AVwebFlash - Volume 17, Number 52a

December 26, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Smile for the X-Ray back to top 

The Full-Body Scan Legal Challenges

The widespread deployment and use of X-ray based full-body scanners at airports is the new norm, but critics say the machines are ineffective, can cause cancer, and overstep civil rights -- because of that, legal battles continue. In late November, the European Commission linked X-ray "backscatter" machines to a number of cancer cases and moved to ban the machines from European airports. In the U.S., one security study found that subjects could fool the machines with relative ease. Meanwhile, the TSA has taken the position that individuals randomly selected for scans must comply with exposure to the backscatter machine, or a full-body pat down. Failure to submit to either could lead to detention or a fine. While most Americans seem content to comply, one organization taking issue with the agency's claims has presented legal challenges to the manner in which the machines were put online.

AVweb's Glenn Pew spoke with Ginger McCall, counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to learn what those challenges are and what they might accomplish. Click here to listen.

Podcast: Challenging the Government on Full-Body Scans

File Size 8.0 MB / Running Time 8:17

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Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

In studies, full-body-scanning x-ray Backscatter machines have been found ineffective and potentially cancer-causing, and the European Commission has banned the. Here, AVweb's Glenn Pew speaks with Ginger McCall, who works with EPIC.org, an organization that has mounted legal challenges to the implementation and use of the machines.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (8.0 MB, 8:17)

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... And to All a Good Night's Rest back to top 

FAA Finalizes Fatigue Rules Amid Criticism

Pilots will have a 10-hour minimum rest period prior to flight duty with enough time during that period for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, according to new rules (PDF) finalized Wednesday by the FAA -- there are other details and exceptions. Cargo operators will not be subject to the new rules unless they elect to opt in. Echoing the concerns of his cargo-carrying brethren, Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association President Capt. Steve Chase said, "It is our hope that lawmakers will reconsider the cargo carrier exemption and ensure that legislation meets the original intent of 'One Level of Safety.'" The NTSB Wednesday voiced similar concerns. The fact that the final rule will not take effect immediately has earned it criticism from safety advocates, and there are other concerns about the rule's details.

According to the FAA, commercial carriers will need time to adapt their scheduling practices and pilots to the new rules. The FAA has allowed two years for that. And as part of the new rules, a pilot must state his fitness for flight prior to duty. Any pilot reporting fatigue making him or her unfit for duty must immediately be removed from duty by the airline. The rules were inspired in part by the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 that killed all 49 aboard plus one on the ground. Compliance with the rule will come at least four years after the accident, if the FAA sticks to its timeline, and that is not soon enough for some families who lost relatives in that crash. The NTSB said in a statement Wednesday that while not perfect, the rule is "a huge improvement" over the regulations it will replace. It also noted that a tired pilot is just as tired, "whether the payload is passengers or pallets." And fatigue is a particular concern "for crews that fly 'on the back side of the clock.'" The FAA said it expects airlines to work with their pilots when considering fatigue.

UPS Pilots Take FAA To Court Over Fatigue Rules

The Independent Pilots Association (IPA) filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of UPS pilots in an effort to force the FAA to include cargo carriers in new pilot rest rules finalized, Wednesday. The FAA saw fit to apply the new rules to passenger flights only. It found that forcing cargo carriers to adhere to the new rest rules would cost that branch of the industry $214 million. An attorney for the pilots' union cited some of the FAA's other findings -- specifically that night operations and flying through multiple time zones increase the risk of pilot fatigue. Those conditions may confront cargo pilots as often, or more often, than their passenger-carrying counterparts, and that point was not lost on the pilots' union, or its attorneys.

UPS management believes the FAA's actions have been appropriate, so far. An IPA suit asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the FAA's decision, arguing that inconsistencies in the application of the new rules present an unacceptably high risk for aviation accidents. UPS spokesman, Norman Black said his company is committed to safety and that one-size fits all regulation does not fit the bill for crew rest regulations. The FAA, through acting Administrator, Michael Huerta, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood have both stated that cargo pilots were not included in the new rules because of cost/benefit considerations. Safety advocates have been pushing for updates to the rest rules for decades. The IPA has enumerated its concerns in a document made available online; click here for the PDF.

