January 18, 2004
By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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With CBS's big eye glaring last week at GA as a security risk, you'd think all pilots might be on their best behavior -- it doesn't appear to have worked out that way. When authorities finally arrested John Salamone after chasing him for four hours around Philadelphia-area skies, he was staggering, his eyes were bloodshot and his pants were undone, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. Police told the Daily News Salamone blew .13 on a breathalyzer (the legal limit is .04) after he finally landed his Piper Cherokee at Limerick Airport about 10:30 p.m. The flight had originated there about 6:20 p.m. While in the air, Salamone allegedly barged through controlled airspace near Philadelphia International Airport as low as 100 feet AGL, forcing six airliners to abort landings. Authorities also said he circled the nuclear power plant ... which sits practically at the foot of the runway at Limerick (PTW). Pending final test results, the list of charges is potentially a long one. FAA spokesman Jim Peters said Salamone still has his pilot's certificate (go figure) but the agency has opened an investigation. "At the end we will make a recommendation about what to do," Peters said, noting the penalty could range from nothing to revocation of his certificate.
A Shuttle America flight Friday was aiming for University Park Airport (UNV) in Pennsylvania, when it touched down at Mid-State Regional Airport (PSB). The airports are 11 nautical miles apart, offer identical runway orientation -- 16/34 and 6/24 -- with different layouts, and both fields are non-towered (a reminder to self-announce, listen AND look when operating near a non-towered field). The two airports also have a VOR situated roughly between them. "When the pilot walked in, he said 'Here's one for the news,'" airport worker Joanne Shields told the Centre Daily. The eight passengers had to wait on board, for security reasons, for about an hour until a van was dispatched to finish their journey. Those familiar with the two airports say it was a relatively easy mistake to make for VFR pilots. The pilot was apparently unfamiliar with the area but there were ways to check. Aside from the VOR, both airports have an ILS. The airport spokesman said that after the pilot phoned his dispatcher, a long stream of forms started coming out of the fax machine. "I guess he had to report it as an incident of some sort," Shields said.
Capt. Dale Robin Hersh discovered the Brazilian authorities' preferred level of etiquette after last Wednesday allegedly offering the middle-digit salute in response to Brazil's new requirement that American visitors submit to photographs and fingerprinting ... which is how Brazilians are welcomed to the U.S. under new security rules. Hersh's alleged gesture (maybe that's how he always holds things) landed him in a federal courthouse where formal charges awaited, but "Since this was a minor crime, I proposed that he be fined $12,750, which will be donated to a home for the elderly," Matheus Baraldi Magnani told the Associated Press. Hersh was looking at hard time in a Brazilian prison until his airline came up with $12,750 to soothe the indignity suffered by the disrespected security officials at Sao Paulo's Guarulhos International Airport. (Brazil has laws against "showing contempt to authorities.") Had the charges gone through, he could have faced two years in prison. By the time the expensive etiquette lesson had been administered, however, the photo of Hersh in his now-infamous pose had been released to the local papers. Brazilian officials said they were inundated with phone calls of support from local residents applauding the arrest and fine. All of South America is on a list of countries whose citizens must be fingerprinted and photographed before entering the U.S.
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Although no one in officialdom has publicly confirmed it, the landing of a DHL Airbus at Baghdad Airport after being hit by at least one surface-to-air missile last Nov. 22 has been rumored as one of last year's most incredible feats of aviation. Extensive damage to the aircraft's left wing may have rendered the aircraft's three hydraulics systems useless, leaving the pilots with only differential engine thrust to control the aircraft. DHL has not publicly elaborated on the attack and the resulting heroism of the pilots (which stands, regardless of the true extent of damage). For those with a flair for the dramatic, AVweb has obtained a PowerPoint presentation of the incident that includes photos of the landing, the damage, and text that may give some insight into the specific nature of the damage. The A300 had just left Baghdad on a mail flight when it was almost certainly hit by at least one missile, widely suspected to be a shoulder-fired ground-to-air device. The incident fueled pre-existing concerns about the vulnerability of airliners to such attacks and perhaps helped quench any potential desires to initiate commercial service into Baghdad.
The 1.3Mb PowerPoint presentation (not recommended for slower connections) is a new pairing of photos not widely distributed, with text previously available online through various sources. AVweb has repeatedly contacted DHL seeking confirmation of the details of the event (and an interview with the pilots) but thus far, the airline has politely refused all of our requests, citing the ongoing investigation -- there has been no official confirmation or denial of the "no-hydraulics landing." Our initial story on the event ran in December, and AVweb has been flooded with e-mails from people claiming to have first-hand knowledge of the incident and confirming the details we presented. At this time, we invite you to have a look for yourself (warning: large file -- right click to save to your desktop) at the latest material we received and enjoy it for what it's worth.
