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Volume 11, Number 24a June 13, 2005

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

PAYING TOO MUCH FOR LIFE INSURANCE?
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

BACKGROUND CHECKS GROUND TANKER PILOTS...
A year ago, the U.S. Forest Service decided most of its heavy air tankers were unfit to fly, not because they were demonstrated to be unsafe but because there was some circumstantial evidence they might be. Now, it seems some of the pilots who fly the big planes are suffering the same fate. According to Wildfire News up to eight pilots have been told they are not allowed to go near the airplanes because of "issues" in background checks that were initiated this year. According to the magazine, the pilots, some with military experience, are not being told what flags were raised on their checks and they must wait for the government to complete the reviews before they find out. "It's pretty amazing they can pull us off the line on an assumption," Steven Maxwell, one of the grounded pilots, told Wildfire News. "The background check isn't even completed." More...

...DC-10 TANKER CONVERSION TESTED...
And while the government sorts out who can fly the ancient iron, entrepreneurs continue to experiment with not-quite-so-ancient aircraft with which to modernize the fleet and potentially open the field to more pilots. As AVweb told you last year, Evergreen Aviation has developed a tanker version of the Boeing 747 and now a group of California companies is hoping converted DC-10s will soon be on fire duty. 10 Tanker LLC, which is spearheading the project, tested the 30-year-old trijet by dropping 10,000 gallons of water over Southern California Logistics Airport last week. The plane is now at Le Bourget in France where it will do four drops at the Paris Air Show in hopes of attracting customers. More...

...WHILE TECH KEEPS THE OLDER BIRDS FLYING
And as 1970s technology is applied to aerial firefighting hardware, the Forest Service, NASA and the University of California, Davis, are collaborating on a state-of-the-art facility to keep the well-worn fleet of air tankers operating as safely as possible. The new Aviation Center for Excellence includes a flight simulator specially designed for firefighting crews and a whole-aircraft X-ray system for spotting structural problems in aircraft. The X-ray system is a former Air Force facility now owned by Aerobotics Inc., which has joined with four other firms to create the Aircraft Health Management center. 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.

INSPECTOR GENERAL'S OFFICE CRITICAL...
As the hand-wringing (and finger-pointing) continues over future funding (or lack thereof) for the National Airspace System, other areas of the FAA are also feeling the pinch. Next to be red-flagged in a report by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General's office is airline safety inspections. With budget carriers sprouting across the country and many airlines on the financial ropes, the FAA has decided, due to financial constraints, not to replace about 200 inspectors who will retire or resign this year. There are now about 3,400 inspectors. DOT's Assistant Inspector General David Dobbs claims inspectors aren't doing the job properly at current staffing levels. "Adequate resources need to be committed to air carrier oversight to ensure the continuity of safe operations," said the report. More...

...FAA, AIRLINES DEFEND RECORD
The FAA and airlines were critical of the report, noting that there hasn't been a major airliner crash in the U.S. in more than three years. "We changed the way we do business as the industry changed," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told The Associated Press. "This is the safest period in aviation history." And even though they're losing huge amounts of money, airlines say they will not cut corners on safety. "We have cut nothing that would compromise safety, nor will we," US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said. Inspector General Ken Mead agreed there's no need to hit the panic button. More...

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O'HARE PLAN WOULD TAKE MORE THAN IT GIVES?
The city of Chicago is being accused of making its expansion plan for O'Hare International Airport look better than it actually is so it can qualify for FAA grants. The Campbell Hill Aviation Group has filed a critique of Chicago's application for $300 million in FAA funds. The consultants, who were paid to do the critique by the communities of Bensenville and Elk Grove, both of which will be significantly affected by the expansion, say the city failed to prove that the massive expansion (ultimately costing about $20 billion) is worth it. According to the consultants, Chicago, by law, had to show that the benefits would at least equal the expense -- but it didn't, and that means the FAA has to turn down the application. "The FAA is clearly between a rock and a hard place," said Craig Johnson, the mayor of Elk Grove. More...

