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Volume 17, Number 19b
May 12, 2011
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. East Coast 
Super Sale || May 21, 2011 || Peachtree City, GA
Meet the New EAA President, Rod Hightower, at the
2011 Aircraft Spruce East Coast Super Sale & Fly-In

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty will be hosting their Annual East Coast Super Sale & Fly-In Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 8:00am to 4:00pm in Peachtree City, GA. Discounted prices, spectacular raffle prizes, and a no-cost lunch will be enjoyed by all in attendance. Come meet the new EAA President Rod Hightower and support EAA Chapter 468 and Dixie Wings of the Commemorative Air Force. For further details and updates, call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or visit
AVflash! Leaded Avgas Fuels Legal Battleback to top 

News of the California environmental group Center of Environmental Health's (CEH) intent to sue California avgas suppliers was met Wednesday with some no-nonsense opposition from GAMA, a member of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition. GAMA argued in a statement that state-level action on the matter is basically a non-starter. The organization said "Congress has reserved to the Federal government," via the FAA, "the right and responsibility to regulate all aviation activities in the U.S." If allowed to proceed, GAMA suggests that a state-level lawsuit could lead to "a patchwork of state regulations governing fuels pilots may or may not use in their piston-powered aircraft." And, says GAMA, federal agencies are already addressing the problem of leaded aviation fuel. CEH is not worried about the jurisdictional issues. In a podcast interview with AVweb, CEH's Director of Research Caroline Cox says there's nothing in the California law the group is using that gives the Feds an exemption. She also said the group's prime motivation is to be a player in the eventual elimination of lead in avgas and won't necessarily pursue the suit if it believes discussions are headed in the right direction. However, if it does go to court and the oil companies and FBOs lose, CEH will get a 25-percent share of any civil penalties imposed and she said that provision is part of the funding strategy for the small ($1.7 million annual budget) non-profit organization.

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Abbottabad: Too Hot for Helicopter — Literallyback to top 

The reason a stealthy version of the MH-60 Blackhawk crashed during the May 1 raid that killed Osama bin Laden includes the vortex ring state phenomenon, according to officials, but helicopter crashes in the Middle East are far from uncommon. Hot air close to the ground and the aircraft's proximity to the high walls of the compound could have caused that thin, hot air to be driven by propwash up the walls and then down through the rotor, causing the vortex ring state. With those conditions, the helicopter would have lost lift and settled with power, which is what officials say happened. The resulting hard landing immediately altered the original plan for SEALS to fast rope to the ground from a hovering aircraft. They fared better than they might have. In Iraq, only IED explosions and being shot by the enemy rank higher than U.S. helicopters for killing American soldiers, according to the Armed Forces Journal. And 80 percent of the helicopter accidents occur without the intervention of hostile forces. That said, the military helicopter crash rate is actually better than that of GA aircraft. More... || We're All New!
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Cutting Edge Firebird "A Real Game Changer"back to top 

The latest design from Scaled Composites, a military reconnaissance aircraft that can fly with or without a pilot, was unveiled on Monday by Northrop Grumman, Scaled's parent company. The aircraft, called Firebird, took about a year to develop and has already flown several times at the Mojave spaceport. It was one of the last designs to be overseen by Scaled founder Burt Rutan before he retired last month. The airplane features several innovative systems, such as an internal payload bay that eliminates the need for external pods and makes it easy to quickly load and unload a variety of sensors. "It's a real game changer," said Rick Crooks, Northrop Grumman's Firebird program manager. "Firebird is an adaptable system that makes it highly affordable because of the number of different missions it can accomplish during a single flight." More...

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From Middle America to Central Americaback to top 

LightHawk, a nonprofit group of pilots who volunteer to help the cause of conservation, is looking for a special pilot and aircraft to make an unusual flight. "We have an urgent need to find a jet to transport some rare falcon chicks to Belize," in Central America, spokeswoman Bev Gabe told AVweb this week. The trip is planned for June 5 or 6, from a breeding facility in Sheridan, Wyo., to Belize City, where the birds will be released into the wild. To volunteer, the pilot must have a minimum of 1,000 hours of flight time, and the jet must be able to carry 650 to 1,000 pounds of payload (passengers and cargo). More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

The second-biggest business aviation show in the world is less than a week away and judging by the email traffic, the European Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition is looking to tap into that elusive recovery that has been hoped for and predicted for so long. The show gets under way at PALEXPO at Geneva International Airport next Tuesday and all the players in the business aviation industry will participate. About 500 exhibitors are registered. More...

