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FAA AVIATION USER-FEE PLAN FLAWED Representing the general
aviation community during a Senate aviation subcommittee hearing on FAA
reauthorization on Thursday morning, National Business Aviation
Association (NBAA) president and CEO Ed Bolen urged lawmakers to
immediately reject aviation user fees in any form, saying the proposal
advocated by the airlines and FAA would be "disastrous" for the national
aviation system and for businesses in rural area. During testimony, he
maintained that the FAA's user-fee proposal would overthrow a funding
structure that has proven to be "stable, reliable and growing" for more
than 25 years. Bolen pointed out several shortcomings in the FAA's plan:
a $600 million cut in FAA funding; allowing the FAA to go into deep
debt, up to $5 billion, starting in 2013; and diversion of funds for ATC
transformation to create a bureaucracy to assess and collect user fees.
DEBATE GOES TO CONGRESS After about two years of posturing,
the rubber hits the road for the FAAs attempt to radically change
the way it does business this week. On Wednesday, Administrator Marion
Blakey will be in front of the aviation subcommittee of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to defend the agencys
reauthorization proposal. That will be a warm-up for March 21, when
shell be back in front of the committee promoting her vision of a
user-pay system for air traffic control and other services and hefty
fuel tax increases for general aviation. AOPA President Phil Boyer will
testify at the March 21 hearing to fight the proposal, saying its
unnecessary from a financial point of view and will seriously harm GA in
the U.S. More...
AVIATION EDITOR AND WRITER Belvoir Media Group is seeking an
aviation editor/writer to join the staff of our Sarasota-based print and
online magazine division, including Aviation Consumer, Aviation
Safety, IFR, IFR Refresher and Light Plane Maintenance. We're
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TRIMS WORKFORCE After being walloped by weather and bogged
down by bureaucracy,Columbia Aircraft says it has to trim its workforce
by 10 percent tomake ends meet. The Bend, Ore., planemaker announced on
Thursday itwill lay off 59 of its 605 employees because of unforeseen
factorsthat cut the number of deliveries it could make lastyear.
Although sales have remained strong, CEO Bing Lantis said in anews
release that a freak hailstorm last June and a six-month delayin the
certification of its Garmin G1000 panel installation have"hampered
Columbia's ability to operate profitably." The 59 workersgot their pink
slips this week. More...
COPTER CRASH KILLS FOUR Hawaiian tour industry officials have
leapt to the defense ofHeli-USA Airways after the helicopter tour
operator suffered itssecond fatal crash in as many years this week. "I
have everyconfidence in these guys," Mike Stewart, a local tour
companyoperator who books flights with Heli-USA,
the Honolulu Advertiser. "I put my daughteralone on their flight."
Three of seven people aboard the Heli-USAAerospatiale A-Star died in the
crash near Princeville on theHawaiian island of Kauai on Thursday
afternoon. A fourth died on theway to hospital, and the survivors were
critically injured. Among thedead is pilot "Helicopter Joe" Sulak, who
was reported by thenewspaper to have more than 10,000 hours in the
A-Star. TheAdvertiser said Sulak reported unspecified hydraulics
problems abouttwo miles from the airport and the helicopter crashed just
short ofthe Princeville runway. It was the fifth fatal air tour crash
onKauai in four years and the second for Heli-USA. More...
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DRONE IN THE WORKS Israeli Aerospace Industries is working on
an airliner-sized unmanned aerial vehicle capable of carrying 60,000
pounds of freight. And the only reason its focusing on a cargo
plane is that the flying public wont accept a pilotless passenger
plane. Shlomo Tsach, IAIs director of flight sciences, told the Jerusalem Post the technology already
exists to fly passengers without pilots but "the world is not yet ready
to be flown without a pilot at the stick. However, he said, a
study by Boeing suggests theres no such resistance to sending
packages without direct human intervention, so the idea of a pilotless
cargo plane is gaining some traction. At the opposite end of the
spectrum, IAI is also working on a nine-pound solar-powered UAV.
MUSEUM NEEDS HELP TO MOVE B-47 The Kansas Aviation Museum
says it needs a quick $110,000 or an army of well-equipped volunteers to
bring a Cold War relic home. A B-47, the first swept-wing, pure jet
bomber, is no longer welcome at the Oklahoma City fairgrounds, and the
Kansas museum would like to bring it back to Wichita, where it was built
in 1951. It would be great to have the plane, museum
director Teresa Day told The Wichita Eagle. It would definitely
complement the B-29 and the B-52 we already have on display. But
Oklahoma City wants the aircraft, one of only 24 intact B-47s, gone by
the end of April and will scrap it if necessary. We have such a
limited time frame, Im just not sure it can happen, Day
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REGIONAL GROUNDED RegionsAir, which operates regional flights for
Continental Airlines to Cleveland and American Airlines to St. Louis,
has suspended operations to resolve issues with its training policies.
