AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 24b

June 17, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
Be Sure You Cast Your Vote for Your Favorite Aviation Charity
The new Lightspeed Aviation Foundation will help to support a select group of 20 charities, and the top five will receive no less than $10,000. Every pilot can vote. Just go to LightspeedAviationFoundation.org.

And when you buy a new Lightspeed headset, you can also designate a percentage of your purchase to go to any of the 20 charities when you register your warranty.
AVflash! Type Groups Join the Fuel Fray back to top 

Big-Engine Type Groups Unite On Fuel Issue

Type groups representing owners of high-performance piston aircraft have formed the Green 100 Octane Coalition to raise awareness of issues surrounding the impending demise of 100LL. So far, members include the American Bonanza Society, the Malibu Mirage Owners and Pilots Association, the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association and some individuals. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Tom Turner of the American Bonanza Society said the major aviation groups appear to be sending disturbing signals to those who fly aircraft with high-horsepower, high-compression and turbocharged engines that absolutely must have 100-octane fuel to operate normally. He said some groups have issued statements pointing out that about 80 percent of the piston fleet can run on lower-grade gasoline. But Turner says the lower-powered majority should be concerned about the potential effects of a lack of suitable fuel on the big-displacement crowd because of the way the numbers work.

Turner said the 20 percent represented by high-performance aircraft owners buy 80 percent of the fuel sold in the U.S. and if they're simply relegated to the scrap heap, there will be catastrophic effect on the fuel supply chain as there simply won't be enough business to sustain the fuel sellers. He said the coalition's initial goal is to raise awareness of the issues among all piston aircraft operators. A statement will be coming soon.

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News Briefs back to top 

Pressure Mounts To Expand UAS Use

Pilots may be uneasy about sharing the airspace with unmanned aircraft systems, but the FAA is feeling increasing pressure to speed its approval of UAS use. Officials in Texas want more UASs patrolling the border with Mexico, and Sen. John Cornyn has been blocking a Senate vote to approve Michael Huerta, a nominee for the number-two slot at the FAA, as a pressure tactic. "There is a tremendous pressure and need to fly unmanned aircraft in [civilian] airspace," Hank Krakowski, FAA's head of air traffic operations, said recently, The Associated Press reports. "We are having constant conversations and discussions, particularly with the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security, to figure out how we can do this safely with all these different sizes of vehicles."

Interest is growing in a broad range of uses for UAS, including aerial photography, surveying, monitoring forest fires, law enforcement, and protecting borders and ports. In the U.S. alone, approximately 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing and producing some 155 unmanned aircraft designs, the FAA says. But despite the growing pressure to expedite the introduction of UASs to the National Airspace System, the FAA said it is "focused on keeping safety the top priority." The agency recently signed an agreement with Insitu, a UAS developer, to conduct research needed to guide the development of recommendations for integrating UASs into the national airspace. The FAA will use the Insitu ScanEagle UAS to research how an air traffic controller manages an unmanned aircraft versus a manned aircraft.

Spirit Pilots Settle

Spirit Airlines will resume operations Friday after it reached a tentative contract deal with is pilots. The pilots, represented by the Airline Pilots Association, walked out last Saturday and the budget carrier has been grounded since. The airline called the deal "fair and equitable" and said it meets pilots demands for wage and benefit increases while allowing the airline to continue growing.

Passengers with flights booked for Friday or after are urged to reconfirm the bookings. Those whose flights were cancelled will also have to get in touch with the airline about rebooking or getting refunds.

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Safety, Procedures, and the NTSB back to top 

NTSB Sends Team To Ottawa Incident

The runway overrun of a United Express Embraer 145 (operated by Trans States Airlines) at Ottawa, Canada's McDonald-Cartier International Airport on Wednesday brought an immediate response from the NTSB, which announced it is sending a bevy of experts to help Canadian authorities sort out what appears to be a relatively minor incident. The airplane ran off the end of the runway in a rainstorm, causing minor injuries to both pilots and an elderly passenger. But it comes two weeks after the NTSB held hearings into the state of pilot professionalism with an emphasis on the regional airline industry. The NTSB is sending an investigator, a flight operations specialist, a survival factors specialist and an unspecified number of "technical advisers" from the FAA to assess the mishap.

