AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 33a

August 13, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Inspiring Daydreams Daily, BoeingStore.com
The one-stop shop for the aviation enthusiast, BoeingStore.com has everything you're looking for: Apparel, travel gear, aviation posters, photographs, models, books, toys, novelties, and more. Now just a click away, take your passion to a higher altitude at BoeingStore.com
Top News back to top 

AOPA Says DOT Study Proves GA Not To Blame For Delays

Weather and the airlines' own scheduling practices continue to be the major causes of flight delays, and they won't be fixed with user fees or a modernized air traffic control system, according to AOPA President Phil Boyer. In a news release, Boyer says a Department of Transportation study shows that 40 percent of flight delays are caused by weather and 25 percent by problems within the airlines themselves, such as maintenance problems, crew shortages, baggage delays and the like. AOPA dug deeper into the report to analyze the 28 percent of delays attributable to National Airspace System delays and found 17 airports where airlines over-schedule flights. Only severe weather counts for weather delays, but delays can be caused in IMC because there are actually more flights scheduled to operate out of those 17 airports than ATC can handle under instrument rules. The airlines have been trying to blame general aviation, particularly business aircraft, for the delays as part of the attempt to have Congress invoke user fees for turbine aircraft. Both houses will consider their bills on FAA reauthorization when they resume sitting after the August break.

FAA Focus On NextGen Obscures Real Issues Says NATCA

The FAA's repeated reference to the need to modernize the air traffic control system is a smokescreen designed to divert attention from problems with the existing system, according to the head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Pat Forrey told a transportation forum in Dallas last week that while controllers love new technology and embrace it at every chance, poor morale and a severe staffing shortage are the most immediate concerns. "So before we as a nation turn our full attention to NextGen, and the future aviation system we hope to enjoy, we must work to ensure that the system we have to use today … remains the safest in the world and one where no corners are cut in a foolish rush to institute business agendas over safety practices," he said. NATCA is pulling for the same version of the FAA reauthorization bill that general aviation groups are supporting -- but for different reasons. The bill, H.R.2881, would not impose user fees on GA but, in its current form, would force the FAA and NATCA back to the bargaining table to settle the contract dispute that ended with an imposed deal last September. Most House Republicans are opposed to that clause and it’s likely to cause some fur to fly when the bill hits the floor. Meanwhile, the union continues to cite examples of understaffing at various facilities, including Las Vegas, where it claims the number of trainees will soon be greater than the number of certified controllers.

Bureaucracy Ready For VLJs

While we still don’t know just how the alleged onslaught of very light jets (VLJs), personal jets and family jets will affect aviation as a whole, the FAA appears to be among those who believe the impact will be huge. If you've noticed that VLJs seem to figure in just about every FAA news release on airspace and new technology, there’s a good reason. It’s called the FAA VLJ Cross Organizational Group and it has representation from no fewer than 35 agency departments, all of which believe that VLJs will affect their particular bailiwick. "We started brainstorming, identifying issues that could possibly arise, and looking at what we could do as an agency to [promote safety] while ensuring the smooth entry of these type aircraft into service," Mary Pat Baxter, who heads up the group, told FocusFAA, the agency’s internal newsletter. The diverse interests meet in person and by teleconference about every six weeks, and Baxter says it has put the agency in a better position to handle the little jets when they start showing up in significant numbers. Among the projects underway now is evaluating DayJet's introduction of the Eclipse 500 to the air taxi business that some believe will be the foundation of the VLJ market. "With this, we're going to have Air Traffic involved, so they can actually see how this operation is going to roll out -- before it starts -- so they can work out any kinks," Baxter said. Her group has also become the go-to organization for agency officials who have to speak to Congress or auditing organizations about VLJ-related issues. "If Congress needs a briefing, or somebody's going up to the Hill from our agency, we make up the briefing papers," Baxter said.

