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New Hampshire's private Daniel Webster College, known to some pilots only for its flight operations program, announced Wednesday that the program will come to an end. ITT Educational Services
bought the college last year, fired then school president Robert Myers and brought in an ITT president to replace him. The school's Web site indicates with an asterisk that its Bachelor degree program in aviation flight operations "will be phased out over the next several years as the students who are currently
enrolled in the program are allowed the opportunity to graduate within the normal timeframe for completion." The statement adds that no new classes will be started in the program, "effective
immediately." The school's air traffic control and aviation management programs will continue, according to its new president, Nadine Dowling. Many of the school's current and former students are
expressing their opinions online.
A Facebook page titled "I went to Daniel Webster before it sold out" had 465 members, Wednesday,
some of whom wrote that they would rather have seen the school financially fail, rather than lose its flight program. Dowling told local news that the program was extremely expensive to maintain and
that graduates didn't see a great return on their expenses. Students were told of the program's coming closure in a closed meeting (no media) for faculty and students. Dowling told media after the
meeting that Daniel Webster College had been considered canceling its flight program before the sale to ITT. Daniel Webster College began life in 1965 as the New England Aeronautical
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Virgin Galactic's VSS Enterprise spaceship flew for the first time Monday morning, carried in
place between the twin cockpits of its mothership, Eve. The coupled aircraft took off from Mojave Air and Spaceport in California at 7:05 a.m. local time. "This is a momentous day for the Scaled and
Virgin Teams," said Burt Rutan, designer of the ships and founder of Scaled Composites, which built the aircraft. "The captive-carry flight
signifies the start of what we believe will be an extremely exciting and successful spaceship flight-test program." Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, said the first flight was a "major
step" in his project to fly tourists into suborbital space. "Watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt and his team have
developed for us," Branson said. "The Scaled team is uniquely qualified to bring this important and incredible dream to reality. Today was another major step along that road and a testament to U.S.
engineering and innovation." The first flight lasted about three hours and reached altitudes up to 45,000 feet, according to Wired.com.
The VSS Enterprise test-flight program will continue though 2010 and 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight, prior to the start of commercial operations,
the company said. The spaceship will be powered by a unique hybrid rocket motor, which is currently under development. It utilizes the unique feather configuration that allowed Rutan's original
SpaceShipOne to successfully re-enter the atmosphere.
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A new project headed by Erik Lindbergh aims to promote the development of electric aircraft by offering annual incentive prizes for the best technology. Lindbergh said he hopes the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prizes (LEAP) will engage inventors and move the electric aircraft segment forward. "This is tremendously exciting to
many of us in the aviation industry," he said. Prizes will be awarded in four categories: best electric aircraft; best component (such as batteries or motors); best sub-system (a set of interacting
components); and the public choice award, based on a vote. The prizes will reward practicality, LEAP spokesperson Yolanka Wulff told AVweb. "The technical advisory committee is encouraging a
product that could be brought to the marketplace so that aviators who want an electric aircraft can obtain it and operate it in some practical fashion," she said. "In other words, electric aircraft
that are cheaper, easier to fly, and/or safer, will win out over electric aircraft that are super-complex, expensive, or technically challenging to fly."
No value has yet been set for each of the prizes, which may comprise cash or products, Wulff said. A system is being developed so contenders can be nominated over the Internet. An independent
judging panel will select the winners, and the prizes will be awarded at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. The prizes are a project of Lindbergh's nonprofit group, the Creative Solutions Alliance. Its
mission is to inspire, showcase, and leverage innovation for a resilient future.
Certified flight instructors due for a refresher now have the option to attend a live seminar online. The FAA has given its OK for AVseminars to
offer its flight instructor refresher clinic (FIRC) to CFIs who participate remotely in a real-time live discussion, using a computer, microphone and webcam. The $69 course for the FAA-required 16
hours of training provides a new option for CFIs who want to save time and money compared to traveling to a live weekend clinic. With up to 24 instructors participating, the format also offers a more
interactive and lively format than online self-study options, AVseminars CEO Bruce Micek told AVweb. "This is the first live online FIRC webinar to be approved by the FAA," he added. The
webinar will take place the weekend of April 10 and 11, online registration is open now.
FAA flight instructor certificates are only good for 24 months. There are several ways to renew the certificate, such as signing off students, adding another rating, or attending an FAA-approved
refresher clinic. CFIs can also complete a self-guided online course such as those offered by AOPA, Gleim, and others. Click
here for the complete FAA regulation regarding CFI renewals.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Advisors Topic: Airspace for Everyone
Do you understand the differences between all six "alphabet" airspace categories? How about between controlled and uncontrolled airspace? Take a few minutes to refresh your knowledge now.
