The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
TO FAA: YANK AIR-TOUR RULE
The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
submitted its comments late last week on the FAA's proposed new rules for commercial air tours, and its verdict
was succinct: "[The FAA should] withdraw the rule until the agency is
able to obtain adequate data." The GA groups were quick to applaud the
suggestion. "We hope the FAA will take the SBA's comments to heart and
pull this proposed rule," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. EAA Vice President Earl Lawrence agreed. "EAA and
SBA have submitted essentially the same conclusions with regard to the
lack of available data to substantiate the massive changes the proposed
rule calls for," Lawrence said. The FAA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
(NPRM), published last October, would require sightseeing
tours that now operate under Part 91 to be certificated and to comply
with new rules regarding low-level flight, visibility and over-water
OF SMALL BUSINESSES WOULD BE HURT...
The SBA lays out a detailed rationale to support its opposition to the
FAA proposal. For starters, the FAA does not adequately explain any
reason that it needs a new rule, or cite any data to show how the
changes would improve safety, the SBA said. Also, the FAA's basis for
estimating the impact of the rule is inadequate, the SBA said, because
there is no clear means to quantify the number of Part 91 operators who
would be affected. The actual incidence of small operators forced out of
business is likely to be in the thousands, the SBA said, not the 700
"marginal" businesses estimated by the FAA. Also, the SBA is skeptical
of FAA claims that small operators wouldn't see any change in their
insurance costs. More...
ALTERNATIVES ARE AVAILABLE, SBA SAYS
The SBA concluded that the FAA needs to start over, and try harder to
clarify its reasoning and support its assertions with solid data. The
SBA suggested a few alternatives that the FAA should consider, such as
requiring Part 91 operators who conduct sightseeing flights to report
insurance coverage to the local FSDO. That would achieve the FAA's goal
at much lower cost to the operators than the current proposal, the SBA
said. The FAA should also take into account regional differences, for
example, higher accident rates in Alaska, as well as differences in
helicopter and airplane accident rates, rather than analyzing them all
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Big changes have taken place at the National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA), and the folks in charge now are trying to reassure
the membership that all's well. In the wake of President Shelley
Longmuir's sudden departure last week, Donald Baldwin, chairman of the
board, is serving as interim president until a new president is hired.
Baldwin wrote in a letter to members on Monday, "Perhaps
understandably, the staff is concerned that the membership is concerned
-- both with how NBAA is weathering abrupt change, as well as for NBAA's
future." But Baldwin is upbeat, concluding that the "NBAA's best days
are yet to come." More...
Longmuir, who had been at the helm only since last June, resigned effective April 1, along with Bob
Warren, executive vice president and chief operating officer. In a
statement issued last week, Longmuir cited a "difference in vision for
leadership" in her departure from the association, and said she was
"proud of the progress I made at NBAA as president and CEO." The
statement cited Longmuir's work on securing access to restricted
airspace for GA aircraft as her "signature effort." Meanwhile, two
veteran staffers who had left the week before have returned to their
positions -- Bob Blouin, senior vice president, operations, and
Cassandra Bosco, senior manager, media relations. More...
COMMITTEE SEEKS NEW LEADER
As for the future, a search committee headed by NBAA Vice Chairman Ken
Emerick already has begun working to identify a new NBAA president and
CEO. "We will conduct a thorough search, on a timetable to be
determined," said Emerick. Other members of the committee include NBAA
board members Sylvia Jennings, James Cooling and Aaron Hilkemann.
Spencer Stewart, an executive search firm, has been retained to provide
support for the committee. The timetable and criteria for the search are
now under development. Emerick asked yesterday that NBAA members send in
their recommendations to the committee. More...
MARV GOLDEN DISCOUNT PILOT SUPPLIES HAS EVERYTHING YOU
Marv Golden Discount Pilot Supplies is your one-stop
pilot shop for everything from avionics to watches. APRIL
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edition headset is ready for shipping; orders are being taken for the
new Garmin 296 with shipping late April; and purchase any Icom standard
transceiver and receive a complimentary alkaline battery pack. For all
your pilot supplies, plus Mother's and Father's Day gifts galore, visit
Marv Golden online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold/avflash.
PROVES TO BE SAINT-EXUPERY'S P-38
When French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery flew off alone into a July
night in 1944 and vanished, his mysterious end became an integral part
of the story of his life. Now, hundreds of pieces of a wrecked Lockheed
Lightning, found on the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Provence,
have been positively identified as the airplane he was flying that night
on a wartime spy mission. French authorities confirmed the find
yesterday, based on a serial number found on a piece of the tail.
Saint-Exupery is beloved in France as the author of "The Little Prince."
No body was found, and so far the wreck has not revealed any cause for
the crash. More...
