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Brazilian police say the failure of two New York pilots to notice that the transponder aboard their Embraer Legacy 600 bizjet was
not working amounts to the criminal offense of "placing a vessel or aircraft in jeopardy" and are, according to a Brazilian newspaper, recommending prosecution. Joe Lepore and Jan Paladino were
delivering the Legacy from the factory to their employer, ExcelAire of New York, last Sept. 29 when the left winglet and part of the tail struck a Gol Airlines Boeing 737-800. The airliner crashed,
killing all 154 onboard, while Paladino and Lepore were able to land the damaged Embraer at a military base in the Amazon jungle. The pilots have steadfastly maintained (and radio transcripts appear
to support) that they were at the altitude assigned by air traffic control. The International Airline Pilots Association is criticizing the report, noting that gaping hole in the evidence and also pointing out that the charges belie the fundamental legal tenet that there must be criminal intent
involved. "As there does not seem to be any factual support for a finding that there was any intent by the Legacy crew to place their aircraft in danger, there should be no basis for prosecution under
Brazilian law," IALPA said in a news release. Meanwhile ExcelAire, Embraer and Honeywell, which made the transponder, are squabbling over whether the device was faulty. Honeywell steadfastly claims
that the transponder in the Legacy was fully functional during the accident flight. The pilots have said they'll return to Brazil to face the charges, and there's also a report that the Brazilian
Congress wants them to testify before a commission studying the accident.
It now appears that at least three Brazilian air traffic controllers could be charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in
the collision between an Embraer Legacy 600 bizjet and a Gol Airlines Boeing 737, which killed all 154 aboard the Boeing last Sept. 29. Earlier reports from Brazil said a federal police investigation
ignored air traffic controls involvement because ATC is run by the military in Brazil and it would do its own investigation. But a fresh report from the Sao Paulo newspaper O Estado, quoted by Newsday, says the police probe has implicated three of the 10
controllers who were on duty at the time of the collision. The report has not been officially released yet, but O Estado says the police allege that the controllers gave incomplete instructions to the
Embraer crew, leading them to believe that they were cleared to fly their whole intended route at 37,000 feet. O Estado says the controllers actually expected the bizjet to change altitudes twice but
either didnt notice or didnt do anything about it if they did notice.
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) are calling on Brazils federal police to
drop criminal charges against two American pilots, in part because of concerns about the effect of the prosecution on future crash investigations. Jan Paladino and Joe Lepore, who flew the Embraer 600
that collided with a Gol Airlines Boeing 737 over Brazil last Sept. 29, will likely face charges based on their alleged failure to notice that their transponder wasnt working. In a joint news release, NBAA and FSF say the charges are premature because the crash investigation isnt complete.
They also say the decision to pursue criminal charges could put a chill on accident investigations, not only in Brazil but all over the world. "We are deeply concerned that the criminalization of the
investigation into the tragic accident of September 2006 could have a negative impact on aviation safety worldwide, FSF CEO Bill Voss said. While its not the first time criminal charges
have been laid in relation to an air crash, the news release says this case could be precedent-setting for its international circumstances. The worry is that the specter of criminal proceedings will
cause those involved in accidents to withhold information that might be crucial to the prevention of future mishaps. We are disappointed that Brazilian police officials continue down the road of
emphasizing 'criminalization' in the wake of last year's tragic accident, instead of recognizing the premium the international aviation community places on investigating the root causes of an
accident, so that safety improvements can be made," said NBAA President Ed Bolen.
