AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 2a

January 10, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Weather Delays Iranian Rescue Efforts back to top 

Iranian Crash Kills 70

At least 70 people died and 32 were injured when an Iranian airliner (possibly a Boeing 727) crashed in heavy snow in the mountainous northwestern area of the country Sunday. The plane was flying from Tehran to Oriumyeh; the accident may have happened on the aircraft's second attempt to land. The snow, more than two feet of it, is hampering rescue efforts. Weather reports at the time of the crash indicate visibility was 600 to 800 feet.

According to the BBC, Iranian official Heidar Heidari told the state news agency Irna that news from the rugged crash site is expected to get worse. "At least 70 people have been killed and 32 others were injured in the crash," Heidari said, according to Irna. "The death toll is expected to increase."

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Paying the Cost back to top 

Pentagon May Cancel STOVL Version Of F-35

Air Force and Navy variants of the F-35 fighter are progressing, but the Marine Corps' short takeoff and vertical landing version has been put on a two-year probation and may be canceled altogether if concerns aren't met. Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters, "If we cannot fix this variant during this time frame, and get it back on track in terms of performance, cost and schedule, then I believe it should be canceled." Citing a Pentagon document, Reuters reported Thursday that the military has reduced its order for the Lockheed jet from 449 aircraft to 325 F-35s through fiscal year 2016, and "cost-cutting efforts were still needed." The order reduction could save the government more than $10 billion, Reuters reported, and nearly half of that money would head right back into the program's development to offset cost overruns. Airframes (without engines) are currently priced in the ballpark of $130 million. But that's nothing compared to the program's overall cost, which sets a high-water mark for Pentagon arms programs.

The jet program is the Pentagon's largest arms program, involves eight partner countries and has a cost somewhere near $380 billion. The Pentagon estimates it has invested $37 billion to develop the jet and the development program will cost nearly $14 billion more to complete. The current two-year probation and order reduction means slower delivery and the Pentagon has said it will buy more than 40 Boeing F/A-18s over the next three years to offset the later adoption of the Lockheed effort. Lockheed's F-35 was meant to be produced in three variants and account for nearly a quarter of Lockheed's annual revenue. Lockheed says it is still committed to delivering each variant -- including the Marine's STOVL jet.

Florida Governor Donates Use Of His Airplane

In what some might consider a paradox of modern politics on the use of private aviation, the new governor of Florida will donate the use of his own aircraft for his own travels around the 26th largest state while selling off the state's own airplanes. He says anyone else in the government who needs to get from Tallahassee to anywhere else in a hurry can book on the airlines or drive their own car. In fact, Rick Scott, a wealthy Naples businessman, campaigned on what he termed the waste of operating the 2003 Citation Bravo and a 2000 King Air 350 at a cost of $2.4 million a year. It wasn't immediately clear what type of aircraft Scott owns. It's also been noted by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that this isn't exactly the best time to be selling off used aircraft, especially since the Citation is leased. In case anyone is interested, the plane is already listed for sale on Aircraft Shopper Online, even though the state's legislature hasn't yet formally signed off on the sale.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush cut the deal for the Bravo and instead of buying it outright, the state leased it from Cessna. Full cost of the lease was a hair under $8 million and the state still owes $3.4 million to buy out the lease. Just how long the state can operate without its own aircraft is being pondered by unnamed sources in several media outlets and geography plays an important part. The seat of government is more than 450 miles from the main population centers of Miami and Fort Lauderdale (Scott's hometown of Naples is about the same distance) and other major centers like Tampa and Orlando are a hike as well. The sources say it's just not practical for the government to rely on airlines or charters if something in a far-flung region needs immediate attention from people headquartered in the northwestern part of the state.

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Backscatter Backlash back to top 

"There Is No Case For [Full Body] Scanners"

Constitutional rights issues aren't the only problem; participants asked to sneak explosives past the backscatter X-ray machines now used at U.S. airports "did it with such ease," according to one security expert, that "there is no case for scanners." Security expert Edward Luttwak is a senior associate at the Center for International and Strategic Studies and he delivered those words Thursday, joined by other critical voices in Washington, AFP reported. Luttwak said a test conducted in Europe asked German prison guards to try to get past three different scanners while carrying explosives. Based on that test, he says the International Air Travel Association (IATA) believes there is no case for the devices in airport security. Ralph Nader, Congressman Rush Hold and professional pilot Michael Roberts all added their own opinions on the full-body x-ray machines, but focused mostly on privacy, freedom and rights issues. In that context, Luttwak's argument stands out, and he detailed what he believes are better solutions that the IATA also supports.

