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Volume 13, Number 12a
March 19, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

In its annual forecast, the FAA believes a 9.1-percent increase in piston-single shipments for 2006 is evidence that "sales in the low-end of the market" have been stimulated by a selection of new aircraft models (presumably light sport aircraft), though general aviation activity overall declined in 2006. "GA operations at combined FAA and contract towers dropped 3.0 percent in 2006, with declines in both itinerant and local operations." IFR GA flying also fell by 2.3 percent. Meanwhile, the active general aviation fleet is estimated to have increased 0.9 percent to 226,422, with associated flight hours up 2.1 percent even as the pool of student pilots decreased by 2.7 percent. More...

On Friday morning at the FAA forecast conference in Washington, D.C., AOPA's Randy Kenagy discussed the change in attitude by his association's 410,000 members in its latest survey. Some 66 percent said that the political environment is “not so good,” even when 30 miles from the Bush administration; 80 percent of AOPA members were diverted last year due to a presidential temporary flight restriction (TFR). More than 90 percent would fly less if the FAA wins its proposed hike in fuel tax from 19.4 to 70.1 cents per gallon, while 334,000 AOPA members live “in the shadow” of Class B airspace and are threatened by user fees. Rusty Sachs, executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors, saw plunging numbers. “I have no doubt there are 89,000 U.S. instructor certificates in wallets and desk drawers, but no more than 12,000 are actively training.” Sachs called the outlook “not rosy” to meet demand in emerging markets like China and India. More...

At a very light jet panel at the FAA forecast in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Eclipse Aviation Director of Public Relations Andrew Broom swept aside the myth that VLJ pilots were limited to rich dentists. He said that VLJs are easier to fly than twin-engine pistons, and that the Eclipse 500 was efficient at flight levels “in the 20s,” while its cabin fit and finish matched that of the 7-series BMW sedans. Diamond Aircraft Industries President Peter Maurer said his company's D-Jet targeted the 5-series of BMW with its two-plus-three seating. Maurer defied the conference audience to define "VLJ," saying that, other than flying a new generation of turbofans and an advanced glass cockpit, the weight, thrust, number of engines and cost differed, with more variance ahead as VLJ makers challenge both high-end pistons and downscaled business jets. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Honda Aircraft on Thursday disclosed it forged agreements with GKN Aerospace, Avcorp and Garmin as major component suppliers for the HondaJet. GKN's Tallassee, Ala. facility will supply the jet’s composite fuselage structural subassembly; Olathe,Kan.-based Garmin will provide a state-of-the-art avionics system "specifically tailored" for the HondaJet; and Avcorp of Delta, British Columbia, will build the aluminum wing structural subassembly. "We are pleased to be entering into collaboration with some of North America's top aviation industry suppliers, as we continue to focus on developing an innovative aircraft of the absolute highest quality for our customers," said Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino. On February 9, Honda Aircraft announced plans to establish its world headquarters and jet production plant in Greensboro, N.C. More...

The European Parliament has included in a draft law a measure to expand the powers of the Germany-based European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and work toward uniform safety standards across Europe. The plan would allow EASA more precise power by allowing EASA to impose fines for carriers that break safety rules and function in a capacity that's more similar to the FAA by overseeing air operations, pilot licensing and non-EU airlines flying into Europe. Specific to the fines, the proposal stipulates that they be deducted from EASA's annual budget so they are not used to boost that budget. More...

With the stroke of a pen, the production life of the Boeing 747-400 passenger jet came to an abrupt end last week, but it’s hardly the end of the line for the aircraft family that started the jumbo movement in 1969. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Boeing technically had four more -400s to build but it appears Philippine Airlines changed its order and asked for 777s instead. That brought the 747-400 line symbolically to an end (about 450 were delivered), but there are dozens and perhaps hundreds of other types of 747s on the order books that will keep the folks in Washington state busy for years to come. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Hartzell props will soon be available with factory-installed deicing systems. Until now, aftermarket vendors have built and installed the systems, but Hartzell said it now plans to offer the system on its full range of deiceable props. “The new Hartzell deice components will replace previous, third-party manufactured deice parts, including deicer boots, wire harnesses and slip rings,” the company said. Hartzell claims its own gear is as good or better than the after-market equipment, and it’s offering enhanced warranty protection on the homegrown deice systems. More...

The latest company trying to resume production of Commander piston singles says it will be taking orders for aircraft in two months. The announcement from Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. came after the FAA granted the company Parts Manufacturing Approval (PMA) following a field audit of its new production facilities in Cape Girardeau, Mo. "This is an enormously important milestone for CPAC. It’s like a birthday," CPAC President Joel Hartstone said. " With this grant, CPAC begins life as an FAA regulated manufacturing company.” CPAC was formed by about 50 Commander owners who chipped in to buy the assets of the former manufacturer in 2005. The first goal is to restock the spare parts shelves in the Missouri plant. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Saab Avitronics says it has successfully tested a missile defense system aimed at the civilian market that doesn’t use white-hot magnesium to confuse the heat-seeking heads on Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) missiles. The potential collateral damage from the hundreds of flaming flares used in most military countermeasures has been a stumbling block to their integration on civilian aircraft but Saab says its Civil Aircraft Missile Protection System (CAMPS) changes all that. “The focus of CAMPS is to meet the requirements for civilian, VIP as well as special mission aircraft,” Saab says. “This includes system safety, costs and operational aspects of this type of system which are more pronounced than for the military environment.” More...

