NewsWire Complete Issue
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
How You, Too, Could Get A Visit From The FBI...
His only crime is fastidious attention to his airplane but an AVweb reader says the long arm of the law reached out and touched him because of his passion. Mike, who asked that his last name
and hometown not be used (AVweb has verified his identity) says a dark tan, a black beard and the regular shipment of aviation-related merchandise to his home is all it took to have him branded
(briefly) as a suspected terrorist. "What we have here is a textbook example of how things are not supposed to work," Mike told AVweb a week after he was interviewed by the FBI on suspicion of
being a terrorist. We suspect there are those who might feel the exact opposite is true. Mike does most of the maintenance on his 40-year-old complex airplane by himself (under a mechanic's watchful
eye) and he began assembling the stuff needed for his most recent annual about three months ago. Since he works during the day, he orders most of the parts and materials he needs from catalogues and
has them shipped to his apartment. Over the past few months, boxes and shipping containers obviously containing aviation-related merchandise (some of them, like paints and lubricants, labeled as
hazardous materials) began arriving at his home.
Since the aviation merchandise (and "hazardous materials") arrived while he was at work, they were received by the building manager and held for Mike to pick up. Mike says he believes someone working
in the building manager's office looked at him, looked at the kind of stuff he was getting in the mail, and then looked up the local FBI office in the phone book. About 10 days ago, he arrived home to
find the business card of a local FBI agent slipped under his door with a note on the back asking him to call. After a couple of trips through the FBI's voice mail system, the agent and his suspect
made telephone contact. "At first he didn't want to tell me what it was about, being vague about having to investigate a complaint, but when I pressed him he broke down and told me I was under
suspicion as a terrorist!" Mike said. "I nearly cracked up." He arranged to meet with the agent and the story unfolded. Mike said the agent seemed ill-prepared for the interview, lacking even basic
knowledge of his suspected terrorist. "He didn't know how old I was, where I was born, anything," Mike told AVweb. "Since I am a naturalized citizen, I know I have a file at the INS, but he
didn't, and didn't even bother to check." Had the agent checked the INS file, Mike said, he would have discovered his suspect was a Jewish immigrant, not the most likely profile for an al Qaeda
operative. Mike said it didn't take long for the agent to wrap up his investigation after that and other facts were revealed.
Perhaps the episode confirms such terrorism tips are actually followed up but Mike said he thinks his experience shows something else. "It's like all the other measures they've taken in the name of
[GA] security," he said. "They're all window dressing." He noted that if he'd actually been a terrorist, finding the FBI card under the door likely would have sent him bolting for the border, or
changing his appearance, or doing something to evade the authorities ... as opposed to picking up the phone and giving a special agent a call. Even if his apartment was under surveillance, Mike
estimates an international terrorist worth his salt would be able to escape. "But because I'm not a terrorist, I met him for lunch," Mike said. An FBI spokesman said investigation strategies differ in
each case. "Sometimes there are reasons to be overt with the subject of an investigation in order to solicit their cooperation," said spokesman Bill Carter. Mike said he thinks the agency knew from
the outset that he wasn't a terrorist but had to go through the motions of opening and closing the file to keep bureaucratic butts covered.
PILOT INSURANCE CENTER (PIC) IS YOUR BEST CHOICE!
Don't pay more for your life insurance coverage just because you fly.
Compare Pilot Insurance Center's rates to any other insurance organization, and you will find what thousands of pilots have discovered: The Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) is your best choice for life
insurance. A+ RATED CARRIERS. NO AVIATION EXCLUSIONS. Quick and Easy Application Process. Call 1-800-380-8376, or visit online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife.
One Pilot's Donation Saves Airport...
