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Seawind Aircraft has written at least some of its business associates to say that the company is closing and there will be no resumption of the long effort to certify the unique amphib. As AVweb reported last month, the Seawind certification test aircraft crashed during a test flight near
Winnipeg, Manitoba. Glenn Holmes, the experienced and well known Canadian test pilot, died in the crash. Canadian authorities are still investigating. Early indications from Seawind President Dick
Silva were that the project would resume after results of the investigation were known and the company's Web site still says that and
has job opportunities listed. However, a Sept. 7 letter sent to some businesses associated with Seawind paints a much different picture. We were unable to reach Silva for comment.
In the letter, Silva says financial backers pulled out after the crash. "The financing negotiations needed to complete the project were terminated and, as a result, the factory [in St. Jean sur
Richelieu, Quebec] has been closed," he wrote. Silva also says the Kimberton, Pa. head office is also being wound up. "I regret the project cannot go forward. We had hoped for a long and prosperous
relationship," he wrote.
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Marion Blakey made her last speech as FAA administrator on Tuesday, before the Washington, D.C., Aero Club.
And it held at least one surprise -- she put the blame for airline delays squarely on airline scheduling practices that are "out of line with reality." The airline industry has waged a campaign trying
to blame general aviation aircraft for congestion and delays. "If the airlines don't address this [scheduling issue] voluntarily, don't be surprised when the government steps in," Blakey said.
Thursday is the last day of her five-year term. Former FAA Deputy Administrator Barbara Barrett has been widely speculated to be a likely successor, but an interim administrator may be named until a
new appointment is complete.
Blakey has accepted a position as president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, a move criticized by some as ethically dubious, though no specific allegations have been made that
Blakey acted improperly. Blakey told USA Today that she has not taken a direct role in any regulatory
action that would affect the AIA, and she was "taken aback and a little appalled, frankly" that ethical issues would be raised.
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With dozens of aircraft scouring the Nevada desert, and thousands of Internet
volunteers perusing fresh satellite images for a clue, the hunt goes on for missing adventurer Steve Fossett. Hundreds of airplanes are heading to nearby Reno for this week's air races, raising
concern that ad hoc searchers might go looking in the desert -- and perhaps end up lost themselves. "I'd just ask [the pilots] to give us a wide berth," Nevada Civil Air Patrol Maj. Cynthia Ryan told reporters on Monday. "Don't try to fly in and assist unannounced." But more trained
searchers are needed. Mark Marshall, who is coordinating flight operations from Barron Hilton's Flying M Ranch, where Fossett took off on Sept. 3, has posted a request online looking for turbine helicopters and experienced mountain pilots.
Additional trained SAR observers are also needed. "You will need to make your own way to the ranch," Marshall wrote. "Accommodation is still tight, so you will need a tent and sleeping bag or
similar -- and a commitment to stay for some time if necessary."
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A California judge has approved the class for a class action suit filed by owners of aircraft with Lycoming engines who will be required to replace, at their own cost, the crankshafts, by Feb. 21,
2009, in those engines because they might be flawed. Under Mandatory Service Bulletin 569a (PDF), Lycoming is selling the crankshaft kits at the reduced cost of $2,000 but labor is up to the owner. That's in stark contrast to an earlier crankshaft recall in which the
replacement was not only free, but owners were given credit for aircraft rental and other expenses related to the loss of use of their aircraft. Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton approved the class action
after the original plaintiff, Richard Bristow, found a couple of other owners who met the "typicality" standards of a class action. Bristow's Mooney is owned by his corporation and the judge wanted
personally owned aircraft to be represented. Ronald Brown and Dana Pope, whose own names are on the registrations, stepped forward and now anyone in California with an affected crank is covered by the
suit if they want to be. Bristow's attorney, Robert Mills, says he's hoping the California decision will influence a Pennsylvania court to allow a nationwide class action that was filed there.
Lycoming's offices were closed at this writing and we'll be contacting them for comment Wednesday.
Mills said he filed the suits separately because California has liberal class action laws. At the same, time, however, about 12 percent of the cranks affected are in California. He said the
California suit is also important because it captures both corporate and privately owned aircraft. Mills said he's pleased by the decision and hopes it will help affected owners. "The certification of
a class action is a big step forward in the quest by affected aircraft owners to hold the manufacturer accountable for the damages incurred." he said.
