AVwebFlash - Volume 16, Number 51b

December 23, 2010

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Rain, Rain, Go Away ... back to top 
 

Corona Airport, Aircraft Spruce, Deal With Floods

Flooding in Southern California Wednesday closed Corona airport, the west coast hub of nearby aircraft parts supplier Aircraft Spruce & Specialty and immediately affected roughly half of the 393 aircraft based on the field. By Wednesday afternoon, water on the airport was waist-deep near the west end and airport businesses and officials were busy moving all partially submerged and threatened aircraft to higher ground. Responding to calls from AVweb Friday, Aircraft Spruce said its operations were unaffected. They were, of course, turning away all fly-in business. Calls to Corona's airport manager were directed to an emergency line with a recorded message. As of Wednesday at 2:25 pm the message stated that the airport was closed until further notice due to water on the runway. Rain was expected to end, Wednesday, but there was still another threat.

Prado Dam is an earthen structure built in 1941 and it sits a few miles west of Corona Municipal Airport. Safe levels there are considered to be below 500 feet and water levels were reported at nearly 525 feet behind the dam Wednesday. Some 200 aircraft of the nearly 400 that call Corona home were immediately affected by rising waters Wednesday. Pilots seeking the most current information about conditions at Corona should call 951-279-3557. That hotline will be updated with airport and runway status as conditions change.

 
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On Vacation back to top 
 

Hawaii's TFR Eases Grip On GA

When President Barack Obama visited Hawaii for Christmas 2009, it practically shut down general aviation on the island of Oahu for two weeks, but this year the temporary flight restriction is much less onerous. Last year, flight schools were shut down and tour operators were grounded, costing the locals about a half-million dollars in lost business. This year, the FAA, the TSA and the Secret Service worked with the General Aviation Council of Hawaii to craft a less-restrictive plan (PDF) that will allow local pilots to keep flying. A 10-mile zone around the Obamas' Kailua vacation home will be closed to GA, but outside of that, flights will be allowed, with certain restrictions. For example, flight plans must be filed for every flight, and flight schools will have to provide names of students and flight instructors to the TSA.

Tour operators will be allowed to fly on designated routes during the president's visit, with prior approval. Pilots must file a flight plan for every flight in the restricted area, and maintain two-way radio communications. No introductory lessons can be offered to foreign students. The president's family left for Hawaii last Saturday, but President Obama stayed in Washington longer than planned to work on an arms treaty with Russia.

Sport Pilots Free To Leave The Country

The Bahamas is the first country outside the U.S. to welcome sport pilots, even those using just a driver's license as their FAA medical, and this month a group of about 18 aircraft were the first to make the flight. The pilots launched from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport on Dec. 10 and spent the weekend in the islands, enjoying plenty of blue skies, sunshine, and a group rate at a local resort. The first stop, in Bimini, is only about 90 nm from FXE, but various preparations are required, including passports and life vests for all on board, and of course, paperwork. The Bahamas welcomes tourism, and offers a lot of support to pilots to help make your trip simple and trouble-free. For example, a "private pilot bill of rights" posted on the country's official website spells out restrictions on fees and paperwork to help ease the way to enjoying the islands' attractions, and group fly-ins are organized once a month.

The Banyan Air FBO at FXE, which hosted the recent LSA fly-in, is a designated gateway for the Bahamas, and helps to guide pilots through all the necessary steps to prepare for the flight. Life vests are available there for rental, as well as rafts for those who want them (rafts are not required). A free preparation kit can be requested at their website. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Banyan Air Bahamas specialist Pedro Garcia about tips for pilots planning a trip; click here to listen.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

More Setbacks Expected For 787

Boeing's February delivery date for the first 787 will likely be pushed back at least to May and possibly to August or later, according to recent news reports citing opinions from industry analysts and company employees. Boeing is expected to announce the delay by the end of this month. Problems with the 787's Rolls Royce engines, as well as the electrical fire that grounded the test fleet last month, have raised questions about the airplane's readiness. A high-ranking FAA official warned Boeing that the company must prove the airplane is reliable before it will be certified to fly across oceans or over the northern polar route, the Seattle Times said. "This program is not like anything we've seen," one veteran 787 employee told The Times. "It's a screwed-up mess." Boeing officials told the Times that although the program has been challenging, they expect to overcome the airplane's problems and deliver a product that meets expectations.

