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Volume 11, Number 12a March 21, 2005

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

LYCOMING BATTLES FRAUD VERDICT...
It's a long way from Textron headquarters in Williamsport, Pa., to Anderson, Texas, both literally and figuratively, but corporate honchos from the company that brings you Cessna and Lycoming products are getting to know the place pretty well. For it's in that unlikely little city north of Houston that the fortunes of an aviation icon and industry dynasty could turn. As AVweb told you last month, a jury in Anderson laid the full blame for faulty crankshafts in high-powered Lycoming engines on Lycoming. The jury also found that Lycoming engaged in fraud when it negotiated a new supply contract with Intestate Southwest, the Navasota, Texas, contractor Lycoming had hired to forge crankshaft billets, without informing the company of crankshaft failures it knew about. Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, will carry a story in its April edition that delves deeply into the technical and legal details of the case and what it could mean for individual owners and the industry as a whole. More...

...FAA REPORT KEPT FROM JURY...
Lycoming's legal team is now formulating its appeal and further action could revolve around the FAA's involvement in the case. During the massive recall of some 1800 crankshafts during 2002 and 2003, the FAA accepted Lycoming's contention that Interstate had overheated the forgings and weakened the metal in them. It included that finding in the Emergency Airworthiness Directive that grounded the affected aircraft. But the jury didn't get to hear about the FAA's investigation into the crank failures because the judge in the Anderson trial excluded the report from the agency's Special Certification Review Team as prejudicial and hearsay. Lycoming attorney Rich Bedell told Aviation Consumer that the FAA SCRT report supports Lycoming's view that overheating caused the crank failures and the company may appeal the exclusion of that evidence. More...

...RECERTIFICATION OF CRANKSHAFTS?
Aviation Consumer's report was based on lengthy detailed interviews with legal counsel for both sides. The final verdict has not yet been entered by Judge Jerry Sandel in Texas district court. A hearing is scheduled for March 22 -- tomorrow -- to consider that process and also to entertain possible motions from Lycoming to seal certain parts of the record relating to proprietary and competitive information. And while untold millions of dollars will rest on these and future legal wranglings, there could also be a major impact on engine owners and the industry as a whole if the FAA is sufficiently pressured to consider recertifying crankshafts for higher-horsepower Lycoming engines based on the jury's findings. More...

JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN SOURCE, IS PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE A NEW LOWER PRICE ON THE GARMIN GPSMAP 296 WITH TERRAIN — ONLY $1,495!
All the new aviation GPS units are in stock, including the GPSMap 296, iQue 3600A, GPSMap 96C, and GPSMap 96.  Also, JA Air Center stocks non-aviation Garmin GPS like the StreetPilot 2620, Quest, GPS V Deluxe, eTrex Legend C, GPSMap 60CS, GPSMap 76C, and the GPS 10 Deluxe GPS (Bluetooth compatible).  Established in 1965, JA Air Center prides themselves on being Garmin's largest avionics dealer.  With exceptional customer service and the finest Garmin avionics installations, JA Air Center is the place to purchase your next Garmin product.  Extensive inventory of all Garmin units and accessories.  Contact JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ja/296/avflash.

USER FEES LOOMING?
Could the United States soon join the majority of countries in which pilots and/or aircraft owners are charged user fees to fund airspace, airport and navigation operation and infrastructure? From the way senior government officials were talking at the FAA's 30th Annual Forecast Conference in Washington, things could be moving in that direction. With the agency predicting a 45-percent increase in air travel in the next 10 years and the federal government in need of controlling its spiraling debt, the FAA would appear to be running out of palatable choices. "Our workload goes up, our revenue goes down," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey remarked. "We need a revenue stream based both on our costs and on our actual units of production." Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta also talked of the need for a "new revenue stream" (not increases in the old revenue streams, a new revenue stream). "Not on our watch," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. More...

...WORKLOAD UP, REVENUE DOWN...
According to FAA predictions, the number of passengers boarding airliners in the U.S. will top one billion by 2015 compared to about 550 million this year. Couple that with a trend toward smaller aircraft on more direct flights and declining air fares (which are taxed to fund the FAA) and it looks like trouble is brewing -- or is it? Blakey and Mineta were careful to point out that the government is working on resolving air traffic issues. "We are redesigning airspace, deploying new software that will help increase capacity and putting new procedures in place," Blakey said. "We will be ready." What that form of readiness will be is another question. More...

...AMID STRANGE SPENDING PRIORITIES
One of the curiosities of FAA budget priorities may be expressed in the veritable building boom of control towers across the country. Multimillion-dollar towers, many of them 200 feet tall or more, are being built all over the country. In a lot of cases the towers are being built long before they are needed, according to the airport officials being quoted. And while there seems to be money (and apparently a perceived need) to build state-of-the-art new towers, the equipment being installed in some of them was created when bell bottoms were popular (... the first time). More...

POWERLINK™ FADEC CERTIFIED ON LIBERTY XL-2; IS IT RIGHT FOR YOUR AIRCRAFT?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tcm/fadec/avflash.

