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Volume 16, Number 43a
October 25, 2010
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AVflash! The Changing Face of Flyingback to top 
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Aviation Summit || February 22-23, 2011 || Miami, FL USA || Register 

AOPA says a 14-percent increase in its membership fee has been greeted with "understanding" by most of those who have contacted the organization. As of September, the annual fee went from $39 to $45. "This is our first dues increase in about 20 years," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb.. " While no one likes to pay more, most of the members who have contacted us have been understanding. Many have made comments to the effect that they couldn't believe we didn't do this sooner." Former AOPA President Phil Boyer was proud of the fact that membership fees had been frozen at $39 during his tenure and often mentioned it during speeches at AOPA events. Membership fees in the U.S. are among the lowest of all AOPA groups. In Canada, membership in the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is $55 plus tax while in the U.K. it's about $175 at current exchange rates. Current AOPA President Craig Fuller said the increase (which will generate about $2.5 million a year) is necessary to fund the continued expansion of advocacy and membership services. More...

The FAA will publish a new proposed rule in the next few months that would require pilot certificates to include a photo, an FAA spokesperson said this week. Currently, pilots are required to carry a government-issued photo ID in addition to their pilot certificate. U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., recently wrote to the FAA, the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security asking why they haven't complied with a 2004 law that requires pilot certificates to include not only a photograph but a means to record biometric data such as fingerprints and iris scans. The FAA's Sasha Johnson said the FAA will release an NPRM by the end of this year, according to The Associated Press. She also said that the current plastic certificates already are capable of holding biometric data, although no such data currently is required. More...

Michael Roberts says he's an ExpressJet Airlines pilot who has worked out of Memphis for more than four years and now fears that may change after, on Oct. 15, he refused to subject himself to a full body scan by TSA workers. Roberts likens the scan, a technology that reveals a graphic depiction of a person's body beneath their clothing, to "virtual strip searching." His refusal was met with the alternative of being frisked, an offer that Roberts also declined. Screeners and Roberts then discussed their positions on the matter and the event became a stalemate. At that point Roberts says he attempted to leave and was detained for questioning. In the end, Roberts was denied access to the facility. He says the TSA contacted his employer. And he is now unsure of the future of his position at ExpressJet. Roberts' account has become a topic of debate in online pilot forums. Whatever your opinion, Roberts actions were well-considered by him in advance and were apparently not intended as a conclusive act but rather to initiate further action. More...

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Tomorrow's Airplanesback to top 

Cessna CEO Jack Pelton has all but confirmed the company will soon be introducing a turboprop single aimed at bridging a market gap between its high-performance piston single Corvalis and the Mustang entry-level jet. In a video interview with AOPA, Pelton was asked about a persistent rumor that it's developing what is commonly referred to as a "turboprop Mustang." Pelton has been asked about it repeatedly at the National Business Aviation Association convention and finally commented on it to AOPA. There's also a shadowy FAA registry reference to a turboprop single Cessna E350 that suggests it's an R&D project. More...

Plane Driven earned interest at AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 with its PD-1 roadable Glasair Sportsman and now says it will continue developmental research and design with a new test version, the evolving PD-X. The PD-1 vehicle matched a Sportsman with oversized wheels and disk brakes at each leg, plus fold-back wings and fold-in stabilizer sections. Thrust in the air was provided by the aircraft's normal propulsion unit (Lycoming, plus propeller). A second engine was carried below the fuselage at the center of gravity to drive the main gear's wheels on the road. But before heading to the road, the main gear and engine would slide along rails to the back of the fuselage for vastly improved road handling. The PD-X aims to refine that design and lead to a final version to be made available for sale. (Click through for the company's video.) More...

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Aviation Safety: Unexpected Hazardsback to top 

Federal and state authorities are considering charges for a suspect who earned the attention of the FBI for his possible role in putting bullet holes in a Bell Jet Ranger as it flew near Clarkia, Idaho, on Oct. 14. The helicopter was performing contract burning when the pilot and ground crew heard four gunshots. The pilot was 69-year-old Vietnam War veteran Earl Palmer. "The first one I didn't recognize as a bullet," Palmer told the Lewiston Morning Tribune. But the aircraft was struck by the third shot, "and that one, the way it passed through the helicopter, went right over my head," said Palmer. With the fourth shot, Palmer departed the area and landed safely at a nearby refueling facility. There, he found the aircraft had been struck twice, and one bullet had cracked a control tube. "It was within minutes of coming apart," Palmer said. More...

