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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
TOUR NPRM GETS ANOTHER LOOK
After being bombarded by protests from angry air-tour operators, charity
groups and vintage-aircraft organizations, the FAA says it will consider
changes to its highly controversial National Air Tour Standards. "I
think there's a willingness and a flexibility to accommodate some
portions of the community," Greg Martin, the FAA's deputy director of
communications, told AVweb. On Tuesday, the FAA announced that it was extending the comment
period (until June 28) and holding two public meetings (in Washington,
D.C., on May 11 and Las Vegas on May 21) to discuss the proposed rule,
which by the FAA's own analysis would shut down the air-tour operations
in about 700 businesses. More...
Tuesday's notice is unusual in that it includes a questionnaire of sorts
targeting many of the specific concerns that have been raised over the
proposed rule. Anyone taking advantage of the extended comment period is
asked to cover 15 points raised in the questionnaire. The questions are
clearly directed at Part 91 operators who, under the proposed rule,
would be required to upgrade to Part 121 or Part 135 operating
certificates. This provision has caused the most controversy. The
questionnaire even invites pilots to do a little role-playing and
imagine that it was they who were trying to achieve the safety goals of
the rule without ruining businesses. "Are there ways we (FAA) could
achieve the results intended by the proposed rule that would impose
fewer burdens on the industry?" it asks. More...
IS HOW IT HURTS
If the FAA wants a tally of the impact of the proposed rule, they might
ask Harry and Loree Hirschmann, who opened a biplane
sightseeing business in San Francisco last year. "It's a nice little
business and we intended to grow into it but we're going to get stopped
in our tracks if this goes through," Harry told the Contra Costa Times.
Golden Gate Biplane Adventures now operates under a provision that
allows sightseeing tours within 25 miles of the base airport to remain
under Part 91 rules. The NPRM would eliminate that provision. Harry
estimates the cost of converting from a Part 91 to Part 135 or Part 121
operator at a minimum of $60,000 a year, which he said is unrealistic
for his business. More...
LIGHTSPEED HEADSET OWNERS! FEEL LEFT OUT?
you feeling left out because your LightSPEED headset doesn't have the
new cell/satellite phone jack? Cheer up the factory conversions
are now available for all active and passive models of the XL and QFR
series. Passive Upgrade: $50, Active Upgrade: $75. Model upgrades come
with a 2.5mm patch cord that connects to most phones. Check LightSPEED's
online chart for phones they've tested. Adapters are available. The
Active model upgrades include an additional patch cord for personal
audio device input. Call LightSPEED at (800) 332-2421 and mention this
AVflash, or print out the online order/instruction form to send in your
headset for a speedy turn-around at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/avflash.
The military moved a step closer to taking pilots out of the action with
the successful test of a new drone bomber. Under remote control, Boeing's
X-45 Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) dropped a dummy bomb to
within inches of a target truck on the desert at Edwards Air Force Base
in California. The pilot was 80 miles away when he pickled the bomb.
"It's absolutely a huge step forward for us," Boeing's Rob Horton told
the Associated Press. "It shows the capability of an unmanned airplane
to carry weapons." More...
SECURITY BY DRONE
Chances are you won't have to join the military to encounter a UAV.
They've been in limited use over U.S. airspace for years but the
Department of Homeland Security wants to use them regularly to patrol
the border between Arizona and Mexico. The San Diego Union-Tribune
reports that the flights are expected to start later this month and the
U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is confident they'll help stem the tide
of illegal immigrants and drugs. "It's deal terrain," commissioner
Robert Bonner told the Union-Tribune. "There's nothing to hide. Not a
tree in sight." More...
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT IN YOUR
TimeSync's ScheduleMaster online aircraft scheduling
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notification of cancellations. ScheduleMaster helps your club improve
aircraft utilization and will make your members happy. You can also add
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and QuickBooks. For a no-obligation online demonstration, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/timesy/avflash.
