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Volume 13, Number 15b
April 12, 2007
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.

» Visit LightSPEED Aviation in booth N-099 at Sun 'n Fun
Top Newsback to top 

It appears that FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is backing off on her claim that "one hundred percent of our major capital programs are on schedule and on budget," a statement she delivered in testimony to the House appropriations subcommittee on March 22. During a speech last Thursday at the Pratt & Whitney Women's Leadership Forum, Blakey watered this statement down to "90 percent of our major capital projects" being on time and on budget. In her carefully crafted speech last week she also said, "Let me tell you this: under our proposal, the majority of general aviation will never pay a user fee for air traffic control." The key word here is "majority," which might be a misnomer since AOPA has discovered that the FAA's proposal would impose user fees for general aviation aircraft flying in Class B airspace. While pilots could fly around this airspace to avoid such fees, it would add inconvenience and extra flying time, possibly resulting in additional operating expenses that could make the user-fee option more cost-effective. Meanwhile, Blakey continues to link ATC modernization with the proposed funding plan, even though the Government Accountability Office has previously debunked this relationship. More...

The Alliance for Aviation Across America announced its arrival on Tuesday morning, launching an effort to expand beyond the aviation community and include small businesses and rural areas in opposition to the FAA's proposed changes to its funding system. "Community airports that serve small towns are critical to our security, our mobility during national emergencies, and to our local economies," said Niel Ritchie, president of the League of Rural Voters, at a press conference. "General aviation is a lifeline. The FAA's proposal would impose severe economic hardship." The new Alliance aims to build support by working to publicize and explain the issues as well as by direct lobbying on Capitol Hill. The group's Web site outlines the issues and invites readers to write to Congress. More...

If you're heading to Florida for the annual Sun 'n Fun air show starting on Tuesday, the FAA has the flight planning info you need. The Notice to Airmen, available online, includes detailed arrival and departure procedures for Lakeland Linder Regional Airport and for Lake Parker, the seaplane destination. Special rules are listed for ultralights, warbirds and instrument flights. Don't leave home without it! Also, don't leave home without bringing a friend who is new to aviation. Prospective pilots who sign up with a mentor from AOPA Project Pilot will get into the show for free. "What better way to get a prospective pilot hooked on aviation than taking them to one of the first great air shows of the spring flying season?" said AOPA President Phil Boyer. More...

PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.

» Visit Teledyne-Continental Motors in booths N-093-102 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefsback to top 

According to Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn, the Eclipse 500 fleet (five customer and five test airplanes) has been temporarily restricted to only visual flight operations after a teething problem was found with the very light jet's pitot/static system. In a letter to customers sent Monday night, Raburn outlined the problem: "Eclipse 500 aircraft have experienced three in-flight events in which pitot pressure was lost on both left and right primary air data sources, resulting in the loss of airspeed indications on the Primary Flight Displays (PFDs). The standby airspeed indication was not affected, and continued to function properly." Since all aircraft regained the function of both air data systems when at warmer temperatures, Eclipse believes the problem lies in internal condensation, due to departures from high-humidity environments, collecting and freezing in --and thus blocking -- the pitot tubing. The start-up manufacturer plans to modify the pitot-heat system to increase the temperature and work to mitigate moisture collection in the tubing. Raburn didn't say when the fix would be ready, but he did promise an update in two weeks. In an accompanying customer letter, Raburn gave another update on the overall Eclipse 500 program. More...

The FAA hasn't reviewed the duration of aviation medicals since extending the duration of third-class medical certificates from two years to three years for individuals under age 40 in 1996, and it believes it's time to do so again. On Tuesday, the agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would increase the duration of validity from six months to one year on first-class medical certificates for individuals under age 40 and from 36 months to 60 months on third-class medical certificates for individuals under age 40. However, there would be no change for the second-class validity standard since the "existing U.S. medical certificate validity standards for commercial pilots under age 40 in a multi-crew setting currently are the same as" those of the International Civil Aviation Organization. According to the FAA, the changes to the first- and third-class medical renewal periods reflect the "FAA's assessment of the current, appropriate interval for younger airmen," as well as "decrease routine workflow thereby allowing the FAA to focus on the most safety-critical certification cases and provide more efficient service to other applicants waiting to be processed." More...

