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Volume 13, Number 24a
June 11, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, told Bloomberg News on Thursday there will be no mention of user fees in the House’s version of the FAA reauthorization bill. The Minnesota Democrat (Cirrus' headquarters in Duluth is in his district) said “none of what the [Bush] Administration is proposing” is in the House bill. "We're plotting a path to achieving it without the Administration's fees," he said. Just what that path is wasn’t clear, but Bloomberg seemed to gather from its interview with Oberstar that he believes the existing system of fuel taxes on general aviation and ticket and cargo taxes on commercial aviation will sustain the FAA as it embarks on a massive modernization program. More...

Epic Aircraft of Bend, Ore., said its very light jet, dubbed the Elite, made its maiden flight on Thursday morning. The twinjet is a joint venture between Epic parent company Aircraft Investor Resources (AIR) and Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TAM) of Georgia (the former Soviet bloc country). According to Epic, the initial flight was flown by test pilots Dave Morss and Len Fox and lasted more than 40 minutes while the crew explored the aircraft’s control characteristics and low-level performance capabilities. (For more on this flight, listen to our exclusive interview with Epic Aircraft CEO Rick Schrameck.) The carbon-fiber Elite, which is powered by two 3,120-pound-thrust Williams FJ33-4 engines, is expected to fly at speeds up to 410 knots, have a range of more than 1,600 nm and have a full-fuel payload of 1330 pounds. The VLJ's flight deck features the Garmin G900X avionics system. The company said the Elite Jet will first be available later this year as a seven-passenger kitbuilt aircraft, with an eight-passenger version slated to be certified in late 2009. More...

Op Technologies has asked the FAA for a supplementary type certificate (STC) to install its advanced Electronic Flight Instrument System in to Cirrus SR22 aircraft. Op Technologies traditionally supplies the experimental market but is trying to get STC approval in the SR22 for its Pegasus system, which isn’t listed on its Web site but might be the launch name for a certified version of its existing products. Cirrus spokeswoman Kate Dougherty said Op is undertaking the project independently and it’s not something spearheaded by Cirrus. “We are happy that others take initiative to build on our technology,” she told AVweb on Sunday. The FAA says it has some concerns about the STC, namely protection from High Intensity Radiated Fields and the way the gear is wired to other stuff in the panel (“coupling to cockpit-installed equipment through the cockpit window apertures”) and is inviting comments until July 9. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

A California court held a hearing last Monday in a class-action suit filed against Lycoming in California over an AD affecting 3,774 Lycoming 360- and 540-series engines. In the lawsuit, plaintiff Richard Bristow, a Mooney owner, maintains that Lycoming should bear all the costs of replacing the problem crankshafts, which the manufacturer previously did when similar troubles plagued its other engines. While the judge believes the class-action case has merit under California's tough consumer laws, Robert Mills -- the San Rafael, Calif., attorney who filed the suit –- said a technicality is preventing the case from moving forward. Bristow's Mooney is titled under a limited liability company and as such is the owner -- and the real plaintiff -- in the court's eyes, and the rub is that the California consumer law is applicable only to consumers, not companies. Mills believes the judge will allow him to find an alternate plaintiff to proceed with the case, so he is seeking "an aircraft owner affected by this AD that lives in California, bought the aircraft in California and took title as an individual," and in addition must still own this airplane. More...

FAA modernization is looking more appealing after a domino-effect computer failure affected parts of the air traffic control system on Friday. The flight planning system in Atlanta failed, so the agency routed them to a system in Salt Lake City, which couldn’t handle the extra load. That forced controllers to manually enter flight plans, slowing traffic to a crawl. Bad weather along the Eastern Seaboard added to the woes. The computer outage didn’t last very long for most places, and the system was back up by 11 a.m., but New York’s screens were blank for an extra two hours. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The author of the Mountain Flying Bible appears to have broken one of the Ten Commandments of wilderness crash survival last week and lived to tell the tale. Sparky Imeson, 61, of Jackson Hole, Wyo., and Jon C. Kantorowicz, 58, of Great Falls, Mont., the pilot Imeson was teaching canyon flying techniques, survived the crash of Kantorowicz’s Aviat Husky in the Elkhorn Mountains but both suffered a variety of injuries. Kantorowicz told the Great Falls Tribune they hit a downdraft when they were expecting lift and couldn’t fly out of it. Imeson, who’s written several books on mountain flying, apparently ignored the first rule of wilderness search and rescue, opting to hike for help (or possibly a cellphone signal) instead of staying at the crash site with Kantorowicz. And, as usually happens, searchers found Kantorowicz and then went looking for Imeson. More...