The alternate method supported by Luttwak and IATA calls for segregation of fliers into groups based mainly on their travel habits. "The guy who has traveled 50 times in the last 50 weeks without blowing up an airplane is unlikely to become a terrorist the 51st time," Luttwak said. Air Transport World reported in December that IATA would like to see that concept integrated with electronic data pre-screening that would divide travelers into three categories -- known traveler, regular, and enhanced -- for three separate levels of screening. The IATA estimates that some 90 percent of travelers would fall into the known or regular lanes with 10 percent receiving more scrutiny based on their risk factor as determined by pre-screening. Ultimately, biometric data might be used to allow those deemed to present the lowest risk to move through checkpoints without stopping for personal interactions.

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Green Means "Go" back to top 

Elektra One Nearing First Flight

The latest entry in the electric plane sweepstakes, the Elektra One by PC-Aero of Germany, is nearing first flight and the single-seat composite could be the first of several models to be produced by the company. The company says the Elektra One will have a maximum battery endurance of three hours on its 21-horsepower motor. The company is predicting a top speed of more than 100 mph and planning the first flight for early February. Static testing on the airframe was conducted in December and the power plant was live-tested in November. Future plans are ambitious.

An extended-wing version of the Elektra One, with solar panels incorporated, is planned, as is an aerobatic version, with twice the power and airframe strength. Two- and four-place models are contemplated and the company is also hoping to offer hangars with solar arrays that will provide up to 300 hours of free flying per year. It's not clear when the first production models will be available.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Report: Airline Safety Down In 2010

The fatal accident rate for jet and turboprop aircraft rose 22 percent last year, according to Ascend, a London-based aviation consulting firm, but longer-term trends are positive. Four accidents, none attributed to U.S. carriers, accounted for 65 percent of total passenger fatalities, according to Ascend. They included an Air India crash at Mangalore, in May; an Airblue accident at Islamabad, in July; an Afriquiyah crash at Tripoli, in May; and an Ethiopian Airlines crash at Beirut, in January. Looking at trends, Ascend states that decade over decade, the 1990s saw an average of ten more accidents per year than did the 2000s. "We believe that air safety is still improving," the group stated. While nearly 8000 passengers and crew were killed in airline accidents over the past decade, the prior decade saw 11,280 deaths. Numbers from the NTSB and specific to the U.S. aren't yet available for 2010, but, in context, the figures are noteworthy.

From 1990 to 2009 (the last year of the chart is preliminary data), the fatal accident rate per 100,000 flight hours for scheduled U.S. air carriers never exceeded 0.051. In 2009, the number was 0.01. The NTSB's numbers for 2002, 2007 and 2008 include zero fatal accidents for 16.7, 19 and 18.5 million flight hours, respectively. For U.S. carriers, total onboard fatalities for the period 1990 to 2009, which includes terrorist acts (not included in accident rate statistics), was 1,601 (check our math) for more than 311 million flight hours.

NTSB's Look At Airbags For GA Aircraft

The NTSB has studied airbag use in mitigating injury in survivable GA accidents and will hold a public meeting Jan. 11 to consider its findings, which it has not yet made available. The study was initiated to examine the effectiveness of airbags in survivable crashes and to identify possible unintended consequences of airbag deployment in small aircraft. The agency also used the study to help develop procedures to assist investigators when dealing with the systems in future investigations. The NTSB says it will post a summary of the study online following the conclusion of the Jan. 11 meeting with the full study to appear a few weeks after that. Meanwhile, interested parties can attend the meeting or watch it online.

The meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. in the Board Room and Conference Center at 429 L'Enfant Plaza, S.W., Washington, D.C. It will also be available on the board's website, here, along with technical documents listed under "Board Meetings." The NTSB will be using its findings to support safety recommendations, which will also be posted "shortly after" the meeting.

