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Aviation groups say avgas will continue to be available despite an escalation of Friends of the Earth's efforts to force the EPA to deal with the last remaining leaded fuel. "Despite the lawsuit,
the near-term availability of leaded aviation fuel is not threatened in any way," the GA Avgas Coalition said in a joint statement. "Members of industry, along with the FAA and EPA, will continue our
diligent efforts toward a high-octane unleaded alternative to leaded avgas, with safety of flight as our foremost consideration." Friends of the Earth (FOE) filed a lawsuit against the EPA last week, alleging the agency hasn't moved quickly enough on a petition filed in
2006 to eliminate leaded fuel. The Avgas Coalition, which represents all the major GA associations, suggested FOE is taking a simplistic approach to a complex problem and also noted that while the
suit names the EPA, it's the FAA that sets aviation fuel standards. "Although EPA is charged with establishing aircraft emissions standards, it must consult with the FAA and cannot establish standards
that would adversely affect safety," the coalition said. "If the EPA does set new lead emissions standards for aircraft, the FAA would have responsibility for implementation and would have to explore
the establishment of new fuel specifications."
The coalition also noted that much progress has already been made in reducing the environmental impact of lead in gasoline and that the EPA has made the standards for ambient air lead content 10
times more stringent in its new regulations. GA airports, along with other sources of environmental lead (like battery plants), are being monitored for lead content in the air and most airports meet
the new standards, the coalition said. As the process moves along, the coalition pledged to continue work with federal agencies and the private sector to identify and support the future production of
An environmental group, Friends of the Earth, is suing the EPA hoping to set regulations for lead emissions from aircraft engines. AVweb's Glenn Pew speaks with the group's lawyer,
Marianne Engelman Lado.
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Less than six months since it was announced, a prototype of Cessna's new eight-place (including two crew) Citation M2 has successfully flown, Friday, March 9. The timeline was helped along by the
jet's extensive mechanical similarities to the CJ1+, and pilots will need the same C525 type rating to fly it. There will, of course, be some differences in training. The roughly $4.2 million M2 has a
maximum cruise of 400 KTAS and a range of 1,300 nautical miles, according to Cessna, and will reach 41,000 feet in under 25 minutes.
Cessna's engineering test pilot, Peter Fisher, flew the jet on its first flight. According to Fisher, "the aircraft performance, handling characteristics and Garmin G3000 avionics were
exceptional." The company is hoping to achieve certification in the first half of 2013, with first deliveries reaching customers in the second half of that year. The earliest orders for the jet were
placed sight unseen. The M2 is powered by two FADEC-controlled Williams International FJ44-IAP-21 turbofans. Cessna touts the jet's "all-new" cabin design that includes a 5-inch dropped aisle for a
57-inch cabin height, "large" windows and pedestal seats.
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The FAA Thursday issued notice that it intends to discontinue the paper application form used to apply for FAA medical certification. The agency will on Oct. 1, 2012, switch to its online FAA Form
8500-8 application, otherwise known as "FAA MedXpress." That virtual form was introduced in 2007 and "has evolved considerably, streamlining FAA medical certification into a much more efficient and
seamless process," says the FAA. Within that framing, the paper form many pilots are used to has been deemed redundant and obsolete, and it will be going away this fall.
Right now, you don't need to make any changes. If you'd like to get a jump on things, the online from is fully operational and ready for use, now; the paper forms go away on Oct. 1. If you haven't
already tried the online form, that's the marker after which you (and the more than 400,000 other airmen the FAA says fill out one of these forms each year) will have to start using it. The FAA says
the change was prompted by the complex and burdensome costs, logistics, and resources needed to revise, reprint and redistribute the forms worldwide. The agency believes doing that online is simply
more efficient. Click here for the official DOT release.
The FAA plans to identify six test ranges "to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in to the National Airspace System" and it is seeking pilot input. The FAA says it will also host webinars
for further exchange of information between the agency and the public. The sites will be used to help develop certification standards and traffic requirements for unmanned flight operations applicable
to both civil and public unmanned systems. Comments will be accepted for the next 60 days.
