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.
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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.
Boeing this week unveiled its latest UAV, the hydrogen-powered Phantom Eye, which the company
says will stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to four days. "The capabilities inherent in Phantom Eye's design will offer game-changing opportunities for our military, civil and commercial customers,"
said Darryl Davis, president of Boeing Phantom Works, at the introductory press conference in St. Louis on Monday. The demonstrator is powered by two 150-hp engines and has a wingspan of 150 feet. It
will cruise at about 150 knots and can carry up to a 450-pound payload. The aircraft will be shipped to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base in California later this summer
to start ground and taxi tests, with flight tests expected early next year. The first flight is expected to last for four to eight hours, Boeing said.
The aircraft is powered by two converted Ford Ranger truck engines that burn liquid hydrogen and turn four-blade props. The only byproduct is water. Later versions will be capable of staying aloft
up to 10 days, Boeing says. A fleet of three or four such aircraft could provide surveillance and communications services 24/7 to any base anywhere in the world, the company says, alleviating the
logistics problems of basing aircraft at remote sites. "The program is moving quickly, and it's exciting to be part of such a unique aircraft," said Drew Mallow, Phantom Eye program manager for
Boeing. "The hydrogen propulsion system will be the key to Phantom Eye's success. It is very efficient and offers great fuel economy."
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Pilots train for years to earn themselves a seat in a jet cockpit, but concerns about air quality and faulty cockpit window heaters suggest it may not be the healthiest work environment. The FAA
plans to issue an airworthiness directive this week that will require operators to either inspect or replace some windows in
the cockpits of Boeing 757, 767 and 777 aircraft, in an effort to prevent smoke, fire or cracking of the windows caused by faulty electrical connections. In the last 20 years, 11 fires have been
reported, the most recent in May. Also this week, a former Qantas pilot said he suffered symptoms including difficulty
concentrating, regular bouts of bronchitis and gastric illnesses, and even an episode of partial paralysis due to toxic gasses in the cabin airflow. A report on cabin air quality by the U.K.
government is three months overdue, fueling speculation that information is being suppressed, according to The Sunday Telegraph.
Concern about the air quality in jets has been around for years, prompting numerous studies and even the formation of a
support group called the Aerotoxic Association. In the U.S., the pending FAA reauthorization bill includes a provision that would require the FAA to
complete a study of the air quality in airline cabins within one year. "This amendment is necessary because the air in the passenger cabin is a mixture of re-circulated cabin air and fresh air that is
compressed in the airplane engine," said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who proposed the amendment. "That haze or smoke that enters the cabin air is a toxic soup and can contain carbon monoxide gas
as well as chemicals that can damage your nervous system called tricresylphosphates (TCPs). Exposure to TCPs can initially cause stomach ache and muscle weakness, followed by delayed memory loss,
tremors, confusion, and many other symptoms." The reauthorization bill remains stalled in Congress.
The April 10 crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 near Smolensk, Russia, that killed the then Polish president and all 95 others aboard has been the source of multiple unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, and
a report published Wednesday by a Polish news service might not be an exception. According to the Polish news service TVN24, words that translate roughly to "if we don't land, they'll kill me" have
been resolved from sections of the VIP flight's cockpit voice recorder previously deemed incomprehensible. Earlier transcripts that did not include the wording were provided by Russian investigators,
but a government spokesperson last week said that Polish experts have now been able to decipher more of the recording. That may not yet be cause to believe TVN24's report.
TVN24 stated in its report (Google's translated version of the story) that it received information about the newly deciphered segments from an unofficial source. As for the official sources, the Warsaw Business Journal reported that Polish
minister of the interior and administration, Jerzy Miller, has offered no comment regarding TVN24's report. (The minister represents government supervision of the investigation.) The Journal also
wrote that the Polish military prosecutor's office has also declined comment. An aviation expert cited by TVN24 noted that the meaning of the allegedly newly deciphered sentence, even if confirmed,
can not be determined as written words held out of context.
