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Volume 16, Number 21a
May 24, 2010
Pilots Require a Different Approach When It Comes to Buying Life Insurance
Just because you fly, don't overpay for life insurance. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
AVflash! Recorders in the Newsback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Canada's Star Navigation Systems Group Ltd. has created TerraStar, a real-time in-flight safety monitoring system that could make the post-crash search for cockpit voice and flight data recorders -- as well as some crashes -- obsolete. TerraStar tracks, and can continuously encrypt and transmit to ground-based monitoring systems, up to 18,000-plus aircraft parameters per minute. The system filters "out of spec" indications as "alert notifications," which are prioritized in remote aircraft monitoring data feeds that can be accessed in real time, online. In practice, that means that operators on the ground could know about problems with an aircraft before the plane's pilots, or (in the case of distracted or incapacitated pilots) air traffic controllers observe any symptoms. The company believes that capability could not only vastly improve scheduling and maintenance, but also provide operators with the necessary data to break some accident chains before the crash. And, in the case of Air France 447 and the recent Air India crash, it could have provided more information to investigators, immediately, says the company.

Related Content:
Podcast interview with Star Navigation CEO Viraf Kapadia


Eight people were able to jump through a crack in the fuselage of an Air India Boeing 737-800 and were the only survivors of a crash at the "tabletop airport" in Mangalore, India, early Saturday. The flight originated in Dubai. Weather conditions were apparently benign throughout the early morning period and authorities said visibility was good when the aircraft, with 172 people on board failed to stop, overran the runway, went through a wall of sandbags and 200-300 feet over a cliff. One little girl was pulled from the wreckage alive but died on the way to hospital. More...

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 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.
Long Arm of the Lawback to top 

Prosecutors pushing manslaughter charges over the fatal crash of an Air France Concorde near Paris in July 2000 are seeking a fine of $220,000 against Continental Airlines and Friday argued for a two-year suspended jail sentence for an 80-year-old engineer. Henri Perrier directed the Concorde program from 1978 to 1994 and was involved in the first Concorde flight in 1969. He is accused of ignoring a string of evidence prosecutors say laid warning signs before the crash. Perrier has denied the charges, telling reporters, "I will not accept being held responsible for this accident." Continental is blamed by prosecutors for losing a metal strip from one of its DC10s as it departed Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport ahead of the Concorde. Investigators believe the Concorde's tires ran over the strip at high speed during its takeoff roll, initiating the accident chain. The trial in France charges Continental and five individuals with manslaughter. Air France, which operated the flight, paid millions of dollars in compensation to families of the victims but avoided blame from investigators. More...

What started as a nice walk on the beach with his mom ended with a trip to jail for an Arkansas pilot. Mark Jensen thought it might be nice to spend a sunny Saturday on the white sand of Tybee Island, in Savannah, Ga., so he put his taildragger (looks like a Kitfox) down and they got out to spend the day, as they apparently have done at other beaches in the past. However, the local police took a dim view of Jensen's decision to drop in on the popular spot and, ironically, after surrounding the plane with ATVs and a Jeep, charged Jensen with operating a motorized vehicle on the beach and with reckless conduct. Mom escaped the handcuffs and was not charged. More...

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NTSB Investigates Professionalismback to top 

Experts told the NTSB's Safety Forum on Professionalism in Aviation, Tuesday, that future airline pilots will be in short supply and therefore less experienced, but also (according to The Associated Press) less ethical. On ethics, Paul Rice, a pilot and spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, was skeptical that the current generation of newly hired pilots was less likely than previous generations to flout authority or break rules. On numbers, Judy Tarver, a former recruiter for American Airlines, told the panel some 54,000 pilots are working for the majors, with some 19,000 at the regionals and roughly 2,500 qualified pilots ready for hire in the U.S. She told the forum that retirements and industry-wide growth will call for some 42,000 new pilots over the next decade and that industry, economic, military and social trends suggest that demand will be met with fewer qualified applicants. That could lead to siphoning of less qualified pilots from the regionals and a cascading effect leading to the promotion of less-experienced pilots to positions of greater responsibility. At the moment, it appears demand for commercial aircraft is at least on the rise. More...

As the NTSB continues its discussion of pilot professionalism this week, it might consider the performance of two crews who, on separate occasions, neglected to start the second engine before attempting takeoff. The Wall Street Journal reported that both incidents occurred in regional jets, the first last year as an American Eagle Embraer lined up at Los Angeles for a short flight to San Diego. When the crew advanced the throttles, one engine failed to respond and when they taxied back to the gate to report it, mechanics informed the crew that the engine had never been started. A similar incident occurred last March at Dulles, again in an Embraer operated by Trans States Airlines. Once again, according to the Journal story, the crew noticed the inert second engine only when the thrust levers were moved forward for the takeoff. More...

