AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 13a

March 24, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Lancair's Evolution Takes to the Skies back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Lancair Evolution First Flight

Lancair’s latest kit-built aircraft, the Evolution, had its first flight at company headquarters in Redmond, Ore., last Friday. The all-composite speedster will weigh just 2,300 pounds empty but has a 750-hp Pratt & Whitney Canada PT-6 engine up front that will give it a maximum cruise of 330 knots. First flight, with Len Fox at the controls, appeared uneventful and lasted about 40 minutes. According to the Lancair Web site the company is planning to have the aircraft at Sun ‘n Fun, which begins in just two weeks. Actually getting the aircraft to market may prove to be more difficult, though.

As we reported in last Friday’s AVweb Audio, Lancair CEO Joe Bartels is concerned that the FAA’s reassessment of the rules that have governed kit-built aircraft for more than 20 years will threaten technologically advanced aircraft such as the Evolution. The FAA is suggesting that home builders should do more of the parts fabrication themselves, rather than just straight assembly of pre-made parts, but Bartels says the specialized equipment and materials that go into the parts of a composite airframe are far beyond the scope and abilities of someone working in a home shop. While it decides its next move, the FAA has put a moratorium on inspections of new kits and their conformity to the existing regulations and the Evolution is caught in that moratorium. However, Oregon politicians are going to bat for the company and calling on the FAA to resume the so-called “courtesy inspections,” which give potential buyers comfort that once the plane is built the agency will sign off on its airworthiness, assuming it was built according to manufacturers’ directions.

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» Try out the Headset X™ and other Bose Corporation products at booth SNF-009 at Sun 'n Fun
Crime and Responsibility back to top 

After Canadian Crash, Court Attacks Airline Culture

Mark Tayfel managed a relatively safe landing on a public street in Winnipeg with both engines out that was, said one man, "an absolute miracle," according to Canada.com. Unfortunately, Tayfel had initiated the flight with six passengers aboard and without enough fuel to reach its destination, and one of Tayfel's passengers, 79-year-old Chester Jones, died of his injuries a few weeks after the crash. The trial regarding the 2002 crash apparently convinced the judge that a "culture" within the airline industry "pressures young pilots to break the law." Justice Holly Beard last week sentenced Tayfel to 240 hours of community service and a curfew. "It's clear the failure to follow aeronautics regulations is very prevalent," said Justice Beard while delivering Tayfel's sentence. And she would not lay blame for that culture squarely on Tayfel.

Prosecuting attorney Brian Wilford had argued that Tayfel had acted recklessly in his initiation of the flight and did not communicate the aircraft's condition until it was too late. Defense lawyer Balfour Der argued that Tayfel had not set out to endanger himself or his passengers and could better serve the community by preaching of his mistake to student pilots. Der noted that Keystone Air, Tayfel's employer, did not appear in court in support of his defense and that the company should have been held liable. Tayfel's former boss George Riopka did comment on the outcome of the trial, however, saying the judge's characterization of airline culture is outmoded. "That culture they're talking about is a dying breed in my eyes. There's very little of that in the aviation industry today from what I've seen," he told The Globe and Mail.

Jail For Diabetic Pilot

Pilot Ronald Crews was sentenced to 16 months in prison for lying about a medical condition that led in 2002 to his diabetic seizure while at the controls of a Cape Air Cessna 402. Crews, then 50 years of age, had flown with Cape Air for four years and had not disclosed to the FAA his insulin dependency. He will serve two years probation following completion of his jail term. The Feb. 8, 2002, flight out of Martha's Vineyard for Hyannis with four passengers aboard was spared potential disaster by the actions of one passenger -- a Cape Air security supervisor and pilot trainee. Melanie Oswalt, then 24, took the controls with 48 hours of experience under her belt and managed a gear-up landing at non-towered Provincetown airport at the north end of Cape Cod. The airport was closed at the time of the landing and located well beyond the flight's intended point of arrival. None of those aboard were injured. The U.S. Attorney's office says that Crews had for his entire career hidden the condition from the FAA.

Crews had once previously removed himself from a flight he was scheduled to fly for Cape Air and later took a medical leave of absence. He had been cleared to fly again just six weeks before the accident flight. Crews pled guilty to four counts of making false statements to a federal agency. His sentencing took place in federal court in Boston.

