AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 10a

March 4, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
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AVflash! Tighter Times for Public, Private Sectors back to top 

FAA Devising Budget Cut Measures

FAA senior staff are expected to outline details early this week of the implementation of $600 million in budget cuts mandated by the sequestration measures signed into law by President Obama over the weekend. Last week, a letter to FAA employees from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta outlined the broad strokes of the plan, which will include furloughing most employees for at least a couple of days a month and closing or curtailing operations at 160 towers. An FAA spokesman told AVweb over the weekend that the nitty gritty of implementing the plan, including the timing of the measures, will be communicated to staff this week. It's expected that most of the measures won't be implemented for about a month because of notice requirements for employees. A glimpse of what might be coming was the subject of a Feb. 26 meeting between high-ranking FAA officials and members of the full range of affected aviation organizations. One of the attendees issued a widely circulated memo that might illustrate the mood at 800 Independence Ave.

Henry Ogrodzinski, president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials, said FAA officials, including Huerta, his ATO chief David Grizzle and a few others, were joined by Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari in what Ogrodzinski termed a "serious, maybe even somber" session in the FAA's round room. The furloughs and tower closures were explained and it was also pointed out that as navaids and radars inevitably fail, not all of them will be fixed. Only those on a so-called "minimum operations network" will be restored. Ogrodzinski also said the officials stressed the 10-year term on the cuts and quoted Porcari as describing sequestration as "a glide path down to the new normal."

Boeing: Workforce Cuts Unrelated To Battery

Boeing has announced plans to shed hundreds of contract jobs at its North Charleston, S.C., facility where it builds 787 Dreamliners, but says the cuts are unrelated to current problems with the aircraft. The company said the cuts have already begun and are expected to run through 2013 as part of a cost-reduction initiative that pre-dated the aircraft's ongoing battery issues. At the same time, and over the same period, Boeing says it plans in 2013 to double the pace of production of 787 airliners made at the plant and a facility in Washington state.

Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told The Wall Street Journal, "As we progress in improving efficiencies in our processes, training our entry-level employees, and growing the experience of our team in South Carolina, we expect to continue to reduce reliance" on contract labor. The reductions will reportedly hit contract positions and spread to staff only through attrition -- Boeing intends to not replace workers who retire, leave or are promoted. Meanwhile, the company in late February sent a proposal to the FAA regarding modifications to the lithium ion battery system that ignited in two separate incidents aboard line aircraft and led to grounding of the entire worldwide fleet of 50 Dreamliners. The manufacturer hopes the FAA will clear the jets back into service by April.

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Contemplating the Post-Fuller AOPA back to top 

Podcast: Craig Fuller on His Time as AOPA President

File Size 13.1 MB / Running Time 14:21

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AVweb speaks with AOPA's departing president and CEO Craig Fuller about his time at the organization, his greatest challenges and achievements, the responsibility of an AOPA president to the organization's members, and where he'll go from here.

This podcast is brought to you by Bose Corporation.

Click here to listen. (13.1 MB, 14:21)

AVweb Insider Blog: AOPA -- Fuller's Out, Who's In?

After just four years on the job, AOPA President Craig Fuller announced that he's leaving the association. That represents both a challenge and an opportunity for the board in finding a replacement. One thing's for sure, says Paul Bertorelli on the AVweb Insider blog: We not looking for more business as usual.

Read more and join the conversation.

Survey: What Now, AOPA?

With the sudden resignation of president Craig Fuller comes the opportunity for some navel gazing and maybe even some chest poking from the membership.

Take our survey and tell us what you really think about the job the organization is doing.

(It only takes five minutes.)

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Alternative Power back to top 

NASA Begins Biofuel Emissions Flight Tests

NASA is flying a DC-8 "flying laboratory" out of its Dryden facility to conduct biofuel tests that aim to collect data on emissions, engine performance and contrails with biofuels, the agency announced Friday. The flights began on Feb. 28 and will continue for three weeks. The Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions (ACCESS) research will take the DC-8 as high as 40,000 feet. A NASA Falcon jet will fly in trail collecting data over a range of 300 feet to 10 miles behind the larger jet. The DC-8 will be flown on both JP-8 jet fuel and a 50-50 blend of JP8 and fuel derived from camelina plants. But commercial aircraft flying in the region may also serve as targets of opportunity for the test, according to NASA.

The flights are being conducted from NASA's Dryden facility in Southern California and will be flown mostly in restricted airspace. However NASA says that "if weather conditions permit, the Falcon jet will trail commercial aircraft flying in the Southern California region, in coordination with air traffic controllers." NASA says the Falcon will trail the commercial jets at a distance of 10 miles to survey the airliner's exhaust emissions. The tests build on previous studies conducted with ground-based instruments that observed emissions from the DC-8 as it burned alternative fuels on the ground. The next phase of the ACCESS program will take place in 2014. According to NASA, "We believe this study will improve understanding of contrails formation and quantify potential benefits of renewable alternate fuels in terms of aviation's impact on the environment."

