AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 25b

June 23, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Aviation World Converges on Paris back to top 
 

A380 vs. Embraer's Building

click for photos

It was well known on opening day at the Paris Air Show that the Airbus A380 demo plane had "brushed" a building and wouldn't be able to fly but it wasn't clear exactly what had happened. Well, the accompanying photos, which are circulating on the Internet but appear to have originated at AirlineReporter.com, give a little context to the conflict between giant airliner and building. That's Embraer's building getting the renovation, by the way. The aircraft was moved under its own power to a discrete area of the airport where Airbus officials who aren't busy selling airplanes are plotting their next move. Airbus says the pilots followed Le Bourget ground instructions for taxiing but it's not the first time the super jumbo hasn't been able to keep its wings to itself with the nosewheel on the centerline.

As we reported in April and Air France A380 taxiing with confidence at JFK clipped the tail of a Comair CRJ 700. Again, the super jumbo was proceeding as directed. In both cases, there were no injuries but the damage appears significant.

Click for photos.

Related Content:

Mach 3.5 Bizjet Introduced In Paris

SonicStar, a proposed new supersonic aircraft that could reach speeds up to Mach 3.5, was introduced on Monday at the Paris Air Show by HyperMach Aeronautics. The company says it has developed a design using a "revolutionary" new hybrid electric gas turbine engine, and is seeking investors and partners to help launch a prototype by 2021. The airplane is designed to fly at 62,000 feet, carrying up to 20 passengers in a luxury cabin. The company's website says the design has eliminated the problem of sonic booms over land, which are prohibited in many countries, by using "groundbreaking technology" that allows "aerodynamics to be controlled."

At top speed, the jet could fly from New York to Dubai in about two hours and 40 minutes, the company said. HyperMach, which launched in 2008, is led by CEO Richard Lugg, who also serves as CEO of Sonicblue Aerospace, the company that developed the turbine engine that drives the design. In a video on the HyperMach website, Lugg says he was inspired by the Concorde to pursue the dream of super-high-speed flight. Aerion Corp., of Reno, Nev., also has been working to develop a supersonic business jet, and has attracted about 50 deposits for its $80 million aircraft. However, so far the company has not secured a manufacturing partner to take its design to completion.

Paris 'Green' Initiatives: Electric Taxi, Transatlantic Biofuel

The Paris Air Show this week provides a venue for companies to show off their "green" initiatives. Two jets flew in from North America powered by alternative fuels. A Gulfstream G450 operated by Honeywell flew across the pond with "Honeywell Green Jet Fuel," derived from camelina, mixed in a 50/50 blend with standard jet fuel in one of its two engines. And Boeing flew its new 747-8 freighter trans-Atlantic with a blend of 15 percent camelina-based biofuel and 85 percent Jet-A in all four engines. Honeywell also said it will partner with Safran, a French aerospace company, to develop a taxi system that will drive aircraft on the ground using the electric APU instead of jet fuel. The system could save up to 4 percent of fuel consumption for airline operations.

The electric-taxi system not only reduces air pollution, it saves money compared to normal taxi operations. "Today, the cost of fuel -- and the related cost of carbon emissions -- are right at the top of the list of the biggest concerns for any airline," said Tim Mahoney, CEO of Honeywell Aerospace. "By using the new electric green taxiing system to provide the power needed for ground-level maneuvering, Honeywell and Safran can save our airline customers several hundred thousand dollars per aircraft per year."

 
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Aviation Law back to top 
 

Pilot's Case May Help Define Privacy Act

Stanmore Cooper was once convicted for making and delivering a false writing while renewing his pilot certificate and his case has now reached the Supreme Court, where it may decide the scope of the 1974 Privacy Act.  Cooper is HIV-positive and once disclosed his condition in order to receive Social Security benefits, but withheld it when renewing his pilot certificate. Those actions became known through the government's "Operation Safe Pilot" program, which shared the information without Cooper's consent, and the FAA revoked Cooper's certificate. Cooper entered a guilty plea and was convicted of making and delivering a false writing. He later appealed the case, saying government agencies had improperly shared information, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed. Now he's after damages, and the government is seeking to block his suit.

