AVwebFlash - 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.

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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

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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.

When I returned to the Ohio State University in June 1969 after 18 months of Air Force active duty in Korea, I joined a group of flight instructors that provided classroom instruction for general-aviation pilots preparing to take FAA written examinations. The program was sponsored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and provided courses all over the U.S. for private-pilot candidates, pilots preparing for the Instrument rating, and commercial pilots working toward the ultimate aviation credential, the Airline Transport pilot certificate. On nearly every weekend, there would be several of these three-day courses taking place in different parts of the country, and in the early 1970s -- when general aviation was experiencing rapid growth -- it was not uncommon to see classes of 100-plus students. (The ATP courses averaged 15-20 students.)

Learning to fly on instruments was a challenge and provided a lot of satisfaction for me during my Air Force flight training; I had done well under the hood, which resulted in my recognition at graduation as the outstanding instrument pilot in Class 56-I. During the years that followed, I acquired a solid foundation of practical IFR experience and knowledge as well as the ability to share it with others in classroom settings, assets that prepared me well for joining the weekend group as an instructor in the preparatory course for instrument-pilot wannabes.

The weekend courses were conducted as a team effort with two instructors sharing the load. By the time we finished a class on Sunday afternoon, we had presented all the material our students would encounter on the FAA written exam and we advised these folks that although they were now well-prepared to take the test, there was much more to be learned: instrument procedures and techniques and the flying skills that could only be developed by actual flight experience. We simply didn't have the time to enlarge upon this part of instrument training.

After just a few of these weekend sessions, I noticed there were always students lingering after class to inquire where they might get the additional information we didn't have time to present. These constant requests led me to think there might be a book that would help solve the problem, so I outlined my thoughts, wrote a chapter or two and sent the manuscript to a senior editor at the Macmillan Publishing Company in New York; within a short time (and with a gracious referral from Bob Buck, retired TWA captain and a prolific aviation writer), I had a contract for my first book, titled Instrument Flying.

I burned a lot of midnight oil the following year pounding away on a portable typewriter at home and on OSU trips, almost all of which involved more than a few hours of waiting time (corporate and charter pilots will know what I'm talking about) that I could put to good use on the book project. Instrument Flying hit the streets in 1972 and was well-received by the general-aviation community, in part because it helped resolve the problem of providing the practical information we hadn't time to cover in the instrument-written classes. Instrument Flying went through four editions and remained in print for almost 40 years. One book led to another, and when all was said and done I had written 14 aviation books (including eight books for young readers about "firsts" in aviation) and edited a group of six more that spoke solely to problems of flight safety. In 1978 I founded and served as the editor of The Pilot's Audio Update, a monthly tape-cassette (later produced on CD) subscription service for pilots that was published continuously for 33 years.

1970 to 1980 was a busy decade: I was teaching a regular classroom course (sometimes two in the same quarter), working in weekend courses all over the country, and flying for the university's Air Transportation Service and the Air Force Reserve. The corporate airplane hand-me-downs had all but evaporated by this time, but in the summer of '72 an automobile dealer in Columbus gifted the university with a Beech D-50, also known as the Twin Bonanza or The T-Bone.

This big, husky, light twin flew like a much larger airplane ... it even sounded bigger, thanks to the exhaust augmenters. The D-50 was a cabin-class twin sans air-stair entry door (that feature was added in later models), and to the best of my knowledge it was also the only light twin with three seats up front. The Twin Bonanza begat the Beech Queen Air and the King Air series, perhaps the most popular turboprop airplanes in the world.

None of my fellow ATS pilots expressed a burning desire to fly the T-Bone, so N754B became "my airplane" by default; I flew it for about 50 hours until it was sold at year's end -- and I enjoyed every minute I spent in the airplane.

The rest of my civilian flight time in 1972 was in Piper Aztecs, DC-3s and a smattering of other light airplanes. One of the Diesel-3s (just one of many nicknames, including Douglas Racer, Gooney Bird, Dizzy Three, and the Grand Old Lady) was an ex-American Airlines airplane built in the late 1930s with 40,000-plus hours of flight time when it was donated to Ohio State. Rechristened N11OSU and repainted in school colors, it was the university's "flying classroom," fitted with 28 airline seats, a movie projector in the rear and a screen at the forward end of the cabin. We flew students and faculty on field trips that were enhanced by visual presentations during their flights to and from various points of interest.

The OSU athletic department was a major source of business for the Air Transportation Service; 11OSU transported nearly all the varsity teams except football (too many players and too much equipment) to games at all the Big Ten schools and occasional non-conference venues. As you can see, the airplane was a little worse for wear from a cosmetic standpoint, having spent a lot of time out in the wind and weather because of hangar-space restrictions. But 11OSU served Ohio State well until it was sold in 1974.

