AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 9b

March 4, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Top News: And the Winner Is ... back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Eur-Avia Cannes || 4-6 June 2010 || Leading GA Exhibition in Southern Europe

ISS Wins Collier

This year's Collier Trophy has been awarded to the international team behind the International Space Station. The National Aeronautic Association announced the award on Wednesday. The association says it selected the station "for the design, development, and assembly of the of the world's largest spacecraft, an orbiting laboratory that promises new discoveries for mankind and sets new standards for international cooperation in space." NASA Administrator Charles Golden said the award "is a testament to the dedication and hard work of thousands of people around the world."

The space station is a joint project of NASA, the Canadian Space Agency, the European Space Agency, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Russian Federal Space Agency. It has been continuously inhabited for almost 10 years and plans are to keep it occupied for another decade. "There's a new era ahead of potential groundbreaking scientific research aboard the station," said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA's Space Operations Mission Directorate. The award will be officially presented May 13.

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The Kid in the Tower back to top 

Kid Controller At JFK?

Bring your-kid-to-work-day took on a decidedly different turn last week when a tower controller at New York's JFK evidently had a child communicate with aircraft on the outbound local frequency. Recorded audio reveals the child made a handful of transmissions—obviously coached—and the controller said on the frequency "that's what you get guys when the kids are out of school." The kid's directives included takeoff clearances and frequency switches to departure. Although the pilots on frequency appeared amused, the FAA and controller's union, NATCA, are not.

In a statement to Fox 25 in Boston, the FAA said "pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic. This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees." NATCA released a statement saying "we do not condone this type of behavior in any way and it is not indicative of the highest professional standards that controllers set for themselves."

Related Content:
Click here to listen to the audio (MP3 file)

AVweb Insider Blog: Kid in the Tower — Cute, Very Cute

Everyone has an opinion on the controller who took his son to work and gave him a little time on the radio. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli doesn't think it's a security crisis, but he does have some advice to offer on the AVweb Insider blog: "You might wanna run this by some adults before you try it again."

Read more and add your own comments here.

Question of the Week: Kids' Stuff on the Radio?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, we asked AVweb readers what stance GA should take toward the future of lead in avgas.

For the first time this year, one option in our poll received a clear majority of votes. 56% of you said we should accept that its days are numbered and work rapidly to replace it with unleaded options. Running a very distant second, only 17% of said lead is not a significant environmental hazard; we should continue to use it.

Want to see a full breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.


Making headlines this week is a controller who brought his son to work in the ATC tower. Reactions run the gamut, but we'd like to hear yours.

What was your take on the "kid in the control tower" story?
(click to answer)

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"? Send your suggestions to .

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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100 Years of Women in the Skies; Here's to 100 More back to top 

Female Pilots To Celebrate Centennial By "Paying It Forward"

Around the world, women plan to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first time a woman earned a pilot certificate by taking a woman or girl for her first flight in a general-aviation aircraft during the week of March 6 to 12. Raymonde De Laroche, a French balloonist, learned to fly a fixed-wing aircraft and was the first woman to receive a pilot certificate, on March 8, 1910. So far, pilots from the U.S., France, Spain, Mongolia, and many other countries have signed up to participate in what they hope will be a world-record-setting event. The Ninety-Nines, Women in Aviation International, the International Society of Woman Airline Pilots, EAA, and other groups have signed on to help with the effort. "Nothing can inspire a woman to learn to fly more than meeting a woman who became a pilot," say the organizers of the Centennial of Women Pilots. Women who want to participate in the record attempt must pre-register at the group's Web site.

Pilots who take a girl, age 8 to 17, for her first flight can also participate in EAA's Young Eagles program at the same time. The Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum is also celebrating Women's History Month on March 13 with a family day event at the Udvar-Hazy Center. Recently, Women in Aviation International wrapped up its annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla. Nearly 3,000 women and men attended, with visitors from 20 countries. EAA confirmed that it will host WomenVenture for the third consecutive year during this summer's AirVenture Oshkosh. WomenVenture is a celebration of women's achievements in flight designed to attract more women to all aspects of aviation. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt spoke at the event; click here for the full text of his remarks. "Once again this year, everyone's passion for aviation was displayed in their enthusiastic approach to learning, mentoring and expanding their aviation knowledge and advancing their aviation careers," said WAI President Peggy Chabrian. Next year's event will be held in Reno, Nev., Feb. 24-26.

