AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 13b

March 29, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 

Hawker Beechcraft Takes Off

On Monday, Raytheon Company finalized the sale of wholly owned subsidiary Raytheon Aircraft Company to Hawker Beechcraft Inc., a new venture formed by Goldman Sachs affiliate GS Capital Partners and Onex Partners, for approximately $3.3 billion in cash. Announced on Dec. 21, the transaction includes Raytheon Aircraft facilities and other assets in Wichita and Salina, Kan. Little Rock, Ark. and Dallas, Texas, in addition to the Raytheon Aircraft Services (now Hawker Beechcraft Services) FBO network across the U.S., U.K. and Mexico. The sale does not include Raytheon's ownership in either fractional provider Flight Options or Raytheon Airline Aviation Services. In a letter to customers, Hawker Beechcraft Chairman and CEO James Schuster said the new name celebrates the company's "rich" heritage, achievement and innovation. "For the first time in more than a quarter of a century we are an independent, private company," he noted. "I am pleased to say that today our company is stronger than ever – as is our commitment to our many valued customers worldwide." Asked where the aircraft manufacturer is headed over the next five years, Onex managing director Nigel Wright said, "We'd like to see the Hawker 4000 become the super-midsize market leader. Over time there is an aggressive plan to continue to develop derivative products from existing aircraft platforms. We also want to continue focusing on productivity, cost improvement measures and to make sure that the company is operating as efficiently and profitably as it can."

House Committee Probes Aviation Medical "Fraud"

On Tuesday, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., on Tuesday released a committee oversight report that identifies "widespread fraud" among pilots who hide serious medical conditions from examining physicians to retain medical certification for their FAA pilot certificates. The report notes that "in July 2005, the DOT Inspector General found 'egregious cases' of airmen lying about debilitating medical conditions on their applications" for FAA medicals. The DOT watchdog sampled 40,000 airman's records and found more than 3,200 held current medical certificates while simultaneously receiving Social Security benefits, some for medically disabling conditions that voided their FAA medicals. Forty people were prosecuted, but the committee's oversight and investigations staff believe hundreds more could have been pursued if not for limited resources. Further, the research team found "toxicology evidence" of serious medical conditions in nearly 10 percent of all pilots involved in fatal accidents during a 10-year period, though less than 10 percent of these medical conditions were disclosed to the FAA. "Despite these findings, FAA managers argue that the problem of airmen falsifying medical applications is negligible," the report notes. Committee staff concludes that the FAA's response is unacceptable and reiterates the DOT IG's previous recommendation that the agency "coordinate with Social Security and other providers of medical disability to identify individuals whose documented medical conditions are inconsistent with sworn statements made to the FAA." The committee researchers opine that this action would create "incentive for airmen to be more forthcoming about their existing medical conditions." Per FAR 67.403, "Falsification of the airman medical application form 8500-8 may result in adverse action including fines up to $250,000, imprisonment up to 5 years and revocation of medical and all pilot certificates."

Eclipse 500 Upgrades On Track

A letter to customers and investors sent on Monday by Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn says that the Eclipse 500 performance modification certification program has moved into the final stage and is "on schedule" for completion by mid-April. "In addition, the Avio NG development program is making great progress and moving toward the scheduled completion this summer," he adds. Raburn also addresses the very light jet's weight since Avio NG is marginally heavier than the original system, and the performance improvements have added some bulk as well. "While these enhancements have increased weight in the aircraft … full fuel payload and useful load, remain unchanged," he says. Besides the product improvements, "we have made significant progress on weight reductions throughout the aircraft. From the moment we received our Provisional Type Certification at AirVenture last summer, we have had a corporate commitment to constantly improve the Eclipse 500, and one significant area of improvement has been weight reduction." The weights for the final Eclipse 500 configuration with the complete performance modifications (extended tiptanks and drag-reduction mods) and Avio NG are as follows: max ramp, 5,950 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max takeoff, 5,995 pounds (up 75 pounds); basic empty, 3,629 pounds (a 79-pound increase); max fuel, 1,686 pounds (no change); zero fuel, 4,992 pounds (up 116 pounds); full-fuel payload, 714 pounds (no change); and useful load, 2,400 pounds (no change). Raburn emphasizes "that these weight increases will not affect operations … the performance improvements have actually resulted in improvements in virtually all areas of performance, not just in the area of speed and range." The letter does not address which serial number will be the first final-configuration Eclipse 500 to come off the production line, but it does commit to retrofitting airplanes delivered before the switchover.

