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The FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association announced on Monday that they will work together to implement a new safety plan. The Air Traffic Safety Action Program is designed to "foster a voluntary, cooperative, non-punitive environment for the open
reporting of safety-of-flight concerns by employees of the FAA," according to a joint FAA/NATCA news release. "Creating an atmosphere where controllers and their managers can identify, report and
correct safety issues will go a long way in helping us further improve our safety record," said acting FAA Administrator Bobby Sturgell. On Tuesday, the FAA released a new controller-hiring plan, and said its current plan is on track. The agency hired more than 1,800 controllers last year and expects to hire nearly 1,900
in fiscal year 2008.
The FAA also launched a new Web site that aims to help recruit new controllers. "FAA Air Traffic
Controller jobs are rewarding and the pay is good," the Web site reads. Starting pay for trainees is $17,046, and $33,100 for the first assignment to a facility.
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The federal Bureau of Reclamation, which closed off seaplane access to hundreds of lakes in a 2006 rule, has announced it
will revise that regulation, the Seaplane Pilots Association said last week. The 2006 rule, which cited security
concerns, closed over 400 lakes in 17 Western states to seaplane operations. Many of those lakes had been used by seaplane pilots for years. Hendrik Willems, of the Bureau of Reclamation, said a new
rule will be published within the next two months that will restore access to pre-2006 status. "Todays announcement is a major step toward a satisfactory long-term solution," said James McManus,
executive director of the Seaplane Pilots Association.
"We look forward to continuing to work with the Bureau of Reclamation and Department of Interior as they develop this revised rule to assure fair treatment of seaplanes while ensuring effective
protection of these natural resources."
The annual Archie Awards given out by the National
Air Traffic Controllers Association are a stark reminder that every time we launch into the big sky, we face the unexpected -- and sometimes the voice at the other end of the radio can be a lifeline.
The awards, named after the first air traffic controller, recognize the efforts of controllers who respond to potentially dangerous situations. This year's award winners helped guide an out-of-fuel
pilot to a safe off-airport landing in Alaska, aided a pilot during a two-hour ordeal when his icy airplane wouldn't get stabilized on approach, and directed a confused pilot at night who followed a
controller's vectors to a safe landing.
Video of the award ceremony also will be posted at the NATCA Web site.
Miles Hilton-Barber, 59, an Englishman who has been blind
for about 20 years, on Sunday flew with a sighted co-pilot at speeds up to 1,100 mph over Cape Town, South Africa. The English Electric Lightning jet climbed to 50,000 feet in under two minutes,
according to the BBC. The record-setting event raised £50,000 for the charity Seeing is Believing, which helps blind children in developing countries. "There are 37 million blind people in the world today, and 28
million could see again tomorrow if the money was available," Hilton-Barber said. He previously flew an ultralight from London to Sydney, and has also tried wingwalking and mountain climbing.
"The rush was incredible. It was just wonderful," Hilton-Barber told the BBC. "Of course, I couldn't see anything but my co-pilot told me that when we were flying upside down at 50,000 feet, you
could see the curve of the earth."
A pilot went for a swim and his airplane went flying without him after some unfortunate control inputs during a flight in Florida
last September. According to the NTSB's final report, released on Monday, the pilot flew to Lake Okeechobee to
practice touch and goes in his Aventura II, a light experimental amphibian. When the pilot arrived at the lake, he turned into the wind and the nose of the airplane rose. He over-corrected, and the
abrupt movement jolted his hand on the throttle, causing him to inadvertently apply full power and push the flight controls to the left. The sharp left turn threw him out the right side of the
airplane. Anthony Bencivenga, 67, of Port St. Lucie, told the Palm Beach
Post that a pontoon hit the water, and somehow he accidentally released the buckle of his safety harness. He found himself in the water with no life jacket and no glasses. "I couldn't see a
thing," he said. "I was just praying to Jesus ... I said, if I'm going to die please drown me first before the alligators get me." A friend who was flying nearby spotted him in the water and called
A fisherman came to Bencivenga's aid and brought him safely to shore. The airplane leveled itself off and flew about a mile before it settled down and flipped over in shallow water, the NTSB said.
The probable cause of the accident, the safety board concluded, was the pilot's failure to maintain directional control of the airplane during landing, which resulted in the pilot being inadvertently
ejected and the airplane's impact with the water during an uncontrolled descent.
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Facing a deadline to meet a target on its route from Norwich, England, to Dublin, local airline Flybe paid 172 temp workers to fill the seats, Reuters reported on Monday. The airline
had to transport at least 15,000 passengers on the route in the 12 months ending on Monday, or it would forfeit a 280,000-pound ($550,000) rebate from the airport. The airline tried to negotiate a
partial rebate for coming close, but the airport said it was all or nothing. Flybe also offered free flights to all comers via its Web site, but when it still came up short, the temps were enticed
with an open bar. Richard Jenner, managing director of the airport, called the airline's strategy "ludicrous" and said the target had to be met by regular fare-paying passengers, Reuters
"The ludicrousness is on the Norwich side, who in essence have tried to hold us to ransom, putting at risk routes into Norwich," Flybe Chief Commercial Officer Mike Rutter responded. Environmental
advocates attacked the unnecessary flights as "absurd," and called the airline an "environmental vandal," according to the UK Press.
