AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 40a

October 5, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Lasers, Passenger Jets and More back to top 
Sponsor Announcement

Airborne Laser Video Released

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In August, Boeing announced that it had successfully shot a stationary truck on the ground with a laser onboard a C-130 flying overhead. Last week video of what happens when airborne laser meets truck was released showing metal sizzling from an area outlined in duct tape on the truck's hood. Boeing earlier said the test had "defeated the vehicle" although it's not clear in the accompanying video what, if any, damage was done besides some melted sheet metal. Still, it represents a milestone in weapons technology which will have the result of making war just a little safer for those caught in the crossfire.

The idea is to have these kinds of weapons available to carry out precision strikes that result in little collateral damage. The test more less proved the concept but there's plenty left to be done to make it practical. For one thing, the test involved a chemical laser, which means just what it implies, carrying containers of chemicals in the aircraft to power the beam.

More video of the laser in action from Wired's Danger Room.

Japan's First Passenger Jet, A Geared Turbofan, Wins Foreign Order

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), Japan's state-backed stab at earning a foothold in the commercial passenger jet market, has won a 100-plane order with a street value of $40 billion from a U.S. regional carrier. Trans State Holdings, based in Missouri, operates GoJet and Trans States Airlines, along with feeder services for United and US Airways. Said Trans States President Richard Leach, "Making a decision of this size in this economic situation was difficult." But Mitsubishi says the aircraft's Pratt & Whitney PW-1000G geared turbofan engines (shared by Bombardier C Series aircraft) can bring fuel burn savings of up to 30 percent per hour over other similar but differently engined designs. A report by the AFT notes that Mitsubishi was "advised by US Aircraft maker Boeing" and switched "to aluminum for the wings, from carbon-fibre." Boeing has suffered significant delays in the late stage development of its larger next-generation all-composite 787 Dreamliner, due most recently to a redesign of the composite wing root.

Mitsubishi hopes to start production of the MRJ at its factory in Nagoya prefecture, eventually increasing production to 72 per year from 24. First deliveries are expected early in 2014. Trans State is not the launch customer -- All Nippon Airways agreed in 2008 to purchase 25 of the jets.

Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

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Tightening Continental's Belt back to top 

TCM Announces Temporary Plant Closures, More

Teledyne Continental Motors Inc. announced Friday that it will close for one week, Monday Oct. 5 through Monday Oct. 12, and will put other cost-cutting measures into effect "in response to reduced demand" for the aircraft engines and parts it produces. Salaried staff will go to four-day workweeks as of Oct. 12 and vacations for Thanksgiving and Christmas will last one week each. Beyond that, TCM has a shutdown planned for Jan. 4, to Jan. 9, 2010. The company says its goal is "to protect as much of our valuable employee base as possible," and rebuild its backlog while it endures this period of reduced demand. Customers will not be left entirely in the dark during the closures. Sales will be open, TCM will make customer service available for emergency support calls, and shipping/receiving will continue to manage delivery of incoming and outgoing orders. According to TCM, the cost cutting is only part of the company's slow-market strategy.

TCM has focused on initiatives to drive sales and cost controls that the company says have improved efficiency and lowered costs while also providing stability to aftermarket engine and parts sales. However, increased efficiency at the factory, along with lower demand from the factory, has chipped away at order backlog. The closures, says the company, "will allow order backlog to grow to a level that supports efficient factory operations."

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News Briefs back to top 

Fisticuffs, Molestation And Air India?

Air India has some trouble to sort out following reports Sunday that the crew of one of its commercial flights was involved in pilot/purser fisticuffs and pilot(s)/flight attendant sexual harassment all while en route over Pakistan with 106 passengers aboard. The flight was out of UAE for Delhi, and the whole mess may have begun with confrontational verbal exchanges during the pre-flight briefing. According to The Times Of India, it escalated in flight when the pilots' allegedly attempted to molest a female flight attendant in the cockpit. The flight attendant resisted the alleged harassment and the altercation then spilled into the galley where, according to the BBC, punches were thrown. The event has ended (so far) with two crew members suspended, and two pilots grounded with a molestation charge filed against them. It also seems that the pilots have since lodged their own complaint of misconduct against a male flight attendant, claiming the sexual harassment (or molestation) charge is a false diversion from that real issue.

Unfortunately, the harassment charge pertains to a female flight attendant who has been examined and who police have determined was injured as the result of an assault. An investigation is ongoing and further action is expected based on the results.