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Now That's a Delayed Arrival! back to top 

Charlotte Museum Wants 1549 Wreckage

The interim mayor of Charlotte, N.C., is leading the effort to raise $250,000 needed to help US Airways Flight 1549 reach its final destination. The Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte recently announced that the Airbus A320 famously ditched in the Hudson River by pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles two years ago would be put on display in its crash-damaged state as a tribute to the advances in aircraft technology that helped make the fatality-free landing possible. But while the deal has been made with Chartis, the current owner of the salvage, actually getting the airliner's remains from a New Jersey warehouse to Charlotte will be up to the generosity of Charlotte's citizens and whomever else might want to kick in. "We are in tough economic times right now," Interim Mayor Patrick Cannon told WIS TV. "And so all you can do is make the ask and that's what we'll do."

The museum plans to set up the aircraft intact and in exactly the state it was in (minus the personal effects of those on board) in a display that mimics the hull floating semi-submerged on the river. "When they look down at their feet," Cannon said. "They are actually looking at it as if they are on the Hudson River. They will have that same general feel. They will have that illusion." Sullenberger has donated the uniform he was wearing that day to the exhibit. Donations to the transportation fund can be made directly to the Carolinas Aviation Museum at 704-906-8277 or can be mailed to the museum at 4672 First Flight Drive, Charlotte, N.C., 28208.

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Our Questions, Your Answers back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #155: Free Stuff


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Picture of the Week: Explaining 'the iPhone Effect'

copyright © Jerry Huether
Used with permission

Last week, Jerry Huether submitted the photo at right (shot over Oregon looking toward Mt. Shasta), along with this comment:

What I really want is to know what caused the illusion of the prop blade detaching from hub. The background would be blurred if it was such a long exposure — and descent/climb was involved. Any ideas??

... and we thought that would be a good excuse to put the question to AVweb readers, which we did with a discreet link in last week's "POTW" slideshow.

We've often seen the effect here at AVweb world headquarters — most notably on photos shot with the built-in camera on the iPhone. Initially, we dubbed it "the iPhone effect," since frozen parallel prop blades didn't seem to occur on photos from (ahem) "proper" digital or film cameras, and we could never get it to happen on our pre-iPhone camera phones. But as the months have rolled by, we've seen the effect show up on other camphones, particularly those rascally smartphones, which (we assume) process digital images a little differently than the simple cameras plugged into old school phone that don't have a sophisticated operating system. That's all we knew about the iPhone effect — until our trusty readers deluged us with info and links.

The effect is caused by the time taken to "scan" the picture, as opposed to an "instant" picture taken by most digital cameras. The prop moves a bit while each scan takes place.
Bruce Marshall
Digital cameras don't capture frames as a film camera does using a shutter; it is a scanned line composite — like a TV displays a picture. The blades of the propeller are moving so fast the the blade position has changed between scan lines and creates that line effect.
Tim Wolf
This is a common phenomenon in cheaper iPhone cameras that have a rolling shutter. It is a type of aliasing. Aliasing occurs when the sample frequency of the changing image is insufficient to capture the image before it changes. Obviously, a propeller is moving very fast, and requires a very fast shutter speed to capture it when it is moving. Since the iPhone camera takes multiple exposures in a single photo, it tends to capture the propeller blade at multiple locations. That results in photos like this one.

A similar phenomenon has been seen in motion pictures for decades. Have you ever noticed a wheel on an automobile filmed for a movie? Have you ever seen those wheels turning backwards when the automobile is moving froward? This is another example of aliasing.
Jim Perkins
I often field this question in video discussions on BackcountryPilot.org, because the horizontal blind effect is common in this new crop of 30- and 60-frames-per-second HD video cameras, which are becoming increasingly popular to use for shooting cockpit video through the propellers of single-engine aircraft.

The effect is caused by the method though which each frame of the video is rendered by the image sensor, using what is called "progressive scan," where each line of the video is written in rapid succession until a single image is formed. Imagine your inkjet printer, making a single image line by line, from left to right, top to bottom. The prop moves too fast for your slow printer to capture its position accurately before it has reindexed its position in relation to the image rendering. High frame rate video reveals this scanning artifact, and what we know is a prop blade radiating out from the spinner is morphed into the illusion of magic horizontal floating bars.
Zane Jacobson
Digital cameras record images in many different ways. Some use a separate mechanical shutter to allow light to affect the individual photo-sensors for a predetermined period of time. Others turn the sensors on electronically and simultaneously for a predetermined period of time. Yet others extract information from the sensor by sequentially transferring data starting at the top of the frame until they get to the bottom.

