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Volume 11, Number 39b September 29, 2005

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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Sino Swearingen's SJ30-2

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Red Bull Air Races

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

NATCA WARNS OF PRIVATIZATION...
The federal government is softening up the aviation community and public for a Canadian-style privatization of air traffic control, the president of the controllers union alleged Wednesday. John Carr, President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), said the recent FAA public relations campaign alleging diminishing resources (particularly from the Airline and Airway Trust Fund) and rising costs is similar to the Canadian government's tactics in the 1990s that led to the formation of Nav Canada, the private company that now runs the airspace system and charges user fees on a cost-recovery basis. Carr alleged the FAA is "looking to the north" as it prepares for its reauthorization and the expiration of the trust fund in 2007. "The FAA's solution is user fees, privatization and contracting out," Carr told a telephone news conference on Wednesday. And NATCA will be bringing its views to a TV near you, very soon. More...

...FAA SAYS PRIVATIZATION NOT ON AGENDA...
FAA chief spokesman Greg Martin said the agency's position on privatization is clear. "If we've said it once, we've said it a hundred times, we have no plans to privatize air traffic control," Martin said. (A different issue than user fees.) He said Blakey has two clear goals for her tenure. She wants to reduce the cost of the controllers' contract and create a "stable and sustainable" revenue stream for the agency. Martin said most of Carr's comments were "the same old rhetoric" that has been debated before. The agency recently asked the union to agree to speed up the current round of bargaining but Carr said Wednesday the union is happy with the current schedule. More...

...UNION, FAA (AND PUBLIC OPINION)
Carr said the Fly Us Safe campaign (cost unknown) is aimed at educating the public on three main issues that threaten the safety of air travel. He said the ads will address what the union claims is a critical staffing shortage, poor progress on needed technological improvements and withering staff morale. He said that despite FAA promises to address staffing, the system is short 1,500 controllers and only 13 were hired last year. Martin pointed out that 1,250 will be hired next year. Carr said the FAA has cut technology programs and is slow to implement others and he also noted that a recent survey of government employees indicated that the FAA was the worst government department to work for. More...

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JA Air Center

CESSNA'S PHANTOM AIRPLANE...
Its not-so-subtle nickname is the "Cirrus Killer" and, judging by the smoke signals coming from Cessna in the past couple of weeks, we may soon know something concrete about a new piston single the folks in Wichita hope will address a situation many would have regarded as unthinkable only a few years ago. At its current growth rate, Cirrus could very well become the world's largest manufacturer of piston singles. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's first-half report for 2005, Cessna sold 301 piston singles while Cirrus sold 295. What's more, energized by new capital and an overhauled marketing department, Columbia Aircraft (the former Lancair Certified) is clearly in a race with Cirrus (and not Cessna, Piper or Raytheon) for a share of what could be described as a new light aircraft market. More...

...WILL THAT BE METAL OR PLASTIC?
Just what this new aircraft will be is, of course, the subject of much speculation. And here, Cessna's reputation of being able to keep secrets seems to be unchallenged. While some we talked to insist the "new" aircraft will simply be a modernized version of the same basic aluminum airplane, others are adamant that the company took a clean-sheet approach to the project and it will be a composite four-place with all the electronic bells and whistles. Something they do agree on, however, is that it will retain the high wing, although without struts. At one time, Cessna produced more than a dozen different singles before it shut down the line in the 1980s. More...

...CIRRUS SAYS BRING IT ON
Of course, no one is more interested in what a "Cirrus Killer" might be than those in Duluth. Cirrus VP of Marketing John Bingham said it's impossible to comment on what is now a phantom airplane but he's hoping Cessna goes ahead with the project. "I think it will be good for aviation and good for pilots," Bingham said. He said any time new products that enhance safety and performance are introduced, the industry as a whole benefits. Despite the moniker being used to describe the new Cessna, Bingham said Cirrus isn't running for cover. "We're confident about our position in the marketplace," he said. More...

PUT YOUR AIRPLANE ON TELEVISION!
Wings to Adventure, the exciting new weekly television series on the Outdoor Channel presenting the planes, places, and people of general aviation, is looking for ideas. Maybe it's a great fly-in destination you know about, an interesting aviation story in your area, or maybe you have a plane you'd like to see featured in high-definition video. Doesn't matter if your plane is the latest composite speedster, a classic taildragger, or a solid representative of a trainer. Offer your suggestions for the hottest aviation programming on television by visiting Wings to Adventure's forum area at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/outdoor/forums/avflash.


