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Volume 10, Number 18a -- April 26, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Pilot Insurance Center (PIC)

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

THE FAA PUSHES THE FUTURE BACK...
The FAA's efforts to modernize the National Airspace System, including the installation of new radar and approach systems, datalink technology, and digital radios, "face fundamental problems with respect to misjudging technological maturity, unexpected cost growth, or concerns about how to move forward in a cost-effective way," Department of Transportation Inspector General Ken Mead told a Senate panel last Thursday. Mead, testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee about the FAA's budget request for fiscal year 2005, said plans for several programs will be put on hold, or face reduced budgets and delayed implementation schedules. More...

...WAAS, STARS, AND MUCH MORE SCALED BACK OR DEFERRED.....
Among the projects facing cuts or delays is the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), which became available on a limited basis last July. Mead says the FAA has revised its expectations for the program and now says WAAS will not be capable of providing Category I performance at most of the nation's airports. The reduced expectations mean a cut in funding. Also facing a reduction in planned deployment is STARS, the new radar system that has been plagued by cost overruns and implementation delays. Mead said the FAA will complete the first 50 installations of STARS, but plans for a second phase of 23 more sites have been suspended. So far, 19 of the systems are in operation. More...

...AS CONTROLLER RETIREMENTS LOOM
Mead also raised concerns about the safety of the nation's air traffic control system. Although runway incursions decreased by 4 percent in fiscal year 2003, operational errors -- when controllers allow planes to come too close together in the air -- increased 12 percent, to 1,186, with an average of three operational errors each day and one high-risk error every week. In addition, about 7,000 air traffic controllers are expected to become eligible for retirement in the next nine years. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, testifying before the same Senate panel last week, said a new rule is in the works that would allow controllers to apply for a waiver to continue working beyond the current mandatory retirement age of 56. More...

POWERLINK™ FADEC CERTIFIED ON LIBERTY XL-2; IS IT RIGHT FOR YOUR AIRCRAFT?
Congratulations to Liberty Aerospace on becoming the first certified, piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.

CONGRESS PUSHES FOR ACTION AGAINST SHOULDER-FIRED MISSILES...
With the announcement last week that the Israeli government is equipping its commercial aircraft with countermeasure systems to defend against shoulder-fired missiles, pressure is mounting here in the U.S. for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to quickly mandate similar protection for U.S. airliners. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote to DHS Secretary Tom Ridge on Friday, "In light of Israel's actions and the obvious availability of appropriate technology, I ask that you accelerate the current DHS timetable so that our most vulnerable aircraft are protected by the end of this year." Under the current plan, Boxer said, the DHS would not even make a decision about the matter until 2006. More...

...AS HOUSE PRESSURES FAA...
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the Aviation Subcommittee, introduced a bill last month that would require the FAA to expedite the airworthiness certification of missile-defense systems for commercial aircraft. "The proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles is so widespread, so deep and so urgent that we have to go on defense and offence at the same time to protect ourselves," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor of the bill. "That means accelerating our efforts to equip our planes with anti-missile countermeasures, while aggressively pursuing and implementing an international SAM-Ban treaty to control the proliferation of shoulder-fired missiles." More...

...AND FAA REVIEWS ISRAELI SYSTEM
The FAA is reportedly dubious of allowing El Al aircraft equipped with the system, called Flight Guard, to land at U.S. airports due to safety concerns about the flare-based technology. Israeli Transportation Minister Avigdor Lieberman is slated to discuss the issue with U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta today, according to Reuters. El Al's first Flight Guard-protected aircraft are expected to launch in June. The Flight Guard system automatically releases diversionary flares if a heat-seeking missile is detected by an on-board sensor. It reportedly costs about $1 million per airplane to install. More...

OURPLANE ORDERS TEN NEW 2004 CIRRUS SR22 G2 AIRCRAFT FOR CUSTOMERS
OurPLANE, the pioneer in fractional aircraft ownership for general aviation, has purchased 10 new Cirrus SR22 G2 (second generation) aircraft for delivery in the next two years. Low-cost aircraft ownership is GUARANTEED! Locations throughout California, Texas, New York, and Connecticut. For a no-cost, no-obligation multimedia presentation about the OurPLANE fractional ownership advantage program, click here. For more information, call (877) 775-2631 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ourplane/avflash.

TOWER COMPANY SUES DEAD PILOT'S FAMILY
The family of a Quebec man who died when his single-engine plane crashed into a 1,000-foot-high telecommunications tower in dense fog in 2001 is being sued for $2.5 million by the tower's owner, CTV News reported Saturday. The wreck remained tangled in the tower for several days, and the tower was destroyed with dynamite to retrieve the airplane and the pilot's body. The tower is owned by a U.S. company, SpectraSite, which wants more than $2.5 million from the family to cover the costs of the tower's destruction, the cost to rebuild, and lost revenue. The company says the pilot was at fault for flying in fog, CTV News said. The pilot's widow and children say they don't have that much money. More...