Hardly a week goes by that angry airport supporters don't fill a council chamber somewhere trying to save their local strip, but it's not often one of them puts his money where his mouth is. Enter
Robert Kimball, who set an example (or an uncomfortable precedent) a week ago by putting up $6,630 to ensure his local airport, owned by the borough of North Cambria, in Pennsylvania, received a
$132,000 state grant to complete the airport's master plan. Local governments in Pennsylvania must ante up 5 percent of state airport grants and the local council was considering dropping the grant
until Kimball's offer came along -- they then voted unanimously in favor of taking his money and then the state's. The council also agreed to take the airport off a state Web site that lists the
facility as being for sale and in which the owner is said to be looking at "all proposals for the development of this land." The posting has apparently been up for four years and was put up as a
"trial balloon" to gauge interest from the private sector in taking over the airport. Council member Don Cessna (yes, really) said he knew nothing about the Internet ad, and the airport is not for
While the Pennsylvania politicians couldn't (wouldn't) come up with $6,630, their counterparts in Florida's Martin County are getting set to part with millions to protect Witham Field. The FAA has approved the county's plan to buy homes near the end of the main runway and to soundproof others, all
at taxpayers' expense, to ease the effect of noise on residents. Airport director Mike Moon said the county now has to find ways (like borrowing) to pay for the houses and soundproofing and that might
take some time. Meanwhile, the FAA has also rejected a couple of noise-prevention measures in the plan and that has some local residents making a racket. The county had hoped to ban older, noisier
jets from the airport but the FAA said such a ban isn't warranted because so few so-called Stage One aircraft use Witham. Airport activist Dave Shore cried foul. "It's shocking," Shore told The Palm
Beach Post. "Give the community a break. They are loudest, noisiest, most polluting of all jets." The FAA also rejected a voluntary noise-reducing takeoff procedure that would steer aircraft away from
homes and over water.
The politicians of Farmingdale, Long Island, extol the economic benefits of a massive new supermarket, while the proposal has driven some opponents to such headline-grabbing stunts as attending
council meetings made up as bloodied airplane crash victims. The new Stew Leonard's superstore will be 1,032 feet from the end of busy Republic Airport's main runway. "It's a disappointment that they don't understand ... that it's unsafe to build these types of facilities in these locations," said William McShane,
chairman of the Long Island Business Aviation Association. The store will be well within the airport's runway protection zone and, in
addition to local aviation officials, the state department of transportation also objected to the location. All fear the horrible potential of a crash into the store. However, the Babylon Zoning Board
of Appeals voted unanimously in favor of letting the 160,000-square-foot store, complete with petting zoo, settle in below short final, to the cheers of local business people. "We want the store
here," said Bob Getchell of the East Farmingdale Civic Association. "It's good for the economy, it's good for the neighborhood." The FAA says the store won't pose any air navigation hazard.
WORLD'S BEST MOTION-SICKNESS RELIEF ON SALE AT AEROMEDIX
The ReliefBand "Explorer" offers the most effective relief
available for nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness and the ONLY drug-free motion-sickness remedy cleared by the FDA. Aeromedix.com now has the OTC Explorer on sale for
just $69.95 (save $10) through the end of February. Prescription-strength models of the ReliefBand are also available. Call (888) 362-7123 and mention AVflash coupon code AVF0302 to receive
this sale price, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi.
AVweb has confirmed that the image last Thursday posted to our Picture Of The Week section of Capt. Christopher Stricklin's Sept. 14, 2003, ejection from Thunderbirds jet number 6 -- roughly
eight-tenths of a second before aircraft impact -- is in fact authentic. It was shot by Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III, Still Photographer, U.S. Air Force, from the catwalk atop the tower at Mountain
Home AFB, and was not officially released by the Air Force until last Friday afternoon.
