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Volume 16, Number 4a
January 25, 2010
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Top News: NASA's Puffin the Real "Flying Car"?back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Three Things You Should Never Say to ATC 
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It looks like a collaboration between Yves Rossy , the Martin Jetpack, with a little Buzz Lightyear thrown in but NASA says its Puffin "personal flying suit" could someday whisk its occupant from a standing start to 30,000 feet on 60 horsepower of battery power. The device uses two rotors to vertically lift and then propel the occupant at speeds up to 120 knots. The concept was unveiled at a meeting of the American Helicopter Society Jan. 20 by Mark D. Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA's Langley Research Center. Before you start making room in the garage, however, there's a serious side to the whimsical device that will keep it in military hands, at least for now. More...

It's just a computer concept, but what a fun idea. An electric motor-powered single-man carbon fiber aircraft that can take off and land like a helicopter but also fly at 300 miles per hour — that's convenient and practical flying and motivation to become a pilot. Of course, it's flying now ... only on your computer screen. AVweb's Glenn Pew takes you on a tour of NASA's demo video. More...

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U.S. Sport Aviation Expo Sebring: Video Round-Upback to top 

Click for videos
The air show season opened on a high note for 2010 with a healthy turnout of both exhibitors and patrons at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla. The four-day show wrapped up Sunday and AVweb's Paul Bertorelli and Jeb Burnside were there to capture the highlights on video. The first five videos are now ready for viewing and there will be more in coming days as we continue to review what has become an integral part of the air show calendar in its few years of existence. More...

Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all. Visit
Flight Planning (And Law) in the Computer Ageback to top 

An Oregon company says it's received a patent for online flight planning. FlightPrep says the patent was originally filed in 2001 and was finally awarded Dec. 29, 2009. "FlightPrep's Online Planner is recognized for the ability to display charts and routes interactively from data stored on an Internet server. The invention cites the ability for the user to interactively modify routes without requiring the download of the entire chart after each change," the company said in its release. "The patent also covers the ability to receive flight plans from an Internet server as well as the ability to file flight plans generated by an Internet server with a travel regulating agency." It sounds a lot like any of the dozens of others of online flight planners available, but FlightPrep isn't commenting in detail about what effect, if any, the patent will have on the other flight planners. More...

It's a Great Time to Buy (And Finance)!
With low prices, motivated sellers, big tax incentives, and historically low interest rates, now is a great time to buy! For new and used aircraft from piston-single to light-jet, AirFleet Capital can fix your low rate loan for up to 20 years. Please call (800) 390-4324 or request a quote online at
Airline Safety, Also in the Age of Machinesback to top 

Boeing's latest 747, the 747-8, has new computer systems that "may allow the exploitation of network security vulnerabilities resulting in intentional or unintentional destruction, disruption, degradation, or exploitation" of critical systems, according to the FAA. In short, the FAA is making sure that Boeing addresses the possibility that the jets, which can be configured to hold 400 passengers, could be hacked. The issuance of special conditions is not unusual when the FAA is presented with the task of certifying new technologies in aircraft and the FAA's specific concerns regarding the 747-8 were published in the Federal Register. That did, however, stimulate some concern in various corners of the online community. (As it had previously when similar special conditions were published regarding the 787.) The special conditions seek to ensure that Boeing takes action prior to certification to satisfy the agency that the aircraft's systems are protected from unauthorized external sources, even during maintenance. Toward that end, it has requested that Boeing identify and assess potential electronic system security threats and create systems that adequately protect the aircraft from those threats. More...

JA Air Center - Your Source for the Garmin 
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Emergency Search Underway, Details Still Uncertainback to top 

Search and rescue crews worked into the night Saturday, searching for a plane that they're not sure crashed in the mountains near Stanford, Calif. Confused early reports appear to suggest that two distress calls were made: one, pre-crash via radio; the other, post-crash through 911. In one of those communications, the caller stated that the pilot was unconscious. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told The Associated Press Saturday that a person radioed the initial call over "an emergency air traffic frequency" around noon on Saturday. A separate report in the San Jose Mercury News stated that a person believed to have been in the plane called 911 after the crash. Rescue crews searching three counties had found nothing by the time we went to press, Sunday. More...

