AVwebBiz - Volume 6, Number 32

August 6, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Coming Controller Crackdown? back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Controllers As Airspace Police?

If you've ever missed a turn, set the altitude bug incorrectly or committed any of thousands of sins that air traffic controllers routinely catch and help correct every day without much fuss, those days are apparently over. The FAA has apparently ordered controllers to violate pilots for any and all errors and has threatened to discipline them if they don't file the reports. While the FAA says it's just enforcing rules already in place, the head of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association say it's yet another burden an an already-overworked workforce that will pit controllers against pilots. "We are not the FAA police! The FAA's and controller's mission is to provide the safe and efficient movement of live air traffic," said NATCA President Patrick Forrey. "The fact that the FAA is now disciplining controllers for not 'policing' pilot actions as they relate to flight regulations is indicative of the tyrannical and oppressive culture the FAA has created." The FAA, as might be suspected, has a different view.

In an email to AVweb, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said it's alway been controllers' jobs to report pilot infractions and she stressed there has been no change in FAA policy in this regard. However, in a quote from an unnamed senior staff member in the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) it's clear that reporting infractions is now being stressed. "The bottom line is there has been no change in ATC requirements just reinforcing the reporting piece," Brown quoted one of the ATO managers as saying. For the record, controllers are supposed to write up errors and supply supporting evidence to the FSDO manager and the decision to sanction pilots is made there. Make sure those clearances and readbacks are clear ... .

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New Eclipse, New Priorities back to top 

Eclipse Drops Blogger Hunt

Within a week of the departure of former CEO Vern Raburn, the new management of Eclipse Aviation has reportedly dropped all court actions aimed at uncovering the identities of bloggers who had uncomplimentary things to say about Eclipse. The company had asked the courts to order Google to release the identities and IP addresses of about 30 contributors to EclipseCriticNG in an attempt to ferret out employees (who are covered by strict non-disclosure agreements) it believed were supplying insider information to the blog site. "Basically, [Eclipse] caved," EclipseCriticNG overseer Shane Price told AVweb.

Shortly after the court action was launched, several of the named bloggers and some who hadn't been named began organizing a defense that ultimately convince the company to withdraw actions launched in New Mexico and California, Price said. Of course EclipseCriticNG has been lively with discussion in recent days with the surprise departure of Raburn in a very public fashion on the opening day of EAA AirVenture last week.

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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
BizJets Go to the Olympics back to top 

China, Meet GA; GA, Meet China

Corporate aircraft have been flying into China for years, of course, but the launch of the Olympics in Beijing this week will bring general-aviation aircraft into the country in unprecedented numbers, and the country's aviation infrastructure will never be the same. U.S. officials are pressuring China to open up its skies, which are 80 percent under military control. "We certainly remain hopeful that ... there will be shifts to accommodate the civil aviation growth that has been forecast," Dorothy Reimold, the FAA's acting assistant administrator for international aviation, said on Monday. The GA fleet in China could expand from just over 700 aircraft today to as many as 10,000 by the year 2020, she said. FBO operator Jet Aviation is readying to serve that market, with a brand-new facility opening at Beijing's Capital International Airport (PEK) this week just in time to help handle the Olympics influx. The FBO will provide "around the clock in-house border police and customs clearance, security checks, baggage screening and metal detection capabilities ... for fast, secure passenger and baggage handling," the company said in news release. Also, earlier this month, aviation regulators in China sought to "rein in" pilots and restrict them from shopping around for jobs during the rise in traffic, Reuters reported. Such job-hopping was characterized as a threat to air safety.

Those who fly commercial also will encounter changes, including new security procedures. Atlantic Monthly writer (and Cirrus pilot) James Fallows, who is based in China, recently met with a new request while flying from Chengdu to Beijing. "I had to hold my [bare] feet up while a young security officer waved a metal-detecting rod around the top, bottom, and sides of them," he wrote in his blog last week. "'Those are my feet,' I helpfully pointed out to her. 'For the Olympics!' she said, with what looked like a smile."