Cirrus Announces New Standard Maintenance Program
A planemaker fond of comparing its planes to high-end luxury automobiles just brought those two seemingly disparate markets a little closer. Cirrus Design has announced the launch of Cirrus Maintenance, a new "standard with purchase" benefit designed to help reduce the cost of scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. For more information, click here.

» Experience the fun of flying with Cirrus Design at booths MD-032C and MD-033B at Sun 'n Fun
Kemper Crash Update back to top 

Crash 172 Low, Slow, Possibly Overweight

An NTSB preliminary report into the crash of a Kemper Aviation Cessna 172S that killed the company’s co-owner, Jeff Rozelle, and three others earlier this month near Indiantown, Fla., suggests the aircraft could have been overloaded by as much as 200 pounds. The report says it was carrying 808 pounds of people and baggage and had flown 1.5 hours after being topped up to a full 56 gallons of fuel. That would have left approximately 46 gallons (about 275 pounds) in the tanks at the time of the crash, for a total weight of about 1083 pounds. Useful load on the crash airplane was 861.8 pounds. Only 9.5 gallons was recovered from the tanks but the fuel and vent lines from both tanks were broken in the crash.

The report says witnesses saw the plane flying slowly at about 200 to 250 feet AGL when "the nose dropped and the tail went straight up." The flaps were set at 14 degrees and there was five degrees of up elevator trim. Witnesses said engine noise increased as the plane spun and the throttle was found fully advanced. It was the third fatal crash for the company in less than six months and it suspended operations pending an FAA investigation.

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Big Planes, Big Business back to top 

Why Airbus Tanker Beat Boeing

The Air Force says Northrop-Grumman’s proposal for a new aerial refueling aircraft based on the Airbus A330 was simply better than Boeing’s 767-based plan. Documents quoted by the Seattle Post Intelligencer say the Air Force will need 22 fewer Airbuses because it’s more efficient at refueling and has a faster turnaround time than the 767. The Boeing had the edge in communications, some aerial refueling capabilities and combat survivability. It all added up to a close competition that the Air Force suggests may have been tipped by the business skills of the two bidders.

While Northrop’s past performance on Air Force contracts was judged as “satisfactory,” the Air Force assessment team said it had “little confidence” in Boeing’s ability to get the job done on time and on budget. Boeing spokesman Bill Barksdale told the PI that Boeing’s previous problems on defense contracts were “overemphasized” in the tanker bid and didn’t take into account the “lessons learned” on those projects.

Lockheed Martin's Composite Transport

Lockheed Martin intends to have a prototype Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft in the air by October, just one year after winning the $50 million contract to produce the plane. The design may be roughly based off of a highly modified Dornier 328J regional jet, but made of synthetic fibers, resin and epoxy instead of metal. Where comparable aircraft could be built from up to 4,000 parts, the new aircraft will be made of just 306 parts and benefit from a weight loss of up to 30 percent versus conventional cargo aircraft. The Air Force is hoping that savings could allow heavier payloads, longer range and significant fuel savings while offering a structure more resistant to corrosion and fatigue. Composite materials are not less expensive than metal, but a faster build time, if achieved, will also contribute to an overall reduction in cost. The prototype aircraft will be smaller than the aging C-130 Hercules, but also more nimble and capable of delivering troops to shorter, rougher strips closer to the front lines.

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» Be there with Cessna Single-Engine at booths SNF-001-005 at Sun 'n Fun
News Briefs back to top 

Arlington Fly-In And EAA

EAA and the Arlington Fly-In have reached a new working agreement that clarifies a 20-year relationship and defines the EAA's role to provide extensive promotion and coverage of the fly-in, and serve as a major sponsor for forums and workshops during the event. "We have set the stage for success in our shared missions," said EAA Vice President Adam Smith, "which is to promote recreational aviation in all its forms." The agreement will bring EAA judging standards to Arlington's aircraft awards program, along with two EAA SportAir workshops to be held on the fly-in grounds at other times of the year. The Arlington Fly-In is set for July 9-13 this year. One weekly ticket for a fly-in visitor arriving by aircraft is $24. Daily tickets are $15 for airborne arrivals. EAA's own AirVenture Oshkosh 2008 is set for July 28 through August 3.

