AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 22b

June 4, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Terrafugia Road Flight Testing back to top 
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Terrafugia Completes First Round Of Flight Tests

There's never any shortage of "flying-car" projects, but the folks at Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Mass., seem to have captured widespread interest with their folding-wing design. On Wednesday, the company announced that its proof-of-concept vehicle has successfully completed its flight-test program. Test pilot Phil Meteer flew the aircraft 28 times over several weeks, and evaluated handling, performance, takeoff, landing, stability, stalls and safety. Work is now under way to design the second vehicle, which will incorporate modifications based on what was learned in the first round of flight testing. The company is taking refundable deposits for copies of the aircraft, with first delivery expected in 2011. The Terrafugia Transition is designed for the light sport aircraft category. It will drive at highway speeds on the road, and fit in a standard household garage, the company says.

Aircraft Spruce Canada: Grand Opening Fly-In
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 AircraftSpruce.com.
Aviation Safety: For the Birds? You Bet! back to top 

New Research Center To Focus On Wildlife Hazards To Aircraft

A new research center that will be based in Prescott, Ariz., will serve as the nation's primary facility for learning about bird strikes and other wildlife conflicts that affect aviation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University announced this week. The center will bring together aviation wildlife experts to share their research, develop new management solutions to reduce hazards, and serve as a resource to airports around the world. "The US Airways landing in the Hudson River [in January] was the wake-up call that we needed to accelerate our plan to create this center, which was several years in the making," said Archie Dickey, a professor of aviation environmental science at ERAU, who will serve as the project's director. The center staff will also develop training programs for pilots and airport workers to help them prevent aircraft collisions with birds and wildlife.

Past research efforts have proven helpful in developing bird-detecting radar for use near airports and determining the best height to mow grass to deter birds. Professor Dickey is a leader in wildlife mitigation efforts. He created the FAA's Web-based wildlife strike database in 1999 and continues to manage it. The FAA site is a compilation of data voluntarily reported by airport officials.

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Safety & Investigations back to top 

What Brought Down Air France Airbus?

Now that the crash site has been located in mid-Atlantic Ocean, the long hard effort to find out what happened to Air France Flight 447 is under way. Flight crews are surveying the site for debris, and on Wednesday, the Brazilian Navy arrived on the scene. A French ship is en route with a remotely operated submersible aboard. The submersible will first help in the hunt for the pinging sound emitted by the airplane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders. If the recorders are located, the submersible may be able to retrieve them from as deep as 20,000 feet. Meanwhile, officials have reported that a bomb threat was received by Air France late last month, targeting the Rio de Janeiro-to-Paris route. However, a Brazilian official said the 12-mile-long fuel slick that has been seen on the surface probably would not occur if there had been a fire or explosion. Speculation so far has focused on weather phenomena, including various kinds of icing and turbulence, and possible issues with the Airbus A330's electronic control systems.

Late Wednesday, the NTSB said it will accept an invitation from French aviation accident investigation authorities to assist in the investigation. Along with an NTSB representative, technical advisors from the FAA, General Electric and Honeywell will assist. Air France said the captain on the flight was 58 years old with 11,000 hours, and the two co-pilots were in their 30s. As the investigation continues, aviators who find the mainstream media unsatisfactory can find more expert updates online. Aviation weather forecaster Tim Vasquez is offering meteorological analysis of the accident at his Web site. Click here for a map of the airplane's route. Ex-CNN aviation reporter Miles O'Brien features updates and analysis at his blog. The Professional Pilots Rumor Network online forum offers input and opinion from an aviators' viewpoint. And of course AVweb always keeps you informed.

NTSB Investigating Near-Collision On North Carolina Runway

The NTSB said on Tuesday it is investigating a runway incursion that occurred last Friday morning at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) involving a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop and a CRJ-200 regional jet. At about 10:17 a.m. on May 29, a PSA Airlines CRJ-200 operated as US Airways Express Flight 2390 was cleared for takeoff on Runway 18L. After the jet was into its takeoff roll, the PC-12 was cleared to taxi into position and hold farther down the same runway, the NTSB said, in preparation for a departure roll that was to begin at the taxiway A intersection. The ground-based collision warning system (ASDE-X) alerted controllers to the runway incursion, and the takeoff clearance for the CRJ-200 was cancelled.

