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The safety records of airplanes with glass panels are about the same as airplanes of the same model with analog cockpits, according to a new study by the Air Safety Institute, a division of the
AOPA Foundation. However, "glass-panel aircraft may be more susceptible to accidents during takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds," the study found. The available data were insufficient to conclude what
caused that difference. Some factors, according to the study, might include transition training, a tendency to fixate on the glass panels instead of external cues, or difficulty in interpreting
airspeed and altitude from the glass-panel readouts compared to interpreting analog displays. The complete study, which provides an exhaustive and complex analysis of the data, is available free
"The vast majority of accidents [analyzed in the study] occurred in day VMC conditions, where the advantages of full glass instrumentation over analog may not be so great," said Bruce Landsberg, president of the AOPA Foundation. "The new technology aircraft pilots (Cirrus and Cessna Corvalis) apparently
are having difficulty with basic airmanship relative to takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds." One reason might be the design of these airplanes, Landsberg said, which are relatively short, coupled with
high wing loading and high power. This design requires "gentle application of power and solid application of rudder," he said. The study said that besides better transition training, another solution
might be to provide better instrumentation for angle of attack. The NTSB also looked at glass-cockpit safety data in 2010; click here for their analysis.
Newark's Liberty Airport was shut down entirely for an hour on Monday and operated with one of three runways closed for the balance of the day after a United Express Embraer E-series regional jet
made an emergency landing with nose gear problems. Images show the aircraft resting on sheet metal where the front wheels are supposed to be on the runway. All 71 aboard slid to safety without a
The nine crew members aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force C-130 Hercules modified as a tanker escaped unharmed after an in-flight fire at NAS Key West last week. Photos obtained by Canadian Aviator magazine suggest the outcome could have been a lot different. The RCAF hasn't said what caused the fire to put a big
hole in the tail section of the aircraft. It has commended the crew for getting it on the ground and getting out, however.
The plane was in Key West as part of a training exercise for new CF-18 fighter pilots. When configured as a tanker, the Herc carries a 3,000-gallon fuel tank inside about 15 feet from the area of
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Japan Wednesday said it may cancel orders for Lockheed Martin's F-35 if costs or timelines increase, just days after the Pentagon said it was seeking ways to reduce the program's projected $1
trillion cost. The Pentagon's figure is an estimated lifetime cost, which includes maintenance and operation of 2,443 F-35 fighters over the next 50 years. Japan's initial cost has been projected near
$122 million per fighter for a first group of just four aircraft, after which an order of 42 could follow. But that deal has not yet been finalized and recent changes could put upward pressure on the
cost of the jet.
The Pentagon's decision to delay for five years an order for 179 planes could save the government $15 billion in the near term but also increase the price of the jet. Any future delays in the jet's
development could have similar results. Japanese authorities have said that changes such as those could have serious implications. Japan Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka told his country's parliament, "I
believe we would need to consider as a potential option matters like canceling our orders and starting a new selection process," Reuters reported. And that, too, could increase the price of the jet
for its remaining buyers.
There has been a recent spike in reports of hypoxia-like symptoms by pilots of the F-22 Raptor -- an oxygen delivery problem on a Raptor contributed to a fatal crash two years ago. Over the past
six months nine pilots have reported hypoxia-like symptoms while flying the roughly $147 million (excluding development costs) per copy jet. Three of those incidents were reported in the last two
weeks by pilots at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska -- the same base associated with the fatal crash.
According to the Air Force, the pilot of the crash aircraft became distracted when his oxygen system stopped
delivering oxygen, but hypoxia was not to blame. In May, 2011, following at least a dozen pilots reporting hypoxia-like symptoms, the Air Force grounded the jets. Nearly five months of investigation
failed to identify a clear problem and in September of 2011, the Air Force allowed its fleet of roughly 180 F-22 Raptors back into the air. At Elmendorf-Richardson, two of the three most recent
incidents led pilots to activate back-up emergency oxygen systems. The F-22s were subsequently grounded one day for review and were returned to service the next day.
