AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 47b

November 22, 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 PilotWorkshops' Tip of the Week. Click here to this quick tip.
AVflash! UAS Not Going Mainstream Yet back to top 

Huerta: UAS Integration Delayed

Citing concerns over privacy, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta has told members of Congress that the selection of six test sites for unmanned aerial systems will not happen in time to meet the agency's target of the end of this year. In a letter (PDF) to U.S. Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., co-chair of the Unmanned Systems Congressional Caucus, Huerta said FAA staffers have been "working diligently to establish the framework for test-site selection … However, increasing the use of UAS in our airspace also raises privacy issues, and these issues will need to be addressed as unmanned aircraft are safely integrated." Earlier this month, 20 aviation advocacy groups (including AOPA, EAA, NATCA, NBAA, GAMA, and more) jointly sent a letter (PDF) to Huerta, asking him to keep the FAA focused on safety, not privacy issues, in regards to the integration of UAS.

"The FAA has no statutory standing or technical expertise" in regard to privacy issues, the letter reads. The groups also asked Huerta to "ensure UAS are safely and responsibly integrated into the national airspace in a timely manner." At a meeting of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems in August, Huerta said he was "very optimistic" that the FAA would meet the congressional mandate to integrate most UAVs into the national airspace system by 2015 (2014 for UAVs weighing less than 55 pounds). "Rest assured that the FAA will fulfill its statutory obligations to integrate unmanned aircraft systems," he said. However, a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office released in September noted that although the FAA "has taken steps to meet the requirements set forth in the 2012 Act, it is uncertain when the national airspace system will be prepared to accommodate UAS."

Question of the Week: UAVs -- Is Sooner or Later Better?

The FAA has backed off on integrating UAVs into the NAS, citing privacy concerns. Is that a wise move?

Did the FAA make the right call in deciding not to address the integration of UAVs into the air space right now?
(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?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
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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Dynamite Aerodynamics back to top 

High Schoolers Develop 737 Adaptive Winglet

Three high school students have won an innovation award for developing an adaptive 737 winglet that could save the fleet up to $2 billion per year in jet fuel, the Department of Transportation has announced. Miraj Rahematpura, Christopher Muckle, and Mario Chris, of Middletown, Conn., entered their project in a competition organized by the DOT to encourage interest in science and technology, and recently visited the staff in Washington to talk about their work. "To say we were all impressed with the quality and real-world value of their work would be an understatement," said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. "Not only did they develop a highly technical winglet, they were able to explain their work with exceptional clarity and maturity."

Current 737 winglets are fixed at a 26-degree angle, which best reduces drag at cruising altitude and improves fuel efficiency by about 3 percent. The team used computer models to find winglets capable of being moved to a more efficient angle during ascent and descent without adding too much extra weight or mechanical complication to the wing. The models indicate the team's adaptive tip could improve fuel efficiency by 10 percent, LaHood said. The technology could save operators 600 million gallons of jet fuel per year.

AVweb Insider Blog: Of Wind Skirts and Winglets

You've no doubt noticed the wind skirts sported by most 18-wheelers today. They're there for a reason, and on the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli wonders whether the airplane equivalent — winglets — might not become just as common. Both devices do the same thing — reduce drag and save fuel.

Read more and join the conversation.

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A High-Tech Horror Story back to top 

Reports Question Zombie Towers, Ghost Airplanes

Recent reports in the mainstream media raised questions about whether FAA's NextGen air traffic control system might be vulnerable to hackers who can create "ghost airplanes," and also asked why 102 "zombie towers" across the country are kept open all night despite low traffic. The FAA has said that airports with four or fewer flights per hour at night don't need to keep the tower open, according to Bloomberg News, yet about 100 towers are staffed that fall within those guidelines, costing about $10 million per year. Meanwhile, an NBC affiliate in California's San Francisco Bay area reported that hackers say they could insert fake "ghost" airplanes into the ADS-B system and controllers would be unable to tell them from real aircraft.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told NBC Bay Area the agency has "a thorough process in place to ensure the safety and security of the ADS-B system." Potential vulnerabilities are assessed on an ongoing basis, he said. "We require continual, independent validation of the accuracy and reliability of ADS-B and aircraft avionics signals. The air traffic system is based on redundancies to ensure safe and secure operations." As for the "zombie" towers, Bloomberg said "members of Congress from both parties" have blocked attempts to reduce hours or merge facilities.

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At the Movies back to top 

"Top Gun" Sequel On Hold, But 3D Version Expected

Plans were in the works for a sequel to Top Gun, one of the most popular aviation films ever, when director Tony Scott's suicide in August stalled the project, but a 3-D Imax version of the original movie now is expected to debut in February. The new version of the film already has been completed by Legend3D, according to The New York Times. It had been seen as a way to build excitement for the sequel, but now representatives of Paramount, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Legend3D don't want to talk about the project, said the Times, and they are being careful not to seem "insensitive or exploitative."

