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The Transportation Security Administration has created a new position for a general aviation liaison, and named Juan Barnes to the post. Barnes will be available via e-mail to address the public's
concerns about security measures that impact GA operations. AOPA says questions may be submitted to
Barnes via the e-mail address TSAGeneralAviation@dhs.gov. AOPA will automatically be carbon-copied. "General aviation stakeholders are
encouraged to submit inquiries regarding TSA programs, policies and security directives," wrote Barnes in a letter to GA stakeholders. "Your inquiry will be reviewed, and forwarded to the appropriate
office and personnel within TSA to ensure a prompt and accurate response. Our goal is to provide responses to inquiries within two business days."
The TSA also will address concerns in monthly teleconferences with stakeholders beginning this Friday, March 20, at 1 p.m. AOPA said it will participate in the teleconferences, during which TSA
officials will answer questions submitted previously by e-mail. "AOPA has long been working to bring member concerns to the attention of the TSA," said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of aviation
security. "With this new avenue of communication, we can bypass some of the roadblocks that have been there in the past and help the TSA understand more clearly the heavy toll some of its proposals
could take on GA." Several recent TSA actions, such as the proposed Large Aircraft Security Program and certain procedures that were incorrectly applied to GA operations, have alarmed many in the GA community. The new liaison is intended to address concerns and to
close the information gap between the TSA and those affected by its policies, AOPA said.
Sun 'n Fun It's Like Spring Break for Pilots Scheduled for April 21-26 in Lakeland, Florida. Featuring the U.S. Army Parachute Team "Golden Knights." This annual event includes more than 4,500 airplanes, 500 commercial
exhibitors, over 400 educational forums, seminars, and hands-on workshops for virtually every aviation interest. Plus a spectacular daily air show. All included in your ticket price. Special
online-only discounts.Get your tickets
online now at Sun-N-Fun.org.
The Aero Friedrichshafen aviation show coming up in Germany April 2-5 will feature an E-Flight Expo
showcasing aircraft with electric motors and other alternative propulsion systems, but if you can't make it there, another opportunity is coming up soon on this side of the pond to catch up with all
the latest advances. The 2009 Electric Aircraft Symposium, hosted by the CAFE Foundation, is set for Friday, April 24, in
San Carlos, Calif., near San Francisco. A new hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered two-seat aircraft from Germany is expected to be on exhibit. Top
innovators who are developing new ways to make lithium batteries that can hold more energy and charge faster
will be in attendance. Another topic on the agenda is the development of GA airplanes that can fly themselves. The conference will explore "the latest technologies ... toward a green mobility solution
to our climate, energy and transportation needs," Brien Seeley, president of the CAFE Foundation, told AVweb. Seeley also expects to introduce the NASA Aviation Green Prize, a CAFE flight
competition to produce two-seat aircraft capable of 100+ mpg for emission-free commuting at 100+ mph, to be determined by a 200-mile race.
The symposium will be held at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos, 11 miles south of San Francisco International Airport, and is open to all, for a registration fee of $249. Discounts are
available for students. Attendees include visionaries, leaders of key industries, university professors, venture capitalists and aerospace grad students who will find plenty of opportunity to network
and participate in Q & A sessions with the speakers. Click here to access the full program and to register online. For an
in-depth report from last year's symposium, by Kitplanes editor Marc Cook, click
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Officials in Montana are searching for a Cessna 180 flown by Sparky Imeson, author of the Mountain Flying Bible; the plane has been missing since Tuesday afternoon. Imeson was reportedly alone
aboard the airplane, and his last known radar position was about 18 miles north of Bozeman, Mont., at about 2:23 p.m., over the Big Belt Mountains. He had taken off from Bozeman with a destination of
Helena, about an hour's flight away. An aerial search was conducted on Tuesday evening but no sign of the airplane was found, and no ELT signal was received. Snow in the mountains made it more
difficult to spot the airplane, which is white with a blue stripe, officials said.
The search was continuing late Wednesday afternoon, with no sign yet of the airplane or the pilot. Imeson and another pilot survived a crash in the Elkhorn Mountains in June 2007. In that crash, Imeson tried to walk out of the mountains to find help, but was
found by rescuers.
Since charitable contributions have been sinking across the board, and the endowment funds that many nonprofit groups depend on have shrunk, we expect that the challenging economy will be a major
topic of discussion at the upcoming Air Care 2009 national conference, scheduled for April 17-18 in Kansas City, Mo. Leaders of
volunteer pilot groups from around the nation will discuss strategies for fundraising, lobbying and organizing. A keynote talk and discussion with Bruce Landsberg, executive director of AOPA Air
Safety Foundation, will address safety issues affecting public benefit flying.
