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Volume 17, Number 36a
September 5, 2011
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AVflash! Revisiting 9/11back to top 

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have issued a joint bulletin to law enforcement and transportation agencies warning al-Qaida may be hatching a plot to use GA aircraft filled with explosives in attacks on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The agencies, who, according to Politico, are describing the bulletin as "routine," say the terror organization has been recruiting Western operatives to take flight training. There is apparently no specific threat being mentioned.

Related Content:


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Aviation Safetyback to top 

The second midair collision in Alaska in as many months is believed to have killed a young commercial pilot while another managed to land her badly damaged aircraft safely. The Anchorage Daily News reports 24-year-old Scott Veal, of Kenai, is presumed dead after the Grant Aviation Cessna Caravan he was flying was in a collision with a Ryan Air Cessna 207 flown by 26-year-old Kristen Sprague, of Idaho, and crashed Friday near Nightmute on Nelson Island in southwestern Alaska. The pilots were the lone occupants of both aircraft and both were headed to Bethel, about 100 miles east. Weather was reported as overcast with ceilings about 1,000 feet AGL and no fog or rain. Meanwhile, a collision between two sailplanes has killed two Canadian pilots in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia. More...

John Hoyte flew for 30 years and says chronic fatigue and memory loss caused by toxins circulated in the air systems of the aircraft he flew forced him to walk away at the age of 49. Now 55, Hoyte wants to lobby the government to force airlines to recognize a link between toxic fumes on their aircraft and negative health effects for pilots. He has set up the Aerotoxic Association based on his belief that exposure to fumes in airliners caused him to suffer neurological damage. Hoyte's belief is generally unsupported by the industry and may be challenged by some studies. More...

U.S. Sport Aviation Expo || Sebring, FL || 
January 19-22, 2012
Sebring Regional Airport Hosts U.S. Sport Aviation Expo!
The LSA show is January 19-22, 2012 and features conventional aircraft, kitplanes, powered parachutes, trikes, gyros, amphibians, and innovative designs such as electrically powered aircraft — over 150 aircraft on display. If it exists in the recreational aviation market, it will be at Expo! Over 10,000 aviation enthusiasts attend to see demonstration flights, attend EAA forums, and see what is new in the LSA market. Visit for details.
Law and Logbooksback to top 

New light fell on the U.S. government's rendition program as aviation companies battled in court over fees paid by the government for the service. According to court testimony from an aircraft broker that made jets available, the government was looking for "the cheapest aircraft to fulfill a mission." Those who catered to the government's needs apparently supplied the jets with their typical salvo of fruit plates and wine and billed for that and other services. The court papers show that some jets flew as many as ten landings during a single mission, costing the government as much as $300,000 in fees. One company involved in the court proceedings claimed to have flown 55 missions for the government. How they did it was another matter. More...

The brain trust at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) may be getting a $175,000 lesson in the dangers of lithium ion batteries for a 2009 incident that could have had tragic consequences. Someone at the school packed 33 circuit boards, each attached to a lithium battery into a cardboard box and had FedEx pick it up for delivery to Seattle. The FAA says the box didn't have the required dangerous goods declaration and labeling and wasn't packed to prevent the batteries from short circuiting. It's proposing a $175,000 fine against the august institution. Fortunately, freight handlers at FedEx's sorting facility in Medford, MA discovered the improperly labeled and packed box when it burst into flame on their conveyor belt before being loaded on an aircraft. More...

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Point A to Point B -- As You've Never Seen It Beforeback to top 

Matternet is a plan to use aviation technology to keep people alive and help them thrive when economic or geographic challenges keep them isolated from streams of commerce and aid, and traditional aviation isn't the answer. Matternet's long-term vision of creating an autonomous transportation network for point-to-point delivery of people and cargo must wait on technology that is not yet proven, but its short-term goals are more in line with technology's present abilities. For that, Matternet hopes to meet the need for quick delivery of medical test results and their associated medications to geographically isolated people. The plan would use small, autonomous, electrically powered quadcopters carrying two-kilogram packages 10 kilometers at a time. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Matternet team leader Andreas Raptopoulos for more details. More...

AVweb's Glenn Pew speaks with team leader Andreas Raptopoulos about a plan to use aviation technology to change the world -- again. More...

Southeast Aerospace (SEA)
Southeast Aerospace —
Leading Avionics Resource Now More Effective!

