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Volume 13, Number 25a
June 18, 2007
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Top Newsback to top 

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is painting a bleak picture of the future of air travel if her controversial formula to fund the agency isn't adopted. In a speech delivered during the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO) Day on the Hill late last week, Blakey told members of Congress that air traffic gridlock is on the horizon and the high-tech solution to the problem needs the funding that her user-pay-based proposal would provide. "If we're unable to have a financing reform bill in place by September 30, when the current set of taxes expire, the delays and the missed connections and the headlines are only going to get worse -- much worse," she said. "Without a reliable funding stream, the NextGen program will start to slow down, and when the bow wave of delays hits, it'll be too late." Others, including the Government Accountability Office, have questioned that view. (Click here to listen to the Reason Foundation's Robert Poole on why aviation user fees would be good for airspace users.) More...

John Carr, the former president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, says high-level talks are under way to get NATCA and the FAA back to the bargaining table with the aim of hammering out a negotiated settlement. In his blog last week he wrote that a tentative agreement has been reached to return to the table in July to settle outstanding issues. Anything that can’t be resolved will go to binding arbitration, Carr said. NATCA spokesman Doug Church said FAA Administrator Marion Blakey and the new NATCA president Pat Forrey have been discussing a return to the bargaining table since last August, but perhaps to no avail. "Nothing has changed," Church said in an e-mail to AVweb. The FAA did not respond to our request for comment. More...

While the bills to reauthorize funding for the FAA have grabbed a lot of attention recently because of the attempt by the Bush Administration to impose user fees on general aviation, there’s another FAA money bill making the rounds that may not be as controversial, but it will have some effects on GA. The Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2007 was introduced in the House on Thursday and earmarks $1.8 billion within the overall FAA budget to kick-start modernization efforts over the next four years. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology’s Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, said in a news release that the airspace system must be modernized. “It is simply incapable, as currently designed, of handling large increases in traffic,” he said. “The bill before us takes several important steps to address this issue.” More...

In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA this week is expected to issue the first Airworthiness Directive (AD) for the Eclipse 500 that will temporarily limit all flights in the very light jets to day visual flight rules to ensure flight conditions that do not allow the moisture in the pitot/AOA system to freeze. Eclipse says it has developed a solution to the problem but doesn't expect it to be certified by the FAA until the middle of next month. The fix includes changes to the internal pitot tubing routing to "provide positive drainage to a low point in the system," and Eclipse plans to begin retrofitting the entire fleet immediately after certification via a Service Bulletin. More...

Kentucky Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler has presented a bill calling for an independent review of the FAA’s progress on safety programs. Chandler suggested that the agency is dragging its heels on safety programs and he wants the National Research Council to find out what the real progress is on things such as runway safety, air traffic control staffing and other safety-related concerns. “We simply cannot afford to wait any longer for the FAA to act,” Chandler told the Lexington Courier-Journal. “The FAA must be held accountable on their promises to bring added safety measures and equipment to airports across the nation.” More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA declared Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) to be fully operational in Alaska on May 31, and now it's working on the rest of the country. Following "extensive technical analysis," the agency determined that ADS-B is a far more accurate way to keep airplanes from banging into each other. "The evaluation found that over 96 percent of ADS-B data had at least 10 times better accuracy and integrity than the minimum required to support today's separation standards," the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization said Thursday. More...

Deployment of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) and Wide Area Multilateration around Yampa Valley and Garfield County Airports in Colorado is expected to make it safer and more convenient for skiers flocking to the area's ski resorts. Sensis Corp., which was awarded the contract to install the systems, says the implementation will also save millions of dollars worth of fuel used in holding patterns and the indirect routing that the topography of the area dictates with ground-based radar systems. More...

On Friday, Eclipse Aviation officially opened its Southeast Eclipse Service Center at the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport in Florida. The 61,000-sq-ft complex, which is Part 145 compliant and fully operational, is the second Eclipse maintenance center to come online but is the first one outside of the company's headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M. "Today is a great day for Eclipse Aviation, the City of Gainesville and our customers in the Southeast," Eclipse COO Peg Billson noted during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. "The enthusiasm for the Eclipse 500 in this region has been incredible…[and] it is also an honor to be a part of the state of Florida's ongoing efforts to build a progressive aviation infrastructure that generates economic development and business growth for its communities." More...


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News Briefsback to top 

Three days after Hyannis-based Cape Air grounded most of its fleet of Cessna 402 aircraft, the airline was expecting to operate an almost normal schedule this weekend. Now the big question is what is causing crankshaft counterweights to wear out prematurely in the big Continental engines that power the aircraft. According to the Cape Cod Times, there’s been speculation that a directive to pilots to reduce power settings to save fuel might have something to do with it, but the airline says the engines are being operated within limits and that that part of the engine shouldn’t be affected by power settings. "We have parts on an aircraft engine that wore faster than we would have expected," Cape Air CEO Dan Wolf said. "It could mean anything." More...

