AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 20b

May 20, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! After Learn to Fly Day ... back to top 
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First Learn To Fly Day Draws Thousands

The first-ever Learn To Fly Day inspired 450 events around the country last Saturday, introducing an estimated 40,000 people to general aviation, EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said this week. "Chapter 845 in Redlands, Calif., signed up 90 for introductory flights but was unable to give them all rides on Saturday," Knapinski said. "So they're holding International Learn To Fly Day Part 2 this weekend." At AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Md., the local EAA chapter set a new record for Young Eagle flights, said AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy. "Turnout was steady all morning and through mid-afternoon," he told AVweb. "Women in Aviation hosted an event here for Girl Scouts, and local flight schools signed up several people for intro flights." The event attracted local press around the country, with the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun reporting 50 people taking first flights at a local airport, and about 400 showed up at the field in Fitchburg, Mass., where they also got to see the Terrafugia Transition "flying car" on display. Jeff Skiles, first officer on the "Miracle on the Hudson" flight, hosted an event in Wisconsin that made the local TV news.

Sporty's Pilot Shop in Batavia, Ohio, held a Learn to Fly Day in conjunction with their annual Fly-In. The event drew between 300 and 400 aircraft, along with 2,000 attendees. Pilot Journey reports it issued 15,526 free tickets for seminar-type events, and 64 percent of the 900 who completed surveys said they intend to start flying lessons within the next three months. There were also many uncounted instances of pilots simply taking a friend for a flight to celebrate the day, said Knapinski. "We're very happy with the results thus far," said EAA's Ron Wagner, who helped to coordinate the event. "With participation from Pilot Journey, AOPA, Cessna, and others, this truly was an industry-wide effort aimed at introducing the non-flying public to aviation. We're looking forward to what we can achieve in the future given the solid foundation we've established in the first year."

Related Content:

Learn to Fly Day: The Epilogue

File Size 9.6 MB / Running Time 10:29

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Pilot Journey's Gary Bradshaw speaks with Glenn Pew about the stunning successes (and a few unexpected failures) of Learn to Fly Day.

Click here to listen. (9.6 MB, 10:29)

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On the Hunt for the Men in Charge back to top 

Virgin Galactic Names First CEO

To find its first chief executive, Virgin Galactic went straight to that other space agency -- the one known as NASA -- to find George Whitesides, who was working there as chief of staff. Will Whitehorn, Virgin Galactic's longtime president, said Whitesides will guide the company as it transitions from a work-in-progress to a fully fledged operating business. "George brings with him a wealth of experience in space business, policy and regulation. He joins Virgin Galactic at a momentous moment in the development of the company," said Whitehorn. "Test flying of the first SpaceShipTwo (VSS Enterprise) has commenced and our future home at Spaceport America in New Mexico is at an advanced stage of construction." Virgin Galactic has developed the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo air-launched space system over the past six years, using technology created by Scaled Composites based on the Burt Rutan-designed spacecraft that won the X Prize in 2004.

Whitesides was appointed to his position at NASA after serving on President Barack Obama's NASA transition team. Previously, he served as the executive director of the National Space Society, and also worked for Orbital Sciences Corporation, Blastoff Corporation and the Zero Gravity Corporation. He is a certified private pilot and parabolic flight coach, as well as a graduate of Cambridge and Princeton Universities and a former Fulbright Scholar. "I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead this historic business, which will open the experience of space travel to people around the world," Whitesides said. "There is much to achieve at Virgin Galactic over the coming years as the company moves from the extensive test-flying program and FAA licensing process into commercial operation of frequent spaceflights from our new home at Spaceport America in New Mexico." The company has accepted over $65 million worth of reservations from 335 future astronauts and is holding deposits of over $45 million, Whitehorn said. SpaceShipTwo is capable of carrying eight people into space. WhiteKnightTwo visited EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh last summer, and it's expected that it will fly in again this year with SpaceShipTwo, which has been in flight testing since December.

Third Nominee Named To Head TSA

President Barack Obama has nominated John Pistole to take over as the next head of the Transportation Security Administration, his third effort to fill the long-vacant position. Two other recent nominees failed to win confirmation. Pistole, deputy director at the FBI, has been described as "bullteproof." In announcing his choice, President Obama said: "The talent and knowledge John has acquired in more than two decades of service with the FBI will make him a valuable asset to our administration's efforts to strengthen the security and screening measures at our airports." Pistole helped to lead the investigation of the Egypt Air Flight 990 crash in 1990, and recently was involved with the pursuit of the Times Square bombing suspect. Pistole is expected to attract bipartisan support, according to The New York Times.

