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Volume 18, Number 6a
February 6, 2012
Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
Be certain you have the right life insurance coverage. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
AVflash! Filing Plans for Next Year's Flight Southback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Abu Dhabi Air Expo || 6-8 March 2012 || 
The Middle East's 1st GA Expo

Operation Migration (OM) has leapt to the defense of the FAA in light of the recent controversy over the use of allegedly paid pilots in the well-known aircraft-led migration of whooping cranes to Florida. In a letter to AVweb, OM spokesman David Sakrison said the temporary grounding of this year's migration resulted from the persistent complaints of an unidentified person outside of OM and was not initiated by the FAA, which has been supportive of the effort and had previously inspected and cleared all aspects of the operation. The LSA-category trikes flown by the OM pilots cannot be used commercially and OM and the FAA had previously agreed that while the pilots were paid OM employees, the flying was done voluntarily. However, the launching of a formal complaint by the same person obliged the FAA to open an investigation and the pilots voluntarily grounded themselves in Alabama to avoid any chance of being found in violation. "At that time, agency officials made it clear that they would work with us toward a solution, possibly through a permanent exemption from the 'flying for hire' prohibition," Sakrison wrote. The new rule is expected to be in effect in a few months, in time for the spring cycle of the migration. However, not even the blessing of the mighty FAA is more powerful than Mother Nature and the pilots won't be needed any longer. More...

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The Migration of a Different Kind of Birdback to top 

Production may be about two years off and the facility has yet to be built, but Kestrel Aircraft Co. hopes to create 600 jobs in Superior, Wisc., over the next few years, and resumes are already coming in. The company currently employs about 50 engineers who are working to transform the Kestrel prototype single-engine six- to eight-seat turboprop into an FAA-certified production aircraft. Successful completion of that task precludes any mass hiring. New hires will also need a physical workplace and Kestrel will break ground on a 35,000-square-foot production facility this spring, likely by April. Wisconsin's Indianhead Technical College of Superior hopes to work with Kestrel to develop training courses that would address specific needs at Kestrel. More...

Airline Business Plan Development: How to 
Start an Airline || March 15, 2012 || Abu Dhabi, UAE || Register Now
Starting an Airline in the Middle East? What You Need to Know
Following the success of the start-up seminars in Washington and London, this event will take place in the Middle East for the first time, and it is hosted by GCAS in Abu Dhabi. Themes include: Introduction to the Airline Industry, Generic vs. Airline Business Plan, Common Business Plan Mistakes, Non-Disclosure Agreement, Elements of the Airline Business Plan, Implementation Plan, Management and Support Team, Risk Factors, Capitalization Plan, Certification, and Success Strategies. Click here to learn more and register.
Living in the Future, Part Iback to top 

Back in 2003, the SEC filed a complaint against Moller International and Paul S. Moller, for the development and marketing of a Skycar -- on January 30, 2012, Moller International began promoting two new Skycar designs for the LSA category. The SEC's complaint cited "false and misleading statements" Moller used in promotional releases and soliciting "approximately $5.1 million from more than 500 investors." Moller settled by paying a $50,000 fine and agreeing to a permanent injunction. The latest "LSA" offerings from Moller International are currently available in brochure form. Specifications for one include a cruise speed of 237 mph -- about twice the light sport category's current cruise-speed restriction. A practical flying car with every-man usability has so far eluded the public, but we may have already been introduced to a design that shows promise, aside from the Terrafugia Transition roadable aircraft. More...

A practical flying car with everyman usability has so far eluded the public, but we may have already been introduced to a design that could lead to a breakthrough. Some of the major challenges of producing a point-to-point simple and safe to operate vehicle are technological in nature. Autonomous navigation (enter the destination, press a button, and allow the vehicle to navigate, communicate with, and autonomously avoid other aircraft) may be one key to safely organizing masses of flying vehicles in the same airspace. And as society progresses, the gap between the dream and reality may be shrinking. More...

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Signs of the Timesback to top 

As part of its bankruptcy reorganization, American Airlines could announce plans next week to lay off more than 13,000 workers and eliminate pension plans, or, warns one analyst, the end of the airline could be near. "American made promises to pilots" about "pay, benefits, retirement and employment," that in many cases "are not going to be kept," according to Glenn MacDonald, an economics professor at Olin Business School at Washington University, St. Louis. MacDonald believes the airline is not positioned to compete and generate sufficient profits to sustain operations without "significant reduction" in what it provides to employees. According to MacDonald, without those reductions, American "will soon be gone, not just reorganized," with pieces bought up by competitors. Whether that proves prescient or propagandist, pilots' pensions appear to be in the crosshairs and, you (the taxpayer) may be on the hook for something. More...

