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Potomac Airport owner and operator David Wartofsky's latest YouTube video may educate pilots about the Washington, D.C., area's Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), though some viewers may find the
video's use of troll dolls a bit unorthodox. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks, Wartofsky's airport, along with Hyde Field and College Park Airport, attracted special attention from the
DOT and TSA for their proximity to potential terrorist targets in the nation's capitol. The result was the FRZ. It imposes additional procedures and restrictions for pilots operating in the area, or
to and from its airports. Wartofsky would like the rules revisited. Until then, he says his video is designed to "have a little fun, explain things to pilots ... and push policies to the next much
simpler logical step." In his thinking, that step would "acknowledge the presence of surface-to-air missiles and stand down the rest." As for the video, Wartofsky says its content
is "technically correct on all fronts." The method of presentation may be open to interpretation.
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The third test of an unmanned X-51A Waverider, designed to test a scramjet engine flying at six times the speed of sound, failed Tuesday and the vehicle was lost off the coast of Southern
California. Early accounts provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base state that the vehicle dropped from a B-52 and was accelerated by rocket boosters, as
planned. But 15 seconds after separating from its boosters, and prior to successful ignition of the scramjet, vehicle control was lost. The Air Force is blaming the failure on a faulty control fin.
Previous attempts have had mixed results. One Waverider test vehicle remains.
Commenting on the latest test, a statement from the Air Force Research Laboratory said in part, "It is unfortunate that a problem with this subsystem caused a termination before we could light the
scramjet engine," The Associated Press reported. The Air Force said Wednesday that the test was flown from Edwards Air Force Base. The B-52 carried the test vehicle to 50,000 feet near Point Mugu,
Calif., for release. Researchers are currently poring over data in an attempt to understand the cause of the failure. Two prior tests include a successful May 2010 flight that lasted about 143 seconds
at 3,500 mph and a June 2011 test in which the scramjet was shut down due to a disruption in airflow to the engine. The Air Force has created four test vehicles within a program that
Globalsecurity.org estimates has cost roughly $140 million. Officials have yet to determine when and if it will attempt to fly the program's last vehicle at high Mach, or at all.
GippsAero, the Australian manufacturer of the GA8 Airvan, said this week it has signed a partnership agreement with Soloy Aviation Solutions, based in Olympia, Wash., to assemble the airplanes for
the North American market. Soloy also will provide technical support. GippsAero said it has been working for more than a year to increase its presence in North America, and moving assembly to
Washington is a "significant next step." Since many components of the aircraft originate from the U.S., including the engine, propeller and avionics, "it makes good commercial sense to ship critical
aircraft components from Australia for local assembly," the company said. The plan aims "to reduce lead time and improve flexibility in delivering a more customized solution for the North American
Arvind Mehra, CEO of Mahindra Aerospace, the parent company for GippsAero, said his company is "delighted" to partner with Soloy. "Their expertise will certainly help us consolidate our presence in
North America and grow market awareness and visibility for the Mahindra Aerospace brand," he said. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli went flying in an AirVan early this year; click here for his review of the airplane.
A new hybrid air vehicle built by Northrop Grumman and Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd. for the U.S. Army flew for the first time last week, at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey. The long-endurance
multi-intelligence vehicle (LEMV) is the first airship of its kind, the company said. It's designed to provide an "unblinking stare" above ground troops, with the ability to stay aloft up to several
weeks while relaying intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance information. "The successful first flight of the vehicle demonstrates the readiness of hybrid air vehicle technology to serve
military needs," said Gary Elliott, CEO of Hybrid Air Vehicles, which is based in the U.K.
The first flight lasted more than 90 minutes, the companies said. The entire program, from initial design to first flight, took two years. The airship is about 300 feet long and 84 feet tall, and
it is remotely piloted. It is expected to be capable of carrying up to 2,500 pounds of payload, and will be much cheaper to operate than conventional aircraft. The aircraft can fly up to at least
22,000 feet. A crew of about 12 to 24 would be enough to support about 18 of the vehicles, according to Northrop. The company expects to deploy the aircraft "in theater" by the end of this year. Video of the first flight is posted on YouTube.
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The FAA has asked for comments on its plan to take the last Direction Finders in U.S. airspace offline. Twenty-nine DFs remain operational in Alaska, along with their associated approaches, but the
FAA says nobody has used them since 2008. GPS and ADS-B have reduced the need for DF steers, the FAA says, and Flight Service Stations have other tools available to assist lost or disoriented pilots,
such as VOR, ADF, and GPS. "DF equipment is beyond its useful lifecycle," the FAA says. If you disagree, or have any opinion on the matter, the FAA is ready to hear your comments until Sept. 10.
DF sites outside Alaska were shut down in 2007, and AOPA said it doesn't oppose the plan to shut down the remaining facilities. However, AOPA asked the FAA to apply whatever money it saves to
expand ADS-B coverage in Alaska. DF is used to help lost pilots get back on course even if they have no navigation gear other than a radio. The system detects the aircraft's radio transmissions and
provides a bearing to the aircraft, AOPA said. One station can pinpoint the aircraft's position by having the pilot make turns, then assessing the bearing change. If two DF stations are in range, the
bearings can be plotted on a chart. The complete FAA notice, with information about how to submit comments, is posted online.