The story of a crocodile getting loose in the cabin of a Let L-410 Turbolet and precipitating a 20-fatality crash on short final in the Democratic Republic of Congo was widely published Thursday, and does not match earlier reports. According to the new story from, testimony from the lone survivor of the Aug. 25 crash has led investigators to believe the smuggled crocodile escaped a carry-on "sports bag" at the rear of the cabin, motivating passengers to charge the cockpit in panic. The aircraft was on short final at the time, and the sudden transfer of weight, according to the Telegraph, sent the plane "off-balance" and caused the crash. One passenger, and the crocodile, survived, according to the Telegraph. The crocodile was then killed by rescuers with a machete, the newspaper said. Early reports of the crash universally did not include a crocodile but did suggest more familiar possibilities. Among them is a French language news report that includes an earlier account of the survivor's testimony -- sans crocodile. More...

Barrington Slack, a private pilot, was reportedly alone in a single-engine 1976 Rockwell International 112TC Commander flying over Burke County, Ga., when he departed the aircraft and landed safely under canopy. The aircraft impacted near a cow pasture and was destroyed. One witness who estimated he was about 400 yards from the crash site saw the aircraft come down and said the impact "was like a bomb went off." A local ABC news affiliate reported that a police report "said Slack tried to get the plane's rudder to work but didn't have much luck. And a little after 7, the plane ran out of fuel and crashed." The Augusta Chronicle reported that Slack told authorities he'd departed Covington at about 4 p.m. for Columbia, S.C. The cities are about 175 miles apart and the crash site is roughly between the two but off track to the south. More...

Critical Aspects of Aerospace Governance 
Workshop || November 10, 2010 || Seattle, WA || Register Now
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News Briefsback to top 

The FAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have inked a five-year agreement to develop aviation fuel from agricultural and forestry waste. The program will study the availability and fuel-refining potential of a variety of biomass sources. "Under the partnership, the agencies will bring together their experience in research, policy analysis and air transportation sector dynamics to assess the availability of different kinds of feedstocks that could be processed by bio-refineries to produce jet fuels," the USDA said in a news release. Both agencies already have biofuel programs but hope the collaboration will keep them focused on projects that will work for both the producers and the end users. This program is aimed specifically at jet fuel. There's no mention of looking at alternatives to 100LL. More...

The Reader's Digest version of how pilots and flight attendants perceive their jobs (and their customers) has hit newsstands and we hope this isn't the condensed version. The magazine said it polled 17 airline pilots for "50 Secrets Your Pilot Won't Tell You" and 13 confidences kept by flight attendants. FAs got to expand their contribution with a list of the 10 things that really get their goat at work. There aren't many surprises from the pilots. Most deal with well-known irritations like work schedules and declining pay but there is the odd pearl. "No, it's not your imagination: Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals," says one AirTran captain. "So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes." The flight attendants' responses are indicative of just how bizarre their jobs can be at times. More...

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Reflecting on NBAAback to top 

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) says exhibitor and attendance numbers are up over last year's convention and spots for display aircraft were sold out, but outside of the event analysts remain cool about the industry's recovery. The NBAA convention "remains a must-attend" event for industry players, according to NBAA CEO Ed Bolen. And to casual observers an increase in attendance and vendors at NBAA's convention can suggest anything from good things to businesses seeking leverage in difficult times. Analysts are more direct. Gary Crichlow of Ascend Aviation Consultancy told a Financial Times reporter that 2011 looks to bring "more of the same" for business aviation. Crichlow believes "2012 will be when things start picking up." The Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia called 2010 a year of "convalescing" and believes recovery is unlikely prior to 2012. NBAA's Bolen contends that this year's convention shows that, in his industry, "people and companies are optimistic and forward-looking." And, at least for products at the highest end of the bizjet price range, there may be reason for that optimism. More...

The NBAA show in Atlanta was noticeably more robust than last year, but most of the talk centered on recovery and why it's taking so long. Almost no one is asking if the industry has reached an inflection point similar to that of 1978, when GA sales went over a cliff. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli says there's at least one good reason to believe that isn't the case: A global market for biz aircraft that didn't exist in 1980. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Looking for AVweb's podcasts, videos, photos, and news reports from the 2010 NBAA Convention in Atlanta, Georgia?

