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Volume 10, Number 11a -- March 8, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Teledyne-Continental Motors

TCM'S POWERLINK FADEC NOW STANDARD EQUIPMENT IN LIBERTY XL2
Now available as standard equipment in the FAA-certified Liberty XL2, Teledyne-Continental Motors' PowerLink FADEC improves fuel economy by up to 15-20% versus standard, injected engines while reducing pilot workload and improving overall engine operation. PowerLink FADEC is also TC'd for the Lycoming IO 360, as well as STC'd for several models of the Beech Bonanza. Contact Teledyne-Continental today to find out how you can bring your aircraft into the digital age. Go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.

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

FLIGHT 587 BLAMEFEST...
The NTSB last Thursday issued its most recent investigation update as it works toward its final determination (expected this summer) of cause in the vertical-fin-and engines-shedding crash of American Airlines Flight 587 in Belle Harbor, N.Y., on Nov. 12, 2001. And the high-stakes process of assessing blame for the event -- which killed 260 people on the aircraft and five more on the ground -- has swung into high gear. The airline, the Allied Pilots Association (APA), whose members were at the controls, and Airbus, which made the A300-600 that crashed, have reacted to the NTSB's latest release with public filings of their own (AVweb was unable to obtain a copy of Airbus' filing to post here). Each blames the other, to some degree, for the disaster. More...

...FOCUS STILL ON RUDDER CONTROL...
The foundation of American's claims is a phenomenon called aircraft pilot coupling, which is "an unwanted, unexpected and abnormal interaction between the airplane and pilot causing the motion of the aircraft to be out of sync with the pilot's control inputs." The airline cites a study done for the NTSB by Dr. Ronald Hess, of the University of California, Davis, which showed the A300-600 rudder-control system to be so sensitive that three pilots, including an Airbus test pilot, were unable to adjust their control movements to deliver a half-travel rudder position during a ground test. According to American, Hess described the rudder-control system on the aircraft as "essentially an 'on-off' system, meaning either full rudder deflection or none." According to The Washington Post, Airbus blamed the pilots for using too much rudder. More...

...AIRBUS ACCUSED OF NOT SHARING INFORMATION
American also suggests that Airbus knew before the accident about the rudder peculiarities and failed to let the airline or government agencies know about it. "Unfortunately, this accident never should have happened and could have been prevented if Airbus had disclosed to American, the FAA, or the [National Transportation] Safety Board what it knew about the propensity of the flight control inputs that could cause structural damage to the vertical stabilizer," American said in its submission. The airline claims Airbus had known about the potential problems for 12 years but didn't tell anyone and continues to regard its internal communications on the topic as confidential. "The significance of Airbus's decision not to share safety-of-flight information cannot be overemphasized," the airline said. More...

STOP PAYING MORE THAN NON-PILOTS FOR THE SAME LIFE INSURANCE POLICY
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LAWS CATCH UP TO PRIVATE SPACE RACE...
U.S. space entrepreneurs have been tackling the technological and physical challenges of private space exploration for years but the fledgling industry may be on the cusp of overcoming its biggest obstacle. The government is poised to formally recognize its existence. The House, Friday, passed H.R. 3752, a bill to regulate and promote a commercial space industry. It still must pass the Senate and be signed by the president. "We think H.R. 3752 is very carefully crafted legislation which will help commercial human spaceflight develop in America," said Jeff Greason, president of Xcor Aerospace, which has already developed and tested rocket-engine prototypes with the eventual goal of providing rides for space tourists. More...

...AND X PRIZE PLANS BROADCAST
Of course, the legislators are barely a step ahead of the actual creation of commercial human spaceflight. In fact, the X PRIZE Foundation is so confident that private rockets vying for its $10 million prize will start flying soon, it's signed a deal for the broadcast rights. Dan Rayburn has been retained to produce a series of three-hour webcasts on any of the more than 20 X PRIZE contestants that get to the manned, live firing stage. Rayburn said he plans to use the latest (what else?) streaming video technology to broadcast each event and that a huge worldwide audience is likely. Sponsorships, of course, will be available but don't look for beer commercials or cola challenges. The spots will be reserved for technology companies "who wish to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event." More...

TRADE-A-PLANE IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST AVIATION RESOURCE
Trade-A-Plane offers Classifieds updated daily, Product/Advertiser Index, Dealers/Brokers, Forums, NAAA Evaluator, Performance Database, Spec Sheets, and Weather. Order your subscription today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tap/avflash.

