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Volume 16, Number 7a
February 15, 2010
Pilots Require a Different Approach When It Comes to Buying Life Insurance
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Top News: Reauth Bill Back Before Congressback to top 

Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said a week of Senate floor time will be scheduled in March to address aviation safety reforms and the FAA reauthorization bill. Senators have been pressured by surviving family members of victims of Flight 3407 to move the process, and its included safety reforms, along. The bill currently holds provisions that would change pilot training standards and set requirements for remedial training programs for commercial carriers. It also calls for independent study of pilot fatigue research to be considered in new flight-time and duty-time rules for pilots, and changes minimum times required to serve as first officer at a commuter. Reid delivered the commitment on the eve of the day that marks the one year anniversary of the Continental/Colgan Air Flight that crashed outside of Buffalo, killing all aboard and one on the ground. Airline groups and even FAA chief Randy Babbitt have expressed concern over some of the provisions in the bill -- especially the apparent emphasis on quantity of flight time over quality of training. The FAA's authorization bill has been surviving on short-term extensions currently set to expire on March 31. Even if the Senate passes the bill, that's not the end of the process. More...

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Safety & Security Reportback to top 

Thursday, a modified Boeing 747 carrying more than seven tons of optics on its nose and a megawatt-class laser in back destroyed a ballistic missile in its first successful test when fired at such a weapon. In a prior test, the megawatt-class high-power chemical oxygen iodine laser successfully "disabled" a truck, but the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) can now claim a "lethal" intercept of a liquid-fueled ballistic missile, which is the goal of the program, according to the U.S. Missile Defense agency. The system is the result of a cooperative effort led by Boeing, in partnership with Northrop Grumman (which supplies the laser) and Lockheed Martin (which is developing the fire control system). The aim is to deter enemy missile attacks by disabling the attacking missiles while they are in the boost phase. The U.S. Missile Defense Agency said it hopes similar devices will one day be able to track and attack multiple targets "at the speed of light, at a range of hundreds of kilometers, at at a low cost per intercept attempt compared to current technologies." More...

18-year-old Colton Harris-Moore is apparently the prime suspect in a fourth stolen aircraft episode in the northwest -- this one involving a Cirrus SR22 and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. This time, the plane was flown near airspace that is restricted for the Winter Games and landed on Orcas Island, off the coast of Washington state. If Harris-Moore is the culprit, he may have improved his un-certificated flying skills. The Cirrus came to rest in the mud near a runway and CNN reported it was undamaged (though a sheriff they interviewed also said it was). The teen's alleged prior (aircraft) thefts have included a Cessna 182 and another Cirrus SR22 and all resulted in some damage to aircraft. Local authorities say the thefts share geographically proximate landing sites. All aircraft were put down near where Harris-Moore is known to have spent time. The young man has not been formally charged in any of the thefts, but he does face upward of 11 other charges ranging from burglary to identity theft to stealing a car. His current whereabouts are unknown. 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
News Briefsback to top 

A Jan. 19 event that saw US Airways Express Flight 2495 abort its takeoff and run off the runway at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W. Va., has been linked to irrelevant cockpit chatter prior to the takeoff roll and an improper flap setting. None of the 34 people aboard the Bombardier CRJ-200ER were seriously injured though the aircraft suffered damage when it plowed into a crushable concrete safety area at the end of the runway. As the investigation continues, the events that appear to have transpired in the cockpit prior to the accident are raising concern among some safety officials, according to The Wall Street Journal. "Safety experts" are noting the incident among others to raise the specter of "lack of pilot professionalism" and a lax culture they feel may be becoming more apparent in the cockpit. Cockpit voice recordings from the time prior to takeoff reportedly contain "stretches of nonpertinent chatter" irrelevant to flight preparations, according to "officials familiar with the details." FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt recently met with a House aviation subcommittee and said the FAA is looking for ways to better transfer experience from seasoned pilots to younger greener commuter pilots. Said Babbitt, those kinds of programs would be an "important way to raise professional standards and improve cockpit discipline." More...

AOPA President and CEO Craig Fuller Friday detailed AOPA's drive to safeguard general aviation's interests and build the pilot population, calling on members to "get personally engaged" in protecting and promoting GA. AOPA announced it will be reaching out through a variety of venues and asking its members to stay informed, write local officials, host events if able and simply take a non-pilot friend flying. Nearly one-third of Senators are up for election in 2010, and AOPA is asking you to voice your support for GA with your vote. To facilitate your role, AOPA has launched a Web page with ideas meant to further your involvement and help you become active in advocating for general aviation. For its part, AOPA plans to produce data from future economic studies to fully detail the economic impact general aviation airports provide for communities and states. Says Fuller, that's information "we can and will take to Washington," where numbers often speak louder than words. More...

