AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 19, Number 9b

February 28, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Around the World in a Hawker back to top 

Next Stop For Irving, All Seven Continents

Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the youngest person and the first black pilot to fly solo around the world, now has a new project -- planning another round-the-world trip, this time to all seven continents, flying a Hawker 400XP. The flying classroom project aims to inspire kids to study science, technology, engineering, math, geography, culture, and history. "This isn't just an aircraft; it's an exploration vehicle for learning that will teach millions of kids in ways they've never been taught before -- making them part of the expedition and research," said Irving. The ambitious project helped inspire the National Geographic Society to name Irving an Emerging Explorer, a designation usually given to early-career scientists, and never before to an aviator/educator.

Irving's global flight, set to launch next year, will cover more than 50,000 miles and take about six months, with about 75 ground expeditions including the Galapagos Islands, Africa's Serengeti Plains, and the Taj Mahal. Educators and explorers will share the experience with students around the world via satellite communications. Irving also runs Experience Aviation, a nonprofit based in Miami, Fla., that aims to inspire kids to study science and math. "We work with all types of kids, young women, young men, the straight-A students, and kids just out of the juvenile justice system," Irving told AVweb in a recent interview. Working together to build an airplane is a new experience for all of them, he said, so all are on equal footing. One group of kids, some as young as 8 years old, are working together to build a car "faster than a Ferrari," Irving said. "We're planning to race the Supercar against a fighter jet. It's just amazing to see what children can do when given the resources and the opportunity to do it. What we're doing is really working." For more from Irving and details about his planned global flight, listen to the podcast interview with AVweb's Mary Grady.

Podcast: Around the World in a Hawker Jet, for Education

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Barrington Irving, whose Experience Aviation nonprofit helps to inspire kids in Miami to pursue science and engineering careers, aims to reach millions of kids with his next project -- a six-month flight around the world, via all seven continents, communicating with kids via satellite along the way. AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Irving about his plans and his recent designation as an Emerging Explorer by the National Geographic Society.

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Revisiting TSA Rules back to top 

GA Advocates Suggest Changes To TSA Security Guidelines

After six months of study, a group of representatives from 16 general aviation organizations has submitted a list of proposed revisions to guidelines for GA airports that were published in 2004 by the TSA. The aim of the review, said Doug Carr of the National Business Aviation Association, was "to ensure that the interests and concerns of general aviation and business aviation pilots remain adequately addressed in our shared goal with TSA to improve security at general aviation facilities." The group reviewed topics such as security for flight-school operations, improved airport fencing, and the use of gated access and closed-circuit television feeds to monitor ground traffic into secure areas.

The changes suggested by the working group are now under review by the TSA, with the final version of the revised guidelines expected to be published in a few months. Carr also noted that in recent years the TSA has placed greater emphasis on security procedures at FBOs, such as security screening and the issuance of personnel badges for GA pilots operating at airports with commercial airline service. Adherence to the TSA guidelines is voluntary.

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Government Contract Déjà Vu back to top 

Air Force Picks Embraer's Super Tucano (Again)

Embraer's A-29 Super Tucano turboprop single has been selected by the U.S. Air Force for its Light Air Support program, Embraer announced Wednesday, reinforcing the selection that had been made once already, prior to objections from Hawker Beechcraft, the predecessor of the new Beechcraft Corporation. Hawker Beech had proposed its AT-6B single-engine turboprop for the contract, but lost out to Embraer in an earlier decision. Following that decision, Hawker put forth legal objections and a court forced the military to revisit its selection. Now, the military has, again, chosen Embraer's product, delivering the company a $427 million contract for 20 Light Air Support aircraft, and support equipment, to be supplied in partnership with Sierra Nevada Corporation, the prime contractor. Beechcraft issued a brief statement in reaction to the announcement. "Although the U.S. Air Force did not select the AT-6 Light Attack Aircraft for the Light Air Support program, Beechcraft is committed to advancing the aircraft's capabilities and continues to pursue additional close air support opportunities," the statement read. "We are disappointed that our proposal was not chosen. We will meet with the USAF for a full debrief of the award and determine our next steps forward at that time."

Serving the Light Air Support program, the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft will be used for pilot training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations. Embraer says it has already delivered more than 170 of the aircraft, which serve in nine air forces worldwide. The design has logged "more than 180,000 flight hours and 28,000 combat hours" in use and "has employed state-of-the-art munitions on real operational missions." It carries electro-optic, infrared and laser systems, and secure radio systems with data links, according to the company. Aircraft selected for the Light Air Support program will be built in Jacksonville, Fla. 

