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April 3, 2006

NewsWire Complete Issue

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Noisebuster Headset from Aircraft Spruce Avidyne Entegra is Aviation Consumer's Top Pick
In the March issue of Aviation Consumer, their head-to-head comparison with the G1000 calls the Avidyne Entegra its "Top Pick." "A glass cockpit is all about real-time, everyday operability, not a miles-deep feature set that you may never use," the magazine says. "Entegra is simply easier to use," and "that simplicity can make a world of difference in comfort and confidence." Click here for complete details.

   Visit Avidyne at Sun 'n Fun Booths #D-043-044
Sun 'N Fun '06 back to top 
Bose® Aviation Headset X

Manufacturers Revved Up; Sean Tucker Rolls Columbia?

AVweb's special coverage of the Sun 'n Fun air show at Lakeland, Florida, begins today. Watch for special issues of AVwebFlash Wednesday and Friday this week.

In the mix of pre-Sun 'n Fun press releases that jams our inbox at this time of year, we haven't yet been able to detect any "brand new" airplane design announcements. April 1 produced some buzz that Mooney is stepping up to reclaim its former position as the "fastest" production single with a plane that will challenge the reigning speedster, the Columbia 400. But expect the Columbia 400SL to express some unusual attitude at the hands of air show performer extraordinaire, Sean D. Tucker. "All maneuvers demonstrated fall within the Columbia's higher G limit load for Utility Category aircraft," according to the press release. And Tucker adds, "The 400 recovers from spins more predictably than many aerobatic aircraft I've flown." Find the show at 30 locations across the country highlighting Tucker's Executive Pilot Awareness Training School -- first stop, Lakeland. On the lighter side, the Legend Cub Special is the latest copy Cub from American Legend. Have a look for it in the Cub Convoy that lands at Lakeland, today. And there will be engine news at this year's event. Frank Thielert, president of Thielert AG, will hold a news conference with Tim Archer, CEO of Superior Air Parts, to explain what the future holds for the newly-combined operation. Thielert, which makes diesel aircraft engines in Germany, has purchased Superior, which makes one model of certified gasoline engine and non-certified variants for the experimental market. The deal was finalized on Friday. Lycoming has also invited press attention at Sun 'n Fun but there's no indication of any product announcements.

Sport Pilot Extravaganza

As momentum picks up for the new Sport Pilot/Light Sport Aircraft category, so do the number of conforming models that are available. Four new fixed-wing models will be introduced at Sun 'n Fun, bringing the total number of approved S-LSA (factory-built) aircraft available to 30. There are three new weight-shift aircraft being unveiled and the total number of ready-to-fly models in that category will rise to 33. Look for lots of information booths on the new category as this is the year that the approved aircraft and certificated instructors will be available in numbers sufficient to address what industry officials hope will be a pent-up demand for the new category. Getting to Sun 'n Fun is part of the fun if you're flying and you're prepared. An army of experienced controllers and volunteers is waiting to help you get on the ground and parked as safely and efficiently as possible. The Sun 'n Fun NOTAM was issued earlier this year and is, of course, required reading for anyone heading to Lakeland.

Sun 'n Fun Expecting Record Attendance

Organizers expect record attendance, both on the grounds and in the hundreds of commercial exhibits and booths that will sell everything from multimillion-dollar aircraft to nuts, bolts and rivets. For industry-leading Cirrus Design, Marketing Manager John Bingham says the show is a chance to "escape the tundra of Duluth" while launching the 2006 marketing plan. "To me, Sun 'n Fun means spring is at last here," Bingham told AVweb at the end of a completely unrelated interview last week. "We still have snow on the ground here," he said as he tidied up his desk for the annual migration sunward to Lakeland, where, it seems, the outlook is as bright as the Florida sunshine. Sun 'n Fun once was strongly affiliated with EAA but the two formally parted ways. That doesn't mean EAA won't be there, however. It will have a Members Village set up where, among other things, it will be giving away Sport Pilot student certificates. The Members' Sweepstakes grand prize Aviat Husky, on Wipaire Floats, will be on display and EAA staff will be there to meet and greet attendees. AOPA will also have a major presence and Friday will be AOPA Day, with a visit from President Phil Boyer.

