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The Air Line Pilots Association says it has "a substantial number of questions" about how the FAA will implement its new policy to allow pilots to continue to fly while taking certain antidepressants, so the FAA has reopened its comment period to give ALPA another 30 days to file its comments. The original 30-day comment period closed on
May 5, and the FAA said ALPA "has not formally submitted to the public docket its specific questions about the policy's practical applications." Randy Helling, an ALPA vice president, said recently
(PDF) that the organization supports the change in policy, which "marks a
significant, positive impact for pilots who may be suffering from depression ... and we are committed to seeing this practice implemented." However, he added that Dr. Quay Snyder, with ALPA's
Aeromedical Office, had submitted a list of questions about the implementation of the policy to the FAA and the FAA has not responded.
ALPA said it would like to see answers to those questions before filing comments, but the FAA wants those questions to be posted to the public docket so they can "receive appropriate
consideration." The FAA said it received few comments during the original 30-day period. Anyone who would like to file comments now has until June 25 to do so.
Two individuals who operated a San Diego-area flight school entered guilty pleas last week to charges that they issued false visa documents that allowed at least 53 foreign students to enter the
country illegally for flight training. Andrew Burr and Christopher Watson faced misdemeanor charges stemming from a two-year U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) probe that also found the
men's flight school illegally hired 11 foreign students as flight instructors between 2001 and 2008. "The actions by the defendants in this case not only undermined the integrity of our nation's legal
immigration system, they also posed a significant national security risk," lead investigator Joe Garcia said. According to ICE investigators, even though the FAA had revoked the school's certification
to train commercial pilots, school officials issued visa documents for more than 100 foreign students.
Burr and Watson so far have earned probation and fines, but more sentencing for their corporation is ahead. A judge sentenced the school's former owners to five years probation. Burr and Watson
have agreed to abstain from participation in any educational institution that services or employs illegal workers, or engages in flight training. They have already been ordered to "forfeit $250,000
from proceeds that represent the company's profits," according to ICE, which also said "the corporation will be sentenced on the felony visa fraud charges, June 21."
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Despite generally upbeat reports from light sport aircraft vendors at Sun 'n Fun last month, sales reported for 2010 from
January through the end of April were slow, even slower than in 2009, Dan Johnson reported on his industry blog last week. In 2009,
which was an extremely slow sales year across all aviation segments, LSAs sold at the rate of about 20 per month. But in the first four months of 2010, sales averaged just 15 a month, Johnson said.
That's a decline from about 45 per month just three years ago. Why the sluggish response to what is generally considered to be the start of a recovery? "No one has a crystal ball," says Johnson, "but
common suspects are: an oscillating stock market ... government budget problems ... and a widely held feeling that LSAs are still proving themselves." The industry is addressing the perception issues,
he said, but the rest are beyond their control. And there is one bright spot, he added.
"The Euro's sharp decline against the dollar may reduce the retail price of European imports," Johnson said, good news for those with an eye on LSAs manufactured abroad. His sales figures, which
are based on new FAA registrations, show CubCrafters in first place, with 17 aircraft registered in the first four months of the year. In second place was Flight Design with 9 registrations, followed
by Tecnam at 8, PiperSport at 7, and Cessna with 6. FlightDesign retains its number-one sales rank overall, with 312 airplanes registered, followed by American Legend and Tecnam.
Sadler Vampire, which produces a mid-wing, twin-boom pusher that's been in development in various incarnations since the 1980s and had been gearing up for LSA certification, is now up for sale --
including a prototype and parts -- for $50,000. As a light sport aircraft, the two-seat Vampire would have folding wings and fly with a Jabiru 3300 burning 5 gph for a 500-nm max range, according to
the company. In a May 24 blog post, company vice president David Littlejohn expressed disappointment and blamed the economic downturn for the sale. Without enough interest translating into escrow
deposits, "We failed to meet the required pipeline commitments needed to receive second-stage capital from our investors," he said. The prototype has flown, and the company was operating out of
Roseburg, Ore. The $50K OBO sale price includes that aircraft, plus parts for three more under construction, along with a Jabiru 3300. The previously developed air-to-ground attack version of the
aircraft was not listed as part of the sale.
Sadler Aircraft in 1997 developed what was meant to be a 1450-pound, 450-hp, 4000-fpm version, the Piranha (PDF) air-to-ground attack fighter, with Turkish Aerospace Industries. From that work, according to the company,
evolved the LSA. The company says the LSA could achieve a 1,000-fpm climb after a takeoff roll of less than 700 feet. Sadler Aircraft was hoping to sell the LSA version of the aircraft for less than
$100,000. A December 2009 blog post by the company covered fuselage modifications that the company said had resulted in increased cooling efficiency at altitude, faster climb speeds and quieter
operation. The aircraft is an evolution of the Sadler Vampire Ultralight, which was a 247-pound single-seater stressed for plus/minus six Gs that in 1982 won an EAA AirVenture Grand Champion Award for
innovation and workmanship.
