AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 36b

September 6, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! When a "No Trespassing" Sign Won't Cut It back to top 

Navy Wants Nearby GA Airport Closed

The Navy has asked the FAA to close down a small airport close to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia, after a pair of skydivers inadvertently landed on their property last month. Rear Adm. John C. Scorby, commander of the Navy's Southeast Region, sent a letter on Tuesday to the FAA's district office, outlining the Navy's concerns. Seven skydivers from St. Mary's Airport have landed on the base in the last three years, including the two on Aug. 12, Scorby said. He said such landings could potentially cause "needlessly dangerous reactive responses." The skydiving operator, The Jumping Place, has already moved to another airport while it looks for a new permanent base.

City councilman Jim Gant told the Florida Times-Union that that city would like to relocate the airport, and land is available, but there is no money to make it happen. The airport, which should be an asset to the city, instead has become a "spear in the city's side and somebody twists it every week," he said. He added that since the Navy base brings in $600 million a year, and the airport is home to "maybe a dozen planes," if it comes to a choice between the airport and the Navy, he expects the Navy will win.

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In the Air back to top 

Stratos Team Delays Skydive Record Attempt

The Red Bull Stratos team, which is working toward breaking the longstanding highest-ever parachute jump record, has delayed its final record attempt because the capsule, which carries skydiver Felix Baumgartner aloft beneath a helium balloon, was damaged in a test jump last month. Baumgartner landed safely after jumping from 97,145 feet above the New Mexico desert -- the second-highest jump, ever -- and the capsule was released from the balloon and parachuted back to the surface. However, the capsule landed on rocks and was thrown onto its side, according to the Stratos team blog, damaging its outer shell, framework, and other key components. The flight that will attempt to set a new record is now expected to take place during the first two weeks of October.

Art Thompson, technical project director, said over the weekend that the capsule had performed perfectly during the August test flight. However, the rough landing cracked some of the interior panels, and the instrument panel had to be rebuilt. All the interior systems have been checked and verified, he said, and will undergo a final test in an altitude chamber later this month. The weather in New Mexico is expected to be good for the flight attempt in October. "Early fall in New Mexico is one of the best times of year to launch stratospheric balloons," according to Don Day, the project meteorologist. Baumgartner aims to ascend to above 102,800 feet before jumping, to break Joe Kittinger's record, set in 1960. Kittinger was an Air Force test pilot working with the space program. He's an advisor on the Stratos project, which began in 2005.

FAA Studying Cellphone Regulations

Those who fly on commercial airplanes seem to have mixed feelings about cellphone use in the cabin -- it's convenient when you want to call someone, but annoying when the person crammed in next to you talks too loud or too long. This week, the FAA released a draft report (PDF) addressing whether more cellphone use should be allowed aboard the air carriers. The study, which was mandated by the FAA Modernization and Reform Act enacted earlier this year, looked at safety-of-flight issues, the effect on the passenger experience, and the impact on cabin crew.

The study reviewed whether aviation authorities in other countries where cellphones are allowed in the cabin had reported any cases of air rage or cabin crew interference related to passengers using cellphones on aircraft, but no such incidents were reported. The study also found no documented occurrences of cellphones affecting flight safety on aircraft with on-board cellular telephone base stations. The report is open for public comment until Nov. 5. The FAA is not required to act on this study, but any future rulemaking related to airborne cellphone use must take the study into consideration.

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News Briefs back to top 

Tax Credits Boost Kestrel Program

Kestrel Aircraft will receive $30 million in federal tax credits, the state of Wisconsin announced on Tuesday, to help the company create new jobs. Alan Klapmeier, CEO of Kestrel and co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft, said the credits will provide $7.5 million in new cash for the company, which is working to produce a single-engine turboprop. The state has also provided Kestrel with a $2 million loan and created an enterprise zone that will provide up to $18 million more in tax credits. The city of Superior has added $6.5 million to help with the start-up, including land for two manufacturing sites.

"Attracting this visionary entrepreneur to relocate with the potential to create 600 new jobs is incredible news for the city of Superior and the entire state of Wisconsin," said Gov. Scott Walker. "In putting together an aggressive package, Wisconsin has decisively demonstrated its commitment to job creation and boosting our state economy." Klapmeier said the company will break ground this fall for its first industrial facility in Superior, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel. Kestrel currently employs about 55 people in Wisconsin and 30 in Maine. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Klapmeier about the airplane and production plans in June; click here for that podcast.

