AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 15a

April 9, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! The New Face of European Aviation back to top 

New Pilot Rules In Effect In Europe

New rules for foreign pilots and foreign registered aircraft in Europe came into effect on Saturday and, depending on how member states of the European Union are implementing them, could mean that your FAA, Transport Canada or other pilot certificate or ratings are no longer recognized by the European Aviation Safety Agency. EASA Part FCL homogenizes crew licensing requirements in all EU states and essentially means that those who want to fly in the EU have to prove competence and compliance with EU rules, rather than just use the credentials of their home country. Depending on the kind of flying involved, it can be a time-consuming and costly endeavor to earn those flight privileges, particularly for IFR.

In an editorial, German magazine Pilot und Flugzeug Editor Jan Brill says the new rule ignores acceptance of European qualifications in other GA nations and makes it costly and inconvenient for those licensed elsewhere to fly in Europe. "We insult our aviation-friends all over the world by rendering their certificates worthless, we repay the openness extended by nations such as Canada, Australia or the United States by pettiness and arrogance," Brill wrote. "To anyone who knows how to fly an aircraft, we're presenting Europe at it's very, very worst." Although the new rules theoretically took effect on April 8, some countries have implemented a two-year grace period.

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Aviation Safety Reports back to top 

No Serious Injuries In F/A-18 Crash

click for photos

Authorities are now sure there were no deaths or serious injuries resulting from the crash of a Navy F/A-18 in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday. All residents of the apartment complex struck by the flaming jet have been accounted for and only seven minor injuries, many of them to rescue workers and bystanders after the crash, occurred. Among those injured were the two crew members who ejected at low altitude as the aircraft crashed, igniting a two-alarm fire. Five buildings of eight apartments each were damaged by the post-crash fire. Neighbors at the complex told news crews the jet came down in a nose-up attitude. The flight carried an experienced instructor pilot in the rear cockpit and a student up front. The pilots came down under canopy near the wreckage and were taken to a nearby hospital.

According to Navy Capt. Mark Weisgerber, the aircraft suffered a malfunction soon after takeoff from nearby NAS Oceana. The crew suffered minor injuries and both were "coherent and doing well." Neighbors helped move one aviator who was found near the crash site. Witness Pat Kavanaugh, a retired rescue squad member, told a local news reporter that the pilot he helped move had facial lacerations and was in shock. Kavanaugh said the pilot apologized for crashing into the complex as he was moved away from the fire. The fighter jet was reportedly based at Oceana and assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron 106.

Click for photos.

Controller Dismisses Emergency Call (With Audio)

Tuesday April 3, the crew of United Express Flight 5912, an Embraer 145 carrying 21 passengers, called controllers at Denver International Airport with an emergency, and the response has come under investigation. The crew initially called at about 8:30 a.m. with smoke in the cockpit. But controllers at the airport have reportedly become leery of false transmissions initiated by people on the ground. The controller apparently misheard the aircraft's flight number and initially dismissed the call's urgency. It was only after the aircraft landed and the controller was called again by the crew of the aircraft that he alerted rescue crews. By that time, five minutes had elapsed since the initial emergency call. Once on scene, firefighters extinguished a fire behind the instrument panel. The NTSB has turned over the investigation to the FAA.

AVweb has obtained audio excerpts from the pilot/controller exchange.

Click here for the MP3 file.

Howard Pardue Killed In Bearcat Crash

Well-known air race and airshow pilot Howard Pardue was killed Wednesday when his F8F Bearcat went down on takeoff from Stephens County Airport in Texas. Witnesses said the aircraft became briefly airborne before crashing and catching fire. Pardue, 77, died at the scene.

Pardue was a former Marine Corps pilot and the crash aircraft is the same type first flown by the Blue Angels. Pardue was also a member of the Naval Aviation Heritage Flight.

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I iPad, You iPad, We All iPad back to top 

FAA Advances iPad Use

The FAA currently has about 1,100 employees -- from pilots to lawyers -- using computer tablets, has future plans for an app store, and now plans to broadly expand the use of iPads within the agency, according to its tech group. The FAA currently allows employees to use iPads to read and send e-mail or documents, and does not allow the devices to be used to access FAA networks. But that is scheduled to change. The FAA's manager of Architecture and Applied Technology said that by 2014, the FAA plans to allow workers the choice to replace laptops with iPads. It plans to consider Android-based tablets as well. The FAA's own internal research has found the devices useful in particular applications, improving efficiency and costs, but also found them limited in other ways.

