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Volume 15, Number 3a
January 19, 2009
Untie Your Dreams at 235 Knots
Leave the runway at 1,400 vertical feet per minute. Climb to 25,000 feet. Cruise at 235 confident knots. Nothing releases a pilot's passion for flight like the Cessna 400, the world's fastest fixed-gear aircraft. It's more than speed that makes the Cessna 400 such a pleasure to fly. There's the sophisticated stylish cabin, glass cockpit, side-stick control, and the head-turning gorgeous looks. Looks like Cessna is in the fast business. Go online for all the details.
Top News: The Men Behind the Miracleback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

The first public appearance by the "hero of the Hudson" could be at the most publicized event of the year. President-elect Barack Obama has invited Flight 1549 Capt. Chesley Sullenberger to his inauguration on Tuesday. Sullenberger has been kept under wraps by authorities investigating the dramatic ditching of the US Airways A320 in the Hudson River last Thursday and has not spoken to anyone but them, his family, Obama and other politicians since. His wife Lorrie told reporters in their home of Danville, Calif., about the invitation to the inauguration and says she and her teenage daughters are excited. Meanwhile, NBC's Today Show says Sullenberger will appear in his first media interview this morning on their program. More...

Jeffrey Skiles is the kind of guy who'd give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And that, says his mother Deloris, explains why one of the passengers interviewed after being rescued from Flight 1549 was wearing the tunic with the three stripes that clearly identified it as coming from Skiles, who was first officer on the flight. Skiles, 49, of Oregon, Wisc., was the flying pilot when the aircraft took off from LaGuardia Airport on Thursday but handed the aircraft over to Capt. Chesley Sullenberger after both engines quit. Although the precise tasks he performed in the ditching haven't been detailed, he was undoubtedly busy, but his mother told The Associated Press he won't be bragging about it. "I know he did everything he could," his mother said. "He's a modest fellow and a very modest man." More...

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More Details Surface on Hudson Ditchingback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

A first look at ATC tapes and crew interviews revealed Sunday that US Airways Flight 1549 suffered a dual engine loss a mere 90 seconds after takeoff. Quoting from the ATC transcript, the NTSB's Kitty Higgins said at 3:27:32, the flight was instructed to turn left to 270 degrees. The crew responded: "Ah, Cactus 1549 … hit birds, we lost thrust in both engines. We're turning back toward LaGuardia." At 3:28:05, 33 seconds later, ATC asked if the crew wanted to return to LaGuardia. "We're unable. We may end up in the Hudson," came the reply, according to Higgins' reading of the transcript. More...

The NTSB said over the weekend that the first officer of US Airways Flight 1549 clearly saw the formation of birds seconds before they were ingested in the Airbus A320's engines, causing immediate loss of thrust and an eventual ditching in the Hudson River. The NTSB said Saturday that interviews with Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles revealed that Skiles had seen the birds approaching in perfect formation and made note it. An instant later, Sullenberger said the windshield was filled with big, dark-brown birds. "His instinct was to duck," the NTSB's Kitty Higgins told The Associated Press, in summarizing the crew interview. Skiles was flying the leg from LaGuardia to Charlotte on Thursday afternoon, but immediately after the bird strike, Sullenberger assumed control and began the sequence of events that ultimately resulted in a successful ditching in the Hudson with all occupants surviving. As the engines spooled back, the smell of burning birds and fuel filled the cabin air system. More...

U.S. Airways Flight 1549's ditching into the Hudson is all the more remarkable given the relatively poor odds of all occupants surviving such an accident. But it has happened at least once before. In 1963, an Aeroflot twin-engine Tu124 enroute to Moscow ran out of fuel after trying to sort out a landing gear problem. The crew ditched on the Neva River, the aircraft remained afloat and was towed to shore. All 52 occupants survived. More...