Related Content:
Click for a podcast interview about the Centennial with Mierelle Goyer

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Air Show Report back to top 

India Air Show Opens With Hope, Tragedy

India Aviation 2010 launched on Wednesday amid high hopes for expanding markets in the region, but the opening day airshow was marred by a crash that killed two pilots. Spectators from more than 100 countries were on the show site in Hyderabad when a Kiran MK-II, a military jet trainer, crashed into a nearby apartment building. Four people in the building were hurt, two seriously. One pilot reportedly ejected but the chute failed to deploy, and the other died in the crash. They were flying with Sea Breeze (Sagar Pawan), a four-ship naval aerobatic team that launched in 2003. A video posted by CNN shows the accident aircraft veering off from the other airplanes, apparently out of control, as they pull up from a maneuver. General aviation manufacturers from the U.S. attending the show include Cessna, which is introducing its Citation Mustang jet there, and Hawker Beechcraft (PDF), which is showing a King Air 350 along with two of its bizjets, the Hawker 750 and Hawker 4000.

Cessna is also showing a Citation CJ2+, a Grand Caravan and a Skyhawk on the static display. "India is a growing market for general aviation," said Todd Duhnke, Cessna's director of international sales. "We believe there is potential growth in the area for the entire line of Cessna products as this region continues to embrace the advantages of general aviation."

Oshkosh DC-3 Formation At 40

Organizers of a mass arrival of DC-3s and C-47s at AirVenture Oshkosh this year now expect 40 aircraft to take part. The original goal was 25 aircraft making an hour-long flight from Rock Falls, Ill., to Wittman Regional Airport for a formation flyby at 1,000 feet to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first flight of the iconic aircraft. Organizers were deluged with requests to participate in the flight, which will be the largest formation of Douglases since the Second World War. The current record is 27, set in South Africa in 1985. There are 12 aircraft on standby to fill any slots that open up before the flight. Once in Oshkosh, the aircraft will be the centerpiece of festivities throughout the week and may include a one-of-a-kind heritage flight.

The Air Force has approved Altus Air Force Base's "Rat Pack" C-17 Globemaster demonstration team to fly in formation with three C-47s to commemorate the huge impact the Douglas had on the outcome of the Second World War and to remember those who didn't come back. The heritage flight still must be approved by EAA but that's expected shortly. Celebrities, C-47 war veterans and some other surprises are in store for the event, which begins with two days of preparation at Rock Falls.

The New Meridian G1000 — Commanding
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Click here for more information on the new Piper Meridian G1000.
Look, Up in the Sky — It's Something New! back to top 

Heeman's "Flying" Hovercraft

New Zealander (he's half Australian) Rudy Heeman has, over 11 years, transformed his hovercraft into a wing-in-ground-effect vehicle, and now it's for sale. Heeman says he's found the ideal flight altitude under the vehicle's 7-meter wingspan to be about 1.5 meters, over flat water or land, where he reached a top speed of about 60 mph in a test. It will hop small bushes or short trees and, yes, Heeman has hit shrubbery with it (and continued to a safe landing). Theoretically, the pilot plus one vehicle can cruise at about 55 mph for roughly 140 miles. The project includes parts from six different cars, including what was originally a 1.8-liter Subaru engine, and a gas bottle from an old barbeque. Its wings consist of what appear to be a front and rear aluminum tube spar, foam/fiberglass ribs (four per side, plus an end rib) and zip-to-close fitted fabric covering -- all of which separate for storage/transport. The vehicle is controlled by rudder and elevator, actuated by a control wheel (no rudder pedals). The cockpit includes a GPS and engine gauges, but Heeman has included other creative refinements.

To better manage the aircraft in flight, and improve its performance, Heeman has created a system that allows him to retract the hovercraft's skirt while in flight to reduce drag. He's also devised a "thrust diverter" that at the same time "converts lift air to thrust when flying." The vehicle operates under New Zealand's rules for boats, according to a recent SkyNews report, even when flying with its removable 23-foot wing attached. Heeman has put about 150 hours on the craft. Last we checked, the vehicle's auction (plus trailer) had attracted a bidder at $26,800. The sale includes training ... and a liability disclaimer, "which must be signed on pickup" according to Heeman.

