AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 14b

April 4, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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Aviation Safety back to top 
 

FAA/AOPA Committee Pushes AOA

A report on approach and landing loss-of-control accidents has emerged from a work group co-chaired by the FAA and AOPA, recommending that GA "embrace to the fullest extent" angle-of-attack (AOA) systems and work to improve pilot decision making. The work group advises the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee. Its focus was derived from an FAA overview that found loss of control accounted for 40.2 percent of fatal general aviation accidents that took place from 2001 to 2010. Particular areas of concern included flying after a period of inactivity and transition training, as well as pilot decision-making.

Pilot decision-making remains a focus of safety concerns in general, as 85 percent of fatal accidents can be traced to pilot actions, according to AOPA. The report notes that controlled flight into terrain accidents have decreased and it attributes that improvement to new in-cockpit technology like terrain-aware GPS units. AOA systems, says the report, offer pilots awareness of their margin over stall and account for weight and acceleration differences, by design. The report notes that AOA systems offer substantial safety benefits but notes that cost and regulations may produce barriers for the pilots of light aircraft. The FAA "will need to identify the right level of certification," it says. It notes that the FAA should address these issues "with streamlined processes" for certifying and installing new technology that offers "a high probability of safety benefits" balanced against "low safety risk." Find the full report, here (PDF).

Question of the Week: Scared Yourself Lately?

AOPA and the FAA say an angle of attack indicator might help prevent you from getting into trouble on approach and landing.

What phase of flight gave you your last scare?
(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.

What's On Your Mind?

Have an idea for a new "Question of the Week"?
Send your suggestions to .

NOTE: This address is only for suggested "QOTW" questions, and not for "QOTW" answers or comments. (Use this form to send "QOTW" comments to our AVmail Editor.)

 
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Fewer Towers, More Communication back to top 
 

FAA Offers Advice For Switch To Tower-Free Ops

On Tuesday, the FAA issued a safety notice noting that since 149 contract towers will close starting this Sunday, April 7, it is important for pilots "to increase our awareness of proper operating practices and procedures at airports without an operating control tower." The FAA suggested that pilots should always check Notams prior to flight, communicate, stay alert, and continually scan for traffic. Traffic may include jets and helicopters that are not accustomed to "standard traffic patterns" at your airport, the FAA said. You also may be sharing the pattern with non-radio-equipped aircraft or ultralights. Also, towered airports may see an increase in activity, particularly students who are required to practice certain procedures at a field with a tower. This will necessitate "diligent planning" on the part of training providers, instructors, and students, the FAA said.

The FAA also suggested that pilots spend some time with an instructor improving their knowledge and skills for non-towered-airport operations. Online resources that provide advisory information for operations at airports without an operating control tower include the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) (PDF); Advisory Circular 90-66A (PDF); Basic Right of Way Rules (CFR 91.113); and Traffic Flow Rules at Non-Towered Airports (CFR 91.126 and CFR 91.127).

AVweb Insider Blog: Traffic Pattern Manners to the Test

With 149 control towers set to close, traffic pattern manners are about to be put to the test. And it shouldn't be too hard for us to make this work. A little courtesy, a little respect, and good airmanship oughta do it. And readers phone in a few suggestions to the AVweb Insider blog.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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Computer-Controlled News Delivery? Yeah, Right — ! back to top 
 

Drones Drive Jokesters -- But They're Coming

A French newspaper celebrated April Fool's Day with a story about a plan to deliver its papers by drone, and the idea was also adopted by The Daily Sentinel, in Colorado. The story was picked up and repeated across the blogosphere, but late in the day on Monday, NBC News confirmed that the post was a prank. "The tiny drones don't seem to have room to carry more than just one newspaper," wrote Nidhi Subbaraman, of NBC. "How efficient could that possibly be, using a flying lawn mower to deliver one newspaper at a time?" But the story is not too far from the truth -- in the real news on Monday, the FAA invited the public to comment on its now-in-development UAV policy, as the agency prepares to choose six test sites for UAV integration later this year.

