AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 5b

February 4, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: NTSB Rules on Colgan Air Buffalo Crash back to top 
 
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NTSB Blames Captain For Colgan Crash

The probable cause of the Colgan Air crash that killed 50 people near Buffalo, N.Y., a year ago was the captain's inappropriate response, characterized as "startle and confusion," after the stick shaker was activated, the NTSB reported in a hearing on Tuesday. The captain pulled back when he should have pushed forward, the board said, causing an accelerated stall. Contributing factors included the crew's failure to monitor airspeed and their violation of the sterile-cockpit rule. In the daylong hearing, which ran past 7 p.m., the board split over the issue of whether or not fatigue was a contributing factor in the accident. Board chairman Deborah Hersman argued that several factors, including the crew's sleep deficits and the time of day the accident took place, indicated that fatigue was present, and should be counted as a contributing factor to the crew's performance. But the view of board member Robert Sumwalt prevailed -- he said just because the crew was fatigued, that doesn't mean it was a factor in their performance.

Documents filed prior to the hearing also showed that the first officer sent two texts from the cockpit prior to takeoff, according to the Buffalo News. One text was sent at 7:58 p.m., prior to taxi, and the second was at 9:13 p.m., just five minutes before takeoff. The board issued more than 20 recommendations to the FAA for changes that should be made to prevent similar accidents. Hersman, however, told reporters that the FAA fails to act. "It's the same thing over and over again," she said. "[Our recommendations] have not been heeded by the FAA." The presentations from the meeting are posted online, as well as the complete docket of documents. The NTSB animation of the final moments of the flight was posted several months ago. A summary of the board's findings is now posted online; a full probable-cause report will be posted in a few weeks. On Feb. 12, the anniversary of the crash, friends and relatives of the victims of the crash are planning to walk the final miles of the uncompleted Colgan flight, to protest what they say was a preventable tragedy, according to NBC New York.

Colgan Air, FAA, Lawmakers Respond To NTSB Findings

Reacting to Tuesday's conclusions from the NTSB blaming the flight crew for the fatal crash last February, Colgan Air released a statement saying the crew had been properly trained. "They knew what to do in the situation they faced that night a year ago, had repeatedly demonstrated they knew what to do, and yet did not do it," the company wrote. "We cannot speculate on why they did not use their training in dealing with the situation they faced ... We want to make clear again that our pilots are highly trained to handle all situations they may encounter." The FAA also issued a statement, saying they will soon publish proposed federal rules to prevent pilot fatigue and further improve training. "Airline passengers deserve an expertly trained and well-rested crew, whether they are flying on a major or a regional jet," the FAA said. "Pilots must be trained for the mission they are flying and the FAA already is working to further improve their professional qualifications." The NTSB report also prompted response from lawmakers in Washington.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he wants the FAA to require pilots to log 1,500 hours to get a commercial pilot's license. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she will sponsor a Flight 3407 Memorial Act to make NTSB safety recommendations mandatory, according to the New York Daily News.

 
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FAA, Controllers Clash in Ohio back to top 
 

NATCA Protests FAA Facility Consolidation Plans

Air traffic controllers in Ohio are protesting a move by the FAA to consolidate operations from several locations in the northern part of the state to a central facility in Cleveland. The consolidation would mean poorer service to pilots, a loss of local knowledge among controllers, and degraded safety and efficiency, according to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. NATCA has been meeting with local pilots and government officials in the region to encourage opposition to the FAA plans. Under the current setup, controllers are familiar with the area around the airports where they work. That could change if controllers are consolidated, NATCA spokeswoman Alex Caldwell told a local news site. The FAA's proposed plan establishes large controller stations in Columbus and Cleveland, but doesn't provide redundant support in case of a problem at one of the locations, she said. FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Toledo Blade that no final decisions have been made regarding consolidation, but some NATCA members said plans are already in place for controllers to be moved as soon as this summer.