For the photographically inclined, Staff Sgt. Davis said he shot images with a Nikon D1X camera using a 300-mm lens with an aperture setting of 2.8 and shutter speeds of 1/1000 and 1/2000. For the now
famous (and now official) shot, Davis "waited for the aircraft to level and clicked the shutter." And yes, he did experience some concern that the jet, which the Air Force says Stricklin turned away
from the crowd, appeared instead to be directed at the tower. By his own account, the wreckage stopped just 100 feet shy of the tower's base. The nature of the lenses involved offer explanation for
the automobiles so clearly visible in Davis' still image, but absent from the in-cockpit video. The picture and story have generated a great deal of material, rumors and interest. So we invite you to
Al Qaeda has apparently discovered a new instrument of terror. It's called the threat and it was used to ground at least six return flights headed to the U.S. Sunday and today. Based on intelligence
reports issued by the Department of Homeland Security, the travel plans of hundreds of people were upended when British Airways, Air France and Continental cancelled flights to and from Washington and
Miami. The Department of Homeland Security said they had word al Qaeda was planning to release biological agents or a radiological device aboard an aircraft. Of course, the airlines could only suck up
the financial loss and the likely loss of customers with stoic rejoinders on security that have taken on a mantra-like quality. "The safety and security of our operations is our absolute priority and
will not be compromised," British Airways said in a statement. But British pilots have asked their government to examine the U.S. intelligence reports with a critical eye to see how credible they are.
Over the Christmas holidays, at least two British Airways flights to Washington and six Air France flights to Los Angeles were cancelled under similar circumstances. The U.S. was on heightened
terrorism alert at the time but there are no plans to raise the alert status because of the latest threats.
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. Reserve your ticket by calling (248) 348-6942 and mentioning this AVflash, or by visiting http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.
Regulations aside, a California pilot claims the military put him in harm's way when it refused to let him land his powerless Cessna 140 at Travis Air Force Base Jan. 11. But an Air Force spokesman
said he was welcome to set down on that big, wide runway. "We were more than ready to accept that aircraft," Capt. Michele Tasista, public affairs chief at Travis, told the Vallejo, Calif.,
Times-Herald. "As I understand it, we were willing to let him land here." But 68-year-old pilot Ted Weddell said that Travis controllers first peppered him with questions and finally sent him to
nearby Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville. He never made it. The fuel-less 140 hit a tree on a vacant lot, sending Weddell and his passenger, 34-year-old Scott Terra, to the hospital. The NTSB preliminary report may support Weddell's version of the events. The report says Weddell made a call on
the emergency frequency when fog blanketed his destination and he ran short of fuel looking for a hole in the undercast. The report says Travis controllers then vectored him to the nearest airport,
which was fog-shrouded Nut Tree. Weddell insists it would have been safer for him to land at the base. Another Air Force spokesman, Capt. Angela Smith, stressed that Travis is open to any aircraft in
an emergency and controllers must have had a good reason if they sent him somewhere else. She did not tell the Times-Herald, however, specifically what that reason might have been in this case.
Weddell suffered a broken arm, a dislocated shoulder and facial injuries. Terra broke an ankle and all the bones in his face and was in hospital almost three weeks. There were only three quarts of
fuel left in the airplane.
We told you Jan. 19 and Jan. 26 about the case of the allegedly drunk pilot who raised havoc over Philadelphia and southern New Jersey a couple of weeks back, but the story keeps getting better (worse).
Authorities now say John Salamone was also taking Valium when he took his Cherokee on a four-hour tear and they've also added the charge of "risking a catastrophe" by allegedly coming within 900 feet
of a Boeing 747 loaded with passengers. Meanwhile a local television station has obtained a tape of tower conversations recorded during the ordeal (see below). In one exchange, the controller warns a
Learjet that "there's no rhyme or reason to what his flight direction is going to be and his altitude's changing constantly." The Lear pilot responds, suggesting that the aircraft he saw appeared to
be practicing aerobatics. Salamone is also alleged to have almost hit a police helicopter escorting him back to his home airport of Limerick, where he was convinced to land after being reminded that
he would soon run out of fuel. All the usual authorities are continuing their investigations and Salamone has been grounded.
Note: AVweb is not responsible for or associated with content accessed through the following link -- it's not our reporting, it's not our opinion, it's not on our server ... and it
may have changed since last night. When you view it, you will not be on our Web site, so if you have any trouble viewing it, we can't help you (please don't write). Alas, for inquiring minds, here it is.
