Come See Lightspeed at Heli Expo ... The World's Largest Trade Show Dedicated to the International Helicopter Community
Stop by booth 2128 and see why Zulu with a coiled cord is the ultimate helicopter headset. Take our short survey and you could win your own Zulu. We'll be giving one away each day of the
show. You'll also want to ask about our special programs for professional helicopter pilots. The show runs February 21-23 in Houston.
Click here to visit
the Lightspeed web site.
As part of the FAA's effort to improve airline safety following last year's Colgan Air accident in Buffalo, N.Y., the agency on Monday issued an "advance notice of proposed rulemaking" seeking
input about what kind of training and certification should be required for pilots flying in Part 121 airline jobs. The FAA seeks comments on several points, such as, should all airline first officers
be ATP rated, should academic credit count toward ratings, and should commercial pilots be required to meet a higher flight-hour minimum or acquire an added endorsement to fly in a Part 121 crew. "We
must build on the current pilot certification system and make it even stronger," said Ray LaHood, secretary of transportation. "Our nation's airlines should have the best-trained and best-prepared
pilots in the cockpit." FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said he is looking for new ways to measure pilot competence other than merely counting flight hours. "Experience is not measured by flight time
alone," said Babbitt. "Pilots need to have quality training and experience appropriate to the mission to be ready to handle any situation they encounter."
The public has 60 days to send comments to the FAA. Those comments will be incorporated into an NPRM which will also be open to public comment. Click here for the full text of the advance NPRM, including details about how to submit comments. Click here for the FAA's news release about the proposal. The FAA said it will issue proposals in the
spring to address both pilot training and pilot fatigue.
If you missed the Frontline report that aired on PBS Tuesday night about safety on regional airlines, just click
here and you can watch it in full online, and you can also join a discussion there inviting comment from the pilot community. The report, with correspondent Miles O'Brien, a Cirrus pilot and
former CNN anchor, examines the challenges of a pilot's life at the regional carriers, and raises questions about safety. By Wednesday morning, the pilot discussion board already counted over 260
entries. Some of the posts are from current or former Colgan Air pilots (at least, that is how they identify themselves; there is of course no verification of any of their identities). There is a wide
range of comment, much of it critical of regional airline practices in general and Colgan in particular, though a few posters defend the expertise and dedication of crews at all levels.
The Frontline Web site also offers an array of added features, including an open roundtable discussion with
several key people from the report (including the producer and a former pilot for Colgan Air), a database of airlines' safety statistics, added clips with pilot interviews that weren't in the
broadcast version, and more.
Aircraft Spruce at the WAA Northwest Aviation Conference & Trade Show
Come join Aircraft Spruce in Puyallup, Washington (Booths 233, 234, 235) on February 20 from 9:00am to 5:30pm and February 21 from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Take advantage of some of
your favorite products on sale, complimentary ground shipping (doesn't apply to hazardous or oversized products), and Aircraft Spruce staff on site to answer all questions. Join our Avionics
Specialist February 20 at 10:30pm and February 21 at 10:15am for a GPS Handheld Comparison seminar. Call 1 (877) 4-SPRUCE or
The bill to general aviation from last weekend's massive snowstorm on the east coast could hit tens of millions of dollars and most of that could come from the partial collapse of one building at
Dulles International Airport. As we reported Saturday, part of the roof of Dulles Jet Center came down under the weight of the
snow. At the time, all that was known was that there were aircraft inside but photos provided to AVweb by a reader show a scene that is enough to make any insurance executive shiver. Two Bombardier
Global Express jets and a Gulfstream 550 appear to be in takeoff attitude inside the hangar, their tails pushed to the floor under the weight of the crushed structure of the building. It's not
immediately known whether they can be repaired and it might be tricky getting them out from under the twisted steel.
The storm also took out Dulles Aviation's hangar at Manassas Regional Airport. Newspaper reports say there were no aircraft or people inside the
hangar when it came down. The ordeal may not be over, however. A winter storm warning was issued Monday and up to 14 more inches of snow could fall by Wednesday.
Boeing's latest airliner took off for the first time Monday at 12:39 p.m. The Boeing 747-8 was scheduled for a four-hour flight around the Pacific Northwest after a smooth liftoff from Paine Field.