When it comes to digital cameras built into phones, the situation is more variable. These cameras are most often equipped with CMOS (as opposed to CCD) sensor arrays and these lend themselves to line-by-line extraction or progressive image data. The camera that took the above photograph was equipped with just such a method for image extraction. Sometimes this is called a "rolling" shutter approach.
Ary Glantz
[Another] example is when you take photos of something in your house, and the TV is on in the background. You will often see a line across the TV, where the image is garbled, or even blank, in the final photo. [This is because] the electron beam that updates the image on the TV screen refreshes about 60 times per second. So a photo shot at 1/60th of a second captures a clean image, but a photo taken at a slower speed will capture part of the previous image, the "updating beam," and the new image — hence, garbled images or blank spots show up in the photo.

Unlike the TV example, there is no "magic speed" for clearly capturing a prop in a digital photo. It depends on the speed of the prop's rotation, the curve of the prop's blade, the shutter speed of the camera, and the pattern used when the digital camera's light sensor records the image. IPhones use a different pattern from Verizon phones. Nikons use a different pattern than Kodak or Minolta. And still photos capture light in a different pattern than digital video cameras. So you can play with your camera's settings (and the prop's speed) to minimize — or maximize! — this effect.

Remember how amazed you were the first time you saw a high-speed photo of a bullet breaking a ballon or an apple? It was the first time you "saw" what really happens — your sense of what is real being altered. This image aliasing effect is the opposite: The image is real, but you "know" a propeller can't do that. It makes these photos very interesting to look at!
Greg Wein

Pretty cool, eh?

We received about thirty e-mails detailing the effect in various degrees of detail, but these were some of our favorite comments and explanations. And for those of you still having a little trouble wrapping your brain about the several sets of variables that can affect "the iPhone effect," here are a handful of links that will lay it out for you, complete with videos, photos, and diagrams:

Enjoy! And thanks to everyone who took a moment to chime in.

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

AVmail: January 10, 2011

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: A Brief History of Flight Planning

I've read with considerable interest on this and other sites about the FlightPrep patent enforcement efforts and some concerns that have been expressed by the flying community. I'm not quite sure I understand what all the fuss is about, but then, I come at the issue with a perspective that is perhaps different than most.

First, I'm an attorney with almost 27 years of legal experience. I've read and, believe or not, actually understand the FlightPrep patent that's at issue here. Second, I'm a Commercial Pilot with almost 24 years of flying experience. Third, I'm a frustrated software developer who has satisfied that frustration, to some degree, by being a beta tester for numerous real developers for more than 25 years. Among them has been the Stenbock-Everson team in its various iterations since late 1980s.

FlightPrep has said that it is enforcing a legitimate patent to protect its software innovation. I happen to agree. Some in the flying community have argued that FlightPrep's efforts are akin to trying patent air and are harming the flying community. I respectfully disagree on both counts. First, the notion that Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson don't have the best interest of the flying community at heart is simply misinformed, in my opinion. Why do I think that? Because of my familiarity with both of these pilots/software developers for more than 23 years.

Back in the 1980s, Roger M. Stenbock was one of the co-founders of RMS Technology, a company that, to this day, still bears his initials. RMS Technology created one of the first ever PC-based flight planning programs. Though crude by today's standards, perhaps, the first text/DOS-based FliteSoft program by RMS was cutting edge for its time. Needless to say, Roger was a key part of that.

When Roger and his former partner decided to part company in the early 1990s, Roger started MentorPlus. Roger brought Kyle on board, and together they developed the first ever graphical user interface (GUI)-based flight planning program for Windows 286/386. In addition to having the first GUI-based program, MentorPlus's flight planning software innovations over the years have also included:

  • the first point-to-point and rubber band routing options
  • the first to create complex aircraft modeling profiles for take-off
  • climb, cruise and descent fuel consumption estimates
  • the first GPS-based moving map
  • the first automated DUATs dial-up and weather retrieval script
  • the first to automatically interpolate and incorporate winds aloft info into the flight plan

MentorPlus's software used Jeppesen data, and because of the little company's enormous success with developing new ideas, Jeppesen eventually decided to buy them out. The Jeppesen FliteStar program that still exists today is what the Stenbock and Everson team created.

