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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.
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
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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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.
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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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.
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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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.
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.
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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.'"
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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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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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.
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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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.
THE QUESTION ***
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?
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."
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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
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!
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
"Kelly USA, formerly Kelly Air Force Base, is in the background," writes
Several photographs of Blue Angel #6 and pilot Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis
have found their way into our "POTW" contest since the
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.
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,
send us an e-mail.
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
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
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.