AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 10a

March 9, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?
According to LIMRA International, a leading industry research firm, 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance. Those who own life insurance have an average of four times their annual income in coverage, considerably less than most experts recommend. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots — from student to ATP — with insurance planning at an affordable rate. A+ Rated Carriers – No Aviation Exclusions – Quick and Easy Application Process. Call PIC at 1 (800) 380-8376 or visit online.
All Eyes on FAA Reauthorization in Congress back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

FAA Funding Bill Passes Transportation Committee

The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 (H.R. 915), drafted without user fees, has met the approval of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, but AOPA warns fees may still be an issue. The Ways and Means Committee, which is next in line and takes charge of imposing taxes, has so far been opposed to user fees. But that committee says it will have to look at President Obama's budget details (due in early April) before it makes a determination on FAA reauthorization. NextGen modernization efforts may require more funding than is provided by fuel taxes and amid a push for transportation infrastructure stimulus money, upgrades to the system may be deemed necessary. General aviation aside, the bill, in its current form, may make alliances between U.S. and foreign airlines tougher to come by and expose airlines previously granted antitrust immunity to loss of that status.

Under the bill, airlines that currently enjoy antitrust immunity would lose that benefit in three years from the date the legislation is signed into law. Making its argument economically relevant, the Air Transport Association has suggested that such a move could cost airlines up to 15,000 jobs and make lost the millions of dollars invested in integrated operations.

JA Air Center, Your Source for the New Garmin GPSMap 696
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Aviation Safety back to top 

TMB Avenger Lands On Fire At Millville, N.J.

Terry Rush, 63, was departing Runway 28 at Millville Airport in New Jersey, Saturday at roughly 5 p.m. in a Grumman TBM Avenger, when he noticed his left wing was on fire, according to early reports. The pilot flew the aircraft, on fire, back to a landing at the airport, but not before the fire had spread. Rush, who was himself beginning to burn, successfully landed the burning aircraft, jumped onto the wing, then to the ground as the aircraft rolled out and became engulfed in flames. Local fire companies arrived on the scene and extinguished the fire within about ten minutes. But by then, the historic restored aircraft had been transformed into a hardly recognizable wreck sitting some 400 feet from where its pilot had evacuated it. Rush was flown by medevac helicopter to a local hospital where he was listed in critical but stable condition, having suffered second and third degree burns to his left side and both hands.

The Avenger torpedo bomber was one of the largest single-engine aircraft of its era and the accident aircraft was similar to the one flown by former President George H.W. Bush during World War II. The Avenger flown by Rush was owned by Thomas Duffy, who keeps several warbirds on the field. Both the NTSB and Environmental Protection Agency were notified of the incident and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

You Won't Need SVT to See Where No-Cost Fuel Can Take You,
But We're Throwing It in Anyway

If you buy one of a limited number of 2008 Cessna 350 or Cessna 400 aircraft from existing inventory, Cessna will supply you with $25,000 in fuel at no cost to you and upgrade your state-of-the-art Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck with new Synthetic Vision Technology. Supply of eligible aircraft is limited, so act fast and contact your Cessna representative today.
Smart Flying with the Latest Tech back to top 

New Hybrid Propulsion System For Aircraft

Flight Design GmbH, which makes the popular CT line of light sport aircraft, has announced it will debut in early April, at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a hybrid engine concept for light aircraft. The concept engine is based on "a well-established certified aircraft engine" mated with an electric booster only used to boost performance for takeoff and climb, according to the company. "The result is an optimized engine in respect to size, weight and fuel efficiency for cruise," Flight Design said in a news release, that offers 40 additional horsepower when demanded, or redundant power in the case of fuel starvation. Flight Design has worked for two years with Franz Aircraft Engines to develop the hybrid, which it promotes as a short- to middle=term solution for efficient environmentally friendly aircraft still waiting for readily available electric or hydrogen powered propulsion solutions. Unlike concept cars that never make it to the mass market, Flight Design does have consumers in mind.

