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Volume 10, Number 28a -- July 5, 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.

PLANES SANS PILOTS CAUSE CONCERN...
When the U.S. Border Patrol began late last month to fly two Hermes 450 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to help patrol the Arizona-Mexico border, the deployment raised questions about collision avoidance. "UAVs pose a significant threat to air traffic along and near the border," one AVweb reader, a professional pilot based in Tucson, wrote to us last week. "Not only for my company, but also for the many GA airplanes that transit the border, and the airlines coming from Mexico on descent to Tucson." AOPA also expressed concern, asking the FAA to establish an industry committee to address UAV operations outside of restricted airspace and to develop aircraft certification standards dealing with collision avoidance. More...

...FLIGHTS ARE CLOSELY MONITORED, BORDER PATROL SAYS...
Collision-avoidance concerns underwent an extensive review prior to deployment, and precautions are in place, U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Roger Maier told AVweb last week. The approval process requires that the UAV operator satisfy the FAA that the UAV provides an "equivalent level of safety" compared to a manned aircraft. The UAVs now are flying pre-programmed routes that are filed 24 hours in advance with airspace officials, added Andy Adame, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Tucson sector. Both FAA and military air traffic controllers in the region are informed of the route in detail, Adame said. The UAVs are equipped with onboard cameras that provide around-the-clock images in real time to ground control stations, which are monitored constantly, he said. More...

...AS ASTM DEVELOPS STANDARD FOR ONBOARD SENSOR
In March of 2002 and April of 2003, Proteus (a Scaled Composites design) flew as a NASA test-bed for UAV see-and-avoid technology with success. In 2002, the equipment (a Goodrich Skywatch HP Traffic Advisory System) sensed transponder-equipped aircraft and directed Proteus to avoid them. In the later tests an Amphitech OASys 35-Ghz primary radar system sensed the non-transponder-equipped aircraft involved in the test and relayed their positions to ground-based pilots who made course corrections as needed to avoid collisions. Last week, ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials) said it has completed a report to establish the fundamental design and performance specifications for an airborne sense-and-avoid (S&A) system for UAVs that would make it easier for them to operate in the National Airspace System. More...

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AOPA SAYS CO DETECTORS NOT NECESSARY...
When the NTSB late last month asked the FAA to consider making CO detectors mandatory in GA aircraft, AOPA's Air Safety Foundation (ASF) was quick to respond, saying that such a requirement is not necessary. "We found just 10 accidents caused by CO poisoning in fixed-wing singles since 1993 in our ASF GA accident database," said Bruce Landsberg, ASF executive director. (Some dispute the figure, citing difficulty in correlating statistics with often-ambiguous but still dangerous CO-induced degradation of pilot performance.) "That's one a year. While we agree that an FAA-approved CO detector could be helpful, putting the money they would cost into pilot education on the much more common killers, such as low-level maneuvering flight and continued VFR into instrument weather, would be much more effective." More...

...COMMON SENSE PREFERRED TO MANDATES
The FAA last week told AVweb that it would be premature to comment in detail on the NTSB recommendation, because they had not yet had time to review it. "What we can say, is that we'll look at this seriously, as we do with all NTSB recommendations," said FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto. "We implement a large majority of NTSB recommendations -- they find our actions 'acceptable' 84 percent of the time -- 90 percent on urgent recommendations." Aviation columnist Mike Busch said in an e-mail to AVweb this weekend that while he disagrees with the ASF on the magnitude of the problem, he agrees with their position that the NTSB recommendation to mandate "FAA-approved" CO detectors in every cockpit might be a bit over the top ... and vastly increase the cost of the otherwise-affordable product. More...

JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM
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NOTAMS DUE FOR OVERHAUL, RESEARCHERS SAY
The way Notices to Airmen are written is confusing to pilots, and it can be difficult to extract important safety-of-flight information from the mass of data, researchers at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, have found (winning them our thanks ... but possibly also our, "Gee, you think so?" award). "This is critical information, yet the way it's transmitted is vintage 1960s or 1970s at best," said Florian Jentsch, research director, who is also a CFI. "As a result, it's an extremely confusing system, and it's very difficult to find what you need." The notices should be written in "plain and simple" language instead of abbreviations that can confuse even experienced pilots, the researchers found. They also said the notices should be better organized so pilots can sort the data on their own and easily find important information pertaining to their flights. More...

