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A King Air B200 landed Friday at Cape Giardeau, Mo., with a cracked windshield, buckled skins and much of its horizontal
stabilizer gone, but the beginning of this story is just as interesting. John Taylor was acting as Flight Nurse aboard an aeromedical helicopter in the area that day transporting a specialty team when
his pilot said he saw something nearby fall and hit the ground. Taylor and his pilot looked around and quickly diverted to avoid falling debris. There was a King Air almost directly above them, and it
was in trouble. At 27,000 feet, the King Air crew had experienced windshield failure. Sheldon Stone, the 4,200-hour ATP-rated pilot at the controls, and copilot Adam Moore donned their oxygen masks
and depressurized the aircraft to prevent the windshield from blowing out. Stone twisted the valve to begin the flow of oxygen but felt it wasn't coming. And that's when things got really bad.
"We were both getting drunk really fast. I remember thinking, really slowly, 'Hey, I'm not getting any oxygen, what's wrong here?' But I was so loony already at that point I couldn't even solve the
problem if it could be solved," Stone told The Southeast Missourian. The sole-occupant pilots passed out and came to with their aircraft nose down at 7,000 feet at a high rate of speed. They
recovered with difficulty and declared an emergency, diverting to Cape Girardeau Airport (KCGI). Somewhere in the descent or recovery, the airframe had suffered structural damage, which was witnessed
by Taylor and his pilot. "I thought I was home free," Stone told the newspaper, "but then I realized how hard it was to get
the plane under control and I started to think, 'Wait a minute. This thing isn't over yet. I've got to find a way to land.'" The aircraft would pitch up when accelerated and down when slowed. Stone
felt there was a window of control and picked a speed of 160 knots for approach. The aircraft landed at about 145 knots without further incident. Stone attributes his good fortune in part to the
aircraft's heritage. The King Air was formerly owned by a Christian Assembly of God association combining that name with a holy number for its former registration, N777AG. The registration change to
the current N777AJ now acknowledges "Assembly of Jesus."
AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Taylor about what he saw. Click here to listen.
KING AIR B200 PHOTO GALLERY
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We should find out today just what all the FAAs political maneuvering and posturing of the past year or so were intended to do as the
Bush administration releases its 2008 budget request. Somewhere in those trillions of dollars is the governments plan to reshape the way the FAA is funded, and it has aviation groups on pins and
needles. Its pretty obvious from the way FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has been talking in the past 18 months that some form of user-fee system will be proposed, and thats sure to
dominate the political agendas of the alphabet groups this year. The authorization for the system of taxes that currently funds about 75 percent of the FAAs budget (25 percent comes from general
revenue) runs out at the end of September and, since the budget being released today kicks in at the same time, it should paint a clear picture of how the FAA wants to change the funding methods. The
airlines have been lobbying hard for a pay-as-you-go system of user fees that is estimated to shift about $2 billion of cost to general aviation. General aviation groups claim the current system of
fuel, ticket and cargo taxes accurately reflects a fair funding split because most GA flights happen outside the highly congested airline hubs that suck up a disproportionate amount of the FAAs
time and money.
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The National Business Aviation Association has challenged FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to prove that the current system of funding the FAA is flawed. But in a news release issued last week, NBAA President Ed Bolen says the agency has declined those overtures and now appears
determined to overhaul a system he says works just fine. "Some of the things said by the Administrator seemed at odds with decades of funding experience and the FAA's own information," Bolen said,
referring to Blakey's response to questions last Tuesday at a National Press Club luncheon. For about 18 months, Blakey has been saying the current method of funding the FAA, through a GA fuel tax and
airline ticket taxes, doesn't tie revenue to expenses and won't provide the funding needed to modernize the air traffic system. As the September deadline for FAA authorization looms closer, Bolen and
other GA leaders have become more strident in their opposition.
