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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week hosted the first meeting of a new advisory committee on the future of the country's aviation industry. "This is not going to be just another
advisory committee," LaHood said in his
blog post. "I am not commissioning some report to fill space on my bookshelf. This committee will make a difference." The group includes representatives from airports, air carriers,
management, labor, manufacturers, general aviation and consumer groups, who are to address the industry's challenges and map the way forward. "This country has an aviation system that is losing
billions of dollars, shedding jobs, and using an aging infrastructure," said LaHood. "It's time to get to work fixing it."
Craig Fuller, president of AOPA, attended the forum. "While the details of the committee have not yet been formalized, AOPA is pleased to be included in the process," he said. "We remain committed to being at the table to represent the interests of the GA community as the
administration develops its agenda." At the first meeting, Fuller took part in three sessions: assessing the current state of the industry with representatives from the airlines, airports, labor,
aviation analysts, and consumer groups; shaping the future of the industry, focusing on the environment, financial viability, outsourcing, and globalization; and areas for future work.
Three Things You Should Never Say to ATC
Listen as two ATC pros share tips on better communication with ATC. Avoid these common mistakes and make your interactions more efficient and accurate. This is a sample from PilotWorkshops'
Tip of the Week.
Click here for this
The crew, a medical team. the patient and the patient's spouse aboard a medical evacuation flight from Samoa to Australia were uninjured after the Pel-Air Westwind jet ditched in the open ocean in
weather that prompted the pilot to ditch rather than trying for the airport at Norfolk Island. In a news release Pel-Air Chairman John Sharp said weather deteriorated as the aircraft commander, Capt. Dominic James, made several tries to get on the pavement. for a scheduled fuel
stop at Norfolk, As his fuel dwindled he made the hard decision and it worked out. "They performed an intricate landing on water in darkness resulting in the evacuation of everyone safely and
quickly," he said.
A boat was on the scene quickly and while everyone aboard was taken to Norfolk Island hospital to be checked, they were all unhurt. The medical team resumed care of the patient in the hospital and
arrangements are being made to get the patient back to Australia.
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When the 2010 Winter Olympics launch in Vancouver next February, associated flight restrictions, termed by locals as the Olympic Rings, will keep many local GA operators grounded for up to eight
weeks, with losses of up to $5 million, CanWest News reported on Tuesday. "We don't dispute the fact there
is an issue of security, we just find this is very long," said John McKenna, CEO of the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents about 200 operators. Flight schools will have to ground
students, passengers for charter flights and floatplanes will be diverted to sites with security gates, sightseeing and banner-towing flights will be restricted, and more. About two dozen small
airports are affected, including several just across the border in the U.S. The restrictions will last from Jan. 29 to March 24, to accommodate both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and will be
enforced by U.S. and Canadian fighter jets. ATAC is asking the government to compensate the affected businesses. But meanwhile, the operators of the Official Olympics Airport at Vancouver are thrilled
that they can expect an additional 231,000 passengers during the event.
"We want every passenger to have a great experience in our airport as their first and last impressions of our city, province and country," said Paul Levy, of the Vancouver Airport Authority. The airport will benefit
from upgrades to its snow removal and de-icing equipment. March 1, the day after the end of the Olympics, is expected to be the busiest day ever for the airport, with 39,000 people and 77,000 pieces
of luggage departing. Pilots who may be considering flying into the area during the Olympics can find flight-planning information at the NavCanada Web site.
There's no more dangerous type of word in journalism than the superlative and since aviation is full of the biggest, fastest, oldest, and coolest things on the planet you'd think we'd know better.
Our inbox filled Tuesday with readers pointing out that Buffalo Airways does not operate the last C-46 Commandos as our Monday
story on the Ice Pilots NWT television series incorrectly stated. By far the majority pointed to the four workhorses toiling for Fairbanks-based Everts Air as cargo and fuel haulers.
Interestingly, we didn't hear from anyone at Everts but we got dozens of emails from their friends and airport neighbors. A quick check of the FAA registry turns up 25 C-46s but it's not clear how
many are airworthy. We also heard that there might be some Commandos working in South America, perhaps even in passenger service.
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Embraer and General Electric will flight-test a renewable jet fuel by early 2012, the companies said on Wednesday. They plan to use a renewable biofuel made from sugar cane, developed by
Amyris Biotechnologies, which is based in California and operates a subsidiary in Brazil. The test will be flown using a jet owned and operated by Azul Linhas Aereas, a new Brazilian airline. The
goal is to accelerate the introduction of a renewable jet fuel with significantly lower carbon emissions and to provide a long-term sustainable alternative to petroleum-derived jet fuel, Embraer said
in a news release.
