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Volume 12, Number 33a
August 14, 2006
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If there can be any good news out of a terror scare like the one last week in Britain, it's that those who can afford alternatives to the airlines start thinking that way again. Industry observers expect increased interest in the full range of business aircraft in the wake of the discovery of an alleged plot to sneak peroxide-based explosives on up to 10 airliners flying between Britain and the U.S. The fallout of enhanced security has considerably ratcheted up the inconvenience factor for airline passengers, delaying and canceling flights and creating massive lineups, any of which is bound to push the time-is-money limits of those more endowed with the latter than the former. The added impetus comes at a time when business jet sales are already on pace to set a sales record. More...

As they say, timing is everything and the heightened interest in personal air travel that will likely result from the latest developments coupled with recent and very public announcements -- particularly from Eclipse (with its provisional certification) and Honda (with its plans to certify the HondaJet) -- could have an impact on the burgeoning very light jet sector. Critics of the phenomenon have said the air taxi industry, on which so many of the predicted 3,000-plus sales of VLJs will depend, just won't offer enough in terms of convenience and frequency to lure the type of traffic needed to make it fly. Whether being able to take your toothpaste along in the cabin (or waiting while security agents fill garbage cans with your shaving cream, makeup, contact lens solution, denture cream, suntan lotion, etc.) will make the unfamiliar and more expensive air taxi process more appealing remains to be seen. More...

As British authorities were swooping down on the suspects, AOPA was announcing an updated Airport Watch program, which it developed with the TSA. As AOPA's Chris Dancy told AVweb in our Friday audio news interview, the revised program stresses each pilot's role in prevention and protection of his or her aircraft from use for nefarious purposes. Dancy also told AVweb it's vital that pilots remember to report any suspicious activity, something that might spike in the wake of the British arrests. Meanwhile, EAA is reassuring pilots that, in practical terms, nothing has changed since last week. More...

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As the FAA wrestles with how to address the issue of keeping aging aircraft in the air (and also wrestling with the groups representing those flying old airplanes), the answer, as it so often does, may come from the military. A military-funded research project, called Prognosis, at Carnegie Mellon University is attempting to predict metal fatigue by studying how cyclical stress affects the crystalline structure of metal. "Once you've got this three-dimensional picture of a structure inside a metal along with the impurities, you can then run an engineering model where you apply a cyclic stress and figure out where in this microstructure the stress or strain will concentrate," researcher Dr. Anthony Rollett told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. More...

While aviation groups and politicians in the Lower 48 worry about the increasing use of unmanned aerial vehicles, Alaska officials can't get enough of them. John Madden, who's in charge of homeland security for the Alaska area (and has not recently hosted televised football), told a Senate commerce committee hearing the skies over Alaska should be filled with UAVs because its wide-open airspace is an ideal testing area for all the ideas governments and companies are coming up with to use them for. "Only in Alaska can we test the full range of potential missions of UAS without immediately confronting the complex airspace found in most of the rest of the country," he testified. Madden told the senators UAVs could be used to help in search and rescue, scientific projects, pipeline patrol and a host of other missions that will test their capabilities. More...

As the military uses its UAVs, it finds ever more uses for them and sometimes that involves flying them over civilian airspace. The FAA and the Air Force now have a protocol agreement on allowing the use of UAVs when lives could be at stake. "Now, we have a process to receive approval to fly Predators within hours as opposed to weeks," Tom Thibodeau, a civilian consultant to the Air Force's Air Combat Command, told Blackanthem Military News. More...

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Our last update on the 188-pound turbines that put out 165 to 255 horsepower, with a TBO of 5,000 hours and price tag of between $26,500 and $34,500 was this past January. Innodyn LLC announced last week that the first customer-delivered turbine engine had flown in that customer's RV-8 (renamed an RV-8T). Innodyn didn't name the customer, nor did it provide much detail about this "first" flight, but says more information will be posted by the customer himself. "The turbine worked great, and we were up about 15 minutes and reached an altitude of about 9,000 ft," Innodyn quotes its customer as saying. Further flights from the customer's home base in Colorado are planned. A photo of the turbine-equipped RV and "additional images, video, and comments from the builder/owner will be posted in the near future," according to Innodyn. More...

Fallout from a Southwest 737 accident in Chicago last winter continues. The National Air Transportation Association says the FAA is fudging the regulatory process and creating confusion and uncertainty with its new requirement that the operators of jet-powered aircraft do detailed stopping-distance calculations just before landing. It wants the agency to delay implementation of the orders for at least 60 days to deal with the concerns. In a letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, NATA says the new requirements are being issued through "operation specifications" or "management specifications" instead of going through the formal rulemaking process, with its opportunity for public comment. More...

