NewsWire Complete Issue

December 5, 2004
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

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

Do any of us have 6-8 weeks to go through life insurance underwriting with an agent who doesn't know the difference between a Weedhopper and a 747?  With something as important as your family's security, the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) says, "No!"  An agent's lack of aviation knowledge can be your worst enemy in life insurance underwriting.  After you were promised the moon, that great promised rate all of a sudden disappears.  Don't accept an aviation exclusion or accelerated rate when you can save 30-60% at PIC with their Preferred Rates for Pilots.  There are NO aviation exclusions on the policies, and they underwrite through A+ rated (or better) companies, so you'll have peace of mind.  Call PIC today at (800) 380-8376 and get an instant quote by phone, or visit PIC at

A Turbine For Christmas?

Small Turbine Engines Ready To Start Production...

Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania company called Affordable Turbine Power attracted some attention when they turned up at air shows with a turbine-powered RV-4 and said they would soon be selling their little engines to the experimental market. The company now has changed its name to Innodyn, and is also flying a turbine-powered RV-6. President Chuck Nearhoof told AVweb on Friday they are on track to start production of the turbines next month, with first deliveries in February. Each of the four models weighs less than 188 pounds and delivers a range of maximum power from 165 to 255 hp, at costs ranging from $26,500 to $34,500. Nearhoof says they have a "substantial number" of orders to fill. For now, they are focused on the experimental market, with no timeline for developing a certified engine. "Certification is not a short-term goal, but it is a long-term goal," Nearhoof said.

...With Patented Fuel Technology...

Nearhoof said the fuel system uses a patented technology called "pulse width modulation" to control fuel flow to the engine. The system not only reduces operating and purchase costs, but also simplifies the use of the turbine. "This is light years beyond FADEC," Nearhoof said. The engine spins at 61,000 rpm and the computer that controls the fuel flow can make three decisions for each rotation. "It gives new meaning to the term 'full authority,'" Nearhoof said. The company is now working with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on a test regime to determine the efficiency of the system, and Innodyn is not talking about fuel flow till those results are in. At Sun 'n' Fun, in April, the company was reporting 13.3 gallons per hour in the RV-4. "We [are] completing assembly on sophisticated equipment to precisely determine fuel flow versus horsepower," the company says now on its Web site. "Until we have completed this detailed testing, we are hesitant to boast about our fuel flow rates. ... We will make this information available as soon as possible." The engine can burn diesel, kerosene or Jet A, and Innodyn says it expects to conduct tests with biodiesel in the near future.

...And Firewall-Forward Support

The engine by itself is of very little value without firewall-forward support, Nearhoof said. Innodyn had been working with Rivers Aeronautical, of Greenville, S.C., to develop firewall-forward kits, but announced last month that it will provide that support in-house instead. "Innodyn believes that they can supply the kits to the consumer at a more affordable price and Rivers Aero supports them in their endeavor," Rivers says at its Web site, and Nearhoof confirmed that. He said Innodyn is trying to meet a price target of $6,000 to $7,000 for the kits, though it will vary depending on the airframe. That doesn't include a prop. Nearhoof said kits and support will be in place by the time deliveries start.

Liberty Aerospace is 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

For Flight Service Stations, Future Is Now

Lengthy Process Nearing Decision Time...

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey was at a Flight Service Station in Mississippi last week, to talk with the staff about the current bidding process that could change federal employees to contract workers. "It's going to be a challenging time," Blakey told the Greenwood (Miss.) Commonwealth. "We don't know whether it is something that ultimately will be staffed by federal specialists or something that would be staffed by specialists in the area but under private contract. That decision will be made in a couple of months," Blakey said. Bidders for the contract include the agency's own employees in partnership with Harris Corp., Computer Sciences Corp., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon. The FAA wants the bidder to cut costs by at least 22 percent from the current $502 million annual tab. Blakey said a decision will be announced between Jan. 1 and March 17. The FAA could also decide to continue to operate the FSSs itself.

The FSS is a primary source of official aviation weather, and provides other flight-planning services to pilots. FSSs coordinate VFR search-and-rescue services, provide orientation service to lost aircraft, maintain continuous weather broadcasts on selected navigational aids, and issue and cancel Notices To Airmen. The general aviation community makes up the lion's share of traffic at these facilities; however, military and commercial pilots are also frequent customers. The lucky bidder would operate 61 automated Flight Service Stations in the U.S., but Alaska is not included in the package.

