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Volume 10, Number 17b -- April 22, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Scheyden Eyewear

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

AIR 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...

...NOTICE INCLUDES QUESTIONNAIRE...
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...

...THIS 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?
Are 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.

BOMBERS DROP PILOTS
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...

...BORDER 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 CLUB?
TimeSync's ScheduleMaster online aircraft scheduling service offers advanced features such as standby scheduling and notification of cancellations. ScheduleMaster helps your club improve aircraft utilization and will make your members happy. You can also add AccountMaster, an integrated billing system that works with Peachtree and QuickBooks. For a no-obligation online demonstration, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/timesy/avflash.

CIRRUS 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. More...

ERCOUPE ODYSSEY
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 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.

PIRATE RADIO SEIZED
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 jail. More...

SPORT 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...

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ATC 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...

SKYDIVERS 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 PROTECTION
AeroShell, a trusted name for oil and lubricants, has a line of appearance products designed specifically for general aviation aircraft. The AeroShell Flight Jacket products can be purchased in a convenient leak-proof bag designed for easy carrying and storage. 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.

ANGELS HELP MARINES
A volunteer flying group is helping casualties of the war in Iraq cope. Angel Flight 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...

NEW 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.) More...

HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FOR THE AVIATION INDUSTRY
CrewCar and Consumer Guides have teamed up to offer hassle-free auto buying to the aviation industry! Next to your home and 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.

ON THE FLY...
Pilots and controllers met to discuss safety...
Bolingbrook, Ill., bought airport, plans improvements...
Diamond Twin flew on gasoline for the first time. 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...

DON'T WISH YOUR AIRPLANE HAD ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES.
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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 finally 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.

AVWEB'S 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 Sport Pilot initiative. PLUS: Results of our poll on terrorism in the skies. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
_________
BRAINTEASERS
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.

More...

CALCULATE OPERATING COSTS WITH THE INTERACTIVE AIRCRAFT BUDGET ANALYZER
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.

AVWEB'S 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!) More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS

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BUYING OR SELLING AN AIRCRAFT?
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SOFT LEATHER HOLDS YOUR IDENTIFICATION IN STYLE!
During the month of April, Pilotmall.com is offering a complimentary soft leather ID holder with a stamped airplane on the cover (a $19.99 value) with any order of Pilotmall's quality leather flight bags, backpacks, and Scheyden sunglasses. Show your style and save now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotmall/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

TRAINING STARTS HERE!
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PILOT GETAWAYS MAGAZINE'S SPRING REVIEW
Just like in every issue, the Spring Issue of Pilot Getaways leads you to some aviation-friendly destinations around the country: A grass strip on Cape Cod, an international airport in San Francisco, a WWII-themed hotel in Texas — even a gravel bush strip in the California mountains. Don't miss out on the best information for flying with your airplane. Subscribe today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotgetaways/avflash.

"THANKS FOR A FANTASTIC PRIVATE PILOT HANDBOOK!
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 the book."
http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/machado/avflash

_____________________________________
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. http://www.avweb.com

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to mailto:editor@avweb.com.com. Have a comment or question? Send it to mailto:newsteam@avweb.com.

Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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