AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 31a

August 3, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
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Star-Studded Gathering of Eagles at EAA AirVenture back to top 

Young Eagles Fundraiser Nets $1.8 Million

EAA got the stars out to promote its annual "Gathering of Eagles" fundraiser at AirVenture Oshkosh last week, and they brought in bid after bid from an audience over 1,100 strong, raising a total of $1.8 million to support EAA's Young Eagles program. Auction items included a flight in a Sikorsky Air Crane, an aerobatic experience with Sean D. Tucker, resort vacations, and a one-of-a-kind custom 2010 Ford Mustang, which sold for $250,000, the highest bid of the night. Aviation celebs in attendance included Harrison Ford, who has acted as honorary chairman of Young Eagles for the last six years; Sean Tucker; legendary airshow pilot Bob Hoover; Burt and Dick Rutan; Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and First Officer Jeff Skiles, the flight crew of US Airways Flight 1549; and many officials from the industry. Skiles auctioned off the leather jacket and shoes he was wearing on the day he and "Sully" ditched an A320 in the Hudson River, fetching $40,000 for the cause.

The Windsock Challenge totaled $300,000, silent auction items raised $100,000, and the Sean Tucker Experience, which includes lunch with Bob Hoover and Harrison Ford, sold for $50,000, EAA said. Ford announced at the event that he will step down as chairman with the Young Eagles, but will stay involved with the organization, and will continue to act as a spokesman for AOPA's GA Serves America campaign, AOPA said. EAA has not yet announced a new chairman to take Ford's place. The annual fundraising event is held in the Eagle Hanger at the EAA Museum.

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Fallen Navy Captain Identified back to top 

Remains Of U.S. Fighter Pilot Found After 18 Years

The first American lost on the first night of the Persian Gulf War, back in 1991, was Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher, who was shot down over the Iraqi desert while flying his FA-18 Hornet as part of Operation Desert Storm. His fate was uncertain, and the Pentagon changed his status several times from killed to missing to captured, but now his remains have been found and positively identified, 18 years later. "Our Navy will never give up looking for a shipmate, regardless of how long or how difficult that search may be," said Adm. Gary Roughead, chief of naval operations. "We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Captain Speicher and his family for the sacrifice they have made for our nation and the example of strength they have set for all of us." Acting on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, U.S. Marines stationed in Al Anbar Province went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet, the Navy said on Sunday. Remains were recovered, including bones and multiple skeletal fragments, and positive identification was made by dental records.

A lab is also running DNA tests, which will take another day, the Navy said. Cindy Laquidara, a spokeswoman for the Speicher family, told the Associated Press the family is proud that the Defense Department honored their request to not abandon the search. "We will be bringing him home." She said the family would have another statement after being briefed by defense officials. Speicher's family includes two children who were toddlers when he disappeared but now are in college.

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Kids Today back to top 

Teenager Tried To Start His Own Airline

A 17-year-old from Yorkshire, England, met with various aviation industry executives and government officials in the U.K. recently and convinced them that he was a tycoon about to launch his own airline, when in fact he had no such plans or funding, the London Times reports. The boy used the pseudonym Adam Tait, and used other false names in emails and phone messages to convince contacts that he was working with a team of employees. He proposed to launch a cut-price airline serving most of Europe, based in the Channel Islands. His scheme unraveled when he was stopped by police at an airport while trying to get access to a 93-seat jet he had said he wanted to lease. The story is getting wide play in the mainstream media as reminiscent of the Hollywood movie, Catch Me If You Can, based on the true story of an American teenager who impersonated an airline pilot.

On Sunday, the Times reported that the boy has approached a range of businesses, claiming to be the UK manager for American Global Group, an imaginary company. "He said his name was Tait and that AGG owned 28 airlines, 55 hotels, 12 shopping centers and 28 petrol stations," said Debi Clark, who runs a modelling agency that Tait approached to find models for ads he said he was working on. Melanie Cole, who brought her 13-year-old daughter Sophie to a modeling audition for the fictional company, told the Times: "Adam said Sophie would be great pictured coming off the plane and he wanted to take us to Spain for four days, too. He seemed quite personable, though, and he definitely had the gift of the gab."

