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Volume 16, Number 26a
June 28, 2010
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AVflash! More from the Fuel Frayback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Worried about lack of progress in finding a replacement for 100LL avgas, the Malibu/Mirage Owners and Pilots Association and other owner groups have asked AOPA to step in and ask the FAA to approve accelerated fuel testing procedures. In a report to the group's members, M/MOPA's Jon Sisk said AOPA President Craig Fuller has been asked directly to pressure the FAA to approve the STC process as one means of rapidly testing potential 100LL replacement fuels. The agency has done this before under Advisory Circular 20-24B (PDF), but it has stalled one recent request from General Aviation Modifications Inc. to allow its proposed G100UL to be tested in a limited fleet trial via STC. Click through for much more detail.

Related Content:


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Need More Worry in Your Life?back to top 

A Transportation Department Inspector General (IG) report dated June 18 found "serious security lapses" in systems that the FAA uses to store pilots' personal information, including medical data. Information collected from roughly 465,000 current medical certifications is just the tip of the iceberg. The IG says the FAA's Internet-accessible Medical Support System (MSS) holds records for more than three million airmen, past and present. The IG listed names, addresses, Social Security numbers and other "personally identifiable information" as information "not properly secured." According to the report, the system's vulnerabilities allow for the "potential falsification of medical certificates," and more. "Failure to encrypt sensitive personal identifiable information and control remote access to MSS," says the report, "places airmen at unnecessary risk of identity theft, jeopardizes the integrity of the medical certification process, and increases risks of attacks on departmental networks." The FAA is responding and the IG believes the FAA's current and planned actions will positively address the IG's concerns in most cases. More...

Space scientists say that solar storms are on the rise and do cause problems for satellite-dependent systems like GPS and ADS-B. So, if you're wondering if there's anything to worry about, the short answer is, "yes," but there are caveats. Scientists at NASA's heliophysics division and NOAA's space weather prediction center told AVweb the storms can -- and have -- temporarily shut down certain GPS capability and are likely to (read: will) do it again. While that's not likely to happen very often, the challenge of predicting or identifying those moments (which can last days) and effectively communicating the threat to end-users (pilots) is not easily met. With more pilots relying on satellite-based systems during demanding modes of flight, the stakes are high. Joe Kunches is a space scientist at NOAA who works with industry stakeholders to define and understand their space weather needs. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Kunches Friday to determine the nature of the threat, our current defenses, and what the average pilot can do about it. (Hint: Don't throw out inertial navigation, VOR, or DME just yet.) More...

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Something New, Something Old, A Little of Bothback to top 

There haven't been a lot of new aircraft introduced at AirVenture Oshkosh in recent years but a French company says it will have the soon-to-be-flying prototype of its unconventional canarded pusher design at the big show. Cobalt Aircraft Industries will unveil the Co50 at a news conference at AirVenture July 28. The aircraft will compete in the high performance piston single category and will be powered by a twin turbo TCM TSIOF-550-D2B mounted midships and turning a tail-mounted pusher prop. It predicts a 245-knot cruise at 25,000 feet on 25 gph and five-place configuration with a useful load of 1213 pounds. Empty weight of the composite airframe is 1,867 pounds and the tanks hold 109 U.S. gallons. More...

Sportair USA has announced itself as the U.S. importer and distributor of a new LSA, the iCub, which it touts as a "classic taildragger" that starts under $100,000 and includes a "panel mounted iPad aviation information center." The iPad comes loaded with software that includes the WingXpro7 GPS-enabled terrain-aware moving map, ForeFlight Mobile HD and ForeFlight Charts, and the iHUD (EFIS) and MotionX GPS HD. Sportair says the iCub is also equipped with "backup analog" instrumentation. The aircraft itself is manufactured by Zlin Aviation, now operating from the Czech Republic. It turns a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS sipping from a full 18 gallons of fuel (24 with optional larger tanks) and requires 280 feet to become airborne and 265 feet to stop. Sportair says the iCub has a 565-pound useful load and offers a Bush iCub version for rougher field work. More...

The Commemorative Air Force's (CAF) B-29, dubbed FIFI, is scheduled to take flight later this month, retaking its crown as "the world's only flyable B-29" after four years on the ground, CAF announced Friday. The flight is planned for 8 a.m., Tuesday, June 29, 2010, out of the CAF Airpower Museum, at Midland International Airport, and it will showcase the plane's unique new engines. CAF is inviting visitors to come witness the event. Doors will open at 7 a.m. CAF will allow visitors into the museum's main hangar to watch the crew prepare the historic bomber for its latest "first flight." They'll then escort viewers to a safe area to witness the aircraft's takeoff. The moment will come with great thanks to CAF's member-volunteers whose efforts will have made it all possible. Four years was a long absence from flight, and there was good reason for it. More...

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Look, Up in the Sky! (It's Not a Bird, It's a Plane)back to top 

The FBI says it's perfectly normal for agents to call air traffic control towers and ask that aircraft be diverted for safety reasons. Whether or not they're towing banners over a major golf tournament mocking its marquee player is irrelevant, the Bureau claims. It was confirmed on Friday that the FBI agent made the call as a Cessna pulling a banner that read "Tiger: Are You My Daddy?" flew legally over the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Calif., June 20. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told the Monterey County Herald the agent asked tower personnel to order the aircraft away from the event. "We said there were no flight restrictions in place so the pilot was free to fly near or over the course provided he abided by the applicable Federal Aviation Regulations," Gregor said. FBI spokesman Joseph Schadler told the newspaper the call was made out of concern for the safety of the thousands of people crowding the course for the tournament in case the airplane (which was either over the water at 500 feet and above or at 1,000 feet above the course) had to make an emergency landing on the course. "In all seriousness, we don't care about what might be on the banner," he said. "Our concern is the safety of the people on the ground." More...

