AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 8b

February 24, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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IATA: West Shows Lowest Accident Rate, Ever

The accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft in 2010 was the lowest in aviation history, the International Air Transportation Association (IATA) announced this week. The data measured hull losses, which occur when an accident destroys an aircraft or damages an aircraft beyond repair. In 2010, for every one million flights of Western-built jet aircraft, IATA says the global figure for hull losses was 0.61 -- that's one accident per 1.6 million flights. And that figure bests the previous low set in 2006, when the rate was 0.65. According to IATA, the data translates to the safe carriage of 2.4 billion people flying on 36.8 million flights (split as 28.4 million jet and 8.4 million turboprop operations). That said, the number of fatalities was up in 2010, and safety of flight was significantly different depending on the geographic region of operation.

In 2009, IATA says there were 685 fatalities on jet flights, versus 786 in 2010. Those figures correspond with 23 fatal accidents in all aircraft types during 2010, versus 18 in 2009. Hull losses recorded for Western-built jets operating in North America were 0.10, while those Africa's rate was 7.41 (still an improvement over the rate of 9.94 carried by Africa in 2009). The global average for hull losses was listed at 0.61 per million flights, according to IATA. Commenting on the regional disparity of hull losses, director general and CEO of IATA Giovanni Bisignani said, "Flying must be equally safe in all parts of the world. An accident rate in Africa that is over 12 times the global average is not acceptable." Bisignani encouraged governments worldwide to "make use of the IOSA [operational safety audit] tool," offered by IATA. According to Bisignani, carriers using IOSA in Africa had an accident rate more than 50 percent better than non-IOSA carriers.

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From the 'Ongoing Research' File back to top 

FAA Told: Photo IDs Don't Fly

The FAA's proposal to require photos on pilot certificates has drawn almost 500 comments, many of them objecting to the plan, and several advocacy groups have asked the FAA to modify or withdraw the proposal. "As an ATP pilot, I already have an encrypted military ID [and] a state-issued drivers license," said one commenter. "The government does not need an ID to keep the terrorists and radicals in control. This is absolutely a waste of time and money." GA groups who weighed in before the close of comments last week included AOPA, EAA, the National Association of Flight Instructors and the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators. None of them supported the FAA's proposal, which could charge applicants up to $50 for a certificate and would cost pilots about $446 million over 20 years.

AOPA said the FAA should withdraw the proposal, which does nothing to enhance safety or security. EAA said the requirements would delay the issuance of student pilot certificates by six to eight weeks, which is "unacceptable." Further, EAA said, the new IDs still might not meet standards set by the Department of Homeland Security, so pilots would have to accrue the added time and expense of replacing their IDs yet again. NAFI said the FAA's proposal was "ambiguous as to whether the proposed changes would apply to flight instructor certificates." SAFE listed a number of specific objections (PDF) and concluded that the FAA should withdraw its proposal and start over. "Take the time to think this out ... Engage the input and assistance of the aviation community. Then do it right," SAFE said.

Flight Training Study Available

AOPA has released the final report (4MB PDF) of its student pilot retention study and the tweaking hasn't changed the basic message. As we reported in November, the final report shows that the flight training industry isn't exploiting the cool factor of being a pilot as much as it might. It also says instructors should brush up on their organizational skills and flight school owners should sharpen their pencils.

Although most student pilots gave generally positive feedback about their training experience, the numbers slipped when it came to cost and the interaction with instructors. Something that was clear is that once students find instructors they like, they want to see them most of the time. Not surprisingly, the specter of the written and practical tests looms large for students and they want thorough preparation for those milestones. The report is a first step in reworking the way student pilots are trained, says Jennifer Storm, AOPA's director of flight training initiatives. "The research study gives us a common reference point," Storm said. "We hope flight training professionals will review it, join the discussion, and be part of the industry-wide effort to improve the student experience." AOPA plans meetings across the country to discuss the study and hear from flight training professionals about them.

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File Under 'Could Have Turned Out Much Worse' back to top 

Restricted Airspace, Rented Plane, Hijack Code

A pilot flying from an Ottawa airport last Wednesday in a rented Cessna 172M inadvertently set his transponder to broadcast the hijack code and then inadvertently flew into restricted airspace, according to Canadian authorities. Transport Canada says the pilot had planned a trip out of Ottawa with stops in Arnprior, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec. While en route at roughly 9:40 a.m., the aircraft suffered a mechanical problem, the agency said. In addressing that problem, the pilot mistakenly set the aircraft's transponder to broadcast the hijack code and then managed to fly into a restricted area that surrounds Parliament Hill, which is Canada's equivalent of Capitol Hill. Transport Canada is apparently content that both actions were inadvertent, but that didn't prevent police involvement and the collection of one quote that everyone might have seen coming.

Airspace around Parliament Hill is effectively a no-fly zone beginning at 400 meters around the buildings and up to 450 meters. Amongst the obvious mistakes, the pilot did manage to properly establish contact with air traffic control and return to Ottawa without further incident. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has made its determination that the event could be attributed to pilot error and it will not be pursuing action against the pilot. In the words of RCMP Sgt. Marc Menard, who spoke with the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, "The guy was very apologetic."

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News Briefs back to top 

Envelope Flaps May Hold Earhart's DNA

A Canadian scientist plans to extract DNA from envelopes licked by Amelia Earhart to help determine if a bone fragment found on a Pacific island -- or any other remains found in the future -- might belong to the lost aviator. Dongya Yang, a genetic archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, told National Geographic News last week that he will try out the technique on test envelopes first, to ensure that the process is not destructive. "When we have the best technique available, that's when we'll move on to the real letters," Yang said. If enough DNA is found in the envelope seals, it will be compared to DNA from Earhart's living relatives to determine if it's really hers, National Geographic said.

