The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded,
Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
FUTURE OF FAA FUNDING...
You never get a bill for it, and there's no entry for it on your books
or your tax form, but that doesn't mean access to the National
Airspace System is free. And just how (perhaps more important, who's)
to pay for the increasingly expensive system was the subject of
invitation-only meetings between FAA officials and aviation industry
representatives last Monday and Tuesday. Nothing was resolved, but FAA
spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb aviation is changing and the
FAA must adapt its method of doing business to meet forecast increases
in traffic -- while revenues decrease. "To suggest that the status quo
remain in place is appallingly naive," Martin said in an exclusive
interview with AVweb. "It just doesn't add up." The FAA
maintains that a number of divergent factors have precipitated the
current funding situation. More...
And it now appears the initial softening-up period on the potential
for user fees is over. The term was, until recently, banished from the
FAA lexicon, but the volatile verbiage is now clearly on the table.
"Some groups have some very strong views when terms like 'user fees'
are used," Martin acknowledged. At the same time, he insists they are
not a foregone conclusion. "I don't think there's any predetermined
direction to go in this," he added. But he did say the intention is to
dissolve the Trust Fund at the end of the current budget-allocation
period in 2007, and that the new system that replaces it will need
more revenue. "There is no revenue [now] for the FAA that matches up
with what it costs," he said. And, as he predicted, the U-word
provoked a voluble response. More...
CAN BE COSTLY TOO...
While some of the attendees, Boyer included, came away with the
impression that user fees are the favored option, the National
Business Aviation Association's position is that the current system of
fuel taxes is perhaps the most fair. "There's no simpler and more
accurate way to distinguish between heavy and light users of the
system than to measure the amount of fuel burned," President Ed Bolen
said. He also noted that the introduction of user fees would require
establishment of another bureaucracy to administer, bill and collect
the money. He claimed it cost some user-fee-based agencies in Europe
up to $125 to process each transaction. And while opinions varied on
revenue creation, there was virtual unanimity on the need for the FAA
to get control of spending. More...
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) weighed in
with a 52-page analysis of not only the FAA's funding situation but a
comparison with the way other countries fund and manage their aviation
systems. NATCA's broad conclusion is that aviation affects virtually
all facets of modern life and should therefore be a shared burden. The
report, authored by NATCA Executive Vice President Ruth Marlin,
acknowledges that direct consumers of aviation activities (i.e.,
passengers and cargo customers) should pay a significant portion of
the FAA's costs but "they should not be required to fund the entire
cost as there is a portion of the costs that is clearly in the public
interest and therefore appropriately funded by the general treasury."
The FAA's Martin said it's a simplistic argument considering the other
pressures facing the government. More...
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SET TO DISCUSS GA AT DCA...
The political momentum behind a bid to reopen Ronald Reagan Washington
National Airport (DCA) to charter and GA traffic appears to be
unstoppable and the biggest question now seems to be when, not if,
those operations will be allowed to resume. And since Washington will
almost certainly remain under an air defense identification zone
(ADIZ) for the foreseeable future, just how the security apparatus
that tries (with varying degrees of success) to control access to the
ADIZ will cope with the influx of non-scheduled flights is also a big
question mark. For now, however, the focus is on cracking the
political barriers. More...
IN THE WINGS
As with every legislative bid to reopen DCA to GA the alphabet groups,
including AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA),
are following the progress in minute detail. AOPA's legislative
affairs staff met with the politicians involved to let them know about
GA security measures that have already been implemented, such as
Airport Watch and the guidelines established jointly between the
industry and the Transportation Security Administration. NBAA
President Ed Bolen said the initiatives are long overdue.
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A major improvement in turboprop sales helped GA manufacturers record
another strong quarter in the first three months of 2005. Turboprop
sales jumped 67.6 percent over the same period last year with a total
of 57 sales compared to 34 in Q1 2004, according to stats
released by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA)
last week. Gains in other sectors were more modest but all were on the
plus side of the ledger and that bodes well for the continued recovery
of the industry, said GAMA President Pete Bunce. "Strong industry
billings speak for the overall health of the general aviation
industry," Bunce said. More...
UAV FLIES FOR 24 HOURS
Earth Day was celebrated in silence on California's high desert as an
electric car company marked an aviation milestone. AC
Propulsion's SoLong unmanned aerial vehicle (it looks like a big
model glider) landed at 12:45 a.m. on April 22, having spent a little
longer than 24 hours aloft flying on battery and solar power alone,
the longest such flight of its type to date. "During the flight the
SoLong had made no noise, consumed no fossil fuels, emitted no
pollution and contributed nothing to global warming," according to a
report in EV World. More...
The high price of avgas has a Brazilian plane-maker turning to
alcohol. Neiva, a subsidiary of Embraer, delivered the
world's first production model ethanol-powered crop duster in March
and has plans to build 70 more this year. For 30 years, Brazil has
been developing ethanol-fueled vehicles to reduce dependence on oil
imports and at least a third of all cars produced there can run on
alcohol. There are about 400 aircraft adapted to run on ethanol but
the EMB 202 Ipanema is the first certified production aircraft. It's
powered by a Lycoming IO-540. More...