DOWN -- NO 'CHUTE THIS TIME
A Cirrus SR22 crashed and burned Monday shortly after departure from
Greenwood County Airport in South Carolina, killing all four souls on
board. Corky Smith, an NTSB investigator working the site, told The
Index-Journal witnesses saw the aircraft lift off the runway, climb to
roughly 30 feet, then descend to roughly 10 feet over the runway. Then,
before reaching the tree line, the aircraft "went straight up to about
400 feet, and then turned left." Whatever maneuver precipitated that
description, it was not one from which the aircraft recovered. The SR22
impacted the ground and exploded. "I went to the crash site; I didn't
even see the first piece of scrap. It was just a big burnt area where it
had landed," Sheriff's Lt. Jimmy Boggs told the Associated Press.
Perhaps Allen Rothenberg. of Rockville, Md., saw our recent Ercoupe coverage, because he wrote to tell us he's
planning a 13,000-mile trip in the low-wing plane-for-all-people around
the perimeter of the lower 48 states to celebrate his 75th birthday. "I
thought you might be interested in some information about an Ercoupe
that not only will fly past the Sun 'n Fun airport but will log about
13,000 miles in, what for me, is an epic solo flight," Rothenberg wrote
AVweb. The quirky little planes were designed to be easy to fly
with the rudder and aileron controls linked to theoretically provide
simplified car-like steering. More...
MARV GOLDEN DISCOUNT PILOT SUPPLIES HAS EVERYTHING YOU
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Marv Golden online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold/avflash.
When Frantzler Narcisse talked, pilots at Lantana Airport and Palm Beach
International couldn't listen ... to each other and air traffic control.
Authorities dismantled Narcisse's pirate radio station last week after
pilots complained his signal was blocking communications at the two
airports. "That was one hell of a dirty transmitter," Terry Jones, a
news helicopter pilot, told The Palm Beach Post. FAA officials tuned
into Narcisse's signal and found the illegal setup on the second floor
of his Palm Beach home. He turned the radio equipment over to the FCC to
avoid prosecution. In Australia, a teenager who pleaded guilty to
interfering with radio communication at Perth Airport could be going to
PILOT REVISIONS ALMOST READY
The FAA says it will have a revised version of the Sport
Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in front
of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the next week or so. FAA
spokeswoman Allison Duquette told AVweb Wednesday that the goal
is to get the rule out "as soon as possible." About three weeks ago, the
FAA withdrew the NPRM from the OMB, which must sign off on it, after the
OMB raised concerns about parts of the proposed rule. The hang-ups have
never been made public. "I can't discuss that because we are in
rulemaking," said Duquette. She said she doesn't know how long the OMB
will need to assess the revised NPRM but it has not placed any time
limits on the process. More...
SYSTEMS "SEAMLESS" IN LAX POWER BUMP
Backup systems worked perfectly to maintain air traffic control and
communications functions during a power failure at Los Angeles
International Airport Monday. "The system worked seamlessly without
interruption to air traffic operations," said FAA spokesman Greg Martin.
Monday's power failure was in sharp contrast to one a week earlier in
which the backup systems failed and parts of the system weren't restored
for almost five hours. Martin said they're looking into the earlier
failure, which delayed dozens of flights. More...
ESTABLISH NEW WORLD RECORD
An international team of skydivers set a new record for formation
skydiving at Zephyrhills, Fla., on Sunday. The team achieved a two-point
formation with 121 skydivers. "Two points" means that after the first
formation was complete, the group transitioned into a second formation
before breaking off the effort at 6,000 feet. The event required 20
jumps altogether, from an altitude of 17,500 feet, using five aircraft,
a Casa and four Twin Otters. More...
AEROSHELL GIVES YOUR AIRPLANE SHINE AND
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The AeroShell Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all six AeroShell Flight
Jacket Polish and Cleaners, along with the application pad and cleaning
cloths. Order AeroShell Flight Jacket products at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell/avflash.
A volunteer flying group is helping casualties of the war in Iraq cope.
West is playing a major role in getting loved ones to visit the
wounded and attend the funerals of Marines based at Camp Pendleton in
San Diego. The base has suffered a rash of casualties among its soldiers
stationed in Iraq and that's put a strain on the families of those
affected, some of whom live thousands of miles from the base. According
to NBC, Angel Flight West appealed to its members for help and they
responded immediately. More...
