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Volume 17, Number 21a
May 23, 2011
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The Bottom Lineback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Maine legislators are expected to pass a bill (PDF) that will eliminate a so-called use tax on aircraft purchased outside the state but used within it for more than 20 days in the first year after the purchase. Although the current law affects relatively few aircraft, publicity surrounding a few cases of enforcement and attention from AOPA have led to a subtle but detectable boycott of Maine by some private aircraft owners. That, and the creation of an aviation business park and executive airport at the former NAS Brunswick, have focused attention on the tax and prompted bills proposed by state Senate President Kevin Raye and Sen. Stan Gerzofsky that have been merged into the current document. Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA), the body charged with enticing business and traffic to the new airport, told the Times Record the bill should help rid the state of its anti-GA perception. "There's a black mark on Maine in the pilot community, that really causes us problems. It's pretty unsettling when investors and people who own property here have got to land their aircraft in New Hampshire and rent a car to drive up to their homes or businesses. It's really hurting us from an economic development perspective." More...

An amendment that some said was stalling progress of the long-awaited FAA reauthorization bill has been withdrawn. Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Bill Shuster's amendment passed the House by a narrow margin on April 1 and would have required the FAA to conduct studies and analyze the possible impact of rulemaking with "a mandate that regulations are based on sound science; an assessment of its economic impact; and a reasoned cost benefit analysis," Shuster said in announcing the amendment. He also said the amendment wasn't aimed at any rule in particular but opponents suggested it was targeted at new crew rest rules proposed by the FAA last year in response to the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Buffalo in 2009, in which crew fatigue was implicated as a factor. Shuster said Friday his amendment was getting in the way of the broader goal of achieving stable funding for the FAA. "It is apparent that the inclusion of my amendment in the FAA bill may slow down conference negotiations and delay the adoption of this critical legislation to dramatically reform and streamline Federal Aviation Administration programs, modernize the nation's aviation system, and spark much needed job-creation through aviation infrastructure improvements," he said. Shuster's move removes one potential roadblock but FAA reauthorization still faces significant legislative hurdles. More...

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Aviation Safetyback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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A 61-year-old helicopter pilot who suffered a stroke in 2006 should have received more attention form the FAA, the NTSB said, before an emergency took place on Dec. 29, because the same pilot couldn't move his arm. The emergency flight took place at night during an emergency medical services trip on a twin-engine Eurocopter. No patients were on board. After suffering the in-flight stroke, the pilot called a controller and requested vectors to a nearby airport. He then failed to recognize the runway and overflew the airport. With more vectors, and the aid of a flight nurse on the flight controls, the pilot managed a hard landing that caused the aircraft $220,000 in damage. The NTSB noted a contributing factor in that accident: "The Federal Aviation Administration's inadequate oversight of the pilot's known medical condition." More...

On Nov. 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed in Queens, N.Y., killing all 260 on board, plus five on the ground, and now an FAA NPRM aims to address one of the accident's causal factors -- over the next four years. The NTSB found that Flight 587, an Airbus A300 out of JFK for Santo Domingo, had lost its vertical tail in flight, due in part to pilot control inputs, before the aircraft fell out of control. Data suggests the first officer managed to overload the vertical tail with rudder pedal inputs of less than 2.5 inches. The proposed Airworthiness Directive (AD) would incorporate a design change to prevent excessive rudder movement that could lead to overload and failure of the vertical stabilizer. Affected aircraft include about 215 jets, all of which are models of the Airbus A300 and A310. Compliance is required within 48 months after the effective date of the AD. Comments are due by July 5. More...

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Situational Awarenessback to top 

A huge area of the U.S. Southwest is under a flight advisory (PDF) warning of potentially unreliable GPS performance as unspecified "GPS testing" is carried out in the area of Truth or Consequences, N.M., from May 27-Jul. 1. It's not immediately clear if the advisory is related to LightSquared's ongoing program to test for interference resulting from its 4G broadband transmitters. As we reported last week, a LightSquared test program began in Boulder City, Nev., May 16 and continues to May 27 and the FAA warned that GPS disruptions might occur within a 330-nm circle around the test transmitter. Above FL 400, the area covered by the latest advisory will cover a circle 640-nm across centered 19 nm from the BVS VOR on the 230.5 radial.

Again, AVweb would be interested in hearing from pilots who think their GPS is affected by the test. Send your observations to More...

The NTSB blames the operator of a large RC model for its highly publicized collision with a full-size biplane at a fly-in in Colorado last Aug. 14. In its final report, the board says the RC operator flew the model outside the area designated for RC operations at Brighton Van-Aire Estates Airport before it was struck by the SA 750 Acroduster homebuilt. The NTSB described the biplane's maneuver as a go-around but video shows it was done at high speed and low altitude with airshow smoke on. The biplane's lower wing was damaged but the pilot was able to land safely. The RC model was destroyed. The NTSB said the model was getting out of a vertical prop thrust hover when it strayed over the active runway and outside the RC box, but it suggested organizers of the show shared some responsibility for the incident. More...

AeroExpo UK || 17-19 June 2011 || Sywell, 
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... is the dedicated General Aviation exhibition in 2011, showcasing everything from ultralights through to turboprops and jets. Whether you are interested in learning to fly or are already a pilot and want to view the latest products available, AeroExpo UK has it covered!

