AVwebFlash - Volume 12, Number 51b

December 21, 2006

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Propeller Ceiling Fans Available at Aircraft Spruce
This propeller ceiling fan is a three-speed fan with light. It runs forward and reverse and comes with gloss white hardware and a white glass globe. The propeller is available in two shapes, round and square. Both are dark stained with a urethane gloss finish. Motor is inclusive of the typical four-paddle blade fans. For more information, please call 1-877-4-SPRUCE or order from Aircraft Spruce online.
 
Aviation On Congress's Radar Screen back to top 
 

FAA Faces The Blue Tide

Congress may already have started its holiday recess, but with a major changeover due to take place in January you can bet they're not idle in Washington, D.C. The Democrats are itching to take charge, and they plan to take a more active role in overseeing aviation safety and the FAA, according to James Carroll, a Washington reporter for the Louisville Courier-Journal. U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., who has just been appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, told Carroll, "If [the FAA is] not going to do what needs to be done through the regulatory process, we're going to have to pass some legislation to force them to do it." Chandler, whose district includes the Lexington (Ky.) Airport where a Comair CRJ-100 crashed in August, says the air traffic control system is woefully understaffed. He claims the agency has been "utterly not forthcoming" about its handling of staffing at Blue Grass Airport and at other facilities nationwide.

"The cost of one crash far outweighs what you will pay in total to bring air traffic control up to the appropriate numbers," he said. Chandler is not the only Democrat itching to take on the agency, says Carroll. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., a longtime FAA critic, said many of his colleagues are frustrated with the FAA. The aviation system is safe now, he said, but "there are not enough people on deck or in the pipeline to give us the assurance the United States can continue with the proud [safety] record it has amassed." The Courier-Journal published an in-depth report on air traffic control in its Sunday edition. The report, "Troubled towers: How safe are our skies?" is available online. It includes a database listing staffing levels at all FAA facilities.

Money Crunch Threatens ATC Hiring Plan

Meanwhile, the FAA is not happy with a proposal from Democratic leaders to extend 2006 spending levels through 2007. If that happens, an FAA official said in a memo that the agency might have to freeze all hiring of air traffic controllers and technicians after March 31. "In anticipation of the impact that could have on our finances, we must take further steps to reduce spending while still maintaining effective services to our customers," said Eugene Juba, the FAA Air Traffic Organization's senior vice president of finance. [more] FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told Gannett News Service that the hiring freeze is an option, but no decisions have been made yet. The current plan is to hire 1,136 controllers in fiscal 2007. The FAA has been widely criticized for not adequately addressing the anticipated wave of controller retirements.

Senate Acts To Reduce Airport Noise

Operators of aircraft weighing more than 75,000 pounds that don't yet meet Stage 3 noise standards would have just three years to upgrade, if legislation introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., passes next year. The Aircraft Noise Reduction Act of 2006, introduced on Dec. 7, sends "an important message to airports, aircraft owners and airport neighbors that the impacts of these aircraft can no longer be tolerated," said John Lindemann, an anti-noise advocate. The legislation will be considered when the new Congress convenes in January. An estimated 1,000 to 1,300 Stage 2 aircraft are still in operation, less than 10 percent of the fleet, but they account for an inordinate percentage of noise complaints, Lindemann said. Stage 2 aircraft, on average, are twice as loud as Stage 3 airplanes and burn 30 percent more fuel, Lautenberg said. Under his proposal, individual airports would be allowed to opt out of the ban.

 
Receive a New Multimedia Tip Each Week
Take a few minutes each week to improve your pilot skills. It's fun and costs nothing. Top aviation experts share important and practical tips on IFR, emergency handling, risk management, and more. Listen as they explain valuable tactics and strategies to make flying safer. No charge. Click here to sign up.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Is New Piper Ready For A Move?

A story in TCPalm.com on Wednesday said local officials are concerned that New Piper Aircraft might be weighing offers to move out of Vero Beach, Fla. "We've all heard the rumors, and at this point it's time to get a hold of [New Piper CEO Jim] Bass," County Commission Chairman Gary Wheeler told TCPalm. New Piper spokesman Mark Miller told AVweb on Wednesday afternoon that those concerns have been "blown out of proportion." Officials from other counties in Florida and other states have expressed an interest in wooing the company's PiperJet production facility, he said, but the company is not out there looking for offers. "Would I say we would never leave Florida? No, but we don't have any agenda or mandate to move." He said the company hasn't decided yet where it will build the PiperJet, and no decision is imminent. After last year's hurricanes, the company's annual property insurance costs rose from about $400,000 a year to almost $5 million, Miller said. Property taxes went up about 50 percent, from $149,465 in 2005 to $233,914 in 2006, according to TCPalm. The company has had a presence in the Vero Beach area for about 50 years.