Avidyne Offers Price Cuts Through FlySafe Promotion

Avidyne is, from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2009, offering "instant rebates" via its FlySafe promotion that will save single-unit buyers $500 and could save multiple-unit buyers up to $5,000. The deal is applicable to Avidyne's Entegra, Entegra MFD, Wx, and Traffic series units, with one small catch. To save the money, customers must "register for the rebate" on Avidyne's Web site prior to purchase. To save $5,000, you (or you representing four people) will have to buy four units. Purchasing just two through the program will knock $1,500 off of the price and buying three will save you $3,000. Company COO Patrick Herguth says the initiative "is designed to provide substantial savings that make all of our safety-enhancing products -- including our full suite of displays and safety sensors -- available to an even wider number of aircraft owners."

The "instant rebate" means that customers "get the savings now and don't have to wait weeks or months for a future rebate payment," says Avidyne's Rob Higby. Higby says the promotion "is another example of Avidyne's commitment to safety, simplicity, and affordability" in the general aviation market. For more information, click here.

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Accident Reports back to top 

Pilot Lost In Lake

Witnesses saw a man appear to escape the single-engine float-equipped experimental Avid Catalina registered to 61-year-old Jim Eachus that sank Wednesday into Inks Lake near Burnet, Texas, but then saw him disappear into the water. It took until Saturday morning for searchers to find the body of the pilot. Witnesses say one of the aircraft's pontoons appeared to run low in the water, sinking until a wing touched the surface and the aircraft flipped over. The pilot, according to the witnesses, emerged from the plane's window but then disappeared into the water. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department deployed search parties in boats and employed SONAR to try to locate the missing pilot. The lake is about 40 feet deep in the area of the crash site and wind, noted in the FAA's preliminary report out of the south gusting to 15 knots, pushed some of the aircraft's wreckage to shore, expanding the search area. A dive team that searched Wednesday and Thursday failed to find the pilot, who was remembered by his instructor as a passionate, hard-working and excellent pilot who flew regularly.

Over the days that the search went on, searchers remained vigilant. "We're going to keep going out there and keep searching until we find him," Tom Harvey, Parks and Wildlife spokesperson told reporters Friday.

1905 Wright Flyer III Replica Crashes, Pilot Seriously Injured

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Mark Dusenberry, vintage aircraft builder and pilot, was seriously injured Thursday when he crashed a replica of the 1905 Wright Flyer III at Huffman Prairie Flying Field. The airfield is cited by some as the world's first airport. Dusenberry was practicing for the 104th Anniversary of Practical Flight ceremony planned for the week of Oct. 4. Huffman Prairie Field sits just south of the main runway at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, in Dayton, Ohio. Dusenberry has flown the aircraft successfully at reenactments, but did suffer a minor crash at the same airfield on Oct. 5, 2007. This year, he was just seconds into his second early morning flight when witnesses saw the aircraft begin to oscillate vertically before pitching down from about 20 feet and impacting the ground. Dusenberry was conscious and talking with paramedics as he was airlifted by a CareFlight helicopter from the airfield to a local hospital. The flight ceremony, an event that includes educational outreach programs for local students, has been canceled. (See local news video at right.)

The National Park Service, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and others host the anniversary ceremony twice each year. The FAA's Cincinnati Flight Standards District Office was at the site soon after the crash, "and are investigating the cause," according to the Air Force Materiel Command.

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News Briefs back to top 

Planespotter Captures Birdstrike

© Stefan Sonnenberg
Click for larger image

Some days just don't go as planned and the crew of this Germania Airlines Boeing 737 was having one of those days on Wednesday. The Daily Mail says 200 starlings were ingested by the right engine of the aircraft as it took off from Dusseldorf bound to Kosovo. There were 80 people on board. Planespotter Juergen Kienast said the engine pitch immediately changed as the crew continued the takeoff.

The Daily Mail said the aircraft circled for 45 minutes before landing uneventfully. It characterized the damage to the airplane as "minor" although Germania might disagree when it gets the bill for the engine. There were, of course, no injuries among the 80 passengers and crew on board.

All Fueled Up

It's not only the aircraft that needs fuel on a long cross country so the crew of a Canadian Forces CH-146 Griffon helicopter satisfied man and machine with two stops in Kenora, Ont. last week. The crew was on its way from the garrison at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton to Thunder Bay, Ont. (about 900 nm). According to the Canadian Press, the crew of the medium-sized twin-engine single rotor utility helicopter, based on the Bell 412 EP, landed at Kenora, two-thirds of the way to their destination, for fuel. There was no food available at the airport but there was a vacant ball diamond across the street from an A&W in the nearby town.

Kenora residents, who are used to the buzz of aircraft landing on Lake of the Woods and the busy airport during tourist season were nevertheless bemused by the to-go mission of the crew. "It's a huge double-door … helicopter, which you don't see landing in the middle of town every day," resident Laura Madison said. "He went in and got some A&W takeout and took off. So we're laughing because it was the strangest drive-thru we've ever seen." For the record, the crew took on a load of four Papa Burgers with cheese combos and couple of extra burgers without cheese according to server Stacey Hawes.

