AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 32b

August 12, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Stevens, O'Keefe Crash in Alaska back to top 
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Stevens Crash: A Challenging Rescue Mission

The same crash that took the life of former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens proved a challenging search and rescue mission for the Coast Guard and Air Force, according to new reports early Wednesday. The crash occurred Monday night in high terrain 17 miles north of Dillingham, southwest of Anchorage. The weather was reported to be foggy and rainy, with low ceilings and visibilities. Air Force rescue personnel told ABC News Wednesday morning that two EMTs who hiked into the crash site and stabilized the survivors made their job much easier. In addition to Stevens, four others were killed in the crash, but three survived, including former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe, 54, and his son, Kevin.

Photos of the crash site taken on Tuesday revealed that the aircraft came to rest in a wooded mountainous area with both wings detached by the crash impact, although the aft portion of the fuselage and the empennage appear relatively intact.

Rescue personnel told ABC News Wednesday that the fact the some of the passengers were wearing fishing waders may have been in a factor in their survival, since the waders act as survival suits, conserving body heat and staving off shock.

Former Sen. Ted Stevens Killed In Crash

Click for larger version

Former NASA head Sean O'Keefe and his son survived an aircraft crash in Alaska Monday night that killed former Republican Senator Ted Stevens. The turboprop-powered de Havilland Otter (a DHC-3 single Otter) that went down about 20 miles from Dillingham in southwest Alaska. Five of nine people aboard the aircraft died. Bad weather hampered rescue efforts but local residents, including a doctor, were on the scene helping the survivors shortly after the crash. The survivors waited about 12 hours in rain and wind to be rescued from the rugged crash site. The accident happened about 8 p.m. local time as the aircraft, N455A, owned by Alaska communications company GCI, headed toward a private resort also owned by the company.

Stevens, 86, was one of the U.S.'s longest-serving senators but lost the last election after he was convicted of corruption. Stevens' conviction was vacated after the prosecutors moved to dismiss the indictment. O'Keefe, 54, left NASA in 2005 and became the CEO of EADS Defense North America. He had previously worked with Stevens in Congress for many years. Stevens and O'Keefe often went on fishing trips together.

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Another Harrowing Alaskan Rescue back to top 

Second Alaska Rescue Claims Black Hawk

As rescuers were struggling to transport survivors of the crash that killed Sen. Ted Stevens near Dillingham, a second SAR case cost the U.S. Army one of its Black Hawk helicopters on Tuesday afternoon. The crew was attempting to remove victims stranded on the Knik Glacier since Sunday when a PA-32 with five aboard encountered weather and crashed into a snow bank, injuring two. Some 21 hours later, Air National Guard pararescuemen arrived by ski with supplies and shelter and on Tuesday, three of the five victims were flown out by a Black Hawk. But because of payload restrictions, two were left behind.

A second Black Hawk was landing to retrieve the remaining survivors when it apparently slid and rolled over on the glacier. As of Tuesday night, SAR forces were awaiting a break in the weather to extract the five people still marooned on the glacier.

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Summer Flying Fun back to top 

Red Bull Wraps Air-Race Season

Austria's Hannes Arch placed first in the final event of the 2010 Red Bull Air Race in Lausitz, Germany, on Sunday, but Britain's Paul Bonhomme, who came in second, took the overall title for the season. Bonhomme, who also placed first in 2009, is the first pilot to win back-to-back titles and joins Mike Mangold of the U.S. as the only two-time champion in the eight-year history of the race series. The final race drew an overflow crowd of 118,000 spectators to the EuroSpeedway racetrack. Bonhomme said he hopes the competition will return to the site after the one-year hiatus that was recently announced. "It's a superb venue," Bonhomme said. "We're a motor-racing sport and we worked beautifully together. I hope that when the Air Race season fires up again, we have a lot more venues like this and that we indeed come back here again as well." But while the air race series winds down, another Red Bull project -- to fly in a balloon to the edge of space and parachute back to earth -- is moving forward.