The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear the government's appeal that would stop Cooper from suing for mishandling his medical records and bringing him emotional distress, according to the American Bar Association Journal. Cooper's attorney, James Wood, says that appeals courts are currently divided on whether plaintiffs can recover such damages. Wood told the San Francisco Chronicle that "unless these [damages] are compensable, it's a free license to the government." Cooper obtained his certificate in 1964, but stopped flying for nine years after being diagnosed in 1985. In 1994, he obtained a medical certificate and renewed it for the next decade, without disclosing his condition to the FAA. Information sharing between agencies without his permission delivered his condition to the FAA, which revoked his certificate in 2005. Cooper maintains that he withheld the information for fear of discrimination.

 
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Bad Behavior back to top 
 

Southwest Pilot Suspended For Tirade On Frequency

A Southwest pilot who thought he was chatting with his co-pilot was actually talking over the ATC frequency when he made disparaging remarks about flight attendants, lacing his comments with hateful slurs and swearing. A Houston TV station acquired a recording of the March 25 remarks and posted it online this week. On the recording, the pilot said he found 11 out of 12 flight attendants to be unworthy of his dating interest because they were overweight, too old, or gay. At one point, he told his co-pilot, "I don't give a f---. I hate 100 percent of their asses." The conversation, which contained "something to offend almost everyone," according to the KPRC-TV reporter, went on for about two and a half minutes. Southwest has not identified the Houston-based pilot, but said he was suspended without pay and sent to "diversity education," apologized to controllers and co-workers, and has been re-instated.

In a statement issued to the Houston TV station, the FAA said that when the incident occurred, an air-traffic controller in the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center alerted all pilots on the frequency to check for a stuck microphone and said the conversation being broadcast was inappropriate. The FAA sent an audio recording of the conversation to Southwest for further action. The FAA added that it "expects a higher level of professionalism from flight crews." On the full audio excerpt, the controller breaks in to say, "We don't need to hear that." Another pilot pipes in to say, "That was not us!" and added, "And they wonder why airline pilots have a bad reputation."

'Barefoot Bandit' Pleads Guilty, Movie Expected

Colton Harris-Moore, age 20, pleaded guilty last week to federal charges related to his two-year crime spree, during which he stole four airplanes and a boat, and now a movie about his exploits is in the works -- with profits to go to his victims. Harris-Moore, known as the "Barefoot Bandit," was arrested in the Bahamas last July after flying there in a stolen Cessna Corvalis, which he ditched on a reef. He was captured while trying to flee in a stolen motorboat. Federal prosecutors say he owes about $1.4 million to his victims, so they are hoping the movie deal goes through. "While we cannot stop him from telling his story, we can make sure he never sees a dime for his crimes," said U.S. Atty. Jenny Durkan.

The federal court is expected to sentence Harris-Moore in October; he could serve up to seven years in prison. Harris-Moore is also facing state charges in Washington, where he is expected to plead guilty later this summer. Besides the Corvalis, he stole two Cirrus SR22s and a Cessna 182. He never had a formal flying lesson but reportedly taught himself to fly using online resources. His lawyer, John Henry Browne, told CNN that Harris-Moore hopes to go to college one day and study aviation or engineering.

 
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Disaster and the Aftermath back to top 
 

Tornado Hits Train Carrying Boeing Parts

A train carrying subassemblies for Boeing from Tulsa to Everett, WA was hit by a tornado earlier this week and, based on this video posted to YouTube by StormChasingVideo.com (it's the first 40 seconds) it seems likely there will be, at a minimum, some supply chain disruptions at the Boeing plant. As the storm chasers mention in the video, the train was carrying Boeing 737 fuselages (yes, we are struck by the irony, too) but the aluminum tubes appear to have escaped a direct hit. However, an AVweb reader who works at the Tulsa plant has told us that the train was also carrying wings for Boeing's new flagship 747-8. He told us the railway is still tallying up the damage.

'Liberty Belle' Lives On

click for photos

As we reported last week, the Liberty Foundation's pristine B-17 Liberty Belle was lost near Chicago in an unfortunate set of circumstances that started with a fire on board. It became an injury-free off-airport landing (all seven on board got out safely) and ended with the loss of the aircraft because fire trucks couldn't get to it fast enough in the muddy conditions on the field. Thanks to AVweb reader Lee Hogan, here's an oddly hopeful photographic chronology of the event's aftermath that shows Liberty Belle will live on in other B-17s. Thanks, Lee.

