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Volume 10, Number 52b -- December 23, 2004

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

LIGHTSPEED AVIATION INTRODUCES NEW LINE OF HEADSETS
LightSPEED's new LightFlight L-1 ultra-lightweight aviation headset weighs in at only 0.5 ounces but is a heavyweight in features. LightSPEED's in-the-ear technology attenuates 35-45dB of noise and features the same standard features as their premium headsets: High-fidelity stereo speakers, electret mic, cell/satellite phone and music input, carry case, and a 3-year warranty. Orders are being taken now for shipping in December. Retail price is $429 USD. For more information and to place an order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/L1/avflash.

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

ATC, USER FEES, AND THE FAA'S PLAN...
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), said he believed the FAA's 10-year air traffic controller staffing plan announced on Tuesday could lead to general aviation's being charged for services provided by the FAA. "This is the kind of report that opens the door to user fees," Carr said. Under the plan, the FAA hopes to hire a total of 12,500 new controllers over the 10 years to replace 11,700 who will likely retire. But user fees for GA are not part of the plan (at least not yet). FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb Wednesday that any suggestion of user fees being implemented in the near future is wrong. "No, not at this time. Let me be emphatic about that," he said. More...

...THE NEW MATH: COST SAVINGS, EFFICIENCY REQUIRED...
Martin (of the FAA) told AVweb that to get the funding required for the hiring program from Congress, the agency -- and the union -- will have to sharpen their pencils. "These are times that present some very valid fiscal constraints and challenges," Martin said. "We cannot show an unwillingness to work smarter and control our costs. These times of expansive budgets are gone." Martin said the whole aviation industry is suffering financially and that that has a direct, bottom-line impact on the FAA: "We are not exempt from the same fiscal challenges." But Carr (of NATCA) suggested that much of the report was structured to soften up the union for the next round of contract negotiations, due to start next year. "That's patently false," said Martin. (Can't we all just get along?) More...

...NATCA TO BATTLE SERVICE CUTS...
Carr said the union will "trump" a component of the plan that will cut hours of operations at 34 yet-to-be-named towers. He said reducing service will inevitably lead to flight delays, and the report acknowledges that if the hiring goals are not met, safety considerations will take precedence over capacity. "We need to tell the flying public to take a good book to the airport because they're going to be there awhile," he said. He said he believes the impending staffing crisis will result in GA's being unwelcome at some airports. "I think you're going to see GA squeezed away from urban areas," he said. "I think that's dangerous." Carr also criticized plans to allow some controllers to work beyond the mandatory retirement age of 56. More...

...PATCO SAYS "I TOLD YOU SO"
Then there are some who say that there is no shortage of controllers -- just a shortage of will (and/or money) to hire them. Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization Inc. (PATCO) President Ron Taylor pointed out that when then-President Clinton lifted the ban against hiring controllers fired in 1981 by then-President Reagan (thus precipitating the current situation) more than 5,000 of the fired controllers applied to get their jobs back. Taylor said 846 were actually hired. Some PATCO members are trying to get the courts to force the FAA to rehire them. Taylor joined Carr in criticizing the FAA for dragging its feet in hiring new controllers. "This latest scramble to hire desperately needed controllers only shows that this agency has been out of control for 23 years," Taylor said. More...

THE SCHEYDEN GIVEAWAY CONTINUES! LOG ON TO SEE THE LATEST WINNERS
"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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/scheyden/avflash.

GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS…
Call an easyJet pilot a good stick and you may get more than you bargained for. Those saucy British have been at it again, baring all for charity calendars, and this time around it's a bunch of jet jockeys, minus the jockeys. "It isn't every day you can wander around the airport naked without being arrested," said Capt. Tim Burns, who fleshed out the scheme with First Officer Gareth Blakely. The calendar proceeds, with carefully posed images of pilots on the tarmac, on the runway, and in the ... cockpit ... will go to the National Society for Epilepsy. Meanwhile, the theme appears widespread -- a popular aviation charity was also the benefactor of a no-secrets display, this one by some Australian women. More...