Aircraft Spruce at the 33rd Annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In
Aircraft Spruce will be at Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida for the annual fly-in. Visit their location in Hangar B, booths 4-9 for show specials and vendor demonstrations. Promotions will apply to a vast selection of products, including Bose, Flightcom, J.P.I., Tempest, LP Aero, Sennheiser, LightSPEED, Rosen Sunvisor, and Unison. No-cost shipping available on show orders (doesn't apply to oversize or hazardous goods). Call 1-877-4-SPRUCE, or visit Aircraft Spruce online.

» Visit Aircraft Spruce & Specialty in booths B-004-009 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefsback to top 

The NTSB said on Tuesday it wants the FAA to modify the way it schedules air traffic controller work shifts to minimize disrupted sleep patterns and fatigue. The Safety Board said controller fatigue has been an ongoing concern, but the issue was raised again after last August's fatal crash of a Comair regional jet on takeoff from Lexington (Ky.) Blue Grass Airport. The controller who cleared the Bombardier CRJ-100 for takeoff had worked from 0630 to 1430 the day before the accident, took a two-hour nap in the afternoon, then returned to work from 2330 until the accident occurred at 0607 the next morning. "Such limited sleep can degrade alertness, vigilance, and judgment," the NTSB said. While the Comair accident remains under investigation and the role of controller fatigue is unresolved, four other recent incidents "provide clear and compelling evidence" that controllers suffer fatigue due to their work schedules and that fatigue has contributed to errors, the Board said. More...

For most workers, taking a break to visit the restroom is not a big deal. But if you are an air traffic controller, and you've been at your post over two and a half hours, and the only other worker on duty is a trainee not qualified to take over for you, well, it could mean that two Southwest 737s will have to fly holding patterns for 18 minutes. That's what happened at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport last Friday, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA). Before leaving the tower to go to a restroom, the controller called the Boston Tracon and asked them to hold incoming flights, NATCA said. The controller was scheduled to work alone from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. More...

Announcing the Online MBA for Aviation Professionals
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News Briefsback to top 

An update to the Air Defense Identification Zone over Washington, D.C., is due by July, but the details are continuing to be worked out and that date might be extended, AOPA said on Monday. At a briefing for local pilots held last week, some FAA officials suggested the final ADIZ could end up smaller than the current one. A circle extending for 30 nautical miles from the VOR at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport was one scenario discussed, which would exclude four Maryland airports -- including Martin State and Baltimore-Washington International -- from the ADIZ. The circle might include some "notches" to ease access to other general aviation airports within the zone. Pilots and controllers at the meeting expressed concerns about the radio procedures that would be required to navigate the airspace. However, no decisions have yet been made. More...

The FAA on Monday published its final rule regarding how it will compensate aviation businesses in the Washington, D.C., area that suffered financial losses due to airport closures following 9/11. Congress has provided up to $17 million for reimbursements, with no more than $5 million to go to the three Maryland airports: College Park, Potomac Airfield and Washington Executive/Hyde Field. Also eligible for funds are Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and Washington South Capitol Street Heliport. Signature Flight Support's DCA facility has claimed more than $5 million in losses in the 9/11 aftermath. The procedures take effect on May 9. More...

Safety Alert: How to Avoid Aviation's Most Preventable Accident
Get a complete, no-cost guide to managing your fuel from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Reduce your risk with detailed information on estimating your fuel consumption, understanding your fuel system, and managing fuel. Download your no-cost Fuel Awareness Safety Advisor now.

» Visit Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) in booth SNF-010 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefsback to top 

On a clear morning in July 2004, a Piper Navajo flown by a retired airline pilot who had more than 32,000 hours of logged flight time hit a forested ridge in Ticonderoga, N.Y. The airplane was torn apart and burned, and the pilot and his passenger both died. The NTSB said in its recently released final report that it cannot find a cause for the crash. No pre-crash mechanical or structural failures could be documented, and the cause of death for both on board was listed as "undetermined." However, the NTSB notes that in the days before the crash, the passenger, who was under investigation by the FBI on suspicion of fraud, unsuccessfully tried to obtain millions of dollars in life insurance. He had also been "acting in an increasingly unusual manner," according to an FBI agent quoted in the NTSB report. More...

NASA has established the National Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Advisory Board, and AOPA President Phil Boyer has been appointed as a member. "GPS has become a public utility like electricity or water," Boyer said. To help oversee that infrastructure, the board brings together experts to provide advice on policy, planning, program management and funding. Boyer is the only board member from the general aviation sector. The board had its first meetings last week in Washington, D.C. "I left with a new understanding of how ... so many industries and consumers across the board now depend upon GPS," Boyer said. 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.

