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Volume 10, Number 24a -- June 7, 2004

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

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

FIREFIGHTING FLEET GETS A BOOST...
With the fire season already under way in the Western states (and 33 heavy water bombers grounded), the U.S. Forest Service last Wednesday said it is "reconfiguring" its firefighting fleet. The agency will contract with private companies for 139 additional aircraft, in an effort to make up for the 33 aging air tankers whose contracts were canceled last month after the NTSB raised safety concerns. The $66 million in new contracts will pay for up to 46 single-engine airtankers, 26 heavy helicopters, 45 medium helicopters and two Canadair CL 215 water bombers. In addition, eight U.S. military C-130 aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Firefighting System are available. More...

...AS FAA OFFERS GUIDELINES FOR GETTING AIR TANKERS BACK IN THE AIR...
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting to get those 33 tankers back in the air. "While the safe operations of these aircraft is of paramount importance, we cannot lose sight of the fact that lives on the ground are also at risk," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said at a Senate hearing on the matter last Wednesday. The FAA responded with a set of guidelines that it says will help the Forest Service establish an effective maintenance and inspection program. Operators can start today to submit documentation to the FAA on each aircraft's flight history and maintenance for a safety review. Officials said the reviews might take 30 days or longer, and even then some of the tankers might not be allowed back into the air. (Much) More...

...BUT FOR SOUTHWEST STATES, TOO LITTLE TOO LATE
For the Southwest, the fire season is already peaking and will likely be over before any of the big tankers fly again. "The replacement planes and helicopters won't be enough," said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) last week. "We must get these air tankers back in service." The Southwest fire season usually ends when rains arrive in early July. The tankers are fast and can haul big loads of retardant, which can make a critical difference in the early stages of fighting a fire. The helicopters and single-engine craft "won't do the same job as the air tankers," said Jerry Williams, the Forest Service's national director of fire and aviation management. But helicopters have more flexibility and can make more frequent reloading trips to nearby water sources than can tankers, he said. More...

THE PILOT INSURANCE CENTER (PIC) IS YOUR BEST CHOICE!
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ARSA SEEKS DATA TO FIGHT FAA ON DRUG-TESTING RULE...
Dismayed by the FAA's newest plan to expand drug-testing programs for aviation maintenance workers, the Aeronautical Repair Station Association (ARSA) launched an industry survey last week to try to gather more information about the impact of the FAA proposal. ARSA said the FAA is "grossly understating both the number of companies [affected] and the economic impact the new rule would have." The FAA says its changes would impact about 300 companies, costing each one about $1,200 a year to test an average of 19 workers. ARSA says the proposal would affect many more companies and the costs would mount. Fears exist that ultimately that cost would trickle down throughout general aviation. More...

...FAA SAYS HIGH DRUG-POSITIVE RATE FOR MAINTENANCE WORKERS...
The survey, which is posted at ARSA's Web site, has a form for certificated repair stations and another form for non-certificated maintenance subcontractors. ARSA says participation is critical to its efforts to prevent the extension of drug and alcohol testing requirements. The deadline to participate is June 18. The FAA says the proposed changes are necessary because airlines are outsourcing more and more maintenance, and there is a high drug-positive rate for maintenance workers. About half of all positive drug- and alcohol-test results reported by aviation employers are for maintenance workers, the FAA said. More...

...AS PENNSYLVANIA PILOT FLIES THROUGH LOOPHOLE
While the FAA has rules about flying and drinking, those rules don't apply in criminal court. So when an allegedly drunk pilot raised havoc in the skies above Philadelphia early this year, the case frustrated prosecutors who found that Pennsylvania is one of three states (knock-em-back while the knockin's good) with no law against flying drunk. They tried to convince the judge that the runway was a public highway, so the drunk-driving laws would apply, but the judge noted that the runway was on private property. The airspace above the county is also not a highway, the judge ruled. "It was a little frustrating," Montgomery County Asst. D.A. John Gradel told the Associated Press last week. More...

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SPORT PILOT RULE RETURNS TO OMB
After what seems like more lobs back and forth than a Ping-Pong ball (or a hot potato), the ever-imminent sport pilot/light sport aircraft rule is out of the FAA and back in the hands of the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The FAA withdrew its proposal back in March after the OMB raised concerns about the cost/benefits analysis. The withdrawal was meant to be a strategic means to forestall rejection and keep the package on track. The OMB's approval is the last step needed before FAA can publish the rule as a done deal, according to EAA. More...

