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Volume 12, Number 8a
February 20, 2006
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House Joins FAA Contract War back to top 
AS3 - The Aviation 
Industry Expo
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

About 30 members of the House have introduced a companion bill to a Senate document that would ultimately force binding arbitration if the FAA and its unionized workers can't reach a voluntary contract settlement. The bill's introduction earned support from both sides of the House (12 Republicans signed on) with Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.) and Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.) leading the effort. The bill, called the FAA Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006, would eliminate a clause in current legislation that could result in the FAA's last, "best" offer being forced on the workers. "This bill would propose a small change in the law, but it would make a big difference by restoring fairness and true accountability to the negotiation process," John Carr, president of the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA), said in a news release. Other unions are also pleased. More...

Under the current rules, the FAA has the ability to declare an impasse in negotiations. That sends the whole package to the Republican-controlled Congress for consideration. If, as is widely speculated would be the case, Congress fails to deal with the contract within 60 days, the FAA deal that was on the table when the impasse was declared would by default become the new contract. Naturally, the union leaders are unlikely to see this as a fair arrangement and have lobbied tirelessly to kick that particular piece of legislation aside. The unions got their first break a month ago when Senate Democrats launched their bill. The bipartisan House bill is an exact replica of the Senate bill. The FAA isn't likely to react quietly. More...

FAA spokesman Greg Martin called the union-inspired legislation another delaying tactic in a set of negotiations that, after six months with little movement, has already gone on too long. "Ironically, this [proposed] legislation contains a mediation clause and we've already called for mediation twice. At any time, without the legislation, NATCA can take us up on mediation so we can get moving closer on key issues," Martin told AVweb. "Clearly, NATCA's determination to push this legislation can be seen as delaying in the context of the evergreen clause." What Martin isn't saying is that, for now, the FAA may have been out-politicked. Although it has the legal authority to declare an impasse at any time, it would be political dynamite if the agency did so while legislation concerning the impasse authority is before Congress. In the meantime the existing contract (which the FAA says is far too rich) prevails so some may believe the union holds an interest in stretching negotiations as long as possible. More...

Zuluworks Zuluworks Is New and Improved!
Zuluworks has not only treated themselves to a little digital makeover, but have re-tooled their product line as well. The new Gazelle is the ultimate flight bag with 3,200 cubic inches of versatility and style. Zuluworks 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.
(More) Flying Car Concepts back to top 

A trio of Massachusetts Institute of Technology grads is determined to create something that has so far eluded both the aviation and automotive industry and their idea seems to be carrying a fair bit of weight in academic circles. An outside panel of scientists and technologists have awarded Carl Dietrich the $30,000 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for, among other inventions (like a desktop fusion reactor and a lower-cost rocket engine), a "flying SUV" he calls Transition. And with help from fellow brainiacs Samuel Schweighart and Anna Mracek, the apparently undisputed genius has formed a company called Terrafugia (terra means earth, fugia means escape) and hopes to have something to show us at this year's EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. More...

The MIT group deals with the snide remarks, knowing smiles and barely concealed giggles with a single line on its Web site: "Why will Terrafugia succeed where so many others have failed?" the group asks rhetorically. Given the source, the answer might be obvious. In a word, it's engineering. The trio says it's taking an engineering approach to the project. What they've come up with is a two-place vehicle with an airplane-like fuselage and fold-out wings. It will have a 100-hp engine driving a tail-mounted pusher prop and weigh in at 1,320 pounds, qualifying it for light sport aircraft (LSA) status. In fact, Dietrich says, the no-medical, low-cost Sport Pilot certificate option was a major factor in the decision to design the drive-to-the-airport-and-fly-away machine. More...

While the MIT folks go straight to their ultimate creation, Larry Neal, of Butterfly LLC in Bridgeport, Texas, is taking the launch of his combination of a three-wheeled motorcycle and gyrocopter in a more methodical way. Neal's friend John Frena, who's trying to turn up the hype while Neal keeps his nose to the grindstone, says the Flying Motorcycle is less than a month from becoming fully functional in the air and on the ground and will demonstrate both capabilities at Lakeland. As AVweb told you last week, the Flying Motorcycle has already flown for local TV cameras. More...

Workshops Complimentary Online Workshop for IFR Pilots & Students
"Fly Single-Pilot IFR with Confidence" is the title of the newest workshop from PilotWorkshops.com. Taught by Doug Stewart, 2004 National Certified Flight Instructor of the Year. Take a complimentary 10-minute IFR workshop. Click here for instant online access.
News Briefs back to top 

While the U.S. is having trouble keeping people from pointing lasers at airplanes, it seems the Australians have convincingly dealt with another type of threat to aviation: flying tomatoes. Southport Magistrate Alex Chilcott put Anthony Douglas Donohue, 35, of Sorrento, in Queensland, on two years of probation after the man admitted threatening to bring down a helicopter by shooting tomatoes from a "homemade bazooka." Donohue became annoyed over the helicopter's repetitive survey flights over the house he shares with his parents and called in the threats to Air Services Australia, the government agency that regulates civil aviation. "I have a homemade bazooka and if that helicopter is here again tomorrow I will fire the bazooka at this guv," Donohue was quoted by prosecutors as saying, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The court was also told his ammunition of choice was tomatoes. More...