The annual event is organized by the Air Care Alliance, a nationwide league of humanitarian flying organizations whose volunteer pilot members are dedicated to community service. Volunteer pilots
support missions for health care, patient transport, disaster relief, educational experiences for youth, environmental support and other types of public service. For more information about the
conference, or to register, click here. To learn more about the Air Care Alliance and public benefit flying, click here for a classic column by AVweb's Rick Durden. Public benefit flying will be showcased this summer at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009, in a "Fly for Life" program that will recognize those who fly to serve others around the world. Activities will include
a major display adjacent to AeroShell Square, aircraft displays, numerous forums and presentations, an evening program and other events.
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The FAA has given up on an effort to mandate enhanced crew-rest rules for airline pilots flying legs over 16 hours long, according to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal. The FAA had proposed new rules that would have allowed some pilots on
such legs, which require two crews, to work more than eight hours in a single workday as long as they were assured extra-long rest periods before and after each extra-long flight. But last week, the
FAA said it was dropping the proposal based on industry comments. "We remain committed to addressing the issue of fatigue ... but believe additional data is necessary" before new rules are imposed,
the agency wrote in an e-mail to stakeholders, the Journal reported. The new rule would have also required some carriers to provide more sleeping areas on board. More airlines are scheduling
extra-long legs, such as a Continental Airlines route from Newark to Hong Kong and American Airlines flights from Chicago to Delhi.
When it proposed the new rules last fall, the FAA had cited "scientific evidence and studies" that show such long legs can induce fatigue at levels that can impair safety. Several airlines sued in
court to block the FAA's proposal, arguing that the restrictions would be unnecessary and ineffective. Pilot fatigue has long been cited as a major concern by the NTSB and by the Air Line Pilots
Association. Last month, ALPA called for "a complete
overhaul of existing regulations to include adequate rest periods, reasonable duty periods, and special provisions for flying on the 'back side of the clock' and for crossing multiple time zones." The
NTSB lists fatigue among its most-wanted rule changes, asking the FAA to set working hour limits for flight crews,
aviation mechanics, and air traffic controllers based on fatigue research, circadian rhythms, and sleep and rest requirements.
Older air traffic controllers can head off midair collisions at least as well as younger controllers, using experience to compensate for age-related declines in mental sharpness, according to a report
published this month by the American Psychological Association. Controllers in the U.S. face a mandatory retirement age of 56, which the report suggests should be reconsidered. "Given substantial
experience, older adults may be quite capable of performing at high levels of proficiency on fast-paced demanding, real-world tasks," wrote Ashley Nunes and Arthur F. Kramer, researchers at the
University of Illinois. However, while airline pilots lobbied for years to raise their mandatory retirement age of 60, no such movement has been seen among controllers. "Only 2 percent of all
controller retirees the past three years reached the mandatory retirement age of 56," Doug Church, spokesman for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told AVweb on Tuesday. "So
it's irrelevant and foolish to raise the issue of mandatory retirement in any discussion of this kind. Controllers in this country are not staying to 56." Church blames hostile working conditions and
pay cuts for destroying morale and removing any incentive to stay even until 56, never mind beyond.
"This report reached the right conclusion but offered the wrong recommendation," Church said. "That is to say, we agree that experienced, veteran controllers are smart, highly skilled, and know the
best, most efficient ways to do their job and handle their airspace. ... But all that aside, this is a job in this country that takes a brutal mental and physical toll on these controllers and they
are mostly burned out and ready to retire between 50 and 56. They earned their retirement." Church also noted that the controllers in the study were recruited from Canada, where working conditions and
workloads are very different than in the U.S.
The researchers evaluated 36 certified air traffic controllers and 36 non-controllers, with 18 older and 18 younger adults per group. On most lab tests of cognitive processes such as inhibitory
control, task switching, visual spatial processing, working memory and processing speed, the authors observed predictable age-related declines among all groups. However, on the simulations, experience
helped the older controllers to compensate to a significant degree for those declines. "Older controllers performed quite well on the air traffic control tasks," the authors wrote, adding that the
benefit of experience was greatest when it came to solving the most complex simulated air traffic problems. Older controllers also issued fewer commands than younger controllers, while achieving the
same results. According to the researchers, older controllers acted "in a more measured fashion to achieve performance that rivals that of their younger counterparts, who exhibited better cognitive
ability." The authors added that to harness the abilities of older workers, society needs to overcome negative stereotypes about aging. "Workers should get and keep jobs on the basis of their ability,
not their age," they concluded.
To read the full text of the research report, click here.