...But "Lowest Bidder" Prospect Worries Staff

The union representing the FSS staff, the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists (NAATS), is opposed to the bidding process. "Flight Service Controller duties will be sold to the lowest bidder with no system announced as of yet to monitor safety and security," says the NAATS Web site. NAATS has also disputed the FAA's contention that each contact with a pilot costs $25. "Flight service cost an average of $12 per contact until you factor in the cost of all the technical and administrative support costs. These support personnel are not included in any privatization or job elimination study," says NAATS. AOPA has taken the position that aviation weather services are critical to public safety and should be provided by the government without fees. "However, AOPA recognizes that the current FSS system is in serious jeopardy and that there may be better ways of doing business," according to the group's position paper. "AOPA would actively oppose any measures that would remove responsibility for flight services from the federal government."

The hottest holiday Garmin gifts are at JA Air!  All the new aviation GPS units — including the GPSMap 296 Color with Terrain, GPSMAP 196, GPSMap 96C, and GPSMAP 96. Also, JA Air stocks non-aviation Garmin GPS like the StreetPilot 2620, Quest, GPS V Deluxe, eTrex Legend C, GPSMap 60CS, GPSMap 76C, and the IQUE 3600 PDA/GPS. Established in 1965, JA Air Center prides themselves on being 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

Report: "Polished Frost" Is Not A Safe Concept

The FAA needs to change its rules to encourage pilots to totally clean frost from their aircraft's wings before takeoff, rather than just smooth it out to remove the bumps, according to a safety recommendation from Britain's Department for Transport. The recommendation was prompted by the investigation into the crash of a U.S.-owned and operated Bombardier CL-600 that crashed in the U.K. in 2002, under circumstances similar to last week's crash of a CL-600 in Colorado that killed three people. FAR Part 91.527 says pilots must remove frost from the wings and other aerodynamic surfaces "unless that frost has been polished to make it smooth." The British report says it's not clear exactly how pilots should "polish" the frost, and that the rule may give the pilots the impression that some amount of frost is acceptable. "The concept of 'Polished Frost' is particularly inappropriate and potentially dangerous to modern aircraft types and detracts from the importance of strictly observing the clean wing principle," the report says. A safety recommendation was issued to the FAA, suggesting that they should delete all reference to "Polished Frost" in the regs and ensure that the term is expunged from operations manuals.

Meanwhile, the publicity from last week's Colorado accident has apparently alerted not only pilots but commercial air passengers to the dangers of icing. An American Connection flight out of Columbia, S.C., was delayed last week when passengers complained to the flight crew that they could still see ice on the wings, after a crew had finished cleaning them and the airplane was preparing to depart. The wings were re-cleaned before the flight took off.

Chicago Used O'Hare Development Funds To Destroy Meigs

Friday, Chicago officials sent off a 43-page legal brief in response to the FAA's concern that the city diverted $1.5 million from O'Hare's federal airport development funds to pay for the destruction of Meigs field. The FAA has already ordered the city to pay a $33,000 fine for insufficient notice (not telling anyone at the FAA 30 days ahead of time that the city intended to close Meigs field). The city's brief defends both actions. The text says that the city did give notice of closure and also that the city did spend the O'Hare money, plus another $1.3 million, to destroy the field, according to a report in yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times. But in an epic twist of lay-logic, the brief contends it's legal to use "development funds" to destroy an airport. (... Bless the lawyers, every one.) There is precedent, set in both Denver and Austin, and therefore the ... act ... was legal, according to the brief. The Sun-Times caught Law Department Spokeswoman Jenny Hoyle saying, "We make the point that these costs are related to the removal of airport infrastructure and environmental remediation. It's not in the public interest for a municipality to leave behind an abandoned airport. ... We used the revenue carefully. It was not used for redevelopment or urban renewal."

The perfect gift is a holiday gift certificate from Oregon Aero. Oregon Aero has everything for pilots — from aircraft interior upgrades to flight bags to products that make flying (and even walking!) more comfortable. Go online to view all Oregon Aero's quality products. Then order a gift certificate, or print out a page and leave a "hint" for someone!

