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This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by …

GARMIN'S 196 GPS IS THE MOST UTILITY AMONG AVIATION HANDHELDS! WAAS-capable, the Garmin 196 has advanced mapping and logbook capabilities offering more utility as a cross-platform navigator than any aviation portable on the market. On land the GPSMAP 196 can navigate along roads or waterways. For details on this and all the other Garmin GPS models, go by Garmin's Sun 'n Fun Booth D-034-036, or online at

The Death Of An Airport

X Marks The Spot...

Likely the last 16 aircraft ever to use Chicago's Meigs Field were to have taken off Wednesday, using a taxiway in place of the runway that was torn up by city workers early Monday. The FAA issued special permission to allow the aircraft owners to use the 3,000-foot, 50-foot-wide taxiway for a final departure. The 16 were left stranded by Mayor Richard Daley's surprise decision to close the airport for security reasons. By dawn on Monday, large X's had been carved out of the runway while city police blocked access to the airport. Among the 16 was Tom Komer, who flew into Meigs on Sunday for a convention at nearby McCormask Place. When Komer checked DUATS weather on Monday morning, he saw the NOTAM on the airport's closure. He telephoned the Signature FBO at Meigs to find out if the NOTAM was correct.  "That's when I learned that I and 15 other pilots were stranded when Mayor Daley ordered the runway torn up ..." he told AVweb. "No one attempted to contact me prior to the damage. Later in the day, I met with the airport manager who said he didn't know in advance." Komer was told the City of Chicago would reimburse the extra hotel and living expenses he incurred.

...Alphabets React...

Obviously, the forced closure of Meigs has the aviation community in an uproar and the alphabet groups are leading the charge. "We are absolutely shocked and dismayed," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Mayor Daley has no honor and his word has no value. The sneaky way he did this shows that he knows it was wrong." Ed Bolen, president of GAMA, said it was a "sad day for general aviation.  Mayor Daley obviously saw an opportunity, using the ruse of security and the cover of night, to pursue his longstanding goal of closing Meigs Field." NATA President James Coyne said he was "shocked" and EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb this action sets "a dangerous precedent." Knapinski was concerned that Daley claimed the runway was destroyed for security reasons. "It's interesting to note that Daley chose to close this airport now in the name of security, but made a deal with former Gov. Ryan to keep it open only three months after the attacks of September 11, 2001." Knapinski told AVweb all of the alphabet groups are working as a "unified voice" and have drafted a letter to President Bush and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge. He added that legal options are "still being explored."

NOTE: Read the letter to President Bush and Mr. Ridge online, in Adobe's PDF forrmat.

...And Future Ramifications Are Examined

So where do we go from here? Will other airports follow? How could Daley get away with this? It's important to note that Meigs is a city-owned and operated airport without the benefit of federal grants, so Daley didn't have to clear this with the feds. But he is a politician and there are other politicians who have interests in this issue, so public pressure is one way to make this uncomfortable for the mayor and blow off a little steam yourself.  The Friends of Meigs Field is starting a letter-writing campaign and have even put together an online form to make registering your feelings a little easier. You can always drop your congressman a line, too. But it doesn't seem likely that Daley will suddenly change his mind, based on his comments to reporters Monday. "We have done this to protect the millions of people who live, work and visit in downtown Chicago in these very uncertain times," Daley told a room packed with reporters at City Hall. "We have no control over airplanes in the air, but we can control whether we have a city airport a few seconds away from one of the heaviest concentrations of people and buildings in North America." However, Daley didn't explain why that logic wasn't used to shut down the O'Hare and Midway airports -- which also border populated areas -- nor did he explain why the runway had to be destroyed. EAA's Knapinski told AVweb that parking machinery on the runway would have sufficed, yet Daley chose to "effectively permanently close the airport" for no logical reason.

