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Volume 10, Number 03b -- January 15, 2004

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

SO WHERE IS THAT $100 MILLION FOR GA?...
Last month, President Bush signed into law the FAA's four-year reauthorization bill, which included, among many other items, $100 million in relief to GA businesses hurt by the airspace restrictions following 9/11. But, in the words of one Washington insider, nobody should start planning just yet how to spend his or her share of that money. In the Byzantine morass that is our U.S. government, signing that bill into law is not the final step. No, now that the money has been authorized, it next must be appropriated, which is another complex and lengthy process, whose outcome is by no means assured. Surprise, surprise. More...

...A COMPLICATED ANSWER...
Congress (unlike the rest of us) is still in recess, but will be back in session Jan. 20. The appropriations process is high on the agenda, but is nonetheless likely to drag on through the session, and even through the summer. "We'd be lucky to get an appropriations bill passed by October," Eric Byer, director of government affairs for the National Air Transportation Association, told AVweb yesterday. And he acknowledged that getting the money for GA will be an uphill battle. "We've had a lot of good discussions with key members of Congress," he said. "We have lots of support, but with the current fiscal situation, it's tough." More...

...AND AN UNCERTAIN BOTTOM LINE
It is a possibility that Congress could decide to appropriate zero funding for GA, despite the provisions of the reauthorization bill. The upside (no, not really) is that decision would maintain the perfect zero-funding record held by all other GA relief bills that have wandered in and out of Congress for the past two years, but have so far produced no cash in the pockets of business owners. The only assistance forthcoming to GA businesses has been through the Small Business Administration, which offers loans for up to $1.5 million, with terms of up to 30 years at 4 percent, for businesses hurt by the terrorist attacks and aftermath. With the federal deficit inching toward a record half-trillion dollars, prospects for change anytime soon seem remote. More...

LIGHTSPEED ON THE MOVE With LightSPEED's continued success and growth, they are moving to a larger facility in Portland, Oregon. The move should have minimal impact on their pilot customers. LightSPEED apologizes for any inconvenience during this move and appreciates their customers' patience. Should your travels bring you to the Portland area, please stop by for a visit. For LightSPEED models and ordering information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed.

GUNS SCARCE IN COCKPITS...
Heads of European aviation agencies will meet in Brussels tomorrow to discuss whether they want to allow armed sky marshals on commercial flights, but meanwhile, some U.S. pilots trying to go a step further -- carrying their own (approved) weapons in the cockpit -- are finding it a slow and painful process. "The TSA program as it exists now sets up barriers for pilots who want to participate," Brian Darling, spokesman for the Armed Pilots Security Alliance (APSA), told AVweb yesterday. "The program needs to be fixed." Only about 1,000 pilots have been trained so far, Darling said, while about 100,000 airline and cargo pilots are eligible. More...

...AS TSA PROGRAM MOVES SLOWLY FORWARD...
The TSA has apparently disqualified many pilots who apply. "The screening is subjective," Darling said, "and in our view, many qualified pilots are not being allowed into the program." Some pilots also have complained about a lengthy and time-consuming application process, an invasive psychological exam, and the requirement to pay their own travel expenses to the training site, at a remote location in the New Mexico desert. Pilots also pay their own room and board during the weeklong program, while taking unpaid leave from work. The Air Line Pilots Association, however, thinks the program is working just fine, according to spokesman John Mazor. "We're very pleased with the TSA program," Mazor told AVweb yesterday. More...

...AND PUBLIC CALL TO ARMS CONTINUES
An opinion piece by John Lott, of the American Enterprise Institute, ran in the press in various forms last week, on the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, and elsewhere. Lott argues that commercial aviation needs more armed pilots, and quickly. "The Bush administration has done what it can to discourage pilots from even applying for the armed-pilot program," says Lott. And while pilots go untrained, "a cost-effective backup layer of security" is lost, he says. "Air marshals can't do it all." Meanwhile, the TSA has been adamant in defending its training program, saying pilots are "off base" in their criticisms. More...

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CBS NEWS FINDS HOMELAND SECURITY'S WEAK LINK
That would be you, the general aviation pilot. Last night's "Eye on America" report on the CBS Evening News made it clear that a terrifying threat exists -- "Packed with explosives, small planes could be devastating bombs" -- and that GA pilots just don't give a damn -- "vulnerability [is] the price for general aviation's freedom." The report focused on airport communities, where it said, "There are no fences, no gates, no security systems and no federal requirements to have them." Though not cited as inspiration for the segment, Joe Byrd, president of the board of directors at Lakeway Airpark outside of Austin, Texas, told AVweb that CBS news anchor Dan Rather (not featured in the report) keeps property roughly one-half mile away from the airport community ... "as the crow flies." More...

AIR FORCE ACADEMY FLEET GROUNDED
The U.S. Air Force Academy, at Colorado Springs, Colo., has grounded 45 of its aircraft due to safety concerns after inspectors discovered "maintenance irregularities," the Air Force said on Tuesday. The fleet is maintained by a contractor, Doss Aviation, and will remain grounded while Air Force officials review and investigate discrepancies. The grounding affects UV-18s, gliders, motorgliders, T-41s and Cessna 150s. Safety concerns arose following the Jan. 2 engine failure of a UV-18 Twin Otter that was en route to Florida to pick up cadets from a parachuting competition. The Twin Otter had no passengers on board, and landed safely at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. More...

