AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 4b

January 25, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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.
User Fee Battle Intensifies back to top 

DOT Secretary Stumps For Aviation User Fees

The FAA needs to build a modern airspace infrastructure, and 2007 will be a critical year in building a new financing system to support it, Mary Peters, the new Department of Transportation Secretary, told the Aero Club in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. "I know that user fees and who pays are big concerns for many of you," she said, "but we must not lose sight of the broader issues at stake … We are talking about a fundamental redesign of the entire air transportation system." To finance that effort, the FAA needs a new funding mechanism, she said, and there must be incentives in place to make the system "more efficient as well as more responsive to user needs." Peters said she expects to release a detailed funding proposal soon. The looming expiration on Sept. 30 of the FAA's current aviation trust fund mechanism offers "a once-in-a-decade opportunity to rewrite the book," she said. "This is our one chance to get it right."

GAMA Disagrees With DOT Chief On User Fees

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is among those with "big concerns" about user fees, and the aviation group was quick to react to Peters' remarks from Tuesday's Aero Club meeting in Washington, D.C. "We could not disagree more with the link that Secretary Peters attempts to make between the [Bush] Administration's desire for user fees and the ability to modernize the National Airspace System," GAMA said in a news release on Tuesday. GAMA said that even before funding issues are addressed, the administration needs to present a "coherent modernization plan" that will spell out how it intends to improve capacity and control costs. The current Trust Fund mechanism, GAMA adds, is currently bringing in record revenues. There is, however, one point everyone agrees on, according to GAMA. "Our air traffic control system is in need of transformation," it concluded.

ACI Chimes In On Airport Infrastructure Funding

The Airports Council International-North America (ACI) recently announced its hopes for the FAA's next reauthorization bill with a focus on passenger facility charges (PFCs) and airport improvement program (AIP) funds, according to a recent report by Aviation Week. ACI believes that inflation will reduce the impact of PFCs while the air transportation system bloats with 300 million new users over the next decade. To prepare for the passenger surge, ACI urges that PFCs in coming years be increased to adjust for inflation and AIP funds be protected to ensure that all airports in need get the TLC they'll need. According to ACI, it's a matter (in part) of recognizing PFCs as an indispensable part of funding projects; converting their taxable perception from private party bonds to use as public purpose bonds; and rolling them out on a widespread basis. Working together with the American Association of Airport Executives, ACI hopes to lobby for shared interests through congressional hearings, testimony and comments.

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News Briefs back to top 

NTSB: Crew Failed To Deice, Citation Stalled In Fatal Crash

A Circuit City Citation business jet carrying two crew and six passengers crashed on approach to Pueblo (Colo.) Memorial Airport in February 2005 because it stalled, the NTSB said on Tuesday. All on board were killed. During the flight, the wing leading edges had picked up a layer of thin, rough ice that degraded the aircraft's performance. The crew didn't activate the deicing boots, and also didn't increase their approach speed as the flight manual dictates anytime ice is present or expected, the NTSB said. The jet's stall-warning system didn't activate until after the aerodynamic stall occurred, which the Safety Board cited as a contributing factor. The Board recommended that the FAA require modification of the Cessna 560's stall-warning system to provide an adequate warning margin in icing conditions, when the stall speed may be higher than normal. "This accident underscores the importance of flight crews carefully monitoring and cross-checking flight instruments during approach," stated NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker. "We would also like to see more progress from the Federal Aviation Administration on major icing recommendations we issued a decade ago." A second Circuit City Citation that was following the first landed safely at Pueblo. The flight crew of that aircraft did cycle the deice boots numerous times and maintained increased airspeed during the approach and subsequently landed safely, the NTSB said. Importantly, the Board concluded that ice bridging does not occur on modern airplanes; therefore, there is no reason for flight crews to delay activation of the deice boots. The Board recommended that the FAA require that guidance for aircraft with pneumatic deice boots be revised to indicate that the leading-edge deice boots should be activated as soon as the aircraft enters icing conditions.

