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Volume 12, Number 47a
November 20, 2006
 
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DOT Inspector General On FAA Prioritiesback to top 
 
Sponsor Announcement

FAA FACES "FORMIDABLE CHALLENGE" ON USER FEES
The FAA has an uphill battle to convince its masters that a user-fee-based system is the best way to tackle the funding challenges of the next decade, according to a report from the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). And even if the agency can make the case for user fees (which, because they aren’t taxes, don’t require Congressional oversight) the OIG says that shouldn’t mean unfettered access to that big pot of cash. “We believe that any proposal to give FAA more flexibility and additional funds needs to be accompanied by strong oversight mechanisms to ensure funds are spent efficiently,” says the report, which is entitled "DOT’s Top Management Challenges" (FAA reauthorization ranks second). Notwithstanding its cautious stance, however, the OIG seems to think that user fees offer the best hope of creating the sort of funding base that offers adequate investment for new technology while creating incentives for users to make more efficient use of the system. More...

FAA STAFFING ISSUES A CONCERN
Although no one seems to dispute the FAA’s need to hire 11,000 new air traffic controllers over the next 10 years to cover the retirement bulge that has already begun, the OIG would like the FAA to figure out exactly where the new recruits should be deployed and just how much this hiring push is costing. The report notes that the original hiring plan, released in 2004, didn’t define those issues and, while the agency is working on a location-by-location assessment of staffing requirements, it’s still ignoring the cost issues. In fairness, the agency was missing some key financial information on the cost projections because, until earlier this year when it imposed a contract on air traffic controllers, it didn’t know what salary and benefit costs for new hires would be. Now that those costs have been established, the OIG wants to see real numbers. While much of the limelight has been on controller issues, the OIG is also reminding the FAA that a shortage of safety inspectors is looming. More...

DOT IG WONDERS HOW THE FAA WILL COPE
Air travel is growing, more aircraft are projected to be flying to more places and the OIG wonders how the agency is going to cope with the surge in demand for its services. Making better use of its existing resources will help, but the report says major investments will be needed to accommodate the demand. For now, it says, nothing increases capacity like concrete and asphalt. There are about a dozen major runway projects underway at the moment and the report says the agency has to ensure they get done. Meanwhile, the search for technological answers to growing traffic continues and the OIG seems apprehensive about what it terms the “high risk” proposals currently being discussed for the Next Generation Air Traffic System (NGATS). More...

 
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Technical Issues Dog FAAback to top 
 

LAX PROBLEMS THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG?
The FAA needs to spend up to $100 million, and fast, to make sure the lights, computers and consoles stay on at its most important air traffic control facilities, according to a report by the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG was responding to a request from Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to investigate a power failure at Los Angeles Center, as well as repeated failures of the ILS and the intentional disabling of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) at LAX. In his letter to Boxer, DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovell III says the power problems at Los Angeles Center could be repeated at other major ATC facilities and the FAA needs to fix the problems sooner rather than later. More...

CONSTRUCTION PROJECT PLAYS A ROLE IN AMASS OUTAGE
DOT Inspector General Scovell is also recommending that the potential impact of construction work on airport systems be considered when new projects are planned. At least part of the problem with LAX’s ILS and AMASS system was traced to the construction activity on one of the airport’s four runways. The ILS suffered five failures in July and August. It was apparently a run of bad luck, compounded by the age of some of the components and corrosion damage from LA’s salty (not to mention polluted) air. Even when the gear was working, however, interference by the construction equipment caused some approaching aircraft to lose the ILS signal. Meanwhile, sometime before July 26, the AMASS gear was shut off because of all the false alerts triggered by the construction machinery. On July 26, there was a near collision on a runway that the AMASS system should have detected had it been turned on. More...

 
Weather the Holidays with the New Garmin GPSMap 496
JA Air Center, Your Garmin Source, has the new Garmin GPSMap 496 with XM Weather, Terrain, AOPA Airport Guide, Taxiway Database, and built-in StreetPilot Automotive GPS in stock for immediate delivery. Call JA Air Center at (800) 323-5966, or order online.
If you are looking to sell your current GPS, JA Air Center Purchases Used GPS and Avionics — call for current values.

Visit the new GPSMap 496 Blog for more information on this exciting new product from Garmin.
 
News Briefsback to top 
 

ACCIDENT "CRIMINALIZATION" PROMPTS ACTION
Some high-profile organizations have issued statements condemning the so-called “criminalization” of aircraft accidents and are calling on the world’s aviation authorities to pull the focus of accident investigations back to cause rather than blame. The protracted confinement and threat of criminal charges against two American pilots over the collision between their Legacy 600 business jet and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 (the 737 crashed, killing all 154 aboard) in Brazil has prompted the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations and a multinational group of aviation industry organizations from the U.S. and Europe to call on governments to leave criminal proceedings out of accident investigations unless there is evidence of “extremely egregious” behavior (like flying drunk or sabotage). They agree that the threat of prosecution stifles the free flow of information that not only helps establish cause, but also could help prevent future accidents. More...

