AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 6a

February 4, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! AD for Piper Owners back to top 

Control Cable AD Coming For Pipers

Piper Aircraft has confirmed the FAA will issue an AD on Monday requiring specific inspection, at annual, of the control cable assemblies of tens of thousands of aircraft that are 15 years or older. The AD will affect Cherokee, Saratoga, Lance and Seminole models. It will at first apply to the older aircraft but as each of the remaining aircraft hits its 15th birthday the inspections will become mandatory. Eventually 34,000 aircraft will be affected. Piper spokeswoman Jackie Carlon said the company has already issued a service bulletin and mandatory service bulletin regarding the control cable inspections and "cooperated fully" with the FAA in developing the AD.

The AD results from three incidents in which control cable problems were implicated. Carlon said the problems should have been caught during the normal annual inspections. "In the three reports cited, evidence of approaching failure should have been clearly observable during the Piper-mandated 100 hour recurring inspection schedule," Carlon said in a statement first issued to the Wall Street Journal and then provided to AVweb. "Considering that there are tens of thousands of the indicated Piper models in operation in the past 50 years, the historical data demonstrates that trained mechanics can identify these conditions before failure occurs. Reinforcing these inspection procedures will be helpful to maintain Piper's safety record." Piper says it will help owners determine if their aircraft are affected immediately.

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Health and Safety back to top 

Deceased Pilots Claimed Aerotoxic Syndrome

The death of two former British Airways pilots, both 43 years of age, who both believed they were poisoned by breathing contaminated air in the cockpit of jets they flew may now lead to legal action. Shortly before his Dec. 12 death, pilot Richard Westgate reportedly instructed his lawyers to sue BA over his alleged poisoning. Pilot Karen Lysakowska was grounded with poor health in 2005 and developed lung cancer, passing away a few days after Westgate. Lawyers for Westgate are now pushing for an inquest into the pilot's death to prove the existence of "aerotoxic syndrome."

In 2007 a collection of flight crew members founded the Aerotoxic Association based on their experience with a range of chronic health issues that they attribute to contaminated cabin air, which they say ended their careers. They believe organophosphates in engine oil can enter the cabin as fumes delivered by bleed air systems. They attribute symptoms such as chronic fatigue, mood swings, loss of confidence and persistent headache to aerotoxic syndrome. Government-commissioned studies in the UK concluded in 2011 that cabin air was safe. Critics claim that toxic events occur on the order of roughly one per 100 flights and so may be difficult to detect without full-time air quality sensors. A spokesman for British Airways on the 27th told reporters it is not aware of any legal claims related to the deaths of the two pilots. Autopsy results are pending.

Alaska Airlines' Fainting Pilots

Alaska Airlines says illness caused one of its pilots to pass out Thursday, while flying a Boeing 737-700 with 116 aboard out of Los Angeles for Seattle, leading the copilot to declare an emergency, divert, and land safely at Portland. The pilot, who has reportedly flown with the airline for 28 years, stood up while the aircraft was at cruise and flying on autopilot. While leaving the cockpit, he became dizzy, lost consciousness and fell to the floor in the cabin in front of passengers. The airline says the pilot suffered from an illness that it reported non-specifically as a food or flu-like virus. Alaska Airlines experienced a similar fainting episode on Jan. 22.

In the most recent incident, the copilot, an 11-year veteran of the airline, assumed command when the pilot became incapacitated. A doctor was summoned from the cabin and gave care to the pilot until they were met by medical personnel upon landing. The flight continued with different crew members. The Jan. 22 incident involved an Alaska Airlines flight out of Seattle for Las Vegas with 146 aboard. In that case, the copilot briefly lost consciousness while the aircraft was flying on autopilot roughly one half hour before landing. The pilot declared an emergency and landed with priority at Las Vegas. The copilot was taken to a hospital for evaluation and the hospital declined to release more information. In both cases, the pilots held current medical certificates.

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Moving Forward on HBC Restructuring back to top 

Judge Approves Hawker Beechcraft Plan

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge Friday approved the joint plan of reorganization submitted by Hawker Beechcraft -- pension plan agreements were approved earlier. The judge had asked Thursday that a slight modification be made before issuing a final order regarding reorganization. The plan should become effective by the end of February. The court has approved pension plan agreements involving the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and the International Association of Machinists. The company estimates that very close to 100 percent of participants will see "the full amount of normal retirement pension benefits that have already vested." The court also approved exit financing plans.

