AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 13b

April 1, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Top News: Safety Starts in Your Garage, Says FAA back to top 
 
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FAA Cites Safety Concerns For Certain Homebuilts

Pilots who fly high-performance amateur-built aircraft need to be aware of their slow-flight and stall characteristics, the FAA said last week. In an "information for operators" bulletin (PDF), the FAA said Lancairs and other amateur-built aircraft with high wing loading and stall speeds higher than 61 knots have prompted concern due to a "large and disproportionate" number of accidents. Most of the accidents were due to inadvertent stall/spins while at slower airspeeds in home airport traffic patterns. Joseph Bartels, owner of Lancair Intl., based in Redmond, Ore., told the Bend Bulletin proper training is the key to improving the safety record. He said pilots who fly Lancairs should train with instructors who are familiar with the aircraft and practice how to "avoid any adverse flight characteristics ... no matter what the speed." The FAA suggested four steps that pilots should take to improve safety.

First, the FAA said, pilots should be sure they thoroughly understand their airplane's flight characteristics, and get some intensive training with an instructor who is familiar with their make and model. Second, owners should install an angle-of-attack indicator and/or a stall warning indicator, and be sure they are properly calibrated. Third, builders should have their airplane evaluated by mechanics who have expertise in their type of aircraft. Fourth, pilots should consider using a qualified test pilot to evaluate the flight characteristics of their airplane.

 
View Trade-A-Plane's New Edition at No Cost on Your Mobile Device!
Just enter Trade-A-Plane.com/mobile. Search for aircraft (hourly updates). Find companies, products, and services. Locate dealers/brokers. Call or e-mail sellers, and click directly to their web sites. With our web and mobile editions, you can view all of our ads at no cost, all the time! Call (800) 337-5263, or visit us online.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Aftermath Of The Boeing 777 Crash At Heathrow

Even though everyone had survived, for Peter Burkill, captain of the British Airways Boeing 777 that in 2008 crashed short of the runway at Heathrow, the drama was in many ways just beginning. The crash was, in Burkill's words, "unprecedented" as was, for Burkill, the personal impact it had on his life. The airliner had suffered a double-engine rollback on short final. With everyone alive, and the plane's voice and flight data recorders in the hands of investigators, answers should have been quick in coming. But they weren't. Burkill found that along with the absence of answers came speculation and he quickly found himself as a target at its center. Last week, AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Burkill in a podcast about the captain's experience of the crash itself. This Friday's podcast will cover the story of what happened next.

Eager to share his account after the crash, and after one early interview, Burkill says he was soon held quiet by his employer during the ongoing investigations at both British Airways and the Air Accidents Investigation Branch. As those investigations stretched from days to months to years, Burkill, explains that his experienced reality was often taking second seat to speculative perception -- even within British Airways. And Burkill was paying a price. Friday's podcast covers Burkill's experience in the aftermath of the crash and is offered it in two parts (Part 1 and Part 2, for easier download), or one full-length version.

Women Pilots' Record: 310 First Flights

Organizers of the Centennial of Women Pilots, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first pilot certificate awarded to a woman, set a record this month by introducing 310 girls and women around the world, ages 2 to 70, to their first flight in a general aviation aircraft. The flights took place in eight countries on three continents, in 20 different kinds of aircraft, including balloons, gliders, ultralights, airplanes and helicopters, during the week of March 6 to 12. The group now plans to extend the effort for the rest of this year, with the goal to introduce 2,010 girls and women to aviation in 2010. In the last 100 years, the percentage of women who are doctors and lawyers has increased significantly, noted Mireille Goyer, a Canadian pilot who is spearheading the challenge. "Our goal is to grow the women pilots' population to at least [a comparable] level within the next 100 years," she said.

Many pilots who registered to participate during the challenge week were stymied by wintry weather. The organizers hope that by extending the challenge to a full year, everyone who wants to take part will have the opportunity. Male pilots are also welcome to participate by taking a woman or girl for a flight. The Web site has a list of FAQs for anyone who would like to take part, and you can register online.