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Lockheed Martin is looking for a 10-percent increase in the fees it's being paid to take over flight services. According to a report from the Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General, the
company, which was awarded a $1.8 billion contract to assume the function, says it's owed another $177 million, mostly because the FAA didn't supply accurate labor cost information. Lockheed Martin's
claims are now being assessed. Meanwhile, the DOT OIG also reported that the FAA has fined Lockheed Martin $9 million for failure to live up to service and performance guarantees. Pilots in the
Washington, D.C., area have recently complained that FSS changes have resulted in a sharp increase in dropped flight plans and that briefers, some of whom were in California, didn't know the
procedures for operations in the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that surrounds the capital. The OIG is now preparing a report on FSS operations that will be released later this month. Most of
the OIG report delivered Thursday dealt with the FAA's funding request for 2008. The OIG noted the FAAs funding request has been tailored to fit the new user-fee-based structure being championed
by the agency. The OIG doesn't pass judgment on the user-fee structure, but it does say the agency has become noticeably better at managing its money, particularly with regard to large capital
projects. It says the agency seems to have curbed the runaway budgets and slipped schedules that plagued projects, but notes it has challenges ahead with the Next Generation Air Transportation System
and more mundane projects like an integrated communications system.
Last week Cirrus issued a mandatory Service Bulletin that requires the replacement of some control system parts that, in specific cross control circumstances, can cause the rudder and aileron controls to
jam. The Service Bulletin was issued a month after the controls jammed on a relatively new SR20 as a student pilot was lining up for takeoff at Leesburg, Va. According to the NTSB report, the student had applied full right rudder and full left aileron and both systems locked. His instructor
aborted the takeoff safely. Investigators found control system parts tangled together and were able to repeat the jamming action. In its Service Bulletin, Cirrus calls for new parts that will prevent
the entanglement and it also notes that the jamming has never been reported in aircraft with properly rigged controls. However, the relatively simple fix for the technical issue could affect a lawsuit stemming from the crash of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidles SR20 last October. Although the
NTSB says pilot error was to blame and no mechanical irregularities were found in the plane, the lawyer for Lidles widow Melanie has filed suit against Cirrus claiming the crash was caused by a
failure of the flight controls. The suit alleges the aircraft have a history of flight-control-related crashes. The control inputs that caused the jam on the ground in Leesburg would put the aircraft
in a forward slip in flight. Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger were in a steep left turn when they hit a Manhattan apartment building.
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The FAA is painting a dismal picture of its own performance in an unvarnished attempt to gather support for its controversial
proposed aviation user-fee funding system. In a fact sheet released last week, the agency ties the funding
package directly to modernization of airspace management, which has been nicknamed NextGen. The Administrations NextGen Financing Reform Act, sent to Congress in February, will provide a
stable, cost-based revenue stream to fund the transition to NextGen, the fact sheet reads. The current tax system expires Sept. 30, so Congress must act now. Without airspace
modernization, the fact sheet warns, the system will reach gridlock by 2015. The fact sheet says one in four airline flights is delayed nationwide and, at the worst bottlenecks, 35 percent
of flights arrive or depart late. It says the current system simply cannot handle expected growth in air traffic that will see the number of passengers increase from the current level of about 750
million annually to a billion by 2015. Aviations ability to continue to play its traditionally dynamic role in our economy will be substantially diminished unless new NextGen technology
and procedures are put in to place now, the fact sheet warns. While virtually no one disputes the need to modernize the system, most general aviation groups -- as well as the DOT Inspector
General and Government Accountability Office -- say the current system of fuel taxes on GA and ticket taxes on commercial aviation are adequate fund the transition.
Columbia Aircraft founder Lance Neibauer is suing his former company for severance and for payment for rights to manufacturing
processes he invented when he owned the firm. The company, which makes the certified Columbia 350 and 400 high performance aircraft (and is not to be confused with Lancair, the kit-build company
Neibauer also founded) was taken over by its principal investor, the Malaysian government, and Neibauer was kept on as an employee until he was terminated in April 2006. Six months later, according to
the Bend Bulletin, Neibauer launched a lawsuit claiming severance of
$1.55 million. And in a separate action, launched in the last few weeks, Neibauer is claiming Columbia owes him $100,000 and $400,000 more over the next four years under an agreement signed in 2002.
