AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 34a

August 24, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: Aerobatic Champion Vicki Cruse Perishes back to top 

IAC President Vicki Cruse Dies In Crash

Former U.S. Aerobatic Champion and Reno racing pilot Vicki Cruse died Saturday when her Edge 540 competition plane crashed at Silverstone race track in England. Saturday was a training day for the World Aerobatic Championships, which run through Aug. 29 and Cruse was one of the members of the U.S. team. Witnesses told the the Telegraph the aircraft "nosedived" into the ground and there was no hope for her survival. Cruse,40, of Santa Paula, Calif., was president of the International Aerobatic Club, which said in its tribute to Cruse that team manager Norm DeWitt "said Cruse was flying the early-round 'Q' program when she lost control of her Zivko Edge 540 aircraft by what appeared to be a mechanical problem in flight. She was at an altitude that prevented her from bailing out of the aircraft."

Cruse was well-liked and well-respected in the aerobatics world and had served as IAC president since 2005. "The USA lost one of its most outstanding pilots, and the IAC lost the finest President we have ever had," DeWitt said. EAA President Tom Poberezny said Cruse epitomized professionalism in the sport. "Vicki was an outstanding competitor and was passionate about flying, her leadership as IAC President, and as an EAA Director," Poberezny said. "Her flying skills and enthusiasm were highly valued. This is a tremendous loss for aviation, EAA and IAC. Our condolences go to Vicki's family and many friends."

Related Content:
Promotional video showcasing Cruse's aviation story

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Boeing to Bring Some Certification Tasks In-House back to top 

FAA Grants Boeing More Autonomy On Certification

Tuesday, the FAA increased the authority of Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division to self-certify its own aircraft. Boeing is set to officially switch to the new system, dubbed Organization Designation Authorization, on Aug. 31, after a training period, according to the Seattle Times. Authority extended to Boeing under the new system allows Boeing employees to perform tasks on behalf of the FAA that include oversight of testing and product standards, along with certification of aircraft technologies and new aircraft designs. Boeing already had in-house inspection programs and much of Boeing's inspection work is already delegated to FAA-appointed in-house company inspectors, who report most of their findings to the FAA through Boeing. The new system extends that authority. The FAA will monitor Boeing's employees through a Boeing Aviation Safety Oversight Office (BASOO), which will review Boeing's own written reports and audit Boeing's internal inspection program.

The FAA's BASOO will start with a staff of eight, of which two will be engineers, and will grow the staff to roughly 30 as Boeing employees take on more responsibilities. Currently, Boeing's inspection work is completed by some 400 in-house company inspectors, according to the Times.

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Airport Manager Asks "Can Patient Survive the Cure?" back to top 

Manager Claims Safety Regs Could Cripple Airport

Ithaca Tompkins Airport manager Bob Nichols has told the County Legislature to oppose federal legislation that might require additional airport firefighting staff, according to the Ithaca Journal. A companion bill to the FAA Reauthorization Act that, among other things, would authorize the FAA to change fire and rescue regulations is being considered by the Senate. The American Association of Airport Executives suggest that the financial impact of adopting the changes that bill might represent could cost nearly $4 billion in the first year without bringing a material improvement in safety for passengers. Still, the Senate bill "does not specifically include any of these proposals," noted the Journal, but the potential for change is clearly scaring people. "To me, it opens up a can of worms," county planning commissioner Ed Marx told the Journal. "Once it goes to the rulemaking phase, there are no further votes. The FAA can just make new rules." As written, the bill authorizes the FAA to change fire and rescue regulations and does not specifically include any proposals that would impose a cost burden on airports.

Opponents fear the FAA could require the purchase of 1,000 emergency vehicles and the hiring of more than 10,000 firefighters at a cost that would be passed on to airlines and passengers, further depressing that segment of the economy. For Tompkins Airport, manager Bob Nichols fears he could be forced to triple his firefighting staff and be forced to expand their facilities as well. He estimates the cost of maintaining that force to be more than $1 million per year.

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 all. Visit CessnaRise.com.
TCAS, ADS-B Now Old News? back to top 

Acoustic Vector Sensing For Traffic Awareness

An associate professor and graduate students at the University of Kansas (KU) have "perfected" a traffic sensing system that does not rely on other aircraft having an active counterpart and may be available for under $10,000, according to a news release from the University of Kansas. The release does not state that the system has been flown, but that it has been tested "in small scale" and "with a ground setup." In those tests, it tracked vehicles that ranged in size "from a full-size helicopter to a model plane, with accuracy of within less than 1 meter." That accuracy held true at distances of more than six miles (10 km), according to KU. The system is based on acoustic vector sensing, which has long been used in underwater applications. Ron Barrett-Gonzalez, associate professor of aerospace engineering at KU, along with graduate students adapted the technology for the flight environment after a Dutch company, MicroFlown Technologies, failed to do so, the release says. In the KU system, information from sensors is fed to a cockpit display "to provide pilots with accurate alerts" and "urge evasive maneuvers," for collision avoidance.

