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Volume 13, Number 7a
February 12, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

New rules governing what is broadly known as air tours are easier than expected on commercial operators and tougher than anticipated on so-called charity flights. The final form of the air tour rule released Friday is quite a bit different from the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that was released almost three years ago. Among the biggest changes for commercial operators was the continuation of the so-called 25-mile rule, which allows Part 91 operators to offer sightseeing trips as long as they begin and end at the same airport and don't extend farther than 25 miles from that airport. "Elimination of this provision would have devastated many small businesses and deprived the public of the all-too-rare opportunity to experience flight in a small general aviation aircraft," said National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne. There's more paperwork ahead for all commercial operators, tougher rules on life preservers and helicopter floats but it all seems like stuff the existing operators can live with. The biggest changes appear to be in rules governing fund-raising and other not-for-profit flights. More...

On Friday, Honda Aircraft fulfilled a promise to build the HondaJet in the U.S. by announcing plans to establish its world headquarters and aircraft manufacturing plant in Greensboro, N.C. Aircraft division President and CEO Michimasa Funjino said his company will invest $60 million for the new 215,000-sq-ft headquarters facility and hangar at Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport and a further unspecified dollar amount for an adjacent manufacturing plant. Honda said its new home will be finished in November and promised more details about the production facility's size, scope of operations and construction timetable at a later date. Honda plans to begin delivery of HondaJets to customers in 2010 and currently has orders for "more than 100" of the very light jets. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

AOPA says it has learned at least two groups are vying for the assets of Symphony Aircraft. In a release on Friday, AOPA said a French Canadian group and a group of U.S. investors are both hoping to carry on production of the two-place composite aircraft. AVweb contacted the office of the bankruptcy trustee in Trois Rivieres but he was away from his office. According to AOPA, neither former CEO Paul Costanzo nor the still-unnamed "lead investor" whose withdrawal from the operation led to the bankruptcy are involved with either of the investment groups. More details on the bids are expected after a meeting of the creditors on Feb. 24. More...

They do things the old-fashioned way in Bartlesville, Okla. Instead of weaving a complex fabric of tax breaks, lease discounts and other incentives commonly used to attract industry to a town, the good people of Bartlesville are simply putting cash on the table. For every job created by the new Micco Aircraft plant, the community will cough up $1,000. "They looked at several locations in Oklahoma and they selected Bartlesville," Jim Fram, president of Bartlesville Development Corp., told the Tulsa World. Micco, which was formerly a project of the Seminole Tribe in Florida, estimates it will add about 54 people to the payroll over the next three years, so Bartlesville City Council set aside $60,000 to cover the incentive costs. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, the air traffic controller on duty at the time of a midair collision near Chicago in February of 2000 admitted in court last week he didn’t know precisely where the two crash airplanes were when he was directing them on approach to Waukegan Airport. Waukegan didn’t have radar at the time of the crash, which killed local radio celebrity Bob Collins, his passenger Herman Luscher and student pilot Sharon Hock in the other plane. Controller Gregory Fowler told the court he should have asked for more precise position reports from both pilots before clearing Collins to land behind Hock. Collins’ Moravan (Zlin) Z242 hit Hock’s Cessna 172 from behind and both aircraft crashed immediately. The victims’ families are suing the federal government, claiming the FAA is responsible for the crash even though Waukegan is a contract tower. More...

The FAA says air traffic control staffing levels are actually better than they are portrayed in the FAA Administrator’s Fact Book, but the National Air Traffic Controllers Association maintains the agency remains far behind in keeping the consoles occupied. An FAA spokesman told GovExec.com that figures in the fact book showing a net decline of almost 500 controllers in the past three years are wrong. It’s actually about 300. In the meantime, according to NATCA, senior controllers are leaving at the rate of about three a day, many of them members of the retirement bubble that will create a mass exodus of controllers over the next 10 years. And while the FAA insists it has the staffing situation under control, NATCA disagrees. More...

