AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 43b

October 28, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Is the "Bad Economy" Your Time to Buy? back to top 

Financing Available For Qualified Light Aircraft Buyers

In contrast to the financing market for business jets, there's money available for qualified purchasers of good used piston aircraft. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Jim Blessing of Air Fleet Capital said that while lenders may be leery of business jets older than 10 years, he's having no trouble finding money for those who want to buy airplanes built in 1970 or later, as long as they have their financial affairs in order. He said that while credit requirements have tightened somewhat, there is money available for those who can demonstrate financial stability in the context of the tough economy.

Blessing said it's a given that many prospective buyers have seen their financials change dramatically over the last couple of years but as long as they can demonstrate they've weathered the storm and they're on the upswing, or at least the cusp of it, they should be fine. He said the best advice he can offer is to get pre-approved for financing so there's freedom to shop around in confidence for the bargains that do appear in markets like this.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Time To Ditch FAA Medicals?

Does it make sense that pilots need a third-class medical to fly even the smallest GA aircraft, while drivers can get a license to drive vehicles that weigh much more without a checkup? David Wartofsky doesn't think it makes sense at all, and he has petitioned the FAA to reconsider its rule. Wartofsky, the owner of Potomac Airfield, near Washington, D.C., is used to taking on the government bureaucracy and seems ready for a new challenge. He suggests the FARs should be changed to require all pilots to have a valid driver's license, but no medical requirement for piloting an aircraft less than 6,000 pounds max gross weight. "People are in more danger from passing vehicles on the road, than small aircraft passing overhead," says Wartofsky. He has posted his petition to the FAA online, and encourages supporters to submit comments to the FAA docket.

In his petition to the FAA, Wartofsky adds that a comparison of liability insurance premiums for small private aircraft versus automobiles "attests unemotionally and non-politically that the losses, the premiums charged for those losses, and therefore the actual risks, are comparable, if not favoring the small private aircraft." He adds that pilots know their own limitations well enough that they will "hang up their spurs" on their own. "They are not suicidal," he says. "Nor do they have any desire to endanger their passengers or anyone else." To read the full text of Wartofsky's petition, and add your own comments to the FAA, visit his web site.

Related Content:

NTSB Examines Regional Airline Safety

The NTSB this week held a two-day forum to examine safety issues related to code-sharing agreements between major airlines and regional carriers. "We have investigated many accidents in which passengers bought tickets on a major carrier and flew all or part of their trip on a different carrier -- one that may have been operating to different safety standards than the carrier that issued the ticket," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. John Prater, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, said that crews on regional routes tend to fly "potentially the most fatiguing schedules" and added that "current regulations never envisioned this model." Besides representatives of the NTSB, FAA and the airline industry, presenters at the forum included relatives of crash victims, who provided some of the most dramatic testimony.

Some family members said the FAA's tolerance of different standards for pilots at smaller carriers amounts to a fraud on the public, according to USA Today. "Why are the airlines allowed to play that shell game?" asked Scott Maurer, whose daughter Lorin died in last year's Colgan Air crash. USA Today noted that although six of the nine fatal airline accidents since 2003 involved regional carriers, over longer time periods the safety records are about the same. Airline representatives said the system improves service to hundreds of smaller airports and keeps fares low. Regional airlines account for half of all U.S. passenger flights and about a quarter of all passengers, according to the Washington Post. More details about the forum, including prepared testimony by most of the participants and an archived webcast, is available at the NTSB website.

Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
The Countdown Is On!
Don't miss your last chance to vote for your choice as to which aviation charities will receive the $10,000 grants from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation. If you have not voted, go to LightspeedAviationFoundation.org and cast your ballot. There is no obligation but to share your opinion and vote. It will only take a minute. Again, go to LightspeedAviationFoundation.org today and make your vote count for your favorite charities.

Voting closes October 31, 2010.
NATCA, FAA in NextGen Synergy back to top 

NATCA Lauds FAA Collaboration

The president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association says the union is collaborating with the FAA on the implementation of new technology and the entire industry will benefit. In a speech to the Air Traffic Control Association meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, Paul Rinaldi said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has involved controllers in the planning process for NextGen and it will result in a better system. "We want to be part of something we can be proud of and serve our country in a critical safety function that is so inherently governmental," Rinaldi told the conference. He said the process began with agreement on a new contract for controllers a year ago that all but eliminated the adversarial atmosphere that dominated the recent history of relations between the agency and the controllers. The progress made between the agency and the union was highlighted by the choice for Air Traffic Control Specialist of the Year, Steve Hansen.