New Piper Mirage with FlightMax 
Entegra

THE NAVY'S SECRET GA AIR FORCE
Even James Bond would have a hard time sorting this out. According to an Associated Press report (reprinted by numerous military publications), the U.S. Navy operated a small air force of private aircraft for use in clandestine operations. Among the 33 aircraft it contracted from 10 private companies were two Gulfstream bizjets widely reported to be used by U.S. intelligence officials to carry suspected terrorists to countries known to torture prisoners. The process is known as "rendition" and two countries, Sweden and Italy, that have had people plucked from within their borders for a flight south and east, are calling it a criminal act. The other aircraft pretty much cover the spectrum of mission capability and include an unspecified Cessna, three C-130s, several other bizjets, two Boeing 737s, a Dash 8 and even a DC-3. More...

SECOND-IN-COMMAND RATING AVAILABLE
We can't remember the last time the FAA handed out new ratings without requiring additional training but thousands of airline first officers should be lining up for the new paper, but only if they fly internationally. According to the National Air Transportation Association, the agency has started issuing second-in-command (SIC) type ratings to right-seaters on overseas routes. Now, as everyone knows, a first officer has all the qualifications to fly the aircraft that the pilot handling the controls has (although he or she might not have as much experience). However, some member countries of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) want to see it in writing. 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.


Aviation Safety 
Magazine

OLD COMPUTERS LESS PRONE TO HACKING, SAYS FAA
The FAA says its air traffic control computers are hack resistant in part because they're so old. The Government Accountability Office released a report this week saying the FAA's systems are vulnerable to cyber-attack because the agency hasn't finished implementing information security programs. The report says that while progress has been made in protecting the systems, "it still has significant weaknesses that threaten the integrity, confidentiality and availability of its systems." The FAA contends that hackers wouldn't know where to begin to crack the codes in some of the decades-old hardware that is still in use. More...

AN AFSS CLOSES EARLY, IN MILLVILLE
Pilots in New Jersey say the decision to close an automated flight service station (AFSS) -- the building's roof collapsed last month -- will cause safety concerns. The Millville AFSS was scheduled to close in six to 18 months as part of the consolidation of flight service facilities under Lockheed Martin's contract, which takes effect Oct. 4. But the building damage has prompted the company to move up the closure and pilots claim that's hurting service. Wait times for briefings average 20 to 30 minutes according to pilots who have contacted AVweb. The closure will also leave 23 radio frequencies unmonitored during the transition, something the National Association of Air Traffic Specialists says is dangerous. More...

DON'T FLY "COACH" IN YOUR OWN PLANE — UPGRADE TO A FIRST-CLASS SEAT
You can fly pain-free when you upgrade your aircraft seat with an Oregon Aero® Seat Cushion System.  Oregon Aero makes painless, safer Seat Cushion Systems for every type of aircraft, from older production aircraft to new homebuilt models and even jets.  Oregon Aero® Seat Cushion Systems shift your hips and pelvis to the correct position, and the visco-elastic foam molds to your body to ensure a first-class seating experience.  For seats requiring a cushion upgrade, you can send or bring your seat to Oregon Aero, where our skilled and experienced staff will upgrade it by hand.  You can purchase other cushion systems from Oregon Aero and install them yourself. To find out which Seat Cushion System is right for your aircraft, visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/oregon/FirstClass05/avflash.

POLITICS: MIXING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is defending his use of government aircraft (which he frequently flies himself) to attend, among other things, his son's high school basketball games, saying he always makes sure some state business gets done at the same time if taxpayers are picking up the tab. Now, according to an Associated Press report, South Dakota is one of seven states that doesn't mind if its elected officials mix a little pleasure with business when they take to the skies as long as taxpayers aren't on the hook for it. But the cozy deal that Rounds has with something called the Governor's Club, a private fund of political contributors, might raise some eyebrows at the FAA. More...

DCA ACCESS RULES INCONSISTENT
Not all business aircraft are created equal in the eyes of the security mandarins in Washington, and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is hoping to change that. When Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) "opens" to general aviation on Oct. 18, many charter aircraft will be excluded while identical planes operated under corporate classification will sail right through the red tape. NATA says its reading of the highly restrictive rules shows that charter aircraft must operate under a Twelve-Five Standard Security Plan (TFSSP), which is only available to planes weighing more than 12,500 pounds, which is a pretty big airplane (a King Air weighs less than 10,000 pounds). More...

RISK MANAGEMENT IS AN AREA OF AVIATION INSURANCE OFTEN OVERLOOKED
when purchasing aircraft hull and liability insurance.  CS&A Aviation Insurance specialists excel in risk management, which in turn gives their customers — YOU — the best insurance package for their individual needs.  Owner or renter, shop around and you'll find CS&A meets your insurance needs. Call the CS&A pros at (800) 761-2557, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/csa/avflash.

