AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 19b

May 14, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Has Zulu Changed Your Mind?
If so, we'd sure like to hear your story. Just go to the Zulu Change Your Mind web site and fill us in between now and the end of May, and we may post it on our web site. Plus — We'll give you another possible way to share your Zulu experience: All stories will be entered in a drawing for a free headset. Win, and you could make a passenger very happy. For the details, go to ZuluChangeYourMind.com.
Top News: AOPA Has Its Eye on the Fine Print, D.C. ... back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

AOPA Raises Red Flag On User Fees

Information about the Obama administration's FAA budget proposal that was released on Tuesday "makes it clear that the White House ... seems determined to radically reduce general fund support for aviation in America," AOPA said this week. Starting in 2011, the proposal envisions $9.6 billion coming from user fees, an increase of more than $2 billion from the initial estimate just two months ago. That figure rises to $11 billion by 2014. "We had hoped that the whole user-fee debate was behind us after both the House of Representatives and the Senate opted for a tax-based system during the last session of Congress," said Craig Fuller, AOPA president. "The new budget details open the debate about departing from the efficient and time-tested system of using fuel and ticket taxes along with support from the general taxpayer monies to fund FAA."

Changes would commence in 2011, when general-fund contributions would cover just 10 percent of the FAA's budget, down from 25 percent in 2010. Although no details are available about where user fees would come from, AOPA says the administration has said the funding system needs to be more equitable, which in the past has meant asking for more from general aviation. "It is clear that we have a lot of work to do," said Fuller. He said he believes the new Administration doesn't realize the consequences of the policy shifts they are proposing. "Our job is to help the administration understand the importance of a strong general aviation community and the advantages of a tax-based system over a user fee-based system," he said.

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Investigating the Buffalo Crash back to top 

NTSB Looks For Lessons In Colgan Dash-8 Crash

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The crew of the Colgan Air Dash-8 that crashed in Buffalo, N.Y., in February violated the FAA's sterile-cockpit rule, which mandates no extraneous conversation while flying below 10,000 feet, according to evidence released this week during an NTSB hearing in Washington, D.C. In the final moments of the flight, the captain and first officer were talking about their prior experience with icing, as the airplane slowed and approached a stall. When asked by a board member if the crew could have recovered safely, Colgan's head of pilot training Paul Pryor replied simply: "Yes." Wally Warner, of Bombardier, also told the panel that the crew had not reacted properly. "Obviously the initial reaction to the stall warning was incorrect. That set the course of action for what followed," he said. The safety board convened the three-day hearing to examine the evidence that has so far been collected in its investigation of the crash, in which all 49 on board and one person on the ground were killed. No conclusions were drawn about the cause of the accident, since it is only three months into what is probably a yearlong effort, but the evidence that has been collected so far was shared and testimony was heard from experts and witnesses.

The board released a video animation of the last two minutes of the flight, as well as the transcript from the cockpit voice recorder. Also posted online is video of each day of the hearing as well as a long list of documents, including transcripts of interviews with check airmen from the airline, and checklists and operational data about the airplane. The hearing will conclude on Thursday.

New ASF Safety Quiz — Test Your Air Safety Skills Now!
In aviation, you've got a split second to make the right decision. Put your safety skills to the test and take the Air Safety Foundation's online safety quiz. New quizzes are posted every other week — on topics from icing and stall/spin awareness to emergency procedures and more. Quizzes only take minutes to complete — minutes that could save your life. Take the ASF Air Safety Quiz now.
New — But That's About All They Have in Common back to top 

Gweduck Amphib Makes First Flight

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The Gweduck experimental amphibian, pronounced "gooey-duck," made its first flight last weekend, launching from Lake Washington in Renton, Wash. The twin-engine airplane was designed by Ben Ellison, owner of Ellison Throttle Body Injectors. He started the project in the early 1990s as an attempt to build a modern version of the popular Widgeon, using composite materials to avoid corrosion issues. "Over time the project developed into a ground-up redesign ... a completely new aircraft that combines the knowledge and experience of 1940s and '50s flying-boat designs with modern composite construction, and the latest in aerodynamic and hydrodynamic technologies," according to the project Web site.

