AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 18b

May 3, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 

FAA Reauthorization: New Bill In Play

With the FAA's proposal to restructure the way it's financed facing a broad array of opposition, Sens. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., have come up with their own solution, The Hill reported on Tuesday. Their bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate later this week. It exempts piston-driven aircraft from user fees and new taxes, but would shift a considerable share of costs off the airlines and onto smaller turbine aircraft. The Alliance for Aviation Across America, a recently formed alliance of groups opposed to user fees, has already expressed "grave concerns" about the new bill. "This proposal would include a tax cut for the commercial airlines that would be offset by additional taxes on general aviation, the small businesses, farmers, fire-fighters, air medical services and flight schools around the country that use small planes," the Alliance said on Tuesday.

Air Taxi Startup Point2Point Suspends Ops

Point2Point, the regional air-taxi service based in North Dakota, has suspended operations, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday. The company had shown exponential growth in several quarters last year, and last July, at AirVenture, had placed an order for up to 100 Diamond aircraft, including DA42 Twin Stars and D-Jets. Company founder John Boehle told AVweb in an e-mail on Wednesday that the company's main problem was that revenues fell over the winter due to "the inability of P2P to reliably dispatch aircraft due to inclement winter flying conditions." Boehle said he had hoped that adding DA42 Twin Stars to his Cirrus SR22 fleet would address the airline's winter dispatch deficiencies in the Upper Great Plains. "We recognized early on the need to address the question of winter reliability with an all-weather/low-cost aircraft to supplement the very capable Cirrus SR22," Boehle said. "However, delays in the FAA's certification of the Diamond DA42 for air carrier operations and for flight into known icing conditions combined to impede Point2Point's ability to effectively address winter weather flying constraints on service availability to customers." Boehle said the airline is engaged in a "corporate and capital restructuring process" and is seeking new backers. "Point2Point's commercial air carrier certificate and top-flight operations team offer tremendous value to investors in the market for such an opportunity," he told AVweb.

The city of Bismarck had given the company a federal grant of $1.25 million to start the service in 2005. Other charter operators in the state were critical of the government-subsidized airline from the start, saying it duplicated existing service but at taxpayer expense, the Associated Press said. Paul Vetter, general manager of Executive Air Taxi Corp. in Bismarck, told the AP that Point2Point's choice of airplanes shows the company didn't understand the airline business in North Dakota. "The airplanes they chose are great airplanes, they just have their limitations," Vetter said. "If you pick an aircraft, at least pick one that's compatible with our weather conditions."

NTSB Blames Pilots In Manhattan Crash, Suggests VFR Limits

The pilots' inadequate planning, judgment, and airmanship in performing a 180-degree turn in a limited space was the probable cause of the Cirrus SR20 crash last October that killed Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, the NTSB said on Tuesday morning. The B oard's final report says it was not possible to determine who was manipulating the controls at the time of the crash. "This accident is a great tragedy in which a pleasure flight went horribly wrong and ultimately cost the lives of two young men," said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker. "The pilots placed themselves in a precarious situation that could have been prevented by better judgment and planning." The Board told the FAA that it should permanently prohibit VFR flight for fixed-wing, nonamphibious aircraft in the New York East River Class B exclusion area, where the accident took place, unless those operations are authorized and being controlled by air traffic control. An animation posted online shows the aircraft's flight path. The NTSB also noted that, due to the lack of a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder, it was not possible to determine who the pilot in control was during the accident flight or if flight instruction was being given. Further, the Board said it didn't find any system, structural or engine malfunctions in the aircraft. Both pilots were also properly certificated to fly the airplane. The pilots should have recognized, during preflight planning or while they were considering flying up the East River after they were already in flight, that there was limited turning space in the East River exclusion area and they would need to maximize the lateral distance available for turning, the NTSB said.

