AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 7a

February 11, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News back to top 
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FAA Training Chief: Controller Staffing Is Under Control

As the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) continues to declare “staffing emergencies” at the nation’s busiest air traffic facilities, the FAA’s man in charge of training and hiring controllers told AVweb in an exclusive interview last week that the skies are not as dark as NATCA would have the public believe.

“They can make claims all they want, but their claims don’t compare to the numbers that we have. Their accusations and allegations don’t hold water,” said Jim Trinka, the FAA’s director of technical training and development. In a January press conference, NATCA President Patrick Forrey said "the ability to separate traffic safely has gone to an all-time low" with poor labor relations contributing to low morale and high attrition rates among both trainees and qualified controllers. Responding to Forrey’s comment that the national airspace system is in danger, Trinka said, “I’m very confident that safety is never compromised.”

Trinka told AVweb that the FAA is meeting and often exceeding its hiring projections, with 1,815 new controllers hired in 2007. Of those, 1,019 came from the FAA’s approved training centers; the rest were mostly ex-military. In March 2007 the FAA released an updated hiring plan that called for the agency to bring in 1,400 new controllers. Trinka said he’s offered $20,000 recruitment bonuses to military controllers, to which the military has counter-offered retention bonuses of up to $45,000. “We are as selective as Harvard University,” Trinka said. “NATCA’s claim that nobody wants these jobs because of low pay is patently false.”

New controllers are becoming fully qualified in half the time it took to do so just a few years ago, Trinka said, thanks to simulators. It now takes 2.6 years to fully qualify an en route controller and 1.4 years for a terminal area controller, he said. The FAA has used tower simulators in Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and Ontario, California, since 2006. An additional 24 simulators are being installed over the next 18 months at busy Class B towers including New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, Washington Reagan National, Dallas Fort-Worth, and Atlanta. Six simulators will be installed at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City.

New Zealand Hijacking Raises Security Concerns

A New Zealand newspaper reporter claims he was able to board both legs of a return trip from Christchurch to Napier with a six-inch knife and a toy gun in his carry-on baggage a day after a bizarre hijacking attempt in which two pilots and a passenger were allegedly injured by a knife-wielding Somali woman. Jonathan Marshall, of the Sunday News, said no one paid any attention to him or his bag on either flight, mostly because New Zealand does not require security checks of passengers on domestic flights on aircraft with less than 90 seats. By ironic coincidence, he was seated next to a police Armed Offenders Squad member (New Zealand for SWAT team) on the return leg and the officer studied a radio manual “while I sat drinking tea and concealing my gun and knife," he reported. New Zealand officials are dismissing the reporter’s action as a dangerous and illegal prank but the stunt is sure to bring more scrutiny on the security posture of the country’s airports in light of Friday’s incident. Ten minutes into the Air New Zealand regional flight from Blenheim, the woman, a Somali refugee who was working on a farm, allegedly slashed the Jetstream 32 captain’s hand and also threatened to blow up the plane. She remained armed and standing behind the pilots in the unsecured cabin until they landed in Christchurch. After the plane stopped, the captain wrestled her to the floor and the first officer joined in, somehow getting his foot cut in the melee. A passenger was also cut but it’s not clear at what point during the incident that occurred. The pilots said the alleged hijacker had demanded to be flown to Australia. She’s being held for psychiatric evaluation.

