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Volume 11, Number 16b April 21, 2005

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

LIGHTSPEED AVIATION INTRODUCES NEW LINE OF HEADSETS
LightSPEED's new LightFlight L-1 ultra-lightweight aviation headset weighs in at only 0.5 ounces but is a heavyweight in features. LightSPEED's in-the-ear technology attenuates 35-45dB of noise and features the same standard features as their premium headsets: High-fidelity stereo speakers, electret mic, cell/satellite phone and music input, carry case, and a 3-year warranty. Retail price is $399 USD. For more information and to place an order, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/L1/avflash.

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

YOUR NEXT CAR COULD BE AN AIRCRAFT...
Flying cars are back in the news this week, thanks to Nevada inventor Woody Norris, who is working on an ultralight helicopter called the AirScooter. Norris has won a prestigious inventors' award -- for his work in acoustics, not aviation -- and he and his flying machine were featured in Sunday night's "60 Minutes" show on CBS. Norris has developed a new four-stroke engine for his AirScooter, which has two counter-rotating rotors, and he says it is stable and easy to control. A video clip at his Web site shows the single-seat AirScooter taking off vertically, maneuvering just a few feet above the ground and returning to its launch site. An unmanned version is also in the works. Norris says AirScooters will be available for sale later this year at $50,000 apiece. More...

...DEEP POCKETS COULD MAKE THE DIFFERENCE
"60 Minutes" also looked at the CarterCopter and the Moller SkyCar. The CarterCopter prototype has been flying off and on for a few years, but was sidelined by a wheels-up landing and then by an in-flight fire. SkyCar inventor Paul Moller says his futuristic vehicle will fly like a "magic carpet," but so far it has test-flown only while tethered to a crane. But it probably comes closest to the Jetson-style flying car that people imagine the future should bring. Michael Kanellos, of CNET News, speculated last week that flying cars could be the next thing to attract the attention -- and the assets -- of the high-tech billionaires and entrepreneurs who have been funding much of the new space industry. More...

CLASSIFIEDS (UPDATED DAILY), PRODUCT/ADVERTISER INDICES, DEALERS AND
Brokers, Forums, NAAA Evaluator, Performance Database, Spec Sheets, Weather — all in Trade-A-Plane. Trade-A-Plane gives you the best of both worlds, in print and online. Order your subscription by calling (800) 337-5263 and mentioning this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/tap/avflash.

AIR SUPPORT FOR WILDFIRES UNCERTAIN...
In states across the western U.S., wildfires are an inevitable part of summer, and aircraft are depended on to keep them under control. But with many operators facing tight budgets and a scarcity of airplanes, concerns are already widespread that the firefighting capacity will fall short. The Oakland (Calif.) Tribune reported this week that the federal fleet is in "crisis," with many airplanes still grounded by airworthiness concerns and others available only for limited duty. On Monday, the National Interagency Fire Center announced that it has approved 10 tankers for service -- seven P-3 Orions, a DC-7 and two P-2Vs -- but will monitor them closely for signs of fatigue. More...

...747 TANKER NOT YET APPROVED...
Meanwhile, in Arizona, a retrofitted 747 super-tanker is not yet approved to fly by the FAA, and may not be ready for this summer. "We don't know how much it drops and how accurate it is," Rose Davis, spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center, told The Arizona Republic. The 747 can carry 24,000 gallons of water and retardant in four tanks, about eight times what ordinary tankers carry. Critics worry that the airplane can't fly low enough to be effective, and the massive drops might be hazardous to firefighters on the ground. More...

...ARE FIREHOGS THE ANSWER?
One voice in the wilderness is trying to gain support for converting surplus A-10 Warthog fighter jets into "Firehogs." Ed Herlik, a Colorado pilot, formed AeroTech Ltd. to work on converting the aircraft and training pilots. But first he has to convince the Pentagon to let them go, and so far that's been an uphill battle. The idea lacks the powerful supporters it would need to make headway in state and federal government, according to The Oakland Tribune. "There's unlimited money to fight wildfires after they start but none to develop air tankers that work," said Herlik. 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.

