October 6, 2003
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
This issue of AVweb's AVflash is brought to you by
That kinder, gentler FAA we've been telling you about is taking steps to keep you out of TFR trouble. Communications Director Greg Martin told AVweb the agency will soon (loose definitions suggested) launch a new Web-based information system designed to give pilots up-to-date, accurate information on airspace restrictions, including those following the president. "We are committed to getting information out better," said Martin. He said the looming presidential election campaign will make timely TFR information even more critical and the agency is responding, in part, as a reflection of its new attitude toward "customer" service. Martin said they're still working on the system and no date has been set for its launch but he promised it would deliver the information pilots need, including graphical depictions, at the click of a mouse. The FAA has already redesigned its Web site, eliminating the confusing list of administrative jargon that passed for an index before and replacing it with a more intuitive arrangement of stuff pilots need to know. Although computers have become like an extension of the airplane for many pilots in terms of flight planning and weather-information gathering, the FAA is also trying to accommodate less Web-savvy pilots by announcing TFRs on all-news radio stations in affected areas. Bottom line, as always, is check with your FSS before departure.
With any luck, the new system and the heightened awareness of TFRs during the campaign will help prevent incidents like the one near Milwaukee on Friday now counted among some 1,500 such incidents since Sept. 11, 2001. The Associated Press reported last week that military pilots now train up to four times a week to shoot down hijacked airliners. Fortunately, the pilot of a Cessna 210-5 that blundered unannounced into the three-hours-long, 30-nautical-mile TFR that veiled Milwaukee won the booby prize -- a practice session formation flying with a couple of F-16s. He was forced to land at Crites Field, near Waukesha, after reaching within 20 nautical miles of the TFR's bull's-eye. The plane was registered to Tony Vendramin, of Hobart, Ind., and his son Tony Jr. said his father was undoubtedly mortified by the trouble caused. "He voted for Bush." As embarrassed as the elder Vendramin might be, it might be of some comfort for him to know that he is part of a growing club of GA pilots who have invited military attention. NORAD spokeswoman Shelly Stellwagen told CNN that almost 5 percent of the security sorties flown by fighters involve a scramble or diversion. Since 9/11, there have been 1,500 such incidents against 32,000 sorties flown. And in this security-conscious world, it's not just the military that is on high alert. An Indiana pilot found his airplane surrounded by police when he landed at Allegheny County Airport near Pittsburgh last Wednesday. Seems he got his transponder codes mixed up and dialed in the hijack number instead of the combination for the radio trouble he was trying to report.
The litany of blunders by pilots in restricted airspace isn't making the job of alphabet-group lobbyists any easier as they try to lessen the impact of security-related restrictions on our behalf. They do, however, keep soldiering on in a quest to restore some sense of pre-9/11 normalcy. EAA announced it will be going to the "highest levels" of the Department of Homeland Security to press for abolition of the air defense identification zone that blankets Washington, D.C. EAA acknowledges it's an uphill battle against Secret Service and defense officials who have apparently grown quite fond of the airspace cushion around the Capitol and are unlikely to give it up without a fight.
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Over the last few months AVweb has reported on the strange disappearance of an African-based Boeing 727, reportedly modified to serve as an air tanker. While some subsequent reports speculated the jet had been found sporting a new paint job in Guinea, the actual location of the aircraft has never been determined. Joseph Padilla, the younger brother of the man assigned to arrange flight of the aircraft out of Angola, contacted AVweb to help clear his brothers name and hopefully gather clues to find him alive. Here is what we know: Ben Charles Padilla Jr., was sent by Miami-based Aerospace Sales and Leasing (which did not return calls last week) to repossess a Boeing 727 from Air Angola. Padilla spent two months in Angola overseeing the work needed to return the aircraft to airworthy condition. While he is a licensed pilot, mechanic and flight engineer, Padilla was tasked with hiring a pilot and co-pilot to fly the jet to South Africa only when it was determined to be in flyable condition. On May 25, Padilla was scheduled to perform a run-up of the 727s engines and systems and then return to the ramp. However, the aircraft departed the airport and has not been seen since.