The Red Bull Stratos project aims to carry skydiver Felix Baumgartner to 120,000 feet in a helium balloon, where he will jump and theoretically exceed the speed of sound before deploying a parachute to land safely back on earth. Recently, Baumgartner met with astronaut Neil Armstrong, who said he thinks the goal is achievable. "Before the middle of the 1940s many distinguished engineers believed it was not possible to go supersonic [in an aircraft]," Armstrong said. "They thought the craft would disintegrate, which was complete nonsense. I think a human can go supersonic ... there are possible difficulties. When shockwaves influence your ability to stabilize yourself, that's a difficult area to predict. But I think it's possible." The jump is expected to take place sometime before the end of the year, though no date has yet been announced.

LSA Update: Midwest Expo, Bahamas Fly-out, Lycoming Falcon

The Midwest LSA Expo is coming up for its second year, Sept. 23 to 25, at Mount Vernon Outland Airport (MVN) in Illinois. Like the flagship LSA event in Sebring, this show aims to bring shoppers together with an assortment of airplanes in a casual setting where they can easily arrange demo flights. Those who want to know more about the LSA segment will have plenty of opportunities to learn about how to become a pilot and an aircraft owner. In other LSA news, EAA recently announced that the Bahamas is the first country outside the U.S.A. to allow sport pilots to fly there in light sport aircraft, even if they don't have an FAA medical certificate. To celebrate the change, EAA said it will organize a sport-pilot fly-out to the Bahamas in the near future.

In other LSA news, Renegade Light Sport has taken over the sleek Falcon LS design, formerly known as the Phantom, that was developed by Corvus, a Hungarian company that also builds Red Bull race airplanes. Powered by Lycoming's IO-233 115-hp engine, the all-composite airplane will also feature synthetic vision, according to Dan Johnson's sport pilot blog, for an introductory price of $115,000. The new owners plan to build the airplane in Kansas City. The Falcon 2.0 will be on display at the upcoming Midwest Expo.

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Excitement on the Tarmac back to top 

Air Force Two Damages Cub

The Vice President's C-32 transport, a modified Boeing 757 dubbed Air Force Two, was involved in an incident Wednesday at Gabreski Airport, N.Y., that had an unfortunate outcome for a parked and tethered Piper Cub. As the jet taxied, its jet wash lifted the Cub a few feet into the air. That (or the subsequent un-piloted landing) damaged the Cub's left wing and the 757 took off with its occupants perhaps unaware. The damaged aircraft belongs to "an aerial media company," according to the Associated Press. An investigation will be launched to determine the cost of the damage to the Piper and who will pay.

Air Force Two was carrying Biden and his wife, who were returning to Washington after two weeks spent with friends in New York's Hamptons, a popular summer retreat on Long Island for wealthy New Yorkers. No humans were injured during the incident, which is the first of four recent Biden-movement related accidents to involve an aircraft. The rest (one in November 2009, one in February 2010 and another last week) were motorcade incidents.

Fed-up Flight Attendant Strikes A Chord

The Internet is trying to come to the rescue of Stephen Slater, the most famous (possibly ex-) flight attendant in the world after his dramatic departure from a JetBlue flight on Monday. JetBlue has now publicly acknowledged the incident, has given everyone aboard the Embraer E190 a $100 voucher and is only saying Slater is suspended (even though he said he was quitting). The story has lit up every form of media for the past couple of days and the "I'm not going to take it anymore" groundswell could mean Slater won't have to risk suitcases to the head anymore. Stephen Colbert has already lionized Slater as an Alpha Dog of the Week.

In case you haven't heard, after arguing with a passenger as the airplane approached the gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday, Slater reportedly announced his resignation (with a few expletives) over the intercom, grabbed a beer from the galley, deployed the emergency slide, and lit out for home. He was arrested later that day at his home in Queens and charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and trespassing. The last straw for Slater reportedly was a passenger who ignored instructions to stay seated, swore at him, and started to remove bags from the overhead bin, hitting Slater in the head in the process. Slater asked for an apology and the passenger refused, at which point Slater said his goodbyes and left. At the arraignment on Tuesday, his lawyer said Slater was not reckless, and used proper procedures to activate the slide, first checking that nobody on the ground would be endangered by it.