MicroFlown Technologies developed micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) that used acoustic vector sensors to cover the entire audio range and is working to develop systems to source the acoustic location of hostile mortars, missiles and the like to protect ground troops. By using four such sensors, MicroFlown said it could localize and track up to 30 sound sources. Each source can be tracked in bearing and elevation. KU's adaptation of the technology for airborne use now has in process an application for a patent on its system.

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More from the Cutting Edge of Aviation Science back to top 

Missile Defense Laser-Equipped 747 Test Successful

On Aug. 18, a high-power chemical oxygen iodine laser mated to a modified Boeing 747-400F and beam/fire control system designed together to destroy ballistic missiles in boost phase was fired for the first time in flight. The next steps will include more airborne tests before a missile shoot-down demonstration. For the test flight, which launched out of Edwards AFB Tuesday, the laser was fired into an on-board calorimeter, which both captured the beam and measured its power. Team leaders hope that if the program is successful, it will usher in a new era for weapon systems. "We think ABL (airborne laser) will be a game-changer for weapon systems the same way stealth technology transformed aerial combat," Michael Rinn, Boeing vice president and ABL program director, said in a news release. If it progresses as planned, the test regimen will soon ramp up to firing the beam through the aircraft's advanced control/fire control system. That would mark "the first time a megawatt-class laser has been coupled with precise pointing and atmospheric correction in an airborne environment," according to Boeing. Following that progressively comes the more challenging target practice.

Firing tests will gradually step up to more difficult targets and will culminate in the airborne intercept of a ballistic missile in the boost phase of flight. The idea is to destroy the missiles before they are able to launch decoys and at a location where they will potentially fall back to or explode over their launch coordinates as opposed to their target coordinates. The laser itself has been designed by Northrop Grumman, while Lockheed Martin has developed the beam control method and firing system. Boeing hopes the device will succeed in its original goals and also use the aircraft to defend against aircraft, cruise missiles and surface-to-air missiles. The Obama administration cut funding for a second ABL aircraft in its fiscal 2010 defense budget.

Jet Fuel From Seawater Is Possible, Still Impractical

Air contains about .04 percent carbon dioxide, but ocean water holds about 140 times that much -- and using electricity to split the water molecules and then combining them with hydrogen creates a hydrocarbon fuel ... and it works. For now, the problem is that it doesn't work especially well. Navy chemists have gone so far as to process seawater into "unsaturated short-chain hydrocarbons," according to NewScientist, "that with further refining could be made into a kerosene-based jet fuel." If they power the reaction with a clean energy source the military could correctly claim to be flying mostly "carbon neutral." At this stage, the process is still producing an undesired byproduct -- 30 percent methane. It also takes substantially more energy to create the fuel than the fuel itself can yield. Navy chemist Heather Willauer is leading the project and believes the efficiency of the process needs to be significantly improved, which may be achieved by applying a new catalyst to the process.

Early attempts using a cobalt-based catalyst yielded methane, almost exclusively, along with some liquid fuel compounds and waxes. Switching to an iron catalyst shifted the balance to 30/70. But, again, the complex chain of reactions requires a significant amount of energy and every step added to the process is likely to add complications and cost.

Order an Apex Edge Series KFD 840 and Receive an AV8OR Handheld at No Cost
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News Briefs back to top 

TSA Adds Hurdle To Re-creation Of Earhart Flight?

Grace McGuire, now 59, is still pursuing her decades-long dream to finish Amelia Earhart's final flight flying the same model aircraft with the same instrumentation and parts. The journey has already taken McGuire from her home in New Jersey to the Central Coast of California, where she says it was almost derailed by TSA regulations. Having acquired an original Lockheed L-10E in 1984, McGuire eventually had the aircraft shipped in sections to Santa Maria Airport where it was to be rebuilt, made airworthy, and readied. The plan was to fly it to Miami, then down the East Coast of South America to Dakar, making every effort to fly a route nearly identical to Earhart's ... "except the outcome -- I'm coming back," McGuire told a local CBS news affiliate. Unfortunately, the TSA requirement that each airport tenant provide an airport issued-I.D. card put the project that's already faced considerable financial and logistical hurdles "in shambles," according to McGuire. At Santa Maria, airport tenants are required to provide a filled-out application and proof of identification. In McGuire's case, where numerous specialty mechanics were needed to reconstruct the aircraft, the task was proving difficult. But now, the San Diego Air and Space Museum has stepped in.

The San Diego museum has offered to rebuild McGuire's Lockheed, putting her back on target for making her international flight. "It's going to take a little while to get organized again and to put my aircraft back together again," she told CBS news, but "I am going to make the flight." McGuire is convinced that Earhart died in part due to faulty coordinates. She told The New York Times in 2005 that she was excited to "get back up there using my coordinates." She added, "We can quiet a lot of people who have been making a mess of history." Ann Pelegreno successfully re-created Earhart's flight in 1967 flying a Lockheed Electra 10A, dropping a wreath at Howland Island on July 2, 1967, thirty years after Earhart was lost with her navigator, Fred Noonan.

