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AERONAV MEETING: RADICALLY HIGHER PRICES FOR DIGITAL CHARTING PROPOSED
The FAA's AeroNav charting division told vendors
this week that it proposes to charge end users of digital charting
producers about $150 a year to close a $5 million shortfall in its
budget due to declining paper chart sales. The new fee, if adopted,
would presumably more than double the cost of some popular iPad and
Droid applications such as ForeFlight and WingX. Plus, vendors selling
through Apple's application channels would face additional charges. "To
me, it's pretty clear that these prices are a non-starter. I know pilots
aren't going to pay $150 for these products without screaming about it,"
one vendor told us.
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|Wonder Gadgets: Separating the Good from the Bad||back to
TESTS SHOW LIGHTSQUARED DISRUPTS MOST GPS
Wednesday confirmed earlier reports that signals from a nationwide
broadband system proposed by LightSquared will significantly disrupt
existing GPS service. In separate statements, the National Coordination
Office for Spaced-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT), the
Department of Defense and the Department of Transportation essentially
said that under current circumstances, GPS cannot coexist with
LightSquared's planned 40,000-tower network of high-speed wireless
broadband transmitters. "LightSquared signals caused harmful
interference to the majority of
general purpose GPS receivers,"
said Anthony Russo, director of PNT. The comments were based on recent
test results that also showed the signals could affect TAWS. Cellphones
are not affected significantly, according to the tests. LightSquared
said it rejects the findings about the GPS receivers but is willing to
work with the FAA on TAWS. The GPS interference, LightSquared claims, is
the GPS industry's fault, which, regardless of the veracity of the
claim, may be a moot point. More...
IPADS GET FAA OK
American Airlines is the first U.S. airline
to be officially approved by the FAA to use iPads as an electronic
flight bag in all phases of flight, the FAA said this week. The airline
received the approval on Dec. 1. The FAA said only two iPads are allowed
to be operated in the cockpit at any one time, according to The New York Times. "This involves a significantly
different scenario for potential interference than unlimited passenger
use, which could involve dozens or even hundreds of devices at the same
time," the FAA told the Times. American and Alaska Airlines previously
have been using the tablets in the cockpit on an evaluation-only basis.
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WOES MADE PUBLIC
A 55-page report this weekend made public a laundry
list of flaws currently dragging on the F-35 fighter program and is
complicated by a production plan called "Concurrency" that allows
Lockheed Martin to churn out the jets while testing continues.
Structural cracks, electrical gremlins and a "classified" problem are
among those mentioned in the report. The program, already projected to
cost one trillion dollars over the next 50 years, could now face another
billion dollars in fixes. And aging fighters waiting to be replaced by
the F-35 may have to hold the line years longer than originally
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ORDERS U.S. TO PAY PILOT'S FAMILY
A District Court Judge has
ordered the United States to pay $4.4 million to the family of a pilot
killed in a 2005 plane crash after finding that a controller (currently
serving as a front line manager) "breached his duty of care." Judge
Edwin G. Torres found that controller Harvey Pake failed to provide
accurate, complete weather information pertinent to pilot Michael Zinn's
route of flight. He also failed to provide navigational assistance when
asked, according to the court. The NTSB's full narrative suggests it may
not be that simple. Zinn was flying a Cessna P337H, IFR, out of Boca
Raton for Myrtle Beach in the afternoon. Pake told him he was heading
toward heavy precipitation and Zinn announced a heading change. Pake
became involved with another aircraft as Zinn flew into a Level 5 storm.
Zinn was heard on frequency by controllers and other pilots screaming
for help for two minutes before his radio went silent.
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|Tomorrow's Pilots Get a High-Tech Early Start||back to
USE X-PLANE TO LEARN SCIENCE
A new program offered by Build A
Plane and Fly To Learn aims to help kids learn about science,
technology, engineering, and math by building and flying virtual
aircraft using X-Plane flight simulator software. "Not every school can
or wants to build a real airplane," said Lyn Freeman, founder of Build A Plane,
"but now everybody can build an airplane virtually, thanks to our new
partnership with Fly
To Learn." Fly To Learn has developed a curriculum that uses X-Plane
to teach kids the basics of aviation and help them design and fly their
own simulated aircraft. The groups plan to develop a nationwide
competition with a "virtual fly-off." More...
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LYNN HELMS, FORMER FAA ADMINISTRATOR, DIES
J. Lynn Helms, who
served as FAA administrator from 1981 to 1984, died on Dec. 11, at his
home in Westport, Conn., at age 86. Helms may be best remembered for his
role during the 1981 strike by air traffic controllers. According to the
Washington Post, Helms advised Reagan administration
officials that air traffic safety would not be affected if more than
11,000 union controllers were fired. Helms kept ATC running with
non-union workers, managers, members of the military, and new hires.
Helms also served as a test pilot in the Navy, and was president of
Piper Aircraft in the 1970s. More...
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BEECH SEEKS BREAK FROM LENDERS
Hawker Beechcraft is looking
for a break from the holders of a $182 million revolving line of credit
as it grapples with the rough economy. According to Bloomberg, the Wichita planemaker, jointly owned by
Goldman Sachs and Onex Corp., is close to violating the terms of the
loan agreement in which its cash flow must grow. Hawker Beech has been
hard hit by the collapse of the light jet market. Although the lenders
could theoretically call the loan if the cash flow issue isn't resolved,
financial experts quoted by Bloomberg say that doesn't make any sense.
AVWEB'S BUSINESS AVIATION NEWSLETTER
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AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry
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A Great Read!
Available from AVweb Bookstore.
Brave, Splendid Fools
is your aviation must-read this
holiday season. This amazing autobiographical account from WWII fighter
pilot Captain William L. Bacheler, a.k.a. "Batch," will hold
you spellbound. Brave the crosswinds and fly into the combat zone!
|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
OF THE WEEK: IS THE FAA RIGHT TO RAISE PRICES FOR DIGITAL
To cover its expenses, the FAA's AeroNav proposes
to charge at least $150 per user for its digital databases, more
than doubling the cost of apps like ForeFlight and WingX and probably
eliminating free viewing of charts on services like DUATs and other
no-charge sites. Is the FAA right to raise prices for digital
Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers
for their opinion on Randy Babbitt's resignation as FAA Administrator;
click through to see how they answered. More...
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F-106 CORN FIELD BOMBER, CONVAIR DELTA DART
an unusual story. The jet you're looking at is an F-106 Delta Dart. A
storied interceptor in its day, it was built to exceed an Air Force
requirement for 1.9 mach and continuous flight at 57,000 feet. It did
both. And in December 1959, it set a speed record, of 1,525 mph, or
about 2.3 mach, while flying at 40,000 feet. Its pilot at the time,
Major Joseph Rogers, claimed the record might not be accurate. He was
still accelerating, he said, at the time. But this particular jet is
famous for a different reason. More...
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Navigate. Communicate. More...