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New Tech in the Air back to top 

The UK's Hypersonic Airplane Design

Reaction Engines of Oxford, United Kingdom, says its A2 design could carry 300 passengers at close to 4,000 miles per hour, flying from Belgium to Australia in about five hours ... 25 years from now. "Our work shows it is possible, technically. Now it's up to the world to decide if it wants it," Reaction's head, Alan Bond, told CanadianContent.net. The 470-foot long Mach 5 aircraft would stretch more than twice the length of the Airbus A380 and have a range of more than 12,400 miles cruising within the earth's atmosphere. Passengers could expect to pay less than $7,000 for the honor of riding the windowless beast, according to Reaction. And that cost is not tied to the cost of fossil fuels, as the A2's engines will burn liquid hydrogen, the cost of which Reaction hopes will decline in coming years. Reaction says the aircraft would escape earshot at .9 Mach before lighting it up over the North Pole and heading over the Pacific at Mach 5. Sensitive to the laws of physics (and the heat generated by high-speed atmospheric flight) the craft substitutes windows with display screens connected to cameras strategically placed on the outside of the aircraft for those who want to see what's passing by at five times the speed of sound.

New Kit: 180 Knots On 180 HP

New Zealand company Falcompositehas flown a prototype of a two-place aerobatic kit plane that it’s projecting will fly 180 knots on 180 hp and stall at 50 knots. The Furio will come with retractable or fixed tricycle gear and the sleek-looking prototype, which first flew on Sunday, will be unveiled at Auckland’s Ardmore Aerodrome on Wednesday. Although there are several kits that match the performance specs of the Furio, the company claims that the aircraft is easier to build than others on the market. The company says the all-composite airframe is composed of 30 parts that go together without specialized tooling or skills. The convenience comes at a price, however. The kits will cost about $150,000 NZD (about $120,000 USD), not including engine.

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Balloon Rally Crash Pilot Sentenced back to top 

Fatal Crash-Plane's Pilot Jailed

In August of 2004, he flew his aircraft into power lines before it crashed into the Wisconsin River, killing his passenger as her family watched -- now he's going to jail. Mark Strub was sentenced to six months in jail for his role as pilot, but much of that time may be spent in community service and work release. Kimberly Reed, 39, was killed during the crash at a Children's Miracle Network Balloon Rally. Strub was faulted for flying too low and operating his aircraft in a careless manner. Beyond jail and public service, Strub has been ordered by the court to pay for and participate in mediation counseling that would bring the surviving family members together with him, if they agree to it. Strub has also been ordered to write a letter of apology. For his part, Reed's husband told the Wausau Daily Herald, "I do not ever want to see the face or have my children have to look in the eye of the man who killed their mother again." Reed's father added, "It is incomprehensible to me that the charges had been reduced to a misdemeanor when my daughter, my baby is dead."

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Weighty Responsibilities at the FAA back to top 

Senators Block President's FAA Nominee

Senators Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both Democrats representing New Jersey, announced Thursday they would block President Bush's nomination of Robert Sturgell from reaching the Senate floor for a vote, according to The Associated Press. The two Senators based their stand on flight delays originating in East Coast airspace and Sturgell's actions as acting administrator to alleviate those delays. The government has announced limits for arrivals and departures at New York-area airports and is working on airspace redesigns that often prove unpopular with communities worried their neighborhoods will be negatively impacted by increased noise from rerouted aircraft. "It's time for President Bush to nominate an administrator who solves transportation problems, rather than creating more of them," Lautenberg told the AP. The Senators' action would not have any immediate effect on the agency as Sturgell is already acting administrator.

FAA Modernization At What Cost?

The total cost of a NextGen system empowering pilots with satellite-based air traffic control information is expected by the FAA to cost up to $22 billion, but that figure may be very conservative. At least one analyst, Transportation Department Inspector General Calvin L. Scovel III, forecasts that software development alone will push costs over $50 billion. Scovel aired his opinions during a House hearing on the FAA's 2009 proposed budget, and qualified them by saying that costs "remain uncertain." House Aviation Subcommittee members requested the FAA to review its figures and respond to Scovel's estimate. The FAA's current funding will expire Feb. 29, and the Bush administration's budget proposal for 2009 would offer a $688 million investment in NextGen technology. The first portion of infrastructure that will build the NextGen system came in the form of a $1.8 billion contract awarded in August to ITT. The work is expected to take 20 years to complete.

