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REVAMPING WINGS PROGRAM The FAA Safety Team (FAAST) is
changing the focus of its Wings-Pilot Proficiency Program from an awards-based
program to a true proficiency program. The new system is expected to be
in place in June. In a release on the FAAST Web site, spokesman James
Pyles said the goal of the program is to instill a culture of constant
education and re-education in pilots. "It encourages pilots to continue
their aviation educational pursuits and requires education, review, and
flight proficiency in the Areas of Operation found in current Practical
Test Standards (PTS) that correspond with the leading accident causal
factors in the United States," he said. That would be the stick. The
carrot is that as long as a pilot keeps up with the curriculum, the
requirement for flight reviews is suspended. More...
182 HITS BLIMP WIRE, THREE KILLED Pilots in South Florida
have said for years that it's been an accident waiting to happen, and
now it has. Three people died Friday when the Cessna 182 they were in
hit the cable used to tether a surveillance and propaganda blimp over
Cudjoe Key in the Florida Keys. The blimp, known locally as Fat Albert,
is normally flown at about 8,000 to10,000 feet, and the aircraft hit the
wire at about 4,000 feet. Airspace surrounding the blimp is restricted.
A camera trained on the blimp caught the impact on video. Fat Albert is
one of squadron of lighter-than-air devices, more properly known as
aerostats used by the federal government to detect suspected drug
smugglers. Some also beam anti-Castro television signals to Cuba.
Meanwhile, rescuers are also looking for the five occupants of a Piper
Aztec that appears to have gone down off the coast of Fort Lauderdale.
In Print & Online,
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CONTINUES IN BRAZIL CRASH The operator of the Embraer Legacy
600 business jet involved in a midair with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800
over the Amazon jungle is blaming the accident on Brazilian air traffic
controllers, according to the Associated Press. All 154 people
aboard the 737 were killed when the jets collided over the Amazon jungle
in late September; the seven aboard the Legacy owned and operated by New
York-based ExcelAire survived. In a 154-page document sent to Brazilian
federal police earlier this month and released to the AP on Saturday,
the U.S. charter firm said an analysis of air traffic control
transmissions and flight recorders in the Legacy "confirmed that both
planes were freed by Air Traffic Control to fly at the same altitude
[37,000 feet] and the same path, in opposite directions." Meanwhile,
Brazil's Defense Minister, Waldir Pires, maintains that his country's
air traffic control system is one of the safest in the world.
PARES DOWN PIPERJET MANUFACTURING SITES Vero Beach,
Fla.-based Piper Aircraft is reportedly considering Tallahassee, Fla.;
Vero Beach, Fla.; Columbia, S.C.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Albuquerque,
N.M. for its PiperJet manufacturing facility, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The newspaper reported on
Sunday that if Piper chooses the capital city for its new plant, the
facility would be built on a 275-acre site at the Tallahassee Regional
Airport, where it would have access to 700,000 sq ft of space. Further,
the city said it would construct and lease the buildings to lure Piper
to the area, the newspaper said. Meanwhile, Vero Beach officials are
fighting hard to keep the work alongside Piper's existing headquarters
there. Richard Aboulafia, vice president of aerospace forecasting and
consulting firm Teal Group, told the Florida Sun-Sentinel that the PiperJet will likely
be manufactured outside Florida because of that state's aggressive
incentives to lure new companies. More...
JA Air Center, Your Garmin
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STROLL DOWN LAKEPORT STREETS Visitors to downtown Lakeport,
Calif., were treated to an unusual site Thursday afternoon when two
aircraft emerged from Clear Lake and taxied through the streets of
downtown. The pilots and their aircraft were participating in a
rehearsal for the Western States Seaplane Festival -- also known as the
Clear Lake Splash-In -- that will take place September 22. The festival
is billed as the "largest gathering of floatplanes and amphibious
aircraft west of the Mississippi." This year, some of the aircraft will
be parked on Main Street, where the public is invited to get close to a
seaplane, talk with the pilots and participate in the festivities.