NTSB: Wingtip Cameras For Large Aircraft

Citing 12 accident investigations since 1993, the NTSB has issued a Safety Recommendation to the FAA for installation of anti-collision aids, like onboard camera systems, to help pilots with clearance issues during taxi. The Board says preliminary information collected in its investigations show that pilots of large aircraft cannot easily see the aircraft's wingtips from the cockpit. It found that in aircraft like the 747, 757, 767, 777 and the Airbus A380 pilots must literally stick their heads out of the window to see the airplane's wingtips, noting that this "is often impractical." The recommendation notes that the Airbus A380 superjumbo is already equipped with an external camera system, and why that system is insufficient in addressing the Board's concerns.

According to the NTSB each of 12 accidents referenced by the letter involved situations in which pilots "were either unable to determine or had difficulty determining the separation" between their aircraft's wingtips and another object while taxiing. The recommendation states that the accidents "highlight the need" for aids that to help pilots with the problem of sometimes moving obstacles they may encounter on the ground. The A380 is equipped with an External Taxi Aid Camera System consisting of two cameras -- one on the belly and one on the vertical fin. The intent of the belly camera is to display the position of the landing gear before and during taxi and to provide "an external landscape." The vertical fin camera displays a field of view that does not extend to the aircraft's wingtips but shows most of the fuselage, and the jet's wings from outboard engine to outboard engine. The NTSB recommends that a system that displays wingtips and wingtip paths -- not unlike the backup camera in some modern cars -- be installed on all newly manufactured large airplanes where the wingtips are not easily visible from the cockpit. See the full recommendation here (PDF).

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Meanwhile, in Russia ... back to top 

Su-24 Buzzes Civilian Road?

Recommend a Video | VOTW Archive

A viral video has people questioning if they can believe what they see: a Sukhoi Su-24 buzzing a car (and its dash-cam) as both drive down a civilian Russian road in opposite directions and different, but not too different, altitudes. The drama begins about 20 seconds in.

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If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Don't forget to send us links to any interesting videos you find out there. If you're impressed by it, there's a good chance other AVweb readers will be too. And if we use a video you recommend on AVweb, we'll send out an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you."

Putin's Trike Flight With Siberian Cranes

Russian president Vladimir Putin Wednesday took flight with a pilot who flew with him in a two-seat trike aircraft as part of a project that would lead rare Siberian white cranes on a migration route. Pilot Igor Nikitin flew with Putin and said the Russian president has logged 17 hours in the air. Russian regulations would allow Putin to earn a pilot certificate for the craft in a minimum of 25 hours flight time, according to Nikitin. Putin's flights were successful, but not particularly good at leading cranes.

As the aircraft flew its first flight with the cranes, Wednesday, only one joined with it in formation. On a second flight, five of the birds joined in formation with the Russian president, but after two circuits around the field, three of the birds had dropped out of formation. For his part, Putin told RiaNovosti that his interest in the program led him to purchase his own motorized hang glider. He says he will later hand the aircraft over to researchers involved in the crane relocation project.

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Question of the Week: Speaking Aviation to Power

AOPA and NBAA have hit the political convention circuit, buttonholing movers and shakers and their supporters at events in Tampa and Charlotte. What should they have been talking about?

What would you ask your elected representative about with regard to GA?
(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?

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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.)

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Aviation Recession Hits China?

The bizjet sector is the bright spot for Chinese civil aviation but (relatively) tough times are ahead as China continues to cope with lessened demand for its products. Reporting from the Beijing International Business Aviation Show, China Daily reported that a senior government official was praising the importance of business aviation to the overall industry. "The growth of business aviation is faster than that of other civil aviation sectors, including passenger and freight transport," said Li Jiaxiang, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Companies interviewed by the newspaper said they expect the growth of their businesses to be cut in half in the coming year but they're still expecting upward of 20 percent growth. The regulatory structure needed to accommodate meaningful growth, particularly for more grassroots aviation, is lagging, however.

At the same event, the newspaper reported that low-altitude airspace reform is at least three years away in some areas and won't be adopted country-wide until 2020. Airspace in China is tightly controlled by the military, and non-scheduled civil aviation activity is a time-consuming bureaucratic exercise. It was previously reported that airspace liberalization for privately owned aircraft was imminent and the comments at the convention by Du Qiang, deputy secretary of the National Air Management Traffic Committee, appear to signal a delay in that initiative.


photo from The Hill

AOPA and NBAA (no mention of EAA) have taken the unprecedented step of setting up at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions to press issues of concern to general aviation. The Hill covered the joint schmoozefest at the Liberty in Charlotte on Tuesday. Among those attending were senior Democratic congressmen and senators along with delegates. There was socialization and some networking going on and it appears the spirit of political conventioneering was upheld. The party with the Dems came a week after a similar event in Tampa with aviation-minded delegates attending the Republican convention.

