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Volume 16, Number 13a
March 29, 2010
Sixth Annual Archie League Medal of Safety 
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association Proudly Salutes the Winners of the Sixth Annual Archie League Medal of Safety Awards
Named after America's first air traffic controller, these awards honor instances of exceptional skill, professionalism and dedication by our nation's air traffic controllers. From alerting aircraft to dangerous situations in the sky to expertly guiding private aircraft pilots in distress to safe landings, each of these winners has contributed to ensuring the safety of others. Click here to see the 2010 winners.
Top News: The Search Is Still On for New TSA Chiefback to top 
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Robert Harding, the latest nominee as head of the Transportation Security Administration, has withdrawn following revelations that his security consulting firm had been overpaid by the government. Harding, a former top military intelligence officer, owned Harding Security Associates, which an audit suggested had been overpaid $2.4 million for a contract to supply intelligence debriefers during the Iraq war. The company is also under scrutiny for a $100 million contract at Fort Belvoir for work on biometrics. That contract was awarded as part of a program to give work to businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. According to The Washington Post, Harding listed his disability as sleep apnea, a common disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. "I felt that I could bring some leadership, vision and intelligence expertise" to the TSA, Harding said in a statement. "However, I feel that the distractions caused by my work as a defense contractor would not be good for this administration."

Related Content:
AVweb's Russ Niles blogs about the search for a new TSA head on the AVweb Insider


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Help from ... Below?back to top 

A 1969 Champion 7KCAB landed on California highway 57 at about 7 p.m., Wednesday, near Pomona, without injury and without damage to a single vehicle, but with the help of one alert motorist. John Findley was alone in the plane en route from Long Beach to Upland, Calif., when he reported engine problems to controllers at Brackett Field, near Pomona. As Findley prepared for his freeway landing on the northbound lanes, he saw one driver begin to zig-zag, driving back and forth across the three freeway lanes. Findley believes the driver was attempting to warn other motorists of the potential danger and trying to clear the roadway. The pilot told first responders he was able to land in the available space with. One official said it was the motorist's actions that were responsible for preventing a more substantial accident. Findley got the plane down and stopped without touching a single vehicle. More...

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Wreckage Raises Eyebrows — Real or Notback to top 

It's not War of the Worlds, but a Canadian television network won its share of scrutiny for choosing to promote a new program with a fake plane crash, Thursday, in Montreal. Thanks to the network, a bright yellow Cub-like aircraft was posed nose-down in the crushed roof of an SUV parked across from Montreal's Bell Centre, a sports and entertainment complex in the city. The network even managed artificial smoke to be pumped out of the conjoined wreckage as passersby who were informed of the promotion stopped to take pictures. "For us, it was just to create curiosity and suspense," Elise Beauchemin, director of communications for the French-language cable TV channel responsible for the stunt, told CBC News. Local police told the news source they had been informed of the stunt ahead of time and there was no local panic or danger, but media outlets had "flooded" the police station with calls of concern. More...

Wreckage of a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver single-engine dive bomber has been discovered in privately owned woods near Rockaway Beach, Ore., but its origins and crew remain to be identified. The World War II-era aircraft's wreckage was originally spotted by employees of a logging company on March 18. The wreckage covers approximately 200 yards and early responders did report the possibility of human remains at the site. Among the more clearly identifiable aircraft debris at the site are a wing, the tail section, and landing gear. Officials have not found any unexploded ordnance mixed in with the wreckage but are attempting to secure the site while the investigation continues. Navy personnel, in coordination with Oregon State Police and the county Sheriff's office, are working together on the investigation. The team has sought input from the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing In Action Accounting Command in Honolulu. More...

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Epic on Its Way to China?back to top 

An Oregon federal bankruptcy judge will decide Tuesday if a company owned by the Chinese government will take over the remnants of Epic Air and the companies associated with it. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)'s bid of $4.3 million cash was selected over two American bids by bankruptcy trustee Ken Eiler following a daylong auction at a Portland law office on Friday. Also in the running were the LT Builders Group, representing the owners of unfinished aircraft still inside Epic's Bend, Ore., factory, and Wichita-based Harlow Aerostructures. Doug King, one of the members of the owners' group, told AVweb Saturday that they're spending the next three days preparing objections to the trustee's decision, which must be confirmed by the court during Tuesday's hearing. King said his group's bid was actually $2.2 million higher than the Chinese bid but included $4 million in credit to the owners. He said the trustee chose China's bid because it was all cash. The builders are worried they'll never have a chance to finish their aircraft if the Chinese bid prevails and most have already paid more than $1 million in progressive payments on their $1.7 million kit-built turboprop LT aircraft. More...