Doctors who work for University of North Carolina's Area Health Education Center (AHEC) say they've been pressured to not oppose the university's plan to close the on-campus airport that allows them quick deployment to far-flung areas of the state. The university wants to close Horace Williams Airport to make way for a new research center, but the doctors say moving the airplanes they use for their medical outreach programs to Raleigh-Durham International will take up valuable time. AOPA paraphrased one doctor as telling a state legislative committee that supporting the airport could negatively affect his career. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The light sport aircraft (LSA) segment might have reached another milestone in the last few weeks. It appears the first type club (the first we've heard of, anyway) has been formed for owners of Flight Design CT aircraft and is doing all the things that type clubs do, including hosting fly-ins, holding seminars and generally gathering like-minded souls together. Flight Design has sold more than 200 aircraft in the U.S., the most of any LSA manufacturer. The first national CT fly-in was held in May in McMinnville, Ore. There were 13 aircraft flown to the event and other owners, from as far away as New York and Texas, took commercial flights. More...

At least one Canadian airline is concerned that a measure intended to make flying safer could actually spark some security problems in the terminal. A no-fly list of unknown length, but containing a lot of very common names, will be used to screen airline passengers in Canada starting today, and Air Canada’s security chief is concerned about the reactions of customers who will inevitably be unjustly flagged by the measure. Yves Duguay told a Parliamentary commission looking into the 1986 Air India bombing that he’s concerned about "unruly behavior" from passengers who have the same names as the known terror suspects and violent criminals that are included. "The situation could be very tense, and we need to have an authority figure in place to defuse that situation. So we want to make sure that we have a police presence," Canadian Press quoted him as saying. More...

Reason #31 — Look Ma, No Hands
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News In Briefback to top 

DayJet's fleet to include seven Eclipse 500s by end of this week...
Brig. Gen Robin Olds dies at 84...
New FBO to open at LEX...
Record-setting glider at AirVenture. 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

If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing long hold times, lost flight plans and lack of local knowledge while getting a FSS briefing, you've surely read about it here in AVweb. Is there a danger here? More...

AVMAIL: JUN. 18, 2007
Reader mail this week about scarce carbon fiber, AFFS and low-time regional pilots. 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 SATSair's Sheldon Early talk about how his company proved the air-taxi model using Cirrus SR22s. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Epic Aircraft's Rick Schrameck; AOPA's Randy Kenagy; 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 Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation explain why aviation user fees would be good for airspace users. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


Attention, LSA Builders & ROTAX 912 Engine Operators
BASA, the industry's leader in aviation supplies, software, and publications, offers the ROTAX Engine Introduction DVD with tips and techniques for trouble-free operation of Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) with the ROTAX engine. This DVD also provides an introduction to the specific concepts important to maintaining the ROTAX 912. Go online for complete details and bonus features!
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Vail Valley Jet Center at KEGE in Gypsum, Colo.

AVweb reader Snorri Snorrason said the FBO is tops in his book.

"Great setup with remarkable pilot accommodations. A lobby that makes your grandma feel comfy, and staff so helpful it feels like a five-star hotel. We had to stay the night for maintenance, which was taken care of promptly as soon as our part came in. We took the courtesy Hummer to town for dinner, and while the FBO closed down we were allowed to use the recliners and TV till the next morning. A brilliant experience with top-notch staff. They are the number-one FBO in my book."

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!


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Video Of The Weekback to top 


What's summer without a few big-budget, special-effects-heavy, totally-unbelievable blockbuster movies? In the spirit that brings us films like Fantastic Four and Die Hard — and, most especially, Transformers, which opens in two weeks — we think it's time to bring you something totally off-beat and just darn cool. Presenting, from the Japanese film The Returners (and thanks to a tip from AVweb reader Gerald Avella), a transforming 747. (Click through to watch.)

Betting starts now on how many AVweb readers will ask Boeing staff at AirVenture when the new transforming jet goes into production! More...

You Pay More for the Unbiased Truth — To Ultimately Save More
Yes, Aviation Consumer costs more than other aviation magazines. Aviation Consumer is supported by you, the subscribing consumer, not by advertising. So the editors can be completely truthful to help you make the right decision on products and services. 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"

Overheard at DFW:

Dallas/Fort Worth Clearance Delivery: Nine Eight Two Sierra Yankee stand by to copy clearance.

N982SY: Nine Eight Two Sierra Yankee ready to copy.

Clearance Delivery: Nine Eight Two Sierra Yankee is cleared direct Rockport, after departure fly runway heading at or below 2,000 expect 10,000 in 10 minutes, contact Dallas Forth Worth Departure 125.2, squawk 2351.

N9800Y: Nine Eight Two Sierra Yankee fly runway -- hey, if you guys don’t hold still and be quiet, your mother and I will be flying to the Bahamas without you for spring break next week and you’ll be in Dallas with the babysitter. Am I clear?

Clearance Delivery: Oh no. Can I please go too, daddy?

N9880Y: Sure, come on. Guess I forgot to turn loose of the transmit button. Sorry.


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) 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.

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