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News Briefs back to top 

KLN94 Users: Check Your Database

AVweb learned over the weekend that the navigation database in some Bendix/King KLN94 GPS units might be incomplete. A flight instructor from California told us that his home airport, Palo Alto (PAO), did not appear on several KLN94 units installed in various aircraft on the field. The instructor said he called Bendix/King customer support and was told that there was an error in formatting the data for the cycle that expires on Feb. 13. The problem is supposed to correct itself on Wednesday, when the next data cycle takes effect. But pilots flying with these units early this week should check their database prior to launch to ensure that their destination and any alternates are available. Bendix/King customer support for the KLN94 was unavailable to confirm the report on Sunday.

Learjet Biodiesel World Flight Planned

A Florida pilot is hoping to fly a Learjet around the world on biodiesel in the next year. Douglas Rodante and his group Green Flight flew a Czech-built L-29 to about 16,000 feet in Nevada last October on biodiesel and is hoping the FAA will let him take the same aircraft on an eight-stop trip across the U.S. later this year. He’ll need the frequent fuel stops because the L-29 was purposely built with short range to discourage defections. It was also designed to run on a variety of fuels, including home heating oil, which made it a preferred choice for the first flights. By the end of the year or early next he hopes to attempt the Learjet circumnavigation and there are some technical challenges awaiting. Biodiesel is often made from recycled cooking oil, which congeals when it gets cold. Rodante says tank heaters will be added to the Lear and he may have to add chemicals to prevent the fuel from thickening. As a last resort he’ll add kerosene to thin the fuel. He claims that if the cooking oil mixture alone is used, the Lear will release up to 80 percent less pollution than if it was burning jet fuel. The FAA is keeping a close eye on the project and Rodante said he needs some sponsors to pull it off. If it launches, Rodante, a TV producer by trade, plans to make a documentary.

On the Fly ...

Australian regional airline Rex is predicting some small airlines may not survive a pilot shortage it claims will turn into a "bloodbath" later this year. Rex has started its own flight school but has still cancelled flights because of a lack of pilots ...

Four Corners Regional Airport in New Mexico was almost closed after a restaurant renovation came in at $1.09 million. The airport needed a cash infusion of $740,000 from the local council to keep operating ...

A huge international passenger and cargo airport under construction in Qatar will cost $9 billion and is expected to open in 2010. The facility will ultimately handle 60 million passengers a year.

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Readers' Voices back to top 

AVmail: Feb. 11, 2008

Reader mail this week about user fees, fuel, Buckeyes and more.

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

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New on AVweb back to top 

CEO of the Cockpit #79: In The "Outside" Loop

AVweb's Kevin Garrison doesn't ever fly for hire except for his airline. Well, there's this little bit of instructing he does ...

Click here for the full story.

It was a tough approach to a landing and I was all by myself. No co-pilot to help me and no company dispatcher to ask for numbers or advice. I was fairly low on fuel -- about two and a half gallons left -- and the air pressure in my left main gear tire was clearly a little on the underinflated side, for a 6.00 x 6.

I had to use my throttle hand to reach up over my head and put in just a tweak of nose-up elevator trim as I came careening down short final to an even shorter runway. Left wing a tad low to counteract the left crosswind, and I touched down completely away from any kind of pavement, ILS, building, airport lighting, or hold-short lines. I landed just like God intended an airplane to land: on grass.

The CEO As a Teacher?

It would shock and awe the airline I fly for to realize that I have been teaching little pilot munchkins for years and years. Boggle their minds is what it would do. Imagine an old, crusty captain who has more bitch than pitch left in his flying life teaching youngsters how to fly airplanes and become professional pilots.

I never taught at the airline. It wasn't because I was against the idea. In older times, an airline flight instructor enjoyed the same days off as a line pilot, was in his own bed (if he wanted to be) every night and had time to run at least one full-time, outside business when he worked for flight training. It was a good deal if you didn't mind flying a box.

