AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 39a

September 26, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Spark Plug AD Could Affect Many back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Cracked Spark Plugs Prompt Bulletin

Tornado Alley Turbo has issued a mandatory service bulletin (PDF) and asked the FAA to issue an airworthiness directive for the owners of up to 950 Cirrus SR22TN aircraft that may have Champion RHB32S fine wire spark plugs, TAT is sounding the alarm and can only include the aircraft with which it is directly involved in its MSB and the proposed AD. However, the list of affected aircraft could grow to include other aircraft with those plugs installed. TAT says it has been gathering evidence that indicates those plugs are experiencing an unusually high rate of cracked ceramic insulators. Cracked insulators can cause detonation problems that can result in severe engine damage. TAT says it's aware of at least two forced landings and one non-injury accident that may have been caused by the damaged spark plugs. TAT President George Braly said that while the initial MSB applies only to turbonormalized Cirruses, TAT systems have been installed in other aircraft types and he expects action on those, too.

"We have been collecting data and researching this situation very closely. The time has come to deal with this continuing operational safety matter in a definitive manner," Braly said. "Therefore, it is our recommendation that pilots and operators of aircraft with one of the TAT TN turbo normalizing systems installed should not wait for the subsequent airframe model specific service bulletins to be issued." The cracked plugs have also been found in normally aspirated engines, which means the issue may not be limited to turbo-equipped aircraft.

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Third-Class Medical Reform back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
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Driver's License Medical Expansion Proposed

EAA and AOPA are jointly proposing a plan to the FAA to allow so-called "driver's license medicals" to be used for some pilots who now must maintain a minimum third-class medical. In a joint announcement at AOPA Summit on Saturday, AOPA President Craig Fuller and EAA President Rod Hightower said the proposal will be submitted early next year and will allow pilots flying purely for recreation to use a valid driver's license as proof of medical fitness. The standard, which now applies only to sport pilot certificates, would expand to cover all FAA certificates up to and including ATP. There would be limits, however, on the aircraft that could be flown and on flight conditions.

AOPA and EAA suggest that limit might be a maximum of four seats with no more than 180 horsepower, fixed gear and day VFR flights only with one passenger. "That would greatly expand the number of aircraft a pilot might fly while operating under a driver's license medical standard," the joint statement read. Pilots using the new system would be required to undergo periodic online training on aeromedical topics and self certification. The groups said the proposal is a natural extension of the medical standard applied to sport pilots. "We have more than five years' experience now with the sport pilot certificate and the driver's license medical standard," said Hightower. "In that time, we have not had a single medical incapacitation accident. The standard works."

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 — 150+ aircraft on display. If it exists in the recreational aviation market, it will be at Expo! Over 12,500 aviation enthusiasts attended last year for demonstration flights, EAA forums, and what's new in the LSA market. Visit Sport-Aviation-Expo.com for details.
What About 100VLL? back to top 

Avgas Drop-In Replacement: Clarification

In our story last week about the Unleaded Avgas Transition team's deliberations, we reported that the committee increasingly believes a direct drop-in unleaded replacement isn't likely. But one reader wrote to ask about the recently approved 100VLL, which the FAA announced as an approved fuel in SAIB NE-11-55. Isn't this a direct drop-in? Yes, it is, but it's also not an unleaded fuel, but one that contains about 19 percent less lead than 100LL. It still meets exactly the same octane requirements as 100LL and fits right into ASTM D-910, the current industry avgas specification. The 100VLL spec was developed at the request of industry groups as a potential alternative to 100LL for use in areas where airports may represent point sources of lead emissions that exceed emerging national air quality standards. Until the EPA completes its research on lead endangerment, it's unclear if 100VLL will have any role in future fuel supplies.

As far as what defines "drop-in replacement," it's generally considered to be a fuel that has the same octane value as 100LL and/or one that can meet any of the other octanes and requirements found in ASTM D-910 and can be handled by the existing transportation and distribution network without regulatory or infrastructure changes. Octane is only one factor. While 100VLL meets D-910, the ARC committee said last week that it appears that unleaded replacements may not, hence the statement about an unleaded drop-in being unlikely. That doesn't mean they aren't suitable replacements; it only means they don't meet fuel certification specs as currently written, thus revisions may be necessary. Further, the lack of across-the-board drop-in capability may require the development of entirely new fuel certification specifications and expensive testing. The FAA or industry will have to come up with the resources to do that testing.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Everest Sightseeing Flight Down

All 19 people aboard a sightseeing flight returning from Mt. Everest died when the Buddha Air Beech 1900D they were on crashed on approach to Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu. The aircraft clipped a hilltop house in heavy rain and fog about six miles from the airport. There were at least two Americans on board. One person survived the crash but died later in hospital. The crash has prompted comment in some quarters about the safety standards for Nepalese carriers, but according to the airline's website, Buddha Air operates one of the most modern fleets in that part of the world.

