AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 2a

January 7, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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New Directions, Part I back to top 
 

NAFI's Blair Resigns

The executive director of the National Association of Flight Instructors has resigned and it appears financial issues are behind the decision. Jason Blair, who has held that post since 2008, resigned Sunday, saying the organization apparently couldn't afford him. "I fully support the mission of NAFI and hope the association and its members can find a way to continue the growth of the association and eventually return to a point where the position of an executive director is financially sustainable," Blair said. He also said the group needs more financial support or "difficult decisions have to be made." Former NAFI Chairman Ken Hoffman said the news came as a surprise to him and deferred comment to new chairman Robert Meder who was unavailable at our deadline.

NAFI went through a period of controversy over changes to its governance in late 2008 and that led to the formation of a breakaway group that became known as the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), which has continued to operate. Blair did not say in his news release whether the creation of SAFE led to the financial woes at NAFI. He said there has been significant cost-cutting at NAFI but it needs more money to survive. "We have enjoyed support from several long-term partners who have enabled us to do much, but without additional strategic partners that see value in supporting NAFI, difficult decisions have to be made," said Blair.

 
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New Directions, Part II back to top 
 

CAP Reorganizes Leadership

The Civil Air Patrol has completed a reorganization of its command structure and its top officer says that means CAP will be even better equipped to complete its increasingly diverse missions. In a podcast interview, Brig. Gen. Rich Anderson, chairman of the board of governors, said the more streamlined structure in which areas of responsibility are more clearly defined and responsive to the needs of staff and volunteers will help CAP meet the double-edged sword of tight budgets and increasing expectations. In general, the new structure puts the responsibility for policy decisions with the board of governors while operational decisions will rest with the professional and volunteer forces doing the work. "With the wing commanders focused on day-to-day missions, making decisions that are important to the membership, that's where there will be considerable benefit to be realized," Anderson said in a statement.

Anderson said that with cuts looming across the board in government agencies, he expects the role of CAP to be expanded even further. He said he hasn't been told what, if any, added responsibilities are coming but he noted that in recent years CAP resources have been deployed in a variety of military and homeland security support roles. For instance, CAP pilots and aircraft routinely test the defenses of the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) around Washington. At the same time, he said he expects CAP to face some budget cuts but he does not think they will affect its ability to deliver existing and future services to the military and the public.

Podcast: Expanding Roles, Diminishing Budgets

File Size 5.7 MB / Running Time 6:15

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The Civil Air Patrol has adopted a new governance structure that will help it cope with the challenges that lie ahead. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Brig. Gen. Richard L. Anderson about how CAP will continue to serve the military and the public.

Click here to listen. (5.7 MB, 6:15)

 
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Aviation Safety back to top 
 

Plane Crashes Into Florida Home, Three Dead

A Beechcraft BE35 flying Friday afternoon en route to Knoxville, Tenn., diverted to Flagler County Airport, Fla., and crashed into a house in Palm Coast, Fla., killing all three onboard the aircraft. The home was roughly one mile from the airport and caught fire after the crash. Early reports state that the homeowner escaped the house through a bedroom window and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, the pilot had reported trouble before the crash and offered a few details about the Beechcraft Bonanza's condition.

Approximately 12 minutes prior to the crash, at about 2:10 p.m., the pilot declared an emergency and said the aircraft was shaking. The impact ignited a fire at the house, which was extinguished. Video of the scene showed significant damage to the one-story home, which is surrounded by tall trees. Early information about the crash did not include the aircraft's point of departure.

 
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Watch The Aviators on PBS, iTunes, Amazon, and Hulu.
 
Future and Past Blend Together in the Present back to top 
 

Hadfield Expands Twitterverse

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) has taken Twitter to a new level and in doing so has entered a time warp. Hadfield, who arrived at the International Space Station just before Christmas, began tweeting about life in space 140 characters at a time and sending stunning photos of Earth via the social media site. All this unaccustomed orbital chitchat tweaked the long-dormant sensors aboard the Starship Enterprise and none other than Capt. James T. Kirk joined the conversation. "Are you tweeting from space?" William Shatner, the Canadian actor who played Kirk on the iconic 1960s TV series, asked. Without missing a beat, Hadfield replied: "Yes, Standard Orbit, Captain. And we're detecting signs of life on the surface." Shatner was soon joined by other space luminaries (real and imagined).

