AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 16a

April 19, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
National Air Traffic Controllers Association || The Safety 
Professionals Who Guide You Home
Keeping Our Airspace Safe
Over 14,000 strong, the members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association are aviation safety professionals whose skill and professionalism help keep our National Airspace System moving safely and efficiently.

Find out more at NATCA.org and read about our annual Archie League Medal of Safety award winners, many of whom assisted general aviation pilots who needed help to land safely.
Top News: Volcanic Ash Blankets European Skies back to top 

GA Active Under Ash Plume

Screenshot courtesy of FlightRadar.com
Click for larger image
Blue X = Airport
Yellow Airplane = Flight en route
Visit FlightRadar24.com for live flight radar maps

It appears to have been a surreal weekend for recreational pilots across Europe as those who resisted the stern warnings from their aviation authorities relished skies clear of weather and working aircraft. There are no restrictions on VFR flight in most European countries although the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) issued a Notam on Saturday saying, in part: "VFR operators should operate [with] extreme caution and must assure themselves that their flight can be conducted in a safe manner before flying. Note that ATSOCAS (Air Traffic Services Outside Controlled Airspace) capacity may be severely limited during the period." A light plane crashed in England on Saturday, but any connection to ash has since been pretty much discounted. Plenty of European pilots took advantage of ideal flying weather (if you don't count the ash). "Light aeroplanes were free to come and go in the fine spring weather, with controllers undistracted by the commercial traffic that usually takes priority," wrote Charles Bremner in his blog on the Times Online. Bremner, the Times' Paris correspondent, flew to Le Touquet and seemed to have had a lovely day without damaging his airplane's engine. Of course, the airlines are losing tons of money over this and they're getting tired of a flight ban some think might be unnecessary.

On Saturday, KLM, Air Berlin and Lufthansa essentially risked airframes and engines with test flights through the plume and, although the detailed analysis isn't in yet, reported no apparent damage. They all want to resume flights and are criticizing the safety-at-all-costs posture of governments. "It is astonishing that these findings ... have seemingly been ignored in the decision-making process of the aviation safety authorities," Air Berlin spokeswoman Diana Daedelow told the BBC. Meanwhile, the UK is floating a proposal to establish a temporary hub in ash-free southern Spain and fly its citizens there, followed by sea and ground transport home.

Business Aviation Will Help Companies Not Only Survive
But Prosper During the Current Financial Crisis

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Light Sport Sector Enjoys a Bit of Economic Recovery back to top 

LSA Sector Reports Sales

"I think by the end of this show we're going to have 20 to 30 LSA sales," Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun on Saturday. "That's huge." At the Sebring Light Sport Expo earlier this year, which usually attracts a lot of serious buyers, most sales failed to materialize, Johnson said. "There was a lot of interest, but not a lot of buying. It's been tough out there. But at this show, it seems those fears about the economy have given way to some level of confidence." Nick Otterback, of Lightning Aircraft, said he had just sold another airplane, when AVweb caught up with him on the field Saturday afternoon. "That's three kits and one S-LSA so far."

Otterback said he thinks what customers respond to in the aircraft is value. "We're built here in the U.S., though our Jabiru engines are from Australia," he said. "That means we don't have the exchange-rate issues you get with airplanes built in Europe, and we're able to work with the customer a bit on price. The Lightning S-LSAs sell for about $93,000, he said, on up to about $115,000 with all the options. Kitplanes editor Marc Cook took a look at the LSA with Otterback last year; click here for that video.

A Life Insurance Policy That Returns All of Your Premiums? — YES
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American Legend Gets Smart with Latest Cub back to top 

New From Legend: Smart Cub With G3X Cockpit

American Legend Aircraft Company is now offering its Cub LSA with the Garmin G3X multi-function display, which was designed for the light sport and experimental market. The G3X was first released about a year ago and the company has continued to add new features and functionality. The G3X system features a seven-inch display with full primary flight display functions, such as attitude/directional guidance, plus electronic engine monitoring and detailed moving-map capabilities. The Legend Smart Cub G3 instrument panel also includes a Garmin SL-40 Com, GTX 327 transponder, and PS Engineering PM1200 intercom. The first customer delivery of a Smart Cub G3 is expected by the end of the month, Legend says.

"This is an exciting introduction for American Legend," said general manager Kurt Sehnert. "Customers are excited to have these capabilities on a Legend Cub. It allows them to fly at night and provides real-time display of weather, terrain, METARS, NOTAMS, PIREPS, traffic, and more." The system will provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness, he said.

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"Roughing It" No Longer Quite So Rough back to top 

A New Online Resource For Air Campers

If exploring the U.S. in your airplane and camping out under the wing is your idea of a grand adventure, then a new group called the American Air Campers Association is eager to provide you with all the resources you need. They are building a website with a directory of aviation-accessible campsites, along with an online gear store where you can rent or buy equipment for your trek. The group also plans to lobby for continuing access to airports and improved facilities, Don Abbott, founder of the for-profit group, said at Sun 'n Fun this week. "We think adding camping facilities is a great way for airports to attract more traffic," Abbott said. "We want to promote, preserve and protect the combined freedoms of camping and flying in America. And we want to get young people out to fly with us, to hike and laugh and tell stories by the campfire with us, and get away from their video screens."

Memberships in the for-profit group are $49 a year and include full access to the Web directory, which will go online next month, Abbott said. It will launch with about 1,000 airports listed, and later will add seaplane sites. Users can search according to a variety of criteria, such as facilities on site and access to parks or other attractions. Each site will include information about nearby places of interest such as where to rent a car or find a hotel or hospital if needed. The AACA also plans to organize camping fly-ins and eventually would like to create new fly-in camp facilities. Lots more info about the group is available online on their website.

