AVwebFlash - Volume 13, Number 41a

October 8, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Wrap-Up Coverage of AOPA Expo 2007 back to top 

The Ultimate Sacrifice for an Airport?

AOPA appreciates all the help it can get from members in defending airports but Richard Beach's dedication to eliminating part of an illegally built high-rise near Montgomery Field in San Diego was beyond the call of duty. "People told me my life was in danger," Beach told the packed wind-up dinner at AOPA Expo Saturday in Hartford. Beach was awarded the Laurence P. Sharples Perpetual Award given annually to the AOPA member who, as a private citizen, works on behalf of general aviation. Beach mobilized members in the San Diego area when, in defiance of city and FAA orders, a developer continued to build a condo complex that was 20 feet higher than is allowed in that location. As AVweb reported earlier, not only are the top two floors of the building coming down, a number of highly placed heads at city hall have also rolled as a result of the scandal that Beach and his supporters uncovered.

Beach got a standing ovation from the crowd after President Phil Boyer recounted how he led local pilots in a reasoned and fact-based campaign that drew local media attention and inspired such well-known San Diego pilots as John and Martha King to join the battle. Beach, a Cirrus owner, said the job would have been much more difficult without AOPA's Airport Support Network. AOPA President Phil Boyer said Beach's effort epitomized the kind of action that is sometimes needed to protect aviation facilities from encroachment.

Key Congressman Honored as Friend of GA

In the face of a determined campaign by well-funded airline lobbyists and an administration hell-bent on revamping the FAA's funding structure, Rep. Jerry Costello's resolve has been unshaken and it earned him one of AOPA's highest honors on Saturday. Costello was named recipient of the "Doc" (Joseph B. Hartranft) Award as the public servant who's done the most to advance the interests of general aviation. Costello, as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, drafted the House's FAA reauthorization bill, rejecting any form of user fee introduction and setting relatively modest fuel tax increases that will be used exclusively for airspace modernization. Costello wasn't able to attend Saturday's wind-up gala but in a recorded acceptance speech he said he views GA as fundamental to the overall health of the economy and the country.

Costello's award capped a convention where the user fee issue was muted in comparison to previous meetings but Boyer reminded members that the fight is far from over. The Senate is still working on its version of the bill and even though a couple of key committees have rejected the user fee concept, there is still some traction there for a $25-per-leg fee for turbine-powered aircraft. Although the fee would be all but inconsequential, AOPA is concerned that it would result in the creation of a fee-collection bureaucracy that would ready and waiting if other user fees were implemented in the future.

AOPA Journalism Awards

Aviation can be a difficult topic for those not involved directly to understand, let alone explain, and aviation groups frequently correct often-understandable errors that appear in the mainstream media. But there are also plenty of instances where regular reporters do the research and gain the understanding necessary to transmit accurate, compelling stories about aviation to the masses. AOPA annually recognizes those efforts with the Max Karant Awards in honor of the longtime editor of AOPA Pilot. TV reporter Jennifer Manley, Dave Hirschman of the Atlanta Constitution-Journal and David Hasemyer of the San Diego Union-Tribune were this year's winners.

Manley won for her television account of her first lesson, demonstrating how simple the basic flight maneuvers are and stressing the emphasis on safety during training. Hirschmann recounted a cross-country adventure with his mother in an RV-10 and Hasemyer was honored for his investigative work on the construction of a condo building in San Diego that exceeded FAA and local government height restrictions.

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Wrap-Up Coverage of AOPA Expo 2007 back to top 

IAOPA Wins Language Reprieve

The International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has successfully lobbied the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to delay by three years implementation of onerous language proficiency rules it says would severely limit VFR flight in much of Europe. Under the ICAO proposal, all pilots would require to demonstrate a high level of proficiency in either English or the language of the country in which they are flying. In an interview with AVweb at AOPA Expo in Hartford, IAOPA General Secretary John Sheehan said the rule makes sense for IFR operations but not for recreational flyers. "For VFR people it doesn't make any sense," Sheehan said. "I don't think [VFR] requires a high level of [language] proficiency."

