AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 34b

August 26, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Fly Into Edwards AFB back to top 
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NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, our Thursday issue is a little later than you might usually expect it. Thanks for waiting.

Enter Now For Chance To Land At Edwards AFB

The dry lakebed at Edwards Air Force Base in California has seen lots of aviation history in the making, and on Oct. 1 another first will take place there -- a fly-in for general aviation aircraft. Just 100 pilots will be drawn by lottery to land on the 21-square-mile Rosamond Dry Lake, which has been the site of aviation research and testing for more than 50 years. Historic events at Edwards include the Bell X-1 tests that first broke the sound barrier and the first landings of the space shuttle. Pilots can enter the lottery online, but must meet strict criteria, including a minimum of 200 hours of flight time, liability insurance, and a background check. Only single- and twin-engine GA aircraft are permitted, no jets, gliders, LSAs or helicopters; warbirds will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Pilots must be prepared for high and gusty winds, and must be willing to land on dry packed mud. Click here to review the requirements and enter; the drawing will be held Sept. 10, but due to the overwhelming response, applications for most pilots must be in by 5 p.m. California time on Thursday, Aug. 26.

The only exceptions to that deadline are warbird and Civil Air Patrol applicants. The fly-in will feature a pancake breakfast, a briefing from the Air Force Flight Test Center commander on the mission and current programs, a detailed explanation of the R-2508 airspace surrounding the base, techniques on navigating the airspace and avoiding traffic conflicts, a presentation on women in the flight test community, and a catered lunch. The only fee is $25 for the two meals. There is a possibility of a military aerial demonstration and static display. Drive-in visitors are also welcome to the event, but each person in the car also must pre-register online by Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. Those applications also may have to be capped, so don't delay. Anyone attempting to enter without prior permission, by either land or air, will be turned away, the Air Force says.

Related Content:

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Doors, Design and Diligence back to top 

FAA Responds To Diamond Door Departures

Responding to "several reports of the rear passenger door departing the airplane in flight" the FAA Wednesday published proposed rules for owners of certain Diamond aircraft models. "Several reports" appears to translate to 31, according to the FAA, and affected models are DA40 and DA40F airplanes. The FAA is proposing to change the models' "emergency open doors procedure" via temporary revision to the aircrafts' flight manuals and apply an "improved design" to an open door retention mechanism on some aircraft. The physical change required for door retaining brackets would affect 428 airplanes in the U.S. registry at an estimated cost of $245 per aircraft. But that change does not affect the door locking mechanism, itself, which Diamond says appears to be fine ... so long as pilots actually close the door.

The FAA says Diamond has already tested the locking mechanism and has concluded that it provides adequate strength to react to flight loads. Diamond has determined that the real problem of losing doors in flight is related to a safety-latch design feature currently on the aircraft. The latch is meant to hold the doors in a "near closed" position while the aircraft is on the ground. According to the FAA, it "might not" hold the door in that "near closed" position in flight. Diamond's understanding is that pilots who have lost doors in flight failed to properly secure the rear passenger door prior to flight. The FAA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is accepting comments prior to Oct. 12, 2010, and is available online.

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Destination: Wayyy Up There back to top 

"Flying Studio" Set For Stratosphere Jump

Felix Baumgartner is working to break the longstanding freefall record by jumping from a balloon gondola at the edge of space later this year, and this week Red Bull said it has developed a "flying video production studio" to capture the event for live streaming over the Internet. When the current record was set, 50 years ago this month, USAF Col. (Ret.) Joe Kittinger documented his jump from 102,800 feet using spring-wound motion-picture cameras warmed by hot-water bottles. The Red Bull Stratos capsule will be equipped with nine high-definition cameras, three 4K digital cinematography cameras and three high-resolution digital still cameras. The outside cameras are in pressurized housings designed to protect them from the near-vacuum air pressure, ice and extreme heat of the stratospheric conditions. Baumgartner also will carry three small cameras attached to his space suit. The launch date will be announced within a few weeks, the team said on Wednesday.

Jay Nemeth, photography director for the project, said the mission camera systems are crucial not only to provide the live event coverage but to document "the little nuances and details" of the freefall for later scientific research. "The better the quality of the images, the more we give the scientists to look at later and analyze," he said. Nemeth also noted that the complexity of the Stratos camera system is a "double-edged sword," since it will allow the team to collect more vibrant footage with more angles and more coverage, but "there is much more to go wrong."

