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The Liberty Belle, a B-17 Flying Fortress operated by the Liberty Foundation of Florida, was destroyed by fire after the crew made an emergency landing in a cornfield in Illinois about
10 a.m., Monday morning. All seven people on board escaped without injury, according to the NTSB, but the airplane was a total loss. The B-17 had taken off from Aurora Municipal Airport near Oswego,
Ill., flying with a T-6 in chase. It may be the pilot of the T-6 who communicated the fire on tower frequency shortly after takeoff repeating, "you're on fire, you're on fire, you're on fire!" and
"put it on the ground, put it on the ground, put it on the ground!" Several local residents reported seeing the plane flying low, trailing smoke and flames. An account of the event was released
Tuesday by Liberty Foundation chief pilot, Ray Fowler.
Fowler says both the B-17 and the T-6 took off uneventfully and proceeded to the southeast. Before the Fortress left Aurora's airport traffic area, the crew and passengers noticed an
acrid smell and began to turn back for the airport. "Almost immediately thereafter, Cullen [flying the T-6] spotted flames coming from the left wing and reported over the radio that they were on
fire." According to Fowler, within about one minute and forty seconds of that call, the B-17's crew had shutdown and feathered the aircraft's number two engine, activated the engine's fire suppression
system, lowered the landing gear and performed a safe off-airport landing in the cornfield. The crew had time to unload bags before the aircraft became engulfed with flames. Fire trucks arrived but
did not attempt to drive into the field judging it too soft, after the area's recent rainfall, Fowler said.
The Liberty Belle had been at Aurora to participate in a Salute to Veterans over the weekend and was scheduled to fly at events in Indianapolis, Dayton, and Cincinnati later this
month. Flights were offered to the public for $430 each. The World War II-era aircraft was acquired by the Liberty Foundation in 1992 and has been flying since 2004. The NTSB is investigating.
Meet COPA President Kevin Psutka at the 2011 Aircraft Spruce Canada Super Sale & Fly-In Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Canada will be hosting their annual Canada Super Sale & Fly-InSaturday, June 18 from 8:00am to 3:00pm in Brantford,
Ontario, Canada. Discounted prices, spectacular raffle prizes, and a no-cost lunch will be enjoyed by all in attendance. COPA President Kevin Psutka will be there to meet and greet as well as
help promote the COPA membership deal when you purchase a 406 ELT from Aircraft Spruce. Call 1 (877) 4‑SPRUCE or
The public will get a look inside Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner for the first time, at EAA AirVenture 2011.
The airplane will fly in to Oshkosh on Friday morning, July 29, and depart that same day at about 6 p.m. During its stay at the show center, now called ConocoPhillips Plaza, the 787 will be open for
tours. "This represents two significant firsts," said EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny. "It's the first time anywhere that aviation enthusiasts can tour the 787 and the first public showcase of the 787 in
North America." Boeing says the 787, which is expected to start deliveries later this year, will be the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes. Composite materials, electric
systems, advanced aerodynamics and modern engines aim to make the 787 more fuel efficient and lower the operating costs.
Besides the 787, AirVenture 2011 is filled with events and attractions all week, from July 25 to 31. The Centennial of Naval Aviation celebration continues all week long, and special tribute days
are dedicated to aviation legends Burt Rutan and Bob Hoover. The popular opening-day concert on Monday features REO Speedwagon and a Night Air Show is set for Saturday. A contest for a $60,000
Electric Flight Prize will take place throughout the week, and the Airship Ventures Zeppelin NT will visit the
show for the first time, offering flights to the public. AVweb staffers will be there from start to finish, bringing you fresh news, video, and podcasts daily.
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The Paris Air Show opens next Monday with 2,100 exhibitors, the most ever for the show, which is held every other year at Le Bourget. The event features commercial and military aircraft as well as
a handful of GA exhibitors. Airbus will introduce its "concept cabin" for the airliner of 2050, which features a fuselage built of bio-membranes that can be made transparent to offer passengers a view
of the night sky or of landmarks passing below (click here for the video). One of the most anticipated debuts this year
is "special guest" Solar Impulse, the solar-powered aircraft built in Switzerland, making its first public airshow appearance. The aircraft flew into the show on Tuesday evening despite several
weather delays, and is scheduled for demo flights every morning.
HyperMach, an aeronautical company based in Europe, is expected to unveil a concept for a supersonic business jet that would be capable of speeds
up to Mach 4. Their news conference is scheduled for Monday, and the company has released little advance information. Eurocopter will perform its first public flight demos of the X3 hybrid rotorcraft at the show. If plenty of sales materialize at the show, as has been predicted, it could help to boost
the global aviation industry as it struggles to recover from a stubborn economic downturn.
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,
The FAA's final rule regarding Cessna seat rails applies to all serial numbers of Cessna aircraft ranging from Cessna 150A to T337H-SP models -- 36,000 aircraft, according to the FAA -- and is
effective as of June 17, 2011. The Airworthiness Directive (AD) supersedes a prior one; it clarifies inspections that look for cracks in seat rails and details under what circumstances parts must be
replaced. Action, unless already taken, is required within the next 100 hours time-in-service or within the next 12 calendar months. The FAA estimates that the inspections alone should cost each owner
about $85 and combine to produce $3.06 million for the repair shop industry. Cost of replacement parts and work as needed could add another $395 to an individual owner's tab. Specifics follow.
