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Volume 17, Number 20a
May 16, 2011
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AVflash! The G4-GPS Bandwidth Battleback to top 

The FAA is warning that GPS service in a 330 nautical mile circle of Nevada could be "unreliable or unavailable" for six-hour stretches from May 16-27 as broadband wholesaler LightSquared tests whether a signal from one of its proposed 40,000 towers upsets satellite navigation. The test transmitter is 1.6 nm from the Boulder City VOR on the 188.9 degree radial and the warning on the 115-nm radius applies all the away up to FL300. Pilots planning a trip through there are urged to be extra vigilant about NOTAMs as there doesn't appear to be an advance schedule for the tests. "The NOTAMs discussed in this advisory may change with little or no notice," the FAA warns. " Pilots are advised to check NOTAMs frequently for possible changes prior to operations in the area. NOTAMs will be published at least 24 hours in advance of any GPS tests. As we have reported extensively, LightSquared is proposing to build a network of broadband Internet towers across the U.S. that will use a band of radio frequencies right next to those used by GPS satellites and receivers. The FAA notice appears to be using an abundance of caution. More...

LightSquared, a company that wants to set up 40,000 broadband towers across the U.S. using a frequency band next door to that used by GPS, is in the advanced stage of testing how it might affect GPS service. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with LightSquared's VP of Regulatory Affairs, Jeff Carlisle.

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The FAA's New Training Paradigmback to top 

FAA head Randy Babbitt has called the proposed rule changes rolled out by the FAA on Wednesday "the most significant changes to air carrier training in 20 years." The package of rules, which generally aim to address and correct poor performance in practice, reformat the schedule of training and training techniques, and focus on team-oriented (and even specific route) training, are unlikely to take effect for years. First, the FAA will collect, review and address concerns and consideration from the industry players themselves through comments accepted through July 19, 2011. More pilot-oriented regulatory proposals from the FAA over the next few months. More...

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Diamond's High-Stakes Waiting Gameback to top 

The president of Diamond Aircraft, Peter Maurer, says his company's future may depend on a $35 million loan from the government of Canada, that the decision will be made when the Prime Minister announces a new cabinet, and that should be soon. The loan would ensure jobs and allow Diamond to begin production of its single-engine five-seat D-Jet. Maurer is hoping that the election of a majority Conservative government will bring stability to the local political climate and allow progress to be made within the next few days or weeks. Maurer has warned that without the funding hundreds of laid-off workers may not be recalled. More...

2nd Annual Aircraft Reposession Conference 
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The Second Annual Summit will explore the latest developments in aircraft repossession and recovery. The event will provide the platform for high-level debate and an exchange of ideas and information, as well as extensive networking opportunities for aviation executives from the U.S. and around the world. Themes to be discussed include managing aircraft repossession, location and recovery services, unlawful expropriation, aircraft extraction, the role of lessors and banks, and legal aspects. Click here to learn more and register.
NATCA Taps Real Controllers to Reassure Publicback to top 

On May 11, the National Air Traffic Controllers national office uploaded a video to YouTube titled "I Am A Professional" in support of the work done by controllers each day, following national media coverage of controllers sleeping on the job. The video begins with a man identified by on-screen text as "Steve - Miami 20 Years Experience" saying, "You don't know my name and you don't know my face, but you recognize the work I do each day." The video includes a collection of controllers and text (i.e., "More than 70,000 flights take off and land safely every day") that convey the importance of the work, the sheer numbers involved and the professional commitment of controllers. The video may be publicly aired elsewhere, according to NATCA. Also this week, the Inspector General told a Senate subcommittee that controller errors rose 53 percent last year. There may, however, be a simple and arguably positive explanation for that. (Video after the jump.) More...

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Alternative Sources of Powerback to top 

Solar Impulse, the entirely solar-powered aircraft based in Switzerland, showed it can go places on Friday by making its first international flight. The gangly craft used only its 12,000 solar cells for power on the 12-hour and 59-minute flight from Payerne to Brussels, a point-to-point distance of 337 miles. There were no reported technical difficulties on the flight, which organizers called a symbolic milestone as they prepare for a solar-powered circumnavigation in a larger aircraft in the future. However, there were some other challenges to overcome on the flight. More...

