AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 8a

February 21, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! FAA Reauthorization Bill ... To Pass? back to top 
 

Senate Passes FAA Bill: House On Deck

All eyes are now on the House after the full Senate passed its version of an FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate approved a two-year measure allocating a total of $34.5 billion in an 87-8 vote. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee approved a four-year reauthorization bill to be considered by the full House. It's not known when it will hit the floor but the current temporary extension of the FAA's operating authority (the 17th since 2007) expires March 31 and there seems to be the will to get a more permanent measure in place by then. The Senate bill passed with major revisions from earlier iterations.

The Senate bill allows greater access to Washington Reagan National Airport by non-stop flights from greater than 1,250 miles away. Only 12 such flights are currently allowed each day and the bill will add 16 more, a provision supported by western states. The bill also passed with $200 million annually in the Essential Air Service Program, which subsidizes airlines to provide service on unprofitable routes to smaller and far-flung cities. Sen. John McCain's bid to cancel the program was defeated before the vote on the bill. After the House passes its bill, a committee of representatives of both bodies will meet to hammer out a single version of the law, which can go to the president for his signature.

 
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Meanwhile, at the Airport ... back to top 
 

Rest Rules Could Create Pilot Shortage?

American Airlines says proposed rules intended to reduce pilot fatigue would require it to hire an additional 2,325 pilots at a cost of $514 million annually, and seemed to suggest the industry-wide effect could be crippling. The rules would effectively decrease maximum time on duty for pilots. In November, American offered public comments on the rules, saying "if AA needs 2,300 more pilots to meet the proposed rules, other certificate holders will need many additional pilots, too." Stakeholders also claim that the regulation's cost will be substantially higher than the FAA's estimate of $1.25 billion over 10 years. The Air Transport Association says the rule would cost more than 15 times that figure. As for the total number of pilots needed to meet the requirements of the bill, American said, "The industry figure will be so large as to raise the question of from where they all will come." American wasn't the only carrier to express concern.

Southwest commented on the proposal, saying "we feel than many of the rule changes will impact our operation as dramatically, if not more so, than the impact on any other carrier." The proposed rules call for nine hours rest between shifts and 30 consecutive hours away from work, each week. The proposal arose with support of people who lost family members in the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407. There were no survivors of that flight, so the exact role of fatigue is unknown. However, the investigation found that neither member of the cockpit crew had slept in a bed the night before the crash, both had long commutes, and fatigue may have affected crew performance. In February 2010, NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman called the crash "an opportunity to reexamine fatigue in aviation."

Fatigue in aviation has been on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements since 1990. The FAA accepted comments on the proposed rules (PDF) through Nov. 15, 2010.

FAA Overturns Airport Glider Ban

In a precedent-setting decision, the operator of a Southern California airport has been ordered by the FAA to allow resumption of glider operations or risk losing its federal grants. As we reported in 2009, Riverside County evicted more than 40 gliders and closed the grass strip they used, citing safety concerns. The agency ruled last week the county's reasoning was "flawed" and, after studying the issue, determined the airport layout will accommodate the "safe simultaneous operations of glider and powered aircraft." The crux of the matter was whether safety was used as a cover for discrimination against the gliders and the FAA suggested the eviction was an "unreasonable denial" of use at the airport. "The (county) is obligated by its grant assurances … to operate the airport -- not just specific pieces of infrastructure on it -- on reasonable terms and without unjust discrimination," the FAA said in its decision.

The FAA study and subsequent decision resulted from a complaint filed by the Orange County Soaring Association (OSCA) and backed by AOPA, the Soaring Society of America and CalPilots. OSCA President Larry Tuohino said the successful outcome of their appeal sends a message to federally funded airports all over the U.S. "This case has been closely followed nationally as a 'test case' for asserting the rights of glider pilots at other public-funded airports," said Larry Tuohino. To avoid jeopardizing the federal grants, the county has to lift the glider ban and enter "good faith" negotiations with any commercial glider operation that might want to rent space.

 
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Watson, Hummingbird — A Big Week for Robots back to top 
 

Hummingbird Reconnaissance Drone Flies

A Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) created by AeroVironment, designed to look and fly like a hummingbird, has achieved remote-controlled hover and flight while carrying a camera that transmits real-time video to its control unit. When we last saw the vehicle in video, its control looked questionable. Now, the ornithopter is shown in controlled hover and maneuvers, flying through a doorway and into a building, while sending live video back to its operator (Click for video). Two years ago, the first version could fly for 20 seconds. Now, it can fly up to 11 miles per hour and has a duration of about eight minutes. The project is the result of a DARPA-funded effort by AeroVironment for a potential stealthy reconnaissance vehicle for use in urban environments. Its success "paves the way for a new generation of aircraft with the agility and appearance of small birds," according to DARPA NAV project manager Dr. Todd Hylton.

