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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."
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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
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.
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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
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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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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.
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
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.
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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.
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.
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Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 200,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips
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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.
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.
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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.
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!
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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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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