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Volume 11, Number 1b -- January 6, 2005

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

FAA URGED TO SEND VOLUNTEERS TO TSUNAMI AREAS…
The FAA is being urged to send volunteers to the relief effort in South Asia to help iron out the transportation infrastructure problems that are hampering the tsunami disaster relief efforts. National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) President John Carr says the 20,000 members of his union could provide invaluable on-site assistance to get aid flowing smoothly in the region. He wrote FAA Administrator Marion Blakey on Tuesday offering the union's help. In addition to controllers, the union represents professionals in disciplines ranging from architecture to finance, and many are frustrated at being able to do no more than sign a donation check. Reports Tuesday indicated that the increasingly crowded skies over some areas combined with few accommodating airstrips are straining the local air traffic control system. More...

..."WANDERING COW" HAMPERS RELIEF
A stray cow wandered on to the runway at Banda Aceh, in Sumatra, and was hit by a landing cargo plane. The landing gear collapsed and the airport, the only one of any size in the area, was closed for seven hours before the plane could be moved. And in India, aftershocks from the earthquake that triggered the waves caused cracks in the runway at Carnic Airport, shutting it down for use by large airplanes. It's not just the big iron that's been having a problem getting through, however. In Meulaboh, in Sumatra's Aceh Province, workers finally hacked out a rough airstrip enabling Twin Otters to bring in desperately needed supplies. More...

ADD CELL/SATELLITE PHONE INTERFACE TO YOUR LIGHTSPEED HEADSET!
Factory conversions are now available for all active models of LightSPEED's XL and QFR series for only USD$75. (No sales tax; return shipping included within the U.S.) Model upgrades come with a 2.5mm patch cord that connects to most phones. Check LightSPEED's online chart for phones they've tested. The Active model upgrades also include an additional patch cord for a personal audio device input. Call LightSPEED at (800) 332-2421 and mention this AVflash, or print out the online order/instruction form to send in your headset for a speedy turnaround at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/cell/avflash.

THE HUNT FOR AMELIA EARHART...
Just as nature abhors a vacuum, human nature can't abide a mystery. David Jourdan, a Maine marine explorer, hopes to launch an effort this year to put our collective mind at rest as to the fate of Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan. It's been almost 70 years since the media-driven around-the-world attempt by Earhart ended somewhere between Papua New Guinea and Howland Island, and theories still abound. Jourdan is betting $1.7 million dollars and a few months of his time that the truth lies about 18,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific. More...

...WHILE GROUND SEARCHERS TAKE A BREAK...
While Jourdan and his crew (paid and paying) troll the seas, it's possible a terrestrial search for Earhart will resume on the island of Tinian, although no firm plans are in the works. As AVweb reported earlier, an archeological team spent several days last November digging at the site where a former American soldier says he was told Earhart's body was buried. The dig team found some ancient artifacts and some not-so-ancient beer bottles but nothing to indicate the aviatrix was buried there. According to the Pacific Daily News, the team is regrouping and tentatively planning another hunt after analyzing the information they've gathered. More...

...AND THE NEXT GREAT FLIGHT -- GLOBALFLYER
And as we try to quench our curiosity about a fallen adventurer, a modern aviation pioneer is getting set to accomplish something Earhart and her contemporaries could barely have dreamed of. Despite a three-week delay in the preparations, Steve Fossett and his Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer team are confident they'll soon claim a clutch of records in an 80-hour nonstop dash around the world. Fossett will be the only occupant of the jet-powered flying fuel tank that is expected to take off from Salina (Kansas) Municipal Airport in early February. That's right, Salina, Kansas. More...

LOOK TO THE PIEDMONT HAWTHORNE AIRCRAFT SALES TEAM WHEN YOU'RE BUYING or SELLING YOUR NEXT AIRCRAFT
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ONE LASER CULPRIT CAUGHT
A New Jersey man has admitted to pointing a laser pen at a bizjet on approach to Teterboro Airport last week, but not before trying to pin the rap on his seven-year-old daughter, according to a Reuters news report. David Banach, 38, of Parsippany, N.J., was arrested last Friday after a laser beam hit a helicopter being used by investigators to pinpoint the source of the laser in a Dec. 29 incident. Pilots of a Citation with six people aboard reported being temporarily blinded by the light as they were on final for Teterboro. One of the pilots was on board the helicopter trying to pinpoint the source when it, too, was illuminated by the green light. New Jersey was not the only site of the incidents. More...

MANY NOT READY FOR DVRSM
Well, the goal was to open up more room on the busiest high-altitude airways, but this wasn't exactly the effect envisioned by Domestic Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums (DVRSM). As of Jan. 20, aircraft flying between FL 290 and FL 410 will be separated vertically by 1,000 feet instead of the current 2,000 feet. That effectively doubles the number of airways (nice, but we always thought airports were the real chokepoints in the airspace system). The catch is that to use the tighter confines, aircraft must be equipped with up-to-date electronics. The FAA says only about 50 to 75 percent of private jets and turboprops that use the high-level airways are compliant and more than 10 percent of airliners don't have the upgrades. More...