After years of bitter legal battles, a company's plans to build a souped-up modern version of the venerable Luscombe 8F taildragger revolve, predictably, around finding new investment. Renaissance Aircraft LLC has the facilities, the jigs and the equipment and should soon have the legal right to start building new
Luscombes, but the court battles have drained its coffers. Renaissance was embroiled in suits and countersuits with the Arizona-based Don Luscombe Aviation History Foundation, which sued over Renaissance's plan to manufacture the 8F. Renaissance ultimately won a $2.2 million judgment against the foundation, which
promptly declared bankruptcy. Now, an April 1 deadline looms in which the company has to start paying $21,000 a month in lease payments for 48,000-square-foot hangar built by the taxpayers of Cape
Girardeau, Mo. Still, Renaissance owner John Dearden remains upbeat. "I feel very optimistic at this point," he said. As with most budding aircraft manufacturers, Dearden thinks the Luscombe, first
built in the 1930s, is the right airplane at the right time. He said that at a price of $80,000, the side-by-side two-seater is less money and has as good or better performance than some kit planes.
The word performance isn't often used in describing a Luscombe of old but Dearden's version sports a 150-horsepower Lycoming instead of the C-85 in the originals. The result, according to Dearden, is
a 1,500 fpm climb at gross and a 75-percent cruise of 126 knots at 8,000 feet, along with a flaps-down stall speed of 37 knots. "It's a fun airplane," he said. So far two have been built but only one
Could Air Canada flight crews be in for some refreshers on VFR procedures? For the second time in less than six months an Air Canada crew has committed an embarrassing navigational blunder while
looking out the windows instead of scanning the panel. According to the NTSB incident report, on Jan. 19, a
rare clear winter day in Seattle, the crew of an Air Canada Jazz Dash-8 lined up visually for an approach and landing on Taxiway Tango at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. They were supposed to be
aiming for Runway 16R. As AVweb reported in September, an Air Canada A319, with gear down and flaps
partially extended, was apparently intent on setting down at tiny Vernon Regional Airport (runway 75' x 3360') in British Columbia before the crew thought better of it and went looking for their real
destination of Kelowna International, about 30 miles away. That incident also happened while the crew was flying VFR. Last month in Pennsylvania, a Shuttle America flight actually landed at the wrong airport. In the Seattle incident, the NTSB says the pilot mistook
the taxiway for the runway because contrasting light conditions made him unable to see the big yellow X that usually discourages pilots from landing there (two other airliners have landed on the
taxiway in the last five years). He suggested some lights and better markings on the taxiway would have alerted him to his error and allowed time for a go-around. He and his co-pilot have plenty of
time to replay the incident in their minds, since the airline has suspended them pending an investigation. "Any situation like that we take quite seriously," Air Canada spokeswoman Debra Williams told
The Vancouver Sun. Meanwhile, the Canadian Transportation Safety Board is conducting a full review of the A319 incident and its recommendations are expected later this year.
AFFORDABLE BELLS AND WHISTLES FOR YOUR AIRPLANE FROM BENNETT AVIONICS
Bennett Avionics meets your aircraft's needs while
maintaining your budget. Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft at a price that makes
sense. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics your one-stop used avionics specialist, online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett.
The federal government has upheld a ban on large aircraft at Teterboro Airport. The appropriations bill signed by President Bush last week contained a clause limiting the airports use to
aircraft weighing 100,000 pounds or less. Local activists were elated, owners of Boeing Business Jets (170,000 pounds) were not...
The FAA is dragging its feet on safety recommendations resulting from the crash of Swissair Flight 111 according to the producers of a documentary television special on the crash. The Canadian
Transportation Safety Board issued 23 recommendations from its investigation of the crash, which occurred off the coast of Nova Scotia while the flight was en route from New York to Switzerland. The
documentary, to air Feb. 17 on NOVA, says few of the recommendations have been adopted...
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association is going to court to force the government to settle contract disputes in 11 of its non-controller bargaining units. NATCA wants the court to
force the Federal Services Impasses Panel to take on the disagreements. The panel recently refused to get involved.
