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Helicopter enthusiast message boards continue to buzz this week with posts from disgruntled former students of Silver
State Helicopters, who are organizing themselves in what appears to be several
class-action lawsuits as massive as the training school itself. Daniel R. Reed, an attorney working with the firm Harward & Associates to file a class action lawsuit against Silver State
Helicopters and its founder Jerry Airola, told AVweb on Monday that their primary goal is to get some financial relief for the hundreds of former Silver State students who have contacted the
firm in recent weeks.
Our first point of attack is to negotiate with the lenders, but at the very least we need to freeze the payments and interest for these guys while we sort it out, Reed said. We
need to move it out of the bankruptcy court.
Nicole Moon, spokesperson for Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, said that her office has received numerous complaints about Silver States business practices. Moon said that the
Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection is investigating potential criminal charges. Its something thats on our radar screen and were taking it very seriously, she
Other states may be considering similar action. Prior to closing its doors and filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Feb. 4, Las Vegas-based Silver State Helicopters operated 34 training
centers in 16 states.
A spokeswoman for Airola said in an e-mail response to AVweb on Tuesday that "Jerry will not be making any public appearances or public statements at this time."
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The FAA proposed an Airworthiness Directive this week that would require owners of more than 3,000 Taylorcraft airplanes to inspect the wing strut attach fittings and check for cracks or corrosion.
The proposal follows the investigation of a fatal crash in Oregon last July, in which it was found that the wing fabric was wrapped around the lugs of the wing strut attach fitting, and the fitting
was corroded. "This condition, if not corrected, could result in failure of the wing strut attach fittings and lead to wing separation and loss of control," the FAA says. The inspections are expected
to cost about $160, and new fittings, if needed, would be about $200. The FAA issued an AD last year requiring inspections of wing struts on some Taylorcraft models. Type clubs, EAA and AOPA lobbied for alternative means of compliance, which were accepted by the FAA.
Comments on the new attach fittings AD must be filed by March 21.
We've heard about airline pilots falling asleep in flight before, but this report is even stranger than usual -- it was 9 o'clock in
the morning, and the flight was a 45-minute hop from Honolulu to Hilo. Local TV station KGMB9 said it obtained a radar track
of the flight, which showed it stayed at 21,000 feet and flew past the Hilo airport about 15 miles out to sea before turning around and returning to descend. The FAA confirmed that it is checking into
the incident. Air traffic controllers reportedly tried to contact the pilots for 25 minutes and got no response. The airplane, operated by Go!
Airlines, landed without incident.
Pilot fatigue has been a growing concern among safety advocates. The NTSB said recently that it has
found at least six flights where pilots fell asleep at the controls, including one in which both pilots nodded off on a Frontier Airlines flight from Washington to Denver in 2004. The safety board
named pilot fatigue as one of its "most wanted" list of needed safety improvements.
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A shift of airspace responsibilities from Chicago Center to Milwaukee should have little impact on the annual migration to EAA AirVenture, EAA's Dick Knapinski told AVweb Monday. "A review of
the situation indicate[s] that this particular issue involves IFR operations," Knapinski said in an e-mail. "The vast majority of AirVenture operations are VFR, and we are not anticipating any
problems with staffing or operations." In a well-publicized news event in Milwaukee last week, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association and several prominent state and federal politicians
blasted the FAA for shifting responsibility for a big chunk of Wisconsin airspace to Milwaukee controllers, who they claim are already overworked and understaffed. Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold wrote
Acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell to complain about the airspace shift, saying Milwaukee isn't equipped to handle the extra load, citing training deficiencies and a lack of qualified controllers
for the new airspace. "We find these reports from Wisconsin very troubling, and would like to know what long- and short-term actions the FAA is taking alleviate the growing stress on the air traffic
control system nationwide and particularly in Wisconsin," Feingold wrote.
Thirty-one of the 117 pilots who violated the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the
last six months did so while operating to or from the Leesburg Executive Airport in Leesburg, Va., according to the FAAs National Capital Regional Coordination Center (NCRCC), which monitors
ADIZ traffic for security violations. The FAA Safety Team announced this week that it will host a seminar in Leesburg on March 1 to address problems pilots are apparently having complying with the
Leesburg maneuvering area portion of the ADIZ.
Dennis Boykin, chairman of the Leesburg Executive Airport Commission, told AVweb that the local pilot community continues to be frustrated by the wording of the NOTAM. "The NOTAM is difficult to understand, and we're working with the FAA to see if we can clear
things up," Boykin said.