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Parker Hannifin Corp., maker of vacuum pumps on the Cessna 335 that crashed, killing a Missouri governor, has been ordered to pay a total of $4 million in damages to his family even though the NTSB's summary of the investigation says, "examination of the wreckage ... indicates [the pumps] were most likely functioning at the time of impact." Gov. Mel Carnahan, his son Randy, who was at the controls, and aide Chris Sifford died when the plane crashed near Hillsboro, Mo., on Oct. 16, 2000. Carnahan's family sued Parker Hannifin Corp. even though the NTSB's report cited spatial disorientation as a probable cause with a faulty attitude indicator as a contributing factor. Parker Hannifin says it's been vindicated by the verdict and doesn't plan to appeal. Sure, read that again. "It's clear to us this was a compromise verdict," said Parker Hannifin spokeswoman Lorrie Paul Crum. "We came here not for money but to vindicate Parker's good name, and we feel that's been accomplished with this verdict." Shortly after takeoff, Randy Carnahan told air traffic controllers the primary attitude indicator had failed and he was using the co-pilot's instrument to help maintain control in IMC, according to the NTSB report. The right-side instrument was apparently working normally, indicating there was vacuum to the instrument, said the report. Investigators theorized that the pilot's head movements in trying to read the right-side instrument led to the spatial disorientation. But Carnahan's family insist the pumps were to blame and, based on the jury's verdict, they want the FAA to order them removed from thousands of aircraft. "We hope the FAA will follow the lead of this jury, which found the vacuum pumps were unsafe and were killing people," said Carnahan's widow Jean. "I want the killing to stop." Carnahan's lawyer had told the jury that failed vacuum pumps had caused 20 plane crashes, killing 48 people, between 1981 and 1998.
A Kentucky pilot, who federal investigators say lacked a multi-engine rating, was acquitted of wanton endangerment charges indirectly related to the Aug. 1, 1998, crash of the twin-engine Cessna 340 he was flying. One of Kenneth Asher's passengers, Debra Zukhof, drowned after the plane stalled on takeoff from Meigs Field in Chicago and flipped over in Lake Michigan. Michigan authorities decided against prosecuting Asher for the accident. Instead, Kentucky authorities laid the endangerment charges for the Louisville-to-Chicago portion of the flight that preceded the accident. Although Asher insisted he had the multi rating, neither the FAA nor NTSB could find any record of it. A flight instructor named by Asher also denied giving him any multi-engine training. The prosecution cited the Chicago accident as compelling evidence that Asher had put the three passengers in jeopardy in the earlier flight, but the jury apparently didn't buy it. Asher claimed the left engine of the 340 lost power during the takeoff roll in Chicago, but he elected to continue with the takeoff. Both engines ran within specs on test stands after the accident and the NTSB said it was Asher's decision not to use full power for the takeoff that contributed to the accident. The plane ended up in 20 feet of water about 250 feet from the end of the runway.
There are some startling coincidences in two midair collisions that occurred one day and 2,000 miles apart last week. The collisions occurred in Tehachapi, Calif., on Friday and Clearwater, Fla. on Saturday. In each case, a light twin and a single came together and in each accident the twin pilot was able to maintain control and land safely while the single did not. Pilots of both singles died. In the California crash, a Beech Baron flown by Robert Hollis Gates, of Bear Valley Springs, was in collision with a Cessna 180 flown by David Aaron Lazerson. The 180 fell out of control into a mountainside but Gates, whose airplane was missing a big piece of the cockpit, was able to put the plane down on a small private strip. He suffered minor injuries. In the Florida accident, a Twin Commanche, owned by John Collins, of Winter Haven, was trying to land at Clearwater Airpark when it came in contact with a Cessna 150 that was taking off. The 150 crashed about 20 feet from a group of parents and children in a playground and the pilot, 79-year-old Bela Toth, died at the scene. The pilot of the Comanche was able to land at Clearwater and he and a passenger walked away apparently unharmed. There was damage to the twin's right wingtip.
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The FAA should face the people it's planning to put out of business with a new set of regulations rather than hide in cyberspace, according to AOPA. The FAA has extended the comment period (from Jan. 20 to April 19) for a roundly criticized Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would set national standards for sightseeing and tour operations. The NPRM acknowledges that about 700 firms will likely be put out of the tour business by the tougher rules, which, among other things, would require that all such flights be operated under Part 121 or Part 135 rules. More than 1,100 comments have been received so far. AOPA has been demanding that the FAA set up a series of public meetings to hear directly from affected businesses but the FAA has opted for a high-tech alternative. The agency says it will host an interactive virtual public meeting in which participants can type in their comments, in real time, over the Internet. The initiative has even given birth to a new acronym, the NVPM, which is a Notice of Virtual Public Meeting. The meeting date will be announced in the Federal Register. AOPA President Phil Boyer said the FAA should meet the affected people face-to-face but the agency said it doesn't have the money to hold public meetings all over the country. "Many who could be most affected by the proposed rule would be unable to participate because of geography and our limited resources," said the FAA documents extending the comment period.
