AVwebFlash - Volume 18, Number 47a

November 19, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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Accidents in the News back to top 

172 Hits Truck: Three Killed

Three people aboard a Cessna 172 were killed after the aircraft hit a pickup truck on the runway of Knox County Regional Airport near Rockland, Maine, late Friday. Airport Manager Jeffrey Northgraves told Bangor Daily News the 172 was taking off just before 5 p.m. when it hit the front of the truck, which was crossing the runway. The aircraft crashed in bush about 300 yards beyond the runway and caught fire. Bystanders reached the crash site and tried to pull occupants from the aircraft but the fire was too intense. The aircraft was consumed and the registration marks destroyed, complicating identification of the occupants. It was not a local aircraft, Northgraves said.

The driver of the pickup was not injured. He has not been identified, but Northgraves said he is a pilot and was authorized to drive on the airport. The vehicle is not owned by the county and the driver is not a county employee. Northgraves said vehicles operated on airport property have to be equipped with a radio monitoring the local frequency but he said it's not known whether there was any radio communication between the aircraft and truck before the accident. The runway was cleared to allow a scheduled airline flight to land about two-and-a-half hours after the crash and an FAA investigator arrived shortly after.

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Police Helicopters Collide

Six people were hurt after two police helicopters collided at the Pasadena Police Department's heliport in Altadena, Calif., on Saturday. The injuries were thought to be minor and the cause is under investigation. CBS News reported the blades of the OH-58 Kiowa helicopters touched. It's not clear whether one or both of the aircraft were in the air at the time. News photos showed extensive damage to both, with one of the helicopter's tailboom severed.

The helicopters were carrying a total of five people. One of the injured was on the ground. All were taken to hospital and all were reportedly released by Sunday. It was raining heavily at the time of the crash.

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Navigating the Economy back to top 

Hanxing: Glasair Acquisition Complete

Zhuhai Hanxing General Aviation Co. Ltd. of China has completed its 100 percent takeover of Washington-based Glasair Aviation LLC, and now plans to introduce some of Glasair's technology to its operations in China, ChinaDaily reported Thursday. The company made the announcements at the 9th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition earlier this month. Details of how Glasair's technology would be applied to Hanxing's aircraft manufacturing operations in China remain unclear. Glasair's production line includes the popular Sportsman, a design the Chinese group has previously said it would certify and that could serve well in China as a trainer or personal aircraft. The successful expansion of private aviation in China may be dependent on economic conditions there and further changes to how China manages access to the its airspace.

A gasoline-powered design is reportedly in the works from Glasair. A prior news release from Hanxing stated that "there are no plans to relocate or terminate any existing Glasair Aviation employees" and the company's U.S. headquarters would remain in the U.S. Glasair is among several aviation companies that have been acquired by Chinese owners, including Cirrus Aircraft. A recent deal between Hawker Beechcraft and Chinese interests fell through. Hanxing has previously said it would ramp up investment in customer support and new development. That intent may be directly tied to forecasts that as many as 1000 new airports will be built across China over the next five years. Again, other factors may influence that rate of expansion. The country is currently involved in the gradual opening of its low-altitude airspace to privately operated aircraft and has announced its intention to improve its aviation infrastructure.

Airship Ventures Grounded

Mountain View, Calif.-based Airship Ventures has grounded its zeppelin and will most likely dismantle it and send it back to Germany where it was built. Since 2007 the company, based at historic airship base Moffett Field, has offered trips, rides, promotions and anything else it could think of to keep the aircraft, named Eureka, afloat but it always lacked the one thing that would guarantee survival, particularly in turbulent economic times: consistent corporate sponsorship. "I've looked at the numbers, and for the price of a one-minute Super Bowl ad, a Fortune 500 company could sponsor the airship for a year," CEO Brian Hall told the San Jose Mercury News He pegged the cost at $5 million to $6 million. "You'd think that would be a slam dunk, right?"

Hall said unless such as a sponsor comes forward in the next few weeks, the zeppelin shutdown will be permanent. That closure would sink the jobs of 35 employees and end a unique period of U.S. aviation. Eureka was the first airship to carry paying passengers since the lighter-than-air heyday of the 1930s and Hall said he thinks the local community will notice its absence. "I think there's a huge affinity [for Eureka]," Hall said. "It's like a friend. I think people will miss it when it's gone."

AVweb's Mary Grady flew Eureka in 2009 and prepared this video.

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TBM Owners Gather back to top 

TBM Owners Meeting Biggest Ever

Jet A was in the air at Amelia Island, Fla., in late October as the annual TBM Owners and Pilots Association met for the ninth time. A total of 95 TBM 700 and 850 very fast turboprops landed at Fernandina Beach Airport for the event, held Oct. 24-27. More than 275 registrants took part in educational and entertainment events based at the Amelia Island Ritz Carlton. "To say this year's Annual TBMOPA Convention was a success is an understatement," said Larry Glazer, the TBMOPA's incoming president. "All participants agreed that it was our best event ever, and we anticipate attracting an even wider audience in the coming years."