Air traffic controllers who helped out when pilots faced dangerous situations were honored this week at the annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards. The National Air Traffic Controllers
Association selects the award winners from nominees around the country. Among the winners: a team of South Florida air traffic controllers who helped a non-pilot land a King Air after the pilot died;
a Kansas City controller who helped a Frontier Airlines crew return to the airport safely after a bird strike; and a Southern California controller who warned a SkyWest crew arriving into LAX about a
non-squawking Navion that had strayed into the airspace. Click here for the complete story
(PDF) of all nine winning events. The live ATC tapes from each event also are posted online, and they make
"The ability to think quickly and remain calm under pressure while maintaining situational awareness are all unique qualities that air traffic controllers and flight service station employees
possess," NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said at the awards ceremony on Monday evening. "They all have a willingness to jump right in to resolve complex situations, offer a reassuring voice to those on
the frequency and coordinate their efforts with other controllers." AOPA Air Safety Foundation President Bruce Landsberg presented 10 Flight Assist commendations to controllers from around the country who helped general aviation pilots in
distress. "Even when the pilot is the only person physically in the aircraft, he or she is not alone," said Landsberg. "Air traffic controllers are incredible resources. All a pilot has to do is
Both pilots survived, one with injuries, when two Royal Air Force Red Arrows BAE Hawk jets collided while flying a crossing maneuver during practice at Heraklion in Crete, Tuesday. One aircraft
crashed after the contact but its pilot, Flight Lieutenant Mike Ling, ejected at about 1000 feet, suffering cuts and a dislocated shoulder. The second aircraft landed safely, missing a portion of its
vertical fin and with damage to its right stabilator from contact with the other jet. The surviving aircraft and seven other Red Arrows aircraft have been grounded at Greece's Kastelli air force base,
pending investigation. It's been some 30 years since Red Arrows aircraft have crashed due to in-flight contact, according to Guardian UK. An incident in 1971 killed two Red Arrows pilots.
The Red Arrows have flown more than 4,000 displays in more than 50 countries since the team was formed in 1965. The current team has already been training for four months for the coming 2010
airshow season. The group had only been in Greece for a few days and was not scheduled to return to the UK until May 25. The team this year includes its first female pilot. The Red Arrows' first 2010
flight display is scheduled for May 23 at Paphos, Cyprus, pending results of the crash investigation.
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The Senate on Monday passed a bill to provide funding for the FAA and modernize the air traffic control system by 2020. The $34.5 billion three-year budget is expected to jump-start the agency's
long slow transition to NextGen. The bill also features changes to FAA rules prompted mainly by last year's Colgan Air crash. Relatives of those who died lobbied hard for several safety measures that
have made it into the final version of the Senate bill: first officers on commercial passenger flights must have at least 800 hours total time; the FAA must establish new safety standards for
flight-crew training; an Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office will be established within the FAA; and pilots are banned from using electronic devices in the cockpit. Taxes on jet fuel
for general aviation would rise from 22 cents per gallon to 36 cents. The bill is far from final, however -- it now goes to a conference committee where the House and Senate versions of the
legislation will be merged, then both houses will have to vote on the final bill again before it goes to the White House for approval. GA advocacy groups were jubilant about the bill's passage,
especially the lack of new user fees.
AOPA President Craig Fuller said he is pleased the bill doesn't impose user fees, while giving the FAA "the guidance and the long-term support it needs to move forward with the crucial work of
modernizing our air traffic control system." National Air Transportation Association President James Coyne also was happy with the bill. "I would like to congratulate the U.S. Senate for approving a
[bill] that is void of user fees and that provides a fair jet-fuel tax increase," he said. He added that he hopes the conference committee will be convened soon to keep the process moving along. GAMA
President Pete Bunce was also upbeat. "We are extremely pleased with the passage of this bill, which takes a number of critical steps needed for the acceleration of NextGen," he said. National Air
Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi said the Senate vote is a sign of progress. "This bill ... addresses key issues regarding the stability of the air traffic controller workforce,
the inclusion of controllers as key stakeholders in the system and the realignment of FAA facilities." Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Association, said the bill is a "good step"
toward modernization of the national aviation system. "Importantly, the legislation builds on the fuel tax to help pay for modernization, instead of resorting to user fees," he said. "This approach is
the one uniformly supported by general aviation to help pay for Next Gen." The FAA has been funded by short-term extensions, without a comprehensive reauthorization bill, since 2007.
The World Trade Organization is now saying what Boeing and U.S. trade officials have been saying for decades: Airbus was illegally subsidized to develop new products that competed directly with
Boeing products. "Today's final ruling puts any doubts to rest - launch aid is an illegal subsidy that has cost America jobs, hurt our ability to compete and damaged our overall economy," Sen. Patty
Murray, D-Wash., said. The ruling went beyond determining the legality of start-up money. It said that Airbus would not have been able to overtake Boeing as the biggest aircraft maker in the world
without the subsidies and that they cost U.S. jobs. Although the ruling seems unequivocal, what it means in practical terms is far less clear.