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News Briefs back to top 

NTSB Seeks Solutions To Runway Incursions

The NTSB hosted a Runway Safety Forum on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on the 30th anniversary of the worst aviation accident ever -- the runway collision in 1977 between two 747s at Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, that killed 583 people. "We must do something to begin the process of preventing these incursions," NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said. "The NTSB has investigated several near collisions in the past few years that could have been catastrophic if it hadn't been for sharp-eyed flight crews and luck." Several panelists were critical of the FAA for being too slow to incorporate safety technologies at airports. Last week, the FAA said it would fast-track its approval process to get GPS ground-navigation devices into cockpits by the end of this year. The units show pilots exactly where their airplane is on a moving map of the airport surface. "This device is a game changer," FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said about these devices. "We're confident that it's ready for prime time. I'll say it plainly: it needs to be in our cockpits." The moving maps are part of many electronic flight bag devices, such as those produced by Advanced Data Research and Flight Deck Resources. The runway safety forum included participants from the FAA, Department of Defense, Flight Safety Foundation, Air Line Pilots Association International, AOPA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

FAA's Airport Funding Proposals Aired

The U.S. House Transportation Committee held a hearing on Wednesday on the status of the Airport Improvement Program. The long-standing program delivers a minimum of $150,000 per year to every general aviation airport. The FAA wants to eliminate that guarantee. Busier airports would get $400,000 every year, airports with 10 to 49 aircraft based there would get $100,000, and airports smaller than that would get no guaranteed allotment. Gerald Dillingham, of the Government Accountability Office, told the hearing that the FAA's proposed changes would have an "uncertain" impact on smaller airports, which are more reliant on AIP funds. Charles Barclay, president of the American Association of Airport Executives, told the committee his group was "dismayed" by the proposal to cut AIP funding, and asked for an increase instead. The complete testimony from the hearing is available online at the House Transportation Committee Web site.

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News Briefs back to top 

Boeing Fuel-Cell Experiment Nears Flight-Test Phase

Boeing researchers in Europe plan to conduct manned flight tests this year of a single-engine airplane powered only by a fuel cell and lightweight batteries, the company said on Tuesday. Flight testing will take place in Spain. The demonstrator aircraft is a highly modified Dimona motorglider built by Diamond Aircraft. With a wingspan of 53.5 feet, the airplane will cruise at about 54 knots on fuel-cell power. The fuel-cell/lithium-ion battery hybrid system will power an electric motor coupled to a conventional propeller. The fuel cell provides all power for the cruise phase of flight. During takeoff and climb, the system draws on lightweight lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells are emission-free and quieter than conventional engines. "Given the efficiency and environmental benefits of emerging fuel-cell technology, Boeing wants to be on the forefront of developing and applying it to aerospace products," said Francisco Escarti, managing director of the project. "While Boeing does not envision that fuel cells will provide primary power for future commercial passenger airplanes, demonstrations like this help pave the way for potentially using this technology in small manned and unmanned air vehicles."