The dawn of the wood-burning aircraft may be near thanks to an agreement between a California biofuel company and the Province of Ontario, Canada. Rentech Inc. hopes to build a plant capable producing 23 million gallons of jet fuel per year in the small community of White River in northwestern Ontario. It will use 1.3 million tons of wood waste and tree species that are not otherwise used commercially in the Olympiad Project. Rentech won the wood supply in a competitive bidding process and will use the biomass to make Renjet, which it says is the only certified alternative jet fuel currently available. Although 23 million gallons sounds like a lot, the world's jets go through about 12.5 billion gallons of jet fuel each year. More...

A team of University of Maryland (UMD) students hope that their attempt to capture a record for human-powered helicopter flight with a female pilot is confirmed after a flight of about four seconds, Thursday. Judy Wexler, a 110-pound competitive cyclist (and doctoral candidate in evolutionary biology), took her place at the center of the 100-pound aircraft, Gamera, before cranking and pedaling briefly into the air. The vehicle consists of four rotors, each one 43 feet long, connected by an x-shaped structure of 29-foot truss arms angled up to suspend the seat with pedals and hand cranks at the center. It is 103 feet from rotor tip to rotor tip. Structural components are mostly carbon fiber, balsa wood and foam with mylar covering creating the surfaces of the airfoil. A minimum amount of metal was used. At least two other teams have made previous successful flights of longer duration with male pilots, but no official world records have been recorded by the National Aeronautc Association (NAA), so UMD may claim one. (Videos after the jump.) More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Although it struck like a bolt from the blue, it's too soon to tell if the Center for Environmental Health's proposed legal action will force the issue on leaded avgas. Our guess is that it will become just another distraction that the industry can hardly afford. But on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says it would still cost California businesses money to defend themselves or pay a settlement. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Letter of the Weekback to top 

AVMAIL: MAY 16, 2011

Letter of the Week: Apathy Is the Real Threat to GA

Regarding the "Question of the Week": I am a 56-year-old pilot but with only 14 years and 1,500 hours behind me. It may be my relatively recent introduction to aviation, or just my naiveté, [but] I truly believe the biggest threat to aviation can be summed up in one word, and that's apathy.

Think about what are the most powerful forces keeping general aviation alive: innovation, the passion of flight, camaraderie and the intellectual and physical challenge of piloting an airplane. It seems within minutes of landing my mind is considering how my next flight will be even better. I think about planning it [and] who I can have join me. I think about how I can plan my next dual session to improve my skills.

All of the options you listed as "threats" to GA are legitimate, but why aren't these simply annoyances? What makes them so ominous as to be a challenge to the very existence of GA?

To me, apathy is the most threatening, life-sucking enemy to the continued health of GA. It is what turns what should be approachable challenges like the 100LL transition [into] a potentially game-ending problem. The veritable silence caused by the lack of growth (and youth) in GA is truly the threat which I fear the most.

Anthony Nasr

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


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

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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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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Aircraft Services of New England at Minuteman Air Field (6B6) in Stow, Massachusetts.

We often hear about great FBOs that readers discover during a trip, but AVweb reader Paul MacMelville reminded us how your local FBO can come through in a pinch and save the day when you're busy attending to other matters:

I had flown from Oscoda, Michigan to Minuteman Air Field in Stow, Massachusetts to visit my mother in the hospital before heading down to Virginia to attend my daughter's Air Force retirement ceremony. On Friday, we had a heavy wet snowstorm, and, needing to leave on Sunday, I decided to go out to the airport Saturday to check on the airplane and field conditions. The heavy snow had pulled the tail of my plane down to the ground where it froze overnight, and when it thawed in the morning the fiberglass tailcone stayed stuck to the ground, tearing out the screw holes in the fiberglass as the snow melted and the nose came back to earth. I brought the tailcone into [FBO owner] Bob Booth's shop and asked for help. He not only repaired the cone but reinstalled it on the aircraft while I was back at the hospital with my mother. He called and left a message on my cell phone telling me the bird was ready to go and there was no charge! He saved my trip!

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!


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.
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Cape Approach:
"Skyhawk 12345, you have traffic at 2:00, five miles headed southeast."

Skyhawk 12345:
"Looking for traffic."

Skyhawk 12345:
"Is that 2:00 Eastern Time or Zulu?"

Cape Approach:

Dan Stoppe
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.