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Volume 11, Number 3b -- January 20, 2005

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

LIGHTSPEED QFR SELECTED AS "GEAR OF THE YEAR 2004" BY AVIATION CONSUMER
Aviation Consumer released their annual August 2004 "Gear of the Year" issue and tapped LightSPEED's QFRXCc ANR headset as the "standout performer" for its "first-rate value." Newly added cell/satellite phone and music interface make the QFRXCc headset even more attractive at only $379. Other standard features include auto shut-off, super-comfortable headpad, independent volume controls, and a 3-year warranty. To order or to obtain more information, call (800) 332-2421 or click on http://www.avwe b.com/sponsors/litspeed/avcons/avflash.

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

BETTER DRUGS, BETTER BRAINS, BETTER PILOTS…?
Against a backdrop of moral, ethical and even job-security considerations, scientists continue to probe ways to make our brains work better. And, according to one researcher, the day is not long off when a pilot popping a pill before flight will be "as ordinary as a cup of coffee" added to the preflight routine. As AVweb told you last year, researchers found that pilots taking donepezil, normally used to slow the onset of Alzheimer symptoms, performed significantly better during simulated flight emergencies than their non-drugged counterparts. Another study has found that modafinil, used to treat sleep narcolepsy, is a virtual cure for sleepiness and can allow people to function for days at a time without sleep (unions beware). Other researchers have found modafinil improves concentration, learning speed and mental agility. So, why aren't we all taking it? Wait for it, says neurologist Dr. Anjan Chatterjee at the University of Pennsylvania. More...

...CASA LOOKS AT HEART-EXAM STANDARDS...
But while science looks at making our synapses snappier, Australia's Civil Air Safety Authority (CASA) is examining the more basic imperative of trying to prevent pilots from dropping dead or becoming otherwise incapacitated at the controls. CASA has determined that the pilot of a Piper Aztec probably had a heart attack before the plane crashed on takeoff from Mareeba in northern Queensland in October of 2003. Gerald Mall, his wife and three children died in the crash. Now, CASA is reviewing its medical standards. Crash investigators couldn't find any mechanical causes for the crash although they couldn't rule out a bird strike or a cabin door coming open. More...

...TEAM STUDIES AEROTOXIC SYNDROME
And there could be a new in-flight malady to challenge deep vein thrombosis as a reason not to fly. A former Australian airline pilot claims she was made chronically ill (and not fit for the cockpit) by aerotoxic syndrome. Former British Aerospace 146 first officer Susan Michaels told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that she would often notice a "dirty sock/vomit-type smell" (even when not transporting a rugby team) after turning on the pressurization system. Four years ago, a government inquiry found that toxic oil fumes from leaky engine seals were getting into the cabin air via the pressurization system. The inquiry dealt only with BAE 146 aircraft, a popular four-engine regional jet in Australia and Europe (there are some in North America) but now a new medical study is widening the probe to other types of jets. 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.

A380 ROLLOUT...
Well, it's here, it's big and it's beautiful, in a plus-size kind of way. The question remains, will the Airbus A380, which was rolled out in a splashy ceremony on Tuesday, take off? The practical answer to that question will come in March with the first test flight. But as airlines all over the world retrench in a pitched battle with cut-rate upstarts, pundits wonder if the Clipper-like service possible on the double-decker behemoth is a thing of the past, and some planners wonder if the ability of airports to accommodate the aircraft (and its passengers) is yet a thing of the future. But Tuesday was a day for a remarkable first, and skepticism was brushed aside in the giddiness that accompanies such an occasion. More...

...LUXURY TOUTED, ECONOMY PREDICTED
Of course, the biggest cheerleader for the super jumbo is Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Atlantic has ordered six. Branson is keeping the hype alive by announcing that the Virgin planes will have on-board casinos and even suites with double beds. "Maybe now there will be two ways of getting lucky on a Virgin plane," Branson quipped to reporters. Although Virgin and some others will undoubtedly include some bells and whistles for their well-heeled passengers, the more cynical among aviation consultants liken the A380 to the modern incarnation of a troop train. Henry Harteveldt, vice president of Forrester Research, told Wired News that the world has been promised staterooms and theaters in the sky once before -- with the launch of the Boeing 747 in 1969. More...

