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The FAA said last week it is ready to move into a new phase of its testing for the NextGen system, specifying precise
times at which aircraft will cross a navigation fix. The new flight tests will be conducted starting this fall, in cooperation with Embry Riddle's aviation consortium, the FAA said. The new
technology, called "4D trajectory based operations," will optimize an aircraft's flight path from takeoff to landing, the FAA said, improving efficiency and capacity in the national airspace system.
"It also gets to the heart of the Next Generation Air Transportation System: moving aircraft from Point A to Point B with greater efficiency, saving time, money and fuel," the FAA said.
Flight demonstrations of the new flight management system will help researchers determine how well aircraft avionics predict and execute the optimum trajectory of an aircraft while sharing the
information with ground systems. The results will help them to better understand how well aircraft systems are able to compute the most efficient path between Point A and Point B and comply with time
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Cirrus Aircraft became the latest manufacturer to announce layoffs this week but most of the 85 people losing their jobs are office workers rather than production staff. "These are challenging days
for Cirrus, but the decision made is in the best interest in the entire company," VP of Marketing Todd Simmons told reporters. "Our outlook is still positive. We are making forward progress within
the industry." Cirrus's announcement came on the heels of Hawker Beechcraft's announcement earlier this week that about 300 staff are being let go and there are also reports that more cuts are coming
The Hawker Beechcraft layoffs came to light in a filing by the company to the State of Kansas and the Cessna cuts have not been formally announced. Wichita media is reporting the future cuts at
Cessna will likely revolve around statutory holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
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Aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian came to EAA AirVenture last month to collect the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, and this month he topped that off with his first win ever in a Red Bull Air Race, after four years of competition. Goulian edged out Britain's Paul Bonhomme for first in the Budapest race, which takes place
over a four-mile course along the Danube River, flying between pylons and under a bridge. "It feels amazing," Goulian said after clocking a winning time of 1:12.51. He got off to a slow start in this
year's first two races, before making changes to his engine. "We made an airplane that was fast through the air but didn't focus on the horsepower," he said. "I felt like I was flying in a rowboat.
After we changed the engine, it allowed me to just let the airplane fly and I haven't had to push it so hard." After winning the Budapest race, Goulian said he felt gratified. "After four years of
hard work this is amazing. I knew we had an airplane that could do it. It's a great win." The win moved Goulian up to 8th place in the overall championship, with 18 points.
This year's air race series is shaping up to be the most competitive ever, organizers say. The four races so far have been won by four different pilots. There has also been a record total of 11
different pilots (out of 15) that have made it into the Top 5 at least once. The next race in the series is scheduled for Sept. 12 and 13 in Portugal, and the series will finish up Oct. 3 and 4 in
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The Air Line Pilots Association on Tuesday asked for an immediate federal ban on all shipments of lithium batteries on passenger and cargo aircraft until new regulations are in place to ensure
their safe transport. ALPA said its concern extends only to batteries packed as cargo,
not to batteries in consumer products that passengers (or pilots) might carry aboard. "ALPA has long called for regulations to ensure that safety is the first priority in transporting shipments of
lithium batteries aboard airliners," said Mark Rogers, director of ALPA's Dangerous Goods Programs. "Now the evidence of a clear and present danger is mounting. We need an immediate ban on these
dangerous goods to protect airline passengers, crews, and cargo." ALPA said three recent incidents have demonstrated the hazards of the battery shipments.
Those incidents occurred on board U.S. aircraft in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, the Dominican Republic, and Honolulu. None resulted in injuries. ALPA noted that the NTSB recommended that lithium battery
shipments should be regulated as dangerous goods after a fire aboard a DC-8 in Philadelphia in 2006. Stricter rules should require appropriate packaging, labeling, marking, testing, and pilot
notification, ALPA says. If federal agencies don't take action, ALPA President John Prater said his organization will ask Congress to intervene. FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told USA Today the government sees no need for an emergency ban on lithium
battery shipments, because strict new rules are already in the works. "We're monitoring the situation," Brown said. "We understand there have been incidents." The new rules will be drafted by the
federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which has been working on the project for two years. The Minneapolis incident
occurred Aug. 14, when a fire started in a FedEx cargo container containing battery-powered smokeless cigarettes shortly before the jet landed in Minneapolis. The shipment of bulk non-rechargeable
lithium batteries on passenger jets has been prohibited since 2004 (PDF).