SAILPLANE POSTS NORTH AMERICAN DISTANCE RECORD
A California glider pilot has been quietly working away at breaking the North American distance record, with a flight of 1,212 miles in 13 hours and 17 minutes on April 3, breaking his own unofficial record of 1,130 miles set eight days earlier. Gordon Boettger flew a 33-year-old Kestrel 17 sailplane along the rising wave of air on the downwind side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range during a lee-wave storm. He reached heights of 27,000 feet, and the canopy of the plane was sometimes covered in ice. Boettger, 37, soloed in a glider at age 14, flew off aircraft carriers during eight years in the Navy and now flies MD-11s for Federal Express. More...

SAME PILOT, NEW INFORMATION, FIRED
A New Zealand airline pilot has lost a round in court in his effort to return to the cockpit after his employer of 16 years fired him. According to the pilot, the airline unfairly used incidents in his private life to get rid of him. The airline said that even though the Civil Aviation Authority found the man fit to be a pilot, that doesn't mean the airline can't decide he's not fit to be an employee. The trouble began after the pilot was charged in two cases of assault against men his estranged wife had been seeing, and was cited for three off-duty flights he took in his private aircraft without an airworthiness certificate. The pilot said the airline didn't even know about these events for five years, and they had no effect on his performance in his job. More...

AVEMCO CONTINUES TO OFFER COVERAGE FOR PILOTS AT ALL AGES!
There has been a lot of press recently regarding an insurance "crisis" for older pilots.  But NOT at Avemco, the only direct insurer of general aviation pilots and aircraft owners.  Since 1961, Avemco has insured hundreds of thousands of pilots of all ages.  Find out about the advantages of insuring with Avemco.  Call (888) 241-7891, or visit Avemco's web site at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

HELICOPTER, CREW SURVIVE DUCK STRIKE
A medevac helicopter operated by CareFlight made a forced landing Monday morning after a collision with ducks in flight near Aberdeen, S.D. Three ducks broke through the windscreen and splattered pilot Curt Smith with blood and broken glass. "It was just a big explosion and lots of wind," Smith told The Keloland News. "I had trouble to see what we were doing, the crew in the back became my eyes." The crew helped direct Smith to a safe landing spot. With the changing seasons, birds are on the move. Tim Harris, airport wildlife officer at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, reported Tuesday that he has observed flocks of both brown pelicans and geese moving north, in groups of about 40 to 50. More...

SEARCH SUSPENDED FOR MISSING PILOTS
The search for two mature pilots from Pueblo, Colo., who set off on a pleasure trip in a red and tan 1954 Piper Tri-Pacer on April 7, has been suspended. Claiborne Courtright, 81, and William Duffy, 77, were last seen when they bought fuel at Kremmling, about 80 miles northwest of Denver. In 150 search flights, no sign of the airplane was found. "We just flat ran out of leads," Civil Air Patrol spokesman Stephen Blucher told The Associated Press. "We had checked everything we could possibly check." Both men were experienced pilots who enjoyed taking leisurely flights with no particular destination. More...

DON'T LET MOTHER'S DAY FLY BY WITHOUT REMEMBERING MOM
You'll be a hero this Mother's Day when you give your mother a gift from Oregon Aero that will make her flying experience painless, safer, and quieter. Treat Mom to a painless Oregon Aero™ Portable SoftSeat™ cushion that will fit in any aircraft and make sitting more comfortable — no matter how long the flight. Flying will be quieter and pain-free with an Oregon Aero™ Custom Headset Upgrade. Whether your mom is a pilot or a regular passenger, she will love a gift from Oregon Aero — and you, too. Only 17 shopping days left! Shop online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/avflash.

