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Volume 13, Number 6b
February 8, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

On Wednesday, the FAA released a proposed new rule that will update and overhaul Federal Aviation Regulations Part 61 subsections that govern certification of airmen. Some 200 changes are proposed, which range from minor tweaks in the language to more substantive changes. Among the changes: The FAA would allow student pilot certificates to last longer -- 36 months for those under 40, and 24 months for those 40 and over; allow computers and simulators to be used for credit toward flight-time requirements; establish rules for training with night-vision goggles; and simplify the paperwork for certified flight instructors to renew their certificates. More...

The FAA will probably issue a new rule to permanently impose restrictions on VFR traffic above New York's East River, according to the NTSB. The Safety Board released documents on Monday in connection with a fatal airplane crash last October when New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, hit a Manhattan apartment building. The two were flying Lidle's Cirrus SR20 and tried to negotiate a 180-degree turn in the narrow airspace corridor above the river. The Safety Board documents also show that no evidence was found of drugs or alcohol in either pilot, according to The Associated Press. Investigators could not determine which of the men was flying the airplane at the time of the crash. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
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Top Newsback to top 

The White House released the Fiscal Year 2008 budget amid fanfare on Monday morning, but general aviation groups aren’t jumping for joy. In the DOT budget breakdown, the FAA allotment includes $175 million for a 21st Century satellite navigation system to replace older air traffic control equipment and $900 million in additional air traffic control system upgrades, but it also includes an expected user-fee proposal. "The [Bush] Administration will transmit a reauthorization proposal in 2007 that transforms the FAA’s excise tax financing system to a cost-based system that recovers most of costs of air traffic services through user fees," the document states. NBAA quickly rapped the Bush Administration for the move: "After more than a year of intense lobbying by the nation's big airlines, the White House has decided to introduce a budget that shifts airline costs to other segments of the industry and gives airlines more control over the air traffic system. NBAA and the rest of the general aviation community will oppose this toxic mix of higher taxes, new fees and airline control. The fact is the current approach to funding and oversight of the aviation system is effective and efficient -- there is no need for radical 'fixes' like those proposed in this budget." More...

The FAA's new budget proposal could mean a fourfold hike in fuel taxes and "severely threatens the freedom of our country's general aviation community," EAA said on Monday. The proposal would create new user fees for FAA services that today are provided free, says Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. "Such a system will not enhance safety, it will not improve services, and it will add barriers for thousands of recreational aviators while being a costly burden to the federal government," he adds. Fees would be imposed for access to busy airports, aircraft certification and registration, and airman medical certificates. AOPA President Phil Boyer concurred with the grim assessment: "It's going to take an all-out fight by the aviation community to defeat this." More...

Amid all the recent protest over the FAA's plans to change its funding structure, EAA has found something to be glad about in the agency's reauthorization bill, which is now heading for debate in Congress. The FAA is asking for permission to release abandoned type certificate or supplemental type certificate data to individuals so that aircraft airworthiness can be maintained. The change was lobbied for by EAA and the Vintage Aircraft Association (VAA). If approved, it would eliminate the dilemma for owners who had to maintain their vintage aircraft to approved data even though that data could not be released due to intellectual-property rules. "This is a major step in the right direction to preserve unique vintage aircraft," said H.G. Frautschy, VAA executive director. More...

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.
News Briefsback to top 

On Monday morning, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced that FAA Chief Operating Officer Russ Chew would be leaving at the end of February. "We were hoping to keep hold on him longer, but this was an opportunity he just couldn't pass up," she told staff at a weekly meeting. Just what that opportunity will be is unclear because Chew said he has a number of options under consideration and has not made a final decision, though he plans to stay in aviation in some capacity. He has served as the agency's COO since June 10, 2003, after a long career at American Airlines as a line pilot and later in management. The FAA's COO oversees the operational and financial performance of the U.S. air traffic control system and the FAA's research and acquisition programs. More...