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News Briefs back to top 

Hope For FAA Funding Extension?

Congress' inability to agree on a long-term reauthorization plan for the FAA, has led to 22 temporary funding measures and the latest one is set to expire, January 31. House and Senate leaders still disagree about labor provisions in a stalled long-term extension bill. When Congress last visited this issue in late July, a stalemate led to government inaction that resulted in a partial shutdown of the FAA. More than 4,000 FAA workers and possibly as many as 75,000 contract workers were sent on temporary furlough until Congress resolved to produce the most recent funding extension without addressing fundamental areas of disagreement. There are reports, however, that, this time, there may be cause for optimism.

A potential compromise could see the House strip out language related to union organizing for consideration as an independent issue. Senate majority leader Harry Reid said Friday, "we have to get this done and forget about all the extraneous stuff and deal with the FAA." Negotiations now have the direct attention of House Speaker John Boehner and Mr. Reid, the Wall Street Journal reported, Friday. According to the Journal, congressional staffers have expressed optimism and said that the outlines of a compromise appear to be forming. Others are less optimistic, citing the turmoil of an election cycle and the departure of Randy Babbitt as administrator of the FAA, which at the very least changes the influence of some important players.

Air Force: Pilot's Failure Was Fatal

The Air Force is blaming a veteran pilot for the crash of his F-22 fighter, saying he lost control of the airplane while preoccupied with fixing the oxygen system . Capt. Jeffey Haney had his mobility and vision restricted while flying an F-22 at 38,000 feet and 1,039 KTAS, at night, and then the jet cut off his oxygen supply. According to the accident report released last week, Captain Jeffrey Haney became distracted when his oxygen system stopped delivering oxygen. After initiating a descent, he allowed his F-22 to roll past inverted, unchecked. The fighter's attitude resulted in a vertical speed of -57,800 feet per minute. Haney failed to recognize that, according to the report, and also did not activate the emergency oxygen system. Haney attempted recovery from the resultant supersonic dive with a 7.4-G pull, three seconds before impact. Conditions in the cockpit revealed by the report may contribute some telling details.

According to the Air Force accident report (PDF), Haney "was recognized throughout his career for exceptional performance." On the accident flight, he was outfitted for cold weather (wore bulky clothing) and night operations (wore night vision goggles). That personal equipment would have "reduced mobility in the cockpit" and interfered with his "ability to look from side to side and down at the consoles" without bracing himself "on various areas in the cockpit." The applicable checklist for failure of the oxygen system includes activation of an emergency oxygen system. That system is actuated via a pull ring that requires 40 pounds of force to actuate and is mounted low and aft to the side of the pilot's ejection seat. The pilot's gear would have made reaching that ring difficult and failure of the oxygen system would have caused "severe restrictive breathing" at the same time. The accident report found that Haney had applied inadvertent control inputs that he failed to recognize. He remained conscious throughout the event and recognized the jet's condition prior to impact. The $147,672,000 F-22 Raptor hit the ground left-wing low, with a 48-degree nose down attitude. It was flying at 1.17 Mach at the time.

The F-22 Raptor's systems will cut off oxygen to the pilot under specific conditions. The accident aircraft was affected by one of those conditions, but the Air Force failed to determine what, specifically, caused that initial condition. The last Raptor rolled off the production line in mid-December 2011. Unit cost for the jet (a per-copy figure that includes development and production costs) has been estimated near $377 million.

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"The iPad Is an Especially Good Training Device" back to top 

Garmin Releases Trainer App For GTN 750

Garmin announced on Tuesday it has released a new iPad 2 trainer app for its GTN 750 hybrid navigator, downloadable from the iTunes app store for $24.99. The iPad is an especially good training device, according to Garmin spokesman Carl Wolf, because of the touchscreen, which simulates the actual GTN 750 operation. "By using this tool, pilots can interact with the trainer like they would with the device in the cockpit," Wolf said. The GTN 750 was introduced in March.

The app's touch-and-drag interface enables users to simulate and explore most functions of the GTN 750, Garmin said, including panning the map, entering waypoints into the flight plan, loading airways, graphically editing flight plans, radio tuning and more. High-resolution North and Central America terrain maps, worldwide NavData, simulated traffic targets and simulated XM weather data are available. The app is also configured with product options such as TAWS-B audible alerts, transponder control and remote audio processor control. It also features settings that allow the user to simulate various flight scenarios by changing altitude, speed, location and more. AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli checked out the system in March; click here for his report, including video of an in-flight trial.