...PILOTS, AIRCRAFT HELP OUT
Of course you don't have to get down and dirty for a good cause. About 140 Michigan pilots took part in Operation Good Cheer this year to deliver a dozen truckloads of gifts throughout the state to foster children. This great excuse to fly began in 1980 (for pilots -- the charity itself has been around since '71) with a single pilot who went to 16 different airports. "We love to fly and there's nothing better than flying with a purpose," said West Line Cessna 210 pilot Mark Neal. Mother Nature wasn't as charitable, however. Some of the pilots bucked 50-knot headwinds to make the deliveries, which ultimately found their way to 4,800 young abuse and neglect victims. But the good cheer didn't end there. In yet another unrelated charitable event, the Candy Bomber has struck again, this time on North Carolina's Outer Banks. More...

A SUBSCRIPTION TO WEATHERTAP.COM IS A PERFECT PILOT GIFT
WeatherTAP.com, the fastest weather on the web, will make the perfect gift for any pilot. Complete aviation weather, real-time radar, storm tracks, custom locations, and much more for just $73.95 per year, or $6.95 per month. To subscribe, call (800) 337-5263 and mention this AVflash. Be sure to mention if it's a gift, and WeatherTAP.com will send a gift card notifying the recipient. Or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tap/avflash.

TSA CERTIFICATE MAY MOVE GA CLOSER TO FREEDOM
The TSA appears to be opening restricted airspace and airports a crack for business aviation. According to the National Business Aviation Association's (NBAA's) Web site, Rear Adm. David Stone, the assistant secretary of Homeland Security, said the TSA Access Certificate (TSAAC -- used to grant waivers for some international operations) will likely be modified. The result would be a certificate that could be used to grant waivers for business aircraft flying into security-restricted airports and airspace in the U.S. NBAA President Ed Bolen said it's the first time the TSAAC has been publicly discussed as an option for domestic GA operations. Meanwhile, AOPA is lamenting the resignation of Adm. James Loy as the Department of Homeland Security's second-in-command. More...

A DIFFERENT KIND OF SNOWFALL
If you don't think a wrecked Piper Aerostar could be worth $24 million you've probably never packed one with cocaine (and that's a good thing). Wheeling, W.Va., police are looking for the Aerostar's pilot after the plane crashed on airport property. It was carrying 520 pounds of the drug, some of it wrapped as Christmas gifts. The plane apparently crashed about 10 p.m. last Saturday but wasn't found until about 12 hours later. (The tower there is closed at night.) The alleged pilot, who police have identified but not yet found, apparently flagged down a passing motorist and paid him for a ride to a local motel with notes peeled from a wad of $100 bills. More...

LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU'RE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
Whether you're looking for that "envy of many pilots" single (such as a Bonanza) or a workhorse turboprop or multi-mission jet, Piedmont Hawthorne Aircraft Sales does it all — and has done so for over 65 years — boasting a professional sales/marketing team engaged in new and pre-owned aircraft with more than 100 years of sales, support, and consulting expertise — Turnkey assistance from acquisition, financing, or sales consulting to award-winning service and avionics centers, and a VIP program for every customer at their extensive network of 36 FBOs — Always looking to purchase quality turboprop, mid-size, and large turbine aircraft.  One call to (800) 259-1940, or one click to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/phas/avflash.

SPORT PILOT RECORDS ONLINE
Those hoping to obtain a sport pilot certificate or instructor certificate in the coming year can now get their certified training records online from the EAA Web site ... provided they previously registered with EAA before the Sept. 1, 2004, deadline. The records must be presented before pilots can take the written and practical tests for the certificates. The written tests can be taken at authorized centers now but it will be a few weeks before the first flight tests are done. The FAA hopes to have the first crop of examiners certified in January. More...

ALIEN FLIGHT RULE IN EFFECT
The TSA alien flight-training rule is now in full effect but efforts continue in the background to make it "less intrusive," according to an AOPA spokesman. The organization's government specialist Andy Cebula said any non-U.S. citizen beginning training for a new rating or certificate must be registered with the TSA and undergo background checks. It's up to their flight instructors and/or flight schools to determine the citizenship of their students and make sure non-U.S. citizens go through the security mill. More...

