AVwebFlash - Volume 21, Number 5a
January 26, 2014
Teen Takes Over From Unconscious Pilot
An Australian teen who had a little supervised stick time was able to maintain control of a Cherokee 180 after the pilot lost consciousness on Saturday. About 45 minutes later the pilot, 61-year-old Derek Neville, came to and 19-year-old Troy Jenkins helped to land the aircraft safely back at Forbes Airport in New South Wales. "He (Neville) sort of poked me in the right direction and we both brought it down," Jenkins told The Associated Press a day after the incident. Jenkins and Neville were only about 10 minutes into the flight when Neville inexplicably passed out. Jenkins said Neville, a family friend, had let him take the controls before and he was comfortable keeping the Cessna straight and level. He had also landed once under Neville's supervision.
"Keeping it up wasn't a problem, it was the landing part I wasn't sure of. I was pretty scared," he said. "I thought I had to save myself and him. It was quite an experience." After Neville collapsed, Jenkins called for help on the radio and pilot Paul Reynolds rendezvoused with the Cherokee, providing encouragement and advice as he flew alongside. He got Jenkins to fly at 2,000 feet around the airport as they figured out their next move. Then Neville woke up and they landed without incident. Neville was taken to hospital but his wife said brain and heart tests didn't turn up anything that would explain the fainting.
The original version of this story incorrectly identified Neville's aircraft as a Cessna 150. It was a Cherokee 180.
Pilots Eject From Canadian Military Trainer
A Royal Canadian Air Force instructor pilot and a student ejected safely from a CT-156 Harvard II training aircraft near their base at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, after the landing gear malfunctioned Friday. The aircraft, which is the Canadian version of the Beechcraft Texan II used for primary flight training by the U.S. Air Force, was on a routine training flight when the fault occurred. Another aircraft was sent up to do a visual inspection and the decision was made to abandon the aircraft rather than risk a landing with unsafe gear.
The instructor, who had been training pilots for about a year, and the student, who was on his or her 10th flight, punched out in an uninhabited area about two miles from the base and were reported to have walked away. They were met by rescue personnel and taken to the base medical facilities for assessment. It was the first hull loss for the Harvard II since the RCAF began training pilots in them in 2000, although one was damaged in an accidental ground ejection about five years ago. "This is actually a very good outcome," RCAF spokesman Capt. Thomas Edelson said. "Both people got out of the plane. You can buy more planes, but you can't buy more people." The RCAF doesn't actually own the aircraft. They are supplied and maintained by Bombardier under a contract to the RCAF but the instructors are military personnel. AVweb's Russ Niles took a flight in a Harvard II in 2009.
ALPA Pays $53 Million To Ex-TWA Pilots
The Air Line Pilots Association will pay $53 million to settle a lawsuit in which former TWA pilots alleged the union failed to properly defend their seniority rights. The pilots were working for TWA when it was bought out of bankruptcy by American Airlines. Many of the TWA pilots were put on the bottom of the American seniority list and in the air travel slump after the 9/11 attacks they were the first to be laid off. ALPA represented the TWA pilots but the Allied Pilots Union represented American pilots.
Some of the affected TWA pilots launched a suit in 2002 and a jury ruled in their favor in 2011. The trial to determine damages to be paid by ALPA was to begin in March but the union offered to settle instead. ALPA told its members that much of the settlement, which will also pay the legal costs of the pilots, will be covered by insurance and the remainder won't affect day-to-day operations of the union. "With initial damages sought in the billions, this settlement, while significant, is far less than what the plaintiffs pursued," ALPA President Lee Moak said in a letter to members. "And because of our preparation and risk management, ALPA will make our portion of the payment without impairing our operations or services, without assessing our members, and without raising dues." A judge has to approve the settlement and both sides in the suit will figure out how to distribute the money.
Bird Dog, Truck Auction Raises $1 Million
An anonymous bidder paid $750,000 for a nostalgic package that included a Cessna L-19 Bird Dog aircraft and a Dodge M37 army truck at a Barrett-Jackson auction last weekend. Another $250,000 in donations was also raised for the for the Armed Forces Foundation's educational effort on the effects of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Cessna donated the aircraft, which is one of about 130 flyable Bird Dogs. Okoboji Classic Cars, of Spencer, Iowa, donated the truck. A quick survey of used aircraft sites puts the value of a good Bird Dog at about $80,000 while drivable examples of the truck go for less than $10,000. The aircraft and truck in the auction had undergone full restorations.