Thielert Diesels Achieve EASA Certifications

Thielert's diesel engines recently were FAA certified for installation on Cessna 172s, and now the Germany-based company has received the OK from EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, for several more models. The Centurion 2.0 is now certified by EASA for the Piper PA28. "A validation in the USA is expected soon, because the Centurion 1.7 and its installation in the PA28 are already certified," according to Thielert's Web site. The Centurion 4.0 was recently certified by the EASA for the Cirrus SR22, and approval for the Cessna 206 is expected soon, Thielert says. "These two certifications will open the market for deliveries of the 4.0 engine," according to the company. Thielert engines currently are used on Diamond aircraft, and are especially popular in Europe, where the price differential between avgas and diesel (i.e., jet-A) is substantial. Thielert has been expanding its service network in the U.S. in anticipation of more sales in the region. In a statement sent to AVweb on Wednesday, Cirrus Design said: "Cirrus is always interested in supporting the development of new technology and expansion into growing market segments. There have been several new engine options that have been evaluated over the past few years. We understand that Thielert has been developing a SR22-G2 STC to advance its knowledge of how best to adapt their product to this type of application. We will continue to evaluate their progress with interest, but also with a keen awareness of the lengthy road to mature new technology to the level of refinement our customers have come to expect."

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA's Blakey: "Change Is Never Easy"

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has been spending a lot of time on Capitol Hill the last few weeks, trying to build support for her new aviation user-fee funding plan. And she's getting a little tired of all the criticism it's been getting. "In recent weeks, the rhetoric about our finance reform bill has become very, shall I say, animated and aggressive?" she told a meeting of airport executives on Tuesday. "It's mighty frustrating ... If the FAA really wanted to kill GA, as our critics claim, we'd just sit back and do nothing. We'd leave the air traffic system just the way it is, and let congestion slowly squeeze them out." Blakey asked the executives to support the FAA's efforts, and said some of the agency's proposed changes would be beneficial to airports. "No matter how you slice it, our bill allows airports to meet their capital needs," she said. "If Congress fails to act on our bill by September, airports will immediately feel the pinch. That new runway you're hoping for may start late in the construction season or be lost for the entire year."

Embraer To Develop Two New Bizjets

Embraer, which is currently developing two new light jets, the Phenom 100 and 300, is also reportedly working on two more new models, which would each seat 8 to 11 passengers. If the two projects get the green light, expect to hear details this September at the annual convention of the National Business Aviation Association, set for Atlanta, Ga., in September. On Wednesday, Pratt & Whitney Canada said it has delivered the first two PW617F engines for flight testing on the Phenom 100. Certification of the engine is expected by the end of this year. "These engine deliveries represent an important milestone for both Pratt & Whitney Canada and Embraer," said Dan Breitman, vice president of turbofan development for PW&C. "The PW600 family is the leader in the emerging very light jet market, and we are very pleased with the progress of the PW617F engine program."

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News Briefs back to top 

Fumes Disrupt Jacksonville Tracon

A roofing project at the FAA tower and Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) in Jacksonville, Fla., has driven seven controllers to complain of illness from fumes, including dizziness, nausea and chest pains, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). "The majority of controllers currently are being forced to work six-day weeks and/or 10-hour days due to the tight staffing," according to NATCA. "The response from management regarding the exposure to this chemical is abhorrent," said NATCA spokesman Victor Santore. "The employees feel that the FAA does not care about their safety, health and welfare." FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told AVweb on Tuesday that the FAA "takes very seriously the health and safety of all its employees." She said FAA managers "immediately took steps" when fumes were reported. FAA staff vented the TRACON, moved workers to an adjacent building, suspended the roofing project and called in experts to gather air samples. "Results of the air quality tests revealed levels well below OSHA standards," she said. Employees who report they have been affected by the odor have been permitted to take necessary leave, she said, adding that the FAA "will take any and all necessary steps to ensure the safety, health, and comfort of all employees."