Subscribe to Trade-A-Plane & See Why 96% of Trade-A-Plane Subscribers choose Trade-A-Plane as their primary aviation shopping tool. Thousands of classifieds (updated daily), product and advertiser indices, NAAA Evaluator, and aviation weather — Trade-A-Plane is everything that keeps you flying! To order, call (800) 337-5263 or subscribe online.
News Briefs back to top 

EAA Members Picket Over Homebuilt Law

Pilots aren’t normally the type to hoist picket signs and mount protests against the powers that be, but it’s a measure of the frustration Jacksonville, Fla. aircraft kitbuilders are feeling that prompted them to the streets a couple of weeks ago to let their city officials know how they feel about their taking the home out of homebuilt. Wearing red EAA shirts and carrying signs with polite but pointed slogans, the pilots were protesting a Jacksonville ordinance that prohibits anyone from working on a homebuilt aircraft or an airboat at their homes. Last month EAA government affairs specialist Earl Lawrence coached the local chapter on ways to make the authorities listen to their plight and there are some encouraging signs the tactics are working, according to Jacksonville EAA President Milford Shirley. She told EAA that at least a couple of councilmen are talking about revising the law, and the real test of their resolve will be at Tuesday’s full meeting of council. "Tuesday is the regular council meeting, and if anyone can come it will be good for the full council to see a big presence," Shirley said.

Composite Industry Predicts Major Growth

If you’re looking for a place to invest all that cash you have left over from fueling, fixing and housing your airplane, market research company Lucintel suggests composite companies might be a good bet. The company recently completed a study on the use of composites by the aerospace industry and found, to no one in the aviation industry's surprise, that they are being increasingly incorporated into all parts of airplanes. "Remarkably, the global aerospace industry is estimated to use $57 billion worth of composite materials during 2007-2026," Lucintel CEO Dr. Samjay Mazumdar said in a news release. Composites have been widely used in homebuilts for decades, but manufacturers have been slow to adopt them. And while Cirrus, Columbia and a handful of others are leading the charge in general aviation, it’s Boeing's acceptance of the technology in the new 787 and Airbus's continued application in the A380 that will drive the growth in composites consumption, the report says. It notes that the 787 is about 50 percent composite while a 737 is only about 5 percent.

"Only PIC Kept Us at the Lowest Rate." — The Aviation Consumer, Feb 2007 Issue
Pilot Insurance Center is an industry leader at providing life insurance protection to pilots and their families. PIC has convinced insurance companies that most pilots needn't pay higher life premiums just because they fly. Read the complete Aviation Consumer article on PIC's web site.

You can apply for a policy in less than 5 minutes! Call today at 1 (800) 380-8376.
News Briefs back to top 

Flight Data Recorder For Small Aircraft Approved

The FAA has issued the first supplementary type certificate on a flight data monitoring and recording system designed for small aircraft and helicopters. Jointly developed by Air Logistics and Appareo Systems, the Aircraft Logging and Event Recording for Training and Safety (ALERTS) system is billed as being small and affordable, but still capable of recording 100 hours of high resolution 3-D graphical data about the aircraft’s flight. It also keeps an eye on the pilot and can tell aircraft owners (or crash investigators) if the aircraft was being flown according to procedures. The first STCs are for Bell 206 and 407 helicopters, and Air Logistics President Mike Suldo said it provides a major safety benefit for operators of light aircraft. "Now we finally have a simple-to-install, low-cost, lightweight version for our smaller fleet. Every customer I have discussed this new safety technology with wants it installed as soon as possible," Suldo said. The unit is designed for simple field installation, according to Air Logistics.

Fly with the Bose® Aviation Headset X
Enjoy an unmatched combination of benefits: Full-spectrum noise reduction, clear audio, and comfortable fit. Voted the #1 headset for the sixth consecutive year in Professional Pilot's 2006 Headset Preference Survey. Learn more and order.
News Briefs back to top 

