AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 10a

March 7, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! China's Big Plans for Aerospace back to top 
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Infrastructure Spending, China-Style

The Chinese government has announced plans to invest more than $228 billion to improve its aviation industry over the next five years, according to the head of China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC). The improvements translate to the addition of about 45 airports and almost 2,000 aircraft, CAAC's Li Jiaxiang said. China began localized tests to expand general aviation's access to airspace in January. This week, it apparently acquired Cirrus, after signing a deal for Groen Brothers last month and Teledyne Continental Motors last year. Of course, the country already builds Cessna Skycatchers and in 2009 it announced plans to build its own commercial airliners. The latest investment is aligned with the country's current predictions regarding increases in its air traffic and a goal to annually move well more than 1 billion passengers by air two decades from now.

China moved 267 million passengers by air in 2010, which is reportedly up more than 15 percent, year over year. The country expects its aircraft to move 450 to 500 million passengers by air in 2015. By 2030, the country is aiming for 1.5 billion. Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer, along with general aviation manufacturers, have been actively marketing their wares and China has, for the most part, been interested. With China seeking to build their own airliner somewhere in the future and its continued acquisition of general aviation suppliers and manufacturers, the field is changing. Foreign manufacturers are aware that their place in the Chinese market is changing, too.

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Here, There, and Everywhere: Searching for Earhart back to top 

Earhart Wrecks 2,500 Miles Apart

Two groups are currently suggesting that their site of interest may mark the final resting place of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan ... and they're more than 2,000 miles apart. Thursday's report of an aircraft resembling Earhart's sitting 230 feet below the surface of the ocean comes from near Earhart's point of departure, Papua New Guinea. The site is more than 2200 miles from the area where Earhart's final radio transmissions were heard near Howland Island. Reports surfaced Friday that a diver had been to the New Guinea wreck and discovered two skulls and three boxes of gold bullion. Australian businessman Cletus Harepa, who is exploring the site, has told reporters that female pilots were known to smuggle gold out of the area in the 1930s. Ric Gillespie, who says he was informed of the New Guinea wreck months ago, has been searching for signs of Earhart 2,500 miles away, near Howland Island (Earhart's intended destination) and the idea that Earhart's plane might be near New Guinea is "silly beyond description."

According to Gillespie, Earhart's final radio transmissions proves she was within 200 miles of Howland Island when she, her Lockheed Electra and Fred Noonan disappeared. At the time of those transmissions, says Gillespie, the aircraft could have had no more than four hours of fuel aboard. If he's correct, that would put the aircraft at least 2,000 miles from New Guinea carrying about 600 miles worth of fuel. Ignoring or unaware of that, Harepa's claim seems to rest on the notion that the aircraft crashed shortly after departure as his site is in line with Earhart's flight path from New Guinea to Howland ... or perhaps that Earhart somehow found her way back. According to Gillespie, "it's just got as silly as anything I've ever seen [regarding Earhart] ... and that's saying something." Gillespie is executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), which recently tested samples of material found on an island near Howland for DNA with inconclusive results.

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NBAA Emphasizes Security in BARR Fight back to top 

NBAA: FAA Proposal "Creates Vulnerability"

Friday, the FAA proposed changes to the program that blocks certain public access to real-time flight tracking by allowing it only for operators with a "Valid Security Concern," and NBAA immediately opposed the plan. The FAA's proposal notes that "the Privacy Act does not protect general aviation operators" from public access to their flight information. NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said Friday that the move, which would release more flight information to the public, represents "an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board." The FAA's proposed changes would still allow operators to participate in BARR (a program that blocks aircraft registration requests) if certain conditions are met.

To have their information blocked, operators must show provide a written request that shows a "Valid Security Concern," as defined by the FAA. The FAA would then provide written approval valid for one year. The FAA has defined a "Valid Security Concern" as "a verifiable threat to person, property or company, including a threat of death, kidnapping or serious bodily harm against an individual, a recent history of violent terrorist activity in the geographic area in which the transportation is provided, or a threat against a company." NBAA sees no reason why the government should provide "the tools to electronically stalk U.S. citizens or companies on general aviation airplanes" to unknown individuals with unknown interests. Find the full text of the FAA's proposal here and NBAA's comments here.

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Lies and Licenses back to top 

Landing Exposes Fake Airline Pilot

A woman flying as captain for IndiGo has had her certificate revoked after the investigation of a rough landing in January found she had allegedly forged papers to earn her ATPL certificate, according to India's aviation authority, the DGCA. The landing at Goa airport apparently involved a nosewheel-first touchdown technique, which led to a problem with the gear discovered on the return flight to Delhi. (The specific type of aircraft was not mentioned in reports, but IndiGo only operates Airbus A320s.) A subsequent investigation discovered the pilot had not only used her nosewheel-first technique several times before, but had also failed her ATPL examination seven times. The case of forged certificates is not unique.

Pilots previously involved in fake document scandals include Thomas Salme, who had accumulated more than 10,000 flight hours and had flown without incident for several airlines in Europe before being discovered. Salme was removed from the captain's seat of a Boeing 737 last year as it was readied for flight with more than 100 aboard. Ultimately, Salme's flight privileges were suspended and he stated at the time that he did not intend to work again as a pilot. In 2007, a flight instructor in India was accused of selling endorsements to foreign-trained commercial pilots seeking equivalent certificates in India. With regard to the IndiGo case, DGCA director general Bharat Bhushan said, "We will file a police complaint soon against the pilot." The agency plans to carry out a detailed probe and take measures to thwart similar occurrences in the future.