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When the pilot of a P-51D was unable to extend the landing gear to land on Sunday afternoon, his ground crew found some expert help -- they got former airshow pilot Bob Hoover, now 90 years old, on
the phone to offer advice. Pilot Chuck Gardner was preparing to land in Mobile, Ala., after giving a 30-minute ride to a customer, but when he put the gear down, only the right main gear extended.
Gardner knew he could probably manage to land and walk away, but not without damaging the $3 million airplane. Hoover suggested to "Yaw it really good," according to EAA, to force air under the gear door, then execute a series of positive- and negative-g maneuvers to unjam the gear, and it
The airplane, owned by Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas, was making a stop in Mobile on its way to Florida for the Sun 'n Fun airshow, coming up at the end of March. The passenger, Bill
Barton, of Mobile, had paid about $2,000 for the ride, and he was a good sport about the incident. "It was actually a lot of fun I got my money's worth," he told the local WALA TV news. Troubleshooting the gear problem added an extra hour to his flight.
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The quiet world of competitive paper airplane flying got some unusual attention this weekend when Joe Ayoob, a former quarterback for the University of California at Berkeley, set a new world
record for distance, 226 feet and 10 inches, inside a 747 hangar at McClellan Air Force Base, near Sacramento. Ayoob broke the former record by 19.5 feet. "It was a proud moment," said Ayoob. "I used
to make a paper airplane every day when I was a kid. I love it." The YouTube video recording the event (right) went viral on sports and news sites in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and by
Wednesday morning, the humble website of John Collins, the designer of the winning glider, known as "the paper airplane guy," was unavailable due to "exceeded bandwidth." Collins and Ayoob have been
working together for over a year.
Collins has written a couple of popular books, The Gliding Flight and Fantastic Flight, that use the art of paper folding to help teach kids about aerodynamics and the scientific
method. Sunday's flight was recorded on video and measured by a surveyor with a laser, to qualify for the Guinness book of world records. It will take about three to six months for the record to be
made official. The flight beat the record currently held by Stephen Krieger, of Bellevue, Wash. "Stephen is telling me he thinks he can beat our distance," Collins told the Marin Independent Journal. "So it's on."
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The Air Force Tuesday cancelled its contract for a Light Air Support aircraft with Sierra Nevada Industries and Embraer, will reopen competitive bidding, and has announced an investigation into the
way the previous bid was handled. The Air Force raised eyebrows in December when it kicked Hawker Beechcraft's AT6B out of the running for the $1 billion contract. That left only Sierra Nevada's
assembled-in-Florida version of the Embraer Super Tucano in the competition and the contract was awarded a few days later. "While we pursue perfection, we sometimes fall short, and when we do we will
take corrective action," Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said in a statement. Donley would not say why the contract was overturned, only that senior officials were not satisfied with the
documentation supporting the award. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., said a sudden reversal like this is rare and significant. "The Air Force does not do that lightly," Pompeo told The
Washington Post. "This is highly unusual, which suggests that there is going to be a very broad re-look of the entire process."
Of course, Hawker Beech welcomed the news. The company took the government to court to challenge the procedural process of the bid and that case is still ongoing. Hawker Beech Corp. Chairman Bill
Boisture has been vocal in his battle with the government over the bid and said Tuesday's decision was welcome news. "We commend the Air Force for this decision and we believe strongly it is the right
thing for the Air Force, the taxpayers and the people of Hawker Beechcraft," he said in a statement. Embraer, meanwhile, seemed taken aback by the move. "Embraer remains committed to offer the best
solution to the U.S. Air Force and will await further clarification on the subject to decide next steps, in consultation with its partner, [Sierra Nevada Corporation]," the company said in a brief
statement. Sierra Nevada spokesman Taco Gilbert told the Post the decision was a "big disappointment."