Part of Bolen's angst is undoubtedly the fact that the business aviation sector appears to be singled out in the looming changes. Business aircraft have been referred to directly by those in favor
of the changes (the airlines) as representing the inequity of the current system because they often share the airways with the aluminum tubes. At GA events, Blakey has been careful to try to assure
the piston single crowd that they will not be overburdened with fees under the new regime, but she's also not offered any detail. Bolen says the current system of fuel taxes is the fairest, most
responsive and simplest method of making GA pay its fair share. "The general aviation fuel tax is a very simple, accurate and efficient way to tie revenues to costs," Bolen said. "GA fuel taxes
reflect how much people fly the more you fly, the more fuel you burn, the more taxes you pay. However, they don't involve complicated formulas, require a big bureaucracy or turn the FAA
Administrator into a tax czar. It is difficult to imagine a better funding mechanism."
Last week AOPA President Phil Boyer was in Washington, D.C., to brief the national media on the dark days that lie ahead if FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey and the Bush administration hold sway on user fees. Boyer told the National
Press Club that the real agenda is to cut Congress out of the decision-making process and to hand the National Airspace System over to the airlines. "They are attempting an end-around of Congress to
put the world's safest, most efficient and largest air traffic control system into the hands of airline barons who've flown their own businesses into bankruptcy," Boyer said. As backup, Boyer brought
along Ken Mead, the former Department of Transportation inspector general. [more] Mead told reporters that Congress has stepped in to derail misguided FAA initiatives, like the microwave landing
system and the advanced automation system, projects that had gone far over budget and were out of control. "You need the checks and balances of the U.S. Congress," said Mead.
Just because the Bush administration and FAA Administrator Marion Blakey want them doesnt necessarily mean theyll get the
user-fee structure they seem to favor. The current incarnation of Congress is feeling its oats these days, and all the groundwork laid by the alphabet groups to curry favor with key members could pay
off in those hallowed halls during the coming hearings and debates. According to Air Transport World, a key
congressional aide is predicting the funding proposal could stall because the Democratic-controlled House isnt convinced that wholesale changes are necessary. David Heymsfeld, majority staff
director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the American Bar Associations Forum on Air and Space Law that the airlines motives are questioned by some.
According to the ATW report, Heymsfeld said the feeling in Congress is that airlines are necessarily shortsighted on financial matters, and theyve shown that with their reluctance to take part
in airport modernization projects. The committees aviation subcommittee will be looking at the FAA funding request on Feb. 14 and the larger issue of reauthorization will likely be tackled
sometime in March.
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In a letter sent Thursday to Eclipse Aviation
customers, Vice President of Customer and Product Support Ken McNamara had good news to share regarding the performance enhancements for the Eclipse 500 very light jet. He said the company has
"demonstrated that we have exceeded our performance guarantees of speed and range" for the Pratt & Whitney PW610F-powered twinjet. According to the letter, N505EA which has been retrofitted to
the so-called B model configuration -- flew last week with "production-quality performance modifications" and achieved 372 ktas (two knots more than the 370-knot guarantee) and a maximum
NBAA IFR range of 1,156 nm (above the planned 1,125 nm with four occupants). "An important fact to remember is that although we have exceeded our targeted performance guarantees, we are not changing
the guarantees," McNamara notes. "You will most likely see better then 'book' performance in your aircraft due to the better then forecasted improvements. But we are not guaranteeing the increased
performance." He said Eclipse expects that aircraft delivered in mid-April and beyond will come with these improvements, namely larger tip tanks and aerodynamic refinements. Eclipse 500s delivered
before this date eventually will be retrofitted with the upgrades. So far the company has delivered only one of the $1.55 million Eclipse 500s, though it expects to deliver some 500 airplanes this
year. In late December Eclipse said that nearly 40 of the VLJs were in various stages of assembly, but Eclipse wont be able to deliver aircraft en masse until receiving its Production
Certificate from the FAA.
