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Volume 17, Number 21b
May 26, 2011
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AVflash! Air France 447: Pilot Error Anticipatedback to top 
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Sources speaking ahead of an official release of information expected Friday suggest that content collected from the cockpit voice and data recorders of Air France Flight 447 is building a case for pilot error. The investigation has so far implicated pitot tubes, which may have fallen victim to icing at 35,000 feet. But The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that "people familiar with preliminary findings" say that while the pitots did cause sensor malfunctions, cockpit displays functioned normally. Problems with the Airbus A330's pitot tubes led to a series of automation failures, disconnects, warnings and alarms for Flight 447. The sources say that while the crew was working the series of problems, they appear to have missed other essential information.

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The Next Step for Swift Fuelback to top 

Swift Enterprises, which is working to create an alternative aviation fuel to replace 100LL, said this week it has taken "a large step" forward in the approval process. ASTM International has published a new fuel specification for Swift's UL102 high-octane unleaded test fuel. "This will allow us to test every batch of a fuel to a standard, and verify that it is all the same," PJ Catania, the head of fuels certification for Swift, told AVweb on Monday. That consistency is important for completing the next phase of testing, he said. It also will enable the company to test the fuel in standard airplanes, rather than only experimental aircraft, which will make it easier to gather large amounts of data, Catania said. However, that phase of testing the fuel in standard airplanes is still at least six months away.

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Our all-new web site is better than ever. Advanced searches, more detailed results, expanded content. Clean, fresh design and easier navigation, too. Exclusive premium benefits for subscribers! Selling? Affordable, online-only listings are now available in many categories, and it's quick and easy to place one. Try it now to reach aviation's active buyers! Visit us today at for everything tht keeps you flying or call (800) 337‑5263.
Filling in the Blanksback to top 

Flight instructors complained when unannounced changes to FAA knowledge tests led to a spike in student failures, and now the FAA has agreed to make changes in one test and revise the grades of students who got some questions wrong. Representatives of AOPA, the National Association of Flight Instructors, several university aviation programs, and others met with the FAA in Oklahoma City for two days earlier this month to discuss the problem. The FAA said it will withdraw six questions from the test bank for the Fundamentals of Instruction test, which is required for all applicants for flight and ground instructor certificates, and will change the grades of students who got the disputed questions wrong. The FAA will also review an additional 12 questions that were identified as ambiguous. More...

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Panthera Hybrid Stalks Just the Right Compromisesback to top 

The first aircraft from Pipistrel's coming Panthera line will carry four people and full fuel for more than 1000 nautical miles, with reserves, at 202 KTAS, while burning 10 gallons per hour -- and it may be the least efficient of the Panthera line. Pipistrel has plans to produce three versions of the aircraft, including the previously described unleaded-ready Lycoming IO-390-powered model; a Panthera Hybrid that includes a 145 kW hybrid-electric powertrain (offering quiet, pure-electric takeoff and landing); and a Panthera Electro, flying with a 145 kW pure-electric system that targets a range of 215 nautical miles. Where the pure-electric version offers apparent compromises, Pipistrel's description of the Panthera Hybrid offers nothing of the kind. More...

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Weekback to top 

Diamond Aircraft President Peter Maurer says the company isn't ruling out anything, including Chinese investment, to get the D-Jet to market. As AVweb reported last week, the Canadian government turned down Diamond's $35 million loan application to finish the development program. In a podcast interview with AVweb, Maurer said the government loan, despite the dire scenarios portrayed by the Ontario media, was a "long shot" and the company has been working on other potential funding solutions throughout the politically charged talks with the government. Although Chinese involvement is a possibility, it's not the only one and Maurer said Diamond didn't start that discussion. "We've never talked about it. We've been asked about it a lot, though," he said. More...

Hawker Beechcraft is the latest to announce it's considering building aircraft in China. CEO Bill Boisture told Bloomberg the company has been negotiating with Chinese officials about a technology transfer in exchange for greater access to the Chinese market, which is expected to grow rapidly with the relaxation of airspace regulations. Hawker Beech could potentially get 20 percent of its future business from China, Boisture said. 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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We Ask, You Answerback to top 

According to the Wall Street Journal, the crew of Air France 447 got so wrapped up in the management of systems they forgot to "fly the airplane" as so many of us had drummed into us. Has automation made us safer — or more vulnerable?

Plus: Last week, we asked AVweb readers how much financial support governments should provide to aviation companies. Did Canada make the wrong decision about funding Diamond's D-Jet? Click through to see how AVweb readers answered our poll. More...

GAMI - General Aviation Modifications, Inc. 
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Over 19,000 Happy GAMIjectors® Customers Can't Be Wrong!
GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air ratio in each cylinder so that each cylinder operates with a much more uniform fuel/air ratio than occurs with any other factory set of injectors. To speak to a GAMI engineer, call (888) FLY‑GAMI, or go online for complete engineering details.
The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You!back to top 

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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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

The questionable reporting, says Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, is not so much intentional as failing to ask the right questions. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Dropping the Third Class medical is an idea whose time may have come, says Paul Bertorelli — but in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog he reminds us that it will have significant consequences for the LSA market. Read more and join the conversation. More...

International Learn to Fly Day reaches out to the general population and provides plenty of information on aviation — but inspiration is a lot harder to come by. On the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady wonders what fills the adventure-shaped hole in the heart of today's prospective pilots. Read more and join the conversation. 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.
AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learnback to top 

No one does aviation quite like the Navy, and carriers are only half of the story. In this vodcast, author/photographer Erik Hildebrandt talks about his experiences in shooting and compiling an impressive history of a century of naval aviation. More...

Come ride along on some simulator training in a Cirrus SR22 to see the kinds of things you can do better in the box than in the real world. We'll also give you some tips for getting the most out of your simulator time. More...

Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Cox Aviation at Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22) in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.

AVweb reader Linda Langrill had no shortage of good things to say about this FBO she discovered on the way to Sun 'n Fun this year:

We got stuck in weather on our way down to Sun 'n Fun ... . The best thing that happened was that the nearest airport to our location was the Big Sandy Regional Airport (K22) at Prestonsburg, KY. We were greeted by FBO manager Gary Cox with a friendly smile and efficient, friendly service. The official airport kitty, Saltine, greeted us out on the ramp. The lobby of the FBO had just been remodeled, complete with a gas log fireplace, newly tiled restrooms, well-equipped flight planning room, and (most of all) friendly people everywhere we went. The restaurant adjacent to the FBO, the Cloud 9 Cafe, is worth flying or driving in to experience. ... Lauren, Mr. Cox's daughter, operates the restaurant. We ate there twice during our two-day stay in Prestonsburg, and on Sunday afternoon we had to wait in line. Well worth the wait. We have recommended this airport and FBO to every pilot we talk with. If you are on your way south or north, east or west, and if you get anywhere near this airport, plan to stop. You will not be sorry!

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.

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