Flight tests are expected to take place in 2009, in "an existing airplane," and the company says preliminary talks with EASA have already taken place to create a realistic pathway to certification. April will show how they've done it, but Flight Design claims they've managed to keep the installed weight low enough to increase the load-carrying ability of small aircraft flying with the system, opening "new possibilities for general aviation."

More Benefits Of Carbon Nanotubes

Composite materials reinforced with carbon nanotube "stitching" are not only ten times stronger than those that go without, but they are also one million times more electrically conductive, according to a report soon to be published in the Journal of Composite Materials. Benefits to aircraft structures therefore include increased strength and lightning protection along with decreased weight for composite aircraft. Carbon nanotubes are not new, and have been flown aboard aircraft, including a Giles G-200 high-performance homebuilt aerobatic aircraft in 2008, as part of that aircraft's cowling. But researchers at MIT say that through a process called "nanostitching," they can add nanotubes, "the strongest fibers known to humankind," to the composite's weakest part -- between its layers -- adding strength, without adding weight. And that's not nearly all they can do.

Composite structures are strengthened by adding layers or plies of composite fiber on top of one another, bonded by resin. Nanostitching aligns rows of carbon nanotubes perpendicular to the layered fibers of a carbon composite structure, effectively filling the spaces between them and stitching the layers together without adding weight. Nanostitching does not add weight to the structure, because the nanotubes exist in space formerly taken up solely by heavier, weaker resin. The process actually increases strength and saves weight (as it was in the case of the G-200).

Researchers have shown that when embedded in aircraft wings with other polymer composites, carbon nanotubes mixed into an epoxy coating can be used to initiate "self-healing" repairs of damaged structure. The "self-healing" is actually initiated by application of an electrical charge that the nanotubes conduct, allowing heat-activated agents mixed into the composite to flow into cracks, stopping propagation and recovering 70 percent of the structure's original strength. In this application weight is added to the structure -- but, say researchers, it accounts for only 1 percent of the polymer composite's total weight. The nanotubes, however, do not act on their own to find the cracks. They are used to form a grid over a surface that allows it to be tested for imperfections, and then supply conductivity to initiate the "healing" process.

Continuous Descents Cut Fuel, Emissions, Noise

Both Boeing and the FAA have tested arrival procedures and both have found that continuous descents flown at a single busy airport can save the airlines millions of pounds of fuel and save the atmosphere millions of pounds of carbon dioxide. The FAA's testing at LAX shows that continuous descent approaches could save airlines flying into that airport 1 million gallons of fuel (and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 18 million pounds), each year. Boeing's trials, carried out at San Francisco International Airport over the course of a year, cut fuel consumption by 1.1 million pounds and carbon dioxide emissions by 3.6 million pounds. International aviation is cited as a contributor that accounts for roughly 2 percent of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide, and the European Union is expected to include aviation into its emission control scheme by 2012. Both Boeing and the FAA's programs are proactive in that regard while also addressing airlines' bottom lines.

The FAA first applied the method at LAX back in December 2007 when it converted one of the airport's eastern routes. Now, two other routes have been converted, allowing LAX to offer continuous descents to roughly half the aircraft that land there, according to the FAA. LAX has the most broadly employed implementation of the program. Under Boeing's tests, pilots received arrival path guidance that considered aircraft performance, air traffic, weather and airspace. Boeing's trials involved about 1,000 flights over the course of 12 months. The LAX trials have involved as many as 400 flights each day.

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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
Signs of the Times back to top 

Gulfstream Drops 2700 Employees

Gulfstream Thursday announced that it is laying off 1,200 workers and will furlough an additional 1,500 for five weeks. The company, is Savannah, Georgia's largest private employer, with 6,000 employees in Georgia and 4,000 at other facilities in Texas, Wisconsin, California and 11 service centers spread throughout the country. The company says the job cuts will be spread throughout its facilities and were triggered by a shrinking order backlog as customers push back their orders waiting for positive economic news. Gulfstream spokesman Robert Baugniet said it has not helped that President Obama has singled out corporate jets as a symbol of greed and largesse, according to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. Gulfstream's upcoming fly-by-wire G650 long-range business jet is expected to sell for $60 million per copy.

