AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 36b

September 8, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! 9/11 Tenth Anniversary back to top 
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Ten Years After 9/11, Aviators Remember

With the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks coming up this weekend, aviators around the country are looking back on that day and its aftermath, which in many ways is still with us. The FAA commemorated the 9/11 events this week with a video featuring interviews with air traffic controllers who were on duty that day. The pilot of one of the F-15s that scrambled -- knowing he might be asked to shoot down an airliner full of passengers -- recalls the events in an interview with Boston's WGBH radio. GA pilots also were reminded this week by the TSA to be extra-vigilant as the anniversary date approaches. (Click here for the full TSA advisory, in PDF format.) One of the leaders of the general aviation response, Phil Boyer, who at the time was president of AOPA, recalled those days in a podcast interview with AVweb's Mary Grady.

On the morning of September 11, "we knew we had to go to work right away," Boyer recalls. "As soon as that afternoon, I was in touch with Norm Mineta, who was then secretary of transportation." Mineta had two sons who were pilots, and was very open to discussions about how to mitigate the impact on GA, Boyer says. In the aftermath, Boyer says, one of the things he had to deal with the most was politicians who were unfamiliar with how general aviation works. Many were surprised to learn that airplanes routinely fly around without flight plans or even radio contact, he says. Click here to listen to the rest of Boyer's recollections and his assessment of how GA has fared in the 10 years since 9/11.

Related Content:

Podcast: Phil Boyer, Former President of AOPA

File Size 13.6 MB / Running Time 14:57

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Ten years ago this weekend, general aviation was faced with an unprecedented challenge — first, how to get back in the air at all and then, how to cope with scores of new regulations as the government struggled to minimize the threat of future attacks. As president of AOPA, Phil Boyer was on the front lines of holding back the restrictions and preserving our freedom to fly. He talks with AVweb's Mary Grady about the events of September 11, 2011 and his assessment of how we're doing 10 years later.

Click here to listen. (13.6 MB, 14:57)

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6-10, 2011 || Mt. Vernon, IL
Aircraft Spruce at the Midwest LSA Expo in Mt. Vernon, IL
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Time for a Long-Term Solution, Say the Unions back to top 

Aviation Unions Demand Action On FAA Funding

The latest short-term FAA funding extension runs out on Sept. 16, and on Wednesday, several aviation union groups held a news conference at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., to demand a long-term reauthorization bill. "We cannot continue to function with this band-aid approach to aviation funding and safety," said Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association. "It is time to get serious and put the safety of aviation in the United States ahead of partisan politics." Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, the Association for Flight Attendants, and the Allied Pilots Association also attended the event. Members of Congress are returning to Washington this week after a summer break.

If Congress cannot resolve its stalemate, then the agency may face another partial shutdown next Friday. Various issues have stalled efforts to agree on an FAA funding bill, including disputes over subsidies to rural airports and language that would make it easier for workers to unionize. In late July, the funding snafu forced the agency to lay off about 4,000 employees for about two weeks, and 70,000 contract workers also were affected as projects at about 200 airports were put on hold. The FAA has not had a long-term funding bill since 2007.

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High-Tech, High-Concept -- High-Risk? back to top 

Coming Soon: Remote Control Towers

Two airports in northern Sweden are set to become the first test sites for remotely operated control towers. The system, which is being developed by Saab, will consist of an 82-foot-tall structure topped by a bank of cameras that will beam a 360-degree panoramic high-definition image to a control center located miles away. The array also includes microphones that transmit stereo sound from the airfield, meteorological sensors, and a light-gun signal that can be operated remotely. Center controllers will sit at the center of a 360-degree wraparound screen, and will be able to zoom and pan the images. The system aims to save on costs by consolidating service for smaller airports. The two towers in Sweden are expected to go online next year.

The system's sophisticated interface will provide controllers with improved situational awareness compared to today's analog towers, according to Saab. The images employ several types of image enhancement, including the ability to label moving objects, impose a geographical overlay during low visibility, and "radar and video sensor fusion." A demo project was successfully concluded in 2009, according to Saab. The project was awarded the Jane's Airport Review Industry Award during the ATC Global 2010 exhibition in Amsterdam.