SUN 'N FUN 2004 IMAGE GALLERIES
AVweb's Sun 'n
Fun photo galleries are now complete with full size hi-res images
(some as large as 2560x1920 pixels -- you can count the dimpled rivets)
available for inspection or download. Air show aircraft in flight, on
the ground, vintage aircraft on the grass, one of a kind aircraft on the
grounds, shiny props, spinning props, duck before it hits you props, and
an enormous wall of file. Have a look, tell a friend, or just swipe your
favorite to the desktop. ...And, if the spirit moves you, let us know
which ones you like best. (We've got an office pool riding on it.)
|HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FOR THE AVIATION
CrewCar and Consumer Guides have teamed up to offer
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airplane, a vehicle is the most important item you will purchase. Don't
go blindly into a dealership; look to CrewCar. CrewCar is a car-buying
service formed by aviation professionals providing shoppers with a
complimentary integrated phone and electronic concierge-level buying
service offering value no matter the geography. The service is provided
gratis and meets the Consumer Guide dealership network standards. For
more information, visit CrewCar at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/crewcar/avflash.
Pilots and controllers met to discuss safety...
Bolingbrook, Ill., bought airport, plans improvements...
Diamond Twin flew on gasoline for the first time. 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/
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
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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.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Sport Pilot. It's been a long time coming, but that doesn't mean it will
ever come to pass. This week, AVweb wants to hear your thoughts on the
Pilot initiative. PLUS: Results of our poll on terrorism in the
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Quiz #80 -- Radar Contact
Don't you love that cozy feeling you get when an air traffic controller
whispers, "Radar contact," in your headset? But what service attaches to
these words? Whether IFR or VFR it helps to know your radar vs.
non-radar terms and expectations.
CALCULATE OPERATING COSTS WITH THE INTERACTIVE AIRCRAFT
AirPower Software offers multiple software
editions that create instant budgets by manipulating your preloaded
information to address your particular usage amounts and/or costs.
Changes can be made to an individual preloaded figure or across the
entire layout as needed. In addition to the preloaded databases of
aircraft, the Budget Analyzer also lets you create your own
individualized budget via the "My Aircraft" selection. This allows you
to input operating numbers for any type of aircraft. There are six
editions: Lite (no aircraft databases included); Piston; Turbo Prop;
Helicopter; Jet; and Full (which includes all four aircraft databases).
Instant downloads are available on all software products. For complete
information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/airpower/avflash.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Last week's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In preempted our usual reader-submitted
"Picture of the Week." Lots of AVweb readers must have been at the
Fly-In, because our submissions actually dropped down to a manageable
level for the first time in 2004. We realize you guys need a break every
once in a while but how are we supposed to change the wallpaper
on our computer monitors without hundreds of "POTW" entries to choose
from? Come on, people Juston Taul's winning submission may look
great on our monitors today, but tomorrow we'll need another gorgeous
image to ogle! (Your hat will be on the way shortly, Juston!)
Sponsor News and Special Offers
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TRADE-A-PLANE IS THE WORLD'S LARGEST AVIATION
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BUYING OR SELLING AN AIRCRAFT?
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SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN
During the month of April, Pilotmall.com is offering a
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cover (a $19.99 value) with any order of Pilotmall's quality leather
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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
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TRAINING STARTS HERE!
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PILOT GETAWAYS MAGAZINE'S SPRING
Just like in every issue, the Spring Issue of Pilot
Getaways leads you to some aviation-friendly destinations around the
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"THANKS FOR A FANTASTIC PRIVATE PILOT
My initial studying was through ABC publications
(which bored me out of my socks). When I purchased Rod Machado's
Private Pilot Handbook and started studying, things started to make
sense. With the book's explanations, photos, sketches, and humor, it
made everything perfectly clear. I especially enjoyed the tips on
remembering things. Airspace was hard to comprehend until I read this
book. It made the difference in my FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam
grade!" student pilot in Oshkosh, WI. "P.S. Even though I'm
through with the exam, I still look forward to sitting down and reading
We Welcome Your Feedback!
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.
Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be
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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
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