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Volume 15, Number 49a
December 7, 2009
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Top News: Florida Pilots Cross Paths with TSAback to top 
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As the Transportation Security Administration continues to eye GA as a security threat, it locked out a group of owners from a through-the-fence arrangement at Florida's Punta Gorda Airport, south of Sarasota. Pilot Larry Hofmeister told us Friday that a group of owners with hangars on private property adjacent to the airport had a good working arrangement that allowed them to taxi from their hangars to a gate into the airport, which they could open by remote control. This week, the TSA halted that arrangement, claiming that it represents a security threat.

Related Content:


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Tomorrow's Aircraft Today (Literally Today)back to top 

Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic are set to unveil SpaceShipTwo, the six-passenger vehicle on which about 300 people have already booked flights to the edge of space. The rollout will be held at the Mojave Spaceport in California's high desert today. Flight tests of the rocket-powered aircraft/spacecraft will begin soon after the rollout. Many of the future space travelers who have committed $200,000 each for the relatively brief journey will be at the Mojave ceremony. More...

Solar Impulse, the aircraft that would fly around the world, day and night on solar power alone, Thursday saw its first successful test flight at the hands of test pilot Markus Scherdel. The "flea hop" was conducted at Dubendorf aerodrome in Switzerland. The aircraft flew at an altitude of about one meter and for a distance of about 350 meters (less than one quarter mile). Program initiator and Solar Impulse president, Bertrand Piccard, confessed that "it's a long way between these initial tests and a circumnavigation of the world." But the team now has controllability, acceleration, braking and motor power tests behind them. According to Andre Borschberg, co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse, this "culmination of six years of intense work" has the team "ready to start the next phase -- the actual flight tests." So far, the aircraft, Solar Impulse HB-SIA, has performed without the benefit of its most essential asset -- solar panels -- which have not yet been connected. More...

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Warranty Date Looms for Recalled Engine Cylindersback to top 

Teledyne Continental says it's still looking for some of the cylinders it recalled earlier this year. In February, it announced that some 9600 cylinders for 470, 520 and 550 engines shipped since November 2007 were susceptible to cracking so the company announced a voluntary recall, promising warranty support for the replacement jugs. However, as of early December, 10 percent of these cylinders are still in the field. More...

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Close Call on Approach Draws FAA's Attentionback to top 

The FAA is investigating an ATC operational error in which two regional jets on approach to Denver International Airport converged within two miles laterally and 200 feet vertically. The incident occurred on November 23. According to ABC News, the two aircraft were being vectored into the arrival stream for DIA, one on the SAYGE SIX arrival, another possibly being vectored to join the arrival. SAYGE is an arrival fix on the procedure and one of the aircraft which had already passed the fix was mistakenly give a clearance to proceed "direct SAYGE." More...

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Wrestling with the Future (Part I)back to top 

The FAA has approved technical and operational standards for ADS-B equipment, which means (among other things) that manufacturers can now move forward with products that provide pilots with conforming Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast hardware. Next up, the aviation community should expect the FAA's final rule by April 2010 and that should define a mandate for ADS-B (out) equipage in controlled airspace by the year 2020 ... provided the system is up and running by then. Your aircraft will not need to receive the information provided by ADS-B; it will just have to send it out. As it is, ADS-B ground equipment should have been installed at more than 300 locations nationwide by the end of next year (2010). The areas expected to have first operational capabilities include the Gulf of Mexico, Philadelphia and Juno. One key to progress is NextGen funding and FAA reauthorization. More...

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Wrestling with the Future (Part II)back to top 

As the industry continues to wring its hands about a replacement for soon-to-be-extinct 100LL, an Oklahoma-based modification house says it has a fuel worth looking into. George Braly of General Aviation Modifications Inc. told us Friday that his company has run a promising new fuel in its test cell that's at least 100 octane or better. The fuel appears to have good anti-detonation characteristics and, on paper at least, would be in range of meeting ASTM D910, the avgas fuel specification. So what is this stuff? Braly declined to offer details other than to say the new fuel is based on 95-octane blend stock with an additive that's not lead but that might be obtainable economically through conventional refining processes. More...