Neibauer claims the 2002 deal entitled him to $500,000 in annual payments of $100,000 on his departure from the company for the rights to composite technology he developed for the aircraft.
Neibauers suit says the first payment was due at the end of last month. Columbia recently announced it is recalling employees furloughed six weeks ago as the company sold off excess inventory
and retooled for more efficient production. It sold 47 aircraft in the first quarter of this year, one more than it did in the same period last year.
It looks like Europes space-based navigation system will be government operated after the consortium of companies that were to
build and run it effectively quit the project on Thursday. The consortium, led by Airbus parent EADS, had until May 10 to come up with a plan to get the Galileo project back on track and working
toward deployment. But, according to Reuters, the consortium was plagued by infighting and nervous of the $3 billion cost so it let the deadline pass. Shortly thereafter, European Union Transport Commission head
Michele Cercone said the government would take over the project. Cercone said the consortium wanted the EU to assume the debt and take all the risk out of deploying the system so it made more sense to
assume the project without them. The EU hopes to have the system partially operational by early 2011 and fully operational by 2012.
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The FAA seems intent on closing the Palm Springs, Calif., terminal radar approach control (TRACON) in three weeks despite unusually
strong public and political opposition. It intends to transfer the workload to the Southern California TRACON near San Diego on June 6. In recent weeks, local, state and federal politicians have asked
the FAA to reconsider, citing safety concerns, and there's even a bill pending in the House that would outlaw the move.According to the Desert Sun, a public meeting on Thursday, in which opposition was
virtually unanimous, apparently failed to move FAA officials, who insist service will improve. "If you stand back from the emotional for just a second and you look at the facts of what level of
service is going to be provided, it's going to be a vast improvement," Walter White, SoCal TRACON's support manager for airspace and procedures, said at the meeting. But opponents say closing Palm
Springs will add a specialized workload to the San Diego facility that it's not staffed or trained to handle. SoCal TRACON is one of the busiest, handling more than two million flights a year. Palm
Springs sees about 145,000 flights per year. Critics say SoCal is already stretched to the limit by manpower shortages to the point where operational errors are up threefold. They also say the
controllers in San Diego aren't familiar with the geography and conditions around Palm Springs. Those points have been made repeatedly by pilots; airport business officials; and civic, state and
federal politicians, but the plan remains to make the move June 6. "I have the feeling, sitting here this afternoon, that you're here to tell us something and you're not paying any attention to what
we're saying," Mort Gubin, a senior aviation medical examiner, said at the meeting.
Two Norwegian pilots have developed a system to warn pilots if theyre on a collision course with obstacles like cell towers,
wind turbines, radio masts or just about any other thing that sticks up in the air. The difference with this system is that its the obstacle itself that broadcasts the warning and theres
no need for additional equipment on the airplane to receive it. According to the Innovations Report, pilots Rolf Bakken and Morten Mork came up with the idea in 1999 and worked with SINTEF to develop it. The heart of the system is smart radar that can tell if
an aircraft is on a collision course with an obstacle. The radar is part of a technology bundle that is installed on the obstacle. If the radar spots an airplane moving its way, it activates powerful
warning lights mounted on the obstacle when the aircraft is 30 seconds from impact. If the lights dont get the pilots attention, at 20 seconds out a warning signal is broadcast on all VHF
aviation radio frequencies. There was no mention of the cost of each system.
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If youre waffling on which very light jet suits you best, Embraer has 130,000 reasons for you to make up your mind by July
1. Thats when the price of its Phenom 100 four-passenger (six-place) jet will go from $2.85 million to $2.98 million (January 2005 dollars). That puts the actual outlay for the Brazilian VLJ a
touch over $3 million. The news release announcing the price hike did not explain the reason, though the company did say it has a combined total of 400 orders for the Phenom 100 and its larger
stablemate, the Phenom 300. The first Phenom 100 is in final assembly at Embraers main plant in São José dos Campos, Brazil. Customer deliveries are expected in about a year. The
aircraft is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F engines and the flight deck features the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics system. The Phenom 300 will follow the 100 into production in 2009. It
will seat six passengers.