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With just three events left in its 2010 air-race series, Red Bull now has cancelled two of them, leaving the August race in Germany as the final event for this year. The cancellation of the race in
Budapest, Hungary, was announced this week, while a
race set for Portugal also was cancelled just a
week ago. "We are obviously disappointed," said Bernd Loidl, CEO of the race organization. "Securing the future of the Red Bull Air Race World Championship is paramount and making tough decisions is
part of that process," Loidl said. "We look forward to announcing the 2011 calendar after the final round in Germany, including a much-anticipated return to New York in the United States." The races
were flown in New York last month for the first time, drawing huge crowds to the venue along the Hudson River. The Portugal
cancellation was blamed on delays in reaching a host city agreement, while "lengthy delays in the permissions process" were cited in Budapest.
The air race has been held in Budapest for six years. The course is unique in that pilots must fly under the historic Chain Bridge across the Danube River. The city is home
to Red Bull pilot Peter Besenyei, who helped to develop the race series, and
crowds of more than 600,000 spectators are the norm. Loidl said he hopes Budapest will be back on the calendar in 2011. The last race for this year will be held at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany on
Aug. 7 and 8. Defending champion Paul Bonhomme holds a five-point lead over 2008 champion Hannes Arch of Austria.
The new editor-in-chief of Flying magazine says he hopes to "surprise and delight" readers with a fresh approach to style and content. Michael Maya Charles, a former AVweb columnist
and airline pilot, was named to the post on the world's largest print aviation magazine Tuesday, replacing longtime editor-in-chief J. Mac McClellan. Maya Charles told AVweb he hopes to broaden
the appeal of the magazine, which began publication in the 1920s. It was purchased by Bonnier Corp. in 2009 and Maya Charles says his philosophy about the "reader experience" and appearance of the
magazine meshes with the new owners. "They pay a lot of attention to the visual," Maya Charles said. "The editorial product needs a little freshening. We're going to give it an infusion of that new
energy." Maya Charles also said there will be more emphasis on the digital aspects of the publication. Meanwhile, McClellan told AVweb he had fundamental differences of opinion with Bonnier
management on running the magazine and he was dismissed.
"They let me go but it was essentially mutual," McClellan said. "It was a bit of a surprise as always but not really." McClellan said the new owners required a long-range editorial plan that he
said he believes is unworkable in covering a dynamic industry like aviation. "We all know aviation is different," he said. "If you want to be reasonably current you have to be nimble." It didn't take
McClellan long to find other work, at least for the short term. He'll be covering industry news for EAA's show daily at AirVenture Oshkosh. He hasn't made any long-term decisions but he said he hopes
to find a job in the aviation media or communications field.
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Boeing and Alaska Airlines have signed on with various other partners in the Northwest region to develop a plan for replacing today's jet fuel with biofuels from renewable sources, the companies announced this week. "Developing a sustainable aviation fuel supply now is a top priority both to ensure
continued economic growth and prosperity at regional levels and to support the broader aim of achieving carbon-neutral growth across the industry by 2020," said Jim Albaugh, CEO of Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. Others joining in the effort include Washington State University, Spokane International Airport and the Port of Seattle. The regional effort is the first of its kind in the U.S., according
to Alaska Airlines.
