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FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said
on Wednesday a new rule establishing flight and rest rules for pilots at regional airlines will be drafted by Sept. 1, and called on the airlines and unions to make changes in hiring and safety
practices by the end of July. "We know that the airline industry is committed to operate at the highest level of safety," Babbitt said. "Now is the time to push these initiatives forward." The FAA
wants airlines to obtain all available FAA records before hiring pilots, and all carriers who don't have Flight Operations Quality Assurance and Aviation Safety Action Programs in place should
implement them immediately. Also, airlines that have contractual relationships with regionals should ensure that the regionals follow the same standard of safety. By July 15, the FAA will establish an
Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) comprising representatives from the FAA, labor and industry, which will develop recommendations for the new FAA rule regarding flight time and rest standards. The
ARC will review fatigue science and international approaches to the issue.
Also by July 15, FAA inspectors will complete a focused review of airline procedures for identifying and tracking pilots who fail evaluations or demonstrate a repetitive need for additional
training. Inspectors will conduct additional inspections to validate that the airline's training and qualification programs meet regulatory standards in accordance with FAA guidance materials. Earlier
this year, the FAA proposed upgraded training standards for pilots (click here for the NPRM) and for flight attendants and
dispatchers (click here for that NPRM). The proposal is the most comprehensive upgrade in training requirements in 20 years
and incorporates best industry practices, the FAA said. The rule aims to enhance traditional training programs by requiring additional simulator recurrent training, special hazard training, and
additional training and practice in the use of Crew Resource Management principles. The comment period closes Aug. 10 and the FAA expects to promptly develop a final rule. The FAA Web site has posted copies of the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Action Plan, as well as the FAA's letters to airlines and
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Last week it was the SkySpark project flying fast on batteries, this week we heard that the first electric-powered
airplane has flown in China, and on Wednesday Bye Energy announced that it has received a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund to research electric motors for small GA aircraft. It's getting easier to believe the age of gasoline is on its last legs --
and while that may not be the case just yet, we do expect to see a lot of new emissions-free technology on display at EAA AirVenture next month.
One of those displays will be the new airplane from China, the Yuneec International E430, which flew for the first time on
June 12. It has since flown at least two more times, and is now being shipped to the U.S. so it can be ready to fly at Oshkosh.
Test pilot Shun Xun said the E430 has plenty of power and the ride is exceptionally quiet and smooth. Takeoff speed was 40 mph and top flight speed was about 93 mph. The Yuneec company hopes to
certify the E430 as an experimental aircraft for sale in the U.S. market, according to EAA. It's a two-seat
design with a long wing, a V-tail and all-composite construction. Click here for a video of the airplane in flight. George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy, said the Wolf grant is a critical first step in the
company's electric power conversion project. The company is collaboratively designing and developing energy storage devices and battery management systems with Porous Power Technologies.
Solar Impulse, an airplane designed to fly around the world on solar power, will be unveiled tomorrow, Friday, June 26, at Dubendorf airfield
near Zurich, Switzerland. The aircraft has a wingspan of 210 feet and weighs about 3,500 pounds. It's powered by four 10-hp electric motors and carries more than 11,000 solar cells on the wing and the
horizontal stabilizer. "The design of the aircraft, pure and futuristic, will itself be the symbol of the spirit of the project in the sky," says the company Web site. The project has been in the
works since 2003, and organizers hope to launch the round-the-world flight in 2012.
Five flight legs are planned, each lasting three to four days, "which is considered to be the maximum a single pilot can endure," according to the Web site. Each stopover will provide a chance to
change pilots and welcome the public to learn about the project. The team of more than 50 is led by Bertrand Piccard, who was commander of the first nonstop around-the-world balloon flight, in 1999.
His goal is to promote the immense potential of renewable energy and new technologies. Friday's unveiling will be streamed live online by Swisscom, a new sponsor for the project.
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Volunteer Requisites Revisited (Yes, You Can
AVweb noted on Monday that some
Angel Flight organizations have amended their pilot requirements in the wake of last year's three fatal crashes, but we would like to re-emphasize -- as we stated in that Monday story -- that several
different groups use the "Angel Flight" term and not all of them have the same rules. David Prutzman, the president of Angel Flight East,
wrote to let us know that his organization reviews its policies, pilot requirements and safety recommendations on an ongoing basis and has recently implemented several changes as a result of those
reviews. However, the group is maintaining its previously published requirements for pilot qualifications and aircraft TBO. Aviators should check with their particular volunteer group, whether it is
some form of Angel Flight or any other organization, for details on requirements and updates about changes.