FLIGHTMAX EX500 MAKES DATALINK AFFORDABLE FOR EVERYONE. The FlightMax EX500 provides a high-resolution depiction of the weather along the route of flight, including NEXRAD and graphical METARs, seamlessly integrated with the moving map. Textual METARs are provided in plain English for easy interpretation. The FlightMax EX500 also receives Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) updates, which provide additional situational awareness and an added measure of safety with the ever-changing airspace restrictions. At $8,995, the FlightMax EX500 makes airborne datalink weather affordable even for light general aviation aircraft and is available now. See the FlightMax EX500 at Sun 'n Fun Booth D43/D44, or visit online at

Sun 'n Fun Opens: No Gloom In Lakeland

Even as GA mourns the loss of Meigs field and frets over lost jobs in Wichita, the Sun 'n Fun spring fly-in opened under cool and sunny skies, albeit with sparse crowds many attributed to war jitters and the shift from a Sunday to a Wednesday opening. Nonetheless, New Piper is bullish, rolling out two new models, and Garmin announced a slick new primary flight display system for the planed Mustang personal jet. For details on these developments and more, see AVweb's opening day Sun 'n Fun coverage.

THE HARDEST PART IS CHOOSING! With the new Cessna models, the question isn't "Should I get one?". It's "Which one should I get?" Should it be the peppy new 172 Skyhawk SP with more power and a leather interior? Or, the new 182 Turbo Skylane with a 1,040-fpm climb and 158-knot cruise speed? Maybe the new extra-roomy 206 Turbo Stationair with a 27,000-foot ceiling is what you need. Whichever you finally decide upon, the easy part is getting one. Go by Cessna's Sun 'n Fun booth MD-023B, MD-024C, or call 1-800-4-CESSNA, or online at


Lycoming Completes SB522 Repairs

Lycoming has completed one of the largest engine recalls ever ahead of schedule. The company announced that all 797 TIO-540 engines returned under Service Bulletin 552 have been fixed and shipped back to their owners. All engines identified by that Service Bulletin were required to have new crankshafts because the original parts were improperly forged and at risk of failing. Under Service Bulletin 553, another 601 engines were tested by taking a core sample from the crankshaft. The majority checked out OK and most of the 184 cranks that needed replacing have been installed. "We made a promise to our customers that we would resolve this replacement and repair issue by the early part of the second quarter and we have delivered on that promise," said Lycoming head Robert Millman in a news release. The recall grounded hundreds of aircraft with the engines. To appease the inconvenienced owners, Lycoming launched a Customer Care Program that covered alternative transportation, insurance, fees and interest for affected owners. The repaired engines come with a one-year warranty that starts when the aircraft is returned to service. The recall cost Lycoming $35 million.

FAA Audit Reveals Improper Spending

This may come as a shock, but the U.S. government may be mismanaging your hard-earned tax dollars. The General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a report last week stemming from a federal audit triggered by improper spending by FAA officials in Alaska. According to the Associated Press, the investigation revealed that millions of dollars were involved in questionable spending elsewhere in the U.S. The GAO discovered over $6 million in improper expenditures via federally issued purchase cards. The report found that the Airways Facilities Division bought extravagant computers, a $370,000 security system that didn't work and expensive personal digital assistants for any employee requesting one. "In addition, over half of the asset purchases -- such as computers and other equipment -- that GAO examined had not been recorded in FAA's property system, increasing the risk of loss or theft," the GAO said in its report summary. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) asked the GAO to investigate an Alaskan office of the FAA after he was contacted by union members last May about questionable purchases there. "I do not consider gift cards to Wal-Mart and Waterford crystal to fall within the realm of legitimate government spending," Young said last week. "The committee will watch this issue closely, and I strongly encourage FAA to improve their procedures at the Alaska office and the other offices around the country," he warned.

Note: You can read the complete GAO report at their Web site, in Adobe's PDF format.

Suppliers Revel In Extra Business

While it may be hard times for aircraft manufacturers, some suppliers are enjoying an increase in business, thanks to the major manufacturers' cost-cutting efforts. Some manufacturers are beginning to outsource their production work to suppliers. Cessna already contracts some subassembly work and may increase that. "We're still looking at what's the best thing for our customers, (and) how we can build the best possible product for the best cost and quality that we possibly can," Cessna spokeswoman Marilyn Richwine told The Wichita Eagle. Overall, parent company Textron plans to do more outsourcing. Raytheon is planning to do the same but at the expense of drawing fire from its workers unions. The company announced earlier this months that it is studying the capabilities of at least two companies in Mexico to make wire harnesses and panels, saying that the outsourcing is necessary to ensure long-term growth. This has caused an uproar from Raytheon employees who claim their livelihood is jeopardized by this latest cost-cutting move. A recent rally against the move drew nearly 500 people. They carried signs and chanted "USA! USA! USA!" Stay tuned.

