AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 19, Number 5a

January 28, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Making Ends Meet back to top 

The Survival Of Hawker Beechcraft

Hawker Beechcraft Friday announced progress in its plans to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, possibly completing the transition before March. The company's creditors have approved its proposed reorganization plan and banks have committed to underwrite $600 million in funds that will serve as exit financing. The company is headed to court on Jan. 31 and expects to seek approval for the exit from bankruptcy at that time. Hawker Beechcraft would then seek to focus on core productions like the King Air and T-6. Certain details could still derail the process.

The financing is subject to several terms, including completion of documentation and the approval of the court. JPMorgan and Credit Suisse have committed to the financing. If approved, it will consist of a term loan and revolving line of credit to repay claims and fund ongoing operations. According to Hawker Beechcraft CEO Robert Miller, successful approval of the company's Joint Plan of Reorganization will dramatically reduce the company's debt load. A new board of directors will be appointed by the company's new owners on the date of emergence.

Moller Finds More Money?

Moller International Thursday announced a potential deal with Athena Technologies to "establish co-production" for its vertical takeoff and landing aircraft "in the US and the People's Republic of China," but questions remain. According to Moller, the deal will see the companies "jointly produce numerous models" of Moller's Skycar designs "by 2014" and is backed by an initial $80 million as part of a planned $480 million investment. The deal must now be approved by both parties, according to the news release. Moller's Skycar has been in development for decades. Athena may be just as interesting.

Athena Technologies is made up of "US private equity funds and credit guarantee companies," according to the news release. Its chairman, John Gong, is "Vice-Director of the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) and Vice-President of the China Economic Trade Promotion Agency (CETPALA)," according to Moller's news release. A website for CCPIT appears to include only a list of "recent events" from the year 2007. CETPALA's website includes a "Seminars and Activities" page that is "coming soon" and a "Discussion Board" that was "currently unavailable" Friday.  The release says that the partnership would allow Moller to retain intellectual property rights while providing "the requirements for the airframe and flight control system hardware to be produced in China." Moller has been developing versions of its Skycar for more than three decades.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

Kirby Chambliss OK After Crash

Airshow and Red Bull Air Races pilot Kirby Chambliss is a little banged up and his Zivko Edge 540 is a mess after a crash landing in a ravine in El Salvador last week. Chambliss and fellow pilot Skip Stewart were rehearsing for the Ilopango Air Show near San Salvador Jan. 24 when the aircraft's engine failed during a the low and slow high alpha maneuver. With neither altitude nor speed to work with, Chambliss put the plane down the best he could in a ravine off the end of the runway.

"The plane crashed into small trees and flipped over. The airplane was badly damaged, but Kirby extracted himself and walked to a clearing," said Stewart, who was flying in formation with Chambliss when the accident happened. "I had immediately called for the rescue helicopter and they were there very quickly. A testament to the readiness of the El Salvadorian military. Kirby is fine with superficial scrapes and bruises." It wasn't immediately clear if Chambliss will be ready to perform at his next date at the Luke Air Force Base Air Show in Phoenix March 16-17.

Pilot Hit By New Year's Gunfire

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A Florida pilot has uploaded a YouTube video detailing how he was hit by a bullet while flying with his girlfriend over Jacksonville on New Year's Eve. Graham Hill was apparently grazed by what may have been celebratory gunfire as he flew a rented Cessna 172 over the city to view the midnight fireworks display. "I heard a loud pop," he said. He didn't immediately realize he'd been hit. After checking to make sure his girlfriend was OK, he said he scanned the cockpit for anything that had been shattered and just as he noticed the hole in the pilot side window he felt blood running down his neck.

Hill said he handed the controls to his passenger while he used his jacket to apply pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. They turned for their departure airport, Craig Field, and landed safely. Further inspection of the aircraft revealed the bullet entered through the window and exited through the headliner just above the pilot's yoke. Hill said he was leaning forward to look down on the city and that put the back of his head in the path of the bullet. According to local television station KSDK police responded to 259 reports of gunfire on New Year's Eve.

