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Volume 16, Number 37a
September 13, 2010
Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
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AVflash! Investor Intrigue at Cirrusback to top 

Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters confirmed that a delegation of potential investors from China visited the company's Duluth facilities last week but he said it's not the first and probably won't be the last time the company has hosted foreign capitalists. "We have been very open that we are looking for capital," Wouters told AVweb. "We should expect more people to come here of different ethnicities." Wouters declined to say who the Chinese delegation represented but he also downplayed the significance of the visit, which occurred about two months after rumors swirled that the company was going to be sold to a Chinese company. "Everyone thinks the Chinese are going to buy everything," Wouters mused. He said there are many other countries with solid financials that are looking to buy their way into high-technology manufacturing and Cirrus is actively courting anyone who comes calling. He said South America, in particular Brazil and Chile, are especially promising prospects. More...

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Safety and (National) Securityback to top 

When an unmanned Navy helicopter disregarded its directions and errantly flew toward the U.S. capital last month it may have validated the concerns of many pilots, but it immediately engaged military officials who had pressing decisions to make. The Aug. 2 incident put a runaway MQ-8B Fire Scout over populated areas near busy airspace. The head of the U.S. Northern Command and NORAD, Admiral Sandy Winnefeld, was watching "very closely" as the aircraft "headed right for the heart of the national capital region." Commanders considered their options. "Do you let it run out of gas and hopefully crash in a farmer's field or do you actually take action to shoot it down?" Admiral Winnefeld told reporters. In the end, 20 minutes into the aircraft's wanderings and before scrambling F-16s, operators regained control of the helicopter. But the event, combined with regulatory issues that make spontaneous domestic drone deployment impossible, have military officials reluctantly looking backward for near-term solutions. More...

A lawsuit brought by a former Guantanamo Bay prisoner and four others that sought to hold Jeppesen Dataplan Inc responsible for aiding the CIA in flying them to secret interrogation sites was dismissed Wednesday by an appeals court. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco "reluctantly concluded" in a 6-5 vote that the possibility of exposing national security issues during trial superseded the complainants right to have their day in court. Jeppesen was described in a 2007 report as the CIA's aviation services provider. The complainants claim they were taken from the U.S. to foreign locations where they were brutally interrogated. Two of the men are currently being held abroad. The other three have been released without charges. The new ruling overturns a 2009 decision that reinstated the suit after it had been dismissed by a district court judge in 2008. The ACLU, which represents the men, plans to take their appeal to the Supreme Court (though a Supreme Court ruling was referenced in the 9th Circuit's opinion). More...

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The Probable Cause?back to top 

A rudder pedal jam may have led to the fatal crash of former U.S. Aerobatics Champion Vicki Cruse during qualifying for the world championships in England last year. The British Air Accidents Investigations Branch says it also can't rule out pilot incapacitation as a contributing factor in the accident. The AAIB report (PDF) says Cruse added rudder pedal extensions to the Edge 540 she was borrowing for the competition. A post-crash examination revealed that the left extension could have ended up in a position that would have prevented the pilot from fully removing left rudder once it had been applied. A video of the accident indicates some degree of left rudder (pro-rotational) being applied after the aircraft failed to recover from a snap roll and continued rolling as it descended vertically from 2,300 feet to the ground. The AAIB also noted that Cruse's head was tilted to the left during the crash sequence, suggesting her "ability to recognize or respond to the situation had somehow become impaired" either because she was looking down at her left foot or she was unconscious. More...

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Rest and Comfort — On an Airline?back to top 

New rules (PDF) proposed by the FAA to manage pilot fatigue were announced Friday; they provide limits on duty time of any kind, provide 30 consecutive hours weekly of time off and attempt to guarantee at least eight hours sleep between shifts. The new requirements aim to create a single consistent rule that "would eliminate the current distinctions between domestic, flag and supplemental operations." That translates to domestic, international and charter operations and means a minimum rest period of nine hours off-duty measured from the time the pilot reaches suitable accommodation. "Unforeseen circumstances" may lower that to eight hours. The FAA says the new rules are based on scientific research that show factors other than sleep affect fatigue, including "time on task." While defining a single consistent rule for rest, the rules for duty time are more flexible. More...

click for larger image

If the various indignities of modern airline travel haven't been enough to push some disgruntled passengers toward private aviation, the SkyRider just might. Italian airliner seat manufacturer Aviointeriors will introduce a saddle-shaped design at next week's Aircraft Interiors Expo in Long Beach. It says can be installed in just 23 inches per seat. The base of the seat is, uh, form-fitting, with depressions for the legs that will naturally pitch them forward in what appears to be an attempt to minimize necessary leg room. The result is a half-standing/half-sitting posture, but designer Gaetano Perugini told USA Today it's not the standing room that some budget carriers have suggested. "Even though the (distance between seats) is extremely narrow, we are talking about seats, not about ... having passengers simply standing on the floor," he says. "You are sitting on a special seat, but it is a seat." Aviointeriors Director General Dominique Menoud said the seats will be as comfortable as a cowboy's saddle and he apparently wasn't kidding. "The seat ... is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle." More...

