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for the New Year -- Make This One Count
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The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News
Coverage At AVweb's
WOULD CHANGE FAA/NATCA NEGOTIATING RULES
As the FAA and NATCA
continue their acrimonious contract talks and debate over staffing,
funding, safety priorities, equipment, pay rates and just about
everything else, the controllers union last week announced that four
Democratic senators are introducing a bill that would prevent the FAA from
unilaterally imposing a "last, best offer." NATCA President John Carr
wrote to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that he hopes the move will
encourage her to stop making "misleading statements" and trying to
"drive our negotiations to impasse." The bill is sponsored by Senators
Barack Obama (Ill.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Frank Lautenberg (Md.), and
Daniel Inouye (Hawaii). Carr says the FAA's apparent goal is to drive
the talks to impasse and impose a contract, "gutting established
principles of collective bargaining." More...
INCENTIVE FOR THE FAA"
The legislation would require both
sides to submit to binding arbitration. Senator Obama said he introduced
the bill "to help defuse the growing management-labor tension at the
FAA." The Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) union applauded NATCA's move, saying under the current
rules, there is no incentive for the FAA to negotiate. "The FAA is
playing games by refusing to negotiate in good faith, knowing full well
that in the end its contract demands will ultimately be forced upon
public servants who are committed to keeping our skies the safest in the
world," said Tom Brantley, national president of PASS.
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ACCIDENTS IN TWO YEARS
The design of the Mitsubishi MU-2B
twin turboprop is not inherently unsafe, the FAA said in a safety report released last week. The airplane has
been involved in 11 accidents in the last two years, in which 12 people
died. The FAA's analysis found that compared to similar twin-turboprop
airplanes, the MU-2B accident rate is about twice as high. The fatal
rate is about 2.5 times higher, while fatal accident rates in icing
conditions are four times higher. An MU-2B pilot is seven times more
likely to lose control and have a fatal accident during an emergency
compared to pilots flying similar airplanes in similar situations. The
airplane is complex and high-performance, the FAA said, and pilots and
maintenance workers need better training to properly handle and fly it.
CALLS CREW EXPERIENCE INTO QUESTION
The FAA found that the
use of MU-2B airplanes has changed. Originally marketed as a corporate
aircraft in the 1960s, it is used more today for cargo hauling and
private operations. This switch means the aircraft is now "in the hands
of pilots and maintenance providers who, in general, have less
experience in high-performance airplanes than when it was used primarily
as corporate transportation," the FAA said. Those pilots aren't getting
the kind of training and proficiency checks that corporate pilots would,
and they may operate a variety of aircraft, not just the MU-2B. Further,
this shift in usage exposes the airplanes to more frequent night flight
AOPA said it was satisfied with the FAA's report.
"The FAA heeded our recommendation and will likely issue a Special
Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) to require specific MU-2B training,"
said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification
policy. "We think this is the right result and a much better solution
than issuing an airworthiness directive." But AOPA did have a nitpick
with the report, which says that for single-pilot IFR operations using
an autopilot, compliance with the AD requiring the installation of
trim-in-motion and autopilot disconnect systems is recommended.
Headset Is a Key Piece of Equipment, So Choose the Performance of an
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TOO SLOW? TURBO HELP IS ON THE WAY
If poking along at 170
knots in your Cirrus SR22 isn't good enough, George Braly, founder of General Aviation
Modifications Inc. , home to GAMIjectors, is working on a solution
to retain that speed into the higher altitudes for even better true
airspeeds. "We have a turbo-normalizer in flight test now that will make
the SR22 into a 200-knot airplane," says Braly. (And they may well do
better than that.) He's working on getting STC approval from the FAA and
finessing the system, which he expects to have ready for market sometime
later this year -- hopefully in time for Oshkosh. Braly has years of
experience on similar systems, notably for Bonanzas, but says this one
has been designed from scratch, with a lot of unique components.
SAYS 2005 WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR
It was a very good year for
pistons, for jets, and for customer service, Cessna CEO Jack Pelton reported last Thursday. In 2005, Cessna delivered
249 Citation jets, 822 single-engine pistons, and 86 Caravan
single-engine turboprops; won FAA certification for two new jets -- the
CJ1+ and CJ2+; and built its order book up to 788 jets and 1,198
single-engine aircraft with a total value of $6.3 billion, Pelton said.