AN (ALMOST) ALL-AMERICAN LSA
A Texas company claims to be the first U.S. aircraft manufacturer to certify an airplane under the new Special Light Sport Aircraft (S-LSA) category. The Thorpedo, a Jabiru-powered version of the certified Thorp T211 made by IndUS Aviation, of Dallas, received its FAA certificate June 8. Base price is $85,000. A handful of imported planes, mostly from Europe, have earned S-LSA status but IndUS says its plane is the first "designed in America and manufactured in America." The plane was designed by American Jim Thorp in the 1940s but some might split hairs about the Thorpedo's nationality. According to the company Web site, the aircraft's components are made in Bangalore, India, and assembled in Dallas. More...

JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN SOURCE, IS LOOKING
TO PURCHASE USED GPS UNITS, AVIONICS, AND AIRCRAFT

Current inventory levels allow JA to offer top dollar for used GPS, avionics, and aircraft.  Call (800) 323-5966 for your current value with no purchase required. JA Air Center, Garmin's largest avionics dealer, stocks all the new Garmin aviation GPS units including the GPSMap 296 (new low price of $1,495), iQue 3600A PDA/GPS, GPSMap 196, GPSMap 96C, and GPSMap 96.  We also stock Garmin accessories; software; and outdoor, mobile, and marine GPS units.  JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales.  Also, we offer FBO services and fuel at Dekalb Taylor Municipal Airport (KDKB) in Dekalb, IL.  Please call (800) 323-5966 and mention this AVflash, or order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/ja/avflash.

SENATE AND TSA ON DCA SECURITY
TSA Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Fleming told the Senate Commerce Committee last week that the strict security requirements that will be imposed on the owners of private aircraft using Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a "basic starting point" and could be revised in the future. He didn't say whether that means they might get even tougher but his comments came after several members of the committee complained that the security lid will keep out all but a few private operators. Anyone using DCA will have to have an armed law enforcement officer on board and go through a TSA security screening at a gateway airport before flying to Washington. Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said the provisions are "just going to kill general aviation" because of the added costs. More...

COMMANDER OWNERS WANT TO TAKE OVER
A group of 50 Commander owners from all over the world have bid on the assets of the bankrupt aircraft manufacturer. They've formed a company called Commander Premier Aircraft Corporation (CPAC) and named Joel M. Hartstone as their president. Hartstone said the bid is to buy "substantially all of the assets" of the company, which is based in Bethany, Okla. A dollar figure wasn't released but Bob Tippens, a director of CPAC, told AOPA that there are no other serious bids. Commander slipped from Chapter 11 reorganization to Chapter 7 liquidation last January after a potential investor defaulted. The company built about 200 of the highly-regarded, speedy and luxurious singles between 1992 and 2002. More...

JOIN AOPA; THE REAL-TIME FLIGHT PLANNER IS WORTH THE DUES ALONE!
Whether you're an experienced pilot, a student, or simply someone interested in aviation, AOPA membership can be an invaluable resource for you — at an incredible value. You can join AOPA for just $39 a year and take advantage of the incredible benefits exclusive to members. These include: A full year's no-cost subscription to AOPA Pilot magazine; 24-hour access to the members-only section of the 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 is a tireless advocate for over 400,000 members, protecting their right to fly. So what are you waiting for? Become an AOPA member today by going online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/join/avflash.

ONE YOUNG EAGLES DAY
Saturday was Young Eagles Day at airports across the country, and EAA members, who have already taken more than 1 million youngsters aloft for their first GA flight, went to work on the second million. At Quonset State Airport, in North Kingstown, R.I., 90 kids and their families got an intro to the GA world that started with a bit of ground school -- navigation, air traffic control and instruments briefly explained -- and a free museum tour, before heading outdoors to the 20 aircraft waiting on the flight line. First to fly, in Kim Boekelheide's homebuilt Glastar, was 11-year-old Ben Falvey. "It was awesome!" he said, echoing every Young Eagle's first response. "I always like going up in the sky, I'm just amazed at what everything looks like from up there." More...

MATHEMATICAL SOLUTIONS FOR CONGESTION
For those who think airspace congestion is the evil empire, a Berkeley professor is striking back with a mathematical force he believes will be with aviators in the future. "The long term vision is a bit like what you might see in Star Wars films when streams of aircraft in the sky are crisscrossing each other beautifully," said Alexandre Bayen. Bayen is now working on mathematical algorithms that will enable aircraft to recognize potential conflicts and, initially at least, warn them to take evasive action. But he said in a Berkeley press release that his ultimate plan is for computers that will take over control from a pilot "in an emergency situation." More...