Antarctic Crash 'Not Survivable'

Searchers in Antarctica say the crash of a Canadian Twin Otter was "not survivable" and the operation is now a recovery mission and it will be October before that can happen. Three Canadians, including aircraft commander Bob Heath, his copilot Mike Denton, 25, and an unidentified third person were aboard the aircraft, which hit the side of a mountain in the Queen Alexandria range. The aircraft was owned and operated by Kenn Borek Air, of Calgary, which is world-renowned for its work at both poles using specially equipped Twin Otters and DC-3s. Weather has improved in the area, which was hit with 100-mph winds for two days after the Twin Otter's ELT was triggered on Wednesday. A helicopter reached the site on Sunday but crew members were unable to reach the front of the aircraft, which was embedded in the snow. They did, however, recover the cockpit voice recorder.

The aircraft was flying from the South Pole to an Italian base on Terra Nova Bay when it went down. New Zealand officials, who coordinated the search, said the aircraft appeared to made direct impact with the mountain on a steep slope. The aircraft was well-stocked with survival gear and initially there was hope the crew could survive to be rescued. Kenn Borek Air has not commented on the news. The aircraft was one of 14 it has in Antarctica this season.

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787 Investigation back to top 

NTSB Says Lots Of Work Ahead For 787 Probe

The head of the NTSB suggested the investigation into the cause of fires aboard two Boeing 787 airliners this month will be a protracted affair. Deborah Hersman said there is evidence the APU battery aboard a Japan Airlines Dreamliner short circuited and had indications of a thermal runaway but what really got the board's attention is that the protections in place to handle that scenario didn't work. "The investigation will include an evaluation of how a fault that resulted in a battery fire could have defeated the safeguards in place to guard against that," said Hersman. "As we learn more in this investigation, we will make recommendations for needed improvements to prevent a recurrence." It's not up to the NTSB to decide when the 787 will fly again. That's up to the FAA, which did not issue any statements on the latest NTSB news release. Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia, who spoke with AVweb earlier this week in a podcast interview, told Reuters the statements made by Hersman are not encouraging.

"It was hard to find a lot of optimism on the call. It sounds like they're still in the middle of a lot of hard work and a lot of mysteries," Aboulafia said in an interview with Reuters. "It just wasn't encouraging. Fire is the last thing you want on an airplane." Meanwhile, Boeing is continuing to build aircraft and is stockpiling them at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. So far, it's maintaining a cooperative public profile. "Boeing is eager to see both investigative groups continue their work and determine the cause of these events, and we support their thorough resolution," the company said in a statement.

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News Briefs back to top 

Witnesses: Student Pilot Drunk Prior To Crash

Student pilot Brendan Mattingley, 27, and his Piper PA-18 Super Cub disappeared near Anchorage last October, inspiring a weeks-long search, and now the NTSB has released evidence that the pilot may have been drunk and lied about his personal history. One witness, a bouncer who escorted Mattingley from a bar, described the pilot as "very intoxicated" less than two hours before he went missing. A cab driver who delivered Mattingley first to a motel and then to Soldotna Airport may have been the last to see Mattingley. He told the NTSB that Mattingley appeared to be drunk and stated that he would sleep in his airplane. Investigators were unable to find Mattingley's logbook, but found that he was convicted of a DWI charge in June of 2002, which he did not report to the FAA. Other factors complicated the search.

The NTSB was unable to locate personal flight records for the student pilot, but an application for a medical certificate dated April 11, 2011, listed his experience at 15 flight hours. Mattingley had checked "No" on FAA Form 8500-8, indicating he had never been convicted or arrested for DWI. The cab driver said he left the intoxicated student pilot at the airport after midnight. Radar data collected from the Air Force showed a departure from the airport just after 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 13. The NTSB interpreted the aircraft's track as "erratic," including a series of changes in speed, heading and altitude, before the plane turned northwest and flew out over Cook Inlet. The Super Cub's last known position was recorded roughly one hour and 45 minutes after departure near the middle of the inlet. Mattingley and the airplane have not been seen since. The missing aircraft was not equipped with or required to have a digital 406 MHz ELT. Emergency services have ceased to monitor analog 121.5 MHz signals from ELTs like the one onboard the accident aircraft. The NTSB factual report (PDF) indicates the agency presumes that the aircraft was destroyed on impact and that its pilot received fatal injuries. 

Rocket-Powered Hypersonic 'SpaceLiner' Project

The German Aerospace Center's Institute of Space Systems is researching a "SpaceLiner" that hopes to, by 2050, send 50 passengers from Europe to Australia in 90 minutes, flying at 24 Mach, project coordinator Martin Sippel told TechNewsDaily. The design is expected to evolve but currently includes a rocket booster that would separate from the passenger-carrying vehicle, which would cruise at an altitude of about 50 miles. According to Sippel, the concept would share similarities with the Space Shuttle because it relies on proven rocket technology and would see the vehicle glide back to earth for landing. He expects that technological advances could lure private investors to the project within the next decade. There are, of course, very large hurdles to overcome.