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   Visit Bose at Sun 'n Fun Booths #E-014 & SNF-009
FAA, NATCA Butt Heads (Again) back to top 

Controller Contract Negotiations In Question

Nobody said it was going to be easy but a negotiated settlement between the FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association seems remote at best. Not only are the two sides far apart on the overriding issue of controller pay, they can't even agree on whether or not they're still talking. About all they can agree on is that there will be some kind of meeting on Tuesday. What is set to take place at that meeting is a matter of widely varying opinion. "We don't consider the talks to be broken down," FAA spokesman Greg Martin told AVweb on Saturday. Martin also hinted the purported end of negotiations on Friday was less than spontaneous. He noted that NATCA had issued a news release on the developments barely 20 minutes after the meeting broke up, saying it was "the fastest turnaround" for a press release he's ever seen. Negotiations began eight months ago and there was the customary optimism on both sides and expressions of good will. Things fell apart quickly with several public displays of the kind of acrimony that was widely expected to come from the talks. The union accused the FAA of stage-managing the talks to reach a stalemate so that it could declare an impasse and invoke an almost unique power that allows it to ask Congress to rule on the dispute. If Congress doesn't make a decision, the FAA's last offer becomes the new contract. The union battled back by convincing members of both houses to introduce bills that would strip the FAA of the power to impose a contract. Both bills are in the early stages of consideration.

FAA Says Talks Are On, NATCA Says It's Over

It's kind of hard to believe that these folks attended the same meeting on Friday. In a teleconference with reporters, FAA chief negotiator Joe Miniachi said his understanding was that both sides would work on the few outstanding articles over the weekend and meet Tuesday to exchange final offers. "We are now scheduled to talk Tuesday," Miniachi told the teleconference. NATCA President John Carr couldn't have had a more opposing view. "Final offers have been exchanged and rejected and negotiations are over -- the mediator knows it, NATCA knows it, and the FAA knows it," Carr said in a news release issued after the FAA's teleconference. Assuming Carr doesn't have some sort of revelation over the weekend and the talks really are over, the flying public -- pilots and passengers -- likely won't notice anything. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said that despite the hair-pulling at the bargaining table, she considers the NATCA rank and file to be professionals dedicated to keeping the airspace safe, regardless of the rhetoric in Washington. In her crystal ball, there will be no repeat of the 1981 illegal strike that led to the firing of most controllers. "I do not, in any way shape or form, think there will be a strike," she said.

In Washington: It's The Money, Stupid

While issues like modernization, contracting out and working conditions have been discussed, these negotiations were (like most negotiations) about money, pure and simple, according to Blakey. "The differences between us are not minor," Blakey said. She said the agency is determined to bring controller salaries in line with other civil servants both for practical and philosophical reasons. She said controller salaries are a major factor in the FAA's spiraling costs and that controllers, in general, make far more money than other FAA employees. She said the FAA's offer won't result in any existing controllers losing any pay but it will start new hires at substantially less. The union says her math is wrong and cuts contained in the offer will send thousands of controllers into retirement, affecting safety. In a statement, the union claims that the FAA's budget actually harbors pay cuts of up to 40 percent (apparently through changes to shift differential, location and other pay bonuses) and that's enough that for about 25 percent of the workforce it actually makes more sense financially to retire. Carr insists up to 4,000 controllers who might otherwise be happy to keep working will head for the door if the package is forced on the union. Miniachi and Blakey said Carr is misrepresenting the FAA position and no existing controllers will lose income. "We are not talking about anyone taking a pay cut," Miniachi said.

Workshops IFR Pilots -- New Online Workshop Getting Rave Reviews
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News Briefs back to top 
Avidyne FlightMax EX500

NTSB Urges FAA Action On CRJ Fires

The NTSB says the FAA should immediately address a potentially catastrophic problem lurking in the avionics bays of Bombardier CRJ-200 regional jets. Board investigators found that on rainy or snowy days, water gets on the floor beside the open door and can seep into the avionics bay causing electrical contactors to catch fire. They've done so seven times so far (six in the last six months) and, although there have been no fatal accidents, the hazards are obvious. In some instances, the screens up front have gone blank, at least temporarily and, well, fire is just a bad thing all around to have in an airliner cabin. The electrical contactors involved form the heart of the plane's electrical system. They're the link from the engine-mounted 30 KVA generators to all the things that use electricity on the plane. As an immediate measure, the NTSB wants electrical sources separated so that all the EFIS equipment doesn't quit at the same time, which compounds the emergency. It wants the contactors moisture-proofed somehow and it wants tests done to ensure the fixes work. Also, there are two types of contactors in use on the aircraft and only one has so far caught fire. The NTSB wants the fire-prone ones replaced.