ARMED PILOT'S GUN GOES MISSING
Southwest Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration are investigating the disappearance of a Federal Flight Deck Officer's (FFDO's) semi-automatic pistol stowed in his luggage aboard a flight from Las Vegas to Oakland. The pilots blame the TSA's insistence that the weapons be checked in baggage, when they are deadheading, for the disappearance of the guns. Pilots say that instead of picking up their gun-laden luggage from the cargo area, as the rules state, they often find it on the carousel with the rest of the passengers' bags. TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said the flight deck officers' jurisdiction ends at the cockpit door but Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) said that's asking for trouble. "When you separate the pilot from his gun, whether you put it in a lockbox or whether you make him put it in some other area, then you lose that security," Allard said. More...

GLOBAL FLYER TAKES FIRST HOP
The Global Flyer, Scaled Composites' jet-powered creation intended to circle the globe nonstop, had its first flight Friday and everything seemed to work well. Scaled's Web site says test pilot John Karkow took the long-winged, twin-tailed composite aircraft to 12,000 feet, cycled the gear and flew it from near the stall (54 knots) up to 110 knots. The descent and landing drag chutes were also tested. As AVweb told you in January, billionaire Steve Fossett hopes to be at the controls of the ungainly-looking creation to be the first to fly around the world nonstop and solo. Fellow billionaire Richard Branson is waiting in the wings as a backup if Fossett can't make the trip. In 1986, Voyager became the first aircraft to circumnavigate the earth nonstop but it had two pilots aboard. More...

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BOEING DISSOLVES ATC DIVISION
Boeing is scaling back its bid to revolutionize the world's air traffic control system because the existing setup seems to be working just fine ... for now. The Chicago-based firm announced Thursday that it was dissolving its Air Traffic Management division, likely because it didn't have any customers for the satellite-based, computer data link-dependent system. The air traffic division was hatched in the halcyon days of 2000 when airline traffic was growing so fast that the control system seemed on the verge of collapse in some areas. Since 9/11, interest has evaporated in the system as more conventional technological solutions, and the outright intervention by government to reduce congestion by decree, as happened in Chicago two months ago with the forced reduction of flights to O'Hare, seem to be favored. More...

FAA HELPS MAP CHINA FOR VFR
Talk about your VFR landmarks. How about a 6,000-mile-long stone wall? The Great Wall, as it's come to be known, is just one of the things mapmaker George P. Sempeles had to work with as he helped the Chinese begin the enormous task of creating VFR charts for the world's third-largest country. Sempeles, of Winchester, Va., works for the FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office and recently spent time in China teaching government engineers how to create the charts. China, you see, is entirely IFR (i.e., controlled) airspace. But that's about to change as the country learns to like the things money can buy and private aircraft ownership is one of the reforms. "Their task now is to actually learn and implement the entire industry of general aviation," he said. Well, there are others willing to teach those skills and they'll most likely be at the China GA Forum 2004 May 25 to May 28. More...

OURPLANE FRACTIONAL OWNERS TO BECOME MORE PROFICIENT WITH ADVANCED TRAINING
OurPLANE Fractional Aircraft Ownership is the #1 world leader in offering brand-new Cessna, Cirrus, and Raytheon aircraft at a fraction of the cost of sole aircraft ownership. OurPLANE customers will now be offered training from ElectronicFlight Solutions, including GPS and avionics training packages. Another safety benefit from OurPLANE, where low-cost aircraft ownership is GUARANTEED! Locations throughout California, Texas, New York, and Connecticut. Call (877) 775-2631 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ourplane/avflash.

AUSSIES TARGET TEENS FOR FIGHTER PILOTS
Every kid's dream, every parent's nightmare? The Royal Australian Air Force is said to be looking in malls, skateboard parks and high schools to fill the cockpits of its fighters. The air force is reportedly planning a recruiting drive aimed at teens as young as 13, according to the Weekend Australian. "The importance of influencing, where possible, 13-to-17-year olds is now recognized as a more effective strategy for fast-jet pilot recruiting," the paper quoted an air force report as saying. Apparently it's easier than simply retaining the existing pilots by paying them more. The report says almost two-thirds of Aussie fighter jocks quit after their compulsory 10-year service because of low pay and poor management. More...