In Tampa, the groups hosted a similar cross-section of delegates and politicians and in each case the receptions were promoted with ads reminding politicians (some of the most avid users of GA) that they're fighting to protect the freedom of flight. AOPA announced the parties in July and invited delegates to sign up online to take part.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: No Time? No Kidding

Cost is a big reason that many owners have reduced their flying hours. But so is lack of time. No surprise there, either, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog. You probably don't know anyone who's working fewer hours than they did a decade ago, and neither do we. Modern life puts so many demands on the 24-hour day that flying gets bumped to the bottom of the to-do list. Plus, some additional thoughts on the passing of Neil Armstrong.

Read more and join the conversation.

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What Have You Missed on AVwebcom? back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #175: Back to Flight School


"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these:" Back to School! (With apologies to John Greenleaf Whittier's "Maud Muller," 1854). Break's over, kids; time to review what you might've forgotten over the summer. This quiz will count toward your final grade.

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

To Multi Or Not To Multi

That was the question we posed last month. Is it nobler in the minds of pilots to fly on multiple engines or forsake one throttle and -- by opposing the multi-engine fetish -- declare, "One sound power source is good enough for me!" Here now are the results of our single v. multi-engine poll. Here now are the results of our single v. multi-engine poll.

Let's begin this review of the single-versus-multi-engine issue by agreeing to disagree that declaring which is better -- safer, faster, more efficient, sexier -- will never be settled in a civilized manner. Red Sox and Yankees fans will link arms and sing "Kumbaya" before pilots come together on this. Still, some of us can't pass up the opportunity to shoot BBs at hornet's nest, so in Brainteaser 174, I asked readers to declare which they favored, single or twin. More than a statistical survey, which usually proves mind-bogglingly dull, I also solicited the logic behind respondents' decisions. Comments ranged across the field from "twins/singles are safer" to "I think everyone should fly hot-air balloons only, because when the burner flames out you simply float into someone's backyard, and they usually hand you a beer." Can't argue with that.

As of Aug. 18, 2012, I'd received 212 survey responses and managed to delete 15 of those before I figured out not to answer emails on a laptop while drinking beer in some stranger's backyard. So, of the 197 surviving poll responses, 144 favored multi-engine aircraft over 53 diehards in the single-for-life column.

(Statistical margin of error of plus or minus something or other. Results as interpreted by the author are not indicative of scientific evaluations found in loftier surveys, such as Aviation Consumer or Aviation Safety. Discontinue use if excessive chaffing results.)

I'd thought the multi-yes column would be even larger, because I specified that -- for our survey purposes -- readers shouldn't concern themselves with the actual costs of multi-engine operations. All flights would begin and end at my fantasy airfield, Ailerona Muni, located in the Soysack Mountains of south-central Iowa, where the weather is always clear, avgas is a nickel a gallon -- plus you can charge it without ever getting a bill -- and there's never a fee for maintenance and instruction, because mechanics and instructors feel guilty about charging to be around airplanes. I know I do. Oh, yeah, and we'll even toss in a free hangar with a powered tug. So there's no reason to turn down this chance to squeeze a fistful of throttles and leave the singles gawking in awe.

Except those 53 devoted singles readers saw through the ruse: "Give me one reliable PT-6 in the nose over two finicky 1940s-technology piston engines bangin' away on the wings any day," an anonymous curmudgeon wrote. [Ed. note: We've stripped all identities from the comments. If you think you recognize any uncredited comment as being yours, well, it wasn't. It's from the other guy.] Her email reeked of kerosene, but she had a point. A wheezing Piper Apache can't hold a relief tube to the reliability of today's single-engine turbines. This led to many of the answers being classified as yes-no-but answers, as in, "Yes, I'd take a multi, but I can't afford it," or "No, I have no need of a twin, but whenever I fly over the Cascades on a winter's night, I sure whish I had a spare engine."

