AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 36a

September 1, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Cessna Caravan
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Top News: Hurricane Watch in the U.S. back to top 

CAP Preparing For Gustav, Maybe Hanna

Civil Air Patrol members spent the weekend making preparations both to safeguard their assets and to respond to those in need after Hurricane Gustav makes landfall. And forecasters are now tracking Tropical Storm Hanna, which they say may follow Gustave to New Orleans. Both Southeast and Southwest wings of CAP were Friday ordered to initiate communications checks and update alert rosters, plus aircraft resource lists. CAP wings in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama were busy Friday relocating aircraft and vehicles, with Alabama organizing aircrew, ground crew and urban direction-finding teams from those members available for "a one- or two-week tour" (if necessary) following the storm's landfall. CAP currently includes some 56,000 volunteer members nationwide and performs "90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center." CAP is promoting National Preparedness Month (September) and the Ready Campaign Web site, Ready.gov.

Insurer AIG recently made proactive changes to its coverage in an effort to encourage aircraft owners to move their aircraft out of the path of powerful storms.

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Flybuddy on the Fritz? You're Not Alone ... back to top 

Garmin Working On Fix For Older Flybuddy Models

Garmin Model 819 and Model 820 Flybuddy GPS units "stopped working" on or about Aug. 16, according to e-mails received by AVweb from users of those products. Thursday, AVweb contacted Garmin for comment and Friday, Garmin responded with Service Advisory No. 0835 (PDF), which clearly states that the affected units "cannot recover normal operation on their own." Applicable to all Flybuddy GPS Model 2001/2101 GPS owners, Garmin's service advisory differentiates affected models by sensor, stating that "model 2001/2101 Systems with TSO-C129 GPS sensors are not affected." The affected units use GPS sensors purchased from a third-party supplier and Garmin is working with that supplier toward a solution. Garmin hopes to have "a reasonably priced upgrade program" in place as soon as possible.

Garmin's description of the problem states that almanac data stored in the third-party receivers "has reached the end of the programmed GPS week," and that "this has resulted in an interruption of service or degradation of the operation of these legacy Garmin AT products." Affected products may show incorrect dates, fail to provide a fix or provide a 2-D fix only, or offer only brief periods of 3-D fix -- or any combination of those symptoms. "Some units may show the incorrect date but appear to operate normally otherwise," according to Garmin.

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Aviation Law back to top 

Eclipse Sued For Deposit Refund

A British buyer of an Eclipse 500 very light jet is reportedly suing the jet maker, claiming the order has been cancelled, but that a $180,0000 refund is past due, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Attorney Robert Sutphin is suing Eclipse on behalf of London-based Ice Blue Air, which signed on in July of 2006 to purchase a $1.5 million Eclipse 500. Meanwhile, Eclipse says, through its attorney David Thuma, that the buyer is not entitled to a refund of the deposit per the purchase agreement. The company has also said that refunds will be delayed until its next round of financing is in place, possibly as late as the end of the year.

Since Ice Blue placed its order, Eclipse has raised the price of the aircraft to $2.15 million, according to the lawsuit, which claims the purchase agreement allows for cancellation and a full refund in the event that the jet's final price is raised. Sutphin claims the refund was due on Aug. 1, and filed the lawsuit on Aug. 5. He also says that since filing the claim, he's heard from other buyers.

An earlier lawsuit filed against Eclipse disputes billing for an aircraft scheduled for delivery in October, but the Journal speculates that Stuphin's suit may be the first of its kind. Eclipse had been building about three aircraft per day prior to its recent layoff of about 650 of its roughly 1750 employees.

Judge: Pilot Gets No Compensation For FAA Rights Violation

A federal judge has ruled that a pilot whose health status was shared by federal agencies cannot sue the government for violating his rights because he did not prove he was harmed financially. The FAA and Social Security Administration shared medical records and personal information on the pilot in 2005 as part of "Operation Safe Pilot." That FAA investigation examined the records of some 45,000 pilots in Northern California, comparing pilot certificates against records of disability benefits. The investigation ultimately led to charges against 40 pilots -- each of whom allegedly defrauded the government with regard to his or her medical status. In this specific case, as a result of the information sharing, the pilot who later brought the lawsuit was charged with three felonies of making false statements to the government and his certificate was revoked. His certificate was reinstated once his medical records were reviewed, but not until after he was made the subject of a disparagingly titled news segment.