SAFIRE AIRCRAFT TO REOPEN TOMORROW AND SHOW AT AIRVENTURE
"We have funds to carry us to certification and beyond," Safire Aircraft CEO Camilo Salomon told AVweb on Thursday, saying also that his workers will be back on the job tomorrow. "We just closed [on our financial deal] yesterday in Geneva," he said, talking on his cellphone from a noisy street in Europe. "We have a very strong investor group behind us now, and we don't expect any further problems." He said he would be back in the U.S. today. While the financial problems that prompted a month-long shutdown of the Florida company will delay the first flight of the Safire Jet -- which was expected in September -- Salomon said he doesn't expect "significant slippage" in the production schedule overall. More...

THERE'S MORE TO INSTALLING AN AIRCRAFT ENGINE THAN JUST BOLTING IT IN!
... and you'd be surprised at how often it's done incorrectly. Bad baffles, incorrectly-set-up fuel systems, and poor installations account for a significant number of costly problems with aircraft piston engines. It doesn't have to happen to you. Visit Teledyne/Mattituck Services online to find out what you really need to know to protect yourself and your aircraft's engine, at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/matt/avflash.

TCAS MANUFACTURER SUED DESPITE CORRECT WARNING
Honeywell and four other U.S. companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of an onboard Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) were named last week in a suit by families of Russian victims who died in a midair collision over Germany in July 2002. The suit alleges the pilots' training and instructions to operate the system were inadequate. The official report found that if both crews had followed the TCAS instructions, they would have been safe. The TCAS advised the Russian pilots to climb while a controller told them to descend; the pilots descended and crashed into a DHL cargo plane, which was descending in response to its TCAS warning. More...

FIVE "HEAVY" AIR TANKERS RETURN TO SERVICE TODAY
Five P-3 Orions will return to service fighting fires in the Western U.S. today. The Forest Service had cancelled its contracts with its fleet of 33 aging tankers in May, after an NTSB report on three fatal crashes raised concerns about a lack of safety guidelines for the firefighting aircraft. To establish a set of guidelines, the Forest Service has hired DynCorp Technical Services, of Fort Worth, Texas. So far the five P-3s have passed, and DynCorp has three more reviews in progress. The new criteria include a maximum of 19,000 hours of operation for each aircraft. The five P-3s cleared for service, which are owned and operated by Aero Union Corp. in Chico, Calif., are the youngest of the fleet, and have 3,000 to 7,000 hours of operation left. More...

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NASA TO OFFER PRIZES FOR NEW SPACE TECHNOLOGY
Inspired by the excitement and progress generated by the Ansari X Prize, NASA is establishing a cash-prize program (possibly up to $20 million in 2005) of its own, called "Centennial Challenges." The program is designed to tap the nation's ingenuity to make revolutionary advances in support of the Vision for Space Exploration and other goals, NASA said. At a workshop in Washington, D.C., last month, NASA invited engineers, scientists, officials from the X Prize Foundation and others to brainstorm and help establish priorities and parameters for the program. NASA spokesman Michael Braukus told AVweb last week that the conference generated a lot of ideas, and they are now under review. More...