The L-19 is a 1957 model that spent the first half of its life in France as a trainer before being imported to the U.S. in 1984. It was purchased by Dr. Wallace Nelms, of Wilson, N.C., who restored it to American colors and markings over a three-year period. The truck was found in a farmer's field and more than 2,500 hours were spent restoring it.
ForeFlight Mobile 5.6 Update Released
Tyson Weihs, co-founder and CEO of ForeFlight, has announced the release of version 5.6 of ForeFlight’s intelligent app for pilots. Highlights of the update include enhanced flight plan filing options—including ICAO flight plan form support—as well as complete worldwide coverage for military pilots. Significantly, ForeFlight now primarily files flight plans directly via the modernized Lockheed Martin Flight Services (AFSS) interfaces, which allows Flight Service specialists to see flight plan details so they can more quickly provide briefings and open VFR flight plans. A significant benefit is faster search and rescue times in the event they are needed. Pilots still have the choice of filing via DUATS. ICAO flight plan filing—required if flying internationally or crossing foreign airspace as is common in the Great Lakes area—has been enabled in the update, which now allows IFR filing throughout North America.
Also new with ForeFlight 5.6 is complete worldwide coverage of Department of Defense DFLIP data including approach plates, en route charts, and DAFIF nav data. In addition to Central and South America, Pacific, Australasia and Antarctica, ForeFlight’s Military Flight Bag now offers Africa, Canada, Europe, Asia, Middle East and United States coverage. Military Flight Bag is a service available to military, state and federal agencies, and DOD contractors who have approval to access the Department of Defense Flight Information Publications (FLIP) and who have an active ForeFlight Mobile subscription.
Savvy Aircraft Announces Nationwide Pre-Buy Program
Prospective buyers of used aircraft have long found it hard to obtain good pre-buy examinations, particularly when the aircraft they’re interested in is located some distance away. Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management, Inc. (Savvy) now offers a nationwide pre-buy management program that solves this problem and helps avoid the many pitfalls that can plague prospective buyers. “Aircraft sellers are typically represented by brokers, and Savvy’s pre-buy program is designed to provide a similar level of professional advocacy for buyers,” said Savvy’s founder and CEO, Mike Busch. (Mike Busch was one of the founders of AVweb but no longer has any ownership interest).
For a fixed fee, Savvy provides professional management through all stages of an aircraft pre-buy. The service includes logbook review, selection of a qualified and impartial maintenance facility with expertise in make and model, arranging a test flight to verify aircraft and systems are functioning properly, specific guidance on the scope and detail of the pre-buy examination, review of the pre-buy and test flight findings, and coaching the buyer through the final negotiations with the seller. “Most aircraft buyers understand it’s essential to conduct as much due diligence as possible when making a major purchase,” said Busch. “But they often run into problems like being unable to find a competent and unbiased shop, overpaying for the examination, and lacking a source of professional and objective advice throughout the process.”
AVmail: January 27, 2014
Letter of the Week:
Face it, buying an airplane involves more of the former Federal Reserve’s Chair, Alan Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” than it does steely-eyed appraisal—it’s easy to fall in lust with a paint job. That’s especially true after having had an enjoyable time learning to fly while making new friends in aviation—it can be hard to believe that there might be some airplane owners who are less than scrupulous when selling their pride and joy. Sadly, it’s true. There are some real dogs on the market. Their owners either really believe they’re in wonderful shape or are willing to fabricate through their teeth in describing them. And, regardless of the fact that the general aviation fleet is getting long in the tooth, disregard for maintenance by an owner can occur to an airplane of any vintage. Just because an airplane is only a couple of years old doesn’t mean it’s in good shape.
That means, bluntly, if you are buying an airplane, of any age—whether outright or just a share in it—a pre-buy examination by an objective mechanic of your choosing is utterly essential. As a lawyer, some of the most frustrating matters I’ve dealt with have involved airplane owners who bought without having a pre-buy conducted—or had one done by the seller’s mechanic—and then discovered that they’d bought junk and wanted their money back. In one case the airplane had corrosion that cost over $30,000 to fix. One had had a nose gear collapse and repairs that were so bad they had to be redone. A third had the wrong engine installed, so it couldn’t pass its next annual without an engine replacement. Almost invariably, the seller was in another state and trying to prove the seller knew the airplane was in rotten shape would be so difficult, not to mention expensive—or the seller had disappeared or was bankrupt. Too often the buyer was stuck with his or her money pit.
