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NATCA AT ODDS OVER HUDSON MIDAIR The NTSB says it's sticking
to its version of the events leading to the Aug. 8 midair collision of a
Piper Saratoga and a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River
despite allegations by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association
that a press release issued last Friday
has a significant error. "We stand by the information we put out on
Friday," NTSB spokesman Terry Williams told AVweb on Sunday,
adding that he had no further comment. In a podcast
interview with AVweb on Sunday, NATCA spokesman Ray Adams
said the union has asked the NTSB to correct a statement in the press
release that says the Teterboro controller working the Piper had the
helicopter on his radar screen before the collision but failed to warn
the Piper pilot of the potential conflict. The passage in question says:
"At that time there were several aircraft detected by radar in the area
immediately ahead of the airplane, including the accident helicopter,
all of which were potential traffic conflicts for the airplane. The
Teterboro tower controller, who was engaged in a phone call at the time,
did not advise the pilot of the potential traffic conflicts." Adams said
he's reviewed the tapes and the helicopter doesn't appear until seven
seconds after the Teterboro controller handed the Piper off to Newark.
SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL VIDEO This summer, while visiting with
a Canadian Forces experimental test pilot stationed at Edwards Air Force
Base in Southern California, something interesting happened. Actually,
it happened the week before, but the whole event became more interesting
while we were there. While flying a test F-16 to evaluate a system
software upgrade, a test pilot lost control of and appeared to
over-stress the test aircraft. The first part was expected. The second
part wasn't. But when the engineers got a hold of the test data things
became a bit more interesting. AVweb obtained clearance to run
footage of the event and our test pilot tour guide, Major Desmond
"Duece" Brophy explained what happened. Have
a look for yourself. More...
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AND FAA "REACH DEAL" ON LABOR CONTRACT Since 2006, when the
FAA imposed work rules and pay cuts on controllers who were seeking a
new labor agreement, the relationship between the groups has been marked
by a failure to see common ground -- ground they may have just found.
Under the terms of a labor agreement reached Thursday, some 15,000
controllers would see an increase in pay and benefits, according to The
Associated Press. However, neither the FAA nor the National Air Traffic
Controllers Association (NATCA) has yet stepped forward to reveal the
tentative agreement's finer details. A joint statement released by the
two states that under the tentative agreement, pay standards will be
"more equitable," the FAA will be able to "more effectively" redeploy
controllers through the use of incentive pay, and controllers will win
greater work schedule flexibility and a new process for the review of
grievances. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt claimed the situation "marks
a new day" in labor relations and "a new spirit of cooperation" between
the two groups. He also indicated he hoped to move on to other issues.
NATCA now has 45 days to ratify the agreement. More...
LAYOFFS LOOM FOR HAWKER BEECHCRAFT Hawker Beechcraft has cut
2,800 workers (25 percent of its workforce) since October 2008, but amid
a declining backlog and depressed demand company officials expect more
cost-cutting and more significant but unspecified job cuts, according to
the Wichita Eagle. In the second quarter, the company saw year-over-year
delivery numbers drop from 129 to 78. While orders taken from April to
June amount to $450 million, cancelled orders during the same period
represent $366 million in lost revenue. The route taken in 2009 by
NetJets may help explain the market environment that's led Hawker
Beechcraft to its latest cost-cutting and cash-conservation plans.
NetJets in 2009 cancelled orders for 12 Hawker Beechcraft aircraft and
deferred all scheduled deliveries until the end of 2010. "The market
conditions remain very challenging," CEO Bill Boisture told analysts. He
did not say how many employees he would be laying off or exactly when.
But the cuts are coming. More...
Business Aviation Will Help
Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis
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
DEMO TEAM PLANES COLLIDE The commander of the elite Russian
Knights air demonstration team died Sunday after his SU27 collided with
another during a rehearsal for the MAKS-2009 air show in Moscow. Col.
