AVwebFlash - Volume 14, Number 52b

December 25, 2008

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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40 Years Ago Last Night ... back to top 
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NASA Commemorates Historic Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast

It was 40 years ago, in December 1968, that the three Apollo 8 astronauts became the first people from our planet to reach Moon orbit, and they brought home the famous photo of the beautiful blue Earth rising above the Moon's horizon, surrounded by dark, vast, empty space. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders sent back six live television transmissions during their flight, including the famous Christmas Eve Broadcast, when the three astronauts read from the biblical book of Genesis. This broadcast was heard by an estimated one billion people around the world. "Looking back on the Earth was the high point of the mission," Borman said recently, at an EAA event. "It was Christmas Eve, and we were a long way from home." About 239,000 miles away from home. For an excellent five-minute documentary about the event, featuring an interview with Lovell, check out this video from WGN-TV Chicago. Or click here for the full NASA audio recording of the astronauts reading on Christmas Eve. NASA is commemorating the anniversary with special programming on the NASA Television Public Channel, on Wednesday and Thursday this week; click here for info. The Apollo 8 astronauts recently spoke at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in Washington, and the archived webcast is available online. And they also were recently honored during an event at San Diego's Air and Space Museum, and AVweb was there; click here for photos and a report from that event. The crew returned safely to Earth six days after their launch, having successfully set the stage for the first human lunar landing six months later.

A video of the full hour-long talk by Frank Borman at EAA earlier this month also is archived online.

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Something New, Something Old back to top 

Pilots Can Start Now To File Border-Crossing Info Online

Under new rules recently enacted by the federal Customs and Border Protection agency, general aviation pilots who fly across an international border will have to file passenger manifests online before each flight. The rules take effect this month, and the system is up and running, but compliance is voluntary until May 18, 2009. Pilots must register for an online account and then wait for approval, which can take about a week. Pilots can file the manifests anytime up to one hour before their flight, so they can submit the info for both the outgoing and return legs before leaving home. "We were pleased that security officials acted on many of the concerns we raised about this rule, including the fact that Internet access isn't always available, especially at remote destinations in other countries," said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of security. "Now we will be working closely with CBP during the implementation process to ensure that no undue burden is placed on GA and the process becomes transparent to the user." Pilots who fail to file, or file incomplete or late manifests, can be fined $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation. Information about each passenger which must be filed includes full name, date of birth, citizenship, details about their travel documents, U.S. address, and country of residence.

For more information about the CBP online reporting system, including the full text of the rule and an online tutorial for GA pilots, click here. To read AOPA's issue brief about how the rules will affect GA, click here.

Report Finds FAA Facilities Deteriorating

The results of a government audit released last week show that many of the FAA buildings that house air traffic control staff and equipment are aging and deteriorating. "While the average facility has an expected useful life of approximately 25 to 30 years, 59 percent of FAA facilities are over 30 years old," according to the report from the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General. The auditors visited 16 facilities around the country and found "obvious structural deficiencies and maintenance-related issues." Several of the facilities showed damage due to water leaks, mold, outdated heating and air conditioning systems, poor facility design, and general deterioration and disrepair. The auditors also noted line-of-sight issues from tower cabs at several airports that make it impossible for controllers to see the entire airfield. Condensation problems obscured the windows in several of the towers. The FAA needs to do a better job of planning for the long term rather than fixing problems as they arise, the report says. The FAA also needs to establish realistic funding requirements for maintaining existing sites until they can be replaced. The auditors visited 16 FAA buildings in all.

The FAA concurred with all of the report's recommendations and said it would take action to address the concerns raised. The FAA has full or partial responsibility for 420 staffed air traffic control facilities.