TSA'S "OUTREACH" BEGINS, TFRS FOR G8 SUMMIT
This week's International G8 Summit near Savannah, Ga., is bringing not only world leaders and restricted airspace to the region, but a new TSA presence at general aviation airports. Prior to the summit, the TSA will assign teams of Aviation Security Inspectors to about 28 GA airports located within the TFRs, Steven Calabro of the TSA's GA Directorate told EAA last week. The inspectors won't be there just to enforce regulations, but to provide information and enhance awareness during the summit. "We're hoping to become familiar with [each] airport, its operations and its surroundings," Calabro said, "More importantly, to be liaisons on issues that arise with aircraft operations and NOTAMs where they have the ability to get that information back to us at a command center, 24 hours a day during this event." Those "issues" may seem limited to TFR violations, not complaints. More...

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TANDEM HANG-GLIDER PILOT PLEADS GUILTY TO MANSLAUGHTER
Eleni Zeri, a 23-year-old tourist from Greece, died in March 2003 during a tandem hang-glider ride in the mountains of New Zealand after the pilot took off without properly securing her to the glider. Pilot Steve Parson, 53, of Canada, admitted that he had made a mistake, and last Friday apologized in court to the victim's mother. "Eleni was very brave. I'm so very, very sorry," Parson said. He was sentenced to serve 350 hours' community service and pay NZ$10,000 in reparation. After launch, when Parson realized Zeri was not secured, he wrapped his legs around her to try to keep her with him. She told him she couldn't hold on, and fell 500 feet to her death. More...

CONGRESS TO AIRLINES: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN
Leaders from the nation's largest airlines went to Congress last Thursday with hats in hand, looking for help to stem their billion-dollar losses and rising fuel costs, and came away with zip. "Congress is not going to underwrite losing airline operations," said Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), chairman of the House aviation subcommittee. (Not this time, anyway.) "Some of our airlines must either reduce their costs dramatically or they will not survive." Apparently the committee thought $20 billion in aid after 9/11 should have been enough, and if the airlines are still losing money, they need to find ways to cut costs and restructure on their own -- or quietly fly off into the sunset. (Eleven passenger airlines are rated "junk bonds" by Standard & Poor's.) But Gordon Bethune, CEO of Continental Airlines, said what the airlines need is not a handout but tax relief. More...

NONIN FLIGHTSTAT MARKED DOWN TO $367.35 AT AEROMEDIX
The Nonin FlightStat is the world's smallest and lowest-cost precision instrument for measuring oxygen saturation in the bloodstream. Think of it as a "hypoxia meter" that warns you when you're becoming hypoxic, and measures precisely how much supplemental oxygen you need to avoid impairment to your pilot skills. Aeromedix also carries Nonin's full line of prescription-only pulse oximeters for medical use. Aeromedix is one of Nonin's largest distributors, and nobody beats their pulse-ox prices. Order by calling (888) 362-7123 and mentioning this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

COMING SOON, BROADBAND ALOFT FOR GA
Last month, Boeing introduced real-time, WiFi-based, high-speed Internet connections for commercial travelers, and now a project is in the works to offer the service to bizjets by next year. A strategic agreement with Connexion by Boeing enables Rockwell Collins to offer connectivity services on business aircraft worldwide. The new service, called Collins eXchange, is projected to be available next year. It will combine broadband Internet access with direct broadcast satellite to create real-time, global two-way Ku-band data coverage, according to Rockwell. More...

WHERE THE JOBS ARE
With jobs in many sectors of aviation evaporating over the last few years, it's encouraging to hear that graduates from one school last week all left their ceremony with job offers in hand. All 12 graduates from Arizona's Pima Community College in aviation structural repair are already hired, and the college says the program has a 97-percent placement rate in the 12 years it's been running. Graduates of the intensive 10-month-long course had hundreds of jobs to choose from across the country, instructor Mark Heywood told the Tucson Citizen. "Gulfstream [in Savannah, Ga.] has 85 openings," he said. "They would have taken every one of our graduates if they had applied." More...