Hansen spearheaded the union's role in enhancing safety through the Air Traffic Safety Action Program (ATSAP). The program encourages controllers to report safety issues so that measures can be taken to address them. "We have seen a steady shift of the FAA away from the failed punitive blame culture of the last administration to one of a just safety culture that values and encourages collaboration. Steve is a big part of that," Rinaldi said. Hansen began his controller career in the military and joined the FAA in 2005 in Fairbanks. He has 20 years of experience.

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Beyond the Next Horizon back to top 

Spaceport Runway Opens With WK2 Landing

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Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo, carried beneath the WhiteKnightTwo mothership, landed at the New Mexico Spaceport last week to christen the new runway. "We are celebrating the world's first spaceway at the world's first purpose-built, commercial spaceport," said Governor Bill Richardson, who was joined for the event by Virgin CEO Richard Branson. The spaceship flew over the spaceport, where a crowd of media and future space travelers was gathered, then landed on the new runway, which is over 10,000 feet long. The runway is constructed from four inches of asphalt and 14 inches of concrete, laid on top of a two-foot-deep bedding surface, which is strong enough to support just about any aircraft flying today, according to the spaceport's news release. Branson said the event was "truly inspiring," and added, "I for one can't wait for the grand opening."

The spaceship recently made its first free flight, gliding to a landing at Mojave, and more milestones are expected soon. "Our spaceship is flying beautifully and will soon be making powered flights, propelled by our new hybrid rocket motor, which is also making excellent progress in its own test program," Branson said. Besides the new runway, the spaceport facility includes a hangar, which is nearing completion, that will house up to two WhiteKnightTwos and five SpaceShipTwos, in addition to all of Virgin's astronaut preparation facilities and mission control.

SwiftFuel Expands Testing

Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have agreed to work with Swift Enterprises to test the company's unleaded aviation fuel, the university said this week. Recent tests at Purdue used six aviation piston engines including a Lycoming TIO-540-J2BD, the highest-octane-demand engine currently manufactured, and a 65-octane Ranger L-440 built in 1933, which is one of the lowest-octane-demand engines in use. "SwiftFuel appears promising as a replacement for 100LL general aviation fuel," said David Stanley, principal investigator for the research project. The fuel is also being tested in a Beechcraft Duchess light twin aircraft used as an airborne laboratory by the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.

The Duchess testing included two days of flying under similar atmospheric conditions, which allowed for a good head-to-head comparison of SwiftFuel and 100LL under actual flight conditions, according to the Purdue news release. Paul Shepson, head of Purdue's chemistry department, said the tests compared the fuels' performance, acceleration and operational differences on the ground and in the air. "SwiftFuel performed very well during the tests," he said. "I was unable to discern any significant difference in performance between SwiftFuel and 100LL during the in-flight tests." Swift Enterprises and Purdue have agreed to continue the research project through at least April 2012.

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli spoke with Swift's David Perme about the fuel last summer; click here for that podcast.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

PT6 Powers Cessna Test Turboprop

A few more details have emerged about Cessna's experimental single-engine turboprop. According to airworthiness (PDF) and registration (PDF) records provided by Plane Fax, the presumed N-number of the aircraft, N350CE, is indeed an experimental aircraft intended for research and development and banned from flying over developed areas except for during takeoff and landing. The R&D plane has only two seats and, as is customary with test planes, only those who have business being there are allowed on board. The documents also put to rest speculation on the engine choice for the test article. It's a PT6.

Although Pratt and Whitney Canada says the PT6A-135A puts out 750 horsepower, Cessna is saying it has 500 horsepower in its FAA filings. The engine is 62 inches long and is the same series used in twins like the old Cessna Conquest and the King Air C90. It's also used in the Vazar single Otter turbine conversion, which is a pretty big single. It might fit in a modified Corvalis but a six-place design is also a possibility. Cessna got the paperwork approval for the aircraft in early April and asked for it to be valid for a year. Fresh speculation is that Cessna will announce the program at AOPA Summit in Long Beach in early November.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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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."

'VFR: Cross-Country Planning' || Take This Safety Quiz from the AOPA Air Safety 
Institute (ASI)
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Safe Pilot?
Challenge yourself with the Air Safety Institute Safety Quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency.

