AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 22b

May 31, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 


Recent reports raising concerns about the FAA's approval -- or lack of approval -- of many GPS units for instrument flight have raised questions that still are being sorted out. The Aircraft Electronics Association says the confusion, arising from recently issued FAA Advisory Circular 90-100A, stems from the FAA's deletion of a paragraph in an update of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). The AEA said in a statement on Wednesday that FAA officials had told them "this oversight should be corrected in the next 10 days." Alison Duquette, a spokeswoman for the FAA, told AVweb on Wednesday, "The FAA is working with the manufacturing community and AOPA to resolve the issues. The bottom line is that the previous allowances still apply, so the operators can still fly using whatever GPS system they have." According to the AEA, the basic criteria for VFR and IFR use of GPS as a supplemental means of navigation as described in the AIM is unchanged. "The Association is disappointed with the Agency's communications on this issue," the AEA said, but added that it was pleased with the FAA's response to help to clarify the situation, and commended AOPA's Randy Kenegy for bringing the issue to light.

NTSB Faults FAA, Airline In Fatal Chalk's Crash

The fatal crash of a Grumman Turbo Mallard on Dec. 19, 2005, was caused by the failure and separation of the right wing, the NTSB said on Wednesday. That failure resulted from "(1) the failure of Chalk's Ocean Airways' maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the wing, and (2) the failure of the FAA to detect and correct deficiencies in the company's maintenance program." The airplane had just departed from Miami on a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Bimini when it crashed into the shipping channel adjacent to the Port of Miami. Two flight crew and 18 passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. "This accident tragically illustrates a gap in the safety net with regard to older airplanes," said NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker. "The signs of structural problems were there, but not addressed. And to ignore continuing problems is to court disaster."

The Board found that neither the performance nor the appearance of the airplane would have provided a warning to the flight crew of the right wing's imminent failure. The airplane was operating within its certificated design envelope and carrying normal aerodynamic loads when the wing separated. There was nothing the crew could have done to regain control of the airplane after the in-flight separation of the wing, the Board said. As a result of the investigation, the Board issued two new safety recommendations calling on the FAA to verify that airline maintenance programs include stringent criteria to address recurring or systemic problems, if necessary through comprehensive engineering evaluations; and, to modify procedures for oversight of maintenance programs of carriers like Chalk's to ensure the continued airworthiness of the operator's fleet. The full NTSB report will be available on the Web site at www.ntsb.gov in several weeks.

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News Briefs back to top 

GAO Reaffirms Current Taxes Can Fund FAA's NextGen

In a letter sent Tuesday to follow up on questions arising from a March 29 House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee hearing on NextGen, Government Accountability Office Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues Dr. Gerald Dillingham reiterated that "the current FAA funding structure can provide sufficient funding for NextGen—with some caveats." He said that the FAA itself has estimated that "if the current taxes remain in effect at their current rates, revenues will continue to increase." According to projections prepared by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), revenues obtained from the existing FAA funding structure will increase substantially. "Assuming the General Fund continues to provide about 19 percent of FAA's budget, CBO estimates that through 2016 the … Trust Fund … can support about $19 billion in additional spending over the baseline FAA spending levels CBO has calculated for FAA … provided that most of the spending occurs after fiscal year 2010," Dillingham noted. He said that how far this money will go to fund ATC modernization is subject to several uncertainties, including NextGen investment costs, air-traffic volume, future NAS operating costs and future Airport Improvement Program appropriations. Dillingham is also concerned about whether the FAA and other federal partners have the resources and capability to fill the aeronautical research and development that once was the domain of NASA, which has all but been eliminated due to budget cuts at the space agency.

