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Volume 13, Number 14a
April 2, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

On Saturday, Eclipse Aviation delivered three Eclipse 500s to DayJet-- the planned per-seat, on-demand air-taxi operator -- at themanufacturer's headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M. According to Eclipsespokesman Andrew Broom, these three very light jets do not yet havethe required backup air data/attitude and heading reference system(ADAHRS) display needed for Part 135 operations, but the airplaneswill allow DayJet to start training pilots under Part 91 rules whileEclipse continues to pursue FAA approval for the backup system, whichis expected soon. DayJet, which has firm orders for 239 Eclipse 500sand options for 70 more, plans to start air service with the VLJs bythe end of June. "Today is a major milestone for DayJet, as we beginto take delivery of our Eclipse 500 jets," said DayJet President andCEO Ed Iacobucci. More...

The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General says the FAA needs to significantly step up oversight of contracted repair facilities used by airlines for everything from minor adjustments to major repairs. The OIG report to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s aviation subcommittee, delivered by DOT Inspector General Calvin Scovell, says the FAA doesn’t always know who’s doing the maintenance or what maintenance is being performed by the thousands of shops --certificated and non-certificated -- all over the world that are used by the airlines. And it also says that airlines don’t always provide accurate information on what’s being fixed where under a new reporting program put in place by the FAA. "Our primary concerns with the reports are that air carriers do not include all repair stations that provide critical component repairs and that FAA does not validate the information provided," the report reads. While he agreed that more oversight is needed, the FAA’s Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety testified that the system remains safe. More...

It took more than 60 years, but arguably one of the most effective fighter squadrons of World War II is getting the formal recognition that matches its historic and cultural impact. Members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the all-black P-51 group that protected B-17 bombers over Europe, on Thursday were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony attended by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and President George Bush. But while aviation buffs know well the remarkable record of the squadron (the claim that it never lost a bomber has been disputed), the impact of their wartime exploits is considered by many to have had a much more profound impact on the country they served. "They were bold in battle and capable in command -- at a time when many in the military thought blacks could be neither," wrote The Washington Post. More...

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News From AEAback to top 

The Aircraft Electronics Association can put on an impressive show. It held its 50th annual convention in Reno late last week, and the trend in new products at this year's show revolved around satellite phone service, increased data and voice transfer capabilities, onboard broadband, WAAS supportive/compatible products and retrofits of new black boxes and/or glass panels sized to swap out old black boxes and instruments. That and FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has "drawn a line" in the fight over user fees and believes it's high time we (read general aviation users) all stopped griping about the price of a cup of coffee and stepped up to pay our fair share. AVweb's Glenn Pew was there, click through for your own private ticket to the show -- a video compilation of some of the flash and dazzle, including show-stopping excerpts from Marion Blakey's speech. More...

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey's comments at the Aircraft Electronics Association show was full court press for a user-fee-based and fuel-tax-enriched FAA funding system. Her words seemed particularly stark following AEA past president Monte Mitchell's closing reminder to "take time to compliment a coworker, or give thanks to your friends -- these are the things you remember as you look back on life." Blakey quickly dried every eye in the room with a sandblasting no-nonsense tone that seemed to directly attack outspoken naysayers who have spoken against user-fee plans in the press, but had yet to speak up at the so far warm and welcoming convention. The Administrator offered a stunning spectrum of quote-worthy phrases from "one of the most exciting things for me is when I go to Oshkosh each year" to stating that "Joe Pilot," who owned a very expensive aircraft, would feel a hit to the tune of "four dollars per hour" and was now fighting tooth and nail over a plan that would add to each flight hour the cost "of a Starbucks Latte." (Listen for yourself.) More...

At the Aircraft Electronics Association show, Avidyne introduced software release 3.0, a $345 upgrade for EX500 multifunction displays that expands the range of XM WX Satellite Weather data displayed and simplifies database updates with USB memory stick support. "EX500 MFDs now can display XM WX Storm Tracks, Hail Alerts, TAFs, Winds Aloft and Freezing Levels," the company said. The software upgrade will be available in the second quarter, pending full certification. According to Avidyne, the new software release also "prevents XM WX service disruption inadvertently caused by XM de-activation signals." More...

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News From AEAback to top 

To make an even bigger splash at the Aircraft Electronics Association convention, Garmin adapted a James Bond movie to announce its new products. Garmin touted the GMX-200 multifunction display's 6.5-inch screen and faster processor, offering increased resolution and compatibility with the GDL 69 XM receiver to feed XM satellite weather to the MFD's moving map. The unit offers Jeppesen chart view and a remote control (for XM radio). Package upgrade deals are available. More...

Lux Aviation Engineering's announcement at the Aircraft Electronics Association show of its research into lithium polymer for use in aircraft batteries (yes, they're aware that lithium can burn) could one day vastly improve cranking power and add the benefit of significant weight savings. The company says it's working with the Navy and has shared thoughts with Eclipse Aviation and Cirrus Design, to name a few. Cost, for now, is a significant obstacle, but the nanotechnology necessary to achieve required reliability is coming within the next few years, says Lux. With many AEA announcements focused on improving cabin life for the bizjet set, or cockpit life for its pilots and operators, there were still some products that might catch a private flyer's eye. A new very lightweight 406-MHz-ready ELT from Kannad for less than $1,000 caught AVweb's eye at the event. More...

