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Volume 13, Number 18a
April 30, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

The FAA on Thursday afternoon issued a production certificate (PC) to Eclipse Aviation, allowing the manufacturer to issue standard airworthiness certificates for production Eclipse 500s. Representatives from the FAA presented the production certificate to Eclipse COO Peg Billson at the company's Albuquerque, N.M. headquarters. Before receiving the PC, Eclipse was previously required to submit every aircraft to the FAA for approval before delivery. "Earning our FAA production certificate means we have successfully built a reliable, high-quality manufacturing process, and are well positioned to expedite aircraft deliveries,” said Billson. 'This is a critical milestone in our journey to become a high-production aircraft manufacturer." More...

Recent evidence suggests that managers at the FAA might have rushed the issuance of the Eclipse 500 type certificate (TC) last Sept. 30. A grievance filed on Oct. 20 by National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) aircraft certification representative Tomaso DiPaolo and posted this week to a blog site alleges that aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots assigned to the Eclipse 500 program had identified "several outstanding safety/regulatory issues" before Sept. 30 that would have precluded issuance of the TC. DiPaolo told AVweb that the unnamed engineers and test pilots were unaware until coming into work on Monday morning that FAA managers issued the Eclipse TC over the weekend, adding, "Who's ever heard of the FAA working on a Saturday?" Eclipse Aviation director of communications Andrew Broom told AVweb that his company did not influence the timing of the TC issuance: "We did not use any political connections to push for acceleration of the Eclipse 500 type certificate." DiPaolo also said he was not aware of any influence on Eclipse's part; instead he believes that the FAA's push might have had something to do with the agency's new "pay for performance" mandate. More...

Diamond Aircraft said on Friday that it’s continuing its investigation into the dual engine failure of a diesel-powered DA42 Twin Star last month in Germany, and the fix might be a backup battery for the engine’s electronic control units (ECUs). In meantime, AVweb has learned that an Airworthiness Directive for the airplane’s two Thielert 1.7 Centurion engines is pending. Diamond North American president Peter Maurer told AVweb on Friday that Thielert -- the engine supplier -- and Diamond aren’t working at cross purposes, since the problem obviously needs to be corrected. Maurer said that both of the Twin Star’s engines quit immediately after the pilot retracted the landing gear. Activation of the gear retraction system caved the electrical system voltage and knocked both ECUs offline. When the engines quit, the props immediately feathered and the airplane’s dual alternators, which are supposed to provide failsafe power to the ECUs, also died. The airplane landed with the gear partially retracted and was significantly damaged. Fortunately, the crew survived. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA's unprecedented recruiting drive for air traffic controllers has caused bitter division between the new recruits and those who've taken the college route to the console. Pat Forrey, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told AVweb in an interview that controller trainees who have gone through college, often amassing large student loans, are now training side by side with people who have almost literally been pulled off the street and into the program. "It's causing a rift amongst the new hires," Forrey said. Ironically, though, Forrey said it's unlikely the off-the-street trainees are at any significant competitive disadvantage against their college-trained classmates. More...

Cirrus and Cessna continue to battle it out for supremacy of the piston single market, and the airplanes with a parachute still have the edge. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association's quarterly report on aircraft shipments, Cirrus delivered 144 aircraft over three model types in the first quarter, bringing in a little more than $64 million in revenue. Cessna delivered 133 piston singles (total value not broken out in the GAMA table), across a product range of six models. Diamond Aircraft delivered 73 singles and its diesel twin, the DA42 Twin Star, was by far the most popular piston twin with 42 shipped. Columbia delivered 47 aircraft and Piper shipped a total of 43 airplanes, of which 21 were piston singles. Overall, the industry is mostly maintaining the very busy production levels of the past three years. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has joined the juggernaut of opposition to the FAA's funding proposal, saying it's nothing more than a bailout of airlines on the backs of small-town America. In a news release, NFU President Pat Buis said the plan to more than triple the existing general aviation fuel tax will have a direct impact on rural residents. "Local airfields often provide the fastest and most efficient means of transportation because the big corporate airlines concentrate most of their service at only the nation's largest airports," Buis said. "The FAA proposal to impose user fees and tax increases will deal a heavy blow to farmers and rural communities who depend on general aviation—for this reason we are strongly opposing user fees and new taxes in any form." Also joining the chorus is the Alaska State legislature. More...

