AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 8b

February 23, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Wake Up and Review the Statistics back to top 
 

BALPA: Nearly Half Of Us Fall Asleep

The British Airline Pilots Association, acting to oppose new less-stringent rest rules, told a Transport Select Committee that nearly half of its members already admit to falling asleep in the cockpit, but that's not all. According to BALPA, that figure is likely under-reported and, as it is, 80 percent of accidents are already due to human error. BALPA testified that new European rules could  increase working-hour limits for UK commercial pilots from 16 and one-half hours to 22 hours under certain conditions. The CAA has a different take, but not as different as you might expect.

Andrew Haines, chief executive of the CAA, said that the 22 hours scenario would be "exceptionally rare." And the CAA's position is that there is no evidence that the proposed rules would put passengers at risk. BALPA says that a survey of 500 union pilots found that 43 percent had fallen asleep on the flight deck and one-third of those woke to find another pilot asleep. According to Jim McAuslan, BALPA general secretary, the new EU proposals would see UK pilots flying "further -- as far as California -- with no back-up crew," the Independent reported. And it would "allow pilots to do up to seven early starts in a row." The new rules are backed by the UK aviation minister, who is seeking uniform rules for commercial pilots in Europe.

 
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The Airplane City of the Future? back to top 
 

Nigeria Plans "Aerotropolis"

In the U.S., airports generally are sited far beyond the outer edges of urban areas, but a new project in Nigeria aims to make the airport the very center of the city. The proposed Minna Airport City/Aerotropolis Project will consist of two runways that cross diagonally, with a control tower in the middle, and a city built in the areas between the runways, with hotels, shops, a conference center, a hospital, and a manufacturing district, according to a recent story in Miller-McCune. Currently there is a general aviation airport on the site, with an 11,000-foot runway, that handles fewer than 10 flights a day. The airport district would extend well beyond the airport boundary, and connect to other nearby urban areas. The country, which is the most populous state in Africa, is trying to diversify its economy and develop more agricultural and mineral exports.

"Airports have become key for the economic development and competitiveness of countries throughout the world," said Danladi Ndayebo, a government spokesman, writing in All-Africa. "Whereas airports were originally built to perform one function, they are now cities in themselves with significant retail provision, acting as employment centers and generators of significant wealth. As the airports have expanded and the nature of their business evolved, their peripheries have developed to include major manufacturing and business centers." Proponents hope the new development will attract international trade and encourage local businesses to expand.

 
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China's Rising Demand — For Aerobatics back to top 
 

Chinese Pilot Wants To Form Aerobatic Team

Wei Chen, a Chinese citizen and Memphis resident who flew around the world in his TBM700 and became the first Chinese "earthrounder," says he wants to start the first civilian aerobatic team in his home country. Thanks to the growing number of airshows in China in recent years, aerobatic performance is in booming demand. Several western and Chinese military teams flew during different events last year and wowed crowds of spectators. Last month Wei inked a letter of intent with the Xi'An provincial government's aviation arm to jointly form an aerobatic team. The aircraft of choice are Nanchang CJ-6s and Extra 300s. Wei told AVweb in an interview that he plans to enlist all Chinese GA pilots for the team and borrow western experience and safety standards for its operation. Also in the plan is the formation of a GA exhibition company. "My goal is the same as always. I want to promote GA and the passion for flying in China," Wei said.

His circumnavigation flight helped raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Ever since the successful completion of his flight, Wei has been attracting increasing media and public attention in China. He's been seen as a talk-show guest and in news interviews. Millions read about his story in newspapers and in aviation and lifestyle magazines. He is becoming the symbol of private flying in a country where general aviation is gaining momentum for growth.