FROM COCKPIT TO HARDWARE AISLE
Ron Tessier paid defunct Canadian airline Jetsgo $30,000 to be trained to fly its planes. With $29,000 still owing on the loan he took out, Tessier, a pilot for 18 years, is heading home to Sudbury, Ont., and to a possible job at the local Home Depot to pay off the debt, Tessier told the Toronto Globe and Mail. Jetsgo demanded the $30,000 payments up front from all its pilots as a repayable (over two years) "loyalty bond" to prevent them from jumping to another airline after they were qualified. However, it was Jetsgo that pulled the pin on the pilots and other employees by declaring bankruptcy last week. Newer pilots, like Tessier, have virtually no chance of recovering their bonds. "It's absolutely gone. It's going to bankrupt a lot of people," Tessier said. Meanwhile some passengers and employees are trying to get back what they can by auctioning off newly "rare "Jetsgo memorabilia on eBay. More...

SWARMS OF UAVS ENVISIONED
Remember when the fear was that we could cross paths with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)? Well, NASA is assuring us that it will someday be safe to "enable swarms of aircraft to move safely from one area to another as a flock or a group," according to NASA researcher John Melton. Melton was flushed with the success of a UAV experiment in which a pair of APV-3 UAVs (wingspan about 12 feet) went searching for a "virtual" forest fire. When one of them found the fire, it transmitted waypoint data to its wingmate and the second UAV "completed the mission." Along the way, the aircraft were able to autonomously react to obstacles while flying the pre-programmed mission. Meanwhile the Army is becoming quite attached to UAVs as reconnaissance and forward control platforms, and the smaller they are the better. More...

PAYING TOO MUCH FOR LIFE INSURANCE?
If you are a pilot who currently has or is applying for a life insurance policy with anyone other than the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC), STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! You are probably overpaying for your insurance or awaiting a higher premium once you are approved. PIC assures you the best policy at the best price from an agent who knows aviation and won't send your rate into a flat spin after underwriting. You have nothing to lose, and it might be the most profitable five minutes of your day. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 and get an instant quote, or visit PIC at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/piclife/avflash.

DRUNK-FLYING LAW TRIED AGAIN
The sometimes conflicting dynamics of political expediency and common sense will get another test in Pennsylvania as a state representative continues her campaign to make it illegal to fly drunk there. You may recall an earlier effort to pass the Flying While Impaired Bill was shot down by Gov. Ed. Rendell ... at least in part because some enterprising legislators saddled it with an amendment to fund rural bus service, which Rendell opposed. He vetoed the whole package and now legislators are trying again. "We're looking to see that it doesn't get too many amendments this time," said Rep. Kate Harper, who cosponsored the bill with Rep. Kathy Watson and Rep. Jacqueline Crahalla. One of the most high profile examples of reckless flying inspired the effort to fill the legal vacuum. More...

THE SECURITY OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT AIRCRAFT WORKERS
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials arrested 27 illegal immigrant workers in a raid last Tuesday -- the workers were fixing airliners. ICE conducted the raid on theTIMCO Aviation Services facility in Greensboro, N.C. The 27 people arrested face a variety of charges, including using false documents (most had driver's licenses). They come from Sudan, Chile, Peru, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Venezuela, Mexico and Laos. At least one had obtained his A&P rating from the FAA. "As the 9/11 Commission pointed out, the United States cannot risk having 'unknown' people working on its critical infrastructure," ICE spokesman Thomas O'Connell said in a statement. More...

NEW MOUNTING SYSTEM FOR HAND-HELD ELECTRONIC DEVICES FROM AEROMEDIX
If you carry electronic devices afield, LobsterMount will keep them safe and accessible. The basic mount is a universal mount for most screw bases and comes with a clamp-on or suction cup base.  The cradle will hold any electronic device such as a GPS, PDA, or small radio.  You can mount anything with this inexpensive system!  LobsterMount comes with a lifetime guarantee against breakage.  This new series of mounts has it all.  Call Aeromedix.com at (888) 362-7123, or go online under "Cockpit Accessories" at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

FRANCE ISSUES EMERGENCY AD ON AIRBUS RUDDERS
First it was voluntary, but it now appears airlines operating A300 and A310 aircraft will be compelled to conduct thorough inspections of the planes' composite rudders. France's civil aviation regulator has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive calling for the one-time visual and tap-test inspection to be completed within 550 hours or before June 18. Other countries generally adopt similar Emergency ADs but none had been issued by the FAA at our deadline. France's action comes two weeks after an Air Transat A310 lost almost its entire rudder while at cruise on a trip from Cuba to Quebec. More...

