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Volume 19, Number 1b
January 3, 2013
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AVflash! China's Big Investment in GAback to top 

Transportation authorities in China have pitched general aviation in that country as "the next driving force after the car industry" and the Chinese government will be providing targeted funding to jumpstart GA there. Ma Xin, deputy director of the National Air Traffic Management Committee Office in China, delivered the quote at the Zhuhai Air Show last month. And the Civil Aviation Administration and Ministry of Finance has now reportedly announced temporary measures to regulate the specific fund for China's general aviation development. According to, the "long-awaited subsidy measure" will be applied to support general aviation operations, pilot training and infrastructure development. More...

Hartzell Aircraft Starters || 
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Lycoming & Continental Aircraft Starters: Aviation-Manufactured, OEM-Endorsed, & Factory-Installed — For Over 20 Years
TCM supplier Hartzell Engine Technologies introduces the zero back torque M-Drive starter — the best lightweight starter designed to start even the hardest-cranking large-bore TCM engines while safely disengaging from the starter adapter. Lycoming-chosen E-Drive starters from Hartzell Engine Technologies are unaffected by kick-backs, saving hours of service time and replacement costs along with the best warranty available — two-year unlimited!

More on Hartzell Engine Technologies' aircraft starters ...
2012 Year in Reviewback to top 

One of the cool things about being a Web-only publication is that we can tell at a glance what our readers considered the most popular of the thousands of items we served up in 2012. In recent years, that's been spectacular video, and this year is no exception in the top spot. Video Editor Glenn Pew's original production of "William Rankin, The Man Who Rode the Thunder" captured the imaginations of thousands of AVweb readers and many more who saw the video posted on other sites that linked to it for their audience. In all, that video was seen 305,413 times during 2012. Another video (and not what you might expect) grabbed second spot, but it was plain old text that captured the imaginations of our readers for the third most popular item on the site in 2012. Click through for the rest of the top ten. More...

No-Cost SocialFlight App Reaches 10,000 Users,
3,000 Aviation Events and Adds Social Networking for Pilots

Join the thousands of pilots using SocialFlight to discover aviation events across the U.S. Plan your weekend flying to make the most of your next airborne adventure. Pancake breakfasts, air shows, even FAA seminars. Add your aircraft info and network with other pilots with similar interests. Available at no cost for iPad/iPhone or Android and online at
State of the Industryback to top 

For the first time in a decade, Boeing is the number-one planemaker in the world, selling and delivering more airplanes than Airbus in 2012, according to the Seattle Times. The company delivered about 585 commercial jets over the year, its highest total ever. Orders also were up, including about 1,000 commitments to buy the new fuel-efficient narrow-body jet, the 737 Max, with first deliveries expected in 2017. It's not all good news for Boeing in the new year, however, as the FAA has ordered more inspections of the aging 737 fleet. More...

Incentives for biofuel development in the new "fiscal cliff" bill -- also known as the "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012" -- could help the industry to move forward in 2013, advocates say. According to the Renewable Fuels Association, provisions in the bill should lead to "a year of growth and milestones for the advanced ethanol industry." Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National Biodiesel Board, said the incentives in the bill will have "real economic impacts with companies expanding production and hiring new employees." Meanwhile, a project by two companies to produce a "100-percent drop-in alternative aviation fuel" for jet and diesel engines won an industry award as "Best New Fuel of 2012." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

An unlicensed 17-year-old was reportedly at the controls of what the the Associated Press is reporting was a Piper PA30 Twin Comanche that crashed Tuesday evening in Alabama, killing him and his two teenaged passengers. AP is also reporting that Sherrie Smith, the mother of Jordan Smith, who was flying the twin, said he had a key to the plane, the access code to the airport gate and that the owner of the aircraft, who was not identified, had let him fly the Comanche many times previously. She also told AP that her son was "one test" short of earning a private license. More...

Virgin Galactic is on track to send a test flight into space this year, although tourist flights are not expected to start until 2014, according to recent news reports. An article in the January issue of IEEE Spectrum says Richard Branson expects to be aboard a flight into space by the end of this year. And BBC News, in a recent interview with pilot David Mackay, said Virgin's tourist flights are on track to start next year. The flights will reach higher than 350,000 feet. "The view will be fantastic," Mackay said. "And of course you'll be able to experience weightlessness." Virgin Galactic said in December that SpaceShipTwo completed its first glide while configured for powered flight. More...

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Esoteric Skillsback to top 

James May, known as Captain Slow on the popular Top Gear BBC program, recently shared his design for an "ultimate" paper airplane, complete with winglets and elevons, created from a sheet of standard A4 letter-size paper. "It's a sort of cross between a Vulcan bomber and a Fairey Delta, and if you do it properly, it's a good flyer," May told the RadioTimes. May, who flies his own sport aircraft, is also working on a project to build a balsa-wood glider model and fly it across the English Channel -- about 22 miles. Click through for May's illustrated instructions for the "ultimate" flying piece of paper. More...