Although a company official told the Times the concerns over long-haul certification would be dealt with, an aviation consultant told the Puget Sound Business Journal it's a "serious" issue. "Without extended ETOPS rating, the 787 doesn't make any sense for its customers," said Hans Weber, president of Tecop International, a San Diego aviation consultancy. "It's intended to be a long-haul aircraft, and this goes to the very heart of the 787's utility." ETOPS, the Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standard, allows twin-engine passenger aircraft to fly far from airports based on single-engine performance. Boeing says the 787 can fly up to 8,500 nautical miles nonstop. The aircraft already is nearly three years behind schedule.

Navy Crews Face Discipline For Lake Tahoe Heli-Dunking

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The crews of two Navy helicopters that suffered $500,000 in damage and became YouTube sensations when they were accidentally dunked in Lake Tahoe in September are facing consequences, the Navy said Wednesday. The two MH-60R "Romeo" Helicopters from the Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41 based at NAS North Island, San Diego, were returning from an airshow at Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento when they flew over the lake, which is not a normal naval training area. According to early reports, the Navy's investigation found the inadvertent dunking "was entirely preventable" and "lack of flight discipline and lack of command oversight" contributed to the accident. So far, the crews reportedly will not face "punitive" action, "but specific administrative measures" will be applied, according to the LA Times. And, for some of the crew, those measures may be extensive.

The Navy has not specified the exact nature of administrative measures to be taken against members of either helicopter's crew; more details may follow. The crews, which included instructor pilots and two other pilots, were immediately grounded following the incident. After repair, the aircraft were flown back to North Island by different crews. Retraining has been ordered for the younger pilots and the instructor pilots lost their flying status, according to a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune that had not been confirmed by the Navy.

 
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Do You Think He Uses an Online Flight Planner ... ? back to top 
 

Airspace Preps For Santa

Santa's sleigh has been updated with new satellite-based NextGen technology, the FAA said this week. The upgrade will allow Santa to deliver more toys to more children with improved safety and efficiency, according to the agency. "Santa's cockpit display will help improve his situational awareness by showing him and his reindeer flight crew their precise location in relation to other aircraft, bad weather and terrain," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. "NextGen will help make this an extra-safe Christmas Eve." As it does every year, NORAD will track Santa's progress around the world on Christmas Eve on its website. This year, you can also track Santa on your mobile phone via Google maps on Christmas Eve; just search for "Santa" to see his latest location, NORAD says.

NORAD has been providing Christmas Eve reports on Santa's flight for 55 years. The tradition began when a misprinted number for children to call Santa in a holiday advertisement was directed to an office of the Continental Air Defense Command, which later became NORAD. The staffers who answered the phone gave the children updates on Santa's location, and a tradition was born. The FAA says NextGen technology will allow Santa's sleigh to maintain cruising altitude for as long as possible before making a continuous descent into cities and towns around the world. Also, shorter, faster routings mean that Rudolph and the other reindeer will consume less hay, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

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

AVmail: December 23, 2010

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: ADS-B a Bargain

I am tiring of reading about all of the complaints regarding the implementation of ADS-B, funding, and who gets what. The latest blurb in your newsletter about business aviation and [the] airline industry requesting funding from the government to equip their fleet of aircraft is just plain ludicrous. Who better has the funding to equip their fleets than these people? What about the general aviation fleet of all other types of aircraft? I don't hear any loud voices suggesting that the government pay for their equipment also.

It's true that until lower prices for this equipment come along it could cost upwards of $18,000 or so to equip an aircraft with the system for ADS-B In and Out if there is no MFD in the airplane. However, many GA aircraft already have units such as the MX-20 or MX-200 in their aircraft and would not have to spend the additional $8,000 or so for the unit. Other equipment will also soon be able to display the information, and I am sure that other equipment besides the GDL-90 will become available as well, which will further lower the costs.

Are we to believe the poor airline industry cannot afford to equip at these costs? Rubbish. In the 1970s, when transponders became mandatory for certain airspace at a cost of about $2,000, anyone who wanted to fly IFR (or in this airspace) had to equip and did so. Today's present cost (which will probably be lower) almost 35 years later certainly is not too out-of-line with all other cost increases since then. Why do we complain so much about something that will increase safety and ease of flight so much?

I have been flying up and down the East Coast with ADS-B for more than six years in my aircraft, and I can tell you that it is the best thing that has come along in a long time, and the weather service and text messages are free also. When has anything like this ever been free for aviation? Perhaps all of the other traffic and weather equipment suppliers do not like this, but too bad. The service and equipment they provide don't hold a candle to ADS-B.

It's nice to see the FAA getting behind something for a change and sticking with it. AOPA needs to stop their bad mouthing of certain aspects of the system also. Get with the program and help speed it along.