Sheehan said language proficiency is graded on a scale of six with six being native familiarity. ICAO wants pilots to be proficient to level four, which is the ability to think, react and express themselves in emergency situations with confidence and accuracy. "Four is pretty high," Sheehan said. "We estimate the impact on a VFR pilot is going to be $5,000 to $10,000 for training and four to five months of practice." He said a more reasonable proficiency level is about two, which encompasses ATC phraseology.

LSA Adapts to U.S. Market

While there is burgeoning interest in the Light Sport Aircraft market, a lot of the most popular designs are from Europe. There are quirks and design variations in the aircraft that are different from what most U.S. pilots are used to and probably the most common complaint is about brakes. Many of the imports have hand brakes and some don't have differential braking. At least one German manufacturer has altered its brake design to suit American tastes and the Breezer II comes with toe brakes. Breezer Aircraft also announced some other changes to make the aircraft more attractive in the U.S. market at AOPA Expo in Hartford.

The European models are built to European standards, which allow about 100 lbs. less in gross weight. Breezer is making the 100 hp. Rotax 512 ULS engine standard to give the aircraft the 1320 lb. maximum gross weight allowed under U.S. LSA rules. The increase translates to a useful load of 665 lbs and makes way for a bigger baggage load. With 17 gallons of fuel on board, the aircraft has a range of 469 miles.

AOPA Finds ADS-B Proposal Needs Work

AOPA has taken a first look at the FAA's complex new ADS-B proposal, and found plenty of technical and cost issues that will affect general aviation pilots. Randy Kenagy, AOPA senior director of strategic planning, said an initial review of the 100-page Notice of Proposed Rulemaking showed that "much more work needs to be done before the FAA publishes its final rule." The proposal would require all aircraft operators to install ADS-B equipment by 2020 if they want to fly in controlled airspace. The new avionics would provide cockpit weather and traffic information to pilots, replacing services such as flight following or en route vectoring. AOPA President Phil Boyer tied the FAA proposal to the current fight over user fees. "If they [the FAA] want GA pilots to spend thousands of dollars on new avionics, we need to make sure that the expenditures are considered as we assess what GA should pay in fuel taxes in the future FAA budget," he said.

"Plus, we need to see clearly the safety and operational benefits. But also remember, this is a long time off. We at least have some time to prepare." AOPA will undertake a full analysis of the proposed rule and file comments within the 90-day window.

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News Briefs back to top 

Replica of 1905 Wright Aircraft Damaged in Crash

Pilot Mark Dusenberry was unhurt but his handbuilt replica of the 1905 Wright Brothers Flyer III aricraft was damaged in a crash landing during a demonstration flight at Huffman Prairie, in Ohio, on Friday. The aircraft was airborne for only about 30 seconds when it started to porpoise, then banked, and a wingtip hit the ground, the Associated Press reported. Dusenberry spent seven years building the airplane and said repairs will take about two more years. Hundreds of spectators were at the field for the demo flight, which marked the 102nd anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first public flights of the original airplane at the same site. The 1905 model is widely regarded as their first practical airplane. Among the spectators was Amanda Wright Lane, great grandniece of the Wright brothers, who told the AP that while the plane came to the ground "very unceremoniously," the flight itself brought tears of happiness to her eyes.

She said her uncles had crashed many times during flight tests, and Dusenberry's crash made her even more impressed with what they had accomplished.

Urn Concern Causes Airport Delays

If you think flying via the commercial airlines is equivalent to descending through the gates of hell, one traveler found that even being on the far side of the afterlife is no protection against airport angst. An urn filled with cremated remains was improperly screened at an Indianapolis airport early Friday morning, the Associated Press reported, and when officials were unable to find the passenger accompanying the urn, all heck broke loose. Well, in a well-coordinated fashion, of course. Hundreds of prospective passengers were peacefully evacuated from the airport and then sent back through security a second time. Eight flights were delayed, but everyone eventually got to their destinations -- though the ultimate fate of the contents of the errant urn, was not known.

