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Volume 13, Number 26b
June 28, 2007
Help Design the Plane of the Future. Take the Survey!
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Top Newsback to top 

The FAA needs to do more to ensure that pilots dependent on substances such as drugs and alcohol are properly evaluated by aviation medical examiners, the NTSB said on Monday. A number of aircraft accidents have occurred when the pilot's substance dependence was relevant to the cause, according to the Safety Board. The NTSB said the FAA should require pilots to provide copies of arrest reports and court records to their examiner prior to clinical evaluation. Those records, it added, should be kept on file in the Aerospace Medical Certification Division, where they can be accessed in regard to any application for a medical certificate. Also, airmen who have been clinically diagnosed with substance dependence, including dependence on alcohol, should be medically certified only under a special-issuance waiver, the NTSB said. More...

The FAA confirmed this week that it is not interested in eliminating the requirement that private pilots must hold a third-class medical certificate. Despite recent rumors to the contrary, the FAA said that "out of a concern for the potential safety impact of the change given the large number of private pilots, and in the absence of any data to support the change, we are not inclined to change the rule at this time."The statement was part of a listing of responses to comments collected during a review of FAA regulations that began in February 2004. The public was invited to tell the FAA which regs should be removed, amended or simplified. Most of the 97 comments concerned details of air transport operations. EAA asked to simplify the paperwork for registering certain homebuilt aircraft, but the FAA declined. More...

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

Wichita-based Cessna Aircraft on Wednesday announced an agreement to collaborate with Germany's Thielert Aircraft Engines on future programs "centered on the Thielert diesel engine." Cessna said details will be announced later this year -- possibly as early as next month at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. "We think the Thielert engine may provide a very worthwhile power option for many of our customers since it runs on jet fuel and diesel," said Cessna Vice President of Worldwide Propeller Aircraft Sales John Doman. "We have had discussions with Frank Thielert and his group for some time, and we think the time is right to move forward." More...

Columbia Aircraft has restored its production level to three new aircraft per week, and nearly all employees furloughed in late March are now back at work, the company said in a news release on Monday. "We made a lot of dramatic moves earlier this year with the objective of increasing our efficiency and strengthening Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation," said Columbia President Wan Majid. "We've made significant improvements to our production processes and tooling." The returning employees will have plenty to do, said Vice President of Marketing Randy Bolinger. "We don't publish sales or backlog figures, but I can safely say that we're comfortable with the order level of the past few months. We delivered more aircraft during the first quarter than we did during the same period last year and I expect that we'll continue to see strong sales and deliveries." More...

Honda Aircraft Company on Wednesday morning began construction of its new 369,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility at the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. "By breaking ground for this new Honda Aircraft facility today, we take the next important step in getting HondaJets into the skies tomorrow," Honda Aircraft Company President and CEO Michimasa Fujino said. "With the warm reception we have received in the Triad, and the great response HondaJet has received from our customers, we are confident of a very bright future here in North Carolina." Phase one of construction will comprise offices, research facilities and an airplane hangar, to be completed next spring. The HondaJet production facility is currently in the design phase. More...

PowerLink™ FADEC Certified on Liberty XL-2; Is It Right for Your Aircraft?
Liberty Aerospace is the first certified piston-powered aircraft with PowerLink™ FADEC as standard equipment. PowerLink™ FADEC is now also available for several additional certified and experimental aircraft, including the A-36 Bonanza and VANS RV series. Find out how you can bring your aircraft into the state-of-the-art online.
News Briefsback to top 

Trainees are being left in charge of critical national airspace equipment without the supervision of certified specialists, the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) said in a news release on Monday. PASS said that managers plan to leave a single trainee on his own at the Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center when one of the three certified specialists is on leave this summer. "The specialist in training is being left alone during high-volume traffic for Federal Express," said Dave Spero, PASS regional vice president. "If something were to go wrong, the individual would have to rely solely on the skills and expertise that he brings to the job rather than specific FAA training. Basically, he's doing the best he can with what he's got." More...

