AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 41b

October 14, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! How Many Hours Does a Co-Pilot Need? back to top 
 
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Committee Challenges New 1500 Hr Requirement For FO's

The FAA's aviation safety bill passed earlier this year, but a new report suggests the included prerequisite 1,500 hours flight experience for commercial airline copilots may not be necessary. An FAA advisory committee led by a regional airline official has proposed that 500 actual flight hours may be enough. Language in the safety legislation says that the FAA Administrator "may allow specific academic training courses ... to be credited toward the total flight hours required." The committee suggests that through an elaborate structure of training courses, up to two-thirds of the safety law's required 1,500 flight hours could be satisfied with other credited training. The proposal is merely a recommendation and it is not clear that there is any wiggle room in other language that specifically imposes the flight hours requirement. Meanwhile, the proposal has reignited the total hours versus quality-of-training argument. And pilot groups, industry voices and safety advocates are weighing in.

Legislators who fought for the safety bill's language say the law explicitly requires 1,500 flight hours, and any modifications must be justified by a resultant increase in safety. The president of the Regional Airline Association, Roger Cohen, has a different opinion. Cohen said academic work is "far more useful in training pilots for modern airline operations" than hours spent "towing banners above the beach." As for the FAA, Administrator Randy Babbitt supports improved training over a general requirement for more flight hours. Babbitt has previously commented on the subject, saying "experience is not measured by flight time alone." The Regional Airline Association holds the view that a "proper mix of the experience and academic/training approaches" would best ensure safety. And two pilot groups represented on the committee have split on the issue. The Air Line Pilots Association backed the committee's recommendations, while the Coalition of Air Line Pilot Associations supported experience over even enhanced training.

 
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Amazing Aviation Around (and Above) the World back to top 
 

Red Bull Stratos Jump On Hold

As recently as last weekend, a Red Bull Stratos team member told AVweb all was going well and the jump was planned for this year, but on Tuesday the team said the project is on hold pending the resolution of a lawsuit. The Stratos team announced early this year that it would launch a helium balloon to 120,000 feet, where Felix Baumgartner would jump out and return to Earth by parachute, to beat the longstanding free-fall record held by Col. Joe Kittinger. On Tuesday, a brief news release said that "Red Bull GmbH and Red Bull North America, Inc., have decided to stop the Red Bull Stratos program with immediate effect." A lawsuit was filed in April in Los Angeles Superior Court by Daniel Hogan, who says that in 2004 he pitched the idea to Red Bull to break Kittinger's record, and the company talked with him about the project for a year before backing out. In its statement, Red Bull said it has "acted appropriately ... and will demonstrate this as the case progresses."

Red Bull's statement continues: "Despite the fact that many other people over the past 50 years have tried to break Colonel (Ret.) Joe Kittinger's record, and that other individuals have sought to work with Red Bull in an attempt to break his record, Mr. Hogan claims to own certain rights to the project and filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit earlier this year in a Californian court. ... Due to the lawsuit, we have decided to stop the project until this case has been resolved." According to Courthouse News, Hogan claims he pitched the idea to Red Bull as a "marriage of daredevil, record-breaking 'stuntsmanship' and cutting-edge technology." He assembled a team including balloonist Per Lindstrand, a Russian company that would develop the spacesuit, two medical professionals and a filmmaker. Red Bull spokesperson Maddy Stephens told AVweb on Tuesday: "It is not a unique idea to beat an existing world record (especially when it is 50 years old). The challenge is to actually beat it. Otherwise, we do not comment on pending litigation."

Gabriel Nderitu, Kenyan Homebuilt Aircraft Manufacturer

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An I.T. specialist in Kenya, Gabriel Nderitu, spent six months researching aircraft on the Internet and one year building what he hopes may become a true Kenyan homebuilt flying machine. 42-year-old Nderitu cites a boyhood interest in aviation and says, "So maybe it was a missed career, which I'm trying to re-create." He employed five men to help with welding and assembly. In the end, Nderitu mounted a Toyota engine to his modular airframe. The strutted wing and ailerons are skinned with aluminum sheet. The engine itself turns up to 4,000 rpm, driving a 74-inch wooden propeller through a simple reduction belt drive. Nderitu says "a bit of it was a bit of reinventing the wheel ... not really looking and trying to copy." The aircraft is not yet finished and there is no guarantee Nderitu's craft will ever be licensed, or allowed to fly, or that it is even capable of flight (which seems unlikely). But that may not be the point.

