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Volume 13, Number 4a
January 22, 2007
 
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.
 
Tiger Aircraft Declares Bankruptcyback to top 
 

$1 MILLION DEBT TOO MUCH FOR AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURER?
Tiger Aircraft LLC ended a long and tortured journey to bankruptcy on Tuesday with a formal filing in West Virginia court. And, based on the company's filing, almost everything (including a valid type certificate) needed to build a sporty airplane based on a proven design could be obtained for what amounts to chump change in most aerospace endeavors. Tiger's filing says it owes its various creditors about $930,000 while its assets, including parts and tooling, total more than $3.26 million. More...

TAIWANESE INVESTORS HOLD MAJORITY IN TIGER AIRCRAFT
The Tiger Aircraft bankruptcy filing shows that 70 percent of Tiger is owned by three Taiwanese investors. However, the lone American investor, Teleflex Inc. of Limerick, Pa., also shows up as the company's biggest creditor. According to the filing, Tiger owes Teleflex, which makes parts for the aerospace, marine and automotive industries, $356,000. Other major creditors include former CEO Gene Criss, who's owed about $150,000 in back wages and benefits, and there's a tax bill of about $115,000. More...

 
Fly with the Bose® Aviation Headset X
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ATC Workload, Staffing Eyedback to top 
 

ATC STAFFING: HIRES, FIRES AND RETIRES
On Thursday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said statistics published in the FAA's “Administrator’s Fact Book” shows that ATC staffing levels have dropped "to a new low" after a third straight year of decline. This year's decline is defined by the loss of 21 people and represents a slight negative shift in staffing levels, or a change from 14,227 controllers in 2005 to 14,206 in 2006. That said, in 2003 (the high water mark for staffing) the controller population reached 15,386 -- a full 7.7% more controllers than we have today. [more] Last year, 734 controllers retired, eclipsing the FAA’s projection to Congress by 57 percent, according to NATCA. “Rather than ‘staffing to traffic’ as the FAA states publicly is its new mission, the agency appears to be following a new policy: ‘staffing to budget,’” NATCA president Patrick Forrey stated. More...

PATCO SAYS CONTRACT TOWERS UNDERSTAFFED, TOO
Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO) President Ron Taylor says the controversy over staffing levels at FAA towers is overshadowing an even bigger problem at the 233 contract towers the agency oversees. Taylor has asked Rep. Tim Mahoney, D-Fla., to call for a congressional investigation of what he says is chronic understaffing at the contract towers, which typically serve small-to-medium non-hub airports. "In many cases, and at different times, these towers are staffed by only one controller, with no back up within the facility for any type of emergency,” Taylor claimed in a letter to Mahoney. "Staffing at these contract towers needs to be increased to ensure that the margin of safety is not compromised.” More...

 
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News Briefsback to top 
 

CIRRUS OFFERS BUILT-IN SAFETY REMINDER
If it’s not enough that your family is worried about you, your fellow pilots keep tabs and the whole aviation system is built around this notion, now your airplane can remind you to fly safely. Cirrus Design has introduced a feature on its Avidyne multifunction display that will invite some introspection along those lines. Those with revision 6 of the software for the system will get three pages displayed on startup that ask questions Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier thinks every pilot should answer before releasing the brakes. “As a Cirrus owner and pilot, I appreciate the friendly reminder to make sure that I am personally prepared to fly myself and my passengers safely to our destination,” Klapmeier said. “It was natural to add ‘Risk Assessment Tool’ as a function of the versatile Avidyne Entegra MFD.” More...

TSA STARTS RANDOM RAMP CHECKS OF GA AIRCRAFT
If you thought flying your own aircraft was a way to avoid the scrutiny of the Transportation Safety Administration, think again. While you’ll likely be able to keep your shoes on, don’t be surprised if a TSA official checks out you and your plane at any of the hundreds of U.S. airports with scheduled airline service. According to AOPA, the TSA isn’t concerned about the toothpaste you carry on your own plane, but it does want to make sure banned items don’t get smuggled aboard an airliner. AOPA’s Rob Hackman said it’s part of a larger effort to ensure contraband is kept off airliners. "While GA access points will be randomly checked with all other points of entry, GA is not being targeted," he said. Pilots in Melbourne, Fla., were briefed by a TSA official on the program at a meeting last Thursday. Meanwhile, some lawmakers are saying GA is getting a free ride in the security department, and they want the TSA to give private aircraft more attention. More...

