AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 3b

January 17, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Zulu Time ... From Lightspeed
The new Zulu headset looks different because it is different. Made with magnesium, stainless steel, and four types of composite plastics, it's extremely durable and yet weighs just over 13 ounces. Rather than concentrating purely on cutting decibels, Lightspeed engineers looked at how pilots perceive noise at different frequencies. You get broader noise attenuation over the entire audible range. Zulu has more total noise cancellation than any headset on the market. Click here for a dealer near you.
Making It Safer to Fly back to top 

Report: Runway Lights Should Be Deployed

The FAA should move from the testing phase and start to deploy Runway Status Light systems at airports across the country, according to a new report (PDF) from the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General. The report concludes that the lighting systems -- which provide red and green lights at runway intersections to guide pilots -- have been tested and proved useful for reducing runway incursions. The test systems gained widespread support from user groups, including pilots, pilot union officials, and managers and staff at Air Traffic Control. "All agreed that the Runway Status Light system works as intended and has no known negative impact on capacity, communication, or safety," according to the report. NTSB officials said the system is a promising technology for addressing its longstanding recommendation to provide direct warnings to pilots of potential runway conflicts. So what's the hold-up? Several challenges need to be addressed, the OIG says, before the system can be effectively deployed.

The challenges identified in the report include modifying the prototype system, developed at Dallas-Fort Worth, so it will interface correctly with different radar systems at other airports; coordinating with airports that are planning to deploy the lights as they install or upgrade new runways (as opposed to retrofitting to existing runways); equipping ground vehicles with transponders; and mitigating delays in implementing ASDE-X, which contributes necessary data to the lighting system.

Researchers Improve Turbulence Forecasts

Everyone who flies depends on weather reports and forecasts every day, but we seldom think about the raw science that goes into making and refining such predictions. This week, a team of weather researchers from the U.S. and U.K. say they have come up with a better way to forecast clear-air turbulence, based on "spontaneous imbalance theory." John Knox, Donald McCann, and Paul Williams said their new technique is more consistently successful than current methods, and improves on an earlier method developed by McCann. The team will present a paper about their work next week at the Aviation, Range, and Aerospace Meteorology Conference in New Orleans.

For those so inclined, McCann's Web site provides technical descriptions of the various types of turbulence that affect aircraft, and the algorithms he uses to predict their behavior.

Announcing the Online MBA for Aviation Professionals
from Daniel Webster College

Did you know that professionals with an MBA earn an average of $10,000 to $30,000 more per year? Within 27 months, you can be one of them!

Daniel Webster College MBA for Aviation Professionals is a fully-accredited, 100%-online program built for the busy schedule of the aviation professional. Being "on the road" is no longer a barrier to career advancement. Call (866) 458-7525 or click here for more information.
Generating Revenue back to top 

DOT Wants Higher Landing Fees At Busy Airports

Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said on Monday that airports should be allowed to charge landing fees based on congestion, instead of weight, to encourage airlines to shift schedules to less-busy times or to less-busy airports. The proposal brought immediate reaction, most of it negative. The agency that operates New York's main airports said Peters' plan is too conservative: "These small steps don't address the fundamental problem when dramatic action is needed," the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey told The New York Times. The airlines don't like it. The DOT proposal "is nothing more than congestion pricing disguised as an airport fee," said Air Transport Association President James May. He added that the proposal "does nothing to fix the primary cause of delays -- our nation's increasingly antiquated air traffic control system." One go-team response came from Airports Council International - North America. "We're pleased that Secretary Peters has recognized that airport proprietors are in the best position to manage the use of the facilities they planned, financed, built and currently operate," said ACI-NA President Greg Principato.

The DOT's proposed policy would also enable airports to include the cost of existing construction projects in their rates and charges, according to the ACI-NA. The industry has 45 days to comment on the proposal before it is made final.

Sebring Expo Starts Today

The fourth annual U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., starts today and runs through the weekend. The event showcases the light sport aircraft industry, with about 140 exhibitors expected to attend. Visitors are encouraged to comparison shop and try out the aircraft, which include weight-shift trikes, powered parachutes, motor-gliders, and gyroplanes as well as fixed-wing. Cessna and Cirrus will be there with their LSA designs. "The exclusive focus on sport pilot and LSA gives manufacturers and enthusiasts a chance to interact on a more intimate level," said EAA's Ron Wagner, who is coordinating the forums and workshop schedule. AVweb's Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles will be on the scene, so stay tuned to AVweb for coverage of all the show events.

