AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 39a

September 24, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Air Space Confusion in the Pacific Northwest back to top 
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Airspace Changes Concern Pilots

Just about everyone involved in aviation in the adjoining cities of Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., is urging the FAA to put the brakes on a surprise airspace change that would give aircraft using Portland International priority over those using Vancouver's Pearson Field. They're also wondering about the uncharacteristic speed with which the FAA is bringing in the changes. Local officials found out about the change last Thursday and it takes effect Oct. 1. "This is a sudden rules change," Vancouver's Communications Manager Barbara Ayers told the Columbian. "It's going to have significant impacts on our community, and we're concerned about it."

The change would create the "Pearson Box," a one-mile by eight-mile strip of airspace extending from PDX's Runway 10 west to encompass the smaller airport. Within that space, controllers would be able to give PDX traffic priority, either holding departing Pearson traffic on the ground or putting arrival traffic in holds. Vancouver officials say the new rule will be especially tough on the flight schools that use Pearson and because the airspace plan is so unusual it will likely confuse pilots unfamiliar with the area. FAA spokeswoman Linda Schneider said the change will prevent conflicts and said there will still be plenty of access to Pearson. "We're all in this together to keep this as safe as we can, and as efficient as we can," Schneider said.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Pilot, Passenger Survive Open Ocean Ditching

The pilot of a Beech Baron that successfully ditched in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday is praising the response of rescue personnel after he and his passenger spent more than three hours in the open ocean 28 miles south of the tip of Louisiana. Theodore Wright said if the crews hadn't persevered until just before dark to spot him and his passenger Raymond Fosdick bobbing in their life jackets they might have faced a different outcome. "I said we have about 25 more minutes of daylight. If they find us in 20 minutes, we're going home tonight. If not, we're staying the night our here," Wright told reporters in Houston.

The plane sunk to the bottom shortly after the rough ditching. The pair took off from Baytown, near Houston, about 1:15 p.m. headed for Sarasota, Fla., and about halfway through the flight Wright said there was fire in the cockpit. He said he cut the engines immediately and headed for the water. The aircraft bounced once but settled upright and neither man was injured. They had flotation devices and survival gear on board and managed to get it out before the aircraft sank. Wright said he used the aircraft for charity flights for children with cancer and is anxious to find a replacement.

FAA Requires 787 Inspections Before Further Flight

The FAA has issued an Airworthiness Directive, effective immediately, seeking to prevent failure of a critical component found on GE GEnx-series engines after one failed on a B787 Dreamliner during ground testing. The failure was contained and the engine threw debris out of its tailpipe. The source of the failure was determined to be the engine's fan mid shaft, which fractured. Less than one month later, in August, an ultrasonic inspection found the same part in another 787's engine  exhibited cracking. The FAA has determined that cracks are likely to exist or develop in fan mid shaft within other engines of the same design. The new AD, published Friday, supersedes an earlier Service Bulletin (SB) and requires inspection before further flight, but does not resolve the problem. Further action is expected.

The SB required an initial inspection "within 30 days" of its date of issuance where the AD now requires inspection of the fan mid shaft prior to flight. The cause of the cracking is yet undetermined, but according to the FAA it "is likely due to environmentally assisted cracking; a type of corrosive cracking that is time-dependent." The agency is requiring repetitive inspections at an interval of not more than 90 days. The current AD has been enacted as a final rule and the FAA is soliciting comments through Oct. 22. It "may amend this AD because of those comments." Complete text of the AD is available online, here.

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The Leap from Paper to the Sky back to top 

Sense And Avoid Flies At UND

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The University of North Dakota's (UND) Aerospace Sciences department Thursday showed off "sense and avoid" software fitted to a piloted NASA Cirrus SR-22 as it flew courses that conflicted with a stock Cessna 172. The effort is a collaboration that involves UND, NASA and MITRE Corp. In the test, the Cirrus served as the surrogate unmanned aerial system (UAS) flown with a safety pilot but directed automatically by ADS-B data and MITRE's algorithms. The test showed that the specially equipped SR-22 could detect the potential conflict posed by the converging 172, and maneuvered the Cirrus away. That has been repeated, but researchers say there's more work to be done.