Drones currently need to acquire special permission from the FAA to fly in the U.S. and remotely piloted aircraft aren't yet allowed to fly in national airspace. By 2015, the FAA hopes to have
drones fully integrated into the national airspace. Information learned from operating the vehicles in the test sites will help develop strategies to meet safety standards before the aircraft become
more common. The move is motivated by language in the FAA reauthorization bill. Comments are meant to acquire information regarding a range of topics beyond geographic considerations. The FAA's
request for comments, plus information on where to send them is available here (PDF).
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The NTSB says a high-speed pitch-up "consistent with an ostentatious display" snapped the wing of a Cessna 337 and resulted in the deaths of all five people onboard at Farmingdale, N.J., on Feb.
15, 2010. The board also said data recovered from the Skymaster's GPS showed the aircraft was
going about 160 knots when witnesses reported it pitched up steeply. The aircraft was placarded with a maximum maneuvering speed of 135 knots. But while the pilot's "failure to adhere to the
airplane's operating limitations" was the official cause of the crash, the NTSB also said a lack of oversight by the FAA on the interaction of multiple STCs on the crash plane may have played a
The aircraft had been heavily modified with 22 STCs ranging from tip tanks and winglets to a STOL kit. The board said "the adverse effects of multiple supplemental type certificates (STC) to the
airframe wing structure that were not evaluated at the time the STCs were installed and the lack of guidance by the Federal Aviation Administration for multiple STC interaction evaluation" was
uncovered in the investigation. The crash killed three adults and two children.
The NTSB says pilots involved in the fatal fall of a wing walker at an airshow in Michigan last August both told them he
mistimed his transfer from a biplane to a helicopter. Todd Green died after falling about 150 feet during his routine at the Selfridge Air Force Base airshow on Aug. 21. He was trying to transfer from
the wing of a Stearman to the skid of a Hughes 269C helicopter when he fell. According to the pilots' testimony to the NTSB, Green tried to make the transfer before the helicopter was in position and
before being given the cue to make the move.
Both pilots said Green "lunged" for the helicopter skid, letting go of a handle on the Stearman in the attempt. He would normally not have let go of the airplane before gaining a secure hold on the
helicopter, the pilots told the NTSB. When he was unable to grab the skid, he tried to return to the Stearman but missed the handle. The accident happened at show center. The rest of the show was
Introducing Avidyne's IFD540 Touchscreen FMS/GPS/NAV/COM
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The Chinese government says the country's airlines are free to choose the airliners they need despite suggestions by Airbus that they might be discouraged from buying the European products. Last
week Airbus said it was afraid the burgeoning Chinese market would shun its products to protest the European Union's new carbon tax on foreign carriers serving Europe. China is one of 27 countries,
including the U.S. and Canada, who have loudly protested the tax. But China's government says there's no mix of politics and business in this case.
Bloomberg reported that Li Jiaxiang, China's director of the Civil Aviation
Administration, says the government won't retaliate for the tax by forcing airlines to buy Boeing and other manufacturers. "The purchase of airplanes is a business activity by airlines, in which the
government doesn't intervene," Li said. "The government respects the companies' choices, which are made based on their own needs."
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A flight attendant on American Airlines flight 2332, a loaded MD-80 out of Dallas for Chicago Friday morning, launched into an intense tirade that culminated in her being restrained and the
aircraft returning to the gate. As the event unfolded, the flight attendant's agitation grew until she was being held down and screaming "Get outta the plane! Get outta the plane!"