According to the FAA, tablets have proven particularly useful for information consumers like mechanics and lawyers. Mechanics who had relied on a desktop computer for parts requests or to file reports gained better access to shared resources through the use of tablets. They could more easily access technical manuals and saved time on the job. Similarly, lawyers were granted better access to legal files. Both lawyers and mechanics at the FAA have already benefited from apps created to serve their specific needs and the agency hopes to develop more. For example, lawyers prosecuting airspace violations now have an iPad app that allows them to find and view replays of FAA radar showing the alleged flight path deviation. The agency hopes to expand iPad use for trainers and students and create an app store.

AVweb Insider Blog: Cockpit Tech Convergence

The futurists all said one day soon, we would all have a single device that did everything from phone calls to medical record retrieval. Is that why, asks Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, he carries around a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad on his business trips? At the AEA show last week, he got the impression that airplanes have become merely 3-D conveyances to fly around iPads.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Paging Sam Jackson ... back to top 

Pilot Finds Snake Down Under

Branden Blennerhassett, a 26-year-old pilot for Air Frontier, Australia, thought he was flying alone in a company Beechcraft Baron G58 out of Darwin Tuesday when he saw a head pop out from behind the instrument panel. According to a local ABC news affiliate that contacted Blennerhassett, the pilot quickly contacted a controller to explain his concerns. "I'm going to have to return to Darwin. I've got a snake on board the plane." Blennerhassett couldn't identify the snake and didn't want to risk too much movement. He imagined that could elicit a venomous bite. Unfortunately for him, during the approach, things got a bit more intimate.

"As the plane was landing, the snake was crawling down my leg," Blennerhassett said. In spite of the distraction, Blennerhassett landed safely and was met by emergency personnel with an animal specialist on the way. Reports indicate that at least one firefighter saw the snake, and one report noted that the firefighter also saw a small green tree frog onboard. By the time a wildlife wrangler arrived on scene, neither the snake or frog could be located. The aircraft was grounded "until we find the snake," Air Frontier director Geoffrey Hunt told ABC. By Thursday, a baited trap had failed to lure the snake, now suspected to be a non-venomous golden tree snake. The species can grow to a length of about five feet.

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"If You Want Something, You Can Get It" back to top 

Afghan Homebuilder Has Big Dreams

Could the future of Afghanistan general aviation be the crumpled remains of a homebuilt trike? The first aircraft ever built in the country made four test hops before being damaged beyond repair in a crash landing. Sabir Shah, who had never been in an airplane before, designed and built the aircraft using knowledge gleaned from the Internet and materials obtained at the local market. The result was a credible-looking weight-shift device powered by a Toyota car engine attached to a handmade fiberglass body and supported by a metal tube and fabric wing. Shah said he built the aircraft, which took three years, because it was the only way he could ever see himself being able to fly in his home country. There are no private flight schools and few private aircraft in the perennially war-torn country. "I believe that if you want something, you can get it," he told The Christian Science Monitor.

Shah, whose family couldn't afford to allow him to go to university, got donations and contributions from family and friends for the project, which ultimately cost $12,000, many times the annual average income of an Afghan. Among those throwing money into the pot was Afghan Vice President Abdul Karim Khalili, who also arranged to have a government helicopter fly Shah and his finished aircraft to a nearby Air Force base for testing. With tips from an Afghan air force pilot and flight manuals memorized from the Internet, Shah got airborne on the first try. The longest of four flights was about 300 yards before a miscue on landing ended this chapter of Shah's aviation career. He was unhurt but the trike will never fly again. Now Shah is hoping to either find someone to sponsor him for aviation training elsewhere or to invest in his next project -- an eight- to ten-seat aircraft capable of getting around Afghanistan.