Related Content:
Watch the video

Eurocopter's Quiet Helicopter

Eurocopter announced the week of February 25 new "Blue Edge" and "Blue Pulse" technology that significantly reduces the noise generated by a helicopter blade. Tested on an EC155 helicopter, the Blue Edge blade itself created a three to four decibel drop in noise and then Eurocopter added more technology. For the blade, itself, Eurocopter dramatically redesigned the shape, creating what might best be described as a seagull-wing shaped bend at the blade's tip. It then layered active "Blue Pulse" technology on top of the Blue Edge design. Blue Pulse adjusts three trailing edge flap modules 15 to 40 times per second via piezoelectric motors. The flaps move to reduce the effect of blade/vortex interaction. That interaction occurs as a trailing blade encounters the vortex of the preceding blade, causing an audible "slap." And adjusting the interaction dramatically reduces the slap. For disbelievers, the company has supplied audio. Find it after the jump.

Eurocopter plans to incorporate the two technologies into its "Bluecopter" and says the goal is to create a more neighbor-friendly helicopter that produces less noise with reduced emissions. Click here for an audio comparison of Bluecopter to non-Bluecopter technology in action.

Related Content:
Click here to hear sound comparisons (MP3)

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 ERAU.edu/professionaleducation.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Biz Traffic Up

Business aircraft activity is up considerably, bucking a trend that saw an overall decline in general aviation activity (it's down 3 percent overall) in the U.S. according to FlightAware. In its monthly analysis of aircraft movements, the popular online tracking and data site says private jet traffic is up a whopping 8.8 percent in February, compared to the same month in 2009. Turboprop was up 2.2 percent but the tale of the tape was in charter and fractional operations. Charters were up 16.5 percent and fractional traffic 6.5 percent, perhaps reflecting a shift from ownership to charters for economic and public relations reasons. Every other sector of GA activity measured by FlightAware was down.

Single and multi piston operations were off a staggering 14.1 percent and private operations lagged by 4 percent. As might be expected, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport saw the biggest overall reduction in traffic with 15.8 percent fewer movements. Fort Lauderdale Executive was up 23.3 percent. FlightAware also tracks movements by type and the Learjet 40 and 45 posted the highest gains. And whether it's a sign of the times or a reflection of the changing market at the low end, the Cessna 152 saw the biggest overall reduction in use at 35.1 percent.

Related Content:
Read the full FlightAware report (PDF)

Obama Visit Impacts Hawaii Aviators

The Oahu Aviation Initiative, an ad hoc coalition of 20 small general aviation businesses in Hawaii, is asking the federal government to compensate them for $200,000 in losses they incurred due to almost two weeks of flight restrictions during President Barack Obama's recent holiday visit to Oahu. The group is also working with the Secret Service and the TSA to negotiate less severe restrictions before the next presidential visit to their state. The restrictions essentially banned flights within a 30-mile radius of the rented house where the Obama family was staying outside Honolulu. Pat Magie, president of Island Seaplane Service, told the Honolulu Advertiser that aviation company owners were not informed of flight restrictions until four days before the president's arrival, and many of them had no option but to shut down entirely during the 12-day visit, from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4.

More visits are expected from President Obama, including an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference planned for November 2011. "We know we've got to live with it somewhat and sacrifice some, but if it happens next year with the international summit, plus if Obama came back again for Christmas, we could be shut down for a month," Magie said.

Airport Execs Oppose EPA Deicing Rules

New rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to control runoff from aircraft deicing fluids would "create safety hazards at many airports," the American Association of Airport Executives says. Under the proposed rules, airports with more than 10,000 annual aircraft departures and 1,000 annual jet departures would be required to re-capture up to 60 percent of the fluid, rather than allow it to drain off the pavement, where it can end up in nearby rivers, lakes, streams and bays. AAAE says the proposal doesn't allow airports enough time to comply, would impose financial burdens, and the use of additional fluid recovery vehicles around crowded gate areas could cause safety issues. "Safe airport deicing procedures are paramount to winter weather practices," said AAAE Director of Regulatory Affairs Leslie Riegle. The EPA says stricter rules are needed because airport discharges from deicing operations can affect water quality. Impacts include fish kills, contaminated drinking water, and noxious odors in residential areas and parks, among other effects.