Stevens Tries To Exempt Alaska Pilots From User Fees

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, vice chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, voted against the Nelson/Sununu amendment that would have stripped the $25 user fee out of S.1300, the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, but he secured an exemption for many Alaskan aviators. The hotly debated anti-user-fee amendment, supported by general aviation lobbying groups, was defeated by the committee by Stevens’ tie-breaking vote. "I am concerned that this legislation as originally drafted places an undue burden on too many small carriers in rural parts of America, including Alaska," he said in a news release. Stevens said he voted in favor of the bill even though it contained an aviation user fee, according to KTUU.com, because killing it would have forced discussion of FAA funding to start all over again. "I don't like the user-fee concept, but the way it's been worked out now, it is a fair thing," Stevens said. Dee Hanson, executive director of the Alaska Airmen's Association, told AVweb on Tuesday that while she appreciates Sen. Stevens' work to exempt rural Alaskan aviators, she fears the expansion of user fees both in Alaska and in the rest of the country. "Our members also fly in the Lower 48," she said. "An exemption is a temporary fix. We oppose changing how the FAA is funded over to a user-fee basis, and the known fact is that user fees for IFR services have the potential to erode safety. We will continue to fight this."

The bill now would specifically exempt all intrastate flights in Alaska from the $25 per-flight surcharge except those flights that both originate and terminate in airspace controlled by a terminal radar approach control facility. It would also restore funding for Alaska airports and the state's Essential Air Service program, which ensures a minimal level of scheduled service to remote communities. Stevens' staffers said the bill is far from a done deal, and it will be changed by other committees before it's complete, according to the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

Fly in Ultra-Comfort with LightSPEED Headsets:
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News Briefs back to top 

Airline Ads Depict Corporate Jets As Freeloaders

Cartoon airliners have to wait on the runway while corporate jets zip ahead of them and clog up the airways, causing delays for travelers, according to ads produced by the Air Transport Association. The ads are being shown on the CNN Airport Network on TVs in passenger terminals around the country. "We pay while they play," says a sad airliner in one animated ad, as a pushy corporate jet cuts to the front of the line. Another ad says there are now twice as many corporate jets as commercial ones, and they are being "subsidized by airline passengers' ticket taxes." (Click here to watch the ads online.) Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, has written to CNN asking that they refuse to air the ads, since they are "false and deceptive" and violate CNN's own standards for advertising. Bolen noted that at the nation's 10 busiest airports, general aviation operations account for less than 4 percent of traffic; GA aircraft are not given priority over airlines; and the FAA has shown that airline delays are due to a multitude of factors, mostly "directly attributable to commercial airline business practices and problems." Meanwhile, the latest print advertisement from the Alliance for Aviation Across America, a coalition of general aviation groups, depicts airliners as sharks in a feeding frenzy -- "Washington's eating machines ... Devouring federal tax dollars." The alliance has also produced a video ad it intends to run on the CNN Airport Network.

Airline Pilot Sues Over Age-60 Rule

Gene Carswell, a former US Airways pilot, has filed suit in federal court in the District of Columbia, claiming that the airline discriminated against him on the basis of age when he was forced to retire at age 60. He also alleges that US Airways, the Air Line Pilots Association and the AFL-CIO colluded to discriminate against him, and said the unions breached their duty of fair representation. He has published a Web site with updates on the suit, and he invites other US Airways pilots who were forced to retire as a result of the "age-60 rule" to join the class action. ALPA recently changed its long-term position in regard to the age-60 rule, when the executive board (not the members as erroneously reported in Monday's AVwebFlash) voted to drop their opposition to a change so they could contribute to discussions about changing the rule. It's expected that the FAA will change the regulations to conform more closely to international rules that now allow one pilot to be up to 65 years old as long as the other pilot is under 60.

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News Briefs back to top 

China, Africa Benefit From ADS-B

When ADS-B technology was deployed in remote parts of Alaska as part of the Capstone project, accidents declined by about 40 percent. Now an Alaskan entrepreneur is helping developing aviation systems in China and Africa to leapfrog over the expensive step of installing conventional radar and use ADS-B instead. "This is the air traffic management system of the future. It's the silver bullet," Robert "Skip" Nelson, CEO of ADS-B Technologies, told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. "It's cheap and it's easy to install." It costs about $140,000 to install the ground-based transceivers and about $15,000 to equip each aircraft, compared to $60 million for a radar installation and the manpower to run it, according to the Journal. Nelson said China has installed seven ground units and plans to equip 210 aircraft that will be used at a Chinese university where 2,500 students are studying to be pilots. He is also working on ADS-B projects in Ethiopia and South America. China has liberalized its flight rules in response to the deployment of the new technology, according to the Journal.