The prototype is smaller and lighter than the largest hummingbirds, but larger and heavier than most. It has a wingspan of 16 cm and carries 19 grams (less than a double-A battery) worth of structure, systems, batteries, motors and communications equipment. The next steps in the project's development would be to further refine the employed technology. So far, the Pentagon has awarded roughly $4 million to the project. The technology could be used in the future for detailed reconnaissance missions, according to AeroVironment's Matt Keennon, who expects the vehicle's form, duration and performance would improve with further development. Keennon notes that the aircraft's form could provide stealth characteristics if subjects were unable to recognize it as man-made. But, he says, in that case, "a sparrow seems to be better."

 
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Time for an Apple Store Beside the FBO? Almost ... back to top 
 

FAA: iPad Can Replace Charts For Executive Jet

Executive Jet has earned official authorization from the FAA to use the Jeppesen Mobile TC App for iPad as a sole reference for electronic charts and as a direct replacement of paper aeronautical charts in the cockpit. Executive Jet managed that after three months of in-flight evaluation that included more than 250 flight segments and one rapid-decompression test initiated at 51,000 feet. That testing involved 55 pilots, and Jeppesen says it was provided with feedback that it incorporated into an update for the app, released last month. For now, the FAA's approval for the Jeppesen app on the iPad is for Executive Jet, and only Executive Jet. Jeppesen hopes that's just the beginning and, according to Jeppesen, many carriers may feel the same way.

Jeppesen's Jeff Buhl told KWGN-TV that "airlines around the world are investigating the iPad right now" and "this is one of the first major approvals." Buhl believes Executive Jet has paved the way for other operators to follow. The authorization earned by Executive Jet can replace up to 50 pounds of paperwork, according to Buhl. Still, some question the prudence of eliminating paper charts as a backup in the cockpit. For that, Executive Jet offers redundancy -- each cockpit carries two pilots and two iPads.

An iPad Cockpit?

ForeFlight Mobile, one of the most popular chart viewing and flight planning apps for the iPhone and iPad, now offers georeferencing—a fancy term for showing where the aircraft is on approach charts and airport diagrams. The data for georeferencing has been in the software for some time, but not active because ForeFlight felt the internal GPS in the iPhone and iPad was too unreliable. ForeFlight's co-founder, Tyson Wells said customer demand coupled with aftermarket GPS units from Bad Elf and GNS GmbH made this the right time for a change. In addition to position, GPS-derived altitude, groundspeed and track can be shown while viewing the approach plate.

Meanwhile, ForeFlight's leading competitor, WingX, is on the verge of some big changes of their own. WingX has had georeferenced approach charts and airport diagrams for the iPad for some time. Their new version now in beta will add what ForeFlight has long had: sectional and en route charts. This is in addition to a standard GPS moving map. Both Foreflight and WingX have several other improvements in the new versions. Georeferencing comes at a premium price on either system. Foreflight with georeferencing is $149.99/year, compared to the $75/year standard plan. Standard plan users still get aircraft position on sectional or IFR en route charts, approach plates without aircraft position, flight planning, fuel prices, and internet-based weather. WingX is $199/year with georeferencing or $99/year without.

 
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Following the success of the previous Workshop in Washington, DC in 2010, this Legal Aviation Workshop (LAW) will cover the following themes: Introduction to Aircraft Lease Agreements, Types of Lease Agreements, Aircraft Lease Agreements and Contract Law, Brief Refresher on Contract Formation and Enforcement, Operating Leases ("Dry"), Standard Terms and Conditions, Negotiating Issues, Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance & Insurance ("Wet") Leases, Standard Terms and Conditions as well as Negotiating Issues. Click here to learn more and register.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Women In Aviation To Gather In Reno

Women in Aviation International will host its 22nd annual conference next week in Reno, Nev., from Feb. 24 to 26. The event brings together a wide range of aviation professionals, educators and enthusiasts, and welcomes men as well as women from around the world. A variety of professional development seminars, networking opportunities, exhibits and social events are offered. The history of women's contributions to aviation will be explored in talks about the Womens Airforce Service Pilots, the 1929 women's air derby and more. At the conclusion of the conference, on Saturday night, this year's inductees to WAI's Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame will be announced, and 66 scholarships worth more than $600,000 will be awarded. About 3,200 attendees are expected.

