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Volume 19, Number 17a
April 22, 2013
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Jet Updatesback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Great Alaska Aviation Gathering || May 
4-5, 2013 || Anchorage, Alaska

The chairman of the Chinese company that bought Cirrus Aircraft says the next version of the company's SF-50 Vision Jet will be rolled out before the end of this year and certification flight testing will begin in 2014, Meng Xiangkai told the South China Morning Post. Meng also said China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) plans further acquisitions and expansion to become a world force in GA. "We have more acquisition plans but our globalization push isn't just limited to mergers and acquisitions," he said. "We also aim to set up overseas centers for research and development, marketing and client services." Cash-rich CAIGA bought struggling Cirrus in 2011 and soon after announced a $100 million investment in reviving the largely dormant jet project. More...

Cessna has again cut back production of its light jets including the Mustang, CJ2, CJ3 and CJ4, potentially by up to 30 percent, citing a first-quarter loss and weak sales. In June of 2010, the company briefly stalled production of the Citation Mustang, largely as a result of issues in the supply chain. At the time the company also said sales had been softer than expected. This time, the company is entering the second quarter fresh off an $8 million loss suffered in the first quarter. The Wichita Eagle reported that during a conference call with analysts, Wednesday, Textron CEO Scott Donnelly speculated that small business owners were putting off purchases due to concerns over higher taxes and uncertainty about the direction of the economy. But there were additional complications in the small business jet market. More...

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Tower Tensionsback to top 

The U.S.'s largest pilots union is warning its members that "irregular operations" (IROPS) could become the new normal as the FAA pushes ahead with its plan to furlough employees, including air traffic controllers, for a day every other week. The Airline Pilots Association International (ALPA), which filed suit against the FAA Friday, along with industry trade groups, to try to halt the furlough plan's implementation says the FAA itself is saying the furloughs could be more disruptive than a summer cold front barreling into the Eastern Seaboard. "The FAA has told airlines that on average, the furloughs could delay twice as many flights as during the most heavily storm-disrupted days last year," an ALPA memo says (PDF). It also says the reduced staffing could routinely delay 6,700 flights daily at the country's 13 busiest airports, which, of course, can spread to every corner of the air transportation system. It also notes that others are predicting relatively minimal impact on the system as a whole. More...

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) joined by two airline trade groups Friday filed a lawsuit against the FAA hoping to stop air traffic controller furloughs scheduled to begin Sunday. The FAA believes the furloughs will save $200 million of the $637 million that sequestration requires the agency to cut before November. ALPA, Airlines for America, and the Regional Airline Association believe the cuts will lead to delays that will ripple through the system. The FAA doesn't necessarily disagree. More...

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Dreamliner One Step Closer to Flying Againback to top 

Friday, the FAA approved a redesigned battery system for the 787 Dreamliner created by Boeing to protect the aircraft from potential battery fires, meaning the airliners may soon return to service. The 50 jets in service have been grounded since January, when two 787s suffered fires. Boeing must now issue a service bulletin that details the design changes that carriers will need to apply before their Dreamliners are approved for flight by the FAA. The FAA is expected to publish the information next week and foreign regulators are expected to follow the FAA with their own approvals. Meanwhile, the NTSB is still trying to determine why the aircraft's lithium ion batteries failed. More...

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Historic Trio Convenesback to top 

Of eighty men, three of the four surviving members of Doolittle's Raiders, all now living their ninth decade, met publicly -- and, they say, for the final time -- during the week of April 15, at Eglin Air Force Base, to commemorate the 71st anniversary of their April 18, 1942, one-way mission to bomb Japan. The three members present were 97-year-old Col. Richard Cole; 91-year-old Staff Sergeant David Thatcher; and 93-year-old Lt. Col. Edward Saylor. The fourth surviving member, 93-year-old Lt. Col. Robert Hite, was unable to attend. All of the men had trained for the mission at Eglin in the winter of 1942. And this year Cole was afforded a flight (and reportedly flew a good portion of it, including the landing) in a B-25 owned by Larry Kelley. The men say they toast each year to the comrades who shared their mission and have since passed. But they have decided a special toast will now come sooner than originally planned. More...