Pilot Said He Was "Sure" He Had Enough Fuel

A charter pilot who relied solely on fuel gauges to calculate his fuel load and admits he "guesstimated" the weight of his passengers said he was sure he had enough fuel to make it to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from a remote fishing lake in 2002. The irony was that Mark Tayfel did make the field with one engine running, but his Keystone Airlines Piper Navajo, with six passengers aboard, was high and hot and he had to go around. His second engine quit on the go-around and the aircraft bounced off a bus, sliced the back off a truck and came to rest near a gas station at a Winnipeg intersection. One passenger later died from his injuries, but Tayfel and the others survived. Tayfel told a Winnipeg court that he found out later that there was a problem with the fuel gauges and he would have taken "extra precautions" had he known. The aircraft was loaded with 850 pounds of fuel for the flight to Gunisao Lake Lodge, a round trip of about 300 miles that Tayfel said normally takes about 720 pounds of fuel. Fuel is available at the lodge but, against the advice of a pilot who accompanied him there, Tayfel decided not to refuel for the return trip. "In my mind there was a safe amount to get me there and back with fuel to spare," he told Queen's Bench Justice Holly Beard. The plane was also flying without an autopilot. The court was told that on his approach to Winnipeg International Airport, the aircraft came out of the clouds too high and too fast to make the runway. Tayfel was initially hailed as a hero for guiding the aircraft to an emergency landing with no immediate loss of life. The airline, the fishing lodge and Transport Canada are being sued by the survivors and the estate of the man who died, 79-year-old Kansas resident Chester Jones. Meanwhile, Tayfel is currently in court facing several criminal charges, including criminal negligence causing death, four counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and dangerous operation of an aircraft.

Fund Set Up For Jim LeRoy’s Son

The death of air show performer Jim LeRoy on July 28 at the Dayton Air Show not only left a void in the air show industry, it left a mother and a young son to fend for themselves. The International Council of Air Shows is encouraging those in aviation to help soften the financial blow of LeRoy's untimely death by contributing to a memorial scholarship fund aimed at ensuring his four-year-old son, Tommy, can pursue his own aviation dreams. ICAS President John Cudahy told AVweb that checks and credit card donations in any amount will be used to fund Tom's future education goals, which he said will almost certainly involve aviation since LeRoy was a third-generation aviator. "It's important for the aviation community to get behind this," he said, noting even small contributions can add up to a significant amount. Contributions can be made to Jim LeRoy Jr. Memorial Fund, c/o Harris Bank, 110 East Irving Park Road, Roselle, IL 60172; or by calling (630) 980-2700. LeRoy died when his plane pancaked onto the Dayton, Ohio, field after a series of snap rolls. The aircraft slid about 400 yards and burned. A coroner's report said LeRoy died on impact. Cudahy said LeRoy differed from many performers in that he designed his show with the audience in mind. While others essentially performed their aerobatic competition routine for the crowds, LeRoy tried to please the paying customers. "Jim was best known for his commitment to the entertainment component," said Cudahy.

Save $1,500 on Your Garmin WAAS Upgrade from JA Air Center!
Order your WAAS upgrade from JA Air Center before August 31, 2007, and you'll save $1,500 over Garmin's new pricing which takes effect September 1, 2007. JA's WAAS experts are standing by to assist you at (800) 323-5966. This special pricing will not be extended, so make sure you call today!

JA Air Center [Dupage Airport (KDPA) in West Chicago, IL] provides the finest avionics installations, turbine/piston maintenance, avionics/instrument service, mail order, and aircraft sales. Call (800) 323-5966 or visit us online.
News Briefs back to top 

SheltAir Wins Plattsburg FBO Deal

SheltAir is opening its fifth full-service FBO in New York, but a significant portion of its client base could come from La Belle Province. SheltAir will be the only FBO at Plattsburg International Airport, which is only about an hour's drive from Montreal and is described as "Montreal's U.S. airport." The airport is on I-87 near the resort district of Lake Champlain and Lake Placid. And just how big of an airport can a small community like Plattsburg have? Think big, Cold War big. Clinton County took over the former Strategic Air Command bomber base, and there's plenty of room for growth. "This opportunity is not our traditional business model, but we look forward to a long, prosperous relationship with both Clinton County and the surrounding community," said Ed Zwim, the company’s COO. "The close proximity to Montreal, and the expansive ramp space also allows this airport to become a diversion airport for widebody jets if the need arises." The FBO will have all the usual amenities of a SheltAir FBO, including crew cars, lounges, a flight-planning room and catering.

