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Volume 15, Number 51a
December 21, 2009
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Top News: Hangar Fire Ironyback to top 
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Airport firefighters in Prince George, British Columbia, say there was nothing they could do but watch as fire took hold in a 70-year-old wood frame hangar as they waited for city firefighters to arrive to battle the blaze. By the time the city crews traveled the 10 miles from their hall (some witnesses said it took about 25 minutes), there wasn't much hope of saving the historic former military hangar, which served as the local headquarters for Northern Thunderbird Air, a scheduled, charter and medevac airline. Eight aircraft, much of the airline's fleet, were safely moved outside before the fire consumed the building. Airport Fire Chief Dan Moulder told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. that his crew followed long-established protocol. "Our concern is the airport itself. We look after the aviation side, the city looks after the structures," Moulder said. Although the aircraft were saved, the fire has disrupted operations by the airline and the airport itself. More...

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
Employers, Professionals Eye 787 Opportunitiesback to top 

Following the Dreamliner's successful Dec. 15 first flight, at least 100 local parts suppliers are waiting for production to ramp up for Boeing's 787 so they can start putting people to work, and there are more outside of the state. Boeing's 840 orders for the 787 represent a record backlog and while testing is ongoing and first deliveries aren't expected until the end of 2010, that doesn't mean the company isn't already building the jets. Boeing has already sent 10 of its 787 Dreamliners down the production line and is shooting for 10 per month by 2012. Literally hundreds of companies (329 are noted by are involved in the big jet program and that means the long-delayed return on the investments in equipment and training at many of those companies is soon going to translate into jobs. 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
South Korean Space Transport Lined Upback to top 

XCOR Aerospace's Lynx Mark II suborbital vehicle has been selected by the Republic of Korea and will serve there, pending what may be the first export licensing approval process performed by the U.S. for such a vehicle. XCOR's announcement, Thursday, said the company plans to supply the Yecheon Astro Space Center with suborbital launch services through a "wet lease." That means the company will likely be providing personnel, maintenance and insurance for the Lynx. It will cost Yecheon roughly $30 million. Yecheon operates as a non-profit entity, providing space-related activities that include aerospace training and a commercial space camp, and said it was attracted by the Lynx's reusability, reliable propulsion, turnaround time and costs. XCOR CEO Jeff Greason says the transaction is an opportunity "to set an example of responsible international commerce in space transportation." But before the vehicle can be supplied, substantial logistics must be choreographed. More...

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Air Travel in Trouble?back to top 

The International Civil Aviation Organization has announced that preliminary figures for air travel during 2009 show that one localized spike was no match for a worldwide decline in airline passenger traffic that could represent the largest drop-off in aviation history. International traffic declined by nearly 4 percent worldwide, while domestic traffic fell about 1.8 percent on average, according to ICAO. Asia and Latin America managed strong domestic passenger traffic growth and North America's budget carriers helped hold traffic declines to a minimum. But all major geographic areas, except one, set forth total (domestic and international, combined) numbers that represent negative growth. The one area that showed an increase in total passenger traffic was the Middle East, which chimed in with a 10 percent overall increase. ICAO's forecast for future trends doesn't shine quite that bright, but it is positive. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Bill Lear, son of William P. Lear, legendary designer and developer of the Learjet business jet, died at the age of 81 Dec. 14, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Lear Jr.'s life is detailed in his autobiography, "Fly Fast...Sin Boldly -- Flying, Spying and Surviving." Spanning a lifetime of aviation, Lear began flying at age 15. In 1946, then 17-year-old Lear Jr. borrowed $1250 from his father, purchased a brand new Lockheed P-38 from the War Assets Administration and soon became the youngest pilot to race the aircraft in the Bendix Trophy races. He never graduated high school, but eventually worked as president of Learjet International. He served three years of active duty with the United States Air Force in Germany and wrote later that he was also involved in covert gun running designed to undermine Soviet activities during the Cold War. Most recently before his death, Lear blogged on current political issues. In 2006, he passed judgment on the very light jets of the day in an early AVweb podcast. More...

