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An online course that will satisfy the aeromedical education requirements of the BasicMed regulations should be approved sometime next week, FAA representatives told AVweb Thursday. BasicMed regulations will become effective on May 1, but one requirement to use BasicMed in lieu of a Third Class Medical is that pilots must take an approved online course about aeromedical risks. AOPA reported in early January that the FAA had approved the course produced by AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, even before publication of the final BasicMed rules, but that course has still not been made available to the flying public.

Pilots are also still waiting for publication of the BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC)—the checklist doctors are required to review with patients as part of a qualifying BasicMed checkup. The FAA reports that they are waiting for approval on a draft CMEC from the President's Office of Management and Budget, which they expect no later than May 1. AVweb will alert readers when the FAA releases the BasicMed aeromedical course and CMEC to the public.

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Continental Motors is working with the FAA to dispel what they see as confusion and unnecessary concern about a mandatory service bulletin (MSB) issued by Continental Motors in early 2017 for a camshaft gear found mostly in older IO-520 and IO-550 engines. Several GA groups, including AOPA, the American Bonanza Society, COPA, Twin Cessna Flyer and Savvy Aviation were sufficiently exercised about MSB05-08B that they requested an audience with the FAA without inviting anyone from Continental. A Continental representative called that decision disappointing and said it was “bizarre that a meeting was organized with the FAA [on this topic] without including Continental.” Continental was particularly bothered by an assertion made by Savvy Aviation, among others, that Continental had requested an Airworthiness Directive be issued for the part, possibly in an attempt to gouge consumers on replacement parts. In an email Continental shared with AVweb, the FAA confirmed that Continental had not requested an airworthiness directive and that MSB05-08B was prompted by a request from the FAA to conform the Service Bulletin to a format suitable for adoption as an AD.

Continental tells AVweb they are seeking FAA approval to make three changes to MSB05-08B in order to minimize compliance costs for operators. First, the camshaft gear can be inspected without significant disassembly by removing the starter. Continental is proposing that the part be inspected periodically and continue on condition if no damage is found. Second, Continental is proposing that the engine not be subject to a mandatory overhaul time period—though they continue to recommend overhaul after 12 years. Third, Continental will publish instructions for replacement of the camshaft gear that do not require engine disassembly. The MSB, and the AD likely to be released by the FAA, apply only to Continental engines using a camshaft gear last made by Continental in summer of 2005, so any engines built after August 2005 or overhauled since August 2005 in accordance with Continental’s Service Bulletins are unaffected. 

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The first airline customer for Aireon’s space-based ADS-B tracking services will be Malaysian Airlines, Aireon reported in a press release issued this week. Aireon is placing ADS-B receivers on Iridium NEXT low earth orbit communications satellites, which will receive location reports from ADS-B Out equipped aircraft and relay that position to end users through Aireon partner SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM service. “Real-time global aircraft tracking has long been a goal of the aviation community,” said Captain Izham Ismail, chief operating officer of Malaysia Airlines. “We are proud to be the first airline to adopt this solution using space-based ADS-B data as part of SITAONAIR’s AIRCOM FlightTracker.” The first ten satellites were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in January, and the full constellation is expected to be operational in 2018. The system will allow users to track aircraft flying outside the reach of ground-based ADS-B receivers and radar with GPS-level precision, if the aircraft are transmitting a valid ADS-B signal.

The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH 370), and a years-long search for the aircraft, sparked global interest in tracking of commercial flights in oceanic airspace. The Aireon system is reliant on receipt of ADS-B transponder position reports, suggesting this system would have not have helped to track MH 370, whose transponder was not functioning.


UPDATE: An astute reader noted that a previous version of this article erroneously referred to the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft as flight MH 380, rather than MH 370.


The inaugural U.S. Flight Expo kicks off early next month at Marana Regional Airport (KAVQ) near Tucson, Arizona. Show organizers say the event will focus on the markets other than certified aircraft—particularly light sport and experimental. Their goal is to put on a show where aircraft buyers have easy access to manufacturers to get questions answered and, for the serious shoppers, to take demo flights. Some of the better-known manufacturers committed to attend include Tecnam, Pipistrel, Vans, Stemme, Glasair and Kitfox.

The Commemorative Air Force B-25 “Maid in the Shade” will be in attendance and offering rides on May 5 and 6. The show runs from May 3 to May 6. More information is available at

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The CAFE Foundation, which has held annual symposia in California since 2007 to explore new technologies for aviation, this year will host its event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, the group announced this week. The Electric Aircraft Symposium will be held at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, July 22 and 23, the weekend before AirVenture. The group plans to continue holding the event in Oshkosh for the foreseeable future, executive director Yolanka Wulff told AVweb. “We decided to move the conference primarily because we want to include exhibits, and eventually flight displays, as part of the conference,” she said. “Right now, many of the electric aircraft that are flying are not in the U.S., and those developers have told us that if there is one opportunity to bring their aircraft to the U.S., they would organize that around AirVenture.”

