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NORFOLK ISLAND DITCHING REPORT TO GET SCRUTINY
captain of a Westwind jet that ditched off the coast of Norfolk Island
in 2009 is challenging the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's
conclusion that the flight crew's poor planning was the sole cause of
the accident. Dominic James, who then worked for Pel-Air, told
AVweb in an interview on Saturday that the ATSB's investigation
will undergo its own probe before the Australian Senate in early
October. Specifically, James said, the ATSB's investigation ignored
numerous details that impinged on the information and guidance that he
and First Officer Zoe Cupit had available for the flight on Nov. 18,
2009. The Westwind crew was on a medical evacuation mission from Apia,
Samoa to Melbourne, a distance of about 2,800 miles, almost all of it
over water at night. To make the distance, the flight had a planned fuel
stop at Norfolk Island, a remote island 800 miles off the coast of
eastern Australia. More...
Three Things You Should
Never Say to ATC
Listen as two ATC pros share tips on better communication with ATC.
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PLANE ROLLED INVERTED BEFORE FATAL CRASH
A dozen skydivers
aboard a Beech 18 jumped for their lives as the aircraft suddenly rolled
inverted and ultimately crashed in a residential area of Taylorville,
Ill., on Aug. 10, killing the pilot. As we reported
on the day of the crash, pilot Brandon Sparrow, 30, of Augusta, Ill.,
was unable to get the big twin under control and it crashed in the back
yard of a home. There were no injuries on the ground or among the
skydivers, who told the NTSB they heard the stall horn sound as they
prepared to exit the aircraft at 11,000 feet. More...
CHEROKEE HITS ROW OF PARKED PLANES
Insurance adjusters were
busy over the weekend at French Valley Airport in Murrieta, Calif.,
after a Piper Cherokee crashed into a row of parked aircraft Friday. The
pilot of the Cherokee 180 was uninjured but the female passenger in a
taxiing airplane that was struck suffered minor injuries in the
accident. Up to eight parked aircraft were damaged and from the photos
appearing in local newspapers at least some of them appear to be
write-offs. "I got a phone call that said, 'You better start shopping
for a new airplane because yours is in two pieces,'" Cessna 180 owner
Roy Haggard told The Californian. More...
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WANTS 747-8 ENGINES INSPECTED
The NTSB has issued an urgent
safety recommendation letter urging the FAA to "act
immediately" to order the inspection of 47 new General Electric GEnx-2B
engines in service on Boeing 747-8 aircraft because it's afraid of a
potential multiple engine failure on the brand-new aircraft. The board
issued the letter after an engine failure on a 747-8F during takeoff
roll in Shanghai last week. Preliminary information suggests the cause
is cracking similar to that found in two GEnx-1B engines used in Boeing
787 aircraft. The 2B model of the engine used in the 747-8 is a little
longer but the suspect components are the same. In one of the cases
involving the 787 model engine, a fan midshaft crack destroyed
a 787 engine on its first ground run at Boeing's factory in
Charleston, S.C. Another crack was found in a 787 engine that had only
ever been test run. All the 787 engines have been inspected but those on
11 in-service 747 freighters and the remaining three on the Shanghai
aircraft have not. More...
SEEKS PILOT ON SUICIDE CONCERNS
The FAA and local authorities
were still searching Friday for Michael Sills, a 63-year-old pilot from
central Florida, who detectives say may have departed Orlando-Apopka
Airport, Tuesday, with suicidal intent. Prior to his disappearance,
investigators say Sills had threatened to crash his aircraft, a Piper
PA-28-181, into the home of his ex-girlfriend, or another building.
Sills' car was found, Tuesday, parked at his home airport, but his Piper
Archer was gone. Sill's ex-girlfriend told authorities the last text
messages she'd received from Sills came on Tuesday and said, "In plane."
And "Calling police is to [sic] late." More...