Spokane Airways is taking Spokane International Airport
and its board of directors to court, claiming the airport owes it new digs to replace the buildings it was forced to vacate to make way for a new control tower. According to the Spokane Spokesman-Review, the FBO says its deal with the airport stipulates that if it has to move,
its up to the airport to find comparable space. The business, which has about 100 employees, occupied six buildings that have to be demolished to clear sight lines for the new tower, which opens
in August. The company was moved to smaller quarters and says its lease requires "relocation or substitution of other premises be at the expense of the [Airport] Board." The airport says that lease
was legally terminated and suggests the demand is excessive. The airports lawyer, Kevin Roberts, said it would cost the airport up to $15 million to build the kind of facilities the
company is demanding, and he insists theres no requirement in the agreements for taxpayer-subsidized new construction. "They're trying to get something not required under Washington law," he
told the Spokesman-Review. A hearing is set for next week, but the airport is trying to get the case dismissed before that.
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Hangar63, Banyan's Aviation Store at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, will hold a customer appreciation day June 2 with special sales, prizes, food and free flying using simulator software in
a Gulfstream II fuselage...
Cirruss G3 series of turbonormalized SR22s is even cooler now that theyre available with air conditioning. Earlier turbos didnt offer that option
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration sent investigators to the New York terminal radar approach control center in Westbury, N.Y., to look into the carbon monoxide incident that
sickened some on-duty controllers April 25
The Air Force says its getting close to perfecting sense-and-avoid systems for UAVs, something the FAA says they have to have before they can mix it up with regular traffic.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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/.
Attention, Piper Owners and Pilots! Join the fastest-growing and best association for Piper Flyers the Piper Flyer Association (PFA), 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 PFA 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
Know WAAS Up With Your Garmin?
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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 hear an interview with
Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Air Journey's Thierry Pouille; Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; 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 David Wartofsky, owner of Potomac Airfield, talk about AFSS problems.
Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.
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.
is the pilot's choice online.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Million Air at KHHR in Hawthorne, Calif.
AVweb reader Steve Hamerslag couldn't say enough good things about this facility.
"This is a new FBO on the field. When I arrived the ramp personnel were waiting to help with securing the aircraft. I was offered a short lift on their cart to the office, but I elected to walk the
short distance. Upon entering the lobby I was helped immediately and efficiently. I was planning on taking a cab to my destination five miles away, but they insisted that they take me in their
courtesy van. They even have a free soda machine on top of the normal coffee and tea. When I was departing, the line crew helped remove the chocks and offered me a cold bottled water as I did my walk
around. Million Air KHHR has very friendly and efficient staff. The fuel was even reasonably priced!"
AVweb is actively seeking
out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You Flight Explorer is an information system tracking commercial and general aviation flights. With the Flight Explorer Personal Edition, view air traffic for the U.S., Canada, or New
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Man's best friend is the dog, but the electric companies' best friend may well be the helicopter. Last week, we saw how helicopters do thankless jobs like tree-trimming around power lines. This
week, let's take a look at some other (pretty impressive) line maintenance that could only be done with the assistance of pilots. (Courtesy of YouTube user harrison359.)
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
There is an approach into San Francisco (KSFO) known as the Quiet Bridge Visual. During this approach, commercial operators fly to the bridge and match up with another aircraft for the parallel
NorCal Approach: United Four Five Three, report traffic 10 oclock one mile, a Skywest Brasilia in sight, and slow to one seven zero.
United 453: Traffic, bridge, airport, parking lot, and my car in sight.
NorCal: United Four Five Three, roger, cleared for the visual two eight right, enjoy your days off, contact tower.
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 Editors Russ Niles (bio).
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