GET READY FOR SUMMER!
DOUG RITTER'S SURVIVAL GEAR FROM AEROMEDIX.COM

Doug Ritter has designed a Pocket Survival Pak™ and two RSK Survival Knives by Benchmade. Aeromedix.com is the exclusive outlet for the Doug Ritter RSK MK1™ and the Mini RSK MK1™ in black or yellow handles. Says Doug, "I don't believe that you will find a better value in a folder for everyday utility or survival." The Mini RSK M1™ knife has the same incredible CPM S30V steel and same superb Griptilian handle as the full-size model.  The Pocket Survival Pak™ is waterproof, floats, and has all the essential survival items. No other pocket survival kit compares to the overall quality of the Pocket Survival Pak™. To order, call Aeromedix at (888) 362-7123. View Aeromedix's complete line of safety and survival products for pilots at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi/avflash.

THE PASSING OF CURTIS PITTS
The man whose nimble little biplane spawned a whole segment of aviation design, competition and just plain fun died Friday. Curtis Pitts, whose Pitts Special became the standard for sport aviation for 60 years, was 89. He died in the hospital from complications resulting from a heart valve replacement. EAA President Tom Poberezny, who has more than 3,300 hours on Pitts Specials, said Pitts had a tremendous influence on him personally. "More important was his personality and willingness to share so much with those who were in pursuit of aviation as a career, recreation, or aerobatic performer," he said. "As we mourn, we should take this opportunity to celebrate his life and contributions to the aviation community." More...

ON THE FLY...
Vickers Vimy made it to St. John's...
Emergency AD issued on T-6s et. al....
Boeing took early lead in airliner sweepstakes...
Angel Flight calling on Texans...
Pretzels passé on Northwest. More...

AVWEB'S NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
Drop us a line. Heard something that 130,000 news-savvy pilots might want to know about? If it caught your eye, it would likely interest someone else. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. ... With our thanks. More...

REFURBISH WITH McCAULEY FOR EXCELLENT RESALE VALUE
Your airplane is an investment.  Increase the resale value with McCauley propellers.  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.  For the right propeller system investment for your airplane (and an authorized service center near you), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/mccauley/avflash.

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
AVmail: June 13, 2005
Reader mail this week about the New York TRACON, flat panel displays, photo submissions and more. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
The Pilot's Lounge #88: The Air Care Alliance -- Helping Those Who Fly to Help Others
Whether they go on flights for documenting environmental degradation or for transporting kids for medical treatment, hundreds of pilots in dozens of organizations work tirelessly to provide special aviation duties. AVweb's Rick Durden tells about the central source of information on all public-benefit flying in this month's The Pilot's Lounge column.

_____________
USED AIRCRAFT
Avionics and Your Airplane
Advertising in glossy airplane magazines (and, let's be honest, sometimes here on AVweb too) exhorts you to buy the latest, greatest, bleeding-edge avionics for your plane. Come time to sell it, though, and you might not get back what you put into it. Brian Jacobson discusses the value of upgrading your panel. More...

BENEFIT AVIATION & YOURSELF WITH THE NAA PLATINUM VISA® CARD
In addition to favorable rates, NAA cardholders will receive benefits including a discounted rate for NAA membership and aviation products. You may also qualify for no-cost accidental death and dismemberment coverage and aircraft damage reimbursement. NAA, the first national aviation association, receives a contribution from BankOne with every purchase made on the NAA Platinum Visa® Card. Those contributions help NAA preserve the heritage of aviation by supporting the presentation of prestigious awards and the certification of national aviation records. For more information — and for the 2004 Collier Winner — go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/naa/visa/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...

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.

SHORT FINAL...
Straight as the crow flies...

Clearance Delivery: ...then own navigation as filed. Read back.

Flight 269: Roger. 269 is cleared to Destination Indian Springs via after take off Radar vectors to 4000, then present position direct BOM, pass BOM at 6000 or below, after passing 15,000 turn right on heading 280 to intercept J-156 direct ZZT, thereafter intercept J-158, climb and maintain FL 240 own navigation as filed...

(short pause)

...And I need another pencil. More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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FLYING MAGAZINE'S JUNE ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS "THE NEW PIPER MIRAGE:
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AIRSPORT AVIONICS OFFERS A $100 DISCOUNT & COMPLIMENTARY SHIPPING
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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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Greasy side down for landing.

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