The list of "firsts" for Stenbock and Everson in flight planning development is long, but none is perhaps more important to the flying community than the simple little script they added to FliteStar that automated the process of DUATs weather retrieval. Why? Because that little script helped to save the DUATs program for all pilots who use it today.

When the FAA first contracted with several vendors to make DUATs available to pilots, very few, if any, pilots had access to high-speed internet. These were the dark ages when a 56K dial-up modem was cutting edge and $200 a pop. In its infinite wisdom, the FAA contracts called for the FAA to pay each contractor by the minute of online time, meaning that the longer each pilot stayed online to get his or her briefing, the more the FAA had to pay the contractor. With most pilots using 28K modems and each briefing requiring interactive responses to every input request, each briefing took between 5-10 minutes to complete. As a consequence, the cost of the DUATs program was becoming unsustainable.

Because the Stenbock and Everson team had already developed a script to automate the DUATs process, they took the initiative to partner with one of the DUATs vendors and create a stand-alone program that would automate the DUATs process. The Golden Eagle program, as it became known, was offered free of charge to all pilots when development was completed. The automated process helped to lower the cost of the DUATs program for the FAA, which made it sustainable again. In short, Stenbock and Everson are a key reason DUATs survives today for all pilots to use.

Not enough? O.K., well, how about this: The Stenbock-Everson development team worked with AOPA to create the first ever real-time flight planner based on the MentorPlus FliteStar program, the very program and service that is still offered today to all AOPA members free of charge.

Bottom line: Roger Stenbock and Kyle Everson are both long-time pilots and software developers. They have pioneered huge innovations in the field of computer-based flight planning, and those innovations deserve protection, as all innovations do. Just because some of those innovations seem ubiquitous today doesn't mean they still don't deserve protection. If you invent something new, you have the right to protect that invention under our current patent and copyright system.

Just because the Wright Brothers patented the airplane doesn't mean we all can't fly one. Just because Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone doesn't mean we can't use one. Just because Stenbock and Everson developed the first online flight planner doesn't mean we can't use that either.

But under our current system of laws, each of those inventions and time spent developing them deserve protection. That protection provides the inventor, in part, the right to be compensated by anyone else who profits from the use of the invention. That's not unfair or unreasonable, in my opinion. And, what's more, it's the law.

What the Stenbock & Everson team has done for the aviation community over the course or more than 25 years is simply huge. They have been generous to a fault, but they also deserve to profit from their legitimate innovations in the field.

Bill Seith

Ditch the E6B

I quit as a student pilot. Is anyone interested? You'd never know. All the committees and symposia seem to just ignore us.

Why not ask us? It's because they're afraid to hear what we'll tell them.

The first, not necessarily the primary, reason is the E6B. If you want to keep students in 2011, throw the thing out!! I can see the aviation establishment huffing and puffing about how someone would dare someone question their antique fetish. Let me tell you, that is exactly what I considered it when it was pushed on me. I know a majority of new students think the same thing when it's first foisted upon them.

There are no GPSs, no modern electronics, no modern navigation aids, no engine controls, no glass panels; first you must eat worms, like in a college fraternity. First you must use the E6B and take a chance on getting lost on your first cross-country.

So I refused to fly my cross-country without using the GPSs in my airplane. I wanted to be safe, but my by-the-book flight instructor wanted me to "be prepared" for the practical examination. "You can't use a GPS. What if the batteries run out?"

I do have a Masters in Education and am an experienced educator. The biggest problem [with flight training] is the fossilized curriculum, but I am resigned that the flight training community and the FAA will never admit it as we watch GA go to ruin.

Robert Detloff

Better ELT Installations

Regarding ELTs and antenna installations: I have been an A&P and IA for many years, and I have seen ELTs mounted in many different ways, including velcro!

Whether it's a new 406 or an old 121.5 ELT, solid airframe mounting is a must. I have always considered making an antenna coax cable much longer (in case of fuselage separation) and installing antennae on top and bottom with a coax splitter. I know the coax is supposed to be a certain length as specified by the manufacturer, but if the antenna coax comes loose, searchers have to be almost on top of an aircraft to find it.

I think that all mechanics should give some thoughts for better installations. Velcro is hardly the answer. You might as well hold it in your lap!