A Maryland developer has come up with a novel approach to gaining approval for his plans to cover an airport in condos. Polm Companies Ltd. says that if it can't build 600 homes, it will instead turn the sleepy Suburban Airport into a major business and commuter facility. Suburban is now home to 65 airplanes and 37 hangars. Polm envisions 300 aircraft, 160 hangars, a flight school and heliport. Of course, if the local council prefers, the company could put in the nice, quiet condos, instead. However, Bruce Mundie, director of the Maryland Aviation Administration, has assured local residents that Polm's plans are pie-in-the-sky. Mundie said the 54-acre airport simply doesn't have the space for all that development. He said, at most, it could handle half of what is being proposed. But Polm spokesman Andrew Zois said the development plans were designed by "highly regarded aviation specialists" who have assured Polm that the plans are feasible. Zois also insists the operation would be "extraordinarily profitable." Polm has issued public statements in recent weeks saying it doesn't need council permission to expand the airport because the zoning is already in place. Rezoning would be required for the housing development.
Part of the future of aviation might fit in the palm of your hand or on the head of a pin. Scientists are furiously working on Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs), tiny aircraft that can fly autonomously where human pilots can't (or shouldn't). Now scientists at Cranfield University in Britain have put the machine they are developing on display at the Thinktank Museum in Birmingham. The Cranfield MAV will mimic insect flight with wings that both oscillate and rotate, allowing it to hover and maneuver. The computer brain on board will allow it to navigate itself. The museum exhibit allows people to fly a computer-generated image of the machine around a virtual smoke-filled building in search of trapped people. "Micro Air Vehicles have been developed for the defense industry to provide surveillance on the battlefield, " said Prof. Clifford Friend. "But they could have many other uses." He said camera-equipped MAVs could help out in emergencies and may even be employed by the movie industry.
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All ten people aboard a Cessna 208 Caravan are feared dead after the plane crashed on a frozen Lake Erie, Saturday, in snow. The Georgian Express plane left Pelee Island with a pilot and at least eight Canadian men on board and crashed a short time later. A helicopter found the wreckage nose down on the ice at 7:30pm Saturday but saw no sign of life and was unable to land. By Sunday, the wreckage was submerged in 24 feet of water...
Hundreds of kites with messages about world peace and the AIDS epidemic kicked off the Celebrating India festival in Mumbai last week. The kite competition was one of dozens of events in the 12-day cultural festival...
The National Aeronautics Association is accepting nominations for its biggest honor. Nominations will be accepted until Jan. 31 for the Robert J. Collier Trophy. The award is handed out every year for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics that was actually put to use in the previous year.
CEO of the Cockpit #28: A Different Airline World
AVweb's CEO of the cockpit is back in recurrent training, trying to remember everything he forgot about 767s and 757s since the last time he was here a year ago. The security training session, however, prompted him to consider ways to really cut down on security problems. His airline might not like it, though...
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Reader feedback on AVweb's news coverage and feature articles:
Reader mail this week about FSS privatization, CBS' investigation of GA safety and more.
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Approach: Your wish is my command...
Carrier 1234: Approach, got time for another wish?
Approach: Nope, you used up your wish.
Carrier 1234: I don't get three?
Approach: Carrier 1234, did you say Boston, or Austin?
Carrier 1234: ...I'll take that as a "No."
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Phil Boyer and Lane Wallace are among the many prominent speakers slated to address the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference, February 6 to 8 in Lansing, Michigan. In addition, there will be over 150 breakout sessions for pilots, mechanics, FBOs and aviation enthusiasts. IA renewal and FAA Wings program are available for those who qualify. The exhibit area will be filled with the latest products and technologies. For more information call 248 348-6942 and mention this AVflash, or visit http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/gliac.
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CONSUMER'S FEBRUARY ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS:
"Garmin's Bold Stroke", the G1000 and not a retrofit for older Garmin systems any time soon; "Roll Your Own Oxygen"; "Where is that AD?", in search of ADs; "Budget ANR Headsets"; "Datalink Hell"; "Used Aircraft Guide: Cessna 340"; and "What Cylinders Ya Got, Sport?". Aviation Consumer will shortly conduct a survey on owner experiences with new cylinders. They will look at all brands. If you've bought an overhaul during the past five years and want to participate, send an e-mail to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=AVConsumer Cylinder Survey (referred from AVflash), and they'll forward a survey form. To order your personal subscription to Aviation Consumer go to http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/avcon.
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AVflash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest aviation news, articles, products, features and events featured on AVweb, the Internet's Aviation Magazine and News Service. http://www.avweb.com
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Today's issue written by News Writer Russ Niles:
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Let's all be careful out there, okay?
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