AIR TOURS -- GET 'EM WHILE YOU CAN
During this weekend's Festival of Roses in Orangeburg, S.C., some pilots at the local airport decided to get into the spirit of the event and host an open house. Anyone who wanted to see the festival from the air was invited to visit the field, and for a donation of $10 or so, they could take a ride in an airplane with the New Hawthorne Aviators, aka EAA Chapter 1367. Such non-commercial air tours would likely become defunct under new rules proposed by the FAA. Meanwhile, the FAA and the National Park Service will meet tomorrow to discuss whether to restrict commercial air tours over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, in Nevada. More...

CARING ABOUT YOU PUTS CS&A ABOVE ALL OTHER AVIATION INSURANCE COMPANIES
With long-standing relationships with aviation insurance underwriters, CS&A ensures their customers receive superior service at competitive rates. CS&A will personally find the right insurance package for you and your aircraft's specific needs. Request a no-cost, no-obligation quote online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/csa/avflash.

NTSB WANTS ENHANCED OVERSIGHT OF FIREFIGHTING AIRCRAFT
Advanced age plus severe stress put firefighting aircraft at risk of structural failure, and the maintenance and inspection programs currently in effect are inadequate, the NTSB said in safety recommendations issued on Friday. The board determined that fatigue cracking was the probable cause in three air-tanker accidents involving in-flight wing separations during firefighting operations. Inadequate fatigue-detection procedures were cited as a factor in all three crashes -- a June 2002 crash of a C-130 in Walker, Calif.; the July 2002 crash of a P4Y-2 in Estes Park, Colo.; and the August 1994 crash of a C-130 in Pearblossom, Calif. More...

PILOTS PLAN TO EXPLORE LEWIS & CLARK ROUTE
The Flight of Discovery, a team of general aviation pilots and scientists, plans to fly above the river corridors and overland routes followed by the Lewis and Clark expedition 200 years ago. The expedition, comprising eight fixed-wing aircraft and two helicopters, will depart from Clarksville, Ind., on June 1 and arrive two weeks later in Astoria, Ore. "The challenge of our expedition," said biologist and Caravan pilot Mike Mann, "is to establish the amount of change from 'baseline' conditions that has occurred since the original Corps of Discovery expedition from 1803–1806." The group plans to document the current cultural and natural features along the route and compare them to the historical record of the Lewis and Clark expedition. More...

E-OX: A HIGH-QUALITY PORTABLE OXYGEN NEED NOT COST AN ARM AND A LEG
Join hundreds of pilots who have discovered you don't need to spend $600+ to get a high-quality portable oxygen system. With prices starting under $200, E-Ox is the ideal choice for pilots who don't do enough high-altitude flying to justify the expense and hassle of a bulky portable oxygen system, or who want a solid back-up for their aircraft's built-in system. E-Ox uses 100% medical-grade components and is light, compact, and slips easily into a flight bag or briefcase. Aeromedix offers one- and two-place systems with cylinder sizes from 36 to 680 liters. Custom-design your E-Ox system by calling Aeromedix's O2 system experts at (888) 362-7123 and mentioning this AVflash or by going online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

THIRD AIR SCOUT GROUP STARTS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Air Scouts, a program of the Boy Scouts of America that was popular in the 1940s and '50s, is slowly reappearing as three Air Scouting groups are now underway, one each in Texas and Illinois, and now the newest one at Moore County Airport in North Carolina. The co-ed program for youth ages 14 to 20 provides a chance to learn about careers in aviation and participate in activities such as building model rockets, flying radio-controlled planes and visiting aviation museums. At Moore County Airport, about 28 youngsters have signed up so far for the program, The Pilot newspaper reported last week. More...

XCOR AEROSPACE RECEIVES LAUNCH LICENSE
On Friday, XCOR Aerospace became the second company to receive a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) mission license from the FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. The company, based in Mojave, Calif., said it will use the license to test RLV technologies prior to suborbital space travel. XCOR said it will be the first to use the license for an RLV that is launched and recovered from the ground. The FAA's first license, which went to Mojave's Scaled Composites, is being used to test SpaceShipOne, which is carried aloft on the White Knight aircraft and launched at altitude. XCOR's license is for test flights only, and does not cover passenger operations. More...

GIVE MOM A NEW PIPER AIRCRAFT TO FLY AROUND THE GREEK ISLES
That's right, Mom could be the winner! Global Aviation is sponsoring a fantastic contest: Order a sterling silver, numbered aviation key for Mother's Day (May 9th), and Mom will be entered in a drawing for an all-expenses-paid use of a new Piper Aircraft to tour the Greek Islands, plus airline tickets and hotel accommodations. For details (and to order Mom's key), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/global/avflash.

