AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 18a

May 2, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
Be certain you have the right life insurance coverage. Get the information you need to find the right policy for your family's protection at the Pilot Insurance Center. Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit PICLife.com.
 
AVflash! Air France Box Recovered back to top 
 

Air France 447 Data Recorder Found

Wednesday, a remote-controlled submarine was used some 600 miles off the coast of Brazil, nearly 13,000 feet down in the Atlantic, to spot the chassis of Air France Flight 447's flight data recorder, with the data module missing -- that module was found, Sunday. The finding has led to hopes that investigators may be able to recover key new data regarding the June 1, 2009 crash that killed all 228 aboard. The recorders onboard the Airbus A330 in this case were manufactured by Honeywell International and store hundreds of parameters, and the company says they were designed to withstand 1,500 G's and depths of 20,000 feet -- for 30 days. BEA (Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety) officials had previously said that if the cylindrical data module could be found, there is still a good chance it will contain retrievable data.

The recorder chassis was discovered during the first 12-hour dive of a submersible called the Remora, three weeks after searchers found the aft section of the aircraft. BEA officials are directing the operation to focus on recovery of the aircraft's flight recorders first, with recovery of bodies, second. The chassis itself was found separate from other debris, upside down and partially buried. Other debris was nearby. Data already collected from automated transmissions sent by the jet in its final moments suggest that the jet's airspeed sensors were transmitting faulty data as the aircraft flew at high altitude in bad weather.

 
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So, where will the Caravan take you? Visit Cessna.com.
 
Controllers Under Scrutiny back to top 
 

FAA Reviewing Controller Training

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt has announced his response to the seeming crisis of confidence in the air traffic control system with a shuffle of responsibilities on the top floor of the FAA building. But while it is the sleeping-on-the-job the issue that has made headlines and provided endless material for late-night talk show writers in the past few weeks, the FAA's other announcement addressed a different issue. The agency has formed a panel of independent experts to examine controller training, noting that about a third of the current controller workforce has been hired in the last five years. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association appears, as it has been throughout the last month of controversy, to be in agreement with the changes and to take responsibility for some of the recent gaffes. It is also linking them to training, even though the most notorious sleep- and judgment-related incidents have involved veteran controllers and supervisors. "With any occupation, there are those that don't do the job or act in a way that is appropriate," NATCA's Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert told an online discussion forum of the Washington Post. "The workforce is stretched to its limits with 1/3 of the workforce now having less than 5 years in the FAA (with 2-3 years to certify as a fully certified controller) and many still in training. We believe that the FAA has just started to take the right steps in better screening and training of the ATC candidates."

The changes at FAA headquarters are designed to put people in charge of the three key elements of the ATC system and theoretically make them accountable for the performance of their sectors. All are longtime FAA staffers. Walt Cochran is in charge of airport towers and radar facilities. Chris Metts will look after en route facilities and Glen Martin takes over Cleveland Center, which is the busiest facility in the system. "The FAA's focus is safety," Babbitt said. "These changes ensure that we have the right people in the right places to help us carry out our mission."

 
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Aviation Costs Money back to top 
 

Sully To Congress: Be Careful With FAA Cuts

Retired captain Chesley Sullenberger warned in an interview published Thursday by the DailyBeast.com that cuts to FAA funding may have an impact on safety and that the government should be forthcoming about potential consequences. According to Sullenberger, cuts could translate to reductions in staffing at regulatory agencies and represent a decision to accept something less than the highest standards. He said such cuts would lead to an increased risk that someone will come to harm who otherwise would not have. Sullenberger stated that the industry has made a promise to passengers that it will do the best it can, even when that is not easy, expedient or inexpensive. He also raised concerns about pilot fatigue regulation.

When asked about pilot scheduling, Sullenberger described that, in practice, each night, at each airline, a nine-hour, 15-minute minimum overnight often transforms into five hours of actual sleep. Sullenberger says he has spoken out about the FAA reauthorization bill on this subject because he feels it will be difficult to revisit fatigue rules for several decades. "We can't define safety simply as a lack of accidents," he said, adding that "if we don't proactively look for systemic risks and address them, if we wait for a bad outcome, then we haven't done our job effectively."

Diamond Appeals For Loan Support

The president of Diamond Aircraft has issued a public appeal (PDF) for support for his company's bid for a $35 million loan from the government of Canada. In an Op/Ed piece in the London (Ontario) Free Press, Peter Maurer says the company's survival may depend on the politically mired loan request. "The protracted federal government decision process puts the entire London operation at risk," Maurer said in a lengthy explanation of the company's apparently precarious situation. Maurer said the company asked for the loan (he stresses that it is fully repayable) as a last resort when private funding fell through due to the recession. He also stressed that $35 million in private funding has already been committed as has a $20 million loan from the provincial government of Ontario but both are contingent on the federal government contribution. The loan application was made last fall but no decision has been made and a federal election being held Monday has complicated the public debate on the issue. Federal officials have said a decision will be made on the request sometime after the election but won't set a time. Finances aside, the delay is having a potentially far more devastating effect on the company.