Market-ready systems that reliably achieve collision avoidance are still several years away, UND's Mark Askelson told Minnesota Public Radio. "This is something that we've been developing for years and testing incrementally, and now we've built up to the point where we can perform these kind of tests." Data collected from the latest series of tests will be pored over for months as engineers seek to refine and improve the technology. Presently, researchers still believe that an ultimate solution will require on-board cameras and, possibly, radar systems. In a recently released report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) cited sense and avoid technology, among others, reaching the conclusion that the FAA is behind schedule on its integration of drones into the National Airspace System.

Bugatti Aircraft To Fly, Soon

The Bugatti 100P was a purpose-built aircraft designed to set world speed records, but in more than 70 years since its conception it has never flown -- now, a project based in Tulsa, Okla., aims to change that this year. Enthusiast Scotty Wilson is the self-described "guy at the pointy end of the Bugatti 100P project," and he spoke with AVweb Thursday. Wilson has invested his time, money, sweat, and nearly all other available resources into creating a faithful reproduction of the aircraft. And he's found help along the way. The result is a now nearly complete aircraft that Wilson says is "externally, dimensionally, and aerodynamically accurate to within a few millimeters" of the original. The airframe is complete, engine installation is coming soon, and first flight, Wilson hopes, will come by year-end. Then the aircraft will set out on tour ... but maybe not in the U.S.  

The sole original aircraft, a product of famed auto designer Ettore Bugatti and largely forgotten aerodynamic engineer, Louis de Monge, currently resides in the EAA museum at Oshkosh, Wis. And that copy may be the only one that most Americans will have the opportunity to see in person. The 100P's heritage is European, and Wilson aims to return it to that part of the world where most people have never seen the airframe he calls "an art-deco masterpiece" that is "arguably the most elegant airplane ever designed." Some of its features, like air inlets in the tail and generous wing fillets, may actually limit the aircraft's top speed, but Wilson has held true to the design. He hopes to show the aircraft at car shows and airshows in Europe, sharing the unique history of an aircraft that (had it not been derailed by World War II) may have become one of the most recognized of its time. Wilson may ultimately leave the aircraft in the care of a museum overseas. Listen to AVweb's podcast with Wilson for more details.

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The Long Arm of the Law back to top 

Pilot Imposter Nabbed In Italy

An unidentified man who apparently bluffed his way into the jump seat of at least one airline flight was arrested in Turin, Italy, Saturday wearing a pilot's uniform and carrying fake ID. The man, a 32-year-old Italian, is alleged to have concocted an elaborate alter ego as Andrea Sirlo, a Lufthansa captain, that got him a ride as "third pilot" on a flight from Munich to Turin on Oct. 23, 2011. It's not clear if he has any flying credentials or whether he has helped out on any other flights. Lufthansa isn't commenting and the Italian police are looking into it. He was arrested in the check-in area of the Turin Airport after some cyber sleuthing by the police.

The man set up a Facebook page complete with photos of him in sunglasses and uniform with fake flight attendant friends. When he was arrested police found fake resumes, airline badges and an airport staff parking permit. In the end, it appears a touch of arrogance led to his undoing. An Italian official became suspicious a couple of months ago when the man identified himself as a captain but appeared too young for the job. That began the investigation that led to his arrest.

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IMC Club Expands back to top 

IMC Club Announces Elite Group

The IMC Club International has announced creation of a "Special Membership Group" as an instrument pilot safety initiative targeting "elite" pilots "dedicated to the consistent and constant improvement of their instrument flying skill." The new group will operate within the IMC Club as the "Inner Marker Circle." Current, proficient IFR pilots are invited to join provided they meet "the more demanding standards of the IMC Club." IMC Club intends to form the group from a collection of pilots dedicated to continuous improvement in the arena of instrument flying skills. IMC Club International president Radek Wyrzykowski says he hopes the group will become an "aviation safety cult." Membership will also come with the potential for some financial reward.

According to IMC Club International, members will be granted a special membership card and automatically enrolled into a drawing for an annual subscription to IFR Magazine, an IMC Club BrightLine Flight Bag, and a $1000 Proficiency Scholarship to be awarded annually at AirVenture Oshkosh. To be considered for membership pilots must already be a member in good standing of IMC Club International and have flown one or more instrument approaches in each of the six months prior to application. Approaches flown in actual conditions, simulated instrument conditions, or in FAA Certified AATD Flight Simulators are accepted. 

