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AIR FRANCE 447
The other news of last Sunday, May 1, 2011,
included the discovery of a debris field that later led to recovery of
Air France Flight 447's cockpit and voice data recorders, and we now
know more about how they did it. The Airbus A330 that was Flight 447 was
lost with all 228 aboard, in 14,000 feet of ocean, hundreds of miles off
the coast of Brazil, on June 1, 2009. When that field was temporarily
reduced last year to focus on an area of 770 square miles, it still
represented an expanse almost 21.5 trillion times the size of one of the
flight's recorders. Mike Purcell, of Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, was chief of sea search operations for the mission that
ultimately found the recorders. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with him
Thursday; click here
to listen to that podcast. More...
AIR FRANCE 447 FINDING THE "BLACK BOX"
Airbus A330 that was Air France Flight 447 was lost with all 228 aboard
on June 1, 2009 in 14,000 feet of ocean hundreds of miles off the coast
of Brazil. In the end, searchers went looking in a 5,000 nautical mile
mountainous area 14,000 feet below the surface of the ocean and found an
object that's about one square foot big. AVweb's Glenn Pew talks
with Mike Purcell of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Purcell was chief of sea search operations for the mission that this May
found and led to the retrieval of the aircraft's critical voice and
flight data recorders.
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|Instructors Gather in Atlanta for SAFE Symposium||back to
BUDGET CUTS ARE AT TIPPING POINT
FAA Administrator Randy
Babbitt said Thursday that FAA budget cuts may endanger both the
agency's ability to oversee "the world's safest aviation system" and may
in fact stunt the very economic growth austere budgets are designed to
create. Speaking at the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators
symposium in Atlanta, Babbitt said safety oversight isn't the only
concern. "I'm not going to put safety in a backseat to anything, but
then what we do with the other programs? I have said it publicly and I
have said it privately, if you reduce these funding levels far enough,
we're on the edge of degrading our ability to maintain the world's
safest aviation system. We're on the edge of choking the certification
of new products. We have a finite number of people and if we furlough
several thousand of them, we're not going to be able to bring new
products to market," Babbitt said. He added that the agency oversees
certification of more than 2200 projects a year and cutting staff will
reduce its capacity to do that, creating a cascading economic effect
that will cost the industry and the economy jobs. He said the FAA has
submitted a "very reasonable" budget, but that the House of
Representatives may be looking for more significant cuts.
TRAINING REFORM: WHAT'S IT GONNA TAKE?
idealistic answer is to start over, according to the Society of Aviation
and Flight Educators, which met this week in Atlanta in the
first-of-its-kind symposium to improve the quality and delivery of
flight education. The practical answer, however, is a lot more
complicated than that, according to the recommendations made by
individual committees within the SAFE group. Altogether, about 150
flight instructors, examiners and industry educators and vendors
attended the symposium and after a day of rapid-fire presentations, the
symposium divided into break-out groups to make specific
recommendations. More than 20 specific changes were recommended, ranging
from improvements in training doctrine, higher standards for instructor
refresher courses, better guidance for flight reviews, scenario-based
risk management training and a closer look at how simulators of various
types might be put to better use in training new pilots and keeping
existing certificate holders sharper and safer. More...
AVweb's Paul Bertorelli spoke with various figures in aviation
safety at the gathering. We have three of those short conversations for
you as podcasts:
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|Meanwhile, Security Is an Issue for the Airlines,
FLIGHT DIVERTED, PAX EVACUATED
A Delta Air Lines flight from
Detroit to San Diego was diverted to Albuquerque Sunday morning due to a
"possible security threat." Photos from the scene showed the aircraft
parked in a remote area of the airport with passengers standing outside
the aircraft and buses arriving to take them elsewhere. FlightAware listed the flight as "diverted" and
estimated its landing time in Albuquerque as 9:54 a.m. local time. The
plane was searched, the 107 passengers and crew were questioned and the
plane was cleared for flight about three hours later. It did not take
off immediately, however. Authorities declined to discuss the nature of
the alleged threat. The aircraft is a Boeing 737-800. Although there has
been no suggestion so far that there is a connection, it was a Delta Air
Lines regional carrier that was involved in an incident earlier this
week in which two Muslim imams were removed from a flight by the
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LOUIS TAX COLLECTOR TARGETS AIRCRAFT
St. Louis County, Mo.'s
tax department is targeting aircraft owners in an enforcement campaign
aimed at collecting what may be millions of dollars in back property
taxes. "We intend to recoup revenue that was owed to this county and has
not been paid," Jake Zimmerman, the county's newly-elected tax assessor,
told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Zimmerman became
the county's first elected tax assessor in more than 50 years last month
(bureaucrats handled the job in that time) and he's spending a lot of
time determining which aircraft owners owe what. It's estimated there
are about 700 aircraft based at the county's two main GA airports,
Spirit of St. Louis and Creve Coeur. In the spirit of tax assessors
everywhere, Zimmerman says it's up to the aircraft owners to prove
they've paid the appropriate taxes and if they don't agree with the
assessment he comes up it will be up to them to appeal. One of the
issues is that since Missouri doesn't register aircraft, taxes on them
are "self-reported" by the owners. Zimmerman is now using a variety of
methods, including FlightAware data, to determine who owes what. As we
in March, Sen. Claire McCaskill faced a $290,000 bill for back taxes on
the Pilatus PC-12 she and her husband own and the Post-Dispatch reported
that she suggested at the time that there were plenty of others who had
missed paying the tax. More...