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

To be your most productive, and your most efficient, you must keep flying. Because in so doing, you will emerge from these times even stronger than before. And you will replace the uncertainty that surrounds many, with the confidence and courage to light the way for all. Visit
Safety in the Cockpitback to top 

Police disarmed a distraught pilot who had threatened to "harm himself in a spectacular fashion" about an hour before he was scheduled to take a JetBlue flight from Boston Logan Airport to an undisclosed destination. TSA spokesman George Naccara told WBZ TV the unidentified pilot made the threat in an e-mail to his ex-girlfriend, a flight attendant, who apparently reported it to a federal air marshal. The marshal called the state police and seven troopers confronted the pilot in the pilot's lounge at the airport. He surrendered a handgun but JetBlue would not confirm whether he is a federal flight deck officer and permitted to carry firearms onto aircraft. More...

United Airlines Flight 27 diverted to IAD and landed safely, but the NTSB is investigating the fire that broke out May 16 on the flight deck of the Boeing 757, absorbed two fire extinguishers, and ultimately cracked the captain's windshield. Early investigation shows the fire consumed elements associated with the windscreen's heating system. The NTSB reported that the captain and first officer were about 30 minutes out of JFK for LAX,at approximately 9:17 p.m., when they noted a "strong acrid smell and observed smoke from the Captain's lower front windshield." The aircraft, with 112 aboard, was level at 36,000 MSL at the time. The crew told the NTSB they immediately donned oxygen masks and smoke goggles and segregated tasks, turning control of the aircraft to the first officer as the captain addressed the fire. Smoke and fire dissipated after the captain emptied a halon extinguisher into the flames, but the fire reignited. More...

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Surface and Substanceback to top 

CNN Thursday highlighted the 70-percent fuel savings of an MIT-designed airliner built at least in part with technology and parts that don't presently exist -- but thanks to another effort altogether, fuel-saving shark-skin paint does. The MIT design would incorporate lifting body aerodynamics to greatly reduce the weighty load-bearing structure of its wings while also increasing stability, thus allowing for more structural weight savings at the tail. One stumbling block stalling production is that the aircraft's engines are based on forecast technology ... as is much of the aircraft's structure and manufacturing process. As for present technology, a team in Bremen, Germany, has designed, created and applied a paint that mimics the exceptionally low drag features of sharks' skin. Taking practical application of the technology one step further, the team has also developed the associated manufacturing technology to apply the paint on a production scale -- right now -- -but some challenges remain. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

When United Airlines Flight 27 diverted into Dulles last week with a cockpit fire, the crew already had it well in hand. But could you do the same if smoke and flames appeared in your cockpit? In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli notes that it wouldn't be so easy for a single pilot — or even two people in a small cockpit. Smoke hoods could help — if you have them. Click here to read Paul's blog post and add your own thoughts. More...

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. More...

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.) More...

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.) More...

Q: What's the Difference Between a $10,000 Annual and a $2,500 Annual?

Mike Busch and his team of seasoned maintenance professionals are saving their aircraft-owner clients thousands of dollars a year in parts and labor — not to mention hours of hassle — by providing professional maintenance management for owner-flown singles and twins. Learn how they do it.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

AVMAIL: MAY 24, 2010

Letter of the Week: Who Controls Whom?

[Regarding the guest blog by Cleveland air traffic controller Jason Wilson:] Controllers are employed for the pilot's benefit. It is never the other way around. PATCO was a proving point to this fact.

This fact apparently once again needs to made clear to Wilson and the newer controllers' union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, that, like it or not, when a pilot declares an emergency, the pilot receives everything from ATC, no exceptions. Monday morning quarterback the incident later. Bad-mouth the pilot all you want, but that pilot is the sole reason you are in your government-protected position.

In my 50+ years of aviation, I only "requested" a different controller twice and immediately got a different voice on the radio. I don't recall any emergency that required special handling. But if I had needed special handling, I would not have taken any question or hesitation from some controller.

S. S. McDonald


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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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Win an AV8OR handheld GPS (from Bendix/King by Honeywell) 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 June 18, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


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

AVweb's Glenn Pew speaks with Star Navigation Chairman and CEO Viraf Kapadia about TerraStar — a system that could ultimately make traditional black boxes (and some accidents) obsolete. More...

Big things come in small packages — really small in this case. Come see what happens when you try and pack scanned charts, approach plates, and more into a portable GPS that's about the size of a deck of cards, courtesy of Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West. More...

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. More...

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Sky Harbor at Craig Municipal Airport (KCRG) in Jacksonville, Florida. Here's how they saved AVweb reader Gerry McMunn's bacon a few weeks back:

After departing Winter Haven, we could not retract our gear on our Piper Arrow. We diverted to Craig Muni because of the maintenance facilities. ... Sky Harbor welcomed us in their beautiful office/pilot's lounge and connected us with Northeast Florida Aircraft Maintenance Inc., ... [who] immediately made space for our aircraft and got to work on the problem. John and Duane conducted an extremely thorough and professional investigation, found a broken wire, and repaired it. [They] got us underway within 2 hours — after having removed all luggage, back seats, and interior panels. Their fee was very reasonable. ... This was a very fortuitous stop at a very pleasant FBO and airport. We were under stress upon arrival, but quickly were made to feel welcome and treated very well. Terrific people — all of them.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


"Hey, Tower — what's Ft. Myers approach?"

"It's a radar facility north of us to assist pilots through the area."

"Uh, no — I mean, what's the frequency?"

"Oh, that!"

Paul Scott
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.