For the second time in four months, the FAA has revised its air traffic controller retirement projections for the current 2007 fiscal year, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said in a news release on Tuesday. According to NATCA, the changes reflect "the agency's continuing inability to get a handle on the alarming rate of retirements that rose after the FAA imposed work and pay rules on controllers against their will last September." FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told AVweb on Wednesday that predicting retirements "is not an exact science," and the evolving numbers reflect the agency's ability to improve and refine its projections as it collects more data. A year ago, the FAA published a workforce plan that estimated 643 controllers would retire in fiscal year 2007, which runs from Oct. 1, 2006, to Sept. 30, 2007. That estimate was raised to 700 in March, and the agency now has raised its projection to 800, a 24-percent increase. More...

Aircraft Spruce Now Carries the A2 Aviator Flashlight
Extremely compact (shirt pocket-size) dual-output hybrid flashlight for aviation, camping, self-defense, and general use. Features two types of light sources: low beam for close-up work and brilliant tactical-level beam with over three times the light of a big two-D-cell flashlight. Available in red, blue, green, yellow-green, and white. For information, call 1-877-4-SPRUCE or visit Aircraft Spruce online.
News Briefsback to top 

Barrington Irving landed his Columbia 400 at Florida's Opa-Locka Airport Wednesday at 10:26 a.m., completing his round-the-world flight as -- unofficially -- the youngest person and first person of African descent to fly solo around the world. Irving, 23, launched from Florida in March, and flew up the East Coast and across the Atlantic. He stopped in Europe, the Middle East, India, Japan and Alaska, before heading back across the U.S. He covered about 25,600 miles in just over three months. Irving grew up in Miami but he was born in Jamaica, and Jamaican nationals greeted him at airports around the world. Upon landing Wednesday morning, he was greeted by a crowd that included local politicians and a steel-drum band. More...

Cirrus Design has so far been coy about the details of its new "personal jet," but a mock-up will be unveiled on Thursday during the annual gathering of Cirrus owners at the factory in Duluth, Minn. AVweb Contributing Editor Russ Niles will be on scene for the event, so keep an eye on AVweb for coverage of all the details. The jet, which so far is called simply "the-jet," is expected to have one engine, cruise at about 300 knots and sell for less than $1 million. Last week, at the Paris Air Show, the Cirrus booth was "swarming with customers," according to Flight Daily News. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Boeing's first 787 hasn't had a formal rollout yet, but an aviation enthusiast acting on a tip from a blogger caught pictures of the airplane as it was moved to a paint hangar just after midnight on Tuesday morning. Charles Conklin, 30, of Kirkland, Wash., shot with a telephoto lens through a fence from just outside the perimeter of the Boeing facility in Everett, komotv.com reported. Conklin said he picked up a tip from Flightblogger that the airplane might be moved late Monday night, and waited outside the facility for about two hours before the doors finally opened. Jon Ostrower, of Boston, operates Flightblogger. He said Boeing employees are excited about the airplane's progress and have been keeping him updated. More...

A new aviation organization will launch in Africa this week that aims to bring the continent's civil aviation standards to a par with those of Europe and the U.S., AllAfrica reported on Wednesday. The new African Civil Aviation Agency (Afro-CAA) will have its headquarters in Namibia, and its staff will work to establish common technical standards and safety regulations for the continent. Mwangi waKamau, who will be the first CEO of the agency, is from Kenya, but lobbied to base the agency in Namibia. "The good transport infrastructure in Namibia and its location, which is within easy reach of other countries, make it ideal to host the headquarters," he said at a press conference. The agency will be officially launched on Thursday. More...

Don't Trust Your Fairy Godmother
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Integrate 10,000 hours of specialized upset recovery expertise into your safety training today. Call (866) 359-4273 or get Upset Recovery Training info online.
News In Briefback to top 

Report: Pilots cutting back on flying due to high fuel costs...
EAA announced its lineup for evening programs at AirVenture...
A man fell 700 ft from a balloon over Colorado, suicide suspected...
The Hood blimp that crashed last year is flying again...
EAA's Rocky Mountain Fly-In broke attendance records last weekend...
New rules in Canada require TCAS for commercial aircraft...
Final standings are now online for this year's Air Race Classic. 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...

GA Averages FIVE Accidents Every Day — Learn Why!
Search the AOPA Air Safety Foundation Accident Database to learn about the causes and outcomes of almost every fixed-wing general aviation accident since 1983. Search by keyword, state, aircraft make and model, weather conditions, and more. You'll gain invaluable knowledge about flying safely by learning from others' mistakes. Visit the ASF Accident Database now and get started.
New On AVwebback to top 

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

Jet pilots don't have the luxury of looking outside as much as piston pilots do during takeoff; but there are ways to do better. More...