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Getting Out the Vote

Does the pilot community have something to teach us about how democracy works? AVweb contributing editor Mary Grady looks for signs of hope in her latest post to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

AVmail: September 24, 2012

Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Secret Shopper

I've always heard the aviation industry isn't welcoming to newcomers. Let me tell you a story, and see if you agree.

Recently, I walked into the local flight school. I had briefly instructed there a few years and changes of ownership ago. No one knew me.

I waited patiently for the three employees to finish their conversation. No one greeted me. Finally, I asked if they gave introductory rides. I also asked if there were any restrictions, because I thought having an ATP might be disqualifying. I was told there were no restrictions, and no questions were asked.

I booked a flight for the next day, because no one seemed interested in going then.

I arrived on time and was told: "The instructor isn't here yet."

After 45 minutes, I gave up and walked out.

And we wonder why student starts are slow.

Roy Adams

Playing Doctor

This isn't really news, but I just had to share what now seems almost laughable but I feel could be a serious problem for some people.

Last week, I went to renew my third-class medical. After arriving at the FAA doctor's office, we started in on the eye test. Since I remembered two years ago that I struggled just a wee bit with my glasses, I came prepared with a fresh eye exam slip that I had just gotten from my eye doctor at the end of August. I always wear contacts, but it's such a hassle to have to remove them, etc., so last time I just wore my glasses — which are no-line bifocals. Looking into that machine wearing those, it was the up-close letters that I had trouble reading the last time. I never wear the glasses unless I absolutely have to! So this time I wore my contacts and brought my reading glasses with me.

The doctor asked me to read the next to the last line (line 13) at the bottom of the chart and tell him which direction the letter was open. I couldn't make it out clearly. So, then he asked me to read Line 12, one line up, and it was not much better than Line 13. Then he told me that I'd better try harder if I want to pass my flight physical and accused me of just guessing, which I basically was.

By then, I was really stressing. I do not have trouble seeing in everyday life. He finally asked me to read line 10, which I did with no problem. Immediately after finishing this, he said he was going to take my blood pressure. Sure, I told him, now that I'm totally thinking I'm not going to pass my physical, he wants to take my blood pressure! Thankfully, it read O.K., but that had to be a miracle in the making.

We finished up the rest of the physical, and after he signed the form passing me, I asked him if my eyes were really that bad or what was going on. He said, "Oh, they're fine. You have 20/20; I just wanted to see if you could pass 20/15."

I was incensed! After putting me through all that stress, I am curious as to how many more brownie points I would have gotten by having 20/15 vs. 20/20 for my third-class medical.

I'm not a young gal, so every flight physical carries the possibility that my flying days could be over if I can't pass the physical. I fly for personal, business and pleasure only. I also own a flight school and refer this doctor to hundreds of potential pilots and others who already have their licenses. This was the third time visiting this doctor for my flight physical, so I thought I knew what to expect.

But this time, he really threw me for a loop with the eye test. I will no longer recommend my student pilots or anyone else to him. At $110.00 for the physical, I can only hope he feels the impact as a result.

I don't know if anyone else feels like I do about the way we pilots are often treated by either the FAA or those anointed by them, but I thought this little true story summed up my feelings. I have been flying for 28 years and have owned an FBO for the last 25, am seasoned in dealing with the FAA and their counterparts, both favorably and not so much.

That this FAA doctor thought it humorous to make me go through the above shows what we often have to deal with so that we can keep flying.

Name Withheld

Captain's Call

As a former airline captain, I fully support the American Airlines captain in his demand for information during the recent terrorism scare at JFK. In fact, I note that in the video he exercises great restraint and patience.

As a captain, I am 100 percent responsible for the safety of my passengers and crew. The buck stops with me, not with ATC or with TSA.

Ian Hollingsworth

Who You Gonna Call?

I heard the exchange(s) between the American captain and the JFK local controller(s) on the frequency. As a former pilot and broadcaster, I thought this would be a good news story to phone in to Fox News in New York.

I tried calling Fox News and got an operator who didn't know how to patch me through to the newsroom. When she did, I got someone who didn't understand what I was telling him. So they ran the story of the Brits who were caught sunbathing nude instead. Why bother any more?

Stan Salony

AVweb Replies:

You could have emailed us, Stan, at newstips@avweb.com.

