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Volume 14, Number 42b
October 16, 2008
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Top News: TSA's Proposed Safety Rule Draws Fireback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

A proposed rule from the Transportation Security Administration aimed at general aviation could have "serious implications," says AOPA. "This proposed rule is an unprecedented imposition of security requirements on the general aviation community, affecting 10,000 individual operators and hundreds of airports," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "An overwhelming majority of our members surveyed last week expressed strong concerns about the proposal." The huge 260-page TSA proposal would require all U.S. operators of aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds maximum takeoff weight to implement a TSA-approved security program. Mandated measures would include fingerprinting and background checks of flight crews, vetting passengers against terrorist watch lists, and security requirements for GA airports. EAA also was alarmed by the proposal. "On first glance, these new regulations would compel many operators of large vintage aircraft, Warbirds, turboprops, and others over 12,500 pounds to comply with new, costly, and burdensome requirements which, frankly, do not appear to equate with their risk assessment profiles," said Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations. More...

Introducing AV8OR™ from Bendix/King by Honeywell
The AV8OR is the portable and affordable GPS built specifically for pilots, by a company that knows pilots. With navigation routing, planning and weather information for the aircraft and the automobile, the AV8OR uses aviation software and symbology pilots understand. Its 4.3-inch touch screen is larger and easier to read than competing GPS systems, with an intuitive interface derived from the pilot-friendly, panel-mounted Bendix/King multi-function display systems. For more information, go online.
Record-Setting Sport Pilot Certificateback to top 

Jessica Cox, of Tucson, Ariz., was born without arms, but she hasn't let that define her role in life, and last week she scored a first when she earned her Sport Pilot certificate using only her feet to manipulate the controls of an Ercoupe. "I highly encourage people with disabilities to consider flying," Cox said. "It helps reverse the stereotype that people with disabilities are powerless into the belief that they are powerful and capable of setting high goals and achieving them." Cox, who is 25, won an Able Flight scholarship and trained with instructor Parrish Traweek in his Ercoupe 415C. "What is most incredible about Able Flight is the relentless faith and support not only from the board but also from the other pilots who have succeeded in the program," Cox said. "Thank you, Able Flight, for helping me make history as the first licensed pilot to fly with only her feet!" Since the Ercoupe design has no rudder pedals, no special modifications were required for Cox to fly it. More...

Aircraft Spruce Is a Proud Gold Sponsor of the 2008 Copperstate Fly-In
Join the Aircraft Spruce team in Casa Grande, Arizona at the Copperstate Fly-In (booths #57 & 72) October 23-25 (8am-5pm) and October 26 (8am-3pm). Take advantage of some of your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (does not apply to hazardous or oversize products), and a helpful Aircraft Spruce staff to answer all questions. For more information, call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit online.
Technology Watchback to top 

The Blackswift project, which aimed to develop a hypersonic airplane that could fly at Mach 6, has been cancelled due to a lack of funding. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force had hoped to start work on an unmanned prototype later this year and fly it by 2012, but Congress was unconvinced that the program's aims were attainable, or necessary. Funding was cut from the requested $120 million to just $10 million, which DARPA says is not enough to move forward. "Obviously we are disappointed," DARPA program manager Steven Walker said, according to Aviation Week. He said lots of work already has been done to develop the hypersonic engine. "The Blackswift testbed would have been able to take off under its own power, cruise at Mach 6, maneuver at hypersonic speeds and land, and then do it again," Walker said. "Blackswift, or something very much like it, will be a required step prior to the U.S. developing an operational, reusable, air-breathing hypersonic airplane." That door may be closed for now, but DARPA already is opening other windows. The agency recently published a request seeking designs for a submersible airplane that can fly under water. More...

You might think that an autopilot would be the last thing that pilots of sport airplanes would yearn for -- after all, isn't the whole point of sport flying, to fly? -- but Dynon Avionics says interest has been keen in their new autopilot system, now available. The kit fits several Vans RV models and goes for about $3,700. Customers can also buy one or two new servos for pitch and/or roll at $750 each, enabling existing and new customers of Dynon Electronic Flight Instrument Systems to add autopilot capability. The software for the gear is not yet available but should be out next month, the company says. "Customers can opt to take delivery of servos, mounting kits, and AP74 modules now, allowing them to install hardware, run wires, and be completely ready for the autopilot functionality once it is ready," according to the company Web site. More...

