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Volume 13, Number 11b
March 15, 2007
Adam, Cirrus, Columbia, Diamond, Liberty ...
The most respected new aircraft on the market all choose Continental engines. Bring your aircraft up to speed with a genuine Continental engine. Select from factory-new, factory-rebuilt, or factory-backed overhauls by Mattituck. Add value to your aircraft and the peace-of-mind that you're flying behind the best — Continental. Click here for further details.
Top Newsback to top 

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...

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. More...

Aircraft Spruce Carries Custom Bruce's Covers
Canopy Covers protect glass, upholstery, and avionics from the elements, stop leaky seals, and keep the cabin cool. Canopy Covers also prevent vandalism and theft. Bruce's Custom Covers makes canopy/cabin, engine, empennage, propeller, wing, and pitot covers as well as engine inlet plugs for virtually every model of jet, airplane, and helicopter. Covers generally cost $350-$425, are 100% lined, and can be imprinted with your aircraft tail number. Each cover is custom-made to order, and lead time is generally three weeks. For a complete technical sheet (including prices, photos, and information about covers for your aircraft), please call us at 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit Aircraft Spruce online.
News Briefsback to top 

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...

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...

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 Committee. More...

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
Discover the most comfortable headsets in the industry. The in-the-ear Mach 1 weighs less than 1 oz., and the full-size Thirty 3G just under 16 oz. and uses soft conform-foam ear cushions. Try a LightSPEED headset with a 30-day money back guarantee. To order, contact a LightSPEED dealer or call (800) 332-2421 (PST, business hours). For more information and to view a video clip, click here.
News Briefsback to top 

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...

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...

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. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

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 bulletins." More...

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...

Meridian. Mirage. Pressurized Comfort. Pure Performance.
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Excitement Level: Off the charts!
Up to $150,000 in factory incentives on your way to PiperJet ownership. Call Piper at (866) FLY-PIPER for a dealer near you, or go online.
News Briefsback to top 

Boeing's X-48B 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...

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 Medical?
AOPA'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, including AOPA's TurboMedical interactive medical application planner and a listing of FAA-allowed medications. For the best information available about your medical questions, call AOPA's Pilot Information Center at (800) USA-AOPA, or go online.
News In Briefback to top 

Congress may force the FAA to resume negotiations with NATCA...
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...
An aircraft-parts supplier got six years in for selling fraudulent parts to the DoD. 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 Think "Bargains" Are Something Alien to Aviation — Think Again!
Spending hard-earned money on your aircraft and its avionics can be expensive. But don't think good deals aren't available in today's marketplace. Bennett Avionics provides pilots with quality avionics to meet their needs and maintain their budget. Before you buy anywhere else, check out Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295 or online. You'll be glad you did!
New On AVwebback to top 



The Savvy Aviator #42: Don't Worry -- They All Do That
Owners often bring some aircraft squawk to the attention of their A&P mechanic, only to be told that it's nothing to worry about because "they all do that" or "it's the nature of the beast." If you hear those phrases, seek an expert second opinion. 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, ROTAX 912 Engine Pilots & Mechanics!
ASA, a leader in aviation supplies, software, and publications, offers the ROTAX Engine Introduction DVD with tips and techniques for trouble-free operation of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with the ROTAX engine. This DVD also provides an introduction to the specific concepts important to maintaining the 912. Go online for complete details and bonus features!
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 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.


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.
Question Of The Weekback to top 

Plenty of factors inform your decision to choose one FBO over another. This week, AVweb wants to know which single factor has the greatest bearing on your choice. Plus: What level of success did you predict for air-taxi services in your responses to last week's Question? More...

Featured AVweb Marketplace Ad: Biennial Flight Review Flashcards
These flashcards provide more than 290 questions and answers from current the FAR, AIM, and other sources. Includes a comprehensive review of sectional charts, all shown in color. Download immediately for just $12.95 from AJ Publications, LLC.
For contact information regarding this ad and to view more ads, click here.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to North Atlantic Air at KBVY in Beverly, Mass.

AVweb reader Steven Swartz says employees at this FBO kept their cool under difficult weather conditions.

"Four days 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.

AVweb is 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 are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Click here to visit online.
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."

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. 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).

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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