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Volume 11, Number 23b June 9, 2005

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ...
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

UNDERSTANDING ECLIPSE'S NEW MATH…
Eclipse Aviation officials say they expect few takers for a limited time offer that allows any customers unhappy with the latest variable (dependent on time of order) price increase to bail out of their deal and get a full refund on their previously non-refundable deposit. As AVweb told you earlier this month, Eclipse, while forging on with new technology and essentially creating an entire market segment, has (again) raised the price of the 500 mini jet. The plane, introduced with fanfare in 2000 with a price below $900,000 will now cost a new customer $1.43 million (in today's dollars). For a 30-day period ending in about two weeks, customers who thought they'd put down a non-refundable deposit can claim the full amount back if they prefer to opt out. Spokesman Andrew Broom says the hit on the order book should be minimal. More...

...MATERIALS COSTS, DESIGN CHANGES
Time will tell whether Broom is correct about the fallout from the 10 percent price increase but Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn said in an email to customers that without the extra money the company simply can't fly. Raburn said the cost assumptions that were valid in 2003 (when the price was raised to $1.175 million) are no longer accurate and the company has no choice but to raise the price. He said the price of aluminum alloys has jumped (in some cases by 75 percent) and costs associated with design changes necessitated by the switch to Pratt and Whitney Canada engines were greater than anticipated. But Raburn maintains the 500 remains the groundbreaking bargain the company always envisioned it would be. More...

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FAA ACTION -- PILOTS, MECHANICS…
One man's recklessness is another's heroism and striking the balance isn't always easy. Such was the dilemma facing the FAA in the case of Jeremy Johnson, a young Utah helicopter pilot who saved a family from a raging river, helped local officials control the flooding by ferrying supplies and even raised $20,000 in relief funds by donating money charged for sightseeing flights over the flood-ravaged area. Many of those flights were in violation of one regulation or another but the FAA has given Johnson the benefit of the doubt, and a "letter of admonishment" on his file is the only price he'll pay. "There were no sanctions, as such, in this case due to the guy's track record and his intent," said FAA spokesman Mike Fergus. More...

...JUDGE FINDS FAA ACTED WITHOUT PROOF...
In New York, four A&Ps who worked for Air East Airways can go back to work after an NTSB Administrative Law Judge overturned emergency orders suspending the tickets of the mechanics, three of whom were the sons of Air East Airways owner Michael Tarascio. In a news release, their lawyer, Gregory Winton, said the judge dismissed the revocation orders for "failure of proof" but he also said testimony indicated the FAA had it in for the company. In the release, Winton said that FAA officials had testified under oath that the Tarascios were victims of an FAA "witch hunt" and that they were told to deal with family "differently." More...

...CALIFORNIA BUZZING SUSPECT FOUND
Meanwhile, in Santa Cruz, Calif., the FAA says it now knows who was flying a Cessna 172 that allegedly "buzzed" a couple of local beaches. They won't say who the pilot is but they have confirmed it's not the registered owner of the plane, whose tail number was caught in photos supplied by complainants. As AVweb told you a couple of weeks ago, witnesses claimed the plane flew at an altitude of a few feet -- low enough that one woman was worried it would hit her nine-year-old nephew. The local newspaper described the flight as an "attack" on the beach. More...

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THE SATS EXPO -- THE FUTURE, IN REVIEW...
Making air taxi service a reality from the nation's 5000-plus small airports will take more than a bunch of very light jets (VLJs). NASA's Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) project has spent the past five years developing technologies to support that system -- the final demonstration occurred Sunday through Tuesday, in Danville, Va. SATS was a partner program between NASA, six regional "SATS labs," state agencies and private business to develop technologies enabling single-pilot air taxi and other light aircraft operations. The vast collection of participant-friendly technologies at Danville included multiple highway-in-the-sky guidance systems (note the unfortunate acronym: HITS). Of a pilot's interface with future technology, Orion Technologies' Paul Hamilton said, "Paradoxically, solid stick and rudder skills are actually more important than a good IFR scan." Controllers may have another surprise coming. More...

...NEXT-GEN COCKPITS ON DISPLAY...
The Maryland SATS lab demonstrated a combination of technologies in a modified Cessna 402B with a new lightweight heads-up display (HUD) combined with synthetic vision from a camera system mounted in the nose. The final system will qualify under the new FAR 91.175 (l) and (m), eventually allowing pilots with enhanced flight visibility (viewed on a cockpit display) to descend to 100 feet AGL -- with no outside visual references. Below 100 feet you need (as currently written) the required visibility with the unaided eye to land. "That's by the regulations," says Dr. Noris Krone Jr. of the Maryland SATS team. "The truth is that I've landed [the 402] over 200 times using nothing but the display ..." See AVweb's NewsWire for full coverage, including challenges still facing the SATS program and the bridges being built to meet them. More...