Eclipse Aviation has joined the ranks of Orville Wright, Chuck Yeager's sonic boom and the B-2 bomber, among many others, in winning the National Aeronautic Association's Collier Trophy, considered among the most prestigious aviation awards. In a press release announcing the winner, NAA CEO David Ivey says Eclipse is "applying innovations created in the technology industry to drive down cost, increase performance, improve safety, and spur a new type of air travel -- the air taxi." The release also paraphrases and quotes Ivey as saying "the selection committee's criteria included recognition of the rich heritage of the Collier Trophy, and 'the spirit of entrepreneurship, technical innovation, and the impact on American aviation,' exemplified by the Eclipse 500." ... Which may be Ivey's way of saying that Eclipse's accomplishments might not fit a strict interpretation of the award's criteria as outlined on the NAA Web site. More...

"Wings to Adventure" on The Outdoor Channel Put Your Favorite Destination on TV!
Wings to Adventure 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 Eastern, and visit their forums online.
News Briefs back to top 

The FAA says a 2.2-pound chunk of metal that smashed through the roof of a Broward, Fla., home, cracked four skylights, sliced through a den and finally came to rest, scorching hot, on the pool deck, where it cracked tiles, didn't come from an airplane. But the owner of the house is alleging a cover-up. "I think someone's covering someone's a-- for not inspecting a plane," Robert Amchir told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. It's going to cost him about $10,000 to repair the various holes in his house caused by the metal, which blasted through last Wednesday afternoon. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said several airworthiness inspectors examined the metal and none could identify it as an aircraft part. They thought it might be a counterweight of some sort used in machinery. "Our investigation is closed," she said. But if it didn't come from an airplane, where did it come from? More...

As AVweb told you in January, Israeli government-owned defense contractors have come up with a retrofit missile defense system for airliners and they didn't fool around putting it to use. The national airline El Al now carries the Flight Guard system on each of its 29 aircraft. It took three years to develop and certify the system, partly due to consideration for perhaps less security-conscious countries' concerns regarding the possibility of an El Al aircraft on approach launching conventional magnesium flares over (or into) densely populated areas. Flight Guard uses infrared-emitting flares that are presumably less likely to start fires. There's no official word from the FAA on the system but El Al continues to operate flights from LAX, O'Hare, JFK and Miami. More...

Pilot Insurance 
Center Innovative Life Insurance Products From The Pilot Insurance Center
In addition to the incredible savings pilots get when purchasing life insurance from the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC), PIC offers a wide variety of insurance products. The most popular is the Return of Premium (ROP) term policy. The ROP policy is a hybrid between universal life and term insurance. At the end of the ROP policy term, you get all of your premiums back, and it offers convertibility options. For more information on ROP benefits and features, or any other coverage, call PIC at (800) 380-8376, or visit online.
News Briefs back to top 

A British military helicopter pilot says his aircraft didn't cause a Cessna landing on a nearby runway to suddenly veer off the pavement. Flt. Lieut. Peter Binstead was taking off adjacent to the runway as Hugh Paton was landing at St. Mawgan Airport in Cornwall when Paton's plane left the runway and crashed in flames. Paton's wife and two daughters got out of the burning plane but Paton later died from severe burns. The 2001 crash was the subject of an inquest last week. Although the ministry of defense and Binstead have denied responsibility for the crash, the British government paid the family about $8 million in an out-of-court settlement. More...

Airbus is downplaying test results in which an A380 wing undergoing static testing failed slightly before the required design limit. The wings are supposed to take 1.5 times the design load limit but this one failed at 1.45 times, about 3.3 percent shy of the certification requirement. Airbus spokeswoman Barbara Kracht said the wing will need some "refinements" but the aircraft is on schedule for certification and first deliveries late this year. "We will need to find out from the data what is really needed but it's certainly not a redesign of the wing," Kracht told Associated Press. More...

JA Air 
Center JA Air Center, Your Garmin GPSMap 396 Source, Is Looking to Purchase Used GPS Units, Avionics, and Aircraft
Call (800) 323-5966 for current value, with no purchase required. One of Garmin's largest aviation dealers, JA stocks the new GPSMap 396 with terrain, XM Weather, and music with same-day shipping (before 3pm CT). JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Also, JA provides FBO services and fuel at Dekalb Taylor Municipal Airport (KDKB) in Dekalb, IL. Call (800) 323-5966, or click for more information.
News Briefs back to top 

The publicity has died down but the FAA says people are still pointing lasers at airplanes and it intends to crack down on those responsible. Last Monday, at least 16 aircraft were lased near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the second such rash of incidents there in six months. "We treat it as a very serious matter," FBI Special Agent Dawn Clenney said. "Laser beams can disorient pilots responsible for an airplane full of passengers." There were 305 laser pointing incidents between late 2004 and early 2006, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, the New Jersey man who became the unwitting poster child for laser incidents has been put on probation for shining a light into the cockpit of a Cessna Citation. More...

