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Volume 12, Number 26a
June 26, 2006
 
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Transportation Secretary Departs, D.C. Rumor Mill Churns back to top 
 
The Top Headlines From AVweb's Expanded, Illustrated News Coverage At AVweb's NewsWire.

WILL BLAKEY SUCCEED MINETA?
FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is considered among the front runners to replace Norm Mineta as Secretary of Transportation and, if she gets the job, it could raise the stakes in the looming battle over the shape and form of the FAA's next-generation structure and operation. Mineta, who will resign effective July 7 (download the letter of resignation from Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to President Bush, here), appeared to be a moderating influence on Blakey's apparent ambition to institute widespread user fees throughout the system. He was occasionally at odds with (or seemingly confused by) the FAA's drive toward a user-pay system, particularly when it concerned GA. He publicly stated his opposition to GA user fees in several high-profile forums, including AOPA Expo in Tampa last November. More...

MINETA MISSED BY ALPHABETS
Aviation groups are unanimous in their disappointment that Mineta is leaving and AOPA President Phil Boyer said in a news release that he was an ally for GA. He also said the administration should choose a successor whose values mirror Mineta's. "It is critical that the Bush Administration chooses a successor who has the same level of understanding of the value of general aviation as Norm consistently displayed," Boyer said. "He understood the importance of GA pilots and promoting safety. That's one reason he has repeatedly opposed user fees on GA." More...

FAA LOW-KEY ON DOT SECRETARY'S DEPARTURE
The FAA didn't have much to say on the resignation. Blakey issued a four-line news release that noted Mineta's long career. "His work made terrific contributions to reducing congestion and to the safest period in aviation history," Blakey said. "He has certainly left his mark on our skies." Other groups chimed in on the safety angle and the National Business Aviation Association credited Mineta with reshaping general aviation to make it able to adapt to changing market and operating conditions. "Norm Mineta's understanding of the general aviation sector helped guide to passage the General Aviation Revitalization Act, which was fundamental to the future of general aviation," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. More...

 
Pilot Insurance 
Center Get PIC's "Best Class" Rates With Only 250 Total Hours!
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FAA And Airspace Modernization back to top 
 

GAO WORRIES ABOUT THE FUTURE OF VFR
We all know that satellite-based systems will largely replace curve-of-the-earth-hampered ground stations and we all know that it will require some extra equipment on board. But is VFR going to be somehow limited or discouraged in the process? The GAO seems to think so. The Government Accountability Office recently released its latest in the series of updates on just how the FAA is doing with its modernization plans (better, it turns out). That document contains vaguely disturbing references to just how VFR fits into the Next Generation Air Traffic System (NGATS). The report contains three references (p. 2, 5 and 29) calling it a "critical policy issue" to determine "the extent to which NGATS will accommodate visual flights versus instrument-only flights."[ More...

OTHER THAN THAT, FAA SCORES DECENT MARKS WITH GAO
The GAO report says the FAA, which was reorganized in 2004 to include the Air Traffic Organization, is doing better at buying and implementing the technology that will be required to accommodate the three-fold increase in air traffic that is anticipated by 2025 (that FAA-estimated growth is questioned by some in the industry). While a couple of years ago it was a given that FAA procurement projects would go sideways, the GAO says that for the second year in a row the agency has managed to bring new projects on line in time and within 10 percent of budget 80 percent of the time. But, then, the process is far from over. More...

 
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GA Pilot Reps Get Together In Canada back to top 
 

IAOPA DELEGATES TACKLE DOMESTIC UAVS
Representatives of pilot groups in dozens of countries have resolved at a meeting last week in Canada to press their respective governments to adopt uniform standards for "sense and avoid" capabilities in unmanned aerial vehicles. AOPA has been lobbying aggressively for those standards since the FAA threw up temporary flight restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year to "protect" the UAVs used to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. The resolution was among several passed at the International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association general assembly in Toronto last week. UAV use has become a global threat to general aviation in recent years and delegates agreed that measures were needed to protect GA from drones -- not the other way around. More...

EXPERT OPINION ON THE USER FEE EXPERIENCE
While pilot groups in other countries can do little to directly influence the debate on user fees in the U.S., AOPA can learn from those delegates who have plenty of experience with the fee-based systems used in their own countries. The U.S. remains the only major aviation-invested country with a mainly government-run aviation services sector (although the recent takeover of flight service stations by Lockheed Martin chips away at that distinction). AOPA President Phil Boyer (who's also IAOPA president) didn't have to look far for validation of his anti-user-fee stance. Canadian Owner and Pilots Association President Kevin Psutka told delegates the numbers are clear -- pilots pay more under user fees. More...