He attributed the success to "a broad product line that is responsive to
the marketplace, emerging global markets, and implementation of lean
manufacturing processes." More...
Zuluworks Is New and Improved!
has not only treated themselves to a little digital makeover, but have
re-tooled their product line as well. The new Gazelle
ultimate flight bag with 3,200 cubic inches of versatility and style.
has also added the super-popular Mini-Z kneeboard at
50% smaller than the original Zuluboard, but still packing the same
punch. And the original Zuluboard
has never looked so good, with
new styling and sixteen new color choices. Click on
this link and take a look
HONORS ITS BEST
Amid all the rancor between the controllers
union and the FAA, NATCA will take a break tonight to remember what the
mission is all about -- helping pilots to fly safely, especially when
the going gets tough. Ten controllers will be honored as the second
annual Archie League Medal of Safety winners. NATCA
developed the Medal of Safety as a way to recognize examples of the
heroic work of controllers who helped ensure that emergency situations
ended safely. This year's winners will be honored for helping a VFR
pilot to find his way out of IMC in Alaska, warning forgetful pilots to
lower their gear before landing, helping a panicky lost pilot to get
back home, and more. More...
When Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta made
a veiled reference to user fees in a speech to the Aero Club of
Washington last week, alarm bells went off at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. "EAA has been loud and
consistent on this point," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of
government relations. "We are categorically opposed to user fees for
general aviation, especially since the FAA has not shown effective cost
controls or accountability for the capital improvement programs it wants
to undertake. The major airlines and commercial operators favor user
fees because they hope to offload many of the costs for operations and
services on to general aviation, even though the nation's air traffic
system is truly designed to serve the air carriers, not general
Your Favorite Destination on TV!Wings to
TV is looking for great fly-in destinations to show in
stunning high definition. Each week, WTA
visits great places for
pilots — some remote, and some right in town. Share your favorite
destination on the forum section of the WTA
web site, and you
might see it on TV! Watch WTA every Wednesday at 7:30pm
, and visit their forums online
PILOTS' LANDING CALCULATIONS SHOULD DISREGARD THRUST
Pilots should not include the effect of thrust
reversers when computing safe landing distances for jet aircraft, the NTSB
said last week. Calculations tend to assume the thrust reversers
will deploy immediately, when in practice there can be a lag of several
seconds. The difference can be critical, especially when runway
conditions are poor, the NTSB said. The thrust-reverser credit was used
when calculating the safe landing distance required for a Southwest
737-7H4 that landed at Chicago Midway Airport on Dec. 8, during a snow
storm. The airplane ran off the runway, crashed through a fence, and hit
two cars, killing a 6-year-old boy. If the thrust-reverser credit had
not been employed, the calculations would have shown that a safe landing
was not possible, the NTSB said. More...
CRASHES IN ALASKA, PILOT KILLED
Albatros L-39 jet crashed in Ketchikan, Alaska, last Wednesday, killing
the pilot. The pilot apparently ejected from the jet before it hit the
ground, and was found strapped into his seat about 100 yards from the
wreckage. The jet crashed into a small trailer park, causing extensive
damage but no serious injuries. The pilot was identified as Stephen
Freeman, 32, of San Diego, Calif. Various reports last week said the jet
had been sold to an Alaskan charter company and was being repossessed;
or that the Alaskan company was only considering the sale and had
rejected it; or that Freeman was considering buying the aircraft and was
testing it out. Freeman was a retired Marine. More...
The Best Aviation Weather Service for Cell
Phones Now Available!WxServer
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Version 6 takes maximum advantage of any phone's available screen size.
