AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 9a

February 28, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Top News back to top 
 
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'Sport Fuel' Network Envisioned

The Aviation Fuel Club, a non-profit group dedicated to ensuring access to ethanol-free mogas for light aircraft, is hoping to launch a nationwide network of self-serve fuel depots stocked with 91-octane "pure" gasoline it will call Sport Fuel. Spearheading the effort is Mike Webb, who owns U-Fuel, a Wisconsin company that has developed and sold self-serve fuel systems for dozens of applications at sites all over the world. The Sport Fuel system involves a little more oversight, however.

The plan is to work with fuel distributors to get premium gas before the ethanol is added and make it available to operators of Sport Fuel stations at airports, marinas, race tracks and other places where alcohol-free gas is needed. Sport Fuel station operators will have to allow site inspections and periodic testing of the fuel they sell to ensure it remains free of ethanol, which can harm some engines used in aircraft, off-road vehicles and watercraft. "Aviation Fuel Club's goal is to provide an economical source of fuel and quality assurance to members for their sport and aircraft engines," the club said in a news release.

Strikemaster Crashes, Pilot Believed Lost

Police in upstate New York say a "loss of thrust" preceded the likely fatal crash of a BAC 167 Strikemaster into the ice-covered Hudson River near Kingston, N.Y., on Saturday. Pilot Dr. Michael Faraldi is missing and presumed dead after the 42-year-old British jet trainer/light attack aircraft crashed about 1:30 p.m. Witnesses said the plane did a low pass over Kingston Airport before pulling into a vertical climb. Police said the loss of power occurred during the climb and witnesses reported the plane nosed over and hit the ice almost vertically after 360-degree rotation. The Strikemaster has ejection seats but there was no report of an ejection.

Faraldi bought the plane that day in Nashville and was flying it to Columbia County Airport, about 25 miles north of Kingston. It had made a fuel stop in Johnstown, Pa. The Strikemaster first flew in 1967 and was originally marketed as a jet trainer and counterinsurgency platform. Most have been retired to museums or private collections but they're still in service with Ecuador's air force.

 
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Going the Distance back to top 
 
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Two Men, One Sailplane, 744 Miles

Two Men One Sailplane 744 Miles Two men, aged 42 and 78, have reportedly broken a national two-place record by covering 744 miles at altitudes up to 27,000 feet on a 9-hour, 19-minute flight out and back to Minden, Nev., in 100-mph winds, without an engine. Gordon Boettger and the elder Hugh Bennett made the soaring flight on Feb. 15, high above the Sierra Mountain range. Their aircraft was a Discus glider with tandem seating. It was modified by removal of the engine and the addition of oxygen bottles and batteries. The two coordinated with controllers at Oakland, Seattle and Salt Lake City for the flight made possible by the vast mountain wave set up by high winds. Ground speeds ranged from over 100 mph to single digits. Boettger says he has bigger dreams that involve overnights in the air.

Boettger told a local newspaper, The Record Courier, that his goal is to fly up and down the Sierra wave and then across Nevada. The trip would involve "parking" in a mountain wave overnight and then climbing back to altitude for a second day of flying. Boettger says he'd like to test his parking concept to see how plausible the idea may be. "The ultimate goal would be a super long downwind flight," he said. Today's modern sailplane records are often set in mountain wave conditions, most often in the South American Andes. However, North American glider pilots benefit from a vast amount of safe landing area downwind from the mountain range.

FAA Certifies Legacy 650

The FAA has certified the Embraer 650, opening the door for the Brazilian planemaker to compete worldwide in the lucrative long-range, large-cabin business jet market. The 650 is an upgrade to the 600 model, which was Embraer's first business jet and a variant of its EMB 145 regional jet. The aircraft has had Brazilian and European certification since last October and seven have been delivered. The FAA certification is an important milestone, however. "This important approval of our new long-range large cabin Legacy 650 executive jet opens the way for the company to better serve not only the U.S market, but also several other countries that require FAA certification," said Luis Carlos Affonso, Embraer's executive vice president for business jets.

The biggest difference between the 600 and 650 is range. The new airplane will go 3,900 nautical miles (four passengers) with NBAA reserves, compared to 3,000 nm for the 600. Structurally, the main differences are beefed-up wings and landing gear capable of handling an increased fuel load. The 650 also sports a Honeywell Primus avionics suite and the latest in cabin features.

