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Volume 15, Number 52a
December 28, 2009
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Top News: Terrorism and Not-Terrorismback to top 
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"Aggressive intervention has become the societal norm," the Flight Safety Foundation's Bill Voss told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, about a passenger's action to subdue would-be terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab, on Christmas Day. Abdulmatallab succeeded in burning himself and not much more when the lives of 278 passengers were at stake. That is perhaps thanks to fellow Northwest Fight 253 passenger Jasper Schuringa. Shuringa told CNN, "I basically reacted directly." Shuringa said it wasn't a matter of thought, "I just went over there and tried to save the plane." Shuringa used his hands to extinguish the fire Abdulmatallab's actions had created. He was quickly joined by crew and other passengers who took the suspect to first class, stripped him and searched for explosives. "We just did it. There was nothing to talk about," passenger Syed Jafry said. The men now join the ranks of passengers like those of United Flight 93 who were aware of the threat and were ready to act. While authorities worldwide tighten security measures, stories of active intervention initiated by the final line of defense -- the passengers -- become more common.

More on Abdulmatallab:
Read the Wall Street Journal's profile on Umar Adbulmattallab here


Authorities say a Nigerian man who locked himself in the bathroom of Northwest Flight 253 on Sunday, two days after the same Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight was the target of a bombing attempt, apparently had a good reason to be there. The unidentified businessman reportedly became ill on the flight and had made several trips to the lav, arousing the suspicion of perhaps twitchier-than-usual passengers and crew. When the door didn't open for about an hour on his last visit, crew broke down the door and dragged him out, which might also explain his less than courteous response to them. After reporting a "disruptive passenger" the crew made a hurried landing and the man was arrested. The rest of the passengers and their bags were rescreened and finally it was determined there was no danger. The suspect in Friday's bombing attempt is alleged to have put together components of the device in the bathroom. More...

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Less Time on the Tarmac? Time Will Tellback to top 

The Department of Transportation has made rules that require airlines to let passengers off of an airplane that hasn't gone anywhere for three hours, but practical application of those rules may be difficult. Passenger rights groups support the rules, but given the choice of arriving late or not arriving at all, most passengers say they would rather arrive late, American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith told Three hours at the gate is one thing, but after three hours on a taxiway an aircraft can either be accessed by mobile stairs or it can go back to the gate where some or all passengers could exit. Regardless, if the aircraft is in the queue, it would lose its place and further delay passengers willing to continue with the flight, plus add cascading delays for passengers waiting for that jet, elsewhere. But... .

Related Content:
Podcast interview with Anjum Malik of


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
2010 Forecasting & Finance (Part I)back to top 

Coming off a very volatile two years ravaged by world economic woes and steep fuel prices, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is predicting more losses in 2010, in spite of predicted upticks in travel and a forecast that business jets may rebound for 2011. IATA recently bumped its projection of a $3.8 billion loss for 2010 by 47 percent -- the organization now predicts a $5.6 billion loss. If true, that will fall back-to-back with the $11 billion loss forecast for 2009. That loss has hit business aviation, too. "General aviation ... has taken an unnecessary pummeling," former FAA head Marion Blakey told Reuters. Blakey stood by predictions that demand for business jets should pick up in 2011, a sentiment echoed by Pratt & Whitney President David Hess. "Utilization is up," Hess said. But an increase in passenger traffic at the airlines and increased utilization in the business aviation world aren't expected to beat out high fuel costs. "Airlines will remain firmly in the red in 2010," IATA CEO Giovannin Bisignani said in a statement. As for the bizav world: While the fall may be over, "that's not the same as a recovery," the Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia recently told Reuters. More...

Eclipse Aerospace expects to complete upgrades to 28 jets acquired as the assets of the former Eclipse Aviation and it plans to start selling them as early as next spring. Mike Press and Mason Holland Jr., the two investors behind the new Eclipse Aerospace LLC, have now hired 60 employees and are back in business in Albuquerque. Eight Eclipse 500 Very Light Jets are currently in the care of the new company, receiving upgrades to their avionics and de-icing systems to the tune of $149,000 each. And Eclipse Aerospace has earned FAA approval for a pilot training program that takes place in the aircraft, as opposed to the simulators used by the former Eclipse Aviation. They've also earned FAA and EASA approval to put owners, operators and repair station personnel worldwide through a maintenance training curriculum. More...