Cessna Aircraft Company said on Tuesday it delivered 1,239 aircraft last year, keeping its spot as the world's largest manufacturer of general aviation aircraft. Jet sales and overseas sales both grew significantly, said company CEO Jack Pelton. "We also did very well with our single-engine line, with 865 piston aircraft and 67 turboprops delivered," he said. The company delivered 307 Citation jets, up more than 50 over the year before. Almost half of all business-jet orders originated outside the U.S., Pelton noted. The company expects to deliver 375 jets this year, including 40 newly certified Citation Mustangs. Cessna is also finding a market for piston aircraft abroad. This week alone, a flight school in China ordered 72 new Skyhawks and Aero Club of India signed for 11 of the piston singles; all will come with Garmin G1000 glass cockpits. More...

Special Sale at Aircraft Spruce on Sigma-Tek Aeon Dry Piston Air Pumps
The Sigma-Tek 1U478-003 piston air pump's unique design features give virtually maintenance-free operation with unprecedented long life, and it's backed by a full 5-year/2,000-hour warranty. Contains no brittle carbon rotor and vanes to shatter, making this pump highly resistant to damage from foreign objects or excessive loading. Mounting gasket furnished. FAA/PMA-approved. Price reduced from $681.00 to $595.00. Call 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit online.
News Briefsback to top 

The approach lights to Runway 5 at New Bedford (Mass.) Regional Airport were turned off last Friday night when a Socata TBM 700 crashed on approach in rain and fog, killing all three people on board. The lights were functional but had been turned off last August because overgrown vegetation "obscured and distorted" the lights, according to the New Bedford Standard-Times. New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang had asked the FAA in January to deal with the problem so the lights could be turned back on. Lang now has asked the FAA to get the lights back on immediately, but stressed that was to reassure pilots who use the airport. "I have no information to conclude the lights had any bearing on what happened," he told the newspaper. "No information whatsoever." More...

The NTSB's investigation of a King Air B200 that landed safely last Friday after suffering serious structural damage is likely to focus on cockpit checklists and procedures, along with radar data collection. N777AJ was headed from Rogers, Ark., for Stanton, Va., when it encountered complications after suffering a shattered (but not blown out) windshield at 27,000 feet, and ultimately rained parts down on an aeromedical helicopter flying below. The helicopter was not struck by debris and the King Air landed at Cape Giraradeau, Mo., with buckled wing skins and empennage and much of the horizontal stabilizer and elevator missing. The King Air's pilot, Sheldon Stone, said in early reports that the aircraft suffered a shattered left windshield at altitude and he then depressurized the cabin to prevent a blowout. According to the King Air pilot operating manual, the "abnormal checklist" for a cracked windshield specifies a descent to 10,000 feet or other methods to reduce the pressure differential to less than 3 PSI within 10 minutes. After depressurizing the cabin, Stone and his copilot then donned their oxygen masks and turned on the valve, but no oxygen appeared to be forthcoming. The sole-occupant pilots then passed out. Stone, a 4,200 hour ATP-rated pilot, said he awoke at 7,000 feet and recovered the aircraft. More...

If Brokers Say They Cover the Whole Market, Why Can't They Get a Quote from Us?
The fact is brokers can't get a quote from Avemco, the only direct provider of aviation insurance. On top of that, only Avemco lets you talk directly to the aviation underwriter for fast, accurate answers in one simple phone call. Plus, Avemco offers consistent rates and coverage as well as short, easy-to-understand policies. So if a broker tells you he covers the whole market, he's only telling you half the story. Call Avemco at (888) 241-7891 or visit online for the rest of the story.
News Briefsback to top 

It's not often that a brand-new airport opens up, but Houston Executive Airport (HEA) is now ready for landings. Located in Brookshire, west of Houston, the private airport is VFR-only, with a single 5,050-foot runway. HEA will cater to general aviation aircraft and provide FBO services, including fuel. The airport was established by former commercial pilot and Houston native Ron Henriksen. “General aviation airports are disappearing around the country,” said Henriksen. “When I saw the closing of Houston’s Andrau Airport and Austin’s Robert Mueller Airport, I was determined to build this new airport with private investment to ensure its longevity and positively impact the local community.” The significant growth of the Energy Corridor along Interstate 10 was a natural draw for an airport located west of Houston, Henriksen said. More...

