AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 17, Number 35a

August 29, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Look, Ma -- No Pilot! back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Drone Tests To Expand

Military drones will soon be mixing it up with regular air traffic in up to 10 "airspace bubbles" the FAA and Department of Defense are creating to test and prove the safety of integration of unmanned aerial systems. According to AOL Defense the plan is contained in the proposed FAA reauthorization bill that will be back before Congress in September and is designed to show that UASs can safely operate in "heavily-traveled commercial airspace in all conditions across the United States."

The roadblock to UAS integration so far has been the lack of autonomous sense-and-avoid systems on the drones, and the unmanned aircraft flying in the bubbles won't have it either. Instead, ground-based sources of traffic information, like ATC radar data, will be transmitted to the drones which will, in turn, relay it to the ground-based pilot. The pilot will use the information to maintain separation. Later tests will involve semi-automated sense-and-avoid systems. There's been no decision on where the test areas will be located but it's likely at least some of them will be near existing UAS test areas.

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Rethinking the Sport Pilot Rule back to top 

Groups Petition FAA To Change Sport Pilot

Industry groups have petitioned the FAA, saying changes should be made to the sport pilot rules to fix flaws that prevent the regulations from meeting their stated goals. According to language in the rules, their intent is, in part, to create public access to general aviation and increase the population of eligible professional pilots. According to a petition submitted to the FAA by AOPA, EAA, GAMA and NAFI, one problem with language in the rules is that student sport pilots who take instruction from sport pilot instructors are prevented from counting their time toward a higher rating. And that, they say, does not serve to promote the rules' aforementioned stated goals.

Sport pilot rules state that their aim in part is to "create more eligible pilots to meet the needs of future airline and military demand." The associations' petition argues that allowing hours flown under a sport pilot instructor to count toward a higher certificate could encourage sport pilots to seek those higher certificates and ratings. The groups argue also that safety is enhanced -- not compromised -- by allowing pilots to count those hours. The petition aims to allow pilots to count those hours but ensure that student pilots also meet proficiency and aeronautical knowledge requirements as required to advance. Find the petition (PDF) online here.

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Steering Clear of Hurricane Irene back to top 

U.S. Military Runs From Mother Nature

The U.S. military Thursday moved aircraft from bases aligned with the forecast path of Hurricane Irene as private pilots organized emergency services for the already-stricken Bahamas. An estimated 78 military aircraft were to be moved off of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base at New Hope, N.C. The exodus included F-15Es and KC-135 Stratotankers. In Jacksonville, Marines moved V-22 Ospreys, AH-1W Super Cobras Hueys and Super Stallion helicopters from New River Air Station to safer locales. Meanwhile, a pilot-oriented U.S.-based nonprofit was organizing disaster-relief flights to aid with recovery in the Bahamas.

Bahamas Habitat announced earlier in the week that it would conduct relief flights to the Bahamas as soon as practical. The group began work by assessing damage and the needs of people affected by the storm. Using Orlando as a staging point, volunteers coordinated pilots, planes and donations. The same group organized 400 missions to Haiti when a crippling earthquake hit that country last year. Bahamas Habitat is a Christian-based organization that also serves to introduce pilots to mission-flying opportunities.

2nd Annual European Corporate Aviation Summit (ECAS) || September 
8-9, 2011 || Linkoping, Sweden || Register Now
Second Annual ECAS to Land in Sweden
Following the success of ECAS last year, the Second Annual Summit will explore the latest developments in the corporate aviation sector of Europe and new business opportunities and challenges in the region. It will also provide the platform for manufacturers and operators — as well as any organization interested in this marketplace — to explore all aspects affecting the future of this industry. A must-attend event for international business aircraft operators. Click here to learn more and register.
The Big Airplane Report back to top 

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, Now Certified

click for photos

The FAA Friday approved certification of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, launch customer ANA is expecting delivery on Sept. 26, and three years of delays mean Boeing's profit on the design is still a long way off. ANA has scheduled the first commercial flight for Oct. 26, out of Tokyo for Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Boeing is currently sitting on $16.2 billion of 787 parts, collected through June 30, according to Bloomberg News, and challenges are still ahead. Boeing's 787 inventory represents about 35 nearly finished airframes, many still awaiting engines and interiors. And production changes made through the certification process mean some of those aircraft will remain sitting for several months.