Admission and parking fees are low, and pilots who fly in can camp under the wing for $5 a day. A temporary tower will be operational during the event; pilots should consult the show Web site for more info.

Get More Spark Plug Life for Less Money at Aircraft Spruce
Aircraft Spruce is currently offering Unison Slick Kits with Autolite XL Fine Wire Plugs at Autolite Massive Plug pricing. This is a savings of $360 for a 6-cylinder engine or $240 for a 4-cylinder engine. Receive a $75 Aircraft Spruce gift card with every case order of Autolite Fine Wire Plugs (12 plugs per case) and complimentary ground shipping for case orders. Limited Time Offer. Call Aircraft Spruce at 1-877-4-SPRUCE, or visit online.
Aviation Safety back to top 

NTSB Preliminary Report Out On Cirrus Rep Crash

The NTSB this week issued a preliminary report on the Dec. 30 crash of a Cirrus SR22 in Paso Robles, Calif., that killed Cirrus sales representative Thomas Leveque. The report echoes information that AVweb learned from an earlier interview with the NTSB investigator in charge of the accident, in that it does not provide any indication of a mechanical failure. It will be several months before the NTSB issues its final report and probable cause. According to the preliminary report, N254SR departed San Carlos Airport that morning bound for Paso Robles Municipal Airport in visual meteorological conditions. A close friend of the pilot said that Leveque called him from a cellphone while in flight approaching his house. Leveque had made low passes over the friend's house "on many occasions" to signal the friend to pick him up from the airport, which is about a 15-minute drive away.

The friend told the NTSB that he observed the airplane approaching his house in "a nose-high configuration with full power" when "he heard the telephone drop and the pilot make a few inaudible comments." The report also confirms early rumors that the plane was observed doing a "barrel roll" just prior to impact with terrain, but does not indicate whether that maneuver may have been intentional. Several nearby residents said they had previously seen an airplane maneuvering low to the ground in the area, which the NTSB report described as "rolling hills ... comprised of dirt and dry grass and populated by scattered oak trees typical of the central California region." The main wreckage was located at about 1,115 feet MSL.

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Aircraft Manufacturers back to top 

Eclipses To Be Built In Russia?

Eclipse Aviation announced on Monday that Luxembourg-based European Technology and Investment Research Center, headed by former computer magnate Roel Pieper, is looking at building its very light jets in Ulyanovsk, Russia after buying a stake in Eclipse worth "substantially in excess of $100 million." The cash injection buys Pieper the title of non-executive chairman of Eclipse and gives his company rights to sell the mini-jet in 60 countries, including Western Europe and Britain. Vern Raburn, who remains president and CEO, said the deal expands Eclipse's horizons more quickly. "Entrusting the expanded region of Europe to ETIRC in this manner represents a significant acceleration of our business plan," said Raburn. "Expanding our relationship with ETIRC will rapidly increase the impact of the Eclipse 500 in this region and position us to meet the needs of our growing number of customers outside of North America."

The announcement came as a variety of blog sites and forums were predicting the demise of the company, which last month secured more than $30 million in financing from existing customers by guaranteeing them lower prices for their aircraft in exchange for increased deposits. There was no announcement in the news release on the progress of certification items like flight into known icing, the lack of which is restricting operations of the approximately 100 Eclipses now in service.

Company Revives the Goose

One of the most iconic amphibs ever produced may be back in production by the end of the year. According to The Greensboro/Winston-Salem Business Journal, a Gibsonville, N.C., company, Antilles Seaplanes, is hoping to have FAA approval to begin production of the twin-engine flying boat by the end of June. Company co-founder V.I. Manuel told the Business Journal there's major interest in the revival of the Goose, with inquiries (but no firm orders) coming from Malaysia to Alaska. Manuel said vintage Gooses are much sought after and in short supply. The new Goose will look like the old one but will benefit from 60 years of technological advancement.

Purists can order their Goose with 450-hp Pratt and Whitney R-95 radials, but if they really want it on the step in a hurry, a pair of PT-6s with 680 shp can also be mounted. The new aircraft makes use of carbon fiber for enhanced corrosion resistance and, of course, there's a full array of electronics on board (no glass panels, though). The Web site does not include pricing information.