3 Airplanes ... 3 Levels ... 1 Edition — Ice
New for 2009, Cirrus Aircraft shakes the lineup with a new way to spec out your new Cirrus. SR20, SR22, and Turbo models are now available in three well-equipped trim levels - "S," "GS," and "GTS"; Known Ice Protection is ready to go on SR22 and Turbo models; or choose an all-new premium interior and exterior upgrade package dubbed "X-Edition." Visit CirrusAircraft.com for details.
News Briefsback to top 

While much of the country will be absorbed by the events in Washington, Tuesday, a bankruptcy court in Delaware will be hearing arguments for and against the purchase of Eclipse Aviation by a company owned by its current chairman. The hearing into the proposed sale of the company to a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of ETIRC Aviation, owned by Roel Pieper, was scheduled to wrap up on Friday but not all the testimony (much of it in opposition to the sale) could be heard. Since Monday is a holiday, the proceedings were set for Tuesday. According to KRQE the disposition of 30 aircraft already in production is one of the stumbling blocks. More...

It's not often that a manufacturer is sued for allegedly defective products it hasn't built in almost 60 years but that's where Northrop Grumman finds itself. Chalk's Ocean Airways and its insurer AIG is suing the company over the crash of one of Chalk's Grumman Mallards in December of 2005, claiming the 58-year-old aircraft wasn't properly made. "There was a manufacturing problem with the rivets," Chalk's attorney John Eversole told the Miami Herald. "Our allegations are that there was a weak area where the wings are attached to the fuselage, an area that could lead to weakness if under stress. This area is enclosed and cannot be inspected. The metal is built around the area where this wing sheared off..." The right wing on Chalk's Mallard came off in flight and the resulting crash killed all 20 aboard. The Herald said Northrop Grumman declined comment on the suit. More...

When Is the Last Time You Reviewed Your Estate Plan?
Estate tax reform is a hot button issue in Washington. The federal estate tax may change significantly. What can you do to move ahead on your estate plan? Review your existing plan now — especially if you haven't done so within the past year. Pilot Insurance Center's combination of insurance expertise and aviation underwriting can help provide the most competitive products for your estate-planning needs. To schedule an estate-planning review, call PIC at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
News Briefsback to top 

Cessna and Cirrus have both repackaged their products -- Cessna has renamed its low-wing piston singles (under previous ownership, the Columbia 350 and 400) as the Cessna 350 Corvalis and 400 Corvalis TT, while Cirrus has announced new options for its product line. Cirrus announced integrated TKS weeping wing technology, automotive style windshield de-ice fluid distribution and other advances that should allow the company to offer flight into known icing certification by Q2 2009. Other Cirrus upgrades bring new "X-Edition" option packages via an "S" designation on model types that can bring 12-inch screens and S-TEC 55X autopilot units to Cirrus cockpits, along with new paint schemes to the outside. Aside from the "S" option package designation, the top-end Cirrus product will henceforth be known simply as the TURBO. Cessna's 190- and 235-knot Corvalis models have taken their new name in tribute to an Oregon town not far from the company's Bend, Ore., manufacturing facility. More...

The FAA has released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would "enhance tradition training programs" for Part 121 crew and pilots by requiring simulator training and additional requirements "in areas that are critical to safety." The proposed rules would provide more frequent recurrent training to co-pilots than captains, as the FAA aims to prepare a workforce that, it is expected, may be less experienced on average due to demand in the coming years. Toward that end, recurrent training for co-pilots would take place every nine months, instead of the annual intervals set by the current timetable. Other major changes would cause training and evaluation of flight crew members to take place in a full crew environment, require special hazards training, recurrent Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT), and "reduce the frequency of performance drills using emergency equipment and procedures." The proposals are aimed at "raising the bar to a higher standard" and providing skill sets that allow crews to "respond better if a mistake is made," an FAA spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Two days after the July 4 weekend, an air traffic controller at Mayport Naval Station, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Lee, was given a drug test that he failed, but his character and explanation saved his career. During the trial, Lee said that he was incredulous upon hearing the news that he'd failed the test. "That's not possible," he said, "that's impossible." Lee said during trial that he was a big tea drinker and had been contacted just days before hearing about his failed drug test by fellow petty officer second class Javier Trevino who'd already learned that he'd failed his own. The key connection between the two men was the tea they'd enjoyed tea together, supplied by Trevino, prior to the drug test. The tea is known as mate de coca and is made with the leaves of the coca plant ... the one from which cocaine is made. It can be bought in a "decocainized" U.S. legal form (though it does not appear that was the version the men drank) but even that product contains a minute quantity of the drug. Prosecutors argued that Lee should have known what he was drinking, but when asked at trial by his own attorney if he knew the ingredients of the green tea he usually drank, Lee reportedly responded, "Uh ... tea?" Lee was acquitted, Tuesday. More...

