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Volume 13, Number 1b
January 4, 2007
Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
Discover the most comfortable headsets in the industry. The in-the-ear Mach 1 weighs less than 1 oz., and the full-size Thirty 3G just under 16 oz. and uses soft conform-foam ear cushions. Try a LightSPEED headset with a 30-day money back guarantee. To order, contact a LightSPEED dealer or call (800) 332-2421 (PST, business hours). For more information and to view a video clip, click here.
Aging Aircraft Issues Loomback to top 

AVweb's stories (1, 2) on Monday about some maintenance and repair shops turning away work on older airplanes brought in more reports from pilots who have run into similar situations. Readers in Maryland, Texas and Utah said local operators have told them they can no longer work on aircraft over 18 years old due to insurance and liability concerns. Brian Finnegan, president of the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), told AVweb on Wednesday that the 18-year limit on manufacturer liability set by the 1994 General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) does raise concerns that the focus of litigation in the case of an accident involving an older aircraft could shift to the maintenance shop. But so far no troubling trends have been noted, he said. More...

The concern is that if enough lawyers in search of "deep pockets" go after maintenance shops, the cost of defending against that trend could put insurers on the defensive. Professional Aviation Maintenance Association President Brian Finnegan said the FAA's Aging Aircraft Committee, of which he's a member, has been carefully monitoring litigation relevant to mechanics and maintenance providers to keep on top of any changes. "I'm not aware of any maintenance being turned away at this point" due to such concerns, he said. Peter Tulupman, a spokesman for aviation insurance company AIG, told AVweb on Wednesday that the company has no policy restricting shops from working on aircraft over a certain age. More...

"AOPA has been following this for a number of months now," spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb on Wednesday afternoon. "In fact, Phil Boyer had a brief face-to-face meeting with Bill Cutter last August after the story first surfaced. Now that another shop has apparently made the business decision to keep their insurance premiums in check by declining to work on aircraft 18 years old or more, it raises the question of whether these are only a couple of isolated incidents or the beginning of a very disturbing trend." Dancy said AOPA is still investigating the situation. "Is this truly the beginning of a trend? If so, what action is appropriate? Will it require legislation? What type of legislation? All of these questions and others need to be answered before AOPA can take any action." More...

Adam, Cirrus, Columbia, Diamond, Liberty ...
The most respected new aircraft on the market all choose Continental engines. Bring your aircraft up to speed with a genuine Continental engine. Select from factory-new, factory-rebuilt, or factory-backed overhauls by Mattituck. Add value to your aircraft and the peace-of-mind that you're flying behind the best — Continental. Click here for further details.
LSA Expo Previewback to top 

The third annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo will take place next week in Sebring, Fla., from Jan. 11 to 14. The user-friendly event has been growing every year, and this time will host about 70 outdoor booths and another 50 or so exhibitors in tents. "We'll have a number of new aircraft to show this year," event chairman Bob Wood told AVweb on Tuesday. "The Cessna LSA [light-sport aircraft] prototype will be here flying," he said, providing the first public showcase flights of the new aircraft. Cessna confirmed that it will bring its prototype LSA to the event, but the airplane will not be available for visitors to try out unlike most aircraft at the show. More...

Next week's U.S. Sport Aviation Expo aims not just to show off the LSA products but to introduce the masses to the whole concept of sport flying and get them up in the air for a free demo flight. Entrance fees are low, with $40 buying a four-day pass including parking. Fly-ins are welcome, and camping is just $5 a day. Besides lots of LSAs to look at and try out, UL Power-Aero from Belgium and Vulcan both will be introducing new engines at the show, Wood said. EAA staffers provide free seminars about how to choose the right LSA and how to earn a sport pilot certificate. Current aviators can also learn about becoming an LSA instructor or repair technician. More...

Lobster Mounts Available at Aircraft Spruce
The original, premium mounting system brought to you by Lobster Mount. No assembly required. Comes with a lifetime guarantee. Constructed of engineered polymers and high-quality cast alloys. Adjustable grip, multiple configurations, offset ball base, durable power coat finish — all make up this extremely rugged and versatile mount. Numerous models available to suit your needs. For more information, please call (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
News Briefsback to top 

With the new year, the administration of Iceland's air traffic control system shifted to a new public corporation, Flugstodir ohf, and controllers are apparently not happy about the change, which affects salaries and pension funds. About 60 of the controllers said they would resign on Jan. 1, which an Iceland Express official said would have "catastrophic" effects on the aviation system. But the two sides have been in talks since Sunday, trying to resolve the issues. More...

"We must increase the number of student pilots," says AOPA President Phil Boyer, in setting out his priorities for the coming year. "For our own survival, we must grow the pilot population ... [or] general aviation will become here what it is in much of the rest of the world -- something enjoyed only by some businesses and the wealthy few," he said. At one time, there were more than 800,000 active pilots in the U.S., but now this number has dropped below 600,000. To encourage more people to start flying, Boyer is asking all pilots to step forward and mentor a newcomer. He also encourages pilots simply to fly more often, which not only keeps skills sharp, but creates more opportunities to bring passengers aloft and introduce them to the benefits of general aviation. More...

