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Volume 13, Number 10a
March 5, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

In a letter sent to customers late last week, Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn admitted that the start-up aircraft manufacturer is having production problems. "It is natural for a new airplane company to experience growing pains as it transitions from development to a predictable production rate. However, our journey has introduced far more challenges than we anticipated," he said. "As a result, the 2007 Eclipse 500 production schedule has slipped," though he didn't elaborate on what the rate would be. Raburn reiterated that the production issues "relate to the manufacturing process, and are not founded in Eclipse 500 design flaws. At their core, these are issues with internal processes and staffing, although parts shortages and quality problems have absolutely contributed to the delay." The company chief said one of his strategies is to bring in experienced automotive production leaders, including the recent appointment of Todd Fierro, a former Ford Motor Company plant manager, as Eclipse's vice president of manufacturing. More...

The families of former New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger claim the crash of their Cirrus SR20 into a Manhattan apartment building was caused by a “catastrophic failure of the flight control system.” A statement released by Todd Macaluso, the lawyer representing the families of Lidle and Stanger, claims that FAA and NTSB data show that Cirrus aircraft have “a history of aileron failures” and “there have been other accidents involving flight control failures, several of which resulted in deaths.” The suit also names Teledyne, Hartzel Propeller, S-Tec, Honeywell and Justice Aviation. The NTSB has not yet determined a cause for the Oct. 11 crash, but an update to its preliminary report released in early November focuses on the role of a 13-knot crosswind in the accident and makes no mention of control anomalies. Cirrus has declined comment on details of the crash investigation. New York television station NY1 says the cause of the crash will determine whether Lidle’s family gets a $1 million insurance payout from Major League Baseball. Meanwhile, the owner of an apartment 13 floors above the impact point is suing Lidle’s family for $7 million, claiming the crash ruined his home. More...

This year's edition of the Helicopter Association International's annual convention, Heli-Expo 2007, concluded Saturday afternoon at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.. The showroom floor hosted more than 500 exhibitors and 35 helicopters on display. According to HAI, exhibitors reported high levels of activity at their booths, and vendors were able to interact with thousands of consumers on the floor during the three-day event. The association doled out several “Salute to Excellence” Awards at a dinner celebration over the weekend. Heli-Expo was also a platform for vendors and manufacturers to announce new products. Robinson Helicopter said it is developing the five-place R66 Turbine powered by the 300-shp Rolls-Royce 300, which itself was unveiled on Friday. Details are scant on the R66, but it is expected to enter service in the 2010 timeframe and compete with the Bell 206 JetRanger. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Jacksonville, Fla.’s city ordinance against building or repairing aircraft on residential property will either be repealed or substantially rewritten thanks to a successful lobby campaign by local pilots and EAA. At a meeting last week, the sponsor of the controversial law, council member Lake Ray, is reported by EAA to have admitted the law was flawed. "It could not have gone any better," said Milford Shirley, who organized the opposition to the law. "Our strategy was to show the inequity of restricting aircraft homebuilding as opposed to other hobby-type pursuits that aren't as regulated, and it worked." More...

EAA has joined a legal battle that would allow access to drawings and technical data for a 70-year-old aircraft that, for some reason, the current holder of those documents doesn’t want to release. At issue is the Fairchild 45, a five-seat touring plane, of which only 17 were built. The Fairchild Corporation, which was formed in 1990 and claims rights to the data, has consistently refused requests by Brent Taylor, executive director of the Antique Airplane Association, for access to the documents. So far, the FAA is backing Fairchild’s request to keep the data private, even though, according to EAA, there’s some question over whether the company has the legal right to the data. More...

Transport Canada’s plan to transfer some safety oversight and inspection responsibility to the country’s airlines, along with an aggressive cost-cutting regime, are being criticized by a prominent safety expert. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Virgil Moshansky, who headed a commission of inquiry into a 1989 Air Ontario accident that killed 24 people, told a House of Commons committee looking at changes to the Aeronautics Act that conditions are ripe for another airline disaster. “I certainly think it’s on the horizon, especially if this oversight divesting is allowed to proceed,” Moshansky said. “Today, 18 years after Dryden, history is repeating itself, only worse. Cost-cutting is again in vogue at Transport Canada and has been for some time,” he told the committee. Transport Canada is proposing an overhaul of the safety inspection system that would put more onus on the airlines and result in audits being conducted only on operations thought to be at higher risk. Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon rejected the criticism and said safety will be enhanced with the new system. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The National Business Aviation Association is asking members (and presumably anyone else who might be affected) to write the mayor and council of Centennial, Colo., to oppose a plan to build 1,600 homes less than half a mile from the busy runways at Centennial Airport (KAPA). A developer is asking the city to annex property within the airport's restricted development area and rezone it to allow the houses, trails, recreation areas and a retail center. "The project would severely affect the airport's long-term economic impact on the city and county, as well as create the environment for numerous noise complaints," NBAA says in a letter to members. There's not much time. The matter is on the agenda for a March 5 meeting. More...