Next Frontier For GA -- China

China's economy is the fastest-growing in the world, second only to the U.S. in overall production, and it seems to be ready for GA. Organizers of the 4th Annual GA Forum in China, set for March 2005, say that "yesterday's potential has turned into today's reality," and now is the time to enter the market. Diamond Aircraft is already making inroads there, and CEO Christian Dries says he expects the growing Chinese aviation market to "potentially become a very significant portion of our future business." Diamond announced last week that it now has Chinese certification for its DA40 four-seater, and will begin deliveries there this month. The DA20-C1 two-seater received its Chinese certification in July. Diamond says it has purchase agreements for fleet sales of both aircraft models with several Chinese customers. The first DA40s in China will be flown in the Beijing PanAm International Aviation Academy's Commercial Pilot Training Program. "This initial contract with Beijing PanAm is significant in that it is the first introduction of state-of-the-art composite aircraft with all-glass cockpits to China," said Dries. "These initial deliveries are the tip of the iceberg and we expect to make additional exciting announcements regarding Diamond Aircraft and China, in the very near future." PanAm Beijing has placed orders for 41 DA40 Diamond Stars and 19 DA42 Twin Stars, both featuring Garmin G1000 all-glass cockpits, Diamond said. The first Ultralight Expo is set for Beijing in May 2005. "The Expo will provide unprecedented opportunity for international ultralight aircraft manufacturers to show their aircraft to the world's largest recreational aviation market," organizers say.

Cessna 340 Explodes On Ramp

A Cessna 340 that exploded on the ramp at Lafayette (La.) Regional Airport last week apparently had a slow fuel leak in its left wing tank, investigators say. The pilot of the airplane had reported fumes in the cockpit on its last flight, about three weeks ago. It sat on the ramp until a mechanic went to check it out last Tuesday morning, and when he turned on the master switch, the explosion occurred. No flames or fire were reported. The mechanic suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released. The explosion rattled windows and knocked pictures off walls at nearby businesses, but nobody was hurt (we're not real clear on how the mechanic managed that, either), and traffic at the airport was not affected. The twin-engine airplane was destroyed.

Check CS&A Aviation Insurance for complete insurance packages with the best products and prices in the industry.  Receive a no-cost quote online from one of CS&A's top aviation specialists at

New System Would Help Pilots Avoid Ground Obstacles

Lights are fine for marking towers, except when they're not working, and those big orange balls help in spotting power lines, except when visibility is poor. To help prevent collisions, the FAA in Fort Worth, Texas, is testing a radar system that would continually scan the area around power lines or antennae for nearby aircraft, and trigger a strobe light to warn pilots (as opposed to just having a strobe running all the time on every tower), The Dallas Morning News reported last week. The Obstacle Collision Avoidance System could also broadcast a warning over the aircraft's radio. Two recent accidents highlighted the dangers of low-level obstacles -- a Gulfstream jet in Houston that hit a light pole on approach, and an Army helicopter that hit the support cables of an unlit tower in Texas. In Australia, helicopters were grounded recently, after three separate incidents of power line strikes. There have been more than 1,000 aviation accidents in the U.S. involving power lines since 1990, including more than 300 that have caused a fatality, according to the FAA, the Morning News said. The radar system would be solar-powered, making it more reliable and less likely to be affected by storms or power failures, and could be available as early as next year.

Finnish Airline Pilot Gets Prison Term For Drinking

A Finnish 757 pilot who was apprehended by police in August during his preflight and failed a breath test for alcohol was sentenced on Thursday by a U.K. court to six months in prison. A blood test had shown his alcohol level was twice the limit allowed for air traffic in the U.K. The pilot, Heikki Tallila, 51, admitted to being drunk in the cockpit of the chartered airplane, which he was scheduled to fly from Manchester to Turkey, with 225 passengers on board. He was employed by Finnair, but was suspended after his arrest and later resigned. He was the first pilot to be sentenced under a new law, introduced in Britain in March, that gives the police authority to administer breath tests to flight crew members who are suspected of trying to fly under the influence of alcohol. Tallila reportedly had several glasses of wine the day before the flight, but had not violated the company policy of 12 hours bottle-to-throttle.

OurPLANE, the #1 world leader, offers brand-new Cessna, Cirrus, and Raytheon aircraft at a fraction of the cost of sole aircraft ownership.  No hassles, no responsibilities, and brand-new aircraft — including the glass-cockpit Cirrus SR22 G2 and G-1000 Cessna 182T.  Purchase your holiday present for as little as $41,900!  Save $2,000 until December 24, 2004 with $0 down, $0 principal, and prime-rate financing for qualified buyers at

