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Volume 11, Number 4b -- January 27, 2005

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

RVSM, ONE WEEK IN...
Domestic RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimums) took effect in the airspace above the U.S. one week ago, today, and (so far) the transition seems to have gone without glitches and even (which is harder to believe) with hardly any griping. "Everything went pretty smoothly. It was basically a non-event," National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) spokesman Dan Hubbard told AVweb on Tuesday. "We're satisfied with how RVSM has gone into effect." At 0401 EST last Thursday, aircraft that had not complied with FAA requirements for equipment and authorization were transitioned out of the airspace between Flight Levels 290 and 410. Aircraft in compliance were transitioned to make use of the six new high-altitude routes. The changes took effect at the same time above Canada, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. More...

...ATC, PILOTS, MANUFACTURERS ADAPTING...
FAA spokesman William Shumann had a similar report: "Our overall impression is that center controllers throughout our system are pleased with the change and like the flexibility of having more altitudes to offer. Anecdotally, we're hearing that pilots are pleased as well," he told AVweb in an e-mail on Tuesday. "So far there have been no operational errors attributed to RVSM." Walter Desrosier, VP of engineering for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, agreed that it's been a successful transition. "There have been no major bugs or snafus that we've heard of," he told AVweb yesterday. Manufacturers conducting flight testing in the RVSM airspace have had some concerns, but they are being worked out. "Nobody is grounded. Nobody has had any kind of interruption or delay in their flight-testing programs," Desrosier said. "They knew this was coming." More...

...THOUSANDS STILL NOT IN COMPLIANCE
As many as 1,600 to 2,000 bizjets were estimated to be not in compliance as of the deadline, according to Paul Clouse, director of RVSM Operations at ARINC, and many are still in the works. ARINC has been working as a consultant to operators, helping to lead them through the complex authorization process. "We are quite busy with height monitoring [a 30-minute in-flight test to verify that instrument error is within limits], Letter of Authorization packages, and RVSM modifications, at our facilities in Colorado Springs and Scottsdale, Ariz.," Clouse told AVweb on Tuesday. Some operators have been waiting for the rush to subside in hopes of bargaining for a lower price; others had delayed on a gamble that the FAA wouldn't make its deadline. More...

NOW AVAILABLE — LightSPEED PANEL POWER ANR HEADSET
LightSPEED Aviation has a Panel Power headset! The gray model boasts all LightSPEED's feature-packed benefits, including the new cell/satellite phone and music jack, along with a 6-point Limo connector, the standard panel interface for Cirrus and Lancair. Each comes with a padded headset bag and 5-year warranty. Order by calling (800) 332-2421 and mentioning this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/gray/avflash.

AGE-60 RULE BACK IN PLAY...
With Congress back in session, a bill to raise the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65 has reappeared as well. The bill foundered last year, but senior Republicans Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Rep. Jim Gibbons of Nevada have revived it, and pressure for change seems to be building. With the major airlines in trouble, and pilots losing wages and benefits and pensions, their plea to not be booted out at 60 may gain a bit of sympathy. And better healthcare means pilots at 60 still retain their flight skills, said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee. Mica said he plans to hold hearings on the rule. "When it comes to flying, older and more experienced is better," he told the St. Petersburg Times. More...

...AS ALPA CONSIDERS CHANGE
Under International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations, airline pilots from more than 180 countries can fly into the United States up to age 65. More than 40 other countries have raised their pilot retirement age to 63 or 65. For years, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) has stood by the age-60 rule, despite grass-roots lobbying by pilots seeking to change it. Now, the union is reconsidering its stance. Last September, ALPA's executive board voted unanimously to begin a thorough review of its position on the rule. The union plans a communications effort to educate its members about the rule and will take a poll this year to gauge their feelings about it. "This reexamination will help determine ALPA's future position on mandatory retirement -- whether it be to maintain or change the Association's policy," ALPA said in a statement on its Web site. It will be ALPA's first major re-examination of the rule since 1980. 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.

FAA EXAMINERS NOW SPORT PILOT READY
Eight brand-new Sport Pilot Examiners were certified by the FAA last Saturday in Sebring, Fla., at the conclusion of the first-ever Sport Pilot Examiner/Sport Pilot Flight Instructor Examiner course. The examiners spent a busy week, studying the new regulations and practical test standards, taking flight tests and perusing the new examiner handbook. "They are a credit to the light sport aviation community," said Marty Weaver, manager of the FAA's Light Sport Aviation Branch. He said he also got lots of valuable feedback to help improve future courses. The first five experimental light-sport aircraft (ELSA) also were certified during the week. More...

ORBIT CLOSER FOR SPACE ENTREPRENEURS
The success of the X Prize competition has spawned a new wave of efforts to launch private spaceships and build spaceports -- so many that the field is starting to sort out into various subgroups. Most active are the companies we told you about on Monday, who are trying to launch manned ships into space and back, mainly for tourism. But gaining fast are the next tier of contenders, who have their eyes on the prize of getting into orbit, and staying as long as they like. Last week, in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX took a leap forward when it successfully tested its Merlin rocket engine, which produces 73,000 pounds of thrust, Wired News reported. The engine burned for 162 seconds -- long enough to boost a 1,500-pound payload into orbit. More...