The mystery of Earhart's disappearance has persisted since July 1937, when she and navigator Fred Noonan went missing above the South Pacific while attempting to fly around the world. In 2009, searchers with the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery discovered a tiny bone fragment, thought to be part of a woman's hand, on a the Nikumaroro atoll. If DNA can be extracted from the bone fragment and compared to DNA from the envelopes, that could solve the mystery. According to the TIGHAR website, an update on the DNA work might be posted by the end of this week. "A word of caution about the DNA update ... don't expect any dramatic revelations," says the website news feed. "We still have more questions than answers." The group plans to return to the island in July 2012 to search for more clues underwater.

Aviation Group Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize

a href="http://www.wings-of-hope.org/" target="_blank">Wings of Hope, a charitable flying group based in St. Louis, Mo., is on a list of nominees for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the Air Care Alliance said this week. The group is one of 237 candidates for the prize, the largest number ever. Each nominee is selected by a qualified nominator who works with the Nobel Committee to identify deserving groups and individuals around the world. "This is a great honor to all of our volunteers and donors," Wings of Hope President Doug Clements told the Bellville News Democrat. "They are the ones who see the humanity of our fellow men and who seek to extend the hand of human kindness to them." By the end of March, the Nobel committee will reduce the nominee list to a short list of prospects, and in October, the Nobel laureates will be announced.

Wings of Hope works with about 3,000 volunteers and a paid staff of only five to provide those in need with health care and aerial transportation from 155 bases in 45 countries. The nonprofit group is non-sectarian and non-political. It was founded in 1962 and has won many awards in the past. Clements said the group was contacted by a Nobel committee nominator several months ago, and he was later told the group had been selected for consideration. Clements told the St. Louis Business Journal that he doesn't expect his group will win, but "It's just an honor" to be nominated. The prize comes with a cash gift of about $1 million.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Embraer Florida Plant A Beginning?

Embraer CEO Fred Curado says the Brazilian company now has a "industrial footprint" in the U.S. and future expansion will depend on developing new products and markets. Curado told AVweb in a video interview at the ribbon-cutting for its new Phenom final assembly plant in Melbourne, Fla., that while there are no firm plans for expansion, there's room to grow in the U.S. and particularly in Melbourne. The central Florida town will be hard hit by cutbacks at NASA, and the Embraer plant has been welcomed with open arms by a community that has a strong aerospace base.

The new plant is designed to build up to 100 entry-level jets a year. Completed fuselages and wings will be shipped to Melbourne from Brazil and all the systems will be installed and tested in Melbourne. The plan is to build a single airplane in 2011, 30 in 2012 and 60 in 2013. The market will dictate further expansion but Curado says Embraer has the land and Melbourne has the skilled workforce to support that expansion.

GAMA: No Turnaround In 2010, But Maybe This Year

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association released its annual industry report (PDF) on Tuesday, showing that aircraft deliveries continued to fall in 2010 despite improvements in the global and U.S. economies. Deliveries of GA aircraft fell by 11.4 percent overall in 2010 compared to the year before. Piston deliveries were down by 7.7 percent, from 963 units to 889; turboprops declined 17.7 percent, from 441 units to 363; and business jets fell from 870 deliveries in 2009 to 763 last year, a drop of 12.3 percent. John Rosanvallon, CEO of Dassault Falcon Jet and chairman of GAMA, said shipments traditionally lag an economic recovery by one to two years, and signs are good for the industry to start a rebound in 2011.

Among the positive signs, Rosanvallon said, flight activity is recovering, tax policies are favorable, and corporate profits were up 26 percent last year, which usually indicates a willingness to spend is imminent. However, credit scarcity continues to be an issue, and an excess of aircraft in the used market at depressed prices continues to affect new sales. In the GA piston/turboprop sector, Piper Aircraft showed signs of recovery, citing increased sales globally. In 2010, Piper delivered 160 new aircraft, an increase of 75 percent over 90 deliveries in 2009. In the same turboprop/piston sector, Cessna delivered 451 aircraft in 2009 and 334 in 2010. Cirrus stayed close to level in piston deliveries, with 264 in 2009 and 266 in 2010. Pete Bunce, CEO of GAMA, said advocacy groups are working on several fronts to improve the outlook for GA, including efforts to improve flight training and rewrite Part 23 rules to bring down the cost of aircraft. He added that GAMA is closely watching the FAA reauthorization bill as it continues to move through House committees to ensure that a "greater regulatory burden" doesn't creep into the legislation. And on March 21, GAMA and other industry groups will host Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in Wichita, Kan., for a "GA Jobs Rally" in support of manufacturers.

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Share Your Opinion back to top 

Question of the Week: What Does "Made in the U.S.A." Mean?

Many American aircraft manufacturers perform varying amounts of the construction of their aircraft in other countries. Now Embraer is doing final assembly of its Phenom light jets in Melbourne, FL and saying those aircraft are "made in the U.S.A."

What does "Made in the U.S.A." mean for aircraft manufacturers?
(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.)

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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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.

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

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 

Video: Embraer Comes to the U.S.

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

Brazil's Embraer held the ribbon-cutting for its first U.S. assembly plant in Melbourne, FL on Feb. 21. Embraer CEO Fred Curado says the plant, which is designed to build as many as 100 Phenom 100 and 300 light business jets a year, may not be the end of the company's investment in the U.S.

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: 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?
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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!

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"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Bengt Olson of Hindås, Sweden. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.