Scott, 68, died in August when he jumped off a bridge in Los Angeles; he reportedly left notes behind for friends and relatives, but no motive for his action has been made clear. Actor Tom Cruise had been working with Scott, and a screenwriter had been hired for the sequel, but that project is now on hold indefinitely. The 3-D flying film might become a "box-office triumph," said the Times. A 3-D version of Titanic, released earlier this year, brought in more than $342 million in ticket sales around the world.

Classic Hughes Aircraft Flying Again

Aero Telemetry, a small company in southern California, is finishing up a model of Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose flying boat with a 20-foot wingspan, which it calls "the world's largest flyable, most historically accurate and detailed scale model" of the iconic aircraft. The airplane is one of three Hughes aircraft that the company is building to create a traveling exhibit. Joe Bok, the company CEO and an aerospace engineer, designed the models used in The Aviator film, released in 2004. Bok, however, felt that the models used in the movie, created under intense deadline pressure, "left much to be desired," company spokesman Rob Hartz told AVweb. So on his own, Bok is creating meticulous new versions based on extensive research.

So far the company has created a 1/2 scale Hughes H1 Racer, which flew last year, and this year, the company flew "the world's largest flyable museum-scale replica" of the twin-engine twin-tail Hughes XF-11, with a 30-foot wingspan. According to the company website, Bok and his team were given access to rare photographs and original Hughes Aircraft blueprints of the XF-11, detailing the intricacies of the complex design. The flying Spruce Goose replica will debut at the Academy of Model Aeronautics Expo in Ontario, Calif., in January. According to Hartz, "Joe considers these airplanes to be his best effort at creatively combining design, engineering, technology and art as a functional form." No plans are in the works to sell copies of the models, Hartz said, but he didn't rule out the possibility.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Judge Rejects Hawker 4000 Sell-Off

A bankruptcy judge has rejected Hawker Beechcraft's bid to fire-sale its inventory of Hawker 4000 jets to raise some quick cash. The company was planning to dump the aircraft, the all-composite flagship of its jet roster, for as little as about 35 cents on the dollar until some existing 4000 owners stepped in to prevent their $20 million aircraft from suffering the same devaluation. Hawker Beech has 13 finished new 4000s, three in production and four used aircraft. The inventory clearance bid was part of a filing made by the company that also requested the court to allow it to abandon warranty and extended service plans on the 4000 and on Premier I and Premier IA jets. Hawker Beechcraft VP Shawn Vick outlined the warranty decision in a podcast interview at the 2012 NBAA convention in Orlando in October.

Hawker Beech said in its filing it wanted to dump the aircraft before more advanced competitors hit the market and make them harder to sell. Cessna and Embraer are both working on aircraft in the same class as the 4000 that offer new technology and are more efficient and are in the same price range. However, bankruptcy judge Stuart Bernstein wrote Monday that the company failed to make the case that immediately slashing the price was necessary. The owners committee argued that Hawker Beech has promised it will find someone to take over service and support of the jets and if it does that the aircraft can retain their normal used value. "This process will require a reasonable amount of time, not an accelerated process," the committee argued in its filing. "Thus, there is simply no reason to race to sell the Hawker 4000 inventory before those efforts play out."

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

Have you signed up yet for AVweb's no-cost weekly business aviation newsletter, AVwebBiz?

Delivered every Wednesday morning, AVwebBiz focuses on the companies, the products and the industry leaders that make headlines in the business aviation industry, making it a must-read.

Add AVwebBiz to your AVweb subscriptions today by clicking here and choosing "Update E-mail Subscriptions."

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

Video: Piper Matrix Flight Trial

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

Piper's Matrix — an unpressurized version of its Mirage — has proven a popular seller and a stalwart of the company's M-class product line. AVweb's Paul Bertorelli recently took a test flight in the airplane for this video report.

Don't see a video screen?
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 Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

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.

AVweb's Refurbished Airplane of the Month

New airplanes sales may be a little soft, but we're seeing plenty of refurb work -- everything from new panels to fresh paint to full-up interiors. We would like to feature some of these airplanes in the pages of AVweb and spotlight the owners and shops doing the work. If you have photos of your restored aircraft -- single, twin or turbine -- send them along to us, and if we select your airplane as refurb of the month, we'll contact you for more information.

International Association of Flight Training Professionals (IAFTP)
IAFTP Share-a-Training-Practice Promotion
The first month of our promotion is complete, and the IAFTP Advisory Committee has selected training practices submitted from Canada, Australia, Italy, and Peru for recognition. The instructors submitting these training practices have from less than 1,000 hours to more than 15,000 hours total time.

To learn more about this promotion and the instructors being recognized, click HERE.
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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Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

Our latest winning photo comes from Ron Frederiksen of Vancouver, WA. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.
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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

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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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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