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Aircraft Accidents Revisitedback to top 

Having narrowed the search area to one-tenth its previous size, investigators will now search the ocean floor, again, for the data recorders of Air France Flight 447. The Airbus A330 was discovered on June 1, 2009, to have virtually disappeared into the Atlantic, off Brazil, with 228 aboard. Two prior expeditions to retrieve the cockpit voice (CVR) and flight data recorders (FDR) have failed. One of those included a nuclear submarine. The new expedition will employ three sonar-equipped robot submarines and two search ships, including the Anne Candies undersea research vessel. U.S. Navy sonar equipment will be used in a refined search area of about 770 square miles where the ocean ranges up to 13,000 feet deep. Though roughly 1,000 pieces of debris and 50 bodies were found in the initial search, the first wreckage was not spotted until it had been drifting for five days in the ocean. The new undersea search is expected to last at least four weeks. Without the recorders, investigators have warned that a more extensive understanding of the crash may not be possible. More...

The basic details are strikingly similar but the outcomes for the captains of two airliners that crash landed without loss of life couldn't be more different. On one hand, there's Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, sometimes called the Hero of the Hudson, who ditched his A320 in the Hudson River in Jan. of 2009. Sullenberger was able to retire early from an industry of which he was sometimes openly critical. Then there's Capt. Peter Burkill, the senior officer aboard British Airways Flight 38, which suffered an uncommanded dual engine rollback on short final and crash landed short of the runway at Heathrow Airport in 2008. Burkill recently broke his silence on the crash and has written a book on the topic. He says he resigned from BA due to persistent malicious rumors about his actions during the crash. He's now on welfare. In a podcast interview with AVweb's Glenn Pew, Burkill gives his description of the 30 seconds that preceded the crash and his role in its survivable outcome.

Related Content:
Listen to our podcast interview with Burkill


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

AVMAIL: MARCH 29, 2010

Letter of the Week: Make Transponders Mandatory

How many [midair crashes] will it take before everything in the air has to have a working transponder? And if you can afford to fly, you can afford a transponder. Those of us who don't want to be hit by traffic we can't see will also buy some sort of TCAS.

Once you have one, you won't believe how many aircraft get really close to you without you seeing them. You will be totally blown away how often it happens when you are being "watched" on radar by your overworked ATC.

Tim Hodges

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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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New on AVwebback to top 

Peter Burkill was captain of British Airways Flight 38, a Boeing 777 with 152 aboard, when it suffered an uncommanded dual engine rollback and crashed short of the runway at Heathrow on January 17, 2008. This is what he experienced, in his words. More...

There's a certain amount of discomfort that comes from discovering the top two picks, the cream of the crop, the best-of-the-best candidates for the leader of the Transportation Security Administration are a couple of guys you wouldn't want dating your sister. At least it's given AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles a moment's pause. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Russ explains why President Obama needs to go back to the drawing board in seeking a new chief for the TSA. Click here to read more and share your own thoughts. More...

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

As we reported last week, Scaled Composites completed a successful test flight with SpaceShipTwo attached to Mothership Eve. The video wasn't available at our deadline last week but was recently released. More...

If you have a Garmin GNS430, you probably know the basics — but in this video, IFR magazine's Jeff Van West reveals some ninja-level operating tricks that are practical and easy to master. More...

Aviation Safety is continuing its series on basic flying technique. We've looked at the aerodynamics of coordinated turns. In this video, Paul Bertorelli follows up with a simple rudder exercise that he can't seem to master — but you'll have no trouble with it. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" is one we're adding to our own charts — PAI Aero at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (KBTR) in (where else?) Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

AVweb reader Dave Beckwith calls PAI simply "the best" FBO in the area. Sure, they have great customer service and good prices, but what made Dave take a moment to nominate them as an FBO of the week was something we don't normally hear about FBOs: "There's so much to see! Especially the FW190 restoration project."

A World War II warbird restoration to check out and gab about while refueling? It's true — learn more and watch video here — and probably quite the attraction at KBTR.

Have you visited an FBO that was first class all the way? Click here to nominate it as an "FBO of the Week." 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!


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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

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.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Colleen Keller of San Diego, California, who won a Garmin 510 aera handheld GPS in our last drawing! (click here to get your own Garmin aera)


Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


While flying an ADS-B test around NYC, I overheard this exchange:

"Airline 123, would you like the visual for 10?"

Airliner 123:
"Let me ask the Big Guy."


Airliner 123:
"That will be fine."

"Visual 10 for the Big Guy!"

B. J. Riester
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.