AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 42b

October 18, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Pilot Workshops || Three Things You Should Never Say to ATC || Click 
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Three Things You Should Never Say to ATC
Listen as two ATC pros share tips on better communication with ATC. Avoid these common mistakes and make your interactions more efficient and accurate. This is a sample from Pilot Workshops' Tip of the Week. Click here for this quick tip.
AVflash! New Mexico, New Policies back to top 

New Mexico Proposes Floatplane, Amphib Ban

Float and amphib aircraft operators throughout the U.S. are rallying to fight a proposal by the state of New Mexico to ban aircraft from the state's lakes. The proposal is a single line item tucked in a long list of proposed changes (top of page 6 in this PDF) to the New Mexico Administrative Code. According to Jason Baker, the editor of Seaplaneforum.com, the proposal blindsided the floatplane community in New Mexico and it found out in the nick of time to attend a hearing in Santa Fe Oct. 17. Written comments are being accepted until the end of the month to April Alvarado, EMNRD, State Parks Division, 1220 S. St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, NM 87505 or by email to april.alvarado@state.nm.us.

No justification was included in the proposed rulemaking for the floatplane ban, but the community is countering the normal complaints about noise and wildlife disruption with the stand that the noise of an aircraft is fleeting compared to that of power boats. They also note that airplanes don't leak fuel and oil into the water. Baker said that if New Mexico succeeds in imposing the ban, it sets a dangerous precedent for like-minded states elsewhere.

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Something to See, Part I back to top 

Stratos Jump Views Set YouTube Record

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When skydiver Felix Baumgartner stepped out of his capsule 24 miles high above the Earth on Sunday, he was all alone up there, but he had 8 million people watching on YouTube -- a new record for an online live event. "On the step, I felt that the whole world is watching," Baumgartner said after the jump. "I said, I wish they would see what I see. It was amazing." On Tuesday, Red Bull released new footage from Baumgartner's point of view as he made that long fall through the upper stretches of the atmosphere. Baumgartner also posted a fan video depicting his now-famous jump in a Lego version.

The success of the jump and the number of online viewers drew attention from the major news organizations around the world and inspired commentary about the changing nature of communications and marketing. "Red Bull has gone further than almost any other brand in demolishing the line between the company's 'primary' business -- making energy drinks -- and the corollary business of creating content and experiences for the people that it considers its target audience for those drinks," said an article in Fast Company. The scientific aspect of the jump also has earned kudos. "We know a little bit more about how a human being might survive … under great duress," science correspondent Miles O'Brien said on PBS. The voluminous data collected during the project could be used to help design safer ejection systems from rockets or spacecraft at high altitudes. "There was a very interesting piece of science in all of this," O'Brien said.

Endeavour's Final Mission -- Across L.A.

Moving a retired space shuttle from LAX to the California Science Center, 12 miles away through densely populated urban neighborhoods, is no easy task. Residents complained when about 400 trees were cut down (each one will be replaced with two new plantings), but when the huge shuttle actually turned up on their streets over the weekend, it drew admiring crowds. The shuttle's final trip started just before midnight on Thursday and finally reached its new hangar on Sunday afternoon, about 16 hours behind schedule. Bryan Chan, of the Los Angeles Times, created a fascinating time-lapse video showing Endeavour's last trip; click here to watch.

The cross-town trip required months of planning and still had to deal with problems along the way, from interfering trees (a number of large, historic ones that couldn't be cut) and utility poles, to leaking oil from the transport rig. The bill for the project came to about $10 million, according to The Associated Press, to be paid by the science center and private donations. The shuttle exhibit is scheduled to open to the public on Oct. 30. Along with the orbiter, the exhibit will feature videos and artifacts such as the Spacehab flown in Endeavour's payload bay on shuttle mission STS-118.

Getting the shuttle to LAX to begin the cross-town journey also was no easy feat. AVweb contributing editor Glenn Pew spoke with Bill Brockett, who flew the space shuttle carrier, for insight into what's involved in carrying a shuttle piggyback on a 747. Click here to listen.