Boeing has constructed a temporary factory at a leased hangar in Everett, Wash., to handle the work of seeing near-finished Dreamliners, each requiring different finishing touches, through to completion. While those 35 jets are sorted out, Boeing has four finished aircraft at the factory and six more test jets that also are not yet flying for carriers. Boeing doesn't make money by keeping the jets it builds and inventory should decrease in the coming months. With that will come profitability for the program ... eventually. Rounding that corner is still quite a ways off. Analysts expect the turn to happen at roughly 1,000 Boeing 787s delivered. The company expects that incorporating necessary modifications and non-production line finish work into nearly complete airframes will hold deliveries this year to fewer than 14.

Click for photos.

Related Content:

Rebels Show Gaddafi's A340

One of the biggest spoils of war taken by the rebels in Libya was opened up to the media on the weekend. Muammar Gaddafi's private A340 has been turned into a kind of ridiculous retreat for rebel leaders, although the irony of their latest occupation doesn't appear to be lost on them. Clad in fatigues but perched delicately on overstuffed leather furniture, the rebels gave media a glimpse into Gaddafi's sense of personal style. The aircraft cost $74 million in 2003.

It's not clear what the rebels intend to do with the aircraft but it's apparently in excellent condition, interior notwithstanding, and hasn't been flown in six months since NATO imposed a no-fly zone over Libya. Up until then it was maintained by Afriqiyah Airways. The symbol of the colonel's power and wealth was somehow missed in the NATO bombardments that destroyed a lot of Libya's aircraft.

Pics and video can be seen at Telegraph.co.uk.

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Short Final to Burning Man back to top 

Burning Man Airport Opens

click for photos

There's a new airport opening in Nevada today (Aug. 29, 2011) but you'll need a ticket to fly there and it will be gone without a trace in 10 days. Burning Man, the formerly impromptu, uh, cultural gathering in the Black Rock Desert, runs until Sept. 5. About 50,000 people create an almost instant city where "radical self expression" is among the guiding principals. Well, few cities that size are without an airport and each year a group of Burning Man participants who are pilots and aviation enthusiasts create a temporary, FAA-designated (88NV) facility called Black Rock City Airport. In a podcast interview, airport Communications Director Dean Siracusa says the airport is laid out on the dry lake bed and features a 5,280-foot runway which can, and regularly does, accommodate light jets.

Although it's an uncontrolled field with a Unicom (122.9), a temporary tower is set up and is often staffed by off-duty professional controllers. The airport features a pilot's lounge and restaurant and even a customs office. There are established pattern procedures and even a sightseeing route and about 200 aircraft, from ultralights to the aforementioned bizjets, use it each year. Charter services also operate regular flights. As civilized as it all sounds, Siracusa reminds those thinking of flying in that weather and runway conditions are unpredictable and they should be well-versed in what they might expect. Also, because Burning Man is sold out this year for the first time, admission tickets will not be available at the airport. Those arriving without advance tickets will be turned away.

Click for photos.

Podcast: 88NV Here Today, Gone Next Week

File Size 12.2 MB / Running Time 13:20

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Black Rock City Municipal Airport (88NV) is likely busier than most Nevada GA airports for the next week, but after that it will be gone. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Dean Siracusa, the airport's communications director, about the airport and the event it supports, Burning Man.

