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Volume 18, Number 12a
March 19, 2012
Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
Be certain you have the right life insurance coverage. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
AVflash! SnF Addresses Last Year's Stormback to top 

Owners whose aircraft were damaged in last year's Sun 'n Fun tornado will not be stuck with any of the cleanup costs after all. In a statement, Sun 'n Fun President Lites Leenhouts said the organization has paid all outstanding invoices and will not be billing individuals for the costs. Last October Sun 'n Fun asked the 30 aircraft owners affected to submit their share of about $90,000 in towing and cleanup costs to their own insurers after Sun 'n Fun's underwriter decided it was not responsible for those costs. Leenhouts said about 40 percent of the money was recovered that way and Sun 'n Fun paid the rest. "Sun 'n Fun has paid this remaining balance in good faith on behalf of those who chose not to submit the bill to their insurance company or who did not carry insurance," Leenhouts said. "At no time has Sun 'n Fun requested that the aircraft owner[s] pay their bill[s] directly. More...

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
Bose® A20® Aviation Headset
The Best We've Ever Made
Bose was the first to introduce active noise reducing headsets to aviation more than 20 years ago, forever changing the way pilots fly. Today, we continue to set the standard with the Bose A20 Aviation Headset. The headset provides acclaimed noise reduction, with a comfortable fit and the clear audio you expect from Bose. It also features Bluetooth® connectivity, an auxiliary audio input and priority switching. Learn more.
"There's Cassiopeia;
Over There Is Felix Baumgartner"
back to top 

click for photos
Felix Baumgartner of Austria as part of the Red Bull Stratos project made one parachute jump from 71,580 feet over Roswell, N.M., falling at speeds that reached "nearly 365 miles per hour," Red Bull announced, Thursday. The project says the actual mark of 364.4 mph set a new world freefall speed record. The jump lasted a full eight minutes and eight seconds and took Baumgartner through the coldest part of the stratosphere where temperatures ranged near 94 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit). This was just a test and more jumps are expected to follow. The next will aim for a jump from 90,000 feet. More details and images after the jump. More...

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Airplanes of Tomorrowback to top 

Researchers at MIT and Stanford say they have advanced the idea of German engineer Adolf Busemann, who in the 1950s proposed that a biplane design could be more efficient and quiet in supersonic flight. Busemann's calculations found that a biplane's two wings could be positioned to cancel out shock waves, but there were problems with the design. Among those, the wings, which joined at their tips, could create egregious amounts of drag when transitioning to supersonic speeds. Now, researchers believe they have resolved the drag problem, found significant increases in efficiency, and significantly reduced sonic boom signatures. There are other challenges to overcome. More...

The Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany next month promises to be a busy one for Diamond Aircraft. Company CEO Christian Dries told AVweb that two new airplanes will be shown there, both twins based on the Austro Jet-A-burning four-cylinder powerplant. The DA42 V1 is a much improved follow-up to the DA42NG, the first model that sported the Austro engines, developed by Diamond's sister company. The airplane has improved aerodynamics concentrated on the engine cowling and rudder and is considerably faster than the previous model. AVweb was given a brief test flight in the airplane and noted that its single-engine performance about 15,000 feet yielded nearly 400 FPM of climb. More...

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Your FBO's Insurance Protects Them, Not You
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"R&R": Now It Stands for "Rest and Regulations"back to top 

Pilots in the UK are fighting back against proposed EU flight time limitation rules that they say would allow them to land an aircraft after having been "awake for 22 hours." The UK pilot push has been organized online through the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and aims to keep current UK rules in place. It claims the EU proposals were not developed using scientific data and that existing data shows accident rates "increase markedly" as duty periods stretch beyond 10 hours. The proposed rules allow maximum daily flight duty periods in excess of 20 hours. More...

GA8 Airvan from GippsAero
GippsAero, the Australian Utility Aircraft Manufacturer
We are the only company in Australia, and one of a handful in the world, with the capability to both design and manufacture commercial aircraft from first principles. Our most popular and versatile aircraft is the GA8 Airvan; wide ranging in its capabilities and versatile in its design, the GA8 has many advantages over other aircraft. Call GippsAero toll-free on (855) 247‑8269, e-mail us at, or visit to learn more.
As Goes China, So Goes Russia?back to top 

Small private aircraft almost disappeared from Russia during the turmoil of the 1990s but, due to recent changes, they may now be making a very modest comeback in the world's largest country. Russia's borders contain nearly 6.6 million square miles, including thousands of villages not accessible by paved roads. That makes it a potentially active general aviation market. But it wasn't until 2010 that a government decree introduced the concept of uncontrolled airspace and flight without mandatory air traffic control. Since then, more than 3,000 private aircraft and helicopters in the country have been testing the new system and have found that easier access to the air isn't the only problem. Other challenges may still prove substantially crippling in the near term. More...

