AVwebFlash - Volume 15, Number 49b

December 10, 2009

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Flight 188 Pilots Respond to FAA Charges back to top 
 

Northwest Flight 188 Pilots Blame ATC

The Northwest Airlines pilots whose FAA certificates were revoked after they overflew their intended destination with a planeload of passengers have appealed to the NTSB for a review, and both cited failures by air traffic control as a "causal or contributing cause" in the incident. Capt. Timothy Cheney, 54, of Gig Harbor, Wash., and First Officer Richard Cole, 54, of Salem, Ore., stated in documents filed with the NTSB that controllers didn't follow rules and practices as described in the FAA's ATC manual and failed to coordinate effectively with Northwest dispatchers. National Air Traffic Controllers Association spokesman Doug Church told the Associated Press he couldn't comment on the matter because NATCA is a party to the ongoing NTSB investigation. Cole also said he shouldn't take a full share of the blame since he relied on Cheney to take responsibility for the flight as the flying pilot. Both pilots said that since they filed reports about the incident with NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System, sanctions should be waived.

The pilots were flying an Airbus A320 on Oct. 21 when they stopped responding to radio calls and text messages, and overflew their destination by about 150 miles before turning around and landing safely. They said they were working on their laptops and got distracted. No date has been set for their hearing, which will be held before an NTSB judge, but both pilots asked for 90 days to prepare.

Related Content:

 
View Trade-A-Plane's New Edition at No Cost on Your Mobile Device!
Just enter Trade-A-Plane.com/mobile. Search for aircraft (hourly updates). Find companies, products, and services. Locate dealers/brokers. Call or e-mail sellers, and click directly to their web sites. With our web and mobile editions, you can view all of our ads at no cost, all the time! Call (800) 337-5263, or visit us online.
 
TSA Grappling with Its Own Security Breach back to top 
 

TSA Screening Manual Posted Online

The Transportation Security Administration has confirmed an ineffectively censored copy of its airport screening procedures manual was posted online. It was taken down after the mistake was discovered but not before the unsophisticated redactions of sensitive material were cleaned up and the uncensored version became widely available on the Internet. AVweb has chosen not to make it available on our site. The TSA told ABC News the manual was an outdated version (June 2008) "improperly posted by the agency to the Federal Business Opportunities Web site wherein redacted material was not properly protected."

The 93-page manual details who, what, when and how often hand searches are done, describes the limitations of its equipment and includes sections on how to deal with diplomats, government officials and law enforcement personnel. It also includes samples of identification used by CIA, Homeland Security, Federal Air Marshals and members of Congress. "This is an appalling and astounding breach of security that terrorists could easily exploit," Clark Kent Ervin, the former inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security, told ABC. "The TSA should immediately convene an internal investigation and discipline those responsible."

 
EZ Flap Manual Handle Exension for Cessna and Piper, from Aircraft Spruce
EZ Flap Manual Flap Handle Device for Cessnas Available at Aircraft Spruce!
EZ Flap manual flap extension allows the pilot to easily and instantly reach the manual flap "Johnson Bar" lever on early Cessna 170-185s without leaning forward or bending down in the cockpit. EZ Flap puts the flap control at the correct distance from the pilot. Pilots can now remain upright and alert while keeping their focus on landing, takeoff, terrain, and traffic and without interrupting instrument scan, regardless of which shoulder harness is being used. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or visit AircraftSpruce.com.
 
It's a Bird, It's a Plane — It's Unmanned! back to top 
 

USAF Confirms Existence Of New Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Pictures of a mysterious secret drone flown by the U.S. military have been circulating around the Internet for months now (click here and here), and this week the U.S. Air Force confirmed that it is flying a new unmanned aerial vehicle called the RQ-170 Sentinel. The online images show what appears to be a squat flying-wing design. The unarmed UAV is being developed by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works and is intended "to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support" to combat forces, the Air Force said in a brief statement to Aviation Week. The Air Force did not release any images of the aircraft. The drone is flown by the Air Force from Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. It has reportedly been spotted in the skies above southern Afghanistan.

"The fielding of the RQ-170 aligns with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates' request for increased intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) support to the combatant commanders and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz's vision for an increased USAF reliance on unmanned aircraft," the Air Force said. The aircraft appears to have a wingspan of about 65 feet, according to Aviation Week.

 
Remos GX
Precisely Engineered for Your Flying Experience: The Remos GX
The Remos GX is changing aviation. The culmination of legendary German engineering, best-in-class performance, and industry-leading safety features, the Remos GX combines the best of tomorrow's aerospace technology with the simplicity of your love of flying. Innovative design and technically superior, yet uncomplicated and easy to fly, the Remos GX handles all the equipment you and your companion will need in an affordable, flexible, and fun flying experience. Click now for details (Remos.com) or call 1 (877) REMOS-88.
 
