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Volume 11, Number 37b September 15, 2005

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

USER FEES AND GENERAL AVIATION…
The FAA says its main funding source, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, is going broke and now is the time to start fixing it -- and it appears at least part of the solution will be found in pilots' wallets. Earlier this week, various industry groups, from pilots associations to airlines, began receiving a package from FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that includes a survey of sorts into how they'd like to pay to operate the agency after the current trust fund's mandate runs out in 2007. And make no mistake, the question is not whether the payments will be made, it's how much and by whom. A summary of the package appeared in Tuesday's Federal Register and says that user fees are a main focus of the discussion. "One major component of this work is an ongoing study that would allocate FAA's air traffic control costs to users of the system," the Federal Register document reads. More...

..."GRAVE CONCERN," SAYS AOPA...
AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy said the document is of "grave concern" to the pilot group and could result in a nationwide mobilization of its 400,000 members to protest. "We're working very hard on this issue. It is our number one issue," Dancy said. AOPA has been vocally opposing any talk of user fees since before the agency first started talking about them in 2004. Dancy said that as a stakeholder, AOPA is glad that it is being given the chance for input but he also noted that the questions in the survey appear loaded in the direction of user fees as the funding solution. More...

...FAA SAYS IT'S ALL PART OF THE PROCESS
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said the Federal Register document is a continuation of the process started with a forum held earlier this year in which stakeholder groups were asked to come up with alternative methods of funding the FAA. He said there's a genuine desire on the part of the FAA to design a funding structure that has the support of stakeholders and, at this stage, all options, including user fees, must be open. "You can't immediately start removing questions from the table," he said. Dancy said one of AOPA's concerns is that the process seems to be reaching an advanced stage quickly in a kind of political vacuum. More...

WATCH IT NOW: LIGHTSPEED'S MACH 1 HEADSET VIDEO IS ONLINE
The Mach 1 in-the-ear (ITE) headset offers up to 40dB of passive hearing protection and a clean-sheet design that is loaded with features and style. The magnesium alloy headset weighs in at around one ounce and is equipped with a feather-weight gooseneck boom and noise-canceling electret mic. Specially designed ear plugs comfortably block noise before it has an opportunity to enter the ear canal, and miniature high-fidelity speakers inside the plug deliver crisp, clear voice and stereo music. The streamlined magnesium alloy control box secures with a belt-clip and provides cell/satellite phone and music interface, stereo/mono options, and volume control. The first units will begin shipping later in September. To check availability and place an order for LightSPEED's new Mach 1 headset, visit a LightSPEED dealer or call (800) 332-2421 today. Watch the video at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/litspeed/video/avflash.

NEW PIPER PICKS NEW HEAD, SUFFERS BOMB SCARE…
Sometimes it takes a little while for a head-office personnel shuffle to sink in but apparently not at New Piper. The Vero Beach plant was evacuated Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat. The threat came a day after CEO Chuck Suma was shifted to the position of Vice Chairman to make way for James K. Bass. A Piper worker who spoke on condition of anonymity said the move shocked employees and the bomb scare was related to the announcement. The Vero Beach Sheriff's Office dispatch center received the threat at 8:42 a.m. Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the dispatch center told AVweb the call came from a security guard who received a phone call in which the threat was made. More...

...MEXICAN CONNECTION?...
Bass, once a senior vice president at Sony Corp., is more recently the former head of Suntron, an electronics company. Bass moved Suntron's manufacturing operations to Mexico where the company is now expanding, according to TCPalm.com. A New Piper news release, which saw limited distribution, said Bass has been hired to "lead New Piper Aircraft into the future." Piper officials have not yet offered tremendous insight into the head-office shuffle and Suma has also reportedly declined comment. Suma will stay on as vice chairman of New Piper and will look after contact with regulatory agencies, dealers and customer organizations, according to the release issued by the company. More...

...CESSNA BUILDS MEXICAN WIRING PLANT
Mexico is also a factor in the latest news from Cessna. The company announced last week that it's building a 62,000-square-foot plant in Chihuahua where wire harnesses and "small sheet metal parts" will be manufactured. The move eliminates 110 jobs in Wichita and Cessna wouldn't tell the Wichita Business Journal how much the new facility is costing. "We're doing it to not only improve our business processes, but to improve our costs," said Cessna spokesman Dick Ziegler. Ziegler told the Business Journal that the Mexico plant will help make the company more competitive. More...

