AVwebFlash - Volume 19, Number 16a

April 15, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
ForeFlight || Hazard Advisor
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After Sun 'n Fun back to top 
Sponsor Announcement
Great Alaska Aviation Gathering || May 
4-5, 2013 || Anchorage, Alaska

Bright Weather, Paradise City Boost Sun 'n Fun

The weather in Lakeland wasn't perfect every day during Sun 'n Fun -- Friday was blustery, keeping most aircraft on the ground, and a few clouds and showers passed by -- but it was close, with temperatures in the breezy 80s and no tornadoes or mud-storms, and on Sunday morning CEO John Leenhouts was enthused about how things went. "We've had an absolutely superb week, with fabulous attendance," he told AVweb, citing numbers up about 5 percent over last year, except for a 5 percent drop on that windy Friday. "We had more people fly in than we've had in the last five years." Two incidents at the Thursday splash-in left two seaplanes damaged, but there were no serious injuries, Leenhouts said. Some vendors told AVweb the crowds in the main display area seemed substantially lighter than usual most days, with fewer serious buyers, but the revived Paradise City area got more than its usual traffic.

The main changes to the LSA Mall and the Paradise City ultralight area were a new paved road leading visitors from the main field to the site, more golf carts and trollyes ferrying visitors in, and improvements to the grass strip that kept the takeoffs and landings going all day long, when the wind and weather allowed. Electric-airplane pioneer Randall Fishman was there front and center with the battery-powered ultra-sleek ultralight glider he's been flying since last summer, attracting a constant stream of curious visitors. The night airshow, expanded to two nights, continues to be a popular draw. More food vendors are offering healthier choices, with salads and wraps now easier to find than corndogs or turkey legs, and Leenhouts has trained the hordes of volunteers to smile and help and even offer golf-cart rides to the crowds. New aircraft and new technology were scarce at the show, as has been true for the last few years, and reactions have been mixed about what it all means for the future of general aviation -- but like most things, when it comes to the future, we'll just have to wait and see. Sun 'n Fun 2014 is set for April 1 to 6.

Related Content:

Pilots Require a Different Approach
When It Comes to Buying Life Insurance

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Call PIC at (800) 380-8376 or visit PICLife.com.
Opinion & Commentary back to top 

AVweb Insider Blog: Sun 'n Fun 2013 -- Drifting

With Sun 'n Fun 2013 now history, what was the mood of the show? To Paul Bertorelli, it reflected the industry in general: drifting along with no particular impressive direction. Show attendees said as much. But that doesn't mean some companies aren't trying -- and suceeding -- in making flying an airplane more accessible.

Read more and join the conversation.

'The Aviators' Season 3 || The Biggest Aviation Show on the Planet - Now on PBS, 
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Aviation Safety back to top 

All 108 Survive Bali Crash (Updated)

All 108 people aboard a Lion Air Boeing 737-800 survived after the aircraft reportedly missed a runway Saturday at Denpasar Airport in Bali and ended up in the rocky shallows of the ocean at the end of the runway. Details are scarce but there are conflicting reports about whether it was an overrun. Early reports say the airplane never touched the runway and "landed" in the sea but the final resting place of the Boeing and more recent reports suggest it failed to stop on the runway and went over a cliff at the end. The main 9,800-foot runway extends about 3,000 feet into the ocean and it appears the aircraft ended up just off the end of the runway.

Photos show passengers able to walk off the wings into waiting rescue boats while rescue personnel secure the aircraft with lines. It was raining at the time of the accident but the weather was described as good by officials.The airplane is new and was on a domestic flight from Bandung in West Java. The hull is cracked in half and part of the horizontal stabilizer is missing but the wreckage is mostly intact and there's no evidence of a fire. There were 101 passengers and seven crew aboard and the flight crew was described as experienced. Of those just 22 were treated in the hospital and injuries ranged from scratches and scraped to broken bones and head injuries. There were five children and one infant aboard.

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NTSB: Pilot's Texting Contributed To Fatal Crash

An accident synopsis from the NTSB identifies the pilot's personal texting as a contributing factor in the Aug. 26, 2011, crash of a Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter near Mosby, Mo., that killed all aboard. The flight was operated as a medical services mission flown in VFR conditions, carrying three crew and one patient. It crashed due to fuel starvation "about 1 nm short" of its planned refueling stop, according to the NTSB. The NTSB says that "the pilot missed three opportunities to detect" the aircraft's low fuel state and was engaged in texting before and during the flight portion of the mission.

According to the NTSB, the pilot failed to recognize the low fuel condition during a preflight check and the before-takeoff checklist, and then reported the wrong fuel level after takeoff. The accident took place on the second leg of the flight, which the pilot undertook "despite knowing the helicopter had insufficient fuel reserves." When the helicopter's turbine flamed out, the pilot then failed to maintain the rotor energy necessary for autorotation and the aircraft impacted the ground in a 40-degree nose-down attitude "at a high rate of descent with a low rotor rpm." Aside from texting, the NTSB also cited "degraded performance due to fatigue," the operator's fuel policies, and lack of practice regarding engine failure at cruise speed.

Find the synopsis here (PDF).

Find the preliminary report here.