Solar Impulse Prepares For U.S. Flight

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The Solar Impulse's HB-SIA solar-powered aircraft has been delivered disassembled to Moffett field, California, and its team has started the process of reassembling it in preparation for a four-stop flight across America. The aircraft's wing spans more than 205 feet and is covered with nearly 12,000 photovoltaic cells that run four 10-horsepower electric motors. The cells also charge the aircraft's lithium-polymer battery packs. In flight, the 3,527-pound plane cruises at less than 50 mph. Test flights will be made prior to the transcontinental journey. Stops, other than Washington, D.C., and New York, have not been precisely identified. The program last summer suffered setbacks.

Engineered for efficiency more than strength, HB-SIA avoids turbulence through flight planning, by taking off early and cruising near 30,000 feet, and also by avoiding observable weather. A second, larger aircraft being built to undertake longer flights failed a safety check last July, when its main spar cracked during structural tests. The Solar Impulse team now hopes to begin work on a new aircraft, this fall. That aircraft they hope to fly around the world in 2015. To date, the longest flight for HB-SIA was recorded at just over 26 hours. The new aircraft will be 15 percent larger than the HB-SIA prototype.

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Aviation Safety back to top 

2012 Safest Ever For Airlines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says 2012 was the safest year ever for airline travel and it continues a trend that has made air travel by far the least hazardous way of moving around, except perhaps in Africa. IATA says there were a total of 75 airliner accidents in 2012, down from 92 in 2011. Of the 75 accidents, 15 involved fatalities, killing a total of 414 people. In 2011, 486 people died in 22 airline accidents. Africa remains the most dangerous place to fly in the world.

In Africa, the accident rate is actually on the increase and there were 13 accidents on the continent. IATA says African airlines that adopt the standards maintained by most of the rest of the world do well and none of them had an accident in 2012. "But the continent's overall performance is far from satisfactory. It should be as safe to travel by air in Africa as it is in any other part of the world," said IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler. Worldwide, more than three billion people flew safely on 37.5 million flights in 2012.

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Sights to See back to top 

Sky Trails Concept Promoted

A California pilot is hoping there will eventually be a series of "Sky Trails" over areas of national importance that pilots can use to view them from the best vantage point. Larry Dighera recently finished putting together an interpretive website that pilots can use as a guide for touring the vast Second World War Desert Training Center devised by Gen. George Patton to get recruits ready for the land war in Europe and Africa. The facility covers 18,000 square miles of high desert from the Mexican border north almost to Las Vegas and was home to as many as 250,000 troops and 5,000 tanks conducting mock battles and undergoing rigorous training for the war.

Because of the climate and conditions, most of the roads, divisional campsites and three airports built for the training center have been preserved and can be readily seen from the air. Dighera's effort, which was supported by the Wolf Aviation Fund, includes all the charts and routes needed to explore the huge facility. And so those on the plane know what they're looking at, the package includes a docent narrative designed to be read by one of the aircraft passengers. "I'd very much like to see the Sky Trail concept expanded to include other cultural resources throughout the U.S. that are best viewed from an aerial vantage point," said Dighera. "I'm currently working with the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Parks to have the DTC Sky Trail formally adopted."

Helicopter Rescues Deer On Ice

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The concern of a retired wildlife service officer and the deft hands (and feet) of a wildlife service pilot led to the happy reunion of a mother deer and fawn beside a frozen Canadian bay in early February. Former biologist Ian Waugh was at his home on Antigonish Harbour in Nova Scotia when he spotted the deer on the glassy ice. The mother had fallen and was unable to get up as her nervous offspring appeared to be trying to help. Waugh knew the ice was too thin for a personal rescue attempt so he called his former employer, the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, and grabbed his video camera. Helicopter pilot David Farrell was dispatched and knew from a previous rescue he could use rotor wash to push the deer to safety. Waugh, who kept his camera rolling, was surprised. "I was waiting for a dart gun to come out, a tranquilizer gun to come out," Waugh told CTV News.

Farrell told the TV network that he knew the conditions were right for the rescue. "As long as you can keep that deer moving along the ice, it tends to calm down," he said. "I don't know if it understands we're trying to help or, I don't know what's going through its mind, but it works good." Once at the shore, two men literally pulled the deer by the ears onto the snow-covered ground. After stumbling a few times on its still-unsteady legs, the mother went into the forest and was later spotted with the fawn.

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Reader Mail back to top 

AVmail: March 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: Crossing the Line?

I just read the "Short Final" section of the Feb. 25 issue of AVweb. I get the joke, but I wonder if you folks understand the impact this kind of joke has on current and potential women aviators?

By way of full disclosure: I am a middle-age white guy. I teach at a small state-run aviation university, I am an 11-year Air Force veteran, and I am old enough that I should be the primary demographic focus of this joke, but I do not find it humorous at all.

After watching first-hand all the crap that the first group of women had to endure when they were allowed to fly aboard the E-3 Sentry and continuing to listen to the stories of our recent women graduates about all the crap they continue to have to put up with, I would ask you to reconsider the publication of similar jokes in the future.

