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Volume 15, Number 21b
May 28, 2009
Shopping Tools the New Way to Shop Online with Aircraft Spruce!
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Top News: No Students, Pleaseback to top 

Municipal governments keep coming up with new ways to try and impede activity at their local airports and the burghers of Grant-Valkaria in Brevard County, Fla. have come up with a novel approach to pressuring a local privately operated field. The town council will consider a resolution on Monday that would outlaw flight training, including recurrent training, at Valkaria Airport (X59). The ban comes in the form of a zoning amendment that's bound to catch the attention of the FAA, since the airport has received federal funding and the agency frowns on limiting aeronautical activity at such facilities. More...

Has Zulu Changed Your Mind?
If so, we'd sure like to hear your story. Just go to the Zulu Change Your Mind web site and fill us in between now and the end of May, and we may post it on our web site. Plus — We'll give you another possible way to share your Zulu experience: All stories will be entered in a drawing for a free headset. Win, and you could make a passenger very happy. For the details, go to
Times May Be Tough, But Progress Beckons! (Part I)back to top 

Entecho, based in Perth, Australia, is working to develop two aircraft that it calls Compact Aerial Vehicles. The two types of CAV, the Hoverpod and the Mupod, offer many advantages over conventional aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters, according to the company Web site. The smaller one, the remotely operated Mupod, is only about two feet across and weighs 11 pounds, and made its first flight last year. It is powered by a quiet electric motor and has drawn serious interest from defense contractors. The Hoverpod version would be big enough to carry up to three people and cruise at 75 mph, and is expected to fly for the first time sometime this year. Entecho's site says the design overcomes the key challenge of generating lift within a small vehicle envelope by employing a novel rotor fan and a unique combination of lifting surfaces. More...

Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
Lycoming® produces the most complete line of horizontally opposed, air-cooled four-, six-, and eight-cylinder certified aircraft engines available, with power ranging from 100 to 400 HP. For homebuilders, air race and aerobatic pilots, and others looking for non-certified engines with Lycoming dependability, Lycoming offers custom-built Thunderbolt Engines. Lycoming piston engines have a reputation for reaching or exceeding TBO. For more information, please visit
Times May Be Tough, But Progress Beckons! (Part II)back to top 

With many established aircraft manufacturers putting new projects on hold, fresh start-ups working to introduce new designs are scarce. But Stratos Aircraft, of Bend, Ore., is moving ahead with plans for a new all-composite certified very light jet, and recently unveiled a mockup of the fuselage design. The mockup will debut at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh later this summer. "There's no four-seat aircraft with this kind of performance," Stratos CEO Michael Lemaire told the Bend Bulletin recently. The single-engine jet will fly over 1,500 nm at more than 400 knots, at altitudes up to FL410, according to the company's Web site, and will sell for about $2 million. The company now is trying to raise $12 million to build two prototypes, and then find another $100 million to get the airplane certified and start production, according to the Bulletin. Fully refundable deposits of $50,000 are now being accepted. More...

While next-generation light-jet air taxis have been slow to make headway here in the U.S., a new company in Europe seems to have found a sweet spot. Blink, based at Farnborough, near London, operates a fleet of just four Citation Mustangs, and so far it's working out. "Things are going very well for us at the moment," Peter Leiman, a Blink co-founder, told the Financial Times recently. "There are certainly challenging market conditions. But we're the right product at the right time." The company has contracted for 26 more Mustangs and plans to take delivery of one per month. "We remain firm on our entire order," Leiman said. He told The New York Times that the company beat its business-plan targets last year and continues to be on track in 2009. "Our gross margin is positive much earlier than we thought," he said. Blink operates in Western Europe and Scandinavia. More...

New ASF Safety Quiz — Test Your Air Safety Skills Now!
In aviation, you've got a split second to make the right decision. Put your safety skills to the test and take the Air Safety Foundation's online safety quiz. New quizzes are posted every other week — on topics from icing and stall/spin awareness to emergency procedures and more. Quizzes only take minutes to complete — minutes that could save your life. Take the ASF Air Safety Quiz now
The New FAA Administratorback to top 

Newly confirmed FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has won a warm welcome from leaders in the general aviation world -- along with realistic assessments that the times ahead will be challenging. "I look forward to working with Administrator Babbitt," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "During his confirmation hearing, and in my conversations with Randy, he demonstrated that he clearly understands general aviation pilots and our needs." Fuller added that the impending debate over how to fund the FAA and efforts to transition to the satellite-based NextGen ATC system won't be easy. "But by working together we can emerge stronger," he said. Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman and president, also welcomed Babbitt's appointment. "His broad knowledge of the aviation industry should allow him to make an immediate mark on GA," he said. Poberezny added that AirVenture attendees will have an opportunity to meet Babbitt later this summer at the Meet The Administrator forum at Oshkosh. More...