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.

Security delays at the airport can't be helping, and a British study has concluded that most British short-haul airline pilots are running on empty at the end of their shifts, according to a report in The Scotsman. The study, done by the University of Central England, says one of the 160 pilots interviewed reported being so tired at the end of one day that he couldn't drive home without pulling off the road and taking a nap first. The pilots told researchers that airlines are forcing them to work longer days by getting them to fly in the "discretionary hours" that are supposed to be set aside for coping with weather and equipment delays. About 80 percent say they've flown when they believe their judgment has been impaired by fatigue. However, the British government and at least two airlines seem to think the researchers found an unusually bleary-eyed bunch of pilots. More...

Not all the innovation is taking place in the very light jet and other ivory-tower sectors of aviation. One of the great things about EAA AirVenture is that recognition is given those whose more homegrown tinkering can result in technological advances for those whose flying is a little less complex than some. Take, for example, the Custom Power Plant Award winner at the 2006 fly-in -- the Big Twin. Valley Engineering, of Rolla, Mo., has come up with what appears to be a viable four-cycle alternative to the noisy, smoky two-cycle engines in the 30- to 50-hp range that power a lot of ultralights. The company adapted a 990-cc V-Twin motorcycle engine for aircraft use and came up with a package that weighs a maximum of 117 lbs. (depending on configuration) and puts out a maximum of 38 hp. More...

Reason #1 — Pilots First
Leading the aviation industry isn't about bragging rights. Being No. 1 is about providing pilots with all of the things that make owning a Cessna such an irresistible value. Things like safety. Affordability. Reliability. Insurability. Flyability. And the world's largest service organization. All of which have helped make Cessna the No. 1 selling line of new single-engine aircraft. Explore more reasons at CessnaREASONS.com.

The Civil Air Patrol has been pressed into service to conduct "reconnaissance" missions along the border between Arizona and Mexico. Three CAP Cessna 182s and pilots from Nevada will head south to fly the missions, which will be in support of government border-patrol efforts. The CAP crews have no authority to try and stop anyone trying to sneak across the border but they will be acting as eyes and ears for the feds. CAP volunteers often have lengthy military and law enforcement experience. The duty will rotate among Nevada CAP units, which have a total of 450 volunteers and 10 aircraft between them. More...

A Canadian company is considering resuming production of the kit-built Thunder Mustang, a three-quarter scale replica of the P-51 that's been turning heads at the Reno Air Races. The original company closed its doors several years ago but Mike Paller says it wasn't because of the airplane. Paller said there is demand for the $285,000 kit-built plane, which is actually faster than a real P-51 (when flown below 10,000 feet). He's working to acquire the tooling and intellectual property from the existing owners in Oregon and hopes to resume production in Abbotsford, B.C., where he flew it in front of tens of thousands attending the Abbotsford International Airshow on the weekend. The Thunder Mustang is powered by a Falconer V-12 engine that puts out 640 hp, normally aspirated. More...

NEW: Flame-Resistant Leather Bomber Jacket from Perrone Leather!
Finally, a classic bomber jacket with safety features utilizing today's technology. The FlameGaurd™ A2 features the technological advances of FAA burn-certified leather and Nomex to bring you the protection you've been waiting for. Get more info or purchase by calling Aeromedix.com at (888)362-7123, or stop by their web site.

The National Aeronautic Association and the Air Care Alliance have chosen the 2006 Public Benefit Flying Award Winners. Ted Ruscitti, of Sewickley, Penn., gets the Distinguished Volunteer Pilot award for his many efforts in public benefit flying from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina. Distinguished Volunteer Award goes to Jubel Caldwell, the director of maintenance for Med+Flight in Texas. The Teamwork Award went to Remote Area Medical and Wings of Hope for their joint projects in 40 countries. Thomas Holcom, of Kansas City, Mo., gets the individual award for organizing cooperation between volunteer groups. Air traffic controllers in general and Continental Airlines will both receive the Champion of Public Benefit Flying Award. Presentations will be made Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lyndon B. Johnson Room of the Capitol building. More...

Flying to Burning Man...
Floatplane, boat collided in Alaska, no injuries...
Seat-track AD proposed for Cessnas. More...

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 tonewstips@avweb.com. Our best stories start with your tips. More...

When Was the Last Time Your Plane Recorded Your Flight Times?
Now it can by installing a TimeTrac Flight Recording System from P2 Aviation Technology! The TimeTrac system consists of a tiny onboard computer that receives data from your GPS (or Loran) and fully-integrated software for a laptop or PC. With this data, you are able to track every flight as well as manage records for pilots and aircraft. TimeTrac is a valuable tool for anyone who wants to automate their record-keeping once and for all. Take advantage of the introductory price of $1,695 by ordering directly at 1 (888) 921-8359 or learn more online.



