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WARNS OF LIGHTSQUARED TESTS IN NEVADA
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.
LIGHTSQUARED TESTING UNDERWAY
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
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CHANGES TO PRO-PILOT TRAINING
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
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FUNDING DECISION IMMINENT?
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...
Aircraft Repossession to Be
Debated in Miami
The Second Annual Summit
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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
Click here to learn more and
|NATCA Taps Real Controllers to Reassure Public||back to
ERROR AND NATCA'S PUBLIC RELATIONS VIDEO
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
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IMPULSE CROSSES BORDER
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...
FUEL FROM WOOD
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...
HELICOPTER LIFTS OFF (WITH VIDEO)
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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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
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
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.
Click through to read the rest of this week's
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"JETMAN" ROSSY CONQUERS CANYON
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.
OF THE WEEK: AIRCRAFT SERVICES OF NEW ENGLAND (MINUTEMAN AIR FIELD, 6B6,
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Aircraft
Services of New England at Minuteman Air Field (6B6) in Stow,
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
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
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THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...