Precise Flight's High-Intensity Discharge Landing & Taxi Light Systems ...
... Are the brightest illumination available. The stellar combination of increased light output, reduced power consumption, superior lamp life, and brilliant light quality are a few of the major benefits of HID lighting. The PreciseLite HID landing light, approved for Cessna and Piper models, is now approved for Beechcraft Bonanzas with cowl-mounted lights replacing the existing cowl lamp and available in 12 and 24 volts. Click here for additional information.
News Briefs back to top 

Skydivers Report Growth, Safety Improvement For Sport

Last year was one of the safest -- and busiest -- ever for skydivers, the U.S. Parachute Association said on Monday. Eighteen skydivers were killed, the fewest since 1962, and about 2.5 million jumps were completed around the country. "We should all take pride in the strides we have made in skydiving safety in the past half a century," said Ed Scott, executive director of the USPA. The group added that nearly 5,000 new members joined in 2007, for a total of 31,264. The industry also saw "an unprecedented upturn" in the number of skydiving licenses issued last year, the USPA said. However, safety is a relative term. "Nobody would argue that skydiving is a safe thing to do," the USPA says at its Web site.

In comparison, skiing, another popular "adrenaline" sport that has much higher participation, caused 22 deaths in the 2006/2007 winter season, out of 55 million skier/snowboarder days, according to the National Ski Areas Association. In skydiving, safety generally is determined by the individual, says the USPA. "Rarely do skydiving accidents result from equipment failure or bad luck. Skydivers use good preparation and judgment to manage the obvious and inherent risks."

Cessna Increases Support Of Able Flight

Able Flight, a nonprofit group that provides flight-training scholarships to people with disabilities, announced on Monday that Cessna Aircraft Company has signed on for its second year and increased its support to the level of major sponsor. "Cessna has made a powerful commitment to our mission of using aviation to transform the lives of people with disabilities," said Able Flight's Executive Director, Charles Stites. "They have recognized the positive impact that flight training can have ... inspiring people who meet the challenge of learning to fly." Able Flight plans to award up to 15 scholarships this year. By this summer, Able Flight expects that as many as 10 scholarship winners will have completed their training. Able Flight's mission is to offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance.

One third of all the group's scholarships go to wounded veterans.

What Is the True Age of an Aircraft?
Take the Air Safety Foundation's new online course — Aging Aircraft — to learn what factors affect aircraft aging and how to mitigate their risks. You'll get invaluable tips on how to recognize the symptoms of aircraft aging. Includes complimentary Buying and Renting Guides and information on manufacturer issues. Take this no-cost, online course now.
News Briefs back to top 

On the Fly ...

A Virgin Atlantic 747 will burn burn biofuel during a demo flight from London to Amsterdam next month ...

Deliveries of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner are now delayed until 2009. The original delivery date was this May ...

A Citation jet and a 152 had a close call last week at Palm Beach airport, the FAA says ...

The Sporty's Foundation will sponsor four new $5,000 recreational pilot training awards for individuals from Aircraft Electronics Association member shops ...

The lost crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia will be honored in a memorial service at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Feb. 1., the fifth anniversary of the accident.

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.

Flight Resource & Lightspeed Team Up for a Very Special Offer
Flight Resource will include a Lightspeed Thirty 3G ANR headset with the purchase of an MT Composite Constant Speed Propeller. These German-engineered and -manufactured MT propellers are known for high-performance airfoils, unlimited life, light weight, and vibration-free operation. STCs for installation on the most popular U.S. and Canadian aircraft and ready for immediate shipment. For complete details, call Flight Resource at (866) 717-1117, or go online.
New on AVweb back to top 

The Savvy Aviator #53: The Dark Side of Maintenance

Maintenance has a dirty little secret: It often hurts more than it helps.

Click here for the full story.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X for Pilots: Chapter 23 -- Flying with One Feathered

Multi-engine training is all about shutting down one engine and trying to get yourself safely on the ground ... easier said than done. But some situations are too dangerous to practice in a real twin -- unless it's a twin in Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

Click here to read this chapter.