Adam Aircraft late last week officially announced that Zhong Hang Tai General Aviation Airlines, based in Hainan, China, has placed a firm order for 50 A700 very light jets (VLJs). The order was formalized during the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) last month and facilitated through a partnership with Ameritech. Jason Fan, CEO of the airline, said the choice came down to interior cabin space. "We made the A700 our choice because it has the largest cabin space of all the VLJs," and its twin tails "remind people of a Formula 1 race car," according to Fan. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA has amended its National Air Tours rule to ensure that the EAA’s Young Eagles flight familiarization program for young people can continue basically unchanged. The rule, which tightened regulations for most types of sightseeing flights, contained wording that banned so-called charity flights from taking place in experimental aircraft. However, in its amendments, the FAA said that wasn’t the intention. The experimental ban applies only if the flight is done for compensation or hire. More...

A new Web site, GAFlightStatus.com, says it offers "a full-featured system" that may be used by operators to publish live flight status, boarding and arrival information -- even if that flight is flown exclusively under visual flight rules. The system can be accessed online or from any Web-enabled cellphone and displayed on systems that "recreate the status board displays of larger international hubs." The information presented can be updated at any time during the flight and can automatically provide flight status changes to customers via text message or e-mail updates, aside from offering an online presentation. More...

Columbia Introduces 2007 Models
The 2007 Columbias have arrived. Fresh for this year are new, dynamic paint schemes for both the Columbia 350 and 400, as well as a host of thoughtful and unique features for the discerning aircraft owner. See how your new Columbia will look with the interactive online Paint Selector. Just go online and click on the "Paint Your Passion" icon.
News Briefsback to top 

The demand for airliners (particularly lightweight, fuel-efficient ones) is causing a supply crunch of a different kind. Carbon fiber, the matrix that gives composite material its outsized strength, has quadrupled in price to $20 a pound because of Boeing’s and Airbus’s increased use of it in aircraft. "Boeing and Airbus are scarfing up what's available," Mike Musselman, editor of High Performance Composites magazine, told USA Today. "The rest of the folks get what's left." Most of the airframe on Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner is composite, and composite components have long been used on Airbus aircraft. More...

After the private European companies picked to build the controversial Galileo space-based navigation system couldn’t find a way to make it work financially, the European Union has decided to build the system itself, at an estimated cost (some say conservative) of $4.6 billion. The system, which will use 30 satellites and is touted as being more accurate than the U.S. Air Force’s GPS, is expected to be operational by 2012. Last month a consortium of eight European companies walked away from the project, saying the costs were too high. More...

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News In Briefback to top 

South Carolina Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer suing over engine problem…
Pima Air and Space Museum added a hangar…
Lawn chair balloonist launched 25 years ago. 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...

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New On AVwebback to top 

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

A low-time pilot elects to fly into deteriorating weather at night and without an Instrument Rating. The result was predictable. More...

AVMAIL: JUN. 11, 2007
Reader mail this week about AFSS, user fees, runway incursions and more. More...

Dual Antenna Traffic Systems Simply Perform Better
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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 AOPA's Randy Kenagy on the FAA flap over IFR-certified GPS receivers. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn; 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 today's podcast, hear Rick Schrameck of Epic Aircraft talk about the first flight of his company's very light jet. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


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FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Indianapolis Aviation at KUMP in Indianapolis, Ind.

AVweb reader Bill Johnson said the FBO staff is not only helpful, but honest, too.

"If your travels take you to Indianapolis the best airport is UMP. Phylis Denny and Larry Schmaltz run Indianapolis Aviation. Customer service is excellent and the facilities are great. Before I could call them with a question on my fuel bill, they called me to tell me they had found a discrepancy in my favor. If I'm in Indy, you'll find my plane at Indianapolis Aviation at UMP."

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!


Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You
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Video Of The Weekback to top 

This week, we cast our far-roving eye toward the viral video clips of Australia (specifically, Wangaratta, Victoria — a well-known source of "POTW" submissions for AVweb). YouTube user hyperscale treats us to some candid video of a Curtiss P-40N Warhawk taxiing and taking off from Wangaratta. (Click through to watch.) More...

The Lighter Side Of Flightback to top 

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

Overheard on Chicago Center at 4 a.m., with a female controller working a frequency with almost no traffic.

Cessna 3AB: Cessna Three Alpha Bravo, radio check.

Chicago Center: You’re loud and clear Three Alpha Bravo.

Cessna 3AB: Not too busy this morning?

Center: It’s not even four o’clock. Doesn’t pick up for another hour.

Cessna 3AB: [two minutes later] Chicago Center, Cessna Three Alpha Bravo, request direct O’Hare.

Center: Three Alpha Bravo, how about world peace?

Cessna 3AB: Worth a try.


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 Editors Russ Niles (bio) and Glenn Pew (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.

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