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"MANDATORY RETIREMENT" DISPUTED A California man has filed a
class action lawsuit in California against Lycoming over the engine
maker's handling of potentially defective crankshafts in as many as
5,000 engines. In a claim filed this week Richard Bristow, a Mooney
owner, says that Lycoming should issue a recall of the engines and bear
all the costs of repair. Instead, the company issued Service Bulletins
569 and 569A, which require the crankshafts in the affected engines to be
replaced at the next overhaul or the next time the crankcase is split,
or no later than Feb. 21, 2009, whichever comes first. Those who comply
with the bulletin within the time period specified will be supplied a
parts kit containing the crankshaft and associated parts for $2,000 and
labor costs will not be covered. Robert Mills, the San Rafael, Calif.,
attorney who filed the action, told AVweb in an exclusive
interview that in previous cases involving crankshaft replacement,
Lycoming has not only paid the full cost of removal, repair and
replacement of the engine, it also covered a portion of the costs
associated with the aircraft downtime, such as rentals and airline
CRANKSHAFTS: TRACING A LONG HISTORY The claim appears to
attempt to link this particular service bulletin with past recalls that
the plaintiff alleges were the result of cost-cutting measures
implemented by Lycoming in the mid to late 1990s that "altered the
design of the engines and led to crankshaft failures." (In 2005,
Lycoming lost a legal battle with a supplier that alleged it
was Lycoming's addition of vanadium to the alloy -- and not the
supplier's manufacturing process -- that weakened the shafts.) The new
suit alleges that "defective safety testing and review procedures in
place at Lycoming" resulted in the company's being unable to guarantee
that any crankshafts made after 1997 were safe. The suit alleges that
Lycoming was forced by the FAA to issue recalls in 2002 and 2005
covering about 2,000 engines based on the findings of a joint
investigation by the FAA and Lycoming. The suit also says that Lycoming
continues to deny that there is anything wrong with crankshafts covered
by the current service bulletins. More...
FIRST FOR CRANKSHAFT LEGAL ACTION Mills said the initial suit
is being filed on behalf of affected owners in California because of
that state's strong consumer protection laws. However, he said there are
plans for a national class action suit (the California suit will remain
separate) that will be filed in Lycoming's home state of Pennsylvania.
Assuming the courts accept the class action, all affected owners will
automatically become part of the suit. Notification will be sent to all
those who become part of the action and they will be able to opt out by
returning a postcard that will accompany the notification.
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MUSTANG GETS ITS PAPERWORK Although it likely means little in
the very light jet (VLJ) sweepstakes, Cessna won the race to full certification with the
announcement that its Mustang VLJ (Cessna prefers the term entry-level
jet) got the FAA blessing on Friday. (The Eclipse 500 was granted
provisional certification in July.) The Mustang is now approved for
delivery and has been signed off on everything except flight into known
icing conditions. A test aircraft will be sent north for icing tests in
the next few weeks as the weather cools. The Mustang was announced in
2002 and the certification came a month earlier than scheduled. "This is
an immense achievement, marking another point in history where Cessna
has led the aviation industry into new territory," Cessna CEO Jack
Pelton said. More...
DELIVERIES BEGIN IN 2007 Although it can technically sell
Mustangs now, Pelton said first customer deliveries aren't scheduled
until next year. Assuming Eclipse's full certification is approved in
the near future, it will likely be the first to get a VLJ into service.
The Wichita Eagle said Eclipse announced in July that it would deliver
50 airplanes by the end of the year. Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom told
the Eagle that number may be revised (whether that's upward or downward
isn't clear). Cessna intends to deliver 50 Mustangs in 2007 and 100 in
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LOOK AT POST 9/11/2001 FLYING EAA says pilots have a lot of
people to thank for their continued ability to hop in an airplane and
take off for just about anywhere. In an analysis of the state of GA five years after
the 9/11 terror attacks exactly five years ago, EAA says there are still
annoyances and maybe even some serious threats to the freedom to fly but
it could have been a lot worse. "Talk of incredibly onerous, expensive
and unrealistic security measures that would be demanded of all aircraft
was commonplace" immediately after 9/11, EAA staff wrote in an editorial
released last week. "Our freedom and dreams of flight were threatened as
never before." EAA says the combined efforts of aviation groups
re-educated Congress and the new security bureaucracy on GA's place in
the post-9/11 world. More...