Maj. Gen. Robert Harding, a retired Army intelligence officer, withdrew his nomination in March, and Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and counterterrorism supervisor for the Los Angeles airport police, dropped out in January.

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News Briefs back to top 

FedEx Issue Stalls FAA Bill

When the Senate OK'd an FAA funding bill back in March, it looked like the agency would finally see an end to a long series of short-term extensions dating back to 2007, but now the bill remains stalled due to a dispute over union rules. The House version of the bill includes a provision that would change the status of some FedEx workers who are now regulated under the Railway Labor Act, which also covers airlines. The House bill would place those workers instead under the National Labor Relations Act, the same rules that govern UPS workers. The Senate version of the bill doesn't include this provision, and the two sides have been unable to reconcile their differences, resulting in a delay in completing the bill so it can go to the White House. The current FAA funding has now been extended to July 3 in the hope that the two sides can work things out by then.

The FedEx dispute seems unlikely to affect the main provisions of the bill, which was welcomed by GA advocacy groups since no new user fees are imposed. However, the bill won't be law until it's reconciled and a final version is signed by the president. FedEx has argued that the railway act, which makes it harder for workers to unionize or to go on strike, applies to its drivers and other workers since their job is to deliver packages to and from the company's airplanes. Supporters of the change, which include UPS and some union groups, say it would level the playing field.

How We May Get Korean-Made GA Aircraft

The KC-100, a four-place "240 KTAS" (maximum, not cruise speed) aircraft being developed in Korea and seeking FAA certification, may be the first complete aircraft to benefit from a pact initiated in early 2008 by South Korea and the U.S. The side-stick controlled KC-100 is powered by a 315-hp, turbo-FADEC Continental, targets a range of more than 1,300 nm, and is due to complete development in June of 2013. A first flight is expected this year. The Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) is a contract between South Korea and the U.S. that covers comprehensive cooperation in aviation safety, and will allow South Korean aviation manufacturers -- that pass FAA inspections -- to freely export aviation goods that meet FAA technical standards. Airworthiness inspections of the KC-100, South Korea's first commercial aircraft, from Korea's only aircraft developer, began in 2009, according to The Korea Times. Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) has already produced a supersonic jet trainer. The KC-100 may just be Korea's first complete design ready for commercial FAA-approved export ... with more to come.

BASA lays the foundation for possible future agreements in such areas as the oversight of aviation maintenance facilities, crew members, flight training establishments, and overall aircraft operations. As for KAI's effort, Hartzell has already announced it will be working with KAI in equipping the KC-100's TSIOF-550 Continental with Hartzell's ASC-II advanced composite, three-blade propeller and S-Series governor. Hartzell is aiming for FAA, Korean and EASA certification, which it intends to have in place in time for first delivery of the KC-100. KAI plans to involve four KC-100 prototypes in airworthiness certification.

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News Briefs back to top 

Nominations Open For Public Benefit Flying Awards

If you know of a volunteer or an organization that is doing outstanding work to promote humanitarian causes through aviation, the National Aeronautic Association wants to hear from you. The NAA, in collaboration with the Air Care Alliance, presents the National Public Benefit Flying Awards once a year, in five categories, and the nomination deadline is approaching -- Monday, May 31. Anyone can send in a nomination, the process is fairly simple, and complete details are provided online at the NAA Web site. The categories cover both groups and individuals, a teamwork award, and an award for those who help to support the efforts of such groups. The winners are honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., held in September.

The Public Benefit Flying Awards have been bestowed each year since 2003. Past winners have included various medical-assistance groups, the Civil Air Patrol's search-and-rescue efforts, Lighthawk, the pilots who flew various types of missions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the nation's air traffic controllers, AOPA, and many others who have gone above and beyond to help those in need or at risk, through aviation.

United 757 Lands With Serious Cockpit Fire

A United 757 en route from New York to Los Angeles Monday made an emergency landing at Dulles following a cockpit fire that may have been more serious than initially reported. Passengers told the Associated Press Monday afternoon that shortly after take off, they smelled smoke and a flight crew member opened the cockpit door requesting a fire extinguisher. The passenger told the AP that open flames were visible and at least one windshield was cracked.

The aircraft diverted to Dulles and made a successful landing with no injuries to the 112 people aboard. Passengers said smoke was visible in at least the first class section of the airplane. The cause of the fire was not immediately known on Monday, but there have been incidents with the windshield heating circuits in Boeing 747, 757, 767 and 777 aircraft. Boeing told the AP Monday that there have been 29 incidents in eight years involving these aircraft models. The company issued safety and service bulletins between 2004 and 2007 requiring checks of windshield heating wiring. Aircraft made since 2005 have a different windshield heating design. In 2007, the NTSB recommended to the FAA that airlines be required to either set up recurring inspection of the windshield heat terminal blocks or replace them with an improved design. The airlines opposed this ruling and it hasn't been made final yet. Overheated windshields have been a worry in the 757 at least since the early 1990s. The FAA sought a $1.45 million fine against Northwest Airlines last March for failing to carry out inspections on its aircraft.