ALPA Says Pilot Work Rules Are Unsafe

Pilot fatigue for years has been listed on the NTSB's "Most Wanted List" for aviation safety improvements, and the subject will be explored further in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Aviation next week. This week, John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, talked to the Memphis Commercial Appeal about the issues. "[Airline pilots] are flying 15 to 25 percent more hours than they were before the bankruptcy era," he said. But worse are changes in the work rules that determine time away from home and other details. "The work rules are really safety issues, and now we are seeing the impact," he said. The rules don't take into account the fatigue that accompanies late-night shifts, he said. Also, more pilots are working extra routes now to make up for pay cuts imposed when airlines went into bankruptcy. "We're seeing a shortage of pilots coming to the industry," Prater said, "because it no longer provides a lifestyle and benefits." The House subcommittee will review the "Most Wanted" list next Wednesday, June 6, at 10 a.m.

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 

Murphy Yukon To Debut At AirVenture

Murphy Aircraft of British Columbia, Canada, will be showing its new four-seat Murphy Yukon kit aircraft to the public for the first time this July at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. The Yukon is the original concept design behind two of the company's high-wing taildraggers -- the Super Rebel and the Moose. "We started this aircraft 10 years ago," said Darryl Murphy. "This is an aircraft that will allow families and friends to leave for weekend fishing or camping expeditions -- an 'SUV of the skies.'" The all-metal Yukon is similar in size to the four-seat Moose, but by replacing the Moose's radial engine with a standard 180-hp Lycoming O-360 or equivalent it will burn about half the fuel. It will also be available with either tricycle or tailwheel gear. The aircraft weighs in at 2,550 pounds gross and can carry a payload of 1,150 pounds.

Ed Yost, Pioneer Balloonist, Dead At 87

Paul "Ed" Yost, 87, who designed and flew the first modern hot-air balloon in 1960, died Sunday at his home in Taos, N.M., from natural causes. Yost updated the Montgolfier brothers' concept from the 1700s with modern technology, designing an onboard propane-burner system and incorporating modern materials to build a durable envelope with maneuvering vents and deflation ports for landing. He was a co-founder of Raven Industries, which for many years was the leading manufacturer of sport balloons, and also helped to found the Balloon Federation of America. In 1963, Yost piloted the first balloon flight across the English Channel with crewmember Don Piccard, and in 1976 he attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo. He didn't make it, but he designed and built the Double Eagle II, which made the first Atlantic crossing two years later. He was the recipient of many awards and set numerous aviation records. Yost was working to have a national monument designated near Rapid City, S.D., at the Stratobowl, a site in the Black Hills where stratospheric research balloons were launched in the 1930s. The site has been called the place where the Space Age was born. (Click here for a 2004 NPR interview with Ed Yost at a Stratobowl balloon launch.) Others in the ballooning community have vowed to continue these efforts and to make Yost's dream a reality.

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News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

AOPA is posting daily updates online about the problems with Flight Service Stations and the efforts being made to rectify them...

The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum will host Become A Pilot Day on June 16 at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia...

A DARPA flight test has shown that a remotely controlled F/A-18 model can tolerate simulated in-flight battle damage and land safely...

A Hollywood director reportedly was detained by the TSA at LAX after he said the reason for his visit was to "shoot a pilot," short for filming a pilot TV show.

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

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/.

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space and NAA's Aero magazines, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.
New On AVweb back to top 

Probable Cause #33: Fatigued On Final

A check hauler crashes short of the airport after having been on duty for nearly 16 hours, eight of them in the airplane.