Eclipse Aviation will get a 1-percent stake in Aspen Avionics under the out-of-court settlement of a suit launched by Eclipse late last year. As AVweb reported in December, Aspen founders Peter Lyons and Jeff Bethel were sued by Eclipse, which
claimed rights to the AT300 Hazard Awareness Display, a nifty little moving map and terrain awareness device that fits a three-inch hole in the panel and replaces the conventional vertical speed
indicator (there's an electronic one built in). Eclipse claimed the pair developed the device, which earned technical standard order (TSO) status in 2005, while working for Eclipse and in violation of
an agreement that anything invented on company time was the company's to exploit, charges that Lyons and Bethel denied. Lyons and Bethel claimed they invented the AT300 before they started work at
Eclipse in 2002 and that the only intellectual property waiver they signed was for the interview process. Eclipse had filed for a patent on the AT300. Under the agreement, Eclipse waives any claims it
made in the suit and assigns any rights that might stem from the patent process to Aspen in return for 1 percent of the shares in Aspen. "This settlement frees us from the distraction and expense of
litigation, and allows us to focus on developing new, breakthrough products for the general aviation market," Lyons said in a news release.
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Its not often that both pilots walk away from a midair collision. Its rarer still when the airplanes involved are 60-year-old
wire and wood antiques and at least one of the pilots is older than the aircraft. It happened Saturday when Ralph Baxter, an 82-year-old former airline and Navy pilot, was practicing aerobatics in his
1940 Waco biplane off the coast of San Pedro, Calif. Somehow the Wacos tail came in contact with the prop on a 1942 Stearman whose pilot hasnt been identified. According to the Fresno Bee, the Stearman was able to get back to Torrance Airport for a safe landing, but Baxter opted for an emergency landing
on the beach. The Waco landed in the water near the shoreline and flipped, but fortunately for Baxter there were lifeguards on duty and they got him out of his harness. He was able to walk away under
his own power and was released from the hospital after a precautionary check. No more details have been released and the NTSB is investigating.
On Jan. 24, Open Air was granted a Part 135 air carrier certification to operate
its fleet of brand-new Cirrus SR22s for on-demand, air-taxi service out of Montgomery County Airpark (GAI) in Gaithersburg, Md., about 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C. Flying from the back yard of
arguably the most sensitive and restrictive airspace in the country, Open Air's "exclusive air-taxi service" offers "nonstop, and 'door-to -door' concierge service throughout the Mid-Atlantic and
Northeast," according to a company press release. The company touts the SR22's safety (the piston single comes standard with a ballistic parachute) and comfort features (leather, climate control, XM
satellite radio and Bose noise-canceling headsets) and also notes the aircraft accommodates up to three passengers and one "FAA-certified airline captain." Beyond the jargon, this means they've taken
a training program and been FAA certified as a captain. Open Air says one-way pricing will keep customers from paying for dead-heading aircraft and crew.
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An international effort has emerged to ensure that the last two Martin Mars flying boats can be enjoyed by generations of aviation buffs to come. The massive aircraft, which have had
a spectacularly successful career as air tankers for the past 40 years, would become museum pieces at opposite ends of the continent under an arrangement reached between the British Columbia Aviation
Council and the Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum. The two groups are jointly bidding for the aircraft, which were built at the site of the museum in Middle River, Md. The plan is to fly one of
the aircraft for display in Maryland and leave the other at its existing base on Sproat Lake, near Port Alberni, B.C. Although it's estimated the Mars have another 10 years of useful flying life left
in them, the BCAC and the museum say that will expose them to wear and tear and risk that could diminish or destroy their heritage value. With the advent of more modern aerial tankers and techniques,
the future usefulness of the Mars is also being questioned, although it must be noted that a single drop of more than 6,000 gallons can drench four acres of burning bush. Both the museum and the BCAC
have launched fundraising campaigns to support their bids for the aircraft, which are now owned by TimberWest Forest Corp.
