AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 33b

August 16, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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David Wartofsky Explains It All for You ... back to top 

Troll Dolls In The FRZ

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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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Tomorrow's Airspace back to top 

Hypersonic Fail

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.

AirVans To Be Assembled In U.S.A.

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 market."

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.

Hybrid Blimp Flies

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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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Yesterday's Airspace back to top 

FAA To Decommission Last Direction Finders

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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Just, Um, Testing the Security back to top 

Jet Skier Finds Flaw In JFK Security

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.

Errant Skydivers Land On Nuke Sub Base

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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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Curious About Curiosity

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?

Read more and join the conversation.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

LABACE On In Sao Paulo

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.

Cellphone Use Cited In Fatal Crash

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.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

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

Question of the Week: Distractions in the Cockpit

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.

What's your cell phone protocol in the cockpit?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

What's On Your Mind?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to .

NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)

Survey: How Are Your GAMIjectors Working?

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.

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 ...

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What Have You Missed on AVwebcom? 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.

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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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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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
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.

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