Blakey Grilled On Fees, Fields, And FAA Funding

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey says she can't tell the Senate whether user fees are planned for all or part of general aviation. Blakey told the Senate aviation subcommittee that because the funding package is currently under review by the administration, she couldn't talk about what, if any, user fees may be imposed (although we suspect that if they weren't being proposed she'd be able to say that). But she did say the current method of funding doesn't work. "At this point, our concern is that we are able to tie the costs of the system to the revenue and come up with a stable, cost-based system that is more equitable than the current system," she told the subcommittee. (Hear her own words in an AVweb audiocast that will be available for download April 7.) The administrator was also raked on the FAA's proposal to chop $1 billion from the airport improvement program. "I find it very shortsighted to cut rural airport funding at a time when aviation is seeing record numbers of passengers and projected traffic numbers," said subcommittee chairman Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) Blakey also couldn't put a number to the cost of modernizing the FAA.

Pilot Insurance Center Innovative Life Insurance Products From The Pilot Insurance Center
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News Briefs back to top 

Javelin Back On The Bench

Those of you who hoped the flying prototype of ATG's Javelin jet would make an appearance at Sun 'n Fun will be disappointed: The company says the plane will not take a break from its testing regimen. Currently, the aircraft is back in the hangar to get ready for more advanced flight tests. The prototype has made several flights, all of them deemed successful. The latest was the first with the gear retracted. Now it's being fitted with equipment to better analyze and record in-flight data as part of the test program. "Once completed, these enhancements will allow tests pilots to further expand the flight envelope with higher speeds and altitudes and actuate the flaps through their full range," says ATG. "Further flight tests will verify the prototype's predicted field and climb performance data." Cockpit video and audio equipment will be upgraded as will force measurement gear on the yoke and sensors on the pitot-static system. "These modifications will enable the flight test team to capture valuable data that will greatly assist with the development of the production aircraft," said Rob Fuschino, chief test pilot and VP of Operations. First deliveries of the two-place, fighter-like jet are anticipated in 2008.

Fighter Crew Helps King Air

There are times when having an Air Force fighter track you down and form up on your wing is a good thing. The crew of a King Air lost all of its electronic instruments on approach to Glasgow last week. Unfortunately, the British weather was living up to its reputation and finding an airport, let alone landing there, was out of the question. A nearby Royal Air Force Tornado crew heard the chatter and was summoned to help. The aerial ballet that followed took almost two hours before its happy ending. The fighter formed up on the King Air and used hand signals (the unspecified failure also knocked out the radios). Together, the crews of both aircraft managed to lead the seriously handicapped turboprop back to Glasgow. Weather was down there and also at Prestwick so the fighter crew headed for an RAF base where the King Air crew was able to land safely. Tornado pilot Flight Lieutenant Ted Threapleton said it would have been a tough assignment for a less capable aircraft and crew. "There was probably nobody else who could have helped because civilian aircraft don't have all the radars, radios and tracking equipment we do," he told The Scotsman. "We are also trained to fly in formation and do this type of shepherding."

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 

Special Issuance Medical Certificates Expedited

The FAA has agreed to take some steps that should reduce the backlog and wait times many pilots experience when they need a special issuance medical certificate. With help (and pressure) from a special committee of EAA representatives, the agency has increased the number of doctors able to review special issuance applications and also expanded the list of conditions that don't require the file being sent to the FAA for review. "Eventually, nearly every pilot may face a choice between giving up flying or requesting a special issuance medical certification," EAA said in a press release. "That's why EAA has committed to finding a solution to the long, costly and sometimes exasperating process to an issue that affects or will affect many of its members." At the annual Meet the Administrator session at EAA AirVenture last summer, many of the questions directed at FAA Administrator Marion Blakey were related to special issuance medicals. EAA formed the committee and it was invited to Washington for talks last week. Although the measures promised by the FAA will provide some short-term relief, EAA is proposing even greater relaxation of medical processes, including making the examination interval for third class certificates five years instead of the current two or three.