Eclipse Secondary Sales Brisk

Although Eclipse Aviation has yet to actually deliver an airplane, there are dozens of Eclipse 500s for sale as the secondary market picks up. And, according to analyst Michael Press, Eclipse itself is dabbling in the market, selling an unconfirmed number of early positions for $1.75 million, well above the $995,000 (in 2000 dollars, or about $1.167 million in 2006 dollars) it would have originally realized on the sale of a so-called Platinum position. Press suggests the Albuquerque, N.M.-based start-up manufacturer might have even undervalued those sales, since the owners of positions No. 3 and 19 are currently asking $1.85 million and getting interest. There are now 39 Eclipse positions listed for sale on Controller.com.

While some of the activity is due to speculators profiting from the impatience of those who want their Eclipses sooner rather than later, Press says patience will be rewarded for those willing to wait a year or more for their airplanes. Year 2008 positions have sold for as little as $1.4 million, he said. Eclipse’s highly publicized development glitches in the past month have intensified the sales activity, and Press said there are good buys available. An Eclipse spokesman acknowledged the company's activity in selling Model 500s on the secondary market, but he didn't comment further.

 
Fifty Dollars Off the Reconditioned 25XL from LightSPEED
For a limited time, you can purchase the reconditioned 25XL for $300. This headset normally sells for $350, but order between now and December 31, 2006 and get yours for just $300. All reconditioned headsets are tested to original factory specifications and are covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee and a One-Year full warranty. To order yours, call (800) 332-2421, or e-mail sales@lightspeedaviation.com.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

More Details Emerge For Diamond's Super Star

Diamond Aircraft's Austrian unit today announced the DA50 Super Star five-place "up to 350 hp" aircraft, offering what it says will be "the most spacious in the new generation of single-engine aircraft in General Aviation." An image of the aircraft shows a DA40-like planform (fixed-gear, low-wing and T-tail), but the horizontal stabilizer sports anhedral tips and on the opposite end, the close-cowled powerplant shows only one front-side opening below the prop -- a fat four-blade MT. The aircraft was "unofficially presented" to attendees at a Diamond Christmas party in Austria. Diamond's North American arm told AVweb they offered no additional comments, but said more information would be forthcoming from its headquarters in Austria. According to the company's short press release, the new aircraft will be "powered by various gasoline and diesel engines." Industry observers are speculating that the unnamed diesel powerplant is the 350-hp Thielert 4.0.

AOPA Report Shows Rise In GA Accidents

AOPA this week released its annual review of aviation safety, the Nall Report, and this year's edition shows the overall 2005 accident rate increased to 7.2 accidents per 100,000 flight hours, compared with 6.5 the year before. The rate of fatal accidents also increased, from 1.3 to 1.4 per 100,000 flight hours. "While the sky certainly isn't falling, the record that we chalked up in 2005 could stand some improvement," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. The number of fatal accidents related to weather declined, but the number due to maneuvering flight rose. In response, the ASF will produce a new online course to help improve those pilot skills. The ASF's Web site already features online courses about weather, GPS, runway safety and more, which are all available at no charge. The complete text of the Nall Report also is available free online.

 
PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Appeal Of Anti-homebuilding Law Fails

When Jacksonville, Fla., passed a city ordinance in June banning the home-based construction of aircraft, it seemed so unfair that it was expected to fail under court scrutiny. But now an appeal to the courts to reverse the ban has been rejected. "Cities have the right to zone based on aesthetic (or noise) considerations," Judge John Moran said in his ruling on the case, according to the Jacksonville Times-Union. While aviation enthusiasts may disagree with the policy, that doesn't mean the city's decision was "arbitrary and capricious," he said. Homebuilder Brian Kraut had challenged the law as unconstitutional. It was imposed after neighbors complained about his working on a Midget Mustang. [more] "A lot of people are assuming that I live in some gated community with half-million-dollar houses and I have an aircraft junkyard on my front lawn...nothing could be further than the truth," Kraut says at his Web site. The site shows images of his house with various unfinished fuselages on a trailer in front, as well as nearby houses with boats, motorcycles, trash cans and other items in their front yards.

Airplane Crashes Into Sewage Pool

On Tuesday morning, officials in Gilroy, Calif., drained a sewage tank that held the wreck of a small airplane. The aircraft was a Beech 95 Travel Air that went missing on Monday afternoon after taking off from Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose with an instructor and two students on board. All three were Japanese, and a Japanese passport was found near the site of the wreck, according to the FAA. The tank is about 20 feet deep and 25 feet in diameter, and took most of the morning to drain to recover the aircraft. Air traffic controllers said they received no distress calls from the aircraft, but another pilot reported that he saw an airplane going down near Gilroy around 4 p.m. Monday afternoon, according to Bay City Newswire.

