AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 11a

March 10, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVweb Exclusive back to top 

Taylorcraft Repossessed: Strut Customers Contacted

Taylorcraft Aviation LLC has been repossessed by its previous owners and that has affected an undetermined number of customers who had paid $3,500 for new lift struts but haven’t received them yet. J. Scot Ruffner, who is managing the repossession of the Brownsville, Texas, company for the former owner, Taylorcraft 2000 LLC, told AVweb he’s trying to contact everyone who paid for a set of struts before the Feb. 21 repossession date so they can figure out where to go from here. “Anyone out there who has paid for a set of struts and has not been contacted by me should call me right away (561-547-7931) so we can get an accurate picture [of how many are affected],” Ruffner said. Installation of the new, sealed struts eliminates the inspection requirements of an airworthiness directive (AD) issued last year to address corrosion issues in the original struts.

Taylorcraft Aviation had taken a number of orders for the struts but hadn’t filled any prior to the repossession. The new/old owners have built 13 sets of struts but they need final FAA approval before they can be shipped. Ruffner said that once they know how many unfulfilled orders are out there they can determine how to proceed and they’re trying to do the right thing. “There’s nothing we’d like better than to make good on all those orders,” he said, but he stressed that the viability of the company has to be considered in those discussions. Meanwhile, the type certificates, drawings, jigs, templates and everything else associated with the design that many consider the first and one of the best popular GA aircraft are for sale again and the owners are anxious to see it go to a viable home.

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Top News back to top 

ADS-B Wins Collier Trophy

And the winner is ... a work in progress. The National Aeronautic Association held its annual awards luncheon Thursday and, while historically the winner of the Collier Trophy is a person or an airplane, this year it was largely a concept. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) was the winner of the award generally recognized as the epitome of aviation innovation and excellence. However, as a functioning tool in the grand aviation scheme, ADS-B is in its infancy and, as the cornerstone of the FAA’s NextGen airspace management system, the jury is still out on just how its implementation will play out over the next few decades. "Like all of aviation, things are changing. Processes and projects are becoming worthy of nomination," said NAA President Jonathan Gaffney.

For the record, the Collier Trophy is awarded for “the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year,” according to the NAA Web site. Other nominees may have more closely resembled those criteria. The other nominees included the Dassault Aviation Falcon 7X -- "the world's first civil aircraft to be designed in a totally virtual environment"; Commercial Aviation Safety Team -- "dramatically improving the safety of commercial aviation and saving lives in the US and around the world"; Epic Air Team VLJ -- "delivering from clean-sheet to flight their vision of a high performance, cutting edge VLJ in six months"; Airbus A380 -- "benchmark improvements in performance, efficiency, safety and environmental impact for new aircraft design"; and SBIRS/HEO Test and On-Orbit Operations Team -- "extraordinary achievement in space vehicle performance and efficiency."

Related Content:
On-site audio interviews from the NAA Awards Luncheon
Russ Niles muses on the Collier Trophy's relevance

AOPA: FAA Aircraft "Re-Registration" Equals User Fee?

AOPA says a three-year aircraft "re-registration" requirement proposed by the FAA may replace the current one-time $5 registration fee with a $130 fee to be paid every three years as a hidden user fee. The FAA's proposal is based on the goal of bringing the U.S. aircraft registry up-to-date and the "re-registration" requirement would replace the current triennial registration report. The FAA recognizes that the current aircraft registration fee of $5 hasn't been changed since the mid-1960s and no longer aligns with the FAA's costs to provide services, according to the FAA. The gray area, according to AOPA, lies in determining and applying the costs associated with updating a registry that has deteriorated over time. "Aircraft re-registration hasn't been required for three decades," writes AOPA, and now "nearly one third of the 343,000 U.S. aircraft registrations are possibly invalid." Re-registration, whatever the cost, would require aircraft owners to return a renewal notice with updated information (or reply online) within a three-month window.

Early responses would not be allowed and late responses would be penalized by inability to fly the aircraft until it was re-registered. The full proposal is long, but the FAA is seeking comments through May 28. Find the text online, here. The methods of response are listed under "Addresses" near the beginning of the text.

