AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 42a

October 19, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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.
Top News: NBAA Reinforces the Value of BizAv back to top 

Survey Shows BizAv Hard At Work

Business jets aren't the toys of playboy CEOs who bathe in gold coins, but the tools of mid- and small-business managers and mid-level employees, according to a survey conducted by GAMA and NBAA and Harris Interactive, a market research firm. The two aviation advocacy groups surveyed 350 pilots, flight department managers and directors of aviation business aircraft, plus 289 business aircraft passengers "in an ongoing effort to educate policymakers" about "the value of business aviation." Pete Bunce, GAMA president and CEO, said the survey's conclusions "stand in stark contrast to recent mischaracterizations of business aviation operators." Among the groups' findings reported last week, the vast majority (80 percent) of trips made by business aircraft are flown into airports with little or no scheduled service. Those trips are operated by companies, 75 percent of which fly only one turbine-powered aircraft and 59 percent of which have fewer than 500 employees.

Find the full copy of the survey online as a PDF. The work is the product of a GAMA/NBAA jointly sponsored campaign, entitled "No Plane, No Gain."

Related Content:
AVweb spoke with NBAA President Ed Bolen ahead of the 2009 NBAA Conference in Orlando this week. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Fly Safely. Reduce Your Work Load. Increase Your Fuel Economy. Fly Intelligently.
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Empowering Controllers to Help Flights in Trouble back to top 

NTSB Says Controllers Should Have Emergency Powers

The NTSB is using the US Airways flight 1549 Hudson River ditching to allow air traffic controllers to independently label an aircraft's discrete transponder code as an emergency code, regardless of the crew's actions. (Link to PDF.) Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and FO Jeff Skiles, famous for their safe handling of an Airbus A320 as it glided into the Hudson, did not set their transponder to 7700. The NTSB does not fault them for that. But it does recognize that when an emergency code is selected, the full data block associated with the aircraft is provided to the displays of more controllers. And that, the NTSB hopes, could improve airspace handling, teamwork and a safe outcome during complicated emergency situations. The NTSB safety recommendation gained support from controllers.

The recommendation would bring changes to airport surveillance radar, automated radar terminal systems, and how controllers interface with those systems. It would grant controllers the ability to independently identify (within their systems) an aircraft in distress, bypassing the busy emergency flight deck. Controllers at other facilities would then have access to more complete data while working the problem. Speaking for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Doug Church said the proposal "does make sense, and it is, in fact, practical and a good idea to enhance aviation safety."

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More than One Way to Stimulate an Economy? back to top 

Bill Hopes To Boost General Aviation Sales

Republican Congressman Todd Tiahrt of Kansas Thursday introduced the General Aviation Jobs Act, designed to buoy small aircraft sales by extending bonus depreciation and more. The bill would extend the existing bonus depreciation allowance for two more years but would also shorten from five to three years the recovery period for property listed as non-commercial aircraft. Tiahrt's motivation behind the bill is to further stimulate sales of general aviation aircraft by reducing the purchase's financial impact on companies and to add an economic boost to Kansas economies. Currently, the tax provision that provides bonus depreciation allowance is set to expire by year-end.

Tiahrt said in a written statement, "With the aviation sector taking such a hard hit in recent months in south central Kansas, Congress should pass this market-driven approach to stimulate our economy in Kansas."

Cutter Aviation Wants to See YOU at NBAA 2009 This Week!
Visit Cutter Aviation at the NBAA 2009 Convention in Orlando this week and "turn yourself in" for a reward! Stop by our booths at ConocoPhillips Booth #2613 or AvFuel Booth #2100 and learn more about the wide range of services Cutter Aviation provides and get a Cutter Reward card redeemable for 20,000 WingPoints or 2,500 AvTrip Points on your next visit — no purchase necessary!

Not attending NBAA? Visit our site and sign up to have one mailed to you! Visit CutterAviation.com for details.
Don't Miss This Week's NBAA Coverage back to top 

AVwebBiz Brings You Daily Updates from NBAA 2009

October 20-22 is the annual NBAA Convention, and we'll bring you news and announcements every day from the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. To follow our daily coverage, take a moment to make sure you're signed up for our no-cost AVwebBiz e-newsletter.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

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Gliders Fight to Stay at Their Home Airport back to top 

Evicted Airport Tenants File Complaint With FAA

The change of ownership at an FBO in Southern California led Wednesday to former tenants filing a formal complaint with the FAA against the airport and ultimately could form precedent regarding airports that attempt to limit access. When the former FBO operator, Sailplane Enterprises Inc. glider school, decided to end operations at Hemet-Ryan Airport in Southern California, the airport decided it would ban, calling unsafe, the glider operations that called the airport their home for decades. The glider pilots' formal complaint hopes to ultimately regain access to the airport and begin flying there again. But airport operators do have certain rights.