On Friday, Eclipse Aviation announced its new team of partners -- Flight Simulation Company of The Netherlands and Higher Power Aviation of Dallas -- who will train Eclipse 500 pilots. These organizations join Eclipse's previously established simulator vendor OPINICUS of Lutz, Florida. United Airlines and Eclipse last month severed ties under which United would have trained Eclipse 500 pilots. Under the new arrangement, FSC will provide Eclipse's FAA-approved course content and oversee the very light jet manufacturer's overall pilot-training program. Under its Part 142 certificate, HPA's flight instructors and training personnel will conduct FAA-approved flight training and administer the Eclipse 500 type rating curriculum in the U.S. "We take our responsibility to train our customer pilots very seriously," said Eclipse Aviation President and CEO Vern Raburn. "We have assembled an outstanding team of experienced instructors and administrators to deliver our FAA-approved, scenario-based training curriculum to our customers." 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 at OregonAero.com.
News Briefsback to top 

One of the oldest family businesses in U.S. aviation is changing hands at the end of June. It was announced Thursday that Executive Beechcraft, which was started by Dan Melsinger Sr. in 1938, is being purchased by BBA Aviation. Terms haven't been disclosed, but the deal gives BBA 100 percent of the capital stock of Executive Beechcraft Inc. Members of the Melsinger family have continuously owned the business since its inception (when an executive Beechcraft was a Staggerwing) and grew it to include a diversified enterprise with four bases of operation. More...

A Vancouver Island company has committed to resurrecting one of the most popular passenger/utility aircraft ever built. Viking Air of Saanich (near Victoria) British Columbia intends to begin building DHC-6 Twin Otters this year. Parts will be built at the Saanich plant for assembly in Calgary. The company hopes to build nine aircraft this year, 12 in 2008 and 18 in 2010 to start satisfying a pent-up demand for the rugged, STOL-capable fixed-gear turboprops that has forced prices on the used market to skyrocket in recent years. "It's a terrific opportunity," Viking vice president of finance John Morrison told the Peninsula News. "In the aviation world the Twin Otter is a very cherished icon, much like the Beaver, and that we've been given the opportunity to bring it back into production is exciting." More...

Find Your Next Aircraft on ASO!
When you search for aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete picture of the market available anywhere. View thousands of listings with detailed specs and photos or use ASO's advanced search tools to quickly find your next aircraft. Best of all, know that every ad is current and no time is wasted on stale listings. If you're ready for your next aircraft, it's ready for you — on ASO. Visit ASO today!
News Briefsback to top 

Actor John Travolta has caught the ire of the London's Daily Mail and the retirees of Owl's Head, Maine, in recent days for his flying behavior. On the U.S. side of the pond, the folks in Owl's Head wish he would abide by the voluntary curfew at Knox County Regional Airport. According to airport manager Jeff Northgreaves, only one airplane routinely busts the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and that's Travolta's Gulfstream. "He has the loudest aircraft we see here," Northgraves told the National Enquirer. "The area has a lot of little old ladies and retired people…Travolta should have some heart." When Travolta goes overseas, he breaks out the big iron, however, something that didn't escape the notice of the British media. More...

In most cases, the investigation of a fatal accident reveals an all-too-familiar chain of events leading up to the crash that may include pilot error, weather and, sometimes, mechanical malfunction. But a crash on a calm clear day in Hawaii on Dec. 15, 2005, gave investigators nothing to go on except the smoking wreck of a Cessna 172S buried six feet in a mountainside at the 2,300-foot level near Hana Airport. According to the Honolulu Advertiser, Alan Gerow, 58, of Salt Lake City, a commercial-rated pilot, rented the 172 at Maui Aviators at Kahului Airport and said he intended to fly to Hana Airport and return later in the day. More...

Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
News In Briefback to top 

U-2 will be at EAA AirVenture...
Dassault Falcon 7X received EASA and FAA certification...
Frederico Fleur Curado is the new Embraer CEO...
NBAA is moving its convention from New Orleans to Orlando...
NATCA says a funnel cloud went right over Tulsa Airport and controllers didn't know it. 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...

Attention, Cessna Owners and Pilots!
Join the fastest-growing and best association for Cessna Flyers — the Cessna Flyer Association (CFA), since 2004 providing same-day parts locating, faster answers to technical questions, an informative monthly magazine, online forums, national and regional events, an annual gatheringseminars, member discounts, and more for only $39 yearly. The CFA is located in the Blue Hangar on the Waupaca Municipal Airport (PCZ) in Waupaca, Wisconsin, just 35 nm NW of Oshkosh. For more info, visit CessnaFlyer.org.
New On AVwebback to top 

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

Checklists sometimes get relegated to the backseat once the before-takeoff checklist is complete. Do yourself a favor and add flows, mnemonics, and lists that check what you did. More...


This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a glass-cockpit retrofit for Cessna 300- and 400-series, portable cabin air conditioning, training DVDs and much more. More...

AVMAIL: APR. 30, 2007
Reader mail this week about FAA budget myths, clothslining blimps, FSS closures and more. More...

Pilot Journey Isn't Just for Students & Instructors; There's Something for Everyone
You know Pilot Journey's Discovery Flight program converting leads to students. However, all pilots can find something at Pilot Journey: Pilot e-mail accounts, pilot eCards; a pilot cruise with seminars; AvCareers, where position wanted and positions available are listed; and much more. Pilot Journey is the pilot's choice online.
AVweb-Exclusive Audio And Video Newsback 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 Rich Schrameck at Epic Aircraft. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Cessna's Jack Pelton; Embraer's Ernest Edwards; LAMA's Dan Johnson; Piper's Jim Bass; DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Hawker Beechcraft's Jim Schuster; Avfuel's Craig Sincock; Comp Air's Ron Lueck; and VistaNav's Jeff Simon. In today's special podcast, hear Pat Foley of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association on controller hiring. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


AVweb (and you) ride along with Michael Mancuso as he flies his precision formation routine with Matt Chapman. The video includes narration by Mancuso, who briefed us after the show. (Click through to watch.) More...

The AVweb Bookstore, The Most Complete Aviation Bookstore Anywhere
Over 400 titles representing 52 publishers are in stock and ready for immediate delivery — as books, videos, or CDs. 100+ titles available instantly as fully searchable e-Book downloads. Whether you are a pilot, an A&P technician, or a kit airplane builder, if it's worth reading, it's available from the AVweb Bookstore. Click here to visit online.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlas Aviation at KTPF in Tampa, Fla.

AVweb reader Armand Bendersky says the FBO went above and beyond.

"I contacted them before flying to Sun 'n Fun, and they were friendly on the phone and went above and beyond in obtaining hotel reservations, printed directions and the right rental car. Their facility is clean and the staff is friendly and helpful to a fault. I highly recommend this small, but very convenient operation for anyone going into the Tampa area. Fuel prices are probably less than others in the area, and they treat you like they appreciate your business."

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!


Stuck on the Freeway? Put That "Down Time" to Good Use with Pilot's Audio Update
Subscribe to Pilot's Audio Update and receive monthly CDs with topics from "Expediting an IFR Approach" and "Airplane Trim Systems" to "Carburetor Ice" and "Low Workload Maneuvering." Subscribe now to receive the Acing the Flight Review CD as a gift with your order.
Video Of The Weekback to top 

This week's flying video comes from an as-yet-unidentified Australian comedy troupe who take us inside the cockpit of flight simulator to talk to airline "pilots." (Did we mention how thankful we are that this is just a simulator?) (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"

Overheard between a Cessna 310 driver and Chicago Center.

Chicago Center: Cessna One Two Three Five Bravo, I’ll bring you in a little high so I don’t lose radar contact while vectoring you to the ILS. Do you think you’ll have any problem losing the necessary altitude to make the approach?

Cessna 1235B: No problem Center, this baby comes down like a Bonanza full of doctors! 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 Russ Niles (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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