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Volume 10, Issue 06b -- February 5, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... LightSPEED Aviation

AUX AUDIO ON LIGHTSPEED HEADSETS
The ability to use your aviation headset like a standard stereo headphone seemed an obvious benefit to us. Although some pilots do not immediately see the benefit of this feature, many find it indispensable. As PDAs become more prevalent in the cockpit, the ability for these devices to give audible warning and advise will increase the value of this headset feature. As noted in prior AVflashes, LightSPEED is the first headset company to offer this integrated feature. This Auxiliary Audio Interface is standard on the QFR XC2, 20XL2, 20 3G, and the 30 3G models. These headsets also feature "Com Priority Muting," which automatically turns down the Auxiliary Audio source should the headset detect input from the intercom. Find the model right for your flying needs at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/avflash.

The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

THE BUDGET SQUEEZE...
Last week, we told you a $100 million provision for relief to GA, previously written into the FAA's reauthorization bill, was gone, but that Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta would like to triple airspace capacity -- more airports, radar and runways (maybe we should just stop closing airports). This week, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr says the budget introduced by the White House includes a 16 percent funding cut for air traffic control facilities and equipment. "The White House is saying two entirely different and contradictory things," Carr said. "You cannot modernize the system and add capacity by announcing there will be vastly less money to pay for it." More...

...BUT SOME PROGRAMS PROSPER...
Certainly not all aviation-related programs are looking at cuts, however. In fact, the budget provides for whopping increases in spending on some technical development systems that are years or even decades from completion. A good example is the NEXCOM system, which will eventually amalgamate all aviation communications into a single, integrated digital service. Funding jumps from $102 million this year to $172 million for 2005. Likewise the En Route Automation Program (ERAM), which will get $264 million in 2005, compared to $185 million this year. ERAM will replace the 30-year-old system that now keeps tabs on high-altitude traffic. Costs appear to have been reigned in on some notorious budget-busters like the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). More...

...WEATHER CHANGES FORECAST
It also looks like there are changes coming to the way that controllers get their weather information, as part of the FAA's drive to minimize weather delays. In an internal memo obtained by AVweb, the National Weather Service (NWS) will reorganize its Central Weather Support Units (CWSU) system, which is the link between the latest weather information and the air traffic controllers. The less-is-more theme appears to be applied here, as well. In his assessment of the NWS plan, John Kies, the FAA's manager of Air Traffic Tactical Operations, notes there won't be any more money for the increased services so some CWSUs will likely have to be cut. "The NWS has agreed, de facto, to consolidation of the current configuration of the CWSUs," Kies wrote. More...

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YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS GA SECURITY...
It seems like lots of people talk about GA security but the state of Virginia is actually doing something about it. The state legislature is expected to pass $1.5 million in funding for a statewide audit of security planning and procedures at each of the 59 airports it certifies. Now, $1.5 million wouldn't cover the cost of a single baggage scanner at a major airport, but Charles Mcfarlane, Virginia's director of aviation, said the budget will go a long way toward implementing basic security measures at GA airports. "What's not appropriate is doing nothing," he said. Mcfarlane added that the measures must be kept in context with the level of risk. "I don't think the primary threat is a general aviation airport." More...

....LIGHTS, CAMERAS, FENCES
The Virginia plan (assuming the General Assembly includes the money in its final budget) will be first to assess what, if any, security measures are in place at each of the airports. Even the smallest facilities will be checked. Macfarlane said each facility will be asked to develop a security plan and document procedures. For many, the audit will reveal the need to spend some money on equipment and facilities. Macfarlane said proper fencing, identification systems, lighting and cameras are the most likely items to be installed at smaller airports. More...

