AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 45b

November 11, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVweb, AOPA Working Together back to top 
 
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AOPA and AVweb Joint Statement

Recent reports in AVweb.com regarding AOPA compensation and other issues have been strongly challenged by AOPA leadership. AVweb.com naturally defends its reporting and its role as the independent voice of general aviation. In an effort to have an open-ended, unrestricted dialog about all facets of AOPA's operations -- from finances to fuels to new pilot recruitment -- the association and AVweb have agreed to an unprecedented exchange of views and information. This will take place in coming weeks in the form of detailed interviews with AOPA principals that will include a fresh look at how the organization functions and how it defines its role in promoting general aviation. Both AVweb and AOPA believe such an independent review represents an unparalleled opportunity to build confidence in GA's future.

Craig Fuller, AOPA

Tim Cole, AVweb

Paul Bertorelli, AVweb

 
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AOPA Summit This Week back to top 
 

AOPA Summit Launches In Long Beach

AOPA's annual Summit runs Thursday through Saturday this week in Long Beach, Calif., featuring a long list of events and industry updates. The main hall hosts about 500 exhibits, and the schedule includes programs and speakers for new pilots, seasoned fliers and enthusiasts. A variety of social events and fundraisers are planned, including a Friday-night block party. Among the industry updates, Cirrus Aircraft co-founder Dale Klapmeier will discuss the Vision SF50 personal jet and the new Perspective ESP flight-stability-augmentation system. The Terrafugia crew will be showing their proof-of-concept "flying car" inside the main exhibit hall. Cessna and Bye Energy will have an update on their progress toward building an electric-powered Skyhawk. Long Beach Airport will host static displays, including Fifi, the only flying B-29 Superfortress.

Thursday's opening forum will comprise a panel discussion about the high dropout rate of flight students -- 70 to 80 percent never earn a certificate -- and Friday and Saturday's keynote speakers will focus on the future of aviation. Friday's speakers include representatives from Virgin Galactic, Icon Aircraft and Terrafugia. Saturday, futurist John L. Petersen, founder of The Arlington Institute, will discuss the evolving trends that he expects will dramatically change general aviation by 2020. AVweb staff will be at the event from start to finish to bring you all the news.

 
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Aircraft Safety back to top 
 

Boeing Grounds 787s

A crew of 42 aboard a 787 Dreamliner on a test flight Tuesday afternoon evacuated safely via emergency slides at Laredo, Texas, after the pilots reported smoke in the cabin while on approach to the airport. "We have decided to not fly the other planes until we better understand the incident," a Boeing spokeswoman said, according to BBC News. Nine airplanes are currently in the test fleet. The 787 had launched from Yuma, Ariz., on a routine test flight and had been in the air for six hours. According to the Seattle Times, the cause of the smoke was "a serious in-flight fire in the electrical-equipment bay." The fire affected the cockpit controls, and the jet lost its primary flight displays and auto-throttle, according to the Times. Boeing, however, said on Wednesday the primary flight displays were not affected, according to a local TV station. Boeing has released few details about the incident.

The crew was testing the nitrogen-generating system that reduces the flammability of jet fuel inside the wing tanks, the Times said. The airplane program is already three years behind schedule. Stock prices for Boeing fell about 3 percent on Wednesday as news of the incident raised concerns about further delays.

 
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Where There's Smoke ... There's Not Always Fire back to top 
 

California Missile Launch ... Or Aircraft Contrail

Images captured Monday evening near Los Angeles "could be a test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile," speculated former Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Ellsworth, but at least one other source offered a more mundane explanation. Multiple news sources reported Tuesday that the Pentagon and other military sources "can't explain" the images. On Tuesday that translated into rampant media repetition from CNN, Fox News, and other news outlets that no one could explain the "missile launch" that had taken place. Again, the "missile launch" reported was not supported by any official source contacted by the news outlets. For those who have been paying attention, Californians went through a similar experience in January. And in both the latest case and the January case, photographs of the contrails share similarities with photos of contrails left by aircraft flying inbound from over the horizon at sunset. Once you see the pictures, you may consider that possibility, too.

Optical illusions brought on by the sunset and the viewer's perspective helped the images in each case mimic the appearance of a missile launch. At least one online source explains that the images could have been, and most likely were, produced by aircraft at altitude flying toward the observer and not by a missile launched from ground level, flying away. Some witnesses of Monday's incident note the apparent lack of ballistic missile-like speed shown by the vehicle. AVweb has included for your study images of contrails. The first image (top) is an enlargement of the "missile launch" seen on Dec. 8. The second shows the January event that also led to similar "missile launch" speculation. The others are contrails left by aircraft that haven't developed a large "missile launch" theory constituency. CBSNewsOnline's video of the event, which either shows the glowing burn of a rocket engine moving away, or the shining reflection of a jetliner moving forward, is here.

 
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Aviation Safety back to top 
 

Report: Automation Erodes Pilot Skills

Reliance on automated systems may be eroding the flying skills of pilots, contributing to about 60 percent of the accidents reviewed by an FAA research team, the Wall Street Journal reported last week. FAA researcher Kathy Abbott presented the preliminary results of the FAA study at an aviation safety conference in Milan. Operating flight-control computers can distract pilots from "managing the flight path of the airplane," Abbott said. In addition, "pilots sometimes abdicate too much responsibility to the automated systems." She added that sometimes pilots don't get enough practice in hand-flying and will hesitate to take control away from the computer in an emergency. The results of the study are expected to be released early next year, hopefully by February, Abbott told AVweb.

