Number 45a — November 7, 2005|
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The Top Headlines From
AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's
DOT, ON USER FEES, ADIZ...
AOPA President Phil Boyer says the organization cannot afford to let
down its guard, despite the apparent progress on two key issues it's
been pouring much of its resources into in the last couple of years.
"I ain't letting any grass grow and stand in the way of our continuing
work," Boyer told AVweb Thursday, moments after Secretary of
Transportation Norman Mineta was given a standing ovation from about
1,000 AOPA members attending the group's annual meeting, held in Tampa
this year. (Click through for a quick virtual tour.) Mineta told the crowd that he was
opposed to user fees for general aviation and that he'd ordered a
90-day extension of the comment period, to include a public hearing,
of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would make the Washington
Air Defense Identification Zone permanent. More...
FAVORS FUEL TAX...
Although the immediate urgency lies with the ADIZ controversy, perhaps
the most important (and jubilantly received) statement by Mineta was
that he believes a fuel tax, and not user fees for GA, is the way to
increase and stabilize revenue for the FAA. "I can tell you right now
from my perspective [the solution] will not be user fees," he told the
crowd. AOPA and other GA groups have been pushing for a fuel tax as
the most equitable way of apportioning the cost of the system to those
who use it. Although Boyer welcomed Mineta's position, he cautioned
that there's a lot of detail left to be filled in. More...
COMMENTS CONTINUE -- FOR 90 DAYS
Far from resting on its laurels in rallying pilots to protest the
permanence of the ADIZ, AOPA has actually ramped up its efforts to get
even more pilots involved. There are now more than 18,000 comments
posted on the NPRM and with another 90 days in which to gather input on
docket # 17005, the point will have been made (and maybe already has).
Although Boyer wants members and anyone else with an interest to keep
those comments coming in, he's clearly now focused on the public
hearing that Mineta has promised. No date or location has been set.
Representation by all the interest groups is a given but AOPA is
particularly concerned that the Department of Homeland Security,
Secret Service and Department of Defense be there to hear for
themselves why the ADIZ proposal has sparked such opposition.
D-JET TO MAKE OSHKOSH DEBUT...
Diamond will fly its D-Jet to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh next summer for
its North American debut. Actually the folks around London, Ontario,
will be the first to see it in flight as Diamond has decided to move
development and construction of the five-place single-engine aircraft
to its North American headquarters in Canada. "America is where the
market is," sales and marketing spokesman Bernie Toller told
AVweb on a brisk walk between the hotel and convention center
in Tampa during AOPA Expo. The Williams engine has arrived in London
and first flight is planned for March. The plane's public unveiling
will actually be at the Berlin
Air Show May 16 to May 21, next year. More...
CONFIRMS "PERSONAL JET"
Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier spoke a little about the personal jet
his company intends to build. Although coy about timelines, design and
price, Klapmeier left little doubt that the jet, if not a physical
reality yet, is a conceptual given and it's also clear that he can't
wait. "It's going to be so cool," Klapmeier told AVweb. He did
confirm that it will be a single-engine aircraft, with a parachute,
and he was adamant that it not be referred to as a VLJ. "It is not a
VLJ," he stressed. Rather, it's aimed at the market between his
company's advanced piston singles and the larger, generally
twin-engine, VLJs. Like Diamond, Klapmeier said Cirrus sees tremendous
market potential for personal jets but it won't announce its creation
formally until the design is complete. New Piper is also intending to
build a small jet but spokesman Chuck Suma said it's not imminent. "I
don't think it's a matter of whether we'll build a jet," he said.
"It's more a question of when." More...
FUTURE OF GA, BY VOICES SHAPING IT
What do those building piston singles, very light jets (VLJs) and
light sport aircraft (LSA) have in common? Everything ... and nothing
... and that's why it's so important they pull in the same direction.
During a general session at AOPA Expo (followed by a news conference)
in Tampa on Friday, Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier, Eclipse boss Vern
Raburn and Dan Johnson, the spokesman for LSA manufacturers, shared a
podium and bounced theories on everything from why we fly to what will
keep us flying. "If we can change the way people think about travel,
the future is gold," Raburn told reporters in the follow-up news
conference. "The real competition is the automobile, not the
airlines," Klapmeier told the crowd earlier. "We sell time." But
they're also selling fun and that begins with easy, affordable access
to aviation via the Sport Pilot/LSA initiative, added Johnson.
"Accessibility" was a common theme in the sessions but it meant
different things to different sectors. For Raburn and Eclipse, it's
about what he views as the necessary conversion of general aviation to
turbine engines. "The military did it in the 50s, the airlines did it
in the 60s and business aviation did it in the 1970s," he said. "We
need to turbinize general aviation." Klapmeier said general aviation
became largely irrelevant when airline travel became more accessible.
By changing "people's expectation of safety" and focusing on training
to make learning to fly a more comfortable and less daunting
experience, Klapmeier said general aviation becomes more appealing and
he believes the next 10 years are pivotal. "We're right at that
tipping point," he said. Raburn and Klapmeier agreed the Sport
Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft movement is crucial to that effort.