While the federal Privacy Act protects individuals from such information sharing, the judge in this case dismissed the pilot's claim for damages, saying the Privacy Act requires proof of economic loss and the pilot's claim was restricted to emotional trauma. The pilot will be appealing the judge's ruling.

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The Airspace of Tomorrow back to top 

FAA Updating Flight Planning Computer

The National Airspace Data Interchange Network (NADIN), which failed Tuesday at a Georgia facility causing at least 646 flight delays, is scheduled for an update to be installed by year-end. Hank Krakowski, COO of the FAA's Air Traffic Organization, said Wednesday an improved version with vastly higher memory will offer noticeable improvements before November, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Our exposure to this will be much reduced," said Krakowski. Tuesday's failure on the distribution side that sends flight plans out to other FAA facilities where controllers use them to clear aircraft for departure was the first of its kind, according to Krakowski. The Journal points out that a separate ($2.4 billion) system meant to provide redundancy for communication has failed both before and after upgrades (specifically at Memphis last September, where 550 flights were delayed when voice data and radar were lost for three hours). The failures are not sitting well with the air traffic controllers union.

"We continue to lose confidence in the reliability of the equipment we are tasked to use to keep the system safe and efficient," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told MSNBC. When computers failed Tuesday, controllers were tasked with making radio calls to pilots to acquire the flight-plan information, type it into computers and send the information along. Church said those kinds of data-entry and processing demands distract from controllers' focus on directing air traffic.

AOPA Pushes WAAS As FAA Targets VOR Retirements

The FAA plans to reduce VOR coverage beginning in 2010, according to AOPA, in spite of AOPA's urging against the reduction -- particularly if widespread implementation of WAAS is not part of the plan. The association argues that FAA regulations require pilots flying with non-WAAS GPS to also carry a "primary navigation system" and AOPA says that for general aviation "the primary system available for regulatory compliance is VOR." AOPA's concern stems in part from estimates that WAAS-equipped GA aircraft make up only about 15 percent of the general aviation fleet. In a letter to the FAA dated May 23, AOPA urged the FAA to more universally implement wide area and required navigation performance systems to boost user confidence and ensure "that all IFR flights can be conducted from takeoff to touchdown with an IFR GPS, regardless of the airports involved." Until GPS-equipped aircraft are allowed to fly direct, instead of point to point via VORs, AOPA argues a "reduction in the VOR network would be premature."

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News Briefs back to top 

Boeing's Contract Offer, Machinists' Potential Strike

Boeing's goals of building 160 aircraft and flying its 787 Dreamliner for the first time before year-end may have hit a snag when the company upset the Machinists union by the way it offered workers an 11-percent raise in base pay. The plane-maker apparently held one-on-one meetings between managers and machinists to lay out its offer, bypassing union leaders and prompting those leaders to file unfair labor charges against the company. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers also rejected Boeing's offer and may follow up with a strike that could begin as early as Sept. 4, further delaying the long-awaited Dreamliner. As the workers' contract came to an end, Boeing began posting online its proposal. That "openness" may now lead to a work stoppage that could cost the company an estimated $3 billion per month.

Reports last week had the company and union in familiar negotiation form -- the company feels its offer is fair and the union feels the company is not listening and knows what it needs to do to reach an agreement. We'll see.

Sikorsky Tests Fly-By-Wire Helicopter

Sikorsky last week announced that its upgraded UH-60M Black Hawk, which could become the first fly-by-wire (FBW) helicopter for the U.S. army, has begun flight testing. The digital triple-redundant FBW system involves dual-channel flight control computers and actuators as well as active control sticks. It eliminates mechanical control linkages, saving weight and reducing maintenance requirements, lowering pilot workload and increasing the aircraft's handling qualities, according to Sikorsky. "The UH-60M Upgrade will reduce pilot workload, increase lift, offer better protection and enhance survivability," said Sikorsky president Jeffrey Pino. The entire system is coupled with a Rockwell Collins glass cockpit suite and upgraded engines with full authority digital engine control (FADEC). The first flight took place at West Palm Beach, Fla., and tested forward flight as well as hovers and hover turns over the course of about an hour. The Army hopes to one day operate more than 900 of the new fly-by-wire Black Hawks following first deliveries currently scheduled for late 2010.