Although this article is primarily about the pre-buy examination conducted after you select an airplane, there are some caveats to keep in mind during your search. They may help you winnow down the field and avoid a lemon: Accept that there are no undiscovered, fabulous deals just waiting for you to uncover—an airplane half-way across the country priced well below others you’ve considered has something badly wrong with it. If it were in good shape for that price, a local would have snapped it up. Also, “fresh annual” and “fresh overhaul” are red flags—consider them traps for suckers. If you were going to sell, how much would you spend on maintenance? If you do pursue such an airplane, it would be wise to assume the annual is worthless and that the overhaul won’t come close to making TBO—and make a purchase offer accordingly.
The good news is that honest sellers don’t object to a pre-buy examination. Most expect it and will cooperate in coordinating it. You, the buyer, will bear all of the costs, including ferrying the airplane, if needed. Realistic sellers recognize that a pre-buy helps protect them if the buyer later suffers buyer’s remorse and tries to take some action against the seller for misrepresentation of the airplane.
If a seller resists a pre-buy it’s usually a sufficient reason to walk away from the airplane. The times I’ve seen a seller resist for good reason involved logistics, notably where the buyer demanded that the seller fly the airplane a long ways without agreeing to pay the cost of getting it there and back if it didn’t pass the exam.
Once you’ve found an airplane that looks good enough to consider buying, a number of things happen—although the sequence may vary: Getting photos of the exterior and interior, getting copies of the last few years of logbook entries and oil analysis results, as well as printouts from the engine analyzer, if available, negotiation on the price, flying the airplane and getting the aircraft file from the FAA, If the negotiation get serious, the rule of thumb is to agree on a price that is subject to a pre-buy examination. You and the seller may then want to agree on what will happen as a result of the pre-buy. Under what conditions can you walk away? If there are squawks and an estimate for repairs, who pays for the repairs if you go ahead with the deal? If you haven’t flown the airplane, you’ll want to do so at some point prior to the exam (or arrange to have someone you trust do the test flight). Don’t pass on a test flight—a ground inspection, no matter how careful, can’t uncover some potential faults, such as the airplane being badly out of rig.
Now your serious detective work begins. In anticipation of the pre-buy examination you should order a copy of all of the aircraft’s records on file with the FAA—that means everything that has been recorded with the FAA regarding the airplane—all ownership and loan paperwork and all Form 337s (Major Repairs and Alterations). While you’ll get a title search done to confirm that the airplane is free of liens, the paperwork package gives you a head start on the subject and it lets you start doing your due diligence to find out if there is a damage history that has not been disclosed. Generally, big fixes required after an accident or incident require filing a Form 337. However, a certain percentage of owners and their mechanics don’t bother doing so in hopes of not losing resale value on the airplane. The absence of a 337 for a big repair is not proof of the absence of damage history.
It’s not an inspection. Let’s make it clear. Around airplanes, the word “inspection” has specific meanings, especially when the FARs are involved. The FAA does not recognize the term “pre-buy inspection.” Examination is more descriptive of what's being done. Further, the results of a pre-buy exam should never be recorded in an aircraft or engine logbook. It is an examination of the aircraft and its logs to get information about its condition so you can make a decision as to whether you want to buy it. That’s it. It is not a prediction or guarantee of future airworthiness. It’s a snapshot of the condition of the items on the airplane examined then and there. It is a tool for you and your mechanic to use in making the decision whether to buy the airplane.
The exam should be conducted by a mechanic you chose—and who knows the type of aircraft well. Knowledge and experience in type does matter—a mechanic who primarily works on Cessna, Cirrus and Piper is not likely to know the inner secrets of Mooneys. A good way to locate a mechanic is through the type club for the model. Having joined the type club and learned all you can about the marque early in your search benefits you in several ways—learning what to look for and look out for as ammunition for your search and negotiation, getting to know people who are knowledgeable that may be able to help you during the purchase process and as an owner and the chance that a club member may be selling a good airplane.
