AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 11a

March 16, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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.
Top News: Watching Washington back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

LASP Not Winning Support In Washington

The Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which has jurisdiction over the TSA, thinks the TSA's Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) should not go forward without industry input. The Chairman, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (Mississippi), submitted a letter to the TSA stating his opinion that LASP, as proposed appears "unfeasible, or overly burdensome to the industry." In a meeting last week, members of the House aviation subcommittee told the TSA that LASP goes too far in applying commercial security regulations to general aviation operations, according to AOPA representatives who attended the meeting. The guidelines that would be imposed by LASP could not only have a stifling effect on operators, but airports as well, and impede economic growth -- especially in rural areas, according to its opponents.

Rules under consideration apply to aircraft weighing over 12,500 pounds and would impose background checks and fingerprinting for pilots and crew. It would force operators to check passengers against terrorist watch lists and screen baggage. All of which, say LASP's opponents, requires space that operators may currently use for something else and employees operators may not currently have while discouraging though inconvenience the business that might pay for those positions.

Aviation Funding Uncertain

The DOT may not be able to fund aviation programs at levels previously assumed because of declines in actual revenues generated by the excise taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In the report released last week the GAO says that going forward, the forecasts of future revenues have also declined corresponding with a drop in passenger traffic, airfares, and fuel consumption. On top of that, the Fund's uncommitted balance has been shrinking since 2001. The GAO also warned that timely reauthorization of the FAA's funding is important to the initiation of programs like NextGen infrastructure development. Meanwhile, AOPA has joined with 16 other industry groups in signing a letter that presses the House Transportation Committee to derive 25-percent of the FAA's budget from the general tax fund. That increase funds (up from 18 percent), according to the letter, could go a long way toward NextGen development.

NextGen air traffic control development will require an additional $1 billion per year to implement, according to AOPA. Extracting 25 percent from the General Fund "will generate huge economic and environmental benefits, as well as boost the economy as a whole," according to the joint letter.

Pilots Require a Different Approach When It Comes to Buying Life Insurance
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Air Tragedy in Brazil back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Man Hijacks Plane, Kills Self And Daughter

A man convinced a pilot Thursday to take himself and his 5-year-old daughter on an aerial sightseeing tour, but forced the pilot out at gunpoint on the runway, prior to takeoff in Brazil. At that point, Kleber Barosa da Silva took control of the aircraft. Da Silva, who was being sought for his alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl, then flew the aircraft for more than an hour. Local TV networks would later broadcast video of the aircraft after an air force aircraft found it and formed up loosely on its wing. In the end, Da Silva, 31, crashed the aircraft into a mall's parking lot in Goiana, Brazil, killing himself and his daughter. It is not known if that was his intent, if he was aiming for the mall, or if the aircraft simply ran out of fuel.

Earlier that day, Da Silva had argued with his wife, before forcing her out of a moving car and driving his daughter to the airport in Luziania, where the incident's deadly second act began would begin. Police described Da Silva's flight as erratic, and Manoel Borges, the police commander in charge of the investigation told Reuters, "by our reading of what happened and his psychological state" his intent "was to smash into the shopping center."

Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
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Eye on the Economy: Everyone's Feeling the Pinch back to top 

Textron Tightens Belt: Cessna Delays Columbus, Plans Furloughs

Cessna has announced it will delay development of its Citation Columbus -- the jet CEO Jack Pelton in October said "will create a billion dollars of revenue annually" -- and that more furloughs are coming. The company is investing $780 million in development of the 488-kt. luxury business jet, that can carry eight people 4,000 nautical miles, but is slowing construction of what will be the Columbus' production facility. That should delay the jet's production by at least six months. The furloughs, however, are not expected to be tied to the Columbus program, but will be targeted at Citation CJ, Sovereign and Citation X production personnel; and cutbacks extend up the ladder to Cessna's parent company. Textron's CEO, Lewis B. Campbell, saw a 16 percent decrease in total compensation, down to $9.8 million in 2008 from $11.8 million in 2007, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Thursday. A full $1.6 million of that was due to a cut in his performance bonus. But beyond Cessna and Textron, changes in production schedules at Cessna will affect other companies, too.

The move to slow down the progress the Citation Columbus impacts contractors like Spirit AeroSystems. The contractor will now shadow Cessna by delaying construction of its own Columbus oriented facility. Fortunately, the project's delay will not bring dramatic change to Spirit as much of its workforce can be reallocated to other projects.

