AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 4a

January 14, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! AirVenture Taking Shape back to top 

Jetman Coming To AirVenture?

EAA has reportedly confirmed that it's talking with "Jetman" Yves Rossy to perform at AirVenture 2013. AOPA Online reported that the talks, which will include Rossy's sponsor Breitling, are under way but the performance is far from a sure thing. "Our people have talked with him and his group. Nothing is confirmed," EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski wrote in a comment section of the AOPA blog. Among the considerations is FAA approval, which is likely to be a little more complicated than the nod the agency gave to Rossy's flight over the Grand Canyon last May.

Rossy, who has demonstrated good control of his jet-powered wing on past flights (such as flying in formation with real jets), has nevertheless done most of his flights away from populated areas. He is preparing to fly at a model aircraft exhibition (the engines he uses are designed for models) on Thursday and has been booked for the New Zealand International Air Show in Auckland Jan. 26-28.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

FAA Urges Maintenance Of Manual Flight Skills

Autopilots and autothrottles commonly used on modern aircraft are useful tools but may have already led to degraded piloting skills, according to the FAA, which earlier this month released a safety alert to encourage manual flight operations. In a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) the FAA said flight operations data has identified "an increase in manual handling errors." And, says the FAA, continuous use of automated systems "could lead to degradation of the pilot's ability to quickly recover the aircraft from an undesired state." The FAA's SAFO encourages operators to "take an integrated approach by incorporating emphasis of manual flight operations into both line operations and training." The SAFO also offers guidance on operational policies.

According to the SAFO, "appropriate opportunities" for pilots to exercise manual flying skills include non-RVSM airspace operations and conditions of low workload. At the same time, the FAA also urges operators to develop and review their policies to ensure that pilots understand when the use of automated systems is preferred -- such as during high-workload scenarios and conditions that require precise flight operations. The FAA recognizes that some crew operating conditions may limit the ability of pilots to practice manual flight. It advises that airlines adapt their policies to ensure that their pilots "have the appropriate opportunities to exercise the aforementioned knowledge and skills in flight operations."

Full text of the SAFO is available here (PDF).

Fatal UK Heli Crash Involved False Certification

A UK court has found former British flight instructor Ian King guilty of fraudulently obtaining a private pilot helicopter license in 2008 for a man who was killed along with his wife weeks later in the UK while flying a Gazelle. The court was advised that King, a former Army captain, had two prior Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) convictions. King pled not guilty to the charge of making a false representation with intent to deceive the CAA. The jury disagreed. The judge in the case told King his actions involved "a breach of trust" and "a disregard on your part for the safety requirements" imposed by the CAA, BrigHouseEcho.com.uk reported Thursday. King's sentencing is set for Feb. 4. The judge was not coy about what King should expect.

The CAA in 2009 revoked King's ability to serve as a flight instructor. Judge Tom Bayliss told King in closing comments Thursday that he should "be under no illusion" that this case would "be dealt with in any other way than custody." The judge suggested he may consider issues affecting the former flight instructor, saying, "I would be assisted by knowing more about you and your personal circumstances when I come to sentence." King has been granted bail until sentencing, next month. The couple killed in the helicopter crash owned a local business. Their crash resulted after takeoff from a five-star golfing hotel, according to the Daily Mail.

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Parts: It's What's Inside That Counts back to top 

FAA To Review 787 Electrical System

Boeing has sourced multiple problems with its 787 Dreamliner to faulty circuit boards and Friday the FAA announced it is launching a review of the jet's electrical systems, including the outsourced manufacture and installation of components. Aside from incorporating new technologies, production of the 787 involves a much more outsourced process than its other jets. Boeing not only had outside companies produce parts, but those companies also played a role in the design of parts and systems. Boeing says that three of four incidents suffered by 787 aircraft have been traced to one batch of circuit boards produced by a subcontractor in Mexico. Boeing will now be working with the FAA on a review of the 787's entire electrical system. The FAA's announcement follows on the heels of highly publicized recent incidents involving the jet.

Most recently, on Jan. 7, a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire after landing at Boston's Logan International Airport. The fire involved lithium-ion battery cells associated with an onboard auxiliary power unit. On Dec. 14, United grounded one of their Dreamliners following a problem with an electrical panel. Boeing identified faulty circuit boards were susceptible to electrical arcing. On Dec. 9, a Qatar Airways 787 also reported an electrical problem. On Dec. 4, a United 787 diverted after an apparent electrical malfunction. Boeing said that foreign debris found in a power distribution panel caused a Nov. 9, 2010, fire on a 787 test aircraft. After that incident, it halted testing until the panel was redesigned.