T-34 OWNERS ASK FAA TO RELAX INSPECTION DEADLINE
The T-34 Association has asked the FAA to allow at least a year for any inspection program it might mandate to check the structural integrity of wing spars in the T-34 fleet. The request follows an FAA order issued on Dec. 31 that requires Flight Standard District Offices to perform a "special inspection" of all T-34s in their region within 120 days. The order followed a fatal crash in Texas on Nov. 19, in which two men died in a T-34 Mentor after the right wing separated during air-combat maneuvers. This was the second accident in four years involving a T-34 wing failure in air-combat training, the FAA said. The type club said that both accidents involved "aircraft being flown regularly and deliberately outside the certificated envelope," and the T-34s are safe if flown within their limits. More...

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INFRARED IMAGING SYSTEM OK'D FOR SOME
Max-Viz announced Monday it has achieved the first in a long series of planned FAA certifications of its EVS-1000 Enhanced Vision System (EVS) for helicopters. The Bell 212, Bell 412 and Bell 412EP helicopters have been approved for FAA Supplemental Type Certificates for the installation of the Max-Viz EVS-1000. The company says the product enables pilots to see terrain and other potential obstacles through dust, rain, snow, haze, smoke and total darkness. Max-Viz and its dealers currently hold certifications for the Bell 212/412, CL-601, CL-604, Global Express and Falcon 50. They also have STCs pending for the Falcon 900 series, the Sikorsky S-76, the Pilatus PC-12, Lear 35 and Beech 200. No piston-singles are yet on the list. More...

REALITY (TV) YOU MIGHT ENVY
The BBC on Monday debuted a new reality series called "Spitfire Ace," featuring four young pilots learning to fly the famous World War II-era aircraft. The four-part series follows four aspirants from diverse backgrounds to see if they have what it takes to emulate the heroic achievements of their predecessors, the pilots who defeated Hitler's Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. The series also traces the history of the battle, which is credited with saving Britain from a Nazi invasion, and reminds viewers of the meaning of Winston Churchill's famous remark about the Normandy pilots: "Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." More...

BARNSTORMING MISSION AIMS TO ATTRACT YOUTH TO AVIATION
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced on Tuesday it will sponsor a 20-city national tour flown by Jamail Larkins, a 19-year-old ERAU student who is also a spokesman for EAA's Young Eagles program. Larkins will fly a new Cirrus SR20, and his mission is to get youngsters excited about careers in aviation. Larkins will fly to a different city each week, where he will visit schools, make presentations, and discuss aviation with students. Students will be invited beforehand to write an essay answering the question, "How do you envision the next century of flight?" The winning writer will be given the opportunity to fly with Larkins in the Cirrus. More...

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ON THE FLY...
A Yak-40 airliner crashed Tuesday in Uzbekistan, all 36 aboard died...
Pres. Bush yesterday proposed lunar base, retirement of Space Shuttle...
Solo flyer Gus McLeod to try again for South Pole, perhaps tomorrow. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
What's New -- Products and Services
Each month, AVweb will bring you a quick survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners. This month we have an Ag Plane mod, a flight timer, a new book and more. If you know of a new product or service other AVweb readers should hear about, please send us a note.

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LIMA LIMA FLIGHT TEAM DEPENDS ON OREGON AERO FOR PAIN-FREE FLYING It was often painful for the world-renowned Lima Lima Flight Team to fly long distances for a performance. But the team now uses Oregon AeroTM Complete Aviation Helmet Upgrades, Custom and Portable Seat Cushions, and Oregon AeroTM Shock-Absorbing Insole Inserts. Say members of the team: "We fly with Oregon Aero from head to toe, and we are not only pain-free, but flying is also incredibly quieter!" Check out all of Oregon Aero's products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon.

BUSINESS AVFLASH
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s NO-COST twice monthly Business AVflash? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash also focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must read! Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/

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AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
We received over 100 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Shawn Wolk, of Winnipeg, Manitoba. His photo captures the true essence of winter flying, as this bright yellow aircraft sets up for landing on a snow-covered runway. This photo captured the first flight on skis for a 1932 Pietenpol Aircamper, Canada's oldest flying homebuilt. Great picture, Shawn! Your AVweb hat is on its way. More...

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
We received over 200 responses to our question last week on security-based airline cancellations. The majority (53 percent) indicated the rash of flight delays might have been justified depending on the reasons why this action was taken. On the other hand, 18 percent felt the UK/US governments were justifiably acting in the name of security, while 20 percent claimed there were totally unnecessary and a pure knee-jerk reaction by the various federal agencies.

To respond to this week's question, click here.
This week, we would like to know your thoughts on security at your local general aviation airport. More...

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SPONSOR NEWS

AVIATION SAFETY OPENS DOORS TO SOME TOP TOPICS IN THE FEBRUARY ISSUE
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AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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