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Even More Pink Shirts at EAA AirVenture back to top 

Women Pilots Expand Their AirVenture Presence

If you want to get a bunch of pilots together, there aren't many better places to do that than AirVenture at Oshkosh, and this week women aviators worked hard to make the most of that opportunity. On Friday afternoon, the ad hoc effort called WomenVenture orchestrated its second-annual gathering of all the women pilots at Oshkosh, donning blue T-shirts for a photo shoot at Aeroshell Square. About 550 women, with all kinds of pilot certificates from student to ATP to military pilots and astronauts, showed up for the shoot, about 5 to 10 percent more than last year, according to EAA. The event is not only about building camaraderie, said Peggy Chabrian, president of Women in Aviation International, one of the organizers -- it's also meant to help the pilot community to grow. "As these women are walking around in their T-shirts, hopefully other women and children will go up to them and talk to them about what this is all about," Chabrian said. "Hopefully this event will spark interest in aviation for women. It tells them it's OK to be involved."

The WomenVenture project also featured an all-woman airshow on Friday, featuring Patty Wagstaff, Debby Rihn-Harvey, Julie Clark, and a long list of other women, and an evening program at Theater in the Woods with NASA astronaut Eileen Collins, Martha King of King Schools, the aerobatic performers, and others. Click here to learn more about WomenVenture, which also offers a weeklong educational experience for high school girls, in conjunction with the show.

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Flying Lab Returns the Spotlight at AirVenture back to top 

Beech 18 Lights Up Show

Grimes Manufacturing, a major producer of aircraft lights, uses a C-45H (the military version of a Beech 18) as a test bed for their lights. The aircraft was originally built for the military, and was delivered in 1944. For 20 years it moved around to different bases and was used for different missions until it was sold to Grimes Manufacturing in 1964. After delivery, they immediately started installing wingtip and belly pods to mount various types of lights for testing. After that, the aircraft was flown not only for testing, but also as a sales demonstration airplane that they flew all over the country. In 1986, the airplane collided with a 30-foot utility pole during a fly-by and sustained serious damage. That was the last day for the Flying Lab.

The airplane sat derelict for 13 years until a former Grimes executive saw it and through his efforts his company then bought it. He and a few others, including one of the original mechanics from Grimes, started the Grimes Flying Lab Foundation. They pledged to fully restore the aircraft to flying condition. In 1999, the airplane was moved to Urbana, Ohio to start restoration. After eight years of weekend work, the restoration was complete. It was repainted to the original Grimes Flying Lab colors. The restored aircraft was unveiled to the public on May 31, 2008, and was on display at EAA Airventure Oshkosh. The airplane is currently equipped with 55 exterior lights plus numerous other interior lights for a total of 115 lights. For more information and pictures of the restoration, visit GrimesFlyingLab.com.

Piper Seeks Engineers for PiperJet Project
Piper Aircraft, Inc. is currently in search of experienced engineers to work on the PiperJet and other projects. Chief, lead, and senior engineers are needed immediately in airframe/structural design, stress analysis, structural test, electrical/avionics, propulsion, systems, tooling, and manufacturing engineering. For a complete list of open positions, visit Piper.com. To apply, e-mail your resume to jobs@piper.com with the position title you are applying for listed in the subject line.
Letter of the Week back to top 

AVmail: August 3, 2009

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: Hands-On Coverage

I enjoy your aviation reporting, but your reporters should refrain from touching and leaning on the aircraft they report on. This gives gives the general public the idea that this activity is OK, when it's not.

A sweaty arm leaning on a polished aluminum surface leaves a mark that only re-polishing can remove. I always teach young people to look and not touch and to put their hands either in their pockets or behind their backs.

Tony Stein

AVweb Replies:

You're absolutely right, Tony, and shame on us for forgetting this basic courtesy. We'll do better.

Russ Niles

Rough Handling of the A380

I was very disappointed in the video of the A380 hard landing. It was an intentional firm landing in an almost 90 degree crosswind; otherwise the turnoff would not have been made. The commentary from a 777 pilot (obviously on the Boeing payroll) was absurd. I would like to see him put a 777 down under the same circumstances. It is a lifetime ambition to go to Oshkosh, but at 68 and the wrong side of the pond, I doubt I will ever make it.

Thank you for reading my rant. I do think AVweb is normally very fair in its reviewing, but not this time.

John Beech

AVweb content is usually informative and well-balanced, but I think your decision to use Dan Gryder's analysis and comments in regard to the A380 arrival at Oshkosh is not a good example of this. Wording like "what went wrong" and "the airplane is probably still going to be usable" seem highly exaggerated to me.

Sure it was a heavy landing, no doubt, but there was a considerable crosswind and the pilot was obviously going to have to get the aircraft nailed on the (unfamiliar) runway as soon as possible. All the talk about watching the wings flex was also exaggerated. These wings are huge, and they always appear to flex more than most aircraft on any landing!

