NewsWire Complete Issue

January 11, 2006
By The AVweb Editorial Staff

This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by ... Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.

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AS3 - The Aviation Industry Expo

Another Engine Concern

ECi Cylinders

The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that requires the replacement of certain ECi "Classic Cast" cylinder assemblies installed on Lycoming 320-, 360-, and 540-series parallel valve engines. The cylinders are found in more than 1,500 engines in the U.S., and must be replaced within 800 hours of time in service. Replacing all four cylinders on a typical Lycoming 360 would take about 12 hours and cost about $4,900, the FAA estimates. Ed Salmeron, president of ECi, told AVweb yesterday the AD reflects the intent of a Mandatory Service Bulletin issued by ECi last September. "ECi has instituted a pro-rated replacement program for parts and labor to be used when the affected cylinders come up for replacement," he said. Cylinders that have more than 800 hours in service may remain in service for an additional 60 hours before replacement is required, Salmeron said. The AD was proposed in September, and since the FAA received only two comments, it has now finalized the rule, effective Jan. 31.

Metal Fatigue AD

The FAA took the action because of the failure of some 30 installed cylinders due to metal fatigue. ECi asked for the AD to allow affected cylinder assemblies to be removed at the normal engine operating time-between-overhaul, but the FAA stuck with its 800-hour limit. "The failure data records show that a longer operating time for the affected cylinder assemblies would jeopardize aircraft safety," the FAA said. AOPA said it was satisfied with the final form of the AD. With 30 incidents cited, "there was a clear indication of a problem," spokeswoman Kathleen Vasconcelos told AVweb. In contrast, AOPA vehemently opposed a recent proposed AD regarding ECi connecting rods, which was based on a single incident of failure.

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ADIZ Public Meetings Start Today In Maryland

Airspace Struggles, East And West

This afternoon, the FAA will hold the first of two public meetings on its proposal to make the ADIZ over the D.C. area into a permanent fixture. The proposal so far has drawn over 19,700 comments, so the agency is sure to have plenty of input. Today's meeting, at the Sheraton Colombia Hotel in Columbia, Md., will run from 1 p.m. until 4, then take a break and resume at 6:30 until no later than 9 p.m. Next week's session is set for Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Dulles Airport Marriott, the same hours. If you wanted to make an oral statement at either session, you had to have your request in by now. Comments can be submitted by e-mail until Feb. 6. You can access the docket online; type in 17005.

Arizona Pilots Deal With New UAV TFR

The FAA has established a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) to accommodate unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights by the U.S. Customs Border Patrol near Nogales, Ariz., along the Mexican border. "The unexpected, immediate implementation of this TFR raises concerns that the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security have not taken into consideration the impact that this kind of TFR has on general aviation," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "The association staff is meeting this week with the FAA, Homeland Security, and other security officials to take up the issue. ... The implications of this TFR are alarming." The FAA is expected to issue more TFRs this month, extending the Nogales TFR into New Mexico. "This recent action underscores why general aviation cannot ignore UAVs. ... It's unacceptable for the FAA to cordon off large areas of civilian airspace in order to protect UAVs that can't avoid other aircraft," Rudinger said. A 15-nautical-mile-wide TFR along the U.S. southern border, for example, would affect more than 100 airports and nearly 750,000 annual GA flights, AOPA said.

Northeast Faces Airspace Overhaul

The FAA is working to redesign the airspace in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area, and has asked for comments on four potential plans that it says would improve safety, reduce delays and handle growing air traffic. The four alternatives under consideration are Future No Action, Modifications to Existing Airspace, Ocean Routing Airspace, and Integrated Airspace Alternative. A series of 30 public workshops will be held in February, March and April to solicit input from users. Meeting notices will be published and distributed starting this month, and will be posted on the project Web site. Written comments also can be submitted by e-mail.

The airspace redesign involves a 31,000-square-mile, five-state area with a population of 29 million residents. Twenty-one airports are included within the project, with a particular focus placed on air traffic operations at five major airports: Newark Liberty International Airport and Teterboro Airport in New Jersey; John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport in New York; and Philadelphia International Airport in Pennsylvania. Airports without significant instrument flight rule operations were not included. The new structure should better match increases in air traffic levels, new technologies and aircraft types, the FAA said.

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NTSB On UFO Midair, Or Wake Turbulence, Or...?