Airbus is appealing the decision and how long that appeal could drag on is not known. If, at the end of it all, the ruling sticks, the question of how to penalize Airbus will become the issue.
Assuming Airbus continues to maintain its innocence, the only option left might be for the U.S. to impose trade sanctions on the company, which, until a week ago, was bidding to supply $30 billion
worth of tankers for the U.S. Air Force. Boeing said the ruling might make other countries think twice about funding airliner development from the public purse. "Markets, not parliaments, should pick
the winners in the global aerospace market," Boeing said in a statement.
The NTSB has completed its investigation into last year's errant Northwest Airlines flight, finding the crew at fault for failing to monitor their position, but also concluding that air traffic
control should do a better job of reacting to NORDO (no radio communications) events. The two pilots overflew their destination airport of Minneapolis by more than 100 miles and failed to maintain
radio communications because they were distracted by a conversation about crew scheduling. However, the safety board said this
incident and a fatal accident involving a Pilatus PC-12/45 that crashed in Montana on March 22, 2009, revealed problems with ATC
procedures. In its safety recommendations, the board said the FAA should address the lack of standard procedures for identifying flight crew-ATC communications in ATC facilities that use
automated flight tracking systems, and the lack of standard phraseology for identifying the emergency nature of emergency ATC radio transmissions.
The NTSB found that the lack of national requirements for recording ATC instructions when using automated flight tracking systems, such as directing an aircraft to switch frequencies or to indicate
that an aircraft has checked in on an assigned frequency, was a factor in the controllers' delay in performing necessary actions and notifications required by lost communications procedures. In
addition, because NORDO events of a short duration are not uncommon, the safety board found that controllers and managers may have become complacent in their response. Click here for the NTSB's probable-cause report, or click here for the safety recommendation letter (PDF). Recent accidents and incidents such as the midair collision over the Hudson River last August, Colgan Air Flight 3407, and
the Northwest pilots' overflight of the Minnesota airport have demonstrated the clear hazards to aviation safety when pilots and air traffic controllers depart from standard operating procedures and
established best practices, the NTSB said. To follow up on those concerns, the board will convene a three-day public forum, May 18-20, on professionalism in aviation to address methods for ensuring
excellence in pilot and air traffic controller performance. The forum will promote an open discussion between the NTSB and invited panelists drawn from industry, labor, academia, and
Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?
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Last week, we asked about ADS-B preparedness and a small number of AVweb readers (21 of you at press time) reported that you already have the gear and know how to use it,
most of you still have a ways to go before you've mastered ADS-B. Your responses ran the gamut of our options, but no single answer dominated the poll. At 24% of responses, I'd like to see how
the FAA deploys it before I commit was the most popular answer.
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.
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Why do reporters so often mangle the facts on aviation stories? Is it because they're all liberal arts weenies with no technical chops? Sometimes. But, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb
Insider blog, sometimes they're just too lazy to explain things or they think readers are too dumb to understand.
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Win an XM WX Satellite Weather receiver from WxWorx as we continue the celebration of AVweb's 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 April 9, 2010.
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AVweb reader Bill Foraker tells us how a good FBO is always there for you, even when you don't expect to need them:
I was there ... dropping off a buddy who had just purchased an aircraft. Upon my departure, I had smoke in the cabin of my '58 Comanche, so I returned quickly to the airport. Nick and Joe at
Blackhawk are fabulous. They went right to work and corrected my problem, a small hole in my oil pressure line. They had me back in the air and home to Terre Haute that evening. ... If every
operation was like this one, we would have a much better aviation community.
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 ***
Looks like our readers have been busy this week! Our submission box was a little lighter this go-around than it has been in previous weeks, so perhaps that's a sign that clear skies
are warm weather are calling our readers away from the computer and out for a little afternoon flying.
83 years after the photo was taken, this sharp-looking CFI A. E. Rigney by name takes top prize in our weekly photo contest. Carl B.
Jordan of Port Charlotte, Florida dug this one out of his personal archive and tells us Mr. Rigney is posing in front of the same Curtiss Jenny in which Carl's father made his first solo
flight, at the Johnson Flying School in Dayton, Ohio. "Dad retired out of B-707s," writes Carl, "so he literally went from Jennys to jets."
Frank Oliveira of Pawtucket, Rhode Island had a little time for reflection on his journey from Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket. Just goes to prove
that a camera can provide many worthwhile ways to pass the time for you and your friends at AVweb.
Gilbert Benzonana of Grand-Lancy, Geneva (Switzerland) has submitted dozens of great photos to "POTW" over the last year or so, but this
has to be one of our favorites. You can almost smell the crisp air of early evening!
You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't miss 'em!
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.
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.