I live in Sydney, Australia and we have had A380 operations here for some time. I've seen many landings, and I have flown in the type three times. Under the circumstances, this was not really that much of a big deal. Dan Gryder (a Boeing pilot) seemed enthusiastic in criticising the pilot's PIOs after landing. Perhaps he could have been focusing a bit more on how well the pilot did to get the aircraft into OSH under such circumstances.

Go and dig out some video of 747s landing in crosswinds at the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, and then you'll see some aircraft that really have been stressed and in need of some serious engineering checks before they fly again.

Unfortunately, this particular AVweb coverage smacked more of what I would expect of the typical mainstream media coverage of an aviation story: poorly focused, overly dramatic, and, I have to say, biased.

David Butler

Sorry, kids, but your "analysis" of the A380 "hard landing" was quite disappointing to this reader.

You made all sorts of conclusions about the landing itself and the preceding events (e.g., control inputs) without talking to the crew and without having any knowledge of the aircraft beyond what you could see from the ground.

How much time do your reporters have in the A380? How much do the A380's wings flex during a "normal" landing? I could go on.

We're all armchair pilots, but your reporters sounded like those of the worst type. It hurts AVweb's credibility.

Mike Truffer

AirVenture Coverage

Thanks for the stellar coverage of AirVenture! I felt like I got a great feeling for everything that went on there by the coverage that your team accomplished.

The great pictures and articles were a whole lot of fun. I liked the panoramic pictures with the Gigapan technology. I could not believe how far you could zoom and still get a nice picture of any area of the panorama.

I loved the live video feed from the runway; you could really get a feel for the incredible non-stop action that takes place there by being able to listen to the controllers!

Hope you all got some time away from the work to just enjoy the show!

John Johnson

AVweb Replies:

The panoramas were our show photographer Mariano Rosales's idea. If you haven't tried them yet, check them out.

Russ Niles

Forgotten Volunteers

For many years, members (six personally) of the Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol have done much the same activities at Lakeland [as those we saw this year at Oshkosh] with little or no acknowledgement from any published sources at all, and these dedicated folks (cadets and seniors) are on duty 16 hours day after day, then sleeping on an armory floor for days at a time.

Carl Peltzer

AVweb Replies:

It takes a monumental effort to stage every air show, and our hats are off to the volunteers. Thanks for reminding us.

Russ Niles

Colgan Questions Linger

I read all 111 pages of the Cockpit Voice Recorder report cited in the AVweb report, of which 108 pages were about company policies, etc. However, one thing got my attention that I have not heard before, and I wondered if it could be significant and would love to hear from a Q400 expert.

On Page 109, flaps five is requested and selected. On Page 110, gear down is requested and confirmed. Then flaps 15 is requested but not confirmed (only "uhh" from the copilot), immediately followed by the stickshaker. The next communication from the copilot, 10 seconds later, was "I put the flaps up," followed eight seconds later by "should the gear up?"

My question (or thought) is the captain never commanded flaps up. Would the copilot have made that decision while the stall warning was going off, or is it possible or likely that she actually put the flaps up to zero instead of down to 15 when commanded, just before the shaker went off? Could a change from flaps 5 to flaps 0 put the aircraft close to stall, considering the ice build-up? I would love to hear a professional comment on this possibility.

Brian Conway

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

How Do You Like That Glass Panel? Take Aviation Consumer's User Survey

Virtually every new airplane these days has an electronic flight display system of some kind. Our sister publication Aviation Consumer would like to hear from users of these systems.

Click here to take the survey.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

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.

Rediscover Jet City!
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Royal FBO (Silvio Petirosi Airport, Asunción, Paraguay)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Royal FBO at Silvio Petirosi in Asuncióon, Paraguay.

AVweb reader Fabian Miño brought Royal to our attention, noting that "since there are very few FBO services in Paraguay, I believe the competition is much tougher. ... Royal FBO has made great efforts to be one of the few really high-quality FBOs in Paraguay today."

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!

Online Aircraft-Specific Ground Schools
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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard in IFR Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

I was on V16 just off New York's JFK Airport at 6,000 feet when New York departure called.

"Mooney One Victor Sierra, say airspeed."

"One hundred seventy-five knots."

"Bonanza Five Eight Two, say speed."

"One five five."

"Can you go any faster?"


"Mooney One Victor Sierra, reduce speed to one five zero."

"No Problem. I'll slow it down for the Bonanza."

Unknown Voice:
"Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark."

Paul Millner
via e-mail

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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.