AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 23a

June 7, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Engine Makers Differ on Future Fuels back to top 
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Lycoming: 94UL Would Be A Huge Mistake

As the industry continues to drift toward some unknown solution to the extinction of 100LL, Continental and Lycoming disagree on what the octane for that replacement should be. Continental has been aggressively pushing for 94UL and gave AVweb a briefing on that project at the Mobile factory two weeks ago. As with Lycoming, many of Continentals engines will require only 80-octane fuel and will have no problem with 94UL. For those that don't, Continental is planning a combination of tweaks, including low-compression overhauls, engine replacements, knock sensing and electronic controls. But Lycoming's GM Michael Kraft told us last week that certifying 94UL as the replacement piston fuel would be a huge mistake that could cost the industry billions in lost business.He believes that owners and operators are the ones most at risk and that most don't understand how significantly performance will be reduced or restricted by 94-octane fuel. "If people really understood what's going on today, they would understand that we need to set the objective at 100 octane fuel," Kraft told us at Lycoming's Williamsport plant last week.

Further, although electronic controls like Lycoming's own IE2 and Continental's PowerLink system provide marginal detonation protection, they won't make up for the six to nine octane drop that 94UL represents. (FBO 100LL is typically at least 102 to 103 octane.) Lycoming says that unleaded 100-octane is reachable and has been viably demonstrated by several research organizations. He believes the industry needs to focus its attention and resources on proving these fuels and bringing them—or at least one—to market.

For more detailed information on this story, see our podcast interviews with Kraft and with Teledyne-Continental's Bill Brogdon. And in today's blog, Paul Bertorelli offers some additional observations.

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Unexpected Excitement at Red Bull Race back to top 

Red Bull Racer 'Skips' On Detroit River

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Australian Red Bull competitor Matt Hall narrowly escaped disaster Saturday when he stalled and hit the Detroit River during qualifying for the Windsor, Ontario, race. Video supplied by Red Bull shows Hall's left wing and main landing gear hitting the water coming out of a turn but he fortunately had enough energy to keep flying and was able to recover. "I felt I was having a fairly good run," Hall said. "I might have skipped twice on the water. It's a very disappointing result for me. It's the motor racing equivalent of touching the wall." Well, if you say so. Hannes Arch won the race, Sunday, and Paul Bonhomme was second.

The "skipping" tore a wheel pant off and damaged a wing but Hall said he'll race again soon. "The main damage is on the right aileron," Hall said. "I think the plane is not that badly damaged. It is going to be a matter of replacing parts." Hall is a former Australian air force pilot who flew combat missions in Iraq with the U.S. Air Force. "Everyone in aviation has been in some fairly tight situations before. I've been in tight situations before. I'm disappointed in myself for putting myself in that situation. We're okay but we'll move on from that. Everything's fine." Britain's Nigel Lamb was first in qualifying.

For more results, click here.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Investigators: Polish Crew Ignored Warnings

Newly released transcripts from the cockpit recorder of the Polish government aircraft that crashed in Russia in April show the crew ignored system warnings and offer no direct proof that the crew's actions were influenced by political officials onboard (but may suggest that). According to reports, the 41-page transcript released Tuesday shows the crew was aware of the weather at Smolensk's Severny airport, which was worse than minimums, but proceeded with the approach even as system warnings began to sound in the cockpit. The crash killed all aboard, including the Polish president. Investigators now say the crew apparently ignored a total of 16 aircraft system warnings before the Tu-154 began impacting trees. But prior to that, the transcript also shows the captain said, "We don't know if we will be able to land," followed by a foreign ministry official stating, "Well, we have a problem."

The commander of the Polish air force was on the flight deck at the time of the crash, but according to investigators his only comments were technical in nature. The nature of any influence the crew may have felt from their political passengers is not at all clear, because no direct order or suggestion dictating their actions is stated. On the tape, all that appears is the ministry official stating simply that, "At the moment there is no decision from the president on what to do." As the pilots made their final approach, the aircraft's systems issued a "terrain ahead" warning, followed by 15 more warnings while the crew counted down with the altimeter. Then the recorder captured the sound of impact with a tree, followed by a curse from the copilot, before the recording ends.