ONLY AT AUCTION! LAKE AIRCRAFT WILL BE SOLD AT AIRVENTURE!
The owners of the Lake Aircraft line of amphibious airplanes have chosen the auction method of marketing to select a new owner for their Lake Amphibian production line. This comprehensive sale will include the FAA Type Certificate and associated STCs, engineering data, all documentation, historical information, fleet support inventory, and manufacturing capacity. The inventory (in its entirety) will be sold as a comprehensive package to one able buyer for the purpose of resuming full production capacity. The auction will be held at 4:30pm July 27 at the EAA Aviation Center's Vette Theater in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. For additional information and a complete list of assets to be conveyed, call Higgenbotham Auctioneers at (800) 257-4161, or visit their web site (Higgenbotham.com) at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/hig/avflash.

AOPA TALKS TO SENATE COMMITTEE
AOPA will make a pitch today to a Senate committee suggesting it either scrap the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) or at least modify it so it is less intrusive on GA operations. Andy Cebula, AOPA's senior vice president for government and technical affairs, will speak on pilots' behalf to the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation in a hearing on GA security. Cebula will tell the committee that the ADIZ, in its current form, doesn't work as a security measure and actually victimizes pilots who, because of equipment failures, inadvertently violate its strict talk-and-squawk provisions. "Operationally, the ADIZ has been a disaster affecting pilots and slowly smothering the businesses that employ people in the National Capitol Region," he said in his prepared remarks. More...

EVEREST HELI-LANDING FAUX?
The Nepalese government says a French pilot who claimed to have landed a helicopter on the 8,850-meter (29,000-foot) peak of Mt. Everest was telling a tall tale. According to Asian news agencies the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) said last week that pilot Didier Delsalle has since admitted he couldn't actually set down on the peak and made an emergency landing 1,000 meters lower on the South Col. But the Nepalese announcement is at odds with the triumphant media release (including a poetic quote from Delsalle) issued by EADS, which makes the Ecureuil/AStar 350 B3 Delsalle was flying, and their submission on the alleged flight in the Federation Aeronautique Internationale record book. More...

A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR CELL PHONES
Version 6 of WxServer just hit the 'Net, and it's chock full of new features.  A simpler, more powerful menu structure makes WxServer easier to use than ever before.  NexRad radar maps and satellite pictures are now zoomable. And the new WxServer takes maximum advantage of whatever screen size your phone has available.  Put NexRad maps centered on every US airport, satellite pictures centered on more than 95% of airports worldwide, METARs, TAFs, and even Winds Aloft maps in your pocket. Aviation weather that's ready when you need it — on the tarmac, in the run-up area, or at unattended grass strips.  SPECIAL: AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rate at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/wxserver/avflash.

BILL WOULD MAKE FAA AN AVIATION ADVOCATE
The aviation industry needs a strong voice of support in Washington and some loud voices are nominating the FAA. Flanked by the CEOs of the country's three largest GA companies (Cessna, Raytheon and Bombardier) Rep. Todd Tiarht (R-Kan.) announced he intends to introduce legislation that would restore cheerleading status to the FAA. Congress removed the FAA's mandate to promote the aviation industry in 1996 out of fears the agency was getting too chummy with the industry it regulates. But Tiahrt said the U.S. government's hands-off approach to aviation is hurting the industry. "I believe it is imperative that the U.S. government is engaged in promoting an industry that has lost ground to government-subsidized companies throughout the world," said Tiarht. More...

CRASH THREAT LANDS PILOT IN JAIL
A distraught man who allegedly threatened to crash the Cessna he was flying "if he saw any police around" is now a guest of the boys in blue. According to the Albany Times Union, the man apparently called his wife from the air on his cellphone saying he had a gun and intended to hurt himself. He also said he would crash the plane if he saw police. Operations were halted at Albany Airport for about 10 minutes and there were plenty of police around when he landed the plane. He was arrested after a foot chase and later charged with felony reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. No gun was found. 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

COURT RULES FIRE-STARTER CAUSED FATAL MIDAIR
California's First District Court of Appeal has upheld the homicide conviction of a man who started a forest fire that a jury ruled caused the death of two air tanker pilots called to fight the fire. The pilots died after their planes collided near Hopland, south of Ukiah, in 2001. According to the Metropolitan News-Enterprise, a Los Angeles newspaper that specializes in legal matters, the court rejected Franklin Neal Brady's claim that the original judge in the case improperly excluded evidence proving one of the pilots had more than the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Brady was sentenced to thirteen years in prison after his conviction of recklessly causing a fire resulting in death, and of manufacturing methamphetamine. The NTSB preliminary report on the accident doesn't establish a probable cause. More...

