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EAA says it's pressuring the Transportation Security Administration to lift the "shroud of mystery" on its implementation of new
security requirements for GA pilots at commercial airports after an attempt at clarity misfired last week. On Wednesday, EAA published a list of 454 airports supplied by the TSA that have commercial
service and would theoretically be subject to directive #1542-04-08G (SD-8G). AVweb wrote a story and carried a link to the list. However, representatives of some of the airports on that list
were surprised (and annoyed) to see themselves on the list. EAA says some airports have been able to avoid implementation of the rule, because they've created their own security plan that meets TSA
requirements. That's created inconsistent regulation and added to the frustration over the security plan, which EAA says the TSA is reluctant to provide details about.
"Getting specific information from TSA has been difficult on this matter, as implementation of the security directive is up to the individual airport," EAA said in a notice on its Web site Friday
after AVweb let them know about the concerns of several airport managers. "EAA's concerns about the directive include an eventual patchwork of local rules, passes and security measures that
would add burdens and costs to pilots, as well as additional requirements that would restrict GA activity at those airports." For now, EAA suggests pilots planning to fly to unfamiliar airports call
ahead and find out about any special security requirements. In the meantime, EAA says it will be trying to get more clarity from the TSA on this directive.
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Sometimes the difference between being in the right place at the right time and the opposite is a matter of a few feet and, miraculously, everyone involved came out of this one on the happy side of
that equation. Dustin Koehler and his father were videotaping floatplanes taking off from Lake Spenard in Anchorage June 7 when something went wrong in the takeoff run of a de Havilland Beaver.
Happily, Koehler, who kept the camera rolling throughout the sequence and the two adults, two children and two dogs on the Beaver were unhurt after the plane went over Koehler (he estimates the wing
passed five feet over him) and hit rising ground less than 100 feet behind him. Ironically, the plane came to rest next to the the Alaska State Department of Transportation building. The unidentified
pilot reportedly told the NTSB that a gust of wind knocked the aircraft off course and the video practically
begs armchair analysts to dissect the sequence. There's even a strategically placed windsock.
As for Koehler, after ducking out of the way of the passing plane and managing to catch its skid along the grass, he and other bystanders rushed to the plane, relieved to find all occupants in, as
he describes it in the YouTube narrative, "pristine condition." The same can't be said for the vintage aircraft, which suffered severe damage. However, it (or more precisely its data plate) will
almost certainly fly again as there is consistent demand for the legendary bush planes and several rebuilders in the U.S. and Canada that specialize in resurrecting them.
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NTSB hearings that last week focused on the Jan. 15 crash of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson have generated potential actions -- from developing on-aircraft anti-bird technology to rounding up
and wiping out thousands of Canada Geese. At the hearings, Airbus test pilots supported Captain Sullenberger's decision to take the flight to the river instead of trying to make LaGuardia or
Teterboro. Airbus' fly by wire system was praised for allowing Sullenberger to maintain the best airspeed for the ditching simply by holding the joystick fully aft and letting the computers do the
work of not stalling the aircraft while he maintained wings level. The hearings also produced a rather compelling NTSB video (see right) that mates animation with ATC audio and CVR content (as
text). A board member's call for more research into onboard bird-repellant or bird-deterrent technologies is supported by at least one study, which found that aircraft equipped with pulsed landing
lights suffered fewer bird strikes. That study was conducted by Qantas and Precise Flight -- a vendor for a pulse light system. Tests conducted in 2004 by the U.S. Agriculture Department were less
definitive, but further research (specifically, into flash frequency and light wavelengths) may be encouraged by the NTSB. That said, New York City in a statement Friday announced a more direct
approach to "remove and dispose of" some 2,000 Canada geese residing in the LaGuardia area from mid-June to August.
The city's plan, as it has been widely reported, would capture and kill local geese during the birds' summer molting season, while not making much more than a dent in the larger area's 20,000 to
25,000 resident Canada geese. While some might hope the geese carcasses could be used to magically create Jet-A for aircraft, thus killing two birds with one stone, that' still over-the-horizon
technology. It's been suggested that the city's soup kitchens could also put the birds to good use, but New York has decided to dispose of the carcasses, instead, according to Newsday. Going forward,
the newspaper said authorities were "also experimenting with birth control medications for the birds."
In searching vast stretches of ocean from the surface to its mountainous floor some 20,000 feet below, the technology that determines the
area of the search may prove as important as that used to search it. A French nuclear submarine, the attack sub Emeraude, arrived off the coast of Brazil Wednesday to join the search for the remains
of Air France Flight 447 and the aircraft's cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Meanwhile, U.S. Coast Guard search-and-rescue experts are applying technology in Portsmouth, Va., to help identify
those areas of ocean to which winds and currents may have delivered wreckage, based on the time of discovery and location of wreckage already found. The software also uses "reverse drift" technology
to help determine where the items may have initially impacted the ocean. With those sets of information search areas are mapped based on their probability of containing debris. The submarine will be
working with a mini-sub, the Nautile, which can descend to the ocean floor and was a key tool while searching for the Titanic. It will also be aided by U.S. underwater audio devices that authorities
say can pick up signals generated from a depth of 20,000 feet. The Emeraude is expected to cover 13 square miles per day and investigators stipulate that due to complexities of the ocean floor in the
search area, they're going to need a lot of luck.