EasyJet's Bid To AVOID Volcanic Ash

Low-budget British airline EasyJet is betting more than $1 million that infrared technology will help their pilots avoid future volcanic ash clouds and ash-cloud-induced losses for the airline. The Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector (AVOID) would detect an ash cloud from about 60 nm away using infrared cameras and infrared radiation sensing equipment. In practice, it would give the crew of a cruising EasyJet Airbus A340 about seven minutes to identify the cloud and properly respond. The technology is being developed in partnership with Airbus and has so far earned an investment of more than $1.2 million from EasyJet. The airline estimates it may have lost more than $75 million in April and May from repeated airspace closures that occurred when volcanic activity in Iceland spread ash clouds over much of Europe. If all goes well, devices could be in place on EasyJet aircraft by year-end. Meanwhile, air authorities have been working on a different approach.

Working with airlines and engine manufacturers, the Civil Aviation Authority has attempted to determine the levels of volcanic ash that pose a threat to aircraft and set standards for flight operations. As a result, airlines are now allowed to fly through areas where the ash levels are below "tolerance levels" set by engine manufacturers. The CAA says it encourages technological developments like that pursued by EasyJet and will do what it can to facilitate the process to put the technology in place. Current estimates suggest the product EasyJet hopes to incorporate would weigh less than one pound and be placed on the vertical tail. The device would use infrared cameras to observe the infrared radiation signatures emitted by volcanic ash clouds and then estimate their density. EasyJet hopes for first flight tests within two months.

Commuter Flight Lands On Highway

Highway landings happen all the time but not usually with paying passengers, as happened in central Manitoba, Canada, on Friday. The pilot of a Gillam Air Services Britten Norman Islander set down on a straight stretch of highway near Thompson, about 500 miles north of Winnipeg, after an apparent engine failure. There were five pax on the nine-passenger twin. The pilot told authorities he couldn't maintain altitude on one engine so he put down on the highway and taxied to a picnic area so as not to disrupt the normal occupants of the asphalt. There was no damage and no injuries.

The aircraft was headed from Laurie River south of Lynn Lake to Manitoba Hydro's Kelsey Dam, which is located just southeast of Split Lake. There was no word Saturday on just how the aircraft will be recovered from the picnic area.

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News Briefs back to top 

NASA Seeks Green Airliner Proposals

NASA is actively seeking proposals to be received by July 15 for studies that aim to realize (by 2025) commercial airliner concept designs for quieter, cleaner and more economical flight -- and winners could see a payoff. According to the agency, "The total potential value of the research contracts is $36.6 million." Technological goals of the program include a 50-percent reduction in fuel consumption and nitrogen oxide emissions and an 80-percent reduction in the "nuisance noise footprint around airports" when compared with current airliners. Competitive design concepts will also be optimized for operation in the NextGen air traffic control environment. Once selected, test areas may include capabilities "that could enable routine operation of future unpiloted air vehicles." Entries will be distilled to as many as four teams that will then embark on 12-month studies to commence in fiscal year 2011.

NASA would like to see flight demonstrators capable of operating autonomously or via remote pilot. That means demonstration of collision avoidance, separation and communications technology and environmental-hazards detection and avoidance. The research will support NASA's Integrated Systems Research Program and hopes to methodically aggregate the best systems and design concepts for future commercial aviation transportation. Click here for specific evaluation criteria deadlines and points of contact.

A First For Female Air Force Pilot

The Air Force says Col. Dawn Dunlop was the first woman to fly an F-22 and becomes the "first female fighter test pilot to lead an Air Force wing" when, on June 4, she takes command of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base. Prior to 1993, the Air Force carried a ban on female fighter pilots. Dunlop graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1988 and went on to the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards in 1997. She has accumulated more than 3,300 flight hours (including combat hours) and has flown more than 25 aircraft models. In November of 2003, then Lt. Col. Dunlop became the first woman to fly the Raptor after that year being assigned as operations officer for the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards. Dunlop will succeed Brig. Gen. William Thornton to assume her latest command.

