AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 40b

October 6, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! LightSquared Forges Ahead with 4G back to top 

LightSquared Threatens Legal Action If System Denied

LightSquared says it will take legal action if the FCC rejects its plan to build a nationwide wireless broadband system in the U.S. that the GPS industry and Department of Defense says will interfere with GPS signals. In its most aggressive move so far, LightSquared wrote a letter (PDF) to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski reiterating the company's position that the faulty design and performance of the majority of GPS receivers is responsible for the interference detected in a series of tests earlier this year. LightSquared then called a news conference to throw down the legal gauntlet. "If it is impossible to get a decision on this that allows us to go forward, I think our way forward is pretty clear, that we then have to insist on our legal rights," LightSquared VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs Jeff Carlisle is quoted by ExecutiveGov as telling reporters. "If you have to be the bad guy, and go out and start … insisting on your property line, well, then that's what we'll do." The FCC has ordered more testing and the results are due Nov. 30.

As we reported in June, Genachowski assured Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the FCC "will not permit LightSquared to provide commercial service until it is clear potential GPS interference concerns have been resolved." In its most recent letter to Genachowski, LightSquared makes it clear it expects the GPS industry to modify its equipment to ensure it doesn't allow signals from outside the frequency ranges assigned to GPS to interfere with their operation. There are about 500 million GPS-reliant devices in use in the U.S. LightSquared has admitted that a small percentage of them, mostly high-performance measuring and timing devices, are legitimately interfered with by its signals and says it hired an engineer to design a cheap and simple fix for those units.

Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. || West Coast Super Sale || Saturday, 
October 8, 2011
Aircraft Spruce Annual West Coast Super Sale & Fly-In!
Aircraft Spruce West will be holding their annual West Coast Super Sale and Fly-In on Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 7:00am to 3:00pm in Corona, California. Come and join the Aircraft Spruce team and vendors for lunch, special pricing, vendor demonstrations, and educational seminars. Lots of opportunities to win raffle prizes from some of your favorite vendors, and a complimentary shuttle will be offered to and from the Corona Airport. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE, or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
The Next Generation (No, Not ADS-B) back to top 

GI Bill Now Covers Flight Training

As of Oct. 1, changes to the Post-9/11 GI Bill have taken effect that include flight-training benefits for veterans. The new benefits aim to provide support for short-term vocational training in addition to the traditional college-degree programs. The change is not expected to create a major new wave of pilots, however, as happened in the post-World War II era. Only 160 veterans per year, out of about 13,000 who are expected to use the new vocational benefits, will likely enroll in flight schools, the Army Times reported. The benefits will pay up to $10,000 per year to cover flight-school fees and tuition. The bill also provides some housing subsidies and pays tuition for some online courses as well.

The guidelines to qualify for the program are complex, but in general, only those who served in active duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, are eligible. The bill provides up to 36 months of education benefits, which generally can be used up to 15 years after release from active duty. Some veterans also may be able to transfer their benefits to dependents. More details can be found at the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Report Recommends Changes In ATC Training

An independent panel has reviewed how the FAA hires and trains air traffic controllers, and this week released a report (PDF) with 50 recommendations for improvements. The panel, made up of five experts in the field, including one from the FAA and one from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, recommended that the FAA should expand its use of mobile simulator labs, establish a yearly refresher training course for senior controllers who act as trainers, and more closely oversee the curriculum of ATC training programs in colleges around the country. "This report shows us we are doing a great job, but there are things we can and will do better," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

The panel also investigated how professionalism is taught to future controllers, and found that the FAA Academy "does not adequately establish a true concept in professionalism." Most professions, such as medicine and law, require a course in ethics and professional standards, the panel said. Yet, "there is no current requirement for a course similar to these for air traffic controllers," according to the report. A test program is in the works for several en route centers that is scheduled to launch next month. The program will create a peer-to-peer assessment, providing mentorship and a lead-by-example approach to improving professionalism. It will be offered at all en route centers next year.