IF YOUR CELL PHONE CAN SURF THE NET, IT CAN RECEIVE AVIATION WEATHER
— and more! WxServer works with virtually any internet-enabled phone and any nationwide wireless carrier to give you up-to-the-minute aviation weather information and satellite images. WxServer includes airport frequency listings and fuel availability, as well as quick-dial FBO links, rental cars, and taxis. SPECIAL OFFER: AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rates! Order for yourself or as a gift at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.



LAST-CHANCE HOLIDAY SPECIALS
at AVweb's Shopping Page

Featuring products and services from AVweb's sponsors with special holiday offers!  http://www.avweb.com/shopping

NAVY PUSHES (AGAIN) FOR CAROLINA BASE
The U.S. Navy claims it has met all environmental and legal obligations to establish a 30,000-acre training base in North Carolina. It filed a 77-page document supporting its claim as part of an appeal in a tangled legal proceeding over the base. However, an environmental group and two county governments are accusing the Navy of massaging the data to make the base look like it fits better than it really does. There is major opposition to the base, which would include an 8,000-foot runway. It will be used for carrier training of F/A-18 Super Hornet pilots. Among the most contentious issues is the location of a nearby wildlife preserve. More...

TWICE THE LIFT, HALF THE DRAG?
A motorcycle-racer-turned-computer-engineer-turned-airplane-designer claims to have designed a wing with "twice the lift and half the drag of anything in the world." The wing is just one of the improvements Bill Montagne has made to the basic Super Cub design to create the Mountain Goat, which (hauling a 1,330 pound useful load off the ground in 300 feet) he touts as the ultimate bush plane. Montagne has tweaked engine performance and added safety features to the plane, which he says is now unmatched in performance. He claims a 10-knot reduction in stall speed over the Super Cub and a top end of almost 150 knots on 180 hp, in an interview with the Associated Press. More...

FLYING RENTED OR BORROWED AIRCRAFT?
There's only one thing worse than paying to repair an aircraft — knowing you might not have had to.  Avemco Insurance Company offers one of the most comprehensive Renter's Insurance policies in the country. For as low as $95 covering basic liability — or $155 providing basic liability and $1,000 worth of Aircraft Damage Liability — there is no reason not to have this coverage.  Avemco's policy includes loss of use, Civil Air Patrol coverage, and more. Liability coverage up to $1,000,000 and Aircraft Damage Liability coverage to $150,000 are available. To bind coverage today, contact Avemco by calling (888) 241-7891 and mentioning this AVflash, or go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Web site will follow Santa’s progress…
Couple died when plane hit tower wire near Fullerton, Ca.…
FAA amends compliance date for fractional operators…
Mike Busch to conduct piston seminar for PAMA delegates. 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...

SEE CLEARLY METHOD IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS VISION NATURALLY
The See Clearly Method does this without the risk or expense of laser surgery.  Developed by award-winning optometrists and research scientists, the See Clearly Method is based on the same principles and techniques used by thousands of pilots in WWII.  As one pilot states, "I never thought it was possible to actually improve your vision, but it worked. I tell other pilots that this is an effective way to improve your vision, naturally."  Call (800) 881-7934 for a no-cost informational video, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/seeclear/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
The Savvy Aviator #13: Putting Compression In Context
The differential compression check is one of the quickest, easiest, and most useful tools we have for measuring the top-end health of a piston aircraft engine. Yet many owners, mechanics, and even the FAA seem confused about how to perform the test properly and how to interpret the results. It's not rocket science.

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SKYWRITINGS
The Night Before Christmas - Aviation Style
A retelling of the 19th-century story, especially for aviators. This has been floating around the Internet for years in various forms -- and probably was passed around as photocopies for years before that. 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 http://www.avweb.com/profile/ More...

