AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 13, Number 47a

November 19, 2007

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
In Print & Online, Trade-A-Plane Has Everything That Keeps You Flying
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Kermit Was Right: Being Green Isn't Easy back to top 

Avgas: Group Asks EPA To Get The Lead Out

The environmental group Friends of the Earth says Lead emissions from general aviation aircraft endanger public health and warrant regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. Friends of the Earth is calling on the agency to either regulate or, if lacking present evidence, to investigate "the health and environmental impacts of lead emissions from general aviation aircraft." The EPA has responded with a Notice of Petition For Rulemaking and is asking for public comment by March 17, 2008. Friends of the Earth claims that 70 percent of general aviation aircraft can be accommodated with unleaded automobile gas and 82UL (a fuel that has not yet been produced for general aviation). The group contends that the remaining 30 percent "can potentially use" AGE85 (an ethanol based aviation fuel).

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Safety R&D — Sometimes Not So Safe ... back to top 

Airbus Ground Test Accident Shears Off Nose

Click for larger images

Five people were injured Thursday when Airbus suffered its first ground test accident. The event involved Airbus's second largest aircraft, a 359-seat A340-600, that "broke free" while testing its four engines (rated at 56,000 pounds of thrust, each) and crashed into a noise-reduction barrier at the Airbus facilities in Toulouse, France, according to news reports. The aircraft was set for delivery to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways this coming week, but its cockpit was "sheared off" in the accident. The aircraft is likely a write-off. Etihad is waiting on six A340-600s from Airbus.

New Technology Makes Aircraft More Crash-Resistant

The Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands will demonstrate how the application of Fault Tolerant Control can be used to keep damaged aircraft flying and improve their chances of being successfully recovered. Fault Tolerant Control involves the creation and adaptation of on-board control systems to handle unanticipated in-flight emergencies and keep the shiny side up long enough to get the aircraft on the ground. "The key to this is to improve control techniques which enable the aircraft to continue to be controlled," the university said in a news release. "The implemented improvements are based on the analysis of flight data from aviation accidents by the NLR. This has led to improved interpretation of the (defective) condition of the aircraft." For the demonstration, the researchers have deconstructed the crash of an El Al flight near Amsterdam in 1992. The Boeing 747 freighter went down when both right engines fell off the wing while it was on final, killing four crew members and about 50 people on the ground. The data has been plugged into a simulator and the new control techniques applied to the rather remarkable set of circumstances faced by the flight crew. "Simulator experiments have shown that the new techniques make it easier for the pilot to land seriously-damaged aircraft safely," the university claims. The university also says there’s a lot of work to be done on the theories and it should be considered a long-term project.

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Pilots Effecting Change back to top 

Pilots' Legacy Aids Police Families

The families of two helicopter television journalists killed in a collision in Phoenix in July have donated much of the considerable public fund created in their memory to a group that helps the families of police officers killed in the line of duty. Pilot/reporter Scott Bowerbank and cameraman Jim Cox, of KVTK, died July 27 when their helicopter collided with a KNXV helicopter flown by Craig Smith, with videographer Rick Krolak on board. All four died. Bowerbank and Cox’s families have donated $500,000 to the TASER Foundation For Fallen Officers and asked that all subsequent donations be directed there. TASER Foundation spokesman Gerry Hills said it’s the largest single donation ever received and will be used to fund a permanent endowment to provide financial help to the families of fallen police officers in the U.S. and Canada. "We are overwhelmed by such generosity," said Hills. An average of 145 police officers are killed in the line of duty in Canada and the U.S. every year.

AOPA: Be Afraid Of User Fees ... And Act

"The FAA funding issue is far from resolved," AOPA President Phil Boyer warned in a release Thursday. President Bush is using public frustration over airline delays to push his administration's agenda of imposing a 263 percent increase in avgas taxes plus additional user fees, according to AOPA. For its part, AOPA is using the president's words to once again call on AOPA members "to contact their senators when the time is right." That time may come early next year. H.R. 2881, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2007, has already passed the House of Representatives, but AOPA warns that Senate committees "are in disagreement over user fees versus taxes, airline tax breaks, and some other issues." Those issues will likely be back on the table in January, when AOPA says it will again be ready for the fight. AOPA says you should be, too.

