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Volume 17, Number 11a
March 14, 2011
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AVflash! Kyle, Amanda Franklin Accidentback to top 

Kyle and Amanda Franklin, a young husband and wife aerobatic and wingwalking team, were seriously injured after the Waco Mystery Ship they use in their routine caught fire in flight during a performance at the Brownsville/South Padre Island Air Fiesta Saturday. The Brownsville Herald reports Amanda Franklin was on the wing of the Waco "Mystery Ship" when fire erupted from the engine at low altitude, all of which is visible in video (click through to see video) shot by a member of the audience. Amanda was able to get into a seat while her husband made the best of a very bad situation as the aircraft came down in a wooded area and burned. Emergency crews responded almost immediately, apparently while the aircraft was still coming down. They arrived and drove through the shorter brush to douse the flames. Kyle's worst injuries may have been suffered while trying to remove his wife from flames in the forward cockpit. Amanda was more seriously burned. An update on their condition was posted to the Younkin Airhsow Facebook page (included, below) by Amanda's brother Matt Younkin, who credits Kyle Franklin's decisions and skill as pilot in saving both their lives. More...

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Japanese Aviation Copes with Crisisback to top 

click for photos and video
Narita airport was closed and coastal Sendai Airport was flooded by tsunami waves after an earthquake of magnitude 8.9 -- the seventh most powerful earthquake ever reported -- hit northern Japan Friday. The initial quake was centered roughly 81 miles east of Sendai, which suffered meters-high tsunami waves that swept well inland, taking up boats and cars and washing away homes. At Sendai airport, people took refuge on the terminal rooftop. At Guam, two U.S. Navy submarines had to be secured by tug boats after the waves broke them from their moorings. In the Hawaiian islands, CAP launched speaker-equipped aircraft to warn residents. The islands reported tidal surges that flooded some low-lying roadways and hotel lobbies. Exaggerated tidal flows later affected coastal areas from Oregon to California, with some marinas suffering damage. More...

What He Didn't Know About His Life Insurance Cost His Family $500,000
Pilots should take special care when comparing life insurance. Pilot Insurance Center specializes in providing pilots with insurance planning. Get the right coverage. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit
Aviation Safety and the FAAback to top 

The FAA has released a mandatory safety directive, effective March 21, that reduces the maximum operating altitude of Eclipse Aerospace EA500 jets from 37,000 feet to 30,000 feet in response to reported engine problems. The AD affects the whole fleet of 259 EA500s that use Pratt & Whitney Canada PW610F-A engines. Operators are required to make the change to the limitations section of the airplane flight manual. The FAA says that hard carbon buildup on the static vanes of the engines has resulted in at least six reported incidents of engine surges. Pilots may be forced to respond to those surges by decreasing the power of the affected engine. According to the FAA, that "could result in flight and landing under single-engine conditions" and, if present in both engines, it could require dual engine shutdown. More...

The FAA says it will take comments until April 22 on an airworthiness directive (PDF) that was issued in secret on Feb. 10 to all U.S. airlines with airplanes that have bathrooms. The existence of the AD, which required the airlines to disable the chemical oxygen generators that create oxygen for decompression masks in the lavs, was made public last week after all those who got the February notice had confirmed their compliance with it. About 6,000 aircraft were affected. The agency said in the AD that the systems could "jeopardize flight safety" and that it was in the public interest to have the work done quietly. The FAA didn't say specifically what the hazard is but there are various reports that suggest the action was taken to prevent would-be terrorists from going behind closed doors to turn the bathroom oxygen generators, which are identical to those in the main cabin, into something capable of bringing the aircraft down. More...

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Bandwidth Battle Heats Upback to top 

A group of representatives from ATA to GAMA announced Thursday they have formed the "Coalition to Save Our GPS" from the potential threat of interference from 4G broadband signals. The FCC in January granted to LightSquared a waiver that allows the company to build 40,000 ground-based broadband transmission stations if it can demonstrate the stations won't cause harmful interference. The coalition says the move reverses the process of test first, approve next, and has put forth a series of recommendations to provide "additional safeguards." More...

Aviation Law After September 11 - 
Passengers Rights and Aviation National Security || March 22, 2011 || 
Miami, FL, USA || Register Now
Fly More for Less
The Legal Aviation Workshop (LAW) "Aviation Law After September 11: Passengers Rights and Aviation National Security" will be held on March 22, 2011 in Miami, FL. This event will cover the following themes: Historical Background; Consumer Protection and Aviation Security; International Liability Treaties; and Hijackings, Terrorism and Civil Rights. The workshop Leader is Timothy Ravich of Ravich Law Firm, who is recognized as a "Florida Bar Board Certified Aviation Lawyer." Click here to learn more and register.
News Briefsback to top 