The Transportation Security Administration told the AP it couldn't comment on why the urn was found suspicious. Such containers generally are allowed as carry-on baggage.

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News Briefs back to top 

Bird Strike Damage Photos

You may have heard about the Air Tran Boeing 737 that was forced to return to Philadelphia last week after a bird strike. Bird strikes are relatively common so not too much notice was paid, even though the first officer suffered some cuts to his face from broken glass. However, it's amazing how much damage a 10-lb. bird can do to a 100,000-lb. airlines as these photos from a reader show. Despite the damage, the landing was uneventful and most of the 143 passengers were probably unaware of the extent of the damage.

Court Says Pilot's Mastectomy Not Disabling

A female helicopter pilot in South Korea's military who was fired after she had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer has been ordered reinstated by a Seoul Administrative Court, Reuters reported on Saturday. Colonel Pi Woo Jin was told that rules required soldiers who are missing body parts to be discharged. Colonel Pi, now 51 and retired, had served for three years after the operation, until she had a physical exam and officials decided she was disabled. She trekked for 250 miles last year across South Korea to demonstrate her fitness, and has also written a bout book critical of the country's male-dominated military culture. The Defence Ministry said it will appeal the decision.

Today, there are about 3,000 women out of 600,000 soldiers in the South Korean Army, Reuters reported.

Military Is Developing "Invisible" Airport Lighting

New portable runway lights developed for military use can shine in either a standard visible wavelength or quickly switch to a covert infra-red mode that can be detected only with night-vision gear. During recent tests of the system in Wisconsin, pilots of a C-130 were able to detect the infra-red LEDs (light-emitting diodes) from 25 miles away. The lights are meant to be used in war zones where the military may need to quickly establish makeshift runways and operate them secretly. The LEDs are brighter, last longer, and are cheaper to operate and maintain than standard incandescent lighting. Engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Human Effectivness Directorate developed the system.

A commercial version of the lights, which operates only in the visual range, has been bought by an airport in Tampa, Fla. The blue, omni-directional lights will be used to light the edges of taxiways.

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News Briefs back to top 

Mustangs and Legends Gather, Warbird Fans Marvel

There is little doubt that the throaty groan of a Rolls Royce Merlin engine powering a restored example of the sexy P-51 Mustang is a unique and unmistakable sound. The only thing that could possibly be more arousing to a warbird fan than that sound might be the sound of 20 P-51s in a history making formation flight, spelling out the number "51" as it over flew a huge crowd at the Gathering of Mustangs and Legends held September 28-30 at Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK) in Columbus, OH.

The weather was perfect for the entire event, and crowds of thousands gathered early to await the gate's opening each morning at 8 a.m. Around 100 Mustangs, plus other fighter and bomber aircraft from the era, and 51 "Legends" were in attendance, including several original members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the famous all-black fighter squadron who flew Mustangs on bomber escort missions during the war.


A Second New Airport Comes to Texas

It's been barely a week since AVweb reported that Bird's Nest Airport outside of Austin, Texas, would be upgraded as a public GA airport by a private investor. Now, a second new airport appears to be in the works for the area. The Texas Aviation Association is reporting that Villa Muse Studios plans to build a privately owned, public-use airport just east of Austin-Bergstrom International.

Villa Muse bills itself as a mixed-use development anchored by Villa Muse Studios, which will offer creative facilities for Austin's burgeoning film and videogame industries. The planners imagine the new Colorado Riverland Ranch Airport as having an 8500-foot runway catering to bizjet traffic. According to the TXAA, Villa Muse has, as a first step, filed FAA Form 7460-1, which will include an airspace study to determine the effect of jet traffic in and around the Class C airspace presently centered on Austin-Bergstrom. We'll keep you posted.

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News in Brief back to top 

On the Fly ...

Stanley Butchart, a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in the 1950s, died Monday in Lancaster, Calif., he was 85 ... .