RAMPS UP ADIZ FIGHT AOPA says the Washington ADIZ should be a temporary
measure, activated only when there's a credible security threat to the
capital, instead of the persistent thorn in the side that it has become.
And effectively expanding its effects to 100 nm from the city through
mandatory training should be off the table. In comments on the FAA's
proposed rule to require that training, AOPA President Phil Boyer says
only those who intend to fly within the ADIZ should need the training
and, he argues, the vast majority of those who do venture in there are
well-versed on the procedures and so-called incursions are generally the
result minor errors in transponder operation. "A recent AOPA survey of
pilots revealed that the biggest ADIZ-related concern they had was
making a mistake while following procedures," said Boyer. "This clearly
demonstrates that most pilots likely to fly in the ADIZ know the rules
already. Mandatory training for anyone flying up to 70 nm away from the
ADIZ boundary isn't going to reduce significantly the number of
technical incursions." More...
Cessna Offers to Cover $15,000 in Fuel
From now until October 31st, Cessna is stepping in to cover the cost of
your fuel! With the purchase of a new Skylane or Turbo Skylane from a
participating dealer, Cessna will provide a $15,000 Multi-Service
fuel card. To find out more about the program, contact your
Cessna Sales Team Authorized Representative or call
1-800-622-7495. Offer expires on October
31, 2006.Complete program details online.
CONTROLLER UNDER WRAPS As a flood of details about the crash
of Comair Flight 5191 two weeks ago in Lexington come to light, there is
one glaring omission and it's likely to stay that way. So far, the FAA,
NTSB and National Air Traffic Controllers Association have been able to
keep the identity of the lone air traffic controller on duty at the time
of the crash a secret, on the record, at least. Although it seems
unlikely that the secret has been kept perfectly, so far as we can tell
the controller's name hasn't been made public and it likely won't be
until he testifies at public hearings into the disaster. "It's the
foxhole mentality," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association, told Forbes. "These are brothers in arms. They
have each other's backs." The FAA and NATCA have gone so far as to
refuse to even release the full list of names of the 19 controllers who
work in Lexington and the controller himself has reportedly been told
that if he so much as utters a peep to the media, he'll be fired and
lose his imminent pension. More...
WANTS MU-2 BANNED A Denver television station says Colorado
Democratic Rep. Tom Tancredo plans to introduce a bill that would ban
the Mitsubishi MU-2 from U.S. airspace until the FAA does a full safety
review of the aircraft. Tancredo has also written the president suggesting that FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey and NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker be fired
over their "failure to act responsibly for hundreds of deaths." Tancredo
became interested in the MU-2 after back-to-back crashes of the speedy
twin at Centennial Airport, which is in his district. Two crashes in
Florida in recent weeks prompted his latest tirade. In December 2005,
the FAA performed a safety review of the aircraft, and earlier this
year, the FAA said it would require enhanced training for MU-2 pilots
but stopped short of requiring a type rating. A Mitsubishi official says
the extra training will help. "We've seen overseas, when these training
programs go into effect, the accident rates plummet," Scott Sobel told
the Walton Sun. More...
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BAN ROUSES CONTROLLER PROTEST Among the FAA's new work rules
imposed on air traffic controllers last week was a ban on napping during
breaks and, predictably perhaps, the agency and the controllers union
differ on the impact of such a rule. "Even though they're on break, they
can be called back to work at any time," FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown
told The Associated Press. "If they had to be called back to work
traffic and they had been sleeping, they would be groggy." But Dave
O'Malley, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association
representative at the Indianapolis center, said controllers on the night
shift, particularly, can go hours without a flight before getting very
busy toward the end of the shift. "It just ambiguous and punitive," he
told the AP. "The work itself requires you to rest and recoup between
sessions," O'Malley said. The nap ban is nothing new in FAA regs but its
universal application is. More...
