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Aviation groups gave the House Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection an earful about the ways general
aviation security could be enhanced without crippling the industry at a hearing on Wednesday. NBAA member Martha King and GAMA Chair Mark Van Tine both told the committee that applying airline-style
security protocols to general aviation will cripple the industry and not enhance security. "What general aviation operators seek, and America needs, are measures that do not represent a needless
sacrifice in liberty without benefit to society," King told the committee. Van Tine said the recently proposed Large Aircraft Security Program missed the mark on several fronts. "The general aviation
community does not oppose enhancing security," said Van Tine. "However, we believe that the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) was unnecessarily burdensome and did not reflect an adequate
understanding of general aviation operations."
Van Tine also said the TSA should be more selective in its use of "security directives" which allow it to get around the normal rulemaking process and instantly impose regulations that have not
been allowed public comment. "We have seen the TSA repeatedly use security directives to vastly expand existing security requirements without consideration of the implementation challenges,
operational impacts and economic burdens these mandates impose on the aviation industry. GAMA strongly supported an amendment offered by Congressman Mica (R-FL) to the TSA Authorization Act, which
would require the agency to initiate a rulemaking process for security directives six months after implementation unless there is an emergency situation. We supported this amendment because it struck
the right balance between national security and due process," said Van Tine.
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The Arlington Fly-In held last weekend in Washington state reported a 14-percent jump in attendance over last year, and
it is just the latest big show to report strong numbers. "What can I say, it was great -- a phenomenal turnout this year," said Barb Tolbert, executive director for the Arlington event. "We are still
verifying the number of aircraft -- at times the registrations even overloaded our system -- but it looks to be well ahead of last year." Other shows around the country are showing similarly strong
numbers, according to the International Council of Air Shows. Many are reporting all-time record attendance. "Every week, we hear from more
shows who have been challenged to deal with overflowing crowds and also from performers who have never seen such large crowds at specific venues," said John Cudahy, ICAS president. "At this point,
we're thinking we'll have an overall increase approaching 20 percent compared to last year."
The recent Rhode Island Air National Guard airshow in North Kingstown, R.I., featuring the Blue Angels, Canada's Snowbirds, Sean Tucker and Mike Goulian, drew over 70,000 people. "This was our
largest show in the 18-year history of the event," said Col. Larry Gallogly, one of the show organizers. "We used every parking spot available to us and put more spectators on the ramp than we ever
have before." Cudahy says the economy seems to be boosting the appeal of the shows, especially when compared with other options for family entertainment. "What's great about an airshow is that a
family of four would be hard-pressed to spend anything more than $50 or $60, whereas they're easily dropping three or four times that amount at an amusement park or a professional baseball game," he
said. "And they're getting a product that the kids will remember forever. It only makes sense that airshows would see an attendance surge in a bad economy, but this defies even our most optimistic
The Senate Commerce Committee this week introduced a bill that would provide funding for the FAA for the next two years without imposing user fees, and would enable the agency to move forward with
plans for the NextGen air traffic control system. The Alliance for Aviation Across America, which represents a slew of GA advocacy
groups, released a statement on Wednesday commending the effort. "We look forward to now working with the Senate to pass this legislation, which provides the necessary funding for [NextGen], while
protecting the small towns and rural communities that rely on general aviation." AOPA President Craig Fuller also applauded the effort, but added that he is concerned about the short two-year time
frame. "AOPA believes that a longer-term funding package based firmly on existing, proven funding mechanisms offers the best assurance of achieving modernization swiftly and efficiently," Fuller wrote
in a "special message to members" posted on the AOPA Web site.
"Because full modernization is unlikely to be completed within two years, the need to seek funding could delay or derail modernization efforts midstream, ultimately raising the price tag for
completing needed improvements. At the same time, leaving open the possibility of creating and implementing new funding mechanisms, as proposed by budget officials within the Administration, could
destabilize funding just when a steady source of revenue is needed most," Fuller said. The bill still has a way to go -- it must get through the Senate, then a conference committee will reconcile the
Senate and House measures, before the bill is sent to President Barack Obama for consideration. The Obama administration is already working on a longer-term reauthorization plan that is expected to
include new aviation user fees, according to NextGov.com. The Senate version proposed this week would provide about
$35 billion for the FAA and would set a target of 2018 for NextGen to be operational nationwide.
