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Volume 17, Number 51a
December 19, 2011
Garmin 796 || Garmin 3-D Vision || 
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AVflash! Bonus Depreciation Back in Play?back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
U.S. Corporate Aviation Summit (USCAS) || 
February 23-24, 2012 || Miami, FL || Register Now

It appears 100-percent bonus depreciation will make a comeback for at least one more year when the full version of the contentious budget bill comes back before Congress in two months. The full version of H.R. 3630 (PDF) contains language restoring the tax measure that allows moneymaking businesses to write off the full value of major capital expenses, including airplanes, in a single tax year. Otherwise, the maximum write-off is 50 percent. Although the language made it through the House and was presented to the Senate, politics of the day dictated that a stripped-down version (PDF) of the bill dealing mainly with the payroll tax cut and Keystone pipeline be sent forth. Daniel Cheung, of Aviation Tax Consultants, told AVweb in a podcast interview he expects the bonus depreciation language to be back when the full bill is considered early next year. More...

The political map in Washington is changing daily, but tucked under all the bombast and rhetoric is a section of the legislation now in play that will be welcome news to the aviation industry. If all goes well in the next few days (and there are no guarantees of that), 100 percent depreciation of equipment purchases will be back in force for another year. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Daniel Cheung of Aviation Tax Consultants.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
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Following Up on Last Week's Top Storiesback to top 

Both of general aviation's principal advocacy groups say they're taking a wait-and-see attitude toward last week's proposal by the FAA to radically raise the cost of digital charting data to the industry. AOPA and NBAA had representatives at the meeting last Tuesday, in which the FAA's AeroNav division said it wanted to charge about $150 a year for each end user of its digital charting data. Participants in the meeting told us this could more than double the cost of some chart apps and drive some free viewers from the market entirely, including perhaps the two DUATs vendors, which offer plate viewers.

Related Content:


Iran says that knowledge it gained through reverse engineering less sophisticated drones allowed it to trick an RQ-170 Sentinel drone into landing itself there, nearly undamaged, in early December. An Iranian engineer says specialists reconfigured the drone's GPS coordinates to tell the aircraft it was actually landing at its base in Afghanistan, the Christian Science Monitor reported Friday. The technique, called "spoofing," means that the Iranians did not need to crack the vehicle's encrypted remote-control systems or communications. According to the Monitor's source, the spoofing simply led the vehicle to land "on its own where we wanted it to." If true, and experts appear to believe it's plausible, this wouldn't be the first time U.S. drone systems have been compromised, but may be the culmination of previous efforts. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

NASA may be dependent on Russia until at least 2017 to deliver astronauts to the International Space Station but the agency hopes to develop commercial alternatives soon. The agency is seeking to maintain development of at least two competing space taxi designs to fill the void left by the now-retired Space Shuttle. Today, NASA is funding four firms: Boeing; Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX); Sierra Nevada Corp.; and Blue Origin, which is a start-up owned by Jeff Bezos, founder of That group notably does not include Stratolaunch Systems, a recently announced venture by Paul Allen and Burt Rutan that could create the world's largest aircraft as part of its own independent space program. More...

AOPA is reporting that the FAA is being pressured to close contract control towers at more than 100 GA-only airports. Quoting unnamed sources, AOPA says the Office of Management and Budget has made the suggestion that funding be pulled from contract towers at airports that don't have commercial service or high volumes of military traffic. The funding cuts would affect roughly half of the 248 contract towers, which are independently owned and operated facilities under contract to the FAA. More...

Jeppesen Mobile Flite Deck
Mobile FliteDeck:
A Paperless Enroute Charting Revolution for Your iPad®

Aviation is transformed with the first interactive mobile enroute flight application. With Mobile FliteDeck and a Jeppesen electronic chart subscription, you'll benefit from immediate access to accurate information, improved situational and operational awareness, and a more streamlined flight process. The app's features include enroute chart data and Airway Manual® text, class-leading vector map imaging, and data-driven IFR and VFR terminal charts. Watch a view overview.
Banner Year for Airline Safety — Mostlyback to top 

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that as of November, "global safety performance is at the best-ever level recorded," with one notable exception. According to IATA, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States have seen their accident rate increase by 55 percent, year over year. That contrasts with global accident rates that are (so far this year) 22 percent better than last year. According to IATA, there were 75 accidents from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, 2011. That compares with 92 for the same period during 2010. The association says changes that have swept through other improved regions are coming to Russia. More...