Click here to learn more.
Aero ... Shale?back to top 

Shell is betting $19 billion that it can pull natural gas from shale rocks and then convert that gas into diesel fuels, including a Jet A product for aircraft. A facility the company is building in Qatar will reportedly become the world's largest gas-to-liquid plant and could establish technology that would be used on a smaller scale in the U.S. The U.S. has become one of the largest in the world producers of natural gas through the development of shale fields. And the abundance of natural gas derived from those efforts has helped drive down the cost of natural gas versus oil. The price gap could mean that even with costs added through processing, liquid fuel products derived from natural gas would be competitive or even a favorable alternative when compared with traditional oil. But Shell may be looking for something else, too. More...

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

The advertisement for United Airlines reads "You're going to like where we land." Unfortunately, it was placed above the entrance to a subway stop at Cortlandt Street, in New York City -- with Ground Zero as the backdrop. For those who need reminding, it was United Airlines Flight 175 that struck the south tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Truth be told, United may be significantly removed from the decisions that led to the placement of the advertisement at that precise location. The sign was approved by New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), but the MTA's logo isn't part of the message; United's is. Enough New Yorkers managed to recognize the unfortunate placement that United and the MTA heard about it and the third-party vendor responsible for placing the ad at that location was contacted to take the ad down. That wasn't the only 9/11-related "error" for which United earned attention last week. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

International Learn to Fly Day reaches out to the general population and provides plenty of information on aviation — but inspiration is a lot harder to come by. On the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady wonders what fills the adventure-shaped hole in the heart of today's prospective pilots. Read more and join the conversation. More...

This week, a Brazilian court convicted two American pilots in absentia for being negligent in the 2006 midair collision between the Embraer Legacy they were flying and a GOL 737, which crashed, killing all aboard. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says this verdict serves no one and only does harm to Brazil's reputation in the world of aviation. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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

AVMAIL: MAY 23, 2011

Letter of the Week: Gender Shift Explained

Regarding the story "Gender Shift In Aviation": There's an explanation in the footnotes.

In the tables published by the FAA in 2010, I did take notice of the big jump in the total number of women pilots from 36,808 in 2009 to 42,218 in 2010. When I noticed that most of the increase was driven by a 74% increase of women student pilots, I was even more excited.


However, as one of 5,580 women pilots holding ATP certificates in 2010 (just 3.9% of all ATP certificates), I have been well trained to always read the small notes, and they clearly explain that the jump in number of student pilot certificates is due to the change in duration of the student pilot certificate from 24 months to 60 months.


Some claim that women will never constitute 50% of the aviation population for various reasons. 100 years ago, similar claims were made when only 5% of car drivers were women. However, today, a little over 50% of the people holding a driver's license are women.

Just as the illusion of safety in GA recently discussed in AVweb is believed to hamper the popularity of aviation among the general population, I believe that the illusion of significant progress in terms of the participation of women could deter the much-needed industry effort to encourage more women to participate.

Mireille Goyer

Click through to read the full text of our "Letter of the Week" and other mail from AVweb readers.


Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to What have you heard? More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

We all get upset when aviation or an airport comes under attack — whether from a developer, neighbors, bureaucrats or apathy. Jolie Lucas does something about it. Listen, learn — and do.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

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

No one does aviation quite like the Navy, and carriers are only half of the story. In this vodcast, author/photographer Erik Hildebrandt talks about his experiences in shooting and compiling an impressive history of a century of naval aviation. More...

Come ride along on some simulator training in a Cirrus SR22 to see the kinds of things you can do better in the box than in the real world. We'll also give you some tips for getting the most out of your simulator time. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Cox Aviation at Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22) in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.

AVweb reader Linda Langrill had no shortage of good things to say about this FBO she discovered on the way to Sun 'n Fun this year:

We got stuck in weather on our way down to Sun 'n Fun ... . The best thing that happened was that the nearest airport to our location was the Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22) at Prestonsburg, KY. We were greeted by FBO manager Gary Cox with a friendly smile and efficient, friendly service. The official airport kitty, Saltine, greeted us out on the ramp. The lobby of the FBO had just been remodeled, complete with a gas log fireplace, newly tiled restrooms, well-equipped flight planning room, and (most of all) friendly people everywhere we went. The restaurant adjacent to the FBO, the Cloud 9 Cafe, is worth flying or driving in to experience. ... Lauren, Mr. Cox's daughter, operates the restaurant. We ate there twice during our two-day stay in Prestonsburg, and on Sunday afternoon we had to wait in line. Well worth the wait. We have recommended this airport and FBO to every pilot we talk with. If you are on your way south or north, east or west, and if you get anywhere near this airport, plan to stop. You will not be sorry!

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Here's one I heard just a week or so ago from the non-fed tower at my home base, Johnson County Executive Airport (KOJC) in Olathe, Kansas (a suburb of Kansas City):

"Cessna 1234, you are clear to land runway 18."

"Clear to land 18 — and thanks for the help today."

"You bet. We do good work when we're awake!"

Johnny Rowlands
owner, KC Copters
pilot/reporter, KMBC-TV Kansas City's NewsChopper9
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.