SOUTHWEST BACKS WAIVERS TO AGE 60 RULE
They may be bright orange on the outside but Southwest Airlines apparently likes its Boeing 737s a little gray on the inside. According to Time Magazine, Southwest is poised to become the first major airline to back a bid by a pilots' group to abolish the Age 60 rule. "Times are changing," Southwest spokeswoman Linda Rutherford told Time. "We are losing some really good pilots." Time said Southwest intends to file a "friend of the court brief" in favor of a bid by a group of 12 pilots who have asked the Supreme Court to review their attempt to have waivers to the rule granted. In the past, airlines and pilots' unions have resisted attempts to get rid of the age cap, for their own reasons. More...

LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 — NOW CERTIFIED TO FL250
The Columbia 400's twin turbochargers can now be put to full effect with the aircraft's recent certification to 25,000 feet.  With the added altitude to play with, the Columbia 400 gives pilots even more flexibility than before.  Set the throttle to 80% power and cruise at 235 knots — that's faster than any other piston-powered aircraft in production today. Or ease the power back and increase range to standard-setting levels.  A company official recently flew an unmodified Columbia 400 non-stop from Bend, Oregon to Fort Worth, Texas (a distance of more than 1,300 nm) while averaging 200 kts.  Find out what a Columbia 400 can do for you. http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lancair/avflash

Visit Lancair at Sun 'n Fun Booth #MD-009A

CVR OFFERS DETAILS OF HOBBY CRASH
The pilots of a Gulfstream II on its way to pick up former President George Bush last Nov. 22 may have been following the wrong navigation aid as they descended in IMC toward Hobby Airport in Houston. Cockpit voice recordings released last week reveal an exchange between the pilot Milford Dickson and co-pilot Michael DeSalvo (reportedly with some 19,000 hours of flight time, each) suggest the pair may have been following a VOR signal when they thought they were tuned into Hobby's ILS. The plane clipped a light pole and crashed in a field near a freeway. Both pilots and flight attendant Kristi Dunn died. More...

OWLS ATTRACTED TO PROTECT RUNWAY
A California community has come up with a high-flying approach to combating the crumbling infrastructure at its little airport. They're letting a local Boy Scout put up owl boxes in trees near the runway at Columbia Airport, near Sonora in northern California. It seems gophers have made a mess of the grass strip, digging holes and creating mounds of earth that can make for jarring landings and takeoffs. The 2,600-foot irrigated runway isn't even a year old. "Hopefully it is going to lower our maintenance costs and keep our brand-new runway in better shape," said airport director Jim Thomas. It may also help Harrison Young become an Eagle Scout. More...

JOIN AOPA: THE REAL-TIME FLIGHT PLANNER IS WORTH THE DUES ALONE!
Whether you're an experienced pilot, a student, or simply interested in aviation, AOPA membership can be an invaluable resource for you — at an incredible value. Join AOPA for just $39 a year and take advantage of exclusive member benefits. Membership includes a full year of AOPA Pilot magazine, 24-hour access to the "Members-Only" Section of AOPA's web site, and AOPA's Real-Time Flight Planner with up-to-the-minute flight restrictions, routing images, weather info and more! As the largest aviation organization in the world, AOPA advocates tirelessly for their over 400,000 members to protect their right to fly. So what are you waiting for? Become an AOPA member today by going online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/mbrsp/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
There's a "new" cub flying...
Memo gave NORAD authority to shoot down planes near nuke plants...
Continental Airlines granted flights to China...
British pilots host conference on cabin air...
Talks over airliner subsidies broke down...
Drunk Aussie charged after breaking into cockpit...
Metal fatigue confirmed as T-34 crash cause. 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...

ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS
The new Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) 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 Cessna aircraft.  Join the Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) today as they build the ultimate Cessna association. Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/cfa/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
The Pilot's Lounge #85: Some Blunt Talk About Aviation Insurance (or, What You Don't Know About Sublimits Can Hurt You)
Insurance -- and talking about insurance -- can be one of the most tedious things to deal with when the sky is blue and beckoning for winged aviators. Yet even pilots who think they've got it covered can be rudely awakened after an accident, as AVweb's Rick Durden explains in this month's column. More...

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
AVmail: March 21, 2005
Reader mail this week about MOAs, AVweb's weekly questions, and still more comments on three-engine 747s. 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...

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SHORT FINAL...
Caution for greenhorn on the runway...

As I taxied into the number two position (holding short of the runway behind one of the local flightschool aircraft) I switched to tower frequency -- just in time to hear the following transmission between the tower and student pilot:

Tower: Skyhawk 123 taxi into position and hold.

(pause)

Skyhawk 123: Aaaah ...

(short pause)

Skyhawk 123: ... Assume the position, 123. More...

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SEE WHAT ATC SEES — AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH IT
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FLYING MAGAZINE RECOGNIZES THE 6,000th KING AIR
The 6,000th King Air is a model 200 of which nearly 2,000 have been built for business and personal flying. The current B200 is the best-selling model in the King Air lineup. Flying reports in their April issue on this aviation milestone. Plus: "Airlines Set Safety Record," "FlightStar CT," "Garmin's GNS 480: A Perfect Approach Every Time," and all the writers you've come to know and respect. For subscriptions at money-saving rates, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying/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
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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