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The horrific midair accident above the Hudson River last Saturday that killed nine people in a Piper Saratoga and a Europcopter AS350 helicopter has prompted calls from officials across the Northeast
to impose stricter restrictions on the VFR corridor through New York City's congested airspace. On Tuesday, 15 members of Congress sent a letter to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt comparing the lack of
regulation to the "Wild West" and saying "we should seriously consider banning all flights below 1,100 feet until radar systems are available to track them." The National Air Transportation
Association said this week the media attention following the accident has been misplaced. "The characterization of the airspace as devoid of regulation is inaccurate," said NATA in a news release. "The airspace being referred to as 'uncontrolled' only indicates that there is no active radar-based
control of flights. Operations in this airspace are still subject to numerous regulatory requirements."
NATA President James Coyne added: "Until the NTSB releases their findings, I believe it is imperative that we follow the advice of Mayor Bloomberg and avoid unnecessary speculation." The letter
from Congress suggested that all aircraft in the corridor should be required to file flight plans, and "at a minimum, the FAA must require the installation of the Traffic Collision Avoidance System
(TCAS-II), and a Mode C Transponder, on all aircraft that seat less than 10 people." The group called for the FAA to act not only to regulate the Hudson River corridor, but "to provide greater
oversight of small aircraft operations throughout the country."
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The NTSB says the FAA should require aviation medical examiners to evaluate pilots for risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea and ask about any previous diagnosis of the disorder. The recommendation
(click here for a PDF) followed the board's investigation of an incident in February 2008 in which both crew members on a
go! airlines flight in Hawaii fell asleep in the cockpit during the cruise phase of an inter-island flight and
overflew their destination. The NTSB investigation found the captain's undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea was a
contributing factor. In its safety recommendation, the NTSB said the FAA should implement a program to identify pilots at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea and require that those pilots provide
evidence of having been appropriately evaluated and effectively treated, if treatment is deemed necessary, before being granted unrestricted medical certification. No injuries resulted from the go!
airlines incident. Both pilots lost their jobs.
The NTSB investigation of the incident also named as a contributing factor the flight crew's recent work schedules, which included several consecutive days of early-morning start times. This likely
caused the pilots to receive less daily sleep than is needed to sustain optimal alertness and resulted in increased levels of daytime fatigue, the NTSB said. The board also said the FAA should conduct
research examining how pilot fatigue is affected by the unique characteristics of short-haul operations and identify methods for reducing those effects, including research into the interactive effects
of shift timing, consecutive days of work, number of legs flown, and the availability of rest breaks. The go! airlines crew had been flying starting at 05:40 for three days in a row, and the NTSB
cited a NASA report showing that early start times make it harder for flight crews to get adequate sleep. The pilots were also flying eight legs a day, the NTSB said, requiring many high-workload
takeoffs and landings.
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Boeing announced this week that it has received a $500,000 contract from the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory
to demonstrate the capabilities of its A160T Hummingbird, an unmanned rotorcraft. The Marines are studying the possibility of using the vehicle as a replacement for trucks to deliver supplies. In
flights that will take place by February, Boeing said it will demonstrate that the A160T can deliver at least 2,500 pounds of cargo from one simulated forward-operating base to another in fewer than
six hours per day for three consecutive days. "Since 2007, when the A160T made its first flight, it has shown it has the ability to carry multiple payloads and perform at various altitudes and
speeds," said John Groenenboom, A160T program manager for Boeing. "We are confident it will perform well for the Marines." Boeing recently created a new Unmanned Airborne Systems division.
The A160T, 35 feet long with a 36-foot rotor diameter, has a 2,500-pound payload capacity. It features a unique optimum-speed-rotor technology that significantly improves overall performance
efficiency by adjusting the rotor's speed at different altitudes, gross weights and cruise speeds, Boeing said. It can hover at 20,000 feet, cruise at more than 140 knots, and fly for over 18 hours
without refueling. Also this week, Boeing said the new UAS division will work with Schiebel Industries, of Austria, to
market Schiebel's S-100 Camcopter, a compact UAV that provides a platform for a wide variety of payloads, including a stabilized video system for surveillance and reconnaissance. Boeing's UAS division
also includes ScanEagle, SolarEagle, and MQ-X.
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The FAA Airworthiness Directive that AVweb wrote about last week regarding Superior Air Parts cylinders involves exclusively cylinders sold by SAP and installed by third parties
on already fielded engines.