The Pilot's Lounge #103: The FAA As Customer -- Good Business?
Somebody has to rent planes to FAA personnel so they can maintain currency. And with the government backing them up, you shouldn't have to worry about collecting the fees, right? AVweb's Rick Durden has a cautionary tale from the Pilot's Lounge this month. More...



AVmail: Aug. 14, 2006
Reader mail this week about too few student pilots, accident causes, user fees and much more. More...

Maximum MPG ... Maximum MPG ... Maximum MPG!
LoPresti Speed Merchants, the world's leading provider of aviation PERFORMANCE solutions, converts brilliant design into more miles per gallon. LoPresti offers highly efficient engine cowlings, wing tips, fairings, seals, and shapes designed to reduce drag caused by less-than-optimum aerodynamic shapes on stock aircraft. The comprehensive cowl kits not only cool the engine but significantly reduce drag, providing more range and better fuel efficiency. AVweb Special: Save $300 on new LoPresti Zip Tips. Call LoPresti at (866) 397-4757, or go online.

Online Now: Listen to, or take AVweb's no-iPod-required audio news with you. We post fresh audio news issues each Monday and in-depth interviews, Friday.

Find exclusive interviews featuring Cessna's Jack Pelton on his company's LSA, 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.


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.

For local prices, enter your U.S. ZIP Code or Airport Identifier:
Fuel prices provided weekly by AirNav,
based on prices from the past 2 weeks.
Changes are relative to last week.

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Pegasus Aviation at KRTN, Raton, NM.

Offering up Pegasus, Peter Hochla told us, "The friendliest, most helpful FBO within 500 miles. Competitive fuel prices, consciencious service, clean and neat facilities, GREAT food."

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!


Pilot Journey, Your Learn to Fly Headquarters, Offers New Toolbar
Pilot Journey has added a new way to help internet browsers stay in touch with key aviation websites, including AVweb and Pilot Journey's podcast! The new Pilot Journey toolbar is at no-cost and offers quick links to aviation sites plus the ability to check e-mail, listen to podcasts, weather, and more. Go online for more details.

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...

Don't Purchase or Sell an Aircraft without the Used Aircraft Guide
Aviation Consumer's Used Aircraft Guide can pinpoint the aircraft that best fits your needs and budget, resulting in savings when you buy and more when you sell. Buying the right aircraft can minimize maintenance and operating costs too. Order your UAG online.


Flying in Essex county in England, one day:

Southend ATC (having radio trouble): G-ABCD, Southend, radio check.

[no response]

Southend ATC: G-EFGH, Southend, radio check.

[again no response]

Southend ATC: G-IJKL, Southend, radio check

G-IJKL: Roger Southend, your readability, 4.

Southend ATC: Well... One outta three ain't bad. More...



Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.

Attention, Cessna Owners and Pilots!
The Cessna Flyer Association (CFA) provides parts locating, tech support, a monthly member magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual convention, seminars, and more. With a one-year membership for $39, access the needed information to expand your knowledge and get more enjoyment from owning and flying your Cessna aircraft. The CFA is located on the Waupaca Municipal Airport in Wisconsin, just 35 NW of Oshkosh. Click here to request a sample magazine and more information.

AVweb's Flight Explorer 5.0 Available at Same Low Price!
Version 5.0 is now available at the same low price! New features include FAA Airport delays; enhanced terrain/elevation map depictions; updated Airways, NAVAIDs, Fixes, Special Use Airspace, and Flight Service Stations; and more. Click here for more information and to subscribe.

Power Flow Is Now FAA-Approved for the Diamond DA40
The Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System is now standard equipment on all 2007 Diamond DA40 aircraft. Benefits include: Speed increases of up to 8 knots; 15% more climb; or, go the same speeds and save up to 1.2 gallons per hour. Starting in October, existing DA40 owners can retrofit their aircraft. For complete details, go online!

Pilots Comment After Reading IFR: A Structured Approach:
"The GPS chapter alone is worth getting the book. It's the best instrument flying book I have ever read," states Fred Scott. "If one book could help you make the leap from a bit player to a skilled conductor of instrument flight, this is probably it," reads a November 2003 AOPA Pilot review. With the help of this book, you will establish your personal standard of IFR operating practices, including incorporation of checklists, flows, callouts, briefings, and the "fly by the numbers" method of aircraft control. Order online.


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.)

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