It landed at 4:18 p.m. after an uneventful flight to check basic handling and engine performance. The aircraft is the longest ever built by Boeing and the first test article is a cargo version. The
passenger version will follow in about a year and will carry up to 467 people in three classes. The cockpit is virtually identical to that of the 787 Dreamliner and passenger amenities will be
Although the 787 has been grabbing the limelight, the 747-8 project is considered an important part of the company's future business plan. Both aircraft have similar ranges and Boeing sees the
747-8 serving major world hubs while the 787 offers airlines the range flexibility to offer non-stop long-haul flights between smaller cities. The new 747 is powered by GEnx-2B67 engines that put out
65,000 pounds of thrust. So far, Boeing has 108 orders, 76 in the cargo version, with Cargolux as the launch customer. Lufthansa is the passenger version's launch customer with 20 firm orders. The
second biggest customer (six airplanes) is Boeing Business Jets.
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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Dispatchers at Delta Air Lines will soon be able to contact flight crews with special sound alerts, rather than text messages only, to avoid an incident like the one last October when two
distracted pilots overflew their destination by more than an hour, the airline has told the NTSB. In a document filed with the safety board, the airline said it is changing its software so dispatchers
will be able to send aural alerts to Airbus A320 and A319 cockpits, in addition to text messages. The two pilots, who at the time were operating as a Northwest Airlines flight, told investigators they
were at a loss to explain how they flew so far off course without noticing. The Air Line Pilots Association told the NTSB it would also be a good idea to consider installing "crew alertness monitors"
on A320s that automatically sound an alert and trigger red flashing lights if the crew goes quiet for too long. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association agreed in its statement to the NTSB
that an aural alert system would be a good idea.
NATCA also suggested that controllers need to have current phone numbers for air carrier dispatch desks as well as refresher training on NORDO procedures. Click here for the NTSB collection of documents relevant to this ongoing investigation. The FAA has revoked the
certificates of both pilots.
Continental Airlines has taken a step to recognize Marlon Green, now deceased, as an aviation pioneer whose career was almost snuffed out, completely, because of prejudice. With 3,000 hours of
multi-engine time earned in the Air Force, Green sought to become an airline pilot beginning in 1957, but was turned away from all prospects until a 1963 Supreme Court ruling based on Green's case
forced the airlines not to discriminate. That ruling was followed in 1964 by passage of the Civil Rights Act, and in 1965 by what would become Captain Marlon Green's 14 -year career with Continental
Airlines. In a Houston ceremony held Tuesday, Continental rolled out the airline's latest Boeing 737 and showed Green's name clearly painted on the aircraft's nose. In his comments, current
Continental Chief Executive Jeff Smisek lamented, "We turned him down for one reason and one reason only -- because of the color of his skin." Smisek added, "... there is part of Continental's history
of which I'm not proud. That happened over 50 years ago." Tuesday, Smisek recognized Captain Green as "a pioneer who was willing to challenge the unacceptable status quo of the time and paved the way
for the most qualified applicants to be hired, regardless of the color of their skin." Green passed away last year, at the age of 80. But his brother was in attendance.
Quoted by the Houston Chronicle, Captain Green's brother, Jim, said "he's looking down from heaven and saying well done. ... A little bit late, but well done." Green had first been granted an
interview with Continental after declining to note his race on his application. When the airline later refused to hire him and instead hired less qualified applicants, they also gave Green the basis
for his legal challenge. Today, Continental employs some 4,310 pilots. According to Cleveland.com, 6 percent of those are minorities.
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Thursday, AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller will deliver "a major policy address" to outline the organization's goals for 2010 and beyond. Fuller will speak at the annual meeting of the South
Carolina Aviation Association in Myrtle Beach. The theme of the meeting, according to AOPA, will be "Engagement." In a news release announcing the event, AOPA said, "Of all of America's modes of
transportation, general aviation is perhaps the least understood. As diligently as the staff of AOPA strives to correct misunderstandings, the Association cannot succeed alone." Fuller will use the
meeting's platform to urge every soul who uses general aviation to become an active participant in "the process of enlightening opinion leaders about general aviation."
Fuller's policy speech will take place on Feb. 11, 2010, at the Marriott Grande Dunes, 8400 Costa Verde Drive, Myrtle Beach, S.C. The meeting will be held in Atlantic Rooms 1-5. It will convene at
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Advisors Topic: Aircraft Deicing and Anti-Icing Equipment You may think your aircraft is properly equipped to fly in icing conditions ... but does the FAA agree? Find out how to fly safe and legally in these circumstances.
Bahamas Habitat, a relief group that has been organizing volunteer pilots and smaller general aviation aircraft to serve outlying
airports in Haiti, said this week it has developed a Web-based fundraising system called "Pilots Pay It Forward" to help cover fuel costs.
