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Volume 16, Number 51b
December 23, 2010
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AVflash! Rain, Rain, Go Away ...back to top 

Flooding in Southern California Wednesday closed Corona airport, the west coast hub of nearby aircraft parts supplier Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, and immediately affected roughly half of the 393 aircraft based on the field. By Wednesday afternoon, water on the airport was waist-deep near the west end and airport businesses and officials were busy moving all partially submerged and threatened aircraft to higher ground. Responding to calls from AVweb Friday, Aircraft Spruce said its operations were unaffected. They were, of course, turning away all fly-in business. Calls to Corona's airport manager were directed to an emergency line with a recorded message. As of Wednesday at 2:25 pm the message stated that the airport was closed until further notice due to water on the runway. Rain was expected to end, Wednesday, but there was still another threat. More...

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On Vacationback to top 

When President Barack Obama visited Hawaii for Christmas 2009, it practically shut down general aviation on the island of Oahu for two weeks, but this year the temporary flight restriction is much less onerous. Last year, flight schools were shut down and tour operators were grounded, costing the locals about a half-million dollars in lost business. This year, the FAA, the TSA and the Secret Service worked with the General Aviation Council of Hawaii to craft a less-restrictive plan (PDF) that will allow local pilots to keep flying. A 10-mile zone around the Obamas' Kailua vacation home will be closed to GA, but outside of that, flights will be allowed, with certain restrictions. For example, flight plans must be filed for every flight, and flight schools will have to provide names of students and flight instructors to the TSA. More...

The Bahamas is the first country outside the U.S. to welcome sport pilots, even those using just a driver's license as their FAA medical, and this month a group of about 18 aircraft were the first to make the flight. The pilots launched from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Dec. 10 and spent the weekend in the islands, enjoying plenty of blue skies, sunshine, and a group rate at a local resort. The first stop, in Bimini, is only about 90 nm from FXE, but various preparations are required, including passports and life vests for all on board, and of course, paperwork. The Bahamas welcomes tourism, and offers a lot of support to pilots to help make your trip simple and trouble-free. For example, a "private pilot bill of rights" posted on the country's official website spells out restrictions on fees and paperwork to help ease the way to enjoying the islands' attractions, and group fly-ins are organized once a month. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Boeing's February delivery date for the first 787 will likely be pushed back at least to May and possibly to August or later, according to recent news reports citing opinions from industry analysts and company employees. Boeing is expected to announce the delay by the end of this month. Problems with the 787's Rolls Royce engines, as well as the electrical fire that grounded the test fleet last month, have raised questions about the airplane's readiness. A high-ranking FAA official warned Boeing that the company must prove the airplane is reliable before it will be certified to fly across oceans or over the northern polar route, the Seattle Times said. "This program is not like anything we've seen," one veteran 787 employee told The Times. "It's a screwed-up mess." Boeing officials told the Times that although the program has been challenging, they expect to overcome the airplane's problems and deliver a product that meets expectations. More...

The crews of two Navy helicopters that suffered $500,000 in damage and became YouTube sensations when they were accidentally dunked in Lake Tahoe in September are facing consequences, the Navy said Wednesday. The two MH-60R "Romeo" Helicopters from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 based at NAS North Island, San Diego, were returning from an airshow at Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento when they flew over the lake, which is not a normal naval training area. According to early reports, the Navy's investigation found the inadvertent dunking "was entirely preventable" and "lack of flight discipline and lack of command oversight" contributed to the accident. So far, the crews reportedly will not face "punitive" action, "but specific administrative measures" will be applied, according to the LA Times. And, for some of the crew, those measures may be extensive. More...

Prop Strike? Contamination? Lightning 
Strike? When the Unexpected Requires Engine Teardown, Rely on TCM 
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Do You Think He Uses an Online Flight Planner ... ?back to top 

Santa's sleigh has been updated with new satellite-based NextGen technology, the FAA said this week. The upgrade will allow Santa to deliver more toys to more children with improved safety and efficiency, according to the agency. "Santa's cockpit display will help improve his situational awareness by showing him and his reindeer flight crew their precise location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "NextGen will help make this an extra-safe Christmas Eve." As it does every year, NORAD will track Santa's progress around the world on Christmas Eve on its website. This year, you can also track Santa on your mobile phone via Google maps on Christmas Eve; just search for "Santa" to see his latest location, NORAD says. More...