Today, the seniority-list flight instructors who are left labor like sled dogs on a short lead and keep awful working hours. Not to mention the fact that they are still flying boxes, not airplanes. Most of them have been replaced by retired pilots who had to return to some kind of work when their pensions disappeared. The replacements are just as good and cost a third as much as your average seniority instructor.

I don't teach people how to fly 767s ... well, in a way I do, but I do it through nothing larger than a Champ or a 172. We use pencils, not FMS units, and maps get drawn on, not displayed on flat-screen TVs.

A Well-Rounded Pilot Can Still Fit In A Champ

"Outside flying" is what the airlines call what I do. Seriously, that is the exact term used in the flight operations manual when it describes aviation that differs from Point A to B autopilot navigating for the company. You see, there is only so much outside flying an airline pilot can do for money. You are only allowed a hundred hours a month of commercial flying and the airlines, quite rightly, want all of it.

Airlines are egotistical enough to think that any flying that isn't in one of their barges counts as "outside." Having never been a military guy, I don't know if they feel the same way, but many airlines look upon outside flying as more of a problem than a blessing.

It officially only counts as outside flying by the Feds in the FAA if you get paid for it, so I'm in the clear with my little instructing experiments: I instruct for free. I might accept the odd, free motorcycle from a grateful student, or perhaps a few hundred gallons of auto gas, but I would never fly for money outside of the airline. Plus, they get pretty damn close to a hundred hours a month out of me now, anyway.

On our airport, which has mostly paved runways by the way, a large percentage of pilots scaring themselves in the pattern can be found flying Boeings and Canadairs during their work weeks. On their days off, they can be found slouching around here, wiping grease off wheel pants, sweeping out hangars, and sitting in the shade watching me screw up landings.

Thinking that airline jocks only fly airliners is like kids thinking that mommy and daddy only "did it" once before they were born and stopped completely after. Where do you think airline pilots come from, junior?

Chuck Makes A Fat Joke

Seeing me try to squeeze my more-than-ample buttocks out of the door of the Champ, my friend Chuck sidled up and asked, "Hey, need a spatula and some grease to get out of that thing?"

When I was a young pup, I could extricate myself from a Champ with a certain amount of panache. Today, with my large behind and tennis-abused knees, it looks more like a water buffalo giving birth. I straightened myself up and started tying the bird down while Chuck kicked in some chocks and then helped me put the windshield cover on.

Chuck had spent a large amount of his 10-year airline-piloting career on furlough until he finally gave up his seniority number and went to law school. He now practices law and owns the airport. Not a bad trade-off, but I can tell he still misses flying the big jets more than a little. Of course, flying his Citation makes up for it a little.

I was then introduced to my latest victim -- a 16-year-old guy named Ted who wanted to fly more than he wanted to eat. I know that "fly more than eat" phrase is a cliché, but in many cases it is true. Ted looked like he was short about a dozen meals. I began to remedy that by taking him across the field for a hamburger.

Now, before you ask, we don't have hundred-dollar hamburgers at our field. They cost about two bucks. As Ted ate and I sipped on my Diet Coke, he began to tell me all about how much he wants to be just like me and be an airline pilot.

Mid-Munch Is Not An Airport In Germany

I had to stop him in mid-munch.

Ted, I said, nobody starts out wanting to be an airline pilot ... nobody sane, anyway. You are young; you should be aspiring to be a fighter jock, an adventure pilot, a bush pilot, a gawd-darn astronaut on the first Mars mission. Airline flying is a great career for men and women with kids and responsibilities, but trust me, none of us started out looking at flying as a straight-and-level, when-are-we-going-to-get-to-Pittsburgh kind of thing.

In my generation, we all began thinking of flying when we read books about airships and over-the-pole flights by heroes flying Ford Tri-Motors with sled dogs as passengers. I drew pictures of fighters during school when I should have been paying attention, not airliners.