A New Laser Threat?

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Wicked Lasers claims its new hand-held laser has an 85-mile range, is 8,000 times brighter than the sun, and is the "world's brightest laser you can legally own." In other words, the device may be completely useless outside of a lab, but is apparently being marketed to the public. The cost of the new "S3 Krypton Series" laser is $1,000. According to one review, a previous model was "dangerous" and only useful for "irresponsible, reckless activities." That new one is 20 times brighter and in the words of the same reviewer, is "twenty times as awesome." The reviewer adds, "I'm terrified of it."

Early this year, the same company released a sub-$300 laser capable of near-instant close-range retinal damage. As for who the new laser appeals to, a review by Gizmodo.com, a website for technophiles, described the laser with these words: "You can't do anything with it" and "I can't help but love it." Users are cautioned not to look at the beam, not to look at the spot and not to look at light reflected from the beam. After an increase the number of pilots reporting incidents with lasers, the FAA in June announced new civil fines for laser misuse, topping out at $11,000.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Crashed Cessna Sparks California Fire

Both men inside a Cessna 210 died when it crashed in a southern California canyon on Sunday, starting a brush fire that burned across almost 15,000 acres by Wednesday morning. Twelve homes and 18 other buildings were destroyed, hundreds of homes were evacuated, and more than 2,000 firefighters and other emergency responders fought the blaze. The Cessna crashed about 11:25 a.m. on Sunday near the Mountain Valley Airport in Tehachapi, about 150 miles north of Los Angeles. The two men on board were Walter Johnson, 72, of Pomona, and John Nuckolls, 55, of Claremont.

The fire was fanned by strong, erratic winds, and rugged terrain increased the challenge for firefighters. Five helicopters and two tanker aircraft helped to fight the fire. By Wednesday morning, the California fire agency classified the blaze as "minimal" and allowed evacuees to return to their homes. The fire agency said costs "to date" from the fire totaled $5.4 million.

Russian Yak Crash Decimates Hockey Team (Video)

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A Yakovlev-42 crashed on takeoff 150 miles northeast of Moscow Wednesday, killing 43 of 45 aboard, including many members of an international medal-winning Russian Lokomotiv Yaroslavl hockey team. The airliner was flying out of Yaroslavl's Tunoshna Airport for Minsk 4 p.m. local time when it crashed on takeoff, apparently in clear weather. Witnesses report hearing two loud bangs prior to the aircraft's hitting a riverbank on the Volga River and bursting into flames. The jet was carrying 37 passengers and eight crew. Of the two survivors, one was a crew member and the other was ice hockey player Alexander Galimov, who was reportedly burned over 80 percent of his body. Both were reported in critical condition after the crash. Players on the team had connections to ten nations.

Several of the players had been active in the NHL, and included one former U.S. National Hockey League All-Star. Pavol Demitra was the former U.S. All-Star, who perished on the flight. At least two of the players, Alexander Vasyunov and Karel Rachunek, formerly played in the NHL for the New Jersey Devils. Three others on the team had formerly played with the Florida Panthers but all had not yet been confirmed as passengers on the flight. More than 100 rescue workers and 44 rescue vehicles converged on the crash site, where some of the wreckage was hardly recognizable. The Yak-42 has been working the line for more than thirty years.

Click for photos.

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From the Arctic Circle to Your TV back to top 

Ice Pilots Spinoff In Production

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Fans of Ice Pilots NWT can look forward to a sequel of sorts. A dramatic spinoff of Ice Pilots, called Arctic Air, is now in production in Vancouver by OMNI Film and will air on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation starting in January. Ice Pilots NWT, which is airing on the National Geographic Channel in the U.S. and was shown on the History Channel in Canada, followed the real-life exploits of Buffalo Joe MacBryan and his Yellowknife-based Buffalo Airways. The airline operates the last scheduled passenger service with a DC-3 and also flies C-46 Commandos and DC-4s. Arctic Air will mirror the reality show and the star of the program is a former Canadian registered DC-3 that flew for Whitehorse-based Air North before being retired 17 years ago. Getting the plane ready for prime time was an adventure in itself and DC-3 buff Dan Gryder played a starring role.