Pilots of private aircraft that cross the U.S. border in either direction would be required to submit a roster listing everyone on board to the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, if a new rule
proposed this week (PDF) is made final. Under the proposed rule, the information must be received by the CBP no
later than 60 minutes before an arriving private aircraft departs from a foreign location and no later than 60 minutes before a private aircraft departs a U.S. airport for a foreign destination. The
CBP wants to check those rosters against its no-fly list. Yes, says AOPA, "This applies to short trips across
the border with your family or friends in your Cessna 172." The rosters must be submitted electronically, so pilots departing from remote airports without Internet access would have to land at another
airport with Internet service and complete the information before entering or leaving the United States. "That's not practical," says AOPA.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told Congress last week that the new rule would allow
inspectors more time to fully pre-screen travelers and crews and take necessary actions to resolve threats, whether that means denying entry into U.S. airspace, re-routing an aircraft, or meeting the
aircraft upon arrival. Currently, passenger manifests are required upon arrival in the U.S. There are no current requirements to submit information about passengers before leaving the country.
Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 60 days.
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The Reno Air Races, a one-of-a-kind flying event with powerful airplanes racing around pylons at speeds up to 500 mph, opened on Wednesday in
Nevada. The popularity of the races have grown in recent years, with up to 200,000 visitors expected by the end of the event on Sunday. Along with the races, daily air shows feature top performers
like the Canadian Snowbirds jet team and aerobatic flyers Mike Goulian and Greg Poe. This year, the race Web site will feature daily
videos and podcasts for the first time. On Tuesday, a pilot from California was killed during a practice flight when his engine failed shortly after takeoff from the Reno Stead Airport. Steve
Dari, from Lemon Grove, Calif., was flying a Rose Peregrine biplane, and it nosed over in an attempted off-airport landing.
Steve Fossett, who is still missing in Nevada, was scheduled to participate in the Air Races this week as a judge, and also as a competitor in the10th annual National Aviation Heritage Invitational
race, which features members of the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Two men were killed Tuesday morning when a helicopter crashed into the sea while filming video near Sarasota, Fla. A third person in the helicopter was seriously hurt. The group was working on a
project for Powerboat magazine. The boat was also damaged, but the two people on board escaped unhurt, according to The Associated Press. It was not clear if the helicopter hit the boat, or if it hit the water and debris caused
the boat damage. Executives at the magazine told the AP they had several staffers and freelancers working in the area and were uncertain who was in the helicopter at the time of the accident.
"One witness said the helicopter came close to the water and somehow flipped," Sarasota County sheriff's Lt. Chuck Lesaltato told the Bradenton Herald.
Three people walked away from the emergency landing of a Cessna Cardinal on the roof of a warehouse in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday. And it appears that in this case, hitting power lines actually helped.
Pilot Larry Ross and passengers James and Joanne Keisler had just taken off from Owens Field in Columbia when the engine failed. With little wiggle room, they headed for the first flat surface. "We
hit the power line and dropped right onto the roof," Keisler told WLTX News. The three had some bumps and bruises but were not
seriously hurt. Keisler credited Ross with the successful outcome. "Larry did a great job. I told him I would fly with him anytime," Keisler said.
As of Monday, the plane remained on the roof as insurance adjusters and authorities figured out what to do next. The plane poked a hole in the roof and leaked some fuel but judging by the photos it
doesn't appear to be badly damaged.
The National Aeronautic Association announced on Wednesday that retired Navy Captain Eugene Cernan is the winner of the
2007 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. The trophy, presented annually, is awarded " to a living American for significant public service of enduring value to aviation in the United States."
Previous winners include Charles Lindbergh, Igor Sikorski, Juan Trippe, and Neil Armstrong. Cernan was selected for the trophy due to his extraordinary lifetime of achievement as an astronaut, naval
aviator, and ambassador for aerospace. One of 14 astronauts selected by NASA in 1963, he flew in space three times, spent three days on the lunar surface as commander of Apollo 17, and became known as
the "last man on the moon."
Cernan will receive the trophy at the Aero Club of Washingtons Wright Memorial Dinner on Dec. 14. Cernan also is known for his eloquence, and is featured in the new film release, "In the Shadow of the Moon."
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Running into volcanic ash aloft might not be high on your list of things to worry about, but a bunch of folks working for our federal agencies are very aware of the dangers and are finding better ways
to track dangerous ash plumes so aviators can keep their distance. "The risks include degraded engine performance, flameouts, loss of visibility, failure of critical navigational and operational
instruments and loss of life," said Steven Osterdahl, director of en route and oceanic operations in the FAA's Western Service Area. On Wednesday, Osterdahl and others said their new effort, "National Volcanic Ash Operations Plan for Aviation," will improve the safety of flight. The plan sets new interagency standards
for warnings and forecasts, and outlines the roles of the various agencies in the aftermath of an eruption.