One passenger said the flight attendant mentioned during the episode "that she was bipolar and that she had not taken her medication," the Chicago Tribune reported. The attendant first spoke more
calmly over the aircraft's public address system saying, "We are not taking off. We're having technical difficulties. We're heading back to the gate." Another attendant countered that claim and the
situation's decorum quickly dissolved until the first flight attendant was being held down and screaming "Get outta the plane! Get outta the plane!" At least two passengers moved forward from the rear
of the cabin to the front where the altercation was taking place to assist. The aircraft returned to the gate, personnel was swapped for a fresh crew and the flight to Chicago was then carried out
uneventfully. Two of the flight's original crew members were taken to the hospital with injuries.
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Can you fly fast and not burn very much gas? Pipistrel founder Ivo Boscarol thinks so, and the company has proven it with its Virus SW LSA. On AVweb's tour of Slovenia, Paul Bertorelli
flew the airplane and now offers his impressions on the AVweb Insider blog.
Stepping into the Rotax factory has a time warp quality to it with regard to thinking about fuel efficiency and carbon emission which is to say the company is looking forward, not backward.
On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli explains why BRP/Rotax thinks it doesn't have the pleasure of denial when it comes to carbon emissions.
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The KC-97 Stratotanker was way too slow to easily refuel B-47s, but the bomber pilots learned how to fly in tight formation at near-stall speeds and do it with finesse. Dick Taylor
spent many hours flying 100-mile refueling racetracks in the sky, usually over the southeastern U.S., but sometimes even over North Africa.
This week, Rotax rolled out its new 912iS light aircraft engine at its Gunskirchen, Austria factory. AVweb was there, and here's a full video report on the new engine, which
features dual electronic fuel injection, dual ignition, and power options. The engine will be ready for volume shipments as early as May of 2012.
AVweb reader Ed Abrams received outstanding service on his visit to our latest "FBO of the Week" Cape Aviation at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport (CGI) in Cape
We diverted to this airport because of the weather. Winds were 220 at 23 gusting to 36 on landing. Line crew came out and tied the plane down before we got out of the plane, then loaned us a
courtesy car for the night to get to the hotel. When we arrived at the airport the following morning, they brought the plane into the hangar to deice. Line crew also cleaned the windows after
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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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as
our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and
questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token,
please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.
Letter of the Week: Of Glass and Steam
Regarding the safety analysis of glass vs. steam panels: As an examiner for general aviation pilot certification,
I get to see a multitude of different setups in many cockpits, from all analog instruments with simple radios to Garmin 430/530 multifunctional displays and the full glass panels of G1000 and such.
There is no question in my mind that situational awareness information at your fingertips plus weather pictures with continual updates are far superior to what we used to have just our minds
for the total picture and flight service for oral updates and the few airplanes with radar to show in a narrow band what is in front of us.
However, having said all this, I find that many private pilots (as well as some instrument rating applicants) have little knowledge and understanding of how to fly their aircraft on pitch
attitudes, power settings, and trim. It's a constant chase of airspeed, power settings that never stay at one place, and trim wheels that keep being rotated.
Given that analog instruments give us a rate of change that is easier to interpret than the displays on glass panels hence the vector noodles and rate of change arrows I would lay the
problem at our flight instructors' feet to teach our students how to fly our aircraft on pitch, power, and trim! It is so much easier and gets the pilots' heads outside the cockpit, where [they] need
Having flown both, I much prefer glass displays for the artificial horizon, HSI, and most of the rest of the instruments except the tapes for the airspeed and altimeter (and some VSIs). The
analogue presentation is much easier to read quickly. With tapes, it is easy to be off by 100 feet or 10 knots and never even realize it.
The stats also seem to show that the high-end airplanes with high-tech instrumentation have a disproportionately high incidence of landing and take-off mishaps. Methinks the dirty little secret
here is that low-time, inexperienced pilots in high-performance airplanes have these kinds of accidents, so it shouldn't be surprising they tear them up in IFR conditions, too. It has nothing to do
with the instrumentation, except the expectation of the pilot that with all these bells and whistles the airplane must be better than one of those "old" ones.
