AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 19, Number 18b

May 2, 2013

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. at the Great Alaska 
Aviation Gathering
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Staring into the Changing Face of the Sequester back to top 

FAA Furloughs, Towers, And Weather Observers

President Barack Obama has signed a bill that will end furloughs of air traffic controllers, and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Wednesday said the administration will seek to prevent tower closures, but other areas may see cuts. The president's signature allows the FAA to shift $253 million from other accounts to fund controllers and 149 federal contract towers. The furloughs have already stopped, but the tower closures are still a possibility, beginning June 15, until that issue is formally resolved. Meanwhile, the FAA still needs to make cuts as a result of the sequester, and the agency has plans to eliminate airport weather observers.

According to a plan drafted in March, the FAA will transition weather observation functions from weather observers to air traffic controllers at 121 airports by Sept. 30, with more to follow later. The FAA says the move will save the agency $57 million annually, but the move isn't sitting well with AOPA. Melissa McCaffrey, a senior analyst for AOPA, told the Washington Post that "the number-one cause of general aviation fatalities is weather-related issues." And a 2005 study by the NTSB stated that "over the past 20 years, about two-thirds of all IMC accidents have resulted in at least one fatality," a rate that is three times higher than the fatality rate of all GA accidents. The FAA is not expecting any significant complications.

Currently, weather observers contracted by the FAA augment automated systems at 142 airports nationwide. The FAA says it will require that controllers take training courses, complete five hours of practical training, and must pass a weather-observing certification exam before adding the task to their workload. Critics suggest that a controller's normal workload peaks when weather is at its worst, and that forcing controllers to attend to both tasks during high-workload scenarios could lead to a degradation of service.

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Aviation Safety Update back to top 

All Americans Aboard Crashed 747

Six Michigan residents and one from Louisville, KY have been identified as those aboard a National Air Cargo Boeing 747-400 that crashed on takeoff from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan on Monday. According to USA Today, pilot Brad Hasler, of Trenton and Jeremy Lipka of Brooklyn; First Officers Jamie Brokaw of Monroe and Rinku Summan of Canton; loadmaster Michael Sheets of Ypsilanti, and maintenance crew Gary Stockdale of Romulus, along with Timothy Garrett of Louisville all died in a horrific crash that was captured on video and is a sombre topic on blogs and forums all over the world.

While the weather was nasty at the time of the crash, with thunderstorms and wind shear present, the prevailing speculation is that one or more of the five army trucks aboard the aircraft broke loose while the aircraft was executing a maximum performance climb, which is reportedly done by some crews departing the airfield.

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Saving Lives, One Passenger at a Time back to top 

Angel Flight West Drives Expansion

The nonprofit, volunteer-driven, non-emergency air transport organization Angel Flight West is inviting all other volunteer pilot organizations to use its new software and database system at no cost. The system facilitates management of personnel and flight requests and includes debrief capabilities "through a user-friendly, robust filtering system," according to the group. By offering the system, free of charge, the organization hopes both to reduce the workload of individual volunteers who process and coordinate missions for similar groups, and to facilitate the expansion of public-benefit flying organizations. Angel Flight West saw a surge in activity in 2012 that left them seeking additional volunteer pilots.

The organization generally transports people in need of vital healthcare who can't take a commercial flight due to health, financial or geographic considerations. In 2012, Angel Flight West flew roughly 5,000 missions but had to cancel a record number of missions due to lack of pilots. (Pilots can sign up online, here.) AVweb recently spoke with Angel Flight West's Colleen Kendall, who offered more details about the organization's mission and the role of volunteer pilots in this exclusive video.

Video: Free Flights For Medical Patients -- Angel Flight West

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

Angel Flight West arranges free flights for people with chronic medical conditions are urgent needs when traditional forms of transportation are unavailable or cost prohibitive. This specific organization is active in the western United States. They're always looking for volunteer pilots to fill the ranks because there is always a need.