 
The 2006 New Piper Mirage Offers Serious Sophistication
Avidyne's Flightmax Entegra Integrated Flight Deck is standard equipment on the New Piper Mirage. Three flight displays, moving map, Garmin GNS 430, autopilot, color radar system, and dual Air Data/Attitude and Heading Reference System (ADAHRS) combine to provide serious sophistication for a higher level of confidence. Click here for complete information on the New Piper Mirage.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Pilot Charged With Manslaughter After Fatal Crash

A 30-year-old man who was flying a 1972 Bellanca Super Viking when it crashed into a pond in northeastern Oklahoma on Saturday night, killing all three passengers, has been charged with three counts of manslaughter. Thomas Brent Caldwell, 30, of Pryor, Okla., apparently never had a pilot certificate and was drinking at the time of the accident, authorities said. Killed in the crash were Mariano Carlos, 15, of Pryor; and Eduardo Robles, 20, and Campos Gonzalez, 33, both from Mexico. Investigators said it appears the engine was not producing power when the airplane hit the water, and the passengers appear to have drowned. Caldwell is being held on $300,000 bail and appeared in court on Wednesday. Relatives of Carlos told reporters that Caldwell was a family friend and the boy had often asked to go flying. Saturday was his first, and last, flight.

Your New Pilot: H.A.L.

The European Commission (EC) is funding development of a 230-seat pilotless airliner, according to a report this week by Flight International. According to the magazine, the math behind the program forecasts a jet with 10 more seats than its piloted brethren plus design and technology improvements that would allow it to burn 1,500 fewer gallons while also requiring less maintenance. The report does not indicate if those advances would be for some reason unavailable to pilot-included aircraft. The EC's $691 million project aims to produce an aircraft "capable of seamless operations in the proposed Innovative Future Air Traffic System." Forecasters expect slightly higher acquisition and operating costs for the pilotless aircraft, with the latter consequence due in part to higher aircraft utilization. Early this month, the Ottowa Citizen reported that Boeing had a patent pending for an "uninterruptible" autopilot that would fly and land an airliner in the event that its pilots were killed, incapacitated or otherwise relocated by aspiring evildoers. Some might see the EC's latest move as a different approach to unwanted influence in the cockpit.

 
FAA Enforcement Actions Are on the Rise!
Legal claims for airspace incursions have increased over 150% — all requiring legal counsel. The AOPA Legal Services Plan provides protection in a variety of situations where you might need legal support. Plus, the Plan gives you unlimited consultation on most aviation matters covered by the Plan, an annual review of key aviation documents, and one no-cost half-hour consultation with an AOPA Legal Services Plan panel attorney regarding aviation-related matters not otherwise covered. Spend $29 today and get aviation legal protection on your side all year. Call (800) USA-AOPA [(800) 872-8672] or go online.
 
News In Brief back to top 
 

On The Fly

A B-29 Superfortress that has been under renovation at Boeing in Wichita since 2000 will be moved to the Kansas Aviation Museum next month, the Wichita Eagle reported Monday. Work on the airplane will continue in an effort to restore it to flying condition...

NASA said on Monday it will provide 3-D imagery of the Moon to Google, along with real-time tracking of the international space station and space shuttle flights, the Associated Press reported...

The deadline is looming for ultralight pilots to qualify for an FAA sport pilot certificate under special conversion rules. January 31, 2007, is the last chance...

A new GPS satellite that went into orbit last month has passed all tests and is now fully operational, Lockheed-Martin said this week...

CAMP Systems Intl. announced this week it will acquire Aircraft Shopper Online.

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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Find all of today's stories in AVweb's: NewsWire

 
Use the Best — ASA's 2007 FAR/AIMs and FAA Exam Prep Now Available
ASA's 2007 FAR/AIMs, Test Preps for pilots, and Fast-Track Test Guides for AMTs are now available. Prepware combines all the information in the Test Prep and Fast-Track Test Guide series in computer-based training. Contains all FAA Knowledge Exam questions. Virtual Test Prep lets students study from their TVs or computer DVD players. For complete details about these products, visit ASA's web site.
 
New On AVweb back to top 
 

The Savvy Aviator #39

COLUMNS

The Savvy Aviator #39: Temperamental Ignition
The multi-probe digital engine monitor indicated that something wasn't right with the left engine of my Cessna Turbo 310, but it took some head scratching before I figured out exactly what the problem was.

AVweb 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. Don’t worry -- you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday.
 