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NASA Considers Crowdsourcing UAS Solutions back to top 

NASA Floats Drone Challenge Concept

NASA is considering the creation of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) challenge with the goal of finding solutions to problems involved in integrating drones into the National Airspace System. The challenge would require competing UAS vehicles to maintain separation from traffic while operating in congested airspace and under a range of conditions and failure modes. Competitors would use and demonstrate sense-and-avoid technologies compatible with NextGen systems. Winners would receive a monetary prize up to 1.5 million dollars as the result of winning two parts of the challenge.  NASA says competing aircraft would need to display reliable and accurate four-dimensional trajectories. But the agency isn't prepared to move forward just yet.

NASA has issued draft rules and is seeking input prior to Nov. 16, 2012. It has not yet decided to commit to the challenge. As proposed, NASA is suggesting a two-part challenge separated by roughly one year.  The first part of the challenge would focus on safe airspace operations, system failure compensation and skills development that would prepare teams for the second part of the challenge. Unmanned aircraft would need to demonstrate positive control in space and time (four-dimensional trajectories) -- they would need to demonstrate the ability to be where they are suppose to be, when they are supposed to be there. And lastly, competitors would need to exhibit "the ability to interact with Air Traffic Management in a clear, concise, and timely manner" throughout operations. The second part of the challenge would test the ability of unmanned aerial vehicles to perform with both cooperative and non-cooperative air traffic, communicate with ATC under lost link conditions "and operate safely when GPS is unavailable." Find the rules online here (PDF). More details, here.

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Airliner's Unscheduled Rescue Mission back to top 

Air Canada Diverts To Identify Yacht

A solo yachtsman who ran into trouble in high seas off the north coast of Australia has an Air Canada flight to thank for diverting to low altitude to confirm his location after he set off his emergency beacon. The event took place two weeks ago, but an Air Canada spokesman commented Tuesday on the role of the airliner. Flight AC033, a Boeing 777 out of Vancouver for Sydney, was one of two airliners that rescue authorities estimated would pass over the sailor's transmitted GPS position. Air Canada said Tuesday that its crew quickly determined they had sufficient fuel reserves to participate "and headed out to the remote area which was over fairly rough seas." The 777 then descended to roughly 4,000 feet and, with the help of passengers, the crew started looking.

"The crew borrowed binoculars" from patrons and enlisted the aid of passengers seated on the right side of the aircraft after briefing them on the situation and their intent. As the aircraft flew low over the ocean, a reflection was spotted and the crew identified the de-masted yacht. According to Air Canada, the flight was low and close enough for the crew to see a person standing on the vessel, "which was confirmed by a number of passengers." The yachtsman had left Australia's north coast near Sydney headed for New South Wales when his vessel became disabled. After his location was confirmed by the Air Canada flight, he was rescued. Air Canada said it commends the crew and passengers.

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Starting 'Em Young back to top 

Three First Solo Flights, For A 16-Year-Old

Those who worry that the next generation has failed to embrace the romance of flight might be heartened by the three flights launched Sunday morning by Drew Gryder, of Hampton, Ga., on his 16th birthday. Gryder, who has grown up in an aviation family -- his father, Dan, flies for Delta and instructs in a DC-3 on the side -- was waiting on the centerline at midnight for the clock to tick over to Sunday, so he could launch on his own from the left seat in a Cessna 150. His dad and a local pilot friend took off with him, one on each wing, for a special solo flight that had been in the works for two years. Later in the day Gryder also soloed in a Blanik K-7 glider and a Piper Apache twin. He said he hoped his triple-solo day would help to show other youngsters that "age 14 and 15 is not too young to start, and that they can also fly."

Gryder said he would love to fly for a career. "To other kids my age, I would say to stay in school, get good grades, and work hard on whatever career they are interested in. Aviation is a rewarding career, the pilot shortage is here, and it just might as well be us that fills those cockpit seats. We can do this!" In a statement about Gryder's flight, the family noted that "although no official records are kept concerning the feat, it is likely that an event encompassing these three specific solo flights has not been completed by any 16-year-old since aviation began more than 100 years ago."

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Something to See, Part II back to top 

Films Bring Aviation To The Masses

The big news in aviation film for this fall is the national release of Flight, starring Denzel Washington, on Nov. 2 -- early reviews are starting to turn up online -- but meanwhile other filmmakers are working to promote the wonder of flight. In Ohio, director Adam White recently won a film festival award for his documentary, The Restorers, and now is trying to create a TV series about historic aircraft and the volunteers who keep them flying. White's company, Hemlock Films, is searching for investors and will show the film in Cleveland on Oct. 23. Meanwhile, reviews for Flight, which has shown at several film festivals around the country, are mostly positive.