A Repeat Performance Sure to Evoke a Soaring Ovation
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Antonov Jet Can't Be Beat ... In at Least One Respect back to top 

Antonov The Offroader Of Bizjets

Although reliability and performance are always mentioned in promotional material for business jets, Russian planemaker Antonov has carved out a pretty difficult niche for competitors of its Antonov Business Jet to match. "The head of Russia's Business Aviation lobby Maksim Fedotov admits he'd rather have [a well-known business jet] than a domestic jet," Russia Today is reporting. "But on a Siberian gas field at minus 50 degrees Celsius, he says, only a Russian plane can be trusted to start and take off.

And while other makers might argue with that sentiment, the high-wing Antonov with wing-mounted engines out of the path of most debris that might be stirred up by the wheels does appear to be less vulnerable to FOD damage although to what degree is likely debatable. For the record, Fedotov claims the Antonov is 270 times less likely to get a rock in the blades but there's no indication where that claim comes from. Another sales pitch from Antonov, which showed off the jet at the recent Domodedovo Airshow is that its airplane is cheaper than others of comparable size and that the lack of service network means sales have been slow and there are delivery slots available in 2010, compared to 2013 for the earliest deliveries from other companies ... .

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NTSB Reports on Hawker Crash back to top 

NTSB: Minnesota Jet Hit ILS Structure On Go-Around Attempt

A Hawker 800 jet that crashed in Minnesota last Thursday, killing all eight on board, had already touched down but then ran about 1,000 feet beyond the end of the runway into a grass field where a wing hit an ILS antenna, the NTSB said late last week. "The antenna stands about 8 feet high and straddles the width of the runway," said Steven Chealander, of the NTSB. He added that according to witnesses at the scene, after touching down, the engines powered up and it appeared that the crew was trying to take off again, but the jet never became airborne. When the wing hit, the airplane rolled over and broke apart, coming to rest in a cornfield. The airplane, operated by East Coast Jets, crashed about 10 a.m. last Thursday at Owatonna Degneer Regional Airport in Minnesota during a light rain. "We are looking at everything," Chealander said. "There is no single focus at this point. It is a multiple-focus accident investigation." Former NTSB chairman Jim Hall said the FAA should require flight data recorders or cockpit video recorders in corporate and charter aircraft to aid in accident investigations.

"We see this time and time again -- an accident occurs with air taxis or corporate airplanes, and recorders were not required to be installed, forcing NTSB accident investigators into a search for other data, such as radar tapes from air traffic control, to infer what happened," Hall said. "A supposition, however well educated, is simply not good enough." The Hawker did have a cockpit voice recorder on board. The single runway at the airport is 5,500 feet long.

Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator Sale
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

AVweb's AirVenture 2008 Video Round-Up

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

This year at EAA AirVenture we brought you fourteen video reports over the course of seven days. We realize the news was flying fast and furious during the show, so just in case you missed any of our reports, you can catch them all here.

Click here to watch. (The main frame contains all of our videos, or you can click over to a particular video if one interests you more than the others.)

Envision® Integrated Flight Deck Available for Retrofit Installation in Select Cessna 300-Series Aircraft!
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Who's Where back to top 

Steve Taylor New VP At Executive Jet Managment

Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor is the new Vice President of Aircraft Management Sales for Executive Jet Management, covering the western U.S., including Hawaii and Alaska. He comes from NetJets where he was most recently International Operations and Special Programs Manager.

Andrew Geist Promoted At Aircell

Andrew Geist

Aircell has promoted Andrew Geist to Senior Vice President of Business Aviation Solutions. Geist has been with the company since 1997 and has held several leadership positions.

Bernie McShea Joins Space Florida

Bernie McShea

Space Florida has hired Bernie McShea as Vice President of Business Development. He was most recently senior vice president of business investment for the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

Attention, All Maintenance Facility Managers!
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 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.

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

AVwebBiz is a weekly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Mariano Rosales
Jeff van West

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