Briefing: March 2010


Bendix/King update leads to urgent data recall
In January, a database update for some Bendix/King KLN and KLX products rendered them unsafe for use under IFR. Jeppesen apparently delivered some bad data to Bendix/King that contained incorrect dynamic magnetic variations for all terminal and en route waypoint records. Bendix/King quickly posted a corrected database and got the word out to customers through about every channel imaginable. Still, it’s a sobering thought how dependent we’ve become on data that has a potential, however remote, of being corrupt. As far as we know, no in-flight incidents occurred as a result of the problem.

FAA Announces Public Meetings For Part 23 Review
Right about the time the ink is drying on these pages the FAA will be hosting public meetings about the future of Part 23, the FAR that defines how most GA aircraft are certified. The plan is to use public input to help determine how well the current airworthiness standards work through the course of an aircraft’s service life, with an eye toward Part 23 revisions. The agency would like to consider requirements based on airplane performance and complexity instead of propulsion and weight. Will this open avenues for less-expensive certification—and lower sticker prices? Perhaps the light-sport ASTM model will lead the way. Keep your fingers crossed.

Playgrounds for our lobbyists, Now both houses have a GA Caucus
Late January was the first meeting of the Senate’s new General Aviation Caucus, co-chaired by Senators Mark Begich (an Alaska Democrat) and Mike Johanns (a Nebraska Republican). The House of Representatives has had a similar caucus for over a year. While we’re not sure this will have a huge impact on the future of GA in America, it can’t hurt. If nothing else, it raises awareness within Congress as a whole and gives our lobbying groups more tools. Kudos to AOPA for pushing to make these happen.

Light Sport market continues to make news
Things are still shaking out in this aviation segment. Piper entered the fray by rebranding the Czech-built Sport Cruiser as the new PiperSport. Cessna is running into six- to 10-month delays delivering the Skycatcher due to the design changes that came after two aircraft were lost in spin testing. The modifications haven’t been incorporated into the Chinese production so they’re being added in the U.S. during reassembly. And the FAA has finalized some of the Sport Pilot rule changes. Only about half the proposed changes made it through the public-comment period. Way to go, democratic process.

The Continuing perception aircraft owners are made out of money
Washington State aircraft owners get hit with a new tax that would add a one-percent yearly excise tax based on the value of aircraft. An aircraft worth $100,000 would therefore be taxed $1000 … every year. Currently aircraft owners pay a flat, annual registration fee ($65 for a piston single). Local groups are fighting on the grounds of GA’s state benefit and how many current taxes, such as a sales tax on aviation fuel, go into the general fund rather than back to aviation. A drop in those revenues might mean a new excise tax wouldn’t net as much cash as the legislators hope.

New FAA flight-management interface with Flight Service puts your flight plan into the FAA system up to 17 hours in advance (used to be only three hours) … The phrase “Position and hold” should be replaced by the ICAO “Line up and wait” by this summer … Garmin’s Pilot My-Cast now available for the iPhone … New York City will host a Red Bull air race this summer … California congressional candidate makes public appeal to celebrities to move their personal jets out of Santa Monica Airport … FAA sets standard for protecting the new Boeing 747-8 against computer hackers … Boeing 787 now in second-phase flight testing with the company saying it will actually get certified some day … Cirrus says their jet project is slowly continuing with a new price of $1.72 million … The Sukhoi T-50, a Russian answer to the F-22 Raptor and JSF, is now in flight testing … Red Bull team planning a record-breaking skydive from 120,000 feet … For breaking news in general aviation, log on to


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