NATCA has created a Web site to protest the FAA's plans to consolidate TRACONs across the country. "Local airport knowledge is CRUCIAL to the continued safe and efficient operation of our local airports," the site reads. "Additionally, the current combined Tower/radar system is cheaper and safer to maintain and operate than a system of large consolidated radars." NATCA asks pilots to write their congressional representatives and send letters to the editor at local newspapers to protest the FAA plan. The issue is not about a loss of jobs, the union said. Job cuts are not included in the FAA plans, only a consolidation of facilities.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Concorde Crash Trial Under Way In France

Nearly 10 years after an Air France Concorde crashed and burned near Paris, killing all 109 people on board and four on the ground, a trial began this week in France to determine who will be held responsible. Six defendants have been charged with involuntary manslaughter -- two maintenance workers employed by Continental Airlines who were involved in installing a titanium strip that fell off a DC-10 onto the runway, allegedly causing the damage to the Concorde that led to the crash; two former engineers at Aerospatiale, the company that built the Concorde; a former official of the French civil aviation authority who oversaw Concorde operations; and Continental Airlines itself. All of the accused have denied the charges. A French investigation found the installation of the metal strip on the Continental jet did not meet FAA standards. Continental's lawyers say they have witnesses who will testify that the Concorde engine was already on fire before it struck the debris.

"I question the independence of the investigators, I question those who did not want the truth, I question Air France, and it is evident that on July 25, 2000, the Concorde should never have been allowed to take off," said Olivier Metzner, Continental's lawyer. He said the supersonic jet suffered from flaws that were covered up in an effort to protect the "image of France" that the Concorde represented. The trial is expected to take about four months.

Federal Budget Free Of Aviation User Fees

The budget plan released by the White House this week drops last year's proposal to impose aviation user fees, and instead retains the traditional FAA funding formula of taxes on tickets and fuel plus a general-fund contribution. "We have waged a 12-month campaign since the moment we learned of a planned $9.6 billion fee," AOPA President Craig Fuller said on Monday. "General aviation organizations worked together to prevent the realization of a policy that could have crippled GA." Other advocacy groups expressed similar relief, while noting that the budget addresses the issue only for the next fiscal year. "The industry must remain vigilant to ensure that any future user fee proposals are unsuccessful," said James Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Association. Ed Bolen, president of NBAA, also advised caution. "Whether or not this is an indication of a permanent policy shift on user fees, or a one-time development remains to be determined," he said. "Our industry must continue to make its voice heard on this and other issues."

The administration's budget request, according to AOPA, includes $16.5 billion for the FAA in fiscal year 2011, a 3-percent increase over 2010. Out of that total, $1.1 billion would go for NextGen air transportation system modernization, a 32-percent increase over last year. Those funds would help to support the transformation from a radar-based system to a space-based system, the development of more efficient air traffic routes, and the improvement of aviation weather information for pilots. The funding also includes $3.4 billion for the Airport Improvement Program and $2 million for research and development of alternative fuels for GA. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association noted that the proposal would extend bonus depreciation for GA aircraft sales and increase funding to hire additional FAA safety inspectors.  On the military side, the budget would increase spending for drone aircraft and drop Boeing's C-17 cargo aircraft program.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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News Briefs back to top 
 

FAA Preps For Crowded Skies For Super Bowl Sunday

The Super Bowl, coming up this Sunday, is not only a big event for football teams, TV advertisers, and pizza delivery drivers, it's a big deal for general aviation, with lots of extra traffic expected for south Florida and special flight rules in place. The FAA will establish a TFR around Dolphin Stadium effective two hours before the Super Bowl begins until one hour after the game ends, approximately 4 p.m. to midnight local time. The TFR consists of two rings of protected airspace, 10 nautical miles and 30 nautical miles in diameter, from the ground up to 18,000 feet surrounding the stadium. The only flights permitted within the 10-mile ring will be public safety, military, and commercial passenger, cargo, and private charters operating under a TSA-approved security program. Flights by media, banner towers, blimps, general aviation, or any other flight activities, are prohibited. The 10-mile ring includes Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Opa-Locka Executive Airport and North Perry Airport. GA aircraft at those three airports will not be able to arrive or depart while the TFR is in effect.