On the Fly ...

A woman escaped serious injury when she fled from her parked car just before a Cessna 172 crashed into it. The aircraft was apparently trying to go around at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank when it hit power lines and crashed into the car, injuring all three on the plane. The woman saw it coming and got out, falling and scraping her knees ...

East Midlands Airport in England had to close 1,400 feet of runway when operators of a nearby racetrack allowed a large midway ride to be erected in the flight path. The closure was lifted just before two incoming cargo flights were cancelled because of the reduced runway length ...

The Department of Transportation suspended the public auction of two slots into Newark Airport Thursday, saying it wants to study the various legal arguments against the controversial idea. Airlines are generally against the idea as is the New York and New Jersey Port Authority.

Between Wheels Up and Wheels Down, There Is One Important Word: How
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Reader Voices back to top 

AVmail: Sep. 1, 2008

Reader mail this week about the TSA attacking airplanes, the cost of an F-35 and an ADS-B, and lots of letters about flying Experimentals in congested areas.

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 

Panel Replacements: Metal vs. Overlay

If you're sinking $30,000 into new avionics, that old, cracked, Royalite panel has got to go. Here's a look at some options. FAA approval may be the tricky part.

Click here for the full story.

Utilitarian to the core, we aren't impressed by flashy instrument-panel work. And by this, we mean panels decked out in custom colors and patterns that blend with a pricey leather interior and a toney exterior paint job. But we're not crazy about the 1970s-style Royalite overlays, either. These long ago outlived their appeal and few have aged gracefully.

Where does that leave us? Replacing what was in vogue in 1970 with a crisp, no-nonsense, metal panel. Commercial aircraft have this feature and so do military airplanes. If form follows function, metal panels are the ultimate in both form and function. Further, in the world of custom rework of panels, the possibilities are endless.

FAA leniency in design, modification and installation, however, is not. Instrument panel replacements dredge up FAA buzzwords like "major" and "minor" modifications versus alterations versus repairs. What's maddening for shops is that no two FSDOs seem to look at panel structural mods in quite the same way.

But generally, if you rip out the Royalite and start with new panels and subpanels for the instruments, radio rails, switches and the major equipment certificated for the aircraft, you're into a major modification. Virtually every FAA inspector we spoke with during our research made it clear that messing with panel structure requires regulatory approval.

PMA manufacturing approval for the product to be installed in a specified model is a good start for the installation approval, but it might not be enough. Best case is having a replacement panel that's already PMA and STC approved. If a replacement panel doesn't carry these certifications, it's up to the installing shop to have the installation approved by the FAA. We're told that these field approvals are being deferred to regional FAA offices, which means a longer wait time for final action.

Paper Trail

In seeking approvals, shops will need supporting paperwork and previously approved data as a basis for a field approval, which is considered a one-time STC through an FAA Form 337. One inspector actually pointed us to the regulatory guidelines/checklist that he follows when field-approving a modification. In our view, these guidelines were neither straightforward nor simple to understand and required lots of interpretation on our part.

In our view, the approval process for panel replacement is mired in over-think, since panels are simply pieces of sheet metal. Sure, there are various thicknesses of metal to choose from, but most Piper panels, for example, are 0.050-inch thickness, while higher-class Beechcraft panels are often in the 0.080-inch range.

For anyone cutting a new panel out of aluminum, it's not rocket science to duplicate the structural thickness of the original equipment. Easier yet is to attach the new panel to the existing mounting points. Some panels are attached with shock mounts, others are not. In most cases, the finished product will be stronger and of higher quality. We highly recommend choosing a panel replacement that's STC'd for your model aircraft, if you can find one. If an STC exists, your down time will be shortened and you won't suffer through a field-approval nightmare. Don't try to short-circuit the approval process. We know of one aircraft that flunked a pre-purchase inspection because it had a custom panel with no supporting paperwork in the logs. Technically, it wasn't airworthy, although the work was first class.

