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February 27, 2006

NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
JA Air Center JA Air Center, Your Garmin GPSMap 396 Source, Is Looking to Purchase Used GPS Units, Avionics, and Aircraft
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The Pre- User Fee Fight Continues back to top 
ATG - A New Dawn of Business Jets

Pelton Says FAA Fees Would Be Bad For Business

From a strictly business-savvy viewpoint, user fees for aviation don't make sense, says Cessna CEO Jack Pelton. Talking to the Washington (D.C.) Aero Club last week, Pelton said arguments to impose such fees are based on five myths --- that the current FAA funding mechanism is not working, that an overhaul is needed to pay for modernization of the airspace system, that GA doesn't pay its fair share, that user fees would provide stable funding, and that the coming fleet (if indeed it does come) of very light jets will place added burdens on the aviation infrastructure. Pelton went on to dispute each of those points, saying the industry needs policy that is "more enlightened, more realistic, more equitable, and more cost effective." FAA officials often speak of the need to run the FAA more like a business, Pelton said. "So, I propose we address some basic business questions before we implement more policies or procedures that could potentially add cost or make the system more burdensome than it already is." Pelton said an evaluation of the current funding system shows little need for new revenue streams -- funding for the FAA has increased, not decreased, in the last decade.

What The FAA Really Wants, According To AOPA

The FAA's underlying aim, AOPA President Phil Boyer said last week, is to get out from under the control of Congress. In a speech to a Pilot Town Meeting last Wednesday night in Wichita, Boyer said the FAA's complaint about diminishing funds is "just total fiction," the Wichita Business Journal reported. "The fact is that they've continued to get increases from Congress every single year, the trust fund is not diminishing by the administration's own numbers and by 2011, just five years, it will be at something like $10 billion. So the FAA is looking for a way to get out from under Congress's control, and ... that's the last thing we want, an out-of-control FAA."

As Congress Begins To Take Sides

At that same meeting, Boyer played a videotaped message from U.S. Rep. Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who sits on the Transportation Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Tiahrt said he would oppose any effort by the FAA to impose user fees on general aviation. "That should be a pretty clear message to the Bush administration," Boyer said, "because Rep. Tiahrt and his colleagues literally write the check for the FAA. If Congress says 'no' to user fees, as they have in the past, the fees won't happen. Period." User-fee proponents are going to have a fight in Congress, Boyer said. Rep. Tiahrt acknowledged in the videotape that budgets are tight, "but transportation funding remains an important priority."

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Flight Training Online back to top 

Internet Basics For Pilots

While much of the U.S. has enjoyed a fairly balmy winter so far, for many pilots, the prime flying season is still ahead. Now is a good time to fight the winter rustiness and brush up with some training. Flight simulators are one way to stay in practice, but the Internet also can provide a wealth of opportunities to keep fresh and keep learning new things. If it's been a while since you cracked open the Aeronautical Information Manual, you can find the latest changes and updates online, or review your air traffic and emergency procedures. The complete FARs also are online, a great source for resolving hangar-talk disputes about arcane trivia. And most pilots can benefit from a review of proper radio technology, found in the online Pilot-Controller Glossary. From "abeam" to "wilco," the glossary ensures that communicators on both ends of the radio are talking about the same thing.

Certificate Upgrades -- Fresh Help From A Trusted Name

If you're ready to prepare for that next big certificate or rating, and need to take a knowledge test, Sporty's Pilot Shop offers free services online that can help. The "Study Buddy" generates random test questions from the FAA database on topics that you select. You get instant feedback. Then when you're ready, you can take a full-length practice test. These tests are just like the real thing, Sporty's says. They're generated randomly from the FAA question bank, and navigation and time limits are set up to mimic the FAA tests. If you're not ready for a test yet, but want to upgrade your cockpit skills, the Web site of your nav equipment provider probably offers some help. Garmin, for example, offers a free simulator and lesson plans to learn about their 400-series nav units. The 500-series Web site also offers a video clip, but you have to pay to get a copy of the complete video training program.

