AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 29a

July 16, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Top Tech for ADS-B Preparedness back to top 

Garmin's New ADS-B Products And A Fresh Take On Digital Radar

Heading into the AirVenture product intro season, Garmin appears bullish on GA sales prospects and will show a pair of new ADS-B products along with a new digital radar. In addition, Garmin is also introducing upgrades for its GTN line of panel navigators.

Although the requirement for ADS-B is eight years off, Garmin is lead turning the market with the GDL88, what it calls a dual-link ADS-B that delivers both FIS-B weather and advanced traffic capabilities that will fit into the emerging ADS-B rules. The GDL88 will receive both 978 UAT and 1098 MHz frequency bands and depending on the model level selected, it can be ADS-B in only, or in and out for traffic and weather services. Think of the GDL88 as a versatile, installation-specific and configurable system that can be used with or without a display. We're told that the GDL88 is, among other functions, intended to complement aircraft that may already be equipped with an ADS-B output transponder or for ADS-B installations that are being built from the ground up. The GDL88 is available with or without a built-in ADS-B compliant WAAS GPS source that could solve the ADS-B dilemma owners with limited panel space or who own non-compliant GPS receivers. The base GDL88 starts at $3995 and the variant with WAAS GPS lists at $5995.

Portable ADS-B from SkyRadar and Sporty's Stratus box have found good traction in the market and now comes Garmin with its own portable, the GDL39 for $799 suggested retail. The glareshield-mounted GDL39 portable receives FIS-B and traffic data and can display on Garmin portables extending back as far as the GPSMap 396. For the older portables, it links via hard cable but for the aera796, it does Bluetooth. Tablets? Yes, those too—the Android and iPad—running Garmin's recently released Pilot app. The GDL39 can be powered from ship’s power or an optional external battery capable of about four hours of operation. It will be available for display and sale at AirVenture.

Last, Garmin has developed a new digital radar with sophisticated display and analytical capabilities, the first new such technology we've seen in years. The GWX70 is Doppler-capable and thus able to detect turbulence as well as precipitation. But the real eye-opener is that Garmin has ditched the expensive and occasionally troublesome magnetron tube, meaning that long-term maintenance of the system should be less onerous. The GWX70 will be suitable for 10-, 12- and 18-inch antennas and will be compatible with a range of Garmin displays included the G1000, G2000, G3000 and G5000, plus lesser systems like the G500/G600 and the MX20. Starting price will be $20,995.

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Cause and Effect back to top 

Age 65 Rule And The Demand For Pilots

The FAA raised the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 60 to 65 on Dec., 13, 2007, which means affected pilots will be forced into retirement this year, while some forecasters see growing demand just around the corner. Boeing forecasts that the industry will need more than 460,000 new pilots to meet worldwide demand between now and 2031. The Asia-Pacific region is expected to absorb roughly 40 percent of that demand, but Boeing predicts that almost 70,000 new pilots will be needed in North America. And the confluence of an erosion of the active pilot population, the dawn of growing demand, and more stringent pilot training requirements (expected by 2013) has the FAA's director of flight services concerned.

John Allen, FAA director of flight services, told The Associated Press, "I'm concerned because it has safety implications." Allen said his concern is that high demand could result in "someone getting into the system that maybe isn't really the right person to be a pilot." He added, "Not everybody is supposed to be a pilot." But difficult economic times have led to layoffs in the U.S. and that has included pilots. Some of those pilots resolved their unemployment by going to work for overseas carriers. Higher demand in the U.S. could bring those pilots home. But if the bulk of the demand grows (as predicted) overseas, any exodus from foreign carriers could exaggerate pilot shortages in those parts of the world, leading to effects that could be felt throughout the industry. In some parts of the world, specifically China and India, a pilot shortage is already reality.

California Avgas Suit Fuels Surcharge

Some California FBOs are imposing a nickel-per-gallon surcharge on 100LL fuel sales to fund a legal defense and a counter lawsuit filed against an environmental group that's trying to restrict leaded avgas from the California market. The FBOs, which are part of the California Avgas Coalition, are countersuing the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and the California Attorney General's office. The defense was mounted after CEH filed its own suit seeking damages under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, otherwise known as Proposition 65, which lists lead as a cancer-causing agent. Under Prop 65, plaintiffs are entitled to 25 percent of any damages awarded.