Leesburg Airport won a key concession from the FAA and security agencies last summer when the redesigned ADIZ was published. Because Leesburg is located on the western fringe of the 30-mile ADIZ
ring, pilots can take off from Leesburg and depart the ADIZ to the west, or enter the traffic pattern to land from the west, without talking to air traffic control as long as they file a flight plan,
announce their intentions on CTAF and squawk 1226 when departing or 1227 when arriving. Pilots at all other airports within the ADIZ are also required to file flight plans and must establish two-way
communications with the Potomac TRACON.
The seminar notice, curiously titled Applying the Darwin Theory of Evolution, states that pilots continue to violate the ADIZ virtually every day. Boykin said that a group
of pilots based at Leesburg are doing what they can to prevent more incursions by posting signs around the field, updating the airports Web site with guidance on how to comply with the NOTAM,
and adding a message to the airports AWOS recording reminding pilots to not squawk 1200 which tends to attract the attention of the NCRCC.
We thought that this procedure was pretty simple and that wed see a decrease in violations, but it actually had the opposite effect, the NCRCCs manager of system operations
security, James Johnston, told AVweb. Were kind of between a rock and a hard place with the military, trying to be in a position to work with the pilots and not be heavy handed. We
want to make sure that we get this addressed. Johnston said that if pilots continue to violate the Leesburg maneuvering area, gaining additional ADIZ relief for Washington area pilots will
be a hard sell.
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Its no surprise that the market for regional and corporate jets is strong and growing in Asia, but Cessna is finding an increased interest in piston aircraft as well at this week's Singapore Airshow. "Not only has demand expanded for Cessna's line
of products in the Asia-Pacific region, that demand covers many countries and spans all models," said Roger Whyte, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Cessna. The SkyCatcher light sport
aircraft, the Caravan, and the venerable SkyHawk all are proving popular, Cessna says. A flight school in India ordered 20 172s this week, and an Indonesian company bought six Grand Caravans that it
will use for cargo, charter, and scheduled passenger service.
Last year, Cessna delivered 160 new aircraft into the Asia-Pacific region, an increase of 35 percent from 2006.
AERO-Friedrichshafen, the popular European general
aviation event that has been attracting growing interest in recent years, will now be held annually, instead of every other year, and EAA and IAOPA will play a greater role in organizing the show.
"It's an outstanding general aviation event that serves the new light sport aircraft (LSA) category very well, especially with the global growth that we are seeing," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president.
"EAA looks forward to participating at AERO in the future, and working with them on programs of mutual benefit." The next show will be held April 2 to 5, 2009. Organizers have taken pains to avoid
overlap with Sun 'n Fun. Last year's AERO show was the biggest yet, attracting about 45,000 visitors from around the world, with 533 exhibitors from 30 countries.
Friedrichshafen, in Germany, is a scenic city on the northern shore of Lake Constance, close to Austria and Switzerland. The site is attractive and accessible to many in the European general
aviation market. The show focuses on sport flying and personal aviation, as well as business aviation.
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U.S. pilots who fly internationally are being asked to hurry up and apply for replacement airman certificates that state
they are English proficient, according to an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) rule that takes effect on March 5. But a source at the FAAs General Aviation and
Commercial Division (AFS-800) told AVweb yesterday that the requirement is not likely to be widely enforced, as most countries are not prepared to comply.
A Feb. 13 letter posted on the FAAs Information
for Operators (InFO) Web site reminds operators of the new ICAO licensing standards, which are part of a broader ICAO effort to ensure that all pilots and air traffic controllers are English
The FAA is not requiring pilots who fly domestically to update their certificates, since 14 CFR Part 61 already requires pilots to be able to read, speak, write and understand the English
language. Lance Nuckolls, who has been handling the ICAO issue within AFS-800, said that pilots who are taking trips internationally should check with the destination country to see if the new
certificate will be required. While the FAA has done its part to comply with the ICAO standard by the March 5 deadline, other countries can apply for an extension that would effectively waive the
requirement until 2011. But for pilots who are worried about the possibility of a foreign ramp check in the next few weeks, Nuckolls said that the FAA Airman Certification Branch is processing the new
certificate requests in as little as five days.
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Honeywell's unmanned Micro Air Vehicle weighs 14 pounds, can fly as high as 10,500 feet, and zips along at up to 50 knots. This week, the FAA gave the vehicle an experimental airworthiness certificate,
allowing it to fly in the National Airspace System. The ducted-fan aircraft can take off or land vertically and transition to sustained horizontal flight. Applicants have to demonstrate to the FAA
that a collision with another aircraft or other airspace user is "extremely improbable," the agency said last year, when it issued policy guidelines for operations of unmanned aircraft in the NAS. Honeywell's
MAV was recently chosen by the Miami/Dade County Police Department in Florida for an experiment with the FAA to explore the use of small aerial vehicles for law enforcement.
