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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. More...
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. More...
CHIMES IN ON AIRPORT INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING
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. More...
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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.
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. More...
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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. More...
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.
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. More...
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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. More...
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.
If Brokers Say They Cover the Whole Market, Why
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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."
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." More...
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Eclipse Aviation recently hired its 1,000th
Boeing, Lockheed teaming up to bid on federal ATC
AOPA opposes airspace restrictions over LNG
Commissioners reject FAA funding for Stuart, Fla.
The U.S. House may honor Glenn Curtiss' 100th anniversary.
HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for
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focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that
make headlines in the Business of Aviation. Business AVflash is a must
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TO THE NEW FACE OF AVWEB
AVweb.com, the worlds 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. More...
It's Not What You Know, but Who You Know that
Can Save You Money!
Avionics. Next to your airframe and engine(s), avionics are the most
expensive items you will purchase for your aircraft. Don't spend more
than you need to! Before you buy anywhere else, call Bennett
at (800) 653-7295
It's not rocket science, just good business!
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
Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...
Pilot Journey Isn't Just for Students &
Instructors; There's Something for Everyone
You know Pilot Journey
's Discovery Flight
converting leads to students. However, all pilots can find something at
: 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
OF THE WEEK: IS CIRRUS' NEW MFD CHECKLIST A HELP OR A
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
Plus: Your answers to last week's
Question, Has recent reluctance on the part of maintenance shops to
service older aircraft influenced you to consider purchasing a newer
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OF THE WEEK: LASILL AVIATION
AVweb's "FBO of the Week"
ribbon goes to LaSill Aviation at KLAW in Lawton,
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.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
OF THE WEEK
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."
Terry Wallace of Sacramento, California
takes home the cap this week, writing, "Just prior to launch for
Scottsdale, while parked at Brown Field, I caught the light just right."
Just right is, well, just right to describe Terry's shot. 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.
Enter next week's
contest here. More...
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
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
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