The Gweduck has generated a lot of interest, according to EAA, and its builders plan to fly it to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this summer to see if there is enough interest to develop a kit program and sell copies of the airplane. The airplane's name derives from the name of a large clam indigenous to the Pacific Northwest called the geoduck, which is pronounced "gooey duck," according to EAA. The six-seat aircraft cruises at about 135 knots.

Plans Moving Forward For Aerion Supersonic Jet

Times might be tough right now, but apparently there are still plenty of people who hope to see a supersonic business jet on the market in the near future. The Aerion order book has held steady at $4 billion -- about 50 jets at $80 million each -- Aerion Vice Chairman Brian Barents said at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition this week, and OEMs have remained committed to pressing ahead with discussions despite economic uncertainty. The company expects to develop a joint Aerion-OEM proof-of-concept design study, which would last nine months to a year. After that, the partners would jointly decide whether to move forward with full-scale development and production. "We are confident we will reach an agreement with an OEM," said Barents. "The challenges are many, but there is a desire on the part of all parties to make this happen." The discussions are complex, he said, involving many technical and business issues, but "they are moving in the right direction."

Both customers and OEMs are looking beyond the current economic turmoil, said Barents. "OEMs understand that they need to think five to ten years ahead and have new products in the pipeline. And a supersonic jet is the most exciting product you can think of." Aerion has said that a successful proof-of-concept phase would be followed by a five-year development program culminating in certification and entry into service. That would put the certification date at 2015, a year later than the company said in October. The company also said this week that a series of flight tests and wind tunnel tests are planned for this year, using a NASA F-15B test platform and the European Transonic Wind Tunnel.

Nonin Pulse Oximeter for Only $99 Now at Aeromedix!
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Able Flight Aims for Another Record back to top 

Able Flight Aims To Set S-LSA Coast-To-Coast Record

Early next month, pilots Matt Hansen and Jessica Scharle of Able Flight will attempt to set the initial speed record for a transcontinental flight of a light sport aircraft, with a plan to fly coast to coast in a single day. Their purpose is to demonstrate that an LSA is a viable mode of transportation for long-distance flying. Hansen, 23, is a flight instructor who has been active in training people with disabilities to fly, and Scharle, 24, is an Able Flight scholarship recipient who earned her sport pilot certificate last year. She was born with a rare condition that nearly fused every joint in her body into immobility, but after numerous surgeries and years of physical therapy she has become completely self-sufficient. Their Peregrine FA-04 is a factory-built S-LSA that carries 30 gallons of fuel. With an average groundspeed of 110 knots, they plan to make three refueling stops along their 1,814-nm route from Jacksonville, Fla., to San Diego. They will complete the flight in the 17 hours available between sunrise and sunset and stay below 10,000 feet msl.

According to the team, the National Aeronautical Association does not yet have a category that "allows for the restrictions and limitations for LSA," so they will apply to the Guinness World Records for an official record.

Entegra Release 9 the Very Best Flight Deck System in Aviation
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News Briefs back to top 

Students Stranded When Florida Flight School Closes

Students at Jet University, a flight school at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, showed up on Friday to find the place closed, according to local news reports. Many of the students had signed up for ab initio programs that they hoped would take them through all the ratings to qualify for the right seat in a regional jet, at costs of up to $70,000. Some students from the school started a Web site several months ago, where they posted complaints that airline jobs were not materializing, and aired their suspicions that the school was suffering from financial problems. The school was founded in 2006, and as recently as last month was still recruiting students, with a two-day open house at the school. The local CBS4 reporter said the business owner, Heath Cohen, said his business partner decided to shut the program down, but the partner denied that and said he wants a full investigation.

The school's Web site has been taken down, with only a notice that news will be announced soon. An archival copy of the Web site promotes an "exclusive Fast Track CRJ Training Program ... your fastest route to a guaranteed Part-121 CRJ first officer interview and permanent employment as a regional jet first officer." The program takes just three months and can be entirely financed through "exclusive education loans," according to the Web site.