Joseph Padilla, the missing pilots brother, told AVweb the trail of clues has gone somewhat cold. However, Padilla told AVweb the FBI investigated and interviewed a pilot who claimed to have overheard a conversation by an aircraft mechanic that detailed the location of the jet. The mechanic in Beirut, according to Padilla, said the aircraft was located inside a hangar and would be used for an aerial attack against the Israeli government. The federal government is still investigating. Padilla says the government hasnt told him much but his U.S. State Department contact assured him his brother was not viewed as a person who would intentionally steal the aircraft. Unfortunately, Padilla claims not all media outlets have followed that assumption, with some even suggesting that Ben Charles Padilla is behind the disappearance of the aircraft. Another disturbing fact for Joseph Padilla concerns the possible plots linked to this aircrafts disappearance.
Joseph Padilla hopes to find some additional clues to piece this disturbing mystery together. While his hopes are high, he understands the gravity of the situation. Right before the jet departed, his brother was seen boarding the aircraft with a Congolese mechanic. As the aircraft taxied to the runway, several witnesses reported seeing the jet performing "crazy ground maneuvers" as it approached the runway. Padilla fears his brother was fighting for control of the aircraft and possibly for his life as well. Mr. Padilla requests that anyone with information that could help solve this mystery contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or via phone at 850-944-9688.
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Diamond's DA40 is the platform for the first certified installation of Garmin's new integrated glass panel. The G1000 is said to incorporate more features and offer better situational awareness to pilots by getting rid of all the conventional panel-mounted instruments and rolling their functions into two 10-inch sunlight-readable displays. In addition to all the information you'd expect on the primary flight display and multifunction display screens, the DA40 installation includes digital audio, a WAAS-capable IFR GPS, VHF navigation with ILS and VHF communication through 16-watt transceivers and 8.33-kHz-channel spacing. The electronics bundle also has Mode S, solid-state attitude and heading, a digital air data computer and optional weather and terrain data. It's all hooked up to a Bendix/King KAP two-axis autopilot. All those goodies will add $25,000 to the cost of a dial-and-gauge IFR-equipped DA40. The tidy package enabled Diamond engineers to redesign the panel to optimize its form and function. The jet-style, laser-etched polycarbonate overlay adds the final high-tech touch, according to a Diamond news release. "The G1000 avionics system is revolutionizing the way aircraft are being designed and we are proud to be the first to offer this exciting equipment in an aircraft positioned to serve both the recreational and training markets," said John Gauch, Diamond's vice president of North American sales. The system will also be available on the DA42 TwinStar, which is now being flight-tested in Europe.
Even a legend can be brought down to earth by a crosswind. Just ask Chuck Yeager. The pilot synonymous with edge-of-the-envelope flying met his match while taxiing after landing at Heaven's Landing, an airport development near Clayton, Ga. The 80-year-old retired Air Force general apparently bumped his head when the aircraft went off the runway and into a ditch. His wife was also not seriously injured. Physical injuries notwithstanding, the crowd of onlookers awaiting Yeager's arrival could feel his pain. "He was embarrassed," said developer Mike Ciochetti Jr. "Other pilots were watching and they were humbled -- when something like this happens to the best." Yeager went to the aviation community to see a street named after him. Other World War II aces will also be honored with addressed there.
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A couple of New Jersey assemblymen believe they can reduce noise at airports by limiting runway length. AOPA claims that legislation proposed by Democrats Herb Conaway and Jack Conners will stifle airport development and compromise safety without necessarily cutting noise. If passed, their bill would prohibit an airport from widening or lengthening a runway that is within 3,500 feet of a school, 1,000 feet of a house or if there are more than 7,000 homes within two miles of the runway. In a letter to the legislators, AOPA Vice President Andy Cebula says banning runway improvements won't necessarily cut noise. Cebula explained to the assemblymen that the longer a runway is, the more opportunity pilots have to gain significant altitude before crossing the airport boundary. He also said that lengthening a runway doesn't necessarily bring larger airplanes or more traffic to an airport. Cebula told the politicians that there are much more effective ways to reduce noise complaints around airports, chief among them not allowing incompatible (read: residential and school) development near airports. "No legislation should be enacted that would prohibit an airport from making necessary safety improvements or enhancements," he said.