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Go North, Young Lady back to top 

Yellowknife 'Most Female-Pilot-Friendly'

The remote northern community of Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories, has been proclaimed home to the "Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide" after an aviation community effort to introduce girls and women to flying on March 10. Led by Trinity Helicopters pilot Kirsten Brazier, volunteers got more than 400 girls and women up in the air for Women of Aviation Worldwide Week, which is held annually the week of March 8 to coincide with the licensing of the first female pilot, Baroness Raymonde de Laroche. Defending champion Frederick, Md., placed second with 244 flights and had to put others on a waiting list. Organizer Mireille Goyer told AVweb in a podcast interview a total of 1,104 girls and women got a taste of aviation during events held in North America and Europe that day. More important, she said, most of those who flew also got a taste for aviation. "In fact, 92% of our feedback survey respondents said that they would consider becoming involved in aviation as a result of the experience," Goyer said.

The Yellowknife effort was organized and flown by Trinity Helicopters pilot Brazier, Megan Tyler, Derrick Robinson and Robert Ferlisi but got support from 27 local businesses and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Events were also held in Peterborough and Oshawa, Ontario; Boise, Idaho; and Worland, Wyo. Weather scrubbed planned events at Calhoun Flight Center in Texas and in Oregon. This year's event also marked the centennial of the first flight across the English Channel by a woman, American Harriet Quimby, in 1912. More than 100 female-flown aircraft made the crossing March 10. Next year's event will be held March 4-10 and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first space flight by a woman.

Podcast: Female-Pilot-Friendly Yellowknife

File Size 7.9 MB / Running Time 8:35

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The second Women of Aviation Worldwide Week competition to see which airport community can give the most women and girls their first flight in a small aircraft was held a month ago, and the results are in. Organizer Mireille Goyer explains to AVweb's Russ Niles how Yellowknife, in Canada's Northwest Territories, unseated Frederick, Maryland for the title — and what it all means for aviation.

Click here to listen. (7.9 MB, 8:35)

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

AVmail: April 9, 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: Medical Exemption Restrictions Questioned

I am a commercial, multi-engine, instrument-rated pilot who now flies totally for recreational purposes. I am a strong supporter of EAA and FAA's proposed exemption [to Class 3 medical requirements]; however, I feel that the aircraft limitations in it should be eliminated.

The focus of this exemption should be totally on the pilot's medical fitness to fly recreationally, not the type of aircraft he flies. Recreational flying is recreational flying, regardless of the type of aircraft involved!

Many of us, including me, fly two-place aircraft whose power far exceeds 180 hp. My current one is a Yak 52, which also has retractable gear and a constant-speed propeller.

As the exemption currently reads, you would be eliminating almost all of the IAC aircraft and warbird operators, many of the thousands of Vans RV owners who employ the 200hp IO-360, and countless numbers of other experimental aircraft. Virtually all of these are recreational pilots. You would also be eliminating owners of aircraft like the Cessna 182.

With respect to medical certification, I consider myself as safe in my aircraft as would be a pilot with lesser experience in, for example, a Cessna 172.

If, under the current third-class medical certification process, I am fit to fly my aircraft, then under this exemption, I would certainly be as fit to fly the same aircraft. Nothing about my piloting qualifications would change, but I would be more fully aware of my medical condition and those factors affecting it.

Eliminate the aircraft restrictions from the exemption, even if it means a tougher political fight with the FAA.

George Lazik

Does the Flight Medical System Work?

Regarding the article about the 81-year-old pilot who was incapacitated at the controls, I consider that AOPA, CBAA, EAA, etc. should make a fuss over this described incident.

The entire purpose of requiring pilots to undergo periodic physical examinations is to prevent pilots from becoming incapacitated while at the controls of an aircraft.

Obviously, something is not working as intended. I consider that there should be a full-blown investigation as to why or how this incident occurred. If we let this incident go by without an investigation as to the cause, then we are making a mockery of the entire process of pilots having to undergo regular physical examinations by approved examiners.

Bill Peppler

Don't Touch the Prop

In a recent Picture of the Week gallery was "Happy First Flight in a Europa," by Martin Tuck of Wichita, Kansas.

I was taught (and continue to teach my kids, grandkids and others) to never unnecessarily touch the propeller of an aircraft. Yes, I know engine is off, but in my opinion it is very bad judgment to let someone actually hold on to the propeller as in this picture! Think it through. It's not worth the risk. The picture would have been better even if she was standing behind or to the front of propeller.

Susan Cochran

Aldrin Was a Scientist, Too

Nice article on Harrison Schmitt, but there is one correction: Buzz Aldrin was the first scientist astronaut. He was the Air Force's second pilot to be awarded a doctorate in Science from MIT, before his moon landing with Neil Armstrong.