Israeli Fighters Grounded In Cancer Scare

Israeli fighter pilots routinely face a variety of on-the-job hazards but they likely didn’t expect a threat from inside the cockpit. According to YNet News pilots are being tested for cancer after a high concentration of formaldehyde was found in the cockpit of one of its F-16I (Storm) fighters. Now the Israeli air force is saying that most Storm pilots were exposed to the chemical. Intense exposure can cause cancer but Israeli officials say that the chance of the pilots developing the disease is remote.

The investigation began after pilots complained about a pungent odor in one aircraft. The rest of the aircraft were initially cleared but they remain grounded until more thorough tests are done. There’s no word on the source of the chemical or when the Storms will be cleared for flight.

On the Fly ...

The Air Care 2008 conference on public benefit flying will be held Apr. 25-26 in Atlanta. Anyone thinking of going is reminded that the deadline for getting discount hotel rates is March 28 and more information is available here ...

Jon Sharp will try to set a speed record in his NemesisNXT racer at EAA AirVenture in July. Sharp hopes to exceed 334.31 mph screaming over Runway 18/36 to claim the record for that class of aircraft over a three-kilometer course ...

Boeing isn't commenting on reports that modification of the wing box on the 787 will delay the project further. The company said the redesign was part of the normal development process.

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Readers' Voices back to top 

AVmail: Mar. 24, 2008

Reader mail this week about Southwest Airlines, sunken airplanes, the Distinguished Flying Cross 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 

The Pilot's Lounge #124: An Airplane With A Personality? Let's Not Be Silly

Airplane drivers don't believe airplanes are anything other than inanimate objects. Airplane flyers, however, will enjoy what AVweb's Rick Durden has to say about a Piper Apache named "Da Pop."

Click here to read Rick Durden's column.

I don't know if it set a record, but it snowed here every day save one in February, so most of the action at the virtual airport was in the Pilot's Lounge, where students and experienced pilots alike colorfully expressed their preference to be flying and their frustration with the elements.

I confess to being among the aggravated, as I had been trying to get my airplane over to the big airport for some avionics work, and had so far been forced to reschedule four times due to weather. I, too, had given vent to my feelings a time or two.

On this afternoon, I happened to overhear a student who had recently soloed as he chatted with the person handling the scheduling book at the flight school. He was setting up a lesson for Saturday morning with his instructor and was trying to make sure that not only was his instructor available but that he could use a specific one of the trainers. The school has three trainers of the same type and roughly the same vintage, but it was interesting to hear the student express his preference: He wanted the specific one because "It likes me better than the other ones."

As I walked down the hall into the Pilot's Lounge, I contemplated that comment. Over the years I have heard this refrain, or something similar, uttered by pilots of all stripes. Every pilot I know has become more or less attached to certain aircraft at one time or another. The affection may have come about for many reasons: particularly pleasing handling or performance, comfort or appearance, among others. And it is true affection, for those pilots talk about how much they like particular airplanes and have been known to lavish considerable money on them. But, even with pilots holding airplanes in high esteem, is it possible to honestly say that a particular airplane likes us?

I thought of some of the corporate and airline pilots I know who, in response to any comment about an airplane liking its pilot, would make the most profane of comments about the foolishness of being liked by an inanimate object. However, when listening to them, my experience has been that the very vehemence of their remarks exposes their lack of veracity. Besides, each one of them secretly believes that he or she is the best pilot in the world and therefore an airplane would be honored to be flown by him or her, and I've seen more than one of them affectionately pat the very object of their derision when they thought no one was looking.

Nevertheless, if we are to be objective, detached and truthful, I suppose we must listen to those who solemnly proclaim that it is nonsense to anthropomorphize machines built with ruthless adherence to the dictates of design drawings, approved by a soulless government agency, and operated according to the coldest of aerodynamic theories and laws, the violation of any one of which will kill us as dead as the aluminum or Sitka spruce or composite of the structure of the machine itself.

