AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 26b

July 2, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Aviation Safety Report back to top 
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NTSB Investigating Two Runway Incursions In Cleveland

The NTSB said this week it is investigating two runway incursions that occurred in June at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, Ohio, while a controller-in-training was directing the airplanes. On June 26, an ExpressJet Embraer 145, was cleared by the controller to cross Runway 24L at a taxiway in order to depart from Runway 24R. About 19 seconds later, the same controller cleared a CommutAir DH8 for takeoff on Runway 24L. The Express Jet flight crew saw the departing airplane and advised the controller they would not cross the runway. The DH8 rotated about 1,500 feet from where the E-145 was positioned.

Just three weeks earlier, on June 3, a B-737 was cleared by the same controller to taxi into position on the same runway on which an E-145 was cleared for takeoff. The E-145 crew was entering the runway and saw the B-737, and queried the controller. The two flights came within 500 feet of each other on Runway 6L. The controller is still on duty and is expected to complete his training. "This particular trainee had a total of 11 hours of training in the entire month of June," Bob Kerr, of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told CNN. "That's less then an hour a day. He's brand new; he's going to make mistakes."

NATCA spokesman Doug Church told AVweb on Wednesday that system-wide, there are too many controllers in training. "At the Cleveland facility, which has both tower and approach, there are 59 on staff. Of those, 32 are fully certified controllers, and 27 are trainees." A better ratio would be to have about one trainee for every three experienced staffers, Church said. He added that the staffing situation is beginning to stabilize, as fewer controllers are retiring now that contract talks are under way with the new administration in Washington and they are hopeful that their working conditions will improve. The NTSB investigation is expected to take up to nine months.

Girl Survives Yemenia Crash

Officials searching for an Yemenia Airways A310 that crashed near the archipelago of Comoros early Tuesday have found a 12-year-old girl who survived the accident. She was swimming amidst debris and bodies and is believed to be the only survivor. She is reported to be conscious and stable in hospital. The aircraft was carrying 142 passengers and 11 crew and reportedly went down after an aborted landing attempt at Moroni Airport. Two French military aircraft and a ship departed the Indian Ocean islands of Mayotte and Reunion early Tuesday to assist in search and recovery. Weather in the area at the time of the crash was stormy, with high seas. The aircraft was enroute from Sana'a in Yemen to the Comoros Islands, off the coast of Tanzania. Comoros is about halfway between Madagascar and Africa.

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We're Looking Forward to Seeing Both at Oshkosh back to top 

Actuator Failure Prompts Precautionary But Safe Landing For WhiteKnightTwo

Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo, also known as "Mothership Eve," was on its way from Scaled Composites in Mojave to fly past the groundbreaking ceremony for Spaceport America in New Mexico on June 19 when the crew noted the failure of a speedbrake actuator as they descended toward the site. Pilot Peter Siebold and his crew made a precautionary landing at Williams Gateway Airport near Phoenix, where they were met by ground crew. They were able to re-launch the next morning and successfully completed several flybys and a low pass over the runway at Las Cruces International Airport for spectators at the Spaceport America event. Systems were evaluated on the high-altitude return leg to Mojave. According to the flight log posted at scaled.com, WhiteKnightTwo has so far flown more than 29 hours, with some flights lasting as long as 7.5 hours, at altitudes up to 52,400 feet. WhiteKnightTwo is the carrier vehicle for SpaceShipTwo, which will transport passengers to the edge of space.

It is scheduled to appear at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh on opening day, July 27, and stay through Saturday, August 1. Spaceport America is scheduled for completion by early 2011.

Stratos Will Bring VLJ Mock-Up To Oshkosh

So far, start-up companies aiming to build very light jets have found the going tough (the now-defunct Eclipse Aviation and Adam Aircraft, for example), but that isn't stopping newer companies whose leaders believe they have a better idea. One of those is Stratos Aircraft, a Bend, Ore., company that is moving forward with its concept of a very light personal jet, the Stratos 714, which it announced last May. The four-seat single-engine jet will go 1,500 nm at 400 knots, and it will be easy to manufacture, easy to fly, and easy to maintain, the company says. A full-scale cabin mock-up will be ready for display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh later this month. "The full-size mock-up clearly demonstrates the level of roominess and comfort we are aiming to achieve," said CEO Michael Lemaire. "No amount of blueprints or renderings can replace actually sitting in the cabin." Company officials also will use the opportunity to gather feedback that can be incorporated into the final design.

The jet will sell for about $2 million, according to the company's Web site. 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 Bend Bulletin. Fully refundable deposits of $50,000 are now being accepted, the company says.

