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CREW GOT CLOSE TO CIRRUS: NTSB
The NTSB says a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 came
within 100 feet and a tenth of a mile from a NORDO Cirrus SR22 over
central Florida March 27 when the crew was asked by air traffic
controllers to check on the condition of the Cirrus's occupants. Initial
reports said the planes came within 1.2 miles of one another in the
incident, which is one of a number of controller-related issues
dominating the FAA's public agenda these days. In a preliminary report
issued Friday, the NTSB says a fair amount of effort went into the
reconnaissance mission. More...
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COURT OVERTURNS CIRRUS RULING
The Minnesota Court of Appeals
has overturned a 2009 ruling that ordered Cirrus to pay $14.5 million to
the families of two SR22 crash victims based on the assertion that
Cirrus failed to properly train them. The new ruling found that there
was "no support in the law" for the notion that it was Cirrus'
obligation to train the Cirrus pilot, Gary Prokop, to pilot the aircraft
"proficiently" prior to the 2003 crash. Further, it found that
proficiency training provided by the company "undoubtedly promoted the
safe use of the SR22" and materials provided to purchasers of Cirrus
aircraft provided instruction relevant to the circumstances of this
case. However, in the court's published opinions, one judge offered
clear dissent. More...
CONSOLIDATES ITS FACILITIES
Casual observers at the
headquarters of Liberty Aerospace in Melbourne, Fla., Friday may have
sparked rumors that the operation is closing down, but Liberty President
Keith Markley told AVweb that the company is just consolidating
facilities. AVweb spoke with Markley by phone Friday. Markley
said Liberty has given up leases (which were expiring) on two buildings
to consolidate and lower costs. That means moving from five buildings to
three. "It's a big project," he said, adding, "We're open for business,
though things may look like they're in disarray for two to three weeks."
Markley said he's heard rumors before, and while sales have slowed,
industry-wide, year-over-year sales figures are improving. As for
Liberty, "We'll continue to operate and do whatever it takes to control
and maintain costs," he said. He also noted a bright spot.
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PROBE NETS 19 FAKE PILOTS
So far 19 airline pilots, including
six captains, have been fired as a result of a government investigation
into India's corruption-plagued aviation oversight system and the probe
is only half complete. The Indian government is trying to restore
confidence in its burgeoning air transport sector with the probe, which
has uncovered widespread bribery, cheating and falsification in pilot
testing and records. 'You really are messing with people's lives if you
are messing with a pilot's licence," Neil Mills, CEO of SpiceJet, told
the Sidney Morning Herald. As we
reported last month, pilots have been discovered in airline cockpits
without the required ratings, but the investigation is revealing the
problem is not isolated and may actually be systemic. More...
MISSILE DROPS FIN ON TRUCK
The Navy has confirmed that one
fin from a captive air training missile came loose from its perch on the
wing of an F/A-18C Hornet, fell from the sky, and embedded itself in the
hood of an unoccupied truck in Virginia Beach, Va., Thursday. There were
no injuries associated with the accident, which took place shortly
before noon near an intersection by a shopping mall. The missile itself,
which carries no live explosives, fuels or propellants, stayed with the
aircraft, which landed safely at Naval Air Station Oceana. Local news
outlets were quick to note the episode wasn't entirely unique.
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FIELD BACK IN BUSINESS, WEATHER PERMITTING
St. Louis Lambert
Field was back in limited operation Saturday after a powerful storm,
perhaps packing a tornado, caused extensive damage and resulted in
injuries to at least four people Friday. Notams warn of debris, missing signs and
unserviceable equipment. About half the exterior glass of Concourse C
was blown in, trucks and delivery vehicles were toppled, and a passenger
aboard an aircraft parked at the gate said it was picked up and moved
about 20 feet by the winds. Damage is in the millions of dollars and St.
Louis Mayor Francis Slay told KSDK he hopes the airport to be at 70 percent
capacity by Sunday and fully operational by midweek. Early Saturday, the
airfield was open and one terminal was handling flights but power was
being supplied by generators and lines were not expected to be fixed
until late Saturday. More...
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FLIGHT REACHES POLE
There's plenty to do flying a Beech Baron
to the North Pole, a place where no Baron has been before, but Douglas
Cairns had one more hourly task that most pilots don't have. "Another
hourly 'cockpit check' was blood sugar testing, and with additional
continuous glucose monitoring, I was delighted to see blood sugars
remaining in a tight and good range for flying," Cairns reported after
completing a 13-hour round trip from Barrow, Alaska, to the Pole last
week in his Diabetes Polar Flight. Cairns is a former Royal Air
Force pilot who lost that job when he developed Type 1 diabetes. He's
since embarked on a worldwide campaign to raise awareness and money for
diabetes research. Cairns fought headwinds all the way to the Pole but
the weather was otherwise good for the record-setting flight.