Wolf Grant Applications Due Next Week back to top 
 

Wolf Aviation Grant Deadline, December 15

The Wolf Aviation Fund grants seeks to improve public perception and technology as it relates to general aviation and has in past years supported Build-A-Plane, Fly4Life, a project to help provide wind shear information at smaller GA airports and more. This year's deadline for proposals is Dec. 15. The Fund prides itself on its simple application process and does not require extensive documentation. It has issued grants based on simple e-mailed proposals. However, "the worst mistake anyone can make is to not follow the instructions by a granting entity." Often times Wolf grants are used by their recipients as leverage to approach other sponsors to seek additional funding. The Foundation is also always working to increase its available funds while also encouraging any interested parties to visit the Wolf Aviation Fund Web site and make direct contributions to projects the Fund previously supported. To earn the Fund's attention this year, click through to get a better idea of what the Fund supports.

The Fund is currently seeking to award grants to specific projects that promote and support the advancement of personal air transportation by seeking out and funding "the most promising individuals and worthy projects which advance the field of general aviation." Those advances include increasing the public's knowledge of aviation through publications, seminars and other information media as well as informing the aviation and scientific community of the existence of the Fund and soliciting feedback. For more details, click here.

 
It's a Great Time to Buy (And Finance)!
With low prices, motivated sellers, big tax incentives, and historically low interest rates, now is a great time to buy! For new and used aircraft from piston-single to light-jet, AirFleet Capital can fix your low rate loan for up to 20 years. Please call (800) 390-4324 or request a quote online at AirFleetCapital.com.
 
Remos Regroups, Adjusts Goals for 2010 back to top 
 

Remos Restructuring Manufacturing Arm

Remos Aircraft, which has been aggressively marketing Light Sport aircraft in the U.S. of late, will issue a statement later today concerning restructuring of its German manufacturing business. The company filed a notice of insolvency (definition - PDF) with German authorities 10 days ago but that's not as dire as it sounds according to Ken Weaver, executive vice president of marketing and communications for the three companies that make up the Remos group. In fact, he said, it's the foundation for the development for new programs that will be announced in 2010. "This is not a bankruptcy," he said. "It is a procedural option that is open to us under German commercial law that will allow us to launch these programs in 2010." Legal considerations prevented him from providing more detail in time for AVweb's publishing deadline.

Weaver said the move allows Remos to make changes to its corporate structure necessary to carry out its future plans. He said there is no equivalent in U.S. commercial law so the action has been misinterpreted as a collapse of the company. Weaver said that, in fact, the restructuring will lead to even greater accessibility to its products in the future as part of a resurgence of interest in general aviation. AOPA chose a Remos light sport aircraft as its sweepstakes prize for the coming year.

 
The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
The new Meridian G1000 with Garmin G1000 avionics and GFC 700 autopilot suite, business jet luxury and turbine simplicity for 30% less than any comparable six-place turbine-powered aircraft. With a panel as commanding as the airplane, and a million dollars less than its closest competitor, "Pilot in Command" means precisely that.

Click here for more information on the new Piper Meridian G1000.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Power Flow's Holiday Toys For Tots Drive

Tuned exhaust systems manufacturer Power Flow Systems has teamed with the U.S. Marine's Toys for Tots Foundation to offer both savings on their products and donations to the charity. Power Flow "will triple the donation amount by way of an instant rebate." What that means is that buyers who donate $50 to Toys for Tots will receive $150 off a tuned exhaust system from Power Flow. The program, promoted as "give a little, save a lot," is in place until Dec. 24, 2009, and there is a cap. The maximum discount is $600 for a $200 donation. Power Flow asks that receipts be faxed or e-mailed to the company or one of its dealers. Purchases under the program are still covered by a 60-day money-back guarantee. Power Flow now has products that support Cessna, Beechcraft, Grumman, Mooney and Piper, products called "one of the best performance mods" for your airplane by Aviation Consumer magazine.

Interested operators can check product availability online. Find more details on the company's Toys for Tots promotion here.

DC-3's Anniversary Gathering At Oshkosh 2010

EAA is hoping that its celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3 will gather at Oshkosh the largest group of gooney birds (possibly more than 25) seen in more than 60 years. The aircraft will be on display, flying in formation and the subject of various technical and historical presentations. The 2010 AirVenture Oshkosh event at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh will be held July 26 through August 1 and the DC-3 will serve as the event's centerpiece, EAA said Friday. While more than 14,000 examples were built, serving both in war and peace, fewer than 100 of the aircraft are airworthy today, according to EAA. Beyond paying tribute to the aircraft, EAA says it will also mark this "final major reunion" by gathering "scores of pilots, flight attendants, mechanics, crew chiefs and passengers that flew, operated and traveled in these aircraft." EAA president Tom Poberezny is "looking forward to welcoming these iconic aviation legends" to America's largest general aviation gathering.