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'Tis the Season back to top 

NTSB Warns Pilots To Use De-Icing Boots Early

The NTSB issued a Safety Alert last week reminding pilots to be wary of icing hazards, especially in regard to the operation of de-icing boots. "This Safety Alert, directed to the pilot community, is intended to increase the visibility of airplane icing issues and address procedures taught regarding the accumulation of ice before activating de-ice boots," said NTSB Acting Chairman Mark Rosenker. The new safety alert notes that as little as one-quarter-inch of ice accumulation on the wing leading edge can increase the stall speed by 25 to 40 knots, and cause "sudden departure from controlled flight" at normal approach speeds. Early activation of the de-ice boots limits the effects of leading-edge ice and improves the operating safety margin, the NTSB said. The alert contradicts some of the training that has been standard for 60 years. "Pilots have been taught to wait for a prescribed accumulation of leading-edge ice before activating the de-ice boots because of the believed threat of ice bridging," the NTSB said. However, ice bridging has never been implicated as the cause of an accident, and is extremely rare, and may not exist at all. Yet the delayed activation of boots has been noted in "numerous incidents and accidents" investigated by the NTSB. To read the full text of the Safety Alert (PDF), click here.

Also, NTSB investigator Todd Gunther wrote an article for Professional Pilot about this topic, which is posted online.

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News Briefs back to top 

NBAA Revamps Launch Of Light Business Airplane Conference

It was just back in April that the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) announced it would be organizing a new annual event to focus on light aircraft and small business operators, and scheduled it for next March in San Diego. Now, with all the turmoil in the global economy and the business sector, NBAA announced last week that it will scale back the inaugural show from three days to two. "As the economy has constricted dramatically since LBA [Light Business Airplane conference 2009] was conceived, the challenges confronting the entrepreneurs and pilots who own and operate light business airplanes have increased," said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. "To address this situation, NBAA is adjusting LBA 2009 to ensure that the conference offers exceptional educational content while also remaining manageable and affordable. This is about tightly focusing an inaugural conference for a very important segment of the business aviation community so that it provides real and tangible value in a very challenging economy." The conference now will take place Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. NBAA will limit sizes for indoor exhibits to a maximum of 20 feet square and will also reduce exhibit fees by 20 percent. Fees for attendees are cut 50 percent.

Bolen said NBAA conferences provide participants with practical information that can be used to minimize costs, enhance safety, promote efficiency and increase operational awareness. For the past several months, NBAA has been working directly with owners and operators of high-performance pistons, turboprops and jets that can be flown single-pilot to develop a highly informative conference that is directly targeted to their specific operations. Attendees will gain valuable information on how they can best use their airplane to them succeed in business, Bolen said.

First Flight For WhiteKnightTwo

WhiteKnightTwo, the twin-fuselage all-composite aircraft designed by Scaled Composites to carry SpaceShipTwo aloft, flew for the first time on Sunday morning, at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Southern California. The flight lasted about an hour. "Today Virgin Galactic passed a huge milestone in its mission to create environmentally benign, safe and affordable access to space," reads a brief statement posted on the Virgin Galactic Web site on Sunday. "In the early hours of a beautiful Mojave morning, its revolutionary carbon composite carrier aircraft performed a flawless maiden flight. Congratulations to Burt Rutan and all at Scaled Composites for this fantastic achievement!" Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic, told Wired.com, "With these aircraft, nothing is ever a foregone conclusion. It's not like pulling another Airbus off the line and putting it into the air. This was a big moment. I think it was a big milestone for the whole industry." More test flights are expected, then sometime next summer WK2 will take off carrying SpaceShipTwo, the rocket ship that will carry space tourists to the edge of space. A short video clip of the takeoff and landing is posted at the FlightGlobal web site.

WK2 is powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A turbofan engines. Officials at Virgin Galactic have said they expect to start flying tourists into space before the end of 2010.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

NBAA Cancels 2009 ABACE

The National Business Aviation Association says the continuing economic downturn has prompted it to skip next year's edition of the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition in Hong Kong. The event was planned for Feb. 11 and 12. Last year's ABACE attracted 50 exhibitors and about 800 registrants. NBAA President Ed Bolen didn't say what the count was for the coming show but it clearly wasn't worth the time and expense to stage it.