INSTRUMENTS KEEP PILOTS FROM PLANES
At least 12 aircraft owners at Chino Airport in California have been
unable to get to their airplanes for more than a month because of
their neighbor's hobby of collecting luminescent dialed instruments.
San Bernardino County officials say there are enough old airplane
instruments painted with radium-226 inside two hangars occupied by
Preservation Aviation Inc. to create a radiation hazard. Since March
10, authorities have barred access to neighboring hangars. Airport
manager James Jenkins told the Daily Bulletin that the neighboring
aircraft are not contaminated but the area around them is off-limits.
TAKE THE "SEARCH" OUT OF "SEARCH & RESCUE"
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ON AUCTION BLOCK AT AIRVENTURE
Everything needed to start your own amphibious airplane company will
go on the auction block at EAA AirVenture on July 27. Starting at 4:30
p.m. in the Vette Theatre, on the AirVenture grounds next to the
museum, Higgenbotham Auctioneers International will sell the type
certificate, STCs, tooling, fixtures, engineering data and inventory
for the Lake Amphibian series of aircraft. And although they aren't
strictly part of the package, the staff members who know how to make
the company make airplanes have indicated they'd like to join the new
owner "to ensure that they be able to operate immediately as a fully
functional aircraft manufacturer," according to a Higgenbotham news
LEVERAGES MOVE AMIDST GROWING PAINS
Growth can be a pain and the market's thirst for Cirrus airplanes may
force the company to shift some of its production from Duluth to Grand
Forks, N.D. Cirrus wants to build an additional 60,000 square feet of
manufacturing space to increase production from 12 planes a day to 16.
But problems with contaminated soils (and leasing issues on the
proposed site) in Duluth could make the company look west, according
to a story in the Duluth News Tribune. Cirrus spokesman Bill King said
the company hopes to move into its new digs by the end of the year.
"The truth is we need that space now," he said. More...
LANCAIR COLUMBIA 400 NOW CERTIFIED TO
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
PILOT HURT BY LASER
A second Delta Air Lines pilot has suffered eye injuries resulting
from a laser being pointed at his aircraft. The unidentified first
officer on a 737 was taken for medical treatment after reportedly
being hit with the laser while the plane was on approach to Dallas-Ft.
Worth International Airport last Tuesday. The plane landed safely. FBI
spokeswoman Lori Bailey said the pilot was lased when the plane was
six miles out at about 9,000 feet. Details of the pilot's condition
were not available. As AVweb told you in March, another Delta
pilot told Congress of the effects of a laser attack on his airplane
last September. More...
Fugitive flight student was arrested in England...
400 is Robb Report's Best of the Best...
Weight and balance device
Seatbelt air bags approved for Mooneys.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCAULEY IS "THINKING FORWARD" FOR THEIR
McCauley Propeller Systems, the world's
largest full-line propeller manufacturer, has launched its "Thinking
Forward" campaign. This customer-focused campaign brings
operators the option of upgrading their aircraft to achieve maximum
efficiency and performance. McCauley propellers are installed on
more than 250,000 aircraft worldwide. McCauley is the only
propeller and piston engine governor manufacturer with a worldwide
network of authorized service centers. Think Forward for your
aircraft with McCauley. See the McCauley professionals at the
Alaska Airmen's Show May 14-15, at Booths
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READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE
Reader mail this week about firefighting tankers,
ATC privatization, the value of various aircraft and much more.
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
As the Beacon Turns #89: Send In
Who needs two pilots in an airline cockpit when one
will do? For that matter, who needs one when a flight-sim-trained
teenager can do it from the ground? Heck, get one of those brains in a
dish and you don't even need the teen! AVweb's Michael Maya Charles
ponders the future of airline cockpits in this month's As The Beacon
Turns column. More...
ATTENTION, CESSNA OWNERS AND PILOTS
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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/
While flying into Cheyenne one spring day the tower anounced to
Tower: Piper 1234 be aware of a flock of birds off of
Piper 1234: Tower, we have birds in sight off our right
Tower: Piper 1234 can you deternime what kind of birds
they are? ...Geese?
Cessna 567: Tower we have a flock of cranes off of our
Tower: Cessna 567, can you tell what kind of cranes?
Piper 1234: They appear to be ... unlit cranes.
Unidentified:... Had that one coming.More...
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
the support of our fine sponsors. We appreciate your
|AVIDYNE'S CMAX APPROACH CHARTS TAKE SITUATIONAL
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is
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|PHOTON'S WHITE FREEDOM MICRO NOW 2X
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|"EVOLUTION AT THE SCOPES: AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL IS
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|ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR
John Schwaner's The Mechanic's Toolbox
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|HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHY SOME PILOTS ALWAYS SEEM TO
HAVE IT TOGETHER?|
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|FEELING GUILTY? YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING & REVIEWING
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