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Volume 10, Number 08a -- February 16, 2004

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

CHICAGO FACES LITTLE FINES FOR MEIGS
The city of Chicago could face almost $100,000 in fines for its sudden closure of Meigs Field last March 30 but an incipient FAA investigation won't bring the beloved airport back to life. As AVweb told you last Thursday, the FAA has agreed (almost a year later) to an investigation into the late-night destruction of Meigs' lone runway while aircraft were parked on the ramp. The closure allegedly violated notice provisions, which require an airport owner to provide at least 30 and up to 90 days of warning to the FAA that it intends to close an airport. Mayor Richard Daley at midnight sent a battalion of heavy equipment, under police guard, into the sealed-off airport and ordered workmen to carve large X's out of the runway. More...

...CLOSURE NOTICE NOT SUPPLIED...
Soon after the excavators had done their work, the FAA acknowledged that Daley had the legal right to close the airport. However, federal law requires that an airport owner give at least 90 days of notice. In an emergency, or for national security concerns, only 30 days of notice is required if the airport has a published instrument approach, which Meigs had. Chicago notified the FAA of Meigs' closure the day after the runway was wrecked. If the FAA finds Chicago guilty, it can fine the city $1,100 per day for anywhere from two to 90 days of absent notice. More...

...FRIENDS LOOK FOR BRIGHT SIDE
Chicago officials have vigorously defended Meigs' closure and the relatively small fine isn't going to change their minds on the future of the airport. However, Meigs supporters did their best to draw what encouragement they could from the announcement of the investigation. "It's good there will be an investigation and the public will hear about it," said Rachel Goodstein, president of Friends of Meigs (FOM). The group also hopes the investigation will raise the profile of an alternative plan they've devised for Meigs that would include a park and an airport. More...

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AIR TOUR REGULATORY BATTLE GAINS MOMENTUM
Two more congressmen and the state of Tennessee have joined the fight against a controversial set of proposed rules governing air tour operators and sightseeing flights by businesses and charity groups. The National Air Tour Safety Standards were introduced as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last October amid howls of protest from many aviation sectors. Now Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) have written FAA Administrator Marion Blakey with their concerns, as has the Aeronautics Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The proposed rule would force all air tour businesses to conform to Part 121 or Part 135 standards and it would stiffen restrictions on volunteer and charity flights. More...

...VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING THIS WEEK?
The NPRM resulted in so many public comments (1535 to date) that the FAA extended the comment period to April 19. AOPA demanded public meetings, but the FAA said it couldn't afford the traveling road show required to hear from all affected operators. So, it proposed something called the "virtual public meeting" in which comments and questions could be submitted over the Internet. As of Sunday, there was no evidence of it, but there were reports the controversial Web forum would be on the FAA site from today until March 5. More...

AEROSANCE PowerLink© FADEC APPLICATIONS GROW
With STCs for a number of Beech Bonanza and Baron models now in hand, Aerosance (another Teledyne Technologies company) is highlighting the latest developments with their revolutionary PowerLink© FADEC digital engine control system. For more information on how to bring your aircraft into the FADEC generation, go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.

PISTON SALES UP, BUT THE BIG PICTURE'S STILL GRIM
As AVweb reported Thursday, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) delivered a bushel of bad news (along with some bright spots in piston single sales) in its annual report, and the phones started ringing in corporate communications offices. "Cessna's 2003 production numbers and market share are lower than 2002's due to our revised Citation delivery schedule," Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Meyers said in a statement. The company sold a third fewer Citations in 2003 (196) than it did in 2002. Cessna's order books are fat (493 planes worth $3.28 billion) for its CJ3, Mustang, XLS and Sovereign models, aircraft that are still under development. Another big name, New Piper, bucked the overall recovery trend in piston aircraft and saw a 20-percent drop in sales. Raytheon actually sold four more airplanes (263) in 2003 than in 2002. More...

EXPERIMENTAL AVIATION GETS BIGGER, SAFER
Decreasing numbers aren't always bad news. EAA says the number of experimental aircraft accidents dropped 25 percent in the one-year period ending September 2003 over the previous 12 months and fatalities were down by 36 percent. The better safety record came as new experimental registrations hit record levels and the number of homebuilts on the registry topped 25,000. EAA says its various safety programs and the overall attitude of its members and chapters were a big factor but we'll wager that better designs, better kits, better materials and simpler processes also played a part. More...

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MECHANICS CLEARED IN CHARLOTTE CRASH
A mechanic and his supervisors have been cleared of any wrongdoing over maladjusted elevator cables suspected of playing a role in the crash of a US Airways Express Beech 1900 on Jan. 8, 2003. All 21 people aboard the commuter flight, operated for the airline by Air Midwest, died when it climbed sharply after takeoff, stalled and crashed into a hangar at Charlotte Airport. According to The Charlotte Observer, the FAA has sent letters to mechanic Brian Zias; George States, a mechanic who inspected Zias' work; and Richard Tucker, foreman of the Huntington, W.Va., shop where the work was done, telling them they "may consider the matter closed." But the paper also quotes unnamed sources as saying the letters don't necessarily indicate the maintenance was done correctly More...