United Flight 8050 originated at Washington Dulles and was landing at about 2:30 p.m. when it went off the end of one of the runways. Photos indicate the front landing gear may have been damaged or broken off in the overrun. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is quoting Stephanie Nicholds, a member of the local Airport Watch group, who was monitoring the tower frequency, as saying the pilot reported he had applied brakes but they were having no effect. "The pilot was saying, 'I'm going off the edge, I've got no traction,'" Nicholds said. "He was hydroplaning down the runway, and all of a sudden the airplane just ditched into the grass." Other runways were activated and there were no other flight disruptions.

NTSB Suggests Changes In Charitable Flights

The NTSB has issued a safety recommendation (PDF) to the Air Care Alliance, urging them to make several changes in the way charitable medical flights are conducted. The recommendations stem from four accidents in 2007 and 2008, in which three pilots and five passengers were killed. The NTSB says the ACA should require its member groups to inform passengers that charitable flights are not conducted under the same rules as commercial flights. Also, the groups should develop training materials for their volunteer pilots and verify their currency before each flight. Rol Murrow, chairman, and Lindy Kirkland, director of the Air Care Alliance, said on Monday they share the NTSB's concerns and will take a leadership role in addressing them, not only with ACA members but all volunteer pilot groups.

The ACA said it is already working with the AOPA Air Safety Foundation to produce a Web-based interactive course that will address the safety guidance issues listed by the NTSB. In addition, "many volunteer pilot organizations have already taken measures in response to the accidents and ACA urges all the groups to re-examine their policies and procedures in light of the NTSB recommendations," the ACA said. The NTSB asked the ACA to respond to its recommendations within 90 days, and the ACA said it is already at work on that response. "The Air Care Alliance appreciates the NTSB's efforts and thoughtful recommendations and will cooperate fully in order to enhance the safety of volunteer pilot operations," the group's news release said.

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News Briefs back to top 

Study: Airplanes Can Trigger Snowfall

When conditions are right, a jet or turboprop airplane traveling through a cloud can cause it to snow, according to a study in this month's Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Airplanes that penetrate altocumulus clouds containing supercooled droplets of water can cause some of the moisture to freeze and fall to the ground, leaving holes or channels in the clouds. "Just by flying an airplane through these clouds, you could produce as much precipitation as with seeding materials along the same path in the cloud," said Andrew Heymsfield, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and lead author of the study. As air is forced over the wings or the tips of propellers, its temperature falls, causing the droplets to form. The Pacific Northwest and western Europe often experience weather systems that are susceptible to this kind of event.

"This apparently happens frequently, embedded in the cloud layers," Heymsfield told Science Daily. "You wouldn't necessarily see it from a satellite or from the ground." Heymsfield said he had no idea this was occurring, but just happened to be flying in a research aircraft and observed the formation of a hole and a burst of snow. "This data set just fell in our laps. It was a lucky break," he said. The effect is not common enough to have significant climactic impact, Heymsfield said.

New For Young Eagles -- Free First Lesson

More than 1.5 million youngsters around the world have enjoyed their first flight in a general aviation aircraft thanks to EAA's Young Eagles program, and now they'll have an opportunity to earn a free first flying lesson as well. EAA announced the new program on Monday. "With the addition of the First Flight Lesson, we continue to build on the enthusiasm shown by these Young Eagles and help them continue their journey toward a certificate," said Jeff Skiles, Young Eagles co-chairman. To qualify for the lesson, a Young Eagle must be at least 14, complete Part 1 of Sporty's online Pilot Training Course, which is available free to all Young Eagles, and submit a parental consent form. Once those criteria are met, EAA will issue a voucher that can be redeemed at a local flight school of the participant's choice.

