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Volume 16, Number 50b
December 16, 2010
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AVflash! Flight Planning After the Online Patentback to top 
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AOPA and Jeppesen, two of the largest players in the online flight planning business say a patent obtained by FlightPrep doesn't affect their products and they are not willing to discuss it. In a statement released Wednesday, AOPA says it will not meet with FlightPrep to discuss the patent and it will be business as usual for the product it provides. In fact, there's a new version coming out in a few weeks. FlightPrep didn't directly comment on AOPA and Jepp's reaction and had this to say. "FlightPrep has been in contact with Tom Haines and AOPA regarding our patent and online planner technology since 2007. FlightPrep is a small Oregon-based business that is a proud AOPA advertiser, AOPA Summit participant, and our staff are proud members of AOPA as well as AOPA political action supporters" As we reported in Wednesday's AVwebBiz, RunwayFinder, a popular online flight planning site, shut down in the face of a lawsuit from FlightPrep. More...

RunwayFinder, a popular online flight planning website, announced Tuesday that it was shutting down in the face of a lawsuit from FlightPrep, an Oregon company that successfully patented online flight planning almost a year ago. RunwayFinder developer Dave Parsons said he had hoped to reach a licensing deal with FlightPrep which included the dropping of the lawsuit, which claims damages of $3.2 million per month from RunwayFinder. FlightPrep did offer RunwayFinder a temporary free license while it negotiated terms of a permanent one but Parsons said the lawsuit was a deal breaker. He said FlightPrep arrived at the $3.2 million figure by multiplying the number of unique visits his site receives each month (22,500) by the $149 annual subscription cost for FlightPrep's service. FlightPrep calls the resulting $3.2 million "lost revenue." Parsons said FlightPrep wouldn't drop the suit so he's closing the site, which is used by other sites as a source for information for their own products. In a podcast interview with AVweb, FlightPrep Vice President and General Manager Ross Neher said it's not his company's goal to shut down sites or otherwise disrupt aviation services but RunwayFinder ignored written notification of the patent enforcement. He said taking Parsons to court was a last resort and the only option open to his company under the circumstances. More...

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In the News This Weekback to top 

Fifty years ago, Dec. 16, the midair collision over New York City of a United Air Lines DC-8 and a TWA Super Constellation became the worst aviation disaster to date; it's since brought regulatory change and today it will be recognized, again. The crash killed 128 people on both aircraft and six more on the ground. At least 10 buildings were destroyed in Brooklyn where the DC-8 fell. The Constellation crashed down on the grounds of a military base on Staten Island. The accident has been cited as launching the first major investigation in which flight recorders were used to provide extensive insight into operations prior to the crash. It led to speed limits for aircraft operating under certain conditions and reporting rules for malfunctions of navigation or communication equipment during IFR operations. All aboard both aircraft were lost and unidentified remains were buried at Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery. The cemetery will today unveil an 8-foot granite monument in recognition of the victims. More...

Of all the possible careers out there, being a commercial pilot is one of the 50 best choices, according to a recent report by U.S. News. The list was based on data from the U.S. Labor Department, showing which occupations are likely to add jobs at an above-average rate over the next decade, while also providing an above-average median income. The editors said they also talked with industry experts, gathering anecdotal evidence about employment prospects and job satisfaction. Median income for commercial pilots in 2009 was $65,840, and employment is expected to grow 19 percent through 2018, adding 7,300 new jobs, according to the report. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Boeing's Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system took a ride aboard NASA's 747 shuttle carrier on Monday, for a 50-minute test flight, marking the first time the 747 has carried any aircraft other than the space shuttle. The flight was a shakedown prior to moving the drone from St. Louis, Mo., to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where it will undergo further ground and taxi tests before first flight early next year. The big UAS, measuring 36 feet long with a 50-foot wingspan, was introduced in May by Boeing Phantom Works after two years of development. The vehicle is designed to test a variety of advanced technologies for surveillance and reconnaissance as well as weaponry. It is also capable of autonomous aerial refueling. More...

Oil prices reached a record $147.27 per barrel in 2008 and that helped cripple some airlines; now, the U.S. is considering new rules that would curb speculative trading on commodities and Delta Airlines is among those urging strict limits. General counsel to Delta, Richard B. Hirst, wrote the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) saying, "The speculative bubble in oil prices has concrete detrimental consequences for the real economy," according to Bloomberg news. Companies joining Delta in the push for limits on commodities trading believe that the current trading structure creates a system that benefits financial speculators to the detriment of consumers. CFTC appears set to altogether miss, without repercussion, its first action deadline set earlier by the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

It's an ambitious plan, but a group of pilots based at Enstone Flying Club in the U.K. hopes to build a dozen 90-percent-scale Spitfire replicas by the end of next year. The result will be a "living history" squadron of aircraft that will perform at events around the U.K. The Supermarine MK26B Spitfires will be built from all-aluminum kits by teams of up to 12 builders and pilots. Fractional ownership options from one-twelfth to full ownership of each airplane will be available. Builders also can opt to be trained in formation flying skills. The group hopes to have the squadron ready in time to perform at the Farnborough Air Show in 2012. More...