SUES FOR SALVAGED CORSAIR
The wreck of a Navy Corsair that was salvaged from a North Carolina
swamp in 1990 is now the subject of a court battle in Minnesota. Late
last month, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit on behalf of the
Navy seeking the return of the Corsair from aircraft restorer Lex
Cralley. The Navy is not saying why it is suddenly interested in the
wreck, but aircraft historians say it has been identified as a rare
Brewster F3A-1 model, perhaps the only one of its kind. Cralley says he
registered the aircraft with the FAA as a "non-airworthy model" and has
been slowly working on its restoration. Cralley told the St. Paul
Pioneer Press he's rattled by the lawsuit, but intends to fight it. The
Corsair could have a value in the millions of dollars.
AEROBATIC CHAMPION KIRBY CHAMBLISS DEPENDS ON OREGON AERO
TO ELIMINATE PAIN
U.S. National Champion Kirby Chambliss is
one of many aerobatic winners performing at this year's Sun 'n Fun
Fly-In who depends on Oregon Aero for comfort in the cockpit. "I use the
Oregon Aero SoftSeat in my Edge 540," says Kirby. "When
pulling up to 10Gs, the seat cushion takes on about 2,000 pounds. It
helps to make my performance more bearable and also reduces back pain
when I'm done performing." Visit Oregon at Sun 'n Fun Booth
#A-040-042 to see what Kirby's talking about, and check out all
Oregon Aero's products online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.
Little ultralight aircraft might seem to us like the least likely
vehicles of fear and destruction, but apparently not everyone sees them
that way. Last week, after Hamas threatened to destroy the Knesset building in Jerusalem, one member of that
legislature worried that terrorists might attack by air, landing
on the long flat roof with gliders or ultralights. In Australia last
week, a man was jailed after he allegedly "buzzed" his ex-wife's home in
his ultralight, scaring her and the neighbors. And Canada's intelligence
leaders recently warned that terrorists might use ultralights or
remotely piloted vehicles to threaten Canadian troops and their allies.
FELL 12,000 FEET IN SPIN, NTSB SAYS
A Mitsubishi MU-2 turboprop that crashed near Pittsfield, Mass., about
5:30 a.m. on March 25, fell nearly 12,000 feet in less than a minute,
the NTSB reported in its preliminary findings, released on Saturday. Several
witnesses said they watched the cargo aircraft descend in a flat spin,
making grinding, whining or howling sounds. It impacted the ground
intact, in an upright position, with both engines turning. The ATP-rated
pilot, who was alone on board, was killed. The conditions at the time
were VMC, and the pilot had filed an IFR flight plan. The pilot's last
communication was routine, about nine minutes before the crash.
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IMPLICATED IN DRUG-SMUGGLING SCHEME
A private jet charter company flying out of California's Van Nuys
Airport allegedly used the planes to transport illegal drugs and
promoted its service as friendly to drug traffickers, authorities said
last week. Eight suspects, including a co-owner of the company,
SmoothAir Aviation, were arrested after a yearlong investigation
focusing on the company's ties to drug traffickers in Mexico. Clarence
Adolphus, 46, of SmoothAir, allegedly assured drug traffickers his
flights were not subject to searches and inspections required at major
airports, according to the U.S. attorney for California's Central District.
Last November, government agents seized 20,000 tablets of the drug
ecstasy and 345 pounds of marijuana from a SmoothAir jet leaving for
AND THE "FASTEST CERTIFIED PISTON-POWERED AIRCRAFT"
The Lancair Company
announced on Monday it will receive FAA certification of its new
turbocharged Lancair Columbia 400 at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland,
Fla., next week. The company says the new airplane will be the world's
fastest certified piston single. "We feel confident that the Columbia
400 will be faster than any current certified piston-powered aircraft on
the market -- fixed-gear or retractable, single-engine or twin," said
Lancair Vice President Tom Bowen. "The aircraft has an amazingly broad
flight envelope." Several senior FAA officials will be on hand to award
Lancair the certification at a press conference Friday, April 16,
Lancair said. More...
FLIGHTMAX EX500 WITH INTEGRATED DATALINK-TRAINING SOFTWARE
Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 provides the best
value MFD/Datalink solution available for G.A. And it's the easiest to
use. To prove it, Avidyne has put together a new FlightMax EX500 trainer
which allows you to "fly" user-defined flight plans and retrieve
"datalinked" graphical weather and TFRs all along the route and
randomly access virtually all pages and functions of the EX500, just as
you would on the real product. See the FlightMax EX550 at Sun 'n Fun
Booth #D-043-044, or download your no-cost EX500 Training Software
TO SUN 'N FUN? HEADS UP FOR SKYDIVERS
If you're planning on flying into Lakeland, Fla., for Sun 'n Fun, be on
the alert for large formation skydiving over Zephyrhills
Airport between April 14 and April 18, sunrise to sunset.