Put NexRad maps centered on every U.S. airport, satellite pictures
centered on more than 95% of airports worldwide, METARs, TAFs, and even
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ZEALAND'S FEROCIOUS GLIDING GRAND PRIX
You might suspect that
watching a sailplane competition -- even in a spectacular setting amid
New Zealand's rugged Omarama mountains -- would be about as exciting as
watching a lawn bowling match. But at last week's Gliding Grand Prix
there may have been some who strongly disagree. A week's worth of daily
press releases painted the televised event as: "tense ... dramatic ...
challenging ... historic ... competitive ... adrenalin-charged ...
thrilling." The excitement included one finish with multiple aircraft
crossing the finish line within seconds of each other. It all finished
up yesterday, with New Zealander Ben Flewett taking first prize.
"Aviation and television history was made in Omarama this week," said
Grand Prix director Peter Newport. More...
GlobalFlyer launch possible for
LaGuardia Airport to get a new control tower...
ASF mini-course on GPS posted online...
Conflict over helicopters
using river in Oregon for fire training...
Two died Friday in crash
of a Navy T-34C Turbo Mentor in Texas...
Bell's first flight of its
tiltrotor UAV last week...
Over 400 skydivers in Thailand to attempt
world-record jump this week. More...
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ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
Motor Head #11:
One Thousand (Not So Easy) Pieces
Wonder why airplane engines
cost so much? Just try to build one. AVweb's Motor Head, Marc Cook, did
(well, he helped anyway) and found it to be very enlightening. And then
he flew a Turbo Cirrus ...
Taylor takes on the IFR crowd, making sure you understand the
requirements and the not-so-common sense behind selecting suitable and
legal alternate airports. Click through to make sure you've got it right.
406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon from
Aeromedix Takes the "Search" Out
of "Search & Rescue." A
406 MHz PLB should be an essential part of your safety gear. PLBs
greatly reduce the time it takes rescuers to reach an individual and
provide the best chance of being rescued in an emergency. A PLB with
integrated GPS transmits precise coordinates to within 100 meters and
reduces SAR notification time to as little as five minutes!
has great deals on FastFindPlus ($549) and ACR 406
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Garmin 396 vs. Flight Cheetah with XM
How does the Garmin 396 really compare
to the Flight Cheetah with XM Weather? Check out this link and find
out. Call (866) 443-3342
to order, or order
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/
Use the Best — ASA 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 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
Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors
Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices.
, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your
aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's
engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call
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kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine
Submitted by a friend of AVweb...
Heard over the
Cessna XYZ: "Cessna XYZ taking runway
Unknown voice: "Well, don't take it very far.
There's another plane on final." More...
AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED
SUPPORT OF OUR SPONSORS,
WHO BRING YOU TODAY'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT
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Join NAA and Help
Shape the Next Century of Flight
The New Year is a great
time to join the National Aeronautic Association, the nation's
oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a
terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the
Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus
access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call
(703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up
DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm,
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University CAPT, Empire Aviation, Middle
Tennessee State University, and Utah Valley State College — all have
selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency,
and safety, the DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information,
Digital Replacement Transponders!
proudly announces the availability of their all-new Value Series plug &
play line of digital transponders. The Value Series is designed for the
cost-conscious owner. Narco's Value Series plug & play transponders
include the AT165/VS (a replacement for the AT50 through AT155), the
AT165/KA/VS (a replacement for the KT76A/78A), and the AT165/K/VS (a
replacement for the KT76/78). Coming Soon: Narco's AT165/C and
AT165/C/VS, plug & play replacements for the ARC (Cessna) RT359A/RT459A.
For more information, visit
Narco Avionics online.
See What ATC
Sees -- And Then See What They Do with It
Edition of Flight Explorer is the PC-based graphical aircraft
situation display that gives 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 need for just $9.95 a month. Check it out.
with Big Bills for Routine Aircraft
Subscribe to Light Plane
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Order a CO Guardian CO Detector in the Hope
You'll Never Have to Use It!
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Flow's Short Stack Approved for Pipers & Grummans
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.
Simulator -- Special Offer to AVweb Subscribers
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Pilot Share The Ride is supported by advertisers, just like AVweb, so
there are no membership costs. Check out PilotShareTheRide.com.
AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles,
products, features, and events featured on AVweb,
the internet's aviation magazine and news service.
Today's issue was written by news writer Mary Grady (bio).
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