First Inductees To Columbia's 300-Knot Club

It didn't take long for Columbia Aircraft to get its first members of its 300-Knot Club. The club was announced at EAA AirVenture and six Columbia 400 pilots have provided photographic evidence of flying at a ground speed faster than 300 knots. The fastest recorded speed so far is 334 knots, which is about 100 knots faster than the Columbia's top true airspeed in level flight. The club was started to draw attention to the twin-supercharged, 310-hp composite aircraft as a "purpose-built speedster," said spokesman Randy Bolinger. "People purchase a Columbia because they want to fly comfortably as fast, as far and as safely as possible in an aircraft that was engineered around a 310-horsepower twin-supercharged powerplant all the way to the fringes of the envelope," Bolinger said in a news release. "But the bottom line is that flying a piston single should be fun. The 300-Knot Club is just another way for the Columbia community to bond and have fun while doing what they love to do."

Cessna SkyCatcher™
Grab hold of the sky. And never let go. The very latest technology. Unprecedented affordability. Extreme flyability. Introducing the SkyCatcher — an all-new Cessna destined to bring your dreams well within reach. If you've ever flirted with the idea of owning a brand-new aircraft, it's officially time to get serious. Place your order at 1 (800) 4-CESSNA, or visit online to get up close and personal.
News In Brief back to top 

On The Fly

Embraer announced U.S. certification for its 195 passenger jet. The 110-seat aircraft is the largest built by the Brazilian company…

Is that a monkey on your head or…? A man was caught smuggling a marmoset aboard a Spirit Airlines flight, first from Lima to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and then on the connecting flight to New York La Guardia. He had the monkey hidden under his hat, but it crawled out and other passengers noticed it clinging to his ponytail…

Williams Aviation has opened a service center in Akron. The FBO is in the same 200,000-square-foot hangar where Goodyear built Corsairs during World War II.

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 aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

Avoid Hypoxia. Get a Pulse Oximeter!
The FlightStat pulse oximeter from Aeromedix.com is an essential cockpit safety measure for any pilot who flies at cabin altitudes of 10,000 feet and above. The pulse oximeter alerts you to your oxygen saturation levels and allows you to avoid becoming hypoxic. This device measures precisely how much oxygen you need for peak pilot performance. Visit Aeromedix.com and purchase yours today!
New Columns and Features back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #116: Getting Back More Than You Give

There are lots of ways to help young people get excited about aviation: EAA Young Eagles, mentoring, instructing ... but what if the kid is blind?

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

that could be assembled and flown. She planned to talk with the kids for about an hour and just give an introduction about how an airplane flies, a bit about radio communications, weather, the maintenance required for an airplane, what is on an instrument panel, safety around airplanes and a little about regulations. To her astonishment, each session went over an hour and a half as the kids asked bags of questions, spent a lot of time touching the various airplane models to discover the differences between single and multi-engine airplanes, feeling the gauges, knobs and switches on the panel and being amazed at how thick the book of regulations was. Kary told me that she did not have much of a concept of what would interest, bore or turn off a blind student, so she let the feedback she got guide her presentation.

The large, flyable model airplanes were a hit, as were the stickers that could be applied to each. Every child got one of those model airplanes to take home. As with kids anywhere, it was probably fortunate that they were made of Styrofoam and extremely light.

Kary's next challenge was arranging for an airplane ride for 40 blind or vision-impaired kids. She had given EAA Young Eagles rides before and decided that she would make the event a Young Eagles set of rides as the Young Eagles certainly didn't put any vision requirements on passengers. She then contacted other pilots to see if they could help.

Gathering of Planes, Pilots, and Passengers


The weather on the mid-July Saturday appointed as ride day initially looked questionable. Fortunately, by mid-morning the rain showers that had been lingering in the area moved out and stayed away. Kary and Lyle flew their Bonanza to the Greenville, Mich., Airport where the friendly folks at the FBO, Monarch Aviation, had agreed to welcome a herd of summer campers for the Young Eagles' flights. Kary got a checkout from Monarch so she could rent a Cessna 172 and fly that, while husband Lyle flew the Bonanza for rides. Lori Layne, a pilot who works at Sparta Aero, at the Sparta, Mich., Airport (where Kary instructs) and whose mother is vision impaired, agreed to help out as the ground marshal to get kids safely to and from airplanes. Greenville pilot Gerry Cox rolled out his beautifully restored Aeronca Sedan and prepared to give rides as well.

Donated buses brought 40 campers and their counselors to Monarch Aviation and the deluge began. Kary, Lyle and Gerry immediately loaded up their airplanes, explaining precisely what was going on as they did so, and taxied out with excited kids.

