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Volume 15, Number 20b
May 21, 2009
Aircraft Spruce Canada: Grand Opening Fly-In on June 6, 2009
Aircraft Spruce Canada will be hosting their official Grand Opening on Saturday, June 6th from 8 am to 5 pm at 150 Aviation Avenue on Brantford Municipal Airport. Come and join the Aircraft Spruce Team and vendors for lunch, special pricing, vendor demonstrations, educational seminars, and lots of opportunities to win raffle prizes from some of your favorite vendors. Don't miss the ribbon-cutting ceremony with Jim Irwin and special guests. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit
Top News: TSA Draws Fireback to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Five groups representing the general aviation community this week asked the Transportation Security Administration to withdraw the onerous security directive that requires GA pilots to apply for identification badges from any airport they use, which takes effect on June 1. "We would like to see TSA ... [instead] initiate the required rulemaking process to implement a change of this scope," reads the letter, which is addressed to Janet Napolitano, who heads the Department of Homeland Security. The TSA directive requires airport operators to ensure that anyone in the airport operating area is escorted or has an airport-issued identification card, and all applicants for those cards must undergo a Security Threat Assessment by the TSA. The impact on GA operators is substantial, since every airport requires its own ID, and escorts may not always be available. So far, the TSA has responded to complaints by saying each airport operator can develop an alternate means of compliance and submit it to TSA. "The resulting patchwork of 'alternate means' would likely create far more problems than it would solve," the letter says. The letter was signed by the leaders of AOPA, EAA, the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transportation Association and the National Association of State Aviation Officials. More...

Federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the Department for Homeland Security, have seized a Douglas AD-4N Skyraider that was imported to the U.S. from France last year, EAA said this week. "The feds have seized it," Claude Hendrickson, of Bessemer, Ala., confirmed to AVweb on Wednesday. "It's here in a hangar under lock and key and we are not allowed access to it." Hendrickson bought the airplane in France and flew it home last year. It was registered with the FAA last September and has been flying since then. DHS alleges that required forms were improperly filed, according to EAA. Hendrickson has created a Web site with details about the airplane, and asks that supporters contact their congressional representatives to plead for the preservation and return of the airplane. More...

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Watching Washingtonback to top 

Randy Babbitt, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the FAA, has passed one hurdle -- on Wednesday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee unanimously voted to send him along to the full Senate for confirmation. Senate confirmation is the final step before he can move into the post. NBAA applauded the move. "As a pilot, [Babbitt] has operational knowledge of our air transportation system," the organization said in a statement. "He also brings recognized expertise to our highly complex policy issues. As the nation's air transportation system faces many immediate challenges, all of us in the business aviation industry know that Randy will be able to hit the ground running at this critical point in the evolution of our system. We look forward to working with him to achieve our shared goal of leading the world in aviation." Babbitt, an ATP-rated pilot, has a background as a labor relations consultant, and was formerly president of the Air Line Pilots Association. More...

The FAA is not making good use of the benefits that could be provided by the Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), according to a report by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General that was released this week. "ASAP, as currently implemented, is a missed opportunity for FAA to enhance the national margin of safety," the OIG report says. The program allows airline employees to report safety violations to their employers and to the FAA without fear of reprisal. To realize the full benefits of ASAP, the FAA needs to clarify which incidents should be excluded from the program and emphasize to employees that ASAP is not an amnesty program, the OIG said. The agency also should develop a central database of ASAP reports and use it for trend analysis. "While ASAP is a potentially valuable safety tool, we found that FAA's ineffective implementation and inadequate guidance have allowed inconsistent use and potential abuse of the program," the report says. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Most passengers on an airliner never even look out the window, but about 300 people on a commercial flight bound for Japan are lucky that U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Bartek Bachleda, who works with the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, was paying attention. Shortly after takeoff from Chicago, Bachleda noticed what appeared to be a plume of fuel leaking from the left wing. He told a flight attendant about the apparent leak, but at first got an unconcerned response. Then he told her it was an emergency, and showed her the video he had shot from his seat. "She was completely serious and was no longer handing out drinks," he said. "I told her you need to inform your captain before we go oceanic." The captain came into the cabin to check out the leak and said the cockpit crew had been aware that fuel seemed to be burning too quickly. He diverted the flight to San Francisco, where most passengers were able to catch another flight to Japan. More...