Free access to the Sporty's online course was announced last year, and already more than 3,000 Young Eagles have enrolled and several have taken their flight test and earned a pilot certificate. "Through the EAA Flight Plan, we are working to eliminate barriers that may stand between a Young Eagle and the cockpit," Skiles said. "The First Flight Lesson provides a Young Eagle with actual flight training experience and makes real the lessons they have been learning through the online training course." More info about the lessons can be found here, and more info for flight schools who would like to participate in the program is posted here. EAA will reimburse each school $120 for each student.

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Going Supersonic back to top 

First Supersonic Flight For F-35 STOVL Variant

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) variant flew faster than the speed of sound for the first time on June 10, the company announced on Monday. The aircraft accelerated to Mach 1.07 (727 miles per hour) on the first in a long series of planned supersonic flights. Bob Price, Lockheed Martin's F-35 U.S. Marine Corps program manager, said this marks the first time in the history of military aviation that a radar-evading stealth aircraft also has supersonic speed and short takeoff/vertical landing capabilities. The supersonic milestone was achieved on the 30th flight of the F-35B known as BF-2. U.S. Marine Corps pilot Lt. Col. Matt Kelly climbed to 30,000 feet and accelerated to Mach 1.07 in the offshore supersonic test track near Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. During the flight, Kelly accomplished 21 unique test points, including several integrated test blocks to validate roll, pitch, yaw and propulsion performance.

Future testing will gradually expand the flight envelope out to the aircraft's top speed of Mach 1.6, which the F-35 is designed to achieve with a full internal weapons load of more than 3,000 pounds. All F-35s are designed to launch internal missiles at maximum supersonic speed, as well as launch internal guided bombs supersonically. "The supersonic F-35B can deploy from small ships and austere bases near front-line combat zones, greatly enhancing combat air support with higher sortie-generation rates," Price said. The F-35B will replace AV-8B Harriers and F/A-18s for the Marines. It will also enter service for the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the Italian air force and navy.

Supersonic Flight & Transonic Phenomena

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

Sound travels at about 760 miles per hour, or 340 meters per second and about 661 knots on an average day at sea level. And sometimes, you can almost see it. Going close to that speed through air can cause some unusual visual effects. This compiled footage includes F-14s, standard and Blue Angels F-18s, plus the SR-71 and an Atlas Rocket launch. AVweb contacted sources at NASA to research the phenomena.

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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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Cirrus Paying Back Rent

One sign that things are looking up in the aircraft business is when cash-strapped companies start getting caught up on their bills, and Cirrus Aircraft took some big steps in that direction this month. This week, the city of Grand Forks announced that Cirrus had paid six months' worth of back rent worth $507,000. That leaves the company 11 months behind for a total of $930,000, but it has promised to get caught up. Cirrus builds composite components at the Grand Forks plant. Cirrus struck a different deal for its base of operations at Duluth.

Last week, the company reached a deal with the city of Duluth to convert $187,500 in back rent into a loan that will be forgiven if it expands operations significantly. Like most GA manufacturers, Cirrus has been hit hard by the recession and cut production and staffing to keep the doors open.

Extra Expands U.S. Market Efforts

Extra Aircraft, based in Germany, is expanding its efforts to market the Extra 500 turboprop in North America and expects to select a site for a new assembly plant in the U.S. later this year, company spokesman Errol Bader told AVweb this week. "When we first introduced the airplane several years ago, we decided not to market it in the U.S.," he said, due to various reasons such as the exchange rate and regulatory barriers. But now the company has decided the time is right, and they are offering the airplane with a Rolls Royce engine and Avidyne's new Entegra II Release 9 avionics, for $1.65 million. "If you order one now, you can take delivery in the first quarter of 2011," Bader said. Plans are to continue to construct the aircraft's composite parts in Germany, Bader said, but the engines and avionics and other components will be installed at the U.S. site.