THE SJ30-2 IS THE WORLD'S FASTEST LIGHT BUSINESS JET
Not only is it fast; it has intercontinental range — 560 mph and over 2800 sm range. The SJ30-2 is the most advanced light business jet in the sky today, the perfect package of speed, range, and good looks. For details, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/sino/avflash.

SPORT PILOT A YEAR LATER
It's come a long way in a year but there are still some details to be worked out before the Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft rule spawns an industry that lives up to its full potential. That's EAA's take on the process, a year after implementation of the rule. "Some in the aviation community are amazed at how quickly airplanes and interest in sport pilot emerged after the rule became reality last September," said Earl Lawrence, who's been EAA's point man on the rule. Although it's now possible to buy any of more than a dozen flight-ready LSAs, there are some significant issues barring access to them for many people. More...

CHELTON DIGITAL AUTOPILOT BROADENS MARKET
Chelton Flight System's new AP-3C digital autopilot was recently given STC approval for Cherokee Six and Cessna 210 aircraft, bringing the number of light aircraft certified for its installation to more than a dozen. The company says new STCs are coming at the rate of about one a month and more are pending for a wide range of aircraft, from Grumman Cheetahs to Rockwell Commanders. Chelton says digital means less maintenance and a smoother ride. The AP-3C requires only three components while conventional autopilots may need up to six, some of which require regular maintenance. More...

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NTSB: RUNWAY INCURSION SYSTEM INADEQUATE
The NTSB says the system the FAA relies on in part to prevent runway incursions doesn't work and it wants the agency to speed up development of more effective devices. In a speech to the American Association of Airport Executives earlier this week, Acting NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said the Airport Movement Area Safety System didn't help prevent close calls at JFK and Logan Airports in the past four months because it was turned off to prevent nuisance alerts caused by bad weather. In the JFK incident, a cargo aircraft was able to barely clear a passenger plane that mistakenly crossed the runway. More...

NATA FIGHTS ENVIRONMENTAL RULE
As if fuel prices weren't high enough, the Environmental Protection Agency is poised to enact a rule that's bound to increase them more. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) says it's taking the fight against the EPA's Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) to Congress after the agency didn't live up to promises to better explain the impact of the rules to aviation fuel providers. The new rule would require fuel suppliers to park their trucks in containment areas in case they leak when not in use. Not only are the containment areas difficult and expensive to build, say critics, they raise safety concerns. More...

ANNOUNCING TRAFFIC ALERT WITH DIRECTION FOR ONLY $1,795.00!
True Flight announces Traffic Alert. Coming Soon: You will be able see the direction, relative altitude, and distance of aircraft within five miles of your current position. This is just a small sample of what our portable flight displays do that separate us from the competition. Compare our FL210 flight display to anything else on the market, and see why, when people compare, they pick us. For more information, go online for a video demonstration at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/true/avflash.

TOMCATS ON LAST TOUR
The F-14 Tomcat is going down fighting. The last operational deployment of the big swing-wing fighter began earlier this week with the last remaining squadrons VF-31 Tomcatters and VF-213 (Blacklions) flying aboard the carrier Theodore Roosevelt for a tour to the Persian Gulf. "Epic, historic, I'm looking for words," said Cmdr. Rick "Twig" LaBranche as he led the pilots and crew aboard the Roosevelt. "They understand that being the last Tomcat squadron is a historic event." More...

KATRINA VOLUNTEERS STILL NEEDED
If you don't mind donating your time, your plane and your fuel to help Katrina victims, the need is still there. In fact, in contrast to the situation in the early days of the disaster when there was little for private pilots to do, there are tons of supplies waiting at various staging areas for someone to take them where they are needed. Texas pilots continue to help out the Lago Vista Mercy flights operating out of Rusty Allen Airport and anyone who wants to join them can call 512-267-0120 or 512-731-1553 or e-mail lvaviation@aol.com to register. Operation Brother's Keeper, out of Atlanta, also needs pilots. Numbers are 404-783-1836 or 404-783-1846. Angel Flight believes operations will continue until the end of the month and many pilots are returning to their jobs. Angel Flight can be reached at 877-621-7177. Private aircraft have carried hundreds of tons of relief supplies into the disaster zone in the past two weeks. More...