LAWYER URGES RELEASE OF PILOTS
The lawyer for American pilots Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino says a preliminary report into the collision of their Embraer Legacy business jet and a GOL Boeing 737 fails to establish a cause for the accident and it could be 10 months or more before one is established. In news release, Robert Torricella also noted the report clearly shows the pilots held their assigned altitude and did not perform the “stunts” that some Brazilian officials alleged occurred before the collision, which caused the 737 to crash, killing all 154 on board. Torricella also notes that Brazilian Air Force Col. Rufino Antonio Da Silva Ferreira noted that flight plans are not necessarily the final word on determining an aircraft’s flight profile, but he stopped short of explaining that air traffic control guidance supersedes them. The Legacy was assigned 37,000 feet by ATC even though its northwesterly track should have put it at 36,000 feet, which was what the crew had flight planned. It’s still not clear why they were assigned the unusual altitude. More...

 
New Term Rates Available from Pilot Insurance Center
Private pilots that expect to fly less than 200 annual hours and have 100 or more solo hours — or who expect to fly 201-300 annual hours and have 400 or more solo hours — may qualify for new lower rates from the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC). PIC specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with the life insurance protection they need. A+ RATED CARRIERS — NO AVIATION EXCLUSIONS — Quick and Easy Application Process. Get a Quote from PIC by calling 1-800-380-8376 or visit online.
 
News Briefsback to top 
 

AD PROCESS STREAMLINED ON FOREIGN NOTIFICATIONS
The FAA says it’s streamlining the process of turning around airworthiness directives from other countries on aircraft that are flying in the U.S. Last week, the agency issued two ADs on TBM 700 aircraft that relate to problems found in France one and two years ago, respectively. France issued an AD in 2005 regarding loose rivets in the tail assembly and, a year earlier, French authorities ordered inspections of a tail attachment fitting after corrosion was found on an aircraft in service. Chances are that the work on U.S.-registered aircraft has already been done because manufacturer EADS Socata issued mandatory service bulletins for both problems, but the catch-up AD from the FAA formalizes the actions prescribed by those MSBs. More...

NEW FBO FOR TALLAHASSEE?
A Tallahassee firm hopes to become the city airport’s second FBO but, as there always seems to be, there are a few wrinkles to iron out. Eagle Aircraft Group has applied to open fueling and maintenance facilities to compete with Flightline Group, which has operated Tallahassee Regional Airport’s only FBO for decades. However, it appears that before Eagle Aircraft can open its doors, it will need concessions from the company it intends to compete with. Both companies have their eyes on an old FedEx hangar and it will be up to council to decide how the property is used. More...

 
Mark Your Calendars! LoPresti's After-Thanksgiving Sale — One Day Only
LoPresti is clearing out extras, customer returns, and items dinged in shipping (repaired as good as new — but can't be sold as new). Sale is on limited quantities and ONLY on Friday, November 24th. When the items are gone, they are gone. Go online to view what's available and order by e-mail, 12am to 11:59pm (EST) on Friday, November 24th only.
 
News Briefsback to top 
 

FAA CHIMES IN ON ETHANOL IN FUEL
The FAA has issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) explaining the hazards posed to aircraft operation with automotive fuels that contain alcohol. EAA and other aviation groups have been warning about the increased use of ethanol in fuels. The alcohol is a substitute for chemical oxygenates MTBE and ETBE that have been linked to environmental concerns. But while ethanol may be safer for the environment, it’s toxic to airplane engines and the FAA says that if you can’t find alcohol-free mogas for your STC’d aircraft engine, you’ll have to switch back to 100LL. More...

CESSNA OFFERS ONLINE ICE TRAINING
Cessna Caravan operators and pilots who want to beat the rush can register now for an online training package that will likely be mandated by the FAA for those who operate in known icing. The curriculum was developed by Cessna with help from the Regional Air Cargo Carriers Association in response to a series of Caravan accidents where icing may have been a factor. Hundreds of Caravans are in use by cargo companies and are exposed to icing conditions almost every day during the icing season. More...

 
Doc Blue's Emergency Medical Kit — Don't Leave Home Without It!
Do you carry a first-aid kit in your airplane or car? AVweb's Dr. Brent Blue says drugstore first-aid kits are packed with mostly useless stuff. Dr. Blue has assembled a traveling medical kit for dealing with all sorts of medical problems, based on his long experience as an emergency room doctor, frequent traveler, pilot, outdoorsman, and dad. It would cost more than $500 to duplicate this kit, but it's available on sale from Aeromedix for $333. Order by calling (888) 362-7123, or go online.
 
News In Briefback to top 
 

ON THE FLY
Video of Pentagon 9/11 crash may be released…
Piper offers jet incentives…
WSI Hubcast offers timely terminal forecasts…
737, 747 missed by 35 feet…
Video footage of Red Bull Air Race winners is now online. More...

