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At least six individuals listed by the FBI as possible terrorists also were listed in the FAA database as pilot certificate holders as of this June, according to The New York Times. After the Times questioned the TSA about the situation, the FAA suspended all six
certificates. The Times had received the list of names from a small software company that said it found the six by comparing public records, an effort the TSA apparently never made. "The T.S.A.
appears not to have taken notice of the terrorists even when two of them turned up on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Ten Most Wanted List," says the Times. A spokeswoman for the Department of
Homeland Security, the parent agency of the TSA, told the Times her department would "conduct a comprehensive review to see why the system failed to identify these people" and would consider whether
the department should be looking at more federal lists. This week, however, the Times wrote that the software
company found one more pilot in the FAA database who is wanted by the FBI, which has offered a $50,000 reward for the accused "domestic terrorist."
The fugitive pilot is also the owner of a 1977 Grumman-American Cheetah, which has been listed for sale online, according to the Times. Last week, several members of the Senate Commerce Committee
and its aviation subcommittee sent a letter to the TSA and the FAA asking if they plan to address "apparent weaknesses in the existing vetting system that allowed individuals representing potential national security
threats to retain their airman licenses." David Schiffer, president of Safe Banking Systems, the company that found the matches, told the Times it was "highly unlikely" that the TSA has started
checking the FBI list against the FAA list, or it would have found the domestic terrorist that turned up in the company's latest cross-check.
The last time a sitting president vacationed on Martha's Vineyard was during the pre-9/11 Clinton years, so when plans were laid for next week's visit by the Obama family, the extent of the flight
restrictions was a bit shocking to local pilots. "This is the most restrictive TFR we've seen," said James Coyne, the
president of the National Air Transportation Association, who has a home on the Vineyard. "I can't think of any example of such severe restrictions. It's far, far more draconian than under Clinton,"
he told the Vineyard Gazette. The TFR extends for 30 nm for eight days, affecting seven local airports, which are in the midst
of the busy tourist season. GA pilots who want to land at the main Vineyard airport (KMVY), which is within a 10-nm inner ring, must apply for a waiver 72 hours in advance and stop at one of several
specified "gateway" airports for inspection first. "It's really unfortunate ... we'd hoped for some relief for the Katama tours," said Coyne, referring to the popular grass field on the island, which
offers biplane and glider rides. Since Katama is inside the 10-nm ring and there is no TSA screening facility there, the field will
effectively be shut down.
Outside the 10-nm inner ring of the TFR, GA airplanes can take off and land if they follow certain procedures, but flight training, crop dusting, banner towing, and several other operations are
restricted. AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy said the final TFR was not as bad as it might have been. "AOPA did make the case for a less restrictive TFR and in fact was successful in advocating for gateway
access to the inner ring -- the first time since the 30-nm presidential TFRs were instituted that GA has had access to the inner 10-nm ring," Dancy told AVweb on Wednesday. Dancy added that now
that the Notam is published, "it becomes incumbent upon pilots flying in that area to make sure they comply." He noted that
when a presidential TFR was implemented in Arizona earlier this week, there were eight violations. "So it will be imperative that pilots in New England check Notams immediately before departure, and
that if their route of flight will take them anywhere near Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard, that they know and follow the procedures for operating within the TFR," Dancy said.
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A pending deadline that would make it difficult to find aircraft that could legally be used for ultralight training will probably be extended or discarded by the FAA, EAA said this week. When the sport pilot rules were developed several years ago, the FAA allowed the use of two-seat ultralight
E-LSA trainers only until Jan. 31, 2010. The idea was that by then, enough ultralight-like two-seat Special LSAs would be operating to take on the job of training ultralight pilots. However, only
three manufacturers have produced S-LSAs that are suitable for the ultralight training market, and the down economy and the difficulty of obtaining financing have slowed sales. The lack of suitable
trainers would create a safety issue, says EAA, "because people wanting to fly ultralights or ultralight-like aircraft will not be able to take flight training in ultralight-like aircraft." The FAA is
now evaluating the situation, EAA said, but one way or another, it seems likely that the current trainers now in use will be allowed to be used after the deadline.