"Continued vigilance by our highly valued pilot community will ensure that our vision of making medical and compassion flights available to those who need them will continue to be delivered safely
and generously," said Prutzman.
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Waco Classic Aircraft, of Battle Creek, Mich., announced this week that it has overhauled its YMF-5C biplane, adding many new features and
upgrades, and is now introducing the YMF-5D. "This new model of aircraft delivers greater performance than ever before," the company said in a news release. It has more horsepower, thanks to a new
Jacobs R755-A2 300-hp engine, and the weight of the aircraft is lower, due to design changes and the expanded use of lightweight materials.
The new model, which will start deliveries in October (pending the FAA's OK), will also feature a new Sensenich Taper Tip prop, a deluxe leather interior, new lightweight carbon fiber wheel pants
and fairings, and an upgraded avionics package. Plus, it will include as standard an advanced feature most desired by aviators everywhere -- a cup holder. The three-place biplane is a fully
FAA-certified aircraft, based on a design that was first certified in 1935, and is also certified for Europe by EASA. Prices start at $395,500. The new model will be on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh next month.
Boeing said on Tuesday that first flight of the 787
Dreamliner will be postponed again, due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft, and it will be several weeks before a new first flight or delivery date will be
announced. Boeing officials had said as recently as last week at the Paris Air Show that the Dreamliner's first flight would take place by the end of this month, and deliveries would start by next
March. The need to modify the aircraft raised questions about whether the computer models that
are used to design aircraft and predict performance are adequate, especially when using advanced composite materials, but officials at Boeing said the process is working as it should: Computer models
predict how the design will behave, but extensive real-world testing is always required to validate those predictions and, if necessary, modify the models.
The aircraft will require structural reinforcements at about 36 points near the area where the wing joins the fuselage, Boeing officials said, but the changes will not significantly impact weight
or performance. The airplane is already about two years behind schedule. "It's going to take some years of high-volume production of solidly performing aircraft to get past this loss of face," Richard
Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group, told the Wall Street Journal. Boeing said
in a statement that the 787 team will continue with other aspects of testing on Airplane No. 1, including final gauntlet testing and low-speed taxiing. Work will also continue on the other five flight
test aircraft and the subsequent aircraft already in the production system. "Structural modifications like these are not uncommon in the development of new airplanes," said Scott Carson, president and
CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This is not an issue related to our choice of materials or the assembly and installation work of our team." You can listen to Tuesday's hour-long webcast
conference call with Boeing executives at the Boeing Web site.
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Lancair International says serial number 01 of its Evolution Turbine kit speedster will be back on tour within a week after a
gear up landing at Northeast Georgia Regional Airport, near Winder, Ga. In a news release Monday, Lancair said the aircraft suffered "minor" damage to its rudder and tail cone in the mishap and
technicians were dispatched immediately with all the tools and supplies needed to get the plane fixed and back in the air. "True to the nature of high strength composites the damage is expected to be
fully repaired in three to five days, the company said. Company pilot Bob Jeffrey was flying at the time.
The aircraft will resume a promotional tour that will end at EAA AirVenture in late July. The turbine Evolution will be joined in Oshkosh by the piston-powered version of the aircraft, which is
powered by a Lycoming IE2. It will be the first public appearance of the piston model.
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An Australian helicopter pilot dragged his passenger to shore and buried him neck-deep in sand to protect him from hypothermia Sunday night after they crashed in remote crocodile-infested mudflats. Rescuers were called on a satellite phone; both
Cessna has begun deliveries of its Corvalis models from its plant in Independence, Kan., after
moving the production line from Oregon...