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Any buyers interested in the assets of Eclipse Aviation must put in a bid with the federal bankruptcy court by the end of this week, or the sale will go to the current high bidder, Eclipse Aerospace,
which has made an offer of $40 million, the Associated Press reported this week. If other qualified bidders appear, an auction will be held as early as next week. If no one else bids, Eclipse Aerospace would close the deal
by the end of this month. The owners of Eclipse Aerospace, Mike Press and Mason Holland, have said they would keep the company in Albuquerque, provide service and upgrades for the current fleet, and
eventually restart production. Both are owners of Eclipse jets. The Eclipse Owners Group, which at one time was also seeking control of the company assets, has abandoned its effort and now supports
No other likely U.S. bidders have emerged, and according to AOPA, any bidder with a foreign component
must pass a federal security review. Buyers in China, Russia, and Europe have shown interest in the company, AOPA says, but time is running out for them to field a successful bid.
The doors are closed at Epic Air, in Bend, Ore., and a notice on the door states that the building's landlord has "taken possession of the premises" because Epic is 20 days overdue on a lease payment,
the Bend Bulletin has reported. About a month ago, Epic had scaled back to about 15
employees, but a company spokesman told AVweb at the time that the doors were still open and work on airplanes was continuing. The
company sells several kit aircraft, including the Epic LT turboprop, which are assembled by customers with expert help at the company's build center in Bend. One customer, Rich Lucibella, of Florida,
told the Bulletin that he and a group of other LT owners may try to take over control of the company. "Our first efforts are going to be to conserve the assets of this company because we believe the
[Epic LT] is still a wonderful design, anyone in the general aviation community knows that, and after that, a way we can simultaneously keep this company going in Central Oregon and finish the
planes," Lucibella said.
According to the Bulletin, Lucibella is the owner of Blue Sky Avgroup, which in June filed suit against Epic, alleging that Blue Sky had paid Epic for a PT6 engine that had not been delivered.
Calls to the Epic company phone on Tuesday went unanswered, and messages could not be left because the mailbox was full. Messages left for Epic CEO Rick Schrameck were not returned by our deadline. At
Sun 'n Fun in April, the company held two news conferences to unveil new designs, but at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in
July, the company did not make a showing.
The New Meridian G1000 Commanding
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Last week, GAMA released some sobering numbers about aircraft orders (and cancellations) for the
current year. In response, we asked AVweb readers to predict when we might see the bottom of the current downturn for aviation.
Reader responses ran the gamut of possible choices. The most popular answer (by a hair) was that it could be several years before the aviation industry levels out or begins to
improve. Following close behind was the choice There's still some pain coming, but the light in the tunnel isn't a train (anymore). A scant 16 AVweb readers thought the improvement had
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.)
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.
You and Your Dollars Go Further in a Diamond
When smart pilots compare safety statistics and resale values, plus maintenance, insurance and operating costs, it's clear that investing in a Diamond pays big dividends. Top that off with
Diamond's outstanding performance, luxurious interior and cutting-edge technology, and there's no question
you'll go further in
The Canadian government has come up with a creative way of ensuring the orders keep flowing into Montreal-based
Bombardier. It's helping to finance the purchases for Bombardier's customers. Last week, International Trade Minister Stockwell Day announced the government was writing a check to Scandinavian
Airlines SAS for $173 million CAD toward the cost (up to $350 million total) of eight aircraft from Bombardier. If SAS defaults on the loan, Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook. "[Export
Development Canada] is providing repayable loans to ensure the aircraft production sector remains strong during this economic downturn," he said in a news release.
The aircraft in question, a mix of Q400 turboprops and CRJ 900 regionals, were part of a deal struck between Bombardier and SAS last year after a series of landing-gear collapses prompted SAS to
temporarily ground its fleet of Q400s. Although the gear collapses were determined not to be related to design or manufacturing faults, Bombardier offered SAS $164 million CAD in cash and credits in
exchange for an order of a total of 27 aircraft and options for 24 more. Bombardier says the government loan to SAS is a help. "It's the customer's responsibility to finance the aircraft, but it does
help Bombardier to deliver the aircraft, that's for sure," spokesman Marc Duchesne said in an interview with the The Canadian Press. Duchesne said the financing deal meets
international standards for government assistance to aerospace companies.
Dassault says its Falcon 7X is the first intercontinental bizjet to be certified for steep approaches into some of the trickiest -- but
most convenient -- executive airports. Dropping into London City Airport and Lugano, Switzerland, for instance, requires up to a 6-degree approach angle and a similarly aggressive takeoff. London City
is particularly challenging in that there's only 4327 feet of runway available for landing and 3,944 feet for takeoff. It must accomplish both within strict noise limits. The certification means that
a business person taking off from New York or Los Angeles can be in downtown London a few minutes after landing rather than having to drive an hour or more from one of the other London-area airports.
"Business aviation is all about the need for efficiency and access to hard to reach places and an airport like London City combines the two," said Dassault Falcon CEO John Rosanvallon. "Direct access
to this important financial center is sure to benefit our U.S. based Falcon 7X customers, allowing them to be in meetings moments after landing."