 
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People in the Spotlight back to top 
 

"Freedom Fighter," Hijacker Ly Tong

The history of 65-year-old former pilot and political activist Ly Tong may contain as much fact as legend, but this much is certain: In 1992 he hijacked an Airbus A310-200, he used it to spread leaflets, and then he parachuted from the jet into a swamp. Ly Tong says his actions that day were an attempt to inspire a people's uprising in Vietnam, his former homeland. His goal was to take the country back from the communist government. That didn't happen. Instead, he found himself, for the second time in his life, serving time in a Vietnamese prison. But that didn't keep him from trying again, and not just in Vietnam.

To his worst critics, Ly Tong is a reckless eccentric whose actions endanger not only himself but the population of entire countries. To Ly Tong, each of his aerial exploits has been a mission to promote freedom, democracy and human rights. To his supporters, he is nothing less than a true hero. Ly Tong's story is our Friday podcast. Click here to listen and/or download the audio transcript.

Air Tractor Founder Leland Snow Dies

Known the "father of aerial application," Air Tractor founder Leland Snow died at the age of 80 last week, while jogging near his Wichita Falls, Texas, home. According to AgAir Update, Snow built his first purpose-built cropduster in 1953 at the age of 23 and went on to build thousands of the iconic aircraft with radial and turbine engines. His aircraft are in service around the world and are used for a variety of purposes besides spraying crops.

The latest aircraft, the Air Boss, is an Air Tractor on amphibious floats that collect water from lakes and rivers to allow rapid reloading for firefighting. The memorial service for Snow was held Saturday.

 
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To See and Do back to top 
 

NextGen Needs Input On Airplane Spacing

The airspace isn't getting bigger but air travel is expected to continue increasing so the challenge will be to find ways to fit more airplanes in the same space. It's a fundamental part of the NextGen initiative and those designing the systems that will support it need to know from those who actually manage aircraft movement, known as interval management, how they should get started. "It's crucial to obtain input on this topic from pilots, air traffic controllers/managers, and dispatch operators," said Dr. Jeff Lancaster, a Honeywell researcher who has put together a survey in conjunction with colleagues at NASA and the FAA.

To take part in the survey, e-mail Lancaster at Jeff.Lancaster@Honeywell.com.

$400 Chinese Homebuilt Tri-Motor

click for more photos

Ding Shilu is an automobile mechanic in China and pictures reportedly taken on Feb. 25 that show his 285-pound, three-engined homebuilt aircraft very nearly in flight have now spread across the Internet. The design incorporates a short span, low aspect ratio, deeply cambered, flat-bottom wing with flat ailerons trailing behind the inboard portions of the trailing edge. Nearly-two-dimensional tail surfaces attach to a truss structure extending behind the pilot's seat, which sits below the wing on tricycle gear. Ahead of that, three motorbike engines each drive propellers through belt drives. Materials reportedly include plastic sheet and tubing, and cost less than $400. There's no photographic evidence that the aircraft has actually flown but, if it hasn't, the pictures suggest it has come close.

The whole venture reminds us of Kenyan Gabriel Nderitu's homebuilt. But it does appear that Ding Shilu may be a bit farther down a more promising track.

Click for photos.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

Sun Valley Airport Sites Narrowed

The FAA seems happy with an estimate of $189 million as the cost of a new airport to serve the resort area of central Idaho. The federal government is expected to pay virtually all the cost for the replacement of Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, which serves Sun Valley and surrounding resorts. The existing airport, which was never designed for the kind of traffic it gets, particularly in winter, has a dismal reliability record in winter thanks to high minimums and the surrounding terrain. An FAA study says at least 22 percent of commercial flights and an unknown number of GA flights are diverted. The current airport can't be practically expanded so the search has been on for a new site. It was narrowed down last week.

The most likely location is south of Hailey (and farther away from Sun Valley) near the Lincoln County line. The FAA has said it wants the new airport to cover at least 600 acres and have a minimum runway length of 8,500 feet. The current runway is 7,500 feet. There is another location being considered but it would cost an extra $50 million to develop.

WAI Conference Wraps In Reno

Almost 3,000 people from 22 countries attended the Women in Aviation International conference in Reno that ended Saturday. In a news release, WAI said $691,750 in scholarships were distributed to 76 recipients ranging from young women just getting started to winners making mid-life career changes. "The conference is about far more than pilots, however," said WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. "We also represent individuals from academia, maintenance, research, engineering and more."