Aviation Consultants Inc, which operates as ACI Jet Center, has been a part of the California Avgas Coalition for more than a year. ACI serves California's central coast with two busy jet centers and one self-serve fuel facility and recently posted announcements to customers of the five-cent per gallon charge. Andrew Robillard, ACI's Vice President of FBOs and Operations, told AVweb that one of their main objectives is to educate avgas buyers about the threatened state of leaded fuel in California. "We have found that all of our clients have continued to support us, despite the surcharge. The most common reaction we receive from customers is frustration directed toward the Center for Environmental Health. In addition, we've found that several of our clients were unaware of the California Avgas Coalition or the defense against CEH." He also expressed a concern that costs associated with the lawsuit and the potential consequences will not stop at the state line.

FBOs and distributors share equal amounts of financial exposure. Despite support from several alphabets including EAA, AOPA and NATA, FBOs and fuel distributors could face dire financial consequences given the penalties that accrue with Prop 65 violations. NATA warns that the issue could ultimately be counterproductive and hinder the efforts in eliminating lead from avgas. Aviation Consultants Inc. owns and operates the San Luis Jet Center (KSBP), Paso Robles Jet Center (KPRB) and Oceano Fuel Service (L52). The price of fuel is the same at all three locations. The current price of self-serve 100L at ACI's San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles and Oceano Fuel Service is $5.37 per gallon, including the surcharge.

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Flight Training back to top 

The FAA's Turn Back To Basics

The FAA's acting administrator, Michael Huerta, Thursday promoted the agency's pursuit of more regulation regarding how pilots are trained. Huerta spoke at a meeting of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) and his comments follow the July 5 release of the BEA's final report on the crash of Air France Flight 447. Huerta told ALPA members that the forthcoming rules will be designed "to give pilots more training on how to recognize and recover from stalls and aircraft upsets" and to better deal with the complications added when automation fails. The crash of Flight 447 killed 228 people after the pilots stalled their A330 and rode it from 38,000 feet to impact with the Atlantic -- apparently without ever recognizing the stall. That crash took place in June of 2009 and came just months after another widely publicized fatal stall and crash that took place in February.

Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed in February 2009 near Buffalo after its crew reacted incorrectly to stall warnings and spun the aircraft in, killing all 49 aboard, plus one on the ground. In discussing the new regulations, Huerta emphasized the importance of basic training when pilots face a loss of automation. "We can't lose sight of the importance of training on the core aspects of flying," he said, "such as crew management, stall recovery or other events that could occur when there is a change or a loss in automation." The new rules are expected to go through a thorough development process and may arrive next year. The timing may not be soon enough for some safety advocates. In a USA Today article, Scott Maurer, who lost a daughter to the Colgan crash, offered his comments on the implications of the Air France Report. Maurer said it "underscores the dramatic need to better train our pilots to react to emergency situations, and in particular to not be so heavily reliant on the automation in the cockpit."

Zulu Brings Flight Sim Off-Airport

Zulu Flight Training, a new flight school with a unique concept, is opening this week in an urban shopping center in Spanish Fort, Ala., equipped with Redbird flight simulators. The flight school is owned by Continental Motors, which is headquartered in nearby Mobile. "Our training model is an adaptation of the Redbird Skyport, but rather than the customer going to the training, we bring the training to the customer," General Manager Gloria Liu told AVweb. "The storefront is located right off a major highway and is very convenient to the population center." Liu said the company has tried out its system in an in-house program for Continental employees with great success, and is now offering it to the general public at the new site.