RotorWay To Develop Certified Two-place Helicopter

RotorWay International, based in Chandler, Ariz., has sold more than 900 kits for small homebuilt helicopters, and now is starting development of a certified version. "We see a large opening in the market for a larger, two-seat, 21st-century helicopter with a sensible price," said CEO Grant Norwitz. The project is underway at RotorWay's facility in South Africa. The company will seek European certification first, then move on to the FAA. "We know there are many steps toward certification, and we know we are taking only the first step," Norwitz said. "We also know how important it is to take that first step. We have committed, here and now, to pursuing that goal." Changes expected on the certified RotorWay, besides a larger interior space, might include more power and more-robust gear. RotorWay already builds a FADEC engine, and has announced upgrades to avionics such as a glass-cockpit display in the newest kits. Additionally, the certified RotorWay will incorporate engineering changes intended to make the machines easier to maintain, the company said.

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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

The prototype of the new Comp Air 10-place turboprop will be ready to fly into the Sun 'n Fun air show next month, the company said this week...

A report on runway incursions at Los Angeles International Airport found there is not too much traffic, but the runway and taxiway configurations need improvement...

Light Sport Airplanes West is opening in Salinas, Calif., with a fly-in on April 28. LSAW will sell sport aircraft from Flight Design, Evektor, Jabiru, Tecnam, Remos and StingSport...

An MD-87 apparently en route to Russia was forced to land in Milwaukee on Saturday by military jets. The airplane's owner said a sale was in the works but had not been finalized...

AOPA Air Safety Foundation's PinchHitter course for non-pilots is now available free online...

Watch those radios. A series of thefts in North Carolina have targeted King and Garmin avionics in aircraft, all in unsecured locations...

Mooney Airplane Company has named Floyd Washburn, formerly with Gulfstream, as vice president of programs and new business...

The King Air Foundation has received more industry support to restore the first King Air (S/N LJ-1), with Snap-On, Machida, Hydro Tek and Cotterman recently donating various products…

Experiments will start next year to test the effectiveness of high-altitude unmanned aircraft in protecting commercial airports from missile attacks, according to Flight International.

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Columns | Features | What's New | Calendar | Brainteasers

Across the Pond #2: Fuels to Ourselves


Why is it that when a company has developed the world's "greenest" light aircraft at a time when environmental issues are a political hot potato, it is effectively penalized for its work? Sweden's Lars Hjelmborg couldn't tell you. His company, Hjelmco Oil, has led worldwide unleaded fuel development and production for decades. Hjelmco's 91/96 avgas is approved for use in most Textron-Lycoming engines up to 180 hp, as well as the 235- and 260-hp O-540s and all Continental 100- and 145-hp engines.

Other than environmental considerations, there are compelling reasons the GA community should investigate using unleaded avgas. Says Lars, "Avgas is the only leaded fuel amongst unleaded fuels in the modern world. Companies have to isolate all of its handling, which increases costs. It is inconvenient to hire a ship to transport 100LL. You have to find a tanker where the next cargo can accept lead, e.g., a lubricant. You may not find a lubricant producer at the destination and have to return an empty ship. This pushes fuel prices up."


Lars is now chairing a committee set up by the American Society of Testing and Materials Standards (ASTM), the body which introduced the avgas D910 standard, to investigate flying on ethanol derivative ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE). He's also very open to anyone willing to work with him on new fuel development. "I have grey hair now and when I stop, the secrets will go with me."

There's another legal imperative to research greener avgas. Lars continues: "In 1987 the United Nations agreed in Montreal to ban various chemical compounds that dilute the ozone layer. One of the banned agents is the scavenging agent for lead in avgas (ethylene dibromide) that converts lead into lead oxide, which is emitted from the exhaust. Without this scavenger the engine would seize. It could only be a matter of time before, at 4 p.m. one Friday afternoon, a bureaucrat realizes this and campaigns against its use. No parliamentary approval is required."