The first USAF pilot/scientist was Francis Hale II, father of a member of my EAA chapter — 1114 in Apex, North Carolina. I have a picture of Hale and Aldrin at MIT on the day they received their doctorates. Hale became a professor of aerospace engineering at NCSU after retiring from the Air Force.

Schmitt might have been the first civilian scientist astronaut, however.

Kent Misegades

What If He'd Had a Gun?

Regarding the airline pilot whose bizarre actions required an unscheduled landing and detention: A subject for discussion would be whether or not this incident has any bearing on airline pilots carrying weapons. I would hate to think a similar situation could arise and that particular pilot was armed.

Jim Sanford

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

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Show Coverage Recaps back to top 

AEA 2012: Podcasts and Videos

Did you catch our podcast and video interviews from the 55th Annual Aircraft Electronics Association Convention in Washington, DC April 3-6, 2012? If not, click here for Friday's AVwebAudio recapping our media coverage of the show.

Sun 'n Fun 2012: News Coverage Round-Up

AVweb attended the 38th annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Florida from March 27 to April 1, 2012 — and brought back an assortment of news and interviews. Click here for a handy index to all our coverage from the show, including podcasts, videos, and blogs.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Arrow Aviation/Executive Air Service (KDXR, Danbury, CT)

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

Some of our favorite "FBO of the Week" nominations begin with an unexpected problem on a long trip. AVweb reader Jerry Quint was on his way home from Sun 'n Fun when he discovered our latest top-notch FBO — Arrow Aviation/Executive Air Service at Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR) in Danbury, Connecticut. Jerry provided the play-by-play of his exceptional visit:

I stopped for fuel and to spend the night. I was immediately impressed with the professional demeanor of the refueler, Mr. David Clark. When he discovered that I was remaining overnight, he directed me to a convienent tie-down and offered me the use of the pilot's lounge to spend the night. After a lengthy search, he found a key to the shower room. Joanie, who handles the office chores, answered all of my questions and made me feel welcomed. Cliff Brown, a CFI, made sure I had the codes to the doors, in case I wanted to leave the FBO after it closed for the day. Additionally, Cliff introduced me to a Master A&E/IA by the name of Karl Wiemer, who not only restores fabric-covered aircraft but is an expert in chasing down oil leaks.

My SkyCatcher had developed a leak on the way up from Sun 'n Fun, so he met me the next day, after I had a delicious doughnut that Cliff had delivered that morning before his early departure for a trip to Maine. With cylinder pressure testers in hand, Karl checked for the possibility of blow-by. After he determined there was no blow-by causing oil leakage, we started the engine and found the oil was leaking out of the oil filter where the filter and the rounded flange met. Several calls to oil filter suppliers proved to be fruitless, and it was discovered that the oil filters for SkyCatchers are only available at Cessna Dealers. They are very expensive, and there is no authorized subsitute. The nearest Cessna dealer was 40 miles distant, so Karl drove to retrieve it. After his 80-mile trip, he installed the filter, and I was finally on my way.

Of all the ten airports that I have visited in the last two weeks, the folks at Danbury are head and shoulders above them all. I am proud to recommend them for "FBO of the Week."

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

And now for a slight departure from our usual "Short Final" hijinks:

Many years ago, I heard a radio exchange that, for me, illustrated the great resources and the responsibilities we have as pilots. Climbing into the VFR corridor of the New York TCA, I heard this on the frequency:

American 123:
"Boston Center, American 123."

Boston Center:
"American 123, Boston."

American 123:
"Company has informed us they have a report of a possible bomb on board."

Boston Center:
"Roger, American 123. What are your intentions?"

American 123:
"We'd like to return to Boston."

Boston Center:
"Roger, cleared to Boston."

And that was it! No routing, no questions, no altitudes. Later, they were given the winds and asked which runway they would prefer. I can only assume there was a great deal of activity on other frequencies to clear the sky for the jet.

My point is we don't often dwell on the responsibilities of command when we take off with our families and friends — or of the great resources of the ATC which are available if we need them. All it takes is a few words, and, for some period of time, the world will revolve entirely around us. Being ready and able to play our part if the time comes is as important as any other flying skill, and for many of us, why we feel so good to call ourselves pilots.

Roger Rowell
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

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