AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 25a

June 20, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Boeing Sees Doubling Of Commercial Fleet

Boeing has declared the world economic recession all but over and issued its rosiest commercial aircraft forecast in years. The company's pre-Paris Air Show analysis predicts a doubling of the world fleet of commercial aircraft over the next 20 years, with 33,500 aircraft selling for a total of $4 trillion. "The world market has recovered and is now expanding at a significant rate," Randy Tinseth, Boeing's VP of marketing for commercial aircraft, told reporters. "Not only is there a strong demand for air travel and new airplanes today, but the fundamental drivers of air travel – including economic growth, world trade and liberalization – all point to a healthy long-term demand." Much of the growth will come from emerging markets in China, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, while traditional markets in Europe and North America will be buying planes for fleet modernization.

Although the big buzz at Paris seems to be how Boeing will counter the multi-front assault on its single-aisle 737, Boeing says the big market for the next 20 years will be in twin-aisle long-range aircraft that will respond to the demands of globalization and trade liberalization. The wild card will be the effect of fuel supply and demand on airlines. "While passengers are getting what they want – more frequencies and nonstop service – rising and volatile fuel prices are expected to continue to challenge the industry," Tinseth said. Boeing is debuting its 747-8 stretched jumbo at Paris, which runs June 20-26.

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4G, 40 Thousand Stations, and Two Weeks back to top 

LightSquared Update

Recent tests have shown that LightSquared's proposed grid of 40,000 wireless network ground stations could interfere with GPS signals, and now the FCC has granted LightSquared a two-week extension to file a report on its position. LightSquared's report was originally due Wednesday, the same day the FCC granted the extension. LightSquared spokesman Jim Carlisle said Tuesday that the company underestimated the number of tests that would be necessary to show the network should be allowed. In a letter to the FCC, Carlisle wrote that additional testing "was necessary to permit a proper evaluation of various mitigation options for addressing the GPS receiver overload issue." And that producing a report is really hard.

"Producing a final report is a massive undertaking," Carlisle wrote, citing the multitude of factors involved in the process. The FCC responded by granting the company a new deadline of July 1. In response to the FCC's decision, co-founder of the Coalition to Save our GPS and Vice President of Trimble Jim Kirkland described his understanding of the process, so far, saying, it's "been a combination of really really bad ideas and slightly less bad ideas." According to Kirkland, too much of the burden of proof has been placed on the companies that could be most affected by LightSquared's network. Said Kirkland, "The FCC should let the private industry return to work and stop squandering resources to solve an unsolvable problem."

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Still Pretty Fast to Us ... back to top 

One Mile Per Second Scramjet Falls Short

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An X-51A Waverider scramjet powered test vehicle flew in the program's second flight test, June 13, but failed to transition to full power burning JP-7 after the scramjet engine was lit. Air Force Flight Test Center officials say the vehicle was dropped at approximately 50,000 feet from a B-52H Stratofortress flying in the Point Mugu Naval Air Test Range over the Pacific Ocean. It accelerated with the help of a solid rocket booster to beyond Mach 5, at which point the vehicle's air-breathing scramjet engine was lit on ethylene. According to the Air Force, then "the vehicle experienced an inlet un-start" as it attempted to transition to JP-7.

The Air Force says the vehicle optimized for restart but fell into the ocean before a successful restart was achieved. A 2010 flight was arguably more successful. In May of 2010, a previous X-51A test vehicle ran for 200 seconds burning JP-7 and reached a speed of roughly Mach 5, which translates to about one mile per second. That flight was meant to achieve a 300-second burn and top out near Mach 6 at 70,000 feet but began slowing after Mach 5. With the latest flight now on the books, researchers at least have a "large amount of telemetry data" to work with. The program began with four X-51A flight test vehicles and a goal of reaching Mach 6 in hypersonic flight. The next flight is scheduled for late 2011, but that schedule is flexible. In 2004, NASA's X-43 flew at Mach 9.7. Notably, that vehicle burned hydrogen and managed its speed for 12 seconds before melting.