Panel Building

One reason for investing money and time in a new panel is to obtain a better instrument and avionics layout. But the more you change, the more it can cost. When moving engine gauges, for example, consider the effort involved in relocating and lengthening fuel and oil lines to accommodate the move from one side of the panel to the other. The same goes for vacuum and static lines that plumb flight instruments. Electrical busses, including the replacement of fuses and circuit breakers, can be another source of expense and time-consuming effort.

The other major hurdle is control-surface hardware -- chains, cables and rods that move the control surfaces -- that might have to be modified to accommodate a new panel design. Panel replacements mean major teardown and some aircraft are more complex than others or have age-related shortcomings that will need to be addressed. The upside is that avionics work will be easier when the old panel is off, giving technicians easy access to the guts behind the metal. We would expect a significant savings in wiring and component replacement given this accessibility. But if your shop has to mess with modifying and splicing control cables or components, expect a large invoice in the end.

Muddying the water is the fact that some jobs can't effectively be quoted until the job and the teardown begins because, in many cases, shops just don't know what's back there until they open up the panel. Pad your budget accordingly. Panel fabrication has leapt forward with the advent of computer and numeric control machines (CNC) and computer-aided design (CAD) technology. With a conventional CNC machine, the cut process is controlled entirely through programming. Gone are the days of tedious hand-die work. Better yet, designs can be saved in the computer memory for future jobs and changes can be made to easily accommodate custom designs.

Some panel-building companies specialize in certain aircraft types, which is likely to result in a smoother job. For example, Ron and John's Comanche Service in Oregon provides STC'd panels for virtually every model Comanche. Supplied with blueprints and other instructions for gauge location, these panels are cut for an owner-specified instrument and avionics layout. The company knows Comanches and there should be little guesswork for a given model. Owner groups are a good source for finding panel kits for any aircraft brand.

Quite a few smaller shops specialize in the fabrication of metal panels and ship the finished product for installation. They leave it up to the installer to obtain appropriate approvals. Some such panels have PMA approval, some don't. One that does is Avion Research, which offers STC'd and PMA'd panels, as well as some not covered by such approvals. They even have glareshields with integrated fluorescent lighting.

While Avion offers panel projects for a huge variety of aircraft -- from single-engine Cessnas to Piper Cheyenne turboprops -- they say that it's the ultimate responsibility of the owner/installer to ensure compliance with all relevant FARs and to return the aircraft to service, which requires but is not limited to an approved Form 337. Avion has years of experience in building panels and claims it has taken the uncertainty out of the process. It offers layout and upgrade consulting, including marking up customer-provided templates at no charge. Owner involvement is important and we warn against letting your mechanic handle it all, since pilot preference plays a huge role in design.

Finishing Work

The finishing work -- paint and placards -- is the critical final detail in panel replacement. The FAA wants to know specific details on this, too. When a shop lobbies for field approval, they'll likely need to provide details on the materials used to cover the bare metal. Simply listing a can of tan Krylon purchased at Home Depot won't cut it. The FAA wants flammability reports, for one thing.

A popular request among owners is high-end electrostatic powder coating, instead of a basic painting process. A FAA inspector told us that powder coating is frowned upon because there is "something about the coating process that can weaken the metal." Whether this is true or not isn't the question. The problem is how does the shop prove the finish is acceptable? Without technical reports and analysis, this might be difficult, which again argues for the STC/PMA route.

Placards on the instrument panel are absolutely required per the aircraft type certificate and they'll need to be applied to the new panel -- either through engraving, adhesive labeling, silk screening or some other process.

As far as lighting goes, the options are considerable. Instruments with integral lighting (expensive), post lamps, instrument lighting rings that mount to the bezel of the instrument, glareshield lighting and overhead spots are all means for lighting a panel. Post lights still remain a popular way to light instruments for a new metal panel, although they're not necessarily the best.

Worth mentioning is that existing lighting circuits, dimming potentiometers and power supplies that have been in the aircraft for years might not be in good shape. Don't skimp on lighting. It can make or break a new panel design and a simple test can qualify one that needs work: Is the dimming linear? That is, for full travel of the dimming control from brightest to dimmest, does the lighting respond evenly to the dimmer? If it doesn't, now's the time to fix it.


