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GIANT CASH REGISTER IN THE SKY?
U.S. Rep. James Oberstar,
D-Minn., characterized the FAA's proposed user-fee-based funding plan as
"a giant cash register in the sky" at a House Transportation Committee hearing on Wednesday
morning. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told the committee that a change from
a ticket- and fuel-tax-backed Aviation Trust Fund to a user-fee
structure is vital to unlocking the gridlock in the skies. "It's my firm
belief that our status-quo financing structure cannot deliver the
NextGen system we need, when and where we need it," she said. The
committee greeted her testimony with a fair amount of skepticism, though
Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., was somewhat receptive -- earning a comment from
a fellow congressman that "he's been drinking the FAA's Kool-Aid." Rep.
Robin Hayes, R-N.C., asked Blakey if the proposal would hurt general
aviation, and she replied, "General aviation would not be harmed.... All
we're asking for is basic equity -- the airline passengers are
overpaying for use of the airspace." More...
CAPITAL INVESTMENT (IN ACRONYMS)
The FAA's spending goals for
2008 through 2012 have been outlined in the FAA Capital Investment Plan
that provides spending roadmaps for Next Generation Air Transportation
System technology. Modernization is the key, according to the FAA, and
systems upgrades are a focus. System Wide Information Management (SWIM)
and ADS-B "are highlighted" in the plan and the En Route Automation
Modernization (ERAM) program "is acknowledged." Effective implementation
of SWIM and broad use of ADS-B will require replacement of many
components of the current en route automation system. "The FAA has
replaced the original backup system, which sustains operations if the
main en route automation system fails, with a system called EBUS (en
route back up system)." The En Route Communications Gateway (ECG)
replaced a support computer system, and is now operational.
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ACCIDENT NUMBERS AT 40-YEAR LOW
The numbers of
accidents and fatal accidents in general aviation in 2006 were the
lowest in the 40 years that the NTSB has been keeping records, the
Safety Board said on Tuesday. However, the accident rate for GA has been
relatively stable since 1990. The overall decline in numbers is mainly
due to a decrease in flight activity, which has been on a downward
trend. Overall hours flown have dropped about 20 percent since 1990, the
NTSB said, while the accident rate has stayed at about 7.5 accidents per
100,000 flight hours. In 2006, there were 1,515 GA accidents, 303 of
them fatal, and 698 fatalities. The GA accident rate is the highest for
all civil aviation activity, the NTSB said. More...
FATAL HELICOPTER CRASH IN HAWAII
Just three days after four people died in a helicopter crash while
sightseeing in Kauai, another air-tour helicopter has crashed, killing a
60-year-old California man and seriously injuring a couple from New
Hampshire and a woman from California. The pilot was treated for minor
injuries. The Hughes 500 helicopter, operated by Inter-Island, was
flying low near the coast when witnesses said there was a loud bang and
some parts, including the tail rotor, fell into the ocean. The
helicopter hit trees and a fence as it spiraled down into an open field.
The NTSB has said some parts were recovered, but it was unclear if a
bird strike had occurred. This was the sixth fatal air-tour crash on
Kauai in four years. More...
NAMES 2007 SAFETY AWARD WINNERS
This year's winners of the
FAA General Aviation safety awards have been announced. Recipients are
Mike Gaffney of Lake Saint Louis, Mo., CFI of the Year; Paul New of
Jackson, Tenn., AMT of the Year; Jerry Luttrull of Riverside, Calif.,
Avionics Technician of the Year; and Cheryl Ann De Filippo of Deltona,
Fla., FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year. All four will receive
an all-expense-paid trip to EAA AirVenture 2007 in Oshkosh, Wis., to
accept their awards from FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in a ceremony
at Theater in the Woods. "These awards highlight the important role
played by these individuals in promoting aviation education and flight
safety," said JoAnn Hill, chair of the General Aviation Awards
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AIRCRAFT WORKS EXPANDS LSA PRODUCTION
Czech Aircraft Works,
which was among the first companies to enter the U.S. Light Sport
Aircraft (LSA) market, has been expanding rapidly over the last year and
has more growth plans in the works. CEO Chip Erwin told the Czech
Business Weekly that he expects his company will be the top producer
of LSAs by 2009. "[With the investment] in the last six months, we
leapfrogged the competition by a large margin," Erwin said. Last summer,
Erwin sold 49.45 percent of the company to an investment firm for about
$2.5 million and used much of that cash to buy a 100,000-square-foot
manufacturing plant and equip it with new machinery and production
technology. Erwin said he plans to buy a second building next door later
this year, doubling the space. More...
REVISES CONTINENTAL ENGINE AD
The FAA announced Monday it has
found an error in an airworthiness directive (AD) for Continental
GTSIO-520 series engines targeting the starter adapter assembly and/or
crankshaft gear on about 4,200 engines. As a result, the FAA is
superseding that AD with a
new proposed AD and expects that 25 percent of the
affected engines will require an unscheduled "rough-running engine"
inspection and "about half of the engines will require the bushing and
TCM service kit." More...