"Students who don't have the time to get to the airport during the week now are able to schedule weekday lessons," Liu said. And since weather in the area tends to be rainy in the evenings, the simulators help to keep students on track during weeknights when they are free to spend time learning. "This has already proven to be very useful for keeping students going on lessons and maximizing skill retention," Liu said. The school is offering a private pilot course at a flat cost of $8,500. Continental is interested in expanding the concept to other urban areas, Liu said, including Los Angeles and especially China, where general aviation training facilities are often far from urban centers. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Liu for more details about the project; click here to listen to the podcast.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Crop Duster Facing FAA Sanctions

The FAA is proposing to levy an $11,000 fine against a Colorado crop dusting company after residents of a new housing development complained one of their aircraft was flying too low over their houses. The agency is also pondering a 120-day certificate suspension for the unidentified pilot of the Grumman Ag Cat that was captured on cellphone video flying directly at the Fossil Creek Ranch development on the outskirts of Fort Collins while spraying a sugar beet field across the street. It's hard to tell from the video how much clearance there was between the big biplane and the nearest houses but it was too close for comfort for those who saw it coming from their second-floor windows. "Had he not been able to pull that plane up … he'd have flown straight through my house," resident Stephanie Feller told The Coloradoan just after the incident last August. "He had no exit if anything happened. He flew down the street with his wings literally below rooftop level."

Residents of the neighborhood complained to the FAA, which spent seven months investigating and determined the flight broke five regs and added up to being "careless or reckless so as to endanger the lives and property of others," according to documents the paper said it obtained in a freedom of information request. The company was notified of the proposed sanctions in April but they have not been levied yet. Residents also complained of the physical effects of the spraying, saying they suffered burning eyes and skin irritation from the fungicide. A local farmer defended he crop dusting company, saying residents should have known what they were in for before the bought houses adjoining farmland. "We didn't ask all these people to move here," said Betty Willis. "This was known as the finest farm area in the United States. It's all getting full of houses."

Pilot Posts Self-Induced Off-Airport Landing Video

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"Complacency has no place in soaring" are the words Larry Hockensmith uses to open a brief description of a video that ends with him crashing a Schweizer 1-26 into a row of mailboxes and a few trash cans ... and they're also the point. Hockensmith, a student glider pilot and 40-year licensed power pilot, posted the video to YouTube with a simple message. "I was trained better than to have lingered on the lee-side of a ridge over rough terrain," he writes. "The dramatic outlanding was due to my actions exclusively." He says he has shared the video with his instructor, the FAA and the NTSB and those interactions have helped grow his skills. He also says there's more to come and issues a challenge.

The video is 16 minutes in its uncut form and "shows every second of the events" that led to the crash. At Hockensmith's request, viewers are welcome to try to "spot how the differences between a power pilot's training and a glider pilot's training could have contributed to this outcome." As of Friday, Hockensmith had only posted one clip, of 1 minute 18 seconds, of the Dec. 28, 2011 flight, but "more videos on this are coming." The first clip shows the approach and landing. And the rather sudden stop at the end. In his own words, the landing was "almost perfect" ... "for a power pilot."

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Upcoming Events back to top 

Olympic Flight Restrictions In Effect

Flight restrictions for the London Olympics went into effect Sunday and while the Bobbies on the street still don't carry guns, those enforcing the no-fly zone will be packing plenty of heat. Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Atha, the Olympics air security commander, showed reporters some of the equipment that will at first dissuade and then, if necessary, prevent aircraft from violating the closed airspace. It includes fully armed Typhoon fighters and Puma helicopters carrying snipers. "As a last resort, we will have lethal force as an option," said the Air Vice-Marshal. Intercepted aircraft will first get a wing wag and an invitation to turn away from the restricted zone. If that doesn't work, flares and lasers will be fired and if the aircraft keeps going the fighters and helicopters, with help from ground-based missile batteries, will do their thing.

The Civil Aviation Authority has done its best to get the word out about the restricted zones. Every pilot in the U.K. was sent a letter describing the restricted zones, which include the London no-fly area for GA traffic and an area covering much of southeast England in which special procedures (mandatory flight plans and active control) are in effect. Most of the restrictions are in effect until Aug. 15 although the sailing venue at Weymouth in Dorset will be under restrictions until Sept. 8. Restrictions will also be in place for the Paralympics, which follow the Olympics, but they will be less stringent.