"NBAA recognizes the importance of Asia to the future of business aviation, and we will continue to work very closely with our colleagues in the Asian Business Aviation Association to promote the growth of business aviation in that part of the world,"Bolen said. "But ABACE requires a huge commitment of resources – from our Member Companies, from Exhibitors and from NBAA. And, at a time when our economy is moving into its second year of a recession, NBAA is not in a position to provide ABACE with the attention and resources required to make the show the success it needs to be for our attendees and exhibitors. He said the plan is to resume the show "in future years" after the economy is sorted out.

Viking Proposes Resurrection Of DHC-5 Buffalo

Earlier this year Viking Air, of Victoria, B.C. Canada resumed production of the de Havilland Twin Otter and now it has its sights set on an even more ambitious project. The company, which owns the type certificate to seven de Havilland models, is proposing to start building the DHC-5 Buffalo, a large twin-engine utility aircraft with ultra short takeoff and landing capability and a rear cargo door that accommodated bulky cargo. The aircraft has been the backbone of the Canadian Forces' fixed wing search and rescue fleet for decades but the military is now looking for replacements for the 40-year-old aircraft. Viking President Dave Curtis says the most affordable answer is an updated Buff. "The requirement to replace the present fleet is not based on a lack of ability for the Buffalo to do the job, but simply due to the aging of the aircraft," Curtis said.

Curtis said other countries have expressed interest in a modernized Buffalo, which would include more efficient, more powerful Pratt and Whitney Canada PW150 engines, glass cockpit with enhanced vision and NVG capability. There are at least two Buffaloes in commercial service in Canada's north and Viking says there is a potential market for civilian versions of the aircraft. Viking is proposing to phase in the new Buffaloes by upgrading existing aircraft first. New aircraft would be built at Viking's facilities in Victoria and Calgary.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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News Briefs back to top 

Wagstaff Says She's Sorry For Oshkosh Incident

Air show pilot Patty Wagstaff says she's sorry for the "undue or unwanted attention to EAA or the local community" her incident with Oshkosh authorities may have caused on July 31 when she was arrested for driving drunk on a runway at Wittman Regional Airport after the airport had closed. Wagstaff pleaded no contest to first-offense drunk driving and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest last Friday. She was fined $500, ordered to pay court costs and banned from driving for eight months. "I have accepted personal responsibility for my actions by pleading no contest to the remaining reduced charges. And despite statements or actions that some others have either attributed to me that evening or insinuated occurred, this outcome puts those rumors to rest as well," she said. Wagstaff said she's now focused on the coming season and Todd Simmons, vice president of marketing for Cirrus Design said the company will stick by her in sponsorship.

Patty Wagstaff Statement re: Outcome of Incident of July 31, 2008

I am pleased to report that as of Friday, December 19, 2008 the legal matter associated with the events of Thursday evening, July 31, 2008, at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, WI is now closed. I want to thank the Winnebago County Circuit Court and other local officials for their efforts and their reasonable and efficient handling of my case.

To the extent that my actions of that evening brought undue or unwanted attention to EAA or the local community, I am truly regretful. In that light, and as I considered how for more than 25 years now I have received much more from so many fans, friends, family and others in aviation than I can ever repay, I have accepted personal responsibility for my actions by pleading no contest to the remaining reduced charges. And despite statements or actions that some others have either attributed to me that evening or insinuated occurred, this outcome puts those rumors to rest as well.

Looking ahead, I am focused on getting back to work for my fans and supporters as soon as possible. This episode has only served to increase my commitment to advancing aviation through excellence in flying, dedication to safety and renewal of service to the flying community.