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Keeping 'Em Flying back to top 

Precision Airmotive Tackles Fuel-Injection Servo Problem

If a brass hex plug is loose on your Precision Airmotive fuel control, don't fly your aircraft until the issue is resolved. Two incidents relating to RSA-10ED1 fuel-injection servos on Lycoming IO-540-K engines in Piper Saratoga/6X aircraft have led Precision Airmotive to call for immediate action. A brass hex plug has been found in two cases with damaged threads and hanging from its safety wire, out of its hole. One incident resulted in an off-airport landing that considerably damaged the involved aircraft. In each case, the servos had between 200 and 300 hours time since new. While the cause of the problem has not yet been confirmed, Precision Airmotive believes immediate action is warranted and is requiring immediate inspection of all aircraft with RSA-5 or RSA-10 servos "which have had a new, rebuilt, overhauled, or repaired engine and/or servo installed since August 1, 2006 to determine if the brass regulator plug is loose." A visual inspection isn't good enough.

"The inspection should be accomplished by attempting to turn the plug by hand, while taking care not to damage the safety wire or seal," according to the company. If the plug is loose, contact Precision Airmotive at 360-651-8282 and do not fly the aircraft until the issue is resolved.

Boeing Defends Southwest

Boeing is leaping to the defense of its biggest customer, issuing a statement saying it agreed with Southwest Airlines’ plan to continue flying 46 older 737s that hadn’t been inspected for specific fatigue cracks. “In Boeing's opinion, the safety of the Southwest fleet was not compromised,” Boeing said in a statement released late Thursday, a day after the FAA proposed fines of $10.2 million against the airline. $10 million of that fine is to be levied for 1,451 flights conducted on the 46 737-300s after Southwest blew the whistle on itself for not carrying out the fatigue crack inspections during the previous year. After discovering the lapse in inspections and reporting it to the FAA, the airline reinspected the aircraft and found six with small cracks, which were repaired. However, the aircraft remained in service during the 10 days it took to inspect them and that’s what the FAA is so cranky about. "The FAA is taking action against Southwest Airlines for a failing to follow rules that are designed to protect passengers and crew," said Nick Sabatini, the agency's associate administrator for safety. "We expect the airline industry to fully comply with all FAA directives and take corrective action."

Southwest, perhaps with some justification, is pointing out that it discovered the error itself and moved to fix the problem as soon as it could. Before launching any of the 46 aircraft involved, it checked with Boeing to see if that posed a potential hazard. “Southwest Airlines contacted Boeing for verification of their technical opinion that the continued operation of their Classic 737s, for up to ten days until the airplanes could be reinspected, did not pose a safety of flight issue,” Boeing said in a statement. “Based on a thorough review of many factors, including fleet history and test data, as well as other inspections and maintenance previously incorporated, Boeing concluded the 10-day compliance plan was technically valid.”

RoboSwift Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Flies

The first flight of RoboSwift -- a 3-ounce, 8-"feathered" propeller-driven micro-aircraft with morphing wings spanning (at their widest geometry) 20 inches and a standard tail -- ended in a tree, according to ChinaView.cn. That might be fitting, but the YouTube video of another flight tells a different story. (Beware of the graphic language spoken in another language and look closely for wing geometry changes.) The first flight took place under windy conditions and lasted about five minutes at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. RoboSwift sports four "feathers" per wing and its wings can be adjusted by folding those feathers over one another and by sweeping the feathers forward or backward. It is being developed by a student team that aims to participate in MAV08, a competition of unmanned Micro Aerial Vehicles to be held in India.

RoboSwift's intended purpose is to carry forward-facing onboard cameras to more naturally observe wild birds ... or, as the Dutch National Police Services Agency has announced it will fund the program, perhaps be used by government and law-enforcement agencies for surveillance (assuming the funding isn't charitable) by incorporating ground-looking cameras.

See the RoboSwift Youtube video, here.

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Controversy and Accolades back to top 

Passenger Says Cessna's F-16 Intercept Launched By "Lies"

Pay your bribes in Thailand, or else. That's the message being broadcast by an Australian who says he witnessed bribes being asked of his pilot by two Thai individuals. The next day, the Cessna 208 he was aboard was intercepted by two Singaporean F-16 fighters. Presently, the Cessna's pilot (another Australian) is facing a potential trial in Singapore and a maximum penalty of one year in jail, plus a $3,900 fine. The Australian says his companion purchased the Cessna in Thailand, was asked for bribes and refused to pay. The next day, while flying the aircraft on a test flight in Thailand, he says the aircraft developed a landing gear problem. The Cessna's pilot (currently being held in Singapore) then requested a flight plan to an alternate airport in Singapore, according to his travel companion. Granted permission by radio, the information apparently was not transferred to Singaporean authorities who instead heard the aircraft was stolen, not registered, and had left Thai airspace under suspicious circumstances, according to the pilot's companion. The Cessna was then escorted to land at Changi Airport, Singapore, where commercial airspace was closed for 50 minutes as the drama played out.