George Takei, who played Enterprise helmsman Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, tweeted, prompting Hadfield to issue an invitation to Leonard Nimoy to complete an "away team" for the mission. Nimoy responded with "LLAP" ("live long and prosper"). Even Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation, chimed in. Former astronaut and second man on the moon Buzz Aldrin noted that he and Neil Armstrong would have tweeted from there if they could have but he's looking forward to tweeting from Mars by about 2040. Hadfield, who will become commander of the space station in a month, has said in interviews that watching Armstrong, who died earlier this year, and Aldrin on the moon inspired him to become an astronaut. It's his third trip to space and he'll be there until May.

North American Dates Set For Mosquito

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The only flying De Havilland Mosquito will have a busy schedule in North America this summer, according to its owner Jerry Yagen of the Fighter Factory. As we reported earlier, the reconstructed Mosquito, which flew for the first time in September, has made several public appearances in New Zealand where AVspecs, the company that did the restoration, is based. Sometime this spring the aircraft, which was originally built in Canada, will be shipped to North America, and Yagen said it will be at a lot of airshows this coming season, including his own Warbirds Over the Beach in Virginia Beach May 17-19. It will also make an appearance not far from the factory where it was built.

The Mosquito will headline the Hamilton Air Show June 15-16. Hamilton is about 30 miles west of Toronto, where the original aircraft was built. In addition to its solo performance, the Mosquito will join a formation flight of warbirds that will include the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum's Lancaster bomber along with a Spitfire and a Hurricane. There will also be a gathering of Mosquito pilots.

 
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Happy New Year back to top 
 

2013's Parade Of Intoxicated People On Planes

The first week of 2013 has left multiple reports involving drunken, violently disruptive passengers on airliners, plus one non-violent but legally drunk American Eagle pilot. In American Eagle's case, witnesses reportedly smelled alcohol on the pilot's breath prior to the 6:10 a.m. flight, Friday. Police arrived and, according to an airport spokesman, the pilot failed a breath test. American Eagle has removed the pilot from line work while it investigates. Several alcohol-related events involving passengers led to diverted flights. They included two women who reportedly demanded to meet their flight's captain and a man who was ultimately duct-taped to his seat by other passengers.

Earlier this week, a British Airways flight out of London for Tunis diverted to Lyon, France, after two apparently intoxicated women reportedly swore at children, smoked in the lavatory, threatened a flight attendant and demanded to meet the flight's captain. The women were taken into custody by police in Lyon. Also in the first week of the new year, passengers on an IcelandAir flight out of Iceland for JFK elected to duct-tape and zip-tie a man to a seat rather than suffer his unconstrained company. The man reportedly attacked a woman and screamed that the plane would crash before fellow passengers took action. The man remained bound and gagged for the remainder of the flight, which continued to JFK. According to a fellow passenger, the man had consumed liquor while on the flight. The man was arrested by police upon landing and a Port Authority spokesman later confirmed to news.com.au that the man was taken to a hospital and no charges were filed.

 
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New on AVweb.com back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Should We Have Published the Dornier Skydive Video?

At AVweb, we publish all kinds of videos and stories about aviation events that might be outside the norm. Sometimes way outside the norm. Says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog, the one of the hair-on-fire descent in the skydiving Dornier twin deserved reproach, not awe. But that doesn't mean AVweb viewers shouldn't see it.

Read more and join the conversation.

Brainteasers Quiz #179: A Little This, A Little That

Brainteasers

FAROS, RWSL, RAIM, GNSS, NOTAM -- these words are not in Hobbit language or some weird FAA anagram that, when unscrambled, portends the end of over-priced avgas. Instead, they are samplings of what well-traveled pilots encounter daily and what -- now -- you must identify. (Includes results of last month's reader survey about the dumbest things in aviation.)

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

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

AVmail: January 7, 2013

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: The Angle on Safety

I very much enjoyed your article on angle of attack indicators. It has always been amazing to me that GA continues to fly using airspeed as the primary reference.