Garmin Certifies TAWS For GNS 530 And GPS 500

Garmin announced Thursday that it has received FAA certification to add Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS) capability to its GNS 530 and GPS 500 units. The system can provide pilots with graphical and audible alerts of potential terrain and obstacle conflicts along the flight path, Garmin said. "TAWS technology represents a significant advance in flight safety and its widespread adoption could dramatically reduce the number of terrain-related accidents -- one of the leading causes of fatalities in aviation," said Gary Kelley, Garmin's director of marketing. New TAWS-certified units start at $20,500, and upgrades for current owners cost $8,000, Garmin said. The addition of TAWS enables the GNS 530 and GPS 500 to graphically display the surrounding terrain and obstacles in bright yellow and red, relative to the aircraft's current altitude, Garmin said. Yellow is used to depict conflicts 1,000 to 100 vertical feet below the aircraft. Red is used to depict conflicts 100 vertical feet below the aircraft's current altitude and above. Audible and graphical alerts include forward-looking terrain avoidance, imminent terrain impact, premature descent during approach, altitude loss after takeoff, 500-foot callout and excessive rate of descent. The GNS 530 is an integrated system with IFR oceanic-approved GPS, VHF navigation with instrument landing system, and VHF communication on a five-inch color display. The GPS 500 is an IFR oceanic-approved GPS navigation system with a five-inch, color moving-map display.

On The Fly...

A 1940's-era Convair CV-340 cargo plane sporting "EELECT (sic) GEORGE W. BUSH" down the length of its fuselage Saturday departed Opa-Locka airport in Florida, reportedly suffered engine trouble and ditched in nearby Maule lake. The crew of two avoided densely populated Miami-Dade suburbs (excepting vast expanses of open water) and escaped unhurt. The aircraft and its cargo of baggage were afloat but slowly sinking, though there were plans to bolster the aircraft with the support of gaseous sacks...

The da Vinci Project, a former X Prize contender, has completed a huge helium balloon for launching its spacecraft...

Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) has hired Larry E. Williams as president and chief operating officer...

Checklist for infant and child safety for general aviation pilots now free online at Flyguides Pilot Travel site...

Hurricane-damaged airports in Florida got another $4.5 million from the Department of Transportation on Friday...

New IMAX film, "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag," debuts Saturday at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Virginia, and will play at other IMAX theaters soon...

Tycoon Toys: Fighter Jets," airs on the National Geographic Channel Dec. 15 at 10, featuring the Electric Lightning, MiG, Starfighter, F15, Cobra helicopter and more...

A Cessna 414 crashed shortly after takeoff at Dinwiddie (Va.) Regional Airport on Thursday, hitting another airplane on the ramp, which caught fire, and came to rest at the fuel farm gate. Nobody was hurt...

AOPA's 2005 Karant Awards for GA journalism now accepting entries of stories in non-trade media.

ASA's Aircraft Flight Log provides the operators of individual aircraft an easy-to-use method of keeping track of detailed items pertaining to the care and use of their airplanes. Inspections, VOR/ELT checks, oil changes, and simple squawks are all easy to find without digging through a stack of maintenance logs. Instantly know the disposition of the aircraft you are about to fly, simply by checking your ASA Aircraft Flight Log. Available now for $9.95 from ASA at

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to

New Articles and Features on AVweb

From the CFI #4: Some Advice on Movin' On Up!
If you're thinking about moving up to a faster, more complex airplane (or if you're wondering how piston-pounding pilots are going to transition to those very light jets), AVweb's Linda D. Pendleton has some advice: Brush up on the basics.

Avidyne is accepting orders for a complimentary software upgrade for EX500 owners. The new Release 2.0 software adds major highways to the terrain base map, provides interface capability for XM Datalink (with XMD-076) for MultiLink™, TIS Traffic (with GTX 330), and enhanced "Nearest Airport" selection. Order yours today. For complete details, go to

Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles

Reader mail this week about Presidential TFRs in Canada, the Age 60 rule, doctored photos and much more.

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

Whether you're already a student pilot or thinking about learning to fly, you qualify for a complimentary 6-month subscription to AOPA Flight Training magazine and a complimentary 6-month AOPA membership! AOPA Flight Training includes in-depth articles and timely tips that help you become a skilled pilot. Plus, you'll have 24/7 members-only access to and Prepare for lessons, organize flight plans, and sharpen your flying skills with interactive online safety courses and seminars. FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS: Receive a complimentary subscription to AOPA Flight Training when you enroll your prospective and current primary students for this offer! Enroll at

Short Final...

Submitted to our "shouldn't you have better things to do" file...

Tower: L39 N###, Did you guys get that contract with the post office?

L39: Say again Ellington Tower.

Tower: L39, We heard that the mail was going to be in the Czech.


L39: ... Slow day, huh.

Tower: (laughing) Sorry.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your patronage.