IG: 'Defective' Boeing Part Caused F-15 Breakup

An agreement published in a Pentagon inspector general (IG) report to Congress last month discloses that Boeing has agreed to pay the Air Force $1 million to replace "defective" parts that in 2007 caused the in-flight breakup of an F-15 (AVweb video). The pilot in that event was able to eject and survived with injuries that included a dislocated shoulder and shattered bone in his arm. A joint investigation determined that Boeing-supplied longerons for the jet varied from 0.039 to 0.073 inches thick where the contract specification called for a thickness of 0.1 inch. While the IG report was critical of Boeing, the $1 million agreement is substantially less than the cost of the jet that was lost.

According to the IG report, "Nonconforming products not only disrupt readiness and waste economic resources but also threaten the safety of military and government personnel." The report identified the Boeing parts as "defective." The 2007 in-flight breakup led to grounding of the entire fleet of nearly 450 F-15s. Inspections of the aircraft subsequently found more than 180 of the jets had structural components that didn't meet manufacturing specifications, the Seattle Times reported Friday. The agreement reached between Boeing and the Air Force does not include an admission of liability.

Fuel Valve Issue Grounds JAL 787

Japan Airlines says a mysterious series of fuel valve malfunctions will keep one of its Boeing 787s out of service indefinitely as engineers track the problem. According to Reuters, the aircraft dumped about 40 gallons of fuel on the ramp at Boston Logan Airport after a transfer valve linking the belly tank and a wing tank opened uncommanded. Fuel from the belly filled the wing, which then overflowed through a vent. The aircraft returned to Tokyo for further tests and while on the ramp in Japan a valve used to defuel the aircraft opened and spilled fuel on the ground.

The fuel problems surfaced as the FAA ordered a review of manufacturing and supply chain for the aircraft in the wake of an APU battery fire, which also happened on JAL plane at Boston. In recent weeks, the windshield of a 787 cracked and another had an oil leak. Boeing insists these are normal shakeout issues that occur when new designs enter service. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood said last week he believes the aircraft are safe and he wouldn't hesitate to get on one.

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Cessna Keeping Busy with New Offerings back to top 

Cessna Certifies New Caravan, Starts M2 Production

The FAA has certified the upgraded Cessna Grand Caravan EX and deliveries are already under way. The core of the upgrade is a much more powerful (867 shaft horsepower) Pratt and Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine in place of the 675-horsepower Pratt that powers the standard models. The effect on performance is substantial. Cessna was hoping for 20 percent better climb rate but it turned out to be 38 percent. The souped-up Caravan is expected to be especially popular for float operators and those who do a lot of high and hot operations. In recent years several companies have obtained STCs to replace the original Caravan engines with more powerful mills. Meanwhile, Cessna has also started production of a brand-new airplane, the M2 business jet.

The M2, which has a lot in common with the CJ1+, was announced in 2011 and first flew in March of 2012. Certification is anticipated by this coming summer. Major components of the airframes will be built at Cessna's Wichita plant and then shipped to Independence, Kan., for final assembly. The M2 has a Garmin G3000 avionics suite and is powered by Williams FJ44-IAP-21 turbofans. Cessna says it climbs to 41,000 feet in 25 minutes and has a cruise speed of 400 KTAS.

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News Briefs back to top 

Probation For Shooting At Airplane

An Alabama man has been placed on probation for a year and may have to take anger management lessons after he admitted shooting at a neighbor's biplane as it was about to land on the neighbor's home strip last June. Jason Allen McCay, 36, of Hayden, Ala., admitted to investigators that he fired at the Stearman "to scare the people on board it." At his sentencing hearing last week, the unidentified judge questioned the sincerity of McCay's apology over the incident but nevertheless agreed with his lawyer that jail time wasn't necessary. It will be up to his probation officer whether he has to take anger management or cognitive therapy sessions to curb his impulsive behavior.

Investigators said the shooting was the culmination of an ongoing feud between McCay and his 81-year-old neighbor Fred Campbell over noise from aircraft using his private strip. Campbell has operated the airfield since 1959. Court was told Campbell was doing the test flight of a newly restored Stearman last June 22 and was on short final for the strip when McCay reportedly took three or four shots at it. He and passenger Joe Dailey were unaware of the shots but other neighbors reported the incident.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Guest Blog -- Fixing Flight Training

In a guest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Ted Seastrom argues that student pilots expect more from their training than most are getting -- and that's what's keeping many students from getting their certificates.

Read more and join the conversation.

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Reader Mail back to top 

AVmail: January 14, 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: A Different Angle

Regarding the item on angle of attack indicators: I'm all for improving flight safety, but in my opinion the AOA indicators that measure air pressure differential at locations other than on the upper wing camber are, while cleverly conceived, not much more than glorified stall-warning horns. They are not accurate enough to dependably help prevent stall/spin accidents.

This is because, aerodynamically, such an AOA is a very imprecise substitute for one that can sense or measure the solely important factor of boundary layer flowing over the wing, which is the only long-ago-proven, dependable way to detect a stalling wing. (If you have any doubts about this, watch any of the 1930s-era wind-tunnel research videos illustrating this fact.)