"Our new system is going to make it possible for even more pilots to participate in our Haiti relief missions and allow pilots to easily come back to help again," said John Armstrong, president of
Bahamas Habitat. "Our most common request [from volunteer pilots] has been to help with fuel costs, and the system provides a great way to meet this need." Pilots, crew and other volunteers can create
a personal page on the fundraising site, then lobby their network of friends and associates to support their flight missions. Donations are tracked for each pilot and they can submit their fuel
receipts for reimbursement against the funds they have raised.
"We have flown over 200 missions into Haiti so far and many of our pilots have come back multiple times," said Armstrong. "This system makes it possible for pilots to keep coming back and providing
their aircraft far beyond their individual ability to pay for their fuel expenses themselves." Tens of thousands of pounds of critical supplies still need to be moved from various depots around the
U.S. into Haiti, the group said. Bahamas Habitat relief missions have involved all types of GA aircraft, including King Airs, Pilatus PC-12s, Bonanzas, Aztecs, and Cessna 180s. Pilots interested in
flying missions, whether within the U.S. or all the way to Haiti, can sign up to volunteer on the group's Web site. Bahamas Habitat is a
U.S.-based Christian nonprofit group.
Mooney owner Jolie Lucas was inspired after attending AirVenture Oshkosh 2009, and the result is The Mooney Ambassadors group --
pilots acting as ambassadors for the brand. The group's passion was evident in an e-mail sent Thursday to AVweb. "Think about it," Lucas wrote, "can any other company have a 30-40 year old
airplane right next to the world's fastest single-engine production piston?" Lucas is encouraging owners to join in and "check out your local aviation events, and go and display. Talk to the public,
support our company and support general aviation." But there is a larger goal. Lucas hopes to mobilize Mooney owners to support Mooney Airplane Company and general aviation as a whole. "Fly somewhere
beautiful, display your Mooney, and talk with the flying and non-flying public about your airplane."
The Mooney Ambassadors Web site attempts to facilitate the ambassadors' role by listing events, providing registration for events,
and soliciting notification of future events. It also has a helpful links page that lists the Mooney Aircraft and Pilots Association, Mooney Ambassadors on
Facebook (83 members, before you read this), and Ambassador videos on YouTube. A Google
Map is also available for interested parties to find events within their desired nautical mile range. Currently listed upcoming events range in date from April to October and include Sun 'n Fun, Eagle Mountain Airshow, Columbia Father's Day Fly-in, Lake in the Sky, and the MAPA convention.
Watch for a podcast interview with Jolie Lucas on AVweb this Friday.
Diamond Has Your Training Needs Covered
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You're not the only one who wishes he could up into the skies but is ground-bound by the massive snowstorm grinding much of the U.S. to a halt. Over on the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady
has some great ideas for flying-related activities you can enjoy from the comfort of your computer chair assuming you've got electricity.
Because they're human, that's why, and they don't realize their own bumbling makes things worse for everyone. But Paul Bertorelli blogs that he tries not to be one of them in the latest
installment of the AVweb Insider.
Last week, we asked AVweb readers which of major nominees should receive this year's Collier Trophy.
Votes ranged far and wide, with the ever-popular other cornering 24% of the total responses. Coming in second was the International Space Station, which 17% of you voted
as this year's most worthy candidate. 15% thought the honor should go to the Kandahar (Afghanistan) air operations team, and 14% gave the nod to the SpaceX Falcon1 development team. 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
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 email@example.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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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.
For nearly three decades, general aviation has been struggling to find an unleaded replacement for 100LL avgas. General Aviation Modifications Inc. (GAMI) in Ada, Oklahoma says they've
found it. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently took a test flight to see how the new fuel works.
Twenty-four years after the event, what may be the only amateur video shot of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion has gone public. A Presidential commission resolved the
accident took place on a day that was 15° colder than any previous launch ... and that the 36° launch-time temperature was a contributing factor.
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Airbound Aviation at Essex County Airport (KCDW) in Caldwell,
AVweb reader Mike Kenny described the FBO as "a hidden gem" in his comments and told us the team at Airbound took care of him on a recent trip into New York City. "The service was
exceptional, and they also arranged minor service on our PC-12 on very short notice," wrote Mike.
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!
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 ***
Ready for another helping of visual goodness from your fellow AVweb readers? We certainly are, so let's dive in!
Rob Neil of Porirua, Wellington (New Zealand) flies us out this week. Rob says he got up at the crack of dawn "deliberately to catch the early
light and get some interesting shots." We'd say it was worth it.
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.
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