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Volume 15, Number 52b
December 31, 2009
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Top News: FAA Rolls Up Sleeves on Training Reformback to top 
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Are today's airline pilots, churned out by "pilot mills" that train to minimum standards, up to the task once entrusted to ex-military pilots with millions of dollars worth of intense and highly competitive training? That's one of the questions raised by a four-part series this week in The Buffalo News, an exploration prompted by the fatal crash there early this year of Colgan Air Flight 3407, in which 50 people died. As recently as 1992, about 90 percent of new hires at the airlines had military backgrounds, according to Tuesday's installment, while today that figure is about 30 percent. But whether any of that translates into a safety issue is unclear. "The kind of skills you get flying into bad weather into Buffalo you don't necessarily get flying in a fighter plane," one unnamed airline pilot, who did not come from the military, told the News. The series looks into how pilots are trained today, and the difference in safety between the major airlines and the regionals. The FAA is expected to issue proposed new rules for commercial pilots sometime in 2010. Click here to read parts one, two, three, and four of the Buffalo News series. More...

406 ELT GPS from Aircraft Spruce
ELT406 GPS Is Now Available Exclusively from Aircraft Spruce!
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. has presented the first ELT with internal GPS approved for general aviation. Along with the 406MHz emergency signal, Copas/Sarsat satellites will read your specific GPS location during a crash. The GPS automatically updates every 15 seconds and upon activation bursts a five-watt signal within 25 meters every 50 seconds to the Global Satellite System. Search-and-rescue will be notified of your location within minutes. Made in the USA. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit
Zodiac Owners Informed, Prepared, Says EAAback to top 

When the FAA issued a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin in November that effectively grounded some Zodiac aircraft until they were modified, that bulletin did not apply to amateur-built airplanes, although at least one of the aircraft that had been involved in a fatal crash apparently involving aerodynamic flutter was amateur-built. This week, EAA published the results of a survey of Zenith 601 XL and 650 kit owners that aimed to gauge their awareness of the SAIB, their awareness of the service directive/safety alert issued by the manufacturer, and their intent to comply with both. The results, EAA said, showed that owners/builders are aware of these developments, and 84 percent of those who responded to the survey are planning to incorporate the safety directive into their project, with a large majority voluntarily grounding their aircraft until modifications are completed. These results show that the homebuilt community is proactive about safety and self-regulates when needed, EAA said. Marc Cook, editor of Kitplanes, said his experience conforms to EAA's results. "This survey aligns with the feedback we have received from Zodiac builders, who seem willing to put safety well ahead of the inconvenience of making the modifications," he told AVweb. "One builder we spoke with called the proposed changes 'a huge job,' but felt that they absolutely should be completed." More...

Remos GX
Precisely Engineered for Your Flying Experience: The Remos GX
The Remos GX is changing aviation. The culmination of legendary German engineering, best-in-class performance, and industry-leading safety features, the Remos GX combines the best of tomorrow's aerospace technology with the simplicity of your love of flying. Innovative design and technically superior, yet uncomplicated and easy to fly, the Remos GX handles all the equipment you and your companion will need in an affordable, flexible, and fun flying experience. Click now for details ( or call 1 (877) REMOS-88.
Overseas Ground Schoolback to top 

You might not think that Marines in Afghanistan would have much free time, but even under stressful conditions of deployment, 15 Marines are taking advantage of a chance to complete a free private pilot ground school and work toward passing their FAA knowledge test. Capt. Gabriel Glinsky, who is a CFI and the pilot of a V-22 Osprey, volunteered to teach the ground school when about a dozen members of his squadron expressed an interest in learning to fly. Glinsky asked AOPA to help out, and staffers there collected a variety of plotters, flight computers, VFR sectionals, and other training aids to ship abroad. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation, Rod Machado, and Gleim Publications all pitched in to provide books and reference materials. The tried-and-true printed materials were preferred for use in the field, where Internet connections and computer access can't be taken for granted. "The amount of support that we have received is way more than anything that we could have hoped for," Capt. Glinsky said. "We will do our best to keep GA strong, even halfway around the world." More...

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Tomorrow's Aircraft, In Development Todayback to top 

It looks like a flying fish -- or maybe the ambitious techno-art project of a geeky undergrad -- but the beautiful lighter-than-air unmanned aircraft built by Sanswire Corp. is a serious project meant for commercial and military use. The airship, with its unique flexible, segmented design, flew for the first time this month, in Stuttgart, Germany (click here for the video). Piloted remotely through a ground control station located on site, the STS-111 UAV hovered and performed several ascents and descents. David Christian, CEO of Sanswire, said, "We are convinced that the segmented design of the STS-111 and its long-endurance fuel-gas-powered propulsion system addresses unique security needs that require extended-duration station-keeping." The ship can stay aloft for more than two days, he said, giving it an advantage over fixed-wing drones. "Our goal is to offer commanders another way to reconnoiter without putting personnel at risk while providing a more efficient acquisition and operational cost to the end user," Christian said. More...