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Pop Quiz! back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #157: Emergencies


Like art, an in-flight emergency is in the eye of the beholder. And if you're holding the throttle attached to a sputtering engine, then it's time to stay calm and fly this quiz.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

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Our Visit to Cessna back to top 

Video: A Look Inside the Cessna Factory

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

Facing ever-growing global competition, Cessna has to find way to make airplanes more efficiently. In this video, Terry Clark explains how the company has done that at the company's Independence, Kansas plant.

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Cub Marion: Direct from the Cessna Factory Floor

File Size 4.0 MB / Running Time 4:19

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Paul Bertorelli recently stopped in at the Cessna factory in Independence, Kansas. While there, he put the question to Cessna's Cub Marion, who works on Citation CJ4 production: Whatever happened to those green planes we used to see making test flights?

Click here to listen. (4.0 MB, 4:19)

AVweb Insider Blog: As Goes Cirrus, Cessna Too?

Cirrus' sale to Chinese interests wasn't especially shocking — but after visiting the Cessna plant in Kansas, Paul Bertorelli wonders if Cessna might go the same way. Anything is possible in the global economy, says Paul in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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HAI Heli-Expo 2011 back to top 

Video: Bell 407AH Helicopter Unveiled

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

Bell Helicopters bypassed the usual military procurement procedure and adapted a 407 for "law enforcement and paramilitary" use. With a 3,000-round-per-minute machine gun, a rocket launcher and FLIR, it's a potent adaptation of a proven airframe that's already attracting attention.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Denying Satisfaction

File Size 4.6 MB / Running Time 5:00

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

When a fellow Army pilot's Apache helicopter took an RPG round and small arms fire over Afghanistan, punching a hole in the transmission, Jim Hardy says he wasn't about to let the enemy have the satisfaction of stripping the chopper in a victory celebration. Hardy tested the "run-dry" ability of the Timken transmission to the limit by flying it back to his forward operating base, winning a medal in the process. He spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles at Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida.

Click here to listen. (4.6 MB, 5:00)

Aviation Hiring Rebounding

It may be a good time to refresh that resume as a report released at Heli-Expo in Orlando on Sunday suggests most aviation companies will be hiring in the coming year. The report, by Fort Worth-based JSfirm LLC, is based on a survey of 325 companies of all sizes. "We are certainly encouraged by the fact that nearly 90 percent of companies surveyed expect to hire in 2011, " said JSfirm's managing partner Sam Scanlon.

According to the survey, demand will be greatest for maintenance personnel but pilots and aviation techs are close behind. There's also a fairly strong demand for sheet metal, structures and composites specialists. Most companies said they look online for employees although "word of mouth" continues to be a primary source for talent searches.

Big Rotary UAV Planned

The U.S. Marine Corps has approved development of an "unmanned aerial truck" that is an adaptation of the Kaman Helicopters' K-MAX heavy-lift helicopter. The K-MAX has interlocking twin rotors that eliminate the need for a tail rotor and give the aircraft impressive lifting ability. In its UAV form, the aircraft will be able to lift external loads of 6,000 pounds, which is more than 1,000 pounds greater than the aircraft's empty weight. It's partnering with Lockheed Martin on the project.

The partners were recently awarded a $45.8 million contract to build two unmanned helicopters and three ground stations by next August. Kaman says they've already proven the idea will work. "The unmanned K-MAX will enable U.S. and coalition forces to utilize widely dispersed and overextended manned aviation assets for other demanding missions and eliminate aircrew vulnerability to enemy attacks in combat zones.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: China vs. the American Dream

The sale of Cirrus Aircraft to a Chinese state-owned company didn't have to happen. Americans could have bought it. In the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, our editor-in-chief ponders the obvious question: If Americans are so worried about jobs and industry floating away to China, why won't American investors sink their dollars into a company like Cirrus?

Read more and join the conversation.

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.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Coos Aviation (KOTH, North Bend, Oregon)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon is bound for North Bend, Oregon, where Coos Aviation at Southwest Oregon Regional Airport (KOTH) has impressed a couple of different AVweb readers in recent months. Jerry Bialoetz sums their commitment to customers up nicely:

Extemely friendy. Will go out of their way to help make your stay memorable and are not after the big bucks in your wallet, like other FBOs.

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 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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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

While on a flight from NC to Cape May, NJ (along the coast of MD), I heard this exchange between Dover approach and a pilot:

Cessna 1234:
"Dover approach, we would like to fly down the coast at 3,000 feet."

Dover Approach:
"Cessna 1234, proceed as requested."

A few minutes later ...

Cessna 1234 (frantic!) :
"Dover approach! There is really big airplane, and he is coming straight at us!"

Dover Approach (cool, calm, and collected) :
"Cessna 1234, that is a KC-135, and he is 1,000 feet below you. Should be no factor."

Cessna 1234 (still frantic) :
"But he is coming straight at us!"

Dover Approach (very professional) :
"Cessna 1234, turn 30 degrees right. Piper 5678: Really big airplane, 10 o'clock, 2 miles, 2,000 feet."

Piper 5678:
"Really big airplane in sight, no factor."

Paul Forehand
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:

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.