Visit Aircraft Spruce at the 2009 Arlington Fly-In
Visit the Aircraft Spruce booth in Arlington, Washington (booth #55) on July 8-11 from 9:00am - 6:00pm and July 12 from 9:00am - 3:00pm. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products), and a helpful staff to answer all your questions. The 2009 Arlington Fly-In features 128 acres of "Family Friendly" aviation exhibits plus a fun and spectacular daily air show. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
Flying 'Fox More Like a Phoenix back to top 

Former Kitfox-Lite Model Re-launches As Belite Ultralight

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Belite Aircraft, a new company based in Wichita, Kan., unveiled its prototype airplane Tuesday afternoon in the middle of the city's Old Town neighborhood. The aircraft, which flew for the first time just last week, is an extensively modified version of the Kitfox Lite. Entrepreneurs James and Kathy Wiebe acquired the production rights to the aircraft earlier this year and have redesigned it to reduce the weight below the 254-pound limit needed to qualify as an ultralight under Part 103. The wing, struts, spars and ribs are constructed using a proprietary carbon fiber process that James Wiebe says builds faster than aluminum, wood or composite construction. The aircraft will fly at about 55 knots with a range of 200 miles. It will be on display at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh later this month and Wiebe said he will release further information at that time about pricing and delivery schedules. It will be offered for sale as a kit or fully assembled.

Wiebe called last week's brief first flight a "test hop" and said more extensive flight testing and modifications will take place before the Oshkosh debut. Various engines are still being tried out. Wiebe said the final weight will be about 245 pounds. "Of course you can fly it as a homebuilt experimental with any weight you want," he added. Wiebe is an instrument-rated pilot, and he and his wife previously developed computer storage devices, a business they sold last year. More information about the aircraft can be found at Wiebe's blog and at the company Web site.

Aspen Makes Going Glass More Affordable!
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Alternative Fuels Move Closer, As Aviation Escapes Emissions Control

The FAA said last week it has reached a "major milestone" in its efforts to help the aviation industry develop sustainable alternative fuels, and this week, the U.S. House exempted aircraft from a major bill that will impose greenhouse-gas emissions standards. The House bill, which was passed last Friday, still must be approved in the Senate and signed by the president before it becomes law. The Senate, however, is not expected to push for limits on aviation emissions, according to Helicopter Association International. Meanwhile, the FAA said an international panel of experts is working to create new guidelines that will allow for the approval of alternative commercial jet fuels. A number of new alternative fuels could be approved within the next few years, according to FAA's Nancy LoBueand, acting assistant administrator for the environment. She said the approval of new fuels will help lower aviation's carbon footprint.

New guidelines have been worked out by a subcommittee of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International that set out criteria for ensuring the quality of alternative fuels for use in aviation, the FAA said. Once approved by the full ASTM committee later this year, operators will be allowed to use synthetic fuels in combination with conventional jet fuel up to a 50 percent blend. The FAA said it will oversee the process to ensure that any new fuel specification meets or exceeds current standards for safety and performance.

GA Needs A Voice In Security Plans, Alphabets Say

Both the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and AOPA said this week that current proposals now in play in Washington are good news for general aviation. One bill introduced in the House would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to create a rulemaking committee including GA industry stakeholders, which would have input into new security measures that affect the industry. "This legislation shows that Congress understands that we can accomplish more good if we work together rather than separately," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. The committee would address proposals such as the TSA's Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which has been widely opposed by GA operators and pilots. After receiving more than 7,000 comments on its proposed LASP rule, most of them in opposition, the TSA has said it will issue a new NPRM before issuing a final rule.

AOPA also noted that a House funding bill that passed last week addresses several issues of interest to GA. The bill urges the TSA to work with GA stakeholders before issuing security mandates and provides $275,000 to train GA pilots regarding security measures. The House bill also includes funding for the Loran system, AOPA said, and directs the Coast Guard to provide a plan for upgrading the system to enhanced Loran, known as eLoran. The land-based navigation system is not used much anymore, but it could provide a backup in case of a GPS failure.

Parts Fraud Case Revealed

Jerry Comeaux, 69, the proprietor of Quality Aircraft Support in Ninety Six, S.C., pleaded no contest to fraudulently repairing aircraft parts without FAA credentials and is being forced to pay $403,000 to customers who paid more than $2.5 million for them. Before Comeaux copped the plea, prosecutors told a U.S. District Court in Greenville that some of the parts weren't airworthy. Other charges against Comeaux and his wife Vicky, which included money laundering, wire fraud and mail fraud, were dropped in exchange for the no-contest plea. Customers included firms that repaired commercial and military aircraft and centered on Comeaux's lack of credentials to certify the airworthiness of the repaired parts.

