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Volume 16, Number 52b
December 30, 2010
Lightspeed Aviation || Change Your Mind
Lightpseed Aviation Tops ProPilot's
Annual Headset Preference Survey

For the 10th year of their independently conducted survey, readers were asked to rate aviation headset performance based on six categories — clarity, comfort, technical advancement, durability, product support, and value for price. Coming in second was Bose, followed by Telex, Sennheiser, and David Clark. The entire survey appears in ProPilot's December 2010 issue. For more information about Lightspeed headsets, go to
AVflash! R&D in Actionback to top 

Naval Air Systems Command has tested at Lakehurst, N.J., December 18, use of a railgun to launch an F/A-18E Super Hornet from a simulated carrier deck. Current aircraft carriers use steam pressure to launch aircraft from the short deck of an aircraft carrier. Railgun technology has generally been applied to launching projectiles with enormous speed (up to Mach 7) using electromagnetism instead of explosive charges. The railgun delivers smooth acceleration and can be adjusted to deliver nearly any desired thrust. That matches the Navy's need for a launch system that can be tailored to suit different aircraft of different weights and speed regimes. The technology has bred a new acronym, EMALS, for Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, and its formidable power may also allow the Navy to explore heavier, faster carrier-based aircraft options. The Navy has tested the technology before, but the latest tests mean the technology may soon be put in place and there are already plans to do just that. (Click through for video.) More...

Helm X650 GPS System || Available at
Helm X650 GPS System Available Now at Aircraft Spruce!
The Helm X650 is the first open GPS system designed for aircraft use. Running Windows XP allows the user to install and run the software of their choice in a panel mount or yoke mount configuration. It fits neatly in the avionics stack, utilizing a snap-in mount that maintains the unit's portable status. The X650 is perfect for any aircraft, and it never gets old; simply install the latest software, and it is like a new GPS all over again. Call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or visit
Trials by Fireback to top 

Since its first flight back in February, Boeing's biggest-ever aircraft, the 747-8, has been undergoing intensive flight testing, some of which is quite extreme. "Some people may even call it abusive," says Mark Feuerstein, Boeing's chief test pilot for the big freighter. "It certainly requires a lot of forethought to execute some of the maneuvers." One of the more challenging tests requires the crew to drag the airplane's tail along a runway, which is somewhat tricky. "It's a balance between being forceful and being gentle," says Feuerstein. "We want to be forceful to get the plane's tail moving down towards the runway, but of course we want to be very gentle when we set the tail down." The maneuver, known as the velocity minimum unstick test, is critical to determine the lowest speed at which the freighter can take off, Boeing said. More...

A solar-powered aircraft developed by QinetiQ has claimed the absolute duration record for time aloft for an unmanned aerial vehicle, the company said last week. The Zephyr UAV flew for over two weeks -- 336 hours, 22 minutes and 8 seconds -- on its first flight, in July, beating the former record set by a Global Hawk UAV by a factor of 11. The Zephyr is designed to provide a low-cost communications and surveillance platform. "This aircraft can help track pirates off the Horn of Africa, alert the authorities about where and how fast forest fires are spreading, and ensure that soldiers' communications remain unaffected when fighting in mountainous or hilly terrain," said QinetiQ chief designer Chris Kelleher. The Zephyr flew its record-setting flight at above 70,000 feet, setting an altitude record for its class. More...

EDM 830 from JP Instruments || Technology 
That Works
JP Instruments Cash Rebate Offer:
Don't Leave the Ground Without Us!