If You Think "Bargains" Are Something Alien to Aviation — Think Again!
Spending hard-earned money on your aircraft and its avionics can be expensive. But don't think good deals aren't available in today's marketplace. Bennett Avionics provides pilots with quality avionics to meet their needs and maintain their budget. Before you buy anywhere else, check out Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295 or online. You'll be glad you did!
 
Avweb Audio News back to top 
 

AVweb Audio News

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 Monday'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.

AVweb's Business AVflash

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST twice monthly business newsletter, AVwebBiz? 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. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

 
Limited Quantities of Collier Trophy Collectible Medallion Series
NAA'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.
 
Question Of The Week back to top 
 

Question of the Week: Your Preference in IFR Approach Charts

This Week's Question | Last Week's Results

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, AVweb asked readers how they typically pay for their aviation fuel purchases.

To no one's surprise, credit cards are by far the most popular method of payment, accounting for over 90% of the fuel purchases made by those who responded to our question — and over half of you told us the card you use to pay for fuel is a standard VISA, MasterCard, or other major credit card, not necessarily one co-branded by an aviation organization or specialist club.

For a complete breakdown of answers, click here.
A full-length story comparing aviation credit cards will appear in an upcoming issue of our sister publication
Aviation Consumer.  (If you'd like to read the full story, you can subscribe to Aviation Consumer at this link.)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

This week, AVweb wants to hear what kind of charts you prefer to carry with you in the cockpit — paper or electronic? FAA or Jeppesen?

Click here to tell us.


Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to qotw@avweb.com.

NOTE:
This address is only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or comments.
Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.

 
Not Keeping Up with FAA Rules & Regulations Can Cost You
In today's flight environment, busting a rule and/or regulation can cost you not only a fine but your ticket. Protect it by being informed. Read Aviation Safety every month for interesting and information-packed articles to sharpen your air readiness. Order your Aviation Safety subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
 
FBO Of The Week back to top 
 

FBO Of The Week: North American Aviation

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to North American Aviation at KRFD in Rockford, Illinois.

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 recognition!"

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!

 

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

Going Off to Visit Friends and/or Family This Holiday Season?
Get there by sharing a ride. Pilot or passenger, long cross-country or short hop, PilotShareTheRide.com is for you! No cost to sign up, and you will save by sharing expenses! Check out the web site today.

Better than an IFR Refresher, This Manual Is Real-World Flying!
With Rod Machado's Instrument Pilots Survival Manual, private pilots can learn: mimicking pro pilot thinking strategies; developing IFR self-talk skills; managing cockpit resources; planning for unanticipated changes; a three-step instrument scan; IFR charting secrets; insights into flying GPS approaches; and techniques for avoiding thunderstorms and handling icing conditions. Pilots claim, "You can't find some of this information anywhere else!" Order online.

 
Picture Of The Week back to top 
 

Picture of the Week

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings.  The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week."

Want to see your photos featured?  Submit them here!

A quick note for submitters:  If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week!  That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too.  ;)

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

medium | large

Used with permission of Adam Penner

Into the Sunshine

Adam Penner of Steinbach, Manitoba (Canada) takes home this week's top honor as our "Picture of the Week."  It's a fitting award, considering the two most prevalent themes in this week's submissions — unbelievably beautiful horizons and Canadian photographers!

(For more horizons — and a couple of extra Canadians — be sure to check out the "Picture of the Week" feature on our home page, at www.AVweb.com.)

Adam, we'll get an official AVweb baseball cap off to you as soon as we can send the end of the line at the Post Office!

 
AVweb continues to receive a large number of excellent images for our POTW contest. Here are some of the runners-up.  Due to privacy issues, AVweb does not publish e-mail addresses of readers who submit photos.
 

medium | large

Used with permission of Stefan H. P. Elieff

Northern Skies Light Up

No, really — Canadians and skylines.  We weren't kidding!

Stefan H. P. Elieff of Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) carries the baton masterfully with this photo of "Sander Geophysics' airborne survey helicopter C-GSGH, pictured under northern lights and Ursa Major (the 'Big Dipper').

"I was part of the survey crew working in Canada's Northwest Territories this November and had brought my old manual film camera along hoping for such a photo opportunity," Stefan writes.  "(The new digital ones don't last long at -30 °C). The glow inside the helicopter is from the computer screens of the geophysical instruments."

 

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copyright © Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA)

JAX Tower Lit Up for the Holidays

Every year, Bob Kamm and Wayne Formby of Jacksonville, Florida's JAX Air Traffic Control Tower go all out to decorate the tower for the holidays.  The full story on this giant candy cane can be found here.


Hankering for more reader-submitted photos?  There are a dozen more waiting for you at AVweb.com today!

To enter next week's contest, click here.

A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.

 
Names Behind the News back 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 Editors Mary Grady (bio), Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (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.

Aviate, navigate, communicate.