The Coast Guard's software is called the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS) and likely works best with marine-based events that include the breakup of a vessel on the water or
sailors and cargo tossed off a ship at some known point. If, as investigators supsect, the Air France Airbus A330 broke up in flight and rained down parts of different shapes and densities from high
speed and altitude, SAROPS will face even more challenges.
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To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that
surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all.
A loud bang and a bright flash of white flame greeted the pilots of a Jetstar Airbus A330-200 carrying 203 passengers and crew out of
Osaka, Japan, for the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday as it passed four hours en route 37,000 feet over the Pacific. The cockpit crew donned masks as fumes and smoke filled the flight deck and flames
rose near the base of the co-pilot's windscreen. Aside from pilot and co-pilot, two trainees were in the cockpit, one of whom passed forward a fire extinguisher that the co-pilot used to douse the
flames. After an estimated 50 seconds the fire appeared to be out and the aircraft was about 20 minutes from Guam, where the crew put down safely after a relatively normal descent. Jetstar cited an
electrical connection in a windscreen heater element as the fire's apparent ignition point, according to The Australian, but the Australian Safety Bureau has yet to determine the cause. According to a
spokesman for Jetstar, "This is quite a new aircraft, well maintained and the part was factory fitted." Captain Ray Banfield told passengers upon landing, "Never in all my years of flying commercial
aircraft had I seen anything like it," according to The Daily Telegraph.
Many passengers aboard the two-year-old jet were not immediately aware of the nature of the descent as the pilots could not make announcements through their masks. Some passengers, however, could
smell smoke. Upon landing, the aircraft was met with fire trucks and sat for several minutes before proceeding to the terminal. The seemingly freak incident has brought more attention to the Airbus
A330-200 as it is the same model as the Air France jet that was lost off the coast of Brazil early this month.
Although it happened almost a year ago, the photos are just making the rounds of the Internet now and the lesson they carry are timeless. This almost-new Cessna 182 was destroyed last September at
Munising, Mich., after gasoline in a line trimmer being carried on board ignited. According to the NTSB
report the pilot put the weed whacker on the back seat for a short and uneventful flight but that all changed on arrival at Munising.
The pilot, who was alone in the aircraft, told investigators that after he landed he smelled a strong odor of gasoline. While he was taxiing, the engine end of the trimmer fell off the back seat
and into the rear footwell--right where the pilot's cellphone was charging. As the pilot wrestled the machine back onto the seat "something caused it to ignite," he is quoted by the NTSB as saying.
Probable cause of the destruction is listed as "inadequate preflight planning/preparation by the pilot to carry a hazardous material aboard an airplane that resulted in a fire during an after-landing
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This year is too BIG to miss. Literally. Witness the world's largest airliner Airbus A380 overtaking AeroShell Square; 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. This is your
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The Red Bull Air Race's last stop in North America for 2009 took place last weekend on the Detroit River between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan. British pilot Paul Bonhomme narrowly took
home the first-place trophy, narrowly beating out Austrian Hannes Arch by 1.15 seconds in the final round. The Red Bull Air Race World Series continues on with their next stop in Budapest, Hungary on
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Well, we can imagine the paperwork on this one, but thankfully there won't be any obituaries. Amazingly, no one was killed when
a sport utility vehicle and a Piper Cherokee collided head-on on a country road near Johannesburg, South Africa last Sunday. According to The Herald Sun (quoting the South African Times, whose site wasn't taking inquiries Thursday) the
three people in the SUV weren't hurt but the pilot and passenger in the Cherokee were taken to hospital with serious injuries, although they're reportedly doing well now. The Cherokee had just taken
off, ran into trouble and the pilot obviously looked for the best stretch of pavement. Unfortunately, the SUV driver had the same idea.
The SUV occupants watched the Cherokee fill their windshield in disbelief, according to the Times. "I couldn't say anything, no one was screaming. I just thought it was the end, I'd never be lucky
enough to escape it," SUV passenger Anna Vaulina told the Times. "The scary part was seeing the faces of the pilots looking straight at us." Cause of the off-airport landing is not known.
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Developer of the all-carbon-composite, GE Honda HF 120 fanjet powered, nine-passenger S.40 Freedom, Spectrum Aeronautical said last week that its "Fuselage Manufacturing Demonstrator" (FMD) means it can deliver a revolutionary 40% weight savings
over similar aluminum aircraft. The FMD is a full-scale, one-piece part made of co-cured composites in a proprietary process that joins major structural components "at the molecular level," according
to the company. The process significantly reduces the need for the adhesive bonding required by many other composite fabrication processes and, being composite, eliminates nearly all secondary
fasteners from the fuselage structure. That, says Spectrum, saves manufacturing time and airframe weight and helps put the company's performance goals to "cut fuel consumption by as much as half that
of comparably sized metal aircraft" within reach. Using the King Air and Cessna Citation XLS as benchmarks, the company has said its smaller Independence Jet will burn half the fuel of the King Air
while providing performance that closely matches the XLS. The larger Freedom is designed to carry a pilot and nine passengers in a six-foot cabin to cruise at altitudes up to 45,000 feet at speeds up
to 442 knots and a range of 2,000 nautical miles. The company believes it, too, will compare very favorably against its more conventional competition.