The project's objective is to produce a roadmap addressing the potential technologies and infrastructure that would be needed to make aviation biofuel commercially available to airline operators in
the region. Researchers will meet with biomass producers, refiners, airport operators, environmental and government organizations, and airline representatives. They will examine all phases of
developing a sustainable biofuel industry, including biomass production and harvest, refining, transport infrastructure and airline needs. They will analyze potential biomass sources that are
indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, such as algae, oilseeds such as camelina, and wood byproducts. The project is jointly funded by the participants and is expected to be completed by
All it takes is the right piston, a little tweaking of the cylinder and some trick fuel injection timing. That's the general idea behind something called Sonex Controlled Auto Ignition, which can best be described as residing somewhere between conventional spark ignition and true diesel cycles, according to Sonex's Andrew Pouring,
who recently sent us a white paper on the technology. SCAI doesn't exactly mean you could convert your IO-550 to burn kerosene, but a purpose-built SCAI aircraft engine could take the same form factor
and, more important, would be nearly as light as a gasoline engine. How do they do that? By controlling the combustion event and keeping cylinder pressures under 1000 PSI, just as in gasoline
The cycle is a cross between constant volume Otto cycle engines and constant pressure true diesel cycle technology. The piston has a complex combustion bowl that allows time for the incoming,
direct-injected fuel charge to break down into chemical radicals during the compression process. Small inlets in the bowl, called microchambers, take in a portion of the fuel charge and pay it out
during the power stroke, improving efficiency and, along with precise injection timing, smoothing out the spikey pressure pulses of the typical compression ignition engine. Pouring and his lab
developed the technology in a research project extending back to the late 1970s. A derivative of it is used in the ScanEagle UAV built by Boeing. Increasingly, UAVs need the fuel economy of diesels
but they can't take the weight hit, so so-called radical ignition technology looks attractive because it can burn any fuel from gasoline to palm oil and perform similarly. Pouring would like to see
the technology commercialized.
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More than 170 Cessna Citations from all over the U.S. will land at Lincoln, Neb., on Saturday to deliver 2,000 competitors to the Special Olympics U.S. National Games. This is the sixth time Cessna
has organized the gigantic Citation Special Olympics Airlift and this year's effort is chaired by Citation owner Harrison Ford. The airlift is a logistical challenge as flights have to be coordinated
to ensure smooth flow into Lincoln. It will take 15 hours to recover all the aircraft, which will be carrying between three and seven athletes apiece. Then they'll do it all over again a week later
when they fly back to Lincoln to pick up the athletes. It's clearly a labor of love for Cessna CEO Jack Pelton, who is in the thick of the organization and execution of the event.
The airlift began in 1985 with two Citations carrying a delegation from Cessna's home state of Kansas. Two years later, 132 Citations were involved and this year's will be among the biggest
Changes are expected soon that would make China much more open to general aviation, according to China Daily. "There will be progress in opening up the low-altitude airspace in the later half of this year, and many local governments have expressed interest in investment," said
Wang Xia, vice president of the General Aviation School at Civil Aviation University of China. The skies have gradually become more open to private, low-altitude aircraft, but only if operators comply
with a complex and time-consuming approval process that involves several different government agencies. To become a private pilot, applicants must pass a series of tests and physical exams, and spend
about $20,000. There are only about 1,000 private pilots in China, according to China Daily. Meanwhile, officials are investigating corruption in China's aviation industry, the Canadian Press reports.
Several officials have been fired, and investigations continue into bribery and influence peddling involving individuals in both industry and government, according to the CP. "In China, aviation is
a semi-militarized industry, not a completely commercial one," said Zhang Qihuai, a law professor at the Logistics College of the Chinese Air Force. "It attracts huge amounts of money and power ...
This has been a terrible problem for a while." One aviation official, who had not been targeted in the probe, threw himself in front of a train last week.
The captain of a Continental 737 that ran off a Denver runway in December 2008 as winds gusted up to 45 knots probably
could have kept it on the runway if he had applied enough rudder at the right time, the NTSB said in its final report on the
accident on Tuesday. However, the board also said that if the crew had been given better wind information before trying to take off on Runway 34R, they might have delayed departure or requested a
different runway. Air traffic controllers provided all the weather data that was required, telling the crew winds were from 270 degrees at 27 knots, but information from sensors located in the center
of the airfield showed gusts as high as 40 knots. If the crew had been better trained in crosswind techniques, that also might have helped, the board said. Nobody was killed in the accident, but the
captain and five of the 110 passengers were hurt. The board also said better seats in the cockpit would help to reduce crew injuries.
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman praised the flight attendants for evacuating passengers quickly, before fire reached the cabin. "This accident was nothing less than the holiday miracle," she said.
The board noted that in reacting to the crosswind, the captain tried using inappropriate controls to steer the aircraft, including the control yoke, which contributed up to four seconds delay. When he
called for a rejected takeoff it was too late.