CELEBRATING THE NEXT CENTURY OF FLIGHT! From ASA's Virtual Test Prep DVD courses and On Top PC simulator, to the best selling FAR/AIM Series on the market, ASA is focused on being at the forefront of technology to provide the best materials available to make safer and more efficient aviators. ASA provides a full line of aviation products, working closely with their authors and the FAA to continually improve ASA's reputation for accuracy and top quality. Don’t miss out, see the new ASA 2003 catalog at Sun 'n Fun booth #B-059-061, or online at

On The Fly...

Forget Stealth, how about the invisible plane? NASA is tinkering with a coat that makes the wearer seem invisible. Kazutoshi Obana has developed the coat, which has caught NASA's eye for -- among other things – aeronautical designs. The idea is to coat the inside of an airplane cockpit with micro reflectors so pilots could gauge how far they are above the ground just by looking at an image of the outside terrain projected on the floor...

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) says it's already supporting Operation Liberty Shield. Selected CAP members nationwide who form rapid-response teams for both ground and air missions have been placed on "High" alert by CAP in order to be immediately available when tasked. To perform security missions, CAP aircraft can be outfitted with advanced technology sensors and video-imaging equipment...

Sweden's air traffic controllers are complaining of motion sickness ... in the tower. The controllers at Stockholm's airport say they are getting sick because their tower sways in the wind. Citing budgetary constraints, Sweden's Civil Aviation Authority cancelled plans to stabilize the 270-foot-high tower by putting water storage tanks on the roof.  So, the sick controllers have been asked to "relax on firm ground" until they feel better.

YOUR FLYING ADVENTURE AWAITS YOU! AIR JOURNEY MAKES IT FUN AND SAFE! Air Journey is offering two exceptional tours this spring: The first, May 12-17th, going to Mexico and Belize. During your journey you will experience unique destinations such as Merida, Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Departures are offered from Key West, FL and Brownsville, TX. The other journey is taking off June 16-27th, headed for the Grenadines. This itinerary includes the islands of Provo to Turks & Caicos, Beef Island to Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Canouan, St. Martin, Punta Cana and Stella Maris. Air Journey adventures include hotels, transfers, meals and some planned activities. The pilot is provided with a complete trip-kit. Air Journey supplies everything needed for a fun, safe and hassle-free excursion. Call Air Journey at 888-554-3774 and mention this AVflash, or go online at

AVweb's Picture Of The Week...


We received over 90 pictures last week. Congratulations to this week's winner, Christopher Bright, of Washougal, WA. His photo, titled "Mt. Jefferson up close", gives up a beautiful view of Mt. Jefferson in Washington state. This unique vantage point is only possible by flying near the majestic peak. Great picture Christopher! Your AVweb hat is on the way.

To check out the winning picture, or to enter next week's contest, go to

SOOTHE THOSE ACHING FEET AT SUN 'N FUN (AND ELSEWHERE!) WITH A PAIR OF OREGON AERO SOFTSOLE(tm) INSOLE INSERTS. Five years in development, Oregon Aero's SoftSole(tm) Insole Inserts eliminate foot pain and relieve fatigue by dramatically reducing frictional heat and shock to feet and joints. Insoles create a stable temperature and don’t squash, get brittle or shrink. Thousands of U.S. military personnel use them. Insoles for running, walking, standing for long periods, and for those with foot injuries or other medical conditions. Stop by Sun 'n Fun, Bulding A, Booth 040-042 for insoles and other products that eliminate pain, reduce noise and improve impact protection. Check out Oregon Aero online at

AVweb's Question Of The Week...


We received over 500 responses to our question last week on air shows. The majority of those responding (65 percent) found these events to be fun and very educational. Only 5 percent had no interest in air shows whatsoever. Speaking of air shows, be sure to read AVweb's in-depth coverage of Sun-N-Fun in Lakeland, Fla.

To check out the complete results, including comments, go to


This week, we would like to know your thoughts on the Meigs airport closure. Please go to to respond.

