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Eclipse Aviation beat Father Time again -- even if just by a hair. On New Year's Eve two years ago, the redesigned Eclipse
500 with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F turbofans flew as promised by the end of 2004. This time it was the promised delivery of an Eclipse 500 to a customer before the end of 2006, an event that took
place on Sunday (New Year's Eve). In the coming days, Eclipse will hold a formal delivery ceremony at the company headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M. For many years, the promise of this day has
fueled the passion and perseverance of everyone associated with Eclipse, said Eclipse President and CEO Vern Raburn. As we deliver the first Eclipse 500, our dream of opening up the world
of private jet travel to a new realm of customers has become a reality. The first customer Eclipse 500 was delivered to co-owners David Crowe, a private owner, and Jet-Alliance, a shared jet
ownership company in Westlake Village, Calif. Crowe plans to use the very light jet primarily for recreation, while Jet-Alliance will employ it to serve the needs of its growing list of co-ownership
clients. Eclipse Aviation currently has 37 additional aircraft on its production line in various stages of assembly, seven of which have completed final assembly and are being prepared for delivery.
The company plans to aggressively ramp up production to deliver more than 500 aircraft by the end of this New Year. However, it still has not received an FAA Production Certificate that would permit
such a high rate of deliveries. Eclipse's order backlog is said to exceed 2,500 Model 500s.
Direct-To Avionics has reportedly ceased operations as of late last month, leaving potentially dozens of kitbuilders without
equipment or immediate support for experimental versions of the Chelton EFIS. Chelton sold experimental versions of its EFIS systems to dealers exclusively through Direct-To. While some builders claim
to have paid for components that have not been delivered, Cheltons official release said, Chelton has received various inquiries from persons who have alleged that they were told by D2A
[Direct-To Avionics] that parts for which they claimed to have paid D2A were back ordered. Chelton currently has no purchase orders from D2A and there are no back orders to be
filled. Chelton has also suspended taking any further purchase orders from D2A and has suspended D2A's status as an authorized distributor." Requests for comments by Direct-To principals were not
returned over the New Years weekend.
One avionics shop owner told us that the situation as a mess, but cautioned that builders should contact the avionics shop where the package
was purchased immediately. An announcement from Chelton on making existing customers whole was expected after the first of the year. Chelton also announced that it would continue
development of the experimental EFIS. In addition, Crossbow Technology, which produced the air-data/heading reference system for the Chelton experimental EFIS in 2004 and 2005, announced an extension
to a free upgrade to users with the NAV425EX-200 unit. Originally intended to lapse at the end of the year, the Crossbow offer has been extended to June 29, 2007. Direct-To claimed in early 2006 that
there were problems with the Crossbow device and elected to install a newly produced Pinpoint inertial reference module.
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Aircraft owners in Kansas and parts of the Southwest are worried about a policy adopted by one and possibly two aircraft maintenance
providers to refuse to work on aircraft that are 18 years or older. A customer of Kansas City Aviation Center in Olathe, Kan., who asked not to be identified, told AVweb that officials of KCAC,
a Piper dealer, told him they would no longer lift a wrench on anything beyond that age, including Piper products. He said he was told by company officials that its an insurance issue. A phone
message and an e-mail request for an interview left Friday with KCACs maintenance supervisor were not returned by our deadline, nor was an e-mail request for comment from Piper Aircraft. The
time span coincides with the liability limit that forms the crux of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, the legislation credited with revitalizing GA manufacturing. In a nutshell, the law
immunizes aircraft manufacturers and the makers of parts and subcomponents from product liability lawsuits after the aircraft reaches the age of 18, or 18 years after the installation of the part. In
an analysis of the law that appeared in AVweb in 2001, lawyer Phillip J. Kolczynski wrote that limiting the
liability on one party (the manufacturer) necessarily shifts it to others, and among those are mechanics and the shops where they work.
