AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 18, Number 48b

November 29, 2012

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Aviation Safety back to top 
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Embraer Turboprop Twin Successfully Ditches

All 29 aboard an Embraer-E120ER Brasilia turboprop survived a ditching off the Comoros Islands near Mozambique Tuesday; one passenger, a military officer, told Reuters he saw fuel leaking out of the aircraft "like an open tap" after takeoff. The aircraft, a T-tail low wing, was operated by Inter-Iles Air, carrying 25 passengers and four crew. It departed Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport just after 1 p.m. local time and impacted the waters of the Indian Ocean less than 1000 feet from the coast and three miles north of the airport. Local fishermen were on scene and effected rescue of all the aircraft's occupants. Early reports suggest crew members were aware of a problem.

First reports state that the crew radioed that they were experiencing an unspecified problem and requested a return to the airport but lost altitude in a turn and touched down in the water. According to the local aviation authority, the aircraft had passed an inspection earlier in the month. One early report states that a passenger said one engine failed before the aircraft lost altitude. Another states that the crew was made aware of the fuel leak and decided to attempt a return to the airport. Time and further investigation should provide more clarity, but as the aircraft turned back for the airport it lost altitude and successfully ditched. Multiple sources did not agree on the number of injuries, which may have included two people who suffered minor injuries, including the flight's pilot.

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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.
Making It Official back to top 

Huerta Confirmation Path Cleared

Michael Huerta has been working as "acting administrator" in the top job at the FAA since Randy Babbitt's sudden departure following a drunk-driving arrest last December, but now the Republicans in Congress have lifted a block to his confirmation. After Huerta was approved for the FAA job by a Senate committee in July, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, blocked a final confirmation vote until after the election, so the Republicans could choose their own administrator if they won the White House. With DeMint's objection lifted, the confirmation process can now move forward.

Some aviation advocacy groups have spoken out in support of confirming Huerta for a five-year term as soon as possible. AOPA President Craig Fuller said on Wednesday that Huerta has been good for general aviation. "Michael Huerta is well-qualified to manage the monumental changes taking place in the FAA airspace, navigation, air traffic control and safety programs that directly impact general aviation," Fuller said. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association also weighed in recently on the appointment. "President Obama made a wise decision to nominate Huerta for administrator last spring," said Paul Rinaldi, NATCA president. "He has been a steady hand at the controls of an agency that is making very positive strides forward in serving the public. It is time the Senate moves to approve his nomination."

Question of the Week: Is Huerta the Right Guy?

The way is now clear for Michael Huerta to become the next FAA administrator.

Is Huerta the right person for the job?
(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.)

Flying Eyes Pilot Sunglasses || Headset-Friendly Sunglasses
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Airplanes New and Old back to top 

X-47B Drone Boards Carrier For First Time

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The X-47B, designed to fly autonomously as an unmanned strike aircraft and land on the deck of an aircraft carrier, was taken aboard the USS Harry S. Truman Monday at Norfolk naval base, Va., for its first shipboard tests. The aircraft will undergo three weeks of testing, both at Norfolk and along the Atlantic coast, to confirm on-deck handling, control and performance. In a news release, Monday, the Navy did not directly state that the aircraft would undergo flight operations, but that it would "demonstrate seamless integration into carrier flight deck operations." Carrier launches and recoveries of the X-47B are not expected until next year and could mark all new and controversial capabilities for Naval operations.

The X-47B is designed to be capable of carrying out combat missions without real-time human interaction. It can be programmed ahead of time to fly missions autonomously, guided by onboard systems designed to deliver it from a ship to its target and back. Aside from automated shipboard launches and traps, the drone is meant to also be capable of automated refueling. It hosts a weapons bay capable of holding 4,500 pounds. Its 62-foot wingspan is wider than the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet -- a notable difference for shipboard operations. On the Truman, members of the carrier's crew and engineers will use a hand-held controller to maneuver the aircraft on deck.

'Out Of Africa' Biplane For Sale

The classic biplane that flew above the savanna in the popular Academy-Award-winning 1985 film "Out of Africa" will go up for auction in February in Paris, Bonhams announced this week. The biplane was featured in several scenes when stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford flew together to explore the beauty and wildlife of the Kenya highlands. The airplane, a 1929 De Havilland 60GMW Gipsy Moth, is in excellent condition and ready to fly, according to Bonhams.

The aircraft still wears the same yellow-and-black livery and registration G-AAMY (in homage to English aviatrix Amy Johnson) seen in the film. The auction will be held at the Grand Palais from February 6 to 7, Bonhams said. Bidding for the aircraft is expected to be in excess of $180,000.

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More on Hartzell Engine Technologies' aircraft starters ...
News Briefs back to top 

GA Survey Deadline On Friday

If you own or operate a GA aircraft, the FAA's annual safety survey needs your data. The survey is the only official source of information about the activities of the GA fleet, including the number of hours flown and the reasons people fly, and this Friday is the deadline for you to participate. The survey covers private aviation activities and Part 135 operations. "Reducing GA fatalities is a top priority of the FAA, and our goal is to reduce the GA fatal accident rate by 10 percent by 2018," said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta. "By taking the time to participate in the FAA's GA survey, owners and operators share valuable data that help the entire GA community."

Data collected from the survey help determine funding for infrastructure and service needs, assess the impact of regulatory changes, and measure aviation safety. The survey is also used to prepare safety statistics and calculate the rate of accidents among GA aircraft. Responses are private, says the FAA, and information will be used only for statistical purposes. Owners who did not fly their aircraft in 2011, have sold it, or are awaiting repairs should also respond to the survey. A random sample of owners was notified by the FAA and asked to participate, but an invitation is not required to fill out the online form.

