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Volume 10, Number 39a -- September 20, 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.

LIVE FROM RENO...
People who haven't been there ask what the Reno Air Races are like. The truth is, they're not "like" anything else -- but to compare, say, Oshkosh to Reno, you might think of the relationship between the Detroit Auto Show and the Indianapolis 500. The drama this year was heightened by the first public appearance of the Nemesis NXT, perennial Formula One winner Jon Sharp's brainchild, a kitplane designed to race in the Sport Class. The Nemesis NXT, with its twin-turbo Lycoming 540, puts out a reported (and believable) 600 hp and posted a third-best (in class) 324 mph without really trying. But last week's gear failure on landing means we'll have to wait to see how fast it can go. The aircraft should be repaired and on its way home in about two weeks. More...

...SPORT CLASS (AIRPLANES YOU, TOO, COULD FLY ... SORT OF) ...
The fastest Sport Class plane to date came out of forced retirement on Wednesday and broke the 350-mph barrier. John Parker's V-12 powered Thunder Mustang, Blue Thunder, qualified at 349.507, and ran a reported 354 in the heat race Thursday. Making things interesting were the friendliest of deadly rivals, Lee Behel and Mike Jones. Behel flies a Lancair Legacy with a Continental 550. Jones got stuck in traffic in qualifying, and posted a disappointing 291 mph, to Lee's 312, but as Behel said, "You won't find two more closely matched planes out here." "Most innovative" award in the class has to go to the quick White Lightning of Will Mathews. In the back-seat area, Mathews has installed a 60-hp two-stroke engine, just to run the supercharger. It's unusual ("and it's really noisy in there," Mathews told us) but effective. More...

…SOME RENO FIRSTS: RED BULL RACE, BIPLANES BEAT T-6S
Something that has never been seen in the U.S. happened at Reno: the Red Bull Air Races. This is a concept developed by Hungarian aerobatic ace Peter Besenyei, infamous for (among other things) flying inverted under Budapest's famed Chain Bridge. The course consists of three laps around a tight course, close to the crowds. Aerobatic pilots perform different maneuvers on each lap, maneuvers that include vertical rolls, passes through 60-foot-tall inflated gates (some are knife-edge! ... and some get hit, by mistake), and a touch-and-go on a 7-foot chalk stripe, all against the clock. Fastest wins. Plus, biplanes are historically the slowest class at Reno, but that changed this year. Tom Aberle ran his Phantom and qualified fastest in 2004, running over 241 mph, noting that the fastest T-6 (Alfred Goss in Warlock) went just over 238. More...

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AVWEB'S EXPANDED RENO COVERAGE
AVweb this year includes an image gallery from the pits (look for more, Thursday) along with expanded coverage of the air races at Reno. Today's coverage includes the surprise Unlimited Class upset and much more, sorted by Class. More...

FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL MOUNT — JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
If you're thinking of purchasing Garmin GPSMap 296, 96C, or 96 or installing a GNS-530 avionics package, now is the time to contact JA Air Center. Established in 1965, JA Air Center prides themselves as Garmin's largest aviation dealer. With exceptional customer service and the finest Garmin Avionics installations, JA Air Center is the place to purchase your next Garmin product. Extensive inventory of all Garmin units and accessories. Contact JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ja/avflash.

FAA TO TRIM BUDGET...
The FAA is defending a proposed 12.6-percent cut in its equipment budget days after a radio failure caused numerous flight delays and (depending who you talk to) up to five instances of loss of separation in California last Tuesday. Under the proposed budget, the money spent by the FAA on equipment and facilities would drop from $2.62 billion to $2.5 billion (maybe the Bush administration just likes round numbers). So far, the Senate and House have apparently agreed with Rep. John Mica, chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee, who told The Miami Herald that the FAA spends too much money trying to invent technology. "By the time they change it, the private sector comes up with off-the-shelf technology or new technology that does a better job," he said. Those who work with the equipment have a different view. More...

...HUMANS (NOT EQUIPMENT) BLAMED FOR RADIO FAILURE...
Meanwhile, there was apparently nothing wrong with the equipment involved in the radio failure at the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center last Tuesday. The FAA said a technician neglected to reset an internal clock in the system's computer and it automatically shut down. The emergency backup system then failed, also due to an unspecified human error, and the radios were silent for three hours. During that time, pilots and controllers claim there were at least five "near misses" but the FAA's Martin said "the union's claims were wildly overstated." In two of the cases the FAA is willing to talk about (the other three are under investigation) NATCA and the agency disagree on just how close the aircraft involved came to each other. More...