Tossing aside the cost factor -- which is significant in leaping from one engine to two -- 22 readers chose twins simply because they were "cool." Those are the kind of pilots we need more of around the field. No one rides a Harley because it gets good gas mileage or handles like a Triumph 650. You mount a Hog because it rumbles and annoys the hell out of the guy at the light in his Prius. Likewise, a deep-throated Baron, when it taxis across the ramp with those lopping big-bore Continentals sucking more avgas than a Cirrus will burn in a month, looks cool. It is cool. Face it: Many of us became pilots to overcome a lack of coolness. Those of us who had bad acne and really liked muscle cars in high school, anyhow.

More levelheaded readers argued the plusses and minuses of twin v. single by alternately sighting safety. Several readers rightfully pointed out that the aircraft's mission should drive the debate. How cool is that?

The multi-yes crowd greatly favored the extra windmill when operating over mountains or vast stretches of water. Multi detractors quoted the tired saw: "When one engine fails, the other just gets you to the crash site sooner." To which several multi-engine pilots countered with, "When one engine fails, the other takes me to the airport."

Accident stats do not always support the two-engines-is-better-than-one debate. Many twins have crashed with one good engine still on the wing or on the fuselage (think Cessna Skymaster). Causes vary, but almost all readers -- except those devoted to the cool factor -- pointed out that a multi-engine aircraft presents multiple chances of trouble. If the pilot is not properly trained and (this is important) maintains proficiency, then the extra engine can prove to be a negative in an emergency. Sound advice.

Building on the training theme, several multi-engine pilots said they'd earned the rating simply to increase their skill levels. "Best $6000 BFR I've ever had," commented one reader, who admitted he'd never fly a twin after the checkride but found that the discipline of mastering the extra engine and systems made him a better single-engine pilot. Tricycle-gear pilots often get the same results when transitioning to tailwheel. Any training that's good training increases overall pilot confidence and ability. Ideally, the Cessna 210 pilot should upgrade to twins in a DC-3 and get the multi, tailwheel, and definite cool factor all wrapped in one.

Several readers asked, "Why limit this multi-fantasy to twins?" And then they suggested a list of three-and-four-engine transports, such as DC-10s and 747s. I particularly enjoyed the reader who suggested transitioning to multis in a Ford or Stinson Tri-Motor. Gotta admire the understated cool factor.

A subtler approach to favoring twins over singles didn't buy into the need for the extra thrust. Several readers mentioned the comfort of having redundant systems, such as vacuum and alternator. Engines don't fail all that often. When they do, a competent single-engine pilot can usually make a relatively safe emergency landing. But what about those night IFR trips over the Great Lakes when you'd really, really hate to lose the single vacuum pump? Twins offer a little extra IFR piece of mind in that department.

Comfort was a minor factor in the survey responses but shouldn't go unnoted. Going higher to ride in cool, dry air above the clouds drew a few pilots into multis. Yes, Mooneys and 210s can cruise with most small twins while burning less fuel, but you get the gist. Air conditioning on the ramp drew another survey pilot into popping for a twin.

So, will the debate ever be resolved? Of course not. Don't even try. If you spent your kids' inheritance on a tricked-out Cessna 210 or Beech Baron, it really doesn't matter. They'll never fly with you, because you just aren't cool. Get over it. Love your airplane ... and, oh yeah, your kids, too. Both are expensive. Neither calls on your birthday. But pursue whatever winged dream you have and never let anyone try to tell you that your choice was the wrong one, because anything that gets you into the sky and above the ordinary is a good choice. When your kids turn 40, they'll get it. Just make them buy their own damn airplane!

And speaking of being above the ordinary, check out this P-51 flying fantasy come true. [Ed. Yes, that's the author's voice in the Above The Ordinary video.]

Next up: We tackle the multi- v. single-malt scotch debate. // -->

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Gill Aviation (KDWH, Houston, Texas)

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

AVweb's newest "FBO of the Week" is Gill Aviation at David Wayne Hooks Memorial Airport (KDWH) in Houston, Texas.

AVweb reader J.C. Hyde visit there recently and experienced their first-rate service first hand:

Flew into Houston last week. I had arranged for a rental car to be available upon our arrival. What I hadn't planned for was the lost of my primary vacuum pump. When we arrived, [the] rental car was ready; when I asked about fixing the vacuum, the FBO instantly put me into contact with Rite-Way Aviation, whose owner, John Davis, met me at the aircraft. We hadn't even finished unloading before he was hooking the aircraft up to his tug, ready to tow it to their maintenance facility. [He got it] fixed that day and ready for departure. Between Gill Aviation and Rite-Way Aviation, a two-day planned stop did not end up in a long downtime waiting for repairs. And even the cookies were great!

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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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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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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