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Volume 15, Number 48a
November 30, 2009
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Top News: What Really Happened on Northwest 188?back to top 
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When controllers at Minneapolis Center first made contact with wayward Northwest Flight 188, they said, "I just have to verify that the cockpit is secure," and the crew responded "It is secure and we got distracted, we were, ah...". Transcripts released Friday by the FAA claim the next part of the sentence was unintelligible, but the issue was not dropped. When asked, "Northwest 188, do you have time to give a brief explanation of what happened?" the crew responded, "... cockpit distractions, that's all I can say." The crew was asked to elaborate six minutes later and responded similarly, "We're just dealing with some company issues here, and that's all I can tell you right now at this time." In interviews after the October 21 flight that took the Airbus A320, in radio silence, 150 miles past their destination of MSP, the crew told investigators they'd been using laptops trying to understand work schedule software. Cockpit security and an explanation weren't controllers' only concerns. Another was fuel. More...

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Rebuilt Engine, Overhauled Price || 
Lycoming Engines || Offer Extended
Lycoming® — The Engines of Choice
Extended Offer. "Rebuilt for the Price of an Overhaul" deal extended. Lycoming Engines has extended its offer to give customers a zero-time rebuilt engine for the price of a factory overhaul to December 4, 2009. It's built to factory-new limits and comes with a zero-time logbook and a two-year factory warranty. To find a distributor near you and to order your zero-time factory-rebuilt Lycoming engine, call 1 (800) 258-3279 or visit
Putting Heat on the Quest for Tighter Icing Regsback to top 

The FAA, prompted initially by a safety review initiated by a 1994 fatal crash, last Monday proposed rules that may require installation of enhanced ice-protection systems on aircraft and changes to procedures for crews operating under part 121. The FAA described its motives this way: "Neither the current operating regulations nor the certification regulations" in place "ensure timely activation of ice protection systems." The new rules are intended to stop accidents the agency has reviewed where it was determined that "the flightcrew were either completely unaware of ice accretion on the airframe, or were aware of ice accretion." Toward that end, the proposed rule would create a standard to ensure that ice protection on part 121 aircraft are activated in a timely manner. Mainly, this rule will be fulfilled through equipment, and the adjustment of specific airplane flight manuals, operating manuals and training programs. More...

What He Didn't Know About His Life Insurance Cost His Family $500,000
Pilots should take special care when comparing life insurance. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots with insurance planning. Get the right coverage. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
Aviation & Environmentback to top 

After previously joining arms with local residents and environmental groups to halt a similar proposal, the California Pilots Association is citing pilot-specific environmental concerns in its fight against the proposed construction of a power plant near a non-towered California airport. Speaking for some 5,000 pilots in the California Pilots Association (CPA), Andy Wilson told the Contra Costa Times that the proposed Mariposa Energy Project power plant would produce an oxygen-poor plume of contaminants and hot ammonia "that could affect engine operation or the pilot's ability to see." The proposal would put a power plant roughly 2.7 miles south of Byron Airport, a county-operated field that sees traffic from ultralights through corporate jets, along with glider and skydiving operations. The pilots have sought the influence of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to draw attention to the "health hazards" they say would also come into play, due to the proposed 200-megawatt gas-fired plant's emissions. More...

No, this is not a ChemTrail airticle, but the UK's Met Office has concluded that high level contrails do have a global and localized effect ... on sunshine levels. One contrail studied by the office turned into a high level cirrus cloud that, at the peak of its formation, "covered an area of more than 20,000 square miles," Met Office Research Manager, Jim Haywood, told the UK's Times Online. According to the study, vapor trails laid down by aircraft along high traffic flight paths can reduce sunshine levels by as much as 10 percent whereas a lone contrail reduces light by less than one percent. Atmospheric conditions dictate how long the contrails remain in the sky and most dissipate quickly, said Hawyood. But some can last much longer, stimulating reactions in the surrounding stratosphere, "because the extra ice and soot act as 'nuclei' around which more water can condense," wrote the Times. Cloud cover aside, researchers say that the aviation-induced cloud cover can have other effects. More...

Fly Safely. Reduce Your Work Load. Increase Your Fuel Economy. Fly Intelligently.
Save $1,000 Now! The Auracle Engine Management System from Flightline Systems offers comprehensive engine and fuel situation awareness, delivered on a stunning full-color glass panel display. Easily read and quickly interpreted, Auracle helps you make critical decisions rapidly. It's the best co-pilot you'll ever have. Learn more at
Just in Time for Holiday Gift-Giving!back to top 

A 1929 Hamilton Metalplane, the only one of its kind that has been restored to flying condition, will go on the auction block soon in Scottsdale, Ariz. The airplane is hangared in South St. Paul, Minn., and will remain there until a new owner takes possession. The airplane was No. 22 of only 29 built, and was originally owned by the Canadian Forestry Service. After a long useful life in Canada, Alaska, and Washington State, it was fully restored in Minnesota in the 1970s. It was flown to airshows and won several awards, including Grand Champion trophy at the Antique Airplane Association National Convention in 1975 and the Silver Age Champion award at Oshkosh in 1976. Interested bidders can preview the Hamilton on Dec. 12-13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fleming Field Airport in South St. Paul. The aircraft will be sold in an auction conducted by Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale in January. No reserve price has been set. More...