Ron Huckins

Chinese Stealth

Regarding the story on China's new stealth fighter: China is certainly creating a major aerospace industry. They're training far more engineers than the U.S. or Europe (and a lot less lawyers and accountants!). But they're probably not interested in military conquest; they've already discovered that economic power is much more potent. Much of the U.S.'s debt is owned by China.

Tony Bishop

China is not a threat to the U.S.A. or any other distant country. They have plenty of problems to deal with internally and have shown little interest in external activity over their 5,000-year history. It just doesn't matter whether they build high-tech fighters or not.

Paul Mulwitz

The real question is whether we can get Clint Eastwood to steal one for us.

L. Fuller

A Telling Video

The video on the American Airlines 757 overrun at Jackson Hole shows a couple of things.

The autobrakes, spoilers, and thrust reversers are always interconnected in some fashion. This has to do with where the airplane thinks it is and an air-ground switch, main wheel spin-up, and thrust reverser deployment.

What should have happened on this flight was that prior to landing both the auto spoilers and the autobrakes should have been "armed" by the flight crew. After landing, nothing happens until the crew selects reverse and the reversers "unlock."

Once the reversers unlock, the air/ground sensor indicates the aircraft is on the ground, and the main wheels spin up, the autobrakes and autospoilers activate.

The autobrakes are selectable from positions of OFF, 1, 2, 3, and MAX.

Autobrakes' MAX would have been the industry-accepted setting with an appropriate announcement to the passengers advising of the pending abruptness of the braking and letting them know they shouldn't be alarmed.

What looks like happened was that one or both thrust reversers did not unlock and therefore the autospoilers did not deploy. The only variable in the mix is why — but my guess is listed below.

The crew would have resorted to manual braking almost immediately when they felt no deceleration, still fighting with the thrust reversers as they did eventually did come out — just maybe too late. They wasted too much time with working the reverser problem and did not notice the lack of spoilers, a costly error. The spoilers are actually the most critical component. Without the spoilers, it is impossible to stop under these conditions.

My prediction is the NTSB will find that the pilot flying tried to deploy the thrust reversers prematurely — they won't deploy in flight — and therefore the auto spoilers and brakes didn't work.

The pilot not flying was probably distracted by the thrust reverser problem and should have reached across and manually deployed the spoilers to MAX as the pilot flying worked on brakes and thrust reversers. The spoilers activated too late (if at all) to get the aircraft stopped.

Name withheld

My speculation is that the thrust reversers and spoilers didn't engage because of the electrical interference caused by the inappropriate use of an electrical device (in this case a video camera) in the cabin during landing, contrary to cabin crew instructions.

Rick Cote

Medical Age Triggers

In your recent podcast, "What Could Be the End of the Third Class Medical," Dr. Blue incorrectly states the new duration of first and third class medical certificates. He speaks about it applying to pilots "under age 35" (see timestamps 4:17 and 4:57).

He should have stated that this is for pilots who have medicals issued before their 40th birthday. This could actually allow pilots to fly with a third class medical issued the month before their 40th birthday until just before their 45th birthday.

As I was listening to this podcast, I suddenly became concerned that I had incorrectly advised many pilots and had many flying with invalid medicals at the flight school I manage. I quickly looked at FAR 61.23 to confirm that Dr. Blue was incorrect.

Stress EKG for pilots over 35 with first class medicals is correct as stated by Dr. Blue.

Craig Larson

AVweb Replies:

Craig is correct. I was thinking about the EKG age. Should have used notes. Sorry for the error.

Dr. Brent Blue
AVweb Contributor

Happy New Year

I just wish to compliment you and all your colleagues for all the interesting stuff that you contribute to AVweb. I've been reading it with interest for many years and look forward to it each week.

All the very best for a good 2011 and many more.

John Stewart

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Yadkin Valley Aviation (KZEF, Elkin, North Carolina)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" story may seem awfully familiar to readers coping with snowfall today. AVweb reader Anse Windham recently dealt with similar weather at Yadkin Valley Aviation, located at Elkin Municipal Airport (KZEF) in Elkin, North Carolina:

[Manager] Sandy Shore called to inform me that there was eight inches of snow on my Cessna. The tail was on the pavement, and the snow needed to be removed before the night's freeze so I could leave next morning. I could not get there, so Sandy removed the snow, placed the airplane in a hangar, and, next morning, towed it to the fuel pump and helped fuel it at the self-serve pump.

