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The U.S. House of Representatives aviation subcommittee on Wednesday held another in its recent series of hearings about the FAA
and its plans for funding the future airspace system. AOPA President Phil Boyer was there and said the FAA has spent the last two years "manufacturing a funding crisis" to justify a change to user
fees. He asked the committee to reject the FAA's funding proposal. "Then we can all get on with the real
issues at hand through a productive, meaningful discussion on how to strengthen the nation's airports and modernize ATC," he said. Ed Bolen, CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, also
spoke. "This proposal is an effort by the FAA and the airlines to reduce Congressional authority and move toward commercialization," Bolen said. "No one should mistake aviation user fees [for] a modernization plan." Helicopter Association International President Matthew Zuccaro also testified. He told the committee the FAA's proposed financing program would
have an "extremely detrimental economic impact on HAI members," and said Congress should continue to provide a general fund contribution to the FAA under the current funding system to pay for Next
Generation modernization efforts. On Thursday, the subcommittee will review FAA operational and safety programs.
National Air Transportation Association President Jim Coyne spoke candidly about the FAA's proposed reauthorization bill at a
regulatory and legislative panel on Wednesday afternoon at the Aviation Industry Expo in Orlando, Fla. "It would be a misnomer to just call it a user fee-fight," he noted. "The broader context is the
FAA reauthorization, which happens every four or five years, and the trust fund reauthorization, which occurs about every 10 years." Both reauthorizations are aligned this year, and Coyne said the
White House planned to take advantage of this situation to push forward its user-fee agenda. However, last fall congressional control shifted to the Democrats, "who don't have any interest in doing
any favors for the Republicans," according to Coyne. While it appears the White House won't be able to jam through the FAA reauthorization in its current form, "the airlines still want to shift taxes
to general aviation's shoulders." NATA's take, he said, "is that it's not right to grow one segment of aviation at the expense of another." Coyne believes that a 50-cent fuel tax increase would kill
GA, while an eight or nine-cent increase would have "no impact."
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Dubai Aerospace Enterprise has proposed a $1.5 billion deal
to buy Landmark Aviation, an FBO network with 35 locations, and Standard Aero,
a provider of overhauls and maintenance for turbine engines. The proposed deal has raised some eyebrows in Washington, where the deal is expected to be subjected to scrutiny. A proposal from Dubai
interests last year to manage some U.S. ports was derailed amid security concerns. DAE is a fairly new company, established in February 2006, with plans to expand into all sectors of aerospace over
the next 10 years -- from training to manufacturing to aircraft leasing and maintenance -- investing $15 billion and employing 30,000 workers. It's owned by the state and chaired by Sheikh Ahmed bin
Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Emirates airline group. Robert Johnson, formerly the CEO of Honeywell Aerospace, was named CEO last summer. If the deal goes through, Johnson told Bloomberg News on Tuesday, "We have no intention of moving them [Landmark and Standard Aero] from
where they are. But as the market becomes more global we think there's an opportunity to extend them into regions of growth,'' such as Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The deal would be subject to
congressional review, but Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who led the opposition to the Dubai Ports deal, told the
Financial Times: "This purchase is not as much of a security risk as Dubai Ports World, but because it deals with maintenance of aircraft, it certainly raises security questions." According to
Bloomberg, Schumer also said that following proper security reviews, "the deal is unlikely to have problems in Congress."
The FAA needs to communicate its air traffic policies relating to staffing in writing, according to a report from the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General (OIG) that was released last week. The report was
conducted to consider the staffing issue as it related to the August 2006 crash of a Comair regional jet in Lexington, Ky. According to the report, the FAA had issued verbal guidance in August 2005
reiterating that two controllers should be on duty during midnight shifts at facilities with both radar and tower functions. But the OIG found that the guidance, because it was communicated orally,
was misinterpreted and inconsistently applied, with more than 11 percent of midnight shifts not in compliance. Since the Comair accident, FAA has formalized the verbal guidance into a written order.
The OIG recommended that in the future, the FAA should communicate changes in air traffic policies in writing and it should also develop and implement procedures to ensure that facilities are
complying those orders. The FAA concurred with those recommendations and said it would take action. The FAA is charged with maintaining the highest standards of safety in aviation, not safety at
the margins, said U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, chair of the House Transportation Committee. Rep.
