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Volume 13, Number 13a
March 26, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

The FAA must implement changes to the way it is funded before it can afford to embrace the myriad technologies that are envisioned for the Next Generation Air Transportation System, according to senior FAA staffers. Appearing before the Senate aviation subcommittee, Charles Leader, director of the Joint Planning and Development Office, told committee members that the controversial system of user fees and tax increases now under consideration by Congress for FAA reauthorization is a key element of FAA modernization. "Modernization and moving to NextGen is inextricably linked to changes in the FAA’s financing system," Leader said. "We need to establish the financing of our current and future operations based on actual costs and investment requirements that will realize tangible benefits and increasing efficiency." General aviation groups – and even the Government Accountability Office -- have dismissed the need for a wholesale change in the way the FAA is funded, saying there's plenty of money available under the current system of ticket and cargo taxes and the existing fuel tax levied on GA aircraft. More...

While the debate over the FAA’s future funding process is big news in aviation circles, it barely registers in the mainstream media but there are occasional exceptions. The Kingsport Times-News in Tennessee saw some news value in a presentation given by Don Carter, owner of Tri-Cities Aviation, to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport Commission last week in which he predicted the user-fee plan currently being promoted by the FAA will “kill” general aviation in the area. More...

The Government Accountability Office says the cost of equipping aircraft for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) will range from $14 billion to $20 billion, depending on the gear that will be needed, the number of very light jets that will be using the system and how much downtime will be required to install the equipment. The GAO was quoting figures it says were recently released by the FAA’s Joint Projects Development Office, which says the government will spend between $15 billion and $22 billion on the project by 2025. The wide range reflects uncertainty in just what the system will entail. Meanwhile the GAO says the FAA is generally moving in the right direction with NGATS, but there’s a looming leadership vacuum that could hinder that progress. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Columbia Aircraft has replaced its CEO and announced a four-to-six-week furlough of about 25 percent of its workforce as part of a major restructuring bid. The company will remain in operation and continue to produce airplanes but under new leadership. Bing Lantis has stepped down as CEO "to attend to family matters and other personal interests," according to the company. He's been replaced by Wan Abdul Majid, who the release described as a "long-time Columbia and aviation industry veteran." Earlier this month, the company announced the permanent layoff of 59 staff as part of a bid to restore profitability. It was blamed on the effects of a freak hail storm and the delay in certification of the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit version of the aircraft. The latest announcement doesn't stop at the corner office and shop floor however. More...

New York legislators have removed a bill that would have barred anyone younger than 17 from flying any type of aircraft in the state. FAA regs allow teens as young as 14 to fly balloons and gliders solo and also allow 16-year-olds to solo powered planes, but the now-defunct proposal would have set the limit in New York at 17 regardless of aircraft type. AOPA credits angry New York pilots, who contacted their state assembly members, for getting the bill quashed. More...

The FAA has granted Supplementary Type Certification for the Alakai Technologies engine trend monitoring system for Cirrus SR20 and SR22 aircraft, which when combined with the Alakai digital flight data recorder performs the same basic functions as the so-called “black box” recorder required on airliners. Such recorders are not required on aircraft with fewer than 10 seats, but a growing number of Cirrus airplanes are being used in air-taxi operations and pilots were required to record engine data manually while flying the aircraft. "This new system will allow Cirrus owners and operators, especially Part 135 operators, to focus on flying rather than manually documenting engine performance while in the air," said Cirrus co-founder and Vice Chairman Dale Klapmeier. More...

Garmin StreetPilot c330 Auto GPS Special — $259.99
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News Briefsback to top 

On March 13 the FAA granted Supplementary Type Certification to installation of Thielert Centurion 2.0-liter diesel engines in Cessna 172 F through S models and Cessna F 172 F through P models, according to a news release. Thielert founder Frank Thielert said the STC not only opens the market for his engines to the most numerous of all aircraft in the biggest aviation market on earth, it also smoothes the way for similar approvals all over the world. “The FAA certifications are of particular importance on the world aviation market, since they are acknowledged by most countries in Africa and Asia without further intensive testing,” the news release said. More...

Cessna has sold at least three Citation Mustangs in Australia and New Zealand and predicts it will be a popular aircraft there. “The Mustang makes perfect sense for businesses across Australia, and in New Zealand,” Todd Duhnke, Cessna’s director of international sales, said in a news release. “Performance, price and reliability are all meeting our original projections, and sales have really accelerated since gaining full type certificate in September.” More...

DayJet, the on-demand charter operator that is Eclipse’s biggest customer, hopes to get its first Eclipse 500 in April and start training its pilots. According to CharterX, a charter industry trade journal, the start-up has received FAA approval for its pilot-training program and just needs airplanes to train them on. Co-founder Ed Iacobucci told CharterX the first four of its 239 Eclipses will be used to get pilots type rated. "After that, as more aircraft are delivered, we'll use those for our customers." More...

In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
Get 24 issues (two years) for just $24.95 (U.S., standard mail), including no-cost access to Trade-A-Plane's web site, which is updated daily. Subscribe by calling (800) 337-5263 and mentioning this AVwebFlash, or subscribe online.
News Briefsback to top 

Officials at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport have voted to allow a second FBO on the field. Air 51 LLC is expected to be up and running this summer in a $2 million facility that will include a 12,000-square-foot maintenance and parking hangar, fuel facility and ramp space. Currently TAC Air is the only GA service facility on the airport. The new FBO will occupy about two acres in the southeast area of the airport. Air 51 owners told the Lexington Herald-Leader they hope to capitalize on very light jet business and expect plenty of traffic when the World Equestrian Games are held in Lexington in 2010. More...