NO-COST RESOURCES FOR STUDENT PILOTS!
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 AOPA.org and FlightTraining.AOPA.org. 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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopaftm/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb looks at some numbers and posits a logical deduction: Air traffic controllers suffer mandatory retirement at 56 because scientific data suggests there's a sharp decline in sight, hearing, and other necessary skills as people hit their mid-50s; and science offers no evidence to justify relaxing the retirement age. "It's a function of physiology," according to National Air Traffic Controllers Association President John Carr. At the same time, airline pilots suffer mandatory retirement at 60 (and in many countries, 65). This may suggest that, in the eyes of regulators, pilots have the less physiologically demanding job. In very simple black-and-white terms, what do you think? PLUS: Results of last week's question on biometric identifiers for mechanics. More...

NO-COST SHIPPING UPGRADE FOR USED AVIONICS FROM BENNETT
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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Want to guess this week's theme? It's holiday pictures, of course — and, surprisingly, Middle America. One in five "POTW" submissions in this round came from Ohio, Indiana, or Illinois. Good work, folks — thanks for putting us in a festive mood! More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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

SHOPPING DEALS  
ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS
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IF YOU LOVE THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF FLYING THE GAUGES
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POWER FLOW'S 200HP MOONEY SYSTEM IS FAA-APPROVED & READY FOR DELIVERY
Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System has been approved for 200hp Mooneys. SPECIAL: Deposits placed before the end of 2004 receive a significant "pre-production pricing discount" of $540.00. Delivery slots are on a first-come, first-saved basis. To learn more about introductory pricing and the system's benefits for your M20 E, F, or J, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/power/avflash.
A UNIQUE GIFT FOR PILOTS & PROFESSIONALS — THE PILOT LOGBOOK & JOURNAL
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RECEIVE A GIFT WITH A GIFT FROM CHASE-DURER
Give Chase-Durer fine chronograph watches 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) — as an additional gift or for yourself. Chase-Durer watches are world-renowned timepieces combining good looks with precision. Chase-Durer watches will be the most appreciated gifts you give this year. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/chasedur/avflash.
GIVE OR GET A NEW LEATHER FLIGHT BAG FROM PILOTMALL & SHOW YOUR STYLE!
PilotMall.com's real leather flight bags are second to none — and there's a backpack model!  HOLIDAY SPECIAL: Complimentary U.S. Domestic shipping through December at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pilotmall/avflash.
HIGH-ADVENTURE FLYING IN UTAH'S RED ROCK COUNTRY WITH OUT THERE ... FLYING!
Utah's Red Rock Country, Volume 1 is the first in a series of DVDs on back-country flying at its best. Experience firsthand the romance and freedom of flying the wide-open spaces of the American West. GIFT-GIVING SPECIAL: Order two DVDs and get the second at a 50% discount. Order today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/outthere/avflash.
HASSLE-FREE AUTO BUYING FROM CREWCAR & CONSUMER GUIDES
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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/crewcar/avflash.
BRIGHTEN UP THE HOLIDAYS WITH THE WORLD'S MOST BRILLIANT MICRO-LIGHTS
from Photon Micro-Lights. Choose from many models and light colors. Order Photon Micro-Lights for friends and family with a SPECIAL 10% discount on all orders at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/photon/avflash.
SAFE GOODS OFFERS GREAT GIFTS FOR YOUR SHOPPING AND A HEALTHY WINTER
Safe Goods has the perfect gift for any aviation history aficionado — a signed and numbered Spirit and Creator limited edition print and reproductions. This print is a companion to Nova Hall's book covering the designer of Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis. And to keep you healthy this winter, take ZapV. All are available online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/safegoods/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
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COMPLETELEARNING AUTOPILOT SOFTWARE ADDRESSES VOID IN EDUCATION
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FLYING MAGAZINE IS FLYING THE NEW SKYLANE G1000 WITH GLASS COCKPIT
in the January 2005 issue. Also featuring: "XM Radio Takes Flight"; "A Supersonic Bizjet in the Future"; "Tickets to Heaven"; Burt Rutan's chubby SpaceShipOne; "Singles vs Twins"; and many more features. For subscriptions, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying/avflash.
THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T 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.

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