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News Briefs back to top 

Oprah: "It's Great To Have A Private Jet"

We can practically hear the cheering in Wichita from here -- Oprah Winfrey said in a speech to the graduating class at Duke University on Sunday that "it's great to have a private jet." With CEOs across the country shamefaced about corporate excess, and aviation workers paying the price in thousands of lost jobs, could Oprah single-handedly make it OK again to fly? "Anyone that tells you that having your own private jet isn't great is lying to you," she told the grads. "That jet thing is really good." Whether her enthusiasm will turn the tide and make private jets fun again is still an open question -- it could make things even worse.

While The Wall Street Journal's "Wealth Report" blog found it encouraging --"Perhaps [the private-jet industry] should forget all the boring arguments about jobs and productivity and efficiency and run a picture of Oprah..." -- others were less impressed. According to Perez Hilton's blog, the message was not a positive one: "Lesson to learn, graduates: It's good to be Oprah and sucks to be everyone else!" The New York Times noted this week that private jets have lost that "feel-good factor." "In the midst of global economic crisis, "indulgence in what has been consistently branded as the ultimate luxury, feels excessive," writes Aline Sullivan. Oprah flies a Global Express XRS built by Bombardier, which goes for about $42 million.

On the Fly ...

Air traffic controllers picketed in Memphis this week to protest a plan to split tower controllers and the radar staff...

Walter Boyne, former director of the National Air & Space Museum, will give a talk about the future of aviation on May 14 for the Mid-Atlantic Pilots Association in Little Falls, N.J.; all are invited to attend...

Girls With Wings, based in Minneapolis, needs more women who are pilots or aviation enthusiasts to volunteer. A training session is set for May 26; more info at their Web site...

James Chadwick, inventor of the Chadwick Balance System popular with aviation mechanics, died at his home in California on May 2; he was 88 years old...

A final FAA Airworthiness Directive requires operators of Cessna 150s and 152s to prohibit spins or modify the rudder; another AD requires operators of Diamond DA-40 and -40F aircraft to inspect the nosegear and replace the leg if it's cracked.

Piper Meridian — Exhilarating
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New on AVweb back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sean Tucker's Fuel Exhaustion Adventure

Boy, that Sean Tucker sure screwed up when he ran out of fuel, didn't he? Um, yeah — and AVweb's Paul Bertorelli has a little confession to make on that front, too. Read all about it in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog — and if you're not in the club with Paul and Sean, be sure to take the lesson to heart.

Read more.

Question of the Week: Gassed Up and Ready to Go

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they had upgraded to 406 MHz ELTs.

The biggest single group of responses (accounting for 21% of participants) said I don't think I'll bother, while the second largest segment (19%) said I'll use something else, like SPOT.

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.)


Since our podcast with Sean Tucker about his fuel exhaustion incident, we've had a lot of response to Paul Bertorelli's blog on the topic. We thought we'd poll the AVweb community anonymously through "Question of the Week" to see just how widespread this phenomenon is.

Have you ever run out of gas?
(click to answer)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration
July 27 - August 2 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
This year is too BIG to miss. Literally. Witness the world's largest airliner — the Airbus A380; see the first world public debut of Virgin Galactic's WhiteKnightTwo; attend appearances by the U.S. Airways Flight 1549 cockpit crew; and enjoy performances by the Doobie Brothers on opening day and comedian Jeff Dunham Saturday night. Save time and money when you buy your tickets online now.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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.

Advanced Flight Instruction
Career CFIs Anthony Cirincione and Scott Felton reveal the techniques world-class instructors use to stand out among the best. Over 24 years, they have developed their skills and practice what they preach. Advanced Flight Instruction is organized by the various settings in which they teach, allowing you to refine your individual style to be the best possible. Available in book and eBook format for just $19.95. Click here for more information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Cessna Mustang Demo Flight — Is It Really as Easy to Fly as a Skyhawk?

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

Almost. In this post-Sun 'n Fun video, AVweb reports that the Mustang's control forces and basic systems are so close to those of a heavy single or light twin that any moderately experienced pilot should be able to check out in it without breaking a sweat. And at 340 knots for 1,100 miles, we could get used to it, thanks.

