DEPRECIATION MAY BE BACK FOR 2012
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...
BONUS DEPRECIATION BACK?
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.
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NBAA ON FAA CHART CHARGES: WAIT AND SEE
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.
SPOOFING BROUGHT DOWN U.S. DRONE
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.
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BACKS COMMERCIAL SPACE PROJECTS
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 Amazon.com. 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.
TOWER CLOSURE EYED
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...
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SAFETY IMPROVES WORLDWIDE, EXCEPT FOR...
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...
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WOLF CONTROL CONTROVERSY
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...
Introducing Avidyne's IFD540
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FLIGHT" LAUNCHES IN JANUARY
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
JANUARY 19, 2011
Letter of the Week: Digital Chart
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
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
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
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
Click through to read the
rest of this week's letters. More...
Fly More for
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A Great Read!
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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...
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OF THE WEEK: CARDINAL AIR (KHBI, ASHEBORO, NORTH
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
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
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:
know anything about the airplane crash this
"No. I have been out of the area, haven't
An unidentified source, critical of the excess
publicity airplane accidents receive:
"If you want to know what
happened, listen to the news."
"We are the news."
Angus McCamant 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:
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editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
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Comments or questions
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on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
If you're having
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Navigate. Communicate. More...