Lars has reason to be wary of bureaucrats. Because of his pioneering work, more than 70% of the Swedish light aircraft fleet now runs on unleaded avgas, leading to no tax or VAT on avgas in Sweden. However, in my last column, I wrote about the fuel tax hike effecting EU member states. Lars comments: "The EC [European Commission] has refused to make any distinction between leaded or unleaded or bio fuel. We have to pay the same taxes as super-polluting fuel. We have approached the Commission, but it has not responded." The galling thing is there is no legal way to challenge the decision. He continues: "The EC report on aviation fuel contains so many errors. Based on those errors, the decision is illegal. But no one can challenge it. One hundred seventy million European citizens have elected governments. These legal governments applied to the Commission to grant them the right to handle the issue in their national parliaments. This decision was taken by low-level bureaucrat." Lars sent a letter two months ago requesting a meeting, but has still heard nothing ...

GA IFR in Europe


I had a request from an AVweb reader to write about the difficulty of obtaining an instrument rating (IR) in Europe. It's a complex and expensive affair. The best resource to go for information and action is PPL/IR Europe, which offers practical advice and a forum to meet other pilots undergoing the same difficulties. Leland Vandervort has written an excellent article outlining the troubles he has encountered and offering useful solutions. The essence of the problem is that European pilots wishing to extend their privileges and fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) must spend copious amounts of time and cash to obtain a JAA IR. The major flaw lies at the heart of JAA regulations, which do not distinguish between using an IR for private or commercial flights, thus automatically lumping small Cessna and Beechcraft aircraft with the heavy metal traversing Class A.

European PPLs have to study at an approved ground school and pass their ground exams before even starting their IR flying training ... which, incidentally, is frequently only available at full-time residential organizations catering to commercial students. Often these schools only offer the rating in conjunction their commercial training. Even distance learning courses require a one-week residential course per module. The time and cost required are a huge deterrent for many PPLs who would otherwise move swiftly to obtain the rating.

Several pilots have got 'round the rules by obtaining an FAA Restricted PPL, to which they add an FAA IR. They then either fly IMC on only U.S. registered aircraft in Europe or convert their FAA IRs to JAA IRs. There are also several European national ratings allowing some IMC flight. These ratings are easier to acquire, but sadly are only valid in the airspace of the issuing country. PPLs without a full IR cannot fly IFR across country borders, even outside controlled airspace. For more than a decade the JAA touted the idea of an "All Weather Rating" for Europe, which seems to be a dead in the water since the JAA metamorphosed into the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

AERO 2007


Enough already! Although things are looking glum on some fronts, it's not all doom and gloom over here across the pond. Airshow season starts in earnest this month with the 16th International Trade Exhibition for General Aviation (a.k.a., AERO 2007) kicking off in at Friedrichshafen, Germany. From April 19 to 22, 2007, the best of the world's GA offerings will descend on the biannual Europe show for four days of serious enterprise. Over 500 exhibitors from 30 countries will show off their wares in seven huge halls. The show takes place on the shores of Lake Constance with easy access to Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Eastern Europe. There's a static display and the famous Zeppelin airship hangar will be open to the public. There'll be offerings from general and business aviation, ultralight/microlight and light-sport aircraft, gliders, maintenance and avionics.

"The large number of exhibitors underscores the importance of this aviation trade show for Europe," says Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann. For the first time every manufacturer in the glider industry will be exhibiting. It's an important sector in Germany. Of the Deutscher Aero Club's 70,000 flying members almost 37,000 are sports pilots with gliders. The ultralight/microlight industry and very light aircraft (VLA) segments also continue to gain popularity and all the top European manufacturers will be showcasing their products at the show. There's also a strong American presence, with 34 U.S. exhibitors and an American pavilion. Admission costs EUR 25 for two days or EUR 13 for one day at AERO 2007

Flying to Friedrichshafen with PPR regulations or on a foreign license: Should you wish to fly yourself to AERO, you'll need to book a slot. Book online and find out approach procedures at this Web site. To obtain a "holiday license," you need to have a valid foreign ICAO license. You have to submit proof to the competent aeronautical authority (depending on where in Germany you are going to stay) or the local Luftaufsichtsstelle of the following: your license, its validity (if it is proven by a special document and not entered into the license itself like medical certificates) and not less than three take-offs and three landings with the type of aircraft concerned within the last 90 days before filing an application. Recognition of pilots' and helicopter pilots' licenses is restricted to airplanes and helicopters up to 2000 kg (4400 lbs) licensed to a minimum flight crew consisting of one PIC, as well as to VFR flights by day. Go to AOPA Germany for more info.

