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Volume 12, Number 37a
September 11, 2006
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Lycoming Faces Class Action Suitback to top 
Sponsor Announcement ATG - The Way You Used to Fly Is History!

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 tickets. More...

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...

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. More...

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Mustang Fully Certifiedback to top 

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...

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 2008. More...

JA Air Center 
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GA Five Years Laterback to top 

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...

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...

Don't Worry, It's on Cessna 
... Cessna Offers to Cover $15,000 in Fuel Costs
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.
News Briefsback to top 

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...

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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News Briefsback to top 

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...

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. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

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...

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 scheme. More...

AviationClassifieds.com Releases New Site Format and Offers Complimentary Ads
AviationClassifieds.com has released a new site format and is offering complimentary 90-day ads with photos. Ads automatically display on multiple sites at no cost. The site offers new anti-fraud and anti-spam protection and has hundreds of fresh, up-to-date aircraft listings. Ads automatically display at Tailwheel.com, USAviation.com, BuyAPlane.com, FindAPlane.com, and AircraftNow.com. Go to the site now for more information.
News in Briefback to top 

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 staff. More...

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 missing.

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.


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...

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University — all have selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, click here.
Featuresback to top 



The Pilot's Lounge #104: Preserving Our Aviation Treasures And Heritage
Airports are not the only things that can be destroyed by a developer's bulldozer. Sometimes progress at the airport itself can jeopardize treasures on the field, as AVweb's Rick Durden reports from the U.S. heartland. More...



AVmail: Sep. 10, 2006
Reader mail this week about ATC, fuel prices and much more about the RJ crash in Lexington. More...

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...

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, call (888) 992-9276, or visit online.
Your Favorite FBO'sback to top 

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.

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Beck's Helena U-Pump at KHLN, Helena, MT.

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!"

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!


The Used Aircraft Guide Can Save You Thousands When Purchasing an Aircraft
It's taken a long time to get to this point — purchasing an aircraft. Don't waste time and money, use Aviation Consumer's Used Aircraft Guide to puchase your dream. Go online to order your copy.
VOTWback to top 

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 you."

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.




Attention, Private Pilots & Aviation Enthusiasts! Track Commercial & GA Flights!
From the comfort and privacy of your desktop computer, you can track commercial and general aviation flights on IFR flight plans in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, New Zealand, and parts of the Atlantic and Pacific. Click here for complete information and to subscribe to AVweb Flight Explorer Personal Edition®.

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 bolts on easily, and one version fits tricycle or taildragger configurations. Money-back guarantee! Full details from Power Flow Tuned Exhaust Systems' web site.

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.

The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 


Thanks for the support...

I made a pretty nice landing in my Husky at San Antonio International last week with 20 knots across the runway. On rollout, the controller and I had the following conversation:

Controller: That was a pretty stiff crosswind.

Me: Yeah, I was looking for "10" cards up in the tower cab but couldn't see any.

Controller: That's 'cause we had our hands on the crash phones.



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.

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