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By 2030, the general aviation fleet will grow by about 50,000 airplanes and 52,000 active pilots, the FAA forecast this week. The forecast calls for robust growth in the long term and predicts business use of GA aircraft will
expand at a faster pace than personal and recreational use. With growth forecast across all sectors -- traffic at the nation's 35 busiest airports is expected to increase by 60 percent --
infrastructure upgrades will need to keep up. "A safe, efficient and vibrant aviation system is vital to our nation's economic health," said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "We must find
long-term solutions that will keep the U.S. aviation industry competitive and moving forward into the future." Light sport aircraft are expected to increase by about 825 aircraft per year through
2013, then taper off to about 335 per year. Sport pilots, who numbered 3,248 at the end of 2009, will increase to 14,100 by 2030, the FAA estimates.
The forecast, which comes after a short-term period of slow growth in aviation activity, underscores the need for the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), as well as continued investment in airport infrastructure projects, the FAA said. "This forecast
makes a very strong business case for NextGen," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "Without NextGen, we won't be able to handle the increased demand for service that this forecast anticipates."
Meanwhile, the FAA reauthorization bill, which will provide funding for the agency, continues to be stalled in Congress. Legislators from Tennessee have come under fire this week for trying to derail the bill due to a provision that would
make it possible for some FedEx workers to unionize.
Last week, we asked AVweb readers for their opinions on air traffic controller Glenn Duffy and his son, now infamous as DFW's "Kid Controller."
A majority of those who responded (55%) saw the son's time on the radio as harmless fun and said no sanctions are necessary. Running a distance second in the poll,
kind of funny but maybe not appropriate accounted for 21% of the vote. As the options became sterner, the number of responses dwindled, until 3% of those who answered recommended that both
dad and supervisor should be sacked.
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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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Statistics that show a high accident rate for homebuilt aircraft may not reveal the complete picture, EAA said this week. The Nall Report, compiled annually by AOPA's Air Safety Foundation, reported last week that in
2008, amateur-built aircraft had an accident rate almost five times the rate of type-certificated aircraft and a fatal accident rate more than seven times higher. "On the surface, the statistics may
give one impression of amateur-built accident and fatal-accident rates," said EAA on its Web site. "It takes some
digging to get actual totals and comparisons." For example, EAA said, the FAA and NTSB often use different parameters to report the homebuilt aircraft fleet size and the accidents that occur each
year. "Our analysis is in part, in response to the Nall Report," EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AVweb on Wednesday. "We felt the numbers that were out there could benefit from additional
analysis and clarification." EAA posted an analysis by Ron Wanttaja that offers an alternate view of the data.
For example, Wanttaja notes the NTSB listed 269 "homebuilt" airplanes that were involved in accidents in 2008, but a closer look at those aircraft shows that 84 of them were not classified as
"Experimental- Amateur built" by the FAA. About half of those were "grandfathered" two-seat ultralights that have been reclassified as Experimental Light Sport Aircraft, says Wanttaja. If those
aircraft are not counted as part of the "homebuilt" data, the accident rate would drop by nearly one-third. Wanttaja's complete analysis (PDF) examines various accident causes and risk factors. "But when all is said and done," he concludes, "the accident
rate for Amateur-Built aircraft is going to be higher than Standard-category aircraft. Homebuilt aircraft are amateur-built, amateur-maintained, amateur-flown, and often amateur-designed. The fact
that more than 1,000 new homebuilts safely complete their test period every year speaks well of the abilities and dedication of the typical builder."
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purchases from January 1, 2010 to March 31, 2010. Take advantage of some of the amazing benefits with Power Flow Systems; Shorter take-off roll greatly
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The Department of Transportation's new rule limiting the time passengers can be held on closed aircraft away from the gate goes into effect April 29, but Delta and JetBlue think construction at JFK
may give them good reason to be excused from potential fines. The airlines, which operate a majority of flights at the airport, have petitioned for temporary exemptions from the rule because a
four-month-long project at JFK will close the airport's longest of four runways (14,572-foot 13R/31L) as it is widened and repaved in concrete through July. Under normal conditions during peak hours,
the FAA estimates the runway's closure may cause delays of about 50 minutes, and those delays will then ripple out to other airports and through affected carriers' schedules. Both Delta and JetBlue
have made adjustments to their schedules but fear that may not be enough. Under the DOT's new rule, an airline could be fined for every passenger held on a closed non-traveling airliner for more than
three hours. Translated into dollars, it means that an airline that left passengers on a full Boeing 737 could be subjected to nearly $3.5 million in fines.
