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Volume 17, Number 23a
June 6, 2011
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AVflash! After SAFE Symposium, What Next?back to top 

Pilots need a better grasp of so-called "higher-order pilot skills" to reduce the accident rate and improve the appeal of flying as a vocation and as recreation, according to the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE). The organization is proposing six projects (PDF) aimed at working toward those goals. The recommendations result from a two-day symposium on flight training reform involving 148 industry and government leaders in Atlanta in early May. In a nutshell, the symposium determined private flight training is stuck in an instructional time warp in which flight maneuvers and rote memorization dominate the lessons. Airlines, the military and some independent flight schools are adopting new training regimes that emphasize risk management, scenario-based training and other pilot-centric methods, but the symposium agreed that most flight schools have been slow to embrace the new training strategies. SAFE says the six projects proposed by those who summarized the symposium's input and activities can be implemented without onerous regulatory or administrative oversight.

Related Content:
AVweb was at the SAFE Symposium in May, and it's been on our minds ever since. Check out this previous coverage for more.


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FAA, FCC on GPS, G4back to top 

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission says LightSquared will not be allowed to build a broadband Internet system that interferes with GPS. In a letter (PDF) to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA, Julius Genachowski says the FCC "will not permit LightSquared to provide commercial service until it is clear potential GPS interference concerns have been resolved" and that "under no circumstances would I put at risk our nation's national defense or public safety." However, Genachowski also chafes at suggestions by Grassley that the tentative decision to allow LightSquared access to the L-band of radio frequencies next to those used by GPS system was done quickly and without due diligence. He said LightSquared's predecessors have had access to the L-band since 1995 and the conditional acceptance of LightSquared's plan to build 40,000 transmitters came at the end of a yearlong process to transfer the license for that slice of radio frequency spectrum from Skyterra to Harbinger, which became LightSquared. He says the GPS industry has been aware of the fine details of the application every step of the way and, at one point, the GPS Industry Council wrote a letter saying that interference problems had been resolved. Now that it's apparent they haven't been resolved, Genachowski says the Commission will "work thoughtfully and carefully through the various interference issues that have arisen." More...

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Powered by Airback to top 

Regulations and technological restrictions suggest it may not happen very soon, or at all, but some researchers believe aerial turbines will be tapping high-altitude winds for power generation sometime in our future and perhaps within the decade. For researchers, the mother lode would be to maintain flying electric generators in the jet stream. Scientists estimate the energy there could provide for current worldwide power needs 100 times over, annually. That doesn't mean it could happen and, for now, developers are focusing on developing tethered products for deployment at altitudes below 2,000 feet. According to some, the question isn't "if" these products will start popping up, it's "when." And, for proponents of the technology, the answer to that is sometime within the next five or six years. More...

FedEx pilot Gordon Boettger on Tuesday set the new high mark for glider flight in the northern hemisphere when he covered more than 1,400 miles surfing a mountain wave downwind of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in his 1972 Kestrel 17. The trip was a 13-hour "yo-yo" flight from Minden, Nev., to Minden, Nev. -- meaning it flew back and forth along the primary wave. But Boettger did have one section of 854 miles without a turn. He ran at ground speeds up to 231 mph, flew as high as 28,000 feet and spent most of his time near the glider's 135-knot Vne. At one point, he was at 27,000 feet at Vne and climbing at 1,000 feet/min. "I could have gone to 40,000 feet. It was that kind of day," Boettger told AVweb. "But ATC had me capped at 28." Boettger said the cap probably kept him below most of the airline traffic as it crossed the California/Nevada border for San Francisco International. Records aside, the flight offers some practical advice for pilots of powered aircraft. More...

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Aviation Safety Stories Revisitedback to top 

The loss of Air France Flight 447 has stirred comments on training and automation, but if you'd like to better understand the in-cockpit dynamics of a commercial airliner flying overseas through storms at night ... here's a closer look. AVweb's Glenn Pew asked Jason Goldberg, a 15,000-hour professional airline pilot who flies long-haul overseas routes, about those flights and what it's like to be there. The conversation isn't meant to explain what happened to Air France Flight 447, or to suggest, or second guess whatever actions were taken by its crew. It's meant to give private pilots and non-pilots an idea of cockpit culture and the flight environment -- and what happens when things go wrong. Click through to listen. More...

US Airways Flight 1549, which started out for Charlotte, N.C., on the afternoon of Jan. 15, 2009, should reach its destination in about a week. The fuselage of the Airbus A320-214 that was operated as Flight 1549 that day started the road journey on the back of a flatbed truck to the Carolinas Aviation Museum on Saturday. The aircraft, which was successfully ditched in the Hudson River after multiple bird strikes by pilots Capt. Chesley Sullenberger and FO Jeff Skiles, has been in a New Jersey warehouse since then and was almost auctioned for scrap before the museum launched a campaign to preserve the hull. Sullenberger, who has since retired from the airline and is rumored to be working on a movie about the ditching, will speak at a dedication ceremony for the wreck, which will continue to be a wreck. More...