Quest Aircraft says it has attracted some equity investment that will help it boost production and expand its service network. The company, which certified the highly regarded Kodiak utility aircraft in 2007, did not disclose who the investors are or how much money is involved. The aircraft is a clean-sheet design that was developed by a consortium of missionary flying groups to be a purpose-built back-country airplane for mission work. There are plenty of other applications for an airplane with the STOL and payload capabilities of the Kodiak and they're in service in a variety of roles in the U.S. Canada, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and South Africa. In a statement, CEO Paul Schaller said the new money is part of Quest's long-term plan. More...

click for photos and video
March 5, Jonathan Trappe, like some sort of aerial Willy Wonka, has again taken to the sky in a unique aircraft (this time for a National Geographic special) -- a likeness of the cartoon house from the Disney Pixar movie "Up." "It is certainly the strangest aircraft I have flown," Trappe told AVweb Friday. "But, more than that, it may be one of the strangest aircraft to have ever flown." The roughly 4,400-pound aircraft flew under 282 eight-foot-diameter (at ground level) helium-filled balloons. Trappe says he calculated gross lift for the craft at close to 5,400 pounds. The "house" took off from a private ranch east of Los Angeles, flew for one hour and ten minutes, reached an altitude of 10,500 MSL, and due to variable winds, landed about 10 miles from where it started. Of course, Trappe envisions grander possibilities. The aircraft was very well-equipped, Trappe said, adding "This had the capability to fly across the country on a multi-day flight." Click through for image gallery. More... || Intelligent Apps for 
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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

If there's a single motorhead bone in your body, you've heard this complaint before. Have Lycoming and Continental, through a lack of innovation, put us in this mess we're in over avgas? Or should fickle buyers share the blame instead of decrying the death of engine innovation? AVweb's Paul Bertorelli has met with enough engineers, policy-makers and complainers to have an opinion on the subject — and he's happy to share it in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. More...

We've all stood in museums and gone slack-jawed at the site of a historic airplane — but in the latest installment of the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady wonders if dragging all these wrecks from their final resting places and restoring them (at great expense) is the best way to connect with history. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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

One of our sister aviation publications is looking for an associate editor. If you are a savvy, motivated layout master and wordsmith, they would love to hear from you. (Click through for a job description and application instructions.) More...

AVMAIL: MARCH 14, 2011

Letter of the Week: Better Testing Applauded

Regarding the story about changes to FAA test questions, I recently took a practice knowledge exam for the CFI as an initial study guide, without doing any preparatory study. I passed in the mid-80s.

As a professional educator, I would posit that if the FAA knowledge exams are legitimate testing tools, then any current, certificated pilot who has passed a thorough BFR within the past year should be able to achieve a passing score on the knowledge exam appropriate to that pilot's rating. After all, we use this material every time we fly, either explicitly or implicitly. To the extent that a current, active pilot population misses a certain bank of questions, those questions are simply not legitimate tests of the knowledge pertinent to being a skilled pilot.

I'm sure we all have our favorite candidate questions in this category, like those about the obsolete analog instruments you've never flown behind or the E6B calculations rendered obsolete by calculators and GPS. Those are the questions that applicants usually memorize by rote, for the simple reason that they are not relevant to modern flight regimes.

I would further posit that the test bank questions that resulted in increased failure rates were specifically those irrelevant questions that were passed simply by memorization.

I applaud the FAA for attempting to modernize the knowledge test. If indeed the current questions are more relevant to the way we actually execute our flights in the 21st century, it will be a very good thing. Ideally, the revisions will now emphasize questions that demonstrate a fundamental understanding of basic principles, and thus there will be no further need for memorization of arcane information and cram courses that "teach the test."

Karin Roland

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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 What have you heard? More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great 
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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Rider Jet Center at Hagerstown Regional Airport/Richard A. Henson Field (KHGR) in Hagerstown, Maryland.

AVweb reader John Keller uses RJC on a regular basis and vouches for their dedication, year-in and year-out:

We have been a frequent customer of this fabulous FBO for several years, and their high quality service has never waivered! When the snow was three feet deep and the winds blowing 35 MPH and the temperature 10 degrees, the line and staff personnel were performing at the 110% level. We return on a regular basis because their attitude towards the customer is outstanding.

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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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening?back to top 

Reportable errors by air traffic controllers have almost doubled in the last four years, but that doesn't mean the skies are any less safe. Steve Hansen of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles to explain why. More...

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 Learnback to top 

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. More...

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. More...

Kevin Bredenbeck took the Sikorsky X2 technology demonstrator to 250 knots and beyond last September. He spoke with AVweb about the aircraft, the program, and what it's like to go that fast in a helicopter in this interview at the 2011 HAI Heli-Expo in Orlando, Florida. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Memphis Center:
"Cessna 1234, the HOG MOA is hot. Recommend course or elevation change to remain clear."

Cessna 1234:
"How many planes are in there? Usually if there's only a couple, I'll go on through."

Memphis Center:
"Well, even if there's only one, you're supposed to remain clear. But we've got four A-10s with transponders off, and I can't see them on radar."

Cessna 1234 (laughing) :
"O.K., I think you convinced me to remain clear."

Charles Lloyd
via e-mail


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. More...

Names Behind the Newsback to top 


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.