The pilot of a Cessna 182 that crashed near Delta, Colo., a year ago had smoked pot within three hours of the crash and “was impaired by its effects at the time of the accident,” according to an NTSB report that was released in October and reported last week in Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Pilot Glen Harcourt and passengers Tim Hackett and Bolling Barton Willse died when the plane hit a power line before crashing in a field. Witnesses said they saw the airplane “buzz the ranch” that was its intended destination before clipping the line. Autopsies on the passengers showed neither had any drugs or alcohol in their systems, according to the newspaper. More...

Aviation Consumer Gives Thumbs-Up to the Pilot Insurance Center (PIC)
"We think that an agency that specializes in insurance for pilots — and Pilot Insurance Center seems like a good bet — will save you money, time and find you a top-ranked company in the bargain." (Aviation Consumer, February 2007 issue.) Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 for a quote, or visit online.
News Briefsback to top 

The Barnstable Patriot says results of an audit of the finances of Barnstable Airport in Massachusetts could let the air out of a lawsuit by a company challenging the local airport commission’s monopoly on fuel sales. Rectrix Commercial Aviation Services, which opened a $6.5 million FBO at Barnstable in 2005, claims revenues from the government-owned fuel service are being illegally diverted to other departments outside the airport in violation of the airport’s grant agreements with the FAA. But the FAA’s review of the finances at the airport says that while some forms were filled out incorrectly, the money is being handled properly. More...

Well you never know who your friends are, and the aviation alphabet groups can add the League of Rural Voters to the growing list of organizations opposed to the Bush administration’s plans for reorganizing the FAA. In a statement issued last week, League President Neil Ritchie described GA as the “lifeline to rural communities” and says the mix of user fees and tax increases contained in the package will force many operators to ground their light aircraft, reminding the government of just how useful that fleet can be in times of trouble. "General aviation played a crucial role in efforts to evacuate Hurricane Katrina survivors and continues to play an important role in our preparedness for future disasters," Ritchie noted. The group is even more irritated about what the plans might do to airline service in the hinterlands. More...

The White House has come to the defense of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she faced a barrage of criticism over her limited transportation options home to San Francisco. Since she’ll take over the Oval Office if the president and vice president somehow become incapacitated, the thinking in Washington is that she should have a secure, nonstop ride home in a military aircraft. Among the military passenger planes that fit that bill is the C-32, a Boeing 757 decked out with 42 business-class seats. Now Pelosi says she’s just as happy to fly commercial, but the administration clearly thinks otherwise. Junior Republicans seized on the perceived wastefulness of her use of a 757 in a display of legislative fervor that had even White House staff shaking their heads. More...

Oregon Aero Defines Aviation Upgrades
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News Briefsback to top 

It’s always best to take your time on a model project, but a British man’s admittedly “obsessive” attention to detail kept him working on one project for 11 years. And does it ever show. David Glen of Whaddon finished an almost unbelievably faithful one-fifth scale model of a Spitfire Mk I late last year, and it’s so good that it’s on display at the Royal Air Force Museum. In fact, it was an offer from the museum to house the finished model that Glen credits with driving him to finish it when he was ready to quit from the sheer strain of the effort. Glen worked from scratch, fabricating each part by hand from drawings and photographs obtained at museums. More...

Any landing you can walk (or swim) away from may be a good one but it seems unlikely that Nor Azlan Yazid's ditching technique will make it into Malaysian Airlines' procedure book. The 25-year-old student in the airline's training program was on a solo training flight when his Diamond DA40 developed an unspecified engine problem over water about two nautical miles south of Palau Aman. After radioing distress calls and circling briefly to check his options, the young pilot decided on an unorthodox, but ultimately successful, course of action. Witnesses told Bernama.com that as the aircraft neared the water, Yazid managed to get out of the aircraft just as the plane hit. Restaurant owner Abdul Halim Ayob said he spotted the aircraft circling overhead: "I rushed to have a closer look and saw the pilot at the door of the aircraft as it was coming down but he managed to jump out just before it nose-dived into the water," he told reporters Friday. The DA40 doesn't have a door, but a forward-opening canopy, so it's unclear just how he got out of the plane. He was picked up, unhurt, by a nearby fisherman. More...