FAA named new Federal Air Surgeon...
Public meeting to discuss helicopter safety...
United pilots unlikely to get pensions back...
Microbes are throwing off fuel gauges in MD-80s...
Loose wires shut down Reno ILS. More...

One Product -- Everything You Need! Preflight to Enroute!
The Voyager Flight Software System integrates all the flight information you need into one seamless package. Quickly view weather, winds, airport, fuel and terrain data for pre-flight planning, then fly with enroute moving map and real-time weather. Whether you just need quick pre-flight data, some current charts, or a complete Electronic Flight Bag, this is the affordable solution. Data is updated automatically, and there is NO CHARGE for always-current approach plates! Download a test drive of the complete system here.
Features back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #97: Precautionary Landings
You probably only flew an approach to an off-airport field as part of your "power-failure" training -- and you probably didn't actually land on that crop field (balloons and gliders excepted, of course). But if that's the only thing that will save your life when you get caught scud-running, shouldn't you practice?

Radar contact. Paul Berge identifies the differences in meaning for both VFR and IFR pilots when a controller says "radar contact". He also tells you what it doesn't mean for any pilot engaged in either type of flight. Click through to learn.


Dreams, Youth, Freedom — All Within Your Reach Through Dorr Aviation
Dorr Aviation will help you achieve your passion for flight by financing your next aircraft purchase. Dorr Aviation has been a trusted name in aircraft financing for over 45 years. With Dorr's extensive aviation knowledge and exceptional customer service, they will make the process hassle-free. Call (800) 214-0066, or download an application.
AVmail back to top 


Reader mail this week about Global Flyer, GA sales records, POTW and more. More...

OurPLANE Fractional New Aircraft -- The Intelligent, Lowest-Cost Aircraft Ownership Alternative
Your factory-new Cirrus, Cessna, Eclipse VLJ, Pilatus PC12, or King Air all for a fraction of the usual cost. Available Coast to Coast! AVweb special discount IF YOU CALL TODAY -- 1-877-RPLANE-1 (877-775-2631). Web site.
AVwebBiz back to top 

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...

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 web site.
NewsTips back to top 

What have you heard? There might be something to it. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, don't be shy. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Our best stories start with you. More...

Worried About Busting A Reg? You Should Be!
It's all too easy with today's tightened rules and enforcement. Join the smart pilots who trust Aviation Safety to keep them aware and in the air. Discover this informative, instructive monthly that sharpens your savvy and air readiness. For big savings from the regular rate, subscribe now.
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

While doing some work, heard the following exchange on Kennedy Tower freq:

Twr: Cactus 51, turn right zulu and golf, hold behind the plane that's stopped to recycle.

Cactus 51: Cactus 51 we'll make the right zulu and golf, behind the recycled airplane ... whatever that means.

Trw: C'mon Cactus, you guys should know what that means, you fly Airbus' -- it's when the screens go blank and you have to restart them all.

Cactus 51: Oh, yeah, we know about that. We just thought it was 'cause we were out of quarters. More...



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The Finer Points Podcasts Are Now Available to AVweb Subscribers
Jason Miller's The Finer Points is an educational aviation podcast that has soared in popularity since its launch in October 2005. Miller has integrated his love of flying and music to bring a new way of learning to the aviation community. See for yourself.

Isn't It About Time You Choose Something Extra?
Pilot-inspired, German-engineered, and internationally renowned -- that's the difference in Extra Aircraft's EA-300 and EA-500. All it takes is one flight in the EA-300, and you'll discover why so many world-champion aerobatic pilots choose Extra. Extra's certified, Rolls Royce-powered, 6-seat turboprop EA-500 is in a class all by itself. The only new-technology cabin class airplane, the EA-500 averages 220 kts, gets 11 mpg, and costs less than $200/hr to operate. Click here for more information on both remarkable aircraft.

Click, Shop, Save -- at the Pilot's Shopping Site -- Pilot Shop
Make shopping for everything you and your plane need easy and quick at Pilot Shop. Books, sunglasses, flashlights, radios, GPSs, timers, headsets, watches -- the list goes on and on! AVweb Special: $15 discount coupon for purchases of $100 or more. One use per customer. Offer expires 2/28/06. Coupon Code: AVweb. With this special, no-cost shipping, and no sales tax (outside NM), you have to see for yourself. Click here!

See What ATC Sees — And Then See What They Do with It
The AVweb 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.

Affordable Cockpit Voltage Converter from Trans-Plata
For $69.95, you can now afford a cockpit voltage converter from Trans-Plata. Plus, there's been a price reduction on the 5-amp converter. All Trans-Plata products can be ordered online.

Gas Prices Keeping You Grounded? Share Expenses on Your Next Flight!
Join PilotShareTheRide.com. This unique site is offered at no cost to pilots AND those who love to fly and don't have access to an aircraft. You can share costs on your next flight! Pilot Share The Ride is supported by advertisers, just like AVweb, so there are no membership costs. Check out PilotShareTheRide.com.

Names Behind The News back to top 

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 Russ Niles (bio).

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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