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Volume 17, Number 5a
January 31, 2011
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AVflash! TSA in the Newsback to top 

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., says he'll launch an investigation into the TSA's abrupt decision to deny further applications by airports to replace TSA screeners with those of private contractors. In a statement issued late Friday, TSA Administrator John Pistole said he turned down an application by Branson-Springfield Airport in Missouri to go to private screeners under the Screening Partnership Program. "I examined the contractor screening program and decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports as I do not see any clear or substantial advantage to do so at this time," Pistole said. The 16 airports with private screeners will be able to keep them. There are about 450 airports with passenger security screening in the U.S. The decision is a reversal of Pistole's earlier position, in which he said he was "neutral" on whether to allow contract screeners. Mica is a major proponent of the private option. More...

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
Introducing: Our Best Pilot Headset Ever
NEW Bose A20™ Aviation Headset
Bose was the first to introduce active noise reducing headsets to aviation more than 20 years ago, forever changing the way pilots fly. Now the Bose A20™ Aviation Headset sets an entirely new standard, providing significantly greater noise reduction than currently available. It also features an improved level of comfort, clear audio, Bluetooth® connectivity, auxiliary audio input and priority switching. Learn more.
Brave New World, Part Iback to top 

The Chinese government Friday officially began the process of loosening its restrictions on private aircraft by initiating "trial" flights in selected airspace below 1,000 meters. The country chose Haikou, the capital city of China's Hainan island province, to initiate the flights that will be conducted by four helicopters flying without the need to seek permission prior to each flight. The test flights are expected to continue through March. Chinese airspace is controlled by the military and Civil Aviation Administration of China and less than 30 percent of it is open to civil aviation. Currently, pilots of private flights must file ahead of time for approvals that can take up to a week to arrive. The new rules are expected to have an effect on that and are detailed after the jump. More...

Thanks for JA Air Center || Vote for Us in 
the AIN FBO Survey
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! Vote now.
Planes and Politicsback to top 

After three years on the legislative backburner, it looks like the FAA reauthorization bill is catching fire. Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., will introduce a new bill next week that he says is identical to a bill introduced last year (PDF) that was passed 93-0 by the Senate. The House never did pass it. The proposed bill includes funding for NextGen and sets an accelerated schedule for its deployment under the auspices of the newly created senior position in the FAA to keep NextGen on track. The bill authorizes spending of $34.5 billion over two years and has general support in the aviation world, but politics is not that cut and dried. More...

Santa Monica attempted to ban certain business jets from its airport in part due to concerns over safety, but now that a Circuit Court has ruled out the ban, the city's maneuvering could lead it to turn down a safety measure. Ninety percent of airport traffic heads west at Santa Monica and homes sit just 300 feet from the runway's west end. Responding to the city's concerns that those homes might be struck by a larger business jet that overran the runway, the FAA has offered to install a bed of crushable concrete in the safety zone there. (It also noted that in 20 years not a single jet has crashed or run off the runway at SMO.) City officials have not been quick to accept the FAA's offer, and it may take some mental gymnastics to understand why. More...

WingX Pro 7 || Moving Map for the iPad || 
Hilton Software
WingX Pro7 Moving Map for iPad!
The $99 Moving MapWingX Pro7 Moving Map for iPad is now available for your iPad. See your location on the approach chart; Approach Charts and Airport Diagrams are now geo-referenced*, and all are stored right on the iPad! WingX Pro7's interactive moving map displays Class B, C, and D airspaces; animated weather images; A/FD; AOPA Directory with Yelp integration; route planning, FARs, METARS, TAFS, winds, and temperatures aloft; TFRs' text and graphics; an E6B; and more. WingX is also available for Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Android. Click here for more information.
Brave New World, Part IIback to top 

Joule Unlimited, a U.S. biotech company, has earned a patent for a "proprietary organism" that it says takes in carbon dioxide, sunshine and (dirty, salt, or clear) water, and puts out liquid hydrocarbons. The four-year-old Massachusetts-based company describes its organism as a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that will deliver "fossil fuels on demand" in "virtually unlimited quantities." It claims the organism's process mimics photosynthesis in producing diesel fuel, and is 50 times more efficient than current biofuel production methods. Claims aside, the company has attracted former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta to its board of directors and lists George Church, who helped pioneer the sequencing of the human genome, on its scientific advisory board. Of course, that doesn't prove that the process actually works. More...

Sonex has flown the prototype of the Onex, a single-place aerobatic kit LSA that also has folding wings. Sonex CEO Jeremy Monnett, who is also the aircraft designer, did several laps around Wittman Regional Airport on Jan. 27 in what he described to onlookers as a "little fighter." The leisurely test flight, which included a low and over, confirmed the aircraft's light handling and agreeable flight characteristics. On landing, Monnett pronounced the aircraft "sweet" and said turns required no rudder input. He and his colleagues then folded the wings and tucked the aircraft back in the Sonex hangar. More...

AeroExpo UK || 17-19 June 2011 || Sywell, 
AeroExpo UK
... is the dedicated General Aviation exhibition in 2011, showcasing everything from ultralights through to turboprops and jets. Whether you are interested in learning to fly or are already a pilot and want to view the latest products available, AeroExpo UK has it covered!