...RADARS GET NEW BACKUP, THOUGH
And while the agency works on fixes to prevent a repeat of the radio failure, a new backup for the radar systems at the country's 20 air traffic control centers is on the way. The Enhanced Backup Surveillance (EBUS) system will get its first run in Denver. It's supposed to be more reliable than the current system and "averts total system loss if there are hardware or software problems." And EBUS has already achieved something a lot of the FAA's technology programs don't always do well in. "This milestone was achieved under target cost and five weeks early," J.C. Johns, the FAA's EBUS program manager, told Government Computer News. More...

MARV GOLDEN'S END-OF-SUMMER SIZZLIN' SPECIALS
Marv Golden, the pilot's choice in all things aviation, is offering the following specials through September 30th: Purchase any Vertex VXA-210 Transceiver and receive an aviation headset at no additional cost; or purchase any David Clark H10-13 or 20-10 Series headset and receive a complimentary Sony airline cabin headset. See these and many other bargains at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/marvgold/avflash.

HARTZELL SAYS PROP NOT TO BLAME FOR CRASH
Hartzell Propeller Inc. says it disagrees with Denmark's Air Accident Investigation Board over the role of one of its propellers (model HC-C3YK-1BF) in an Aug. 6 crash just off the coast of Denmark. As AVweb told you Aug. 26, four people died in the crash. Danish authorities concluded a pitch change knob on one of the blades broke, resulting in the crash. In a news release, Mike Disbrow, Hartzell's senior vice president of marketing and customer services, says all the evidence Hartzell has seen to date indicates the knob broke when the Socata TB10 impacted water -- not before. "As a result, we believe that the TB10 accident in Denmark does not have any flight safety implications for pilots who operate aircraft with similar type propellers," Disbrow said. More...

ALIEN STUDENT PILOT RULE PUBLISHED
The Transportation Security Administration has released its alien flight training interim final rule (how an interim rule can be final only red tape can explain). At any rate, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is applauding the publication of the rule, which is mandated by the Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act passed by Congress last year. Although the rule raised hackles when it was first proposed, its final (cough) form seems to suit GAMA. The rule transfers responsibility for background checks of aliens seeking flight training from the Department of Justice to the TSA. It also doesn't require the checks (there's an as-yet-undetermined fee for them) until the student actually climbs in the left seat. More...

DOES YOUR AIRCRAFT HAVE A SENSITIVE DIGITAL CO MONITOR?
Low levels of carbon monoxide can be extremely hazardous because the effects of CO and hypoxia are cumulative. A small CO leak may be an early warning sign of an impending life-threatening problem, such as a cracked exhaust system or a leaking cabin door seal. Don't take chances with yourself and your passengers! With its digital readout that displays CO concentrations as low as 10 parts per million, the CO Experts Model 2004 from Aeromedix.com is by far the most sensitive under-$100 carbon monoxide detector you can buy. Order by calling (888) 362-7123 and mentioning this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

RENAISSANCE GOES MISSING
Questions abound about the future of Renaissance Aircraft LLC and probably no one is more concerned than the city council of Cape Girardeau, Mo. On Oct. 1, Renaissance is supposed to start paying $21,000 a month in rent on a $2.1 million building the city built for the company so it could manufacture an updated version of the venerable Luscombe 8. Cape Girardeau sold bonds to put up the 60,000-square-foot building but now the facility is locked up tight and the phones have been disconnected, according to the Southeast Missourian newspaper. Company owner John Dearden's Cape Girardeau residential phone number has also been cut off, according to the paper. More...

WHEN THE SKY FALLS
Sometimes what goes up doesn't necessarily follow the rest when it comes down. Nancy Morgan, of Hartselle, Ala., went outside her home to investigate the "whoomp" she'd heard and found what looked like the door of an airplane. Stoney Powell, the owner of the FBO at nearby Rountree Airport, confirmed her suspicions and has begun knocking on hangar doors. "I'm checking around to see if anyone knows of a pilot who's missing part of his airplane," Powell told The Decatur Daily. Near Chicago, kids are collecting bits of an MD 80's engine after a mishap last Thursday. American Airlines Flight 1374 had just taken off from O'Hare when it ran into a flock of geese, at least one of which met its end in the left engine. More...