JPI, the EDM & Fuel Flow leader, is running an incredible rebate offer, directly for AVweb readers. Outfitting your aircraft with our EDM monitor is like having a flight engineer aboard every flight. Back on earth, download your in-flight data with our no-cost EZTrends software to spot any future problems. From the classic EDM 700 to the bright-LCD EDM 830, nothing compares to the accuracy and quick response of JPI Systems. Click here for more info.
More Stories from the Crystal Ballback to top 

The FAA needs to address ongoing problems that could "impede NextGen implementation in the mid-term," according to an assessment by the Transportation Department's inspector general. The report (PDF), released last week to members of Congress, cites the "cascading effect" of failures in the $2.1 billion En Route Automation Modernization tool, the backbone of the FAA's flight-data processing system. ERAM has been experiencing software problems and delays in going online, and costs will likely escalate by another $70 million to correct the flaws, according to the report. Meanwhile, the FAA continues to struggle with financial challenges, as Congress last week passed another bill to extend current funding for just three months, to March 31, 2011, failing to commit to a long-term plan. More...

Small electric aircraft could solve the transportation problems of the near future by providing quick hops between neighborhood airports, according to a presentation at the Future of Electric Vehicles conference held earlier this month in San Jose, Calif. The "pocket" airports could support 120 operations per hour, limited to small air-taxi vehicles only, while occupying only two acres in urban areas, said Brien Seeley, president of the CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) Foundation. Ideally, the small aircraft would take off in less than 100 feet and achieve energy efficiency equivalent to 200 miles per gallon. "The [travel] gridlock we face now is going to get worse," Seeley said. "This is a form of insanity ... We need to travel in 3-D." More...

'Night Operations' || Take This Safety 
Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety Institute (ASI)
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Safe Pilot?
Challenge yourself with the Air Safety Institute Safety Quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.

Quiz Topic: Night Operations
Flying at night can be a magical experience: The air is usually smoother, and the view can be breathtaking over well-lit terrain. But night flight has its own risks, ones that call for additional planning and skills. Click here to put your skills to the test with this safety quiz.
What Did You Do Over the Holidays?back to top 

A new rule penalizes carriers for leaving passengers stuck in aircraft on the ground for more than three hours, but egregious snow storms Tuesday left 28 flights at JFK stuck on the ground away from the gate -- one for nearly 11 hours. Snowfall in the New York City area reportedly exceeded rates recorded for the last six decades. The rule enacted this April states that airlines can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger when delays keep passengers stuck on an aircraft on the ground for more than three hours, but there are exceptions. Flights that begin or end outside the U.S. are excluded from the rule. Tuesday at JFK, aircraft clogged gates so carriers sent buses out onto the tarmac to retrieve passengers from flights that threatened to break the three-hour rule. Pre-emptive flight cancellations (when airlines cancel flights to avoid the possibility of a fine) likely also played a role and may have added to system-wide delays. While no fines have yet been levied for 12 flights already being investigated for delays this year, the new rule has resulted in a quantifiable impact reported delays among U.S. carriers. It has also made the rule's exceptions all that more apparent. More...

Avemco Insurance Company
Calm, Cool & Protected
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

The traffic alert and collision avoidance systems used in thousands of aircraft need to be upgraded, the FAA said this week, to prevent them from missing targets in high-density areas. During a flight test, a TCAS unit built by Aviation Communications & Surveillance Systems (ACSS) dropped several aircraft tracks because of interference limiting, the FAA said. The dropped tracks could "compromise separation of air traffic and lead to subsequent mid-air collisions," according to the proposed airworthiness directive. The fix will cost about $3,000 per airplane, the FAA said. The units are installed on about 7,000 aircraft operated by U.S. airlines and more than 1,800 business aircraft, an FAA spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. More...

Light sport airplanes are generally considered to be for fun flying, but a fire department in Ecuador this week took delivery of a Flight Design LSA to use as its aerial support unit. Hugh Cobo, leader of the Air Volunteer Fire Department in Bomberos de Cuenca, said he chose the CTLS as the department's first airplane because it met the required needs for safety and performance while keeping costs low for acquisition and operation. "The aircraft will certainly improve the fire department's response capability, giving more and better information about different emergencies," Cobo said. "As the Cuenca's Fire Department supports other fire departments in the region and nationwide, the CTLS will be a helpful tool we can depend upon." More...

