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"TIME TO CLOSE THE BOOK ON AGE 60"
The FAA will propose a new
rule that would raise the retirement age for airline pilots to 65, FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey said today. During a speech at the National
Press Club in Washington, D.C., Blakey reiterated the history of the
age-60 rule, and said, "This is a change whose time has come." Issues of
experience and equity clearly support change, she said, as well as the
need for "global harmonization" with international rules, which as of
last November allow for one pilot on airline crews to be over 60. Safety
will be enhanced by keeping experienced pilots in the cockpit, she said.
The new rule will apply only to pilots who haven't reached 60 by the
time the rule takes effect. More...
CHIEF: CONTROLLER AGE LIMIT "LAW OF THE LAND"
If it's OK for
pilots to work until age 65, then why must air traffic controllers
retire at 56? "Because that's the law of the land," FAA Administrator
Marion Blakey said during a Q&A session after a speech she gave on
Tuesday announcing that the age limit for airline pilots would be upped
from 60 to 65. "If there is a move on Congress' part to raise the age
for controllers, we would be happy to work with them on it." The FAA
chief said last year's retirements from ATC were about 25 percent higher
than expected, which she attributed to the imposition of the FAA's new
contract. But she also defended that contract as "very fair," and said
she has no intention to reopen negotiations. She said the agency will
hire 1,100 controllers this year, staying ahead of the number of
expected retirements. More than 2,000 qualified candidates are "lined up
and ready to go," Blakey said. New controllers earn about $96,000 after
five years, she noted, and the FAA is not having any problems filling
those jobs. More...
AOPA WEB SITE MONITORS FAA FUNDING ISSUE
AOPA President Phil
Boyer makes no bones about it: "There is no bigger issue facing general
aviation today -- our future is hostage to the FAA funding decision. If
we choose user fees or radical new taxes, America's unique personal
aircraft transportation system will die." In case it's not quite so
clear just how this issue affects you as an airspace user, AOPA has
launched a new Web page to explain it all. "We explore the
arguments for change and objectively demonstrate why our current tax
system is the best choice," notes AOPA Executive Vice President of
Communications Jeff Myers. The site features short videos to help people
visualize the issues. More...
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TESTING NEXT-GENERATION PARACHUTE SYSTEM
Ballistic Recovery Systems
(BRS) has completed a series of successful development tests of the Next
Generation Parachute System, which could operate on aircraft weighing as
much as 5,000 pounds, BRS spokesman John Gilmore told AVweb on
Wednesday. The system would work on aircraft such as the Diamond D-Jet,
which is expected to have a BRS parachute as standard equipment. The
system now being tested consists of a single landing parachute, which
could be deployed once the aircraft had slowed down to about 180 knots
or less, Gilmore said. Other designs still being considered could
include a two-stage system that would deploy a drogue chute to slow the
airplane down, then a larger chute for landing. "There's still more
testing ahead, but we're making progress," Gilmore noted.
TO OCEANSIDE: HANDS OFF THAT AIRPORT
Airport in California must stay open indefinitely, the FAA has told the
city. A recent economic study by the city proposed several alternate
land uses in 15 to 20 years' time. "The obligation to keep the airport
open as an airport does not expire," officials at the FAA's Los Angeles
District Office wrote. But city officials said they had never expressed
any "formal" intent to close the airport anyway, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on Tuesday. The
FAA also said the city should move forward with plans to build more
hangars on the field. More...
Aircraft Spruce Reduces
Pricing on the Orga-Knee-Zer Kneeboard
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binder on a stable platform with built-in pencil sharpener, combo
mag-lite/pencil holder, and other unique features. Compact storage,
rugged materials, and powder-coat finish add even more to their rich
feature set. Use for VFR or IFR flight, with NOS or Jepp charts to adapt
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ANNOUNCES CENTURION 2.0 RELEASE
Engines of Germany on Wednesday announced that its new diesel
engine, Centurion 2.0, is ready to hit the market. The engine evolved
from the Centurion 1.7, which is sold in the U.S. in Diamond Aircraft's
twin-engine DA42 and in a version of the DA40 single. According to
Thielert, the new engine will replace the 1.7 for all installations from
now on. "In launching our new engine, we are demonstrating that our
proven concept is also upwards compatible," says company CEO Frank
Thielert. "As already seen in the Centurion 1.7 and the Centurion 4.0,
we have also utilized tried-and-tested technology in this development
step and have allowed the ongoing improvements and innovations from
automotive volume production to flow into our own development." Product
enhancements include a flatter FADEC, a lighter cast gearbox housing,
interfaces for glass cockpits and a new service tool that allows the
FADEC to be programmed in the field, Thielert notes. More...
SEEKS LOST ENGINE DEBRIS
If your travels will take you
anytime soon into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, the NTSB
wants you to keep an eye open for stray GE CF34 engine pieces. On
Jan. 25, an America West Express Bombardier regional jet en route from
Denver to Phoenix was climbing through 24,000 feet when it experienced
an uncontained engine failure. The left engine cowling, fan and other
forward components separated over sparsely populated mountainous terrain
in an area beginning just south of Woodland Park, Colo., and running
south-southwest to 10 miles southwest of Cripple Creek. Anyone who finds
debris shouldn't handle it but should contact the Teller County
sheriff's department (719-687-9652) and relay the location, estimated
size and description of the parts. More...