The DHL A300 that was hit by a missile before enduring a miraculous no-hydraulics
landing at Baghdad Airport in November 2004 might not survive the court battle that has blown up around it. The courier company apparently walked away from the aircraft, which, in addition to a rather
large hole in the left wing courtesy of the missile, suffered some runway rash and sand damage in its inelegant but ultimately safe return to earth. Enter a couple of U.S. companies who figured they
could fix the damage and resell the airplane for a tidy profit. But, according to a story in the Burlington Free Press, the deal has gone sour and the mostly-fixed
airplane is on the ramp at Baghdad International Airport, where its an inviting terrorist target. Chrison Aerospace of Burlington, Vt., and Pacific Aeromotive of Erie, Colo., bought the airplane
for less than $300,000, according to Chrisons lawyer, and the plan was to patch it up enough in Baghdad to fly it to a more secure location for final repairs and resale. They figured they could
get between $8 million and $12 million for it after it was fixed. Flak-jacketed technicians repaired the wing and almost had it airworthy in late 2005 before an engine failed in ground testing. Both
engines were pulled and sent to Kuwait for repairs and another A300, purchased in Saudi Arabia to scavenge for parts, remains there. The deal started to sour in 2006, and now both companies are
blaming each other. Meanwhile, as the companies battle in court, the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and theres concern they wont have anything to fight over for much longer.
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A study has shown that about $590 million in economic benefits have been created through film production at Los Angeles-area airports. The study credits the film-friendly approach
of the local airport authority in keeping productions in the area
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says its up to the military and FAA to prevent airborne attacks on nuclear plants and not the industrys responsibility to harden the plants
against such a strike. Critics say a system of beams and cables designed to prevent an aircraft from reaching vulnerable parts of a plant should be required
Farnborough Aircraft Corp. Ltd (FACL) announced it will build the Kestrel turboprop single in Abu Dhabi. FACL previously had a business relationship with Epic Aircraft, which is developing a
competing turboprop called Dynasty, which will be built in Calgary
A juvenile whooping crane, presumed lost in the storms that ripped through Florida on Friday, has been found alive and well hanging out with some sandhill cranes. It was one of 18 that arrived
with an ultralight escort from Wisconsin in January, but all 17 of its tripmates died in the storm in their enclosure at the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge...
The FAA says theres been plenty of interest from vendors who want to build the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system in the U.S. Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and ITT all
In Thursday's issue, the Age-65 story (FAA Chief: Controller Age Limit "Law Of The Land") referred to the drafting of
a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that will change the retirement age for airline pilots. FAA spokeswoman Alison Duquette told AVweb the role of the Aviation Rulemaking Committee will be to
provide specific economic data to the FAA, not to draft the NPRM. The actual NPRM will be drafted by FAA staff.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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.
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Leading Edge #1: After Your Checkride -- The Next 100 Hours This week AVweb introduces a new columnist, Thomas Turner, whose monthly
Leading Edge column will address pilot training and proficiency issues culled from his extensive experience as a flight instructor. This month he tackles the question that pops up after you get your
first pilot certificate: ''Now what?''
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 reporting.
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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 Alaska pilot Cable Wells about ADS-B. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with NATCA's Paul Rinaldi; 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 today's podcast, AVweb interviews Open Air President Michael Klein. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to DB Aviation at KUGN in Waukegan, Ill.
AVweb reader David Stone said the facility's staff literally gives him a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
"I am in and out of KUGN about four times a year, so the guys at DB Aviation do not really know me.I showed up on a cold breezy day, and asked for my Tanis heater to be plugged in. When I walked
out on the ramp to depart, my plane was nowhere to be found. With a look of bewilderment on my face, the lineman asked if I was driving the Arrow. I said yes, and he said to look in the hanger. It was
nice to jump into a 50+ degree airplane when it was 10 degrees out. DB is always great, with a crew car often available."
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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Who hasn't wanted to do this ever since he or she was a kid? Loic Jean Albert lives the dream in this clip from Ultimate Journey, sent to us by AVweb reader Noah
Forden. (Originally submitted to YouTube by user chadbro23.)
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
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) 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.)
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