Bennett Avionics: Used Avionics Guidance You Can Trust
Used avionics is Bennett Avionics' only business! Bennett Avionics has served general aviation worldwide with reliable and quality used avionics for over 30 years. Bennett Avionics can help you meet your avionics needs, improve the capability of your aircraft, and maintain your budget. Call Bennett Avionics at (860) 653-7295, or go online for a complete list of available products.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Learn & Laugh back to top 

Exclusive Video: Behind the Scenes of That Amazing Thunderbird Ejection/Crash Photo

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

When we first saw the photo of Capt. Chris Stricklin's ejection from a doomed U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 a few years ago, most of us here at AVweb thought it was a fake. But the more we looked at it, the more it seemed possible that someone had actually snapped Stricklin's moment of truth in what must be one of the greatest aviation photos ever shot. Well, it wasn't long before we learned that Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III had actually captured the drama at an air show at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho.

In this week's AVweb original video, Video Editor Glenn Pew looks at the circumstances surrounding the dramatic accident — combining still photos, in-cockpit and outside-of-cockpit video, and narration including the investigation's findings and changes in procedure for the T-birds.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Related Content:
Thunderbirds Crash: Truth in Images

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, plus access to aviation records, product discounts, and much more. Call (703) 527-0226 to become an NAA member, or sign up online.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Aviation Technology (KSDF, Louisville, KY)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Aviation Technology at KSDF in Louisville, Kentucky.

AVweb reader Don Gay tells us how the Tec team came through for him just last week:

My twin Cessna 310 had a bad case of plug fouling and clogged fuel injectors on Friday, January 4 at 4pm. Paul Atwell and his tech stayed overtime for two hours to clean and gap the plugs and clean fuel injectors to get me on my way to my destination that night. Outstanding.

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!

Choose the Flight Explorer Edition Right for You
Flight Explorer is an information system tracking commercial and general aviation flights. With the Flight Explorer Personal Edition, view air traffic for the U.S., Canada, or New Zealand and monitor and display real-time delay information, TFRs, SUAs, and more. With the Flight Explorer Pilot Edition, view weather along a route, receive alerts with your preliminary flight plan, and have an e-mail sent to someone on departure or arrival. Click here for more information and to subscribe.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings.  The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week."  Want to see your photo on AVweb.com?  Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.


Last week, we at "POTW" headquarters were feeling a bit neglected, and we asked — some might even say begged — our readership to flood us with photo submissions and boost our spirits.  Boy, did you guys ever come through!  (If only everyone were as dependable as AVweb readers.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Bengt Olson

Midwinter Overnight

Bengt Olson of Hindås, Sweden brings the contrast this week.  His colorful photo of "a Finnair A321 parked at Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport under the winter sky" took our breath away — and even managed capture an AVweb baseball cap in between breaths.


medium | large

copyright © Jerry L. Morris
Used with permission

Reflections of Power

Remember Jerry L. Morris of Dahlonega, Georgia?  We thought you might — he was last week's "POTW" winner and very nearly cadged the honor for an unprecedented two weeks in a row.  This incredible shot came from Davenport Air Show last June.


medium | large

Photo by Dick Starks
Used with permission of Dick Lemons

Nieuports Are Fun!

Dick Lemons of Kansas City, Missouri always seems to be having a good time in the photos he submits.  In this one, snapped by Dick Starks, the happy-go-lucky Mr. Lemons shows off his Graham Lee Nieuport XI Replica.


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copyright © Chuck Spaulding
Used with permission

Dreaming of a White Christmas

We know the song was set in California (on December 24, even!), but somehow we doubt Chuck Spaulding of Agoura Hills was dreaming of this sort of white Christmas when the photo was snapped on Christmas Eve at Camarillo Airport.


medium | large

copyright © SVG Air 1990 Ltd.
Used with permission of Paul Gravel

Shrike Commander over the Grenadines

Paul Gravel of St. Vincent & the Grenadines (in the Caribbean) sets imaginations soaring with our final photo of the week.

Until next time, thanks to Paul, Chuck, Dick, Jerry, Bengt, and everyone else who shared their flying adventures with us this week.  We can't wait to see the everyone else's photos!

Want more reader-submitted photos?  It's a good bet you'll enjoy the slideshow on our home page.

A quick note for submitters:  If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week!  That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too.  ;)

A Reminder About Copyrights:
Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an e-mail.

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

Managing Editor
Meredith Saini

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.