Flights will not be permitted at North Perry Airport while the TFR is active, but authorized flights will be permitted at Ft. Lauderdale and Opa-Locka. Within the 10- to 30-mile ring, general aviation pilots must tune their transponders to a discreet beacon code assigned by ATC, and pilots must communicate with air traffic controllers. FAA Flight Standards aviation safety inspectors will conduct intensive airfield surveillance at many South Florida airports this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Inspectors will be at Hollywood, Opa-Locka, Ft. Lauderdale International, Ft. Lauderdale Executive, Homestead General, Tamiami, Pompano Beach and Boca Raton airports daily. During the game, FAA aviation safety inspectors will be stationed in Dolphin Stadium with the Miami-Dade Police Dept. and other law enforcement organizations to conduct surveillance of potential TFR violators, and to be available immediately to law enforcement if necessary. The FAA did make one exception -- it issued a waiver to allow a USAF B-2 Stealth Bomber to overfly Dolphin Stadium before the Super Bowl begins.

Howard Levy, Aviation Photographer, Dead At 88

Howard Levy, of Freehold, N.J., who died at home last week at age 88, took his first airplane photograph at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, in 1936, when he was just 15 years old. He sold his first picture a year later. Over his long career, his work appeared in the Smithsonian Magazine, AOPA Pilot, Sport Pilot, Private Pilot, Kitplanes, and dozens more. He was a staff editor at Look magazine for 25 years. Among many other awards, the staff of Kitplanes presented him with a Silver Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2005. He was a founding member of the American Aviation Historical Society in 1956 and a founding member of the Aviation/Space Writers Association. He served in the Air Corps as a photographer in World War II in Africa, Sicily and Italy. He remained active, shooting pictures at EAA AirVenture last summer, and attending local EAA chapter meetings monthly.

Levy is survived by a son-in-law and two grandsons.

 
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Collier Nominations back to top 
 

For This Year's Collier Trophy, The Nominees Are...

The National Aeronautic Association this week released its list of nominees for the 2009 Robert J. Collier Trophy, long considered one of the more prestigious awards in the aviation world. The Collier Trophy aims to honor "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." This year's nominees are: Aircell, which offers inflight communications services; NASA's Ares 1 crew launch vehicle; Lockheed Martin's C-5M Super Galaxy cargo airplane; the Kandahar Airfield [Afghanistan] Operations Team; the International Space Station; the MC-12W Project Liberty Enterprise Team, which developed a variant of the King Air 350 for military use; the SpaceX Falcon 1 Development Team; and former Senator John Warner and the Excalibur Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle.

The Collier Trophy has been awarded annually for 99 years. Past winners include the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, the Mercury 7, Scott Crossfield, Burt Rutan and Howard Hughes. Projects and programs which have been the recipient of the Collier include the B-52, the Polaris Missile, the Surveyor Moon Landing Program, the Boeing 747, the Cessna Citation, the Gulfstream V, the Eclipse E500 and the F-22. The selection committee comprises 31 leaders representing organizations in aviation and aerospace and is led by NAA Chairman Walter J. Boyne. "We are extremely pleased with the list of nominations we have received for the Collier this year," said Boyne in a news release this week. "These projects reflect the extraordinary diversity of individuals and achievements found in our aviation and aerospace industry." The Selection Committee will meet on Tuesday, March 2, in Arlington, Va., and the winner will be announced the next day, March 3, at the NAA Spring Awards Luncheon. The formal presentation of the trophy will take place May 13 at a dinner in Arlington.

Question of the Week: Your 2010 Collier Trophy Picks

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked AVweb readers what the various GA groups should make their top priority in 2010.

The biggest segment of those who answered (37% of the total) said fighting user fees should top the list — and effort that seems to be off to a good start for the year. Garnering almost as many votes was correcting the public misconceptions about the value of GA, which accounted for 30% of responses.