NBAA UPDATE IN NEXT ISSUE OF BIZAVFLASH
If you're curious about what may appear to be outwardly erratic behavior among the highest ranks at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) -- whose new president departed April 1 after nine months on the job -- read your Business AVflash. For subscribers (sign up is independent of the AVflash you're currently reading) AVweb's Business AVflash arrives twice each month. The next edition will hit your e-mail inbox this coming Wednesday. It will have the latest news on the developments at NBAA since mid-April, including details on dueling public statements by a departed senior staffer and the association, plus our regular coverage of the business aviation community and Business AVflash's regular, twice-monthly feature, TSA Watch. Not subscribed to Business AVflash? It's quick, it's easy and -- best of all -- it's FREE!. Click here to sign up! More...

ON THE FLY...
Another light jet, a five-seat single-engine Sport-Jet, in the works...
FAA to test ADS-B weather datalink with 100 aircraft on East Coast...
NATA has launched a new Web site: www.nata.aero...
Peru airline Aero Continente blocked from U.S. airspace...
DOT announced $307 million to combat airport noise pollution. More...

IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN
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WxServer works with virtually any internet-enabled phone, and any nationwide wireless carrier. WxServer gives you up-to-the-minute aviation weather information such as the NEXRAD, METAR, TAF, and satellite images. Now WxServer includes airport frequency listings, fuel availability, and quick-dial links to FBOs, rental cars, and taxis. 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! 10-day Free Trial. See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
_________
INSURANCE
Insuring the Transitioning Pilot
The aviation economy is finally starting to rebound, and that means more pilots getting ready to buy a plane or to step up to more-sophisticated aircraft. But beyond any FAA requirements, insurance requirements loom as a major factor that can financially make or break the transition to a new type of plane.

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...

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/lazybuzzard/avflash.

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
http://www.avweb.com/avmail/

Reader mail this week about keeping ATC current on emergencies, fans of Ercoupes, and more. More...

BENNETT AVIONICS: UPGRADE YOUR AIRCRAFT WITH CONFIDENCE & SAVINGS
Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business. Find the avionics equipment to meet your needs while leaving enough money for avfuel! Bennett stocks a complete line of used avionics that will add tremendous capability to your aircraft for much less money than new ones. Bennett also purchases used avionics equipment and will work out an exchange for newer electronics. Bennett Avionics, your one-stop used avionics specialist — online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.

SHORT FINAL...
Overheard enroute from RMG to 45J...

Pilot: Approach, Skylane N###, Could I have a right turn direct my destination?

Approach: Standby. I'll check to see if that Dash 8 doing 200 knots up your five-o'clock feels like wearing you on his lapel... More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS

YOU TOO CAN BE A WINNER WITH SCHEYDEN, AVIATION'S FINEST EYEWEAR!
"I was surprised that I won, and even more surprised at the quality of these glasses!" said recent AVweb winner Ted Weiner of Massachusetts. A pair of Scheydens will be given away every other week to a lucky AVweb winner — a retail value up to $395! The unique flip-up design has become the choice of pilots who demand quality and function in every aspect of aviation. Handmade titanium frames, quality lenses, a Rosewood case, plush micro-fiber bag and cloth are standard equipment on all styles. For more information (and to register to win), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/scheyden/avflash.

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.

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. Download your no-cost EX500 Training Software at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.

MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR COMING TO VAN NUYS, HARRISBURG, & OSHKOSH!
Ever had "sticker shock" when you got the bill after an annual? 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. Mike will 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.

REMINDER ... Specials Ending This Week

AIRSPORT AVIONICS CELEBRATES THE SUN-N-FUN FLY-IN WITH A SPECIAL OFFER
AirSport Avionics has a special price on their Portable Altitude Alerters. Take $100 OFF any of the AirSport PRO or IFR Altitude Alerter models. AirSport Alerters work by listening to everything your transponder and encoder are reporting to ATC, both Mode A and C. No Installation Required. Safety is affordable with AirSport Avionics! Details and ordering information at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/airsport/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. SPECIAL: Complimentary sunglasses with any order placed online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.

GLEIM OFFERING "AVWEB ONLY" SPECIALS
Gleim Publishers is offering a 15% discount on the 2004 FAR/AIM and their flight bag, plus 10% off all Pilot Kits. Check out Gleim's online Private Pilot Refresher and Flight Instructor Refresher Courses. All course students receive a no-cost 2004 FAR/AIM, a $21 value. Gleim's April AVweb deals are online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gleim/avflash.

SPONSOR NEWS

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 online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/comm1/avflash.

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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 Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

Let's all be careful out there, okay?

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