Booming Business: Aircraft Repossession

Ken Hill is an airplane repo man who in January recovered 12 aircraft from eight states and expects to recover 27 more over the course of about 40 days. With the economy as it is, homes aren't the only subjects of foreclosure and, like homes, aircraft cost owners money whether they're used or not and whether or not the owner's income can support the payments. In that framing, Hill's business has become brisk enough that it attracted the attention of New York Times, and his business became a published article, Friday. Hill told the Times he normally recovers about 30 aircraft per year, but last year the number swelled to 50. This year, he expects that number to double again, to 100. Most repossessions, it turns out play out in civilized conversation and agreeable transactions, but Hill always brings along a portable radio, hand-held GPS and hundreds of keys and a prop-lock, just in case. And in those disagreeable cases, other methods must be employed.

When owners don't want to return an aircraft they've stopped paying for, Hill employs simple tracking techniques to shed light on the aircraft's movements. There are systems in place that allow paying customers access to information that goes beyond the capabilities of free online services. After the aircraft is found, he claims it for the owner, using court orders if necessary, has it inspected and recovers it.

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Fighting Icing in RR Trent Engines back to top 

Boeing 777 Flying With A Known Problem

Rolls-Royce Trent 800-series engines can suffer from ice-induced fuel constriction in flight, and in the opinion of the NTSB, current precautions are "insufficient" to prevent the possibility of a fatal crash -- and they'll be flying like that for at least six more months. So why not just add an anti-icing additive to the fuel? That solution, along others is being considered after both the NTSB and the AAIB released reports last week. Unfortunately, all solutions will come with cost. In the case of anti-icing additives, one drawback is the need for more frequent maintenance, but an additive may still be a part of the short term solution. Any fuel system modifications (currently in the works at Rolls-Royce) will require extensive testing and certification that may take more than 12 months. The NTSB is recommending a fix be available in six. In the meanwhile, the problem that's already caused un-commanded rollbacks on two separate passenger flights still exists. The current fleet of about 736 Boeing 777s includes about 220 powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent engine/fuel system in question.

Investigators studying the British Airways 777 that in January crashed short of Heathrow (with no fatalities) and a Delta Airlines 777 that last November temporarily lost power at altitude believe the jets' fuel system can compromise fuel flow at the fuel/oil heat exchangers due to ice accretion that ultimately stifles the engines' thrust. Boeing 777's carry about 50 feet of unheated pipes as part of their fuel system. Investigators have shown in tests that ice can accumulate in the fuel system which includes about 50 feet of unheated pipes.

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Quotes reprinted with permission: Professional Pilot, 2007 Headset Preference Survey, 12/07; Aviation Consumer, 8/07.
News Briefs back to top 

Helo Pilot Rescues Uncooperative Niagara Diver

Sometimes it's hard to be a hero, especially when the person being rescued has other ideas. That didn't stop Ruedi Hafen, owner of Niagara Helicopters, from saving the life of an unidentified 30-year-old Ontario man who went over Niagara Falls without a barrel. He became only the third person known to have survive the plunge unaided (and perhaps the first to skinny dip) but it wasn't for lack of trying. In the end, it was only Hafen's flying feat that put the man into the arms of rescuers whom he'd been trying to avoid.

With some cooperation from the guy in the water, the rescue could have been textbook. Hafen, who normally flies tourists over the falls, had a police officer on board who managed to get a sling on the man, but he broke free. Hafen actually dipped a skid in the water beside the man and urged him to climb aboard. The man swam away in the 40-degree water and continued to resist rescue efforts from the helicopter and a boat. That's when Hafen used the rotorwash from the helicopter to push the fleeing man toward rescuers. "He was constantly looking at us, looking like `I don't need you, what are you doing here?'" Hafen told the Toronto Star. "I'll never forget those eyes." The man is recovering in hospital.

Pilot's Certificate Revoked (Again), This Time For In-Cockpit Sex

David Keith Martz, 52, has appealed the revocation of his certificate, which he lost after a video surfaced that allegedly shows him having sex with a Swedish adult film actress while flying a helicopter over San Diego. The revocation marks the fifth time Martz' license has either been revoked or suspended, according to the Associated Press, which noted a prior infraction that the FAA deemed as reckless flying. In that 2006 case, "reckless" meant landing a helicopter on a Hollywood street to pick up a rock star and deliver him to a concert. Other incidents include flying too low over a residential neighborhood, landing too close to a military base, and flying with damage to his helicopter. A public hearing will be held in San Diego sometime within the next month. According to the L.A. Times, "it is unclear if the video will be shown."

The 2007 video that became public when it was posted online by a Hollywood gossip web site, last month. After reviewing the video, the FAA claims is shows the pilot was blocked from the helicopter's controls by the woman's body.