The Cessna's pilot has been charged with flying an aircraft without a certificate of airworthiness. His potential jail time and fine are yet to be determined.

Michelle Goodman's Historic Distinguished Flying Cross

For the first time, the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) has been awarded to a woman, Flight Lieutenant and helicopter pilot Michelle Goodman, 31, of the Royal Air Force. Flight Lieutenant Goodman earned the medal by last June flying her Merlin helicopter through heavy fire and mortar rounds into the center of Basra, Iraq, at night to rescue a seriously injured soldier. She flew at 160 mph at very low level across a hostile city using night vision goggles; her aircraft was hit with enemy fire and she executed an approach and landing at an unfamiliar landing site that was taking mortar fire and shrouded in swirling dust. Goodman kept the aircraft on the ground for a full five minutes as her crew retrieved the injured rifleman. She then flew her aircraft, which detected a missile threat and automatically launched countermeasure flares, through a path covered very closely with friendly artillery fire to distract enemy forces. Flight Lieutenant Goodman could have elected not to take on the mission at all, determining that it required too much risk, "But if it was me lying down there," she told The Daily Mail, "I'd like to think there was someone prepared to come and get me."

The aircraft touched down at a British Field Hospital 14 minutes after launch. Before the flight, Goodman had asked her crew if they were up to the task and they agreed. Without Goodman's leadership, and her Incident Reaction Team, the wounded man would have died within 15 minutes. Goodman has completed three tours in Iraq. The DFC is one of the highest military decorations offered, below only the Victoria Cross and Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.

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News Briefs back to top 

Comair Crash Sole-Survivor Polehinke Looks Skyward

James Polehinke, first officer, pilot flying and sole survivor of the August 2006 Comair CRJ-100 crash that killed the other 49 aboard at Lexington's Blue Grass Airport, is "determined to fly again," according to a report by The Associated Press. The accident took place after the crew of Flight 5191 was cleared for a 6 a.m. pre-sunup departure from the 7,000-foot lit Runway 22, but taxied past it and attempted departure from the 3,500-foot unlit Runway 26. The aircraft hit the airport fence, a berm and trees before crashing 1,000 feet beyond the runway. Polehinke, then 44, was pulled from the wreckage by police officer Bryan Jared and airport officers John Sallee and James Maupin. Polehinke suffered multiple injuries that resulted in loss of his left leg and brain damage -- he reportedly has no memory of the crash or the incidents leading up to it. He is on medical leave with Comair and is being sued by relatives of some of the crash victims.

Security Screening Proposal

It’s hard to imagine a less romantic place than an airport security screening line-up but it set the stage for an impromptu (and ultimately successful) marriage proposal by a young Canadian man. Aaron Tkachuk, 24, of Prince George, British Columbia, planned to pop the question to his high school sweetheart Jennifer Rubadeau on a moonlit beach in the Caribbean while the couple enjoyed a respite from a particularly miserable winter in their central B.C. home. However, the engagement ring he tucked in a sock in his carry-on bag appeared unusual on the X-ray and the security screener at the Prince George airport wanted a closer look. “The guy pulled out the ring and he was like: 'Oh, no.' He felt terrible," Tkachuk told The Vancouver Province. "That was it -- the cat was out of the bag. We were all stunned, so I just opened up the case and said: 'Will you?' and she said: 'Yes.'"

Now, Tkachuk thought he’d left nothing to chance in plotting the proposal. Not only did he spend six months designing the perfect ring, he thought he’d covered all the bases in ensuring it was properly presented to his future bride. He even phoned the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) in advance for advice on sneaking the ring aboard the flight without violating any rules. It was a CATSA employee who advised him to hide the ring in a sock in the carry-on where it would be spotted for what it was on the X-ray. “It was supposed to be a classic romantic moment, but ended up more like a romantic comedy,” Tkachuk said. “At least it's a story we can tell our kids one day." Rubadeau said she was stunned when she saw the ring. "I was shocked that it all happened so fast," said the 23-year-old events coordinator. "It was pretty amazing and a strange place for it to happen. I had no idea it was coming, but it was pretty cool." The couple is now back from their holiday and making plans for an Aug.3 wedding.

