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Volume 10, Number 53b -- December 30, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ...
Piedmont Hawthorne Aircraft Sales

LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU'RE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

CHANGES DUE FOR AIRSPACE AND FSS...
With a new year right around the corner, the landscape of aviation is about to experience some changes. Workers at the FAA's Flight Service Stations are awaiting a decision, expected in January, on who will run their operations in the future. Air traffic controllers may soon suffer the pangs of "Be careful what you wish for," as the FAA sends hundreds of new hires into their facilities. And for those who fly in the flight levels, Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums take effect on Jan. 20. The FAA says the added routes between Flight Levels 280 and 410 will save time and money, but many GA operators are skeptical. More...

...AS SPACE BARRIER CRUMBLES
The X Prize was just the beginning. Thanks to Mojave Aerospace Ventures, spaceships are now part of the GA world. The BBC News reported on Monday that Virgin Galactic's fleet of five spaceships, to be built by Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, will have luxury accommodations for up to eight passengers and will be capable of about one flight per day. Plans call for a cabin height of 6 feet and width of 7 feet, the BBC said, with fully reclining seats to help even elderly passengers cope with the six G's expected during phases of the ... trip. Passengers will be free to float in the cabin, and use the time as they please, Rutan told the BBC -- whether that's to look at the window, conduct a science experiment, play with a cat, or, if a couple wanted to buy out the whole ship and use that time for personal ... recreation ... that's fine with Rutan, too ... provided they're quick about it. More...

COMPLIMENTARY UPS SHIPPING ENDS TOMORROW ON RECONDITIONED 25XLs
When new, these headsets listed for $599. Now you can purchase reconditioned 25XLs for $350 and receive complimentary UPS Ground domestic shipping through December 31. These headsets come from pilots who have upgraded to LightSPEED Thirty 3G headsets. All have new seals, pads, and are upgraded to current factory specifications. Plus, they are backed by LightSPEED's 30-day money-back guarantee, one-year warranty, and LightSPEED's emphasis on customer service and satisfaction. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/r25xls/avflash.

NEW AIRCRAFT UPDATE...
Rick Schramek of Epic Aircraft told AVweb on Tuesday that the Epic Jet prototype is about 85 percent complete. "The T-tail and the nacelles are on, and the nosecone goes on in January," he said. "About 75 percent of it is the same as the LT, so that makes it easier. We'll probably fly it in June." The LT is Epic's six-seat turboprop Malibu-killer that debuted at Oshkosh last summer, a year after the design was announced. Epic also is building a new 100,000-square-foot factory at Bend, Ore., that will be ready in April, and a jet facility is in the works at Redmond Airport, Schramek said. He said the Epic LT is undergoing flight testing now, and the first customer delivery is set for February. More...

...ADAM PROPELLER PASSES TEST
Hartzell Propeller Inc. announced on Tuesday that its blended-airfoil propeller system for the Adam Aircraft A500 centerline-twin has passed the final hurdle for certification on the aircraft. A recent FAA regulation requires all new pusher-propeller installations, such as the aft propeller on the Adam A500, to ingest airframe ice shed during an inadvertent icing encounter without causing a hazardous condition, Hartzell said. The newly designed test used a compressed-gas gun at the University of Dayton Impact Physics Lab to shoot softball-sized ice balls at the propeller at speeds up to 520 miles per hour. 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.

FLYING FOR CHARITY...
It's that time of year for reflecting on what we've achieved with a year's worth of time on earth, and maybe making resolutions that in the year to come will make us better citizens of the world. For those so endowed and those so inclined, aviation offers plenty of opportunities to help out. Angel Flight America Network recruits volunteer pilots to provide air transport for needy medical patients and their families. Air Care Alliance offers an extensive listing of varied volunteer opportunities in aviation, for both pilots and non-pilots. And if your empathies extend beyond fellow humans to your fellow creatures, SkyArk needs pilots to help transport animals and wildlife, or you could fly environmental missions for LightHawk. More...

...OR FLY FOR YOUR COUNTRY
You can also volunteer to fly for homeland security and disaster relief efforts. Civil Air Patrol pilots fly those missions, as well as search-and-rescue and counterdrug reconnaissance. They transport medical personnel and supplies, and in times of disaster, they assess damage and transport emergency personnel from site to site. The CAP owns the largest fleet of single-engine piston aircraft in the nation. Volunteer pilots for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary also fly search-and-rescue, and they help to monitor fishing areas, patrol for ice, and support efforts to protect marine resources, such as coping with oil spills. More...

TRADE-A-PLANE, THE AVIATION MARKETPLACE — THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT
Send one print issue per month and full access to the Trade-A-Plane web site for just $14.95 for one year, or $24.95 for two years. To subscribe, call (800) 337-5263 and mention this AVflash. Be sure to mention if it's a gift and Trade-A-Plane will send a gift card notifying the recipient. Or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tap/avflash.



LAST CHANCE
To Visit AVweb's Holiday Shopping Page

Don't miss your last chance to take advantage of special holiday offers from AVweb's sponsors, at http://www.avweb.com/shopping!