Do You Fly an Aircraft You Don't Own?
Insurance carried by the FBO or aircraft owner protects their interests, not yours. That's why you need Avemco® Renters Insurance. It could save you thousands of dollars! To get your no-cost quote, call us at (888) 241-7891 or visit us online.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Five years ago, New York passed a law that exempts general aviation aircraft repairs, maintenance and parts from state sales tax, but that tax break will expire on Dec. 1 if legislators don't re-enact it. Albany County Airport Authority CEO John O'Donnell told the Albany Times-Union this week that the exemption created "a substantial boom in business," and he is working for its renewal. In addition, he'd like to see sales tax on aircraft purchases eliminated. Like other states, New York is looking for ways to boost revenue rather than offer exemptions, but O'Donnell says many nearby states provide sales-tax relief and such taxes can be an important factor when companies are deciding where to locate. The current exemptions were a factor in deciding to build a HondaJet maintenance facility in New York, Molly Martin Pearce, a spokeswoman for HondaJet East, told the Times-Union. "Some of our other candidate sites were in states that didn't have this exemption," she said. More...

As the first privately built commercial airport in the U.S., Branson Airport got a lot of attention when it opened earlier this month, but another airport is due to open nearby soon -- a municipal general aviation field. While that's not a first, it happens all too rarely in these times when the news is more often about GA fields closing down. The Branson West Municipal Airport is just about 20 miles from Branson, Mo., and will feature a 5,000-foot airstrip, a taxiway, a terminal building, fuel, and about 30 hangars. The airfield is now under construction, after years of planning, and is expected to be up and running by this December. More...

The FAA has been experimenting with ways to detect bird movements with radar for quite a while, but since an airliner had to ditch in New York in January after its engines ingested birds, interest in the systems has intensified. The FAA told the Wall Street Journal this week that a test of avian radar in Seattle, which started in 2007, has been promising, and new experiments will be deployed this summer in Chicago and New York. "We're very excited about the technologies out there and the ones to come," said Michael O'Donnell, FAA director of airport safety and standards. The FAA system still gets too many "false positive" radar returns to be reliable, showing returns from ground equipment, airplanes, weather, and even insects. However, a company that makes bird-detection equipment for the military told the WSJ its gear is ready now to be deployed in control towers. "The notion that these bird radars aren't ready for prime time is wrong," said Adam Kelly, chief technology officer for DeTect. "You can tell the difference between small birds that would just be a blood smear on a plane or big birds that could be catastrophic." More...


Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."


JA Air Center, Your Source for the New Garmin GPSMap 696
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News Briefsback to top 

Continental Airlines says nine of its senior pilots divorced their spouses so they could collect early settlements of up to $900,000 from the airline's pension fund, and later got remarried. Continental says the divorces were intended only to secure the cash long before the pilots normally would have been eligible, but at least one of those accused told ABC News that her divorce and later reconciliation were not falsified. Cindy Ernst said her divorce was real, and her reconciliation was none of the airline's business. Another pilot, Jay Ellis, told the Associated Press: "We were divorced -- that's legal and aboveboard. They can say what they want, but a judge signed ours." Continental said in its lawsuit that the divorces were "subterfuges or sham transactions" that were motivated solely by a desire to obtain lump-sum distributions from pension funds. One of the accused pilots agreed to repay the money and kept his job, but the others have all been fired or resigned. More...

AOPA asked the FAA to postpone its recent AD affecting Cessna 150s and 152s...
The FAA funding bill mandates twice-yearly inspections of Part 145 repair facilities located abroad...
The NTSB has released a preliminary report on the Ecoflyer accident in which the company president died...
Time Magazine provides a brief history of GPS.

Online Aircraft-Specific Ground Schools
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, through its Office of Professional Education, now offers a series of aircraft-specific ground schools: Boeing 737 Classic — NG, 747, 757, 767 and 777; as well as Airbus 319, 320, 330 and 340; and the Bombardier CRJ 200. For a complete list, visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's web site at
New on AVwebback to top 

Although the personal air vehicle has long been a goal for dreamers and schemers, new technology seems to be enabling machines that will be able to raise people from the surface but won't necessarily be airplanes. AVweb wants to know what pilots think about sharing the skies with these devices.