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2010 Forecasting & Finance (Part II)back to top 

Boeing has released documents for airlines that show an increase in the 787 Dreamliner's maximum allowable takeoff weight by 9.25 tons, sparking critics to speculate the number may account for increased girth -- as opposed to increased capacity. Boeing generally doesn't disclose empty weights while its aircraft are still in development/testing, but that hasn't stopped some analysts from speculating the worst and using that speculation to help drive down the price of Boeing stock. "The 787-8 appears to have evolved from a once-elegant composite design to one saddled with carbuncles of heavy titanium added throughout for strengthening," wrote Morgan Stanley financial analyst Heidi Wood. The analyst then downgraded Boeing stock, according to the LA Times. That happened in spite of the 787's chief project engineer Mike Delaney's comments that the jet's weight has been stable for about two years, that it will meet its range and payload targets, that it will deliver the promise of a 20% increase in fuel efficiency, and that it has increased its payload capacity due to confirmation of its structural strength. More...

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

A slip of the digit resulted in our story on the 50th anniversary of the Piper Cherokee adding 10 years to its still-youthful design. The first one rolled out in 1960, not 1950, as we misstated in the original story. Thanks to the legions of AVweb fact checkers who took time from their holiday celebrations to point out the typo. More...


Letter of the Week: Flight Service Closures Will Hurt

I'm a flight service specialist at St. Petersburg, Florida and am directly involved in day-to-day operations. In your article, [Lockheed Martin spokeswoman] Jan Gottfredsen claims that because of a "13% reduction in call volume, combined with efficiencies gained with a new communications network," there will be a seamless transition. I must question this contention.

Currently, Kankakee, Lansing, Nashville, and St. Petersburg answer collectively up to 2,500 calls per day. The traffic of the Eastern Service Area flight service stations exceeds that of the other two service areas. These four facilities are dedicated entirely to briefing pilots. The 3 "hub" facilities conduct all of the inflight (radio) functions, flight data and NoTAM functions. Typically, in the Eastern Service Area Hub, only a half dozen or so people are briefing; the rest are required to perform inflight, flight data and NoTAMs for the eastern United States. Admittedly, Lockheed is massaging the staffing schedule to compensate for the loss of briefers, but where are the additional people coming from?


Rob Stultz

Click through to read the rest of Rob Stultz's letter and others from this week's mailbag.


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Share Your Opinionback to top 

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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

It's not that AVweb Editorial Director Paul Bertorelli likes stirring up trouble — well, O.K., maybe it's a little of that — but he can't seem to get enough of the ongoing discussion raised by our video for Avation Safety dissecting a Cirrus stall. Paul responds to comments (and invites new ones) on our blog, the AVweb Insider. Click here to join the conversation. More...

Almost 300 people aboard Northwest Flight 253 may owe their lives to a young Dutch filmmaker who simply did the right thing at the right time when a would-be terrorist made his move. In the latest installment of our blog, the AVweb Insider, Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles reflects on how easy it can be to let the moment pass when it's time to step up and take action. Read more and add your comments here. More...

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AVweb Audio —? Are You Listening?back to top 

The Department of Transportation announced new rules for ramp delays last week, but are they as tough as they seem? AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Anjum Malik of about the rules and the group's next move. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Come along for the ride as Kyle Franklin explains his entertaining Super Cub comedy act and Ben Wabknoski goes flying. Franklin makes it look easy — but trust us, it's anything but. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Tango One Aviation at Falcon Field Airport (FFZ) in Mesa, Arizona.

AVweb reader Dick Stich brought the "super people [and] good service" at Tango One to our attention. If you'd like to see your favorite FBO recognized here, then take a moment to nominate them here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday! For complete contest rules, click here.


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Overheard on a flight from Brest to Toulon in France:

Airliner 123:
"Control, didn't you forget Airline 123?"


Female Voice from Control Tower:
"Sorry, sir. I really did forget you."

Airline 123:
"No problem. I have one like that at home, too."

Jan Evens
via e-mail More...

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.

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