According to the airline, the aircraft in question, one of four Beech 1900Ds, was less than 15 years old and purchased new from Beech. The airline also operates five various models of ATR turboprops. It was the first fatal accident for the airline, which began operating in 1997. It was a tough day for air travel in Kathmandu. Although the Buddha Air accident occurred far from the airport, operations were shut down for part of the morning, resulting in several diversions. Not long after the airport reopened, an apparently mentally ill passenger on a SpiceJet flight claimed a bomb was on the aircraft, and that resulted in a six-hour closure. The airport had only been open briefly when an aircraft blew a tire on the runway, prompting another brief closure.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: ARC Committee -- Progress, Yes; Clarity, No

The FAA's ARC Committee gave a briefing of sorts at AOPA Summit in Hartford, Connecticut last week. It dealt mostly with process and little with substance. In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli again argues for a more transparent process.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Air Show Crashes -- An Outsider View

In the aviation biz, we like air shows because they promote the industry -- but after a season of bad crashes, have we actually gone backwards in terms of public image? How are non-aviation people impacted by witnessing a crash? We decided to ask. Chloe Barkdoll was present when a T-28 Trojan crashed at Martinsburg Air Show in West Virgina on September 17; she shares her reactions in a guest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Podcast: China -- Land of GA Opportunity?

File Size 7.9 MB / Running Time 8:35

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

We've been hearing a lot about how China will be the next big thing in general aviation but it's still in its infancy. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli spoke with Yinjie Zhang of AOPA China about the realities and the possibilities at AOPA Summit in Hartford.

Click here to listen. (7.9 MB, 8:35)

Podcast: Canadian Air Museum Fights for Its Life

File Size 8.8 MB / Running Time 9:35

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

Toronto's Canadian Air and Space Museum got an eviction notice from an arm of the Canadian federal government last week and has abruptly closed, calling into question the future of a priceless collection of artifacts and archives, not to mention the building itself, the original de Havilland Canada factory and birthplace of such iconic aircraft as the Beaver, Otter and Twin Otter. The Crown corporation that runs the site has made a deal with a private developer to put up four hockey rinks on the site. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Ian McDougall, the volunteer chairman of the museum (who also loves hockey) about the fight that is about to ensue.

Click here to listen. (8.8 MB, 9:35)

Peter Drucker Says,
"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: Bristell LSA Makes Its Debut

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

AVweb found a new LSA at AOPA Summit last week. It's called the Bristell, and its main selling point is a super-wide cabin. Here's Mary Grady's video report on the new model.

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.

AOPA Summit Recap back to top 

AOPA Summit 2011: Complete Coverage Round-Up

Click here for all our news stories from the AOPA Summit — both for 2011 and previous years. And our AVwebAudio newsletter has the complete run-down of this year's multimedia coverage:

Want to get AVwebAudio in your inbox every Friday? Just log in to AVweb (or create a free account in the upper right corner of this page) and visit AVweb.com/profile. Choose "Update E-mail Subscriptions" in the profile center, and from there, you can add or drop any AVweb newsletters.

Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Atlantic Aviation (KGPT, Gulfport, Mississippi)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Atlantic Aviation at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (KGPT) in Gulfport, Mississippi.

AVweb reader John Hunt gave this location a stellar recommendation:

Incredible service! You would think I was pulling up in a G450 the way they treated us. We were met at the line by two extremely professional folks with a rental car, all paperwork filed out. Additionally, when it was time to leave, all my bills were in order, the plane was fueled, and they returned our rental car. I'd fly out of my way to use the services of Atlantic at KGPT!

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

Survey: How's That Factory Engine Working for You?

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, would like to know. We're doing a survey on owner experiences with factory-new, factory-reman and factory-overhauled engines. (No field overhauls this time.)

The survey will take about five minutes, and you can take it merely by cliking this link.

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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Inbound to Kennedy in the early '60s. Canarsie approach. Aircraft lined up on the inbound radial to keep 210 knots.

"American 123, what's your speed?"

American 123:

"Scandinavian 456, what's your speed?"

Scandinavian 456:

"Air France 789, what's your speed?"

Air France 789:

[Silence for a while. Then ...]

"One of you is a #*@! liar!"

Björn Ekberg
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.