 
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Resurrection Round-Up back to top 
 

Judge Leaves Epic Air Future Unresolved

At a contentious hearing on Tuesday, an Oregon judge said he will decide on Friday who can take over the bankrupt Epic Aircraft company. After five hours of testimony, "there was a sense that any of the three contestants could still walk away with Epic's remains, either alone or in some combination," according to a report in The Oregonian. The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) entered the highest bid for the company in last week's auction, $4.3 million in cash, but the final decision on the company's fate is up to the judge. The LT Builders Group, formed by seven owners of Epic airplanes, pressed their case, and though Judge Randall Dunn critiqued their business projections as "pathetic ... incompetent ... unacceptable ... useless," he said he found the testimony from group leader Daryl Ingalsbe "very credible." The third bidder, Harlow Aerostructures, based in Wichita, Kan., has been a supplier to the aerospace industry since 1954. On Friday, the three bidders will have another chance to present their arguments and to explore new ways to perhaps make deals among themselves or to split up various assets of the company.

Lawyers for AVIC said they recently found that Epic had a defense contract, which could raise issues about Chinese ownership. However, AVIC is not interested in that aspect of the business and would be willing to exclude it from their purchase. Lawyers for the company said they also would be willing to take on a partner to run the company's U.S. operations. The Epic line includes several variations of two basic designs, a pressurized single-engine turboprop and a small light jet.

"Total Eclipse" VLJs Now For Sale

Less than a year after they took over the type design for the Eclipse very light jet, the owners of Eclipse Aerospace say they are ready to offer a limited number of fully functional copies to new owners. "The EA500 is a sophisticated, high-performance, economic twin jet with low operating costs, low environmental impact and uncompromised safety," said Mason Holland, president of Eclipse Aerospace. "In their rush to deliver the aircraft, the former manufacturer of the EA500 [Eclipse Aviation Corporation] delivered to owners an aircraft that was only about 85 percent complete. These aircraft were great performers, but still lacked several important features. We now have completed the design and engineering of the EA500." The "Total Eclipse" jet now includes FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) and a GPS-coupled autopilot. The company had acquired unfinished jets during the bankruptcy, and bought some back from owners. It is offering the jets ready-to-fly, with a factory warranty, at $2.15 million. Owners who took delivery of the original Eclipse jets can trade theirs in for a credit of up to $1.7 million.

The company plans to eventually restart the production line and produce brand-new jets. With that in mind, a limited number of the Total Eclipse jets will be sold with a "buy-back" provision. Eclipse Aerospace will agree to repurchase the aircraft for a guaranteed amount that can be applied toward a first-year production slot when EA500 manufacturing resumes. "The Total Eclipse program is the most comprehensive and important action we have taken to date as we expand our support for EA500 owners," said Holland. "We are proud that with this announcement, Eclipse Aerospace is delivering on the full promise of the Eclipse 500."

 
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Revised Math: 777 Minus 182 = 1,500 Feet back to top 
 

777, 182 Close Encounter Over San Francisco (corrected, updated)

The NTSB is sending an investigator to San Francisco to figure out how a United Boeing 777 and an Cessna 182 came within 300 feet vertically and 1,500 feet laterally of one another over the city on Saturday. An earlier NTSB news release said the light aircraft was an Aeronca Chief and that it came "within 300 feet" of the 777. The NTSB has since issued a corrected release. The FAA is also involved and appear to be blaming the SFO tower controller for the loss of separation. In a comment to the Associated Press, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told AP the controller should have noticed the potential conflict earlier and is taking "strong measures to make sure something similar does not occur in the future." According to the NTSB, the crew of the 777, operating as Flight 889 to Beijing, took evasive action at about 1,100 feet just after retracting the gear. The airliner's TCAS was triggered and the controller was in contact with both aircraft. The incident happened about 11:15 a.m. local time.