An airport operator is allowed to impose restrictions on some of the airport's activities to ensure safety, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor. The question may be whether or not banning the gliders goes beyond that and instead applies unjust discrimination. The FAA has not yet determined the situation at Hemet-Ryan, but has so far found no evidence that glider operations pose a threat to safety.

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And Now for Something Completely Different ... back to top 

Bear vs. Cub vs. Man

Click for more photos

Everyone who lives or travels in bear country knows that to leave food in a vehicle is to risk the consequences, as the owner of this Piper evidently learned the hard way. Although we're unable to confirm the details, an e-mail accompanying these photos states that the pilot of the hapless aircraft left it parked in a remote field in Alaska, but failed to observe a golden rule of Alaskan flying: Always remember to clean out the inside of your aircraft after a fishing trip. The message suggests the pilot did have a second rule, however: find some duct tape and fix it.

Whether or not the aircraft actually flew, the duct tape/cellophane covering job is, in our opinion, museum-worthy. The pilot was also able, according to the e-mail, to find tires. For those concerned with the veracity of the claim that the aircraft then flew home for proper repairs, we'll add the observation that the right horizontal stabilizer seems to have suffered some degree of leading edge damage.

Click for photos.

It's the Final AV8OR Prize This Year ... And Your Chance to Win!

Bendix/King by Honeywell is helping us give away one last AV8OR handheld MFD unit this year! All you have to do is click the image at right to enter your name and e-mail address. And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, but Bendix/King by Honeywell may send you information on the AV8OR. You may also forward this newsletter to friends and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for the AV8OR prize drawing, too. (We won't spam them, either, but we hope they will sign up for our AVwebFlash and AVwebBiz newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is midnight EST on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

(There's nothing to buy. All you need to do is be registered with AVweb.)

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News Briefs back to top 

Balloon Boy Hoax Confirmed

Colorado officials say they have evidence that shows the launch of a helium-filled balloon from Fort Collins last Thursday was a publicity stunt. Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told a news conference Sunday that Richard and Mayumi Henne cooked up the hoax, in which their six-year-old son Falcon was initially reported to be on board the flimsy structure, to launch a reality TV series. Falcon was allegedly in a box in the attic of the family's garage throughout the drama, which dominated world-wide media attention for most of Thursday. Alderden said he expects to file charges of conspiracy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and attempting to influence a public official — all felony charges. The charges could result in up to six years in jail on each charge. A misdemeanor charge of filing a false report is also likely, he said. The charges have not been filed. Alderden said his staff needs to "regroup" after a busy weekend gathering evidence in the eye of a media storm. Alderden said evidence they've gathered indicates the hoax was planned for at least two weeks. The sheriff's office is also investigating whether some unnamed media outlets were complicit in the hoax.

Alderden defended his department's actions during all stages of the bizarre event, claiming they'd been duped by professionally trained actors who said and did the right things as the story played out. "They put on a very good show for us, and we bought it," he said. The couple recently appeared on a reality show called Wife Swap, in which families switch female heads of households for two weeks. Alderden said the "'ah-ha' moment" came for them, as it did for many people, when Falcon told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he hid in the attic "for the show." He said that prompted a concerted effort by the department to gather evidence, including separate interviews with the boy's parents. Alderden's second in command Ernie Hudson said the result of those interviews was conclusive. "There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that it is a hoax," he said.

Balloon Boy — Some Math Behind The Story

Was it ever even possible that a 20' x 5' helium balloon could lift the weight of a six-year-old to 8,000 feet MSL? Let's take a look at some numbers. Taking Falcon Heene's father at his reported word, the balloon that news helicopters followed for two hours Thursday (because they thought Falcon was aboard) was 20 feet by five feet. We don't know if that included the compartment at the bottom — so let's be conservative and assume it did not. The volume of such a shape is 1,047.2 cubic feet. The lifting capacity of helium, at standard atmosphere, is 28.2 grams per cubic foot. So, at best, the balloon had a lifting capacity of about 65 pounds with which to lift itself (we'll assume mylar), the gondola-esque structure beneath it (cardboard and wires?), some tethers (not serving as such) and a six-year-old boy (not inside). Speaking of the six-year-old, an average one of those should weigh in at about 45 to 50 pounds (PDF). (The higher end assumes he didn't turn six yesterday.) Ideally, that leaves 15 to 20 pounds of lifting force. But this situation in Colorado was hardly "ideal."