Click here for the full story.

What's New

This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you a VFR flight bag, Camloc measuring tool, video downloads and much 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 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 hear how pilot Mark Bent is helping to change the world. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with DayJet's Ed Iacobucci; Pogo Jet's Cameron Burr; 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; and Avfuel's Craig Sincock. In Monday's podcast, hear about Brad Whitsitt's crosswind training simulator. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Exclusive Video: Our Sun 'n Fun Ride-Along in the Incredible Adventures DC-3

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

At the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In a few weeks ago, AVweb's Russ Niles got to left-seat in Herpa's DC-3, courtesy of Incredible Adventures. Join us for what some would call the experience of a lifetime, as Dan Gryder guides us (carefully) through the flight.

Don't see a video screen?
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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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Question Of The Week back to top 

Question of the Week: Headset Shopping

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, AVweb asked whether sentences of up to five years for pointing a laser at an aircraft were reasonable.

Responses were split pretty evenly among both extremes, with 40% of those who responded saying that yes, this affects aviation (and airmen's) safety and requires a strict deterrent and another 39% of you saying first-time offenders should get only probation.

A complete breakdown of the responses can be viewed here.
(You may be asked to register an answer, if you haven't already.)


This week, AVweb wants to hear a little about your aviation shopping, specifically how you choose a new headset.  Besides price and features, what is the biggest influence in deciding which aviation headset you will buy?

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.

Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
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FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: Rowan County Airport

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Rowan County Airport at KRUQ in Salisbury, N.C.

AVweb reader A. Paul Giannobile said the facility always delivers.

"Every time we stop here on or way to Florida, the service is friendly, the free courtesy car is always available and the fuel price is the lowest. Easy in and out -- my favorite."

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!

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.
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.


Last week saw a very strong pattern in "POTW" submissions — and you know how we love a pattern!  With that in mind, we strained to find an equally strong theme this week, but we were forced to concede defeat.  (Although there were a lot of submissions from Texas.)  Alas, we'll have to settle for "lots of good pictures" as this week's theme.  We think you'll agree that Donald Reid's Ponderous Polly fits that "theme" nicely and kicks off today's visual feast as our "Picture of the Week."

medium | large

copyright © Donald Reid
Used with permission

Ponderous Polly

Donald Reid of Bumpass, Virginia tells us that Ponderous Polly here is a C123 Provider whose photo he snapped as she was cooling down after a performance at the Lumberton Air Show.

Since Donald was kind enough to submit our favorite photo of the week, we'll be shipping an officially-licensed, high-quality AVweb baseball cap out to him posthaste.


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Used with permission of Grant McHerron

Slow-Moving Traffic, Move Over — Or Else!

Grant McHerron of St. Kilda East, Victoria (Australia) brought a smile to our faces with this shot "taken in one of the 'Follow Me' cars at the Avalon Air Show 2007."

Grant promises "more photos to come, as a I get time to sort them all out."  Based on the two that made it into this week's final round, we're looking forward to seeing more, Grant.

(And add the Avalon Air Show to the list of shows we keep hearing about that we'd like to attend.)


medium | large

copyright © Jody B. Smyers
Used with permission

FedEx B727's Final Flight

Jody B. Smyers of Lubbock, Texas must know we're a sucker for retirement flights.  In this case, the retiring iron is a B727 FedEx has donated to the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport for fire and rescue training.


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copyright © Norm Schultze
Used with permission

When Parking Space Is a Premium ...

Apologies to Stoney Truett of Cayce, South Carolina, but we just couldn't decide on a smarmy quip for this photo.

Then again, it does speak for itself, doesn't it?


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Used with permission of Gale Cocanour

Now THAT's a Sunset!

Gale Cocanour of San Antonio, Texas flies us out this week with "a view only a pilot can have."

Want more?  As always, there are a dozen (or more) bonus photos online at AVweb's home page as part of our POTW slide show.

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.