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Volume 10, Number 05b -- January 29, 2004

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

GA'S $100 MILLION BILL UP IN SMOKE...
A $100 million provision for relief to GA companies hurt by the airspace restrictions following 9/11, in keeping with the fate of all other such efforts so far in Washington, has failed to make the final cut in the 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. As late as last week, the provision was still intact, but it had vanished by last Thursday, when the Senate passed the bill, putting an abrupt end to efforts by Democrats to keep it in play. President Bush signed the bill into law on Friday. Pete West, of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), told AVweb this week, "The classic line in this town is this: Now we have to work on the '05 appropriations process." In other words, there's always next year. More...

...LOST IN LARGER PROBLEMS
Although the FAA's $60 billion reauthorization bill stretches over four years, GA advocates don't have to wait four years to take their next shot, West said. The spending bills still need to be voted on every year. "Appropriations is an annual process, and we can work for GA relief in fiscal year 2005," he told AVweb. Talks should begin soon in Washington about spending in 2005, he said, but it's a long, slow road. "The reality is, these GA companies have been hurting since September 2001, and we need to stop the bleeding now," he said. But with a war and a deficit and domestic demands on the budget, not to mention an election, that is easier said than done. More...

LIGHTSPEED ON THE MOVE
With LightSPEED's continued success and growth, they are moving to a larger facility in Portland, Oregon. The move should have minimal impact on their pilot customers. LightSPEED apologizes for any inconvenience during this move and appreciates their customers' patience. Should your travels bring you to the Portland area, please stop by for a visit! For LightSPEED models and ordering information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed.

MINETA PLANS TO TRIPLE AIRSPACE CAPACITY...
The U.S. airspace system is bursting at the seams, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said this week, and if thousands of "micro-jet" air taxis and unmanned aircraft start sharing the skies too, demand for services will intensify. In a speech at the Aero Club in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Mineta announced plans aimed at tripling airspace capacity in the next 15 to 20 years, modernizing GPS navigation, and enhancing on-board technologies to maximize safety. "If America wants to retain its global air transportation leadership, we need to modernize and transform our air transportation system -- starting right now," Mineta said. More...

...WITH MORE TOWERS, MORE RADAR, MORE RUNWAYS...
Mineta said the FAA already has set in motion plans to build seven new air traffic control towers, five new terminal air traffic control facilities, and new advanced radar systems at 12 airports, and to install the STARS air traffic control system at 14 airports. He added that seven airports are building new runways and four major hub airports -- Boston, Charlotte, Denver and Minneapolis -- will be getting advanced weather satellite/radar systems to minimize weather-related delays for commercial travelers. "We must develop a system based on 21st century technology that will help reduce future air traffic delays, improve airport management and maximize the safety and efficiency of our nation's aviation system," he said. More...

...BUT FUNDING IS UNDER THREAT
But while the Department of Transportation is busily planning for the future, the folks at the White House are worrying about today's bottom line. In a proposal due next Monday, the Bush administration will propose a 16-percent cut in spending on air-traffic-control equipment and facilities, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The $471 million cut would affect the FAA's $2.9 billion facilities and equipment budget for fiscal year 2005, which begins October 1 of this year. The cuts would mean postponing or scaling back projects aimed at making air travel more efficient. The FAA is under pressure to rein in spending, which has expanded 70 percent since 1996 to $14 billion this year. More...

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ONE NEW AIRPORT? WATCH THE YEARS PASS
After the 1999 closures of Robert Mueller Municipal Airport and Austin Executive Airpark in Austin, Texas, legislation was enacted in 2001 (HB 2522) to "establish a state airport in Central Texas that is open to the general public" -- with the caveat that the existing Mueller property is not in the running.. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) held two public meetings in the Austin area this week to discuss the site-selection process for the airport. After site selection is complete, another year will be required to complete the master plan ... and another five to build the airport. More...

REPORT: MANEUVERS AND MIDAIRS BIGGEST THREATS TO STUDENT PILOTS
A new report by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation (ASF) about flight-training safety shows that instructional flight is safer than most other types of GA flying, AOPA said on Monday. But the study also revealed the two types of instructional accidents with the highest fatality rates: low-level maneuvering flight and midair collisions. "In the one case, instructors are inadvertently allowing a simulated emergency to degenerate into a real one," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "In the other, what should be an asset -- a second set of eyes in the cockpit -- isn't paying dividends." The study analyzed data from 2,295 instructional accidents from 1992 to 2001, both dual and solo. Of those, 201 accidents (9 percent) were fatal. More...