[Peter] Costello and I have asked the Inspector General to do a follow-up study to ensure that the FAA is enforcing its own rules, and that directions to tower personnel are properly communicated and
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The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday recommended that the FAA issue an Airworthiness Directive requiring Cessna 150s and 152s owners to comply with Cessna Service Bulletin No. SEB01-1 specifying a one-time inspection
of the airplanes' rudder bumpers. If mandated, the check would need to be done at the next 100-hour or annual inspection to verify that the rudder bumpers are correctly installed on the rudder horn
assembly. The Safety Board's recommendation stems from an April 11, 2005, crash of a Cessna 152 (N24779) in a field near Williamsburg, Ohio, after the rudder jammed during spin recovery training,
killing the flight instructor and student pilot. According to the Safety Board, examination of the wreckage revealed that the rudder was jammed approximately 35 degrees, which is beyond its left
travel limit. Further examination revealed that the two rudder bumpers had been installed inverted and that the right rudder bumper had traveled beyond the rudder stop and had locked behind it, the
NTSB said. NTSB investigators could not determine whether the incorrect installation of the rudder bumpers occurred at the time of production or during the airplanes maintenance history,
prompting the Safety Board to ask the FAA to issue the AD.
The Senate last week passed a bill on aviation security that would require the Transportation Security Administration to develop a
"standardized threat and vulnerability assessment program" for general aviation airports within one year. If the bill becomes law, the TSA would also be directed to consider providing grants to GA
airports for security upgrades. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) said it likes the idea of federal grants for security upgrades, but it worries that the TSA will impose new rules on
GA airports without the funding to pay for them. Similar legislation was passed by the House earlier this year. The two versions now must be reconciled and then go to the White House. President Bush
has threatened to veto the legislation if the final version allows TSA screeners to unionize, which the Senate bill does. NATA said if that happens, Congress is not likely to override the veto and the
bill would die.
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On Friday morning, Barrington Irving, a 23-year-old college
student in Florida, will launch on the first leg of a five-week flight, aiming to become the first African American and the youngest person ever to fly solo around the globe. Irving hopes his quest
will inspire other young people to follow their dreams. Born in Jamaica, Irving grew up in a poor neighborhood in Miami, where he says "there was little incentive for me or my classmates to get off
the streets and pursue real careers." His life changed at age 15 when an airline pilot offered him a tour of a 777 cockpit. Irving has already launched a nonprofit venture, the Experience Aviation
Learning Center in Miami, where school kids can go to learn about aviation careers. Flight simulators there will enable visitors to fly a Columbia 400 and learn about Irving's global trip. His Web
site will feature a flight blog during the trip, and a tracking system will enable students to virtually join Barrington's flight in real time.
Quest Aircraft has successfully flown its second Kodiak turboprop
single, which is the first fully conforming production prototype. The aircraft launched last Friday from Quest's facility at Sandpoint (Idaho) Municipal Airport and joins the initial Kodiak prototype
that is engaged in FAA certification flight tests, the company said Tuesday. "With our second aircraft now flying, we're entering the final flight-testing phase of the Kodiak and its systems under a
variety of rigorous conditions," said Quest CEO Paul Schaller. Changes from the first prototype include an environmental control system, oxygen for all seats and a new split cargo door with integrated
steps. Several new interior options will also be introduced for production flight testing. The Kodiak is a 10-place single-engine turboprop utility airplane, with aluminum construction, STOL
performance and a Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. It's designed to be float capable. The first customer aircraft is currently on the production line and expected to be rolled out in late spring. FAA
certification is expected by this summer, and the company said it has a three-year backlog of orders in hand.
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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach, Fla., campus already had been planning to add 10 new Diamond DA42 Twin
Stars to its fleet, but now their delivery has been fast-tracked to help replace airplanes lost in
December's tornado. The diesel-powered, twin-engine Diamonds will start to arrive on campus this summer and all 10 will be in place by the end of this year. "The DA42 Twin Star will give Embry-Riddle
a complete glass-cockpit fleet, starting with our single-engine aircraft and culminating with our Canadair regional jet simulator," said Tim Brady, dean of the College of Aviation. The DA42 features a
Garmin G1000 electronic display and autopilot and is designated a "technically advanced aircraft" by the FAA.
If you're eager to invest in the flying car of the future -- which is always just about ready to launch -- you have plenty of options, and
a new one was added this week. PAL-V Europe on Tuesday announced
its start-up in the Netherlands, showing a concept of a three-wheel fly/drive vehicle that it says is as comfortable and stable as a luxury car with the agility of a motorbike, thanks to its
patented "tilting" system (check out the movie of a tilting ride at its Web site). In the air, it switches to gyrocopter mode. The rotor and propeller fold up on the ground. The PAL-V will be
fuel-efficient, quiet, and fly or drive at about 125 mph, the company says. A sport-pilot certificate will be required to fly it. PAL-V says it has been researching the design for six years and is
ready to start building the prototype now, and investors are welcome. First deliveries are projected for 2009. Here in the U.S., Larry Neal of Texas has been flying a similar design for a few years
now. His "Super Sky Cycle" flies as a gyrocopter and drives in three-wheel motorcycle mode with a folded rotor.
If Brokers Say They Cover the Whole Market, Why Can't They Get a Quote from Us?