Plus: Last week, we asked how the TSA's proposal for security badges at GA airports might affect our readers; click through to read what your fellow AVwebbers had to say on the subject (as if you can't guess). More...

Regardless of the probable cause, the first officer of Colgan Flight 3407 admitted she had never seen ice and couldn't make judgments about it. To AVweb's Paul Bertorelli, that, more than anything, points to a broken advanced training system in general aviation. And in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul says the aviation press has a hand in it. More...

Over 18,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air ratio in each cylinder so that each cylinder operates with a much more uniform fuel/air ratio than occurs with any other factory set of injectors. To speak to a GAMI engineer, call (888) FLY-GAMI, or go online for complete engineering details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, wants to hear about your experiences with aftermarket electronic tachometers. We'd like to know why you installed an electronic tach; which one you chose and why; how easy or complicated the installation and paperwork were; how well you like the product; and whether you'd do it again. We'd also like to know about any warranty work you may have had and if you're happy with the tach's internal lighting, if any. Please also tell us where you mounted the electronic tachometer and a rough idea of how much you spent, including installation. Please send a note to and let us know your experiences, including the nature of any problems. (The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.) 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...

27 Years of the RVator
Over half the airplanes at GNB are Vans homebuilts. In fact, over 6,100 have been completed and are flying. If a 200 mph, 9 gph airplane intrigues you, this is where to learn more. It's 500 pages of builder and flyer advice written by Vans Aircraft, specifically on the RV-3 through RV-10. Nothing will describe the building experience better, and nothing will be more useful once you start. Buy the book, CD, or eBook at for $29.95.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Don't Miss Our Live Broadcast Thursday Morning

Russ and Dan will be broadcasting live again on Thursday, May 28, at 10am EDT (2pm GMT) from Watertown, South Dakota.

Tune in here for the live feed.

How do you get a 25,000-pound DC-3 out of a muddy airport infleld? With shovels, nylon webbing, a tractor and a lot of head-scratching. More...

At Edwards Air Force Base, AVweb had the chance to take a quick look around the cockpit of an F-16 Viper — F-16 folks never use the official name of "Fighting Falcon" — courtesy of military test pilot Desmond Brophy. If you're wondering what test pilots are doing in a relatively senior and proven airframe, the answer lies in continuous improvement and the fact that the airframe itself is far from the only thing that changes the flight characteristics of a modern fighter. These aircraft are inherently unstable, and, though they are flown by pilots, it's computers that keep them in the air. When changes are made to the hardware, software, or weapons systems that give these aircraft their edge, test pilots are sent up to evaluate the effects of those changes on the aircrafts performance, capability, and controllability. But enough with the big picture — click through for your guided tour of the front office. More...

Video Marketplace Spotlight

RANS S-7 Light Sport Aircraft
Dave Martin from Kitplanes magazine visits RANS founder Randy Schlitter for the lowdown on the S-7 light sport aircraft kit and all the ways consumers can get their hands on it.

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 


We love to hear stories about FBOs going above-and-beyond to make things happen for pilots and their passengers, and our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Utah Jet Center at KLGU in Logan, Utah, where "above and beyond" are just another day at the office. AVweb reader Bruce Spencer tells the tale:

My wife and I ... landed at Logan for the evening, and I noticed that the left brake was inoperative. We taxied to the Utah Jet Center where a ramp attendant guided us in to park. He asked about out flight and then asked what they could do for us. I explained that we needed fuel, would like to have the brakes looked at, and that we were looking for a place to stay in Logan for the night. ... [H]e immediately called a mechanic, offered us a very nice courtesy car, gave us some bottled water, and called three different hotels to check availability and get us a corporate rate. Before we left for the night he gave us the cell phone number of the mechanic and asked for ours so that the mechanic could contact us. He said they would top off the tanks and tie the plane down for the night.

About an hour later, we got a call from the mechanic explaining the brake problem, the cost to fix it, and telling us that he would fix it that night and that the plane would be ready in the morning. When we arrived back at the airport at 7:30 am the plane was fully fueled, the brakes were repaired and the plane was ready to go. ... We were 100% satisfied with our experience with the Utah Jet Center at Logan airport and would highly recommend them to anyone flying into Logan or stopping there en route to another destination.

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 Photosback to top 

We've got lots of great photos to share this week, and they'll be up on the site late in the day on Thursday — but we didn't have quite enough time to put out fires Wednesday night and fight about our favorite reader-submitted photos, so we're saving the fisticuffs for tomorrow. Don't fret: We'll have plenty of great pics for you in Monday's issue of AVwebFlash and on the home page later today. 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
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.