AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 5b

January 31, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce, Proud Sponsor of WAA Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
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Some Pilots Minding the Gap Between Age-60 and -65 back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Details Are Devils For Some 60-Plus Pilots

When Congress last year hurriedly passed the Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act, which raised the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots to 65, nobody read the small print, say some age-60-plus pilots who have lost their jobs. About 3,000 pilots who were required to retire between Nov. 23, 2006, and Dec. 13, 2007, were specifically barred from being rehired at their same seniority levels, the Kansas City Star reported on Monday. The law also bars pilots from challenging the law in court. "I just don’t see how Congress can do that," said Lew Tetlow, president of the Senior Pilots Coalition. He plans to challenge the law in federal court nonetheless. "The new law is poorly written and expressly denies carriers the right to treat older pilots fairly," says the group's lawyer, Jonathan Turley. "Congress clearly enacted this law with little understanding of its implications," he said. He added that a legislative remedy would be preferable to a court fight.

The law says the retired pilots can be rehired by the airlines, but must be treated as a new hire, at the bottom of the pay and seniority scale.

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.
Light Sport News back to top 

Light Sport Aircraft Sales Continue To Grow

Almost twice as many light sport aircraft were sold in 2007 as in 2006, according to numbers compiled by Dan Johnson at bydanjohnson.com. By year's end, 565 new fixed-wing LSAs had been registered, bringing the total fleet to 1,118 airplanes. Johnson said he expects the numbers to continue to grow. "I've forecast 1,000 units in 2008 and doubling that again in another year or two," said Johnson. "If I'm right, LSA may someday meet or exceed all other single engine pistons in the USA." FlightDesign is holding on to the top spot, with 226 aircraft registered -- that's 20 percent of the fleet. The Legend Cub comes in second with 120 copies, and another 20 manufacturers that have each sold more than 10 aircraft. The LSA fleet also includes another 277 aircraft in the weight shift, powered parachute, and glider categories.

FAA Grants Extension For Ultralight Conversions

When the FAA issued its complex Light Sport Aircraft rule about three years ago, owners of two-seat ultralights were issued a deadline of Jan. 31, 2008, to convert their aircraft to the experimental-LSA category. More than 6,000 owners requested transition kits from EAA. With the deadline looming, applications have backlogged, as owners await required inspections by designated airworthiness representatives, who are in short supply. EAA asked the FAA for more time, and last week, FAA granted an exemption. Owners still must get their registration application to the FAA on or before Jan. 31. Then they can apply for an exemption to be allowed to complete the process.

Owners can go to the EAA Web site for more information. The FAA says the exemption will terminate on Jan. 31, 2010, unless sooner superseded or rescinded. (PDF)

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Standards & Technology back to top 

FAA Adopts MU-2B Standards

The FAA has adopted a final rule that imposes standardized training requirements and operational procedures aimed at curbing an increase in the number of accidents by Mitsubishi MU-2B aircraft. The aircraft, which use spoilers for roll control rather than ailerons, were involved in a spate of accidents in 2004 and 2005, prompting calls by some to ground the fleet. Defenders of the ubiquitous freight hauler argued there was nothing inherently wrong with the airplane, but agreed pilots needed to understand its quirks. The FAA’s response is a Special Federal Air Regulation that creates a common training regimen for pilots new to the high-wing twin turboprop. There’s also a new standardized cockpit checklist and the requirement that all aircraft have the revised Airplane Flight Manual. Finally, the autopilot has to be working on all flights except in certain (rare) special conditions. “The FAA studies enormous amounts of data looking for trends,” FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nick Sabatini said in a news release. “When we saw the rising accident rate for the MU-2B, we decided to take appropriate actions to bring the plane up to an acceptable level of safety.”

Radar's Replacement? Magnetic Fields Track Aircraft

New technology now being studied in Europe can track aircraft by detecting tiny changes in the Earth's magnetic field, according to a recent report in ICTWeb. Structures that cause "shadows" for today's radar systems -- a problem for ground surveillance at large, sprawling airports -- do not impair the magnetic field detectors. Recent tests of the system in Greece and Germany showed that it could detect 100 percent of the passing aircraft, and pinpointed their location to within 7.5 meters [25 feet], a level of accuracy comparable to most existing air traffic management systems, says researcher Haibin Gao. The system uses an array of small, cheap sensor units, which could be as small as a coin in the future. They can be installed at the entry and exit points of each runway, and would be affordable even for small airports.

