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News reported by AVweb on Monday that the FAA plans to start charging for digital aeronautical data that is now available free brought quick reaction this week from the GA community. The board of the IMC
Club, based in Norwood, Mass., posted an online petition at the White House website expressing opposition to the change. EAA said on Wednesday
the news has "pilots everywhere up in arms." AOPA said the news has "sparked concern" throughout the industry. "We are anxious to see the FAA's proposal and will work to mitigate any impact on our
members," said Heidi Williams, AOPA senior director of airspace and modernization. Representatives from the industry and the FAA will meet on December 13 in Maryland to discuss the policy. Changes are
not scheduled to take effect until April 5 of next year.
If the IMC Club's online petition can accumulate enough signatures by December 14, White House staff will review it, ensure that it's sent to the appropriate policy experts for review, and issue an
official response. The current threshold to trigger a review is 25,000 signatures.
AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Consumer, reports in detail on this topic in the December issue.
Having spent multiple thousands for new glass, some owners are shocked at how the database costs add up. And with the FAA poised to start charging for its heretofore free digital flight data, the
needle may be going in the wrong direction. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli opines that this could eventually become a drag on sales and ownership, if it isn't already.
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American Eagle has been fined $900,000 for holding passengers on the ramp for more than three hours, the Department of Transportation said on Monday. This is the first time a fine has been assessed since the "tarmac-delay rule" went into effect in April 2010. American Eagle, a regional carrier affiliated with
American Airlines, kept 608 passengers on board 15 flights for delays of up to 3 hours and 45 minutes at O'Hare International Airport on May 29. "We wanted to make sure the penalty was sufficient
enough to send a message to other airlines that our first enforcement sets a precedent, and that these are serious matters," DOT Secretary Ray LaHood told The New York Times. It could have been worse -- under the law, the
airline could have been fined $27,500 for each passenger, totaling $16.7 million for the violation.
Under its agreement with DOT, the airline must pay $650,000 within 30 days, and up to $250,000 can be credited for refunds, vouchers, and frequent-flyer mile awards. The airline also was ordered to
"cease and desist from future violations" of the rule. The DOT says since it enacted the rule, only 20 delays longer than three hours have been reported, and none were more than four hours long.
However, a study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office showed an increase in flight cancellations since the implementation
of the rule. To try to address the problem, the DOT and FAA announced they will hold an industry forum
on Nov. 30 to find better ways to handle aircraft diversions during the coming winter weather. "During severe weather situations, we want to do everything we can to make sure passengers are flown to
airports that are ready and prepared and where passengers can get off the plane quickly," said LaHood.
The DOT decided to get the airlines' attention by fining American Eagle $900,000 for ramp delays longer than three hours. It sure succeeded, but now the airlines may be canceling more flights as a
result. If you're a passenger, you live in the Village of the Damned and in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli asks though in the know to explain why the
airlines are having such a hard time hitting the target on this new requirement.
An FAA official expressed concern at a recent industry meeting that light sport aircraft manufacturers need to do a better job of documenting their compliance with ASTM standards, EAA said last week. Earl Lawrence, the manager of the FAA Small Airplane Directorate, said it's important to get these basic
tasks done right if the category is to be expanded, as some in the industry have proposed. The FAA is not interested in replacing the ASTM process with FAA certification, Lawrence said, but wants to
see a successful, industry-led compliance and audit system in place. Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, told AVweb that LAMA has proposed mandatory
third-party audits to address these issues.
Johnson said he believes the industry will rise to Lawrence's suggestion, and "will self-govern as intended." The LSA industry is only seven years old, he added, "which may seem like a long time,
but the industry has accomplished an enormous amount of work in those years." FAA officials have found the safety record "acceptable," he said, though Lawrence said the FAA would like to see the LSA
sector achieve a fatal accident rate equivalent or better than the existing "personal aviation" rate. After the recent meeting, Lawrence sent a letter (PDF) to all LSA manufacturers to be sure they are informed of the FAA's expectations.
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United Airlines pilots Tuesday released a 105-page report that blames lapses in flight safety on new procedures and poor training, according to The Associated Press. The report came from the
pilots' union, the Air Line Pilots Association. The union is currently working through contract negotiations with United. In September, the union sought a judge's ruling to block the new training
procedures. At that time, the union said the FAA was not properly monitoring safety. According to the new report, new procedures are so distracting that three separate flight crews almost landed gear
up while trying to negotiate checklists. United management has a different opinion.
United says the union's claims may be designed to influence contract negotiations. According to the company, the union "has a history of taking steps to disrupt the operations of the airline."
United is working to merge with Continental. The company is working to obtain from the FAA a single operating certificate by the end of 2011. The union says the airline is rushing that process and
rushing training. According to the union, the airline is training pilots with virtual slideshows instead of putting crews in simulators or classrooms.