The pilot of the PC-12, seeing the regional jet coming down the runway on a collision course, taxied to the side of the runway. The FAA reported that the regional jet stopped approximately 10 feet from the PC-12. The CRJ was bound for New Bern, N.C. Three people were on board the PC-12 and 42 passengers and crew were aboard the CRJ; no injuries were reported.

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News Briefs back to top 

Flying Magazine Sold

Flying, the oldest continuously publishing aviation magazine in the U.S., has been sold to the U.S. division of Swedish-based Bonnier Group. Flying was part of a five-title deal made by former owner Hachette Filipacchi Media Group, a division of French-based Lagardere. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and there is also no word on which of the existing staff members will continue with the publication, although it would appear there will be a shift in emphasis to online content. "These five titles from Hachette fit very well within our growth strategy of adding brands that serve markets with multimedia opportunities," said CEO Terry Snow.

The other magazines in the deal are Popular Photography, Boating, Sound and Vision and American Photo. Bonnier says it has similar multimedia plans for these titles. Flying began publishing just after Charles Lindbergh's Atlantic flight.

Pilot Reports UFO Over Texas

A pilot with Continental Express reported that an object resembling a missile or rocket flew straight at his Embraer 145 regional jet and passed within 100 feet of it, shortly after takeoff from Houston, Texas, around 8 p.m. last Friday. The pilot told controllers that a "strange object" flew past as he was climbing through 11,000 feet, and it wasn't visible on radar. The pilot didn't take evasive action and the flight continued on to its destination. The local sheriff's office told the Houston Chronicle that another Continental pilot had reported a similar incident in the area in May 2008. Officials were checking with local hobbyist clubs to see if any rockets had been fired in the area.

The FBI and FAA met to review the report with the pilot on Tuesday but no conclusions about the event were announced. The FAA and FBI will continue to investigate. "While we have no information to indicate there was a criminal act, we certainly do not rule anything out and certainly would not want to speculate on what it may or may not have been," an FBI spokeswoman told the local media. In a separate incident, an electronic research device suspended beneath a parachute landed at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport last Thursday. "It's a safety concern when something enters our airspace unannounced, in this case a six-pound box suspended from a parachute," said airport spokesman Brian Sexton. "We want to share with the FAA for their consideration our concerns about how this is being managed." The box was carried up to about 85,000 feet by an unmanned weather balloon and then dropped back to earth as part of a project operated by Space Data.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Cirrus Boosts Production, Will Rehire 50 Staffers

Cirrus Aircraft said this week it will boost production to eight aircraft per week and recall about 50 furloughed workers. "We are extremely pleased with continuing stronger sales trends that began in the first quarter," said Pat Waddick, executive vice president of operations at Cirrus. The company had increased production to six airplanes per week in late April, after nearly six months of significantly reduced production rates that averaged about three to four airplanes per week. It will take some time to ramp up to the new rate, Waddick said, since staff must be recalled and vendor lead times must be adjusted. Workers will be called back at Cirrus facilities in Duluth, Minn., and Grand Forks, N.D. Brent Wouters, president and CEO of Cirrus, said the marketplace is responding to the company's new offerings, including flight into known icing certification for the SR22 and Turbo models.

Yet Wouters cautioned that the immediate future remains challenging. "While today's news is certainly reason for optimism and clearly another step in the right direction, we will maintain our determined approach and continue to make any adjustments necessary as quickly and efficiently as possible," he said.

GM Asks Court To Dump Jet Leases

One of the first things General Motors did under bankruptcy protection is ask the court to allow it to shed seven business aircraft leases and the lease on the hangar that holds them at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. "The leases are not necessary or valuable to the debtors' business activities or the sale process," GM is quoted by Bloomberg as saying in filings to the court. Shortly after the widely publicized criticism of GM CEO Rick Wagoner and other car company CEOs for using business jets to travel to Washington, D.C., GM tried to dump the aircraft leases but were legally required to maintain some.

The bankruptcy changes all that and it will be the judge's call on whether the leases can be cancelled. The publicity surrounding the Washington trip became a lightning rod for criticism of business aircraft use in general and caused many companies not directly related to the issue to cut or curtail the use of their planes. It's prompted widespread response from aircraft organizations and manufacturers in the form of publicity campaigns aimed at reinforcing the value and utility of business aircraft.