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Want to see more shots of the Transition in flight?
You can view the raw video footage here.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

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Economic Challenges Call for Proven Advertising Results — AVweb Delivers Results
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Century Aviation (KGWB, Auburn, IN)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Century Aviation at George W. Bush Airport (KGWB) in Auburn, Indiana.

AVweb reader Joe Kobiela recommended the FBO:

Lara (a CFI) and her husband Tony (an A&P) took over a rundown FBO and have worked hard to make this a great alternative to Fort Wayne. With a 5,000-foot ILS runway and competitive fuel prices, charts, headsets, and warm cookies, these two have put their future into aviation and have shown Hoosier hospitality to all who land.

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

Each week, we go through dozens (and sometimes hundreds) of reader-submitted photos and pick the very best to share with you on Thursday mornings. The top photos are featured on AVweb's home page, and one photo that stands above the others is awarded an AVweb baseball cap as our "Picture of the Week." Want to see your photo on AVweb.com? Click here to submit it to our weekly contest.


Once again, we had a fair-to-middling number of submissions for our weekly reader photo contest — but again, the quality of submissions made it tough to pick a winner. We'll remind you again that while the five photos here are great, you really should do yourself a favor and head over to our home page and check out the bonus pics in our slideshow (after you're done here, of course).

From the "old business" file:

We got quite a bit of mail about last week's photo of the "Wassercapi Memorial to Fallen Airmen." We weren't familiar with the monument, but (like many of you) we were immediately captivated by its design and stark surroundings. AVweb reader (and frequent "POTW" contributor) Gary Dikkers was the first to put us on the trail of more information, telling us that "Wassercapi" is a variant spelling and the mountain plateau to which it refers is more commonly spelled "Wasserkupe." Armed with Gary's info (and Wikipedia link), we were able to find quite a few German-language pages about the memorial, also known as the Fliegerdenkmal at Wasserkupe. For those who want to know more, here's the German Wikipedia page (and Google's English translation). And, courtesy of Gary again, a photo of the memorial's dedication in 1923.

medium | large

copyright © Trey Carroll
Used with permission

"Check Six, Dad!"

Yes, it's impressive at this size — but you really need to click through and see this shot from Trey Carroll of Knightstown, Indiana in all its un-cropped glory. What's that word we like to use for photos like these? Oh, yeah: "Breathtaking."

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copyright © Don Parsons
Used with permission

A Little Help Washing the Plane

Don Parsons of St. Peters, Missouri had "a sunny Saturday at hand [and] enlisted the help of two young co-pilots to give the Fairchild her spring bath." According to Don, "Lindsay was the tail, and Skyler helped me do the top of the wings."

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copyright © Neil Petik
Used with permission of Lyle Petik

Mustang Rides Before the Show

Lyle Petik of of Wichita, Kansas submitted this on behalf of Neil Petik, who snapped it on "the evening before an air show at Wahpeton, North Dakota."

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Used with permission of Thomas Auerbach

Starduster Too — Too

Thomas Auerbach of Ponca City, Oklahoma knows how to tickle our funnybone. "This Starduster Too SA300 duo was photographed at Independence, Kansas ... [and] is registered to Jim Maritt," he writes. "I am not too sure about one of the 'kills' depicted on the fuselage — look closely."

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Used with permission of Mike Bloore

Michelob Mustang

We see Mike Bloore of Sparta, Georgia has been putting his free time to good use — 50 hours of it, according to his comments, invested in aluminum cans, epoxy, and contact cement.

(We're not sure if Mike used any of their templates, but if you're determined to try this at home and don't know where to start — be sure to visit our friends at B.C. Air.)

You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't miss 'em!

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

A quick note for submitters: If you've got several photos that you feel are "POTW" material, your best bet is to submit them one-a-week! That gives your photos a greater chance of seeing print on AVweb, and it makes the selection process a little easier on us, too. ;)

A Reminder About Copyrights:
Please take a moment to consider the source of your image before submitting to our "Picture of the Week" contest. If you did not take the photo yourself, ask yourself if you are indeed authorized to release publication rights to AVweb. If you're uncertain, consult the POTW Rules or or send us an 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
Mariano Rosales

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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