 
JA Air 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

FLIGHT SCHOOLS FIGHT BACKGROUND CHECKS
A bill that's been lurking under the legislative radar in New York for almost four years has been revived by the state Senate and will hurt the flight training industry there, according to local schools and pilot organizations. In 2002, New York, like many other states, thought it prudent to step into federal jurisdiction by trying to institute background checks on student pilots. As protests grew and federal regulations came into play, most states simply dropped their initiatives. However, New York's background-check law has remained on the legislative agenda and was revived last week by a vote in the Senate. If passed by the Assembly and finally adopted as law, it would prevent anyone from taking flying lessons without approval from the state's division of criminal justice services. More...

RECORD SETTING (?) CHARITY FLIGHT FOR PEDIATRIC NEUROSURGERY
The endurance and fortitude of two Wisconsin pilots (not to mention the wearability of certain parts of their anatomy) was put to the test last week as they raised money for sick children and (possibly) set an aviation record. Matt McDaniel and Dr. Bruce Kaufmann took a total of 17 hours to land at all 102 public-use, paved airports in the state, as well as a private field and a military base. But the real mission was to raise $10,000 for the pediatric neurosurgery unit at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin (click "more" for details). Kaufmann runs the neurosurgery unit and owns the Cirrus SR-22 used in the effort. McDaniel (who has held the Master CFI designation) is a Boeing 717 pilot for Midwest Airlines and owns Progressive Aviation Services, which specializes in Cirrus. The duo got an early start on their flight. More...

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

$1 BILLION GAMBLE TO ACCOMMODATE AIRPLANE
U.S. airports will spend at least $927 million to prepare for the arrival of the Airbus A380, and the chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee says not a nickel of it should come from federal coffers. Rep. John Mica said last week the Airport Improvement Fund shouldn't be used to beef up runways and bridges and expand terminals for the 555-seat jet because of the squabble the U.S. is having with the European Union over alleged subsidies paid to Airbus's manufacturer, EADS. If the government follows through on Mica's suggestion, it would knock a big hole in the plans of 18 airports to get ready for the double-decker jets. The airports plan to pay for about half the cost using the AIP. More...

SHERIFFS' DRONE DOESN'T FLY WITH FAA
The FAA says it's willing to work with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department in its quest to use a surveillance drone on official police business. But the feds left no ambiguity about who rules the skies when they ordered the Skyseer unmanned aerial vehicle grounded just before the department was about to launch a demo flight for reporters. "We said, 'Hey, you still haven't submitted the paperwork for this,'" FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told the Daily Breeze "He said, 'This is just a demo.' We've told him he can't operate these UAVs. We said, 'You have conditions you have to satisfy before you can fly it.' "The Sheriff's Office insists it had the approvals it needed for the demo flight but agreed to cancel until the dispute was sorted out. More...

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

SPORT-JET CRASHES ON TAKEOFF
Excel-Jet officials say it might have been wake turbulence or some kind of freak meteorological event that turned their Sport-Jet prototype on its wing and sent it cartwheeling along the runway at Colorado Springs Airport on June 22. According to a news release from Excel-Jet, witnesses reported the plane rolled 90 degrees about 30 feet above the runway while taking off on its 25th test flight. It struck a wing and cartwheeled onto its tail, causing substantial damage. Both pilots were checked at the hospital and released. The aircraft was nearing the end of its initial round of flight testing and the company had just received word that it had been approved to fly at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh next month. More...

TRACON PLAN "REPREHENSIBLE" SAYS CONGRESSMAN
The FAA is ignoring the wishes of the House and breaking a promise to four Florida congressmen with a secret plan to speed up consolidation of the Palm Beach terminal radar approach control center into Miami, according to Rep Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.). Hastings says on his Web site it's unbelievable that the agency would pursue its controversial cost-cutting plan in the face of a House vote ten days ago on a bill that would prevent the FAA from spending money from its 2007 budget on consolidating TRACONs. The Senate hasn't considered a parallel bill yet, although that's supposed to happen in July. Hastings, who sponsored the bill, suggested the FAA's decision to press ahead with consolidation may have been "political retribution" -- the agency working to punish those spearheading opposition. The FAA hasn't yet commented on the allegations. More...

 
Ready, Set, Go Purchase An Airplane ... No, Wait!
Don't forget the most important people to take with you -- the trusted aviation professionals at Dorr Aviation. They are there from the time you start thinking about a purchase, through the selection process, and (most importantly) when financing. Purchasing an aircraft is a considerable step; don't go it alone. Call Dorr at (800) 214-0066, or download an application online.
 
News in Brief back to top 
 

SYMPHONY STUMBLES THROUGH ITS SCORE
Symphony Aircraft Industries manufacturer of the Symphony 160 (a $160,000, 130 KTAS, two-seat high-wing) has filed for creditor protection under Canadian bankruptcy laws. The company is now seeking $6-10 million in fresh capital to continue operations at its Trois Rivieres plant in Quebec. CEO Paul Costanza told AVweb yesterday he's been having trouble raising venture capital in Canada and is considering moving the plant to the United States. The company plans to hold a news conference, Tuesday. More...

ON THE FLY...
Delta formally ended pilots' pension plan...
Alaska controllers want apology from Blakey...
Nose gear collapsed on FAA King Air...
Columbia deals with damage from hailstorm. More...