HEADSET CAUSING HEADACHE?
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AIRCRAFT BURGLARIES SPIKE IN SOUTHEAST
If you live in Florida, keep an eye on your airplane ... according to the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute (ACPI), that state leads the nation by far in numbers of burglaries from aircraft in 2004. "All late-model Bendix/King and Garmin units are the preferred choice of thieves," says Robert Collins, president of ACPI. "GPS units have become very popular." 2004 is the first year since 1990 that aircraft burglaries have been higher than the previous year, Collins said. Theft activity in Florida and Georgia has spiked this year's statistics. "That spike kind of surprised us," Collins told AVweb yesterday, but he said it was not related to last year's hurricanes in that area. More...

REPORT: AIRLINER ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS TOO COSTLY, UNRELIABLE
It would cost $11 billion to equip the 6,800 airliners in the U.S. fleet with systems to guard against attacks from shoulder-fired missiles, according to a Rand Corporation study issued Tuesday. Operating the system would cost an additional $2.1 billion per year. And the laser systems now in use on military aircraft are too unreliable, the report said. False alarms are frequent, and terrorists might be able to find ways to circumvent the safeguards anyway. "Resources available for homeland security are limited, so we must strive to get the most benefit from our investments," said Michael Wermuth, director of Rand's homeland security program. "There may well be other strategy alternatives that could prove to be less expensive and considerably more effective." 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.

THERE'S ETHANOL IN THOSE PUMPS
A change to the way gasoline is sold in Montana could have ramifications for pilots everywhere who use auto fuel, EAA said yesterday. Legislation pending in the Montana legislature mandates that all gasoline sold to consumers for use in motor vehicles must contain 10 percent denatured ethanol. Many aircraft cannot operate safely on fuel blended with ethanol products, EAA said, including all future special light-sport airplanes (S-LSAs). The ASTM/FAA standards for the S-LSAs require them to operate on unleaded gasoline. More...

FORGET FLYING CARS -- TAKE A JET TAXI
If you're tired of waiting for a flying car, a London company is already at work on the next big thing -- a jet taxi that can zip passengers in and out of city centers faster and quieter than a helicopter. Avcen, based in London, is developing what it calls a "Very Quiet Short Takeoff and Landing Jetpod Aircab." "We know that cities like Moscow, Tokyo and New York are crying out for something like this and there's nothing remotely like it around," Avcen managing director Mike Dacre told CNN. The six-seat twinjet can take off in less than 400 feet and fly at 300 knots, make half the noise of a regular jet, and sell for under a million U.S. dollars -- at least, on paper. The company says it's 16 months away from getting a proof-of-concept aircraft into the air. More...

EXTENDED HOURS AND ONLINE SERVICES KEEP AVEMCO FIRST
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ON THE FLY...
AOPA members have donated $44,000 so far for tsunami relief...
FAA has published traffic procedures for Super Bowl...
Global Flyer to launch Feb. 6 in Kan., if wx allows...
Detroit Metro controllers driven out of the tower by fumes...
Corporate Angel Network flew 20,000th flight for a cancer patient...
UND and ALPA to offer courses in aviation accident investigation...
A beefed-up helicopter in the works could fly rescues above 25,000 ft. 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...

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.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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BRAINTEASERS
Quiz #90 -- Decode VIP, AP, LOM
From the edge of outer space to the low-life missed approach environment, all pilots should be able to spit out obscure aviation terminology and know how to apply the info for safer flight. 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 ...
This week, an AVweb reader wonders which cockpit flight control configuration private and light sport pilots would prefer if given a choice. "I've never figured out why light aircraft designers configured single-pilot flight controls for the right hand while two-pilot cockpits usually require the pilot in command to fly left-handed," he writes. PLUS: Results of last week's question on flying through MOAs (Military Operation Areas). More...

EXPERIENCE FAST, EFFECTIVE AIRCRAFT SOURCING WITH AVBUYER.COM
AvBuyer.com offers the complete solution when buying and selling aircraft, listing business aircraft from around the world along with the most complete listing of piston airplanes in Europe. Try AvBuyer.com today and experience fast, effective aircraft sourcing — or sign up for the complimentary latest aircraft e-mail alert. For more information, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avbuyer/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
"Weather" is the theme of this installment of "Picture of the Week." Our latest crop of photos took us around the world — from snowy Ontario to the sweltering Iraqi landscape to a rainy day in Tucson, Arizona. Thanks to his winning contribution, Tucson resident Jim McGill will get a brand-new AVweb baseball cap to keep the rain out of his eyes. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS  
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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.
SEE CLEARLY METHOD IMPROVES & STRENGTHENS VISION NATURALLY
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SPONSOR NEWS
ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS & PILOTS
The new Piper Flyer Association (PFA) provides parts locating, tech support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national & regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. For less than a tank of fuel ($39.00 for a one-year membership), you can access the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from owning and flying your Piper aircraft. Join the Piper Flyer Association (PFA) today as they build the ultimate Piper association. Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pfa/avflash.
ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HARDWARE!
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BETTER THAN AN IFR REFRESHER — REAL-WORLD FLYING INFORMATION
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THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T YOU?
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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 Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
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