I dreamed of saving pretty girls in peril with my flying skills, not getting 300 angry people into Denver during a snowstorm. I had a vision of getting picked up for my job at the airport by a passing friend in a helicopter. He would simply drop a rope ladder into my back yard and I would climb aboard. No bicycle trip to the field for this kid!

This is why you very rarely see airline pilots flying airliners on their days off.

Pilots do lots of things totally outside of flying. Heck, Glenn Curtiss set the land speed-record for motorcycles before he even built his first airplane. Ernie Gann wrote books and hated commies, Richard Bach sailed boats. Others collect guns, race cars, or even preach on their own time. Trust me: Being an airline pilot is great and is a wonderful career if it happens, but there is so much more out there in the world of aviation for you to sample and taste before you settle for eight hours of straight-and-level at a time.

Uncle Rick Was An Airline Flying Man ...

Ted put down his hamburger and said, "Well, my Uncle Rick was an airline pilot and I want to be like him. He died two months ago."

I'm sorry you lost your uncle. What did he do before he was an airline pilot?

"He flew F-4s in 'Nam, dusted crops, flew Lear Jets for Executive Jet Travel, and had a Ford dealership." Ted brightened up a little. "I think I get it. He was an airline pilot but he was much more than that; he was a by-gawd pilot first and foremost, right?"

You definitely are getting it, Ted, and you are really ready now to start learning. It isn't about being an airline pilot. It is about being the best possible pilot you can be. That is why you are going to know dead reckoning and pilotage as navigation techniques long before you enter your first waypoint into an FMS. That is why you'll deal with the little bit of power a 65-horse engine gives you way before you operate your first General Electric GP7200 engine on an Airbus A380.

When I am done with you, you are going to have just as much fun, if not more, flying that beat-up old Champ out there than you do captaining the most expensive airliner in the world. Flying isn't a job, Ted ... it's an honor and a way of life.

Now, let's go scrape some bug guts off of a windshield and put some air in a 6.00 x 6 tire!

Want to read more from AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit? Check out the rest of his columns.

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The Guys Back in Columbus

If you hear this hangar story, don't roll your eyes. It's true. The pilot was forced to do a touch-and-go at O'Hare in a Cherokee.

Click here for the full story.

It was late in 1981 or maybe early in 1982, because that's the only time in the history of O'Hare that the draconian departure restrictions in this tale were used. To understand how those departure restrictions fit into our story, you need to know a little about how IFR departures work at the world's busiest airport.

Everybody gets the same instrument departure procedure (currently the O'Hare One), which routes them over one of more than a dozen standard departure fixes, depending on requested altitude and direction of flight. If you're eastbound at high altitude, you can file whatever you want but you'll get the O'Hare One over either Keeler (ELX) or Gipper (GIJ). These fixes coincide with a letter of agreement between Chicago TRACON and Chicago Center, specifying that the TRACON ensures all high-altitude, eastbound departures are handed off to Center in two single-file lines, one destined to pass over each fix. Similar agreements cover high-altitude routes in other directions. The radar separation minimum for most Center operations is five miles, but in order to allow for margin of error (and these days, to keep the computer "snitch" quiet), the actual in-trail spacing on these routes is closer to seven.

Ideal vs. Reality

On ideal days, tower controllers launch departures with only three miles in-trail separation between airplanes going over the same fix. Departure controllers increase that spacing to at least five miles. Doing so isn't difficult: The speed differential between a departure three miles off the airport and one just breaking ground is substantial, so spacing naturally increases. More space can be obtained via speed control and/or vectoring if necessary.

On less-than-ideal days, when thunderstorm activity requires that the Center allow pilots leeway to make course deviations, or when controllers must provide radar vectoring to avoid big, black clouds, more spacing is required for all the zigging and zagging. The call goes out to Chicago TRACON, and to O'Hare Tower, with a restriction that will put fewer airplanes into the affected airspace. Such restrictions can involve more in-trail spacing, the combining of multiple routes into one, or a combination of both. A restriction such as, "Treat Iowa City (IOW) and Dubuque (DBQ) as one fix, 20 miles in trail," is common during thunderstorm season. The result is two airplanes in the airspace where, previously, there were eight or nine.