Nderitu hopes to complete the airplane "whether it flies or not." As a longstanding dream, he says he just wants to "get it out of my mind, then I can do something else." Whatever it achieves, the craft may serve as inspiration. "If a guy says that 'I want to build an aircraft' it seems like he's from the moon, or from somewhere. And if it happens, if it at least lifts off, even if it is three feet, it shows that you have gone somewhere."

 
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Event Reports back to top 
 

Edwards GA Fly-In A Success

Landing on a dry lakebed can be challenging but exciting, and 98 general aviation pilots got to have that experience this month, thanks to the first-ever GA fly-in at Edwards Air Force Base. "This is a uniquely Edwards event. Only Edwards has lakebed runways," said Maj. Gen. David Eichhorn, Air Force Flight Test Center commander, as he welcomed the arrivals on Oct. 1. Most of the pilots lived in the area, but James Simmons flew in from Connecticut in his Mooney M20, and others arrived from Texas and Michigan. More than 2,000 pilots entered the lottery to win the 100 fly-in slots for the chance to land on the same kind of runway as aviation icons like Scott Crossfield, Chuck Yeager and the space shuttle crews. With passengers and drive-in visitors, the Air Force hosted about 800 people for the all-day event.

The lakebed has an unusual "potato-chip" surface that is dusty and crunchy to land on, and the wide flat area lacks visual cues to help pilots judge their height above the ground. Runways are marked with miles of oil. The GA pilots arrived via Runway 20, which is 22,000 feet long by 300 feet wide. About 15 warbirds were also invited. The day began with a pancake breakfast, followed by a movie about the X-15 program, and a discussion about the Edwards airspace and strategies for GA pilots to avoid unpleasant encounters with military jets. Departures were a little earlier than planned due to impending thunderstorms. The last GA airplane left by 2:30 p.m. The organizers said they may host another GA fly-in in 2012. For updates, visit FlightTestNation.com.

Balloonists Complete America's Challenge Race

The America's Challenge gas balloon race launched from Albuquerque last weekend after a tribute to the two pilots lost over the Adriatic Sea last month, and by Monday afternoon all six of the teams had landed safely. The top three teams were all led by female pilots. Race organizers said, "While we haven't had time to do the research, it's almost certain that this is a first in the annals of competitive distance gas ballooning." Barbara Fricke and copilot Peter Cuneo flew the farthest, landing on the east shore of the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, on Monday after flying 1,350 miles from their launch point. Unofficial results place Danielle Francoeur and Linda Ellis in second place, with 1,223 miles, and Cheri White and Mark Sullivan third, with 938 miles. One team, Troy Bradley and Shane Robinson, made a precautionary landing in Texas, just 266 miles from the start, after someone on the ground with a rifle fired at them several times.

Bradley told Albuquerque news station KOB they were flying just 400 feet above a cornfield near Lubbock when they heard the first shot. Bradley said his copilot scanned the area with binoculars, and spotted a truck. "He could actually see the gun pointed at us. And then another shot went and he could see the flash from the gun barrel." Robinson called 911 and police arrived and arrested the men in the truck. Bradley landed the balloon to check for damage. The America's Challenge race has been held every year since 1995 in conjunction with the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Richard Abruzzo was scheduled to compete; he was flying in the Gordon Bennett race on Sept. 29 when he and Carol Rymer Davis disappeared during a thunderstorm.