Center for Aviation Safety Research (CASR) 
at Parks College, St. Louis University
The Safety Across High-Consequence Industries Conference
... provides a unique forum for professionals from aviation, healthcare and other high-consequence industries to share organizational safety strategies and strategic thinking when executing safety initiatives. This year's theme is "Safety Management: How to Make It Happen." Business leaders and practitioners will discuss safety leadership strategies, development of a strong safety culture, and sustainment of a robust safety management system.

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Man-Made Birds of Preyback to top 

Wildlife conservation groups are in an uproar after an old photograph was circulated online showing a U.S. Wildlife Services SuperCub painted with 58 paw-print decals -- one for each wolf shot from the aircraft. Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2011, but Idaho, Montana and Wyoming Wildlife Services agents have shot hundreds of wolves since 2009. The agency engages in the practice to protect sheep, cattle and other animals from the predation. Fish and Game officials have decided the aircraft would be a useful tool if trapping and hunting methods fall short. Conservation advocates are offended by the photo and the practice, but one part of the argument may warrant more attention. More...

IFD540 GPS/NAV/COM from Avidyne
Introducing Avidyne's IFD540 Touchscreen FMS/GPS/NAV/COM
As a slide-in replacement for existing 530 Series navigators, the new IFD540 sets a new standard for user interface simplicity. Leveraging the award-winning interface of our Entegra Release 9 system along with a highly intuitive touchscreen control, the IFD540 makes it much easier to access the information you want when you want it. Now you have a choice. And the choice is easy. Avidyne.

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Not Just for Kids Anymoreback to top 

EAA will roll out its new Young Eagles-style familiarization program for adults in January. In a year-end interview, EAA President Rod Hightower said the program, named Eagle Flight, will fly its first adult pilot wannabe in March. The name was presumably chosen from submissions by EAA members after the program was announced during EAA AirVenture last year. Hightower said that about a third of the 15,000 newly licensed pilots in 2010 were older than 34 and Eagle Flight aims to tap into the latent desires of many potential new pilots. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Digital Chart Fees

This week's question is a great one. I'm pretty sure that I'm in the vast minority of Americans on this issue, but we see it time and again.

Using our tax dollars, the Government takes over a segment of our nation and then argues that the users of that segment need to pay to enjoy it. To my mind, this is akin to Disney Corp. buying, building and operating a theme park on my buck and then charging me for admission.

The FAA, an agency of the U.S. Government that is wholly dependent on the tax dollars coming out of the pockets of all U.S. citizens, mandates that pilots carry and use its charts whenever flying in American airspace. Then, citing budgetary constraints (e.g. they're not going to get the number of tax dollars they wish), they charge taxpayers, again, for the privilege of using their product.

These sorties into our pockets are always steeped in terms of the "fairness" involved in having those who use the services pay for them. This argument fails the sniff test when we remind [people] that the government is 100 percent funded by all of us already and that the expenses incurred by the government are mandated by the government. So no, I don't think we should have to pay extra for FAA e-charts.

Bob Greene

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 What have you heard? More...

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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.

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Speaking of Your Opinions ...back to top 

If so, Aviation Consumer would like to talk to your about your experiences with financing, training and insurance. For example, if you sold your Bonanza and upgraded to a Piper Meridian, what was involved? How has it worked out? Contact us through this form and we'll get back to you. More...

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

This is 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...

Peter Drucker Says,
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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb reader Mac Forbes gives us the low-down on a top-notch FBO at North Carolina's Asheboro Regional Airport (KHBI) — Cardinal Air, recipient of our latest blue ribbon for exceptional service:

Their service starts with a friendly "welcome" on the CTAF and, unless they're very busy, a personal greeting on the ramp with an offer to pump 100LL for you — at the self-service price! Karen's team (Bobbi, Ben, etc.) make you feel as if you're the most important customer of the day! Right there on the field, also, Mr. Jeffers operates an excellent full-service avionics shop where convenience and cordial, competent service are clearly priorities, with everything from VFR TXP checks to full glass cockpit upgrades. And the North Carolina Aviation Museum is adjacent, convenient, and loaded with interesting aircraft and artifacts well worth a few hours for touring! HBI is a great stop and/or excellent destination!

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


After a local excursion to exercise my C-172 engine, I returned to my local airport. There was a helicopter in the area providing position reports. After I announced downwind, the helicopter came on the radio:

"Do you know anything about the airplane crash this morning?"

"No. I have been out of the area, haven't heard anything."

An unidentified source, critical of the excess publicity airplane accidents receive:
"If you want to know what happened, listen to the news."

[A long pause.]

"We are the news."

Angus McCamant
via e-mail


Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke. Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.