FAA OKs Drones For Texas Border

The FAA has approved a Certification of Authorization (COA) for an unmanned aerial vehicle to patrol a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border extending from Arizona to the El Paso region of Texas effective June 1. This is one of two COAs that have been submitted to the FAA seeking approval for UAV flights along the Texas-Mexico border. "This is very good news for Texas, as we seek to provide additional security measures along the Rio Grande in light of escalated border violence," said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, of Texas, who lobbied for the approval. "However, more needs to be done. I will continue to push for the second pending COA when I meet with FAA Administrator [Randy Babbitt] on May 20." The second approval would allow UAV flights along the rest of the Texas border, from El Paso to Corpus Christi. According to Cuellar, the FAA expressed concern about mixing the drones with heavy aircraft traffic, both private and commercial, in the Texas border region.

Three drones are already used along the border in Arizona. Several others are deployed for border patrols in North Dakota and Florida. Officials at Customs and Border Protection have said they intend to deploy the unmanned vehicles along the entire U.S. border by 2015.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Air France Launches A380 Shuttle

Airbus likely didn't envision its super-long-range flagship A380 being used as a shuttle but Air France apparently thinks it can make money hopping across the English Channel with the giant airliner. The airline will begin summer weekend A380 service between London's Heathrow and Paris's Charles de Gaulle airports June 12. There will be one flight a day each way from Saturday to Monday for most of the summer and Friday flights will be added for July. Air France is launching the service with a seat sale and one-way tickets are about $275 on the reservations Web site.

The gate-to-gate flight time is about 75 minutes, most of it spent in climb and descent. Obviously the flight will increase capacity on the already-busy route but Air France also has some internal reasons for the move. The airline currently operates three A380s on traditional long-haul routes like Paris-Johannesburg and Paris-New York and it has nine more super jumbos on order. The London-Paris hop is a good way to introduce large numbers of cabin and flight crew members to the aircraft in a relatively short period of time in advance of the other aircraft deliveries.

Business Up At Gulfstream

Gulfstream says business is up and it's predicting continued slow recovery through the coming year. In a conference call to discuss its first quarter results of parent company General Dynamics, CEO Jay Johnson said Gulfstream, buoyed by 200 orders for its new G650 ultra-fast and ultra-long-range business jet, is in a solid position. "First quarter revenues are up 15 percent over the last quarter of 2009, and the G650 order book remains strong," he was quoted as saying by the Savannah Morning News. "Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul demand is good." Johnson said the company expects to build 77 large and 14 midsized jets in 2010 against an order backlog of $18.5 billion.

The company has not reversed earlier recession-induced cuts and a production slowdown that resulted in the layoff of 1,200 workers but he's optimistic the market will turn. "I think we'll continue to see gradual improvement in the business aviation market this year," he said.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

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

Question of the Week: How Was Your Learn to Fly Day?

This Week's Question | Previous Week's Answers


Last week, TCM accounced their plans for a diesel engine and we asked AVweb readers if they'd consider flying a diesel.

Only a small percentage of those who answered (6%) gave us a flat-out no, saying that gasoline engines are far superior and the fuel issues will be worked out. At the other end of the spectrum, slightly more of you (13%) were ready to go diesel, saying, Sign me up as soon as it's available for my plane. The largest single segment of readers (36%) gave the very reasonable answer that they will consider it seriously.

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


It was International Learn to Fly Day last Saturday. We'd like to know if you participated.

Did you take part in Learn to Fly Day?
(click to answer)

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

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Alternate Fuels — Give Us Your Views

Have you taken Aviation Consumer's survey on alternative fuels yet? Consumer Editor-in-Chief Paul Bertorelli hopes you will. He's already learned quite a bit from those who have taken a moment to share their opinions — and he shares some of that knowledge in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog.

Click here to read more.

Aviation Consumer: Tell Us About Your Opinions on Diesel Engines and Alternate Fuels

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting research on attitudes toward replacement strategies for 100LL.

To take the survey, click this link and let us know what you think.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

Aviation Consumer's LSA Durability Survey

p>Do you have an LSA at a flight school? Do you rent one? Aviation Consumer needs to hear from you.