World Ballooners Continue Tour For Charity

The historic flight that on March 20, 1999, made Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard the first to fly around the world nonstop in a balloon also moved the men to action. "We simply could not accept the rewards and adulation which came with success without revisiting the perverse inequality that allow us to realize a dream whilst unwittingly overflying children dying needlessly," Jones told the BBC. As a result, the men set up the Winds of Hope charity with the $1 million prize money they were awarded for making the successful record-setting flight. Jones will travel next to Australia as part of a world tour, according to the BBC, to fly a replica balloon and raise money for the charity. Winds of Hope currently is funding prevention of the gangrene-like disease Noma, which kills roughly 80,000 of the 100,000 (mostly children) who contract it each year. The first country to benefit from a Winds of Hope prevention program has seen an apparent decline of 90 percent, according to Jones.

The original flight set seven world records. Jones and Piccard have continued their aeronautical innovation, too. The men in 2006 launched the Solar Impulse project, which is led by Piccard and Andre Borschberg, and intends to build and fly an aircraft around the world using only solar energy.

The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

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!
Make King County International Airport/Boeing Field your flight destination! Conveniently located just 5 miles from downtown Seattle, KBFI is positioned in the center of the growing economy of the Puget Sound region, serving as a hub for business travel, private jets, and general aviation travel. Partner with aviation experts when you fly to Seattle. Make your destination King County International Airport/Boeing Field! For more information, visit online.
New on AVweb back to top 

Pat Patten of Flying Medical Service Talks to IFR Magazine About Flying the Gauges in the Wilds of Africa

File Size 11.2 MB / Running Time 16:25

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In the U.S., IFR flying may be all about radar vectors and ATC. But in Tanzania, it's mostly self-reporting your position in uncontrolled airspace. Come hear how Flying Medical Service pilot Pat Patten flies hundreds of miles on dead reckoning, stays out of the worst of the thunderstorms, and avoids running into elephants on the runway in the dark of the African night.

To read the full article — and others like it — subscribe to IFR magazine.

Click here to listen. (11.2 MB, 16:25)

AVweb Insider Blog: NTSB's Snit Fit

The NTSB's work is so serious, so respected, and so vital that we don't expect them to throw a fit when a group like the air traffic controllers' association issues a press release that's a little off the government message. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues why we should expect better of the safety agency.

Read more.

VAL Avionics Introduces the Thinnest COM Radio on the Market: At 1" High — The COM 2000!
We are proud to introduce the smallest panel-mounted COM radio available today. The COM 2000 features active and standby frequency, push-button flip-flop, and 15 memory locations with user-defined alphanumeric channel identifiers. Its 3/8" character display is easy to read from any angle and in any lighting condition. Learn more at VALAvionics.com.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Loss of Control in an F-16 Fighter, Test Pilot on Yaw Departure

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

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.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Related Content:
Don't miss our video tour of the Viper cockpit with Major Brophy.

Video Marketplace Spotlight

Classic Cockpits DVDs
Rick Searle Productions takes you behind the stick of some of the world's most incredible classic airplanes — the Douglas DC-3, the PBY Catalina, the de Havilland Vampire, and the Avro Lancaster — in a series of Classic Cockpits DVDs.

Click here to watch the video (and discover other great products) at AVweb's Video Marketplace.

Online Aircraft-Specific Ground Schools
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, through its Office of Professional Education, now offers a series of aircraft-specific ground schools: Boeing 737 Classic — NG, 747, 757, 767 and 777; as well as Airbus 319, 320, 330 and 340; and the Bombardier CRJ 200. For a complete list, visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's web site at ERAU.edu/professionaleducation.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Griffing Flying Service (KSKY, Sandusky, Ohio)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Griffing Flying Service at Sandusky Airport (KSKY) in Sandusky, Ohio.

Sometimes a great FBO can surprise you when you're not expecting to find one. AVweb reader Josh Johnson was on his way to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky when he discovered Griffing. John confesses:

I was initially a little disappointed when I saw on the wall that there would be a $10 landing fee and a $25 parking fee for my Cessna 172. I thought I had arrived at another of the fee-happy FBOs that seem to be popping up everywhere. What I didn't realize is that this fee also included transportation to and from Cedar Point at no charge for as many people as we could fit into our airplane. Suddenly, instead of moaning about what would likely have cost us $80 for a round trip taxi, we're getting not only airport services but also dropped off and picked up at the front gate of the park! I think this is one of the best values out there, and part of the fees are waived if there is a fuel purchase!

We did have a little problem: When we arrived there wasn't room for everyone in their full-size van, as several aircraft had arrived at once. Not a problem. Mr. Griffing himself gave us a ride to the park in his van — and it was his day off! All in all, an excellent experience!

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!

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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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"

A few years ago, when I drove up to my airport, there was an Aeronca there with two men looking at a chart.

One of the men with the chart:
"This is Catherine, Alabama, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir, it is."

The man with the chart:
"Can you show me Catherine on this chart?"

"Sure. But, um — how did you know you were in Catherine if you couldn't find it on the chart."

Second man looking at the chart:
"Well, we looked on that coon dog's collar, and it had the town name on it."

Anonymous tale
as told to IFR magazine's "On the Air"

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.