I am pretty sure that none of you had any malicious intent when publishing this joke. I am also pretty sure that none of you intended this "Short Final" to scare women away from aviation. But as aviators I think we all have a duty to recognize, especially when we are in positions of power or influence, that what we say and do can have a very powerful influence over our younger charges. I have become especially aware of this since becoming a teacher.

So the favor that I ask is simply that you become a bit more introspective and think about the impact of the material you publish.

I doubt you would publish a "Short Final" where the punchline related to a pilot doing something dangerous or illegal. That would send the wrong message. I ask that you take the same precautions when contemplating publication of material that could send the message that women are not welcome here.

Stan Alluisi

I am not one to take offense at jokes that poke fun at women. Both men and women have their funny habits and traits. Today's "Short Final" crossed the line. The Marine Corps is a strong and honorable institution, and there are countless women Marines that have contributed to that impressive strength and honor. Fortunately, that particular pilot doesn't speak for all Marines. Please select your "Short Final" items more carefully.

Betsy Paque

Bonanza Upgrades

That was a nice article on the Bonanza and fixing it up. If I had written it, I would have tried to also include a few more vendors for each item and category.

Steven Oxman

I have long wondered why no one ever developed a pilot side door mod. It has always seemed asinine to me to have to climb over the right seat to enter or exit the cabin.

Harry Gresham

Minus the Sound of Freedom

Regarding the "Question of the Week": I will be more likely to go to an air show with out jets. Jets are for the non-flying public. They're just noise and no real show talent.

Doug Martin

I'd much rather go to an air show with no jets. First of all, it's much quieter, and secondly there's a hell of a lot more skill involved in doing a four- or eight-point roll in a T-6 or Stearman than in a screaming banshee. I'm a 40,000-hour piston and jet pilot.

Jean Armstrong

It won't be a lack of jets keeping me away, but a lack of fuel funds due to having to slash our disposable income because of the furloughs with the sequester. A two-percent federal funding cut will have five times the magnitude for our household.

Blane Armstrong

A lot of people are against government spending and government in general. They complain about millions being spent on frivolous programs. But when the government cuts something that they like, such as the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds or F/A-18 flyovers at air shows, they suddenly get all upset and talk about the benefits of their pet government programs.

What people really mean -- conservatives and liberals alike -- is that they are in favor of government spending on things they like and against things they don't like. That applies to the F-35 as much as it does to food stamps. I'll go to air shows with or without military planes.

Rollin Olson

Deviation Explanation

"Oops, But Not Busted" gives good advice. As a retired controller, I can state with certainty that most controllers that have a pilot call the facility are just looking for assurances that the pilot understands what happened and will try to avoid the situation in the future.

Ray Laughinghouse

Burn and Crash

Why on earth would they name the human-powered flight competition after Icarus instead of his father Daedalus? Icarus failed to follow standard flight procedures and augured in, while Daedalus kept to the flight plan and survived.

Rob Reese

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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New on AVweb.com back to top 

Brainteasers Quiz #181: Above the Ordinary


Think about the last time you made a truly beautiful landing. Remember how the passengers cheered and the local FSDO inspector paused, in the middle of a ramp-check, to shake your hand? You'll feel even prouder when you ace this quiz. (Plus we ask, "If you were the Secretary of Transportation or FAA Administrator, what would be your top priority, and who would you nominate as your successor?")

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

Picture of the Week: AVweb's Flying Photography Showcase

The edition of "POTW" that ran on Thursday was missing some images from the slideshow, which stopped short of displaying all of the runners-up. Take a second look and enjoy bonus pics you may not have seen on Thursday.

Our latest winning photo comes from Dave Oberg of Anchorage, AK. Click here for the rest of this week's submissions.

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

Video: Oil Filters Compared

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

An oil filter is an oil filter, right? Generally, yes — but there are some subtle differences between the two aviation oil filters on the market, Champion's line and the newer Tempest product. Aviation Consumer's Larry Anglisano recently compared the two brands, and this video summarizes his findings.

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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.

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Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: West Houston Airport (KIWS)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to West Houston Airport (KIWS) in Houston, Texas.

AVweb reader Trevor Fenimore recommended the FBO:

I spent three months working out of West Houston Airport doing Aerial Survey, and this FBO was the best I have used during my eight months on the road. They were always very professional and courteous. Breakfast is catered free for customers every morning. There are massage chairs with big-screen TVs, a 3-D cinema, and an excellent flight planning room with multiple computers. The line staff is very efficient and will have you back in the air in no time with a clean windshield and full tanks. Reduced fuel prices on the weekends. Truly a first-rate FBO!

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

Jacksonville Center asked a military flight over norther Florida a question:

Jacksonville Center:
"Dixie 22, confirm you are a flight of two."

Dixie 22:
"Dixie22. That is correct. We are a flight of two."

Jacksonville Center:
"Well, sir, I show you 17 miles in trail. That is a pretty loose formation, don't you think?"

Dixie 22:
"Dixie 22. Roger."

Hans Intgroen
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.

Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.