Runway 13R/31L is among the longest and busiest in the world and has found a place on the list for backup landing sites for the space shuttle. In 2009, JFK ranked 28 out of 31 airports for on-time
performance. The runway project will not help. Delta and JetBlue have cut their flights at JFK by about 10 percent, padded their schedules and may raise prices to balance demand, but fear that may not
be enough. The airport usually has its rush hour at 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.. Morning delays there can then compromise schedules nationwide. The DOT's timing puts its new rule, which
could hit airlines to the tune of $27,500 per passenger, in place at the beginning of the peak travel season. The legislation is championed by organizations like Flyersrights.org.
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An NTSB study shows glass cockpit technology has not significantly improved the safety of small light planes, the NTSB said Tuesday, and the board recommended changes, from training to maintenance
reporting, to improve the statistics. While data collected between 2002 and 2008 showed fewer total accidents for those aircraft equipped with glass panels, that total came with a higher fatal
accident rate and higher total fatal accidents. For the period from 2002-2008, conventionally equipped aircraft suffered 141 total accidents with 23 having a fatal outcome. Glass-equipped aircraft
suffered 125 total accidents with 39 having a fatal outcome. But the board's study also found the mission profile for each type of equipment package and the characteristics of the pilot were different
between the two platforms. Generally speaking, higher-time pilots were flying longer flights with glass. That said, the NTSB was able to use the data to offer six recommendations voiced at the
meeting. Five of those were related to equipment-specific training and one applied directly to testing requirements.
The NTSB's study found that glass-equipped cockpit accidents were more likely to involve single-pilot operations, with an older pilot who was more likely to be instrument rated and flying with a
higher number of total flight hours. That also corresponded with a higher number of terrain- and weather-related accidents attributed to glass panel aircraft. Weather-related accidents made up 4
percent of conventionally equipped aircraft accidents in the study but 9 percent for glass-panel-equipped aircraft. Conventionally equipped aircraft seemed more dominant in the training segment as
accidents of those aircraft involved younger pilots, more students and pilots with fewer total hours. The NTSB recommends that airman knowledge tests be revised to include general knowledge regarding
glass panels, that information in aircraft manuals include abnormal and failure modes of the panels, that training elements be introduced to improve pilot knowledge of glass-panel system
functionality, that specific training elements be introduced to address variations in equipment design and operation of such displays, that alternate training methods (such as PC versus flight
simulator) be approved to support proficiency, and that a system be created to better report and track problems with the units. The study's findings had not yet been posted online when AVweb
published this item.
More training for pilots on advanced simulators could help prevent crashes and save hundreds of lives, according to an analysis by USA Today. Many pilots today are trained on older simulators that can't
effectively re-create the real behavior of aircraft during stalls, severe icing, upsets due to wind shear or wake encounters, and other extreme conditions, says a recent NTSB report. Loss of control
was a factor in 73 percent of the 433 airline fatalities in the U.S. since 2000. (Note that the fatalities that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, are not counted in accident statistics, since they resulted
from a crime, not an accident.) Newer simulators created with research by the military and NASA are more effective, but there are no federal requirements for pilots to be trained on them.
At a conference in London last June, representatives from Boeing reported that they had conducted tests with new simulators using data from recent NASA research to improve aerodynamic fidelity, and
the results were positive. They tested several pilots after upset training with their enhanced simulator. "The conclusion was that upset recovery training typically enables the pilot to complete the
maneuver without exceeding the validated flight envelope," according to the NTSB report, issued in December. A
representative from Boeing
summarized the consensus of the conference, according to the report, when he said, "There are certainly ways to effect realistic representative stall characteristics ... The reason those aren't there
today is because there has not been a requirement." The report cites several loss-of-control accidents in which the crew's lack of practice in handling upsets contributed to the crash.