The plane was parked in Colorado and hadn't been flown for 17 years. Gryder and some friends got it in flying shape and ferried it to his hangar in Griffin, Ga. There, the wings and horizontal stab were removed and the aircraft fuselage readied for a flatbed truck ride to Vancouver. The fuselage, which is still decked out in its Air North passenger format, is now on the set and being used to film 30 episodes. The CBC has purchased the program but there's no immediate word on whether it will be aired on a U.S. channel.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

China's First GA Fly-In Postponed

The first-ever general aviation fly-in in China, which was set for later this month, has been postponed indefinitely, according to AOPA. The event was scheduled for Sept. 22 to 24, with about 20 privately owned helicopters from around the country expected to gather at an airport outside Beijing. However, a helicopter operated by the Beijing Police Department crashed last month into a reservoir near the fly-in site, killing four of the five people on board. AOPA China said the crash drew "attention and safety concerns from the public and the authorities," and the ongoing investigation has raised questions about whether the airspace will continue to be accessible. The first-ever AOPA Summit in China, which is scheduled to take place the same weekend in Beijing, will go on as scheduled.

The Agusta-Westland AW139 helicopter was operated by a new police aviation unit that had been formed just a month earlier, according to NBAA, and was returning to home base after search-and-rescue training. The fly-in events were scheduled to include sightseeing aerial tours of the reservoir where the crash occurred. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Boeing's Newest Freighter Ready To Fly

click for larger version

Boeing will deliver the first 747-8 Freighter to launch customer Cargolux on Sept. 19, the company said on Friday. Cargolux will fly the airplane away from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., that morning and put the airplane into revenue service. The second freighter out of the hangar also will go to Cargolux, with delivery set for Sept. 21. The carrier has a total of 13 of the new airplanes on order. The 747-8 is 250 feet, 2 inches long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches longer than the 747-400 freighter, with the capability to carry an additional 22 tons and adding more than 4,000 cubic feet of volume. Cargolux also took delivery of the first 747-400 freighter, in 1993.

"In a sense, history is repeating itself," said Frank Reimen, CEO of Cargolux. "We were pioneering the cargo industry when we put the first 747-400 freighter into revenue service in 1993. This is what we do once again with the 747-8 Freighter, which is ultimately a testimony of our good and long-standing partnership with Boeing." The additional volume adds space for up to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets, Boeing said.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

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

Question of the Week: GA and September 11 -- Ten Years Later

It's been a decade since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We'd like to know if 9/11 and its aftermath have affected your flying.

Ten years later, how does the aftermath of 9/11 affect your flying?
(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.)

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: Prez Nixes EPA On Ozone; How About Lead?

President Obama shocked the environmental community by telling the EPA to shelve proposed new regulation that would tighten ozone emissions. The ostensible reason was economics and jobs, but the underlying motivation was political. So, we have to ask, if he can do that for ozone, how about lead? A permanent waiver for leaded avgas could reduce the headwinds GA is currently trying to weather. Yes, it's a fantasy, admits Paul Bertorelli in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, But we have entertain ourselves somehow.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: 9/11 Week -- Yes to Commemoration, No to Commiseration

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.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Aerotrek's Bargain LSAs

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

The way Rob Rollison figures it, most LSAs are overpriced, which is why he's marketing his nicely made Aerotrek airplanes at a base price under $70,000. Although most invoice for more than that, they still sell for less than $100,000. In this brief video, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli flies the Aerotrek 220 taildragger version and finds that it has great visibility, excellent climb performance and features you might not expect to find in a bargain airplane.

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Video: Electroair's Electronic Ignition

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

Electronic ignition for certified airplanes has been somewhat of a hard sell, primarily because owners don't always see clear benefits in either fuel economy or reliability. Electroair would like to change that with its new certified system for four-cylinder Lycomings. Here's a quick video tour of how the system works.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Hammond Air Center (KHDC, Hammond, LA)

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

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Stacey Greenhill of Wheeling, IL. 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:

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.