After graduating from the Air Force Academy, Dunlop began her career as an instructor pilot in the T-38. Her work at Edwards has included test assignments in the F-15E as well as weapons upgrade programs and developmental testing of the F-22. Her service as the operations officer for the F-22 Combined Test Force supported work that led to that aircraft's initial operational capability. Dunlop's more than 3,300 flight hours has to date been accumulated in fighter jets that include the F-22, F-15 and F-16. She has combat time served in the F-15E, which she flew in support of Operation Provide Comfort. The operation, which began in April 1991, defended Kurds fleeing northern Iraq following the Persian Gulf War.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: DC-3 Reunion Too Important to Screw Up

Logistical conflicts and organizational nightmares threaten to tarnish not only the gathering of 40+ Douglas DC-3s at EAA AirVenture in July — but also the relationship between the group's organizers and the EAA. AVweb's Russ Niles thinks the event's signficance overshadows the concerns of either group, and on the AVweb Insider blog, he calls for both parties to put aside their differences and make things work.

Click here to read what Russ has to say, then add your own comments.

AVmail: June 7, 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: Getting Real With ADS-B

The way I've always understood the implementation of ADS-B is that the promise to GA was the benefit of ADS-B in at the cost of ADS-B out. The understanding was that the cost of both a GPS and a UAT were what we as GA pilots paid to obtain that benefit. When I upgraded my panel, I did everything but purchase a UAT because it really wasn't available and nothing talked to it. What happened to that dream?

1090ES seems to be the cheapest way that ATC benefits from ADS-B right now. It becomes the least common denominator to equip the heavy iron. Mandating Mode-C is nothing more then admitting most ATC stations won't be upgrading their equipage quick enough — and they have to have something to work with. I can live with that; I have one.

The 1090ES requirement also states they don't trust GPS to always be there. Mode-C/S will be needed for failsafe operation of the airspace (so radars will never go away), and TCAS will work in the absence of GPS or ADS-B. So why ADS-B at all, except in special locations, such as the Gulf and Alaska? Transition is the tough part, but planning for failure may prevent growth.

Seems to me that UAT and 1090ES should both be acceptable without mandating one or the other in any airspace. Mode-C/S is not required after phase-in ends in 2020.

The cost today for implementing ADS-B in or out is irrelevant. Once something solid is in place, the vendors can get busy. I envision a 1090ES "add-on" that will connect to any panel-mount GPS and provide the required functionality and fit in a 3ATI hole or disappear onto a rack or under the floorboards — and it can be cheap enough to be part of any aircraft that needs the functionality. While many panels still don't have GPS units, it's about time everyone upgraded. It's like the guy with that still-running original IBM PC-XT. Sure, it still "works," but you can't do much practical in today's interconnected world. VOR-only panels are something that belong in the Smithsonian, not in any controlled airspace. And, yes, it isn't free to upgrade, though it's cheaper today than it was 10 years ago or should be.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for economic growth? Let's get some of those "stimulus" dollars working by stimulating our avionics industries to produce the gear we need and hire techs to install them into all those aircraft which would benefit from a basic GNS-430W/GTX-330ES upgrade (or a newer, lower-cost replacement for that combination). Perhaps the FAA will get the spirit and help the manufacturers by searching for ways to meaningfully reduce the overhead costs to certify the new equipment; maybe something like what the LSA people are doing?

The technology for a UAT should be dirt cheap if someone can build enough of them to get the cost-per-unit where it belongs. Other than perhaps transmit power, the requirements for a UAT for heavy iron and for a Cub Legend are pretty much the same. The same "chip set" would do for both. The current crop of SOC (System-On-a-Chip) products from Intel (and others) provide the other chip needed. If they can manufacture an iPhone or Nexus One for $250-$350, a UAT shouldn't be more then $150 — or so the thinking would go.