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CARGO PILOTS ARMED, CONTROVERSY FULLY COCKED
After a yearlong battle to be included, cargo pilots can now apply to carry guns on their flights. However, the expansion of the Federal Flight Deck Officers (FFDO) program seems to have stirred up more criticism than it has calmed. The TSA announced the move on Tuesday, about a month after the president signed it into law as part of the FAA Reauthorization package. "Expanding the FFDO program [to cargo pilots] adds yet another layer of security ... to protect against those who would do us harm," said Acting TSA Administrator David Stone. But pilots groups and even pilots who have already been through the program apparently fear the it has a better chance of ending their careers than stopping a terrorist act. More...

PILOT LIABILITY PROTECTION PLANNED
A proposed law will also make volunteers who fly cancer patients to treatments and sick children to medical appointments fit the legal meaning of the term Good Samaritans. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees are now reviewing the bill, proposed in 2002 by Rep. Ed Schrock (R-Va.) to include volunteer pilots in the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997, the so-called Good Samaritan Act that protects volunteers from liability in their endeavors to help others. The Air Care Alliance is now looking for help from other volunteer pilot groups to help push the law into reality. More...

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR CLUB?
TimeSync's ScheduleMaster online aircraft scheduling service offers advanced features such as standby scheduling and notification of cancellations. ScheduleMaster helps your club improve aircraft utilization and will make your members happy. You can also add AccountMaster, an integrated billing system that works with Peachtree and QuickBooks. For a no-obligation online demonstration, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/timesy/avflash.

ADOPT A PILOT?
Southwest Airlines is beginning the seventh year of its Adopt-A-Pilot program, in which fifth-grade students across the country get to follow the travels of one of 450 volunteer pilots who take them along for the ride in a variety of ways. Some communicate by e-mail or send postcards, giving clues and asking students to figure out where the messages originate. Others take digital pictures of a toy they take to various U.S. cities while some get their passengers involved by asking them to write notes to class members. Along the way, the kids learn about the math, science, writing and geography skills involved in air travel that can be applied to other areas of their lives. More...

MYSTERY CRASH CONFOUNDS NIGERIANS
Last Friday, witnesses claimed to have watched a plane, possibly a Beech 1900, fall into the ocean. But since none of the air carriers operating in the area have reported any of their planes missing, air traffic controllers didn't have anything on their scopes and searchers haven't found any wreckage, a search has been called off. The National Air Safety Initiative (NASI) had classified the crashing object as a UFO, said NASI Executive Director Jerry Agbeyegbe. "Certainly an object was sighted crashing into the ocean, we have termed it for now as a UFO," Agbeyegbe told Reuters. "The fact that no aircraft is missing even makes it more demanding for government to resolve the mystery, certainly it should be viewed from the angle of national security," NASI told the Daily Times of Nigeria. More...

DIAMOND ENGINEERS REDESIGN DA40 PANEL TO OPTIMIZE FORM AND FUNCTION Diamond's DA40 is the platform for the first certified installation of Garmin's new integrated glass panel. The G1000 offers better situational awareness by rolling the functions of conventional panel-mounted instruments into two 10-inch sunlight-readable displays, including digital audio, a WAAS-capable IFR GPS, VHF navigation with ILS and VHF communication, 8.33-kHz-channel spacing, Mode S, solid-state attitude and heading, a digital air data computer and optional weather and terrain data all hooked up to a Bendix/King KAP two-axis autopilot. The jet-style, laser-etched polycarbonate overlay adds the final high-tech touch. For more information on the DA40, and Diamond Aircraft's other innovative aircraft designs, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond/avflash.

UFOS ABOUND
Maybe the Martians are upset that we've introduced ATVs to their planet or maybe it's a slow news week. Regardless, there is no shortage of UFO sightings around the world this week. It's all grist for the mill for the biggest UFO convention of them all, coming up July 1 in Roswell, N.M. Thousands of people watching the annual Snowdown Parade, in Durango, Colo., saw and heard a low-flying aircraft of some sort buzz the parade route twice. In Australia, a municipal worker caught what looks like a flying saucer on his digital camera and three Canadians told their local newspaper about seeing a bright hovering object near Moncton, New Brunswick, last summer. More...

