AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 14, Number 26b

June 26, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Efforts to Make the Skies Safer back to top 
 
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Eclipse Says Software Update Will Fix Throttle Problem

A software update to the Eclipse 500 jet will solve a problem that was the subject of a recent FAA emergency airworthiness directive, Eclipse Aviation said on Tuesday. Earlier this month, two pilots on approach to Midway Airport in Chicago experienced a throttle failure, resulting in maximum uncontrolled thrust from both Pratt & Whitney Canada PW601F turbofan engines. Eclipse says its solution will increase the range limit of the throttle quadrant assembly to prevent the fault condition from occurring. The fix requires approval from the FAA. Eclipse also has updated the Eclipse 500 flight manual and quick reference handbook to include procedures for handling a similar incident. In the Midway incident, the FAA said, the pilot applied full throttle with enough force against the forward stops to exceed the design throttle position signal maximum range. The associated fault mode held the engine thrust settings at the last known throttle position, which was maximum. The pilots were able to land safely after shutting down one engine and declaring an emergency.

Eclipse also announced on Tuesday that of all the Eclipse 500 aircraft in customer operation, more than 80 percent have been inspected as directed by the AD. Of this group of inspected aircraft, seven have reported fault errors. Four of those seven fault reports were determined to be erroneous due to noise caused by normal operation of the throttle quadrant assembly. "Interestingly, an analysis of more than 12,000 hours of flight data from across our fleet collected through the Eclipse Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) system reveals that three Eclipse 500 aircraft have experienced the TQA range exceedance fault, and one was the aircraft in Chicago," said Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn. "While this tells us there is an extremely low probability of this fault happening, we are moving very aggressively to ensure it will not occur again. We're working closely with both the staff members of the NTSB and the FAA to understand this condition fully, and put the necessary design improvements in place to safeguard our customers and our fleet."

New Flight-Plan Rules Take Effect Sunday

As part of FAA's ongoing effort to harmonize its paperwork and procedures with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the form for filing a flight plan is about to change, but only for IFR flights that include RNAV arrival or departure routing. Pilots filing VFR, or filing IFR but without the RNAV arrivals or departures, can continue to file using the usual flight plan format. Pilots filing point-to-point (RNAV direct) and "T routes" also are not affected. The format change, which takes effect at 0900 UTC June 29, is being made to help expedite the FAA's transition to a new en route computer system for Air Route Traffic Control Centers. Click here for the text of FAA's Letter to Airmen. Pilots affected by the change can find more information, including FAQs and step-by-step filing instructions, at the FAA Web site.

The FAA site also includes contact information, with e-mail addresses and phone numbers, to answer any questions. The changes will affect only about 10 percent of general aviation flights, says AOPA. Lockheed Martin flight service station specialists will be trained to help pilots file the new flight plan. "The ICAO flight plan is necessary because it collects more detailed information about actual avionics equipage and aircraft capability," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "This in turn allows ATC to match the most efficient routing to the aircraft capabilities, resulting in better service to pilots." Pilots with questions about the change can also contact AOPA for more information.

 
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They Say Knowledge Is Power ... back to top 
 

FAA Examines Cockpit Fatigue And Finds ...

The FAA brought together 325 experts last week to spend three days discussing the problem of fatigue in aviation operations, and the agency says the symposium produced agreement on two major points -- fatigue is a problem, and something should be done about it. No, we're not kidding -- that's from the FAA news release. "The FAA hopes the participating individuals and organizations will use the information and concepts shared during the symposium as a springboard to develop effective fatigue management strategies," the agency says. We're not sure what those strategies might be (dogs in the cockpit?), but reading the FAA's news release is probably not one of them. So in the interest of battling fatigue, we'll summarize. "Many experts consider the key to addressing the problem [to be] scientifically based fatigue risk management systems," the FAA says. Those guiding scientific principles should be developed through "enhanced data collection." Just to keep us off-balance (and alert), the FAA turned up one useful suggestion -- it was noted that employees who excuse themselves from duty due to fatigue should not be penalized.

"The conferees recognized that incorporating fatigue risk-management systems into everyday operations is the ultimate goal, but doing so will take innovation in addressing a myriad of regulatory issues," the FAA concluded, and we hope you stayed awake till the end of that sentence.