Thursday's rehearsal "was designed to ensure that the considerable
logistical concerns involved in the effort will go off without a hitch,"
according to festival spokesperson Damon Trimble. The pilots landed on
Clear Lake and taxied up ramps normally used by boaters and fishermen.
500'S EUROPEAN DEBUT On Thursday, the Eclipse 500 first very
light jet (VLJ) made its European debut at AERO 2007 in Friedrichshafen,
Germany. According to Eclipse Aviation, this is the first time that the
Eclipse 500 has been outside of North America. The twinjet left
Eclipse's headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M., on April 14 and flew the
North Atlantic route through Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the UK
before landing in Friedrichshafen. Europe is such a great market
for the Eclipse 500 because of its superior performance and efficiency
to anything else offered today, noted Eclipse Public Relations
Director Andrew Broom. We already have more than 100 orders
throughout this market, and we be lieve that once people in Europe and
the UK see it and fly it, we can change the way they travel. Over
the next month, the Eclipse 500 will travel to several countries while
attending trade shows and completing sales demo flights before arriving
in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 22 for the European Business Aviation
Convention and Exhibition. More...
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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
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JET AIDS CLIMATE RESEARCH A Gulfstream V twinjet will be used
to track and analyze large plumes of dust and pollution from Asia as
they journey across the Pacific Ocean, according to New Scientist. The airplane is expected to start its
first research mission this week to monitor the plumes, which affect
cloud formation and are believed to contribute to global warming. The
Gulfstream will fly at up to FL510 during the research missions, and
onboard instruments will monitor plume movement and cloud formation, as
well as capture dust, pollutants and cloud particles for more study.
This is the first time that an aircraft with very sophisticated
instruments will be following these plumes all the way across the
Pacific, principal researcher Veerabhadran Ramanathan told New
Scientist. There is a gold mine of information out there waiting
to be uncovered. More...
GET REALITY CHECK FROM FELLOW PASSENGERS Paula Abdul either
overestimated her star power or underestimated the sort of primeval code
of conduct that rules when 100 or more people are packed in an aluminum
tube, rebreathing each other's air. The American Idol judge's first
mistake was to ask for first-class treatment on the successfully
proletariat Southwest Airlines by demanding advanced boarding for a
flight from San Jose to Burbank, Calif. Her next move was trying to cash
in her star credits. When told that advanced boarding was reserved for
the old, the very young and infirm, she reportedly said, But
Im famous! I need to go on first! according MonstersAndCritics.com's retelling of tabloid
accounts. At that point, her fellow passengers reportedly dissolved into
laughter with one quipping "You're no Sanjaya," referring to the
talent-challenged contestant whose flamboyance carried him to a final 10
berth in the popular reality TV series. Abdul's final indignity was
being forced to rub shoulders (not to mention elbows, knees and likely
feet) with the less important people in her seat row because the
airplane was full and her lame attempt to reserve the seat beside her
was immediately overruled by a flight attendant. But while Abdul's
antics had her seatmates rolling in the aisle, Heather Mills' impromptu
dance routine couldn't break the veil of doom that had settled over the
flight she was on. More...
Reason #31 Look Ma, No
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,
ERROR, ROAD PLACEMENT CITED IN PA-28/SUV COLLISION The NTSB says the pilot of Piper PA-28 Warrior
misjudged his approach to a private airport in Georgetown, Del., on July
26, 2005, but it also suggests the consequences would have been far less
grave had a road that passed perpendicular to the threshold been in
compliance with FAA standards. The pilot of the Piper said his sink rate
was faster than he expected on the approach, so he added power and
retracted some flap. It was noted in the report that retracting flap in
that flight condition would increase the sink rate. At any rate, as he
did so an SUV occupied by a man and his 14-year-old daughter crossed
from the left and the aircraft hit the vehicle, killing its occupants.
