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Volume 17, Number 44a
October 31, 2011
Is There Anything More Important than Protecting Your Family?
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AVflash! After the Storm Comes the Paper Chaseback to top 

A total of 25 exhibitors and attendees whose airplanes were damaged or destroyed in the March 31 tornado at Sun 'n Fun have by now received an invoice from the show for the towing and environmental cleanup costs associated with their aircraft. In a podcast interview, SNF spokesman Jim Bernegger said the show's insurers did not cover those expenses because they consider them the responsibility of the individual owners and their insurance carriers. He said a letter accompanying the invoice recommends owners submit the invoice to their insurance companies as part of their overall claim. The total cost is about $90,000. Individual bills vary with the circumstances of the wreckage removal and the amount of oil, fuel and other pollutants spilled as a result, but all the bills are in the thousands of dollars. He noted SNF has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in tornado-related costs not covered by its insurance. More...

Not all the costs associated with cleaning up after last year's tornado are being covered by Sun 'n Fun's insurance carriers, and individual aircraft owners are being asked to submit claims to their carriers. SNF's Jim Bernegger spoke with AVweb's Russ Niles.

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Taxes, Fees, Charges -- And Oppositionback to top 

A coalition of nearly 30 industry groups (including AEA, ALPA, AOPA and NATCA) has organized to fight aviation tax increases while supporting aviation spending programs. The Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) issued a statement Friday that urged Congress to "reject the proposed taxes" it says are part of a White House and Congressional Super Committee proposed debt-reduction plan. The same statement also said AEA "applauds the administration" for funding NextGen modernization efforts to the tune of $1 billion. According to AEA, the plan would impose two new taxes that would pay for general deficit reduction (unrelated to aviation). One described by AEA as a "user fee scheme" would apply a $100 per flight fee for "all flights" (excluding piston aircraft and other specific operations, according to AEA). A second fee would be collected in the form of a $5-per-trip passenger security tax. AVweb contacted AEA president Paula Derks and played devil's advocate to learn more about the proposal and the coalition's position. More...

Aviation groups say that user fees could be incorporated into a new government debt-reduction initiative. AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with AEA president Paula Derks -- and played devil's advocate to learn more. Listen, learn, and add your voice by contacting your representative.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation. More...

Aviation Asset Management in the Middle 
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Back to Workback to top 

Australia's labor tribunal Sunday ordered Qantas to resume operations a day after the airline locked out its employees and ceased operations. The tribunal Fair Work Australia also put an end to rolling walkouts by three of the airline's unions, which Qantas officials say led to the unprecedented action. In a showdown with pilots, baggage handlers and maintenance workers, Qantas grounded its aircraft Saturday and threatened to start shutting the airline down unless the unions stopped the sporadic strikes that have disrupted operations. "If this action continues as the unions have promised, we will have no choice but to close down Qantas part by part," CEO Alan Joyce said Saturday. "The airline will be grounded as long as it takes to reach a conclusion." He called the work stoppages a "high-handed ambush." Meanwhile, the unions say they were similarly shocked at the airline's dramatic action. The Australian & International Pilots Association claimed the shutdown was "pre-meditated, unnecessary and grossly irresponsible." Qantas normally flies more than 60,000 pax a day on 108 aircraft from 22 destinations, including, of course, the major city of Perth, where some folks not likely used to having their travel plans disrupted were briefly stranded. More...

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Aviation Safety Iback to top 

A twin-engine 1978 Piper PA-44-180 Seminole being flown Tuesday through maneuvers near Aurora State Airport, Oregon, collided with a flying Beech Bonanza V35, essentially cutting the single in half, sending its pieces to the ground and killing its pilot. The midair took place at about 4 p.m., in clear weather. The twin lost a section of its nose and was put down, safely, in a field. Its occupants, an instructor and student, walked away uninjured. The Beechcraft was piloted by retired Oregon State Police sergeant Stephen L. Watson. Debris from his aircraft came down over a one and one-half square-mile area, with the tail landing in a tree about a mile from the rest of the aircraft. Early reports appear to differ in their description of the initial collision. More...

The pilot of a Northern Thunderbird Air King Air 100 that crashed in Vancouver last week told passengers they were turning back to the airport because of a minor oil leak in one engine. He notified the tower and said an emergency stand-by from the airport fire department wasn't necessary. Ten minutes later, while the aircraft was on a stable approach, it suddenly veered left and crashed on a perimeter road just outside the fence, injuring all seven passengers and two crew as well as two occupants of a car that was hit by wreckage. Pilot Luc Fortin, 44, later died from burns. "That's our challenge: to determine why what appeared to be a benign indicator problem turned into such a tragic event," Transportation Safety Board investigator Bill Yearwood told reporters. A passenger onboard said the pilots' body language belied their otherwise calm demeanor. More...

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Aviation Safety IIback to top 

Teterboro-based aviation safety inspector Harrington Bishop, 63, entered a guilty plea in a federal court Thursday on charges of receiving illegal gratuities in exchange for what court documents allege were hundreds of unauthorized pilot check rides. Bishop had been assigned to the Teterboro FSDO. On available days off, weekends, and holidays, from May 2004 to February 2011, he allegedly took pilots on check rides at Cave Flight School at Flying W Airport in Medford, N.J. Pilots who flew with him on those occasions ultimately numbered in the hundreds. None of the flights were authorized, each one illegally paid Bishop, and in almost every case a certificate was granted to the tested pilot. More...