NINE-YEAR-OLD BREACHES AIRPORT SECURITY
OK, so he’s more capable and perhaps a little more driven than your average nine-year-old (or 39-year-old for that matter), but the fact remains that Samaj Booker got through several layers of security and came within one flight of reaching his destination of Dallas from his starting point at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport last week. According to an AFP report, Lieutenant David Guttu of the police department in Booker’s new hometown of Lakewood, Wash., described the four-foot-nine, 90-pound Booker as "pretty dedicated, highly motivated and focused" to make it back to Dallas, where his family had moved from a few months before. The boy managed to convince Southwest Airlines agents that he belonged on a plane to Phoenix, and was allowed to change planes for a flight to San Antonio, where suspicious agents finally put a stop to his trip. More...

 
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News Briefsback to top 
 

DARK RUNWAY "WEIRD" TO COMAIR PILOT
The flying pilot in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 noted the runway was "weird with no lights" as he rolled the aircraft down the wrong runway. The cockpit voice recorder transcripts released by the NTSB also show co-pilot James Polehinke and captain Jefferey Clay talked about their kids and their dogs as they taxied to line up on that runway at the Lexington, Ky., airport (LEX) on the morning of Aug. 27. The chatter was in violation of an FAA regulation that bans "nonessential cockpit conversation" during taxi, takeoff and landing. The last word recorded was Clay saying "Whoa" just before the Bombardier regional jet smashed through a fence at the end of 3,500-foot Runway 26, became briefly airborne and crashed in a field, killing 49 people -- everyone on board except Polehinke, who lost a leg and suffered brain damage. The NTSB documents also identify Christopher Damron as the lone air traffic controller on duty at the time. More...

U.S. PILOT NUMBERS DIP BELOW 600,000
Despite aggressive action -- including a whole new certificate classification -- to attract more people to flying, the number of certificated pilots in the U.S. dropped to 597,109, according to year-end preliminary stats released by the FAA. Rather than attract new pilots, the new Sport Pilot certificate appears to be extending the flying activity of older pilots. The average age of pilots as a whole was 45.6 years while the average of the 939 sport pilot holders was 52.9 years. AOPA’s mentorship program, Project Pilot, is reporting some success in encouraging people to learn to fly and there are plenty of instructors waiting. More than 90,000 pilots, almost one in six, are instructors. More...

 
XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
 
News Briefsback to top 
 

FAA APPROVES NEW ZEALAND TRAINING AIRCRAFT
The Alpha 160A, an adaptation of the French-designed Robin R2160, has been granted FAA certification, and New Zealand-based Alpha Aviation says there’s strong interest in the aerobatic two-seater among flight schools in the U.S. "Our aircraft have already proven to be of considerable interest to United States aero clubs and flying schools,” said Alpha’s managing director, Richard Sealy. “FAA certification will now enable us to actively market and sell our aircraft in this hugely significant market," he said. More...

AGE-60 DECISION NEAR
FocusFAA, the FAA’s internal newsletter, says the online publication of the report of a committee looking at the contentious mandatory retirement of airline pilots at age 60 means FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is close to making a decision. And if we're reading between the lines correctly, it would appear Blakey is prepared to fall in line with other members of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and allow pilots to keep flying until age 65 as long as there's another pilot younger than 60 in the cockpit with them. However, the newsletter says Blakey might need some legislative help to shield the government from a rash of lawsuits that could result from the move. More...

GOING BATTY FOR FUTURE MINI-UAV DESIGN
Birds may be prettier, but bats have all the moves when it comes to maneuverability and aerodynamic efficiency, according to a study by Brown University researchers. Using sophisticated video gear, the study team found that while birds can rotate and retract their wings in flight, bats have much more flexibility in the articulating membrane they use for flight and this makes them much more agile. And since agility, flexibility and efficiency are also great qualities in micro-sized UAVs that are proliferating, the Brown team says there are lessons to be learned from bats. "Bats have unique capabilities," said Kenneth Breuer, an engineering professor at Brown who did the study with Sharon Swartz, an associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. "But the goal is not to build something that looks like a bat. We want to understand bat flight and be able to incorporate some of the features of bat flight into an engineered vehicle." More...

 
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News In Briefback to top 
 

ON THE FLY
Continental captain died after becoming ill in the cockpit...
Helicopter pilot helps deer to safety…
Gene Kranz to be guest of honor at Southwest Regional Fly-In…
Jet Stream Aviation opens detailing school…
Yingling Aviation opens online ordering…
Richard J. Millman new CEO of Bell Helicopter…
Cat survived three weeks in hold of airliner…
Passports required to fly to U.S. starting tomorrow…
UPS may cancel A380 order. 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...

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/. More...