After word spread on Web forums about the Kansas situation, at least one other instance of a similar policy was reported in a chain of FBOs
that operates in the Southwest. The firm, said to be Cutter Aviation on the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association online message board, hasnt returned telephone or e-mail message requests
for an interview. The Kansas pilot we did speak with told us his main fear is that the policy will spread and could result in owners of older aircraft being unable to obtain service or repairs while
traveling. Meanwhile, Kevin Mead, the owner of a shop in Hutchinson, Kan., says he doubts the insurance industry is driving the issue. Meads shop specializes in Piper Malibus, including
extensive modifications, and hes heard nothing from his insurance company about an 18-year limit. Theres been no restriction on our insurance, he said. Mead said there are only
a few insurance companies that cover aircraft maintenance facilities, so he said its likely that if one had instituted an 18-year limit that others would at least be talking about it. He also
noted that liability still remains a major concern in the industry.
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According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the FAA's decision in early September to ban "commercial" AM/FM
radios and cellphones from ATC facilities placed Daytona Beach Airport (Fla.) controllers -- as well the crew and passengers aboard a landing Comair regional jet -- in "extreme danger" last Monday.
One of the two tornadoes that ripped apart Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's on-airport campus
came within 150 yards of the ATC tower on Christmas afternoon, and without an emergency weather radio the six controllers in the facility had no forewarning, NATCA said. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen
Bergen confirmed that the agency in September banned, and removed, "commercial" radios in ATC facilities because "most were tuned to music stations during tours by FAA officials, which is a
distraction to on-duty controllers." She also verified the cellphone ban.
Bergen insisted that emergency weather radios have not been banned, but NATCA believes otherwise. The truth might lie
somewhere in between, as many emergency weather radios are also able to tune regular AM/FM stations. Two days after the tornado hit, the FAA installed an emergency weather radio in the DAB tower cab,
but Bergen was unable to say how many other ATC facilities, if any, have the low-cost equipment that can be found at many retail
outlets. The FAA spokeswoman told AVweb that controllers do have weather overlays on their radar screens, but both NATCA and the FAA said this provides only precipitation, not tornado,
information. Lacking any idea of the lurking danger, controllers did not issue a tornado warning to Comair Flight 580, which landed minutes after the twister tore through the airport. NATCA says it
was the Comair crew that first alerted controllers of the damage to Embry-Riddle's campus near Runway 25R.
The hot topic in political circles around Vero Beach, Fla., these days is the future of its largest manufacturer, Piper
Aircraft, and it appears some local officials are ready to use taxpayers' money to ensure that the company's latest project -- the PiperJet -- is built there. A proposal is being floated that would
involve Indian River County becoming Piper's benevolent landlord. "I'd like to see them build the jet here in Indian River County," County Commission Chairman Gary Wheeler told Scripps News Service on Thursday. "I'd like to see something worked out where the county
buys the land and leases it back for $1." On Dec. 20, Piper CFO Michael Kelley wrote Vero Beach City Manager Jim Gabbard to let him know Piper had hired a Boston consultant to scout potential
locations for the jet plant. Among the options consultant BDO Siedman has been told to consider is an expansion of the existing facilities at Vero Beach.
Wheeler's proposal mirrors a deal struck
when the Los Angeles Dodgers mused about finding a new spring training camp location. The county bought the "Dodgertown" complex from the team and the ball club leased it back for $1 a year. Piper has
issued several public statements in recent weeks complaining about escalating insurance and tax costs in Vero Beach, but company spokesman Mark Miller recently wrote a letter to the editor in a local
newspaper saying there was "no agenda or plan to leave Vero Beach." Miller told AVweb on Friday that there has been no change in the company's position so far. "Moreover," he said, "this will
be a very long process." At least one local politician appears to be suggesting that Piper is there to stay, regardless of the apparent PR exercise. "They're staying, so end of conversation, period,"
County Commission Vice Chairman Patricia Bowden said. "That's where it sits, I don't play cat and mouse."