AEROBATIC PIONEER DIES
Duane Cole, one of the pioneers of modern aerobatic competition and the air shows that give it an audience, has died at the age of 89. Cole died of natural causes at his home in Burleson, Texas. Cole spent his whole life in aerobatics and air shows and wrote nine books on the subject. Wayne Handley, who legitimately wears the mantle of aerobatic legend himself, said Cole was, "A giant. He had a very profound effect on the aerobatic world," said handley. "He loved aerobatics saw their value and preached the gospel of safety." More...

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ON THE FLY...
Air ambulance wreckage was found on Hawaii, all three aboard dead...
Modern racer Wildfire will challenge warbirds at Reno...
U.S. companies invited to check out China...
Singapore Airlines launched record-breaking 18-hour nonstop from LAX...
Restorable warbirds for sale by Australian museum.
More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB

COLUMNS
Say Again? #32: ATC 203 -- IFR En Route
Time to go back to school with AVweb's Don Brown. This time, he's discussing the pitfalls of IFR en route planning, especially short hops and requests for "direct-to." Get your charts handy and get ready to cruise. More...

REVIEWS
Telex Airman 850
You've moved on to heavier iron, and now you want to ditch the clunky old headset for one of those fancy, light-as-a-feather headsets you see the pros wear in the movies. Too bad the cockpit is too loud for you to hear anything. Enter the Telex Airman 850, a lightweight headset with the benefits of the latest ANR technology yet requiring no batteries to operate. Jeremy Jankowski puts the newest entry to the market to the test. More...

MINUTES — NOT WEEKS OR DAYS
When it comes to flying, you want to be on your own schedule. That's why it makes sense to insure with the country's only direct writer of general aviation insurance — AVEMCO. AVEMCO can take your application and quote you coverage and premium right away over the phone — so you can go fly. AVEMCO's competitors sell through agents or brokers who aren't underwriters. They have to go to the insurance company to get policy and pricing information, and that can take several days. At AVEMCO, you don't deal with commission-driven sales agents. Instead, you work with licensed insurance counselors who are all underwriters. Let AVEMCO help you get in the air quicker by calling 888-241-7891 and mentioning this AVflash — or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

BUSINESS AVFLASH
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s 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/

More...

AEROSHELL GIVES YOUR AIRPLANE SHINE AND PROTECTION
AeroShell, a trusted name for oil and lubricants, has a line of appearance products designed specifically for general aviation aircraft. The AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be purchased in a convenient leak-proof bag designed for easy carrying and storage. The AeroShell Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all six AeroShell Flight Jacket Polish and Cleaners, along with the application pad and cleaning cloths. Order AeroShell Flight Jacket products at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
While the number of airports in the U.S. continues to shrink, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta talks about tripling the airspace capacity. Last week, we asked AVweb readers what they thought about the GA closing crunch. An overwhelming 67% of respondents felt the FAA should intervene to protect airports. The other 30% of QOTW respondents thought the responsibility for these airports lay elsewhere — with local governments, residents, and individual pilots. Despite the differences, almost everyone (except five readers) thought that someone should take action to save our GA airports. This week, we'd like your thoughts on the missing $100 million for GA businesses in the wake of 9/11. More...

PILOT GETAWAYS MAGAZINE'S SPRING REVIEW
Just like in every issue, Pilot Getaways' Spring Issue leads you to some aviation-friendly destinations around the country. A grass strip on Cape Cod, an international airport in San Francisco, a WWII-themed hotel in Texas — even a gravel bush strip in the California mountains. Don't miss out on the best information for flying with your airplane. Subscribe today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Amazing shots keep pouring in from AVweb and AVflash readers! This week, we had to overlook some truly amazing shots — but John Fisher got our attention and we think he'll get yours. There was stiff competition for this week's AVweb baseball cap giveaway, so pat yourself on the back, John! More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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_____________________________________
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. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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