Researchers Aim To Improve Icing Information

Pilots generally seek to avoid flying in clouds with "known icing," but "unknown icing" also lurks out there -- that is, our ability to predict and pinpoint which clouds harbor icing conditions is not precise. Now a team of engineers at Rowan University, in New Jersey, is working on a way to enable pilots to detect the threat of icing while en route, in time to change course. The team created ice clouds in a cloud chamber with ice crystals identical to those found in real clouds. They then projected a laser beam through the cloud and measured its change in polarization, which is dependent on the size, shape and distribution of ice crystals. The polarization is invisible to the naked eye, but can be measured using sensitive lenses and photodetectors. Eventually, this process could enable a pilot to use low-power lasers to detect the crystals in time to allow the plane to avoid the crystal-bearing clouds, the researchers say.

"No one has previously done what we are doing in terms of this lab scale and the ability to vary as many elements," said Todd Nilsen, one of the researchers working on the project. The team, consisting mainly of undergraduates, spent two semesters to build the cloud chamber and develop the research project, funded by a $5,000 grant. The ability to re-create ice crystals that have the same characteristics as those found in nature, on such a small scale, will make it possible to conduct further research with little financial burden.

 
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Keeping Costs Down back to top 
 

United Air Lines To Lay Off 950 Pilots

United Air Lines will reduce its fleet by 100 aircraft, putting 950 pilots out of work, the company said on Monday. "This process is one of the difficult but necessary steps we need to take to size our business appropriately to reflect the current market reality," the company said in a memo to pilots. By the end of next year, United plans to cut 94 B737s and six B747s from its fleet. While United is the first major U.S. airline to cut flight crews in response to the current economic woes, USA Today says it may not be the last. The newspaper cites a recent study that predicts if oil prices remain at the current $130 to $140 per barrel, about 11,500 pilot jobs will likely be lost.

Last week, hundreds of United workers rallied in protest of the airline's decision to set aside stock worth about $130 million for a new incentive plan for executives, while at the same time the company plans to cut routes and lay off up to 1,600 employees, USA Today reported.

Navy Will Test Fuel-Efficient Airship For Marine Patrol

A Skyship 600 will be tested by the U.S. Navy this summer off the coast of Florida to evaluate its performance as a surveillance aircraft. Working with the Coast Guard, the Navy will collect data about the utility and cost-effectiveness of airships in this role. The ship will carry a crew of three on patrols of up to eight hours to test both the systems and crew fatigue. The ship's cabin, with room for up to 12 passengers, has plenty of space for surveillance equipment, and vibration is minimal. It can fly for up to 52 hours without refueling, and consumes only about 10 to 12 gallons of fuel per hour. The airship's ability to deploy to an area of operation, lift a sizeable payload, provide a stable platform for sensors, and stay aloft for long periods is unique, according to the Coast Guard.

The airship is owned and operated by Airship Management Services and leased by the Navy. It requires a crew of 20, including two pilots, three engineers and 15 ground crew. While on the ground, the ship's systems are monitored by a watchman located at the airship at all times.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

New Ownership For Classic WACOs

A new owner and management team have taken over the WACO Classic Aircraft Corp., in Battle Creek, Mich., which manufactures the WACO YMF-5 Super 1930s-style radial-engine biplane. Peter Bowers, president of Centennial Aircraft Services, also based in Battle Creek, will now be president of WACO as well. WACO will continue to manufacture and support traditional aircraft, as well as provide maintenance and services for GA piston aircraft, according to a news release. Bowers also plans to expand the company's restoration and maintenance services for vintage and historic airplanes.

The company has manufactured FAA-certified biplanes under the original 50-year-old WACO type certificate since 1986. In 1991, the WACO YMF Super was introduced, with a wider cabin, more legroom, increased useful load, a balanced rudder and a large front entry door. The company will have an airplane on exhibit at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, coming up next month.