Online Refresher Courses, FAA Wings Program, More

A number of sources online offer free tutorials on safety topics. AOPA's Air Safety Foundation has a four-minute course on thunderstorms, or spend an hour or so to learn about runway safety, single-pilot IFR, mountain flying or one of the many other choices. Completion of some of the courses will qualify you for the seminar portion of the FAA's Wings program. The FAA has two online courses -- one to help prepare you for your flight review, and one on navigating the D.C. ADIZ and other special-use airspace. The FAA Learning Center also features lots of documents and links. And our favorite place to exercise your gray matter -- AVweb's Brainteasers. These quizzes challenge you to dig into your aeronautical expertise and apply your knowledge to real-life situations. That should keep you busy until the snow melts and the pre-heaters are packed away.

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.
News Briefs back to top 

New Eco-Friendly Jet Fuel In The Works

Researchers in North Dakota say they have been working for four years on a process that converts soybean or canola oil into aviation turbine fuel. The biofuel, which is now almost ready for an Air Force test, runs colder and cheaper than conventional jet fuel and is more environmentally friendly, the Grand Forks Herald reported on Friday. The researchers said they have found a way to solve a problem with the fuel's tendency to "gel" at low temperatures, and that it is now working at temperatures of 75 below zero (Fahrenheit). Air Force scientists have tested earlier versions of the fuel, and found it performed as well as regular JP-8 jet fuel. The biofuel is being studied by a new sustainable-energy initiative between the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University in Fargo. Wayne Seames, a UND chemical engineering professor, and Ted Aulich, a senior researcher at the Energy and Environmental Research Center, have been working together on the project. "There's still a lot of work to do," Seames told the Herald.

GA Airport Operators Dreading Budget Cuts

When Congress and the FAA start tossing billion-dollar budget numbers around, it can seem very remote and unreal. But here's what proposed cuts from Airport Improvement Project funding translates to on the ground -- a hangar that's never built, a security fence not installed, an ILS out of operation. Mike Fricker, chairman of the Airport Board in Pell City, Ala., told dailyhome.com last week: "We have been struggling for years as it is. There are, I think, 87 general aviation airports in Alabama, and there has never been sufficient money to help them grow and be safe. We've worked so hard for the last five years, and I really hate the idea of seeing our federal funds being cut after all of that." Completion of the ILS at the Talladega Airport is especially critical, Airport Board Chairman Ray Miller added. "We're not going to be able to draw the cargo planes and corporate jets that we're hoping to attract without the ILS," he said. That's just for Alabama -- similar scenarios are playing out around the other 49 states.

Pilot 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 

Deaf Pilot Earns Instrument Rating

Stephen Hopson has wanted to fly since he was four years old, and decided long ago that being deaf would not stop him. He earned a private and commercial certificate, and last week became the first deaf pilot to get his FAA instrument rating, flying a Cessna 172 in Akron, Ohio. Since instrument pilots must be able to communicate on the radio, Hopson explained to AVweb in an e-mail how it works: "The co-pilot's job is to be my conduit, or 'ear and speaking piece.'" The co-pilot listens and responds on the radio, then transmits the information to Hopson using signs and writing on a quick-erase board. Hopson is PIC in charge of the flight and makes all decisions. "By knowing what to expect and what to tell the co-pilot to say on the radio, a deaf instrument-rated pilot is PIC in the true sense of the word," Hopson wrote. He plans to get a multiengine rating next, and then fly jets. He also is lobbying the FAA to expedite the implementation of datalink technology at the GA level, which he says would eventually enable deaf pilots to fly IFR on their own. "The Europeans are already using datalink," he wrote. "It's just a matter of time." For more info about flying with hearing impairment, go to the FAA's Web site or to the Deaf Pilots Association.