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famous artists as Alberto Vargas, Gil Elvgren, and Perry. WPG wants to document and preserve the beautiful WWII aircraft that appear in the 2011 edition of Warbird Pin-Up Girls by bringing
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As U.S. pilots slowly begin to phase out old 121.5 MHz emergency locator transmitters and upgrade to 406 MHz units, NASA already is starting to bring the next generation of distress-signal
technology online. The Search and Rescue Mission Office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has developed a satellite-based system that will be able to almost instantaneously
detect and locate distress signals generated by 406 MHz beacons installed on aircraft. NASA said this
week it is now testing the system and it will begin the transition to it in 2015. Under the current system, ELT signals are received by weather satellites, but the new system will be incorporated into
two dozen GPS satellites, which fly in higher orbits. "With a mid-Earth orbit search-and-rescue capability provided by GPS, one emergency signal goes off, and six satellites will be in view," said
Mickey Fitzmaurice, space systems engineer for NASA. "Almost instantly, I can begin processing the signal to determine its precise location. Right now, it can take an hour or more before we can even
act on a signal."
As of February 2009, distress signals from 121.5 MHz ELTs are no longer transmitted by satellites. However,
transition to the new 406 MHz units has not been made mandatory in the U.S., though it seems likely they will soon be required in
Canada. AOPA noted this week that for ELTs to be effective, they should be registered so rescuers can
immediately access information about the sender of the signal.
Robert Hackman, AOPA's senior director of regulatory affairs, spoke with AVweb's Mary Grady this week to update general aviation pilots on what they need to know. Click here for the podcast.
If the muffler on your reciprocating aircraft engine is more than 1,000 hours old, you should replace it to help minimize the chance of getting carbon monoxide in the cockpit, according to a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin released by the FAA. The
recommendation is not mandatory. The FAA based its suggestion on the results of a technical study by Wichita (Kans.) State University that was completed last year. The researchers surveyed accident
data from the NTSB and found that when CO was a factor, the muffler system was the top source. In 92 percent of the muffler-related accidents, the muffler had been in service for more than 1,000
hours. Diesel-powered engines are not affected by this recommendation, Centurion Aircraft Engines said this week, because that
combustion process produces hardly any excess CO.
The next revision of the FAA's SAIB will make note of the fact that diesel engines are exempt, Centurion said. The FAA bulletin also noted that pilots should use CO detectors in the cockpit. The
Wichita study, which is posted online (PDF), found that electrochemical sensor-based CO detectors were the most
effective of the commonly used detectors and the instrument panel was the most effective location.
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The features and convenience fixed-wing operators take for granted with their Garmin glass panels are now available to the helicopter market. Garmin announced today that its G500H has received a supplementary type certificate from the FAA for Bell 206 and 407 models. The dual screen PFD/MFD was specifically
designed to fit the limited panel space available in many helicopters but it maintains all the features that are now expected in new-release avionics..
The helicopter-specific G500H offers the option of having the PFD on the right side and the MFD on the left. In addition to all the usual instruments, the PFD features helicopter-specific displays
like a vertical rate indicator. The MFD keeps track of the precise position of the aircraft along with all the charts and navaid information at the pilot's fingertips. Synthetic vision is an option
and the MFD also features an airborne application of the Garmin Safe Taxi feature that allows pilots to see where they're going while maneuvering at busy airports.
Researchers working on NextGen are looking for general aviation pilots to contribute to a study on weather technology in the cockpit. The brief online survey aims to collect information about how
GA pilots use weather technology now and what options they would like to have available in the future. The data collected will help researchers at the University of North Dakota to assess user needs
for different phases of flight. The UND team will report their results to the FAA to help in designing and implementing the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The survey is short and
completely anonymous. Click here to take the survey now.
Along with UND, the University of Alaska and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University are contributing to this project, which is also exploring the best ways to implement and educate pilots on the use
of in-cockpit weather technology. If you have any questions, please contact Leslie Martin, associate professor at UND.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Advisors Topic: Engine Operations
Do you know what to do if the engine burps and coughs during the run-up or runs rough during cruise? The engine is the beating heart of the airplane; do you have the knowledge to assess its
Business aircraft use is up and used aircraft inventories are down but both are a long way from the heady days of early 2008, according to a study released by JETNET. There are still 2,700 used business jets on the market and 1,400 turboprops for sale in the U.S. but
both figures are down slightly compared to the same time last year. The number of jets for sale represents 15.5 percent of the fleet, down from 17.7 percent at its peak in July of 2009.