SpaceLiner planners currently hope to use a liquid oxygen and hydrogen rocket fuel, leaving water vapor as exhaust. They predict that advances in materials could be combined with new cooling technologies and heat shielding to safeguard the vehicle's structures against the intense heat of hypersonic flight. Current studies and other projects are expected to yield information useful to the project. They include a European Union-funded international effort, called the Future High-Altitude High-Speed Transport 20XX (FAST20XX) project, and Project ALPHA, an Aerospace Innovation GmbH effort to launch a space plane from an Airbus A330, in flight. Even if successful, the technology may not be immediately practical. The vehicle is expected to require an isolated launch site and careful route planning to keep sonic booms from negatively affecting populated centers.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: LSA's Failure to Launch

Last week's Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida had record attendance, according to the organizers, but anemic sales suggest tire-kickers outnumber buyers in the thousands. The market forces to change this still aren't in evidence. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli speculates on why.

Read more and join the conversation.

AVweb Insider Blog: Dreamliner Gets One More Problem -- Politics

Never doubt that aviation and politics are joined at the hip, and the bigger the aircraft program, the more likely it will go political. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli notes that the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, if it asks the right questions and finds the right witnesses, may actually shed more light than heat on the 787 battery issues. On the other hand, when's the last time that happened?

Read more and join the conversation.

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

AVmail: January 28, 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: Mogas Options

I note the article in the Jan. 24 issue of AVweb, "Fuel Projects Move Forward, But Slowly," and I appreciate the reference to mogas in the article; however, I would like to clarify and expand a couple of points.

The price differential between mogas and 100LL is far greater today than it was in the 1980s, not the other way around. And it is the addition of ethanol that has thrown a wrench into the works insofar as the availability of mogas is concerned. Auto gas has not fallen out of favor; it's been contaminated.

While indeed there are fewer airports selling mogas today than in the late '80s, the reason for that is the EPA regs that forced the removal of underground tanks in the 1990s — not because there was inadequate demand, not because it had "fallen out of favor." What are lacking today are reliable sources of non-ethanol gasoline.

Then there was this statement:

Another option on the table, albeit not an approved aviation fuel, is mogas.

Statements like that are what hold back a wider acceptance of mogas, and we've been battling that same negative attitude for years. Once it is placed into a properly STC'd airplane, autogas becomes an approved "aviation" fuel. It is viewed that way for tax purposes by the individual states and by the federal government. In the 1980s, the FAA viewed it that way as well. You may call it what you will, but the fact remains that auto gas has been in use legally since 1983. Thousands of pilots have saved literally millions of dollars by switching from 100LL to auto gas. While the fuel itself may not be "certified" as avgas, engines that burn it are — by virtue of the Supplemental Type Certificates that approve it.

A great deal of the hand wringing over a drop-in replacement could be avoided if our airports were able to order up premium unleaded E0 mogas rather than waiting another 11 years for Swift or GAMI. If the alphabets had been doing their job properly, then they would have made at least some effort to keep premium mogas ethanol-free when the ethanol mandates were being codified. Doing nothing, however, allowed auto gas to fade away without anyone having to lift a finger to make it happen, and the only thing left would be some vague promise of a drop-in replacement — eventually.

Then there is the notion that our highest-powered aircraft cannot use mogas, which is blatantly wrong. I continue to maintain that 99% of the high-powered end of the fleet could use premium mogas with an anti-detonation injection (ADI) system making up the octane deficit in the higher-powered airplanes.

Keep in mind what has happened just in the past couple of years. The new LSA class have type certificates that approve autogas as well as the latest generation of engines for these aircraft — Rotax, Jabiru, I0-233 and others. See see this link for a list.

The latest generation of AF (alternative fuel) engines from Continental and Lycoming are designed to operate on certain grades of mogas as well.

Finally, the world's largest producer of light aircraft, Tecnam, has an "all mogas" policy for all their aircraft, including the new 11-seat, Lycoming-powered P2010, certified from day one to operate on mogas.

This demonstrates that many of the leading manufacturers of engines and aircraft are of the opinion that auto gas will play more than a minor role in what is to come. They are building airplanes and engines right now, today, which will burn unleaded auto gas. If anything, many in this industry are of the opinion that a drop-in replacement will play a non-existent role in the fuel transition. These companies clearly are not waiting another decade for someone to produce a new fuel.