Click here to learn more.
Aviation Safetyback to top 

KLM, Holland's flag carrier, has signed a deal with Arizona-based APS Emergency Maneuver Trainingto provide upset recovery training to ab initio pilots training at the airline's flight school in Mesa. KLM has done its pilot training in sunny Mesa for 65 years at Falcon Field and APS is at neighboring Phoenix-Mesa Gateway. As technology mitigates many of the risk factors associated with airline flying, in-flight loss of control has emerged as the leading cause of airline crashes, according to a study released by Boeing last year. APS teaches pilots of all experience levels what to do when their world is turned upside down. More...

Kelly McHugh, a 1,500-hour commercial pilot, was flying his Piper Jetprop P46T at 26,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico on Dec. 4, 2010, when it became clear that he, his three companions, and the plane were going into the water. The aircraft suffered a yet-unexplained engine problem and as it lost power the men quickly realized they would not impact close to shore. It was up to McHugh and the three other men (two of whom were experienced pilots) to save themselves. McHugh estimates that the 90-knot glide lasted at least 30 minutes before the plane hit the water. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke to McHugh for the details. More...

TAS600 from Avidyne || Dual-Antenna 
Traffic || Now Just $8,490
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Avidyne announces new full-featured TAS605 and TAS615 models, along with the lowest price available for dual-antenna, active traffic with our TAS600. All TAS600 Series systems provide timely audible and visual alerts with the precise location of conflicting traffic. Patented Top & Bottom directional antennas detect other aircraft sooner and more accurately. Avidyne's TAS600 Series are the smallest, lightest, best performing, and most affordable active TAS systems available. Click here to learn more about the TAS600 Traffic Systems.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

The FAA is suggesting that if the folks who are putting up met towers wouldn't mind, it would be nice if they would paint them so aviators have a better chance of seeing them. On the AVweb Insider, Mary Grady wonders why the FAA doesn't just, you know, issue some kind of mandate if the towers are a safety issue. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The FAA 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...


Letter of the Week: A Plausible Threat?

Do you think that our intelligence community might be a little behind the curve on the Chinese J-20? When photos were released of this new aircraft, they said it was only a mock-up and that China doesn't have the technology to produce a flyable aircraft of this caliber. When videos were released of this aircraft in flight, they said, "O.K., it flies, but it's not really stealthy." When one of these aircraft makes an undetected pass on a U.S. asset, I guess they'll finally admit that there might be something to this. After all, much of this information on stealth is available online, or they can just watch the History Channel or the Military Channel. Further, there is the admission that portions of an F-117 that was downed in Serbia were turned over to agents for the Chinese by the locals, which allowed some degree of reverse engineering to fill in the gaps. This would make the J-20's capabilities entirely plausible.

Michael J. Nutt

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


Mike Busch || CEO & Found of Savvy 
Aircraft Maintenance Management || 2008 National Aviation Maintenance 
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

Aviation Consumer is researching an article on TKS performance in the real world and could really use your help. If you fly an aircraft equipped with a TKS system, please take just a few moments to complete this online survey. Information about how you use the system and how it performs will be kept anonymous, but the general findings will be reported in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. More...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to What have you heard? More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great 
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Ever wish you could replay a flight and analyze what really happened? Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West reviewed three different cockpit recording systems that target three significantly different needs. Here's the video recap. More...

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. 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.
Viral Videoback to top 

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. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to TacAir at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport (KAMA) in Amarillo, Texas.

AVweb reader Kenneth Oden tells us what happened when a short fuel stop turned into a potentially disastrous layover:

Our passengers were flying back from a Christmas holiday with a new two-month-old baby boy and didn't want to subject him to an 18-hour drive to Grandma's house. Our stop turned into an overnight stay when weather at the destination went far below our jet's minimums. The good folks at TacAir found us a nice hotel in town and arranged for transportation. The following morning, our cold, soaked Eclipse would not accept the local GPU and did not have enough battery power to start on its own. The linemen at TacAir towed us across the field to another hangar with a different GPU. Long story short: we would still be stuck if it weren't for Mike Ryan's team. Our hats are off to this professional team that worked on our problem for over an hour when there were several other flights leaving at the same time.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Years ago, I flew out of Santa Monica (SMO). Primary students quickly learned the controllers were sticklers, especially regarding radio communication. And that's understandable given the high volume of traffic. Early on a Saturday morning, I was holding short, awaiting clearance and monitoring the tower frequency. A student (I checked later) from an area airport was in the pattern.

"Piper One Two Uniform, cleared to land."

Piper 12U:
"Cleared to land, One Two Unicorn."

[about a minute later]

"One Two Uniform, contact Ground on 121.9."

Piper 12U:
"Ah — okay, 121.9. And, ah, we're One Two UNICORN."


"That's fine, One Two UNICORN. You just go ahead now and contact Ground on 121.9 right away."

[Gales of laughter were heard in the background.]

J. Barry Mitchell
via e-mail


Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke. Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story. 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.