In military aviation, one of the basic tenets was that aircraft wings perform aerodynamically based on angle of attack. Airspeed was calculated as a crosscheck to ensure that no system had an error. On each aircraft I flew (F-4, F-111, F-101, and EA-6B), we had AOA targets for critical phases of flight, landing, max efficiency cruise, dogfighting, etc.

In some aircraft, such as the Phantom, our control inputs had to change as we reached higher AOA levels. That was why most fighter-type aircraft had aural tones as well as indicators.

I was very pleased to learn that newer technologies had produced reliable systems at very affordable costs. Widespread adoption could significantly affect landing accident statistics and make a really positive contribution to GA safety!

J. C. "Squid" Hall
CDR (USN R9, Ret.)

Excellent article on AOA indicators. However, you left out the most important safety feature of the Alpha AOA, the Sweet Sarah audio warning. It's like having a co-pilot in an airliner calling out "airspeed" when a distracted captain allows his IAS to fall below "bug." It's the real life-saving feature of that system.

Tom Rosen


Huerta's Priorities

Regarding your "Question of the Week": Saving aviation is FAA Administrator Michael Huerta's most pressing issue, not fine-tuning the nuts and bolts of a healthy aviation industry.

NextGen, alternative fuels, the looming commercial pilot shortage, airline and GA safety, and every other aviation subject area are moot if we don't save GA first. From GA flows the infrastructure to support aviation, provide the new, young commercial pilots and [service] every other part of aviation and its needs.

My recommendation to Huerta is that he immediately pass the AOPA/EAA recreational pilot medical exemption petition for recreational flying in order to save what there is left of the existing pilot population. Save what you have and then grow more later, if you will.

Then, he should revamp both the existing recreational pilot certificate and institute a change in the (mostly unused) primary aircraft category, much the same as light sport aircraft are to sport pilot, such that a light sport pilot could move up to recreational pilot and A&Ps could re-license both of those airplane categories.

Those who want to go further in aviation can become private pilots with the attendant medical requirements.

Larry Stencel

The FAA should focus attention on reducing the cost of aircraft certification. With a new Cessna 172 costing more than $200,000, it has seriously hurt the growth of GA and the opportunities for future pilots. Certifying a new plane now costs too much.

John Dill

It is time for the FAA to make a decision on the third-class proposal from EAA and AOPA. This decision was delayed by the surprise decision just before AirVenture to avoid it until after the election, just like almost everything else in the federal government.

I hope the decision is to follow the lead from Australia that limits aircraft usable without a medical certificate only by weight. However, any decision will allow the rest of us to move on with the new (or unchanged) rules.

Paul Mulwitz

The FAA increasingly focuses on technical violations and not on the real issues that affect safety. Huerta should remind his people the FAA's goal is not to rack up as many violations as possible.

Dan Hinnah

First priority should be reducing the cost of ADS-B equipment to prevent NextGen from being an obstacle to aviation rather than a benefit.

David Townsend


Dropping in on Poland

A couple of points about the clip of the pilot dropping from 12,000 feet to land.

Firstly, the aircraft was a Dornier 28, not a King Air as one correspondent wrote, and secondly, it was filmed in Poland where wearing a parachute for aerobatics is not required. I think the pilot himself is Hungarian, so it's not a job for the FAA.

Is this guy nuts? This sort of behavior should be thoroughly investigated by the authorities.

Incidentally, whilst still learning, on a short solo cross-country, I decided that the weather wasn't good and called ATC and told them I was reversing course. I received nothing but support both from ATC, who volunteered radar vectors, and from the flight school. This guy is clearly a cowboy who shouldn't be flying.

Tim Carter

I consider myself lucky to have learned to fly in the mid-'60s when many of the instructors were ex-Second-World-War pilots. They taught me to fly the plane and, no matter the attitude, stay within its limits.

I have passed that on over the years to younger pilots for their benefit. If the airplane is safe, so are you and your passengers! As far as I know, all are still flying.

Bart A. Frantz

AVweb Replies:

AVweb's Paul Bertorelli weighs in on the issue in this blog.

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief


Age of Reason

I'm sure it's not lost on anybody that there is a large pool of highly trained pilots out there who are not flying because of the age limits placed on them by the FAA and other regulatory agencies.