Proportionately fewer turboprops are on the market. As of the end of April, about 11 percent were available compared to the high of 12 percent last summer. Meanwhile, perhaps one of the most
encouraging signs is the increase in business aircraft use.
JETNET says the FAA is reporting that business jet use was up 11.3 percent in the first quarter of 2010 over 2009; it also noted that the 2009 figure was down by more than 30 percent over the
previous year. So, despite the double-digit increase this year, business jet operations are still down by 21 percent when compared to the pre-recession days. So, it's still a buyer's market out there
and prices remain depressed, but it looks like it isn't going to last forever.
A South African company has introduced a new engine for general aviation aircraft that the company says will run on a range of fuels, including unleaded mogas with an octane rating as low as 85,
standard avgas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), or biofuel. The 320-hp Adept Aviation engine "sets new standards for
performance and low life-cycle costs," according to the company's news release. The liquid-cooled engine with electronic engine management was rolled out last week in an SA Ravin 500 airplane. The
engine features low emissions and noise levels, the company said, and weighs about 348 pounds. "It is roughly 30 percent lighter than traditional piston engines of comparable horsepower and offers
fuel efficiencies of up to 30 percent better than conventional GA powerplants," the company said.
The company, which is based at Virginia Airport in Durban, S.A., has been ground-testing the engine and expects to start flight tests soon, according to its Web site. Adept Aviation is a seven-year-old company that was launched with private funding. Since 2005, UK-based
AgustaWestland Helicopters has provided significant support and continues to fund Adept's certification process through the European Aviation and Safety Agency (EASA). In 2007, the South African
government's Department of Science and Technology invested R10.5m (about $1.4 million in US dollars) to fund the company to a pre-production stage. Adept is now in discussion with prospective funders
for support to ramp up to full production.
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.
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Every airport has at least one ace of the base whose judgment is just cock-eyed. Do the rest of us have an obligation to straighten this person out? That's the question guest blogger Mark
Sletten addresses in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider.
What does the Deepwater Horizon disaster have to do with aviation? Maybe nothing if you don't count the powerful lesson in preparedness that Paul Bertorelli took away from a 60
Minutes interview with survivor Mike Williams.
Mooney: We Love to Fly. Fast. Fly faster. Fly farther. In the powerhouse advancement of the best-selling single-engine rectractable on the market.
Pilots know. There's no aircraft like the new Mooney Acclaim Type S. Nothing has prepared you for the performance punch you'll feel when you pull back the yoke. You'll fall in love with pure
speed and flying excitement all over again. Mooney is taking deposits for 2010 models. Call (800) 456-3033 or
At Sun 'n Fun, AVwebtook a look at Diamond's reintroduced HK36 motor glider. In
this follow-up video, we tried it out in extended glider operation, and (no suprise) it's a great performer. If you want to learn soaring and still want a powered airplane, the HK36 is a remarkably
If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for the print review of the FX8 in the June issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer.
Handling clearances with that panel-mount GPS is a snap until they throw some rogue radial off a VOR into the mix. IFR editor Jeff Van West unlocks the insider
techniques that make clearances like this just another day plying the airways.
If you enjoy this video, be sure to check out our sister publication, IFR magazine.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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.
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.
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.
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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 ***
Time to push the door closed, grab a fresh cup of coffee, and take five with AVweb's "Picture of the Week." Once again, our readers have served up a delightful
assortment of photographs, so let's dive in.
The small version doesn't do this shot from Ney Grant of Pollock Pines, California justice. (Large version here.)
Ney also included a link to his blog, promising that we could see the wing mount for his camera there. Silly us, we clicked through and goofed off for an hour researched our readers' typical hobbies for a while. Check it out yourself. If you get
the same voyeuristic kick from peeking inside others' cabins that we do, you'll enjoy it.
We were going to tell you how many "POTW" submissions from that magnificently generous soul Gary Dikkers (of Madison, Wisconsin) are
currently in service as desktop wallpaper here but then we realized there are a lot more wallpapers in rotation on the "POTW" monitor than we thought. (So many that we can't
quite remember where they all came from, to be honest.)
Seriously: Take the hint, go to the large version, and make this one your wallpaper.
Flying Piece of History The B-17 "Aluminum Overcast"
We get more photos of Aluminum Overcast than any other single airplane here at "POTW" and yet we never get tired of seeing her. James
I. Coleman of Middleton, Idaho made this photo a special occasion, though. After we peeked at his comments on the photo, we learned that his dad (now 92) served as a B-17 tail gunner in
the 427th Squadron (303rd Bomb Group) and that reminded us Father's Day is just around the corner ... .
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.
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
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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.
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