Airports affected by the new rules would be required to collect spent aircraft deicing fluid and treat the wastewater. They may either treat the wastewater onsite or send it to an offsite treatment contractor or publicly operated wastewater treatment facility. Some airports would be required to reduce the amount of ammonia discharged from urea-based airfield pavement deicers or use more environmentally friendly airfield deicers that do not contain urea. EPA says it expects compliance with the proposed regulation would reduce the discharge of deicing-related pollutants by at least 44.6 million pounds per year, and the annual cost of the rule would be an estimated $91.3 million.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a Garmin Aera 510 Handheld GPS

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS 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 — so if you've already entered, you're all set.)

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 March 12, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Rod Anson of Camperdown, Victoria (Australia), who won 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points! (click here to get your own Rewards Points from Air BP)

Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Exclusive Video: Last Flight of an English Electric Lightning (And Pilot Dave Stock)

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

The crash of a rare and historic English Electric Lightning MK T5 on November 14, 2009 was unique for the history of the model and the renown of its pilot, Dave Stock. Here AVweb compiles historic video and actual event footage to review the event that saw both Stock and the aircraft lost.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Exclusive Video: JPI's New Engine Monitor Technology

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

JP Instruments has developed a new line of digital engine monitors. Here's a brief video report.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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.

Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Starlink Aviation (CYUL, Montreal, Québec)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Best Rewards in the Business

This week saw more AVweb readers telling us about their favorite FBOs via our online nomination form — which makes us feel good about traveling around North America, but it makes picking an "FBO of the Week" a little more difficult. After some thoughtful consideration, we decided to award our latest blue ribbon to Starlink Aviation at Montreal, Québec's Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (CYUL).

AVweb reader Keith McLellan is a regular visitor to CYUL and reports that he has "tried all the FBOs on the field," but he's now settled on Starlink as his homebase-away-from-home, "and for good reason," he writes:

Zoran Bratuljevic and his hand-picked staff of professionals are the best anywhere! The guys and girls at Starlink are very sharp, courteous, friendly, and truly sincere in their efforts to take care of your needs. [G]reat service, a nice facility with all the amenities you want, a well-trained and friendly staff, and competitive pricing for all services. I highly recommend them! Oh, and just FYI, how many FBOs offer a late-model BMW as a crew car?

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.


We don't usually pay much attention to the timestamps on "POTW" submissions. This week, however, we couldn't help noticing that most of your submissions came at the tail end of contest (Tuesday and Wednesday) rather than earlier in the week. Not that we're complaining: The last ten or twelve photos in this batch were jaw-dropping — as you're about to see.

medium | large

Used with permission of Andrew Wall

Frozen Falcon

Ice, sleet, snow, and more ice have been standard issue for the last couple of weeks — across most of the U.S. and in our "POTW" submission box. Andrew Wall of Ankeny, Iowa asks, "Will this winter weather ever end? These F-16s have been waiting for a chance to fly for a long time and certainly won't be doing it today."

medium | large

copyright © Bruce Van Beek
Used with permission

Piper PA36-300 Brave Over the Heartland

Iowans dominate "POTW" this week, with Sioux Center's Bruce Van Beek contributing a breath-taking image that needs to be your desktop wallpaper.

medium | large

Used with permission of Patrick Elliott

Surfing Cessna

There's no ice in sight in this photo from Patrick Elliott of Bend, Oregon — but you'll forgive us for pointing out that it's a moment perfectly frozen in time.

medium | large

Used with permission of Olafs Blukis

Lawn Mower Needed

"It seems that some effort is needed to get this plane to the air again," writes Olafs Blukis of Riga, Latvia.

(Olafs got two chuckles from us this week. He also sent us this screenshot with the comment, "I found this extraordinary runway at NZCH on Google Earth. Does this require special certification for landing?" While we couldn't make it a "proper" "POTW," we can't resist sharing.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Nigel Mott

Glasair Sportsman 2+2 Travels in Style

Nigel Mott of Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) assures us there's no PhotoShop tomfoolery at play here — but there is a slightly more mundane explanation that the photo would suggest: "The Argos G92 yacht was returning from the Miami boat show, where it was displayed with the Sportsman on its aft deck."

It's been a long busy day here at AVweb world headquarters, and that's just the note for us to end on! See you next week with more great reader-submitted photos — provided you send 'em in, of course.

Want more? Click here and scroll about 1/3 of the way down the page to see our bonus pics slideshow!

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:

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.