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Timing is everything, and VLJs are the right product for a recession, claim, well, VLJ salesmen. Cyrus Sigari of JetAVIVA and Randall
Sanada of Jet Alliance claim the exodus from big business jets is filling the seats of the smaller aircraft. "It is still cool to own a VLJ," Sigari told the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. "It
is not so cool to own a $20 million, $30 million jet." But busy execs still need to get around, and when current political correctness doesn't allow them exclusive access to an aircraft, charters are
filling the void, Sanada said. He started Jet Alliance as a fractional ownership business but has expanded to provide charter service.
Sigari said it's now generally accepted that the high-volume, per-seat air taxi model that was supposed to provide most of the customers for VLJs has all but evaporated but the virtues that made
the small jets attractive for that market have a new allure for cost-conscious business travelers. Sanada said it's a lesson that came too late for the CEOs of the Big Three on their now-infamous trip
to Washington last year. "Had these guys flown together in a VLJ, it would have cost less than a tenth of what it cost in a larger plane," Sanada said.
The Terrafugia Transition, the "roadable aircraft" that's attracted considerable attention at aviation shows in the last year, flew for the first time on March 5, and its makers say they've changed
aviation as a result. "This breakthrough changes the world of personal mobility. Travel now becomes a hassle-free integrated land-air experience. It's what aviation enthusiasts have been striving
for since 1918," said Carl Dietrich, CEO of Terrafugia. While most "flying car" concepts to date have incorporated detachable or trailerable wings, the Transition has electromechanical folding wings
that convert the vehicle in 30 seconds. The company says production models will meet Light Sport specifications and be street legal.
Test pilot Col. Phil Meteer (retired) said the first flight went well. "The first flight was remarkably unremarkable. I've flown several thousand hours in everything from Piper Cubs to F-16s, and
the Transition flew like a really nice airplane." The first example will be used for advanced flight and road testing while a production prototype is built. The second aircraft will go through the
ASTM review process for Light Sport certification. Terrafugia says Transition will cruise 450 miles at 115 knots and is capable of highway speeds in car mode. A 100-horsepower Rotax 912S powers both
the pusher prop in flight mode and the front wheel drive on the ground. The aircraft is not intended to be flown from roads, but to provide immediate transportation to and from airports.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the Diamond DA42 NG, which is powered by Diamond's own 170-horsepower Austor diesel. The certification came less than a year after Thielert,
whose engines powered first generation Twin Stars, became insolvent, resulting in serious maintenance issues for DA42 owners. The EASA certification means Diamond can start delivering Twin Stars again
in Europe (it has 40 on the line) and also start turning its attention to retrofits for existing owners who want to swap out their Thielerts. "We are focusing our efforts to achieve the certification
of the optional upgrade of all delivered DA42s with the Austro Engine, such that all customers can benefit from these improvements along with comprehensive customer support for their engines," said
Diamond CEO Christian Dries. Although the EASA certification is valid only in Europe, it should be fairly straightforward to get it recognized everywhere else, and Dries said Diamond is working on
Dries says that even though the new engine pumps out 20 percent more horsepower, it actually delivers better fuel economy than the Thielerts while giving the aircraft a higher gross weight and
better performance. As part of the NG package, the new DA42s come with Garmin GFC 700 autopilot, and they're ready for Garmin synthetic vision. The initial TBO of the new engine is 1,000 hours, but
Dries said the goal is to extend that to 2,000 hours. It's not clear how that will translate to North American customers where the Thielerts are on a 1,000-hour TBR (time before replacement). The
company is also working on a maintenance program that will undoubtedly address some of the cost and AOG time spans that affected Thielert operators.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the Diamond DA42NG with Diamond's own Austro engines, marking the beginning of the end of a challenging period for the company.
AVweb's Russ Niles talks with Diamond's Peter Maurer about what the certification means to new and existing customers.
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"We think we're probably close to the bottom" may not seem like the most optimistic words about the global economy, but the upside is that the sooner we get to the bottom, the sooner we start back up.
That was the take from Roger Whyte, Cessna's senior vice president for sales and marketing, on Monday as he delivered two new Citation XLS+ jets to a customer. Whyte told the Wichita Eagle that a little historical perspective helps in keeping a positive outlook -- the bizjet business has
been through slow times in the past, he said, before it boomed in the last 10 years or so. And even with the projected decline in deliveries for the next couple of years, the numbers aren't expected
to fall below where the industry was in 2005, he said.