The FAA is moving ahead to find ways to integrate UAVs into the National Airspace System while maintaining safety, but the online public engagement session scheduled for Wednesday, April 3, from noon to 2 p.m. Eastern Time, will focus not on safety but on the agency's proposed privacy policy. The FAA will provide a brief overview of the UAS test-site program and proposed privacy policy and then take comments from participants. Each participant will have three minutes for comments. The FAA encourages the public to provide comments to the docket. The FAA will listen and record all comments, but will not answer any questions during the session. Details on how to register and participate, and information on the proposed UAS test-site privacy policy, is available online.

 
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Better Search and Rescue — Straight Out of the Box back to top 
 

Alaska Integrates GPS In Search And Rescue

A test program in Alaska to integrate the consumer tracking devices Spot and Spidertracks with FAA search-and-rescue has been successful, officials said last week. The Enhanced Special Reporting Service was tested for two years and now has been made an official option for all pilots flying VFR in Alaska. The technology could be a lifesaver in Alaska's remote terrain. "For example," FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer told the Alaska Dispatch, "if a pilot leaves Anchorage for Nome in a Cessna 172, it's about a four-and-a-half-hour flight. Typically, the search would begin for the overdue pilot 30 minutes after they were to have arrived. With this technology, the search would begin when the plane stops moving and will more closely pinpoint the aircraft's location." The program is available only for VFR flights within Alaska, but it may be expanded in the future, the FAA said.

Pilots must register their device with Flight Service and file a flight plan, and they must program the devices to alert the FAA in case of an emergency. The use of ESRS does not eliminate the need to have an emergency locator transmitter on board an aircraft, the FAA said. If maintenance failures or other system problems prevent alert messages from being transmitted to FSS, search-and-rescue for overdue aircraft will be based on the VFR Flight Plan. More information can be found at the FAA FAQ (PDF) and the project website. AOPA and the Alaska Airmen's Association worked closely with the FAA on the test program.

 
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New Light Sport Airplanes back to top 
 

Evektor Flies Electric LSA

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Evektor flew an electric-powered light sport aircraft for the first time last week, the company has announced. The airplane made two short flights from Kunovice Airport in the Czech Republic, and was powered by its electric motor for about 30 minutes. "I am glad that we are among the first companies in the world who have managed to realize the idea of electric-motor-powered sport aircraft on the level of a machine heading toward the serial production," said Martin Drsticka, project manager. "I am convinced that the range of potential of electric-driven sport aircraft is very wide." The electric airplane is a derivative of the SportStar RTC two-seat LSA, with a new trapezoidal wing with an extended span. The airplane will be on display at Aero Friedrichshafen in Germany, coming up April 24 to 27.

The EPOS (Electric POwered Small aircraft) is powered by a 50-kW Rotex RE X90-7 motor. Flight tests are continuing, the company said. The objective is to develop an aircraft that can be used for personal flying and also by flight schools for initial pilot training.

Aerobatic "Snap" LSA, Now From Tecnam

Tecnam produces aircraft ranging from light sport to certified twins, is responsible for more than 3,500 aircraft in the world, today, and has now added a single-seat aerobatic low-wing LSA, the Snap, to its offerings. Snap was previously available from Dallair, which has experience building sub-assemblies for Tecnam. And the Snap's designer, Fabio Russo, is currently Tecnam's head of research and development. Tecnam will build the plane in Italy. SportairUSA, which has been the distributor for the Snap, will continue in that role.

The Snap flies behind a Rotax modified by EPApower to put out 130 hp with electronic fuel injection, inverted oil, an auxiliary alternator and four-into-one exhaust. The engine has been fully balanced and polished, and burns 5 gallons of premium auto fuel per hour. The aircraft carries no more than 10 gallons, has a maximum takeoff weight of less than 950 pounds and is stressed for plus or minus six G's. Tecnam says it "will be certifiable as production light sport (S-LSA), experimental light sport (E-LSA), or experimental-exhibition (EE)." Pricing when it was introduced at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 was expected to be near $150,000. More details are available here.

 
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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 
 

Bizjet Accidents Increase In 2012

There were more business jet accidents in 2012 than the previous year and American operators were particularly hard hit. Business Jet Investor quotes an annual study by Robert E. Breiling Associates as putting the world-wide total of business jet accidents in 2012 at 28, including seven fatal accidents. That's up from 25 total accidents with four involving fatalities in 2011.