If the FAA wants to mandate new technology, good; it's about time. If they really want to see that technology deployed, then get busy and find ways to help the manufacturers deliver quality products for a price that makes sense on the benefit/value side of things.

Jim McDuffie

ADS-B Whiners

When I was a kid, my dad was looking at a used Fiat at the back of a car store while I sat in the brand-new Ferrari in the showroom. I begged my dad to get the Ferrari. He said: "I could buy it, but I can't afford it." (And we didn't get it.)

The ADS-B whiners got me to thinking: How many owners can truly afford their airplanes? The cheapskates abound out there. I've seen some incredibly unairworthy junk put on airplanes (too long to list here).

In my opinion, the FAA's ADS-B decision actually caters to the cheapskates, because it doesn't mandate anything about ADS-B in, and the FAA did eliminate "antenna diversity" and tighter position reporting requirements in the SIL spec.

So I'm curious: How many owners can truly afford their airplanes? How many actually have the financial means to overhaul the engine at any time? Engines can munch themselves at any time. Can the owner fix it? How many don't think twice before using, say, a household nail as a replacement for a cockpit door-release pin instead of getting a stainless or certified part? How many will use some vinyl upholstery for their engine baffle seal instead of springing for the silicone seal? (Yeah, I've seen that.)

With all the cheapskates out there putting junk in their planes, it's no wonder the public doesn't trust us.

David Rosing

ADS-B Disappointment, Engage Politicians

On May 27, 2010, I learned that the FAA is going to mandate ADS-B out systems (where transponders are now required) by January 1, 2020.

In the AVweb notice, you stated that the FAA looked at several options for reducing the cost to the GA community: "The third option considered was to limit ADS-B requirements to Class A and B airspace. This was dismissed because the FAA believes failure to equip all aircraft would greatly reduce the system's benefits."

What this means is that the FAA does not save enough money unless they force the GA community to implement a costly avionics installation that offers little in return to the GA community.

I suppose it is time to engage my Congressional reps.

Ron Lee

Pilot Professionalism

In my opinion, problems with air carrier pilot professionalism can be laid at the feet of inadequate salary structures and inappropriate work rules such as long duty days (up to 16 hours) and multiple days away from home while only being paid for hours flown, which might be as few as 2-3 hours per day.

The regional carriers are becoming the training ground for pilots now that the military is providing fewer to the pool, and they are among the worst [in terms of compensation]. How can we expect to attract the highest caliber individual when (s)he is so poorly compensated? My younger son has over 8,000 hours as turbine PIC with a large regional, has been a captain with them for five years, and is supporting his wife and baby daughter in a large (expensive) city on a bit over $50,000 per year. He is a dedicated professional and one of the best pilots I've flown with, but some of the FOs he flies with have less than 400 hours PIC in anything, get paid squat, live in crash pads, and are looking for other employment. Disgraceful! I'm surprised the overall level of professionalism is as high as it is, given their economic circumstances.

John Johnson

Technological Discussion

With all the modern technology available on the flight deck these days, is it time to reconsider just how we fly these aircraft? Training has always been focused on pilot and co-pilot duties. Are we approaching the age of single-pilot Part 121 operations?

This is not to say we don't need two pilots up front, but can we build aircraft with this thought in mind and therefore be able to train each pilot with exact duplicate duties? Wouldn't this relieve one pilot of his responsibilities and make him an observer? Would this help with situations where pilots attempt takeoffs without all engines running [or] takeoffs from the wrong runway?

This way, not only are you using your checklist to verify that the aircraft is correctly configured but that your "pilot flying" also is configured correctly.

Mark Broughton

Remembering Scott Puddy

Please pause for thought this June for R.Scott Puddy, a regular features contributor to AVweb who had a fatal accident in his friend's YAK 52 on June 18, 2002. Scott shared his passion for flying with me, as he did with many other people.