TOWER AND AIRPORT A FATAL MIX
Local pilots at Fullerton (Calif.) Municipal Airport have complained for years that a 760-foot-tall radio tower just a mile and a half from a runway is a hazard, the Los Angeles Times reported last week. On Dec. 19, a Cessna 182 hit the tower at about 9:45 a.m. and crashed into a warehouse parking lot. Jim and Mary Ghosoph, both 51, died. The orange and white tower, built in 1947, is owned by Clear Channel Communications, and is used to broadcast a local AM radio station. Pilots had long lobbied for strobe lights to be added to the structure, and in 2001, both of Fullerton's airport advisory committees asked the radio station managers to add strobes. More...

FAA RELEASES REVISED FLIGHT PLAN
The FAA last week released its annual revision of its Flight Plan -- the agency's strategic plan for the next five years, originally published in 2003. The plan sets the agency's priorities -- increased safety, greater capacity, international leadership and organizational excellence. The revision reflects input gleaned from almost 1,000 comments and suggestions, about 80 percent of them from employees and the rest from various stakeholders, the FAA said. The plan also lists the FAA's achievements for 2004, which include reduced GA accidents, especially in Alaska; a reduction in serious runway incursions; certifying the first receiver for the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and its first "virtual" public meeting. More...

LONG FLIGHTS FEEL SHORTER WITH A COMFORTABLE SEAT
Sitting in an airplane is more comfortable with the Oregon Aero™ Portable Universal SoftSeat™ Cushion System. The pain is gone, no matter how long you sit. The cushion design shifts your hips and pelvis into the proper, pain-free position and works with any existing seat. Visco-elastic foam "reads" body temperature and pressure to prevent the burning sensation of ischemia or "hot spots." The portable cushions can be used in private and commercial aircraft, cars, boats — even wheelchairs. You'll have a perfect fit every time. Fly pain-free with Oregon Aero! For more information on Oregon Aero's Portable Universal SoftSeat™, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/soft/avflash.

DOT TO INVESTIGATE U.S. AIRWAYS, COMAIR TROUBLES
The airlines had a rough holiday weekend, coping with winter storms, computer crashes, and staff shortages, and now they're facing the fallout, including a federal investigation. Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta wants to know why regional airline Comair, a subsidiary of Delta, didn't have a backup plan when its scheduling software crashed over the weekend, grounding about 1,100 flights and stranding thousands of passengers. Mineta also wants the investigation to come up with an explanation for US Airways' cancellation of hundreds of flights over the same long weekend, when about triple the usual number of flight attendants, baggage handlers and ramp workers called in sick. More...

SPORT PILOT PRACTICAL TEST STANDARDS RELEASED
The FAA released its Practical Test Standards for Sport Pilots this week, and they are posted online. The standards are crucial to flight training. "Flight instructors need to know to what [the standards are] to train their students," said AOPA spokesman Rob Hackman in a statement yesterday. "Now that the practical test standards are available online, they can easily and quickly refer to them at any time." The practical test standards for sport pilot airplane, gyroplane, glider, airship, balloon, weight shift control, powered parachute, and flight instructor are available online at the FAA Web site. EAA has posted a sample database of test questions, both for pilots and for instructors. More...

PROTECT & SHINE YOUR AIRCRAFT WITH A NAME YOU KNOW & TRUST — AEROSHELL
AeroShell Flight Jacket products are specifically designed for general aviation aircraft. The AeroShell Flight Jacket Kit Bag contains all six AeroShell Flight Jacket Polish and Cleaners, along with the application pad and cleaning cloths. To order the best in shine and protection for yourself (or as the perfect holiday gift), go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell/avflash.

FLIGHT: SEE HOW IT'S REALLY DONE
Most pilots have had the dream ... the one where gravity melts away, and you can lift both feet off the ground and fly like a bird. It's the ultimate in aviating, and while nobody yet has figured out exactly how to make it work for humans, you can get a taste of it at Discovery's bird-tech site, where video shots from tiny cameras attached to Tilly the golden eagle reveal every twist and turn of this most-sophisticated all-natural flight-management system. The technology is a step beyond what was used to film the movie, Winged Migration, released in 2001. More...

NEW YEAR'S EVE, CHECK NOTAMS OR CHECK SIX
Yes, the election season is over, but TFRs are here to stay. This week, it's New York's celebration of New Year's Eve that is closing down airspace. Aircraft are banned below 4,000 feet above parts of Manhattan from 8 p.m. on Friday until 1 a.m. on Saturday, affecting operations at several heliports and a seaplane base (stay far away from the big shiny ball -- and read the full NOTAM here). TFRs are also expected above Los Angeles for New Year's and during the upcoming football bowl games. EAA noted last week that a recent report by the federal Government Accountability Office acknowledged the negative economic impact of TFRs on the GA industry, yet found that the FAA does not have a system in place for their periodic review. Instead, keeping continuing TFRs in force is based on "unspecified security reasons submitted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)," the report said. 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.

ON THE FLY...
The Pentagon is planning sharp cuts in Raptor funding...
AOPA's Win-A-Twin entry deadline is Friday at midnight...
First Flight Store closes for good in January. 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...