The fact is brokers can't get a quote from Avemco, the only direct provider of aviation insurance. On top of that, only Avemco lets you talk directly to the aviation underwriter for
fast, accurate answers in one simple phone call. Plus, Avemco offers consistent rates and coverage as well as short, easy-to-understand policies. So if a broker tells you he covers the whole
market, he's only telling you half the story. Call Avemco at (888) 241-7891 or
visit online for the
rest of the story.
Virgin America has attained tentative approval to fly in the U.S.
after making changes in leadership and structure to distance itself from Richard Branson and his British Virgin Airlines...
A computer glitch that affected six new F-22 Raptors as they crossed the International Dateline in the Pacific Ocean caused all systems -- navigation, communications, weapons, and fuel -- to
fail simultaneously, CNN reported. The error has been found and corrected...
Astronaut James Lovell, who commanded the near-disastrous moon mission that became a model of crisis ingenuity, will be at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh on July 27 to introduce Apollo 13, the popular movie based on his book...
Continental and American Airlines are resisting FAA
rules that require longer rest periods for pilots on international flights...
An experimental WindWagon was hit by a Ford
Focus after making an emergency landing on a Florida freeway Monday morning. Nobody was hurt but the aircraft was wrecked...
Nesting bald eagles are causing concern at an airport in Orlando, Fla. The birds are endangered and can't be
harmed, but their nests may be moved, a strategy that worries bird advocates.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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/.
Avidyne TAS600 Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
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"Four from the marker, maintain 2000 until established on the
localizer, cleared ILS 22 approach." Readback correct. In a GPS
world, the ground-based Instrument Landing System still breathes. See
if you can keep the needles crossed.
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.
If You Live in One of These States, Mike Busch Is Coming to a Town Near You
California, Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, New Mexico, and Oklahoma are states where Mike Busch will be offering his acclaimed Savvy Owner Seminar. In one information-packed weekend,
you will learn how to have a safer, more reliable aircraft while saving thousands on maintenance costs, year after year. For complete details, and to reserve your space,
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 Monday's news summary,
hear about what panelists said at the FAA
forecast about general aviation and very light jets, new suppliers for
the HondaJet, Saab's airborne missile defense system, Hartzell's
homegrown prop deicers and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
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Last week, AVweb asked what factor is the most important in
choosing an FBO.
You won't be surprised to hear that fuel price topped our list
of decision-tipping factors, followed closely by customer service.
Find out what's really important to AVweb readers in the complete
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
The FAA's forecast predicts 5,000 very light jet deliveries over the
next decade. If you'd written the forecast, how many VLJs would
you have predicted to be delivered in that same time frame?
Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is
only for suggested QOTW questions, and not for QOTW answers or comments.
Use this form to send QOTW comments to our AVmail Editor.
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AVweb reader Scott Brooksby says the FBO's owner bent over backwards to accommodate him.
"I landed last weekend for a mothers 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."
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Kevin Garrison's New Book Now Available! Clear Left, I'll Have the Chicken (An Airline Captain Looks at Life) is a collection of columns, humor pieces, satires, piloting advice, and memories from 26 years of airline flying.
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."
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
It's spring! And although half the AVweb
staff are climates too cold to notice, we're breaking out the sunblock
and jams to celebrate. Yes, we still have a few pairs of jams
but what do you care? You don't have to look at us when we've got
all these great reader-submitted photos to shuffle through!
Add your photos to the mix! Submit them
you might see them on AVweb next Thursday morning!
Richard Rice of North Texas
Skydiving Center in Garland, Texas asks the question and answers it in
full-size version of this week's winning photo.
Larry Portman sent this photo in to our contest on Richard's
behalf, telling us Richard isn't quite as caught up in the 'Net as the
rest of the world. For making time to send it in, Larry, we're
sending you two hats one for Richard and one for yourself.
Or two for yourself, if Richard really isn't on the Web. (Just
Y'know, we've been doing this site just long enough that we could
almost run a feature story on airplane owners and their
lawnmowers. Dr. David Miller
of Newburgh, Indiana has taken the parallel to new heights by
refurbishing his "old Sears Craftsman riding lawnmower ... to look like
the Saratoga II HP." (Too bad you can't replace engine parts for
free at Sears for the life of the plane!)
Brad Marzari sees us out this week
with a spectacular shot taken at 3,000 feet. Kudos to Brad and the
balloonist for all the hard work they put into getting the awesome shots
we found in our submission box this week.
Want more? You'll find more than a dozen bonus pics at AVweb's
home page, in our "POTW" slideshow.
Check it out!
A quick note for submitters: If you've got several
photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit
them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing
print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on
us, too. ;)
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the
source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest.
If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed
authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain,
send us an e-mail.
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 Mary Grady (bio) and Editor In Chief
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
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.