AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 11a

March 12, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! California's Carbon Conflict back to top 

Avgas Coalition Says No Immediate Threat To Supply

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 avgas alternatives.

Related Content:

Podcast: 100LL EPA Lawsuit

File Size 8.3 MB / Running Time 9:03

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

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.

Click here to listen. (8.3 MB, 9:03)

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Citation M2 in the Air back to top 

Cessna Flies New Citation M2

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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Ready for the Future? The FAA's Getting There back to top 

Notice: FAA Medical Form To Move Online

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.

FAA Seeking Comment On UAS (Drone) Test Sites

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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Aviation Safety back to top 

Pilot Actions, Multiple STCs Cited In Skymaster Crash

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 role.

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.

Wing Walker Missed Transfer Cue: NTSB

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 cancelled.

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Plenty of Room in China for Airbus's Big Planes back to top 

China Soothes Airbus Fears

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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The Flight Attendant Announcement No One Ignored back to top 

Flight Attendant's Alleged Screaming Incident Caught on Tape

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.

Click here for the MP3 file.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Pipistrel's Hyper-Efficient Airplanes

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.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Rotax Built an Eco-Engine

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.

Read more and join the conversation.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

Forty-Seven Years in Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 11: Strategic Air Command, Part 3

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.

Click here to read the 11th chapter.

Video: Rotax's New 912iS

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

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.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Cape Aviation (Cape Girardeau, Missouri)

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

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 Girardeau, Missouri:

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 fueling.

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

AVmail: March 12, 2012

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 to be!

Bert(il) Aagesen

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.

Mike Ellis

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.

Bart Robinett

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.

Art Hicks

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.

Scott Dyer

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.

Bob Anderson

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?

Tom Martin

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.

J. Carlson

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.

Sterling Grogan

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!

Michael Muma

It's a political thing. With fuel costs likely to be $12 a gallon next year, it's probably a moot point.

Mike Grimes

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.

Steve Walker

AVweb Replies:

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

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

A few years ago, during the Annual Air Spectacular at a usually very quiet Baldonnel Military Air Field:

ATC (to US military A10 Warthog on finals for a fly-by and demo) :
"Caution. Cyclist crossing the active runway."

A10 (hopefully jokingly) :
"Do you want me to take him out?"

Paddy Kilduff
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:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Scott Simmons

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.

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