Arriving late (which I'll blame on weather), I recognized Kary's and Lyle's voices on Unicom as each took off, because they had already begun the flights.

After landing, I walked toward the terminal building carrying a massive load of ignorance regarding the world of the vision impaired. Spending a great deal of my life closely involved with aviation, where vision means so much, had not prepared me for what it means to be unable to see. My experience with vision impaired and blind people had been limited to time I spent with a blind friend over the course of a few years of college when we shared classes or socialized, and when I was a part-time bank teller and was trained in assisting blind customers to handle monetary transactions. That was it. I wanted each of my passengers to have a pleasant experience and learn as much as possible, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. I was somewhat intimidated as I reached out my hand to shake that of the young man who would be the first to fly with me. (I was limited to one passenger at a time in the great and powerful Cessna 150 I was flying.)

He was fired up about the prospect of flying and immediately started asking questions about the airplane and our flight. As we walked across the ramp, he kept a hand lightly on my elbow. Approaching the airplane I suddenly "saw" it as not just a vehicle of the air, but as a ramp hazard to one who could not see. There is not much in one's ordinary existence that presents a hazard to land navigation as does a wing that exists about five feet above the ground, other than the rapidly disappearing backyard clothesline. I stopped and told my tall, young friend about the wing and that it was about two feet in front of him and would probably hit him in the forehead if we kept walking. Together we found the trailing edge of the wing and we talked about how it connected to the fuselage as he traced along it with is hand until he found the fuselage. Then I found I had to warn about the presence of the landing gear leg that could hit him about mid-shin. To my surprise, he quickly felt around the open doorway and the right-hand seat, pivoted gracefully, sat in the seat, pulled up his feet, twisted around and was in the airplane. With a deft series of wrist flips he had folded up the long, white rod he used to help himself sort out where things were around him. I offered to stow it behind the seat and he accepted.

I wish I could get into an airplane as smoothly as he did.

Once inside, I found that we simply started to talk about what was going on but, for me, with a heightened perception for many of the things I had long taken for granted: how the seatbelt buckles were different from those of a car; where the rudder pedals were and how the control yoke functioned. It became much like giving a first flight lesson, with me explaining briefly what I was going to do with the emphasis on what my passenger would hear and feel as we progressed.

Together we taxied out. I had my friend put his feet on the rudder pedals so that he could feel how the airplane was steered on the ground. We went through the pretakeoff checks together; emphasizing that we wanted to make sure everything was working properly before we made the decision to leave the ground.

A New Feeling


On takeoff, I found that I was letting myself feel the airplane more than I usually did, wanting to try and share what the young man in the right seat was experiencing as we accelerated down the runway and rose into the sky; how the slight bumps on the paved runway became closer and closer together as we got faster, how the airplane tilted gently upward and then how the very basic motion of the airplane changed from a frantic race on the wheels to the smooth swing beneath the supporting wings.

As we climbed, and turned and then leveled off, my passenger and I talked about what we were doing and what he was feeling. I tried rolling into and out of turns at different rates and found that he could tell we were rolling into or out of a turn most of the time, unless the rate was very slow -- which matched my preconceived notion on the subject. We talked about raising and lowering the nose to go up and down and how it felt to do so very slowly and a little more rapidly.

I had my new friend put his right hand on the control yoke and asked if he wanted to fly the airplane a bit. He said he did, so I let go of the controls and had him try some turns in each direction and then raise and lower the nose to see how the pressure he applied to the control yoke correlated to the feeling he had of increasing and decreasing G force. When he said he liked pushing on the yoke and feeling a little like he might be able to float upward, I asked if he'd like to experience zero G, like the astronauts experience. He was all for it, so we pitched up about 10 degrees and then together we pushed on the yoke until we were able to get about three seconds of more-or-less zero G. That was a huge hit and had to be repeated.

Neither of us wanted the ride to end; I had a seriously smiling passenger and I was fascinated by what I was feeling as the experience of moving through the sky became even more sensuous, for my senses were truly attuned to it as they had not been since I could recall.

