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Volume 15, Number 15a
April 13, 2009
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Top News: Investigating Medical Flight Accidentback to top 

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the copilot of a Cessna Citation carrying an organ transplant team may have mistakenly turned on the aircraft's autopilot instead of its yaw damper, possibly leading to the crash of the aircraft in Lake Michigan off Milwaukee on June 4, 2007. Both pilots and the four members of the University of Michigan medical team were killed. The paper quotes a report from the NTSB's Recorded Radar and Airplane Performance Study Group, which did a computer simulation of the flight, as saying the results of the simulation are "consistent with the copilot inadvertently pushing the autopilot button instead of the yaw damper on the airplane center console." Shortly after takeoff, the cockpit voice recorder captured comments from the pilot that he was "fighting the controls" and blaming the problem on runaway trim. But the NTSB team says the results of the simulation "do not appear consistent with a pitch trim runaway." More...

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.
Some Days Are Better than Others for Airlinersback to top 

While we like a good story as much as anyone, those facts are pesky things. Some remarkable pictures making the rounds on the Internet show a big hole burned in the skin of an Atlantic Southeast Airlines CRJ 200 and attribute the cause to an inflight lightning strike, which, considering the location behind the captain's head, conjures up some pretty interesting scenarios, much more interesting than the mundane reality. Within hours of running a photo and the lightning strike speculation, an AVweb reader delivered the straight goods by way of NTSB file number DCA09FA033, which suggests the cause was an electrical fire while the aircraft was being preflighted in Tallahassee for a trip to Atlanta last March 1. More...

An Australian newspaper is reporting that a $180 million Emirates Airbus A340-500 may be beyond repair and the 225 people who were on it last March 20 are lucky to be alive after a nasty scrape at Melbourne International Airport. New details have emerged about the mishap, which has been declared an accident by the Australia Transport Safety Bureau and resulted in the resignations of both pilots aboard. According to the Sunday Herald Sun the aircraft was bound for Dubai when it failed to get airborne before the end of Melbourne's 12,000-foot runway. The paper reported the flight crew yanked the big airliner off the overrun, scraping the tail in the process. It appears, from the description, the 340 flew in ground effect about two feet off the ground for about 400 yards, wiping out three approach strobes, which are about 30 inches high, and the localizer antenna, before barely clearing the eight-foot perimeter fence. 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 for details.
Flight 1549: NTSB and Crew Get Back to Workback to top 

The NTSB will hear testimony on the ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 on June 9-10 at its Washington, D.C., headquarters. The public hearing is being held to gather more information on the board's ongoing investigation of the mishap. All 155 people aboard survived the dunking in the Hudson River in New York City after the crew reported multiple bird strikes followed by a dual engine failure. In contrast to most NTSB investigations, at least part of this hearing will apparently focus on what went right in the Jan. 15 incident. More...

After four months of investigations, public appearances and outright hero worship, the first member of the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 is heading back to work on Monday, almost four months after the Airbus A320 ditched in the Hudson River. First Officer Jeff Skiles told The Associated Press the hiatus is the longest he's spent away from the controls since he was 17 and he's anxious to get back in the cockpit, even though his airline offered him the whole summer off. "I'm the first person to go back. It's not really any psychological reason, at least in my case, it's all these media events have constantly taken up my time -- three, four, five days a week," Skiles said as he prepared to throw the first pitch in the Milwaukee Brewers' home opener near his hometown of Oregon, Wis. "I do miss it and I'm going to enjoy going back." More...

JA Air Center, Your Source for the New Garmin GPSMap 696
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News Briefsback to top 

A Canadian research organization says wood could be incorporated into next-generation aircraft designs, but don't expect to see two-by-fours in the bulkheads. In his technology blog , Seattle Times writer Brier Dudley reports that a technology forum recently heard from FP Innovations President Jim Dangerfield, who said the firm has applied nanotechnology to cellulose and can extract nanomaterials that, in combination with other materials, could find their way into aircraft. The properties of the materials would depend on the source material, of which there is plenty of variety. More...

For decades, the altitude where atmosphere ends and space begins has been pegged at a largely theoretical 100 km., known as the Karman Line. Theodore von Karman picked that value as the point where any aircraft would have to be flying faster than orbital velocity to stay aloft, and it's become the generally accepted line. Well, a team of scientists from the University of Calgary say the theory isn't far from precise reality. The so-called edge of space is actually at 118 km. More...

AOPA Aircraft Financing
Larry Jones of Bay City, Texas has used AOPA Aircraft Financing four times to purchase everything from a Cessna 152 to a Beechcraft Baron. "I do flight instruction and rentals, and when someone comes to me interested in purchasing a plane, I tell them to go through AOPA," Jones said. "The staff makes it really easy to go through the process, and they explain the paperwork and what it's for and how to do it. It's just so easy." Click here to learn more.
Reader Mailbagback to top 

AVMAIL: APRIL 13, 2009

Letter of the Week: Bird Problem

I am a long-time pilot and co-own a Bellanca Viking. This aircraft, with my partner at the controls, encountered a large bird shortly after departing Montgomery County Airport (GAI) April 5. We are all very fortunate that Jean Yves maintained his composure and managed to bring the aircraft back safely, a very impressive feat, considering the circumstances!

We all are, of course, very aware of the consequences of bird encounters, especially since Capt. Sullenberger's experience. Now the FAA is telling us that birdstrikes are indeed happening more often these days. It's not our imagination!

Now that this has been brought so close to home, the confidence that my family and friends had when flying with me has been badly shaken. I have to admit that it has shaken me as well.