The newly designed industry-leading web site has been released! Get to know all of SEA's services: Part Sales, Repairs, Installations, Special Missions and Engineering. Each online department provides detailed information on services, capabilities, experiences and contact information. Save time and go directly to the resources you need. And, as always, you can find real-time inventory pricing and delivery on the part sales site,
News Briefsback to top 

Diamond Aircraft has resumed flight testing of its D-JET personal jet after a five-month break. Diamond suspended testing in late March when it ran out of money to continue the project. It took until early June to secure new financing, including a well-publicized spat with the Canadian government over a federal loan that was ultimately denied. Diamond has not said who the benefactor is for the D-JET program although it has said the funding it received was specifically allocated to the jet. More...

The widely used "block" method (boarding an airliner in sections) is among the slowest of methods, while the windows-first method (which we told you about in 2008) has again been proven best ... but carriers still aren't using it. Astrophysicist Jason Steffen's scientifically deduced suggestion (PDF) for the most efficient method of herding people onto airliners made headlines when it was published in 2008. In essence, it is a block method with an added dimension. Steffen loads passengers in groups, window to aisle, back to front, skipping rows to keep people out of each other's way. This June that method yielded the best time when tested for a TV show against five other methods. And it took about half the time of the widely used basic back to front block, or "section" method employed by many airlines today. There may be some simple reasons for why we're not using it. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Flying the Airplane

I had been flying the Airbus A320 for a supplemental 121 carrier when I was furloughed and had to scramble to find any flying job. I interviewed for a job which required a sim check in a B727 simulator. I had not flown an aircraft with manual thrust levers, a yoke or a trim switch for several years and had never flown a 727 or a 727 sim.

My hand-flying skills were atrocious. I could interpret the steam gauges okay, but I couldn't keep up with the trim, and I ham-fisted the thrust levers badly. Needless to say, I didn't get the job, and I didn't blame them a bit.

Jerry Hart

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...

Mike Busch || CEO & Found of Savvy 
Aircraft Maintenance Management || 2008 National Aviation Maintenance 
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New on AVweb.comback to top 

BrainteasersFlying's easy. Sounding good on the radio while talking to ATC or swapping position reports on CTAF takes panache and a firm grasp of FAA-approved/suggested phraseology. Discover how smooth you sound by taking this quiz.

Take the quiz. More...

AVbuys || AVweb Stories About Great Deals 
in Aviation
Fly More for Less
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.

Click for the resource page.
Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

As the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, it was inevitable that the media would be filled with retrospectives and reports. We are right to remember the victims who died in the attacks and the servicemen and women who have died since. But we owe it to ourselves not to wallow in the past and to put the risk of terrorism where it belongs -- a worry, yes, but not one that threatens the Republic and far, far down the list of hazards we all face every day. It's time to move on, says Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog. Read more and join the conversation. More...

In her latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Mary Grady suggests it's time to reassess the best use of humans in the cockpit -- and maybe it's no longer working the controls. Read more and join the conversation. More...

Peter Drucker Says,
"The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Create It"

It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb reader William Lahners recommended our latest "FBO of the Week": Hammond Air Center at Hammond Northshore Regional Airport (KHDC) in Hammond, Louisiana. He writes:

We had such a great experience at Hammond Air, we had to nominate them! Erin Pierce, the owner, is one of the nicest and most professional people I have met. Erin is always on-site and truly runs the FBO like a family business. When the rental car company didn't come through, he loaned us his Escalade to use. Since they are brand-new (grand opening is in October) signage is not good yet, but they are on the west side of the field. KHDC, if you are not familiar, has an ILS and 6,500-foot runways and is jet-friendly.

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!


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

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. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


Many years ago, I had to make a night flight from Cable Airport to Phoenix in a Cessna 150. The weather was clear, and I filed a VFR flight plan for N51139 and departed at 10:30pm. While climbing out over Ontario VOR (now PDZ), I contacted Ontario Approach (now SoCal) for flight following, got a squawk, and was advised of radar contact, then settled in for the long flight. The frequency was quiet at that late hour, and I guessed the controller was bored. He must have looked up our flight plan, because the next thing I heard was:

"Cessna 51139, are you an orange and white Cessna?"

"That's affirmative for 51139."

"Pretty good radar, isn't it?"

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.