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Natural Phenomenon a Silent Danger? back to top 

The Dark Lightning Threat

Florida Institute of Technology researchers say that a silent phenomenon called dark lightning can silently deliver to pilots and passengers high doses of ionizing radiation in one sudden burst. Dark lightning is associated with thunderstorms, which pilots usually actively avoid, and occurs at a rate of roughly once per thousand visible flashes, according to researchers. So while researchers note that ionizing radiation is not well received by the human body, they expect that the risk of physical injury from a dark lightning event is slight. But in that case that an aircraft is subjected to the phenomenon, researchers say that all aboard could be exposed to radiation levels equivalent to the safe lifetime limit … or more.

Dark lightning delivers its radiation via X-rays and gamma rays. Researchers so far speculate that many bursts deliver doses similar to receiving a medical CT scan but cite evidence that suggest some bursts may be much stronger. Researchers aren't yet sure how dark lighting is created. They speculate that thunderstorms may release dark lightning under certain conditions when stimulated by cosmic rays that collide with electrons within the thunderclouds. The collisions, they theorize, create chain reactions that form the foundation of dark lightning bursts, but further study is required. That research will include laboratory and satellite observation, including use of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, before a better understanding of the formation and power of dark lightning is better understood.

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Your Own Cirrus (Practically) back to top 

Cirrus Offers Non-Pilot Ownership

Cirrus is promoting aircraft ownership to non-pilots through "Cirrus On Demand," which offers two programs of service as an option for purchasers of new Cirrus aircraft. Both programs come at additional cost to the buyer and in either case, includes a pilot "trained to the company's corporate flight standards." The program can operate like a turnkey corporate flight department or provide travel service and flight instruction to clients. According to Cirrus' Todd Simmons, the program provides "virtually unlimited access" to a purchased aircraft and a pilot, "like a corporate jet."

Simmons said the two levels are available at an annual cost with purchase of an aircraft. A comprehensive program that includes aircraft maintenance, insurance, management and training is available for $109,900 per year, on top of the purchase price of the aircraft. The other option provides a pilot who can do the initial and recurrent training and also fly trips for $79,900, annually, also with the purchase of an aircraft. According to Simmons, "the pilot is like the owner's employee." And, not unlike a corporate jet, "We go when you're ready." See Cirrus On Demand for more.

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Naval Lasers back to top 

Progress For Aerial Laser Weapons

The Navy's Laser Weapon System (LaWS) recently targeted and shot down an aerial drone in testing; meanwhile another aircraft-mounted laser system (this one for self-defense) may commence testing in 2014. The Navy's test involved a destroyer-mounted laser that successfully tracked and engaged a flying drone. The aerial vehicle caught fire in flight and crashed into the sea. Next year, the USS Ponce is expected to carry the system to the Persian Gulf. Meanwhile, DARPA may soon test a High Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System (HELLADS) mounted on an aircraft and designed for defense against inbound threats.

The aircraft-mounted laser is designed to meet a weight goal of 5kg/kW and General Atomics has already shown a unit that meets that criteria in a configuration that produces a 34kW beam. The laser is liquid-cooled and solid state. It was completed in 2012 and is expected to be integrated into different platforms in 2013 with the possibility of real-world tests in 2014. For aircraft, the system would serve in a self-defense capacity, targeting inbound anti-aircraft missiles and other threats fired at aircraft. A B1 Bomber is expected to carry the first test article. Lockheed Martin is also entering a test phase for an aircraft-mounted self-defense laser, the Aero-Adaptive/Aero-Optic Beam Control (ABC) system. Lockheed's system has already been subjected to full scale wind-tunnel testing and DARPA is expected to continue funding the program.

AVweb Audio — Are You Listening? back to top 

Podcast: Super Pétrel Gathers a Crowd

File Size 3.2 MB / Running Time 3:28

Podcast Index | How to Listen | Subscribe Via RSS

A Brazilian (by way of France) amphib design gathered a lot of interest at Sun 'n Fun. AVweb's Mary Grady checked it out at the show, speaking with Sport Aviation, LLC's Jerry Scheid.

Click here to listen. (3.2 MB, 3:28)

Your Favorite FBOs back to top 

FBO of the Week: Kimble County Airport (KJCT, Junction, TX)

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

AVweb's "FBO of the Week" ribbon goes to Kimble County Airport (KJCT) in Junction, Texas.

AVweb reader Sid Tolchin learned the value of a friendly face on his recent stopover at JCT:

During a long flight in a small experimental plane from San Diego to New Orleans, almost any out-of-the-ordinary stop is a pleasure. This one was different. Billy Davis lives on the airport and was outside in gusting winds to help me tie down. He suggested I stay because of the weather and the lateness of the day before proceeding to New Orleans. After being certain that the aircraft was safely parked, he called the motel, recommended a good place to eat, and drove me to the Best Western, where they honored his recommendation with a discount. The short trip was filled with his stories.

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 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.

The Lighter Side of Flight back to top 

Short Final

"Tower, be advised there were several large birds on approach to runway 32."

YKF Tower (spotting birds through binoculars) :
"Roger. XYZ, look out for multiple birds of prey on approach."

"Klingons in sight, XYZ."

Michael Schuster
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.

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Aviate. Navigate. Communicate.