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Pilots N Paws, a nonprofit that launched last year with the aim to help fly shelter pets to new homes and save them from euthanasia, plans to airlift 5,000 animals during the eight days starting
Sept. 12. The organization hopes the airlift will encourage more pilots to donate their time (and airplanes) to the cause, and bring attention to the plight of abandoned pets, which are euthanized at
the rate of 4 million per year. Many of those animals could be saved if they could be transported from areas where there are too many pets to other parts of the U.S. where they are in demand. The
event will also help to promote general aviation as a force for good in our communities, the organizers say. "General aviation in this country is threatened," says the group's Web site, citing
Homeland Security directives and user fees. "We want to see general aviation perceived by the public accurately as a driving force in our economy ... We want to see general aviation free of these
threats." Pilots who would like to volunteer to fly an animal rescue transport can visit the Pilots N Paws Web site for more info.
Pilots N Paws does not directly arrange the flights, but acts as an information portal where pilots can find needs listed and contact the shelters to work out the details. In the 18 months that
Pilots N Paws has been operating, about 600 pilots have signed up and over 1,000 pets have been saved. Click here for a recent USA Today story about the PNP 5000 event. Click here for AVweb's podcast interview with Pilots n Paws
founder John Wehrenberg in April.
Fourteen-year-old Joseph Sutherin got the memorable first day of school he hoped for, when his father dropped him off in the schoolyard in a Hughes 300 helicopter early Monday morning. But his
father Bart got more than he bargained for, when school officials "freaked out," according to the Orlando Sentinel, and called the sheriff and the FAA. The elder Sutherin said he had just hoped to "make a positive impression on the other students." Joseph, an honors student,
said he just thought it would be fun. "It would be extraordinary, and I could say, 'Yeah, I flew into the school in a helicopter,'" he told the Sentinel. An FAA official said it didn't appear that any
regulations had been violated. Sutherin, a father of three, is certified to fly the helicopter and landed in a clear area away from students.
Principal David Cunningham seemed to find the event disruptive. "It's not something that needs to happen every day -- or ever," he told the Sentinel.
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The FAA has released a proposed update to its rules for the certification of light jets. The changes aim to streamline
the Part 23 certification process, and "reflect the current needs of industry, accommodate future trends, address emerging technologies, and provide for future airplane operations," according to the
FAA. The rule changes aim to establish a standard of certification that would be similar to what is required of other aircraft in the same size range. The FAA hopes the new rules will reduce its
current workload of processing exemptions and approving special conditions for small jets.
The FAA said its current practice of issuing special exemptions, exceptions and equivalent levels of safety to certificate part 23 airplanes amounts to a practice of "rulemaking by exemption," a
practice the agency does not want to continue. Also, the accident rate on twin piston engine and turboprop airplanes identified a safety issue that had to be addressed by a change in the rules
regarding single-engine climb performance. Public comments on the proposal will be accepted until Nov. 16.
China will open its first facility for private jets next year at Shanghai's Hongqiao Airport, sometime before the World Expo opens there in May, Shanghai Daily reported this week. The project is already under construction. The
10,000-square-foot private-jet terminal will provide its own security inspections, quarantine facilities and customs, separate from the other air passenger traffic. A hangar will provide space for up
to three jets. Officials said up to 4,000 private jets will arrive in Shanghai during the Expo, according to Shanghai Daily. That's about twice as many private jet flights as the entire country now
handles in a year.
The World Expo will be open from May 1 to Oct. 31 next year, and up to 70 million visitors are expected for a "grand gathering of the world cultures," according to the event's Web site. More than 20,000 events will be held at up to three dozen venues around the city.
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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: NTSB Had No Choice
When I was in the industry, I was a "party" on a major accident investigation involving the airline I was employed by. I was assigned to one of the investigative groups and signed a
formal agreement that defined my role and set forth ground rules for participation.
I agreed that noncompliance with the agreement would result in my being removed from the investigation. One of the fundamental issues in an aviation accident investigation involves release of
information, and participants agree that the Board will be the sole [recipient].
While it is regrettable that NATCA was removed from the investigation, I really don't see how the NTSB had any
choice. If you allow one participant to violate the agreement, how do you stop the next one from doing the same? NATCA should have been patient and allowed the NTSB to correct their misstatement,
which they did.
Don't you think that, with the millions of dollars spent on security when the President travels, the TSA or Secret Service could station inspectors at GA airports, especially when it will be for
long periods of time?
Obama should stay home if it's that unsafe. He's killing your local economy. Americans will never be safe as long as there are foreigners. Think about it.
Aviation wins if all aviation communities have an Aviators' Ball every New Year's Eve. I hope you agree and you join us for the inaugural Aviators' Ball Downtown St. Petersburg Flight 2009.
Sponsor of the first annual Tampa Bay New Year's Eve Aviators' Ball is the Florida Aviation Historical Society, and the motto is "Invite All to the Ball."
Thanks for the article regarding Grace McGuire's desire to recreate Amelia Earhart's round-the-world flight attempt. I
noticed you included mention of the 1967 recreation by Ann Pelegreno, but was surprised you failed to mention the very well-publicized 1997 flight recreation by Linda Finch. Finch's flight was
probably seen by and influenced more people than any other since Earhart's.