Brazil has the world's largest crop of sugar cane and a history of expertise in ethanol production. Amyris produces its renewable fuel by synthetically altering the metabolic pathways of
microorganisms, such as yeast, to engineer "living factories" that transform sugar into products such as diesel fuel and jet fuel. "This is a landmark project for air travel," said Amyris CEO John
Melo. "It demonstrates that a united industry can usher in an era of cleaner air travel, while using sustainable resources."
Owners of older Mooneys now have a new option when it's time for an engine overhaul. Lycoming recently received the FAA OK to replace the original IO-360 Lycoming engine in Mooney M20E, M20F and
M20J models with a new or remanufactured IO-390-A3A6 engine. The engine provides more horsepower as well as improved climb and cruise performance, while maintaining the same footprint as the IO-360
engine, Lycoming says. The new STC shows the company's commitment to legacy aircraft, says Dennis Racine, Lycoming director of marketing and program management. About 50 service centers across the
country have been authorized to complete the installations.
The STC includes a new or rebuilt IO-390-A3A6, the Slick Start System and required documentation. In addition, Hartzell has certified both two-blade and three-blade propellers for the STC. List
price of the new IO-390 is $48,500, or $36,100 for the rebuilt engine, according to AOPA. Meanwhile, Mooney is trying to entice new buyers with financing at 2.99 percent for the first four years, for
those who qualify. The company is also offering a leaseback option.
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US Airways Capt. Chesley Sullenberger said the new book Fly By Wire, by William Langewiesche, "greatly overstates how much it mattered" that the Airbus A320 he ditched in the Hudson had some
automated systems, according to
The New York Times. Sullenberger told the Times, "There are some situations where the automation will protect a pilot, but at the same time a highly automated airplane makes possible other types
of errors, so it's a mixed blessing. And greater knowledge is required to fly a highly automated aircraft." He added, "Others in the industry knowledgeable about these technical issues know there are
misstatements of fact in 'Fly by Wire.' " Langewiesche said he was mystified by Sullenberger's reaction, according to the Times. "There have been some characterizations of the book that are wrong," he
said. He added that he didn't think the role of fly-by-wire was "critical" to the outcome, "but it was functioning, it's part of the story."
Dan Sicchio, a US Airways pilot who represented the pilots union in the NTSB investigation, told the Times the safety board's final report may show that in regard to the fly-by-wire system, "there
were things that helped Sully and things that hurt him." He added: "There are things that I hope will come out that will show problems with the control system in this airplane." Click here for AVweb's story about Langewiesche's book and click here for the blog post written by Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli after he read it.
On Monday, the FAA issued its final version of new flight rules for the VFR corridor above New Yor's Hudson River. The new rules, which take effect on Thursday, Nov. 19, create two separate levels
for VFR traffic, with the aim to prevent another midair like the one in August that killed nine people. Also, while it was reported early in the day on Monday that FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
said the agency had fired an air traffic controller and a surpervisor on duty at the time of the crash, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown later said that was not accurate. The two remain on paid leave and
no final detemination about their fate has been made, Brown told
The new rules separate low-altitude flights above the Hudson from aircraft that are transiting the airspace.
Click here for the FAA's news release and two graphics showing the current flight plan and the new one that goes into effect this week.
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The Carter Copter folks have been developing their unique rotary aircraft technology for years, powering through setbacks and making slow progress, and this week they announced their first customer agreement. Carter's deal gives 40-year exclusive use of their technology for unmanned aircraft
systems to AAI Corp., a subsidiary of Textron Inc. Textron is no stranger to aviation -- the corporation also owns Bell Helicopter, Cessna, and Lycoming Engines. In a news release, AAI said it will provide guidance, support and resources to Carter for continued development of
its Slowed Rotor/Compound (SR/C) technology. Their goal is to build an unmanned, turbine-powered aircraft that could deliver 3,000 pounds of cargo across 1,300 nm at 250 knots, or that could be
deployed for surveillance missions with up to 24 hours' endurance.
Carter's SR/C technology is a fixed- and rotary-wing hybrid that delivers high speed, long endurance and off-airport vertical/short takeoff and landing capability at low cost, said AAI. "These
features are well suited for unmanned aircraft that serve multiple mission roles," said AAI. Carter President Jay Carter Jr. said the deal is a turning point for his company. "As an R&D company we
have been focused on developing and defining our technology and the systems that would enhance its capability. We now have a viable SR/C platform that has the ability to compete in both manned and
unmanned sectors with vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and high-speed flight, and a trusted partner in AAI. This partnership enables us to combine the unique capabilities of SR/C technology with
AAI's unmanned expertise."