AERO Friedrichshafen || Europe's Foremost 
Trade Show for General Aviation
AERO Friedrichshafen Is Europe's Foremost Trade Show for General Aviation
Besides major decision-makers and multipliers of the industry, AERO attracts thousands of aviation enthusiasts each year in the scenic city of Friedrichshafen, Germany — home base of the famous Zeppelins. As a trend-setter and driving force in the industry, AERO not only showcases the entire range of GA products and services, it also offers significant added value in the form of future-oriented supporting events. Go online for complete information.
Grounded (Again)back to top 

74-year-old Teddy Ernest Mayfield has been ordered by a U.S. District Judge to pay a $2,000 fine and not to "operate, construct or repair aviation equipment" without permission after piloting an aircraft 26 years since the last time the FAA revoked his certificate. The flight took Mayfield from Eugene to Independence, Ore. According to a report in the Register Guard, of Eugene, Ore., Mayfield first had his (then) student pilot certificate revoked in 1967, when he illegally flew with a passenger. In 1982 he lost his certificate for multiple violations, including failure to disclose his criminal history on a medical form. In 1994, Mayfield spent four and a half months in federal prison for multiple flights that he piloted without a certificate. And in 1995 he was found criminally negligent in the deaths of two patrons of his former skydiving school after the FAA determined he'd improperly packed their parachutes -- and after the deaths of 13 other people at the jump center. Mayfield spent five months in prison for that. More...

AERO EXPO EUROPE 2010 - Prague, 28-30 May 
|| AERO EXPO UK 2010 - London, 25-27 June
AeroExpo UK: 25-27 June 2010
Established, proven, and successful! It is the exhibition to attend in the U.K., whether you are interested in learning to fly or are already a pilot and want to view the latest products available! Showcasing ALL sections of the market, including the latest aircraft available — from light aircraft, or pistons and turboprops from all the major manufacturers, to gliders and power gliders; AeroExpo UK at Wycombe Air Park (EGTB) has them covered.

Click here for more information.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 


Letter of the Week: Security and Planespotting

As a freelance writer and photographer, I am increasingly dismayed over FBOs who forbid me to take pictures that reveal N-numbers of aircraft on their ramps. They tell me there are concerns with security. On most occasions when the aircraft pilot is within earshot, verbal permission from that person is enough to bypass the FBO's rule not to show N-numbers, but often the pilots and aircraft managers forbid it as well.

I find this recent restriction alarmingly intrusive in not allowing me to position myself to reveal the beauty of the bird in view. Since anyone with a camera and good memory or note paper and pen can learn details of most any registered aircraft in the U.S. with a few clicks on the Internet, I wonder why such restrictions are imposed, and I wonder how I can convince pilots, owners, and managers to permit photographers, especially those experienced and known to key local administrators, to take pictures of aircraft from any angle at all. Reader feedback is welcome.

Job Conger

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


We recently used the term "crash landing" to describe an off-airport landing in New Jersey — and the letters came in about it. AVweb's Glenn Pew explains what we were thinking and why we occasionally write with the layman in mind in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

WingX GPS-Enabled Terrain-Aware Moving Map for iPhone!
Just released — Moving Map for your iPhone! Also: File flight plans and obtain and view legal weather briefings. View any NACO chart or airport diagram — entire USA stored right on your phone. A/FD, AOPA Directory, Route Planning, FARs, Animated RADAR, METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures aloft, TFRs text and graphics, an E6B, and much more. WingX is also available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Click here for more information.
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...

Aviation Consumer is conducting a survey to hear your experiences with engine overhaul shops. Whether the experience was propulsion bliss or aggravation of a new order, please take a couple minutes to let others know how it went. Your response will help inform an article on engine shops for Aviation Consumer magazine. Click here to participate. More...

What Do You WANT to Fly? || Research - 
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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Best Rewards 
in the Business

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Aero Premier Jet Center at Lakefront Airport (KNEW) in New Orleans, Louisiana.

AVweb readers Bill and Linda Coltharp arrived at Lakefront under less-than-ideal conditions:

... [A]t night, in the rain and clouds, after the tower was closed, [we found] the Aero Premier angels waiting for us. They hangared our plane (not a jet), helped unload our luggage, called a taxi and had it drive into the hangar so we wouldn't get wet, [then they] helped load the taxi — all with genuine friendliness. When we returned two mornings later, as planned, the airplane was on the flight line all ready. Our special thanks to Bethany on the desk, and the extremely helpful Clay, Admond, and Rolando. What a great experience!

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!


Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win a Bose Aviation X headset as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time Friday, January 29, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


While IFR on Orlando approach:

Orlando Approach:
[Calls for Aircraft 1234. Gets no response.]

... [long pause] ...

Orlando Approach:
[Calls for Aircraft 1234 again. Once more, there is no response.]

... [another long pause] ...

Aircraft 1234:
"Orlando, this is 1234. Go ahead."

Orlando Approach:
"Look, I know we don't exchange birthday cards, but you could at least answer me when I talk to you!"

Paul Scott
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.