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Volume 10, Number 04b -- January 22, 2004

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

PILOT SECURITY RULES CHANGED...
It's been almost a year since the federal government gave itself the power to, without any familiar due process, lift the airman certificates of those deemed "security risks" -- and now a whiff of civil rights has entered the picture. The FAA and TSA have implemented a third-party appeal process for those who get caught in the security dragnet. "It's in effect now," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb. The new regulations, which were mandated by the recently approved FAA Reauthorization Bill, ensure the Transportation Safety Administration isn't the judge, jury and executioner in deciding who gets to fly and fix airplanes in the U.S. More...

...AND SO ARE APPEALS OF APPEALS...
Under the new rules, appeals of security-related revocations are heard by an Administrative Law Judge. Formerly called Hearing Officers, these judges preside over hearings and appeals involving government agencies. If the affected airman disagrees with the judge's decision he or she can appeal to the Transportation Security Oversight Board, a very powerful group made up of the Secretary of Transportation, Attorney General, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of Defense and a representative of either the National Security Council or the Office of Homeland Security. More...

...CLASSIFIED CHARGES EXPLAINED
The new rules also ensure that those making an appeal will have at least some idea of the charges against them. Under the original rule, the TSA could refuse to provide the accused with details of the allegations if the information, or the way it was obtained, was considered classified. Again, it was entirely the TSA's call. The amended regulations require the TSA, in consultation with the CIA, to prepare an "unclassified summary" of classified evidence against an airman. More...

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PRIVATIZATION'S FIRST CASUALTY?...
"Pilots will die" as a result of a possible consolidation of automated flight service stations, says a senior staff member at an AFSS he says is sure to close. Robert Shields, the support specialist at the Boise AFSS, said it's only a matter of time before his station, the smallest in the country, is shut down in a wholesale reorganization and downsizing of the AFSS system. "We are very concerned about what's going to happen to our pilots here in Idaho," said Shields, who's been making the rounds of the local media in Idaho, highlighting his concerns about pilots trying to navigate Idaho's rugged mountains and violent weather without knowledgeable briefers to help them. FAA spokesman William Shumann said the FAA has no plans to close Boise but conceded a future private contractor might. More...

...IN THE FACE OF FATAL FIGURES
The federal motivation for change was made obvious when FAA head Marion Blakey said of Flight Service late last year, "This is an area where the FAA is actively looking at the private-sector option." The administrator said, "It's costing $500 million per year ... $27 for every single communication Flight Service has. We don't think that's efficient." But AVweb more recently reported that -- in Idaho -- accident statistics for the year showed a 38-percent increase, with 57 percent more fatal crashes and 61 percent more fatalities when compared to averages over the previous 11 years. That was with the insights of briefers. The NTSB and FAA offered no explanation for the sharp increase, but the state's aeronautic division performed an analysis and concluded, "It's pilot error." More...

APPLES OR ORANGES? BE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE COMPARING
When it comes to insuring you, your airplane, and your passengers, be sure that the coverage you buy focuses on inclusions, not exclusions. AVEMCO believes in clear, concise and comprehensive policies. As the only direct writer of general aviation insurance in the industry, AVEMCO can help you ensure you're comparing apples to apples. Call AVEMCO at (888) 241-7891 and mention this AVflash, or visit them on the web at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco.

MAINTENANCE: DON'T GET MAD, GET EDUCATED?
Long-time aircraft-owner-turned-A&P Mike Busch, co-founder of AVweb and its managing editor from 1995 to 2002, has a new venture -- he wants to help owners take more control of their aircraft outside the cockpit. Busch will hold a series of weekend Savvy Owner Seminars designed to help aircraft owners become more maintenance ... savvy ... and to give them the tools (figuratively) to become directly involved in maintenance decisions. "Owners have a lot more authority than they think they do," Busch told AVweb. The program is designed to teach pilots "how to have a better-maintained aircraft while spending less on maintenance." More...

JAMAICA'S VERSION OF TERRORISM
"Legitimate users have suffered very adversely over the years," watching the number of aerodromes shrink by 90 percent, "the consequence of a few illegal users abusing the system," said Christopher Read, manager of Airpak Express, a courier service. To the cynics, it may sound like a forecast for GA in the U.S., but in Jamaica the threat is not terrorists, it's drug smugglers. It seems they're switching back from boats to light aircraft as the conveyance of choice for getting cocaine and marijuana to market. "[It's] something that we are very, very concerned about," Carl Williams, Jamaica's top narcotics officer, told the Sunday Observer. It's also got legitimate GA operators in a lather (again), worried that increased security and even flight restrictions will take their toll (again). More...

AEROSHELL GIVES YOUR AIRPLANE SHINE AND PROTECTION
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WHERE GA AND HEAVY-METAL MIX
Australia's embattled aviation regulator says any future major changes will be preceded by a three-month training and education period. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has been roundly criticized by airlines, pilot groups and air traffic controllers for implementation of sweeping changes to its airspace regulations in November that the groups say allow light planes not under air traffic control to mix with airliners near major airports. The changes have already caused a "serious incident" involving a Virgin Boeing 737 and a single-engine Tobago near Launceston. More...

