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Volume 16, Number 6b
February 10, 2010
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Top News: Airlines & Safetyback to top 
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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. More...

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. More...

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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 visit
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Click for more photos
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. More...

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 similar. More...


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Also at the Airlinesback to top 

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. More...

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. More...

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AOPA in 2010back to top 

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." More...

Download the Air Safety Foundation's 
Safety Advisor 'Aircraft Deicing and Anti-Icing Equipment'
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.

Click here to download the Air Safety Foundation's Safety Advisor Aircraft Deicing and Anti-Icing Equipment. [PDF]
News Briefsback to top 

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. More...

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-flyling public about your airplane." More...

Related Content:
Watch for a podcast interview with Jolie Lucas on AVweb this Friday.

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New on AVwebback to top 

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. Click here to read Mary's suggestions and add your own. More...

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. Read more and add your comments. More...

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

The FAA is calling for comments on how to improve training for airline pilots. Since it's on everyone's mind, we'd like hear your opinion on what kind of training makes the best airline pilots.

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers which of major nominees should receive this year's Collier Trophy; click through to see their pick. 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...

Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

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.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

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


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

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. More...

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. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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Air to Get Treated Like a Champion

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Airbound Aviation at Essex County Airport (KCDW) in Caldwell, New Jersey.

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!

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

We've had an uptick in military photos lately (with a strong emphasis on fighter jets), but Craig Stephens of Savannah, Georgia bring us a chopper serving its tour of duty in Korea. 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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