On the Fly ...

A British Airways CityFlyer captain and a ground employee have been fired after the pilot allowed the groundworker’s father to fly for free in the cockpit from London to Milan. The pilot was fired for breaching security rules, the groundworker for fraud ...

The FAA may resume “courtesy inspections” of new homebuilt designs after the Congressman representing the district that is home to Lancair and Epic Aircraft complained that the freeze on inspections could harm the companies. The FAA halted the inspections as part of a review of homebuilt rules ...

The Air Force will officially retire its fleet of F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighters by late April. At least two celebrations are planned to mark the career of the radar-deflecting aircraft, which are being replaced by equally stealthy but much more versatile F-22 Raptors.

Sensenich: Right on the Nose ... Again!
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Reader Voices back to top 

AVmail: Mar. 10, 2008

Reader mail this week about ADS-B, AFSS, ATC and more.

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

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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New on AVweb back to top 

CEO of the Cockpit #80: The Urge to Merge

Another airline merger ... maybe. This time it's close to home for AVweb's CEO of the Cockpit, so he's sucking on oxygen.

Click here for the full story.

Post-Crash Care

You've just crashed in a remote area. You and your passengers are injured. Will you have the equipment and knowledge to survive until you're rescued?

Click here for the full story.

AVweb Insider Blog: Collier Irrelevance?

Be sure to visit our new blog, AVweb Insider, for personal insights and commentary on the aviation industry from our staff of writers and editors. Today, editor Russ Niles scratches his head in confusion over the NAA's decision to award the prestigious Robert J. Collier Award to an untested, mostly hypothetical technology.

Read more.

Dual Antenna Traffic Systems Simply Perform Better
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

T-34 Mentor Homecoming

File Size 6.7 MB / Running Time 7:18

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In conjunction with this year's 35th Anniversary of the Beechcraft Heritage Museum at the Tullahoma Regional Airport (THA) in Tennessee, one of America's premier warbirds, the T-34 Mentor, will come home. AVweb's Mike Blakeney spoke with Brad Hood of the T-34 Association about this first major gathering of legendary Beechcraft T-34 Mentors in many years, scheduled for October 15-19, 2008.

Click here to listen. (6.7 MB, 7:18)

Video of the Week: P-51 Mustang Landing

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

This week's video (from LiveLeak.com) puts you at the controls of the P-51 Mustang Crazy Horse, complete with CFI walking you through the landing procedure. A big thanks to AVweb reader Robert Reid, who brought this to our attention.

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.

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

Exclusive Video: Dassault Falcon 7X Fly-by-Wire Business Jet

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

Dassault has introduced a jet that changes the playing field for business jet manufacturers, operators and pilots. That jet is the $40 million Falcon 7X. In this exclusive video, AVweb video editor Glenn Pew takes us inside the Falcon 7X.

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.

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: Tropical Aviation Corp. (TJIG, Isla Grande, San Juan, Puerto Rico)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Tropical Aviation Corp. at Isla Grande's Fernando Rivas Dominicci Airport (TJIG) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

AVweb reader Robin Fraser made a compelling case, insisting that Tropical "was the best FBO we used in an entire month of cross-country flying" from Saskatchewan to BVI. "They easily deserve to be recognized as the 'FBO of the Week,'" writes Robin, and based on his account of the trip, we tend to agree:

The service at Tropicana Aviation was nothing less than excellent. From fueling at customs the moment we arrived and excellent pricing to the assistance in parking, everything was top-notch. The front desk staff arranged transportation and accomodations on a moment's notice and were exceptional with their service. The General Manager was there to meet us and offer his assistance and also introduced us to the owner of the business. Facilites were excellent and the staff took care of flightplans and the very low airport fees (less than 7.00 for the night!).

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 Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

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

I'm a CFI who was flying into Vero Beach, Fla., and it's widely known that one of the tower controllers often flies to work. The winds were favoring the single runway, so the parallel runways were not in use, and the tower was busier than usual. While flying the pattern with a student, I heard the following:

"Vero Beach Tower, Cessna XXXX inbound for landing, full stop."

Tower (with what sounded like a straight face, though it couldn't have been):
"Cessna XXXX, remain clear class Delta, expect one hour delay."

[We weren't that busy, so I was shocked.]

"Um, but I'm your replacement!"

Tower (now laughing):
"Oh! Cessna XXXX, report left base, runway 4!"

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.