The FAA has launched a page on its website to allow laser-pointing incidents to be reported online. Although penalties for shining a handheld laser at an aircraft have been beefed up (fines can be as high as $11,000) the number of reported incidents continues to climb. As of this month, there were about 2,800 reported incidents. Although there have been no reported crashes directly attributable to laser pointing, the FAA says it's serious business that warrants a serious response. "Lasers can distract or temporarily blind pilots who are trying to fly safely to their destinations and could compromise the safety of hundreds of passengers," FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt told delegates to an Airline Pilots Association-sponsored conference on the topic last week. More...

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News Briefsback to top 

It's not often an ELT homes in on its would-be rescuers but that's the position Canadian search-and-rescue volunteers found themselves in last week. Members of the Regina, Saskatchewan chapter of the Civilian Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) hopped in a Cessna 172 to help a Canadian Forces search-and-rescue C-130 pinpoint the location of an ELT signal being broadcast from somewhere nearby. They quickly determined the signal was coming from a malfunctioning or accidentally activated ELT in the northern part of the city and returned to the airport to start a ground search. The Hercules went back to base. It was when the CASARA members were setting up their ground-based homing equipment that the story got more interesting. More...

Diamond aircraft is using the outcome of an Oct. 17 hailstorm that ravaged Middle Tennessee State University's (MTSU's) 20 Diamond aircraft and 5 Pipers to tout the repairability of its composite airframes. Hail cracked one canopy during the storm and put two holes in composite wing skins while also pelting other airframes, including some metal ones, collected on the ramp at Murfreesboro Airport, Tenn. MTSU called in Diamond representatives to assess the damage and, according to MTSU's Dr. Wayne Dornan, "the metal aircraft are going to be AOG (aircraft on ground) for an extended period pending repairs, while the Diamond fleet is again fully operational." That outcome may be due in part to Diamond's response. More...

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Opinion & Commentaryback to top 

The Diamond DA40 has about the lowest accident rate in general aviation. One reason for this is its benign handling, as demonstrated by what Diamond calls "parachute mode." Paul Bertorelli's experienced it for himself and describes parachute mode in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog. Read more and join the conversation. More...

The transcript reveals confusion and dithering in the cockpit as the crew appears to have held the airplane into a persistent stall for three minutes or longer. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli predicts that Air France will have some explaining do to show why its pilots couldn't fly the airplane on raw data well enough to recover a stall. Read more and join the conversation. More...

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


Letter of the Week: Experience Makes a Difference

At some point (my guess is around 3,000 hours) additional flight time matters little. Until then, the learning curve is pretty steep. Even highly and expensively trained military pilots struggle in high-density airports at peak hours while many low-time pilots are struggling with both the high-performance airplane and radio traffic even in relatively low-traffic situations.

As is true with flying at many different levels, the individual tasks are often not particularly difficult, but the multitude of tasks across a wide range of disciplines is much more difficult to accomplish, especially while maintaining good overall situational awareness. Ask any training or check pilot in the commuter industry what they face with low-time pilots (even from good college programs), and they will tell you a few individuals make the transition with relative ease but most are behind the power curve. Only experience with hard work will eventually overcome this.

Ask the captain of an airliner what pressures fall on him or her with a 300- or 500-hour pilot in the right seat in and out of airports like JFK, ORD, or LAX with less fuel than comfort would require during rush-hour operations, especially with low visibility and ceilings, and I expect you'll appreciate the difficulty of their job and the potential dangers involved.

Capt. John Snidow

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...

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Your Favorite FBOsback to top 


AVweb readers don't always pick the best time to try a new FBO, and that was certainly the case when Ray C. arrived at St. Hubert General Airport (CYHU) in Montreal, Quebec. Despite a flurry of construction activity and business demanding attention, the team Pascan Aviation impressed Ray by making time to get him in and out of the FBO in style — and that's why they're our latest "FBO of the Week"!

Here's what Ray had to say about Pascan:

When I arrived at Pascan aviation they were enlarging their ramp, and there was lots of activity with the construction. I flew in with a C-150, and immediately I was greeted by two rampies who were helpful. One got my rental car, and the other fueled my plane. Julie the receptionist was so helpful; she got me a great room in a hotel downtown. Overall, [despite] the activity going on that day — there was also a Challenger on the ramp — I feel like I got the best service possible. The fuel price was great, and the ramp fee was waived with the fuel purchase. I will be going back there one day soon, that's for sure.

Cheap and friendly — words that are great to a pilot.

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!


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

Most portable intercoms barely meet the mark for basic cabin chatter. DRE's newest unit may be a bit big, but it performs like a certified panel-mount system. More...

The Lighter Side of Flightback to top 


While ferrying an airplane from Michigan to Florida, we heard a friendly exchange between a male controller and a female pilot. The pilot was not having a great day and was not too happy about flying.

"At least you have a nice view. I'm stuck in a dark room just looking at guys."

"It's not much better up here, sir."

My female pilot and I both burst out laughing.

Stephen Ritter
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.