The six-seat Extra 500 has a pressurized cabin and is equipped for flight into known icing. An earlier version of the aircraft was EASA certified, and a new certification is pending to accommodate the avionics upgrade, Bader said. He hopes to have an FAA type certificate in hand by the end of this year. The aircraft burns 19 gallons per hour and has a range of 1,600 miles, the company says. Three Extra Aircraft sales centers have been chosen in the U.S.: Mid Island Air Service on Long Island, N.Y.; Premier Aircraft Sales in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and USAero in Denver, Colo. The airplane starts a U.S. tour this week with a stop in Dayton, Ohio, and will include a stop at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh next month. Click here for the full schedule.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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

Question of the Week: AVweb Readers' AirVenture 2010 Head Count

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is barely a month away. This week, we'd like to know if you're going.

Are you attending AirVenture this year?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

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

What's On Your Mind?

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.)

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: Pilot Experience? What Pilot Experience?

Pilot training has been at the fore of AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles's brain lately — and not just because the NTSB has been looking into it. A recent experience on one of the regional airlines has led Russ to wonder why it's such a novel idea to have pilots first train on new aircraft without the passengers.

Click here to read Russ's blog and add your comments.

AVweb Insider Blog: Self-Delusion Saves Lives

Pride goeth before a fall. We're told that lying to ourselves and overestimating our abilities is a surefire path to failure — but listening to Failure Is Not an Option author Gene Kranz talk about the Apollo 13 mission, Jeff Van West has come to realize the opposite is sometimes true: Our self-delusions can pave the way to success.

Read more at the AVweb Insider blog — and then add your own comments.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Cattaraugus County-Olean Airport (KOLE, Olean, NY)

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

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the crew at Cattaraugus County-Olean Airport (KOLE) in Olean, New York.

AVweb reader Hella Comat told us why she'll be returning:

We attended an event at Olean this past weekend, and I can't say enough about the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff and volunteers at KOLE. The airport is a beautiful spot on a hill above town, and we were offered rides into town and back the next morning. Getting gas was a breeze, and the attendants were most helpful. If I'm in the area, I'd land here for sure, if only to say thanks again for the hospitality!

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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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)

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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.


medium | large

Used with permission of John Wuellner

Bad Timing

John Wuellner of Midland, Georgia nailed it with his suggested caption — but the bad timing of this parasailer at Panama City Beach, Florida and John's good fortune to snap the photo made this hands-down choice for "Picture of the Week."

medium | large

Used with permission of Paul W. M. Oor

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, 1928 — Or Not?

Paul W. M. Oor of Nieuwegein, Utrecht (Netherlands) takes us on a trip through time, explaining that our "Sleeping Beauty," Doornroosje, "is awakened again for a flight departing in front of the 1928 Amsterdam Schiphol Airport station building replica in the Aviodrome Museum in Lelystad."

Since we still haven't been able to get our time machine working, we're adding the airport replica at Lelystad to our travel wish list!

medium | large

copyright © Xavier Marshall
Used with permission

Baring It All

Xavier Marshall of Carson, California strips down this T-6 as she's prepped for a fresh coat of paint. The result is a view you don't get to enjoy every day down at the hangar.

UPDATE: Yes, we originally identified her as a BT-13 Valiant, but that's because Xavier had photos of both a T-6 and a BT-13 in the submission process, but the comments got matched to the wrong photos when submitting them. Thanks to the keen-eyed reader identifying himself as Edsel Ford for spotting the retractable gear and letting us know about the error!

medium | large

Used with permission of George Kovacevic

Monument Valley Dusk

George Kovacevic of Jamul, California knows how to travel — and how to record it for posterity. John Ford would be proud.

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copyright © Blair McFarlain
Used with permission

Father and Son Heading Home

Blair McFarlain of Houston, Texas says goodbye for this week with a shot he took at the Ranger (Texas) Fly-In.

Join us in seven days for a fresh batch of reader-submitted photos — assuming, of course, that you keep 'em coming.

And if you're craving more, head over to AVweb's home page and scroll down about 1/3 of the page to view our slideshow, which is jam-packed with bonus photos we couldn't squeeze in here by press time. (Including this gorgeous shot that's just begging to be your desktop wallpaper for a day or two.)

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.