No matter which remedy the FAA chooses, either extending the deadline or effectively eliminating it, owners will have to obtain a new airworthiness certificate and operating limitations, EAA
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Barring any last-minute changes, the assets of Eclipse Aviation will be sold on Thursday, Aug. 20, to Eclipse Aerospace, a new company founded by two Eclipse E500 owners. Eclipse Aerospace put in a
bid of $40 million with a federal bankruptcy court earlier this month, and since no other qualified bidders had surfaced by a court deadline, Eclipse Aerospace seems likely to close the deal. Mike
Press and Mason Holland, owners of the company, have said they will keep Eclipse in Albuquerque, provide service and upgrades for the current fleet, and eventually restart production. Albuquerque
Mayor Martin Chavez told the New Mexico Business Weekly he expects the new company to start hiring
workers soon, but it will create only a few hundred jobs, not the 2,000 or so that Eclipse Aviation provided at its peak. "Eclipse has always been more important to us than the jobs it provides,"
Chavez said. "It represents a symbol of progress for the city. That it's now coming back is a huge victory for Albuquerque."
Holland, chairman and co-founder of Benefitfocus, a software firm based in South Carolina, told the Post and Courier this week that his group's bid faces some objections, but none is expected to derail the deal. "We're going to stand the company back up and continue to service
the existing fleet and reintroduce the production of the aircraft ... as the market allows," he said. Holland had placed a deposit on an E500 jet, but never took delivery. He said he expects it will
be about a year before the company restarts production. He added that when the economy begins to recover, demand for the $2-million E500 will revive. "There's no price point lower than this jet," he
said. The original company erred by putting more emphasis on growth plans than on the bottom line, according to Holland. "We're going to be focused on profitability first and growth second. You don't
go broke when you're focused on that," he told the Post and Courier. About 260 E500 jets have been delivered to owners, but few are flying due to issues with parts and supplies. In June, EASA
suspended its European certification of the E500.
Jinggong General Aviation Co., a Beijing-based company that is the sole dealer for Cirrus Aircraft in China, will move to the small Huanghua airport about 150 miles outside the city and upgrade it
for use as a flying club to help promote the growth of private aviation, China Daily reported this
week. Although GA has been slow to grow in China -- only about a half-dozen Cirrus airplanes per year are sold there -- the government has shown a willingness to gradually open airspace below 2,000
feet for private airplanes, according to China Daily. The Huanghua airport was built about six years ago as a base for crop-dusting flights, and has been in use only about two months per year.
The China Daily story also implied that Cirrus is interested in moving its manufacturing facilities to China, but Ian Bentley, Cirrus vice president and managing director of international sales,
told AVweb that is incorrect. "We have absolutely no plans to move manufacturing to China," Bentley said. "We don't see any benefit in manufacturing in China to ship planes to America."
However, he said, if in the future the Chinese market matures, "we'll absolutely look at manufacturing in China for the Chinese market." But that is not likely to happen soon. "Obviously, at half a
dozen airplanes a year, we won't be building airplanes in China," Bentley said. Cessna and Diamond also have been working to sell GA airplanes in the Chinese market.
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A new annual award will honor individuals who have made significant contributions to aviation and transportation safety, the NTSB Bar Association announced on Wednesday. The association is an
organization of lawyers and other aviation professionals whose practice involves the NTSB, FAA, and DOT. The award is named in memory of Joseph T. Nall, who served as a member of the NTSB from 1986
through 1989. He was also a certificated pilot and ground instructor.
During his tenure with the NTSB, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the NTSB Bar Association and regularly participated in its meetings. Nall died in an aircraft accident while on NTSB business in
Venezuela in 1989. The first Joseph T. Nall Award will be presented at the NTSB Bar Association's Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Nov. 12. The name of the first recipient will be
announced soon, the group said. The NTSB Bar Association was established in 1984 and is a nonprofit corporation based in Washington, D.C.
Marcus Schrenker, 38, of McCordsville, Indiana, who bailed out of his airplane in January and parachuted to safety in an alleged attempt to fake his death, was sentenced to 51 months in prison on
Wednesday, CNN reported. Schrenker also must pay more than $34,000 to the U.S. Coast Guard, which mounted a
search and rescue effort, and another $871,000 to the lien holder on his Piper PA46-500TP Malibu Meridian. That cost may be offset by insurance, however, the prosecutors said. Schrenker pleaded guilty
to intentionally crashing an airplane and sending false distress calls related to his use of the aircraft in June. The charges could have sent him to jail for 20 years for crashing the airplane and
six years for prompting the Coast Guard search.