A six-year-old Hanford, Calif., girl was the first to take advantage of a partnership between Angel Flight West and iFly, a fractional ownership group that splits Columbia 350 aircraft. iFly co-founder and Angel Flight member Erik Lindbergh announced last week that iFly will donate 20 hours of flight time per year for each member of the fractional to Angel Flight West to help people from rural areas get to specialized medical care. “Those living in rural areas or needing specialized care that can only be found in a few locations face a real challenge,” Lindbergh said. "The speed, safety, utility and comfort of our aircraft lend themselves well to these types of flights, and our membership is very supportive of the organization." More...

New from Aeromedix! Doug Ritter RSK Mk3™ Fixed-Blade Survival/Utility Knife
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News In Briefback to top 

Some approach lights back on at New Bedford…
G550 made its mark on FlightAware…
Coast Guard pilot won AOPA Cherokee Six…
USAF Initial Flight Screening center opened. 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...

WingX 2.0 Now Available — With NACO Approach Charts, SmartTaxi™, Online Weather, and Podcasts!
Hilton Software LLC has just released WingX 2.0 for the Pocket PC — now with approach charts, weather images, podcasts, N-number search, helicopter W&B, and SmartTaxi™ to help prevent runway incursions. Of course, this is in addition to WingX's great Weight and Balance, Route Planning, FARs, color-coded weather reports, and superb E6B capabilities. Excellent A/FD with auto-dial. WingX is now GPS-enabled! Learn more and download WingX at HiltonSoftware.com.
New On AVwebback to top 



CEO of the Cockpit #67: Age is a Four-Letter Word
The new possibility of flying until age 65 has made for ambivalent responses from airline pilots, including AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit.


AVMAIL: FEB. 12, 2007


AVmail: Feb. 12, 2007
Reader mail this week about the King Air depressurization and ATC staffing, and lots of concern about user fees. 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. 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...

Attention, Cessna Owners and Pilots!
Join the fastest-growing and best association for Cessna Flyers — the Cessna Flyer Association (CFA), since 2004 providing same-day parts locating, faster answers to technical questions, an informative monthly magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual gatheringseminars, member discounts, and more for only $39 yearly. The CFA is located in the Blue Hangar on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ) in Waupaca, Wisconsin, just 35 nm NW of Oshkosh. For more info, visit CessnaFlyer.org.
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 NBAA's Ed Bolen. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Open Air's Michael Klein; Air Excursions' Cable Wells; Stephen Brown; 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. In today's news summary, hear about the new air-tour rule, Honda setting up shop in North Carolina, the fight over bankrupt Symphony Aircraft's intellectual property, ATC staffing levels and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. 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 Avionics at (800) 653-7295, or visit online. It's not rocket science, just good business!
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to St. Charles Flying Service at K3SQ in St. Charles, Mo.

AVweb reader Nick Ruemker said the FBO helps to make flying fun again.

"St. Charles Flying service is by far my favorite FBO I have experienced. The staff is always striving to go above and beyond to help anyone learn to fly and enjoy flying. It is a small business made of people who enjoy flying and the atmosphere that it brings to a small airport. This FBO is a great place to hang out and do some hangar flying or to just walk in and see who wants to go flying. Their prices are the lowest I have ever seen after flying in the Seattle, Denver/Colorado Springs and St. Louis areas. I would absolutely recommend this FBO to anyone who wants to enjoy the process of learning to fly and enjoy flying afterwards."

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 

This week's video is an impressive slideshow of C-141s put together by Mike Novack of C-141 Heaven. The video celebrates the careers of 141s and (according to Mike's blog) was put together after last May's retirement ceremony for one of the last flying specimens. (Set to the music of Johnny Cash's "I've Been Everywhere.") 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.
The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

This comes from a search and rescue pilot at Canadian Forces Base in Bagotville, Quebec. It happened late one night during bad weather, as heard over the tower radio:

Helicopter pilot: Roger, I'm holding at 3,000 feet over the beacon.

Second voice: (Panic in voice) No, you can't be doing that...I'm holding at 3,000 feet over that beacon.

Helicopter pilot: (Short pause) You idiot, you're my copilot. 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 Editor Russ Niles (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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