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News Briefs back to top 

NTSB Says TCAS Must Warn Pilots When Offline

Traffic alert and collision avoidance systems (TCAS) should be designed to ensure that flight crews know when they are not operating, the NTSB said in a safety recommendation issued on Wednesday. The recommendation is based on preliminary findings in the ongoing investigation into the midair collision between an Embraer Legacy bizjet and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 in Brazil last year, which killed all 154 aboard the airliner. The NTSB said its findings indicate that, for reasons yet to be determined, the collision avoidance system in the Legacy was not functioning at the time of the accident, disabling the system's ability to detect and be detected by conflicting traffic. In addition, data from the cockpit voice recorder indicates that the flight crew was unaware that the collision avoidance system was not functioning until after the accident. "A flight crew's ability to mitigate the risk of collision is significantly degraded if the collision avoidance system becomes inoperative and the failure is not quickly and reliably brought to the crew's attention, as this accident demonstrates," the Safety Board said. Therefore, the Board wants the FAA to require, for all aircraft required to have TCAS installed and for existing and future system designs, that the airborne loss of collision avoidance system functionality, for any reason, provide an enhanced aural and visual warning requiring pilot acknowledgment.

Santa Monica Votes To Restrict Runway Despite FAA

City commissioners in Santa Monica, Calif., voted last week to cordon off nearly 1,200 feet of a runway at the Santa Monica Airport, despite assertions from FAA officials that such restrictions would not be allowed. The move is the latest effort from the city to restrict jet traffic. The airport has become increasingly popular over the last two decades, much to the dismay of neighbors. A few hundred residents and politicians rallied at the airport recently to protest noise and air pollution. The new resolution would block 600 feet at each end of the 5,000-foot runway as a "safety area." Commission vice-chair Susan Hartley told The Lookout News she voted for the measure because "it will protect Los Angeles and Santa Monica residents." FAA officials have told the commission that any action that would restrict access is "not acceptable." The FAA has asked the city to reduce its existing "safety area" on the west end of the runway from 300 feet to 165 feet. More than 18,000 jet movements occur at the airport each year.

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News Briefs back to top 

EPA Recognizes Eclipse's PhostrEx

Eclipse Aviation on Tuesday said the Environmental Protection Agency awarded the company with a 2007 Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award for the development of its PhostrEx fire-suppression system. “PhostrEx will transform how our industry protects against engine fires while simultaneously guarding against the depletion of the ozone,” said Eclipse President and CEO Vern Raburn. PhostrEx was patented by Eclipse and is the first new commercially viable aircraft engine fire-suppression system in 50 years, the company said. Aircraft fire-suppression systems are currently exempt from the Montreal Protocol and are allowed to use Halon, an ozone-depleting substance, until a workable substitute is found. PhostrEx could very well be that substitute, but the EPA has yet to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking t o ban Halon for aviation applications.

When the PhostrEx agent is released from its hermetically-sealed canister, it works in less than one-tenth of a second, then, after extinguishing the fire it combines with moisture in the air and quickly becomes inert. Because of this rapid reaction with moist air and surfaces, the agent cannot be transported to the stratosphere where ozone depletion could occur, Eclipse notes. In a fire, PhostrEx decomposes 1,000 times more rapidly than Halon and undergoes three sequential losses of bromine atoms, which are the power behind this agent. These atoms then catalyze suppression of the fire, according to Eclipse.

Blind Pilot Completes U.K.-to-Sydney Flight

Miles Hilton-Barber, 58, a British pilot who has been blind for 25 years, landed his microlight aircraft at Bankstown airport in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, after flying more than halfway around the world. His 59-day trip through 21 countries raised money for a charity that works to prevent blindness in poor countries. "It's the fulfillment of an amazing dream," Hilton-Barber told reporters. "I've wanted to be a pilot since I was a kid. Now I'm totally blind and I've had the privilege of flying more than halfway around the world." Hilton-Barber controls the aircraft with the help of talking instruments and computerized sensors. He flew with a sighted copilot. They encountered snowstorms, freezing temperatures and torrential downpours along their 13,500-mile journey.

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News Briefs back to top 

FAA OKs Tutima Academy To Offer Columbia 400 Upset Training

Pilots now can train to recognize and recover from unusual attitudes in a Columbia 400 at Sean D. Tucker's Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety in King City, Calif. The school's Columbia 400 is a stock factory model, but has been reclassified as an experimental by the FAA to allow it to be used for aerobatic flight in the Executive Pilot Awareness Training program. "All the instructors here are approved to offer that training," Tutima instructor Ben Freelove told AVweb on Tuesday. "So, this is the only place you can get it." Air show pilot Sean D. Tucker will fly aerobatic maneuvers in the 400 at several events this summer (including EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.) to demonstrate the airplane's capabilities. "The Executive Pilot Awareness Training program will prevent accidents and save lives because it teaches an advanced level of pilot proficiency previously unavailable through other programs," said Tucker. "The strength, durability and handling of the Columbia 400 is remarkable. It's a safe platform for this type of training, easily withstanding the stresses of upset attitude flying." Students will practice recovery from extreme attitudes and control-system failures, and will experience exposure to high G-loads and dizzying rates of rotation. They will gain confidence that they can control the airplane and recover, according to the flight school.