There's no doubt that a custom, metal, instrument-panel makeover can bring an otherwise old aircraft to ultra-modern standards. We couldn't put an average price on any project, because they're so variable. A basic panel might cost only a few hundred dollars to build, but it's the finishing work and installation that runs the tab up. The simplest makeover can cost a couple of thousand dollars from beginning to end, just for the panel work, not the avionics or wiring.

A complex makeover with custom paint work and lighting circuitry can get into many thousands of dollars. To many owners, this expense is worth it, but others are often shocked at the cost and it's a deal breaker.

If you aren't prepared to dump the money and suffer the downtime of an extended FAA cat-and-mouse game, consider new panel overlays that we describe in the "The Overlay Option" at right. In our opinion, anything is better than that cheesy, cracked, 1960s-vintage plastic that looked bad even in your grandfather's old Buick.

More aircraft repair and prevention articles are available in AVweb's Maintenance Index. And for monthly articles and reviews of aviation products and services, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine.

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Probable Cause #63: Stick To The Procedure

Instrument currency is more than simply controlling the aircraft in the clouds. Currency also means making the right decisions when weather goes sour.

Click here for the full story.

On Oct. 7, 2005, the pilot of an A36 Bonanza deviated significantly from the ILS Runway 27 approach procedure he was flying into the Pike County Airport (PBX) at Pikeville, Ky. The pilot lost control of the aircraft and crashed just south of Pikeville, killing all three people on board.

The flight began many hours earlier when the pilot contacted the Louisville, Ky., Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) just after noon (EDT), explaining his intention to fly to Pikeville from Paducah (PAH). Paducah is located in Western Kentucky along the Illinois River. Pikeville is 286 nautical miles to the east not far from the Virginia and West Virginia state lines.

The Bonanza pilot asked the AFSS specialist about "weather echoes" in the eastern portion of Kentucky. The specialist explained the returns as light rain over the central portion of the route and at the destination, part of a slow-moving cold front over Eastern Kentucky. The area forecast called for a broken ceiling at 700 feet, an overcast layer at 1,500 feet, four miles visibility in light rain and mist and a north wind at five knots.

Two previous automated weather reports from Pikeville showed a broken ceiling at 300 feet with three miles visibility and later 300-foot scattered with 10 miles visibility and calm winds.

No Alternative

The pilot filed an instrument flight plan, but did not file an alternate. He departed Paducah with his two passengers at 1345, and the hour-and-one-half flight to the Pikeville area was uneventful.

At 1517 (EDT) the pilot checked in with Indianapolis Center at 7000 feet. Five minutes later, the controller cleared the aircraft to descend and maintain 5000 feet at the pilot's discretion. The pilot responded that he had the weather and that he wanted to fly the ILS approach to Runway 27.

The weather at Pikeville at 1513 was recorded as 1700 broken and 10 miles visibility with winds 360 at three knots. At 1525, a Special was issued that indicated 1700 scattered, 2300 scattered and 10 miles visibility. This is most likely the last report the pilot received from the automatic weather system.

The controller vectored the pilot for the approach at 4500 feet and cleared the Bonanza for the ILS 27 at 1546. The pilot was told to switch to Pikeville's advisory frequency, with instructions to cancel on the airborne frequency if possible or with Flight Service once on the ground.

There were no more radio transmissions received from the aircraft.

The Pikeville approach is about as simple an ILS procedure as they come, with no procedure turn on the approach and radar being a requirement. The airport elevation is 1473 feet msl. Runway 27 is 5350 feet long. The inbound course is 273 degrees and the straight-in decision height is 1664 feet (msl), 200 feet above the surface.

Something was obviously wrong when, at 1550, radar indicated the Bonanza was still at 2300 feet but only one mile from the Runway 27 threshold. Shortly after that, radar indicated the aircraft turned off the localizer to the south, where contact was lost as the Bonanza descended below 1,800 feet.

The weather recorded at 1544 called the winds light, with visibility of four miles beneath scattered clouds at 300 feet and a broken ceiling at 2100 feet. At 1556, shortly after the aircraft crashed, Pikeville reported 3/4 of a mile visibility, and an overcast ceiling at 200 feet.

Several witnesses at the airport heard the aircraft, although no one saw the Bonanza. A Cessna Citation pilot that landed at PBX at 1530 said the ceiling was just above minimums but oscillating during the approach.