A Cincinnati couple is in an Indianapolis hospital after apparently being overcome by exhaust fumes while taxiing their aircraft at
Delaware County Airport in Muncie, Ind., on Wednesday. Thomas and Marilyn Kroll were pulled from their aircraft by another pilot after the airplane was seen taxiing off the edge of the pavement. Gene
Marlin was also taxiing nearby and pulled up beside the Krolls' plane to see what was going on. "Whenever I got there, the line-boy had the door open but the gentlemen and the lady were still in the
airplane and the airplane was running," Marlin told Indianapolis television station WTHR. "I just shut the engine off and pulled the people from the airplane out." As AVweb reported in November, the FAA issued a safety bulletin reminding mechanics to
be especially careful in checking exhaust systems and heat exchangers as the cold weather approached. In the Muncie incident, Marlin told the TV station he smelled strong exhaust fumes when he pulled
the Krolls from their airplane and that the windows were steamed up. Neither of the victims regained consciousness before being taken by helicopter to Wishard Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis, where
Thomas Kroll was listed in fair condition and his wife was listed in serious condition on Friday.
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Ballistic Recovery Systems increased sales by 13.3 percent in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 and recorded a small profit of about
$45,000. And while that might not seem much for a company that sold almost $10 million worth of airframe parachutes last year, its a major improvement over the $1.76 million loss it recorded in
the previous year. "We are pleased with our fourth quarter and full year performance as well as our ability to achieve consistent growth in revenue and a return to profitability, said CEO Larry
Williams in a news release. Fueling
that growth was a 47-percent increase in sales to the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) sector. But its not just the little airplane market thats lining up for whole plane parachutes. Among the
most significant developments for the company last year was the announcement that a parachute would be an option in Diamonds D-Jet, which creates a whole new set of engineering challenges for
the company. We are seeing unprecedented success in market acceptance of whole airplane emergency recovery parachutes, Williams said. The company also inked a new deal with Cirrus Design
to continue supplying chutes (3,000 of the 25,000 BRS has shipped have gone to Cirrus). A total of 199 successful deployments (called saves by BRS) have been recorded.
Built in Baltimore in the early 1940s, the last two remaining four-engine Martin Mars seaplanes, now owned by TimberWest of Vancouver, British Columbia, are up for sale -- but the owners may be among a local minority that would like to see the aircraft go.
And so it is that while the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum seeks your support for a fundraising effort to "bring one home," governments of more combustible provinces in Canada have maneuvered to seek funds to retain the immense and unique water bombers. The fully operational Martin Mars airplanes can each carry 60,000 pounds of water, and that puts them in a very elite (and hard to replace) class of water-hauling
aircraft. But at 65 years of age, their abilities may not be the only thing that's hard to replace. The aircraft in question have provided fire protection in both the U.S. and Canada without incident
over the last 40 years but, for one museum, opportunity knocks. With the help of your dollars, the Maryland Aviation Museum could bring the "largest seaplane in history to enter production" back home
to peaceful retirement at Middle River, Md., and Canada may have to pony up for a more modern firefighting aircraft. Bidding ended on New Year's Eve.
Angel Flight Georgia (AFGA) has won a court
battle for exclusive use of the name Angel Flight in the Southeast after a judge ruled that Florida-based Angel Flight Southeast (AFSE),
which is not affiliated with the Georgia group, had not only inappropriately taken the name but had exploited the confusion that resulted from having two similarly named volunteer pilot organizations
operating in the same general area. In his Nov. 20 ruling, U.S. District Judge Jack Camp says AFSE siphoned donation money away from AFGA by contacting known supporters of AFGA (gleaned from an AFGA
pamphlet) and asking for donations without drawing a distinction between the two groups. The record evidences that AFSE has intended for the public to be confused and to benefit from that
confusion, Camp wrote. AFSE contacted AFGA donors that AFSE would not have normally contacted due to the donors size and location, except that they were known AFGA donors who could
be expected to donate to 'Angel Flight.' Neither AFGA nor AFSE officials returned AVweb's phone and e-mail messages requesting comment. Angel Flight Georgia began offering free flights to
those in need of medical care in 1983. It has arranged flights in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. Sometime after that, Angel Flight Southeast started up in
Florida, covering the same territory. The two groups cooperated and even worked together until 2000, when AFSE joined a national umbrella organization called Angel Flight America, which was also named in the suit. AFGA didnt join the national group. It was shortly after that the conflicts
arose. AFGA filed its suit in 2003 and AFSE and AFA filed counterclaims, which were dismissed in the November ruling. In the ruling, Judge Camp noted that AFGA wasnt looking to recover any lost
income from the defendants. It just wanted them to use another name. The defendants claimed that changing their names would cost them as much as $6 million, a claim Judge Camp said they failed to
prove. Its not known if AFSE and AFA will appeal the ruling, but neither has changed its name on their respective Web sites.
