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Volume 17, Number 17a
April 25, 2011
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AVflash! NTSB Reports Sliver of Separationback to top 
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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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News from the Manufacturersback to top 

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...

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. More...

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Aviation Safety Reportsback to top 

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...

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. More...

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Storm Strikes St. Louis STLback to top 

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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News Briefsback to top 

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. More...

YouTube videos have used aviation to sensationalize unrelated products through viral marketing campaigns and the like, but this "Extreme Unboxing" of a cellphone by 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 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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

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...

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...

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 grip. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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

If so, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, would like to hear from you. To take part in our propellor overhaul and purchase survey, just click here. More...

AVMAIL: APRIL 25, 2011

Letter of the Week: Night Shift Is Too Big a Shift

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 hours.

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 of sleeping.


Sleep deprivation is used as torture. Believe me, that is exactly what night shift is.

Sam Glasser

Click through to read this letter in its entirety — along with others from our readers.


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...

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

Eventually, every instrument pilot gets a slam-dunk approach. IFR magazine's Jeff Van West explains how to practice for the slam to remove the guesswork and even add the high-speed technique to your instrument flying toolbox. 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.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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.

AVweb reader 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 here.

AVweb is actively seeking out the best FBOs in the country and another one, submitted by you, will be spotlighted here next Monday!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 

Kyle & Amanda Franklin Fund || Click to 
Donate via the ICAS FoundationThe aviation community is coming together to help Kyle and Amanda Franklin get back on their feet and eventually back in the air after their mishap at Air Fiesta at the Brownsville/South Padre Island Airport. If you'd like to contribute, click on the banner at right to visit the ICAS Foundation web site. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


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:

"Say 'Albany tower.'"

student pilot:
"Ah — Al-Albany tower?"

"'This is Cherokee 76 Whiskey.'"

"This is — is — Ch-Cherokee — ?"

"'76 Whiskey.'"

"Seven — 76 Whiskey?"

"'We are on left downwind for runway 22, touch and go.'"

"We are on — ?"

"... 'Left downwind for 22.'"

"Left down-downwind —"

"... 'Downwind for 22, touch and go.'"

"I don't want to learn to fly no more!"

Richard Pike
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.