FOR AVIATION PROFESSIONALS WHO WORK WITH YOU ON YOUR AIRCRAFT INSURANCE
contact CS&A Aviation Insurance. CS&A combines one the most knowledgeable teams of aviation insurance professionals with the industry's most respectable aviation underwriting companies. Call the pros at 1-800-761-2557 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/csa/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
A trailer for "The Aviator," a film about Howard Hughes, now online...
A T-28 crashed in Tampa on Thursday, the pilot died...
The Flight of Discovery is following Lewis and Clark's route by air...
TSA now will allow armed pilots flying as pax to keep their weapons...
British airline pilots protest proposed changes in flight-time rules...
Seattle's Museum of Flight opened new Personal Courage Wing...
Cessna's Citation Sovereign got its FAA type certificate. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
CEO of the Cockpit #33: Dog Is My Co-Pilot
Even a hard-nosed old captain like AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit has a soft spot for some people and even some animals. Especially ones that are willing to go flying on those dark and stormy nights. This is a dog story, but it's a pilot's dog story.

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

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

Reader mail this week about GA usage fees, drug smugglers, circling approaches in the PTS and much more. 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...

IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER
— and now much more! 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 No-Cost Trial. See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.

SHORT FINAL...
On proper communication...

(Overheard May 15, 2004.)

Tower: Landing traffic, be advised that there's still a turkey on the runway.

Pilot (speaking immediately): Tower, Cessna ### clear of the active.

Tower: Thank you ... (laughter) ... but I meant the real turkey. More...

JOIN PLANE & PILOT MAGAZINE FOR A WEEKEND OF FLYING FUN & EDUCATION!
Come to the Technology for Pilots Seminar Series. What better way to spend a day or weekend than talking about flying and learning more about how to be a better, safer pilot — and how to use the new aviation technologies? The first regional seminar will be at the Hilton Burbank Airport Hotel September 25-26, 2004. The program will include more than 25 seminars over the weekend and a social event on Saturday evening at the Million Air FBO, with many new aircraft on display. For more information and to register, call (310) 820-1500 ext. 118 and mention this AVflash, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ppm/seminar/avflash.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS

Terrific Ideas for Father's Day at
AVWEB'S SHOPPING GUIDE

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THUNDERSTORM SEASON IS HERE; IT'S TIME TO PREPARE
Bennett Avionics can provide you with a used Stormscope, Radar, or StrikeFinder system to help you make informed weather decisions. Don't guess about the weather — see and avoid the storms that are sharing your airspace. Don't spend more than you have to on avionics; go to the EXPERTS in the used avionics business — Bennett Avionics, at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.
NEW BACKCOUNTRY REPORT ON AVIAT'S NEW PUP & WHERE IT CAN TAKE YOU
Only Pilot Getaways magazine combines the best in in-depth travel information with technical content on the aircraft that can get you there. This spring, Pilot Getaways features destinations around the country — from Martha's Vineyard to San Francisco, Texas, and North Carolina. Catch the thrill of the Kentucky Derby even after the event is over, or take a picnic lunch to a remote backcountry strip. Order your travel adventure subscription — or a gift subscription — at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotgetaways/avflash.
YOU WORKED HARD FOR THAT IFR TICKET! NOW PROTECT IT!
Subscribe to the monthly magazine dedicated to keeping IFR-rated pilots ready for anything. IFR Refresher polishes your proficiency, challenges your knowledge, briefs you on changing regs, and keeps your decision-making skills sharp. Order today for guaranteed savings as long as you subscribe, at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/ifrref/avflash.
CARBON MONOXIDE KILLS! GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFETY FROM CO GUARDIAN
CO Guardian has carbon monoxide detector models from portable units to panel-mount units. Each unit's solid-state sensors and temperature sensors (EMI-shielded to prevent radio interference) are built in the USA and FAA-certified. Go online to find the CO Guardian model right for your aircraft — and order in time for Father's Day (June 20) at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cog/avflash.
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COME INTO THE ELECTRONIC AGE & UNCOMPLICATE YOUR LIFE WITH FLIGHT LEVEL
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PHOTON MICROLIGHTS ANNOUNCES PRICE REDUCTION ON BEST SELLERS!
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GIVE DAD SOMETHING TO TICKLE HIS FUNNY BONE & SHOW HIS LOVE OF FLYING
For Father'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. For a limited time, get complimentary sunglasses with any order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
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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

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.

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