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AMPHIB RULES "REPOSITIONED"
The Light Sport Aircraft category just got a whole lot more realistic
for amphibious airplanes and their pilots. But there's still a
nonsensical ring to the FAA's decision to modify a bizarre clause in
the regulations that previously only allowed amphib gear to be
"repositioned" while the plane was on the ground. Well, even the FAA
could see the folly of such reasoning and pilots will now be able to
"reposition" the gear in flight, LSA advocate Dan Johnson told
reporters at AOPA Expo in Tampa. However, the rules stipulate that the
gear may only be moved once (lest the gear becomes "retractable").
TAKES OVER AIR TAXI
Cirrus is now an aircraft operator, not just an aircraft manufacturer.
The company recently bought SATS Air Taxi, which has been using Cirrus SR22
aircraft to carry passengers on point-to-point trips in Virginia,
North Carolina and South Carolina. The brainchild of Steve Hanvey, the
company was growing quickly on a word-of-mouth reputation for safe,
efficient and relatively inexpensive service. It flies customers from
the airport nearest them to the airport nearest where they want to go
for a maximum of $495 an hour (block time rates can shave up to 20
percent off). Cirrus President Alan Klapmeier told reporters he used
to be a naysayer on air taxis but now his company owns one.
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Although many pilots wouldn't buy a plane with fewer than four seats,
the dirty little secret is that many if not most of us fly alone a
lot. An Arizona ranch hand has introduced a downright neighborly
concept for putting like-minded pilots together that not only helps
people out, but can reduce costs and boost the fun factor. Baldy
(which he comes by honestly) Ivy established PilotShareTheRide a year ago and so far hundreds
of pilots have connected with one another for trips, training and
rides around the patch. "It's about sharing the love of flying and if
you can share expenses, then so much the better." More...
HOPES FOR BETTER YEAR
Aircraft Industries says a host of small problems (lining up
suppliers, ensuring parts quality, etc.) and one large one (setting up
the shareholders agreement to satisfy investors and take advantage of
liberal tax incentives offered by the Canadian government) bogged down
production in 2005 and it will only push 13 aircraft out the door of
its Trois Rivieres plant by Dec. 31. With the problems all but solved,
Symphony CEO Paul Costanzo said they're hoping to build 70 airplanes
in 2006 and get full certification for the glass-panel version of the
aircraft by late January. Costanzo said the aircraft is popular with
individuals and flight schools, who want the glass version for use as
a technically advanced aircraft (TAA) trainer. "We're positioned to be
the undisputed king of the two-place market," Costanzo said.
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TO INSTALL NEW ANTI-INCURSION GEAR
The FAA will install new runway-incursion warning systems called
Airport Surface Detection Equipment Model X (ASDE-X) at 15 large
airports, starting in January, to replace the sometimes unreliable
Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) now in use. "Reducing the
risk of runway incursions is one of our top safety initiatives," FAA
Administrator Marion C. Blakey said in a statement. Although the U.S.
hasn't had a serious incursion accident in recent years, there have
been some highly publicized near-collisions in Boston, Los Angeles and
New York. In some cases, the mishaps occurred because controllers had
turned the AMASS off to stop all the false returns it emitted in bad
weather. NATCA President John Carr said the new technology is "long
WINE AND YOUR VISION
Alcohol and flying don't mix but if you're having a post-flight pop,
reach for red wine if you can and you may extend your flying years.
Dr. Ingrid Zimmer-Galler told a forum at AOPA Expo that the
antioxidant properties of red wine (primarily resveratrol) have been
shown to reduce the incidence of cataracts by up to 50 percent and may
also help slow macular degeneration, the deterioration of the central
area of the retina that we'll all get to a certain degree as we age.
Zimmer-Galler said diet, exercise, healthy living and common-sense
care of the eyes can go a long way to keeping them in shape for life
and for flying. More...
A NEW RELEASE OF THE BEST AVIATION WEATHER SERVICE FOR
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Maintenance of Citation 500 that crashed Saturday subject of
Click "More" for reader-provided in-flight
photos of the A380 and A340-600...
Northwest pilots' union agreed
to temporary 24 percent pay cut...
Groen Brothers working on
Google bought a used 767 for corporate
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
From the edge of outer space to the low-life missed
approach environment, all pilots should be able to spit out obscure
aviation terminology and know how to apply the info for safer flight.
FEEDBACK ON AVWEB'S NEWS COVERAGE AND FEATURE ARTICLES:
November 7, 2005
Reader mail this week about fuel prices,
closing Potomac Airfield and more.
GAMI CUSTOMERS RAVE ABOUT A SMOOTHER RIDE AND SAVING
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I was working on my multi-engine rating at an airport where the
controllers had apparently grown very familiar with the training
schedule. While on downwind in the Duchess with my instructor, I heard
Controller: Bonanza 123AB you will be following a
Duchess on downwind ... he's about to lose an engine.
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