Cessna Crash Survivor Plucked From Pacific

A 2006 Cessna 172S Skyhawk with three men aboard that had departed San Diego's Montgomery field at 1 p.m. Sunday was returning from Long Beach later in the afternoon when it crashed and sank approximately 1.5 miles off the coast, near Oceanside, Calif.. One man, a passenger aboard the Skyhawk, was rescued by boaters and delivered to a local hospital for treatment of shock and a broken leg. The crash was reported by a pilot who witnessed it from another aircraft shortly after 5 p.m. local time, according to local news reports. Oceanside police told a local news affiliate that the pilot of the accident aircraft was "recently certified." It is not known how long the survivor rescued Sunday had been in the water. An aerial search for the other two men had been called off by 9:00 p.m. due to thick fog over the water. (Various news reports listed visibility at anywhere from 20 feet to 600 feet.) A Coast Guard Cutter dispatched to the area was to remain on site late into the evening. The aircraft was owned by San Diego Flight Training International Inc. Searchers Sunday found no evidence of it in the water.

 
Precise/Cirrus Fixed Oxygen Is Now Available as an SR22 Retrofit
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Aviation Icon John Miller Dies

A lifelong pilot who was inspired by a young Glenn Curtiss, watched Lindbergh take off from Long Island and held a current instrument rating until he was at least 96 years old, died peacefully in a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., hospital on Sunday. John Miller was 102. As he told AVweb in a 2002 interview, he saw his first airplane when Curtiss landed in a nearby field on his way to claiming a $10,000 prize for flying from Albany to New York City. Miller was smitten from the age of four and taught himself to fly in a barnstormer's discarded ride plane when he was 18. He liked to say his flying career covered "Jennys to jets" and there was a lot of ground in between.

While he flew everything from mail airplanes to commercial airliners and was a military test pilot, Miller was perhaps best-known for his work with autogyros. In later years, he flew himself around the country in his beloved Bonanza and when we talked to him at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh in 2002 he was getting ready to fly home. Flying was never far from his mind, even in his last days. Two days before he died of natural causes, he told his grandson Robin Moore, "I guess my flying days are over." He donated his body to science and there will be no public funeral, at his request.

Related Content:
Miller's interview with EAA's Timeless Voices of Aviation

On the Fly ...

Eclipse Aviation's E500 is now certified for flight into known icing by the FAA...

The Air Race Classic launched Tuesday from Bozeman, Mont., headed for Mansfield, Mass., with 33 all-woman teams competing...

Linear Air, based in Bedford, Mass., now has the first Eclipse 500 air taxi based in the New York City area, at the White Plains airport...

First flight: The TL-Ultralight TL-3000 Sirius light sport aircraft has flown for the first time, in the Czech Republic. SportairUSA will distribute the airplane in North America...

Radar services to pilots in the Reno area will be reduced, after a controller who was on duty alone suffered sudden chest pains, NATCA says...

Last call -- the National Public Benefit Flying 2008 Awards Program will accept nominees only through this Friday...

A reporter recalls the fatal flight 50 years ago that he should have been on, but for a random change of plan.

 
Piper Matrix — Piper Compelling
Click here for more information on the new Matrix, Piper's next generation of cabin-class sophistication. Compellingly priced at $757,000.
 
New on AVweb back to top 
 

Cruise Dynamics

We spend most of our time in cruise flight, yet little training time is devoted to the finer points of savvy straight and level.

AVweb Insider Blog: ICON -- A Jetski With Wings (Can You Tow It With A Prius?)

Can glamor and a "can-do" attitude create a practical, saleable and functional aircraft for under $140,000? Marc Cook, the editor of our sister publication Kitplanes, says he'll believe it when he sees the much-vaunted ICON fly.

Read more.

 
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Reader Voices back to top 
 

Question of the Week: How Much Is Too Much for AvFuel?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked a question originally put to us by AVweb reader Brett Friermood: "What's your favorite type of instrument panel?" Answers vary a bit around the AVweb offices, but reader preferences are pretty clear, with 55% of you chiming in to say you prefer a nice assortment of steam gauges with a GPS display.

For a complete (real-time) breakdown of reader responses, click here.
(You may be asked to register and answer if you haven't already participated in this poll.)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

Fuel prices toppped $7 a gallon in Detroit earlier this week, and the U.S. average for 100LL is currently sitting at $5.54/gallon according to our own Fuel Finder. This week, we want to know where (and if) you draw the line at paying for ever more expensive fuel.

At what fuel price (if any) would you quit flying?
(Click the link, then choose the answer that's closest to your personal limit.)