"This is an incredibly dark day for Hawaii," said David Banmiller, Aloha Airlines' president and chief executive officer, as the airline completed its last flight on
Monday, after 61 years of operation. "We simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for our passenger business," he said. Banmiller blamed "unfair competition" for
driving the airline out of business. Mesa Air Group's go! airline started up operations in Hawaii two years ago, offering inter-island fares as low as $19 each way. The Aloha shutdown will affect
about 1,900 employees, although many of them may continue working in Aloha's air cargo unit while the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeks bids from potential buyers. The last flight was flown from Kahului
with the company's most senior pilot and most junior pilot in the cockpit.
The airline's worst accident occurred in 1988, when a part of the fuselage ripped away in flight. A flight attendant was killed, but the crew was able to safely land the airplane. A video report about the incident is posted online.
The World of Flight Gathers at EAA AirVenture EAA AirVenture is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration. Whatever your favorite aircraft, you'll find it along the flight line in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Plus nearly 1,000
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The aviation season gets off to a running start in Lakeland, Fla., next week with the opening of the annual Sun 'n Fun fly-in, Tuesday through Sunday. AVweb will be there with daily news reports, video, and podcasts. Light sport aircraft will get
lots of exposure, with an expanded LSA Mall located right near the main entrance. The Commemorative Air Force will fly in about a half dozen antique aircraft. The seaplane splash-in is moving this
year to the lake adjacent to Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight aviation museum. All the big aircraft manufacturers will be there, with new products and special deals, and we'll be there to keep you in
the loop every day.
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. In his most recent post,
Editorial Director of Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli shares some concerns about the recent incursion by a Pilatus and Beech Premier into a military operations area -- and their subsequent
run-in with an F-16:
I'm trying to be sympathetic here, but as a former F-16 and now airline pilot friend of mine says, if you play in the sandbox, expect to get sand in your shoes. The rules of operating
inside active MOAs are clearly stated in the Aeronautical Information Manual. I won't quote it chapter and verse here, but the upshot is you're permitted to use the airspace, but you do so at your own
risk, unless you're under IFR.
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Last week, we asked how AVweb readers are coping with rising fuel prices.
Nearly a third of you are cutting the number of hours that I fly, which was the single most popular answer to our informal survey.
To see how the other three potential answers (and the ever-popular none of the above and all of the above) ranked, click here. (You may be asked to register and answer if you haven't already participated in this poll.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
As we're packing up to head south for Sun 'n Fun, now's a good time to ask about readers' plans for this (busy-looking) air show season:
Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on aircraft engine cylinder products. If you've done an overhaul during the past several years, the magazine's editors would
like to hear from you on how the cylinders have performed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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.
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!
For complete details
and to reserve your space, click here.
AVweb founder Mike Busch has been selected by the FAA and supporting aviation organizations as the National Maintenance Technician of the Year. Busch will be presented his award
at a ceremony during EAA AirVenture.
Today, AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Landmark Aviation at KORF in Norfolk,
Virginia, which was recommended to us by AVweb readers David & Roberta McKenna, who write:
The line staff and front counter girls were outstanding, giving [us] a truly excellent experience. We were given the AOPA 25¢ fuel discount, a reservation at Windmark Hotel for $68(not a
misprint!), their shuttle to and from the FBO, and a restaurant recommendation. Outstanding service!
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 ***
As you read this, our crack team of editors, reporters, gophers, and ne'er-do-wells are packing their bags, checking their flights, and gearing up for Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Florida.
Remember that "POTW" will be on hiatus next week as we struggle to ogle all the cool planes at the show but that doesn't mean you're off the hook, dear readers! We hope you'll continue to submit your photos so we can have a great batch of "Pictures of the Week" when we return from the show.
David J. Benna of Ames, Iowa kicks things off today with a little stormy weather. "There were about seven lightning strikes around the Ankeny
(Iowa) Airport this night," David writes. "It was a great night for this type of lightning."
Great for the lightning, perhaps, but not so great for pilots ... .
Oh, yeah on the EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast, the super-photogenic plane that keeps cropping up in our "POTW" winner file! This time, she's captured on film by Nathaniel Minion of Bolingbrook, Illinois, who saw her recently at Lewis Airport.
If you're planning on going to Sun 'n Fun next week, do yourself a favor and spend some time with Overcast. She's usually easy to spot, and you're liable to spot an AVwebber or
two gawking ... .
We started this week with exciting weather, and we're ending it with (slightly less) exciting weather!
Phil Sih (of Cheshire, Connecticut) of Sparks, Nevada writes, "This is the first time I've seen huge lennies like this hanging over Reno like some
kind of alien spaceship. The turbulence was amazing. ... The photo is un-retouched."
Note that we've been having some trouble with the "POTW" archives and will be doing some troubleshooting in there on Thursday, April 3. If you have trouble
accessing the archives, please enjoy the slideshow and check back in a few hours. (Thanks for understanding and a big thanks to those who reported the intermittent problems over the past
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
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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