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Volume 17, Number 27b
July 7, 2011
Aircraft Spruce at the Arlington Fly-In || 
July 6-10, 2011
Aircraft Spruce at the 2011 Arlington Fly-In
Visit the Aircraft Spruce booth in Arlington, Washington (booth #52) on July 6-9 from 9:00am to 6:00pm and July 10 from 9:00am to 3:00pm. Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary UPS ground shipping on most orders, and Aircraft Spruce's helpful staff to answer questions. Call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or visit
AVflash! Scheduling, Routing, and Fatigueback to top 
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A report released Wednesday by the National Research Council found that commuting practices among airline pilots "could potentially contribute to their fatigue," and since fatigue can reduce performance, pilots, airlines, and the FAA should take steps to reduce the chance that commuting will pose a safety risk. The report stopped short of recommending new regulations, and said a lack of data hampered the analysis. "Some commutes have the potential to contribute to fatigue in pilots, and fatigue can pose a safety risk, but at this point we simply don't know very much about actual pilots' commuting practices," said Clint Oster, chair of the research committee. "Airlines and FAA should gather more information on pilots' commutes, and also work with pilots to lower the likelihood that fatigue from commuting will be a safety risk." The report also offers suggestions to commuting pilots about best practices that could help to minimize fatigue. More...

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Money In, Money Outback to top 

In May, Congress agreed to extend the FAA's funding through June 30, and as that date loomed last week, they passed yet another extension that expires on July 22. It was the 20th such short-term measure since the last comprehensive funding bill expired in 2007. The uncertainty and lack of long-term planning has not been good for the FAA, according to Administrator Randy Babbitt. "It's very difficult to run an agency when you're budgeting for weeks, not years," he said in a recent speech. "We need the restoration of predictable long-term funding for aviation programs." Both houses of Congress passed reauthorization bills earlier this year, but so far they have been unable to reconcile their differences. More...

The FAA has announced its annual grants to support airport improvements around the country. To find out what to expect at your local airports, click here to download the official FAA spreadsheet (XLS). Most of the awards are for well under a million dollars, and fund projects such as resurfacing a runway or acquiring snow-removal equipment. Some are more ambitious, such as $218,719,008 for a new runway at Chicago O'Hare, and $64,400,000 to build a fire and rescue building at the Marshall Islands International Airport. The grants also will fund construction of three new airports, two in Alaska and one in Utah.

The FAA's Airport Improvement Program provides grants to be used for the planning and development of public-use airports, heliports, and seaplane bases, including some that are privately owned. For general aviation airports, the grant covers 95 percent of eligible costs. Projects that enhance airport safety, capacity, security, and environmental concerns are eligible for funding. Early versions of federal airport grants date back to 1946, but the current program was established by the Airport and Airway Improvement Act of 1982. Funds for the grants are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is supported by user fees, fuel taxes, and other similar revenue sources. More...

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Another Bill of Rights?back to top 

Senator James Inhofe, who last October landed on a closed runway that had vehicles and people on it for which he received a remedial training order from the FAA, Wednesday introduced a bill to protect pilots from "agency overreach." Inhofe's remedial training was supplied by an instructor who he'd once taught. The bill would address items ranging from medical certification issues to Inhofe's concern that he waited four months to get voice recordings related to his episode. "I was never fully appreciative," said Inhofe, "of the feeling of desperation until it happened to me." Recordings of the manager whose workers were on the runway as Inhofe landed suggest they also might have felt desperation, but of a different sort. EAA and AOPA are among supporters of Inhofe's bill. Click through for details. More...

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Eternal Vigilanceback to top 

Federal officials Wednesday briefed airline executives on the possibility that terrorists may try to deliver explosive devices onto commercial airliners by surgically implanting them into suicide bombers. British officials in 2010 reportedly found evidence that al-Qaida was trying to do just that, but the new warning has not been attached to a specific threat. "This is something we've been concerned about for quite some time," security consultant J. Bennet Waters, and former TSA official, told the San Francisco Chronicle. While some experts believe it would be relatively easy to conceal an explosive in a body, others see flaws in the method. More...

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Not Exactly the Air Race Classic, But ...back to top 

In a rare event last staged 25 years ago, three blimps competed in a race above New York's Hudson River, launching on July Fourth. The race took place about 5 p.m., with fair blue skies and balmy weather, covering about three miles from start to finish. The three ships rendezvoused at about 1,000 feet above the Statue of Liberty, then raced up the river to the finish line at 59th Street, near the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. The blimp sponsored by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, which has a top speed of about 36 mph, came in first, followed by Hangar 1 Vodka and DirecTV. Three blimps in one place may not seem like a large field, but since there are only two or three dozen airships in the world, they represented a significant gathering. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

A Chinese leasing company has confirmed it intends to order 50 high-end Gulfstream business jets in a deal worth more than $2 billion. The deal with the China Minsheng Banking Corp.'s leasing arm involves an unspecified number of G650, G550 and G450 jets, the most modern in Gulfstream's line. Order confirmations and deliveries will take three to five years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The leasing company expects to have more than 100 business aircraft under its control by the end of the year, making it the biggest player in Chinese business aviation. Gulfstream was an early participant in the Chinese bizjet market and another of its big customers there, Deer Jet, is advancing its business plan. More...

The U.S. still operates about 80 percent of the world's business jets but if recent trends continue, that dominance will end. At a conference in Shannon, Ireland, last week, delegates to the Financial Solutions for Business Aircraft event were told that the business jet market has shifted considerably in the last five years, with 72 percent of business jets going to U.S. customers in 2006 and just 42 percent in 2010. The so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are taking up much of the slack and European sales have also been strong. But like virtually every other economic forecaster, guest speaker Oliver Stone, of Colibri Aircraft, said China is the country to watch in terms of business aviation expansion. More...


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GPS vs. Broadband: Three Opinions
(Two of Ours, One of Yours)
back to top 

LightSquared's plan to offer 4G wireless broadband right next to the GPS portion of the radio spectrum isn't going away quietly — and in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles says it may be time to think about how GPS will share the band with its new neighbor. Read more and join the conversation. More...

While LightSquared isn't going to give up the fight for its piece of the radio spectrum easily, Mary Grady doesn't see a clear victory in the group's future — and in her latest post to the AVweb Insider, she reminisces about similar scenarios that have played out in the past. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The dispute over the potential disruption of GPS by LightSquared's broadband network will likely have a complex and expensive resolution that will preserve both — but we're not going to give you any shades of gray this week. What would you prefer, cheap fast broadband or GPS?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if general aviation businesses are too dependent on tax breaks; click through to see the breakdown of answers. More...

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AVweb Q&Aback to top 

BrainteasersNavigating the Hawaiian Islands is fairly easy: Look across the water for your island destination, and then go there. It's like stepping across stones on a koi pond. Navigating tropical regulations takes mastery of this quiz.

Take the quiz. More...

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
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...

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!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 
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.

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