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Volume 11, Number 1a -- January 3, 2004

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... JA Air Center

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

ECLIPSE PROTOTYPE FLIES...
Eclipse Aviation's first Eclipse 500 certification aircraft flew twice on Friday, just making the company's own deadline. "As we promised on January 31, 2003, we have resumed flight testing by December 31, 2004, with the PW610F engines," CEO Vern Raburn said in a news release on Friday. Aircraft N503EA, powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofan engines, took off from the Albuquerque International Sunport Airport for its maiden flight, which lasted one hour and 29 minutes. After a thorough inspection by flight-test engineers, N503EA was cleared and departed again at 3:59 p.m. The second flight lasted 54 minutes. The aircraft successfully completed all maneuvers in the test area during the flights, Eclipse said. More...

...STARTING 15 MONTHS OF TESTING
Friday's flights mark a milestone for the company, which delayed flight testing for almost two years after its first choice of Williams International engines didn't pan out. On Friday, the prototype jet climbed to 16,800 feet and reached 200 knots during the first tests, and completed all scheduled tasks. (See it for yourself: Eclipse has posted several short videos on its Web site.) Basic maneuverability and various aircraft systems were checked, Eclipse said. N503EA is fully equipped with pressurization and climate-control and ice-protection systems. The flights are the first in a 15-month testing program that will involve seven test airframes, more than 3,000 flight hours and several hundred hours of ground testing, culminating in FAA certification in March 2006, Eclipse said. More...

THE PILOT INSURANCE CHALLENGE
If you are a pilot currently applying for a life insurance policy with anyone other than the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC), STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING!  You might be overpaying for your insurance or waiting on a rate hike after you get through the underwriting process.  Contact PIC to be assured of a great rate from an agent who knows aviation and won't send your rate into a flat spin after underwriting.  You have nothing to lose, and it might be the most profitable five minutes of your day.  Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 and get an instant quote, or visit PIC's website at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife/avflash.

NTSB SUGGESTS TACTILE ICE TESTING...
In an unusual move last week, the NTSB issued an Alert Letter directly to pilots, advising them to conduct visual and tactile inspections of airplane wing upper surfaces to check for ice and frost. The safety board said that the Nov. 28 accident at Montrose, Colo., involving a Bombardier Challenger 604 that crashed on takeoff, killing three people, has generated much discussion about the effects of wing upper-surface ice accumulations. The safety board said that many pilots do not recognize that minute amounts of ice adhering to a wing can cause severe aerodynamic and control penalties. The board also said that many pilots have misconceptions about coping with icing, such as that they can "power through" any degradation in performance from ice on the wings. More...

...A LITTLE CAN DO A LOT OF DAMAGE
Just because you've flown with some ice before doesn't mean your aircraft will take off with what's on the wing, now. Fine particles of frost or ice the size of a grain of table salt and distributed as sparsely as one per square centimeter over an airplane wing's upper surface can destroy enough lift to prevent that airplane from taking off, the NTSB said. This kind of ice may not be seen in a visual check from the cabin, and it is difficult to see from the front or back of the wing. "The Safety Board believes strongly that the only way to ensure that the wing is free from critical contamination is to touch it," the letter says. "The bottom line is that pilots should be aware that no amount of snow, ice or frost accumulation on the wing upper surface can be considered safe for takeoff." More...

POWERLINK™ FADEC CERTIFIED ON LIBERTY XL-2; IS IT RIGHT FOR YOUR AIRCRAFT?
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 http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.

AIRCRAFT, PILOTS CRITICAL TO TSUNAMI RELIEF EFFORT...
In the aftermath of the devastating tsunami that hit the Indian Ocean coastline last week, military and civilian aircraft from around the world are providing critical relief. Desperately needed helicopters arrived over the weekend in Indonesia, finally bringing help into remote areas where airplanes could do no more than drop supplies. The U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln arrived off the island of Sumatra over the weekend, and helicopters based on the ship are ferrying supplies in and flying casualties out to hospitals. Villagers mobbed the helicopters as they touched down, desperate for food and water, sometimes preventing them from landing. "They came from all directions, crawling under the craft, knocking on the pilot's door, pushing to get into the cabin," Petty Officer First Class Brennan Zwack told the BBC News. "But when they saw we had no more food inside, they backed away, saying 'Thank you, thank you.'" More...