GLASAIR SPORTSMAN 2+2, (OUR) FIRST FLIGHT
At Sun 'n Fun 2005, AVweb had the pleasure of flying a Glasair Sportsman 2+2 ... that we didn't have to build. First impression: excellent short-field and slow-flight performance with respectable cruise, and light, balanced controls with little adverse yaw ... but don't expect short people to have an especially easy time getting in. The Sportsman is a capable, kit-built, two-seat high-wing with space for two big people plus two little people in back -- plus fishing rods and the grace to put you somewhere you can enjoy them. The aircraft we flew was tugged by a 180-hp engine and a constant-speed prop, carried fresh fuel and two plus one pilots, wouldn't stall (without above-and-beyond persuasion), handily outpaced a 172, and would fly before the airspeed indicator pointed toward the first number. More...

ARIZONA AIRPORTS LOSE A ROUND
A bill that would have allowed airports on state land in Arizona to get leases of 20 years instead of the current 10 failed last week in the state legislature. The bill's sponsors blamed pressure from Luke Air Force Base, which is close to Pleasant Valley Airport near Phoenix. The Air Force has said that there is enough air traffic already, and it doesn't want the airport to grow. Meanwhile, the airport's current lease will expire in two years, and the airport operator says he needs longer time frames to build his business, justify investments and qualify for federal funding. Local officials have said they will probably renew the lease for another 10 years, but by then they will probably be ready to carve up the surrounding pasturelands for residential development -- and the airport itself is likely to go next. More...

AOPA AIRCRAFT FINANCING — LOWER RATES AND EXTENDED TERMS
AOPA and MBNA are making aircraft ownership a lot more affordable and flexible!  New lower rates and an expanded financing offer that includes experimental and kit aircraft make the AOPA Aircraft Financing Program among the most competitive in the industry.  And to help make those monthly payments even more affordable, a 25-year term option is also available.  Call 1-800-62-PLANE today for a rate quote, or complete an online application at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/afp/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
TPA tower lost radio contact with pilots for 20 minutes Saturday...
FAA is paying $9 million to soundproof three schools near CVG...
New global weather data could prevent weather-related aviation delays. 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...

HELP FOR LOTUS NOTES USERS
It's come to our attention (thanks for the emails) that certain organizations in aviation use Lotus Notes for their email. Lotus notes does not show HTML email messages properly. The solution is for the reader to change the delivery format from HTML to text. Here is the procedure:

1. Go to the profile URL: http://www.avweb.com/profile/

2. Login with your email address and password. If you do not know your password, there is a link just below the password box to send your password via email.

3. Select Email Subscriptions/Preferences.

4. Change the format from HTML to text. More...

LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP FOR MIKE BUSCH'S INDIANAPOLIS SEMINAR!
Mike advises that there's still space for a few more aircraft owners in his Savvy Owner Seminar in Indianapolis on the weekend of May 14-15. Additional seminars are scheduled in Frederick, MD (October 22-23) and Long Beach, CA (December 10-11). Mike's seminar will teach you how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands of dollars on maintenance costs. For seminar details and to reserve your spot, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/savvy/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
BRAINTEASERS
Quiz #93 -- Thundering Questions
What can be taller than Mount Everest, wetter than a sloppy kiss, and meaner than a tax audit? Yes, thunderstorms. ATC offers some help around these gorgeous beasts, but successful circumnavigation depends on you. 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...

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.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Meigs is dead. Long live Meigs. This week, AVweb wants to know where you stand (in spring 2005) on the tearing down of Meigs Field. PLUS: Results of last week's question pitting glass-panel displays against analog displays. More...

IF YOU LOVE THE CHALLENGES AND REWARDS OF FLYING THE GAUGES
Don't miss this opportunity to subscribe to IFR magazine. Each issue briefs you on what you need to know to fine-tune your technique, sweet-talk the system, and bust-proof your ticket. Order now and save big at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ifrmag/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Welcome back to AVweb's "Picture of the Week." Several of you wrote to us at Sun 'n Fun to ask where last week's pictures were. Not to worry; we were only taking the week off to chase down news at the Fly-In. Choosing a "POTW" is somewhat time-consuming and difficult to do when most of our team is on the road — plus, we had the Sun 'n Fun galleries to prepare for you last week. But we're back to full strength this week — with two weeks' worth of great photos to share! Excited yet? If not, then wait 'til you see Gavin Conroy's prize-winning photo from the Classic Air Fighters show in Blenheim, New Zealand. What prize did Gavin win? Why, an official AVweb baseball cap, of course! And you can win one of your own by submitting your photo today. More...