Amateur-Built Spacecraft Ready To Launch

A Danish team of space enthusiasts has built a rocket that they hope will carry humans into suborbital space, and they plan to launch it on Monday, Aug. 30, with a test dummy. If all goes well, they will launch again soon with an astronaut on board to experience parabolic flight to the edge of space, about 62 miles above the surface of the Earth. The "micro-size" minimalist single-place spacecraft will launch on top of a booster rocket from a launch tower in the Baltic Sea. As the booster uses up its fuel, it will be jettisoned, and the capsule will continue to ascend and achieve zero-g as it reaches its apogee, then descend beneath a trio of parachutes for a water landing. The goal, the team leaders say, is to provide access to space for adventure tourism as well as commercial and scientific purposes.

The leaders of Copenhagen Suborbitals bring plenty of skills to the project -- Peter Madsen previously built his own submarine, and Kristian von Bengtson formerly worked for NASA. They have financed the non-profit endeavor with private donations and the help of volunteers. They say the mission has a "100-percent peaceful purpose" and will not carry any kind of weapons. They intend to share all their technical information as much as they can, within the laws of export control.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Red Bull Pilot Killed In Unrelated Training Accident

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Alejandro Maclean, a pilot in the Red Bull Air Races since 2005, died last week while practicing for an airshow in his native Spain. The airplane slammed into the ground during a maneuver and Maclean was killed instantly, according to a spokesman for the Casarrubios del Monte air field, near Madrid, where the accident occurred. Maclean, who twice won aerobatic championships in Spain, had placed as high as fifth in the Red Bull races. He was known for an aggressive style of flying and was a pioneer in air-race fitness, working to lose over 40 pounds in 2007 to help gain fractions of a second in high-G turns. He started flying in ultralights at age 18, and had survived two other accidents in his career. Maclean was 41 years old, and leaves his wife, Emma, and two children, age 7 and 12.

Earlier this month, Maclean had been named the 2010 winner of the Paul Tissandier Diploma by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in recognition of his work, initiative and devotion to the cause of general and sport aviation. He was scheduled to receive the honor at the annual FAI conference in October. "The entire Red Bull Air Race community and the aerobatic fraternity have lost one of their most vibrant and passionate characters," the Red Bull Air Race said at its website. This year's air races ended on Aug. 8, and next year's competition has been canceled while the organization revamps.

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Quiz Topic: Dreading the Weather
In the age of Google, we're still using coded weather that dates to the teletype era. However, pilots still need to be able to decode this ancient form of communication. Click here to take the quiz.
What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

FAA To Revise NMAC Investigations

The FAA is planning to bring pilots and air traffic controllers together to share information after near midair collisions to help develop better strategies for prevention, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. United Airlines is expected to be the first airline to participate in the project. Currently, pilot and controller reports are analyzed independently. The FAA will also consider possible changes in training for air-traffic controllers and will explore new ways to encourage controllers and their supervisors to report mistakes voluntarily and avoid punishment, according to the Journal. A series of recent close encounters prompted an FAA review of the current procedures.

Two incidents in May at Houston's Hobby Airport both involved Southwest 737s, one in conflict with a news helicopter and the other involving a single-engine Cessna; a United A319 on approach to Washington's Reagan National Airport in June narrowly avoided hitting a Gulfstream business jet; and a Southwest 737 on approach to Burbank, Calif., in April reportedly came within 200 feet of a Cessna 172 practicing touch-and-goes.

Arizona Considering Flight School Fees?

Arizona may be planning to take a chapter out of California's regulatory textbook and that could lead to significant extra costs for flight schools. National Association of Flight Instructors President Jason Blair says Arizona officials are meeting Thursday to discuss the regulation of flight instructors and flight schools. A similar meeting by California officials some time ago that lead to AB48, a hugely unpopular measure that will require flight schools to pay significant registration fees and prove financial viability through a debt-to-equity formula. The California law could lead to school closures and increased training costs and Blair says NAFI is afraid the same thing will happen in Arizona. "As a state that has a significant number of flight training providers, we're concerned about the chilling effect those fees may have on those businesses," Blair said. "We're encouraging our members in that state to get involved in this issue, so we don't have a repeat of the California situation." California legislators say the move is needed to protect flight students from unscrupulous operators but some aviation businesses have dismissed it as a ploy to raise revenue.

Specifically, the Thursday meeting will be held by the Arizona State Board for Private and Postsecondary Education and it will be held in Conference Room B-1, 1400 West Washington St., in Phoenix. The meeting is to discuss the "Question of Regulation of Certain Classifications of Airplane Pilot and Instructors under Part 61 of the CFR." Blair says NAFI is keeping an eye on the proceedings and will report back on them.