Our other DC-3 (no photo available) was formerly owned by the Kroger Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was donated to OSU when the grocery giant decided to transport their VIPs in turbine-powered airplanes. 77OSU was everything a corporate transport should be: luxurious seating for 14 passengers, mahogany cabinets and sideboards topped with living-room quality light fixtures, leather headliners and picture windows on each side, to name just a few of its accoutrements. It had oversized prop spinners, enclosed wheel wells and several power and aerodynamic enhancements that added more than a few knots to its cruise speed. For all practical purposes 77OSU became the university president's airplane -- a "royal barge" to be sure -- but our then-sitting president, Dr. Novice Fawcett, deserved it. Two weeks after I returned from Korea it was the airplane in which I earned my ATP certificate and DC-3 type rating. 77OSU appears in my log books on many occasions until it was sold in 1972.

The Veterans Administration benefits derived from 18 months on active duty included a generous fund for educational assistance, the most significant result of which was the master's degree in journalism I earned from Ohio State in 1971. After finishing the master's program there was enough money remaining to add rotary-wing ratings to my Commercial pilot and Flight Instructor certificates. The Bell 47G (H-13 in Army-speak), the bubble-nosed helicopter made famous by the TV series M*A*S*H, was the vehicle of choice due to the aviation department's recent acquisition of two surplus Army aircraft for training purposes.

The Bell 47G was not far removed in technology -- or appearance, for that matter -- from Igor Sikorsky's VS-300, vintage 1941. Note Igor's fedora ... crash helmets had not yet been invented.

My choice of flight instructors was also a no-brainer: Courtney Chapman, one of my faculty mates in the Department of Aviation, was flying Bell 47s as a member of the Ohio Army National Guard unit located on the OSU airport and was also a civilian CFI with a rotary-wing rating. Early in my training I learned a lesson never to be forgotten: While flying relatively straight and level between maneuvers one day, I turned around and looked behind, whereupon Court grabbed my helmet, turned my head to the front and said in mock seriousness, "Don't ever look behind you in a Bell 47!" The point -- lightly taken -- was his concern for a student seeing all that mechanical movement going on just a few feet behind him ... the sort of thing you never see when flying a fixed-wing aircraft.

One of the hoops a helicopter trainee must jump through is landing the aircraft on a slope -- i.e., one skid a time, gently -- so we built a small mound in the airport infield to accommodate that exercise. As the grass grew, the mound became less visible. On one solo practice flight, I was moving very slowly about five feet off the ground trying to spot the mound. Flying a helicopter is an exercise in coordination carried to a very high level: both hands, both feet plus a twist-grip throttle on the collective pitch control are in near-constant motion to make the machine do your bidding. On this occasion, with my attention devoted almost entirely outside, I realized I was flying without thinking about moving the controls -- they had become extensions of my thought processes; it was truly an epiphany and from that point on, my helicopter flying improved significantly, to the point where I managed to convince the FAA examiners that I was qualified as a rotary-wing commercial pilot and flight instructor.

In 1938 Leighton Collins (father of Richard Collins, well-known aviation writer -- it runs in the family) started a unique aviation publication titled Air Facts – The Magazine for Pilots. About the size of the original Reader's Digest, this monthly magazine was filled with useful, interesting information for general-aviation pilots and remained in publication until 1973. I became acquainted with the inimitable Mr. Collins and wrote a regular column and many stories for Air Facts over the next several years.

The July 1973 issue of Air Facts featured the OSU Department of Aviation and was an in-depth coverage of our faculty and their activities. Of note was the department's unique approach to aviation education: OSU students could pursue degrees in several of the university's colleges with a specialization in aviation; many of them became pilots, others applied their aviation knowledge to other areas such as business, engineering, etc.

August 1974 was a beehive of flying activity at the OSU airport. Several of our faculty (myself included) spent a lot of time that month examining the piloting skills and knowledge of a large group of non-commercial aviators who had volunteered for an FAA-sponsored experiment. The scope of piloting experience in this group ran the gamut from very little to quite a lot. Our objective was to determine if there was a reasonable and dependable way to judge whether a pilot was capable of flying safely.

I flew as an observer in a wide variety of airplanes that included most of the Cessna, Beech and Piper singles. As unofficial examiners, we asked our guinea pigs to complete a comprehensive set of flying tasks to arrive at a determination of pilot suitability, for lack of a better description. At the end of the project, I had flown with 50 pilots, 14 of which I considered unsafe for flight without further training. One poor soul performed so poorly I suggested he have someone fly him home ... which he did.