Joseph C. Blakaitis


Aircraft Re-Registration

What an opportunity to straighten out the data on experimental amateur-built airplanes. The FAA could finally standardize the model information so that analysis and searches would be meaningful. Perhaps the EAA could help.

Scott Krueger


Flight Planning Patent

Regarding the recent coverage of FlightPrep's online flight planning patent: I'd like to know how they can claim this patent! I was using a flight planning program from a company called EMI back in the mid-1980s. It would plot your airways course between A and B and give you a detailed log and weather for the flight. It also calculated GS based on winds aloft and was very accurate.

So there is precedence.

Bruce Marshall

I have Destination Direct. I like it for its simplicity of use, but I used to use it as verification for my own flight planning.

I currently work as a flight instructor and insist that my students do their own planning so they will learn what is involved and what is on those charts and will be able to make informed decisions about the flight and about available alternatives if that initial plan needs to be changed. People use these tools but then don't bother to truly get familiar with the routes, airspace, etc.

Don Purney

I respect and see the true value of the patent process, but there are certain things that one must question about this particular situation.

I think this is a process that should logically be exempt from a patent, simply because it is such a basic use of the Internet and data provided by the FAA. I don't think I can patent the idea of calling in a flight plan or using DUATS, so why can I not design a means of integrating these sorts of assets to do so over the Internet?

I think the Patent Office was right the first time on this and is now grossly over-reaching into what should be a free domain.

Bill Straw

Based on time to flight, I use (in this order): Wunderground/NOAA weather, ADDS (within 72 hours), and often I now use Foreflight to augment ADDS and to file and update my info in the plane on the ground.

I am very concerned about our fragile aviation industry starting to eat its own young. This is the last thing we need right now. I'm in software and have filed patents in the past. They are mostly nonsense. You patent a unique method and apparatus, not something as generic as using the Web to plan a flight. I think FlightPrep is making a terrible mistake.

Neil Cormia

I was just planning some of my first solos and cross-countries when another great resource disappeared. Man, this has to stop. NavMonster is no more. Possibly someone should tell them how to host their sites off-shore. As a Brit, there may be a job for me in there someplace.

Geoff Waldron


Picture of the Week a Winner

I have to tell you, this week's "Picture of the Week" is absolutely one of the best ever. The combination of the nostalgia factor with the DC-3 over a tropical paradise —

No digital manipulation and just a plain ol' pretty photo did it for me.

Jerry Ebanks


Controller Math

As an air traffic controller, I must contest your recent article.

For years, while the rest of the government work force was getting salary increases, [controllers] were not. This was under the imposed work rules. An arbitration committee determined that, for controllers to catch up, they should get the pay raises. To negate them now would be a double slap in the face. What could we believe in all further negotiations? Nothing.

Also, Businessweek's numbers are inflated as usual.

Mark Gordon

AVweb Replies:

Businessweek later updated its story to explain the figures supplied by the FAA. They apply only to fully certified controllers — there are tens of thousands of trainees — and include overtime and other extra income.

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief


Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

First Flight For Conforming HondaJet

The first FAA-conforming HondaJet has successfully completed its first flight, Honda Aircraft Company announced on Tuesday. The flight took place on Monday at about 3:30 p.m. local time at the company's base at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. The HondaJet flew for 51 minutes while the crew conducted systems checks and evaluated flight characteristics and performance. "This is a very important milestone for the HondaJet program," said Michimasa Fujino, CEO of Honda Aircraft Company. "This aircraft was assembled and tested under strict FAA certification processes, and we are very pleased to have achieved this successful first flight." The airplane performed as expected, Fujino said. The company said deliveries of the aircraft will start in 2012.

A second FAA-conforming aircraft has also been completed, and is being used for structural testing. Honda also is working on its third FAA-conforming aircraft, which should be completed early next year. A total of five FAA-conforming aircraft are planned to support the HondaJet certification program. A production facility is under construction in Greensboro and should be ready to start ramping up for production in 2012. A proof-of-concept aircraft has been flying for several years and accumulated more than 500 flight hours, with a top speed of 420 knots and a maximum altitude of 43,000 feet. The conforming design retains the unusual pylon-mounted above-the-wing engine placement and the distinctive nose shape of the original proof-of-concept. The company says it has over 100 orders in hand for the $4.5 million light jet.