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
Although the big anniversary associated with the Wright brothers has passed, a potentially more significant milestone in
the development of practical aircraft comes up in 2009. Thats when the Wrights sold a wary U.S. military its first aircraft. The original Wright Military Flyer is hanging from the ceiling of the
National Air and Space Museum. Significant though it might be, however, thats not the airplane Ken Hyde and his crew from The Wright
Experience want to replicate. The 1909 plane was an evolution of a 1908 aircraft that crashed during a demonstration flight for the Army and has the same engine. Its an important link to the
1908 aircraft and one that Hyde wants to get right. After erecting scaffolding and lighting inside the museum, Hydes engine expert Greg Cone was allowed to measure the parts inside the engine
after its cover was removed by museum staff. It was the first time the cover had been removed since the Signal Corps transferred the aircraft to the Smithsonian in 1911. Cone is working with a
Baltimore foundry to re-create the original engine casting and he found some significant differences in the engine at the museum and later models The Wright Experience has at its shop. It also has a
different ignition system. "The engine on the Wright Military Flyer is probably the earliest existing example of a Wright vertical four-cylinder engine, available nowhere else," said Peter Jakab, the
museums Aeronautics Division chairman. "Opening it up and sharing its secrets with The Wright Experience will no doubt help make their Wright Military Flyer reproduction as accurate as
possible. Theres no word on when the 1908 replica might be finished.
Lessons learned in the wilds of Alaska may soon be applied at an airport near you. The FAA has announced that the experimental Capstone
program, which implemented automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) service in some of the most challenging flying environments on earth, will be rolled into the national program to exploit
the technology in the Lower 48. But the FAA says Alaskans need not fear the advances in safety and convenience theyve pioneered will be somehow diluted as they join the national effort. In a Dec. 22 news release, the FAA promises that combining the programs will advance the national ADS-B
deployment while it accelerates safety improvements in Alaska. Capstone was initiated in Alaska to help quell a disturbing accident rate. It was implemented in the YK Delta and Southeast Alaska
where terrain and remoteness make establishing a radar network virtually impossible. The Capstone ADS-B, which uses ground stations and transponders to give pilots and ground personnel a radar-like
picture of air traffic in the area, is credited with significantly reducing the accident rate in those areas of Alaska. The FAA has identified ADS-B as one of the front-line technologies for
modernization and capacity expansion of the National Airspace System, but the catch is that all aircraft have to be equipped with the transponders for it to work. The FAA paid for the aircraft gear in
the Capstone experiment, but whether that generous spirit will be maintained under the national program was not spelled out in the news release.
AVweb has set up a "Rebuild the Fleet Fund" to help Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Fla. campus get back in the air following its devastation from two F2 tornadoes on Christmas day. University President John Johnson estimates that the
Daytona Beach campus suffered between $50 million and $60 million in damage, $11 million of which is from the 40 airplanes that were destroyed and another 10 that were damaged.
