchase a Garmin unit from your avionics connectionAvionics West! For more
too-low-to-advertise prices on these items and LightSPEED quality headsets, the schedule for the CNX80 and GNS430/530 training classes call 805 934-9777, send an email to
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION HOST BEACH BOYS, TEMPTATIONS & AARON TIPPIN This six-day Celebration, December 12-17, at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, is designed to commemorate the last century of flight, celebrate the achievements of aviators throughout history, and inspire the next generation of aviators. Secure VIP events seating, purchase commemorative collectibles and apparel, and enter to win the Getaway of the Century sweepstakes athttp://www.avweb.com/sponsors/100g
NTSB REPORTER HAS COMPLETE DETAILS OF DC-8 CRASH IN CALIFORNIA Could what happened to the flight crew of a DC-8 jet happen to you? If you answer "never", think again. The NTSB has completed its investigation into this crash and the October issue of NTSB Reporter has complete details of what happened to the crew and what you should do before every flight to help ensure that the same thing doesn't happen to you! Order NTSB Reporter athttp://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ntsbrepo
ALL IN THE NOVEMBER ISSUE OF IFR MAGAZINE: Dodge the IFR Squeakers; Fall Head Over Heels for Spatial Disorientation; You've Got Fog; File Into the Freezing Levels; plus editor, Paul Berge, brings a turkey to the "Remarks" column, the latest aviation news that fits on the Briefing page, and silly things we say to each other as heard "On The Air". Order your subscription to IFR Magazine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrmag
PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE IS DIRECTED TO MAINSTREAM PISTON ENGINE PILOTS To better understand the GA pilot's needs, Plane & Pilot asks you to take their online Aircraft Questionnaire. To thank you for participating, you'll be entered for a chance to win a Bose Aviation Headset X! Stop by Plane & Pilot's AOPA Expo Booth #613 to pick up a pocket flashlight and issues of PLANE & PILOT and PILOT JOURNAL magazines. Click on the red "Aircraft Questionnaire" banner to share your interests with Plane & Pilot at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ppm
PHOTON MIRCRO LIGHTS COME IN EIGHT DIFFERENT MODELS AND COLORS! Never be without a light with Photon's mirco lights. Small, lightweight and with powerful beams in eight different colors. There's even a MicroLight knife. Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/photon
COME BY AND SAY "HELLO" TO AVWEB AT AOPA EXPO AVweb personnel will be at Booth # during the AOPA Expo, October 29-November 1, in Philadelphia. And don't forget to tell friends and colleagues about no-cost AVweb/AVflash subscription. They can sign up online at http://www.avweb.com/profile_____________________________________
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:email@example.com.
Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.
Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let's all be careful out there, okay?
AVflash is now available in optional easier-to-read graphic format, which includes some photos and illustrations. If you prefer, you can continue to receive AVflash in text-only format. Simply follow these instructions and AVflash will continue to arrive as it always has, in text format.