AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 32a

August 6, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Kent Pietsch Crash back to top 

Kent Pietsch Hurt In Alberta Crash

Click above to see video of Pietsch's routine at Abbotsford International Air Show in 2011.

Veteran airshow performer Kent Pietsch is in a hospital in Alberta, Canada, after crashing his Interstate Cadet shortly after a performance Saturday in Wetaskiwin, a small city about 70 miles south of Edmonton. Pietsch is not thought to have suffered life-threatening injuries. He got out of the plane himself and was lying nearby when crash crews arrived at the scene moments later. The aircraft may be a write-off, however. According to the latest report in the Edmonton Journal, Pietsch was finished with his comic routine when he clipped a wing during what might have been a low-level pass.

During his routine, Pietsch drops an aileron in flight and continues to fly aerobatics and other maneuvers, including landing on a truck-mounted platform, with one aileron. "Part of the airshow, there were parts dropped off the airplane intentionally," Transport Canada investigator Bill Kemp told the Journal. "He was doing an over flight of the area to locate these parts." Pietsch is from Minot, N.D., where his family runs the local FBO. His brother Warren is also an airshow performer.

Bose® A20™ Aviation Headset
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There's Money in Space Tourism, Says FAA back to top 

Suborbital Spaceflight Demand

An FAA-funded study of reusable suborbital vehicles forecasts that total demand will translate into as much as $1.6 billion in revenue for operators and thousands of people flown over a decade. The study predicts commercial human spaceflight to represent the largest portion of demand. "About 8,000 high net worth individuals" around the world "are sufficiently interested and have spending patterns likely to result in the purchase of a suborbital flight," the study said. It concluded that only about 40 percent of those would fly within the 10-year forecast period, but that was just the baseline scenario. The study details scenarios that could drive demand much higher.

The study's baseline forecast sees demand for 335 seats in the first year, growing to 400 nine years later. But the study projected an optimistic "growth scenario" forecast, too, and the numbers there are significantly higher. In a growth scenario, the study predicts a demand form 11,000 seats over ten years. And, "If prices drop, demand will increase." In any case, the study attributed the majority (80 percent) of reusable suborbital vehicle demand to individuals. It noted "this market is likely to be sensitive to perceptions of risk" and word-of-mouth reports about how well experiences match with expectations. The forecast concludes that as a revenue-generating industry, demand will translate into a total of anywhere from $300 to $1.6 billion over 10 years and that it will be "sufficient to support multiple providers." Prices per seat listed by the study ranged from $95,000 flying solo with XCOR to $200,000 flying with five others aboard SpaceShipTwo. The full study is available from the FAA online, here (PDF file).

Bendix/King by Honeywell || Solo, But Not Alone
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New Approaches to Training back to top 

SAFE's Mobile Proficient Pilot Training?

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) arranged and presented at AirVenture a pilot proficiency project that created a new approach to training that may ultimately be coming to a forum near you. The project offers forums and simulator training sessions that specifically target key areas of flight safety. Examples include sessions on controlled flight into terrain, glass panels, angle of attack awareness and more. Working in partnership with Redbird Flight Simulations, scenarios like high-density-altitude takeoffs and complex instrument approaches can be introduced and addressed while engaging real-time critical thinking and decision-making skills. SAFE says it "is now exploring other venues" for the project.

At AirVenture, SAFE instructors presented 14 forums and provided more than 100 training sessions in Redbird simulators. Pilots who participated qualified for WINGS credit. The training approach was developed by SAFE's instructors working in partnership with Redbird. The resulting programs allow instructors to present intense scenarios that call on a pilot's hands-on skills and decision-making under stressful (if virtual) conditions. Pilots who commented favorably on the presentations at Oshkosh complimented the program's dynamism and engaging presentation. Redbird has a broad and growing foundation of simulator locations and SAFE's interest in providing accessible proficiency training could bring this project to a location near you.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

DCA Audio Highlights Confusion

Weather and a miscommunication left pilots and controllers confused and caused three commuter jets to breach separation requirements at Reagan National Airport Tuesday. Preliminary reports indicate that one aircraft came within 500 vertical feet and 1.7 miles of a departing aircraft and 600 feet and 2.8 miles of another jet. None of the jets were on collision courses, according to the FAA, and all were operated by US Airways. Audio of the event captures one controller stating that there were opposite-direction arrivals holding departures at the time. Other comments suggest controllers may have been working to reverse the flow of traffic on active runways. Audio of the event shows controllers and pilots working through the confusion.

At one point in the audio (click here for an excerpt acquired from LiveATC.net — .MOV file), a pilot receives instructions after being cleared to land and asks "... what happened?" The controller responds in part "We're trying to figure this out, too." The sequence appears to have initiated with an exchange between a manager at Potomac Consolidated Terminal Radar Approach Control and two traffic managers at Reagan National, acting FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said Thursday. Departures at the airport were temporarily halted as controllers reversed the preferred runway. The incident highlights the importance of clean communication in a system that depends on controllers for separation. The FAA is looking into details of the miscommunication. 