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PILOT GETAWAYS MAGAZINE — YOUR FLIGHT PLAN FOR ADVENTURE
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ASA MEETS THE NEEDS OF SPORT PILOTS
ASA and Sport Pilot expert Paul Hamilton have introduced a new line of products dedicated to the Sport Pilot — the "Freedom to Fly" series. The Sport Pilot airman certificate provides a simple path to a pilot certificate and to a variety of aircraft that people can own and/or operate inexpensively. Now more people will be able to experience the freedom to fly. Learn about all your flying options and what is right for you with the Sport Pilot DVD. Gain FAA certification with the Sport Pilot Test Prep book or Prepware. Learn whether to fly with the Weather to Fly DVD. Meet the pilot record-keeping requirements in the beautiful and useful Sport Pilot Logbook. For complete details about this new series of Sport Pilot products, visit ASA's web site at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.
WORRIED ABOUT BUSTING A REG?  YOU SHOULD BE!
It's all too easy with today's tightened rules and enforcement.  Join the smart pilots who trust Aviation Safety to keep them aware and in the air.  Discover this informative, instructive monthly that sharpens your savvy and air readiness.  Subscribe now for big savings from the regular rate at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avsafe/avflash.
ORDER PHOTON'S FREEDOM MICRO-LIGHT & RECEIVE A HANDS-FREE CLIP AT NO COST
Or get a hands-free clip on its own for only $4.95. Great for night flying! NEW: The camouflage version of the Photon Micro-Light I, II, and III and the Photon Fusion are now available. To find the Photon Micro-Light for your flying, hunting, and outdoor needs, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/photon/avflash.
"EVOLUTION AT THE SCOPES: AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL IS CHANGING"
The May issue of Flying magazine reports on how the ATC system — and its employees — are changing to make ATC a very attractive career. Plus: "What to Do When the Engine Quits"; "Flying Four-by-Fours: Fixed-Gear Four-Seat Review"; "Weather Traps"; "The Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan"; and much more — with money-saving subscription prices at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying/avflash.
AIRSPORT AVIONICS OFFERS A $100 DISCOUNT & COMPLIMENTARY SHIPPING
AirSport Avionics is the only manufacturer of Altitude Alerters that work by listening to everything your transponder and encoder are reporting to ATC, both Mode A (squawk code) and Mode C (altitude). A double benefit! AirSport Alerters are completely portable and don't require permanent installation. SPECIAL: $100 discount on all models, with complimentary ground shipping. Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/airsport/avflash.
COMMUNICATE, NAVIGATE & SAVE!  FLY CONFIDENTLY BY TRAINING WITH COMM1
Radio Simulators — unique, interactive CD-ROMs designed to teach pilots how to communicate safely and professionally with Air Traffic Control. Comm1 also offers an interactive Navigation CD-ROM and a VOR/NDB Simulator to help understand and visualize every flight. And "Getting Around on the Ground" will help negotiate airports and runways. Order online and save $10 on the purchase of any combination of Comm1 CDs or Navigation products, or save $20 with a purchase of 3 CDs at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/comm1/avflash.
FIRST-TIME PILOTS ARE SPEECHLESS — THEN THEY CAN'T STOP TALKING
The experience starts with Be A Pilot, the national learn-to-fly program sponsored by the General Aviation community. Since 1997, over 200,000 people have registered to take their first lessons at one of the 2,100+ flight schools nationwide. Give the gift of flight. Register for a low-cost $49 first flying lesson — or give one as the perfect gift — at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/beapilot/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
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FEELING GUILTY? YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING & REVIEWING ...
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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 Mary Grady:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#mgrady
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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