Why Take Chances?
Thousands of pilots will receive certificate actions this year. You could be the pilot whose certificate is suspended for 180 days because you flew past the 100-hour inspection. Or you may discover the aircraft you rented is past due for its annual, putting your certificate at risk. By enrolling in the AOPA Legal Services Plan, you can receive aviation legal consultation, advice, and even representation. Enroll today — Private Pilot coverage is $29.
Archie League Puts ATC in the Spotlight back to top 

Archie League Awards Honor Controllers For Grace Under Pressure

"A calm voice on the radio keeps a scared pilot from becoming further rattled." So noted Mark Harris, an air traffic controller with the Anchorage TRACON, as he recalled a day last October when he helped a pilot cope with a cockpit full of smoke. Harris was one of 11 controllers honored last week with an Archie League Medal of Safety Award, bestowed by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association during a safety forum in Las Vegas. The awards, named after the first air traffic controller, honor the efforts of those who remain calm and focused while helping to resolve dangerous situations. A special NATCA President's Award went to air traffic controller John Charlton of Lake Charles, La., who gave extra attention to a nervous student pilot who had unsuccessfully attempted to land twice. After alerting fire and rescue in order to be prepared for any outcome, Charlton, who is a pilot himself, coached the student through two more approaches till she made a successful landing on her fourth try.

Other controllers helped a pilot whose engine died over dark terrain at night, a crew stricken with hypoxia, and a pilot who was trying to navigate a complex and unfamiliar instrument approach in the mountains, with inadequate fuel for a go-around. In every case the controller's advice and professionalism contributed to a successful outcome. For more stories about the award winners and audiotapes from the events, check out this AVweb podcast.

NATCA's Archie League Award Winners

File Size 14.9 MB / Running Time 13:02

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In an emergency, a pilot's best friend is often an air traffic controller, whose calm and professional voice can offer guidance and reassurance in a stressful time. Every year, NATCA's Archie League Awards honor those controllers whose work helped to resolve dangerous situations as safely as possible. In today's podcast, hear audio excerpts from three of these emergencies — when a Learjet crew was disoriented by hypoxia, when a Caravan pilot lost an engine at night, and when a nervous student pilot had trouble getting safely back to the airport. For transcripts and audio from all 11 of this year's award winners, click here.

Click here to listen. (14.9 MB, 13:02)

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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Note to Air Force — Butt Out

The Air Force has gotten itself into quite a snit over the CAF's rare F-82 Twin Mustang. It wants the airplane back. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders why there wasn't just one starred officer to say, "Ya know what, let's not do this. We'll look really dumb, and, anyway, we already have a Twin Mustang in the museum." Too bad it didn't happen that way.

Read more.

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."

Jeppesen Offers New & Innovative VFR+GPS Charts for North America
These charts offer a fresh perspective on what a VFR chart should be, with better color and contrast, coverage areas based on where you fly, and intuitive symbols. Space Shuttle radar data accurately depicts terrain. Jeppesen's VFR+GPS Charts are easier to use in the cockpit or at the kitchen table, and they're designed specifically to help you get more from your GPS. Click here to learn more.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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.

Rediscover Jet City!
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: AVweb's Blooper Reel

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

So you think TV is easy? Take a look at AVweb's hilarious blooper reel, in which the staff unmasks the ugly side of the exciting world of web video. (And this is the G-rated version.)

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.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

EDM700 Engine Monitor from JPI
Do you want to save avgas (and money) by running your engine lean-of-peak? If so, you'll need a reliable engine monitor. AVweb's Liz Swaine highlights the features of and functions of the EDM700, from JP Instruments.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

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.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Eufaula Jet Center (Weedon Field, Eufaula, AL)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Eufaula Jet Center at Weedon Field Airport (KEUF) in Eufaula, Alabama.

AVweb reader Bill Johnson made an unscheduled stopover at Weedon Field to fuel up and "wait out some ground fog" when he discovered the FBO, much to his delight:

What a lucky break for me. Not only did I meet some of the nicest people in aviation at the Eufaula Jet Center run by Eric Langham, [but Eric also] took care of the airplane, helped us keep our appointment on time, and, when we returned to the airport, my associate and I ate lunch at one the best country buffets in the South, right there on the airport. If your route takes you near Eufaula, I highly recommend you take advantage of their service and hospitality. If you are looking for a place to go, I hear the fishing is great, and, if the airport is any example of the rest of the city's hospitality, I'm certain you will be well taken care of. As a businessman, I know the value of good ambassadorship, and Eufaula, Alabama has one of the best in Eric Langham.

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!

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.
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Some years ago, I was flying a red, white, and blue Decatalon out of Petaluma airport in northern California when I asked Oakland Center for some information:

Oakland Center:
"N12345 — are you flying a red, white, and blue airplane?"

"Don't tel me you now have colored radar!"

Oakland Center:
"Naw. I fly the Decatalon out of Petaluma, too."

Myron MacNeil
via e-mail

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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.