Nearly 10,000 of the Air Force's active National Guard and Reserve airmen would be cut next year if plans detailed Friday by the Air Force go into effect. Cuts will reportedly target the National Guard for more than half of the total personnel, aircraft and other equipment to be trimmed. Specific numbers trim 5,100 guardsmen, 3,900 active-duty members and 899 reservists. The Air Force Times has reported that the Air Force does not intend "to employ involuntary cuts in the active force to reach that goal." Changes will come to forces in all 50 states and cuts may not stop there. The plan brought immediate push-back. More...

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Living in the Future, Part IIback to top 

The FAA's next major rulemaking effort may reflect a shift in agency standards that could hobble one emerging sector and set the tone for the rest of the industry, according to a Washington-based consultant. Gary Church, of Aviation Management Associates, has been representing companies developing unmanned aerial systems for several years and he told AVweb in a podcast interview he believes the forthcoming notice of proposed rulemaking on UASs will set a new standard for safety regulations. He said the agency appears to be aiming for a "do no harm" regime called a "targeted level of safety" that may realistically be unachievable. He also expects legal challenges to the current ban on commercial use of small UASs if the agency continues to drag its feet in establishing regulations. More...

As the FAA works on rulemaking to allow the integration of unmanned aerial systems into the national airspace system, there are signs that the agency has significantly ramped up the safety requirements for this brand-new aviation sector. Aviation consultant Gary Church discussed the issues and their potential effect with AVweb's Russ Niles.

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

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The Friendly Skies Have a Voiceback to top 

Flight attendants from more than 20 airlines will "occupy" a section of LAX on Monday to protest labor provisions in a proposed FAA reauthorization bill. The OccuFLY protest, organized by the Association of Flight Attendants, is a reaction to change in voting standards for union organization that unions consider an attack on organized labor. "This controversial labor provision is nothing less than an attack by the 1% against the 99%," said AFA PresidentVeda Shook in a news release. More...

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


Letter of the Week: In Defense of the FAA

It is in the nature of pilots to complain about the FAA and the news about the temporary grounding of Operation Migration's aircraft, and its migrating whooping cranes in December sparked some strident criticism of the agency from pilots. As a member of the board of directors of Operation Migration (OM), an EAA member, and a private pilot, I'd like to set the record straight.

FAA officials were not the bad guys in this affair — far from it. They have long recognized the value and the uniqueness of what OM is doing for an endangered species and the high standards of safety that we have maintained in our flight operations.


For the birds,
David Sakrison

Click through to read the full text of our "Letter of the Week" — and other notes from AVweb readers.


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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Experienced airplane people say FAR 23 is a good guideline to build safe, flyable airplanes. If the Gippsland GA8 is an example of that, they're right. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers some thoughts on why the Airvan is such a nice flying airplane. More...

If the genie popped out the bottle and granted you three wishes to witness three events in aviation history, which three would you pick? On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers his choices. Plus, there's a link to a cool 3-D video. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
New on AVweb.comback to top 

BrainteasersIt's not just how well you fly that makes you a great pilot. How good you look in flight also matters. Which airplane do you think is the most beautiful?

Take the quiz. More...

When a Mooney pilot got into trouble last December, stuck above the clouds and running out of fuel, controllers at the Seattle tracon helped him to a safe landing. In this podcast, AVweb's Mary Grady takes you through the audio tape of the event, which won the controllers an Archie League Award this week from NATCA.

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

This week's winning photo comes from Craig Morris of Hoveton, Norfolk (U.K.). Click here for the rest of this week's submissions. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's newest "FBO of the Week" is Golden Eagle Aviation at Moton Field Municipal Airport (06A) in Tuskegee, Alabama. Reader Billy Tyndall tells us how an unplanned stopover made Golden Eagle a standard by which other FBOs are measured:

On a cross-country flight in my Sport Cub from North Carolina to Arizona, I encountered adverse weather and landed at Moton Field Municipal Airport in Tuskegee, Alabama to wait it out. The rain which arrived took three days to pass, and during that time the staff at Golden Eagle Aviation made those days the most enjoyable of the trip. Sylvester and Minnie run the FBO with such personality and warmth that transient pilots immediately feel at home. They helped us with the standard FBO offerings, such as avgas, computer access, and coffee, and went further to see that we found the cultural and culinary assests of Tuskegee, which were many. When it was time to leave, Sylvester improvised an apparatus to preheat the cold engine in the Cub, even though the climate in Tuskegee doesn't normally require preheating engines. He went the extra mile to get us back in the air, and we'll remember his FBO for their caring actions!

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 


Years ago, I had an interesting ATC encounter in Washington airspace that I think would be humorous to your readers of "Short Final." While flying my RV-4 in the narrow VFR slot between the old Washington ADIZ and the expanded Camp David TFR, I lost my GPS. Without a VOR, I contacted Wash. Center. The call went as follows:

N1234 (me):
"Washington Center, N1234."

"N1234, go ahead."

"I've lost all nav aids over Frederick, and I'm concerned that I will violate airspace and cause a little excitement. Please give me vectors to keep me out of trouble."

"No worries. Everyone is targeting you."

Bruce MacInnes
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 twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.