Hawker Beechcraft's British Move

Another positive move comes from Hawker Beechcraft (formerly Raytheon). The manufacturer has moved its international sales office to Broughton in the U.K. Sean McGeough, Vice President of International Sales, will head up the operations. For the past five years he has managed Hawker and Beechcraft sales directors in Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East. Since joining the company in 1999, he has worked through the Beechcraft and Hawker product lines -- from selling Beechcraft products across the United States to directing Hawker and Beechcraft sales in South Africa and India. He explains the rationale behind the transfer: "The move of the international sales office was made to centralize sales and support in one location. As our international market grows we also want to be closer to our customers. We plan on having a world-class sales office in Chester similar to what we have in our other locations like Little Rock and Wichita."

Europe is a key part of Hawker Beechcraft's future business and Sean says, "We are building long lasting relationships with our new and repeat customers. In the end, they have always been the backbone of our success in any region and we know it's just as important in Europe to do the same. We have added resources such as salesmen, pilots, tech reps and support personnel. Chester will be a big part of that future growth in what our facility there will have to offer. It will be our European and International headquarters."

The company has publicly stated it intends to bring its international sales up to about 50% of its market. Sean affirms: "We are seeking to increase sales in all markets worldwide. The dynamic fluctuations in world markets necessitate a flexible approach in maximizing sales wherever they may be. Europe will continue to be a big percentage of our growth and this year we expect our total sales to be over 20 percent going to mainland Europe. Markets such as Russia and Turkey have really been bright spots in our overall growth in the region. Our entire turbine product-range in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America have done very well and we are very bullish on future sales in these regions." Go to their Web site to find out more.

Sussex Flying Club


I also promised to let you know of great places from which to fly. Sussex Flying Club (SFC) operates out of Shoreham Airport on the southeast coast of England (see terminal photo above). Not only can you go touring in the U.K., but also cross the English Channel and do some sightseeing in France. Opened in 1936, Shoreham is the U.K.'s oldest licensed airport. The main terminal building is a glorious Grade-II listed art deco monolith, housing a few flying schools and a restaurant overlooking the apron and runways.

A word of caution: There are at least 12 pleasure-flight providers and training schools at Shoreham, making it especially busy at weekends. Both fixed-wing and helicopters are constantly practicing circuits -- fixed-wing aircraft at 1100 feet and helicopters at 600 feet above the airport. There are three runways, only two of which are in general use. Runway of choice is 1000-m, paved runway 02/20, with grass runway 07/25 in occasional use.

Sights to see around the area range from Arundel Castle (the Dukes of Norfolk's country seat), Bognor Regis, Brighton with its famous seaside piers and Beachy Head, the celebrated beauty spot, unfortunately renowned as much for its suicides as its loveliness. SFC also boasts a genuine French instructor. Elise Marin arrived 18 months ago on a work placement, liked the place so much that she stayed and is now a permanent fixture.

Regular club members frequently fly over to France, which is also a possibility open to temporary members, too. Says CFI James Crabbe, "We put out a notice on the board and people go over in Cessnas and Warriors. It's great as it involves short hops, not a long trip touring France. It offers people the chance to fly with an instructor at reduced or no cost, plus the experience of flying with other members. We have enjoyed many long weekends. People swap crews when they fly back for the return leg." Elise laughs: "Pilots love to have the 'exotic' travel of going to France. French clubs are really happy to welcome us. It's quite different arriving at a foreign field knowing there's someone waiting for you there."