A roster of well-known aviation experts made presentations of particular interest to the single-pilot, high-altitude audience, including Dr. Paul Buza, who spoke on high-altitude physiology; NTSB member Dr. Mark Rosekind, who talked about pilot fatigue; and Dr. David Strahle, who discussed radar and thunderstorms. TBM's Nicholas Chabbert said the successful event highlighted the bond between TBM owners. "Beyond the large numbers of this event, the 2012 convention demonstrated the passion our customers have for their aircraft, which is communicative," he said.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Car Driven Onto Runway At Sky Harbor

A 21-year-old woman has been arrested after ramming her 1997 Saturn through an airport gate and reportedly driving with her 2-month-old son onboard onto an active runway at Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport Thursday at about 10 p.m. The event caused an interruption to operations at the airport, but no flight delays were reported. Early reports state that Phoenix Police responded within minutes, stopped the car and took the driver into custody. Authorities say that when asked, the driver stated she did not know she was on an airport or that her son was in the car. She was booked on aggravated DUI and other charges. Sky Harbor has spent $10 million on perimeter security after suffering similar incidents in the past.

In 2003, two teens drove a stolen car through a perimeter fence at the airport and onto the airfield. In 2005, a man being chased by police drove a stolen pickup through a gate and onto runways at the airport, passing jets on a taxiway. Similar events have since been reported at other airports including West Oahu Kalealoa, Hawaii; Colorado's Grand Junction; and Philadelphia International. Police say that at the time of the most recent incident at Sky Harbor, the airport's gate was being tested and was slightly open. A worker at that location notified police and tower controllers after the woman drove through. Airport operations were stopped for approximately 15 minutes as the police took chase and stopped the vehicle. An investigation hopes to determine additional details, including whether the driver was operating under the influence of a drug.

FAA Revokes Dave Riggs' Certificate

A California pilot who has run afoul of various authorities before has had his pilot certificate revoked by the FAA. Dave Riggs, 50, who is perhaps best known for buzzing the Santa Monica pier in an L-39 in 2008 (resulting in a one-year suspension), had his ticket pulled for his involvement in an illegal fly-for-hire operation in Nevada earlier this year. Riggs was in formation with another L-39 flown by Doug Gilliss when Gilliss' aircraft crashed, killing him and passenger Richard Winslow. The FAA says Winslow and others paid for flights in the L-39s in violation of FARs that don't allow commercial flights in experimental-registered aircraft like the jets used for the flights. Riggs is fighting the revocation.

"We've done nothing wrong," said Riggs, who told The Associated Press the flights were being conducted under a waiver for film and television production work. He didn't specify what film project was being shot. As we reported in June, the NTSB preliminary report said the man who died was among eight people who had paid for a flight in one of the jets. "You have a history of committing other violations that indicate you put your own economic gain over aviation safety," FAA lawyer Naomi Tsuda told Riggs. "You were willing to sacrifice the safety of others for your own personal financial gain by charging for flights in (the jet)."

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

New Product: How To Improve Your Radio Work

A new online course from a new AVweb sponsor promises to be "the greatest radio communication course you've ever taken" or its creator says he will give you your money back, plus $25. The online training program, Sound Like An Airline Pilot, was developed by Cody Bias, a young CFI and T-38 instructor pilot with the Air Force. Bias believes that efficient, concise and correct radio communication technique creates the foundation for effective information management and positive control in the modern cockpit. His course is based on developing fundamental understanding, not memorization, and his program targets a wide range of pilots. And his unique marketing approach puts him at the mercy of his clients' integrity and his own ability to deliver.

Bias is aware that his program exists among others. In his own words: "I believe, in order to be successful, I must deliver above and beyond the expectations of my customers. If I have failed to do that I will appreciate you telling me so. That way, I can modify the course and make it even better and continue to outperform my competition."

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Podcast: Speaking of Talking on the Radio

File Size 6.7 MB / Running Time 7:18

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Cody Bias is a young CFI and T-38 instructor pilot with the Air Force who is not afraid to put his money where your mouth is. Bias has developed an online radio communication course for pilots, Sound Like an Airline Pilot -- and if you're not impressed, he says he'll give you your money back, plus $25.

Click here to listen. (6.7 MB, 7:18)

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Taxing Airplanes for Carbon Emissions

The European Union has the dubious distinction of being a leader in this harebrained idea. Last week, it momentarily suspended a plan to penalize airplanes flying into Europe for carbon emissions, but don't expect the decision to hold. Certainly there must be a better way? On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli suggests there is: Minimize carbon emissions from airplane as much as practical, but otherwise just get yourself ready for life in a warmer world.

Read more and join the conversation.

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

AVmail: November 19, 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: Pilot Shortage Is Real

Regardless of Sully's opinion, I have felt for over a year that the approaching age 65 deadline and the 1,500-hour requirement were going to create the perfect storm for pilot recruitment.

The cost to get to 1,500 hours for a new hire is far beyond the reach of the average wannabe. It would seem that now that the FAA has seen five years of data on those older than 60 flying that the fastest cure would be to lift the age restriction entirely and let physical condition serve as the limiting factor.