Anyone who's bought a new Continental engine, had theirs rebuilt or had top end work done since June 19, 2009 could be affected by an emergency AD requiring replacement of the
hydraulic lifters installed in those engines. There have been at least three cases in which the lifters wore out in as little as five hours. Teledyne Continental Motors issued a mandatory service
bulletin (PDF) Nov. 3 and the FAA issued the emergency AD after assessing the MSB. The AD includes part numbers 657913, 657915,
or 657916, in Model 240, 360, 470 and 520 engines. Although 550-series engines are not mentioned in the AD, there are reports that they are also affected. The lifter problems have also delayed
rebuilds that were on the bench when the problems became known.
AVweb heard from at least two owners whose rebuilds were stopped because lifters weren't available. It's not clear when the supply of lifters will return to normal.
The Transportation Security Administration has prepared new regulations governing security procedures at repair stations. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) (PDF) will require repair stations to establish security protocols to guard against unauthorized access to the facility,
aircraft and parts. The new rules would affect 4,227 FAA-certificated shops in the U.S. and 694 in other countries that work on U.S. aircraft. There will be a 60-day comment period on the rule.
In announcing the proposed NPRM, TSA Office of Security Operations Assistant Administrator Lee Kair said the rule will augment existing FAA security rules in place at certificated repair stations.
"By enhancing repair station security, this rulemaking guards against the potential threat of an aircraft being destroyed or used as a weapon," he said. The rule, if adopted, will require strict
access control and implementation of security awareness training programs and, of course, allow for TSA inspections and audits.
Last week, we asked if historic aircraft should be flown by groups like the Commemorative Air Force or if some one-of-a-kind birds are just too rare for the air.
Most of the readers who took a moment to answer thought historic aircraft should be flown 31% of you offering no restrictions and another 33% saying pilot qualifications,
weather, and safety-of-flight issues should be squarely at the forefront. (11% of you said such flights should be limited to special occasions to keep them in flying condition, but no
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 TSA has announced plans to impose stricter security requirements on FAA-certificated repair stations in
the U.S. and in other countries. This week, we'd like readers to gauge the security threat posed by repair stations.
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.
Night Flight Training CBT
This high-quality multimedia CD-ROM from Oxford Aviation Academy provides the private pilot with a complete interactive night time training course. In it, the pilot will learn about the physiological
aspects of night flying, basic instrument flying techniques, airport lighting, night navigation, and emergencies specific to night flying. The course concludes with a detailed account of a night
Our cup did runneth over AOPA Summit last week, but we managed some time to shoot another brief video on cool products we saw, including a Cirrus engine modification from Next
Dimension, Flightline Systems' new AuRACLE Engine Monitor for legacy twins, a nifty flashlight that's really a glove, and a new Cessna 210 inspection guide from the Cessna Pilots Association.
Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the facilities at Kansas Air Center at Manhattan Regional Airport (KMHK) in
AVweb reader Wade Logan explained how KAC exceeded his expectations from start to finish while he was in Manhattan:
As I pulled into the ramp, I was immediately greeted by three line technicians: The first parked me, the second cleaned my windscreen before I even was out of the plane, and the third had a placed a
purple K-State Wildcat rug at my door. The facility was top-notch (exceptionally clean), and the fuel prices are the lowest I have come across in a long while. The founder/owner is extremely
courteous, and I even saw him cleaning some windscreens himself!
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 ***
We're back, with the usual outstanding assortment of photos. This week saw another uptick in contributions hey, thanks! so let's see what your fellow AVweb
readers have in store for us.
Douglas Johnson of Belmont, North Carolina serves up a high-contrast shot with great perspective that's practically mesmerizing as our latest
"Picture of the Week." The boneyard's never looked so good as in the photos Douglas sent us this week. (Look for another in this week's slideshow on the home
Todd Bohlman and Chuck Hlavac of Ramona, California brought a little high-flying spirit to the Halloween pumpkin
a few weeks back. No doubt inspired by the glow of the afterburners, Chuck did the carving, and Todd made sure we got to enjoy it after the fact.
We got a kick out of this photo from Walt Barkley of Claremont, California, who caught a fellow shutterbug (one of the Brackett Airport tower
controllers) stepping outside to capture the moment for himself.
(The lame joke we skipped here involved the controllers' outrageous water bill last month.)
Gary Dikkers of Madison, Wisconsin puts his ground time to good use, dreaming of the stars and when you've got a camera and regular access to
the AirVenture Museum, you can really make that time pay off. It's the next best thing to being there ... !
Those of you who've been closely following the bonus pics slideshow (on AVweb's home page) may recognize Ryan
Grantonic of Dayton, Ohio. Ryan's contributed some great photos recently, and we're looking forward to seeing more in the weeks to come.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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