Want To Build Spaceships? Jobs Open Now

Burt Rutan spent some time at each of his AirVenture forums in Oshkosh last summer trying to recruit more workers for his company, Scaled Composites, in Mojave, Calif. Last week, he was still at it, with a story in Space.com telling about his need for workers. "We are looking for people that like to build things with their hands and are good craftsmen," Rutan told Space.com. "We need those that give 100 percent each day and enjoy a fast-paced research and development environment." He added that while he gets a lot of responses and inquiries, he's still looking for more of the right people with the right skills ... who don't mind living in Mojave. An aerospace background is not crucial; other qualities may be more important. "We look for those who have passion ... are talented in building quality things ... work well in a team atmosphere, and are trustworthy," he said. You also must be a U.S. citizen and ready to work full-time. Some jobs require security clearances. For more info, go to Scaled's Web site.

"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 

Seven Plane-Crash Fatalities In Two Days In D.C. Area

It was snowing and foggy on Wednesday morning when the pilot of a Cessna 172 based at Virginia's Warrenton Fauquier Airport attempted to land at Freeway Airport in Maryland. On the second try, the airplane crashed, nose-first, about 300 feet south of the runway. Two pilots on board were killed, and a passenger in the back seat was seriously hurt. Wednesday night, as the fog persisted, a Columbia 400 carrying four men crashed just 500 yards from Stafford Regional Airport in Virginia. All four were killed. On Thursday night, a Cessna 182 hit power lines and crashed near a rest stop on Interstate 81, about a mile from Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport. The pilot, who was alone on board, died. Prince George's County Fire and Rescue spokesman Mark Brady told NBC4 News that visibility at the time of the Freeway Airport crash was between zero and 500 feet. The airplane had launched from Warrenton Fauquier Airport in Midland, Va., and was trying to pick up another passenger at Freeway Airport and continue on to Atlantic City, N.J. The four men who died in the Columbia 400 were on their way home to Fredericksburg when they were diverted to Stafford because of fog. They had gone to a basketball game in North Carolina. The pilot who crashed near the interstate was a professional pilot who was out on a pleasure flight.

Planespotting From Your Desktop

Every day people are finding new ways to use the capabilities of Google Earth, which brings to your computer screen the view of satellites looking down from above. Those roving eyes catch all kinds of things, and a few that our readers have found of interest include this image of a restored Avro Lancaster WWII bomber, flying above Huntingdon, England. Another screenshot captures what is interpreted to be a mysterious flying car near Perth, Australia, though later postings were skeptical of the claim. But there's little question about the abundance of black helicopters, captured by the hundreds by Earth explorers. Just a couple more -- how about airplanes with their shadows, and airplanes in unlikely locations (scroll down for this one). And for the private pilot with a critical eye, Google earth can serve as a preview to a cross-country or new airport without leaving the ground.

Pilot Insurance Center In a Group Plan and Think You're Getting the Best Deal on Life Insurance?
The Pilot Insurance Center (PIC) finds many people believe this is the case. Unfortunately, in some group plans you're only as good as your weakest link. Meaning, while you may be in excellent health, you may be paying a higher premium due to those in the group who aren't as healthy. From airline pilots to weekend warriors, PIC has saved pilots 30-60% on coverage through A+ rated carriers or better. Find out if you are getting the best deal. Call PIC today at (800) 380-8376, or visit online.
News in Brief back to top 

On The Fly...

The FAA has published a new "plain-language" version of the Washington, D.C., restricted airspace NOTAM...

NATCA has asked for a mediator to help with FAA contract talks...

The FAA proposes some tweaks to ECi cylinder-assembly Airworthiness Directive...

Two 737s collided at Newark on Monday while taxiing, no injuries but long delays ensued...

FAA noise rules for part of Grand Canyon delayed until 2011...

Adam Aircraft says it will establish a partnership with Singapore Technologies Engineering, which will provide engineering, logistics, maintenance, repairs and overhaul support for Adam's piston and jet aircraft....

The Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer has returned to its base in Salina, Kans., with designer Jon Karkow piloting. What's next for the airplane? "Watch this space," the Web site says...