Click for photos.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

LightSquared Changes Plans, GPS Group Unimpressed

Monday, LightSquared proposed a new plan that would use frequencies that are controlled by the satellite company Inmarsat Plc and not use those closest to GPS frequencies, hoping to avoid most interference issues. The company's original plan had been to launch its service (which supports wireless communications) using frequencies that neighbor those of GPS. But tests mandated by the FCC found that such use could lead to interference problems for GPS users. That possibility led players in the GPS industry to form a coalition that spoke out against the plan. The Coalition to Save Our GPS is not satisfied with LightSquared's latest proposal. "LightSquared's supposed solution is nothing but a 'Hail Mary' move," said coalition spokesman Jim Kirkland. "Confining its operation to the lower MSS band still interferes with many critical GPS receivers in addition to the precision receivers that even LightSquared concedes will be affected." LightSquared's new proposal involves using a band of frequencies belonging to Inmarsat that is farther from GPS. The new plan is actually just an acceleration of the old one and the company says "a limited number of high-precision GPS receivers" could still be affected by interference.

LightSquared's original plan would have migrated service from the original set of frequencies (closer to GPS) to Inmarsat's band (farther from GPS) after the first two or three years of service. The new plan would have service initiated on Inmarsat's band. The other band will be set aside for testing mitigation plans, according to LightSquared. The company expects to have the ability to serve its customers over the next few years as its service grows. It still expects to launch service later this year. According to LightSquared Chief Executive Sanjiv Ahuja, "What's absolutely clear is American consumers absolutely need this network." Ahuja believes the new solution "ensures that tens of millions of GPS users won't be affected by LightSquared's launch." But the Coalition to Save GPS says LightSquared's plans should be considered a non-starter by the FCC. "It is time for LightSquared to move to out of the MSS band," Kirkland said.

Bell Sells BA609 Tiltrotor

Bell Helicopter announced at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday that it will sell off its BA609 civilian tiltrotor to AgustaWestland, which has been a partner in the program. Bell will continue to supply engineering services and key components for the aircraft. The decision will free up R&D resources for the V-22 Osprey and other projects, both military and commercial, said Bell CEO John Garrison, including the development of next-generation tiltrotor technologies. No terms were disclosed for the sale. "They [AgustaWestland] are going to take it over and do what they think is best for it," Bill Schroeder, a Bell spokesman, told the Star-Telegram, of Fort Worth, Texas. Two 609s now are flying, one in the U.S. and one in Italy, and have logged almost 600 hours.

Bell says the 609 "combines the speed, altitude, and comfort of a turboprop with the vertical takeoff and landing capabilities of a helicopter," with cruise speeds up to 275 knots and a 750-nm range. The aircraft can be used for executive transport, offshore operations, search and rescue, medevac, and law enforcement. AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Italian helicopter company, is owned by Finmeccanica, an Italian corporation. It will form a new U.S. company called the Bell Agusta Aerospace Company and open a base of operations in Arlington, Texas. The company will rebrand the tiltrotor as the AW609. AgustaWestland said in a statement it is "fully committed to rapidly proceed with the AW609 program development, capitalizing on the activities already performed so far." The deal needs to secure approval from regulators in Europe and the U.S.

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Paris Air Show 2011: Sights from Le Bourget back to top 
 

Photo Gallery: Paris Air Show 2011 (Day One)

click for photos

The Paris Air Show is in full swing this week, and AVweb is monitoring the show for news and announcements. Plus, we're taking in the sights at Le Bourget, as you'll see from this gallery of photos snapped during the opening hours of the show.

Click for photos.


Photo Gallery: Paris Air Show 2011 (Day Two)

click for photos

We're back with more photos from the 2011 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. Grab your backpack and bottled water and join us for a quick tour of what caught our eye today.

Click for photos.

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

Survey: Aircraft Batteries

How's that aircraft battery holding up for you? Aviation Consumer wants to hear how well your battery has served you season after season. Please take a moment to rave -- or rant -- about it in Aviation Consumer's battery survey. The results will be part of an upcoming article in the magazine that might be just what you need to know before your next battery purchase.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

Question of the Week: Upgraded 737 or New Airplane?

The big question in the commercial airplane business — and one that wasn't answered at the Paris Air Show — is whether Boeing will upgrade the 737 at great cost (because of design issues) or create a whole new airplane. If you were Boeing's CEO, what would you do in the single-aisle market?

Should Boeing update the 737 or start fresh?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

What's On Your Mind?

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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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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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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!

 
Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Graeme Stokes of Beechboro, WA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.


 
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:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
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.