Under the agreement accrued retirement benefits for hourly/union plan participants will remain the responsibility of Hawker Beechcraft. Base and salaried workers will fall under PBGC. The company will retain J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse to arrange $600 million in exit financing. The money will consist of a term loan and a revolving line of credit that will be used to repay claims and fund ongoing operations. The company has begun the process of naming a new board of directors, saying Bill Boisture will become chief executive officer of Beechcraft Corporation and Steve Miller will become senior advisor to the board.

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New Iranian Jet? back to top 

Iran Claims New Fighter Design

Iran has unveiled a new fighter/bomber (or a mockup of one) it says is stealthy and proves the country's ability to "conquer scientific peaks." The Qaher (Dominant)-313 looks like an F-35 with canards but technical details on its performance and capabilities are scant because Iran doesn't talk about such things in any way except with bellicose statements by its politicians. "This is a radar-evading plane that can fly at low altitude, carry weapons, engage enemy aircrafts and land at short airstrips," said Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi. A video was released purporting to show it flying. Although some analysts are skeptical, Iran claims it's a clean-sheet homemade aircraft.

"Qaher-313 is a fully indigenous aircraft designed and built by our aerospace experts," Vahidi told reporters. However, if it does exist as a flying aircraft The Daily Mail says there is widespread belief the major components of the country's claimed technological breakthroughs are outsourced to contractors in other countries or are outright reverse-engineered copies.

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Upcoming on the Calendar back to top 


China will host the next biennial World Assembly meeting of the International Council of the Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA), AOPA announced Friday. Specifics have not yet been set, but the organization is considering later dates in 2014, with details to be resolved "soon." IOAPA is administered through AOPA and is made up of participating affiliates from 71 countries. AOPA says the selection of China "highlights just how important the country has become to the growth of general aviation" and the meeting there can "demonstrate just how vital general aviation can be."

According to AOPA, discussions at the meeting are expected to focus on topics like airspace access and flight rules, user fees, and control services. China has made public its desire to increase the availability of airspace to privately operated aircraft and in December said its government would provide targeted funding to jumpstart GA there. A five-year development plan announced in 2010 to roll out from 2011-2015 included changes to management of low-altitude airspace. Currently, specific regions have been designated as test areas. Success there is expected to lead to more open airspace and aviation reforms. China's State Council estimates that general aviation could increase by roughly 19 percent per year through 2020. Recent past assemblies of IAOPA have been held in South Africa, Israel, Greece, France and Brazil, according to AOPA. Delegates discuss general aviation issues and "take part in aerial activities."

Warbird Gathering Set For Topeka During AirVenture

A non-profit group is organizing what it hopes will be a major warbird event. The Gathering of Warbirds and Legends will be held at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., from Aug. 1-4 and is inviting warbird owners and operators to reserve one of 65 "slots" to participate in the event. Slot holders will be picked based on "aircraft and crew credentials." Those with slots will take part in a revenue-sharing scheme that will kick back at least part of their operating expenses and heavily subsidize their fuel for the event. Slot holders will also be invited to take part in a mass formation flight of up to 52 aircraft. About a third of the slots were claimed on the first day. Scott Glover, a warbird owner and one of the show's organizers, said the revenue-sharing plan is unique among aviation events. "We certainly won't make any money in attending this Topeka event, but there is no doubt that this is unique, historic, and very affordable for all," he said. The event is scheduled for the last four days of AirVenture Oshkosh, which is the largest annual gathering of warbirds (more than 300) but organizers said they've been in contact with EAA about the scheduling.

The organizers of the Topeka gathering say their event will be an alternative for "pilots, owners, and aircraft history buffs not necessarily able to afford the expenses, or longevity, of AirVenture." As EAA Chairman Jack Pelton told AVweb in January, AirVenture has never paid participants for attending the big show. Those who want to attend AirVenture are being encouraged to consider leaving Oshkosh on Wednesday or Thursday to make the Topeka event as well. The Topeka show will be heavily promoted in the Topeka and Kansas City areas to encourage spectator attendance, and the admission revenue remaining after overhead is paid will be distributed to the slot holders. Those who don't get a slot, along with the owners of other private aircraft, are welcome to fly in to the event.