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Hey, You! Come See What the Fuss Is About back to top 

First "Learn To Fly Day" Coming Soon

"We're asking every pilot and aviation enthusiast to introduce someone new to aviation on Learn To Fly Day," EAA's Ron Wagner told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun this week. "It's coming up soon ... May 15 ... and pilots around the country are making plans to participate." Participation can be as simple as inviting a friend or neighbor to visit the airport or go for a flight, or as robust as planning a weekend-long community festival, as one group in Louisiana is doing, Wagner said. "This is not just an EAA initiative," he added. "It's aviation-wide." There are so many barriers to discovering the world of flight today, from fences to finances to fear of the unknown, Wagner said. "If each of us just got one person interested, the aviation community would double."

The Web site at learntofly.org offers info both for pilots who may want to host an event, and for the curious who may be looking for an event near them. International Learn to Fly Day was announced at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 by the leaders of EAA, AOPA, Remos Aircraft, the National Association of Flight Instructors, and others.

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Watch Your Inbox for Our Sun 'n Fun Round-Up back to top 

Sun 'n Fun 2010 Coverage Round-Up

Time for a quick round-up of coverage from this year's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida. Look for a full run-down of this year's videos, podcasts, and news in a special edition of AVwebAudio that can be found here.

WingX || Moving Map for the iPhone || Hilton Software
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New Version 3.6 of WingX Moving Map for iPhone adds Class B, C, and D airspaces Yelp integration, and animated DUATS weather images that show your route of flight. View NACO charts and airport diagrams — entire USA stored right on your phone. A/FD, AOPA Directory, Route Planning with Altitude Optimization, FARs, METARs, TAFs, winds and temperatures aloft, TFRs' text and graphics, an E6B, and more. WingX is also available for Windows Mobile and Blackberry. Click here for more information.
Letter of the Week back to top 

AVmail: April 19, 2010

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Human Factors

The assertion that the Polish crew did not come under any pressure to land in poor weather is premature. While they may not have had any direct pressure in the cockpit, as may be indicated by the comments about the CVR, I wonder what happened after that other pilot defied the President and diverted from Tbilisi in 2008. If there were negative consequences, that may well have weighed on the mind of the accident crew. In addition, the importance of [the] Katyn Massacre to Poles may be a factor as well.

And, of course, all of what I have just said is speculation as well. Like any accident, we'd best wait for the investigation to be complete. I just hope the investigators dig a little deeper than pilot error. No one (or very few anyway) sets out to kill himself in an airplane. Whatever the pilots were doing, it probably made sense to them at the time. The question is, "Why?" As Sydney Dekker has said, "Human error is not an explanation. Human error demands explanation."

Cameron Fraser

First, my deepest condolences to the Polish people for their loss. I live in Chicago, so I am reminded every day of their grief.

So far, it would seem that this horrific disaster will forever serve as a reminder to all pilots not to fall prey to getthereitis. I can only hope that I never make that same mistake.

Dave Leonard

Crossing The Line

If GA pilots are causing 75-80% of incursions, isn't that pretty good? I thought we had a higher percentage of the traffic volume than that. The frequency is getting clogged with readbacks so much at our local airport that I think we are wasting an incredible amount of avgas while we wait for controllers (who often can't hear) ask pilots (who can't speak perfectly but are obviously doing the right thing) to repeat things multiple times till they get the controller's exact phraseology repeated, even if it was incorrect. The current approach is not working, and the FAA should admit it.

Dean White

Berlin Airlift

You wrote, "In 1948, the newly minted U.S. Air Force did a remarkable thing. When the Soviets blockaded land links to Berlin, the Air Force sustained the city by air for nearly a year."

I think you owe a big apology to the air crew of other nations involved. I thought it was only in Hollywood where the U.S. won the Second World War by itself.

Ian Press

AVweb Replies:

You're correct. Our apologies to the crews from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K., South Africa, and elsewhere who played a key role in the effort.

Russ Niles

Old Tin

I am a pilot who quit in 1996. I still am drawn to the skies, especially with old tin. I strongly suggest Ice Pilots NWT on History Television for the old tin buffs. Joe McBryan has been flying and managing this old tin for a while.

Gerry Reynolds

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Rabbit Aviation (KSQL, San Carlos, CA)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Best Rewards in the Business

AVweb reader Alejandro Galioto recommended our latest "FBO of the Week," Rabbit Aviation at KSQL (San Carlos Airport) in San Carlos, California. He writes:

This FBO is likely smaller than most due to the fact that it's a physically small airport with a 2,600-foot runway, but I bet it is busier than a lot of bigger FBOs, and with excellent efficiency and customer service.

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!

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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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 Scheyden Frames and Flight Gear

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win Scheyden Dual RX frames and Flight Crew Ensemble flight gear 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 April 30, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to Jack Feiden of Wichita, Kansas, who won an XM WX Satellite Weather Receiver from WxWorx in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from WxWorx)

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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

The recent story about the squawk code that included an "8" reminded me of a recent VFR clearance I got from my home base ground controller. I called for flight following with SoCal while on Ground, and the following conversation took place:

"Cessna 1234: After takeoff, turn right to 120; climb and maintain 3,000; squawk 4259; contact departure on 124.65."

"Right to 120; climb and maintain 3,000; squawk 4259 — but my digits only go to 7."

"Ah, squawk 4257. Can't read my own writing."

"O.K., 4257 and 124.65. But my radio volume control goes to 11!"

"Good one."

Ray Stratton
via 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.