Mary S. Feik and Ann Wood-Kelly are this year's recipients of the National Aeronautic Association's Marjorie Stinson Award for Achievement. The award is handed out annually to women who have made an "enduring contribution, a meritorious flight, or a singular technical development" in aviation-related endeavors. Bud Orr, chairman of the Stinson Award selection committee, said both recipients fill the bill admirably. "These ladies helped blaze the trail for others to follow," he said. Long before the term "non-traditional occupation" was coined, Feik and Wood-Kelly were hard at work in the man's world of aviation. Feik learned mechanics from her father and was rebuilding car engines at age 13. By the time she was 18 she was teaching aviation mechanics in the Army Air Corps. She became the Air Force's first female research engineer, designed and built a P-51-based simulator and flew 5,000 hours as a pilot, flight engineer and engineering observer. In civilian life, she stayed active in aviation as a teacher and aircraft restorer, and she still flies and maintains a Piper Pacer and Comanche. Wood-Kelly delivered 900 aircraft as a ferry pilot during WWII. After the war she went to work first for Northeast Airlines as public relations director and then to Pan Am as a senior executive. She ended her career with Air New England. She's an National Aeronautic Association board member and still flies a Piper Arrow.
TAKE "SEARCH" OUT OF "SEARCH & RESCUE" WITH A 406 MHz PLB FROM AEROMEDIX A 406 MHz Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) should be an essential part of your safety gear. PLBs greatly reduce the time it takes rescuers to reach an individual in distress, and provides the very best chance of being rescued in an emergency. A GPS-enabled PLB transmits precise coordinates to within 100 meters, and reduces SAR notification time to as little as five minutes! Aeromedix.com has great deals for AVflash readers on PLBs, including the ACR GyPSI unit with GPS interface ($599) and the Pains-Wessex Fastfind Plus with built-in GPS ($895). Call 1-888-362-7123 and mention this AVflash, or go online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/aeromedi
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University could be left holding the bag for expenses resulting from the air show it sponsors in Florida in November. The university had hoped Volusia County would chip in a total of $101,000 worth of beach patrol, law enforcement and cleanup services needed to stage Wings and Waves but came away with only $14,000 that is expected to be raised from the county's beach toll during the event Nov. 8 and 9. More than 200,000 people attended last year's show and the county contributed the beach fees plus $30,500. The Thunderbirds and various aerobatic performers have been scheduled to perform.
Belvoir Publications, Inc., announced this weekend the acquisition of KITPLANES Magazine from PRIMEDIA. Continuously published for over twenty years, KITPLANES is the leading independent provider of information for the homebuilt community, and joins other Belvoir aviation periodicals Aviation Consumer, Aviation Safety, IFR, Light Plane Maintenance, IFR Refresher, and Used Aircraft Guide. Belvoir also publishes AVflash and AVweb, the industry's leading general aviation electronic news service. "Kitplanes brings important synergies to Belvoir's aviation publishing operations," according to Timothy Cole, Belvoir's executive vice president and AVweb publisher. "The magazine is a terrific fit, allowing us to leverage our long-standing position in aviation to offer greater value for both KITPLANES readers and advertisers." For more than 25 years Belvoir has been meeting the information needs of active enthusiasts in a wide range of interest areas -- from health to marine to pet and equine. The company currently publishes more than thirty periodicals serving over 2 million subscribers. Cindy Pedersen is the publisher of KITPLANES and will remain in that position. Dave Martin, the current editor, will be stepping down at the end of 2003 in a long-planned retirement. Brian Clark, the current managing editor, will assume editor-in-chief responsibilities as of the January, 2004 issue.
REGISTER NOW FOR THE 2004 GREAT LAKES INTERNATIONAL AVIATION CONFERENCE Phil Boyer and Lane Wallace are among the many prominent speakers slated to address the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference, February 6 to 8 in Lansing, Michigan. In addition, there will be over 150 breakout sessions for pilots, mechanics, FBOs and aviation enthusiasts. IA renewal and FAA Wings program are available for those who qualify. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and technologies. For more information call 248 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac
Ann Devers has taken over as director of advertising sales for AVweb. In addition, Arturo Weiss will be assisting on the advertising side...