Although the industry has made progress in making light aircraft safer, stalls or stall/spins continue to be a major factor in fatal accidents, according to recent research done by Aviation Safety magazine. In its review of 338 fatal accidents, the magazine found that 18 percent were due to stall-related factors and the true percentage may be even higher. Many of these occur in the traffic pattern at low altitudes and to illustrate this, AVweb has prepared this dramatic video re-creating a Cirrus stall accident in 2008. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Cessna has delivered its first Light Sport Aircraft model 162 Skycatcher to Rose Pelton, the wife of Cessna president and CEO Jack Pelton, Dec. 18. The first delivery was announced at AOPA Summit 2009 in Tampa in November. The company held a ceremony Friday at Yingling Aircraft in Wichita, Kan., which is one of three U.S. re-assembly facilities (much of the airframe is made in China) for the aircraft. Cessna says it has gathered more than 1,000 orders for the Skycatcher since the program was announced in 2007 at AirVenture Oshkosh. The company, together with King Schools, has developed a Web-based training system for sport and private certificates that will be available through the Cessna Pilot Center network. More...

Joseph Banda, a 13-year-old boy living in a Zambian ghetto, took his first flying lesson recently thanks to the generosity of patrons of the BBC. Edmond Farmer, a flying instructor in Zambia, was paid by a BBC listener to give Banda his first flying lesson, the BBC reported Thursday. Other listeners are organizing a fund for the well-spoken boy's education. Banda was introduced to the public in a September BBC audio feature in which he described his life growing up in a hometown that suffers from severe unemployment, unsanitary conditions, drugs and disease. In that piece he also described his dream of becoming a pilot. Touched listeners then reached out to the BBC to help Joseph realize at least part of his dream. Click through for a link to the BBC's audio. More...

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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 


Letter of the Week: Crew Qualifications

The proposed requirement for a 1500-hour minimum is another example of non-aviators attempting to "fix" what they do not understand. Is experience vital to success in the cockpit? Absolutely, but without proper training and currency, experience (minimum hours) can turn into an exercise of boring holes in the sky to fill an artificial requirement.

I've been active as a flight instructor for over 20 years teaching civilian to military, basic to advanced flight training. Quality of training [and] getting good habit patterns and procedures established early outweighs mere hours burned in the sky. I instruct at one of the USAF Aero Clubs and fly from the same runway as F-22 Raptors and C-17 Globemasters. In my younger days I had the privilege of being a weapons systems officer on the F-4 Phantom. Then, as now, the younger pilots were often folks with barely 300 hours of total flying time. 300 hours of total flying time and PIC of an aircraft capable of Mach 2+ and the ability to establish air supremacy in a war zone! How is that possible? Simple: Quality of training, recency of experience (competency and proficiency) and proactive supervision.


R. G. Preston

Click through to read the rest of R. G. Preston's letter and others from this week's mailbag.


Do you own a portable GPS? Aviation Consumer magazine wants to know how it has held up for you. Does it do everything you need? Was it a good value for the money? Have there been issues with service and support? Follow this link to our brief online survey and let your voice be heard. It will only take a few minutes, and your comments can be anonymous if you want. Thanks for helping out, and look for a round-up review of portable GPS products in the February issue of Aviation Consumer. (Click here for subscription deals for AVweb readers.) More...

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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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

So-called over-the-top or cross-control stall accidents have been common among general aviation pilots for years. But no one has ever really documented what happens in one — until now. Thanks the widespread use of glass cockpits, this fatal stall accident has been extraordinarily well-documented by accident investigators and includes a video re-creation. Aviation Safety magazine walks you through the accident in this video. More...

As part of its detailed coverage in the January 2010 issue, the editors of Aviation Safety interview veteran flight instructors John King and Rich Stowell about the state of stall and spin training. 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.
Also on AVwebback to top 

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli comments on the proposed 1,500-hour requirement in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. "If nothing else," he says, "we are shockingly predictable in our reaction." Read the full blog and add your own comments. More...

Come along with the editors of IFR magazine for a quick tour of Cape Air's pilot training program. The program brings green pilots up to snuff for flying the Cessna 402 in single-pilot IFR and relies heavily on cockpit flows and pilot manuals of Cape Air's own design. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Thomaston-Upson County Regional Airport (OPN) in Thomaston, Georgia.

AVweb reader Kenneth Breier told us about the FBO and its stellar services, including a courtesy SUV, jump school, long runway, great fuel prices, and brand-new facilities — not to mention great service from the folks who work there.

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 


Years ago, when there were flight service stations:

TriPacer 3438A:
"Chicago area radio, this is TriPacer 3438A requesting a practice DF steer to Joliet."

"38A, we are very busy now and unable a to provide a practice steer. We can only respond to a lost aircraft."

[pregnant pause]

TriPacer 3438A:
"O.K. 38A will take one of those."

Grant Besley
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.