Controllers Share Blame in Brazilian Midair

On Sunday, Brazilian lead aviation accident investigator Renato Sayao for the first time acknowledged air traffic controllers share some of the blame for the Sept. 29 midair that killed 154 people when a Legacy business jet collided with a Gol Airlines 737 over the Amazon jungle. But the Legacy pilots -- Joseph Lepore and Jan Paladino of New York, both of whom survived the collision along with their five passengers – might not be off the hook entirely. According to The Associated Press, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said both the pilots and controllers were likely at fault, though she stopped short of saying if criminal charges will be filed against Lepore and Paladino. The prosecutor's office cannot press charges against the Brazilian controllers since they are military personnel; instead it can only submit findings to military justice officials, who would then pursue any further action. If convicted, the controllers could spend up to 12 years in prison on homicide charges and exposing an aircraft to danger. The latter charge would be for failure to divert the Boeing after the Legacy disappeared from radar, the prosecutor's office said. The spokeswoman did not know if authorities will press criminal charges against the U.S. pilots, but police have already booked the pair for exposing an aircraft to danger.

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News Briefs back to top 

NATA Wants Fuel-Pump Rules Clarified

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) says rules for aviation self-fuel pumps need to be rewritten because some FBOs in Alabama have been sanctioned for violating rules that NATA says are not necessary for aviation operations. Current legal standards for weights and measures require that all self-fuel dispensers display the price per gallon and the amount of fuel pumped during a particular transaction, but most airport fuel pumps don't work that way. NATA says the rules should be changed so aviation vendors can be in compliance without having to replace their current equipment, which is already adequate to provide the information required by the legal standards. FBOs should be allowed to display the price per gallon on a sign on top of the fuel pump, next to the fuel pump or inside the FBO, NATA says. The number of gallons pumped is shown on the meter, and the total purchase price can be found at the end of the transaction on the credit-card receipt. The proposal will be considered by the Southern Weights and Measures Association Specifications & Tolerance Committee at a meeting this week, NATA said.

Automated Flight Following Now In Alaska

Flight Service Stations in Alaska now have an extra tool they can use to help track some aircraft that request flight-following services. FAA personnel will have access to a Web site from a private vendor that tracks the airplanes via satellites and displays their track on a map of the region. Tony Wylie, manager of the Alaska Flight Services Information Area Group, said staff won't actually monitor the flights, but will have immediate access to the information if the flight needs search and rescue. The FAA service will be extended only to aircraft operated by the federal government. It costs about $5,000 to equip each airplane with the "automated flight following" gear, which transmits the aircraft's location, speed, heading and altitude to a satellite. Vendors charge about $20 per hour for the monitoring service. "The Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior have been using it up here for a few years," said Wylie. "They've got a lot of their Forest Service firefighter aircraft equipped, and track where those guys are." So far, expansion of the service to privately operated aircraft has not been determined, the FAA says.

Details Remain Sketchy On Continental Pilot's Death

The pilot who died while flying a Boeing 757 for Continental Airlines on Saturday afternoon "experienced a serious medical problem which required the aircraft to land immediately," Continental spokeswoman Mary Clark told AVweb on Wednesday. The pilot's name and age have not been released yet by the airline, and the company is not releasing additional details about the pilot or the nature of his affliction, "although he is believed to have died of natural causes," Clark said. She added that he was based in Newark, N.J., and had 21 years of service with the airline. The co-pilot diverted the aircraft to McAllen International Airport in south Texas, where an ambulance crew was waiting. Lt. Scott Luke of the McAllen Police Department told the Houston Chronicle that doctors and nurses who were among the flight's 210 passengers had assisted the crew in trying to revive the stricken pilot. "They had done compressions, CPR on him onboard the aircraft," Luke said. The airplane flew on to its destination in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, later that day, with a new crew. Industry sources told AVweb that the stricken pilot was 58 years old. FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette said on Wednesday she doesn't expect the incident to affect the agency's policy regarding the age-60 rule one way or the other. Administrator Marion Blakey is expected to announce a decision about changing this rule within the next few weeks, she said. Since November, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has allowed airline crews to include one pilot up to age 65 as long as the other pilot is under 60. The current age-60 rule has long been disputed by various pilot groups in the U.S., although pilot unions in general support it.