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


Letter of the Week: ADS-B a Bargain

I am tiring of reading about all of the complaints regarding the implementation of ADS-B, funding, and who gets what. The latest blurb in your newsletter about business aviation and [the] airline industry requesting funding from the government to equip their fleet of aircraft is just plain ludicrous. Who better has the funding to equip their fleets than these people? What about the general aviation fleet of all other types of aircraft? I don't hear any loud voices suggesting that the government pay for their equipment also.


I have been flying up and down the East Coast with ADS-B for more than six years in my aircraft, and I can tell you that it is the best thing that has come along in a long time, and the weather service and text messages are free also. When has anything like this ever been free for aviation? Perhaps all of the other traffic and weather equipment suppliers do not like this, but too bad. The service and equipment they provide don't hold a candle to ADS-B.


Joseph C. Blakaitis

Click through to read the full letter — and others.


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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

The first FAA-conforming HondaJet has successfully completed its first flight, Honda Aircraft Company announced on Tuesday. The flight took place on Monday at about 3:30 p.m. local time at the company's base at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The HondaJet flew for 51 minutes while the crew conducted systems checks and evaluated flight characteristics and performance. "This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program," said Michimasa Fujino, CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. "This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight." The airplane performed as expected, Fujino said. The company said deliveries of the aircraft will start in 2012. More...

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation announced on Tuesday that it has reached a formal agreement with the Kansas state government to stay in Wichita for another 10 years. In return for a $40 million incentive package, the company said it will maintain its current product lines in Wichita and retain at least 4,000 jobs through 2020. "Today's announcement marks a key point in the future of Hawker Beechcraft," said CEO Bill Boisture. "With the acceptance of this agreement, we are committing to be successful as a Wichita, Kansas, and U.S.-based private company and preserving a valued American industry in tomorrow's aviation markets. ... We intend to have the best-trained work force in the industry." The company's future in Wichita had recently been in doubt as it considered an offer to move to Louisiana. More...


Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

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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We Ask, You Answerback to top 

Last week, an aviation panel recommended the federal government subsidize the installation of ADS-B equipment in airliners and business jets. Does that make sense to you?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about their use of online flight planning services; click through to see how they 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 

As Eclipse Aerospace tries to put the pieces together following the bankruptcy of the original company in 2008, it's busily modifying the 259 existing airframes. AVweb recently flew one of the upgraded models with owner David Green. The airplane is fast, comfortable, and a blast to fly. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

He was just an 11-year-old kid from Chicago on his way alone to New York. But when a TWA Connie and a United DC-8 collided over Staten Island, he became known as the "boy who fell from the sky." Fifty years later, commenting on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli associates Baltz's life with a tragedy that reshaped the air traffic system. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Burrows Aviation at Sheboygan County Municipal Airport (KSBM) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

A little mechanical trouble goes a long way toward revealing the quality of an FBO. When AVweb reader Armand Bendersky "flew into SBM in my Seneca II for lunch at their excellent restaurant," he didn't realize he'd be facing a dead battery when he got ready to depart. Here's how it played out:

I called, and Rob came all the way across the airport riding a tug in sub-zero weather. [He] towed me to their main hanger and warmed and charged the plane. Rob and another young man couldn't have been more helpful. They had already arranged for a rental car in the event that I couldn't get the plane started and went above and beyond in service.

Armand already knew Burrows as a reliable destination for good food, but now he knows the service is top-notch, too.

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 

The holidays are upon us, and no doubt many of you are browsing our latest eye-popping photos from the comfort of an easy chair on your shiny new iPad. So let's top off our egg nog and get to it. John Graham of Adams Mills, Ohio calls it "some of the most fun you can have with an airplane" — and given the photographic evidence, who are we to argue? 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.