 
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Pilots 'n Paws 'n — Talons? back to top 
 

Afghan Eagle Gets GA Lift

A steppe eagle named Mitch that was wounded in Afghanistan in June and rescued by Navy Seals was delivered via Cirrus SR22 to a bird quarantine site in upstate New York last week. "It was an interesting experience," Cirrus pilot John Williams told AVweb. "It took almost an act of Congress to get this bird back to the U.S." Mitch had been hit after landing on a rifle range, and a wing was damaged so he couldn't be returned to the wild. The Seals and other soldiers at the site adopted him, but knowing they would soon be re-deployed, they worked for several months to find him a new home. Williams picked up Mitch at a general aviation airport near Norfolk, Va., where the bird had hitched a last-minute ride to the U.S. via military transport. "The bird arrived in a dog crate and luckily it fit just perfectly on the back seat of the Cirrus," Williams said. "It was an absolutely stunning, gorgeous bird. Two soldiers had flown over with him to make the handoff, and then had to go straight back to Afghanistan. I was honored to help out." After spending 30 days in quarantine, Mitch will move one more time, to a permanent home with the Berkshire Bird Paradise Sanctuary.

Navy Seal Craig White helped to care for Mitch in Afghanistan and contacted Pete Dubacher of the Berkshire sanctuary after finding his website online. Red tape nearly derailed the effort, but many people rallied to the cause, including author Barbara Chepaitis, who had recently finished a book about the sanctuary; New York Sen. Charles Schumer; and volunteers with Pilots 'n Paws. "I found out while we took care of Mitch, he (or she for all we know) is very easy to grow fond of, and I think he will be nothing short of an awesome resident [in his new home]," White said. "Literally hundreds of hours of everyone's time and energy went into this and I think this is something that we can all feel really good about." Mitch should arrive at his permanent home in time for Veterans Day.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

European Parliament Voting On Pilot Bill

The European Parliament is expected to vote today or Thursday on whether to essentially cancel some of the privileges of pilots holding FAA certificates in European Union countries. Proposed regulatory changes put forth by the European Aviation Safety Agency would also make it more difficult to operate American-registered aircraft in Europe. In a special edition podcast interview with AVweb, Emmanuel Davidson, vice president of AOPA in France, said the proposals put forth by EASA "represent the greatest threat to general aviation in Europe in the last decade" and virtually all pilot groups and many companies and industry groups are trying to get it derailed. One of the difficulties with that is the measures are hidden in a larger bill of changes deemed positive by most in GA in Europe and the American issues will have to be separated from them.

Davidson said the most serious impact of the EASA proposal would be to effectively negate the FAA IFR rating that most IFR-rated pilots in Europe fly with. An FAA IFR rating is considerably less onerous to obtain than a European one because the European requirements are the same as those required for an ATP. Davidson estimates the average private pilot, with a job and family, would take more than a year to do the ground school and the rating would cost about $30,000.

Work Starts On PiperJet Factory

Piper Aircraft has hired a contractor to renovate a 75,000-square-foot building at its Vero Beach headquarters that will become the PiperJet factory. The news is welcome in Vero Beach, where there have been persistent rumors that the company was planning to move. It was purchased by the government of Brunei 18 months ago and now has a presence in that country. The recent announcement of a European sales office further fueled speculation but the announcement of the factory work may quell those fears, even if repeated assurances from Piper brass haven't. "We're committed to Vero Beach for the long haul," Piper VP Randy Groom told TCPalm.

Design work will begin immediately and construction should be complete next year. Among the major improvements is to air condition the whole building. The newspaper also said Piper has been working on the aircraft itself and will announce specific improvements at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta next week.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sweaty Palms over California

Or was it Oregon? With two moving maps, it all looks the same, says Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, in which he explains why the steely-eyed aviator confidence vanishes when the XM WX Satellite Weather stops working. Were we always such wimps, or is this something new?

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: FAA's EMS Regs — Overdue?

Normally, we're the first to squawk about heavy-handed and unnecessary FAA regulation, but the agency's proposed rules to tighten down EMS operations is probably a good thing, especially if it gets the industry thinking out how these services are used and, unfortunately, overused. Paul Bertorelli has more thoughts on the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

Question of the Week: Where Does the U.S. Stand in Aviation?

FAA credentials are widely accepted throughout the world, regardless of the requirements of other countries. The European Union is considering invalidating U.S. certificates and aircraft certification standards. Is this a trend, and what should be done about it?

Does the U.S. Set the Gold Standard in aviation?
(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.)