AOPA is reporting that Brian Delauter, the GA General Manager of the Transportation Security Administration, is leaving after less than two years in the post to return to the private sector. AOPA CEO Craig Fuller said Delauter's GA experience was an asset in his assumption of the role in 2009 and his leadership will be missed. "We are hopeful that Administrator [John] Pistole will build on the relationships Brian developed with general aviation industry and pilots by finding a successor with a similarly strong GA background." More...

In the first quarter of this year, 188 piston aircraft were delivered by U.S. manufacturers, compared to 166 in the first quarter of last year, a 13-percent increase, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported on Tuesday. "This good news may be indicative of the start of a recovery in the traditional markets that we hope will accelerate," said GAMA President Pete Bunce. However, business jet deliveries failed to show growth. Shipments were down 22 percent, with 166 deliveries in the first quarter of this year, compared to 188 last year. Just 56 turboprops were delivered, a 6.7-percent decline. "This has been a very difficult year to date as a result of the slow economic recovery in North America and Europe," said Bunce. A U.S. tax provision that allows 100-percent expensing might help turn things around, he added. More...


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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

This week's question was suggested by AVweb reader Dave Myrick, who wants to know what his fellow flying enthusiasts think is the greatest threat currently facing GA.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if China's plan for opening their country to GA will be good for the West; click through to see the breakdown of answers. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

One reason is for lack of frame of reference. A total of 275 fatal wrecks a year doesn't seem like that much, but if driving had the same fatal rate, we would kill more than a million a year on the roads. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues than any cultural change aimed at reducing fatal accidents will first involve GA participants admitting that the current rate really is unacceptable. Read more and join the conversation. More...

But also a significant challenge. Whether you believe GA's mediocre accident rate impacts student starts or not, the fact remains: It's worth the effort to try to reduce fatal accidents. It can probably be done, but in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that it will take recommendations with teeth and/or some financial incentives. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Yves Rossy, the Swiss pilot known as "Jetman" for flying a unique jet-propelled wing attached to his back, has successfully flown above the Grand Canyon, after canceling a scheduled attempt last Friday. The flight occurred in Nevada over the weekend, sponsor Breitling announced on Tuesday. "My first flight in the U.S. is sure to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life, not only for the sheer beauty of the Grand Canyon but the honor to fly in sacred Native American lands," Rossy said in a news release. "Thank you Mother Nature and the Hualapai Tribe for making my lifelong dreams come true." Rossy launched from a helicopter at 8,000 feet above the canyon, and steering only by movement of his body, flew at speeds up to 190 mph for more than eight minutes at altitudes as low as 200 feet above the canyon rim. He then deployed a parachute and landed safely on the canyon floor. More...

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Skywritingsback to top 

This month, AVweb begins serializing a new memoir by Richard Taylor, who learned to fly in the U.S. Air Force just after the Korean War and continued to fly for 47 years. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


It's been a busy week, but apparently a good one for AVweb readers who've spent some time in the air. We've received a hefty number of "FBO of the Week" recommendations in the last seven days and will be saving a couple of our favorite stories for future installments.

In the meantime, today's blue ribbon goes to Corporate Aircraft at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (KFAT) in Fresno, California, where Ray Stratton was treated like a VIP (a Volunteer and Important Pilot):

FAT is a common hand-off airport for Angel Flight missions from NorCal to SoCal. I had the SoCal mission as flight 2 of 2. I called Corporate Aircraft and asked if they would waive the ramp fee for both Angel Flight aircraft, both Ce182s. I told them I would not be getting fuel. They waived the fees, loaned me a crew car to get lunch, and cleaned my windshield of the swarm of bugs I found at 3,000 feet on approach. Imagine the service if I'd bought fuel!

Corporate Aircraft is my stop from now on when going to NorCal. They support the good deeds of the pilot community.

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 
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.

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