Todd Simmons, Vice President - Marketing at Cirrus Design added his strong support, "We are extremely proud to be Patty's primary sponsor and to be associated with aviation's leading personality and airshow performer. That has been true since the start of our professional relationship several years ago and remains so today. Our support of Patty has been unwavering and the outcome of this particular incident only serves to strengthen our commitment. Patty's 2009 performance schedule - including airshows at many new venues - is shaping up to be the most dynamic in recent memory and we are looking forward to her most exciting airshow season to date."

On the Fly ...

The charter flight that went missing in the Caribbean last week was an "unauthorized" flight carrying illegal migrant workers, investigators say ...

The National Biplane Association has announced that next year's Biplane Expo will be the last staged by the organization. The event will be held in Bartlesville, Oklahoma June 4-6 ...

FAA is asking airlines to make voluntary cuts in service to crowded LaGuardia Airport, after their plan to auction off slots was nixed by the courts ...

Stock values at Textron, the parent company of Cessna and Bell Helicopter, continue to sink, making the company a possible takeover target, analysts say ...

Investigators said an odd bumping and rattling noise was heard on the flight recorder of a Continental 737 that crashed at Denver last Saturday.

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Cultural Collision — How the Brazilians Blew the Legacy Accident Probe

Over on the AVweb Insider blog, Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli reflects on the two-year-old investigation of the Legacy and wonders why the government seems incapable of assigning blame where it belongs: With ATC. But that's not to say the Legacy crew had no role.

Read more.

Question of the Week: What Airplane Stuff Was Under Your Tree?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Happy holidays from your friends at AVweb!

Last week, we asked our readers to name the ideal gift for a pilot. The top answer in our information survey was (of course) is money — but barring a blank check from Uncle Dave, the next most popular gift was something navigation-related. And one in five of you said the ideal holiday gift for a pilot was something we didn't include in our list of options.

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.)


Now that the biggest gift-giving day of the year has come and gone, let's see how many of you got that ideal gift (be it "something navigation-related," a pile of cash, a great book, or something else entirely.

What aviation gear did you find under your tree this morning?
(click to answer)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

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.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Attention, Power Flow Customers: Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from You!

Have you installed a Power Flow Exhaust on your airplane? Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer magazine, is conducting a survey on Power Flow exhausts and would like to learn about your experiences with their products.

Send a note to aviation_safety@hotmail.com to share your experiences. We're particularly interested in your opinions on the exhaust system's price and performance, its ease of installation, before and after performance measurements, fuel flow, whether you'd purchase the system again and any other comments you'd care to share. Please include information on your airplane (make/model/year) and its engine (e.g., Lycoming O-360).

(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.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Flight to Freedom from Castro's Cuba

File Size 6.5 MB / Running Time 7:04

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

January 1 marks the 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro's assumption of power in Cuba, and it also marks the 50th anniversary of a new life for the Cajigas family. In his excellent book, A Pilot's History (which AVweb serialized over the past year), Carl Moesly wrote of the daring rescue of a wealthy Cuban family in the corporate DC-3 he flew for American tycoon Arthur Vining Davis. The code words for initiating the rescue were, "The fish are biting; bring the big car." The first part referred to Castro; the second, to Davis's luxurious airplane. In a mad dash to a farm strip on the Isle of Pines, as Castro's forces were taking control of the country, Moesly flew the family of Francesco Cajigas to the safety of Miami. Over the years, the family told children and grandchildren of the flight and the code words that saved their lives, words that jumped off the screen at Luigi Cajigas when he read them on AVweb.

His mother, Adriana Cajigas, was a frightened 12-year-old on that plane 50 years ago, and she spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles about the fateful flight.

Click here to listen. (6.5 MB, 7:04)

Exclusive Video: Avidyne Entegra Integrated Flight Deck (Release 9)

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

Avidyne has upgraded its Entegra Flight Deck. Join us as we have a look, courtesy of Paul Bertorelli and Glenn Pew.

For more on the new Entegra, click here.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Galaxy Air Services (Conroe, TX)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Galaxy Air Services at Lone Star Executive Airport (CXO) in Conroe, Texas.