TRUCKS HIT AIRPLANES IN CLEVELAND The greatest threat of
collision at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport during early
April's unprecedented spring snowstorms was apparently from deicing
trucks. Associated Press reported last week that no less
than three collisions occurred between trucks and airplanes during
whiteout conditions at the airport. In one case, the driver of the truck
didn't mention that he'd made contact, but the pilots apparently caught
it and, as in the other two incidents, all three airplanes returned to
the gates so they could be inspected. There's no word on what damage, if
any, the incidents caused. More...
Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new,
dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400,
as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning
aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the
interactive online Paint Selector.
Just go online and click on the
"Paint Your Passion" icon.
THE FLY S-TEC's autopilot roll servo STC'd for Cirrus
SR22s EXP5000 PFD course from Flight1 now FITS
compliant Anywhere Map offers new PDA bundle MS
Aviation releases online private pilot training course.
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Offer excludes Garmin products.
Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of
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.
'N FUN PODCASTING ROUND-UP As we pack up and head home from
the 33rd Annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida, let's take a
moment to recap the six exclusive audio interviews we turned into
webcasts during the show. Here's the checklist, in case there are any
you've missed. More...
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AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to Augusta Aviation at KDNL in Augusta,
AVweb readers Jim and Karen Lindemulder says the FBO
owners went out of their way to help them.
"Good Friday evening
our Skylane experienced multiple instrument failures while flying over
Georgia. Control vectored us to Daniel Airport for assistance, where we
were met on the ground by the smiling faces of Sherrell and Steven Gay
of Augusta Aviation. The Masters Golf tournament was in progress and
every hotel and rental car was taken. There were no mechanics available
at the late hour and we considered a ferry flight to another facility,
but Sherrell could tell by my wife's face that we really needed a night
on the ground. She made many personal phone calls and located the last
room available 35 miles away and gave us their own truck to get there.
When we returned in the morning, their mechanic had already checked out
our plane and determined the pitot heater was not working well and
allowed ice to form in the lines. We were gratefully humbled when we
were told that there was no charge for any of the services, even though
we did not buy fuel. We will definitely stop to see them whenever
Understanding Your Airplane's Mechanics Could
Save Your Bank Account Light Plane Maintenance is the monthly magazine for
aircraft owners who aren't satisfied with just flying. Aircraft repair
can be simple when explained in concise, step-by-step details. If you
want to truly learn about the workings of your airplane (and save a few
dollars, too), Light Plane Maintenance is for you.
Order online today and receive "LPM's 40 Top Maintenance
Tips" as a gift.
Order online today and receive
LPM's 40 Top Maintenance Tips as a gift.
'N FUN VIDEO ROUND-UP This week, we're taking a brief hiatus
from reader-recommended videos to point out two videos produced
on-the-fly (and largely on-the-run) by AVweb's Glenn Pew over the
last couple of days at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. We
shot quite a bit of video at the show, so look for more original video
content here on AVweb in the next few days. For now, here are a
couple of short clips that set the tone for our adventures in vodcasting
at the Fly-In. (Click through to watch.) More...
After 10 years of flying a Twin
Comanche, I upgraded to a Beech Baron. With the Beechcraft Pilot
Proficiency Program in Lakeland, Fla. under my belt, I advanced the
throttles on my first PIC flight into Orlando airspace.
Orlando Approach, Baron Eight Two Four just off Lakeland, five miles to
the east, out of 1,200 for 3,500. Would like to coordinate a Class B
entry en route to New Smyrna Beach, VFR.
Approach [in a classic
southern drawl]: Baron Eight Two Four, this is Tampa Approach, and
if you dont call us Orlando, we won't call you a Piper. Squawk two
seven three zero and ident. More...
AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news,
articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's
aviation magazine and news service.
Today's issue was written by
Contributing Editor Russ
and Editor In Chief Chad
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