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Volume 17, Number 18b
May 5, 2011
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AVflash! Unusual Helicopter Grabs Attentionback to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Cannes AirShow || 9-11 June 2011 || The 
Only GA Expo in France

click for photos
Images of what appears to be the tail rotor of one the helicopters used in Sunday's raid on Osama bin Laden's compound at Abbottabad, Pakistan, are hitting the internet, and may be a glimpse at something special. The parts don't appear to come from the standard military catalogue. According to the Army Times, the aircraft "were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk." That aircraft has hard edges like those on the F-117 Night Hawk and incorporates similar low-observable technology. The Defense Department has said it will not comment on the aircraft used and, not surprisingly, the Obama Administration has not listed an inventory of equipment used in the attack. Click through for images... . More...

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SAFE Symposium in Atlantaback to top 

Is a high accident rate due to substandard training a major drag on the growth of general aviation? The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) thinks so and this week in Atlanta, they're trying to do something about it. More than 150 instructors, examiners, regulators and industry experts have convened the society's first symposium to explore ways that the industry might stimulate growth by driving down the accident rate and improving the quality of instruction. "We're in trouble in GA. The fatal accident rate has been flat for more than 10 years. Student starts are way down, student attrition is way up. The result of that is that sales are way down," says SAFE's chairman, Doug Stewart. The group believes that flight instruction quality, delivery and innovation is the fulcrum to change that. In an event-packed Wednesday, the group assembled five panels consisting of instructors and examiners exploring various aspects of flight training—the good and the bad. In this podcast, SAFE's Stewart explained that the goal is to come away from the three-day symposium with a concrete list of recommendations that the training industry can act upon quickly to reduce the erosion in pilot starts.

Related Content:


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A Break in the Air France Crash Investigationback to top 

A search team has recovered the cockpit voice recorder from Air France Flight 447, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in June 2009, killing all 228 on board. A remotely operated vehicle retrieved the CVR from the ocean floor, 12,800 feet down, on Tuesday morning, and it appears to be intact and in good condition (more photos are posted online at the French accident investigation bureau). Investigators also recovered the flight data recorder last week, but it is not yet clear how much data, if any, will be recoverable from the two devices after nearly two years submerged at such great depths. The units are designed to withstand impact and immersion, but only for 30 days. French transport minister Thierry Mariani said investigators hope to report on their data-retrieval efforts within about three weeks. More...

EAA AirVenture 2011 || July 25-31
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh:
The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

July 25-31

It's gonna be a big year at Oshkosh. We're celebrating 100 Years of Naval Aviation all week long. Plus: Special tributes to Bob Hoover and Burt Rutan, a Monday concert by REO Speedwagon, the return of the Saturday night air show, and innovation in the air with the Electric Flight Prize competition.

For more information or to buy your tickets online and save, click here.
The Future of Flightback to top 

The fifth annual CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium convened over the weekend in Santa Rosa, Calif., bringing together about 30 presenters with an enthusiastic audience to discuss emerging technologies for personal aircraft. Topics included STOL aerodynamics, new sources of energy production, lithium battery developments, flight deck automation, suburbia-based air-taxi systems, high-efficiency motors, quiet propeller designs, and more. The Symposium also provided a forum to introduce the 13 aircraft that will compete in July for $1.65 million in prizes in the Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by NASA. "There was a lot of enthusiasm and networking," CAFE President Brian Seeley told AVweb this week. "We are building a new industry. 2011 will go down in history as the dawn of electric flight." More...

The name Skycar may evoke images of futuristic "flying cars," but Oma Sud's version, built in Italy, is actually a fairly conventional utility aircraft that just won its FAA certification. "This important milestone for Oma Sud opens the market in the United States," company President Valter Proietti wrote in an announcement on Monday. The piston twin pusher, which was certified by EASA last August, is designed with two seats up front and three in the back. The wide cabin can be adapted to a variety of roles -- air taxi, light cargo, or medevac. A rear access hatch located between the twin tails provides easy access. Proietti gave AVweb a tour of the airplane at EAA Airventure last year; click here to check it out. More...

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Making a Differenceback to top 

Many volunteer pilots tried in vain after Hurricane Katrina to offer their services to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help provide relief, but now FEMA is working with AERObridge, an NBAA-endorsed group, to plan ahead for GA support in future emergencies. An exercise is planned for May 13 to 17 to simulate response to a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which runs beneath several central states. FEMA needs volunteer pilots and high-wing airplanes with a top speed of 120 knots or less that could be used for surveillance. Activities for the exercise will take place at command posts, emergency operation centers, and other locations in the Washington, D.C., area and the eight states that could be affected by an earthquake in the seismic zone: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, and Missouri. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

"Goodyear Airship" just doesn't have the same ring to it but the iconic blimps are being phased out in favor of a rigid design. The rubber company announced Tuesday it's teaming with Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, of Friedrichshafen, Germany, to build three Zeppelin NT airships to replace the gas bags that now circle the stadiums of the nation. The $21 million airships will be built at Goodyear's blimp-making facility in Akron in a team effort between Goodyear and Zeppelin. Goodyear took a test drive in an appropriately decorated Zeppelin over Europe last summer. The Zeppelin model delivers considerably better performance and payload over the Goodyear creations. More...

The recent buying spree of U.S. aviation companies by the Chinese appears to be a coordinated effort to ensure the country cashes in on the phased liberalization of airspace restrictions. People's Daily, the official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, reported on Tuesday that state-owned AVIC International Holding Corporation recently completed its acquisition of Mobile, Ala.-based Teledyne Continental Motors and the purchase "will make AVIC International better prepared for the burgeoning general aviation market in the country." It also touts the pending sale of Cirrus Aircraft to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Company (CAIGA) "will greatly enhance CAIGA's production capacity, and help it meet the surging demand for general aviation aircraft as China looks to further open up its low-altitude airspace." It's worth noting that CAIGA was formed in May of 2010, not long before reports began circulating that Cirrus was being sold to the Chinese. The deal was formally announced Feb. 28 and must still be approved by U.S. regulators. More...


Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."


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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

The Chinese government has laid out its plan for development of general aviation. Is that good or bad for the rest of the GA world?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers about the relationship between government and the aerospace industry; click through to see how they responded. More...

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. More...

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.

Click for the resource page.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

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. More...

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...

Light Plane Maintenance Toolbox CD
Is Your A&P Keeping Secrets?
Learn to recognize maintenance issues and take action before they turn into something big. The Light Plane Maintenance Toolbox shows you how.

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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...

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


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!


Reader-Submitted Photosback to top 
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.