MORE PRIVATE SPACE PROJECTS
It's been almost a year since the Burt Rutan/Paul Allen collaboration resulted in the first (and second) private manned space flight but some of the dreamers and doers left in the dust by that well-funded operation are still hoping to see the black sky themselves. The Countdown to the X Prize Cup is being held Oct. 9 at Las Cruces, N.M., and visitors will be able to see the various other means competitors for the original X Prize had hoped to employ to win the $10 million offered in the earlier competition. "We've created an event where everyone can come, experience space and be part of the next generation of spaceflight," says the event's Web site. More...

ON THE FLY...
It's apparently within FAA regulations to drive a Jeep under an airplane...
Red Bull racing comes to San Francisco Oct. 8...
The U.S. and Australia have signed a bilateral agreement...
N.Z. will host first qualifying event toward Sailplane Grand Prix...
AOPA is asking the FAA to hold a public forum on Washington's ADIZ. 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...

AVEMCO IS COMMITTED TO SAFETY — AND SAVINGS
Avemco's Safety Rewards Program allows pilots to improve their flying skills and reduce their insurance premiums at the same time. By completing a course in King Schools' CD-ROM Practical Risk Management series, and by completing Avemco-approved recurrent training, pilots can receive up to 10% off their annual insurance premiums. For details about Avemco's Safety Rewards Program — and to discover how you can take to the sky with increased confidence — call (888) 241-7891, or visit AvemcoDIRECT insurer of general aviation aircraft and pilots since 1961 — at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/avemco/avflash.

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS
The Savvy Aviator #23: Maintenance Records
Maintenance records are a pivotal element of your aircraft's maintainability and resale value. Are yours in good shape? AVweb's Mike Busch says the FAA's regulations may not be thorough enough when the time comes to sell the plane.

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...

MEDICAL CERTIFICATION ISSUES? AOPA CAN HELP!
AOPA's Pilot Information Center provides the answers that pilots need when they face the loss of their medical certificate.  In addition to providing counsel about what to expect, AOPA's proficient experts have a direct liaison with the FAA to help determine the status of your medical. What's more, AOPA's web site allows you to research medical questions, has detailed guidance about many medical conditions, includes AOPA's TurboMedical interactive medical application planner, and features a comprehensive listing of medications allowed by the FAA. For the best information available about your medical questions, trust AOPA's Pilot Information Center. Call (800) USA-AOPA, or go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aopa/med/avflash.

AVWEB'S QUESTION OF THE WEEK ...
Privatization, risng prices, and those dreaded user fees — this week, AVweb invites you to peer into your crystal ball and tell us which (if any) of these you see looming in the future of U.S. aviation. PLUS: Results of last week's question on avgas prices (and how much is too much to pay). More...

ASO — A BETTER WAY TO SELL YOUR AIRCRAFT SHARE
Finding aircraft share buyers can be hard — FBO bulletin board flyers are too limited, and ads in national publications are too broad. Now there's a better way, with ASO's Partnership Ads. List your share on ASO, the most trusted place for aircraft sales, and interested buyers will have the ability to search geographically to easily find your partnership listing. For a limited time, select Partnership Ads are complimentary. Call (888) 992-9276 or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aso/partner/avflash today and get your share in front of potential buyers tomorrow.

AVWEB'S PICTURE OF THE WEEK ...
Our spirits continue to soar this week, as "POTW" submission numbers stay high — as does the quality of images we're seeing in the weekly stack. If you'd like to see your photo here — and possibly win a nifty AVweb baseball cap, available only through "POTW"! — submit your entries here. We'll share the best of each week's crop with over 100,000 loyal AVweb readers — and your picture may end up as desktop wallpaper for hundreds of aviation buffs around the world! (Plus, we really get a kick out of looking at airplane pictures.) More...

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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THE SHORT STACK HAS ARRIVED FOR PIPERS & GRUMMANS AT POWER FLOW!
Power Flow Systems, manufacturers of FAA-certified tuned exhaust systems, have introduced a new "short stack" exhaust pipe for Piper PA-28 and Grumman AA5 series aircraft. The new STC'd short stack looks better while still providing up to 23 more available horsepower. For more information on this and the right tuned exhaust system for your aircraft, go online to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/power/avflash.
SEE WHAT ATC SEES AND THEN SEE WHAT THEY DO WITH THE INFORMATION
The AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft situation display that gives you a real-time picture of all IFR aircraft in-flight over the U.S. and Canada. Whether you're tracking a friend or want to learn more about the system in action, Flight Explorer has the information you want for just $9.95 a month. Subscribe at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flightexplorer/avflash.
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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.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team: mailto:sales@avweb.com.

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