Odelle and Stephen Trew are the first to admit they got a great deal on the house, but now they’re afraid they couldn’t sell it at any price. The Trews bought their home adjacent to one of Heathrow Airport’s main runways 18 years ago when air traffic was comparatively light. Now, for part of each day, they’re rocked every minute or so by airliners landing or taking off within a few hundred feet of them. As air traffic increases, there’s talk of abandoning the current practice of switching runways through the day to ensure that all the airport’s neighbors share the noise burden more or less equally and using every patch of pavement available. "If that happened life would be unbearable," Stephen, 43, told the Sunday Mirror. "I don't know how they can even suggest it." More...

New from Aeromedix! Doug Ritter RSK Mk3™ Fixed-Blade Survival/Utility Knife
The Doug Ritter RSK Mk3™ Knife is Doug Ritter's first fixed-blade design to reach production. A direct descendant of the RSK Mk1™ folder knife, the RSK Mk3™ is a medium-sized lightweight fixed-blade with premium steel. The 4.5-inch (11.43 cm) CPM S30V blade is a bit over an inch longer than the full-size RSK Mk1™ folder. For complete details, go online.
News Briefsback to top 

Aviation would contribute less to global warming if aircraft burned more fuel. That’s the convoluted conclusion reached by researchers at Britain’s Imperial College. They’ve determined that if airliners consistently flew at lower altitudes, the resulting decrease in the creation of contrails would more than offset the effect on global warming of the increase in fuel burn. “It seems counterintuitive,” acknowledged Robert Noland, one of the study’s authors, in a report in the Nigerian Tribune. More...

The NTSB says one end of a rotor servo control rod was found disconnected on an A350 helicopter that crashed on the Hawaiian island of Kauai earlier this month, killing four of seven people aboard. On Thursday, the FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) and Eurocopter e-mailed customers warning A350 operators that a serrated washer on the servo rod-end could fail, resulting in disconnection of the rod from the rotor assembly, and recommended immediate inspection of those parts. The A350 has three such assemblies to control rotor tilt. The SAIB issued by the FAA says two crashes have been caused by the washer failure, but spokesman Ian Gregor said those crashes occurred before the Hawaii accident and the bulletin was already in the works when the Heli-USA helicopter crashed on landing at Princeville Airport on March 8. More...

Chinese officials have confirmed that China wants to get into the large airliner (150-plus seats) business, undoubtedly because one of the biggest future markets for aircraft is expected to be in its own backyard. An editorial in the People’s Daily says China expects to need about 1,600 large airliners by 2020 and would like to keep at least part of the $150 billion or so they’re expected to cost, not to mention the worldwide boom in civil aviation that’s opening other new markets. But it’s not all about money. “China believes that the ability to produce a large airplane reflects the strength of a nation, and has much the same ability to inspire nationalist sentiment as the development of the atomic bomb, the hydrogen bomb, satellites and space aircraft,” opined the newspaper. As for its main competitor in this venture, Boeing says bring it on. 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.
News In Briefback to top 

Evergreen Aviation Museum opened IMAX theatre…
A380s visited New York and Los Angeles…
Beach Boys may be back at AirVenture. 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 | Brainteasers

Learning to fly opens a door to many adventures. Hope it doesn't close too soon. More...

AVMAIL: MAR. 26, 2007
Reader mail this week about VLJ air taxis, poor rudder skills, user fees and more. 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...

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In addition to favorable Visa® rates, National Aeronautic Association (NAA) cardholders receive discounted rates on NAA membership and aviation products. Cardholders may qualify for no-cost accidental death and dismemberment coverage and aircraft damage reimbursement. NAA, the first national aviation association, receives a contribution on NAA Platinum Visa® card puchases. NAA preserves aviation heritage with prestigious awards presentations and national aviation record certifications. For more information, visit the NAA web site.
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 Craig Sincock of Avfuel. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Comp Air's Ron Lueck; 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; and Bill Lear, Jr. In today's news summary, hear about what panelists said at the FAAforecast about Columbia Aircraft'srestructuring, the FAA's continued attempt to link user fees with ATCmodernization, how much NextGen avionics will cost operators, thelatest on DayJet and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


Pilot Journey Isn't Just for Students & Instructors; There's Something for Everyone
You know Pilot Journey's Discovery Flight program converting leads to students. However, all pilots can find something at Pilot Journey: Pilot e-mail accounts, pilot eCards; a pilot cruise with seminars; AvCareers, where position wanted and positions available are listed; and much more. Pilot Journey is the pilot's choice online.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Jet Aviation at KBED in Bedford, Mass.

AVweb reader Paul Tollini says the FBO provides the same level of service, regardless of airplane size.

"Unlike some other FBOs, at Jet Aviation BED all customers are valued regardless of the size of the aircraft that they arrived in or how much fuel they purchase. When I had passengers that insisted on using the other FBO on the field, I felt like a traitor and received much worse service at a much higher price."

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!


Featured AVweb Marketplace Ad: The Great Circle Air Safari DVD
Experience an exhilarating flight through the vast Australian Outback, one of the most forbidding places on the planet. Featuring HD photography by Oscar winner Eric Thiermann.
For contact information regarding this ad and to view more ads, click here.
Video Of The Weekback to top 

Our friends at 2FlyTV were on hand last week with the first Airbus A380s landed at JFK and LAX. In this exclusive video from New York, 2FlyTV takes us behind the scenes of the celebrated landing, with great shots of the interior and some commentary on the A380. (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"

During a recent departure from Essex County Airport in Caldwell, N.J., the tower controller must have been frazzled with intensive student training in the pattern:

Tower: Bonanza Seven Zero Mike Romeo, contact New York departure and have a good flight.

Bonanza: To departure. Bonanza Zero Mike Romeo. Have a nice day.

Tower: It's too late for that.


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 Editor Russ Niles (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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