AVwebBiz - Volume 10, Number 21

May 30, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! National Parks vs. National Airpspace back to top 

Congressmen Oppose Park Airspace Restrictions

The co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus are seeking supporters for their opposition to a bill that would expand the authority of the National Park Service to control aviation operations, EAA said last week. If the bill passes, it would grant authority to the Park Service director to regulate commercial air tours above the parks and within a half mile of park borders. U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and John Barrow, D-Ga., are asking others in Congress to sign a letter that says this would be "a step backward in aviation safety and should be rejected." The two have asked aviators who are opposed to the change to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to sign on to the letter.

If the bill passes as proposed, it would "effectively eliminate the air tour industry," the letter (PDF) says. "The end result will be lost jobs for pilots, drivers, tour guides, support staff, and local businesses and adversely impact the helicopter manufacturing, maintenance, and parts industries." The proposed new rules also disregard the fact that the air tour industry is heavily investing in new technology that would provide quieter operations, the congressmen said.

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Travels and Travails back to top 

NBAA Fights Government Conference Restrictions

The National Business Aviation Association is among 2,100 signatories to proposed legislation it says will prevent government officials from meeting with and talking to those who will be most affected by their actions. All arms of government, including the executive branch, are trying to curb travel costs and among the potential policies (PDF) that has emerged is one that will restrict government agencies like the FAA to attending one event sponsored by any industry association every year. NBAA, like many organizations, invites government reps as a matter of course to the dozens of events it holds each year.

"Over the course of any year, ongoing and constructive dialogue between the industry and the government is critical, and that's the kind of dialogue that takes place when high-ranking government officials participate in NBAA's events," said Lisa Piccione, NBAA senior vice president of government affairs. "We think it's important not to put restrictions on the ability of representatives from federal agencies to attend our meetings and conferences to discuss important technical and policy information." The signatures are being gathered by the American Society of Association Executives.

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TSB-Canada Takes Over Mid-Air Investigation back to top 

Canada To Investigate U.S. Midair

The airplanes involved in a midair collision that killed two people on Monday afternoon in Virginia were owned by employees of the NTSB and the FAA, the NTSB said on Tuesday, so the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has agreed to take over the investigation. The Piper PA-28 was registered to an FAA employee, who survived the collision, with injuries. The Beechcraft BE-35, in which two people died, was registered to an NTSB employee. "This accident hits especially close to home, with the involvement of an NTSB employee," said board chairman Deborah Hersman. "I'm grateful to TSB-Canada chair Wendy Tadros for agreeing to conduct the investigation, and the NTSB stands ready to support and assist them in any way we can."

The accident occurred about five miles from the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, in Sumerduck, Va. The Piper landed in a field and the Beechcraft came down in a wooded area and was destroyed by fire. An online photo of the Piper shows the aircraft on its belly in a field with its right wing missing and damage to the tail and the left wingtip.

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Shuttering Another Online Flight Planner back to top 

NavMonster Closed

NavMonster, a popular free online GA flight planning and information site, is the latest to announce that uncertainty about future costs and potential lawsuits have forced its closure. The site went offline in April over a dispute with its server host but said it would be back after it found a new internet service provider. On May 22, the site announced that past issues with FlightPrep and future costs from the FAA combined to seal its fate.

"Faced with the upcoming AeroNav fees, and the uncertainty from last year's lawsuit shenanigans (that issue was never resolved and is still looming over our heads), it's just not feasible to continue," said a statement on its site. Aeronav, the FAA's electronic chart and aeronautical information arm, is going through the process of trying to charge for downloads of charts and plates but it's not clear how all that is going to turn out because of political intervention. NavMonster was also among those targeted by potential legal action when FlightPrep began enforcing its patent on certain functions that make online flight planning work. NavMonster initially made a deal with FlightPrep to continue and did so for more than a year. Earlier this year, RunwayFinder, another free service that also had a deal with FlightPrep, shut down citing future AeroNav costs as its main reason.

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Which Type Is Your Airport? back to top 

FAA Categorizes GA Airports

A new FAA study published in May divides the country's 2,952 public-use general aviation facilities into four new categories, which will affect their funding and regulation in the future. The facilities, which include 2,903 airports, 10 heliports, and 39 seaplane bases, now will be labeled as national, regional, local, or basic, determined by their level of activity and the number of aircraft based there. "State and local governments will be encouraged to use the new categories to help guide future system and airport planning decisions," the report concludes.

The study noted that GA airports are a "critical component" of the nation's air transportation system. "GA airports do more than relieve congestion at other airports, and in 2009 contributed $38.8 billion to the economy," the FAA said. Nearly one-sixth of the GA facilities couldn't be assigned definitively to any of the categories. This fall, the FAA will start working with airport sponsors and state aeronautic divisions to "identify the activities these 497 airports support, and how they serve the public interest."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA's Fuel ARC -- Progress?

Yes, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog — just don't expect to be struck by the blinding clarity of a bold action plan. Although it hasn't released the details, the UAT-ARC's work has at least moved things off static dead center, and even the most cynical among us would have to call that progress.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Who's Where back to top 

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.

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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Diamond Multi-Purpose Platform DA42

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

Diamond has diversified its market to the military, law enforcement and even media realms with the DA42 Multi-Purpose Platform. Diamond Airborne Sensing's Markus Fischer took AVweb through the product at Diamond's factory in Wiener Neustad, Austria.

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Video: Red Bull's Latest Aerial Ballet

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

Red Bull Wednesday shared video of one of its latest sponsored adventures -- five wingsuit skydivers joining up with and maintaining formation with two sailplanes in a dive over Austria. The team flew two aerobatic LET L-13 Blanik sailplanes and just to complicate things, the lead flew inverted and one skydiver formed up in between the inverted and upright glider. The skydivers and gliders came together in formation at roughly 12,000 feet. The sailplanes wore wingtip-mounted smoke canisters and one skydiver wore one on an ankle. The trick of the task was mating airspeed and descent rates and this time all members performed flawlessly.

Generally, wingsuits manage their best glide (roughly 2.5:1) at close to 75 mph. The Blaniks are a 1950's-era metal design and manage close to 30:1 at about 55. For the stunt, the team found a common airspeed closer to 110 mph, then found and held formation with the requisite precision.

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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 255,000 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.

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 world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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