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Volume 13, Number 21a
May 21, 2007
Do You Fly Experimental, Homebuilt, or Ultralight Aircraft?
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Top Newsback to top 

Canadian officials say they still don’t know why a Canadian Forces Snowbird suddenly broke formation and then pitched into the ground during a rehearsal for the group’s first show of the year at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Mont., on Friday. Capt. Shawn McCaughey of Candiac, Quebec, died instantly when the CT-114 Tutor aircraft disintegrated in a ball of flame on the south side of the base. Witnesses said the plane dropped back from a formation and then plummeted into the ground. Snowbird Commander Maj. Robert Mitchell told the Canadian Press that there was little he could tell grieving family members. "We just had to say we don't entirely know, which is tough for a family member," Maj. Mitchell said. "They want to know for closure." McCaughey, 31, was to be married in three weeks to Claudia Gaudreault, a social worker on the Snowbirds home base at Moose Jaw, Saskatewan. More...

The full cockpit voice recorder transcript from the Embraer Legacy bizjet that collided with an airliner over Brazil last Sept. 29 appears to support the pilots’ contention that they were following normal procedures. The airplane’s winglet clipped a GOL Airlines Boeing 737 at 37,000 feet, and the Boeing crashed, killing all 154 on board. In February, Brazilian authorities leaked excerpts of the transcript, which suggested the pilots, Jan Paladino and Joe Lepore, of Long Island, N.Y., were not competent to fly the twinjet because they couldn’t figure out how to program the flight management system, a fundamental skill required to fly most advanced glass cockpit aircraft. The full transcript reveals it was the airplane’s entertainment system that was puzzling them at the time of the collision, something experts interviewed by Newsday said would be a normal distraction for pilots cruising at 37,000 feet under air traffic control. More...

Mexico and Canada have agreed to implement the FAA’s vision for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) in concert with the U.S. to create a seamless continent-wide, space-based air traffic management system. At a North American Aviation Trilateral meeting in Quebec last week, all three nations agreed to proceed with implementation of required navigation performance (RNP), RNAV and ADS-B technologies in an integrated way so that procedures and standards will be harmonized over North America. The primary goal of the NextGen technology is to increase system capacity but, in a speech during the meeting, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said there are also environmental and financial benefits attached. More...

In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
Get 24 issues (two years) for just $24.95 (U.S., standard mail), including no-cost access to Trade-A-Plane's web site, which is updated daily. Subscribe by calling (800) 337-5263 and mentioning this AVwebFlash, or subscribe online.
News Briefsback to top 

The FAA seems intent on challenging long-established norms in terms of staffing levels, work hours and overtime management in many of its facilities as it copes with the "retirement bubble" of controllers hired in 1981 when President Ronald Reagan fired thousands of striking controllers. According to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the agency recently began ordering controllers to stay at their consoles beyond the two hours that the unions says is the "longest possible period that controllers should ever work to ensure safety and allow them adequate rest periods." In a news release, NATCA says the agency is also instituting mandatory overtime to maintain minimum staffing at facilities and, even though traffic is increasing, recently reduced the minimum staffing levels at hundreds of facilities by as much as 26 percent. NATCA claims the reductions are reducing safety margins and increasing controller fatigue. The FAA did not respond to AVweb’s request for comment. More...

While controllers in the U.S. often complain about the decades-old equipment they use, imagine if they had to work without radar. That’s the situation in Argentina, where the country’s only radar, near Buenos Aires, was hit by lightning on March 1 and hasn’t been repaired. The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Associations says controllers are coping with their blipless environment by plotting traffic based on position reports and limiting takeoffs to one every 10 minutes and landings to one every eight minutes. There’s no indication when the government might get around to fixing the radar, and that’s not the only problem in Argentina. "Air safety is compromised here today," Cesar Salas, president of Argentina’s air traffic controllers association told McClatchy newspapers. "The problem is this is a system that's collapsed. There's no plan, and there's no effort to make the improvements that are necessary." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Vero Beach and Indian River County voters may have the final say on whether Piper Aircraft stays in the community. On May 8, city and county officials agreed to split a $50 million incentive package aimed at keeping the aircraft manufacturer in town and building its PiperJet factory there. But it would appear the civic governments are leaning toward a vote on the package. "I would say we have to put this in front of the voters as a referendum," Vero Beach Mayor Tom White told TCPalm.com. "It's important to get community support behind this." But while he’s high on voter involvement, White said he was less enthused about one official’s suggestion to change the airport’s name to "Piper Town." More...

Even if you’re still not convinced that diesels are the piston engine of the future for light aircraft, enough people apparently are that you might want to consider adding Thielert to your stock portfolio. The company recorded an impressive 60-percent increase in sales in the first quarter over the same period last year, and that’s getting some attention in the financial journals in Europe. Of their total revenue of about $32 million in the quarter, about $19 million came from sales of its two and four-liter diesel aircraft engines and the rest came from its technology and prototyping division. Thielert also owns Superior Air Parts, which makes certified and experimental engines based on Lycoming designs. More...

JA Air Center, Your Garmin GPSMap 496 Source, Is Looking to Purchase Used GPS Units, Avionics, and Aircraft
Call (800) 323-5966 for current value, with no purchase required. JA is your source for Garmin GPS and Avionics, including the popular GPSMap 496 with XM Weather, Terrain, AOPA Airport Guide, Taxiway Database, and built-in StreetPilot Auto GPS.

JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Call (800) 323-5966, or click for more information.
News Briefsback to top 

Operators of Cessna Caravans and Grand Caravans who want to fly them in known icing conditions will have to equip them with a "low airspeed awareness alert system" by Sept. 20, according to an Airworthiness Directive (AD) the FAA published last week. The system, developed by Cessna, costs about $8,200 per airplane to install and is designed to help Caravan pilots better manage airspeed in icing conditions. It was developed and then jointly tested by the FAA and Cessna to address the very rapid degradation of the airplane's flying qualities in icing conditions, which appears to surprise Caravan pilots. "The accident/incident history of the Model 208 indicates that pilots have not been diligent in the management of the aircraft when operating in icing conditions, as aircraft performance can decay very quickly," the AD reads. More...

Barrington Irving, the 23-year-old Miami pilot who’s trying to become the youngest pilot ever to circumnavigate the world, was, at this writing, in Calcutta and about half way through the trip. He left Miami on March 26 and had hoped to be back by now but weather and maintenance checks on his Columbia 400 have combined to slow the schedule somewhat. He’s now hoping to get back to Miami by the end of this month and, after flying through sandstorms and being stalled by a tropical depression over India, he’s facing what might be his biggest challenge on the trip -- his longest leg, a 1,530-nm trip from Japan to Alaska. More...

XM WX Satellite Weather Uses a Continuous Satellite Broadcast to Deliver Graphical Weather Data to the Cockpit
Pilots view and interact with the data — including radar, winds, 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 before. For more information, please visit XMWXweather.com.
News Briefsback to top 

The Cape Air Cessna 402 normally carries passengers to various Massachusetts and Florida locations, but the twin was to have arrived in Anchorage on Sunday to deliver a conservation message to the International Whaling Commission’s annual meeting there. On board the Whale Plane, which is painted in a whale motif, are 50 drawings by children urging the commission to stop hunting whales. The piston twin, with International Fund for Animal Welfare founder Patrick Ramage and his 12-year-old son Henry aboard, stopped in 12 cities along the way for media events calling attention to the escalation of whaling. More...

The Defense Department is calling for proposals for a 1,000-pound aircraft that can stay aloft continuously for five years with a 99-percent probability. According to Government Executive’s Tech Insider blog, the Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) issued a solicitation call last Wednesday for the project it’s calling the Vulture, after the energy-conserving bird that uses thermals to stay airborne while it waits for more energetic predators to kill something. Just what the military would do with such a creature is anyone’s guess, but it’s pretty much narrowed down the performance parameters to virtually ensure the winning bid will be some kind of solar/battery/fuel-cell combination or a robotic refueling system. More...

Reason #31 — Look Ma, No Hands
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, visit CessnaReasons.com.
News In Briefback to top 

Spectrum Aeronautical moves its headquarters to McClellan-Palomar Airport…
Nose gear inspection AD proposed for DA40s…
PrestoSim puts King Air simulator into service…
Flying Physicians Association wins Hall of Fame Award. 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...

Grand Opening Special at PILOTessentials — Complimentary FedEx Ground Shipping on First Purchase!
To celebrate the launch of their new web site, PILOTessentials is offering FedEx Ground shipping at no cost for your first online purchase. PILOTessentials offers super-fast order processing and a 30-day money back guarantee on all its products including aviation headsets, GPS units, aviation transceivers, pilot supplies, and aviation supplies. Shop PILOTessentials today and take advantage of this special offer! Enter promo code PEAVWEBSHIP during checkout. Offer excludes Garmin products.
New On AVwebback to top 

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

The cliche goes, "A pilot certificate is a license to learn." But how many pilots actually get refresher training other than flight reviews every two years? More...

There's more information than ever about aircraft engine oils but still more heat than light. Here's what the people who make the stuff have to say. More...

AVMAIL: MAY 21, 2007
Reader mail this week about the "new" Flight Service Stations, Oshkosh, anti-collision systems and more. More...

Garmin 496 vs. Flight Cheetah with XM Weather Comparison
How does the Garmin 496 really compare to the Flight Cheetah with XM Weather? Check out this link to find out.

(866) 443-3342
AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listeningback to top 


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 Pogo Jet's Cameron Burr. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia; 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; and Comp Air's Ron Lueck. In today's special podcast, hear Ed Iacobucci of DayJet talk about how the air-taxi start-up is getting ready to start service in July. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


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.
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Heartland Aviation at KEAU in Eau Claire, Wis.

AVweb reader David Stone said the FBO stepped up to the plate when he had to divert due to weather.

"For two months I had been planning a trip to the Metrodome -- a birthday gift to my 12-year-old baseball-possessed nephew – to see the Red Sox versus Twins game. The forecast at KSTP was thunderstorms, with surface winds over 35 knots. Radar showed storms on the way, so I landed at KEAU instead. The car rental was closed, but Heartland lent me a great crew car for the 180-mile round trip with only a request to return it full (it was full when they gave it to me). They are the best."

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!


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!
Video Of The Weekback to top 

With fire-fighting season upon us, we'd like to call your attention to the amazing heavy water bombers that turn the tide of so many forest fire battles in North America each year. This week's clip comes to us from the folks at Dryden Regional Airport in Ontario, Canada. Take a quick fly-along with two of their Canadair Bombardier CL-415s as they pick up water and make a drop. And for more on Ontario's fire-fighting flyers, check out the province's Aviation and Forest Fire Management division. (Click through to watch.) More...

Aviation Consumer — The Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell You the Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

I was flying a Cirrus SR22, introducing the plane to a CFI interested in seeing it in action. We were still about 20 miles out, but the controller was working us into the sequence with other planes, mostly trainers, setting up for practice approaches:

Seattle Approach: Cirrus Seven Charlie Delta, say airspeed.

Cirrus: Seven Charlie Delta is indicating 165.

Approach: Wow! Uh, okay. Cirrus Seven Charlie Delta, slow to 140 or less.

The CFI was rolling with joy, saying, "Dude, you got a 'Wow!'" 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).

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.

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