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The airliner that crashed and burned in Iran on Wednesday about 15 minutes after takeoff, killing all 168 on board, was a Russian-built Tupolev 154 operated by Caspian Airlines, based in Iran. An
aviation official said a fire broke out in an engine, and the crew attempted an emergency landing. The cockpit voice recorder has not yet been recovered, and news reports said the crew had not
discussed the emergency with air traffic control. At the crash site, near a farmer's field, the aircraft exploded and burned, leaving a 30-foot-deep hole in the ground. Sanctions enacted after the
1979 Islamic revolution prevent Iran from buying new aircraft or spare parts from the U.S., or from the European consortium Airbus if the aircraft contains U.S. parts. The country's airlines depend on
an aging fleet of Boeing and Airbus jets along with the Tupolevs. The airplane that crashed was built in 1987.
"I saw the plane crashing nose-down. It hit the ground causing a big explosion. The impact shook the ground like an earthquake," Ali Akbar Hashemi, who was working nearby, told the Associated Press.
The crew of a Southwest Airlines 737-300 made a safe emergency landing after a hole opened in the fuselage at about 34,000 feet during a flight from Nashville to Baltimore on Monday evening. It was
not immediately clear what caused the hole, about one foot square, in the upper fuselage near the vertical stabilizer. Pictures of a squared-off hole posted online suggest a panel of some sort that
came loose, or perhaps a rupture in the skin that was contained by reinforcing strips. Passenger Michael Cunningham told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday morning there was no panic. "Everybody just
calmly ... figured out what was going on," he said, and donned their oxygen masks as the cabin depressurized. "After we landed in Charleston [W. Va.], the pilot came out and looked up through the
hole, and everybody applauded, shook his hand, a couple of people gave him hugs," Cunningham said. No injuries were reported. The airplane was about 15 years old. The NTSB is investigating.
A Southwest spokesperson said the airline operates about 200 737-300s and all of them were inspected overnight. No anomalies were found and the schedule operated as normal on Tuesday.
Aspen Makes Going Glass More Affordable! Aspen Avionics offers the most affordable glass cockpit solution on the market today. And until July 31, 2009, Aspen has made going glass more
affordable with the Grand Glass Rebate program, offering a $1,000 rebate for all purchases of an EFD1000 Pro PFD. Come see Aspen at EAA AirVenture in Hangar B, Booth 2126. In the
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Cirrus Aircraft said on Tuesday that it will team up with Aerospace Products International to provide spare parts to owners of its SR-series piston airplanes. "Cirrus customers will benefit from API's
24-hour-per-day service [and] one-stop shopping for all aircraft parts needs," Cirrus said in a statement. The new
preferred services agreement marks a key milestone in Cirrus's initiative to offer customer service and support through the complete life cycle of the aircraft, the company said. The program will
operate under the brand "Cirrus Parts by API." API will provide parts for Cirrus authorized service centers and will also handle customer
returns and warranty claims.
Brent Wouters, president and CEO of Cirrus, said it's all about building customer loyalty and satisfaction. "We explored all the
available technology in the aerospace aftermarket and support industry and chose what we believe to be the most innovative solution to servicing our aircraft," Wouters said. "This program goes beyond
anything previously provided to aircraft operators and we are very pleased to be partnering with API." Cirrus service centers will be able to log on to an API Web site to view inventory, place orders
and track warranty claims. Cirrus Technical Support will still be provided by Cirrus staff. API currently provides logistics and distribution services for Gulfstream, Dassault Falcon Jet, Teledyne
Continental Motors, and many other aerospace companies.
When Cessna put the Columbus program on hold in April, hope remained that the jet, which would have been Cessna's biggest ever, would reappear sometime in the future. "Don't write the Columbus off
your radar screen," said Lewis Campbell, CEO of Textron, Cessna's parent company, at the time. But last
week, Textron said the Columbus project is over. "Upon additional analysis of the business jet market related to this product offering, we decided to formally cancel further development of the
Citation Columbus," the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Textron will take a $43 million write-off. The SEC statement says Cessna has spent about $50 million on tooling, facilities and other costs for the Columbus, most of which cannot be recovered or used for other projects. The
10-passenger, $27 million jet was expected to start deliveries in 2014. Cessna had invested five years of market research into the Columbus, gathering data, showing a mockup to customers, and
incorporating their feedback into the design. The plan was to build a luxury jet with Cessna's biggest cabin and longest range, with powerful new fuel-efficient engines that could fly 4,600 miles
nonstop on less fuel than any comparable airplane. With a 600-mph cruise speed, the Columbus would have been just slightly slower than the Citation X, Cessna's fastest jet. About $50 million in
deposits were collected before the program was suspended.