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Electric Skiesback to top 

New airplanes were scarce at last week's Sun 'n Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., but a new electric ultralight motorglider held center stage at the new LSA Mall, attracting a constant stream of curious visitors all week long. The ElectraFlyer ULS was first seen last summer at EAA AirVenture, just a few days after its first flight. At Sun 'n Fun, its creator, Randall Fishman of the Electric Aircraft Corp., said he has accumulated about 30 hours of flight time in the airplane and he's ready to offer copies for sale at $59,000. Fishman said the lightweight carbon-fiber aircraft cruises at about 40 mph, flies for up to two hours on a single charge, and can stay aloft longer for those who like to soar and choose a folding prop. "People are very interested in electric flight," Fishman told AVweb. It's nice to fly with less pollution, he said, but people also like that "it's just really nice to fly quietly and without vibration." More...

Randall Fishman first exhibited this lightweight new design at EAA AirVenture in 2012, shortly after its first flight. At Sun 'n Fun in April 2013, the prototype had about 30 hours of flight time, and Fishman was ready to sell copies under Part 103. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

If you're a student of the First Amendment's right of redress, aviation gave you a good week last week, with a lawsuit to stop the FAA from furloughing controllers. But if you're a deficit hawk? Not so much. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli observes that by the time all the special interests get their piece of the pie, the FAA will be back where it started: no budget cuts at all. Maybe those people who say we're doomed have a point. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Post-traumatic stress disorder is well-known for soldiers returning from combat, but less known is that it affects the children of soldiers killed or wounded in battle. Jack Howell is doing something about that, offering free flight training for the offspring of wounded or deceased military members. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains why he sent Jack some money — and why you should, too. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Reader Mailback to top 

AVMAIL: APRIL 22, 2013

Letter of the Week: Managing the Message

I planned an FAA Safety Team seminar on the subject of non-towered operations at towers closed by sequestration. The speakers listed would be FAA Safety Team members, local ATC controllers, and FSDO inspectors.

The document was released to 8,000-plus pilots in the Tampa Bay area by around April 1. On April 3, I got a phone call from FAA Safety Team management advising me to revise the notice and remove any mention of FAA involvement. I expressed my extreme displeasure with that direction, but I revised the notice. Two days later I got a call from the same manager telling me that FAA HQ wanted me to change the title and remove any mention of the word "sequestration." In addition, I was advised to not discuss budgetary items or sequestration with pilots.

I cannot detail here what I said to the manager because a censor would redact them. I refused to change the title. I also threatened to resign as a Lead Team Rep (been one for 25 years) because I will not let the FAA trample on my First Amendment rights. The manager asked me not to resign, especially when I told him the next call I was making would be to the media.

The FAA is not paying a penny for the countless hours I have devoted to the FAA Safety Program. I refuse to be intimidated by faceless Washington HQ types who cannot stand the heat brought on by their total disregard for aviation safety.

The title of the seminar was revised without me. It was held last week with 66 pilots attending. We discussed everything that the FAA told me not to discuss.

This attempt by FAA HQ to manage the story cannot be tolerated. That's why I am writing this letter.

Jack Tunstill

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


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

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...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Harrison Aviation at Arlington Municipal Airport (KGKY) in Arlington, Texas.

AVweb reader Carol Goldberg found warm Texan hospitality awaiting her here on a recent diversion:

Due to weather, we diverted to Arlington, Texas on our way home from Las Vegas to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The entire staff went out of their way to assist us in obtaining hotel reservations, driving us to the hotel, recommending a dinner place, assuring us the jetprop would be hangared if the winds increased, and having snacks and hot drinks.

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 


Maybe this is only funny to those of us who live here, but here it is anyway. The other day, I was buzzing around over the east side of Wichita when I heard this:

Wichita Approach:
"Bizjet 123, maintain 3,500. Departing traffic from Jabara and Beech Field."

Bizjet 123:
"3,500 for 123. You guys sure have a lot of airports around here!"

Wichita Approach:
"Well, Wichita is known as the Air Capitol."

Bizjet 123:
"Really? I didn't realize that!"

My Co-Pilot:

John "Dizzy" Phunt
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 


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.

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