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COALITION PRAISES FAA ACTION
The FAA, responding to the
concerns of the General Aviation Avgas Coalition, has announced
formation of a new office that will be responsible for providing
technical information and guidance related to developments in aviation
fuels, including unleaded options. Per the FAA, its new Fuel Program
Office will provide "technical expertise and strategic direction in the
planning, management, and coordination of activities related to aviation
fuels." The Coalition sees formation of the office as an "important
step" in creating an "unleaded avgas transition program" that will be
able to evaluate fuels and generate data that could form commercial fuel
specifications and guide certification efforts. The FAA already has some
steps in place. More...
JOHNS HOPKINS, AND THE BETTER AIRPLANE
The Air Force is
creating a new research center led by a team of engineers from Johns
Hopkins University to expedite development of a new generation of
lightweight, durable materials for use in aircraft and powerplants. The
Center of Excellence on Integrated Material Modeling (CEIMM) is
supported by a $3 million U.S. Air Force award, to be distributed over
three years. It will apply "novel computational and experimental methods
to support the next generation of military aircraft." The initiative
seeks to apply new techniques that will help shrink the timeline of
product development, from proof of concept to implementation.
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GERMAN LUFTWAFFE AIRCRAFT WRECK FOUND?
video) to have found wreckage off the Sardinian coast of a huge
Messerschmitt-323 Gigant (Giant), of which some 200 examples were built
-- none of which were thought to have survived the war. The Me-323
spanned 180 feet, was driven by six wing-mounted piston engines, weighed
45 tons, could carry 120 fully equipped men and was thought to exist in
the modern world only through history books. The wreckage is submerged
below 200 feet of seawater and divers have reported to the Telegraph.uk
that "it is in good condition -- it is almost intact, with the six
engines still all in line." Considering the aircraft's time on location
and how this particular aircraft was lost, that report might surprise
some people. The video allows you to form your own opinion.
The Biggest Aviation
Show on the Planet ... Is Back!
The award-winning hit TV series The Aviators
is back for
an all-new third season showcasing everything from the F-22 and DC-3 to
LSA and balloons. We take you dogfighting in the Nevada desert, flying
with the USAF Thunderbirds, and look on as Mötley Cr
e frontman Vince Neil learns to fly. Join our 10 million weekly US
viewers and countless more worldwide.
Watch The Aviators on PBS, iTunes,
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
DO YOU FLY A DIAMOND DA40?
If so, Aviation Consumer would like to
hear from you. For the magazine's next issue, the Used Aircraft Guide
will focus on Diamond's popular four-place step-up airplane. We would
like to hear about what it's like to fly the DA40 and how much it costs
to operate and own -- including insurance. If you have any digital
photos you'd like to share, send them along, too. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
to comment. More...
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OF THE WEEK: TWIN COUNTY AIRPORT (KHLX, HILLSVILLE,
Lots of happy pilots in the skies this week.
Nominations for an AVweb "FBO of the Week" ribbon soared over the
last ten days or so, and picking a stand-out this week was tough. (We
cheated and saved a couple of facilities for future
Amid stiff competition, Twin County
Aviation Services at Twin County Airport (KHLX) in Hillsville,
Virginia takes home this week's blue ribbon. AVweb reader John
A. Jorgensen had that best of all possible experiences of Twin
County -- a stopover so pleasant he'd go back just for
Wonderful service and
hospitality! I returned yesterday from delivering a DNR aircraft to
Sanford, North Carolina for a FLIR installation/integration. On the way,
I ran into the remains of Hurricane Isaac, which did not allow me to
continue VFR. Scott Thomas, FBO manager, and his crew met me on the
ramp, escorted me into their new facility, shared local weather wisdom,
entertained me, provided a courtesy car, and simply made me feel
welcome. Scott is a banjo player, and he invited me to their Tuesday
evening session at the String Bean in Galax! It was a real treat. I
stayed in a wonderful cabin along the New River Trail and had a great
rest. Next time through, I am sure that I will not hesitate to stop,
simply say "hi!" and to enjoy their Virginia hospitality. It provided a
real and special treat.
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
40 Top Maintenance
Tips at No Cost to You!
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When an air traffic controller asked an aircraft
to reduce speed even more than he already had:
"If I reduce any further, I'll fall out of the
"Roger. Report leaving altitudes on
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THE AVWEBFLASH TEAM
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