Another cure is to evaluate new hires by the type of flying that they can prove, not by a number based on towing banners up and down the beach in day VFR in SEL equipment. The Eagle guy is correct. If the regulations are not modified, there will undoubtedly be loss of service to marginal markets.

Fred Yarbrough

GA Safety

The NTSB won't be satisfied until all GA aircraft are turbine-powered, multi-engined, and piloted by professional pilots on IFR flight plans with gross weights approximately equivalent to a railroad locomotive.

Comparing GA to the airlines is like comparing cars to buses. Furthermore, the GA fatality rate is almost identical to that of motorcycles, and nothing is done about that. Helmets are not required in most states.

Larry Kinder

I think one of the overlooked culprits of accidents in GA is cost. Because of fuel and other costs, we fly less. Flying less means we're less current. I love to fly, but until I find an economical way to stay current I stay out of the cockpit.

J. D. Watson

The only way that GA can be as safe as the airlines is if we are subjected to the same restrictive regulations as the airlines are. The airlines need to follow those regulations because they are selling their services to the general public, and the services they sell need to be safe.

GA pilots are not selling their services, and they should not be regulated as the airlines. This does not mean that GA pilots don't need to try to be as safe, but they don't need to have the government looking over their shoulders all the time. They should keep themselves safe voluntarily.

Recommendations and some changes in training may be O.K., but airline-type regulations should not be forced onto GA.

Margaret Drescher

Training and technology will help, but GA needs the same systematic approach that airlines, business aviation, and the military use.

Pilots need to be trained in human factors and risk management. Leadership skills are key to being a safe, competent pilot in command.

Another important component is extensive use of team resources like ATC, FSS, and the FAASTeam. Learn from others and avoid costly mistakes. Fly smart!

Kent Lewis

GA probably cannot be as safe as the airlines as we do not operate according to the [same] strict rules and procedures. Like the airlines, GA is susceptible to human failure, but unlike the airlines we depend on one human to mitigate those failures.

The result is you can control your own safety but you cannot control the other guy. Humans will continue to err. Unlike other endeavors, GA is unforgiving of brain fade.

Ralph Hoover

You've done a great job with this survey, of capturing compatible and equal truths. Yes, the human cost is terrible; yes, we need to do more; no, we won't get to where the airlines are; and yes, there is super technology that might come close, but it's currently not financially viable.

Jonathan Micocci

Owner Maintenance

The author of the owner-performed maintenance article writes: "I've always been fond of pointing out one of the most dangerous things in personal aviation is a private pilot with a #2 Phillips screwdriver."

Maybe so, but in the 15 years I owned a 182, I never had an A&P work on it without messing up something in the process, something I later had to fix — and some of them were very good mechanics.

Want to compile a list of "professional mechanic" screw-ups?

Jon Woellhaf

Just read your article about owner-performed maintenance. Years ago, I had a customer with a beautifully maintained Cessna 172. He would perform as much of the maintenance on the airplane as his private pilot certificate would allow. When he accomplished his first owner-performed oil change, I got a call asking me to sign off his cowling installation under my A&P certificate. Quite confused, I asked him why he needed me since this was considered preventive maintenance under FAR 43, Appendix A.

As it turns out, he is correct. The 172 air filter is part of the lower cowling removal and is not specifically called out as preventive maintenance in Appendix A. I'm sure it is one of the many oversights in the FARs but one that private pilots should be aware is an issue.

I recommend a pilot — or, better yet, a pilot group — petition the FAA under FAR 11 to review this issue to see if this could be added as preventive maintenance.

Ray Benischeck

A Matter Of Scale

A one-twelfth-scale Spitfire with a wingspan of 12 feet would be a very odd bird, considering that the Spitfire had a wingspan of just under 37 feet.

Dan Gill

AVweb Replies:

Thanks to everyone who caught the math error.

Russ Niles

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

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Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Sterling Aviation (KCCR, Concord, CA)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Sterling Aviation at Buchanan Field (KCCR) in Concord, California.

AVweb reader Sid Tolchin had a great visit at Sterling recently:

After landing and checking in at the FBO, we noted our rental car (from a major agency) had not been delivered. No questions asked, Justin had the crew van available immediately at no cost, helped us get another rental when we asked, and made certain we were settled and comfortable. After all of this, no tie-down fee and nothing but friendship from all there — especially noteworthy on a holiday weekend. Previously, their service department had serviced a brake hydraulic leak on one of our aircraft — again, at no charge. Just their smiles made it all worthwhile. The only glitch was a thoughtless CAP who started up his engine full-throttle and blew away all of our covers and hats. He was chastised by the horrified FBO attendants and learned a lesson!

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

Video: Piper's 75th Birthday Party

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

On Saturday, November 10, Piper Aircraft celebrated its 75th anniversary as an aircraft company. AVweb was there and got a look at some terrific vintage aircraft as well as Piper's latest line of M-class airplanes.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

A friend of mine is a helicopter instructor in Arizona, and a student of his is approaching the cross-country flight portion of flight training. My instructor friend received this text from his student a few days ago:

Hey, you've got me down for a cross-country to TBD. Where is it? I can't find it anywhere!

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].

Click here to send a letter to the editor. (Please let us know if your letter is not intended for publication.)

Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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