According to the NTSB, the crew spotted the 182 in a hard left turn traveling from their one o'clock to three o'clock position and the first officer pushed the yoke forward to level the aircraft. The flight continued to Beijing. There were 251 passengers and 17 crew on the 777. The number of occupants on the 182 wasn't immediately known.

Related Content:
Listen to the audio, courtesy of LiveATC.net

Tower, "We Need to Talk"

File Size 1.4 MB / Running Time 1:32

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

On Saturday, the crew of United Flight 889, a Boeing 777 with 251 passengers and 17 crew, reported they came within 300 feet of an Aeronca Chief while on initial climbout from San Francisco International. As the airliner took off, the tower controller warned the pilot of the Chief, who reported having the 777 in sight, to get behind the airliner. The encounter set off the TCAS in the 777, and the crew was clearly not amused. The exchange is in the same order, but we've edited out extraneous transmissions and gaps.

 
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Resources, Lists and Downloads back to top 
 

NTSB Issues Glass-Cockpit Safety Recommendations

Pilots need more training in the use of glass cockpit technology, the NTSB said this week. The safety board issued six recommendations (PDF) to the FAA as a follow-up to a recent report that found advanced cockpits are not helping to prevent accidents in the general aviation fleet. "Advanced avionics and electronic displays can increase the safety potential of general aviation aircraft operations," the NTSB says, "...but more effort is needed to ensure that pilots are prepared to realize that potential." The safety board said the FAA can take several steps to help improve the impact of the technology.

The FAA should revise airman knowledge tests to include questions about using electronic flight and navigation displays, the board said. Also, manufacturers should provide more information about how to deal with system problems. All FAA training materials for pilots should include information about electronic primary flight displays, and their operation should be part of pilot proficiency requirements. The use of simulators and trainers for meeting training requirements needs to be clarified, the board said. Also, the FAA should inform maintenance technicians who work on the displays that it's important for them to file service difficulty reports about any malfunctions or defects they find in electronic primary, flight, navigation and control systems. The FAA now can consider the recommendations and respond to the NTSB when it's ready.

Related Content:

Now Online: Final Colgan Air Report, Caribbean Update, Sun 'n Fun Notam

Several new items of interest to pilots are now available on the Internet. The NTSB has posted its complete probable-cause report (pdf) on last year's fatal Colgan Air crash. The 285-page document details the board's findings and analysis, as well as the conclusions and recommendations that were announced at a hearing a few weeks ago. A transcript of the cockpit voice recorder is included in the appendix. For pilots who fly into the Caribbean, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has posted an update of its policy regarding screening of passengers (PDF). And the FAA has issued a Notam (PDF) detailing a number of special procedures in place April 11 to 18 in the central Florida region during the Sun 'n Fun fly-in.

Also, a letter to airmen (PDF) from the Tampa control tower notes several special procedures that pilots can expect to be in use at the Lakeland airport during the show. Pilots who fly across the U.S. border also should note that Customs told AOPA this week that it will soon be sending warning notices to pilots whose paperwork isn't fully compliant with the latest rules. The agency has been easygoing so far about enforcing its rules, but AOPA said that appears to be changing. Failure to properly file passenger manifests can incur penalties of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Boeing Pushing 787 Delivery Deadline

Boeing insists the first 787 Dreamliner will be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways by the end of this year even though it hasn't started certification flight testing yet. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing's commercial airplane unit, said snags in pre-certification flight testing, one of which resulted in the shutdown of an engine, have caused delays but he said there was some cushion in the schedule. Four of the six test aircraft are flying and have accumulated about 400 hours, but Albaugh agreed there is much to do before Dec. 31. "Some people said that when the first plane actually flew we could breathe a sigh of relief because we had retired the technical risk," Albaugh told the Journal. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

The Dreamliner is about two-and-a-half years behind schedule and the delays have cost billions in penalties. More delays would not only cost more in penalties but could damage the credibility of the program in a tight airliner market. Boeing said it's optimistic the 787 passed a crucial milestone Sunday when it underwent the ultimate load test. The wings were flexed upward 25 feet and the airframe hit with 150 percent of its design stress limit and it appears to have passed, although the data hasn't been fully analyzed. Dreamliners are also starting to get out a bit more. One was in Montana and another spent time in California as the company tests it in extreme conditions.