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.

Do You Like the Headset You Own? How About Telling Us About It?

Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, is preparing a survey on conducting an extensive customer survey on headset quality, performance and comfort. We would love to hear from readers everywhere about their headset experiences. The survey takes just a few minutes.

Click here to take part.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

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.

 
Make Plans Now to Attend a 2008 Savvy Aviator Seminar
Mike Busch will be conducting Savvy Aviator Seminars in Rapid City, SD and Santa Maria, CA. 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.
 
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Exclusive Video: B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber Crash Technical Report

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

The crash on takeoff of a 509th Air Wing, Air Force B-2 Spirit bomber, February 23 operating at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, was caused by water in the aircraft's sensors, according to an Air Combat report issued Thursday. Specifically, moisture in three port transducer units "distorted data introduced by a B-2 Spirit's air data system" which led to flawed information entering the bomber's flight control computers. The aircraft was reacting to inaccurate airspeed and a "perceived" negative angle of attack. This resulted in an "uncommanded 30 degree nose-high pitch-up on takeoff," according to the Air Force.

The video has more detail, but you can also click here for the full story.


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.

 
Diamond DA40 XL Demonstrator Sale
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Aeroflight Executive Services (BFI, Seattle WA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Aeroflight xecutive Services at BFI in Seattle, Washington.

AVweb reader Andy Couch explained how Aeroflight delivered that all-important personal touch:

As I taxied to the FBO, a lineperson came out to meet me and directed me to a tiedown; I didn't have to wander about the ramp, looking for a place to park. The lineperson helped me with my baggage and with my ground transportation. When I returned to the FBO a few days later to depart, I used both the computer-based flight planning services the FBO made available and the FBO's telephone to contact Flight Service. ... I was treated as if I were Bill Gates flying my personal bizjet instead of a piston-engine GA driver who purchased only 54 gallons of 100LL.

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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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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 ***

With well over 100 submissions to this week's contest, we're serving up a miniature "Greatest Hits" version of our regular "Picture of the Week" contest. We've got all the popular themes this week — from wing-walkers to lightning to balloons. And you're sure to find many other favorites (cute kids, beautiful skylines, and perfect approaches among them) in the "POTW" slideshow on AVweb's home page.

Where do we get all these great photos? From pilots with cameras just like you. So share a few of your own with us, O.K.?

medium | large

copyright © William Derrickson
Used with permission

Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes, Twilight Show at Québec International

William Derrickson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania kicks off the festivities with the afore-mentioned wing-walker. Air show performers Gene Soucy and Teresa Stokes are seen here entertaining the crowds at the Québec International Air Show, and William captured the moment to share with the rest of us later. Absolutely gorgeous.

 

medium | large

copyright © Ryan Pemberton
Used with permission

Short Final to Renton Airport

Ryan Pemberton of Spokane, Washington sent in this variation on a popular theme — and we have to confess that it's one of our favorites.

 

medium | large

Used with permission of Mike Radford

Pick-Up at Twin Lakes, Alaska Range

Long-time readers who are familiar with our taste in pictures will tell you it just wouldn't be a "Greatest Hits" edition without a float plane — and right on cue, we've got Mike Radford of Anchorage, Alaska flying in to pick up two clients at Twin Lakes. "It was a real nice morning with a glassy-water landing," writes Mike. "The only disturbance on the water was me."

 

medium | large

Used with permission of Bryan Bolander

180 Lightning

And then there's lightning. Deadly, beautiful, and often a colossal pain in the flight plan, it nevertheless makes for some spectacular photos. Bryan Bolander of Lansing, Michigan tells us this storm rolled in on the night of the Otsego Lake Splash-In. "Luckily it went around us, but the light show was impressive," writes Bryan.

 

medium | large

copyright © Chris Cook
Used with permission

Slow Ride ... Take It Easy

Some of you may be saying it's not really a greatest hits edition without a sunset or skyscape to fly us out — you'll find those in the slideshow — but we think this image from Chris Cook of Lebanon, Tennessee perfectly captures the solitary grace of flight that we like to use as our sign-off.

See you next week!

   

Remember:
There are more great photos in the "POTW" slideshow on AVweb's home page.

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an 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:

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

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.