Poberezny saluted the aircraft, saying it "helped make air travel popular and profitable in the 1930s and 1940s, the fact that it is still used around the world today is a testament to the aircraft's design." EAA is contacting all the DC-3 owners and operators it can find and asking them to bring their airplanes to the big show.

 
WingX GPS-Enabled Terrain-Aware Moving Map for iPhone!
Just released — Moving Map for your iPhone! Also: File flight plans and obtain and view legal weather briefings. View any NACO chart or airport diagram — entire USA stored right on your phone. A/FD, AOPA Directory, Route Planning, FARs, Animated RADAR, METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures aloft, TFRs text and graphics, an E6B, and much more. WingX is also available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Click here for more information.
 
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Virgin Galactic Rolls Out SpaceShipTwo

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The public, or at least the press and politicians and a few aviation luminaries, got a first look at SpaceShipTwo in Mojave on Monday evening, at a grand rollout event hosted by Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Galactic and designer Burt Rutan. "This is truly a momentous day," said Branson. "The team has created not only a world first but also a work of art. The unveil of SS2 takes the Virgin Galactic vision to the next level and continues to provide tangible evidence that this ambitious project is not only moving rapidly, but also making tremendous progress towards our goal of safe commercial operation." To honor a long line of ships in the U.S. Navy and Britain's Royal Navy, as well as spaceships flown by NASA and perhaps most famously in Star Trek,, SS2 was christened Virgin Space Ship (VSS) Enterprise. The name also "looks to the future of the role of private enterprise in the development of the exploration, industrialisation and human habitation of space," according to Virgin Galactic's news release. The spaceship, which holds six passengers and two pilots, will start flight tests early next year. SS2 was rolled out mated to its WhiteKnightTwo carrier vehicle, which has already been flying for about a year and has mostly finished its flight-test phase.

The SS2 design will be refined and completed during the test program, according to the news release. It will be powered by a unique hybrid rocket motor similar to the one used for SS1, which is currently under development. The test phase will last 18 to 24 months, "or longer, if safety dictates," the company said. "We are not in a race, we will launch only when we are content that it is safe to do so." The tests will begin with captive-carry flights, then flights allowing the spacecraft to disengage from WK2 for glide tests, followed by powered flights, according to EAA. First spaceflights with paying customers could come as early as 2011. The company said plans are to fly 500 people in the first year and 50,000 in the first 10 years, at about $200,000 per seat. The rollout event featured a christening of SS2 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, as well as a cocktail party under the desert stars for about 900 guests.

Gulfstream G650 Completes Initial Flight Tests

A quick first flight for the G650 the day before Thanksgiving was terminated after 12 minutes to check out a vibrating gear door, but now Gulfstream has relaunched its biggest ship for a thorough wringing-out by the test crew. The company said last week the jet now has flown for an hour and 45 minutes, at speeds up to 240 knots and altitudes up to 9,500 feet. The crew checked handling qualities, pitot-static systems, avionics, hydraulic systems, electrical power generation and distribution, flight controls, and cabin environmental and pressurization controls. "The pilots' reports indicate that the G650's flying qualities were outstanding," said Pres Henne, senior vice president of programs, engineering and test at Gulfstream. The jet is on target for certification in 2011, he said, by both FAA and EASA, with entry into service in 2012.

Throughout the flight, Gulfstream technicians on the ground monitored real-time data using a new telemetry system configured to downlink more than 2,000 different parameters, the company said. The complete G650 flight-test and certification plan will involve five aircraft and more than 1,800 hours of testing. The airplane will be capable of a 7,000-nm range at 0.85 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach. Click here for a video of the first flight.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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."

 
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 ERAU.edu/professionaleducation.
 
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

Question of the Week: Through-the-Fence Agreements

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked AVweb readers how much flying they did in 2009.

Answers varied, but the largest single group of respondents (32% of you) said you flew about the same as in previous years. Coming as a pleasant surprise, the second largest group (23%) said they actually flew more than usual this year.

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 FAA has issued new rules banning "through-the-fence" agreements, and the TSA effectively closed down one in Punta Gorda last week. Should they be allowed at all?

Should through-the-fence arrangements be allowed?
(click to answer)


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.

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.