Bombardier Makes $3.9 Billion Deal With Chinese Bank

Bombardier has reached a $3.9 billion deal with China Development Bank Corporation's (CDBC) leasing department that could give it an important edge in selling aircraft in China. The bank has agreed to make the money available to airlines interested in buying aircraft from Bombardier. Although the financing will be available to overseas carriers, the funding will make it easier for domestic carriers to finance purchases from Bombardier, which is developing the 100-to-130-seat CSeries airliners. The fuselage for the aircraft will be built by Shenyang Aircraft Corp., which broke ground on the new factory last week.

The CDBC deal will be available for pre-delivery payment financing, delivery financing and leasing solutions to customers of Bombardier's CSeries, Q400 and CRJ aircraft. China is expected to be among the biggest customers for new airliners in coming years. It is developing its own regional jet.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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

Question of the Week: Air Show Season Plans

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers

PREVIOUS RESULTS ***

Last week, we asked if the time has come for an overhaul of the flight training system. Our informal poll revealed that most respondents are in favor of a revamp but are wary of throwing out the baby with the bath water. Accounting for 49% of responses, this option greatly outstripped all the other choices we offered: For much of training, the old standards work well — but there must be more emphasis on new technology and the coming changes to airspace management.

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

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION ***

Where are you headed and what will take you there? Air show season begins in earnest in two weeks with Sun 'n Fun going from April 13-18. We'd like to hear your aviation event travel plans for 2010.

What aviation events are you attending this year?
(click to answer)


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

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.

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.

 
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New on AVweb back to top 
 

Exclusive Video: A Humorous But-Not-That-Gentle Look at Flying Traffic Patterns

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

If you like your aviation information to come straight out of the AIM, umm — this is not that. In this week's video, Paul Bertorelli takes a somewhat biting look into the heads of CFIs who teach their students to fly traffic patterns that would be too large for a Triple Seven.

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.

AVweb Insider Blog: Setting the Standard in Washington

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.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather Receiver

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

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)

 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: PAI Aero (Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, KBTR, LA)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Best Rewards in the Business

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!

 
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.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

This week's edition of "Picture of the Week" goes live on April Fools' Day — but we're not foolin' about the quality of our latest batch of photos!

...

O.K., when you're done groaning, let's dive in.

medium | large

copyright © Keith Wilson
Used with permission

Pair of Spartan Executives

Keith Wilson of Ramsey, Cambridgeshire (England) got our blood pumping with this shot — and another, which you can find in this week's slideshow on the AVweb home page.

medium | large

copyright © Piotr Kulczakowicz
Used with permission

Isolated Thunderstorm

Piotr Kulczakowicz of Chevy Chase, Maryland snapped this "nicely isolated thunderstorm" a ways off on his way into NBO.

medium | large

Used with permission of William J. Norris

Tiger Moth DH82A Co-Pilot

That's William J. Norris of Carolina, Puerto Rico — and some extra parts, too. (The co-pilot is Frank Vasquez.)

medium | large

copyright © Gordon R. Richards
Used with permission

Rooftop Landing?

Do we detect a touch of April tomfoolery, after all? Gordon R. Richards of Livingston, Texas snapped this photo at just the right moment to bring a smile to our faces.

medium | large

Used with permission of Todd Walter

Gotta Start 'Em Out Young

Todd Walter of League City, Texas flies us out this week with a shot of his son "in our new flight school airplane."


Did we mention the slideshow on AVweb's home page. It's where you'll find more than a dozen bonus pics we couldn't squeeze in here.

Aaaannnd — click here to submit your own photos to "POTW." We wanna see '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.

 
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:

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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.