As a large local employer, a slowdown at Gulfstream is expected to ripple through Savannah's local economy. "It's a very painful experience," Baugniet told the Constitution. "We've got three generations of the same families working here, and we're telling them, 'Through no fault of your own, you've got to go.'"

Startup Air Taxi ImagineAir More Than Optimistic

Startup air taxi ImagineAir flew its first operations in 2007 and in spite of the economic downturn in 2008 doubled its business, flying more than 600 routes between more than 200 airports in the Southeast. Founded in 2005 and operating five Cirrus SR22 GTS aircraft with 15 employees, the Atlanta-based company saw 117 percent more flights year over year from 2007 to 2008. Company president Ben Hamilton, 25, told the Atlanta Business Chronicle ImagineAir will follow that initial success by doubling its fleet in 2009, spacing planes throughout the Southeast and expanding service to Texas by 2010. The company reportedly lists its 2008 revenue at about $800,000 but has a goal to operate 50 aircraft and employ 100 pilots within five years. If the company survives to enjoy that success, it may be due to a business model that makes its cost and convenience perhaps unexpectedly well-suited for the times.

Unlike most charter operators, ImagineAir doesn't charge repositioning fees and burns about 16 gallons per hour en route. That lands pricing near the cost of a last-minute airline flight, which in the real world translates to Atlanta to Nashville for less than $1,000/each with two aboard (less with three). Hamilton says the company's pricing has therefore found its niche among cost-conscious business travelers seeking economic and convenient flight alternatives. He hopes that niche will expand to include wealthier families and individuals as the economy turns up. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, ImagineAir was founded in 2005 and launched operations in 2007 with the support of $2.5 million in startup capital invested in leased equipment and an additional $1 million that took the form of equity investment.

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 Briefs back to top 

Fossett Crash NTSB Factual Report, Pilot Statements

The NTSB's factual report of the Sept. 3, 2007, fatal crash of a Bellanca 8KCAB-180 (Super Decathlon) piloted by Steve Fossett does not include a "cause," but does offer details. The NTSB attempted to reconstruct potential wind patterns for the day through numerical simulations and also took statements from pilots who flew in the area at the time. The board's weather modeling found downdrafts in the accident area in excess of 300 feet per minute. Investigators determined the crash site to be at a density altitude of about 12,700 feet with a deviation from standard temperature of about positive 23.2 degrees C. The aircraft's maximum rate of climb at a pressure altitude of 13,000 feet was 300 feet per minute at standard temperature. Its wreckage was found "severely fragmented" and burned. The NTSB's report included comments from pilots who flew in the area that day.

Three pilots (a 206 pilot, a King Air pilot, and a glider pilot, respectively) who flew in roughly the same area of the crash at similar times found it was a "wonderful day to go flying," and "unusually smooth when it was not turbulent," and that above 10,000 feet the wind dropped off and the air was smooth. All wind information for the area collected by the NTSB showed winds from the southwest during the time of the crash. Fossett's aircraft impacted a peak approximately 300 feet below a ridge that ran northwest/southeast, leaving a debris field that headed upslope oriented at about 010 magnetic degrees. Wind accelerates as it crosses a ridgeline. It is not uncommon for winds at the top of a ridge to be much higher than undisturbed velocities.

According to the NTSB, the "airplane was severely fragmented and a severe post crash fire burned most of the structure and surrounding vegetation." Most fabric was burned and specific to the cockpit, "the front seat frame was bent, deformed and crushed to a size about one third of its original dimension." Plus, "all of the cockpit instruments and avionics were destroyed." The front seat belt and shoulder harness was found unbuckled, with nearly all the strap webbing consumed by fire. A five-point safety belt system was also not found buckled. And, "the airplane's ELT was destroyed," with its pieces scattered in the debris field. No defects were found with the engine; both propeller blades displayed gouging and were bent. A section of one propeller blade was not recovered.

Dr. Blue Says, "Be Smart — Carry a PLB!"
Flying, hiking, camping, riding your ATV or bike — accidents happen that can become a life-threatening situation. Be prepared with a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). It's as easy as pushing a button. PLBs from Aeromedix.com include the ACR MicroFix 406 MHz for pilots when you're enjoying activities in unpopulated areas. Click now to visit Aeromedix.com for complete details.
New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Swift Fuel — Can It Replace 100LL?

