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Volume 16, Number 9a
March 1, 2010
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Top News: User Fees Have (At Least) Nine Livesback to top 
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New aviation user fees aren't in the Obama administration's budget, but they still may be packaged elsewhere, AOPA's Lorraine Howerton told AVweb Thursday. Howerton is AOPA's vice president of legislative affairs, and while she said AOPA's efforts had created some breathing room, the country's fiscal woes may become a serious influence on future funding decisions. As the budget deficit soars, legislators are under increasing pressure to shrink federal spending wherever possible. Currently, the general fund for the FAA is down 30 percent, said Howerton. She added that the decrease may translate into a greater draw on the Aviation Trust Fund, and that draw may in turn drive legislators to seek alternate forms of funding -- potentially, user fees. There are other concerns.

Related Content:

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
FOI, BARR Meet Head-On in Courtback to top 

A federal court has ruled that the FAA must release aircraft registration information previously kept secret in a special program if it receives a Freedom of Information request. For about 10 years, private aircraft operators have been able to have their N numbers "blocked" from outside scrutiny under the National Business Aviation Association's Blocked Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program. In late 2008, a non-profit investigative journalism Web site called ProPublica submitted an FOIA request to the FAA to release the list of BARR participants, claiming the owners of the aircraft were using the program to prevent public scrutiny of their use of the aircraft. The FOIA request came shortly after the Big Three automakers made headlines by using corporate aircraft to travel to Washington to ask for federal bailouts. NBAA went to court to block the release of the information citing security concerns, but on Friday a D.C. district court ruled the FOIA requests must be honored; it did not extend the order to include real-time requests for information on aircraft. More...

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Safety & Securityback to top 

The TSA says it will review Joseph Stack's Feb. 18 crash of his Piper Dakota into an Austin IRS office building and apply its findings to its future anti-terrorism decision-making, USA Today reported Friday. "It may simply be a confirmation that, for very small planes, you're not going to see a lot of casualties. Or there may be something else we're unaware of," John Sammon, TSA assistant administrator, said. A law enforcement official familiar with the Stack investigation told CNN last week that investigators were trying to determine if Stack had removed seats from the plane and replaced them with one or more full fuel containers. In Stack's case, the building suffered impact and significant fire damage while he and one person on the ground were killed, and more than ten others were injured. The TSA says it will collect information from the FBI, and other agencies' investigations into the Austin crash, to develop an understanding of the damage to property and people that could potentially be caused by similar intentional acts. The review may be the first of its kind involving a private aircraft to be performed by the TSA. More...

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman told the Senate Thursday that measures are needed to ensure pilots are better trained and better rested before they fly. "If we are serious about aviation safety, we must establish a system that minimizes pilot fatigue and ensures that flight crews report to work rested and fit for duty," Hersman said in testimony. Hersman delivered her speech on the subject of aviation safety more than one year after the fatal crash of Colgan Air's Continental Connection Flight 3407 near Buffalo. Meanwhile in Buffalo, Thursday, a report in the Buffalo News noted that the pilot of Flight 3407 had slept the previous night in the airline's crew room and suggested that backward progress had since been made. According to the article, Colgan has "come up with a way of making it more difficult for pilots to do that. It's ordered the lights to be kept on in its crew rooms." Hersman's full comments continued on the broader subject of crew rest and expanded to crew training, ranging from remedial work to stall training, to the NTSB's most wanted list. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The Civil Air Patrol launched nine aircraft in Hawaii Saturday to warn coastal residents of an impending tsunami. The wave was formed by a magnitude 8.8 earthquake off the coast of Chile and resulted in tsunami warnings for much of the Pacific Ocean from Russia to Australia. The quake hit about 3:34 a.m. Chile time and by 6 a.m. local time CAP crews in Hawaii were in the air. "Eighty percent of the shoreline in Hawaii does not have a fixed base siren," said Hawaii Wing Commander Col. Roger Caires. "CAP aircraft are the only resource for issuing tsunami warnings, via a speaker system attached to the outside lower portion of their plane's fuselage. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Developer Jeff Edwards has scheduled a March 17 meeting to discuss his unsolicited plan to turn Oceano County Airport, near San Luis Obispo, Calif., into a non-airport property. Meanwhile, Bill Robeson, a city planner who works with the city's Airport Land Use Commission, told that when it comes to closing the airport, "none of the hearing bodies for the county are considering it." But Edwards, a private land planner, sees "enormous potential" for the nearly beachfront property that he says could translate into "significant cash flow to the county if they were to close the airport and lease it for development." He has advertised his upcoming meeting through a press release, has invited representatives from San Luis Obispo County and candidates running for local positions, and said "the public is encouraged to attend." Oceano operates a 2325-by-50 foot paved runway and is home to 13 aircraft (10 singles and three ultralights). The facility serves transient pilots and its land-use plan estimates 12,500 operations per year. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

