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Volume 15, Number 38a
September 21, 2009
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FAA, Travelers Speaking the Same Languageback to top 

Passenger-rights advocates are hailing the announcement made last week by FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt that "when we say customer, we're talking about the flying public," but they're not entirely satisfied. Business Travel Coalition and applauded the decision, but stated their shared belief that the FAA "should completely remove the term 'customer' from its lexicon" lest it remain "a trigger for confused behavior." The groups called the airline-as-customer notion "misguided" and a source of dysfunction in the industry. It is the groups' view that "the FAA needs to be a strong regulator with a mission to protect the flying public, period." Toward that end, the groups hope to see more progress this coming Tuesday when a passengers' rights stakeholders hearing will take place in Washington. The groups hope that will meeting will be followed with the attachment of proposals to the FAA reauthorization bill that will effectively set a passengers' bill of rights. But at this time, the language of the proposals may not be specific enough to be enforceable. More...

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USA Today and GA Pilots, Maybe Not So Much ...back to top 

An article published Thursday by USA Today notes that Congress has directed billions to general aviation airports, "which typically are tucked on country roads and industrial byways," usually operate flights on the order of "just a few each hour" and which "the lawmakers also regularly use in their travels," ... "sometimes in planes with lobbyists." It goes on to state that "lawmakers have expanded annual funding by 10 times since 1982," rewriting federal law to re-route funds to the airports, of which "nearly 90% operate at less than one-third of their capacity." And all that is funded by taxes paid "mostly by the nation's airline passengers," who are flying out of larger airports working much closer to their full capacity that are in need of expensive upgrades to their infrastructure. AOPA shot of a response calling the article "a slanted, one-sided front-page story," slanted to favor airlines by brewing "negative sentiment" that "perpetuate public misconceptions about GA." NBAA also chimed in, calling the article "biased" and "distorted" and followed up with a letter to the editor that called the airports "vital" and "lifelines" for towns with little or no airline service. Of course, there were more comments ... from EAA (which pointed out the contributions of aviation fuel taxes), from GAMA (which noted the economic engines driven by airport services and traffic) and NATA (which pointed out the $150 billion contributed annually to the U.S. economy by the general aviation industry). AOPA even added a little fact-checking ... . More...

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Steve Hinton Wins Gold Unlimited in Renoback to top 

Steve Hinton Jr. put the highly modified P-51 Strega through its paces at the 2008 Pylon Racing Seminar at Reno Stead Airport in November 2008. The 22-year-old pilot went on to win the Gold Unlimited race at the National Championship Air Races, which wrapped up Sunday.
Steve Hinton Jr., 22, became the youngest pilot to win the top prize at the National Championship Air Races in Reno Sunday. Hinton flew the highly-modified P-51 Strega to victory in the Breitling Gold Unlimited Race at an average speed of 491.822 mph in a time of 8:10.357, almost 13 seconds ahead of John Penney in Rare Bear, an F8F Bearcat. Third place went to Sherman Smoot in the Yak 11 Czech Mate. It was only Hinton's second appearance in the Unlimited class but he's been around the sport since he attended his first Reno races when he was two weeks old. His father Steve Sr. is a two-time Unlimited champion and Strega is no stranger to the winner's circle, having won the event seven time. Full results are available here. More...

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Safety in the Airback to top 

NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman last week spoke before the Subcommittee on Aviation in the U.S. House of Representatives and stated that the pilot of the Piper involved in the fatal midair with a Eurocopter over the Hudson this August may have transferred to the wrong frequency. Hersman told the Subcommittee that the pilot acknowledged the Teterboro controller's last instruction to pick up Newark, but that "the pilot read back to the controller an incorrect frequency." There is no indication, according to Hersman, "that the incorrect read-back was heard or corrected by any air traffic controller." Matched with the NTSB animation released the same day, the read-back occurred while the lone working Teterboro controller was also engaged with what the NTSB identifies as a "personal phone call" and other audible radio communications from a controller at Newark. However, from the NTSB's animation alone, it is not at all clear that the read-back was incorrect or even complete. (See minute 2:25 of the video.) The animation does, however, include transcription of some communications that are not audible in the presentation. More...

Honeywell's SmartRunway and SmartLanding products are upgrades to its Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System, they talk, they're recently FAA-approved and they're designed to directly address major factors identified by the FAA that lead to runway incursions. SmartLanding is designed to identify things like which runway the pilot is approaching and whether the aircraft's airspeed is too high, or if the aircraft is flying too high or going to incur a long landing, and then conveys that information to the pilots through audio and visual signals. SmartRunway conveys advisories about a runway's length and its location, calling out and identifying each runway whenever the aircraft is approaching one either on the ground or in the air. For landing aircraft, it will call out distance remaining before and after landing. The products together address three key FAA-identified factors that lead to runway incursions: "communication, airport familiarization and cockpit procedures for maintaining orientation," according to Honeywell. The company says SmartRunway will be compatible with ADS-B functionality as that technology becomes available and should be available on certain new Boeing aircraft as they come off the line. More...