As we returned and landed I described exactly what we were doing and why the engine noise was decreasing as was the volume of the sound made by the air rushing past the fuselage. (OK, OK -- the airframe rushing through the air.) Pure luck kicked in and I managed a smooth touchdown.

Taxiing in, I could not help but share the sense of happiness that surrounded my friend in the right seat. After we shut down he said that he had not wanted the flight to end. I've always felt that such a feeling is the ideal way to complete an introductory airplane ride and I felt lucky that I could be the one who was able to provide this experience for this thoughtful young man.

The Magic Continues


Almost immediately my next passenger was at the airplane and I found myself again describing the location of a wing, landing-gear leg and cabin door. And then again and again as the next passengers continued to be ready to fly. I talked about the whole process of the flight multiple times, but without ever having it lose its magic.

I found that I was disappointed when I landed after a flight and was told that there were no more folks waiting to ride. I wanted this experience to last longer. I wanted to continue to drink of this new nectar and more closely feel this assemblage of aluminum and steel and copper wire that I had been herding through the sky for so many years.

Fortunately, Kary and Lori found a way to prolong the moment with these young women and men. They had us park the four airplanes as closely together as possible. The kids were divided into four groups and each spent time with each different airplane, running their hands over the airframes and sitting in the cockpits as each pilot watched respectfully. Standing at the wingtip of the 150, adjacent to the tip tank of the Bonanza, I watched as two young men touched the Bonanza's tip tank, wing, fuselage and windshield and listened as one said to the other, "This airplane feels a lot faster than the other ones."

I'd always known that the Bonanza had a certain character and élan to it, but how did Beech manage to communicate that mystique even to someone who could not see?

After the buses returned and the campers had expressed their thank yous to us and departed, I could not help but feel that it was I who should have been saying thank you to them. In the few hours I spent with those young women and men they helped me experience the true essentials of flight and to enjoy the pure pleasure of movement in the sky more than I had imagined possible. I gave a little of my time and the rental cost of the airplane to those kids -- I got much more from them. I am truly grateful.

Aviation is a world of fascination and it provides a number of emotionally rewarding careers. And I know that at least one blind person has learned to fly and one recently made a pretty amazing flight in an ultralight; but, I've been wondering what aviation careers might be available to the vision impaired. I frankly don't know and if anyone does, I'd like to be able to pass along the information to those kids so that maybe a few of them can use the intelligence and thoughtfulness they possess to make a contribution to the world of flight.

See you next month.

Want to read more from Rick Durden? Check out the rest of his columns.

Getting It Fixed Right

Post-accident, most insurers will do the right thing but some will steer you to a marginal shop. Here's how to stand your ground to get competent repairs.

Click here to read this maintenance article.

that your top concern is safety but that you also wish to avoid diminished market value due to damage history. If the repairs are done competently, there's no ethical breach with a subsequent buyer. Also, if your aircraft was damaged by the actions of a third party, remind the adjuster that there's no case for skimping on repair costs; a subrogation claim can recover the insurance company's claim costs.

Based upon my experience, if you engage a qualified repair station, the claims adjuster will agree if you insist that the aircraft be repaired at the facility of your choosing. However, if the adjuster resists and points you at a shop you don't want to use, you may have to up the ante by involving the manufacturer.

The manufacturer has a vested interest in not having a cobbled up airframe returned to flight status by a marginal repair facility. While it's expensive, you may play the trump card by getting the manufacturer involved in evaluating whether your airframe can be safely restored to flight status by field repair.

In some situations where the insurance company declined to cooperate, I have had success with the manufacturer telling the insurer that it wouldn't support certain repairs the insurer's shop had proposed. In other instances, the estimate for a repair acceptable to the manufacturer is so cost-prohibitive that the insurance company agrees to a write off the airplane as a total loss.

The Right Repair


In the past, some insurance companies have been skilled in finding repair shops willing to perform and sign off marginally legal repair work. That's not a slam against all insurance companies, just a fact of life in the claims business. And just because one repair is less expensive than another, doesn't automatically damn it as substandard.

A shop favored by the insurance company will probably attempt to minimize the damage to the aircraft. It may, for instance, characterize damage to the propeller and engine as a mere prop strike when, in fact, the aircraft suffered serious trauma.