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New on AVweb.com back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: TEL False Alarm

Following a provocative article in Mother Jones magazine, the UK press went after Innospec, the principal supplier of tetraethyl lead for 100LL. Although some news reports said Innospec would end TEL production by the end of the year, Paul Bertorelli says on the AVweb Insider blog that the announcement is a false alarm. The company is phasing out TEL for automotive use but pledges to continue manufacturing it as long as it's required for avgas.

Read more and join the conversation.

Brainteasers Quiz #180: Regulation Oscura


Before flight, every pilot must plow through a spaghetti bog of regulations designed to enhance safety by potentially scaring the flyer to stay on the ground. But you won't scare easily once you ace this quiz.

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More Brainteasers

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

AVmail: February 4, 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: Who Should Pay?

Regarding the story about iPad apps for aviation: Compare the cost of an iPad app to that of FAA paper publications needed.

Why shouldn't the FAA be compensated for gathering the data that goes to the app-makers? Why, and how, do people think they are entitled to something for nothing? Or, in Mr. Goldstein's case, pay nothing at wholesale so they can add some value and sell at retail. Come on.

John Sullivan

How to Find Me

Regarding the "Question of the Week": I use a handheld 406/121.5 MHz/GPS PLB, and I fly often. The RV-8A I built has a 121 MHz ELT in the tail.

Brad Snodgrass

Since I rent, I don't have much choice in installed equipment. I carry a 406 PLB, since my days in CAP taught me the 121.5 ELT in the tail is only useful as ballast.

John Clear

We have a 406 MHz ELT and carry a survival kit but haven't adopted ADS-B yet. It's still not fully implemented in the area we fly.

Jim McNeill

Pilots as Targets

Regarding the story about shots hitting an aircraft, there needs to be more public notice of this problem. It happens too often.

It usually gets into court and the charges are dropped or reduced to nothing. I was shot at 12 times, and the aircraft was hit three times with a .270 deer rifle. The guy only got six months. I guess pilots are not that important to the general public.

Wayne Slaughter

Lock Issues

I read your article about key locks, and all the problems seem to have to do with the key; don't lose your key, don't give it to someone, don't get it duplicated, or that someone may be able to "bump" your lock with a similar key. So, what about combination locks? Doesn't this solve all those problems? What's your view?

Crista Worthy

The article about how to defeat locks by Dave Hook was interesting and woefully useless.

So, what does he suggest? Tripwires? Booby traps? 24-hour video surveillance with alarms on doors? Armed guards in the hangar?

Come on, AVweb, if you run an article about how easy it is to neutralize the security of hangars and aircraft locks, please wrap it up with some useful suggestions. ... Discuss some economical and effective security measures, including effective locks!

John Townsley

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

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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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If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Port City Air (KPSM, Portsmouth, New Hampshire)

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

AVweb's latest "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Port City Air at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (KPSM) in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

AVweb reader Ron Weinstein has had nothing but good experiences at PCA:

Not only did they not charge to park, but [they also] had a loaner available and a print-out of how to get to a great local lobster joint. Have gone three times in last year, and not a bad thing to say about them! They always go that little bit beyond! And the gas is cheap.

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

While listening to the approach frequency to LAX (Runway 25L), I heard an airliner report a party balloon at 600 feet during his approach on the ILS. The tower proceeded to report the balloon to the aircraft following. While doing so (and clearing another airliner to land), this communication took place:

"Los Angeles Tower, Airliner 123 at LIMMA for 25L."

"Airliner 123, Los Angeles Tower. Caution: wake turbulence; following a heavy 757 on short final. Aircraft reported a party balloon at 600 feet."

"A what at 600 feet?"

"A party balloon."

"O.K. W'ell be ready to party at 600 feet. Airliner 123."

Efrain Gonzalez
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

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.

If you're having trouble reading this newsletter in its HTML-rich format (or if you'd prefer a lighter, simpler format for your phone or handheld device), there's also a text-only version of AVwebFlash. For complete instructions on making the switch, click here.

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