If you haven't guessed by now, this was the FAA-sponsored research project that became the Biennial Flight Review a year or so later, since then changed to simply "Flight Review." (Did the FAA think "biennial" was more than the general aviation pilot community could fathom?) It was intended to assure that general-aviation pilots would be prohibited from carrying passengers unless they got an instructor's OK on their performance at least every two years. The teeth in this regulation were not very sharp, but today's FAR 61.56 is much better than no oversight at all.

In 1974 things quieted down somewhat, at least for the several days I spent in September at the Black Forest Gliderport in Colorado Springs on assignment for Air Facts magazine. I had never been in a sailplane (the non-powered-flight people will take great umbrage if you call their aircraft "gliders") and the near-silence I experienced while learning the rudiments of powerless flight was astonishing.

I was treated to several instructional flights in the Schweizer 2-33 two-place trainer, followed by my first solo venture into this totally fascinating, very quiet environment with nothing but wind noise in my ears. After my instructor climbed out of the back seat and walked away, I heard someone talking softly ... it wasn't until another sailplane passed directly overhead that I realized the conversation was coming from an instructor talking his student through a landing ... that is quiet flying with a capital Q.

The next event in my short course was a flight in the Schweizer 1-26 single-seat sailplane that featured the smallest cockpit I have ever experienced; it was more like "putting on" the airplane instead of climbing into it but the close quarters made it easy to become one with the machine. The specs suggest the 1-26 can accommodate a 255-pound pilot, but a person that big would need a shoehorn.

Flying the 1-26 was nothing short of delightful. I cast off from the tow plane at 9000 feet MSL (Colorado Springs is about 6000 feet MSL), climbed three or four thousand feet and sailed back and forth in the updraft from the Front Range Mountains for the better part of an hour. The 1-26 can produce a glide ratio of 23:1 (more than double that of most powered airplanes when the engine quits) but that is still far short of the 50:1-plus gliding performance of competition sailplanes whose high-aspect ratio wings and very light weight generate fantastic soaring numbers.

The Black Forest experience was so intriguing and challenging I arranged for more training (thanks again, VA) at a facility closer to home and eventually added Glider ratings to my Commercial and Flight Instructor certificates.

Unfortunately, the topography and weather of central Ohio does not generate good conditions for sailplane pilots; many of the flights in this area are "sled rides" -- i.e., get an aero tow to a nominal altitude of 2000 feet AGL, release the tow line and glide back to a landing. But there's another way to get sailplanes airborne: Launch them with a winch. To see what this unusual procedure was all about, I traveled to a grass strip in northern Ohio where sailplanes were pulled into the air by a winch.

This requires a pilot technique completely different from an aero tow. The sailplane is hooked to a steel cable perhaps 3000 feet long; when power is applied to the tow rig, the cable is wound up rapidly on a drum (out of sight on the far side of the machine in the picture), pulling the sailplane toward the launcher. Flying speed is reached quickly and the pilot must maintain enough back pressure on the stick to keep the cable taut; this results in a short, steep ride until the sailplane is directly over the tow rig at 1000-1500 feet AGL, at which point the pilot pulls the red knob in the cockpit and, hopefully, sails away.

I didn't plan to participate in six different military reserve units on my way to Air Force retirement; it just worked out that way. Long story shortened considerably, I spent only a year flying as a warrant officer with the Ohio Army National Guard in 1970-1971, having resigned my Air Force majority. When I left the Army Guard unit because of conflicts with my primary job at the Ohio State University, I applied to the AF Reserve for reinstatement to my former rank. (By that time I had close to 15 years of creditable service toward retirement ... the decision to continue as a reservist took about a millisecond of thought.) Those of you who can imagine the time and red tape required to grant such a request won't be surprised by the two-and-a-half years of administrative procedure that resulted; the Air Force eventually took me back at my former rank, but not with my original date of rank ... I may have been the oldest major in the AF at that time.

In June 1974, with gold leaves on my uniform once again, I paid a visit to the Ohio Air National Guard unit at Lockbourne AFB in Columbus, the group with which I had spent 18 months in Korea, hoping I would be able to resume my former staff position. But alas, all the flying slots were filled, so I went down the street (literally) to the Air Force Reserve unit at Lockbourne and found a new military home. I signed on as a pilot in the 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron that was equipped with the Fairchild C-123K, an aircraft with an intriguing history that I will relate in the next chapter of this memoir.

[Continued next month.]

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

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

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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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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

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