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MEMBERS URGE OBAMA: NO AVIATION USER FEES
One hundred and
sixteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a
letter (PDF) to President Barack Obama urging him not to
support aviation user fees as a means to fund the FAA's budget for 2012.
User fees would be "a step backward" in efforts to modernize the air
traffic control system, and would have a "detrimental impact on general
aviation and the flying public," the letter states. Ed Bolen, president
of the National Business Aviation Association, welcomed the effort. "We
thank the Congressional leaders who took this action early in the year
to reinforce a clear message of opposition to user fees, and welcome
their unwavering support on this issue of critical importance to the
entire general aviation community," Bolen said this week. NBAA said the
current system of fuel taxes is proven and efficient. More...
Two Great Ways to Keep Your
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TO REVISE 'PUBLIC AIRCRAFT' POLICY
The FAA said last week it
will take a fresh look at a longstanding rule that exempts aircraft
operated by the federal government from most FAA regulations. "The
statute is vague," said John Allen, the FAA official who oversees flight
standards. "It is very confusing." Problems arise especially when Part
135 operators work under contract to a federal agency, according to Helicopter Association International, which hosted
last week's forum. The FAA will issue a new Advisory Circular soon to
clarify the issue, according to HAI. Allen said the agency plans to
consider all contracted operations as civil operations by default.
Operators and the FAA must be notified in advance, on a flight-by-flight
basis, if public-aircraft status applies. More...
SUGGESTS MARKINGS FOR MET TOWERS
A pilot in
California was killed earlier this month when his airplane struck a
197-foot-tall tower during an agricultural flight, just a few days after
the FAA published a proposed policy that would establish voluntary
procedures for marking such towers. Meteorological, or met, towers
gather data to determine if a site would be profitable to develop for
wind power, and they have proliferated in rural areas in recent years.
Many of the towers are built to heights just a few feet below the
200-foot level that would require FAA notification and markings. The towers
are often "narrow, unmarked and grey in color ... nearly invisible under
some atmospheric conditions," according to the National Agricultural
Aviation Association. The FAA proposes that the towers should be painted
in alternating orange and white stripes, but compliance would be
voluntary. The FAA is accepting comments on its proposal until Feb. 4.
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CHINA'S J20 MAY NOT BE SO STEALTHY
China's latest flying
military aircraft prototype, the J-20, may or may not be stealthy, or a
true "fifth-generation" fighter, because "we don't know, frankly, much
about the capabilities of that plane," Pentagon press secretary Geoff
Morrell said this week. Currently, the Pentagon does not know if China's
new aircraft uses a "fifth generation" engine or the capabilities of its
avionics. Regardless, what the Pentagon believes is that by the time the
J-20 is operational, the U.S. will be flying 187 F-22s, "which will be
unmatched," and will have "an abundance of F-35s." And based on what the
Pentagon does know, the new Chinese jet "has not changed the strategic
calculus at all." Morrell also contested the notion that U.S.
intelligence was caught flat-footed by the J-20's first flight, perhaps
rolling back comments made earlier by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
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FLIGHT FOR RESTORED MIG-29 FIGHTER
A MiG-29 Soviet-era
fighter jet flew for the first time above Washington state this week,
after a two-year restoration project by the Historic Flight Foundation.
The two-seat MiG-29UB was manufactured in the Soviet Union sometime
between 1985 and 1991, and flew with the Ukrainian Air Force until 2005,
when it was demilitarized and offered for sale to the public. The
Foundation bought the airplane, but due to paperwork and shipping
snafus, it didn't arrive in Washington until 2008. The restoration team
fully disassembled the aircraft to inspect every part. Missing or
damaged components were replaced with newly fabricated parts, and two
huge new turbofan engines were specially manufactured by the Klimov
factory in Russia. The MiG-29 is capable of reaching Mach 2.2 and 60,000
FIVE-SEAT AIRCRAFT TO LAUNCH SOON
Mahindra Aerospace said
this week its new five-seat airplane, which would be India's first
indigenous GA aircraft, is expected to fly for the first time next
month. According to Indian news sources, the NM5-100 will sell for "20
percent less than a similar aircraft from Cessna." The company has been
working for a several years in partnership with India's National
Aerospace Laboratories to design the airplane, which is expected to meet
FAR Part 23 standards. A larger version of the airplane also is in the
works, which would seat 8 to 10. The company has said it plans to become
India's first manufacturer serving the GA market, with four to six
models for global distribution. More...
The Only General Aviation
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offering visitors a large and representative palette of the
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ECLIPSE IN ST. PETERSBURG
|Click for more photos|
One of the
interesting side stories of the Eclipse Aviation debacle was the
courting of Russia, including then-President Vladimir Putin, as a
manufacturing base and major customer. Although the VLJ heyday has
passed there are apparently Eclipse 500s still in Russia and you'll find
them in the oddest places. Eclipse 500 serial number 09, registered
to a Delaware trustee, is there and was
last spotted on a truck in downtown St. Petersburg. According to Russian media
, it was put on a flatbed for the first
part of a trip to a convention center but the journey didn't go well.