Quiz Topic: VFR — Cross-Country Planning
If your last glance at FAR Part 91 was two years ago during a cram session for a flight review, odds are you're a little fuzzy on some of the details. The rules on supplemental oxygen use, for instance. Or the speed limit in Class C airspace. Or those pesky ELT battery replacement intervals. Or ... heck, why not just take the safety quiz and find out what you're forgetting?
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

Question of the Week: Is the Third Class Medical Necessary?

Now that Sport Pilot certificate holders have been flying around for five years without a noticeable rate of medically-related accidents, is it time to reconsider the medical requirements for all private pilots?

Should the Class Three Medical be abandoned?
(click to answer)

Previous 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.

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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.)

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: A Wake-Up Call on Airport Security

In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli cheers ExpressJet pilot Michael Roberts for bringing some much-needed scrutiny to airline security procedures — though one voice and a few sound arguments aren't likely to send TSA back to the drawing board.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Glass Panel Redundancy

Ever wish you could ride along with Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli and Kitplanes editor Marc Cook on one of their story-finding expeditions and join in the heated discussion of a hot button aviation topic like — oh, say — whether it's acceptable to fly IFR without iron gyros to back up the data from your trusty G3X?

If you insist on getting into the middle of this, don't miss Marc's commentary on why he's comfortable with his glass panel's built-in redundancy.

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

Video: IFR Magazine's Two-Part Tour of the FAA's AeroNav Web Site

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

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.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Shoreline Aviation (Marshfield Municipal/George Harlow Field Airport, Marshfield, MA)

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

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!

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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 100,000 Air BP Bravo Rewards Points

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

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.

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.


Welcome back to "Picture of the Week." We had hoped to get in a regular installment of "POTW" last week, but NBAA kept us a little too busy to serve up our usual gallery of reader-submitted eye candy. And man, do we ever regret it! Last week's photos were a stunning bunch, and even with a few extra days to pick a winner, we have to tell you — 'tweren't easy. Not only did the submissions from our missed week raise the bar in terms of quality; they topped our expectations in quantity, too. With that in mind, we're not combining entries from the last couple of weeks to catch up. If next week's entries are unusually thin, we may roll them over — but, more likely, we'll work on sneaking in an extra edition of "POTW" sometime over the next couple of weeks. (Now that's what we'd call a win-win scenario.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Tim Riley

Final Approach to Paradise

This particular paradise is the "Main Salmon River in Idaho, Wilson Bar USFS air strip." Tim Riley of Los Gatos, California captures the moment perfectly and beats out a slew of other reader photos to be named our "Picture of the Week."

"Note the tent under the tree," Tim points out. (That comment kept us busy for a couple of minutes; maybe it'll do the same for you.)

medium | large

Used with permission of Diana Richards

Fighter Cockpit

Diana Richards the best houseguests. Seen here is the cockpit of Jack Kearbey's S.E.5a biplane, just as Diana experienced it when Kearbey dropped in for a visit on her Jasper, Missouri farm. "The leather helmet and gloves were placed casually by Jack as he exited the aircraft an hour earlier," writes Diana. "Just a little imagination takes on back in time to a British aerodrome during WWI."

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copyright © Paul T. Gernhardt
Used with permission

"Which Way Did He Say to Turn?"

Paul T. Gernhardt of Ashburn, Virginia is back in the submission box this time around, with a delightful photo of the Snowbirds performing at this year's Reno Air Races. "This is my favorite jet aerobatic team," Paul told us — and we wholeheartedly agree. Until we get to the next pic of the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels. (Call us wishy-washy, but we can't pick just one. We can't!)

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Used with permission of Dave Mills

Blue Moon

This simple but gorgeous photo from Dave Mills of Coquitlam, British Columbia (Canada) came so close to being our "Picture of the Week" that we're almost indignant with ourselves on Dave's behalf. Fortunately (or not), years of making tough aesthetic decisions under pressure of deadline have hardened our hearts and enabled us to move on.

(Though we did make this shot from the Abbotsford International Air Show our desktop wallpaper for the week, if only so we can spend the next seven days second-guessing ourselves.)

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copyright © Zane Jacobson
Used with permission

Cornfield Cub

Zane Jacobson of Portland, Oregon wraps things up with the "final lonely J3 Cub at the Graham Field Fly-In in Adams Mills, Ohio." Zane, we're counting on you to bag up the trash and turn in the keys to the rental, O.K.?

The Blue Angels! Awe-inspiring sunsets! The youngest member of the AeroShell Aerobatic Team! You'll see them all in this week's bonus photos, only in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Go!

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.

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