The NTSB on Tuesday updated its report on a Cessna Cargomaster that crashed in an Alabama swamp on an October night in 2002, killing the sole occupant, an ATP-rated pilot with more than 4,500 hours total time and 838 time-in-type. Shortly before the accident, the pilot was advised of traffic -- a DC-10 at one o'clock and two miles. The pilot responded he was still in IMC. Soon after, the pilot added, "Roger I got him above me right now." Sixteen seconds later came the pilot's final recorded words, "I needed to deviate, I needed to deviate, I needed to deviate, I needed," and the transmission ended, according to the NTSB's report. Thirty-four mysterious red marks were found on different parts of the aircraft's wreckage, which was strewn over a 600-foot area. Those marks and wreckage area inspired speculation that the crash was the result of an in-flight collision with an unidentified object. So far, the NTSB disagrees. [more]

The NTSB says its further investigations have "revealed no evidence of an in-flight collision or breakup, or of external contact by a foreign object." The FBI and an independent lab matched 21 of the 34 marks with known materials, some of which had been carried in the aircraft. The report states, "Radar data indicated that the DC-10 was in front of the accident airplane at the time of the pilot's last transmission and that the airplanes' flight paths did not intersect." Further, "the horizontal distance between the two airplanes was about 1.1 nautical miles, and the vertical distance between the two airplanes was about 1,600 feet." There is no mention in the report of wake turbulence. A lawyer representing the pilot's two sons told The Washington Post he is not satisfied with the NTSB's conclusions. "I don't think the board's got it straight," Tony B. Jobe said. "The plot is thickening." The NTSB report says that an analysis of ATC tapes of the pilot's final transmissions revealed no loud impact sounds. Analysis of the red marks showed they were not consistent with material used in military drones. We have a feeling the results won't convince the conspiracy theorists out there.

First Flight For Spectrum 33 Light Jet

When Linden Blue, founder and CEO of Spectrum Aeronautical, announced at November's NBAA conference that he had a new light bizjet in the works, it was pretty much a surprise. Now, just about two months later, the company has successfully flown the aircraft. The Spectrum 33 twinjet made its first flight on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Spanish Fork-Springville Airport in Utah. The jet lifted off the 4,500-foot-elevation runway in about 750 feet, the company said, even though it was using greatly reduced takeoff thrust. It was then repositioned to the Provo, Utah, airport, a landing facility with a considerably longer runway. "The acceleration and climb performance of the 33 is remarkable," said Bill Davies, Spectrum's chief of flight test. He said the aircraft performed as expected, but pitch control was "not optimum." Spectrum's engineers will modify the jet to increase pitch control authority at higher speeds, then continue flight testing in about a week. "Provo's longer runway will let us explore handling characteristics beyond what's possible at Spanish Fork," Davies said. The Spectrum 33 is using a next-generation, carbon-graphite construction process that gives it a roomy cabin at light weight, the company said. It's designed to cruise at up to 415 knots and fly as far as 2,000 nautical miles while consuming half the fuel of comparable aircraft. "This [first flight] marks an important point in our development program," said Blue. "Weight reduction is key to boosting fuel efficiency and lowering operating costs." The aircraft was built by a Spectrum Aeronautical and Rocky Mountain Composites joint-design team at the Springville-Spanish Fork municipal airport, about eight miles southeast of Provo, Utah. FAA Type Certification of the Spectrum 33 is slated for late 2007 or in 2008.

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Low And Slow Dangerous, Even With A Chute

On Monday, a flight instructor and his student died when the Cirrus SR20 they were flying crashed while they were practicing touch and goes at Gen. William J. Fox Airfield in Lancaster, Calif. The airplane's ballistic chute was found deployed at the wreckage site, but witnesses quoted in early reports disagreed as to whether it was activated before or after hitting the ground. In practice, low and slow in the pattern is a dangerous time for something to go wrong and even if chute deployment is attempted, there may not be time for it to help. Depending on attitude and airspeed, it can take about 300 feet to a maximum of 1,000 feet to fully deploy the chute, Cirrus's Bill King, vice president of business administration, told AVweb on Tuesday. King added that without a chute, most aircraft require 1,200 to 1,500 feet to recover from a spin. "The Cirrus is the safest airplane in its class on the market today," he said. The NTSB is investigating the crash.

Australian Flight Tours No More

Despite a last-ditch effort to change the minds of Australia's government regulators, GOANA Australian Air Safaris is gone -- shut down as of Dec. 31, after 12 years of providing fly-yourself adventures to pilots from around the world. Mal Shipton, who owned the company, blamed the indifference of bureaucrats who imposed a complex set of security rules on his operation and refused to listen to those affected by those rules. "They have stifled the success we had hitherto enjoyed -- all in the name of aviation security," Shipton said on his Web site. "Marjorie and I thank each and every person we have hosted and trust your memories are as fond as mine of a great 12 years, the best in my life," he said. The "Enhanced Aviation Security Package" that was adopted by the Australian government in March required many more fees and approvals, for which there are often months-long backlogs, Shipton said.

