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Volume 11, Number 26a June 27, 2005

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

WHISTLE-BLOWER'S CLAIMS SUBSTANTIATED...
A Dallas/Fort Worth air traffic controller says she's been slapped, verbally abused and almost run off the road by some of her colleagues -- all in the name of safety. Anne Whiteman became a federal whistle-blower when she claimed fellow controllers and managers at the DFW terminal radar approach control (TRACON) conspired to cover up dozens of serious separation errors. On Thursday, the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued a report backing Whiteman's claims, and the Special Counsel issued a statement saying the coverups "represent safety deficiencies and undermine the public's confidence in the air traffic control system." More...

...PROBLEMS SOLVED?...
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the problems at DFW have been addressed. "We take the charges seriously and as soon as we became aware of them we took immediate corrective action," he told USA Today. Whiteman isn't so sure. She said the OIG/Special Counsel report heaped too much blame on a retired manager and relatively little on managers still working in the TRACON. "Nobody has been severely reprimanded," she said. John Carr, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, said the FAA's reporting procedures are to blame. "The agency has created a culture of underreporting of errors," he said. Indeed, both controllers and managers get bonuses if safety stats improve. Things for Whiteman have not ... More...

...AMID SPIKE IN NEAR-COLLISIONS
Pilots and passengers are often blissfully oblivious of a near-collision. But at LAX June 19 a United Express jet was forced to abort its takeoff because a Continental Express jet had, according to controllers, moved beyond the taxiway hold bars to within about 40 feet of the runway. Controllers ordered the abort and the United pilots slammed on the brakes, skidding past the Continental plane with about 100 feet to spare. It was one of three separation incidents in a week and the fourth in a month. Before that, there hadn't been an error reported since November. Meanwhile, the state of safety at the New York TRACON (where controllers' overtime pay topped the charts exponentially) is frequently lost in a bickering match between the controllers' union and the FAA. And counterparts at Boston's Logan International are probing a near-collision at a runway intersection. More...

JA AIR CENTER, YOUR GARMIN SOURCE, IS LOOKING
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DCA ACCESS DELAYED...
Inspired by government resolve to reopen the airport to GA, and in spite of the National Business Aviation Association's planned June 23 welcome-back-to-DCA reception, it doesn't look like GA flights will be landing at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) anytime soon. Some may find irony in the fact that the security requirement that created the most contention among GA operators is the one that's holding up the process with security gurus. Homeland Security officials are now apparently pondering the wisdom of actually inserting gun-carrying people onto airplanes that would not normally have such firepower. We speak, of course, of the requirement for DCA-bound GA flights to carry an armed law enforcement officer. More...

...SOME FRUSTRATED, SOME PATIENT...
Some of the groups representing those who want back into DCA are furious at the delay. "We are just incredibly frustrated," said James Coyne, executive director of the National Air Transportation Association. "We have people who want to be able to travel to the airport for business and they're being told to wait and wait and wait." And wait they will until TSA gets this right, TSA spokeswoman Amy Von Walter told the Times. She told the paper there is no timetable to end the GA ban, despite indications from the agency last month that it was imminent. Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, said he believes flights will resume, if not sooner, then later, and he's apparently willing to wait. More...

...WHILE CONN. AIRPORTS EXAMINE GA SECURITY
While those in Washington debate the what-ifs of letting GA penetrate arguably the most secure airspace in the country, the good folks of Danbury, Conn., would be happy to come up with an effective and affordable way to prevent drunks from going for joyrides at the local airport. As AVweb told you Thursday, the pilot of beer-can-laden Cessna 172 is facing various charges after he landed the plane, reported stolen from Danbury, at Westchester County Airport in New York last Wednesday. Security guards reported that empties tumbled out as he and his teenaged passengers got out of the plane at about 4:15 a.m. Now, of course, Danbury officials must review security at their airport. 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.
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CONSPIRACY THEORY REVIVED IN FATAL CRASH
Running the local airport can sometimes be a stressful, even unpopular position, but life-threatening? That's the underlying theme of an investigative report by a New Jersey newspaper that has federal, state and local officials re-opening their files on the suddenly mysterious crash of a light twin in Hillsborough in 1998. According to the report in the Ashbury Park Sunday Press, the pilot, 34-year-old Lino Fasio, was trying to buy Marlboro Airport -- to operate as an airport (developers who bribed the mayor had other plans) -- when the crash occurred. He had filed two previous complaints that his Piper Apache had been tampered with. The NTSB determined a "soft body impact," most likely a bird strike, had caused the tail of the Piper to separate in flight, even though no blood or remains were found. But five crash experts interviewed by the newspaper said that since there was no evidence of bird remains or blood on the tail, which ended up hundreds of feet from the rest of the wreckage, a bird strike was a very unlikely cause. Fasio and a passenger were killed. More...