Again, a capable, certified repair station acting as your advocate can counter the tendency of a "favored" shop to minimize apparent damage and to contain the cost of repairs below what's right and proper.

A repair facility seasoned in the games insurance companies play can be a significant ally as you lobby to have your aircraft restored to the same condition it was in prior to the accident. While you can't sue the insurance company of a third party who damaged your aircraft for bad faith, if your own insurance company refuses to recognize that your aircraft should be totaled and insists that it be restored or repaired by a marginal operator, litigation is always an option. But it should be the last resort, when all other avenues have been exhausted.

If relations between you and your insurance company have deteriorated to this point, your counsel will want to have the aircraft inspected by an FAA-certified repair station or by the aircraft's manufacturer. If these inspections generate a repair estimate that makes the aircraft economically non-repairable, that alone may convince the insurance company to see things your way without resorting to a lawsuit.

Also, consider that if you do have to go to court, safety of flight concerns will make a strong argument in your favor. These concerns shouldn't be based on unfounded anxiety but on data you have acquired through an FAA repair station, or by persuading the manufacturer to examine the aircraft and render a report on how the aircraft could be returned to flight status.

In Georgia, for example, the insurance company may be required to pay the insured value of your aircraft, plus a 25 percent penalty, plus reasonable legal fees. Remedies in other jurisdictions will vary but you should understand you do have options.

Loss of Use, Value

Typically, you can't expect your insurance company to provide you with a replacement aircraft while yours is being repaired. But if you routinely use your airplane for business, your flight records will support the argument that your aircraft is instrumental to your livelihood.

If you can rent a replacement while your aircraft is down for repairs, this kind of evidence would assist you in pursuing a claim against a third party for loss of use of your aircraft, if you feel that's necessary. This is, unfortunately, another incentive for your insurance company to use a marginal operator with discount prices. Your loss of use is not of concern to your insurer. Again, the focus of loss of use is generally on a third party, say the FBO who backed a tug into your airplane and won't agree to settle.

You may settle with your insurance company for repairs but be careful in executing any proof of loss or release forms to ensure that you preserve the right to pursue a loss of use claim later on.

The same logic applies to diminished value to accident-related damage and repairs. We can argue about what damage really causes what loss of value but most appraisers agree that if two otherwise equivalent airplanes are compared, the one with damage history will carry lower market value.

Once again, diminished fair market value is not a claim you can make against your own insurance company. If you feel the lost value is sufficient to warrant recovery, you'll have to pursue that with any third party involved. If your insurance company has paid to have the aircraft repaired, it will ask you to sign a proof-of-loss or release form.

While your insurance company paid to have your aircraft repaired and may bring a subrogation claim in your name to recover from the offending third party, the money it paid you to fix your airplane has nothing to do with diminished market value or loss of use. Any form presented to you by your insurance company should be modified to show that you're preserving your claim of loss-of-use and diminished market value.


Getting your aircraft repaired following a major incident or accident can be a nightmare. The vast majority of insurance adjusters will handle it quickly, fairly and competently. But it's just as true that some won't.

If the claim and repair process doesn't satisfy you, you'll need some grit and determination to avoid caving in to insurance company pressure to allow a marginal shop to fix your airplane, especially if the airplane should really be written off.

In this article, we haven't covered all the pitfalls of getting a damaged airplane repaired and back in service. However, know this: The interests of the insurance company and the owner aren't always the same. If an adjuster tries to steer you toward what you feel is a marginal repair shop, stand your ground and say no. It's your airplane and you have the right to see that it's fixed correctly.

More aircraft repair and prevention articles are available in AVweb's Maintenance Index. And for monthly articles and reviews of aviation products and services, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Consumer.