 
Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.
 
New On AVwebback to top 
 

PROBABLE CAUSE #24

COLUMN INDEX

Probable Cause #24: Ice Box
This time of year, almost any forecast includes a chance for airframe ice. Here's why to pay attention.
More...

AVMAIL: JAN. 22, 2007

AVMAIL INDEX

AVmail: Jan. 22, 2007
Reader mail this week about TFRs at the border, too many spins, the Comair crash and more. More...

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. More...

 
Don't Fly Another Year in Pain — Upgrade with Oregon Aero
You can fly pain-free with a variety of aviation upgrades from Oregon Aero. Oregon Aero makes flying Painless, Safer, and Quieter™ from head to toe. The painless, safer Seat Cushion Systems for every type of aircraft are highly regarded by pilots. Oregon Aero® Aviation Headset and Helmet Upgrades eliminate pain, reduce sound pressure, improve intelligibility and transmission clarity, and leave your ears cool and dry. To find out more about flying pain-free with Oregon Aero upgrades, visit Oregon Aero Products online.
 
AVweb Audio Newsback 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 AOPA's Kathleen Vascouselos. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Maule Air's Mikel Boorom; Professsional Aviation Maintenance Association president Brian Finnegan; aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia; NORAD; Bill Lear, Jr.; NATA President Jim Coyne; Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; Honda Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith; and Cirrus Design cofounder and CEO Alan Klapmeier. In today's news summary, hear about Tiger Aircraft's bankruptcy filing, staffing problems at contract control towers, TSA security ramp checks for GA aircraft, the FAA's imminent decision on the age-60 rule and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

 
WingX 2.0 Now Available — With NACO Approach Charts, SmartTaxi™, Online Weather, and Podcasts!
Hilton Software LLC has just released WingX 2.0 for the Pocket PC — now with approach charts, weather images, podcasts, N-number search, helicopter W&B, and SmartTaxi™ to help prevent runway incursions. Of course, this is in addition to WingX's great Weight and Balance, Route Planning, FARs, color-coded weather reports, and superb E6B capabilities. Excellent A/FD with auto-dial. WingX is now GPS-enabled! Learn more and download WingX at HiltonSoftware.com.
 
FBO Of The Weekback to top 
 

FBO OF THE WEEK: LASILL AVIATION

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to LaSill Aviation at KLAW in Lawton, Okla.

AVweb reader Gerrit Paulsen said the facility consistently provides great service.

"I fly in to KLAW several times a month on business and have received top-notch service from the great folks at LaSill Aviation every time. My first experience with LaSill was early last year, shortly after they opened. I arrived after-hours on a Sunday evening, just as Bill Tipton was climbing into his truck to go home. He cheerfully reopened the FBO, fueled and hangared my Cirrus, and then insisted on giving me a ride to the hotel rather than calling a taxi — and then refused the 'gas money' I offered as thanks. Since then I have come to expect that Bill, Chris Pittman and the rest of the team at LaSill will anticipate my needs and then make it happen with a smile. On a recent visit when I arrived with the finish on my airplane looking a bit dull, Chris and Bill offered to wax the plane while I was in town and did a terrific job at a reasonable price. On my visit there last week my Hertz rental car magically appeared planeside, even though I had not made any prior arrangements to have it delivered from the airline terminal. Fuel is competitively priced as is overnight hangar space."

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...

 
Featured AVweb Classified Ad: Piper J3 Cub
1939 J3 with TT 2700 hours, Continental 65 TSOH 50 hours. Original aluminum wheel pants, metal prop, fuselage covered/Ceconite in 1983, wings covered/Superflite in 2006, new windshield, cushions recovered, ELT. December annual. Located in Arizona.
For contact information regarding this ad, to view more ads, and to post your no-cost ad, click here.
 
Video Of The Weekback to top 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK: WHIDBEY ISLAND MOONEY APPROACH
Don't try this one at home kids – midfield landing on a short strip in a Mooney, with no "out" due to the pilot's long landing and tall trees all around the airport. It's too bad we don't have Smell-O-Vision yet, because you'd actually be able to smell the rubber burn when he locks the brakes to avoid a runway overrun.More...

 
The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 
 

SHORT FINAL
Heard on Denver approach frequency

Approach: Great Lakes One Twenty Three, traffic six o'clock, two miles, 1000 feet above you, a 737.

Great Lakes: Approach, Great Lakes One Twentv-Three, if I told you I could see him, I'd be lyin'.

Approach: If you told me you could see him, you'd be my mother, 'cause you'd have eves in the back of your head. 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 Editors 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.