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File Under "Fat Cat"? Maybe Not back to top 

WSJ: BizJets Used For Personal Travel

The Wall Street Journal has published data regarding the movements of corporate jets between the years of 2007 and 2010 and Thursday the Journal suggested that personal use of corporate aircraft is greatly underreported. According to the Journal, "Dozens of jets operated by publicly traded corporations made 30% or more of their trips to or from resort destinations, sometimes more than 50%." The Securities and Exchange Commission requires that all personal travel on company aircraft be reported if it exceeds $25,000 annually or consists of more than 10 percent of executive benefits. According to estimates made by the Journal, one company underreported by more than $600,000. And in another case the Journal estimated the underreporting at roughly $2.5 million. That kind of math involves supposition and in some cases may disregard other factors.

The Journal has no sure way of knowing which flights are personal and which flights are business-related, but instead associated flights that landed near the homes of corporate executives as personal flights. In one case, 46 percent of an aircraft's activity involved flights between vacation spots and destinations where an executive owned vacation homes. Vacation destinations alone do not necessarily indicate personal use of the jets. According to the Journal, "The high percentage of trips to vacation destinations in a few cases suggests some companies' jets are frequently used by executives to make personal trips." There are other considerations. Some companies require their executives to use corporate jets for private or business travel due to privacy or security concerns.

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NAA Honors Marion Blakey back to top 

Blakey To Get Top Aviation Award

The sometimes-controversial former head of the FAA is getting one of aviation's most prestigious awards for her "significant and lasting contribution to the promotion and advancement of aviation and aerospace in the United States." Marion Blakey, who was FAA administrator from 2002 to 2007, will get the National Aeronautic Association's Cliff Henderson Trophy at NAA's final luncheon series meeting in Washington. The award is given annually to a living person whose "vision, leadership or skill" has promoted aviation.

Blakey, who is now CEO of the Aerospace Industry Association, presided over a tumultuous five years as FAA administrator. She proposed changing the funding structure of the FAA to one based on user fees rather than the current aviation fuel tax. She also upset air traffic controllers by imposing work rules on them after contract negotiations failed. Blakey was a strong proponent of the NextGen airspace management system that is in the early stages of implementation.

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Look, Down on the Ground — It's a House, It's a Plane! back to top 

A Jumbo Recycling Project

When Francie Rehwald decided to add a couple of wings to her house, she didn't fool around. As we reported in 2006, her decision to repurpose an old Boeing 747-200 into a house and outbuildings on her mountainside acreage in Malibu, Calif., raised some concerns at the time and the first phase of the finished result has had its public debut, The jumbo-sized wings form the roof of the home and based on photos released last week it looks like control surfaces are also used. The rest of the house appears to be floor-to-ceiling windows and the result, according to inhabitat.com, is a "curvilinear" home. Now that the main house is done, architect David Hertz and his imaginative client can turn their attention to using up the rest of the plane.

Hertz said the intent is to use every piece of the aircraft, which was purchased for $50,000 as salvage six years ago. The cockpit is to become a meditation center and there are plans for guest accommodations, a barn and other buildings. The plane-based structures will be strewn randomly around the property. When the FAA got wind of the plans five years ago it was concerned the property would look like a crash scene from above.

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

Survey: Aircraft Batteries

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AVmail: June 20, 2011

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Egos Shot Down

Regarding the story about the Pakistani F-16s beating the Typhoons in air-to-air combat: I used to run an Air Combat Maneuvering Instrumentation and Electronic Warfare Range. We had many instances of older airframes with crews that had prepared meeting with the latest fashion airframes with crews that showed up expecting a cake walk and didn't prepare [only to have] their hats handed to them.

I remember one exercise where a group of ANG F-16 Air Defense Fighters from Duluth, Minnesota cleaned up a group of active-duty F-15Cs, much to their dismay and distress. The 15s were escorting a strike package of mixed aircraft. They never made it to the range on day one. The F-16 ADF guys had been to the ACMI/EW range practicing employment every day for a month. When the starting bell rang, they employed flawlessly. The AD Eagle drivers showed up expecting to walk all over them, and they hadn't practiced. If it was for real, they would have died on day one, with no chance for improvement. As it was, they got a second chance, then a third and midweek started to turn things around. By the end of the week, they were winning, bombs on target, getting home alive.

Training makes all the difference. If you're an ego driver, not an efficient fighter pilot, you may not notice that until the ego has taken a few shots.

Lt. Col., Ret.

The Long Way Around

I have had the opposite experience of the pilot that regularly found smooth air flying the spine of the Sierra range. One particular night trip from Las Vegas to SFO that was direct to Coaldale VOR direct Modesto vectors to SFO, the MEA was 14,000, and I was in my Navajo 310. I started getting rotor turbulence along with a high sink rate that I could only stop with 100-knot indicated airspeed and full power. I was in that situation for a very long 20 minutes as I had a 65-knot headwind. I have never used that route again and go the long way around to Bakersfield and then up the valley.