APS Emergency Maneuver Training, an Arizona upset recovery training school, says it has developed a single set of in-flight procedures to recover from virtually any uncontrolled flight attitude, outside of a fully developed spin. Called the All-Attitude Upset Recovery Technique, the deceptively simple protocol is aimed at reinforcing the correct, and usually counterintuitive, actions to take when the airplane is doing something that neither the pilot nor manufacturer intended. APS President Paul “B.J.” Ransbury, in a letter to customers, said that while there are numerous factors affecting the successful recovery from those life-changing moments, a decade of experience teaching those skills has shown him and his instructors that there are also some basic similarities. What’s more, he said, the resulting technique works in everything from light singles to heavy transports. “The All-Attitude Upset Recovery Technique Checklist is a logical single-procedure checklist that, when combined with proper knowledge and skill, effectively deals with a wide variety of stalls, upsets, wake turbulence encounters and unusual attitudes encountered in fixed-wing aircraft,” Ransbury said. 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 Briefsback to top 

A veteran British airline captain has surrendered his license after City Star Airways Dornier 328 with 17 passengers on board came within 400 feet of terrain on an aborted sightseeing excursion over the rugged Shetland Islands off Scotland. According to the Shetland Times, Capt. Roger Old clipped his own wings as authorities were preparing to revoke his license. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch reported that Old told investigators he wanted to show his young copilot the scenery as they approached Sumburgh Airport on June 11, 2006. But the weather closed in and, ignoring the “pull up” warning from the terrain avoidance gear, Old did a scud run parallel to a cliff and descended as low as 398 feet above the ocean with a much taller cliff about 600 feet to his left. At one point the copilot considered grabbing the controls, but told investigators he thought he might make the situation worse. They eventually landed uneventfully. More...

Brazilian authorities have recovered only a fraction of about $3 million worth of Brazilian reals looted from the crash site of an unidentified charter aircraft that crashed near Salvador, about 800 miles from Rio de Janeiro. The airplane had been hired by a private security company to move the cash from Petrolina to Salvador. All four people aboard were killed, and police speculate the bags of cash were taken out of the wreck by locals who got to the scene before rescuers. More...

Reason #31 — Look Ma, No Hands
The new Garmin GFC 700 autopilot gives you more hands-free flying control than ever. The flight director is seamlessly integrated into the G1000 glass cockpit and standard on new Skylanes and Stationairs. Letting go never felt so good. For more great reasons, visit CessnaReasons.com.
News In Briefback to top 

Raytheon UAV gets experimental certification…
Training center may convince Diamond to build D-Jet in London…
AD issued on Baron prop feathering gear…
Thomas E. Haueter new director of NTSB Office of Aviation Safety…
Boy Scouts in gear-up landing…
Plane parts wash up on Oregon beach. 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...

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New On AVwebback to top 


Columns|Features|What's New|Calendar

A daylight scud run in a slow airplane is risky enough. This accident reveals how deadly it can be at night in a fast airplane. 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...

Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
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 Ron Lueck of Comp Air. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Expedition Aircraft's Andrew Hamblin; 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 today's news summary, hear about what panelists said at the FAAforecast about general aviation and very light jets, new suppliers forthe HondaJet, Saab's airborne missile defense system, Hartzell'shomegrown prop deicers and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


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FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Rexburg Air Service at KRXE in Rexburg, Idaho.

AVweb reader Scott Brooksby says the FBO's owner bent over backwards to accommodate him.

"I landed last weekend for a mother’s weekend at BYU Idaho. I was fueled quickly, and a courtesy car was offered. The next day was so cold that I could not even get the engines started to take friends flying. Craig Frisby, the FBO owner, put the plane in the hangar overnight, serviced the struts and charged the battery, all at no charge. He met us Sunday afternoon and helped get the airplane out and ready to go. We had a brake failure on taxi out, and he came out immediately to service the brakes. He then waited to make sure we were off OK before going home to his family."

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 

For the last couple of weeks, we've been sharing fun, light-hearted videos of people making things fly. This week, we dip back into the "holy crap!" file for a devastating helicopter accident from Break.com. Thankfully, no one seems to be injured, but this is one harrowing clip, especially for safety-conscious observers. (Click through to watch.) 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 on Pittsburgh (KPIT) Ground working Hooters Air, better known by callsign “Pace,” and a Delta airliner:

Pittsburgh Ground: Delta Eleven Twenty, follow Hooters off your left to Runway Two-Eight Right.

Delta Eleven Twenty: (in a slow southern drawl) Well, I’ve been doin’ that all my life, and it’s only got me in trouble with the wife. 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 Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (bio), Washington Correspondent Roger A. Mola 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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