Igor Tkachenko was among three crewmen who ejected from two aircraft
after the collision. The other two were in "satisfactory" condition
according to early reports. The jets hit a row of houses and up to five
people were hurt, one woman seriously. More...
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CRASH CONTROLLERS SUSPENDED, COLLISION VIDEO RELEASED The FAA
has suspended a Teterboro air traffic controller and a supervisor on
duty at the time a Piper Saratoga and a sightseeing helicopter collided
over the Hudson River. That announcement came as chilling
video from a tourist on a boat on the river was released by NBC News
showing the Piper approach the helicopter from the right quarter, bank
slightly right and have its right wing severed by the rotor of the
helicopter. Two men and a 16-year-old boy died on the Saratoga, and the
pilot and five Italian tourists, including a 16-year-old boy, died on
the helicopter as both dropped into the river. According to CNN, the FAA says the controller
working the Piper was on the telephone conducting an "inappropriate
conversation" when the collision occurred. The agency says the shift
supervisor was not in the building. The National Air Traffic Controllers
Union issued a statement urging there not be "a rush to judgment about
the behavior of any controller" before the results of a thorough
investigation. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told CNN that while the rules
were broken, that didn't necessarily have anything to do with the
RELEASE ON HUDSON MIDAIR The NTSB reported Friday that the
Teterboro controller who last spoke with the pilot of the Piper Saratoga
that last Saturday collided with a Eurocopter over the Hudson River,
killing all nine aboard both aircraft, told the pilot to contact Newark
on 127.85 about 40 seconds before the aircraft reached the river and did
not warn the pilot of traffic. "At that time," says the report, "there
were several aircraft detected by radar in the area immediately ahead of
the airplane, including the accident helicopter, all of which were
potential traffic conflicts for the airplane." The NTSB adds that, "the
Teterboro tower controller, who was engaged in a phone call at the time,
did not advise the pilot of the potential traffic conflicts." The Newark
tower controller called Teterboro asking that the controller instruct
the pilot to turn "to resolve the potential conflicts," but at the time
of the call the pilot was confirming with Teterboro the frequency
change. The Teterboro controller did then make multiple attempts to
contact the Piper, but the pilot did not respond. The collision occurred
shortly thereafter, but not before setting off aural and visual
"conflict alert" indications at both Teterboro and Newark air traffic
control towers. In interviews with the NTSB both controllers stated they
did not recall hearing or seeing the alerts. More...
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WHO CRASHED AFTER DRINKS AND DRUGS SENTENCED A pilot who on
November 15 clipped a house while crashing his Cessna 182 (containing a
bag of more than 100 prescription pills), left the scene before rescuers
arrived, and was later found to have had cocaine, marijuana, opiates and
a prescription sedative in his system has been sentenced to 30 days
work-release jail time. Sean M. Oskvarek, 45, also earned two years
probation at his sentencing last week and he did lose his pilot
certificate as part of the federal investigation of the crash. "He
admitted having three or four drinks before he got into the plane,"
prosecutor Audriana Anderson told Chicago's Daily Herald, but Oskvarek's
blood alcohol content was only .010 when they caught up with him. The
injured Oskvarek had left his 182 inverted in a residential yard east of
Brookeridge Air Park in DuPage County, Illinois, and was arrested after
police tracked him down and took him to the hospital. More...
COMMANDS IN THE COCKPIT Some pilots swear their airplanes
talk to them but now a Troy, N.Y., company has developed a system that
allows pilots to talk to their airplanes. VoiceFlight
Systems says it has received FAA certification for its VFS101 pilot
speech recognition and that it's the first such system to get a
supplementary type certificate (STC) from the FAA. Inventor Scott
Merritt says the patented system allows pilots to accurately enter
flight plans, edit them, make corrections and make changes using voice
commands. "The VFS101 uses aviation specific recognition technology to
address the challenging conditions found in the aircraft cockpit. It is
this technology that allows the VFS101 to meet the rigorous performance
requirements of FAA certification," Merritt said in a press release.