Is there more that we can learn about the migration of these large birds, and is it at all predictable? Also, perhaps it's time to try to convince our government that something has to be done to trim the ever swelling goose population. The TSA is charged with regulating aviation security and does this with ever-broadening strokes. Nobody seems to get that these birds pose as big a threat as a terrorist might. After all, they managed to bring down an Airbus in the middle of a huge city.

Steve Tobias

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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

The air show season "officially" starts on April 21 as Sun 'n Fun kicks off in Lakeland, Fla. for five days of showcasing the best in general aviation. If you're a company with something new to introduce at the show, we'd like to hear from you. We'll gladly accept your news releases in advance, on an embargoed basis, so we can give them the full attention they deserve. Simply send them to, specifying any embargoes, and we'll take it from there. See you at the show! More...

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 What have you heard? More...

Aircraft Financing Available
Purchasing an aircraft but wondering about available financing? AirFleet Capital is dedicated exclusively to aircraft and has flexible financing programs available to meet your needs for new and used aircraft. From Light Sport to Light Jet, please call (800) 390-4324 or visit us online for a quote today!
Bendix/King-Honeywell AV8OR Raffleback to top 


All you have to do is click the image at right to enter your name and e-mail address. And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, but Bendix may send you information on the AV8OR. You may also forward this newsletter to friends and invite them to sign-up for AVweb's Sun 'n Fun coverage and qualify for the AV8OR prizes also. (We won't spam them, either, but we will send them our e-mail news Flashes.)

Deadline for entries is midnight, Monday, April 27, 2009.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

(There's nothing to buy. All you need to do is be registered with AVweb.)


Video Marketplace Spotlight

Bendix/King AV8OR Demo
When Bendix/King rolled out its AV8OR portable GPS last summer, the $749 retail price — about $675 discounted — caught GPS buyers by surprise. So did the AV8OR's feature set, which includes a touchscreen interface and automotive navigation as built-in standard capability. In this video, AVweb's editors took the AV8OR out for a spin to wring out its major features.

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

TWX670 Color Lightning — A Whole New Way to Look at Weather!
Avidyne's TWX670 is the first highly-accurate and reliable spherics system available for certain composite airframes, including Entegra- and G1000-equipped Cessna/Columbia 350 and 400, on which the TWX670 is now certified. Advanced digital signal processing and greater noise immunity allow the TWX670 to more accurately detect and display weather based on lightning and electrical activity. The TWX670 provides a perfect complement to Avidyne's MLB700 or MLX770 Datalink Weather systems for tactical and strategic weather along your route of flight. Click here for more information.
New on AVwebback to top 

BrainteasersAll pilots experience the jitters when the Designated Pilot Examiner(DPE) slithers into the aircraft and hisses, "Let's see what you know." So let's quell all fears and see what you know about Practical Tests Standards.

Take the quiz.

Was the stolen Cessna 172 story just media sensationalism? Maybe so, admits AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli — but readers still wanted to read about it, and that's why we ran it. Read more in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

Front and center at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center is the Enola Gay, the legendary B-29 that flew into history in August, 1945. The pilot's seat looks as it did in 1945, except for one important detail. Paul Bertorelli has the story in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

Online Aircraft-Specific Ground Schools
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, through its Office of Professional Education, now offers a series of aircraft-specific ground schools: Boeing 737 Classic — NG, 747, 757, 767 and 777; as well as Airbus 319, 320, 330 and 340; and the Bombardier CRJ 200. For a complete list, visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's web site at
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

In sheer physical size, the B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, was the largest restoration project ever undertaken by the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. In this long-form podcast, NASM's Anne McCombs and Bob McLean explain what it took to get the airplane into the same shape it was when it completed its historic mission. More...

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Elmira/Corning Regional Airport (KELM) in Horseheads, New York.

AVweb reader Sandra Fox recounted her stellar experience at Atlantic:

My commercial instructor and I flew to KELM for my day dual cross-country (and lunch). ... On arrival, there was someone there to marshall us to parking and someone else to chock the wheels. They immediately asked if we needed gas and were on the way to the truck before we were inside the FBO. While registering the plane I mentioned we had been told the terminal had a small restaurant. The lady behind the desk pulled out the keys to the courtesy van, gave us directions to the terminal and told us how to get the parking ticket validated. When we got back I asked where I could look up the weather. She didn't just direct me down the hall, but escorted me to the room. Everyone at the FBO was friendly and accomodating. They were proactive in asking if I needed anything rather than waiting for me to ask first. I've already recommended KELM as a standard cross-country destination for the flight school.

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!


Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
Since 1995, AVweb has been the most comprehensive no-cost aviation site online. Advertisers reach over 255,000 pilots, aircraft owners, and aviation professionals via a unique and effective combination of newsletter text messages and web site banner ads. Links send readers directly to advertisers' web sites for instant information. Click now for details on AVweb's cost-effective programs.
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

One day, while going into Detroit, Michigan, I had this exchange with a controller. They had an intersection MIZAR for many vears and added RAZIM.

"I know where MIZAR came from. What's the origin of RAZIM?"

"That's MIZAR spelled backwards."

"If I were lexdysic, I'd have known that."


Me (to the first officer, not over the radio) :
"He didn't get it."

"Contact the tower. Have a nice yad."

David Gwinn
via e-mail


We Live in a Fast-Paced World; Use Your Travel Time Wisely
Subscribe to Pilot's Audio Update and you'll receive monthly CDs packed with up-to-the-minute information on topics ranging from "Understanding GPS and WAAS" to the lowdown on "Light Sport Aircraft." Put your in-flight "down time" to work for you. Subscribe now to receive the Acing the Flight Review CD as a gift with your order.
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.