» Visit New Piper Aircraft in booths MD-18C-19B at Sun 'n Fun
News In Briefback to top 

EAA has confirmed the Beach Boys will play at Oshkosh on July 23...
A Swiss team has flown a model of a lifting-body aircraft...
NOAA's Hurricane Hunter aircraft will tour the Caribbean this month...
Air Care 2007 is in Albuquerque April 27-28, last call to register...
A security bill now in Congress could impact GA flying...
BRS logs 201st "save" for its emergency parachute system...
First flight for RQ-4 Block 20 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system. 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...

AOPA Aircraft Finance Program Lowers Rates
In light of increasing costs to general aviation, the AOPA Aircraft Finance Program has lowered interest rates in several loan segments, making aircraft ownership more affordable. AOPA Aircraft Financing can expedite an aircraft purchase with an easy application process and quick credit decision. From light sport aircraft to very light jets, or any aircraft in between, make the AOPA Aircraft Finance Program your choice for financing. Call 1-800-62-PLANE, or go online.

» Visit Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) in booth SNF-010 at Sun 'n Fun
New On AVwebback to top 

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

If your turbocharged engine runs fine down low but gets real rough up high, the problem is usually ignition-related. 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...

Avidyne TAS600 — Because Two Antennas Are Better than One!
Whether you're flying in a busy terminal area, navigating a long cross-country, or hovering over a city, seeing and avoiding traffic requires having the right information in real time. Avidyne's TAS600 Traffic Advisory Systems, with dual-antenna technology, provide significantly improved signal coverage and target tracking, enabling faster updates and enhanced performance over single-antenna systems, for maximum safety. Avidyne's TAS600 Series makes active-surveillance traffic alerting affordable. Visit Avidyne online.

» Visit Avidyne in booths D-069-070 at Sun 'n Fun
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 part one of an interview with AOPA's Andrew Cebula on aviation user fees. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Hawker Beechcraft's Avfuel's Craig Sincock; Comp Air's Ron Lueck; Expedition Aircraft's Jim Schuster; VistaNav's Jeff Simon; 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; and aviation forecaster Richard Aboulafia. In Monday's special podcast, hear part two of AOPA's Andrew Cebula discussion with AVweb about aviation user fees. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


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.
Question Of The Weekback to top 

The FAA proposed this week to raise the validity of third-class medical certificates from 36 months to 60 months for airmen under 40 years of age. In your opinion, does this action go far enough? Should the age cut-off be higher? Tell us what you think. Plus: Now that we've seen five of them delivered to customers, what did AVweb readers have to say about the much-anticipated Eclipse 500 last week? More...

Featured AVweb Marketplace Ad: AircraftCostAnalysis
AircraftCostAnalysis calculates aircraft before- and after-tax ownership costs for business and individual owners, joint ownership, charter and rental leasebacks, managed aircraft, commercial, fractional, charter, helicopters, and Ag. Request sample reports.
For contact information regarding this ad and to view more ads, click here.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Dillon Flying Service at KDLN in Dillon, Mont.

AVweb reader Benjamin Marsh liked the service so much at the FBO that he dreams of going back.

"Dennis and Jean, the owners, offer extremely personable service and genuinely care about their customers. Dennis, a high-time tailwheel pilot, welcomes everyone from cub pilots to jet jockey's at the FBO. Dillon's does get trainsient traffic; however, most is recreational due to its world-famous fishing and hunting. Yet prices are extremely low unlike other recreational airports. The FBO even offers a beautiful C172 for rental at only $82/hour wet. Overall, this FBO is a dream come true for any fisherman planning a trip this summer to the Beaverhead, Big Hole, Ruby or Madison Rivers, but still wants to stick to his budget. I can only dream of a flight back to Dillon."

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!


IFR, the Magazine for the Accomplished Pilot
IFR magazine presents readers with monthly doses of straightforward, irreverent, pull-no-punches articles and advice, and hair-pulling, pencil-breaking, skill-sharpening quizzes — all to add to your confidence and renewed proficiency for today's flying in the complex IFR system. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
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." Photo submissions crept back up to more comfortableterritory this week, and with more pictures came a tougher time ofchoosing our favorite. As always, we resorted to a top-secret andvery scientific algorithm — flashing reader-submitted pictures in fronta select group AVweb editors at 3-millisecond intervals and charting theincrease in electrical impulses across the surface of the skin. It's a method that never fails, and the photo that made us tingle themost this week came from Lisa Salazarof Port St. Lucie, Florida. 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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