Further, I believe that relying on the average aircraft owner to self-calibrate one of these "differential" AOA units by a trial-and-error sequence of stalling the aircraft is too demanding and the best results too imprecise to depend on. I see a false sense of security, and I would neither install one nor rely on one.

Instead, let's get back to the drawing board using the best of today's technology in materials and electronics to develop a robust and marketable solution to this problem once and for all.

Dave Abate

Regarding the change in alpha angle with flaps extended, I would guess that the difference might be greater on higher-performance airplanes, but on my Cessna P172D, the difference between no flaps and full (40 degrees) flaps is negligible.

I have my Alpha Systems mechanical system adjusted so that when the needle is at the red/yellow mark, that represents the alpha angle flaps up (as the instructions describe), alpha angle being the slowest airspeed where full control is still available in level flight. With full flaps, the needle falls maybe a needle's width below the red/yellow mark — and, as you know from looking at the mechanical meter head, that's a very narrow needle.

Since if the red/yellow mark (or similar indication on the electronic versions) is used, there will be a little safety buffer with full flaps extended, I'm not sure there's a real benefit to tying the AOA indicator systems to flap deployment for most GA aircraft.

Cary Alburn

Requirements Eclipsed

If the proposal from Eclipse is fully responsive to the Air Force request, it should reflect that the Air Force is "only interested in FAA Part 25 certified commercial off-the-shelf aircraft, which must be able to fly at least 300 knots at 500 feet above the ground." The Eclipse doesn't meet those requirements. It could not recertify to Part 25, the Vmo is 275, and the cabin is way too small to replace the mission of the current Beechjets.

Rich Gritter

Warbirds Draw

Regarding Mosquito owner Jerry Yagen's request for a fee to display his Mosquito at AirVenture, how many people would fail to come to Oshkosh if no warbirds were there?

Jim Sellers

Good Training

Regarding the "Question of the Week": I traded A&P work for flight training. I taught myself the ground school, and the flight training was very good with Rev. O. S. Murphy in Bowling Green, Kentucky in 1978. My solo time was mostly errands for the FBO. It was great.

Rick Caldwell

My flight school was so good that I wound up (after five years of training) becoming a CFII and ultimately chief pilot of the FAR Part 141 school. I worked there for another five years before going on to flying for American Eagle for a while, then becoming a staff editor at Business & Commercial Aviation, where I still contribute as a freelancer. The flight school was Westair, at HPN.

Mal Gormley

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

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Walnut Ridge Regional Airport (KARG, Arkansas)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to the FBO at Walnut Ridge Regional Airport (KARG) in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.

AVweb reader Harry Shannon recommended told us how the fuel prices caught his attention but the service brought him back to Walnut Ridge a second time:

Moving a Caravan amphib from Florida to Washington state, good fuel prices prompted a stop at Walnut Ridge. The service was great, leading to a planned stop on the return trip to Florida. As often happens, our plans lag a bit, and we found ourselves heading for Walnut Ridge arriving near midnight. A call ahead had arranged for an open FBO. [We were] personally met by the airport manager, who also transported us to local lodging, picked us up the next morning, and gave us an extra discount on fuel because it was our second stop.

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!

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

Video: Flight Design Delivers the Rotax 912 iS

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

After rolling it out last spring, Rotax is now delivering its new fuel-injected, electronic engine, the 912 iS. Flight Design is now delivering a new variant called the CTLSi that features the new engine. The 912 iS builds on the basic 912 S, but in place of carburetors, it has dual-injector port-type common-rail fuel injection and electronic ignition, powered by a pair of alternators. AVweb recently flew a new CTLSi demo aircraft, and in this brief product video, we run through our findings.

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The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

This happened some years ago when I was wrenching as an A&P tech at the old TallMantz aviation hangar at John Wayne Orange County Airport in Southern California. The airport is a very busy airport with a tight mix of air carrier and recreational aircraft, causing occasional high stress moments for all. Radio traffic can be fun to listen to when it gets busy and tight.

An American 757 was on short final to 19R when sequencing got a little crossed up, and a light twin pulled out on the runway to begin its take-off roll. The female tower controller issued a go-around command, and assertive she was.

Tower (very clearly) :
"American XXX, go around, go around."

American XXX (clearly irritated) :
"We seem to run into this at this airport often. Do you realize this costs over 3,000 dollars every time it happens?"

Tower (without emotion or hesitation) :
"Roger, American XXX, that will be a 3,000-dollar go-around, sir."

American XXX:
"..." [silence]

A ramp up of turbofan power could be heard in the distance as the aircraft began to climb. I thought, "Wow, she's awesome!" with a chuckle.

Robert Reed
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

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