When Steve Fossett disappeared, I was not surprised that he was found in that same area, as the Citabria would be pretty weak to go against a prolonged downdraft [such as the one] that I had encountered.

Carl Martin Gritzmaker

"Turn Off All Electronic Devices"

Regarding the story about cell phone interference: I have to agree with John Nance. It sounds very anecdotal and very possibly biased or even manufactured by pilots who don't want to run the risk of having devices interfere with the plane.

I believe that there are many iPad users that don't even realize their iPads are cellular devices. In fact,other than my wife, whom I had to tell, I've never seen an iPad user put the device in "airplane mode."

I travel frequently and on many flights see wi-fi phones and "mi-fi" devices which are turned on. I see people sneaking text messages.

Clearly, cell usage, inadvertent or not, is quite rampant on commercial flights in the U.S. As the article states, if cellular devices were really causing issues, I'd expect there would be more real and probably confirmed instances.

I'd also add that if these devices can cause issues, I'd also be concerned about being on a plane on the final approach segment near high-powered radio and TV transmitters, cell towers, and the plethora of other RF hash found in any city. The RF field strength has to exceed that of a cell phone or two inside the aircraft.

Said another way, aircraft avionics and systems need to be robust enough and well-shielded enough to tolerate broadband interference, including nearby cell phones. If a cell phone can potentially bring down a plane, we must harden the planes, because it's impractical to assume we can eliminate unintentional or intentional cellular device usage.

Mike Pflueger

Should We Fly Them?

Regarding the "Question of the Week": There are plenty of non-flying B-17s already in museums. The same can be said about other types. What point is there in maintaining an airplane in flying condition if it's never going to leave the ground? I say if it's in airworthy condition, fly it.

Michael Dean

Worldwide Standards?

Isn't it about time all the worldwide aviation regulators got together and we had a workable worldwide set of interchangeable regulations? My suggestion would be to base them on FAA regulations. Over here in Europe, EASA is trying to re-invent the wheel.

Gerry Smith

Pictures and Passions

A friend sent me your May 19 issue of AVweb because he noticed a picture of my daughter (red hair), 1st Lt. Smith, at a Wisconsin air show last August explaining the details of the T-6 cockpit.

This is just to thank you for choosing that picture and to mention the chills it gives me seeing her passion for what she does in the U.S. Air Force.

Greg Smith

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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 newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Risk at Sea — Would You Do This?

Dramatic footage put together by PBS shows what it's like to recover aircraft in challenging sea conditions — at night, no less. Operations like this ratchet up the risk, raising the basic judgement question: Is the gain worth the potential pain? If you're a Navy pilot, you don't get a vote. In his latest installment to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines how risk judgements in military flying are far different than in the civil world.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: IFR Magazine Deals with Emergency Descents on Instruments

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Emergencies don't have the decency to happen only on clear days. IFR magazine's Jeff Van West takes a brief look at how you might get an airplane down as fast as possible — or precisely lined up with a runway, even when you can't see much past the propeller.

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Extreme Low Pass Video

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

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.

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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."

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: SilverWing Flight Services (Sandpoint, Idaho)

Nominate an FBO | Rules | Tips | Questions | Winning FBOs

A nice courtesy car can often put an FBO on our list of favorites — but sometimes it's a little something extra that impresses an AVweb reader and moves him to nominate a facility. Joseph Barber explains how SilverWing Flight Services at Sandpoint Airport (KSZT) in Sandpoint, Idaho became our latest "FBO of the Week":

We've always found the folks at SilverWing to be friendly and helpful. This is not, itself, exceptional in Idaho — but in addition to a courtesy car (a massive, late-model SUV, not the usual '80s vintage monster sedan), [they have] bicycles. A great alternative for the short distance to town.

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!

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

My sister-in-law and I were working together across the production bench a few years back as the local ATC scanner played in the background. The controller cleared an aircraft to take off, ending the transmission with, "Wind calm."

Instead, my sister-in-law heard, "... when calm."

She was quite alarmed that ATC would clear a pilot to take off but gave them time to calm down before pushing the throttle forward.

Mary Ann Lebold
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

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.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet 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.

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.