AIRPORT AUCTION ALARMS AUTHORITIES
Grand Lake Regional Airport in Afton, Okla., could go to the highest bidder (and an unknown fate) in August even though the FAA has invested more than $1.3 million in improvements there. When airports accept federal money, they make a deal to keep the facility open to the public. But the public body that owns the airport, the Monkey Island Development Authority, couldn't pay $99,000 in legal fees it was ordered to pay from previous litigation and the U.S. Marshal's office was ordered to put the whole thing on the block. AOPA is at once amazed and alarmed by the situation. "AOPA has never seen the case where a grant obligated, publicly owned airport is ordered to be sold to fulfill an award of legal fees without any legal recognition that there are financial and contractual obligations owed by the airport," AOPA spokesman Bill Dunn said. More...

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DIESEL MANUFACTURER HAS NEW (OLD) OWNER
SMA, the French company trying to convince the aviation world that diesel engines are the future, is now under the control of SAFRAN, the parent company of Snecma, a French jet engine maker. The piston-engine company was formerly a partnership of Snecma, Renault and EADS but SAFRAN bought out the other two. The diesel company is now a full subsidiary of SAFRAN and will retain the SMA name. More...

SPECIAL COUNSEL WANTS 2,000 MECHANICS RETESTED
The Office of Special Counsel, which handles issues raised by federal government whistle-blowers, says it's concerned that 1,228 A&P mechanics who may not have been properly certified have not yet been re-examined. Two whistle-blowers in the Orlando FSDO complained that a re-examination program for mechanics who had earned their papers through St. George Aviation was abruptly stopped after just 130 of about 2,000 graduates had been retested. The owner and an employee of St. George were convicted of issuing fraudulent A&P certificates. In some cases, students were not even tested. But after retesting 130 graduates, the FAA apparently thought it saw a trend developing. According to the OSC report, the FSDO was advised that because 79 percent of those retested passed the exam and since two years had elapsed since St. George's closure that "there was no conclusive measurable impact on aviation safety and the flying public." Gabriel Bruno, the FSDO manager, and Dorvin Hagen, his Supervisory Safety Inspector, disagreed and filed the whistle-blower complaint. More...

DON'T HAVE A LOW-LEVEL MONOXIDE MONITOR YET?
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Visit Aeromedix at AirVenture Booths #3002-3003

FAA UPDATES ATC TRAINING PROGRAM
The next crop of air traffic controllers might be well-advised to brush up on their PlayStation or Xbox skills before applying. The FAA unveiled its new air traffic controller training school last week in Oklahoma City, prompting one newspaper to report that the training simulator "looks like a video game on steroids." Indeed, it looks like a lot of fun. The realistic console is surrounded by screens that present varying weather, traffic and other exterior conditions. "Any situation they will encounter in the field we can duplicate it here," FAA Course Manager David Colburn told The Associated Press. But, as entertaining as it might be, the new training system has the singular purpose of pumping out more controllers, better trained and in a shorter time than the old regimen. More...

LANCAIR IN HIRING BOOM
On the financial brink just two years ago, Lancair Certified -- now producing what they call the fastest piston-single in the world -- is on a roll. The company has increased its workforce by 40 percent in the last six months and it's looking for about 70 more people to help meet demand for its fast and stylish piston singles, the Columbia 350 and the turbocharged Columbia 400. There are now 550 people on the floor at the Bend, Ore., plant and Ron Wright, the VP of manufacturing, said most have been trained on the job. "We recognize that not a lot of people will come to us with experience working with composites and assembling complex aircraft, so we've developed an excellent training program to help new employees get up to speed," Wright told Bend.com. More...

FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE RISE!
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased over 150% — all requiring legal counsel. That's why pilots are enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan for affordable, dependable legal protection when they unwittingly violate FAA rules. The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a variety of situations where you might need legal support. Plus, the plan gives you unlimited consultation on most aviation matters covered by the plan, an annual review of key aviation documents, and one no-cost half-hour consultation with an AOPA Legal Services Plan panel attorney regarding aviation-related matters not otherwise covered. Affordable protection every time you fly, for as low as $26 annually. Enroll in AOPA's Legal Services Plan before you need it! Call (800) USA-AOPA (800-872-8672), or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopalegal/avflash.

Visit the AOPA at AirVenture Booths #164-166

VORTICES, AND THE HOME ROOF MAKEOVER
Most pilots know the dangers of wake turbulence from heavy jets but residents near Sydney Airport in Australia have also become educated on its effect. Unfortunately for them, they can't steer their vortex-ravaged homes away from the peril. Since 2000, there have been at least 21 reports of damage caused by wingtip vortices from low-flying aircraft on approach to Sydney. Airservices Australia has paid almost $25,000 AUD to repair the homes. Most of the homes are roofed with heavy clay tiles, which weigh up to five pounds each. More...

ON THE FLY...
Flight attendant sentenced to five years for bomb scare "joke"...
House voted to bar United pension bailout...
New automated oceanic control system in operation...
Wings to Adventure to debut on Outdoor Channel July 3. 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 ... often, the best part. More...