Among the guests and speakers at this year's event are Lt. Col. Maryse Carmichael, commander of Canada's Snowbirds aerobatic team; Mark Van Tine, CEO of Jeppesen; Adm. Gary Roughead, U.S. Navy; and aviation educators John and Martha King and Rod Machado. Details and registration information can be found at the WAI website. The cost for non-members is $439. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with WAI President Peggy Chabrian about this year's convention, what will be going on there and why it's a great event for anyone working to launch or advance an aviation career. Click here for that podcast.

Man Told Plane Stolen Two Years Ago

Wednesday, a man walked into the local Sheriff's office to report that his aircraft, a 1955 Cessna 310, had been stolen from Turlock Airport (roughly 90 miles east of San Francisco), about two years ago. It seems the victim bought the plane on the east coast back in 2007, flew it across the country and parked it in his hangar. Details are sketchy, but the victim apparently left his plane unchecked until the FAA contacted him to let him know the aircraft had been sold in 2009, or was otherwise out of compliance. When the victim went to check on the aircraft, he discovered it was missing. Merced deputy Tom Mackenzie told local newspaper The Merced Sun Star that it appears the aircraft had been flown off the airport and that the criminal had then forged signatures on a bill of sale dated April 2009, before selling the aircraft to someone else.

The FAA is conducting an investigation and has placed the aircraft's identifying features, plus its serial number and registration number, into the national database for stolen property. Many aircraft are stolen each year from the U.S. and placed in service in South America for the purpose of running drugs, according to the FAA. The victim in this case estimated the value of his aircraft near $25,000.

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: And Stop Telling Me to Be Careful!

Geez, some well-meaning geezer tells Paul Bertorelli to "be careful," and he goes off the deep end. But he does have a point. What does this banal statement mean relative to aviation risk? After 500 words on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul has the conclusive answer: Not much, it turns out.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Pilot Fatigue — Bunk or Real?

That's the question for the latest installment of our blog, as ABC reports that pilots too poorly paid to afford hotels are bunking in the pilot lounge or concourse and showing up in the cockpit exhausted. But FAA Adminstrator Randy Babbitt says it's not happening. Who's right? You tell us, says Paul Bertorelli, on the AVweb Insider.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Hey, Buddy — Can You Spare an Opinion (or Two)? back to top 
 

An AVweb Survey: Tell Us What You Think About Avgas Replacements

The FAA just announced that it will convene a special committee to investigate an unleaded replacement for 100LL avgas. This committee will hear from the alphabets, aircraft manufacturers and users of avgas. AVweb would like to know your opinions on the current state of affairs in the search for an unleaded replacement for 100LL.

Click here to take the survey.

If you have questions or comments on the subject, you can contact us through the survey or e-mail us directly.

Have You Used Oil Additives? 'Aviation Consumer' Could Use Your Insight

Have you added more than oil to your engine? If you've tried oil additives like CamGuard or AVblend, Aviation Consumer wants to know how it worked out. Whether your experience was good, bad or of no consequence whatsoever, they want to know. Please take a moment to fill out their survey to help the research effort for an upcoming, in-depth review.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

 
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Letter of the Week back to top 
 

AVmail: February 21, 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: NOTAMs Are for Everyone

I just read the FAA's letter to Senator Inhofe with regard to his landing on a closed runway and his subsequent take-off from a taxiway in October. It's good that the Senator had to take some remedial training, but is this really going to cause an attitude adjustment on his part? His statement about most pilots ignoring the whole NOTAM picture does not reflect well on the rest of us. I mean, come on, how hard is it?

When we get a briefing from DUATS, a whole list of NOTAMS comes up at the end. I always scan the huge list of en route NOTAMS, even though most turn out to be irrelevant to my flight. But I, and I'm sure most of us, give a good deal of attention to at least the departure and arrival NOTAMs.

After ignoring the large Xs, construction equipment, and workers on the runway and landing, [Inhofe] had the nerve to take off from a taxiway without permission from the airport management or FAA. Did he think that he was going to just sneak out, or did he think that he would just throw his position around and make it go away?! In this time of TFRs and hypersensitivity to aviation security, we must all do our homework diligently!

I hope Inhofe never decides to visit AirVenture. Who knows if he would take the time to read that NOTAM!

Steve Tobias


Committee Crush

Paul Bertorelli hit the nail on the head with the committee piece. It makes them feel good. This forming of spontaneous committees validates their existence but is nonproductive and maybe even counterproductive — and actually recognizes the ineptitude and lack of efficacy of all former committees. I'd like to see if there is any commonality of members throughout the list of committees.