NEXT TO TEST FAA AUTHORITY
A week after a California court ruled
the FAA has pretty much absolute authority over the use of airports that
have accepted money from it (in this case Santa Monica) the City Council
of Naples, Fla., appears poised to test that concept. The council this
week voted to continue zoning discussions on whether the
local airport authority can build a runway extension at the bizjet-busy
airport. The city's attorney has already told the council it's likely a
waste of time but councilman Sam Saad said there's a principle involved.
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's
no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter,
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
Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb
subscriptions today by clicking
here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."
INSIDER BLOG: FAA'S SAIB ON ICING HUH?
probably spent a fair amount of staff research time and money telling us
what we already know: Conventional stall warning systems don't work very
well, if at all, in icing. But having reviewed 25 years worth of data,
they probably missed a boatload of opportunities to tell us things we
really don't know about icing accidents. In the latest installment of
our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli opines that one of these
is tailplane icing. Read
more and join the conversation. More...
OF THE WEEK: WARBIRD DREAMS
Another MiG-29 is
flying and in private hands. If money were no object, what warbird
would you fly?
Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb
readers if the LSA sector is fulfilling its original promise of
bolstering general aviation; click through to see how they answered.
Thanks from Chicago's Best
Arrival Option, JA Air Center!
Thanks to all the Flight Crews who made us their first choice for
Chicagoland arrivals in 2010! Whether it's the best location in Chicago
with direct tollway access, our giant arrival canopy, or our world-class
facilities that brought you here, we know it is our warm, friendly
service that keeps you coming back! We would greatly appreciate your
vote in the AIN FBO survey
JANUARY 27, 2010
Letter of the Week: GPS
about concerns over the use of personal/portable electronic devices
aboard aircraft echoes my own concerns.
the use of passenger electronic devices aboard aircraft, it is
imperative that we consider not only the normal operating mode of such
equipment but also any likely fault modes, including operator error.
Does the "flight safe" mode of a cell phone actually work as advertised?
Is the wi-fi in your laptop working only on the permitted
Furthermore, in the event of unexplained malfunctions
of the aircraft avionics during a Cat-1 autoland, will there be time to
make a PA call asking passengers to make sure everything is turned off?
And will they listen? Just two days ago, I watched three separate flight
attendants on their way to their "seats for landing" walk past a man
sending text messages on his iPhone.
Click through to read the complete text of this
letter and others from our readers. More...
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INTERACTIVE HELI VIDEO
A company called northStudio has
created a video with Nimmo Bay Helicopter Resort that allows viewers to
control the viewing angle of 360-degree panoramic pre-recorded video
through a click-and-drag interface. The technology uses six cameras
strapped to a custom-built rig attached to a pole that's attached to the
helicopter. Proprietary video merging software then creates the
"seamless flying experience." According to the company, the technology
was made possible due to improvements in internet and processor speeds.
In the video, the camera is slung below a helicopter as it flies down
rivers, skims 10,000-year-old glaciers, hovers over waterfalls, and
more, and the viewer controls the viewing direction at all times.
Do You Love to
Every issue of Kitplanes
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OWN AN AIRPLANE, MAKE MONEY, SAVE TAXES
If it seems like David Sussman has
achieved airplane ownership Nirvana, he would probably agree.
AVweb spoke with him at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring about
enjoying financial benefits from a light sport aircraft.
A CONVERTIBLE GLIDER
The Phoenix motorglider is two
airplanes in one, and just about anyone can fly it, regardless of his
medical status. AVweb took a tour at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in
Sebring over the weekend. More...
ICUB AN AIRPLANE WRAPPED AROUND AN IPAD (PLUS AN
If there aren't enough iWidgets in
your life, here's one more: the iCub. It's basically a Cub clone LSA
built around the network and display capabilities of an iPad and an
iPhone. The iPad serves as the airplane's main navigation device, plus
it also receives and tracks data from the Rotax 912 engine. At the U.S.
Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, AVweb talked with the company's
Bill Canino, and this brief video offers a tour of the airplane.
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OF THE WEEK: HERITAGE AVIATION (KBTV, BURLINGTON,
According to AVweb reader Ken Knopp, our
latest "FBO of the Week" is a posh destination. Heritage
Aviation at Burlington International Airport (KBTV) in
Burlington, Vermont "is by far the nicest FBO I have ever visited,"
top-notch. Entire staff was very friendly and provided an impeccable
service. Pilot lounge included a ping pong table and Wii. Separate rooms
were available for flight planning. Additional rooms included a theater,
sleeping rooms, and even a gym. I could easily spend more time at this
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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),
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Navigate. Communicate. More...