As might be expected, conducting approaches at twice the standard angle takes some training and pilots executing the approaches have to spend a day at the company's training facility in Burgess
Hill, England. Training will also soon be offered in Morristown, N.J. Dassault Falcon is also amending the aircraft's manuals to reflect the new capability.
Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems has tested a new unmanned aerial vehicle based on the Diamond DA42 light twin. The
aircraft is named the Dominator II and flew for the first time in late July. According to Defence Professionals, the pilotless
platform builds on the notoriously long legs of the diesel-powered DA42. The publication says the twin can stay airborne for up to 28 hours with a 900-pound payload. It will operate at speeds ranging
from 75 to 190 knots and has a maximum operating altitude of 30,000 feet.
It's worth noting that the Dominator uses the Centurion (Thielert) diesels and Centurion CEO Jaspar Wolfsson told AVweb at AirVenture Oshkosh that the lighter weight of the Centurion
compared to the iron-block Austro engine that Diamond has developed is an important factor in the endurance calculations for the UAV. Diamond Aircraft spokesman Peter Maurer disputes Wolffson's math,
however, and told AVweb that all future DA42s, including the UAVs, will have the Austro. "In fact, for long endurance operations, the heavier Austro Engines are better suited because their improved
specific fuel consumption results in an overall lower propulsion system weight (including fuel), and the more powerful 170 hp engine with better high density altitude performance permits higher gross
weight and higher payload than is possible with the Centurion engines," Maurer said. "This specific demonstrator UAV project was started prior to the availability of the Austro engine and that is the
only reason why this aircraft is equipped with these engines." Meanwhile, Israeli Aeronautics Defense Systems spokesman Avi Leumi says interest is running high in the UAV. "Interest and demand for the
Dominator II have far exceeded our expectations, and we believe that in the coming years Aeronautics will sell dozens of systems around the world. There is tremendous potential for civilian use of
UAVs," he told Defence Professionals.
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."
VAL Avionics Introduces the Thinnest COM Radio on the Market: At 1" High The COM 2000!
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Plenty of voices are calling immediate action of some sort in the wake of last week's midair collision over the Hudson River. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Editorial
Director Paul Bertorelli says New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a welcome voice on reason amid the clamor.
The common lament among AVweb staff at EAA AirVenture is that we spend a full week at the show but it seems like we see hardly anything. Sure, we cover the news, interview lots
of interesting people and make sure there's a wide variety of video, podcasts, photos and written information to give our readers a good picture of what's going on. But few of us have ever gone to
AirVenture for the pure joy of it, and that's been an unintentional gap in our coverage.
Kitplanes Editor Marc Cook came across this video on YouTube by James Perkins, of Georgetown, Texas, who has elevated getting the most out of Oshkosh to high art. James, who's
been going by the nickname Slick since before he can remember, is a carded aerobatic pilot who competes in his Pitts S-1C. He's also an Eagle Scout and will soon be a freshman at Texas A&M where he
has a full ride ROTC scholarship as a future naval aviator. He'll turn 19 next month.
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Carlson Aviation at Chan Gurney Municipal Airport (KYKN) in
Yankton, South Dakota.
AVweb reader Steve Wolf stopped there on his way to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh and made it a planned stop on his way back:
Not ony did they have the cheapest fuel around ($3.50/gal), but they fed all the transient crews for free Sloppy Joes on the way out and hot dogs on the way back! (They ran out of their 100
lbs. of Sloppy Joe meat.) I think YKN was the second busiest airport in the world last week. I need more thumbs "two thumbs up" falls way short.
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 ***
Yeah, yeah: "Awesome photos!," "Wow!," etc., etc. you hear it from us every week, and we imagine you've alread written it off as hyperbole from a bunch of
guys trapped in a tiny room with a computer getting way too excited over some airplane pictures. But this week's batch of photos is awesome. So awesome, in fact, that you
dare not miss this week's slideshow (about 1/3 of the way down the home page in the blue bar).
After much fretting and careful deliberation, we finally decided on a "POTW" winner and it's Paul T. Gernhardt of Ashburn,
Washington. This gorgeous photo was taken early in the morning at the Seaplane Base during AirVenture.
Jay Beck of Redmond, Oregon was at AirVenture, too and brought back this show-stopping photo of the Airbus A380. Several of you sent us
photos of this airborne behemoth, so look for one or two more in this week's slideshow on the home page. ;)
Another AVweb reader at the show was Jerry Wang of Brunswick, Ohio. As Jerry will tell you, the weather was great this year but those
Wisconsin summers always leave room for a thunderstorm here and there ... .
As much fun as air shows can be, at some point we all feel like this guy. Stan Lindholm of Westlake, Ohio immortalized the moment and after
a long, hard day of looking at airplane pictures, we plan to follow this guy's example and catch some Zs!
Remember what we said about the slideshow on AVweb's home page? Good eyeballing over there, folks!
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.
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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.
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
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