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Meanwhile, in the World of Light Sport back to top 

FAA: Sport Pilot Examiners Don't Need A Medical

The FAA has issued an amendment to its 2009 rule on Part 61 flight training to make several corrections and clarifications. To conduct flight tests for the sport-pilot certificate, examiners aren't required to have a medical certificate as long as they have a U.S. driver's license, the FAA now says. EAA welcomed the change. "While this correction is important to all sport pilot examiners, it was critical to the few examiners conducting practical examinations in weight-shift control, powered parachutes, and gyroplanes," said David Oord, EAA government and advocacy specialist. The change doesn't apply to sport-pilot flight tests in gliders or balloons. The FAA's amendment also clarified two other points.

The new language clarifies that a pilot who has failed to maintain instrument currency for more than six calendar months may not serve as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR until completing an instrument proficiency check. A third clarification addresses the use of flight simulators in training for type ratings.

Sebring Spruced Up For Expo

Those flying into the 2012 Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida in January are in for a smooth surprise. Runway 18-36 is being rebuilt and will be a lot easier on the equipment and personnel. "The existing pavement section has exceeded its design life and is severely cracking," said Sebring spokeswoman Erin Ries. The airport is closed from 2300Z to 1200Z daily for the work until Jan. 17, just before Expo opens on Jan. 19. If you're planning to fly to Sebring in the meantime, don't forget to check the NOTAMs. The just-in-time work for the show is just the first phase.

Sebring has been identified as the next growth airport for south central Florida so the runway will be extended from the current 5,224 feet to 6,700 feet. That will allow the airport to promote scheduled passenger and cargo service and probably help race teams and fans get into the airport, which is adjacent to the famous track.

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Past and Future Meet Up in the Present back to top 

Voyager Celebrates 25 Years, Pipistrel Pilot Looks Ahead

Burt Rutan's Voyager flew around the world unrefueled and touched down at Edwards Air Force Base at 8:06 a.m. on December 23, 1986, 25 years ago, and in a few days, a project from Pipistrel aims to achieve new world-rounding goal. Rutan's aircraft was piloted by his brother Dick and pilot Jeanna Yeager and made its 24,986-mile trip in just over nine days. It averaged 116 miles per hour while burning through nearly 7,000 pounds of fuel. The achievement earned the team multiple accolades, and was recognized with a Collier Trophy from the National Aeronautic Association, for the greatest flying achievement in the United States, that year. One pilot will set off early in 2012 in a Pipistrel aircraft with the intent to round the world in a fixed wing aircraft, burning the least amount of fuel per distance flown. He will not be taking the shortest route possible.

This adventure will be mounted by biologist Matevz Lenarcic in collaboration with Pipistrel. The aircraft will be the 640-pound Virus SW Worldrounder. According to a company engineer, the aircraft can carry little more than 92 gallons for a range of roughly 2,000 nautical miles. It will fly behind a modified, inter-cooled, Rotax 914 and a custom propeller. The mating of airframe, engine and propeller will achieve cruise speeds of 170 kts at high altitudes. The trip is being called the GreenLight WorldFlight. It will fly around the world, westbound, and will see flight over seven continents and three oceans. Lenarcic aims to use the flight to acquire photographs of the world's geography as differentiated by water quality and distribution. Lenarcic intends to publish a book about world waters based on the images. Pipistrel has won multiple competitive awards from NASA for efficient aircraft design. Its Taurus G4 earned the company $1.35 million when it won NASA's Green Flight Challenge. The Taurus G4, is a battery-powered aircraft and achieved what NASA concluded to be the equivalent of 388.4 passenger miles per gallon. The aviation community is waiting for the 2012 public unveiling of the company's 210-hp, 200-knot, 1,000-nautical mile, fixed wing four seater, the Panthera.