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AOPA Publishes Guide To Hangar Development

Among the many challenges of owning an airplane -- financing, taxes, maintenance, etc. -- finding a place to keep it can be one of the toughest. A tiedown is adequate for some, but for security and protection from the elements, most pilots really want hangar space. There are not enough hangars to go around, and getting new ones built can be a bureaucratic nightmare. To help ease that process, AOPA's Airport Support Network has published a free, 40-page step-by-step guide. AOPA's new Hangar Development Guide lays out five crucial steps to success -- determining the need, creating a sound business case, careful planning, actual building and project evaluation. "Building hangars can attract new businesses and generate additional revenue for the airport," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "A well-executed and successful hangar project can be the key to a financially secure general aviation airport." AOPA says many projects fail because they neglect the first three planning steps.

Build Your Own Turboprop

It's a pretty big project to undertake in your garage, but Aircraft Investor Resources has the OK from the FAA to sell its EpicLT turboprop as an experimental amateur-built kit. If your garage is not up to the task, owners will be offered space at an Epic Build Facility with access to tools and materials. "We are pleased with the FAA's positive support and participation in our program," said CEO Rick Schrameck. "We look forward to expanding our kit offering across North America in an endeavor to broaden the educational experimental market segment." The six-seat, carbon-fiber LT flies at 350 knots behind a Pratt & Whitney PT-6 and sells for about $1.2 million. Builders must use the Epic Builder Checklist along with FAA Form 8000-38 as guidelines of tasks they must complete for the kit to be 51 percent compliant.

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AWOS Telephone Service To Switch To Pay-Only

As AVweb told you a couple of years ago, it's possible to listen to AWOS broadcasts via a toll-free telephone number through a company called anyAWOS. The idea was to have a short commercial message from sponsors to pay for the system but it apparently hasn't worked out that way. In a note on its Web site, anyAWOS has announced that it will be charging subscription fees for using the system effective Feb. 6. "...anyAWOS is a private business and like any business, it has to make money to survive. We have received no funds from any external source to date. We have tried various means of subsidizing access to anyAWOS, but so far none has been successful." anyAWOS has also approached the FAA, looking for a subsidy similar to that enjoyed by the privately operated DUAT service, but so far the FAA has turned the request down. The current "premium" service, free of advertising, costs $5.95 per month.

On The Fly...

A Connecticut man pleaded guilty Monday in a New York court to stealing an airplane last June and flying it while drunk. He will spend less than a year in jail...

Ballistic Recovery Systems has received a Supplemental Type Certificate from the FAA for a ballistic recovery system for the Symphony SA 160...

GlobalFlyer is expected to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida this afternoon, in preparation for a record long-distance solo sometime in the next few weeks...

FAA notes fire danger from laptop batteries in the cockpit...

A white 1974 Cessna 210L with blue and gray trim, N93160, was stolen last week from Punta Pescadero Airport, Baja California, Mexico. For more info or to report sightings, contact the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute at or call 800-969-5473...

Fatigue cracks have been found in both wings of the Grumman Mallard that crashed in Florida last month...

AOPA has filled its four new executive vice president slots. Andy Cebula will hold that position for government affairs and Karen Gebhart for non-dues revenue; previously appointed were Diana Roberts, operations, and Jeff Myers, communications...

Want to check out the sectional for your next dream trip? Try out this not-for-navigation site with charts and info...

Over 800 pilots from Raytheon-owned business jet operator Flight Options, based in Ohio, are taking steps to be represented by the Teamsters.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Drop us a line. If it caught your attention, it will probably interest someone else, too. Submit news tips via email to You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

The Lancair Company has re-branded itself as Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation. The manufacturers of the Columbia 350 and Columbia 400, the world's fastest certified piston aircraft, made the change as part of an ongoing campaign to develop a unique identity for these premium aircraft. The schedule for the Fly Columbia Tour, an interactive Columbia experience, is posted online at

New Articles and Features on AVweb

As the Beacon Turns #97: What's Important -- Now?
Part of becoming a good pilot is knowing what to pay attention to at any particular time. There are plenty of things begging to be taken care of, but if you get distracted by the less important ones, your safety margin will plunmet. AVweb's Michael Maya Charles reminds us to watch our priorities.