JA Air Center - Your Source for the Garmin 
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A New Wrinkle on Saving the Concordeback to top 

Officials at London's Heathrow airport say they just can't find a good spot to display their Concorde and may have to get rid of it, a prospect that has Concorde fans up in arms. "The Queen of the Skies should now be the Queen of Heathrow," said Ben Lord, spokesman for the Save Concorde Group. Instead, the airplane has been shuffled around from place to place, and is now stored behind a maintenance hangar. Earlier this year, the airport tried to sell off the airplane to a buyer in Dubai, but the deal fell through. Plans to display the Concorde in British Airways' new terminal also did not materialize. "Heathrow is the world's most congested airport and finding a permanent location is not proving straightforward," an airline spokesperson told the London Times. "We are looking at a number of options for the aircraft including a permanent home at Heathrow but have not made any decisions." Lord said his group would vehemently oppose moving the airplane. "Heathrow played a vital role in the 27 years of Concorde's commercial lifetime, and it's critical that Alpha Bravo remains there," he said. More...

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Accident Reportsback to top 

The FAA and NTSB are investigating why a Piper PA25 tow airplane and a Schleicher ASW 27 high-performance sailplane were involved in a collision over Middletown, Calif., that killed both pilots involved; there were no passengers. The FAA said both aircraft were approaching the same runway from different directions, but did not specifically state that the aircraft hit head-on. The accident occurred at 11 a.m. Saturday at Crazy Creek Air Adventures, which offers glider flights and open-cockpit biplane rides from its facility near Napa Valley wine country. Contacted by Lake County News, Jim Indrebo, owner of Crazy Creek Air Adventures, noted the active investigation, adding only, "I can't say much about it." More...

A man who was driving past the airport at Gillespie Field near San Diego, Wednesday, apparently fell unconscious and rode as a passenger as his pickup truck (and his dog) went through a fence and plowed into a row of parked aircraft near the local flying club. The 57-year-old driver awoke safely under the wing of a small plane. He and his chocolate Labrador appeared unharmed and there were no other injuries or fire, but two Cessna 152's were destroyed and a third aircraft was damaged. The damage -- including aircraft and the airport fence -- was estimated by an employee of Golden State Flying club at near $200,000, according to East County Magazine. The driver was checked by paramedics and police, who arrived quickly on the scene. There are no indications that drugs or alcohol were involved. 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
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 


Letter of the Week: Ramp Delay Shouldn't Have Happened

The overnight ramp delay is a classic example of the level of absurdity our commercial airline travel has reached. These people should not have been held on the aircraft overnight, nor should they have been "allowed to deplane but held in a sterile part of the airport". They should have been allowed to deplane and go to a local hotel where they could spend the night with dignity and a little comfort.

They were not departing; they were arriving. They had already been through the security procedures. The plane was from Texas, not an International flight with Customs considerations. The bigger question is why should it make any difference if TSA was available or not. You do not have to pass through security to get off an airplane.

The entire situation is simply ludicrous. Are they going to distribute the fine money fined to the people who were actually inconvenienced by this nonsense? Hardly. We live in an era where regulation has been completely divorced from reality.

Thank God for GA, but if we are not diligent the same stupidity will insidiously creep into the system.

Paul Feather

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 

The FAA released air traffic control recordings of the exchanges concerning Northwest Flight 188 on Oct. 21 as it overflew its destination by 150 miles. AVweb's Russ Niles snipped the highlights of those tapes and prepared this report. More...

If the Captain could make the call — he's the PIC, right? — then we might not need passengers' rights groups to protect the pax from unreasonable treatment and epic delays. That's the argument put forth by AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles on the AVweb Insider blog. Stop by to see what he has to say and add your own comments. More...

Guest blogger Drew Steketee remembers Ed Stimpson in the latest installment of AVweb Insider. Read and add your own comments. More...

If You Own a Cirrus, Or If You Are Considering Purchasing a New or Used Aircraft, Consider This:
Avidyne and leading Cirrus sales and maintenance facilities have launched the G3-R9 program combining the purchase of a late-model, low-time Cirrus and the Avidyne Entegra Release 9 avionics suite for much less than purchasing a new aircraft. G3-R9 — combining the best airframe, best engine, and best avionics for the best value. Click here for more information.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

IFR Magazine's Jeff Van West flew Garmin's corporate Mooney to see how the G500/600 retrofit glass cockpit performs for instrument approaches. He also looks at how the unit stacks up against fully-integrated systems like the G1000. More...

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. More...

Find the Perfect Gift (Or Sell Your Gift 
Item) Here!
Ho, Ho Holiday Gift Guide
It's time to shop for special gift items and stocking stuffers for every pilot or aircraft enthusiast on your list. Click now to visit AVweb's Holiday Marketplace.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Lebanon Aviation Services at Floyd W. Jones Airport (KLBO) in Lebanon, Missouri.

AVweb reader Bill Lanman stopped in over the holiday and tells us how LAS rolled out the Thanksgiving welcome for a weary traveler:

A full course buffet of homemade food and freshly baked pie made my stop at LBO a real treat — all for a small donation! Last year I stayed overnight, and they paid for my cab to and from the hotel. The pilot is truly king here! Great people and service. I stop here whenever in the area, and I recommend any pilot flying through do the same.

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 


This is a nice one from a few years back. I know the captain of the aircraft, so I'm sure it's authentic. A South African Airways B747 just off LHR had a problem and said they were returning and would need to dump fuel for landing.

London Departure:
"You are approaching Windsor Castle, and the Queen is in residence. Hold the dump until you have passed Windsor."

SAA 747:
"Phone the Queen and ask if she would like the fuel or the aircraft."

Bob Allison
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.