The concept and the numbers more or less add up, although industry experts we've talked to think the claims may err on the side of optimism. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli sorts through the clutter.

Read more.

AVweb Insider Blog: F/A-18 at Miramar — How Could This Happen?

If we've got this straight, a highly trained Marine pilot flying a Hornet with one engine caged and the other wheezing passes up a sure-bet runway for one 20 miles away surrounded by suburban sprawl? That seems to be it. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli opines that judgment like this is all too human.

Read more.

Put AeroExpo Europe - Prague and AeroExpo Europe - London on Your Show Schedule
AeroExpo Europe - Prague (May 22-24, 2009) will showcase everything from ultralights to helicopters to business aircraft in the heart of Europe, marketing to the European and emerging Eastern European and Russian markets. AeroExpo Europe - London (June 12-14, 2009) includes aircraft from light aircraft, pistons, and turboprops through to VLJs (very light jets) and all parts and services for these general aviation aircraft. Go online for exhibitor and attendee details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Thanks for sending us your thoughts this week. AVmail will return on Thursday with a fresh batch of reader comments.

Own a Glass Cockpit Aircraft? Aviation Consumer Wants to Hear from You

If you own a glass cockpit aircraft, Aviation Consumer wants to hear from you. We want to know about the real costs of maintaining and upgrading these aircraft for an upcoming article. Please take a moment to fill out a short survey so others can benefit from your experiences. Click here to participate.

(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.

Eur-Avia Cannes 2009 Announces the Conference Program, to Include:
Buying new or second-hand aircraft; security round-up for 2008; technology to help the pilot; how to renovate and modernize your aircraft and interiors; external paintwork; avionics; engine improvements; and interior comfort. This Third International Exhibition will open its doors from April 30 to May 2, 2009 on the International Airport of Cannes Mandelieu (LFMD). Visit Eur-Avia.com for details.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Tom Poberezny Steps Into the Chair at EAA

File Size 5.9 MB / Running Time 6:28

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

As the aviation community faces some of its greatest challenges, Tom Poberezny steps into the role of chairman at the Experimental Aircraft Association. In this exclusive AVweb interview, Poberezny talks about the many hats he'll be wearing and what to expect from EAA in the coming months.

Click here to listen. (5.9 MB, 6:28)

Exclusive Video: B-24 Cockpit Tour

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

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes you on a detailed cockpit tour of the Collings Foundation B-24J Liberator, the only one of its type still flying.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Working Healthy
A "no excuses" book that belongs in every repair station and line shop, Working Healthy is a manual on health and safety techniques written specifically for the aviation technician. Learn to protect your most valuable assets (your employees and students) from the risks and long-term health issues common in every aviation facility, and so reduce absenteeism, job delays, and your workman's comp premiums. One minor injury prevented will pay for this book 100 times over. Click here for details.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Griffing Flying Service (KSKY, Sandusky, OH)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Griffing Flying Service, a family-owned FBO at Griffing-Sandusky Airport (KSKY) in Sandusky, Ohio.

AVweb reader Joe E. Greene rents a hangar at Griffing and had plenty of nice things to say about the facilities:

They offer charter services to local Lake Erie islands, including also have two King Airs and other aircraft. They continue to struggle with the existing economy, [but] are very profesional and dedicated.

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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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?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

It happened a couple of years ago in France, at La Ferté-Allais (LFFQ) near Paris, a quite busy GA airport. A few planes were lined up for take-off behind a plane with a female student pilot and her instructor performing an apparently very long checklist. It had already taken 5 to 10 minutes, and the line was extending. (All dialogs below happened, of course, in French.)

"F-ABCD, are you ready for departure?"

"Not yet, Fox Charlie Delta."

[Several minutes passed.]

Unidentified Voice (presumably an impatient pilot in the line) :
"Nails should be dry by now ... ."

"Who said that?"

[Dead silence, but after another couple of minutes, Fox Charlie Delta finally called "Ready for departure."]

Armand Linkens
via 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.

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