New AOPA Publication Outlines Rules For Sightseeing Flights

If you conduct sightseeing flights, whether for charity or for profit, new FAA rules affect you. AOPA has updated its "Charity Flying Safety Brief," posted free online, to reflect those changes. For example, flight schools that give sightseeing rides under the Part 91 25-mile exception must now apply for a "Letter of Authorization" from the FAA and show proof that they have an FAA-approved anti-drug and alcohol program. Private pilots who conduct sightseeing flights to raise funds for charity now must have a minimum total flight time of 500 hours, up from 200. However, the rule changes don't affect all forms of charitable flying. Volunteer private pilots still may transport a sick or injured person and take a charitable tax deduction for their expenses, says the Air Care Alliance. The FAA originally wanted to make all sightseeing operations fall under Part 135 charter rules, but AOPA successfully opposed that. AOPA offers more info on the topic at its Web site.

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 Intercept Procedures Guide. Download your no-cost Airspace Safety Advisor now.
News Briefs back to top 

Now Is The Time To Plan For EAA AirVenture

Yes, it's three months away, but the official FAA NOTAM is now available, and if you are planning to fly in to EAA AirVenture this summer, it's not too soon to start studying up on the event's unique arrival and departure procedures. The NOTAM provides details for the many types of aircraft that fly to Wittman Field in Oshkosh, as well as to nearby airports. You can print out all 28 pages of the PDF booklet online right now or call EAA at 800-564-6322 and they will mail you a free copy. Changes this year include that the fly-in procedures start a day earlier than usual, taking effect Friday, July 20. The FAA will also use a new, higher-powered frequency for the Arrival ATIS this year, 118.75, so pilots can start to listen in from farther out. Additionally, a new landing area has been established for helicopters, and flight hours in the North and South Flight Service Briefing Annexes have been expanded. Events at the show that have so far been confirmed include visits from the U-2 spyplane, U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, the Beach Boys, all the usual aircraft and aerial events and more to come. "Over the next three months, through the spring and into the summer, the excitement will build as we prepare to welcome the world to Oshkosh once again," Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman, said on Monday. "While the aircraft lineup already committed to AirVenture is outstanding, over the next few months announcements of other airplanes and personalities will round out the event's lineup to make it truly 'The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.'"

New Executives At Mooney

Mooney Airplane Co. of Kerrville, Texas, has named two new executives to its staff, with the appointment of Jon Greenwood to the position of vice president and chief financial officer and John McCoury as vice president of engineering. Greenwood previously worked for M7 Aerospace. McCoury has worked with Aviation Technology Group (ATG) and Eclipse Aviation. "Jon Greenwood brings outstanding credentials to his new role at Mooney," said CEO Dennis Ferguson. McCoury's experience in new product development will be valuable as Mooney considers future projects, Ferguson said. Both new hires will be based in Kerrville.

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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

Penton's Aircraft Bluebook has launched a new Web site that provides an online database and tools for determining the value of business and general aviation aircraft...

Aviation growth in Vietnam is stymied by lack of clear regulations...

Vero Beach, Fla., officials will meet with Piper Aircraft next week to make a pitch to be the home to the PiperJet manufacturing plant...

Northrop Grumman's E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, the newest Navy aircraft, made its first public appearance on Monday in St. Augustine, Fla....

A lawsuit filed by Columbia Air Services alleges trademark infringement by Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corp., which makes the Columbia 350 and 400. The former company seeks unspecified monetary damages for brand dilution and confusion, and in addition asks for the latter company to be barred from using "Columbia" in its corporate name and any associated products…

AOPA will host its 17th annual fly-in and open house at its headquarters in Frederick, Md., on Saturday, June 2. The free event features aircraft displays, more than 100 exhibits, seminars and tours of the AOPA home base.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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New On AVweb back to top 

Probable Cause #31: Test Pilot

A pilot picking up an airplane from maintenance discovers a problem after takeoff. Could better planning and weather have changed the outcome?

