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WOULD KILL MAINE PLANE TAX
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
LONG ROAD TO REAUTHORIZATION
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withdrawn.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.
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FAA MEDICAL OVERSIGHT "INADEQUATE"
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...
NPRM: AIRBUS RUDDER PEDAL INPUTS
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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ADVISORY COVERS HUGE AREA OF SOUTHWEST
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
Again, AVweb would be interested in
hearing from pilots who think their GPS is affected by the test. Send
your observations to email@example.com.
PILOT BLAMED FOR COLLISION WITH BIPLANE
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
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...
... is the
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showcasing everything from ultralights through to turboprops and jets.
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JET A FROM A STONE
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
AIRLINES' INADVERTENT 9/11 REFERENCES
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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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
MAY 23, 2011
Letter of the Week: Gender Shift
Regarding the story "Gender
Shift In Aviation": There's an explanation in the
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
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
Click through to read
the full text of our "Letter of the Week" and other mail from
AVweb readers. More...
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GA GRASS ROOTS ACTIVISM
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.
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OF THE WEEK: COX AVIATION (BIG SANDY REGIONAL AIRPORT/K22, PRESTONSBURG,
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Cox
Aviation at Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22) in Prestonsburg,
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:
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
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
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
"Cessna 1234, you are clear to land
"Clear to land 18 and thanks
for the help today."
"You bet. We do good work
when we're awake!"
owner, KC Copters
Kansas City's NewsChopper9
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...