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Green Flight Challenge Wraps Up back to top 

NASA Awards $1.35 Million For Efficient Flight

First place in NASA's Green Flight Challenge went to Pipistrel-USA, for a prize of $1.35 million, and the second-place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, NASA announced on Monday. The prize purse was the biggest ever awarded for an aviation competition, according to NASA. To win, the aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity. Pipistrel's Taurus G4 achieved fuel efficiency of 403 passenger miles per gallon at a speed of 107 mph. The results show that "battery-powered electric flight is feasible for general aviation aircraft," according to Pipistrel team leader Jack Langelaan.

"NASA congratulates Pipistrel-USA.com for proving that ultra-efficient aviation is within our grasp," said Joe Parrish, NASA's acting chief technologist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Today we've shown that electric aircraft have moved beyond science fiction and are now in the realm of practice." The challenge was sponsored by Google. The new technologies that were demonstrated in the competition "may end up in general aviation aircraft, spawning new jobs and new industries for the 21st century," according to NASA's news release. Fourteen teams took part in the competition, and three qualified for the final fly-off. The eGenius, sponsored by Airbus, also flew on electric battery power.

AVweb Insider Blog: What Use Is an Electric Airplane?

Do electric airplanes have a future, or are they just an intriguing curiosity? In her latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady argues the huge strides in performance prove they're ready for prime time.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Make Way for More Drones in Tomorrow's Skies ... back to top 

UAVs Expected In NAS By 2013

Facing increasing pressure from both industry and the military to allow greater freedom to unmanned aerial vehicles, the FAA is expected to start integrating small UAVs (generally 55 pounds or less) into the National Airspace System as soon as 2013, the National Defense Industrial Association said this week. The FAA formed a committee in June to create rules that would govern that integration. Rick Prosek, manager of the FAA's unmanned aircraft program office, told the NDIA at a recent conference, "We are plowing through the small-UAS rule to put that on the street." Under current rules, anyone who wants to fly a UAV of any size freely in the NAS must obtain an FAA waiver. The proposed new rules could be published as soon as December.

The new rules will detail the procedures for operators to launch, fly, and land the small UAVs, the NDIA said. In April, the Army demonstrated for the FAA a sense-and-avoid system using the MQ-1C Gray Eagle, at El Mirage, Calif., for over 11 hours, according to the NDIA. Pressure to allow UAVs more freedom to fly is building as used drones from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan return to the U.S., but airline pilots and air traffic controllers warn against rushing. "We want to make sure, before this cake is taken out of the oven, it is fully baked," said Sean Cassidy, national safety coordinator with the Air Line Pilots Association. Chris Stevenson, of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the NDIA the introduction of unpiloted aircraft would alter virtually every page of their handbooks. "We have more questions than we have answers … This is a big, big cultural change," he said. At the recent AOPA Summit, UAV industry expert Paul McDuffy spoke with AOPA's Heidi Williams about the integration of UAVs in the NAS, and the impact on pilots; click here for a video of that 10-minute interview.

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... And Fewer Sightseers? back to top 

New York Politician Wants "Tourist Flight Ban"

A New York politician is calling for a ban on "tourist flights" by helicopters over an unspecified area of the city following Tuesday's fatal crash on the East River. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) told CBS 2, whose Chopper 2 was among the first to hover over the scene of the crash, that she's concerned all those helicopters flying around aren't safe. "I have written the FAA to see if the frequent numbers of helicopters going across the East River and in that vicinity is safe or not. Thank heavens they weren't going over buildings... or there would be a tremendous loss of life," It's not clear how Maloney would distinguish between "tourist flights" and other helicopter traffic or how the flight in question might meet her criteria. The Bell 206 that crashed was privately owned by the pilot and all on board knew each other. The flight had been arranged to celebrate the birthdays of two of the occupants. While the pilot Paul Dudley was local, two of the passengers, including Sonia Marra Nicholson, who died, were from Australia and the others were British citizens living in Portugal. Some reports say Dudley is blaming the crash on a mechanical fault.