He told investigators that he heard the Bonanza coming down the approach near the DH. He said it sounded like the aircraft was going south of the airport at approach speed, approach power settings, and either level or at a slight descent until he could no longer hear it.

Pilot Qualifications

The Bonanza pilot held a Private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument ratings. The last entry in his logbook was dated July 24, 2005, four months before the accident. The pilot claimed 527 hours of flight experience and 323 hours of actual instrument time, a claim that was suspect early on.

A two-page excerpt from the pilot's logbook included in the accident report shows that the pilot had logged almost all his flight time as instrument time, so it is unclear how much actual instrument experience he truly possessed.

Investigators reviewed records from the maintenance shop that completed the last annual inspection on the aircraft and found that it was signed off on Feb. 22, 2005. NTSB investigators determined from the wreckage that the landing gear was extended at the time of the accident and the flaps were retracted.

The NTSB's probable cause of the accident was the pilot's failure to adhere to the published instrument approach, with the low ceiling being called a factor.

The Whys

A number of interesting questions come to mind following the review of this accident although the answers are not quite as clear. For example, the last weather report the pilot probably received indicated that the PBX weather was still VFR with good visibility. Yet, he asked for the ILS approach. Why?

There might be several reasons. Perhaps the pilot planned the approach for currency, or he wanted to show one or both of his passengers how the approach equipment worked. In spite of the good weather report, he likely saw low clouds in the area and realized he might have to fly through them to get to the airport.

If the Bonanza pilot was current and proficient -- and we don't know that he was -- why did he drift to the left of the localizer and wind up striking the ground a mile south of the airport? He obviously was not following the glideslope or he would never have been 700 feet above the DH one mile from the airport.

Perhaps the pilot kept descending because he thought the weather was going to eventually improve. This is a common gotcha in IFR flying and probably a factor in many accidents. But he still should have realized a full deflection of the localizer and glideslope needles meant it was time for a missed approach. Could the pilot have been so intent on searching for the airport that he paid no attention to his instruments? That's probably a common mistake, too. Going visual too soon out of an approach in real IMC requires discipline to resist.

Certainly the pilot had no idea he was losing control of the aircraft until it was too late. In fact, the aircraft did not descend below 1800 feet until it was in the vicinity of the accident location, and that was a mile south of the airport. Weak ILS approach or basic instrument skills could explain this entire chain of events.

The Bonanza pilot had good reason to expect better weather than what existed at Pikeville. The forecast indicated that the lowest expected ceiling was 700 feet and the lowest visibility should have been 4 miles. But that is the nature of forecasts. They are not exact by any means and instrument pilots should understand that. You can mitigate unpleasant surprises from blown forecasts by frequently updating current weather while en route, but only if your destination has real-time weather reporting.

All instrument pilots need to develop a solid set of personal limitations and stick to them. New IFR pilots with questionable currency have no business in this kind of weather. A cross-check of the weather reported elsewhere would also have helped.

One airport, in Wise, Va., 34 miles south of Pikeville reported a 300 foot overcast and 1-3/4- miles visibility half an hour before the accident, while Jackson, Ky., about 35 miles west of PBX, reported a ceiling of 100 feet overcast and 3 miles visibility.

Not filing an alternate airport may have indicated the pilot's confidence level that the weather would be fine. However, an alternate was still required.

The list of what this pilot did wrong is long and proves yet again that one, or sometimes two, bad decisions do not necessarily court disaster. But as the list grows, the chances of survival grow proportionally smaller. The better -- and sooner -- you're able to recognize that, the safer you'll be.

More accident analyses are available in AVweb's Probable Cause Index. And for monthly articles about IFR flying including accident reports like this one, subscribe to AVweb's sister publication, IFR Refresher.

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AVweb Insider Blog: Hurricane Flyouts — Why It's Not Easy

In Florida, you never know quite where the storm will go, but you can still make sensible evacuation decisions. Oh, and if you think you're subsidizing the sunny Florida lifestyle with your insurance rates, you need to read Paul Bertorelli's latest blog on this topic at the AVweb Insider.

Read more.