Dick Knapinski, EAA spokesman, said EAA is talking with CAFE to see how the two organizations can work together during AirVenture week to offer exhibits and forums. “We’re happy to see the CAFE Foundation hosting its symposium in Oshkosh just prior to EAA AirVenture,” Knapinski told AVweb. “EAA certainly encourages and supports any and all innovators studying the potential of electric aircraft.” Wulff said she hopes to make it easy for their attendees to get the most out of both events. “Our symposium runs for a half day on Saturday, then dinner, and all day Sunday,” she said. “Then AirVenture starts on Monday. Coordinating our symposium with a major event that most of our attendees go to anyway makes it easier, and less costly, for everyone.”

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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.

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“I hope they shut down the airport and turn it into a toxic waste dump. That’ll really piss off the liberals.” -- Overheard at my local airport diner

This will come as a surprise if you’ve read AOPA’s lobbying materials, but maybe we’re not such awesome neighbors. I teach at San Carlos and Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley. These airports are not significant contributors to the local economy, and they would be totally superfluous for disaster relief. Silicon Valley has plenty of children’s science museums that don’t spew leaded exhaust. The non-flying community would not miss these airports if they were gone. Sorry, but it’s true.

The flying community would miss them very much. Between their two 2500-foot runways, they move over 300,000 operations per year. If you put them together, they’d be the 30th busiest airport in the United States. Busier than Chicago-Midway or BWI. If you think combining them makes for a silly comparison, consider that the distance from Palo Alto to San Carlos is the same as the distance from one side of Denver International to the other.

Let’s talk noise—if you can hear me over the sound of this Cessna taking off. A 1960s-era 737-200 produced about 97 dBA on takeoff. The new, much larger 737-700 makes 80 dBA on takeoff. Remember, decibel is a logarithmic scale, so that’s 100 times quieter. How does GA compare? Your 1970s Cessna 172N had a takeoff noise rating of 75 dBA. Today’s Cessna 172SP produces 78 dBA. A new Cessna is about twice as loud as an old Cessna. I wonder why our neighbors don’t like us.

San Carlos is facing a proposed curfew on “noisy aircraft,” which the county supervisors have defined to mean louder than 74.5 dBA. They’re trying to kill Surf Air, so they picked a noise threshold 0.1 dBA quieter than the quietest PC-12 variant (and please do give them a golf clap for the subtlety of that move). Unfortunately, our flying clubs are caught in the crosshairs, because nothing I fly, except the Citabria, is quieter than 74.5 dBA.

The FAA does regulate light aircraft noise, but the takeoff noise limit has been 85 dBA for more than a decade. If we could get the FAA to require all piston singles aircraft certified after 2020 be quieter than 70 dBA and also get the FAA to preempt noise ordinances affecting these “quiet” aircraft, that would be a good trade for everyone involved. If pilots were leading the push for new regulations, we’d get to set timelines and targets that are reasonable. New regulation won’t be costless, but it’ll be better than waiting for our angry neighbors to force immediate changes or shut down our most popular airports.

Best of all, by being better neighbors, more people might decide they want to be like us. Remember those liberals my fellow diner wanted to piss off? In Northern California, if you piss off all the liberals, your list of potential friends has become mighty short. There are people in my community who could afford to fly, but are turned off by the emissions of noise, carbon and lead. That sounds crazy to most pilots, but pilots are a self-selected group. Pilots fly because they’ve decided they’re OK with our current emissions levels. If GA is going to survive, it’s going to need to accommodate both conservative and liberal value systems. You may not like it, but if we don’t lead the way to the future, I’m not sure there are going to be a lot of general aviation pilots around to see it.

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At Sun 'n Fun 2017 in Lakeland, Florida, Maule Air was showing updated versions of its M-series aircraft, including the M4-180V S2, which is equipped with a 180-HP Lycoming O-360 engine, has Maule's signature cargo doors and is priced just shy of $200,000. In this video, Aviation Consumer editor Larry Anglisano took a look at the aircraft with Brent Maule.

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Picture of the Week

Our friends at FLYER Magazine in the U.K. earn honors this week with a beautiful glassy water landing by Chester Lawson's Grumman Widgeon on Lake Ashby in Florida. Joe Fournier took the photo, which we expect will be in the magazine later this year. Nice shot.


Some years ago I was flying into a very congested London Heathrow Airport when I heard the following exchange with Heathrow Approach.

Heathrow: ”Speedbird 123, what is your position in the hold at Lambourne?"

Speedbird:  "We are just turning outbound at flight level 200."

Heathrow:  "Roger, Speedbird, could you possibly cross Lambourne inbound at 3000 feet?" 

Speedbird:  "Roger, I could probably make that, but I doubt if I could take my aircraft with me."


John Marshall 



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