The S.40's development has been delayed, due in part to the global economic slowdown, but Spectrum says it is making progress and maintains a comfortable (but unspecified) backlog of orders.
Development of the FMD "is a real milestone for the program," according to Spectrum's president, Austin Blue. Meanwhile, the aircraft's future powerplant, the GE Honda Aero Engines' HF 120 fanjet,
entered final preparations for certification testing in mid-May. Engine tests are expected to continue into 2010.
Northrop Grumman is accepting applications from educators who can earn a 2009 Weightless Flight of Discovery to depart from three
remaining cities on this year's tour. This is the fourth consecutive year that Northrop Grumman has partnered with Zero-G Corporation to offer the weightless flights. The annual program for
professional development provides teachers with an opportunity "to prepare for and participate in micro- and zero-gravity flights to test Newton's Laws of Motion," according to a Northrop Grumman
press release. Selected teachers are meant to work with their classes in advance of the flight to devise experiments that the teacher will perform while aloft. It's then expected that the teacher will
return to the classroom with their experiences where they will translate those experiences into increased enthusiasm among their middle-school students -- specifically in subjects like science and
math. The United States is experiencing a shortage of college graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, according to program supporters who hope the results of such flights will
help turn the tide. At the time AVweb went to press, Northrop Grumman had openings for flights from three cities, details after the jump.
This year's flights (with remaining availability) are scheduled to be flown from Albuquerque, Detroit and Washington, this fall. They all include a one-day workshop held several weeks prior to the
flight. Zero-G vomit comet aspirants can find additional information and apply for the program here.
The Paris Air Show opens today under the shadow of the crash of Air France 447 and an economic slowdown that is keeping some companies, including Cessna and Gulfstream, from
attending. Still, more than 2,000 vendors are there and 300,000 people are expected to attend...
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds air demonstration team has been grounded indefinitely after a problem was found in the disconnect mechanism of the ejection seat in one of the CT-114 Tutor aircraft.
All 25 Tutors in the CF inventory have been pulled from service while the fault is investigated...
The Wood County Sheriff's Office in Parkersburg, West Virginia is investigating the shooting of a Cessna 172 recently. The owner believes the aircraft took the round in a wing May 31 but he didn't
discover it until a few days later.
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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as
our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and
questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token,
please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.
Letter of the Week: National Security
Has anyone suggested that transient pilots be offered a national pass so they may use all of the airports listed to alleviate this bottleneck to pilots and airport officials? By "national pass," I
mean the individual pilot would be submitted to a background check, including fingerprinting, and if the pilot passed, he or she would be issued a document to come and go at will. I am a corporate
pilot who has to go to many different airports, and to be required to get the ID badges they mention seems ridiculous.
I did the procedure to gain access to the "DC 3" airports, and it seems like the right idea to solve this act.
David Perry's ramp check at Long Beach is chilling. My hope is that GA, primarily the press, will push the
government for its justification to treat an average GA pilot as a suspected felon without stating any probable cause.
I have been reading about the ramp checks, and I can't help wondering: "Where is the land of the free?" This kind of behavior was what you would expect to see only in the 1940s Russia and Germany,
for example. These countries don't seem to use these methods any more. Where is this leading to?
Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.
Spectrum Aeronautical's S.40 Freedom is one step closer making the leap from on-paper concept jet to lightweight composite reality. Spectrum chairman Linden Blue sat down with us to explain
how the company's Fuselage Manufacturing Demonstrator (FMD) proves the concept and sets the stage for a projected 40% weight savings over similar aircraft designs.
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Thanks to seismic shifts in the news business, many local television outlets can no longer afford their own turbine-powered eye-in-the-sky. As a result, Robinson is doing a brisk
business selling its R44-based ENG camera ship. AVweb visited Robinson in Torrance, California for a closer look.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Lane Aviation at CMH in Columbus, Ohio.
Apparently AVweb reader Josh Johnson didn't get much exercise on his visit to Lane, but he seemed pretty happy with that:
We were in town for two days of business meetings in a nearby hotel. Immediately after landing, we were met at the door of our airplane by a friendly line guy ... . We were planning to take the
hotel bus to our hotel; however, the line guy insisted on taking us there himself! He also said that they would gladly pick us up after our meeting and drop us off at the plane. We arrived for
departure and found our airplane a decent walk across the ramp, [but once again] the line guy dropped us off at the door to the FBO to use the restrooms and file our flight plans. When we walked out
to go back to the plane, he motioned us to get back in the van for a ride back to our plane! Excellent!
By the way, we arrived in a Cessna 172, and they were taking care of a large jet for a celebrity at the time we arrived. We certainly felt special getting such excellent treatment!
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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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.
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