Of the seven fatal accidents in 2012, five involved U.S.-registered aircraft, where there were no U.S. planes involved in fatalities the previous year. Two fatal accidents happened in the U.S. while the other U.S. aircraft crashed in Mexico, the Congo and France. The total number of fatalities was also up in 2012. Business jet accidents killed 26 people in 2012 compared to 14 in 2011.

First U.S.-Assembled Phenom 300 Delivered

Embraer has delivered the first Phenom 300 assembled in the U.S. to an undisclosed customer. The aircraft was put together at Embraer's plant in Melbourne, Fla., and will be used in the U.S. "This is a major milestone for Embraer Executive Jets and proves the maturity of our assembly facilities,"' said Phil Krull, who runs the Melbourne facility. 'We have quickened the manufacturing pace and will be able to accommodate a more demanding schedule." Embraer opened the Melbourne facility two years ago and has been producing Phenom 100s since the middle of 2011.

The first 300 was delivered with a few hours on it. Before it went to the customer it set some records for transcontinental flights for light jets on a flight from Melbourne to El Paso and on to Long Beach. It will be used as a demonstrator for an unspecified period of time. The U.S. plant will feed a ready market, according to VP of Sales Bob Knebel. "We have found the Phenom 300 to be particularly well received by owner-operators, corporate flight departments and leading fractional providers," he said.

AVwebBiz: AVweb's Business Aviation Newsletter

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

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 #182: Be a Class Act

Brainteasers

New Jersey's favorite son, Frank Sinatra, taught us, "Anyone who asks for the meaning of 'class' hasn't got any." You'll display true class by identifying it, plus a few other illusive concepts, in this quiz. (Includes results of last month's "Brainteasers" survey!)

Take the quiz.

More Brainteasers

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

Video: Sandia Aerospace's New Compact Transponder

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

As avonics manufacturerers are spinning out new ADS-B products by the week, they're also creating some new sub-niches. One of those is for a simple, compact Mode-C transponder since some kind of transponder will be needed once the ADS-B mandate is in place. Sandia Aerospace recently added just such a product to its well-respected line of avionics fans, integration boxes, and encoders. At the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, Sandia's Dennis Smith gave AVweb a video tour of the company's new STX 165 compact transponder.

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Video: Garmin Team X -- Passion-Driven Products

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

Although they're not the centerpiece of Garmin's booth at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas this week, Garmin has made quite a ripple with its announcement of seven new avionics products for the experimental and light sport markets. In this video, Garmin's Jim Alpiser explains why the company is so bullish on the experimental segment and why Garmin carved out a segregated engineering team to develop uncertified avionics, with more products on the way.

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Video: Aspen's New ADS-B Products

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

Demand for ADS-B products continues to trickle upward, and everyone who is anyone in the avionics business is developing or already selling ADS-B gadgets. Aspen rolled out its first products at the Aircraft Electronics Association show in Las Vegas, with an eye toward a range of solutions that rely on the company's innovative Connected Panel system, an in-cockpit wireless network that links up with tablet computers. In this video from the show, Aspen's George Pariza gives AVweb a tour of the new products.

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Your Favorite FBOs back to top 
 

FBO of the Week: Air Care Aviation (W03, Wilson, NC)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Air Care Aviation at Wilson Industrial Air Center (W03) in Wilson, North Carolina.

AVweb reader Ron Horton had a great experience there, as did several attending a recent event:

Flew into W03 (Wilson, NC) along with two other planes to give rides to a local church through the NC Baptist Men's Aviation wing. Gave rides to 90 passengers on a beautiful Saturday. Guilford Mooring was running things at the FBO and was most gracious to accomodate our three airplanes and a host of first-time fliers ranging in age from 2 to 82. He kept everyone fueled, shared the facilities, and welcomed the kids playing on the grass between the FBO and the fence next to the ramp. His hospitality left a very favorable impression on lots of locals who had never been to an airport before. Based on conversations, there might be a few new pilots from that group to add to the GA roster someday!

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!

 
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:

Publisher
Tom Bliss

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Contributors
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].

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Comments or questions about the news should be sent here.

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