RECORD SET If the thought of jumping from a perfectly
serviceable airplane just once gives you the jitters, consider how Jay
Stokes spent his
Saturday. The Yuma, Ariz., skydiving instructor got in 640 jumps
(641 if you count the night jump where he missed the airport) in 24
hours. That's one jump every two minutes and 14 seconds (counting the
extra one) and is even more remarkable considering Stokes tore a leg
muscle about a third of the way through the marathon, which took place
at Greensburg Municipal Airport in Indiana, where he teaches during the
summer. The old record was 534, which he set in California in 2003.
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PILOTS JOIN HURRICANE RELIEF A handful of Arizona pilots are
flying supplies to a town on Mexico's Baja Peninsula that was partly
destroyed by Hurricane John earlier this month. The waterfront area of
Mulege was inundated by flood waters of the Rio Mulege caused by the
hurricane. The town has about 3,100 people, including about 500
Americans, many of whom live close to the water. According to the
Arizona Republic newspaper, the relief effort is being led by John
McCormick, of Baja Bush Pilots, who's already delivered water and
supplies to the remote town. Up to 20 pilots are expected to join the
effort. Hundreds of homes were damaged or washed away by the wall of
water that spilled out of the river during the storm. More...
PILOT ARRESTED 24 YEARS AFTER FATAL FLIGHT The Canadian pilot
of a Cessna 150 that was allegedly intentionally ditched in a Montana
lake 24 years ago has been arrested in Texas and faces charges in
connection with the death of his girlfriend in the ditching, according
to the Vancouver Sun. Jaroslaw "Jerry" Ambrozuk, who had
been living in Plano, Texas, under the name Michael Lee Smith, was
arrested a week ago and is fighting extradition to Montana where
authorities want to charge him in the death of Dianne Babcock, whose
body was found in the airplane at the bottom of Little Bitterroot Lake.
According to police, the couple, then 19 and 18, planned to fake their
deaths in the crash and disappear into the U.S. in a bizarre elopement
AviationClassifieds.com Releases New Site
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THE FLY... Swedish aerobatic champion died in Aero GP race in
Malta Sunday... Canada, U.S. sign pilot certificate
agreement AD affects some Hartzell props Nigeria
canceling registration of unsafe airplanes Airliner child
safety restraint approved Delta and Northwest recall some
NEWS Lycoming's latest crankshaft problem is a legal one.
AVweb speaks with Robert Mills who is handling the case against
Lycoming. Click through to listen. Check our audio news index and hear what you've been
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.
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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...
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Offering up Beck's, Bruce Riter told us, "Clean & modern pilot
lounge including kitchen & shower; nice late-model courtesy cars;
cheapest fuel anywhere; a local told us the operator sells fuel just
above cost & puts the markup into amenities for pilots. Hats off to the
operators of this facility!"
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OF THE WEEK: FLYING DOG FROM YOUTUBE In our travels of the
World Wide Web, we've saved and bookmarked quite a few video clips. Some
gave us the chills, some flat-out amazed us, and some taught us a little
something that we didn't already know. In the coming weeks, we'll be
sharing some of these videos one a week, until we run out of them
with you, our readership. Both entertainment and education are on
tap for this feature, but we think the thing that will make it work in
the long run is the same thing that's made our "Picture of the
Week" and "Question of the Week" features so popular
your participation. If you run across a video that you
think would be interesting to the rest of the AVweb audience be
it funny, inspirational, shocking, or something else entirely send
us a link! We'll add your video to our ever-growing archive, and if
it's selected to be an AVweb "Video of the Week," we'll send
you one of our official AVweb baseball caps as a humble "thank
To kick things off, here's a gravity-defying clip we
found on YouTube recently. It never fails to bring a smile to our face
and was originally posted on YouTube by av8tor517.
Glastar and Sportsman Owners: Bolt-on
Horsepower Now Available for Your Aircraft!
Your O-320 or O-360 aircraft can now have bolt-on horsepower. Better
than the factory-standard exhaust, the Power Flow will increase
power, giving better climb and higher cruise speeds. Power Flow
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guarantee!Full details from Power Flow Tuned Exhaust Systems' web
Pilots Comment After Reading IFR: A
"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).
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