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Volume 11, Number 8a -- February 21, 2005

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

PILOT INSURANCE CENTER (PIC) TEAMS WITH AVEMCO TO OFFER LIFE INSURANCE
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

CORPORATE CRASHES SPARK SAFETY FOCUS…
What was a recommendation is now a rule. The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive requiring operators (as a revision to the aircraft's flight manual) to give an extra touch of care when flying in cold weather. Effective this week, operators of Bombardier Challenger 600-series aircraft (including regional jets and the newer 601 models) must run a hand over the leading edges and front top surfaces of wings during freezing temperatures (we don't know if you're allowed to wear a glove). The AD requires that the aircraft flight manuals be amended to include, as a takeoff limitation, the visual and tactile inspection for ice during cold-weather operations. Ice may have been a factor in the crash of a Challenger in November in Colorado and Transport Canada has discovered that even a small amount of ice on the wings can seriously affect performance. More...

...RADAR DATA STUDIED IN PUEBLO CRASH...
And while ice is widely speculated to have had something to do with the crash of a Cessna Citation 560 in Pueblo, Colo., last Wednesday (freezing drizzle was reported at the time), NTSB Chairwoman Ellen Engleman Connors was more cryptic Thursday. "There were some, shall we say, interesting characteristics" revealed by radar data, she said, but refused to elaborate. Frank Hilldrup, the chief NTSB investigator for the crash, said radar showed the Cessna dropping more than 1,000 feet in the 45 seconds before the crash. Two witnesses reported hearing a series of loud pops just before the crash, leading some to speculate that the aircraft may have suffered an engine compressor stall (which can be caused by ice, among other things). More...

...AS ALPHABETS AND FAA TALK SAFETY
As crews continued the cleanup in Colorado, the FAA and members of various alphabet groups were meeting to, as NBAA President Ed Bolen put it, "discuss industry involvement in promoting safety." The meeting was called before the Pueblo crash but was in response to a spate of business aircraft crashes in the last few months. But Bolen maintains that the FAA's categorization for business aviation is too broad to provide the clear data needed to get at the root causes of business aviation accidents. Bolen told AVweb that true business aviation stats are skewed by the fact that mishaps involving commercial carriers on positioning flights (like the Pinnacle Airlines CRJ crash late last year) are flown under Part 91 and hence become part of the business aviation accident data. As is normal with such meetings, it has led to more meetings. More...

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ERROR REPORTS (AND DRAMA) UP AT NEW YORK TRACON...
Union leaders and politicians say a cut in overtime at the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control center has mushroomed the rate of operational errors (19 in the last month compared to 24 in the previous year) and they're urging the FAA to relax the restrictions. But it's also worth noting that the errors have, according to The New York Times, been reported through an anonymous tips line that roared to life after the apparently unpopular manager of the TRACON put a tighter lid on overtime on Jan. 12 and, as AVweb told you Jan. 13, 15 controllers were fired for alleged discrepancies in their medical records. In fact, the 226 controllers at the TRACON signed a Feb. 3 letter saying the manager had embarked "on a reckless mission" by reducing controller strength when traffic is increasing, according to the Times. More...

...SENATORS JOIN THE FRAY...
Now, Senators Hilary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer have jumped into the fray, writing a letter to the FAA pointing out that the agency has pledged to cut flights if it can't properly staff its control facilities. "It is imperative that our air traffic control facilities are adequately staffed," Clinton said in a statement released Wednesday. They claim the new overtime policy has not only increased errors, but "congested frequencies," and suspended training. More...

...NIGHT TOWER-CLOSURE PLAN PROCEEDS
At the opposite end of the capacity debate, the FAA is pushing ahead with plans to close up to 48 towers for five to eight hours late at night and early in the morning when it says controllers have little or nothing to control. As AVweb told you in December, the agency wants to reallocate the resources to busier times (or busier towers). FAA spokesman William Shumann told The Washington Times the agency won't reveal the final list until the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation, the Treasury and independent agencies hold a hearing on its budget. More...

FROM PORTABLE TO PANEL-MOUNT — JA AIR CENTER IS THE PLACE TO BUY GARMIN
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FAA MUM ON LYCOMING, AS LYC SEEKS APPEAL
The FAA is declining comment (for now, at least) on a court case in Texas that determined the agency was misled on the cause of Lycoming engine crankshaft failures that caused 24 crashes and killed 12 people between 2000 and 2002. As AVweb told you last Thursday, a Grimes County jury found that Lycoming had fraudulently claimed that improper heat treatment of the crankshaft forgings by subcontractor Interstate Southwest was the cause of the failures. It awarded damages to Interstate totaling $96 million. Lycoming has confirmed it will appeal. FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said the agency is aware of the decision and constantly monitors the safety of aircraft engines but is not taking any direct action because of the verdict. "Court cases have their own dynamics [based on] who is more persuasive to the jurors," Martin told AVweb. More...

