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Volume 11, Number 4a -- January 24, 2005

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Pilot Insurance Center (PIC)

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

FAA GOES AFTER "HERO"...
No good deed goes unpunished, it seems, although we'd be surprised to see the FAA throw the book at Jeremy Johnson. Johnson, battling high winds and rain, used his private helicopter to help rescue a southern Utah family from a massive flood that washed away their home and most of their possessions last week. Then, he offered rides in his Robinson chopper over the flood-ravaged area for a $100 donation to the family, raising for them $5,000 in the first four hours and $20,000 total over two days. That was after ferrying supplies, taking an explosives expert to a blockage in the river to blow it up and basically flying his tail off for a week to help his neighbors. But while his community is hailing him as a hero, the FAA is alleging he broke a couple of rules in the process. "I'm afraid they're going to suspend my license," Johnson told The Associated Press. More...

...WHILE CONVICTED FELON WANTS MONEY BACK
Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania pilot who used his aircraft to cause a series of potential disasters claims the punishment meted out is too harsh. John Salamone was jailed for up to 23 months (he's appealing) and also forfeited his Piper Cherokee for an allegedly drunken spree over Pennsylvania and New Jersey a year ago that forced evasive action by six airliners and some close encounters for a police helicopter. Now Salamone wants the $34,000 selling price of the plane that a judge ordered him to forfeit to the Montgomery County district attorney's office. More...

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NEAR-SPACE A CROWDED PLACE…
The all but empty reaches of near space could get noticeably more crowded in coming years if all who plan to exploit its potential get their projects off the ground. Although Burt Rutan and Paul Allen's Mojave Space Ventures claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize as the first privately funded effort to reach 100 kilometers in altitude (twice in two weeks) last October, that didn't end the race for near space. Since then other groups involved in the X Prize competition have continued to work toward repeating the feat. The Canadian da Vinci Project was trying to give the Mojave team a run for the big prize but equipment delays prevented their planned October launch of a giant balloon as a first stage and a rocket for the final push. More...

...OTHER EFFORTS EMERGE...
Two companies not involved in the X Prize competition have recently ramped up their efforts to get into space. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos has started building a testing facility in Texas for his Blue Origin company. Blue Origin has been doing design work in Seattle for several years on its relaunchable liquid-fueled spacecraft, which it hopes to launch in seven years. The Texas facility will include an engine test stand, fuel and water tanks and offices, according to Geek.com. The company is also hiring, according to its own Web site. Another dot-com mogul, John Carmack, of id Software, has created Armadillo Aerospace. More...

...AND THE AIR FORCE, TOO
Any of these private companies that actually get hardware into sub-space may have to dodge military devices. The Air Force is planning to launch unmanned aircraft that will exploit the altitudes above 65,000 feet for simple tasks like communications relay within the next year. Helium-filled balloons (sound familiar?) would likely get that job. But over the next decade, more sophisticated aircraft could do reconnaissance and other battle-support work. "This is not a passing fad or fancy," Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf told Reuters. Leaf also stressed there are no plans to put weapons on the aircraft. More...

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ADAM AIRCRAFT GOES RADIO-SILENT?
The silence from Adam Aircraft is deafening. Last October the company predicted the first customer delivery of an A500 before the end of December. AVweb has contacted Adam officials at least five times in the past three weeks for a routine follow-up on progress for the company's innovative A500 inline piston twin and first-to-fly (to AirVenture Oshkosh) A700 very light twinjet. In every conversation with an Adam official this year, AVweb writers were asked to call back, and did ... each time. Now, a published report (which an Adam official also refused to discuss) that certification of its push/pull A500 piston twin is off the rails and that that's slowing progress on the A700 jet's development has apparently leaked. More...

SECOND CIRRUS CRASH IN WEEK KILLS THREE
The second crash of a Cirrus SR22 last week has killed three people near Hood River, Ore. In both accidents, it is unclear whether the aircraft's full-plane parachute system had been deployed. Pilot Paul Linck, 41, of White Salmon, Wash., and passengers Brook Campbell, 26, of Stevenson, Wash., and 34-year-old Chris Jones of Hood River, died when their plane crashed on a ridge about five miles from Hood River. As AVweb told you Thursday, a Georgia man died when his SR22 crashed into a house in Coconut Creek, Fla. More...