I was flying with Scott a few days before the accident. Thanks to Scott's encouragement at that time, I still fly regularly today.

It was a privilege to fly with you, Scott.

Alan P. Horrocks
604 Squadron
Civil Training Association
Royal Thai Air Force
Don Muang, Bangkok

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

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

Got a Turbonormalized Cirrus? Aviation Consumer Wants You

Actually, Aviation Consumer wants a little bit of your engine data for a research product we're doing. If you don't mind sending us a sample data file, contact Paul Bertorelli at avconsumer@comcast.net.

Contact us before sending anything. Thanks.

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

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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Expanded Coverage: The Great Debate Over Fuel back to top 

Aviation Consumer's Engine Report on Future Fuels: TCM's Bill Brogdon

File Size 10.8 MB / Running Time 10:34

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In the first of two podcasts, Paul Bertorelli talks with Bill Brogdon of Teledyne-Continental Motors about octane requirements and the shift to post-leaded aviation fuels.

Click here for the counterpoint in our interview with Lycoming's Michael Kraft.

Click here to listen. (10.8 MB, 10:34)

Aviation Consumer's Engine Report on Future Fuels: Lycoming's Michael Kraft

File Size 6.5 MB / Running Time 6:18

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In the second of two related podcasts on the shifting landscape of aviation fuel, Lycoming's Michael Kraft talks to Paul Bertorelli about performance and why the market may not be ready for lower-than-100-octane fuels.

Click here for a different perspective in our interview with TCM's Bill Brogdon.

Click here to listen. (6.5 MB, 6:18)

AVweb Insider Blog: For Lycoming, 100 Is the Magic Number

Continental is championing the idea of replacing 100LL with 94UL, but Lycoming's Mike Kraft says that's a sure ticket to shrink the industry and that new fuel needs to be at least 100 octane. In the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wades into the arguments and speculates on how there can be so much uncertainty over the future of aviation fuels.

Click here to read Paul's blog, the feel free to add your own thoughts to the conversation.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Windward Aviation (KLNA, Lantana/West Palm Beach, FL)

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Maybe it's the summer vacation effect, but AVweb's "FBO of the Week" nominations basket is filling up with stories of great FBOs from the panhandle down through central Florida and all the way south to Palm Beach, where AVweb reader Wally Moran recently experienced "the best service I have ever had at an FBO." Here's the story of Wally's visit to Lantana, Florida's Windward Aviation at Palm Beach County Park Airport (KLNA):

This is a maintenance facility next to the FBO. I arrived in the late afternoon with a gear indication problem, and when Mr. James Leach, the owner, met me at the front desk, I explained that I needed to leave ASAP but felt the gear indication needed attention. He quickly moved another aircraft out of the hangar, moved mine in, assigned two A&Ps to the job, and jacked and checked the gear. Thanks to his fine service, I was able to depart on time and at a very resonable cost.

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!

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

Aviation Consumer Reviews the iPad — Warts and All

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

Could it really be? Is the iPad the ultimate cockpit EFB (electronic flight bag) that we've all been waiting for? Find out in this review by AVweb and Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli. It has potential — so much potential ... .

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for the print review of the iPad in the July issue of our sister magazine, Aviation Consumer.

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Kim Prout Gives Kitplanes a Tour of His Europa Monowheel

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

Kim Prout's homebuilt Europa Monowheel is one of the highest-time examples in the U.S. and amply shows off the superb combination of agility and utility in this exclusive video from the editors of Kitplanes magazine.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for other homebuilt content in our sister magazine, Kitplanes.

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Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win an AV8OR Handheld GPS

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

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.

Congratulations to William R. Smith of Madison, Connecticut, who won a King Schools Get-It-All Pilot Training Kit in our last drawing! (click here to get your own from King Schools)

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on April 28th, 2009 near PBI:

Palm Beach Center:
"United 12345, climb and maintain 3,000."

Spirit 12345:
"Spirit 12345. Climb and maintain 3,000."


"And thanks for the compliment!"

Adam Green
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.

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