As we reported earlier this month, when Diamond laid off 213 staff in response to the funding shortfall, other companies, including Piper and Bombardier, began recruiting engineers for their jet programs. Maurer says in the Op/Ed piece that losing key personnel could not only sink the D-Jet, it might spell the end of the Canadian operation, which also builds piston singles and the DA42 twin. "With the loss of this team, the building of a replacement team would add cost and time that the program and company may not survive," Maurer wrote. Maurer has held meetings with key members of the current government, but the Canadian political landscape is expected to change dramatically on Monday with a last-minute surge by the left-of-center New Democratic Party challenging the current right-of-center Conservative government.

 
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Incredible Video back to top 
 

Tu-154 Out Of Control (With Video)

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It's not really clear what happened on board a Russian military Tu-154 at a Moscow-area airport but there's a flight crew that's undoubtedly happy to be on the ground after an odd loss-of-control incident last week. The accompanying video, shot by a planespotter, according to Russia Today, shows the aircraft clearly struggling to maintain some semblance of controlled flight. The crew did finally prevail as the plane eventually landed safely.

The video was released days after the Polish government cleared its last remaining Tu-154 to carry government officials around. Numerous in-flight incidents and crashes involving the relatively small number of the Cold War tri-jets prompted Russia's aviation safety agency to recommend grounding the entire fleet of aircraft after a Tu-154 exploded on the taxiway at a Russian airport late last year.

He Built A 737 Cockpit In His House? (With Video)

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When Salvador Alvarez Patuel's beloved wife asked him to cut down on real-world flying, he accommodated her ... and built a substantially accurate Boeing 737 flight deck/simulator in his house. To be clear, what Patuel built may be just as impressive as a functioning mock-up of a Boeing 737 cockpit as it is a flight simulator. Patuel is a principal application development manager for Microsoft and has held a private pilot certificate for 15 years. His passion for flying has led to many hours in real Boeing 737 simulators, apart from the one he built at home. That one runs on Microsoft FSX software. But if FSX conjures in your mind images of a keyboard, joystick and computer screen, you're missing the point (and the auto-throttles) altogether.

Patuel created multiple interfaces that allow the actual 737 cockpit components he has collected to work with the FSX program. When he stumbled upon a component he couldn't buy, he created or otherwise engineered one to work with the system. It should give you an idea of the scope of the project to know that it took Patuel two years of work before his system was "flyable." Patuel told the Channel9 web site that his system currently runs on an i7 processor, 8Gb DDR3 RAM, solid state hard drives and an Nvidia GTX 570 graphic card. But he's still not finished. Fortunately, since he began his project Patuel's passion has proven to be not entirely unique. There are others who've created similar projects. And Patuel says because of that, finding parts, interfaces and help is a lot easier today than it once was.

 
Airport & Airline Employee Security Awareness || May 30, 2011 || 
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This Aviation Training Workshop (ATW) is organized by Aeropodium in association with Spranza Inc. at Skyline University College in Sharjah, UAE. The program focuses on the duties and cooperative role each individual plays in maintaining effective and efficient airside and landside proactive security measures. This workshop provides all the essentials needed to institute an on-site security awareness program, maintain compulsory documentation, and involve stakeholders in a unique learning experience. Click here to learn more and register.
 
News Briefs back to top 
 

Solar Impulse To Fly To Paris Air Show

The prototype manned solar-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse, is being prepared in Switzerland for a first international trip that could begin as early as May 2, with a leg to Brussels, followed by a trip to the Paris Air Show. The aircraft has been designed to demonstrate solar technology by flying continuously day and night on solar power and solar energy stored in its batteries. Solar Impulse's first flight took place in 2009. It has since undergone various system and flight tests and been flown through a continuous 26-hour-plus period without using fuel. The planned first leg of the coming flight will take the aircraft to Brussels by May 23, where it will be displayed from May 23 to May 29. The arrival coincides with "Green Week," which is "the largest annual conference on European environmental policy," according to the Solar Impulse team. The aircraft will then continue on to Paris-Le Bourget for a stay at the Paris Air Show, June 20-26. Challenges faced by the team won't be found solely in the air.

Flight Director Raymond Clerc and his team says the flight presents the challenges of less predictable Spring weather as well as the logistical and technical complications (and paperwork) inherent in moving the slow, experimental category aircraft through an international air traffic network. Once on the ground, the aircraft itself will face the more tangible challenge of negotiating taxiways, and the crew is planning for all foreseeable complications. The Solar Impulse team says it is working with specialists that include the Royal Belgian Meteorological Institute, route planner Luc Trullemams, engineers and IT specialists. Placing the aircraft on a scheduled agenda, when it is a relatively frail VFR aircraft, puts extra pressure on planners but will provide some real-world experience for the team as it prepares for an around-the-world flight.

Rusty Rescued After Crash

Against incredible odds, the survivor of a plane crash in an avalanche-prone area of British Columbia's Rocky Mountains was found unharmed Friday and rescuers were rewarded with a wag of his tail. Rusty, a border collie that was on board a Cessna 180 that went down in Yoho National Park near Golden, B.C. last Wednesday, was found near the crash site. His owner, the unidentified pilot, died in the crash. When search crews found the wreckage on an avalanche spillway on a steep slope, they found the pilot's body inside and dog tracks leading into the forest.