The researchers now are looking for investors to certify the technology and bring it to the market.

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.
Training & Safety back to top 

Orlando Explores New Aviation Training Center

Aviation is a growing industry, and that means manufacturers, flight schools, airlines and maintenance shops all need trained workers. To fill that need, a coalition of business and education leaders in central Florida is working on a plan to build a new aviation-themed campus at Orlando International Airport, the Orlando Sentinel reported on Tuesday. The campus would involve a half-dozen colleges, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the Florida Institute of Technology, the universities of Central Florida and South Florida, Valencia Community College, and the National Aviation Academy, a Tampa-based trade school for aircraft mechanics. The airport campus would offer courses in a wide range of aviation topics, from avionics and aerospace engineering to human resources and transportation logistics, according to the Sentinel. Companies such as AirTran, JetBlue Airways, Continental Airlines, Cessna Aircraft and FlightSafety International need workers in the Orlando area. The plan is still in a preliminary stage, and millions of dollars would have to be raised. But supporters say it would be a good investment in the region's economic future

Cars On Runways — Unsafe At Any Speed

Just a day after five teenagers were killed while speeding down a runway in a BMW at a private Florida airport, a woman was arrested for allegedly driving drunk on a runway at Grand Junction Regional Airport, in Colorado. The 36-year-old woman was found by police just after 3 a.m., when her car got stuck. "The vehicle was high-centered on electrical conduits and the wheels spun as she applied the accelerator," the officer wrote in an arrest affidavit, according to the Vail Daily. Police at the scene contacted air traffic controllers, who said there were no inbound aircraft. The woman reportedly failed field sobriety tests and was charged with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, second-degree trespassing and careless driving, according to the Vail Daily. Meanwhile, investigators in Florida said the 18-year-old driver of the BMW had gone online hours before the crash, seeking advice about how to handle the car at high speeds.

One member of the online forum responded that "an 18 year old behind the wheel of an M5 is what accidents are made of IMO." The $80,000 BMW M-5 sedan has a top speed of 155 mph, according to the BMW Web site.

Precise Flight's High-Intensity Discharge Landing & Taxi Light Systems ...
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Air Canada back to top 

Boeing 767, The 'Gimli Glider' Finally Retired

Click for a larger image

Air Canada has retired one of the most famous Boeing 767s in pilot lore. Fleet no. 604 was flown to a storage area in the Mojave Desert, Thursday, 25 years after surviving, along with its crew of eight and 61 passengers, one of the most amazing dead-stick landings ever attempted. After the computerized fuel gauges on the then state-of-the-art aircraft failed because of a faulty solder joint, the ground crew decided to dip the tanks to ensure there was enough fuel for the 2,000-mile trip from Montreal to Edmonton. What they didn't know is that the dip gauges were calibrated in centimeters rather than inches and since a centimeter is less than half an inch, nowhere enough fuel was put on board. Sure enough, about half way through the trip, near the border of Ontario and Manitoba, both engines quit. Fortunately, Capt. Robert Pearson was a trained glider pilot and what happened next earned a footnote in airline history.

Pearson and First Officer Maurice Quintal calculated the glide potential of the airliner and determined they wouldn't make it to Winnipeg, the nearest airport of any size. Quintal, a former military pilot had served at an abandoned air force base in the small town of Gimli, Manitoba and the numbers, along with a long runway, looked good to both men. Pearson was high and hot on final but side slipped the 767 to a rough but safe landing that collapsed the nose gear but did little damage. The landing intruded on a day at the races for some go cart enthusiasts who were using the abandoned concrete but no one was hurt. The plane was flown away after two days of repairs and remained in uneventful service until Pearson, Quintal and several of the flight attendants on board that day accompanied it on its final flight to California.