The company was shut down for two days last week and resumed service
last Monday before being shut down again on Thursday. In a news release
quoted by the Marietta, Ohio, Times, RegionsAir said
all planes and pilots were recalled to its home base in Smyrna, Tenn.
"We have been in discussions with the FAA today and will honor the
requests outlined in the Consent Order with the intentions of satisfying
any [and] all requested modifications to our Line Check Airman training
[and] Certification program," Nathan Vallier, director of sales and
marketing, said in the release. The nature of the modifications
wasnt discussed. RegionsAir also didnt say how long it might
be grounded but a news release from American Airlines said flights are
cancelled through March 31. More...
PILOTS MIGHT GET BADGES Air Accident Digest says changes may be made to the
Federal Flight Deck Officer program to encourage more airline pilots to
carry guns in the cockpit. According to the Web site, issuing badges
would allow armed pilots to instantly identify themselves to other law
enforcement officials and establish authority during an incident.
Another change being considered is to allow FFDOs to carry their weapons
when deadheading, instead of the current practice of securing their guns
in lock boxes. The Web site says that its estimated that less than
10 percent of the 90,000 airline pilots have FFDO certification (the
actual numbers are a secret) and suggests the government is interested
in beefing up those ranks to take some of the pressure off the Federal
Air Marshals program. 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.
GOING GREEN, BLAKEY SAYS Civil aviation is doing its bit to
reduce fuel consumption and help the environment, according to FAA
Administrator Marion Blakey. In a speech to a meeting on energy security, Blakey
said she welcomes the Air Forces commitment to run half its fleet
on so-called synthetic fuels by 2015. Synthetic fuels are liquid fuels
produced from coal or natural gas, both of which are plentiful in the
U.S. compared with oil reserves. Blakey said civil aviation is also
looking at synthetic fuels, but she indicated that the biggest reduction
in fuel consumption will come from more efficient engines and aircraft
and more direct routing through use of satellite navigation.
Were taking a comprehensive look with DoD as a
partner at a transformational move to a network centric,
satellite-based endeavor called the Next Generation Air Transportation
System, she said. More...
OPENS CERTIFICATION OFFICE IN CHINA As U.S. aircraft
manufacturers continue to complain about the shortage of FAA inspectors
and certification staff on home turf comes word that the agency is
reaching out to China to speed development of its new regional jet
program. The FAA opened an office in Shanghai last Friday aimed at
funneling U.S. technology into the new ARJ-21, a 70-to-100-seat twinjet
thats expected to fly early next year. About 40 percent of the
aircrafts parts will come from foreign suppliers, many of them
American, and the new office is expected to help smooth that process.
"This is certainly facilitating the exchange of aeronautical products
between the United States and China," John Hickey, head of certification
services for the FAA, told The Associated Press.More...
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THE FLY Russ Chew tries to fix JetBlue Sun Valley
Airport closed April 23 to May 24 Lufthansa contest offers
sneak peek at A380 Ferry pilot still missing New FAA
Chief Counsel named Updated PC-12 passes cold weather
test CompAir 12 expected to fly in early April Premier
named Diamond Aircraft Dealer of the Year. More...
Attention, Cessna Owners and
Pilots! Join the fastest-growing and best association for Cessna Flyers
the Cessna Flyer Association (CFA), since 2004
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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
Pilot Workshop #3: Improving Rudder
Skills Rudder pedals are not meant to be footrests. In this 15
minute workshop, Wally Moran explains the importance of good rudder
skills and how proper coordination improves safety, performance and
TO THE NEW FACE OF AVWEB AVweb.com, the worlds 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...
Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association
(NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year,
NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members
receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero
magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much
more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or
sign up online.
AUDIO NEWS 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 Monday'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.
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When you search for aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete
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AVweb reader Steven Swartz says employees at this FBO
kept their cool under difficult weather conditions.
after we received our just-repainted (and gorgeous) 1980 Warrior, the
Northeast was hit with an ice storm. North Atlantic's superb and
enthusiastic line people moved it into a cozy corner of a heated hangar
to wait out the storm. Moving aircraft for the next several days was
like something out of an old-time Laurel and Hardy movie as the ice was
inches thick all over the taxiways, ramps and parking lot. NAA's crew
never flinched, and more importantly never fell down on the ice. Regular
jet traffic was slowed but not stopped by the storm. Watching these guys
handle expensive hardware on treacherous ground deserves a nomination of
FBO of the week. May can't come soon enough around here!"
OF THE WEEK: RADIO-CONTROLLED F-14 This week, we ask the
question, "Would Top Gun have been as much fun if Tom Cruise had
an RC antenna instead of a stick?" Probably not but it might have
been more exciting than you think, as evidenced by this clip of a scale
model radio-controlled F-14 posted on YouTube
by mwtpt4270. (Click through to watch.) More...
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
and Editor In Chief Chad
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
If you're having
trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd
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