For years, ducted fans have been tinkered with as a means to propel vehicles into the air and bring us a step closer to the "flying car" of the old Jetsons cartoons. So far the technology has proved less robust than the vision, but an Israeli company has recently attracted attention from Bell Helicopter for its vertical-takeoff design, which could help rescue people from skyscrapers and carry troops into urban combat zones. Urban Aeronautics' X-Hawk is designed to carry up to a dozen people, take off vertically and fly up to 155 mph for about two hours. Bell hosted a mock-up of the design at its Farnborough Air Show exhibit last summer and has been working with the company to seek government contracts to develop the technology for military use. More...

Avidyne TAS600 — Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
Whether you're flying in a busy terminal area, navigating a long cross-country, or hovering over a city, seeing and avoiding traffic requires having the right information in real time. Avidyne's TAS600 Traffic Advisory Systems, with dual-antenna technology, provide significantly improved signal coverage and target tracking, enabling faster updates and enhanced performance over single-antenna systems, for maximum safety. Starting at $9,990, Avidyne's TAS600 Series makes premium performance, active-surveillance traffic alerting affordable for virtually every general aviation aircraft. Visit Avidyne online.
News In Briefback to top 

F-22 Raptor wins 2006 Collier Trophy…
Comp Air 12 turboprop prototype may fly to Sun 'n Fun in April...
Hartzell now has STC for three-bladed prop for Beech 58 Barons...
FAA audio clip from night of fatal JFK Jr. flight released...
The FAA has updated its Advisory Circular on obstruction lights...
A Florida sheriff plans to fly a UAV despite FAA opposition...
A 737 landing at Denver had to brake hard to miss a snowplow...
Baby-boomer retirements could mean shortages of aviation engineers. 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...

If You Live in One of These States, Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You
Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, and Oklahoma are states where Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed Savvy Owner Seminar. In one information-packed weekend, you will learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details, and to reserve your space, click here.
New On AVwebback to top 



Probable Cause #25: Controlling The Approach
After some bad vectoring by ATC, a pilot tries to salvage a botched approach when the better course of action should have been to go around.

AVweb.com, the world’s best Web site for general aviation news and information, is now even better thanks to a redesigned home page. 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...

Kevin Garrison's New Book Now Available!
Clear Left, I'll Have the Chicken (An Airline Captain Looks at Life) is a collection of columns, humor pieces, satires, piloting advice, and memories from 26 years of airline flying. Now available online.
AVweb Audio Newsback 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 Monday's podcast, AVweb interviews Open Air President Michael Klein. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

Answering 14 Questions Can Help AVweb Serve YOU Better!
AVweb is asking you to take just a few minutes to answer an online survey with only 14 quick questions. The answers to these questions will help AVweb better serve our subscribers' needs and interests. You will not be added to any list or sent unwanted e-mails. Please click here to take the survey.
Question Of The Weekback to top 

A typical single-engine piston airplane burns about 10 gph, which translates to $1.94 per operating hour in federal fuel taxes. Double these amounts for a light piston twin. Given these contributions, do you think that light aircraft operators are "paying their fair share" for use of the airspace system (airport infrastructure, ATC services, etc.)? Tell us what you think. Plus: Your thoughts about the end of the Age-60 era. More...

AVweb's Bookstore, Aviation's Most Complete Bookstore
Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for immediate delivery, either as a book, video, or CD. 100+ titles available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Call (800) 780-4115, or visit online.
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!


Pictures Of The Weekback to top 

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."

It's always a pleasant surprise when we discover a "POTW" submitter who says something the rest of us have been thinking. In this case, it's Nicholas Ruemker of Colorado, who writes, "This is 3sq at sunset from earlier this summer. I like it because the atmosphere brings me back to the roots of aviation, away from thinking about fighter jets, mid-air refueling, and USAF missions." Nicholas may have been talking about his own USAF duties, but many readers have noticed a decidedly military turn in "POTW" submissions over the last few weeks, and have been asking what happened to all the Cessna 172s, the first flights, and the small airports. (Honestly, we've just been inundated with jet pictures of late.)

Thanks for reminding us of the airport sunsets that are familiar to every pilot, Nicholas. For sending in a shot that's sure to resonate with everyone from fighter pilots to ultralight builders, we're naming this our "Picture of the Week." Watch your mailbox for that spiffy new AVweb hat we'll be sending your way! More...

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 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.

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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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