"The United States is one of the most volcanically rich countries in the world, with 169 active and dormant volcanoes," said U.S. Geological Survey Director Mark Myers. The plan aims to ensure that
hazardous ash clouds will be detected, tracked and forecasted and that the aviation community will be properly warned of the hazards.
Bombardier said on Wednesday that some older Q-400 turboprops -- those with 10,000 or more cycles on the landing gear -- should not be flown until inspections are completed. The advisory follows two recent incidents in Europe in which the landing gear failed on landing. A Scandinavian Airlines aircraft was damaged when it skidded off a runway in Lithuania
early Wednesday, though none of the passengers or crew were hurt. In an incident on Sunday, an SAS aircraft caught fire after its right landing gear collapsed during an emergency landing in Denmark,
and five people on board suffered minor injuries. The advisory affects about 60 aircraft, and led to the cancellation of some 200 flights worldwide.
Horizon Air, based in Seattle, cancelled more than 100 flights. "Our teams are working
around the clock, in conjunction with Bombardier, to complete the necessary inspections and return the affected aircraft to service as quickly as possible," said Jeff Pinneo, Horizon president and
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As we make our coverage plans for the National Business Aviation Association's annual convention in Atlanta at the end of the month,
we're trying to make sure we don't miss anything new, innovative or just plain newsworthy. If your company or organization has a story to tell, make sure that the uniquely qualified audience that
AVwebBiz and AVwebFlash serves gets your message. Please email your advance press releases and news conference times, along with contact information to Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Ominous skies and gusting winds were extra challenges to deal with for the Aero GP racers on the last day of the Constanta air race challenge in
Romania last month. According to their Web site, this was in marked contrast to the first day of the event when wake turbulence and thermals had
been the major problems the pilots encountered. With almost zero wind, the pilots were flying through their own disturbed air.
The international air race series features several aircraft racing together at breakneck speed at close quarters. Aero GP pilots pit against each other across three disciplines: air racing, air-to-air
combat and target bombing. The five competitors for 2007 were: Hungarian Zoltan "Red Phantom" Veres; Slovenian Peter "Maximum G" Podlunsek; Andy "Horsepower" Bickmore; Brit Gerald Cooper; and local
It was a close call for winner at the end of two days intense competition. Champion air combatant was Peter Podlunsek while Zoltan Veres took home the trophy for the best pilot and overall winner.
Aero GP was created in 2000 by Jeff Zaltman who later formed "Flying Aces" to develop this unique new concept into a mainstream sport. The Aero GP launched in 2005 with its first official competition,
broadcast in more than 100 countries.
Invitation to Attend EASA Briefings
Europe's FAA counterpart, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), is holding a series of briefings to explain Part-M maintenance rules for light aircraft to U.K. pilots. The first was held on Sep.
4 at the Popular Flying Association's (PFA) headquarters at Turweston Aerodrome. There will be others held throughout Europe during September.
All aircraft owners, pilots, associations and maintenance organisations are invited. The controversial Part M ruling was introduced in 2003 and has been a sore point with Europe Air Sports and other
bodies, who perceive it as being a heavy load for non-commercial light aviation (below 5700 kg). Consequently, implementation was deferred to September 2008 and EASA has established two working groups
consisting of European GA experts to look at the ruling.
The results of their efforts are published on the EASA Web site. Anyone wishing to attend the meeting can go to this page and book online.
Cyprus and Luxemburg Potentially Europe's Future Aircraft Trading Markets
IAOPA Europe reports that there is currently zero VAT imposed on aircraft and parts bought in Denmark, so many Europeans either buy their
aircraft through Denmark or have their aircraft serviced or repainted there. This has proven a much-needed shot in the arm for a sickly GA industry in Europe and the Danish aviation industry has done
well from the deal.
However, the Danish Ministry for Taxation is proposing to add 25 percent VAT to aircraft purchases, parts and services. This is the highest VAT rate in Europe and will therefore destroy the healthy GA
market there. In future, aircraft owners will likely look towards lower-VAT countries, such as Luxemburg or Cyprus.
AOPA Denmark is fighting this proposal and I will report in more detail next month. The proposal is doubly unfair since all other transportation services in Denmark are VAT exempt.
