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The time to respond to the FAA's latest proposed changes to flight-training rules closed on Monday, and nearly 400 comments were logged. The National Association of Flight Instructors said that
while overall the 16 proposals are on the right track, they still had issues. "Some of [the proposed changes] lack the detail needed to fully allow their implementation," said NAFI Executive Director
Jason Blair. "Others, instead of enhancing safety, actually decrease the level of flight proficiency and experience students will gain through their training activities. We also believe that further
research on a number of these proposals is needed before final rules can be finalized." AOPA also commented
on the changes, and said they would like to see some of the proposals go even further. For example, while the proposal would tweak some requirements for the commercial pilot certificate, AOPA said it
would like to see a thorough review of those requirements. EAA said it was OK with most of the proposals, but raised a red flag regarding certain changes aimed at operators of jet aircraft. The
changes were clearly intended to address operators of VLJs, EAA said, but would potentially impact the operation of warbirds and other vintage and homebuilt jets operated under Experimental
Among the proposed changes in the FAA NPRM: Commercial pilot applicants, both single-engine and multiengine, would replace the current 10 hours of complex airplane aeronautical experience with 10
hours of advanced instrument training; flight schools would be excused from the requirement to have a ground school space if they offer Internet-based ground-school training; students would be allowed
to apply for both a private pilot certificate and an instrument rating at the same time; the definition of "complex airplane" would change to include airplanes equipped with FADEC engines; and it
would become easier to issue U.S. certificates to foreign pilots. The changes would help reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, the FAA said. Click here for the full
list of comments at the FAA Web site. Click here for the full text of the NPRM. Click here for NAFI's full review.
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A Navy Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighter plane that sank more than 60 years ago was lifted from the muddy waters of Lake Michigan on Monday. "Relatively speaking, having been down there since 1945,
it's in pretty darn good shape," Mark Kish, a worker for the marine retrieval company, told The Navy
Times. The lettering on the side could still be read and gauges in the cockpit were intact, Kish said. The airplane was found in water about 260 feet deep, where it sank after a mishap during a
training flight for carrier landings. The pilot of the airplane, Lt. Walter Elcock, survived the crash and is now 89 years old and living in Atlanta. His grandson, Hunter Brawley, was present for the
event and was the first to sit in the cockpit. "He told me to look for a pack of Lucky Strikes he left [behind]," Brawley told the Lake County News-Sun. "That's his sense of humor." The airplane will be moved to the
National Naval Aviation Museum in Florida, where it will be restored for display. Click here for a video of the recovered airplane on a local news site.
Elcock said he remembers the accident like it was yesterday, according to The Daily
Mail. During a training landing on the carrier deck, the aircraft's tail hook became entangled in a safety cable, and the airplane went out of control. "My right wing went out from under me and I
went over the side," Elcock said. The cable snapped, and Elcock had to escape the cockpit from 10 feet under water. Brawley called his grandfather while sitting in the cockpit, and told him he
suspects not many people get to sit in the cockpit of an airplane their grandfather flew. "It's made my year," he said.
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Flight Design is the first LSA manufacturer to obtain type design approval and a production certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the company said this week. The approval for
the CT design will make it easier for the company to deliver airplanes in the growing GA market there. "Up to now, LSA airplanes [sold in China] have been brought into service on the basis of a
manufacturer's self-declaration alone, without any kind of certification," said Matthias Betsch, CEO of Flight Design, which is based in Germany. "This is a completely new level of qualification the
CTLS has obtained with this step." Flight Design has sold more than 1,500 airplanes in 39 countries, and the CT has led the U.S. LSA market for five years. "We congratulate Flight Design Germany on
this success," said Tom Peghiny, president of Flight Design USA. He added that sales are picking up in the U.S., with better sales numbers
in September and October 2009 than in those months of 2008. "A market recovery can be seen," he said.
Cessna is also building the 162 Skycatcher in China, but so far at least, those LSAs are destined for the U.S. market. Meanwhile, researchers in China have been working on developing their own light aircraft technologies.
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
Piper's Mirage and Matrix single-engine aircraft can now be ordered with Garmin G1000 glass cockpits, the company announced this week. "The G1000 takes our premier aircraft to a new level of performance," said
Dennis Olcott, Piper's VP of engineering. "The G1000 deployed in the Meridian -- and now the Mirage and Matrix, as well -- [provides] sophisticated avionics that give pilots the feel and capabilities
experienced in larger, business-class aircraft." The G1000 flight deck comes with three large-format, high-resolution displays as well as synthetic vision, the company said. The Meridian, Mirage and
Matrix currently feature Avidyne's FlightMax Entegra Integrated glass avionics as standard equipment. That option will continue to be offered.
"By adding Garmin's G1000 to all of the PA-46 series of aircraft, we are providing our customers with a wider array of options than they have ever had on our flagship aircraft," said Piper CEO
Kevin Gould. In October, the company announced that it will
install Garmin G3000 avionics in the PiperJet.
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While the staff of Operation Migration was working at a wildlife refuge in Florida last month, helping to establish a
migrating flock of endangered whooping cranes, their hangar in Necedah, Wisc., was broken into by vandals who stole and destroyed thousands of dollars worth of gear and slashed the fabric wings of
four ultralights. "A few minutes of senseless destruction means we're looking at a bill for $20,000 to replace the wings," Joe Duff, CEO of the nonprofit group, wrote in the group's blog last week. There was no insurance on the hangar contents. A vintage ultralight that was used in the filming of
Fly Away Home was damaged, artwork created by one of the staffers was destroyed, and tires were slashed on two
cars stored in the hangar. "All of us lost something in that willful destruction of property, but mostly we lost faith," wrote Duff. "Who knows what motivates such unrepressed anger. ... Instead of
lashing out, we will redirect our anger at this cowardly act of destruction into more resolve." Supporters of the group have started a fundraising drive to try to replace some of the damaged goods.