Jim Cavanaugh


In-Flight Cockpit Fire

Great coverage about a heroic pilot.

This sounds like a fuel fire. It's a warning to keep a leather glove in the cockpit to be able to turn off the fuel in the event of this happening.

Follow up, please. Contact a few field maintenance people who are familiar with the Dukes series of (usually under the floor on Cessna SE) fuel pumps and how they can leak fuel into the subfloor cavity. These pumps do have an overboard fuel drain tube; however, this scheme does not always provide a path to drain. Pilots complain of fuel vapors in the cabin leading to inspection of the area around the pump, which often has a puddle of fuel.

Greg Broburg

I am glad everyone got out alive during this event. However, I was less than encouraged by the "lessons learned" part of the interview. While I agree with the "make your decision and act promptly" part, the lack of the fire extinguisher on board was never mentioned.

For the instructor to not have encouraged us listeners to have an extinguisher misses the mark. This, in itself, could have made a big differance. As they say, rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. We all need to prepare like our lives depend on it. Because they do!

Herman Bloomberg

The NTSB report on this in-flight fire left too many questions unanswered. They blamed the fire on a terminal lug without a rubber boot.

The questions they did not address were:

  • Why didn't the breaker shut off power to the pump when the short occurred?
  • Why did the carpet burst into flames? Did the carpet meet FAA burn standards?
  • Why were there "flames pouring out from under the instrument panel"? What was there under the instrument panel that would support flames?

This type of incomplete investigating does nothing to help us learn from this experience.

Larry Koch


4G Threat?

After listening to the LightSquared folks on the issue of interfence from 4G towers: If the 430, which is a sophisticated system, has problems, what about all the handhelds out there?

This does not sound good to me. It seems since GPS is a vital function for aviation and on the ground — and [since] it was here first, the 4G folks need to find another frequency to use that will not affect us. I have a lot of GPS units for ground and aviation. I can't see how I have to put on filters. The 4G folks need to make their product the one that filters.

Thank you. Keep up the great reporting on this issue and keep us all up to date.

Bill Yendrzes

It seems like a clash of bureaucracies. I can't imagine why the FCC would even consider approving a system that has the potential to undermine military, defense and civilian navigation capability.

It's like banning all 121.5 ELTs. Who's minding the store? I'm a professional pilot and fly my own C-172 regularly with a Garmin III pilot handheld. Will I have to carry a filter to protect a cheap GPS? Ridiculous!

Scott Streibick


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

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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

Peggy Chabrian, President of Women in Aviation International

File Size 8.3 MB / Running Time 9:05

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The annual conference of WAI is coming up this weekend (Feb. 24 to 26) in Reno, Nevada. President Peggy Chabrian explains what the group is all about, what happens at the conference, and why it's a great destination for anyone — male or female — who is interested in launching or advancing an aviation career.

Note: This podcast was recorded last week. The WAI Conference is this weekend, February 24-26, is Reno, Nevada.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (8.3 MB, 9:05)

Video: U Fly It Aircraft Introduces the Sport Storch

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

In the 1930s, the German war machine created an amazing STOL aircraft called the Storch. A 3:4 scale version of the aircraft is now available as an LSA or experimental amateur-built plane through U Fly It Sport Aircraft.

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

Video: Is Carbon Monoxide About to Kill You?

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

Probably not, but you may still want to consider a cockpit carbon monoxide detector. In this video, AVweb and Aviation Consumer take a look at these relatively inexpensive safety gadgets. They have steadily improved in recent years, and there are more choices than ever.

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

 
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.
 
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Bay Minette Aviation (1R8, Outside Mobile, Alabama)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" has actually held the honor once before — two years ago.

Bay Minette Aviation at Bay Minette Municipal Airport (1R8) near Mobile, Alabama makes a return appearance on our top FBOs list after getting high marks from AVweb readers in the intervening months. "Friendly staff, low prices, and plenty of runway," remarked Tim Hynes, before confessing, "I almost want to keep this one a secret!"

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!

 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 
 

Short Final

Heard in Cape Town, South Africa:

N1234A (someone with an American Accent) :
"Cape Town, uh — is that going to be the ILS Yankee or Zulu for Runway 19?"

Someone Else (not a controller, but someone with a South African accent) :
"It must be the ILS Zulu. Yankees are in America, but Zulus live here in Africa."

The controller and pilot from N1234A both laughed.


Ed
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

 
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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