The group also inducted five women into its International Pioneer Hall of Fame: L. Tammy Duckworth, Black Hawk pilot and current Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veterans Affairs; Major General Susan Helms, Director of Plans and Policy for the U.S. Strategic Command, a flight test engineer and a former NASA Astronaut; Hazel Ying Lee, who in 1932 became one of the first Chinese-American women to earn a pilot's certificate and a member of WASP Class 44-18; Mary Ann Martin Wyall, a member of the last WASP class to graduate from Avenger Field, who for the past 45 years has preserved and shared the history of the WASP; and Dr. Peggy Chabrian, founder and President of Women in Aviation, International.

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: The Persistence of Mystery

Why do we still wonder, 75 years later, about the fate of a lost pilot and her navigator? Mary Grady ponders the allure of Amelia Earhart in light of TIGHAR's DNA testing in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Silliness in the Pattern

When the local homebuilt contingent goes rogue and does pretend fighter pilot jargon on the CTAF, is it time to pull them aside and have a little talk? Not really. Boys will be boys. But when that sort of thing confuses intent in the pattern, it's time to reconsider. Some poor student in an LSA isn't going to know what "initial for the break" means, and the next he knows, his windshield is full of RV-4 prop. That's the kind of nonsense Paul Bertorelli's coping with in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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AVweb Mailbag back to top 
 

AVmail: February 28, 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: Success Without Incentives

I have been reading all of the AVweb coverage recently about Embraer and the Melbourne area.

I wanted to reach out to you about an aspect of Southeast Aerospace's presence in the Melbourne area. We are excited too about having Embraer as neighbors; however, they are not the only thing that has been happening at the Melbourne airport.

Although we are a small business, we have thrived and grown into the world leader of avionics sales and service. We came to Melbourne in 1997 with one employee and now employ more than 100. We have never received government subsidies or airport incentives to move or remain at the Melbourne airport (unlike many others in the past and Embraer and AAR recently). We have continued to solicit employment opportunities (just as we are now), have hired, and have attracted many skilled personnel from out of state as well. Additionally, we have hired many local unskilled people and have trained them in this industry.

Currently, our revenues are generated from over 60 percent international sales, so we are bringing tens of millions of dollars back into the U.S. economy and the Melbourne area, not just by generating local jobs. We are a family-owned and operated company with very low employee turnover and continued growth as we expand into different markets (air transport, engineering, special missions, etc.). It is our intention to continue to justifiably grow, expand, and remain in Melbourne.

I know I am perhaps being boastful; however, I am proud of our growth, our employees, and the commitment we have made to the Melbourne area over the past 15 years. I realize that there may not be a great deal of juicy newsworthy content in this. However, as we continue to read how companies like Embraer and AAR are seemingly "saving" the Central Florida aerospace market and the Melbourne airport in particular, we would like for people to know that our company has been thriving on its own without incentives and government aid.

Joe Braddock
Southeast Aerospace


Embraer's Move

I can't recall any CEOs approaching me for ideas, but the decision by Embraer to locate their assembly plant in Melbourne, FL seems a disjointed one. Embraer's factory-approved pilot training center is CAE-SimuFlite in Dallas-Ft. Worth, where airports too numerous to mention have long been connected to aircraft manufacturing, and a ready, willing, already-trained work force is well-established.

Furthermore, Texas has no income tax and is well-equipped with harbors and ports of entry as well as rail and highway infrastructure. Texas has some of the world's most famous flight training weather. DFW is also well away from hurricane-prone coastal areas.

I wonder what enticed Embraer to Florida?

George Horn

What's the big deal about Embraer being in Florida? They have been in Nashville for a few years. I worked there and enjoyed the experience.

You better hope that they don't pull a China back door move and get all built up and move to Mexico, like several American companies have done or are planning to do.

Robert J. Cravey


What's American-Made?

Regarding the Question of the Week: It doesn't make any difference if the production is on our soil. If the bank account of the manufacturer is outside the U.S., then it is a net drain of dollars, and we are so dumb as to have to buy those dollars back by paying interest on the money we borrow from the foreigners.

The largest export of the U.S. is debt. Time to wake up and stop buying foreign products.

Tel Paris

What does it mean to be American-made? Apply the 51 percent rule used to establish amateur-built aircraft. Seems fair to me.

Jim Hurd


In Defense of Inhofe ...

Having seen several "rants" against Sen. Jim Inhofe, I felt is was time to explain that he is one of the best voices we have as a general aviation group. He flies an RV-8 and understands how we at the grass roots feel about being overly scrutinized and beaten with the "letter of the law."