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The security at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport cost $100 million, but a regular guy with a broken-down jet ski inadvertently thwarted the entire system on Saturday night. Daniel
Casillo, 31, of Howard Beach, was out at a bar with friends when they decided to go for a ride on their watercraft in Jamaica Bay, the New York Post reported Sunday. After his craft broke down in the dark, and his friends were nowhere to
be seen, Casillo swam to shore, heading for the bright lights of Runway 4 Left, which protrudes into the bay. Casillo scaled an eight-foot fence, walked across two runways, and made it to Terminal 3
without anyone trying to stop him.
According to the Post, Casillo should have been spotted by the motion sensors and closed-circuit cameras of the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System, or PIDS. The Port Authority police told the
Post they have been concerned about the failure of the PIDS for some time. "We have brought this to the attention of former executive director Chris Ward, who failed to act," Robert Egbert, spokesman
for the police, said. The Port Authority, which operates the airport, said it has increased patrols and will meet with Raytheon, which makes the PIDS, this week.
Two skydivers who missed their intended drop zone at St. Mary's Airport in southeast Georgia and instead landed at Naval Base King's Bay next door, which hosts Ohio Class nuclear submarines and
their Trident nuclear missiles were quickly detained last Sunday. They landed on a ball field. Base spokesman Scott Bassett said the pair, who were caught by unexpected winds, were "noticed
immediately" and met with a response that will have to be left up to the imagination since Bassett declined to tell NBC News the details of the interaction between security forces and the errant
jumpers. "Security is robust," he said. "It's extraordinarily dangerous to parachute into this base." The two jumpers also warranted some extra security attention.
One was a naturalized citizen but the other was a foreign national and he didn't have his passport on him. It took some calls to the skydiving center and "a couple of hours" to sort everything out
but Bassett said the base and the The Jumping Zone will work together to keep unwanted guests from dropping in on the nation's most carefully guarded military assets. Seven unexpected arrivals have
been recorded in three years. "We want to remind all skydivers that the base should be only a last choice option for landing," said a Posting on The Jumping Place Web site. The skydiving center will
be reviewing off-site landings with its patrons.
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Imagine the technical challenge of flying a Toyota Camry to Mars and plopping it down in one piece. NASA has done just that with the Curiosity rover, although it's a tad more sophisticated
than the Toyota. And at $2.5 billion, you could cover Mars in economy cars. Resident cheapskate Paul Bertorelli offers this question on the AVweb Insider blog: Could a private company like
SpaceEx do it for less?
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The Latin America Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (LABACE) runs from Wednesday to Friday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the show is now billing itself as the second-largest business aviation
event in the world (behind NBAA). All the major OEMs will be there in force with multiple aircraft in the static display and booths on the convention floor. Last year more than 15,000 registered
delegates attended the event.
Latin America is one of the fastest-growing markets for business aviation and governments are straining to create facilities to meet the demand. One of the main elements of the program is the
annual meeting of Business Aviation in Latin America, whose theme for this year's discussion is "A Vision for the Future." Prior to the official opening of the convention, Bombardier held its annual
safety standdown with seminars conducted by leading experts in safety-related issues.
Texting talking on a cellphone while flying is being cited in the fatal crash of an aerial survey aircraft in Canada in November of 2011. The Transportation Safety Board stopped short of blaming
the crash of the Cessna 185 on the pilot's extensive cellphone use while on the short flight from Peace River, Alberta, to Fort St. John, British Columbia, but it did mention it as a potential
contributing factor. "While it did not appear the pilot was actively engaged in cellphone communications during the last 11 minutes of the flight, this distraction was prevalent throughout the flight
and in conjunction with the night conditions encountered may have contributed to the CFIT event," the board said. The report said the pilot may have been a victim of "black hole effect" in which the limited
visual cues available during a night VFR flight in a remote area can affect depth perception. The aircraft descended gradually and under positive control until it hit a tree about eight miles short
of the Fort St. John Airport.
Investigators matched cellphone records against GPS data to plot the pilot's phone use against his performance and found he flew much less precisely when on the phone. While he was texting and
talking the aircraft's altitude varied by as much as 1,000 feet. The pilot spent 28 minutes on five separate phone calls during the flight, received three text messages and replied to two of those.
The board is recommending that non-emergency use of cellphones be banned during flights.
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Do you feel tempted to answer a call or reply to a text while you're flying? Canada's Transportation Safety Board has
implicated texting while flying in an accident in nothern British Columbia in 2011.
General Aviation Modifications has been out there with a staple of eninge mod business: Custom fuel injectors called GAMIjectors. If you have GAMIjectors on your airplane, our sister publication,
Aviation Consumer, would like to know how they're working out for you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.
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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.
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.
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.
Our latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Liberty Flying Service at Lonesome Pines Airport (KLNP) in Wise,
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.
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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