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OIG AUDITS AIRSPACE USE FOR FAA FUNDING FLAP
of Transportation's Office of Inspector General is planning to conduct
an audit of the National Airspace System (NAS) that could become a key
point of information for the looming battle over how to fund the FAA. In
an internal memo obtained by AVweb, David
Tornquist, the DOT's Assistant Inspector General for Competition and
Economic Analysis, sets as his goal nothing less than putting a dollar
figure on each type of airspace usage in the context of the various
funding alternatives currently being bandied about for the FAA.
"Evaluating these alternatives requires a common understanding of who
currently uses the NAS and how that usage affects the FAA's costs and
how closely the alternatives mirror use of FAA services," the memo
FUNDING ALTERNATIVES ON THE TABLE
OIG memo gives some insight into the ideas being explored for
renovating the FAA's funding structure. "Measures under consideration
include charging for aircraft departures, passenger emplanements,
aircraft weight, flight distance and time-in-system," the memo reads.
"FAA is also exploring the feasibility of cost-based user fees." Among
the items on the agenda for the OIG auditors, which will be of great
interest to business aviation folks, is an assessment of whether jet
fuel consumption makes a good basis for estimating cost to the FAA for
air traffic services. More...
ISSUE LOOMS LARGE
AOPA didnt comment directly on the
content of the DOT OIG memo, but said its an indication of the way
things may shape up in coming months in Washington. AOPA spokesman Chris
Dancy said the OIG study came at the request of Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.,
last summer and AOPA knew it was coming. Dancy said the Government
Accountability Office is undertaking a similar study. Taken
together, the two studies indicate the significance both the
Administration and Congress place on the FAA Reauthorization bill, and
reinforce AOPA's resolve to defend general aviation by preventing a
shift of user fees or an excessive increase in taxes, Dancy told
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DIAMOND TAKING ON CIRRUS, COLUMBIA, MOONEY?
A report out of Eastern Europe suggests Diamond
Aircraft is ready to mix it up in the 200+ knot piston single range. The
Ukrainian Web site wing.com.ua is reporting that Diamond intends to
build a 350-hp, five-place, fixed-gear airplane that promises to be the
most spacious of piston aircraft in its class. Theres
nothing on the Diamond Web site to confirm this, and the company's North
Amertican office in London, Ontario, was closed for the weekend when we
called, but the platform suggests an adaptation of the D-Jet
configuration, which also has room for five. More...
MIDAIR: POLICE RELEASE PRELIMINARY REPORT
On Wednesday, a
preliminary police report released in Brazil said U.S. pilots Joseph
Lepore and Jan Paladino could have prevented the Sept. 29 midair that
killed 154 people when the Legacy jet they were flying collided with a
Gol Airlines 737 if they had noticed their transponder was turned off,
according to The Associated Press. The two men returned home to New York
on Dec. 9 after being detained by authorities in Brazil for more than
two months. According to the police report, the Legacy's transponder was
turned off for at least 50 minutes before the crash and turned on two
minutes after, but the report does not determine whether the pilots or
the instrument itself failed. Police investigators have asked for an
extra 30 days before presenting a final report. A judge will then decide
whether an indictment and trial will follow. More...
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JET PROGRAM PROCEEDS
Grob Aerospace says European certification of its
SPn business jet has been pushed back about six months to early 2008 due
to the crash of the second prototype on a demonstration flight in
Germany on Nov. 29. The crash -- which occurred near the
manufacturers Mattsies-Tussenhausen, Germany facility -- killed
test pilot Gérard Guillaumaud. While the company awaits the cause
of the accident from German authorities, work is proceeding on a new
test aircraft, which should be flying in the New Year. In a news
release, CEO Niall Oliver said Grob remains committed to developing the
$7 million jet and that customers have been superb in their
understanding and reaction to the tragedy. More...
DROWN OUT NATURE?
Residents of Pacific Palisades, Calif., are
complaining that increased jet and helicopter traffic is affecting their
quality of life. A story in the Palisadian Post even suggests
a cover-up, of sorts. "I have a neighbor who used to sunbathe
nude, laments one unnamed resident of Marques Knolls. But
she stopped because she felt as if her privacy was violated by all the
low-flying airplanes and helicopters. According to the Post, jet
traffic is up 1,400 percent in the last 23 years and helicopter flights
now make up 3 percent of the operations in and out of nearby Santa
Monica Airport (KSMO) and thats making it hard to hear the birds
and the bees. The reason that the Palisades is so nice is that you
can hear nature, resident Hal Oliver told the Post. But all
these planes are changing that. More...
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NEW YORK AIRPORT EYED
The Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey has set aside $150 million to invest in a fourth major airport to
serve the metropolitan area over the next 10 years and the favored
location appears to be Stewart International Airport, about 50 miles north
of the city. The airport is a former Air Force base and boasts a runway
almost 12,000 feet long. Its currently an Air National Guard base.
There is scheduled air service by several airlines (including a shuttle
to JFK). But despite these significant attributes, theres another
factor the Port Authority might find hard to ignore. The community seems
to actually want the airport. More...
