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PENALIZED FOR FSS MISSTEPS
The FAA said Tuesday that it
withheld $3 million in payments to Flight Service Station contractor
Lockheed Martin in the first quarter because of poor performance.
"There's evidence of dropped calls and pilots not getting information,"
FAAAdministrator Marion Blakey told Bloomberg. "There are penalties in the contract and
we'll apply them." In October 2005 Lockheed took over the 58 previously
FAA-run FSS facilities under a $1.7 billion award. Since the beginning
of this year pilots have complained about being on hold for extended
times while waiting for briefings -- in fact, several pilots recently
told AVweb that they had to wait on hold for an hour or more to
get a preflight weather briefing. FAA spokesman Paul Takemoto is unsure
if more penalties are in store for Lockheed Martin in the second
quarter, which is when pilot complaints have increased sharply.
MOST WANTED SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
Aircraft icing, runway
incursions and fatigue are among the "Most Wanted" aviation safety improvements for 2007
cited by the NTSB at a hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill. NTSB Chairman
Mark Rosenker told the House Subcommittee on Aviation that items on the
list tend to be those that are among the most complex and difficult to
implement. However, he said, "While the FAA has made some progress, I am
disappointed that there are so many recommendations on this list that
are in an unacceptable status." The FAA's icing certification for
aircraft is inadequate, the Board said, and the agency should conduct
further research and revise its standards. Progress is being made to
improve runway safety, but the FAA is moving much too slowly, according
to the NTSB. The Safety Board also cited work rules and schedules
imposed by airlines, charter operators and others that require pilots,
air traffic controllers and mechanics to work without adequate time off
to rest. More...
NEW TWO-SEAT TURBOPROP KIT AIRCRAFT FROM LANCAIR?
calling it "an aircraft that will be faster and safer than any other
single engine aircraft in existence today." And when we spoke Monday
with Lancair CEO Joe Bartels, he sounded excited and only slightly less
vague than his company's press release. He did say, however, that "it's
not a jet; it's a turboprop," and that the company is now working with
all-computer-generated components that will cause customers to "be
amazed at the degree of sophistication" of the design and "marvel at how
little work will be required" to finish the aircraft. But Bartels
stopped short of telling us what the new aircraft would be and whether
or not a flying example would make it to Oshkosh. The company already
produces a four-seat pressurized propjet kit, but there currently is no
two-place turboprop offering. Whatever is coming, expect to see a fully
outfitted mockup of the design at AirVenture next month, and maybe (but
not certainly) more. More...
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SENECA CRASHES INTO HOMES NEAR LOS ANGELES
All three aboard a
Piper PA-34-200 Seneca twin (N4463T) registered to a Van Nuys, Calif.
business were injured when the aircraft, which departed Van Nuys at 9:47
a.m. on Monday, crashed about 15 minutes later into homes before coming
to rest atop a garage not far from the approach end of Cable Airport,
roughly 45 miles east of Los Angeles. Weather was clear, there was no
post-crash fire, no one on the ground was injured and injuries suffered
by those aboard were initially reported as minor. FAA spokesman Ian
Gregor told local news that "they were on approach when the pilot
reported engine problems." Flight track history depicted by FlightAware
indicates an indirect flight path that heads just south of Cable,
turning farther south within about 10 nm of the airport, then nearly
reversing course and ending short of the airport. More...
SURVIVORS IN MEDICAL JET CRASH
A Cessna Citation 550 twinjet
that was carrying donated organs and a medical transplant team crashed
in Lake Michigan late Monday afternoon, killing all six people aboard
the airplane. The crew had reported an emergency less than five minutes
after taking off from Milwaukee and requested a return to the airport,
FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro told the Associated Press. On Tuesday, the NTSB indicated
that the pilot radioed that he was experiencing "trim runaway" before
the jet dropped off the radar screen. Witnesses to Monday's crash said
the airplane rolled inverted before it hit the water. "The condition of
the aircraft debris and human remains found indicate a high-speed
impact," Coast Guard Capt. Bruce Jones said at a news conference. "We
believe this to have been a non-survivable crash." The jet was leased by
the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor,
Mich., and there were six people on board -- two pilots for Marlin Air,
two surgeons, and two transplant specialists. More...
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UPGRADE COMING, POSSIBLY IN YOUR LIFETIME
Pilots have long
been frustrated by the FAA's Notice-to-Airmensystem, which conveys vital
safety-of-flight information formattedfor teletype machines, cluttered
with archaic acronyms, distributedvia hard copy and lacking graphics.
says that by 2009, NOTAMs will be reorganizedinto a single federal
system that is compliant with internationalstandards. It will take
another decade for the system to incorporatefull digital and graphic
capabilities, the FAA said on Monday. Thosecapabilities will be required
for the Next Generation AirTransportation System, according to FAA
CAMERAMAN WHO DIED IN CRASH WAS TIED TO SEAT
cinematographer who died when a Cessna 206 ditched off Key West, Fla.,
in August 2004 had tied himself to the seat with a rope, the NTSB reported last week. Neal Fredericks, 35, who previously filmed the cult
hit "The Blair Witch Project," and his crew had chartered a Cessna 206
for aerial filming off the coast of the Florida Keys. Fredericks asked
to have a rope tied around his waist and to the seat, even though there
was a seatbelt available, according to the NTSB report. During the
flight, the engine quit and the pilot ditched the airplane. The pilot
and the other three passengers were able to escape, but Fredericks was
unable to disentangle himself and drowned when the airplane sank.