Hmm — you don't suppose Sandy would be willing to shovel some sidewalks for good old AVweb, do you ... ?

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!

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Canopy Covers Reviewed by 'Aviation Consumer'

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

If you park your aircraft outside, you need a cover. Jeff Van West shows the pros and cons of Aviation Consumer's top picks.

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Video: 757 Overrun Video Ignites Pilot Speculation

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

Video shot by a passenger aboard American Airlines Flight 2253 as it overran Runway 19 at Jackson Hole, Wednesday, shows unusual operation of the aircraft's systems, according to some pilots. The 6,300-foot runway sits at an elevation of 6,451 feet and the pilots landed in light snow at about 11:37 a.m. About seven inches of snow had fallen in the area since midnight, but the runway itself was reportedly in good condition with good braking coefficients. The aircraft appears to be on the ground prior to passing the PAPI lights and wind sock, which would be appropriate. In the video, the engine's thrust reverser panel first moves just after touchdown, but it does not fully open and the outboard spoilers are not visibly deployed. Because of that, things quickly get more interesting.

A full ten seconds after touchdown, the thrust reverser panel moves from barely open to closed. The thrust reverser panel does not begin to reopen, this time fully, until approximately seven seconds later, 17 seconds after touchdown. The engines do not appear to spool up until roughly ten seconds after that. That means the 757 rolls on the runway for 27 seconds before the reversers appear amply engaged. It departs the end of the runway roughly nine seconds later. Pilots who claim to be familiar with the 757 have left comments in professional pilot forums online stating that the thrust reversers on the 757 can sometimes refuse to engage. Others have speculated that a hydraulic problem or a problem with the Boeing's air/ground logic system could have prevented the spoilers, reversers and, most important, the brakes from working properly. For this flight, no one was injured and the aircraft came to rest in packed snow, and still on its gear, about 350 feet beyond the runway overrun area. The NTSB is working the case and should have good cockpit voice and flight data recorder information already in hand. And we'll know if blame will be placed primarily with the crew, with the aircraft, or both.

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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.


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Used with permission of Matt Schantz

Solo at Soldier Bar

Matt Schantz of Parker, Colorado flew into 85U at Soldier Bar, Idaho for this idyllic landscape that we couldn't resist naming our "Picture of the Week."

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copyright © Victor Pallotto
Used with permission

First Ride

"This is an instructor introducing a prospective new student to aviation," writes Vic Pallotto of Passaic, New Jersey. He then goes on to call it "a sight we need to see more often" — and we won't disagree.

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copyright © Gilbert Benzonana
Used with permission

Geneva a "Hot Spot"

Gilbert Benzonana of Grand-Lancy, Geneva (Switzerland) may have been our most prolific submitter last year. That puts him in a small circle with a handful of submitters whose names the astute "POTW" fan would probably recognize — so let's take a moment to tip our hat to the man who single-handedly put Geneva on our fantasy flying vacation list for 2010.

Oh, yeah — the photo! Gilbert writes, "This hot air balloon was launched to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Leman Lake crossing on its full length (73 km) by plane."

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Used with permission of Steve Jones

Gemini Gets Swallowed

Don't tell us you didn't chuckle a bit at this shot from Steve Jones of Anchorage, Alaska. And don't pretend you've never take a photo of yourself holding the Washington Monument in your palm, either.

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copyright © Gary Dikkers
Used with permission

Wing Walker Teresa Stokes

To complete the cycle of 2010 reflection, here's our other candidate for busiest submitter of the year: Madison, Wisconsin's Gary Dikkers. While we've never run across Gary at Oshkosh (that we know of), this guy takes enough shots in seven days to keep us stocked with EAA AirVenture photos throughout the winter. Just when we think he's dried up and will spend the rest of the year sending us shots from his own flying adventures — we won't get into petty jealousy over a lifestyle that seemingly allows him to goof around airports taking pictures all day long — a gem like this one will show up in our submission box sporting Gary's name and saying it was taken at last year's AirVenture.

A big AVweb salute to you and Ms. Stokes both, Gary! Keep 'em coming.

Psst — there are more photos to see in the slideshow on AVweb's home page. Why don't you cruise over there and check 'em out?

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.

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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