Number 37b — September 15, 2005|
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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ...PUT YOUR AIRPLANE ON
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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
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...
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...
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...
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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...
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
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...
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
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...
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.
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
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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."
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 email@example.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...
NEWS FOR AVIATION CONSUMERS:|
IN AIRCRAFT INSURANCE, THERE IS AN
OPTION GO DIRECT TO AVEMCO
Many aircraft insurance
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that you do have an option Avemco Insurance Company.
Avemco is the only direct writer of general aviation
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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)
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NACTA says staffing shortages have led to more errors...
hired Richard Kravit as director of contracts and general
Colombian police nabbed 1.5 tons of cocaine -- and
Delta and Northwest both filed for bankruptcy
The ViperJet, a two-seat kit aircraft, exceeded 500mph
in testing. More...
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. You're a part
of our team ... often, the best part. More...
ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Say Again? #54: ATC 206 --
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
|THERE'S COMFORTABLE, AND THEN THERE'S
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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
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FAA ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS ARE ON THE
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
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...
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!)
|Sponsor News and
Access to AVweb and AVflash is provided by
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|ATTENTION, PIPER OWNERS AND PILOTS!|
Piper Flyer Association (PFA) provides parts locating, tech
support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national and
regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. For less
than a tank of fuel ($39 for a one-year membership), you can access
the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment
from owning and flying your Piper aircraft. Join the Piper Flyer
Association (PFA) today as they build the ultimate Piper Association.
The PFA is now located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ in
Waupaca, WI, just 35 NW of Oshkosh). Go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/pfa/avflash.
|ASA'S 2006 TEST BOOKS, SOFTWARE & DVDs FOR FAA EXAM PREP
ASA's Test Preps for pilots and
Fast-Track Test Guides for AMTs include all FAA Knowledge Exam
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training. Virtual Test Prep lets students study from their TVs
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|ASO A BETTER WAY TO SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT
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|SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the
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|WORRIED ABOUT BUSTING A REG? YOU SHOULD
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|ATTENTION, MECHANICS! SOFTWARE FOR YOUR
John Schwaner's The Mechanic's Toolbox
+ Engineering Manual Companion has been a mainstay of mechanics
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For complete details and to order (U.S. only), go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/skyranch/avflash.
YOU WITHOUT A PLANE? LOST YOUR MEDICAL? BUT STILL LOVE TO
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|AVIATION CONSUMER YOUR UNBIASED PRODUCTS &
In the October issue of Aviation
Consumer: "SMA's Diesel Conversion" back in the aero-diesel
market contemplating a price reduction; "Why New Engines Struggle"
with elusive benefits, new engines haven't proven significantly
better than the old stand-bys from Continental and Lycoming; "VHF
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"Sporty's New Gyro" grab one now; and "Elite's IFR Trainer"
the finer points of a PCATD. Plus, the Cessna 195 is
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We Welcome Your
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