MILITARY AIRPLANES PROTECT AFRICAN WILDLIFE
In the wide, wild
spaces of Africa, it's tough to enforce the laws that protect wildlife
from poaching. But that effort is getting a boost thanks to retired
military aircraft that have been donated by several countries to help
the cause. So far, eight airplanes have been donated by Israeli, U.S.
and French aviation agencies, with more in the works, MediaLine
reports. Bill Clark, chief of Interpol's Working Group on Wildlife
Crime, has led an ad hoc group of volunteers to restore the retired
aircraft and raise funds for the project. Poaching is still a major
threat to elephant and rhinoceros populations in Africa. Interpol is now
sponsoring the restoration of an Israel air force Super Cub, which will
be delivered to Kenya in the next year for use in poacher patrol.
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WANTS WEATHER RADIOS BACK IN TOWERS
The FAA should lift its
ban on weather radios in air traffic control towers, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)
said on Tuesday. According to the controllers union, the radios
provide warnings about severe weather and tornadoes that are not
available otherwise. The radios were banned under new work rules imposed
on the union when their last contract expired. "It's really just amazing
to me that we have to even continue to ask this from an agency that says
it is committed to aviation safety. It's such a no-brainer," NATCA
President Patrick Forrey said in a news release. "Don't believe it when
the FAA tells you we have every possible weather tool at our fingertips.
There is no tool available to tower controllers that can detect a
tornado within a thunderstorm. We must have either a weather radio or
access to the Emergency Alert System to get the latest weather
ENGINE FOR FALCON 7X WINS APPROVAL
Pratt & Whitney Canada's
new PW307A engine has received type certification from the European
Aviation Safety Agency to power the Dassault Falcon 7X business jet.
This achievement marks the final step in the PW307A certification
process, P&WC said this week. "This is great news and a major milestone
for Pratt & Whitney Canada and the Falcon 7X," said Michael Perodeau,
P&WC spokesman. "The Falcon 7X is the first three-engine and
longest-range business jet we have ever powered, and we are very pleased
with the success of the program." P&WC is responsible for the Falcon 7X
integrated powerplant system, which includes three PW307A engines and
their nacelle systems. More...
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BLENDED-WING EXPERIMENT READY TO LAUNCH
blended-wing-body (BWB) experimental aircraft is just about ready for
its first test flight, Business 2.0 reported on Tuesday. The scale model,
with a wingspan of 21 feet, should take to the air by the end of this
month at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The aircraft has long
been under development in a joint program involving NASA, the U.S. Air
Force and Boeing's Phantom Works. The blended-wing design creates an
aerodynamic shape that doesn't require a conventional tail, reducing
drag and dramatically improving fuel efficiency. A military version of
the aircraft could be on the market by 2022, with a passenger version
flying by 2030. More...
PLANS TO BUILD LARGE AIRLINER BY 2020
Airbus and Boeing may
soon have to cope with a third competitor in the global market for large
passenger jets. An official in China said on Monday the country plans
to fund the development of its own "jumbo" jetliner, which could carry
200 passengers. The airplane should be on the market by 2020. "From a
technical standpoint, it is realistic," Richard Pinkham, an analyst with
the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, told The Associated Press. He said the 13-year time frame
should allow plenty of time to develop the necessary infrastructure.
China already is building regional jets, and plans to start test flights
next year of a mid-size commercial jet. More...
Have a Concern About Your
's Pilot Information Center
has a staff of medical
specialists who can answer basic medical questions or guide you through
the appeal of a medical certification denial. Research medical questions
and find guidance about medical conditions on AOPA
's web site,
's TurboMedical interactive medical application
planner and a listing of FAA-allowed medications. For the best
information available about your medical questions, call AOPA
Pilot Information Center at (800) USA-AOPA
Congress may force the FAA to resume negotiations
Nominations sought for the Scott Crossfield educator of
the year award...
College students in Israel hope to break a world
record for solar-powered flight...
A British Airways pilot has won a
three-year fight to be allowed to work part-time...
supplier got six years in for selling fraudulent parts to the DoD.
If You Think "Bargains" Are Something
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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...
Attention, ROTAX 912 Engine Pilots &
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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 Andrew Hamblin of Expedition
Aircraft. And AVweb's podcast
index includes interviews with Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn;
NBAA's Ed Bolen; 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; Bill
Lear, Jr.; and NATA President Jim Coyne. In Monday's news
summary, hear about how AOPA is fighting userfees, layoffs at
Columbia Aircraft, another helicopter air-tour crashin Hawaii, a
pilotless cargoliner and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll
hear things you won't find anywhere else.
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OF THE WEEK: NORTH ATLANTIC AIR
AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to North Atlantic Air at KBVY in Beverly,
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!"
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
The AVweb Bookstore, The Most Complete
Aviation Bookstore Anywhere
Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for
immediate delivery as books, videos, or CDs. 100+ titles
available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you
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worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore
Click here to visit online
OF THE WEEK
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."
There's an extra hour of daylight at
POTW headquarters this week, thanks to the changes in U.S. Daylight
Saving Time. Good thing, too we're getting enough photos that we
can use the extra hour! Enrique
Morales of Tegucigalpa (Honduras) captured an American
Airlines pilot "successfully land[ing] the largest aircraft capable of
land[ing] here" on a rather tight-looking short final.
THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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
and Glenn Pew (bio).
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
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