Click here to listen. (12.2 MB, 13:20)

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Thinking Outside the Box back to top 

Hand Transplant Restores Flying Dream

As the aviation industry looks for ways to make becoming a pilot easier, a 28-year-old New Jersey woman is proving there are few barriers to someone who really wants to fly. As NBC 40 reported last week, Jessica Arrigo caught a virus when she was seven that cost her both legs and hands. She's had prosthetic legs for 20 year and a few years ago, she received a hand transplant; now she's working toward her PPL. "I was like, I could do that, I could fly a plane, why not?" she told the TV station.

Overcoming challenges is nothing new to Arrigo, and Dennis Renauro, chief flight instructor at Big Sky Aviation in Millville, N.J., says it's serving her well in flight training. "She has a willpower that is much stronger than the average person," said Renauro. "She seems to be able to find her way around the airplane better than most people." Renauro predicts she'll have her ticket in close to the minimum 40 hours. Like most student pilots, Arrigo finds flight training a challenge. "It's not a piece of cake, but it doesn't make me nervous, not at all," she said.

Former Chinese Farmer Builds Flying Saucer

click for photos

A former Chinese farmer with little formal schooling who later worked as an automobile mechanic has designed and built at least one ultralight that briefly flew (before crashing) -- he has now moved on to a flying saucer. Shu Mansheng's project is a structure powered by eight motorcycle engines mounted vertically. They drive individual fixed-pitch wooden propellers. The engines are arranged in an inner and outer group of four engines each. An open cockpit located in the center is mounted above spokes that both support the engines and extend to an outer circular ring. Supporters will be hoping for a more positive outcome than the innovator's last attempt.

Shu Mansheng built his first aircraft in October 2010. It was saved by an inadequate powerplant that failed to lift it off the ground. A second effort was aborted when the innovator determined it would be too heavy to fly. This April Shu built another aircraft in a span of about 15 days. He managed to fly that one over approximately 30 meters at an altitude less than seven meters above the ground before he crashed. Shu Mansheng has been able to focus on his aviation exploits after some advances in his career led him to a financial windfall. He retired from his day job and now works full-time on his aviation adventures. His latest scheme has consumed the equivalent of nearly $10,000. His dream is to create a school "where kids can learn things not taught in regular school," he told WorldTourist.com.

Click for photos.

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

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: Tackling Weather in LSAs

LSAs were never intended to be heavy weather airplanes, yet you can equip them with the latest datalink weather capability. Whether you choose to depends a lot on your previous experience, as Paul Bertorelli discusses in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Sukhoi's T-50 -- The End of U.S. Dominance?

Maybe, says Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog -- but the real threat isn't whether the T-50 is competitor to the F-22 but whether the panic that is could set off a cascade of political overreaction.

Read more and join the conversation.

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"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

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

Video: Kent Pietsch at Abbotsford Air Show

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

Most of us who go to air shows have seen Kent Pietsch's Interstate Cadet routine. Here's an up-close look at what makes it one of the most impressive flying displays on the circuit.

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

Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Arlin's Aircraft Service, Inc. (Belgrade, Montana)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Arlin's Aircraft Service, Inc. at Gallatin Field Airport (KBZN) in Belgrade, Montana (near Bozeman).

AVweb reader C. J. Costanti recommended the FBO:

We had just completed a couple days of fly fishing and visiting family in Bozeman, and while preparing to depart, our Baron developed a significant fuel leak. Naturally, this occurred after hours, when the maintenance staff had gone home for the night. Not only did line service tow us back to Arlin's hangar, but they contacted their mechanic and he was working [on] the problem within minutes. They turned a stressful and unexpected turn of events into a positive experience and outcome. The Baron was buttoned up and ready to go early the next morning on the ramp, and we completed our trip home. Many thanks and kudos to Alan, Clint, and all the folks we met at Arlin's. Great service on arrival and departure, clean facility, and, most importantly, great people. We'll be back.

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

When flying in Northern Australia, Flight Service Brisbane asked a colleague for a "short count." Without pause, he replied:

"Sure! Toulouse Lautrec was a short count."

He told me later he'd been waiting years to say that. (Australians!)

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.