Pilot David Zehntner and his wife ended a Sunday flight in their Cessna 182 with a low pass of their home, which is located below the approach path to his local airport in LaBelle, Fla., but this time the view included a burglar. At about 800 feet inbound for landing, the couple spotted what appeared to be a man testing the windows and doors at their house. Zehntner told local news agencies that he circled, descending to about 300 feet. They watched as the man attached to his own truck the Zehntners' red tow trailer, looked up at the plane, and drove off. The event is similar to one that AVweb reported in August of 2011, which ended in an arrest. And the Zehntners took action to help ensure that their episode ended the same way. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Amidst the tension of the economic discussions in Washington on New Year's Day, the Senate was busy confirming the nominations of political appointees and Michael Huerta was one of them. Huerta, who has held the post of acting administrator since former Administrator Randy Babbitt stepped down more than a year ago, was among dozens of nominations approved as part of the session ending package. Huerta will be playing catch-up on a number of fronts as the agency deals with a major modernization push in the face of tighter budgets and a rough economy. In a podcast interview at AirVenture 2012, a cordial but non-committal Huerta admitted as much. More...

An American-registered Dassault Falcon 900 took off from an Iranian airport Monday about three weeks after it had made an emergency landing. According to The Associated Press the aircraft was on its way to Rotterdam from Abu Dhabi in early December when a technical fault forced a diversion to Ahvaz in southwestern Iran. There was a single passenger and two crew members on board the aircraft at the time and they left the country immediately after landing. More...

China's aviation technology gap may have closed somewhat in recent days with announcements of some breakthroughs that may make it less dependent on the West for stuff it needs to advance its aerospace industry. Just after Christmas, photos were "leaked" of what appears to be the country's most ambitious aircraft to date, the Y-20 transport. The photos, purported to be of a test aircraft undergoing taxi tests, outwardly show a clone of Boeing's C-17 Globemaster, although the engine openings on the Chinese version are considerably smaller than the high-bypass turbofans on the C-17. If the performance of the Y-20 comes anywhere close to that of the C-17, China will soon have a long-range, heavy-lift capacity it has so far lacked in home-grown aircraft, but skeptics abound. Nevertheless, China does appear to be moving forward with development of some key technologies needed to build truly modern aircraft. More...


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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

Newly confirmed FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has a desk full of priorities. Which one should he tackle first?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about safety seats for infants about airplanes; click through to see the breakdown of answers. More...

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...

IFR || The Magazine for the Accomplished 
Pilot || Subscribe Now and Get a Bonus Gift!
Fantasy or Reality?
IFR magazine helps you sort the facts from the fiction. Realistic, practical tools for the IFR pilot.

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

In the U.S. there are, on average, about five fatal aircraft accidents a week. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines one that got under his skin and poses this very natural question: Could I have avoided this? Take your turn at the discussion. More...

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

As much as we love them, iron gyros are on their way to the scrap heap of history. They're even losing their value as backup instruments to glass panels now that glass itself has become more reliable and affordable enough to replace even analog backup devices. In this new video from AVweb, Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano examines a new product from Mid-Continent Instruments and Avonics called the SAM. It fits into a small space on the panel and can be backed up with its own lithium-ion battery. Installation considerations are mimimal, but here's a close look at how the instrument looks and performs. More...

Glass panels have become standard in new aircraft, and now that more legacy airplanes are retrofitted with these systems, there's a growing market for backup gyros. That market has clearly stated a preference: Backup glass units are making inroads. In this AVweb video, Larry Anglisano of Aviation Consumer and Kirk Fryar of Sarasota Avionics give us a tour of the L-3 Trilogy. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Wright Brothers Aviation at Mitchell Municipal Airport (KMHE) in Mitchell, South Dakota.

A few weeks back, AVweb reader Dr. Steve P. Schoettle knocked us out with his story of WBA's outstanding devotion to service:

Service above and beyond the call of duty! On October 27, after a successful week of pheasant hunting in South Dakota, I prepared to depart back home to Arkansas in my Cherokee Six. To my dismay, N720JB would not crank! Quickly, the line personnel came to my assistance with battery boosts, etc. After no success, Roger the mechanic stepped in. Even on his weekend off, he spent the next six hours diagnosing my failed starter and trying to get it working. After exhausting all possibilities, and unable to find a new starter in the area on a Saturday, he contacted a local plane owner, who graciously "loaned" me the starter from his plane! Roger took that starter and placed it on my plane, even coming in early Sunday morning to finish up and get me in the air The starter has since been replaced and the "borrowed" one returned to the other plane.

Terri and Todd have always run a wonderfully friendly and efficient FBO, but this was truly amazing service. My hat is off to the entire staff!

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!


Names Behind the Newsback to top 


AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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].

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 AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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