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Volume 16, Number 41a
October 11, 2010
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AVflash! Rules and Reactionsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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East Conference (AAMME) || December 6, 2010 || Dubai, UAE || Register 

A group representing instrument-rated private pilots in Europe is hopeful that new unified standards for all IFR operations can be implemented without causing undue hardship for those who now fly under FAA certificates. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Jim Thorpe, vice chairman of PPL/IR Europe, said negotiations between the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the FAA toward standardized licensing requirements have failed and EASA's controversial move to make its own standards mandatory by 2012 is part of the process toward achieving the unified standard. FAA certificates are currently accepted in Europe and many pilots there fly on them because FAA standards require much less dual and ground school than those in Europe. He said the rules currently being proposed are intended for commercial pilots and he's hopeful a less onerous approach will be taken for the relatively few IFR-rated private pilots in Europe. More...

The FAA is set to propose a broad set of rules intended to improve the safety of helicopter operations that would require additional equipment, training and communications, bring changes to flight rules, and much more. The FAA's proposals cover air ambulance, commercial helicopter, Part 91 and Part 135 helicopter operations. They attempt to specifically reduce accidents that involve controlled flight into terrain, obstacle collisions, night accidents, and those due to inadvertent flight into IMC. All commercial operators would have to equip their helicopters with radio altimeters. Helicopters carrying medical personnel would be conducted under Part 135, which means they would include applicable flight time and rest requirements, and load manifests. And the FAA intends to raise VFR weather minima and require additional VFR flight planning. The rules are set to be published on October 12. Click through for early access. More...

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Casson Speak on OurPLANE Agreementsback to top 

The CEO of OurPLANE says the company is following the bankruptcy process to the letter. Graham Casson also told AVweb that all OurPLANE clients were given the legal means to protect their investment when they signed the five-year shared-use contract. Dozens of OurPLANE participants have come forward in recent days claiming they were not repaid for their share of the aircraft sold at the end of the five-year term. But Casson said the contract contained a clause that allowed clients to file an FAA lien against the aircraft and those who exercised that right have been refunded the secured amount. Those who did not file the liens have been named creditors in the bankruptcy. Casson said it's "unfortunate" there were clients who lost their investments but the company provided them with the legal means they needed to protect their money. "I can lead a horse to water...," he told AVweb. Casson wouldn't say if there was money left after the secured creditors were paid or what happened to it. He did, however, note that the market for used Cirruses is weak and he put their average value at less than $200,000, less than half the original purchase price. Casson also told AVweb that the demise of OurPLANE has nothing to do with his participation in a relatively new venture called Exclusive Jetz, a jet management company that currently looks after four Embraer Phenom 100s. Casson declined to discuss the structure of Exclusive Jetz or the level of his participation in it. Meanwhile, clients who appear set to lose their money in the bankruptcy are organizing. More...

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California Flight Schools: Legal Wrangling Continuesback to top 

A controversial law that opponents fear could have imposed new and potentially crippling fees on California flight schools and flight instructors may now be held up for further consideration thanks to legislative action, Friday. The concerns arose from SB 48, a bill passed earlier this year that authorizes the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) to regulate flight training "without input from the industry," according to the National Air Transportation Association (NATA). It was intended to protect students, but "would require flight schools to pay multiple new administrative fees and open their books to regulators," according to AOPA. Language included in SB 856, which was passed Friday by the California legislature, would delay mandatory compliance with SB 48 until July 2011. The new bill would also allow the California legislature to reconsider handing oversight of flight training to the BPPE. But there are still more steps to take. More...

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Speaking of Training ...back to top 

The Colombian Air Force (CAF) successfully flew its latest training aircraft, a Lancair kit-built design called the Synergy, for the first time last month, setting it among a handful of designs ever assembled in Colombia. The Synergy is a fixed-gear, two-place, side-by-side, Lycoming IO-390-powered design similar in appearance to the Lancair Legacy high-performance kit-built aircraft, but with a larger wing and tail. It was created as the result of a partnership between Lancair and the CAF. The test flight reportedly went well and the aircraft performed to expectations. The CAF plans to build and fly two more examples before year-end and complete the remainder of its 25 aircraft Synergy fleet by 2012. More...

Critical Aspects of Aerospace Governance 
Workshop || November 10, 2010 || Seattle, WA || Register Now
Aviation Training Workshop on the Current
Governance Issues Facing Aerospace to Be Held in Seattle

This Aviation Training Workshop will focus on current governance issues facing aerospace. It will explore emerging trends in corporate liability in governance issues, ideas, innovation, wrong doing, poor ethics and how governance is affected, survey of current methods to address data capture, analyzing ideas, innovations and reports of wrong doing, methods to test veracity, severity and frequency, classifying data gathered and workflow issues, and convincing regulators your system is robust. Learn more.
News Briefsback to top 

SpaceShipTwo, the spacecraft that will take paying passengers to the edge of space, had its first manned free flight Sunday, dropping from the launch aircraft mothership Eve 45,000 feet above the Mojave Desert. Owner Virgin Galactic said the spacecraft, now named VSS Enterprise, glided to successful landing 11 minutes later at the Mojave Air and Space Port in the high desert of California. On board were pilot Pete Siebold and copilot Mike Alsbury. Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson was on hand in Mojave with his trademark enthusiasm in full force. "Now, the sky is no longer the limit and we will begin the process of pushing beyond to the final frontier of space itself over the next year," Branson said. All gushing aside, there were some substantial practical accomplishments achieved with the flight. More...

