AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 33a

August 13, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Pilot Saves Passengers back to top 

Pilot Ensures Skydivers Jump Before Crash

A young Illinois skydive-plane pilot who died Saturday in a crash in Taylorville, Ill., is being hailed as a hero after he ensured his load of 12 jumpers got out safely before he tried unsuccessfully to save himself. Brandon Sparrow, 30, of Augusta, Ill., has been identified as the pilot. Circumstances of the crash are still sketchy but there have been unconfirmed reports that there was no post-crash fire or explosion after the Beech 18 crashed in the back yard of a home.

Authorities said debris from the crash was spread over two to three blocks of a residential neighborhood. They don't know whether it was luck or the pilot's final efforts that kept the big twin from hitting any houses. No one on the ground was hurt. Sparrow was married with no children.

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Dramatic Crash Video Draws Attention back to top 

In-Cockpit Video Captures Stinson Crash

Video that made its way to YouTube early this month shows the June 30 crash of a Stinson 108-3 as filmed by an occupant sitting right seat in the cockpit. (Click the image at right for video.) All four aboard survived the crash and the NTSB is collecting information. The aircraft came down near Bruce Meadows airstrip near Stanley, Idaho. The strip offers 5,000 feet of grass and dirt at an elevation of 6,370 feet. Weather at the time of the accident included an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches Hg with a temperature of 27-degrees Centigrade and a dew point of three. The observations result in a density altitude of 9,167 feet. The four had flown into the airstrip earlier in the day and had reportedly gone hiking before attempting their departure. The video shows that the aircraft becomes airborne before settling to the ground and then gaining altitude. A passenger told the NTSB the Stinson never made it more than about 70 feet above the treetops before settling again -- this time, into the trees.

FAA records indicate the pilot of the accident aircraft, Les Gropp, held a commercial pilot certificate. The NTSB noted Gropp's injuries as serious while the other three men suffered minor injuries. Gropp had been involved in another accident in 2010, also while flying a passenger. In that incident, Gropp found himself low on fuel and elected to land the Cessna 150D he was flying at an alternate airport short of his planned destination. The aircraft reportedly attempted a landing at Smiley Creek airstrip, where the runway was covered in snow and flipped over almost immediately. Neither Gropp or his passenger were seriously injured. The NTSB is in the initial phases of investigating regarding the more recent accident. Watch and listen carefully and you will see the aircraft struggle to get airborne and climb before losing altitude, dipping its wings and impacting trees. Video continues through the entire crash sequence. Find the preliminary report here (PDF) and watch our video analysis here.

Video: Airplane Crash In-Cockpit Footage -- Stinson 108-3

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

Video of a plane crash as it was experienced from the right seat, inside the cockpit. The accident took place on Saturday, June 30, 2012 near Bruce Meadows airstrip, not far from Stanley, Idaho. At the time of this report, information was preliminary and subject to change, but some had been collected by the NTSB. The aircraft is a Stinson model 108-3, a 165-horsepower single-engine high-wing propeller-driven plane capable of carrying four, plus full fuel and light baggage. All four occupants survived the crash with the pilot suffering the worst injury. The cause of the crash is yet undetermined, but an aircraft's performance is dependent, among other things, on the density of the air it moves through. The pilot appears to have faced "high-density altitude" conditions, which degrade an aircraft's take-off and climb performance.

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AVweb Insider Blog: A Few Words About the Idaho Crash

When a pilot does a mea culpa on YouTube, the natural reaction is a cyber lynch mob. But shouldn't we, as an industry, be asking how we can get inside the heads of pilots who make bad judgements to prevent accidents in the first place? That's the subject of Paul Bertorelli's latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Aviation Safety: Quick Reactions Over Fuel back to top 

Airport Replaces Fuel Pending Lab Results

UPDATE 8/13/2012: World Fuels received independent fuel testing results and announced in part, "testing found the fuel to be in compliance with all specification requirements for Avgas Grade 100LL." (Full report, here -- PDF)

Truckee Tahoe airport authorities told AVweb Friday they have swapped out their self-serve 100LL and contacted pilots after initial tests following a fatal crash suggested there may have been a problem with fuel sold on the airport. As of Friday, it was not clear if there was a problem with the fuel, with the testing, or if any other airports might be affected. The crash took place at the California airport on Aug. 3, when an O-540-powered PA-24 Piper Comanche that had fueled up on the field crashed into a hangar shortly after takeoff, killing the pilot. Kevin Smith, general manager, Truckee Tahoe airport district, told AVweb Friday that the airport immediately stopped selling fuel after the crash as part of protocol and sent fuel samples to an independent lab for testing. Those results were inconclusive, Smith said, but showed a discrepancy regarding octane levels. That was enough for the airport to replace its supply and start looking for and replacing fuel in potentially affected aircraft while waiting on more lab results over the weekend. Some potentially affected pilots may yet be unaware.