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FORCE GROUNDS F-22
Stars And Stripes reported Friday that all
137 F-22 Raptors have been grounded over concerns about the aircraft's
oxygen system that may stem in part from a November fatal crash in
Alaska. Following the November crash, the stealthy fighter jet has been
restricted to altitudes of 25,000 and below. Officials say the
restriction is due to recent reports of oxygen system malfunctions and
concerns that pilots could be deprived of oxygen during flight at
altitude, causing them to black out. At this time it is not clear how
long the jets will be offline because currently there is no solution to
the problem. The move has been called "temporary." Air Force officials
are using the time to investigate potential sources of oxygen system
malfunctions on the fighters. Critics of the jet are using the time for
other purposes. More...
Space Adventures pioneered the
program that has to date launched eight private individuals into orbital
space flight and now they're looking to expand their offerings to
include trips around the moon by 2015. The company says it has already
sold one of two seats available for the flight. It would use a Soyuz-TMA
spacecraft with modifications that include the addition of a second
habitation module. That module would rendezvous with the spacecraft in
low-Earth orbit. Space Adventures has forecast the number of passengers
it might help carry into orbital space by 2020 and that number might be
larger than you think. More...
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TAKEOFF TORTURE TEST
What happens when you slam on
the brakes on a fully loaded Boeing 747-8 at 200 mph with the brake pads
worn to bare metal? Not much, it turns out, and that's a good thing.
Boeing has released an interesting video of an example of the kind of
torture their test planes go through. In this case, the occasion was a
worst-case-scenario, maximum-performance rejected takeoff.
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Every issue of Kitplanes
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|The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!||back to
MAY 9, 2011
Letter of the Week: Cost Killing GA, Not
I listened to your
discussion; however, you and AOPA are totally ignoring one of the
biggest impediments to GA, namely the cost. The cost of GA has increased
unbelievably in the last several years, and with the pressure on people
from the other economic problems, something has to give. The answer
touted for years was going to be the LSA class of aircraft, but they
have turned out to be a joke. The cost/benefit for that class is a
Fuel costs are unbelievable and climbing faster than a
speeding bullet. I know people who would love to become pilots, but the
answer is the same: They can't afford it. I will agree that there are
some flight schools and some flight instructors that are not good GA
ambassadors, but when you find that, you simply go somewhere else. Cost
is the real problem, and I think you already know it.
Click through to read the rest of this week's
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OF THE WEEK: CORPORATE AIRCRAFT (KFAT, FRESNO,
It's been a busy week, but apparently a good one for
AVweb readers who've spent some time in the air. We've received a
hefty number of "FBO of the Week" recommendations in the last seven days
and will be saving a couple of our favorite stories for future
In the meantime, today's blue ribbon goes to Corporate
Aircraft at Fresno Yosemite International Airport (KFAT) in
Fresno, California, where Ray Stratton was treated like a VIP (a
Volunteer and Important Pilot):
FAT is a common hand-off airport for Angel Flight missions from
NorCal to SoCal. I had the SoCal mission as flight 2 of 2. I called
Corporate Aircraft and asked if they would waive the ramp fee for both
Angel Flight aircraft, both Ce182s. I told them I would not be
getting fuel. They waived the fees, loaned me a crew car to get lunch,
and cleaned my windshield of the swarm of bugs I found at 3,000 feet on
approach. Imagine the service if I'd bought fuel!
Aircraft is my stop from now on when going to NorCal. They support the
good deeds of the pilot community.
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...
We were holding short at Newark Liberty airport
when the previous 737 called the tower shortly after it lifted off from
Newark's notoriously bumpy runway.
"Tower, this is Continental XXXX. Do you have time for
a runway report?"
"Tell the Port Authority on this
take-off, about 2,500 feet down the runway, we encountered a smooth
M. D. Larson More...
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
instructions on making the switch, click
Navigate. Communicate. More...