Mexico hopes to be the next big thing in aerospace manufacturing, thanks to what one analyst says is a 30-percent cost advantage over the U.S. At a conference in Dallas last week, Mexican government official Eduardo Solis said Bombardier will be building regional jets in his country by 2011 and that the company’s parts plant there recently shipped a fuselage to the current assembly plant in Canada. "Mexico's aeronautical industry is hot today," Solís told the Dallas Morning News. However, Bombardier spokesman Marc Duchesne told the newspaper the company hasn’t yet made up its mind to build aircraft in Mexico, although it is considering it. "We may one day, but it's way too soon to say that," he said. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The state of Georgia is expected to adopt a plan that would put its entire fleet of aircraft under a single agency to reduce costs and increase efficiency. And, according to an Associated Press report, among the Georgia Aviation Authority’s first tasks will be to chop the existing fleet of 74 aircraft by about 20 percent, but purchases and charters are envisioned to modernize the fleet. The aircraft perform divergent roles, ranging from firefighting and law enforcement to training flight students at a university, but the state figures that having them all under one administrative authority will streamline maintenance and training. More...

The FAA is proposing $75,000 in fines for alleged maintenance violations on the state of North Dakota’s three aircraft, including its King Air B200 that’s regularly used to fly the governor and other dignitaries. The Bismarck Tribune says North Dakota is fighting the assessment and contends that the aircraft are properly maintained although it did “voluntarily” ground its Piper Cheyenne for more than two weeks last year when it was shown that unspecified engine tests hadn’t been carried out. On the King Air, inspectors allegedly discovered that an air data computer had been replaced without the required calibration and testing. A damaged prop and oil leak were found in the rear engine of the state’s Cessna 337. "We see all these events as serious events," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Tribune. However, the state, so far, sees them as “allegations” and has hired a lawyer to fight them. More...

Reason #31 — Look Ma, No Hands
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News Briefsback to top 

In a 4-3 vote, the Blaine, Wash., city council voted last month to close the local airport, but supporters are continuing to try and save it. Although the same council voted in October to keep the facility open, according to AOPA, they wanted the FAA to kick in the full $16 million needed for improvements all at once. AOPA says that was an unrealistic request. In any case, the FAA only came up with $500,000, and the gavel came down on the airport at a meeting Feb. 26. And since the airport has never used federal money, an important hammer often used to protect airports from predatory developers and indifferent city councils is not available. More...

A British man who describes himself as “blind as a bat” intends to fly an ultralight from Britain to Australia later this year, following the route of a 1919 air race through Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Miles Hilton-Barber, who crossed the English Channel in an ultralight equipped with voice annunciating instruments in 2003, will tackle the 15,000-mile trip on Monday. He’s hoping to raise about $2 million for Seeing Is Believing, a charity that works to prevent blindness in Third World countries. Hilton-Barber will be accompanied by a sighted pilot. More...

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
News In Briefback to top 

GAO asked to study weather forecaster withdrawal…
Hawaii asked to exempt aviation mogas from ethanol…
Hawking to try weightlessness…
China plans Tibetan airport at 13,000 feet.

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...

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New On AVwebback to top 



Leading Edge #2: Standard Operating Procedures
SOPs provide middle-of-the–envelope safety...and the basis for more advanced flying.


What's New for March 2007This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you Rotax training classes, multimedia courses, a dictionary, a Mode S transponder and more. More...



AVmail: March 5, 2007
Reader mail this week about airport problems and aging pilots, and a lot of discussion of the DFW fuel emergency fiasco. More...

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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 LoPresti's R.J. Siegel. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; B-29 restoration program manager Cliff Gaston; NBAA's Ed Bolen; Alaska pilot Cable Wells; 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.; and NATA President Jim Coyne. In today's newscast, hear about the highlights of Heli-Expo2007, production problems looming at Eclipse Aviation, lawsuits flyingin wake of the Cory Lidle crash, Jacksonville reconsidering its ban onbuilding kit airplanes in garages and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

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FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Premier Jet at KCRQ in Carlsbad, Calif.

AVweb reader Douglas Roberson said the staff gets what it takes to have a successful FBO.

"When I arrived they gave me the red carpet treatment and parked me right up front and met me when my door opened, with a friendly smile and a welcome. Then the service began: they asked me what I needed for my overnight, and within a few minutes they had me a hotel room and a ride for me. The next morning they picked me up, without a phone call, at the time I requested. When I arrived, my aircraft was positioned up front ready to load. They treated me as if I was flying a jet. They get it!! They know with the advent of the very light/personal jets that a lot of their future customers will be buying jet-A. But in my opinion I believe the staff truly desires to treat there customers the way they themselves would like to be treated."

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!


If You Have a Calendar Event, AVweb Wants to Hear from You!
AVweb's no-cost Calendar of Events is available to everyone who has an event to post! Remember, over 160,000 subscribers turn to AVweb for their news. Make sure they know about your upcoming event: Post it online!
Video Of The Weekback to top 

Our latest "Video of the Week" comes to us from an AVweb reader who writes, "For those that know what FLIR is, I have a video you need to see. This is an F-16 on a visual landing to Aspen, Colorado at night. The right half of the view is the pilot's normal visual path to the runway during darkness — in other words, totally black. The left side of the screen is the Forward Looking Infrared [FLIR], which paints the heat signature of the outside terrain for pilots so we can see at night as though it were daytime. ... You have to love FLIR ... takes all the fun out of night VFR!" More...

The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

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

Overheard while flying between Athens, Ga. and Charleston, S.C.:

Bizjet 123: Approach we just flew through the localizer. Can you vector us around for another attempt — early turn in?

Augusta Approach: Sorry about that. I was on the land line coordinating with Center and the guy just kept talking and talking and talking. I couldn’t get him off the phone.

Bizjet 123: Yeah, I understand. Sometimes I can’t get my wife off the phone, either.

Approach: Well, she must be working at Atlanta Center then. 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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