Russ Niles

Drones in the Airspace

Regarding the "Question of the Week": Being equipped for see-and-avoid should also require an ADS-B UAT and an aviation VHF radio repeater. (I want to hear controller/operator interaction and perhaps talk to the drone operator as well.)

This seems to me to be the minimum acceptable equipage for operations within the NAS.

Jim McDuffie

We can't have different rules for drones and manned aircraft in the NAS if we are to have safe operations. The primary means of collision avoidance today is pilot visual recognition. This just doesn't work for unmanned aircraft.

If some sort of automatic collision avoidance system that actually works for drones must be developed, then it makes sense to make the same technology available to manned aircraft as well. Then we could get rid of the human visual separation concept altogether.

If such a system is based on ADS-B, then there must be a back-up available for times when satellites are not usable (just as there must be for NextGen to be safe).

Paul Mulwitz

Until these UAVs can do the actual visual part of a human pilot, there is no way they should be allowed in the airspace.

The average pilot, as I'm sure you know, is required to pass a flight physical frequently, to retain the privilege of being a pilot in command of any aircraft. Part of the physical is visual acuity, including peripheral vision. No manmade lens, at present, can match the human eye in this regime.

Doyle Frost

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.

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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Super Legend Flight Trial

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

American Legend gained success with its popular Legend Cub, and now it's followed up with a new Lycoming-powered version of the airplane. If you like the Super Cub, you'll like the Super Legend, too, because its performance is quite similar. AVweb ventured to Legend's Sulphur Spring, Texas, homebase to fly the airplane, and here's a video report on the flight.

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Video: The Last Flying B-24 Bomber (Collings Foundation)

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

The B-24 was the most widely produced bomber in world history. This video shows the sole surviving regularly flown example, from roughly 18,000 B-24 Liberator bombers produced. This is the Collings Foundation's B-24, Witchcraft.

During World War II, at peak production, factories put out roughly ten of these aircraft per day. Each was driven by four supercharged turbocharged radials putting out 1,200 horsepower each. Flying with greater range than the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-24 Liberator bomber could drop about 8,000 pounds of bombs from high- or low-altitude attacks. When WWII's most widely used big bomber went down, it often took all ten crewmen at a time. It was notably involved in the infamous Ploesti raid, in which more than 50 aircraft and 660 crewmen were lost. The surviving men who flew in the bomber and the men and women who produced these historic aircraft are becoming few. Talk to one if you get the chance.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Berg Air (S33, Madras, Oregon)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Berg Air at Madras Municipal Airport (S33) in Madras, Oregon.

AVweb reader Charlotte Echelberger explains how Berg has taken care of her traveling party on different occasions this year:

As part of the Oregon Air Tour, in May we stopped in. It felt like they could not do enough for us! Tracy even took time to go through the newspaper to find us a coupon for a free root beer float, and Rob helped us hand-tow our 182 to the gas pump so we didn't have to start the engine. We returned to Madras in August for the Air Show of the Cascades and camped at the FBO. Excellent facilities! (Even though I lost the pool game.) They even have a little yellow rubber duck in the shower. With all the comotion and large crowds [from the air show], Rob and Tracy were calm, cool, and wonderful. Can't say enough about them.

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!

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Back in the 1970s, while flying an MU-2 into El Paso, Texas, I heard the following exchange between approach and an airline crew after repeated attempts to get the crew to reduce speed:

"Flight 123, I must have you at 120 knots right now."

Captain of Flight 123:
"Son, do you have any idea of the stalling speed of this thing?"

"No sir, but I bet if you ask your co-pilot he can tell you."

Larry Bartlett
via e-mail

Heard Anything Funny on the Radio?

Heard anything funny, unusual, or downright shocking on the radio lately? If you've been flying any length of time, you're sure to have eavesdropped on a few memorable exchanges. The ones that gave you a chuckle may do the same for your fellow AVweb readers. Share your radio funny with us, and, if we use it in a future "Short Final," we'll send you a sharp-looking AVweb hat to sport around your local airport. No joke.

Click here to submit your original, true, and previously unpublished story.

Names Behind the News back to top 

Meet the AVwebFlash Team

AVwebFlash is a twice-weekly summary of the latest news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the world's premier independent aviation news resource.

The AVwebFlash team is:

Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Russ Niles

Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Kevin Lane-Cummings

Ad Coordinator
Karen Lund

Avionics Editor
Larry Anglisano

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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