...VFR FLYING IN UNIMAGINABLE CONDITIONS...
The status of airfields and navaids is uncertain in much of the region, and assessment teams are working to determine the status of facilities. Meanwhile, many aircraft are limited to flying VFR and only in daylight, though many have flown despite pounding rains. At the Port Blair airport in India, half of the 12,000-foot runway was usable. "All the landmarks that normally help us identify the airfield had vanished. We could see no traces of villages or houses. ... I had never seen anything like this before," pilot Ashish Dhawan told The Times of India. Even the coastlines and terrain have changed dramatically. Helicopter pilot Rahul Verma told the Hindustan Times that sandbars pilots once saw from the sky have vanished, and new formations have popped up from the sea. "It's a very strange experience," he said. More...

...HURDLES FOR PILOTS SEEKING TO VOLUNTEER
"We have a critical need for airplanes and helicopters given the wide geographic expanse and difficult terrain," James Morris, head of the U.N. World Food Program, said Friday. "We would be very grateful if countries were able to urgently help us meet our air transport needs." Yet some pilots who have volunteered to help have been turned away. Mike Smith, an official with the American Red Cross of Alaska, told the Anchorage Daily News he's gotten hundreds of calls and e-mails from pilots who want to help. "But we don't have the mechanism to support them," he said. Relief agencies generally cannot cope with bringing inexperienced volunteers to a disaster site and taking responsibility for their well-being, according to the Center for International Disaster Information (CIDI). However, pilots who want to register their skills for disaster relief can do so online. More...

RISK MANAGEMENT IS AN AREA OF AVIATION INSURANCE OFTEN OVERLOOKED
when purchasing aircraft hull and liability insurance.  CS&A Aviation Insurance specialists excel in risk management, which in turn gives their customers — you — the best insurance package for their individual needs.  Owner or renter, shop around and you'll find CS&A meets your insurance needs at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/csa/avflash.

CIRRUS PILOT MAKES "MIRACLE" LANDING IN IRELAND
A Cirrus SR22 being ferried across the Atlantic ran out of fuel and sputtered to a stop just seconds after landing at Shannon Airport in Ireland late on Friday, The Canadian Press reported Saturday. The safe landing was "a great miracle story at the end of 2004," as well as a feat of airmanship, Royal Air Force rescue squad member Michael Mulford told the CP. "[The pilot] must have judged it right down to the last turn of the propeller," Mulford said. (There were perhaps other considerations.) The pilot had taken off from Newfoundland, and reported that the right fuel tank had started to leak about 400 miles from the Irish coast. The rescue squad had been preparing for a possible ditching in the wintry North Atlantic. Strong tailwinds were cited for helping the airplane make shore. More...

UAVS TESTED AS FIRE SPOTTERS
In a demonstration flight last month in the Idaho desert, a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) carrying a video camera showed that it could help firefighters track the movement of forest fires. "I thought this was possible for a long time," said Everett Hinkley, of the U.S. Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center. "This technology could be used to show you what the fire is doing right now, over the hill." The tests were conducted by the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The Forest Service plans to test the UAVs with heat-sensing cameras on a fire this spring or summer somewhere in Montana, Hinkley told The Associated Press. More...

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TSA TO EXPAND BIZAV SECURITY PROGRAM
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed last week that it will expand its Transportation Security Administration Access Certificate (TSAAC) program, which grants increased access to airspace and airports for Part 91 business aviation operators who meet TSA security standards. The concept was tested with 24 operators at Teterboro, N.J.; White Plains, N.Y.; and Morristown, N.J. "Participants at those airports support the TSAAC procedures," said Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The TSAAC provides standardized security procedures for personnel, facilities, aircraft and in-flight operations. More...

RASH OF LASER REPORTS CAUSES SECURITY CONCERNS
The FBI is investigating several incidents of lasers shining into the cockpits of airplanes on approach to U.S. airports in the last week. Pilots of six commercial airliners, a police helicopter and a Cessna Citation described seeing beams of green light in the cockpit that originated on the ground. On Saturday, authorities questioned a New Jersey man in connection with several of the incidents, but no arrests were made. No damages or injuries have occurred. The lasers were directed at two airliners in Colorado Springs; a Continental 737 at 8,500 feet on approach to Cleveland; airliners at Houston, Medford, Ore., and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C.; and the Citation and helicopter near Teterboro, N.J. 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 on avionics than you have to; go to the Bennett Avionics experts at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.

