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Volume 16, Number 36a
September 6, 2010
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AVflash! Crashes and Causesback to top 

One woman was killed and up to 38 people were injured when a Tiger Moth taking part in a small German airshow ran into the crowd Sunday. The accident happened at the Lillinghof airfield about 20 miles from Nuremberg. Witnesses told German media the vintage biplane was taking off when it veered off the runway and into the crowd. About 5,000 people were on hand for the event, which featured mostly small aircraft and an AN-2 Russian transport. It was the second airshow fatality on the weekend in Germany. More...

The UPS Boeing 747-400 that crashed in Dubai Friday was only three years old and had less than 10,000 hours on it, according to a news release issued by the company on Saturday. UPS identified the pilots killed in the crash as Capt. Doug Lampe, 48, of Louisville, Ky., and FO Matthew Bell, 38, of Sanford, Fla. They were based in Anchorage. According to Dubai's National newspaper, the pilot reported a fire on board and was trying to return to the airport. The aircraft had been airborne for 38 minutes before the crash. There is also speculation the pilot deliberately headed for an empty area of a military base, where it crashed. There were no injuries on the ground. The cockpit voice recorder was recovered on Saturday but the flight data recorder has not been recovered. More...

Two years ago, a Spanair MD-82 crashed on takeoff at Madrid, killing 154 people and marking Spain's worst air tragedy in 25 years; now, malicious code infecting a maintenance department computer has been implicated in the crash. To be clear, the code was not flown on the aircraft's own systems and did not cause the crash. This specific crash could have been avoided regardless of the malware's existence. But the discovery of malicious code introduced into an on-ground system operated by the airline's maintenance department does suggests certain negative possibilities. One possible scenario is that the code slowed a program which, if properly maintained, would have flagged the aircraft for service and disallowed the takeoff because of a series of smaller problems already noted with the plane. That's a lot of qualifiers. But the fact that the system was infected and didn't flag the aircraft in this case closed one door on an opportunity to save the flight. It also suggests the urgency of proper computer maintenance throughout the entire airline system to assure safety of flight. More...

The provincial government of British Columbia is suing Transport Canada, among others, to recover the cost of medical treatment for passengers injured in an horrific balloon accident in 2007. B.C. says Transport Canada didn't do enough to ensure the commercial ballooning company involved was properly qualified and equipped to carry out the type of flight that ended in disaster on Aug. 24, 2007. Two people were trapped and died and most of the 11 others were hurt when they jumped from the balloon's basket after a propane fire erupted. Under Canada's public medical system, provincial governments fund a major portion of healthcare. Earlier this year, British Columbia enacted a law enabling it to recover the cost of treatment of those injured due to negligence or criminal acts. The province alleges at least four of the passengers suffered serious injuries, including brain injury, burns, broken bones and traumatic stress disorder. The mother and grown daughter who died couldn't escape and burned to death as the balloon broke its tether and shot 400 feet before the basket broke loose, landing in a campground, destroying several cars and RVs in the ensuing fire. More...

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Last Week's Top Stories: More to Be Saidback to top 

The issues surrounding special light sport aircraft flight in instrument conditions are complex and arcane, and in an effort to ensure that some of the finer points are crystal clear, Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturing Association, sent a follow-up letter to AVweb this week expanding and clarifying some of the details touched on in Thursday's AVweb report. In his letter, Johnson adds background about some of the ASTM committee debates over the issue and emphasizes that safety is the prime concern. "The [committees] always put safety first in their efforts," he says. For the rest of Johnson's comments, see our Letters section. More...

The Santa Barbara Police Department has defended the show of force employed in the detention of King Schools owners John and Martha King on Aug. 28. Spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey told AVweb in a podcast interview officers went by the book in their initial contact with the Kings, which led to their being handcuffed and put in separate police cars. McCaffrey said they were acting on information from the federal El Paso Intelligence Center and the McKinney, Texas, Police Department that the aircraft was stolen (as we've explained in earlier stories the tail number on the Kings' leased Cessna 172 was a re-issuance of the N-number on a Cessna 150 that was stolen in McKinney eight years ago), noting the call from EPIC carries the same weight as a call from the FBI. They had just 15 minutes to cover the 12 miles to the airport and get in position but McCaffrey said they did double-check to ensure the aircraft in question was, indeed, a Cessna with the tail number they'd received. What followed was a textbook takedown, called a felony stop, used by police forces throughout the U.S. to secure a vehicle and its occupants suspected of a serious crime. More...

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We've Got Our Eye on You — Yes, Youback to top 

Existing airport community homeowners might enjoy continued "through the fence" access to their associated runways, but things may be very different for similar communities in the future, according to AOPA. In 2009, the FAA sought to eliminate through-the-fence access to airport taxiways and runways for aircraft based on adjacent private property. That general layout is popular at many airport community neighborhoods. AOPA says the FAA is now leaning toward a more considered approach for those airports that currently include, or were largely built around, a through-the-fence concept. At those airports, AOPA says the FAA may avoid broad-stroke regulation and apply a case-by-case approach. But looking forward, there's still a chance that airports seeking to provide those access privileges in the future may simply be out of luck. More...