LOW-COST DIGITAL REPLACEMENT TRANSPONDERS!
Narco Avionics proudly announces the availability of their all-new Value Series plug-and-play line of Digital Transponders. The Value Series is designed for the cost-conscious owner. Narco's Value Series line of plug-and-play transponders includes the AT165/VS (a replacement for the AT50 through AT155), the AT165/KA/VS (a replacement for the KT76A/78A), and the AT165/K/VS (a replacement for the KT76/78). Coming Soon: Narco's AT165/C and AT165/C/VS, plug-and-play replacements for the ARC (Cessna) RT359A/RT459A. SPECIAL: Purchase an AT165 and get an AR850 for $99. For more information, go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/narco/avflash.

Visit Narco at AirVenture Booth #2115

READER FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
AVmail: June 27, 2005
Reader mail this week about the Pinnacle and Payne Stewart crashes, why we fly and more. More...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
As the Beacon Turns #91: A Great Storyteller Goes West
A long-time fixture in aviation and aviation writing passed away recently. Gordon "Bax" Baxter was, for many, the voice of old-time aviation, whether on the radio or in his prolific columns and books. AVweb's MIchael Maya Charles was a fellow FLYING magazine staffer and an admirer. More...

MIKE BUSCH'S SAVVY SEMINAR IS COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU!
Sixteen additional dates and locations have just been added to Mike Busch's Savvy Owner Seminar calendar.  During the next 12 months, Mike will be offering his acclaimed weekend seminar in Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Frederick, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Charlotte, Orlando, Houston, Memphis, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Salt Lake City.  Learn 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.

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...

SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT AT AIRVENTURE 2005
Selling your plane at AirVenture? Tell buyers how to find you with EAA's Aircraft-for-Sale Locator Service, sponsored by ASO. Buyers at AirVenture can use the Locator to view your ad and then head out to your aircraft on the airfield. To be included, simply post an ad on ASO. EAA members receive two weeks of free advertising during July with the purchase of any monthly ASO ad. Join the world’s largest aircraft sales event. For details, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aso/osh/avflash.

SHORT FINAL...
Welcome to EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh.

As many know when you fly into EAA Airventure at Oshkosh you are asked not to reply to ATC radio communication -- just wiggle your wings and comply. While flying into EAA I heard the following conversation between a landing amphibian and the tower.

Tower: Amphibian say parking.
(pause)
Tower: Amphibian say parking.
(pause)
Tower: Amphibian say parking!

Amphibian: (In unsure voice) ... Parking.

Tower: Super. Now -- where -- are you parking? More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS  
JOIN NAA AND CELEBRATE AVIATION'S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
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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.
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WHICH SIX-PLACE RETRACTABLE HAS THE BEST SAFETY RECORD?
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THE SHORT STACK HAS ARRIVED AT POWER FLOW!
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of tuned exhaust systems, has introduced a new "short stack" exhaust pipe for Skyhawks and Cardinals. The new STC'd short stack reduces the profile, weight, and drag of the original exhaust duct and is identical in length to original Cessna equipment. For more information on this and the tuned exhaust system right for your aircraft, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/power/avflash.
Visit Power Flow at AirVenture Booth #1050
CFIs — DISCOVER THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS IN GREG BROWN'S CLASSIC BOOK
The Savvy Flight Instructor. You passed the challenging CFI checkride, but what about all those "other" flight instructing questions — how to recruit flight students; how to keep them flying; how to optimize your pass rate on checkrides; and how to get students to return for advanced ratings? Find the answers in The Savvy Flight Instructor by Greg Brown, AOPA Flight Training columnist and 2000 Flight Instructor of the Year. AVweb EXCLUSIVE: Order your personally autographed copy of the book at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/paperjet/avflash.
ROD MACHADO BOOKS, TAPES, AND CDs AVAILABLE ON AVWEB!
You want to be up-to-date and impress the CFI on your review, but there's no time to study.  The solution is easy. Rod Machado's Complete Private Pilot Handbook on 30 professionally recorded audio CDs. Review while in the car or exercising. The text is comprehensive, clever, and laced with humor, and you'll be quickly captivated by the British narrator's voice. No more commuter blues; enjoy yourself and feel righteously up-to-date. For all Rod Machado's books, tapes, and CDs, order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/machado/avflash.
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PHOTON'S WHITE FREEDOM MICRO NOW 2X BRIGHTER!
Photon, the first name in LED micro-lights, has a new product for your flying, hunting, and outdoor needs.  The white Freedom Micro, already one of the brightest micro-lights available, is now a full 2X brighter, making it hands-down the brightest single-LED keychain light in production! Order yours today and save!  SPECIAL: $10 off any Photon order of $75 or more at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/photon/avflash.
SPONSOR NEWS
LIGHT PLANE MAINTENANCE KEEPS WORKING FOR YOU!
A sampling of what's coming in the July issue of Light Plane Maintenance: "Checking a Constant-Speed Prop" — some simple DIY steps to help owners and pre-inspection buyers evaluate if a constant-speed prop is functioning properly. Plus: "Adventures in Autopilots"; "Using the FAA 337"; "Blind Cam Inspections"; and a look at "Pressure Switches." Start saving on maintenance with your first issue. Order at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/lpm/avflash.
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ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HARDWARE!
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THOUGHT THAT USING GPS WOULD BE FUN, DIDN'T YOU?
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_____________________________________
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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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