"Denzel Washington is aces as a commercial airline pilot who pulls off a miraculous mid-air stunt while flying with a 0.24 blood alcohol concentration, only to face his demons on the ground," according to a review by Peter Debruge, in Variety. "Pic should soar on all platforms -- except in-flight, of course." According to Todd McCarthy, of The Hollywood Reporter, Washington "hits notes that are tricky and nuanced and that he's never played before, contributing to a large, layered performance that defines the film." The studio recently released a new trailer for the film. But how will Flight play to the most important and critical audience -- real-life aviators? We'll find out next month.

Question of the Week: Do You Like Hollywood Airplane Movies?

Denzel Washington plays an alcoholic airline pilot in Flight, which premieres Nov. 2, and the preliminary reviews seem positive.

Do you go to aviation movies?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Pilots Of Crash Plane Drunk

Both pilots of an An-28 that crashed in eastern Russia last month were drunk. Ten of the 14 aboard the aircraft died when the plane went down in a forest. At the time, local reports said there was no post-crash fire at the accident scene, which was about six miles short of the airport at Palana, a tiny community on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Witnesses said they say both pilots hoisting a few the night before the flight. The Russian authorities have now turned their attention to finding out how they got to the flight deck.

According to forensic tests, the pilot was "slightly inebriated" while the first officer was "moderately" so. Blood alcohol levels were not released. Alcohol has been implicated in several Russian crashes in recent years, the most serious of which was the 2011 crash of a Tu-134 in Petrozavodsk. Two weeks ago an amphibious aircraft crashed in the Black Sea with a drunk pilot at the controls, but there were no fatalities.

American Pilots' Conviction Upheld, Sentence Reduced

The workings of the Brazilian justice system took another strange twist for two American pilots convicted of negligence in the midair collision that resulted in the loss of a GOL Boeing 737 in 2006. A Brazilian court on Monday upheld the criminal conviction of Jan Paladino and Joe Lepore but reduced their sentences a second time. After first sentencing the pilots to four years in jail, Brazil's courts then converted the sentence to "community service." Federal prosecutors and family members of passengers on the 737 appealed and on Monday the courts upheld the conviction but further reduced the sentence. The two are now officially free to go about their business but are supposed to check in with Brazilian penal officials from time to time. Neither man has been in Brazil since being allowed to return to the U.S. a couple of months after the accident.

Paladino and Lepore, both from Long Island, N.Y., were flying a new Embraer Legacy 600 from Brazil back to the U.S. at the altitude and heading assigned by air traffic control when the left winglet of the smaller aircraft sliced through the wing of the airliner, sending it out of control and killing all aboard. The Legacy pilots managed to find a small military field in the Amazon jungle and safely land the business jet. In absentia, the two were found guilty of negligence for turning off the aircraft's transponder, making it invisible to the 737 crew bearing down on them at the same altitude and in the opposite direction. Paladino and Lepore have repeatedly said their transponder was working at the time of the crash and suggested it was the airliner's transponder that was faulty.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Felix's Big Adventure -- Mach 1 Falls

Plus several other records. Red Bull pulled it off almost without a hitch, and on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli admires the perfect execution of what was, in the end, a brilliant stroke of marketing and promotion. He would lift a can of Red Bull in recognition, but he'd be up all night regretting it.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: AOPA Summit -- Hunkering Down

AOPA Summit was a smaller show with some notable absences. Sitting in the airport on the way home, AVweb editor Russ Niles posts to the AVweb Insider blog asking just what (if anything) that means.

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

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority (M01, Memphis, TN)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the Memphis/Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) FBO at General Dewitt Spain Airport (M01) in Memphis, Tennessee.

AVweb reader Scott Bartley had high praise for the facility:

By far the best FBO I have flown into in the past three years. They met the plane with a golf cart and offered to assist. They looked over my plane (Mooney M20C, '65) and noticed a minor problem in the front tire, which they repaired without any charge. Fuel is cheap. The helped me get a cab and gave me recommendations of places to eat during my stay. These people were friendly and just great overall.

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!

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Our latest winning photo comes from Fred Simpson of Mansfield, ON (Canada). Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
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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