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News Briefs back to top 

Community, Witham Airport At Odds Over Improvement

The Martin County Commission, influenced by community-developed noise and pollution concerns, more than six months ago voted to stop using a 460-foot section of runway at Witham Field in Stuart, Fla. Unfortunately, in 1998 the FAA approved the runway for extension. And so it is that while the FAA's regional office in Orlando has suggested moving a fence farther from the runway and into a country club to provide a proper safety zone, Dave Shore, president of the Witham Airport Action Majority (WAAM), has suggested pulling a Richard Daley by removing the runway from service whether the FAA likes it or not. Of course, any such action could stop the flow of federal funds for the airport or even trigger a federally imposed fine for the local community. Meanwhile, the FAA -- which has given the airport thousands of dollars in grants, including money to buy noise-affected homes -- hasn't spoken up and pilots are still using whatever runway space they need (or prefer). Some portion of the local population has apparently risen to protest use of the runway by picketing county commission meetings, but so too have airport businesses and users stepped forward in support of the runway's full length.

FAA, NATCA Not On Same Frequency Over Wx Radios

It turns out that NATCA and the FAA agree on something – "commercial" radios aren't allowed to be kept by controllers working in the tower. It's a simple rule intended to eliminate distractions from a controller's work environment, but one that was perhaps complicated by a tornado last Christmas that flipped some 50 Cessnas at Embry-Riddle's Daytona Beach campus while controllers in the nearby Daytona Beach International Airport tower claim they sat blissfully unaware. In recognition of that precise set of circumstances, two emergency weather alert radios were placed in the tower on Dec. 27. A few days later, re-recognition of the rule apparently led to the radios' recent removal. And so the earth will not go spinning off its axis -- NATCA and the FAA are again at odds. AVweb was unable to confirm reports in local papers that suggest installation of those radios came with the blessing of regional FAA managers -- it seems local FAA spokespeople are "out of the office" until Wednesday and calls have been directed to FAA headquarters in Washington, D.C.

According to FAA headquarters spokeswoman Tammy Jones, "The policy is that they're not supposed to have those types of electronics that would present some kind of distraction." When asked what sort of equipment controllers had at their disposal to identify weather, Jones said, "I'm not exactly sure which ones that particular tower has. I'd have to find out what they have, but they have weather equipment." In late December, FAA Southern region spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told AVweb that controllers do have weather overlays on their radar screens, but both NATCA and the FAA say this provides only precipitation, not tornado, information. TVs and radios of any kind are allowed and available to controllers in a break room, but controllers believe they should have access to simple sources of emergency weather information while working at their post.

If Brokers Say They Cover the Whole Market, Why Can't They Get a Quote from Us?
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News Briefs back to top 

Airline Passengers Demand Rights

Here's a story to make you even happier that you fly general aviation. A group of passengers was recently stranded for more than eight hours aboard an American Airlines jet that was diverted to Austin, Texas, due to weather. They had no food, the toilets clogged and overflowed and the stale air reeked. Now some of those passengers are joining a push to get Congress to pass a comprehensive Passengers Bill of Rights. "We feel that enough is enough. This is not the first time, nor is it likely to be the last, that this kind of degrading treatment is visited on passengers," said Kate Hanni, one of those who endured the experience. "Thousands of legitimate complaints by travelers mistreated by the airlines are regularly dismissed or inadequately addressed by the industry." The passengers said they received no explanation or apology from the airline. Similar legislation was proposed in 1999 but failed to win passage after the airlines agreed to a voluntary, but watered-down, version of the bill of rights. The passenger group says that customer service is even worse now, and they are building a consumer coalition to push for the new legislation. Their proposal includes a rule that if an airplane is held on the ground for more than three hours, the crew must connect to a gate and allow passengers to get off.

Biplane Design Found In Ancient Fossils

It turns out that the Boeing 727 might not be the true "Jurassic jet." Just as human aviation pioneers started out flying biplanes, allowing for high lift at low speeds, the early ancestors of birds may have done the same. Researchers Sankar Chatterjee of Texas Tech University and R. Jack Templin of Ottawa, Canada, have found that Microraptor, one of the earliest feathered dinosaurs, might have used a staggered biplane configuration during flight. The creature's second set of wings, which were attached to the legs, would have been more efficient if held forward to form a lower wing, rather than trailing behind to form double wings like those of a dragonfly. Their study was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Aircraft designers have mimicked many of nature's flight 'inventions,' usually inadvertently," Chatterjee wrote. "Now, it seems likely that Microraptor invented the biplane 125 million years before the Wright 1903 Flyer." Microraptor probably weighed about two pounds. Computer simulations were used to demonstrate and compare the various possible flight configurations.