Pelican's Perch #77: Startups & Runups
Even the apparently simple tasks of starting and running up a piston aircraft engine before takeoff should be done with the same concerns for engine life, reliability and safety as any other part of
flight. AVweb's John Deakin steps us through the process, dispelling myths as he goes.
WINGX FROM HILTON SOFTWARE IS A PILOT'S DREAM COME TRUE!
WingX is a Microsoft Pocket PC application designed by
pilots for pilots using the latest Microsoft .NET technology. WingX enables pilots to perform complex calculations while down at the airport and away from their home PCs. Graphical weight and balance;
route information with wind calculations; an E6B page; sunrise and sunset times; medical and pilot expiration date tracking; and FARs 1, 43, 61, 91, 119, 141, and 830; as well as the Pilot/Controller
Glossary all at your fingertips. This is amazing! See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/hiltonsoftware.
February 2, 2004
Reader mail this week about getting your license in 40 hours, changes in the D.C. ADIZ, airport closures and more.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs 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/
Sponsor News and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
HOW MUCH DOES THAT YELLOW TAG REALLY TELL YOU? FIND OUT IN LIGHT PLANE MAINTENANCE MAGAZINE
A yellow tag is the conventional way of signifying that a part or appliance
is serviceable and okay to use. But what does yellow tagging really mean? Not as much as you might think and this is a topic that's thoroughly addressed in the February issue of Light Plane
Maintenance magazine, the first and best source of money-saving how-to information for aircraft owners. To subscribe to LPM, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/lpm.
WIN A PAIR OF SCHEYDENS, AVIATION'S FINEST EYEWEAR
A pair of Scheydens will be given away every other week to a lucky
AVweb winner a retail value up to $395! The unique flip-up design has become the choice of pilots who demand quality and function in every aspect of aviation. Handmade titanium frames, quality
lenses, a Rosewood case, plush micro fiber bag and cloth are standard equipment on all styles. For more information (and to register to win), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/scheyden.
SUBSCRIBE TO IFR REFRESHER NOW AND SAVE!
You worked hard for your IFR ticket. Now protect it! IFR
Refresher is the monthly that polishes your proficiency, challenges your knowledge, briefs you on changing regs, and keeps your decision-making skills sharp. You'll enjoy guaranteed savings for as
long as you subscribe. Order today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrref.
FOR THE PILOT WHO HAS EVERYTHING TAKE ANY VEHICLE FOR A SPIN!
Carprop is a free-spinning propeller mounted on the
front of a vehicle to indicate the driver's enthusiasm for flying. As the vehicle moves, the propeller spins. Carprop's design allows the propeller to park in a horizontal position when the vehicle
stops so that it doesn't interfere with the license plate numbers. For the pilot who has everything, this is perfect! Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop.
SQUEEZE, BANG, BLOW, MAKE IT GO WITH POWER FLOW TUNED EXHAUST SYSTEM!
Your Cessna, Mooney, Piper or Grumman airplane deserves a Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System. Power Flow guarantees
your plane will love it and repay you by performing better than you ever expected! For those who have the Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System, order your exhaust shield! Details and ordering information
can be found online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/power.
FIRST-TIME PILOTS ARE USUALLY SPEECHLESS THEN THEY CAN'T STOP TALKING_____________________________________
It starts with Be A Pilot, the national
learn-to-fly program sponsored by the General Aviation community. Since 1997, over 140,000 people have registered to take their first lesson at one of the 1,700+ participating flight schools
nationwide. So whether it's for business, career, or fun, stop dreaming and start flying! Register online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/beapilot.
We Welcome Your Feedback!
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.
Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be
sent to mailto:email@example.com. Have a comment or question? Send
it to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.
Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on
marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:email@example.com.
Let's all be careful out there, okay?
AVflash is now available in optional easier-to-read graphic format, which includes some photos and illustrations. If you prefer, you can continue to receive AVflash in text-only format. Simply follow
these instructions and AVflash will continue to arrive as it always has, in text format.