If you don't think this is a problem, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, you haven't flown much. Anyone who finds themselves seated next to a 300-pounder should reasonably expect the airline to intervene. The expectation that you have to share a third of your seat with someone else is just wrong. Click here to read Paul's take on the Kevin Smith/Southwest brouhaha and chime in with your own thoughts. More...

Is every airport managed as poorly as Paul Bertorelli's local base, Venice Municipal? Thankfully not, says Paul — but plenty of airports are similarly under siege by anti-noise and anti-aviation interests. In a post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul explains why the only way to fight these interests is to get involved with local politics. Click here to read more and share your own experiences. More...

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
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...


Letter of the Week: Privacy Before Justice

This is the state of our insane judicial system. In the story "Pilot Wins Appeal Over Health Record Disclosure," this "disabled" pilot blatantly lies multiple times on his pilot's certificate renewal paperwork so he can get what he wants, flying illegally, possibly jeopardizing innocent lives while he is taking medications.

But, when he is caught, he sues on a claim that his privacy was violated. To one federal agency, he discloses his HIV condition so that he can milk money from SSA for being disabled; to the FAA, he lies that he is perfectly healthy so he can fly.

Once you disclose info to a government agency, where is privacy? After shopping his lawsuit to enough courts, he finds one that awards him money from the government for a violation of privacy.

Terry Adams

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


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New on AVwebback to top 

New aviation user fees aren't in the Obama administration's newly released budget, but there are real reasons to think they might appear elsewhere, says AOPA. More legislation (like the FAA reauthorization bill) is still in the pipeline, and with the nation's current fiscal condition, anything can happen. Lorraine Howerton, AOPA's vice president of legislative affairs, explains why the threat's still there — and what you can do about it. More...

The crash of a rare and historic English Electric Lightning MK T5 on November 14, 2009 was unique for the history of the model and the renown of its pilot, Dave Stock. Here AVweb compiles historic video and actual event footage to review the event that saw both Stock and the aircraft lost. More...

JP Instruments has developed a new line of digital engine monitors. Here's a brief video report. More...

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.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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This week saw more AVweb readers telling us about their favorite FBOs via our online nomination form — which makes us feel good about traveling around North America, but it makes picking an "FBO of the Week" a little more difficult. After some thoughtful consideration, we decided to award our latest blue ribbon to Starlink Aviation at Montreal, Québec's Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (CYUL).

AVweb reader Keith McLellan is a regular visitor to CYUL and reports that he has "tried all the FBOs on the field," but he's not settled on Starlink as his homebase-away-from-home, "and for good reason," he writes:

Zoran Bratuljevic and his hand-picked staff of professionals are the best anywhere! The guys and girls at Starlink are very sharp, courteous, friendly, and truly sincere in their efforts to take care of your needs. [G]reat service, a nice facility with all the amenities you want, a well-trained and friendly staff, and competitive pricing for all services. I highly recommend them! Oh, and just FYI, how many FBOs offer a late-model BMW as a crew car?

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!


Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS 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 March 12, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Rod Anson of Camperdown, Victoria (Australia), who won 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points! (click here to get your own Rewards Points from Air BP)


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Overhead on SoCal Approach frequency near a busy Southern California airport last year:

"SOCAL, Cherokee N12345 is with you, with X-ray for the ILS to 26R."

"Roger. N12345, fly heading 280 and descend to 3,000."

"SOCAL, N12345. We have a problem. We seemed to have lost our squawk code. Can we have another one?"

"N12345, would you look around the cockpit? Sometimes stuff falls on the floor."

Bill Kelsey
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.