The searchers looked for the dog but couldn't find him. A Parks Canada employee found him on Friday and took him to a veterinarian for a checkup. The dog was released to relatives of the pilot on Saturday. Investigators are puzzled about the cause of the crash. The pilot was on his way from Vulcan, Alberta, to his home near Williams Lake, B.C.

 
WingX Pro 7 for the iPad (And Other Mobile Platforms) || Hilton Software
WingX Pro7 Version 5 for iPad — Includes In-Flight Weather
The new WingX Pro7 Version 5 Moving Map adds ADS-B In-Flight Weather, Terrain-Enhanced VFR Sectionals, IFR Low/High Enroute charts, ADS-B NEXRAD, TFRs, SUAs, and a lot more. All moving map views can be displayed fullscreen or side-by-side. Also included: Animated weather images, DUATS, A/FD, AOPA Directory with Yelp integration, Route Planning, FARs, E6B, and more. WingX is also available for Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and Android. Click here for more information.
 
Pop Quiz back to top 
 

Brainteasers Quiz #159: Separation Anxiety

Brainteasers

Everyone knows that air traffic controllers keep aircraft from bumping into each other, but just how much separation does ATC provide? That's not an essay question. Instead, separate fact from misconceptions about ATC service in this quiz.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

 
AviationExpo Europe || 27-29 May 2011 || Bitburg, Germany
AviationExpo Europe
... is the dedicated European General Aviation exhibition in 2011, showcasing everything from ultralights through to business jets. Join Europe's leading exhibitors as they showcase the latest in General Aviation at Bitburg Airport.

Click here to learn more.
 
Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sleep Breaks for Controllers — The Politics Are Wrong for This One

If NATCA, the controllers' union, was entertaining the slightest notion that the FAA would approve its members reporting for midshifts with jammies and blankets in tow, I'd say that idea is probably a dead letter by now. The politics are just all wrong, no matter how good the idea may be. And controllers aren't necessarily helping their own cause. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains why.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals in Aviation
Fly More for Less
Visit the AVbuys page for discounts, rebates, incentives, bargains, special offers, bonus depreciation, or tax benefits to help stretch your budget. We're helping you to locate and view current offers instantly, with a direct link to sponsors' web sites for details.

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

Survey: 'IFR' Magazine Wants to Hear Your Thoughts on Lockheed Martin FSS

Do you use Lockheed Flight Service? Did you used to but you don't any more? We're planning to sit down for a chat with Lockheed and want to hear your thoughts before we do. Please take a moment to complete this short survey so your voice can be heard. Hey, you're paying for the service whether you use it or not ... .

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

Podcast: NORAD Inspector General Pilot Lt. Col. Greg Miller

File Size 10.0 MB / Running Time 10:55

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If you're flying along and suddenly an F-16 appears off your left wing, Lt. Col. Greg Miller has some advice for how to best respond — and also how to avoid getting into that situation in the first place. He also talks to AVweb's Mary Grady about the recent intercept of a Cirrus by a 737 and why that was a bad idea.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (10.0 MB, 10:55)

Video: Practicing Slam-Dunk Approaches with 'IFR' Magazine

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

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.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
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Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Cape Aviation (KCGI, Cape Girardeau, MO)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Cape Aviation at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (KCGI) in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

AVweb reader Karen Austermiller found herself seeking shelter from the rash of spring storms at Cape just a few days ago:

Last week, between waves of the severe springtime storm pattern, we were on a ferry flight between Phoenix and Pontiac, MI and looking for a place to set down for the night. Having recently passed over a frontal line of developing puffies, we had hangar space at the top of the priority list. Checking the possibilities, it looked like Cape Girardeau might work, even though we both said we probably can't even pronounce it on the radio. (Dang Westerners!) Nevertheless, we stopped in, almost at closing time, and the remaining manager on duty scurried to find hangar space and move some stuff around to get the Cirrus tucked away for the night. Then he set us up with the courtesy car and got a hotel on the line (with a discount), and we were off for a wild evening of local bad weather observation. From the safety of a great 100-year-old building, housing a local fine restaurant called Molly's, we were fascinated by the sophisticated severe weather reporting that played out on TV all evening. Not at all like the tornado horn, run-for-the-basement-and-send-your-brother-out-in-an-hour-to-check stuff that we both recalled. This system is amazing, and it was a pretty interesting evening amongst a lot of really nice people. Cape Girardeau seems like a fine spot in nice weather, but they sure know how to handle the bad stuff in a way that makes visitors feel pretty darn safe!

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 
 

Short Final

I was inbound to Homestead AFB a long time ago in a Navy P-3 . As we were vectored over the Bahamas and into the Miami area, I proceeded to give my best "PA," pointing out the sights to the crew. As I wound down, we heard this from Miami approach:

Miami Approach:
"That's very interesting, Navy Quartet 35. Now that your stuck mic is fixed, contact Homestead Approach on 119.2!"

An embarassing silence followed, and the student was given radio duty!


Tom Clarke
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.