Audio Clip
When it comes to ice detection, knowing where to look is half the battle. Click through for a free clip from our experts.


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AVweb's Business AVflash

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AVweb's Question of the Week ...


Last week, AVweb revisited a familiar debate, pitting IFR flight against VFR to find out which our readers prefer.

As we expected, it was a close match, with VFR edging ahead by a small (but significant) factor.  38% of those who responded told us they'd take VFR over IFR any time it was available.

Our second largest segment of respondents, 33%, chose IFR.  They agreed with the statement that VFR is just a stepping stone to higher ratings, and higher ratings (like IFR ratings) make better pilots.

Trailing a little ways behind were those of you who thought that IFR is the quickest, most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B.  19% of you chose IFR because of its cold, unassailable practicality.

And a modest 9% of readers chose VFR because, despite its inherent limitations, it's the safest way to fly.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Thanks to the readers who notified us of last week's "QOTW" problem.  We've isolated the gremlin and pounded it into submission, and those of you who didn't get a chance to chime in on the VFR-vs.-IFR debate can do so now by clicking here.


LSA:  Do you plan to be a participant, or just an observer?  A burgeoning industry hopes the skies will soon be teeming with Light Sport Aircraft, but we want to know if one of those aircraft will belong to you.  Do you plan to buy a Light Sport Aircraft in the future?

Click here to answer

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to

This address is only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or comments.
Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.

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AVweb's Picture of the Week ...

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions

Current POTW Winner | Past POTW Winners

Welcome to another edition of AVweb's "Picture of the Week" — and to those of you who were traveling or otherwise engaged during the holidays, welcome back.  Now that 2006 is underway, submissions to our weekly photo contest have resumed their steady climb, with just under 100 photos coming into consideration this week.  Topping the list is a fly-over photo from Joseph Aldendifer of Corona, California.  Joseph's photo mixes the spectacular skyline of Los Angeles with the warm and familiar cockpit of a DC-3, and it earns him our top prize — an official AVweb baseball cap.  Wear it with pride, Joseph!

Scroll down and enjoy this week's photos — but don't forget to submit your own pictures.  You could win a hat like Joseph's if you're chosen as a top weekly winner.  And even if you don't make it to that coveted spot, your photo could still be featured here, where it will bring a smile of delight to a hundred thousand or so of your fellow pilots.

Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.


Used with permission of Joseph Aldendifer

This serene moment from Joseph Aldendifer of Corona, California
reminded us of the magic of flying.  The photo was taken at twilight
from a DC-3 rose cockpit as Joseph traveled over Los Angeles.

Click here to view a large version of this image
Click here for a medium-sized version

AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up. Click on the links below to view larger versions.

Used with permission of Bill Corbett

"Drew with Wings"
Bill Corbett
of Poquoson, Virginia
shares a fun photo of his grandson, Drew Law
"3 years old and an airport bum."  Not many 3-year-olds
could give the whole city of Los Angeles a run for its money,
but that's just what Drew did in this week's "POTW" contest.
The photo was taken by Bill's son Andy at Langley Air Force Base.

copyright © Mitch Mitchell
Used with permission

"Skyraider Nation"
Mitch Mitchell
of San Diego, California snapped
this photo (of a vintage Douglas AD Skyraider) over
NAS North Island during a flyover promoting a local
air show in 2003.  For the sharp-eyed reader, Mitch
confirms that the plane in the background is indeed
Air Force One — "President Bush was in town that day."


Bonus Pictures

As the number of submissions
continues to grow, so does our
selection of photos that we simply
must share with you.  Here's a sample
of this week's best runners-up:

Used with permission of Mark A. Lee

"Aircraft Rescue Training at Lambert"
Mark Lee of Columbia, Missouri is the head of the
University of Missouri's Aircraft Rescue Training Program.
On its own, that sounds like a pretty cool job to us.  But when
you mix in some of the adventures Mark's had on the road with
the Missouri D.O.T.'s Mobile Aircraft Firefighting Trainer,
it starts to sound downright glamorous.

Used with permission of Adam White

"A Quick Peek Through the Trees"
Adam White of Nenana, Alaska took this
photo just a few days ago while visiting friends deep
in the Alaskan interior.  Adam reports conditions
of -15°F and CAVU, "great day to be flying."
We'd agree with that — as long as the heater's working.

To enter next week's contest, click here.

A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.

Sponsor News and Special Offers

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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.

Letters to the editor intended for publication in AVmail should be sent to Have a comment or question? Send it to

Today's issue written by News Writer Mary Grady:
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Freedom, independence, responsibility.

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