Since even the best departure controllers have a hard time making 20 miles out of the normal three, it's up to the folks in the tower to make up the difference, via the oldest method of separating airplanes ever devised: holding takeoff clearance until the in-trail will exist. If there's only one way to access the runway, the delay affects not only the aircraft in question, but every aircraft in the line behind it. Consequently, ground controllers at O'Hare put a lot of effort into providing a split -- separating like-fix departures from airplanes going in a different directions -- to avoid such delays.

Hurry Up and Wait

Now go back to 1981 and the months and years immediately after the PATCO strike. The five-mile minimum all but disappeared. Center controllers were stretched thin; many were working multiple sectors simultaneously, and they needed more than five miles. Twenty-, 30- and 60-mile restrictions became standard. The slightest problem with weather, of course, would exacerbate things. The result was an airliner traffic jam on the airport, pretty much all day, every day, for months after the strike.

On this particular day, I was working south Local (Tower controller), with 50 or 75 jetliners lined up for my three departure runways: 22L, 27L, and 32L from the T-10 taxiway. The line for 22L stretched over a mile down the cargo taxiway and the 27L parallel taxiway was solid with nose-to-tail jets. The 32L departures stretched out from the departure intersection at T-10 up into the terminal area. Fortunately, arrivals were being vectored for landings on the north side of the airport, where a different local controller dealt with them. My only job was to roll departures, and comply with the in-trail restrictions between airplanes cleared over the initial same departure fix. It was sometimes a slow process.

Enter the FLIB

I received a landline call from an Approach controller in the radar room 20 floors below me who knew my reputation for being "FLIB friendly." (FLIB is an unofficial controller acronym for ... um ... "Friendly Little Itty Bittys.") He wanted to get a Cherokee out of his hair, and off his frequency, just a little sooner.

The Cherokee was southeast of O'Hare, IFR to Schaumburg airport, located nine miles to the west. The problem was that while Schaumburg was VFR, the Cherokee was in IMC at minimum vectoring altitude and Schaumburg had no instrument approach. The pilot needed to make an instrument approach somewhere to get out of the clouds.

This wasn't unusual, and the normal procedure was vectors to Dupage airport (eight miles southwest of Schaumburg) where the pilot could make an instrument approach, break out, cancel IFR and then proceed VFR to his original destination. The question for me from the Approach controller was this: "Howzabout, rather than vectoring this guy all the way out to Dupage, we put him on the ILS to 32L at O'Hare? When he breaks out, give him a clearance to exit the O'Hare airspace, VFR to the west."

"Sounds good to me," I said, and a few minutes later I spotted the radar target of the Cherokee inching down the 32L final approach course.

As I perused the flight strips representing the jets at my departure runways, it became apparent that, despite everyone's best efforts, the in-trail restrictions were about to take their toll. When the Cherokee was about a seven-mile final, I ran out of rollable airplanes. The next aircraft in line at each of the three departure runways was subject to a delay and, with the traffic jam, there was no way to get any non-restricted aircraft to a runway. I made my brief, and somewhat routine, explanation on the frequency of why departures were stopped and for how long, and then sat back and waited for the Cherokee pilot to call.

The Cherokee driver was not enthusiastic about his O'Hare adventure. He nervously announced JOCKY inbound on the ILS. I asked him to report canceling IFR. He did a minute later and requested a VFR departure to the west.

With two-and-a-half miles of empty runway in front of him, and me with no one to use it for the next few minutes, I couldn't resist: "Unable. Cleared for touch-and-go on three two left, then your westbound VFR departure is approved."

You Gotta Be Kidding!