GOOD NEWS FOR AVIATION CONSUMERS:
IN AIRCRAFT INSURANCE, THERE IS AN OPTION — GO DIRECT TO AVEMCO

Many aircraft insurance brokers and agents say they represent "all the markets," implying that once you call them you needn't bother with any other aircraft insurance provider. What these agents and brokers don't tell you is that you do have an option — Avemco Insurance Company. Avemco is the only direct writer of general aviation insurance and the only insurance company you can contact directly to purchase aircraft insurance. You have an option with Avemco — offering mid-term premium discounts, storage options, credits for training, same-day service, and multiple payment options. Call (888) 241-7891 or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

ON THE FLY...
NACTA says staffing shortages have led to more errors...
Mooney hired Richard Kravit as director of contracts and general counsel...
Colombian police nabbed 1.5 tons of cocaine -- and pilot...
Delta and Northwest both filed for bankruptcy yesterday...
The ViperJet, a two-seat kit aircraft, exceeded 500mph in testing. 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...

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
Say Again? #54: ATC 206 -- Holding
Nobody wants to wait. Pilots in a hold are bored and yet anxious to finish the flight. But if you're in a hold, you can bet the controller is not at all bored. AVweb's Don Brown suggests ways to make holding easier and safer in the next course in his 200-series of communication classes.

More...

THERE'S COMFORTABLE, AND THEN THERE'S PAINLESS!
You will feel the dramatic difference between "comfortable" and "painless" when you enhance your headset with an Oregon Aero® Complete Aviation Headset Upgrade. Consisting of a SoftTop™ Headset Cushion, SoftSeal™ Ear Cushions, SoftSkin™ Ear Seal Covers, HushKit™ Passive Ear Cup Noise Attenuation Kit, and MicMuff™ Microphone Cover, the Oregon Aero® Complete Aviation Headset Upgrade makes headsets painless — no matter how long you wear them! Try one, and you'll see why we say, "The greatest headset in the world is the one you already own — with an Oregon Aero Headset Upgrade!" To order the upgrade for your headset model, call Oregon at (800) 888-6910, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/Painless9-05/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...

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.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
It seems there are those who feel the services pilots receive — from air traffic control to other weather and flight services — do not come with a direct cost. With user fees on the tip of everyone's tongues, AVweb wants to know how much you'd be willing to pay for these services. PLUS: Results of last week's question on GPS in the cockpit. More...

EXPERIENCE FAST, EFFECTIVE AIRCRAFT SOURCING WITH AvBUYER.COM
AvBuyer.com offers the complete solution when buying and selling aircraft, listing business aircraft from around the world along with the most complete listing of piston airplanes in Europe. Try AvBuyer.com today and experience fast, effective aircraft sourcing — or sign up for the complimentary latest aircraft e-mail alert. For more information, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avbuyer/avflash.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
We're sorely tempted to put on our stern face and wag our collective finger at you guys. For the third week in a row, the number of pictures submitted to our "POTW" contest is lagging well below the average for this time of year. But, frankly, the photos that are coming in are uniformly spectacular. With only 48 pictures submitted this week, we had 27 in our final round of selections. The odd result is that we're getting fewer submissions but working harder to decide which ones make the final cut. We'd like to have more pictures, of course — but as long as the quality is this high, we really can't complain. (Instead, we'll beg: Please send us pictures!) More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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SHOPPING DEALS  
ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS AND PILOTS!
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ASA'S 2006 TEST BOOKS, SOFTWARE & DVDs FOR FAA EXAM PREP NOW AVAILABLE
ASA's Test Preps for pilots and Fast-Track Test Guides for AMTs include all FAA Knowledge Exam questions. Prepware combines all the information in the Test Prep and Fast-Track Test Guide Series in computer-based training. Virtual Test Prep lets students study from their TVs or computer DVD players. For complete details about these products, visit ASA's web site at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/asadirect/avflash.
ASO — A BETTER WAY TO SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT SHARE
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SEE WHAT ATC SEES — AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH IT
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WORRIED ABOUT BUSTING A REG?  YOU SHOULD BE!
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ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HARDWARE!
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ARE YOU WITHOUT A PLANE? LOST YOUR MEDICAL? BUT STILL LOVE TO FLY!
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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

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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
http://www.avweb.com/contact/authors.html#rniles
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