Amelia Earhart Flies A Cirrus

Denver traffic reporter Amelia Rose Earhart is distantly related to the famous aviator, and says her parents gave her that name to inspire her -- and it worked. Earhart already has earned her private pilot certificate, and this week she's flying from Oakland, Calif., to Miami in a Cirrus SR-22 to re-trace one of her namesake's famous flights (and blogging about it, here). She's working on her instrument rating, and hopes to eventually follow Earhart's route around the world -- skipping the part about going missing over the ocean, of course.

Earhart is studying meteorology and plans to soon move up from traffic to weather at the TV station where she works. Last week, she talked with AVweb's Mary Grady about her goals and how she hopes to help inspire interest in general aviation. Click here for the podcast.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Can Glamorizing a Criminal Help Aviation?

Colton Harris-Moore is an airplane thief and con artist. Is he the inspiration for a new generation of pilots? In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Russ Niles explains how a big-budget Hollywood treatment of Harris-Moore's story could (sadly) overshadow AOPA's initiatives, the EAA's Eagles programs, the Sport Pilot Rule, and third-class medical reform when it comes to boosting pilot outreach.

Read more and join the conversation.

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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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: St. Johns Industrial Air Park (KSJN, St. Johns, Arizona)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" can be found at St. Johns Industrial Air Park at KSJN in St. Johns, Arizona.

"At an altitude of nearly 6,000, feet the service of this county-run facility is always friendly and very price-competitive," writes AVweb reader Andrew Heller.

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 Learn back to top 

Video: Got an Oily Hangar Floor? This Stuff Can Spruce It Up

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

Many of us dream of a gleaming gray expoxy-coated hangar floor illuminated by the glare of bright lights. But most of us actually have oil-stained concrete, dingy from years of abuse. If your floor is stained badly, a product called ReKrete can help improve it. Aviation Consumer's Paul Bertorelli demonstrates the product in this brief video.

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.

Video: F-106 Corn Field Bomber, Convair Delta Dart

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

This is an unusual story. The jet you're looking at is an F-106 Delta Dart. A storied interceptor in its day, it was built to exceed an Air Force requirement for 1.9 mach and continuous flight at 57,000 feet. It did both. And in December 1959, it set a speed record, of 1,525 mph, or about 2.3 mach, while flying at 40,000 feet. Its pilot at the time, Major Joseph Rogers, claimed the record might not be accurate. He was still accelerating, he said, at the time.

But this particular jet is famous for a different reason.

As the story goes, the aircraft you see here on February 2, 1970 flew itself into the ground -- a snowy field in Montana, where its engine continued to run for another hour and 45 minutes. Grounded, pilotless and still under power, with its radar still sweeping, the jet sometimes crept forward foot by foot through the snow as a small collection of onlookers watched. Its pilot, 1st Lieutenant Gary Foust, had ejected roughly two hours before that show was over. Foust's trip was just as interesting. He'd lost control of the jet while flying a mock engagement that led his and two other jets into harsh maneuvers in the thin, unforgiving air at 38,000 feet. Attempting to match a high-g reversal by another pilot, Foust's jet bucked. He entered a flat spin, and the jet fell, spinning slowly like a model on a turntable. The flight's two other pilots came to his aid, calling out recovery procedures. But by 15,000 feet the result seemed certain, and an instructor in one of the other jets ordered Foust to eject. Foust obeyed.

But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and it could be it's that law that saved the jet. As Foust shot up, the jet's condition changed -- just enough for it to recover on its own and head off for the horizon. Legend has it that one of the observing pilots said on frequency, "Gary, you better get back in."

In the end, the jet was recovered, rebuilt and put back to work as tail number 80787. But it was forever known as the Corn Field bomber. Delta Darts were phased out in the 1980s.

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.

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

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

One day, while flying over the Rockies with a strong jet stream and many turbulence reports in the Denver airspace, I heard Denver Center ask for ride reports.

United 123:
"Good day, Denver. United 123 with you at FL 350."

Denver Center:
"Roger, United 123. How's your ride?"

United 123:
"Well, the captain is having his lunch, and he just jabbed himself with his fork; so we could call it as moderate turbulence."

Denver Center:
"Thanks, United 123. Break, break. Air Canada 456, how's your ride at FL350?"

Air Canada 456:
"Sorry, Denver, we can't tell. We haven't eaten yet."

John Duckmanton
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 twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Advertising Director, Associate Publisher
Tom Bliss

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.

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If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone, 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.