Albuquerque's annual International Balloon Fiesta opened Saturday morning with a mass ascenion of about 700 hot-air balloons. The America's Challenge gas-balloon race launches on Monday.

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.

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AVweb's Audio News — Are You Listening? back to top 

AVweb's AOPA Expo 2007 Podcast #4: D-Jet Goes to School (Admitted to University of North Dakota's Training Program)

File Size 3.6 MB / Running Time 3:57

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The University of North Dakota's Aerospace program has always prided itself in staying on the leading edge of aviation training, and it made a move into the burgeoning very light jet market at AOPA Expo in Hartford. Don Dubuque, director of flight operations for the highly regarded institution, talked to AVweb's Russ Niles about the acquisition of a Diamond D-Jet and how it will be put to use by the university.

Click here to listen. (3.6 MB, 3:57)

AVweb's AOPA Expo 2007 Podcast #5: Tecnam Aircraft Planning to Move Beyond LSA

File Size 7.1 MB / Running Time 7:46

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The light sport aircraft market is crowded with contenders going after the same market niche. Lynne Birmingham of Tecnam USA talks about the company's plans to move beyond the LSA market and introduce Part 23 certified aircraft including a retractable-gear trainer and a new light twin.

Click here to listen. (7.1 MB, 7:46)

AVweb's AOPA Expo 2007 Podcast #6: Synthetic Vision for Under $5,000

File Size 7.0 MB / Running Time 7:39

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Walk around the displays of AOPA Expo and you'll see dozens of digital flight displays, from the new L-3 SmartDeck down to attitude displays that run on a smart phone. Jeff Simon of VistaNav explains what makes their synthetic vision system different and what's coming down the road for their platform.

Click here to listen. (7.0 MB, 7:39)

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Images from AOPA Expo back to top 

AOPA Expo 2007 Gallery #1 (of 2)

Couldn't make it to the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Expo this year? AVweb editor Mary Grady snapped plenty of photos at the show, just to give you a flavor of the excitement.

gallery ONE | gallery TWO


gallery ONE | gallery TWO

AOPA Expo 2007 Gallery #2 (of 2)

More photos from the 2007 Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Expo, courtesy of AVweb editor Mary Grady.

gallery ONE | gallery TWO


gallery ONE | gallery TWO

AOPA Expo 2007 Video Round-Up: Complete Video Reporting from Hartford

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

As we pack up and return home from the Expo, it's time to round up our original video coverage from the show. We had a good time (if not a lot of sleep) in Hartford and had the opportunity to talk with just about every mover and/or shaker in the aviation industry you can think of. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to record all our conversations, but we did capture a few on digital video.

We hope this will give you a bit of flavor from the show and make sure you're up-to-date on the latest developments as we head into another year of new airplanes, high-tech airspace, and exciting personalities. Enjoy!

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.

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New on AVweb back to top 

The Pilot's Lounge #118: Passing Along A Love For Aviation

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There are many things you can do to help young folks get excited about aviation. First, stop complaining about it ...


Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

Spins Without Fear

While pilots are trained to avoid stalls and spins, little effort goes into understanding spins. Here's how to approach spin training without fear.

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AVmail: Oct. 8, 2007

Reader mail this week about the Age 60 rule, congestion, ADS-B and much more.

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

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Zenith Flight Support (KRAL, Riverside, CA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Zenith Flight Support at KRAL in Riverside, California.

AVweb reader Bob Spidell quot;didn't know a thing about local FBOs ... [and] picked one out of Pilot's Guide," but he was surprised at how well he'd picked when he arrived at Riverside:

[T]he young lady who took my reservation had my rental car parked out front, running, with the air conditioner on as it was a hot day. ... Friendly staff, efficient and well-run outfit--a credit to the business.

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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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"

We were just being handed off after leaving Ft. Lauderdale (FXE) to N. Eleuthra (MYEH).

Miami Center, Chieftan 867CJ leaving 2,000 for 7,500.

Miami (approach):
Chieftan 7CJ, you can fly direct if you stop calling me "center."

Roger that ... approach.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

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:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

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.

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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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