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Volume 17, Number 27a
July 4, 2011
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AVflash! More Long Nights Ahead for Controllersback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Mid-shift air traffic controllers will be allowed to listen to the radio and read "appropriate printed material" but they won't be allowed to nap under a new deal on fatigue prevention announced Friday. Controllers who think they're too tired to work can also ask for leave. The agreement between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association resulted from a spate of incidents in which controllers were found sleeping on the job in circumstances varying from having sleeping arrangements set up to simply nodding off at the console. Some controllers were fired and others disciplined and the new policies are a compromise between the FAA's hard line and the union's earlier suggestions that the occasional cat nap might be a good thing for bored controllers fighting their circadian rhythms. In the end the agreement puts the onus on controllers to show up ready for the rigors of the night shift. "Air traffic controllers have the responsibility to report rested and ready to work so they can safely perform their operational duties," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "But we also need to make sure we have the right policies in place to reduce the possibility of fatigue in the workplace."

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Broadband Battle Heats Up, Widens Scopeback to top 

Amid a flurry of dueling press releases, the stakeholders in the LightSquared/GPS controversy turned their fortunes over to the Federal Communications Commission in what has become one of the most controversial applications before the commission in recent memory. LightSquared wants to build a nationwide network of 40,000 broadband Internet transmitters using radio frequencies in a band adjacent to that used by an estimated 500 million GPS devices in the U.S. Tests have shown that the LightSquared signals, which detractors say are billions of times more powerful than GPS signals, interfere with GPS and can make devices go dark miles away from the towers. LightSquared says the interference can be resolved by initially by moving its signals to the lower end of its frequency band and farther away from GPS and in the long term by hardening new GPS devices against its signals. The GPS industry says LightSquared's plans defy the laws of physics and the only solution is to move the broadband signals far away from GPS. The stakes are high. LightSquared says its plan will generate $120 billion in economic benefit. The GPS industry says the interference will result in a catastrophic collapse of a system that is essential to the operation of countless devices, systems and programs in the U.S.

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Looking for Alternativesback to top 

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has signed an agreement with Ryanair to develop the C919, a new mid-size commercial jet, and, according to Ryanair, the deal creates real competition for Airbus and Boeing. Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said his company is "seriously interested in the development of a 200 seat variant of the C919 aircraft." He added, "We are pleased that there is now a real alternative to Boeing and Airbus." Aside from Ryanair, Comac is expected to attract serious attention in the Asia-Pacific market over the next twenty years. And Comac's position in the market has at least one major company seeking to share resources. More...

A Boeing 737-800 carrying 171 passengers out of Amsterdam for Paris Wednesday moved KLM to say it was "the first airline in the world" to operate a commercial flight on biokerosene (a used cooking oil, Jet-A mix), with more to come. KLM said that by September 2011, it will begin 200 more flights, flying the same route, and using the same 50-50 blend of fuel. Details regarding regulatory issues are not yet clear. The biofuel portion of the fuel mixture that KLM used for this latest flight was not derived from the camonila or jatropha plants. (The plants have earned attention for their high oil content and low agricultural impact.) KLM used a cooking-oil-based fuel produced by Dynamic Fuels, a joint venture between Syntroleum and Tyson Foods. More...

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Speaking of Fuel ...back to top 

A notice of intended lawsuit targets California FBOs saying that supplying and using leaded aviation gasoline violates the California Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65), and Friday the FBOs fought back. The suit is being brought by the Center for Environmental Health and the Attorney General of the State of California. The coalition has won the support of NATA and Friday filed a response asking a judge to issue an injunction that would stop the imposition of civil penalties. According to NATA, elements of the suit "would shut down the entire piston-engine aircraft fleet in California and end all flight training at the named airports." There are, of course, potential local and federal complications. More... || Intelligent Apps for 
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News Briefsback to top 

An RAF Spitfire flown by American pilot Roland "Bud" Wolfe dug itself deep into an Irish hillside on Nov. 30, 1941, after he bailed out, and now, 70 years later, that aircraft has been recovered. The recovery effort included an aviation historian, a team of archaeologists and the BBC, and will serve as the subject of a documentary. According to the Derry Journal, a newspaper from the town where the aircraft had been based, Wolfe had joined the RAF before America's official entry into the war and lost his U.S. citizenship because of it. He'd been flying on patrol near the north coast of Ireland when his engine began to rapidly overheat and he bailed out. Wolfe was detained by members of the Local Defence Force and held by the Irish Army, but escaped on Dec. 13, leading to what may be an even more unique story. More...