Besides the vandalism, several items were stolen. One staffer who worked on the road had stored personal belongings at the hangar, which were taken or destroyed. Local officials so far say they
have no suspects in the investigation. Volunteer pilot Jack Wrighter said on the group's blog that he will match up to $1,000 in donations that come in marked for wing replacement. Click here to contribute. Operation Migration has been working since 2001 to help endangered whooping cranes establish migration
routes, by leading them in flight with ultralight aircraft.
Got a Minute? Watch It's a Drag, an important Pilot Safety Announcement from the Air Safety Foundation
Don't let airframe icing drag you down. This quick PSA shows pilots that it makes no sense to fly into icing conditions.
The FAA this week published a final rule prohibiting takeoffs with "polished frost," which it defines as "frost buffed
to make it smooth," on the wings, stabilizers and control surfaces of aircraft operated under fractional or charter rules. The rule requires operators to remove any frost adhering to critical surfaces
prior to takeoff. Since most such operators already were prevented from using the procedure under FAA operating specs, the change mainly affects operators in Alaska, FAA's Les Dorr told AVweb
on Tuesday. Out of 188 aircraft affected by the new rule, 177 are in Alaska. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said the FAA has advised pilots not to take off with frost or ice contaminating their wings
for years, "because it made good sense. Now, it's the law." The change, however, does not apply to non-fractional operators flying under Part 91, although of the 12 frost-related accidents the FAA
identified, 9 involved such operations. Those accidents, the FAA says, would not have been prevented by this new rule. "Nevertheless," the FAA said, "these accidents illustrate the risk involved in
flying with polished frost."
The new rule also clarifies that aircraft operating under Parts 125, 135, or 91 subpart F (fractionals and some large aircraft), must have functioning deicing or anti-icing equipment to fly under
IFR into known or forecast light or moderate icing conditions, or under VFR into known light or moderate icing conditions. The new rules take effect Jan. 30. Previous FAA guidance recommended removing
all wing frost prior to takeoff, but allowed it to be polished smooth if the aircraft manufacturer's recommended procedures were followed. But manufacturers never published standards of acceptable
smoothness for polished frost, and the FAA said it has no data to determine exactly how to polish frost to satisfactory smoothness. The new rules include four alternatives to removing frost: use wing
covers to prevent frost accumulation, wait for frost to melt, store the aircraft in a heated hangar, or de-ice the wing surface. Frost can affect the aerodynamics of wings and control surfaces, and
the safest action is to completely remove it, the FAA said.
The FAA is behind schedule on its proposal for new rules addressing pilot fatigue, and they won't be out until sometime early next year, Peggy Gilligan, the FAA's associate administrator for
aviation safety, told a Senate panel on Tuesday. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate aviation subcommittee, said lawmakers were running out of patience with the FAA, which had said
earlier this year the NPRM would be out by this fall and then extended that to the end of the year. Gilligan also told the aviation subcommittee the new rules will not allow pilots to take naps in the
cockpit as a fatigue-fighting strategy, as some other countries allow. "The crew has to come to work prepared for the schedule they are undertaking," she said. "We can manage and mitigate their
fatigue through the regulations sufficiently that they should be alert throughout that flight." John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, raised the issue of long commute times for
pilots. "The regional carriers, especially, they lose a contract and all of a sudden, people who lived in Cincinnati for 20 years, flying out of their home base, now have to commute overnight," said
Prater. But Gilligan said that issue may be addressed by FAA guidance to operators rather than in the new rules. "How to do it is hard," she said. "But we know we do need to address it."
The rules will address such issues as the time of day that pilots work and the number of takeoffs and landings they execute, Gilligan said. Besides Prater and Gilligan, the panel heard from Basil
Barimo of the Air Transport Association and William Voss of the Flight Safety Foundation. The statements of each witness and an archive of the webcast can be found online.
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.
Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."
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Last week, the TSA dropped some hefty fines against thee airlines involved in a notorious ramp delay. We asked
AVweb readers what they thought of the fines.
The clear majority of you (53% of those who took a moment to respond) said it's about time airlines were held accountable for these incidents. At the other end of the spectrum,
only eight respondents (barely 1% of the total) called the fines ridiculous for a six-hour delay, even if it caused some discomfort.
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 ***
2009 is winding down, and that's our cue to get nosy about our readers and their flying habits. We'd like to know how much air time you've logged this year.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ***
As you might expect, reader submissions to our weekly photo cornucopia dropped a little bit over the week of Thanksgiving but don't panic. We've still got plenty of terrific
shots to make your eyes bug out of your head today.
William Derrickson of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania kicks things off with a simply incredible shot that begged to be this week's top photo.
Before anyone asks: Yes, William did some post-production work here, compositing several different exposures into one image with super high-contrast colors. In our opinion, this is
the digital equivalent of being a master of chemical developing from the old days but maybe you disagree. If so, feel free to drop us a line and let us know.
Dave Oberg of Anchorage, Alaska captured the U.S. Forest Service taking a break from their duties on Crescent Lake, Kenai Peninsula back during the
summer months. We think it's safe to add Alaskan Forestry Service pilot to your list of dream jobs.
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.
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
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.