ATTEMPTS TO STOP OVERRUNS
Brought into the headlines by
overruns at acreage-challenged airports like Chicago and Teterboro, the
FAA-approved engineered materials arresting system (EMAS) now crowns 21
runways at 16 airports, with four more airports and five runways due for
the upgrade in the next year. Teterboro recently had one of the systems
installed at the end of 6,015 foot Runway 6 to the tune of $8.5 million
(all but $1 million covered by the FAA). That system was unwittingly put
to use October 25, when a Challenger made a $15,000 wrong turn
(estimated EMAS repair costs) on the way to the terminal. Teterboro
Airport's second system will reside at the south end of Runway 18
following the relocation of Redneck Avenue. More...
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The aerospace industry had record sales for the
third year in a row, according to an analysis by the Aviation Industries
Association (AIA). In its annual review of aviation commerce, AIA said total
sales were up $14 billion to $184.4 billion, an increase of 8.4 percent
over 2005. "It would be hard to overstate aerospace's positive
contributions to our national economy, as evidenced by these very strong
indicators," said AIA CEO John Douglass. He also noted that the total
represented a positive trade balance of more than $52 billion and he
said theres no immediate end in sight. More...
AVIONICS FIGHTS ECLIPSE SUIT
Aspen Avionics founders Peter
Lyons and Jeff Bethel say their hazard awareness system retrofit for
older aircraft was developed before they went to work for Eclipse
Aviation and that invention and non-disclosure forms they signed with
Eclipse werent valid. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Lyons and Bethel claim -- in a
response to Eclipses October lawsuit over ownership of the AT300
Hazard Awareness Display -- that they developed the technology in 2001
and 2002, before joining Eclipse in late 2002. Lyons and Bethel also say
the only invention and disclosure agreements they signed were during the
interview process and not as employees of Eclipse. Eclipse claims the
pair created the device and developed their business plan on company
DAILY NEWS COVERAGE
You can now get the latest general
aviation news from AVweb -- the world's premier independent aviation
news source -- as it happens at AVweb.com. Or sign up for our news feed and
have the most recent headlines pushed directly to your RSS-based news
reader. Either way, you'll be able to read the same concise, but
comprehensive, news stories that you've come to expect from AVweb. And
for major breaking general aviation news, AVweb will send out news
alerts via e-mail to keep subscribers informed. Dont worry --
you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday.
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Student pilot convicted for false medical
Chevron picked as fueler for new Houston
Radar outage caused delays at
Socata has a new vice president of industry and
Legacy pilots say they did nothing wrong.
Limited Quantities of Collier Trophy
Collectible Medallion Series
's Collier Trophy Centennial Medallion Series 1 and 2 are now
available for gift-giving or for your own collection. A commemorative
card encases a heavy metal medallion showing the Collier Trophy on one
side and an image of SpaceShipOne on the reverse of Series 1, and the
image of the Eclipse 500 in formation on the reverse of Series 2.
Visit NAA's merchandise section to
view and order
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AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new
in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's
podcast, you'll find an interview with Bill Lear Jr. on light jet
progress. And AVweb's podcast
index includes interviews with NATA President Jim Coyne; Eclipse
Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; Cirrus Design
cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier; Cessna chairman, president and CEO
Jack Pelton; and Spectrum Aeronautical chairman Linden Blue. In today's news
summary, hear about the DOT Inspector General is starting an audit
to determine who is using U.S. airspace, Diamond Aircraft's possible
foray into a high-performance piston single, the FAA's use of crushable
concrete for runway arresting systems and more. Remember: In AVweb's
podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
Brought to you by
Bose Corporation. More...
Just in Time for Holiday Gift-Giving
, written by AVweb
Maya Charles, is the perfect gift for any pilot. Readers will learn the
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OF THE WEEK: NORTH AMERICAN AVIATION
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to North American Aviation at KRFD in Rockford,
AVweb reader Wayne Phillips said he's treated
like a rock star at this FBO.
"No matter what size airplane you
fly in, they treat you like a rock star. They also keep 100LL prices low
for a big airport ($3.85), have no ramp fees, have put my Skylane in
their hangar when the weather gets bad at no cost, have driven me to my
mom's house 12 miles away to avoid rental car or cab fees and have let
me use their courtesy car overnight. These guys deserve the
those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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!
OF THE WEEK: NEAR-MISS WITH A T-38 TRAINER
"Video of the Week" is nail-biting footage of what's often
called a "near-miss" although they're more accurately
called "near-mid-air-collisions." Watch as one pilot gets a
little too close for comfort to a T-38 trainer in this clip posted to YouTube by smkenney7 and marked as being from
Randolph Air Force Base. (Click through to watch.) More...
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We were flying from Chatham, Massachusetts to Nantucket
with flight following from Cape approach. The weather was marginal VFR
with heavy haze and reasonably poor visibility when out of the mist we
heard this on the air:
Cape approach: "Cessna Four Five Six,
are you aware that you are heading toward a restricted
Cessna: "No, I wasn't aware of a restricted area. What's
Cape approach: "It's some type of microwave
Cessna: "Yup, I see a tower ahead."
approach: "That's the tower I want you to miss. If you fly near that
tower, it could ruin all your equipment, and you'll never have anv
Cessna: "Roger that. Turning now..."
AVWEB APPRECIATES YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF
WHO BRING YOU TODAY'S NEWS AND FEATURES AT NO COST TO YOU
Power Flow Is Now FAA-Approved for the Diamond
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,
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.
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 Editors Russ Niles (bio)
and Glenn Pew (bio).
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
Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on
marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
Aviate, navigate, communicate.