New Roller Lifter System Repairs from 
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Fly the Friendly, Frustrating Skiesback to top 

The FAA says it may liberalize rules governing the use of personal electronics (not cellphones) on airliners after it tests the latest and greatest tablets and other devices. Tech blogger Nick Bilton accidentally broke the story last week when he called the FAA to complain about what he considers an antiquated rule. Instead of brushing him off, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told Bilton the agency is taking a "fresh look" at the current electronics ban during taxi, takeoff and landing. "With the advent of new and evolving electronic technology, and because the airlines have not conducted the testing necessary to approve the use of new devices, the FAA is taking a fresh look at the use of personal electronic devices, other than cellphones, on aircraft," Brown told Bilton. More...

Airlines worked Sunday to clear a backlog at Toronto's Pearson International Airport after an impressive coincidence of things that could go wrong went wrong on the busy closing weekend of Spring Break. An electrical fire late Saturday closed one of the five runways and affected runway lights and directional signs on the rest. That prompted the airport to reduce landing and takeoffs by 75 percent from about 50 an hour to 12 an hour. Then heavy fog settled on the airport to disrupt the already-limited operation. Air Canada, which uses Pearson as a hub for hundreds of flights each day, was the most seriously affected. "Our operation is currently affected by a significant reduction in runway operations at Pearson which is impacting all airlines on a proportional basis," spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said. To make things even more interesting for Air Canada, about a dozen pilots called in sick just before their flights, which might be related to a bitter labor dispute with the airline. More...

The Eclipse Jet Experience
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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Wrapping up his blog-o-tour of Europe for the AVweb Insider, Paul Bertorelli offers some final thoughts on what he heard about the future of the industry. And yes, there is one. But it's time to stop whining about the fact that GA is no longer a mass market activity, if it ever was. No one is to blame for this; it's just the evolution of demographics, wealth generation and maturing markets. Read more and join the conversation. More...

AVMAIL: MARCH 19, 2012

Letter of the Week: The Height of Fears

Regarding the recent "Question of the Week" on acrophobia: It's often been said that "fear of heights" is really the distress that arises from the conflict between a very strong subconscious desire to fly, while at the same time being in a place (e.g., an apartment balcony, a cliff) where attempting such flight (with a certainty of failure) would be easy. So fear of heights is the result of the conflict between the desires to fly and to survive.

Len Deighton, an author and pilot, mentioned this theory many years ago. And there is some (although conflicting) evidence Lindbergh experienced such a fear, at least in early years. As for me, I'm very happy flying airplanes, low or high, and even with the door off for taking photos — but no use at all on the roof of a two-story house.

Wayne Cochrane

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 What have you heard? More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals 
in Aviation
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New on AVweb.comback to top 

A couple of weeks back, we asked readers to send us some of their vintage airplane photos (from before the digital camera era) — and you guys came through with some terrific shots, including this one from Edd Weninger of Overgaard, AZ. Some of these have great stories behind them, and some come with a few unanswered questions. In any case, we expect you'll enjoy these photos as much as we did. Maybe you'll even be happy to hear that we squirreled away a couple of pics to sneak into upcoming regular installments of "POTW." Click here for the rest of this week's submissions. More...

IFR Refresher
Get to the Next Level!
IFR Refresher is the only magazine written for instrument pilots who care passionately about staying proficient.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

On AVweb's recent swing through Europe, we visited Pipistrel Aircraft, a Slovenian manufacturer that's staked out the hyper-efficient segment of the LSA world. The company demonstrated its sophisticated Virus SW, which boasts fuel economy of nearly 50 MPG. This video is worth the watch just for the spectacular mountain scenery. More...

This week, Rotax rolled out its new 912iS light aircraft engine at its Gunskirchen, Austria factory. AVweb was there, and here's a full video report on the new engine, which features dual electronic fuel injection, dual ignition, and power options. The engine will be ready for volume shipments as early as May of 2012. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Alexander Aero at Belen Alexander Municipal Airport (KE80) in Belen, New Mexico.

AVweb reader Dennis Schwandt visited recently and gave very high marks to the "very helpful people there" and told us he "look[s] forward to visiting them again."

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


United 123:
"Oakland Center, United 123. Do you have a ride report for FL350? We're trying to have lunch, and it's a little bumpy."

Oakland Center:
"United 123, stand by.
Southwest 4567, how's your ride at FL350?"

Southwest 4567:
"Dunno. Haven't had lunch yet."

via e-mail


Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke. Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebAudio is a weekly summary of the podcasts and audio interviews featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebAudio team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebAudio, 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].

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebAudio. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.