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Volume 13, Number 6a
February 5, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

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. St one twisted the valve to begin the flow of oxygen but felt it wasn't coming. And that's when things got really bad.

AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Taylor about what he saw. Click here to listen. More...

We should find out today just what all the FAA’s 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 government’s plan to reshape the way the FAA is funded, and it has aviation groups on pins and needles. It’s 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 that’s sure to dominate the political agendas of the alphabet groups this year. More...

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Top Newsback to top 

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. More...

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...

Just because the Bush administration and FAA Administrator Marion Blakey want them doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll 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 isn’t convinced that wholesale changes are necessary. David Heymsfeld, majority staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told the American Bar Association’s Forum on Air and Space Law that the airlines’ motives are questioned by some. More...

New Term Rates Available from Pilot Insurance Center
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News Briefsback to top 

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." More...

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. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

It’s not often that both pilots walk away from a midair collision. It’s 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 Waco’s tail came in contact with the prop on a 1942 Stearman whose pilot hasn’t 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. More...

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." More...

Do You Know the Cold Facts About Icing?
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News Briefsback to top 

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. More...

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 it’s an inviting terrorist target. More...

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
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News In Briefback to top 

Airport film activity worth $590 million in Los Angeles…
Nuclear Regulatory Commission decides against aircraft protection at nuke plants…
Kestrel to be built in Abu Dhabi…
One whooping crane survives Florida storm...
Vendors submit ADS-B proposals. More...

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. More...

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...

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly 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 



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?''




What's New: February 2007
This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you books, an electronic E6-B, DVDs, e-books and more.

AVweb.com, the world’s 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. More...

Oregon Aero Defines Aviation Upgrades
/up-grade/ verb: to raise equipment to a higher standard by adding or replacing components. Oregon Aero makes Painless, Safer, Quieter™ upgrades for aviation equipment — from seats to headsets — that improve your flying experience. You don't need new equipment; you just need an Oregon Aero® upgrade. Visit OregonAero.com to learn about Oregon Aero® upgrades and other products.
AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening?back to top 

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 Kline. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


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."

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!


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Video Of The Weekback to top 

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. Click through to watch. More...

The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

En route from San Antonio to Kerville, Texas, I let my 19-year-old private-pilot-rated daughter run the radios:

Piper Six Seven Romeo: Center, Piper Six Seven Romeo.

Center: Piper Six Seven Romeo, go ahead.

Piper Six Seven Romeo: Request flight following.

Center: Piper Six Seven Romeo, state your location, altitude, and destination.

Piper Six Seven Romeo: [After a long pause] Uh, San Antonio.

Center: [After pause] Piper Six Seven Romeo, when you figure out where you are and where you want to go, give us a call back.


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) 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.

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