Discuss the nature and extent of the exam with your mechanic when you retain him or her. How deep do you want to dig? What needs to be looked at to find evidence of undisclosed damage that may not have been repaired correctly? Set it up so that if your mechanic finds what may be a show stopper that he or she comes to a halt right then and tells you so you can make a decision. If you aren’t going to buy, there’s no reason to continue.
Set aside a full day for a pre-buy for non-pressurized piston singles and twins—it may take less—the idea is not to be hurried. Anyhow, you’ve got to allow a few days to get the oil sample you’ll take analyzed.
Once the day comes, the first step is to go through all of the originals of the logbooks (this is one time originals matter—if you buy, you’ll make electronic copies and keep the originals locked up because their loss knocks 10 to 20 percent off the resale value of the airplane). If the seller has told you that all the logs exist and then there proves to be any kind of hassle regarding production of any of the logbooks at the beginning of the inspection, be spring-loaded to walk away. If the logs aren’t all there, ready to go, it’s a major issue. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve seen situations where sellers, knowing some of the logs are missing, will produce a few right away and then start making excuses and finding one here and one there, hoping the buyer will let it go without realizing the set is not complete. Don’t fall into the trap. The logs are either all there or they are not. If they aren’t, it should have been disclosed up front and the purchase price should have reflected that logs were missing.
There are numerous, good checklists for pre-buy exams, especially those compiled by type clubs. One size does not fit all. Once the logs pass muster, your mechanic should follow the checklist you’ve agreed upon. In my opinion, that includes a borescope exam of the engine, not just a compression check. You’ll also overnight the oil sample for analysis. The good companies will call or email you with the results the next day.
Your mechanic should make a running list of squawks. Assuming no big deal-breaker is found, he or she should then give you an estimate to fix each one. You and your mechanic then have time to discuss how things look overall and in detail.
If things look good, contingent on the oil sample (and the seller may have given you the oil sample history), you and the seller go over the squawk list based on your agreement as to how the cost of repairs is to be handled and close the deal. In my opinion, your mechanic should fix the squawks, not the seller’s.
The first time I purchased an airplane, it was recommended to me that I should have the mechanic who did the pre-buy go ahead and complete an annual inspection. The rational was that the mechanic has already opened up the airplane and done a significant percentage of the examination of the airplane that’s involved with an annual—it’s cost effective to carry on, even if there is a couple of days delay as the sale closes. Plus, I’d then know that I’d had an annual done by a mechanic I’d selected. It made sense to me, so I did it. What I didn’t expect was the peace of mind it gave me on flights in IMC and at night in the upcoming months. I’ve followed the same practice on subsequent purchases and I’ve seen it done when friends bought airplanes. In each case, the mechanic who was doing the pre-buy knew of the plan going in.
I’ve heard about and seen too many aircraft horror shows that resulted from an eager buyer who decided not to have a pre-buy conducted—or had the seller’s mechanic do the pre-buy. In my opinion, a pre-buy is cheap insurance against the financial disaster that can result when you buy a cosmetically covered-up piece of junk. Ownership costs have been climbing far faster than inflation—there are a lot of financially distressed aircraft owners out there who cut back on maintenance before deciding to unload them. A pre-buy is the best way to protect yourself against a very bad ownership experience.
Rick Durden is an aviation attorney and the author of The Thinking Pilot’s Flight Manual or, How to Survive Flying Little Airplanes and Have a Ball Doing It, Vol. I.
I was picking up my Cherokee 160 at the Charlotte County Florida airport after IFR/weight-and-balance certifications. As I was preparing to taxi out, I heard another pilot report there was a turtle that was "taxiing" toward runway 22.
Not too long after this report, I heard yet another taxiing pilot ask the question, "What type of airplane is he in?"
I never did hear the turtle report any of its five Ws!
Arthur L. Hewitt
Surfing the untracked wilderness of modern cable television, my scroll-around sometimes lands on something interesting. Lately, it’s been a show called Dangerous Flights, another of the Discovery Channel’s reality series. These sorts of programs are called reality TV and if reality were scripted, they’d be accurately named. Otherwise, like a patient drifting in and out of a coma, the reality appears more often than I’d expect and often sharply focused.