The folks at Sonex have announced that they successfully tested the PBS TJ-100, a Czech-built small jet engine, on board their SubSonex single-seat aircraft, and they plan to begin flight tests soon. The aircraft was displayed at EAA AirVenture this summer with a different jet engine, a small Heward design derived from radio-controlled model aircraft technology, but the new TJ-100 is a full-featured production engine. The new engine has many advantages over the original choice, according to Sonex, including a dedicated oil system that eliminates the need to pre-mix engine oil with fuel, high-quality components, and pre-wired instrumentation and throttle control for "plug and play" installation. The change in engine type made it possible to accelerate the project's timeline. The test aircraft was modified to accept the TJ-100 with a new engine mount and modifications to the electrical and fuel systems. The engine tests were conducted on Dec. 18, comprising three runs with power settings up to 100 percent. Click here for a video of the tests. First flight will take place following an FAA airworthiness inspection and is dependent on cooperative weather, which is scarce this time of year at the Sonex base in Oshkosh, Wis. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

AOPA says it's following with interest the case of Super Cub allegedly stolen by a homeless man from a neighboring hangar at the organization's home airport at Frederick, Md. "The Frederick airport, headquarters of AOPA, is a big proponent of Airport Watch," Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs, said in a report on AOPA Online. "AOPA will be following the developments of this investigation and will work to ensure future security practices prevent this type of act." AOPA co-sponsors Airport Watch with the Transportation Security Administration and often points to the widespread participation in the program when the TSA starts talking about beefing up GA security. In fact, it appears someone was watching at FDK at 2:30 a.m. Dec. 28 when it's alleged that Calvin Craig Cox started the Cub, a tow plane owned by the Mid Atlantic Soaring Association, and taxied it out of their hangar, which a member told AOPA was always kept locked and showed no signs of forced entry. More...

It's doubtful that increased security for airline travel will prompt a run on business aircraft but the Christmas Day attack on a Northwest Airlines flight may highlight the benefits of private air travel, according to a story in The Wichita Eagle. The Eagle quotes airline consultant Richard Mann as predicting that increased inconvenience in airline travel will push business people to private aircraft. "I think if we see much more of the sort of response that we saw in this Detroit incidence, we're going to see a resurgence in business aviation," he said. But those in the business aviation industry said history doesn't support that view. More...


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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.

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Take the 'Nontowered Airport Ops' Safety 
Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Safe Pilot?
Challenge yourself with the Air Safety Foundation's Safety Quiz Nontowered Airport Ops.
No tower? No problem. Safe operations at nontowered airports rely on procedure.

Click here to take this quick, interactive 10-question quiz now.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Paul Bertorelli has been reading commentaries and going over the timeline of last week's terrorism attempt onboard Northwest Flight 253. Face buried squarely in his palm, there's only one conclusion he can reach in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog: We've become a nation of boobs. Read more and add your own comments. More...

Rediscover Jet City!
Make King County International Airport/Boeing Field your flight destination! Conveniently located just 5 miles from downtown Seattle, KBFI is positioned in the center of the growing economy of the Puget Sound region, serving as a hub for business travel, private jets, and general aviation travel. Partner with aviation experts when you fly to Seattle. Make your destination King County International Airport/Boeing Field! For more information, visit online.
So That's What We Think; How About You?back to top 

The new year is upon us, and we'd like to know how many of you plan to fly more this year, how many plan to taper off, and how many are making drastic changes (i.e., giving it up).

Plus: Last week, we cast our vision toward the future and asked how many AVweb readers plan to buy LSAs at some point. Click through to see how they answered. More...

Diamond Aircraft
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Come along for the ride as Kyle Franklin explains his entertaining Super Cub comedy act and Ben Wabknoski goes flying. Franklin makes it look easy — but trust us, it's anything but. More...

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

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...

Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Tango One Aviation at Falcon Field Airport (FFZ) in Mesa, Arizona.

AVweb reader Dick Stich brought the "super people [and] good service" at Tango One to our attention. If you'd like to see your favorite FBO recognized here, then take a moment to nominate them here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday! For complete contest rules, click here.


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Christian Mogensen of Rochester, Minnesota helps send 2009 soaring off into the horizon with a photo that both reminds us of the past — AirVenture was fun, wasn't it? — and looks toward the future — OSH2010 will be here before you know it! Click through for our usual year-end reflections and notes. 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.