Report: Contract Towers Cheaper, Safer

A recent report (PDF) from the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General found that contract towers are cheaper to operate than FAA towers. The contract towers also had a lower rate of safety incidents compared to similar FAA towers. "On average, a contract tower cost about $1.5 million less to operate than a comparable FAA tower, mainly due to lower staffing and salary levels," according to the OIG. The OIG made several suggestions to the FAA to improve the program, including strengthening financial oversight and implementing voluntary safety reporting systems at the towers.

Contract towers are used at 250 low-activity U.S. airports that otherwise wouldn't have air traffic services. The OIG based its cost comparison on 30 randomly selected contract towers and 30 FAA towers with a comparable level of operations. For the safety study, the FAA reviewed 240 of the contract towers, which reported a total of 197 safety incidents, compared to 362 incidents at 92 similar FAA towers. The OIG said the FAA should include contract towers in voluntary reporting systems for safety incidents, such as the Air Traffic Safety Action Program currently in place at all FAA facilities.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

First Flight For Legacy 500

Embraer flew its all-new midsize Legacy 500 jet for the first time on Tuesday, for an hour and 45 minutes. It's the first jet in its class to use a fly-by-wire control system, according to Embraer. It also features a large cabin for up to 12 passengers with six feet of headroom. Two Honeywell HTF 7500E engines drive the jet at up to Mach .82 for 3,000 miles. The flight was "flawless," the company said. First deliveries are expected in 2014.

The cockpit also features sidestick controllers and Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics with synthetic vision. The jet is aimed to fill the gap between the light Phenom models and the big-cabin 600 and 650. The company has two other prototypes in the works for the flight-test program.

L-3, Avidyne Headed For Court

Avionics companies L-3 and Avidyne will square off in court in February over L-3's claim that Avidyne copied some of its technology in the Entegra glass cockpit system. According to an Avidyne news release, the issue boils down to the method used to calibrate an electronic attitude indicator to correct for the alignment of the device in the aircraft. Avidyne denies the allegation and has countered that attitude indicator calibration was not a new technology.

L-3 first leveled the charge seven years ago and no longer has the rights to produce SmartDeck. It sold an exclusive license to Canada's Esterline CMC in 2010 to use the technology. Avidyne says that regardless of the outcome of the trial, the effect on customers will be minimal because only early model Entegra systems produced in 2004 and early 2005 are affected.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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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."

Aerial Tribute || Every Cloud a Monument
Ascension Scattering™: A Dignified Final Tribute for Any Aviator
Using a high-performance sailplane, Ascension Scattering™ releases cremated remains into strong thermals over the Rocky Mountains. The ashes are carried heavenward, making them part of the sky. Your family is invited to personalize the release to create an individualized memorial event. Optional video of the release serves as a lasting memorial. Contact Aerial Tribute to book an eternal flight, either as an advanced arrangement for yourself or as an arrangement for a loved one. Click here for a video overview.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Up Next? The End of the Approach Plate

With the iPad Mini and other compact tablets selling in the thousands, it's only a matter of time before users will demand approach plate displays optimized for tablet aspects and displays rather than awkwardly adapted for 70-year-old paper graphic standards. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli places his bet that it will happen within three years.

Read more and join the conversation.

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GAMIjectors® have given these aircraft owners reduced cylinder head temperatures, reduced fuel consumption, and smoother engine operation. GAMIjectors® alter the fuel/air ratio in each cylinder so that each cylinder operates with a much more uniform fuel/air ratio than occurs with any other factory set of injectors. To speak to a GAMI engineer, call (888) FLY‑GAMI, or go online for complete engineering details.
AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Flying the B-17 Flying Fortress

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

The Collings Foundation's Derek "Otter" Ward sometimes serves as co-pilot aboard the organization's WWII B-17 Boeing Flying Fortress bomber Nine-O-Nine. He describes some of the aircraft's ground and flight characteristics.

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Logbook System
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Faulkner's Air Shop (KBMQ, Burnet, TX)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" comes to us from reader Sandra Wirth, who found herself making an unplanned stop at Burnet Municipal Airport/Kate Craddock Field (KBMQ) in Burnet, Texas, where she discovered Faulkner's Air Shop:

While on a ferry flight from California to Florida in a Piper Warrior last month, due to a weather system in western Texas, I made an unplanned evening landing at KBMQ. It was after 6:00pm, and I was expecting to find a deserted airport and to have to figure out the fueling and lodging on my own. Instead, the lights were on at Faulkner's Air Shop, and smiling faces greeted me as I entered the building. Dale took care of my fuel needs before I had much chance to think about it and then gave me some phone numbers of nearby motels. When none of [the hotels] would pick me up, Johanna drove me herself.

The next morning, I ended up waiting several hours for some low clouds to clear. Johanna brought me back to the FBO, and I had a comfortable place to relax while the activity of a busy flight school swirled around me. At lunch time, they offered me a ride into town. Meanwhile, Dale towed the aircraft into the shop, serviced the flattened nose strut with nitrogen, and towed it back to the ramp.

They wouldn't accept payment for any of this, nor were there tie-down fees. By the time I was finally able to take off around 2:30pm, I felt I had been given VIP treatment to a level that was far above anything else I experienced on my 2,500-nm journey across the country.

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

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It's easy for your company to be more proactive, flexible, and entrepreneurial with AVweb's cost-effective marketing programs. Discover the benefits of instant response, quick copy changes, monthly tracking reports, and interactive programs. To find out how simple it is to reach 255,000 qualified pilots, owners, and decision-makers weekly, click now for details.
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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