AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 16, Number 46b

November 18, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Flying into China back to top 
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China Opens Airspace For GA

China's low-altitude airspace will open up for civilian use over the next five years, the State Council and the Central Military Commission announced this week. "This is the beginning of a new chapter in China's general aviation development," Martin Lin, China president of Textron, told the Financial Times. The new rules will allow aircraft flying below 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) to take off and land without the hard-to-get prior approval that is required today. Aircraft flying from 1,000 to 4,000 meters (13,123 feet) will be required to file a flight plan but also do not have to seek prior approval from authorities. Within days of the announcement, a wealthy village had announced plans to buy 20 aircraft for training and tourism. "We've waited so long for the low-altitude airspace to be opened," said Zhou Li, manager of the Huaxi Village tourism company. The village already owns two helicopters, which will begin to offer tourist flights next month, Zhou Li told Xinhua.net.

Along with opening the airspace, China plans to build its aviation regulations, services, infrastructure, pilot training facilities and flight safety monitoring facilities, according to the circular released by authorities. China already has about 1,000 general aviation aircraft, but the State Civil Aviation Administration said that number could grow to 10,000 by 2012. The market potential is estimated at about $150 billion. This week, Air Show China is under way in Zhuhai.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Airports Can Opt Out Of TSA Screening? Maybe Not

Wednesday, news broke that Congressman John Mica had on Nov. 5 sent a letter to more than 150 airport managers suggesting they adopt private security -- but that would not remove the TSA from the equation. Mica appears headed to chair the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Thanks to an older law he helped write, airports can opt not to use the TSA for security screening, but, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, the airports would have to use the TSA to hire, oversee and pay the "private" screeners. This week, a San Diego man made national headlines when he refused both the pat-down or to subject himself to the TSA's full-body scanner. He was escorted to an exit and then told that if he left without submitting to the screening he would be sued. American Airlines pilots have heard a request from their union to opt out of full-body scans, and AVweb's Glenn Pew sat down for an interview with an ExpressJet Airlines pilot whose decision to opt out of the screening may cost him his job. Click here to listen.

Mica's attention to the TSA was well-documented in May, when he sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, and said the "TSA is a bureaucratic nightmare;" the average salary at TSA headquarters "is over $105,000;" and it's "an agency teetering on the verge of disaster." His latest letter doesn't go that far, but members of the flying public, individual pilots, grass-roots groups and at least one pilot union have so far all demonstrated some displeasure for the TSA's practices.

FAA Adopts Fatigue Limits For Transport Aircraft

A new rule adopted by the FAA this week stops short of requiring "life limits" for transport-category aircraft, but in practice that may be the result. The rule requires manufacturers to set a "limit of validity," the number of flight cycles or hours that an airplane can operate before it must be subjected to additional inspections for fatigue damage. Once those limits are determined, the FAA must approve any extension of the limit. Operators may choose to retire older airplanes rather than submit to more time-consuming and costly approvals and maintenance schedules, according to the Dallas Morning News. Deadlines to set the limits vary from 18 months to five years away. "We've addressed the problem of aging aircraft with numerous targeted regulations and 100 airworthiness directives over the years," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "This rule is a comprehensive solution to ensure the structural safety of today's airliners and the airplanes of tomorrow."

An airplane's metallic structures are stressed and can develop cracks when they experience repeated loads such as the pressurization and depressurization that happens on every flight, the FAA said. While airlines regularly inspect aircraft for cracks exceeding a certain size, widespread fatigue damage is characterized by the development of numerous tiny cracks, none of which would have raised concerns individually but which together run the risk of joining up and impairing the structural integrity of the aircraft. The new regulation applies to airliners with a takeoff weight of 75,000 pounds and heavier, as well as to all transport designs certificated in the future. The affected models total 4,198 U.S.-registered airplanes.

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F-22 Pilot MIA back to top 

Lost F-22 Found, "Pilot Still Missing"

The wreckage of an F-22 lost Tuesday may have been found 100 miles north of Anchorage, but as of Wednesday evening the Air Force could not account for its pilot. The missing aircraft was part of the 3rd Wing at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. A report from the Wing's public affairs office Wednesday evening said the wreckage had been found but the pilot was "still missing" and "finding the missing pilot is our top priority." The mishap aircraft had been part of a two-ship of F-22s and had finished a training sortie. The pilot, whose name had not been released at the time AVweb went to press, had previously undergone Arctic survival training, according to the Air Force. Details about the events leading up to the mishap are few.

At about 7:40 p.m., one aircraft "fell off the radar scope and the pilot lost communications," according to the Air Force, which said the other pilot went to a tanker and refueled before continuing a search for the mishap pilot. That search was unsuccessful. Air National Guard aircraft, a C-130 and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, then "searched the entire night," and in the morning found "a site that fits the data and description" of where the accident likely occurred.