AVweb reader David Hertz described a nightmare lay-over in Conroe that was made a little easier by the dream team at Galaxy:

We were on our way east, heading towards New York when terrible weather saw us landing at Lone Star Executive in Conroe, Texas. Little did we know how fortunate this choice would be. ... Held in by a two-day ice and snow storm — the Houston natives kept telling us "it never does this in Texas" — we enjoyed terrific hospitality and use of a courtesy car ... . Two days later, the weather cleared and [when] we had said our thank yous and goodbyes , we went to launch, and the starter in the airplane failed. Five minutes after hearing our story (and certainly surprised to see us again), the mechanics at Galaxy were tearing into the airplane to get us on the way. ... [One UPS delivery and another night in Conroe later,] we launch, but Houston approach said our radios were unintelligible. Turning around was the last thing we wanted to do, but Galaxy put us onto their avionics neighbor, Avionics Unlimited. ... The crew car having been given to another crew and unavailable, David and Nancy directed their son to "give them Grandma's car" (a beautiful Lincoln Calais). So we spent one last night in Texas, while styling along in a luxury ride. These fine people went far out of their way for complete strangers. We couldn't have felt more welcome or accommodated. Every effort was to ensure our comfort during this unintended stopover. Giving us Granny's car to drive was just completely over the top. Being native New Yorkers, we were very impressed by "hospitality Texas-style" as shown us by David and Nancy of Galaxy Air Services. In our eyes, they earned "FBO of the Week" and did so many times over.

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!

Inside the Circle, the New Aviation Novel from
AVweb's "Brainteasers" Quizmaster, Now Available

1937. The Depression lingers, Amelia Earhart is lost, and prohibition is over. Barnstormers who'd once made a living in the bootlegging trade turn to less interesting work. One enterprising flyer, Kate Strauss, can't qualify for the airlines, because "No Women Allowed." With friends and lovers, Kate keeps a small Midwestern flight operation aloft by the numbers — the numbers racket. Go online to order for yourself and as gifts.
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 edition of "Picture of the Week" hits the streets on Christmas morning, and we've stacked the deck accordingly — with holiday photos from our readers. Before unwrapping today's presents, we want to take a moment to thank each and every reader who made time to send us a photo this year. By now you know how much we enjoy them, and we look forward to seeing even more from you in the coming year.

medium | large

copyright © Brian Emch
Used with permission

Snow-Covered Nighthawk

Brian Emch of Lancaster, California transports us to a winter wonderland with this sight you don't see every day — an F-117 "at Palmdale's Blackbird Air Park."

medium | large

Used with permission of Martin Heller

Santa's Alternate Air Field in Virginia

Martin Heller of Springfield, Virginia doesn't decorate for the neighbors so much as he decorates for Santa Claus. Click through to the large version and keep your eye peeled for "the shrunken Santa head VASIs, the dual windsocks for wind shear, [a] sign for free reindeer chow, and (new for 2008) the outhouse."

(What — no ATC, Martin?)

medium | large

Used with permission of George Kovacevic

California Christmas

Yeah, we all knew he couldn't do the whole thing in just a sleigh, George Kovacevic of Jamul, California confirms it. (Never would've pegged him for a "Thumper," though.)

medium | large

copyright © John Rippinger
Used with permission

Santa's Helpers

John Rippinger of Schaumburg, Illinois is joined by his family to wish everyone reading "POTW" a happy holiday. (Thanks for all the pics this year, John!)

medium | large

copyright © Daniel Valovich
Used with permission

B-17 FX

Join us in raising a glass of egg nog to toast Daniel Valovich of Hot Springs, Arkansas — one of our most prolific submitters, and someone who definitely knows his way around an airplane photo.

You'll find more festive photos from our readers in the slideshow on AVweb's home page — and here's one more, sent to us by Clarke Reid of Barrie, Ontario (Canada). Clarke tells us the image was circulating as a U.S. Air Force holiday card, and you may enjoy it, too.

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.

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

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.