The AD covers 150, 152, 170, 172, 175, 177, 180, 182, 185, 188, 190, 195, 206, 207, 210, T303, 336, and 337 series airplanes. It aims to prevent seats from slipping while the aircraft is in flight,
potentially leaving a pilot out of reach of the controls, or leading to dangerous unwanted control inputs. The old AD requires repetitive inspections and replacement of parts under specific
conditions. The new AD (PDF) retains all the
requirements of the previous AD, but adds steps to the inspection procedure and improves associated graphics.
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This week we learned that the Liberty Belle, a restored B-17 owned by the Liberty Foundation, burned after an off-field landing in Illinois, although everyone escaped alive. Is it just too
risky to continue flying these things? Shouldn't we preserve them for posterity? Yes, we should preserve them, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog but if they can fly, they
should. Leave the museum pieces right where they are. As sad as it is to lose one, it would be even sadder to stop flying these rare treasures while it's possible to do so.
Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to
NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)
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Diamond Aircraft is recalling workers and rapidly accelerating its D-JET personal jet program thanks to an investment from an unnamed source. The money will also enable resumption of the flight
test program and the construction of one more test aircraft as the company works toward certification. The amount of the investment was not immediately disclosed but Diamond was turned down by the Canadian government for a $35 million loan that would have formed a share of the $90 million needed to
finish the project. While the D-JET was being developed exclusively by Diamond's London, Ontario facility, that has changed with the recent announcement.
Diamond says that now that its plant in Austria has finished some piston-engine aircraft projects, it will lend engineering and technical support to the D-JET program to help get the aircraft into
production as quickly as possible. Diamond lost some of its D-JET workers to other companies when it was forced to lay them off earlier this year and the company also worried about its position
holders getting nervous. "We especially wish to thank our customers and business partners for their continued loyalty," the company said. "This investment marks a turning point and we are most
enthusiastic about our opportunity to refocus on completion of the D-JET."
The Canadian government says it will pass a law ending a strike by Air Canada ticket agents if the airline and its employees can't reach a contract settlement. The 4,500 members of the Canadian
Autoworkers Union walked off the job at kiosks and call centers at midnight Tuesday and within 12 hours, the government had issued the ultimatum. "They've got a duty to Canadians to get a deal done,
and when they can't get a deal done and it ends up having an impact either on Canadians in general or on the economy, then that's the role of the government and we've clearly stated our intention,"
Labour Minister Lisa Raitt told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. However, union leaders say
the unprecedented speed with which the government intervened is massive interference in the bargaining process and smacks of "collusion."
The CAW has been threatening to strike for weeks and the main issue is one that is rippling through much of the aviation industry. Air Canada wants to change its employee pension plans to defined
contribution plans. The airline says it can't afford the defined payment plans that are now in force. CAW President Ken Lewenza called the move by the government "clear interference with the right to
free collective bargaining" and suggested it might delay rather than speed up a negotiated settlement. There have been some service disruptions and slowdowns at Canadian airports but the airline has
maintained a full schedule and expects to continue to do so.
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Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."
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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.
A recent ASTM conferred technical approval on specs for aviation biofuels. That means we've got a bright new future with these fuels, right? Sure we do, says Paul Bertorelli with an eyeroll in the
latest installment of the AVweb Insider. Read his latest blog post for some thoughts on why new-fuel boosters always neglect market (and technical) realities.
Video of an extremely low, low pass is making the rounds on the internet and we thought we'd share. The aircraft appears to be an Argentinean FMA IA 63 Pampa or something similar. It
also appears to be flying about three feet off the ground. The picture at right is a screen capture from in-cockpit footage that shows people running out of the way ahead of the jet.
Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it,
there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."
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.
Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb reader Chris McClure was blown away by the top-notch treatment he received at Dominion:
On a recent trip to the Richmond area, I flew into Chesterfield County Airport, primarily due to convenience to the friends that I was visiting and the fact that, when I called ahead, the lady at the
desk indicated that they would find a hanger where I could park my airplane (an Aviat Husky A1-B) for two nights. Storms were predicted in the area in the evenings, so I was particularly interested
in putting the plane in out of the weather. When I arrived, the staff was very courteous and efficient, and the same lady I had spoken to earlier exhibited wonderful Southern hospitality, [having]
located hanger space for me. The friendly staff made sure that the airplane was properly stowed in one of the corporate hangers on the field and carried my bags to the FBO where I had a friend
meeting me. I mentioned that I would be topping off the tanks with 100LL before departure, and when I returned to head back home, the staff had already done so, [then they] helped me take my gear to
the plane and pulled the aircraft out of the hanger. The FBO itself was clean and well-equipped, including the seemingly ubiquitous fresh popcorn machine. I will definitely return ... when I next
fly into the Richmond area, and I highly recommend them.
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.
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Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
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