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Politics for Pilots — From Sea to Shining Seaback to top 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has paid the state $2,100 as reimbursement for using a state police helicopter to fly to his son's baseball games. The flights occurred early last week and at first Christie said he considered dropping in on the games an appropriate use of the helicopter in his quest to "balance his role as governor and as a father," according to an Associated Press report. He's also going to ask the Republican Party to pay $1,200 for a hop from one of the games to a meeting with fundraisers from Iowa who tried unsuccessfully to get him to run for president. More...

The city council and Mayor Richard Bloom have announced they will not appeal a January ruling that prevents them from banning Category C and D jets at Santa Monica Municipal Airport, but 2015 may still bring a showdown. The city has argued that those larger, faster business jets at the airport present a safety hazard to nearby houses, some of which sit within 300 feet of the airport's one runway. But the airport had agreed when it previously accepted federal funds that it would operate without discrimination. That agreement expires in a few years, and there may be bigger battles ahead. More...

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

AVMAIL: JUNE 6, 2011

Letter of the Week: Airbuses Fly "Like a Video Game"

I would like to offer my comments and perspective with regard to the Air France Flight 447 accident. I have been a A-330 captain since 2003 and have over 4500 hours in the aircraft. While many A-320 pilots undoubtedly have more series time, I believe this probably makes me one of the most experienced A330 pilots in the world.


Name Withheld

Editor's Note:
We have spoken with the writer of this letter to confirm his identity and honored his request for anonymity.

Click through to read the rest of this week's letters.


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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New on AVweb.comback to top 

Can't agree with your spouse on the quickest way to the supermarket? Lil and Roger LeBlanc flew as a crew of two in the King Air 100 doing charters around New England. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Lil about what it was like to live the dream of operating a mom-and-pop aviation enterprise and on the release of her new book The Flight Level Chronicles. More...

BrainteasersThe FAA was shocked — shocked! — to learn that, despite rules that air traffic controllers shan't snooze on the job, some sleep-starved staff have vectored in the arms of Morpheus. See what FARs might be lost in your dreams.

Take the quiz. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

One reason so many people die in stall-related accidents may be that we don't have good training doctrine to detect and respond to loss of power incidents on takeoffs. And we persist in the notion that turning back to the runway is never a good idea. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers a different viewpoint. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Paul Bertorelli's been looking at the numbers from a single year of GA accident fatalities —— and he shares his findings on the AVweb Insider blog. When you look at the numbers, says Paul, it's not easy to see any low-hanging fruit because there isn't any. Stall-related accidents still kill the most pilots every year, but plain, unimaginative loss of control is a close second. And don't even get him started on the bad judgment calls. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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

A nice video tribute to Amanda Franklin, who died a week ago, was posted shortly after her death. Franklin died May 27 from complications of burns suffered in a March 12 crash while she was doing her wingwalking routine with husband Kyle flying their Waco biplane. Donations are still being accepted to help the Franklin family in the aftermath of the tragedy. More...

There are only a few LSAs that qualify for true STOL status, and Eastman's CH750 is one of them. With full-span flaperons and leading-edge slats, it won't win any beauty contests, but it could excel at some short landing contests. In this video, Aviation Consumer editor Paul Bertorelli takes a spin with Eastman's Gary Webster. More...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Flightline of Dothan at KDHN in Dothan, Alabama.

AVweb reader Bill Johnson testified to the FBO's stellar service, from big things all the way down to the small:

On a recent business trip to Dothan, I had need of some ramp maintenance for my C310D. Thank goodness I had chosen Flightline of Dothan as my arrival point. Don Smith and his staff were friendly, very helpful and went way out of their way to take care of my immediate needs. When it became apparent that my requirement was beyond his local resources, rather than direct me to his other maintenance facility, Don contacted another facility on the field and made arrangments for them to help me. In today's cut-throat world, it is a rare pleasure to see cooperation and collaboration at this level with the customer's need always put first. If your travels ever take you to Dothan, please make certain to stop in at Flightline of Dothan. You will be glad you did. The people are the best, service is excellent, facilities are great, and the popcorn is perfect.

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!


Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


We were approaching ORD from the east years ago in a B-727, which was famous for being able to descend very steeply, as long as it was not speed-restricted. ORD approach was changing from an east landing configuration to west, meaning that the airplanes over Lake Michigan were all going to end up high because of the change in plans.

ORD Controller (to a 727 ahead of us) :
"If I give you STORY intersection at 11,000 feet, can you make it down from there?"

727 Pilot:
"Yes, but we'll have to start down right now."

"O.K., start down now; cross STORY at 11,000. Oh, and I need you to do that at 250 knots."

727 Pilot:
"Hey, we can't come down and slow down at the same time."

Controller (unsure who was giving him a hard time, since the 727 pilot hadn't used his callsign) :
"Who said that?"

727 Pilot:
"Uh, I think it was Newton."

Controller (laughing) :
"I guess I deserved that. O.K., which aircraft is anticipating an energy management problem?"

Several of us jumped in and said, "We are!" all at the same time. As a former physics major, this one really cracked me up. One usually thinks of a comeback line like that on the drive home, instead of instantly as this fellow did.

Ron Cox
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.