AVIDYNE'S 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 you to access critical chart data more quickly and easily. CMax™ overlays your flight plan and aircraft position for optimum orientation. CMax™ even shows runway incursion hotspots 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. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avidyne/avflash.

GPS UNAFFECTED BY TSUNAMI (EARTHQUAKE)
It's sort of neat to be in on the ground floor of an urban legend but the truth, the whole truth, must be told about effects (or lack thereof) of the Asian tsunami on flight navigation. Simply put, there are none. Not long after the devastating undersea earthquake (widely reported at 8.9 on the Richter scale, it was the largest in decades, worldwide) and resulting waves, scientists began speculating on the effect of the event on the Earth's cosmic behavior. According to Dr. Richard Gross, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the quake did cause the earth's rotation to speed up by about three microseconds and caused a slight wobble. But he said the changes are too minuscule to worry about. That didn't stop some from speculating on the effect such changes might have on GPS accuracy. More...

AFSS STAFF GETS CRACK AT CONTROLLER JOBS
It now seems clear that there are wholesale changes in store for the automated flight services system (AFSS) as a result of study into its privatization. The results of the review, called an A-76 study, won't be released until later this month, but FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has already announced measures designed to soften the blow for some of the thousands of employees who will be affected. She traveled to the AFSS at Altoona, Pa., on Wednesday to say that qualified FSS personnel will get first crack at job vacancies for tower and en route controllers. Blakey's announcement comes a couple of weeks after the agency released a report saying it will hire 12,500 "new" controllers to replace the 11,700 eligible to retire in the next 10 years. 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.

UAL PENSION PIN TO BE PULLED
The government agency that oversees pension plans (and picks up the pieces when they fail) wants to immediately pull the pin on the plan covering retired United Air Lines pilots. UAL and the pilots had recognized the inevitable and agreed to wind up the pension plan in May. But the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) says that will cost it an extra $140 million, an "unreasonable loss" that gives it the ability to involuntarily terminate the plan. Some retired pilots will see their pension incomes drop by two-thirds when the PBGC takes over. The Air Line Pilots Association is furious at the news, calling the move "deplorable" and "duplicitous." More...

AIRLINE SAFETY RECORD IMPROVES
It's been another good year for U.S. airline safety and it's not all just good luck, say government officials. While some in the industry say the statistical bubble could burst with a single accident, both the NTSB and FAA are inching out on a limb to take credit for the relative absence of accidents in the last three years. For the record, 34 people have died in airline accidents since 2001 (in 2002, none died). An accident in Charlotte, N.C., in 2003 killed 21 people and 13 died in Kirksville, Mo., in 2004. Considering that more than 40,000 people died in cars, NTSB Chairman Ellen Engelmann Connors is pretty happy with the stats. "I hope all modes of transportation could replicate aviation's safety record," she told The Associated Press. More...

COAST-TO-COAST IN COMFORT WITH OREGON AERO
Skip Aldous, member of the world-renowned Lima Lima Flight Team, put Oregon Aero aviation upgrades to the test when he had to make a 14-hour, six-leg flight from Florida to Spokane, Washington. "I flew my T-34 from one corner of the country to the other and arrived pain-free and ready to perform because of my Oregon Aero Complete Aviation Helmet Upgrade and portable seat cushion," said Skip. "At no time did my helmet start to hurt my head or did my rear go numb. I know I couldn't have done it without Oregon Aero." You can enjoy painless flying, too. View Oregon Aero's large selection of seat cushion systems and headset and helmet upgrades at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Aviation Electronics Association asked for comment period extension on new rule...
Raytheon CEO James Shuster picked to lead GAMA...
Queensland medical helicopters had worst safety record...
Icing advice offered by AOPA. 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...

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NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
Say Again? #45: Lies in the Dark
AVweb's Don Brown had the opportunity to fly the airlines recently and had to deal with what someone probably would describe as an 'air traffic control delay.' Don thinks the FAA's newfound interest in a 10-year plan for ATC isn't going to help future delays and may even make them worse.

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...

DA40 DIAMOND STAR A FLEET FAVORITE
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University CAPT, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, and Utah Valley State College — all have selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/diamond/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
The tsunami -- this week, AVweb wants to know if you've done anything to help. PLUS: Results of last week's question on WAAS approaches. More...

LOOK, UP IN THE AIR! IT'S A PLANE! IT'S A FLYING DOG!
It's Woody, staff member of Pilot Getaways magazine who has traveled from coast to coast helping the publisher and editor bring subscribers the best fly-in destinations.  Woody has logged over 1,600 hours and has something to say about the places he's visited, from the Southwest to the Northeast, small grass strips in Canada, remote Mexican beaches, and places in between. If you love dogs or just need a smile, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/woody/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
"Picture of the Week" contributions were up during the first week of 2005. Doug Francoeur of Alberta, Canada takes home the first coveted baseball cap of the year, paving the way for 51 more "POTW" winners. If you'd like to see your amateur aviation photo here next week, it's time to submit it! More...

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SPONSOR NEWS
EXPERIENCE IS NO GUARANTEE
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COMPLETELEARNING AUTOPILOT SOFTWARE ADDRESSES VOID IN EDUCATION
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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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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
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