Helicopter WAAS LPV Development

With the safety of helicopter emergency medical services (HEMS) under so much scrutiny it's worth noting that technology and procedures are under development to make these and other helicopter operations safer. Among the systems being successfully deployed is wide area augmentation system localizer performance with vertical guidance (WAAS LPV) for helicopters. Although WAAS LPV is becoming common at airports all over the U.S., Hickok and Associates, of Orange Beach, Ala., is developing it where helicopters need it most, at the hospitals and other off-airport sites they customarily serve.

Hickok and Associates says it's the only company doing this kind of work and it now has seven of these highly specialized approaches approved by the FAA. An example is the approach to the Ukiah Valley Medical Center developed for CALSTAR, a major provider of HEMS in California. IMC severely restricted the utility of CALSTAR's service to the Ukiah hospital because the localizer/DME minimums at the local airport are 1,106 feet AGL and 1.25 statute miles. The new GPS-based approach has minimums of 364 feet height above landing (HAL) and .75 statute miles to the hospital's helipad. Hickok and Associates has developed procedures all over the country, including United Technologies' (Sikorsky) heliport in Farmington, N.Y.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
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News Briefs back to top 

Florida Town Presses On With Anti-Flight Training Effort

The town council of Grant-Valkaria, a small town on Florida's Atlantic coast, voted this week to go ahead with an effort to restrict flight training activities at the Valkaria Airport, even after the town's own zoning board voted against the plan. "Basically it's a travesty, it's an absolute travesty," one unidentified pilot told the local WFTV News. Town attorney Karl Bohne adjusted the ordinance on Monday to clarify that the town is not trying to regulate flying, which the FAA wouldn't allow, but is trying to prevent flight schools from opening facilities at the airport, according to Florida Today.

The proposal has brought opposition from AOPA, the National Air Transportation Association, and other aviation advocates. AOPA says the county owns the airport, and it has agreements with the FAA that obligate it to allow aeronautical activity on the field. "Flight training activities cannot be legislated out of existence at Valkaria by the town government," wrote John Collins, AOPA's manager of airport policy, in a letter to the town mayor, Del Yonts. On Monday night, the council said it would send its proposal to the FAA for comment. A second hearing is scheduled for June 11, and the town council is expected to hold a second vote on the ordinance sometime in July. FAA officials have said that the town is within its rights to pass an ordinance, but it cannot be enforced on airport property, according to Florida Today.

On the Fly ...

The FAA agreed this week to pay $3.75 million to the families of three people who died in a 2005 ditching off the Florida coast. The FAA did not admit to any fault in the accident...

A new glove designed for pilots features a built-in LED light for night flying...

A 17-year-old private pilot made a safe off-airport landing after the engine quit in the Piper Tomahawk she was flying near Abilene, Texas...

EAA's big changes to the AirVenture grounds will be unveiled next month; click here for a preview.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Good Gov, Bad Gov

It's fashionable to rail against government intrusion in aviation, and Paul Bertorelli is nothing if not fashionable. But this time, the FAA is coming to the rescue of his local airport by forcing the city council to get off its anti-aviation rump and approve a proposed new hangar for the local FBO. Score one for the good guys. Paul has the full story in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Read 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 ERAU.edu/professionaleducation.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: Small Airport Health Report

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked about "personal aerial vehicles" and whether they will cause trouble for the GA community.

From the looks of our unscientific survey, AVweb readers are ready for them. A sizable portion of you (38% of those who answered our poll) said We need to embrace new technology, not stand in the way, though another 24% of you cautioned that the agencies need to get a handle on the new technology and regulate accordingly. (Only 7% of you thought they should be actively discouraged.)

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.)


We're always interested in the health and mainstream perception of local airports, and the situation at Valkaria Airport in Florida has put the spotlight back on the threat to small airports. How's yours doing?

How would you rate the health of your home airport?
(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.

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
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Fiddling Around America, Part 5 — Final Thoughts

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

These days, the bright light of favorable publicity doesn't shine much on aviation. AVweb's "Fiddling Around America" tour with Dan Gryder's Herpa DC-3 changed that, at least for one week.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

Lightning LSA
Kitplanes editor Marc Cook talks with Lighning Aircraft's Nick Otterback and discovers how their LSA offers speed, strength, and safety in an American-made light airplane.