"This year the Air Force will train more pilots of unmanned aerial systems than pilots of fighter or bomber aircraft," and the Syracuse Air National Guard Wednesday became the first in the nation to announce it was remotely operating Reaper UAVs in combat around the clock, according to From their Syracuse base (where they used to operate F-16s), the Guard is now flying Reapers -- hauling two 500-pound bombs -- in missions over Afghanistan nearly 24 hours a day and then going home to sleep in their own beds before starting again the next day. That makes the base -- and those homes -- a target of the enemy, according to groups that followed up on the news by coming to the base to protest war. It also completely changes the psychological dynamic of deploying for combat. The pilots at the unit who are currently flying Reapers all have a commercial pilot's certificate, but the Air Force is looking into using "pilots" who have never flown an aircraft from an actual moving cockpit. Training aside, some feel the entire concept raises serious ethical questions. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The European Union has granted EASA approval for Cirrus Aircraft's known ice protection system, allowing flight into known icing (FIKI) conditions. Cirrus says their system "is likely the most extensively tested known ice protection package ever developed for general aviation." The company cautions, however, that the system does not create an "all weather" airplane. The system uses TKS weeping wing technology, applying it through laser-drilled panels on the elevator control horns, the leading edges of the horizontal and vertical tail surfaces, and the wings. TKS fluid is also distributed onto the windshield and propeller at flow rates that can provide for up to 2.5 hours of protection. Operation is integrated with the aircraft's Garmin avionics systems as part of Cirrus' Perspective package. FAA approval was granted earlier this year for both turbo and normally aspirated Cirrus aircraft equipped with the company's optional known ice protection system. Cirrus has been shipping those aircraft to customers all year, and offering additional support. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Power Plant a Good Airport Neighbor

Regarding the story about California pilots protesting a power plant near their airport:

I regularly operate near a non-towered field that has a coal-fired power plant 3.5 miles west of its north-south runway (KVPC). It's really no big deal; just don't fly through the smoke, unless you like the smell of sulfur! I could see the problem if the plant were to be built on the extended centerline of a runway, but in looking at the airport in question this doesn't seem to be the case.

I think these folks should look at the big picture. At least it isn't a subdivision going in there! A power plant (or industrial park, water treatment plant etc.) makes a good neighbor for an airport.

Andy Manning

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

So says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. The TSA's lockout of a group of pilots from the Punta Gorda Airport in Florida illuminates a great longing in this country, and that would be for the government to stop using fear-mongering as a primary tool of governance. Read Paul's commentary and add your own thoughts here. More...

A few days ago, Drew Steketee remembered GA advocate Ed Stimpson on the AVweb Insider blog. Now Paul Bertorelli shares similarly sad news about another often-overlooked voice in aviation that many naval pilots will recognize — Harry Hurt. Click here to read Paul's thoughts and add your own comments. More...

Find the Perfect Gift (Or Sell Your Gift 
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It's time to shop for special gift items and stocking stuffers for every pilot or aircraft enthusiast on your list. Click now to visit AVweb's Holiday Marketplace.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Judging by the latest batch of reader nominations for "FBO of the Week," Florida is a hot destination this time of year. It seems migrating snowbirds are finding the warm smiles and friendly line staff as welcoming in the state as the pleasant temperatures.

To wit: AVweb reader Jesse Farr was recently diverted to Jacksonville Jetport at Cecil Field (KVQQ) in Jacksonville, Florida, and found himself enjoying the change of itinerary:

Thank you to Samantha Fowlkes of Jacksonville Jetport. We tried to go into KJAX and/or KCRG on the 19th, but both were hard IFR with them having some computer problems finding and/or keeping up with those supposedly already in the system that day. They sent us over to KVQQ where it was clear, no traffic, and a very pleasant experience in and out.

We were handled promptly and properly, with some of the greatest courtesy I have seen anywhere from approach, tower, and departure. Samantha outfitted us with a courtesy car and even programmed in a destination on the loaner GPS that went with it. Upon return, we were already fueled at competitive rates and were on the way out very quickly as well.

Facilities were some of the nicest, traffic was no problem, and everyone was nice, friendly, and pleased to see us. Needless to say, next trip to Jacksonville, we will probably go to KVQQ, even if we are going to northeastern Jacksonville.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Heard over northern Florida last night:

Jacksonville Center:
"Airliner XYZ: Turn left, heading 320."

Airliner XYZ:
"Is that a 320 heading for Airliner XYZ?"

Jacksonville Center:
"No, that should be, 'Turn left, heading 230' for Airliner XYZ. Sorry about that. Five out of four controllers are dyslexic."

Airliner XYZ:
"No problem. Five out of three pilots, same thing. Airliner XYZ turning left, heading 230."

Tom Ahonen
via e-mail


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.

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