Comeaux surrendered his air agency certificate number in 1996 but was repairing parts until authorities came in with a search warrant in late 2008. They found that he drew up his own forms that were similar to the FAA forms used to accompany parts to verify their airworthiness. His own forms omitted reference to the FAA but were "substantially similar" to the correct forms. That means everything that went out of the shop was an unapproved part in the eyes of the FAA.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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."

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News Briefs back to top 

Social Media Leads To Project To Promote GA For All

Two active pilots -- Jason Schappert, a CFI living in Florida, and Vincent Lambercy, a Swiss private pilot living in Germany -- were chatting on Twitter recently when they came up with an exciting idea. Why not go flying in Jason's Cessna 150, from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast and back, to promote general aviation? "While it's not very fast, [the 150] is a very economical and reliable airplane," the two write on their Web site, FlyingAcrossAmerica.com. "Jason opted to own such a plane because it allows for his students to earn their private pilot license for less than 5,000 dollars! Aviation is not restricted to the elite and affluent. This is an integral part of our message." The two plan to launch next summer, and they are looking for sponsors and donors to help make the trip possible. Twitter users can also follow AVweb on our own Twitter account.

They will fly a southern route from Florida to California, to avoid having to cross the Rocky Mountains. The two say they see the flight as "a mission" that is more than just flying for fun from coast to coast. "We intend to rally people and promote general aviation on a local grassroots level," their Web site reads. "We believe strongly in this approach rather than taking on the politicians. Thanks to Internet networking, we can reach out and educate individuals and communities ... . We want to show how aviation creates friendship and solidarity and unites people." Schappert operates Schapp Aviation. Last year, he took top national honors in the CFI event in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (NIFA Safecon) at Murphreesboro, Tenn.

New Airstrip Expands Access To Rocky Mountain Forests

A new grass runway is now being built on land owned by the U.S. Forest Service in Montana, after four years of effort by recreational pilots. The strip, which is expected to be ready for next spring, will be 4,000 feet long, stretching across a meadow at an elevation 6,300 feet, surrounded by plenty of open grassland for approaches and climbouts. The site is close to a popular trout-fishing area and a campground in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Members of the Montana Pilots Association and the Recreational Aviation Foundation worked with federal officials to create the airstrip. The agreement required four years of planning, including an environmental impact statement and an opportunity for public discussion. Several sites were considered and rejected before the final site made the cut. "This decision is significant because until this location was selected at Russian Flat, there were no public airstrips on Forest Service lands east of the Rocky Mountain Front," said Dan Prill, of the RAF. The runway is under construction now but is not expected to open until the grass surface has time to develop.

The RAF also announced recently that a previously private airstrip just outside Glacier National Park will open this summer for public use, but only with prior permission.

On the Fly ...

Pilot Mike Goulian, who flies airshows and competes in Red Bull air races, is the winner of this year's Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, which will be awarded at EAA AirVenture...

The Air Race Classic has posted the top 10 competitors from this year's women-only cross-country race, which wrapped up last weekend...

Flying to Mexico? The rules have changed. AOPA has a detailed update.

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.
AVweb Audio —? Are You Listening? back to top 

Klapmeier Lays Out Jet Plans (A Preview of Our Friday Podcast)

File Size 2.0 MB / Running Time 2:12

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Well, no one has ever accused Cirrus Aircraft Chairman of the Board Alan Klapmeier of backing down from a challenge and he's taken on a big one. Klapmeier announced last week that he's trying to buy the Vision SF 50 jet program from the company he and his brother Dale founded 25 years ago. The news caused a sensation at last week's gathering of Cirrus owners in Duluth and rippled through the industry. Now that the dust has settled some, Klapmeier says he has a picture of the reaction to the news and he's explaining the rationale behind the blockbuster news.

In an extensive interview with AVweb's Russ Niles recorded Wednesday for our regular Friday podcast, Klapmeier lays out the history, the plan and what he hopes will be the future of project. Here's a sample of what you'll hear in the 15-minute interview. Look for the full audio podcast on Friday morning.

Do you receive our Friday AVwebAudio newsletter? It's a weekly recap all the audio podcasts we run on AVweb during the week and is the best way to keep an ear on the world of flying. If you're interested, log in to your AVweb profile, click on "Update E-Mail Subscriptions," and add AVwebAudio to your selected newsletters. It's a great way to make sure you never miss a podcast.

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Tip o' the Cap to Tampa

Ever tried to complain to the airport authority at an international hub? Good luck even finding the number. At Tampa, Florida, they actually call you back. Paul Bertorelli's report on that refreshing experience is the subject of our latest AVweb Insider blog.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: Air Shows and the $6 Hot Dog

As every business struggles in the current economy — especially aviation businesses — it can no longer be business as usual at the big air shows. In the latest installmment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that the place to start is giving show goers a little break on the price of lunch at these shows. A little consideration could go a long way.