MIAMI-HEATHROW DEATH FLIGHTS RAISE EYEBROWS
It's been a tough week on the Miami-to-London route. Passengers aboard two Britain-bound airliners discovered to their horror earlier this week that not all fatalities are caused by accidents. On Monday a 19-year-old woman aboard a Miami-to-Heathrow Virgin Atlantic flight died just before landing. No cause of death was immediately released. The day before, a British Airways flight diverted to Halifax for a sick woman who later died. After that flight resumed a male passenger became ill and died just before the plane reached London. So far, the incidents are considered to be a string of unrelated (other than the flight) events amounting to horrible coincidence. More...

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SMELLY, TOPLESS WOMAN DISRUPTS FLIGHT
A Virgin Blue crew (insert joke here) elected to continue a Jan. 14 flight from Hobart to Melbourne, Australia, despite an apparently deranged passenger's rantings that the flight would end in a 9/11-style tragedy. What followed wasn't fatal but it was almost certainly painful for those aboard. After initially being calmed by the cabin crew, the 23-year-old woman ended up taking her shirt and bra off, defecating in her pants and subjecting her fellow passengers to a 50-minute tirade. Although passengers told the Australian media they were "freaked out" by the incident, the airline apparently didn't think much of it. More...

GEE BEE AND DELMAR PLAN NEW LIVES APART
Two years after mothballing his famed Gee Bee R2 racer replica, air show icon Delmar Benjamin spent five days last week at the wheel of a 27-foot U-Haul truck moving his pride and joy to its new home at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Fla., Jamie Beckett of The Flying Life magazine this week told AVweb. After logging 1500 hours with the Gee Bee, Benjamin is preparing his next project, which he refers to only as "a more unique airplane than this one." Kermit Weeks, the visionary owner of Fantasy of Flight, intends to have the aircraft flutter-tested prior to doing any flying himself in the muscular mini. However, once flutter testing is completed there is talk of Weeks and Benjamin flying the R2 along with the yellow-and-black Z-model Gee Bee that Weeks already owns and displays at Fantasy of Flight. More...

REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2004 GREAT LAKES INTERNATIONAL AVIATION CONFERENCE
Phil Boyer and Lane Wallace are among the many prominent speakers slated to address the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference, February 6 to 8 in Lansing, Michigan. In addition, there will be over 150 breakout sessions for pilots, mechanics, FBOs, and aviation enthusiasts. IA renewal and FAA Wings program are available for those who qualify. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and technologies. For more information call (248) 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.

ON THE FLY...
American and United agreed to cut 62 flights a day at O'Hare to reduce delays...
Public meetings are scheduled Jan. 27 and Jan. 28 on the site for a new Texas GA airport...
Japanese airline grounded MD-80s after engine cracks were found in five planes...
Bradley International Airport was evacuated after a "cutting instrument" was found...
An Air Midwest pilot said he was demoted for pointing out safety violations...
Pilot error now blamed for Egyptian 737 crash...
New Zealand chopper pilot on trial for poaching. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
ATIS
Air Traffic Controller Attrition
The General Accounting Office found that most of the current air traffic controllers within the FAA will be retiring within the next 10 years. The FAA has done little to alleviate the controller workforce losses. Meanwhile, many young and experienced military controllers are trying very hard to get the FAA to consider them for these positions.

TRAINING
Private Pilot in 40 Hours -- It Can Be Done!

The FAA says you can get your first pilot's license in only 40 hours. The FAA also says almost nobody does it that fast. Whether you want bragging rights or you just need to keep costs down, it is possible to get the flight time down close to 40 hours, as long as you have a plan and the willingness to do a lot of preparation on the ground. More...

IF YOU LOVE THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF FLYING THE GAUGES, READ ON ...
Don't miss this opportunity to subscribe to IFR Magazine. Each issue briefs you on what you need to know to fine-tune your technique, sweet-talk the system, and bust-proof your ticket. Order now and save big at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrmag.

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/

More...

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR CLUB?
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AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Security at general aviation airports is a big concern for readers of AVweb: We received almost 500 responses to our question about GA security last week! The vast majority of you (59 percent) think that GA security is already pretty tight. 120 respondents said their GA airport is more secure than Ft. Knox, and 143 readers thought their airports needed only improve security in specific areas. More...

AT BENNETT AVIONICS, THEY DISCOUNT THE PRICE — NOT THEIR SERVICE!
Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Find the avionic equipment to meet your aircraft's needs while leaving enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft at a price that make sense. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics — your one-stop used avionics specialist — can be found online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
As usual, we received dozens of great photos from AVweb and AVflash readers this week. It was a tough call, but this week's winner is Susan Birrell Post of Noblesville, Indiana. Her photo of the Indianapolis Air Show last September shows us the crowds but keeps the airplanes front and center, where they belong. Thanks for a great photo, Susan — we're sure you'll enjoy your AVweb hat! More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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We Welcome Your Feedback!

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 Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

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