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 Briefsback to top 

Around the world, 1,292 people died in plane crashes in 2006, according to the Geneva-based Aircraft Crashes Record Office (ACRO). That was the lowest total since 1963, and a drop of 11 percent from the year before. The group keeps track of crashes involving commercial airplanes that seat at least six people, plus the crew. About one-third of the accidents occurred in North America, with 45 accidents in the U.S., according to ACRO, and about three-quarters of the crashes involved piston-powered aircraft. Among airliners, two Airbus jets crashed, five built by Boeing and 16 Antonovs built in the Ukraine. More...

The "inadequate design and function" of the Minimum Safe Altitude Warning System in an FAA airport tower was cited as a contributing factor by the NTSB in its final report on the fatal crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 in Colorado in August 2005. The approach controller handed off the flight to the tower when it was about 10 miles out, but the tower controller's radar display issued an aural alarm to warn of terrain conflict only within five miles of the airport. The discrepancy meant the tower controller was not warned until it was too late. The commercial pilot, who was flying cargo, was attempting a precision instrument approach at about 2 a.m. in instrument meteorological conditions when the airplane collided with terrain about four miles short of the runway. More...

Why Not Get Rewarded for Your Purchases?
AOPA's WorldPoints™ Rewards credit card program features two points for every net retail dollar spent at thousands of FBOs, on select AOPA products and services, and at participating aviation retailers, including Sporty's, Pacific Coast Avionics, King Schools, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, and Gulf Coast Avionics. There's no limit on the number of points, and points can be redeemed for cash, travel, event tickets, and more. For more information, call (800) 932-2775, or visit online.
News Briefsback to top 

If a spaceship were to travel across the vast emptiness of space, enter Earth's atmosphere, and then find itself hovering above the busy ramp at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, can you blame those astronauts for deciding to just turn around and leave, without even stopping to say hello? According to about a dozen United Air Lines workers, including some pilots, that's just what happened one overcast night in November. The observers said they saw a flying elliptical object, dark gray and about 20 feet across, that hovered about 1,000 feet or so above the airport for several minutes about 4:30 p.m. They told their story to the FAA and the airline, who kept it quiet until a Chicago Tribune reporter got a whiff recently and started asking questions. The FAA at first denied any knowledge of the event, but after the Tribune filed a request for documents a record of a telephone call from a United supervisor surfaced. More...

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 a direct hit from two devastating 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. We've been assured that any donations to Embry-Riddle will be devoted to the flight line, and to help students continue their training. Contributions will be allocated to meet the school's significant insurance deductible, we're told, but also to help defray the cost of flying in leased replacements and to reduce losses by fixing repairable damage. The bottom line is that AVweb wants to support any mission that helps build tomorrow's pilots, so we consider a donation as an investment in the future.

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 More...

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 In Briefback to top 

A 737 that went missing in Indonesia Monday remains lost...
Cessna has received FAA type certification for the Encore+ bizjet...
F-16s scrambled to intercept a Maule M-7 in a TFR above Texas...
Adam Aircraft update: Certification on the A700 jet now expected in 2007...
A horse was killed by an airplane in Romania...
Flying-car company Terrafugia closed its first round of funding...
Steven Chealander was sworn in Wednesday as a member of the NTSB...
David E. Jackson was named CEO of King Schools. More...

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...

In Monday's "On The Fly," an item about an Eaglet in Kansas City looking for a new home contained a link to Marty Reichelt's Eaglet Web page. While his airplane is indeed an Eaglet, it is not the specific one mentioned in the item. AVweb apologizes for any confusion this might have caused. More...

If You Live in Florida or Texas, Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You
Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed Savvy Owner Seminar at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) on February 24-25 and near Dallas/Addison Airport (ADS) on March 3-4. In one information-packed weekend, you will learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details, and to reserve your space, click here.
New On AVwebback to top 



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. Don’t worry -- you'll also continue to receive AVwebFlash every Monday and Thursday. More...

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all 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.
AVweb Audio Newsback to top 

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 Monday'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 anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

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/. More...

Introducing AVweb Bookstore, the Most Complete Aviation Bookstore Anywhere
Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for immediate delivery, as books, videos, or CDs. 100+ titles available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Click here to visit online.
Question Of The Weekback to top 

This week, AVweb would like to know whether you planto do more, the same or less GA flying in this new year versus 2006.

Plus: The results of last week's poll about wearing hearing aids while flying. 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!
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to KaiserAir Center 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. "

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!


Featured AVweb Classified Ad: 1998 Citabria Adventure 7GCAA
$70,000. 530TT. 160HP. 06/06 Annual. Hooker Harness, Metal Wing, Electric CHT. Great Radios, Garmin 296, Intercom.
For contact information regarding this ad, to view more ads, and to post your no-cost ad, click here.
Picture Of The Weekback to top 

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 the one photo that stands above the others is awarded as our "Picture of the Week" while an AVweb baseball cap is sent to the submitter. While most of our readers were bundling up and fighting the cold weather last week,

Michael J. Mercer
of Vienna, Va., was spending the first days of winter in the Bahamas. While he didn't have the foresight to invite us along, he did take his camera and submit a handful of gorgeous photos. By happy circumstance, this particular photo was not only our favorite reader photo this week; it also featured the two motifs that dominated the post-Christmas week of submissions — sunsets and seaplanes. (You'll find more of both at AVweb's home page during the first week of January.) More...

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 Mary Grady (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.