AirShares Elite, a fractional ownership company that maintains a fleet of Cirrus SR22 aircraft in 19 U.S. cities, is offering a new wrinkle in the frax market for its big customers. Owners can now book multiple aircraft simultaneously in different cities. "This can be particularly advantageous for national businesses, as a customer with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta could fly an airplane in all three locations at the same time, yet they only have to pay for a fraction of a single plane," AirShares founder David Lee said in a news release. 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.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."


GAMI - General Aviation Modifications, Inc. 
|| Engineering the Future of General Aviation
Over 19,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air ratio in each cylinder so that each cylinder operates with a much more uniform fuel/air ratio than occurs with any other factory set of injectors. To speak to a GAMI engineer, call (888) FLY‑GAMI, or go online for complete engineering details.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

FlightPrep isn't just taking on RunwayFinder in its patent enforcement lawsuit. It's taking on the whole aviation community — and that could be a big fight. On the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles explains why it may be time for FlightPrep to rethink its patent enforcement strategy. Read more and join the conversation. More...

What's better — pottering around the pattern yourself in a J-3 Cub, or watching your student nail his landings on a turn runway? On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli suggests it's a toss-up. Read more and join the conversation.


Trace Towbots
Safely Move Your Airplane — By Yourself! — With the Trace Towbot
The remote-controlled Towbot allows a single person to safely move aircraft from any vantage point, minimalizing risk of damage to your aircraft. The Towbot is custom-built to accommodate many different aircraft. For more information on the towing capabilities, configurations, and pricing for the Towbot, visit

E-mail David at david [at] or call (432) 618‑2687 to order your Towbot today! Mention this ad and receive $350 off your purchase.
15 Years, 15 Grand Giveawaysback to top 

2010 is disappearing in the rearview mirror, and over the course of AVweb's 15th year of publishing, we gave away 15 prizes valued at least $1,000 each to our readers in celebration. It was our way to say "thank you" for your support, and we look forward to the next 15 years of covering aviation for you. Click through for a complete list of winners. 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.
We Ask, You Answerback to top 

We've asked this a couple of times before, but we think it's worth asking again whether the advances in electric aircraft design are making you think in that direction. Could your next airplane be electric?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about ADS-B subsidies — who's getting them and who (if anyone) should get them. Click through for a breakdown of the answers. 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...

Light Plane Maintenance Toolbox CD
Is Your A&P Keeping Secrets?
Learn to recognize maintenance issues and take action before they turn into something big. The Light Plane Maintenance Toolbox shows you how.

Click here to order now.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

You can't legally fly an NDB approach in the clouds using a GPS unless it says "or GPS" in the title. But there's nothing that says you can't practice VFR what it's like to fly an approach with a bearing pointer and no moving maps. Come along with IFR magazine editor-in-chief Jeff Van West and see how to make your glass cockpit (or portable GPS) go retro to fly an old-school NDB approach just for the fun and proficiency of it. More...

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...

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 


Nothing warms the heart like the tale of a good FBO stepping up to take care of pilots during the holiday season. Fortunately for us, AVweb readers filled our stocking with such tales this week — and here's one of our favorite.

Josh Johnson headed over the river and through the woods to visit family in Nashville, Tennessee this holiday and discovered our latest "FBO of the Week," Corporate Flight Management at John C. Tune Airport (KJWN):

As part of my flight planning, I called the FBO to see what their holiday hours were; I was told 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! I don't see that often anymore!

Upon arrival, I was greeted with a golf cart to carry our bags from the tiedowns to the terminal building. We departed at 8:00pm to beat some weather on the way home, and it was an absolute pleasure to have flight planning and restrooms available. Mike Jr., one of the ramp agents, was in the flight planning room and offered to go retrieve our airplane so we wouldn't have to carry our infant son so far in the cold. An excellent experience — and, for a big city, their prices were not much higher than my home airport!

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 

Jake Bell of Danville, Kentucky snuck up to "look in the back door of the DC-3 Bones [when she] stopped by for fuel on the way to the Last Time DC-3 reunion at Oshkosh this past summer." Little did Jake realize that his glimpse into the past would make him a future "POTW" winner. 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.