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Last week, Jack Pelton ate into his vacation to visit General Aviation Modifications, Inc.'s test cell in Ada, Oklahoma for a look at G100UL, a proposed avgas replacement. On the AVweb
Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli suggests that his involvement and unambiguous report on what he saw may represent an inflection point in what has basically been a defeatist effort to
find an avgas replacement. The first step in succeeding is the belief that you can.
WingX Pro7 Moving Map for iPad! The $99 Moving Map WingX Pro7 Moving Map for iPad is now available for your iPad. See your location on the approach chart; Approach Charts and Airport Diagrams are now
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There's no shortage of innovation when it comes to developing new aircraft engines, and Sonex Research has a gasoline-type spark ignition design that will burn diesel. AVweb's Paul
Bertorelli spoke with Dr. Andrew Pouring.
To many people, it's just a joke about funny Canadian place names, but Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan is the center of the universe for young military officers from all over the world who
want to become military pilots. Under the auspices of 15 Wing Moose Jaw, the Canadian Forces and Bombardier are in a joint venture to train Canada's next generation of pilots and also new pilots from
as far away as Singapore. AVweb's Russ Niles went for a ride in the CT-156 Harvard II (the Canadian version of the Texan II used by the U.S. Air Force) and spoke with flight instructor Capt.
Win a Zaon PCAS XRX 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 Friday, July 16, 2010.
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AVweb reader Tom Snider recently had one one of those "when pigs fly" moments and yes, you can bet that it happened at our "FBO of the Week," Pigs Can Fly Aviation at San Luis County Regional Airport (KSBP) in San Luis Obispo, California.
On a recent trip to visit our son ... in our old Bonanza, we found the airport under heavy construction and were told by ground control that their was a NOTAM (we missed that) that there was no
overnight parking available. As we were discussing our options, line personnel from Pigs Can Fly showed up in their golf cart with a sign, "Follow me to free parking." We might as well have been a
Gulfstream, as they parked us, fueled us and helped unload the plane and transfer us by cart to their very nice office/lounge with more very nice personnel. As we were preparing to leave, one of the
owners asked if everything had been okay. I commented that everything had been great except they were out of Terminal Area Charts for SFO. (They were on backorder.) He climbed into one of their
planes, got a chart from his own flight bag, handed it to me, and would take no money for it. If you are in San Luis Obispo, make Pigs Can Fly your FBO.
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.
Andy Nielsen of Blaine, Minnesota is a man after our own heart. "After the storms rolled through" one afternoon, Andy headed down
"to the airport to watch the sunset and picked up an ice cream along the way."
CFII Dave Lerond of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida has logged his shared of hours in the cockpit and just finished his B737NG type rating. Fortunately
for us, he used the down time during his training to snap a few photos.
Doug Moler of Valley Center, Kansas joined up with a media ride-along from Wichita's McConnell Air Force Base and enjoyed a sight most of us don't
get to ogle first-hand. Gentleman that he is, Doug even thought about his friends at AVweb and sent us a couple of the photos.
Andrew McVicker of Grass Valley, California had his Canon 40 handy when this C-180 made its departure from the Back Country Pilot Fly-In at Johnson Creek, Idaho. Because the pilot took off "before all the dew had evaporated off his wings ...
there was spray everywhere. The air was so humid, this shot captured vortices off his prop, as well."
As you've noticed here and will see more of when you hit up our jam-packed "POTW" slideshow (on AVweb's home
page) widespread summer showers in North America have inspired dozens of reader photos over the last two weeks.
Diana Richards of Jasper, Missouri represents all those thunderclouds, downpours, and rainbows that didn't make it into this week's Top Five with a
photo that along with Diana's comment, "She was the only airplane flying on a stormy Sunday morning" brought a huge smile to our face.
You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. It's a beautiful assortment this week, including a trifecta from
prolific submitters George Mock, Gary Dikkers, and Daniel Valovich that it almost broke our heart to leave out of the Top Five. But hey if we must bear the burden of too many talented readers
who like to send us photos, so be it.
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
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.
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