Four subsidiaries of NetJets are suing the IRS for a total of $643 million, saying that the agency wrongly applied ticket tax to the private flight operations they manage. According to the
subsidiary companies, they do not act to transport the people that own the aircraft they manage but act as agents to assist owners in transporting themselves. The ticket tax, say the companies, should
not apply to private owners or fees paid to operate and maintain privately owned aircraft. And by that argument, the IRS owes them.
The suit says that the IRS "stuck" the companies with "a $642 million-plus bull for past taxes the IRS never indicated they were required to collect and for which they are not even the actual
taxpayers. The IRS is reviewing the suit and, per its policy, is not offering comments on the pending litigation. The taxes were first applied in 2003. Through the suit, the companies are now seeking
back payment of the taxes, with interest. Companies represented by the lawsuit are Executive Jet Management Inc., NetJets International Inc., NetJets Large Aircraft Inc. and NetJets Aviation
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The CEO of Diamond Aircraft's Canadian operations in London, Ontario, says the takeover of the company is good news for the workers and will ensure the D-JET gets to market. It was announced Monday
that a majority interest in Diamond was acquired by Medrar Financial Group, of Dubai, for an undisclosed sum. In an interview with the London Free Press on Tuesday, Peter Maurer said the company will benefit in several ways from the purchase. "This gives us the financial strength to complete
the (D-JET) program," Maurer said. "We're getting expertise in business and the financial side." Diamond has 220 workers at the London plant and Maurer said another 200 could be added if the D-JET
sells well. The deal also includes the piston products made by the company.
Diamond has had a rough time of it in the past few years. On top of the general malaise that has hit the small airplane market, Diamond spent a lot of money rescuing its diesel-engine aircraft
business from the insolvency of engine supplier Thielert. The company developed its own engine, the Austro, and is still retrofitting the diesel fleet with the in-house engine. With piston sales at
their lowest in decades late last year, the company applied for funding from the Canadian government to finish development and certification of the D-JET. After a protracted and testy controversy that
got wrapped up in a Canadian election campaign, the loan was turned down. In June of 2011 it was announced that Diamond had found private financing for the D-JET but the investor was never identified
and it's still not known if it was Medrar.
Depressing financial results from India's second largest airline Tuesday intensified debate about the future of the industry and the level of government involvement. Kingfisher Airlines, owned by
liquor mogul Vijay Mallya, who flirted briefly with financing Epic Aircraft in 2007, is drowning in high-interest debt and losing
money and Mallya says the answer is to ease government regulations, specifically those banning foreign airlines from investing in domestic airlines. The government is torn between bailing out
Kingfisher and other airlines that are also in tough shape to save face or let the market determine the winners and losers.
According to The Wall Street Journal, only one Indian Airline, budget carrier IndiGo, is profitable. The others have fallen victim to high fuel prices, debt costs, currency exchange and a withering
fare war that has slashed revenue. Mallya said he's cutting unprofitable routes and trimming costs where he can but he needs government help, such as a reduction in state taxes on aviation fuel. "It
is a very challenging environment," he said. "The state governments are enjoying windfall profits directly at the cost of the aviation industry ... This is something that needs serious attention of
our state governments and our central government."
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A story that appeared in Monday's edition of AVwebFlash concerning the upset of a Qantas aircraft appeared in error. That incident happened in 2008 and should not have been
reported as current news. Our thanks go to the sharp-eyed readers who alerted us to the gremlin and enabled us to quickly remove the erroneous story from circulation. For those of you who saw it
anyway, we apologize for the error.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Diamond's DA40 Star is a popular entry-level and midspeed cruiser, but it lacks air conditioning and other options. Fort Lauderdale's Premier Aircraft added a rich options list to the
airplane, and in this report, Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli took a trial flight.
Last summer, Jeppesen rolled out its iPad-based Mobile FliteDeck, a complete chart manager system for owners who already subscribe to Jeppesen's electronic charting products. In this
video, AVweb launches the first of three Product Minutes to review the new app.
Jeppesen's new Mobile FliteDeck is a route-based app that compiles approach plates and procedures from Jeppesen's charting materials. In this video, part two of three, Paul Bertorelli
takes a look at how its route functions work.
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.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Yelvington Jet Aviation Inc. at Daytona Beach International Airport (KDAB) in Daytona
AVweb reader Dave Gillespie nominated the FBO and shared his outstanding experience if memory of the FBO's manager, Mike Fuller:
We landed our helicopter and were met by a beautiful young lady marshaller, then picked up by FBO manager Mike Fuller and delivered to the front door to a waiting Suburban, whereupon we were
given an escort around the airport to the entry gate by two Daytona Beach motorcycle policmen! We were even given a cell to call for our return trip. Mike's courteous and exceptional service was the
best I've ever seen in over 35 years flying. He will be missed. He was unfortunatly killed last weekend in a T-34 accident. The FBO community and aviation as a whole has lost one of the best.
We're playing catch-up this week and have a two-fer of reader-submitted pictures. Two winners! Almost fifty new photos! An extra-long lapse in productivity at our readers' offices! Click on each of
the thumbnails below to view the galleries.
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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors Jeff van West Mariano Rosales
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