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Safety & Regulationsback to top 

Last week, the FAA issued a final airworthiness directive affecting some 17,000 Cessna 150s and 152s in the U.S., despite widespread input from owners and advocacy groups who had opposed the directive when it was proposed back in 2007. The AD requires owners to either install a placard in the airplane to prohibit spins and other aerobatic maneuvers, or to replace some parts of the rudder, which would cost about $500. "AOPA opposes this AD," Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs, said this week. "We recommended [in 2007] that the FAA issue a special airworthiness information bulletin for a one-time inspection of the rudder area. This would allow the aircraft owner or a mechanic to check to make sure the rudder parts are installed correctly." The AD stems from two fatal accidents in the aircraft, in which pilots were practicing spins and were unable to recover. More...

Four senators have asked the Transportation Department Office of Inspector General to investigate safety enforcement at regional airlines, the Associated Press reported this week. Also, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the aviation subcommittee of the Commerce Committee, said he will hold a series of hearings, starting June 10, to investigate the issues. "The disclosures about crew rest, compensation, training, and many other issues demonstrate the urgent need for Congress and the FAA to take actions to make certain the same standards exist for both commuter airlines and the major carriers," Dorgan said. "The NTSB investigation has disclosed some very serious problems that need to be corrected immediately." The issue was also raised Tuesday during confirmation hearings for Randy Babbitt, President Barack Obama's nominee to head the FAA. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., met with Babbitt just before the hearing, and told the AP that Babbitt said he will look into the FAA's regulation of pilot work hours at regional airlines. "I told him it seems to me they underpay and overwork their pilots," Schumer said. "He said he would look at it all. He said he was passionate about pilot fatigue." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

New rules that require passenger manifests to be filed online by general aviation pilots crossing U.S. borders became effective on Monday, and this week both EAA and AOPA are offering aids for pilots who need to get up to speed. EAA has developed a "kneeboard fact sheet" to help with flight planning. The one-page PDF file can be downloaded free at the EAA Web site. AOPA's Air Safety Foundation has developed a new interactive course, Understanding eAPIS: A Pilot's Guide to Online Customs Reporting. The course provides a simple overview of the new electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). The course outlines how to sign up for and activate an eAPIS account, how to upload manifests and submit arrival and departure notices online, and runs through various flight scenarios. The course is free and available to anyone. More...

The U.S. Air Force said recently that it plans to build a 450-foot-long blimp within five years that will hover at 65,000 feet and stay aloft for a decade. The unmanned ship will serve as an aerial platform for surveillance gear that will allow the military to observe wide areas in fine detail. "That lets us better understand how an adversary operates, how to anticipate their actions, how to interpret their intent, and many other things that we need today, tomorrow and beyond," said chief scientist Werner J.A. Dahm, who is overseeing the project. The Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, the military's research arm, will start work this year on the Integrated Sensor Is the Structure, or ISIS, a scaled-down version of the blimp, designed to fly for a year. The group already has designed hull material that can withstand temperatures of 150 degrees below zero and retain 85 percent of its fiber strength for 22 years, the Air Force said. Lift will come from helium, and fuel cells recharged by the sun will provide power. More...

An Indonesian C-130 crashed Wednesday, 68 people died...
A C-172 and C-310 collided above the ocean off Long Beach, Calif., on Monday...
Chalkie Stobbart, of South Africa, broke a single-engine record set in 1939...
NATO minesweepers are searching off Malta for a Gladiator biplane shot down in 1940....
Flying low and slow, Indiana pilot Kris Maynard got 25.26 mpg in his Husky. More...