THERE'S NO BETTER WAY TO BUY, SELL, AND FLY THAN TRADE-A-PLANE!
Order your print and/or online subscription to Trade-A-Plane by calling (800) 337-5263 and mentioning this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tap/avflash.

MILITARY/CIVILIAN MIDAIR PROBED
The vast majority of midair collisions are in or near the pattern so investigators have their work cut out for them in the tragic meeting of an Air Tractor crop-duster and an Air Force T-37 5,000 feet above the wide-open spaces of Oklahoma on Tuesday morning. The Air Force pilots, instructor Capt. Christopher S. Otis and student 2nd Lt. Roderick V. James, bailed out safely but the Air Tractor pilot, Derek Nach, died. Hunting guide Jerry Mayfield reached the Tweet pilots first and said one of them told him he didn't see the collision coming. There have been similar events, before. Nach was ferrying the brand-new Air Tractor from the plant in Olney, Texas, to its new owner in South Dakota. More...

COMMANDER AIRCRAFT TO BE LIQUIDATED
Commander Aircraft is apparently the latest casualty of 9/11 and the generally weak aviation market. The Bethany, Okla., plane-maker has asked a bankruptcy judge to convert its bankruptcy case from a Chapter 11 reorganization to a Chapter 7 liquidation. The company built about 200 of the speedy and luxurious four-place singles between 1992 and 2002. It was hit hard by recent downturn and attempts at attracting new capital apparently failed. Precipitating the most recent turn of events, an investor who had planned to sink $2.8 million into the company for an 80-percent share a couple of weeks ago defaulted and forfeited his $200,000 deposit. 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.

GARMIN PDA HITS MARKET
Here's a Palm Pilot worthy of its name. Garmin has married a moving-map GPS with a Palm PDA to come up with the iQue 3600A. The new device is based on a terrestrial version of the same concept (the iQue 3600) which combined all the organizational and entertainment capabilities of the Palm Pilot with maps, turn-by-turn directions and a geographical database to make it easier for business people, professionals or those hopelessly addicted to gadgets to find their way in the world. The aviation version adds a third dimension to the PDA's utility. The portable PDA snaps into a yoke-mounted cradle during flight. The cradle has the aviation-related buttons that identify it as a GPS. More...

DISABLED PILOTS AIM FOR RECORD
A pair of British physically challenged aviation buffs are out to prove that their disabilities don't diminish their need for speed. Sometime in the coming year, John de Frayssinet and Jenny Ayers, both members of the British Disabled Flying Association, hope to claim a world record in their class for a flight from the southern tip of Great Britain at Land's End to the northern extreme of John O'Groats in Scotland. The current record was set last year in a Diamond DA40 with a Thielert diesel engine. De Frayssinet and Ayers will try to beat it in de Frayssinet's homebuilt Glasair. On the surface, it should be no contest. The Glasair cruises about 60 knots faster than the diesel Diamond but the 632-mile distance will force de Frayssinet to balance speed and fuel economy if he hopes to finish. More...

ASA GETS "FIT" — THE FAA HAS RECOGNIZED ASA'S
IP Trainer and Instrument Refresher: An IPC Simulator as FAA/Industry Training Standard (FITS) products, finding them more convenient and accessible, less expensive, and more relevant to today's pilots. These are the only desktop flight simulators to achieve this FAA endorsement. IP Trainer is for the not-yet-instrument-rated pilot, covering every facet of instrument flight training. The Instrument Flying textbook is included to complete an integrated flight and ground training program. Instrument Refresher: An IPC Simulator is for the instrument-rated pilot who wants to practice maneuvers required for instrument currency, could use some occasional dual instruction, and wants the ability to refine skills before taking an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC). Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.

AOPA PLEDGES $25,000 TO TSUNAMI RELIEF
AOPA is organizing a tangible way for pilots to help pilots bring help to the victims of the South Asia tsunami. AOPA is pledging to match, dollar for dollar, to a maximum of $25,000, contributions made by individuals (you don't have to be a member) to AirServ International, a humanitarian organization that is using a fleet of GA aircraft in the devastated area. "AirServ International is in the midst of assisting in this disaster," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Theirs and other aviation efforts are a remarkable example of how GA airplanes and airports serve as a vital emergency link for people throughout the world." More...