Schumer Wants Tighter Laser Laws

Colorful New York Sen. Chuck Schumer wants tougher regulations to prevent pilots from seeing red and particularly green lasers in the cockpit. The Democrat says he's written government regulators asking them to tighten up regulations on the sale of laser devices, which are sold primarily as pointers for people making presentations, usually indoors. There have been thousands of cases in which pilots have been intentionally targeted from the ground and Schumer said that in one incident earlier this year in Syracuse a JetBlue pilot suffered "minor" eye damage. "Some people are using this technology recklessly," the New York Democrat said Sunday. "Some who have far more evil intent may decide to use them as well."

Most retail store laser pointers emit a relatively low-power red light and while they have been used in aircraft incidents it's the exponentially more powerful green lasers available online that Schumer wants new rules for. He said he wants the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates laser devices, to limit the effective distance of consumer lasers and to restrict the sale of higher-powered lasers used in the entertainment business and by astronomers. It's already a federal offense to point a laser of any kind at an airplane.

Death Leads Mont Blanc To Ban Wingsuits

Chamonix-Mont Blanc, home of Europe's highest peak, saw the death of nine other adventurers in July, but it was the tenth who participated in a particular aerial activity that the town's mayor has now banned. An avalanche killed nine climbers last month as concerns mounted that the mountain's cliffs, and easy access, were attracting too many new adventurers. Then, a Norwegian wingsuit flyer was killed when his parachute didn't open. Wingsuit fliers are relatively new to the mountain in the numbers the region experienced since spring. A YouTube video that emerged at that time is credited with expanding the region's popularity among that group. While the ban is effectively in place, it is not expected to be permanent.

Located near the Swiss and Italian border, the mountain's Brevent cliff offers soaring for paragliders, hiking for climbers and unique facades for BASE jumpers. The sudden influx of wingsuit flyers may have rattled local authorities. Chamonix Mayor Eric Fournier told reporters that "for us, adventure doesn't mean extreme risk," and "we have to ask questions of responsibility and respect for other sports." Officials said that the ban is meant to allow time for officials to create rules for wingsuit pilots intended to meet the concerns of all parties. At Mont Blanc, some adventurers can reportedly manage multiple jumps per day because of the accessibility of some of the mountain's cliff faces. The wingsuit jumper killed at Mont Blanc last month had jumped from the Brevent cliff, which offers a 7,500 foot-altitude allowing some wingsuit pilots to fly nearly three miles. His name was Jon Inge Hovda. And he had 15 years experience with parachuting, his brother told The Associated Press. Of all the activities pursued on the mountain, wingsuit flyers may see the shortest season due to weather associated with the region's longer winters.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Why Pistons Endure

We all like to flap our lips about the imaginary light, cheap and efficient turbine that's hovering somewhere out there over the horizon. Except that it isn't. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli examines the reason: We just like piston engines. It's that simple. (Plus an extra bonus thought: Do you have the guts to hog up all the overhead space in an airliner? He doesn't.)

Read more and join the conversation.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #174: Single vs. Twin


Within the privacy of our own hangars, many pilots envision ourselves with a fistful of throttles and a cheap cigar clamped in a DC-3 captain's grimace. Take your multi-engine fantasies to new heights by overpowering this quiz.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

AirVenture 2012: News Coverage Round-Up

The year's mostly eagerly anticipated fly-in and trade show, EAA AirVenture took place in Oshkosh, Wisconsin from July 23 to July 29, 2012. Click here for an all-in-one-place index to coverage from the show — including podcasts, videos, blogs, and photo galleries.

Or skip to your favorite section here:

videos | podcasts | photo galleries | blogs | daily coverage

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

Video: Flight Trial -- Dynon's New D1 Pocket Panel

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

It was only a matter of time before someone stuffed a full-up EFIS into a portable box the size of drink coaster. It didn't exactly take Dynon very long to get around to it, either. In this video, AVweb takes a tour of the new D1 Pocket Panel, and while it's not really a full EFIS, it's close enough — a clever combination of MEMS gyro and GPS aiding.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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Is Your A&P Keeping Secrets?
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Ferguson Air Services (KJKA, Gulf Shores, AL)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Ferguson Air Services at Jack Edwards Airport (KJKA) in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

AVweb reader Sheldon Olesen recommended the FBO:

When we pull into a strange airport and have a choice of FBOs, we generally pick the one without "jet" in their name. Ferguson Air Service was pur choice on our recent trip to the Gulf Shores area. We had made no reservations for a rental car, but we were able to rent a car immediately at a cost of about $200 less than what we had been quoted online. Bags were taken for us, water provided, and the plane tied down — all with great efficiency and courtesy. Michelle provided directions for us to get to our final destination. On our return, we came back late in the day and turned our rental car back in. Thunderstorms surrounded the airport by the time we had preflighted the airplane. So no flyinfg, but no problem. Michelle got the rental car out again and sent us on our way after recommending some local hotels. A nice, friendly FBO with excelent facilities — there is no question we would return.

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 

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.

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].

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