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An aviation broker gives you a choice of coverage and pricing options offered by numerous insurance companies. Today's policies offer more enhancements and features, including coverage for handheld avionics, automatic increase in insured value, trip interruption, and more. The AOPA Insurance Agency can help you select the features that best meet your unique insurance needs. Call for a complimentary quote at (800) 622-2672, or go online.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Santa Monica Airport Director Bob Trimborn Checks In with AVweb

File Size 9.5 MB / Running Time 10:21

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

A legal dispute between the FAA and Santa Monica Airport continues to simmer before the courts about the city's intention to ban Class C and D jets from the facility. We heard from Airport Association spokesman Barry Schiff a few months ago, and now AVweb's Russ Niles has spoken with Airport Director Bob Trimborn, who says that, all conspiracy theories aside, this is really about safety.

Click here to listen. (9.5 MB, 10:21)

Video of the Week: 747 Acrobatic Aerosur Low Pass Over Portugal 2007

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

We try to spend as much time as possible surfing the web for aviation-related content, but some days we think AVweb reader Robert Reid may have us beat. Robert's usually the first person to e-mail us links to flying videos buried deep in the bowels of YouTube and other user-driven aviation communities, and this week we feature one of his recommendations as our "Video of the Week." Although the airplane featured here is a real 747 (an acrobatic Aerosur) performing a low pass during last year's Portugal Air Show, your brain can easily mistake it for a prop of some sort, watching its low, slow glide for the crowd:

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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."

AVweb's AirVenture 2008 Video Round-Up

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

This year at EAA AirVenture we brought you fourteen video reports over the course of seven days. We realize the news was flying fast and furious during the show, so just in case you missed any of our reports, you can catch them all here. (The main frame contains all of our videos, or you can click over to a particular video if one interests you more than the others.)

Editors' Preview


Rocket Racers

Contest Winner


Bobby Sturgell

ChallengeAir Auction

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Sean Tucker


Martin Jet Pack



ATC Tower


"A Celebration"
Celebrating their 45th anniversary this September, the National Championship Air Races are the last head-to-head air racing event left on Earth and are the favorite among aviation enthusiasts, worldwide. The event features six high-speed racing classes and a static aircraft show, and this year the USAF Thunderbirds and F-22 Demonstration Team will highlight a fleet of world-class aviation demonstrations. For more information on the National Championship Air Races or to purchase tickets, call (775) 972-6633, or visit AirRace.org.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Stout Flying Service (KLWS, Lewiston, ID)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Stout Flying Service at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (KLWS) in Lewiston, Idaho.

AVweb reader Steve Cronje gave the FBO "a big thumbs up" for going above-and-beyond to correct an honest mistake. While visiting the FBO, Steve received a fuel bill that he thought was a little high, and after returning home, he began to wonder if the lineman had overcharged him or if (perhaps more worrisome) someone had breached security and stolen a bit of his fuel. Here's the rest of the story, in Steve's own words:

Imagine my pleasure when I received an unprompted letter from Stout Flying Services today. It apologized for accidentally overcharging us for 40 gallons of fuel when we refueled. Apparently, the fuel meter had not been reset properly, and the lineman, who was new, did not notice it. (It was early in the morning and he was the only one around.) They had corrected the accounting with the credit card company and included transaction receipts for our records!

It is great to find a company that puts honesty and integrity above the bottom line in the world of today. There was no need for the Stouts to do anything other than nothing — yet they went to the trouble of tracking us down and putting the matter right.

I hope that Stout Flying Service wins the "FBO of the Week" award for putting principles before the bottom line. Our family, for one, will be certain to use their services again and hopefully this nomination encourages others to do the same.

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 on a scanner recently at St. John's International Airport (CYYT):

An inbound commercial flight was getting the bad news from the tower that conditions for the active runway were 200 feet and 1/4 mile in heavy fog. Controller and aircraft discussed alternatives for a few minutes before the pilot, knowing his passengers were going to be disappointed by a diversion, asked the tower wistfully:

Commercial Pilot:
"Any chance it'll change soon?"

Tower (after a brief pause):
"Yeah, maybe August."

Commercial Pilot:
"I don't think we've got that much reserve fuel."

Gary Hebbard
via e-mail

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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

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Scott Simmons

Mariano Rosales
Jeff van West

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