The FAA is accepting comments until July 20 on a request to ban nighttime traffic at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank,
Calif. The airport already has a voluntary nighttime curfew with a 97-percent compliance rate, says
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The FAA's plan to redesign the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia region airspace
cleared a key legal barrier last week when a court struck down a group of legal challenges, the FAA said on Monday. A
federal appeals court ruled on June 10 that the FAA can continue to move ahead as planned. Challenges had been filed by several state and local governments in the region, as well as a citizens group,
claiming that the FAA didn't properly perform an environmental impact study of the changes in air traffic patterns that would result from the redesign. The court disagreed. "The FAA's environmental
impact analysis was procedurally sound and substantively reasonable," the court wrote in its decision.
The FAA says the redesign will help reduce delays by about 20 percent, and NBAA agrees. "This is welcome news for everyone," Steve Brown, NBAA's vice president for operations, told AVweb on Tuesday. "This redesign is absolutely a good thing for airspace users. It will make traffic flow more
efficiently, with fewer delays. It will save fuel and increase capacity." The redesign will be completed in 2012, the FAA said. Opponents to the plan say it will subject residential neighborhoods to
too much noise. An appeal is expected, according to Business Week.
Dr. Sam B. Williams, founder and chairman of turbine engine company Williams International, of Walled Lake, Mich., died on Monday at the age
of 88, the company announced in a news release on Tuesday. The small, efficient fanjet engines that Dr. Williams developed and patented were crucial to the development of very light jets and today are
widely used on general aviation jet aircraft. The first Williams International jet engine, the FJ44-1A, was certified by the FAA in 1992, and since then, 4,000 FJ44 engines have entered service. Dr.
Williams was inspired by a "lifelong dream of making jet travel safe, convenient, and affordable," the company said. He left a secure career at Chrysler Corp. in 1955 and started his own company with
limited funds. Besides VLJs and bizjets, Williams engines have powered cruise missiles, the X-Jet flying platform,
the V-Jet II designed by Scaled Composites that flew in 1997, and military drones. Dr. Williams
was the recipient of many awards for innovation, including the Collier Trophy, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, and the National Medal of Technology. He was also inducted into the National
Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Dr. Williams is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara Gibson Williams, two sons and a daughter, and three grandchildren. His son Gregg G. Williams, who is the current president and CEO of
Williams International, will also assume the title of chairman.
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.
Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."
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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: Age 65 Rule
Regarding your article "APA Uses Continental 61 to Support Age 60 Rule": Scott Shankland's comments are
biased and not founded in fact or reality. The referenced pilot could have just as easily been under age 60 and died of a heart attack. Many do. The causes related to heart attacks are tied to
genetics and physical fitness, not age. Depending on the individual, one may live a very long life without any
heart condition. It is not related to age.
In your article, you stated the FAA had changed the age 60 limit to age 65. Not true. Congress made the change after we lobbied them for more than a decade.
Also, I'd like to know why you interviewed a pro-age 60 pilot but failed to give equal coverage to pro-age 65 pilots?
Actually, we did not ask for age 65 as the new retirement age for airline pilots in the legislation. In fact, we asked for, and got written into the legislation, that pilots could retire at their
individual social security retirement age. Thus, there would have been no fixed age for retirement we believe a fixed age is wrong. However, Sen. Stevens came out of conference one day about
four years ago and said he could not get consensus so he was changing the age limit to match the ICAO's standard of age 65. That's how we ended up with age 65 not because we asked for it.
Now I read that, as a result of the Colgan Air crash, the FAA wants to backround check everyone for any previous failed check rides. So if you were 17 and blew a private ride, for any reason
whatsoever, your future as a professional aviator is doomed?
One would think that if an applicant blew a ride years earlier and was a "bad stick" that this would come out during a proper course and test for an advanced rating! Why doesn't the FAA
start making students take their rides with a designated examiner (or, better yet, an FAA employee) who is not associated with his or her school?
Thirty-two years ago, when I was ready for my instrument check ride, everyone instructors and students alike lived in fear of a ride with the FAA. My instructor insisted on it. He
said that he was confident that my skills would see me through with anybody. Through the years, I have known many instrument pilots who have never had the confidence to fly actual. Some had flown
with instructors who themselves had never seen the inside of a cloud!
As an airline and GA pilot, it is becoming increasingly very clear that TSA's mission (hear the
podcast) is always more about control than security. GA represents freedom and liberty for those who have the discipline to learn to fly. TSA is the antithesis of freedom and liberty.