If you'd like to see the full breakdown, take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view the real-time results.

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

The nominations for the prestigious Collier Trophy, given annually by the National Aeronautic Association for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year" were released Wednesday. Who or what is your pick for aviation's most prestigious prize?

Who should win the Collier Trophy for 2009?
(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.

 
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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 
 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... Now's Your Chance to Win 100,000 Air BP Bravo Reward Points

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Now's your chance to win 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and e-mail address. (You only have to enter once, and you'll be entered in our prize drawings for the entire year. If you've already entered for the previous Bose Headset drawing, you're all set — no need to register again.)

And no, we're not going to rent or sell your name, ever. Tell your friends, and invite them to sign up for AVweb so they can qualify for our 15 Grand Giveaways prize drawings, too. (We won't spam them, either — but we hope they will sign up for our newsletters.)

Deadline for entries is 11:59pm Zulu time February 19, 2010.

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Congratulations to Ron Goin of Idaho Falls, ID, who won the Bose Aviation Headset X! (click here to get your own from Bose Corporation)

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Do Stunts Help or Hurt?

In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli recounts a conversation he recently had over Matt and Chet Pipkin's upcoming shot at the world flight endurance record. The record attempt is unquestionably a stunt — but is that a bad thing?

Read Paul's thoughts and add your own at the AVweb Insider.

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

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.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Exclusive Video: Rotax Engine Essentials

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: StarPort USA (Sanford, Florida)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Refuel at National Jets in Ft. Lauderdale & Score 10,000 
Points

AVweb reader Charles "Doc" Truthan told us how StarPort USA at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport (KSFB) is "providing fuel at cost to pilots with Angel Flight Southeast/Mercy Flight Southeast who are flying Haitian refugees ... to their Florida destinations." But that's not all:

[T]hey are [also] delivering the fuel to the aircraft at the terminal gate we are operating from, so the pilot does not have to spend time and fuel taxiing between the FBO and the pickup gate.

For their "outstanding service and American spirit," StarPort is our latest "FBO of the Week."

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!

 
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 ***

Putting together a weekly selection of reader-submitted photos can be a demanding job — especially when you have a readership as talented and prolific as AVweb's. Once again, we find ourselves forced to choose among top-notch submissions and somehow select one as our "Picture of the Week."

medium | large

Used with permission of Christopher Kosseff

KC-135 Refueling an F-15

Oddly enough, refueling was something of a theme in this week's submissions. We had three great photos of mid-air refuelings, but this one from Christopher Kosseff of Monroe Township, New Jersey stole our breath and cinched the top spot.

medium | large

Used with permission of Suzy Kryzanowicz

Upgrading Your Panel on the Cheap

"Who needs advanced avionics when you have a bobble-head dog and fuzzy dice in cockpit?" asks Suzy Kryzanowicz of Bay City, Michigan. "The dog doubles as a turbulence indicator; if his head is missing, it's severe turbulence — at least for a Taylorcraft."

medium | large

Used with permission of Alvin Sandoval

Quiet Cuyo Island Airport in Palawan, Philippines

Alvin Sandoval of Cebu, Philippines stopped for a moment on Sunday afternoon trip with the family to snap this idyllic airport in the islands.

medium | large

copyright © Eric Cobb
Used with permission

Waiting Their Turn

Speaking of "idyllic," Eric Cobb of Santa Ynez, California has his own entry in that category. No worries, though — as any AVweb reader knows, you can never have too many blue skies.

medium | large

Used with permission of Rick Mahoney

AC-130 Gunship Shooting Touch-and-Goes at Brookley Field

Rick Mahoney of Mobile, Alabama know just what to do with those blue skies, too — if you can't fly 'em, grab your camera and get a few mementos of the day.


We were stretched a little tight at press time this week, but don't despair. If there are no fresh pics in the "POTW" slideshow on AVweb's home page, there will be on Thursday evening. Don't forget to check back! (And remember that we occasionally get sneaky a slide a few in there during the week ... .)

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.