Aviation Consumer is looking at the long-term durability of these aircraft when subjected to the rigors of flight training, as well as their cost and ease of repair. Whether you run a flight school with LSAs, own an LSA that you lease back, or just rent them for your flight training, you voice matters.

Click here to participate in our quick LSA durability survey.

(The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.)

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Woopy-Fly Inflatable Wing Ultralight Aircraft

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

The Woopy-Fly, a sort of paraglider/trike/ultralight hybrid shown on the world stage at AERO Friedrichshafen this April 2010 in Germany, has a wing that folds for storage like a paraglider — because it's inflatable. Currently, it appears the wing itself is only available from distributors in Switzerland, Russia, and Japan. Those wishing to buy the trike (plus wing) can expect a complete kit cost to run about 13,780 Swiss Francs, which currently is about US$12,400 — plus the legal disclaimer that releases the manufacturer of liability.

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.

TCM's New Diesel Project

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

TCM said more than a year ago that it wanted to get an aerodiesel into its product line, and now it has one. The company bought diesel technology already developed from a European source and is forging ahead with its own program.

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.

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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 a King Schools Get-It-All Training Kit

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Get-It-All Training Kit from King Schools 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 May 21, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Congratulations to David Schieman of Lawrenceville, Georgia, who won Scheyden Dual RX frames and a Scheyden flight gear package in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from Scheyden)

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: JA Air Center (KARR, Aurora, Illinois)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Under Our Wings, Land the Big One || Click to Get Your 

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to our old friends at JA Air Center at Aurora Municipal Airport (KARR) in Aurora, Illinois.

Recently, AVweb reader Mike Hayles visited JA's Aurora, Illinois location (Aurora Municipal Airport, KARR) and was impressed with the top-notch service:

I have based my survey aircraft at JA Air Center for the last week. Every day the service has been prompt, efficient, and cheerful — and the very competitve fuel prices take it to the top of my list of favorite FBOs.

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!

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.


Another week, another several dozen airplane pics to wade through and enjoy. Yes, life is hard here in the AVweb compound — but somehow we find the will to carry on, ogling your breath-taking photos and passing them around the virtual office.

medium | large

copyright © Terence Day
Used with permission

Musk Ox Round-Up

Sometimes it's the aircraft or the photo composition that pushes a shot into the week's top spot. But on other occasions, it's the sheer uniqueness of what's in the photo that makes our collective jaw drop. Ladies and gentlemen, a helicopter wrangling oxen above the Arctic Circle ("outside of Kotzebue, Alaska") — courtesy of Nome, Alaska's Terence Day.

Tell us you've seen something cooler than that this week.

And, uh, if you actually have seen something cooler than that — please, send us the pictures!

medium | large

Used with permission of Todd Toutant

Great Day for Skis

Let's say you live in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada) and have access to wide open skies, plains, and snow whenever you want it. What can you do with all that natural beauty? Well, if you're Todd Toutant, you can get in some fly time and snap a few photos.

(And on a week that didn't feature a helicopter herding oxen, you could probably have won an AVweb "POTW" cap!)

medium | large

Used with permission of Mike Lawie

Ready for Take-Off?

Mike Lawie of Muskegon, Michigan didn't tell us how many hours the flight crew have between them — but we're not worried. They look like they're on top of things up there.

medium | large

Used with permission of Jakob Adolf

No De-Mud Boots Here

You may not spot it at a glance on the thumbnail, but click through to the large version of this photo from Jakob Adolf of Herten, Westfalen (Germany), and you'll see some serious dirt. "I have never seen mud like this before," writes Jakob. "Under the left wing alone, I had to scrape off more than 150 lbs."

Impressed yet? O.K., then try this on for size: "Take-off was tricky, as a new layer of mud got into the gap between wing and flaps, and I could not be sure if it was safe to retract the flaps after take-off."

(Oops. We almost forgot two things: The photo was taken in Akobo in the southern Sudan — and it's good to see new pics from you, Jakob! You land in the wildest places ... .)

medium | large

Photo by Jeffrey Thorton
Used with permission of Herk Strumpf

Stinson Sunset

Herk Strumpf of Boca Raton, Florida flies us out this week, with a photo shot by Jeffrey Thorton last year, "when the Embry-Riddle Sport Aviation Group met at River Ranch (2RR)."

(That's Herk in a 1947 Stinson Voyager 108-2 and Tom Huntington in a '48 108-3 — and that's us on the other other of the computer giving the boys a thumbs up and thanking Herk for IDing everyone and everything for us.)

Want more? There are bonus pics in the slideshow on AVweb's home page.

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW" ... 'cause 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:

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.