 
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Update: Life-Threatening Scrape for Jeb Corliss back to top 
 

Wingsuit Pilot Releases Video Of Near-Fatal Jump

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Professional base jumper Jeb Corliss is due out of the hospital Friday and Tuesday released comprehensive video of the accident that broke both his legs and came within feet of taking his life when he clipped a rock formation at roughly 180 mph. The accident happened last month while Corliss was filming a jump for a TV documentary at Table Mountain in South Africa. Corliss cleared the rock formation with his upper body, but his legs hit. The contact significantly changed Corliss' trajectory causing him to nearly tumble but he quickly recovered and deployed his parachute. Multiple cameras placed on the ground, on a trailing wingsuiter and on Corliss himself captured the flight and the impact. Click through for video.

After landing under canopy, Corliss was recovered and airlifted to Christiaan Barnaard Hospital in Cape Town. A spokesperson for the hospital said Corliss' injuries required extensive surgery, and skin grafts that have kept him in the hospital under observation. Corliss has previously made successful jumps including one from the Eiffel Tower and another from the Christ the Redeemer stature at Rio de Janeiro and another from the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. He is reportedly banned from New York's Empire State Building. Corliss' video of a jump that he performed along a section of the alps has earned more than 1.75 million views online since late 2010. Aside from landmark jumps, Corliss had set his sights on another goal -- to land a wingsuit without deploying a parachute. According to the Cape Times, Corliss sent a message from his bed in the hospital, stating simply, "I feel better than I've ever felt." His video thanks those who cared for him after he was recovered.

 
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News Briefs back to top 
 

GAMA Sees "Signs Of Recovery"

Although delivery numbers for general aviation aircraft manufactured in the U.S. were down by 3.5 percent in 2011 over the year before, the numbers do show "reasons for optimism," Caroline Daniels, chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, said on Wednesday. At the annual news conference for the release of industry data, Daniels said the hoped-for turnaround did not take place last year, "but we did see signs of recovery." Total billings were up about 0.4 percent. Deliveries were down in all segments, Daniels said, but the declines generally were in the "single digits." A few companies did show their deliveries were flat and several showed improvement, Daniels said.

Cessna, for example, showed 183 jets delivered in 2011, compared to 178 the year before; Gulfstream and Bombardier also showed some growth. Cessna piston deliveries also grew from 239 to 245, and Diamond was up from 120 to 182. Piaggio and Piper showed growth in the turboprop segment. Demand overall for new airplanes continues be suppressed by extensive inventories of used aircraft, Daniels said. Used inventories showed some decline in 2011, she said, but used prices also continued to fall, by an average of 14 percent. Financing is still difficult to secure. "Easier credit would help to release some of the pent-up demand [for new aircraft]," she said. Pete Bunce, president of GAMA, also spoke at the news conference, and emphasized the importance of expanding global markets for GA. The full report (PDF) is now available on GAMA's website. GAMA noted that Hawker Beechcraft's fourth-quarter numbers were not included in their analysis, due to financial regulations that govern their release. Those numbers are expected to be available soon.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Bonus Depreciation Stripped From Bill

An extension of 100-percent bonus depreciation was stripped from the bill to extend payroll tax relief. The bill was approved by both houses last week and is now ready for the president's signature. It's a derivative of the same legislation that caused a major political crisis before Christmas as the polarized Congress finally agreed to a short-term extension of the tax cut and put off consideration of the entire bill for two months. In its original form, 100-percent bonus depreciation for business purchases was extended for another year but the bill that was finally approved does not contain that language.

Aviation tax consultant Daniel Cheung told AVweb in earlier interviews that the measure is a proven incentive for moneymaking businesses to invest in equipment like airplanes. He said there were a lot of businesses that did well in 2011 and could have taken advantage of bonus depreciation. "We'll have to hope this is brought up in another bill," Cheung said.

Opponents Unite Against EU Carbon Tax

Government representatives from at least 26 countries are meeting in Moscow to discuss their opposition to the European Union's controversial aviation carbon tax. The group, which includes the U.S., China and Russia, says the carbon tax is really a trade barrier disguised as an environmental incentive and many, including the U.S., have passed legislation against participating in the scheme. But the EU says its plan, which sees airlines pay escalating taxes for going over diminishing allotments of emissions over the next eight years, is a necessary part of the global effort to fight climate change. Those opposed say Europe is welcome to carry that torch but airlines flying to and from European destinations shouldn't be subject to the tax. There are now signs the issue could blow up into a trade war.