AVWEB'S NEWSTIPS ADDRESS ...
What have you heard? There might be something to it. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. Our best stories start with your tips. More...

 
Columbia Simplifies Buying & Selling All Aircraft Brands
Selling an aircraft can be a challenging odyssey. Aircraft owners need to: locate a broker with national resources to sell for top dollar; select and utilize the most effective advertising; access no-cost, no-obligation finance pre-qualification; consult aviation tax experts; and obtain insurance quotes with higher liability limits. Columbia Aircraft has created a tool to assist pilots and aircraft owners of all brands. Check out their web site.
 
Features back to top 
 

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
WHAT'S NEW
June 26, 2006
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you speed pants, high-lift wing tips, engine oil and much more.

_______
COLUMNS
Probable Cause #9: Personal Minimums
Pilots flying under the rules of FAR Part 91 are allowed to attempt an instrument approach even when the weather is below minimums. But when skills are rusty, it may be time to be more conservative, as we see in this week's Probable Cause report.

More...

PODCASTS
Online Now: Listen to, or take today's news with you.

Find exclusive interviews featuring TCM president Bryan Lewis, NATCA president John Carr, New Piper CEO Jim Bass, Hal Shevers for Sporty's Pilot Shop, Light Sport guru Dan Johnson, Excel Jet's Bob Bornhofen, Adam Aircraft's Joe Walker, FAA administrator Marion Blakey, Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier and more. AVweb's Podcast index, is online, now. You'll hear things you won't find anywhere else. More...

 
Attention, Cessna Owners
Do you need to modernize your old, tired RT359A or RT459A transponder? Narco Avionics proudly announces the availability of their all-new AT165/C and AT165/C Value Series digital display transponders. The AT165/C and AT165/C Value Series are designed as direct slide-in plug & play replacement transponders for the old ARC units. Both units feature instant VFR recall with quick and easy one-knob code entry. The AT165/C also features pressure altitude display with hold alert, along with three independent timers with audible alert. For more information, visit Narco Avionics online.
 
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/ More...

 
Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), 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 online.
 
Your Favorite FBO's back to top 
 

FBO OF THE WEEK: COOK AVIATION, INC.

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to COOK AVIATION, INC. at KBMG, Bloomington, IN.

Two separate submissions offered strong praise for Cook. RAY ANDRAKA told us, "SERVICE ABOVE AND BEYOND, INCLUDING MEETING ME AT THE PLANE WITH MY RENTAL CAR." And Savvy Aviator's Mike Busch wrote, "NOT ONLY DOES COOK AVIATION HAVE AMONG THE LOWEST FUEL PRICES IN THE REGION ($3.37/GAL FOR 100LL AS THIS IS WRITTEN), BUT ITS COURTESY CREW CARS ARE NEW CADILLACS! AND UNLIKE MOST FBOS, COOK WILL LET YOU KEEP THE CAR OVERNIGHT WHEN YOU REST OVER NIGHT."

Keep those nominations coming.

Click here to nominate your favorite FBO and here for complete contest rules

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBO's in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!

More...

 
FAA-Approved Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) from ASA
Attention, flight instructors! Wouldn't it be nice to renew your flight instructor certificate from the comfort of home? ASA's FAA-approved Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) provides everything you need to renew your flight instructor certificate for 2 more years. Features over 11 hours of professional DVD presentations, supported with internet-based evaluation and course tracking. You don't need to be online for the entire duration of the course. For complete details, visit ASA's web site.
 
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 
 

SHORT FINAL...
With age comes wisdom...
Overheard while flying the Philly Class B:

PHL Tower: US Air 123 cleared to land Runway 27R.

US Air 123: Cleared to land runway 26R.

PHL Tower: I wish we had a 26R. But you are cleared to land runway 27R.

US Air 123: Apologies, sir. Realized the mistake as it left my mouth and wished I could have taken it back.

PHL Tower: Understood. Something like that ended my first marriage.

Unknown: ... All of our first marriages. More...

 


AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF OUR SPONSORS,
WHO BRING YOU TODAY'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT NO COST TO YOU

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Your #1 Source for Cessna Aircraft Parts -- CessnaParts.com
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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.

Subscribe to Aviation Consumer and Save, Plus Get No-Cost Access to AviationConsumer.com. This subscribers-only web site is packed with ratings and evaluations of aircraft, avionics, aviation products, and accessories. Enjoy greater confidence when you buy and when you fly with your Aviation Consumer subscription. Order online.

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.

Husband in Trouble; Wakes Wife While Reading & Laughing!
Pilots and students can't put down Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook. This is a far cry from those of us who fell asleep studying older books. Students convert their instructors to this handbook after showing their understanding of systems and aerodynamics. Learning, refreshing, and reviewing don't have to be difficult. Let Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook show how much fun learning can be. Order 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 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.


--BoUnDaRyCavflashM666D062606T96--