Yet, I find myself convinced that those who make such statements have never truly flown an airplane, and perhaps never will. They are that sad group of aviators forever doomed to joylessly drive their aircraft through the sky. They are unable to understand the essence of what they are doing, and incapable of actually flying an aircraft. Yes, they can tell you instantly that X angle of attack combined with Y pounds of thrust at one G with the wings level will result in a climb at Z fpm, but they will never notice the sunset reflecting red off of the cu-nims out of the left cockpit window. And, when I have been in an airplane with that sort of person, driving it mercilessly through the air, I have noticed that they often can center the needles on the glideslope, but utterly lack the finesse -- and often the interest -- that would allow them to make a feather-light touchdown on the upwind wheel in a stiff crosswind and then hold it on that wheel for a while so that the airplane rolls along with the downwind and nose wheels in the air until they, too, are carefully flown onto the runway. No, they plant the airplane after more or less kicking out the crab, unable to recognize that the upwind wing needs to be lowered to maintain the track over the ground, and therefore the passengers are jerked to one side on touchdown. Drivers are incapable of virtuosity. It is limited to pilots.

So, at the risk of offending the drivers, let us admit that one of the reasons that many of us fly is that airplanes often come to have personalities that must be recognized and respected if we are to carry on aviating with any panache whatsoever. And, we also have to admit that -- as climate is what one expects and weather is what one gets -- a particular type of airplane may have an overall reputation, but each airplane is an individual and its personality may or may not conform to what we have come to expect of the breed. Accordingly, it is best to be fully alert when being introduced to a new airplane, no matter how well we think we know its genealogy.

A Malevolent Sort

Anytime I think of airplane personalities, I cannot help but have one particular member of the Piper Apache line immediately leap to mind. It was one in which I spent time both as a student and, later, instructing and which, I came to be convinced, spent the time it was in its hangar thinking of ways to kill me. As those who have been around them know, in general, Apaches are air-kindly airplanes, nearly without vices. They are pleasant to fly, possessed of the same fat airfoil as the J-3 Cub, a comfortably rotund cabin, instruments that were seemingly installed at random and a cruise speed that allows everyone a great deal of time to enjoy looking at items of interest on the ground. It is truly a flying sweet potato.

The Apache in which I spent a few score hours, N1482P (good grief, I recall that number nearly 30 years on), rest its tortured soul, had happily flown its previous owner all the way to Point Barrow, Alaska, and back to Ann Arbor, Mich.. He sold it to some members of the flying club of which I was a member, and they leased it to the club. Following that transaction, something happened. Either "Da Pop" as we affectionately named it (before we knew any better) for its N-number, became upset that its owner had caused it to go from a fascinating life transporting an individual who pointed it toward adventurous locations to suffering at the hands of multi-engine students, or it truly had a Jekyll-Hyde personality.

A Formal Introduction

My introduction to Da Pop was more than a little unnerving. I had finally hoarded enough money and was ready to take dual in the club's twin to get my multi-engine rating. As we passed through 60 mph on my very first takeoff in my very first lesson in Da Pop, I suddenly found myself facing the right side of the runway despite attempting to put the left rudder pedal through the forward cabin bulkhead. Strangely, full left rudder was not only failing to cause the airplane to turn left, but -- to my shocked astonishment -- the airplane seemed to be swerving to the right at an ever-increasing rate. While I was busy doing my very best imitation of a completely clueless pilot, my instructor brought me back to sensibility by yelling, "Chop it!" To this day I remain grateful that one Dan Scharf was, and is, an extraordinarily gifted pilot and instructor.

Yanking both throttles to idle resulted in a much quieter cabin and caused the rudder to suddenly work. Da Pop immediately turned toward where I desired it to go, albeit now well over onto the right side of the runway. Once Dan reminded me that only my side of the front office had brakes, I applied them, slowing us and allowing us to turn off onto the runup pad at the departure end of the runway.

To the jaw-dropping amazement of both of us, the right engine -- which had caused all of the excitement by ceasing to function moments earlier -- was happily hushing its propeller around, a determined mimic of the engine on the other wing. After a few deep breaths, I told the Tower what had just transpired and that we would like to remain where we were for a bit to see if we could figure out what was wrong. Compounding Dan's and my confusion, holding the brakes and demanding full power from the right engine generated the appropriate snarling roar, manifold pressure and redline rpm of full power.

For all of about 10 seconds.

At that point the engine quit without so much as an apologetic wheeze or fart. As the propeller slowed, I pulled the throttle to idle, only to have the engine catch and run once again. A runup at 1800 rpm went without complaint; yet upon demanding full power, the engine would comply for roughly 10 seconds and then quit.