Although the weather was below minimums, a Part 135 Caravan pilot tries the approach, breaking more than just the regulations. More...

Flight instruction is pretty safe, but how can any pilot-caused accidents and incidents happen when two hyper-aware pilots are in the front seats? AVweb's Thomas P. Turner has done the research and developed a few theories. More...


This month AVweb's survey of the latest products and services for pilots, mechanics and aircraft owners brings you prop locks, oxygen systems, tri-color flashlights and much more.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Is the World's Greatest Aviation Celebration!
It's aviation's family reunion, bringing together the innovation, passion, and pride of every facet of flight. Join EAA at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on July 23-29 for the people, airplanes, and knowledge that are unmatched anywhere else in the world. For aviators, nowhere else has the magic of "Oshkosh." Be part of it this year! For more information, click here. For more information, click here.
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 Vince Scott explain how he used a little electronic wizardry when his engine ate an exhaust valve at 7,000 feet in IMC. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Reason Foundation's Robert Poole; SATSair's Sheldon Early; 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; and AOPA's Andrew Cebula. In Monday's podcast, hear NBAA Southeast Rep. Harry Houckes on aviation issues affecting the region. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.


Attention, LSA Builders & ROTAX 912 Engine Operators
ASA, 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!
Question Of The Weekback to top 

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and the FAA for months have been trading barbs about controller staffing, hiring, and retirement. Do you believe NATCA, which says there is a controller crisis looming — or do you believe the FAA, which says that it is staffing facilities to traffic and has adequately planned for hiring and retirements?

Plus: The results of last week's popular "vote" to replace Marion Blakey as FAA Administrator when she steps down in September. More...

If You Think "Bargains" Are Something Alien to Aviation — Think Again!
Spending hard-earned money on your aircraft and its avionics can be expensive. But don't think good deals aren't available in today's marketplace. Bennett Avionics provides pilots with quality avionics to meet their needs and maintain their budget. Before you buy anywhere else, check out Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295 or online. You'll be glad you did!
FBO Of The Weekback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Great Lakes Air at K83D in St. Ignace, Mich.

AVweb readers Andrea and Tim Olson said the FBO's staff and service were outstanding.

"We had just touched down and were still rolling out down the runway when we were greeted over the Unicom with a very friendly 'Hello, Welcome to Great Lakes Air, will you be needing any fuel today?' At the fuel pump (with very reasonable fuel prices for the area), the staff was friendly and truly enjoyed talking aviation. The staff brought the courtesy car around to the plane, and even helped me unload the plane and pack the car while my husband, the pilot, 'talked planes.' The courtesy car was available for us to have until the next morning, so we were able to enjoy the Mackinac Bridge, see the area sites, and have a great dinner. Sally, the resident Golden Retriever, was very well behaved and kept our young daughters busy while we paid for fuel. A family friendly, reasonable, well maintained FBO located in a beautiful part of Michigan, in it for the love of aviation."

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
Flight Explorer is an information system tracking commercial and general aviation flights. With the Flight Explorer Personal Edition, view air traffic for the U.S., Canada, or New Zealand and monitor and display real-time delay information, TFRs, SUAs, and more. With the Flight Explorer Pilot Edition, view weather along a route, receive alerts with your preliminary flight plan, and have an e-mail sent to someone on departure or arrival. Click here for more information and to subscribe
Pictures Of The Weekback to top 

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."

The run-up to AirVenture has begun! Getting ready for the big show seems to affect everyone in aviation, including "Picture of the Week" contenders: Only 64 submissions trickled in this week, but even thought the quantity lagged, quality remained high. In fact, this is the toughest time we've had picking which photos would make it into the Thursday issue in the last several months. If you're not already in the habit of visiting AVweb's home page to view the bonus pictures in our slideshow, this would be a good week to start. There are plenty of great photos to be found over there. The moon was a recurring motif in many of this week's submissions. Larry Raulston of Neosho, Missouri made several attempts at catching pilot Kyle Franklin silhouetted against the moon before this top-shelf photo caught him by surprise. 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 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.

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