Here’s the set-up. The series tells the story…oh, shoot, I’ll take this directly from the show’s Web site: “Dangerous Flights is the real deal: a high-testosterone action adventure series on the edge of aviation’s final frontier, starring the daring mavericks who risk their lives in the high-danger, no-holds-barred, high-stress business of aircraft delivery.” I gotta hand it to the copy writer on that one, that’s straight from the 1940s radio drama of insurance investigator Johnny Dollar, “the man with the action-packed expense account.” And the final frontier is flying a 210 from Maine to France? Funny, I’d of thought those guys in Mojave blasting people into space were a little more final frontiery. But I digress.
The basic narrative involves a start-up organization of ferry pilots delivering GA aircraft around the world for various clients. As is the fashion in TV, each episode—and we’re now just starting season two—usually details two deliveries on a parallel plot track. What would otherwise be a dull plot line is sexed up with some lead-in problem—a Cessna 210 with major fuel leaks, a Cirrus SR22 co-crewed by a graybeard pilot who’s never seen a G1000, a geriatric Cheyenne with dysfunctional avionics, a jet with avionics problems.
Despite the overhyped promo, pilots paying attention to this series might actually gain useful glimpses into how ferry work is done and how some of the decision-making happens. And also a sense of the risk. In a recent episode, the one involving the SR22, two pilots are ferrying the airplane from Singapore to Ohio. One of them, Kerry McCauley, is an experienced ferry pilot with numerous Atlantic crossings, but little Cirrus experience.
They’ll be doing the translant on the Blue Spruce route, westbound, in the winter. McCauley is caught on film having reservations about the wisdom of such a flight, explaining he’s done it enough times to wonder if he’s not pushing his luck. The outbound flight handler in Scotland is dubious, noting that he has a list of pilots who didn’t return from such trips. Whether staged for the camera or not, I thought that an accurate glimpse into the often unvoiced fears many of us have before launching on high-risk flights. Props to reality TV for coaxing it out of him.
In watching this program, I constantly wonder what the non-aviation literate think of it, for they’re the core audience. Naturally, all of us in GA want the industry to be accurately represented and, might as well admit it, promoted to a certain extent. While that’s obviously not the point here, I wonder if Dangerous Flights ends up doing that despite itself. Would a person watching this show find it exciting enough to want to pursue flight training or be put off by the over-dramatized danger, not the least of which is the title itself? I really can’t decide if the series paints GA in a favorable light for the non-pilot or not. You tell me.
But the reality sneaks through nonetheless. Including being boring, which the show occasionally is, just like most of the long flights I’ve been on. You can only sex up situation normal so much in 30 minutes. And just like real pilots, the ferry crews sometimes make marginal decisions, one of which was flying a Cheyenne of questionable maintenance history from the Philippines to Florida, a trip peppered with the kind of breakdowns, malfunctions and general mayhem that anyone flying older airplanes will recognize. But I wonder if the aviation-interested viewer will realize that stuff happens all the time.
I suppose these days, as long as they spell aviation and airplane correctly, we ought to be happy with any kind of publicity we get for the industry. At least Dangerous Flights does that.
Wayne Boggs is best known for keeping the performers and spectators safe at some of the world's biggest air shows, including AirVenture. A week from Sunday, he and his team will be orchestrating the safe and timely arrival and departure of about 600 business jets filled with spectators for one of the world's biggest sports spectacles. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Boggs about how he helps make that happen.
World Aircraft is starting production of two light sport aircraft at its base in Paris, Tennessee. The company exhibited at U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida.
RANS Designs is out with a model called the S-20 Raven, an evolution of its popular Coyote series. At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring on Thursday, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took the Raven for a demo flight, and here's his report on the airplane.
In the 1950s there were various designs for flying platforms, but the technology wasn't quite good enough for a practical design. Flying Platform, LLC displayed the beginnings of an updated version of the Hiller Flying Platform at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida and hope to have it flying by June. After that, they'll be offering kits for sale.
Before the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the former Eastern Bloc countries supplied the Soviets with sophisticated aerospace products and services. Now those industries have turned to civil aircraft manufacture. One of those companies, Skyleader, showed off a new LSA at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring this week. Here's a brief video report on the new Skyleader 600.
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