Great Escape Pilot Dies

A former RAF pilot who cheated death much more than most of us ever will finally passed away at the ripe old age of 102. Sqn. Leader Eric Foster died peacefully at his home in England, outliving Steve McQueen, the actor that played him in The Great Escape, by more than 50 years. McQueen died of lung cancer in 1980 at the age of 50. Foster's never-say-die attitude when it came to his distaste for German prisoner of war camps prompted his legendary status and was an influence in the creation of the movie. After surviving the crash of his Wellington bomber in Germany in 1940, Foster escaped from various enemy prison camps a total of seven times. Of course, the fact that he was a repeat escaper means he was better at the escaping part than he was at avoiding capture but it all made for a fascinating tale. After escaping by masquerading as German officer, a member of Hitler Youth, and shimmying down a fire escape, to name a few, he ended up in Stalag Luft III where his exploits formed the basis for the movie. It is perhaps fitting that it was Foster's acting ability that finally won him release. In 1945, he managed to convince his captors that he was insane and they sent him home. He was promoted to Sqn. Leader shortly after.

Buy 2 Cases of Exxon Elite and Get an ExxonMobil Cash Card worth $20.00!
For every two cases of Exxon Elite you purchase between now and April 30, Exxon will give you an ExxonMobil Cash Card worth $20.00. Use it to buy just about anything -- including gas for your car -- at participating Exxon and Mobil stations nationwide. To purchase, stop by the ExxonMobil Aviation Lubricants exhibit at Sun 'n Fun or visit Exxon's web site.

   Visit ExxonMobil at Sun 'n Fun Booth #SNF-001
News in Brief back to top 

On The Fly...

Space Adventures, which arranges space tourism trips for the wealthy, is looking for a broader market. The company has announced it intends to compete with Virgin Galactic for the suborbital space race using a Russian-designed spacecraft...

A government consultant and former state and municipal official is joining AOPA as its vice president of regional affairs. Greg Pecoraro will look after AOPA's involvement with airport issues throughout the country...

EAA has come up with a kit designed to help builders through the certification of their homebuilts. The kit comes with all the forms required and an instruction booklet to guide the proud new owners through the complex process. Wonder if there's a quick-build version...

EAA's 1929 Ford Tri-Motor will embark on a month-long tour of Eastern cities in June. The tour includes stops at seven airports.

AVweb Audio

AVweb's latest audio newscast is available today. Click here to listen.

Hear FAA spokesman Greg Martin in his own words as air traffic control contract negotiations reach new levels of dissonance. Listen to an update on the possibility of user fees for general aviation as Marion Blakey talks to Senators, hear Columbia's plan to stir up the air show this week at Sun 'n Fun; NTSB's call for action as CRJ's show a potential for fire; the passing of The Great Escape pilot, and more.

If you missed AVweb's Friday interview with Diamond Aircraft's Peter Mauer, find it online, here.

Subscribe to AVweb audiocasts and receive them automatically, or check this spot each Monday and Friday to download them individually for listening on your iPod, while sitting at your computer, or traveling with any MP3 player.

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Features back to top 

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


Reader mail this week about anti-missile systems, aging aircraft, ATC staffing and more.

New Articles and Features on AVweb

Probable Cause #3: Trapped On Top
There are some among us who like to tempt fate by skirting the rules. But a Bonanza pilot who did that got more than he bargained for, as this report of Probable Cause explains. This report first appeared in AVweb's sister publication, IFR Refresher.

What's New for April
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a water-repellant glass treatment, window locks, an IFR communications DVD and much more.

Meet the Oregon AeroTM Skydancer Team at Sun 'n Fun
Make sure to visit Booth #A-040 for the public launch of the Oregon AeroTM SkyDancer sponsorship with Steve Oliver and Suzanne Asbury-Oliver. Pick up autographed hero cards and SkyDancer trading cards, and meet Pax the SkyDancer mascot as Oregon Aero celebrates their new association with one of the most thrilling and unique aerobatic and skywriting teams. While you're at the booth, check out Oregon Aero's wide range of Painless, Safer, Quieter products. For more information, visit Oregon AeroTM SkyDancer.

   Visit Oregon Aero at Sun 'n Fun Booths #A-040-042
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/

In Aircraft Insurance, There Is an Option -- Go Direct to Avemco
Many insurance agents say they represent "all the markets," implying once you call them you needn't bother with any other aircraft insurance provider. What they don't tell you is that there is an option -- Avemco. Avemco is the ONLY direct writer of general aviation insurance in the country and the only insurance company you can contact directly to purchase insurance. You have an option with Avemco, offering mid-term premium discounts, storage options, credits for training, same-day service, and multiple payment options. Stop by Sun 'n Booth # C-055-056, call (888) 241-7891, or go online.