IMC Club At AirVenture

The IMC Club will continue its program of outreach to instrument-rated pilots at AirVenture Oshkosh this year. The club, which promotes the creation of local chapters of IFR pilots who meet to discuss topics and share information relative to instrument flying, will be discussing its aims and goals at forums July 23, 25 and 27 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the AirVenture Welcome Center.

As we reported at AirVenture last year, IMC Clubs meet monthly with guest speakers and presentations to help IFR-rated pilots gain confidence and the most out of their ratings.

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Taking to the Skies back to top 

Sleek High-End AKOYA LSA Hopeful Flies

The LISA Airplanes team announced Friday that its "multi-access" AKOYA amphibious (and snow-capable) aircraft, an LSA hopeful, has flown its first passenger and will be coming to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year. The AKOYA is a carbon composite airframe powered by a tail-mounted Rotax 912 engine and boasts a glass cockpit "with EFIS, EMS, GPS," according to LISA. Its fuselage buoys the aircraft during water operations and, unlike many amphibious planes, AKOYA incorporates two sets of small hydrofoils on an otherwise clean, step-less fuselage design. The aircraft also has "assisted folding wings," adjustable ruder pedals, backrests and headrests and a whole-plane parachute. LISA, a French manufacturer, is listing the aircraft for more than $350,000. That buys more than the aircraft itself.

LISA offers complete pilot training for the AKOYA, a three-year warranty, with three years of maintenance and three years of hotline assistance in its full package price. It also includes aircraft customization. The aircraft has an 18.4-gallon tank, cruises at 116 knots and stalls at 45 knots with the flaps retracted. LISA says it will take off and land in less than 670 feet, climb at 1400 ft/min and can cruise for more than 650 miles with standard tanks. With its wings folded, the AKOYA is 12.8 feet wide and 25.9 feet long. Creature comforts include an electric canopy equipped with a quick-release system and access to a 12-volt power supply. Steps are integrated into the hydrofoils and a removable anchor and tow hooks secure the aircraft in the water and allow it to be towed or lifted for storage, respectively. More information is here.

Cluster Balloon Attempt Abandoned

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Landing in a thunderstorm is no fun for any pilot but when the aircraft is a couple of lawn chairs suspended under 300 party balloons, the term hard landing takes on a slightly different context. Cluster balloon pilot Kent Couch and his copilot Fareed Lafta, self-described Iraqi adventurer, aborted their bid to fly from Bend, Ore., to Montana just 30 miles from their starting point Saturday after a thunderstorm at 10,000 feet pelted them with hail, snow and turbulence. "They came down hard," said flight organizer Mark Knowles. The duo was unhurt and jumped clear of the contraption, which promptly took off without them. It's not clear where the contrivance ended up.

Couch and Lafta hoped to cover more than 500 miles on the trip and carried sleeping bags to battle the cold they expected at 18,000 feet. They also carried 80 gallons of Kool Aid in two barrels as ballast, along with solar-powered electronic gear and cellphones. They also carried air rifles and dart guns to pop balloons for their descent. Couch saw the flight as a chance to inspire people to act on their dreams but Lafta, who had earlier said he wanted to repeat the flight in his homeland, put a geopolitical spin on the effort. "I want to inspire Iraqis and say we need to defeat terrorists," Lafta said. "We don't need just an Army. We need ideology and to just have fun."

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Ash Scattering — A Delicate Task Done Right

Many of us in the aviation business have probably been approached about scattering the cremated remains of a friend or relative from an airplane. Glider pilot Marc Arnold has come up with an innovative way to do this from a Stemme motorglider, and on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli discusses how it all works.

Read more and join the conversation.

Podcast: Marc Arnold of Ascension Scattering

File Size 11.2 MB / Running Time 10.57

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

If you've ever been asked to and have tried to scatter cremated remains from an airplane, you probably realize it's not as easy as it sounds. Marc Arnold's Ascension Scattering, done from a glider, adds respectful method to the process.