Featuring great products and services from AVweb's sponsors at fantastic prices that have to be seen to be believed!
"They blow my RayBans out of the water!" says private pilot Jason Downs.  A pair of Scheydens will be given away every other week to a lucky AVweb subscriber, with a retail value up to $395! The unique flip-up design has become the #1 choice of pilots who demand quality and function.  Scheydens are handmade of Titanium (Ti) frames with quality lenses. A Rosewood case and plush micro-fiber cleaning cloth are standard equipment. For information and to register to win, go to
Bennett Avionics is offering (to AVweb subscribers only) this special offer: When placing an order, just mention the AVweb Holiday Shopping Special, and they will send your used avionics by 2nd Day Air for the price of Ground. (U.S. only, please.) As always, the quality products, helpful information, and professional service are standard. Go online at
Low levels of carbon monoxide can be extremely hazardous in aircraft 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.  Don't take chances!  With its digital readout that displays CO concentrations as low as 10 parts per million, the CO Experts Model 2004 from is by far the most sensitive carbon monoxide detector you can buy for less than $100.  Don't procrastinate; order today by calling (800) 362-7123, or go online at
Do you have friends or family flying in tonight?  A business colleague coming in for a meeting?  Will your partner get the airplane back before you need to take off?  Find out where in the U.S. and Canadian airspace they are with the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer.  AVweb subscribers can sign up for Flight Explorer at a special price of $9.95 a month at
IFR is the magazine for the accomplished pilot. Each issue is loaded with insightful articles to help you get the most from the system, your aircraft, and your know-how. Order today for guaranteed savings for as long as you subscribe! If you fly the gauges, add IFR Magazine to your ground support team now. Order at
Give a Chase-Durer fine chronograph watch to both the men and women on your shopping list and purchase a black pilot jacket (a $149 value) for only $50 — a $99 savings — while supplies last. You can give the jacket as an additional gift or keep it for yourself.  Chase-Durer watches are world-renowned timepieces combining good looks with precision.  Chase-Durer watches will be the most appreciated gift you give this year.  Order at
Listen and learn with the new audio CD version of Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook on 30 professionally-recorded audio CDs. Now you will learn more easily, retain more information, prepare more quickly for your flight review and private pilot knowledge exam, and make use of those otherwise-wasted commute hours. Retention can increase by 70% with auditory learning. As one listener (David Lau of Watertown, WI) said, "The longer I listened, the more I realized how much I had forgotten or just haven't thought about for years ... . These CDs are great fun to listen to."
Comm1 training lets pilots experience real flight situations through high-quality audio and graphics, practicing from the safety and privacy of their desktops. Comm1 is offering a complimentary multimedia headset with every order received by December 31, 2004 at
Crafted to recall the early flight journals kept by pilots like Capt. Elrey Jeppesen, this sturdy modern version combines the necessary requirements for logging time with space for writing stories, keeping detailed notes, or recording your aircraft's operating characteristics. SPECIAL: Save $12 when you purchase two at
Don't go blindly into a dealership when purchasing a vehicle; look to CrewCar.  CrewCar is a car-buying service providing shoppers with a complimentary integrated phone and electronic concierge-level buying service offering value nationwide.  The service is provided gratis and meets the Consumer Guide dealership network standards.  For more information, visit CrewCar at
Three years before Lindbergh's flight to Paris, the U.S. Army joined the race to be the first to fly around the world.  This award-winning hardcover book tells this great adventure in detail.  SPECIAL: Autographed copies and complimentary U.S. shipping at
As of October 1, 2004, the FAA is requiring students be examined on understanding and utilization of autopilot systems in order to earn an instrument rating. Pilots can now gain access to ElectronicFlight Solutions performance training software in order to effectively understand the autopilot. The FAA Wings-accepted ElectronicFlight CompleteLearning™ Autopilot module covers operation of the Bendix/King KAP 140, KFC 225, and S-TEC 55/55X/550 (including Altitude Selector/Alerter). For complete information and to order, go to
"I watch every video that comes out and buy every aviation magazine. I've never been so entertained and captivated," says Steve Durtschi, President of the Utah Back Country Pilots Association. Out There ... Flying! has just released Utah's Red Rock Country, Volume 1. Experience firsthand the romance and freedom of flying the wide-open spaces of the American West. Join pilot/host Jim Clark as he flies into some of the most rugged and remote landing strips in the "lower 48." Get a pilot's point of view as Jim shows how to safely land at deep canyon airstrips ringed by 1,000' cliffs. Order your copy today at
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.

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to Have a comment or question? Send it to

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
AVweb's editorial team:

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

Fly it till every piece stops moving.

AVflash is now available in optional easier-to-read graphic format, which includes some photos and illustrations. If you prefer, you can continue to receive AVflash in text-only format. Simply follow these instructions and AVflash will continue to arrive as it always has, in text format.