The FAA said on Monday it wants to substantially raise the qualification requirements for first officers who fly for U.S. passenger and cargo airlines. The proposed rule, which the FAA said
complies with a law passed in 2010, would require first officers flying in Part 121 operations to hold an ATP certificate, which requires 1,500 hours of flight time. Currently, first officers are
required to have only a commercial pilot certificate, which requires 250 hours. Also, first officers would need to log at least 1,000 flight hours in air carrier operations before they could serve as
pilot in command in those operations. And if first officers are flying an airplane that requires a type rating or a multiengine rating, they must log 50 hours of multiengine flight experience and
complete a new FAA-approved ATP Certification Training Program for those ratings, which would include classroom and simulator training.
"These proposed requirements would ensure that pilots have proper qualifications and experience in difficult operational conditions and in a multi-crew environment prior to serving as pilot flight
crew members in air carrier operations," says the proposal. The changes reflect a commitment to safety, said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This proposed rule [would ensure] our pilots are
the most qualified and best trained in the world," he said. Under the proposal, pilots with 750 hours of military flight experience could obtain a "restricted privileges" ATP certificate. These pilots
could serve only as a first officer, not as a captain. Graduates of a four-year baccalaureate aviation degree program also could qualify for the "restricted" ATP if they have 1,000 hours of flight
time and also have a commercial pilot certificate and instrument rating earned at a flight school affiliated with the university or college. The proposed rule is posted online here. The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal after it is officially published on Wednesday. The 2010 law cited in the proposal was enacted
in response to the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air regional airliner in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people.
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Ascension Scattering: A Dignified Final Tribute for Any Aviator
Using a high-performance sailplane, Ascension Scattering releases cremated remains into strong thermals over the Rocky Mountains. The ashes are carried heavenward, making them part of
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In his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders why, instead of trying to milk $5 million more out of digital chart users, AeroNav doesn't just phase out the part of
its operation that does charting. Load the data on a digital access server and let the free market sort it out. If people want paper charts, they'll buy. Otherwise, why bother?
The administration's proposal to charge $100 per flight for all but piston aircraft is meeting expected -- and deserved -- opposition from all segments of aviation. On the AVweb Insider,
Paul Bertorelli opines that it's less the principle than the practicality. Why is the government coming at us for more money without demonstrating that it's not wasting what we already give it?
Fly More for Less
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AOPA's Air Safety Foundation says that, statistically speaking, you're as likely to crash with all
the bells and whistles as you are with a six-pack and that your basic pilot skills may not be as sharp as they should be.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
In the Soup?
Whether you fly in the system daily or just IPC check rides, IFR magazine helps you be the best instrument pilot you can be.
Dynon's SkyView big-screen avionics suite brings sophisticated automation to LSA and experimental aircraft cockpits. Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano offers a detailed look
at the system's features.
Some observers speculate that a bad episode of ground resonance may be to blame for the violent self-destruction of a medevac helicopter as it landed in a field in Para, Brazil. Few
details are available about the incident, which reportedly took place Wednesday -- the same day video of the accident began spreading, online. The helicopter appears to be a Eurocopter A-Star AS350BA.
Some reports state that there were four aboard -- two pilots, a doctor, and a nurse -- and all escaped serious injury in spite of the helicopter engaging full-flail mode. Several accounts repeat that
the aircraft suffered excessive vibration while airborne and that vibration developed into destructive ground resonance after the aircraft landed. Generally, ground resonance will resolve itself if
the pilot is able to respond quickly by returning the aircraft to hover.
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AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" is Chandler Aviation at Cavern City Air Terminal (KCNM) in Carlsbad, New Mexico.
AVweb reader Jack Feiden told us how Chandler measured up against other FBOs he and his wife have visited in the past:
My wife and I stopped in Carlsbad on a recent trip from Wichita to Tucson to visit the caverns. KCNM is an easy field to use, and the facility and service at Chandler Aviation are outstanding. We
have been flying flying for several decades, and this is the first time my wife ever took pictures of the ladies' restroom to show her friends. The folks working there were friendly and helpful.
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