NBAA Next Week, AVweb Is There

The business aviation world is collectively shining its shoes and pressing its suits for the largest convention dealing specifically with bizav. The National Business Aviation Association Meeting and Convention will be held at the Georgia World Congress convention center from Oct. 19-21 and AVweb will be there to provide a full package of news, video and audio reports on the big show, which, despite the economy, is still a big show. This one is shaping up to be a battle of the heavyweights.

Bombardier Aerospace has let it be known that it considers itself the dominant player in the large business jet sector and it will answer the challenge put forth by Gulfstream and its G650, an ultra-long-range aircraft with a projected top speed of .925 Mach. Bombardier will announce a new aircraft (or an upgrade of an existing one) that is expected to give the G a run for its money. AVweb is also aware of several new product announcements from other companies and will be offering the most comprehensive coverage of those developments. Our special show editions will run Oct. 19, 20 and 21.

Related Content:

  • We've already heard from many of the exhibitors at NBAA 2010, but if you're planning to be at the show and have announcments you want us to know about, please send your news to editor@avweb.com.

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 
 

AOPA France's Emmanuel Davidson: What the EASA Rules Really Mean for FAA-Certificated Pilots

File Size 10.6 MB / Running Time 11:40

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In the next day or two, the European Parliament will vote on whether to effectively eliminate the flight privileges of pilots holding FAA certificates. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with AOPA France's Emmanuel Davidson on the impact of the rules being proposed.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (10.6 MB, 11:40)

Video: The Story of Red Bull's Aerobatic Heli (And Pilot Chuck Aaron)

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

Chuck Aaron is an FAA-certified aerobatic helicopter pilot. And he flies for Red Bull. The helicopter is a modified Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm BO-105. Aaron can be seen flying at Red Bull events.

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win a Lightspeed Zulu Headset

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win a Lightspeed Zulu aviation headset 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 October 15, 2010.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


Congratulations to Ronald C. Hanna of Independence, Oregon, who won our last prize, a PMA6000B audio panel! (click here to get your own from PS Engineering)

 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: London-Corbin Airport (KLOZ, London, KY)

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

AVweb reader Bob Klee recently benefited from top-notch service at London-Corbin Airport (KLOZ) in London, Kentucky — and that's why we're naming the facility at L-C our "FBO of the Week." Bob wrote:

[I] called them to say I might not be able to get there before they closed on a Sunday night [and asked], if possible, could they leave a hangar open and keys to the courtesy car hidden somewhere for me. John stayed till I arrived at 7:30, led me to my hangar and helped me with my stuff! ... I've always had good service here, but this was above and beyond. [There are] always friendly, helpful people at this small airport, and they deserve to be recognized. They just flat understand putting the customer first!

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!

 
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.

*** THIS WEEK'S WINNERS ***

medium | large

copyright © Matthew Kiener
Used with permission

First Class Indeed!

Matthew Kiener of Pottersville, New Jersey tells us the gent traveling on this, um, luxury business jet is "my boy Bobby, on his trip from Maryland to Montana — and my wife got to fly with him!"

medium | large

copyright © Larry Raulston
Used with permission

History Flies By

"Jim Younkin's beautiful 1928 Curtis Wright Travel Air D-4000" courtesy of Larry Raulston of Neosho, Missouri; blue sky on loan from our favorite "POTW" contributor, Mother Nature.

medium | large

Used with permission of Brian Lee Robbins

Rise of the Great Pumpkin

Linus and the Peanuts gang may be sitting in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin, but Brian Lee Robbins of Columbus, New Jersey has already had his close encounter — a few weeks early.

medium | large

copyright © Ron Chambless
Used with permission

Rainbow Over Burning Man Airport

Rainbow photos have been pouring in lately — which isn't much of a surprise given that we enjoyed about six weeks of thunderstorm photos before the Rainbow Era. Ron Chambless of Boise, Idaho has the latest contribution to this fun genre, and it's a stunner. Ron was on hand for this year's Burning Man celebration in the Nevada desert and brought back a photo that's already monopolized our desktop.

medium | large

Used with permission of Mike Lawie

Wright Flag

Mike Lawie of Muskegon, Michigan flies us out this week with a high-flying flag on display at North Carolina's Wright Brothers National Memorial.


Got a hankering for mroe reader photos? Check out the slideshow on AVweb's home page.

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:

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.

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.