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Volume 17, Number 2b
January 13, 2011
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AVflash! PiperSport No Longer a Piper?back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Cannes AirShow || 9-11 June 2011 || The 
Only GA Expo in France

Wednesday, Piper Aircraft Inc., announced that it will no longer be marketing the PiperSport LSA, citing "differences in business philosophies," with Czech Republic-based Czech Sport Aircraft (CSA), the PiperSport's manufacturer. The two companies had worked together for roughly one year in an arrangement that had Piper brand a version of CZA's SportCruiser Light Sport Aircraft as the PiperSport. Piper had created a stand-alone distributor network to market the plane, but now says its long-term interests are best served without ties to CSA. Dissolution of the arrangement had nothing to do with the aircraft, itself. According to Piper, "The aircraft we were distributing is a good one." More...

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Now There's a Way to Grow the Pilot Populationback to top 

A new version of the G.I. Bill, which was signed into law last week by President Barack Obama, could provide funding for veterans who want to pursue flight training, according to AOPA. "This bill is a big step forward for both active-duty members of the armed services and for veterans," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA's senior vice president of government affairs. Effective Oct. 1, flight students may be eligible for up to $10,000 per academic year. However, AOPA noted, Congress will have to pass an additional appropriation bill before any money is made available for veterans, and that may not be easy. More... || We're All New!
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Best Foot Forward, Aviators!back to top 

NBAA and NATA have both responded to claims in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine that private aviation is a "public menace" due to inadequate security safeguards. In his commentary, Atlantic correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg says anyone who is rich enough, including a terrorist, can "buy [their] way out of airport security." Eric Byer, vice president of the National Air Transportation Association, called the piece "outlandish," with conclusions based on the writer's "ignorance of general aviation security." NBAA President Ed Bolen sent a letter to The Atlantic, calling the story "sensationalist." A "host of initiatives" are in place to protect GA against terrorist threats, Bolen said. More...

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The Road to Probable Causeback to top 

Investigators poring over the American Airlines Boeing 757-200 that ran off Runway 19 while landing at Jackson Hole, November 19, have so far found that a bushing was missing on part of the auto speed brake mechanism. During testing, investigators found "no discrepancies" in the aircraft's air/ground, autobrake, and thrust reverser systems. They found the linear actuator of the auto speed brake mechanism had been "improperly installed." The actuator resides in the cockpit pedestal and without the bushing, a cam and switch could become misaligned. The NTSB is investigating system operation with consideration to that condition. The CVR data has been transcribed and will be released when the NTSB's public docket is opened. The NTSB's FDR group has begun the process of mining data and has released some information. More...

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Past and Futureback to top 

The Gulfstream G650 flight-test aircraft recently flew for the first time using only an electrically powered, fly-by-wire backup flight-control actuation system, the company said this week. "There was no difference in handling qualities between the electrically and hydraulically powered modes," said Pres Henne, of Gulfstream. The flight, on Dec. 21, evaluated the electric backup system for over two hours, performing five landings with the system engaged. "It flew so well that unless pilots were told they were in backup actuation mode I don't think they would notice," said test pilot Gary Freeman. More...

The U.S. Navy launched its flight program in 1911, and a number of events will mark the 100th anniversary this year. The official kick-off is set for Feb. 10-13 in San Diego. On Saturday the 12th, hundreds of historic and current Navy aircraft, including the Blue Angels, will take to the skies for a Parade of Flight above Naval Air Station North Island, which will host an Open House for the event. Visitors can view more than 75 historic aircraft displays, take tours of the Navy ships (including the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier), and enjoy live entertainment and food vendors. The event is free to the public, but visitors must carry identification and meet other criteria to enter the base; click here for a PDF with details. Other events planned for the weekend include a kick-off gala aboard the USS Midway museum ship. For more events and details, visit the Centennial website. More...

WingX Pro 7 || Moving Map for the iPad || 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

While it may have seemed like a good time when it was introduced, Maine legislators on both sides of the house now seem unified in getting rid of a controversial "use tax" on private aircraft. The difference between then and now is that Maine is trying to build an aerospace industry and the tax will almost certainly get in the way of that. "Maine's got a big black star over it, because we're the only state in New England that still charges this tax," Sen. Stan Gerzofsky told the Times Record. Under the law, anyone who's purchased an airplane in the previous year in a state that doesn't charge sales tax on airplanes and has it Maine for more than 20 days will be sent a bill for 5 percent of the value of the aircraft by the state. "I've seen some pretty tall sales tax bills go out to people who didn't know the law and brought their planes here to get service or to go on vacation," Gerzofsky said. But what may have brought the issue more into focus for Maine's lawmakers is the chilling effect it is having on the fledgling aerospace industry. More...

The NTSB is recommending the FAA require retrofitting shoulder harnesses in all general aviation aircraft that don't have them as the "cheapest and simplest" way of improving crash survivability. In a study that was mainly focused on the potential safety benefits of airbags in GA aircraft, the board determined that while airbags will probably help, installation of shoulder harnesses in lap-belt-equipped planes would make the biggest difference. "Based on an analysis of over 37,000 GA accidents, the Board concluded that the risk of fatal or serious injury was 50 percent higher when an occupant was only restrained by a lap belt as compared to the combination lap belt and shoulder harness," the board said in a statement. The NTSB could only find 10 survivable accidents with which to assess the value of airbags and found that of the 12 occupants of aircraft involved in those accidents, at least two of them avoided more serious injury or death because of the airbags. The board stops short of recommending that airbags be made mandatory and actually makes some safety recommendations about the design and installation of the bags, which deploy from the shoulder harness of specially equipped seatbelts.

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QOTWback to top 

The NTSB is recommending the FAA mandate retrofits of shoulder restraints in all light aircraft that don't have them, saying that up to 50 percent of fatalities could be avoided. Do you agree?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about the Chinese J-20 fighter jet and what it signifies for China's role in aerospace; 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...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Sure, says Paul Bertorelli. If governors want state airplanes at their disposal, they should have them. But only if they can make a strong case for business use. Paul makes his case in a post to the AVweb Insider blog. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Why are airplane owners reluctant to accept the NTSB's recommendation for some basic (and relatively cheap) safety equipment in the cockpit? Mary Grady doesn't get it, especially when — as she points out in this installment of the AVweb Insider blog — shoulder harnesses and airbags could save lives. Read more and join the conversation. 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.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

A collection of video clips from Chinese media outlets including: the J-20 fifth-generation "stealth" fighter jet's first flight, taxi and flight control tests, a size and planform comparison with other contemporary aircraft (F-22 and T-50), and brief images that may suggest the aircraft's avionics package. More...

If you park your aircraft outside, you need a cover. Jeff Van West shows the pros and cons of Aviation Consumer's top picks. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Our latest "FBO of the Week" story may seem awfully familiar to readers coping with snowfall today. AVweb reader Anse Windham recently dealt with similar weather at Yadkin Valley Aviation, located at Elkin Municipal Airport (KZEF) in Elkin, North Carolina:

[Manager] Sandy Shore called to inform me that there was eight inches of snow on my Cessna. The tail was on the pavement, and the snow needed to be removed before the night's freeze so I could leave next morning. I could not get there, so Sandy removed the snow, placed the airplane in a hangar, and, next morning, towed it to the fuel pump and helped fuel it at the self-serve pump.

Hmm — you don't suppose Sandy would be willing to shovel some sidewalks for good old AVweb, do you ... ?

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!


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.

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