VERY FIT CHOPPER PILOTS SOUGHT
Let's see, in the past year we've accomplished privately funded space flight, a man has circled the globe solo on a single tank of gas and airliner that can carry up to 800 people has successfully flown. Although the frontiers of flight seem to be pushed further each year, there are still a few seemingly primitive milestones that have not been achieved. For instance, the American Helicopter Society appears to be seeking takers for a $20,000 prize to be awarded for the first controlled, human-powered helicopter flight. To take home the check, all the winner has to do is hover for a minute, rise at least three meters above the ground and stay within a 10-meter square. More...

PILOT GETAWAYS — YOUR FLIGHT PLAN FOR ADVENTURE
Pilot Getaways starts their May/June adventure in Ashland, Wisconsin (Lake Superior's hometown); stops for horses and history in Saratoga Springs, New York; lands in peaceful Priest Lake, Idaho; spends some time on the beach in Marathon, Florida (Heart of the Keys); enjoys fly-in dining at the Outrigger Restaurant in Palacios, Texas; and makes a final touchdown in Oroville, California for some lakeside activities. Plus, this issue reviews "Choosing a Propeller." With your subscription to Pilot Getaways, you too can plan your flying adventure. Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
Alphabets fight move to charge for weather...
Body parts fall from airliner...
America West pilots guilty of trying to fly drunk...
Russian pilot's "hooliganism" cited in crash. 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. You're a part of our team. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
The Savvy Aviator #19: Thwarting Corrosion
We have a double dose of Mike Busch's column this week. Many of our GA aircraft were not very well corrosion-proofed during manufacture, so it's up to us as owners to keep our airframes corrosion-free. Regular application of corrosion preventive compounds can protect the parts of our airframes that the factory didn't.

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SKYWRITINGS
Chicken Wingsbr>Chicken Wings is an aviation-related cartoon. The cartoonists try to keep it not too technical, yet accurate enough to amuse aviators and aviation fans alike. So if you're a professional pilot or just an air-show visitor, you should be able relate to these stories. A new strip every week! 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...

LONGER DAYS AND WARMER WEATHER MEAN IT'S TIME TO GO FLYING!
If you do the bulk of your flying in the summer months, this is an excellent time to upgrade your aircraft's panel. Take advantage of Bennett Avionics' quality used avionics and professional service. You can have the equipment you need in time for all your summer trips, with Bennett Avionics. See for yourself at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/bennett/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
This week, AVweb wants to know whether you prefer round gauges or flat panels. PLUS: The results of last week's poll on homebuilts. 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 PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
In mid-May, when "Picture of the Week" submissions were lagging, we put out the call for you to send us your best aviation photos — and you answered with a flood of brand-new pictures that were so exciting, so lively, we almost started that week's column with these words: "Best week ever." Man, are we glad we didn't. Because this week's submissions might be even better! There were slightly fewer submissions than in the previous landmark week, but the variety couldn't be beat. We laughed; we marvelled; we turned green with envy once or twice; and we even gasped once! Join us for a quick tour through this week's vibrant submissions — starting with the photo that made us gasp, from Max Haynes of Maple Grove, Minnesota. (Max will be getting an Official AVweb Baseball Cap for placing first in this week's contest. Submit your aviation photos today, and you might be the next reader sporting an AVweb cap around your FBO!) More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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AVEMCO TEAMS WITH PILOT INSURANCE CENTER (PIC) TO OFFER LIFE INSURANCE
Avemco, the only direct writer of property and casualty insurance for general aviation in the U.S., is sponsoring a Term Life Insurance Program underwritten by well-respected insurance companies that have products tailored to general aviation pilots. The Avemco Program will be administered by the Pilot Insurance Center, using PIC's unique criteria. This collaborative effort will make life insurance more widely available to pilots at the best possible rates. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.
SKYGEEK.COM — THEIR PARTS FLY, BUT THEIR PRICES ARE GROUNDED!
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ASA BRINGS YOU A LIFETIME OF HANDS-FREE COMMUNICATIONS
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SEE WHAT ATC SEES — AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH IT
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SPONSOR NEWS
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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 Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
AVweb's editorial team: http://avweb.com/contact/authors.html.

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