CIRRUS AIMS FOR TOP SPOT
Last year it was Boeing's surrender to Airbus. Could this be the year that Cirrus overtakes Cessna as the world's leading producer of piston singles? If the early numbers are any indication, it could be shaping up that way. Although it's projecting to build at least 500 aircraft this year (vs. 459 in 2003), Cirrus took orders for 100 planes in January and February, about twice the projected number, and has ramped up production to two planes a day. Cessna expects to build about 600 piston singles in 2004. "We want to be the number-one manufacturer," Cirrus marketing spokesman John Bingham told The Wichita Eagle. Cessna isn't going to relinquish the top spot without a fight, however. More...

CESSNA OWNERS! THE 2004 CPA COURSES AND SEMINARS SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
The Cessna Pilots Association (CPA) has announced its courses/seminars program for 2004. Nowhere else can you find all the answers to any questions about Cessna aircraft's systems and procedures. You've invested a lot of time and money in your aircraft — with CPA's help, you can have a working relationship with it. For more information on courses, seminars, and the benefits of CPA membership, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cpa/avflash.

TAKE A SURVEY, GET $1,000 WORTH OF FREE STUFF FROM SPORTY'S
Venture Development Corp. would like to know what you think about in-flight weather systems and they're conducting a short multiple-choice survey this week to find out. We've checked these guys out and this is bona fide market research. Click on the link here, complete the survey and you'll be eligible for a no-strings-attached $1,000 gift certificate from Sporty's. The drawing will be held next Monday and we'll report the winner. Survey link: http://www.surveywriter.net/in/survey/survey143/gapilot.asp More...

ON THE FLY...
Chafing problem prompts inspection of Lancair 300, 350 fuel pressure transducers...
Controllers went silent to remember murdered colleague...
Autopilot was implicated in Egyptian 737 crash...
Jet simulators were added at two Embry-Riddle campuses...
Saturday was Tuskegee Airmen Day in Oakland, Calif....
Muslim flight engineer claimed discrimination was behind failed promotion bid. More...

LAZY BUZZARD HITS THE BEACH
... with some new friends to enjoy at air shows. New shirts and original short-sleeve black shirts now available in Medium, Large, X-Large, and XX-Large. Join in the Lazy Buzzard's journey of finding life, liberty, and the definite pursuit of happiness at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lazybuzzard/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...

HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
You read right! Crewcar and Consumer Guides have teamed up to offer hassle-free auto buying to the aviation industry! Next to the purchase of your home and airplane, this is the most important item you will purchase. Don't go blindly into a dealership; look to Crewcar. Crewcar is a car-buying service formed by aviation professionals. Teamed with Consumer Guide's Personal Auto Advisors (PAA), Crewcar provides shoppers with a free integrated phone and electronic concierge-level buying service that offers outstanding service and value no matter the geography. The service is provided gratis and meets all the Consumer Guide dealership network quality and service standards. For more information, visit Crewcar's web site at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/crewcar/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB

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ATIS
De-Ice Debacle
"Caveat emptor" -- buyer beware, as they say. Watch out when someone asks you to sign something that says you'll pay whatever it takes for a service. In this case, the problem occurred when a pilot tried to get de-iced so he could fly home.

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COLUMNS
As the Beacon Turns #74: Backcountry Dreaming
Deep in the middle of a Colorado winter, AVweb's Michael Maya Charles remembers summers spent in the river valleys of the west -- finding remote airstrips from which to explore the natural world -- miles from anyone and from his usual perch in the stratosphere. More...

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
http://www.avweb.com/avmail/

Reader mail this week about no-fly zones, aging and accidents, and aviation politics. More...

FLY INTO SPRING WITH ASA
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SHORT FINAL...
From our "been there, done that" files...

On my first cross-country with friends after passing my private pilot checkride (back in the late Paleolithic...), I was in the runup area, working through the pre-takeoff checklist. An uncharacteristically subdued voice said from the rear seat, "If she still has to read the directions, I don't think I want to go!" More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS

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IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER!
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LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHEN YOU'LL BE HOME
Sign up for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters your N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated ETAs. AVweb Edition Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month, a small price for such big peace-of-mind. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.

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SPONSOR NEWS

MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO MEMPHIS, VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG, & OSHKOSH!
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PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED APPROACH BY JOHN ECKALBAR:
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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.

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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