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MORE PROBLEMS WITH TSA INSTRUCTORS' COURSE
Some of the CFIs who managed to successfully complete the TSA's online security-awareness course (we heard from many readers, especially those on dialup, that the course was frustrating to take because the questions took so long to load) were faced with another complication. They couldn't print the completion certificate that was supposed to be the proof that they took the course. So AOPA convinced the agency to accept a tried-and-true (if decidedly low-tech) method of proving compliance. "Much like an endorsement, instructors can now make an entry in a logbook or other permanent record to show they've completed the required training," AOPA spokesman Rob Hackman said. More...

MORE PLASTIC FOR YOUR WALLET
In the next two years, the FAA wants all pilots to trade in their paper certificates for the (allegedly) more terrorist-proof plastic model unveiled in 2003. Initially, the agency was going to let the paper editions be replaced by the natural attrition of wear and tear and when pilots got new ratings or certificates. But AOPA says the agency is now working on a rule requiring replacement of the paper pilot certificates within two years (five years for other types of airman certificates). But even that may be an interim measure. The agency is still working on getting photos on the certificates but it's hung up on the mechanism for actually getting the pictures taken. (We understand cameras work well for that ...) More...

IN CASE OF FIRE, AN EVAC-U8 ESCAPE HOOD FROM AEROMEDIX CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE
Whether it's smoke in the cockpit or a fire in your office, hotel, or home, the EVAC-U8 escape hood 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 degrees Fahrenheit, plus an active air-purifying filter to remove carbon monoxide and other toxic gases. Priced as low as $59.95. Call (888) 362-7123, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

NEW LANDING SYSTEM LOWERS MINIMUMS
Juneau and Palm Springs might seem worlds apart but they're both a lot easier to get to thanks to a GPS-based instrument landing system developed by Alaska Airlines and approved by the FAA. The Required Navigation Performance (RNP) system uses on-board transmitters and GPS signals to allow pilots much lower minimums when landing at airports with narrow approaches surrounded by mountains. The system was first put into use at several Alaska airports with their notoriously poor weather. But clear, dry, CAVU Palm Springs? Apparently not always. More...

GETTING STARTED YOUNG -- ON A STACK OF CUSHIONS
Some people wait until the time is just right before taking flying lessons. For Michael Barry, of St. Augustine, Fla., it was just after he turned 11. The fifth grader needs about a half dozen cushions to help him see over the panel and reach the pedals of the Florida Aviation Career Training Cessna 152 but his stature hasn't kept him from taking off and practicing basic flight and navigation skills. He's not quite landing on his own yet but instructor Donna Tostevin told the St. Augustine record Barry could join a special club of pilots at the airport. More...

HAVE A CONCERN ABOUT YOUR MEDICAL?
AOPA's Pilot Information Center has a dedicated staff of medical specialists who can answer your basic medical questions or guide you through the appeal process following a denial of medical certification. AOPA's web site allows you to research medical questions, has detailed guidance about many medical conditions, and includes AOPA's TurboMedical interactive medical application planner as well as a comprehensive listing of medications allowed by the FAA. For the best information available about your medical questions, call the Pilot Information Center at (800) USA-AOPA, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/med/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Airliner water getting worse...
AOPA members rally for tsunami victims...
Illegal dumps causing bird hazard at Austin...
Delta lost a record $5.2 billion in 2004…
Australian air force demo pilots escape midair. 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...

GAMI CUSTOMERS RAVE ABOUT A SMOOTHER RIDE AND SAVING FUEL
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NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
The Pilot's Lounge #83: Which Emergencies Should We Practice?
The general-aviation accident record shows that we've been crashing (and sometimes dying) for the same reasons for many years now. But our training and checkrides don't seem to reflect those issues. AVweb's Rick Durden suggests ways to make sure we practice the most common emergencies, in this month's Pilot's Lounge column.

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.

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...

SCOPED OUT NEW AVIONICS & FOUND THEM WAY ABOVE YOUR BUDGET?
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MODERNIZING YOUR TRANSPONDER DOESN'T GET ANY EASIER!
Narco Avionics is proud to announce the introduction of the AT165/K Transponder, a digital plug-and-play replacement for the old mechanical KT76A/KT78A. The all-digital AT165/K is competitively priced with the current crop of mechanical transponders. Also available is the AT165, a plug-and-play replacement for the Narco AT50, AT50A, AT150, or AT155. COMING SOON: The plug-and-play replacement for the King KT76/KT78. WINTER SPECIAL: Purchase an AT165 and get an AR850 for $99. For more information on these innovative Narco Avionics products, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/narco/avflash.
STOP WONDERING — OR WORRYING — WHERE YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY ARE!
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YOU WORKED HARD FOR THAT IFR TICKET; NOW PROTECT IT!
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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

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 Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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