Click here to listen. (11.2 MB, 10:57)

AVweb Insider Blog: Jordan Gets His Wings

On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli talks with his student, Jordan Nations, whose Private Pilot Certificate is less than 24 hours old. Jordan had the rare opportunity to learn flying in both a vintage Piper J-3 Cub and a Cessna 150. Paul and Jordan took a victory lap around the Florida beaches savoring the unique satisfaction that only students and instructors share -- and we share it with readers in this special vlog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

AVmail: July 16, 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.

AVweb Replies:

We were surprised by the volume and frankness of letters from readers who admitted to fibbing during their flight medicals in response to our "Question of the Week." Only a few asked for anonymity, but we'll keep all of their names out of it.

Russ Niles

Letter of the Week: Pants on Fire

When non-disqualifying conditions requiring additional documentation reached the point that I found myself making six medical clinic visits to get all the reports that I needed, I decided not to play this game anymore. I looked at the stack of paperwork I had accumulated and knew two things: If I submitted it, I would get a medical certificate after referral to the FAA, and I am not willing to face this hassle and invasion of privacy every two years to get my government's permission to pursue a hobby.

So I canceled the physical and, when LSA aircraft are available to rent in my area, will take up flying again. The path of lying to my doctors would eventually lead to poor medical care. Now I don't have to worry about admitting that I snore or whatever and am perfectly free to accept or reject proposed work-ups based on my personal judgment after discussions with my doctor rather than the doctors in Oklahoma City.

Name withheld

I have a condition and take medication that would be disqualifying. The condition does not affect my flying ability. I have done flights with another pilot to prove this to myself.

The medication is also disqualifying. I, however, waited several months to verify that the medication did not have any adverse effect on my physical and mental ability to fly.

If the FAA would have a logical approach and allow my testing to verify that my condition was O.K., to fly I would report it. The FAA, however, has only a YES or NO attitude. Logic seems to be disallowed.

Name withheld

Never have. Wish I had from the get-go. Seventeen years of completely unnecessary Special Issuance, because OK city refuses to accept the word of my doctors. Continuously demanding unnecessary tests. I am finally beaten down and will go sport pilot or quit flying.

Name withheld

Fibbed on my medical unintentionally years ago. I had a kidney stone removed and didn't realize it was a reportable event on the application until several years later.

Name withheld

I wish I had lied. I haven't.

Name withheld

I was honest, but I wish now I had not been. Once started, you can't please the FAA. I sent a complete set of my medical records, but they wanted more. I had no more. Sometines it's better to lie.

Name withheld

Space Dreams

Regarding your "Question of the Week": I'd love to go to space, but not on some damn 15-minute suborbital flight. I want to spend some time there!

Dale Ingold

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

Survey: Have You Had Your Aircraft Interior Refurbished?

Have you had your aircraft interior redone in the past five years? If so, our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, wants to hear about it. Please take a moment to answer this completely confidential survey and help your fellow aircraft owners find the best shop to replace their 1970s Royalite-and-velour with something less embarrassing.

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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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Flightlevel Norwood (KOWD, Norwood, MA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Flightlevel at Norwood Memorial Airport (KOWD) in Norwood, Massachusetts.

AVweb reader Edwin L. Nass recommended the FBO:

The gentleman on duty was extremely helpful and efficient in getting us parked and checked in. It was apparent that he appreciated our business and was there to do a great job. We give him an A+ in customer service. Upon arriving for departure, everything was ready to go. This is a great place for Boston-bound travelers who do not want to land at Logan. (AVIS is right there as well.)

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

Video: 'Aviation Consumer' Takes the Show on the Road with Five Folding Bicycle Reviews

The July issue of our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, features a blow-by-blow comparison of some of the best folding bikes for pilots we could find. See them in action in these five video reviews by Consumer's Jeff Van West.

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns. Click now for details.
The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

This didn't happen on the radio but was a texting classic. The weather was tough, and we needed just a bit of Jet A. And we always take prist. Apparently, autocorrect saw the gravity of the situation. As I texted the other pilot, it came out as:

"We need 200 gals. Jet A with priest."

Curt Brown
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

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Jeff Van West

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

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.