HAPPY, SAD MILESTONES FOR SPORT PILOT/LIGHT SPORT
The implementation of the Light Sport Aircraft category passed a significant milestone last week, but you still can't buy one. The FAA signed off on the industry-developed consensus standards for S-LSA aircraft (which are factory-built and ready to fly) and E-LSA aircraft (which require at least a token amount of construction by the owner). A Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register this week. "Manufacturers can begin finalizing their designs and production plans," said FAA official Scott Sedgwick. However, there are still other standards, including maintenance and assembly instructions, that have to be passed before the aircraft classification is fully implemented (and you can actually buy one). Meanwhile, as these latest "firsts" were being celebrated, a Muskogee, Okla., family is grieving what may be a sad but inevitable first for the new flight category. More...

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RETIRED AIR FORCE ONE GETS $31 MILLION HANGAR
While we don't know how much a used 707 goes for these days, the $31 million hangar taxpayers are funding to keep the rain off one to be based in California might be a bid worth considering. Of course, this is no ordinary 707. It's the old turbojet that carried Ronald Reagan to the far corners of the world for his Cold War-ending private chats with the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev (here ends our knowledge of world politics). The Boeing, dubbed the Spirit of 76, is now mounted on a pedestal, in takeoff attitude, as workers create the Air Force One Pavilion at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. "I know Ronald Reagan is looking down on us and saying, 'This is wonderful,'" said Duke Blackwood, executive director of the library. More...

FINDING (REAL) PARTS NOW EASIER
Thanks to the Internet, it's now not only easier to find parts for your plane, it's also simpler to make sure you're not getting something the FAA hasn't approved. Inventory Locator Service has cross-referenced its database of more than five billion (yes, that's a B) parts with the FAA's Part Manufacturer Approval (PMA) system, which lists all the approvals for parts made for certified airplanes. The result, says ILS President Bruce Langen, is better exposure for parts makers and better selection for parts buyers. But what happens if one of those parts falls from grace with FAA? Enter the agency's Unapproved Parts Notices (UPN) online service. More...

ATTENTION, AIRCRAFT OWNERS:
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CESSNA EDGES CIRRUS IN NUMBERS GAME
Alan Klapmeier called it correctly. The engaging and unflappable president of Cirrus Design told AVweb at AirVenture 2004 he didn't expect to sell more airplanes than Cessna last year, even though he was winning the numbers game at the end of the first two quarters. He was almost wrong. Cessna edged Cirrus by only 12 sales of four-place piston aircraft in 2004, edging the Duluth company by a margin of 565 to 553. "I'm pleased but I'm never satisfied," Klapmeier told the Duluth News Tribune. Cirrus increased sales by 18 percent and Cessna's output of four-place singles (172s and 182s) was up 10 percent. More...

"BOMB" BAG SHIPPED, THEN BLOWN UP
It was not the TSA's finest hour but at least they followed their own rules -- according to the TSA. A woman was barred from a Mesa Airlines flight from Phoenix to San Diego on Thursday after she allegedly told a screener that the TSA "couldn't find a bomb [in her bag] if there was one." While the woman was detained, the bag was put on the flight, where it traveled uneventfully to San Diego -- uneventfully, that is, until arrival. At Lindbergh field, the plane was evacuated, the passengers and crew were delayed for debriefing and the (previously cleared) luggage was extricated from the aircraft and blown up (not of its own accord). It was all by the book, according to the TSA's Nico Melendez. More...

DOC BLUE'S EMEGENCY MEDICAL KIT: DON'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!
Do you carry a first aid kit in your airplane or car?  AVweb's Brent Blue, M.D., says drug-store first aid kits are packed with stuff that is mostly useless.  Over the years, Dr. Blue has assembled his own traveling medical kit for dealing with on-the-road emergencies, based on his long experience as an emergency room doc, frequent traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad.  Read about what's in Dr. Blue's kit by clicking here. The kit is on sale by calling (888) 362-7123 or visiting http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Emergency AD issued for Cessna 402 and 414 models -- spar cracks...
Fuel theft may have led to crash...
Goulian takes Today Show host for a spin...
Former Boeing exec got four months for role in conflict scandal. 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...

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.

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
AVmail: Feb 21, 2005
Reader mail this week about the FSS contract, armed and disgruntled airline pilots, the Lycoming lawsuit and much more. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
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COLUMNS
The Pilot's Lounge #84: Arrogance, Etiquette And Big Fat Traffic Patterns
"Are you going to land here or keep going on downwind into the next county?" It's painful to be in the pattern behind a pilot who thinks a stabilized final approach in a Cessna means a two-mile final. But just what are the rules and safe practices regarding the size of a traffic pattern? AVweb's Rick Durden looks into it this month in The Pilot's Lounge. 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: 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 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...

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.

SHORT FINAL...
ATC: Saratoga 12345, traffic at 3,000 feet (same altitude), 1 O'Clock, 3 miles opposite direction.

Saratoga 12345: Roger, looking for traffic.

(long pause)

Saratoga 12345: Approach, Saratoga 12345, no joy on that traffic, can you give us a better location on it?

ATC: I can give you a much better location ... he's 2 miles behind you. Traffic no longer a factor. In spite of your best efforts, the Big Sky theory wins again. More...

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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
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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