 
Diamond Aircraft
This Is the Very Best Time Ever to Buy a New Diamond!
Take advantage of the most generous incentives Diamond has ever offered when you purchase a new Diamond DA20, DA40, or DA42 by December 31, 2009. Diamond will match your down payment (up to 10% of the purchase price) PLUS include no-charge Garmin Synthetic Vision (on DA40s and G500-equipped DA20s). With today's low interest rates and bonus depreciation, now is the time to get the very best deal on the best airplanes in the market today. For more information, click here or call (888) 359-3220.

* Some terms and conditions apply.
 
Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: G100UL — The Real Deal?

If it turns out to be, Paul Bertorelli figures the fuels industry is going to have some 'splaining to do. The experimental fuel is octane-enhanced with a material that's obtainable from the refinery stream. What needs to be shown is if it can be done economically. So why did it take this long to try it?

That's the question Paul mulls over in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

 
Looking for Low-Cost, Yet Effective, Marketing Options?
Let AVweb assist your company in creating effective direct-response marketing campaigns to generate leads. No other digital aviation news media reaches more qualified subscribers more often. Text messages in newsletters combined with online banners reach over 255,000 readers monthly and deliver more new users to sponsor sites weekly than most print publications do monthly. Click now for details.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Jacksonville Jetport at Cecil Field (KVQQ) (Jacksonville, Florida)

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

Judging by the latest batch of reader nominations for "FBO of the Week," Florida is a hot destination this time of year. It seems migrating snowbirds are finding the warm smiles and friendly line staff as welcoming in the state as the pleasant temperatures.

To wit: AVweb reader Jesse Farr was recently diverted to Jacksonville Jetport at Cecil Field (KVQQ) in Jacksonville, Florida, and found himself enjoying the change of itinerary:

Thank you to Samantha Fowlkes of Jacksonville Jetport. We tried to go into KJAX and/or KCRG on the 19th, but both were hard IFR with them having some computer problems finding and/or keeping up with those supposedly already in the system that day. They sent us over to KVQQ where it was clear, no traffic, and a very pleasant experience in and out.

We were handled promptly and properly, with some of the greatest courtesy I have seen anywhere from approach, tower, and departure. Samantha outfitted us with a courtesy car and even programmed in a destination on the loaner GPS that went with it. Upon return, we were already fueled at competitive rates and were on the way out very quickly as well.

Facilities were some of the nicest, traffic was no problem, and everyone was nice, friendly, and pleased to see us. Needless to say, next trip to Jacksonville, we will probably go to KVQQ, even if we are going to northeastern Jacksonville.

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!

 
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.
 
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Submit a Photo | Rules | Tips | Questions | Past Winners

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 ***

You'll have to excuse us if we get a bit of drool on your monitor today. This week's reader-submitted photos are nothing short of incredible! Any of our top 15 submissions could easily have been our latest "Picture of the Week," which made this week's choices particularly tough. But using a complex and foolproof methodology derived from years of intense study, we did finally manage to settle on a top photo and four runners-up.

medium | large

Used with permission of Jeff Randall

"Oh, What a Heavenly Light!"

If you're tempted to describe this photo from Jeff Randall of Abilene, Texas in sentimental terms, there's a good reason. According to his comments, Jeff some real quality time with the setting sun and this Cessna 150, shooting from all different angles and with different exposures until he managed to get just the right photo. It paid off, with one or two of Jeff's photos giving us that warm, fuzzy feeling that normally only comes from a lazy afternoon chat with a cherished old friend.

medium | large

copyright © Daniel Valovich
Used with permission

Low and Slow

Daniel Valovich of Hot Springs, Arkansas has a healthy appreciation for flying — and it doesn't stop with man-made aerodynamic contraptions. The prolific Mr. Valovich has dropped more than a couple eagle photos in our box over the last couple of years, but this one — snapped on Lake Ouachita — has to be our favorite.

medium | large

copyright © Carl Hansen
Used with permission

Extra Moon

Something's not what it seems in this photograph from Carl Hansen of Nepean, Ontario (Canada). Nope, it's not the moon — it's the Extra 260, which is actually a "giant-scale R/C model"!

medium | large

copyright © Joseph Horenkamp
Used with permission

PBY Super Catalina

We've gotten some great black-and-white photos recently that we simply couldn't squeeze into the main "POTW" showcase here on AVweb — though they have been appearing in the slideshow on our home page — but Novi, Michigan's Joe Horenkamp helps us sneak one in this week. (Thanks, Joe!)

medium | large

Used with permission of Felix M.

Contrail Over the Golden Gate Bridge

Simple, but oh, so elegant!

Felix M. of San Luis Obispo, California handles this week's sign-off photo.


You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't miss 'em!

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.

 
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:

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.