Todd L. Petersen

An Ally in Motorsports?

I am aware of a family of high-octane leaded and unleaded fuels for piston engines available right now that I imagine would be useable for aviation with minimal or no changes to the fuel. These are auto racing fuels.

Sunoco is one manufacturer of racing fuels and makes a number of blends that are used by different areas of motor sports. These fuels range from 94 octane up to 104 octane, using the (R+M)/2 method (a different method of measuring octane than we use to measure 100LL).

Some of these are leaded, and some are not. I can remember smelling exhaust fumes from race cars that smelled very similar to the exhaust fumes from aircraft burning 100LL. More info about their fuels is is here.

As we all know, there are many characteristics of avgas that separate it from mogas — such as longer storage life, more expensive refining and transportation costs, and oxygenation by adding ethanol, among other factors. It looks like these same challenges are being addressed and paid for by the racing community.

One more market for an existing family of unleaded fuels should help with keeping costs for a fuel solution as low as possible. Also, these fuels have already been tested in extreme conditions and under high-performance demands. Could there be a solution to our aircraft fuel needs over at our nearest professional racing venue?

Richard Rickles

Glider Incident a Symptom

Regarding your blog on the glider incident: I've spent the last nine years fighting the exact same ignorance and stupidity here in the D.C. area that was exposed down south in this incident. If you don't understand why people are so upset over the incident, you don't, in my estimation, understand the Constitution of the United States. What happened in Darlington is symptomatic of what's happening across the country. People overreact to a perceived threat, and, the next thing you know, civil liberties are violated wholesale.

In fairness, this isn't new. During the Second World War, GA aircraft owners were required to guard their planes or remove the props because they were perceived to be threats to the nation. Of course, that was in a time when U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were interned. One would think we've progressed since then, but when it comes to aviation, I fear we haven't.

I think that you've not been exposed to the kind of bureaucratic thinking in the government that I have, including senior DHS officials asking me in 2003, "Why do you guys have to own airplanes, anyway? They just make our jobs harder." No, I'm not kidding. American citizens serving in regulatory positions actually asked those questions. After the start of the Iraq War in 2003 and the imposition of the ADIZ/SFRA, just the economic losses alone were devastating, yet no one seemed to notice.

There's also the cumulative effect problem. Do you think airspace restrictions will be relaxed when the Iraq War ends? No, because even the regulators who know better call them "9/11 restrictions" when, in fact, most of them were originally imposed as temporary measures during the conflicts in the Middle East. Now they're permanent, and our businesses suffer for it.

Frankly, I think not enough people are getting upset about [the glider] incident, not the other way around, and I think you've seriously missed the whole point here. No one needs a Corvette, but here in the greatest country in the free world, if you work hard and save your money, you can own one. No one needs a glider, but if you want to enjoy the freedom of the skies, you can. It's not important whether it was the power plant security guys or the county sheriff who did wrong. They both screwed up and should be publicly held accountable for it.

What you're also missing is that, in my experience, these kinds of "misunderstandings" are often used by regulators to increase oversight. Rather than the logical response, which would be to educate people on the proper responses and the appropriate attitudes, it's often the opposite.

For example, the visit by President Bush to the Fallen Firefighters Memorial moved the Camp David TFR by four miles, just enough to catch a couple of folks on the edge. The government's response was to create a working group to create a larger TFR. Cooler heads prevailed, thank goodness, but the reaction is scary, to say the least.

Dennis B. Boykin IV

Editor's Note:

The writer serves as chairman of the Leesburg Executive Airport Commission in Leesburg, Virginia. The opinions expressed are his own.

Russ Niles

Where was the Domestic Events Network in all of this?

My guess is the local sheriffs department is not a participant and should be, but a 121.5 call to the ARTCC may have gotten the system engaged.

Dan Beard

Push in the Wrong Direction?

If you want to read more about Pardo's Push, read A Fighter Pilot's Story by Robin Olds. The brass were more than displeased. They wanted to court martial both men. The Silver Star commendations were submitted to prevent the courts martial.

It speaks to the lack of leadership in the USAF during the Vietnam War. I'm a former F-4 crew chief. I still love that jet.