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WICHITA WOES: IS BOEING LEAVING, IS RAYTHEON SELLING?
Boeing is considering selling off its 75-year-old manufacturing facility in Wichita, which employs more than 12,000 workers, according to a report in Sunday's Seattle Times. The Times said its report was based on internal documents it obtained from a "company insider," and Boeing would neither confirm nor deny its plans. Yesterday, The Wichita Eagle reported that Kansas officials talked with Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher about the Times report, and were reassured that no sale is imminent -- but the company is "always reviewing its plans." Meanwhile, the Times also reported this week that Raytheon Aircraft is close to making a deal to sell its Wichita fabrication division to a British company, GKN Aerospace, but Raytheon officials would not comment on the story. More...

FAA ISSUES ADVANCE NOTICE OF RVSM CHANGES
The FAA has issued advance notice of its plans to implement Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (RVSM) at 0901 UTC on Jan. 20, 2005. The RVSM program allows vertical separation to be reduced from 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet between Flight Levels 290 to 410 (inclusive), which the FAA says will allow aircraft to safely fly more optimum profiles, gain fuel savings, and increase airspace capacity. Aircraft must be equipped with altimeters, altitude control systems (autopilots), and altitude alerters that meet RVSM performance tolerances, and operator maintenance and operations programs must incorporate RVSM policies and practices. More...

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CESSNA TWIN WING SPARS, SAFETY AND COST
The FAA on Tuesday posted its official notice that it is reopening the comment period on its proposed Cessna wing-spar Airworthiness Directives, and also announced that it will hold a public meeting on the matter in March. The Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association (RACCA) said in its January newsletter the AD would virtually destroy the economic viability of older C-402 aircraft. "The cost of the wing-structure modification represents a large percentage of the aircraft's total market value," RACCA said. An ad hoc owners' group called the Cessna Twin Spars Corp. argues that the rules will cost $43,100 per airplane to implement, and they want time to develop safe and economical alternative means of compliance. The FAA will hold the public meeting on March 3 and 4, starting at 9 a.m. both days, at the Hilton at Washington Dulles Airport, in Herndon, Va. More...

NICE LANDING, BUT AN AIRPORT WOULD BE BETTER
A Cessna 210 with four people on board landed on Interstate 40 in Memphis on Sunday morning, after the engine quit. The airplane's gear nicked the top of a GMC Jimmy in the westbound lane, but then touched down on the pavement, with no injuries and little damage. The pilot, who wasn't identified, did a good job except for running out of fuel, Memphis Police Maj. Harvey Sullivan told local reporters. The pilot was on his way from Albany, Ga., to Fayetteville, Ark., the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported, and planned to refuel in Memphis. "Next time, he should use an airport," Sullivan said. More...

IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO ORDER YOUR GREAT LAKES CONFERENCE TICKETS!
Pilots and maintenance technicians from around the world will be attending the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference February 6-8 in Lansing, Michigan. This conference will host a top-flight line-up of nationally known speakers with breakout seminars, hands-on displays, discussions, and an extensive maintenance program. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and technologies. IA renewal and the FAA Wings program are available for those who qualify. Your reservation card will be sent in time if you call (248) 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or if you visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.

ON THE FLY...
Searchers on Monday found the wreck of a Caravan in Lake Erie...
California buyers will replace PAC 750XL lost on a ferry flight...
California's Contra Costa County asks FAA to keep Buchanan Field open...
Groen Brothers Aviation is opening a gyroplane dealership in Russia...
In 2003, 28 percent of fatal airliner accidents happened in Africa...
Air Care Alliance annual conference set for April 30-May 1, in Calif. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS The Savvy Aviator #1: From Appliance Operator to Maintenance-Savvy
There's a lot more to aircraft ownership than knowing how to fly. In the inaugural edition of his new column, AVweb co-founder Mike Busch recounts his gradual transformation from a classic "appliance operator" to maintenance-involved owner, and finally to A&P mechanic.

BRAINTEASERS Quiz #77 -- We Want Information.
What do you know and when should you know it? Information changes on any flight. Ceilings drop, winds shift, and -- sadly -- special use airspace (SUA) pops up on short notice. Let's take off and see what information is available. More...

GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT AIRCRAFT FUEL BILLS BY 20 PERCENT!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices — install GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami.

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...

NAVAL RESERVE — FROM 9 to 5 to MACH 1.5!
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AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Nearly three quarters of more than 350 AVweb readers responding to last week's question would prefer no privatization of Flight Service -- 33 percent felt the move could impact a pilot's safety. While the FAA considers taking the leap, only a quarter of our poll's respondents indicated that they were open to any change at all ... and three percent think the tasks performed by Flight Service could just as easily be performed by monkeys.

This week, we'd like your thoughts on airport closures. More...

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 a departure from the norm. The photo is a doctored image of the September, 2003, Air Force Thunderbirds accident. The author is welcome to contact us. Otherwise, we hope you'll enjoy the product of an active imagination, a decent skill set ... and a bit too much spare time. More...

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FIRST WORLD FLIGHT: THE ODYSSEY OF BILLY MITCHELL IS A MUST-READ!
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_____________________________________
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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

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Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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