There was no "magic pill" that came along and made guys and girls born after 1947 smarter or more healthy when the age limit was raised to 65. Australia already allows a pilot to fly until he or she can't pass a more stringent physical, and rumor has it that Canada is thinking the same.

There are aircraft parked all over the world waiting on qualified pilots to fly them. Putting union control aside, it's time to rethink the medical disqualification of pilots based on age.

When I didn't make the cut here in the U.S., foreign companies were more than happy to put me to work flying the same equipment in much (!) worse conditions ever encountered here stateside.

At 66, I can still pass any FAA 1st class physical, even if I had to take one every month. There is no pilot "shortage" -- just a shortage of common sense.

Capt. Jack Vansworth


Babes in Arms

Regarding last week's "Question of the Week": I would at least like to see infants held by a person seated facing aft. There would be less opportunity for the infant to become a projectile.

A survivable 20G crash makes an infant in arms a 300-pound, impossible-to-hold problem.

Cal Twitty Sr.

Pilot in command and parents should determine if child restraints are necessary or desirable in any specific situation. Comfort, safety, and quality of life might all be determinants in the decision.

David Arndt

All unrestrained objects are a hazard to all occupants in a crash. Infants should be properly restrained, just like baggage.

John Kallend

Make the infant seats compulsory in GA airplanes, but not on commercial flights.

Why? The accident rate in GA vs. commercial flights is much higher.

J. P. Hinge

If parents are required to purchase a seat for their infant, they'll be more likely to drive instead, which would have a higher risk than flying to their destination.

Bill Ludlow

I'd like to see some price relief for families with small children. This would help discourage the car trip and encourage using a car seat in a separate seat. So yes, they "should" be in a car seat (via the price inducement), but I don't agree with a nanny state requirement.

Kevin Vap

A reasonable compromise would be to permit infants to be carried in a front-worn baby carrier during take-off and landing, with the parent's seatbelt/shoulder harness being worn underneath the carrier (i.e., against the parent's body and not around the child's body). This would prevent infants from becoming projectiles during a crash.

Jennifer Inman


Relief Not Needed

Your recent item on the new Cleveland, Tennessee airport states, "The $40 million airport is intended to be a reliever for nearby Chattanooga ... ."

Whatever use the new airport might get, the idea that CHA needs a reliever airport is ludicrous. It is practically a ghost town, even with the commuters that still operate there. It is rare to taxi out at CHA and even see another aircraft moving on the surface.

Kim Welch


Social (Media) Time

Regarding your story on SocialFlight: It's about time someone developed a fun-to-fly publication. Keep up the good work.

Preston Daniels


Holiday Wishes

Just want to say "thank you" for a great year! I'm not a pilot. I'm an enthusiast and artist and love to fly and ride with friends.

Your site is very educational for a passenger, and even your reader photos keep the blood circulating. I enjoy it!

David Lord

I believe that it is appropriate to tell the AVweb staff how much I appreciate the fine job you all have done this past year bringing us, the GA public, this almost-daily publication.

I greatly appreciate this publication. Thank you so very much.

I wish everyone at the Aviation Publishing Group a happy new year of flying.

Jim McDuffie

Just sayin' you guys do a super job bringing interesting, timely, and important aviation news and information to the pilot population. Keep up the great work.

Dave Murphy


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

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.

 
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Galaxy Aviation (KSGJ, St. Augustine, Florida)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Galaxy Aviation at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (KSGJ) St. Augustine, Florida.

AVweb reader David Singleton recently had a great experience at Galaxy, which he shared with us:

The Beech Aero Club held a three-day event on December 7, 8, and 9, 2012. Galaxy Aviation was very helpful to all our members. The staff were professional, courteous, and very friendly. They were a major reason we will return next year.

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: Meet Mid-Continent's SAM

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

As much as we love them, iron gyros are on their way to the scrap heap of history. They're even losing their value as backup instruments to glass panels now that glass itself has become more reliable and affordable enough to replace even analog backup devices. In this new video from AVweb, Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano examines a new product from Mid-Continent Instruments and Avonics called the SAM. It fits into a small space on the panel and can be backed up with its own lithium-ion battery. Installation considerations are mimimal, but here's a close look at how the instrument looks and performs.

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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:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
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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