The NTSB is investigating that claim and interviewing witnesses. What is known is that the aircraft had just left the 34th Street heliport when it went out of control and crashed inverted into the river. Dudley and one of his passengers got out immediately and two other passengers were pulled out by rescuers. Marra Nicholson's body was recovered about 90 minutes after the crash.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

NBAA: The Russians Are Coming

SuperJet International will be among the prominent presenters as the National Business Aviation Association convention gets under way next week in Las Vegas. The company will be promoting a business version of the SuperJet regional airliner it is building as a joint venture between Russia's Sukhoi and Italy's Alenia. The SuperJet business variant was announced earlier this year and NBAA is the first North American exposure to the product. It's an example of the globalization of the bizjet industry where countries like Russia and China used to come shopping but are now coming to sell. Two Chinese organizations are also on the agenda for NBAA, including aircraft sales and brokerage firm China Business Aviation Group and China Civil Aviation Report, a magazine devoted to non-military flying in the country. Cessna may be the only company with a truly new aircraft to introduce at NBAA.

As we reported in September, the company announced the Citation M2, which is a bit bigger than a Mustang but about $3 million cheaper than the least expensive CJ. Cessna will have a mockup on display and perhaps flesh out more details on the project. Updating old designs remains in vogue and Falco will unveil the fifth and last interior design for the Avro business jet, a new use for the Bae 146 regional airliner. A revamped version of the Beechjet 400 with new engines and avionics, called the Nextant 400XT, will also be on display. More than 1,000 exhibitors and 25,000 attendees are expected.

Slot Wars Looming In Europe?

Business aviation in Europe is rallying against recommendations in a consultant's report that, if implemented, could sharply reduce access to some European airports. The Steer Davies and Gleave Impace Assessment report to the European Commission recommends that airport slots be allocated purely based on the number of passengers on board each aircraft. The European Business Aviation Association calls the proposal simplistic and says it could seriously disrupt business aviation. "This report is blind to the full impact of the entire aviation industry on local and regional economies," EBAA President Brian Humphries said in a speech to the European Airport Coordinators Association. "All of its arguments are based on the premise that maximum passenger throughput is the be-all and end-all, and as a result, it consistently seeks ways that passenger throughput can be maximized, regardless of the economic impact on sectors other than airports and airlines."

Humphries said bizav generally avoids major hubs and uses secondary and local airports to maximize efficiency for clients. The difficulty is that airlines are increasingly using the smaller airports and the proposal could push business aviation from its traditional operating areas. EBAA says the best solution would be to guarantee slots to business aviation at secondary airports based on historical usage, noting that business aviation has invested heavily in facilities at many of these airports.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

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

Question of the Week: How Many Hours Do You Need to Sit in the Right Seat on an Airliner?

The FAA now says an airline first officer should have a minimum of 700 hours, up from 250 but far less than the 1,500 that was originally proposed. Does the number of hours really matter?

How many hours should a first officer have?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

What's On Your Mind?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to .

NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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 newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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 & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Is It Time to Privatize TSA?

Rep. John Mica, who helped bring TSA into being 10 years ago, says he's surprised at how big the agency has has become. Really? Now he would like to get the agency under control by privatizing it. But that has its own problems, says Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Electronics International's MVP50 Engine Monitor

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Electronics International has had great sales success wit its large-screen engine monitor, the MVP50. In this video, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes a test flight to see how it works. The MVP50 has proven popular because it fits well with aftermarket glass products likes the Garmin G500/600 line and the Aspen Evolution system.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: 'IFR' Magazine Learns How Jeppesen Prints Approach Plates

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Jeppesen prints half the approach plates they used to — one billion sheets per year instead of two billion. But they've also changed the way they print many of them. Any custom order, from trip kits to new manuals, gets printed similarly to how you might at home. Just bigger. And faster. And more.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Glacier Jet Center (KPGI, Kalispell, MT)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

It's been a busy week for FBO nominations on AVweb.com — but when all was said and done, we had to give this week's blue ribbon to Glacier Jet Center at Glacier Park International Airport (KPGI) in Kalispell, Montana.

AVweb reader Mark Fryburg had high praise for the staff and facilities at Glacier:

Best FBO service I've ever received in my 29 yeas of light aircraft flying. From my first e-mail to book a tie-down and rental car through ramp service and tourism advice, they constantly offered to help and promptly delivered on their promises. A three-man ramp crew greeted us to park, fuel, and unload our Debonair then load luggage in the car. The front desk staff was equally helpful. Everything was delivered on time and as promised. Everyone was courteous and friendly. And my non-pilot wife felt especially welcomed.

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 Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Steve Ratchford of Norcross, GA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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.