The abrupt dive of a Qantas A330-300 last week that injured scores of passengers wasn't caused by a passenger's electronic device, but by an internal breakdown in the Airbus's flight-control computer system, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau said on Tuesday. The aircraft was flying at FL 370 en route from Singapore to Perth when the Inertial Reference System malfunctioned, which resulted in the autopilot automatically disconnecting, the ATSB said. However, the faulty unit continued to feed false information to the flight-control computers, which even with autopilot off, still command the control surfaces. Very high, random and incorrect values of the angle of attack led the computers to command a nose-down aircraft movement. The crew was able to recover within seconds, with a maximum altitude loss of 650 feet and a maximum pitch down of about 8.5 degrees, the ATSB said. Airbus told the ATSB it has never heard of a similar malfunction, but all operators of aircraft that use the system have been informed of the incident and provided guidance for a crew response to minimize the effect of any similar failure. The ATSB said its investigation is continuing. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

The case of the Oshkosh, Wis., police vs. airshow legend Patty Wagstaff may be close to a resolution, according to a report in Wednesday's Oshkosh Northwestern. At a Winnebago County Circuit Court hearing held on Tuesday, prosecutors said they are close to an agreement that would settle the charges filed against Wagstaff after an incident last summer during EAA AirVenture. Wagstaff was charged with first offense drunken driving and failure to submit to a sobriety test. She has denied she was impaired by alcohol but does admit to taking a wrong turn. "I was driving from the Gathering of Eagles dinner at the EAA Museum to the North side of the airport, on airport property," she told AVweb in August. "I planned to take a route to the north side of the field down the taxiway... It was really dark, the runway was closed and I mistakenly ended up on the runway for about 1,500 feet....As soon as I turned off the runway I was stopped by EAA Security, who promptly called the Winnebago County Sheriff and two police cars arrived." More...

A pilot who died last year while practicing formation aerobatics prior to an air show should have been restricted from such flying by his FAA medical examiner, the NTSB said in its final report on the accident. Jan Wildbergh, 74, who had flown with the Geico Skytypers since 1986, died in September 2007. According to the NTSB, after completing their practice, the five-ship team executed a "pop up break" to return for landing. Wildbergh, however, flying a North American SN J-2, continued straight ahead in a slight descent, with the wings level and in a slight nose-down attitude, until the airplane hit the ground and erupted in flames. The NTSB said Wildbergh had an extensive history of heart problems and was taking medication, and the FAA medical examiner "clearly had sufficient information to justify restricting the pilot from commercial and/or aerobatic flight." Wildbergh had visited his cardiologist three days prior to the accident, complaining of multiple episodes of atrial fibrillation over the previous three months with fatigue and shortness of breath, the NTSB said. More...

Aircraft Financing to Fit Your Needs
AirFleet Capital offers a competitive and experienced approach to each and every loan program by focusing exclusively on aircraft financing. AirFleet Capital provides exceptional terms coupled with personal service and a long-term commitment to support the business and shared passion of aviation. From Light Sport Aircraft to VLJs and Business Jets, AirFleet Capital has a loan program to fit your needs. Call an AirFleet Capital financing specialist at (800) 390-4324, or request a quote online.
News Briefsback to top 

Several skydivers made successful jumps at Mount Everest last week, using specially made parachutes and oxygen systems. The highest jumpers departed their Pilatus Porter aircraft at 29,500 feet, and landed at what the trip organizers called "the highest drop zone in the world," Shyangboche, at 12,350 feet. A total of 41 jumpers, both tandem and solo, participated in the Skydive Everest event. The trip was organized by High & Wild, an adventure travel company based in the U.K. "Everything that we've developed for this adventure, from the oxygen systems to the face masks to the gloves, everything has worked perfectly," said skydiver Ralph Mitchell, one of the trip organizers. "We feel we've advanced sports skydiving at high altitude even further with this event." The company is offering another skydiving trip to Everest in May 2009. More...

A drunk airline passenger who said he had a bomb was overpowered by fellow passengers...
The first-ever civilian-owned Harrier made its airshow debut in Virginia last weekend...
The Rocket Racing League got the official OK to fly demo flights next year...
Ex-con says 1986 plane crash was deliberate assassination of Mozambique's president...
Dennis Ferguson, who until recently was CEO at Mooney, has left the company....
Strike talks at Boeing have stalled; no quick resolution is expected. More...

Win This Plane!
Enter AOPA's 2008 Sweepstakes and you could be flying high in a fully refurbished Piper Archer II, accented with a new instrument panel featuring the world's first installed certified EFD1000 PFD. Custom extras include handcrafted leather seats, tie-down rings, nav light retainers, and wood trim accents. Click for more details.
What You Missed in AVwebBizback to top 

NASA is working with Gulfstream to test a "fly-by-cam" system in which the pilot of a supersonic business jet would land the aircraft using a video feed from an HD camera. According to The Register the system is aimed at solving one of the vexing issues facing development of the speedy bizjets in that their design almost inevitably dicates a high angle of attack for landing and the long pointy nose of such aircraft obscures the forward view. Concorde designers solved the problem with the intensely complicated drooping nose but that's not likely practical for business jet-sized aircraft. So, the researchers are trying to convince the FAA that a camera in the nose is a replacement for the view out the windshield and they're inviting FAA pilots to test the theory themselves. More...