AOPA's Aviation Summit
Don't miss the AOPA Aviation Summit, the premier annual aviation exposition — a completely new take on AOPA's annual gathering. Come to Tampa on November 5-7, 2009 to experience everything general aviation has to offer: hundreds of exhibits, aircraft on display, expanded training opportunities, and great social events! This event has something for everyone: aviation enthusiasts, student pilots, private pilots, and professional pilots. If you have a passion for flight, you won't want to miss it! Visit for details.
New on AVwebback to top 

Security badges at your local airport may be here sooner than you expect. If it happens, we're curious what your reaction will be.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they'd ever faced the same situation as air show performer Sean Tucker: running out of fuel. Click through to read what they had to say on the subject. More...

There's nothing like a little barnstorming to revive the aviator's soul, and when it involves a vintage DC-3 we can't think of a better way to pass the time. Watch AVweb starting May 25 for daily video blogs from Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles as he goes low and slow with Dan Gryder in the fabulous 1938 Herpa Douglas DC-3 for an unscripted tour of America. We know we'll be in Huntsville, Ala. (3M5 - a 2,100-foot grass strip) on the evening of May 23 and at Gaston's White River Resort (3M0) in northern Arkansas for the weekend of May 30. All are invited. In between those dates, we could be anywhere — including your home airport! Join Russ, Dan, champion fiddler Jeff Pritchard, and the DC-3 crew as they rumble in and play bluegrass music at unsuspecting GA airports during the 2,500-nm journey. Watch for reports at, and for instructions on how you can follow along, chat with the DC-3 crew live in flight (courtesy of Verizon Wireless) and join the fun! More...

AVMAIL: MAY 21, 2009

Letter of the Week: Colgan Aftermath

Two pilots find themselves in icing conditions and they begin discussing "their prior experience with icing." How is that "extraneous conversation"? To me, that sounds quite relevant, "operationally pertinent," and far from extraneous. Sharing experience could have saved the day. Unfortunately, in this case, according to the NTSB findings, there was little to no experience to share, things happened very quickly, and, together, the two pilots did not have enough experience to handle the situation successfully.

Jim Oeffinger

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


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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

The TSA has seized Claude Hendrickson's 60-year-old airplane, and it's not saying why. AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles has been trying to figure out what the TSA is thinking, but he admits in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog that he's as stumped as anyone. More...

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 

Our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer, wants to hear about your experiences with aftermarket electronic tachometers. We'd like to know why you installed an electronic tach; which one you chose and why; how easy or complicated the installation and paperwork were; how well you like the product; and whether you'd do it again. We'd also like to know about any warranty work you may have had and if you're happy with the tach's internal lighting, if any. Please also tell us where you mounted the electronic tachometer and a rough idea of how much you spent, including installation. Please send a note to and let us know your experiences, including the nature of any problems. (The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.) 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...

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 Learnback to top 

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. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Greenwood Executive Air at KHFY (Greenwood Municipal Airport) in Greenwood, Indiana.

AVweb reader Bill Foraker recently gave the Greenwood team lemons and was delighted with the lemonade they served up:

I needed to recon the area for family reunion planning, so I flew in ... to scout the area for hotels, golf courses, shopping malls, and all the other things the family members require. I taxied onto the FBO ramp at 6:50 — they close at 7 — and went inside to meet the friendliest and most helpful guys ever! I needed 100LL, a car, and I wouldn't be back until after they closed — no problems. The line guy refueled the old Comanche right away, and I got the info inside, paid, got the car keys, got directions, got a layout of the local area, got the plan for returning the car, and even got much of the info I visited to get. In fact, I almost could have gone home simply after talking with the FBO guys! It was a great experience, and I'll go back to Greenwood in a minute.

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!


No Cute Cartoons, No Fancy Covers, IFR Magazine Brings You the Facts
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Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Sparky Barnes Sargent of Washington, Oklahoma kicks off this week's festivities and joins the select ranks of our two-time "POTW" winners. (Sparky took the top spot back in 2006 with a Sun 'n Fun photo that still makes us regret never making it out to the night-time air show.) More...

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
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.