For the first time, Australian authorities have grounded a major airline over safety concerns. On Saturday the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) pulled the operating certificates for Tiger Airways for a week after Tiger pilots busted low-altitude limits twice in one month. On June 7, a Tiger A320 was tagged on radar at 1,500 feet in an area where the minimum altitude is 2,500 feet and CASA pulled the pin after a Thursday incident when another Tiger A320 aborted a landing at Avalon Airport in Melbourne and was going around when it also busted the 2,500-foot minimum by about 1,000 feet. "We are concerned that Tiger does not have the commitment to safety that we expect from an Australian airline," said CASA spokesman Peter Gibson. More...

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

AVMAIL: JULY 4, 2011

Letter of the Week: Questionable Question

AVweb's current "Question of the Week" and the choices listed reveal a fundamental misunderstanding about what a depreciation allowance tax benefit is and what it accomplishes. Rather than serving as a bailout as the editors' choices imply, depreciation is a win-win for individual companies and the U.S. economy.

Giving companies tax breaks for capital investments serves to encourage them to replace older equipment or buy needed assets for growth, while generating ripple-effect increases in economic activity. This is why depreciation allowances have received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress for many decades and also why President Obama and Congress enthusiastically supported accelerating depreciation last year for capital investments, including spending for business aircraft.

Buying a plane for business is no different than buying a new machine to expand a business. And don't forget that the vast majority of business aircraft owners and operators are the small-to-mid-size companies that are vital to our nation's global economic competitiveness. They even read AVweb . So you can image our disappointment at seeing such a dependable GA news source buy into rhetoric designed to secure politically expedient headlines.

Mike Nichols
Vice President - Operations, Education & Economics
National Business Aviation Association

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


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...

How's that aircraft battery holding up for you? Aviation Consumer wants to hear how well your battery has served you season after season. Please take a moment to rave -- or rant -- about it in Aviation Consumer's battery survey. The results will be part of an upcoming article in the magazine that might be just what you need to know before your next battery purchase. Click here to take the survey. More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals 
in Aviation
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.

Click for the resource page.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Last week, the FAA announced its policy to address controllers dozing off while on duty. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, politics trumped science. The agency refuses to recognize that nap breaks are the best, most enlightened way to restore flagging awareness. Instead, the agency says mid-shift controllers can listen to the radio and read to stay awake. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli predicts the inevitable result: The next sleeping controller will be found with the radio blaring classic rock and a not-that-stimulating book open to page three. Read more and join the conversation. More...

In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli has a brainstorm. Aviation summer camps for kids encourage burgeoning pilots to spread their wings — and immerse them in more aspects of aviation that a single introductory flight. So why not try it for adults? Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


While many pilots in U.S. and Canada were celebrating their national birthdays with family trip, AVweb reader Deb Price discovered the value of a good FBO when she made an unscheduled stop at Western Aircraft at Gowen Field (KBOI) in Boise, Idaho — our latest "FBO of the Week." Deb writes:

On Saturday of the July 4 weekend, the Cirrus SR20 we were flying developed a problem with one of its alternators. Melissa gave us bottles of water while she called around to find a mechanic — even if it was at a competitor! She lent us the crew car to get lunch while she waited for a response. There was no one around to look at our problem, so we decided to continue, since the weather was VFR to our destination. Melissa even waived fees, since we just stopped for a maintenance issue and didn't need fuel. She was friendly and professional throughout. What a good experience!

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

If that tornado at Sun 'n Fun in April didn't get your attention, it should have. With EAA AirVenture looming and storms hammering the midwest, it's time to think about portable tiedown systems for the show. In this brief video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer wring out three systems, and the walkaway winner is a product you've never heard of. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Overheard on a busy Atlanta approach this evening. A Cessna was attempting to get VFR flight following and had been waiting several minutes to get a response from approach:

Grumpy Cessna 12345:
"Atlanta Approach, how long do you think it will be until I can get flight following? It's been over 10 minutes now."

ATL Approach:
"Cessna 12345, say location."

Grumpy Cessna 12345:
"Umm, ah, I am near — an airport — 20 miles south of — of — somewhere. Oh, hell — hang on a second — "

Atlanta approach quickly moved on to the next aircraft. It was a busy evening; even my tail number got jumbled at least five times.

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.