AVWEB'S NEWSTIPS ADDRESS...
Our best stories start with you. 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. What have you heard? More...

 
New VFLITE™ Computer-Based Training for Your GPSMap 496!
Learn at your own pace while practicing procedures at the comfort and safety of your computer, with the new VFLITE GPSMap 496 Interactive Guide. Featuring scenario-based guided simulation, you'll learn how to get the most from your 496 the quick, easy, and safe way. The ideal solution for both initial and recurrent GPS training, VFLITE programs are also available for the Garmin® GNS 530/430; GPSMap 396, 296 & 196; as well as Lowrance® AirMap 2000C, 1000 & 500 portables. Windows and Mac compatible. Order online now!
 
FBO Of The Weekback to top 
 

FBO OF THE WEEK: NORTH ALABAMA AVIATION
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 North Alabama Aviation at KDCU in Decatur, Ala.

AVweb reader Stan Poelstra was literally floored by the FBO’s low fuel price and high level of service.

"We stopped here twice. The first time, on the way to Florida, the FBO owner lowered the price of fuel of the self serve while I was fueling to $3.25. He said he just got the new quote so he would give it to me. On the way back two weeks later, the price was the same but it was so windy one could hardly stand up, so my wife and I stayed over night. They gave us the use of the courtesy car that afternoon and overnight. No charge, just lots of smiles and thank you’s for stopping. Wow!”

Keep those nominations coming.For complete contest rules, click here.

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

More...

 
Buy 2 Cases of Exxon Elite in November and Receive an ExxonMobil Cash Card Worth $20.00!
For every two cases of Exxon Aviation Oil Elite 20W-50 you purchase between November 1 and November 30, ExxonMobil will give you a Cash Card worth $20.00. To learn more, click here.
 
New On AVwebback to top 
 

NEW ARTICLES AND FEATURES ON AVWEB
COLUMNS

CEO of the Cockpit #64: Proceedings of the 17th Yearly Meeting of the SOHOP
AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit has found still more ways to save the airlines money, save our military from getting involved in wars over oil, bring about world peace and ... no, it's really all about rockets. More...

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...

 
Pilot Journey Isn't Just for Students & Instructors; There's Something for Everyone
You know Pilot Journey's Discovery Flight program converting leads to students. However, all pilots can find something at Pilot Journey: Pilot e-mail accounts, pilot eCards; a pilot cruise with seminars; AvCareers, where position wanted and positions available are listed; and much more. Pilot Journey is the pilot's choice online.
 
Audio Newsback to top 
 

AVWEB AUDIO NEWS
AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new in-depth interview each Friday. In Friday's podcast, you'll find an interview with Cirrus Design cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier, who addresses the rash of fatal accidents in October involving Cirrus pistons. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue, Adam Aircraft chairman Rick Adam and New Piper CEO Jim Bass. In today's news summary, hear about how the DOT Inspector General supports aviation user fees, the looming air traffic controller shortage, a call condemning "criminalization" of aviation accidents, Eagle Aircraft bids to open a second FBO at Tallahassee Airport and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else. More...

 
If You Have a Calendar Event, AVweb Wants to Hear from You!
AVweb's no-cost Calendar of Events is available to everyone who has an event to post! Remember, over 160,000 subscribers turn to AVweb for their news. Make sure they know about your upcoming event: Post it online!
 
Video Of The Weekback to top 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: CV-22 OSPREY
AVweb's Russ Niles was on hand at Aviation Nation last week and brought back a terrific clip of the Osprey CV-22 making its public debut. We thought everyone would like to see it, so we're sharing it here as AVweb's "Video of the Week." (Click through to watch.) More...

 
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. Order your UAG online.
 
The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 
 

SHORT FINAL
Returning to Princeton, N.J., in a Seminole, I was proudly clipping along at 140 knots and can only assume that my deep voice and professional-sounding tone led to us appearing to be more than we were:

Seminole: "New York approach, Seminole Two Two Eight, 5,000."

Approach: "Seminole Two Two Eight, Morristown altimeter 30.08. Proceed direct Solberg, maintain 5,000. Were you given any speed restrictions? If so, you can resume normal speed.

Seminole: "Direct Solberg, 5,000, Two Two Eight. And we're a Seminole. This is normal speed." More...

 

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

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers. IFR Magazine Brings You the Hard Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.

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.

Retention Can Be Increased by 70% with Auditory Learning!
Welcome to your instructor in an audio book! The complete Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook is presented in a warm, conversational manner on 30 professionally recorded CDs. Rod's tried-and-true method of instruction can turn wasted freeway time into learning time. One pilot commented, "I felt like a flight instructor was there in the car with me." Reviewing or learning, take the easy road with Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook. Order online.

 
Names Behind the Newsback 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 Contributing Editor 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.

Remember: aviate, navigate, then communicate.