Have an idea for a new QOTW? Send your suggestions to Note, this address is ONLY for suggested QOTW questions, and NOT for QOTW answers.

CS&A REPRESENTS OVER 40 MAJOR PROPERTY & CASUALTY UNDERWRITING COMPANIES including all major aviation insurance markets. CS&A Aviation Insurance is able to meet your needs for coverage and competitive pricing. A veteran CS&A staff of specialists have the knowledge to assure each client receives quality service and excellence in risk management. Go online for a no-obligation quote at

Say Again? #22: I Dare You
Do you dare say what's really on your mind? Do you dare take a stand for what you believe in even if it's unpopular? AVweb's Don Brown took the dare and writes about his pet peeves in this month's Say Again? column.

Holey Safety Net
ELTs are there to aid rescuers, but false alarms are compounded by the fact that ELTs usually don't work when they should. This article appeared in the January 2002 edition of Aviation Safety and is reprinted here by permission.


The 20XL is back, and better than ever! The 20XL/2 brings back the popular model with a new, even smaller, battery box and the Aux Audio 3G input, at a new LOWER price of just $395. HEAR for yourself during Sun 'n Fun at LightSPEED's booth #D-051-053. Get more LightSPEED for LESS at

Since 1937, The Aviation MarketPlace with everything that keeps you flying. Visit Trade-A-Plane at Sun 'n Fun, Booth A-1 in the Trade-A-Plane Hangar to receive your FREE print copy of Trade-A-Plane and demo the Web site. Or subscribe online.

The Nonin FlightStat is the world's smallest and lowest-cost precision instrument for measuring oxygen saturation in the bloodstream. Think of it as a "hypoxia meter," perfect for in-flight use by pilots and passengers. Don't miss this opportunity to buy the FlightStat at its lowest price of the season! Call 888 362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or view Aeromedix complete line of pulse oximeters and other medical and safety products for pilots at

Put AeroShell's activities on your Sun 'n Fun "to do" list. Patty Wagstaff, Jamail Larkins and the AeroShell Aerobatic Team will be signing autographs at AeroShell's Booth 85-89 in Hangar C on Friday, 9:45-10:45 for Patty; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, noon to 1pm for the Aerobatic Team; and Jamail's schedule will be announced soon. The AeroShell Forums presentations will be given by Ben Visser everyday except Tuesday, at 10am in Tent 9. Alternating topics will be "Care & Lubrication of Piston Engines" and "AvFuel." These are important safety forums no pilot should miss.

FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, PURCHASE THE ACCLAIMED AVIATION CONSUMER'S Used Aircraft Guide, 9th Edition, at a 25% discount. This is a limited time offer because the suits will certainly find out soon.

ORDER A PIECE OF AVIATION HISTORY -- REPLICA OF THE SPRIT OF ST. LOUIS Aviator Glasses worn by American aviation legend Charles Lindbergh. High-quality metal-alloy frame construction and hard coated Borosilicate glass lenses make these aviator glasses durable, lightweight, scratch-resistant and comfortable. SPRING SPECIAL: FREE U.S. shipping till April 30.

DREAMFLYER PUBLICATIONS PREMIERS "MUSIC'S BROKEN WINGS: FIFTY YEARS OF AVIATION ACCIDENTS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY" at Sun 'n Fun. Stop by Building B, across from the Gift Shop, on Wednesday thru Saturday to have your copy autographed by author William P. Heitman. Mr. Heitman will also be available to autograph his book, "Flying & Learning: Basics For Every Pilot". Or, go online at


Stop by Avemco's Sun 'n Fun booth, C-55 and 56, to speak to one of Avemco's aviation insurance specialists and learn how you can save up to 10% on your insurance premium and become a safer pilot at the same time. Avemco is the only direct writer of personal and business general aviation aircraft insurance in the U.S. Talk to the experts at Sun 'n Fun or go online for more today at

Subscribe to the monthly magazine dedicated to keeping IFR-rated pilots ready for anything! IFR Refresher polishes your proficiency, challenges your knowledge, briefs you on changing regs, and keeps your decision-making skills sharp. Order today for guaranteed savings for as long as you subscribe at

Forward today's AVflash to fellow pilots and introduce them to AVweb! We thank you and they will too! They can sign up for their own FREE subscription at