Hawker Beechcraft To Stay In Wichita

Hawker Beechcraft Corporation announced on Tuesday that it has reached a formal agreement with the Kansas state government to stay in Wichita for another 10 years. In return for a $40 million incentive package, the company said it will maintain its current product lines in Wichita and retain at least 4,000 jobs through 2020. "Today's announcement marks a key point in the future of Hawker Beechcraft," said CEO Bill Boisture. "With the acceptance of this agreement, we are committing to be successful as a Wichita, Kansas, and U.S.-based private company and preserving a valued American industry in tomorrow's aviation markets. ... We intend to have the best-trained work force in the industry." The company's future in Wichita had recently been in doubt as it considered an offer to move to Louisiana.

"Hawker is here to stay," said Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson, at a news conference announcing the plan. The package includes $10 million over three years for tuition reimbursement and training for workers. Hawker Beechcraft also will receive $10 million in the first year, followed by $5 million each year for the next four years, for expenses such as the purchase or relocation of equipment, product development, labor recruitment, or building costs. The money will come from the withholding taxes of employees at the company. "This is not a huge bailout," Parkinson said. Hawker will have to pay penalties if it fails to maintain promised employee levels. Hawker Beechcraft also operates in Salina, Kan.; Little Rock, Ark.; Chester, England, U.K.; and Chihuahua, Mexico.

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 
 

Question of the Week: ADS-B — Who Pays?

Last week, an aviation panel recommended the federal government subsidize the installation of ADS-B equipment in airliners and business jets. Does that make sense to you?

Should any aircraft owners receive federal funding to equip with ADS-B?
(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 ...

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

Video: Eclipse Jet Flight Demo

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

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Remembering Stephen Baltz

He was just an 11-year-old kid from Chicago on his way alone to New York. But when a TWA Connie and a United DC-8 collided over Staten Island, he became known as the "boy who fell from the sky." Fifty years later, commenting on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli associates Baltz's life with a tragedy that reshaped the air traffic system.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Burrows Aviation (Sheboygan, Wisconsin)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Burrows Aviation at Sheboygan County Municipal Airport (KSBM) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

A little mechanical trouble goes a long way toward revealing the quality of an FBO. When AVweb reader Armand Bendersky "flew into SBM in my Seneca II for lunch at their excellent restaurant," he didn't realize he'd be facing a dead battery when he got ready to depart. Here's how it played out:

I called, and Rob came all the way across the airport riding a tug in sub-zero weather. [He] towed me to their main hanger and warmed and charged the plane. Rob and another young man couldn't have been more helpful. They had already arranged for a rental car in the event that I couldn't get the plane started and went above and beyond in service.

Armand already knew Burrows as a reliable destination for good food, but now he knows the service is top-notch, too.

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 ***

The holidays are upon us, and no doubt many of you are browsing our latest eye-popping photos from the comfort of an easy chair on your shiny new iPad. So let's top off our egg nog and get to it, shall we?

medium | large

Used with permission of John Graham

Snow, Sun, and Ski Flying

John Graham of Adams Mills, Ohio calls it "some of the most fun you can have with an airplane" — and given the photographic evidence, who are we to argue?

medium | large

copyright © Rob Neil
Used with permission

Into the Murk

Rob Neil of Porirua, Wellington (New Zealand) dropped a couple of gorgeous photos into our submission box recently. This was our favorite, but in case you have a dissenting opinion, you can see two more in the slideshow on our home page.

medium | large

Used with permission of Jake Ruhl

Spearfish Sunset

There's been plenty of rain in our submission box lately — and here's a gloriously foreboding shot from Jake Ruhl of Bend, Oregon, taken "before thunderstorms rolled in at Spearfish, South Dakota."

medium | large

Used with permission of Wendell Ridenour

Scenic Stopover

We love a little contrast in our airplane photos. Wendell Ridenour of Elkhart, Indiana doesn't disappoint. On his way to Mexico, Missouri, he stopped "to see the B-17." Sounds like a solid reason for a detour to us.

medium | large

copyright © Travis Rader
Used with permission

Another Place, Another Time

Travis Rader of Niles, Michigan sees us out this week with a little sepia tone added to hangar underneath wide open skies.

Happy Holidays!

We can't sign off without a fun holiday pic or two, so here ya go — courtesy of Blaine, Minnesota's Andy Nielsen (left) and Dr. Daniel Spitzer (right). Andy thought this photo from his personal file had just the right touch of red, green, and twinkling lights to bring a little merriment to pilots. And Daniel? He says there's no digital manipulation in his photo — just Santa waving as he passes by in his new 1960 Vette.

large

copyright © Andy Nielsen
Used with permission

large

copyright © Daniel Spitzer, M.D.
Used with permission


You'll find more reader-submitted photos in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Don't say we didn't get you anything this year!

Click here to submit your own photos to "POTW." (No, really. Please do. It's what we asked Santa for.)

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.

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