We taxied back to the club and expressed our displeasure with Da Pop's behavior. Upon inspection, it was found that the cable from the right-hand fuel selector in the cockpit to the fuel selector-valve itself, out in the wing, had stretched, causing the valve to fail to move to where it should, leaving only a small opening for the fuel. It would only supply enough fuel for partial-power operations. The fuel in the carburetor bowl would allow a period of time at full power, but once it was exhausted, the big silence prevailed until the throttle was retarded and the trickle of fuel resumed.

In time I was able to finish my multi-engine rating in Da Pop and, despite having to cancel a couple more lessons for mechanical problems, eventually my multi-engine instructor rating as well.

When I began to teach in Da Pop, its attacks began in earnest. It got to where I would have to scrub one lesson in three or four for mechanical problems. My student and I would do a careful preflight and taxi to the runway. Everything would be in order until well into the pre-takeoff check. Then a magneto would provide an unacceptable drop, or a vacuum line to one of the instruments would become detached, or a carburetor-heat cable would pull all the way out of the quadrant, having fractured at some point in its sheath.

Landing On One Engine

Despite great care before takeoff, Da Pop still made certain I understood it would take me out if I dropped my guard in flight. As actual engine shut-downs and propeller featherings were a part of training back then, I rapidly learned to do them near an airport. It was not so much due to the fact that an Apache had to work hard to just hold altitude on one engine, but rather because Da Pop would randomly decide that the engine that had been shut down could not be restarted while in flight. The restart procedure for a shut down and feathered O-360 engine is pretty straightforward: Get it rotating with the starter (yes, I did have some students shout "Clear!" before hitting the starter -- it was funny the first time), introduce fuel and spark with the throttle just above idle and wait for it to light.

Not so with Da Pop. About once a month, no combination of throttle, prop control, mixture, magneto switches, fuel-pump switch or fuel-valve positioning would induce the intentionally failed engine to run and I would get to supervise my student's for-real, single-engine approach and landing. Because an Apache isn't going to make a single-engine go-around below about 500 feet AGL once the gear and flaps are extended (and with only one hydraulic pump, we sometimes had to pump the gear and flaps down), the training exercise had been turned into a true emergency.

Each time, the student handled the landing well. After turning off the runway we would always try once again to start the offending engine. Naturally, it started just fine every single time, so we could taxi in on both engines to hear our friends at the club let us know that we just didn't know how to restart an engine in flight.

Heat? You Ain't Gettin' No Heat

Da Pop also soon let me know it was in charge of creature comforts. In the summer, we would sometimes fly high enough to reach air cool enough that I would call upon the gasoline-fired heater residing in Da Pop's Durantesque snoz. Upon provocation, it would ignite, giving out a muffled "Poof" and warm air would curl around our ankles. But in early October, as football weather made itself known, the heater would fail. The offending component would be identified and an urgent Aircraft-On-Ground order would go out. How Da Pop knew to break the one part that could not be obtained, anywhere, that year, never failed to astonish me.

Trying to keep warm, we tied shoelaces around the cuffs of our pant legs. Every lesson was a test to see how much my student and I could accomplish before one of us cried "Uncle" and we returned to the airport. Did you know that, from the cabin, the sound of the engine exhaust through the augmenter tubes of an Apache sounds like laughter when you are taxiing in and you are very, very cold?

When it became clear to Da Pop that neither I nor any other instructor would take off with something not working (other than the heater) and that we were determined to be very thorough in our pretakeoff checks to find what mischief had been pulled so that we would not have to deal with it in the air, the airplane escalated the war. Collateral damage promptly occurred.

It Gets Ugly

An instructor who is now an airline captain, and who was as cautious of Da Pop as I, was preflighting the airplane with her student. She had ducked under a wing to check on a component while her student was in the cabin to use the hydraulic pump handle to pump down the flaps. The gear handle was up (I still think Da Pop did it), so when the student started to pump, with the flap handle down and the gear handle up, the hydraulic sequencing valves commanded that the gear take priority. I do not recall the nature of the design of the squat switch on the landing gear, but you can be guaranteed that it failed to work. The instructor began to hear sounds she didn't like and rolled out from under the wing just before the landing gear unlocked and Da Pop descended loudly to the hangar floor.