The study aims to update an influential FAA report from 1996 that examined "The Interfaces Between Flightcrews and Modern Flight Deck Systems" (PDF). Since such systems have evolved considerably since that research was completed, the new study is "widely expected to set a benchmark," according to the Journal. At last week's forum, Abbott added that her team's research has shown that pilots sometimes are uncertain whether it's better for the autopilot to be engaged or disconnected in various types of emergencies.

Revised AD Adds Steps To Cessna Seat Checks

Owners of 36,000 Cessna aircraft will be required to add more steps to their inspections of seat rails to ensure they are secure, the FAA said in a notice of proposed rulemaking released this week. The proposal applies to 18 models, including the 150, 152, 172, 182, and 210 single-engine aircraft, as well as several twins, including the T303 Crusader and the 337 Skymaster. The new directive aims to update an earlier AD issued in 1987. Since then, the FAA says, it has received several reports of accidents, some fatal, in Cessna aircraft where the primary latch pin for the pilot or co-pilot seat was not properly engaged in the seat rail or track. The new AD adds steps to the inspection procedures and clarifies some of the existing steps. The cost to comply is estimated at $85 per airplane for the inspection. If parts are found to need replacement, the estimated cost is about $775.

The inspections must be done within 100 hours time-in-service since the last inspection completed under the old AD, or within 12 calendar months of the effective date of the new AD, whichever comes first, the FAA said. The inspection then must be repeated at intervals not to exceed 100 hours or every 12 months, whichever comes first. The AD proposal describes in detail the inspection procedure. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 23.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Aviation Companies Launch Olympics Suit

A coalition of six Vancouver-area aviation businesses is suing the Canadian Ministry of Transport for lost business resulting from the flight restrictions imposed during the 2010 Olympic Games. Mike Skrobica, of the Air Transport Association of Canada (ATAC) announced the suit at ATAC's annual meeting in Vancouver on Monday. He told AVweb the companies are claiming lost revenue of almost $1 million. The Canadian government enforced flight restrictions over Vancouver and the resort area of Whistler for about a month from just before the start of the Games in February until just after the opening of the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics. The flight restrictions cut or curtailed most training, sight seeing and charter operations. Skrobica said Transport Canada normally compensates companies for such disruptions but didn't in the case of the Olympics. "We're hoping the ministry makes us an offer," Skrobica said, noting the case will be launched with a news conference in Vancouver this week. Collette Morin, owner of Glacier Air, one of the six companies involved in the suit, said the Olympics hurt her business significantly.

"We are still struggling from interruption in cash flow," she said. "People assumed we would be really busy during the Olympics but we were shut down." She said it would technically have been possible to conduct limited operations during the Olympics but the rules made it impractical. For instance, to conduct charters from its home base of Squamish, midway between Vancouver and Whistler, Glacier would first have had to fly outside the restricted area to a "gateway" airport for security checks before conducting the charter. Others involved in the suit include flight schools and other small charters.

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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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 
 

Grass Roots Aviation Flourishing

File Size 5.8 MB / Running Time 6:20

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the Coolest Gadgets Lightspeed Aviation || Change Your Mind

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The Alliance for Aviation Across America was born of the threat user fees posed to general aviation in small town America. It's found a lasting place as a voice for the industry and the people who rely upon it. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Executive Director Selena Shilad.

This podcast is brought to you by Phillips 66 Aviation and Lightspeed Aviation.

Click here to listen. (5.8 MB, 6:20)

Volunteer Pilots and Fuel Reimbursement

File Size 4.4 MB / Running Time 4:50

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There's been some confusion about the issue of volunteer pilots getting paid for the fuel they burn. Rol Murrow of the Air Care Alliance sets the record straight with AVweb's Russ Niles.

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Click here to listen. (4.4 MB, 4:50)

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

Video: Piaggio Royal Gull at AOPA Summit 2010

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

At the AOPA Summit in Long Beach, Don Albin was kind enough to offer this tour of his rare aircraft — an amphibious twin engine pusher, the Piaggio Royal Gull seaplane.


Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

This video is brought to you by Ultra Electronics' Flightline Auracle and WxWorx XM WX Satellite Weather.

Video: SNJ-5 'Daisy Pearl' — A Tribute at AOPA Summit 2010

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

Wilbur Owens's SNJ-5, 'The Daisy Pearl,' is a tribute to two men, Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown, who flew for the United States military. Brown was the Navy's first African-American pilot. He was shot down during the Korean war. Hudner, a fellow pilot, earned the Medal of Honor trying to save Brown from the elements and Chinese infantry. Read more here.

The aircraft was on display at Long Beach Airport during AOPA Summit 2010.


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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

This video is brought to you by Phillips 66 Aviation and Lightspeed Aviation.

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

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

15 Years and Now 15 Grand Giveaways ... It's Your Chance to Win an iFly 700 GPS from Adventure Pilot

CLICK HERE to Register for All 15 Drawings

Win an iFly 700 GPS from Adventure Pilot 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 Sunday, November 28, 2010. (That's a couple of days later than our usual Friday deadline, because of the Thanksgiving holiday.)

Click here to read the contest rules and enter.

 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Northern Aroostook Regional Airport (KFVE, Frenchville, ME)

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

The AVweb staff has been pulling some late nights gearing up for the AOPA Summit in Long Beach this week, so we can identify with the manager of our latest "FBO of the Week."

AVweb reader Joel Cutler told us how Dave Fernald, the manager of Northern Aroostook Regional Airport (KFVE) in Frenchville, Maine "waited for me until midnight and was there at 04:45 when I returned to depart. He didn't even go home to sleep!" writes Joel. "Pumped my fuel, put my plane in the hangar, and couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. I'll go back just to visit!"

Now that's how you get to be named an AVweb "FBO of the Week"!

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!

 
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.