Zephyrhills (ZPH) is located 16 nautical miles northwest of Lakeland, on
Lakeland's 332-degree radial. The airport will be the site of a world
record attempt involving 140 skydivers and seven jump aircraft. Getting
caught in the middle could prove ... messy. More...
The FAA has issued a launch license to Scaled Composites...
The second of three possible sites for new Texas GA airport
Australian astronomer asked GA flyers to look for new meteor
California airport may be renamed to honor Jacqueline Cochran...
ACLU is suing to challenge the TSA's no-fly list...
AEA Convention last month set records for exhibitors and
The Save Concorde group wants to name April 9 "Concorde Day"...
Navy's former aircraft carrier Oriskany to become a reef in Florida.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
What's New --
Products and Services
Each month, AVweb will bring you a quick survey of the latest products
and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners. This month we
have a new audio panel, fiber-optic post lights and more. In some cases,
AVweb has actually examined the product; in other cases, we are just
letting you know it exists. If you know of a new product or service
other AVweb readers should hear about, please send
us a note. More...
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVwebs 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. Watch for
a Business AVflash regular feature, TSA WATCH: GA IN THE
"SPOTLIGHT". Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/
MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG,
Ever had "sticker shock" when you got the bill
after an annual? Frustrated when problems still aren't fixed after
several tries? Flabbergasted by the stratospheric cost of parts?
Intimidated by mechanical problems far from home base? Ever felt a shop
had you "over a barrel"? Spend an illuminating weekend with Mike Busch
AVweb founder, writer, teacher, pilot, aircraft owner, and A&P
mechanic at one of his Savvy Owner Seminars. He'll share his 40
years of aviation experience, help you become more maintenance-savvy and
empowered, and teach you how to get better maintenance while saving
thousands of dollars. For seminar details, Mike's no-cost monthly
e-newsletter, and dozens of maintenance articles, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Which niche of aviation do you think is most likely to be used in a
future terrorist attack? Do we focus too much on the role of aviation in
the War on Terror? Weigh in with your thoughts on this week's "Question
of the Week." PLUS: The results of last week's question on air shows.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
AVweb readers keep sending us terrific photos from their airborne
adventures and we keep publishing them here. If you thought last
week's photos were great, wait until to you see the photo Jamie Lawrence
of Maui Helicopters submitted this week! More...
Sponsor News and Special Offers
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the
support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.
DON'T WISH YOUR AIRPLANE HAD ALL THE BELLS AND
BENNETT AVIONICS makes that wish affordable!
Bennett Avionics meets your aircraft's needs while maintaining your
budget. Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Bennett
stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous
capability to your aircraft at a price that makes sense. Bennett also
purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for
newer electronics. Bennett Avionics is your one-stop used-avionics
specialist, online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.
GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT AIRCRAFT FUEL BILLS BY 20
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices; install
GAMIjectors. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your engine run smoother,
cooler, and more efficiently. Stop by Sun 'n Fun Booth #A-065-066
and talk to the GAMI experts, or order a kit online for your Continental
or Lycoming engine at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami/avflash.
ANNOUNCES INTERACTIVE NAV & VOR/NDB SIMULATOR TRAINING
Comm 1 Radio Simulator programs contain comprehensive
tutorials and fully interactive two-way radio exchanges with ATC
which you can experience from the safety and privacy of your computer.
Build skills and confidence on the ground while saving money and
aggravation. Select the programs right for your flying needs by visiting
Sun 'n Fun Booth #C-061, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/comm1/avflash.
MOM SOMETHING TO TICKLE HER FUNNY BONE & SHOW HER LOVE OF
For Mother's Day, the Carprop is perfect! The Carprop
is a free-spinning propeller mounted on the front of a vehicle to
indicate the driver's enthusiasm for flying. As the vehicle moves, the
propeller spins but when parked, the propeller goes horizontal so
it doesn't interfere with the license plate numbers. For the pilot (or
enthusiast) who has everything, the Carprop is perfect! APRIL
SPECIAL: Complimentary sunglasses with any order placed online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.
LAZY BUZZARD GOES RACING!!!!
Lazy Buzzard has
decided to send his pilot racing. Come late summer, the Lazy Buzzard
Pitts Special will be tearing around the pylons at the Reno Air Races.
Check out the site to see the Lazy Buzzard airplane and other great
stuff! Watch for Lazy Buzzard at air shows throughout the year. Be a
part of it all and support Lazy Buzzard in his quest for Life, Liberty,
and the Pursuit of Happiness and Speed. Online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lazy/avflash.
IFR REFRESHER'S MAY ISSUE HAS YOU MAKING THE RIGHT
Highlights in the May issue of IFR Refresher
include: what can happen when you don't fly the procedure; cool
reasoning on the old question "to go or not to go"; a review of
back-to-basics holding procedures; flying in Lake Tahoe wx; soggy skies
in Lubbock; and flying legally smart. If these topics catch your IFR
attention, then order IFR Refresher at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrref/avflash.
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