It was about then that I moved from Ann Arbor, but I did keep in touch with those who were flying Da Pop because I had developed a morbid fascination with the bird. I learned that it was repaired, personality intact and evidently determined to do in someone, anyone. Before long it fired a cylinder out of the side of the cowling of one engine. The metal cowling peeled back, creating a very effective speed brake, and the engine seized before the propeller could be feathered. Oh, yes, Da Pop arranged for all of this to happen at night.

Fortunately, the pilot knew what he was about (he, too is now an airline captain), and he experimented a bit. He quickly determined that the published best single-engine rate-of-climb speed (blue line) gave him a significant rate of descent. He found that, with the new aerodynamics, a different speed worked better. While he still could not hold altitude, the descent rate steadied at 50 fpm. With excellent ATC cooperation, he managed to find his way to a single-runway airport, arriving at some 50 feet agl. Da Pop may have played one last dirty trick, for the runway turned out to be aligned almost precisely 90 degrees to the arrival route. Attempting to maneuver for it would probably have meant sticking a wingtip into the ground or trees, with the associated unpleasant consequences.

The pilot wisely chose to simply close the remaining throttle and land, gear up, on the grass, in what space was available. As there was no option to install shoulder harnesses in Apaches, the pilot and his passenger were injured when they bounced their heads off the panel as Da Pop met something more resistant than itself during the slide out. The good news is that the injuries only required a few stitches.

Beer Cans?

Due to the extensive damage to Da Pop, the insurance company declared a total loss and paid off the owners, so I assumed its days of happily scheming against its pilots were over and it would go on to cause greater damage as beer cans. To my chagrin, some years later I heard a rumor that someone had rebuilt 82P and it was flying again. For a long time, I could not bring myself to look at the FAA aircraft registry to see for sure, and I even toyed with the idea of buying one of those earth-sheltered, underground houses, in the hopes of protecting myself should Da Pop decide to seek me out with vicious intent.

Recently I took a deep breath and checked the FAA registration files. There I found that someone did rebuild -- or at least, re-register -- Da Pop. However, when the webpage opens up, it does not identify the owner. Rather, it says, "ATTENTION! This aircraft's registration status may not be suitable for operation." It directs the viewer to contact the FAA Aircraft Registration Branch for further information.

I cannot help but wonder what happened to Da Pop. The strange fascination continues. Despite its attempts on my -- and others' -- lives, I find that I cannot hold any malice toward it. It's a little like a two-year old who constantly misbehaves but has a way of disarming you by stopping, turning his head and giving a shy little smile. I hope it didn't become a drug hauler (good grief ... at 125 knots, who'd try it?) or get put to some other ignominious use. I would not be surprised to learn that the owner found that, while an Apache can be purchased for what amounts to spare change, the antiquated, complex, hydraulic, vacuum and electrical systems can cost a fortune to keep in working order. I suspect that it is sitting somewhere on a tiedown, tires flat, grass growing up around it, windows crazed and bird nests in many of its private parts, awaiting that day that someone will come to make it flyable once again. And it is plotting the best way to kill her.

See you next month.

// -->

Always Wanted To Fly A DC-3?

copyright © John Fleck
Entry Deadline:
April 1, 2008
Flight Date:
April 8, 2008 (7 a.m.)
Flight Location:
Linder Airport, Lakeland, Florida
Winners Announced:
April 3, 2008
To qualify, you must have a valid pilot certificate and current medical. (It doesn't have to be a U.S. certificate.)

Arguably the most important aircraft ever produced, the DC-3 ushered in the "modern" era of air transportation. But until you've sat in the left seat, gripped that huge yoke and tried to muscle the big bird onto final, you can't appreciate what life was like for the tens of thousands of pilots who have shaken, rattled and rolled in the confines of that cockpit.

Or maybe you're a former DC-3 pilot looking for a trip down memory lane. Whatever the motivation, now's your chance to fly left seat in the iconic aircraft, courtesy of Herpa Wings, AVweb and the owner of N143D, Dan Gryder, at Sun 'n Fun on April 8. You'll be in control as Dan guides you through takeoff, pattern work and even a few low and overs in a beautifully maintained but still very historic DC-3. All you have to do is tell us (and 200,000 AVweb readers) why you want to. Send us a short (no longer than 200 words) essay on the topic: "Why I Want To Fly The Herpa Wings DC-3."