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

Eclipse Aviation recently hired its 1,000th employee, and is continuing to add about 20 workers a week, as the company begins to fill its order backlog...

Boeing and Lockheed Martin are teaming up to bid on federal contracts to build the next-generation air traffic control system...

AOPA opposes a request for airspace restrictions above a proposed natural-gas terminal in Long Island Sound...

Local commissioners in Stuart, Fla., voted to reject FAA funding for Witham Field in an effort to gain control over airport operations...

The U.S. House is considering legislation that would honor the 100th anniversary of aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss' speed record of 136.47 mph on the first V-8 powered motorcycle.

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

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/.

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New On AVweb back to top 

Welcome To The New Face Of AVweb

AVweb.com, the world’s best Web site for general aviation news and information, will soon get even better thanks to a redesigned home page that will be unveiled this weekend. The revamped home page will have more content, easier navigation, a more user-friendly podcast interface and better graphics to complement AVweb's real-time general aviation news, incisive commentary and unparalleled feature reporting.

Quiz #116


Quiz #116: Along the Airways
Before you can truly appreciate the ease and convenience of the modern sat/nav world, the pilot should master the pre-Columbian world of federal airways. See what you know about these ancient routes between ground-based navaids.

It's Not What You Know, but Who You Know that Can Save You Money!
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AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening? 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 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 Monday'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.

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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. Pilot Journey is the pilot's choice online.
Question Of The Week back to top 

Question of the Week: Is Cirrus' New MFD Checklist a Help or a Hindrance?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, AVweb asked if recent news of maintenance shops declining to service any aircraft (or parts) more than 18 years old has influenced readers to consider purchasing a newer airplane.

The answer, from 86% of the readers who took a moment to respond, was a resounding no. It seems AVweb readers are more willing to look for a new shop than a new airplane.

Find out how the other 14% of readers responded to last week's Question here.


Cirrus Design this week introduced a safety checklist that's available on Cirrus airplanes' multifunction displays. Do you think an electronic checklist that focuses on judgment is a good idea, and will it really help improve aviation safety?

Click here to answer.


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.

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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: LaSill Aviation

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

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!

Pictures 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.  ;)


Last week, we reported that submissions had ebbed a bit in the wake of the holidays.  It's a common pattern for the first of the year, but we were thrilled to see that AVweb readers had taken our plea for more submissions to heart, stuffing our contest entry box with almost 100 photos.

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Used with permission of Terry J. Wallace

On the Border at Sunset

Terry Wallace of Sacramento, California writes, "Just prior to launch for Scottsdale, while parked at Brown Field, I caught the light just right."

We'd have to agree.  The combination of ominous storm clouds, fading afternoon light, and (waayyyy off in the distance) that alluringly peaceful blue sky made Terry's the stand-out photo this week.  As a thank you for submitting our favorite photo of the week, we'll be sending Terry one of our official AVweb baseball caps.

Speaking of baseball caps, we're starting to run low.  That means that a new print run and a new design are just around the corner.  You can help us get there sooner by submitting your photos and winning all the current-style caps!


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Used with permission of Peter Maurer

DA42 Turning on a Point Over L.A.

Peter Maurer of London, Ontario (Canada) snapped this dizzying shot on his way out of last autumn's AOPA Conference.  Don't let the lights fool you — it was a safe landing, but Peter used a 10-second exposure to get those trails into view in the photo.  With the anti-ice light providing a center point, this photo made our head spin — and very nearly earned Peter and his Diamond the top spot in this week's contest!


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Used with permission of
Hugh Gwyn-Williams


Hugh Gwyn-Williams of Hobe Sound, Florida insists, "If you listen close enough, you can hear the PBY going yippee!!"  The reason?  This was the "first time in the air after 11 years in a museum" for this bird.

Hugh tells us that "Lenny Boyd and the craftsmen from Ocean Aire made her airworthy again!"

Three pics not enough to sate your appetite for aerial photography today?, of course, you can just hop over to the AVweb.com home page and check

Three pics not enough to sate your appetite for aerial photography?  We understand!  That's why we're posting even more photos for you to gawk at on AVweb.com.  This week's slideshow has it all:  Air show thrills!  Early-morning departures!  Planes in harmony with nature!  Even snakes in a hangar!  Go!

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) and Glenn Pew (bio) and Editor In Chief Chad Trautvetter.

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.