Want to buy stock in a skycar? Paul Moller goes public...

Today is the last day to register for Women in Aviation's annual conference, March 23-25 in Nashville, Tenn.

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 newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

The Best Aviation Weather Service for Cell Phones Now Available!
WxServer's Version 6 is chock-full of new features, with a simpler, more powerful menu structure.  NexRad radar maps and satellite pictures are zoomable, and 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 Winds Aloft maps in your pocket. Aviation weather that's ready wherever and whenever when you need it.  SPECIAL: AVweb readers receive $10 off the regular annual subscription rate. Click here.
AVwebBiz back to top 

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/

Garmin 396 vs. Flight Cheetah with XM Weather Comparison
How does the Garmin 396 really compare to the Flight Cheetah with XM Weather?  Check out this link to find out. (866) 443-3342
AVmail back to top 

Reader Feedback on AVweb's News Coverage and Feature Articles ...


Reader mail this week about roadable airplanes, tomato bazookas, Class D.5 airspace and more.

E-Ox: High-Quality Portable Oxygen Now in New 2-, 3-, & 4-Place Systems
Join hundreds of pilots who have discovered you don't need to spend $600 or more to get a high-quality portable oxygen system. Aeromedix's new 2-, 3-, and 4-place systems with individual Nelson type flow meters range in cylinder sizes from 425 to 680. The one- and two-place economy systems come with cylinder sizes from 36 to 680 liters. They are light, compact, and made of 100% medical-grade components. Custom-design your E-Ox system starting at under $200 by calling Aeromedix.com at (888) 362-7123, or go online.
Features back to top 

New Articles and Features on AVweb

AOPA Commander for Microsoft Flight Simulator
If you didn't win that great Commander 112 from AOPA's sweepstakes this year, AOPA has a consolation prize: You can fly that plane -- and try out it's glass cockpit -- on Microsoft Flight Simulator. John Ruley has our review of this aircraft add-on from Flight1 Software.

Landing, when it has to be right. Dick Taylor offers an approach of standardized technique to conquer the engine-out landing. Use it with care every time you fly and you'll be one step closer to mastering your aircraft's unique aerodynamic profile. Click through to learn.

Benefit Aviation and Yourself with the NAA Platinum Visa(R) Card
In addition to favorable Visa(R) rates, National Aeronautic Association (NAA) cardholders receive benefits including a discounted rate on NAA membership and on aviation products. You may also qualify for no-cost accidental death and dismemberment coverage and aircraft damage reimbursement. NAA, the first national aviation association, receives a contribution from BankOne with every purchase made on the NAA Platinum Visa(R) card. These contributions help NAA preserve aviation heritage by supporting prestigious awards presentations and national aviation record certifications. For more information, visit the NAA web site.
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.
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

Short Final...

Everybody's a comedian...

Overheard this weekend.

Pilot: Tower, Cessna1234 would like to shoot a missed approach.

Tower: Cessna 1234 approved for missed approach.

Pilot: Roger. How close can we come?


Tower: ... Just don't hit the tower.



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.

Pilots Know They Need to Protect & Improve Their Eyes
As a pilot, Brian Grote knows that visual acuity is an asset he can't afford to lose. After years of declining vision, he's finally found an all-natural supplement that may help protect and improve the health of his eyes for years to come. Click here to find out more about Claroxan, an all-natural supplement for your eyes.

See What ATC Sees & 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 online

Subscribe to IFR Refresher Now & Save!
You worked hard for your IFR ticket. Now protect it! IFR Refresher is the monthly that polishes your proficiency, challenges your knowledge, briefs you on changing regs, and keeps your decision-making skills sharp. Order today and you'll enjoy guaranteed savings for as long as you subscribe!

Order a CO Guardian CO Detector in the Hope You'll Never Have to Use It!
Models from portable to panel-mount units. Order online.

Power Flow's Short Stack Approved for Pipers & Grummans
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.

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 Mary Grady (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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