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE: RUNWAY MISHAPS
What happens when an Apache tangles with two Trojans (pages 4,5)? Broken airplanes and, we suspect, broken hearts. The T-28s were resting peacefully outside their hangars at Hicks Airfield (T67) near Fort Worth on the afternoon of Jan. 9, but it was the wrong place at the wrong time. The NTSB report says the pilot thought the right engine failed on a Piper Apache just after takeoff, causing the twin to veer off its takeoff path and slam into the old warbirds. The Apache was a write-off, but it's not known if the Trojans can be fixed. There were injuries but no fatalities in the crash. Likewise in another off-runway excursion that cost Uncle Sam tens of millions of dollars earlier this month in England, when an F-15 veered off the runway at 150 knots. More...

DISCOVER WHY HOMEBUILTS ARE THE HOTTEST SEGMENT IN GENERAL AVIATION
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A SUPER(SONIC) BUY?
Well, we can't wait for this one to show up on Warbird Alley at Oshkosh. A Washington broker is selling what he claims is the only privately owned F/A-18A in the world on eBay. What's more, the seller claims the aircraft was used by the Blue Angels in the early 1990s. The high bid (last we checked) was a bargain-basement $1.05 million for the somewhat disassembled aircraft (that cost somewhere near $18 million new). The aircraft is in pretty good shape according to seller Landa and Associates. The engines have been zero-timed and there's a parts spare. It has less than 4,000 hours total time and, for a guaranteed price of $9 million, could be made airworthy. Since the posting went up last Monday, more than 50,000 people have viewed the posting but when we looked, only one had bid. More...

JUST PLANE FUNNY
Sometimes stuff happens and when it happens on airplanes it can have hilarious results. For some reason, a collection of funny flying stories came our way this week and they're too good not to pass on. What happens when dry ice goes down a DC-8's toilet? How about discovering new ways to vomit in the back of an F-14 or developing a battle strategy when a toy blimp attacks in the middle of the night? Then, of course, there's flying a helicopter, which would be a lot more fun if all those instruments didn't block the view. Enjoy. More...

DOC BLUE'S EMERGENCY MEDICAL KIT — DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!
Do you carry a first aid kit in your airplane or car? AVweb's Dr. Brent Blue says drugstore first aid kits are packed with mostly useless stuff. Dr. Blue has assembled his own traveling medical kit for dealing with all sorts of medical problems, based on his long experience as an emergency room doctor, frequent traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad. It would cost you more than $500 to duplicate this kit, but it's available on sale from Aeromedix for $333. Call (888) 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

CLARIFICATION
Our Thursday report noting that Mooney will offer buyers the new Garmin G1000 PFD in new production aircraft gave the impression that Cirrus, too, is offering the G1000. In fact, Cirrus aircraft are equipped with the Avidyne Entegra system while the Mooneys will have the G1000 system. Diamond DA40 buyers will have their choice of the Entegra or the G1000. More...

ON THE FLY...
Maryland's own Gus McLeod landed in Antarctica in his bid to fly both poles, solo...
The Canadian province of Alberta has eliminated its aviation fuel tax on Int'l flights...
Frontier Airlines' won its fifth-straight FAA Diamond Star Award for maintenance...
Phillip Woodruff, 59, is the NAA's pick for top aerospace educator in 2003. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
How can you give a talk to pilots who know a lot more about flying than you do? One way is not to talk. But when confronted with a receptive audience, AVweb's CEO talked about what he knows: flying airliners and being a good airline captain. 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.

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES
Reader mail this week about pilots breaking airplanes, acquiring deadly weapons, buying lots of planes and more. More...

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...

SHORT FINAL...
Overheard at Bankstown Airport in suburban Sydney...

Tower: ABC, cleared for takeoff. Caution for a rabbit at the far end of the runway.

ABC: Roger rabbit... More...

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PILOT'S AUDIO UPDATE
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AVIATION SAFETY DELIVERS! MARCH ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE:

  • "Has Cirrus Delivered?" — the SR20 and revamped training
  • "Improper Flight Rules" — usually means duck unders and other fatal shortcuts
  • "Finely Tuned Flying" — tune up your trimming technique
  • "Yikes! That's Short" — sharpen your minimal pavement technique
  • "Friend or Foe" — what to do when the radio is dead and you're not sure why that F-16 is off your wing
  • "Night Over Water" — poorly-flown instrument approach can end in splashdown
  • Plus: accident reports, maintenance issues, and lessons learned your way

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MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO MEMPHIS, VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG & OSHKOSH!
Ever had "sticker shock" when you got the bill after an annual? Frustrated when problems still aren't fixed after several tries? Flabbergasted by the stratospheric cost of parts? Intimidated by mechanical problems far from home base? Ever felt a shop had you "over a barrel"? Spend an illuminating weekend with Mike Busch — AVweb founder, writer, teacher, pilot, aircraft owner, and A&P mechanic — at one of his Savvy Owner Seminars. He'll share his 40 years of aviation experience, help you become more maintenance-savvy and empowered, and teach you how to get better maintenance while saving thousands of dollars. For complete seminar details, plus dozens of Mike's maintenance articles, visit Savvy Aviator Seminars at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.

_____________________________________
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.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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