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The single-place Belite ultralight, which evolved from an earlier Kitfox design, flew for the first time on July 4, the company said this week. Although the company had announced a "first flight" a couple of weeks ago, that initial effort was described as only a "test hop"
down the runway, with more extensive flight testing to come soon. Now the airplane has been through a real 90-minute test flight, with a tryout of the aircraft's handling characteristics, and several
touch-and-goes. James Wiebe, who designed the airplane and launched the Wichita-based Belite Aircraft Co. to develop and market it, was the pilot. "Flying the Belite for the first time was, for me, an extremely memorable event," he said. "I have never flown in an
airplane I built or on which I have designed critical structures before, so this definitely ranks among my most thrilling flying experiences." He said the airplane cruised at about 54 mph. "Once it
was airborne, the airplane handled well. ... It practically hovers before touchdown and can be stopped within a very short distance," he said.
As flown, the airplane weighed about 245 pounds, including an optional rear window and a full VFR panel. Wiebe said the aircraft will be on display at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh later this month,
and pricing and availability will be announced at that time.
Icon Aircraft announced last week that it has successfully closed another round of
equity financing to support the development of the Icon A5 amphibious LSA. The new cash will take the project through the rest of its flight-test program and will also finance engineering and
manufacturing studies, the company said. Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins said the company already has orders for more than 400 copies of the airplane, totaling more than $40 million in sales.
Icon also announced that it is pushing out its production start date by nine months, with first customer deliveries now scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2011. This change was due to the
crisis in the global capital markets beginning last fall, the company said. "While the changes in the capital markets did affect our production start date, the current economic climate has minimal
impact on Icon overall," Hawkins said, noting that the backlog of sales should carry the company forward into a new economic cycle. The prototype has been flying since last summer, but its first
public demo flight is scheduled for EAA AirVenture later this month. The A5 will fly in to Oshkosh Monday morning, July 27, and on Friday
morning, July 31, it will fly at the nearby seaplane base.
Pilots are generally curious about what it's like to fly other aircraft -- airline pilots dream about aerobatics, military aviators wonder about Boeing cockpits, and piston drivers might imagine
trying out gliders or DC-3s or jetpacks. But there was one cockpit that only one crew ever got to experience -- the Apollo 11 Lunar Module Eagle. This week, in honor of the 40th anniversary of that
first trip to the moon, NASA is releasing online the cockpit tapes of the conversations
between Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as they descended to the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
All of the Apollo spacecraft included onboard voice recorders, and transcripts of those recordings were publicly released years ago. But only recently were the recordings from Apollo 11 digitized
so they could be posted on the NASA Web site. Some of the clips, such as the lunar landing and lunar takeoff, are mainly noise, and the voices can be hard to understand, but it's still interesting to
hear conversations that were recorded 40 years ago on the moon.
Click here to listen to the Apollo 11 onboard audio highlights, or click here to check out the complete collection of Apollo 11 onboard audio.
Experienced pilot and general aviation supporter Gov. Sonny Perdue will be the guest speaker of the Atlanta Aero Club today. Perdue is an active commercially-related pilot and the
lunch meeting marks the 25th anniversary of the organization.
Need a place to stay in Oshkosh? Dorm rooms have opened up, cheap and close to the airport...
The FAA is accepting applications from any U.S. citizen under age 31 who wants to be an air traffic controller, through
Homer Kolb, designer of the Kolb line of ultralight and light-sport aircraft, passed away on Sunday morning, at age
Arizona Aircraft Expo will host three events where prospective buyers can get a close look at the latest in GA
The AV8OR is the portable and affordable GPS built specifically for pilots, by a company that knows pilots. With navigation routing, planning, and weather information for the aircraft and the
automobile, the AV8OR uses aviation software and symbology you understand. Its 4.3-inch touchscreen is larger and easier to read than competing GPS systems, with an intuitive interface derived from
the pilot-friendly, panel-mounted Bendix/King multi-function display systems. For more information,
Last week, we asked which air shows you'll be attending (or have already attended) this year.