To kick-start the "Rebuild the Fleet Fund," AVweb's parent company, Belvoir Media Group, is contributing $1,000. AVweb subscribers will soon be able to donate online to the fund, but for now those
wishing to help can send checks to:
The AVweb Rebuild The Fleet Fund
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Office of Development
600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Attn.: Jamie Belongia
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The pilot of a Bonanza on approach to Chattanooga Airport reported being disoriented just before the plane crashed in a wooded area north of the city Dec. 22. The crash killed pilot Nelson MacPherson
Jr., his wife Debbie and their daughters Danielle and Kayla
Atlantic Aviation will become the FBO at the airport touted as New York Citys fourth major airport. Atlantic, the second largest aviation services company in the U.S., paid $89.5 million to take
over fueling and related functions at Stewart Airport, about 55 miles north of New York City
Onex Corp. and Goldman Sachs didnt just kick the tires when they researched their buyout of Raytheons aircraft division. They hired a test pilot to put the new Hawker 4000 through its
paces. Liked it so much they bought the company
The paper shuffle continues to expand opportunities in the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) category. According to
EAA, the FAA has approved two new standards and accepted revisions to six others
Runway Technologies has received a patent for a runway incursion and debris detection system that uses optical lasers arrayed
around a runway to detect objects on the runway. When the system spots something out of place, whether an airplane or a chunk of debris, it alerts aircraft and ground personnel
The FAA is launching a nationwide effort to keep hackers out of the agencys wireless computer networks. A 2005 report showed the systems leaked signals that were vulnerable to unauthorized
Tallahassees city commission has approved a major development at the airport. Flightline Group has been given the go-ahead to build a HondaJet sales and service center, a new FBO and a hotel on
leased land at the airport. The deal is complicated by a lawsuit and other applications to use the same land, however
Emergency personnel found ice coating a Rockwell Commander that went down near Jasper, Tenn., last week. The pilot had reported icing problems. The crash killed pilot Michael Burlingham and his
mother, Gertrude Rutter, both of Port St. Lucie, Fla. Burlinghams wife, Carol, and Thomas Abel of Macatawa, Mich., were seriously injured
Kansas City officials are looking for a new home for a rare example of early aviation ingenuity. A restored American
Eaglet is languishing in a maintenance garage while authorities look for a home. The aircraft, which weighs 625 lbs. and is powered by a 30-hp, three-cylinder engine, was built in Kansas City in
Ground has been broken on a controversial new airport for Berlin. The $3.3 billion Berlin Brandenburg International Airport is being funded by taxpayers because no private firms were interested in
Griswold Airport, a picturesque seaside strip in Madison, Conn., closed over the weekend after 75 years of operation. A retirement
community of 75 condos will rise in its place
A temporary flight restriction (TFR) for the Super Bowl will close Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Opa Locka and North Perry
Airports in Florida to GA traffic from 4 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 4
Theres still time to submit your ideas to the 2007 SAE AeroTech Congress & Exhibition in Los
Angeles next September. The annual gathering is forum for discussing new ideas and technology in aerospace and if you have some thoughts you can submit them by Jan. 19
Space tourist Anousheh Ansari will be the opening session guest at the Women Soar event July 22-23 at EAA AirVenture. All women are welcome, but the event is particularly aimed at introducing teenaged
girls to the opportunities in aviation
The National Air and Space Museum will open new flight simulators in the National Mall building in the New Year. Among the simulations is a flight to the International Space Station.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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2006 Year In Review Brisk sales, new airplanes, no hurricanes -- despite troubles in the
towers, some tragic flights, and worries about the future, overall a pretty good year for general aviation. Here's our year-end review of the news.
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.
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 aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with NORAD; Bill Lear, Jr.; NATA President Jim Coyne; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; Cirrus
Design cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier; and Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton. In today's news summary, hear about how two
shops in the Southwest are refusing to work on airplanes that are more than 18 years old, the FAA's ban on "commercial" radios endangers safety, the Wright Experience's quest to replicate the Wright
Military Flyer, Ballistic Recovery Systems' turnaround year, the FAA's push to roll out ADS-B throughout the entire U.S. and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find
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/.
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.
is the pilot's choice online.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to KaiserAir at KOAK in Oakland, Calif.
AVweb reader Carl Lindros praised the facility for not just catering to jet clients.
"KaiserAir is the best big-city FBO in the nation. They are friendly, fast and thorough, and they're as nice to the small plane guy as they are to the G5 crew. Their prices are very competitive
with other big city airports, and they give free van service to the BART station so you can easily get into San Francisco in less than 45 minutes after you check in."
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Small Business Owners! AVweb's Marketplace Is the Place for You
Showcase your product or service to over 300,000 unique visitors monthly on AVweb. For a small monthly fee, your business-card sized ad, with graphic, will be placed on the Marketplace
page. The AVwebFlash newsletter will feature selected ads as space permits.
Click here for more
information on AVweb's Marketplace (PDF).
After seeing this video posted by skoey on YouTube, there was no doubt it would be this week's "Video of the Week." Have a look
at the amazing airplane-gliding aerobatic feats of Bob Hoover, and we think you'll see why:
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
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), Glenn Pew (bio) and Marc Cook and Editor In Chief Chad
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
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.