Airworthiness Directives are coming on Cessna 400-series aircraft regarding cracks in wing spars requiring inspection and modification. Also, an AD requiring modifications to airspeed indicators and placarding for flight speed reduction and aerobatic maneuver restrictions on Grob 103 sailplanes is also being proposed...
A promising race-car driver died in a plane crash in California. Paul Mumford was the pilot of a Piper Cherokee that crashed three miles from the Chino Airport, killing him and passenger Chris Premer. Mumford won his second-ever Sports Car Club of America Race in September. The pilot reported a fire on board the aircraft before it crashed...
The Copperstate Regional EAA Fly-In runs Oct. 9-12 at Phoenix Regional Airport (A39). Organizers are expecting more than the 8,000 people and 650 aircraft that attended last year's event, the first time it was held at A39. Seminars, air shows and all the usual fly-in stuff are on the agenda...
Legendary designer Walter Extra will be at the controls when the Extra EA-500 lands for the first time in North America after a trans-Atlantic flight to the National Business Aircraft Association convention in Orlando...
A high-flying teddy bear that's part of a geography project for school kids has been grounded by security concerns. "Ted" was supposed to ride along with cockpit crews of domestic and international airlines who would send postcards back to the kids "from Ted." The project stalled at the kids' home airport in Mason City, Iowa, when Mesaba Airlines refused to give Ted a ride, citing security regulations...
A name change could be coming for Atlanta's mega-airport. Hartsfield could become Jackson if Mayor Shirley Franklin can get the support she needs. The airport is currently named after Atlanta's longest-serving mayor, William Hartsfield, but Franklin wants to honor former Mayor Maynard Jackson, who died June 23.
Congratulations and an AVweb hat go out to Bill Underwood, this week's AVscoop winner. Submit news tips via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rules and information are at http://www.avweb.com/contact/newstips.html.
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The Pilot's Lounge #66: What Is That Thing Inside The Cowling?
When you learned how to preflight an aircraft, you probably learned to check certain items for wear or breakage, but were you ever shown examples of what things looked like when they were worn too much? Or do you just guess? AVweb's Rick Durden found a class for pilots to learn enough so they don't have to guess.
Survival Tech Aviation Survival Kit
Like a seatbelt or an ELT, you hope you never need to use a survival kit, but in an emergency you'll be glad you've got one. Doug Ritter reviews a recent entrant to the survival kit market.
I was taking my brother for his first flight in a GA airplane. He was somewhat nervous and a little overwhelmed by what we go through to launch a flight. I picked up the local ATIS on my handheld before engine start and, after we got in the plane and were ready to call for taxi clearance, I briefed him on the kind of radio transmissions he would hear as we taxied out and took off. That education behind us, I called for taxi clearance:
Me: Skylane 12345, West hangers, with MIKE, taxi.
Before I could get a word in edge-wise, my brother, Mike, (with awe in his voice...) said, You have to even tell them who is with you?
It took several minutes for me to regain composure and get on with the flight.
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PILOT GETAWAYS FALL SNEAK PREVIEW Don't search for Pilot Getaways' highlighted Fall runways on any aeronautical chart...you won't find them. Pilot Getaways' Fall issue leads you directly to an aviation-friendly haven among the wheat fields of Colorado. A welcoming Inn offers carriage rides, pheasant hunting, golf, and wonderful meals with cozy accommodations. Run away to this and other great nationwide destinations with a Pilot Getaways subscription. Order online at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/getaways
FLYING MAGAZINE'S NOVEMBER ISSUE TAKES A PHOTO LOOK OF THE OSHKOSH SHOW And reports on: Gulfstream's G200 super-midsize business jet; a cockpit redesign for the King Air 350 and 200 models; and Embry-Riddle's new training program for regional airline pilots; plus all the Flying news, notes and opinions that makes Flying #1. Order your subscription at http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/flying
COME BY AND SAY "HELLO" TO AVWEB AT THE NBAA SHOW, ORLANDO, OCTOBER 7-9 AVweb personnel will be at Booth #935 during the NBAA Convention and Trade Show, Orlando Convention Center. And don't forget to tell friends and colleagues about no-cost AVweb/AVflash subscription. They can sign up online at http://www.avweb.com/profile_____________________________________
AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
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Let's all be careful out there, okay?
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