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SOCATA REVENUE SOARS
Sales of Socata's TBM 850 are up 35
percent compared with last year as the company pits the economy of its
320- ktas (at FL260) turboprop against a fledgling very light jet (VLJ)
market and rides a 21 -percent rise in revenue. Socata aims to deliver
50 of the turboprop singles this year, with a current backlog of 40
aircraft. The company's coffers are bolstered by a freshly won contract
to retrofit avionics for a fleet of Embraer Emb-110 Xingu at the French
Military Air Transport Flight School. Socata last year increased
production of subassemblies for other companies like Airbus, Dassault
and Eurocopter by 13 percent. More...
MATERIALS COULD LEAD TO BETTER ENGINES
A team of researchers
in the United Kingdom and India won an award last week for their work on
new alloys that can change shape or position at a particular
temperature. The team hopes these materials could take the place of
mechanical moving parts in aircraft, leading to reduced engine weight
and increased energy efficiency. The project is being developed by
researchers at Imperial College London, the Indian Institute of
Science in Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay.
Rolls-Royce is also a collaborator. Additionally, the project might aid
the aerospace industry's development of "more-electric" airplanes --
next-generation aircraft in which hydraulic and pneumatic systems are
cut to a minimum, according to The Engineer Online. More...
When It Comes to Aircraft Insurance, the Choice
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Call for a complimentary quote at (800) 622-2672
CONFIRM FOR AIRVENTURE 2007
This July 23 to 29, EAA
AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., will host aerial performances from Sean D.
Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Kirby Chamblis,
Matt Younkin and Kyle Franklin; all (and more) have already signed up
for the EAA show. The performers "come together at EAA AirVenture to
make an all-star roster of the 'best of the best,'" said Tom Poberezny,
EAA president and AirVenture chairman. While display booths and seminar
tents showcase every major aviation innovation, renovation or
contemplation, the AirVenture air show begins each afternoon (weather
permitting) following flight demonstrations of aircraft old and new.
SEEKS COLLISION-AVOIDANCE SYSTEM FOR UAVS
The U.S. Navy
published a request for proposals this week with the objective to
develop a radar sensor compatible with small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
(UAVs) that would allow them to operate safely and reliably in civilian
airspace. The Navy noted that UAV flights currently are "severely
restricted" because of concerns they could collide with other aircraft.
FAA regulations require that UAVs must demonstrate "an equivalent level
of safety" comparable to see-and-avoid for manned aircraft before they
can be allowed into the National Airspace System. The Navy is looking
for an anti-collision system that would enable small UAVs (those with
wingspans under 11 feet) to avoid all other air traffic, whether or not
those aircraft are transponder-equipped. More...
BOWL TFR TO BE ESTABLISHED IN MIAMI
The FAA has issued a Notam restricting flight in the Miami area during
the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 4. There will be a 30-nm-radius TFR
centered on the FLL VOR's 214-degree radial at 8.4 miles, extending up
to FL180. It will be in effect from 4 p.m. until 11:59 p.m EST on
Sunday. Also, there will be a smaller 10-nm-radius GA no-fly zone in
effect within the larger TFR during that same time. More...
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The Cirrus SR22 Turbo received STC approval from
Transport Canada this week...
Some older Cessnas' plastic controls
may crack, FAA says...
A Wisconsin pilot faces a homicide charge in
"Airspace for Everyone" free online from AOPA
New tower and TRACON opened Tuesday at Fort Wayne...
named Action Aviation distributor for Africa, Asia...
two new AeroConversions baffle systems...
Garmin now has GTX 328 Mode
S transponder for Europe. More...
If You Think "Bargains" Are Something
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expensive. But don't think good deals aren't available in today's
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anywhere else, check out Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295
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AGAIN? #71: WEATHER RADAR
You think all your weather problems
are solved now that you have your fancy-shmancy NEXRAD in the cockpit
(or, for that matter, on your air traffic controller's radar)? Then why
are we losing more planes in thunderstorms than ever? AVweb's Don Brown
has some ideas. More...
TO THE NEW FACE OF AVWEB
AVweb.com, the worlds best Web site for
general aviation news and information, is now even better thanks to a
redesigned home page that was unveiled this weekend. The revamped home
page has 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
Use the Best ASA's 2007 FAR/AIMs and FAA
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Guides for AMTs are now available. Prepware combines all the information
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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 NATCA's Paul Rinaldi. And
AVweb's podcast index includes
interviews with AOPA's Kathleen Vascouselos; 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; and Honda
Aircraft's Jeffrey Smith. In last 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. In Monday's
special-edition podcast, hear an exclusive interview with Stephen
Brown, the private pilot who went from Continental passenger to
temporary copilot. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you
won't find anywhere else.
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OF THE WEEK: THE AGE-60 ... ER, AGE-65 RULE
The FAA plans to
raise the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from 60 to 65. Do
you support this change, and should there even be an age limit for Part
121 operations? Plus: Reader responses to last week's question
about the Cirrus's new MFD safety checklist. More...
OF THE WEEK: TAYLOR AVIATION OF
AVweb's "FBO of the Week"
ribbon goes to Taylor Aviation of Elizabethtown at KEYF in
AVweb reader Eddie Smith said the FBO
is a shining example of Southern hospitality.
"Oscar and Mitch
Taylor go beyond the required service. They have Paymaster self-service
pumps, but are there to service your aircraft anyway. They just cannot
do enough for you. Their fuel prices are extremely low, and I noticed
many others landing there some even going out of their way to
return. Enough cannot be said about the service at this
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." Gary Glenn of Shepparton, Victoria
(Australia) made our stomach drop with this great angle-of-ascent shot
and in return, we're naming Gary's photo our "Picture of the
Week." Watch your mailbox, Gary we'll be sending an official
AVweb baseball cap your way in the next couple of days!
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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
and Glenn Pew (bio).
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
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
Aviate, navigate, communicate.