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

Embraer says its entry in the entry-level jet sweepstakes is starting to look like an airplane. The first Embraer Phenom 100 fuselage and wing are being mated at the company's Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil facility and the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617 engines should be installed soon. That puts the very light jet project on track for a first flight sometime this summer (winter in Brazil) and for deliveries in 2008, according to the company. "We are thrilled to announce yet another key milestone in the Phenom 100 program," said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer executive vice-president, Executive Jets. "The advanced technology applied to the Phenom 100 product design and manufacturing has enabled a smooth assembly of the fuselage and wings, and we have already begun the production of the second aircraft." More...

Greensboro, N.C., already knows it will be home to the HondaJet, but it apparently wants more. All signs point to the joint GE/Honda engine plant being built at Burlington-Alamance (N.C.) Regional Airport, but Greensboro officials are trying to convince Honda to put the plant at its Piedmont-Triad International Airport alongside the airplane factory. Kathi Dubel, of Greensboro’s Economic Development Alliance, told the Greensboro News-Record that they’re still talking with Honda about the engine plant. Honda never comments on such things, according to spokesman Jeffrey Smith. But if actions speak louder than words, it looks like Burlington has the inside track. More...

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, METARs, lightning, and more — on compatible MFDs, EFBs, and PDAs from a wide range of industry partners, as well as on laptop PCs. The situational awareness afforded by XM WX Satellite Weather allows pilots to enjoy their journeys with more confidence and comfort than ever before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
News Briefsback to top 

Indian airlines are apparently eating their young as flight instructors desperately needed to train the thousands of pilots they need are, instead, being offered jobs as pilots. According to Daily News and Analysis, 18 of 35 flight schools in India are out of business because they have no instructors and foreign CFIs that are attracted to India are soon snapped up by the airlines. But personnel shortages are not the only issue. “It’s not only the shortage of CFIs but also the shortage of aircraft, coupled with the large number of students that makes it impossible for them to function,” an unnamed source told the news service. More...

The Air Force may retire up to 30 C-5 Galaxy aircraft in favor of boosting the order for the more modern and generally more versatile C-17. The Air Force currently has 190 C-17s on order but Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee, told GovExec.com that the administration’s plan to boost the permanent number of Army and Marine personnel will result in a corresponding need for more airlift capability. But rather than buy more C-17s at the expense of other government programs (like healthcare and education), Inouye says he’d rather cut other defense programs, and the C-5s are the prime target. Inouye said he believes it will be cheaper in the long run to buy new C-17s (at $200 million each) than to continue upgrading the Galaxies. More...

Speed, Safety, Performance — How About Some Comfort?
Once your basic aircraft needs are met, why not fly in comfort? You don't have to drive to the airport in luxury then fly in pain. Oregon Aero offers a variety of seat cushion system upgrades for aircraft seats. From a complete seat upgrade to a Portable Universal SoftSeat™ Cushion that you can take anywhere, Oregon Aero has a painless solution for you. Learn more online at OregonAero.com.
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News In Briefback to top 

Fireballs narrowly missed an A340 over the South Pacific...
Cirrus to issue mandatory SB for parachute system...
Tense moments as tornado heads toward OKC TRACON...
Expanded warbird line-up activities planned for 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

Avoid altitude busts, maximize performance and deliver a smooth ride for passengers with these techniques for leveling off. More...


This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a heated wing deicer, a diesel engine for Cessna 172s, a multi-tool with universal socket and more. More...

AVMAIL: APR. 2, 2007
Reader mail this week about FAA funding, medical application fraud, runway incursion solutions and more. More...

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.
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 Jim Schuster at Raytheon Aircraft. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Avfuel's Craig Sincock; 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 special podcast, Jeff Simon talks with AVweb about synthetic vision systems for general aviation airplanes. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


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FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Phazar Flight Support at KFTW in Fort Worth, Texas.

AVweb reader James Knox says the facility staff are attuned to customer's every need.

"Phazar is a relatively new FBO, and they are just puppy-dog eager to please. (Or else it's a plot to make you feel guilty about asking for anything.) They parked my little plane under the wing of the biggest Gulfstream and gave me the same treatment they gave them. Everything is done quickly and on time."

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!


Video Of The Weekback to top 

Whenever we put out the call, we get a wide variety of links and video clips from AVweb readers. This one, from reader James Fender, made us sit up and take notice. Before you watch, we should warn you that it is indeed part of an air show performance — no ultralights were actually shot down over New Jersey. (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"

While cruising at flight levels in a Cheyenne, we heard the following between an American airliner and Miami Center:

American: Center, American Fourteen Eighty-Two looking for higher.

Center: Didn't hear you check in.

American: "First time I've heard your voice. I must've forgot.

Center: That happens when you're over twenty-six or seven.

American: I hope you're talking thousands of feet.

Center: No, age. Sorry. More...

Names Behind The Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

Today's issue was written by Contributing Editors Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (bio) 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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