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Man-Made Wings back to top 

Human-Powered Aircraft Competition Set For July

The second annual Icarus Cup will be held in Northampton, Great Britain, July 19-28, and for the first time, the competition will be officially sanctioned by the Federation Aeronautique International. Teams will compete in a variety of trials, including a 200-meter sprint, a slalom course, landing accuracy, duration of flight, and takeoff performance. Organizers hope the competition will help to promote and develop the sport of human-powered flight, with the goal to one day see competitors in the Olympic Games. The event is organized by the Royal Aeronautical Society. Registration is open to all.

Robert Hughes, an FAI spokesman, said the organization is "delighted" to support the event. "This is a very exciting branch of aviation," he said. "We are confident that the 2013 Icarus Cup will lead the way to the first FAI World Championship for Human Powered Aircraft, in 2014." Last year, a human-powered helicopter, the Gamera, was nominated for the Collier Prize, but it lost out to Boeing's 787.

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News Briefs back to top 

Greek Heli Prison Break Fails (This Time)

A helicopter dropped a rope into Trikala prison's courtyard, near Athens, Sunday, in an apparent attempt to free convicted murderer Panagiotis Vlastos, but the event ended with no escape, a helicopter riddled with bullets, and Vlastos being shot in the legs. Some 500 shots were reportedly fired during the escape attempt as guards exchanged gunfire with at least two gunmen aboard the helicopter. A Kalaskinov assault rifle and two Uzi submachine guns were later found aboard the helicopter. The aircraft appears to be a Eurocopter. Its pilot has said he was forced by the gunmen to participate. The aircraft landed in the prison parking lot after the failed escape attempt, exhibiting multiple bullet holes. Two prior prison breaks that took place in Greece during the past decade also involved helicopters. Both were more successful.

As the aircraft arrived to the prison, Sunday, some reports state it first attempted to use a rope and hook to destroy fencing around the prison's courtyard and only dropped a climbing rope or rope ladder when that effort failed. Vlastos, 43, reportedly was able to mount the rope but at some point during the escape attempt he was shot. The inmate ultimately fell from the rope at a height of approximately 15 feet. He is expected to recover. It is not yet clear if another prisoner who was also in the courtyard at the time was part of the escape plan. After the aircraft went down in the prison's parking lot, arrests were made. Similar events that took place in the last decade resulted in more productive results for another inmate. In 2006 and 2009, two criminals (the same two, each time) successfully escaped from a Greek prison via helicopter (also, each time). Both were recaptured after the first escape. Only one of the two men was found after the second escape. The other is still at large.

Jetman Rossy Confirms School Plans

As AVweb reported recently, Yves Rossy, who flies a unique jet-powered strap-on glider, apparently has plans to teach his skills to others, and last week, a reporter at EpicTV.com followed up to learn more about the Jetman's plans. Rossy confirmed that he is planning to open a flight school, which would accept as students only experienced skydivers who also have experience flying either airplanes or wingsuits. "We plan courses between one to four weeks depending on the abilities of the students, the weather and the level of proficiency targeted," said Rossy. "From controlled solo in blue sky, to multi-formation flights around clouds." Rossy also said he would build and sell a copy of his jetwing for a million Euros, but he is developing a glider version that he hopes to offer at an "affordable" price.

The glider will have the same safety features as his jet version, Rossy said, with two parachutes and a release mechanism to detach the pilot from the wing in an emergency. He also said he is using a skydiving rig with a special two-step opening patented by Parachutes de France. Rossy has piloted his powered jetwing across the English Channel and a section of the Grand Canyon. He's flown his gliding wing in excess of 150 mph and has demonstrated aerobatics while flying it. Click here for a video by AVweb's Glenn Pew that shows Rossy flying with the glider wing.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Collapsed Investment Deal Contributed To Diamond's Woes

An 2011 investment deal from a Dubai company never materialized and that contributed to Diamond Aircraft North America's decision to curtail operations and suspend the recently-resurrected D-JET personal jet program. Diamond CEO Peter Maurer said Tuesday that although the deal was made, Medrar never executed the plan and no funding flowed to Diamond. "We have pursued others, but nothing in time to prevent [the] current action. In [the] meantime shareholders were continuing to fund. We will continue to try to find the funding," Maurer said in an email to AVweb. Late Monday the company announced that most of its employees will be laid off pending a reorganization.