The FAA says it's "looking into" whether the training of a developmental controller in Florida was accomplished at the expense of three airlines and their passengers aboard four airliners. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association alleged Tuesday that a supervisor ordered on-duty controllers at the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center to re-route a Delta Boeing 757, a Virgin Boeing 747 and two Southwest Boeing 737s to generate more traffic for a trainee undergoing a "skills check." NATCA says the aircraft were diverted by up to 100 miles and into the path of thunderstorms but the FAA says the longest diversion was about 50 miles and not into thunderstorms. More...

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/. More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

Sure, you can fly an ILS to minimums in a summer hurricane without breaking a sweat, but can you fly a VFR traffic pattern on a clear day? More...

It probably is; you just haven't noticed. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider Blog, Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli discusses why avgas prices are less volatile than those at the corner service station. More...

In the current economic gloom, oil prices are in retreat. That's a good thing, right?

No, it's not. And here's why: Higher gas prices may be the only way out of our distastrous dependence on imported oil. Read more in our latest AVweb Insider blog. More...

Get into the Cockpit!
Classic Cockpits is a series of high-quality DVDs that put you into the pilot's seat of some of the world's great airplanes. Be there for engine start, checklists, taxi, take-off, climb, cruise, descent, landing, and more. Titles currently available are: Flying the Legendary DC-3, Flying the PBY Catalina, and Flying the de Havilland Vampire.

Click on the individual titles for complete descriptions, and click here to order all DVDs online now.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

The Transportation Security Administration's NPRM for a "Large Aircraft Security Program" (LASP) is drawing fire from both AOPA and EAA. This week, we'd like to hear what you think. Plus: See what AVweb readers had to say about the recent economic downturn in response to last week's Question. More...

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. What have you heard? More...

Join NAA and Help Shape the Next Century of Flight
It's a great time to join the National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the nation's oldest aviation organization. At $39 a year, NAA membership is a terrific value for any aviation enthusiast! Members receive the Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine, plus access to aviation records and much more. To become an NAA member, sign up online or call (703) 416-4888 and press 4.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

In case you missed any of our videos from the 2008 NBAA Convention & Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, you can watch all eight of them (plus two shorts you may find interesting) right here. (Click through to watch.) More...

AVweb Bookstore Features Downloadable Jeppesen Training Manuals
AVweb Bookstore offers Jeppesen (and other) maintenance and pilot training manuals in e-book and book format, letting customers choose how to receive content. E-book advantages including complete search ability, no-cost and instant delivery, and storing hundreds of volumes on a laptop or mobile device. Attention, international customers — no import taxes or fees! For a complete list, call (800) 780-4115 or go online.

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Showalter Flying Service at KORL in Orlando, Florida.

AVweb reader Jim Thomas recommended the FBO for exceptional performance "amid the hubbub of NBAA":

Despite nearly 500 aircraft on static display, the great crew at Showalter are still delivering high-quality service with a smile. All fees are waived with a minimum fuel purchase, even as little as a gallon! Showalter has hosted EAA Chapter 74 since the new terminal was built and also provides facilities for the Orlando Youth Aviation Center's "Introduction to Aviation" class series for kids 10-16. I've always found them to go above and beyond on any request. Bob & Kim Showalter run a class act.

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!


Want Your Travel "Down Time" to Work for You?
Subscribe to Pilot's Audio Update and receive monthly CDs with audio articles ranging from "Top 10 Tips from an AME" and "How Controllers Think" to "Pattern Entry and Non-Towered Airports." Listen as Pilot's Audio Update experts give you the latest info you need to stay current. Subscribe now to receive the Acing the Flight Review CD as Pilot's Audio Update's gift with your order.
Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 


Wow. This week's top photo comes with an incredible (but no doubt all-too-common) story. Perhaps it's best told by submitter Gary Walentoski of Baytown, Texas:

This is an Antonov AN-2 at my home field of Laporte, Texas (T41) following the passage of Hurricane Ike. The robust AN-2 was no match for Ike. I apologize for the late submission, but our home electrical service was only restored a little over a week ago.
We couldn't ask for a more eye-popping reminder that the "clean-up" from a hurricane lasts far longer than the news coverage. Thanks for taking a few moments to share, Gary — hope you enjoy the backlog of AVweb newsletters waiting in your inbox ... . More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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

Jeff van West

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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