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Helicopter Safety in the News back to top 

FAA Investigates Balloon/Police Helicopter Collision

A Honolulu department store could face the FAA’s wrath after a Honolulu Police Department helicopter tangled with the tethered balloon the store was using to advertise a sale. The HPD chopper was supporting ground units chasing a suspected thief last week when it clipped one of the lines holding the Savers Thrift Center’s promotion balloon over the store. The balloon is apparently a common sight in the area, according to KGMB News. The tether got caught in the tail rotor and whipped the fuselage but the pilot was able to land it safely and, after inspection, it was cleared for flight to a repair facility. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor says the store may have been violating FAA balloon rules. Gregor told the station that the maximum height a tethered balloon can fly is 500 feet AGL and it must be at least five miles from an airport. The store manager told the TV station his balloon was no more than 200 feet up, although the helicopter pilot claims he was 300 to 400 feet high when he hit the rope. Nevertheless, the rules also state that anyone who wants to put a tethered balloon more than 150 feet high has to notify the local FAA office and Gregor said there was no such notification.

Helicopter Herding To Continue Despite Crash

The Department of the Interior says it will continue using helicopters to herd wildlife in national parks despite an accident in October that destroyed a helicopter but only caused minor injuries to the pilot and the biologist on board. The NTSB says the Bell 206 snagged the top wire of a fence as the chopper was being used to coax wild horses into a corral. The aircraft went into a dynamic roll that the pilot was unable to correct and landed on its left side, destroying the rotor, ripping the transmission from its mounts and busting off the tail. The pilot had more than 35,000 flying hours, including 21,000 in the 206. The horses were being rounded up in Theodore Roosevelt National Park, near Medora, N.D., and were to be auctioned off. The crash ended the roundup and the auction, the first in four years, and the horses were set free.

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Good Vibes, Bad Karma and a Few Mixed Feelings back to top 

Pilots: Just A Happy Group Of Guys And Gals

Despite airline bankruptcies, the withering of cushy retirement plans and having to suffer the indignities of long security lines to get to work, pilots are a happy lot, according to the Nov. 26 issue of Time. In an article about job satisfaction, the magazine reports that 49 percent of professional pilots say they're "very happy" with their jobs, ranking them near the top on the job satisfaction spectrum. A lower percentage of police officers, physicians, lawyers, teachers and engineers say they're happy with their jobs. Pay may have something to do with it. Time reports the median pilot income as $141,090.

Airplane Noise Linked To High Blood Pressure

It may be music to the ears of some, but airplane noise may be hard on the heart. A Swedish study suggests that men who live near airports have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure than those who live in quieter neighborhoods. "It is thought that aircraft noise causes stress problems when it interferes with people's ability to think, relax or sleep, for example," study organizer Dr. Mats Rosenlund of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm told Reuters Health. The study followed 2,000 men, who didn’t have high blood pressure, for 10 years and found that the 20 percent of study subjects who lived in the noisiest area were 19 percent more likely to develop it. The study took into account lifestyle factors like obesity, exercise and eating habits. Rosenlund cautioned that the study does not prove that airplane noise causes high blood pressure but he did say it was consistent with other studies that draw a link between blood pressure and noise.

Flight Delay Solutions Get Mixed Reaction

President Bush’s plans to ease congestion and reduce flight delays over the coming holidays were panned as too little, too late in some circles but embraced as a sign of hope in others. Bush announced that “the epidemic of flight delays” will be addressed with the opening of “Thanksgiving express lanes” through military operating areas on the East Coast through the five days surrounding Thanksgiving. That’s been done before for weather diversions, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory told The Chicago Tribune and it might help a bit. However, critics say Bush’s solutions are politically motivated and will have little practical benefit, especially if the weather turns sour. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association maintains that opening up airspace is futile if there aren’t enough controllers to manage it. It claims there are 7.5 percent fewer experienced controllers on the job this Thanksgiving than last and traffic is up 4 percent. "Until the FAA finds a way to keep its veteran controllers on staff to handle holiday traffic, and ALL traffic year-round, and train new hires, the system will continue to deteriorate," NATCA spokesman Doug Church said in a statement. Bush also said FAA staff are to stop all "non-essential work" so they can help keep traffic moving, but details on just who would do what where were scarce. Bush’s political foes wrote the initiatives off as the president’s attempt to appear to be doing something in the face of a looming holiday season of increased delays and mounting frustration from travelers.