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Once again, know-nothing politicians are reacting and
not thinking. The two river VFR exclusions in New York have been an
absolute necessity for helicopter and floatplane ops here for many
years, and, as one who has spent thousands of hours in the corridor,
flying floatplanes into 23rd Street and Wall Street (when it was open to
us), I have strong feelings about any further regulation here. I will
say this, though: Except for a fatal mid-air between an NYPD helo and a
commercial floatplane in 1982, these accidents in the river have
involved "out of town" amateur pilots.
These VFR exclusions are
tricky, and this is recognized by the professional pilots in the NYC
area who use them. I recall that at least once every year, both
helicopter and floatplane pilots attended a briefing at FAA facilities
to discuss new or existing procedures involving flying this airspace and
the river exclusions. These meetings were invaluable for all of us as we
began another busy season flying "down the river."
"regulation" that needs to happen here is for [someone to devise] a way
to formally educate out-of-town pilots on the nature of conditions and
procedures prior to allowing them to penetrate the East and Hudson River
Exclusions. We should leave it to the pilot community and FAA to figure
out how to really put this into effect, but it would go a long way to
avoiding more of these tragedies.
Click through to read the rest of this week's
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DISPUTES NTSB VERSION OF HUDSON COLLISION The National Air
Traffic Controllers Association says the NTSB has made a big mistake in
its early assessment of the midair collision between a Piper Saratoga
and a sightseeing helicopter over the Hudson River on August 8. The NTSB
declined detailed comment to AVweb, but Editor-in-Chief Russ
Niles spoke with NATCA rep Ray Adams, who says that contrary to
the NTSB's press statement, the Teterboro controller working the Piper
could not have warned the pilot of a potential conflict with the
INSIDER BLOG: HUDSON MIDAIR LET THE HOWLING
BEGIN 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. More...
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VIDEO: LOSS OF CONTROL IN AN F-16 FIGHTER, TEST PILOT ON YAW
DEPARTURE At Edwards Air Force Base, they
still test F-16 fighters, because each software upgrade and each new
weapons package introduces new parameters. Experimental test pilots need
to identify the aircraft's performance limits, and they need to know how
it will perform before their brothers- and sisters-in-arms take upgraded
Vipers into combat. This is one of those tests, and Air Force pilot
Desmond Brophy walks us through it step-by-step.
ROWING TEAM AIDS DITCHING RESCUE A British charity rowing team
raced to the scene of a ditching by an Irish pilot in the Irish Sea
Wednesday and were in the process of throwing him a line when a rescue
helicopter arrived and winched him to safety. One of the rowers had a
video camera with him. More...
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Our latest "FBO
of the Week" was suggested by Luc Premont and the gang at Dream
Aircraft, who discovered Jamestown Aviation at KJHW on the way to AirVenture.
On our way to
Oshkosh from CZBM (Bromont, Québec, Canada), we decided to go south
of the Great Lakes because of bad weather. We stopped at Jamestown
Airport for fuel and an update on the weather for our next leg. Leonard
J. Nalbone, the general manager, was busy like a bee with a few small
jets and crew to take care of but even as busy as he was, this
guy took the time to breif us on the weather that was coming, which was
pretty bad, gave us the opportunity to put our two Tundras in a hangar,
and even helped us push them there. After all that, he gave us a car so
we could head downtown for a meal ... . What a great way to be treated
when you get down to the USA from Canada! This guy is a giving us a good
reason to fly in the US.
Peter Drucker Says, "The
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While in the pattern at Islip, New
York, during a quiet time, we'd performed about 20 touch-and-goes, each
time receiving a bland "cleared for touch-and-go" from the
tower. Eventually, a Southwest Boeing 737 called the tower
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Aviation Publications Paul
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
Contributing Editors Mary Grady Glenn
Features Editor Kevin
van West Mariano
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editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not
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