Schrenker's January flight took him from Indiana to Birmingham, Ala., which is roughly where he parachuted out of the aircraft. He had filed a flight plan to Destin, Fla., where his father lives,
but en route sent distress calls via radio saying he had been injured, was bleeding and the aircraft was losing altitude. He followed those with transmissions that he was losing consciousness, then
leveled the aircraft at 3,500 feet, put it on autopilot and jumped, landing safely under canopy, according to U.S. attorney Tiffany Eggers. His lawyer, Thomas Keith, told the court Schrenker intended
the plane to crash in the Gulf of Mexico rather than the neighborhood in Milton, Fla., where it ended up after running out of fuel. Schrenker has also been charged in Indiana with felony fraud counts
in connection with three companies that he owns.
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The FAA has issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (PDF) that would require a broad spectrum of aviation businesses, from repair stations to airlines, to implement formal "safety management systems" that document the safety
procedures throughout the operation. The International Civil Aviation Organization defines an SMS as "systematic approach to managing safety, including the necessary organizational structures,
accountabilities, policies and procedures." However, the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) calls it an "overarching, regulatory 'blanket' to your business" that it says even the FAA admits is a
major administrative and operational burden. The AEA is urging members to comment on the NPRM but not before they attend a seminar on its potential impact. The AEA is afraid members will inadvertently signal support
for the proposal if they don't get the straight goods from the meetings.
At the heart of the SMS is a formalized decision-making process that business owners would "use to plan, organize, direct and control their normal, day-to-day business processes." However, the FAA
is quick to point out that in no way does an SMS substitute for or override all the paper trails it already requires to ensure compliance with its own regulations. "Therefore, the FAA is proposing a
significant additional burden without any financial, administration or administrative benefit to AEA members," the AEA said in a news release.
The FAA has convened a New York Airspace
Working Group that will review current operating procedures in the VFR corridor over the Hudson and East Rivers and recommend safety improvements to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt by the end of
next week. FAA air traffic and safety experts will make up the panel. They will solicit comments from helicopter and aircraft operators and review air traffic and pilot procedures. They will also
review and analyze a variety of proposals to change the operating procedures in the VFR corridors. "We strongly encourage pilots to use standard practices in that area now, but it may make sense to
require them," Babbitt said. "We've heard a lot of other good ideas about improving safety there and I'm looking for a quick, but thorough review by the safety experts." AOPA and EAA have sent a joint letter to Babbitt urging a restrained response to the Aug. 8 midair collision that prompted the review.
"Acting precipitously, without all the facts, may have unintended consequences while failing to improve safety or prevent future problems," reads the letter, which is signed by both EAA President
Tom Poberezny and AOPA President Craig Fuller. EAA and AOPA especially took issue with depictions of the corridor as the "Wild West," noting that hundreds of aircraft safely use the Hudson corridor
every day, and the recent midair was the first such accident in nearly 50 years. Airspace such as the Hudson River Class B exclusion zone has recommended procedures, a designated CTAF, right-of-way
rules, and defined vertical and lateral boundaries, AOPA said. A Notam published on Aug. 11 advises pilots who fly in the
corridor to turn on their lights, use special radio frequencies, announce when they enter the airspace and fly at 140 knots or less. Fuller also said he was pleased with the FAA's "measured approach" to making any changes. "AOPA looks forward to taking part in the discussion," he said.
Michael Dacre, 53, was killed on Sunday in Malaysia as he was attempting to fly the prototype of the Jetpod, a jet-powered STOL aircraft. Dacre, who had designed the airplane, was the managing
director of Avcen, the London-based company that was developing it. The Star, of
Malaysia, reported that Dacre taxied down the runway three times before taking off, but then at about 600 feet the aircraft suddenly shot vertically into the sky, veered left, crashed to the ground
and exploded. The company's promotional materials describe the Jetpod as an eight-place, very quiet twin-engine jet that would be capable of speeds up to 350 mph and could land or take off in about
400 feet. Dacre envisioned several possible roles for the airplane, including medevac, personal transport, and air taxi. The jet could also be used by the military for reconnaissance and would be able
to operate from aircraft carriers without the need for a catapult or arrestor gear, according to a company video posted online.