Sensenich Expands Its Revolutionary Line of Propellers for Light Sport and Experimental Aircraft
Lighter in weight, easier to navigate and less expensive to fly, Sensenich's composite props are also stronger than similar props. Their carbon construction allows the propeller's weight to aerodynamically optimize flight and minimize its susceptibility to harmonic vibration damage. Pitch-adjustable, their built-in stops ensure selection of the most efficient pitch. Click here to check 'em out.
Airplane Makers Looking Aheadback to top 

Airbus, presently the world's largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, sees airlines picking up some 25,000 aircraft over the next 20 years, to the tune of $3.1 trillion. That's up 3 percent from the company's February 2008 forecast. The company expects Asia to firm up demand for single-aisle and other aircraft, accounting for as much as 31 percent of new aircraft. That, as the airline industry comes out of an industry-wide loss year that could amount to as much as $11 billion for airlines if forecasts by the International Air Transport Association hold true. Airbus nonetheless hopes to carry about 300 orders for 2009 and predicts passenger growth in 2010, up 4.6 percent from a 2-percent decline in 2009 and continuing with 4.7 percent increases on average. That means, in the Airbus forecast, that traffic would double within 15 years. Carriers are considered likely to demand more fuel-efficient aircraft, replacing older models while increasing access to cities worldwide. Boeing's latest predictions don't altogether carry the same tune, and offer a less optimistic look at the near term but carry on to a similar end. More...

The first production line assembled-in-China Cessna 162 Skycatcher to be flown took flight Thursday at Cessna's Shenyang production facility in northeast China, performing "a number of handling quality tests during the flight," Cessna said in a news release. The "first" here means that the particular aircraft was "fabricated and assembled on production tooling." Cessna in July earned ASTM compliance (international standards for Light Sport aircraft) for the two-place, piston powered single-engine high wing, and Cessna chairman, president and CEO, Jack Pelton, is excited to see the Skycatcher "take its place in the industry as the light sport aircraft of choice." When Cessna first announced the Skycatcher would be assembled in China, it fielded some boisterously opposed opinions from some percentage of the flying public, but Cessna has stayed the course. The Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) is the fabricator of the aircraft's fuselage, which it then integrates with other components including a Continental 0-200D 100-hp engine and Garmin G300 split screen primary flight and multi-function displays. Aircraft will be shipped from China to the U.S. where they will be reassembled, according to Cessna. More...

The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
The new Meridian G1000 with Garmin G1000 avionics and GFC 700 autopilot suite, business jet luxury and turbine simplicity for 30% less than any comparable six-place turbine-powered aircraft. With a panel as commanding as the airplane, and a million dollars less than its closest competitor, "Pilot in Command" means precisely that.

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News Briefsback to top 

Oct. 16 will see six inducted into the EAA Hall of Fame: Lance Neibauer, the late Stephen Pitcairn, George Baker, Roy Pinner, Paul Sanderson, and, perhaps the most recognized, Bob Hoover. EAA says the group spans the range of aviation within the EAA membership, each achieving a level of notoriety "within their particular realm of flight." Neibauer made real the sleek Lancair kit-built designs, one of which one hung in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and others that evolved from the Lancair IV to become the Columbia and later Cessna Corvalis. Stephen Pitcairn passed away March 29, 2008, at the age of 83. He built on the legacy of his father Harold Pitcairn, who founded Pitcairn Aircraft, and served as a director of the EAA Aviation Foundation. Baker is noted for his contribution to EAA warbirds, Pinner to ultralights, and Sanderson to flight instruction. Hoover is recognized for his accomplishments in the military, as a test pilot and legendary airshow performer. The public is invited to attend the ceremony at the EAA Hall of Fame induction dinner, at which Bob Hoover will speak. You'll need a ticket. More...

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

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 What have you heard? More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

What was it like training pilots to fly on instruments in the Link trainer during wartime? Here's an inside view, complete with the cheap tequila. More...

USA Today writer Thomas Frank apparently thinks airport funding should go to the 139 "well-known" airports that handle commercial traffic. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles points out the danger in that thinking: "Let's hope he doesn't have a heart attack somewhere else." More...

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
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

With its new Austro engines, the new DA42 NG is a strong performer and a bit more economical than the previous version of this aircraft. AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli took a spin in one last month, and here's his report. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


As much as we love stories where a pilot discovers a great new FBO because of an unplanned (and often maintenance-related detour), we've featured quite a few of those as "FBOs of the Week" lately. This week, turn our attention instead to an FBO that was nominated by one of its regular patrons. AVweb reader Peter Lehnen laid out the benfits of Monadnock Aviation at Dillant-Hopkins Airport (EEN) in Keene, New Hampshire on their first anniversary:

Beth and Rick Bendel, who started their business one year ago today, have single-handedly revitalized the Keene airport. I just returned from one of their bi-weekly free cookouts, where many people fly in and many local pilots get together. They sponsor safety seminars, lectures, comunity outreach, and comfortable and functional facilities for transient pilots. The improvements they have brought are too numerous to list, but the city of Keene and the pilots in the area are far better off than at any time in the previous ten years that I have used this airport.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

I'm a controller at Terre Haute, Indiana, and I was working data while my female supervisor got her currency on arrival radar. She was wondering about the on-course heading of an overflight. The conversation went something like this:

"Seven Six One Zulu Bravo, say your heading to 22G."

N761ZB (heavy southern drawl):
"Ahhhh, yes, ma'am, we're a-headin' to 22G!"

Dan P.
via e-mail


Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.