Maurer said enough staff have been kept on to fulfill orders and maintain fleet support but most of the employees got notices. "We want to hire back as many employees as possible, as quickly as possible but the exact number and timing will be determined as we develop our restructuring plans in the coming weeks," he said. "Regrettably, we need to suspend activity on the D-JET program pending the securing of additional funding." The action affects only the Canadian operations. Austrian-based Diamond Aircraft Industries GmbH is independent from the North American company. The company has sent a letter to its customers assuring them that their aircraft will be supported and that those who have aircraft on order will get them. The letter says the layoffs reflect the suspension of the D-JET program and the slow pace of orders for the piston line. Because there will be fewer people building the new planes, delivery dates will likely slip but Maurer stressed that all the normal services that customers rely upon will be maintained during the restructuring.

'Bad Boy' Pilot Surrenders Helicopter

A Tulsa pilot's ham-handed attempt to cover his tracks has cost him his helicopter and earned him a two-year ban on flying or even owning an aircraft. William Stokely agreed to a plea deal with federal authorities last week to surrender his Robinson R44 and accept the flight ban after admitting he tried to outwit them by using a piece of electrical tape to change one of the registration marks on his aircraft from a Q to an O. Turns out that his five-cent solution to the fallout from a previous encounter with the FAA is a felony that could have put him in jail for three years. "I've been a bad boy in the eyes of the FAA," he told Tulsa's News On 6.

However it took a little digging by the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff where the charges originated to find out the rest of the story. Stokely's business is in Tulsa but he lives most of the summer in Flagstaff and that's where he kept the helicopter and apparently had misbehaved with it before. Court records obtained by the Sun showed the FAA revoked his certificate for buzzing homes in Flagstaff with the helicopter. His hardware-store alteration of the helicopter's tail number was his attempt to conceal the fact that he was still flying it regularly. But it wasn't that crime that originally drew attention to him from the feds. According to the Sun they began investigating him because of a report of "suspicious behavior" when he was spotted filling jerry cans of fuel at the Winslow Airport and someone told the local Homeland Security office. Thinking he might be involved in something nefarious (he was caching fuel in the desert to extend the range of his helicopter) the federal agents started following him in 2011. They eventually determined that he wasn't a national security threat but they'd also discovered the revocation and altered tail number and prosecuted him for that.

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Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Saved by a Ditch

Although we write about it often in the aviation press, propping an airline that isn't properly secured is a disaster looking for a grid reference. On the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli reports that a strategically placed ditch kept it from happening again. The takeaway? Try to avoid pulling props through unless you know the magnetos are grounded. Even then, tie it down and chock it.

Read more and join the conversation.

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We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Question of the Week: Air Shows Without Jet Teams?

One of the impacts of sequestration will be an end to military flight displays.

Will you still go to your local air show?
(click to answer)

Last Week's Question: Results

Want to see the current breakdown of responses? Take a moment to answer the question yourself, and then you can view real-time results.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Clarke County Airport (Quitman, MS)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Clarke County Airport (23M) in Quitman, Mississippi.

AVweb reader Dee Ann Ediger clued us in to the airport's excellent FBO:

We were making our way westward toward questionable weather and keeping in contact with Flight Service while watching the visibility ahead and scouting out landing prospects. We had been landing at two-hour intervals to check weather from the ground, and Clarke County fit our time, course, runway length, and fuel availability, so we dropped in. The inside of the FBO was immaculate, and the freshly painted facilities were just about the cleanest I have ever seen at a small airport. The refrigerator was stocked with microwave sandwiches, drinks, and snacks with an honor pay system so we didn't have to dig into our crackers-and-cheese emergency rations. The excellent service and availability of mogas in addition to the very low priced avgas makes this a very likely stop for us on future trips. We even had our picture taken with our airplane to add to the wall of infamy "documenting those who stop in."

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: Historic Flight Foundation DC-3

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

Everett, Washington's Historic Flight Foundation recently flew home its newly-restored DC-3 from Sealand Aviation in Campbell River, British Columbia. The museum's founder, John Sessions, talks about the aircraft's rich history and its future at the Foundation.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to watch on YouTube

Reader-Submitted Photos back to top 
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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