Dumb question. Glass is going to rule. It is the nature of the displays that is problematic. They show too much data. Critical values like airspeed don't get sufficient prominence. Airspeed
and angle of attack need more emphasis. Map mode and terrain features are excellent improvements.
I'm suspicious that the new-panel aircraft are far more exposed to challenging weather and conditions than are old-panel aircraft, and the numbers used to determine "rate" are too imprecise to
quantify the risk. There may be some lack of proficiency at work here, too, but it is hard to separate out what part that may play.
I owned a late-model Mooney with a Garmin 530/430 combo and King steam gauges. I also have a lot of time in a Cessna Garmin 1000-equipped Skyhawk.
The combination of the steam gauges with the Garmin 530/430 combo was far safer and easier to use. All systems have total backups and redundancy.
The Garmin G1000 is difficult to learn and stay current with, particularly if you want to fly serious IFR operations. The fact that the G1000 uses different software in different models with
different buttonology is dangerous.
Having only one computer chip for attitude reference is, in my opinion, a major design flaw.
Quite frankly, the King steam gauge system with the HSI and 225 autopilot coupled to the two Garmin GPS units was a dream to fly.
I had a Garmin 530 power supply fail in IMC. It was no problem because the 430 below it is a fully self-contained unit with its own power supply.
Can We Be Friends?
Regarding the Friends of the Earth lawsuit: Are [they] primarily interested in the 25 percent that they
get from fines? I grew up in the pattern of a small airport and under the approach for piston airliners. We had a major street to a freeway next to our house. I pumped gas and had lead on me for 10
hours a day. Am I supposed to be ill?
Lead certainly doesn't belong in fuel, and dumping it into the air, even in small quantities, is not a good thing.
But it's unclear to me how FOE's lawsuit will either help or hinder the process of removing lead from avgas. They seem to assume that it's a lack of EPA rulemaking that's the problem. Really? We
seem to assume that EPA rulemaking will matter for avgas. Will it?
Someone, somehow needs to light a fire under both the FAA and the manufacturers. Most existing engines run fine on 94UL blendstock, and there are probably other solutions for the few
high-compression engines that really need 100LL.
What seems to be missing is a will to pursue all of the reasonable solutions in a timely way.
FOE may or may not be acting wisely, but they are certainly not acting with the interests of GA in mind. Nevertheless, the transition to unleaded avgas must proceed, and it must yield a
reasonably-priced viable alternative fuel. GA pilots should support the FAA, the alphabet organizations, and the others that are working to accomplish that transition.
Where has it been documented that the quantity of lead being emitted by use of the current avgas is doing significant damage to the environment? Given that the current constraints on avgas
production, transportation, and dispensing are in themselves diminishing the use of same, why cause a ruckus if the problem will go away on its own within a generation except for antiques which we
preserve for posterity? The lawsuit is a tempest in a teapot by lawyers who have too much time on their hands and are looking for a misguided do-good organization to provide their meal ticket!
It's a political thing. With fuel costs likely to be $12 a gallon next year, it's probably a moot point.
F-35 on the Line
Regarding your article on Top Gun 2: You stated that the F-35 had not started deliveries yet. You might have
trouble explaining that to the airmen at Eglin AFB. Not only do they have F-35s on the ramp; they were just authorized to begin flying them as the primary F-35 training unit.
J. C. Hall
Repeat After Me
On December 20, 2011, a family of five aboard a TBM-700 turboprop was killed in a crash in New Jersey. ATC advised the
pilot of moderate to severe rime icing conditions 14 minutes into flight. The TBM pilot told ATC the rime was no problem.
My suggestion is that when severe rime is reported that it be repeated three times. For example: "Rime is moderate to severe, severe, severe."
I have pondered on what could have helped this confident pilot to take note of conditions and at least think of options before it was too late. I put this before you hoping with your influence you
can at least bring the matter for discussion. Thank you for your time.
Although icing was occurring at the time of the accident, the investigation is still going on, and icing has not been named the cause.
Russ Niles Editor-in-Chief
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