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

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

FBO of the Week: Fairfield Air Ventures (KLHQ, Lancaster, OH)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Fairfield Air Ventures at Fairfield County Airport (KLHQ) in Lancaster, Ohio.

AVweb reader Bruce Sturt recommended the FBO after spending a little more time in Lancaster than he'd planned:

The family and I flew into Fairfield County Airport to visit my in-laws for a Sunday afternoon. We were going to fly back to Toledo in the evening, so I left my 182 on the ramp. A few hours (and hamburgers) later, some t-storms started moving in. My brother-in-law drove me to the airport to secure my bird, but when I got there it was not in sight. Then I saw Steve Slater, the airport manager, and he told me he had put the old girl in a hanger for the night. I thanked him and asked him how much I owed him, and he said "not a dime." I will now always look forward to visiting the in-laws and my friends at Fairfield Air Ventures in Lancaster, Ohio.

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!

We Live in a Fast-Paced World; Use Your Travel Time Wisely
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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.


Sometimes keeping track of submissions to our "Picture of the Week" contest is like being the store manager at Macy's on the day after Thanksgiving — you're glad business is good, but you hold on desperately to the hope you don't show up trampled on the 11:00 news. Last week we passed along Eric Cobb's request for an ID of a particular helicopter he snapped doing first response exercises in California, and we were flooded with responses. Within two days, we had over 150 responses, most of them identifying the dragonfly-looking aircraft as a Kaman K-Max. Normally we'd give credit to the first few spotters, but since over 200 of you nailed it, we'll limit our shout-out to AVweb reader Nelson Tirado of Spain, who made the call and sent us that link before we'd even filed away last week's winners.

Speaking of winners, what do you say we take a peek at this week's entries? (Limit one per customer, no stampeding, please.)

medium | large

Used with permission of David Sargant

The Calm After the Storm

David Sargant of Brampton, Ontario (Canada) managed to top some really amazing photos this week with a shot that combines weather, the setting sun, and a great sense of composition.

"With the last of the thunderstorms still overhead," David writes, "the sun breaks through for a few minutes just before setting, promising better weather for tomorrow."

(Shot at Pearson Airport in Toronto.)

medium | large

copyright © Contributor #2
Used with permission

Fancy Camping Lights

Jakob Adolf of Herten, Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany) was on the way to the eastern coast of Madagascar when "our new pilot Patrick" clicked this photo of the camp site — "the last lights before Australia," as Jakob quipped.

Why were they heading to Madagascar? Jakob tells us, "We brought a team to look at a village that first burned down (lost 250 house) and then got hit by a tropical cyclone."

medium | large

copyright © Jeff Hersom
Used with permission

Practice at Goose Bay

Jeff Hersom of Anchorage, Alaska serves up another helicopter doing practice maneuvers — this time against the majestic backdrop of Mt. Susitna.

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copyright © Steve Runnalls
Used with permission

QE2 Thumbs-Up

Steve Runnalls of Narellan Vale, New South Wales (Australia) has been sitting on this awesome pic for two years: "Me and pilot Paddy Niall over the QE2 entering Sydney Harbor back in February '07. We flew out to meet her as he was coming into the harbor to join the QM2 on her maiden voyage to Sydney."

(That's fun and all, but so is the idea of living someplace called "Narellan Vale." We're off to research your home town, Steve — maybe there's an excuse for an AVweb satellite office in NSW at last.)

medium | large

Used with permission of John T. Klein

"Fiddling Around America" Flashback

Hey, it's the Herpa DC-3!

John T. Klein of Austin, Arkansas snapped us coming or going — who can remember? — at Gaston's White River Resort during the "Fiddling Around America" tour.

Big thanks to all the great people we met during the tour. (You will all see this note because, of course, you rushed home and subscribed to our free newsletters right away — and, even as you read this, you're all e-mailing all your buddies to tell them how much fun it is to read AVweb. Right?)

Want more? O.K., we give! Look for the slideshow on AVweb's home page, which we're currently loading up with a fresh batch of new reader-submitted photos.

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.