On March 13, 2010, the Diamond DA40 piloted by Joseph Kirkbow flew low enough over Crystal Beach, Texas, to snag a fishing line, snap a fishing pole and blow off a man's hat, twice (on separate passes), according to the FAA. The FAA says in its subsequent emergency revocation order that witnesses saw the pilot smile or laugh each time he made a pass that caused people on the beach to duck. But, according to the FAA, upon learning that he could be in trouble he phoned one of his two passengers to tell her that, if anyone asked, she was "never on that plane." The FAA listed 21 findings in the revocation order that read like a laundry list of things the FAA does not want you to do in an airplane ... because most of them are. Based on that, the FAA determined "an emergency exists related to safety in air commerce," in allowing Kirkbow to remain certified. And based on his demonstrated "lack of qualification" to hold an airman's certificate the agency issued its emergency order of revocation on June 16, which we now offer as educational reading for pilots. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

For the past two weeks, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli has been mouthing off about the lack of industry progress toward a 100LL replacement fuel. We asked him to put up or shut up, so in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, he is. He's offering to personally pay the travel expenses for any one member of the Coordinating Research Council or the industry's FAST Fuels Committee to actually look at GAMI's G100UL run in the test cell and to also fly with the fuel. Maybe then someone can tell us if this stuff is real or not. Can't do that unless you actually look at it, right? See the blog for details. More...

IFR's Jeff Van West watched the unveiling of Cirrus Aircraft's new turbo model at the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association annual migration last week and was left wondering: Why? This new model leaves some important questions unanswered, especially for buyers thinking they're buying something they might not actually be getting. Click here to look back over the history of the turbo Cirrus with Jeff and share your opinions in the comment thread. More...

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

AVMAIL: JUNE 28, 2010

Letter of the Week: Federal Miscommunication Commission

Regarding the FCC's proposal to ban 121.5 MHz ELTs: What a classic case of lack of coordination with other agencies like state highway patrols.

In February, our EAA Chapter 1445 at Casa Grande, AZ had as our guest speaker the chief of the Arizona highway patrol aviation section. The thrust of his talk was on their contribution to aviation search-and-rescue. I quote what he said, and it makes a lot of sense: "Due to budget constraints, we at the Arizona Highway Patrol will not be upgrading our aircraft to the new standards in the near future. Therefore, we will continue to use the 121.5 frequencies."

He didn't have a list but said many other states have the same problems, and he recommended pilots continue to use 121.5.

So now the FCC comes up with this new rule, obviously having not coordinated with other agencies like state highway patrol aviation sections which, in most cases, next to the Civil Air Patrol, do the lion's share of search and rescue. Unbelievable.

Dale Basham

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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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

Space scientists tell us that solar storms are on the rise and affect satellite-dependent technologies like GPS and ADS-B — there is something to worry about. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Joseph Kunches, a scientist at NOAA's space weather prediction center, to determine the nature of the threat, our current defenses, and what the you can do about it. More...

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

AVweb's Glenn Pew finds some of the web's most popular footage and takes a look behind the visual and auditory phenomena created when machines "break" the speed of sound. More...

Cirrus is out with a new version of the SR22, the SR22T, with a TSIO-550-K groundboosted turbo system. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a demo flight in the new airplane with Cirrus's Matt Bergwall. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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The Cessna Pilots Association descended on North Carolina en force for their annual CPA Get-Together, and quite a few of them were impressed with the friendliness and efficiency of services at Oak Island's Brunswick County Airport (KSUT).

Dave Williams was the first CPS member to nominate KSUT, but he was followed by about a dozen others throughout the week who sung the praises of an FBO that "handled a whole flock of CPS fliers like it was an everyday event" (Daryl Medd), "wrote the book on hospitality and service" (Jim Epting), and offered "better services at their self-service pumps than most do at full-service!" (Ed Abrams). For his part, Dave told us how "Howie Franklin and his crew provided us with the best service and hospitality an FBO could offer. All of our wants and needs were handled quickly and professionally. Thanks, Howie!"

And that sounds like a top-notch operation deserving of recognition as AVweb's "FBO of the Week"!

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!


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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win a Zaon PCAS XRX 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, July 16, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Richard Kemp of Canton, Georgia, who won an AV8OR handheld GPS in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from Bendix/King by Honeywell)


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The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

While cruising through New York's class B airspace on a busy Friday evening I heard this:

"New York departure control, Cherokee One Two Three Four Five off Teterboro: 1,000' climbing to 3,000'."

New York Departure:
"Cherokee One Two Three Four Five, why are you squawking 3012?"


"Umm. I don't know, sir."

New York Departure:
"Cherokee Three Four Five, 3012 is the altimeter setting; you're supposed to be squawking 4020."

"Roger, New York. Squawking 4020."

Lin Weeks
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.