One of Europe's most famous GA institutions, Germany's Aerokurier magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary last month. Aerokurier organized a big
fly-in at the former U.S. Air Force Base in Bitburg, Germany. Publisher Motor Presse Stuttgart GmbH hosted the international anniversary fly-in in cooperation with Bitburg airfield on Aug. 25. More
than 300 aircraft took part, making it the busiest day ever for Bitburg airport. Readers came from Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, France and Luxemburg. Every crew received an
anniversary welcome package, which included an anniversary mug.
Red Bull in Portugal
Red Bull drew a crowd of 600,000 to Porto to watch the latest round of its Air Race series. Surprise winner was Briton Steve Jones, who beat
series leader Mike Mangold of the U.S. in the final. A second Briton, Paul Bonhomme, took third spot. Mangold has strengthened his pole position, leading the series with 41 points. Bonhomme is
trailing him by two points. With two races left, there is still everything to race for.
In a bid to combat falling membership, the U.K.'s Popular Flying Association (PFA) is changing its name to the Light Aircraft Association (LAA).
The organization says that its brand image is currently vague and poorly presented. Additionally, there is a feeling that as GA expands into more light aircraft, the association must take advantage of
any new opportunities that will open up.
I'm writing this month's column from Hong Kong, where I've been attending the first Asian Aerospace show. It's been an interesting few days,
with plenty of welcome GA news. Cirrus and Diamond are here, as well as Hawker Beechcraft and the U.S.'s Liberty. Flight training is becoming a huge industry in the region and foreign schools are out
in force in a bid to capture a burgeoning market catering for the explosion of new airlines here.
For example, training specialist Aviation Australia is offering maintenance and engineering training as well as cabin crew and flight
operations courses. CEO Paul Bredereck says the company is unique in that it is a not-for-profit organization, with any profits being reinvested in course material and services. "The Queensland
government identified the skills shortage to support the growing needs for the aerospace industry in the state," says Bredereck. "We were set up in 2001 to increase the skilled workforce with 21st
In addition to what's happening at the Expo center itself, readers might also be interested to know that there is a large exhibition in Hong Kong's international Chep Lap Kok airport encouraging
people to learn to fly. This is a welcome change as it has traditionally been prohibitively expensive and difficult to obtain and maintain a PPL here. There's a lovely old Beagle Pup at the heart of a
large display on when and where to go.
Last week, we reported on the NTSB's
recommendation to the FAA that all airplanes be equipped with 406MHz
emergency locator transmitters, preferably by February of 2009, and
asked our readers what they think of a possible FAA-mandated upgrade.
Over half of those who responded said yes to such a measure,
with the caveat that there should be a reasonable time period for
people to make the transition.
For a complete breakdown of the responses,
click here. (You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already
participated in this poll.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
The search for Steve
Fossett has been on everyone's mind this week. We realize this
will stir a lot of reactions (and maybe some emotions), but based on
the e-mails we've seen, we're curious what you think of the search.
In your opinion, how has it been handled?
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is
only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send
"QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Wiley Post (PWA) in Oklahoma City, Ok.
AVweb reader Bill Johnson gives the FBO a stellar recommendation:
If your travels take you to Oklahoma City, the best airport is Wiley Post and Atlantic Aviation. Their facities are excellent, open 24/7 -- and more friendly, considerate people you will not find.
On a recent trip to visit my ailing mother, Allison and her team not only got me where I needed to go, they made arrangements to pick me up and even checked to make certain everything was O.K. If Im
in Oak City, Im at Atlantic Aviation at PWA.
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/.
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." Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?
Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
The days are getting shorter, and summer lumbers toward
its natural end but considering the number of gorgeous sunset photos
we received this week from AVweb readers, we can live with that.
Philip Clifton of Hixson, Tennessee
burned through the film at the Naval Air Station Oceana's
air show, but, in his words, "somehow none of them have the magic of
this kid in a blue flight suit and garrison cap talking to one of his
We couldn't agree more, Philip and to prove it, we'll be sending a cap
your way in the next couple of days. (Just tell all your
friends that we're as cool as the Blue Angels, and we'll call it even,
"Sometimes you have to get a second first solo," writes Boeing 777
co-pilot Steve Kessinger of Bellingham,
Washington. Steve's second time was in this Nieuport 11 replica
bi-plane, and he was more than happy to pose for a photo after
"rediscovering real flying."
A quick note for submitters: If you've got several
photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit
them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing
print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on
us, too. ;)
A Reminder About Copyrights: Please take a moment to consider the
source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest.
If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed
authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain,
send us an e-mail.
AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.
The AVwebFlash team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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.