World Class Service Since 1951
Crownair Aviation is offering lower labor rates and fuel discounts through 2009 when you combine services. Crownair Aviation has a history of customer satisfaction that spans more than five decades and provides a wide range of aircraft services, including a dedicated fuel station, pilot and passenger amenities, personalized concierge service, hangar space, and two class-leading maintenance and avionics service centers. As one of the most experienced and respected names on the West Coast, Crownair has been serving the aviation community since 1951 with integrity and professionalism. For more information, visit CrownairAviation.com.
New on AVweb: A Leap of Faith back to top 

A Male Pilot in Unknown Territory — The Story of the Women's World Formation Freefall Record by a Hopeless Male Pilot

Click to read the full story and see more pics

Jump For The Cause (JFTC) just set a record on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009, for the largest female-only formation parachute jump of 181 women. Not being female and not being a skydiver, Dr. Brent Blue decided to tag along anyway. Good thing, too, since Brent learned quite a bit logging air time with several dozen parachuting women and one talking lamb.

Click here for the full story.

Jumping for the Cause

File Size 4.9 MB / Running Time 5:20

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Really big events tend to raise really big amounts for charitable causes, and the Jump for the Cause was no exception, gathering almost $1 million for breast cancer research and setting a new world record for women skydivers. Bambi Knight was one of 181 women who linked in so many ways in the searing heat of California last week, and she spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles about the jump.

Click here to listen. (4.9 MB, 5:20)

Related Content:
Read about AVweb contributor Dr. Brent Blue's experience as one of the, er, helpers at the event and see his photographs here.

Jeppesen Pilot Training
Smart pilots never truly fly solo. For 75 years, pilots have taken their aviation partner along for the journey — Jeppesen. Pilots (and future pilots) look to us for the tools and training they need to fly safely and effectively. Throughout your career flight path, you can count on Jeppesen. Choose the learning tools best for you with our integrated system. Learn more at Jeppesen.com/pilottraining.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: On "Non-God-Fearing Aircraft"

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

Stability is a good thing ... except when it isn't. Nearly all general aviation aircraft are inherently stable, which makes them, in the words of military experimental test pilot Desmond "Deuce" Brophy, "God-fearing aircraft." But the fighter jets Brophy flies and tests are a little different. During our visit to the flight test center at Edwards Air Force Base, Brophy explained the fundamental aerodynamic differences between the aircraft we fly and what he calls "non-God-fearing aircraft."

(Don't let our censor bars distract you; they're simply there to protect some private names and numbers.)

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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.

eBooks & eVideos
Most titles on the AVweb Bookstore (including Jeppesen, McGraw-Hill, ICAO, and many others) are also available as electronic downloads. Why not consider an eBook in Adobe .PDF format? Instant delivery. No shipping costs. Fully searchable, bookmarked, and hyperlinked. Hundreds of reference titles at your fingertips, in your laptop computer. Environmentally friendly. And no import taxes to international customers. Are you sold yet? Click here to learn more, and download a sample to try it out.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #146: Obscure Regulations

Brainteasers Seemingly insignificant regulations can bite. So bite back and defang the FAA's oft-overlooked regs by testing your grasp of the Code of Federal Regulations. (Think old-school FARs, if you like. We do.)

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

AVweb Insider Blog: EFIS as Lifesavers?

Aviation Consumer's survey of EFIS owners and users revealed widespread satisfaction with the technology. Some readers even described glass panels as having saved their lives. Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli chuckled a bit at the thought, gave the pilot a little more credit that he did himself, and started thinking about how much the definition of "flying" has changed in a short time.

Read his latest musings on the AVweb Insider blog.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Five Star Jet Center (KBAF, Westfield, Mass.)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Five Star Jet Center at Barne Municipal Airport (KBAF) in Westfield, Massachusetts.

AVweb reader Tim Stevens told us how 5SJC keeps 'em coming back for more with great prices and that old pilot favorite, free food — "burgers and hot dogs on the patio while we overlook the fueling on the ramp." Tim says "great hospitality and superior facilites" make this a must-stop destination when you're in the area.

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!

Aviation Consumer, the Only Magazine with the Guts to Tell the Truth
Truth about the gear you buy and the planes you fly. Aviation Consumer is packed with in-depth and uncompromising ratings of equipment, avionics, accessories, mods, services, aircraft, and much more. Order online and receive unlimited access to Aviation Consumer's ratings-packed web information database!
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.

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"

CTAF offers a smorgasbord of irritating communications techniques. Somewhere in California's Central Valley, I heard a pilot repeatedly report, "Turning left, final, runway 20."

After what must have been the tenth "left final," a pilot who'd obviously had it replied:

"There is no left final; there is no right final — just final. It's a straight line!"

Ralph Lund
Malpaso, California

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.