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Technology Forges Ahead back to top 

Tecnam Twin Now FAA-Certified

The FAA has issued a type certificate for Tecnam's P2006T light piston twin, the company announced this week. The four-seat aircraft, powered by two Rotax 912S 100-hp engines, is aimed mainly at the training market, as well as flying clubs, private owners, air taxi, and surveillance. The airplane was certified in Europe last year and already about 50 copies have been delivered. The company says it has another 100 orders in hand. "We have now accelerated production to meet this unprecedented demand and we are now delivering a Tecnam P2006T every five days," said Paolo Pascale, managing director for Tecnam. The company has eight dealers in place in the U.S., and plans to gain Canadian certification next. The Rotax engines can run on either avgas or auto fuel.

Prices for the P2006T (PDF) start at about $425,000; with a Garmin glass cockpit the price starts at $485,000. Tecnam CEO Phil Solomon told AVweb earlier this year that a fixed-gear model is in the works, which he expects will be popular with the owner-flown market. The company is also working on a turbo version of the twin and a de-icing option. Solomon said the P2006T is popular with flight schools for its efficient operation, docile single-engine handling qualities and durable all-metal construction. The engine is water-cooled, so shock cooling during single-engine training operations is less of a concern. It can climb 300 fpm on a single engine. Jeff Van West, of AVweb and Aviation Consumer, flew the P2006T last year; click here for his video report.

Nano-Tech Tackles Icing

Researchers from Harvard University have developed and tested specific, patterned, nanostructured materials that reject supercooled water droplets before that water can freeze to a surface. When supercooled droplets hit smooth surfaces, the researchers found they spread out and freeze. That was not the case when the Harvard team applied the same tests to nanostructures created with patterns that reduced the surface area to which the water could adhere. Perhaps counterintuitively, that involved adding texture to the surface on a microscopic level. With their most successful tests, the researchers found a supercooled droplet would initially hit the surface and spread out, but instead of freezing, the droplets that hit the nanostructured pattern would then retract back into a sphere and simply bounce off.

The research tested materials and showed them to prevent ice formation down to -30C. Below that, ice did form, but did not adhere as well as it did to non-nanostructured surfaces and was considered easier to remove. The project began with a look at the legs of mosquitoes and water strider insects. The insects manage to keep dry thanks to an array of bristles that minimize surface area and repel water droplets. The research is now moving from controlled tests to real-world settings. The group hopes to be able to develop coatings best described as ice-preventive materials specifically designed for particular applications.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Security Goes Down Under

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Private aviation is looking better all the time, especially for those who like to travel in comfortable clothes. Separate reports from different parts of the country suggest the TSA is ready to get down and dirty in the name of security and is conducting full-contact pat-downs of passengers' genitals and buttocks. Owen JJ Stone, a radio personality known as Ohdoctah, appeared on the Alex Jones talk show in Austin, Texas, Tuesday and said a TSA airport screener put his hand inside his sweat pants and ran it around the full circumference of his body, pausing at everything along the way. Meanwhile, in Orlando, a Missouri man wearing shorts had a similar experience. Stone said he was told it was a new rule that applied to those wearing baggy clothing. At many airports, the alternative is a full body scan, which is supposed to take a "for their eyes only" peek under the clothing of those who get the extra security treatment. Well, apparently some of those machines have hard drives that will save at least 35,000 images, as recent visitors to the federal courthouse in Orlando are discovering.

For whatever reason, U.S. Marshals saved the images, and they were available to Gizmodo via a freedom of information request. The images are remarkably low-resolution but they were nevertheless retained despite assurances by security officials that there is no way for the machines to store or transmit the pictures and that they are deleted as soon as the subject has been cleared.

Related Content: Click to listen to AVweb's podcast interview with an ExpressJet Airlines pilot whose decision to opt out of the screening may cost him his job.

Airline Pilots Resist New TSA Procedures

Leaders of two unions representing pilots at US Airways and American Airlines have advised their members to decline to be screened by new advanced-imaging-technology full-body scanners and request a pat-down instead. "No pilot at American Airlines should subject themselves to the needless privacy invasion and potential health risks caused by the AIT body scanners," wrote Dave Bates, president of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 11,000 pilots at American, in a letter to members. The new scanners produce ionizing radiation, which can be harmful to health, especially when added to the high doses of radiation that pilots already are exposed to on the job, Bates said. Mike Cleary, president of the US Airways pilot group, said the TSA procedures are "blatantly unacceptable," and the alternative pat-down procedure also has problems. Cleary said the pat-down process "has already produced a sexual molestation in alarmingly short order."