What Are the Advantages of Working with an Aviation Insurance Broker?
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.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 


Letter of the Week: Flight 1549 — How Many Rafts?

[All the major news outlets] missed the big story that there were not enough rafts. Remember the Titanic. Had this not been in the river, 80% of passengers would have died in the cold water.

How many rafts? Enough for all the passengers? There were a few on a raft and the rest on the wing.

Dick Rutan

Click through to read our reply — and the rest of this week's letters.


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...

Envision® Integrated Flight Deck Available for Retrofit Installation in Select Cessna 300-Series Aircraft!
Avidyne has added the popular Cessna 320/335/340 piston-engine twins to the growing list of Envision® Integrated Flight Deck–approved aircraft. The big-glass Envision system is the industry's easiest-to-use integrated flight deck, providing state-of-the-art situational awareness and safety, with a highly-reliable all-solid-state ADAHRS, a full-featured moving map, electronic approach charts, color lightning, traffic avoidance, and satellite datalink weather. Click here for more information.
New on AVwebback to top 

US Airways Flight 1549 was a textbook ditching with the best outcome imaginable. AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli thinks there's plenty to be learned from the crew, the circumstances, and the flight path. Read more on the AVweb Insider blog. More...

Business Executives! Mark Your Calendars for February 3 & 4, 2009 in London, England
Active Communications' Efficiency in Aviation forum will provide a unique platform for senior aviation executives to discover, consider and discuss innovative management, operational and technical strategies to achieve greater cost and fuel efficiency. AVweb is a media partner for this forum. Call Melanie Mulazzi at +44 (20) 7981-2504, or click here to contact her via e-mail.

Details online.
AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

Earl Lawrence, a board member of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA), tells AVweb that the LSA industry continues to hang tough in difficult economic conditions. To prove it, the fifth annual Sport Aircraft Expo opens this week in Sebring, Florida. Our coverage begins with this podcast. More...

Hill Aircraft Parts Department Announces January as Customer Appreciation Month
All Internet orders placed in January are eligible for an additional 10% discount off the total price. $500 maximum discount. (Excludes freight, taxes, and cores if applicable.) To be eligible for this discount, simply enter code Special 0109 in the "comments" section on the Internet order form. Click here to save now!
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

AVweb Video Editor Glenn Pew has compiled footage and information on the January 15 crash of US Airways Flight 1549 that successfully ditched in the Hudson River minutes after departure from LaGuardia airport. Piloted by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, the aircraft landed safely in the water, where NY Waterways ferries and emergency personnel then rescued all 155 aboard. (Click through to watch.) More...

There's a touch of annoying feedback in our latest "Video of the Week," but it's worth adapting your ears to. Even if you turn the sound down a few minutes into the video, you'll still enjoy promotional "Learn to Fly" video from 1953. Break out the reel-to-reel, and help us with this screen, willya? (Kudos to AVweb reader Jim Dixon for uncovering this gem on YouTube! Click through to watch.) More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Stars and Stripes Air Services at 61B in Boulder City, Nevada.

AVweb reader Richard Woodsum recommended the FBO:

Due to IFR weather along my route from SAC to ABQ, I spent an extra two days at Boulder City, Nevada. The FBO, Star and Stripes Air Services, not only delivered me to and from the motel, but [they] made sure I joined them for a very nice Thanksgiving dinner at the FBO office. Sandi, Debra, and Toni all were great and made my unexpected stay a very memorable one!

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Related many years ago by Diane Ritt, Assistant Airport Manager at Antrim County Airport:

"Charlevoix Unicom, Charlevoix Unicom, this is Cherokee [Something] Xray. What are your winds and active?"

"Cherokee [Something] Xray, the winds are out of the east at five, active runway is zero nine."

"Charlevoix, I'm out here by the cement plant, and it looks like the winds are out of the northwest."

"Cherokee [Something] Xray, are you landing at Charlevoix or landing at the cement plant?"

John L. Wagner
via e-mail


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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