Silence, at first. Then, a stammering explanation of how all he really wanted to do was go to Schaumburg and that it hadn't been his idea to make an approach to O'Hare in the first place. Clearly, he thought he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and that the touch-and-go clearance was some sort of controller code relating to his penance.

"No problem," I replied. "Cleared for the option -- low approach, touch-and-go, whatever you like. At midfield, you can turn westbound." I didn't want him going westbound from where he was. That would put him in conflict with the 22L and 27L departures that I planned to start rolling shortly. I needed him to come to the runway first, and then start the turn to the west.

He finally grasped that he was being offered a rather unusual opportunity. "Oh! OK, I'm cleared for a touch-and-go! I won't start my turn until midfield! Wow, thanks!" Creeping down final he spotted all the jets lined up for takeoff and asked, "Uh, Tower, all those airliners aren't waiting for me, are they?"

Before I could answer, someone said, "Nah, we just heard there was a Cherokee coming in here to do a touch-and-go, so we all came out to watch." The bewildered Cherokee pilot touched down softly, then lifted off and began a turn to the west.

After that, each pilot seemed in a particularly good mood. Many offered some wry comment. "Thanks for the half-time show," said one. Another observed that the Cherokee pilot would have a logbook the rest of them didn't -- their O'Hare landings were always to a full stop. He sounded a little envious.

The pilot of the Cherokee was effusive in his thanks as he departed the O'Hare airspace. I assured him that it was all part of the day's work, and not to worry, he hadn't delayed any airliners. As I approved his request for a frequency change to UNICOM, he acknowledged, then made the comment that has stuck with me all these years: "Man, the guys back in Columbus aren't going to believe this!"

They probably didn't. I hope that now they do.

More AVweb articles about flying in the IFR system are available here. And for monthly articles about IFR flying, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, IFR magazine.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Amazing Feats of Aviation — DHL Baghdad

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

Recounting one of the most impressive feats in recent aviation history, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew recalls the circumstances of the DHL A300 shot by a surface-to-air missile over Baghdad. The crew successfully landed the aircraft without the ability to manipulate any control surfaces. (Note: The aircraft shown in simulation is a Boeing 777, not an Airbus A300.)

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Professor Michael Nolan May Have Just the Prescription for ATC ...

File Size 8.9 MB / Running Time 9:41

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Imagine you could wave a magic wand and instantly add a few thousand new controllers, a fully operational national ADS-B system, and plenty of extra user fees. The air traffic control system will still be seriously broken. At least, that's the opinion of Michael Nolan, a professor of aviation technology and director of Purdue's air traffic control program — and author of the book Fundamentals of Air Traffic Control. Michael tells AVweb's Mike Blakeney that ATC is never going to catch up with the ever-increasing demand for capacity until one more thing happens. Michael's secret ingredient to complete his next generation ATC recipe is revealed in this AVweb audio feature ... .

Click here to listen. (8.9 MB, 9:41)

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: North Las Vegas Airport (VGT, Las Vegas, NV)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

AVweb's own Mike Busch has nominated these folks before, pointing out that "the same customer service people have been working there for as long as I can remember (zero turnover), so they really know what they're doing." In addition, Mike tells us, "The facility is very nice, and the avgas prices are always extremely competitive (particularly at the self-serve island close to the GA terminal). There's a regular shuttle service that runs between the GA terminal and the hotels on the Strip."

So why is Mike so eager to have us make VGT's FBO our "FBO of the Week"? Well, there's this:

About my only complaint is that there's a restaurant up on the second floor of the terminal building with a lovely view of the airport, but they seem to have a hard time keeping it open. It has changed hands a number of times and keeps going out of business, which is a bummer. Maybe if VGT [is] the "FBO of the Week," it'll get so much new business that they can keep the restaurant open!

One can only hope! Congrats to the folks at VGT for running such a tight operation. (Mike, bring us back a hamburger.)

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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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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.

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.

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