To no one's surprise, the most popular single event is EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh (barely a week away!). 26% of those who responded said they'd only be attending one show this year,
and AirVenture is the one. A slightly larger segement of respondents (28%) told us they won't be attending the big shows we listed (AirVenture, Sun 'n Fun, Arlington, and Copperstate), but they will
go to others. Sadly, no one told us they'd be attending all four of the big shows we named!
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.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
Last week, we asked which air shows were on your schedule for 2009. This week, we want to shift away from the just-for-fun trips and look at the business and trade shows on your
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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By now, most everyone has seen Dave Carroll's video for "United Breaks Guitars" and empathized with the plight of the passenger who can't get any satisfaction from the major airlines. Now may be a
good time to extend some of that empathy to "kind Ms. Irlweg" and the rest of United's policy-enforcing employees, Russ Niles says in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.
You knew we would have to talk about this sooner or later. Like most of us, Paul Bertorelli concedes he hasn't the first clue about rationalizing airplane ownership with climate change but
that didn't stop him from sharing his thought on the AVweb Insider blog. Log in and add your own opinion to the mix.
Bendix/King by Honeywell is helping us give away another AV8OR handheld MFD unit to celebrate EAA AirVenture Oshkosh! All you have to do is click the image at right to enter your name and
e-mail address. And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, but Bendix/King by Honeywell may send you information on the AV8OR. You may also forward this newsletter to friends and invite them
to sign-up for AVweb's EAA AirVenture 2009 coverage and qualify for the AV8OR prize drawing, too. (We won't spam them, either, but we will send them our e-mail news Flashes.)
Deadline for entries is midnight EST on Sunday, August 2, 2009.
(There's nothing to buy. All you need to do is be registered with AVweb.)
It's Thunderstorm Season Take ASF's New Thunderstorm Safety Quiz!
Airplanes and thunderstorms don't mix. These convective beasts can produce airframe-shattering turbulence, damaging hail, sudden and dramatic wind shear, blinding downpours, and strong, gusty winds
sometimes as much as 20 miles from the edge of a cell. Understanding thunderstorms is the key to avoidance.
Put your knowledge to
the test in ASF's new graphics-rich interactive safety quiz.
The DA20 is a terrific instrument and basic trainer, and now it has the option of a glass panel with the Aspen EFIS system. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently checked out the
system with test pilot Rob Johnson.
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AVweb reader Marcelaine Lewis has this week's top FBO, Duffy's Aircraft at Marshfield (Wis.) Municipal
Airport (KMFI). Marcelaine writes:
If you're well enough to fly, yet sick enough to need to go to the Marshfield Clinic, Duffy and Jeff Gaier will greet you on the ramp with a smile, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and "hometown
hospitality." If your clinic appointment is short, they will even let you use the courtesy car. (And if you have to spend the night, within a short walking distance is the Clearwaters Hotel, owned
by another aviation enthusiast.)
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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
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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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
With EAA AirVenture barely more than a week away, the level of submissions to our weekly photo contest is climbing into the stratosphere. We love this time of the year for precisely
that reason and hope you'll send in some of your own photos for us to admire.
Les Smith of Mukilteo, Washington took a warm glow from Arlington, captured it on film, and turned it into a warm glow in our hearts this week. How
could we not name this shot our "Picture of the Week" and send Les a gorgeous new AVweb cap?
Timothy O'Connor of Batavia, Ohio suggested this old fuselage "in a forgotten field in Florida" may be waiting patiently for a crew of
ghosts or, with any luck, Tim writes, "Perhaps someday it will be boarded by restorers."
It's been so long since we've seen the Cri-Cri (once a staple of weekly "POTW" submissions), Gilbert Benzonana of Grand-Lancy, Genéva
(Switzerland) had to remind us what we were looking at in this photo "the smallest twin-engine aircraft in the world." Gilbert also reminded us how deceptively fast they are
this one clocked in at about 100 kts, too fast for Gilbert to snap it in flight with the camera he had at hand!
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.
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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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors 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.