GPS SEMANTICS PROBLEM RESOLVED
"The bottom line is pilots can
continue using their IFR GPS units like before," according to Randy
Kenagy, AOPA's senior director of strategic planning. Background: When
the FAA revised policies that instruct pilots on how to use GPS units
under instrument flight rules, AOPA saw in those changes reason to
question IFR use for many GPS units. AOPA's aggressive action to defend
against any potential (and apparently unintended) problem caused by a
combination of changes to the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), an
Advisory Circular on terminal and en route area navigation (RNAV)
operations (AC 90-100A), and an associated list of compliant GPS units
has borne fruit. The FAA has provided a letter that "makes clear that
the current operational approvals will be in place for a long time to
come," according to Kenagy. However, there is one caveat.
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GET BRS CHUTE FOR WILDLIFE MONITORING AIRCRAFT
Recovery Systems (BRS) has installed its unique safety system on a
piston single used by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the company
announced on Tuesday. The Cessna 182 will be flown by pilots in the Fish
and Wildlife division on low-altitude, long-duration missions over
inhospitable terrain. "If the BRS system is used in an emergency, it
will give the pilot another safety option in the event of any
unscheduled off-airport landing, said BRS spokesman John Gilmore.
This installation was the 55th by BRS in a Cessna aircraft, the first in
a federally operated aircraft and the first in a Garmin G1000-equipped
AIRCRAFT WORKS EXPANDS, GETS LAMA AUDIT
Czech Aircraft Works
(CZAW) has added a
new 120,000-square-foot facility to its manufacturing site in the Czech
Republic, the company announced on Monday. The plant increases CZAW's
production capacity to more than 500 light sport aircraft (LSA) per
year, it said. This new capacity also increases our efficiency,"
noted CZAW President Chip Erwin. "Nearly a million dollars worth of new
state-of-the-art [machinery] significantly reduces assembly time while
simultaneously improving quality." The company has also added more
trained workers to staff the facility. Meanwhile, CZAW invited
representatives from the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA)
to visit the plant last week and conduct an audit. The audit process
ensures that the company is in compliance with light sport aircraft
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AIR ADDS ANOTHER ROUTE
Linear Air, which calls itself "the
leading very light jet (VLJ) air-taxi operator" -- although so far it is
flying only Cessna Grand Caravans while awaiting delivery of 30 Eclipse
500 jets -- on Wednesday announced it is expanding its route structure again.
The air-taxi firm is adding a new scheduled by-the-seat private air
service between Manassas, Va., and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Manassas Airport is about 15 miles south of Washington Dulles
International Airport. Linear Air has successfully run similar routes
from its original base near Boston to nearby popular weekend
destinations. The new service aims to attract vacationers and
second-homeowners in the metro D.C. area who prefer a 90-minute flight
to six to eight hours of driving. More...
SET GOAL OF ZERO EMISSIONS
Responding to pressures to curb
pollution from airliners, especially in Europe, the International Air
Transport Association (IATA) on Monday set a goal to develop an emissions-free airplane
within 50 years. "The first target is to replace 10 percent of fuel with
low-carbon alternatives in the next 10 years," said IATA CEO Giovanni
Bisignani. "The second is to begin developing a carbon-free fuel from
renewable energy sources. The final challenge is for airlines to
implement green strategies across the business. Its time for
governments and the oil industry to make some serious investments.
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A rare modified cargo DC-4 crashed in Alaska last
KFLL to get runway expansion, despite local
A brain-cancer survivor is flying a Cub cross-country
to raise funds...
FAA's Wings program is now based
Filmmaker Brian Terwilliger to host Aviation Hall of Fame
EAA has listed the aviation film classics to be shown at
Need AFSS Information?
Learn From Other Pilots'
Check out the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Accident Database
no-cost online database that can help improve your flying skills. By
reading about other pilots' accidents, you can focus your training to
improve on those areas. Search the database by aircraft make and model,
keyword, state, or weather and light conditions at the time of the
Visit the no-cost ASF Accident
AVweb posts audio news on Mondays, plus a new
in-depth interview each Friday. In last Friday's
podcast, you'll hear Eclipse Aviation president and CEO Vern Raburn.
And AVweb's podcast index
includes interviews with Xwind's Brad Whitsitt; BoGo Light's Mark Bent;
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; AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Hawker Beechcraft's Jim
Schuster; and Avfuel's Craig Sincock. In Monday's
podcast, hear Ed Shipley talk about the P-38 called Glacier Girl.
Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find
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OF THE WEEK: AURORA JET CENTER
AVweb's "FBO of
the Week" ribbon goes to Aurora Jet Center at KUAO in Aurora,
AVweb reader Dennis Conner said the FBO has great
service -- and cookies, too.
"Every time we stop in there, there
is always a person to greet you and take care of all your needs quickly
and efficiently. Fresh cookies and coffee as well."
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click here.
actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one,
submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
OF THE WEEK: AVWEB'S FLYING PHOTOGRAPHY SHOWCASE
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." As the days continue
to lengthen across North America, "POTW" contest submissions are
starting to dip a bit. Not to worry, though the AVweb
readers who are making time to contribute when they could be out flying
are submitting some terrific images. Case in point: Ken Wilson, whose submission is the first
powered 'chute (that we can recall, at least) to be named "Picture of
the Week"! More...
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 Editors Mary
and Glenn Pew (bio)
and Editor In Chief Chad
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
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
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Aviate, navigate, communicate.