In honor of aircraft designer Burt Rutan's retirement, which he announced last month (PDF), EAA says it is planning a tribute to his work at AirVenture next summer. "Burt is certainly an aviation icon and a pioneering visionary in the homebuilt movement," said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman. Rutan has been attending the annual event since 1971, often introducing new designs there. "Burt has been such an integral part of our convention," said Poberezny. "His designs are a staple on the flightline at Oshkosh." Rutan now serves as chief technical officer of Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif., but said he will retire effective April 2011 and assume the title of Scaled's founder and chairman emeritus. AirVenture 2011 will feature a "Tribute to Burt Rutan Day" on Thursday, July 28, with flying displays, a program at Theater in the Woods, and various special events. More...

'Decoding the Weather' || Take This Safety 
Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI)
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Challenge yourself with the Air Safety Institute Safety Quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.

Quiz Topic: Decoding the Weather
In the age of Google, we're still using coded weather that dates to the teletype era. However, pilots still need to be able to decode this ancient form of communication. Click here to put your decoding skills to the test with this safety quiz.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Reuters says Dassault Falcon is eyeing a major manufacturing presence in China as a way of tying up 40 percent of the said-to-be burgeoning market for business jets in the country. Reuters says the New Jersey company is negotiating with the Chinese government-owned AVIC to either set up shop in China or work on the development of an indigenous Chinese business jet. "There should be a decision in 2011/12. We will then know, yes or no, whether we will collaborate more seriously with them," Reuters says Dassault Falcon Chief Executive Jean Rosanvallon told La Tribune in an article to be published on Wednesday. Reuters says Dassault believes that in the long term China will be home to 3,000 business aircraft and he hopes to sell $500 million worth there in 2011. More...

The tax bill now working its way through Congress will help to boost manufacturing and restore lost jobs in the general aviation industry, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said this week. The plan will also provide tax benefits to companies that invest in business aircraft, according to the National Business Aviation Association. Businesses will be allowed to expense 100 percent of their investments in new capital assets through Dec. 31, 2011, retroactive from Sept. 8, 2010, plus claim a "bonus" depreciation allowance of 50 percent during 2012, said NBAA. In addition, the bill extends the research and development tax credit for two more years, says GAMA. "These proposals are extremely well-targeted to create jobs, stimulate innovation, and get production lines moving again at manufacturing plants," according to GAMA CEO Pete Bunce. 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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

There's not much point in worrying about the Chinese hollowing out U.S. aerospace manufacturing, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. They've got a lot of money to invest, and a lot of it is coming to the U.S. For Mobile, that could translate to actual jobs; for the industry at large, it could be a fast track diesel development that might not have happened otherwise. Read more and join the conversation. More...

A recent news report listed commercial pilot as one of the "top jobs for 2011." On the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady sees where that's true — and where it's not. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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We Ask, You Answerback to top 

FlightPrep's online flight planning patent could change the landscape of internet-based flight planning. Would you sit up and take notice if it did? This week, we'd like to know how often you use an online flight planner.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about the increasing privatization of space travel; click through to see how your fellow readers answered. More...

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...

Bonus Depreciation Stories and Resources 
Fantastic Pricing and Tax Incentives make 2010 an ideal time to buy or upgrade an aircraft. We've compiled special offers on new or used planes, avionics, engines and more on the resource page. The pricing, rebates or incentives are available to everyone. Consult your tax advisor regarding the potential bonus depreciation benefits, and check our resources page for stories, podcasts, and videos related to bonus depreciation.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Everyone complains that light sport aircraft are too expensive, but Kitfox is doing something about it. AVweb recently went to Homedale, Idaho to try out Kitfox's new moderately priced LSA. Here's a full video report. More...

Light Plane Maintenance Toolbox CD
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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Where has the time gone? Our 15th anniversary year is almost over, and that means we've come to our 15th (and final) "Grand Giveaway." If you haven't already, register for one final chance to win — as we give away a Garmin aera 510 handheld GPS. All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You must be a registered AVweb user; if you've entered any of our previous 15 Grand Giveaways drawings, you'll automatically be considered for the aera — no need to enter again.)

Remember: We won't rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can enter this final 15 Grand Giveaways drawing. (We won't spam them, either — but do we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time Sunday, December 19.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Robert Yocum of Blain, Pennsylvania, who won an iFly 700 GPS from Adventure Pilot in our previous giveaway! (click here to get your own iFly 700)


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 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Executive Air Transport at Muskegon County Airport (KMKG) in Muskegon, Michigan.

AVweb reader Alex Anderegg recommended the FBO for its "excellent service (baggage help, fuel, courtesy car, catering, charter services, etc.)" and told us the folks at EA Transport "deserve to be 'FBO of the Week' because of their deep commitment to great customer service and pilot training."

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!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

That's right, kids — not every DC-3 is an air show attraction; some are still working for a living. John King of Auckland, New Zealand was pleased to be able to experience this view of the South Pacific without any digital manipulations — just the skilled work of "three good pilots (Keith Mitchell and Alani Fonua in the DC-3, Craig Emeny in the camera [plane] BN2A Islander)."

Attention, AVwebbers! If you're planning on sending us pics of your plane decked out in holiday lights, giving Santa a ride, ferrying fresh-cut pines, or sporting a menorah, try to get them in to us by Monday, December 20. We'd love to run them in next Thursday's installment of "POTW" before we head over the river and through the woods to grandma's hangar. 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.