The company planned to start production by 2011.
The Avcen Web site has been taken down and replaced by a statement expressing sadness at the loss of Dacre and a desire to continue
the development of the aircraft. "Our day of success and accomplishment also turned out to be a day of tragedy," reads the statement. "Mike had a dedicated passion to the project and as a world-class
aviator was extremely well respected in the world of aviation. ... His team here at Avcen will work together to live his dream making the Jetpod a successful member in the family of
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The results are in. From the thousands of AVweb readers (new and old) who entered our drawing during the lead-up to EAA AirVenture, we've picked three at random to receive brand-new AV8OR
handheld GPS units from Bendix/King by Honeywell. The winners are:
Brian Mitchell Pittsfield, ME
Ted Lebens Eagen, MN
Warren Jagodnik Burke, VA
Many thanks to everyone who took a moment to enter the drawing, and a warm welcome to anyone who registered with AVweb for the first time to participate.
If you'd like one of these handy devices for yourself, you'll have one more chance to take one home during our AOPA Expo drawing later in the fall or you read more about it at the Bendix/King by Honeywell Web site, as well as find a dealer and purchase one for yourself.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Following the midair collision of a helicopter and a Piper Saratoga, calls have gone out for tighter regulation in New York City's Hudson River VFR corridor. Last Thursday, we asked AVweb readers
for their opinion.
Your answers were neck-and-neck, with 45% of those who responded saying it's worth a look because of the density and nature of its traffic, but the corridor should definitely remain
VFR and another 41% of you saying it's fine the way it is; midairs can happen anywhere.
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 ***
The lives of people in the popular resort areas of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket will be disrupted by the security measures imposed for President Barack Obama's vacation there next week. Is this really necessary?
The NTSB's work is so serious, so respected, and so vital that we don't expect them to throw a fit when a group like the air traffic controllers' association issues a press release that's a little off
the government message. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues why we should expect better of the safety agency.
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At Edwards Air Force Base, they still test F-16 fighters, because each software upgrade and each new weapons package introduces new parameters. Experimental test pilots need to
identify the aircraft's performance limits, and they need to know how it will perform before their brothers- and sisters-in-arms take upgraded Vipers into combat. This is one of those tests, and Air
Force pilot Desmond Brophy walks us through it step-by-step.
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Our latest "FBO of the Week" was suggested by Luc Premont and the gang at Dream Aircraft, who discovered Jamestown Aviation at KJHW on the way to AirVenture. Luc writes:
On our way to Oshkosh from CZBM (Bromont, Québec, Canada), we decided to go south of the Great Lakes because of bad weather. We stopped at Jamestown Airport for fuel and an update on the weather
for our next leg. Leonard J. Nalbone, the general manager, was busy like a bee with a few small jets and crew to take care of but even as busy as he was, this guy took the time to breif us on
the weather that was coming, which was pretty bad, gave us the opportunity to put our two Tundras in a hangar, and even helped us push them there. After all that, he gave us a car so we could head
downtown for a meal ... . What a great way to be treated when you get down to the USA from Canada! This guy is a giving us a good reason to fly in the US.
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 ***
We're trying to restrain ourselves this week, since we've spent the past few installments of "POTW" crowing about how many great photos we have and how much we love
AVweb readers for taking to share them.
Oh, who are we kidding? This week's batch is just as jaw-dropping as last week's! Don't believe us? Fasten your seatbelts and come along for the ride. (And when we're done, don't
forget to hit up our home page and see all the bonus pics in this week's slideshow.)
"Two floatplane landscapes in a row?" we asked ourselves that same question, but after you've seen this shot from Joe Wiley of
Gonzales, Louisiana at full-size, we think you'll agree the decision was out of our hands.
Taking a break at a rest stop along the freeway is usually a pretty routine affair but when Randy Minnick of Springville, California stopped
outside the town of Weed, he "happened to catch this big S-56E." Randy snapped some great photos of this firefighting helo, which he identifies as being based out of the Evergreen, Oregon
offices of Evergreen Aviation.
(We'll try to sneak another of Randy's photos into the home page slideshow if we have room, but it's a tight fit this
week ... .)
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.
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
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