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: Regulating Remote Control Aircraft

A letter to the editor on Monday by Chuck Leathers suggesting increased regulation for radio-controlled models in light of the collision between a large RC model and a biplane earlier this month has caused a lot of discussion. Where do you stand?

Should there be tighter regulation of RC model aircraft?
(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: Harsh Realities — Chinese Interests Buy Superior Airparts

The first (and understandable) reaction is to decry another sellout of an American business. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says he gets that — but for those who reach for the emotional high notes about how awful such deals are, here's a question: What's the alternative when no Western buyers come forth?

Read more and chime in with your own thoughts at the blog.

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

Aircraft Ditching Training with the Editors of Aviation Consumer

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

Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West got water up his nose as he practiced exiting an aircraft that has sunk and flipped over. It was quite a ride.

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Aviation Consumer Reviews Avidyne's DFC 90 Digital Autopilot

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

Avidyne has a slide-in replacement for the STEC-55X autopilots common to Cirrus SR20s and SR22s. Aviation Consumer's Jeff Van West took it up for a flight to the claims of improved performance and new safety features.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Landmark Aviation (KAVL, Asheville, NC)

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

Conoco-Phillips WingPoints || Under Our Wings, Reward Yourself a Latte || Click to Get Your 

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Landmark Aviation at Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL) in Asheville, North Carolina.

AVweb reader Tahj Kraus told us about this Landmark location:

I spent three weeks coming and going out of KAVL. Initially I was hesitant to stay there, but thought I'd try out Landmark. Rebecca and Paul made my stay so enjoyable and comfortable that I ended up feeling like part of the family — a home away from home. Even though I'm just an avgas burner, they still made me feel like royalty!

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.

Congratulations to Roger Newcomb of Austin, TX, who won our last drawing, for a Spidertrack Aviator! (click here to get your own from Spidertracks)

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.


We knew we were in trouble this week when we the first five photos we downloaded from the electronic submission box went directly into the "maybe top photo" pile. Picking a winner was tough, but the photos we've got to share with you are outstanding, even by our usual high standards.

medium | large

Used with permission of Isaac Adler

War Machine Turned Refugee Camp

When all was said and done, Isaac Adler of Kalamazoo, Michigan nudged out the nearest competitor by combining a great airplane and unusual photo op. Isaac and the Yankee Air Museum B-17 seen here were both at Pontiac Airport in Waterford while storms were battering Oshkosh during the opening hours of AirVenture. When a sudden downpour surprised everyone, Isaac grabbed his camera to get some shots of the rain against a sunny blue sky and couldn't pass up this shot.

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Used with permission of Keith Langdon

Even Sitting Still ...

Even though these members of the AeroShell Aerobatic Team were grounded during the night fireworks display, Keith Langdon of Lawton, Michigan knew they'd steal the show in this photo destined to become your next desktop wallpaper image.

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Used with permission of Dave Major

Three Flying Cars

Dave Major of Benton, Kansas treats us to a line-up of his "Cherokee 140B with my three 'flying cars.'" We spent a little time wondering about them ourselves, until we read Dave's comments:

The one closest to really flying is on the far right. I took a 1957 BMW Isetta and mounted an O-435 Lycoming six-cylinder aircraft engine on the back end with a six-foot wood air boat prop. In the winter, I attach 3 skis and run it on frozen lakes in Minnesota. (So far it has run 120 mph on a straight stretch of a big lake.) In the summer, we drive it on three wheels in parades all over the USA.

And with that, we added Dave Major's name to the list of readers we really want to hang out with.

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Used with permission of Alberto García-R.

High Above the Tropics — Another Kind of Paradise

Also added to that list? Alberto García-R. of Caracas, Miranda (Venezuela), who took this shot back in February at "a place called Kavac in the south of Venezuela. [In the background] is Auyan Tepui mesa, where Angel Falls (the tallest waterfall in the world) is located."

(It's been a few hours since we first saw this photo, and we're still marvelling over that skyline.)

medium | large

copyright © Stephen Koewler
Used with permission

Julie Clark's "Top Banana"

Stephen Koewler of Sacramento, California isn't the first reader to send us pics of Clark's T-28C — but he is the first to wow us with a perfect complement of natural colors.

(Not that you need us to tell you, but this one too makes a perfect desktop wallpaper image.)

You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. (Midwesterners, take note: You're well-represented this week!)

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW."

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.