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.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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BRAINTEASERS
Quiz #89 -- A Little Off The Airway
A pilot's brain can atrophy in the direct-anywhere GPS world, so let's wander about the airways reviving your knowledge of IFR and VFR symbols, contractions, and other needling minutiae -- including how much your VOR needle can move.

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INSURANCE
Neither A Lender Nor A Borrower Be ... Non-Owner Pilots And Liability Insurance
If you borrow a friend's car, you're covered by their car insurance. But if you borrow their plane, you are probably not covered by their aircraft liability insurance. Same if you rent a plane from an FBO. Are you prepared to pay out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars if there is an accident? AVweb's Kevin Garrison looks at insurance for those who don't own the plane they are flying. 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...

ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS
The new Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) provides parts locating, tech support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national & regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more.  For less than a tank of fuel ($39.00 for a one-year membership), you can access the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from owning and flying your Cessna aircraft.  Join the Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) today as they build the ultimate Cessna association. Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cfa/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know if (and how often) you use WAAS approaches. PLUS: Results of last week's question on mandatory retirement ages for pilots and controllers. More...

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
It's the last week of 2004, and AVweb readers have settled in for their long winter's nap. While we were dutifully wrapping presents, checking our lists, and eating giant hams, a handful of AVweb readers took time to share some of their best amateur aviation photos. Let's have a look at the last of the 2004 pictures, starting with this week's baseball hat winner, Marty Tippin of Missouri. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS  
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STOP WONDERING — OR WORRYING — WHERE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE!
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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.
"THE LOOK FROM FOLKS AS I DRIVE BY WAS WORTH THE PRICE!"
says one happy CarProp owner. You too can order this unique item for your car — or as the perfect holiday gift to show a love of aviation!  Don't be shy; let everyone know of your special talent with a CarProp on the front of your vehicle!  Just two screws to mount, and you're on your way to having fun. Order as holiday gifts and for yourself, online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/carprop/avflash.
FARs CAN CHANGE ON ANY GOVERNMENT WORKING DAY
Summit Aviation's Computerized Aviation Reference Library saves you time and energy by keeping track of changes in hundreds of handbooks, advisory circulars, and FAA regulations — all on a single CD-ROM that organizes, formats, and makes information accessible! Updates are available from twice a year to every two weeks. SPECIAL: Complimentary U.S. shipping at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/summit/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.
SEND YOUR MECHANIC OR SPOUSE THE MECHANIC'S TOOLBOX COMBO
This CD from Sacramento SkyRanch comes gift-wrapped with a card for your personal message. Go online for more information and to order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/skyranch/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
HUNDREDS REQUEST COPIES OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 MUSIC CD
911/The Album was played for the USS Nimitz crew. They requested 100 copies. This CD is stored in the 9/11 Digital Archives, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sent his praise to the composer, a retired commercial pilot. The album begins with the possible thoughts of the al Qaeda hijackers on their way to the airport and ends with an instrumental composition for meditation. Real jet engine spool-up sounds have been embedded in the song "Silver Wings," together with radio calls. This tragic event will never be forgotten, and 911/The Album will hold it in memories for generations. All songs/events are illustrated in full color, with words included in a 12-page booklet. Order your copy now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wishingwell/avflash.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY SOME PILOTS ALWAYS SEEM TO HAVE IT TOGETHER?
Do you ever wonder why you lack confidence? Take a look at Gordon Henrie's Instructional Methods for Flight Instructors. Gordon takes lessons from 50 years of flying and tells how to be more capable and confident in your own flying and how to teach more effectively. This is not a question-and-answer book, but a guide to what you actually do and think when you are in the cockpit, and it tells you how to root out bad habits and techniques. Complimentary holiday gift-wrapping. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/mountain/avflash.
KNOWLEDGE ENHANCER, TEACHING TOOL, & TRAINING AID — IN ONE PACKAGE
VTS Inc.'s software is loaded with video presentations, sound, 3D animations, interactive system schematics, and simulations — all combined to create a virtual resource that far surpasses the pilot's aircraft information manual.  This learning tool comes to life with the click of your mouse.  For more information and ordering instructions, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/vts/avflash.
THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T YOU?
Then you went through the manual and came away frustrated and confused. Stop laboring to understand those manufacturers' manuals! For less than $40 (plus shipping and handling) you can better understand and operate most of the modern GPS units on the market with ZD Publishing's Pilot Friendly GPS Manuals. GPS operation is fun and rewarding when you understand how to get the desired results. These manuals will help you through all operations. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/zdpub/avflash.
FLYING CARPET: THE SOUL OF AN AIRPLANE
You've enjoyed Greg Brown's stories in Flight Training and AOPA Pilot.  Now read the book!  Join Greg in the cockpit of his Flying Carpet for the struggles, triumphs, and crazy adventures of a pilot as he matures from fledgling to seasoned aviator.  Not only will pilots love this book, but after reading it, your friends and family will finally understand why you fly.  AVweb EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Order your autographed copy at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/paperjet/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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