Standard lapse rates in pressure suggest by our math that at 5,000 feet MSL (roughly the altitude of the Heene balloon's launch site), the balloon would already be suffering from a loss of about 10 pounds of lifting force. That would bring its ideal, fully inflated, 65-pound-lifting force down closer to 55 pounds — to carry a child (plus its own structure), all of which might together ideally weigh in at about 50 pounds. That, of course, assumes that less than five pounds of structure could hold the boy without itself noticeably deforming. At 8,000 feet (widely reported as an altitude the balloon achieved) the loss is about 17 pounds, which suggests that at that altitude the helium balloon would be capable of lifting about 48 pounds.

So — was it possible? We'll let you check our math. Those who prefer observational science can watch the balloon launch on Youtube and judge for themselves if it looks like it was filled to capacity with helium — and a small boy.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Balloon Boy's Media Frenzy

Yes, we covered the now-infamous boy-in-a-runaway-balloon story and even sent out an AVwebAlert to make sure you were following it, too. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains that much as we hate to admit it, when a six-year-old is drifting towards Denver's Class B in a runaway balloon, that's news. Even if it turns out that something much stranger is actually happening.

Read Paul's thoughts here.

AVweb Insider Blog: Media Frenzy, GA Opportunity?

AVweb's Mary Grady had some thoughts on "balloon boy" and the media reaction, too — although, to be fair, Mary's attention was more focused on next week's opening of Amelia and the opportunities we have to put a positive spin on the world of aviation for our ground-bound friends and colleagues.

Click here to read Mary's commentary.

AVweb Insider Blog: Safety Is No Place for a Turf War

i>IFR magazine editor-in-chief Jeff Van West spends a lot of time thinking about air traffic and the instruments that track it. On our AVweb Insider blog, he expresses some concern over the notion that the FAA is supposed to promote safety for all, yet someone had a snit fit when they found out aircraft could get the benefit of traffic warnings without telling ATC where they actually were.

Read the whole story here.

WingX GPS-Enabled Terrain-Aware Moving Map for iPhone!
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Flying the Zeppelin NT with Airship Ventures

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

Pilots who signed up for sightseeing flights over San Francisco in the new Zeppelin NT kept asking the crew if they could take a turn in the front seat. Tired of having to say no, the company created a special day-long program just for pilots. AVweb's Mary Grady tried it out during a session in Long Beach last month, and here is her report.

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

Related Content:
Click here for photos and more details on Mary's flight.

Exclusive Video: Garmin's New Traffic Products

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

At Oshkosh this year, Garmin announced the new GT-series traffic awareness and collision avoidance products. These devices are priced according to capability and aircraft mission. In this video, we take a quick look at all three systems.

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.

Ho, Ho Holiday Gift Guide Offer
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Bode Aero (KAEG, Albuquerque, New Mexico)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Bode Aero at Double Eagle II Airport (KAEG) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

AVweb reader Eve Cascella told us that, "in a nutshell, my experience with Bode Aviation left me feeling very well taken care of and encouraged to know that there are still people out there who go out of their way to serve." How did they do that for Eve? Here's her rundown of the visit:

A friend and I had made plans to fly in from St. Louis to enjoy the annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. I had called Bode Aero a month or so before the Fiesta to ask for advice on finding a hotel room; I was afraid I had missed my opportunity to secure a room during this busy week ... but got way more than I hoped for. Bode offered to make my room reservation for me, and they also reserved a rental car for me — both at reasonable rates. ... On the morning we departed, Bode had pulled our plane out of the tie-down area, and she was waiting for us up front by the FBO. Departure was a breeze. However, I realized somewhere in central Kansas that I had left my cell phone somewhere at Bode Aero. I should have guessed: Renee had already found it, determined it was mine, looked up my home phone number in St. Louis on the internet, and left me a voicemail there saying that she would mail me my phone if I would please call to confirm my address. How much more can you ask for?! Thank you, Renee, Nikki, and all the others I can't name for helping to make our stay in Albuquerque such a pleasant memory!

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 Flight back to top 

Short Final

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

"Approach, how far from the airport are we in minutes?"

"XXX, the faster you go, the quicker you'll get here."

Courtesy of the Top Twenty Actual Transmissions Heard in the O'Hare Tracon, from IntentionallyLeftBlank, the newsletter of O'Hare's National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

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.