The FAA Friday released a Safety Alert to address "risks in transporting lithium batteries in cargo by aircraft," noting that UPS Flight 006, a 747 that crashed on Sept. 3, was carrying large quantities of lithium batteries. Fire was reported on the UPS flight but the FAA notes that a cause of the crash has not yet been determined. The crash destroyed the aircraft and killed the crew. The FAA has found that lithium metal batteries are not only "highly flammable and capable of ignition" but also possess destructive explosive potential. The agency says Halon 1301, the fire suppression agent found in Class C cargo holds, "is ineffective in controlling a lithium metal cell fire" and lithium metal battery explosions can lead to "rapid fire spread" in cargo compartments. Lithium-ion batteries are somewhat different. They can exhibit the same thermal runaway as lithium metal batteries, but the FAA says Halon 1301 is capable of suppressing lithium-ion battery fires. The FAA's alert offers recommendations that are limited to batteries flown in cargo holds and do not apply to batteries carried by passengers or crew. The FAA is considering courses for further action. 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.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Normally, we're the first to squawk about heavy-handed and unnecessary FAA regulation, but the agency's proposed rules to tighten down EMS operations is probably a good thing, especially if it gets the industry thinking out how these services are used and, unfortunately, overused. Paul Bertorelli has more thoughts on the AVweb Insider blog. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Paul Bertorelli has been blogging about instructing and maintaining proficiency in a taildragger. But the NTSB's accident data shows many pilots can't land anything, much less something with a wheel at the back. The solution is simple, says Paul on the AVweb Insider blog: Don't get an instructor; go practice — and do it regularly. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Where the Manfacturers Stumble?

Regarding the story about Piper laying off workers:

I have been in the aircraft sales industry since 1975. Not just Piper but all aircraft manufacturers have lost sight of what they are supposed to be marketing. The manufacturers are no longer in the airframe business but have moved to the avionics business. They no longer offer affordable aircraft for those who want a single-engine, four-place, entry-level machine.

For example, when I started selling the Piper Archer, a single-engine, four-place aircraft, fully equipped in 1978, they where $38,000. Today, if you look at a new Archer, it is equipped with an avionics package that is way overkill for the aircraft's capability and starts around $300,000. It is not just Piper; it is all airframe manufacturers. The focus is on turbo-prop and single-engine jets.

Sure, you can make as much money selling one jet as you can ten single-engine aircraft. However, there are few people who can afford or fly the jet. You have to start with basic aircraft and move people up. If the manufacturers don't wake up, they might as well close the doors and look for another career right now. I know the cost of construction is up for an airframe, but why not leave some of the overkill avionics as an option and start selling aircraft again?

I moved away from the new market and went to the clean, low-time, moderately equipped used small aircraft, and there is still a market, even with the current economy. I have been a regional sales manager for an airframe manufacturer and operated my own aircraft sales company. So I have had a look at aviation from several viewpoints.

If anyone can ever get the attention of the manufacturers, the buyers are out there.

Don MacGregor

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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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb reader Bob Klee recently benefited from top-notch service at London-Corbin Airport (KLOZ) in London, Kentucky — and that's why we're naming the facility at L-C our "FBO of the Week." Bob wrote:

[I] called them to say I might not be able to get there before they closed on a Sunday night [and asked], if possible, could they leave a hangar open and keys to the courtesy car hidden somewhere for me. John stayed till I arrived at 7:30, led me to my hangar and helped me with my stuff! ... I've always had good service here, but this was above and beyond. [There are] always friendly, helpful people at this small airport, and they deserve to be recognized. They just flat understand putting the customer first!

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

The European Aviation Safety Agency is proposing rules that will certainly change the way those with FAA certificates and N-registered aircraft will exercise their privileges. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Jim Thorpe, vice chairman of PPL/IR Europe, a group that represents private pilots with IFR ratings, about the potential impact of the rules and how the burden may be eased.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

Airplanes are clearly a passion for the Thomas family, and they're pretty handy with a video camera and editing software, too. Steve and his wife Tina own Poplar Grove Airmotive, a full-service maintenance shop at Poplar Grove Airport (which they also own) in Illinois. Their personal aircraft are a Waco SRE, a Beech 18 and a Brunner-Wingle Bird, and they paid tribute to their airplanes this way. More...

Chuck Aaron is an FAA-certified aerobatic helicopter pilot. And he flies for Red Bull. The helicopter is a modified Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO-105. Aaron can be seen flying at Red Bull events. More...

Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win a Lightspeed Zulu aviation 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 October 15, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Ronald C. Hanna of Independence, Oregon, who won our last prize, a PMA6000B audio panel! (click here to get your own from PS Engineering)


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


A student pilot was doing touch-and-goes at Sioux Falls Regional Airport (South Dakota) and had just completed his third one.

"Piper 123, what are your intentions?"

Student [after a long pause] :

Larry Vetterman
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.