   Visit Avemco at Sun 'n Fun Booths #C-055-056
NewsTips back to top 

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.

Isn't It About Time You Chose 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. Stop by Sun 'n Fun Booth #E-017-020, or click here for more information on both remarkable aircraft.

   Visit Extra Aircraft at Sun 'n Fun Booths #C-017-020
Your Favorite FBO's back to top 

FBO of the Week: Banyan Air Service, Fort Lauderdale

Nominate an FBO | Contest Rules & Tips | Questions | Past Winners<

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" contest is sponsored by Aviation Safety magazine, the monthly journal of risk management and accident prevention.

Thanks to all the pilots and AVweb readers who took time to nominate their favorite FBOs in our "FBO of the Week" contest. Today's ribbon finds its target in Florida.

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to BANYAN AIR SERVICE at FXE in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


Nominate Your Favorite FBO

Keep those nominations coming. AVweb is actively seeking the best FBO's in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
ASO -- A Better Way to Sell Your Aircraft Share
Finding aircraft share buyers can be almost impossible. FBO bulletin board flyers are too limited, and ads in national publications are too broad. There's a better way with ASO's Partnership Ads. List your share on ASO, the most trusted place for aircraft sales, where buyers search geographically to easily find your partnership listing. For a limited time, select Partnership Ads are complimentary. To get your share in front of potential buyers, stop by Sun 'n Fun booths #B-059-061, call (888) 992-9276, or visit online.

   Visit Aicraft Shopper Online at Sun 'n Fun Booths #B-059-061
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

Short Final...

Overheard while being vectored to the ILS 10 at KMSY the other day:

Approach: Jet 123, maintain 9,000.

Jet 123: Um, ok, we're gonna go through it.

Approach: That's ok, climb and maintain 10,000.

Jet 123: Uh, we're on our way back down to 9,000, now.

Approach: Well, 10 is available, you're welcome to climb and maintain 10,000.

Jet 123: Why are you doing this to us?

Approach: Well, I'm trying to separate you from traffic behind you, if that's OK.

Jet 123: That's fine, but we just zero-g'd an aircraft with a US Senator aboard. We'd rather not squash him, now.


Approach: If I'd known that, I'd have sent you back down to 5,000 first.



Going to Sun 'n Fun? Plan on Visiting AVweb's Sponsors!
Our sponsors help us bring you the news -- twice a week -- at no cost to you. Please stop by their Sun 'n Fun booths to say "thank you" for their support. Click here for a list of AVweb sponsors attending the show and where to find them.

Aeromedix Introduces a New Mini Low-Level Monoxide Monitor
The Pocket CO carbon monoxide detector is the smallest, most sensitive detector on the market. It's the size of a match book. It displays CO levels at 1 PPM and alarms at 25 PPM or higher. The CO Experts 2004 and Pocket CO are exclusively from Aeromedix.com. Low levels of CO can be extremely hazardous in aircraft, because the effects of CO and hypoxia are cumulative. A CO leak may be an early warning sign of an impending life-threatening problem. Don't take chances! Order by calling (888) 362-7123 or by going online.

Stop Wondering -- Or Worrying -- Where Your Friends and Family Are!
Do you have friends or family flying in tonight? A business colleague coming in for a meeting? Will your partner get back before you need the airplane? Find out where in the air they are with the AVweb Edition of Flight Explorer. AVweb subscribers can sign up for Flight Explorer at the special price of $9.95 a month. Sign up.

Your Aircraft-Buying Helper -- Aviation Consumer's Used Aircraft Guide
Dreaming about your next plane? Ready for a closer look at that plane in the ad? Need to know what your plane is worth? Don't consider buying or selling without the Aviation Consumer's 10th edition Used Aircraft Guide. Now available for the first time on CD, for just $29.95 with NO-COST shipping and handling -- over 38% off the retail price. Order now.

Protect Your IFR Ticket with the Magazine Dedicated to Keeping It!
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Need Someone to Share Flight Expenses to Sun 'n Fun? Need a Ride?
PilotShareTheRide.com is the answer. A no-cost service to the general aviation community with postings of folks wanting to Share the Ride! Go online now!

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.

Freedom, independence, responsibility.

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