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Get Masimo's iSpO2 at AeroMedix.com
Masimo is an American manufacturer of hospital-grade oximeters famous for holding a signal in high vibration/motion environments. With iSpO2, they have developed software that will run on an iPod/iPad/iPhone and married it with their pulse oximeter design. You can watch your oxygen saturation as you climb to altitude and observe your heart rate. Very helpful for setting the proper oxygen flow. Get yours today at AeroMedix.com!
We Ask, You Answer back to top 

Question of the Week: Let's Go Flying

Frankly, we're tired of all the misery that has been aviation news for the past few days, so we'd like to be uplifted.

How are you going to advance yourself as a pilot or aviation in general this flying season?
(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.)

Garmin Traffic Solutions
Track More Targets with Garmin GTS™ 825 & 855
The new Garmin GTS 825 and GTS 855 traffic systems keep an eye on even more targets, so you can stay even safer in the skies. They combine active and passive (like ADS-B) surveillance technologies to track up to 75 intruder threats to 40 or 80 nm, respectively, and provide both visual and audible alerts. Learn more.
AVweb Video: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 

Video: Tecnam Introduces the Astore and the Snap

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

At Aero in Friedrichshafen last week, the Italian planemaker Tecnam introduced two new models. AVweb was there to report on it.

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Video: Bendix/King Moves into Europe With Wingman

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

Bendix/King is moving its myWingman app into Europe with new charting features for both Europe and for the U.S. At Aero, AVweb caught up with Jeff Simon for a briefing on new features.

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What You Missed in AVwebBiz This Week back to top 

Russian Airliner Evades Missiles

Russia has ordered its airlines to avoid Syrian airspace after a charter airliner with 159 passengers and eight crew aboard escaped a possible missile attack Monday. Russia Today quoted Interfax as saying the the Nordwind Airlines A320, on a flight from an Egyptian resort to Kazan in Tatarstan, was over the mountains of Syria when the crew spotted the launch of two ground-to-air missiles and took evasive action. The missiles reportedly exploded "very close" to the airliner at about 30,000 feet, but it was not damaged. The crew then asked ATC for a higher altitude and continued the trip at 33,000.

Russian officials have stopped short of calling the incident a targeted attack on the airliner but they have now banned civilian overflights of the war-torn country. Prior to the incident the government recommended airlines steer clear of Syrian airspace and most were doing so. On Tuesday the recommendation became an order. Russia is also making diplomatic inquiries to determined the exact nature of the incident and has stressed that it has no evidence to characterize it as an intentional attempt to bring the aircraft down.

Production Sovereign Flies

Cessna has flown the production version of its updated Sovereign mid-sized business jet and, as expected, everything went well. The two and a half hour flight tested all the systems, including the new G5000 avionics suite that includes autothrottles. "The aircraft handling characteristics and performance were exceptional, just as we had anticipated after flying more than 1,300 hours in three test flight articles. The Garmin G5000 avionics system provides a sense of control and situational awareness that any pilot will appreciate," said Matt Freund, Cessna production flight test pilot.

The new Sovereign has winglets to boost climb and short-field performance. Range is also up about 150 nm to about 3,000 nm. It will climb directly to 45,000 feet and top speed is 458 knots. First deliveries are planned for later this year.

Indiana Slashes Aviation Taxes

While other governments, including the current administration, are increasingly viewing aviation as a cash cow, the State of Indiana has slashed aviation-related taxes that will save some aircraft operators thousands of dollars a year. The legislature in Indianapolis has cut fuel taxes from 60 cents a gallon (based on current prices) to a 10-cent-a-gallon excise tax. Taxes on parts used in repairs and maintenance have also been eliminated. AOPA says the outcome came after a lobbying effort it supported involving the local aviation community. The group showed Indiana lawmakers how Maine had significantly improved its aviation industry by amending its aviation tax structure a few years ago.

The savings will be considerable for both itinerant and transient traffic in Indiana. For instance, the owner of a Baron will save more than $100 on a single fill-up under the new tax structure. Busy flight schools could save as much as $40,000 per airplane every year. The reductions put Indiana back in a competitive position with neighboring states that have lower aviation-related taxes. "Indiana had to respond, as other states have seized on their neighbors' tax structures to gain competitive advantages for their aviation businesses," AOPA Great Lakes Regional Manager Bryan Budds told AOPA Online. "Excellent Indiana repair shops have been unable to compete by attracting out-of-state aircraft for services, and have seen the troubling trend of based aircraft leaving the state to save money."

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

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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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