Slater quickly became a kind of folk hero on the Internet, as thousands of workers who could relate to his frustrations expressed sympathy for his reaction. By Tuesday afternoon, one Facebook fan page had 29,296 fans. Several bloggers said the passenger should also be arrested or fined or at least made to apologize. Slater, 39, has been with the airline for 20 years. The airline did not immediately terminate Slater but said in a statement on Tuesday that he had been removed from duty pending an investigation. After his arraignment, Slater did not post the $2,500 bail and remained in police custody.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Cessna — California Law Needs A Go-Around

Julie Filucci from Cessna Pilot Centers agrees with our blog that flight students need protection — but she argues that California's new law will unnecessarily burden small flight schools with paperwork and added cost that might force them to close.

Read her counterpoint in a special guest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

AVweb Insider Blog: When Flight Attendants Lose It

The pax may not be far behind. Although normally the soul of propriety and a stickler for discipline and procedure, Paul Bertorelli suggests that he may very well have followed Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater down the emergency slide. As for the beer, he'll take a Sam Adams.

Click here to read Paul's latest post at the AVweb Insider blog.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Embraer Unveils 650 At LABACE

Embraer Aircraft will take the home field advantage Thursday and unveil the first Legacy 650 business jet at the seventh Latin America Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Sao Paulo. The reveal will happen at 1 p.m. on the first day of LABACE. The event, which has grown steadily in importance over its brief history as South America becomes a mainstay market for aviation, runs until Aug. 14 at Congonhas Airport. A media briefing will be held the day before outlining the progress of the program. The 650 is an updated and beefed-up version of the Embraer 600 and offers a 500-nautical mile increase in range over the 600. Most other business aircraft manufacturers will be at the show.

Bombardier is holding its first Latin America safety standown in conjunction with the event. Last year, more than 13,000 people attended.

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

Question of the Week: What Protection Do Flight Students Need?

Our blog about protecting flight students from financial loss has earned a lot of response, and now Cessna, whose chain of affiliated Cessna Pilot Centers train many of the world's new pilots, has something to say in this guest blog by Cessna's Julie Filucci.

What protections do flight students need?
(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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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

X-Air's $60,000 Light Sport Aircraft

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

X-Air is trying to deliver on the promise of a low-cost LSA for affordable, fun flying. Just before he left Oshkosh at the end of EAA Airventure 2010, AVweb's Jeff Van West took the X-Air LS up for a flight.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Aviation Consumer Shows You How to Upgrade Your Headset to ANR

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

How hard is it to upgrade your old headset to become noise-canceling? Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West tried it out. And he only burned himself with the soldering iron once.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for more on Headsets Inc. in the August issue of Aviation Consumer.

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.

IFR Magazine's Tips for GPS VNAV

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

Going vertical? Get more from your GPS. VNAV is a great feature that goes unused or underutilized on many a GPS. See how a GNS 430's VNAV can do more than just tell you when to start down for the airport.

If you enjoy this video, be sure to look for other instrument flying tips and advice in our sister publication, IFR magazine.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Lakeshore Aviation (KMTW, Manitowoc, Wisconsin)

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

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Last week, we told you how many of the FBOs nominated in our weekly contest were those pilots discovered when the weather forced them to divert from Wittman Regional Airport on the first day of Oshkosh. This week, we have another FBO that stepped up for those displaced pilots — Lakeshore Aviation at Manitowoc County Airport (KMTW) in Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

AVweb reader Al Mathews was the first to tell us about the terrific service he and others received at Lakeshore on their way to OSH:

Curt Drumm and his Lakeshore Aviation team welcomed us and went out of their way to accomdate our needs. They quickly arranged for restrooms and showers, brought picnic tables to us, arranged for a bus to take us to AirVenture, and held a Wisconsin brats and beer barbecue for us! No request was ignored.

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!

Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversary back to top 

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... We're Giving You Another Chance to Win a Bose Aviation Headset X

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Our 15th anniversary celebration continues, with a second chance to win a Bose Aviation Headset X! All you have to do is click here to enter your name and email 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, September 3, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week Will Return on Monday

Readers have provided us a great batch of photos this week, but we won't have them ready by press time. We've spent a bit more time hunting down and clubbing a gremlin than expected, so we'll have this week's "POTW" ready for you sometime Thursday and in the AVwebFlash on Monday.

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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