"Our gMAV wingless design is much less complex than other winged unmanned aerial systems, provides superior hover and stare performance in adverse weather/heavy wind conditions and gives the gMAV
a distinct advantage in cluttered urban terrain airspace," said Vaught Fulton, of Honeywell. (The "g" stands for gasoline-powered.) The vehicle was originally developed as part of a DARPA Advanced
Concept Technology Demonstration Program, and has been deployed with the U.S. Navy in Iraq. You can check out the MAV and its flight characteristics in this Honeywell video.
A 1928 Boeing Model 40C biplane, lovingly restored by Pemberton and Sons Aviation of Spokane, Wash., flew this Monday for the
first time in 80 years. "The airplane is very controllable and pleasant with excellent ground handling, good elevator and rudder, and heavy but effective ailerons," Addison Pemberton said in the Nordo News. "The visibility is very poor but not difficult. The overwhelming surprise is stability." Pemberton flew
the airplane for about 20 minutes, and said he was able to fly hands-free for much of the flight. "In all flight configurations I never used more than 1 1/2 degree of trim change, including slow
flight at 55 mph," he said. The airplane was originally used on mail routes, and Pemberton said it's now the oldest flying Boeing aircraft. More than 60 volunteers helped on the project, logging over
18,000 hours of work.
The U.S. Navy successfully shot down a malfunctioning school bus-sized spy satellite Wednesday. An anti-ballistic missile fired from a ship was used to hit the satellite,
which officials say will begin to reenter the atmosphere almost immediately...
BBC News was reporting late Wednesday that one of two Air Force F-15 pilots plucked from the Gulf of Mexico off Florida after a midair collision has died. The surviving pilot was reported in
An A380 flying for Singapore Airlines had to be grounded on Tuesday due
to a fuel pump problem; it's the first time one of the double-deckers has missed a flight for mechanical reasons...
U.S. Air Force officials say they need an extra $20 billion per year to replace
This year's Geneseo Airshow in upstate New York, "The Greatest Show on Turf," will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Curtiss P-40
Warhawk, with a Flying Tigers Reunion...
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Clouds, as Joni Mitchell warns, may get in your way, but knowing what's around you in the atmosphere turns weather challenges into clear skies. Well, maybe not, but it makes answering these questions
Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they thought Adam Aircraft might rise like a phoenix from the ashes of bankruptcy.
Despite an abiding fascination with the A700, 51% of our readers answered No, the VLJ market is already too crowded.
Although we should note that the other 49% of you answered with varying degrees of YES answers.
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.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
With the FAA considering new rules on what constitutes a "homebuilt" aircraft, this may be a good
time to ask:
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: 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.
Make Plans Now to Attend a 2008 Savvy Aviator Seminar
Mike will be conducting Savvy Aviator Seminars in Chicago, Las Vegas, Norfolk, and Santa Maria. 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!
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and to reserve your space, click here.
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.)
You guys have been doing a lot of flying lately! We received more "FBO of the Week" nominations over the last seven days than we have in months. Despite some outstanding recommendations, we're
awarding our "FBO of the Week" ribbon to the FBO at Santa Ynez Airport at KIZA in Santa Ynez, California.
Not only do they have a great webcam on their site (where you can check real-time fuel prices and ground conditions at a
glance), but they inspired this heartfelt endorsement from AVweb reader Eric Cobb:
This is the way airports used to be, and I believe [Santa Ynez] is the best small airport in the U.S. Made me feel like a kid again.
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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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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
"Picture of the Week" submissions continue to trickle in at a modest rate during the winter lull, but the quality of photos remains thankfully high. (And we're not above using the
slowdown as an excuse to post a few great photos to our slideshow that have been lost in the flood during previous weeks.)
We get a lot of approach photos here at "POTW" headquarters, and while many of them end up as desktop wallpaper on our computers, it's a bit rare for one to find itself in the position
of "POTW" winner. Stephen Foster of Cary, North Carolina bucks the odds, with this shot taken from the cockpit of "a Cessna 210 piloted by Bob Draper [as]
we spend a late afternoon Christmas Eve sightseeing beautiful Taos, New Mexico."
Now this is more typical of the photos that get our blood racing. James Dippel of New Waverly, Texas brings the lift in the picture that
almost stole our breath this week. ("Taken at KCXO," according to James.)
Bob Rybak of Saunderstown, Rhode Island sees us off this week with a photo he snapped at the Smithsonian Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. "This
photo," he writes, "was taken shortly after the center opened. The notch in the wing root was a section removed by NASA to test the effects of foam impact after the break-up of Columbia."
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,
send us an e-mail.
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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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Managing Editor Meredith Saini
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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