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Volume 13, Number 13b
March 29, 2007
Portable Multi Flight Display Available at Aircraft Spruce
The VistaNav multifunction flight display is the first portable MFD with 3D synthetic vision. VistaNav generates and displays dynamic, realistic, synthetic 3D imagery, providing a cockpit-like view regardless of external conditions. In ground mode, the mobile computer can be used as a tablet PC, running Microsoft Windows-based aviation software. You can use it to plan your route, download weather, generate or modify flight checklists, and more. Call 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit Aircraft Spruce online.
Top Newsback to top 

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." More...

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. More...

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." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

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. More...

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 49aircraft 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. More...

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

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. More...

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 already certified," according to Thielert's Web site. The Centurion4.0 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 4.0engine," according to the company. More...

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

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." More...

Embraer, which is currently developing two new light jets, the Phenom100 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. More...

Safety Alert: Do You Know How to Transit through Class B and A TRSA?
Get a complete, no-cost guide to airspace designations, restrictions, and minimums from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Get details on TRSAs, Class D, Class C, and Class B airspace, plus VFR transition routes, SUAs, TFRs, ADIZ, and more. Bonus one-page Airspace Reference Guide and one-page Intercept Procedures Guide. Download your no-cost Airspace Safety Advisor now.
News Briefsback to top 

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." More...

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." More...

Meridian. Mirage. Pressurized Comfort. Pure Performance.
Turboprop or piston, your choice in pressurized comfort.
Meridian: 500 hp turboprop; maximum cruise speed - 260 ktas; range - 1,000 nm; useful load - 1,720 pounds; maximum altitude - 30,000 feet.
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Excitement Level: Off the charts!
Up to $150,000 in factory incentives on your way to PiperJet ownership. Call Piper at (866) FLY-PIPER for a dealer near you, or go online.
News In Briefback to top 

Comp Air's 10-place turboprop prototype will fly into the Sun 'n Fun next month...
Report: Runway incursions at LAX due to infrastructure, not traffic...
Light Sport Airplanes West opens in Salinas, Calif., with a fly-in on April 28...
An MD-87 was forced to land at MKE by military jets...
AOPA Air Safety Foundation's PinchHitter course now online...
Thefts in North Carolina have targeted King and Garmin avionics...
Mooney named Floyd Washburn as vice president of programs and new business...
King Air Foundation gets more industry support…
Experiments will test UAVs for protecting commercial airports from missile attacks. 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...

When It Comes to Aircraft Insurance, the Choice Is Easy
The AOPA Insurance Agency is the only agency that offers the built-in expertise of AOPA's 66+ years' commitment to general aviation and the only one qualified to carry the AOPA name. 410,000+ pilots trust AOPA for their aviation needs, so for aircraft insurance, why call anyone else? One call to (800) 622-2672 and you'll have multiple quotes from major A-rated underwriters in minutes, or go online.
New On AVwebback to top 

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

In this month's report from Europe, AVweb's Liz Moscrop looks at unleaded fuel without any lead, instrument ratings, AERO 2007 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...

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, click here.
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 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 ATCmodernization, 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 Weekback to top 

Last week, AVweb wanted to know whether you agreed with the FAA's estimate of 5,000 VLJs being delivered over the next decade. (Click through for the answer.) This week, we want to hear what you think about the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's assertion of "widespread fraud" among pilots who hide serious medical conditions from examining physicians in order to protect their FAA certification. More...

Michael Maya Charles Fans Unite!
Artful Flying, Michael Maya Charles' new book, will show you secrets to becoming a better pilot — and enjoying it more! This is no ordinary text — of course not! It's written by an extraordinary pilot and writer. Order online and receive ground shipping at no cost.
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!


Pictures Of The Weekback to top 

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week." 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.) 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. 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 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.

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