On The Fly...

A Thai Air Force helicopter pilot was suspended for landing his aircraft in the jungle so he could pick wild mushrooms for his mother. Local villagers reported the incident after they found the abandoned aircraft…

The family of a pilot missing in B.C.’s rugged interior are asking for public help to find him. Ron Boychuk, 61, disappeared Oct. 23 on a flight from Revelstoke, in the Rocky Mountains, to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The official search has been called off…

The FAA is tweaking the airspace and procedures around New York to try and ease congestion over the Thanksgiving holiday. The results aren’t expected to be dramatic but officials say anything is better than nothing…

A near-collision between two regional airliners near Chicago last week resulted from a controller error, but that doesn’t mean control facilities are understaffed and the controllers overworked, says the FAA. The aircraft came within about 1.3 miles of each other at 25,000 feet when the TCAS in one of the planes sounded an alert.

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New on AVweb back to top 

CEO of the Cockpit #76: Flying Cars

If you put a parachute on a plane and a professional pilot in the left seat, haven't you got a limo?

Click here for the full story.

Dry Vacuum Pumps

It is possible to increase the service life of your dry pump as well as have an idea of pump condition?

Click here to read this maintenance article.

AVweb's Monday Podcast: Unearthing the Maid of Harlech

File Size 12.1 MB / Running Time 13:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

As you may have read in Thursday's AVwebFlash, the sands of time have buried an intact P-38 for more than 60 years since it was abandoned on a Welsh beach. Now named the Maid of Harlech (for a town near the beach), the Second World War fighter will soon be recovered and restored to original condition, as was another P-38 well known to warbird and air show buffs as Glacier Girl. And in an interesting twist of fate, it turns out the Welsh aircraft and Glacier Girl probably left the factory within days of each other and were both part of Operation Bolero, the U.S. Army Air Force's first major mission to help the war in Europe. AVweb's Mike Blakeney talked with TIGHAR's Ric Gillespie about the Maid of Marlech's history and her future.

Click here to listen. (12.1 MB, 13:15)

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Readers Chime In back to top 

AVmail: Nov. 19, 2007

Reader mail this week about UFOs, WWII history, flight without airline delays and more.

Click here to read this week's letters to the editor.

Did Your Battery Die? Tell Us About It

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, will soon publish an in-depth report on aircraft batteries. As part of that report, the magazine would like to hear about your experiences with aircraft batteries -- good, bad or otherwise.

To take part in our online survey, click here.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something that 130,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Antrim County Airport (KACB at Bellaire, MI)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Antrim County Airport at KACB in Bellaire, Michigan.

AVweb reader Stan Prevost flies into KACB several times a year, and he tells us it's always a pleasant experience, accompanied by a warm welcome. Here's how Stan was greeted on a recent arrival:

As we disembarked the airplane, airport manager John Strehl met us at the airplane with two plastic bags, greeted us by name, and told us to help ourselves to tomatoes growing on vines they had planted around the terminal.

Fresh tomatoes! Can't top that!

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!

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A Little Adrenaline to Start Your Day back to top 

Video of the Week: Motorcycle Jumping an Airplane

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

Thrills and chills never fail to rouse our Monday-morning "Video of the Week" audience, so here you go — a motorcycle jumping an airplane:

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'Nuff said!

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

During a recent departure from Essex County Airport in Caldwell, New Jersey, the tower controller must have been frazzled with intensive student training in the pattern:

Bonanza Seven Zero Mike Romeo, contact New York departure and have a good flight.

To departure. Bonanza Zero Mike Romeo.

Have a nice day.

It's too late for that.

Jack Meagher
Southern Shores, North Carolina

New Gift Ideas Have Been Added to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace
When purchasing gifts for family, friends, and flying buddies, go to AVweb's Holiday Marketplace. AVweb is the perfect place to find perfect gifts for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. And for yourself — forward the link to your family and friends as a hint as to what you want! It's easy online, with AVweb!
More AVweb for Your Inbox back to top 

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

HAVE YOU SIGNED UP yet for AVweb's NO-COST weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz? Reporting on breaking news, Business AVflash focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry. Business AVflash is a must read. Sign up today at http://www.avweb.com/profile/.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

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.

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's sales team.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your PDA or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.