AOPA can have all the daily conversations they want with TSA. AOPA can beg and plead all it wants for minor relief from nefarious TSA regulations, and they may get a bit of relief, but it is a
master/slave relationship, and TSA knows it. By definition, TSA must ignore the U.S. Constitution. It could not operate and survive otherwise. It is much later than the gentleman from AOPA
Noticed you didn't test the second "doggy anchor" in your video. They are commonly
referred to as tent/canopy anchors and have serious holding ability. I wouldn't trust the tested products to tie down an ultralight.
Angel Flight Requirements
I am asking you to run a clarification in response to your article on the changes to pilot
requirements for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, Mercy Medical Airlift and Airlift Hope America.
As President of the Air Care Alliance, an organization that acts as a forum for more than 70 Public Benefit Flying organizations, including many Angel Flight groups, I feel it is necessary to
clarify a couple of points in the article:
First, these changes in volunteer pilot requirements only affects those pilots flying missions for the three named groups. All other volunteer pilot organizations are still operating under their
Secondly, volunteers need to understand that pilot requirements vary from group to group and that they should contact the individual groups to determine if they meet the requirements to fly for
that particular group.
Lastly, I would encourage pilots of all qualifications to seek out volunteer pilot organizations and get involved. While they may not yet have the qualifications to fly patients, there are many,
many other volunteer pilot activities they can participate in with public benefit flying organizations. For a complete listing of public benefit flying organizations, go to the Air Care Alliance web site or see the Fly4Life display and website about the promotion of
public benefit flying by the EAA at this summer's AirVenture.
Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.
Last week, we asked AVweb readers if they would still recommend a job in the airline industry to young people shopping around for a career.
As it turns out, the airlines have lost a bit of their luster at least in the eyes of our survey respondents. 42% of those who took a moment to answer said they would
not recommend an airline career, at least not if the current conditions prevail. Our second most popular answer showed a ray of hope, however, with 37% of you saying it's not like it
used to be, but it's still a good and honorable profession.
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.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
Positive announcements from SkySpark and the Yuneec E430 have a lot of people wondering if electric-powered airplanes are ready to make the leap from high-tech concept to
everyday reality. This week, we'd like to know where you think the technology is headed.
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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If you've forgotten why it is you started flying in the first place, Paul Bertorelli and Jeff Van West suggest you pay a visit to Progressive Aerodyne and fly the SeaRey amphibian. If there's not a
law against having this much fun, maybe there ought to be.
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Ideal Aviation at St. Louis Downtown Airport (KCPS) in Cahokia, Illinois.
To explain why Ideal is so great, we need to invoke a couple of very similar acronyms: First up is NIFA, the National Intercollegiate Flying Association, which held their 2009 SAFECON event in
May, and second is NAFI, the National Association of Flight Instructors, whose Executive Director Jason Blair visited Ideal during SAFECON. Jason writes:
During the last two weeks in May, Ideal got "bombed" by over 100 aircraft from 30 university flight schools from all over the country. Ideal allowed the [SAFECON] competitors to park their aircraft
across their ramp, and provided fuel and maintenance services to schools that required it. (Western Michigan University brought 2 Cirrus SR-20 aircraft to the event, one of which suffered a small
alternator issue during the course of the week. The mechanic from Ideal had the issue rectified, and the aircraft tested and returned to service within a matter of hours.)
When I arrived to attend the final banquet, not only was a ramp space waiting for me in front of the building, but I didn't even have to put my plane in it. I parked in front of the door, and their
capable line staff put my plane into a spot later and fueled it for me.
Ideal Aviation showed a great amount of patience, support, and help, to all of the students, advisors, and coaches who attended the 2009 SAFECON event. They deserve a huge round of applause for their
amazing efforts during a time in which they were swarmed ... not only the company owners and reception employees, but the two line gentleman that choreographed a safe, efficient, and safe ramp
environment, as well.
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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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.
*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***
Oh, yeah happy days are here again, as "Picture of the Week" submissions returned to their usual summer high point this week! Bad news for those of you in heated
competition for the high-quality AVweb-branded baseball cap we give away to the top photo each week, but great news for the rest of us. Had a busy week? Kick back and enjoy the pretty
airplanes with us, won't you?
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.
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:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn Pew
Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
Webmaster Scott Simmons
Contributors 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.