FROM HEAVY METAL TO BIG IRON
For many airline pilots, flying for a living was a lifelong dream that began with noses pressed against an airport fence. Bruce Dickinson's moment of truth came later in life as he crawled, retching drunk, down a Japanese hotel corridor scavenging for leftover food from room-service trays. But, then, Dickinson's path to the left seat was a little different than most. In fact, the lead singer for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden (with such notable titles as "Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter") still tours and records with the band (the new album's name is Flying Heavy Metal) when he's not flying planeloads of vacationers for Astraeus Airlines. 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...
Cirrus chute found outside wreck...
Pranksters shone a spotlight into Qantas cockpit...
Ultralight instructor ground school course offered by EAA...
Comair president resigned, was immediately replaced...
Beech Starship studied for composite research project. 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...

LIKE BOTOX OR FLU SHOTS, A LITTLE BIT OF A BAD THING CAN DO SOME GOOD
This is the case with Vortex Generators that create controlled turbulence to help your wing fly better. The "Backcountry Report" in the current issue of Pilot Getaways talks about different vortex generators, their value, and if they're good for you. Maybe you'll start taxiing off at Taxiway Alpha soon. Only Pilot Getaways magazine combines the best in-depth travel info with technical content on the aircraft and systems that get you there. Subscribe to Pilot Getaways today at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
The Savvy Aviator #14: Engine Cooling -- Less Is More
If your CHTs are running warmer than you'd like, odds are that you've got leaky cooling baffles under your cowling. Fixing those leaks is usually simple -- and the less air leaks, the more is available to cool the cylinders.

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...

AIRCRAFT PARTNERSHIPS NOW ON ASO!
Have an aircraft share you need to sell? Advertise it on ASO! For a limited time, Brief Ads (text only) are complimentary, and Comprehensive Ads (photos & specs) are subject only to a one-time $40 set-up charge. Take advantage of this special offer today! For more information, please call (888) 992-9276 and tell them you saw this AVflash mention, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aso/partner/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to get an honest assessment of the level of caution you exercise when flying through MOAs (Military Operation Areas). PLUS: Results of last week's poll on "doctored" (digitally altered) images in our "POTW" contest. 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.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
It's been another terrific week for "POTW" submissions — so good, in fact, that we snagged 47 images for our personal desktop wallpaper. (At one a day, we've already got enough unique wallpapers to last us until late spring!) Here are the top six, capped off by the best photo of New Jersey we've ever published.* Congratulations to Geoffrey Hickey, who'll be receiving an official AVweb baseball cap for his photo. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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WHICH SIX-PLACE RETRACTABLE HAS THE BEST SAFETY RECORD?
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SEE WHAT ATC SEES — AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH IT
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft situation display that gives a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in-flight over the U.S. and Canada. Whether you're tracking a friend or want to learn more about the system in action, Flight Explorer has the information you need for just $9.95 a month. Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.
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FLYING MAGAZINE REVIEWS THE "BEST BUYS IN USED AIRPLANES"
in the February issue. Also in this issue: "Flying in Australia's Outback"; "Business Flying: Jet Cards" — prepaid jet cards; "How to Avoid Deadly Distraction When Flying IFR"; and all the Flying Opinion and News you've come to rely on. Order your specially-priced subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
DA40 DIAMOND STAR A FLEET FAVORITE
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THINKING ABOUT BUYING A FABRIC-COVERED AIRPLANE?
Although the technology is as ancient as aviation itself, the process is still used on new airplanes. Some rag wings represent the best buys in aviation, so it's worth it to know your way around the subject. Find out what you need to know in the February 2005 issue of Light Plane Maintenance. Order your subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lpm/avflash.
FARs CAN CHANGE ON ANY GOVERNMENT WORKING DAY
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PILOTS COMMENT AFTER READING IFR: A STRUCTURED APPROACH:
"The GPS chapter alone is worth getting the book. ... It's the best instrument flying book I have ever read," states Fred Scott. "If one book could help you make the leap from a bit player to a skilled conductor of instrument flight, this is probably it," reads a November 2003 AOPA Pilot review. With the help of this book, you will establish your own personal standard operating practices for IFR, including incorporation of checklists, flows, callouts, briefings, and the "fly by the numbers" method of aircraft control. For more information and to order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/skyroad/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

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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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