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AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Advisors Topic: Aircraft Icing
All pilots know that in-flight icing is bad news. Stay safer in icing conditions by understanding more about icing risks, types, avoidance strategies, and more.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010, roughly 300 former Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) attended a ceremony on Capitol Hill to receive the Congressional Gold Medal for service to their country during
World War II. The first minted medal was printed in gold and awarded ceremoniously. It will find its home at the Smithsonian. Surviving members received individual replicas of the medal, made of
bronze. More than 60 years since they served their country as the first women trained to fly United States military aircraft, some 800 medals had to be awarded posthumously to surviving family
members. The total number of medals awarded was 1,114, representing 1,102 WASP, plus 11 who died in training. One more medal was awarded to Jacqueline Cochran, founder of the WASP, and now deceased.
The medal is awarded by Congress and is the highest honor a civilian may receive, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
The intent of the WASP program was to free up male combat pilots from stateside duty during the war. But ultimately it "served as a catalyst for revolutionary reform in the integration of women
pilots into the Armed Services," according to the Hutchison-Mikulski bill that first proposed awarding the medal. The bill was sponsored by 334 representatives when it passed the House in June. It had
passed the Senate in May with the support of 75 co-sponsors. The medal is bestowed for exceptional acts of service to the United States. During their service, the women tasked with every mission but
combat. They were never awarded full military status and were ineligible for officer status. "We did it because our country needed us," 88-year-old Deanie Parrish of Waco, Texas, said at the ceremony.
WASP were not granted veterans' status until 1977. The medal was custom-designed and printed by the U.S. Mint.
A Canadian man says an extraordinarily generous charter airline not only saved the holidays of 900 stranded tourists, it also delivered his prized Takamine D Series guitar home after it went astray
in the confusion. In late February, Ottawa-based charter operator Go Travel South went out of business leaving 900 customers, including Vince Thompson, scattered around the Caribbean. Kelowna,
B.C.-based Flair Airlines, which had flown the Snowbirds south under contract to the charter company, went to pick them up at a cost to the airline of more than $300,000. Flair spokesman Chris
Lapointe said rescuing the stranded vacationers was "the right thing to do" but Thompson said saving the guitar was above and beyond that.
Thompson checked the guitar as oversized baggage for his Feb. 23 flight but it got misdirected in the Cancun airport and didn't get put on the flight. Flair flew its last rescue mission to Cancun
on Feb. 28 and the guitar was located and put on board. Thompson and the Takamine D were reunited the next day. "I picked it up at the Ottawa airport, examined the contents of the guitar case and
found it to be in pristine condition, just as I had left it at Cancun," Thompson said in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen. Last year, Dave Carroll, a Canadian singer-songwriter became an Internet sensation with his music video "United Breaks Guitars" describing the destruction of his instrument on a flight to Nebraska and the subsequent
handling of the incident by United Airlines.
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IFR magazine's Jeff Van West shows how a portable GPS can be used to evaluate what altitudes will be safe for flying up valleys (without actually changing altitudes) and how to
use the GPS while in those valleys to enhance safety and situational awareness.
If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out our sister publication, IFR magazine.
Does military intelligence translate to transportations security? AVweb Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles isn't sure, but he speculates on some of the challenges Robert Harding will face as TSA
chairman in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.
Peter Drucker Says, "The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"
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AVweb readers continued to travel the length and breadth of North America this week, sending us notes about the best FBOs they discovered along the way. Our latest "FBO of the Week" award
goes to Above View at St. George Municipal Airport (SGU) in St. George, Utah.
AVweb reader Jaime Votaw tells us how Above View stepped up to the plate when her husband made an unscheduled stopover:
My husband flew in tonight after needing to land aftet battling weather all day. This was an unexpected stop in a trip to Salt Lake City. I called in at about 8pm and someone answered the phone. It
was obviously after hours, and the person who answered offered to run up the airport and get my husband a crew car so he could get to a local hotel. Up until Justin answered the phone, I had no idea
what to tell my husnad to do. They are always friendly there, but this was way above and beyond for them to do. Thank you, Above View you guys are great!
Win a Garmina aera 510 handheld GPS as we celebrate our 15th Anniversary! All you have to do is click here to enter your
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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.
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
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Contributors Jeff van West Mariano Rosales
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