Click here for the full story.

Losing It

Your only engine, that is. Here are three pilots with happy-ending engine-failure tales. Their advice: Plan for it, train for it and fly the airplane.

Click here for the full story.

DA40 Diamond Star a Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals, Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, Middle Tennessee State University, Utah Valley State College, and Utah State University have all selected the G1000-equipped DA40 Diamond Star. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. For more information, click here.
AVweb-Exclusive Audio And Video News back to top 

AVweb Audio News

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 Monday'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.

Exclusive Video: Our Ride-Along with Aerobatic Pilots Michael Mancuso and Matt Chapman at Sun 'n Fun 2007

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

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.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

To take a ride with Mancuso (and without dramamine), see also Glenn Pew's article, "The Day I Saw the Light."

Would you like to see more original video content from AVweb? Do you an idea that would make a great video? Let us know.

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Question Of The Week back to top 

Question of the Week Redux: Is AFSS Consolidation Affecting the Quality of Your Weather Briefings?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they've seen any noticeable change in the quality of weather briefings since AFSS consolidation has gotten underway.  Unfortunately, a last-minute typo in the AVwebFlash newsletter meant that many readers never got a chance to participate in last week's poll — so we're keeping it open another week, to hear what everyone has to say.

We're very interested in your local AFSS experiences, and if you'd like to tell us more than you can in a simple poll, please feel free to e-mail us with more detail.


Now that automated flight service station (FSS) consolidation has started in earnest under contractor Lockheed Martin, have you noticed any changes in aviation weather briefing quality?

Click here to answer.

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: Atlas Aviation

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

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!

Pictures Of The Week back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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."  Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?  Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.


Too many pictures — it's a good problem to have!  Last week, we did our best to go through the deluge of photos that arrived in our submission box while we were traipsing around the show grounds at Sun 'n Fun, but we still couldn't narrow it down to fewer than 25 pictures we wanted to share.  (And the slideshow on our home page was only built to hold 25 — "more than we'd ever really need," right?)  This week, photo submissions dropped off a good bit, with only 78 new pictures coming across the 'net, but we still had a good 40 held in reserve from last week.  What this means is another jam-packed week, headlined by "POTW" winner Steve Gladwin of Pflugerville, Texas.  Take it away, Steve!

medium | large

copyright © Steve Gladwin
Used with permission

Doolittle Raiders

Steve Gladwin of Pflugerville, Texas snapped the venerable Special Delivery and Miss Mitchell flying in formation behind the Commemorative Air Force's Yellow Rose at the 2007 Doolittle's Raiders Reunion in San Antonio.

"Kelly USA, formerly Kelly Air Force Base, is in the background," writes Steve.


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Used with permission of Bill Pedlar

She Flies Like a Dream, Gramps!

Well, he's a little young, but we guess if he's certified and his medical's up-to-date, we'd fly with him.  (He is building a kit in his garage, and that takes some expertise — right?)

Courtesy of Bill Pedlar of Brights Grove, Ontario (Canada).


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Used with permission of Gary Sides

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copyright © Wings of Fury
Aviation Photography

Used with permission of
Brian Emch

Tributes to Lt. Cmdr Kevin Davis (Blue Angel #6)

Several photographs of Blue Angel #6 and pilot Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis have found their way into our "POTW" contest since the tragic crash on April 21.

We may share more as they come in, but these two from Gary Sides of San Angelo, Texas and Brian Emch of Lancaster, California seemed a fitting tribute to include in this week's edition.

The incredible aerobatic displays of the Blue Angels team have sparked the pilot instinct in thousands of youngsters over the years, and for that ambassadorship alone, we'd like to thank the U.S. Navy and its dedicate pilots and support staff.  Our very best wishes go out to the entire Angels team and Lt. Cmdr. Davis's friends and family.


medium | large

Used with permission of John Sperling

Night Flight

"My dad took this picture on a motorcycle trip in Adrian, Missouri," writes John Sperling of Wichita, Kansas.

What better way to sign off?

Remember:  There'll be more new pictures to see on AVweb's home page Thursday morning!

To enter next week's contest, click here.

A quick note for submitters:  If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week!  That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too.  ;)

A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or send us an e-mail.

Names Behind The News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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.

Aviate, navigate, communicate.