First Officer Removed From Air Canada Flight

An Air Canada 767 en route to London diverted to Shannon Airport in Ireland on Monday morning and the first officer was taken off the aircraft by medical personnel. Local news reports said the pilot was taken to a psychiatric hospital for evaluation and may have suffered a nervous breakdown, but officials would not confirm those reports. "This is an issue around one of our employee's health," airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told reporters. "We're quite limited in what we can say. There are privacy concerns." The 146 passengers on board were never in danger, he said. "We have standard operating procedures in place to deal with these situations and at no time was the safety of anybody compromised." The passengers were transferred to another airplane with a fresh crew and arrived in London eight hours late.

Sources told the Irish Independent newspaper that the co-pilot began "acting in a peculiar manner and was talking loudly to himself," during the last hour of the trans-Atlantic crossing.

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News Briefs back to top 

Germans Ready To Try Flying Nude

A German travel agency says it will offer the country's first-ever nude tourist flight in July, flying up to 55 passengers to a Baltic beach resort in a chartered aircraft. "It's an unusual gap in the market," travel director Enrico Hess told Reuters. Passengers cannot undress until they are on board, he said. "But then they will be able to enjoy the hour-long flight in the way God intended." Commenters at the Web site for Britain's Telegraph were uncomfortable with the concept. "Rubbing more than shoulders unclothed [in narrow airline seating] is statistically unlikely to be an agreeable experience," says one. "Wouldn't any exit down escape-chutes guarantee friction burns? These questions demand not so much answers as a cover-up." The world's first nudist flight was offered by a U.S. company in 2003.

Castaways Travel organized the "Naked Air" flight from Texas to Cancun, on a Boeing 737. They noted that no hot drinks were served on board, all 90 passengers were required to dress for takeoff and landing, beach towels were distributed to cover the seats, and the crew remained in uniform throughout the flight.

On the Fly ...

The Aviation Weather Center in Kansas City, the nation's primary source of weather information for flying, has named Robert Maxson, a veteran research pilot, as its new director ...

"Space weather" scientists in the U.K., who work to protect communication and navigation systems from solar and space threats, are devastated by budget cuts ...

VirginGalactic will have a "significant exhibit" at AirVenture in Oskhosh this summer, says EAA.

StickyCharts — Beautiful Wall Decoration & Flight Planning Charts
Your favorite FAA charts printed on removable adhesive backing. Easily map your route with dry-erase markers. Up to 4 feet tall, StickyCharts are delivered in a sturdy tube. Makes a great gift. Go online to order at StickyCharts.com.
We Want to Hear Your Voices back to top 

Question of the Week: NextGen Avionics Subsidies to Prepare for ADS-B?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


With the letters LSA on everyone's lips following the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, we thought last week would be as good a time as any to ask when AVweb readers might make their first light sport aircraft purchase.

At press time, your responses to our question are pretty evenly split, with a third of readers telling they don't ever plan to buy one, a third saying We'll see how it goes, and another third either owning an LSA now or planning to buy one in the next five years.

For the complete breakdown of reader answers, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer, if you haven't already participated in this poll.)


The Governor of Alaska is proposing that aircraft owners be offered low-interest loans to equip their aircraft with avionics that will be required under the FAA's NextGen airspace management system.  Should similar subsidies be offered to owners in Hawaii and the Lower 48, or should the government be even more involved?

Click here to answer.

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

Tell Us About Your Interior Shop

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is preparing a report on interior shops. If you recently had an interior redone, the editors would like to hear from you, whether the experience was good or bad.

To take part in the online survey, click here.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

Make Plans Now to Attend a 2008 Savvy Aviator Seminar
Mike Busch will be conducting three of his Savvy Aviator Seminars in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Norfolk. Sign up for one of these classes and learn how to save thousands of dollars on maintenance costs, year after year. Do it before your next annual inspection! For complete details and to reserve your space, click here.
On AVweb.com back to top 

Across the Pond #13: Changing Pilot Certification

AVweb's European correspondent, Liz Moscrop, reports on changes in instrument ratings, the future of GA in Europe and more.

Click here for the full story.