E-mail your entry to fly-the-dc3@avweb.com by April 1, 2008.

Important Rules:
To qualify, you must have a valid pilot certificate and current medical. It doesn't have to be a U.S. certificate. You must be available to fly at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at Lakeland Linder Airport in Florida. All entries must be received by April 1, 2008.

Winner will be announced in the April 3 edition of AVwebFlash. Good luck!

To get some idea of what you're in for, watch this video of AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles as he tries to push the aircraft around (left) and Dan's patented one-wheel landing (right):

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Blue Diamond Aviation (Russellville Municipal Airport, AL)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Blue Diamond Aviation at Russellville Municipal Airport (M22) in Russellville, Alabama.

AVweb reader Robby Bendall calls the FBO "a welcome stop for anyone," recounting how he and a friend have made it their base of operations while airplane shopping:

Cm. Sgt. Harry Mattox has done an excellant job of building a good small town FBO and flight traing center. Recently a friend and I have been working on the purchase of his first airplane, a 172 that has been sitting for two years. He has welcomed us with open arms and has gone out of his way to help. We have used his facilities on and off since January of this year, and it and looks like we are about to finish up. Harry has auto-dispensed Jet A and 100LL, [plentiful] hangar space, and the nicest small town terminal with a courtesy car. Smiles abound.

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!

Welcome to Jeppesen E-Charts
Jeppesen Electronic Charts — or e-charts — are here. They're compliant and replacing paper charts worldwide. E-charts will make your flying faster, safer, and better. Whether you display your electronic charts in the cockpit or print them out and use the paper, e-charts are easier to carry, easier to use, and easier to revise than traditional paper charts. You'll spend more time flying and less time preparing to fly. Learn more about the many benefits of switching to electronic charts by visiting Jeppesen online.

» See Jeppesen e-charts in action at booths C-017-021 at Sun 'n Fun
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Lockheed U-2S "Dragon Lady" Cockpit Tour

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

The Lockheed U-2 has been in service for over 50 years. It has been at the center of some of the most tense moments in America's history. AVweb's Glenn Pew takes you inside the cockpit on a guided tour with an active U-2 pilot.

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

Video of the Week: Helicopter Incident on the High Seas

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

AVweb reader Jim Lin sent us this week's video clip, along with a note that the original YouTube description (which calls this a takeoff error and blames it on an unreleased strap) may be a misreading of what we're actually seeing:

Here's a video of a scary helicopter incident at sea. Despite what the video description says, it looks like the pilot failed to keep the helicopter pinned to the deck of the pitching ship. You can see the heli get light on its skids on the swell prior to the actual liftoff and subsequent tail strike. That's one lucky deckhand!

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."

Anywhere from Texas to California, Bad Guys May Be After Your Baby ...

File Size 9.5 MB / Running Time 10:22

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

As you read last week on AVweb, the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute has issued an All Points Bulletin to pilots/owners of Cessna singles and especially heavy haul Caravans, King Air models, and medium/heavy Cessna Cabin Class Twins to take measures to secure and guard their airplanes. Because the Mexican government is now seizing airplanes at an accelerated rate, the drug cartels need to quickly procure some American assets to replenish their illegal aviation fleet. AVweb's Mike Blakeney spoke with ACPI president Bob Collins to find out why and how they plan to turn your pride and joy to a life of crime.

Click here to listen. (9.5 MB, 10:22)

Stuck on the Freeway? Put That "Down Time" to Good Use with Pilot's Audio Update
Subscribe to Pilot's Audio Update and receive monthly CDs with topics from "Expediting an IFR Approach" and "Airplane Trim Systems" to "Carburetor Ice" and "Low Workload Maneuvering." Subscribe now to receive the Acing the Flight Review CD as a gift with your order.

» Learn more about Light Plane Maintenance and other magazines
from Belvoir Aviation Publications at booth C-034 at Sun 'n Fun
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"

Departing Oakland for Redding, California, NorCal Departure handed me off to Oakland Center. I changed frequencies but attended to some other issues and couldn't remember if I'd checked in:

"Oakland Center, Skyhawk XXXXX, six thousand. I can't remember if we actually checked in or if I just thought about it."

Oakland Center:
"XXXXX, roger. No, you didn't check in — but it's the thought that counts."

Walt Odets
via 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.

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