I realize that this is a minor point, but, for the record, I believe that the test pilot is a member of the Canadian military and is probably on an exchange program with the Air Force.
Sharp eyes, Don. While we mentioned Maj. Brophy is a Canadian Forces test pilot in the written description of the video, we didn't cover it in the video itself. Maj. Brophy has since moved back
to Canada and is stationed at CFB Cold Lake, a major Canadian Forces fighter base.
Russ Niles Editor-in-Chief
I have been flying over the Hudson River under the Class B airspace a couple times a year for nearly the last 20 years. I have always recognized the potential for a traffic conflict due to the
unique nature of the area. Other than the small size of the exclusion (due to the Class B airspace and proximity to the city), I believe at least three factors contribute to the increased potential
for a mid-air:
The mix of traffic of different speeds, capabilities, and maneuverabilities, all vying for the same small volume of airspace. Specifically, the mix of helicopter and fixed-wing traffic is
a major contributor to the potential for serious problems.
The lack of published guidance regarding flight in the area. For example, "stay on the east side of the river flying northbound and on the west side flying southbound" is a
ritual passed on by word of mouth. Those who do not know the existence of the informal procedures or are unable to get the "word of mouth" briefing, become a danger to themselves and to all
traffic operating in the area.
The published frequency for self-announcing on the Hudson River (123.05) is of minimal use. Most of the time, the frequency is so congested that one cannot get a word in. This doesn't
prevent people from trying, and the result is a cacophony of squeals and often unintelligible chatter.
While nobody likes additional regulation, I feel the establishment of a Special Air Traffic Rules Area similar to the one in the vicinity of Niagara Falls will go a long way toward mitigating some
of the issues at minimal cost. Many of the issues are common to Niagara Falls and the Hudson River, such as the proliferation of a large volume of sightseeing airplanes as well as helicopter tour
operators. The Special Air Traffic Rules over the Falls have effectively separated fixed-wing traffic from helicopter traffic while allowing everyone access to the falls with minimal burden or
additional cost. I have flown in the Niagara Falls Special Air Traffic Rules Area a number of times, and the requirements are extremely straightforward. Establishment of a similar area over the
Hudson River would resolve the first two issues I mentioned above. Establishment of a separate frequency for helicopter tour operators (in addition to physically separating fixed-wing and helicopter
traffic by altitude) would help resolve the frequency congestion issue as well.
Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.
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via email to email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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Cirrus and Cessna have joined the LSA bandwagon, but Diamond hasn't. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains Diamond's thinking: The company is convinced that in the slam-dunk
world of daily flight training, LSA won't hold up but the hell-for-strong DA20 will, making it cheaper over the long haul.
With Barack Obama on vacation under a Presidential TFR at Martha's Vineyard this week, we've asked AVweb readers what they think of Temporary Flight Restrictions.
Not much, as it turns out. 60% of those who took time to answer last week's Question said TFRs provide little real security and should be eliminated. A tiny contingent on
readers (only 13 of you) thought TFRs were a good compromise between security and freedom of flight.
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.)
THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***
The FAA recently gave Boeing much greater self-certification powers, and there is a general movement toward giving
manufacturers more certification responsibilities, with the FAA auditing them. We want to know if you think that's a good idea.
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments.
Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.
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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.
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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!
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 ***
The good times roll on at the world headquarters of AVweb's gawking division. Keep sending us those photos from Oshkosh (and elsewhere), because our appetite for airplane
pictures in insatiable!
No offense to those who prefer the more popular kitten-in-a-tree theme, but
James Maher of Milford, Connecticut has an inspirational image that's more our speed a powered parachute flight at dusk, snapped during EAA AirVenture in
As one of this week's submitters pointed out in his or her comments, the people at AirVenture often make for photos just as memorable as the airplanes. Gini
Shilt of El Dorado Springs, Missouri proves that true, as does Milton Clary of Fairfax, Virginia, whose photo is
featured (along with a bunch of others) in this week's home page slideshow.
We keep finding the name Silvio Refondini (of Lausanne, Vaud Suisse, Switzerland) attached to submissions that end up doing time as desktop
wallpaper here in the luxurious corner office of "POTW." Maybe it's time you added one of Mr. Refondini's shots to your desktop, eh?
We kicked off this installment with an AirVenture photo at dusk, and that's how we're going to close up shop for the week. Rob Bach of Burlington,
Wisconsin provides this Travel Air 4000 from the barnstormers' area at the show.
(Silvio, buddy, you'll be lucky if that Mi-26 makes it through the day as our desktop image ... .)
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.
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
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.