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RUTAN GOES WEIGHTLESS
The odds-on favorite to win the private race for space has gone weightless. Burt Rutan took a spin (and probably a whole lot of other maneuvers) aboard Zero Gravity Corp.'s modified Boeing 727, which recently received FAA approval to provide NASA-style parabolic flights that give passengers up to 30 seconds of weightlessness. "It was really amazing. Unbelievably cool," Rutan -- who may hope to pioneer space tourism -- is quoted as saying in press release issued by Zero Gravity. More...

THE RED BARON, A NEW THEORY ON HOW AND WHY
A team of researchers has determined that Baron Manfred von Richthofen wasn't himself when he followed a British plane behind enemy lines and was shot down in 1917. Researchers Daniel Orme and Thomas Hyatt claim von Richthofen was exhibiting the classic symptoms of the aftermath of a head wound he suffered nine months earlier. In their paper, the researchers claim that the Red Baron's behavior changed after his injury, saying he was moody, disinhibited and exhibited "target fixation" when he chased the British plane into a virtual shooting gallery in enemy territory. More...

SCOPED OUT NEW AVIONICS & FOUND THEM WAY ABOVE YOUR BUDGET?
By shopping for used avionics, you can afford those improvements and needed safety features for your airplane. Bennett Avionics is your used avionics specialist, with years of serving customers with quality products and professional service. Don't spend more than you have to on avionics; go to the Bennett Avionics experts at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Frances knocked heritage Huey from its pedestal...
Pilot of plane used for kids' flights was injured in crash...
The last active-duty C-141 Starlifters headed to the boneyard Thursday...
Longest airliner made it through O'Hare. More...

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

EDITOR WANTED
Belvoir's aviation division is looking for an editor to oversee one of its publications. The successful candidate will be an experienced pilot, preferably a CFII, with writing and page layout experience. Send a resume with cover letter by fax (941-929-1726) or via e-mail to aviationeditorial@comcast.net. More...

AVIDYNE'S NEW CMAX™ APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL AWARENESS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
CMax™ Approach Charts, which can be displayed on Avidyne's FlightMax EX500 or Entegra/EX5000 MFDs, provide geo-referenced approach charts and airport diagrams.  CMax reduces the amount of paper in your cockpit and allows access to critical chart data more quickly and easily.  CMax overlays your flight plan and aircraft position for optimum orientation. CMax even shows runway incursion hot spots and improves taxiway awareness, reducing the need for "progressives" at unfamiliar airports.  With CMax, you'll know exactly where you are on the approach or on the field.  For more information, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.

AVWEB'S 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...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
_______
COLUMNS
As the Beacon Turns #81: Of Mice and MMC
How could something with a brain so small wreak such havoc in a hangar? How can something so large squeeze into a quarter-inch gap between fairing and fuselage, or scale the slickest tailgear of an airplane? AVweb's Michael Maya Charles wonders these things and more in this month's "As the Beacon Turns."

More...

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
Reader mail this week about Rep. Weiner's GA screening bill and AVweb's Reno coverage, and more comments about the letter from controller "Jane Doe" and NATCA President John Carr's rebuttal. More...

HIGHLIGHTS IN THE OCTOBER ISSUE OF AVIATION SAFETY MAY SURPRISE YOU!
"Dry Tanking," running your tanks bone dry and topping them off, is the only way to know how much gas is really aboard. The results may surprise you. But there's a right way and a wrong way to do this. Here's how to do it right. PLUS: "Circle to IPC" reviews the circling approach; "Surviving an Interception," if you stray, here's what to know!; "Avionics 401," TFRs are not part of your Garmin 430/530 database, but they can be; "Touch and Go's," all you need to know; "Handheld IFR?" here's what can happen; plus a continuing series on what makes a good IFR platform and much more. If all of this seems important to you, order an Aviation Safety subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avsafe/avflash.

SHORT FINAL...
I was eagerly awaiting t/o clearance while holding short of the runway in FLL. There were several aircraft on approach, including a Shorts 360. After several requests for t/o, I intervened one more time. The response was a bit of a surprise...

Tower: Sir, just give me a moment while I get my Shorts down. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS  
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PHOTON MICRO-LIGHTS ANNOUNCES PRICE REDUCTION ON BEST-SELLERS!
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SPONSOR NEWS
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BONANZA PILOTS! ARE YOU AWARE THAT THERE IS A BOOK JUST FOR YOU?!
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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 Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
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.

Fly it until each part stops moving.

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