Read more.

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

Question of the Week: Very Light Jets — Played Out, or Just Warming Up?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers to peer into their crystal balls and enlighten us as to the future of electric airplanes.

The results? Not many AVweb are hopeful futurists who believe the day of combustion engines is drawing to a close — although 4% of you are! At the other end of the spectrum, a quarter of those who responded (27%) think there will be little to no commercial application for electric airplanes. The majority of you (58%), however, feel that pistons and turbines will remain the engines of choice despite a few electric-engine success stories.

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.)


Alan Klapmeier's dramatic announcement that he's trying to take over the Cirrus Vision SF 50 program has revived interest in the personal jet market. What's the future look like for little jets?

Are there still too many "personal jets" coming to market?
(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.

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Lycoming-Powered Diamond DA42 L360 Demo Flight

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

Aviation Consumer and AVweb report on the new Diamond DA42 L360, powered by a pair of Lycoming IO-360 engines.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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eBooks & eVideos
Most titles on the AVweb Bookstore (including Jeppesen, McGraw-Hill, ICAO, and many others) are also available as electronic downloads. Why not consider an eBook in Adobe .PDF format? Instant delivery. No shipping costs. Fully searchable, bookmarked, and hyperlinked. Hundreds of reference titles at your fingertips, in your laptop computer. Environmentally friendly. And no import taxes to international customers. Are you sold yet? Click here to learn more, and download a sample to try it out.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport FBO (SC)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the city FBO at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (KSPA) in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

AVweb reader Jacquelyn Balish explains how the KSPA FBO staff went above and beyond to bring a smile to her face:

I fly with very young children by myself. This really can be challenging upon landing. I have a plane, kids, and luggage to deal with. The personnel at this airport jump right in to help. They take the children and luggage, [then] take kids to play while I secure my plane. They are Johnny on the spot. On one trip, the birds decided that my plane was a great toilet. [As soon as] I drove up, the plane was being washed for me at no charge!

P.S. The children love all the people at this airport.

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.


Summer is upon us, and your "Picture of the Week" submissions continue to reflect the green grass, sunny skies, and adventures spirit of the season. (We like it when you make it hard to pick a winner each week, so please keep sending in those photos!)

medium | large

copyright © John E. Rees
Used with permission

Refueling the Waco

John E. Rees of Blacklick, Ohio didn't have far to go to attend the 50th Reunion of the National Waco Club at Wynkoop Airport in Mt. Vernon. In retrospect, that's probably a good thing for all of us, since it allowed John to snap a lot of awesome Waco photos while he was there.

(Not to discourage anyone from visiting John's gallery, but if you've got some work to do — like, say, writing copy for this week's "POTW" photos — you may want to bookmark that link and check it out later.)

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Used with permission of Ralph Lacomba

Sunset Finale at Sun 'n Fun

Michael Lacomba and his uncle Ralph Lacomba of Columbia, SC made time to smell the flowers and watch the landings at Sun 'n Fun this year.

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Used with permission of Greg Dolph

Now THAT's an Ultralight

Greg Dolph of London, England (U.K.) made it out to the North Weald Air Britain Fly-In and got to check out this recreation celebrating the 100th anniversary of Louis Blériot's flight over the English Channel.

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copyright © Joseph Philip Horenkamp
Used with permission

Black Sparrow Liberty Jumpers with C-47

We just had to mess around with caption Joe Horenkamp of Novi, Michigan suggested for this photo — "C-47 with Black Sparrow Liberty Jumpers." We thought we'd give the boys in the foreground top billing — though we doubt they mind playing second fiddle to the Black Sparrow.

(By the way, we haven't insisted to you make a shot your desktop wallpaper recently, but you should try it with Joe's photo. Our desktop icons sure look good against that gray background!)

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Used with permission of Alvin F. Quack Jr.

Happy Birthday, America

To celebrate Independence Day in the U.S., Alvin F. Quack Jr. of Groveland, Massachusetts dug through this archives and turned up a couple of shots he took in Madrid during the 1975 run-up to America's bicentennial celebration. Alvin worked for ONA at the time, and this special paint job was commemorated the event.

Happy holidays, North America! (And don't think we didn't notice that no one sent us any Canada Day photos ... .)

You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page, and there are some humdingers there this week (at least three of which we'd love to have included here).

There were a lot of first-time submitters this week, which is something we always like to see. Got a great photo in your treasure chest? Scan it and share it with us!

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.

We Live in a Fast-Paced World; Use Your Travel Time Wisely
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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.