"UNBOXING" VIDEO GOES AIRBORNE
YouTube videos have used
aviation to sensationalize unrelated products through viral marketing
campaigns and the like, but this "Extreme Unboxing" of a cellphone by
TheNextWeb.com takes product description to new heights ... with
consequences. For the uninitiated, unboxing videos on the web generally
do what they say. Usually, a techno-phile sits at a desk, opens up a
boxed product, and describes its contents while (if you're lucky)
sharing some insight about the product's specifications, operation, and
competition. As such, they tend to be rather dry and of limited appeal.
It seems reviewers at TheNextWeb.com have realized this because, instead
of a desk, they chose the cockpit of an Extra aerobatic aircraft flying
in full-flail mode to unbox a new cellphone. The results are, perhaps,
predictable -- we don't learn much about the product and pilots might
enjoy the video, anyway. Click through ... . More...
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INSIDER BLOG: NO GOOD DEED CIRRUS DODGES A LEGAL
A Minnesota appeals court recently sided with Cirrus
in rejecting the claim of survivors of a pilot and passenger who said
the company was negligent in not training the pilot to recover from
inadvertent IMC encounters. But a dissenting judge disagreed, saying
that the plaintiffs had made the case. On the AVweb Insider blog,
Paul Bertorelli analyzes the case, which clearly shows how manufacturers
face liability exposure even when they try to do the right thing. Read
more and join the conversation. More...
INSIDER BLOG: SUN 'N FUN TIEDOWN TESTS
When the tornado blew
through Sun 'n Fun on April 7, it left a trail of overturned airplanes.
Product tester that he is, Aviation Consumer editor-in-chief Paul
Bertorelli immediately set about interviewing aircraft owners to find
out which tie-downs were used where. After a couple weeks' of analysis
of the data, he's concluded there are no definitive conclusions about
which tie-down is best but there are a lot of lessons to
be learned. Paul shares a bit of that hard-won wisdom from Sun 'n Fun
attendees in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog. Read
more and join the conversation. More...
INSIDER BLOG: FIRST LADY AIRPLANE FIASCO
So, let's see: A
Potomac TRACON controller hands the Andrews Tower a crappy sequence
like that's never happened in the history of aviation. Of course,
of all the weeks to do that and of all the airplanes, it has to happen
to First Lady Michelle Obama's C-40. The next thing you know, lead item
on the evening news. Paul Bertorelli's not-so-suble message for your in
our latest installment of hte AVweb Insider blog: People, get a
more and join the conversation. More...
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
APRIL 25, 2011
Letter of the Week: Night Shift Is Too Big
I remember hearing stories of the First World War and the
fighting in the trenches and how French officers would tell their troops
that if they were caught sleeping they would be shot. It meant nothing
to them that the men involved had been awake for days. The impetus of a
threat is limited to the ability of a person to overcome nature. You
will probably never hear of a controller falling asleep during daylight
I have worked night shift in a hospital for most of 30
years. Regardless of the amount of sleep obtained during the day, the
quality is not the same as what is gained by a good night's sleep. I
also ran the sleep lab in the hospital where I work, where I discovered
that there are many physiological aspects of sleep disorders, including
imposed sleep disorders (like night shift) that the average laymen are
unaware of. I have also been in the air traffic control facility in
Palmdale CA and the room where the controllers operate is always dark.
Just try sitting in a dark room doing a repetitive task and see how
difficult it is to stay awake.In my work environment I find it necessary
to stay on my feet and walk from one area of the hospital to another. I
stay awake with no problem, but sit me down at a computer to attend to
charting and I have started nodding off.
It is a very austere
measure, resorting to firing someone for sleeping under these
conditions. This is typical of the knee jerk reaction our government is
prone to have in order to give the appearance of doing something about a
problem. Uness the individual has obtained a pillow of some sort, or
left his position at the control panel (i.e. showing intent to neglect
one's duties by sleeping on the job) they should not be fired. There
also may be consideration as to whether the controller has made a habit
Sleep deprivation is used as torture.
Believe me, that is exactly what night shift is.
Click through to read this letter in its entirety
along with others from our readers. More...
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OF THE WEEK: AMERICA JET AS SLN (SALINA, KS)
AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to America Jet at
SLN. As you've probably deduced, you can find them at Salina
Municipal Airport (KSLN) in Salina, Kansas.
Jeremy Phillips recommended the FBO after his visit a couple of
weeks back, when "the line and maintenance crew went out of their way to
make our trip the best one we ever had. ... They went out of their way
to make things really easy for us."
Keep those nominations
coming. For complete contest rules, click
AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in
the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here
next Monday! More...
I was a controller at Albany Georgia tower back
in the '70s, and a Cherokee was on downwind, with the instructor
introducing his student to radio procedures. Fortunately for me, their
intercom locked on for a bit and I got all the dialog between the
student and the instructor. It went like
"'This is Cherokee 76
"This is is
"'We are on left downwind for
runway 22, touch and go.'"
"We are on
"... 'Left downwind for
"... 'Downwind for 22, touch and
"I don't want to learn to fly no
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.
AVwebFlash team is:
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
Have a product or service to advertise
on AVweb? A question on marketing? Send it to AVweb's
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
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Navigate. Communicate. More...