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

On November 2, 2007, an F-15C with the 110th Fighter Squadron (of the 131st Fighter Wing) broke up while conducting an air-to-air training mission. This video, produced by Glenn Pew for AVweb, covers the military investigative board's findings.

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:
F-15s Grounded, Structural Failure Suspected

Diamond DA40 A Fleet Favorite
Airline Transport Professionals: Beijing PanAm, Empire Aviation, European-American Aviation, Galvin Flying Services, Middle Tennessee State University, Sabena Airline Training Academy, Utah Valley State College, Utah State University, and many more have all selected the G1000-equipped Diamond DA40. For value, efficiency, and safety, the Diamond Aircraft DA40 is the fleet favorite. Go online for information on all Diamond Aircraft.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Epic Aviation (KEVB, New Smyrna Beach, FL)

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

In a week filled with stellar FBO recommendations, our "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Epic Aviation at KEVB in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

According to AVweb reader Robert Edelson, Epic really stepped up to the plate on a recent visit, despite having their hands full with other pilots:

The self-service pump was inop, but they refueled me by truck at the same price. Furthermore, they changed by CHT probe and cleaned a partially-blocked injector plus moved and returned our plane to its tie-down by tug, all for a time charge of one and half hours. They operate a busy flight-training operation, maintaining 20 aircraft, yet they graciously took the time to help me ... all for a reasonable rate!

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!

No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
IFR magazine has insightful facts to polish your proficiency, updates on changing regs, and articles that help keep your decision-making skills sharp in the demanding IFR environment. Order your subscription online for savings from the regular rate.
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.


A slight dip in the number submissions this week has turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  For one thing, we can run a few more of last week's incredible photos in our home page slideshow.  (Seriously, we almost had enough from last week to have run a second "POTW" column!)

medium | large

Used with permission of J.T. Vink

Yearning to Return

While the quantity may be lower this week, the quality certainly isn't!  We can't recall when we've had a tougher time deciding which of our finalists should receive heaping accolades (and a free AVweb baseball cap) — but somehow we managed to agree on this incredible shot from J.T. Vink of Terre Haute, Indiana.

J.T.'s shot was taken at KLXV in Leadville, Colorado, ELV 9927 (according to J.T.), which means she was about as close to returning as she could get with her landing gear on the ground.



medium | large

copyright © Deborah Grigsby Smith
Used with permission

"Yeeee-Haaaww!" IS a Destination

Here's a question for AVweb readers out there:  Why do so many Pitts photos end up as desktop wallpaper around "POTW" headquarters?  It's not a special affinity for the airplane — just that we seem to end up with a lot of great Pitts pictures.  (Are they packaging digital cameras with these things?)

Oops — we almost forgot to mention that this is Deborah Grigsby Smith of Englewood, Colorado contributing to our desktop wallpaper file!

(If you like watching airplanes take off from Colorado's Everitt Field, keep reading.  We've got another below!)


medium | large

Used with permission of Doug Gaudette

TwinStarr First Flight

Doug Gaudette of Xenia, Ohio takes "his very first Autogyro ride in a TwinStarr" — and hey, that's notorious "POTW" contributor Timothy O'Connor in the pilot's seat!


medium | large

copyright © Mark Reed
Used with permission

Need to Find a Hangar — Quick!

Mark Reed of Seattle, Washington made a "precautionary landing at Valparaiso, Indiana (VPZ)" when thunderstorms and hail threatened his just-completed Glasair Sportsman 2+2.  Thankfully, some kind souls lent him the use of a hangar while the storm passed over, so we can safely assume Mark's paint job is as gorgeous today and seen here.


medium | large

copyright © Barry Biggs
Used with permission

Low Pass

Don't blink — or you'll miss this week's closing photo, from Barry Biggs of Englewood, Colorado.  (Hey, Barry, do you know Deborah?)

Barry was able to keep this Piper Super Cruiser center-stage by panning (quickly and carefully) along with the pilot.  Nice job!

Want more reader-submitted photos?
You'll find bonus images in the "POTW" slideshow on our home page.

Don't forget to send us your own photos!

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.