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Volume 11, Number 2a -- January 10, 2005

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Teledyne-Continental Motors (TCM)

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Aviation 
Consumer

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

PILOTS WANT LASER PROTECTION (REALLY)…
Some airline pilots say there should be some kind of system to inform them of recent laser attacks and some fresh thought put into what can be done to guard against them in light of a rash of incidents over the past couple of weeks. "Pilots want a generalized warning and training," Denis Breslin, vice president of the Allied Pilots Association, told The Associated Press. "I think that's not too much to ask." At least eight flight crews have reported being lased in recent weeks. Although there have been hundreds of lasing incidents reported over the years, the most recent ones follow warnings from the Transportation Security Administration and FBI that terrorists might be planning to use lasers against airliners. Terrorists ... as opposed to the non-terrorists that seem to be doing it now. The FAA says it's now working on a set of recommendations. More...

...THE HAZARD, REAL OR PERCEIVED...
Now, it seems hard to believe that anything powered by a couple of AA batteries could potentially bring down an airplane but the pilots of a Citation lased while on approach to Teterboro Airport in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago were sufficiently moved by the experience to help local authorities track down the culprit. As AVweb reported on Thursday, David Banach, of Parsippany, N.J., is now facing federal charges under the Patriot Act for what his lawyer claims was an innocent mistake. Banach was using a Jasper green laser available over the Internet for $119 and sometimes used by astronomy buffs to point out stars and galaxies in the night sky. The green beam of light is apparently clearly visible as it slices through the darkness. Despite the apparent effectiveness of the lasers, there are those who doubt their danger. More...

...WITH MUCH MORE POWERFUL LASERS AVAILABLE
The laser used by Banach had five milliwatts of lasing power, the most allowed without a license. Although potentially harmful to the retina, such lasers aren't powerful enough to damage much else. Much more powerful hand-held devices are available, however, and the licensing issue is skirted by calling them "laser components" rather than finished products. Wicked Lasers is based outside the U.S. (hence not bound by the licensing requirements) and tells all its customers that it's their responsibility to comply with those laws. Wicked Lasers will sell you a "laser component" that's ten times more powerful than the current FDA limit, will burn holes in black plastic and has a range, they claim, of 20 miles.[ More...

FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL-MOUNT — JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
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FAA JOB "OFFER" SLAMMED…
The cheers have turned to jeers among National Association of Air Traffic Specialists members as they get to the fine print of a placement plan for some of the automated flight service station (AFSS) workers who may (likely will) lose their jobs to privatization. You see, while AFSS workers would be out on the street this year, according to a news release issued by NAATS, there are no job vacancies left for them in the current fiscal year. According to the release, the FAA's Assistant Administrator for Human Resources, Ventris Gibson, said the 435 new controllers that will be hired this year would all come from outside the agency, which angered NAATS President Kate Breen. "This year there are over 435 controller jobs that could be filled by qualified employees within the FAA, employees that the FAA may involuntarily separate [we think that means fire] later this year," she said. More...

...MANY DON'T QUALIFY
And while some of those who lose their jobs may eventually find themselves back in the FAA fold, for some it's the end of the line. In e-mails to AVweb, AFSS workers claim that career counselors are advising them to dust off their resumes and not expect a job with the FAA. According to Dave Vitko, who works at the Altoona AFSS, many of his colleagues are within months of retirement, but the new system could result in their being terminated before they reach the magic numbers. "I, for one, will end up approximately three months short of a 20-year controller retirement if the A-76 goes off as planned," Vitko said. In an interview with GovExec.com, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey says the agency is doing all it can to help out the potentially affected workers.[ More...

PILOTS, SAVE UP TO 70% ON YOUR LIFE INSURANCE!
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GLOBALFLYER ENDURANCE TESTED (SORT OF)
If ever there was a plane suited to being stuck in a holding pattern for an hour (or 24), this is it. GlobalFlyer, the plane that Steve Fossett hopes to fly solo around the world in a few weeks, was stacked up near its destination of Salina, Kan., Friday on the repositioning flight from Scaled Composites' headquarters in Mojave, Calif. "We were kind of loitering around," said Fossett, who will spend about 80 hours in the cockpit on the record attempt. Friday's flight was something of a shakedown for the plane and was flown at 47,000 feet. The flight profile called for a long, slow descent (400 fpm) and ATC elected to let eight other planes land before allowing the descent. More...

LANDING AID BOUNCES SIGNALS FROM TERRAIN
A Hood River, Ore., company has received $7 million in government funds to study the effectiveness of an innovative system designed to allow for precision approaches to airports where terrain or other constraints prevent the use of conventional navaids. Advanced Navigation and Positioning Corp. (ANPC) says the Transponder Landing System actually uses the rough terrain as part of a system that tracks an aircraft's position in the airport's terminal area and sends course-correction instructions to the cockpit. "By measuring and accounting for the radio signal reflections off of surrounding obstacles and terrain, the system is able to ensure guidance accuracy in areas erstwhile unable to support a precision approach," said Pete Kinkhead, the company's marketing director. More...

FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE RISE!
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased over 150% — all requiring legal counsel.  That's why pilots are enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan for affordable, dependable legal protection when they unwittingly violate FAA rules.  The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a variety of situations where you might need legal support.  Plus, the Plan gives you unlimited consultation on most aviation matters covered by the Plan, annual review of key aviation documents, and one no-cost half-hour consultation with an AOPA Legal Services Plan panel attorney regarding aviation-related matters not otherwise covered.  Affordable protection every time you fly, for as low as $26 annually.  Enroll in AOPA's Legal Services Plan before you need it!  Call (800) USA-AOPA (800-872-8672) or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopalegal/avflash.

HALF A LOAF OFFERED TO MECHANICS
A bankruptcy judge has held his nose and decided that US Airways mechanics will be better off with lower-paying jobs rather than no jobs at all. But the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers can still likely accomplish the latter by going on strike. On Thursday, Judge Stephen S. Mitchell said US Airways could cancel its existing contract with its mechanics as a cost-cutting measure, but not until the union votes on the revised contract Jan. 22. In handing down his ruling, Mitchell conceded it wasn't fair to the workers. "But the question is, will there be any jobs left at all at the end of the day?" That type of question may be weighing heavily at United Air Lines where many current workers ponder the security of their positions and retired pilots ponder the loss of their pensions. More...

ALIEN TRAINING RULE RELAXED A LITTLE MORE
Alphabet groups continue to chip away at the hassle factor involved with the TSA's alien flight training rule. An interpretation released by the TSA last week significantly limits the circumstances under which proof of citizenship and background checks will be required for those flying aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds. To trigger the requirements, the TSA now says a pilot has to be undergoing flight training that "substantially enhances piloting skills." That means initial flight training, or multi-engine or instrument tickets, according to AOPA spokesman Andy Cebula. There's a major deadline looming for flight instructors. More...

IN CASE OF FIRE, AN EVAC-U8 ESCAPE HOOD CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE
Whether it's smoke in the cockpit or a fire in your office, home, or hotel, the EVAC-U8 escape hood from Aeromedix provides 15 minutes of breathable air to help you get to safety. The EVAC-U8 has a patented DuPont Kapton hood that protects your head, face and eyes from temperatures up to 800°F, plus an active air-purifying filter that removes carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. Priced as low as $59.95, it's terrific insurance! Call (888) 362-7123, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

MYSTERY G-V DISAPPEARS FROM RECORDS
On Dec. 27, The Washington Post ran a story about a V that's been seen landing at military airports around the Middle East. The story alleged that the plush jet was actually being used by the spymasters to take terrorism suspects to countries where, when prisoners are interrogated, amenities like the Geneva Convention are not strictly observed. The story included the N-number (N379P) and the name of the owner (Premier Executive Transport Services Inc.) Go ahead, look them up on the FAA's database . We did. Assuming the Post got the name and number right, someone's been tinkering with the FAA database. More...

THIS LANDING WAS THE PITS
Accidents happen, but it certainly appears that something went off the USAF paper trail to cause an accident like this. First, we can't confirm exactly what happened here (and we'd love to hear from anyone who can) but based on the number of sources from which we obtained these photos and text, it sure looks like somebody removed a section of runway in Iraq and didn't inform the people who might expect to use it. The C-130 was landing on the night of Dec. 29 (it may have been a special-forces plane) when it hit the pit and instantly became a runway hazard itself. No one was killed but there were several injuries and the plane is a goner. Those of you with PowerPoint will want to see it with your own eyes. 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, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/shell/avflash.

CORRECTION: GAMA
In our Jan. 6 edition of AVflash, we incorrectly described James Schuster as the new president of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. He's actually the chairman of the board of directors. More...

ON THE FLY...
FAA delayed seat-removal rule until Aug. 31...
Reno/Tahoe will get new ILS...
Christian groups sending aircraft, pilots to tsunami area...
Inauguration will close D.C. to most GA traffic. 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
As the Beacon Turns #85: The Lost Art of Stick & Rudder
Did you think airline pilots -- flying planes with heavy-duty landing gear and doing crabbed landings -- never have to worry about stick-and-rudder skills? Wrong. AVweb's Michael Maya Charles and some fellow pilots commiserate on the lack of basic flying skills in this month's As The Beacon Turns column.

More...

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

Reader mail this week about frost contamination, lasers, and still more about controller and pilot retirement ages. 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.

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...

SUBSCRIBE TO IFR MAGAZINE NOW AND SAVE
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SHORT FINAL...
Flying with the wife.

Me: Skyhawk N##1, four miles south of the field, entering left downwind runway 22.

Other Pilot: N##2 crossing mid-field. I dont see you, do you have your lights on?

ME: We are all lit.

Wife: (over the intercom) That didn't sound right.

Me: Just to clarify, the plane is lit, not the pilot. More...

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WORRIED ABOUT BUSTING A REG?  YOU SHOULD BE!
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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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