AVmail: Aug. 13, 2007

Reader mail this week about Marion Blakey, the Cessna LSA and more.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

Find Your Next Aircraft on ASO!
When you search for aircraft on ASO, you get the most complete picture of the market available anywhere. View thousands of listings with detailed specs and photos or use ASO's advanced search tools to quickly find your next aircraft. Best of all, know that every ad is current and no time is wasted on stale listings. If you're ready for your next aircraft, it's ready for you — on ASO. Visit ASO today!
AVweb Audio News -- Are You Listening 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 ConocoPhillips' Gabe Giordano on aircraft engine oil. And AVweb's podcast index includes interviews with Lycoming's Ian Walsh; Avidyne's Paul Hathaway; Aerion Corp's Brian Barents; BusinessJetSEATS Alfred Rapetti; EAA's Dick Knapinski; AOPA's Andrew Cebula; Cirrus Design's Alan Klapmeier; NBAA's Harry Houkes; 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; and Cessna's Jack Pelton. In today's podcast, EADS Socata's Jean-Michel Léonard talks about future plans at his company. Remember: In AVweb's podcasts, you'll hear things you won't find anywhere else.

Tired of the High Cost of Fuel? GAMIjectors Are the Answer!
Don't be grounded by sky-high gas prices. Install GAMIjectors, and you could see up to a 20% cut in your aircraft's fuel bill. Balanced fuel/air ratios make your aircraft's engine run smoother, cooler, and more efficiently. Call 888-FLY-GAMI, or order a kit online for your Continental or Lycoming engine.
FBO Of The Week back to top 

FBO Of The Week: McMinnville County

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to McMinnville County at KRNC in McMinnville, Tenn.

AVweb reader Jerry Trachtman said the county-run facility's staff went above and beyond:

"Traveling from my home base of Melbourne, Fla., to Oshkosh, I stopped for fuel at McMinnville, Tenn. (RNC), based upon availability of low-priced avgas (lowest price within 100 miles). Due to thunderstorms, I could not depart as planned and had to spend the night. Without hesitation, the FBO staff gave me their only crew car for the overnight, and pointed me in the right direction. My early departure the next morning was met with a top cowl latch on my Piper Lance popping open on takeoff roll. I aborted the takeoff and sought help with the FBO's mechanic, who was at work early before any other staff had arrived. He repaired the latch, sent me on my way and refused compensation. This FBO demonstrated service above and beyond the call of duty."

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!

FLITELite™ Reinvents Light ... Once Again
FLITELite, aviation's LED innovator, introduces the next step in headset technology — a new intercom-powered, hands-free LED flashlight built into the headset microphone without loss of audio system quality, factory installed by AVCOMM Communications. Never lose your flashlight again. And the FLITELite never requires batteries. FLITELite controls are hands-free; just a gentle touch with your lip to turn it on — give it a kiss, and conquer the night. More details online.
Video Of The Week back to top 

Video of the Week: Aviation Nation 2007 Preview

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

With the scintillating aerobatic performances of AirVenture fresh in our minds, how could we resist a video of highlights meant to whip us into a frenzy for this November's Aviation Nation showcase in Las Vegas?

Answer: We can't, and now that we're appropriately jazzed for Aviation Nation, you should be, too. Sit back and let these preview clips work their magic:

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

WingX 2.0 - Animated NEXRAD, METARs/TAFs, Approach Charts, W&B, and Route Planning!
WingX 2.0 for the Pocket PC has animated NEXRAD, satellite, lightning prediction graphics, and more; color-coded METARs and TAFs; approach charts; advanced weight and balance; route planning; searchable FARs; endorsements; E6B; runway layouts; and SmartTaxi™. Fast access to a comprehensive A/FD with auto-dial. WingX is also GPS-enabled! Click here to download your demo version of WingX at HiltonSoftware.com.
The Lighter Side Of Flight back to top 

Short Final

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

On a recent trip from Illinois to Arkansas, we overheard the following exchange:

Razorback Approach: Cessna Two Three Tango, Razorback Approach. Have you changed your destination from Houston, Texas?

Cessna 23T: Razorback Approach, Cessna Two Three Tango. That’s a negative. Destination is still Houston.

Approach: Well Cessna Two Three Tango, on your current heading you are not going to even hit the state of Texas.

Cessna 23T: Approach, Cessna Two Three Tango … we are experiencing … nav problems.

Approach: Cessna Two Three Tango, we assumed that, too … turn right heading 179 direct Houston.

Featured AVweb Classified Ad: Protection for Your Aircraft
Aircraft corrosion treatments at your Southeast U.S. location. Being proactive is the best way to protect your investment.
For contact information regarding this ad, to view more ads, and to post your no-cost ad, click here.
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 Russ Niles (bio) .

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.