Gary Martin

Successful men and women have, in my experience, a common trait: the ability to think out side of the "box," searching for solutions while staying focused on the problem(s) at hand. Bob Pardo (and team) stayed focused on flying their jets while searching for and trying out possible solutions to their problem, getting his wingman closer to safety.

I'm not sure you can teach this, but I do believe that it is a skill that needs be cultivated in the men and women training as pilots. Further, it needs to be cultivated in each and every young man and woman as they mature into adulthood.

There are few greater gifts that one can bestow upon another person than to allow, encourage, or mentor that person into discovering multiple solutions to a problem and to be allowed to test out these solutions in a non-caustic environment.

Thanks for the story/video of "Pardo's Push" — I enjoyed it.

Jim McDuffie


I'm probably the umpteenth person to point out a small oops on your latest "Short Final" entry: Three Bells would be 0130, 0530, 0930, 1330, 1730, and 2130. Also, some ships ring the bells on the second dog watch (beginning at 1800) as 1-2-3-8, so it's possible to hear Three Bells at 1930. 1500 would be Six Bells. See here for a more thorough explanation.

Jay Scott

AVweb Replies:

Our thanks to the many readers who set us straight. Our ears are ringing.

Russ Niles

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AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Podcast: EASA Eases Off on Private IFR Pilots

File Size 5.0 MB / Running Time 5:30

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

The European Aviation Safety Agency came under fire in 2011 for a proposed rule that would have required all resident pilots to have EASA licenses. The rule takes effect in April of 2014, but, thanks to the work of advocacy groups, key elements have changed to make it much easier for those with N-registered aircraft and those currently flying on FAA certificates. AVweb's Russ Niles spoke with Emmanuel Davidson of AOPA France about the changes.

Click here to listen. (5.0 MB, 5:30)

Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Pardo's Push -- McDonnell F4 Phantom

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

"Pardo's push" of March 10, 1967 was preceded by a similar event. In 1952, fighter ace Robbie Risner pushed fellow flyer Joe Logan 60 miles. The two men were flying F-86 Sabre jets and successfully cleared hostile territory, but Logan bailed out over water, was tangled in his canopy lines, and drowned. Risner was deemed a hero, but by Pardo's account, pilots were not encouraged to partake in similar activities.

Pardo's push may have saved the lives of pilot Earl Aman and his weapons system officer, Bob Houghton. But it would be decades before their efforts were recognized by the Air Force. Bob Pardo and Steve Wayne eventually earned the Silver Star for the act.

Pardo was later quoted saying that they'd gotten Earl and Bob back, and that's all they wanted.

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U.S. Sport Aviation Expo back to top 

Video: Sebring Sport Expo 2013

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

AVweb was at opening day of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo show in Sebring on Thursday and filed this video report.

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Video: Levil Technology's New ADS-B/AHRS

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

The competition in the iPad remote ADS-B and AHRS market is getting white-hot, and now comes Levil Technology with a new device called the iLevil. AVweb took a took at it at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo show in Sebring.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Michigan Aviation (KPTK, Pontiac, MI)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Michigan Aviation at Oakland County International Airport (KPTK) in Pontiac, Michigan.

AVweb reader John Keller sang their praises on his nomination form:

We arrived in the CE-525 when it was 7 °F with light snow. Two line personnel [were] there to greet us with rental auto planeside. A little paperwork for the car, and a crew car [arrived] for the pilot, complete with directions to hotel and dinner. [The] airplane went into their warm hangar in a short while. Outstanding service from all personnel — especially fueling, hangaring, and getting ready to depart on a cold and snowy morning. We will be using this excellent FBO for several more trips in the future months.

Way to go, Michigan Aviation!

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!

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

Due to firefighting activity, our small airport became a heli-base, and we had a temporary FAA tower. I briefed a recently soloed student who had never been out of the area or to a towered airport on procedures. Of course, one point was quickly forgotten and/or possibly overlooked.

Cessna 123:
"Scott Valley Tower, 123 requesting back taxi to runway 16 run-up area."

"123, you are cleared as requested."

As he was doing his run-up ...

"Cessna 123, hold short for landing traffic and read back 'hold short' instructions."

Cessna 123:
[Of course he didn't read back.]

"123, hold short — landing traffic."

Cessna 123:
[Again, no reply.]

"123, acknowledge and read back 'hold short' instructions."

Cessna 123:
[Still no reply.]

"Cessna 123, do you read Scott Valley Tower?"

Cessna 123:
"Yes, sir, and I'm holding for you to read back instructions!"

Kevin Martin
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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