China, for example, has banned its airlines from taking part and says the tax could cost its carriers $124 million a year initially and up to four times that by 2020. Non-payment of the carbon tax could result in the impounding of aircraft and analysts warn that once it gets to that point the tit-for-tat escalation could spread across the trade spectrum. For its part, the EU says the rest of the world should work with the EU on this issue for the sake of the environment. "Nobody would be happier than the EU if we could get such a global deal," Connie Hedegaard, the EU's Commissioner for Climate Action, told the BBC.

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: Paying at the Pump

We are already seeing five to six dollars per gallon of 100LL avgas, and the problems with Iran promise to send them even higher. AVweb reader Hal Gosling would like to know what price per gallon you're willing to pay.

How much are you willing to spend per gallon before you stop 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.)

Aviation Consumer Engine Cylinder Survey

Cylinders are the big-ticket item during an engine overhaul, and the market has changed substantially during the last five years. Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is surveying owner experiences on engine cylinders.

If you'd like to participate, click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

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: Of Spitfires and Martial Music

For the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wasted his entire afternoon chasing YouTube links, so you don't have to. Fair warning, though: If you click some of the links in today's blog, don't blame him if you don't come up for air for four hours. Who knew you could watch the entire Battle of Britain on YouTube?

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Collings Comes to Town

For 23 years, the Collings Foundation has been touring with its bombers and fighters, giving vets and their relatives a rare glimpse of the aircraft that won World War II. The tour hit Venice, Florida, where AVweb Insider blogger Paul Bertorelli helped with the details.

Click through for his observations and thoughts.

 
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video: P-51C Mustang Flight Demo and Cockpit Tour

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

There's only one P-51C Mustang in the world with dual controls, although a couple of D-models have the spare stick, too. In this video, AVweb's Paul Bertorelli takes a hop in the back seat of the Collings Foundation's Betty Jane, and pilot Mark Murphy gives us an in-depth cockpit tour.

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Video: Gippsland Airvan Flight Trial

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

Australian-based Gippsland has sold its GA8 Airvan all over the world, and now it's got a follow-on model, the GA8TC, with a turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540. AVweb got a crack at trialing the airplane recently, and here's our video report on the model.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Baxley Air (KBHC, Baxley, Georgia)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Baxley Air at Baxley Municipal Airport (KBHC) in (you guessed it) Baxley, Georgia.

AVweb reader Krista Miller recommended the FBO after making an unscheduled stop last month:

These guys are lifesavers! My friend John talked me into a 400-nm January ultralight trip from South Carolina to Florida. By mid-Georgia, my feet were frozen! [The staff at Baxley] recognized a damsel in distress and went to work with plastic bags and gorilla tape to cover my sneakers. Thanks to them, the rest of the flight was in comfort! Friendly, helpful, excellent!

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!

 
Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

This week's winning photo comes from Tom Staggs of Redmond, WA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.


We Want to See Your Vintage Photos

Hearty thanks to everyone who saw our editor's footnote in a recent installment of "Picture of the Week" noting that we haven't seen many vintage submissions lately — and made time to send us some! We don't have many (just a handful), but we've spent the last couple of weeks squirreling them away, hoping we'll get enough to photos from the days before digital cameras to do an "all-vintage" installment. If you've got some classic photos lying around you'd love to scan and share with a 100,000 or so of your closest friends in aviation, please — submit them here. (As always, you'll have to be a registered AVweb user to upload photos.)

 
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:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Have a product or service to advertise on AVweb? Your advertising can reach over 225,000 loyal AVwebFlash, AVwebBiz, and AVweb home page readers every week. Over 80% of our readers are active pilots and aircraft owners. That's why our advertisers grow with us, year after year. For ad rates and scheduling, click here or contact Tom Bliss, via e-mail or via telephone [(480) 525-7481].

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.

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 or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.