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News Briefsback to top 

Zimbabwe's national airline has fired all of its pilots after they ignored a Friday deadline to end their strike. Air Zimbabwe pilots stopped flying Wednesday to pressure the cash-strapped airline into restoring full monthly salaries of $2,500 a month. Wages were cut in half in February. The BBC reported the airline says it doesn't have the money to meet the pilots' demands and that they should "consider themselves fired" for staying off the job. To put a fine point on it, airline chairman Jonathan Kadzura said the pilots "fired themselves by embarking on an illegal protest." The BBC did not say how many pilots are involved. Air Zimbabwe flies three Boeing 737-200s and two 767-200s along with three Chinese-built Xian MA60 turboprops. Sacking the pilots doesn't necessarily mean everyone else at the airline is out of a job, however, since Plan B involves a deal with a South African airline More...

The coming departure of Mayor Richard Daley from Chicago has some aviators hoping the window has opened for a return of Meigs Field to Chicago, although there's currently no hard evidence to support that hope. Meigs Field was rendered unusable in the early hours of March 30, 2003, when Mayor Daley sent heavy construction equipment (unannounced) to alter the runway under cover of darkness. The move stranded some aircraft and ultimately landed the city of Chicago a fine from the FAA, but the airport was lost and now serves as a runway-less public park. Now, the Obama administration is pushing an infrastructure program that includes runway repaving projects, and Mayor Daley says he'll not seek re-election. But there's currently no indication that either one of those things would cause the park to be paved over and converted back into a functioning airport. AOPA, however, Thursday announced that it's supportive of those still seeking the return of Meigs and will work to explore opportunities to bring Meigs back. Other comments left by individuals online were more colorful. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

Over on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli confesses he doesn't need a motivational speech to take the Cub out for a hop — but it's sure nice to have an enthusiastic mechanic, nonetheless. While he's at it, he has some less-than-maudlin comments on the 9/11 anniversary. Read more and join the conversation. More...

This security program is supposed to apply to large aircraft, but its impact could be widespread enough to affect even the smallest airports. Guest blogger John Hyle joins the AVweb Insider to argue that we need to be paying closer attention to encroaching (and entirely unnecessary) government security procedures. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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Letter of the Weekback to top 


Letter of the Week: What Happened to the LSA Dream?

I was recently reminded of how fortunate I am to be flying. The other day, while I was working on my plane, a fellow pilot taxied up in his partner-owned Piper Arrow. After parking and securing the plane, with great care he washed and detailed the aircraft. When finished he walked over to me, handed me his David Clarks, leather flight bag complete with charts, E6B, and portable radio and walked away.

His only (very emotional) statement was: "I can't afford to fly anymore. I'm done. Please put these things to good use." I understand his pain and frustration. Several months ago I purchased an inexpensive experimental, a SoneraiII. I had previously owned a Cessna, but rising fuel, insurance, and maintenence fees drove me to sell — at a loss. It was that or give up flying altogether or until flying becomes more affordable.

Years ago, we were promised inexpensive sport airplanes that the "average" person could afford. What happened? As I search available new aircraft it seems that most are in the $80K-$100K+ price range. Where are the real airplanes we were hoping to see in the $30K range?

What I see available in that price range are not much more than glorified ultralights, hardly what I believe we were hoping for. Remember the statements "about the price of a new car"? It is my wish that someone would step up to the plate and develop a truly affordable aircraft. I earn an average income, and $100,000 is hardly affordable. If this does not happen, as hoped for, I believe the scene I saw played out will happen more and more.

Fred Lowerre

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

This video comes from an airport security camera, believed to be at New York's JFK, where a 747 got momentarily loose from the crew and pushed a tug across the ramp. Yeah, we know — it's supposed to work the other way around. More...

Glasair Aviation's Mikael Via introduces the new turbocharged, carbon-fiber-bodied Sportsman TC to Kitplanes editor-in-chief Mar Cook at EAA AirVenture 2010. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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

AVweb reader Roger Vaughn discovered our latest "FBO of the Week" at Port Meadville Airport (KGKJ) in Pennsylvania:

Two weeks prior to Labor Day, I called Pennsylvania airports looking for parking and a rental car. No guarantees were made ... [until] I spoke to Mark at Port Meadville. He took my name and N-number and said, "I'll take care of everything; have a safe flight." [On arrival at KGKJ] a voice came over the radio saying, "Follow me; I'm in a blue Blazer by the taxiway. ... When I got out of my plane and met the voice on the radio, it was Mark, [who helped push our Cessna into] a brand-new hangar. He then gave us a ride to the FBO where he handed me the keys to a rental car ... [and let us drive] right up to the hangar to unload and depart for a relaxing vacation in a cabin by the lake.

I can't say enough about how attentive Mark was to our needs and the extra steps he took to make our visit an extremely pleasant one. Foul weather was looming for the first two days and then some strong winds blew through prior to our day of departure. We never had to give our plane a second thought, knowing it was safe from the elements.

Keep those nominations coming. For complete contest rules, click here.


Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
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.


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Heard on the ATL Approach:

Cessna 123:
"ATL, can we get flight following?"

"123, give location."

Cessna 123:
"Squawk 0130, baro 30.21."

Cessna 123:
"South of VPC."

"123, you're squawking the baro pressure. Squawk 0130."

(He must have been partying late.)

Gary Austin
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.