For details of how to obtain a temporary membership or hire an aircraft go to SFC's Web site.

For more aviation news and information from Europe, read the rest Liz Moscrop's columns.

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AVweb Audio News

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 Monday's news summary, hear about what panelists said at the FAA forecast about Columbia Aircraft's restructuring, the FAA's continued attempt to link user fees with ATC modernization, how much NextGen avionics will cost operators, the latest on DayJet and more. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

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Question Of The Week back to top 

Question of the Week: Is Medical Fraud Really as Widespread as the U.S. House Believes?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, AVweb reported on the FAA Forecast, which predicted (among other things) a growth of the very light jet population by 5,000 planes over the next decade.  In our previous "Question of the Week," we asked whether you agreed with the FAA.

It seems AVweb readers are a little more conservative when it comes to VLJ growth, with only 8% of those who took our poll expecting to see 5,000 (or more) VLJs delivered in the next ten years.  The biggest segment of our respondents (37% of you) put the delivery number in the 1,000-to-2,000-jet range.

For a complete breakdown of reader responses to last week's Question, click here.


A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee report released this week maintains there is "widespread fraud" among pilots who hide serious medical conditions from examining physicians in order to retain medical certification for their FAA pilot certificates.  Do you know anyone (yourself or others) who has purposely omitted any health information on his or her aviation medical application form?

Click here to answer.

(Responses are not tracked by user name or IP address. This survey is entirely anonymous.)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

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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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: Jet Aviation KBED

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

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!

Pictures Of The Week back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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."


We love spring!  And (quite frankly) it doesn't have much to do with warm weather, air shows, or sunny Saturday afternoons.  Nope.  For Team POTW, the best part of spring is the flood of new airplane photographs that make their way to our submission box.  This week, we had 112 new images to rifle through.  (That's usually good for about 30 wows, 15 giggles, and 10 or so yikeses.)

Share your photos with the rest of us who love flying!  Submit them here, and we'll drool all over them, then run the best of the batch on AVweb.

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Used with permission of Bengt G. Olson

Another Controller

Bengt Olson of Hindås, Sweden brought a smile to our faces with this shot of "King Carl XII trying to direct a Finnair A321."  Despite some rather amazing photos that trickled in this week, we couldn't stop snickering over Bengt's creative image, and (at the end of the day) that made this our "Picture of the Week."

Bengt, we were tempted to send you an extra cap for King Carl there — but with your sense of humor, we couldn't trust you not to put it on him.


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Used with permission of Kent Wien

Fire in the Belly

Kent Wien of Newfields, New Hampshire was "trying to get this DC-3 ready for a transcon flight this week.  We couldn't leave today, but at least I was able to get this picture," writes Kent.


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Used with permission of Dirk Meinecke

Purple Lady Waiting for Spring

Dirk Meinecke of Milson's Point, New South Wales (Australia) sent in other amazing shots of this Royal Australian Air Force F-111 (and F-18A) showing off at the Avalon 2007 Air Show — but, being overgrown kids, we decided to go with the photos that featured fiery afterburners!  (Settle down, Beavis.)


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Used with permission of Joe Muething

Jimmy Wedell with One of His Wedell-Williams Racers, 1933

"This picture was taken by my dad [Richard Muething] at Lunken Airport, Cincinnati in 1933," writes Joe Muething of St. Petersburg, Florida.  "Dad was a pilot in the '40s and has been an aviation buff all his life.  At 94, he is still watching planes and keeping abreast of the latest aviation news."

Want more?  We had far too many great pics this week for you to miss the regular "POTW" slideshow on our home page.  See the other photos here.

To enter next week's contest, click here.

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, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.

Names Behind The News back to top 

Meet 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 Editor Mary Grady (bio) 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.

Aviate, navigate, communicate.