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New Airplane Ownersback to top 

An Ottawa, Kan., pilot will have 15 months to think about all the work she and her husband put into building the experimental aircraft that was briefly theirs. Sandra Brandes was sentenced to a year and three months in prison last week for stealing $77,000 from her former employer, Kansas City, Mo., dentist Dr. J. Daniel Fleming. The court was told she used the money to buy the airplane kit, which, from the photo that appeared with the story by KCUR FM, looks like an RV-9A. Now, the dentist might consider getting his pilot certificate because the judge ordered that he be awarded the newly completed aircraft as restitution. More...

Rhonda Doyle, of Ridgway, Colo., is this year's winner of the King Schools' Future of Flight airplane sweepstakes and recently picked up her G1000-equipped Cessna 172S at Montgomery Field in San Diego. Doyle, a commercial pilot who runs the snowboard school at Telluride Ski Resort was taking some lessons of her own when she got the news. "I was sitting at my desk, studying for my Instrument Rating, and watching John King on my computer, when suddenly the phone rang and there he was on the line," she said. " I was a little confused at first, so when he told me that I had won I didn't believe it. But, when Martha joined in the conversation, I knew it was for real!

Related content:
Click here for a short video of Doyle picking up her plane.


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Flying Over Waterback to top 

Pilots who'd like to combine a tropical aviation adventure with the chance to brush up on the full range of piloting skills might consider the Governor General's Challenge Cup air rally coming up in April. Participants will take off from Banyan Air Service in Ft. Lauderdale for a 10-day tour of the Caribbean, with stops in the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic and, tentatively, Port au Prince, Haiti, with donations of needed supplies for earthquake victims. The rally ends April 27 back in Ft. Lauderdale after a little more than 2,000 nm. Organizer Catherine Tobenas said that in addition to the fabulous scenery and attractions on the route, there's an ongoing competition to keep things interesting. More...

Half of the Miracle on the Hudson flight crew was back in the water on the weekend but Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger didn't get his feet wet this time. Sullenberger was walking down a street in Vancouver, British Columbia, taking in the sights of the Olympic city when Darren Batstone, a pilot for Harbour Air, recognized him. One thing led to another and soon Sullenberger was aboard Batstone's turbine-powered de Havilland Otters on floats that Harbour Air uses for scheduled service between Vancouver's Burrard Inlet and the inner harbor of Victoria, about 50 miles across Georgia Strait on Vancouver Island. More...

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New on AVwebback to top 

On March 8, 1910, Baroness Raymonde de la Roche became the first woman to obtain a pilot certificate. She was the world's 36th certificated pilot. Canadian pilot and aviation educator Mierelle Goyer is spearheading a worldwide attempt to mark the centennial of de la Roche's accomplishment by encouraging more women to do the same. She spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles. More...

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...

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


Letter of the Week: The Best Airline Pilots Want to Be Airline Pilots

After 37 years of flying for major airlines, including 15+ years doing line indoctrination, I have some observations on the issue of airline pilot training. The best pilots want to be pilots. They are not there for the money or ego boost. A pilot who has varied experience brings more to the job at the beginning and adapts more easily to changing circumstances.


Low-time pilots with a good background are often better candidates than high-time pilots who are full of themselves, embittered, or set in their ways. You have to want the job, and it is not for everyone. Training cannot overcome [the] lack of the indefinable mix of art and science that constitutes flying.

Brian Hope

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


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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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)


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

Boeing may have a legitimate proof-of-concept for its airborne laser targeting weapon, which this week successfully intercepted a liquid-propelled ballistic missile in flight. AVweb's Glenn Pew has the video. More...

At the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, Piper launched its entry in the light sport market, the Czech-built PiperSport. Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli got a flight demo on the airplane, and here's his video report. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Banyan Air Service at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE) in Florida.

We knew AVweb reader Lindy Kirkland was volunteering with Haitian evacuation and relief flights — watch for a podcast with him in the next few days — but we were surprised to see his name in our weekly "FBO" critiques, singing the praises of Banyan Air:

Banyan Air Service in Ft. Lauderdale has donated hangar space, personnel, and fuel discounts to those participating in the Haiti relief efforts. Despite the very upscale facilities and their normal heavy iron clientele, they were so very courteous to us and got us fueled, moved, loaded and on our way quickly. All this despite getting ready for the Super Bowl!

Lindy went on to call the staff at Banyan "truly amazing" and commended them for their dedication to the relief efforts when there was plenty of other (more profitable) work to be done.

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 


Overheard on a flight from Central California to Southern California (maybe L.A. Center?):

Airliner (heard in background during radio transmission) :
"We need peanuts!"

"Who needs peanuts?"

"Um, disregard."

Donn Larson
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.