BOEING'S 7E7 STRUGGLING TO TAKE OFF
2004 was a rough year for most of the major U.S. airlines, and that meant it was a rough year for Boeing as well. The airlines have not been buying, and China announced last week that it won't be needing any new airplanes in 2005. But the plane-maker got a bit of a boost last Wednesday when Continental Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to place an order for the new 7E7. The $1.3 billion order is for 10 aircraft, with the first to be delivered in 2009. "The 7E7 is simply a game changer," said Gordon Bethune, Continental CEO. "It will position Continental for significant international growth from our New York and Houston hubs over the next decade." More...

FAA TO START TRAINING SPORT PILOT EXAMINERS
The FAA's implementation of the Sport Pilot rule will make some advances this month. The very first Sport Pilot Designated Pilot Examiner qualification course will be held Jan. 17-22 in Sebring, Fla. Four more courses will be held from February to May in Sebring, and seven more are scheduled from June to October in Oklahoma City. The FAA also is scheduled to release its new FAA Form 8710-11 this week, which is the official application form for Sport Pilot Airman Certificates. On Jan. 15, the FAA says it will be ready to issue the first certificates for Sport Pilots, Sport Pilot instructors, Special and Experimental Light Sport Aircraft, and Light Sport Aircraft repairmen. More...

"IT'S LIKE HAVING A NEW AIRPLANE"
"My airplane uses less fuel on a trip than some SUVs."  "General Aviation Modifications (GAMI) injectors pay for themselves with the fuel savings.  A big bonus is how much smoother the engine runs."  "Customer service is just that — SERVICE!"  These are what GAMI customers have to say about GAMIjectors.  Go online to find out how to save fuel and time by installing injectors that pay for themselves at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gami/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Florida airport operators want help with Super Bowl week expenses...
FAQs about TAWS available online for AOPA members...
Boeing has sold off 46 acres in Renton, Wash. 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...

RESOLVE TO BECOME MAINTENANCE-SAVVY IN 2005!
Aircraft owners who have attended Mike Busch's Savvy Owner Seminar have called it "invaluable," "fantastic," and "the best money I ever spent on aircraft ownership." Mike's seminar will teach you how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands of dollars on maintenance costs. Space is still available in Mike's seminars in the following locations: Santa Maria, CA (February 12-13); Las Vegas, NV (March 6-7); Indianapolis, IN (May 14-15); Dallas, TX (May 21-22); Frederick, MD (October 22-23); and Long Beach, CA (December 10-11). For seminar details and to reserve your spot, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.

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

Reader mail this week about engine exchange policies, how low is a buzz, and ongoing controversy about controller and pilot retirement ages. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
Motor Head #4: Bad Reputations
In the tight-knit world of aviation, reputations can be made or broken with just a few comments about reliability or difficulty. Certain planes -- and engines -- have developed reputations that AVweb's Marc Cook says are undeserved.

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NEWS FEATURES
2004 Year In Review
Aviation's second hundred years began in 2004, and it was an interesting start, launching at least two vastly different new ventures that could change GA's future. The boosters of the Sport Pilot rule hope that it will open up sport flying to new generations, with a return to aviation's roots -- easy-to-fly and inexpensive -- while making the most of new materials and technology. On the far side of the flight spectrum, SpaceShipOne opened a new frontier of privately funded space travel for the (relatively well-heeled) masses. Plenty of other people and events affected the GA life in 2004; AVweb presents our year-end look at some of the highlights. More...

PRICELESS PEACE-OF-MIND FOR JUST $9.95 A MONTH!
Sign up now for the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer, the PC-based service that provides a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in flight over the U.S. and Canada. Simply enter an N-number to track a flight, be alerted to delays, and get updated ETAs — all for $9.95 a month. Subscribe now at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/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...

SHORT FINAL...
Too much of a good thing? Flight instructors, flight club members (and controllers?) may be able to relate.

Pilot: Tower, Cherokee eight ... no, Cessna seven five ... wait, no ... Cessna one two three four ready for takeoff at one five left.

Tower: Ahhh, so many planes, so little time.... More...

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SPONSOR NEWS
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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

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