Based on the early results, airport officials had fuel supplier World Fuels empty the airport's potentially affected tanks and replace the airport's fuel supply. World Fuels is also working to discern whether or not discrepancies identified by early tests are indicative of an actual problem in the supply chain. Smith said the airport put out a press release and attempted to contact by phone the roughly 160 pilots that airport records show purchased 100LL at TRK between July 23 and Aug. 3. Fuel sales resumed at TRK on Aug. 7, only after World Fuels drained and replaced the suspect fuel. The potential problem has earned the attention of Chevron, which is waiting on another set of test results from a different independent lab. Until they have conclusive results, Smith says, "We're a government agency, not an FBO. We're trying to be as transparent as possible. The bottom line is that we put safety before profits. We're doing our best to find pilots who might be affected, let them know what the situation is, and allow them to make an educated decision. We're draining tanks and swapping fuel if that's what they want." Smith says he hoped to have a new set of lab results in hand over the weekend and hopefully some resolution.

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Kent Pietsch Update back to top 

Pietsch OK, Planning Comeback

Airshow pilot Kent Pietsch is back home in Minot, N.D., after crash landing his Interstate Cadet show plane after a show in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, Canada last week. According to local media, Pietsch broke his nose when the aircraft clipped a wing during a forced landing short of the runway after his performance. He was looking for the aileron he drops as part of his act and lost power at low altitude. Pietsch and his bright yellow "Jelly Belly" aircraft are expected to be back.

Pietsch's next stop on the circuit was to be the Abbotsford International Air Show in British Columbia (where we shot this video). Airshow announcer Bob Singleton said Pietsch apologized about not being able to attend and said that he intends to repair the Cadet after he's recovered from his injuries.

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The Joy Is in the Journey, Not the Destination back to top 

Pilots Land At Wrong Airports

Considering the navigation resources available to pilots these days it would seem like Wrong Way Corrigan type incidents would be next to impossible, but a military and an airline crew each proved recently that it is still possible to land at the wrong airport. Last Tuesday, a United Express Saab 340 operated by Silver Airways missed its destination of Clarksburg, W.V., by about 10 miles and landed instead at Fairmont Municipal Airport. The 11 passengers were "re-accommodated" to the right airport shortly afterward and the crew has been suspended. "Safety is our top priority, and we have launched an internal review to determine what led to the flight diversion," Silver Airways COO David Querio said in the statement emailed to CNN. "We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience to passengers aboard flight 4049." The incident came a few weeks after an Air Force C-17 mistook an executive airport in Tampa for its intended target.

On July 25, the C-17 with 19 crew and 23 passengers set down at Peter O. Knight executive airport's 3,405-foot runway. The crew had been hoping to land at MacDill Air Force Base where they would have had more than 11,000 feet of concrete. The Air Force still hasn't explained what happened but it wasted little time getting the highly visible mistake rectified. Crews offloaded everything not needed to safely fly the aircraft and it took off for its original destination a few hours later.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

Forty-Seven Years In Aviation: A Memoir; Chapter 16: Books, Helicopters, and Gliders

After time in Korea, Richard Taylor re-entered civilian life with many duties: teaching at OSU, writing books, shuttling students and staff in the university's Air Transportation Service in T-Bones and Diesel-3s, learning to fly helicopters and sailplanes. And for good measure, he added time in the Army National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

Click here to read the 16th chapter.

International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP)
GAO: "Weaknesses Exist in TSA's Process for Ensuring
Foreign Flight Students Do Not Pose a Security Threat"

Is the concern about verifying foreign student pilot identity only a U.S. problem, or does it relate to the much broader global challenge of verifying individual pilot identity and competency? And how will the potential remedies for this perceived problem affect the U.S. flight training community? Join the discussion:

Do You Think the Concern About Verifying Individual Pilot Identity and Competence Is Just a U.S. Issue?
Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Liberty Flying Service (Lonesone Pines Airport, Wise, VA)

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

Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Liberty Flying Service at Lonesome Pines Airport (KLNP) in Wise, Virginia.

We hear plenty of stories of FBO personnel going above and beyond, but this tale from AVweb reader Dennis Wilt may top the list:

My wife and I arrived late in the day due to weather on our way to Oshkosh for AirVenture on Saturday, July 21. We called the FBO manager, who had left for the day, and he immediately came back to the airport to give us the keys to the courtesy car and give us directions to a hotel. The FBO manager, Robert Spera, is a member of SAFE, and it turns out we knew him — but he didn't know that when he drove back to the airport to help us. He was trying to get his wife to a surprise retirement party that evening, and we delayed him somewhat. The next morning, when we needed to depart for Oshkosh, he came out to the airport again on his day off to fuel the plane. This is beyond the call of duty for an FBO. Wonderful kudos to Bob and Liberty Flying Service.

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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What Have You Missed on AVwebcom? back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Runway Chicken at DCA

Now that the FAA seems to have figured out why the tower launched a couple of departures into an arriving RJ last month at Reagan National, it's suggesting that there will be consequences. We can only hope that the agency doesn't come up with some silly procedures that complicate things further, introducing new distractions and errors. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli offers the novel suggestion that the guy who owns this deal — probably a supervisor — simply be asked not to do that again. Not that he hasn't figured that out already. What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Read more and join the conversation.

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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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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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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Overheard on the radio a few years ago:

"Kalamazoo approach, student pilot N1234 five miles west."

"Are you the red and blue Cessna 172?"

"Yes. How did you knnow?"

"I have color radar. N1234, go to tower 123.45."

"Kalamazoo approach, white Bonanza with black and red stripes checking in."

Approach (laughing) :
"I used to fly that 172!"

Robert 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.