AIRVENTURE FIELDS OPEN FOR CAMPERS, MORE EVENTS ANNOUNCED
EAA's Camp Scholler opened up at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday, and folks were already waiting in line to get a spot for AirVenture ... which doesn't even start until July 27. A steady stream of campers arrived throughout the day, EAA said. The afternoon air show lineup has also been announced, featuring Patty Wagstaff, Sean Tucker, Soucy/Stokes Wing Act, Liberty Parachute Team, and the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, along with many others. SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan and test pilot Mike Melvill are scheduled to arrive at the show in a Beech Starship, and will participate in several forums and events. 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 or more 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. It's light, compact, and slips easily into your flight bag or briefcase. Aeromedix offers one- and two-place systems with cylinder sizes from 36 to 680 liters. Stop by AirVenture Booth #3002-03 to see all our fine products. Custom-design your E-Ox system by calling Aeromedix's O2 experts at 1-800-362-7123 and mentioning this AVflash, or by going online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

GERMAN PILOTS WIN WORLD BALLOON CHAMPIONSHIP
The nine-day-long World Hot-Air Balloon Championships wrapped up this weekend in Australia. Two German pilots, Markus Pieper and Uwe Schneider, finished at the top of the competition, with Australian Paul Gibbs coming in third. "It's a big deal," Gibbs told The Age. "It's like the Olympics coming to your country." It was the first time the event was held in the Southern Hemisphere, and also the first time that a German team has won the top spot. Winds grounded the pilots for several days, but in the end they were able to complete the competition, which drew about 100 pilots from 38 countries. Johnny Petrehn of the U.S. came in fourth. More...

ON THE FLY...
Proposed fee changes at Australian airports worry GA advocates...
Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) called aircraft "killing machines"...
Pennsylvania legislature working to outlaw drunken flying...
Round-U.S. flight to raise money for at-risk kids launched Thursday...
FAA last week awarded $13.5 million for traffic-flow computer upgrade...
Senate to vote on $14 million for hiring air traffic controllers...
Jamail Larkins to appear with David Letterman on Thursday night. More...

AVIDYNE ANNOUNCES MULTILINK™ — MULTIPLE, COMPLEMENTARY SATELLITE DATALINK
Avidyne has selected XM WX Satellite Weather to provide broadcast datalink weather for their FlightMax EX500 multifunction displays and FlightMax Entegra integrated flight deck systems. This makes Avidyne the first company to offer fully-certified multiple satellite datalink capability. FlightMax systems already include Avidyne's two-way Narrowcast datalink system. Stop by AirVenture Booth #2100 for a demonstration — or, for more information, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.

AVWEB'S NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about? If it caught your eye, it will probably interest someone else, too. Drop us a line. Submit news tips via email tonewstips@avweb.com. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
CEO of the Cockpit #34: Ground Control to Captain Tom
Say what you want about whether unionizing pilots is good or bad for aviation, it is an established tradition at many airlines. AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit wonders if that tradition should be established for the newest private "space" pilot.

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NEWS FEATURES
United Nation of Air Forces
In this age of multinational forces -- peacekeeping and otherwise -- it is more important than ever for military pilots to practice with aviators from other countries. Once a year, in a huge, Canadian military reservation, aircraft from around the world join forces in simulated combat to prepare for future battles.

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: 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.

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

Reader mail this week about TFRs for presidential candidates and national conventions, federal inefficiency 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...

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.

SHORT FINAL...
Candor in Caldwell...

Super Cruiser: Caldwell tower, Super Cruiser N### has just departed Morristown, I would like to transition your airspace to the north.

CDW: Super Cruiser transition approved at or above 1700.

(About 5 minutes later...)

CDW: Super Cruiser, say again aircraft type.

Super Cruiser: Caldwell tower, I am a PA-12, 1946 Piper Cub Super Cruiser, just a bit old and slow.

CDW: Roger ... not unlike some of us in the tower, today. More...

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SPONSOR NEWS
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HUSBAND IN TROUBLE, WAKES WIFE WHILE READING AND LAUGHING
Twelve-year-olds like the book! Mothers complain that they can't get the kids to put the book down and turn the lights out at night. (This is a far cry from those of us who fell asleep in the daytime trying to study our older, dustier aviation books.) Instructors say their students are losing sleep at night because they can't put it down! Students convert their instructors to the book after shocking them with their thorough understanding and detailed explanations of systems and aerodynamics. (CFIs then purchase the book to keep up with their students.) Learning, refreshing, and reviewing does not have to be difficult for pilots. Let Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook show you how much fun it can be. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/machado/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

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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