A flyer left by the DHS in an FBO at Hickory Regional Airport in North Carolina makes bullet points of suspicious behavior associated with illegal activities but ensnares some behavior pilots might consider routine. The flyer was left at the FBO about two weeks ago by federal agents and lists suspicious activities that include customers who insist on paying in cash, are vague about their itinerary, fly in with a dirty undercarriage, use self-service fueling early in the morning or late at night, seek temporary hangarage for their aircraft, fly a "worn out" plane with a "very nice" GPS, or travel with "excessive" luggage. The posting listed special agents to contact "if you encounter such suspicious activity." It also offered a reward of "up to $250,000" for information "relating to the transportation or storage of contraband and/or criminal proceeds." The list did also include some activities that might be considered suspicious by a larger group of pilots. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Steven Slater has made his final exit from JetBlue. The airline confirmed Saturday that Slater, the allegedly frustrated flight attendant who popped the emergency slide on an E190, grabbed two beers from the galley and abandoned the aircraft at JFK last month, is no longer with the airline. Slater achieved Internet folk hero status after his dramatic departure, allegedly triggered by an altercation with a female passenger who ignored instructions to remain seated until the plane was chocked. Slater later said he'd been bonked in the head by the passenger's carry-on as she, against his instructions, pulled it from the overhead. Slater was later quoted as saying he wanted his job back but the airline deflated that dream with a brief statement. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Can pilots be trained in a simulator to handle every conceivable emergency situation, or are we just kidding ourselves? In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that at some point, you have to stop training and start flying. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The Santa Barbara police chief had the decency and class to apologize to John and Martha King after holding them at gunpoint over the weekend following an erroneous stolen aircraft report. Unfortunately, as Paul Bertorelli reports on the AVweb Insider blog, pilots are uniquely vulnerable to this sort of thing — and we wonder how many agencies would bother with the apology, much less the extra mile to avoid these things in the first place. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Letter of the Weekback to top 


Letter of the Week: LSA, IFR Clarifications by Dan Johnson

While I thank AVweb for frequent coverage of Light Sport Aircraft activities, I must object to some words appearing in the Sept. 2, 2010 article with the title "LSA, IFR, and IMC: An Update." I would appreciate if you could communicate the following to your readers so they more accurately understand the situation.

The following statement is incorrect: "'The IMC change is driven more by committee members' concerns about liability than about safety,' Johnson said." Safety was not secondary. In my interview with reporter Mary Grady, I referred to a defensive position taken by the design and performance subcommittee of the F37 LSA standards-writing committee of ASTM. I intended to suggest that the subcommittee felt it advisable to recommend a placard prohibiting flight into IMC because the subcommittee did not believe IMC flight in LSA was defensible until another subcommittee working on an IFR standard was able to come to consensus. In reverse of the referenced sentence, the main thrust of the subcommittee was to focus on safety, not to worry over a manufacturer's legal liability.


Dan Johnson
Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association

Click through to read the rest Dan Johnson's letter and many more from AVweb readers.


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 What have you heard? More...

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

Santa Barbara Police have taken some heat for their handling of the detention of John and Martha King on Aug. 28. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Lt. Paul McCaffrey of the SBPD, who says that, based on the information they had, the officers did a proper and professional job of bringing the situation to a safe conclusion. (Note this podcast is longer than usual at 16 minutes.) More...

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Wanna go fast and climb like hell? That's what the Silver Eagle Conversion of a P210 with a Rolls Royce turbine engine does. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli recently took a flight demo in the airplane. More...

Jonathan Trappe is a sort of super-hero to some children and a crazy man to some adults. We found him inspirational. Trappe is licensed to fly beneath a group of homemade helium-filled balloons. That means his aircraft is one of the most structurally redundant vehicles in the sky. But it's also challenging to fly. Trappe controls his direction by varying his altitude. He can drop water ballast or stab balloons with a knife to alter his buoyancy as he flies. Wind direction can vary with altitude, and Trappe uses that to his advantage, adjusting his present reality to the forecast conditions. To stay visible to controllers and aircraft, Trappe carries a radio and transponder, making him visible on radar. For visual avoidance, Trappe relies mainly on the 50-foot brightly colored canopy of balloons above his head. At night, he uses lights. More...

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Help Us Celebrate AVweb's 15th Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

You could win a PMA6000B audio panel from PS Engineering! 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, September 24, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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AVweb reader Doug Latch pointed out that we'd given due praise to two FBOs who stepped up to the plate when traffic was routed away from Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh at the beginning of AirVenture — but no one had given a nod to KOSH's own Orion Flight Services:

These people went well beyond normal. They treated me like I had a Gulfstream or Boeing business jet, and they knew from the start I was flying a 1966 Cessna Skyhawk. During AirVenture this year, parking was extreme and almost gone. [While] the other FBO was only accepting twins and jets, Toby Kamark took me and my Skyhawk and treated us like Royalty ... [then] he took as many people as he could to register for the show and returned. ... I was there after the show, and the level of service did not decline.

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!


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

Overheard in IFR 
Magazine's 'On the Air' Section
Overheard in IFR Magazine's "On the Air"

Heard on Chicago Center frequency:

"Chicago, Piper 12345 en route to St. Louis. Request flight following."

"Piper 12345, where in the world are you?"

"I'm down below the water [meaning south of Lake Michigan], heading for St. Louis."

Center (deadpan) :
"Piper 123, it must be pretty wet down below the water. Want to try again?"

"I'm ten miles south of Michigan City."

"That's more like it."

John Urschalit
via e-mail


Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.