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Volume 10, Number 15b -- April 8, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Trade-A-Plane

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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

SBA 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 ops. More...

...THOUSANDS 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...

...LESS-COSTLY 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 together. More...

YOU TOO CAN BE A WINNER WITH SCHEYDEN, AVIATION'S FINEST EYEWEAR
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UPHEAVAL AT NBAA
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...

...SENIOR STAFFERS RETURN...
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...

...AS 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 NEED
Marv Golden Discount Pilot Supplies is your one-stop pilot shop for everything from avionics to watches. APRIL SPECIALS: The new Sennheiser HME 100MG (Michael Goulian) limited 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.

WRECK 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...

NAVY 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. More...

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.

THOSE SCARY ULTRALIGHTS?
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. More...

MU-2 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. More...

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BIZJETS 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 Atlanta. More...

LANCAIR 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 NOW AVAILABLE
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 at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.

HEADING 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...

ON THE FLY...
The FAA has issued a launch license to Scaled Composites...
The second of three possible sites for new Texas GA airport declined...
Australian astronomer asked GA flyers to look for new meteor craters...
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 attendance...
The Save Concorde group wants to name April 9 "Concorde Day"...
Navy's former aircraft carrier Oriskany to become a reef in Florida. More...

IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER!
WxServer works with virtually any internet-enabled phone. No matter whether you're using Verizon, SprintPCS, AT&T, T-Mobile, Cingular, or Nextel, WxServer can give you up-to-the-minute aviation weather information. SPECIAL OFFER: This month, AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rates, and CFIs can sign up for the WxServer referral program at no charge! Check it out at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
___________
WHAT'S NEW
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...

BUSINESS AVFLASH
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb’s 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/ More...

MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG, & OSHKOSH!
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.

AVWEB'S 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. More...

LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW WHEN YOU'LL BE HOME
Sign up for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. It's the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight. Your family simply enters your N-number to track your flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated ETAs. AVweb Edition Flight Explorer costs just $9.95 a month, a small price for such big peace of mind. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.

AVWEB'S 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

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GOING TO SUN 'N FUN?

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SHOPPING DEALS

DON'T WISH YOUR AIRPLANE HAD ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES
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GAMIJECTORS CAN CUT AIRCRAFT FUEL BILLS BY 20 PERCENT!
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.

COMM 1 ANNOUNCES INTERACTIVE NAV & VOR/NDB SIMULATOR TRAINING PROGRAM
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.

GIVE MOM SOMETHING TO TICKLE HER FUNNY BONE & SHOW HER LOVE OF FLYING
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.

SPONSOR NEWS

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 DECISIONS
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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AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com

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Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
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