The new scanners, which produce a detailed image of a person's body sans clothing, also have been criticized on privacy grounds. Bates also adds that the alternative, the "enhanced pat-down," is a "demeaning experience." Pilots who submit to one while in uniform should insist that it's done in a out-of-view area to protect their privacy and dignity. One professional pilot, Michael Roberts, refused to submit to either a full-body scan or a pat-down, creating a stalemate that he now hopes to resolve in court. He spoke about the issue with AVweb's Glenn Pew; click here for the podcast.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: TSA to Air Travelers — Drop Dead

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says if you don't like being x-rayed or groped in an airport security line, take the bus. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli tells you how to take part in pushing back against TSA excesses or, if you happen to like them, where to send the love letter.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: EPA Leaves GA Hanging on Avgas

AVweb editor-in-chief Russ Niles was on hand for the EPA's statements at the AOPA Summit about the future of avgas — and while he managed to stay awake, the EPA's stance was disappointing, to say the least. On the AVweb Insider blog, Russ explains how the EPA should be leading the discussion, not hiding in the shadows.

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: Security vs. Privacy

There are plenty of people who think the TSA is way out of line with its new security procedures. Are you one of them?

Are full-body scans and enhanced pat-downs justified?
(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.)

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.

Bonus Depreciation Stories and Resources on AVweb.com
Fantastic Pricing and Tax Incentives make 2010 an ideal time to buy or upgrade an aircraft. We've compiled special offers on new or used planes, avionics, engines and more on the resource page. The pricing, rebates or incentives are available to everyone. Consult your tax advisor regarding the potential bonus depreciation benefits, and check our resources page for stories, podcasts, and videos related to bonus depreciation.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

AOPA Summit 2010: News Coverage Round-Up

Looking for podcasts, videos, and news coverage from the 2010 AOPA Summit in Long Beach, California? Start here, with our special issue of AVwebAudio that rounds up all the podcasts and videos from the show. Then visit our AOPA news page, where you'll find all stories from this (and previous) years relating to AOPA Summit meetings.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Flying W Airport (N14, Lumberton, NJ)

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

AVweb reader Tim Stevens has a great destination FBO (and airport) to tell us about this week — Flying W Ranch Restaurant and Golf Course at Flying W Airport (N14) in Lumberton, New Jersey:

The Northeast Raider formation team is based there, and they provide the locals an air show every weekend all summer. ... [You can also expect a] car show annually and a cool bar overlooking a airplane-shaped pool. Fly in and get a lift to the adjoining golf course, [and] the hotel and catering facility are second to none. Worth a visit.

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 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.

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.


With the craziness of back-to-back shows in Atlanta (NBAA) and Long Beach (the AOPA Summit) behind us, it's time to delve into our bag of user submissions and play catch-up. We've got lots of great photos to share with you over the next couple of weeks, so buckle up as we plow full steam ahead into cache of reader-submitted pictures.

medium | large

Used with permission of Zane Jacobson

Time to Get on Home

"After landing this grass knoll in the middle of Ohio, a Super Cub pilots heads for home." Zane Jacobson of Portland, Oregon takes home this week's top honor with a simple yet evocative image that immediately caught our eye.

medium | large

copyright © John Rippinger
Used with permission

Contrast in Technology

Speaking of eye-catching photos — contrast is the perfect word for this shot from Schaumburg, Illinois's John Rippinger. John snapped it at the 2010 Wings Over Whiteman Air Show at Missouri's Whiteman Air Force Base.

medium | large

Used with permission of Darren Hall

Outdoor Movie Night at the Fargo Jet Center Drive-In/Fly-In

Darren Hall of Fargo, North Dakota tells us that Fargo Jet Center has finally combined two of our favorite pastimes — the fly-in and the drive-in. Their first annual Drive-In/Fly-In Movie Night was held on October 1 "as a community outreach to introduce people to general aviation."

(Best outreach idea ever? Maybe so!)

medium | large

copyright © Jay Tolbert
Used with permission

U.S. National Aerobatic Champion

Jay Tolbert of Everett, Washington had his camera on-hand for the 2010 Arlington (Washington) Fly-In to catch Jeff Boerboon's Extra 330 SC in a quiet moment.

medium | large

Used with permission of Isaac Adler

WMU Sky Broncos

Isaac Adler of Kalamazoo, Michigan flies us out with another respite from a busy day — this time showing us one Western Michigan's University's Sky Broncos at the NIFA Region III competition.

We'll have more photos for you in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't miss it!

Have some pictures to share? Submit 'em here! We can't to wait to take a look.

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.

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.

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