You'll find our media coverage summarized here, and you can read all our news coverage from 2010 (and previous years) here. More...

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New on AVweb.comback to top 

The dream of creating instant jet pilots with VLJs is mostly over. So what's next, in the post-light jet, post-sport pilot world of aviation outreach? On the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles explains why Cessna's response may be a single-engine turboprop to groom Mustang owner-pilots. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The iPad ought to be the best cockpit gadget ever — and although there are some great apps out there (and more coming), it somehow falls short. On the AVweb Insider blog, iPad lover wannabe Paul Bertorelli explains why. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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


Letter of the Week: The Illusion of Safety

It is interesting to note that whereas there is a very definite outcry against the FAA's safety bill passed earlier this year, there has been little, if any, comment on how this bill will have a very negative and deleterious effect upon the overall safety of flight. Aside from the valid argument that there is a very big difference between quantity vs. quality of training and the fact that it might be possible that some academic training could be more valuable than mere time spent in the cockpit, virtually everyone has missed one of the most negative impacts of this bill.

For a very large majority of those persons who want to fly for the airlines, the only way they can realistically gain the required hours in an affordable manner would be to serve their time in the right seat acting as instructors. Unfortunately, only a very small handful of these people will be properly trained and prepared to take their responsibilities as flight instructors seriously and endeavor to provide quality training to their clients. I sadly fear that most of those people spending time in the right seat as flight instructors for the sole purpose of filling the requirement to have 1,500 hours before they can apply for a job as a first officer, will not only resent what they are being forced to do but, further, will not be prepared to provide the quality of training that is so integral to the safety of flight.

Even Randy Babbitt, the FAA administrator, has expressed skepticism about the 1,500-hour requirement, saying it is more important to improve the quality of the pilot training than to increase the amount of experience in the cockpit. Unfortunately, this bill will have the opposite effect. I think we can rest assured that all those people who have no other choice than to serve as "flight instructors in purgatory" as a result of this bill will not be providing the requisite quality training that every pilot, regardless of their ultimate goal in aviation, deserves. This can only have a negative impact on the overall safety of all those pilots who might be trained by these "reluctant" flight instructors.

Doug Stewart
Chairman, Society of Aviation and Flight Educators

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 

The same folks who need speed in their business jets want their computers and mobile devices to be zippy as well. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Bill Sullivan of ViaSat about the next generation of internet satellites to serve airliners and larger business jets. More...

This is the place to go if you want to see what's new, changed or in the works with FAA approach plates. Jeff Van West shares some of the highlights in this two-part video for our sister magazine, IFR. More...

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.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb reader Charley Valera discovered our latest "FBO of the Week" on a chow flight to the Massachusetts coast, where he and his traveling companions visited Marshfield Municipal/George Harlow Field Airport (KGHG) and got the royal treatment from Ann Pollard and the staff at Shoreline Aviation. Charley paints a vivid picture of the good time had by all:

Each of us [there were four airplanes on this trip] has to do a go-around as the winds are shifting. [Ann Pollard's voice] comes over the unicom recommending runway 24 instead of 6. Once down, she's there with an Aviationists Greeting. Happy to have us and accommodating, even at 6:00 PM. She has a van waiting for us with the doors open and ready. Ann takes a few group photos in their new beautiful FBO. ... She tells us to enjoy ourselves and to clear the runway of any deer or coyotes when we return prior to departing. When we get to the restaurant, they are expecting us. Ann made reservations for us with a view! Arriving back to GHG probably over gross from the wonderful fresh seafood, we drive around the airportt, only to scare away a herd of coyotes. The entire experience makes you feel like good family or old friends. A beautiful New England airport with top notch service ... truly an example of how to run an airport.

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 Anniversaryback to top 

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 

Now's your chance to win 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points — there are more than 45 million reward options available through the Bravo program — 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 Friday, November 5.

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.


The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 

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

A few winters ago over Missouri:

"Delta 246, climb and maintain FL350. Traffic three o'clock, 20 miles at FL310."

Delta 246:
"Roger. Delta 246 departing FL310 for FL350. We see traffic at our nine o'clock position, level."

"Ahh — roger, Delta 246. That was three o'clock Zulu, nine o'clock local."

Delta 246:
"Nice recovery, Center. In sight off our left wing. We're climbing to FL350."

Bill Vancil
Fayetteville, Georgia


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.