A friend of mine with an aircraft induction company was in a heinous battle with a major aircraft powerhouse. They were unrelenting and totally out of bounds with respect to general aviation and aircraft repair shops. Senator Inhofe took up the cause, and the matter was "fixed," which in the long run will save private pilots and repair shops their businesses and money.

We here in Oklahoma are proud of the representation that Senator Inhofe has given us. So please save the partisan rhetoric for something worthwhile. If you have never flown into a mistake, please cast the first stone. There are those who have and those who will.

Bruce Crain


... And Not

Senator Inhofe regularly attends AirVenture. He is given the microphone and allowed to wax political over the main PA. A pretty poor representative of aviation, I think.

Al Burgemeister

Regarding the Sen. Inhofe debacle, how about I add some more fuel to the fire? What FAR did the Senator violate when he took off on a taxiway without the airport manager's or FAA's permission?

Genarro Avollo


Who's Watching the Watchers?

There appears to be significant concern regarding possible interference with GPS from the new 4G network.

It appears that two federal agencies deserve close scrutiny. First, the FCC appears to have permitted this without adequate testing, which is ridiculous. Second, why has the FAA remained silent on the issue (equally ridiculous)?

Millions of dollars have been spent by the FAA creating GPS, and their accuracy may now be in jeopardy. The professional competence of both agencies should be reviewed.

Jim Simmons


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

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

Who Builds What Where?

File Size 7.3 MB / Running Time 8:00

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Global supply chains are challenging the traditional manufacturing model in all industries, including aviation — but politics can trump everything. Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia tells Russ Niles that it makes perfect sense for Embraer to open a plant in the U.S. in the same week that Hawker Beechcraft announces one in Mexico.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (7.3 MB, 8:00)

Video: Paradise P1 Flight Trial

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

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli took a spin in this Brazilian import as part of a major flight report for Aviation Consumer magazine. It has several cool features, including removable seats to turn it into a camper and prodigious load capability. It will also allow a paraplegic pilot to fly it, using special hand controls.

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: 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.

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

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.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Ms. Betty Easley at KHTH (Hawthorne, Nevada)

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

We're about to give new meaning to the term "fixed base operator"! This week's blue ribbon doesn't go to a business, organization, or building, but to a single individual — a woman named Betty Easley at Hawthorne Industrial Airport (KHTH) in Hawthorne, Nevada.

Brace yourself for what has quickly become our favorite "FBO of the Week" nomination, courtesy of AVweb reader Roland Lamer:

KHTH is a city- or county-owned airport that, with its very low usage, would likely never be able to support a for-profit FBO. They don't need to. They have Ms. Betty Easley. Betty is ... lives nearby [the airport] — everybody does in this very little city. Betty, though, has a two-way radio with which she is able to monitor HTH traffic. When she hears incoming traffic, she drives to the airport and normally meets the incoming traffic. She may start with a simple greeting such as, "I am the official airport greeter here at Hawthorne." If you intend to get fuel, she will probably hand you the static line. (She won't attach it to your plane, but she will hand it to you.) Anything you may need she probably has available to you. ... Need a car? She has three of them, just in case things get busy. If you use one of her cars, be sure to put gasoline in it for her. You see, these cars belong to Betty. She pays for the cars, she buys the fuel, and she'll never ask you for a single cent. Be sure and take care of her. She will invite you into the airport building, [where] there is snack food and a computer with internet capbability. If you are tired, there are a couple of cots. Television, refrigerator, couch with recliners — and yes, Betty pays for all of this. Betty loves aviation. When you are all finished with your reason for having flown into KHTH, with your approval, Betty will be standing somewhere parallel to your dpearting runway with a camera. She will take several pictures of your departing airplane and then e-mail them to you. There really is something special about seeing yourself in your airplane just as you have rotated.

By the way, if you are anywhere near the west central part of Nevada, you can relay a "hello" to Betty on 122.8. She loves to hear from her aviation friends.

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 
 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Jason Swingle of Paktika Province, Afghanistan. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.

Short Final

Overheard on the ground while taxiing with a lot of training traffic around the pattern:

C1234P (a very young-sounding female voice) :
"Fullerton Tower, Cessna 1234P is at FBO with Whiskey; request taxi to Runway 24."

Tower:
"Uh, are you old enough to have Whiskey?"


John Duino
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.