Meanwhile, SATSAir has found an aviation business model that works, with record growth last year despite a slight downturn in the fourth
quarter. The South Carolina air-taxi company operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22s, serving hundreds of airports in the eastern U.S. "We're extremely pleased with the strong 2008 numbers and the expanded
presence in the Southeastern growth corridor that they represent," said Steve Hanvey, SATSAir president and CEO. "2008 was a landmark year for our business concept from a financial perspective and
signals a growing acceptance of this innovative approach to business and personal air travel." Cancellation of airline operations into regional hubs and reduced use of personally owned aircraft
contributed to increased demand for SATSAir services, according to the company. SATSAir launched in November 2004 and so far has flown 14,000 flights and covered more than 11 million passenger
Last week, we asked how much money AVweb readers spent on flying in the last 12 months and received a wide array of answers.
The most popular answer in our informal survey (by a hair) was a lot less. (23% of you chose this answer.) Running a close second, 21% of you said you'd spent about the
same as you did the previous year.
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.)
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.
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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as
our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your
comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your
letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.
Letter of the Week: Dangerous Interpretation?
Although AOPA and certain Cessna aircraft owners consider the new FAA interpretation of the
definition of "current" as a good thing, I believe that this is not the case. As a NDT inspector at a repair station that performs "invasive" inspections of Cessna 441 and 425 aircraft, I can attest
that the "invasive" inspection program has turned up some serious issues. A partial list would include: disbonded horizontal stabilizer structure, cracked main landing gear trunions, cracked main
landing gear trailing links, cracked cabin pressure bulkheads, disbonded wing spar webs, cracked nose gear trunions, cracked horizontal stabilizer attachment bulkheads, and corrosion issues that would
not normally be detected in the original inspection program.
There is a valid reason for performing the inspection. While a few owners feel that it is worth the risk to save the money that these inspections cost, most should feel that it is a potential
saving in the large investment of their safety and finances.
If Rep. Thompson chairs the committee which has jurisdiction over the TSA, why wouldn't he tell them to simply back off rather than politely asking them to delay implementation? It must be
political diplomacy, a reason I will never be found within their ranks. Either way, I'm glad someone is showing some
sense in the matter.
In a news item, we are told of the benefits of carbon nanotubes in aircraft structures.
All the benefits promised unprecendented strength, high electrical conductivity (composite structures are known to have a weakness with regard to lightning strikes because of their
nonconductive nature), and possible ability to be self-healing make carbon nanotubes hard to resist.
But I am worried that Mother Nature may throw a showstopper in our faces, like she did with chlorofluorocarbons and also asbestos. CFC's had so many great properties (non-flammable, non-toxic),
but Ma Nature slapped our hands and said no when we found they were destroying the ozone layer. Asbestos found thousands of uses in our lives, and again Mother Nature said no when it
was found asbestos fibers are carcinogenic.
So it is we may run into similar environmental showstoppers regarding carbon nanotubes. I would suggest that we take great precautions when using nanoparticles and nanotubes to keep them out of
workplace atmospheres and out of our environment. Aircraft using carbon nanotubes must be subjected to appropriate recycling measures, and those who build airplanes using this material must take
proper safety and environmental precautions.
I hope we don't have to forego carbon nanotubes. But we must assume from the get-go that Mother Nature will once again slap our hands and say no if we're not very careful.
Your headline on the report is completely misleading, and the subsequent reporting is not much better.
The inoperative radar altimeter was incidental to this crash, which resulted from three trained pilots all failing to note air speed falling below minimums a minimum need-to-know to be called
an aviator. You do the industry a disservice with such reporting! What we don't know (and need to know) is why. Hopefully future reports with CVR info will give more information on why.
C'mon, George, that's like saying cause of death was heart failure and failing to mention the knife in the patient's chest.
Russ Niles Editor-in-Chief
The two flying events with the greatest risk are takeoffs and landings. The recent crashes at Buffalo and Amsterdam appear to have occurred with the autopilot flying and the pilot and co-pilot as
observers, unprepared to take over when their systems failed.
I'd like to hear a discussion of why the airlines feel autopilot approaches are safer than with the pilot or co-pilots, for whom they expend substantial sums on training and salaries, flying the
Coming or Going?
The photo of the corsairs on the carrier deck; was that photo reversed? If taken from the carrier's island then it appears the island is on the port side rather than starboard. Also look at the
carriers in the background. Their islands look to be on the "wrong" side.
Nice shot of the U.S.S. Roi. A close look at the props on the planes will show that this image has actually been printed backwards though. Great website, keep up the good work!
Our readers are definitely a sharp-eyed bunch! Rick and Ken weren't the only ones to notice the tell-tale signs of a reversed photo. But if you revisit last week's photos, you'll find that David Thomas didn't scan the original photo, but the negative itself resulting in a
Scott Simmons Webmaster, "POTW" Editor
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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).
Eur-Avia.com for details.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Eufaula Jet Center at Weedon Field Airport (KEUF) in
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.
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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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:
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Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
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